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Monday, November 28, 2011

Tonight's dinner conversation...horny squirrels and sex partners

Photo credit

As you all know, we are sometimes prone to rather colorful dinner conversations around here.  Tonight's...

As Jack was telling me about the protagonists in a movie he was watching, I suddenly remembered the squirrels I had seen while walking Russell an hour before.

Me:  Oh!  I forgot to tell you guys about the mating squirrels I saw earlier!  (That quickly got their attention and it was quiet as all eyes turned to me.)

Kurt:  Mating squirrels?

Me:  Yeah!  The girl squirrel jumped on the tree in front of us (Russell and me) and then the boy ran after her.  She twitched her tail a few times and then he jumped on her back!  (I'm smiling as I tell it...it's funny and I can't help it.)

Kurt:  You know, that story reminds me of when we made these two guys (nudging his head towards the boys).  You twitched your tail and I jumped on your back!

Me:  You mean the TWO times we had sex and conceived these guys?

Kurt:  Yeah.

Jack:  Yeah, and daddy said, "That's the signal, green light!  Go!" (as he made a humping motion)

Jack:  All of this brings a question to my mind, Dad.  How many people...

Me:  (thinking)  Wow, there are so many possibilities of things that one could insert in there, he wouldn't possibly ever ask how many people his dad ever had sex with.

Jack:  How many people...have you been sexually engaged with?

Me:  (Looking at Kurt)  Oh my gosh!  You know, I thought about that ending to that question, but as I sat here and thought of all the possibilities for filling in the end of that sentence, I just KNEW that wouldn't be the question that would come out of his mouth!

Kurt:  (Choking on his food)  I know!  I thought of it too, but really didn't expect him to ask that!  You are the one (pointing at me) that started this!

Me:  I did not!

Kurt:  Yes you did, you were talking about horny squirrels.

Me:  No, I just told a story of the mating squirrels I saw.  You are the one that turned it into a comparison on how we conceived our children!  It's your fault!

Jack:  Well???

Me:  Just each other.  (The kids looked like they didn't even come close to buying that, but I really am not ready for that conversation.  You know, the one where the kids discuss your number and whether or not you fall into this category or that.  No, I am really not ready for that.  Better for them to just keep hearing that you wait for your one true love and that there really IS a Santa and a Tooth Fairy and an Easter Bunny.)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Confessions of a working (outside of the home) mom.

First of all, let me say this, I get that being a mom is a job all by itself.  I have been doing it since my kids were born (obviously) and working on and off in between.  I have run my own design business in the last few years, but that was part-time at best since the economy tanked.  I have said many times that being a stay-at-home mom is a tough job that you don't get paid money for.  You definitely get payoffs, but they are not monetary.

I have gone back to full-time, outside of the home work as a police officer.  I am still responsible for my other job as well.  I am enjoying the police work tremendously.  It is satisfying and it also rewards me with a paycheck every two weeks.  I have received two so far!  Here's the thing though.  My other job has been suffering in the transition.  I have come to the realization that I am not able to do everything like I used to.  Here is a list of the areas I am deficient in at the moment...(consider this my counseling statement to myself)...

1.  My house is no longer clean.  There is dog hair and dust everywhere.  Plus?  My kids' bathroom smells like a urinal...GROSS!

2.  I no longer cook meals every night.  Kurt has definitely been picking up the slack here, but there have been many nights when I have opted to pick up KFC or Mickey D's rather than cook.

3.  I have not been on top of my kids about their homework.

4.  I go to bed nearly two hours before my kids on most nights.  I have been getting up at either 4 or 5 a.m. and by 7:30, I am toast.  I just can't keep my eyes open.  I'm in bed by 7:30 and lights out by 8:00.  Pathetic, I know.

5.  My kids have to get themselves up and ready for school in the mornings with NO ONE HOME!  I no longer cook them a hot breakfast each morning.  My poor, neglected children now eat a bowl of cereal instead of eggs.  Then they get themselves dressed, walk the dog and lock the house as they leave.

6.  I have not been taking my son to the batting cages every day.  Again, with the work schedule and the busy zone I work in, I am exhausted at the end of the day.  Jack's hitting has suffered because of this.
**Side note, I did take him this past week (I've been working on this post for 2 weeks...do you see a pattern of behavior here??) and today at his game, he hit a home run with 2 RBI's!  See?  He really needs to hit those cages so he can do well!

7.  I haven't been working out.  Or even watching what I eat.  Some days, I don't even get to eat because I am so busy, but then I make up for it when I get home...ugh!  I keep intending to start over tomorrow.  I'm definitely starting over tomorrow!

8.  I have a very short fuse these days.  In other words, I am frequently a bitch to all of the male species living in my house.  Sorry Guys!  Mommy is trying to adjust!

There you have it.  I am a slacker in the mommy department.  I am trying to improve.  One thing is certain though, I do love getting that pay check every two weeks and also, I love my job and the people I work with.  It's all exhausting, but it is still good.  I will get better at doing all of this, I promise.

Monday, October 10, 2011

What do burritos, special sauce and puberty have in common?

Monday night's dinner conversation, of course!  We were talking about Jack's performance at yesterday's baseball games.  He was the catcher for the second game of the double header and he did a great job.  He even threw the team's first out at second while a runner was trying to steal second from first.  He had 4 singles and a double with a total of 4 RBI's...like I said, he did a great job.  I was saying how good he looked behind the plate.  (We have been getting Jack extra coaching with a former pro-ball catcher in order to improve his game.)  I said he looked very athletic and had a lot of endurance.  I just told him he needs to improve his upper body strength a little more to catch up with his lower body.  He said he needed to work out more.  Lee informed him that he wouldn't really see much more improvement in the upper body strength until he reached puberty (because Lee is clearly an expert in the matter, being there himself.)  As Jack was jumping in to say he IS in puberty, Lee corrected himself to say that he meant Jack would improve when he got further along in the whole puberty thing.

As I was sitting there listening (having been working on a very stiff rum and diet soda) I stupidly asked, "How do you know when you are in puberty?"


Lee:  "Pimples, voice cracking and stuff."

Jack's response was to grin and say, "Well, I'd rather not say during dinner."

To which I relplied, "Well, why not?"

Jack: "Because I'd rather talk to dad about it since he has the same thing as me."

And I said (it was the alcohol talking, I'm telling you) "I'm very familiar with the equipment, you know.  How do you think you came along?  I birthed you from my loins and I'm very familiar with the equipment that helped you get there in the first place.  Right?"  (Looking at Kurt who, to his credit only shook his head and started to chuckle.)

Kurt: "Maybe we should wait till after dinner.  I 'm not sure I want to hear this right now."

Jack: "But we're talking about burritos...and special sauce!"

Me:  "I know all about burritos and special sauce."

Jack:  "Is that true dad?"

Kurt:  "She knows more about the special sauce than I do."

Jack:  "Would you like some chicken with that?"

Lee (in a deep Southern accent):  "Chiggin nuggets!"

Which cause my boys to crack up and me to pause and say, "You know, I was wondering what I was going to blog about tonight.  Now I know."

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Today I had to take a psychological test in order to get hired for the police position I want.  I have taken several versions of this test over the years.  It is very long and grueling...about 4 straight hours of answering the same 200 or so questions worded 5 or 6 different ways for a total of about 1000 questions.

The test is designed to weed out those who won't fit into a law enforcement career.  It picks up whether you are lying, defensive, compulsive, obsessive, criminal, violent or a combination of all of the above.  The only way to take the test is to decide beforehand to answer every single question honestly.  Even the ones that ask whether you like poetry or Alice in Wonderland. 

I have always wondered what it might mean to the psychologist reviewing my answers that I do like poetry (especially if someone is writing it to me) or that I don't really care for Alice in Wonderland?  Does it mean I am too introspective or soft to be a cop?  Does not liking poetry fit the position better?  What about the fact that I sometimes prefer spending time by myself?  Does it mean I'm anti-social?  After all the tests I have taken, I still don't know the right answer, so I just answer truthfully...I AM afraid of spiders, but not snakes.  I DON"T enjoy gambling, but have done dangerous things just for the thrill of it from time to time.  I DID NOT have a good relationship with my mom, I DON"T think my father was the ideal man (because I never knew him.)

After the written portion of the test, there is an interview with the psychologist.  Today, he managed to gather all sorts of interesting tidbits about my childhood, my mother, my lack of a father, the fact that I have 3 other siblings I don't know and that I have been a witness to domestic violence in my home growing up.  He asked whether I thought I was really fit for the job.  I told him that my past experiences had made me more sensitive to the fact that people have problems and that the answers or solutions to them are not always black and white.  I told him that my past had allowed my creative problem-solving side to blossom and my empathy for the plight of those less fortunate to root deep within me.  I care about what happens to people (most of them anyway) and I do want to help them.  I just can't help being that way.  It's who I am.  His remark to me?  "So you were able to overcome your past and become better for it."  Well, yes.  I guess it's true.

An old photo of me as a School Police Officer

I'll find out in a few days whether or not I am of sound enough mind to do the job I have done for so many years...taking care of the public in the best way I know how...by keeping their kids safe in school.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"Why is it that everything you do annoys me?"

Tonight, we decided that it was time that the boys start going to bed at a reasonable hour again since school is going to start on Monday.  At 10 pm, I told Lee he could go to his bed and read a book after he brushed his teeth.  Jack agreed to take a shower when Lee was finished brushing his teeth.  Lee, meanwhile was giving me "the look."  The look is a practiced death stare that he (quite frequently these days) gives me when he doesn't like what I am telling him to do.  I am trying very hard to ignore this look so that he doesn't think it gets to me (not that it does really, it's just irritating.)

So I ignored the look and went about other bedtime preps.  A few minutes later, he was in his room after brushing.  Good.  Compliance, even when given unwillingly is still compliance.  That is my mantra these days as I try to navigate through these almost-thirteen-years-old-hormone-infested waters without choking him to death or just beating him to a bloody pulp.

At 10:30, I walked into his room to say goodnight and hear his prayer (he still says a prayer and kisses me goodnight, sweet!) and he was playing with a little bucket of slime stuff.  Okay, he wasn't reading, but I wasn't going to make a big deal out of it, because he was, after all, in bed as I had requested.  So I leaned over and he said his prayer and I kissed him goodnight.  As I turned to leave the room, he said, "I need my book."

I said, "No, it's time for lights out.  You could have read before, but not now.  Goodnight."

He said, "You said I could read."

I responded that we had already discussed that.

He said, "Why is it that everything you do annoys me?"

To which I calmly responded, "I think it's your age."

And he replied, "No, I think it's you.  I think you should think about that." 

And, God help me, the only response I had was a belly laugh.  I laughed and laughed and laughed as I said goodnight and turned off the light and walked over to Jack's room.  I could hear him yelling behind his closed door, "I'm serious!"

Jack was in his bed looking at me as I walked in and he said, "You should think about that!" and started laughing with me.

Sigh....I guess I will have to maintain my sense of humor if I am going to get through these coming years without finding myself in a rubber room or a jail cell. 

Writing prompt..."Name a totally useless possession and how you came to acquire it."

Russell.  Russell is my totally useless possession.  Russell is my dog.  He's totally useless.  And annoying.  Plus?  He sheds.  A lot.  I don't know what I was thinking when I was thinking we NEEDED to get a dog.  I thought that since we are a family with 2 boys, we needed to have a dog so we could be more well-rounded.  Also, a dog would be fun.  And teach my boys some resonsibility, you know, how to take care of and care for, something besides themselves (not that they take care of themselves because I don't want to mislead you here by any means!)

I found his picture online and fell in love immediately.  I knew he would be mine.  He looked frisky and curious and, well, ADORABLE!!

This was him when we first met him at the rescue.  See what I mean?  We were suckers and fell for his sweet puppy breath and playful nature.  Plus, he was only going to be around 10 pounds when fully grown.  Little did we know...

He started to grow, but was still small enough to dress up for special occasions like Thanksgiving...

Or Christmas...

He now weighs 30 pounds.  Oh, I know he's cute and all.  He's lucky he's cute.  At this point, it's the only thing he's got going for him...he still has accidents, he jumps on people when they visit, he thinks he has a higher rank in our pack than Jack (he tries to hump him all the time), and he sheds...alot!

Still, he IS smart and has learned lots of cool tricks like giving high 5's (I know it's a high 10 if it's both paws, but "high 5" is easier to say) he can sit and stay and spin around like he's dancing.  He can fetch (sort of) and play tug of war.  I would say when I am not pissed off at him, he can actually be entertaining at times.  So maybe he's not TOTALLY useless.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Friday night's dinner conversation...

Husband:  Did you get the video I sent you today?

Me:  The one about the Johnson thing?

Husband:  Yeah, funny right?

Lee:  Johnson?

Me:  It's a boat motor, but also refers to a man's man part.

Husband:  It's a boat motor.

Lee:  Oh, that's funny!  Start my Johnson!  Drive my Johnson!

Jack:  Grind my Johnson!  Take my Johnson for a walk!

Husband:  Prime my Johnson, choke my Johnson.

Me:  The guy in the video Daddy is referring to is singing about his boat motor.

Jack:  Is there a girl in the video?

Me:  Yes, that's what makes it so funny.

Lee:  I gotta Johnson!

Husband:  Alright, that's enough talk about Johnsons.

Jack:  (In a deep creepy voice that sort of sounds like Jim Carey as an announcer)  Well, it's better  than THE VAGINA!  The ancient vagina...

Husband:  Alright, this is getting a little out of hand...

Me:  (Trying not to giggle)  Ok, this isn't really...

Jack:  (Still in creepy announcer voice)  The ancient Vagina is prehistoric and...

Me:  (Now giggling)  Prehistoric?

Husband:  Well, they have been around for a long time.

Lee:  It's a prehistoric dinosaur vagina.

Me:  Okay, okay, let's settle down.

Jack:  Well, vagina is better than saying pussy.  You said we can't say pussy.

Me:  You're saying it, you need to stop now.

Husband:  Okay guys, that's enough.

Lee:  Yeah Jack.

Jack:  Can I say the B word?

Husband:  No, what's wrong with you?

Jack:  It's in the dictionary.  You said we can say words that are in the dictionary. 

Lee:  Ass is in the dictionary.

Husband:  This conversation is not helping our digestion.

Jack:  What if you're digesting an Ass?

Husband:  (To me)  Can you believe these kids? 

Me:  I need a drink.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

What ever happened to the good old days when kids were grossed out at the thought of their parents having SEX?

 Is it just me or has something changed?  It seems to me that I remember kids used to be completely grossed out and disgusted when they saw some indication that their parents, at times, actually engaged in sexual activity.  I'm fairly certain that most kids used to favor the belief that their parents only had sex the one time they were conceived, or maybe that they were conceived immaculately, with no need for sex at all.  Aren't kids supposed to run out of the room screaming "My eyes!  My eyes!" when they catch their dad copping a feel of their mom's ass?

My kids not only don't seem to mind the cop feeling grope sessions that happen in my kitchen, they actually encourage them!  How's this for a reaction?

"Yeah Daddy!  Get some!"

or this..."Put the moves on her Dad!"

or the ever popular, "Oh yeah!  Squirsh it!  Squirsh it good!"

My kids have apparently been so indoctrinated into the routine dry humping sessions that occur when I am bent over loading the dishwasher, that it's just business as usual in our house.  They laugh at us when I swat Kurt away and say things like, "Uh huh, Mommy and Daddy gonna get busy!" to which their dad responds, "Yeah! Isn't Mommy yummy?"

Sarah Palin is like the ultimate soccer mom...do her kids encourage Todd to grab her ass once in a while?  Are mommies the sex goddesses of the New Millennium?  Are jeans and food-stained t-shirts the new black?  When did this happen and why are my kids so okay with all this talk of parental sex???   What the HELL is going on here anyway?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Well, there you have it...

Source:  Sara Sheets

I got the results of the paternity test yesterday.  I think most people are just used to knowing who they are and where they belong.  When something as fundamental as who your parents are is raised into question, it makes one think about roots and community, history and futures and what constitutes a family.

Having never known who my biological father is has always left a sort of empty place in my life.  A question I couldn't answer.  When I was younger, it was simply a question of who could have made me and were there other people out there I could call brother or sister or aunt or uncle?  Later, when I had babies, it became a little more important when a genetic test on one of my boys came back that there might be a problem.  We had to go through genetic counselling and I couldn't answer any questions as to my medical history.  That was scary.  It turned out alright and both boys are healthy fortunately.

More recently, I have found that this question was one I wanted to answer in order to have a sense of belonging, a sense of historical value and signifigance.  This has had me longing for an answer more than any other time I can remember.

The man I have come to think of as a father over the years is Brady (for a funnier look at who he is and the story of how he and my mother met, click here.)  My mother told me when I was nine years old that he was my father.  In fact, I was born with his surname on my original birth certificate.  My mother divorced him when I was one and married my sister's father, Tony.  My mother later convinced Tony to adopt me so I would have the same last name as my sister and a new birth certificate was issued.  My mother made no mention of Brady again and I thought Tony was my father.  Up until the age of nine, I had no knowledge of Brady, nor that there was any question that I belonged to the family that I knew.  My mother had, by then, long since divorced Tony.  In deciding she wanted to go to Tennessee for a while (that is where Brady lived) and needing a place to live, she told me about Brady and took me and my sister to meet him.

At that meeting and ever since then, even though we later lost contact because my mother moved us away again (and again and again) Brady has always tried to be a father to me.  When I found him once again in my 30's, he helped me fill in alot of blanks regarding my birth and whether or not my mother was actually my mother (I had doubts!) and remembered so many things that it was obvious he had genuinely loved and cared for me.  We have stayed in touch ever since.  Along with Brady, I gained two brothers (his sons from another marriage) who also love me as a sister.

In spite of all of this, I have recently felt a little disconnected and in need of an answer.  I visited with Brady and was talking to him and we decided to go ahead and get a paternity test done just to address the small chance that he actually could have been my father.  (The question was there because of the timing of when he and my mom would have been intimate and when I would have been conceived.) 

In order to do the test, I did a google search and found a company called GTL Genetic Testing Laboratory.  Brady and I were able to collect the samples ourselves and, following the simple instructions, submit them via mail to the laboratory for testing.  It was inexpensive (less than $100) and fast (less than 2 weeks).  I received my results via email last night.

In the back of my mind, I expected that the results would be negative because of the original conversations regarding the timeline.  Yet, I held out a little hope for a difinitive answer.  As I write this, and knowing the answer, I find that I was still holding out for a positive result in spite of the fact that I really was operating under the assumption that the test would be negative.  As I have been waiting for the results and, having written about the process here in my blog, I have found some things to be true.  They are:

No matter that I have never known a biological father, I have a man who loves me like a daughter anyway.

I have a sister, husband and children who are mine and love me.  In marrying Kurt, I also gained his entire family who have accepted me and love me.

I have friends who love me...many of them; in fact, more than I realized.  Some of them have even told me they consder me to be as good as family to them...how about that?

I have, by staying put in one place for all of these years to raise a family, planted roots.  Overall, my family and I have added value to our community by participating and working and joining.

So, it turns out that the actual question of paternity isn't the most important thing afterall.  For me, this has been an eye opening experience in that I have realized that I do belong, regardless of whether I ever find out who got my mother pregnant.

So, to answer the question at hand, the results of the test are that the alleged relationship with Brady is excluded...he's not my biological father.  But what they can't test in that laboratory and what I do know is this...he is the only father I have ever known and that, it turns out for now, is enough.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Road Trip Journal Day 11...Luke, I AM your father...

From the time I was a little girl, my mom has told me several different versions of the "father story."  I have asked her repeatedly, as an adult, to enlighten me on the situation and she refuses.  She tells me she can't remember, but I don't believe her.  She has, over the years, told me who my father was several times...first, he was my sister's father.  Later, she told me he was Dudley DoRight (not his real name, but the one I used for the story above) and finally, she told me he was a married man who owned a car dealership in Jacksonville and that she hadn't told me the truth the first two times because my real father was married and she had been afraid I would try to contact him.  She said that the reason she was telling me the truth this time was because he had died and it was safe to tell me.  But the twist to the last version is that she can't remember what his name was.  Yeah, the married man she had an affair with and produced me...she couldn't remember the guy's name.  Um, would you believe her at this point?  I'm having a hard time believing anything she says to me.

For a time, because she had been so illusive in the whole matter, I actually thought that I had been kidnapped as a baby.  There were no infant photos of me, my mother wouldn't tell me who I was and, well, if you knew my mother, you would understand why I would think that.  I mean, aside from the fact that she hated kids (her words) she had a record of committing crimes, I was nothing like her.  I don't resemble her physically and our personalities are and were worlds apart.  I just didn't think I belonged to her.  I later found out this wasn't the case...that she didn't kidnap me.

So, you say, that's all very interesting and a little pathetic, but what does it have to do with your road trip, Diana?  Well, just this...

Yesterday, I went to visit Dudley DoRight and the rest of the family in Nashville, TN.  As I mentioned in the story I linked to earlier in this post, I have had an ongoing (albeit sporadic) relationship with Dudley over the years.  When I was 9 years old, my mom took me in her room and told me that my sister's father was not my real father.  Up until that point, I had believed that Anna and I were full sisters, that Popeye was my father too.  Apparently, when he and my mom had gotten married because she was pregnant with Anna, my mom had urged him (and he had agreed) to adopt me so we would all have the same last name.  So I had no reason to think anything other than we were all one big happy family (well, not really one big happy family, but you get the idea.)

So that day, I found out that my sister was a half-sister and that my dad actually lived in Memphis, TN and that (surprise!) we were going to pack up all our stuff and go to Tennessee just so I could meet him! (and also, well, it was time to move on from the place we were living cause the rent was due so it all worked out perfectly!)

I was excited at the thought of meeting my "real" father since Anna's dad had been gone for years (first in the Vietnam war and then because my mom had divorced him.)  So off we went to Tennessee.  When we arrived, Dudley welcomed us with open arms and lots of love.  He told me stories of my birth and made it clear that he loved me regardless of the fact that he was remarried and had other children with his new wife.  They let us stay in their home (yes, even my mom) until mom decided she would live in her own apartment and let us live with Dudley.

Anna and I lived with Dudley for a while.  We attended school and felt really normal.  Their home was beautiful and large and full of friends and family.  It was great!  And then mom decided it was time to leave (probably because Anna and I were so happy) and we just disappeared.  She didn't say a word to Dudley.  They didn't know what had happened to us.  We went to visit my mom at her apartment and then we were just gone.

Dudley told me yesterday that he and family and friends searched for us for months with no luck.  He never knew what happened to us until one day when I was in my 30's I tracked him down again.  I had been trying, as an adult (who happened to be a police detective at the time) for years to find out who my father was.  I was also trying to figure out whether my kidnapping theory was valid or not.   I felt like Dudley might have answers for me and tried to track him down in Memphis for a long time.  Eventually, I spoke to a sympathetic phone information clerk who listened to my story (cause I was frustrated and couldn't figure out how to find him and they needed a city because there was no listing in Memphis) and she suggested that we start looking for listings in major Tennessee cities.  After a couple of minutes, she said she had a couple of listings for the name in Nashville and she gave me the numbers.

I called the numbers and eventually, found the right one.  In fact, Dudley's wife had answered the phone that night and I quickly told her who I was and who I was looking for.  I got chills when she said, "Diana, we've been looking for you for so long!  Wait, here's Dudley, he'll be so glad!" and that's how we reconnected.  In the ensuing conversations, it seemed like Dudley wasn't my actual father, but he felt and acted like a real father.  He cleared up the kidnapping issue and gave me information about my birth.  He loved me.  So I decided to adopt him as my dad anyway.  I have operated as if he was my father and called him Daddy and my kids have called him Grandpa.  All from a distance because he still lives in Tennessee.

It has been many years since he drove down to Florida and visited us and saw the kids.  Yesterday, we had a mini reunion and got reacquainted.  During our time there, I was able to talk with him about the blog and read him some of my stories.  When I read him the story I linked above, he was adamant that Clyde is not my father and there is no chance of it at all.  In asking him how he was so sure, we worked on the timeline for conception and what was happening with regards to his relationship with my mom.  Long story shortened (cause I know this isn't short!) he thinks there is a chance he is my real father. 

Aside from the fact that I am 48 years old and have never KNOWN who my father is (and it would be huge to know!)  Well, actually, there IS no aside.  I want to know.  If there is a chance of finding out, I want to take the chance and find out.  So I suggested that we do a paternity test so we can KNOW.  He was concerned that if a test comes back negative, I won't want to have anything to do with him because then I will know for a fact and will move on in my search.  That is just not the case.  I am operating NOW on the assumption that he's NOT my real father and yet I call him Daddy and I love him as if he were my father.

So that's the news.  Dudley and I are doing a paternity test.  We followed instructions for a mail away test and I have the swabs in my car and am getting the package ready to mail off.  In less than 2 weeks, I may have an answer to the mystery.  I am being cautiously optimistic at this point.  There are so many similarities between me and Dudley that I think I'll be really surprised if he isn't my father, but I guess we'll see.  In the next week or two, I may acquire a father and two brothers and a sister in law I didn't know were mine.  MINE, not borrowed from someone else.  People who belong to me.  History.  Stories.  Family.  I can't help but be excited at the prospect.