A Man of Many Hats.

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The picture above reflects the past 17 years of my life. I wore a hat every single day of my life for a long time.  Each hat for me identifies a very different phase of my life.

Far left – Kavu hat (4 years).  I remember ordering this online during my sophomore year of high school.  The goal was to find something as obscure as possible that would be one of a kind. This was the hat I planned to move out West with, work some obscure job, but have access to the great outdoors.  Damn girlfriends.

Second from left (Missing hat 3 years) – There is a hat that belongs between the Kavu Hat and the Titleist hat.  It was a vintage Texas Rangers hat.  I wore it my entire time at ACU and let’s say it was very weathered. A lot of life happened in this hat.  Met my now wife, got my first dog, and worked a lot of jobs. I no longer have it because it was the key item in a dowry to my now brother-in-law.  Damn fiancé.

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Second from the left -Titleist hat (3 years).   I remember I had just moved to Amarillo, TX after graduating ACU.  T and I were engaged, but she was still in Abilene finishing school.  I was living with her parents and working for a State Farm Insurance agent.  There was a golf store in the strip center across the street from our office which was often the site of my lunch breaks.  Amarillo can be a hard place to live.  Hobbies are required. Thankfully, T’s parents and I worked very hard to watch 6 seasons of 24.  This hat’s history includes first house, first new car, first credit card bill that made me really nervous, and a miscarriage.

Middle – Texas Rangers (2 years) As our time in Amarillo came to an end and we transitioned to move back to beautiful, Abilene I needed a fresh new hat.  I had purchased a Rangers hat with a black bill which was not very old, but suspiciously went missing during the move.  This hat was a replacement.  This hat was there during the beginning of my job with FFB.  It was part of a couple hard years trying to get pregnant.

Second from right – Patagonia (3 years) – this was a hat I purchased after moving to Keller, TX.  This was the hat I wore to have surgery for fertility purposes (obvious future blog post topic), purchased our second house, and lived a grown up life in.

Far right – USA (2 years) – This has been my most recent addition.  There is no question this hat has seen the most drama.  In-Vitro, wife’s surgery, and of course fostering Brisket.

This past Friday we took a road trip down south to meet Dr. Evil and Jobu.  Quick recap is we were selected as the final family for Dr. Evil and were 1 of 3 finalist for Jobu.

What is the first thing you ask yourself when going to parents tryout?  What do i wear?

After some online research, I was still struggling.  The meeting with the two CPS workers went well and we started our drive home.  We of course had to stop at Buc-ees with the rest of the Memorial Day travelers to purchase $40 worth of nothing.

You might be thinking this blog has lost its punch.  He is running out of material.  He seems tired.  Well you know what,  that USA hat will always be the hat I had on my head when a CPS worker called me to tell me I have a son.  That’s right –  we delivered the Morris 1 – 2 punch and the other families did not stand a chance.  Jobu is moving in this next week and we will be operating in man-to-man coverage as they say.  Jobu / Brisket vs. Lady / Buddy.  Please see Fan Duel for odds.

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Today is Friday?

Many of you have been there or are currently there.  Complete exhaustion. People who run marathons or climb Mt. Everest always reference the amazing things the human body can withstand.  I am here to say the human body is an amazing thing, based on the fact it can handle taking care of a baby.

I apologize for the amount of time that has passed since the last post.  I can promise it has not been due to a lack of content.  I am not sure we have done a good job of ranking the weeks of foster care to determine which one has been the “wildest” but this one has to have been top two.

Monday – Dr. visit with Brisket and we officially have our first daycare induced cold.  T ends up with cold as well, or some stress/exhaustion based cough.  Lots of mucus in our house.

Tuesday – I get a phone call from an area code I don’t recognize.  “Mr. Morris – I am a CPS worker for a child you and your wife submitted your home study for on 3/31”.  We are talking about close to two months ago.  “We have selected your family as 1 of 3 finalist. Would you be able to drive to South, TX next Friday to meet this little guy?”  After a long pause and a few “uh”s I finally said: “Can I talk to my wife?”.  After we hung up, I had to go back to my email and find the info on this little guy.  For some reason his picture reminds me of this:

jobu2 Naturally, I will refer to him as Jobu.  While he is built more like a Troll doll he carries some major street cred.  He is 15 months old and appears to be happy and healthy.  The big difference for Jobu is his parent’s right’s will soon be terminated, making him available for adoption. This is positive…  there is potential of a Jobu and Brisket filled-home. We tell our family and everyone is excited.

Wednesday – The day starts off with a visit between Brisket and her birth mom which is always a kick in the teeth. T calls me around 10 am and starts the conversation just like I had the prior day regarding Jobu.  Do you remember …? Well, This time our Hope Cottage case worker had called to tell us we were the ONLY family selected for a 5 month old boy from several weeks ago.  Thats right, in 24 hours we have been selected for two kids with very high chances of them leading to adoption.

Where things get dramatic is, when we mentioned Jobu to the Hope Cottage case worker, she was in complete shock and surprised by the news.   Jobu’s CPS worker had not included our Hope Cottage case worker on anything.  Apparently this is a major break in the code of conduct /  or blow to their ego for case workers.  While these two parties flexed their muscles back and forth, we now had two kids who were real adoption prospects.

Hope Cottage is telling us that child #2, who no one can deny looks like Dr. Evil would most likely be brought to our house on the 27th.  Thats right, we are bringing you another kid in 9 days.  You are the only family involved so it’s a for sure deal.

Naturally for the past 24 hours we had been obsessing of Jobu,  understanding we have a 1/3 chance in being selected.  Not sure I can tell you why but we both favored Jobu over Dr. Evil.  Dr. Evil is younger and a for sure deal!  We have waited 8 years and here is a 5 month old boy ready to come live here forever and what do we want to do?  Pick the more difficult route.

Thursday – day starts off with me running Brisket to daycare at 6:30 am because Tori is sick and I have a 7:15am appointment.  I forget to mention we both have day jobs.  Later that day here comes the email.  Hope Cottage is encouraging us to move forward with Dr. Evil.  I understand, we are the only approved family.  I am sure they are thinking: Take the low hanging fruit and we can be done with these people.  The down side to Dr. Evil is we have seen almost no documentation on him.  We know he is healthy, likes to lay on his stomach, and is on track developmentally.  We are agonizing over what to do and ask Hope Cottage to get as much information as possible to help us make this brutal decision.  A few hours later, we get an email that read “we tried but this is it”  ok, it didn’t really say that but thats how it felt.  We basically got back the original email.

I want to give Dr. Evil a chance but, CPS and Hope Cottage do not appear to be trying very hard to make it happen.  Maybe we are being high maintenance and every other good foster family just says ok based on the 3 statement email…?

Meanwhile, Brisket is being just as cute as possible.  Sleeping longer and longer at a time.  Blowing chunks fewer and fewer times.  This kid has potential.

Friday – we come to the conclusion we want see Jobu out before we do anything with Dr. Evil.  That’s when our case worker kindly reminded us that we are certified for up to three kids.  Oh, ok… Brisket –  3 mo, Dr. Evil –  5 mo, and Jobu – 15 mo, thats not a recipe for a Youtube worthy meltdown.

So let me recap. Next Friday we are going to try out for Jobu.  The CPS worker will make their selection by the following Tuesday and notify the families.  Dr. Evil’s CPS worker wanted to place him in our home on that same Friday which is what is causing the tension.  We plan to make our best run at Jobu, wait till Tuesday and go from there.

 

 

Music Sweet Music

Young Teller: What was your first CD?

Me: I didn’t have a first CD.  I had a first 10 CD’s!

Young Teller: What do you mean?

Me:  Let me tell you about Colombia House…

I remember always checking the mail when I got off the bus.  The envelope was thick and on the cover was “10 CD’s for 1 penny!”.  While this was definitely not addressed to me, I ripped it open.  There were 30-40 pages of perforated stamps which reflected a wide variety of CD’s.  After carefully reading the fine print, I realized this was a cannot-lose program.  I better hurry and get my order in before these folks realize this is not a sustainable business model (It really wasn’t.).

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My 10 picks looked something like this:

  1. Boston-Boston
  2. Third Eye Blind-Third Eye Blind
  3. DC Talk – Jesus Freak
  4. Coolio – Gangster Paradise (Dangerous Minds Soundtrack)
  5. Jock Jams
  6. Hootie & The Blowfish – Cracked Rear View
  7. Boys II Men – II
  8. Garth Brooks – the hits
  9. Eve 6 – Eve 6
  10. Nirvana – Nevermind

I remember the day the box of 10 cd’s were sitting on the front porch.  I also remember the day the bill for the next full priced CD showed up.  I think I remember the day the bill showed up more.  Those were good times.  Kids these days have no idea how great getting scammed can really be.

Updates:

Please reference We are having FUN now! .  When cleaning out my truck, I noticed something that made me really chuckle.  Look at the bottom right corner of the picture below:

Yep, it is the clips for the car seat and stroller!  I didn’t throw them away so, all of you who said “Stop throwing stuff away!”  or, “Why do you always throw stuff away?”…  Booyah.

How did they get there? Reference The missing post. When the CPS worker sent me in a panic to learn how to install the carseat while in the parking garage of the hospital, I apparently set the clips aside for later use.

Last week I met with our case worker and CPS worker to go over our service plan.  This is a time when we discuss how things have been going over the past month and the goals for the next month.  Everyone seemed very happy with how month one worked.  The bitter news from the meeting was the maternal grandmother has come forward and CPS has started the process of a home study.  The CPS worker said this would easily be a 60 day process and we would know better in 30 days if the home study would be approved.  Not exactly good news for Team Brisket but, we are attempting to remain patient and enjoy our time with this little chunk.

There are a few things I want to make sure we experience if, in fact, the home study is approved:

  • Take the baby out to eat with us in hopes of a screaming fit
  • Some kind of road trip that involves leaving the house at an outrageous hour because it coincides with her sleep schedule.
  • Call in sick to work because my baby is sick
  • Call in sick a second day in a row

Thanks for all the love and support.

 

 

Beyonce Concert Review.

After a month of riding the foster care roller coaster we decided to take a few hours off.  Leaving Brisket with my mom was surprisingly easy after she doubled-dared me.  Remember the great Nickelodeons show, Double Dare with Mark Summers?  I would encourage you to watch a few YouTube clips in your free time.  While I have to say, I loved the show, I am absolutely shocked no one ever got hurt.  Every physical challenged had the same foundation: contestants must run back and fourth across the stage on linoleum floors covered by some incredibly slippery substance.

untitledRemember Mark Summers constantly yelling “got to find the flag, got to find the flag”?What a great show.

Imagine Brisket and I on the Blue team.   She was standing on the platform and must launch warm throw up on me until it fills the clear container on my helmet past the yellow line. After we won that challenge, it was time for a few hours out of the house.

Funny thing: yesterday I was offered great seats for the Rangers game from multiple sources.  More than once, I was forced to tell a grown man, “Hey that’s really nice but, I already have tickets for tonight…to Beyoncé”.  Total Shame.   Worst part is this isn’t even my first time to see Beyoncé!

A few weeks ago I bought T two tickets for the concert because Beyoncé is far and away her favorite artist.  Let me pause, my wife and I have very passionate views on music.  Very different, passionate views.  My wonderful mom (“granny pie-chuncker”) came to spend the night with Brisket.  We made our way to Arlington for the concert at the Death Star.  My guess is about 80,000 fine folks there to get their Beyfix.  The crowd was not incredibly diverse.  Based on my estimation 74,000 women, 4,000 men, and 2,000 couldn’t tell.

To get the crowd warmed up, it was DJ Khaled.  Is this guy real or not?  His Snapchat bit is first class.  He rifled through 10-15 old school rap songs which was just what the crowd needed.  He then brings out a couple special guests with Texas ties.   OT Genasis comes out and does a number called “Cut it”.  I don’t encourage all my readers to Google this.  Anyone 40 and younger please Google for reference.  My beautiful wife looks at me and says “Is he talking about drugs?”  We have been parents for 1 month and have lost touch with pop culture.

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The real show kicked off about 9:15pm and the old man in me was already doing the math for a 2.5 hr show, 45 minute walk / parking lot battle royale, and 45 min drive home.  That puts us home at 1:15am!  I am already tired.  As I expected the show was just entertaining enough to keep someone who has little interest, engaged.  You have to respect her ability and approach to running her business.  Like any other performer on this level her band was incredible, and all female.

Overall it was fine, T loved every minute which is why we went in the first place.  I will say, both times I have seen Beyonce, I have walked away with the same feeling…she comes across very genuine and grateful for her fans.  She seems tormented in ways that she is just a “regular”,  like many of her fans.  I can respect and appreciate that.

The highlight of the night however had nothing to do with Bey.  It was this text from my mom!

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We have poop! Much, much needed Brisket poop!

Beware: 1st Mother’s Day Post

Mother’s Day in a foster family.  My first thought: How does this work?  Where does Mother’s Day importance rank among other holidays which are centered on my wife?

Is it #1?  Mother’s Day, Birthday, Anniversary, and Valentine’s Day?

So, we have been married almost 9 years.  For 7 of the 9 Mother’s Day has been bittersweet for me.  Our challenge with fertility made this holiday hard to focus on celebrating our awesome families.  It was easy to feel sorry for myself and stress out over the emotion my wife might or might not be feeling.

So, Mother’s Day 2016 is bigger than just our first Mother’s Day.  You can layer on all kinds of emotional components but, the short story is, we are both so excited to celebrate the hard work, sacrifice, and patience my beautiful wife has shown to get to this point today.

How do you celebrate a day of such importance?   Well, at 3:15am Brisket and I had developed a day full of activities to shower Lady with love.  Here is how the plan was supposed to work:

Finish our bottle and Brisket would go back to sleep around 6 am and planned to sleep hard and quietly until 9:30 am.  While she was sleeping, I would run to the store for biscuits, sausage, eggs, flowers, cards, and candy.  Everything was going as planned. Coffee was made, biscuits in the oven, and eggs frying.  Brisket couldn’t contain herself.  She had been stuffed in the hypothetical giant birthday cake ready to burst out the top when I said the code word “Crustaceans”.  We didn’t make it to the code word.  She came flying through the giant cake at full speed resulting in me running from the kitchen to try to stop her before my wife (who is able to hibernate better than most black bears) awoke.

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Life changes quickly.  60 days ago, I started this blog.  30 days ago, Brisket came home with us.  In our situation, another Mother’s Day is not guaranteed with Brisket.  While this is a point of stress for many of our friends and family, for me, it’s fine.  We are so incredibly happy with this little chunk of meat (99% of the time) that it’s not worth worrying about the unknown.  I am reminded daily, this is not for me.  The purpose is not to meet my need for a conventional family, but to give Brisket everything she needs.

My extreme joy and happiness for my wife, will always be balanced by the thought of Brisket’s birth mom.  I won’t go in to a ton detail here but want to acknowledge the fact that there is someone hurting today and I don’t take it lightly.  No matter what it means for me, I hope Brisket’s mom finds peace in life.

Happy Mother’s Day to my sweet, pie-chunking mom.

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Three posts in one!

Over the past week, I have started and not finished three different drafts.  Since all 3 are pretty boring, I have elected to post them all at once to just get them out of the way.

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#1 – Everyone Loves a Longshot

There is something so romantic or addictive when it comes to an underdog.  Today marks an unbelievable day in sports.  Leicester City clinched the Premier League (soccer, I know I know) title.  If you don’t know much about the team or situation you could quickly read this recap.

As I sit here, I wonder what the odds are that brisket stays with us forever.  If i was forced to set a line for betting (first cussing, now betting?  Mom, I promise to quote both the Old Testament and New Testament in future posts), I honestly wouldn’t have any idea where to start.

The situation really has not changed at all from day one.  We have not learned anything good or bad since the day we brought home the brisket.  That doesn’t mean we have not tried to find hope in the most bizarre things or grow depressed by equally obscure.

Living day to day with a baby that has grown to love spitting up everything she eats is all we know.  For a lot of friends and family that is impossible to comprehend or accept.  Of course there are questions burning in our brain but, there is no good source for answers.  We are roughly 30 days away from a court date, which will be our first real progress report.  Between now and then, our goal is to provide a stable and loving environment where Brisket can gain weight.  Of course it’s terrifying but, when it’s a long shot you don’t have all that much to lose.

Imagine the guy who made the 5000/1 bet on Leicester City at the beginning of the Premier League season.  There are times I can relate.

Leicester1I did run through the streets yelling “Jamie Vardy is having a party”.  My neighbors reaction was the same as most of yours, I am sure.  Just google it.

#2 Depression sets in.

This week I was responsible for the weekly visit between Brisket and her mom.  This was the fourth visit.  If you are counting, yes, T had to weather the storm the first three times.  A baby requires a lot of visits but a foster baby really requires a lot of moving parts.  Birth mom, CPS, Hope Cottage, ECI, and doctor visits can add up quick, meaning you both cannot make it to everything.

T was thrown into the fire making the first few visits with birth mom and, I could tell it took a toll on her.  I am slightly less emotional and felt I would handle it with a calm approach. I dropped off Brisket with her CPS worker in the lobby of an old building that resembles every Texas elementary school built in the 1960’s.

Now what do you do for an hour?  I drove to a restaurant down the street and sat in the parking lot in my truck.  I sent a few emails but mostly stared at the clock.  It was a terrible hour.  I had to force myself to stay put multiple times in order to prevent returning far too early.

I sat in the lobby trying my hardest to not pull my phone out every 3 minutes to check if it was time.  Then, I looked up and there was the CPS worker and birth mom carrying Brisket in her carseat.

#3 Feels like the first time. 

In my lifetime there are few things that have been very addictive and equally destructive.

The first example was when I first discovered my dad’s electric razor.  As a kid, you could stand in the bathroom in front of the mirror and comb your hair in as many crazy ways possible, make funny faces, try to look fat, try to look skinny,  flex your guns, look in your mouth, but this all got boring after time.  When I found the razor and flipped it on, I was amazed.  Problem was, I had no facial hair to work with.  How about just a small patch of leg hair above the knee?  No one would ever see it.

After seeing how easy the blades made the hair disappear, it was impossible to stop.  In the next 20 minutes, I was ready for my trials as an Olympic swimmer.

Fast forward 10 years.  I was working in the summers doing landscaping.  A good sized office park had hired us to mow the property for the summer.  Looking back, I have no idea why they would let a bunch of high school kids take care of the property.  We had no idea what we were doing.  One day the owner asked if we could handle trimming the trees.  Our answer was, “Of course…how hard could it be?”.

Imagine my sensation of first shaving my leg hair.  Now multiply that by 1,000 and replace the electric razor with a gas powered pole saw.  I will never forget my “boss” running across the parking lot screaming at the top of his lungs for me to stop.  Needless to say, I was never allowed to operate the saw again.

Now it gives me some satisfaction to witness this same type of thrill for T.  Her newest guilty pleasure is the Nose Frida.

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Poor Brisket may never experience the joy of picking her nose.

Stroller gate update

After cussing on my blog for only the second time, I am positive you have been waiting to hear the resolution.  After throwing away the initial set of clips that attach the car seat to the stroller, and then ordering the clips for the 2015 model (I own the 2016 model),  I sent an email to the company explaining what happened.  After no response, I called in.  I sat on hold for 18 minutes. Once I got a live person on the phone, the first question was,

Customer Service Rep (CSR): Can I get the serial number on your stroller?

Me: No,  you cannot, I am at work.  I have the 2016 B-Agile stroller.

CSR: Sir, you have already ordered the wrong clips once, we don’t want to do that again.

Me:  *takes deep breaths*  Yes you are right.  Can you tell me how many clip options you have today?  Oh 3 total? Well, we can rule out 1 can’t we?  So how about we take a best guess assuming, I have the 2016 B-Agile stroller!

CSR: Sir, I need the serial number.

*Hangs up the phone*

After several hours, Brisket and I were sitting a home so, I decided to call back.  Customer service rep #2 took me down a 20 minute Q & A which felt like it was about to end like call #1.  Once we reached the end of the call she said, “Ok, I will get these in the mail to you.  Thank you and have a good day.”

Well sure enough, in the mail today, were two clips that now allow me to connect the car seat to the stroller!  The pressure to take Brisket somewhere just went way up.