A Deaf In The Family – 1.0

Slyfoot said he was half deaf, half blind, and half crazy.  He said I drove him sane…  

I didn’t think anything he said about himself was true.  I was a realistic, but when it came to people, one on one, individually, I was an optimistic.

 People say all sorts of weird things about themselves on the internet to make thems sound interesting. I’m not sure all those particular ‘half’s’ are all that interesting, but I thought it was just an attention grabber.  

I didn’t know Slyfoot, or Sam as I came to know him later, irl (in real life).  I just thought he was some gamer/hacker/computer geek who was way too into Linux and rosaries.  I never put it all together until we started talking in earnest–and that didn’t happen until after the dream and we were making plans to get married.  By that time it was too late.  God had already let me set my own trap and watched quietly as I walked right into it.  

I couldn’t blame Him. I had given him permission.  I’d invited him to in a flippant moment.  Truth be told, I had practically dared him to.  I didn’t think he’d take me seriously, and I never imagined it would end up the way it did.

It all started two years after my divorce.  I was in my mid thirties.  I had four children, but only the two youngest lived with me: Erin, my daughter, and Josh, my youngest son.  My two older boys, Benjamin and Bryce, lived with their father in the same area we had all lived together before the divorce: Katy, Texas.  

At that time, I lived in the northwest of Houston in a decent, inexpensive (relatively speaking), townhome apartment, struggling as a single mother still having a difficult time with my ex, even two years after we split.  

My father told me to start dating.  At this time, my father had been divorced three times and married four times–twice to my mother.  I told him I would work on that, with no intention of doing so.  I gave the appearance of respect.  I didn’t tell him that he was the last person I’d take advice on romance from, or that I couldn’t understand why he and my mother decided to get back together with him. But being my dad, I did listen and I thought about what he said, but not much more than that.

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (The Mormons) we have Wards instead of a Parish.  And instead of a parish priest, we have a Bishop.  You can’t switch wards or bishops, as some people outside the Mormon church do, with some special exceptions.  

None of the clergy in the Mormon church is paid.

Temples are not like Ward buildings, where Mormons meet every week to partake of the sacrament, attend Sunday School and auxiliary meetings.  They are sacred places where ordinances are performed that tie us to our families for eternity and give a glimpse of heaven.  Only worthy members, those with a recommend, are allowed in the temple.  To obtain this recommend, members have to adhere to the Word of Wisdom–a guideline to a healthy, God directed/centered lifestyle–pay their tithing–1/10th of their increase, be interviewed and found worthy by your bishop and your stake president, who is a little like a Bishop of the several parishes in his district.

Sometime after my father had told me to start dating, I went in to my bishop for a temple recommend interview and he,Bishop Slack, told me that I needed to start dating.  I laughed nervously and told him that my father had said the same thing just a few weeks earlier.  

I made no commitments and didn’t do anything more about that admonition than I had my fathers.

When I went into the interview with the stake president, I didn’t expect much small talk.  Stake Presidents have even less time to themselves, and more appointments to get to, than bishops. It was a bit of a surprise then, after the stake president started with the question on how my life had been–the trials of single motherhood, how hard that is in a ward full of functional, intact families–that he told me that I needed to start dating.

I laughed and decided that I better take the advice before one of the Twelve Apostles called me.  I didn’t want to take a chance on getting all the way up the chain to the prophet.

I started to take the idea of dating seriously, and tried to be open.

While I was trying to put together in my mind what I wanted from a potential husband (something I never really did when I was young) I kept writing and stayed in contact with most of my family and friends through email, livejournal (the precursor to “blogs”) or instant messaging.

Writing consumed most of my free time at this period in my life. It was a good diversion from feeling sorry for myself, my situation, being angry at the ex, and trying to adjust to being a single mom.  I was delving into scifi, something I hadn’t really done before, and my first serious foray was a short story called: A Rock and a Hard Place. I posted on my livejournal and it went like this:

Richard “Rock” Klein

Captain’s Log 14.10.2665

Outside Uranus (isn’t that ironic)

Kerry Portsmith Station

Docking Bay 24


They say space is cold. But it’s not *just* cold. No one has ever really felt how cold it is and lived to tell about it. We know instinctively that anything so vast and so empty must be cold.


The irony is that all the things we spend time with while in space also make us feel cold and empty. We travel in cold metalic ships from cold empty space to cold empty space.


Machines have no disability like perception. Filled with Artificial Intelligence and hundreds of processors heating up their hard drives, they are still only metal and plastic. They don’t care if they sit in space or in a shipyard for twenty years. They do not desire warmth and companionship. They just exist.


If you have one of those new bioships it might feel a little more like a horse than a cold lifeless THING, but in the end, it’s still a machine. It gives out as much personality and intelligence as an animal and it only lives to fill it’s purpose. It knows exactly what it should be and do. There is no goal for a spaceship to one day be a station. It is what it is and will never be more.


We try to fill the spaces with ego or warm it with personality. Those of us who spend so much time in space hardly know what exaggerated bravado is. We believe the lies we tell ourselves. We believe all the fantasies we create about ourselves and the things… and people, we love – or maybe it’s just ‘want.’


I’ve given up trying to tell the difference between love and desire. I just want warmth.


We leave a planet’s atmosphere to be greeted by a sheet of black with pinpricks of light. There is so much empty blackness between each point of light, that space seems cold even without feeling the temperature drop. We spend much of our time trying to make it feel warm and filled.


The ship is cold and empty this morning, but it won’t be tonight. Tonight she comes.




Three years ago she warmed these halls. It was three years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. No one has ever turned me on, out and completely neutroned me like Sam did. We were good. No. That’s a lie. We were slammin’ fantastic. I know how good it can be between a man and a woman.


That’s why I hate her.


You might look at the logs from six years ago and come to the same conclusion I did: She could be a cold hearted bitch.


Still… a cold hearted bitch is better company than an empty starship.


It was just a little story told using the method of narrating from a captain’s journal, but there was a reply from someone who had never replied to my journal before and the comments after the story went like this:

Slyfoot: Hey, I’m a Sci-Fi fan!

You’ve really got me interested in what happens next!

I really am interested, it’s not just ‘coz it’s the polite thing to say.

Me: I believe you. You don’t normally drop me ‘polite’ comments just to tag my LJ, so I appreciate the attention. (and I’m serious about this story, so it’s good to have someone to help me gauge if it’s still interesting).

Slyfoot: Yeah, keep at it! Maybe you’ll be the next Orson Scott Card. 🙂

PS: I have a Star Trek tattoo, too, lol.

Me: Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone.

The Valley Of The Sham – Guest Poem by My Hobbit

The Valley Of The Sham

I saw The Great and Secret Show
Lost in the Valley of the Damned
Got past the shame and saw the Sham
I loved the Demons, I loved the Whores
The Light of God shone through the Doors
Caught in a rabbit Trap I never made
My Soul transmuted beneath the shade
The Fire burns, it burns so well
I never knew your Heaven was my Hell.

An Hour In The Life Of A Deaf Blind Man (guest post by the Hobbit)

An Hour In The Life Of A Deafblind Man

I wanted to do something sweet for my wife and stepkids, so I decided that I would get my wife a dozen yellow roses, and a couple of packs of candy valentine hearts for the kids.

I walk to the store, and on the way I realize that I don’t have a notepad and a magic marker with me, but I hope that it won’t be a problem.

I went to the bank near the store to withdraw money from the ATM. Unfortunately it is midday, and the sun is shining too brightly on the outdoor ATM for me to be able to use it.

So I go into the grocery store to see if they have an ATM. I ask one of the cashiers where the ATM machine is. He points me in the direction of the bathrooms, so I go over there only to discover there is no ATM. I go back to the cashier and pull out my ATM card and slide it back and forth. He points in a different direction, and I find the ATMs.

I can’t read the fonts on the grocery store ATM very well, so I sort of stab at the buttons until I can see ‘checking’ and enter the amount I want ($20). The machine shows another screen, probably asking me if I want to pay the transfer fee (which I wouldn’t have had to pay if I could see the bank’s ATM machine). I figure it’s 50/50 so I push one. The machine doesn’t give me a $20 and flashes a message that I can’t see.

I sigh with exasperation.

I go to look for the flowers anyway, figuring that I can use the ATMs at the cash register, which is kind of a pain because I can never read the LCD readouts that ask me if I want to use credit/debit do-you-want-cash-back, please-enter-your-pin, and the order isn’t always the same from store to store and I haven’t tried it here yet.

I find a dozen yellow roses and ask the cashier how much they are. She scans it, but I am unable to see what the price showing on the monitor is, so I ask her to tell me. She tells me, but I can’t hear her, so I tell her that I am both visually and hearing impaired, so can she write it down? She does, but it’s in pen, so I still can’t see it. At this point I feel like a terrible nuisance.

I am not completely sure exactly what my balance in my checking is, so I go *back* to the bank, only this time instead of using the bank’s ATM (because the sunlight is still glaring on it too much to see) I go inside the bank and wait in line. Once I get a bank teller, I ask her if she will tell me what my balance is, and I tell her that since I can’t hear, would she please write it down for me.

She writes it down in pen, but it is too small, so I apologetically ask her to write it larger so I can see. She writes it out, and I see that I actually did have enough in my checking account to be able to use the bank’s ATM as well as the grocery store’s ATM. I get enough money to buy flowers, and I head back to the store.

After I get the flowers, I remembered that I wanted to get the candy hearts for the kids. So I ask the cashier which aisle the candy hearts are on. She calls to someone else, who tells her, then she tells me, but I can’t hear her. So I ask her if she will show me with her fingers what aisle they are on, and she holds up a 1 on one hand, and a 3 on the other hand. I figure it’s aisle 13 (rather than 31) so I say “13, right?” She nods, and I thank her.

I go to look for the candy hearts, squinting hard at the aisle numbers, and after a few minutes of squinting at candy boxes, I find them. I can’t see the price for the candy hearts. Since I only have approximately $2 left, I grab two boxes hoping that I have enough money to cover it.

I go to another register to buy the candy hearts, but I wanted to be sure I had enough so I ask the lady if $2 will cover it. She says something, but doesn’t nod or shake her head, so I am unsure. She seems to be asking me for change, so I fish in my pocket for change and show her what I have, and ask her again “is that enough?” she hands me back a dollar and rings it up. Apparently I had given her too much, not too little, but I just couldn’t hear what she was saying.

Finally, I leave the store, flowers and candy in hand, and I decide I should probably call my wife to let her know why it is taking me so long. I can’t see the numbers on the phone very well, but I’ve dialed the number enough to be pretty sure that I am dialing the correct number. I wait until the screen changes so I can begin to talk, but I can’t hear whether my wife is on the phone or not. I speak into the phone telling her “I don’t know if you are getting this or not, but if you are I am on my way home now.”

Then I walk home, and give the flowers to my wife. I am grateful that I managed to bumble my way through it, and I can literally feel all of the tension from the pent-up deafblindie frustrations melt away as she hugs me.

— by Sam

Good To See You!… Well… Not Really

My husband and I went shopping this morning for snacks and drinks to give to the ASL Missionaries when they come over and help with a project. We have the LDS Missionaries (specifically the ASL speaking ones) over a lot to help with things that the Hobbit is not able to do because of his vision loss.

So we are at Randalls, just finishing up our shopping trip, getting into the car with our goodies, when someone pulls up alongside us. He waves and I recognize him. I roll down the window and say “Hi!” He waves back and my husband asks who it is, because even though he’s only really a door’s length away from us, my Hobbit can’t see him. I tell my Hobbit that it’s Brother So and So from our Ward (he’s also our Home Teacher) My Hobbit brightens, turns and waves. “Hello!” he says. “We are just buying snacks for the missionaries!” We nod and small talk for a few moments and then it’s time to go so the Hobbit says “It’s good to see you!” and I start pulling away when he says: “Well, not really.”

It’s funny because even though he can’t see him, he’ll still use those idioms. What’s funnier is when we’re at home and I’m talking to him in ASL and he says he can’t hear me…

Ah, the life of a Hobbit.

Crash Into Me

Today my husband stepped on my foot and said he was sorry. I said “It’s okay, I’m used to it.” I have to be careful to pay attention to sounds of footfalls, so I don’t come around a corner and crash into my own husband. He literally can’t see me if I am standing beside him unless he is looking directly at me.

Dave Matthews has a song: Crash Into Me, that is a metaphoric love tale of how two souls collide when in love. When you’re married to a blind man (with RP), this metaphor becomes reality.

You’ve got your ball
You’ve got your chain
Tied to me tight tie me up again
Who’s got their claws
In you my friend
Into your heart I’ll beat again
Sweet like candy to my soul
Sweet you rock
And sweet you roll
Lost for you I’m so lost for you

You come crash into me
And I come into you
I come into you
In a boys dream
In a boys dream

Touch your lips just so I know
In your eyes, love, it glows so
I’m bare boned and crazy for you
When you come crash
Into me, baby
And I come into you
In a boys dream
In a boys dream

If I’ve gone overboard
Then I’m begging you
To forgive me
In my haste
When I’m holding you so girl
Close to me

Oh and you come crash
Into me, baby
And I come into you
Hike up your skirt a little more
And show the world to me
Hike up your skirt a little more
And show your world to me
In a boys dream.. In a boys dream

Oh I watch you there
Through the window
And I stare at you
You wear nothing but you
Wear it so well
Tied up and twisted
The way I’d like to be
For you, for me, come crash
Into me

Who got you off when you got yours?
Who was the first to spill your soul?
Who got you off? Well, I’m the one
Dreamed of doing it day and night
Oh sweet like candy to my soul
Sweet you rock and sweet you roll
Oh I swear over and over
It’s you like a wave into me

When you come crash into me baby
Please come crash into me
Come crash into me
In a boy’s dream
In a boy’s dream

No miss you all (?) what runs your way?
Who runs up side you and begs everyday?
Who’s watching you through your window?
Night Comes
Who celebrates with the moon?
That you’re like a wave come again

Come and crash into me baby
And I come into you
In a boy’s dream
In a boy’s dream

Oh now it’s here I build my soul
I swear, friend, don’t you know
I’m bare boned and crazy for you

Oh when you come crash into me yeah
And you come into me
And you come into me

Hike up your skirt a little more
And show the world to me
Hike up your skirt a little more
And show the world to me
In a boy’s dream yeah
In this boy’s dream

(Dixie Chicken outro)
I’ll be your Dixie chicken
You be my Tennessee lamb
And we will walk together
Down in Dixie land

Crash into me
Crash into me
Crash into me
Crash into me

Oh I wanna play with you

Worst Nightmares

Mine: “You locked me out of the room again.  I know it was an accident, but I pounded on the door for five minutes before giving up and sleeping on the couch. I didn’t want to pound on the window, last time I did that when you locked me out, I broke it.  Remember?”

His: “You’re going to blog about this, aren’t you?”

Occasionally Roguish – a short story

He had a lazy eye. That’s the first thing I noticed about him. It wasn’t that his eye was looking off into the west when he approached me in the grocery store. We were in the baking goods aisle, surrounded by flour, sugar and spices . His slight wall-eye was made even more noticeable by his Elizabeth Taylor violet eyes. His face was pleasant enough. He had this Matt Damon ‘just handsome enough but completely clueless’ thing going for him, and I fully expected him to talk in elongated, slightly slurred, two word sentences like that puppet in the movie about the Film Actors Guild (or F.A.G.).

“Excuse me, Miss,” he said, waving his hand slightly to get my attention or make sure that I knew he was talking to me. “Do you know where the tunafish is?”

There is something about me and the way I look that makes complete strangers come up to me and ask me for directions. I have been on walks and had people pull up to ask me how to get to the pharmacy, or where was such-and-such street. In the store I attract lost children, bachelors and married men on their first grocery trip for the wife.

I must look like a human GPS station.

“Down the next aisle,” I tell him, pointing to my right. “At the end.”

He smiled and nodded. “Thank you.” And then he was walking away.

I really didn’t think anything more of it, or him. Like I said, people come up to me all the time and ask me directions and I don’t remember all their faces, or what they asked for. I was a single mother, recently widowed, with a feisty two year old on my hands every hour I wasn’t working. Except the weekends that I sent my daughter, Katie, off with my mother for a child-free mental vacation. And you know what I do with my child-free time? Run errands. Grocery shop. Sleep. I do the things that I can never seem to get done while Katie is with me.

My father says I look haggard and says that life has made me hard. But I don’t think that is the case, or people wouldn’t come up to me in the store and ask for directions. You don’t ask someone who looks overwhelmed for anything except “Can I help you?” At least, that’s my opinion.

I stood in the checkout line, having put all my items on the belt, making sure I got extra wipes for sticky fingers to keep in my car (on the floor beneath the carseat). I saw a bright yellow romance novel on the rack and picked it up, turning it to read the back.

“John Conner is a devilishly handsome rogue with a secret.” It read.

I admit that I love a good romance novel. They are an easy read and fill my head with what I wish could be between a man and a woman. But I have never met a ‘rogue’ that wasn’t perfectly content with staying a rogue.

“I’m tired of devilishly handsome rogues and of their secrets,” I mumbled to myself, putting the book back in it’s place.

“How about “the normal looking guy with an unusual shopping list” instead?” A voice behind me asked.
I tuned and looked, seeing the same wall-eyed man who had asked me for directions to tuna. He had a much folded and wrinkled sheet of notebook paper–frayed edges still hanging on for dear life. The print was so large and black that it had bleed through the paper. I could have read it from fifteen feet away. It read: “chicken nuggets, peanut butter, tuna, ice cream.” His cart was filled with just those four items, but filled none-the less.

I tried not to laugh as soon as he put the first jar of peanut butter on the belt behind the partition, but I had to say something to counter his remark.

“Interesting combination.” I motioned to his cart, wondering if four family size bags of chicken nuggets would get frostbite before this obvious bachelor could finish them off. He wasn’t overweight, or not obviously so. He looked fit and healthy, and it did make me wonder how children and bachelors can survive so well on such an unbalanced diet.

He blinked up at me, his wall-eye moving just slightly to his left while his other eye focused on me. He squinted for a second and then lit up with recognition. “I found the tuna!” He pointed at what had to be 30 cans in his cart.

“I see that,” I said, amused.

He continued to put what he could on the small space left for him on the belt. The cashier was moving forward at a steady pace, checking out the customer in front of me with a steady beep, beep, beep of the upc scanner. “Yeah,” the wall-eyed man said, not looking at me while he kept loading the belt, building a tower of peanut butter and tuna, “My nephew is coming over this week and all he will eat is chicken nuggets, tuna, peanut butter and ice cream.”

“Have you tried giving him yogurt?”

He stopped loading the belt to look up at me.

“They have kids yogurt in kiddie flavors…”

He was still looking at me and it was a little disconcerting. I know I am not UNattractive, but I have never made a man stop and stare, not even my dead husband, who married me because he was very practical and wanted an equally practical wife. I had on sweat pants, a BYU tee-shirt and an old, favorite sweater that was just as comfortable as my old, favorite tennis shoes.

My hair was up in a pony tail, to keep it out of my face. In the two years I had been a widow, I hadn’t cut it once. At first that was because I just didn’t care. I really was, like my father had said, hard. But I had an infant and my husband had killed himself on that stupid motorcycle. He had to have it, you know. He was a tall, thin, geek with pale blond hair and amber eyes, but he thought he was a sex god while on the motorcycle. It still made me angry. It was the only thing he had been completely impractical about, and it killed him.

Anyway, back to my hair.

By the time I actually cared about my hair, it had become a habit to put it back in a pony tail, or banana clip and just leave it alone. I would braid it for church and let the long, chestnut rope of hair fall to the middle of my back like a tail.

That morning I had been too lazy to even put it up in a pony tail. I must have looked like I just got out of bed, with my sweats, unkempt hair and no make-up on. Until the man looked at me so closely, so deeply, I really hadn’t cared. But now I felt self conscious.

I saw his hand move up and then down as his mouth opened to say something.

“I’m mostly blind,” he said, starting the conversation in a new direction that made me want to squirm in my shoes, “and sometimes in less light, all I can see are shadows. But there are people who have a sort of ‘glow’ about them. Like a golden halo.” His voice was soft, and I couldn’t help but notice how rich it was and how it made my spine shiver when it softened. “You have it.”

I smiled.

That was the best line I had ever heard come out of a man’s mouth. It may have been the truth, from his point of view, but in the back of my mind, it was still a ‘line.’ I blushed, none-the-less, and felt my cheeks tingle and burn.

“So, do you like romance novels?” he asked.

If it was possible to blush more with your cheeks completely flushed, I am sure I accomplished it.


“I do love to read something quick, easy and entertaining at times,” he replied, almost hinting that he also liked read aforementioned manuscripts.

It was my turn to look up and stare at him.

“Try Julia Quinn,” he said to me, as matter of fact as any man might suggest a Tom Clancy novel to another man. “She has some historical romance that’s pretty good.”

I blinked, stunned.

I had never met a man who admitted to reading romance novels.

“Or you can try Nora Roberts if you prefer modern romances.” The checker had started on my goods and asked me for my savings card, but I was too busy staring at the man to give her any of my attention. “That’s where I started. And then, naturally, I had to move on to her J D Robb stories. She’s not a bad writer for someone so prolific.”

He kept talking. He went on and on until we were talking about all of our favorite novels, focusing on historical romance.

Little tidbits leaked out while we walked slowly out of the store. He attributed his prolonged bachelorhood to his blindness. I explained my early widowhood while saying how much I hated antiheroes and how tired I was of stories about ‘rich rogues.’

“I’m definitely not rich,” he said in response, and then he smiled. His smile was dangerous, and maybe even a little wild when coupled with his wall-eye. “But I could be a rogue if the situation called for it.”

“Why would you want to be?” I asked.

“Because every woman wants one.” His smile turned crooked. “If that wasn’t true, there wouldn’t be five billion romance novel covers with the word ‘rogue’ in the title.”

I laughed. “You have a point.”

“The point is to be just enough of a rogue to attract a woman, and enough of a man to accept that you can’t act like one if you want to keep her.”

“That was brilliant.”

We exchanged email addresses, but I swear to you, I was in love with him by the time the Dial-A-Ride disabled bus came to pick him up and load his seven bags of chicken nuggets in.

I stood with my full cart, watching the minibus pull away from the store front and wondered if anyone had ever wrote a romance novel about an occasionally roguish, mostly blind man falling in love with an ordinary looking woman at a checkout counter…