Thursday, October 29, 2009

To My Darling Husband,

I know you are fretting about what to do with yourself while I'm at Women of Faith this weekend. As your loving wife, who hates to see you in any distress, I realize it is my duty to help you. Out of concern and love for you I have compiled a brief list of things to occupy the eternal hours between Friday morning and Saturday evening. I'm just a giver that way.

1. Fix the toilet in our bathroom. In addition to the problem you are already aware of (it's not bolted down) there is a slow trickle of water running continuously. I know you are oblivious to this, as it can only be seen if your face is practically in the toilet, as when scrubbing it.

2. This second task will be a surprise, because with all that you have on your plate at work and weekends being burdened with providing sustenance for your family (I know the sacrifice of fishing and hunting and how you despair of leaving your family, but I do appreciate the the food you bring to the table) I have refrained from pointing out the leak in our bathroom window. There is always a tiny puddle on the lip of the frame of the window. If you could discover the leak and caulk it, or however you repair it with your manly knowledge of such things, I would be grateful.

3. Build the doghouse. You have the plans. You have the wood. I am in complete confidence that you can complete this project in a mere hour or twelve.

4. Winterize the pool. Yes, I realize Popcorn has visions of a Polar Bear swimming party on December 30th, and as much as I hate to not indulge her every whim, I feel the wavers we would have to obtain in throwing such a party may be a tad burdensome.

5. Find out if the headlight on the Saturn is covered under our warranty. I have looked for the so-called warranty papers you claim we have, but as you are in charge of all filing with your superior organizing abilities I have been unable to find the aforementioned papers. Please deal with this at your earliest convience as I despair of driving the dumb car with one headlight any longer. I fear driving the Dakota anywhere because the tags are out of date. I realize you are very busy at work and fulfilling your many, many hunter/gatherer duties, but I would also greatly appreciate you reminding me to go to the tag office to get new tags so I don't have to worry about getting a ticket every time I drive it for out of date tags, or for driving a car with only one headlight. You see, I understand your need to provide for me in every way. So, I'm patiently waiting for you to remind me to go to the tag office for the Dakota, and to find the mysterious warranty papers so we can fix the headlamp on the Saturn. Thank you. I love you, and I love that you are so prepared to deal with every detail so that I don't have to worry my pretty little head.

Well, I know that you could achieve so much more, if I only requested it. However, I want you to spend some special time with the girls this weekend too. Please feel free to use the remaining time to enjoy the time with them.

You can paint the house, stain the deck, and extend the roof out over our front walkway(I know you share my dream of a giant covered porch out front) another weekend.

Your loving wife,

Monday, October 26, 2009

First of all, if you already read my last post, The Journey of the Sun Dolphin, please go and view the pictures that I added to the post. I had failed to take pictures, but my resourceful sister the librarian, and seeker of all knowledge, and of course sharer of all knowledge emailed some links of pictures of Sun Dolphins. So, I added them to my post today! Thank you Dawn!

Second, I would like to tell you what I did Saturday, but first I would like to tell you what I planned to do Saturday. Now, understand, the plan was doomed to failure as soon as I realized Studmuffin was going striper fishing with friends form work at Lake Texoma.

Third, did you know that there is one craft I'm capable of completing? It's friendship bracelets! I can finish one in a matter of minutes, so it's the perfect craft for a noncrafter like me! Oh, and don't you love the big hole in my jeans? I bought those jeans just after Mindy was born, and I love them. The right hip pocket has torn loose, and both knees are ripped out, but I still love them. Someday I'll have to tell you about my tendency to cling to jeans until I'm embarrassed...

But this post is about what I planned to do verses what I actually accomplished. So, please, focus Gentle Reader, and at least try to stay on topic. Or did we even have a topic for today's post? I'm confused.

1. Build a doghouse that hopefully the dogs will use, so I no longer have to feel guilty when my dog stands at the window and begs me to let her in. However, if I let her in, I feel guilty about leaving Holly (who is not my dog, will never be my dog, yet I seem to give her more attention and affection than anyone else in this family because I pity her,) outside, and Holly is not house trained. Please realize that we currently have 2 doghouses. One we bought, and it apparently leaks, or the dogs bodies create humidity or something...Anyway, it is always damp inside. The other dog house was built by the previous owners under the deck. We quickly realized it leaked, so we tar papered it, but the tar paper blows loose, and requires repair, and after being damp so much, most of the wood is warped and ruined now. But, of course, you can gather from Studmuffin going fishing that this did not occur...

2. Paint the house. Of course, I'm only vaguely certain (is vague certainty even possible?) of what color we will paint, and no caulking, pressure washing, etc have been done. But, you can only paint when it is over 55 degrees, and in 6 weeks Studmuffin will have a major shoulder surgery that will take 6 months for him to have full use of his shoulder after. Plus, he will be gone most weekends between now and then in pursuit of a deer...So, I guess painting will not happen until next spring...Mind you we've been procrastinating on this since the summer we moved in, and strangely, the paint has not improved!

3. Clean house. I actually started lots of chores...I swept the kitchen and bathrooms, but didn't get them mopped. I got out the vacuum, and made the girls vacuum their room...But the rest of the house remains unswept. I got out a rag to scrub tubs, but that did not result in a clean tub or shower...

4. Get ahead in Bible Study. I fell behind with my illness, and that is a cause for stress. I usually try to be a few days ahead, as I'm the facilitator for our group...But all I got accomplished for it was getting myself up to where I'm actually supposed to be.

5. Go to the grocery store. Just flat didn't happen. We are out of bread. And lunch meat. And all snack food. Yes, we still have food, but it all requires cooking. The girls ended up having a sleepover, and I used my very last frozen pizza and can of cinnamon rolls for that. Pfpfpfpf....

6. Work out. I haven't worked out in 2 weeks. At first, I was sick and using the excuse that I had no business working out when I could barely stay awake to do chores, much less stop coughing long enough to do anything...Now, that excuse is past, but I'm out of the groove.

So, I know you are just dying to know what I DID accomplish. Well, I had promised the girls all week that they could have friends over to play. Bookworm has a friend who's parents (like me) won't let their child come stay with people they don't know. Well, we met Brittany's parents a few weeks ago, and they agreed to a play date. We called earlier in the week, and the play date was a go. However, on Saturday morning when Bookworm called to see if she could come after lunch, Brittany couldn't come over. Bookworm was bummed, and we had to call around to find another friend to come over.

Popcorn had gotten a friend's number that I have met her mom several times, but didn't have her number. Well, that friend's mom never called back all week, so Saturday morning I started trying to find someone else to come over. I even drove to a friend's house that I lost their number (it was in my old phone, but somehow it didn't get transferred over and they are unlisted) but they weren't home. I called everyone I could think of, and Popcorn cried because Bookworm always can find friends to come over, but I don't' hardly know Popcorn's classmates' parents, and those I do know don't "do sleepovers." Well, she ended up having TWO friends over, because after I finally found someone to come over, the original girl we were wanting to have over called to say she could come!

So, all of that to say that to say that I ended up doing other things instead of cleaning, baking, or doing Bible study.

1. First of all, I taught 5 little girls how to make friendship bracelets.

2. I ironed roughly 3 trillion pearler bead crafts.

3. I helped them practice hair braiding, and taught them how to thread beads onto their hair.

4. I observed and cheered for a pickup game of tennis baseball. This is a game that involves tennis rackets and tennis balls, but you run bases like baseball.

5. Chatted with 3 different moms during drop off and pick up. And you know I'm not good at short and sweet!

6. I ate pizza.

7. I sat and watched Looney Tunes with the girls and the one friend that was actually able to stay over.

8. I watched Thelma & Louise, for the first time in its entirety. Minus the first 5 minutes. Oh, and I fell asleep at the very end when all of the cops show up and start chasing them in the desert. I had only ever seen bits and pieces. I had already seen them die in a blaze of glory, so dozing off at that point was okay. I'm not sure my life is any fuller for having seen the whole thing now. Mostly I'm annoyed at them locking the highway patrolman in his trunk with a few measly bullet holes for air. Helloo!! It's the desert, he's going to die of heat stroke! I lost all sympathy at that point, and was officially annoyed.

9. I went to bed. And at 11pm, I banged on my wall and told Popcorn and her friend to stop talking.

10. That is all I did. But a list of 10 totally seems better than a list of 9.

What did you do this weekend?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Journey of the Sun Dolphin

Here's how it all began:

My brother-in-law, Brad was taking his Sun Dolphin out to fish. My brother, the king of impatience, had already left at the first glimpse of sunlight to check his jug lines. Studmuffin had taken Les, Sarah, and Jake out on his boat. My nephews, and Popcorn decided they wanted to go fishing too. Did I happen to mention that Brad's boat is, well, err, umm, tiny? It is a 2 person boat to my mind, but according to him & my sister, they routinely go out on it as a family of 4...

Also: Did I mention that the wind was up, and it was cold, and the water was rough? I asked Brad if he really wanted to go out in such rough water. He said it would be no problem. He'd had his boat out on Lake Merideth in the Texas Panhandle, with 5 foot swells, and it was fine. Of course, the boat was so small you'd see nothing but sky, then water, sky, water, sky water...

So, he is loading up the boat with 3 kids and himself, with the plans to minnow fish, so it "should be no problem," since he won't be messing with trolling and all of that, plus dealing with 3 kids. He asked if I could help him unload his boat at the dock. "No problem, as long as you get it backed in. I'm terrible at backing trailers." And, off we went to the dock.

Brad backed the boat in most of the way, and I did a terrible job of backing it the rest of the way in, but at last he was in deep enough to unload. By the way, did I mention that his boat is tiny, and that I could not even see the boat trailer behind his pickup unless it was practically jackknifed? Not that that is my excuse for poor backing, because I readily admit to being terrible at backing with trailers...No sense denying the obvious!

Brad stepped into the boat, unhooked it, and to my surprise, he shoved off and into the water without first starting his motor. He later explained that he had never had to pull his motor more than 2 times before it caught...However this time the motor did not catch right off...As a matter of fact, I looked out of the mirrors to see he had drifted away from the trailer, and was about to collide with the rocks surrounding the dock. I reacted quickly...My baby was on that boat!!! I climbed into the frigid water, (my sister said it was 53 degrees according to my dad's depth finder) and began to push the back end of his boat away from the rocks so his prop wouldn't be on the rocks and he could safely get it started. However, the rocks were mossy and slippery, and I had a hard time controlling the boat and getting it properly positioned, and keeping it there.

Brad is not the calmest of men. He tends to react to stressful situations with...yelling and cursing. Now none of this was directed at me or my child, so I actually found the whole thing pretty darn amusing. Here I am, up to my knees in cold water, which at the time didn't seem all that cold because I was concerned with helping him before he smashed his boat on the rocks and my baby ended up in the drink! Anyway, he was yelling and hollering, and I'm slipping and sliding and the kids are not saying a word. Not a peep....

I actually got my feet under me, and succeeded in shoving him out away from shore. "Andi!!! Don't push me out too far! I'm sinking! The waves are coming over the back of the boat!" YIPES!!!! I still had hold of the tie off rope on the front of the boat, so I started dragging him back in... Brad's diatribe continues, "Kids, get to the front of the boat!!! Why the *bleep* do we have all of these Dr. Pepper cans back here? There is no reason to have all of these cans back here. Son, what are you doing?! I need some help here! But stay out of my way!" And on and on it went, with not much making a whole lot of sense, except to say that the waves were crashing over the back, the kids need to transfer weight to the front, and apparently 3 cans of soda were responsible for tipping the scales to dangerous levels, and the whole Sun Dolphin was surely on the verge of sinking as a result...

Meanwhile, my brother David shows up with my dad's pontoon. He begins to point at his boat, which is nice and big, and communicate via hand gesture that I should put the kids in with him. How exactly I was going to manage that while trying to keep Brad out of the rocks, and try not to fall on my butt in the cold water, I'm not sure....

Also, more than one person came along and unloaded their boats, and continued on their merry way...Without even busting out video cameras to my knowledge! Or offering to help, but let's not get into a discussion about the depraved and selfish world we live in.

Eventually, after what seemed like 20 minutes of wrestling with the boat, and considering grabbing the kids and carrying them to shore, to heck with the boat, but then deciding that would surely result in me falling and possibly cracking my/their heads on the rocks, the motor caught and chugged to life!

Victory!!! Now Brad can pull the boat onto the trailer, we could pull it out of the water, and let gravity drain it!!!!

What the #$%?! Where is he going? Oh, Gentle Reader, can you imagine my surprise when he got his motor started and he drove off into the lake...With my child on board!? You see, I had never actually verbalized what I thought would/should happen when he got his boat started. And neither had he...I just assumed that we were on the same page.

Oh, and let's not forget David...Continuing to gesture to me that I should put the kids in the boat with him...How I was going to accomplish that at this point is beyond me....I just love helpful family members...

I trudged out of the water, tried to shake my legs like a dog, and clamored to the pickup. Another boat was unloading and staring at me like I was the best freak show they had seen all day...I smiled and waved like the world couldn't get any brighter, drug my dripping self into Brad's brand new pristine pickup, and parked it.

I trotted as quickly as my sopping jeans and waterlogged shoes would let me to the campsite for dry clothes, worrying and fretting about my child's life, and if the boat sinks, she will have her life jacket on, but probably die of hypothermia before anyone rescues them. (I have no idea where my children get their tendency to melodramatics.)

About the time I arrived at the campsite, my nephew came dashing to the camper!!! It seems Brad had simply circled the boat around to the shore near our campsite...."MOM! MOM!! Dad sent me to get buckets to scoop out the boat!"

I looked out and saw Popcorn and my other nephew standing on the shore, watching Brad deal with his boat. I decided that all was well with my world, changed into dry clothes, hollered at the little ones to take off their wet pants and shoes and socks and put on dry ones, and decided to let Paula deal with her husband....

Disclaimer: The remainder of this story is hearsay, so I may have some details wrong. Again, as soon as the children were out of danger, I decided that the whole situation was not my problem... I gotta confess, that's just how I operate some days.

It seems that Paula sent 2 big buckets with her son to bale water with...Only to discover that the boat was too small for the bucket to fit into the bottom and he had to return for....small bowls!!! Paula grabbed 2 mixing bowls and ran to shore to help Brad bale so the beloved Sun Dolphin, which Brad has caught at least 1000 pounds of fish out of, could be saved.

Well, Brad baled and baled as fast as he could. He was so relieved when he was nearly done because his shoulder was starting to ache...He stopped to rest and enjoy his success when he suddenly realized the Dr. Pepper cans were floating again!!! Apparently, the water that was rapidly filling the boat when we unloaded was due to the plug being loose, not the waves coming over the back... Brad put the plug in properly, baled the water, and lo and behold she floated just fine after that!!!

Also, to my immense relief, Popcorn and my sister's younger son decided that they would wait for Grandpa's big pontoon before they ventured out to fish again!

Oh yeah, and Brad gave Paula explicit instructions to keep her cell phone handy at all times. "Babe, this could be a matter of life and death." What exactly she was going to do from shore, when there were 2 boats from our group on the lake to help him, I'm not exactly sure... Especially when you consider we all went into town and went shopping at the junk stores!


I was walking the dogs that afternoon, and a family asked me, "Aren't you the lady who was helping her husband unload at the dock this morning?" I smiled, and said, yes, but also explained that he wasn't my husband, but my brother-in-law.

"Oh! That explains it! I told my wife that you were a lot better wife than her! She would not have been smiling at me if that was happening with our boat, and she had to climb in the water...In fact she WOULDN'T have set foot in the water at all!"

"Well, I was able to smile because it wasn't my husband, and I wasn't about to not get in the water with the kids on board."

And isn't that the truth? If that had been Studmuffin in the boat, I'd have been mad as a hornet at him. But because we weren't married we both refrained from screaming at each other....Instead I found the whole thing hilarious...

And why the heck did not one single person think to go photograph Brad baling water? Or even take pictures of the boat so you could get an idea of the size, and what the water looked like in comparison to the boat, etc...

I swear, sometimes I forget to revolve my entire day around this blog and what needs to be recorded for the purpose of sharing with the entire blogosphere! What a shame.

Friday, October 23, 2009


This morning one of the techs in our hospital's CT department asked me if my entire family is as outspoken as me. Because she would think, "they would have to be." I'm not sure how to take that. Does that mean I would walk all over everyone around me if they aren't outspoken? Or perhaps a person as outspoken (read here, bossy) as I am, must have been raised around people with similar personalities.

You know I have stories for you, right? Well, the first story just happened yesterday. My boss is a lovely lady. I just love her. She is always smiling, she has a zany personality, and SHE'S ASSERTIVE!!! If she sees something wrong with her world, she will bulldoze over whatever/whoever is making her world out of kilter. I love that about her.

She is also very careful with her appearance. She is always manicured, with hair just so (she typically straightens her curls, but her hairdresser has forbidden her to until after Christmas), uniform starched, full makeup, the whole shebang...Unlike yours truly who shows up with a hint of eye shadow, if any, mascara and chapstick. And starching? Helloooo! I say pull those suckers out of the dryer and hang immediately, baby. My hair is always curly with the exception of the days after I get it cut & colored, when the hairdresser straightens it. I just can't be bothered with those details...

So, I got to work yesterday, and I immediately noticed a difference in her appearance. Her lips were about three times the size they were last time I saw her. Which was 2 days ago. You know I had to ask. "So, Carol, what did you have done? Did you get botox in your lips?" She looked at me, laughed, and said, "NO!!! I decided to get them tattooed yesterday so I wouldn't have to wear so much lipstick. I just about died when I saw them after she was done. I had no idea they would be this swollen or this dark." They were indeed swollen, and she had about an inch of lipstick on them, so I was unable to ascertain the color. She said that it would take 3 days for the swelling to go down and the deep bruised burgundy color to become the intended color, and the skin to slough off. Today her lips were back to their normal size, but now they look severely chapped. I asked her how she was feeling today. She said, "much better." Another nurse was with us when we were talking about her horror with the swelling and color. She said, "I really expected everyone to ask me about it and give me a hard time. But as it turns out, Andi was the only one who had the gumption to ask me about it!" We all started laughing, and then she said, "but I totally would have been asking anyone who came in with lips swollen like mine." That made me feel not so bad about my nosiness. But, seriously, how does one pretend to not notice lips 3 times their normal size?

My next story is from about a year and a half ago. We were camping with my mom's family over Memorial Day weekend. I posted pictures of our adventures doing that last spring here. Anyway, the year before that, one of my family members brought a "fiancee" with him (they never got married). She was a cute little thing. She was blond, petite, and just cute as a button. Unfortunately she was also drunk as a skunk. I wasn't there when they arrived, but apparently when they arrived that morning, she was already drinking, and had not stopped all day long. It was hot outside and the kids had water fights. My Aunt Barbara always brings lots of water guns for the kids to play with, and she always joins in the shenanigans. Well, the date/fiancee/drunk girl joined in the water fight also. However, when it was over, she wished she had dry clothes. She asked me if I had a dry shirt she could borrow. Being the giver that I am, I loaned her one of Studmuffin's oldest t-shirts he had packed to go fishing.

As the day wore on, the family member that brought her wanted to run into town and do some errands. She was feeling, well, nothing much at all by that time, and she had decided she wanted to stay at the campgrounds with the family, and get to know all of us better. Her escort tried to encourage her to leave with him, but the date/fiancee/drunk girl refused to be budged. She said, "I don't want to go with you.", then she turned to my Aunt Barbara and said, "You'll let me stay, won't you?"

Okay, before I tell you my aunt's response, I need to tell you who else was there at that precise moment in time. The cast of characters were: My Aunt Patty, Aunt Christina, Aunt Barbara, Grandmama Dolly, my mom, me, and of course, date/fiancee/drunk girl. My Aunt Barbara, looked that girl dead in the eye and said, "I don't know. You have to ask Andrea." WHAT!!!! Ask Andrea? There were 5 women older than me, and she had to ask ME if she could stay. Well, as you can imagine date/fiancee/drunk girl turned to me to see what my response was going to be. I put on my nurse face, used my best nurse voice and said "I think you need to go. You now, my husband will be needing his shirt back. If you go into town, you can change into dry clothes and bring back his shirt later on."

Oh, Gentle Reader, if looks could kill, I would not be posting this today. She was some kind of angry with me. But, I thought I handled it pretty tactfully. I didn't even mention, "You are disgustingly drunk and obnoxious, and I think you need to go home and sober up before you show your face here again." I held back, and was gentle with her. In a no-nonsense bossy nurse sort of way.

My question to you is why the heck the 5 other women were incapable of sending her on her way? She did end up leaving (after shooting several dirty looks my way over her shoulder on the way to the car.) And of course she came back, no longer angry, and suddenly my very best friend. So, what was so scary about that?

All of that to say, I guess the girl in CT is right: I AM outspoken. However, I don't know that I can say the rest of my family is as outspoken as me. My Grandma Irene is pretty darn outspoken. The first time I brought Studmuffin to a family function she was heard (by Studmuffin) saying, "Oh, I'm not worried about that boy. She's going to college in the fall, and we'll probably never see him again." Guess she was wrong there! It took Studmuffin a long time to let go of that statement. My mom is bossy. But to be honest, she's probably not as outspoken about things as me. I think I always had the tendency towards "sharing my opinion," but after being an RN for 10 years, and routinely confronting people with things they don't want to hear, or teaching them about how to better take care of themselves, I've become pretty willing to talk to anyone about just about anything.

Whether they want to or not.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What I Learned Today

Hand stands are fun. Especially when they are done over and over and over. And over. Especially when they are done in the living room while parents are watching tv. Even better if the show is Survivor, and certain members of the household plan their entire week around it.

Hand stands are even more fun if they are done when you put on your dad's steel toe boots and attempt one. Yes, this will result in you falling on your head, and the boots flying off, if they even stay on your feet for the attempt, but the added dimension of difficulty is even more fun than ever.

Hand stands attempted with your fingers interlaced are not so much fun. Apparently this results in "your bottom going 2 different directions, and then your ribs hurt." Hmmmm.

Food can never EVER touch on your plate. Even if it's a cheese quesadilla with a side of guacamole and salsa that you are about to dip your quesadilla in...They. Must. Not. Touch.

Riding the school bus for the first time to the babysitter's house when you are in 4th grade is an ordeal. Especially if your school has redone the entire bus rider schedule since you rode last year. This change in schedule will result in stress for both the 4th grader and her home room teacher who decided to not only make sure she got to the bus, but got on the bus with her to make sure that she had someone to sit with, and that she was indeed on the right bus. It will also lead to a few tears. Not only from the 4th grader, but her home room teacher as well...Talk about empathy!

The child who loves to read, and reads every word that crosses her vision may only have 8% of her yearly goal for Accelerated Reader 9 weeks into the year. The child who only reads a little before bed can have 38% of her goal for the year in Accelerated Reader. Go figure.

The art teacher is very grateful for any families that come to visit during parent teacher conferences. Apparently the 4 hours she has to spend in her room, just in case parents drop by, can be a bit tedious. She will be happy to see you and have a nice long conversation with you... even if she has never met you before in her life.

Expect some swelling the day after your lips are tattooed. (Not me) In fact, don't be surprised if you are asked by numerous people the day after about your mouth. Your coworkers will feel compelled to ask if you got botox. Yes, this may result in some embarrassment, and unexpected attention, but apparently the swelling and bruising only lasts for about 3 days!

Rain makes earth worms come up onto the sidewalk...Yes, yes, I know we all know that. But get this: If you have enough rain, and your driveway is in puddles, they will reach the highest ground they can. Don't know what I mean? Check out these pictures Studmuffin took in his shop last night.

And with those disturbing images, Gentle Reader, I will say goodbye and goodnight!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I mean seriously, I can't be expected to watch them at all times!!!

Remember my family went camping last weekend? It was so much fun, despite my being sick on Saturday. Both my sisters and their families were there, and my brother was able to come. Unfortunately, his kids are teenagers, and they chose a concert over a camping trip. We were bummed they couldn't make it, but I guess I understand the whole teenage thing...And, of course, my parents were there. My Uncle JimBob & Aunt Christina even got to come and show us all thier new camper!

Anyway, my family was the only one who didn't have a camper to sleep in. We had originally planned to stay in our tent, but since I had bronchitis the week before, we decided that Paula's kids and my kids could stay in our tent, and we would sleep on the couch in Paula's camper. The kids were nice and toasty with air mattresses, electric blankets, sleeping bags, and more blankets just in case. Plus, we had placed our tent between Paula & Dawn's campers, so that helped block the wind. The first night I worried myself sick that they were cold. It was getting down to the low 40s every night. Finally, at about 2am, I got out of bed, put on my coat, and decided to go check on the munchkins. I was immediately bombarded by our dogs. I had tied them near the tent, and they thought it was a great time to play. I stood outside their tent, they made no peep, and I decided that since I heard no coughing or sniffling, they must be fine. After all, it's not like I wanted to risk unzipping the tent, waking them up, and then everyone deciding that, yes, they were cold. So, what exactly I accomplished by standing outside their tent freezing my cheeks off, but it sure made me feel better, and I was actually able to sleep.

I had one simple rule while we were camping. Never go anywhere by yourself. We got there before Paula and her family, so that day the rule was that the girls were to always be together. After all, I had people to see, conversations to have, and games of Sequence to play. I certainly can't be expected to watch these kids at all times! They were free to ride bikes and scooters and play at the playground, and visit my folks' friends, who were camping there too, as long as they were together, and used good manners when they showed up at meals and bummed some hot dogs, marshmallows, and hot cocoa, I was happy. Yes, please and no thank you are the magic words as far as I'm concerned...Since my social obligations made me unable to watch kids at all times, it comes as no surprise that each and every morning I woke up, left the camper, and the above sights met my eyes... Yep. That would be 4 children. At the shore. By themselves. Fishing. Before the sun is even up. Is there anything wrong with this picture? Good. I didn't think so either. The basic rule was being followed: Nobody was being left behind. I didn't have any argument for that. By the way, my nephew Logan is the only one actually fishing. The rest of them are simply climbing on the rocks right next to the freezing cold water...Oh! And Logan caught a huge catfish one morning. His line got tangled up in somebody's line that had been broken, and there was a live catfish on the other person's line! How crazy is that?

Hey, and here's a question for you: Does every family bring a keyboard, microphones, amplifiers and guitars camping? Ours does. And we had a great time entertaining anyone willing to listen. We had a sing-a-long Friday night. Here's Popcorn singing "The Witch Doctor," by Alvin and the Chipmunks. This was actually after she stood on the table and shook her booty while my nephew sang....

"Hound Dog," by Elvis. Complete with hip gyrations...It was hilarious. Yep. Those 2nd children sure are shy!

Well, that's all I have to share with you! Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of me climbing into the lake to help my brother in law get his little Sun Dolphin off of the rocks as it was about to sink. With my baby on board! Hmmm...Maybe climbing in a 50 some degree lake is what led to my relapse?

I don't have pictures, but Bookworm was the only one who caught any fish to speak of. One evening my dad was coming to shore with his boat, and my brother was going to check his jug lines. Bookworm wanted to go out, so my dad agreed to go with her and David. It turns out they hit a school of fish on the way to the jugs, and she reeled in 6 big bass! Do I have pictures? No. I was cooking chicken at the time she came in with her catch, and by the time I wanted to take pictures, they were cleaned...And I didn't even think to take pictures of the big fillets they made. Pfpfpfpfpfpf...

Oh, and for anyone who's wondering, I'm a kazillion times better today. I left work early yesterday, and slept 2 hours in the afternoon, then slept all night. Then, I took another nap today. I feel like my old self right now, if I can pretend that my old self can't hear out of her right ear at all, and have a continuous whistling in that ear.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Actually, I feel much better.

But here's the edited version...short and sweet as I can get it...

I went camping!!!!

Against doctor's orders

But I felt much better!
I did! I did!

Saturday morning my ear started hurting. My head felt like it was going to explode. I took every decongestant I could take, along with Mucinex, acetaminophen and ibuprofen, and of course lots of liquids. By afternoon, I was ready to curl up in a ball and cry. But it hurt to lay down. I would have driven home, but the ear pressure was making me dizzy, so that didn't seem too safe. At about 5pm, I gave up, and laid down on my side, with my sore ear up. I started hearing a popping sound, kind of like popcorn, only inside my ear, and very loud. You guessed it, my ear drum ruptured.

So, today I have kept it stuffed with cotton, and plan to make another appointment to see my doctor tomorrow. I happen to know that it's very important that no germs get in there and give me a little case of meningitis to add to my tale of woe...Won't that be fun, explaining to my doctor how I didn't follow orders, but I was really, really, careful, and after all, it's non compliant patients like me that keep her busy?

I decided I wanted a shower tonight. I hadn't washed my hair since Wednesday, and I was really feeling icky. I looked all over for ear plugs. I couldn't find them. I told Studmuffin what I was looking for while he watched a movie. He made no helpful comments...And he didn't move. I continued to dig through every drawer and cabinet, being more than a little noisy and trying to let him know that I felt he should come and help me, without me ever having to actually ask for help. By this point my head was hurting again, and it felt like the top was about to explode. My ear was hurting, with that strange empty ringing sound that comes after a ruptured ear drum, (sad to say, I've experienced this more than once.)

He never once got up to help me. Not once. I was very irritated. After all, I would totally help him, with no need for a request. Ninety-nine percent of the time I would have totally jumped up and helped him comb through the drawers and cabinets...

Unless, of course, I was reading a good book. Then I might totally ignore him, and be oblivious to any discomfort he would be experiencing. But other than that situation, 80% of the time I would totally be helping him...

Unless, of course, I was blogging, and the creative juices were really cranking, and I would be afraid to stop for fear that the thoughts would be gone, because my brain often resembles an etch a sketch, and becomes blank with a little disturbance. But if I wasn't blogging or reading, well then, at least 60 percent of the time, I would have rushed to his assistance...

Unless, of course, I was taking a nap. My naps are VERY important. They make me a better person, and if that sometimes interferes with me jumping up and helping my husband with his every whim, then that's just the way it has to be. So, at least 40% of the time, I would have been at his back, helping him find the ear plugs he so desperately needed to safely take a shower.

Unless, of course, Aunt Flo was here, in which case I would scream at him, "EAR PAIN? HEAD ACHE? Big whoopty deal. You try living with these hormones for even one day of your life, and the cramping, and the sleeplessness...Then, and only then will I help you find your stupid ear plugs." But, other than that, I'm sure I would have rushed to him in his hour of need.

At least 33.3333% of the time I would have helped him.

And that's better than just sitting on the couch starin' at a dumb ole movie he's seen at least 12 times before isn't it?

Yeah, I think so too. I'm glad we're in accord Gentle Reader...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


That's what I am today. I am pitiful.

I've had a sore throat since last Thursday. I stayed home from the festivities for my 15 year reunion Saturday to try and get well. Yesterday I decided I would be better today. I like affirmative decisions...

What I don't like is when my body refuses to cooperate with my decisions. I went to work today and tried to pretend I was well. They sent me home, and I called the doctor.

I called a doctor...

That is a sign of my level of pitifulness. As a nurse, I firmly believe I don't need no stinkin' doctors. I can self diagnose and treat most maladies with over the counter remedies...Just like any other self respecting nurse. However, doctors have a very important power that I do not possess. It is the power of RX. I drug my pitiful tutkus to the doctor, hacked and coughed, hacked and coughed, and informed her that I have bronchitis, and I was pretty sure I might have to give up the healing powers of endless glasses of hot water and chamomile tea, as those did not seem to be healing me. She did a peak flow test on me, and sure enough my lung function was about half what it should be...She gave me a breathing treatment and a steroid shot, called in an inhaler and steroid pack, and sent me home to "sleep and drink orange juice."

So, it seems I did need a stinkin' doctor today. And I have slept most of today. Except when I wake up coughing, unable to catch my breath, and have to drink more hot water to get my larynx to relax.

I had to email Studmuffin the grocery list, so I thought I'd take time to tap a quick post to you, Gentle Reader, and share my woes...

Hey, here's an interesting tidbit for you:

Okay, most of you will know this, but those of you who have not had the privilege of birthing babies will not understand. Drinking endless glasses of hot water and gallons of chamomile tea results in one thing: Frequent trips to the bathroom. If you don't go as soon as you have the slightest twinge from your bladder, a coughing spasm will hit, and you will sure wish you hadn't ignored that twinge.

Now. Wasn't that a lovely image?

Your welcome.

Oh, and I must add here: Once upon a time in the land of before I had borne children, my sister mentioned laughing until she wet her pants...I rolled my eyes, and mentally said, "That will never happen to me." And then, I had a baby, and got pregnant again when my first was 8 months old. Did you know it takes your vaginal wall a full 2 years to regain its previous muscle tone? My gynecologist informed me of this after I was pregnant again. I had the unfortunate experience of not only laughing until I wet my pants, but coughing, sneezing, and of course, vomiting several times a day, all with the risk of wetting my pants if my bladder wasn't good and emptied... I actually got to where I would go to the bathroom because I was having premonitions of vomiting... Good times. Good times. Thankfully, this went away for the most part after I had given my body enough time to tighten back up after Popcorn was born. So it appears, that again, I have my sister to thank for any physical malady that I develop, because I'm pretty sure she has the gift of prophecy, or the gift of hexing me, or something....

And, excuse me, Gentle Reader, but was this post too much information for your delicate constitution? If so, please accept my apologies...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Git along little doggies...

Dad's cattle up by the house had the entire section of land to roam and graze. Until I brought a new bronc into the mix this weekend. Appy had been roaming with the cattle. Appy hates to be alone, so he was quite happy to be a foster horse to this herd of cattle. However, now that Sugar is here, Dad decided to shut the cattle out of the 40 acres directly behind their house, and let the horses spend some special bonding time.

We had been told that Sugar was on a ranch at one point in her life, but buying a horse is kinda like buying a used car...You're just never sure what you're getting until you get it home and have it for a while.

As it turns out, she's pretty well we hoped for, if a bit slow to move. I was mounted and walked her to the corral gate. She immediately brought me directly to the panel and sidestepped to let me close and latch it with no prompting on my part. Call me impressed. I know some of you may not be impressed by this, but I can say, I myself have battled many a temperamental horse over opening and closing gates while mounted...

Then we headed out to the herd of cattle. She didn't even tense up. Now, honestly, this could be a good thing and a bad thing. My beloved horse Blue loved to gather cattle. Okay, Blue was not MY horse. He was my brother's horse. But I loved him, and I loved his flightiness, and David never truly appreciated him. Plus, when David was a teenager, he hated the farm and all things to do with it, so he hardly used him. So for all intents and purposes he was MY horse. So there. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Dave... But back to Blue: His whole demeanor would change when you approached cattle. You could feel every muscle bunch, and he was the first to run after a calf that tried to break out of the herd. This was a lot of fun for me as an experienced rider. However, I don't know how my little greenhorns would handle a horse that sprung into action of her own volition...Probably tumble to the ground. Just like I did a time or two...Or maybe more, but let's not go there.

She didn't even flinch when this red angus bull that you see to the left of the mottle faced cow started pawing the ground and bellering at us...I gotta say, I tensed a tad bit. It's been a few years since I faced down a bull on a horse. But we approached him anyway (I was not about to let my daddy think I'm getting yella in my old age.)

Of course, Dad & Appy were completely unconcerned by our plight..."Hey Dad! The cattle are over here! I know it's Sunday and all, but is it really time for a stroll?"

Well, there ya go. I showed him who's boss...He meandered away from us and toward the gate we were directing them to...Snorting and bellering the whole time.

Ummm....Sugar, don't look now, but he's doing that pawing thing again. And he's bellering again. Do you suppose we should take our time and let Dad approach him?

Sugar completely disregarded any hesitation I might have shown, and the bull relented and headed out the gate with his lady friends...

And we all arrived safely back in the corrals. Sugar and Appy were rewarded with a little sweet feed for their heroic efforts...Okay, Appy didn't seem all that heroic over there wandering around by himself, but still....I gave him a little smackerel or two just because he was there. And also because Popcorn said she was worried he would be sad because we are all oohing and aahing over Sugar. I would hate for him to feel left out.

And yes, Gentle Reader, I realize "bellering" is not a word... But that's the best descriptor I can come up with to describe the complaining from that bull.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Her Name is Sugar...

And she's my new horse...

I mean, our new horse.

WAIT!!! She is the GIRLS' new horse...Yes that's it. That's it exactly.

But, Gentle Reader. I am in love. I am totally gaga over this horse. I kissed her and petted her and rubbed her, and hated to leave her to come to my boring one acre lot in town...

You see, Bookworm has been dying for a horse, and my dad's horse is not safe for them to ride. He is a 28 year old appaloosa gelding. And he is cranky. The last time he pitched with me, I had already ridden him about 4 miles at a trot (he's a huge horse, and he can do that in his sleep.) I decided maybe we could gallop a bit. He disagreed, tried to bury his nose between his legs, and started to pitch...I drug his head up, and luckily kept my seat, 'cause I gotta tell ya, I wasn't expecting that at that point of the ride. So. My girls cannot ride him on their own.

Each time we go home, I try to get my uncle's horse over for Bookworm to ride. He is also old. However, he wouldn't run off with them, or pitch or anything. Now, he might bury his nose in the feed trough, or a nice patch of grass and refuse to budge, but this is no threat to their safety. However, in his old age he has developed a stumbling problem. Last time Bookworm and I were riding, she decided to gallop, and he stumbled forward onto both front knees. She instinctively leaned back and pulled up on the reins. He regained his footing, and the horrible bloody accident where my child became a cripple for life never occurred...I was riding right next to her, and I immediately had visions of her falling under my horses hooves, or the horse falling on top of her...Or...Let's not think about that. Instead we will say that Star is no longer safe for them to ride either.

I told my dad I was interested in finding a good kid horse if he would allow us to keep it at his house, and feed it. Isn't that a fair deal? I could never afford to board a horse, but I can front the money for a horse, and then allow my dad to bear the feeding bills. He claims that he feeds so many mouths, one more won't be felt on his ranch. Thanks, Dad.

Well, he found through the grapevine, a horse that was for sale. She became my horse before I even met her. I found out she was sorrel, and had most recently been the mount of choice for a 5 year old. A five year old that they were advancing to barrel horse, but I won't go into my opinion of a youngster on a horse that fast...Did I mention Appy is huge? Picture darn near draft horse size. Okay, maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but here he's tied to a 6 foot panel, so that gives you a general idea of his size.

Sugar is on the thin side. Her previous owner had sent her to be trained for barrel racing. I chuckle at that now. She is not a fast horse. She has a short stride, and that does not result in speed. When he got her back from the trainer she had dropped about 200 pounds. Also, she has a white patch of hair on each shoulder from old saddle sores. I hope that after we fatten her up a bit, her withers will be strong enough that we won't have to worry about saddle sores. Of course, we will watch for that, and pad appropriately. Anyway, she now has a 40 acre pasture to graze with Dad's horse Appy, and plenty of hay at her disposal. She is in heaven. She was also living in a pen that she shared with another horse at a western sports arena that was about 25x100 foot. I felt sorry for the remaining horses.

We introduced her and Appy Friday afternoon. The encounter started out friendly enough, with her drinking from the trough, and him tentatively sniffing her. The next thing I knew, he bit her in the shoulder, and she kicked him in the chest, and the battle began. It. Was. Horrible. I was terrified. Appy chased her to a corner where the mud made it slick, and she fell. I nearly died of heart failure. She regained her footing, ran away, and he herded her right back to the corner where she fell again. She regained her footing, and ran over to me at the gate. She stuck her head over the gate, nostrils flared, and shaking all over. I quickly let her out, and she literally put her head on my shoulder as if to say, "You saved me! Did you see that? It was awful. That horse is HUGE!!! Don't ever make me go in there again." And then I noticed the chunk of skin off her shoulder, and a cut running up her back where his bottom teeth had dug in. It was about 2 feet long. I felt horrible. I suddenly hated Appy, and decided they could never be together again. Ever. Dad & Studmuffin led Appy out to pasture, and we put 2 fences between them. It turned out, Appy was bleeding down both legs where her hooves had found their marks. I decided to cut him a little slack. But just a little. Did I mention that I was terrified when they started fighting? I knew they'd have a battle, but I pictured more of a stomping and snorting confrontation, not full contact!

Dad let them back into the corral together Saturday morning, and all they did was snort at each other. Appy tried to come at her, and she herded him to the same corner she fell in, and he fell smack on his butt. Hah. Served him right. They seem to have worked out their differences after they were both equally humiliated with a fall.

This afternoon when I took her out for the girls to ride, Dad was still saddling Appy. He threw an absolute fit. He kicked and pawed at the ground and screamed at the top of his lungs. We weren't sure if he was wanting to fight some more, or if he missed her. Appy has always had co dependence issues. When we still owned Blue (he was tragically struck by lightening a few years ago) Appy would cry and bawl for him every time they were separated. It was very annoying when we were rounding up cattle. Dad & I decided that he would get on Appy, and I would be on Sugar to see how the saddled encounter would go. He calmed down the minute they were together.
Looking at this picture makes me sad. Appy's face used to be solid reddish brown with a star in the middle. He had a speckled white rump and white feet. Now, he is turning mostly gray. Poor old fella.

As you can see, they are good friends now. And I do believe that Sugar, for all her diminutive stature is the boss. I took a bucket of sweet feed out to them, and fed each of them out of the bucket. Appy was only allowed one sample, and after that every time I tried to offer it to him, she stepped in front and stuck her head in. And he let her. I guess women control feed rations in the horse world too! I scratched and fed them a bit more, then dumped the rest in a trough. As you can see, they are doing just fine now. Thank goodness. I'd hate for Dad to have to find a new home for Appy!

Hey! Did I mention it was cold when we were riding today? Yesterday we had freezing rain, so we deterred the girls from riding. Today it was all they up to 38 when we decided to ride. The girls had on long johns under their clothes, and I had sweats over my jeans. Yep, it was a tad chilly, but Dad & I tested her cattle wrangling abilities. But that is a post for another day. Complete with pictures!!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I also have no idea...

What to post. Just like my sister, as you can see here. Of course, if you click here, you will realize she can turn a post about nothing into a post that talks about vomit, but leaves you craving brownies...Now THAT is talent!

The only thing I have to say is this:

Have you ever noticed that the people you worry about looking stupid in front of are the very people you will always, without fail look stupid in front of? We have a doctor that works in our department, and if I'm ever going to do something that makes me appear a tad dingy, then it will happen with him. Then, he will give me his "look." I hate the look. It speaks an entire volume of "I can't believe I have to stoop to working with these people, but I will refrain from yelling at the lesser beings, instead I will merely look at them. And they will feel small. And I will feel superior. And all will be right with my world." It drives me bananas. When I see he is the interventionist for the day, I immediately start thinking of things to do to not look stupid, and then get all wrapped up in not looking stupid about one thing, and end up looking stupid about something completely different!

Now, don't get me wrong. I fully acknowledge my natural ability to look goofy on a regular basis. For the most part, I'm totally okay with that. I embrace it. I'm fully capable at laughing at my own stupidity. I encourage my kids to laugh at both my silliness, and their own. I love being a little zany... I can't wait to embarrass my kids with it. However, I get the impression he does not embrace the silliness that is me...I think it rather wears thin on him...

On a brighter note: One of my friends from work offered to give me some yoga pants and warm up jackets that don't fit her anymore. Yep, she's been running, and now they just "fall off of her," so she offered them to me. Of course, I am more than happy to take hand-me-up Nike work out gear. But there's a little voice inside of me that is dismayed at someone offering me clothes that are too big for them now....(Please don't be thinking she was being rude. She is truly a sweet girl who meant it in all kindness...It's only my smarmy self that twists things around. It drives Studmuffin crazy. But then, I love driving him crazy. It makes my day complete!)

On an even brighter note: My 15 year class reunion is this weekend. My niece took me shopping for clothes, so I'm guaranteed to look great. Which all of you women know is imperative to seeing the girls you went to high school with. Because lets be real...We know women judge each other way harsher than any of the men. And there's the fact that I haven't seen my ex-boyfriend the creep before I discovered the wonderfulness that was Studmuffin since I graduated. No joke. And isn't there that little kernel in us that wants the creep to say "Dang. I should have treated her better..."

OR maybe I'm pushing all of my shallow ideals off on you, Gentle Reader. And if I am, I'm sorry...but you know you secretly think the same thing...

Unless I'm wrong, in which case I beg forgiveness. But you know I'm not.

And that is all I have to say about not having anything to say. Have a lovely day.

Monday, October 5, 2009

It starts with me

Raise your hand if you are concerned with the future of this nation, and the future of our children...

I'm guessing most hands went up. I wonder if any of you are like me, and pray for change in our country, but wonder what you are supposed to do. I'm facilitating a Bible study at my church with Beth Moore's Esther It's Tough Being a Woman. We got into a discussion based on Esther 3:15. King Xerxes and Haman are sitting, enjoying a drink while the rest of the kingdom is in an uproar. King Xerxes has ignorantly agreed to allow Haman to annihilate all Jews in the kingdom, and this will include his own queen. It seems so ludicrous when you read it. Sitting and drinking. Enjoying a chat with a friend. The rest of the world is in panic, and he is having a relaxing moment of fellowship. Disgusting, isn't it?

What am I doing about today's world? What am I doing to right any wrongs I see around me? Am I actively involved in challenging the threat I see to my children's future? Or am I sitting drinking my coffee, and reading my Bible, and saying, "Oh well, it's such a shame. If THOSE PEOPLE wouldn't make the decisions they're making, we wouldn't be in this situation." Because, really, what am I supposed to do? My hands feel tied. I pray for our leaders daily. I pray for this country daily. But what more am I to do? Yes, I can vote when an election comes. But,what about right now? What can I do to make a difference this very moment? Write a letter? That's a great starting place, but I lack the conviction that it will make a difference. Attend a tea party? I think these are great, but I haven't actually know when they were going to occur, or exactly what they were partying about. That is my fault. I should have my finger on the pulse of what's going on around me.

Think of Hitler. He didn't immediately come up and say, "Let's kill all the Jews, and anyone who is disabled, or slow, or less than us." No. It was a slow, insidious process. It was small actions that many people shook their head at, and thought "that is wrong," then did nothing to stop. That is how our world is changing today. We see something that we KNOW is wrong, and we shake our heads thinking, "shame, shame, shame," and then we do nothing.

Yep. Bible study was pretty heavy today. We talked about some heavy issues that most of us have not done enough to speak out against. Abortion. Premarital sex. Homosexuality. All of those seem so harsh to read on the page to me. Sadly, they are not taboo topics anywhere. They are all freely discussed and embraced by our society. What are we as Christians to do in a culture that has so radically changed it's world view?

The only answer we could come up with was 2 Chronicles 7:14, which states: If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will HEAL THEIR LAND.

So, it starts with me. I am one of God's people. I am to humble myself and call to God, and pray and seek his face. Then, He will forgive me. And He will heal our land. One lady commented, "if enough people will pray..." NO! I will not think that way. This is a call to each of us as individuals. If I am unwilling to make changes until the rest of the world falls to its knees, then it will never happen. No, I can't control other people's actions. I can only control what I do with my relationship with God, and how that affects my decisions. I cannot expect the lost to turn from their wickedness. They do not know because they do not have the Holy Spirit to show them the way. So, as a Christian, I am to be light to them. If I as a Christian am unwilling to reflect God's truth to a lost world, where will we be? It is my God given job to present the gospel to them. After they have heard the gospel, and accepted God's truth, then I can expect them to seek God. Not before. How will they ever find healing if I don't present to them the Healer?

My challenge is this: What am I doing that ENABLES the wickedness that is prevalent in our country? Do my television shows represent a Biblical view or a world view? Ouch. What about my reading material? Ouch. Do I pay attention to my every day purchases? Do I know what the companies I'm buying from support? Do I even evaluate where they are made, and who made it? Nope.

As a Christian, I believe I am called to evaluate all of these things, and put them before God's Word. If they don't match up with what it tells me, then it needs to be removed from my life. End of story.

You are enough to make a difference. God has placed you in the position you are in, for such a time as the one you are facing now. Just as Esther was one woman given the challenge to save her entire race, you are the one person God has chosen for the destiny He has for you. Yes, God's will is always fulfilled, but your decision to participate in the destiny He has for you in this time and this moment is totally up to you. Seek His face. Call to Him today. He is listening, and He is enough.

That's my starting point for change. What is yours going to be?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Update and more conversations

I thought I'd give you a quick update on Popcorn. She has not had fever since 3am Friday. She did vomit twice yesterday, but it was mostly due to drainage. Today she played, but wore out easily. I think we will all be at church tomorrow!

Bookworm has been in a great mood today, and survived going to school twice without her sister. She helped me make salsa today, and helped Studmuffin wash his boat. She has been wound up like an 8 day clock all day. I'm blaming the cool front coming in.

Last night Popcorn informed me that she lost her tooth on Monday, and the Tooth Fairy had not deigned to visit. "I'm going to be very angry if she doesn't come tonight, Mom. It will be 5 nights then!"

"Why are you telling me this?"

Looking at me from under her lashes, she replied, "I don't know. I just thought you should know that I will be angry..."

Then this morning, she came into my bathroom waving a dollar bill and a Sacajawea dollar. "Where'd ya get those?" I asked in all innocence.

"The Tooth Fairy finally came! And she brought me an extra dollar!" The Tooth Fairy always gives Sacajawea dollars to my kids.

"Maybe she was waiting until you were better so she wouldn't catch the flu."

"No, Mom." At this point she rolled her eyes at me, then thought better of her response. "I think she just had lots of kids to visit!"

"Yeah, me too..."

No way is she giving up the Tooth Fairy like she ditched the Easter Bunny....I don't think she's at all sure she'll still get cash for lost teeth!

Speaking of the Tooth Fairy....

When Bookworm was in first grade, she lost her tooth, and of course, the Tooth Fairy remembered to come the very first night! The next morning Bookworm proudly displayed her Sacajawea dollar. "I saw the Tooth Fairy last night. I know who she is," said Popcorn with all the authority her 5 year old self could muster.

"No you didn't!" replied her indignant sister. "You are supposed to be asleep, or she won't come...Just like Santa, so there is no way you saw the Tooth Fairy."

"Yes I DID!!!" Now her integrity was in question and she was becoming angry...Never mind that truth often resembles a rubber band with her...It can be stretched quite a bit, and still be a rubbber band as far as she's concerned.

"Oh, yeah? Then what does she look like?"

"She's purple with purple and white striped tights, a dark purple dress, and wings, with a crown on her head, and she's this big!" She held her fingers up and indicated a size of about 2 inches.

Well, such a definitive answer shut up any protestations from her sister. I myself was pretty amazed at such a quick detailed answer....

Until the next time I did laundry and folded their clothes...and noticed a small fairy exactly matching the description on the front of Bookworm's sweat shirt...You just never know where that kid is going to get the next rabbit to pull out of her hat.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Drama, Drama, Drama

Popcorn has the hini virus....Err excuse me H1N1...Am I the only soul who sees H1N1 on the news and giggles behind my hand like a 6th grade boy? If I was, I'm not now. Thanks to me, you will now see the word hini (as in hiney) every time the news reports on H1N1. You're welcome.

Well, Bookworm had to ride the bus by herself yesterday. Now, typically, if I'm home, I drive them to school. The bus arrives at 7:23. If I drive them, we can leave as late as 8:10 and still not be tardy. Of course, we leave at 7:50 so they can play on the playground for 20 minutes before school starts...but the reality is, if I'm home they can piddle a lot longer. And I can let them sleep a lot later.

Yesterday I woke them up at 6:30 to get them on the bus on time, since I leave for work at 6:45 (obviously their dad puts them on...) I immediately said "Popcorn has the flu." Studmuffin said, "How can you possibly know that by looking at her for half a second?"

I can know because I'm a nurse. I have excellent assessment skills. I can diagnose lung disease by looking at the lady in the checkout line in front of me's fingers...I can diagnose heart failure by looking at your ankles and hearing your rattly breathing...I can diagnose gangrene and VRE with my nose (hate doing that by the way), and strep by the smell of a person's breath and the rash on their torso...You bet your sweet bippy I can diagnose flu with one glance at my 7 year old's cherry red face peeping out of the covers!!!!

(Disclaimer: As a nurse, I am not technically qualified to diagnose anything. I am only qualified to give the doctor every single symptom of an illness that I encounter, then either ask gently "do you think we need to draw a BNP to see if they're in heart failure?" or hold their hand and delicately lead them to the diagnosis that I think is right...But, again, I'm in no way qualified to officially diagnose the patient. Even though I do. I'm just a rebel that way.)

Okay. Maybe I knew flu was running rampant. Maybe I knew that 99 kids were gone out of our middle school the day before with flu. Maybe our piano teacher's kids had flu. Maybe she had complained of a headache and sore throat the night before when she was going to bed...But still...How DARE he question how I knew she had that flu. I took her temperature: 101.9, thank you very much...I immediately put her on quarantine. TV in her room, meals in her room, she only uses the hall bath...Studmuffin still questioned my certainty it was flu...

Just to prove him wrong I took her to the doctor to get her nose swabbed. When the doctor came in the room wearing a mask, I felt a burst of triumph. I WAS RIGHT! So, PFPFPFPFP to you Studmuffin! And then, I was bummed because now I have to scramble to keep the rest of this family healthy, with the assistance of $260 worth of tamiflu to help Popcorn recover and for prevention for the rest of us. That is with prescription insurance people! I confess, my cheap side considered skipping the med, but then I did the math in my head, and I was already having to miss at least 2 days of work, and if I miss more next week, then I will be out way more than $260....

So, back to my original drama story. Bookworm DID NOT want to ride the bus alone. However, since she had already gotten up early and was ready except for finishing breakfast at ten til 7, then she had plenty of time to eat, brush teeth, and catch the bus. She immediately went into meltdown mode. If you've never seen Bookworm's meltdown mode, it is a sight to behold. She has had this shrieking cry since birth, that is louder than any child I have ever heard. It is ear splitting. Studmuffin used to flee the room when she busted out with it because, "it hurt his eardrums." We won't even start on the bitterness I had rolling off of me with that shrieking infant on my shoulder and my husband running out the door, and SHUTTING IT behind him...I'm totally over that! No residual bitterness whatsoever...

So, our dialogue (shrieking on Bookworm's part) went as follows:

B: I don't want to ride the bus alone. I'm not comfortable with it! (at this point her voice is wobbly, and she's trying to pump out some tears.)
Me: Sorry, babe, but it's better for you to ride the bus than be in an enclosed car with your sister. Flu is airborne for 6 feet, and I don't have a mask for her..
B: But Tea won't sit by me after Caleb gets on the bus. She moves because a stinky boy is going to sit next to her, then Caleb has one of his friends sit next to us, and he makes us scoot all the way over until I'm smashed up against the window, and I'M UNCOMFORTABLE WITH THAT!!! (obviously we've reached wailing at this point.)
Me: Well, ask Tea to stay next to you so you don't have to sit by a boy.
B: SHE WON'T! SHE WON'T STAY NEXT TO ME BECAUSE SHE DOESN'T WANT TO SIT BY CALEB!!! WAAA!!WAAA!! WAA! (At this point you have to use your brain to interpret what's being said between the wails. It's a lovely experience, Gentle Reader. I'm tellin' ya.)
Me: Then Tea's not really your friend if she won't sit next to you, is she? Have you ever actually asked her? (she shakes her head no) Ask her to sit next to you, or sit right behind the bus driver so he can see if some one's picking on you, or better yet tell the bus driver Caleb is picking on you. But you're still riding the bus today.

At this point, her father enters: What? Someone is tormenting you on the bus? I'll put a stop to that. No boy is going to make you uncomfortable on the bus...I'm climbing on that bus right behind you today, and I'm talking to the bus driver and if that doesn't work, I'll talk to the kid myself! (don't mess with Daddy's little girls)
S: No. You can ride the bus. You have a voice. Tell Caleb to leave you alone. Refuse to scoot over. Don't just sit and pout because someone told you to do something you don't like. Better yet, sit right behind the driver, and nobody will dare pick on you.
B: NO! I'M NOT RIDING THE BUS! I DON'T FEEL COMFORTABLE ON IT BY MYSELF! (do you see a pattern developing here?)
Me: When does Caleb get on the bus? (I'm calm. I'm rational. I'm not going to let her suck me into a shrieking match...)
B: At the park
Me: Isn't that the last stop? That means he's only on the bus with you for maybe 5 minutes! (ha! I feel triumph coming my way...)
Me: Okay, you've wasted all of your breakfast time throwing a fit. (practicing breathing exercises, counting in my head so I don't take the rest of her waffles and shove it in her mouth to shut her up...just being real with my fantasies here.) Go brush your teeth. You have 5 minutes before the bus is here, and it will not stop if you're not out there.
B: BUT I'M NOT RIDING THE BUS! YOU ARE GOING TO DRIVE ME! (Oh, the deafening wails. It's all I can do not to tape her mouth shut and commence to warming her backside at this point. With a hairbrush. Or a wooden spoon...Or maybe I will start throwing things. I'm not sure. Just getting extremely angry at this point...)
Me: Get. in. the. bathroom. Brush. Your. Teeth.
*she commences to go into the bathroom, get a new toothbrush since hers had been in the holder next to her sister's and we were trying to control germs, be unable to open it and fling it against the wall, plop down on her bottom and sob and sob and sob....Actually, she's shrieking, because her dad & I may not hear a mere sob all the way in the kitchen, so she is shrieking at the top of her lungs so we will realize the torment she is suffering, and we will suffer with her, or totally cave and let her have her way...
Me: Brush your teeth. The bus will be here any minute. (blood pressure rising. Tension headache coming on. Trying not to lose my temper with my child.)
S: You are riding that bus if I have to drag you by your hair to the street! Brush your teeth! I will talk to the driver! (Nobody wants daddy to lose his temper. It ain't pretty, and it gives an observer a glimpse of where Bookworm got her temper. That's not to say that I don't have one too. Their tempers are just more glorious to behold...)
She brushes her teeth while I stand over her breathing fire down her neck. I was satisfied with myself for not totally losing it with her. I hate sending her to school thinking I'm angry with her...Even when I am.

Studmuffin hustled her to the street to meet the bus. He followed her onto the bus...
S: Hey, there's this kid Caleb...
Bus driver immediately gets an oh great, I know what's coming expression: What is it this time?
S: Well, apparently there's been a little tormenting going on with him and my girls. Could you just keep an eye out for it?
Bus driver: Yeah, we have problems with him. He's at the last stop, but I'll keep an eye out for it!

Did you catch that? He's the last stop....When Studmuffin told me that I nearly blew the top of my head off.

Fast forward to 3pm.....

Me: Hi! How was your day? Did you smile pretty for your picture? (Yes, my child went to school with red eyes, cheeks and nose from the wild eyed fit she threw over the bus for picture day!! Hoo-ray.)
B: Yep!
Me: How was the bus?
B: Fine, but the bus driver played a sad song, and I had to cry a little bit.
Me: What was the song about?
B: I don't know. I just cried about it.
Me: Did Tea sit next to you?
B: Yes. I asked her to stay next to me, and she did.
Me: Wow. It's amazing what people will do when you ASK THEM.... Is there anything you need to say about this morning?
B: What do you mean?
Me: Did you lie to me about when Caleb gets on the bus?
B: Mom, I can't remember what all I said this morning...
Me: Well, lucky for you, I DO remember..."lots of kids get on after Caleb...We have to make lots of stops...."
B: Oh. I forgot when he got on.
Me: No you didn't. You lied to me to try to get me to take you to school.
B: I just can't remember...
Me, getting angry again, now: Just answer me this: Did you lie to your dad & I this morning?
B: Yes. But I felt nervous about riding the bus alone!
Me: That doesn't make it ok to lie. We all have to do new things sometimes. We all have to do things we're uncomfortable with sometimes. If Caleb bothers you any more tell the driver. If that doesn't work, we'll talk to the driver again, and call the school. Okay? And if you lie to me again, I will put vinegar on your tongue and we all know that always makes you barf...So do not lie to me!
B: Okay.

Oh, Gentle Reader...Her drama exhausts me. It has always exhausted me. She blows little things into giant issues. Often in hopes that we will step in and not make her deal with the little thing...

Well. That's all the drama I have to offer you for today. But, now you can hopefully understand why I call her DQ (for Drama Queen.) Aren't you glad that you had an extra 20 minutes to read this really long post?

HEY! How about we lighten things up a bit? I have a snippet of Popcorn's September journal to share with you...

Explain ways you can exerise. You can do jumping jacks. You can run in place. Why it is important Is because if you get to much fat on your gluodis maxoument you could get diybeteedes if you arent carefull. You can goag it is veary good to do that.

Translations: gluodis maxoument is your gluteus maximus.
diybeteedes is diabetes
goag is jog.

Why does my child know about a gluteus maximus you ask? Well, I have tons of workout videos, and lots of them refer to your gluteus maximus. She has always loved that word. So there you have it, Gentle Reader. You better exercise so you don't get too much fat on your gluteus maximus and then get diabetes. Thank you, Popcorn, for the informative he
alth lesson today!