Monday, December 2, 2019

Thankfuls From The Trenches

There's a thankful or two in here somewhere, but I'm not sure where, exactly. You decide.

I didn't write a Ten Things of Thankful last weekend, because I was fairly sure I was on my deathbed. Turns out, I wasn't, but who knew at the time?

See, I have prided myself in the fact that I have only thrown up three times IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. The first time was when I was in kindergarten. The second was when I was seven and had gotten my tonsils out (you can read THAT story right here, and you should). The third and what I believed to be final time was on December 23, 1971. I was 11, in the 6th grade, and it was so horrible that I vowed never again.

I survived pregnancies, surgeries, and a couple of bouts with the stomach flu without ever throwing up. I cleaned up after my kids when THEY had the stomach flu and threw up, but I never did it myself. I was invincible, or so I thought until the early morning hours of November 23, 2019, when my streak ended. 

I believe I had food poisoning that night/morning, mostly because neither my dad nor my husband caught it, and my dad gets the stomach flu if you just say the words in front of him. Also, I had eaten pasta carbonara at a restaurant (something that will never pass my lips again), and it is rife with ingredients that could cause food poisoning. I felt like hammered horseshit for two days and nowhere near 100% ever since (including now).

Fast forward a couple of days to this past Wednesday. My husband, daughter and I picked up my dad and drove up to Kansas City to spend Thanksgiving (incidentally, my very favorite holiday, because you don't have to buy gifts for anyone and there's food) with my brother and his family. My brother wanted to take us to a favorite pizza place near them that evening. There was a 30 minute wait when we arrived, so we decided to go next door to a super cool toy store to kill time. My dad wasn't acting quite like himself, but I thought maybe he was just tired from meandering in the toy store (my dad will be 85 in two weeks, so he's entitled), but a few minutes later, I saw my husband and my dad go out onto the sidewalk, then saw my husband looking panicky and waving his arms around while my dad stood there, and I knew something was up.

When I went out the door, my dad was saying he was about to lose it. My first thought was that he either was having some kind of panic attack or there was something wrong with his heart. Neither. He thought he was going to throw up.

He didn't. Yet.

We canceled our plan to eat and went back to my brother's house. As soon as I had my dad settled in a chair with an empty wastebasket "just in case", my brother and I went to Target and picked up some clothes he would be more comfortable in if he were ill (he only had khaki pants and button down shirts with him, and who wants to dress like that when you feel like death?). We also got a couple of large bottles of ginger ale. Shortly after we got back to the house, he made use of the wastebasket, and it all went downhill after that (and by "downhill", just use your imagination). I took care of my dad all evening, until he finally felt he was ready to go to bed.

By morning (THANKSGIVING morning, mind you), my dad was downhiller than ever, and I had to make a Walmart run for more sweatpants and other things that I won't mention but you can figure out for yourself. In the meantime, my brother, with the help of his mighty  spreadsheet, were making our Thanksgiving feast. My dad didn't join us for our meal, but he was feeling better, and by evening, he was able to eat something bland and the Kaopectate that he took (enough to stop up an elephant, according to my dad) was finally doing its job, and by the time he went to bed, he was doing fairly well.

I went down to the basement guest room and tucked myself into bed. That lingering feeling of yuck from my own barf fest had not improved a bit and I was exhausted. My husband and daughter watched movies on their computers and I slept, or I did until about 10:00 pm when I heard the unmistakable sound of my husband throwing up.

And again.

And then he came to bed and turned on his side, facing me, breathing what was obviously stomach flu germs in my face, so I went back upstairs to sleep on the couch.

A few hours later, I heard my daughter throwing up.

Then husband.

Then daughter.

Then I tried not to hear anything that was going on downstairs, but know that things went rapidly "downhill" for them as well, and I had to make another trip to Walmart for more ginger ale. I spent the rest of Friday washing clothes, sheets and towels and cleaning two bathrooms (I am a good guest), and my husband and daughter determined they were able to travel the two hours home around 3:00 that afternoon. My dad, on the other hand, woke up that morning feeling great.

Halfway home, I got a text from my brother saying my niece was throwing up.

Two hours after that, I got another text from my brother, this time telling me HE was throwing up and that we were uninvited for next year.




The next morning, another text that my sister in law was now throwing up and he blamed me for all of it.




Here's the real question: did I have food poisoning when I got sick, or was I, indeed, Patient Zero as the family has taken to calling me? And how could I be Patient Zero if I was sick in the early morning hours of Saturday and no one else who had been close to me caught it until Wednesday evening? I believe I am being blamed needlessly and it was all a big coincidence, and I'm maybe a little nervous that instead of being Patient Zero I am actually Patient Seven.... 

What say you?

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Sunday, November 17, 2019

Thankful For The Light That Cried Wolf

Monday of this week, Fall took a hike and Winter snuck in and we had bitter cold, sleet, freezing rain, and snow. It didn't stick to the ground much, but it DID stick to cars, as in covering them with a sheet of ice. By Saturday, it was in the low 60s, and you didn't need a coat outside. Is it any wonder everyone has jacked up sinuses around here? 

This weather report is a lead-in to my thankfuls this week.

The brake light has been coming on in my minivan (shut up) for, oh, several months now. At first, it only came on when I made a hard right turn, then went back out as soon as the wheels straightened. It began staying on longer and longer and progressed to coming on not only when I was making a right turn, but also if I hit a bump while going straight and occasionally when I turned left. Now, a brake warning light might alarm some people, but not me. That's because my tire pressure light is on nearly all the time, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with the tire pressure in the car (yes, I check them periodically, and yes, as a matter of fact, I DO carry a tire gauge in my car at all times, courtesy of my daddy). I chalked the brake light up to being another malfunction of a vehicle with 144,000 miles on it.

Monday, when I was leaving work to find my car was covered with ice, I tried to open the sliding door on the driver's side (shut UP) to get the ice scraper, but it was stuck tight. I was able to get the driver's door open, though, and wrangled the scraper out from behind the seat, chipped ice off the windshield, and went home to take Finn to the vet. As I pulled out of my parking space at the vet's office, the brake light not only came on, but it was accompanied by a dinging noise. Obviously, this was VERY not good. I drove home with dinging and the brake light going on and off, and as soon as I got home, I told my husband about it and that maybe it was time to get the car looked at. We decided to take it in the next morning.


My sweet Finn.


Tuesday morning, still bitter cold and icy outside, I put the car in reverse to back out of the driveway, and the brake light came on and the car began dinging again. And it dinged continually all the way to the tire shop. I pulled into the parking lot and put the car in park, and the dinging stopped. I put it back into gear, and ding ding ding ding. Back in park, and it stopped. 

That's when I remembered that I had tried to open the sliding door the day before when the car was coated with ice. I had used the remote to try to open it, but the door just made a trying sound. 

The dinging. Was not. The brakes. It was the "door ajar" alarm. The only reason it didn't occur to me that that was the cause of the dinging was because the "door ajar" symbol was not displayed on the dashboard. 

So Thankful #1 is that I figured out the dinging was NOT an audible brake warning before I announced to the men at the tire shop that, not only was the brake warning light on, but the brake warning alarm was going off as well. Thank you, sweet baby Jesus, for saving me from THAT humiliation!

2. The brakes really were bad. Like, really bad. Like, we had to replace both the front AND the back brakes. I'm thankful that the door ajar alarm created an urgency to get the brakes checked, as it could have been oh, so not good if I had let them go too much longer.

3. They checked the tire pressure warning light and said the tire pressure was fine, but the batteries in the sensors (located in the wheel) were low, and that was the reason for the light being on. At $79 per wheel to replace them, I am thankful for that tire gauge that I will continue to use to monitor tire pressure!

4. I don't think this can be reiterated enough: I DID NOT announce to the men at the tire store that the (non-existent) tire warning alarm was dinging.

5. Before I spent $450 on new brakes, I ordered some shoes that cost more than I EVER pay for shoes. Ever, ever, EVER! They were $95, which may be nothing to some people, but I thought long and hard about spending that kind of money on a pair of shoes (they came highly recommended by a friend and by my sister-in-law as extraordinarily comfy shoes). Can I tell you that it was the one of the best purchases I think I have ever made? Certainly, it's THE best shoe purchase I've ever made. They are called Allbirds, they arrived Saturday, and they are like walking on clouds. I love them!


Like wearing a tender hug on your feet!


6. Did I mention my comfy new shoes?

7. New shoes. Allbirds. Fabulous for people who are on their feet all day at work.

8. I got new shoes! Did you hear?!

9. Allbirds. Get some.

10. New brakes? Good. New shoes? FAAAAANTASTIC!

Got new shoes? New brakes? Whatever you've got, be thankful for it and link up with us!


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Monday, November 11, 2019

Well, I'm Not Thankful For The Cold Weather

Today there was an arctic blast that brought us, well, arctic weather. Bitter cold temps, strong winds out of the north, sleet, freezing rain, snow, and dear GOD, if this is fall, what's winter going to be like?! I am not thankful for this. I AM thankful for these:

I discovered at some point during the day that I had my underpants on inside out. That, I could live with. I'm just thankful they weren't on backwards.

My ankle is healed enough that I was able to return to the gym. Big thankful for that! (If you missed it at an earlier date, I fell down two months ago, yes, FELL DOWN, and thoroughly jacked my ankle.)




I had to get a new debit card recently, because mine may have been compromised at an area restaurant, and it never occurred to me that the auto payment I have set up on it for the gym would need to be changed. The phone call from the gym's business office made me remember REALLY FAST, but when I explained how it happened, they waived the deadbeat fee!

It was a great hair day today, even after going to the gym before work.

Last week, our downstairs furnace quit working. When I say "quit," I'm saying it wouldn't even PRETEND to do its job. Not a click, not a harumph, nothing. My husband called our furnace guy (who we have not had to use in probably 10 years, which is a thankful right there), and he's no longer in business. I got a referral from a friend, called Thursday and left a detailed voice mail message, and he never called me back. Now here we are, in the throws of the arctic blast, and no downstairs furnace (we only have hardwood floors and ceramic tile, so with no carpeting, the floors are STINKIN' COLD when there's no heat). I came home from work today, prepared to find another furnace man (I was planning to call the guy whose truck pulled up next to me at an intersection earlier today, having written down the number before the light changed). The air temperature downstairs was in the upper 50s (BRRRRR!!!), and on a whim, I turned the furnace on AND IT WORRRRRRKED!!! I don't know why, I don't know how, but I have a working furnace right now. Fingers crossed that it was a fluke that it didn't work and all will be cozy and warm.

My classroom was toasty warm all day. This is a huge change over my old room at the preschool, which had windows all along the north wall and was very drafty.

Pizza bagels for lunch today!

My electric mattress pad is turned on and my bed is getting snuggy warm and ready for me to crawl in. 'Night.....

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Sunday, November 3, 2019

I Survived The Blizzard And Other Thankfuls

I think of wonderfully witty things to include in blog posts, but they're generally always at a time when it's difficult to write them down, like while driving or when I'm awake in the night. They are usually so profoundly clever and hilarious that I am SURE I will remember them as soon as I'm able to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, buuuuuut, yeah, no. I created a cute little haiku last night around 3 am as written from the cat about the time change and it went like this:

something something time change
my belly something something
I scoff at something

Brilliant, don't you think...?

Thank goodness I can always remember to be thankful. Hey! There's #1!

2. It got nasty, unseasonably cold this week and rained buckets. It also - wait for it - SNOWED a little. But it was such a small amount that the worst thing that happened was I had to scrape the windshield a little without the long handled ice scraper that I removed from the car in the spring and failed to replace yet, because WE'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO GET SNOW IN OCTOBER.


What was once a gerbera daisy.

Results of Blizzard of '19....


3. Because my car used to belong to my parents, there was an extra ice scraper in a pocket in the back seat. . .

4. . . .AND it was the kind with a built in wooly glove, so my hands didn't get cold without the gloves that I DIDN'T THINK I WOULD NEED IN OCTOBER.

5. The heated mattress pad is once again on my bed, and not only am I grateful for it, three cats are, too!

6. Last week, I wrote about my cat, Finn, who had been sick with a UTI. He spent five days at the vet's office and got to come home Tuesday. He had a rough go of it, including a catheter and a cone of shame AND being away from home for so long without his family, but he appears to be on the mend, has had a voracious appetite, and is tolerating his medicine fairly well. 


He's not the brightest, but we love our Finn.


7. Halloween is over. I'm really not a fan.

8. My dad, husband and I attended our first Missouri State Ice Bears hockey game of the season. The games are such fun, plus we had an Ice Bear win of 4-2 over Alabama. 


Go Bears!


9. I cooked with my little nuggets at school on Friday. We made applesauce muffins, and everyone got to stir. They were DEAD SERIOUS about their stirring, and no one spilled, sneezed or coughed into the batter. When we were done, I taught them how to stick a finger into the bowl that held extra applesauce and then lick it up (you're welcome, moms!). (TBH, a couple of them MAY have stuck their entire hand into the bowl.)


Serious muffin making going on here.



10. I ran into Kohl's and picked up a couple of shirts (the kind you wear under other shirts, although, in theory, they are intended to be stand-alone shirts) and when I finished checking out, the cashier handed me a Kohl's cash coupon and said the previous customer told her she wanted to pay it forward and to give it to the next customer, which ended up being ME! I've never had anyone do that for me before, and it made my heart so happy! Thank you, unknown customer! I truly appreciate the gesture!

Have you counted YOUR thankfuls for the week? 



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Sunday, October 27, 2019

Bluegrass, Band-aids, and Boom Boxes: Thankfuls Abound

I've got to get it together and get my Ten Things of Thankful post done earlier in the weekend, but until then (hah!), Sunday night it is!

1. I'm thankful for the unseasonably cool weather because maybe now I'll stop being bitten by bugs. I have been particularly tasty to ticks, mosquitos, chiggers, and wasps this fall, and my body has not reacted pleasantly to any of them. 

2. I only have one more parent teacher conference and I'm DONE.

3. We had a harvest party this week at school (i.e., Halloween party) and I got to dress up as anything I wanted. At my former job, we always had to dress the same. Every year, I said "Let's be scarecrows!" and every year, I got shot down. So guess what I dressed as....




4. Hair compliments. This letting my hair go curly AND silver was a big step. Or two big steps, actually, but there's nothing to perk you up like a total stranger stopping you to compliment your hair! 

5. I got two ginormous blisters, one on each heel, after wearing a new pair of shoes to work and not wearing socks. It's been two weeks and the skin is almost healed.

6. On that note, I am thankful for Band-aid blister bandages.

7. I've had a bit of bad luck with cd players at work. There was one in the classroom when I started my job in September, but it sounded crappy, so I bought a new one. Three weeks later, the new one quit working (I finally located the receipt and am going to give it a shot at returning it to Walmart). I pulled the old one back out and used it for a couple of weeks, then when I was trying to remove a cd on Friday, there was a crunch aaaaand broken. We REALLY NEED music in our classroom, especially at nap time, and I was in a pickle. Today, however, I found one at Goodwill for $6 AND IT WORKS (so far, but apparently I am Wreck-it Ralph lately, including, but not limited to, cd players and body parts, so I'd best be careful).

8. My brother invited us to a concert of one of his favorite bluegrass artists, and I'm really glad he did! We don't go out to hear live music very often (getting in free to anything we wanted to see when we were in the music biz spoiled us), and we should. If you like bluegrass and Becky Buller is in your area, go see her!





9. I've got a sick kitty. Poor Finn has been struggling with a UTI for several weeks. I thought he was pretty much over it, but Friday, he peed a little drop in the bathtub and it was bloody. I am very thankful for my veterinarian's office, who told me to bring him in immediately. He's been there all weekend, and my vet has kept in contact with me. Poor fella has had a catheter all weekend. He's showing signs of improvement, but he's not ready to come home yet.

10. In light of this vet visit, I am thankful that I get paid this week....

How about you? Thankful for fall weather? Band-aids? Deals at Goodwill? Write 'em down and link 'em up with us!

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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Thankful Me!

Imma gonna be the last one to get my Ten Things of Thankful posted this week, and it's not for lack of thankfuls. On the contrary. I'm simply BURSTING with them! 

I've been waiting for months and months and MONTHS for this weekend, because I was going to become IRL friends with my blog friend of (six? seven?) years - Kristi of Thankful Me. We have been blog friends since the very beginning of Ten Things of Thankful, found out we are distant cousins through Kristi's genealogy research, and have had a lot of parallels in our lives, and WE WERE FINALLY GOING TO GET TO MEET when Kristi and her husband, John, vacationed in my area.

Kristi and her husband were going to spend several days in Branson, Missouri, and I was able to be a cruise director for them. There was a glaring similarity of one of their vacation experiences and one my husband and I had a few years earlier when Kristi and John road the Showboat Branson Belle, a replica steamboat on Table Rock Lake. This was my experience here; fortunately, Kristi's wasn't quite as crazy as mine was, and hopefully, she doesn't hold me accountable for the buckets of rain, thunderstorms, and inability of the ship to leave the dock.


In honor of Clark, we had cake. I ate 75% of it. Okay, 85% of it.


It's not a TToT party without cake!


Kristi presented me with a folder filled with articles and newspaper clippings about my family that she researched and she found for me. She found the notice of my grandparents' application for a wedding license from 1931, family obituaries, my engagement announcement, SO. MANY. FASCINATING. THINGS.

When Christine of In The Coop (which I desperately wish she would resurrect) and I met IRL around five years ago, we both wore the same shirt. Had to duplicate this by getting Kristi a shirt to match mine. We're cousins, after all, so we needed to show how we looked alike.


In our matching Missouri Southern t-shirts
on the dock at the lake house.


We got to spend nearly the entire day together on Saturday. 

I took Kristi and John to the Shepherd of the Hills fish hatchery. When we arrived, we were greeted by a committee of vultures. Not sure who or what they were waiting to devour, but it wasn't us.




Through the magic of Google and cell phones (thanks, John!), we found out that a group of vultures is called a committee. If they're flying, they're called a kettle. If they're eating dead things, it's called a wake. You're welcome.

The floodgates open on Table Rock Dam is not really a thankful, but the beautiful backdrop it made sure is.


John and Kristi in front of Table Rock Dam.
Don't let the photo fool you; the dam is
252 feet high.


The weather couldn't have been better! There wasn't a cloud in the sky, and the air had just enough crispness that we wore sweatshirts and walked on a trail that followed the shore of Table Rock Lake. John was interested in the temperature of the water (still fairly warm) and, after I said Christine scampered onto rocks in precarious places several times when we have been together (including, but not limited to, at the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers and on top of nuclear waste site), Kristi joined him to feel the water. I am happy to say neither of them fell in, but I had the camera ready, just in case....


As sure-footed as a couple of mountain goats.


Besides walking for miles (quite literally) beside Table Rock Lake and Lake Taneycomo, feeding fish, and feeding us, we talked and talked and talked. How lucky I feel to have met someone in person after all these years of knowing each other in the blog world and feeling we have known each our entire lives!

I hope Kristi and John come back this way again soon. I hope when that happens that my husband can join us (he had to work out of town and got back in time to meet them but that's all). I hope I can head to Utah some day. I also hope that Kristi and I can someday do our "girl trip" to the Pacific Northwest and visit her mom as well. I hope someday YOU will get to meet a favorite blog friend IRL, because there's nothing like it!


Because they're cousins, identical cousins and you'll find...


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Sunday, October 6, 2019

Finally Fall And Other Thankfuls

My weeks are going by in a flash, a FLASH, I tell you! Sunday evening already? Time to be thankful!

1. It's fall, y'all! Really, truly, finally fall! Today was cool and rainy and utterly delightful.

2. I put fall decorations up in my house. They make me happy to see.



3. I have never had a job as physically demanding as the one I have now. This is a good thing. I spend a lot of the day doing squats as I pick up a little who is crying or just needs some love. I believe I'll be able to bounce a quarter off my ass by Christmas because of it.

4. We had a rainy morning one day this week just as we were about to go outside to play. Try to explain to one year olds that we have to take off their jackets and stay inside after telling them we would go out. Six little open mouths, crying tragically, and it's both funny and pitiful. I covered the table with butcher paper and gave them crayons, and they not only scribbled a masterpiece but NO ONE PUT CRAYONS IN THEIR MOUTH. We weren't so lucky the last time we tried this.



5. Last week, I wrote about a little spill I took where I bruised my left knee and sprained my right ankle. I'm happy to report that my knee is almost recovered and my ankle is improving. The ankle is still a little swollen and tender, but that's a HUGE improvement from this time last weekend.

6. My husband and I hopped on the Movie Pass craze two years ago and rode it until it crashed and burned. We moved to Cinemia next, got burned by that, and thought we were through with movie deals, then the Regal chain started their own unlimited movie pass recently, and we joined it, as Regal is the only movie theater we have in town (okay, locals, I know we have a tiny independent movie house, but you know what I mean). We have had it for less than a week and already seen two movies. Our theater is crappy, the floors are sticky, many of the seats are broken, and it smells like feet, but WE CAN SEE UNLIMITED MOVIES, MAN!

7. Lewis is a snuggly boy when the blankets come out! Refer to #1.



8. I had a long conversation with my Person this evening. It's hard to be 500 miles apart, and I'm thankful for cell phones and not having to wait to talk to someone long distance until nights or weekends when the rates were lower.

9. We went to the high school football game Friday night. Living in a small town may have its drawbacks, but you can't beat our Friday Night Lights!



10. Next weekend, I get to spend some time with our TToT hostest with the mostest, Kristi! Stay tuned!

Take time to be thankful!


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