Sunday, November 29, 2015

In Which I Find Thankfuls But My Cats Don't

Of all times, Thanksgiving weekend should be the easiest in which to write a list of thankfuls. As such, I should have written this before my daughter called up the stairs that the oven isn't working, before my son was up in the attic, retrieving the Christmas decorations, and notified us that the roof has been leaking there (that's not the only place, unfortunately), before my brother texted me that he had called our mom and she was very confused about everything when he tried to talk to her, before the cats rebelled about the new litter I got for their litter box. So I'm going to do the equivalent of holding my hands over my ears and singing "LALALALALALALA" at the top of my lungs and ignore all but the thankfuls. Deep breath. Here goes:

1. The College Boy's pneumonia has responded well to medication. He is still coughing, but it's not the horrid cough from earlier in the week, and the wheezing seems to be gone.

2. I got a Get Well card from my sweet friend Kristi from Thankful Me, as in a real, delivered by the postman through the slot in my door, card. How can you not feel better after that?

3. I had a long, lovely chat with Christine from In The Coop. We laugh a lot when we talk on the phone, and it's wonderful.

4. I made it through another year of dressing like an Indian for the Pre-K Thanksgiving feast and like a Pilgrim for the Primary feast.

5. We went to my brother and sister-in-law's house for Thanksgiving, minus my parents, who weren't able to make the trip this year. It's about a four hour drive from here (we're in the southwest corner of the state, and he is in the middle), but my dad let us borrow his Sequoia, which was nice, as our cars are not in the best condition (even though mine does have heat now, and we would have needed it). Not only did we get to drive a car that is only a couple of years old...

6. has Sirius XM Radio. My daughter rode shotgun and deejayed and I drove, with the boys in the back with their electronics and headphones, ignoring us, and we sang all the way there (including lots of showtunes).

7. One of our Thanksgiving traditions for the past four years or so is to attend a Mizzou volleyball game. This year, they played Texas A&M. They lost, but they took it to five games, we sat really close, and I got my picture taken with Truman the Tiger.

8. We all make relentless fun of my brother for using a spreadsheet when he makes Thanksgiving dinner, but he pulls off one heckuva meal, and it was delicious.

9. My daughter picked up my phone when I left it lying around and took some selfies. Always enjoy a chance to post pictures of her, especially ones like this:

10. I returned the College Boy to school this afternoon. Of course, I had to feed him before I left town, and while we were eating, a woman from another table came up to me and told me I had the most beautiful hair, so thick and healthy looking. I was taken aback, because I look in the mirror and see a curly mess, so she really made my day, and I told her so.

The oven still won't work. One of the cats pooped on the floor NEXT to the new litterbox. It's been raining since Thursday morning and not expected to stop until tomorrow night. I can only find one control to my kids' electric mattress pads. The icemaker is only making about 8 cubes a day. But there are still thankfuls. Find yours.

VERY leery of this new litter. 

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Invincible, He Isn't

For the first two years of his life, my son, the College Boy, was in day care, and he was sick all the time. He caught EVERYTHING. He had ear infections, cellulitis in his eye, bronchiolitis (they call it RSV now), regular colds, stomach viruses, and tonsillitis. He had acid reflux from birth, spitting up gallons until he was 17 months old, and his diapers? Holy shit! (No pun intended.) Out the legs, up the back, EVERYWHERE. We never went anywhere without two sets of clothes in the diaper bag (unfortunately, we went to a wedding when he was two months old where HE had a change of clothes, but I did not, and let's just leave it at that). He was a real peach.

After he turned two, he was rarely sick, but when he was, he did it up right. He had strep throat when he was in first grade. He got a light case of the chicken pox five years AFTER he had the vaccine (there was an outbreak in his second grade class). He had the stomach bug maybe once. That's pretty much it. He decided he was invincible, like Bruce Willis in "Unbreakable."

That worked until he was a freshman in high school.

It was Friday, October 2, and it was homecoming. The football game was that night, with the homecoming dance the next night. He even had a Date for the dance. We had purchased a tie to match his Date's dress. And ordered a wrist corsage. But he came home from school that Friday with cold symptoms.

"I don't think I want to go to the game," he said, and I told him to stay home, take some ibuprofen, and get some rest, and he'd feel better the next day for the dance. He was asleep when we got home from the game, and he seemed a little warm, but he was snuggled into his bed, too, so of COURSE he'd be warm. Saturday morning, he felt worse.

"You're just not used to having a cold, buddy," we told him. "This is how the REST of us feel when we have one." And I gave him ibuprofen all day, took him to pick up his date that evening, and drove them to the dance (they were too young to drive). They were both pretty quiet when I picked them up later and took his Date home (he's shy, after all), and he went straight to bed when we got home.

Look how sickly and pale he was.

Sunday morning, he woke up blazing hot with fever. Oops. Throat sore, body aching, coughing. I took him to the urgent care clinic with a whole lot of other people who were coughing and miserable-looking, and when he was called back we got this happy diagnosis:

Swine flu.

It was the third official day of flu season.

Plus, he exposed everyone at the dance with whom he came into contact. Including his Date. Did I mention his Date was the Superintendent's daughter? Guess who came down with the Swine Flu two days after the dance? (He also gave it to his sister.) I SWEAR I had no idea he was that sick, or I never would have let him go to that dance. I honestly thought he was just being a sissy about having a cold. My bad.

Fast forward six years. He is now a junior in college, and hasn't been sick* since the Swine Flu Epidemic (that he started). It was the week before Thanksgiving, and he had a cold. A bad one. He kept texting me that he didn't feel good and that he'd never been sick without his mommy there. I told him to take ibuprofen and go to the health center if he didn't get better. Of course, he did neither, and came home Friday evening with a horrible cough. HORRIBLE. I bought him some cough and cold medicine. He coughed and wheezed and slept a lot. He was sure he had a fever, but the thermometer was missing. On Monday, in spite of his protests ("I'm fine! I'll be better tomorrow! I don't WANT to go to the doctor!"), I took him to urgent care. His temperature was nearly 101 degrees (oops). We got an almost immediate diagnosis:


So, he's not so invincible after all. Oh, he's going to be fine. He is loaded down with a Z-pack, steroids, and cough syrup. Thankfully, he managed to get sick when he had a week off of school in which to recover, and hopefully, he'll be able to rally in time for finals in two weeks.

And we finally found the thermometer, perhaps a little too late THIS time, but we're prepared the NEXT time he gets sick, which shouldn't be for another six years or so.

*My son did have a rather ugly encounter with a sea urchin while on a mission trip to Puerto Rico, which you can read a little about here, but, while he had to go to the ER, plus several other doctors, before he was better, it wasn't like he got sick. And in the interest of full disclosure, now that I think about it, he also went to the ER when he was 8 and split his chin open at a water park. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Little Thankfuls Mean A Lot

Life isn't exactly bleak, but it could be better. I still have my stupid cold (day 13). Money is tight. My mom isn't very well. But if I were to dwell on the negative, I'd never see the many, many thankfuls I have in my life, including these:

1. The smell of turkey roasting in the oven.

2. Little indulgences like home made cream puffs.

Oh, my, these turned out well.

3. Friends who live far away and therefore aren't annoyed by my nose blowing and coughing and MAYYYYBE a little whining brought on by the endless cold and instead check to see if I'm feeling better (I'm not). (cough cough Kristi cough cough)

4. Two day work weeks. Okay, one of those days, I have to dress like an Indian and the other like a Pilgrim, but still. TWO DAYS.

5. The heater is fixed in my car! It was not a cheap fix, as the motor that makes it work had to be replaced, and THAT required pulling the radio out of the dashboard to get to it, but I HAVE HEAT.

6. The neighbor's dog has barked unceasingly for about an hour and a half now. I did not know that was possible, so I guess I learned something new today.

7. A brand, new toothbrush.

8. Quiet time with a sleepy kitty.

The liiiight's in my eyyyyyes.

9. Bath & Body Works had Wallflowers on sale today for $2.75 each (they are air fresheners that plug into a wall outlet, in case you didn't know, and I wanted to put some in my parents' house for them). That's a deal and worthy of its own thankful, but it gets better. I forgot my coupon, which is not exactly uncommon for me, although I would like to take this moment to say not only did I not lose my grocery/errand list today (which I usually do before I even get to the first store), I got everything on the list. Anyway, when the girl at the register asked me if I had any coupons, I mentioned that I did, but unfortunately it was still sitting on my kitchen counter where I left it, and she gave me the discount anyway. $10 off of a $30 purchase. Nice! 

10. Spending the evening listening to talented high schoolers sing at a fundraiser for show choir. 

With Antwon, a good friend of my daughter's
and my "other son". I'm going to miss
this face when he graduates in the spring.

Even when life is bad, it's still pretty good. I may have leaks in my roof, but I HAVE a roof. Not everyone is so lucky. Count your blessings. List your thankfuls. 

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Division: A Six Sentence Story

She was never very good at math, but division was the worst. She vividly remembered sitting at her desk in fourth grade, one long division problem taking up an entire sheet from her Big Chief tablet. The page would be grey and smudged from all the erasures, and there were spots in the paper where her eraser had nearly rubbed completely through it, and still, more often than not, the answer was wrong, and she would have to start all over.

Math still wasn't her strong suit, but, she thought triumphantly, she was having no problem with division today. She smiled to herself as she clipped through the starched oxford cloth shirts, the dress pants, the suit jackets, even the briefs and undershirts that she had spent years laundering and folding just the way he demanded. As she divided each piece of his clothing in two with her sharp shears, she placed the pieces inside his suitcase before calling him and letting him know his things would be waiting for him on the front step whenever he wanted to take the time away from his mistress to pick them up.

Linking up with Ivy at Uncharted for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "division."

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Five More Reasons This Is STILL A Crappy Week Plus Some Thankfuls

More reasons why my week is crappy:

1. My cold is still raging. Upper lip chapped and swollen. Nose dry and flaky from endless blowing. Head ache. Intermittent fever, punctuated by an occasional hot flash. Tickle in my throat that makes me cough until tears are streaming and I am gagging. That's a fun one. 

2. I still don't have tickets to see President Clinton.

3. I can't wear shoes with a back in them, thanks to the retrocalcaneal bursitis in my heel. Clogs are currently not a fashion forward look, apparently, and it seems I bought the last pair in town when I got my tentative diagnosis six weeks ago (made when my friend took a picture of my heel on her phone and texted it to her husband, who is an orthopedic surgeon, who then stressed this was not an OFFICIAL diagnosis). I'm sick of wearing the same damn pair of shoes every day. I guess if it rains or snows, I'll have to tie trashbags onto my feet to keep them dry.

4. One of the cats pooped on the rug in front of the toilet in the downstairs bathroom. It was discovered by the crabcake daughter when she stepped in it after school and then walked across the floor several feet before noticing it (in her defense, the rug is brown...). I got to clean that up (my cold does NOT inhibit my sense of smell, or not enough, anyway) while my husband retched in the background. Let me tell you, nothing caps off your week like using a toothbrush to scrub cat poop out of the tread of a pair of athletic shoes.

5. I weighed this morning and saw that I had lost four pounds in one day. That was both exciting and a little improbable, even though I have been sick, so I got off and got back on again. Ten pound loss this time. Tried it a third time and had a one pound GAIN. Changed the battery in the scale and got on one last time, and it was status quo. Cruel, cruel scale. Cruel, cruel week.

Maybe listing Ten Things of Thankful will make it all seem better....

1. I worked three different nights at my side gig with a local photographer. I used about a gallon of hand sanitizer and am pretty sure I didn't give my cold to anyone. Or at least to anyone I know, or I would have heard about it by now.

2. I bought some beef jerky at Target when I was desperately hungry and didn't have time to go home and eat anything between jobs. It smelled like gasoline and had the texture of an old shoe, but it didn't kill me.

3. Our ice maker is choosing this week to make ice instead of be in its usual state of constipation, which was nice, since I've been using a lot of ice while I've been sick.

4. I set a bag of frozen chicken breasts in the refrigerator to thaw without putting it in a bowl, and the plastic bag leaked chicken water all over the bottom shelf of the fridge. The good news is it only dripped into ONE of the vegetable crisper drawers and not both of them.

5. Ruby has tentatively resumed the game of Bathtub Ball after I ruined it for her a week ago by using her arena to take an actual bath.

6. Ruby has also found a little piece of greenery (actually orangery) that fell off of a swag of fall leaves I have hanging in the living room and has engaged me in near-constant games of fetch. Day. Night. While I'm using the bathroom. Or sleeping. Or on the computer. Whatever. She doesn't care; she just pops up with the piece sticking out of the side of her mouth like a cigar and wants me to play with her. And I do.

Ladies don't smoke cigars.

That's my leg a/k/a playing field

7. I didn't have to go anywhere Friday after I got home from preschool, and I was able to put on my comfy clothes (i.e., jammies) and feel miserable from the comfort of my home.

8. I spent the entire day Saturday making freezer meals and only burnt myself once.

9. I baked three of the ugliest pumpkin pies you'll ever see, but they still tasted good.

10. It's going to be cold and rainy tomorrow and my car is out of gas, but since I'm already sick, what's it going to matter if I have to stand outside in the elements and fill the gas tank and then get into a car with no heater and drive to work? It's only a mile drive. Who needs heat? Or gas? Wait, I do. I need gas.

Yeah, that helped. My week isn't so crappy anymore. OH, WAIT, THAT'S BECAUSE IT'S FINALLY OVER.

On a more serious note, we live in a very scary world right now. Je suis Paris. We're all in this together.


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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Left: A Six Sentence Story

The chicken knew.

While it was scratching in the grass at the side of the street bordering the wooded area alongside the railroad tracks, the chicken knew what no one else did.

The passer-by who discovered the body near the tracks didn't know what happened to the man. Neither did the police, who could only discern that the deceased hadn't been hit by a train.

The man was dead, and he left no clues as to why.

But the chicken knew.

Linking up with Ivy at Uncharted for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "left."

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

6 Reasons Why This Is A Crappy Week

My week is crappy. Here's why.

1. The heater is broken in my van, as in it blows cold air. Because it is fall in the Ozarks, it wasn't a problem today, when it was unseasonably warm and humid and horribly windy and I had to turn the a/c on, but earlier this week? Cold. Inside the van. Outside the van. Cold. And we don't have a garage, so it sits outside and gets colder and colder. I'm guessing a kerosene heater is a bad idea, so it looks like YET ANOTHER trip to the mechanic, to whom I suggested he give us a punch card and maybe offer us a free sandwich or something after our 10th visit. We're already halfway there.

2. Pittsburg State University, which is about 40 minutes away from here, announced a week ago that President Bill Clinton would be the first speaker in a series they were debuting in their new Center for the Arts. And the seats would only be $40! I was beyond excited. President Clinton is the first president that I voted for who actually won the election. Tickets went on sale Monday morning at 8:30 a.m., and I WAS ON IT. I was hitting the box office website at the stroke of 8:30 (and I tried at 8:28, just in case it was already open, and it wasn't). And I continued to try to order my tickets for 30 minutes, only to get messages saying there weren't two seats available together, and interspersing it with unanswered phone calls to the box office, until the website displayed the message that it was sold out. Not. Cool. I heard on the news that students, who could buy one ticket for $10, had bought up tickets and were selling them for upwards of $500. Why isn't ticket scalping illegal? Why? Why? The artist or speaker or team doesn't make a dime off of scalped tickets; only the asshole scoundrel who is selling them does. SHAME ON THOSE OF YOU WHO PREVENTED PEOPLE WHO REALLY WANTED TO HEAR THE PRESIDENT SPEAK FROM BUYING TICKETS! You know who you are. May karma have its way with you.

3. My daughter is in a mood this week. Think about, oh, The Exorcist, and you'll get the idea. Or a wet cat. A wet, angry cat. 

4. Speaking of cats that I have apparently pissed off, I managed to ruin Ruby's favorite game this week by using her arena for a bath. Several weeks ago, my husband was shaking out a pair of shoes he hadn't worn for a long time (we have brown recluse spiders, so it's a necessary precaution) over the bathtub when a 1" diameter bouncy ball fell out of the toe and bounced around the bathtub (we also have toys and other treasures in our shoes, so, again, a necessary precaution). The sound of the ball bouncing around inside the tub (a rather large jacuzzi tub and the sole reason I wanted to buy this house 17 years ago) brought Ruby running, and a new game was born. She would bat the ball all around the tub, fielding it as it ricocheted off the sides of the tub. She herself would run and slide on her hip around the tub as well, and she added a new element when she knocked a plastic cup (I keep it on the side of the tub to help rinse it out after using it) into the tub and incorporated it in her game. Bathtub Ball was a wild game, very noisy, and tremendously fun; that is, until I decided to take a long, soaky bubble bath the other night. Ruby watched me remove the cup and ball from the tub first. After my bath, I rinsed all the bubbles out and even dried the inside of the tub with a towel, but she acted like the inside of the tub would burn her if she got in, and she hasn't played a game of Arena Bathtub Ball since. And all those times I said to myself, "I should take a video of her doing this"? Yeah, I didn't.

5. I have a cold. A nasty, snotty, coughy, headachy, feverish cold with intermittent sore throat and ear ache. Of course, my cold has a name (not a preschooler this time), but I'm not upset with the kid who gave me the cold. He couldn't help it; he is a special needs child who is mostly non-verbal. I'm not happy with his mother, who brought him to church knowing he was sick. I used a lot of hand sanitizer that morning when I was with him (and he was wiping snot on his sleeves and, it seems, me), but within 24 hours, I had a headache (you know the kind, when you're trying to decide if it's just a headache or if you're actually coming down with something), a few hours later, my throat was sore, and a few hours after that, the cold symptoms began in earnest. KEEP YOUR CHILDREN HOME WHEN THEY'RE SICK, PEOPLE.

Every drop of fluid in my body is going into snot production, and I can't get enough to drink, but it hurts my throat when I swallow. My upper lip is puffy from blowing my nose, and my eyes look like two holes burnt in a blanket. I'm a sight to behold.

6. Did I mention that I didn't get tickets to go see President Clinton? 

Completely devastated

Crap, crap, crappy week.