Sunday, July 25, 2010

The one where some things end and others begin.

So Sean turned seventeen last week. On Wednesday to be exact. How can seventeen years go by so fast? I remember the day of his birth to the second. Of course, considering his birth damn near killed me, I guess that's not so hard to believe. But I also remember most of his toddlerhood. Not that I've forgotten CJ's or Lu's, just that Sean has always been a memorable character. And he was sooo cute. Chubby little apple cheeks and light blonde curls. Stubborn and precocious even at three. Some things never change. He lost the chubby cheeks and his hair darkened considerably but the stubborn and precocious took up residence. We celebrated his birthday Friday night when the kids all came home from camp. Steaks and shrimp on the grill, twice baked potatoes, mushrooms sauteed in butter & garlic and crescent rolls with an amazing (and store bought) cake for dessert. It was a good night.

Then yesterday dawns and Sean and Lu and I get ready to head to town. We've decided to breakfast at Panera and then Lu has to work and Sean & I will head to the Mart of Walls to pick up a few last minute items on his list. He has to be in Keokuk by 4 to leave on his trip. When we walk outside to leave I notice that Sean's eyes are puffy and red. His dad mentions it too. Sean says they're itchy and he took benadryl, he just figures its because he hasn't been around the cats much. I'm dubious but let it go. By the time we get to Panera his cheeks are also suspiciously red (they always turned apple red when he was allergic to something as a little kid). I mention it and he says that yes, the itching is getting worse. I make a call to his doctors office but they are gone so we scarf breakfast and head to the ER. By the time we get there you can watch the hives popping out on his skin and his chest is getting tight. Thankfully, they rush us back to a room. The doctor comes in orders a breathing treatment and shots. One steroid and one benadryl. Thankfully, they all work. If not, added to the ER expense would have been the $1700 dollars we paid for his trip. Not cool. Not to mention his disappointment at missing out.

After we left the ER we ran to Walmart, got his stuff and sped home. Shower, pack the backpack and speed to Keokuk. We made it with two minutes to spare. There was a lot of preparation before loading the two buses and I got the rare opportunity of seeing my baby in action. The words "born leader" come to mind. He's efficient, in charge and the other boys listen to him. And I know you're all thinking I'm totally biased, but I could so get affidavits from other people (not related to him) who would say the same thing. I am so proud.

Finally, the load the buses. Sean and the other leadership core are the last to board of course. I sneak in one last hug and turn to one of the other mothers and confess that I think I might cry. Yes, I know he's seventeen. Yes, I know he's responsible and independent. Yes, I know he'll have the time of his life. But he's still my baby. And I've never been separated from him for two weeks before. Worrying about him? Well it's kind of a job requirement and damn it, I'm good at it. I ask another mother if she's worried about her son and she replies "No. Sean will take of him."

So he's off for two weeks to Gettysburg, Fort AP Hill Virginia and the 100th year of Scouting National Jamboree, then on to DC. He's going places I've never been and making memories that will last a lifetime. And I'm at home missing him and knowing that this is the closing chapter in his childhood and the beginning of his adulthood. I have the feeling that one is going to be a real page-turner.

Bon Voyage Baby,

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The one where nothing says "good time" like a cavity search.

Okay so first off, I'm jumping around like a giddy little kid on Christmas morning. And all because my interview is up at Say Anything and I don't sound like a complete dork in it! Yay me. So if you want to take a break and go read it, I'll wait...*tapping foot* done yet? Okay, how about now? Good, you're back. And if you're new, please stay. Really. C'mon, it'll be fun. Promise. Look at the other nice people...they like me. (You guys like me, right? I'm not just talking to my self here, am I?) Anyway, that's part of the good news. The other part is that Mike got the green light from the doctor yesterday and he's back to work with no restrictions as of today. And he was excited. I think he texted everyone in his cell phone the minute we walked out of the exam room. True story. My man is a super goober who loves his job. So we had this convo~

Me: You're such a dork. You were still getting paid, you got to spend time with me and relax and yet you're eager to go back to work. You know, some people would have totally milked that out.

Mike: I feel like I did milk it out. This whole last week I've felt OK.

Me: Um. You almost died six weeks ago. Six weeks off work is not milking it out. And you had legitimate reasons for not being at work last week. You know, in the form of doctors orders.

Mike: Well I'm fine now. Gotta go fix the ice machine, hook up the new water heater, grade roads, mow. *him running for the door*

I should see him again sometime in October...

So Sean leaves for the National Boy Scout Jamboree on Saturday. Two weeks out east. One week at Fort AP Hill Virginia and another week site seeing in DC. He's super excited. I'm nervous as hell. I've never been away from him that long. And yeah, I know as of yesterday, he's seventeen. But he's still my baby. We had this conversation~

Me: So I'm going to get you a phone card since you won't have electricity to charge your phone the first week.

Sean: We can't have any electronics the first week. But we can the second.

Me: So I'll get you a phone card so you don't have to call collect.

Sean: Um. Why would I call?

Me: Because you'll miss me?

Sean: Um. Sure.

He's not going to call. Jackhole. But he is going to visit the White House. Which spawned this conversation~

Sean: You know thanks to mom I'm on some kind of terrorist watch list.

Me: You're definitely on the no-fly list. You're welcome.

Lu: Wait. Why is he on those lists?

Sean: Because your mother tells the world everything. And she wrote that post about me and the things that blow up. And then she told the Army recruiter that I'm really good with explosives. And he said to be quiet, we didn't want to be investigated by the FBI.

Me: And I said it wouldn't be the first time. *shrugs* Besides Sean, obviously if I tell the world everything than we're not hiding anything. What's to investigate?

Sean: Me. I'm probably going to get taken to a 'special' room and searched before they let me in the White House.

Me: Well nothing says 'good times' like a cavity search. You'll have a memory you'll never forget.

Sean: Great. Thanks mom.

Me: You're welcome!

I don't really think he'll get cavity searched. But you're totally wondering about that FBI investigation aren't you?? Well, that's a story for another day...

phone taps & video surveillance,

PS- There's new posts at The Gert & Hildi Chronicles also, proof that my sister is just as insane as I.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The one where it's "all about us" and we go on a mini-adventure

If you came here to read a blog post about my witty, sarcastic, intelligent, beautiful offspring then you should probably skip this post. Because they aren't factoring in to today's post. This one is just about me & Mike (so our fans can totally stay, pull up a chair and get a fresh cup of coffee). The kids were home this weekend, and chaos ensued, but then they left again Sunday morning. And do you know what? For the first time ever, I was actually glad to see their backs as they headed out the door. For real. I'm not sure if this makes me a bad mom or not. We'll figure that out in another post.

So it's Sunday and Mike & I are once again alone. It's funny because if you'd have asked me 6 months ago, hell, even 3 months ago, how Mike & I were going to be when the kids left I would have shrugged. We'd really come to a point where we did our own things. I had my writing, my friends, my kids. He had his job, his hunting, his friends and the kids. But honestly, we didn't spend much time together. We don't like the same kind of TV, movies or music. I adore the beach, he calls it the "big puddle". I love to travel, he'd rather be home. Mostly when we talked it was about the kids. When we did go out on rare occasions, after we'd exhausted the topic of our offspring, we ran out of things to say. It just became easier to spend our time apart. Did this worry me? Maybe a little, if I'm honest (and you KNOW that I am). But it wasn't like a "I'm divorcing you" kind of thing. I mean, I knew we still loved each other. I just thought I might be a bit lonely and bored when the kids were gone.

Funny how life happens, isn't it? Because since Mike's accident, we've spent scads of time alone. The time in the hospital doesn't really count. But once we came home we've had the opportunity to really spend a lot (all) of our time together. And what we've come to find out is that we do just fine. In fact, we do great. We can compromise on TV, movies and music. We can talk about his hunting and my writing. We can simply bask in each other's company. We can curl up together in the recliner and "snuggle". (We also tend to fall asleep that way, prompting Lu to call us "cute" and take photos. No, I will not post them.) And we can have fun together.

Yesterday, we went on a mini adventure. We had a rescue cat that needed a new home. The new home was in Chicago. The person to take her to the new home was in Pekin. So we got on MapQuest, figured out that Pekin was about the same distance from our house at Springfield and said "what the heck, let's go to Pekin". But there's really not much in Pekin that interested us, so we decided that after we dropped the cat off, we'd go to Peoria (another 25 minutes) and eat at Olive Garden and visit Barnes & Noble (okay B&N was really my idea, Mike's not so much).

The drive to Pekin wasn't too bad. Lots of two lane roads through the country. Unfortunately, MapQuest? Not so hot with the directions. We kept looking for our road to turn into the roads that MapQuest said it would, but that didn't happen. Fortunately, I'm handy with an Atlas and direction. So we made the turns we needed to and didn't get lost. We did see a lot of country side. And corn. And beans. And cows. And tiny towns. The tiny town of Astoria Illinois has the worst roads ever. Seriously there was a sign that said "rough road next 10 miles". Dude. Apparently they missed the 6 miles of rough road before the sign. And coming out of there? We got stuck behind "Ashy 89" (according to her license plates) who was doing 30 mph on a 55 mph two lane highway. And the road was all curvy and hilly so I couldn't pass.

Me: Why the hell are we going so slow?

Mike: Because we're stuck behind Ashy.

Me: Yeah, but why is Ashy going so slow?

Mike: (reading a roadside sign) Woodland Church of the Brethren

Me: That sounds like the church from Children of the Corn. Maybe Ashy's scared one of the Children of the Corn will jump in front of her car and that's why she's going so slow.

Mike: Maybe Ashy IS one of the Children of the Corn and she's driving slow so that they can get us.

Me: Um. My mind already went there and then shied away. Do you really want to play that game on these tiny roads hemmed in by corn??

Luckily, nothing got us. I did see a ton of little cemeteries, but I forgot my camera. Next time I'm bringing it and stopping. We made it to Pekin, dropped off the cat and headed to Peoria. Which is where we found out that Mike is a horrible navigator. Really. Just don't even listen to him. Thankfully, growing up in the backseat of a car gives you an innate sense of direction, a skilled ability to read highway signs, amazing powers of observation and a sense of adventure.

In Peoria we ate at Olive Garden. Mmmmmmm. Delicious. I had the mezzaluna ravioli with steak medallions. Mike had the Tour of Italy. And we shared dessert. Yummy. Thank you Peg and Dwight for the gift card!! Then we headed to the bookstore. They didn't have the books I wanted. And the ones they did have? Well, I can get them at Amazon cheaper. I did pick up a bargain book of vampire stories. Mike sat in a chair and waited for me.

Then we headed home. The drive back was easy. I knew exactly where to go. Mike would get a little antsy and be all "do you know where you're going?" or "are we on the right road?". But I did and we were. I'd point out things we'd passed to reassure him, but he didn't remember any of them. So then he fell asleep. And I meandered us back home.

It was a lovely day and a lovely adventure. I did feel a bit guilty that the kids missed Olive Garden because they are little foodies. But I did enjoy the peaceful drive. So when the kids move out for good? I think we're going to do just fine. No. I think we're going to do great.

Happy Monday,

Friday, July 16, 2010

The one where my cold returns and so will the children

So I thought my cold was better. In fact, I felt pretty much fine yesterday. And then I got up this morning and it was back. With a vengeance. But I got up anyway and stumbled to my computer, mumbling "tea" as I passed Mike in the hall. We've been together so long that he understands that this is in actuality a request for him to please please pretty please make me a cup of tea and bring it to me in order that I might function properly. And he did. I could get seriously addicted to him being home more often. So I consumed my delicious cup of tea, wrote an article about the whole Mel Gibson fiasco, answered emails, played a few minutes of bejeweled. Then I started to stumble out of my office so I could straighten the kitchen, take something out for dinner, make the bed and take a shower. I was mumbling under my breath as I opened my door and nearly ran into Mike, who happened to be opening the door from the other side.

Mike: What did you say?

Me: I feel like crap.

Mike: You sound like crap. Your voice is all raspy and you sound stuffy.

Me: Huh.

Mike: Also your eyes are puffy and you have huge black circles. You look like you feel like crap.

Me: You do realize that you're not helping, right?

Don't you hate that when you feel awful and you tell someone and they agree that you look awful too? Is that supposed to make you feel better? But I haven't decided yet whether that upsets me more or when the person says "you don't look sick". I guess in one instance they're validating your sickness and in the other they're questioning it. I'm sick, OK? I don't need to know what you think. End of discussion.

Took Lu for her appointment yesterday. She got a pneumonia vaccine, which was required before her surgery. Mike got one in the hospital and Sean has had them before. I knew they hurt and swell up like baseball size lumps. I chose not to share that information with her prior to. Lu hates shots. This one was no exception. Then she had a blood draw and finally we saw the NP for her doctor. Platelets are up to 225,000. That puts her firmly in the normal range. Yay! So we don't have to go back for two weeks. I'm trying to be positive about this but we had the same result with the steroids last month only to have them drop by over half in a week. So I guess I'm cautiously optimistic. I'll keep a close eye on her.

Mike continues to do well. He tries to do a little more every day. He's anxious to go back to the doctor and get the results of his blood work and hopefully get released to go back to work. I will miss him. Having him home has been great. Not the way I would have preferred to do it, but still very nice.

The kids get back from camp tonight so I'm sure much hilarity will need to be posted tomorrow or Sunday. They will bring with them a mountain of dirty laundry, a bazillion stories to tell, and a whole heck of a lot of noise. Yeah, I'm totally looking forward to it. Besides, I want to find out what's up with Sean and his ex gf. I've heard rumors...

Have a great weekend everyone,

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The one where we learn the phrase "Apocalypse-worthy"

Just when you think things are beginning to percolate along in a much more manageable fashion, WHAM! you're blindsided with a summer cold. Yes, Universe, I hear your infinite wisdom loud and clear "Slow Down Spot!" Got it. And I did. I rested for two days. And really Universe, sorry, but that's the max allowance of time I can devote to me right now. I have readers to satisfy, you know??

So since the last blog was all about how bad things were going, this is going to be about how good things are now going. Mike is still healing well and chafing at the bit to get back to work. Some things will still take a while though. As our friend B so eloquently put it the other day "you get up like an old man". Ha! He does still move slower and rather guardedly. And he doesn't have a quarter of the strength he used to have. We went grocery shopping yesterday and I seriously missed Sean, my usual grocery helper. I mean, it was kind of great that Mike didn't throw things at me in the aisle or push me into displays, but Sean lifts all the heavy stuff (cat litter, cat food, dog food, soda cubes). Mike and I took turns struggling with the heavy stuff. And it took way longer to unload. He has his next appointment next week and I think they may let him go back to work.

Lu is doing good. Her side effects cleared up and she's back down in camp. I saw her briefly yesterday and she looked good. Her appointment is Thursday, so I guess we'll see what her counts are then. Hopefully they will be high.

My cold is clearing up. Mike and I are still getting to spend alot of time together and we haven't killed each other yet. He is getting kind of smart-assed, but then I'm used to that. Yesterday we had this conversation~

Me: So I submitted my favorite story I've written to my publisher friend. But now I'm super nervous. What if she hates it?? What if she hates it so much she doesn't even want to see my novel anymore??

Mike: Then you'll know you're a loser and you'd better learn to flip burgers for a living.

Me: You're such a flippin jackhole! (Jackhole is my new word. It's a combination of Jack-ass and Asshole, without actually cussing so you can use it anywhere, even church. Yes, you can use my word.)

Of course he didn't mean it. He just thought he was being funny. And I did laugh when the shock wore off. But the good news is I'm still submitting. The growing pile of rejection notices is not swallowing my ego. Yet.

And, remember how I said I got a new-to-me SUV? Well I love that car. Seriously. Love driving it. And I just got a new freelance gig that completely makes the car payment each month. How sweet is that? I'm writing articles for a new website. As soon as it's up and running I will post a link on my sidebar. I'd still like a job doing book reviews though, so if you hear of any, you know who to email, right?!

And then, there's my upcoming interview! Yes, apparently one of you thought I was interesting enough to nominate at Say Anything. I've been interviewed by Dee and the interview will be up on July 22nd! Most of you already know me plenty well enough, but maybe we'll be joined by a few new readers. Anyway, to whoever nominated me...thank you, smooches and hugs. the best part of this post...As you know, Sean decided to work Cub Resident Camp this year. He was a counselor up at the other Camp during the Cub Scout camp outs and I think he divided his time between helping at the pool and teaching a Scout Craft class (you know, knot-tying, wood working, that kind of thing). Well, one night in between sessions, this conversation ensued~

Luke: So what happened with Twister Girl?

Me: Who's Twister Girl??

Sean: She's this girl on staff that kept trying to get me and K to play Twister with her and her friend. And I told her I only play naked Twister. The next week she brought her Twister game.

Luke: Alright! So what happened?

Me: Hussy! Those are the girls your mother warned you about Sean!

Sean: You didn't warn me about any girls.

Me: Crap. Parenting Fail.

Sean: Anyway, nothing happened. I could lose my job for that. I could lose my job if she even set foot in my tent.

Lu: And that stopped you?

Sean: Well, she really wasn't Apocalypse worthy anyway.

Me: Apocalypse worthy?

Sean: Yeah. I've decided to start making decisions based on how it will affect me in the Zombie Apocalypse. K and I figured it out. She seemed like the kind of girl who would only be a hindrance in the event of Apocalypse.

Me: meaning?

Sean: I think she'd just stand around screaming. An apocalypse worthy girl has to be able to run fast, shoot a gun, and come up with good plans. She needs to smart and kick-ass.

Lu: Am I apocalypse worthy?

Sean: Of course. You've even already got zombie ass kicking boots.

Lu: It's true. I do.

Me: I can shoot a gun in real life, it's just your games that freak me out.

Luke: How about me?

Lu: Sorry hun. You don't know how to shoot. And mom, you don't run very fast.

Me: So basically, this is what you're going to need in a girl you date?

Sean: Yep.

Me: You realize you've just really narrowed the playing field, right?

Sean: Gotta do what you gotta do.

Are you apocalypse worthy?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The one where I want to throw in the towel...

Alright Universe, you win, I give, now quit the crap! First, let me apologize to my faithful readers for leaving you hanging and for not getting to comment on anyone else's blog. I've lost two Kindle subscribers (go on, desert me while I'm down, rude!) but gained two followers. Weird, huh? Anyway, hello new followers! I'm normally funny and consistent, I promise.

So, here we are roughly five weeks after Mike's accident. He's doing well. Very well for someone who almost died. And let's not mince words, he did almost die. And sometimes I still have flashbacks to that trauma room in the ER and I shudder. Luckily for him, he doesn't remember that part. But he does remember coming to after the accident and being stuck in the truck and unable to breathe. But it's not so bad. Because those are the memories that make us realize he almost wasn't here any longer. Those are the memories that remind us to be thankful. The memories that remind us to be grateful for one another.

The surgeon says he's healing great and he doesn't need to see him anymore. The GI doctor cleared him. The kidney specialist doesn't need to see him for three months. Ah, but the medical doctor. He's the one who won't let him go back to work just yet. (Thank you Dr. Andrews!) Mike's doing well except for a funny little drop in blood pressure. Forty points to be exact. His BP drops forty points when he stands up and his heart rate increases the same, making him a prime candidate for another fainting episode. Remember the last one? Yeah, me too. Let's not do that again! So he took back his driving privileges and said he had to have supervision at all times. He's not a happy camper. In fact, he argued with the doctor, who then told him he was acting like one of his kids. (This does explain where Molly gets it from). In the end, the doctor won, of course. But I got to listen to Mike complain and bluster about it. It was then that I realized thinking I'd never get annoyed with my husband again, may have been a tad unrealistic. And then we had this conversation~

Me: So this is what I'm getting from all are so bored spending time with me and can't wait to get back to work and away from me. That all that time I spent helping to keep you alive and healing was for nothing because you don't care if you go back to work too soon and have an accident. Nothing matters except what you want and that since you didn't get you're way, you're going to behave like a 5 yr old.

Mike: I really don't understand how you can twist things like that. What kind of mind do you have? I don't mean any of that! Except maybe the not getting my way part.

Me: Whatever. I see how it is. You can just start taking care of yourself again buster.

Mike: I'm sorry sweetie honey punkin-poo (um. okay, so did anyone just throw up in their mouths a little? He only uses this name when he knows he's in deep sh*t) I'm just so bored and ready to get back to work.

Me: Mentally yes. Wait for the physical to catch up please. Two weeks and you see him again.

Then there's Lu. Poor Lu. I waver between deep sympathy for her and extreme frustration. She wants to schedule her disease around her life and it doesn't work that way. Sometimes you have to schedule your life around your disease. She went in for her first IVIG infusion Tuesday. Her platelets had dropped further to 78,000. We had been told that the infusion would take about four hours. Well, it took six. But they give her tylenol and benadryl before hand so she slept for the first 3 hours. But then she was angry that it took so long, when she wanted to get back to camp. It's staff week at the camp she works at and she hated taking time off. The next day she had a severe headache and nausea. They gave her meds for it when we went in for the infusion and since she'd done well the day before, they got to go a little faster and it only took four hours. But that night she started running a 101 degree fever, severe headache, nausea, stiff neck, kidney pain, aching legs and rash. I called the doctor first thing in the morning.

Here's where it gets stupid...the doctor's office made me bring her in to their office. She had blood taken first and then luckily they took pity on her and got her back to a room with a bed so she could lay down. The doctor came in finally and examined her and then said it was all side effects from the IVIG. No Sh*t Sherlock!! I told you guys that on the phone. You made me drag her in here for that revelation?! Then he says to take her home and give her tylenol. For real genius?! Tylenol? Yeah, so I've already done that because it's not my first day wearing the Mom hat. It did nothing for her. So after much discussion, he ordered painkillers and nausea meds. Hello waste of time. Couldn't that have been accomplished over the phone?? You know, while my child was sleeping in her own bed?

The good news was that her platelets were up to 145,000 so the IVIG is working. Hopefully it will buy her four weeks of higher counts. Next blood test on Thursday. When they do the IVIG next month they said they would stretch it out over 5 days in hopes of reducing some of the reaction. Hopefully that works. Luckily, she's better, only a much less intense headache has hung on. She did see the surgeon and set up a date for the splenechtomy. August 17th. Unfortunately, it will be a full surgery, not laparoscopy. So there will be a smallish scar under her left ribs. The surgeon has promised to make it as pretty as possible, no railroad Frankenstein thing like her Dads. Lol. But she will be in the hospital for 5-6 days and have a 4 week recovery.

And then, there are the results of my MRI. Guess who gets to schedule her surgery sometime when everyone else is doing well? Yep, me. Turns out my meniscus is torn. And the chrondomalacia is severe. The doctor asked how I was walking around on my knee without chewing on painkillers all the time. I told her no one sent me the memo where I had a choice?! Anyway, hopefully it will get taken care of in September. Seems like a relatively easy surgery compared to the others. Two small incisions on either side of my knee to remove torn part of the meniscus and shave away some of that roughened cartilage on the back of my kneecap. Maybe that knee won't make that grinding noise anymore! And then a week on crutches and I'm good to go.

Well, I wouldn't want to leave you thinking we've had only bad news this week. So in the good news category: We had an awesome 4th of July with my sister and her family. Great food, swimming, and some small fireworks for the girls. Kids and sparklers are so much fun! Sean got his class schedule set and is officially a college freshman! And I got a new (used) SUV that I love. And I didn't get any rejection notices this week on the stuff I have out on submission. So there is positive. Always. And there has been funny. I promise funny next time.

Hope everyone in blogland and facebook world are doing well. Your emails, comments and well wishes are always appreciated. Even if I don't have the time (or energy) to respond, know that they make me smile.

Happy Saturday,