Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dental Dysphoria

I (thankfully) have health insurance through my job. Unfortunately, I don't have dental insurance. Luckily, I found a local technical school that offers a dental clinic at (drastically) reduced prices three days a week. The clinic is very small (two dental chairs for exams/cleanings, one x-ray station). Before you freak out, let me explain a bit. The technical school trains dental assistants. They have several licensed dentists on staff to assist in their training. The dentists see the patients, while the dental assistant students get to practice taking x-rays, assisting and such on live people, instead of mannequins or computers. Knowing it was an actual dentist who would be working on me eased my mind quite a bit, so I scheduled an appointment for yesterday (Wednesday).

I haven't been to the dentist in (gulp!) 6 years. I desperately needed a cleaning, and also had a cavity I noticed recently. I also have a "filling" that is actually what was originally a temporary solution for a broken tooth that needed a crown. The dentist in G-town used filling material to seal up the broken off area and build it up to look like an actual premolar. I was warned this would probably only last about a year and that I needed a crown. And this was six years ago! So I knew it would need to get checked out to see how sound the tooth was.

Yesterday, I arrived for my appointment five minutes early, because I knew I would have to fill out some papers. I was the first person to sign in, and the first appointment of the day. However, since I had to fill out paperwork, they let another person go in front of me. Then, the students couldn't figure out how to get the x-ray machine set up properly, so another person (who didn't need x-rays) got to go in front of me. 30 minutes after my appointment time, I finally got to go back to the x-ray station. I was being nice and patient; I could tell the girl was very new and was struggling with getting the x-ray films properly into the little doohickeys that a patient bites down on while they get the films. I didn't even bite her fingers when she tried to put the plastic thingie in my mouth the wrong way and almost sliced the soft tissue under my tongue with it. See? To me, that's being nice. Finally, another 40 minutes later, all my x-rays had been developed and all the improperly positioned ones were retaken. I was asked to wait back in the waiting area while the dentists finished up the current exams.

The "clinic" is basically just a big open room, where - if an impatient and nosy person (um.... "me") turns around - anyone can see what's being done to anyone else at any given time. Unfortunately, I happened to get impatient and nosy enough to look around just as the dentist stood up and used her own body weight as leverage to extract a bad tooth from another patient. And I got to see a whole lot of blood go dribbling out of his mouth. At this point, I was starting to rethink my desire to save money.

Just as I was getting ready to get up and pay for the x-rays and leave, they called my name. I could have still left - it was, after all, two hours past my original appointment time. But I was already there and I wanted the cavity taken care of. I was also anxious to see what condition the rest of my teeth were in. So, I went on back. I got a little concerned when the dental assistant couldn't figure out how to make the suction thingie work. Still, I told myself, she's a student so give her a chance. I REALLY got concerned when she managed to hit herself in the head with the overhead light. I reasoned that someone that clumsy had no business being anywhere NEAR the inside of my mouth. I anxiously asked her if she would be doing any of the cleaning, or if the dentist does all of that. When she replied that all she does is hand the dentist the tools and do suction, I felt MUCH better.

The dentist arrived, a nice woman who said she'd been practicing dentistry for about 15 years. This also made me feel better, but I was still a little stressed about how she had to extract the last patient's tooth. However, I was not there for a tooth extraction, and comforted myself with that thought. She looked at all my teeth and only found the one cavity. She also stated that my teeth were in excellent shape for someone who hadn't been to the dentist in as long as I had, and that the "temporary" tooth was just fine and didn't need to be replaced. The only bad thing was, my teeth were so sensitive that she couldn't do a normal cleaning with the little swirly brush thingie, she had to just use the scraper doohickie - and only after thoroughly numbing my gums. This sensitivity lead her to use a shot of novacaine on me before filling my cavity.

Keep in mind, though, that I was supposed to go back to work after my appointment. Do you know how hard it is to answer the phone when half your face feels like it is gone? I looked at myself in the mirror and I looked like Tw0-Face from "Batman." When I smiled, only the right side of my face did anything. The left side didn't move at all! When I talked, my words slurred and stumbled. This is the state I was in when I left my appointment - three full hours after I arrived.

On the way back to work, I almost got side-swiped by a teenager in a suped-up ride. I can only imagine what the cops would have thought was wrong with me if they had been called to the scene of an accident. I probably would have been arrested for DWI.

Luckily, no one called us for the hour I had to be at work yesterday afternoon. If they had, they would have had a very hard time understanding me. I, however, would have probably been highly entertained by my own efforts to make understood the words "scanning electron microscope" or "energy-dispersive x-ray spectroscopy" when slurred out of only half my mouth.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My Sister Saves My Life - Years After She Died

When I was a freshman or sophomore in high school, I hated riding the bus to school. It was crowded, we had to wait outside early in the morning when it was freezing out, and it took forever to get to school (all grade levels rode the same bus, so we had to drop off the elementary kids, then the middle schoolers, then the high schoolers finally got to get off). Fortunately, I had an older brother who had an awesome car (metallic blue 1966 Ford Mustang), and my mother had told him he had to take me to school sometimes. She was smart enough not to insist on all the time - because nothing steals away the coolness of your hot wheels faster than having a tag-along little sister.

Anyway, one night, I made arrangements to ride to school with my brother the next morning. I had to stay up late working on a homework assignment, and riding with my brother meant an extra 45 minutes of sleep in the mornings. He agreed, and I stayed up late to finish my homework.

The next morning, my brother came in my room and snottily informed me that I was not riding to school with him, so I had better get my butt out the door and on the bus! Thoroughly confused (not to mention ticked off), I argued with him, asked him why I couldn't ride with him. His response was an adamant, "Because I don't want you to."

At this point, I could hear the bus coming down the hill getting near the stop. So I grabbed my toothbrush, threw on some clothes (didn't even have time to SHOWER, ugh!), and raced for the bus. I grumbled and glowered the whole ride, thoroughly working myself up into a state. I was determined that, as soon as I got to school, I was going to call Mom at work - she had already left for work when my brother and I had our argument - and tell on him! As we all know, tattling is the secret weapon of little sisters everywhere. But when I got to school and went to use the payphone in the attendance office, the line was way too long. I knew if I waited, I'd be late for homeroom. I also knew Mom would already be out delivering the mail by the time I got another opportunity to call. This just ratcheted my bad mood up to a whole new level. I spent all of homeroom glowering at everyone, muttering under my breath and being as miserable a human being as I could. After all, there's nothing worse for a teenage girl than having to go to school - not only not having a chance to shower - but not having a chance to put on make-up and/or fix her hair, either. It was a humiliating experience!

But when I got to first period, my attitude changed completely. My brother's homeroom teacher happened to be my first hour teacher. When she saw me, the first thing she asked me was "Where's your brother?" I was stunned! What did she mean, where's my brother? He should have been there. I'd seen him myself getting ready for school. What was going on? My anger at him began to turn to worry. I knew he wouldn't have skipped school that day. He had plans to meet up with friends and do something (I don't remember what, now) right after school, on school grounds. He wouldn't risk skipping school then being on school grounds later. He was smarter than that. Something had to be wrong!

My brother and I shared another teacher, so when I got to her class, the first thing I asked her was if my brother had been in class. She said no, as well. By this time, I was really freaking out. By the end of the day, I was frantic to know where he was and what had happened. Of course, this was all before cell-phones were affordable/popular (or smaller than the size of a breadbox), so I couldn't call him. I also couldn't reach my mom, because she was out on the mail route.

When I got home, I discovered what had happened. There was a real dipstick who lived on our road. One of those drivers who doesn't pay attention to anyone else, drives down the middle of narrow country roads just because she has a big vehicle and thinks she's entitled, you know the type. She crested the top of a blind hill and stopped in the middle of the road just over the apex. My brother was behind her, and - since she was right over the crest of the hill, in the middle of the road in a blind spot - he hit her square in the rear of the vehicle. This was a long hill, so my brother usually had a pretty good clip going by the time he reached the top of the hill. This day was no exception. He wound up totalling his car, his windshield shattered, his bottom teeth banged against the steering wheel,got partially flattened and shoved back in his mouth (the only thing that saved his teeth was the fact that he had braces), and - because he had long hair and dressed all in black - he got extensive questioning by the local law enforcement who responded. They thought he was on drugs and had caused the accident! (Fortunately, there was a neighbor who saw everything and set the record straight.)

Anyway, when I got home and ascertained he was in one piece, I asked him why on earth he wouldn't let me ride to school with him that morning. His reply? "Jodi told me not to." My sister had come to him in a dream the night before and told him under no circumstances was he to let me in the car with him that day. Jodi told him to say or do whatever it took to keep me out of the car that day, so that's why he was so mean to me about it. If she hadn't insisted, I might not be here to relate this story.

In the course of surveying the scene and looking over my brother's car, one of the state policemen made the comment that it was a good thing no one was riding with my brother at the time of the accident. The front passenger side seatbelt was defective, and would not have worked at all. If anyone had been sitting there, they would have gone clear into the windshield - causing either horrendous disfiguration or even death, according to the state trooper.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Wow. That last post was something, wasn't it?

Sorry, guys.  Didn't realize just how much spewage I was spilling, but it felt good to rant a bit and get it off my chest.  Thank you for all the comments and encouragement.  And Jamie, you didn't tread on my feelings, you spoke truth.  It was something I obviously needed to hear.
Tonight, I am sitting at my computer waiting to go out to dinner with my Jamie, Spencer, Julie and Jon.  We've been planning for weeks to get together and just chit chat.  The more I get to know these people, the more blessed I am by knowing them.  They are smart, funny, compassionate, loving Christians, and I am lucky to know them.  After dinner, I think we're going to hit the used book store.  They like to read as much as I do, and I am hoping Spencer's love of reading is rubbing off on Jamie.
We worked for three hours on the old house today, and got a lot accomplished.  We might go back out there tonight after dinner, but more than likely it will be tomorrow after church.  We need to make some major progress, though, because I have to turn in the keys on Friday.  Yikes!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Absence From His Grave

One of my relatives has been sending me e-mails asking me to send pictures of Dad’s gravestone.  I’ll be happy to oblige, once I actually go visit his grave.  I keep meaning to go but just can’t bring myself to do it.  I’m still very angry with him for so many, many things: the way he treated his children, the way he treated my mother, DEFINITELY some of the things he did and said to my son.  Most of all, I’m angry with him for not going to get the tests he was told repeatedly to get! No fewer than four doctors stressed urgently he needed to get the mass in his neck looked at because it could be cancer.  Did he go? Nope.  He found excuses and blustered and fussed and failed to keep his appointments each time.  I’m also angry at him for leaving a huge mess behind for me and my brother to clean up.  Typical Dad, leave the sh!t for someone else to clean up.  I’m angry about the lies he told everyone, the times he wasn’t there, basically a lifetime of betrayals, in several different forms.  So I haven’t worked myself up to be able to go to his grave yet.  Not because I’m horrendously sad, like I was when Mom died.  More because I know I’ll wind up getting arrested if I start defacing a tombstone in a National Cemetery – even if it does belong to my father.  I’ve learned over the past several months that just because he’s dead doesn’t mean my anger went away. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Guardian Angel, Episode 1

Some of you have heard me tell stories about my sister reassurring me when times were hard, saving my life once or twice, and even watching over my son. Only problem for "rational" people when hearing these stories is that - in most cases, my sister was already dead when they happened. If you've heard these stories before, or read them here several years ago (I think I posted about some of them), I'll forgive you if you decide to skip these posts. I hate reruns, too! :-)

Before my sister died, my mother and father had put down an offer on a house in my mother's hometown of Mount Sterling. It was a bigger house with a private bedroom and bath my sister could use exclusively. At that time, for a full year after a bone marrow transplant, they recommended the patient be secluded from everyone else and have a sterile, dedicated environment. So the plan was for my sister to have the master bedroom and bathroom, and the rest of us would use the other 1 1/2 baths and other bedrooms in the house. My brother and I had never been to this house and my parents never showed us pictures or described it - not out of inconsideration for my brother's and my feelings, but because they were so darn exhausted trying to be with Jodi, take care of me as I recovered from the donation procedure (very traumatic for me!) and tried to spend equal time with my brother so he didn't feel left out.

Well, as you know, Jodi never got to come home. She contracted Hepatitus C from a contaminated blood donation, her liver failed, and she died. Right after she died, we found out that - regardless of the fact that Jodi was now dead and we didn't really NEED that house - we had to go through with the move because somewhere along the way Mom and Dad signed a contract, so they had to go through with the sale.

Fast forward a couple of nights. I was feeling really down about Jodi dying, hearing over and over again my father tell me "You should have been the one who died. Jodi was the good daughter," and generally feeling it was my fault she was gone (no one had yet explained to me she died from the hepatitus, and that the bone marrow transplant was actually a success). That night, Jodi came to me in a dream, and told me it wasn't my fault, and warned me that Mom would need me to be there for her. Jodi said Mom was going to go into a depression, that Joel and I would fight all the time, but that we had to stick together. She also told me to forget what Dad said, he was a jerk and that he and Mom would be divorcing again and things in that department would get better. The strange thing during this dream was not that Jodi was having a conversation with me. That part felt perfectly normal. The strange thing was that I was trying to follow her, and she wouldn't let me. I kept begging her to let me go with her, but she said no, it wasn't my time yet. I kept chasing her around and around a house I had never seen before. It was a split level, three story house, with a strange, spooky crawl space in the lowest part of the house, and a roof that drooped really close to the ground in the back. In the dream, I kept chasing her over, around and through this house, until finally she told me her time was up and that I would have to be strong, but ultimately I would be fine.

I woke up with tears on my cheeks, and my room even smelled like her favorite perfume (Love's Baby Soft) when I woke up. But no Jodi.

I almost forgot about the dream, until moving day arrived. When we finally pulled up in front of our new house, I got chills up and down my spine. It was the house I had chased Jodi through in my dream! Every single detail was the same, from the roof pitching so low, to how big the yard was, to the spooky crawl space. And when I went upstairs, my mother didn't have to tell me which room was supposed to be mine. I could already tell. When I walked in, it smelled just like Love's Baby Soft.

Next time: My sister saves my life, six years after she died.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

College Updates

Some of you may have noticed by my Twitter stream that I somehow managed to pull off an “A” in both my Criminology class and my Spanish class.  I’m now enjoying having seven weeks of concentrating on my kid, my house(s), and myself.  I’m enjoying this newfound sense of peace and relaxation so much that I dropped the two classes not required for my degree program that I was going to take in the Fall for fun.  I decided that peace of mind and a chance to help my kid through the worries and trials of middle school life – i.e., more homework and stricter homework deadlines, fitting in, making new friends, etc. - as well as a desire to be able to be more active in church and community, was much more important than taking two classes I don’t really need to finish my degree. This way, I can be more present for Jamie’s needs, join Spencer’s church (and sing in the Christmas cantata), and possibly even join a book club or work more on knitting.  I am much less stressed at the prospect of one more semester of school now, and Jamie is much less stressed about starting middle school.  It seems he was afraid I’d be so boggled down with homework and so stressed out all the time, I couldn’t be as readily available to help him adjust to being a middle schooler.  Two much less stressed people equals a much happier household!

Monday, July 20, 2009

From Devil Dogs to Stupid Dogs

I’ll interrupt my series of spooky true stories (or truly spooky stories) to illustrate for you how stupid my dogs are.  Yesterday, Jamie and I went to the old house to do more cleaning, packing, disposing, etc.  While there, we picked up the sliding door insert that contains a doggie door so I wouldn’t have to keep letting them in and out all the time.  After a bit of coaxing, Ziggy was persuaded to go out the doggie door (he doesn’t like things that flap so close to his face); Buddy already knew (I thought) how to use one because my dad had one for him.  This morning, I opened the lock on the doggie door to let them out (we lock it at night to keep the neighborhood critters from barging in).  Fifteen minutes later, the dogs are sitting outside the door – barking and yipping to be let back in!  They understood they could use it to go out, but couldn’t comprehend that the same door would let them back in!  Stupid dogs!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Devil Dog

When I was in 5th grade, I had a friend whom we'll call A- for the purposes of this story. A- and I both attended the old SG elementary and were in the same class. A- and I were both outcasts of a sort - me because I was considered so durn weird, and she because she was so durn poor. We often paired up together to work on projects, and by default played together at recess. One fall day, A- invited me to spend the night at her house that upcoming Friday. Her mother called my mother, and my mother reluctantly let me go, but impressed upon me the fact that no matter what time of night I could call her to come get me at any time. (I found out later this was because my mother had heard rumors about her mother, but there were no actual charges and no concrete reason to say "no" without seeming like a hypocrite, so she let me go.)

That Friday, I rode the bus home with A-. She lived way out in the backwoods of the county, where the roads were literally paved over cowpaths. She only lived marginally closer to SG than she did to S'ville, so that's how she wound up going to SG elementary with me. The bus actually couldn't get all the way back to where her house was, so her mother had to meet us in her car quite a ways from their house. The rest of the road (and I use this term loosely) was so narrow I was afraid their car would plunge off the edge of the road and down the steep hillside. We pulled up outside their house, and my heart sank. The steps were wobbly and barely held on to the rotted and warped porch by a few rusty and bent nails. The house had holes in the walls. As I walked up those steps, A- told me where to step so I didn't fall through. The porch was the same way. She told me to walk where she walked, lest the porch fall in. This wouldn't have been so bad if the porch hadn't been about five feet up off the ground. I knew if I fell through that, I could be seriously hurt.

The evening went downhill from there. A- turned surly and churlish; she'd hardly talk to me. I tried to get her to play cards or something with me, but she ignored me. Her mother started drinking beer the minute we got in the door, soon followed by straight vodka out of the bottle. Then her mother sat on the floor and shot rubberbands at the mice and rats that scurried across the floor, laughing hysterically and saying "Betcha ain't never had no entertainment like this afore!"

I tried to stick it out. I was so adamant that my mother let me go on the sleepover, despite her misgivings, that I didn't want to prove her right (I was a stubborn cuss even then). As the night got later and the house got colder, I became more miserable and finally made up an excuse that I didn't feel well and needed to call my mother. Even though she was drunk as a skunk, A-'s mom was able to give my mom directions. It helped that my mom was a mail carrier and had once substituted on a route in that area. Otherwise, I doubt she would have found the place based on A-'s mom's directions.

It was fully dark by the time Mom picked me up. I remember that it was cold enough to see my breath, and there were dark clouds scudding over a nearly-full moon. The house and all the area were surrounded by bare, tall trees. It was quite spooky outside so I rushed to the car, hoping I was moving fast enough that if the porch did fall in, I'd have already gotten across it before I fell through.

We pulled out of the driveway and started our way back toward the main roads. Mom couldn't drive very fast because it was dark, the road was very twisty, and there were no reflectors or lines to speak of to show where the road ended and a long slide down a steep ravine began. The tree tops closed up overhead, only letting patchy moonlight through their bald limbs. Even with Mom's headlights on bright, it was difficult to see more than a few feet ahead. Mom was concentrating on the road, so we weren't talking much. I was just relieved to be in the warm car, knowing I was safe with her. Then the hair on the back of my neck and my arms lifted straight up.

I don't know why, but I slowly turned my head to the right to look out my window. Running along beside our car was a big black thing. I couldn't see much of it in the backwash from my mom's headlights, other than to tell it was HUGE. The little bit of light from the night reflected red from its eyes. It was irrational, but I reached out and slammed the lock down on the door. Mom glanced over to see what was wrong with me. When the car swerved to the left and I heard her suck in her breath, I asked her "Do you see it, too?" I was hoping it was just a figment of my overactive imagination. That hope was dashed when Mom muttered "Oh, shit" and started driving faster.

Whatever it was, it kept up just fine with our car. Mom had a Ford Taurus at the time. I remember thinking whatever it was outside our car must have been really really big, because it seemed like it was having to duck its head to look in the window at me as it ran along beside us. It even snapped its teeth at the window, as though it were trying to get to me through the glass. Mom went faster, and the thing kept running alongside. I had moved over as close as I physically could to Mom without actually climbing into her lap. Part of me knew not to get too close, though, because she needed both arms to get us the hell out of there.

Mom looked down at the speedometer and noted she coudn't go much faster and stay on the twisty road. She was already going 50 mph and the thing seemed to have no trouble keeping up, snarling and snapping at my window. Mom just kept on going, and finally we approached bigger, straighter roads with less vegetation. Mom floored it to 70 mph, and when I looked up again, the thing was gone. I'm not even sure when it disappeared - one second it was there, the next it was gone.

When we got home, I asked Mom to describe what she had seen. Naturally, she was concentrating mostly on the road, so she didn't get a good look at it. But her general description fit mine - humongous, black, and scary as hell. It was bigger and faster than a dog, but somehow conveyed the impression of something canine.

To this day, I get nervous when I'm in wooded areas after dark - even if I'm driving through. I still don't know what that thing was, and I hope never to find out. I think if I got close enough to it to see what it actually was, I'd probably be on its menu.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Presence in the Attic

In the early years of college (the first time around), I drove over to visit with Mandi at her parents’ house.  For those of you who don’t know, Mandi lived way up in the north end of the county, in an area still heavily wooded and (at times) downright creepy.  True, she lived right off of a U.S. highway, but the house was old and set back off the road.  I’m not sure how old, but it was old enough that at the time there was no indoor plumbing other than the kitchen sink.

When I arrived, it was late afternoon.  I’d never really been in Mandi’s house before; I knew where it was, I had been in the downstairs living room briefly to pick her up for us to head to a dance club in Cincy, but I hadn’t spent any real time there.  Mandi and I headed up to her room to listen to music, chit-chat and the like, when her dad (I think) hollered up the stairs at her that she needed to get down to the kitchen and do the dishes.  I got the feeling from his tone he was a little peeved they hadn’t been done yet.  I could be wrong, though.  Anyway, Mandi told me to go ahead and listen to the radio and paw through her books to see if there was anything I wanted to borrow and then went downstairs to do the dishes.

Mandi’s room was basically a converted attic, with lots of rooms opening up off of what she used as her main room.  The stairs to her room were accessed by a door downstairs, then you climbed up a fairly steep staircase, then the whole upstairs just kind of opened up into several rooms.  The ceiling pitched at steep angles in places (or so I remember), and there were lots of blind corners.  I wandered around a bit upstairs, but stuck mainly to the room where Mandi’s stuff was.  I could occasionally hear the clink of dishes and water running coming from downstairs, but it was mostly muffled because the door at the bottom of the stairs was closed.

After a bit, I got bored and went to listen to the radio.  As I was sitting on the bed fiddling with the radio dial (her stereo was on a shelving unit next to the bed), I heard the door at the bottom of the steps open and close, then footsteps coming up the stairs.  I turned around to ask Mandi what station she wanted to listen to, but there was nobody there – even though I could hear the footsteps approaching me across the floor.  The footsteps stopped right beside the bed, then the mattress next to me sank down a bit, and the radio started flipping up and down through the channels.  I don’t remember exactly what happened next; I remember thinking that I better not freak out too visibly, because obviously that’s what it wanted.  I slowly walked downstairs and asked Mandi if we could go hangout elsewhere.  I think I suggested we go to the movies or something.  I don’t remember what happened after that, if we went to the movies, or Mandi couldn’t leave or what.  My memory is fuzzy (this was, after all, more than a decade ago). However,  I do know I never went upstairs in her house again.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Summer Camp Request

Today, when I was home at lunch, Jamie announced he was tired of being home, and bored, and missed people, so he wanted to go to summer camp.

"What kind of summer camp? I asked, scrambling around in my brain wondering where this all was coming from.

"You know, summer camp!" he replied. (As if that would make it SOOO much clearer for me. I don't know WHAT I was thinking. LOL)

"Jamie, what KIND of summer camp?" I asked (and wondered how the hell I was going to pay for it, even if finally articulated just exactly what he wanted).

"Granny Susan and Grandpa David summer camp, or Uncle Janet and Aunt Alvin* summer camp, or Uncle Joel summer camp!" he practically shouted at me, with tears standing in his eyes. Several of his friends go to summer camp, several other friends go to visit relatives. Jamie was mixing the two notions in his mind. He also isn't feeling good, so that jumbles things even more. Lastly, he gets lonely at home all by himself, and wants to be doing "stuff" with people who love him. And he misses the above-mentioned people great big bunches.

(sigh) Sometimes I forget how hard it can be to be a kid. I also don't know what it's like to be an only child, so I forget that that can get lonely, too. I felt bad for him, and vowed to try to do more stuff together the rest of the summer. Luckily, Vacation Bible School is next week at Spencer's church, and Jamie will be going with Spencer. That should give him plenty of fun stuff to do. I also think he's tired of Mom at this point. Can't say I blame him. I'd be tired of me, too! :-)

*This is an old, old family joke from when my brother and I were little. We used to get the concept of "aunt" and "uncle" switched around, and I kind of carried it on to Jamie.

Monday, July 13, 2009


UPDATE (7/14/09): Jamie has swimmer's ear, which means no swimming the rest of this week - so no trip to Six Flags. They usually spend most of the day in the water park. He also has a slight summer cold. The doc also recommended Jamie go back to his neurologist about the higher frequency of migraines. Also, a visit to the asthma doc is recommended to re-evaluate Jamie's asthma. The doc said the sounds he heard could be due to the summer cold, or it could mean the asthma is worsening. In the mean time, keep the air as clean and fumes-free as possible, and keep him out of the heat. So, no painting the rest of the house until this fall when I can open up the windows wide to let the fumes out without letting a whole bunch of heat in. Despite Jamie's slight cold, we're still making our promised trip to Incredible's Pizza tonight. I think I'll take advantage of the fact that Spencer will be with us, and spend most of my time contentedly reading my book. I'm too tired to go running around with the boys!

Just a few random things to report. I’m not doing much of anything right now as I recuperate from summer classes. The following items are all that are happening around here.

1. Taking Jamie to the doctor this afternoon. He’s having severe pain in his right ear (sounds like an ear infection to me), he’s had an almost constant headache for the last week to week-and-a-half (sinus infection, maybe, which lead to the ear infection?), and he wrenched his knee while running Saturday night. I can’t be normal and take my kid to the doctor for one thing. Nope, we have to go for multiple items at once!

2. I got an A in my criminology class this summer. I don’t have official results yet (the teacher is late turning in the grades), but I did my own calculations, and it looks like a got at least a “C”, but more than likely a “B”, in my Spanish class – proof that the prayers of the desperate are sometimes answered!

3. Provided Jamie recovers sufficiently from the ailments listed in #1, he has a busy week lined up. Tomorrow, I’m taking him and Spencer to Incredible’s Pizza Co. (kind of like Mr. Gatti’s, but much more cool!) for dinner. Wednesday, he’s going back to Six Flags with Spencer and Julie. Thursday, he’s going ice skating with my boss’ daughter, Michal. Friday, he’s going somewhere (not sure exactly where) with his Big Brother, Bill. He can’t claim he’s bored this week!

4. I did nothing but read all weekend, because I was a touch ill, myself. I had grand plans to work on the old house, but my body had different ideas. Oh, well, the rest was much needed.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Conversations With the Dead

I don't know if it was
the death I saw too soon,
the sorrow I experienced too young,
or the innocence that was lost too quickly.
For whatever reason
I have seen the invisible,
I have heard the silence screaming,
and have been aged well beyond my years.


The above came to me this morning as a result of a blog "conversation" between Steph, myself and several of the bloggers I regularly read and/or personally know regarding Steph's supernatural experience in Amsterdam (read pt. 1 here and pt. 2 here). I have had several supernatural and/or just plain weird experiences in my life. Many people I know have such experiences as well. While some may be chalked up to impressionable minds or runaway imaginations, this is not always the case. Sometimes there is no explanation. And that's okay. I hope to never be able to explain away all my experiences; if I could, it would take away some of the mystery and beauty from my life, and some of the comfort, as well.

*Just so you know, the above may not be reproduced, copied, reposted, etc. without the express permission of the author - ME. :-)

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Comedy of Errors

Jamie is going to Six Flags today with his friend Spencer. He almost didn't get to go. Spencer was over at our house last night to play with Jamie and eat dinner with us. Spencer reminded Jamie they were going to Six Flags today. Jamie realized he had no clue where his season pass was. So the hunt began, with no luck. We couldn't find his season pass ANYWHERE! We turned every room in the house upside down looking for the durn thing, to no avail. It was simply nowhere to be found.

Finally, Jamie remembered that he last saw it on the reclining couch. I was looking through the coupon book that came with the pass, then handed the pass and coupon book to him and told him to put them in a safe place. Then I got up off the couch and did homework (this was a week or so ago). After I got up off the couch, I had no idea what he had done with them. This is a recurring theme in our house. Jamie has something he's supposed to put away, he wanders around the house with it in his hands, then he lays it down somewhere when his attention is grabbed by something else, and promptly forgets about it.

He finally remembered last night that he had slipped the pass inside the coupon book, then MAY have put the coupon book back down on the couch. We reclined the side we usually sit on, and sure enough, there was the coupon book. But still no pass. We figured the pass must have fallen out into the bowels of the reclining mechanism. But nobody could get to the mechanism! In their infinite wisdom, the furniture company had put a material "bottom" on the underside of the couch. This meant, of course, that things dropped inside the couch would not go straight down to the floor where one could actually retrieve them. To further complicate things, the middle of this reclining couch is a console for storage. The way the bottom is fashioned means that NOTHING that slips under the console is retrievable. Guess where the pass wound up?

By this time, Spencer's mom Julie had come over to aid in the search and pick up Spencer. We finally wound up having to tilt up the couch, with Julie, the boys and I all tipping it back to reach the underside. Then Julie had to use my utility knife to slit the material from the bottom of the couch underneath the console. The pass promptly fell to the floor. It only took us three hours total to find the durn thing.

Now, I bet you're wondering why I didn't just have Jamie go to guest services at Six Flags for a replacement pass. See, I was trying to make this a teaching lesson on the importance of taking care of your stuff and putting it where it belongs (nevermind the fact that I still haven't learned this lesson. Do as I say, not as I do). I believe Jamie's terror at the idea of not being able to go to the park with his friends helped teach him this lesson; unfortunately, it also threw out my back. Those reclining couches are very heavy, even with help.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Odds 'N Ends

Apparently, Blogger thinks our recipe blog is spam. R.O.U.S.-es is under review as we speak because it has been flagged as a spam site. I'm not sure, but maybe I put too many links in my last post today. Sorry about that, guys!

According to the news media, nothing is going on in the world these days that is more important than Michael Jackson's death. Puh-leaze, people! It is time to talk about something more newsworthy than a celebrity dying. I'm sure there's SOMETHING else they could talk about - I mean, troops overseas, political tensions, murder rates, that strange rabbit-obsessed woman getting arrested for violating her parole orders to stay away from bunnies (true, I kid you not!), SOMETHING has got to be more newsworthy! I am currently on a news strike until all talk of Wacko Jacko has ceased.

Jamie has discovered what happens when you have white rubber bands on your braces and eat something with mustard on it. His red, white and blue patriotic braces are now red, blue and BRIGHT YELLOW! No amount of brushing will remove the yellow color. I find this vastly amusing!

Tonight I will take my Spanish oral exam. Tomorrow is my written final in that class. Then I am free from schoolwork for seven whole weeks! The only bad thing about this is that it frees me up to work on the old house and straightening the new one. Dangit! I vow to be lazy for at least two days before I bust my butt on the houses. I think I deserve a little bit of play time before I get busy, don't you?

Saturday, July 04, 2009

A Bit of "Culture" For Your Independence Day

I stole this from Joni's blog, and she stole it from someone else. It was so funny, I just had to repost it here for all to enjoy!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Fourthly Fun

I'm spoiling the heck out of my kid this weekend. Tonight, we're going to the circus (see previous post). Since there is a chance they will be selling peanuts, Jamie has agreed to go wearing a face mask, and I have declared he cannot sit down or touch anything until I have wiped our seats down with antibacterial wipes to remove any peanut/nut antigens. He said he doesn't care what he has to wear, he's just happy he gets to see a circus. I think that's a fine attitude to have, don't you?

Tomorrow, we're going to make some banana pudding, work on the old house, I'm going to do some homework, and Spencer is coming over to play with Jamie for a few hours. We may also give both dogs baths, as Ziggy is turning grey and Buddy no longer has much visible white fur - although he is naturally half brown and half white.

Saturday, we're going to spend the morning with homework, housework and cooking, then we're going to go to the San Antonio Symphony's Fourth of July concert and fireworks show that evening. The symphony will be playing "Lincoln Portrait" (narrated by some local DJ), then after the concert is "San Antonio's largest Independence Day fireworks show". I had to purchase my ticket for $20, but Jamie gets in free. Also, coolers and picnics are greatly encouraged at this event. The city is also hosting a July 4th event downtown with fireworks that is free, but you are not allowed to bring in coolers or your own food. You have to buy it from the vendors who paid for the privilege of selling their wares there. Considering the fact that 1) the food is way overpriced, 2) I don't know how dedicated each individual vendor is to cleanliness, and 3) I don't know who uses what-all kinds of oil and/or nut/peanut products in their food - I think I'd much rather pay $20 for me to get in and be able to bring food that I know is safe for Jamie. Plus, as the vendors are so dang expensive, I bet you anything I'd pay a lot MORE than $20 for food for the two of us at that supposedly "free" event. Not to mention paying for parking.

Sunday, I'll finish up homework and (maybe) study for my finals - they're next week. But mostly, I'm going to spend time with my boy. Maybe we'll order up a movie, maybe we'll do more cooking. I don't know yet. I'm just going to spend time enjoying my boy.

Funny story: I'm currently teaching Jamie how to cook. Right now we're working on simple meals of the "one-skillet" or "one-dish" variety. Thanks to Tooz's link to "Depression Cooking with Clara" on R.O.U.S.-es a bit ago, I found Clara's recipe for "Poorman's Meal" (episode 2 of the series, if you want to try it). Apparently, they ate a LOT of potatoes back during the depression. For this recipe, you have to peel the potatoes before cooking. I was showing Jamie how to peel, and he was trying to peel them very gingerly. I asked why he was being so slow and careful. "I don't want to cut myself" he replied. I glibly stated, "Oh, you can't cut yourself with a vegetable peeler. Look, see?" At which point, I cut open my thumb. Now Jamie has learned the wisdom of not pulling the peeler toward yourself when peeling potatoes.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

I Don't Really Have the Money....But I'm Doing it Anyway

This week, the Barnum & Bailey Circus is in town. Jamien has NEVER been to the circus. Ever. For four years, he has begged and pleaded with me to take him to the circus. But I've never had the money. This year, I still really can't afford it, but I'm taking him anyway, for many reasons.
  • A childhood without any circuses in it seems pretty sad to me.
  • He's 11. It won't be too long before he thinks he's either a) too old to go to the circus; or b) too COOL to go to the circus.
  • I've been promising for years, and have never been able to keep my word. It's a shame when you have to break a promise to a child - even when the promise was sincerely meant when you originally made it. I'm tired of breaking promises to my child.
  • This would be a fantastic way for us to kick off some awesome mommy-son time. He hasn't gotten much of that lately, and it's showing in his attitude, behavior, and general demeanor; and
  • Dangit! I want to go to the circus, too! I'm tired of trudging home from work just to start studying, or doing housework, or hearing him whine that I don't spend any time with him and that he's "ssssssssssssssooooooooooooooooooooooooo stinking boooooooooorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeedddddddd!". Maybe I want to be a kid again, too, even if it's just for one stinkin' night. I want to feel wonder and amazement again, instead of walking through life in a cloud of have-tos, need-tos and shoulds.

So that's why I'm taking the $80 that should go toward some bills, and going to the circus. I need to live a little before I absolutely go stinkin' insane!