Thursday, November 30, 2006

Be careful what you wish for

Boy howdy, did we get snow. About two hours ago Abby went out in the yard with a ruler and measured about 4" of snow, with who the heck knows how much ice underneath. I have never seen so much ice and sleet in my life. The ground was totally covered pretty much all day and it was nothing but ice, not snow. The kids kept asking to go play in the snow and I kept saying, "Kids, as soon as we get some, we'll play in it!" Of course, I'm a big fat liar because the temps are so dang dangerous that there is no way in heck that I'm letting them outside tomorrow. Wind chills will be around 5-15'. Not kid-friendly weather. We grownups, however, will be frollicking until we give ourselves pneumonia. Wait. Who am I kidding - I am curling up with a counted cross-stitch.

Mom and the Taters are spending the night here, just in case the power goes out. We're the only house with an alternate heat source - a kerosene heater. We've played Blink and Apples to Apples, done a lot of visiting and now Paul and I are out here in the bedroom praying that the Statler Brothers DVD they're watching will be over soon. Don't get me wrong, I like the Statler Brothers, but it's 11:30 and we're tired. Just now when Barbara Mandrell hit a high note Paul threw the covers over his head and said, "Oh holy shiiiiiitttttt."

Before this storm is all said and done we should accumulate more than a foot of snow. WAHOO!

An assload of snow, family camped out in my living room, a fire blazing in the fireplace, and nearing completion on my first ever counted, life is good.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

just a few things

** A few weeks ago I cut myself some bangs. I have worn bangs since birth because I inherited not only my father's rapidly graying hair, but also his ginormous forehead. I was told that bangs were needed to cover the continent above my eyebrows and took that as gospel. Then a few years ago I got tired of being the only banged person in the universe and grew them out. For two years I was bangless. It was a good two years.

Let me advise thee, oh faithful readers - don't ever cut your hair when you are stressed out, depressed, sad, premenstrual, your planet is in retrograde or on the eve of your grandfather's funeral. Oh, it might seem like the thing to do at the time, but you will regret it. Trust me on this.

Even though I left the new bangs fairly long, they are still bangs and are constantly in my eyes. And maybe it's just that my bangs are just extra absorbent, like a feminine hygeine product, but my bangs soak up the oil on my forehead and therefore by about 10am they are just pathetically droopy and greasy. I swear I wash my hair, but you couldn't tell it by mid-morning.

Now begins the long drawn-out process of growing the m****r*****rs out again.


** We are anticipating snow in the next 24 to 36 hours.

Yes, I said SNOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!! I'm simply aflutter at this prospect. I know that being a lifelong resident of Oklahoma, the state which has taken global warming very seriously, I should not get my hopes up. The forecasts always say snow and we get bupkis, but the kid in me is still hoping for a snow day this week. I got new jammies last week that are just begging to be worn all day long while I listen to my kids whine that they are borrrrrrrrred and have no toys.


** Having a TV in the bedroom again is nirvana for me. I go to sleep every night to either old cartoons on Boomerang, drifting off to the sounds of Speed Buggy's sputtering or shrieks and squeals from the stars on Celebrity Paranornal Project, courtesy of VH1. I mean, how much better can things get? We haven't even had a chance to order porn yet. I may die of happiness when that happens.


** Paul has gained 28 pounds since he started work at Buffalo Run. This is a fact that the twisted part of me finds somewhat humorous. He weighed all of 163 pounds when we got married. He is 6'1" and has always been lanky and thin. it wrong that I find his new belly amusing? He once told me, "If you're tired of being fat, just quit eating. It seems pretty simple to me." HA! Stick that one in your 10pm burrito and chip fest there, big boy.


** I got some new eye makeup remover a few weeks ago. I'm thinking I'm going to throw it away. Let me just say that it's a good thing I take my makeup off at night when I'm going to sleep because I'd be dangerous if my vision was this impaired during the day. I feel like I've poured baby oil directly into my eyes, then rubbed some french fries or other fast food in them as well.


** A few weeks ago I bought a counted cross-stitch kit at Dollar Tree. I figured for a buck I could try it and throw it away because I fully expected to hate it. I am not a real domestic person. Mom and Tater can sew like crazy, but me, not so much. If it hadn't been for the fact that my HomeEc teacher really liked me, I'd have flunked the 9 weeks where we sewed. I don't crochet, knit or any other activity involving yarn, thread and fabric. Until now. Now, I am addicted to counted cross-stitch. It's sad. I don't even like to hang stuff like up in my house! It's just the doing it that I'm loving. What I'll do with the projects when I'm done is beyond me.

It seems like I saw on, though, that somewhere there are cross-stitch kits with profanity and curse words and I will SO be looking into that. I think combining cross-stitch and cuss words is just about the coolest thing you could ever do.


** The family has made plans for Festivus this year. The last two years, just us cousins celebrated Festivus in one wild evening of nonsense and liquor. This year, the grownups are getting involved as well. (Isn't it funny that I refer to my mother, aunt and uncles as the grownups? We're still the kids in my mind.) The objective this year is to buy the tackiest gift we can find, then numbers will be applied to them upon arrival at the Festivus gathering. We'll draw for gifts, open them, then vote on the tackiest. The winner, the purchaser of The Tackiest Gift of Festivus, will receive the Turkey Award.

Papa, for some reason, had a framed picture of a turkey on the bathroom wall, next to the toilet. We aren't sure why. So, the other night when we were gathered once again at Papa's house to go through and distribute items, it was decided that the Turkey Award, the esteem framed turkey print, would be the trophy for Festivus from here on out. But here's where it gets good - the winner of the Turkey Award must hang the picture on their bathroom wall, next to the toilet for one full year. Family members will be checking.


** I love my family.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Thanksgiving Weekend Headlines

"Homeowners Lose Living Room Furniture": Wednesday morning, rural Ottawa County homeowners, The Divas, began shuffling furniture around their house in an attempt to create more room. The toyroom became their bedroom, their old bedroom became a tween's bedroom and their youngest child now has a bunk bed all to herself. This sounds like a story with a happy ending, right? Wrong. In the middle of the hubbub, the family lost their living room furniture. The husband had this to say, "I know we have a couch, but I'll be damned if I can find it." The wife was unavailable for comment - she was buried in a pile of toys, looking for the recliner.

"Another Kitten Dies in Mysterious Accident": After more than 30 cats have met their demise at a particular residence, the authorities were finally called in to investigate. Yet another kitten gave up the last of its nine lives on Wednesday at the Diva Ranch. "Lady", as she was called by the family's children, was fine as she trotted onto the carport Wednesday afternoon, when she suddenly fell to the ground and began having an apparent seizure. Redneck Diva, the female suspect in this series of feline deaths, was quoted as saying, "I was putting something in the dresser when Sam [her son] busted in the back door and said the cat had had a heart attack and died. I was a bit suspicious, so I went out to investigate. Sure enough, that kitten was dead as a doornail." Investigation has shown that the kitten's back was broken as a direct result of its climbing up under the homeowners' brother-in-law's car while it was parked. When he started the engine, the cat was obviously mortally wounded. No arrests have been made.

"Child Star Gets Big Break": Abby Diva has made her way into the Broadway scene after repeatedly re-enacting the final moments of her kitten's life for family members over the Thanksgiving holiday. "That kid has real talent," a family member was heard saying. Another family member said, "It'll probably land her in therapy one of these days, but that kid sure can act like a dying cat. It nearly brought me to tears."

"Sisters Go On Much-Needed, Yet Irresponsible Shopping Spree": Diva and Tater, two sisters from the Miami area, set out on Friday afternoon to start and finish their Christmas shopping. Disappointment was met several times throughout the day when they were told repeatedly that the item they were seeking had been sold out since 6:05 that morning. "That's what we get for sleeping in," said Diva. The two weren't daunted, however, and kept on shopping. While sitting at a bench eating pretzels, the two discussed how their daughters will never wear some of the current trends seen on other shoppers. "I feel like I'm in a time-warp," said Tater. "I keep seeing leggings under mini-skirts and big hair. It's like the 90's have come back to haunt us." The shopping spree ended after the sisters successfully walked the entire mall, visited Kohl's, Lane Bryant and Target and finished up at Wal*Mart. They returned to their respective residences after midnight.

"Breaking news: Husbands Who Strangle Their Wives on Thanksgiving Saturday": Story in progress.

"Furniture Found": The Divas found their living room furniture on Saturday afternoon, authorities report. Detectives were on the scene when Redneck Diva found her big chair and couch. "It's the welcome end of a long investigation," says one investigator. "They can finally watch TV again."

"Apple to Apples Spurs Loud Raucous Laughter Among Cousins": Tater Bug brought her own personal board game "Apples to Apples" to a family Thanksgiving dinner last night. The cousins gathered around the table were unsure of the game's "fun factor" after hearing the directions read, but decided to give it a try regardless. What ensued was nearly 2 hours of hysteria, wild margarita spilling and an unidentified source says that a hot pink flamingo necklace was involved. The family recouperates today.

The other 41

It's only taken me a week to get to it ......

41 more things about me:

1. Christmas tree: pine or cedar?
Plastic. Right outta the box it came in from Wal*Mart.

2. Name two dumb things you did as a kid.
There was a huge hill down past DeLisa's house that lead straight to the river bottom. De and I would sit back from the top of that hill and start pedalling like we were being chased by the devil. When we flew past the top of that hill, we'd put our feet up on the handlebars and if we were feeling particularly stupid, we'd raise our hands in the air. It's a wonder we weren't smashed to bits on that hill.

As a kid, I didn't do much stupid stuff. I was very, very nerdily cautious. The bike thing was something I'd done so many times that I didn't realize how stupid and dangerous it was until I look back now and swear my children will never do something like that.

3. What foods did your mom used to make that you will never, ever cook?
Occasionally Papa would get a hankering for beef tongue and Mom, like a good daughter, would boil it up for him. Now, I love my dad and all, but I will never boil a beef tongue for him. Mom would also always make brussel sprouts and asparagus and I HATE them both - I have never even had a can of either in my house.

4. Describe the place you go to in your head when you need to calm down.
I don't do this - mainly because I am never calm.

5. Have you ever seen a ghost, or something you can't explain?
Yes. When DeLisa lived in a creepy rock house in Wyandotte, we were "chased" up the stairs by a ghost, who made it to the top of the stairs before us and slammed the door shut. We screamed like we were being mutilated. And while I haven't ever seen her, I swear to you there is an old woman who inhabits this house with us. She's ornery, too. And finally, because you don't quite have enough information yet to have me committed, when I was a junior in high school there was some big hubbub about lights in the sky around the area. One night, in hopes of seeing something, my boyfriend, Tater and I sat on a blanket in the front yard, our eyes glued to the skies. It was nearly time for Brad to go home and we were going to start packing up, when about 2 miles away, a light rose up over the treeline. It hovered there for a few seconds then did that whole sci-fi movie, move like it's going to fly away and then disappear because it went so fast. Yeah. If I'm lyin', I'm dyin'. I know Tater will back me up.

6. If money and image didn't matter, what would you do for a living?
Write, write, write. Wait, I'm planning on doing this anyway - and money really does matter. I gotta feed those kids, ya know! This might work out to be a problem.....

7. Did you ever fall off a horse and get right back on?
I'm terrified of horses.

8. What name did you call a sibling that was sure to start a fight?
If I called Tater a baby, the fight was on.

9. Describe the events surrounding your first alcoholic drink.
Mom, Tater and I had gone to Joplin to the mall to shop for me a Prom dress. We saw a group of my friends and they asked if I could go run around with them. Mom gave me $5 because we said we'd probably stop for a soda or something. Instead of soda, we bought liquor. Then we played this hilarious game called Get The Nerdy Girl Obliterated. I was the Nerdy Girl in the game. We all stood in a row, me at the end. The bottle was in a brown paper bag and everyone had to drink and pass the bottle on. Since I was at the end of the line I had to finish to bottle. Those guys were drinking A LOT so I figured there would be nothing left. Not only was I nerdy, but incredibly stupid - they weren't drinking. When that bottle got to me it was nearly full and I chugged the entire bottle of Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill. Ohhhh how drunk I was. Crying drunk. Then, to top off the whole thing, I had Jerry take me home. Instead of propping me up against the doorframe and speeding off, he was chivalrous enough to escort me in. I busted open the back door and announced in a loud, slurry voice, "MOM. I'MMMMM DRUNK." I think the corker of this whole story, the true testament to what a horrible kid I was, was that this all happened on the day my dad moved out. My mom had just that day become a divorcee' and single mother and her eldest child came in so altered she couldn't walk.

10. Have you ever had a wild animal as a pet?
A ground squirrel. It had gotten caught in a mousetrap in the garage and had broken its leg. Dad splinted its leg with a popsicle stick. Took us awhile to convince it to go when it was better. I think we girls cried.

11. Do you have a deep, dark, secret?
Yes. Several. And they shall remain so deep and dark and secretive that they will eventually grow mold. Or turn into diamonds.

12. Would you ever shoot a deer?
My name clearly states that I am a redneck. I could not hold this title if I were not willing to kill a deer. Now, the diva part of it all comes into play when I say I refuse to eat said deer.

13. Do you return money if you get too much change?
Depends on how far away payday is.

14. What puzzles you?

My mother.

15. How do/did you act toward a person you have/had a crush on?
Ugh, I used to be a total stalker. I mean, like if I did that kind of stuff today, I'd have restraining orders slapped all over my pathetic self. There is this one guy that I wish I had the guts to apologize to over how I acted around him. He and I ended up at the same birthday party last March and the look in his eyes when he realized who I was just screamed fear. I think if I had talked to him he'd have screamed like a little girl. I am so embarrassed.

16. What makes you cry?
Pretty much everything.

17. What's the best bargain you ever bought at a yard sale?
I don't yard sale much, but I did get a copy of Little Black Sambo for Mom at an auction for $20. The auctioneer told me I stole it.

18. How much wood can a woodchuck chuck?
Does a sewing bee really sew? If you plant birdseed does a bird grow? How far down does a kitchen sink? How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop? The world may never know.

19. If nobody is watching, would you run a stop sign?
A few weeks ago when Kady was having that really bad asthma attack, I ran a stoplight. It was 3am, there was no one around and I made sure it was safe before I made that decision.

20. Do you believe in Hell?
Yes. And the handbasket that will take me there.

21. What material possession do you value most?
Pictures of my kids

22. Which day is better...Friday or Sunday?
Definitely Friday. On Sunday, I cry a lot.

23. Do you read a book more than once?
Yes. I've read The Catcher in the Rye more times than I could count. I'm on my second way through the Mitford series. Stephen King's Insomnia is another one I've read more than once.

24. What is the greatest problem with today's society?
Lack of respect.

25. How old were you when you first touched somebody else's hoohah?

26. Would you ever skydive?
It's hard enough to actually get me on a plane - why would I entertain the thought of jumping out of one?

27. Name 3 songs significant to your romantic life, and tell why.
Crazy For You - Madonna. It was the song that I played recorded off the radio with my jam box and played over and over again while I wrote note after note to the guy mentioned in Question 15. The word "crazy" in the title should tell you my state of mind back then.
Groovy Kind of Love - Phil Collins. It was one of Brad's and my songs.
Shameless - Garth Brooks. Paul sang it to me, very drunkenly, one night when we were out and I very drunkenly listened and fell very drunkenly in love with him even very drunkenly more.

28. Would you ever have plastic surgery?
It's only a matter of time before my breasts are put back into their original positions.

29. Does bigfoot/sasquatch/yeti exist?

I am a direct genetic throwback of sasquatch. Have you ever seen the hair on my arms???

30. Are you a follower or a leader?
Depends. There are times I take charge and boss everyone around quite annoyingly. Then there are other times I am very content to sit back and play lemming.

31. What's the worst thing you did when you were a kid?
Came home drunk to my recently singled mother? That's about as bad as they get.

32. List three jobs you would never want to do.
Septic tank cleaner outer, personal assistant to a Hollywood star, teacher

33. Coke or Pepsi?
Coke. Pepsi is an abomination.

34. Where would you live if you could move your family, friends, and job there?
Springfield, Missouri.

35. Is three really a crowd?
That all depends on the situation. In a menage' a trois, that third person is pretty critical. In my mother's small kitchen, that third person is a liability and a fight waiting to happen.

36. What kind of interpersonal interaction repulses you?
Close talking

37. Who would you rather spend an hour with, a writer or an entertainer?
A writer.

38. Which calendar appeals to you: Nature's Wonders, AmazingArchitectural Feats, Babies as Vegetables, Hot Hunky ConstructionWorkers, Humane Society Cuties?
Ach, they all make me want quit caring what day of the week it is.

39. What would you do if life gave you lemons?
Probably get juice in a papercut and sit down in the corner to cry, then when I went to wipe away the tears, I'd accidentally get lemon juice in my eyes. That's just how things go for me.

40. Do you believe in love at first sight?
No. I don't believe in soulmates, either. I think that's a bunch of malarky.

41. Did you ever wish on a falling star, and have the wish come true?
If you always wish for safe things, they always come true. If you say, "I wish that Monday would follow Sunday" and "I wish that Britney Spears would continue to be crazy" then you will always have your dreams come true.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


I stole these from Hillbilly Mom. Like that's any surprise. Lately, when it comes to blog posts I'm waxing pathetic and waning pitiful, so I'm not above stealing.

Forty Questions

1. What is your occupation?
Currently, homemaker/daycare lady. In a few weeks I will magically transform into aging college student.

2. What color are your socks right now?
Not wearing any.

3. What are you listening to right now?
Absolutely nothing. The two 4-year-olds sleeping behind me aren't even snoring, they're so out of it.

4. Last thing that you ate?
That would be dinner last night - Hamburger Helper. This morning all I've had is sweet, blessed coffee.

5. Can you drive a stick shift?
Not well. If it were a matter of life and death I could probably get where I needed to go, just with lots of fits and starts.

6. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
Blue. Probably Cerulean because I think that's a cool word in and of itself.

7. Last person you spoke to on the phone?
Again that would be last night and it was Tater. We were discussing Thanksgiving.

8. Do you like the person who sent this to you?
Well, I read it on Hillbilly Mom's blog, so technically I'm just stealing it. But yeah, I like her. She's pretty okay for a stranger I've never met.

9. How old are you today?
According to the calendar I'm 33 and 5/6, but I feel about 90 and 9/10.

10. Favorite drink?
Sweet tea

11. What is your favorite sport to watch?
What are these "sports" you speak of? This is a concept I'm not familiar with.

12. Have you ever dyed your hair?
Oh people, I have had my hair in so many different colors I've teetered on the verge of chamelion-hood. It was even pink at one point. Of course, that was entirely by mistake, but it took awhile to fix.

13. Favorite curse word?
I really like "asshat" and you can't go wrong with a good "m*****f****r" every now and then, but really "dammit" is the one I say most.

14. Pets?
Our cat herd is diminishing swiftly (thank you, Jesus) and we're still waiting for Jake to get a new home.

15. Favorite food?
Chocolate anything

16. What was the last movie you watched?
Over the Hedge

17. Favorite day of the year?

18. What do you do to vent anger?
Cry, throw things and just generally stomp around and throw a tantrum, but that's only when the kids aren't around. Usually, because I'm constantly surrounded by children, I just clean.

19. What was your favorite toy as a child?
Well, I was awfully fond of My Little Pony and Barbie, but I'd say Strawberry Shortcake beat 'em all.

20. What is your favorite Fall or Spring?
Definitely Fall.

21. Hugs or kisses?

22. Cherry or Blueberry?
I'll be your huckleberry, but I don't like cherry or blueberry anything.

23. Do you want your friends to email you back?
I don't know what my friends emailing me has to do with a blog post, but yeah, I like email.

24. Living arrangements?
With my husband and three children in a not-quite 2000 sq. ft. half brick, half cedar siding single-family home with 1 1/2 baths, attached carport and green metal roof sitting on 40 acres of beautiful rural Oklahoma. (I have visions of working in realty someday)

25. When was the last time you cried?
Yesterday morning when Mom and I were talking about my daycare mom who is still in the hospital and very, very sick. I cried for her mom and dad who are so worn out and worried.

26. What is on the floor of your closet?
Actually, just shoes. I moved our closet yesterday and for the first time in 3 years, it is clean and organized.

27. Who's the friend you've had the longest that you're sending this to?
Not sending, just posting. But as far as a friend I've had the longest who might read it......that would be Stacie, if she still reads me.

28. What did you do last night?
Sat on the couch with my mp3 player crooning to me in my ears and did a counted cross-stitch, taking the ear phones off occasionally to listen to my husband ask me questions that began with, "Hey, Granny. Stop knittin' long enough to listen to me." Yeah, he is so precious. He finds it utterly hilarious for some reason that I am doing a counted cross-stitch.

29. Favorite smells?
Babies in Baby Magic, Mom's house, Paul when he gets out of the shower, my kids when they've been playing outside, "Indian Summer" candles from Carmen's Candles (who is no longer doing candles and I think that is a downright abomination).

30. What inspires you?
My kids

31. What are you afraid of?
Water, heights, spiders, clowns, cervical cancer, breast cancer, okay- any kind of cancer, dying and leaving Paul to raise the kids, something happening to Mom or Tater (I would be so incredibly lost without them), disappointing people, dying before I finish what I want to do

32. Country you would most like to visit?

33. Favorite dog breed?

34. Number of keys on your key ring?

35. How many years at your current job?
2 1/2 this go-round, but I've done home daycare nearly 7 years altogether over the years.

36. How many states have you lived in?
One - Okla-byGod-homa.

37. Favorite holidays?
Christmas and Halloween. I loathe Valentine's Day.

38. Ever driven a motorcycle or heavy machinery?
Before we had kids, Paul and I had a touring bike and we rode that thing everywhere. Once I found out I was pregnant with Abby I developed a very deep fear of them. Consider Paul's car vs. man on motorcycle wreck and now I'm terrified of them. But I have, however, driven a tractor and feel perfectly safe on it. It's too slow for my taste, though. If I'm going to do farm work I want to do it fast.

39. What's your favorite saying?
I say "Bless your heart" a lot. I would imagine people find it incredibly annoying, but I can't break the habit. I also say, "No no!", "Let's not hit our friends", "Toys are for playing, not for hitting your friends" and "For the love of Pete, where is your father?" a lot as well.

40. Where did you get the chair you're sitting on right now?
My mother gave it to me. I shouldn't complain because it was free and all, but I really hate this chair. I keep hinting around that Santa needs to throw in a high-back, comfy chair with arms into his sleigh this year, but I don't think he's gotten the hint yet.

Hillbilly Mom did 41 more and I have them saved and ready to answer, but alas, I have run out of time this morning. Today begins the Quest To Turn My House Upside Down And Then Put It Back Together Without Causing A Divorce Or Losing A Child In The Mess.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Disappearing weeks

Last Sunday morning - one whole week ago, where has time gone? - I slept in a little. I couldn't do anything else - I was useless from being sick and exhausted. The kids and I pretty much laid around all morning, then I got up and started in on some much-neglected laundry, wrote what I wanted to say at the funeral and made it to Papa's house right around the time Paul got there from work.

Mom told me that Papa was ready and that I needed to take the kids down to the funeral home so they could see him, just us, no one else. When it was time, I went back to start rounding up kids. I said, "Come on, Kadybug. Get your shoes on." She looked up from her coloring and said, "Whewe awe we goin'?" I said, "We're going to go see Papa." She gave me a look that said Mother, you are sooooo very stupid and then said, "You mean we'we going to go see his body, wight?" I nodded and said, "Well, yes, that's right." The look on her face changed to relief as she said, "Whew! I fought you meant we were going to Heaven! And I'm just not weady yet!"

Don't let anyone tell you that kids aren't aware of what's going on around them or of anything you say and do.


Monday night was the visitation. Mom and Uncle Larry arrived at the funeral home around 5:30. All of us cousins and Uncle David got there around 5:45. From then until just up to 8:00 there was a steady line of people in that chapel. The line went out the door, down the sidewalk. I think Aunt Janet said she counted either right under or right over 300 names - the funeral director had to get more pages for the guest book. I had done okay all day until I got in the chapel and saw all of the flowers and started reading the cards.....then I lost it again. Then seeing people I hadn't seen in years, folks from the old neighborhood I grew up in, people that have known our family for years, friends, was a very long night. But don't get me wrong, there were plenty of laughs, too. You can't get us Glenns together and not expect some shenanigans and jokes, no matter what the situation.


All three kids had been coughing all day Monday. I stopped at Walgreens and picked up some cough medicine and doped them up accordingly. After the visitation and of course, more eating, it was late by the time we got home. (I will never understand the need to feed people in mourning, but I'm certainly not complaining.) I gave them more cough medicine and put them to bed, then went up front to work on some Girl Scout paperwork. In the midst of all of this, we had our fall product sales fundraiser and I needed to get all of it tied up to turn in. It was about 1:30 when my eyes finally refused to focus any longer and I gave in to exhaustion. I was too tired to even turn down the bed and just collapased on the couch under a blanket. Paul was in the recliner, the fire was going, the house was warm..... I was tired.

About 3am I woke up to The Sound. That is literally what we call it in this house - The Sound. Kady calls it her Scawy Sound. It is the sound of Kady wheezing and gasping for breath during an asthma attack. I flew up off of that couch and ran down the hall to find Abby trying to get off of the top bunk and Kady sitting on the edge of her bed, eyes wide and mouth open. Abby said, "MOM! She can't BREATHE!" I scooped Kady up and ran back up the hall. I hollered at Paul to wake up and get the nebulizer ready, then took her outside. Usually being out in the cold night air will help her, but that night it didn't. Paul hollered that the machine was ready and we went in. The breathing treatment had no affect on her - she still couldn't breathe. I found a blanket, wrapped her up, handed her off to her daddy and told him to take her outside while I got my clothes on. He grabbed my van keys on the way out and started the van while I at least put on a bra and some shoes. When I got outside I found them by the van, Paul singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, which is what we always sing when we're outside during an asthma attack. (Singing makes them take deeper breaths) What better song to sing when you're outside at 3am under the stars?

Paul buckled Kady and I headed to town with a blue-lipped not-quite-5 year old, praying all the way. When I hit the highway I turned on my flashers and drove as fast as I felt I safely could.

Long story short, they did another treatment with no results, put her on a heart monitor, oxygen and pulse ox, then did a chest x-ray. After the chest x-ray the doctor checked her again and said that they way it was looking, she was going to be admitted. She had Respiratory Therapy to do a different kind of breathing treatment - racemic epi, such magic medicine - and Kady perked right up. We left the hospital around 6am. Kady talked nonstop all the way home and when we stumbled back in the house around 6:20, I was so tired I was nauseous. I put her on the couch with me, pleaded that she rest her lips awhile and fell asleep with her still talking. I woke up at 8 to find her crashed on my arm. Even though I wanted much, much more sleep, I got up and started getting clothes ironed and shooing kids and husband to the showers.


The church fed the family at noon and Kady enjoyed all of the attention she was getting from telling everyone she came into contact with about her adventure in the ER mere hours before.

The service was the most beautiful funeral I've ever attended in my life. What a celebration of Papa's life. The two ministers who spoke did wonderfully. Paul Ingram Thomas sang and I guarantee if Papa was looking down from Heaven, he was nudging everyone and saying, "Why, look at that - they got Paul Ingram Thomas to sing at my funeral!" He never missed a concert when ol' PIT was out at "Bison Run". I spoke as well. I held it together until the last sentence. I know that I wasn't alone up on that stage that day - my Papa was right there with me.

We were escorted to the cemetary by 9 country sheriff cars and one Highway Patrol. The procession was so long that you couldn't see the end. Papa would've been impressed with that one, too. The military burial always gets me no matter whose service it is. Hearing Taps and the gun salute just causes me to break down and Tater and I sat and bawled uncontrollably. We had almost gotten ourselves together while they folded the flag, but lost it again when the soldier knelt before Mom and presented her with the flag. I had never been close enough to hear the words they say, but let me just tell you, I am so proud to live in this country.


I took Wednesday off and had intended on sleeping and catching up on the mountains of laundry and the toxic waste dump in my kitchen, but instead took Kady and Sam to the doctor. He said there was nothing more to do for Kady, just time and patience. Sam has bronchitis, but of course, it's viral. But the doctor did put him on Singular and Claritin to help the allergy stuff that he's been dealing with for awhile now. I'm so tired of hearing that kid sniff, I hope the medicines work. Kady was still hopped up on albuterol from breathing treatments every 4 hours, so there was no hope of a nap that afternoon, but I did manage to lie on the couch and watch Boomerang. While it wasn't sleep, it was at least rest.


The rest of the week passed by as usual. Thursday I took treats down to Sam's class for his birthday. Neither Paul nor I could do it tomorrow, so we fudged a few days early. Friday night we took the five cousins and Chandler to Pizza Hut and then bowling for Sam's birthday. Mom, Paul, Tater and I bowled, too. I forget how much fun bowling horribly is.

Yesterday was a two-hour gymnastics class and then we went to the sports store to pick out new shoes that the indians so graciously purchased for the kids. Abby and Sam both got some Nike Shox, something they would never have gotten if their momma had been paying for them. They both also got a pair of Adidas tennies and so did Kady. Sam's Shox are basketball shoes - now to get him enrolled and on a team......small detail.


Now, before I go, I have another prayer request:
Thursday morning one of my daycare moms was in a really bad car accident. She was ejected from the car. The last I heard, she was still on the ventilator, but they had pinned her leg and her blood pressure was finally stabilized. Please keep her and her family in your prayers and thoughts.


Thank you to everyone who left comments, sent emails, said prayers, kept us in your thoughts, sent cards and even sent flowers over the last few weeks. We wouldn't have made it without friends like y'all. If I could hug you all, you know I would.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Gone Home

He made it to Veteran's Day. I know he hung on for that. Veteran's Day was very important to Papa.

Wednesday evening we took the kids up to see Papa again. Tater's kids hadn't gotten to see him at all, but he had looked so bad and felt so bad that we weren't sure it was a good idea. But wow, Wednesday he was doing really good and Mom said if we were going to bring them up it was a good time to. He couldn't talk very well that night, but he was fully aware and enjoyed listening to them talk and tell about school and various other things important to the elementary school set. He did get enough breath to tell them he was proud of all of them. Before they left the room, hugs were given all around and he looked so happy to have seen them.

Tater and I stayed until probably 10 or so that night - the earliest night we went home all week. Papa was just doing so good, plus we had the kids and we were afraid DHS was going to be called because of the threats we were doling out. We had given the daddies the night off for good behavior - they were exhausted from going above and beyond their usual childcare duties.

After we left, he started his slow wind-down. He had seen all six great-grandkids.

Wednesday morning Mom had gotten a phone call from Papa's wife's sister. Papa's wife, Georgia, had called her sister and was talking kind of strange and said she had fallen and then the phone went dead. The sister had called Mom to ask her to check on her. When Mom walked across the yard she prayed she wouldn't find blood - Georgia had a history of being a little "confused" from time to time and Mom was afraid she'd done something to herself. Papa was the one to keep Georgia straight on her medications, but since Papa was in the hospital she had gotten a little off. During the night she had taken a lot of meds - sleeping pills, pain pills, Valium, God knows what else. She had tried to bake muffins under the recliner, made little piles of food in every nook and cranny of the house and while she was talking to Mom she poured herself a bowl of orange juice and drank it like that was the most normal thing to do. Mom and Aunt Janet took her to the hospital. Her heart was in arrythmia from all of the meds, so they admitted her to ICU until it kind of straightned out.

Now, please understand that we are not cruel people. But honestly, there was no emotional attachment to Georgia. There never has been. We accepted her and well, tolerated her out of respect for Papa. It was decided that morning that Georgia was going home to her family down South. We knew Papa was going to die and we couldn't take care of her. But instead things worked out on their own and Thursday morning Georgia had a massive heart attack and died.

Talk about raining and pouring and all that jazz.

Things kind of turned into chaos from there on out. Instead of letting Uncle Larry or Mom tell Papa, the doctor (who is a real butthead in my opinion, for more reasons than just this) took it upon himself to him. And Papa went downhill fast from there. Mom said I needed to get up there by afternoon.

I had two babies here that day, so I called them and asked them to pick the boys up by noon. Irish Divinity said she could probably make it by four, which I said would be okay. I'd just leave Paul here with Li'l Divinity and Kady and I'd go on up by myself. But I called Mom to ask an unrelated question and she answered the phone crying and said I needed to get up there right then. I loaded up the baby, Kady and Paul and we flew to town. Paul met Divinity in the parking lot while I got upstairs. Mom and Tater were in the hall crying and I thought I was too late, but heck everyone was crying. It was the worst he'd been that far. Paul went back home to get the kids off the bus, help them get their homework done and that night a friend that works with Mom - the kids call her "Grammy's Connie" - took the kids to her house for the evening. All five of them. (We hope she's still our friend.) The daddies picked them up and took care of getting them to bed. Tater and I stayed until 2am or so. We had planned on staying the night because he was doing so bad, but Mom told us to go. She and Uncle Larry were taking turns staying awake with Papa and she said we needed to go home to our babies and husbands.

Friday morning I got Paul off to work and the kids off the school and took Kady to Lab School. I think Friday was the longest day of my life. I kept Kady at the hospital with me all day. She was so aggrivated with us for not letting her go see her Papa Leo. We just told her he was resting. At one point she put her hands on her hips and said, "Mom. Just how much sweep does Papa Weo need?" When Paul got there after work he was going to take her home and pick up the other two from Bub. Kady was crying that she wanted to see Papa. Finally Mom agreed to take her to the doorway and let her blow him a kiss. She blew him about 47 hugs and kisses and whispered, "Bye-bye Papa Weo. I wuv you." Talk about ripping your guts right out.

Lack of sleep, emotional roller coasters and spending most of your time in a hospital are pretty much the perfect recipe for getting sick. I followed the recipe to a T and have come down with a humdinger of a cold. I was doped up on Motrin and Mucinex all day Friday and spent from about 9pm on wrapped up in a blanket when I wasn't sitting beside Papa taking my turn holding his hand.

They had moved Papa to a larger room, but there were so many of us we had to take over the small waiting area at the end of the hall and we dared anyone to try and sit in it. We had staked our claim with Sonic cups, Charlies Chicken boxes and pretty much just made ourselves at home. It was ours. It had become home to us in the hours after work last week. Around 8pm, though, we abandoned the waiting area and all of us moved into Papa's room. By midnight the conversations started to wane and we were going between dozing and watching his breathing get slower and slower. When Tater nearly fell out of her chair as she dozed she decided to go back to the waiting room for awhile - the chairs had arms on them out there. She had only been out there 10 minutes or so when Mom said to get her and bring her back in.

We were all there standing around his bed when his body finally just gave out. There wasn't a moment that you could actually say he drew his last breath - it was really just like he faded out. We had known it was coming, but when the nurse turned to us and said, "I'm sorry" it was such an emotional moment. He was really gone. Heaven got a big "HOWDEEE!" at that moment. And he was finally home with Jesus and Memaw.

Tater, Mom, Aunt Janet, Courtney and I had taken turns holding his hands all night. They were so cold and he didn't hold back, but just having that connection was a comfort to us. I wouldn't ever have just taken Papa's hand and held it while he was living. That just wasn't something I'd have done, but holding his hand that night was so precious. I will never forget that.

Being in such close quarters with my family this week has taught me so much about them. Watching my Mom comb Papa's hair was such a touching act in my eyes. Papa always carried a comb because he just didn't like for his hair to be messed up and Mom just worried about his hair being messed up when he couldn't worry about it himself. Papa had wanted cool washcloths on his neck and head for some reason. He wasn't running a fever, but I guess it just felt good. Watching Uncle Larry take those cloths, wet them and fix them back the way Papa wanted them showed me a side of my uncle that I hadn't seen before.

I asked Mom at one point, "What is he waiting for? Why can't he just go?" Mom said, "Kristin, Dad always believed in doing something to the fullest. If there was a job to do he did it with everything in him and he did it until it was done."

He drew us closer to each other this week. If that was his job, he succeeded.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Letting go

My papa is in the hospital. We were told on Monday that he had a week, at most, left with us. I cannot express to you the number of tears that have fallen since we found out this news. There is a whole family of mostly liberal Democrats (maybe a Republican or two, but I'm not saying who that might be) who have shed many a tear in the last few days.

The kids and I went up to see him Sunday afternoon. He had been in the hospital a week I think by then and I hadn't been up to see him yet. I figured the kids might cheer him up. Up until a month ago, Papa worked full time at the Farm and Home. He had developed a rather cute gambling affection. Since he found out that the cancer was back, he's pretty much given up. He's lost weight - weight he didn't have to lose. But the man I saw sitting in that hospital bed on Sunday, sitting in the dark with his head bowed down to his chest was not that Papa. He was a sick man. Surely not my Papa.

The kids did their best to talk to him, to get him to talk back to them, as distressed as they were seeing him like that. They love their Papa Leo and think he pretty much hung the moon. Sam told him about school, they all three talked about the carnival that Grammy and Uncle David had taken them to the night before. He would hardly raise his head. We didn't stay long, but the kids - of their own volition - hugged him and told him they loved him. While I'm glad they saw him, I'm also saddened that that may very well be the picture of him they keep in their heads. Abby asked me on the way home if Papa was going to die. I replied, "Honey, no one lives forever." The kid is so much more intuitive than I give her credit for. She read right through that one, saw past my, what I thought was, a clever question-dodge. She said, "Mom. He's dying.... isn't he?"

Yes, he's dying. And I'm not ready for him to go.

I cried continually all morning Monday from when Mom called and told me what the doctor had said - that we only had a few more days to say good-bye. I wasn't planning on saying good-bye any time soon and now I'm told I have to do it in a week? To quote my children - It's not fair. I thought that my tears were all gone by afternoon. But when I told Tammy, I sobbed on her shoulder like a child. (My gosh, what would I do without her?) I cried a little more when Paul got home from work. I cried on the way to the hospital. But when Papa took Tater's hand and said he wasn't gonna make it through the night and Tater lost it - that's when my tears took a break. It's like Tater and I can't cry together, as strange as it sounds. One of us has to stay strong while the other loses it. We're a team that way. Of course, I can't see my mom cry without crying. I've been that way since I was a kid. I want to be strong for her, but at the same time I want to lay my head in her lap and have her tell me it's going to be okay.

We called in my uncle who lives an hour away. We called in my cousin who lives 2 1/2 hours away. The whole family was there at one point. We spilled out of his room into the hall. All of us grandkids were lined up down the hall, some sitting, some standing. The staff has been amazing. One nurse felt sorry for Tater and I sitting on the floor and brought us pillows. She'd check on us every half hour or so. Cousin Courtney's husband entertained us all by making Hamburger Helper's cousin, Ground Turkey Helper, out of a rubber glove and an empty DaSani water bottle. We cousins sat in the hall and recalled the moments that make us wonder to this day how we survived our childhood on Papa's farm. From setting fire to egg cartons, jumping out of the hay loft, playing in the grainery, and hanging out in the milk barn (all of us knowing exactly what Keith meant when he said "I'll never forget the sound of the milkers - donk chhh....donk chhhh") to watching Papa's cigarette dangle from his hand or lip and waiting for the ash to eventually fall onto the arm of the recliner and rushing to make sure it didn't catch us all on fire, watching endless episodes of The Lawrence Welk Show and Hee Haw, daring each other to go into the cellar and getting flogged by that very nasty rooster - we sat in that hall and recounted our childhood experiences on that farm. Papa has given us so much and he probably doesn't even realize he's done it.

During one of the times that I found myself sitting in his room, I took the time to look around at my family sitting there with me. I have never seen my mom and uncles look so tired in my whole life. I consider my mom a very strong woman, but I saw her looking very vulnerable and so incredibly small and sad Monday night. Uncle Larry looked like he could drop at any second. He looked tired and sad and concerned. Uncle David is one of the most Godly men you could ever meet and he always has such a peace about him. In times of mourning and sadness, Uncle David can find peace and comfort in his faith and in God, but I watched him sit next to Papa's bed and cry that night and I felt so helpless. Cousin Courtney was the one who said it best - "There has never been a time that I thought Papa wouldn't be there. He's just supposed to always be here."

Tater and I stayed until 3:30am Tuesday morning. By that point Papa was breathing just a little better and was trying to rest. We knew Uncle Larry needed some sleep, too. Mom was coming up at 5, so we felt like we could go. We had kids to get up for school, husbands to get off to work, I had daycare kids arriving by 7. We left, both of us cried out and exhausted. I caught a few hours of sleep, got up and showered and began my day. Every time the phone rang, I jumped. No call came during the day and I tried to focus my attention on the sick babies crawling and toddling about my toyroom, praying that no germs were attaching themselves to me, obsessively washing and Germ-Xing my hands throughout the day. This is not a real great time for me to get sick.

Monday night the lights in Papa's room stayed off. The TV stayed off. His head remained down. He didn't speak, he didn't do anything more than struggle for every breath. We didn't do more than sit and watch him and pray and cry. When we got to the hospital last night, we noticed that from the parking lot his room looked completely dark again. They had moved him to a double room so the family could have more room to gather and not spill out into the hall so much. I'm telling you, the staff has been incredible. The lights were on, the TV was on - I breathed a sigh of relief. We stopped at the waiting area before going into his room and the cousins said he had drank some V8 and had even toasted them with it. He was listening to the election results and I thought, Okay, so the doctor was wrong.

But when Tater took his hand, we noticed his fingers were blue. It was a stark reminder that he's really not going to get better, no matter how much we want him to. His body is slowly giving out. They hooked him up to a morphine pump yesterday as well, to sedate him and help him breathe. He's not in any pain at all, though. For that, I am so grateful.

Every adult loses a close relative or two. Since getting married, I've lost a grandmother, two first cousins, a great-grandmother and a great-uncle. I mourned every one of them - some more intensely than others. Some were such a relief, knowing they were no longer suffering. I'm trying to look at it like that with Papa - when he goes Home, he'll be able to breathe again, that tumor will be gone and won't be squeezing his lung, he'll be with Memaw once again, he'll get to see his parents and Uncle Homer. I'm trying to look at it that way, but the selfish part of me wants to go in there and tell him that I am just not ready for him to go. None of us are. We still have gambling to do out at the "Bison Run" as he calls it. His great-grandkids want to go to his house so they can obliterate the can of cashews on his end table in 2 minutes flat. I want to hear him tell just a few more stories about growing up in a time when it took a whole day to get from Edmond to Oklahoma City in a wagon. I want to just know that he's in that house on G Street and that he's there if I need him.

But maybe he's tired and just wants some rest. I have a feeling that Mamaw's been working extra hard up there in Heaven's kitchen these last few days. She's probably made a batch of oatmeal raisin cookies, a few dozen custard pies and some of her hot rolls. Maybe it's time for him to rest and catch up with her. Maybe it really is time to let him go.

Please keep us in your prayers and thoughts, friends.

Friday, November 03, 2006


Kady is learning what sounds go with certain letters. She's constantly going through the house going "B-B-Ball! That's a B!" and "T-T-Truck! Truck starts with T!"

Yesterday I was brushing her hair and she said, "Momma, what does Ponytail start with?" I said, "P-P-Ponytail. What letter is that?" She proudly exclaimed "P!" I said, "Yes. What other words start with the P sound?" She thought for a minute and said, "Pumpkin?" I said, "Yes. And Pot. Pirate. Play."

She was really getting into it and offered a few more words that began with P. Then she said, "And Pissed!"

Photoblog Phriday - Phinally!

I can't wait until the year that I can convince my children to all three dress in one collective theme for Halloween. This year I had two Goth children and one Disney pixie.

I think maybe the dark-sided ones had an affect on the pixie....

But here she is after some exorcising Photoshopping.

She had glitter around her eyes, but eventually she scratched at it and messed with it so much that she looked like LeperBell instead of TinkerBell.

Now, I must say that even though Kady was awful goshdarn cute and adorable, LOOK AT WHAT I DID TO MY OTHER TWO KIDS! I have to admit, I'm pretty proud of those getups.

I woke the kids up 45 minutes early Halloween morning that that sufficient makeup-ing could be done. I think losing nearly an hour of sleep was worth it to them because everyone thought they looked awesome. One teacher called Sam "Tommy Lee" all day. His teacher said she'd been calling people into her room all day to check him out. And man, did he play the part. He scowled at everyone and slouched like a punk with serious attitude.

When we went to the nursing home to see Nana, the residents were lined up all the way down the hall to hand out candy. One old man grabbed Sam by the arm and said, "Boy, you don't wear earrings all the time, do you?" Sam shook his head quickly and said, "No sir!" Sam liked his outfit so much, though, that his father felt compelled to reiterate many times the fact that in the event he would ever come home with a piercing of any kind it would promptly be pulled out. Violently.

Abby looked wicked hateful in that picture, but she's entirely too happy of a kid to scowl around all day like her brother did. Sam's a happy kid, too, but he's much more of an actor than she is. She's also so much like I was when I was a kid - she checked with the office on Monday to make sure she could wear her nose ring and wouldn't get in trouble for it.

Does she not look like she could bite the head off of a live bat and then groan and complain about how unfair living and breathing is?

We....the people

Originally published in The Miami News-Record, July 2020 Everything is different now. I’m not just talking about masks and social distancing...