Friday, February 29, 2008

From the trenches

I got up this morning, determined with everything in me to rid my house of every germ, microbe and unhealthy organism. I stripped my bed, which has acted as Disease Central for me and whichever child was sick for the last two weeks. I washed the sheets in HOT water. They now fit a twin bed. I sorted laundry. I'd wash it all in hot water, too, but alas, we aren't all the size of Barbies, so I'll stick with cold for them. I cleaned my kitchen. The bathroom is going to require the assistance of a HazMat team, I'm afraid.

By 11 I felt like I'd run a marathon and all I wanted was a nap. I didn't get one.

At 1 I had to go to the Indian Clinic for my TB test. At one point I was the only person in the waiting room. That was after the woman with both Influenza Type A AND B was in there. I'm not sure which one I had, but my luck, today I caught whichever one I didn't have last week.

For what it's worth, though, I feel almost decent today. I'm still coughing, but not so hard that I pee my pants every time now. I'm averaging about every four or fives times, I'd say. I consider that an improvement.

Kady came home from school with her bottom lip dragging the ground. This was the first indication that she was still royally pissed that I couldn't go to her D field trip today - the dentist and Dairy Queen. Since I don't work on Fridays usually I had told her I'd be able to go. Of course, that was before THE FLU and well, that six year old of mine just doesn't understand that I'm not officially released to go out into the general population until tomorrow. And I didn't think Mrs. Weece would appreciate me coughing all over her Kindergarteners. Then she told me Jaycee puked at the park and I was kinda glad I didn't go. Right now she's outside on the front porch, moping and talking emphatically to the dog, no doubt telling him that I am a horrible human. She just now came back into the house and told me that she would *sigh* eat the ice cream I bought from Cotton the Schwan's Man, but only if I would take the sticks out of it. And when I told her that she would just have to eat the ice cream with the sticks in it, she went back out to again tell the dog how horrible I am.

I love being a mother. I'm putting in for my vacation time now.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sick and tired of sick and tired

I'll skip over the part of the story where I got the intestinal virus in the midst of all my other medical maladies because really, who wants to hear about that.

We'll fast forward to this morning when I started coughing and coughed up blood. Not just once or twice, but several times and enough blood to make me call my mother at 6:30 to ask her if that was normal. Her reply: Kristin, just what makes you think any part of coughing up blood is normal??? Point made. So it was decided right then that I would be making a stop at the clinic before going to work.

In the meantime I walked into the bathroom to find Abby kneeling over the toilet. Yeah.

Seriously? If this wasn't actually happening to me I would totally not believe it.

I put the two youngest kids on the bus, took Abby with me to town and Pops picked her up at the clinic for me and took her to Mom's. It was not even 7:45, but the doors were open because (drum roll please) today was the Diabetic Clinic which means every Native American in the area who has blood sugar issues was at the clinic this morning. (And they got oatmeal and coffee! For free! And I heard the dietician offer one guy walnuts! I know! It's almost enough to make you wish you were diabetic!) Fortunately, they opened up a line for Triage and another for Diabetics. After I checked in, I turned around to find the other aide at work, T-Racey, standing in line looking utterly miserable. Instead of sitting in the over-populated main waiting room we opted to go down the hall where there are less people and less ebola and typhoid. I haven't seen T-Racey in two weeks and have missed her somethin' fierce, but obviously meaningful conversation was out since I still don't have a freakin' voice. So yeah. Fortunately her five year old entertained.

I knew how it was going to go because of Diabetic Clinic - we'd get triaged and given an appointment for later in the afternoon. It wasn't long before they called me, then they called T-Racey immediately after me. I tried to look really pitiful (even though I really don't feel all that bad anymore) so I'd get an earlier appointment, but I got Nurse Ratchet who apparently went to nursing school in the Lebanese army and did clinicals on psychopathic maniacs because she was SO not sympathetic to anything I said. Everything I said was met with a "mmhmm" or a simple raise of the eyebrows and then a tsk. Grrrr. I hate patronizing people. She also told me that my "allergic reaction" (that was how she said it, in italics with quotes) to the albuterol inhaler must not have been too bad since I didn't even go to the Emergency Room. Grrr.

She left the triage room and came back a few minutes later to tell me she spoke with the PA who said I probably just coughed so hard I ruptured a blood vessel, thus the blood, but since I reported blood I have to have a TB skin test tomorrow. "Do I think you have TB? No, but we have to test you anyway," was her explanation. Well, yay. And whoop de doo. Sorry I reported it, silly me. She said the PA wrote me a prescription for some antibiotics since it would appear the crap in my chest has taken up residence beyond the realms of what a virus usually does. And then sent me on my merry way. OH! And with another off-work slip until Monday. I guess that's just in case I have TB? Geesh. If I still have a job when this is all over it'll be a miracle.

T-Racey didn't fare so well, she got an appointment for 1 and was going home to crash until then. I waited for my prescription then picked up Abby and came home where I have spent the day doing pretty much what I've done the last two weeks - playing solitaire and watching bad daytime TV. However, Abby doesn't like The Food Network so that perky Sandra Lee didn't offend me with her semi-homemade goodness today and we've watched "Drake and Josh" and Boomerang. Less perky, for sure.

Oh and in case anyone is wondering just how swollen my throat is? Last night Paul took me to town to get some drive-thru while the kids were at church. Long John Silver's sounded soooooo good and I could not wait to get back home here to eat it. Turns out, deep-fried, battered chicken planks are not only bad for your heart, they are also easily choked upon. But no worries, I won't starve - the night I was so sick all I could do was cry and moan, Paul and Sam went to the store and bought - kid you not - 20 cans of chicken and stars, chicken and curly noodles, plain ol' chicken noodle and chicken and double noodle soup. Twenty cans. He's so sweet.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Another chapter

At the risk of running off the last two readers who haven't tired of reading about my sick self, I'll give you (two) the latest before I go back to doing the only things I can do these days: play solitaire and watch horrible daytime TV.

Yesterday morning I took a hit off the albuterol inhaler I was prescribed and while altogether not impressed with that event I felt like maybe it opened things up a little bit. At 3:30 I took another hit and within about 45 minutes my voice was back! I was totally loving my inhaler and was prepared to make it into a necklace so I could wear it next to my heart so it could feel my love better.

Then something bad happened - it felt like someone had poured gasoline down my throat, much like back at Christmas when I had strep throat. Oh the pain that came so closely on the heels of voice-full bliss! And then my throat swelled up, my voice left and breathing became so much not fun anymore.

Vicodin had no effect on the pain, Benadryl at least kept me from dying a horrible suffocating death and I spent the night sitting in my bed watching the clock so I could spray my throat with Chloraseptic spray every two hours like it says on the bottle. There was no sleep, only coughing, wheezing and pain. If I had insurance I would SO be in the hospital right now because I'd have driven myself last night. I was feeling THAT bad.

Mom gave me the super-secret cell phone number for Coumadin Man, Everyone's Favorite Pharmacist, who told me to keep taking Benadryl and get back to the clinic in the morning and beg for steroids. In the meantime I can't eat, drinking is questionable, but ice feels SO good on my throat, so I sent a text message to Paul telling him to bring me home a huge bag of ice tonight. I am so shaky and weak I'm scared to take a shower while I'm here alone because I'd hate for my kids to come in from school and find their mother knocked out and naked in the shower, so I'm sitting here in my bed, stinky and watching General Hospital. I've never watched General Hospital, but my old stand-by for sick days, The Food Network, just angers me today.

Tater just called - her tots just tested positive for THE FLU.

I hate everything right now. Except ice. And my mom.

Monday, February 25, 2008

"Tales from the Crypt" or "Monday Morning at the Walk-In Clinic"

I dragged my sick butt to the Indian Clinic this morning and let me tell you, I've never been there to experience the walk-in clinic on a Monday morning during Flu season. I never want to again either.

I got there about 10 till and since it was cold and sprinkling I opted to stay in the van. The two folks waiting at the door were looking at those of us in our vehicles as if to say, "Haha! We are at the door and therefore we have achieved VICTORY!" Eh, let 'em have their victory. I wasn't cold and wet.

When the nice government employee opened the door from the inside, I swear it was like watching the beginning of the zombie dance scene from Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video. People came hobbling and crawling out of cars, vans, trucks, cracks in the sidewalk, a manhole cover slide aside and out lurched some half-dead coughing corpse thing. I was the hacking woman-zombie with no makeup and a sloppy ponytail, carrying a copy of The Good Earth and a leopard-print purse.

The line of zombies snaked around the corner by the time I got inside and even though no one had had to wait more than about 3 minutes at that point, everyone was already cranky. Me, I figure, look,'s free healthcare. Beggars can't be choosers, ya know? I know I'm going to have to wait, I know I'm going to get seen sooner or later, that's why I bring a book. You can either go with a good attitude or a bad one. Most of the zombies left their good ones in the crypt, evidently.

When it came to be my turn at the window the clerk had to lean precariously close to my germy self in order to hear me whisper, but she was kind and sympathetic and said she'd get my chart back to triage. I sat down by the door and got out my book. I didn't want anyone to come out and ask me to wear a mask, so I tried best as I could to not cough. And really, the coughing is mostly caused by talking, laughing and sometimes breathing, so as long as I avoid those things, I'm good. The not breathing sometimes gets interesting, though.

Around 8:45 my name was called over the intercom and I made my way back to the triage clinic. My favorite nurse was with someone else - her name is Toots and how can you NOT like someone named Toots? I mean, really? I don't think you can't. But I got a different nurse who seemed a little impatient at my lack of voice and that I couldn't remember the exact date of my last period (what that has to do with my being sick, I'll never know). She warmed up after awhile and I tried to keep in mind that I'm sure Monday mornings are wore there than they are at most places of employment. Eventually I think she realized just how bad I felt because she got me an appointment for 9:45 with the PA that felt me up just last month. I had heard earlier in the waiting room that someone got an appointment for 1:45, so 9:45 was awesome.

It was 9 by then and thankfully I decided to stay at the clinic to wait because at 9:15 they called me back. And after listening and looking and hearing me whisper my symptoms she told me I have THE FLU.

Well, duh.

She also told me I couldn't have TamiFlu because I'd waited too long. I didn't want TamiFlu, I told her. She told me I couldn't have antibiotics because they wouldn't do any good. I told her I knew that. She said she'd give me an inhaler and some cough syrup, which aside from a bullet to the head, sounded great. She said there was no evidence of pneumonia yet, so she wouldn't give me any steroids. Dang. She left the room to write my prescriptions then came back a few minutes later to tell me I'm allergic to codeine. Again, duh. Then she said the only cough syrup she had to prescribe from the clinic was guaifenesin with codeine - essentially Mucinex with a kick. Or in my case, Mucinex with a side of skull-crushing headache followed by uncontrollable vomiting. I asked her about Tussionex, which I can take, but she said it was too expensive for someone without insurance and she wouldn't prescribe it. HUH? Sorry? I have money, just no insurance.

So I went back to the waiting room to read more of the drought and famine that was slowly killing Wang Lung and his family in pre-revolutionary China and to wait for my lone prescription of an albuterol inhaler to be filled. Coumadin Man was busy when I was called to the Pharmacy, but as I was leaving he did manage to say, "Get well, sickie!" Have I mentioned that I think Coumadin Man is adorable and he's my favorite pharmacist ever? Yes, he reads this blog. I hope I made him blush.

Then I went to my van to call my mom and of course, cried. What is it about being sick and talking to my mom that makes me cry? I guess it's the little girl in me or something. Of course, I don't think she knew I was crying because I couldn't talk above a whisper anyway. Mom told me to go by her house because Pops had playfully scolded her for not being sympathetic enough to me, so she made us dinner (chicken casserole!) and it was in the fridge. And there was also a present on the counter - Stephen King's last book written as Richard Bachman, Blaze. She spoils me. Rotten.

On my way to Mom's I called my supervisor and got her voice mail. I whispered a message that essentially said I have THE FLU and a doctor's slip to stay home till Thursday. I picked up my loot from Mom's, stopped at McDonald's for an extra-large sweet tea and came home. I puffed some albuterol, popped some Mucinex and ibuprofen and curled up on the couch to watch All My Children. I thought about taking one of Sam's leftover Vicodin from when he broke his arm last summer, but decided to wait until night for that.

Funny story about that Vicodin.... night before last I had taken one at bedtime and it knocked me out enough that I slept for a couple hours without coughing too much, so last night I decided to take two and hoped that I could sleep longer. Essentially, what I did was get freakin' wasted. I took them after I tucked the kids in last night, thinking I had an hour or so before I'd go to bed and would be good and pain-free, relaxed and ready for sleep. About 20 minutes after taking them, suddenly my eyes wouldn't focus on the game of solitaire I was playing and my feet were no longer there and I was strangely nauseous. I hoisted myself up off the couch and staggered down the hall to the bathroom, thinking I was going to barf. I sat on the toilet to pee, put the trashcan between my legs......and fell asleep. I am such a lightweight.

I woke up on the pot ten or so minutes later to find my legs asleep, the nausea gone, but I still couldn't focus my eyes. I staggered back up the hall the living room where Paul was playing PlayStation. He gave me a funny look and asked, "What's wrong with you?" I slurred, "I think I'm stonnnnnned." He busted out laughing and said, "Go to bed, Cheech. And dear? Next time only take one, k?" I gave him the thumbs up and next thing I remember it was 4am, I was still fully clothed, sprawled out on my bed, glasses still on, remote in my right hand, but I don't remember ever turning on or off the TV. Them Vicodins good stuff.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

As my sister said, "It is now a perfect world."

I have lost my voice.

The last time I lost my voice was the trip to Falls Creek (a Southern Baptist church camp in the mountains of southern Oklahoma) which apparently occured before I switched over to Blogger and no, I'm not going back to the old blog to find it. That particular loss of voice was nothing more than stress and exhaustion. How much stress did I endure?

Glad you asked.

The Sunday night before we left the alternator went out on the Astro, so we had to re-load a week's worth of groceries and supplies (I was going down as the cabin's cook) into Paul's white truck, a task that literally took all night long. I sat down on the couch and tried to sleep for an hour and a half, but never could. Fortunately Tater had slept the night before (she was going as a cook for a different church) and she drove us there. By the time we got there I was on the verge of puking I was so tired because I couldn't sleep in the truck either, but before it was all said and done, I was awake 42 hours with no sleep. The next morning I woke up with no voice. The next morning both my eyes swelled almost shut. Imagine trying to herd thirtysome people to meals with no voice and also looking like some diseased thing from below deck of crusty pirate ship. It was a fun week. That was also the week that I drove my sister from the camp in Davis to Ardmore to the ER because she had kidney stones. Yeah.

This time I have nothing to blame other than THE FLU which I think is going into pneumonia.

Oh yay.

However, I am staying entertained because when I whisper to the kids, they whisper back. It's totally cracking me up. Abby whispered a reply to me and I whispered back, "STOP WHISPERING AT ME!" and she replied with a whispered, "OKAY!"

Friday, February 22, 2008

Cough cough, whiz whiz! Oh, how much fun it is!

Would it be considered a conspiracy theory to think that the Stayfree Corporation secretly spreads the influenza virus? Because they are makin' a killin' offa me.

I don't cough if I don't talk or laugh or breathe too deeply.

I didn't sleep well last night because the wheeze in my chest kept waking me up. I kept thinking I heard the faint sound of baby lambs. Seriously. That's what it sounded like. Baby sheep in a far-off pasture. Maybe it was the sound of Jesus with his flock, beckoning me home to Heaven.

During LOST last night (another episode which aggrivated me and pissed me the hell off) my fever got up to 103.1. As my mom says, "That's high for an adult!" And considering that my normal temperature is below the usual 98.6 it pretty much felt like I was roughly the temperature of an Oklahoma summer.

After a hot shower last night (because even though I was burning up I felt like I was Meredith Vieira in Vermont yesterday morning) I put on my favorite pajama pants that Cousin Stacey got me for my birthday last year - they're pink fleece with TinkerBell on them and they are oh so warm and comfy. I also put on a sweatshirt and socks. Because if you've already forgotten, I was Vieira cold. Haha, Vieira cold. I slay me. Anyway, as I climbed into bed with Kady, Sam on the cot next to me, to settle in for another night of Nyquil-induced sleep I realized that I was HOT. Like, so hot that I thought I was channeling Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite when he shaved his head because he realized it was his hair that was making him hot. I don't think I would look good bald, although, trust me, the thought of shaving my head still sounded plausible, so I decided to change into a t-shirt. I also decided to take off my socks.

Now, here's where I look back and realize that fevers are not good for me. The following event occured in kind of a haze. I knew it was happening and while it made complete sense to me at the time, I also didn't comprehend why it was going on.

I spent about two minutes trying to take off my socks without bending over. I scraped my foot across the carpet, trying to get the heel to slip down off the back of my foot. Nope. So I stepped on the toe of the sock with the other foot and pulled, but the heel was still too far up on the back of my foot. I scraped again. I moved to a different spot in the carpet as if changing carpet spots was going to make a difference. I tried the other sock, thinking that it was looser. YESSSSSSSS I managed to get it to slip off my heel, stepped on the toe with my other socked foot and it slid right off. So now that I had exposed piggies, I grasped the sock with my feverish piggies and tried to pull it off my heel. It took a few tries, but it finally worked. Success! My piggy toes were free and cooling. I headed back toward the bed, utterly wiped out and exhausted from all the energy I had just exerted in trying to not exert energy, then it hit me that my socks simply could not stay on the floor all night long. The earth would surely be knocked off its axis. I was certain that small European countries would be annihilated because my socks might be left on the floor overnight.

So I went back to the socks, bent over, picked them up and put them on my hope chest.

Then I settled into bed knowing that little Arfenschnauser in his little hut in the European mountains was going to make it through another night. And the baby sheep and Jesus began calling me home.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Day Three of the Quarantine (Whereas Day Two was lost in a fog of fever and Nyquil)

Sam stayed home from school yesterday because he was coughing like a veteran smoker and felt like crap. He wasn't running a fever, but his cheeks were flushed like you wouldn't believe. Halfway through the day he wasn't acting sick and I was kind of miffed that I'd let him talk me into letting him stay home.

Of course, I couldn't be more than kind of miffed because it was about halfway through the day that I started running a fever and "kind of miffed" was all I could muster up, energy-wise.

Paul had gone to work at 3:30 yesterday morning, so when he got home around 1:00 I tearfully begged him to go to town for some cold medicine and a few staples because they were calling for an ice storm and blah, blah, blah. All I wanted was the Nyqil, the ice storm could go piss up a stick.

Sorry, I usually try to be less crass. Let's blame the fever, shall we?

Anyway, because of the wonderfulness that is Nyquil I slept pretty good last night until 4am when Sam woke me up telling me he was going to puke. I will never understand why my kids feel they have to alert me before they puke. Can't they just go take care of business, then come tell me? As a result, I now wake up with my hand automatically going to my face because I'm scared someone is going barf at me.

Paul is absolutely useless during the night and always has been. When the kids were babies I was stay-at-home mom and therefore, I was the one that got up with them during the night. But I'm a working mom, albeit a part-time working mom, but also I HAVE THE FRICKIN' FLU. One guess as to whether that mattered last night.

So when the threat of puking passed (mind you, I leaned in the doorway to the bathroom while Sam hovered over the toilet because I was borderline drunk from then Nyquil, and standing on my own was totally out of the question), I had to figure out where exactly to put my son because I hate for the kids to be in their rooms alone when they're sick. I usually put them on the couch and I sleep in the big chair, but Paul's on the couch because Kady and I have taken over our bed. Fortunately, I still had my daycare cots stacked in a corner, so I grabbed one and fixed him up next to my bed and the three of us sickies settled in for the few remaining hours of night.

Today has literally been lost in a fog of drugs and cartoons. Sam hasn't moved but a couple of times from the big chair where he's curled up with his sleeping bag in his Captain Jack Sparrow pajamas. He's gotten up to refill his Sprite and to eat a hot dog. Kady goes from one bean bag to the other or she's lying on me. She's restless and can't get comfortable. I also think she's a little bored. I've been on the couch all morning, dozing in and out. This is how sick I am, people - I haven't even made any sweet tea today. Yeah. That sick. But I do have a meaningful relationship with my new best friend, Nyquil. I may need an intervention, but if you truly love me you'll do it after I'm well.

We had more thunder ice this morning. This is the weirdest weather I've ever seen in my life. Ice is forecasted today and tomorrow then by Sunday it's supposed to be 60 again, then more snow on Monday. I still want to go sleep and wake up in June. My internet connection is iffy, keeps going in and out because ice is building up on the dish. Blows my mind how the dish to the internet is way more susceptible to ice than the dish for the TV. We lose internet long before we lose TV. Grrr. Oh well, I'll just take more Nyquil and forget about the lack of internet.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Fifth in a series

A reader, Kathy, asked just what the heck Fifth Disease, or "Slaps" is, so because the whole house is asleep and it's just barely past 9pm and I'm bored and can't sleep because of this lovely cough, I will oblige.

All You Ever Wanted To Know Abouth Fifth's Disease:

* Fifth Disease is very common in children, although grown-ups can get it, too. Just another perk of parenthood.

* Sometimes called "Slaps" because the rash that appears makes the cheeks very red, as if you've been slapped. Virus or domestic violence? You be the judge.

* You spread the disease by coughing and sneezing. And possibly small trolls and leprechauns, although the government is trying to keep that under wraps in Area 52.

* By the time the "slaps" appear on your cheeks, you're not contagious anymore. All the more reason to lock yourself away in a cabin in the woods with only your high-speed internet to keep you company.

* The virus is a strain of the parvovirus. I hear the puppy hospital is cheaper the the people hospital.

* The actual virus is called erythema infectiosum. Not to be confused with a magical spell from a Harry Potter book.

* It is called "Fifth Disease" because it was originally fifth on the list of recognized childhood illnesses that caused rashes. In this case, it was good to be fifth. You don't ever hear them call the measles "First Disease," do ya?

This PSA was brought to you by Impending Insomnia and it's partner corporation, THE FLU.

Day Two of the Quarantine

My laundry is caught up.

I've read about 1500 blogs.

I taught my six year old how to play solitaire.

Sam came home from school with big purple smudges under his eyes, coughing his little head off. I can't give him any of the good drunky cough medicine because he's allergic to codeine, so looks like another long night. Kady and I have camped out in Paul's and my bed (we kicked him to the couch, poor daddy), but I'm not sure there's room for another kid in there; it's only a queen. We have a window seat, though, and that may have to do double-duty.

There are three confirmed cases of THE FLU in Kady's class at her table alone . They sent one more from her table home (that I know of) today with symptoms of Fifth's Disease (or "Slaps" if you're more old school mom) which, if he's got symptoms, he's not contagious anymore; he's already done his germy damage. I guess, though, they looked it up online and said that may also be the beginning sympoms of THE FLU, too. Geesh. Abby said there were five missing from her class today. Tater heard on the radio this evening that our county is being bombarded with a nasty intestinal virus that is running so rampant it's uncontrollable. It's a rather pleasant virus that lasts from 1-5 days and causes severe dehydration. Of course, that kind of goes without saying if you puke and poo nonstop for five days.....

Best part of the day? I've developed this little tickle in the back of my throat and my nose is running like a faucet. I'm hoping it's allergies. Please be allergies. I do not want to have to go to the Indian Clinic and risk coming home with Ebola or Typhoid.

I want to go to bed and wake up in June.

Monday, February 18, 2008

A tough decision

I remember the first time Kady got really sick with her asthma and the PA wrote out a prescription for a steroid - what was to be Kady's first steroid rodeo. Kady was about 9 months old at the time and had already begun dabbling in the Terrible Two and the Trying Fours, you know, just to see how things were going to be. As the PA ripped the prescription from her pad she held on as I took hold. We were momentarily connected by a sheet of paper. The air was electric. She looked me in the eye and said, "The next few days are going to be hell. Any personality flaws your precious daughter has will be magnified a hundred-fold. Go with God, my sister."

I remember, mere days later how I held my screaming daughter out at arm's length and as she screamed relentlessly......I first cried, then I screamed right back at her. She screamed, I screamed. Then she stopped. I stopped. Then she promptly started bawling because I had scared the snot out of her. Not my most shining moment as a parent, but I didn't know what else to do. I was tired and she was evil.

She's six now......and is currently on the bottom bunk of her bed, repeatedly kicking the bottom of the top bunk, shouting, "I DON'T WANOOOOO TAKE A NAP BECAUSE I'M. NOT. TIRRRRRRRRED." She is punctuating every word with a kick. She occasionally slams her arm against the wall for God knows what reason. If she weren't sick I'd bust her butt, but as it is.....I'm ignoring her. And blogging about it.

And I'm wondering how much damage I'll do to the bed if I start kicking it, too.

So much drama I should be on Lifetime

Do y'all ever get tired of reading of my dramas? No? Oh good - at least I'm guaranteed readership.

Friday night I took Sam to basketball practice and I dragged the girls along as well because Paul was so incredibly cranky I thought he was going to explode from the crankiness. I thought that an hour or so alone in the house would do him some good (I know it would do me wonders), but instead I think he was crankier when we got home. I asked him why he didn't take a nap while we were gone and he literally crossed his arms across his chest and pouted as he said, "I don't need a nap. I'm not a baby." Mmhmh.....riiiiiiight.

Saturday morning his crankiness continued as I tried to herd the children and him out the door at 8:05 in order to be in Quapaw by 8:40 for Sam's first game at 9:00. It was raining and Paul's mood was totally responsible, I'm sure of it. Fortunately we didn't play a Wyandotte team and that lent a little lightness to the day - for about 15 minutes, until we realized that Commerce was totally kicking our asses pretty much the way Wyandotte does on a weekly basis. By the time the game was over (three guesses as to who lost....) Paul was so mad his face was red (easy there, blood pressure) and he was saying words that normally don't bother me, but he was saying them out loud in front of people that I have to associate with at my kids's school. Know what I mean? He was griping about the boys' coach that only shows up to practices but doesn't come to games and while I realize that the woman is also coaching three other teams and sometimes game times overlap, well, maybe a rotating schedule would be nice? But Angry Redneck Man didn't see that and only saw red as he cursed Wyandotte (innocent in this instance, mind you), cursed Commerce, cursed our school and also cursed the fact that our son has a desire to play basketball and he also cursed my frizzy hair. Yeah, when he gets that mad he doesn't make much sense.

Oh and did I mention that about halfway through the game we realized that Kady was running a fever?

Normally we play two games on a Saturday and most of the time they are back-to-back, but this week we had a 4 hour break between end of first game and beginning of second game. The plan was to grab a bite to eat then go to Tater's and watch her DVR'd LOST episode and see if she got as utterly PISSED OFF as I got when I watched it, but Paul was so angry he wanted me to take him home. Right. Then. Which was probably okay because of the feverish third child and all. Fortunately, he took a nap when we got home and Kady and I laid on the couch and watched cartoons. By 12:30 her fever was gone and she said she wanted to go to the game because she knew Grammy and Pops were going to be there and there was sure to be a trip to the concession stand at some point and no way does a six year old miss out on that if she's breathing. So as I was walking out the door I asked Paul if he was sure he didn't want to go. He grabbed his coat and said, "Oh yeah, I'll go. Maybe I'll run into the coach," which of course prompted me to immediately start praying that the coach had moved to Zimbabwe.

By halfway through the second half of the second game (here's a hint as to who we played... starts with a "Wyan" and ends with a "dotte") (mind you, we've played Wyandotte about 59 times and have played Quapaw once and Commerce twice) (just for the record) Paul was cursing again, Kady was again starting to feel warm and here's the best part - Sam took a teammate's head to the nose and promptly started gushing blood all over the floor. He's a bleeder anyway, but man, did he bleed that day. Paul was too angry to even get up and move, so here goes me, fat mother who has a loathing of walking across a basketball court in front of a couple million spectators (okay, like 50), jogging across the court to get my bleeding son and tend to his gushing face. Yay. I was glad I wore my good jeans. Too bad my hair was frizzy.

Sam was proud he took one for the team (we still lost, but oh the drama involved), Paul was even angrier because I'm sure in his mind it was somehow the coach's fault that his son bled on the court and Kady was looking pitiful. I just wanted to go to bed. Paul again insisted that I take him home. Immediately. I had no desire whatsoever to sit in my living room with his angry self and listen to him holler, stew and whine all night, so I dropped him off in our driveway and the kids and I went to town. The plan was to watch that DVR'd episode of LOST and maybe order some pizza, or even rob a bank and steal a few cars or even get tattoos, but driving down Main I saw that The Spiderwick Chronicles was on so we picked up Tater and her kids and went to the show.

By the time we got to the part where Nick Nolte pretty much looked like himself as Mulgarath in human form (think drunk driving mug shot) Kady was on my lap and was more than warm, more like two steps away from melting. And I, being the stellar mother I am, stayed in the theatre because I had just dropped $45 on tickets and treats and had no desire to go back home to SpongePaul CrankyPants just yet. Send my trophy for Mother of the Year to my home address, please.

Fast forward to Sunday morning. I'll spare you the details of my youngest child turning into a baby harp seal crossed with pro-rodeo bronc during the night and how she kicked me mercilessly while she coughed until she gagged. By 12:30 her fever was 103.7, the breathing treatments weren't doing a durn thing for the wheezing and barking and I had had enough. I took the two big kids to Mom's and took Kady to the hospital where we waited from 1:30 until 4:00 just to be seen and then spent another 2 hours in the ER while she was probed, listened to, swabbed, hooked up and various other medical events took place.

She has the croup which is irritating her asthma. That one was a given; I knew that before we got there. She has an ear infection that we didn't know she had, but the doctor said would've had us in the doctor's office within 24 hours, it looked that bad.

Oh yeah, and she tested positive for THE FLU.

If you've never been swabbed for THE FLU, let me tell you how to get the same effect at home: Take a wire clothes hanger, unwind it until it's one long, continuous piece of wire about a half mile long, tape a Q-tip to the end and then run it up one nostril until you touch the part of your brain where your phone number is stored THEN scrape around awhile. Kady puked. On her Strawberry Shortcake blanket. And the floor. And her pants.

I left the hospital at 6:00 with 5 prescriptions, an off-school slip and an off-work slip for the week, one very tired, feverish little girl who wanted "six chicken McNuggets now befowe I bawf again" and a desire to sneak a dose of Kady's phenergan w/codeine cough syrup even though it might kill me, but oh well, I'd die in my sleep. She's on breathing treatments of not only the usual albuterol, but also Atrovent, which she has to take every four hours even during the night which was entirely too reminiscent of getting up with a newborn last night although this time I didn't have a child attached to my breast while I dozed, instead I was holding a nebulizer in her sleeping face because she got the good medicine and I got squat. She's also on a steroid for the crouping/wheezing, an antibiotic for the ear infection, Tamiflu for THE FLU and phenergan w/codeine so she'll sleep and not cough for at least four hours.

Right now I am cracking the hell up watching her try to glue beads and sequins on a piece of paper. Why is this so funny? Because it appears that my six year old is drunk.

Oh yeah, did I mention that I didn't get a flu shot?

Friday, February 15, 2008

One for the record books

Valentine's Day didn't suck.


That is all.

Oh yeah, Mom's got bling on her left hand and I'm gettin' a new daddy.

Whoo hoo. Again.

Paul bought me a stuffed animal, a shitload of chocolate and a card and as he handed me the sack, he leaned over and kissed me and said, "Happy Mother's Day, dear." I was on the phone with T-Racey and she busted out laughing and said, "Tell him he's a dork and it's not Mother's Day!" It will forever be one of my best memories. Bless his heart, he has a horrible upper respiratory tract infection and felt like hammered crap, so I am impressed he knew his own name as much cold medicine as he's on.

Okay, now that is really all.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

One of those days

My very first thought this morning when I got out of bed was about how good it was going to feel to get in bed early tonight.

When that is your waking really have to wonder about the quality of the impending day.

Work wasn't bad - busy, but not bad.

I have had a headache and have been cold all day. One of the caseworkers said I was getting the flu. I kicked her in the shin. Okay, I really didn't but I told her to take it back.

My back hurts. My nose isn't really stuffy, but it isn't runny either. The left side of my head feels like it's pulsating. And not in a good way. I'm borderline nauseated my head hurts so bad.

So why am I writing a blog post? Because I have spent the last two nights working on Abby's Valentine's Day box and I'm waiting on the last two pieces to dry so I can glue them on. Remember last year when I spent two nights making Sam a SpongeBob that showed just how pitiful my life really was? Yeah, well, this year it's a TV made out of a square styrofoam cooler. It's a completely old school TV, sporting rabbit ears with aluminum foil on the ends and real knobs. Abby thinks it's "sooooo retro." Yep, still pitiful, but I totally ranked cool mom points for letting her do it.

Oh, have I mentioned that I utterly loathe Valentine's Day? I think that's why I'm sick. I hate it that much. When I politely, coyly reminded my husband that my most un-favoritest day of the year was approaching and he'd better not make it worse, he looked up from the book he was reading and said, "Wife, you got your present Saturday. I got you a van. That's totally better than a box of chocolates."

My gosh, I love him so much it's given me a headache.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


He won.

Friday, Paul went to the Chrysler dealership to see a friend, the guy who helped him trade boat for Harley a few months back. While there, Car Dealer Friend told him about this van, this van that would make all our dreams come true, this van that we simply needed and that's all there was to it.

Now, while Car Dealer Friend was talking to my husband with his silver car-selling tongue the kids and I were lounging around here at home in our pajamas, playing Wii and reading and enjoying our day off of work and school. But then Paul comes in, eyes blazing with the magic of this van that we MUST GO BUY TODAY BECAUSE YOU NEED A NEW VAN, WIFE!!!!

I was perfectly happy with the A*shole van. Perfectly happy with the driver's side window that will roll down but won't roll back up. Perfectly happy with the back doors that haven't opened in nearly two years. Perfectly happy with the "KERTHUMP" sound the transmission makes when it goes from first to second. Perfectly happy with the custom Pioneer stereo my husband had installed for me one year for Mother's Day that is so awesome that one time a friend got in and after listening for awhile said, "That's kind of a kickin' stereo system for such a piece of crap van, don'tcha think?"

So running to BUY A VAN RIGHT THEN BECAUSE I NEEDED ONE wasn't a big excitement for me. I didn't want this floosie of a van that my husband was flaunting in my face like a 20-year old with perky boobs and tight buns and no moustache. But I figured I'd humor him and we'd go test drive it. The kids didn't want to go, I didn't want to go, but go we did.

Dang leather bucket seats, dual side doors, bun warmers and a back hatch that opens.....that floosie van won my children over by acting like the cool new step-mom who lets them ice cream for breakfast.

Oh I drove it and picked it apart. I didn't like the way the leather seats made me slide down like someone had buttered my butt. I didn't like the bun warmers because the warmth of my buns have had no affect on my driving for 20 years now. I didn't like the 2nd row bucket seats because the kids were fighting over who got to sit in them the second we got in it. And red vehicles get pulled over for speeding more than any other colored vehicle. And the worst? The left rear speaker doesn't work. Yeah. See what I mean?

So we bought it.

Because eventually the little tart won me over by allowing me to order drive-thru without having to open my door. And I am secretly hoping that by heating my buns every time I drive, they will shrink.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Tagged in my absence

Apparently I am very taggable! I got tagged by Penny at Penny Quilts and DeeDee at Mini Pauses for this meme while I was blogcationing in not-so-sunny-but-incredibly-freakin-cold Oklahoma.

1. Once you are tagged, link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post THE RULES on your blog. (Don't mess with THE RULES because they are in CAPITALS, people - CAPITALS!)
3. Post 7 weird or random facts about yourself on your blog.
4. Tag 7 people and link to them.
5. Comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged.

So without further ado, 7 weird things about me:

1. I cannot sleep with a closet door open. The kids like theirs open and it drives me nuts. Over the years I have come to allow it for them, but I can't sleep if the door is open in my bedroom. And if I think about theirs being open too much I start to get really freaked out.

2. I alphabetize my canned goods. And videos. And books. And pretty much anything else that is alphabetizable.

3. I hate the smell of orange-flavored things like air freshener and cleaners. I won't eat oranges themselves or orange Lifesavers either. But those orange-slice gummy candy things? Omg, LOVE them.

4. I can do a fairly decent impression of Jeri from the 80's TV sitcom "The Facts of Life." It's totally tacky and completely un-PC, but it makes my mom laugh so hysterically that I can't resist.

5. I'm allergic to the red dye in Koolaid. And many other red things (dang you FD&C Red No's 1-infinity!), but Koolaid's the only thing I've ever ingested enough of to have a reaction.

6. My husband was the teacher's aide in my Kindergarten class. He was 15, I was 5. Trust me when I say it sounds way creepier than it really is.

7. I can clog. (The dancing, not what you do to toilets and drains.) Tater and I started taking lessons when I was 17 and she was 14 right after my Aunt Janet and Cousin Courtney entered the family. They were veteran cloggers and we SO wanted to be a part of the fun. (The dancing was great, but it was those good-lookin' Horton boys that kept us coming back...) We used to wear gigantic red and white polka dotted outfits with full skirts and red lacy bloomers to exhibitions and even made it on the front page of the paper when we clogged at the city sidewalk sale. Yeah, we are that cool.

And my buddy Going Like Sixty tagged me for this one:

Things I never dreamed, when I was 25, would be in my life now:

1. A man that is 10 years older than me.

2. This gigantic booty I've been carrying around on my backside.

3. A mini-van. I just always thought I'd drive a car, but with three kids.....a van is SO a necessity.

4. A laptop. It was a dream come true!

5. A log splitter that can be hauled behind a vehicle, two four-wheelers, a Harley and a redneck.

6. A college degree. Wait....that one still isn't in my life. Nevermind.

Many thanks to all who tagged me. I'm not tagging anyone because well, I'm just not. I think since I was off for a week pretty much everyone else has done 'em!

What I Did on My Winter Blogcation

Okay, so it's only been what.....a week? It feels like longer. I actually checked out before that, really, but that last post on the first was just thrown in because of my overwhelming guilt.

I've been on some major burnout lately. Not just blog burnout (but it was the biggest one I think) but house burnout, job burnout, kid burnout, husband burnout, laundry burnout......

Doldrums. Isn't that what they call 'em, doldrums? (Or is that a sailing term for something on the water?) Maybe you could call it a little seasonal depression. I don't feel depressed really, but I just want to sleep a lot and lie on the couch and watch TV and cuddle with my kids and stuff. Wait, I know what it's called! Being a mom.

So I abandoned this here blog for awhile, gave myself some space from the computers - in fact they were just plugged in for the first time in seven days this morning. My mom gave me the lastest Stephen King book, Duma Key, for my birthday and I've been reading it. The kids and I finished the entire The Spiderwick Chronicles series. I haven't done any more laundry than was absolutely necessary to clothe my family. Heck, I haven't even cooked much. The house is a mess.

But strangely, in the middle of all of that, I feel better.

Here's a rundown to fill you in on


Saw Rick Springfield at The Big Fancy Casino with Tater. He is old, but still hot. I don't think he knows he's old and that was hilarious. And kinda sad. Tater took my cell phone up front through the crowd of screaming, sweating 30- and 40-something women to take a picture for me. When she came back she hollered, "Dude! I was close enough to count his liver spots!" He drunk-called Pizza Hut and ordered 3000 pizzas and beer with some chick out of the audience's cell phone, he sang "You Better Love Somebody" and "Affair of the Heart" and waited till the end to do "Jesse's Girl." Even though we were hot and moderately bored, Tater and I hung out until we heard "Jesse's Girl" and after that we started texting anyone we could think of because well, the best part was over. As we were walking back into the casino Paul sent me a text that asked, "Is that old fart done singing YET?"
Saturday Sam played two back-to-back basketball games. Three team members didn't show up and we had just enough to play, which meant Sam would get some great playing time in. However, that also meant those five boys were utterly exhausted when it was all over. They didn't win, but they played HARD as usual. Bless their hearts. I wish they could win the last three games....
Sunday the kids and I woke up at 9:45, which a few months ago would only mean we were well-rested on the weekend. However now, it meant WE WERE LATE FOR CHURCH. I jumped up, hollered for Sam to get in the shower because, even though he was sweaty after Saturday's games, he was too tired to even shower. Abby, Kady and I used the power of perfume to cover up our skankiness and I felt like I needed to yell as we walked into the church, "UNCLEAN! UNCLEAN!" like the lepers of old.

We are attending a new church these days. It's the church my mom's boyfriend pastors. It's small and quaint and the people are wonderful. I figured the kids would be the ones to holler they wanted to go back to the church we've been attending since summer, but they were actually the ones to ask if we could stay at "the little church." So I guess we will. Here's how great this church is: Paul went to Sunday School - and liked it.
Tuesday was Parent/Teacher Conferences at the kids' school. Sam has jumped from a 2.8 reading level at the beginning of the year to a 4.7. Since he's in 3rd grade I'm thinking that's not a bad thing. He's finally getting his multiplication tables and is on the 8's now. Whoo hoo!

Kady is ready for first grade and her tests put her WAY above the benchmark scores. Yes, this is the same kid that I was totally worried about not getting a reading book when everyone else got one. She's reading so well that nothing in this house is sacred or secret anymore. Her latest vocabularly word is "nefarious" which, according to her, means "it's's um......sometin' howwibow.....sometin' feewce or howwibow." Yeah, translate that.

Abby, according to her teacher, is ready for Middle School. However, I am not. Therefore, I have already announced to anyone that will listen that she is simply NOT going.

Her teacher explained that the D she has in math right now and the C she has in Social Studies is due to late assignments. She is tough-loving them on late assignments, trying to prepare them for the wonderful world of Zeros in Middle School. Up until now she has let them have so many day to turn in late assignments. Now they only get half-credit. Next 9-weeks they get Zeros. Welcome to the real world, all ye eleven year olds of the stinky armpits and pimply foreheads.

She said that pretty much the entire class hit puberty at once and at any given time her room smells like a lockerroom or a hog farm. Another reason why I'm glad I don't teach.
Wednesday was Paul's 45th birthday. He had the crud, or as he calls it "Pukemonia" even though there was no puking involved. I was completely conviced it truly was pneumonia, but I guess it was just a really nasty case of bronchitis. I had pneumonia on my birthday - twice - it sucks rocks.

I worked that day and Mom was going to pick the kids up off the bus, so he and I could leave for the gambling rounds as soon as I got home. Even though he felt like crap he still wanted to go, however when I walked in from work and saw what he looked like, I picked up the phone and told Mom that we weren't going anywhere. He slept from 1:30 until the kids got home at 3:30, fell back to sleep and slept until Mom picked the kids up for Awana at 6. By then he said he was tired of sleeping and asked if I wanted to go to the Miami casinos - a Reader's Digest version of the gambling run.

We were gone 2 hours and it wore him out. He fell asleep as soon as we got home. Not too grand of a birthday, but Mom, Tater and I went together and gave him the money to insure the Harley, so he was happy in the midst of his sore ribs and snotty nose.
I mentioned that Mom bought me Duma Key, Stephen King's latest, for my birthday. Every year Mr. King puts out a new book in honor of my birthday, much like the state closed all state agencies on my birthday - I am just that special. Anyway, last year's book was Lisey's Story which was what I consider to be a SK classic. He went through a phase where I didn't really care much for what he was putting out. Two years ago, Cell came out and was meh, better than they had been, but not one I feel the need to re-read and certainly not up to par with Insomnia. But Duma Key is absolutely old-school Stephen King in the best way. It carries Mr. King's old style of setting up the story so well that you simply cannot quit thinking about the story and when it's over you'll be angry and disappointed that you finished it because you just want more.

I have a hundred pages to go and while I'm anxious to get there, I kind of want to drag my feet a little. I had planned to stay up last night until I finished it, but forced myself to quit because I need another day to own the story.
We had our taxes done and now Paul's on a mission to get me a new van. I am resisting. I love my Astro Van. I don't like change. We'll see who wins.

Friday, February 01, 2008

The Randomator

It's been a long time since I've graced you with the thoughts that randomly pop into my head from time to time, so what better time than right now?


Snow days are a lot more fun when you're in grade school. When you're a parent they become just another day you ask yourself repeatedly, "Who was the idiot that gave my children crack today?"

That last statement, "Who was the idiot that gave my children crack today?" and other such comments about my children being on crack, are the kinds of statements that freak my mother out because she says one of these days someone is going to really think I give my children crack. I don't. It's too expensive and I have to save my money to buy fruit snacks and hot chocolate for after school and popcorn at the basketball games.

I painted my fingernails this week and the polish is starting to chip. I've been in a flit all morning to get those nails repainted because Tater is taking me to see Rick Springfield at The Big Fancy Casino tonight and obviously, somewhere in my delusional mind, I think Rick Springfield is going to notice if my fingernail polish is chipped.

I wish I was Jesse's girl so Rick Springfield would want me.

The people that market the show LOST to the masses are freakin' marketing geniuses. They hype, hype, hype it up, even give individual characters their own video commercials to show their oh-so-interesting personalities and make us fall in love/hate with them and they promote the WORLD WIDE EVENT and spread the whole shebang out over two nights and tell us the premiere is going to be TWO WHOLE HOURS OF LOST-Y GOODNESS and then, THEN they fill up that first hour with another one of those "getting to know the island" shows. Yet we all watched it anyway, like we didn't get to know the island enough the night before during the pop-up video episode the night before. Geniuses, I'm telling you.

Today is my regular day off and I was going to go pee on my hand in a cup for the folks at the Indian Clinic again today, but they closed the durn clinic because of the snow. I was really hoping the kids would go back to school today but the snow has kept them here. Under my nose, up my butt, in my face, etc. I mean, I love 'em and all and love spending time with them, but dude, that is SO what the weekend is for. I cherish my Fridays off. ALONE. I was going to paint my nails (for Rick Springfield) and take a nap (so I'll be fresh and alert for Rick Springfield when he wants to admire my unchipped fingernail polish) but now it looks like I'll be hiding in the bathroom with the door locked again today.

We don't even have a lock on the bathroom door. If I want to keep the kids out I have to open a drawer so the door won't open and hope that they're not suddenly overcome with Hulk strength and break the drawer. works AND I can still get an internet connection in there. Uh yeah, of course I've tried.

Right now in my house the Wii, the laptop, the desktop and my bedroom TV are on. We're all rotating every 45 minutes. Well, not me - I don't share the laptop. But Ab's on the desktop, KD's on the Wii and Sam's watching TV. In 30 minutes everyone will rotate. Sure, it's rotting their brains, but they're quiet and not bugging me.

I really do like my kids. Please know that. However, I'm kind of out of practice with that whole staying at home with them thing.

Kady is playing a Disney Princess game on Wii that quite frankly may give me nightmares tonight. These gigantic paintbrushes are chasing her. They are rather evil and sinister looking paintbrushes, too. I always thought paintbrushes looked like they could go bad at any time. Now I'm sure.

Heather B. Armstrong of Dooce is in the process of publishing not one, but TWO books. Not only do I wish I was Jesse's girl, I wish I was Heather B. Armstrong. Why can't Simon and Shuster come knockin' at MY door?

I *heart* my Schwan's Man. He is just about one of the cutest things on earth and his name is Cotton. How can you not like someone named Cotton? One day I was on the phone with Tater while Cotton was here and I said, "Seriously, Tater, I've gotta go. Cotton's here and I need to buy some ice cream!" She said, "Hey, tell Cotton he's the fabric of my life, okay?" When I hung up I said, "Cotton, you're the fabric of Tater's life." He grinned and said, "Everyone loves the feel of Cotton." See? How can you not like someone with comebacks like that?

A few years ago Tater and I became totally addicted to Sims on PS2. We would literally stay up all night long trying to evolve our Sims into upstanding citizens who loved hot tub parties, dancing in the living room with total strangers who walked into their houses and had super-cool jobs like Toll Booth Collector and Super Star. But now I am pathetically addicted to the kid version, My Sims on Wii. Abby got a blowtorch this morning and I am SO jealous! I am also SO pathetic.

I love chicken fries.

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...