Published in the Miami News-Record on October 12, 2014
Monday, November 03, 2014
Published in the Miami News-Record on October 12, 2014
Sunday, November 02, 2014
Saturday, November 01, 2014
Originally published in the Miami News-Record, October 12, 2014 (with a few bonus pictures!)
|Krusty the Clown from "The Simpsons"|
| Twisty the Clown |
from "American Horror Story: Freakshow"
Dude is seriously messed up.
Friday, October 03, 2014
Thursday, October 02, 2014
Sunday, September 07, 2014
Tuesday, September 02, 2014
From The Miami News-Record, Sunday, August 31
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Monday, August 11, 2014
Sunday, August 10, 2014
Any of you who have more than one child knows what sibling rivalry is and how it sucks your will to live most of the time. On the other hand, though, as a parent of more than one child you also probably know that when they get along, that time is fricking golden. GOLDEN, I'm telling you.
When my kids were little, they'd fuss over who was breathing whose air, whose bum was getting more of the backseat, who got more spaghetti at dinner. Those things were just a part of my daily - nay, hourly - life as a mother of toddlers, preschoolers, elementary-aged kids. While I was silently suffering on the inside, breaking up fights without even realizing I was doing it, and even becoming so adept I could change the youngest's diaper with my hands while keeping the other two from ripping out jugular veins with one leg extended behind me, my husband had far less patience with the harping, nagging, fussing, squealing, arguing, and sometimes downright caterwauling. He'd go from completely detached from the universe to threatening bodily harm in 2.1 seconds. I could endure for days. And I did. Maybe it was because I was young. Maybe it was because motherhood had been my lifelong dream. Maybe it was because I knew if I stopped being a stay-at-home mommy I'd have to get a job that involved wearing a bra on a daily basis.
So now I am the mother of teenagers. Two are full-fledged teenagers, one is mere months away from being there officially, although her attitude argues otherwise. (Girl is rockin' those teenage hormones and eyerolls these days. Ugh.) The fleeting moments of shining parental happiness when your children get along is no different when they become teenagers. In fact, I think it's even more precious. Now that they are older, the arguments are more in the range of who is louder, who is more obnoxious, who is my favorite, who gets all of our money when their dad and I finally kick the bucket, and those kinds of things. And with taller bodies, apparently comes longer vocal cords and increased lung capacity with which to throw insults and slams at much higher volumes than when they were little, compact, and cute. Days where the insults fly from sun-up to sun-down are exhausting for me. Since we homeschool, there is very little opportunity for me to ever get a break. I love them all dearly and am so happy that God has given us the chance, blessings, freedom, and grace to educate them at home, but I am being completely honest when I say this: there are days I have considered tying them all three together with duct tape and kicking them out of the car in front of the school, driving on with a smile on my face and going straight home to just sit on my couch in the complete silence. Not taking a nap or a hot bath. Just sitting. Where it's quiet. Never mind that our oldest child has graduated high school and would have no need to step foot on a high school campus - but that's the least of what I'm thinking of when I'm daydreaming.
But oh. There are days that I see their sibling relationships developing right before my very eyes, the dynamics of sister/sister, sister/brother, and all three together. I see how big brother looks out for little sister. I see how little brother asks big sister for advice. I see how big sister steps down from her lofty heights of being nearly 18 to help little sister with an outfit or hair. I try to focus on those precious, stolen moments when little sister is invading her older siblings' personal space or when brother is tormenting the dickens out of his sisters with stinky socks or his retainer. I see them taking selfies with each other, making stupid faces or being serious either one. I see how little sister looks up (literally) to big sister with little stars shooting out of her eyes. I see how little brother looks down (literally) on either sister with a grin of mischief and dare I say it - love. I hope and pray with all that is in me that their relationships only strengthen as they get older. They are going to need each other when they get out there in the real world. They are going to experience heartache that they won't want to come to me or their daddy about, but a phone call to big sister is going to make it better, perhaps put things in perspective. They are going to call each other as Paul and I age to share stories about how we're losing it or something senile we said or did. And they are going to become aunts and uncle to my amazing future grandchildren, telling the new offspring about their growing up and stories to embarrass and laugh over.
So I am taking these little moments of bliss and filing them away in my mind and in my heart. I pull them out and remember them on those days when a math lesson has left littlest sister crying and oldest sister rolling her eyes in disdain at such a display. I pull them out on other days as well. The days when I feel like I am the worst mother in the world. On the days I forget to make French toast even though she asked me four times, but I got busy. On the days I snap at someone for not understanding something the way I teach it the first time. On the days the new Pinterest recipe is a great big fat fail. On the days I feel like I am fat, ugly, unloved, un-special, unwanted, unimportant and so much more "un"everything.
Because on those days, the days I have a hard time loving myself, I just look at those three crazy, prayed-for kids and see the perfect combination of their father and myself, the ultimate expressions of our insane love and roller coaster marriage, the fulfillment of so many hopes and dreams, the proof that God loves me enough to entrust these three humans to me to mold, shape, teach, lead, and love on until He's ready to call us home.
And then on other days? I lock myself in the bathroom and go back to that daydream about duct tape and a drive-off.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Thursday, June 12, 2014
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Tuesday, May 06, 2014
Since last Monday we have done a total of five loads of laundry in this house. Folks, that's sometimes a daytime total around here. We generate a lot of laundry here on Hooverton Mountain. So, I'm kind of borderline panicking about lack of clothing - mainly underwears. I don't do commando, dudes. And no one else in my house does either. Or at least, they better not.
I asked Mom if we could use her washer to catch up at some point this week and of course, she said that was fine. Because my mom is totes cool like that. However, we now live 40 minutes from my mother and going there and back is 1/4 tank of gas. Things are pretty monetarily slim around here right now and 1/4 tank of gas is pretty much the equivalent of winning the lottery, so I'm waiting until we are at UNDERWEAR DEFCON:1 before I haul my dirty laundry to town. Priorities are hard sometimes.
This morning I was lazing around in bed like a good homeschool mother should (KIDDING, I only laze around in bed a few mornings a week) when my mother sent a text. What follows is the hilarious conversation that had me giggling for half an hour afterwards.
Mom: Laundry room is available. You go, girl. Clean those undies!
Me: Actually, probably won't come in until tomorrow - Paul has three uniforms and I usually wait until Wednesday to wash those. We may just go buy a washer tonight. Heck, it's just money.
Mom: Yes, it is just money. And which would you rather have? Money or clean underwear?
Me: That is Sophie's choice, right there.
Mom: Who is Sophie?
Me: The movie? "Sophie's Choice"? She has to choose between her two children in Auschwitz. Really, Mother? The movie is from 1982. You're losing it.
Mom: Have never seen that movie. But really, what gives this Sophie the right to decide whether YOU have clean underwear or not. I need her cell phone number.
Me: YOU'VE NEVER SEEN SOPHIE'S CHOICE?!?!? I feel like my whole life is a lie. I will order it on Netflix so you can agonize with Sophie. Gracious, and I thought me having an underwear shortage was a crisis. Turns out, my mother needs a movie intervention. ........... Aaaaaaand.....I don't think they issued cell phones to the Jews at Auschwitz. So you might have to look Sophie up on Facebook if you want to chat with her. Oh wait. Nevermind. You don't have Facebook.
At this point she just calls me. I answer the phone not with "Hello" but with laughter when I hear her laughing on the other end. Then she tells me a story about a guy who was whispering a whole conversation because of "droids" who were following him.
I let her finish the whole story before I told her they were drones, not droids.
And I started to tell her about that scene from Star Wars, but I didn't want her asking for Obi Wan Kenobi's cell phone number.
Sunday, April 20, 2014
A year ago, sometime around well, heck, I don't remember what time it was, but I do remember it was dark and I was asleep, Kady began barking the siren song of her people. You know her people: people with asthma. That siren song is a croup-y baby seal bark mixed in with with a raspy, horrible stridor and sometimes accompanied by wheezing and almost always by a look of absolute terror on my child's face.
Breathing treatments at home didn't help and she was panicking more with each breath, so I did what I have done so many times before: I tossed her wheezy butt in the car and drove for the hospital.
They released her just right about the time sunrise service was beginning. Paul took Abby and Sam to the church and I took Bugg and I home to the couch where I fell promptly to sleep while she, hopped up on asthma meds, watched TV and talked incessantly. No, it didn't matter I was snoring and drooling, she talked anyway. That's how she rolls.
This year we aren't attending any particular church and it had been awhile since we'd gone to the church where my Pops pastors, so we made plans to drive the hour there to be with Mom and Pops at their church. Shower schedules were set forth, everyone's Easter clothes were pressed and ready to go, I had the coffee pot fixed to kick on about the same time I hit the snooze button the first time, the day was essentially planned.
Until at 12:30 am Paul flips on the bedroom light to tell me that Bugg had just christened the bathroom with The First Official Barf since we moved in. He actually got a horrible stomach virus when we were nearly done with the remodel and ended up spending a few days sequestered here, sleeping on the hide-a-bed in the classroom, to keep the kids and me from getting it, but we weren't officially living here yet, so his barfing doesn't count. Kady gets the prize. Woot.
The poor kid puked about every 45 minutes for a solid 12 hours and ran a fever to boot. I didn't sleep much - but neither did she, so I shouldn't complain.
I'm a thermostat nazi and refuse to turn on the AC in April, so I slept with the windows open and I guess I really didn't know birds chirped and tweeted at night. I was used to owls at the other house, but never songbirds. I suppose I thought they tucked into their little birdie beds at night and slept like we do. In my restless dozing through the night, my brain mixed up the tweeting with my imagination and I was pretty sure I heard a mocking jay like in The Hunger Games. And of course, my dreams then sent me to the arena with Katniss for the next half hour or so to fight for my life. Fortunately (for me, not Kady) the sounds of retching woke me. My next pitiful bout of rest produced a dream in which someone was trying to break into our house and I, the hero of our story, grabbed a bolt action rifle and proceeded to shoot at the offender repeatedly. I don't even like to shoot bolt action rifles. I text my mom at 6:30 this morning to tell her we would not be attending Easter services to avoid spreading the love. Then I tried to doze some more, but Princess Barfypants in the next room wasn't having any of that.
It's now 7:30 pm. She's been puke-free since nearly noon. She is complaining about some lower abdominal pain that is freaking me the heck out after her brother decided to create a new holiday last October called "Appendix Liberation Day" - a day in which he was celebrated by a surgeon he pulled off the golf course as well as the on-call surgery staff and was the honored guest at his very own emergency appendectomy. So yeah, I'm a little paranoid when any of the kids (well, except Sam now) complain of abdominal pain on the right side.
I'm just ready to get some sleep. Without intermittent barfing or Katniss Everdeen and a random burglar visiting my subconscious.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Before I get to the part about my broken hindquarters, first I have to backtrack a bit.
Last summer, midst a flurry of church camp and VBS, an ever-growing and demanding youth group, three kids of my own, and a new school year bearing down on me I was bitten by a spider. A very. nasty. spider.
I woke up on a Sunday morning in July to an itchy spot on my hip. I had worn pajama pants to bed, so I figured it was a particularly ravenous mosquito who had bitten through the fabric. I commented about how bad it itched while I was getting ready for church, put some cream (or ointment or whatever) on it and went on to church. By the time we headed back to church that night for our YouthVBS program, the bite was as big as the diameter of a baseball and oh golly, how it itched. I took a Benadryl before I went to bed and marveled at how I had reacted to the silly thing.
Some time during the night I woke up drenched in sweat and aching all over. I had a house full of kids and I'm not exaggerating on that in the least. I had my three kids, my friend Kasey's three kids, plus her sister's two kids who were in from Tennessee. Kasey is a twin and her sister comes home once a year - I took the kids so they could hang out, so imagine how bad I felt when I had to call her at 8am and tell her I was sick as a dog and Paul was bringing all the kids home ASAP. I called the indian clinic, managed to get the very last same-day appointment with a nurse practitioner (with whom I was about to become very well acquainted with over the next few months). The bite was ugly looking, I felt like I'd been run over, I had a fever, I was nauseous -- needless to say: I was sick.
Abby had been bitten by a brown recluse a few years prior and considering we killed one of the nasty things about every other day somewhere in the old house, I assumed the offending spider was a recluse. The symptoms were the same, the bite looked the same, etc. The NP told me to expect it to form the traditional black spot as my flesh began to *gag* rot at the site of the bite, gave me two shots of steroids in the rear end, oral antibiotics, a prescription for Benadryl, said to drink water until my eyeballs floated and to stay down until I felt better. Two days later I woke up to find myself covered from the top of the head to the tops of my legs in a rash that made me look like I'd been dragged across the carpet for eight or nine hours nonstop. A call to the clinic then put me on oral steroids, more strict bed rest, and so much Benadryl I was *this close* to drooling. In fact, I may have actually drooled. More than once.
The following Sunday after the bite, after seven days of misery and pain, I sent Paul, Kady, and Sam off to church for the evening service while the Abby stayed home with me. I had been feeling funny, just slightly... off.... all day. Then my left arm, hand and fingers, the toes on my left foot and my face went numb. Well, my face was numb, but tingling. It was weeeeeiiiiiirrrrrdd. I called the indian hospital in Claremore, asked if someone could give me some advice before I drove the hour to the hospital for what might be nothing. They said they really weren't allowed to give advice over the phone, but asked what was going on anyway. When I described what was going on, I was patched through to a nurse who said, "Get here. NOW." I explained that I was an hour from the hospital and she said, "Then leave NOW. And get here." Abby flew to the church to get Paul and I called my mom to have her come get the kids and off we went. I had a little emotional meltdown in the car on the way because, as someone with OCD, I tend to imagine the absolute worst in any situation and imagine it often.
They drew blood (took five sticks, ow), examined the bite, called an internist and the final diagnosis was extremely elevated white count, systemic poisoning, definitely not a brown recluse, probably a black widow, the numbness/tingling was my body reacting to the poison, follow up with my primary in three days for a repeat white count. It took six weeks for my white count to return to normal. I was put on Neurontin for the pain that affected only the left side of my body and told that the nerve pain could come and go for as long as three years. She said stress would cause flare ups and also said to be very cautious during flu season because my immune system was pretty well shot.
By October I no longer needed the Neurontin with any regularity. I had a flare-up during the holidays due to stress, plus the remodeling of the new house, plus moving stuff, plus youth group stuff, plus a generally hectic schedule, but I was better.
Then in February I noticed this weird tingling sensation in my lower back on the left side. I immediately assumed it was a nerve flare-up and started back on the medicine. It didn't help. It would itch and burn and tingle, but when I would scratch, I couldn't actually feel it on my skin. When I was picking up a refill at the pharmacy I mentioned offhandedly that I was getting no relief and he got a verbal order from the NP to up my dose. Tripled it actually. Enter my new absent memory and a general foggy feeling in my head for about an hour, three times a day. But itching/burning didn't get immediately better.
It was Shingles.
Actually the whole shingles experience wasn't as bad as I've always heard. It was uncomfortable and I really don't want to do it again, but I never developed the blisters, so there was my little bit of mercy in the whole mess. I really only had two days where I hurt, but I survived.
So now it's April. I had my yearly well-woman exam, my mammogram, and my six-month follow-up for labs and general checkup all in a week's time. Turns out I do not have breast cancer (always a plus), but I'm anemic, my cholesterol is elevated, but my liver and kidneys are doing a good job at whatever their appointed tasks are. My lower left back is still numb/itchy/tingly and she said I may never regain sensation there. Dadgum stupid varicella.
I also mentioned the intense pain in my tailbone. Since last fall I have had a very hard time sitting. Actually the sitting isn't as painful as standing after sitting. My lower back hurts nearly constantly and did I mention my tailbone hurts? Well, it does. She got on to me for wearing crappy shoes, told me to wear good supportive shoes and an orthotic insert and said she wanted to do an x-ray of my lower back and pelvis just for good measure.
The next morning, bright and early, her nurse called to tell me that I was a congenital deformity in my lower back, to wear supportive shoes, and they had mailed me a handout to explain it all. Good-bye and good day.
Say whaaaa? I needed a bit more than that. So I spent the next 24 hours freaking the heck out.
So today I got the handout.
I have lumbar spondylosis. Actually, the spondylosis is no big thang really. Yes, it's degenerative and it's just one more glaring slap in the face that screams, "YOU ARE POSITIVELY ANCIENT, YOU OLD BAT." So that's nice. But it's actually pretty common. The handout they sent says that 80% of people over the age of 40 have it and it, in and of itself, has no real symptoms. It is typically found when they are looking for something else.
And for me, that something else is a pars defect. Yeah. It just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it? Pars defect. Say it like you mean it. Beautiful.
Anyway, this is the congenital deformity the nurse mentioned. And I have spent the last five hours Googling it relentlessly. And here are my findings:
My back is broken.
It is a break in between vertebrae and is typically found in athletes. HA. Like, I am so not an athlete. Mine is the L4 and L5 vertebrae, as is fairly common. Pretty much it can be a congenital birth defect or it can be from repeated hyper-extension. And since I have yet to be hired by Cirque de Soleil, I'm pretty sure it's a birth defect. Or from playing the bass drum in the marching band. Either way, I'm not supposed to have any high-impact manipulations at the chiropractor. I'm pretty sure this will keep my professional tap dancing career at bay. And also, if this keeps me off of roller coasters I am going to be so. pissed.
Because I have no one to blame, I am going to blame the spider. Pretty much everything bad that happens in my life these past nine months has been blamed on the spider bite - solar flares, my computer's motherboard dying a painful, messy death, the national debt, that time I smeared my toenail polish, and the fact that McRib isn't really pork, but instead gelatinous globs of pork-flavored pasted pressed into a patty thus rendering me physically incapable of eating the one sandwich that made me happy before I started eating cleaner. Yep, all of it. Blaming it on the spider.