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Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Elf Camera

The first time I saw the movie "The Polar Express" I didn't get what all the hype was about. The first time I saw the movie, I fell asleep. Although I purchased it, I never pulled it out to rewatch it. I remembered it as being boring.

Until I watched it again this year.

It was being played on the Family Channel and almost more out of a sense of duty than anything else, I turned it on to watch it rather than have Short Person watch any of the other stuff that was on during the evening. 45 minutes later, I became a believer and chalked the movie up as one of my all-time favorite holiday movies.

So did Short Person.

We watched it, and rewatched it, and rewatched it, loving almost everything about the movie-- the music, the scenery, the story.

Most of you know that LJS and I have been having a really hard time getting Short Person interested in sleeping in her own bed, in her own room. The man in her room and the monsters under her bed have kept her from enjoying her personal space, and as much as I've had night terrors in my life and have been in situations where the presence of an unseen man is not unheard of, I am not one to force an issue that scares a 4-year-old.

But for reasons that I'm sure you can all understand, having a 4-year-old in your bed for the better part of her life doesn't bode well for a marital relationship and the desire to banish her fears has been a constant perplexing issue.

So we try. Over and over and over.

We'd been using the argument that Santa checks on little boys and girls when they are sleeping to see if they'd been naughty or nice. "He sees you when you are sleeping", we told her. "How is he going to see you when you are sleeping, if you are not in your own bed?" we'd ask. Always confronted in return with the face of her fear.

And then finally, it would seem that Santa answered even our wish in a most unexpected way.

There is a scene in the movie "The Polar Express" that takes place after the train car breaks away from the pack and crashes the children into the depths of the elves village. They wander away and into the main headquarters, where the elf general is watching and checking the last minute naughty or nice children.

In the middle of the room there is a large pyramid stacked with television screens, all showing the face of a sleeping child.

And an idea struck.

Short Person and I were set to drive up to the airport so that I could pick up a couple things I had seen on an earlier trip. They were funny file folders printed with text like "Papers I will shuffle endlessly to make it look like I'm busy" and "Papers I will never get around to reading", etc. I thought they'd make a funny gag gift for my boss.

A few days earlier, I had ventured to Walgreens to find a fiber-optic light to put in Short Person's room. A colorful nightlight that might scare away the shadows. Instead, I found an LED Snowman, one with a light that changes from red to green to blue to pink over and over, and an idea hit.

An elf camera.

I showed the light to LJS and explained what I wanted him to do with it while we were gone shopping.

Short Person and I arrived home from the airport and LJS greeted her in the living room.

"I think Santa was here earlier! I heard a loud noise on the roof, and then... there was something in your room." He told her, mirroring a voice of moderated excitement mixed with subdued curiosity.

"What was it, Dad?" She asked.

"I don't know. Let's go look and see if we can find anything new."

LJS took her hand and together they walked into the bedroom. Short Person gasped and exclaimed, "He WAS here! Look what he left me!... What is it?"

I looked it over. "Hmm... Well, maybe it's an elf camera. I mean, we were wondering how he was going to see you, right?"

"What does it do?" She asked.

"Well, I think at night it turns on so Santa can see you." I replied.

"Great! Can I go to bed now?"

I looked at the clock. Honey, it's only five o'clock. It's way to early to go to bed. Besides, you haven't even had dinner yet!

She mumbled a little and went about doing things she wanted to do, until finally bedtime arrived.

And she's slept in her bed since.

Although I've dated this for the day that we set up the "camera", it is now the end of the year. We've had one or two bobbles along the way. Days where she has slept in our room instead of hers, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

In addition to the elf camera, we've also increased her marble incentive by making the jar smaller and giving her larger (and more) marbles for sleeping in her bed. She gets 1 giant marble if she sleeps part of the way in it, and 2 giant marbles if she sleeps all night there. Once the jar is full, she will earn a new game for her Leapster.

The other night, she couldn't sleep. She got scared and went into our room to lay down. After about five minutes she said, "You know, I'm really scared, but I need to sleep in my own room." She got up, went in to her room, and slept the rest of the night.

We gave her 3 giant marbles. Two for all night and one for facing her fears.

And now I get to say, Merry Christmas to us, and breathe a huge sigh of relief.

Thank you, Santa :)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Santa said, "We'll see...", she replied.

It was a day for pictures. First for basketball and then for Santa.

Basketball took some coaxing, almost as much from having to wake up at 6am for pictures at 7:30am as from Short Person's resistance at playing. Even though she was gung-ho from the get-go to play, the realization that she can't simply pick up a basketball and play like any number of people three times her age frustrates her.

Someday I'll find a way to explain that it takes practice to learn something, it just wasn't going to be today. Today it took the promise of McDonald's cinnamon rolls to even get her to agree to a picture.

Finally, after an hour of warming up, and the persistant persuasion of a mommy that's willing to look like a dork in front of 50 other parents running up and down the basketball court, she started playing. She even scored two baskets (yea!).

Once we finished with basketball, we were once again running. First, to McD's to uphold my ealier promise, then to home, then to the Fire Department for pictures with Santa.

Short Person knew exactly what she wanted to wear. It was a homemade dress in two parts, the dress and the pinnafore. She rushed to eat, actually finishing her roll in the car, and hurried through the motions of brushing her teeth, changing into her dress, putting on jewelry and makeup, and then reluctantly brushing her hair while her mom sucked down coffee like it was going out of style. Then, at 10am, we left for Santa pictures.

As we pulled into the parking lot, I thought about the previous years of excitement that led right up to the front doors, through the line while we looked at the Christmas trees and commented on all the little babies also getting pictures, and right up to the moment that they called her to bounce up on the engine for the picture. At that moment, excitement turned to tears and fear and the picture usually reflected it.

Not this time. This time, she hopped up there, told Santa what she wanted, smiled for the camera- theirs and mine- and hopped down to wait for the photograph. I was amazed, as were the volunteers who remember previous years if for no other reason than she's my daughter.

We grabbed our photograph and went to tour the fire trucks and I asked her what she told Santa she wanted.

"I told him I wanted a baby pink pony", she stated with an oddly hesitant voice.

My eyebrows raised slighly. A baby pink pony? Did she mean a real one? Dear Lord, what was I going to do with that information? I had no idea what in blazes she was thinking of when she asked for that. My little pony, maybe?

I collected myself and cheerfully said, "Well, that's great that you got to ask him for exactly what you wanted! What did Santa say?" I wondered.

She scrunched up her mouth and looked a little perplexed, "Santa said, 'We'll see...'", she replied.

We'll see? I thought. Holy cow! Warring emotions played in my head. On one hand I understood because it had only been seconds before that I was wondering what in the heck she meant, but... this is Santa. Giver of the impossible! Keeper of the magic and expectancy that we've come to know as Christmas. We'll see?!

I tried to think of a response to explain away his answer. "Well honey, maybe he thought you wanted a real one and wanted to check with his elves, or with us, before he got you a real live pony."

"But mo-om..." she sighed, "I don't want a real one!"

"Well, honey, don't worry. He's Santa! He has lists everywhere and I'm sure he'll look into it when he's not so busy. It will be okay. You'll see."

We wandered back into the lobby to say goodbye to a friend of ours and while Short Person was busy saying farewell to the little girl I talked to her mom about the pony. I found out that her daughter had a giant stuffed pony and we agreed that maybe Shortie was hoping for the same thing. I asked for a location of purchase if she was able to get the information and then Short Person and I left for home.

******

LJS had been helping his parents with their house earlier in the day, but when he came home he needed to work on a desk that I had purchased as another Santa gift for Short Person. I had found the desk in a Craigslist posting for $40, but it needed some work. One of the drawers was missing a guide and was sitting crooked, the handles were tarnished and scratched, and the wood itself was a dark mess of scratches and wear.

I had told Short Person that Santa had called us to let us know he'd be bringing something big as a segeway into getting rid of her play kitchen and market. Two things she had outgrown, but was unwilling to part with, that we needed to remove to fit a desk in. So, since it was to be a gift from Santa, she couldn't see it. A challenge as the work was going to be done in the garage to strip, restain, and varnish it.

Since LJS was going to need every weekend in order to get the refinish work completed, it meant that I'd need to have Shortie out of the house during the major work, like sanding, which was to happen that night. So, we went shopping for Christmas gifts at Target.

We spent hours at the store gathering gifts for people, drinking hot cocoa from Starbucks, and looking at various things. I purposely saved the toy aisles for last wanting to save myself the headache of having to explain and re-explain that we weren't there to buy things for ourselves.

Up and down the aisles we went commenting on various items and who they'd be good presents for, until finally we got to the My Little Pony section. There, on the shelf, was a little baby pink pony.

I watched as she picked the box up, looking whistfully at it. "This is what I asked Santa for...." She let her voice drift off, slowly put the box back on the shelf and went to look at other things on the aisle.

It was on sale for $8 off.

And the sale ended that night.

There was NO way I could NOT get it. I simply refused to spend $8 more for something.

I picked up the box, pretending to look at it, all the while watching her from the corner of my eye. She knelt down to look at something on the floor and I scrambled. Things were being knocked all over the cart as I moved things around to bury this large box at the bottom, holding back laughter at how funny I'm sure I looked.

Finally hidden, I urged Short Person on and we continued our search for Christmas gifts.

I never considered that I'd have to distract her over and over again because she'd want to review the items we'd placed in the cart! But somehow, I made it to the checkstand without her seeing it.

At the checkout, she started helping put things on the belt-- as I was attempting to find some way to pull it out and give it to the cashier for quick ring up and bagging.

"Honey, look at all that stuff down there on the rack. There's a slinky... and look... PEZ!" (My daughter is a freak for PEZ, if you didn't know that.)

"But Mom, I want to help." She toned.

Near panic and desperation, I looked at her and blurted out, "Look at the toys or you're not getting anything for Christmas!"

Short Person whirled around and knelt down to consider the things hanging on the bottom rack. Guiltily, I looked at the older couple standing behind us, who had a look of shock on their faces at this scene, and then rushed to pull the pony from the cart while Meg was still distracted. I pulled it out from underneath about twenty things, watching as some of them fell to the floor, and gave it to the clerk. I asked her to double-bag that item and then told Short Person she was now able to help.

Forty minutes later, we were home, heavy one baby pink pony and one very chagrined mother.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Caught Between the Urge to Do Cartwheels and Run for the Toilet

Nearly six months ago, I submitted a story for a contest. The contest features amateur writers (up to and including people that know next to nothing about publication or writing) and offers a weekly winning prizes of $100 to a Grand Prize of $2500 and the possibility of publication. For a short story.

Something that is completely unheard of in the industry I am in. Just to put it in perspective, getting published in an anthology MIGHT get you $50 and a couple copies of the book-- if you are lucky.

I sent the story in for the summer contest and quickly learned that they had been overwhelmed with submittals. By the end of the contest I hadn't heard anything... except that they were going to hold another one in the fall. They also noted that the submitted stories were going to be held over for the new contest. However, in between that time, they made a couple changes, one that included reducing the word count. Since my word count was just over 3300 and they reduced it to 3000 or fewer, my hopes plummeted.

But today, I received the email I've been wishing and hoping and crossing all available digits for-- the "Your story is good and we'd like to feature it" email. Yea!!

The contest ends in February and the email stated that they are going to run it sometime in January. They will also be providing a link to where all my friends can go to vote (one vote is allowed from one computer-- so you could vote from work and home, but not from home on all three computers since they all have the same ISP).

That my friends can vote for me is awesome, but it brings me to this huge DILEMMA. I could hail all of my friends and family and ask them to vote, but what if my story is not the best? What if there is a better one alongside mine? Isn't that cheating?

Or, do I take the side of knowing that the other authors have sent their supporters and beg for the same of all of you?

What is appropriate... and what isn't?

And while all of this is going through my head, I have the ever-present butterfly tummy that says, "Wow! This is EXCITING!" battling the butterfly tummy that says, "I don't think I can handle the rejection!" (In a very Marty McFly tone of voice, I might add.)

One wants cartwheels. The other, the toilet.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Short Person and the Magic of Dr. Seuss

Since our family's Christmas presents this year are to be based on books, I rushed to the library. Ten minutes until it closed, I didn't care what I grabbed off of the shelf to bring home, just so long as I could carry it and just so long as that stack included Dr Seuss' "Green Eggs and Ham".

The book is great. Not only did I think I could use it somehow, but I was really looking forward to sharing it with Short Person. I love the rhythm and intonation that is found in the words. The way you can play your voice to dramatize the stanzas and bring the pages to life.

I got it home and Short Person and I spent about an hour reading and looking through the stack of 25 books I had managed to wrangle off the shelves and bring home. We ended the story-telling adventure with "Green Eggs", and I delighted in the moments when she'd laugh or scrunch up her face, or roll her eyes.

When we finished, I went back to work and she went into her room to play. After about 15 minutes, I could hear her reading a book to herself. It was one she had memorized, "No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed". Over and over she'd read it, each line different as she played with her voice and emphasized different stanzas. Over and over she'd recite the sentences, playing with the rhythm and pitch.

Sometimes the big things can be found in the little things.

It seems weird to say that I'm proud of that moment, but I am. It's one of those times where the things that are deeply entrenched in my genes surfaces in Short Person and I stare in wonder at the magic of it. Knowing that I had a small part in bringing it to the surface and letting it play. Knowing that pieces of a creation generations ago still live, dominantly in the new... it's enchanting.

Today, in a small way, I showed her voice. Voice in more than just what it means to talk and make sound, but voice in a way that can make words breathe.

Tonight she told me that she wanted to be on stage. She wanted to know why Miley Cyrus could do it and she couldn't. I told her that the only thing holding her back was the fact that she was only 4 and that as long as she practiced, I didn't see any reason why she shouldn't.

I wonder, when I grow up... what will she be?

Friday, November 21, 2008

LJS's Birthday Redux

I knew when I married him that he wasn't an "outgoing" kind of guy, but it still makes it hard sometimes. There are things I want to go and do that he just... doesn't.

Celebrating his 40th birthday seems to be at the top of the list right now. At least, celebrating with a crowd, anyway.

So, even though there is a little voice in the back of my head saying what a horrible person I am for not going BIG for his birthday, I am going to save myself and my family funeral preparations by giving him what he wants. A night at home doing nothing.

Nothing. lol

Yeah, for those of you that know me all too well, that will probably not occur. I will at least do his favorite meal, a cake, find a babysitter, and engage in an attempt at a "Shock and Awe" attack.

Shock and Awe. There's a line from one of the last episodes of the West Wing. President-Elect Santos and his wife Helen are getting ready for another full day of transition into the West Wing and Helen wants to know if her husband has time for an "invasion". He wanted to know what she had in mind and Helen responds that she had in mind a little "shock and awe". To which PE Santos replied...

"Honey, after 15 years of marriage, I'd be shocked if you were awed."

There were a lot of REALLY good lines on that show, but that one has to be somewhere near the top of the list, simply for its humor quotient.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

LJS and the Big 4-0

I don't know what to do.

My phantom, make-believe husband-- you know... that guy I talk about a lot, but no one ever seems to see? Well, he is turning 40 at the end of the year and I have no idea how to celebrate it.

As shy as he is, or anti-social, or freaked out by large groups of people, has threatened me with certain death if I throw a party. In clear terms, he doesn't want one.

But, it is his 40th. I can't let it slide without a celebration... can I?

I started thinking that if I were going to throw him a surprise party, I might be able to come out of it alive if it was really low-key. Pizza or burgers. Someplace family-friendly and entertaining. Someplace where he didn't need to feel like the center of attention because there were other attractions.

Unfortunately, with that, there are problems. How to get him there was a big one. I mean, he's going to know something is up if I say, "Hey, we're going out for pizza today and we need to be there at 2pm." Plus, what if I schedule it for Ye Oldes and he wants Abby's? Major relocation crisis.

I thought for awhile about ways that I could get around that, like having a limo pick him up at work (so he has no choice but to get in) and deliver him to a suitable restaurant somewhere near his place of employment... but that, added with food, blows my budget miles out of the water. Even trying it creatively with coupons and gift certificates. Plus, it is so close to New Year's Eve that there is no guarantee that I could get enough people to show up to constitute a party.

So, I changed my mind. Maybe a limo and a nice hotel room in Downtown Portland where we can have lots of sex. I don't see him arguing with that. But then, I've just left out anyone and everyone that might want to celebrate his birthday.

I keep going around and around and around. I keep changing things. Maybe no limo and a hotel with some sort of event. Course, he's not big on events, so even a Blazer game is out of the question. A nice dinner? Well, then people should be able to join us...

And suddenly, you are back at square one. And even if I could get him in the car and to a restaurant, we are back at the budget thing again. Especially now that I've thrown in a hotel for sex in the mix.

So, my question to you is... what do YOU think? Any creative ideas? Any ideas on how to go big on a budget? Is a town car tacky if I cut corners that way? Do you know of a nice hotel that isn't $200 a night? How about a nice one that rents by the hour? (LMAO)

Time is running out for me.

Friday, October 24, 2008

What I Have to Put Up With

All I wanted to do was take a picture of her hair. it (as you will see) was done really cute today and I wanted a memento. I asked her to stand still for just a second, so that I could take her picture. Below is what occurred.

For those of you that rarely get to see Short Person in true form, I think you'll enjoy this totally candid, extremely honest, view of her.

When she watched this video of herself she laughed so hard I thought she was going to have stuff start flying out of her nose.

Enjoy!


video

Monday, October 13, 2008

It’s Like Rubber-Necking on a Tragic Car Accident

The City newsletter went out and with it a contest we are running. It is a request for the citizens to draft a motto using the adopted Vision Statement. Ideas started rolling in one by one, some good, some questionable, and some that showed a darker side.

I was to be the contact for the submitted word-crafts.

We received one from an angry business owner that had, apparently, just gone out of business-- or, at least chosen to move elsewhere. It was an angry motto that he chose to end with the following:

"Also, everyone in the company that had the misfortune to work with Melody thought she was the rudest public official they have ever met."

The "sent" line indicated that it had also been delivered to my boss, the Mayor, the President of the City Council, and the Chairman of the Planning Commission.

I sat shocked, stunned by the angry outburst from someone whose name was completely unfamiliar to me, wondering what I could have done that would make EVERYONE in his company think that. Trying to reconcile what I think of myself with the word rude and mentally denying it, while also questioning it.

I admit, I am not the most socially-perfected person in the world. I cannot sit in front of someone and smile and chit-chat about every day stuff easily. I find it difficult to "strike up" conversations with people I don't know. And yes, if you are rude to me on the phone, chances are I am going to be rude back. Sometimes, I can catch myself, but most times I'm stunned into a stupor and the reaction is foundational.

I printed off the email and took it home to LJS to see what he thought. His reaction was swift and immediate and in the way of a bunch of swear words directed at the person that wrote the message. His take is that my name was most convenient.

The next day, when I got back to the office, I did some research to try and find out who the person was, which I did. He was the owner (may still be the owner) of a local winery. A company that I'd worked with on a sign permit. A company I had FOUGHT for, spending way too much time arguing with my boss and the powers that be to look for a way around the code that would enable them to keep the sign they proposed.

I fought FOR them. And this is the return for that?

Even if at one point I had been rude, it would only have been a sign of my anger that I couldn't get anything to work for them. And even then, rude is not something I am normally prone too.

I keep looking at the email. Obsessing over it.

It's like rubber-necking at a car accident, both out of curiosity and out of a sense of shock at what the world can deliver. Only this time, I'm the one sitting in the wreckage.

I'm angry and humiliated, stunned and sick.

And it ticks me off that, if this was just a random name pull, they scored accurately in choosing me, because I have let it get to me. My OCD-perfectionist ways making it a struggle to release the attack and move on.

*sigh*

In the end, I think I'll just keep in mind how my friend Kim reacted when I text-messaged her the contents. She said, and I quote, "BULLSHIT! They obviously don't know you at all." A comfort, since when it comes down to the bare bones of what matters, I will choose the people that build the foundation and walls of the world I live in as a gauge of how I left my mark. Not the ramblings of someone looking to burn one on me.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

DUCK!!

A friend of LJS's owns property in the hills of Yamhill County. Lots of property that is populated by wildlife such as deer, coyotes, and critters. On the property, he has a man-made lake, which he fills with trout each year.

For fun, we decided to take Short Person up there to fish. Actually, it was supposed to be just Short Person and Daddy, but I couldn't resist the draw of quiet tranquility the day presented. The little lake sits on top of a grassy hillside surrounded by large trees untouched by loggers. Lush and green, they blanket the hillside beckoning to the unaware wanderer who would find himself lost, should he be drawn in by the deceptive daylight of their spacing.

Imagine the picturesque beauty and unassuming character of Sherwood's forest and you'd be fairly close.

Dragonflies the size of small hummingbird's buzz around eating mosquitos and if you'd been able to get close enough, you could have seen the smile on their faces. Skeeters hopped across the pond and fish jumped as they played, disrupting the stillness of the water.

It was every picture of a lazy day on a wild pond.

We brought up her fishing pole and his and a container of worms and let her go for it. LJS baited the hook, casted, and handed the pole to her while readying his own. Immediately, she got a bite. The line started shaking like crazy, she yelped, and handed the pole to me. Letting me reel in the first catch of the day. A tiny little rainbow trout the size of a snickers candy bar.

She peered around LJS's legs, daring to look at the fish, but not get close enough to touch, as he removed the hook and then tossed it back in the water.

It went on like this for about five fish... and then she got courageous.

AND INDEPENDENT.

Nothing wrong with that, I suppose, just the grievous fear of bodily harm. To us.

LJS showed her how to cast.

Her fishing pole is a kid's pole, so casting involves putting a finger on the line, pressing down a button, swinging the rod over the shoulder toward the water, while simultaneously releasing the button. It sounds easy enough, but I had to use LJS's pole because her's was too hard for me, which I find amusing. It's like a child-proof prescription cap.

Short Person casting, for us, was a big event. And she did it quite often. We'd have to listen for the crank of the line as she reeled in and then... DUCK!!!

Back swung the pole, the hook wildly flaying about catching trees, grass, and anything else in it's path as it wickedly sliced through the air on its trek back toward the water.

Talk about being on your toes!

We stayed up there for about two hours, until all the worms were gone. Toward the end, we weren't catching any fish and Short Person was getting bored. Even though fishing for her was a lot of work. Cast, reel, reel, reel. Cast, reel, reel, reel.

So, daddy showed her a trick.

He cast the line into the water for her and then walked her over to a forked branch that had been pounded upright into the earth about a foot away from the edge of the water.

"Okay, now just leave it here. Let it stay very still and a fish will come."

He sat the pole in the middle of the forked limb and Short Person knelt down beside it. "When am I ever going to catch a fish?" She asked in a voice full of desolation. And just as the last word left her mouth...

FWAP!

Down bent the pole! It started shaking! It started buzzing as the line sped off of the reel and wildly moved from one side of the pond to the other.

"I caught a fish!" She said jubilantly over the sound of her father and I yelling "Pick the pole up! Pick the pole up!"

She picked up the pole and started reeling that fish in... reel, reel, reel to the buzz, buzz, buzz as it flew back off. She held on for dear life, reeling with all of her might until finally...

She got the biggest fish of the day. I think he was about 7 or 8 pounds.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Reverse Psychology at 4. Really?

Over the last few weeks, we've been buying Short Person happy meals at McDonald's. That's not really a new thing since she loves chicken nuggets, it is just that she usually chooses Wendy's to buy them.

We order a happy meal, ask for a girl toy, and then she receives a boy toy-- which makes her very vexed when she opens it. Very unhappy. She usually wants us to go back and lecture them and exchange the gift.

Today, she chose McDonald's again. I drove to the drive-through and waited for the car in front of us to get done with ordering. Short Person has been reminding me over and over to ask for a girl toy. "Make sure they give you a girl toy!"

Then, there was a pause. Followed by a half-snort. "You should ask for a boy toy... then they'd probably give you a girl one!"

I laughed, of course, because that reasoning if funny. But then, I got a little stunned going on. I mean, at 4 years old, is reverse-psychology something they are supposed to be able to understand?

I mean, really? At four?!

wow

Sunday, September 21, 2008

What Kind of Sick Twist of Fate is This?!

Short Person decided to play soccer. Yea!!

After last year, we really weren't sure it was ever going to happen again. We signed her up for the local recreation district's soccer program with disastrous results. Instead of teaching the kids anything about soccer, the teenage coach just ran them around the field a lot with another set of 15 kids and one soccer ball.

Short Person learned more from me, just passing the soccer ball to her and taking her to soccer games, than she learned in that waste of an hour that was last year.

I know, I know... "Tell me how you really feel, Mel."

This year, rather than risk the same results, I signed her up at the local YMCA. The program cost more money, but also less in some areas since I don't need to buy her new soccer shoes, she can just wear tennies. Also, it is indoor, so I don't need to worry about rain or cold or any other things that would make a 4-year-old cranky. They also have practices and "games".

Today was our first practice and it went so much better than last year. There were two coaches, adult males with kids of their own, and it ran like you'd expect soccer practice to run. In other words, if you arrived you would see 10 little kids learning to play soccer and not a clusterfarge of kids running screaming around a grassy plain.

We still had a couple moments of tears-- once when the coach was lining the kids up to do something. Short Person came running over so upset that the coach was asking them to do something and she didn't know how to do it. I explained that this was what soccer practice was, to learn how to do things. Didn't help. Then, I saw that they were lining them up to pass the ball back and forth. Yea for small miracles, I simply explained that she was too kick the ball to the person across from her like when mommy kicks it to her and she kicks back.

The other tears were for getting hurt (lol, I made her shake it out and jiggled her foot until it was better. Laughter through tears is such a great emotion); and, when they were scrimmaging and she couldn't understand why the other kids weren't letting her have a turn.

I may have messed this one up.

I explained that her job was to go and get the ball. And, if she was able to kick the ball, she needed to kick, kick, kick until the ball was no longer there.

Shin guards and soccer socks... $15.00
Signing up for soccer... $80.00
Watching my daughter land the perfect kick right into the mid-section of the goalkeeper's stomach... priceless.

We might need to work on that a bit. "Kick the ball, Sweetheart, not the person."

I am so happy about how much better this program has already turned out to be, but in some sick twist of fate, 90% of her games are at 8:00am.

Can you believe that?!

Oh, how ironic.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

DE-flation at the Coffee Shop

Usually, when I go buy coffee, I am appalled at how much I am willing to pay for 20oz of Java. I sit there, mentally counting in my head whether I have budgeted enough to get me through the week, or how many body parts will need to be auctioned off.

Lately, however, I've had... the opposite... experience.

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I run a frantic, fast-paced day that starts around 8am and doesn't end until about 10:30pm. A drive into the next town to deliver Short Person to daycare, then grab coffee, then drive back to work. I don't have time to wait in line at the coffee shop. I need in. I need out. FAST!

Because I'm usually running late. lol...

About a week ago, I was doing one such run and got to the coffee shop only to notice that there were five cars ahead of me in line. FIVE CARS!! Now, with this particular drive-thru, once you turn the corner into the driveway, there is no getting out. You are stuck there, so if the car ahead of you orders drinks for everyone in the office, you are basically screwed. You are late. You will not pass Go. You will not collect $200.

Since I was not fully in the driveway, my car's butt was still sticking out into the road, I waited for a lull in traffic and backed out. Upset because I simply NEED coffee to maintain a semblace of sanity and life. I'm driving back to work, grouchy, already annoyed at all the "She didn't get coffee?!" comments and whispered horrified voices I would hear, when I remembered that there was a small, non-descript, coffee shack in a parking lot not to far away.

I pulled in. So desperate that I was willing to try a new coffee shop, and yet not desperate enough to go to Dutch Bros. (Ick! They have the most bitter coffee.)

I ordered my usual. It is ALWAYS the same (triple, sugar-free vanilla, latte) and about bounced out of the car with happiness when I realized they sold the CostCo Poppyseed Muffins (Heaven!). The total charge came to $4.75. I tipped a quarter and was on my way.

The next day, I didn't even bother to try my usual coffee shop. The coffee at the other place had been decent, if a little weak, and I liked the fact that there were only one or two cars there, the service was fast, and I could pull out of line if it took too long.

I ordered my drink and muffin. SAME drink and muffin, only this time it cost $4.50. I tipped the change and drove away.

The next day, same thing. Only this time, it was $4.25, and I'm starting to wonder if I've forgotten to ask for something that cost the extra quarters.

TODAY, it was $4.00!!!! I tipped a $1.00. Incidentally, I think that's funny cause I'm not really saving anything. The person is just getting a bigger tip.

Deflation at the coffee shop! I wonder, if I keep going back, will it cost a quarter less each time?! In another 16 visits, will the food be free?! I just don't know.

But now I wonder, what will happen if I miss a day? Do I have to go back to full price?! Or, will it just go up a quarter?

The pressure is intense! But, I'm curious enough to keep going back.

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Peachy Day

I was writing a response in email to a coworker who asked how my day was going. I typed back, rather sarcastically, that it was just peachy.

But, I don't know why.

Why do you think people say that? Peachy? I mean, peaches are fuzzy and mushy and while they taste good rarely do we eat a day. Well, some weirdos might actually stuff their daily calendar into their mouth and eat if if the FBI were banging on the door and they were desperate to cover up that they'd been spending time with Fran, Jan, Louise, and the Three Headed Mafioso up the block... all of whom are now mysteriously missing... and he'd written "Kill all" on July 23rd and was seriously so desperate to hide it that he'd eat his calendar.

THEN you could say that you ate the day... but, I just don't get it.

Peaches are peaches and days just can't be peachy.

Unless... they mean that the day is fuzzy. Like, you had too much alcohol the day before and now your day was fuzzy because you woke up with Juan naked in bed next to you and you are wondering how on earth that happened and realize that the entire day was fuzzy. But then, that wouldn't be a good thing... would it? Maybe if Juan had warts all over his body with five black hairs that were inches long growing out of each one and his feet were covered with a strange fungus that looked like that white mossy stuff you find on rocks... THEN you'd be happy the day was fuzzy. But still, wouldn't that apply to the previous day?

Then, you could only respond that the day was peachy if you were asked how your yesterday was, right?

Or... I once read that arsenic can be made from peach pits. That they are poinsonous. So maybe, a peachy day means that someone is trying to kill you by poisening you like a pigeon in the park and when you weren't looking and had your back turned they were grounding up peach pits and putting them in your tea until you were hunkered down over the toilet exclamaing about how peachy your day was!

Or, maybe it means sweet. Maybe if you say that your day is peachy, it means it is sweet. I suppose a day could be sweet.

Something to think about, I suppose...

Yea... I'm having a peachy day... I'm just not going to tell you which definition I am using

Saturday, September 13, 2008

"Sittin’ On the Dock of the Bay... Blowing Away..."

As I sit here typing this, hurricane Ike is bearing down on Texas. Specifically, Galveston.

I love Galveston. It is such a charming city. It's sad to think about what might happen to it as a result of this hurricane.

But, as usual, I am a master at finding funny amid horrible events.

The news stations and I'm sure other people issued an evacuation for Galveston. IMMINENT DEATH will happen to all that choose to stay behind. A wall of water taller than a 2-story house is expected to crash over the seawall and into the streets of the City.

IMMINENT DEATH! GET OUT NOW!

I'm watching the weather channel. Rubber-necking on a tragedy I'm hopeless to stop and yet determined to see-- after all, there may be some hope that it's really not that bad.

IMMINENT DEATH! GET OUT NOW! Flashing on the screen, over and over.

There's a news reporter on screen talking to the anchor woman.


"Well, we're here in Galveston, live from the Holiday Inn. We've taken cover because the winds are picking up and are now about 58mph. But, it's really those gusts that will get you. Those gusts are about... well, in the seventies..."

"I saw about three people behind you, wading through the water. What are people saying about evacuation."

"Everyone has been told to evacuate. This will be one of the most... worst hurricanes (big wind gust gets the reporter) in years. But, of course, there are people that stayed behind (another big wind gust) Emergency crews were rescuing people until about an hour ago when they had to retreat to safer ground..."

IMMINENT DEATH! IMMINENT DEATH! It flashes on the bottom of the screen in unique strobe light fashion.

"The water is about three or four feet right now... as the storm is now coming in to Galveston..."

"Yes, we see on screen that the worst of it is about an hour away now..."

IMMINENT DEATH! IMMINENT DEATH!

"Yes, which is bad for those people that chose to stay behind. Rescue is impossible right now... (BIG wind gust)... But we will be here all night feeding live to you from Galveston..."

At what point do you realize that it is highly possible your workplace has just sent you on a suicide mission?!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Well... Mommy Says...

We couldn't find the sunflower seeds. The snack of choice for a starving 4-year-old. Even though she had requested that her daddy get her some about half an hour before, they had gotten misplaced in the sudden excitement of skunk and doggie wars.

We searched high and low. Every cupboard, the refrigerator, the table, the bathroom, the freezer. None proved fruitful, which pulled daddy out of bed to come and help us search because he just had them in his hand.

He walked into the kitchen, Short Person hot on his heels, lamenting the loss of her sunflower seeds and crying about how she'd never get to eat again. It mixed quite nicely with LJS grousing about how he'd probably find them in 0.2 seconds of entering the kitchen, and "Alright, Woman, where did you put them?"

And then the most amazing thing happened.

Just as I was stating that *I* hadn't done anything with them and he was the one who last had them, Short Person spoke up and said,

"You know, Dad, my mom says you're kind of a bonehead sometimes!"

A few days previously, she wanted popcorn. Daddy was laying on the couch and I was picking stuff up in her room. I can hear her talking to her Dad trying to get him off the couch and into the kitchen to make it for her.

"Daddy, get off the couch and make my popcorn, NOW!"

"Megan!" I yelled. "That is not how to ask your Father nicely to make popcorn. Try again."

The little imp yelled back. "But... I said NOW!"

"You were supposed to say PULEEZ!"

"Oh."

Things are getting very interesting in our house. I just hope I can keep up.

Incidentally, the sunflower seeds were still clipped in the middle of her bed. Apparently, daddy dropped them there when we were all peering out the window to see if we could spot the little skunk.

Bonehead.

Monday, September 1, 2008

A Whole New World

I can't get the theme song to the Disney movie "Aladdin" out of my head. It tones on and on, and has been doing so for nearly a week now.

It has begun.

Day 1 of the next 13 years of school is set to begin tomorrow. School supplies have been purchased, clothes gone through and weeded out, new haircuts... so many changes.

I've been so busy that I haven't really slowed down enough to think about what it really means. I haven't done the "Oh crud, I have a child. I have a child and she's about to start SCHOOL." thing yet. I'm sure if I did slow down it would hit me with full force and I'd lose it and start crying uncontrollably.

Luckily, there's been tuition and picnics and meeting teachers and immunizations. There's been rearranging her bedroom (again!) and shopping and schedule changes for daycare. There's been forms to fill out, websites to log onto, calendars to ready.

It has been INSANE! Somewhere in my head, I thought it would be easy to sign her up for Preschool. I was wrong. This is simply a precursor to each year of school, I think. Each year, a repeat of the past.

So, no crying yet.

The whole thing reminds me of Short Person's first birthday party. Busy planning, busy decorating, busy getting things ready. Then, so many people and things to do... right up to that break where everyone sings happy birthday. I sat there singing and it hit me... I was singing... to my baby... who was now 1 year old. Wow.

In her baby book, there is a sealed envelope on the birthday cake page. I can't remember the exact words, but it relates the story I just mentioned above-- only it includes her dad and how close to tears he was; how he had to stop and think about something else because that same sense of surrealness struck him. It ends, "Never believe for one second you weren't wanted."

Tomorrow is orientation. It lasts for 1/2 hour. We get to drop off supplies and see her classroom and find her locker. At 3pm, we get to go and get a Hep A shot. The only (last) shot she needs for Preschool. My little trooper is going for 4 shots. After those, then she only needs 1 or 2 more for kindergarten-- which means she can wait an entire year to get them, and she's all for waiting a LONG, LONG time. (lol)

Wednesday, is orientation day for some of her other classmates.

Then, Thursday, she has her first full day. And I'm sure, somewhere in that pause, I'll lose it. I'll pause to think about the fact that I have a child... and she's starting school... and how not ready I am for that last piece of innocence to be lost in a world of learning.

For now, I'm going to go and sleep in the floor of her bedroom and see if eventually she'll sleep through the night in her own bed.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Question of Doggie Heritage

A few days ago, I was scrambling around cleaning house and went to get one of the blankets that resides on the corner of the couch picked up and put back in place. The problem was that I didn't realize our dog, Heidi, was curled up sleeping in it.

I pulled on the blanket and out tumbles 12lbs of white dog hair and one very groggy dog, who looked like she was trying to figure out how her world tumbled around so violently... in mid-air.

Tonight, as we made the bed, I was tossing re-pillowcased pillows onto the bed and managed to toss one onto the same dog. LJS let out a tearful wail, "Don't hurt my dog!", to which I responded, "Ah Honey, what's wrong? Did I hurt your girlfriend."

It's a long-running joke between the two of us. One dog is skinny and shy, the other fat and sassy. The skinny and shy one (Sammy) clings more to me and Heidi clings to LJS. So much so that when we are cuddling, she'll get her nose in there and force us apart and then stick her paw on him and glare at me!

Sheesh. Sammy just used to try and help (but that's another story for another time).

Anyway, the battle about who's dog was who's ensued, but this time it had an added twist by way of a 4-year-old who felt it necessary to intervene.

"No, Mom. Sammy is our dog." Impatiently, she started to climb on the bed between us, looking all the part of the child that had to constantly keep her parents from fighting (incidentally, I have no idea where that comes from-- we are always trying to explain that a discussion is not a fight and a playful argument is not mom and dad trying to get sent to the corner).

I looked at LJS. "See, he's Meg's and My dog."

"No, Mom. He's daddy's and yours and mine."

"Oh. Okay, well then whose dog is Heidi?" I asked, innocently enough, figuring she's say that Heidi was Daddy's. But instead a very gusty and sardonic voice, responded...

"I don't know!"

LOL... I know that may not make sense to many people, but the easiest way to describe it is to say... they are the epidemy of sibling rivalry!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

"Hey! How did you get that fish in there?"

I've been waiting for a little while to post this blog because I wanted to have the pictures available to aid me. Before I start the story though, take a look at this photo...

Short Person and I were relaxing in the living room eating Popsicles when she suddenly looked at me and asked, "Hey! How did you get that fish in there?"

I looked down at my Popsicle wondering if I'd forgotten something and was actually sucking on a dead, frozen fish. Then I looked around the living room. Then at her.

"How did I get a fish into what?"

"That!"

She's looking seriously concerned, which is worrying me because apparently there is a fish stuck somewhere and I don't remember having a fish in the house-- at least no where other than our kitchen.

"Where, Honey? A fish in what?" I slowly look around the living room taking it all in and it suddenly occurs to me what she's looking at. "You mean... in the bookshelf?"

"Yea!"

I couldn't help it, I busted up laughing and yelled out for LJS. "Hey, come here. Your daughter has a question."

LJS walked into the living room and Short Person looks at him expectantly for an answer.

I left to go potty and I can hear LJS giving this long, detailed explanation of how you get a fish into a bookshelf, which cracks me up even more.

But then, I realized that she believed him! So, I made him tell her the truth. Party killer that I am, lol.


It is really salt and pepper shakers. Each end representing part of the fish. She thought that the body of the fish was actually stuck in the shelf.

This whole thing reminds me so much of the time she saw a Kangaroo in our neighbor's driveway. At least this time, it didn't take me six months to figure out what she was looking at!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I Have a Confession to Make

I... like Barbie movies.

I'm not sure how this happened! I mean, I was all ready to jump on the Barbie bad image bandwagon. But then, I saw a movie. And another movie. And another one.

And then, due to toddler obsessiveness, I watched them 100 more times. There is not a single Barbie movie that I have watched that I don't like. So far, I like them all.

There are even some that (shhh, don't tell)... I would watch alone. *gasp*

Princess and the Pauper... OMG! I love this movie and I listen to the soundtrack in the car.

12 Dancing Princesses... So romantic.

Mermaidia... Really, is there anyone that doesn't like Bibble? He's so cute!

And their version of Rapunzel is SO cute!

This is like the Steve thing, isn't it? I had the biggest crush on Steve from Blue's Clues. For a long time. When my niece Cait watched Blue, I watched Steve. I almost cried when he quit the show!

But then, I discovered that LOTS of other moms and girls were out there drooling over Steve too, so I didn't feel so bad. So please, if you are a Barbie movie fan, let me know. Then, I won't be so embarrassed.

Thanks.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Why Can’t They Invent an Internet Phone Book?

I am bored.

I don't want to work.

No, I would rather be goofing off on the computer all day than do any of the work piled on my desk. The problem is that I'm bored with the internet too.

How did that happen?! A world wide information data base on all sorts of deviant behavior and educational foundations and I can't find a darn thing to look at other than the five or so pages I typically go too.

Sad.

I'll tell you what they need. They need an INTERNET PHONEBOOK! A listing, sort of like Writer's Digest, that lists all the internet sites in existence in whatever year you happen to have and a brief description. You could pick up the book and flip through it (or go to some phonebook website) and randomly read, until you found a variety of sites you'd like to check out.

Wouldn't that be wonderful?!

It's not a bad idea, actually. If I knew anything about how to accumulate that data, I'd form a dot com and become rich and famous. I'd no longer be bored because I could have little wheely carts to ride around on in my office and I could install arcade games to play and I could hob nob with all the celebrities of Silicone Valley. I could jet all over the world and own property next to people like the Pitt-Jolie's. I could film my own movies and spend millions having fun. I'D NEVER BE BORED AGAIN!

But then, there would come the battles with Microsoft about who's going to take over the world and I'd wind up having to sell it to Google to escape the harrowing experience my life would have become and then I'd die a long, suffering death from stress and become a blip in someone's encyclopedia of dot comers that succumbed to the pressures of the internet and die unhappy and alone shrouded in tragedy and circumstance while they play Discovery Channel shows about the history of my life.

You know what. Too much work. I'll let someone else do all that. But, I would like to say to that person. GET ON IT! I'M BORED!!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

From the Mosquito

If only they could really talk, I wonder if they would say something like this.

******************

Dear Dark Haired Person that Slept on the Couch last night,

I wanted to write a short thank you note and express my gratitude at allowing me to feast upon your flesh last night in what I can only say was a wondrously delightful meal. I have not sucked that much blood or tasted anything as sugary sweet as when you allowed me to sink my incisors in and pull.

I apologize for the multitude of red bumps that you found amassed all over different parts of your body, particularly your feet since they seem to itch you to extreme on most days anyway, but the nectar of your plasma was too good to resist and I kept coming back for more. I do hope none of them will be the gateway to a disease. Since I was born in your backyard, the only other thing I've feasted on is other family members. West Nile shouldn't be a concern.

It was particularly helpful that you were so tired you didn't try to swat me away like you have on previous nights. The smack into the wall two days ago left me feeling dizzy and light-headed and really served no purpose since I came back to torment you later. I tried biting the man in the bedroom, but he was snoring so boisterously that I almost got sucked up into a nostril and decided it was much safer to seek nourishment elsewhere. As for the child, well, as much as I like to buzz, her whining sets my buzzing to shame. I simply didn't want to wake her.

So see, you really were my only choice. Therefore, I again would like to graciously thank you. Should you remember to stick those annoyingly smelly dryer sheets all over you to keep me away, preventing my visit tonight, I just wanted to say that the memory of you will last until I hunger again and find your flesh to feast upon when you are not aware.

Have a good evening,
The mosquito

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Caca Doodle Doo!

We are watching Little Bit (my niece) right now. She is part Spanish and speaks a little of the language since she has an uncle that teaches it to her. For this reason, her big word for going poop is "Caca". (I'm not sure how to spell that.)

The girls were in the bathroom washing hands, brushing teeth, and generally goofing off this evening when Short Person had to go potty. When she got all done, Little Bit looked at her and said, "Did you go Caca?"

And Short Person, without missing a beat, responded, "Doodle Doo!"

lol...

She's feeling much better, by the way. She's got her appetite back and finally slept an entire night last night. Thank goodness!

The bad news is that they want to do a follow up CAT scan on her in another week and a half to make sure the selling of the lymph nodes has gone down. Since they have to inject her with dye to get everything to show on the film, it means another needle poke.

I am not happy :(

Monday, July 7, 2008

Long Night at ER Pt. 2 - It Was Like an Episode of House

(Sorry it took so long to get back to this... I'm so tired I can't see. Also, writing this feels very "breaky" to me, but I'm beat. You'll see why.)

Short Person is only covered by LJS's insurance, which isn't really a big deal, except that we have no idea which hospitals are covered by his insurance. We know it isn't the one in our town, though. So, after hanging up with the Doctor, I went and grabbed my purse and called the number on the back of the card.

The number that had a big bold statement that all hospital admissions must be pre-authorized.

I got an answering machine stating that they were closed. Great, I thought. Next, I ran to the computer to log on to their website... nothing. I seriously mean NO INFORMATION.

A bunch of things were going through my head-- the pain my child is in, the cost of an ER visit, and the worry that I'd get there and they'd see her and send me home because it was constipation. In the end, we decided to take her to an Urgent Care because they cost less. (Not that $$ was our number one worry, but if you're worried that it's more than constipation... money does have merit.)

All the Urgent Care places were closed, so I decided to drive the 40 minutes to Meridian Park Hospital. The only hospital I thought I knew was covered. I parked the car and carried her in, checked in, and took a seat in the waiting room. Since we have Little Person with us for the next week and a half, LJS was at home awaiting word about whether he needed to join me.

A nurse came and pulled us from the waiting room, sat us down and took all our information. Once that was done, she explained that she needed to go and consult with the other nurses and doctors because she didn't know whether to put Short Person on the pediatric side or on the regular ER side. She believed Shortie was going to need a larger workup that what the Pedia side was used to doing.

A few minutes later, she came back and said we were going on the regular side and assigned us a bed-- 211. (I still don't know why the 2. We were on the 1st floor so it seemed like such an oddity.)

The "room" was a bed that was out in the open and sat next to the "hallway" to the waiting room. It was center to all the nurses stations and doctor's desks. Occasionally, you'd see the Paramedics wheel people in, which was kinda cool. As much as it lacked privacy, I liked it because it gave me the feeling that they really wanted to keep an eye on Short Person. Every time they'd walk by to go into the Pediatric side, they'd smile at her and occasionally comment.

I think we actually met every nurse on duty, in some capacity or another. Even if it was just to check on us.

Another nurse, I think his name was Stacy, came over and took more information. He asked Shortie if she could go potty, "Could she try?", he wanted to know. Meg looked at him dubiously and said, "Okay. I'll try, but I don't think anything is going to come out."

Stacy looked back at her, "Well, go ahead and try. We only need a teenie tiny bit."

I carried Meg back to the bathroom and she looked down into the toilet at the basin they had put in to catch the urine. "What's that? I don't like it."

"Honey, it'd to catch your pee pee so that they can do a test. We need to leave it in." I had to wipe her down with one of those cold obstetrical towelettes and forewarned her that it was really cold.

"Will it tickle?"

"It might, but if I can do it really fast, it won't be that bad." I responded. She bowed her legs and I got it done right quick.

"Wow! That was freezing!"

"I know, Honey. Now let's go potty."

I wish I had a picture of her amazed look when something actually came out. It was one of absolute shock, which I thought was funny, considering.

No sooner had I gotten her back onto her "bed", than we were being led back to radiology for X-rays. I'm trying to remember what she thought of that ride down the hall, laying down as the bed rolled down the hall, but I think she felt so bad she didn't say much.

The first X-rays were taken standing up. She had to stand against a wall and put her hands down at her sides. She kept wanting to put them in front of her tummy, with her hands clasped together, which wouldn't work for obvious reasons. When I told her that she really needed to put her hands down, she responded that she "didn't know how". So, I showed her.

They let me stay in the room with her, but I had to wear a really big lead vest that Meg thought was funny. I got to try and pick her up in it when they finished the three pictures, which was a hoot. It weighed as much as she did. When I bent over the bed, I wasn't sure I was going to be able to stand up!

X-rays in the can, they wheeled us back, where we waited some more. While we were waiting, there was a girl in the Pediatric side that was crying and crying and screaming. I was so concerned that Meg would get freaked out by it and think that she was somehow in for that horrific a time. I needn't have worried. She just looked at me and said, "I think someone has a really big owie!" I agreed, but secretly wondered what in the heck they were doing to the child, cause the kid was saying, "No, not again. Not again!"

I don't remember it as being too long though before the Doctor came over to talk to us. He was a really... I want to say no-nonsense, but he was so person-to-person and attentive that the word seems wrong. He asked a lot of questions about her history, then did a really quick exam (eyes, mouth, ears, heartbeat, listen to lungs, listen to abdomen) and then informed us that he was going to need to do a quick rectal (finger type, not anything else thank goodness!)

Since Short Person had to have that suppository put in earlier that morning, I was able to warn her about what it would feel like. She took it in stride, like a little trooper. I made them put her behind a curtain though because... yeah, out in the open just seemed wrong. She was already upset that she had to take her underwear off, so having her out in the open wasn't going to happen.

He did the exam and she did great. It hurt, but he talked to her during it to let her know that he was almost done, etc. Then, he was done and wiped her up, then covered her up. He went to deliver the sample and Meg looked at me and asked if she could please put her underwear back on in this little voice. Poor thing. I wondered if she felt vulnerable or just fear that he'd come back.

Anyway, the Doctor came back and said that he believed it was a condition called intussusception where the intestine, in the course of normal movement and digestion collapses in on itself cutting off the blood supply causing both the pain and the tiredness she felt after the tummy pain. He stated that he was going to call the Pediatrician on-call at Emanuel Children's Hospital and consult with them to see if they wanted the tests to be started there, or if they'd prefer we transferred up and got admitted for observation. The tests would include drawing blood to rule out everything else (pancreatitis, gallbladder, infection, etc.) and an ultrasound. If it was the intussusception, the test for it was usually the cure-- a barium and blowing air into the colon. He went away to get ahold of Emanuel.

No parent likes to see their child in pain, let alone know that they were unintentionally going to cause a lot of it and I wanted LJS there! Not to mention that they are now starting to use big words and talk admission for more than just an hour. By this time, it was 9:30pm and I had no idea what to do with Little Person. Meg fell asleep and I went into the waiting room to call him and give him an update, freaked out because I knew they were going to have to draw blood from Meg's arm and I didn't want to be the only one there.

After calling him, I started calling everyone I could think of that didn't live too far away. No one answered their phone, giving me the conclusion that I need more friends that live closer! I called Mike back and let him know that I couldn't find anyone to come watch Little Person and agreed to call him back with an update. If needed, he'd just bring the Little One.

I went back to wait for the Doctor and sat by Meg, who had woken up and was sitting talking to a nurse. They were having a conversation about her stuffed kitty with no name.

It didn't take too long for the Doctor to come back and let us know that they were going to do the tests here and consult with Emanuel again afterward. This meant drawing blood.

Stacy, the male nurse, came over with the cart and started pulling stuff out. By this time, Meg had dozed off again. I didn't want to wake her up two seconds beforehand because I knew it would freak her out. If an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, a smidgen of forewarning is worth a scoop of terror. I woke her up and talked to her. I asked her if she remembered watching mommy get her arm poked that morning and then just went over as much of it as possible. I asked if she wanted Mommy to hold her while it happened and she said yes. I then picked her up and we looked at all the stuff on the cart, going over what everything was.

Then, the dreaded time arrived. The Doctor had decided to draw blood and then leave an IV line in so that if he needed more, or if she needed to have other tests, they wouldn't have to poke her again. I climbed into the bed behind her and held on to her as they worked, listening to her scream as they poked the needle in and drew blood holding on to her arms so that she wouldn't try to pull the needle out.

Even now, i still tear up. That ranks up there as one of the worst things I've had to do.

Finally, it was over. They wrapped her arm up so that she wouldn't have to look at it and walked away. She calmed down and stopped crying and looked at me, "Mom... that was NOT fun! I want my Daddy!"

Since I figured it would be a few minutes until they came to get us for the ultrasound, I carried her into the waiting room, literally ten steps away, and we called Daddy. I think it was about 11pm... and it was the last time we'd get to talk to him until we left.

Luckily, she didn't mind the ultrasound one bit, although she was a little curious about the gel stuff. She was actually so relaxed that she crashed and stayed asleep until hours later. It was interesting watching the images of her intestines on the screen, but of course you can't ever tell what anything is, so after awhile it got a little boring.

She got wheeled back to the ER, and I started fighting low blood-sugar. At some point, it started to dawn on me that I hadn't eaten in far too long a time period. But, at the same time, I wasn't sure what I could do about that. While we were waiting for the results of the tests, one of the nurses brought her a big lion that was about 2/3 the size of Meg and sat it on the end of the bed. She looked so small next to it.

At midnight, the Doctor came back and pressed on Meg's tummy again. Then, he told us that everything looked normal. No appendicitis, no pancreatitis, no gall bladder problems, no high white cell count, didn't think it was the intestine fold thing (my words, not his). HOWEVER, they did notice that her lymph nodes were swollen. He ended this by stating that he didn't know what to make of this, and neither did the Pediatrician. He was going to check a few other things out, thought he had heard about a virus that mimicked appendicitis by enlarging the nodes, but wanted to see if he should do a CAT scan.

Sometime earlier, I started writing all of this down in a little book. I was thinking that if nothing else, it would make one heck of a blog post, so I picked it up again to write this latest information down. Since we were so out in the open, I could see and hear everything that was going on. There were a lot of people around, but it didn't take long to realize that Meg was this doctor's only patient, and he was putting a lot of effort into a diagnosis.

I listened as he made another call, this time to the Radiologist at Emanuel's, and then listened as he asked the nurse to please page the Pediatric Hematologist-Oncologist on-call at Emanuel "in regards to bed 11".

If there was one word that I didn't want to hear, it was the word Oncology. I can't explain what I went through in those seconds after hearing that. My blood went cold. I felt sick. I started to shake. I stayed that way until he came over to talk to me.

He stayed standing at the bedside and gave the latest news, stating that everything looked normal, but didn't know if the swollen lymph nodes were significant. He admitted having called for a specialist in oncology, since the biggest fear was Lymphatic Leukemia.

Right about this time, I pretty much couldn't hold back and started crying. It was one of those things where you just can't seem to help that your eyes are streaming rivulets of water out of them and you know that your whole pallor has gone white and you're lucky you can hear anything because there's a rushing in your ears. I was also thinking about my Grandma, who had died from leukemia. I didn't tell the Doctor that.

He went on to explain that the people he called were specialists and it was taking time for them to call back because they weren't used to getting paged in the middle of the night. Part of him wondered if they even had their pagers on. He also stated that the reason he was keeping us was that, since Meg already had the IV in her arm, it was better to get the CAT scan done and out of the way to avoid a needle poke a day later. PLUS, if she needed a biopsy, then they could transfer and do it the next day.

He went away to have the doctors paged again, and I sad next to Meg wondering if I should call Mike, or save him the worry. Saving him the worry won out and I continued a fight against a nauseous stomach that now had nothing to do with low blood-sugar. Thankfully, a nurse came over and asked if there was anything I needed at that point (okay, when that happens, it's nice and thoughtful, but it also makes you think that it must be REALLY bad if they are now asking, in the ER, if you need anything). I requested something to drink with sugar. She brought apple juice and a sandwich.

I drank the apple juice, but I couldn't eat.

A few minutes later, the doctor came back and said that the Oncology Specialist wanted 3 more blood tests and a CAT scan. Also, since he had to be back in a few hours for another shift, he had to leave but turned us over to another ER doctor. Before he left, I watched him consult with that Doctor. As scary as everything had been, it was nice to know that they really were not leaving any stone unturned, so to speak.

They came and wheeled us back to radiology. Meg woke up from her nap right as we entered the room. She held it together through the line-up and the dye, but lost it when we told her to lay flat because she had to go back through. NO WAY was she having any of that. Stacy came in and wondered if they could give her some Benedryl to calm her down, which I was uncomfortable with because she'd had Motrin earlier and I didn't want to mix the two.

Unfortunately, we realized Meg was not going to calm down and wheeled her back to ER to see what else we could do-- which seemed to be, go home or admit for observation.

At this point, I was really wishing LJS could have been there. When I can't find a way to calm her down or communicate with her, he always can. It's a balancing act, I think. We balance eachother out, because I can calm her when he can't too.

I don't know how I did it, but somehow after we got back, I got Meg calmed down enough to try again. I actually think it had more to do with her coming fully awake and having control again, but either way, she agreed to give it another go... as long as kitty could be right by her side.

They came to draw the blood they'd need for the additional tests and made a decision to give her some morophine to ease the pain and sedate her a little. The morophine went in, we went down the hall, and she went into the tube for another line up and then a picture.

The test took about three minutes, I think. She was a little upset because kitty couldn't be right at her side, but she could hold him in her hands above her head. Which she did, saying "I'm going to hold on to kitty so he won't get hurt or scared". Poor thing. I wonder if she thought there was going to be some horrible trauma in that tube or something.

After the three minutes, the bed moved out of the tube and I could tell that the morophine had kicked in. "Mom, that was SO FUN!" She got back on the bed and they wheeled her out. At the first big corner, she was going "Wheeeeeeeeeeeee".

It was funny.

The test results took about 45 minutes to come back, and they came back negative for leukemia, I think. I was getting a little rummy at this point (it was 3:30am). They sent us home with instructions to follow up on Monday with our regular doctor.

Meg was starving! They gave her some apple juice, and I gave her some bread, but on the way home I picked up some cookies from McD's. A treat for her for being so good. When we finally got home (at 4:30am), she was so doped up that she just stared at the cookie. We were telling her that it was time for bed and she was saying, "Okay! I'm going to eat my cookie really fast!" and then, she just stare at it. We were laughing our rears off!

When I started writing Part 1, we were still (Mike and I) trying to go over what could be wrong. Food allergy, bacteria imbalance, etc. Once the morophine wore off, Meg was in pain again, so we were a little stressed. But the ER doctor called us with a diagnosis. This is where the part about feeling like a House episode come into play.

He stated that the ER doctor hadn't waited for the Specialists from Australia to call with the results, but they finally had. Megan has Mesenteric Lymphadenitis, a virus that mimics the same symptoms as appendicitis. It should abate in another two to five days.

Thank goodness.

In our visit, they had run almost every test possible and consulted with about seven specialists. Reaching across countries to get a diagnosis.

And I am tired, so goodnight!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

A LONG night at the Emergency Room

For the past 5 days, Short Person has been having abdominal pain. It looked to be in the lower abdomen, just below her belly button. We figured it was constipation since we have a devil of a time getting the kid to eat anything with fiber in it and have been treating it as such.

On Tuesday, when it first started, we gave her caffeine and lots of water, which produced a bowel movement the next morning. Wednesday, she was reportedly fine until we got home and the cramping started again. Again, we figured constipation. Gave her more water and some coffee, hoping for the immediate reaction. Thursday night, she continued with the cramping. So much so that I decided Friday to take her, instead of me, to my Doctor appointment on Saturday. By mid-Friday though, she was in agony and we resorted to prune juice and I purchased a box of Ex-Lax.

To make a long story a little shorter, the box of Ex-Lax said not to give it to her if she had abdominal pain, so I didn't. We rode out the day by giving her warm baths and tummy rubs and lots of prune juice.

Saturday morning, as we were getting ready to leave for the Doctors, she had a bowl movement. We all cheered as she sat on the toilet yelling, "My poops coming out! My poops coming out!". Hooray we all thought.

Since I told her that she was going to the Doctor, and she's a bit of a hypochondriac anyway, she wanted to go with me still. So, I took her and had her checked out. About half way through the appointment, her tummy started hurting again. Dr. Christie said that it was probably constipation and told me to give her a glycerin suppository. Went to Bi-Mart and purchased some pediatric ones. Got home and put it in.

This was at 10:15am.

At 2:00pm, we were supposed to leave to meet J & K for an afternoon showing of WALL-E. At 12:00pm, I had to call and cancel because she was still having cramping.At this point, nothing had come of the suppository.

At 3:00pm, she started cramping for two hours, crying and writhing on the floor.

Called Dr. Christie who informed us to take her to the ER because this was not constipation.

And now, our story begins...

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Rise of the Hockey Sticks

Short Person and I were playing a game of hide and seek. Her version of the game is to go and hide and then giggle uproariously until found-- something that we drag out to make her feel like we can't find her. Me, when I hide, ain't nobody gonna find me!

So, the other day, I was hiding and Short Person was seeking. (Incidentally, she calls it "sneaking".) I was hidden behind the bathroom door, quiet as a mouse, and she could not find me.

It is important to interject that I have been on LJS to tone down the use of his colorful words, because on occasion I have heard SP use them. But, since HE hasn't, he wouldn't do it. He says that I'm hallucinating. (yeah, sure, honey)

So Short Person is getting more and more frustrated by the fact that she can't find me until finally she reaches the end of her rope. Standing in the middle of the living room, she yells out, "Mom, where in the HELL are you?!"

LOL... LJS was laughing so hard he had to hold on to his gut. He believes me now.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sticker Shock

Due to a long series of events at work, I find myself seriously contemplating a career change. So, this weekend, I did some research on online courses, college courses, and paths that I might take to get me on the track of life I should have been smart enough was mine years ago.

I found a bunch of classes on writing that I wanted to take, and did a mild sticker shock reflex when I realized that the one creative writing class I wanted to take the most would be $364. So, then I started looking at others and found that I can become a Technical Writer for about $1600. I was really happy when I found that one, since it's writing and it pays well.

THEN, I got even happier when I found a college that offers liberal arts courses-- Marylhurst. I'd remembered from years ago a friend mentioning that they offered writing classes and went to take a look. They have a program for obtaining your BA in English Literature, which is my ultimate dream, with the availability of emphasis on Creative Writing.

Today, I took a look at their page once again and realized how much it would cost and went into serious sticker shock.

Where the previous class I wanted was $364 total, EACH CREDIT at Marylhurst is that amount. Which means, that for a 4 credit class, not including books, I'm looking at about $1500 PER CLASS!!

For a BA, it would take about 180 credits, which roughly translates to $75,000 with books.

Okay, so goodbye BA in English Lit, lol. But, technical writing certificate is still available for $1600.

That meant that I needed to figure out how I was going to pay for it, which is why, at 7pm this evening, my husband was choking on his beer as I explained that I was going to sell his sperm for $100 per shot. No sex for the next 16 months.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Please Explain This to Me (A Rant)

switched pages on Myspace and as usual there was an ad at the top of the page I went to. This one was an advertisement to go and take a quiz and see if I'm "hotter than Miley Cyrus".

What I don't understand is... if you were in the real world, walking around, and you are a 40-year-old guy looking at a 14-year-old girl and calling her "Hot", you are a sicko-perv. I'd have to agree there is something wrong with you.

BUT... take a CELEBRITY 14-year-old girl and the world turns her into a sex-symbol. It is OKAY for that 40-year-old guy to put pics of her up and drool over her and the press will feed that until no one is hungry anymore.

WHY is it OKAY for the PRESS to play up the sexuality of an underage girl? WHY is it OKAY for the PRESS to call those girls "SEXY" and "HOT" and post pictures of them, making them out to be sexually-oriented, and the world turns a blind eye?

Isn't this somewhat two-faced of our society? Aren't we TEACHING people that this perversion is acceptable?! And then, after we've taught that to all the young men growing into older men that it is okay to view a underage girl in a sexual manner, we punish them for doing it later in life.

I don't think it's okay, but it makes me angry that we feed it and then expect that it won't eat.

Just a humble observation from someone that wonders if her daughter will be "symbolized" at 14.

*sigh*

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I'm Feeling Rather... Bereft

I finished a new book tonight. It's amazing what I can do when Short Person is away for just one night at a sleepover. I can read! Yea!

Now, if I would just write something, we'd be hoppin'.

The book I just finished was called "Night Echoes" by Holly Lisle. It's a paranormal romance about a young woman who moves to a house that she's been dreaming about since she was five-years-old.

I don't want to give away spoilers, so I'm not going to go into much detail, but I just want to say... I love books where the author has done such a good job establishing characters that when the last page is turned and read, a piece of you dies inside because the story is over. You miss them.

I miss them. In this book not so much the main characters, I mourn the ones that haunted. It leaves me feeling bereft. Sad.

But WOW the book was good. Had quite a few twists I was not expecting.

Oscar Wilde once said that a book that wasn't worth reading over and over wasn't worth reading at all.

Going by those standards, in my opinion, this book was worth reading.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Best Thing

Short Person hates vegetables. With a passion. So much so that LJS and I have been told time and again that we are loved for the sole fact that we don't make her eat them.

Given that, it still surprised me when...

Short Person and I were cuddling on the couch for a few minutes before bedtime. Hugging her, I asked, "Did you have a good day today?"

"Yep!" She replied with a smile.

"That's good. What was the best thing that happened today?"

She paused for a moment, lips pursed, thinking. "I didn't have to eat any vegetables!"

In a good day, you can gauge how much your daughter hates vegetables by the fact that not eating them won over everything else.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Skunk

LJS and I decided to stimulate the economy with our economy stimulus check and bought a new television. I was very happy about this because it meant that I got to move the big screen into my office-- whereby making it almost like a theatre room-- and get rid of the 5-ton console television we've had for awhile.

We pulled the 5-ton tv out and loaded it into the truck to take to Goodwill. To make a long story short, I had called TWICE that day to make sure there would be someone there to unload it. The woman on the other end of the phone assured me that there would be. I drove to the Goodwill to drop it off, only to be told that they did not take them.

Oooo... I was mad. Two phone calls, $15.00 in gas, and they don't take them. I grumbled to LJS via cell phone all the way home!

Anyway, he needed the truck to go fishing the next day, so we had to unload it from the back of the truck. We've made a decision to stick it on the front of our driveway with a "FREE" sign on it. (Worked too! Someone took it home Sunday, thank goodness!)

Given my not so happy status and the fact that I'm dreading hauling this heavy-ass tv anywhere, we procrastinated until about 9:30pm. Well after dark. But we knew we couldn't put it off forever and therefore went trudging out the front door.

LJS was in the lead and he basically barrelled through the door, I was a bit slower, as I was pouting. Anyway, I go out the screen door after him and notice something rustling in the bushes to my left. It struck me as odd because the cat doesn't normally move like this did... and besides, the cat is white. I didn't see anything white.

I stood there for a second, thinking that the movement was just a figment of my imagination. It wasn't. Exactly 2-feet away was a full grown skunk... and he was walking my way!

I jumped off the porch step, gave a little yelp, while attempting to put as much space between me and IT as possible. LJS, hearing the yelp, turned and looked at me.

"What?!" he said in a voice reeking of impatience.

"Skunk! There's a skunk!"

"Where?" He sounds bored and I'm totally peeved by it. So many things are going through my head. My daughter possibly following us out the door-- and by now the skunk would be just inches from her-- the dogs looking out from the big picture window-- they'd bark, so that would be utter disaster-- how my house would smell if the skunk tried to spray them. All of it raced through my head.

LJS is sounding mad now, "I don't see a skunk. Where is it?"

I turn and point. "Honey! RIGHT THERE! By the window!"

LOL... It became a two stooges act. You know the kind, where everyone walks a different direction only to keep walking into the other person? He's walking back toward the house, I'm walking away from it, we are bumping into eachother... as the skunk gets closer and closer, now in between us and the house.

All I can think is how much I want to get inside and lower the blinds so that the dogs don't bark at it!

Finally, the skunk moves parallel to us so that it is across from us and we side-scoot back into the house. I lower the blinds and then run back into the office to get Short Person, who is totally engrossed in a movie she's seen about 324 times.

She finally relents and agrees to come outside, but by now the skunk has disappeared. I turned to the husband...

"Where did it go?" I asked.

"Well, while I was closing the garage, it was heading toward the truck."

Great, I thought. The same truck that had the tv in it. The same tv that had to be unloaded that night.

15 minutes passed.

"Okay, go outside and see if the skunk is gone."

I looked at LJS incredulously. "Why do I have to go look!? You know he's still by the truck, don't you? This is a trick! I'm gonna get sprayed!"

LJS sighed one of those impatient man sighs. "No, I don't know that. I just want you to check."

Seeing as how I basically have no choice but to look, I quietly open the screen door, my eyes more open and round than I can ever remember them being, and peer into the darkness. "I don't see him. You go look!"

LJS, being a man, has gotten way impatient now and is totally over it. He tromps out to the truck with a muttered, "Are you coming?!"

Rolling my eyes, I follow him, just knowing that the noise of us unloading this huge tv is going to get us doused in skunk stink!

The tv makes a tremendously horrid noise coming off of the bed of the truck. Half way off, I'm supporting the weight while LJS grabs the other end... and suddenly, I can smell it. The skunk. And so does the husband.

Too late to turn back, we make a silent, mutual agreement to hurry the heck up and get this thing off the truck and onto the ground, still not knowing where the skunk is, only that it's close enough to smell.

We drop the tv onto the driveway and I realize that I'm now trapped in between the tv, the car, and the boat... and the smell is getting stronger. LJS, after releasing his grip on the tv, has already hi-tailed it back to the house, and I just KNOW I'm going to get sprayed!

With the prowess of a monkey, I jumped over the boat hitch, and ran back to the house... in circles! I kept spinning around to make sure that rascal wasn't following me, with a glint in his eye.

An event to get the adrenaline going to be sure!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Please... Just Let Him Have Teeth!!!

Last Thursday, I headed down to Florence for a Conference. I was staying overnight and then heading back after the classes Friday. When I had left my house, I hadn't really known how long the drive was, although people had told me it would be about 2 1/2 hours. It wound up being 4+, but I stopped in Eugene, so maybe it took less actually driving time.

By the time I got there, I was so hungry my stomach sounded like a little tuba orchestra. It was freezing cold and I was wearing short sleeves and Capri's. I checked in, shivered to my room, threw on sweats and trooped to the only restaurant within a 3-mile radius. The hotel restaurant.

The parking lot was packed full of cars and I was hoping that there weren't tons of people dressed to the 9's seated inside as I didn't want to cause too much of a sensation in my utterly beautiful sweat clothes. But to my utter surprise, it was completely empty... save one guy talking on the phone in a southern accent so deep that no only did he sleep with the alligators, he wrestled them and ate them for breakfast.

Now, we all get accustomed to stereotypes and I'm sad to say that my experiences with the deep southern accented people usually means that I'm about to meet someone that has no teeth, or maybe has one or two that just haven't yet fallen off from the rot. This was in my mind as the waitress approached to seat me at a table. In my head I'm pretty much screaming... "Oh PLEASE!!! Don't sit me next to the toothless person. Please! Please! PLEASE!"

But I guess she didn't want to walk much because of course she sat me down at the table next to him. In front of him, really, and I chose the chair that faced away from the toothless person. Better to see the ocean out the window, you know? My quiet evening of dining by myself in the restaurant suddenly changed to "Can I take this back to my room?"

The waitress said that I could, I ordered, and then busied myself writing scrapbook pages I wanted to do into a little notebook, grateful that Mr. No Teeth was talking on the phone to his parents, as I overheard conversations.

Then he hung up.

And it got very quiet.

My shoulders tensed.

And I just knew...

"You're being awfully quiet over there..."

I inwardly groaned, cursing my ability to hear, my ingrained need to be polite, and the fact that I was going to have to turn around and enter into a conversation with this person. Damn it!

In my head I'm chanting, "Oh please God, just let him have teeth. Please? Please? Oh just let him have teeth."

I slowly turned around, muttering about how long the drive had been and how tired I was... and then I saw him.

He was SO CUTE! Oh man...

I think my mouth must have curved into a helpless "Well, hey there big boy" smile as I looked at him, laughing inside at how worried I had been. He had blond shaggy hair, was probably in his late 30's, very tan, and very in shape. His arms looked like sculpted muscles that were used to doing hard labor and relished it. (Those alligators, probably.)

We chatted for a few minutes. Where he was from, what he was doing here (government contractor delivering pipes for a project), the fact that where he was from the mosquitoes used the bug zappers as tanning lights, how tan he was, what he did for a living (contractor for the government), and me answering questions about what I did and commenting on much of what he said.

All in all, it wasn't a bad way to spend 10 minutes. The thing that really makes me smile though is this question...

In that conversation, I also found out, from information volunteered freely, what room he was in, what he was currently doing--laundry, so he had no other clothes (what a shame, lol)-- that he was trustworthy (because the guy that owned the airport gave him the security codes and offered to loan him his car, and that the big, red trailer parked out front was his-- because you know, size really does matter.

So, was it an attempt at a pick-up or was he really just clueless about what he was unintentionally saying? Are guys always on the make?!

Alas, I suppose we will never know because my food arrived and I bid him safe journey home.

The good-looking, southern talking man with perfect teeth.