On nurse duty

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In general I’m the world’s worst nurse. But taking care of our boy post-tonsil surgery has been fairly easy and really rather entertaining. He’s recovering very quickly, and is thrilled with the general improvements to all his ENT problems.

My main job is to remind him which meds to take when, keep him sucking down soups, ice cream, pudding, juice, and other soft foods, and to keep him from killing himself or causing all of us intense embarassment.

Okay, I'm not quite this bad.

Okay, I’m not quite this bad.

Because it turns out that a kid who has ADD and an incredibly active mind is pretty darned interesting when he’s on both steroids and narcotic pain meds. He’s always a motor mouth, but just now he’s a motor mouth with no filter. Example: We had to make a dash to IKEA this morning (which, thankfully, is only ten minutes from our house) because the sink cabinet we want for the bathroom project is about to be discontinued and they happened to have one in stock today. He memorized the item number, and – fresh into a dose of opiates – spouted that number to every salesperson we ran across as we came through the store, talking a mile a minute and eliciting a lot of blank stares.

And then there are the downright dangerous things he’s done in the last couple of days before I could stop him:

  • climbed up on a swiveling stool to look for a cooler in the garage
  • carried a ladder down the stairs because he thought we needed it for painting (he’s not supposed to be lifting heavy items)
  • Jumping down the stairs four at a time – it’s his usual habit, but especially unwise right now

The post-op instructions included the advice “don’t make important business decisions while taking your narcotic pain medication.” I forgot this warning yesterday and asked The Boy to order some things on Amazon for me – he’s desperate to keep busy, and felt left out of the bathroom project. We still needed a tension rod for the shower stall, a shower curtain and curtain rings. Fine so far – all those items were in my cart already. Then I asked him to look for a few things for his father’s birthday tomorrow. With Amazon Prime they should have been delivered in time. I don’t know how he managed it, but somehow he ordered items that won’t be delivered for a week or more. Ah, well – I know his father will understand.

Best part of my nursing duties today: I get to make a huge pan of homemade macaroni and cheese this afternoon, because it’s something he can comfortably eat. The fact that it’s one of my favorite meals has nothing to do with it, really…

Hmmm…I hear the kid stirring downstairs. Time to get back to my rounds.

Simply rambling, but I have a point in the end.

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The Boy’s tonsil surgery was fast yesterday – only about 15 minutes. He’s been able to manage his pain quite well, and is getting along better than I feared, as we ply him with Sonic slushies, popsicles, ice cream, pudding, broth, and yogurt. The doc says that the most dangerous period for possibly intense bleeding is days 7-10, though, so I’ll be on pins and needles until we pass that mile marker.

In the meantime Middle Sister (who has been a tremendous support and shows much concern and caring for her little brother) and I continue to paint – today we’ll do the ceiling of the bathroom project. Here’s where we are now, with the walls and ceiling primed. image The texture of the walls, which had been a concern, seem absolutely fine. Ready for paint, with no special texturizing product required. Thank goodness – I’m pretty sure that would have been a disaster had we tried to attempt it. Once we get the ceiling done, it will be on to paying a little attention to the rest of the house (in between bouts of monitoring The Boy’s meds and reminding him to eat, eat, eat). Drywall dust lies everywhere, along with crumbs, stains, and general gross-ness everywhere. With both Oldest and The Husband coming home in the next couple of days, I know I’ll be a lot more at peace with a clean house than a grunge pit.

Oh, and a run to the grocery store is a must today. There’s nothing – NOTHING – here for a normal person to eat for breakfast or lunch. Middle Sister is delighted to saute some kale, onions, tomato, and lentils for breakfast (ugh) but my more traditional palate requires toast, eggs, cereal, and the like.

And through all this everyday, normal mom stuff, I continue to think big thoughts about what’s going on in our nation. So many good things, and yet so much evil. Black churches burning at a significantly higher rate since the racist-motivated Charleston hate crime. Abject ignorant spouted by powerful white guys who aspire to lead our country, as they try to prove how they “love Jesus” so much they will fight to preserve “traditional marriage.” Vomit.

I got a sickening shock this morning: A young friend of ours re-posted a photo of some other young person with a confederate flag filter over it – obviously mocking the rainbow filter I’m seeing on so many photos lately.

Let me say it again – a confederate flag filter.

Two days ago another young man I know posted support of his friends who fly “the rebel” because it is, after all, “just a symbol of states’ rights.” (I won’t go into the intense gagging reflex I had over the nickname for that hate flag.) His father quickly posted a rebuttal comment, attempting to correct his son’s disturbing thinking.

Young people, some of whom I know, think this is acceptable. They believe the lies that southern culture still tries to shove down our throats. I know of incidents, as well, in which young people have dismissed antisemitism as a thing of the past, basically downplaying the atrocities of the Nazi regime.

We are allowing young people to get by without learning the realities of history; the realities of the deep, ugly sins of our nation; the realities of a society that has no empathy.

Dear God. We have so much work to do.

Kicking into high gear…

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…and donning my Superwomwan cape.

Today begins the only “vacation” I’ll have this summer. To keep from feeling guilty about being away from my office for the next week, I was an overachiever yesterday:

  • wrote all the lessons plans for the fall, for the one class in which the curriculum we use has absolutely un-useable plans
  • consulted with the guy who’s kindly offered to repaint two of our classrooms, so he can get to it while I’m gone
  • bought all paint and supplies for the project
  • prepared two rooms for painting. Having forgotten that I would need to do this yesterday, I was dressed in fairly nice clothes. Which quickly turned into very sweaty clothes.

On this first day of vacation I can take it easy – only two things on my check list:

  • prime the downstairs bathroom because YES! The Boy got all the drywall finished and sanded yesterday
  • The small bits of wall you can see in this photo? They had to be built up from several odd layers of drywall, due to the weirdness of the way the bathroom is built and the weirdness of the way the shower fit in. This was a long-ass stage to the project.

  • take The Boy to have his tonsils out and care for / worry about him for the rest of the day and overnight

Interestingly, either one of the things on today’s check list would generally be enough for one day.

But I’ve got my Superwoman cape on. And my fingers crossed.

Emotional Pong

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A few clips from the morning of a woman caught in the grip of peri-menopausal hormones:

  • Pong-screenUnreasonable thrill when, first thing in the morning, a picture she posted on FB and a comment she wrote on someone’s blog post both get all kinds of “likes.”
  • Disgust and crankiness when she remembers that she really has to get up and do a power walk and then eat a really boring, healthy breakfast – based on her recent annual blood tests.
  • Tanking of mood due to tripping over the piles of JUNK left all over the house by her much-loved family.
  • Nearly giving up on the day when her husband picks up the large, just-filled pepper grinder and the stopper in the bottom falls out, spilling peppercorns in a 10-foot radius. No exaggeration. Those damn things are round. They bounce, roll, scoot, and hide. We will be finding peppercorns with our bare feet for days to come.
  • Struggling not to scream at everyone in the house as she sweeps peppercorns, arranges for one of the kids to drive her husband to the place where her husband’s tractor-trailer is parked, and attempts to do fifteen other tasks and still get to her work meeting at 9:00.
  • Satisfaction as she ticks several items off her work check-list within the first hour.
  • Joy and peace as she listens to Ingrid Michaelson in her office.

Keeping my eye on the video screen.

Butterfly lesson

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Last night found us where we often are on a summer Sunday evening – in front of the grandstand in the park in our historic downtown area, for a concert by our local civic band. Surrounded by a crowd composed of a wide span of generations, it’s a homey, cozy experience each week.

For the past couple of years, we’ve been visited by one particular type of butterfly every time we go – they hover around us (attracted by the weird colors on our favorite outdoor-event blanket?), land on us, and generally boost our enjoyment of the evening.

Middle daughter and her boyfriend, welcoming our butterfly friend

Okay, here comes the lesson part, and thank you to Mymidlifemayhem for clarifying it for me with her post from today. About halfway through the concert, I needed to visit the restroom, across the park and on the other side of the crowd. Seems like a simple enough thing, right?

Wrong. Because, I suppose, of my severely introverted personality, the thought of traversing a crowd people just about brought on complete paralysis. It took me a good ten minutes to give myself a strong enough pep talk to give myself the guts to stand up and allow people to SEE ME (gasp!) as I walked between and in front of them to reach the restroom buildng.

I am 50 years old, for #%$! sake.

It’s a personality thing. And I’m really into the importance of accepting who you are. But I am also sick of being so intimidated by groups of people (who in this case, were lovely families and people old enough to be my parents – certainly not frightening in any way).

And so, I’m going to work on taking a lesson from the dear, fragile butterflies who visit us on Sunday evenings. They have no qualms about fluttering in front of our line of vision, dropping in for a visit.

It’s time for me to try to be more like them.

Overflowing

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There have been LONG stretches of my life when all was bleak and desolate. Utter despair at every turn.

Perhaps it is the strong memory of that desolation that makes this moment in time stand out in such starkly joyous contrast.

My heart overflows because our president is a man to be proud of. We’ve had the privelege of watching him speak from the heart about three monumental events in the last few days, and each time I simply burst with pride and thankfulness. I compare it to the night in November, 2008 when the election was finally called, when I shed tears of pure joy that finally we could begin again to make progress in the lives of the average American, not just in the lives of the wealthy and powerful. After eight years of a duplicitous, greedy administration that made me ashamed of my nation, there was now the opportunity for hope and change – through the leadership of a black person. Earth-shattering.

My heart overflows because, though there has been decision after decision handed down that pandered to the powerful, the greedy, and the small-minded, the Supreme Court has made two decisions this week that are sensible, compassionate, and life-giving for millions of people. We are on the right course for giving all our people  access to reasonably-priced health care. We are on the right course for offering legitimacy and dignity to our gay friends who simply want to live an honest, loving life.

My heart overflows because finally, FINALLY we are having a national conversation that speaks the truth about the hate and racism personified in confederate culture, in confederate symbols, and in our nation as a whole. Finally we are taking steps to address the evil that has been allowed to fester, even after we congratulated ourselves for the civil rights movement. The most difficult work is still ahead, but this week healing may actually have begun.

My heart overflows because I have meaningful work to do every day, with people I deeply admire and respect. I have been lucky to enjoy my work for these last 11 years, but recent events have made our team more cohesive and productive than we’ve every been before. Just this week we received the icing on the cake; the key position that was recently vacated by a team member who was dragging us all down like a kraken in the ocean has now been filled by someone who is the personification of love and welcoming. It’s mind-boggling, envisioning what we can all accomplish together now.

My heart overflows because in just a few days our perfect family unit of five will all be together again for a short time. Knowing each others’ foibles and strengths, laughing and playing together, discussing big thoughts. I will have my three darling children all under one roof for five days. Our three children, who brought the only bright, joyous spot to life in those long years when all was bleak and desolate. And my husband, who continues to recover from the crippling depression and anxiety that made those years so black.

Overflowing.

Highlights of a very interesting week in our world.

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Our power was only out for an hour and a half this morning, so I was able to fire up the coffee maker at a reasonably early hour and get a solid caffeine fix. WE ARE BACK IN BUSINESS, BABY!

So, without further ado, highlights of this week…

  1. SCOTUS decision on favor of the ACA. Shut up about it now, Republicans. And stop making up lies about how health care for millions more Americans is tanking our economy and making peoples’ lives miserable.
  2. SCOTUS decision in favor of marriage equality!!! I can’t say much more about this because I’m still wiping away tears of joy. Perhaps there is hope for our nation after all.
  3. SCOTUS Justice Antonin Scalia is a butt. His ridiculous and sarcastic question during deliberation of marriage equality asked whether the next thing will be for four gay people to all marry each other.
  4. Antonin Scalia also gave us a hearty belly laugh as he used the words “jiggery-pokery” AND “applesauce” in his dissenting opinion about the ACA. That rascally hooligan is just full of shennanigans.
  5. chigger-photoI got chiggers. Many people deny their existence, and I still don’t know whether they actually burrow into your skin or just bite you, but I have dreadfully itchy chigger-marks making me miserable under the places where my underwear and bra live. Picked them up while weeding in that orchard on Tuesday.
  6. In a beautifully serendipitous surprise, The Husband got routed to Baltimore on Wednesday and got to link up with our daughter. She dropped everything, rented a Zip car, and met him at the port where his truck was being loaded. He got to go back with her to her lab, and then they went out for dinner together. I was so happy for them. The Husband hasn’t been to Baltimore since we 11241026_10152921018170913_9098524274363522967_nmoved her out there two years ago, so it was great that he finally got to see her in her new habitat. Joy!
  7. I sat up late last night (meaning almost 10:00 – I am truly a party animal), and with The Boy’s help became relatively proficient in generating my own content on our new website at work. I’ll get plenty of practice going forward, as I’ll be responsible for updating my own area constantly. Pretty cool to learn a new skill AND spend the whole evening with my favorite 20-year-old. I even think I managed to delete all the instances where he slyly inserted the word “poop” into my text.

I’m behind in my usual Friday chores and errands, but that’s okay. A real day off was much needed and I plan to savor it.

Happy Friday, everyone!

It’s time to face the truth, people.

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There are a lot if issues in this world that are what we call “grey areas.” Conversations that clearly have two legitimate sides. Even though you might feel strongly about one particular side, you feel compelled to admit that the other side has a reasonable point.

The currently-much-in-the-news conversation about the confederate culture that still exists in our southern states is NOT a grey area.  A lot of that conversation centers around the confederate battle flag. A couple of things that have slapped me across the face this week:

  • The Husband saw a billboard in South Carolina, complete with an illustration of said battle flag, this week that read as follows: Rebels, not racists. WTF???? Sorry, but the whole reason these people are were “rebels” (I would argue that a more apt term would be traitors) was precisely because they are were “racists.”
  • I keep hearing elected officials and various personalities from the south being interviewed about the issue of the battle flag as a symbol of hate. Over and over again I hear them trying to reframe this flag as a symbol of “history,” “cultural pride,” or “heritage.” I even heard one person say that the flag means different things to different people. His point was that to “some people” the rebel flag is evil, but that to “many, many people,” it’s a matter of pride and culture. Oh. My. God. Just take a guess who those “some” and “many, many” are, my friends. Lets see…perhaps the “some” are people who feel threatened and fearful and oppressed because of those “many, many” who perpetrated unspeakable violence upon them in the name of their so-called heritage and pride. I mean, it’s pretty damned easy to not be intimidated by racist violence when you’re a white guy. So I say, “Shut the f%$* up, white guys. You deserve no say in this conversation.”

This week we’re watching as southern politicians finally are forced to admit that this symbol of racism must be removed from government buildings. As retailers finally pull these items from their virtual and brick-and-mortar shelves (and my cynical side is afraid this is purely a $$-motivated move). I even read in our paper today that one state legislature will actually be removing a statue of a CONFEDERATE GENERAL / KKK LEADER from one of their government buildings.

Are you F-ing kidding me? Q: How can any sane, mature, educated person have put up with that statue for even one moment, let alone years and years and years?!?!?!?! A: Southern culture must be short on sane, mature, educated persons.

The Deep South to this day exists in its own world. A world it created out of a sickening belief in the inferiority of people who have a different color of skin. A world specifically designed to harm others in order to ensure their own comfort and false sense of superiority. A world built on lies, ignorance, subjugation, and murder.  And for the entire lifetime of our nation, these states have been dragging the rest of us down into their stinking  swamp of ugliness (and yes, I am aware that the rest of us have our own unsavory records, as well – but nothing like the institutionalized evil found there.)

I know that’s harsh. But I have had it up to HERE with pretending that this bullshit is okay.

I recognize that removing these symbols of hate is only a very small step in finally beginning to address the racism that absolutely rules this nation. But, as God is my witness, Scarlett O’Hara, we have to start somewhere. The next part will be much harder: actually admitting that our policies toward the poor are, in reality, tools of racism. And then changing those policies.

TRUTH. Speak it.                 

Step right up, step right up!

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It’s a three-ring circus!

3-ring-circusIn Ring One: Administrative and planning meetings, back to back! Watch the acrobatics as she contorts to coordinate various new and old ministries without pissing off the competing factions! Marvel over the twists and turns as before your very eyes she learns to write code and create her own ministry website pages!

In Ring Two: Physical plant updates and upkeep  in the lower level of the church building taking place all at the same time! Be amazed by the juggling of room painting, floor stripping and waxing, furniture deliveries, and kitchen renovations! Daredevil stuff, ladies and gentlemen!

In Ring Three: Bathroom renovations, surgery of two close family members, a birthday, and a much-anticipated visit from the oldest sibling! ‘

Don’t close your eyes for a moment, ladies and gentlemen – you don’t want to miss these death-defying acts! The breathtaking show will be taking place every day for the next few weeks!

Buy your tickets now for a front row seat!

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