Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Overheating Over Cars

The Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars have sat in a box for, I don’t know, maybe 6 months. They’re been in the basement all by their lonesome, until Griffin decided he needed them to line up on the floor in the piano room. He spent probably an hour lining them up, finding matching cars, re-arranging and generally playing quietly. Then Gus and Will got involved. Suddenly this nice quiet task turned into a major brawl, involving fighting, screaming, and crying. Eventually, it ended in me losing my Love and Logic-y self and screaming too.

The interesting thing me was the fact that the cars, that had been gathering dust in the basement, suddenly became the most prized possession to Gus and Will. They whined and cried, “But that was a very special gift from Grandma and Grandpa. That’s my favorite one. He can’t touch them; he’ll break them.” (Italic denoted whining.)

I explained that the cars have been transferred into community property assets after a lengthy period of play suspension. That didn’t work.

I just can’t understand why they would be willing to start a fight over cars they NEVER play with. They’re always complaining that Griffin’s bugging them. That Griffin’s in their space. That Griffin is breathing on them, looking at them, putting his big toe near their pinky toe. Why, why, why would you stop him from playing, when you could be off doing whatever you wanted without interruption? I’m sure it’s some evolutionary trait. I don’t get it.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Spencer called Gus yesterday morning to see if he wanted to ride bikes to school. Gus said, "Sure" got on his bike and took off to school, without Spencer. Poor Spencer. My kid is such a ditz-brain. I guess in Gus' mind Spencer was just giving him suggestions for a great day.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

How are these people related?

Here we are the whole family out for dinner, the night before my dad's surgery. I can't believe how much we don't look like each other. I assume everyone else thinks we look somewhat alike, but I don't see a thing. In fact when I was 17, I went to the mall with my brother, Norman. The next day someone from school told my boyfriend that I was at the mall with some college guy. Hey, I was out with a college guy at least. How cool!

Dinner was nice and it was great to see Norm without the kids bugging us. Too bad we had such a yucky day looming before us. But, everything turned out fine . . . as fine as it could.
Regarding my brother, here's a diary entry from March 19, 1984:

I only have a half day tomorrow (OH, YEAH fun) (BORING) "Rock You Like a Hurricane" is on. It's getting very boring. You hear it all the time. I want to hear that new song "Leave It" by Yes. It's good. I want to go the Van Halen concert, but I can forget that because of Norman. He told my mom I couldn't go until I was 16. URGGG. Sometimes he just ruins my life. Maybe if he goes with me I can go.

I just love how I think this person is ruining my life, but I'm still willing to go to the concert with him. I did eventually get to a concert. Norman made it happen for me. It was Sammy Hagar, "I Can't Drive 55" Tour. That was I believe in 1985. My memories from the concert are as follows. We, my brother, his girlfriend and I sat in front of people smoking pot, girls were flashing Sammy their boobs and he drank some one's drink and said, "Hey who put vodka in my Coke?" He took another drink then said, "Wait a minute. Who put Coke in my vodka?" Hardy har-har. I thought that was so funny and cool.

My brother was five years older than me, so I'm lucky he even gave me the time of day. I believe he found my sassy 13-15 year old self very difficult to handle. He was always more appalled my behavior than my parents. He hated it when I cussed. Maybe, that's where my potty mouth came from, trying to enrage my brother.

Thank God, for college. He moved away and we found the space we needed to become friends. Though he ruined my chances of ever going to the Van Halen concert he was willing to haul me all over the place. However, once we went up an exit ramp in an out of control spin. I was told not to tell my mom what has occurred, so upon arriving home I said, "I can't tell you what happened, but I'm glad I had my seat belt on."

I got to hang out at his fraternity and then later a house he shared with two buddies. It was a great escape when I needed a break from my mean, mean, parents. Those horrible people who wouldn't let me do whatever I wanted to, whatever that may be. Those horrible people that attempted to stop me from completely ruining my life. Luckily I had Norman to fall back on. My only brother would understand my plight. Norman who would tell me Mom and Dad were totally, right. Crap.

I still wonder where my younger sister with the infertility problems ended up. You know the sister that begs watch your kids for the weekend. O.k. I missed out on that, but I did end up with a very fun brother to hang out.

And now for a completely different subject --

As you may know the simplest things make me happy. Well, I went to a friend's house last Saturday and she had this little fake potted flower thing and I couldn't stop thinking about it; it was so cute. I guess I've been coveting my friend's fake potted flower thing. So, I made myself one. OH MY GOD! It's so cute. I love it. Love it.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

You May Notice

O.k. on the right hand side of the screen you may notice a "Donate" button. Just thought I'd see what happens.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

No Horror Movies Needed

Oh, my poor dad. First off, he looks great today, but last night, holy moly. Thank goodness he doesn't remember any of it.

We all arrived at St. Joseph hospital around 12:30 for prep. The surgery started around 3:30pm and wrapped up at 11:00pm. When they took him around 2:45 we, my mom, Norman and my dad's brother Jim, all stayed in the surgical waiting room. Anesthesia would have been nice for us too. It was a long day. The stagnant air in the hospital really doesn't lend itself to a comfortable environment. If I had a million dollars I would donate a Family Waiting Room, with Lazy Boys, fans, and many distractions, like a spa . . . or at the very least a wandering masseuse. I assume the hospital's first concern is not the waiting family . . . probably the patient.

We didn't realize they would be updating us on roughly an hourly basis, so when the first call came through we all freaked. It had only been about an hour and a half; being the pessimists we are we assume something was wrong. Nothing was, in fact it went perfectly. They called every hour just to let us know what was going on. We were really impressed by all the staff at the hospital and the hospital itself. Very nice.

Anyway at 1:00 am we got into to see him and he looked just horrible. The doctor had warned us that his bottom lip was quite swollen, because they had to use a retractor to get it out of the way. From the looks of it I assume they wrapped it around the backside of his head. There was quite a bit of blood. It was definitely nightmare inducing kind of stuff. I was pretty nervous about being the caregiver today, so my mom could go home, but he was a totally different person today. Awake on and off, able to talk, even joking around with the nurses. He's not on any pain medicine and so far not really feeling pain.

The surgery did not change his jaw line at all and they were able to get all the cancer out. He was originally supposed to lose three teeth, but they had to extract five. After a year of healing he'll have reconstructive surgery to replace the teeth. Sounds like it would be something permanent, rather than a partial, but who knows when it's all said and done. He has a scar running from the back of his ear, down his neck to the tip of his chin, where the lymph nodes where removed. The plastic surgeon said the scar would be barely visible once healed, about six months. Ummm . . . I wonder what he could do with my Achilles scar.

He was put in ICU for the first 12 hours, therefore my mom didn't have a fold out chair to sleep in. She was able to doze a bit at the hospital then went home when I got there and slept.

Afterward I came home around 3 and passed out. Thank God for take-out Chinese.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Norm News

Just letting you guys know my dad is out of surgery. Things look good. He'll be in ICU for the night. The next few weeks will be pretty painful.

Thanks for all your well wishes.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Has it really been that long?

I am in absolute shock. I just received an email from my high school and my twenty year reunion is this summer. Flabbergasted! Astonished! Amazed! That's what I'm feeling. I'm not old enough for anything to have happened TWENTY years ago. Wasn't I just sitting in a room at Jamestown High School taking my SATs? Didn't I just finally save up enough money to buy those Guess jeans? Didn't I just talk on the phone with a friend so long my ear hurt? Well, actually I did just do that.

Where did all that time go? It's amazing to think about the last twenty years. Since graduation I moved to California, did the college thing, moved to Europe, returned to the States, met the man I married, had a career, made three people, started my own business, met some incredible friends, and well . . . turned into a housewife. It's amazing really what twenty years will do to you.

Upon graduation I absolutely expected to move to California and get a few bit parts in something: a sitcom, a movie. But once I moved there and HATED IT, that dream changed, but never really got replaced by something concrete. I dabbled in theather, psychology, and english, but nothing really stuck. I haven't really figured out what I want to be when I grow up. Now, I'm more interested in the people in my house growing up than myself.

Now I don't want you to think I regret my life. I don't at all. While in L.A. I saw a news clip of Madonna going out for a run. She was being followed by twenty people. Uck! We saw a couple of celebrities in clubs and restaurants. Everyone stopped talking and stared at them. So I realized that if I did moderately well, I would be miserable. Even doing local community theater in Jamestown people would recognize me and talk to me. I hated it. I could not have handled real celebrity. I would have pulled a Britney and completely flipped out. So I gave it all up. Yes, I made that sacrifice, to be normal. And here I am as normal as can be, happy as a clam on a good day, and a bad day too.

By the way, I will not be going to the reunion. We have planned a family vacation to Chicago and that sound waaayyy more fun to me.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Saga Ended Somewhere in Mexico

The whole Fam Damily survived the curse of Strep. Everyone had it including Joe and I, but Joe’s the only one that got to fly in a plane and expose hundreds of people. The disease lives on.

Friday while going to the podiatrist for a re-check on my keloided Achilles scar I started getting the sniffles. By morning I was miserable; I spent pretty much the whole day in bed. We had a babysitter scheduled for that evening and holy moly after the week I had, I was definitely going out. In hindsight it was stupid, but at the time I was happy not to be putting anyone to bed. Joe started sneezing halfway dinner and spent all of Sunday in bed. There’s nothing quite as miserable as a sick Joe so I hid out on the Petoskey’s deck. The plan worked much better than expected. Griffin was so wiped out after playing he put himself to bed at 5pm. I was able to get ready to teach without interruption. At 7pm he woke up and played in his room until 9:30, but stayed out of Joe’s way.

Meanwhile, Monday morning came and we, the kids and I, were headed Up North and Joe was off to Mexico on business. Of course I hadn’t packed a thing. I did a week’s worth of packing in about two hours and we hit the road at 11:20. Joe took off for the airport feeling very sick, but soldiering on.

My mom and I watched the temperature drop as we headed to the hinterland. When we arrived at the house it was 38 and windy and pretty much stayed that way. We did the normal hanging out doing nothing stuff. On Tuesday, we walked down the “Deadly Stairs” to the beach. I think I’ll whittle “Deadly Stairs” on a plaque for that retched staircase from hell.

I’ve watch both my parents wipe out on it and my friend and now it’s taken me as a victim. I made it to the very last step, stepped off onto a firm pack of sand that wasn’t firm at all. Hidden underneath was quicksand. My right leg slid out from under me at lightning fast speed, my repaired Achilles tendon leg went under me and my back hit the last step. As my life passed before my eyes all I could think was, “How in the hell are they going to haul my sorry ass up these @$&% stairs?” I remember a beloved friend making the same comment to me not so long ago. Thanks to my deep belief in the Church of Quinky Dink, I was spared great injury and walked the entire mile down the beach to the other set of Deadly Stairs that claimed Gus’ elbow. Honestly, these people need to figure out an elevator system. Oddly enough, but not surprising, I awoke with whiplash, Gus not much worse for the wear just needed a band-aid.

Meanwhile, now in Mexico Joe had become even sicker and has had to be taken to the doctor by one of his vendors. A double ear infection and several shots of antibiotics later, he’s feeling great, except for residual pressure in his ears. He was really touch and go there for a few days. He sounded like C-R-A-P. He couldn’t even enjoy the 90 degree weather. I would have felt like C-R-A-P because it was 90, but that’s just me.

That’s all our crud and now here’s the really horrible crap-ity crap happening. My dad was diagnosed with oral cancer about two weeks ago. He’ll be having surgery next week and the surgery is pretty horrible. With a PET scan the doctors found that the cancer has definitely invaded his jawbone. Therefore, the oral surgeon will remove the cancerous bone, the three molars residing in that bone and the lymph nodes on either side of his neck. He and my mother have been told the surgery will basically be a cure. Point blank the doctor said he will not die from this. Meanwhile down in the gut, something else popped up as curious tissue in the PET scan and he will have a biopsy. Timing on that is not decided yet, however the surgeon they saw today said they needed to do something soon. He’s going to pull a Scarlet O’Hara on that one and worry about it tomorrow. I’m betting tomorrow is going to come sooner than he wants.

The fear of death is definitely hovering around both my parents. They have had excellent health until last year when my mom was diagnosed with sarcoidosis, which was scary as all get out. So, I’m in the “we’ll have to see what happens after the surgery phase” but also knowing that my dad is going to look really different and that’s going to be weird. I’m very nervous about how it’s going to affect him. My dad has had a beard for the majority of my life. It completely freaked me out when he shaved off his beard when I was 12 and again 14 years ago, so I can’t even imagine what this will be like. We’ll find out soon won’t we?

Maybe I have an unhealthy reliance on my parents, but they are such a great source of guidance and information I couldn’t imagine my world if they were drastically different. I remember how angry I became with both of my grandmother’s when they become “old.” When they were no longer able to do the great grandmotherly things they had done before. Frustrated is probably a better word than angry. You want that person to stay the same; you want them to keep their facilities. But time takes it payments and grandma doesn’t do fun things like dive into the pool with her clothes on, gardening hat and all just because she’s hot and knows you’ll get a kick out of it. In fact, after a certain point if she does that you’ll lock her up. So, here’s the deal. I don’t want my parents to get old and do old people things. I also don’t want myself or Joe to follow that path. But at the same time I don’t want to stop the aging process, because you know what that means . . . no more birthdays.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Saga Continues

Last night was very hard. Griffin had a coughing fit from 5:00 pm until about 6:00 pm. He was frantic and so was I. Unfortunately, he was gagging and throwing up with all the coughing and he decided it would be better if he just sat in the bathroom. I gave him a breathing treatment of Xopenex at 5:15. Meanwhile, I’m on the phone with my mom and we’re trying to decide if I should take him to the hospital. Right about the point I’m thinking, “Oh yeah, we’re outta here” the coughing would stop for a second.

I decided to call the doctor’s office to have someone paged, because of course this couldn’t happen during regular business hours. My hope was I could give him another breathing treatment, but I wanted an o.k. and which medicine to go with. Our doctor is on maternity leave, so the answering service said they were going to transfer me to the doctor on-call, Dr. Sineed, or something like that. The phone beeped a couple times, and then a woman answered, “Lapeer Regional Hospital.” This was so not what I expected to hear, especially since my doctor is out of Beaumont. I asked for Dr. Sineed and I was forwarded. This guy gets on the phone who could not understand I was in an urgent situation. I’m explaining that for the last 45 minutes my five year old asthmatic son has been coughing non-stop . . . well, non-stop except to gag and puke. I explain what’s been going on with the strep infection and the fever and he asks me if Griffin is on Pulmicort. Pulmicort is a maintenance steroid to prevent Asthma attacks, but will not work as rescue medicine, if an attack has started. I know this; why doesn’t he?

O.k. Joe and I suck because we ran out of Pulmicort around Wednesday of last week and kept not getting it filled so, “No. Griffin is not on Pulmicort.”

“Well, he really should be on Pulmicort. This would have stopped the asthma attack in the first place,” says the all knowing doctor.

“Yes, I know that. Unfortunately, it’s too late now. Can I give him more Xopenex?”

“Well, he really should be on Pulmicort. Can you get him back on the Pulmicort today or tomorrow?” We volley back and forth about the Pulmicort a couple times and then I start thinking, “This whole situation will be moot, if the kid dies because you’re so hooked up on the Pulmicort situation that you can’t tell me what to do next.” So, I hung up. That’s right I just hung up.

While all of this is happening Griffin’s coughing has calmed down. By 6:10 pm he’s manageable. By 7pm he had a 103.9 fever. By 7:30 he was extremely exhausted and falls asleep almost instantaneously. Joe and I poke around the house a bit. Everyone was asleep, things may actually be o.k. Then at 9 pm a seal started barking in Griffin’s room. He was wheezing like crazy and coughing and there we are again. Luckily, this time the medicine acted much quicker. I sat with him for awhile then snuggle in bed with him until he’s asleep again. He slept with me last night and we woke every three hours and he had a breathing treatments. At 4 am his fever was raging again, even with Motrin. He slept until 10am and is still sick as a dog, coughing like crazy and in a general feeling of malaise.

The kid, who never sits for long, watched three feature length films today. Luckily, Grandma Golm came by and sat with him and I got a ton of stuff done. I cleaned the rat cage, mopped the floor, emptied the dishwasher, cleaned the whole kitchen, actually got my bed made before 3pm, laundry, laundry, laundry and even got in a nap. I’m feeling more in control of my little world and I’m a little ecstatic.

Here’s the thing. . . I hate this. I hate having to be this responsible. It’s it enough to have the kids that could die at any minute because of a peanut. I find myself at my weakest when I need to be at my strongest. I fear over-reacting and spending thousands of dollars on an un-needed trip to the hospital or worst under-reacting. He didn’t go to the hospital yesterday and I guess with the result, a live child, he didn’t need to go. However, I know asthmatics can turn really fast and go in a downward spiral. My dad’s best friend died 11 years ago from an asthma attack. I know it is reality; it does happen to people just like us. It completely sucks and I wanted someone to know that’s how I feel about it.