Archive for April, 2011

Maximum Coverage

April 13th, 2011 at 1:26 pm » Comments (7)

Mike let it slip the other day in a conversation that we’re insured for car accidents up to a half a million dollars. This seemed… extreme. When would anyone need that? I mean, I tend to break things. A lot. And expensive things. I know.  But still. That particular dollar amount was a bit insulting.

Then this morning I was in my giant monster truck – because through no fault of my own, the transmission on my Mommobile is broken and getting fixed – and I came up behind a little tiny taupe car a little too fast because I wasn’t really expecting it to be there. I didn’t hit it. Monster truck has great brakes. I didn’t touch it. It was just a little too close for comfort. And I was wondering why it had the word “Lotus” on the back in silver letters, when really that’s a word I associate with comfortable yoga apparel. And not with cars you often see in this town.

I realized maybe that half a million in accident coverage is JUST fine.  In case you accidentally smash a Lotus with a monster truck in the burger king drive thru because you REALLY need a diet coke at 8 am. OH. So THAT’S when you’d need a policy like that. Yeah, okay.

I sent Mike a text saying, “Hey… saw a lotus.”

He’s out of town. I thought he’d be interested. You really don’t see cars like that here.

I left out the part about getting a little too close by accident. It was a text. No need to get wordy. I figure he wouldn’t be interested in THAT part.

He wrote back, “do not hurt the lotus.”


I didn’t write back about how insurance could handle it if I did, and by the way, YEAH, KINDA ALMOST ALREADY DID.

Apparently some things are just assumed and liability policies chosen accordingly. No need to discuss the little details.

* I was ABOUT to hit ‘publish ‘ on this and then i looked up Lotus prices and they are not NEARLY as much as I thought they’d be. I coulda ran over a whole herd of them and not maxed out that insurance policy.

We’re Really On a Roll Tonight

April 11th, 2011 at 8:28 pm » Comments (8)

Mike would never intentionally give anyone food poisoning. He’s nicer than that. In fact, he WAS trying to be nice.

He’s leaving on a trip tomorrow and thought, “hey, I’ve been meaning to make cinnamon rolls, so I’ll just do it now. for breakfast tomorrow since i won’t be here. Sure, they taste better right out of the oven, but I never do it in the morning.”

I do not buy or make cinnamon rolls. But if they come out of the oven, I am completely powerless to avoid eating at least one.

Which I did.

Even though I had remembered to say, “What? You’re doing WHAT? Aren’t those old?”

And Mike said, “no, they’re not old.”

And then the cinnamon smell overtook the whole house and I lost all hope of rational thought and I ate one and OH MY GOSH. It was SO yummy.

For like, ten seconds.

And then… that’s odd. There is a distinctly rotten aftertaste going on here. Hmm.

Mike came in at that moment. I had since remembered those stupid cinnamon rolls were left over from Christmas.



I gave Mike a dirty look, wiped my tongue off on my bathrobe,  and calmly asked him to dig through the trash, and come back with a full and honest reporting of what he could learn of the pertinent expiration dates.


He felt really bad.

He put a hand on my right leg and prayed that God would somehow bless the food I had eaten. I interrupted by kicking him on the arm and telling him that was a stupid prayer and he couldn’t pray that. (I know, okay? I’m THAT kind of obnoxious in the Wife Department. He’s just SO lucky.) He tried again. I could not bring myself to feign reverence at this point in time. I stared him down while he prayed, and not in a nice way.  It was a “bail me out here, Jesus,” prayer if ever there was one.  Then he wrapped it up pretty quickly and said he needed to leave to do some errands.


I’m here with a trashcan and a rotten food taste mixed with the flavor of terrycloth bathrobe in my mouth.

Mike had asked if he could get me something else to eat or drink that might help. But given the circumstances, I think not.  The upside to this is that three little boys will not be eating these for breakfast and then getting sick at school and the nurse will not be calling me to come pick up 3 puking children.

The downside, of course, is the trashcan and the taste and the wondering if the Almighty is really interested in saving  Mike’s butt tonight on my behalf, because this definitely calls for some divine intervention.

Okay, maybe I shouldn’t have kicked him when he was praying.

Windy Day Wedding

April 10th, 2011 at 3:19 pm » Comments (6)

I attended a wedding yesterday. Workout Barbie wore the most beautiful strapless, beaded wedding gown. Her dark brown hair had been styled into perfect, long curls. She was gorgeous.

I almost didn’t make it.

I’d been at Caden-7yr’s baseball game, where they were taking on the only undefeated team. Caden-7yr has started hitting and getting on base, did I tell you? How exciting! And their little team was more than exceeding expectations. I thought the win was hard-earned, and theirs. But it was painfully close and they lost by 1.

Afterwards, I ran home and tried to wipe off  the layers of grime. It had been a baseball game in a dirtstorm – as they so often are here – but there wasn’t time to really address the issue with a long bath.

Instead, I stood in the closet and tried on 4 dresses in record time, fixed the tangled, windblown hair, spritzed perfume to mask my Dirt Smell, and jumped back in the car.

The wedding was 2 hours away. I drove. Max sang. (This is  a common arrangement we have.) The blowing dirt reduced visibility to nothing and slowed me considerably.

Have I told you I can get lost going anywhere? I can. I do.

I asked OnStar for help. They pretended they haven’t known me and helped me for the last 6 years at least and only promised to help me after I rattled off a credit card number. “Ma’am? Are you driving? We don’t want you to be distracted by getting this out of your purse.”

“That’s nice, really, but I’m a dedicated online shopper, and I can do this without reaching for my purse or taking my eyes off the road, so let’s go, I’m in a hurry and it’s a Visa.”  They promised to come back on the line and help me, but instead they hung up on me. And thank you for calling, OnStar.

I’d tried GPS. I’d tried the iPhone map thingy. And with 20 minutes to go before the ceremony started, I called Mike and begged him to help and he did.  He also said OnStar did not need a credit card and went on about the details of our account with them, and, well, really I wasn’t listening.

The photographer held the door for me, and I flew down the aisle about 2 minutes before the bride.

I cried.

Workout Barbie cried.

I wanted to get her a tissue because she didn’t have one. But I didn’t. Instead, I wished other people, closer, would get up and hand her one. But no one did.

I’d never met the groom, and I wondered if he really knows how lucky he is to get her. For some reason, I doubted it. Not because of anything to do with him.  After all, it had taken me a lot of years to realize how great a friend she really is… I hadn’t credited her with being as wonderful, sweet, caring, and loyal as she truly is… oh, I hoped he wasn’t guilty of that as well.  She deserves someone who really understands her, loves and likes her for who she really is, and will encourage/support/adore her. I sincerely hope that’s what she got yesterday, when she married him.

After the ceremony, I went back outside to get the gift and take it into the reception hall. The photographer stopped me and told me how lovely I had smelled as I’d come in, earlier.

I found this to be extremely interesting, since it seemed a weird thing to say, and I’d sprayed perfume to cover up a dirt + baseball smell. But I thanked her anyway. I was thrilled the parking lot was deserted because a strong gust of wind blew my dress straight up. It’s West Texas, and oh yeah, that happens. As I savored the gratitude I felt for this particular event having no witnesses, I wondered about my choice of undergarments. Pretty, but decidedly lacking in coverage for involuntary flashing incidents, was the conclusion I came up with. Really, if your dress is going to blow straight up, it would be better to be wearing ginormous granny panties, right? And now I know.

I walked into the reception hall and stood alone in a bright sunny spot, trying to decide who was related to whom, judging by noses, jawlines, and shoes. It was a beautiful room. The windows were fascinating – 15 enormously tall, Gothic style.

I turned to inspect the ones behind me and saw a perfect view of the parking lot, and my car.


I stayed long enough to talk with Workout Barbie before slipping out and driving home.

The dirt had stopped blowing, and the drive looked entirely different. I passed a hair salon with a handpainted sign reading: “Hairacy.”  On the other side of the street was a handpainted sign reading: “Eternity – It’s Hell Without Jesus.”

I wondered if they’re good neighbors. I decided they probably were.

Caden-7yr Theorizes

April 8th, 2011 at 8:43 pm » Comments (1)

Everyone is safe and home and in bed, or in that “here, Mom, let me get up 19 times out of bed even though you just tucked me in so that we may discuss the state of my toenails” phase of the evening. It’s good in the irritating normalcy of it all. No one needed medical care today. No one needed stitches. And I was SO enjoying this that I took the kids on a couple of errands and out to dinner.

Caden-7yr had just finished a highly entertaining and ill-informed discussion about NASCAR with Ethan-10yr when he turned to me and asked, “Mom, are you cold-blooded?”

“Excuse me?”

“You’re always cold. The rest of us are warm blooded mammals. I am wondering if you are something different, because you’re just so COLD all the time.”

I leaned across the table and gave him a pretend dirty stare and asked him if he’d just asked his mama if she were coldblooded like a snake.

He grinned and said, “Yes, ma’am!” Then he stopped grinning and said, seriously, “So. Are ya?”


He shrugged and said, “Well, something’s different about ya, and I thought that was a good guess.”

And it would have been even better, if I were just slightly reptilian. But whatever.

When A Splinter… Isn’t

April 6th, 2011 at 11:12 pm » Comments (7)

So I had a bad day.

Not as bad a day as Ethan-10yr. Not nearly that bad. But right now, he’s sleeping peacefully and I’ve self medicated with a six pack of diet coke and the only chocolate I could find by melting chocolate chips with which to encase pretzel sticks. No, I’ve never done that before. But I was desperate.  And now I’m desperate and jittery. Also, feeling kinda gross, and way over-caffeinated.

At 12:30, I was at a restaurant eating gluten free veggie pizza with a friend and we were getting blasted with odd surfer music that was drowning out the sound of my phone ringing. We were having a nice time. Lunch over, I glanced at my phone.  Texts and missed calls from everyone, including Mike (who is out of town) and the school nurse. I thought first of Caden-7yr and wondered if he’d hurt his nose. But it wasn’t Caden-7yr.

The nurse’s description didn’t really make sense to me. She said Ethan-10yr had fallen on the playground and gotten a splinter that was too large to remove without proper equipment and possibly some pain medication. And also, he couldn’t walk.

Hmm. That’s some serious splinter.

My friend followed as we sped to school. She is a Very Calm In Times of Trauma Sort. (I am too, but I don’t necessarily think clearly, and that is a key difference.)  By the time i got there, Ethan-10yr had been carried across campus by a teacher, hysterical, prayed over by various teachers, and withdrawn into a trembling silent mess in a wheelchair.

My baby did not have a splinter. He had a good sized piece of wood impaled in his kneecap. It went in at least a half inch, and was almost that wide as well.  There wasn’t a lot of blood, since there was a largish stick plugging the largish hole, and all.

Calm Friend is married to a pretty big guy who was willing to come carry Ethan-10yr to the car for us. This ended up not being necessary, but I was so grateful as it was just one less thing to worry about. And I pushed away the thought that my baby had gotten so big I couldn’t carry him myself anymore, and did I really notice when that happened? Did I acknowledge that at the time? Because I probably should have. And as long as I’m feeling guilty about the surfer music and the too quiet ringtone, maybe I should just be upset about that, too.

Calm Friend and I took Ethan-10yr to a clinic. Mike had arranged for Caden-7yr’s Nose Doctor to meet us, but we had a long wait. Ethan-10yr – normally hysterical and dramatic over nothing at all – was eerily silent. Only his mouth trembled. His little freckled face looked especially pale and he was clearly in a great deal of pain. They couldn’t give him anything for the pain until the Nose Doctor arrived. He asked for a book, and he disappeared into a dog story called Lad. It was a better place to be.

The nurse looked at the stick protruding from my baby’s knee  and dubiously said she thought they could take care of it there. She seemed to be warning me that we might end up at the emergency room, after all.   I couldn’t really think straight. But I hugged Ethan-10yr in his wheelchair and prayed right into his face and kissed his nose over and over. He was wide-eyed and silent. I tried to remember what I knew about symptoms of shock, but couldn’t recall anything helpful.

I asked my mom to come, in case Calm Friend needed a ride back to her car before she needed to pick up her own kids. My mother is NOT good with blood. I warned her not to look. She looked anyway. But there wasn’t as much blood as she expected, so she was perfectly, admirably fine.

When the Nose Doctor (who isn’t a Nose Doctor at all, except that he’s the guy who puts together Caden-7yr’s face every time he has a nose injury) arrived, I had assumed he’d give Ethan-10yr something for the pain. I leaned across Ethan-10yr’s chest and got nose to nose with him to hold him down and to somehow try to be in that moment with him and comfort him through the pain by literally smashing him with my maternal presence.  The Nose Doctor pulled on the piece of wood. Ethan-10yr opened his mouth to scream and my hair went straight down his throat.  My mom pulled it out. And this happened a few more times. For some reason there wasn’t any pain med injected before he yanked hard on the piece of wood. He did that AFTER,  before he put in a stitch to close the gaping hole.

I don’t understand that decision, but I didn’t get into it with him.

The Nose Doctor explained why a staph infection was a pretty big concern and gave me instructions for follow up appointments, exercise restrictions, icing protocol, stitch removal,  and antibiotic prescription to help with the imminent infection.

My mom took the prescription to the pharmacy, and Calm Friend and I got Ethan-10yr into the car.  (Sidenote: have a Calm Friend? Ohmygosh, GET ONE.) I picked up the other kids early and took them to my mom’s house, where Ethan-10yr promptly volunteered to go to bed. My mom came home with double chocolate ice cream bars and let Ethan-10yr eat TWO of them.


He was shocked.

I was more  shocked.

My mother didn’t let me eat anything double chocolate, anything ice cream, or anything in any bed at any time during all of my childhood.

I took the boys home, just as the adrenaline wore off and we all got very tired. The afternoon dragged on endlessly. Caden-7yr got his arm hopelessly stuck between his bed and the wall. I heard his muffled, panicked screams and I had to talk him into waiting a second and calming down long enough to tell me very clearly in which direction the bed needed to move in order to free him. I couldn’t see the arm and didn’t want to make it worse by guessing wrong.  He let out one big scream and then two big breaths and told me which way to go.  He crawled out, shaken and bruised and upset. I sat down to look at his hurt arm and burst into tears.

This injury wasn’t anything compared to a knee with a big stick coming out of it. But I couldn’t cry then, with Ethan-10yr and his knee. That wouldn’t have been helpful. But with another child in pain so soon there wasn’t any more holding back, regardless of how unhelpful those tears were. I tucked the boys into their beds early. Partly because they were tired, and partly because I thought this was the safest decision for everyone.

They all asked when Mike would come home. I told them all that he would be back tomorrow. But he won’t. I just got confused because today was so endless it seemed like at least 2 or 3 days and he really WOULD be back tomorrow.

Today is almost over.

I’m so glad.

It reminds me of a stage about halfway through labor in which the swirling hormones always made me sick. I’d ask Mike to stand next to me and hold a trash can and then I’d MISS the trashcan and get sick all over his stomach. He’d invariably be wearing a white t-shirt that he’d be unable to change out of for many hours. Like that moment, days like this are also an unglamorous, unavoidable, ugly part of motherhood. Memorable. But still like an unwanted, painful stain.

Bendaroo Rash Strikes Back

April 5th, 2011 at 5:16 pm » Comments (4)

I didn’t really get into the details behind the Mystery Rash that overtook my world last week.  And OH YES, it really did.


The Mystery Rash is back and we might as well record its absurdity for blog posterity.

Last Wednesday afternoon the kids played with Bendaroos at my mom’s house. I had slept really badly the night before and when my mom offered her bed – with a bright sunbeam slashing happily across the comforter – I faceplanted  in the heat of that sunbeam for an hour. While I was faceplanted in a sunbeam, Seth-5yr was telling everyone else how to play with Bendaroos FOR him. He doesn’t like the way they feel, and didn’t really want to touch them, you see.  But my mom, Caden-7yr and Ethan-10yr played with them.

Caden-7yr was not the same for many days.

He developed awful red rashes on his hands, arms, legs and they were largely unresponsive to my 4 tier approach of anti-itch cream, Benadryl, washing absolutely everything, and oatmeal baths.  I talked to the teachers. I talked to the school nurse. There was much texting on rash status. The child even  missed a little bit of school over the Bendaroo Rash.

Finally. FINALLY. We conquered the rash. It took 4 days.


Then today there was a Freak Accident Involving Bendaroos.

When we conquered the rash, we did not discuss future self defense strategies for Bendaroos. I just said, “don’t ever touch those again,” and also, my mom threw them away.  Mission accomplished, right?

So today, Caden-7yr is standing in the parking lot at school and what does he see approaching him?

An entire class of 2nd graders carrying projects made with Bendaroos.


Caden-7yr is an upfront and honest little guy about his reality – whatever reality is in question. That’s just who he is. He whipped out an extra pair of underwear at Cracker Barrel the other day and handed them across the table to Mike because they were in his pocket. He will tell it like it is, that child. So Caden-7yr sees the 2nd graders and announces, “I AM ALLERGIC. DO NOT TOUCH ME WITH YOUR BENDAROOS, PLEASE.”

(I LOVE that about him. Oh, so cute.)

If he’d kept his thoroughly adorable and upfront/honest mouth SHUT, they wouldn’t have dreamed of touching him with their Bendaroos. But since he suggested it… and since of course he’s kidding, because WHAT? What kid is allergic to Bendaroos?! Because of all of THAT, these darling 2nd graders WIPED their Bendaroo Projects all over a horrified Caden-7yr.  Obviously, they didn’t mean to cause any harm.

Caden-7yr gave me the play by play on the drive home. “The rash is on one arm. Now the rash is on two arms. We have rash on two arms and one leg. Okay… we have two legs with rash now.”

I texted the teacher, gave him Benadryl and an oatmeal bath, and googled for other blogs on the subject. They exist, but not many. Caden-7yr doesn’t have sensitive skin. He doesn’t have many/any allergies. Just this one.

My mom asked if I had seen this all go down in the parking lot. And NO, thank you GOD, I did not see this. I would have thrown the car in park and jumped out and made such a spectacle of myself that none of my children would ever live it down. Can’t you just picture that?  The Day Mom Threw Her Body Between Caden-7yr And The 2nd Graders With Bendaroo Projects.

Oh, the horror.

* WikkiStix are fine. Totally different. No icky rash-inducing residue. In case future googlers are interested in my thoughts on the matter.

Warning: Unsafe for Human Contact Today

April 3rd, 2011 at 2:50 pm » Comments (9)

I sat on the edge of the bathtub this morning, wearing a bathrobe and a bad attitude. The tip off that the problem was my attitude – as opposed to any circumstances – was that what had set me off was a simple text: “You are a blessing to me.”

Just BURNED me up, that nasty little text.  The NERVE of someone texting that on a Sunday morning!

How… dare… that person… even consider offering that sort of statement when clearly I should be so much more than can be summed up in how I positively affect THEM.

Here, I should note, that I’ve kinda had it with people in my life who use me. The people – and I’m sure it’s entirely my fault that there are so stinkin’ many of em – who only care about me in terms of my direct value into their lives. What is my tangible contribution of worth into their lives? I’m measured by the things I do, say and give to THEM. Who I am is entirely irrelevant.

People can use you, if you let them. And the type of people who are interested in using you might only stop when they’ve used you up.

Not everyone is like that, of course. There are other – far many more other people – who like and care about me regardless of if I do, say, or ever give them anything at all. I may or may NOT be a blessing to them, but it isn’t the most important thing, by far. No pressure. And certainly they don’t give me the impression that I need to consistently earn my way into their good graces with contributions they find favorable.

Maybe I am a blessing to that person, who clearly meant well. But I wasn’t terribly moved to express any thanks that it had been noticed. I expressed nothing, and left the text unanswered. But if I had… it might have read something like: Yeah… I can see how you’d think that. But I’m actually so much more – with thoughts and ideas and dreams and plans and opinions and wishes that actually have nothing at all to do with you… and therefore have nothing to do with my value to you… and so they are not interesting to you in the slightest.  I’m actually so much more in this world than a blessing to you – and it would just be awful if we both forgot that.

But I didn’t say that. As it is, it’s difficult to even tell YOU that, and really I’m trying to figure out how to appropriately include a disclaimer that no, I’m really not battling PMS, thank you, and this is really just all me. Lucky family, I have, right? Gah. I must be such a glorious blessing to them.

Eventually I got dressed and made breakfast and cleaned the house and went to church wearing the most shocking shade of red lipstick I own. It was an accident. But once you accidentally grab a red lipstick, there’s no going back that day. It just doesn’t come off, and you’re better off not trying because you’ll end up looking as if you grabbed a red lipstick, tried it, hated it, and then couldn’t get it off your face. Whereas, if you just go with it – well. You look like you wore the most shockingly inappropriate red lipstick to church. (Worse, if you have a huge mouth like I do.)  But for some reason, that seemed the better way to go. Until the boys started reminding each other, “Do NOT kiss Mom. She’s wearing red lipstick. It will NOT come off, so don’t forget – no kissing Mom.”  Even my 3 boys get that red lipstick is not to be messed with.

But maybe it was fitting, after all. A few months ago I read an article written by a woman who wanted to spread the red lipstick trend. More than that, she was irritated at the pale, nude shades of lipstick a lot of women (like me) wear. She equated it to women not having a voice – and, the opposite would be women so empowered and vocal that they wore red lipstick.

I thought her views were utterly ridiculous.

But it’s probably a good day to find a voice, regardless of lipstick color. Watch out – do not mess with Mom. She’s wearing red lipstick and you better not tell her she’s a blessing. She’s empowered, somehow, and she’s kinda nuts.

And I WAS quite outspoken, later, as the boys somehow decided to try to sniff their bellybuttons and compare notes on whose was more disgusting. This wasn’t easy, since they were all strapped into two rows of seats in the car. Sometimes, when you are shocked into finding a voice on a matter, all you can do is yell. Or, that’s what I do. One loud, primal mommy scream to blot out the reality of whatever it is they are doing, and possibly simultaneously stop them with shock value. Not that these rare screams are voluntary – they aren’t.

But the Bellybutton Sniff Survey really undid me.  (It doesn’t take much, today.)

Vegas, Baby!

April 2nd, 2011 at 9:53 am » Comments (0)

Jenn S is pregnant in the most adorable, hormonally imbalanced way. I just had to tell you because I’m excited! OH, she’s so cute!!!

big, happy sigh

April 1st, 2011 at 3:30 pm » Comments (5)

It’s the kind of day that is so noteworthy in its simplicity, it has to be documented and appreciated, lest it slip away into the normal chaos and forgotten.

It’s THIS kind of day:

the day that is so beautiful I can’t resist walking around the flowerbeds, barefoot, looking at the creamiest double daffodils

…and wondering where all the baby pink tulips are. They’re late. Or, worse, they’ve stood me up this year. (And once a tulip stands you up, it’s all downhill from there.)

the sort of day in which I stand in the closet in front of a full length mirror with a child and talk him through the new starting routine for his batting stance: “knuckles…knees…lean forward, not back… bat on bicep… then UP…. relax… hit.” And then I jump back and yell when he swings the bat in the closet, perfectly, and almost breaks the full length mirror.  I had told him not to swing, but he couldn’t help it.

the sort of day where lipstick red geraniums, purple million bells and chartreuse sweet potato plant just HAVE to be bought.

the sort of day where I have to go pick up a kid early and cut short the time with the plants because the child has a Mystery Rash that’s begging for an old fashioned oatmeal bath with a chaser of Benadryl.

the sort of day for “Magic Man” by Heart, an open sunroof, flip flops, a ponytail, and lamenting the sad state of my toenails. Too bad I’m too ticklish for pedicures.

the type of day where 3 little boys wiggle like puppies all the way to school and back. And I can hardly blame them.

The type of day where it’s bright and beautiful, lazy, and there’s all the time in the world for books, flowers, children, baseball, and pets, and no time at all for laundry, dishes, fussy dinner plans, or errands.

If I were sitting in a dappled sunny patch on a wooden porch swing my daddy hung on the back patio of a little brick house in central Texas, barefoot with sun-streaked hair in pigtails, age 4… gorgeous german shepherd named Heidi running around and purple petunias in a flower pot and a jug of my mother’s sun tea next to us, porch swing chains creaking noisily in the breeze…  that is what this day feels like.

It’s pretty sweet.