Sunday, January 29, 2006

winter (?) weekend

I figured out what an east coast skier is this weekend. If you've ever been on a ski lift ripping off your jacket liner - hell, ripping off your *jacket* and stuffing your gloves into your pockets then you know what I mean. I think it officially reached 60 up on the mountain yesterday but it sure felt warmer than that. It was a good time, though.

We came back with no broken bones, but we are beat up. DH told me he merited applause from the ski lift on a few of his wipeouts. I didn't get any applause, but I did think I died. See, this took place because we are a family of newbies (I was going to use a much more deragatory word, but decided to be nice). Bootlegger is a fun, intermediate run. This was the first time I could really ski down it - I mean, I'd been down before but with my brakes on the whole time. This time, I was really skiing down it. So we were a little bummed when they closed it for some races yesterday. And happy when they finished the races and opened it back up. "Hey!" we all four said in unison, "let's go down Bootlegger!!!!!" 'Kay. From the voice of experience now, I can tell you that racers TEAR UP a slope. We zipped on over to Bootlegger and the other three in my family whizzed off down the slope. I started down a little tenatively and was thinking, "Golly gee, there sure are a lot of piles of snow on this slope now." And that was just about the time that my skis stuck into a particularly large pile of snow while my body kept going (this is called momentum), and I ended up sailing over my skis and falling smack on my cheekbone. I saw a flash of light (I am not exaggerating - this is what had me freaked out) when I hit and I lay there for a second wondering if I died or had only broken my neck.

Fortunately, it was neither, and I was somehow able to pick up and continue down for another massive wipeout on that slope. By the time I got back down to the ski lift, John was preparing to pull off his snowboard and run up the mountain to find me.

But guess what - we're going again in a few weeks. Dumb? or Forgetful? Take your pick.

We didn't come home with only bruises though. E picked up some horrid virus this weekend. She was able to hold off actually being sick until about 5 minutes before we pulled into the driveway (thank goodness for plastic bags that happen to be lying around the van). I have spent the evening being absolutely ORDERED around, which, wearing my mom hat, I am more than happy to do. My job has been to hold her hair back and hold cool washcloths to her face while she's sick, clean out the vomit pail, rub her feet, fetch her cold water, stroke her face, and watch Shrek 2 with her. And you'd better believe she lets me know if I'm lacking in any of these tasks. Poor boo. She's been throwing up every 20 minutes for the last 5 hours. So I get her through it and then go eat chocolate kisses because it's distressing to see my sweetie hurting so much.

I'm trying to think of a nice unifying moral to tie together these stories. Sometimes life sucks, so eat chocolate while you can? Hardheadedness is often beneficial? Even the stubborn among us end up cleaning out the vomit pail now and again?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

tidbits and the universe

Whoa - that last post o' mine was long, wasn't it? Sorry about that. To keep myself entertained as I paced around worrying that night, I promised myself I could write about it in my blog. So that was a gift to myself.

We leave tomorrow afternoon to go here. (Wait - keep your browser on the picture for a while and watch the slope. That's me!!")
The building in the bottom right is the place where our condo is. Convenient, huh?
Can't wait!! We ski all day long until we are so tired we're near tears, then go inside for dinner and board games. I love this part of winter. I've got the wine and the makings for s'mores all packed up. Should be a blast!

Anyone catch the story about astronomers finding an earth-like planet? (earth-like meaning probably rocky and icy and not a massive gassy planet like Jupiter). Here's a press release.

This kind of stuff is as comforting to me as religion is to some people. This is what is *there*. We're a grain on a sandy beach the size of the solar system (I have no idea about the accuracy of that statement - I'm just trying to be poetic), and the idea of a huge, churning, active, alive universe makes me feel.... included? I can't fathom the idea that we (meaning living beings) are so unique in this universe. It's implausible. I love the idea of other lives, other civilizations, other emotions, other goals, other values out there. We don't even know the right questions to ask about them. We've put boundaries on our lives and our understanding of live that are artificial, and I love the idea of them being blown to bits. You know? And what I would *really* love is to find evidence of the vastness of life sometime before I die. *THAT* would rock.

Monday, January 23, 2006

narcissistic ramblings of my night life

In spite of everything, I do like myself. But you knew that already since there nothing quite as narcissistic as having a blog. But other than the whole narcissism thing, I'm just very entertaining to have around, you see. Don't think this comes easily - Oh ho. It is very challenging to keep up with all my high-maintenance traits and general weirdness. I'd like to invite you to take a brief trip into my life now. If that totally creeps you out, then you get the option of rolling your eyes and surfing on over to some other website or going to eat some cheerios. I *have* to go through this #(@*#&$ all the time.

DH called me from Augusta yesterday afternoon around 3:00pm to tell me his flight had been delayed. It was now scheduled to leave Atlanta at 1am and arrive in here at 3am. "OK." I said. "When I roll over and grunt, that means I'm telling you hello and I missed you and all that stuff."

Then I proceeded to have a nice afternoon, taking the kids to see the men's gymnastics team at the college, eating barbeque for dinner, having relative ease getting the small children to finish up their homework and go to bed. (I said *relative* ease.)

I enjoyed the quiet house for a little bit by watching some inane TV shows, clicking through CNN and other news channels and generally wondering why I didn't just go to bed. I finally dragged myself off for sleep, after moving the two not-so-small children off of my bed and into their own. I settled down around 11:30, and woke up around 1:30. I mention this brief interlude of sleep because, well, it's the ONLY sleep I ended up getting. Except for maybe 30 more minutes, but that's later in the story.
Since I was awake, I plodded on down here to the office to pull up the Air Tran web site to check on John's flight and make sure it was actually going to take off. Lo and behold, its departure time had moved way up, closer to the originally scheduled time. "Yay!" I thought. It, in fact, showed that it landed at 1:00 am. Since the airport is about 30 minutes away at it was 1:30, I decided I'd just wait up for my wonderful husband.

After surfing the net for a while, and plodding back and forth to the window to see if I could see him drive up, I thought to myself, “Hmmm. Seems like I’ve been doing this a while.” So I checked the clock. Again. And Again. Around 2:30, I felt a little twinge of worry and gave him a call to see if he'd lost his luggage or something. Here is the key. His phone was turned OFF. Now people, tell me...why do we buy cell phones? Communication. Cah-moon-i-cay-shion. We use them to talk to each other. Especially when we are away on trips. And to do that, we must TURN THEM ON. Since it was not on, I left a cute little message - "Hey honey, just wondering where you are. Sure do wish you had your phone turned on. Hope everything is OK. Give me a call!"

I went back to the computer to make SURE the airplane had landed at 1 am. I thought to myself, "1:00 sounds awfully rounded. Sounds like more like an estimate. Let me check around." Sure enough, I found a place on the airport website where it shows the arrival and departure times. Ah-HA. His flight landed at 12:50! Not 1:00. Wait. That's even worse. So I waited and I waited. At 3:00, I was mildly freaking out so I of course envisioned him lying tangled in the middle of a horrible car accident (I figured I could no longer worry about airplane crashes since the website listed it as “Landed”. Surely they’d use a more descriptive word if it’d crashed. Like hard. “Landed real hard.”) I surfed on over to the depart of transportation website to check if I could find something to list car accidents. Oooh – luck! I found a nice map with a big red "I" on the interstate right around the airport. Heart.Skips.Beat. Click. Click. (clicking on the red “I” does nothing. I want pictures! I want description!). I frantically surfed some more and figured out that the red I belonged way over across the river, not on the interstate. Well that’s a relief. But now I'm worried because I don’t know what to worry about. So I did what any insane person would do, and I called the department of transportation. I should add here that I have a cold and my voice is starting to sound like Brenda Vaccaro, which might sound sexy if I wasn't trying to shout "ROAD CONDITIONS" into the voice-recognition program that they use. It didn't understand me. Horrors of horrors, that meant I had to talk to a real person.
DOT:"How may I help you?"
Me: "Um...I wanted to check on road conditions. I guess your software couldn't
understand me."
DOT: Silence.
Me: "Um, what's going on on the interstate? Any incidents worthy of a big red I? Heh heh."
DOT "There are currently no advisories posted anywhere in the state."
Me: (realizing I wasn't going to get far with this tact.) OK. Bye.

Well that was unhelpful. So I called DH's cell phone again, which was still turned off. I recorded a oh, *slightly* more frantic message this time, and louder, hoping maybe he'd hear me through the turned-off phone. I wondered if I called his cell phone enough times if it would magically turn itself on.

3:30. 'Kay. I checked and RE-checked the flight arrival time. I pulled my pillows and a blanket down to the couch to sleep. I heard a car door, and relief swept over me, only to disappear again when I figured out it was the neighbor. Damned teenagers. What are they doing getting home after 3:30?!! I lay there awake and had visions of DH somewhere in Atlanta snoring away, and got mightily pissed off. What if he changed his flight until morning? What if he hadn’t realized they had moved the departure time back up and he missed his flight? Again - CELL PHONE. Surely he'd call. Wouldn't he?

I hopped up and called Air Tran.
Me:" My husband was supposed to be flying home on flight xxx tonight from Atlanta. Is there any way you can tell me if he was on that flight?"
Air Tran:" One minute."
I could hear heavy breathing. For a loooong time. Finally,
Air Tran: "Can I help you?"
I took a deep breath “I thought that’s what you were doing!?”
So I repeated my question.
Air Tran: "Uh, that flight is supposed to land at 1 am."
Me: "Yeah, that's more than 2 hours ago, so I'm getting worried."
Air Tran:" Well honey, that's just an estimate. He's probably still flying."
Me: "That was TWO HOURS AGO. I just want to know if he was on the flight."
Air Tran:"Well I can’t give you that information unless you have some critical identifying information and he listed you as the contact person.”
Critical identification stuff I could handle. But I’m 99.9% sure DH didn’t think to put me down as a contact person. I never put anyone down.
We went through the process, just to see.
Air Tran:”Oh, hmm…. One minute please.”
Me: “OK”. Visions of a crashed airplane. What do they tell you if that happens?
Air Tran:”OK ma’am? Oh – wait, one minute please.”
Me: “OK” (sniffling a little to play up the worried wife bit. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell me what’s going on!!!!)
Air Tran:”Ma’am, that flight was diverted to another airport and they were put on a bus back to your area.”
Me:”Really? YAY!!!!!”
Air Tran: (stunned silence).

So I called DH’s cell (still off) to let him know I was no longer totally freaking out.

Around 4:15, the phone rang.
John:”Hi honey, I’m at the airport.”
Me:”Yeah. You were bussed in. I guess you heard my three messages?”
John:”Well, two of them so far.”
Me:”I’m glad you’re OK. But your cell phone was OFF!!! I’ve had no sleep! I’ve been awake since 1:30 worried that your plane had gone down or you were mangled in a car crash.”
John:”Oh honey, I love you.”

He finally made it home around 5 am. And thus ends my saga, other than the ensuing problems I had with John making popping noises in his sleep, the cat licking himself, then jumping into the bag of dogfood we have while we dogsit Corrie, etc., etc., etc.

But all is well now. Other than the fact that the Airport and Air Tran still list that flight as having landed at Newport News. What I discovered later is that if you click on the flight number, it shows it as taking off about 1 minute after it landed and flying to the neighboring airport. Which, DH tells me, is fairly accurate, although the wheels never actually touched the ground.

But I'm not mad about the cell phone anymore. Much.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

beer and morphine

After living some in Michigan and Boston and Germany, DH grew up in Augusta, along with the families of his mom's many brothers and sisters. I should clarify that "many" in this respect is debatable if you compare to his dad's having nine brothers and one sister. In any case, it ended up that DH and his brothers and several of his cousins spent much time together visiting their grandma and grandpa out on the lake fishing and swimming and hanging out and swinging from trees (Gerald) and heaven knows what else. Like my cousins, and like so many other families, they eventually reached adulthood and parted ways and although they remembered each other fondly and lovingly, they didn't really make much of an attempt to stay in touch. We send most of them a christmas card every year, but that's the extent of it.

And as tragedy so often does, it brought family back together. The first week Gerald was in the hospital, cousin Shannon spent very nearly an entire week there with him, joined much of the time by Beth, both of whom have their own families and jobs to attend to. They sent pots of spaghetti sauce and chicken and dumplings home with DH's parents, and helped contact various family members and such to let them know Gerald's situation. So one of the nights we were down there, they called up and came out to the lake for a visit. I must say that they were total nutcases. I mean that in a good way, mostly. DH is very mild mannered and quiet, a non-smoker and non-drinker, a wonderful, fabulous guy, but very...quiet. Which, as it turns out, is not really a family trait.

So I stayed up until after midnight, fighting off the smoke (bleah) and laughing until I thought my gums were going to dehydrate. One of the nights those two had volunteered to stay the night with Gerald in the hospital, they got each other all worked up talking about time flying by and life and such, so they decided in order to keep a party atmosphere, it was necessary to bring booze into the picture. So Shannon left, and returned smuggling 18 cans of beer into the hospital room disguised as a chest of ice. EighTEEN cans???!! Funnier still were the stories of Beth spilling a cup of beer in the bathroom and their antics to cover up the smell before the nurses found out. They spent so much energy laughing over their efforts that they ended up both getting a total of about one sip of beer. Gerald was happy on morphine so he didn't need any beer and anyway I expect those nutcases were exactly what he did need. I hope the nuts in my life make an appearance if I'm ever in a situation like that.

My own personal newsflash:
A filling fell out of my tooth last night - I guess. I never felt it come out or found it for that matter, so I can only the suppose the sudden gaping hole in one of my back molars is because a filling came out of it. I suppose I probably swallowed it. Bleah. Visions of mercury dancing around my digestive system...

Saturday, January 21, 2006


So maybe it wasn't a fluke. Two times (TWO, count them, one...two) I've received glowing reports on E's behavior this weekend. The first time I was certain she was in the midst of a grand scheme and was playing everyone. Now that there's two, I'm nervous.

Friday night was a birthday party/sleepover she had been invited to by one of her friends in school. I said yes to the party but no to the sleepover, knowing nothing about the family. I tried really hard when I dropped her off to keep my jaw from dropping to my shoulders. Nice house. NICE. Tall ceilings with chandeliers, statues situated in corners along the gleaming wood floor. Expensive furniture, huge house, etc., etc. Uh oh. I smelled trouble so I high-tailed it out of there (actually, I had to in order to pick Q up from piano on time, but that race through the Burg is another story). I left with visions E playing hide and seek around the statues and swinging from the chandeliers and I only hoped they weren't serving any food that stained.

When I picked her up three hours later, however, the grandparents couldn't stop talking about what a little lady she is. (By the way, she came dressed in her frilly Laura Ashley dress, high heels, and her hair in a bun - all her idea). The other kids were racing through the house, apparently distressing the lady of the house, but E would walk calmly with her hands demurely behind her back. During dinner she had very polite manners while the other girls burped and whined. Etc., etc. On and on. While the other kids ignored the birthday girl's younger sister, E took pity and went out of her way to befriend her. I very nearly asked them if they were really talking about my daughter, but she was standing right there, so I guess they were. I felt slightly guilty for being so surprised, but even more, worried that E was playing us all. What would her next move be? (If you know E, you know where I'm coming from.)

Apparently, the next part of the ploy was rolled out today. Being solo this weekend while DH is in Georgia again, I had a friend drop her off at gymnastics and I came late in to watch about an hour after they'd started. One of the other moms saw me and E waving at each other. "Oh that's your daughter? She's being SO POLITE and kind to all the other girls." "REALLY???" I spewed in disbelief. "I mean, really? Thanks." The mom gave me an odd look while I tried to figure out what E was playing at now.

But I can't come up with anything. I told her I liked all the nice things I was hearing about her behavior. She told me she didn't like to get bad reports so she likes to behave when she's around people she doesn't know very well. OK then.

Maybe all that stuff about kids being at their worst behavior at home because they are comfortable and know they are loved blah blah blah is all correct. Maybe I've been a stellar and magnificent mom and E is totally assured of my everlasting love which is why she can come unglued if Q breathes wrong or I look at her wrong or DH asks her to pick her dirty socks up off the floor. Maybe I've done a fantastic job of parenting. Or maybe she has concocted an elaborate scheme which won't become obvious until it's too late. You be the judge.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

i'm still here

I'm still here - we're hanging in there. I haven't felt much like writing in this blog, but I'm forcing myself to keep up with it so I don't lose it totally. I know there are only a few of you that read this regularly, but I love that you do and I don't want you to get too bored and go away. :-) Bear with me - don't give up on me! I promise I'll be back to semi-normal after a while.

We all went down to Georgia last weekend to see Gerald. It's the first time I've seen him since he's been sick, and he looked just horrible. I told DH it was hard for me to recognize him until he smiled. He has the most beautiful smile, and it's exactly the same. DH told me that smile is why there are baby Geralds all up and down the east coast. Speaking of which - one of those babies is a 20-something lady that contacted Gerald about 5 years ago so she could meet her biological father. Gerald stayed in touch with her on and off since then. She came up to the hospital and surprised him by bringing her brand new daughter. She breezed into the room and plopped that baby right into Gerald's arms. He's got pictures of his new granddaughter pinned up all around the hospital room now. I wasn't in there at the time, but I hear it was very very touching. So there are some bright spots in all this, yes?

DH will probably go back athis weekend, but I don't want to put the kids through that trip again. So I'll probably be hanging around home for the short term at least.

By the way, our van is still being repaired after the debacle on the interstate last week. Apparently, the hotel that DH pulled off at was owned by a Japanese gentleman who was absolutely horrifed at the fact that he heard DH describe his car to AAA as a Toyota. The man insisted that Toyotas don't break down. Ever. Other cars do, but he's never heard of a Toyota breaking down. Hee. He can pay our repair bills then.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


I'm going to try really hard not to turn this blog into a whinefest dumping ground. I really am.

The kids are fluttering around DH like lovebugs around a fire. E is hanging on him and hugging him and Q won't move far off either. Think they missed their daddy?

I held it together pretty good today until DH told me the cost for repairing our van was going to be over 1K. O.M.G. That was (apparently) the broken straw that unleashed my tears. So I destressed a little and am empty and ready to fill up again, which I'm sure will happen soon. Wait - I promised I wasn't going to whine.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

sod's law - truth or truth

Sod's Law (which I enjoy saying much more than Murphey's Law) is:
"the phenomenon which dictates that when you drop your toast it will fall butter side down, that as soon as you get in the shower the phone will ring and that as soon as you buy a new pen you find the one you had lost," according to reliable web sources.

So it should come as no surprise that our Toyota Sienna van, which has caused us no problems thus far, which is still relatively new (2003 model), which we are religious about keeping up the maintainence and oil changes on, would overheat tonight as DH was finally driving home. What's up with THAT??? I didn't think new Toyotas were capable of overheating.

I've been miserable being away from my husband when he needs me, and miserable being away from my in-laws when they need family, and miserable feeling in the dark about news on Gerald and was SOOO looking forward to DH coming home tonight. So when he called to tell me he was on the side of the interstate just 1.5 hours away from home, I am proud that I did not burst into tears. (well at least I didn't while on the phone to him).

Much to my credit, though, I for some reason which obviously has nothing to do with sod or Murphey, upgraded our AAA membership to the Plus version this last time I renewed. This meant DH was able to have them tow the van 100 miles, which put him at the Toyota dealership about 5 miles from home. So I'm waiting for the call from him so I can call my friend B to go pick him up and deposit him right here on our doorstep. So now despite the best efforts of the sods of the universe, I am still going to get to see my husband tonight. I suppose right now, DH is enjoying (??) stilted conversation with some tow truck driver while plowing down the interstate. Maybe they're just listening to music.

...though I'd best speak softly because who knows when "Sod" will tire of making toast fall butter side down and will move again toward messing with me in other ways?

Saturday, January 07, 2006


2006 isn't starting out so well for us. DH is down in Augusta with his family and his brother, who is in the hospital dying from pancreatic cancer. From the phone call last night, it doesn't sound like he has much time left. I wish more than anything that I was with DH, but he said I should stay put for now. His brother is only 42. This is very sad.

So everything else I wanted to write about sounds so trivial and silly now. Life is moving along as always for me and the kids. It seems so delicate now - so breakable. We're all dancing around the edge of the chasm. But what else is there to do other than enjoy the dance? (insert your word of choice here - I can think of none that adequately describe what I want).

Q's foot is in a cast and he's on crutches. He's enjoying the attention very much. His entire 4th grade class has signed it now. I finished up revisions on my paper at work so that's a publication our team has under our belt. We're all happy about that. Jim is back from Antarctica and had lots of stories to tell. Horrible mission, but interesting time. E is having a great time flirting with all of Q's friends. They are such good sports and are playing along. It's all great fun now, but I am going to be freaking out in another 6 or 7 years.

See? Weird how such busy trivia can co-exist as someone important is dying. I don't know what else I expect, though. We'll just have to muddle through this together.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

note to self:

Do not ever again minimize the sobs and cries of your son or advise him to "shake it off; it's only a bruise."

This isn't his actual photo but the fracture and the toe number (4th) are the same.
A trip to orthopedist will follow tomorrow.

By the way, I get credit for NOT jumping around and singing "I told you so, I told you so" to anyone (most notably my son) who thought I was being overly protective and a huge worry wart by not being happy with him playing on the golf cart. Well, not really. I'd let him do it again. Accidents happen. But still. I was RIGHT. ;-)

Sunday, January 01, 2006

felice anno nuovo

Today is New Year's Day, my always-favorite holiday...favorite beyond even thanksgiving or christmas. New Year's, where everyone is given a blank, clean sheet of paper and fresh pencil and a brand new year to start with. It doesn't matter what's happened the year before - all is swept clean and you are birthed into the new year innocent and naive and hopeful and new. Yah! Your chance to forget past transgressions and mistakes and pinpoint a new beginning point to measure against. Boom! All is forgiven and forgotten. How can you not love a holiday like that?

Here are my official wishes for you all:
May your year of 2006 be happy, becoming, fulfilled, gratified, providential, festive, and fortunate. (I love thesauri)

We got back from our vacation to Texas just a few hours ago. You wanna see?

We saw this guy while fishing on White Rock Creek, just after swimming. (kidding about the swimming).

As always, I had a wonderful time visiting my parents and extended family and went away feeling happy and loved and wishing this kind of vacation could happen more often. We came home to a very happy kitty cat (to be let back inside and allowed to lounge on stomachs of his peeps again), a messy house cluttered with the fun of christmas morning, a tabletop full of bills, and a calandar where we're right up at the top ready to start fresh. I've got a year of skiing, baseball, vacations, research, friends, exercise, love and fun lined up. Stay tuned...