Monday, October 16, 2017

Sausage Fingers: The Return...

So the swelling my ring finger finally abated about a week ago and (happy day!) I was able to put my wedding ring back in it's rightful place. It was wonderful! It was glorious! It was...short lived.

See, what had happened was I was in my garden trying for the fourth time to kill this ant pile that refuses to die. Refuses. To. Die. I've put so much poison in that garden bed, that anything I grow will probably poison us all, but those dang ants will not be defeated. Dang ants.

Anyway, I'm in the garden, shaking this bag of granulated poison over the garden bed of aggravation when I felt a sting on the back of my hand. I remember apologizing to the ants for trying to kill them when I realized it hurt so much worse than any other sting I've gotten this year, and I've been stung a lot. I'm pretty sure I'm starting to develop ant-y powers I've been stung to such a degree.

At any rate, I glanced at my hand and found the site of the sting was already beginning to swell  and then caught sight of the perpetrator flying away. HORNETS!

The hornets and I have been engaged in a terse dance this season. They fly around like they own the place and I destroy any nests I find which is why I think they got wise and finally hid it because I didn't see where my assailant came from, and the tears in my eyes kept me from seeing where it disappeared.

I decided to soldier on and watered all my plants and trees with my hand elevated because I wasn't going to be knocked off course by some winged honey wannabe. Once the plants had been hydrated, I went into the house and informed Mr. D that I had been stung and then grabbed an ice pack to ply to my hand. Once I stopped moving, the stinging really set in. My hand was on fire!

Google told me that ice and acetaminophen would be my best friends so I downed some Tylenol and kept my hand elevated and iced.

I don't know why I thought that the swelling would reach it's maximum on the day of the sting, but let me just tell you, that is not the case. In the middle of the night my hand started to itch and in my sleepy stupor, I scratched and the more I scratched, the more it itched. I tried to make my brain tell my hand to stop scratching but it just felt so great.

The next morning my hand was so swollen it looked like a flesh colored Mickey Mouse glove. The skin was so tight it was shiny. My index finger and middle finger were so swollen they rubbed together like a fat girls thighs (my thighs) and my ring was beginning to impress on my finger like play-doh. At my eldest daughter's insistence, I took my wedding ring off, again. So close, yet so far away.

The itching became unbearable as did the swelling and redness. I took three Benadryl because it seemed like a good idea at the time. After half an hour nothing had changed so I asked Mr. D to take me to an urgent care facility where, wouldn't you know it, that Benadryl kicked in just as I walked in the clinic. My hand still itched but I almost didn't care anymore. The doctor showed up about half an hour later, took a quick glance and told me it wasn't infected, but he could give me a steroid shot to help with the swelling. Or he could write me a prescription for steroid pills. Whatever I wanted. He seemed to be unaware of the fact that my hand was about to split at the seams because he asked me again if I wanted a shot (quick fix) or pills (less quick fix). I showed him my hand and told him it hurt like a bad word and I would like the shot, please!

Now my backside stings, too.

Friday, October 13, 2017

What If I Made A Mistake...

Dear Moms,

My family and I went to homecoming last night. As I looked around at the crowd of teenagers standing around us (because apparently their knees don't bend and the people behind them don't really NEED to see the field), I was suddenly overtaken with crushing worry.

What if I screwed up my kids?

I'm pretty sure we've all had that moment when we've wondered if we made the right choices for our children. I've felt those fears many times over the last seventeen years, but they're coming more frequently as my oldest child's high school career is fast coming to a close.

I was telling Mr. D that I wish we could raise our children twice, just in case we messed up the first time. I wish I knew now that homeschooling them was the best choice for us. I feel like it is, but as I watched those kids I wondered if my feelings were right, but it's kind of too late now. I can't undo anything we've done, and that goes for pretty much everything.

Was it a mistake not to allow my older girls to wear their princess dresses to the store? Was it a mistake to give that choice to the youngest daughter? My older kids constantly remind me of things I denied them that I now allow the youngers. Yes, I let Miney wear her princess dress to the store after strictly denying Eenie and Meenie, but I was new to the parenting game and it seemed important at the time.

I don't feel that their futures are destined to be disasters because they may or may not have been allowed to be princesses at Kroger, but who would they be if they'd gone to public school? Would Eenie be less anxious in unfamiliar situations or would she be even more anxious and medicated?

Meenie has a strong personality. Would she be kind or a mean girl?

Miney has a defiant streak that goes on forever. Would she constantly be in trouble? Moe is so tender-hearted. Would that be a detriment in his education?

Academically they are right there with their peers. I got over that concern a long time ago, but when they look back at their youth, will they feel like they missed out on those high school traditions?

As a "home schooled" individual, I never felt like I'd missed out socially. Academically my brothers and I got the royal shaft. Home school is not for every one ya'll. If you don't feel it is something you can do, please, for the love of all that is good in the world, DO NOT DO IT! If you don't want your children to learn certain behaviors, but aren't worried about providing them with an actual education, DO NOT DO IT! If you think the government is trying to spy on you, please get some help and mess your kids up some other way. Please Lord mess them up some other way.

However, no matter how badly we might want it, we only get one chance to raise our children so of course we worry we've set our children on the path to a dismal future. Here's the thing Moms, indeed Parents (because Dads worry, too) if you are doing the best you can, you're doing a great job.

If you feel that homeschooling your kids is the best choice for your family, or if public school is where your children need to be, you're doing great! Let your children wear princess dresses to the store, it won't hurt. Or don't, they'll survive.

Back to last night. I was mulling over the decision we made, many moons ago, to home school our children, realizing I can't go back and try again, worrying that Eenie's anxiety was a consequence of our decision, I voiced my concern to Mr. D who said, "Eenie's issues are her issues. It has nothing to do with home schooling."

Our children are who they are.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A Letter to My Readers...

My dearest readers,

For those of you who don't know, I am more than just a fancy blogger, I am also an author.

Those books you see on the side bars there - those are mine. My goal is to provide literary entertainment that I am comfortable having my teen daughters read. I have written these novels to be entertaining and exciting without the sexual content and coarse language that has become more prevalent in nearly every form of entertainment. My target demographic is young adults between ages 14-24.

To you who have read any of my five novels, I thank you from the depths of my little pea-pickin heart. You are awesome!

To those of you who have not lost yourselves in the pages of my work I ask, what catches your attention when choosing a new book? Those of you who have read my work feel  free to answer too.

Do you prefer e-books to hard copies or are audio books more appealing?

They say not to judge a book by it's cover, but who doesn't? What are your thoughts about book covers in general or my book covers specifically?

How much does cost factor into your decision? Do you feel that the quality of a book is reflected in the price or are you more inclined to try a new author if the cost is nominal?

How likely are you to leave a review or tell a friend if you enjoyed the book? Are you just as inclined to leave negative feedback if you did not enjoy it?

How likely are you to read other novels by the same author?

Have you ever attended a "Meet the Author" event? What are your thoughts?

Would access to a section of the book help in your decision making process?

How likely are you to purchase a book if the link is available on the same page as the sample section?

Would you suggest the novel to your book club if you had an opportunity to meet the author? Or have the author present?

This is an opportunity to share any thoughts you may have. I'm all ears!


Thursday, October 5, 2017

S-A-T-U-R...

D-A-Y! NITE!

I started taking a business class on Tuesday because one day I'd like to, you know, maybe make a career of this writing thing. Our first assignment was to take a paperclip (or any other small item) and attempt to trade it for something of greater value. I wasn't too keen on this assignment for one reason.

I don't go anywhere. Like, ever.

Since Eenie got her license I have been content just to have her play chauffeur which leaves me with more free time than I've had in years. It's almost overwhelming. I don't know what to do with myself, and thus far, nothing I have done has been productive, but my aunt told me I should continue in my lackadaisical lounging until it is no longer luxurious. I have yet to hit that wall.

At any rate, I don't leave the house much and the assignment required that exact activity.

Saturday rolls around and my girl Chelle had finally returned from her eternal out of town adventure. We decided to go to lunch that afternoon. As I was going to leave the house, I decided I should at least make an attempt at fulfilling my assignment.

I chose a pencil from the $1 prize box I keep to help motivate my children in their studies, because paperclips are lame, and we headed out. At the restaurant I asked the cashier if she would be interested in trading my glittery ladybug pencil for something of more value. She agreed and I traded my pencil for a pen (upgrade). Success!

There was a couple sitting behind us and, feeling adventurous, I asked if they would be willing to trade my pen for something more awesome.

Lesson 1: Women more often carry more than just a wallet and keys. Therefore they are a better source for upgrading.

Dude offered me a dollar, and in hindsight I should have taken it, but I was young and naive. I wasn't in it for the money. Thus, I traded my pen for a fistbump (downgrade). I returned to my table feeling a little dejected, my promising start had already turned sour, but I asked Chelle if she had anything she would be willing to trade for a fistbump.

She did! She gave me four passes to the Fort Worth Museum! It was amazing and brings me to...

Lesson 2: You gotta know when to hold 'em, when to fold 'em and when to walk away. I held greatness in my hands, but I flew too close to the sun.

Later that evening, Mr. D and I went out to dinner with Chelle and her man-candy. While waiting in line to order our meal, I ventured to trade two of the tickets to an older woman standing behind me. She professed to have nothing to trade, but I foolishly pressed forward. I asked her young granddaughter of about ten if she would be willing to trade me her cap for my tickets. She had nothing she was willing to trade, but I couldn't just rescind the offer. She was a child and I have the heart of a mother. So two of my glorious tickets were traded for a third fistbump (downgrade, again).

Lesson 3: One must be able to make hard decisions if one expects a profit.

Instead of learning my lesson, I thought surely I would do better the next time so while the four of us wandered around Kroger (we're older, our standards for entertainment have changed), I decided to try, once again, to upgrade my two remaining tickets. I am not a quick study.

I literally traded my last two tickets for beans! Starbucks coffee beans, but beans nonetheless. I don't drink coffee so I had to get rid of them. I cruised down the coffee isle but couldn't find a taker there though I did offer twice. They were both adults so I wasn't willing to trade for another fistbump.

I encountered a woman in the vitamin section and managed to trade the coffee beans for a Spongebob Squarepants trading card (so much downgrade). I was in a downward spiral, but it HAD to get better from there. I pressed forward with hope that the next trade would be better.

I'm not sure how it happened, but the next trade got me a mini flashlight. She must have seen the look of desperation on my face, but that flashlight gave me hope. I found my mate and our friends in the check out lane and I gleefully shared my success with them. As my dearest listened to my tale, the woman in front of us was listening with interest. SHE offered to trade ME a cellphone stand for my flashlight! Oh happy day! Things were starting to look up.

After we parted from our friends, we went back out on our own after we realized we still needed to do some shopping. We stopped at a gas station for petrol and a late night caffeinated soda (always a good idea at nine p.m.) and I ventured to trade my cellphone stand.

The cashier had nothing to trade, but another customer standing nearby quickly offered me a coin purse from the Cayman islands (lateral move).


Once again, I let my excitement overtake my better judgement and at the custard shop where we stopped for dessert I made my last trade.

One Cayman island coin purse for...

Pay no attention to the pudgy woman behind the movie box set.


A Star Trek movie box set in VHS!

Would any of you be interested in trading this awesome VHS box set for something more awesome? 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

In the Lair of Dr. Mangler...

My kids and I went to the dentist yesterday, for our semi-annual cleaning (a luxury not afforded to my siblings and I when we were kids) and somehow the subject of dentists and dentistry became the topic of conversation.

There probably isn't a high percentage of the population that would say they "like" going to the dentist. I would be one of them. There's just something about the screech of the baby powerhose boring into your jaw that can be unnerving, but that isn't the only reason I don't look forward with gleeful anticipation to my six month check-ups.

The hygienist asked if I was up to using the water drill or if the scraper was all I could manage that day. I told her I felt like I could deal with the water so she said she'd go ahead and use it, but if I was uncomfortable at any point, to raise my left hand and she would desist and use the scraper instead. I thought it was an option she extended to all of her patients until she had finished and said, "you did really well this time. You didn't clench your fists at all!"

My dentist comes in to check things out and asked if I had any concerns and whatever he said after that brought a most heinous memory to my mind.

It was the fall of '96 and I was preparing to submit my papers for my mission (I served an eighteen month mission in Washington state for my church). There were several tasks I needed to complete before turning in the paperwork and one of them was seeing a dentist and having any potentially problematic wisdom teeth removed. At the time missionaries were anywhere from 19 to 26 years old, prime adult teething time.

During this time I worked at a grocery store to earn money for my clothing and other necessaries. I worked the overnight shift straightening shelves and putting items discarded just anywhere back where they belonged. Which, by the way, people who abandon their ice cream in the toy section should be required to buy not only the ice cream but everything the ice cream ruined as it melted.

Lazy people suck. Don't be a lazy person. Put the ice cream back.

Anyhoo, I had an appointment with a dentist one morning after my shift. This is relevant because by the time I got to the office, I had already been awake for over 24 hours. I had an appointment, but even with said appointment I waited in the lobby until, I kid you not, NOON. My appointment was at 9:00 a.m.

Appointments are a thing so that episodes like this DON'T happen. At any rate, I was exhausted by the time the dentist got me into a chair. They took x-rays, cleaned my teeth, assessed the damage (four cavities, remember dental care was not a priority when I was a youth. I'm surprised it wasn't worse) and made a plan to fill said cavities as well as declaring I had but one wisdom tooth that would ever be an issue as is was the only one I had. This was inaccurate as my two top wisdom teeth opted to erupt when I was twenty four years old and had just, weeks before, completed my orthodontic treatment.

So back in 1996, I had been sitting in the waiting room for hours when they asked if I wanted to take care of the cavities and wisdom tooth at the same time and that day. I had already been there half the day so the thought of coming back to spend another day did not appeal to me AT ALL, and they promised the whole procedure would be completed in an hour. They didn't say what hour and I guess it's my fault for not asking.

Two hours later, I was in the chair having my cavities filled. By that point I was so tired everything was blurry and I had a hard time understanding English. After filling my teeth, they sent me back to the waiting room, AGAIN, where I spent another hour hallucinating in between short patches of sleep.

They took me back to the chair around three and proceeded to numb my face so they could tear out my one molar. I thought maybe I was remembering things incorrectly when they numbed the left side of my face because that one molar was supposed to be on the right side, but I was tired and he was the doctor so I kept quiet.

He sliced open my gum and started digging around then said, "there's no tooth here." I nodded and mumbled "that's because it's on the other side." He and the nurse looked at each other, then looked at the x-ray and he reached over and turned the r-ray around. It would have been hilarious...if it hadn't been me and it hadn't been a true story.

The lack of sleep, the eternal day in the lobby and the epic screw up all hit me at once and I started to cry. Not great, swelling, well-deserved sobbing, but silent tears running down my cheek, into my ears (as I was lying back in the chair).

Do you know what that fool said to me?!

"Why are you crying?"

Maybe because I'd been awake for so long I was seeing colors that didn't exist? Or because I was going to miss the next episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer? It could have been because I couldn't find any rubber pants in my size or maybe it was because I'd spent the whole day sitting in the waiting room of some dingus with a degree!  Give me that scalpel! I'll show you why!

Then he told me he wouldn't charge me for the cut.

What relief! I instantly felt better. Just kidding. I only wanted to cut him deeper.

I should have told my step-dad when he came to pick me up. He would have stomped that dentist into the ground. Not because he hurt me, mind you, but because he had the nerve to charge for his services in total, minus the one errant slice to my face hole.

Instead, I got into the car and rode home in silence as he laughed about my swollen face.

And I ended up with a dry socket.

I wonder if there is a statute of limitations...

Monday, October 2, 2017

Sausage Fingers...

We do a lot of home improvement in this family. We've built many fences, painted many rooms and hauled a lot of dirt, rocks, nasty carpet, etc. We are what we like to call "self-sufficient". Anyway, as I mentioned in an earlier post, we pulled the carpet out of the living room and replaced it with laminate. I was hoping that would quell Mr. D's desire to improve for at least a short while, but it only seemed to make it worse. I really tried to drag my feet on the next project, but dang it if he isn't a most persuasive individual.

Thus, three weekends ago, I spent Saturday and Sunday pulling up tile and smoothing down the concrete in the front room while Mr. D, Ennie and Meenie went to Houston to help with Harvey clean-up. In short the Man consciously decided to labor putting down new floors after spending two days laboring by mucking out houses. I kinda feel like a loser in comparison. Which is why we should not compare ourselves to others.

Since the day I got married I have made a conscious effort to never remove my wedding rings, even while performing manual labor. Up until now I have only had to remove them one time, when I was pregnant with my first child and my whole person swelled up like the Michelin Man. I had to wear Mr. D's flip flops after I pudged out of my own shoes. I was worried the skin on my fingers and toes would split if they swelled any more and I sloshed like a bucket of water when I walked. Just kidding! I didn't walk, I waddled.

However, before embarking on this project, I decided to take my rings off. Precisely one minute later, I hit the knuckle of my ring finger with the sledgehammer.

I'm thankful I took my rings off before the incident, but now my knuckle is swollen so I can't put them back on. Well, I can squeeze them on with lots of lotion and sailor talk, but it requires even more lotion and sailor talk to get them off again. I try not to do that too many times because I like my rings and I like my finger, but at this moment they are at odds and if I push the issue I may lose one of them.

I don't like wandering around sans ring so I've taken to wearing the big gaudy rings I have often purchased on a whim. I wear one until the bands start to change color and then move on to the next one. It's been fun, but I'd like my knuckle and finger to return to their original size now.

The floor is complete, and there is nothing left to paint, so the kitchen floor is all that needs to be redone. Thankfully Mr. D has exhausted himself (finally!) and is uncomfortable with the thought of facing down ceramic tile so mayhaps I'll have a respite from sausage fingers for a while. Or at least long enough for the swelling to go down.

Friday, September 8, 2017

For Melanie...

My girl Melanie and I have been friends for over ten years. Our oldest children were in kindergarten together and we were the homeroom moms. One day is burned forever in my mind. Our kindergarteners were having their very first library day and parents were invited. Melanie and I were the only parents there. I remember looking at the back of her head while I pondered how to introduce myself as we would be working together that year.

Here's the thing about Melanie. She's one of those tall, blonde beauties who make other women question why they bother to get up in the morning. It's just a fact.

Anyway, I contemplated until we both decided to leave. She skirted out the doors of the school seconds before I did and I followed behind her on the sidewalk for a minute. I had just decided not to say anything when I heard a distinct voice tell me we could be friends. Well, one can never have too many friends so I called her name. She stopped and we made our introductions then went about our day.

I wondered for a long time just how we would get to the part where we would be friends as she is a very guarded woman. For a time we would chat on a concrete bench outside the school while we waited for our kids and then, one day, we were running together.

I made her a t-shirt with the words "run faster" printed on the back because that's all I ever saw after she'd take off on those long legs. After our run we'd stand out in the middle of the street and talk for an hour. I really enjoyed those runs.

My kids and I spent a lot of time with her and her two children and we came to love their family. It was hard to move away.

However, no matter how stable a family seems, there are so many aspects the outside world never sees and shortly after we moved, my sweet friend found herself in an acrimonious divorce. My heart ached for her. It was challenging, but she managed. She put her children first, even when it was hard and managed to make it to the other side.

Shortly thereafter she ran into an old classmate and a brand new life bloomed for her. She was happy, happier than I had ever seen her. We were at her wedding. That man loved her and she radiated that love. And as happens, our lives got busy and we didn't talk as often.

Her husband unexpectedly passed away last week.

My heart aches for her again, but the sadness is so much greater. I wish I knew what to say to make it all better, to ease the pain that has replaced her happiness. I wish I could suspend the worries she now carries; funeral arrangements, finances, things that don't care that she's grieving, that her life is changed and her heart is broken. I wish a meal and a hug could make it all go away, but this is her new normal.

Every day I have thought about her, prayed for her, and left messages letting her know I'm thinking of her, I have seen so many others do the same. She is surrounded by words of comfort and encouragement, but soon day by day those condolences will dry up because the rest of us are going to go on with our lives.

I don't want that for her. The day the fog breaks I want her to know I still see her, not just as a woman who lost her husband, but as my friend. I want her to know she has someone to talk to and not just this week.

I'm not casting aspersions at anyone. We can't all be a shoulder to cry on for everyone all the time, but next month, when we're all trick or treating, she'll be having her first birthday without him...and Thanksgiving, and Christmas and they will all remind her of what she has lost.

Then on those days I will make time for her. Even if it's only a quick text, she will know she is not forgotten.

Because she is my friend.

Scott,
Thank you for loving my friend.
R.I.P.