Friday, August 27, 2010

Ice, Ice Baby Part One

Achilles had his heel, Superman his Kryptonite, and Madison? Well. she has ice.

This is her second time on ice and her second broken bone. We now forbid her to have anything to do with snow or ice. She will go to Hawaii for school. Marry someone from Southern California or Hawaii. Etc. She is not allow to work near ice cream, snow cones, etc. It is just too risky.

The first experience can be read about here.

Now on to the next. She went ice skating with a church group. (If you read the last one, you might say that the common theme was church groups. However, she does not break a bone each time she is with a church group so we eliminated that connection.) She seemed to have a good time. A little wobbly to be sure, a few falls. Lots of giggles, friends, pictures, laughs, memories, and a train. I mean, imagine how thrilled these LV girls were to put on long pants, scarves, gloves, layers, etc. in August? Perfect activity for the week before school. Madison slipped. There she was doing the splits. Only problem was she was wearing ice skates. Good thing she was wearing ice skates. Let me 'splain. Bad news was the the blades stuck on the ice and her foot remained upright while her leg went down. Picture a right angle made with the side of her ankle. Not a pretty picture, n'est ce pas? However, the boot part of her ice skate kept the bone from snapping out of her leg, thus keeping it inside the skin. (Should I have put a disclaimer in for those of you with a weak stomach?)

Anyway, at this point everyone thought (hoped might be a better term) that it was merely a sprain. The skate was removed and a sort of goose egg form was appearing. Ice was bagged, mom was called, she was loaded into van and brought home. After the phone call, Ryan and I went to work prepping a comfy bed downstairs, a bag of ice, pillows to elevate, and Jr Tylenol to chew. Girlfriend does not swallow pills. She arrived and we got her all comfy in her jammies and in her bed whilst we checked it out. Yes sirree - ugly little sprain - she would feel better in the morning. I slept with her on the couch to help her during the night. She did not sleep well. Tossing and turning. An ice bag dropping on the tile floor in the dead of night can echo. Neither of us slept well.

I got up in the morning and left to finish my last class class - a final, of course. Final party that is. I had given the final the day before so I could tell them their grades on the final day of class. It was marvelous. Sonji is an amazing cook. Don't even get me started on her chicken, rice, and cream-filled red velvet cupcakes. Anyway, I was bringing home lots of fruit and Krispy Kreme donut leftovers for the girls and I was sure I would be greeted with happy smiles. I should have known that even with the announcement that Krispy Kremes were in the building that Madison did not look happy. Normally, she would be ecstatic since they are her favorites.

I checked out her ankle. Not-so-pretty colors were developing and it looked pretty huge. She still could not put any pressure on it. Our super-sweet Young Women's president from church came over with crutches and an ankle brace and prepped us for the long haul of recovery and exercises that would help Madison. She left us with a referral of an orthopedic doctor. "Thanks," I said, thinking "no need. It is just a sprain."

Two things were haunting me: school starts on Monday and she still could not put any pressure on it. I would need a note from a doctor if she were going to use crutches at school. I called a friend in the health care industry for info and she referred us to the same doctor and gave me his phone and address. I called to make an appointment to get a note. Seriously, I just wanted the note. That was it.

Madison struggled to put on her jeans. I said no. She explained that she could roll them up high enough. I said no. She next put on knee length-tight jean shorts. I said no. I asked her to put on her elastic waist PE shorts. "Mom" and eye roll that only a 12-15 year old would be capable of. There were a few more exchanges on the subject before I gave up. Fine. It is your call.

We showed up and just getting her in the building was difficult. I dropped her off, set her down, parked the car, came back to help her, held doors open, etc, and then - I saw it. From the front her ankle just looked swollen. From the back - eek! There was her tiny little ankle and this huge bulging protrusion. That did not look like anything that should be on the human body.

I filled out the paperwork, the nurse put here in a wheel chair, we answered some questions, got x-rays and waited. The doctor came in and, very casually told us that the bone was busted completely and the growth *someting* was probably broken but we would need a CT scan to determine if she would need surgery. My response? "Are you serious?" I am just so amazingly professional. aren't I? Like all doctors are sarcastic stand up comedians. He gave me a look of amazement and said "yes, I am."

"I just came for the note. I did not sign up for all this." That is what I was thinking. Luckily I just sat and listened to the possibilities. "CT scan STAT" was all I really heard. My poor Madison. All I could think about was how much of a world of trouble we would be dealing with in the coming weeks.

The doctor ordered a splint for her to wear until Monday when they would either let us know about surgery or simply just cast it. In the meantime, she needed something sturdy and the swelling needs to go down. Then nurse came in and gave Madison two options: cut the jeans or wear hospital shorts home. Now came the tears. As horrible as the whole painful ordeal is, she was more upset about looking like a dweeb or having her favorite tight jean shorts cut up. She opted for the ugly as her mother maintained the I-told-you-so glare until my eyes started burning.

Home for Madison. I went out and got the pain pills, crutches, and fast-food. It was one of those nights.

No showers, so mom gets to wash her hair in the sink. Baby wipes will take care of the rest for now. Walking on crutches is proving to result in sore arms and being a little sweaty. Luckily upper arm strength will be an asset to her.

The CT scan went smoothly. We won't know until Monday what the results are. In the meantime, elevation and ice. Pain pills to be swallowed and getting ready for the first day of school.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Funeral

of my computer. Before anyone starts thinking it was a person, let me clarify that I am talking about an inanimate object. Although it is more to me personally than a mere object, I do not expect others to mourn with me.


It started on Monday morning. I got up, started the computer up like any other day and checked my email before I left to teach my morning class. When I got home, a couple hours later, the computer was behaving oddly. There was a site up asking me to buy antiviral protection. Along with a dozen little boxes telling me I was being invaded. Frantically, I used every little bit of computer knowledge I had to fix it. In other words, I called my brother Alan.

Alan has the skills to be a very serious hacker. Because he is a very honest person, he uses his powers for good. However, his family members and the FBI know who trained him and that person is in prison for, well let's just say that he is not quite as honest as Alan. By the way, Alan is not a hacker - the term would offend him.

Alan did not answer until late that evening. Apparently, some people have to work for a living. By then I was scared to turn on the machine. What transpired between the morning and the evening was me witnessing the general breakdown of everything. Every program, every button, every system restore was unable to open. I said a very bad word in front of my children. I told my children to put on their suits and jump in the pool because I was just getting started. They obeyed dutifully and went swimming outside while I went to work. Nothing. I tried everything. Finally I shut it down in fear that I would start losing documents. I called my husband. What to do? I called Geek Squad and made an appointment. They told me their next appointment was in two weeks. I started to cry. And I'm pretty sure I begged. They got me an appointment for Friday. I could wait four days.

I went outside to the pool and apologized to my children for my tantrum and bad language. (I had also blamed them since the problem started while I was gone.)

So what is the problem? Did you ever hear about the door-to-door security guy who tries to sell you a system and you say no. Then he comes and breaks in that night to show you why you need one. Then the next day you buy one? That is what this is. The software company sends out the virus when you say no to buying their program. It damages the program, but not the documents. All your stuff is safe so that when you do buy their stuff, it is an easy fix and then you can sing their praises 'cause all your stuff is saved.

I spent the next four days in a little depression funk. My daughters wanted to know why I was treating it like the death of a child: trust me, I would be much more upset over the death of a child. They wanted to know why that was all I could talk about ... to anyone willing to listen. Okay so maybe I am a little melodramatic. But that is just who I am. Deal with it. Embrace it.

The Geek Squad came and quoted me laughable prices. "So you are telling me that you can fix my five year old computer for more than what a new computer would cost ... and you would not guarantee it past 30 days?" "Are you serious?" "Do people actually pay that amount?" I paid the diagnostic fee of $129.99 and bid them adieu.

I called my brother. I am doing what I should have done in the first place. I am mailing him the tower to see what he can do. Whether he saves it at this point is not important to me. I just want my documents and pictures. After pricing new stuff, I can get a much better, newer computer for half the price of what we paid five years ago.

In the meantime, I am on the netbook that we purchased for McKayla for her to use in high school. I figured that any kid with the schedule she has, needs her own. Not to brag, but this girl is amazing with all her honors, Pre-AP classes. Okay, so I am bragging. That is just who I am. Deal with it. Embrace it.

Ryan says I can get anything I want. I think I need to get a laptop. He is a PC person, I am a Mac. We got a PC last time, because he bought it without my knowledge or consent. Since he is being a sweetie pie right now, we will see if I can convince him that a Mac would be the only thing that could truly make me happy.

Until then, I am growing to be a bigger fan of this little netbook. Not bad.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The End of an Era: Mixed Emotions

10 years ago I entered an era that I say goodbye to today. Kinder schedule, half-day. (Actually that includes the pre-school year as well.)

My baby graduated from Kinder yesterday. She went today and brought home her report card. She is done. She is being promoted to first grade. From now on, all my children will be in school all-day.

I can book appointments around a 5 hour block of time. I am sure every doctor, dentist, optometrist, chiropractor, hair stylist, etc, also appreciates this. Here my typical conversation:

Receptionist: Are you free on Tuesday?
Me: Yes, completely open.
Receptionist: How about 12:00?
Me: Oh wait, I have to take my Kinder at 12:30.
Receptionist: What about 3:00?
Me: That is pick up time.
Receptionist: What time works for you.
Me: Well, I have between 12:45 and 2:00.
Receptionist: We are at lunch from 1:00 until 2:00.
Me: Okay, what about between 9:15 and 12:00 and I will just get a sitter.
Receptionist: You have a tough schedule.
Me: Tell me about it.

See my problem is that mentally, since I have nothing on my schedule I "think" I am free. But when I break down my daily happenings, it was very restrictive. I only had about one hour and 15 minutes to actually "do" things. Before they were in school, I would just know that I would make the appointment at any time and find the sitter. But in this schedule, I would get tricked into thinking that I had time, but didn't.

So am I happy? Yes. And ... no.

She is my little errand buddy. She can get in and out of the car by herself. She scans the library card and books at the self-check at the library like she works there. She holds my hand everywhere we go. She helps at the grocery store, the bread outlet, Costco. She gives me hugs and kisses and likes to cuddle. She likes to eat her snacks: goldfish, edaname (her favorite) grapes, clementines; while watching Between the Lions or Ni Hau Kai Lan. She wants mac & cheese - blue box, or a cheesy roll up, or a turkey sandwich, or chicken noodle soup, or fish sticks for lunch. She is my last. She promises she will always be my baby. Even when she is a mommy, she says she will always be my baby.

I still have three schools with three schedules. This year I enter the seminary phase of my life. That is a 6 am drop off. Truth be told, I am a morning person so I am not feeling that this is a disastrous phase to enter. Even though I will be in that phase, on and off, for a total of 11 years. Early mornings do not scare me.

I remember, when my oldest entered pre-school and I looked at that horrible half-day schedule, that I could not wait until I was done with it. I had not yet birthed the last two girls, so I thought it would be short lived. It went on and on. Now I have a portion of my life back. At least I will in a month when school starts up again. Three whole days (I will be working two days) of a five hour block of time. Right now it is looking like so much time. I'm sure I will find ways to fill it up, to stay busy, to wonder how I will accomplish everything. Without my little sidekick, of course. Suddenly ... I feel a little lonely. (Yet elated.)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

"Desire is the Opposite of Death" - Tennessee Williams

You know how you can get really, really busy? And then you get behind? And then you try to catch up? And then you are so far behind, that catching up is impossible? And then you get overwhelmed? And then you give up trying to catch up? And then you just give up? And then you realized how much you miss it? Well ... that is where I am at right now.

I love to blog. I love reading others people's blogs and pouring my heart out on a computer screen. I love seeing pictures of how everyones kids are growing. I love reading about how the silly or mundane add up to something documented that might seem trivial at the time, but captured a moment of time in someones life.

Is Facebook the enemy? Yes. I am able to catch a sentence here and there: so-and-so is pregnant, so-and-so just got back from Denver, so-and-so had the most amazing creme brulee of her life, so-and-so just shared pictures of their Hawaii trip, so-and-so just celebrated their grandma's 70th birthday. We get enough snippets to put together a puzzle. And because we love all our friends who live all over the world, we are happy to have the pieces of the puzzle.

Where else could I reconnect with my cousin who I am not super close to, haven't seen since my grandmother's funeral, and have never met his wife and daughter? Turns out, he is an amazing man who has a PhD in geography, is a university professor, travels the world studying about poverty, and just got back from from India.

Or my daughter's 1st and 2nd grade teacher who is getting her PhD at Columbia University and lives the greatest NYC single ever? She is my "Sex in the City" friend who is a genius and so kind. I get to know all the coolest places and people through her.

I KEEP IN TOUCH with all my friends from our former homes. This is awesome. Otherwise I would miss people so badly that it would be unbearable. Now when I visit, we don't have to waste our precious time with the catch-up phase and we can jump right into the here and now forming new memories.

So ... I have this love/hate relationship with Facebook. Where is the hate? I hate that so many of my blogging friends (myself included) have stopped or slowed their blogging because Facebook is so much faster and easy and new and fun.

What Facebook doesn't do is allow for the pouring out of one's soul. I miss the writing. I miss knowing the background info. It is the difference of a Ken Burns' documentary and the ticker tape at the bottom of cable news.

I will make no promises here. My schedule has just freed up quite a bit. That means my family will once again get home cooked meals, I will use coupons and I will write. I really love to write. But it is time consuming. I just can't slap the words on the screen. It is like cooking: I decide what I will cook, get my recipe, gather the ingredients, begin cooking, taste for seasoning corrections, put it on the table and hope beyond hope that my husband and children will find it edible. For writing, I need ideas and I start the typing, editing, rereads and corrections. I have a number of projects going on in writing right now. I have one that will soon be published and a few others in the pipeline.

No promises. Just a desire. Which, according to Tennessee Williams in A Street Car Named Desire "is the opposite of death." So desire to keep my blog alive is the opposite of the death of my blog. Right?