Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Swine Flu

I learned alot about Swine Flu yesterday, and in the spirit of teaching, here are my top three things to communicate. Pass it on.

a. Swine Flu is an enormous misnomer. It should be called Swine Cold. As far as illness goes, there isn't much flu-like symptoms. No body aches. No vomiting. No diarrhea. Sore throat, cough & fever. It acts like a 7 day long bronchitis. Swine Cold.

b. In order to get an "official" diagnosis (ie: lab testing) and obtain prescription flu medication, your child (or you) must be seen within 24 hours of fever onset. Serioulsy. What rookie mom takes her kid in for fever in the first 24 hours? I asked this of my pediatrician yesterday. She nodded and said, "yeah, that's why it's rampant in children."

c. Tamiflu can be nasty stuff in children. So nasty, in fact, and with such wicked and wild side effects that many moms are choosing to let the illness run its course. Who really needs behavior changes & night terrors in attempts to get well? Is that worse than a cough, fever & sore throat?

Finally . . let's hear it for handwashing, lysol and clorox. Do all that you can do to prevent being sick. That's good advice in general. But when it comes right down to it, when you have a sick child in your arms, I (I guess I can't speak for YOU), but I can't help but hold them. I can't help it. Little is downright pitiful today. Yesterday's coughing spasms left him with ruptured vessels in both eyes. For a mom of an asthmatic, I can judge his level of illness by how willing he is to sit still for 30 minutes and do a respiratory treatment. This morning, he asked for his "nebbalator".

In the spirit of Nurse Nightingale, I'm throwing the windows open and washing the house with fresh, clean mountain air. It's the perfect opportunity to fog the house with lysol and go outside so we don't breathe the fumes.

Be well . . . .

Monday, September 28, 2009

No Words.

I have no words. I tried to have words last week, but even though I made a few entries and purged a few thoughts from my tired brain, I didn't get out what I needed to say.

A friend of a friend of a friend. A family I know of . . . . at least three, maybe four times removed from us. Still, within the seven degress of separation. Twelve year old daughter. Family went shopping. Asked her if she wanted to go. She said no. When they came home, she had taken her life. And there can be no words for that.

And another family. Two degrees of separation. Young mom with four beautiful children. Girls. All gorgeous. Third one age five. Asthma. Had an asthma attack that could not be controlled and she died in her mother's arms in the waiting room at the ER. And there can be no words for that.

And another family. Adult man. Groomsman in a wedding on Saturday. Suicide. Leaves behind a wife and two children. And there can be no words for that.

On Sunday, I witnessed a four car high speed car accident.

So, while I have no words . . there is some raw emotion. This, on top of a crap-ass week full of working a (*&^&*)(()(+_%$$$ job, and being smack dab in the middle of the biggest human rescources nightmare of the century, complicated by a tragic personal connection.

Friday, Little got sick. Fever. Upper respiratory crud. Had a long weekend. Asthmatic kids have rough lives when sickness hits. It just hits harder and lasts longer. Today, I took him to the pediatrician for a refill on nebulizer meds.

He has frickin' swine flu. And for this, I have words . . . . "Are you fucking kidding me right now?"

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Searching . . . searching . . . searching . .

The last few days have been so funky . . . just funky . . . . like the planets are not aligned or some kind of freak flash forward event is occuring around me.

My son slapped a little girl. Bad, bad, bad. He didn't hurt her. And, no, she didn't provoke him. No one could be more shocked that I. He's in a great class at school with a great teacher. And two fellow little boy classmates that are rotten to the core. Poor boundaries, to say the least. Apparently, some of the, um, I'll call it The AE Effect, has rubbed off. That's a rough conversation to have at home. A rough couple of days. Sucks to be the parent sometimes. Shit.

I tried. I tried to be social. I took Tinky to a mom-and-me trampoline class. She's a natural kamikaze on the tramp, has been to trampoline parties and can hold her own among school aged kids. Child number 4 phenomenon. I did small talk with the other moms that were there with their kids. I was polite and I was nice. And I left sort of annoyed. I can't really put my finger on the true emotion. But I think I got judged. As soon as conversation turned to, "oh, this isn't your only child", suddenly the "join our club" neon sign fizzeled out and they kindly walked to the other end of the gym. Does anyone wonder why I'm an introvert? Shit.

I've been searching my soul and trying to read my own mind. About life. And love. And work. And money. It's hard work. I haven't come to any conclusions, but I've come to some bridges. And decided to take some action. I've learned that I have a lot to learn. It's interesting that the word introvert came out in the last paragraph. Cause some of my revelations have come around by reading a psychology book about personality types. And why some simply don't work well together. At the close of chapter 4, I learned, "that's okay." But, still. Shit.

In the last few days, I received an apology from the prinipal after last weeks' words. That was nice. Well, maybe it wasn't so much of an apology as a pat on the shoulder with a 'no hard feelings, right?' And what's a mom to say to that? With Tinky, I have another nine years at that school. How can there be hard feelings?? Shit.

Speaking of hard feelings, those have come in and out of my radar all week. Family hard feelings. Little's feelings about school. Big is turning 10 on Sunday, and boy, howdy, does that girl have feelings. The kind of feelings that come with breast buds and underarm hair. And to that, I say, shit.

The weather went from 75 on Sunday to 38 on Monday. Shit. As in, shit, it's cold out there. I'm searching for hats and mittens and all I can find is floppy sun hats & flip flops. I need hand warmers. I have sunscreen.

On the upside, making soup was really fun. And it tasted damn good. Feelings are okay, but action is better. I've been knocked down, but watch this . . I'm getting up again.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Where have I been? Seriously? I must have missed three weeks of People magazine & a boat load of TV previews. How did I NOT know that Dancing With The Stars, season 9 premier was tonight. EEK!!!

Thank goodness MOTH was checking the weather.
Thank goodness.

I was able to tune in. Imagine my surprise and excitement . . . Natalie Conklin . . . Macy Grey . . . I'll probably be singing her songs all night. Iron Chef Mark. Holy Cow. Middle splits. And let's not forget Chuck Liddell. UFC meets DWTS. I can't wait for more!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Puppy Prozac

Anybody out there medicate their pooches?

I just started giving Tana-dawg puppy prozac. She nuts. She's absolutely losing her marbles. Okay, let me clarify. She's always been, um, active. Yes, active is the word. She's busy. Especially in the summer. She spends lots of time outside (as I believe dogs should). She chases bugs. And birds. And squirrles. And shadows.

But, since the departure (God rest his soul) of our little mini dauschund, I've been seeing more 'reactive behavior' than ever before. She gets on the furniture. And while I realize this may be normal for YOUR dog, it's not for ours. Until now. And she counter surfs. Again, not normal for our dog. And she howls and barks like crazy when she's left alone. Despite behavioral changes over the last 6 months. And despite bark control, anxiety control, giving separation clues with no separation . . . she's still bonkers. Just plain nutty professor bonkers.

Operation puppy prozac. Day number 2. I hope that she chills just a bit . . . that I can leave the house and not hear her howling like a coyote from 1/2 mile away. I hope that she chills enough that she remembers to eat. (Although, I've always secretly wished for the kind of mind that simply forgets to eat . . . who are these people? Tori Spelling? Seriously? No matter how much I have going . . no matter how many plates I have spinning . . . I always remember to pack a snack.) I digress. I hope puppy prozac helps my pooch come back to earth and lead a normal doggie life. The alternative is to search for a companion. But I'm not ready to go there . . . yet.

A little bit grumpy.

I'm a little bit grumpy today. Every now and then, we all need (and maybe deserve) a grumpy day. And, even after my recent posts about not bitching . . . . I feel the need to vent.

I do alot of volunteer hours. At school, primarily. I do it because I like it. I like it alot. Being totally accessable to my young children IS my primary job right now. Even though I have a job and I work (somedays alot), but "REAL" job is my kids. Our student body is big. About 650. Our volunteer pool is small. The PTA active list is even smaller. For some events and the true "dirty work", it's a reliable 5 member team. And we do everything from planning to prep, set up to execution. When we are done, we unlock janitor closets and mop, sweep and clean.

One of the, er, higher up officials at school yesterday came uncorked. At me. To me. In my face. I think the phrase is 'ripped off my head and shit down my neck.' I ate crow for a multitude of things. Minutia. Took it like a woman. But, today, retrospective clarity began to set in. And I got pissy.

I'm 35. (I know, I know . . . pick up your jaws . . . . I know you are surprised . . heck, I just got carded to buy superglue.) And, when I was summoned into the chief's office, I seriously felt my mind and body transport back to La Jara Elementary when Mr. Shawcroft would call me in, gaze across his expansive desk at me and threaten me with the paddle. I had a lump in my throat that lastest the better part of the day.

As I wallowed and sifted through thoughts today, I ran errands. A local craft store (which shall remain un-named, lest I be sued for defamation of character) was on my list. For knobs. Cute little ceramic knobs that will complete my kitchen. Yesterday, you have to understand, I was at another location of this said craft store, where I made my purchase of knobs. A big sign in their row had them labeled as 50% off. Yes, that had a big impact on my selection. But when I got to the register . . . I think you know it, full price. The non-english speaking cashier spent long minutes scouring the add for details while a line continued to grow behind me. Nervous legs tapped on a team of angry grandmas, their arms bulging with knitting supplies, fabric bundles and autumn craft supplies. Their angry looks bored holes through me as I continued to hold up the line, summon a manager, plead my case, void a charge, re-ring something else . . . . . . all while Tinky threw her paci overboard, stood up in the shopping cart, screamed for Juicy Fruit, kicked off her shoes and threw a handful of flyers on the floor. I left the store victorious, my knobs for the advertised price . . . but with a pool of nervous sweat trickling down my back, and simple exhaustion setting in. At 10:18 am. Not a good time to be exhausted. So, today, I embarked on a mission to purchase the remaining knobs from a second location of said craft store. Same deal. Mis-advertised, mis-communicated and just plain screwed up.

As sometimes happens with me (I see you laughing and nodding your head in agreement), words came forth. Bubbling forth with only moderate control. They involved a manager. Again. And the advertisement. Again. And a line of pissy grannies wanting only to make their knitting club on time. And frustration. This store has lost a customer. Me. This store . . . needs to step into the 21st century. In this day and age, we have digital zappers that expedite checkout. At the swankiest joints, we even do this marvelous thing called "self check". So how a store, in this day and age, has managed to stay in business while charging full price against advertised items and paying non-English speaking personnel to place a totally 60's price tag on every itty tiny magnet, while they manually ring up and manually discount every stinkin' item is beyond me. Oh wait, now I know. They charge full price for knobs that should be half off. Silly me.

Grrrr. I'm still kind of growling a low rumble and holding my lips in a tight left twist. So not like me, to hold on to something . . . . maybe venting it out will help . . . .

Friday, September 11, 2009

My favorite pictures of my kids are ones I snap of them being K.I.D.S. The totally innocent shots. The preciuos shots of babies sleeping. The innocent shots of them picking their nose. I have a great one of Little when he was still in diapers. Watching TV. Remote in one hand . . . and his other hand down his pants. Here's my newest favorite. Before he discovered I had a camera, I captured 31 images . . . I'll post a slideshow in the next few days.

One Light Bulb at a Time

A forwarded email worth your time:

A physics teacher in high school, once told the students that while one grasshopper on the railroad tracks wouldn't slow a train very much, a billion of them would . With that thought in mind, read the following, obviously written by a good American .
Good idea . . . one light bulb at a time . . . .

Check this out . I can verify this because I was in Lowes the other day for some reason and just for the heck of it I was looking at the hose attachments . They were all made in China . The next day I was in Ace Hardware and just for the heck of it I checked the hose attachments there .. They were made in USA . Start looking .

In our current economic situation, every little thing we buy or do affects someone else - even their job . So, after reading this email, I think this lady is on the right track . Let's get behind her!

My grandson likes Hershey's candy . I noticed, though, that it is marked made in Mexico now . I do not buy it any more . My favorite toothpaste Colgate is made in Mexico now . I have switched to Crest .. You have to read the labels on everything .

This past weekend I was at Kroger . I needed 60 W light bulbs and Bounce dryer sheets . I was in the light bulb aisle, and right next to the GE brand I normally buy was an off brand labeled, "Everyday Value . " I picked up both types of bulbs and compared the stats - they were the same except for the price . The GE bulbs were more money than the Everyday Value brand but the thing that surprised me the most was the fact that GE was made in MEXICO and the Everyday Value brand was made in - get ready for this - the USA in a company in Cleveland , Ohio. So throw out the myth that you cannot find products you use every day that are made right here .

So on to another aisle - Bounce Dryer Sheets . . . yep, you guessed it, Bounce cost more money and is made in Canada . The Everyday Value brand was less money and MADE IN THE USA ! I did laundry yesterday and the dryer sheets performed just like the Bounce Free I have been using for years and at almost half the price!

My challenge to you is to start reading the labels when you shop for everyday things and see what you can find that is made in the USA - the job you save may be your own or your neighbors!

If you accept the challenge, pass this on to others in your address book so we can all start buying American, one light bulb at a time! Stop buying from overseas companies!

(We should have awakened a decade ago .. . . . . . )

Let's get with the program . . . . help our fellow Americans keep their jobs and
create more jobs here in the U . S . A

Monday, September 07, 2009

A fabulous visit . . .

My neighbor, F, Mother of flower child, had company this summer. And I stole her.

F's sister and her family visited from Switzerland. It's not the first time in my life I've secretly wished for a sister. (Though, now, I suppose it's not such a secret.) Anyway, F says that they "never get tired of each other." F loves her sister's kids. Loves. I mean LOVES, LOVES. Deeply. And you can tell. N, the sister, who is also known in my world as Swiss Miss, also loves F's children. Deeply. And it shows.

They talk. Alot. About important stuff. And they shop and play with kids. They do stuff that sisters do. I imagine they bounce important stuff of of each other and know secrets about each other that nobody else knows.

Swiss Miss has lovely children. Three girls, the youngest of which fell right in step with my older girls. But they all jumped right in, from teen on down, they played and helped. They asked permission to begin eating. They willingly cleared their own plates. They asked where to find the garbage. We talked about differences in school between two countries. They taught us how to say "kitchen cabinets" in German. Which, I suppose is nothing special to common folk . . . but it caused gales of laughter among these children. We went swimming. We talked about gymnastics, and (because of my sudden turn-on to food network), they taught me about their favorite foods. "Mashies" is a common word in our house now.

It was a long goodbye. It is hard, hard, hard. Hard to find good friends. Hard to find good friends who are at the same place in life that we are. Hard to find good friends who are at the same place in life that we are whose children are not behavioral nightmares.

I'm left feeling sad and happy. Such a honor to meet and know them. So sad to see them go. And, Swiss Miss, if you are reading . . . you and your girls are welcome in my house anytime. I'm hoping your sister will always be my neighbor . . . . but whether or not they move, move on & move out . . . . I hope to see you all again someday!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

The Downside to Being Your Own Boss

Most times, it's good. Things I love about my job are that: I get to set my own hours, I work for stints of time throughout the day (althought I'm not sure I would choose that . . . it just so happens that I'm working between bottom wipes, "can you get me a juice" and kid pickup) . . . also, I never miss a kid pick up. I'm always at soccer. I don't miss violin. I'm available to my kids. Almost all of the time.

But, back to my previous post about bitching. The worst thing is the bitching. By employees. And excuses. I despise them both. So this week, I've been pondering that mindset. Back in the days when I was working in hospitals, I didn't bitch. I'm not a bitcher. Only when something gets me really fired up do I actually complain or bitch. I'm much more of a girl who finds a solution. One who makes a plan. Executes an idea. Circumvents bitching with action.

MOTH says bitching is how most women roll. Seriously? Chicks get things done with this kind of attitude? By bitching?

And now, I want to know . . . in your experience, is this TRUE??? Be warned, if you comment 'yes' . . . I'll want details. So be prepared to spill.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Middle's soccer coach is out of town this week. Tonight's practice was run by moms. I was doing goalie school. Look at all of the help I had. Pretty successful practice, really . . . Considering Tinky spent most of her time hijacking the cones that made up the scrimage field and we departed injury free . . . I think we did pretty damn good!!

Catfight of the Century

My big daughters had the catfight of the century this weekend. (Well, barring previous non-verbal family battles . . . which leave one to wonder how a battle can be fought with no words . . . I guess that'd be more of a standoff . . but . . . )

Among the little people, this is the largest land war to date in the history of our nuclear family.

Big and Middle have a deal. Of all of her chores, Big most dislikes carrying her laundry basket downstairs & putting her clean clothes away. Of all of Middle's chores, she most dislikes cleaning her mouse cage. Fortunately, they don't dislike helping each other out. Several weeks ago, they came to an agreement, put it in writing and have been doing it.

It goes like this: Middle carries Big's laundry downstairs on an as-needed basis. Which means, when she has something to take down, Middle takes it down. Big cleans Middle's mouse cage every Friday after school. In addition to Middle's duties (and as a testament to just how much she detests cleaning her mouse cage) she agreed that once per week she would organize Big's closet and color code the shirts. I have it in writing. Both girls signed it.

Last week, Big did her job. She used more rubber gloves than necessary and didn't lovingly handle the animals . . . but the cage got cleaned. Last week, Middle also made several deliveries. But, because of time, she failed to color code. When Sunday rolled around, she made good on her promise. Or tried.

About 5 minutes in, both girls came screaming upstairs, yelling my name, tears streaming down their cheeks.

"She's doing it wrong."
"She didn't give me good enough instructions."
"I did my part."
"I'm trying to do my part."
"She's doing it all wrong."
"She didn't tell me how to do it right."
"I thought she knew what do do . . .she's the one that offered."
"How am I supposed to know . . . I can't read her mind . . I haven't been to mom school." (Okay, that myth might be the making for another post . . . point is . . by this time, MOTH has his lips pinned together with that super-daddy determined "I WILL NOT LAUGH LOOK". I was flipping my head from the blue corner to the red corner as the words kept flying.

"How can she not know how to do something that she offered to do?"
"I do know how to do it . . . you just don't like my way."
"I need my original job back."
"No, I did my part, so you have to do yours."
"I don't want to . . . it's just making you yell at me."
"I need you to try harder."
"I need you to try harder."

To cut to the chase, I led them both downstairs where we sat in front of the closet. And I learned something new . . . (thus, the post). Middle and Big organize totally differently. Middle goes by major color division and breaks each division up with a small amount. For example, Big has red shirts and she has pink shirts. In Middle's world, these are divided by her single yellow shirt. Get it? Big goes left to right, colors of the rainbow, including those colors that would fade into each other . . . by the tone and overall color. Red on the left, long sleeve together, followed by short sleeve, follwed by orange, yellow, light-green, green, green-blue, blue, dark blue, violet, purple . . yadda yadda yadda.

And once they got that out, all returned to normal. Now is a good time to note that this post isn't for me . . . or YOU . . . it's for THEM . . . in 30 years, when they read my "journals of their lives" or post-humously publish my memoir, perhaps they'll remember this near civil war, read the post and recollect that their mom actually understood them, if only for one brief moment of their childhood . . .