The Overachiever of Illness

“The Overachiever of Illness.” That’s what the ER doctor called me two weeks ago when I went in, unable to breathe. Turns out that not only did I have Covid, but also bronchitis and Flu B. I’ve been mostly in bed ever since.

Am I really sick?! Yeah. I’m sick.

Fortunately, I have long been a person who forgets to pack pajamas on trips, so I have a full drawer of them. I have a solid week’s worth at this point, from lightweight beach themed summer wear to heavy duty pink snowflakes, and everything in between. I can change into new pajamas every day! It’s been great. (A kids friend said she aspires to that lifestyle and I laughed too hard.)

Boring!

I’m not going regale you with all my temps and oxygen levels and liquid intake and literally nineteen new medicines (the real literal, not the fake one) and all that because it is so very boring, even to me. Just know that I’ve been checking levels every hour or so for two and a half weeks now.

So to keep myself entertained in between taking down data for nurses, I’ve been in bed reading and watching movies and catching up on Netflix series. Here’s what I’ve been up to….

View from my window. Sitting up helps me breathe, but all I want to do is lie down.

Books:

First I finished “Project Management for Parents: Engage the Family, Build Teamwork, Succeed Together,” which I really need to post a review of. It was a good book for the left brained parent, or maybe for the right brained parent who wishes they were more left brained? That might be a better descriptor. In any case, a good book if you like parenting books.

I finished all the Practical Magic books, which were lovely, as expected. A bit more repetitive than I’d hoped, but that’s what I get for reading them back to back to back. It was good to see the whole story from beginning to end like that and really take in the whole of the way the curse changed the family as time went on and how each generation dealt with it in unexpected ways.

Then I read a new book by Freya Marske called “A Marvellous Light” that I loved so much that I immediately tried to buy the sequel to, only to be told that it was pre-order only until November and I’m dying over it. I really need the next one because this gentle Victorianish man romance/mystery/magical thing is my jam, apparently. Who knew? Steph. She always knows what I need to read.

So now what I’m reading is “Dear Writer, You Need to Quit,” a title which cracks me up. One of my writing groups suggested it as something I needed because I’m always needing to quit things and sometimes I don’t choose the best things to quit.

Sometimes I put the kindle down and stare at the fake fireplace. Greg can hear it through the wall and yells at me to keep it down. Hahaha.

Movies:

“Unicorn Store” was the first one I started. It took me forever because I couldn’t watch more than 10 minutes before I was overwrought. I don’t know why. It was just too cute and embarrassing, but I couldn’t not watch it, either, so I watched it in 10 minute spurts.

One day the kids were horrified to realize that I had never watched “Ponyo” all the way through, not even once, given that they had each watched it approximately 95,000 throughout their childhoods. So we watched that. It was really good and now I know what Ree’s t-shirt means. Ponyo Loves Ham!

Like everyone else on the planet, I couldn’t get “We Don’t Talk About Bruno, No, No” out of my head, so I watched “Encanto” multiple times until I could sing all the songs. When I feel better I will learn the dances and then my children will be really embarrassed. It will be great!

I thought I’d seen “Cloud Atlas” before, but apparently only the same few sections a couple times, so I watched it all the way through and it was more violent than I’d expected, but I liked it and I’m still thinking about it in that way that you do with weird movies like this.

Netflix Series:

I’d started watching “Locke & Key” with Greg when Season One came along and we both loved it. By the time we got to Season Two, Greg thought it had gone off kilter and “too relationshippy” and he didn’t want to watch any more, so I finished this off while he was at school.

Greg and I also would watch “Good Witch” together, which we’ve been watching since practically before he was born at this point (TV movies first, of course, then the show). He stopped watching at the beginning of this season because he hated the new intro and wanted Grace and Nick back in the story. So I’ve watched this last season alone and I don’t know if it’s the missing Grace and Nick, the missing Greg, or the missing soul of the show, but this season was just not what I wanted. Taking the emphasis off of helping others and putting it all into minding their own magic threw me off and I was just glad that it ended, I guess, because it was breaking my heart going on the way it was going.

Here’s something more cheerful. The Other Lisa H brought me tiny art and potions for healing and eggs from her own chicken ladies.

So then I got on the bandwagon and started watching “The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window” because a) Kristen Bell and b) the title is hilarious. But the show? Not so hilarious. Slow. Suddenly sexy. Slow. Slow. Huh? Slow. Slow. Oh wait, what??? Slow. Suddenly sexy. Confusing. Suddenly violent. Is it over yet? Maybe? I hope so. But wait, maybe not. I don’t know, y’all. I watched it all day long and now that it’s over, I just wish I’d used my time better that day.

After that we had snow days and the kids and spouse were home to entertain me, so I stopped doing anything that wasn’t staring at their faces, unless it was staring at the Olympics. Figure Skating is my favorite. I could watch that for hours.

In any case, I hope you never, ever become the “Overachiever of Illness” because it’s terrible. But I hope if you do, you have friends to help you along and access to all the books, movies, and series your heart desires. 🙂

Some more goodies from friends. They really helped when both my spouse and I were sick at the same time. (Nick naturally got better in two days. I’m still sick. *sigh*)

Things I do when my spouse is traveling

My spouse and I have been together since 1997, so when he’s out of town it is deeply weird. This time he’s in Houston for a few days, then will be back for a couple, then gone again for a few more. I have lists of food I’ll make for dinner, things we will do in the evenings, but it’s never easy when 2/5 of our household is gone.

Nights like this, I tend to draw back into myself. I read a book (tonight’s is for the UU book club: Memoirs of a Geisha) and listen to my favorite female musicians (Tori Amos, Sarah McLachlan, Indigo Girls, Jewel, Alanis Morisette, Juliana Hatfield, etc.) by candlelight while the children wander in and out, foraging for food or bidding for my attention in new and exciting ways.

Sometimes I indulge in long phone calls with old friends or family members. Tonight it was my birth family. I was trying to explain about my youngest wanting a piccolo for Christmas and how that was a wonderful thing. They said it would be so loud and off-putting, but to me, it’s music and comfort and safety because I can hear the melody and know exactly which kid it is playing and where my kid is and what they are doing. Their traumas are different than mine. I am terrified of not knowing what is happening to my children, of not being present, of moments unacknowledged. My goal as a parent is that my children never spend a moment wondering if they are loved or seen or acknowledged. I spend my days making sure that they know that they are welcomed and loved and seen for who they are, and that they know that however they may change, they are still loved. There is more about all that in the memoir I am writing, of course.

Tonight there was also a brief storm, so the youngest and I wandered outside and danced in the thunder and lightning, a tradition we’ve had since he was little. The rain drops were huge and we were quickly soaked, but it is what we do. We danced and sang and when we became too cold, we came inside and burrowed in blankets on the couch, listening to the midkid practice his French horn.

And now it is growing closer to bedtime, but I am unable to sleep. I never do when my spouse is gone. I will probably stay up and watch movies he would not enjoy, while listening to one of my kids sing his Region Band music, which is identical to music I and my friends played when we were in high school. It’s funny how things go around and come back to themselves.

This week isn’t going how I thought it would

Tuesday, I got up and was so hopeful. Sure, I had my Spiritual Practices class that evening, but I had all day to write, so it was going to be great!

Nope. Due to some not-quite-disclosable things that are in the works, I got caught up in not one, but two different side projects. One is writing adjacent and in the end won’t require as much of my time as some of the things I’m doing now, but there was a wrapping up of one set of things in order to hand them off to someone else so I’d be ready for the next thing. I know how vague that sounds, but that’s the way life is sometimes, right?

The other thing is not writing adjacent, except in that I am writing up minutes for a group that I had thought I wasn’t taking part in any more. So there was catching up for that group’s information and making sure I still had access to all the notebooks and cloud storage that I need to do that work.

By the time I completed both things, it was time to hit the gym. On Friday, I rejoined the one that is walking distance from my house, instead of the one that I only go near on the way back from taking kids to school in the morning (which isn’t a good time for me to write, due to my ADHD meds timing). I went and learned where all the new stuff was, which machines I could still comfortably use, and which ones are still out of my happiness zone. It was a good workout, and I felt better for having done it.

The rest of the night zoomed by (literally haha!). Wednesday I had two meetings scheduled, so I knew I’d have to make the most of my in-between times for writing. Unfortunately, by the time I’d gotten home from the first one and eaten lunch, a problem had sprung up.

My kids school had a potential shooting threat. They informed parents right at the same time the 504 coordinator called to ask me if we could postpone our meeting for that afternoon. Because of the way our high school sends out alerts (first in the form of a phone call from the school’s main phone line wherein a computer voice reads the entire body of the message, including the URL’s – letter by letter; then almost immediately as an identical text message, an identical email, and then as a link to an identical letter in our district app), and the fact that 90% of the more than five a week they send are either about buying football tickets or that the PTA is selling Chik-fil-a at lunch on Friday, I have stopped answering calls from the school. So I missed that phone call and drove directly to the school. It was a madhouse. Literally hundreds of parents had driven there to take their kids out of school. Since there’s only one way in and out not on lockdown, they were all in the same foyer I needed to check into in order to get to my appointment on time. I was speaking to the woman guarding the door about my having an appointment “Honey, everyone is saying that,” when the 504 coordinator called me again. Since I was already there and the coordinator was meeting me at the inner door, I was ushered right inside. I heard the scoop on everything potentially threatening that was going on, had my kids 504 meeting, and offered to take the kids home anyways, even though it sounded like there was nothing actually going on other than the parental mayhem out front. Both my kids declined. One didn’t want an unexcused absence and the other wanted to go to Writing Club (oh my heart!).

They both wanted me to keep close “on standby,” so I ended up hitting the nearby stores and doing some early Christmas shopping to keep busy, since I had no computers or iPad on me to write with in the parking lot (the notebook I’d brought for the meeting literally had two pages left and I used them during the meeting). Scooped up the first kid out, then sat in the car waiting for the second kid for almost an hour.

I was exhausted, physically and mentally, by the time I got home. I ate dinner and was just heading to bed, when a kid -the one that has never in his life sat still for a movie – begged me to watch a silly Disney movie (Halloweentown II: Kalabar’s Revenge) with them. Of course I had to.

Today was an early-to-school day for the kiddos, but I had all the chores I hadn’t gotten done Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday to get to work on, plus grocery shopping, so I did those things first. Then I had critiques to do for the Pineywoods Critique Group (which has a new website with a forum and blog here), along with hitting the gym again so I don’t turn into a stiff blob like I was all last year). I also needed to finish one last bit of an old transcribing project that I had promised someone ages and ages ago.

All of this is a long way of saying: it’s late Thursday and I’m still at 684 words for NaNoWriMo. *sigh*

Lisa’s Writing Vacation

AKA: How I managed to spend a whole week NOT writing

This was a hard week for me. As I’ve mentioned before, my half-brother Ray passed away last month. Last Thursday I drove to DFW and dropped my car off at Katherine’s and she drove me to the airport. I hopped on a flight to California in order to help out Ray’s widow, Susan, and kids getting reading for the memorial service. I’d brought my writing stuff with me, hoping to get to spend some of my free time writing, but there honestly wasn’t any minutes to spare.

I got to their house after a long day of driving and flying and with a negative time change, I was so very tired and it was only 8pm. I tried to stay up and talk with everyone, but it was no use – I was in bed by 9:30pm PST.

The next day I woke up at 4:45am, but managed to coax myself back to sleep until about 6:30am. I went to make coffee, but my nephew ran out and shooed me away, telling me that his dad always got up and said “Make the coffee, Joe,” and he was determined to keep on making the coffee, even without his dad around to remind him. Just like that, I could hear my brother in my little nephew’s voice and see him in his every movement. I had to shoo myself away before I cried all over the little guy.

We spent the rest of the day taking kids to and from school, organizing, then cleaning rooms of the house and the patio so it could be all ready for the memorial service the next day.

My biological maternal grandparents

The next day I was again awake at 4:45am, but this time I got up, made my own coffee, and spent some time taking photos of photos in my birthmom’s room (which was where I was staying). Her walls are absolutely covered in photos, many of which I’ve never seen before. I stood up on a stool and angled myself this way and that to get the best photos possible. Once the other’s were up, I started decorating the house with photos of my brother and his family, and then put out the tablecloths, and washed up all the dishes and platters I thought we might need. An hour before people were due to arrive, the first visitor showed up. He was the ex-husband of my brother’s housemate and since he was early, we put him to work carting drinks into the house, setting up the coolers, and re-installing the door to the garage that Joe had taken off a few weeks ago (and was unable to put back up alone).

After that, everyone else started arriving and over the course of the day I manned the buffet table, meeting many members of the housemate’s family and Susan’s family. There were even some little kids there. Everyone brought fruit. It was fruitopia. The day spun by so very quickly. We were unable to have the main part of the memorial service, due to some clerical errors that kept Susan from being able to get Ray’s death certificate (and therefore also his remains), so the little tree she was going to plant in his honor remained on her front porch. A few of us spoke about Ray, even his little son Jeff, and we all cried. It was nice to meet so many people that loved my brother and sister-in-law.

Because it was also the busiest day of the band year back home, I skipped out on the early evening’s visitor (who had come late due to his work schedule). I went back to my room and watched the livestream of my kids marching at UIL Contest and then looked for photos of them from the Rose Parade earlier in the day. I texted with them, congratulating them on their Sweepstakes win. And then I went back out and joined the conversation.

My kids at UIL Marching Contest.

The next morning I did not get up early. We all got up a little later and then moseyed over to church, which was part Southern Baptist-part rock band church-part surfer dude speak. Everyone there was really nice and no one bugged me about my mask. After church was lunch and after lunch my best friend from high school came and scooped me up and we ran off to Starbucks for a while. I was sad to leave her when our time was up, but I love how easily we slipped back into that friendship for a couple hours.

After that, Susan and I loaded up the kids and went to the beach. We didn’t stay long, just long enough for Joe and I to get thoroughly soaked from the waist down and for Jeff to lecture us on the improbability of us turning into merpeople and Susan to get creeped out by some weirdo. A couple hundred beach pictures in ten minutes, really. But it was good. I always feel better at the beach.

I am at Imperial Beach with my nephews.

Susan dropped us back at the house and stayed just long enough to say hi to the chair lady. Then she drove back out to pick up Angela. I made my “famous” chicken spaghetti and “Aunt Mandy’s” green beans for a late “fancy” dinner. I laughed at that. Chicken spaghetti is the easiest thing ever. I taught Joe my secret sauce, just in case they liked it. Oh boy, did they! Jeff said I took him to “Flavor Town” and “Delicious Land.” I’m so happy it was well-receieved.

We went to bed very late that night, in some part due to a conversation that needed to take place out of the earshot of the children. We had to wait for Joe to fall asleep. In the end, an agreement was reached about what would happen with the kids if something happened to Susan. It was a hard conversation, but necessary. I was really glad to be included.

The next morning we all got up at the crack of dawn so Susan could drop me off at the airport and then take the kids straight to school. I waited in the longest TSA line I’ve ever seen, but made it to my gate all right. The flight itself was mostly okay, but there was a medical emergency towards the end in first class, so we ended up spending quite a while at the gate waiting for that to get sorted out. Then Katherine picked me back up and we had a late lunch and then went to rest at her house for a while before I drove home. I was feeling so foggy and out of it, I was worried about driving home. I did end up making it home okay, but I had to stop for a while halfway home and walk around for a bit to get my brain back online. So I didn’t get home until about 7:30pm (I’d expected to be home by 5pm).

Katherine and I tried to make up for me not remembering to get a photo with Emily.

Tuesday I spent cleaning my entire house. Being away from home on a super busy weekend makes the mess so much worse. But I was also still feeling so groggy and weird that it was hard to get anything done. I started to worry that I was coming down with a cold or something. I attended my Spiritual Practices group, but I absorbed none of the conversation, alas.

Wednesday morning was my pill box refill day. I couldn’t find the pills I needed to fill the box. I finally realized that the reason I was so out of it was that I had picked up my medicine at the pharmacy before I left on the trip, but had forgotten to put that one in the box I took with me. So I’d skipped it for a couple days by accident. (And now I know just how essential it is to my health and well being.)

I taught a lesson at the Wednesday Whatchamacalit group that day and it went well. That is detailed in an earlier post. Later. I spent the rest of the day resting/spending time with my younger kids because I knew that the next day I had some more big cleaning to do.

Thursday I went over to the David House and helped him get it cleaned up because my dad was coming to visit. David was supposed to have finished moving rooms before my dad came to town and he had not finished. Plus there was resetting the room he’d moved out of and resetting the closet of the room that stored the stuff that used to be in that room and putting stuff from the room he was moving to into that closet. If it sounds circuitous, it really was.

After that was the recycling. I don’t think anyone has taken the recycling out of the house since January. I filled my entire Jeep up from top to bottom and back to front. It was only about 2/3 of the total recycling. I had other errands to run, though, so I did that and never got back to check on the David House.

This morning I got up and realized that I’d never gotten around to doing the critiques for the Pineywoods Critique Group, which was just as well because I hadn’t sent anything in over the last weekend, either. So the spouse and I went and got haircuts, which we have literally never done at the same time before. Then we ran a couple errands and ate lunch. One of the errands was picking up all the boxes of history for the ETWG Historian position before the current Historian moved and took them with her.

This was the last thing on my To Do list for the day besides feeding and chaperoning the band. It’s also the first real writing I’ve done all week. I’m not sure I’ll have time during the weekend to write, unless I am very careful with my time. We have the game tonight, my dad in town, an afternoon church party tomorrow, dinner at my dad’s and games, then church Sunday morning, and an ETYO concert Sunday afternoon. I may not get anything sent in to the critique group this weekend either. Chapter Nine of CQ needs re-drafting. Maybe I’ll send them some more poetry.

This week wins the CHAOS award!

This week has been super chaotic in a million bizarre ways. On Tuesday first thing, I got a text from my massage place, reminding me I’d signed up for yoga for that morning which I thought was scheduled for another day because I was supposed to have physical therapy at 10am. It was 15 minutes til class and I live 25 minutes away, so I called the place and told them that I just couldn’t make it. The owner told me I wasn’t on the schedule because the system wouldn’t let someone without a yoga subscription sign up. (True, I don’t have a yoga subscription, but I’d bought a package earlier in the year that gave me one yoga session.) She said not to worry about it and we’d get me on the schedule next time I came in.*

Just after that the husband left for church, then our eldest showed up in casual clothes, looking for his trumpet and his Bb hymnal notebook. We had the trumpet, but the hymnal hasn’t been here for two years. As he left, the husband came back in, having forgotten his suit jacket, and did a double take because the eldest was not ready for church. *sigh* They both left and I got online to meet with my daily accountability partner.

A little bit later, our midkid’s dentist appointment got rescheduled** because the dentist had a medical emergency. This will be important later. At this point I checked the schedule and my physical therapy had been put on Wednesday and Friday this week. *sigh*

Right after that I got a call to finally schedule the 504 meetings for the kids, so I went looking up info on stuff in the patient portal to get documentation for that, and found out that one of the kids had an appointment for that particular issue that very afternoon. It wasn’t in my calendar right.*** This will also become important later. So I called the school, which has that 24 hour notice thing going on, and let them know we were picking him up later than originally planned.****also important later. While looking around the portal, I saw a very tiny new notice that said that this version of the patient portal was closing this week and that we should download all our files if we wanted them because they would not be available on the new system. (I already have an account on the new system, with the other hospital, so then I wondered if I’d need a second account or if they were going to merge them or what?) I spent a very long time downloading the three sets of data files I had access to. It won’t let me get David’s and David never set up a password to his after he turned 18, so those are all gone. Nick’s, too.

Then I got a call from physical therapy saying that I was still on schedule for Wednesday, but they needed to move my Friday appointment because I had another appointment scheduled at the same time and the new system wouldn’t let them double book a patient. ***** I told them that I was calling that doctor’s office today because I needed to have finished my PT re-evaluation before I saw that doctor, but it had taken two weeks to get into PT, not one, so that appointment had to move, not PT. It was on my list to call them, only all these other people kept calling me first. I called scheduling and got put on hold for 18 minutes, then transferred to someone that was not scheduling, but she put a note through the system to that doctor’s nurse to call me back because she was the nicest human I spoke to all week.

Then I spoke to other people about various other problems going on in volunteer organizations I am a part of. I learned so many special things. I just…can’t talk about any of it. At some point during those calls, I got a text from the system at my massage/yoga place telling me that I had failed to cancel within the proper time period and they were going to charge my account for the yoga session. I checked the account online and it had one note that said I had cancelled and one that said I hadn’t cancelled and one that said I was on the schedule for next week. ???

At the midkid’s doctor’s appointment, we got the paperwork and all that, but also found out that with the new, updated system the hospital is getting, lots of things were going wrong – like the router in the office being set to GMT instead of CST for the time zone. Which was why the appointment for Greg had looked like it was set for 8:30pm. And why they kept having that problem with other patients.(see ***) CHAOS. Oh, and in the middle of the new nurse being unable to take my kids blood pressure because he seemed unsure of how to use a regular blood pressure cuff instead of the automatic one, my phone rang and it was the nurse at the ortho’s office calling back to reschedule. (See *****)

Then that night, because on band time it was Monday, not Tuesday, I had to leave my Spiritual Practices class early to pick up my band kids because it was, of course, also a high holy day for my husband’s church, so he was busy.

Wednesday morning, I sent the ADHD paperwork to the 504 lady, just as the internet teetered into nothing. Good times. Then I went to physical therapy and found out even more insanity making things that I will not recount here. In the end, as it turned out, there’s most likely no thoracic outlet syndrome because my shoulders are healed. YAY! But there’s ongoing things wrong with my neck. So I need to go back to that orthopedic doctor and have him do different scans and write a different set of orders for physical therapy so they can deal with the neck thing. I did get one knot worked out of my neck area, though, and have ordered the special tool they used to get it out because it’s over the counter and can be used by laypeople as easily as physical therapists (they showed me how and sent me a video in case I forget).

Also at PT, we discussed the ***** situation and I told them that while I had gotten the appointment changed, it wasn’t showing up as changed in my portal, but I would really like that Friday appointment, please and thank you. Since the appointment lady was scheduling in the new system and so was the ortho’s office, there was no longer a conflict, and I got my Friday appointment for PT. I asked about how to access the new portal because if my appointments were in there now, I wanted to be able to access them. The new system is vastly easier on the patients end of things. But the PT appointment lady had no idea how we were supposed to do that or when it would become available or that the old portal was being taken down so quickly.

I got home and made a discovery that meant I had to cancel my Breast MRI the next day. If you know, you know. If you don’t, well, I’m not telling. After that, I was going to write, but I got embroiled in some other organizations insanity and ended up doing something else until it was time to pick up kids, but I hadn’t made it to the donation center and there was no room for everyone and all the stuff. I missed my van for the second time this month. So I guess that’s not too bad.

On the way home, we had the much discussed “how to make our home a better place for all who live there” conversation again and we all agreed that the china cabinet must go. So I spent my evening emptying that and finding new homes for everything. That was all my own chaos, but it was easy to solve chaos and I liked it.

Today we reached peak chaos. First thing this morning, I got an email from the 504 coordinator that my message had come through without a file attached. My Wi-Fi had gone flakey yesterday at one point and that was probably when I sent that message. So I re-sent it and she sent some other stuff back that I needed to fill out and send back. I had time to do that, finish some PTA stuff, and write and all that.

Then the texts began. My midkid had a substitute for the permanent substitute and she had him on the “No FLEX Day access” list. He has all A’s. He should not have had to go to tutorials. He goes anyways because he didn’t have the nifty bracelet that let him into FLEX Day fun. There’s a different sub there now. She won’t look at the grades portal and won’t let him go to FLEX. So he texts me to see if I can do something. I call the school a few times and once got put on speaker phone by accident and listened to the chaos up there myself for a while. They couldn’t hear me saying hello, so I eventually called back. Meanwhile, I emailed the counselor to see if we’d missed something on the progress report thing. It had been confusing because they didn’t send out paper progress reports and the links they sent just lead to the generic parent portal. While I was digging though the parent portal, I noticed my midkids appointments on Tuesday (** and ***) had been mislogged, so I called and left a message for attendance about getting that fixed. I got an actual human on the line and she told me that everyone was in their FLEX positions and there was no one to answer my questions, but try again tomorrow. I pointed out that FLEX was my question and tomorrow would be too late, so she transferred me to someone else. I left a voicemail, but got called back immediately. I explained the kids All A’s status and she looked him up and saw that he was in a class that had had a lot of upheaval and in fact had a brand new substitute teacher who’d never taught before. She said she’d get my kid a note to let him out for FLEX and not to worry any more, mama.

But that, of course, wasn’t the end of that. Kid texted me that the sub had gotten a phone call and told him that his mom was there to pick him up and he should get all his stuff together and go to the front office. So he did. The counselors were there, teased him about his hair and his three ginormous instruments, and sent him outside to wait for me. After about 15 minutes he called me and asked where I was. “At home because you’re at FLEX?” “No, mom, I’m waiting outside the school. The sub said you were coming to pick me up.” Well, by the time I got there, it was 10 minutes til the bell would ring, my kid was incandescent with rage, and I was angry enough to not want to talk to anyone, either, so we left and got him a drink and then came back for his brother.

His brother had a decent time at FLEX, but was unable to buy coffee because the coffee place didn’t bring enough change. He was unbothered. I love him. He is just like his daddy sometimes. You know what else didn’t end up chaotic? Panda Express for the band fundraiser. Everyone got the right food. It was nice.

So, any bets on tomorrow’s chaos? I am going to bet that my PT didn’t get scheduled or that my ortho appointment didn’t get moved or that I totally forget about my kids 504 meeting. Or that the meals I ordered on Tuesday for the pre-football game band kids go astray somehow. Or something else to do with it being middle school band sit-along night at the football game. Who knows. I am so tired.

Weeeeeeekend!

I guess I should catch up with the rest of the week first.  All righty then!

 

Wednesday I went to the doctor for my physical.  We talked about many things, like my meds (they’ve changed), my blood pressure (it’s happy), my anxiety (lessened by meds, yay!), weight loss (uh, yeah), and my heart condition, which was the surprise topic.  Apparently I have one?  Or might?  In any case it led to more blood tests on Thursday.  We’ll see what they say.  As I was leaving there the nurse from the school called and said Greg’s shoes had exploded and could I bring new ones?  I could not, so he borrowed some from her.  My mom took him and Ben out and got them more shoes that afternoon while David was at meetings at school.

 

Thursday was a sick-kid-at-home day, but my mom watched him while I was out.

Pathetic Greg.  This was in the morning while he was still feverish.
Pathetic Greg. This was in the morning while he was still feverish.

By mid afternoon he was doing all right and we watch Sofia the First on the Disney channel, which he loved, while snuggling.  🙂 That evening we went over to my parents house for dinner and a game of Cargo Noir, which went on for hours and hours.  I don’t even remember who won.  It went on so long that Ben and Greg both fell asleep, so Nick and I had to carry them home while David carried all our stuff.  I’m sure we made quite a sight on the street.

 

Friday I had a sick Ben at home…or rather, at Grandma’s house in the morning so I wouldn’t have to miss my coffee date with the neighbor yet again (we’ve been back and forth and back and forth with changing dates due to sick kids.  We live 4 houses away from each other and have not managed to see each other since Thanksgiving).  It was a lovely morning with muffins made by a different neighbor.  🙂  Friday afternoon I brought Ben back home and he was much recovered.

 

We learned to play Bakugan, which he got as a post-Christmas present. :)
We learned to play Bakugan, which he got as a post-Christmas present. 🙂

 

Friday afternoon we had the Scouts over from our Pack and taught them Fire Safety in our side yard.  It had rained enough this week (all week long) that everything was nice and wet and safe, but we still made them clear the ground cover before starting the fire.

Ben and S. work while M. reads the newspaper.  How is this fair?!
Ben and S. work while M. reads the newspaper. How is this fair?!

 

Then they and their siblings all jumped on the trampoline until it was too dark to see anymore and the other mom dragged them all off.  🙂

See the children.  See the children jump and play.  Jump, children, jump!
See the children. See the children jump and play. Jump, children, jump!

 

Then that evening we had my parents over for dinner, as it was our last evening together before they had to go back home and my dad had to start teaching again.

Yummy yummy cheese platter.  I'm getting good at throwing those suckers together.
Yummy yummy cheese platter. I’m getting good at throwing those suckers together.

 

Saturday morning we hung out with my parents again and made them play Creationary with us.  We’ve discovered that it is supremely hard, even using just the basic cards.  David’s the only one that’s any good at it.  Our church had Teen Day that afternoon, with all the kids in the Teen Group serving in places that adults normally serve, like being Greeters, Ushers, Song Leader, Prayer Leader, and Pianist.  It was pretty cool seeing all our kids do that stuff.

David is counting all the people in his section as part of his duties as Usher.
David is counting all the people in his section as part of his duties as Usher.

After services were over was our church’s Mexican Potluck and Variety Show. (I still need to offload videos, but some of them are pretty shaky.)  Our congregation has been hit pretty hard with the flu, so two of our major performers/accompanists were out sick, which left us with some holes in our program.

The Pre-teen Group sang Old MacDonald.  We had zero rehearsal time; this was just for fun!
The Pre-teen Group sang Old MacDonald. We had zero rehearsal time; this was just for fun! They’re even wearing flower pots on their heads as hats. One of the animals on our farm was a hippopotamus   The snorting was SOOO cute!

 

Davidplaystrumpet
David played an excerpt from the William Tell Overture on his trumpet right after doing a skit with all the other kids.  I don’t have a picture from that one, but it was a hilarious scout skit and the high point was David running off stage with a roll of toilet paper in his hand.

 

The Teen Group sang God Bless America as a finale. Photo Credit: Joanne Gonzalez
The Teen Group sang God Bless America as a finale. David waves the flag from our house that we put up at holidays.  Photo Credit: Joanne Gonzalez

 

Right after the Variety Show, we headed straight out so David could make it to his friends birthday party/sleepover.  He was sooo excited!  🙂  They stayed up all night and played the Wii and DS’s and had Nerf gun wars.  He came home and pretty much went right to bed.  🙂

 

The rest of us have spent our day cleaning house and getting ready for the next week.  And that is that. Hope y’all are having a great weekend!

 

Why does February always suck?

So hey, it’s February, and so therefore we have the Plague.  David has this on again off again stomach virus at least one day every week since the end of January.   Ben & Nick have been coughing, but seem okay for the most part. Greg has been snotty & feverish and coughing for a solid week now.  I got a sinus infection three weeks ago, spent two weeks literally writhing in pain before that started dying off, and am now living in the land of Am I Sick or Not?  (Which means one day of feeling good & productive followed by one day of deathly-sinus-headache followed by one day of chills/fever/but otherwise fine followed by one day of sore throat/sinus pain).  Greg and I have missed all our MOPS stuff & coffee dates & play dates.  It’s making me cranky.

I’ve pretty much watched every movie in the house that is safe to watch in front of Greg and am now starting to watch things like Pretty Woman and wonder why,oh,why anyone thought a movie about a prostitute was acceptable for young people to watch.  As a kid watching it, it was AWESOME, but as a mom watching it, I’m thinking about things like Vivienne getting tetanus from getting scratched on the fence and what kind of horrible germs are in that toilet that she just plunged her hand into and whoa, all the dirt!  Yeah.  I watched Legend & Total Recall last week (after kid hours) and was amazed at all the gore.  My brain, it is exploding.  I shouldn’t be allowed movies in this state.  No, no, no.

In other news, we’ve been on a science kick around the house.  David had to do a research paper & model & report on a natural disaster and he, naturally, chose a meteor shower.  So we did that.  We also made a tsunami, because a meteor strike in water can cause that.  Then we made a tornado in a jar.  One of the other class mom’s is a biologist of some sort & she brought a bunch of chemicals up to school & did a demonstration, so David wanted to know what kind of chemicals he had access to at home, so we tried to figure that out & then figure out what kind of experiments we could do from here without buying anything special.

Ben’s started doing math at school.  He got a 100 on his first paper (BEST IN CLASS, MAMA!!!) and has ever since been making his own math problems to work after school.  He’s also been learning about coins and passed that mania on to Greg, who has been playing pirate or shopkeeper, whichever one takes his fancy as long as he gets to count the money.  Ben’s been trying to teach him that each coin “costs” a different amount, but Greg just counts number of coins.  It’s very funny to watch them argue about it.

I finally got my writing notebook back in the mail, so worked on that a bit yesterday.  Progress notes to be posted at dreamwidth.

Nick is obsessed with the Olympics, which has been fun, I guess.  He’s the kind of person that will watch any event, so if the Olympics is on at any point, he turns the TV on.  I, on the other hand, am mainly just interested in the figure skating (so I went to bed way early last night).

I guess February doesn’t completely suck.  I just wish we all would get better finally.

“We started right here, in the ovary”

I hate giving subject lines for these posts, especially when I’m just updating about everything.  Maybe I should go back and retitle this “More of everything” Hmm.

David has been doing a lot of scouts stuff from his book, which means that all of us have been doing a lot of scouts stuff because you can’t have just one kid doing all the “fun” stuff.  The kids liked making family trees again (this time with phone calls to relatives to ascertain actual dates & real names) and finding the page in the phone book that has all the emergency info and calling different city officials to ask questions about how the city works and doing more of the recycling on their own (including picking out everything from their Happy Meals that could be recycled & taking that home to put in our bin rather than leaving it there with all the other trash “They waste SO MUCH, Mommy!  Why do they do that?”)

Ben is steadily growing stronger reading skills.  It’s been really hard getting him to read aloud to us at home.  He’s the second best reader in his class (behind Amy, whose mom is an elementary school teacher), but reading at home has just not been something he’s willing to do.  So now we just have him read a few pages out of each book we do at bedtime story time (in addition to whatever they send home as reading homework.)  Knowing that he only has a few pages and that we’ll fill in all the hard words seems to make it easier on him.  Ben has also taken to my old Cabbage Patch Kids lately.  He has a few that he especially likes and will dress up for certain occasions.  It’s pretty funny.

Greg is still climbing everything in sight.   He has ropes that he carries around with him nearly at all times and will tie to things.  He gets his brothers to help him tie them up higher than he can reach.  During the day when they’re not home to assist him he’ll do general kid stuff, but as soon as they get home, he’s back to finding new & better places to climb.  Oh, and when he paints stuff, he mixes all the colors & makes all his painting black.  He paints weird stuff, too.  like Oklahoma.

Nick continues to spend loads of time in Beaumont, but that will end on February 12th.  I can’t wait for him to be home for real, but you know what?  It’s going to be an adjustment.  I’ve gotten used to my weeknight schedule & I don’t know if I’ll transition back to Couple Time all-the-time very well. Currently I’ve been doing Monday nights as project nights, Tuesday nights as other-people-time, & Wednesday nights as TV time.  We’ll see if Nick likes that plan.

I’ve been writing, cleaning, etc.  When I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing.  (Writing updates continue to be at my dreamwidth journal)
Or fixing people’s computer woes.  Apparently word has spread that I have a way with computers, so I’ve gotten a few phone calls the past month or so requesting assistance.  Mostly over the phone “how do I?” stuff, but this weekend I went to someone’s house & set stuff up, then fielded calls/texts about it all across Saturday afternoon & Sunday morning.

Speaking of calls/texts, we’ve noticed an upswing in our phone usage in the last 6 months, not because Nick’s been gone (we actually talk less during the day, so the extra call at night just blends into the regular usage), but just, ya know, being friendlier or something.  I don’t know.  So we started running our usage stats, first through Sprint (who actually said our current plan suited us, despite our being $20-$50 over every month), then on our own.  We added in our wishlists of how we’d like to use our phones that we aren’t currently doing, looked up plan comparisons, phone reviews, etc, and found out that we’re better off staying with our current carrier (Sprint, which works well here all the way to CS) and getting smartphones with the unlimited family plan.  So once our refunds from last years medical expenses come in, we’ll be doing that.  We’re looking at the HTC Hero phone and the Samsung Moment (we haven’t actually played with them in store yet, but I’ll be doing that tomorrow if the sick kid goes back to school by then).

In other randomness, I’ve been drinking tons of tea lately, trying all different kinds from various places.  My favorite is the supergood ginger kind that my friends sister gave her from Teavana (more details once I’ve seen the canister again).  Republic of Tea’s Cinnamon Plum loose leaf tea is also very nice (but Blackberry Sage remains my favorite from them).  Lipton has a flavored green tea that’s orange, passionfruit, and jasmine that I like for afternoons.  I also have a new favorite otc bagel: Sara Lee’s Blueberry.  There’s something different about them now: they’re more lemon flavored than they used to be.  Mmm.

I have some news that I’m sitting on currently that I’m really excited about, but am awaiting more information before I can announce it.  Eeee.  I love having exciting news & I hate waiting to share it, but that’s the way it goes.

That’s it for this week’s update.  More later.  🙂
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Now playing: Michael Mucklow – Pipe’s Canyon Sunset
via FoxyTunes