Saturday, May 29, 2010

It's been a week alright.....

I am allergic to poison ivy and encountered it pulling weeds in a messy side flowerbed on May 15th. Since I seem innately unable to recognize it when I see it (despite Johnnie pointing it out to me all summer long, every summer), I must have grabbed some. It didn't erupt until the following Wednesday. Since there were only a couple little spots on my left forearm, I quickly dosed them with Benadryl cream and bandaged them to keep the little buggers from spreading.

I spent the next several days doing the same and successfully kept it from spreading. Or so I thought. This past Monday, I absentmindedly itched my tummy and -- low and behold -- there was a spot of poison ivy just below my belly button. Grrrrr. Then I noticed a couple spots around my bra line. Grrrrr. Dosed them, bandaged, blah blah blah.

I took the bandage off my tummy and realized that, as I also seem to forget, I have a slight allergy to prolonged use of latex bandages. Great time to remember it. So while the poison ivy spot was small, there were rectangular patches of angry red skin on both sides of it. They itched so much that I scratched them bloody. Great.

I surrendered. Typically when I get poison ivy it goes directly into my bloodstream and can't be eradicated by the patient method of keeping the itching down and just waiting it out. I need prednisone. I went to the doctor on Wednesday, taking Lucy with me, and begged unashamedly for prednisone. While my doctor wasn't enthusiastic, I pressed until he wrote out the prescription. Yeay!

Speaking of Wednesday, mine was peachy, thanks for asking!

8:30      dentist appointment to replace a filling. Made appointment with doctor for poison ivy relief for 11am
9:45      met Erin at Target to get Lucy for our weekly class at The Little Gym (TLG)
10:40    left Target with Lucy for doctor's office.
11:00    begged doctor for prednisone, left triumphant. Lucy got Mickey Mouse and Winnie
            the Pooh bandages as stickers.
11:15    quick stop at Wegmans to drop off prescription
11:20    even quicker stop at the coffee shop for a cup of coffee to get me through TLG.
            Mental head slap for forgetting Kindle to keep me amused while Lucy is at TLG
11:32   Run to TLG, get Lucy's shoes off, send her in to the gym. Sit down and swill
            coffee, wave to Lucy, listen idly to other moms' conversations without joining in, much.
12:25   Lucy's class is done, quick get shoes back on and zip out to the car. Drive to Erin and Mike's house to drop her off, pick up Domino the a@#butt dog for the weekend*. 
 1:15   Leave Erin & Mike's with Domino. Take him straight to our house because he's a menace in the car and will cheerfully bark ferociously at anyone nearby and try to claw his way into the console for anything to eat, including soap, pistachio shells, wrapped candies, you name it.
1:45    Domino is ensconced in his cage. All three dogs have a biscuit and I realize that I haven't eaten anything yet today.
2:00    Get to Wegmans, wander the deli section looking for something I can take home to eat. Pick macaroni and cheese. Yum. Then pick up prescription and get counseled on how to take it.
2:15    Get home, let dogs out and settle in with lunch at the computer, door closed on room to keep a@#butt dog in here since he loves counter surfing. Two big projects need to get done; deadline for one is today.
2:30    Temp outside is 84, inside the office it's 81. Turn on fan.
3:40    Give up, open office door, try to keep an eye on a@#butt. No success.
3:42    Hear suspicious sounds from the bathroom - a@#butt speelunking in the tub looking for soap. Retrieve him. Settle back to write.
3:50    Hear a crash from downstairs. Investigating, discover he has pulled a wooden bowl filled with John's pocket castoffs off the counter to eat the Altoids he carelessly left in a metal box. And two large sized Bit-o-Honeys. (Note to Erin: he didn't get the Bit-o-Honeys) Clean up the mess he made. Find his leash.
3:55    Tie a@#butt to my chair leg in the office, leave the door open as it is hot and smells like dog in here.
4:05    Send off big job to client, hope she'll like it.
4:15    Go downstairs to feed our two dogs. A@#butt gets fed later.
4:45    Our dogs come back upstairs and lie down. The oldest one, Daisy (13), gives two slight burps and barfs her just-ingested food all over the rug in the office. I'm now yelling and looking for towels, dust pan, anything to pick up the disgusting pile.
4:46    Daisy and Juniper go outside while I clean up. a@#butt is still tied to my office chair.
4:47    Get back upstairs with dust pan and carpet cleaner only to discover that a@#butt has eaten Daisy's barf. So. completely. gross. But, on the bright side, it was a good thing because then the barf didn't stay on the carpet and stain it. Still really, really gross. Stopped long enough to close all windows and put the air conditioner on.
4:50     Went back to work to finish four of 13 articles that were due on the previous Tuesday.
6:15    Finally came downstairs and we figured out dinner. A@#butt is tethered to one or the other of us for the remainder of the night. At night, he's on a leash (fairly long) and tied to the dresser so he doesn't wander through the house and snack on untoward things. Like soap.
6:45     Nerves fully jangled -- and still itching like crazy -- we sit down to eat and watch TV.
Temperature was about 88 outside. Closer to 74 inside. Much better.
7:45     Look over at Johnnie and he's sound asleep. Driving a hollow tin can of a school bus all day in 90-degree heat -- they're not air conditioned -- has done him in.
8:10     Johnnie goes up to bed; I stay up watching the American Idol finale until 10:20. Go to bed itching like crazy.
2:05 am Thursday morning. Woke up itching, despite Benedryl tablets. Go downstairs, make iced tea, decide to sleep downstairs. Cooler, fewer bodies in the room. Downside: grandfather clock about 15 feet from my head that chimes every 15 minutes. Slept maybe 45 minutes.
4:05   Wake up, head upstairs to slip into bed so we can snuggle when the alarm goes off at
4:45   Snuggle, go through morning routine.
5:50   Back in bed after making Johnnie's lunch so I can get a bit more sleep before the day starts.

I don't think this even comes close to expressing how frustrating and unenjoyable the day was. It was awful.

Thursday was much better because I kept A@#butt tethered all day and just forged ahead. Still a tough day - wrote nine articles of at least 450 words on the same subject. My head was whirling and not in a good way. That's a total of roughly 6,000 words in 13 articles on the same.damn.subject. Shoot me now. And the kicker is that it doesn't even pay all that great but it's still better than zero.

*E&M and the kids are in Michigan for Dad Gerry's last chemo treatment on Thursday and a cousin's wedding on Saturday. We get Domino, the butthead dog for the weekend - fair exchange since they had our two last weekend.

Really really planning to enjoy the long Memorial Day weekend. Remember our veterans and active service people, everyone. We owe them so much.

Oh? And the poison ivy? Drying up nicely with the prednisone. I bought latex-free bandages on Wednesday while at Target and later hit upon the idea of using covered flexible ice blocks to quell the itching. That has worked quite well, especially on the itchy allergy spots from the bandages. I've been sporting a flexible blue ice pack around my tummy now for three days, even taking it in the car when I'm driving (I take it out when I got into a store). I may look like a dork but it's working. That's all I care about right now.

Friday, May 28, 2010

What's wrong with this picture?

Seriously, do you see anything strange here?

This was published in the Your Health supplement to the Democrat and Chronicle, May 2010. Johnnie found it and showed it to me earlier this week.

Her arms look to be coming from the same point on her chest. I think she's just thin and it's an optical illusion but it sure looked weird to both of us.

Your thoughts?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Conversation with Lucy

Lucy and I were in the grocery store bathroom, I was ushering her into a stall.

Me: Here you go, sweetie
Lucy: I'm not sweetie
Me: Yes you are
Lucy: Ban-ha (grandpa) is sweetie
Me: Yes, but I call you sweetie too. And Mommy and Emily and
Lucy: Domino (their dork of a dog)
Me, grudgingly: Yes, I do.
Lucy: You call Ban-ha honey
Me: Yes, I do. What else do I call Grandpa (whose name is Johnnie)
Lucy: Um.....
Me, prompting: Lovey
Lucy: Yup, and ...
Me, prompting again: Sweetheart
Lucy: Yes, and Uncle Bob

Lucy has an Uncle Bob, Mike's brother. For the record, I do not call my husband Uncle Bob.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Not the best way ...

... to spend Mother's Day. Our daughter, Erin has been admitted to the hospital three times in the past three weeks for extreme pain because of something suspicious happening in or around her liver. We don't know what it is and the doctors keep looking and don't find much. Anyway, she went in again last Thursday and her doctor vowed to keep her there until they find the problem and (we hope) eliminate the pain.

This picture was taken on Friday but she was in the hospital on Mother's Day.

The little girls were with me on Thursday and Friday. While I generally make them nutritious lunches, they had a Burger King treat on Friday and we made a picnic out of it on the deck.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The best one

In remembering all the funny/adorable/precious/precocious things that the little girls did over the last few days, I forgot one of the very best.

Emily, Lucy and I were finishing lunch one day and Grandpa called from work. We all talked with him on the speakerphone, informing him of what they were eating - really important, vital things like that.

As he was saying goodbye, he told the girls he loved them. There ensued a yelling contest to tell Grandpa how much they loved him.

Emily: I love you Grandpa!
Lucy: I love you 3 - 8 - 9 Grandpa!
Emily: I love you Oreos, Grandpa! (they were eating Oreos)
Lucy: Grandpa, I love you 3 - 8 - 9 Oatmeal OREOS!

Which, obviously is the last word in love and topped everyone else's attempt to measure their love for Grandpa. Awesome.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Little girls

Thank heavens for them! We had an extended opportunity to be with Emily and Lucy last week as Erin went into the hospital unexpectedly for the second time in two weeks . The kids stayed with us while Mike commuted from home to hospital to our house to home. Lather, rinse and repeat.

Emily is fascinated by all manner of insects and bugs. We were at a park a couple weeks ago and she was digging with a stick in the sandbox. It had rained recently and she quickly dug up a family of earth worms. She excitedly brought them over to me so I could hold them. Luckily I don't have an issue with holding worms or bugs and we poked at them to get them to move for several minutes before putting the whole family back into the sand.

This past Saturday she found a little spider on the floor of our kitchen and spent several minutes playing with it and letting it crawl on her hand and arms. While this kind of skeeves me out a bit, neither John nor I let on that spiders are something you don't usually play with. Eventually we opened the door and set it free on the deck. I don't want her thinking that she should be afraid of bugs. She already shies away from wasps and hornets since she was stung by them a couple times last year. It would be great to have her be able to handle her own spider and bug emergencies when she's grown.

Shortly thereafter, Lucy found a ladybug on the kitchen floor (honest, the floor was clean - the bug probably came in on one of the dogs) and I scooped it up and let it crawl on her pudgy little hand while we again opened the door to the deck and plopped it on the doormat.

Emily also is quite a girly girl, much to Erin's surprise. Me too, as Erin certainly was always feminine but more of the sturdy little girl variety, never as interested in high heels, princesses and long dresses as Emily is. Emily has a collection of colorful Mardi Gras beads that she has made into a long chain. She calls it her wedding veil and loops it over her head and it trails down her back. One of the strands broke on Saturday and Grandpa went to the basement to find SuperGlue and some kind of polymer to help the glue stick to the beads, fixing the strand.  Emily was very appreciative of his fixing her veil. Then Grandpa found another strand that was broken but tied to look whole. Emily's quick response: "Well, why don't you just go ahead and fix that one too, Grandpa!"

Emily, Lucy and I were in the car last week going somewhere. Lucy dropped the princess book she was reading and wanted me to pick it up for her.
Me: "I can't get it Lucy, I'm driving and it would be dangerous for me to try to get it for you."
Lucy, whining: "I want to drive."
Yeah, right kid. That'll happen just after he@# freezes over in about 15 years.

On Friday evening, Mike and Erin's dad Gerry (visiting from Michigan last week) were coming for dinner. I had asked Johnnie to stay nearby as I was cooking and could use the help wrangling little girls and generally keeping things under control. It came time to light the grill. I could hear Johnnie and Emily talking in the family room (adjacent to the kitchen) and I went in to ask him to light the grill to put the salmon on. Johnnie was stretched out on the couch, Emily snuggled alongside him with his arm around her. They were spelling out words on his Touch, something they do together frequently. He looked up at me with one of those endorphin-filled Grandpa looks and a silly half smile. I went to light the grill myself. I just couldn't deny Grandpa those precious moments.

On Saturday morning, Grandpa had finished his shower and was getting dressed in our bedroom, door closed. Emily opened the door and both girls burst in. Grandpa had one leg in his shorts (not his underwear shorts, outerwear shorts). We quickly asked the girls to go back out and knock.

They closed the door and Emily knocked. Grandpa said, "Who is it?" Emily wasn't expecting that question so she didn't know what to say. Then Lucy knocked and Grandpa said, "Come in." Emily was crushed and burst into tears because Lucy got to go in and she didn't. Grandpa, with his pants securely belted and zippped, went out to find out why Emily was crying and obviously unhappy.
Grandpa: "What's the matter, Emily?"
Emily: "I'm sad."
There ensued a long conversation between them on the stairs, working Emily back from being sad. Again a precious exchange between a little girl and her grandpa. Those are the moments we'll never forget even though she'll likely never remember.