Saturday, April 27, 2013

My Friends

As we get closer to the end, I am certain that my blogs will get sappier about life in the District. Most importantly, they will probably involve these amazing ladies that I have met and how I truly adore them, their children, and their husbands. Mostly, I love the gentlemen.

It's not because I know them so well, rather- they let us get together and stay together until some ungodly hour with no complaints. They fetch us wine and deliver it to wherever we have gathered before scooping up a kid and heading out again. They take pictures of us. Lots of pictures. They clean up the mess we made at whoever's house we made it in, probably thankful that they got a night off-- just as much as we are thankful that we, too, got a night together.

We talk. A lot. The ladies, that is. We talk about all sorts of things. There really is not much to gossip about, because we only know each other. We gossip about our children. We talk about the men. We drink wine.

Lots of wine.

We change diapers, eat cheese, cook chicken nuggets, and occasionally we play bunko. We fix hems in another's dress, take away forks and replace them with butter knives, help fasten princess dresses and adjust tiaras. We soothe babies and grab bottles from fridges.

We get spit up on. Usually not by our own.

We trade recipes we immediately forget. We talk about our family back home. We revel in the successes of others and are not afraid to boast about a great accomplishment. We order sushi. We laugh.

We laugh a lot.

We talk about God, faith, and pancakes. We lay train tracks for the kids to mess up. We wash another's clothes with promises of returning the soon-to-be stain soaked shirt. We ask opinions. We find ice packs and tylenol for the skinned knees and clobberings. We leave those same ice packs and tylenol on the counter for later use.

We love each other.

But, really, what's not to love?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Pretty Cool Day

LMC and I got to see some pretty cool things today. The weather was perfect for an impromptu Wednesday 'benture!

We asked Miss Kim to leave a vase outside so we could pick some flowers for her. She obliged with a wide-mouth Ball mason jar. She's so urban. 

Off to the mall to pick daffodils and "white fluffy ones" we would stop, pick, blow, and hang tight to until the next flower. After flower picking, we wound around the mall from the Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, reflecting pool, WWII memorial and home again. 

One of the things I will miss the most about this great city is the WWII memorial and seeing the men who fought for us with no idea that generations later a mother would meet a vet at a memorial for their sacrifice. That mother would tell her 3.75 year old that this man put his life on the line for us. This man, with gray hair and wrinkles was once my age, with a family of his own and left them for the greater good. This man deserves our thanks and our appreciation. My sweet daughter would look at this gray haired man and say, "Danks for your service!"

A mother can be so proud.

Allow me to be lazy for a moment and do a blog in pictures? Mostly because MB is crying in my lap...

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The Unblogable Blog

I wrote a blog yesterday, which I thought was pretty funny and took on a not-talked-about subject.

I thought it might be on the cusp of TMI, so I let a friend read it.

Turns out, it wasn't just on the cusp, rather slap in the middle of TMI land. So I set it aside. This is the internet, after all.

The blog started in my head as the maintenance man was fishing in our hallway bathroom. Fishing?

Oh yeah.

After LMC finished in the bathroom, I heard the garden flush a second time.

Then a third.

I walked down the hall to find a very innocent 3.75 year old looking at me with doe eyes and halo shining above her flaxen curls. She smiled and said, "I can't make the bubbles go away."


The water of the abyss had risen to the very edge of the garden without a drop on the floor. She carefully backed away with my pulling at her elbow.

"What'd you flush?"
"Nothing. Only T-T and ... go in there."
"You aren't in trouble, what went down to the water gods?"
"NOTH-ING. Only T-T and ... go in there." she stamps her foot.
"Are you sure?"
"Yes M'am."

Toddlers don't know the dangers of lying, or maybe they have already learned the danger of truth telling to mothers. The foot stamp gave her away.

We walk downstairs and make a personal request for the maintenance team to come straightaway. They looked at both of us with skepticism. He asked what she flushed.

"Nothing. Only T-T and ... go in there."

Okie Dokie.

One hour, a plumbing snake, two maintenance guys, and three toys later... the truth comes out.


Monday, April 22, 2013

4 months...

And that thumb is going no where. She thinks she's smarter than her mama.

Her mama knows such.

Friday, April 19, 2013


Masters week is always so much fun. Friends and family come to town for golf and parties. Making a long story short, and mostly because I am typing this in a recliner with MB sleeping on my chest, my cousin let me take pictures of her son, LW.

He's pretty damn cute.

His dad grew up the street from where my parents live. Several months ago, they sold the house and a wonderful young family purchased it and have not moved in yet, as they gutted the kitchen. The mom and I packed up the chil'rin and went to play in the old backyard.

He was just about as cute as they come.

I love his smile and his great attitude!

The House

The house, the house, the house.

There is so much to say about ... the house. I'll try and keep it to a minimum.

Did I mention the house was built in the sixties? We are investing in a good jig saw to cut off those loop-de-loops under the cabinets.

And let's not get started on the ultra-hip stainless backsplash... on top of the formica.

The paneling is going to come tumbling down...

But those cabinets are staying.... not kidding. I'm going to paint them. Honest. They're in the laundry room, and it will be a good place to practice my skills.

 Every room needs a little something... some more than others.

The terra cotta floor is staying, mostly because I have discovered that it is a PITA to remove. We will be laying hardwoods around it. As I sit and type, Husband is on the phone with the sawmill. Maple? Not the syrup, rather the floors. Most hardwoods are oak, either red or white, and most floors are 3 1/4 inch. MOST. Ours are going to be hard maple and will be 4 inch.

See this window? It's big, right? It's 23.5 feet. Oddly enough, that's the same length as the entire pool room/play room/too-large-to-be-a-guest-room,-but-still-has-a-full-bathroom-room. At some point in the future, we will replace them with french doors. I wanted to try Lanai doors, but they were quoted at over $30,000.... yeahhhhhh.... about that.  It's probably for the best though, because ... really... in Georgia... in August? notsomuch.

Some things are staying....

Some things are going...

Some things are too big to deal with right now.

But every room has a NuTone speaker. Did you know NuTone is still in business? No lie. They even have a website. I emailed to ask them if we could get a refund on these parts.

They said no.

Lots of new lights are in order...

And new pulls.

Did I mention the NuTone?

Even outside.

But, we are keeping the slate floor. Surrounded by hardwoods. The slate floor goes from the front door, wraps around the living room and into the hallway, where it will go back to hardwoods. It's an "L" shaped floor and we think it will be cool.

LMC wants to keep the wallpaper in her room.
I disagree. Only wine can make you that drunk. My eyes are getting crossed just looking at it right now.

The glorious pink bathroom. Everyone needs at least one at some point in their lives... I've had several. There are two pink sinks. Sweet. TWO.

And apparently... the white floor tile was cheaper than the pink?

With a pink potty... the little girls have a pink bathroom. What's not to love? It will get updated... but not immediately.

These two doors go into the master bath. There are two more doors. The one on the left goes to the shower. The one on the right goes to the bathtub. And in between the shower and tub....

The yellow potty. We have a rainbow of potties. Thank goodness.

And again with the tile.

I ordered some cabinet pulls today and doorknobs. Those are things that no one wants to spend money on, but they make such a difference in a house. I called the company and asked if they could knock off some of the price and they did!! You never know unless you ask! And now I know.

We are waiting on some quotes from general contractors and painters. We head back to Hometown in 10 days to close on the house and spend a few days getting it ready for the crew to come through and make it ours.

Can't wait!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Thank you.

From across the country, friends- internet friends and non-internet friends- have reached out to me asking how Brother is doing. And I have not updated the blog because I really had nothing to report. On one hand, no news is good news. But, when you live so far away- radio silence might as well be deafening because the mind wanders where it wanders. When you can't sit in an uncomfortable chair, eat stale turkey sandwiches, and make 10 trips to the cafeteria in a day-- you just feel...


Not wanting to bug my SIL, rather wanting to know she is loved and adored- I prayed for her. When I finally got to speak to her, I told her that she and Brother dovetailed together so well. They each picked up the other's strengths and helped combat the weaknesses. I think I might have used the term "ying and yang."

God truly has a plan.

Everyday was going to be discharge day and everyday was not. As frustrated as I was with the not-knowing and only getting a handful of phone calls a day, I had to remember that I am only one person. 

With two functioning arms, seizure free, and still with an ability to drive. 

His blood pressure was high and it stayed that way. They kept him as a precautionary, waited and watched to see what would happen. The tests came back clean and clear. There were no cracked ribs. He could finally...

finally go home. 

The doctor prescribed lots of rest, no stress and physical therapy to start back after Masters. He slept in his own bed last night, the first time since Easter Sunday, with his wife by his side and the children down the hall. I hope it was a sound sleep with the promise of health and a new day before him. We head home tomorrow and I look forward to seeing him. We will be home for 10 days.

We will celebrate life as we do this time of year.
We will celebrate love as we can.
We will celebrate the "good side" of the dirt.
We will give thanks. 

He will mend, of that I am certain. It will just take time.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

In Anger

Easter is always a wonderful day. My in-laws invite the entire Presbyterian church out to their little farm on the outskirts of their small town. The long-standing, white haired preacher comes out and returns thanks over several hams, turkeys, salads and butter beans. Everyone brings a dish and everyone stays until long after the sun is set. Sweet tea flows and the children in their Easter best lose their shoes as they tumble out of the car running to Cook-ah's house. She sits on the porch and raises her voice in welcome as they arrive.

There is an Easter egg hunt in the front yard and whoever finds the "golden" egg gets an Easter basket full of prizes.

We hold hands in the room with the food and listen to crisp clear words from a Man of God speak from his heart to our souls. We are renewed. We rejoice in the Knowledge that we have been given. For one day, I am Presbyterian. Before he leaves with his sweet wife, the Preacher seeks me out and holds my face in his two large hands and kisses me good-bye. He tells me that I make beautiful children and that he loves me as his own.

It makes me feel closer to God to know this man. It reminds me that God is kind and gentle. He is not the Old Testament God, turning doubters into pillars of salt. He is God with a bigger picture. I have relationships with priests and I will be forever more Catholic, but the Hometown Preacher is a special person to me and I adore him.

For the past two days, I have been sitting on a blog written in my mind. The past two nights that I have not been able to sleep, I silently type in my head and work sentences to convey my frustration and love.  I am so far away from my family today.

Easter morning, we call Husband's parents and get the order of the Easter events. We wish the nieces and nephews good luck on finding the golden egg before hanging up and calling my parents. In the background, I hear dad say, "Hey, can we hook these two calls up on conference ca..." -click- A few minutes later, my phone rings. "Why'd y'all hang up on..." "Wife, get Husband. Quick."

Brother was not feeling "right" and went to lay down. He took his Kepra and chewed another one. For a moment, a calm ensued. But, there is always a calm before the storm.

Seizure stacked upon seizure dropped out the sky and landed squarely in their bedroom with my father and my SIL in the wake of the wicked tremors. The ambulance came. Another seizure.

I wanted to be mad. I wanted to run and shake my fists as this Greater Power. I wanted to scream at him and be heard. But what I really wanted- more than to be mad, was that I wanted to find a 'center' and I wanted to find an inner peace. In anger, I would not have accomplished anything. In anger, I would have said words I did not mean and in anger I would have lacked the patience I needed to hold my toddler so close as she did not understand why Mommy and Daddy were upset but could clearly sense this upheaval in our day.

And, in reality, all I wanted was to be near my brother and to hold my niece and nephew in my arms and comfort them the way Brother comforts me and my children. In reality, I wanted to be angry because being angry is easier than all the other emotions--

except love.

And I love my brother.

Yesterday, Brother woke up groggy and in serious pain in his back and when he breathed. They did a blood draw to see if he had clot in his lung-- a very dangerous thing-- and gave him IV pain med, diasomething which is essentially morphine on steroids. They added a chest X-ray to the laundry list of ABC tests to check for cracked ribs.

Most people have the first question of, "From the fall?" when referencing the cracked ribs and the answer to that is... no.

Let that sink in for a moment. Close your eyes and thank the Sweet Lord that you have never had a seizure.

The pain meds made him groggy and slip off into a medicated sleep that he welcomed with open arms. In sleep, he is whole. In sleep, he can do anything with no limits with two hands. In sleep, he can throw his children in the air and run circles with them in the backyard. In sleep, he can heal.

Yesterday was to be discharge day- but the pain raised concerns and earned him another night within the white walls.

Today, he has been feeling better physically. Emotionally? You can do that math. Unfortunately, as I sit and type this- my phone went off with words from my parents informing their daughter and her husband (who sleeps soundly being post call) that he is not coming home again today. They need the EEG results and his BP is "way high."

I want to raise my voice and scream.

God has taken away so much. The ability to feel his left arm is just at the tip of the iceberg. But, Brother keeps clawing back. He took to the golf course just last week and hacked a dozen golf balls with a specially designed golf glove made just for stroke victims. He wants to be out there with Nephew. He wants to be the kind of dad that raised us- active in our lives and supportive of everything.

He wants to live.

And that is what I have to remember- that as Brother says on a regular basis, "I'm on the good side of the dirt."

Of all the things that the Lord has taken away, He keeps Brother here and He sees the bigger picture that I cannot. I will instead, raise my voice in devotion and collapse my fists in folded prayer to give thanks that I have had my brother for another six months since his stroke. I give thanks that he has held his newest niece and I get to put my arms around his neck in just a few short days.

I turn to my husband in tears and let him hold me close.
I turn to God and ask for our prayers to be heard.
I turn to my SILs parents trusting that my niece and nephew are encapsulated in love with them.
I turn to you and ask for your prayers to your Higher Power for this man you might or might not know.

I'm hurt.
I'm sad.

I'm lonely.

And I just want my brother back in one piece.