Friday, December 26, 2008

Xcitement at Xmas

...waaaay too much of it, and not the right kind.

Like every Xmas past, this one started innocently enough ~ up dark and early to a full house of noisy, xcited kidlets. At least it sounded like a full house, but a closer xamination revealed only two: the Princess and the Gingerbread Cookie. We had the dark part right, though, and the first round of Santa Claus took place by the illumination of twinkling Xmas tree lights.

Presents opened, trash cleaned up, ham in the oven, and here comes Part II: C, De, the Other Princess, and, reminiscent of Dr. Seuss's Thing 1 and Thing 2, our own BB1, BB2, and BB3. Ok, now it really is a full house, and so far so good.

After another bout of presents, the bulk of the kidlets went outside to play "football" with Uncle M. The ones that didn't go outside wanted to, and therein began the problem. D closed the door to prevent the escape of the Other Princess and the Gingerbread Cookie into the wild world of the front yard unescorted, and they began to sob with abandon, in the way I often want to, but, alas, am not afforded the luxury. While GC ran into the kitchen to pout and cry, the loud protests of OP were suddenly silenced when she lost her breath.

OP has been diagnosed with one of those acronymic conditions: "RAS," a seizure sort of a disorder. It isn't seizures so much in a neurological sense, but more a case of passing out when she loses her breath. According to the pedi-neuro, who has examined her extensively, this extremely common disorder which affects one out of four children is not life-threatening, but it is scary.

C, as always on the alert, tried to head her off at the pass. She yelled at De, who came running in from the football game, but their best efforts failed, and OP passed out. De tried to call 911, but true to form, our up-to-the-minute 3rd-world class telephone service had no dial tone, so 911 was summoned by cell phone while C continued trying to resuscitate her patient. I asked C what 911 normally did when they came, but she did not know; OP normally wakes up before they get there. This time she did not.

So when 911 showed up they placed OP in the ambulance, and while they worked on her they interviewed C, suddenly interrupting their medical questioning to ask, "Are you S's sister?" But never mind that. They could not wake OP up, so they took off with C and De aboard to meet the helicopter at the high school parking lot two blocks away.

D and my Man drove to the high school to meet them while I did the duty that never ends: KP. The food was ready to put on the table, but thoughts of dinner no longer figured on anyone's radar, so I put the food away to be considered at a later time.

C was allowed to accompany OP on the helicopter, and De came home with D and my Man. He rounded up the BB's and M and they took off for the hospital, 30 minutes away. D and I finished putting the food away, and then the rest of us saddled up to follow.

When we got to the hospital, we were met by S and Gi, who was on duty in the ER that day. She gave us the report: OP is awake and she is stable and they are waiting for the doctor. The doctor, when she finally showed up, was very cute and personable, but...she looked like a teenager! ACK! I'm not sure she was old enough to have a driver's license, but she seemed to know what she was doing and dismissed OP after a brief consult with the parents.

By this time it was late afternoon, and everyone was starving. C and her bunch headed for the in-laws, only a few hours late, and the rest of us came home to eat our Xmas dinner leftovers. (Are they still leftovers if they were never used the first time?). C and all showed up here again after dinner at the in-laws, loaded up their Xmas goodies, and went home. M went home with them, and the rest of us settled in for a long winter's nap.

OP turned two in November, and according to the pedi-neuro, RAS is typically outgrown by the age of three. So. Here's hoping to only one more year to go...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Safe At Home!

We got our boy home last night! Just barely. Thanks to his early TEE's, he was one step ahead of the evil blizzard that crippled travel in the Northeast, and hours ahead of his classmates, all of whom managed to make it out of West Point, only to become stranded at various area airports and other places.

Amazingly enough, even with all the snow and the scare and the delay, M's plane arrived in Austin ten minutes ahead of schedule. We, however, were lagging an hour late picking him up, due to the omnipresent traffic factor of life in the city. (How in the world do people manage to live with this sort of thing on an every day basis? Another rant for another time...)

I felt really bad about that, but as it turned out, there was no need to, because even though he was early, his suitcase was a no-show, and he spent the extra hour in the baggage claim office where he was next in line when we finally arrived at the airport. When we saw him through the office window, the Blue-Eyed Boy exclaimed, "Uncle M looks sharp, doesn't he?" And indeed he did! Out of the mouths of babes....

The baggage man said his suitcase was on the next plane, due into Austin in a couple of hours. They do not deliver stranded baggage as far away as we live, so would we like to wait, or would we like to pick it up later? We would like to do neither, thank you. Fortunately, M, seasoned traveler that he is, politely inquired if they could fly it to Killeen, and whaddya know, they could. Via Dallas. But that well-kept secret is not an option that is volunteered; as is so often the case, it pays to know the right ?'s. So. Providing the luggage actually was on that plane, and providing there was enough room for it on the next two planes, we should hear sometime today that it is waiting for us to pick it up at the airport.

Luckily, the suitcase doesn't contain anything immediately necessary. Just Christmas presents from West Point. Clotheswise, he brought none, but it happens that we have a closet full of clothes just his size, so no worries on that score ;-)

We had plans to go buy a Christmas tree this morning, but at almost noon, M is still sleeping away, and he may sleep the rest of the day away for all I know or care. He apparently has had very little sleep the last few days, so I will not be waking him up today. As for the Christmas tree, my Man will bring one home with him from work shortly.

Tonight we have plans for a Christmas carol party at a friend's house. I will feel compelled to wake him up by then, if he hasn't managed on his own, but meanwhile, M is safe at home, asleep in his own little bed ;-)

Thursday, December 18, 2008


M is coming home! And he has his menu requests in. It is, surprisingly, a long list. And whatever M wants, M will have.

If someone had asked me, I would have assured him (or her!) that M does not really like my food. Actually, I would have said that about all of my kidlets. And my grandkidlets. And my Man. There's nothing quite like years of rebellion and refusal at the dinner table to put one on the defensive, but, to give credit where credit is due, or in this case not to give credit where none is due, I am not at all what one would call a "chef", though to go by the evidence, I have been at least "adequate."

So imagine my astonishment when I got a list of 21 favorite dishes he wants to have while he is home! He will be here barely two weeks, so I'm not sure we will have time to eat all that food, but we will give it our best shot.

Later, when reading the list to D, I had my second surprise when she seconded the sentiment! Now that all of my kidlets have left the best part of my life behind, I have ample occasion to wonder if they were doing any more than just passing through on their way to the future? Did any of it really "take"? Frequently I would have to say not, but then just as frequently I am astounded to find that they really were listening after all... which I guess is why one should keep on keeping on, even in the face of all seeming aridity and disenchantment. The unfathomable mysteries of life, and parenthood, are endless....

Well, M will be here tomorrow, followed by D a day or two later, so I suppose I should go and awaken the pantry and the kitchen out of their slumber. Cooking three (or at least two) meals every day will seem like a marathon after our recent empty-nested style of cooking only once every day or two.

D has asked that we not start eating until she arrives.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Wicked Winter Weather Woes

YES! "Seasonal" weather! Winter is reaching its icy fingers down deep in the the Heart of Texas, and we are freeeeeeeezing. Really.

It is down in the 30's, and even downer into the 20's this morning. The cars are frosted, the road is ice-coated, and the wind is Azore-worthy. Accidents on area highways abound, from fender-benders to rollovers, and the police plead for everyone to stay home unless they have to be out.

Now that I think about it, I believe we have passed seasonal and ventured over into beyond. In fact, I notice the weather news is replete with reports of record cold and snowfall, ice storms, and power outages all over the country, and the season has barely started. It won't even be officially winter until next week....?!! What is up with that? Oh, wait, wait. I know!

It's gotta be that treacherous global warming!

Monday, December 15, 2008


"We've had bad luck with our kids - they've all grown up." -Christopher Morley

And so it is.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I Corinthians 13 Christmas

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family. I'm just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home, and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata, but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.

Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.

Love is kind, through harried and tired.

Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way.

Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return, but rejoices in giving to those who can't.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust... but giving the gift of love will endure.

~Author Unknown~

A December Day

Sundays follow a sort of pattern around here. Generally pretty monotonous, but... thanks to my upbringing in the 50's and 60's, when the objective of parenting was training children, rather than entertaining them, I am pretty good at it ;-)

Since it is just my Man and I, Sunday mornings are no longer the frantic exercises they once were. Nowadays we get up and ready and then have time to do what we want until it is time to go to church.

The Blue-Eyed Boy spent the night with us last night, but his mom picked him up dark and early, just after 7:00am, so we barely noticed his presence this morning.

We left early, in order to have time to run off the bulletin before Bible study started. We have some new two-sided bulletin covers, the copying of which we had mastered, we thought, but we ended up doing a fierce battle with them and the machine before our eventual triumph, so it was good that we were there early. Our preacher is the best, and this morning his study and sermon were up to his usual standard.

Afterward we decided to try out a new Mexican restaurant for lunch. In the words of a friend who went with us, the place was "too upscale for a Mexican restaurant to last," specifically too clean and too light/bright. ;-/ The menu was very like the one at another place we occasionally go, only a bit spendier, and I ordered a chicken chimichanga, which was served with rice and beans. If you overlook that there was nothing green on that plate, the food was good enough, but too much to finish, and I hate wasting food!

Most of the afternoon was spent with the luxury of a three-hour nap. I have found that the most satisfying pleasures of life are the simplest: a shower, a good stretch, and, yes, a nap. By the time I woke up it was late afternoon, and we were off for the evening assembly.

We ordinarily go out and eat with friends on Sunday night, but tonight we were still full of chimichanga and things, so we skipped dinner and came home to our empty nest. Tonight we are getting things ready for a full day of appointments tomorrow, including a filming date with Emily, who is doing a segment on chimney sweeping.

At the end of the day, I am thankful for my family and my church and my friends, and I am excited that my Man has been blessed with a fine, though probably only temporary, helper. All simple things, all the best.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Bloggy Woggy

It's the Season of Sweeping, there's no time to think,
There's no time to write; I can't play, eat, or drink.
There's phone calls and schedules and things to remember,
There's clients and Xmas to fill up December.
There's shopping and cleaning, and chimneys on fire
At homes where they thought that our price was too higher.

I'm worn out and ragged, it's getting old fast!
I don't know how long I'll be able to last.
I'm tired and tireder; the pace is too quick;
I lack the endurance of good old Saint Nick.

Just us and we're tired. We're waiting to see
If we can hang on, just till February?
Only two months to go till the chimneys cool down
And then, then at last, we can go out of town.

What's that, a vacation?! Can that really be?
We'll visit our boy at W. P!
It's Plebe/Parent Weekend, and we'll spend some time
With our boy, where he stays, on the taxpayer's dime.

And then we'll come home, all rested and new,
And next thing you know, the next year will be through.
We'll be back in the trenches, just sweeping away,
Madly awaiting our next chance to play.

So there ya go, girlfriend, all I can do:
Your own bloggy woggy. I wrote it for you!

Thursday, December 11, 2008