In sickness and in health

Bill had ACL repair surgery yesterday. They gave him a femoral block, and advised me post-op to be sure to give him his Percocet every four hours for the first 24 hours. The block may wear off suddenly, and nobody wants to be up in the middle of the night screaming in pain. He actually attempted to decline his 8 pm dose, but I explained why that was not a good idea.

At midnight, it was his voice and not that annoying alarm that roused me from sleep. I fetched a bit of bread so he could take his medicine with food and leaned near his bedside groggily. I had that slightly sick feeling you get when awakened much too soon, and my primary thoughts centered around climbing back into bed as soon as he was done and trying not to faceplant beforehand.
He took my hand. “Happy anniversary.”
I smiled. It was the next day already, and he remembered.
He apologized for the less than ideal circumstances of this anniversary, our thirteenth. “I can think of no better way to spend it,” I murmured. Even half-awake, I had the clarity to appreciate this opportunity to love him, honor him, and serve him when he needs me. While it is nice to recall those heady days of courtship on a marriage anniversary, it is also fitting to remember those vows of commitment “for better or for worse.”
May these thought sustain me through the next few days and weeks as he recovers.

Popcorn! Get Yer Popcorn Here!

My boys are Cub Scouts, so they sell popcorn.

If you would like to support Scouting, and you don’t have any participating boys in your family, you can order popcorn online here. If you want to support my boys’ troop, use this order key: TE31MH. There is a drop down menu for you to pick a local council if you prefer.

But, best yet, if you want to support Scouting and you want to support the troops, you can do both at once! The website has a “Support Our Troops” program where you donate $25 worth of popcorn and they get it out to them.

This $25 purchase allows Trail’s End to ship assorted popcorn products – via Support Our Troops – to the men and women of the military. Thanks to consumers who purchase this item, Trail’s End has been able to ship 300 tons of popcorn on behalf of the Boy Scouts of America to Iraq and Afghanistan, to Overseas Military Bases, to Domestic Military Bases and to Military Families.

They also ship to APO addresses if you have a certain someone you’d like to gift.

Whose idea was that anyway?

I didn’t watch the debate (it just doesn’t matter), but I did think this “fact check” article was interesting.

From there, I went here. I have concluded that, no matter what their personal beliefs (left, right or in between), people who leave comments on news articles are among the stupidest people on the planet. I realize that my blunt language is not very nice, but I challenge anyone to find me a comment thread where the majority of the respondents write with correct grammar and spelling, use logic to make a point, avoid broad (erroneous) generalizations, accept that someone may disagree with them without being the embodiment of evil, and cite valid sources for their “facts.”

I don’t know which is worse: wasting my time actually looking at those comments or wasting my energy getting annoyed by them.

Being Thrifty

Yesterday, the boys began fencing. Even though I knew this day was coming, I was ill prepared and only remembered Wednesday night that they had no athletic pants to wear.


I had already decided that I was going to buy children’s pants from Sears, and Sears alone, so I could take advantage of their free KidVantage Club with its Wear Out Warranty (pants on boys last an average of one month before acquiring holes in my house). Sears opened at 10 am, fencing was at 11 am. It was tight, but doable.

We got there early and, as soon as the doors were opened, raced for the boys’ section. I grabbed what pants I could find in the approximate right sizes and had the boys try them on. Out of 5 or 6 different pairs of pants, we managed to find 1 to fit Fritz and 2 to fit Billy (one of his was a pair of jeans). That’s all I had time for.

Total cost: $46 and change.

After fencing, I dragged the kids to a thrift store that has 50% clothes and shoes on Thursdays (thank you, Denise, for that timely suggestion). I bought 6 shirts, 5 pants, 1 winter coat, 2 pretty Christmas-y dresses, and one pair of size 3 pink tennis shoes that will fit Mary for about one month.

Total cost: $25.38.

Thrift store shopping is a process. I didn’t find everything I needed, but there will be more next week, and some things, like a few more winter coats, aren’t desperately needed yet. Other things, like size 10 slim boys pants with no holes in the knee or church-going shoes in just the right sizes, aren’t likely to ever appear, and I’ll have to buy them new. But as long as the kids don’t mind, and the selection is good, I see no reason to go retail.

If you can’t say something nice, don’t answer the phone

I am a bad woman.

For the last week, we’ve been getting phone calls from some NCO Financial. We didn’t answer, hoping maybe they would just go away. But the phone kept ringing (15 times in 4 days) and driving me crazy. I knew it was a collection agency. No telemarketer is that persistant.

Finally, I started answering it. Of course, they were not looking for a Bill or a Michelle. They wanted Andrea. Patiently and politely I explained that there was no Andrea here. They would brusquely and rudely hang up the phone.

And the phone kept ringing.

This morning, I had had enough. I answered. I said that I was, in fact, Andrea. I said that I would be more than happy to mail a check today for my credit card which has been in default since April for more than $900.

This did not satisfy them. They wanted my bank account number.

“Are you crazy?” I exclaimed. “You called me. I’m not going to give out my bank account information to you.”

I was passed over to a manager. We had the exact same conversation, including the indignation over them asking me for confidential information. The man assured me it was perfectly legitimate. I told him that all the scammers say that. He said he had all my information, so they must really work for the credit card company.

“Really?” I asked. “And what is my address?”

He named a town in Maryland.

“You realize you’re calling a Virginia phone number, right?” He didn’t seem to think that was relevant. I persisted in explaining that if they were so smart and “had all the right information” why did they keep calling a phone number where no Andrea lived.

“You mean, you’re not Andrea?” he asked.

“No”, I confessed, “but you people keep calling me all day long even though I keep telling you there is no Andrea here.”

He was…um…annoyed.

Now I know it’s easy to think that he deserved it. After all, the company was harrassing me. But bill collectors are people too. There are other ways to stop annoying phone calls, and I didn’t even have to pick up. I really can’t justify lying, especially when I knew it would make somebody angry.

I wonder if he called his wife and complained about that obnoxious woman who was playing games at 9 am.

I just hope I live through Tuesday night. My church has confession during CCD and that will give me time to think of a good plenary indulgence. No point in spending any time in purgatory for a stupid prank.

Election Day

A third of electorate could vote before Nov. 4

My Florida absentee ballot arrived yesterday.

{Don’t even ask how I ended up registered in Florida…and my husband registered in New Jersey. That reminds me of last month when I was pulled over by a Maryland trooper for speeding. Jersey tags, Jersey registration, Florida license with a Kansas address…the officer asked why and I said “military.” He said, “Oh.” I got a warning.}

For me, Election Day might be today. Or maybe next week.

{Maybe I should wait until after the debates? Perhaps something will be said which will change my mind about the best choice? Of course, that would mean I’d commit myself to actually watching the debates. I think more Americans watched the Olympics than will likely watch the debates…and I didn’t watch the Olympics.}

The Florida ballot has SIX proposed amendments to the (state) Constitution, including one to require the Legislature to levy a tax to support community colleges. I think that one will be a no. The others, I honestly can’t figure out what they’re trying to say. “delete a provision…to prohibit possession…” I think that means we’re allowing possession, but I wouldn’t bet my life on it. When I voted in New Jersey, ballot questions such as these were accompanied by a plain language translation. That was nice.

My Florida ballot is a computerized fill-in-the-bubble form. No more hanging chads. What irked me most about that 2000 presidential election was the attempt to discern a voter’s intent. It’s one thing to count a hanging chad as a vote, but to count the “dimpled” chads was flat-out wrong. And I was most amused by the media’s marveling over ballots with no apparent vote for either candidate. I think we should require ballots to have a “NONE OF THE ABOVE” bubble.

I know it may seem odd to some, but I would rather take the time to vote for nobody than to not vote. I really don’t care who is the North Okaloosa Fire Commissioner, so I’ll probably leave it blank. And if I’m not sure about if my vote will prohibit or allow possession of property to aliens (LGMs?), then I’ll leave that blank too.

But one thing is for sure. Once I fill out this ballot and mail it in, I am DONE. I will cease to pay the slightest bit of attention to politics until the ballots close when I’ll watch to see who wins.

Happy voting.

Washed the syrup out

I was sitting at the dining room table, sewing.

whirr whirr whirr

Peter was sitting at the dining room table, singing.

the icky bicky spider

I paid him no mind until he said, “Mommy, can I wash my hands?”

I looked up and realized he had been playing with the syrup on his breakfast plate.

squish squish squish

Both hands were covered, dripping.

I took him to the sink, and he continued singing.

the icky bicky spider

Itsy bitsy spider,” said I.

Icky bicky,” insisted he.

“No, itsy bitsy meaning tiny, not icky bicky meaning cover-your-hands-in-syrup,” I chided.

“But I can’t say itsy bitsy,” he said.

“Why not?” I queried.

“I free {three}. I can’t say itsy bitsy,” he said clearly enunciating every word.

Birthday Girl

Bill was under strict orders to be in his barrack room at a certain hour to get an update. I knew I was in labor, and I happened to have an appointment with the midwife that morning. She confirmed what I knew, and I went home to call my husband in Kosovo, make final arrangements for the kids, and try to rest until it was time to have the baby.

Three other times I had gone into the hospital to have a baby. I would turn to my husband and ask, “Are you ready for this?” You can never truly know how much your life will change when you bring a new life into it. It is a wonderful and terrifying thought. I think often about Simeon telling the Blessed Mother that a sword will pierce her heart. I wonder if she heard those words with the same optimism with which I usually face a child’s birth, despite knowing in my head the physical, mental and emotional difficulties that lie in raising that child to adulthood.

This time, with a deployed husband, I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t optimistic. “I don’t want to do this without you,” I sniffled on the phone. Of course, ready or not, babies come.
And five years ago today, Jenny joined our family. Bill was able to listen on the phone, and we had a videocamera taping the event which he watched later. My sister held my hand and got to watch her goddaughter enter the world (it took her a good 48 hours to recover from that experience). It was a calm, peaceful birth. It would have been perfect if Bill could have been there.

Happy birthday, darling daughter. Beautiful, perfect, five year old bundle of sweetness.