Bill came home last night!  Of course, his flight was delayed.  Of course, the computer showed that the hop from North Carolina was in the air, but delayed, even though he was still sitting on the runway, waiting for clearance to go.  Of course, I needed to leave my house around the same time that the plane left North Carolina so I could get there on time.  So, of course, this meant I was at the airport about 2 hours before he was.

But that’s OK, because the airport has a bus ride from economy parking to the terminal, and my kids think that is fun.  So, we rode the bus and walked around and looked at the shops and had some ice cream.  We found the chapel, which made all my kids laugh because there was nothing whatsoever religious about it.  If you appeal to all spiritualism, you appeal to no spiritualism.  They should have called it “The Quiet Room with Some Religious Books Contained Therein.”  In another section of the airport, Peter admired a model of the airport, and could have spent more time there but for his impatient sisters.  Not that we had anywhere we needed to rush off to.  And then we found some windows where you could see part of the runway, so we watched for planes to take off.  I was thinking it was time to head back to the car and move it to the more accessible short-term parking, and was happy that the time had passed so pleasantly.

It was too good to be true.

Behind me, I heard a thud, and I turned as George started crying.  He must have slipped or jumped from the couch and took the glass coffee table to the center of the forehead.  Head wounds always bleed a lot.  Deep gashes bleed even more.  I hugged him to my, fortunately, purplish-red shirt and found the nearest restroom.  With Katie’s help, I managed to do wound compression while mopping blood off his face, neck, hands, and arms and my face, neck, hands and arms.  One glance told me that this was not a steri-strip or glue-it-up wound.

According to the posted schedule, we had 40 minutes or more until Bill landed.  I sent him a text for him to get when he landed, and started moving purposefully toward the bus stop, which was just about as far away from where we were as you could get.  And then we waited for the bus.  For a long time.  Just as the bus pulled up, Bill texted that they were on the ground.  By this time, George’s head was only oozing, so I decided to wait for Bill to get through baggage, and then we all went to the ER together.  Family fun.

Just a warning: if the ER docs say that the numbing gel will be enough for a little kid, don’t believe them.  A sedative would have been good.  Even wrapped in a sheet, it took two of us to keep him down.  I know it hurt him.  Thoughts of Civil War surgeries filtered through my head as I tried, ineffectively, to comfort my screaming child.  At least it wasn’t an amputation.

Five stitches and 90 minutes later, we were heading for home.  All’s well that ends well, I suppose.

Bill picked up the boys this morning.  They’ve spent the last week at Scout camp.  Had a fabulous time, as expected.  But we’re all home now.  And it feels so nice to have everybody here.  This coming week will be busy, but then we take July off.  I can’t wait.

The last scar-free picture I'll have of him.

The last scar-free picture I’ll have of him.

No Spring Pup

I knew my running partner was just about runned out.  I just didn’t think things would end so abruptly.

108We got Greta from a rescue nearly 8 years ago when she was about a year old.  We started running together right away.  It was hard work.  She was usually good at staying to my left, and she wasn’t prone to sudden stops or chasing squirrels.  Well, maybe squirrels, but I got good at seeing them first and telling her no.  She obeyed.  But the dog had unlimited energy back then.  She wanted to lead me along, and I had to constantly fight her to keep her somewhat in the “heel” position.

Back then, I was setting my alarm for 4 am.  She quickly learned that the alarm meant it was time for me to get up, get dressed, and take her out.  I had to be back by 5ish so Bill could go to work, and she made sure that I didn’t hit the snooze button.  It didn’t matter how hot or cold, rain or fair, when that alarm went off, she would dance and jump and beg and whine at me until I got out of bed.

111We had her in a dog obedience class recommended/required by the rescue.  It was Saturday morning, which also happened to be the day I had time to do a longer run.  One day we did 6 miles, and then she went in the backyard and chased balls that Bill threw for her.  He took her to class and was reprimanded for her energy.  “You need to take her for a long walk before class,” the stern instructor told him.  We bought a doggy backpack and added weight, which did seem to help.

Even when that phase of our life changed to a slower pace in Kansas, with a more reasonable wake up call, and then a new baby, and less regular walks instead of runs, she knew which clothes were for outside-exercise and which were not.  Her ears would perk up if I put on pants with an elastic waist.  She would sit up if I put on a dry-wick shirt.  And (oh my YES!!!) she would jump in circles if she saw me grab my running sneakers.  I taught her to run on a treadmill, so she could burn some energy when I didn’t have any to spare.

It was while we lived in Georgia that I realized she was starting to slow down.  She didn’t jump up when the alarm went off, and once, after I had gotten all dressed and was ready to go, I had to order her to come with me.  She was more interested in sleeping that morning, I guess.

Then George was born, and we moved even further south with an even longer hot season, and she did not seem to mind at all the slower pace and infrequent runs.  About a year ago, I started getting out on a more regular basis.  She still loved to come, but she was no longer pulling me.  One day I did 100 yard dashes, walked back and dashed again.  Ten times.  By the fifth, I was dragging her, and by the 8th, I let go of the leash and beat her handily.  She didn’t mind.

In November, she hurt her foot.  I made her rest for a few weeks, and she whined when I left.  I felt bad, but my running times were actually better without her.  After the new year, I committed to a running program that had low mileage – nothing more than 3 miles.  In part, I didn’t have the time.  In part, I knew she couldn’t handle more than that.

Two and a half weeks ago, we were on a 2 mile run.  There had been storms the night before and the sidewalks were covered with debris.  I easily dodged a few branches and Spanish moss, but Greta did not.  She was behind me, and I heard her yelp.  We limped home, she on just 3 legs.  I wouldn’t have taken her to the vet at that point, but I needed to kennel her for a few days, and the kennel wanted a bordetella vaccine, which she didn’t have.  The vet wanted to do an x-ray, and it showed she had a fracture.  The splint lasted less than a week; she broke it by continuing to use her leg.  Jumping, chasing balls.  We have had to keep her locked in her crate so she won’t play.

I wonder if she hadn’t actually broken it back in November, and it hadn’t properly healed.  Even if this was a completely different injury, I just don’t see that she’ll be able to continue running without significant risk of breaking it again.  I hope in a few weeks to take her out for a slow walk a few times a week, and see how she does.

In the meantime, I have two new running partners: Fritz and Billy.  This is our second week, and Fritz has outpaced me from Day 1.  Billy can beat me if he runs (motivation issues, and sometimes he just walks).  I am so happy we started with low mileage (under 2 miles), because **I** need the extra weeks to get used to the runs.  I had been doing 3 miles, no problem, just slow (32 minutes).  Now, these boys have me running, consistently, a mile in under 9 1/2 minutes.  Yesterday, I did it in 9:11, which is a full minute faster than with the dog.  Even if we don’t all go out at the same time, we log our times when we come home and compare them.  It will be a lot of fun in July when my husband is here to challenge us all.

112But the dog.  It’s easy to go without her now, knowing she needs to rest.  It will be hard to tell her no in a month.  And I will really miss her companionship, especially once it gets dark again in the mornings.

60 Hours Later

Even with skyping most days, plenty of life happens in five weeks that doesn’t get brought up in those brief conversations with a husband eager to collapse into bed six thousand miles and seven hours away.

We picked Bill up from the airport early on Thursday evening.  A set table and dinner was waiting at home.  Everybody had stories to tell, so there were few quiet pauses between landing and bedtime.  At one point, I was telling him two independent, but vaguely related stories at once, swerving haphazardly from one to the other as the details of the second reminded me of things I failed to mention in the first.  Fritz, who knew both stories, was frustrated at my narration and the mental agility required to follow along and kept interrupting me to clarify whom or what I was talking about.  I interrupted myself to say to him, “Look, I have been telling this man stories for over twenty years.  He doesn’t need your help.”  Fritz looked at his dad.

“I’m trackin’ her, man,” he assured our son, “I’m trackin’ her.”


This morning, we had our alarm set for 5 am and started getting kids up at 6.  Fritz stayed behind with the still sleeping tot, and shortly after 7 am, we were pulling up to the airport again.  The silver lining to an early flight on a Sunday morning, Father’s Day, was the lack of traffic and construction congestion.  We were home again before most people were likely out of bed.  This one is just 12 days and the same time zone which should make it easier to stay in touch and on top of story-telling.  And then I think he said in August, he’ll start repeating the trips he has been doing for the last year.  Yip.E.

To Nag or Not to Nag

I am very familiar with how unmotivated one can be early in the morning to get up and go for a run.  First comes coffee.  Then email.  Then…anything…is the baby up yet?

Yesterday, in the optimistic evening, when everyone was feeling great, my two oldest sons agreed that beginning a running program was a good idea.  They are considering the cross country team, maybe.  They both claim an interest in future military service.  They need PE hours.  Yes, Mom, they said, get us up to run.

Hal Higdon, 5k Novice, Week 1, Day 1: 1.5 miles.

12 hours later, same boys are moaning and looking at me like I’m a witch.  “My neck hurts,” says one.  The other is only capable of opening one eye.  They shuffle out of bed and divvy up the comics.  I give them a few minutes, but then I remind them about how hot it gets quickly.  Besides, I’m ready to go, the sun is well past the horizon, and I don’t have time to waste waiting for them to warm up to the idea.

Just do it, right?

More moaning and excuses.  I’m in no mood.

“I am not going to spend my summer nagging you for no good reason.  Yesterday you said you wanted to run.  Today you’re making excuses.  I’ll happily nag you if you need motivation, but not if you’re going to be mad at me.  I’m done.  I’m going for a run.  Come along or not.”

They came.

1.5 miles.

I was in the lead, briefly.  At the halfway point, I had been in the middle, but I got cut off, and ended up in 3rd place, where I remained.  I watched my boys quicken their paces in the last 100 yards and finish side by side.  Competitive, just like their parents.

My 1 mile pace of 9:34 wasn’t the fastest I’ve ever run, but it was faster than most mornings recently.  I’ll have to run with them every day.

There and Back (Again and Again and Again)

Today, I can finally relax and (almost) begin summer break.

(Almost, because one child has to finish a paper and one child has to take a test, and I have to do grades, and mail everything in.)

But we started summer break several weeks ago.  My niece and nephew finished school on May 20th, and my sister drove them from Tennessee to my parents’ house in the panhandle of Florida.  The next day, my mom and I met in Perry, FL, which is approximately halfway between our homes.  She got my 3 girls, and I got my brother and my nephew.

We repeated the drive the following week, only I got the girls and she got the boys.  I kept my brother.

And then last Tuesday, I drove out to them and spent a few nights in a cabin on the Choctawhatchee Bay.  Lovely.  Will have to do that again.  I went down to the beach with the little kids, and, after taking some pictures, actually sat down and sat still and just listened to the waves.  It was the most blissful 5 minutes of my week.




Such concentration

DSC_0166 DSC_0165 DSC_0163 DSC_0162



The view from my cabin

The view from my cabin

We returned home on Thursday.  It took me 7 hours from my parents’ house, which isn’t bad, just exhausting.

Friday was busy: Mass and a party for our homeschool group, pick up the dog from the kennel, girls went to a birthday party, kids came here to swim, boys had a meeting that evening.

And then yesterday.  Blue and Gold Banquet for the Cub Scouts, confession and the 4 pm Vigil Mass, then out for ice cream.  I used to hate going to the Vigil Mass.  I felt it just wasn’t right to not go to Mass on Sunday morning.  Now, forgive me, Lord, I am just so happy to have one day where I don’t have to get up and get out and be somewhere.

New Month’s Resolution for June

If you read the title of this post and know what I’m talking about, you are an old friend indeed.

It was my old posts on this topic through which I was searching recently.  I could not believe it, but I did that series for two and a half years.  My first one was July 2006.  That was nearly eight years ago.  My oldest son recently turned 16.  He was still a baby back then.  I did them faithfully every month (except for January 2007 and 2008 when I did New Year’s resolutions), and then I gave up in early 2009.

Not too long ago, I saw, perhaps in a combox, somebody (Jennie C? Sarah R?) reminiscing about this series.  For those of you who weren’t with me back then, the concept is very simple.  Instead of trying to become a new person overnight, pick one small, simple thing you’d like to work on for just one month.  In December 2006, I resolved to sit down for 15 minutes every day and relax.  In May 2008, I resolved to pray the rosary daily.   My favorite was June 2008 when I resolved to not kill my husband.  Six years later, and I’m still keeping that one!

This month, I am going to write almost every day.  I may not blog every day, but I will try to write most days.  There are a number of non-blogging writing projects I have in mind, and I’d like to see how far I can get on them this summer.  I have a growing file of outlines of things I hope to write “one day.”  Outlining counts as writing.

Are you game?  Have a resolution for the month?  Let’s hear it!