Thursday, November 19, 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
I started feeling the tell-tale signs Sunday afternoon, after a rousing family trip to Costco where we spent almost $400 on food and a two-pack of ink for my HP printer, which is now WAY more expensive than gold per ounce. I ignored the signs, however, because if I take my migraine medication it puts me to sleep, making it difficult to harass my children into cleaning their rooms and walking the dog. Also, we had invited my in-laws over for dinner.
After we arrived back in North Bend, I had my husband stop at the grocery store because, shocker, even with $400 worth of food and printer ink in the back of the car I still didn't have everything I needed to cook dinner. I purchased basil and a couple of green chili peppers at Safeway and then we headed home to unload the mountain of Costco purchases and cook dinner. I knew my headache was coming, but I figured I could make it past dinner and then head straight to bed. I should have listened to my head, however.
I was making a new recipe, roasted chicken with grape tomatoes and basil. The chili peppers were to add a little heat to the sauce. I de-seeded a pepper and sliced it according to the recipe instructions. Because I watch the Food Network, I remembered to wash my hands several times to remove all of the capsaicin, which as every budding home cook knows, can linger on your hands and cause you to burn your eyes and mouth and other soft tissues of unmentionable nature. After dinner, I told everyone that I was just going to have to go to bed because my headache was getting worse and I excused myself to wallow in my own misery.
I went in to my room and started preparing to head to bed. First, I took out my contacts. Actually, I say 'first' but in reality it was the first and last thing I did. Why, you ask? Because as soon as I put my finger in my eye to pull out my right contact, I felt a burning which I would equate to placing my eyeball directly onto a stove burner. Blinking back tears, I muttered how stupid I was and I washed my hands several times and then moved on to my left eye. Amazingly, it hurt even MORE than the right eye, similar to dousing it with alcohol and then placing it directly onto the surface of the sun. I dug around for my contact blindly, but couldn't get a grip on it. More burning. I flushed my eye with contact solution, washed my hands AGAIN and went back for another go. MORE BURNING. Three more tries and I was now wiping the apparently irremovable pepper toxins and remnants of soap all over the entire surface of my eyeball, and I had yet to extract my contact. At that point, I was willing to just go to sleep and let my eye fuse shut permanently, contact and all. So, I took my migraine medication and staggered, weeping, over to the bed and crawled under the covers,
When I awoke the next morning, my headache was still there, but thankfully my eye was blessedly not fused permanently shut, and it didn't burn anymore. I went over to the sink to throw away my other contact because I figured that if I wasn't able to wash my hands enough to get rid of the evil pepper juice, no amount of soaking over night was going to take it off either. Then, I attempted to locate my left contact. I fished around in my eye, but I couldn't find it. I searched again, but no luck. It was when I looked down into the sink that, lo and behold, I saw it, shriveled up near the drain. I wonder now how many times I unnecessarily probed and prodded my eyeball after the damn thing had fallen out. At least three. And there was the time that I thought I had the contact but instead was actually pinching the surface of my eyeball in a last desperate attempt to remove it. I'm sure it just fell out on its own in a tide of tears sometime after the second attempt.
Is there a moral to this story? Yeah. I just don't know what it is right now. Something to do with peppers and migraines and refusing to cook dinner for my in-laws ever again. I'll figure it out eventually.
Monday, June 2, 2014
Monday, April 7, 2014
Friday, February 28, 2014
I recently returned to the dentist after several years of having better things to do. About six months ago my husband procured dental insurance, so I went in with my entire family and we proceeded to get x-rays and cleanings and examinations. Fortunately, many years of avoiding the dentist didn't have any negative effects on my teeth, with the exception of having to endure thirty minutes of scraping with extremely sharp metal objects.
I was scheduled for a follow-up cleaning on Wednesday and so I showed up to my appointment fully prepared to endure 30 more minutes of scraping. But first, it was "let's poke your gums until they bleed" time. I learned quickly that you should not flinch, jump or make any movements whatsoever, because if you at any time indicate that the poking causes you discomfort, it brings on yet more poking to determine whether you have gum disease. Apparently, if you have "sensitivity" you may have gum disease. I challenge anyone to be poked in the gums with sharp objects and not have "sensitivity" but I am not a trained dental professional so what do I know.
My dental hygienist was a very nice woman who was very concerned about my gum health. While poking my gums she inquired about my flossing habits:
"How many times a week do you floss?"
I immediately lied to her. "Three times a week," I said, because it was a better answer than the truth, which is "at least once a year or when I get beef jerky stuck in my teeth." I knew the truth would bring on continued poking and I was finding it difficult not to jerk around because I was already experiencing "sensitivity".
"Hmmmm....you know, you really should floss every day." She continued poking, and when satisfied that she had at that point poked the requisite number of holes in my gums, she said, "Well, looks like you are good at three times a week! Just keep doing what you are doing."
Take that, American Dental Association!!
We then reached the portion of the appointment wherein the hygienist asks you a question just as she places a cleaning tool, a suction hose and both of her hands in your mouth.
"Do you have any kids?"
"Ihteen, el le-ehn an nin"
She clearly could understand me because she kept asking questions, and when the cleaning was over I felt as if we had a lovely conversation and would be lifelong friends. At least until my next appointment, when she starts poking my gums again. I never encountered the actual dentist during this appointment. That's next time, when I am due for another examination and more x-rays because they need photographic evidence that all of my teeth are still in there. And I am going to try really hard to floss more, at least three times a week, so that I will no longer be lying to the nice lady who cares about my gum health.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Back in those quiet days before I had children and when I thought I knew everything, my husband and I would often discuss "those parents" who entered their kids into every sport and activity imaginable. You know the ones. They drop off Jane at Tae Kwon Do while simultaneously picking up Jack from soccer and then dropping him off at his scout meeting. They return to pick up Jane and deliver her to her soccer practice, and then realize that Jane forgot her soccer clothes that morning because she didn't get out of bed until five minutes before leaving for school. Naturally they begin to fashion shin guards out of random materials found in the car, which by the way smells like expired snack food because not one of the children can be trusted to jam a pre-practice snack into their mouths without creating a four-foot blast radius of goldfish crumbs. Once Jane has been delivered to soccer practice, they quickly run to the grocery store for more snacks that will soon be permanently adhered to the back seat . It is at that point that they receive an accusatory phone call from the school because Jill has been waiting outside on the curb for two hours and OH MY GOD THEY FORGOT ABOUT JILL!
We weren't going to be those parents. Absolutely not.
It all began so innocently. Several of Maggie's friends played soccer on a club soccer team. Mind you, this soccer team was in an entirely different town than we lived in, almost forty minutes away, but we were willing to make that sacrifice for our daughter, who had at that point never shown any interest in soccer, who had never even kicked a soccer ball as far as I know. After that first season of soccer, Maggie has developed into quite the athlete, alternating between soccer, basketball, track, cross country, that ice sport with the brooms and competitive mood swinging, for which she should probably get an Olympic medal.
Then, there's The Boy. The Boy has never been very interested in organized sports. He claims to like baseball, but I know that the only reason he likes baseball is because the coach gives him sunflower seeds and bubblegum and spitting is acceptable. So, we decided that swimming would be a good sport for him. There's no downtime where you are waiting for a baseball to be hit out to you in left field and so to pass the time you dig a little hole in the grass with your cleat and then when the ball, by some cruel act of fate, flies in your direction, you promptly trip in the hole and fall down while the ball sails over your head. In swimming, you are either swimming or you are sinking, and there's a lifeguard to save you in the case of the latter. So, I went online and purchased a "jammer", which is a variety of swimsuit which is not quite as obscene as most Speedos, thus guaranteeing that no self-respecting overweight white European would be caught dead wearing it, and signed him up for the swim team. He also participates in archery, which despite the fact that we have voluntarily given him sharp projectiles against our better judgment, has turned out to be an enriching experience. We just got the sign-up sheets for baseball, so I will soon be doomed for the foreseeable future to sit in the pouring down rain in subzero temperatures so I can watch my son dig holes with his cleat and spit a lot.
Ella swims and plays soccer and basketball. When I say "plays" I mean that she runs in the general direction that the ball is travelling and then looks around for an adult to give her some direction as to what to do once she reaches the ball. She has absolutely no independent ideas about what should happen, which generally results in a situation where she is holding the ball with a totally blank look on her face, just waiting for an adult to activate her via voice command. A typical soccer game or basketball game sounds something like this:
Coaches and various parents: That's your ball!! Get that ball! GET IT!!! PASS THE BALL! NO, NOT TO THAT GIRL, SHE'S ON THE OTHER TEAM! WAIT, COME BACK, YOU'RE GOING THE WRONG WAY! THAT'S NOT YOUR BASKET/GOAL!!! UH OH...GO GET THAT BALL! GET IT!!!
And so on. Many children are frequently voice activated by the wrong parents, which would explain why none of the players seem to really understand the game at all. They're clearly just there because someone told them there would be snacks.
So, as you can see, over-participation in sports is a real societal problem. But, I will have to address that later, because right now I have to go get the kids from the bus and deliver them to swim practice. After that, Matt has to pick up The Boy from swimming and take him to archery, while I pick up Ella from swimming and Maggie from preseason track, and deliver Ella to her final basketball practice of the season where they will be going over the fine art of not passing the ball to the other team. Hopefully I don't forget anyone, but I probably will.
Thursday, January 16, 2014
You know the one I'm talking about. It's the one where The Boy woke up in mid-April, appeared to have rubbed some of my very expensive blush around his eyes and adopted a manner of speaking that sounded much like Clint Eastwood the time he told that punk to make his day, only this time Clint had clearly been smoking about ten packs a day. He punctuated his performance by coughing dramatically for emphasis, like this:
Boy: "Mom. *cough* I'm not *cough* feeling *cough, cough* too good.
Me: "Well, you don't have a fever, you don't sound congested, and you were up until midnight last night playing video games in your room without permission."
Boy: "But *cough* I couldn't *cough* sleep because *cough* I was *cough* COUGHING."
Me: "By the way, you lose your DS for a week."
So, imagine my surprise when I found out this morning that he was not nominated along side of whoever was nominated for their performance in those movies that I have yet to find time to go see and probably never will.
Our life with The Boy has included many such performances, not all of which are related to fictional illness. Many of them had to do with "forgetting" to do his homework and our magical cats who apparently had the ability to express themselves in the form of primitive wall-drawings. For a while there, I began using the "one out of every six words" method to decipher exactly what The Boy was trying to tell me. This method was based on the assumption that only one out of every six words that came out of The Boy's mouth were true. It's kind of like one of those codes where you look at a paragraph and then you write down every sixth letter on a piece of paper and it forms a secret message except that there's no telling which of the six words is the true one. For example, at around the age of six, The Boy said to me, "Mom, the cat took my colors and drew a picture of some dinosaurs on my wall." After visiting the scene of the feline crime spree and applying the 'one out of every six words" rule, I was able to decode the sentence into the following (true words will be in all caps). "MOM, I stole your sharpie and DREW some random scribbles on my WALL and also I really love DINOSAURS."
Needless to say, it got to the point where I generally disregarded everything The Boy said as being a blatant lie. "I don't have any homework today." could be translated into "I haven't turned in my HOMEWORK for at least five weeks." I tried many times to tell him the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf but after each recitation of the story wildlife sightings in our backyard increased ten-fold and according to The Boy the animals were responsible for his missing homework.
In the past two years, The Boy has finally turned a corner where I can believe most of what he says, except when it comes to "not feeling well" which is generally still code for "I stayed up in my room with a flashlight and a pile of Lego pieces in my bed and didn't fall asleep until two in the morning." So, on Monday morning, when it appeared that The Boy had rubbed some of my very expensive dark eye shadow around his eyes (maybe one day he'll win the Oscar for makeup) and was speaking with an extremely raspy, Rod Stewart-esqe voice, I prepared myself for the inevitable. Knowing that if I took him to school I was likely to receive a phone call from the school nurse within twenty minutes of arriving at home, I decided to let him stay home and rest. He of course experienced a miraculous recovery at around 3:15 p.m. on Monday, right about the time that his sister came home. When Tuesday morning rolled around and the pathetic coughing began anew, I told him that he would be going to school because he didn't have a fever and he seemed fine the night before, despite the fact that his speaking voice indicated that his sinuses were mere moments from exploding. I knew better, you see.
Or, I thought I did. I arrived at work (a forty-five minute drive away from school) and settled in to plow through my day. About a half an hour later, I received an extremely accusatory phone call from the school nurse, stating that The Boy said he had strep throat and that I forgot to give him his medicine and he was in the office and he really didn't look well and he had a slight fever and that I should come get him. No, I said, he doesn't have strep throat. Yes, I said, I did forget to give him Advil this morning for his sinus headache. NO, I said, HE DOES NOT HAVE STREP THROAT. Having thus received my nomination for Mom of the Year, I sheepishly retrieved The Boy from school and planted him on the couch with an assortment of broth-intensive foods and the remote control. Despite the nurse's insistence that he really was sick, I still had my doubts, but those were dashed when I found him fast asleep on the couch during an episode of a dinosaur show on National Geographic with nary an electronic device or Lego within reach.
So, I guess I've learned my lesson. Perhaps The Boy can be trusted again. He's still at home, recovering from what I think is a head cold but what he insists is either the flu or Ebola. Every time I ask him how he is doing he coughs for emphasis. I think I'll let him stay home tomorrow, too.