Tag Archives: friends

Big Prayers for Big Kevin

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Big Prayers for Big Kevin

There is a line from the John Wayne movie In Harm’s Way: “All battles are fought by scared men who’d rather be someplace else.”  It would seem that this statement can be applied to all sorts of situations, but it struck a chord with my heart.  Even though I am not a man and the battle on the horizon is not mine to fight, but I am utterly scared to death.

Nearly a year ago my husband, Kevin, had a seemingly routine sinus infection.  It was treated with the standard combination of antibiotics and steroids and it did get a little better.  Several weeks later, it flared up again and the treatment was repeated, but it never completely resolved.  Advil Cold and Sinus, Mucinex, Flonase were used relentlessly with little or no relief.   Eventually, he was having such difficulty sleeping due to the chronic congestion he returned to the doctor, which resulted in a failed sleep study and a referral to an ENT.  I would like to put it on the record that Kevin DOES NOT LIKE to go to the doctor, so he didn’t go to the ENT right away, he sniffled and blew and popped Advil Cold and Sinus for the sinus headaches.  The congestion had progressed to the point of him not being able to breath from the right side of his nose.  He was miserable and so he went.

I returned home from a business trip for my brand new job and Kevin reported to me that he had seen the ENT (who also happens to be our friend) and was sent for a CT scan. “A CT scan,” I had asked, “what does he think it is?  Polyps?”  Kevin told me, “He isn’t sure what it is, but he doesn’t think it is a polyp.”  So what does any wife do in this situation? Of course, I Googled. The results of my ill-advised Googling actually made me feel better.  I soon learned that the risk of having sinus cancer is extremely rare ( 1% of cancers are in the sinus cavity).  I have one message for Google, “Screw you, Google and your false sense of wellbeing.”

The results of the CT scan revealed a mass in right sinus cavity.  This was followed by a completely horrific MRI experience to rule out the erosion of the orbital bone and possible invasion of the brain.  Much to our immense relief, this was not the case.  The biopsy followed the next morning and after a brutal bloody retrieval, the tissue samples were sent off to pathology.  I had already hung my hat on the sound medical advice rendered by Google and was confident that the results would be benign.  So we settled in for the 2 or 3 days for the test to come back.

The results didn’t come.  I started getting a little nervous and started texting our friend the ENT, “Hey, it’s me, have you heard anything yet?”  After being told that the results were still not ready, my texts started to escalate from nervous to borderline hysterical.  My nurse brain started to bully my Google brain a little and my worry was compounded by further delays.  The biopsy was sent to a special ENT pathologist in Louisville and then more tissue slides were requested.  I tried to stay positive, but I knew in my heart the news was not going to be good.  Unfortunately, I was right.

Esthesioneuroblastoma, (aka olfactory neuroblastoma) was the official diagnosis.  Have you ever heard of it?  Well, if you have, then you are among a very small circle of either very smart or very unlucky people.  As it turns out, it is one of the rarest types of cancers on the planet.  Our big lovable Kevin had better odds of getting struck by lightning TWICE than developing this rare breed of cellular proliferation.  I made it from the doctor’s office to the truck before I fell apart and my fear engulfed me.  As we drove home, I looked over at Kevin through my tears and he sat quietly and bravely digesting the news.  Par for the course he prevailed as the logical bulwark in the face of crisis and I remained his never failing maniacal ball of hysteria spewing sidekick.

It is hard to conceive how truly blessed one is until you find yourself in the valley and are simultaneously lifted up in love, support and prayers by family and friends.  Holy kevandevcow!  We are extremely lucky.  But sharing the bad news with our kiddos and watching those sweet hearts break was almost more than I could stand.  Our two oldest, kevandrileyEvan and Riley had been kept fairly abreast of the unfolding situation, but it still didn’t soften the blow.  But Sophi is in Medical School in Kansas City, and we didn’t want to cause her any additional stress than she is already under. She came home and we were snuggling in bed with her late on the night of his diagnosis and while trying to be as positive as possible, Kevin told her he had cancer.  I have been witness to few things I kevandsopfound more excruciating than watching a kid who loves her daddy like Sophi loves Kevin crumble under the weight of something so heavy.

So, this blog post sucks big fat hairy buffalo balls. Personally, at this point, I was floundering and didn’t really know what to do.  My step-dad, Ron, found me hiding in the basement the day after his diagnosis, paralyzed by helplessness.  He asked me what I was doing and I told me that everything was going to be okay.  I promptly responded by bursting into tears and sobbing, “But he’s my best friend.”  It was then Ron took the wheel and I have never felt such relief in my life (Ron and I have a long history of struggles over the proverbial wheel, but I have never been so willing to give him the controls).  While I was hiding in the basement worrying about everything from possibly losing Kevin to affording treatment, he had researched hospitals, treatments, and specialist and was ready with a plan.

We will be leaving in a few days to travel to Houston, Texas to MD Anderson Cancer Center.  They are one of the few places in the country who have treated this type of cancer.  We are scared, but we are hopeful and ready to get him better.   I have teetered on being angry at God and now I am lying.  I have been really angry at God.  Kevin is a much better person than I am, he’s a wonderful husband, the greatest dad to our children and my very best buddy.  He lost both of his parents when they were much too young and he has endured a great deal.  Kevin isn’t one to share his feelings or express himself quite as demonstratively as I do, but I know he is scared, as are all men heading into battle.   A little over a year ago, I had a breast cancer scare that turned out not to be anything at all.  During that time, he assured me that everything was going to be fine.  However subdued, however subtle, this text exchange is just one example of how big he loves:

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Please keep him in your prayers.  We are expecting all kinds of miracles.

Saying Goodbye to One Fine Ass

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Saying Goodbye to One Fine Ass

festus6Winnie the Pooh said, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”  This quote sums up exactly how the folks around the Thurman farm have been feeling this week.  The legendary, elderly, clever, entertaining, dirty, scruffy, arthritic donkey, Festus, gave up the ghost yesterday and took a little piece of our hearts with him.

Festus was my hero from day one.  It has been nearly five years since our family left the town life and migrated to life on my husband’s family farm.  The horse and I got off on the wrong foot and I had a turbulent relationship with the mice who invaded my kitchen.  There was the incidental barn cat breeding fiasco, the introduction to the electric fence, and there remains a cow who stalks me and constantly tries to start shit with me.  But Festus, we were tight from day one.  Upon being introduced, I was told how his main function on the farm was to keep the coyotes away from the cows. I don’t know if this is just crap they were feeding me because I don’t really know the truths and myths of farm life, but I didn’t care.  There is only ONE thing I hate worse than that bitch-ass mean cow and that would be coyotes.  I knew right away Festus and I were going to be fast friends.

Festus was old; at least 35.  He was an old ass, but also a wise ass.  He couldn’t get around very well the last few years, his old bones were stiff.  The spring may have been gone from his step, but that ornery twinkle was there until the end.   Here are just a few of the highlights of our friend, Festus:

  1. Peppermints were the way to his heart. The old ass loved apples, carrots, and sugar cubes, but nothing made him happier than when someone trudged out to the field with pockets full of cellophane wrapped peppermint goodness to share with him.  And nothing pissed him off more than when you showed up empty handed.  He was an ass with expectations.  After nuzzling pockets upon approach, he would quickly determine if you were bearing gifts worthy of his company or if you were a human disappointment to be ignored.
  2. He was well equipped. When the little twin cousins, Carter and Caden, were visiting the farm, they excitedly announced to their mom, Jody, that Festus was having a baby.  In additional conversation with the little fellas, they announced that “Festus had a leg sticking out of his belly, so he MUST be having a baby.”  Imagine how hard it was explaining to them that is was not a leg but rather his giant donkey dong.  Old Festus set the bar very high for these youngsters.

    Carter and Caden with Festus

    Carter and Caden with Festus

  3. He was not afraid to use what the good Lord gave him. Festus was really old. He walked stiff-legged and preferred to lay around in the sun most of the time.  His range of motion was limited and so he didn’t move around a great deal and he certainly didn’t move anywhere fast.  Except that one time…when the neighbor’s Jenny (that is what they call girl donkeys FYI, not her actual name. I don’t think Festus even got her name) was all hot and bothered and prancing her fine ass on the other side of the fence.  Perhaps in his prime he would have jumped the fence for this fine piece of Jenny, but he was way past his prime.  He did, however, manage to barrel through the fence, have his way with the sultry temptress from greener pastures, and then collapse in his post-coital bliss.  The only thing he was missing was a cigarette.  He was so tuckered out by his escapade Uncle Bob had to drive to the neighbor’s farm and load his bad ass on a trailer and haul him home.  Festus was not ashamed and he got more than one, “Atta boy, Festus” from my son, husband and other male inhabitants of the farm (filthy animals).
  4. He sometimes had to say he was sorry. On not one but two different occasions, Jody encountered Festus when he wasn’t on his best behavior.  She claims that she was giving him treats and he bit her.   Jody is a farm girl and knows how to saddle and ride things and drive tractors. She knows how to round up cows and raise steers and all that jazz.  So, she definitely knows how to give an ass a treat.  I talked to him after the first incident and he said he was sorry.  After the second time, I started to think she was either showing up without the proper treat or using peppermint scented hand lotion.  Festus wasn’t mean, but as stated above, he had expectations.
  5. He always was excited to see you. It didn’t matter if you hadn’t visited in a day or several weeks, Festus greeted you with his one of a kind, high decibel, uniquely his own, welcome bray.  While I could try to explain it to you, there really aren’t words to adequately do it proper justice.  You can click on the video below to experience a greeting Festus style.  Loosely translated, he is saying:  Hello, my friend.  I have missed you.  I love you.  You better have peppermints. Get over here and hug my shaggy ass”:

 

 

Festus, you were one fine ass.  Thank you for making us smile.  You will be missed.

 

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Partly Sunny with a Chance of Cancer

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Partly Sunny with a Chance of Cancer

 

The fact that I am 44 pisses me off. I might look 44, but I rarely feel it and even less than rarely act like it. It is only when I have to dig my readers out of my bag so I can read a menu or someone asks me my age and hearing myself verbalize the truth always sounds strange; that age belongs to someone else—someone old. Then I have to get real with my aging self. There are signs all around me that I am no spring chicken. I don’t dare jump on the trampoline without completely emptying my bladder first. I have to pluck more areas on my face than just my eyebrows and if that isn’t bad enough, I turn down the radio in the car when I want to talk. WHO AM I?

It may be part of my internal denial and my hopes to cling to the youth I once had, but often I don’t take time to ensure that my ‘old lady’ medical checks are done routinely and regularly. If my body was an automobile, it would not get the routine maintenance, fluid checks and changes, or the occasional diagnostic checks. Nope. I just kick the tires and turn up the radio to drown out any clanks or knocks.   This is exactly how I ended up way behind on my annual health checks (and when I say way behind, I mean several years, not months).

A couple of weeks ago I was rarely not traveling for work and folded under the intense pressure by my husband (who is also not as young as he used to be) to get my wellness exams caught up. I showed up to complete the well-woman’s circle of life maintenance check. They looked in my throat and under the hood and checked the pipes and that all went fabulous. I ended the fun-filled day with a mammogram relieved to finally have all of it completed. What I wasn’t expecting was the call I received shortly thereafter—We need you to come back in for an additional test. There was something suspicious on your mammogram. And just like that, things just got real.

I spent the next week out of town with work and tried to tamp down the word “suspicious” that kept slipping out of my subconscious and tap dancing all over my conscious. It is really hard to focus on work when you have an ambiguous word tap dancing in your brain. I arrived home and went for boob-smash ‘take two’, which led to yet a THIRD boob smash a couple days later. Boob smash number three was the equivalent to having someone fold my right titty into an Origami swan and then secure it firmly into a vice grip. The whole thing gave “titty twister” a completely new meaning, with the end result being that it wasn’t the end at all.

I was scheduled for a needle-guided surgical biopsy the next morning. The good news is that I was asleep for the “surgical biopsy” part. The bad news is I was wide-ass awake for the “needle guided” portion. Holy God, a little GHB or chloroform next time, please! I should mention this included mammogram number FOUR, and a big needle, and a Styrofoam cup taped over a wire hanging out of my boob? It was all kinds of glamorous. In addition, I had my husband, and Mom and Stepdad with me, which would have been appropriate if I was having a heart transplant, but holy cow it does feel good to be loved.

And then we waited. Waiting was difficult enough, but I was scheduled to fly out of town for work and so I had to wait 700 miles away from home. I do try and plan ahead for these situations. Unbeknownst to her, I had put on my initial paperwork that any and all health information could be shared with my sister, Kim. She called me early in the week to ask if I had heard from the doctor.

Kim:   Have you heard from the tests?

Me:        I am not calling.

Kim:       Yes you are. We have to know.

Me:       Yes, we have to know, but I am not calling. You are.

Kim:       What the hell? They won’t tell me anything.

Me:        I already signed a consent saying they could tell you anything.

Kim:       You are shitting me.

Me:        I shit you not. I can’t hear bad news from the doctor. If it is bad I need you to tell me.

Kim:       I hate you.

Me:        I know.

Kim:       I love you.

Me:        I know.

 

She called and we had to wait a few more days before the results were finalized. In the interim, I didn’t sleep much. I prayed a lot. God always knows when I am in trouble. I am so predictable. I also inventoried my life and the way I live it. My life is a continuous battle to keep what is important at the forefront. My little priority ducks are a bunch of bastards that I can never seem to keep in a row. I consistently fail at being present in the moment and I had to have a suspicious something show up on a mammogram to remind me that I don’t have an infinite amount of moments. I still have so many damn ducks to wrangle. At some point in my existence I want to present my wily-ass little ducks to the world in a complete and unified row.

Later in the week:

Kim:       Hey! How are things in Texas?

Me:        Mostly sunny with a slight chance of cancer.

Kim:       (sobbing)

Me:        The results are negative, aren’t they?

Kim:       (sobbing) Yes!! And now I can breathe again. (I knew if it had been bad news, she would never had let me hear her cry. She, too, is predictable).

Me:        Thank you!

Kim:       I hate you. Don’t ever do this to me again.

Me:        I love you.

Kim:       I know.

Cancer is a beast and I have seen mighty warriors fall to its ruthlessness. I will not pretend that I was not scared shitless. I am NOT a warrior. Hell, I can’t even keep my ducks in a row.   My days of kicking the tires and running on empty are behind me. I came away with a heck of a scare and a right boob that looks like it might belong to the Bride of Frankenstein. But those are two outcomes for which I have boundless immense gratitude. Life’s forecast can change without warning and I am blessed beyond belief with family and friends with whom I can find shelter, when there is even a mere threat of a storm. The truth is, I probably won’t ever get my shit completely together, but I will bet my right boobie that I won’t miss another mammogram!

 

 

 

 

 

In Other News…I Didn’t Throat Punch Anyone Today

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In Other News…I Didn’t Throat Punch Anyone Today

It’s been one of those weeks. You know the kind. The kind that sucks all the life out of you and then sucker punches anything positive that comes along to attempt to resuscitate you. Nothing catastrophic occurred and I am usually a tad more resilient that the tone of this post suggests. I try to keep a firm grasp on perspective, but sometimes (and this could be completely hormonal) I let this stupid world chip away at my resolve. There are times, like this week, when I cave to my fragile state of being human and I just want to rage against some of the ridiculousness around me.

The truth is I am cranky. I am on the road this week for work and I miss my family. My new gig will take me away from the homestead for several days at a time. Usually, when things go smoothly at work, I can cope with the homesickness. When I baboon encounter work issues that leave me feeling like I have had a piranha gnawing on my fleshy backside all week, it tends to increase my longing for home.   This is actually a tad ironic, because I know that upon returning home after several days, my house will look like a troop of half-tamed baboons live there. Just the same, they are my troop of half-tamed baboons, so I can miss them if I want.

There may be more to my sour mood than I am willing to admit. I am not at all equipped to comfortably spend extended periods of time with myself. Dealing with people all day and then retreating to my hotel room, I am left with no domestic distractions to defuse my day. Instead of laughing at my kids or grappling with the laundry or following Kevin around, while chatting incessantly, I am left with just ME! To be completely honest, I am not really a good influence on myself. There resides in me an innately powerful imagination and when left unchecked it can go off the rails in a hurry.

Left to my own devices, I mentally start to rewrite parts of my days, with different endings than what actually happened. It is sort of like a lonely game I play ripped off from those books I had as a kid, where I could choose different outcomes for the characters based on what I wanted to happen. If I wanted Billy to find the hidden treasure, I would be directed to page 65. If I wanted Billy to get stuck in a pit of quick sand with little hope of rescue, I could turn to page 78–Twist-a-plot books or something along those lines.

My week in twist-a-plot:

Reality: A handful of people I have encountered this week have been resistant, negative, and demanding. I remained pleasant, professional, and accommodating as humanly possible, while mindfully funneling the tension from my face directly to my tightly clinched butt cheeks.

Twist-a-plot: I look at them and propose, “That is an excellent idea. Let me just reach into my bag and pull out my magic lamp and rub on it. I am sure that genie will appear any second and make all of this possible.” When no genie appears, I smile sweetly and say, “Looks like you’re shit out of luck.”

 

Reality:  After wrapping up a long and trying day, my boss says, “Are you okay? You look tired and you seemed to have lost weight. I can really tell in your face.” I give a half-hearted smile and reply, “I am fine. I am just tired.”

Twist-a-plot: I look up and reply, “Really? You can tell in my face that I have lost weight?! My face has never been fat! My ass is fat! My thighs are fat! Hell, even my freaking knees are fat, but I am dropping weight in my face! When was the last time you saw a weight-loss commercial with the hook line: ‘got stubbborn face fat…we can help’…..” Heavy sigh.

 

Reality: Random Facebook post shows up on my newsfeed regarding the potential of a specific kind of creative expression to offend certain people. In reality, I keep scrolling.

Twist-a-plot: I pop my knuckles, in that I-am-about-to-get-down-to-business-now kind of way and I type a comment: It is beyond me why so many people have to make a damn mountain out of every little mole hill. It is your choice to make this into something it clearly isn’t. There can be an argument that most of what people do or say can in some fashion potentially offend others. The least of these is passing close-minded judgments on others. Teach others to be tolerant by example…learn to laugh at yourself.

 

Reality: When FaceTiming with my family, my son, Evan, appears on the screen and I am so happy to see him. I say, “Hey, Bubby! How is your week?” He replies, “Good, but you better hurry home, the laundry is piling up fast around here.”

Twist-a-plot: Evan replies, “Hey, Mom! We sure do miss you. Don’t worry about things at home! We are keeping up with all the chores so you won’t have to come back to a huge mess.” Just as I smile and say goodnight, a large pterodactyl comes crashing through the window into my hotel room, lays a giant pterodactyl egg and collapses dead on the floor.

 

NOTE: I added the pterodactyl to the last twist-a-plot, because the idea that Evan would be a willing participant in an effort to forge through the household chores to spare me from having to do so, is so far-fetched, I felt the prehistoric bird was needed to add an element of believability to the scenario.

This is life. It’s okay to laugh, even when you are homesick for your half-tamed troop of baboons.

 

 

June Bugs in April and Other Good Stuff

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June Bugs in April and Other Good Stuff

June bugs rarely make me smile. I hate the way they Kamikaze haphazardly into my head and get stuck in my hair. The way they pelt the window panes and scratch junebugon the window screens with their thorny little legs is creepy. The crunching sound of the smashed exoskeleton under an unsuspecting flip flop is one of summer’s most disgusting sound bites. Ahhhhh….but did you catch it? The magical word that will hopefully melt away the tragic epidemic of Seasonal Affective Disorder running rampant throughout the Midwestern United States—SUMMER.

When I discovered Lulubelle (my slutty yet un-spayable barn cat) gleefully batting a June bug around in the garage, I smiled. Because I am so tired of the slush, sludge, flurries and ice from winter, that I welcomed the crispy bug of summer with open garage. It’s only April and I associate June bugs with June and I associate June with SUMMER and so one Mr. (or Ms.) June Bug has arrived early (according to my most-likely flawed schedule) and when the June bugs show up good stuff happens. The sun hangs longer and burns brighter. The rivers and beers flow more freely. Friends linger longer and gather more often. Unfortunately for this little messenger of hope, Lulubelle is not only slutty, she also murders June bugs. Well, everyone can’t have a Hakuna Matata ending, it is, after all, the circle of life and who really cares, because summer is almost here!!!

The thought of warm days and zero snow days puts a spring in my step and a reenergized attitude about everything (and by everything, I mean everything but housework, laundry, and domesticated chores in general). Inspired by my most recent audio books (because I like to read and I like to move, so this way I can do both at the same time) which have been narrated by readers with British accents, I have taken to speaking with a British accent to my family and my dogs. (Please read the next sentence exclusively in a British accent): I am quite certain that it is dreadfully maddening to both my family and my dogs. (It’s kind of fun, isn’t it?).

Saturday morning I was still in bed talking to my little dog, Cooper. I tried to get my husband, Kevin, to join in the fun.

Cooper-our little poppet

Cooper-our little poppet

Me: Kevin, say to Cooper in a British accent, “Why hello, Cooper. How’s my little poppet today?”
Kevin: No
Me: Just say it.
Kevin: No
Me: C’mon. Cooper likes it.
Kevin: Nope.
Me: Please, Kevin. Just say it.
Kevin: No.
Me: Why?
Me: Why won’t you?
Me: Kevin?
Kevin: (In the BEST British accent ever) BECAUSE I DON’T BLOODY WANT TO!!

The June bug has brought a message of hope, my slutty cat killed the messenger and my husband was obviously a closet watcher of Benny Hill or Cell Block H when he was a youngster. Every day is an adventure! Have a great week and don’t forget to share a bloody smile you dreadful wretch!!

What Lies Between the Hectic

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What Lies Between the Hectic

I am guilty. I live life too fast, take on too much and try to cram way too much activity into an incredibly small space of time. My mom used to say I went at everything half-cocked and half-assed, which is more or less true.
This weekend was an action-packed full-throttle weekend. Now it’s Monday and I am tired, my laundry situation is critical, and I am bummed because I missed two of my favorite little guys’ birthday party. However, I did manage to attend one day of a two day track meet, coach four basketball games, watch at least six more basketball games, cook one decent meal, discard another perfectly good meal by accident (sorry, Kim) and remembered to buy dog food and people food at the store yesterday evening.
I need balance. I have never had it. I am an unbalanced individual. My children are unbalanced. Most of our meals are unbalanced. My husband, Kevin, is the only thing consistently centered and balanced in our household. We are like a bunch of spastic little electrons spinning around him. He is our nucleus.
There are kids, dogs, cats, laundry, sports, and chaos happening all the time and there is always at least one person claiming to be on the verge of starvation at all times. I look around at other families at the youth sporting events and envy the collective manner in which they seem to have it all together. I imagine their dinners with foods from all the food groups, all the laundry folded and tucked away, and everyone waking in the mornings to the smell of bacon frying. It’s a far cry from my reality. In my world, pizza is counted as a healthy choice, even if it has zero veggies on it. The Thurman’s battle over the last clean towel before anyone would actually put of load in the washer and we usually start the mornings, with: “Oh $hit! (fill in the blank with any of the following:
a. We over slept
b. There is no more hot water.
c. The dog threw up on my pillow.
d. Does anyone know where my (track shoes, backpack, phone, hairbrush, etc.) is?

socksThis is NO LIE. Sophi has gone to school, not once, but TWICE without wearing shoes! She realized it when she was almost to school, but Kevin was getting onto Evan for one thing or another and so she chose to stay quiet. She hops out of the car in her socks, walks into school, and has the school secretary call me at work. The secretary said she had worked at the school for thirty years and had kids forget all kinds of things, but this was the first time she had ever encountered a kid who forgot to put on her shoes! (We Thurman’s like to set the bar really high). Sophi explained the situation, “Well, I put my shoes by the door and I grab them when I go out the door. Sometimes my ‘go’ gets ahead of my ‘grab’.”
Riley, my oldest, called to say she was coming home from college yesterday for an impromptu visit. This kicked me into ‘Mom mode’ and I went to the store to get people food (and dog food) and threw together a meal that included almost all of the food groups. Right before I finally closed by eyes last night (actually, it was early this morning before I got to close my eyes), I reflected on the best parts of my weekend. I concluded these were the best parts:
ariley• Snuggling with Riley and watching a movie long after I should have been asleep.
• Seeing my crew of young girls come together as a team and win will grace and lose with grace.
• Laughing at my son, Evan, as he entertained us with his unique and totally inappropriate sense of humor.
• Celebrating Kevin coaching Sophi’s team to a sweet tournament victory.magic
• After calling Kevin a maniac for tickling me until I screamed, he calmly asked me to give him a definition of a ‘maniac’. After my in-depth definition of a ‘maniac’, we lay there in silence for a few seconds. Realizing that I had just described myself to the letter, we both burst into laughter.
sophevanLike so many families, we are constantly on the go. We often let our ‘go’ get ahead of our ‘grab’. Sometimes, it seems like life is lived at a frantic pace, but I know better. There are those things found in the moments between the hectic that really count. The snuggles, laughter, love and smiles are the moments that matter. More time is something I wish for, but I have found I don’t really need more time; I just need to carve out more moments between the hectic.

How My Teeth Ended Up at the Bottom of the Pool

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How My Teeth Ended Up at the Bottom of the Pool

Many children go through an awkward stage. My awkward stage was of the extended variety. First of all, I was the fat sister. When shopping for jeans, I had to get ‘husky’ fit, whereas my dainty little sister had to get ‘super slims’ or something equally offensive to the husky sister. In addition to my childhood chub-factor, I had great teeth, that is, if I had I been a child of the woodchuck variety. In fact, my mom used to remind me to brush my teeth by saying, “Don’t forget to brush your bucky-beavers.” Is there really any wonder my self-esteem spontaneously combusted before I even reached puberty? By the innocent age of 10, my self-image amounted to one of a grossly obese bucked-tooth rodent. Nothing says fun for a bucktooth chubby girl like putting on a bathing suit and going to the public swimming pool. What can I say? Even fat bucktooth girls like to have fun, so when my friend, Nikki, (yes, I had friends) invited me to go, I went.Keeping the teeth behind the lips.

Nikki’s mom accompanied us to the public swimming pool and we got down to kids-in-the-summer-at-the-pool business. Splashing and swimming on the shallow end of the pool was fine, if you were a baby, but Nikki and I weren’t babies! Heck no! We were ten and we had to pass the ‘swim test’. The swim test consisted of swimming back and forth the 25- yard width of the pool under the watchful eye of the teenage lifeguards. Completing this feat without drowning granted us admittance into the kingdom of the exclusive (insert dramatic pause here)…the deep end. This was the time before we wore helmets or seatbeltsand we could play outside after dark. This was the age of a public pool having a low dive and a high dive!! A legally sanctioned ‘danger zone’ of sorts and we had a ball. We plunged from the high dive and flipped and flopped from the low dive. We did back dives, front flips, cannon balls and can openers; unaware that injury was just around the corner.

After my turn of going off the low dive, I had circumvented the ladder exit and opted to get out of the pool by stepping onto the gutter and hoisting my chubby butt out of the pool. Note: I can only speculate on two reasons for me to have chosen this way out of the pool. I was either too darn lazy to swim the rest of the way to the ladder or I was trying get ahead of other kids in the line for the diving board. Either way, I always tend to deviate from the customary route in life. It rarely ends well. This was no exception. As I was climbing out of the pool, my hand slipped and I fell back into the water, but not before catching my ‘bucky-beavers’ on the concrete lip of the swimming pool. I managed to climb out of the pool and I thought I had paint from the pool on my teeth because they felt weird on my tongue. However, when I opened my mouth to tell the super-cute head life guard, Jimmy, that I was okay, the wind hit the wet exposed nerves where my teeth had broken off and instead I howled like banshee! It was white hot blinding pain.atooth3

I am not really sure how Nikki’s mom was alerted to my dental dilemma, but I remember she was there telling me to keep my towel over my mouth. Before getting into her car so she could rush me to my dentist, I looked at my teeth in the reflection in the car window. Holy Mother of God, my bucky-beavers had been reduced to the jagged nubs of an aging opossum! I was hideously more hideous than I had ever been! I sort of started to panic and I wailed behind my clamped mouth, which held the stalactites that were once my teeth. Dr. Jackson, however, remained calm and despite my wet, wiggling, bawling self, managed to build me back a brand new set of ‘bucky-beavers’! Dr. Jackson—dentist to some, miracle worker to one.

 

My mother had arrived at the dentist office to bear witness to my latest adventure. Her relief to the restoration of my bucky beauties was nearly palpable, which lends credit to the old saying about not knowing what you have until it’s at the bottom of the public atooth2swimming pool. I was told I could eat or drink just like normal but I should avoid drinks like tea and grape juice, because they might stain the bonded parts of my teeth. My mom fixed chicken for dinner and as I bit into a chicken leg, one of the bonded teeth broke off and the saga started all over again (only I wasn’t in a bathing suit). Mom doctored me with Tylenol and pity and the next day Dr. Jackson rebuilt my tooth again and this time it was for good.

I am happy to report that I still have the bonded teeth that Dr. Jackson built for me when I was 10 years old. They have endured three sets of braces, several retainers, and a couple rounds of bleaching. Looking at pictures of my ten-year-old self for this blog post, I realized that I wasn’t fat. In fact, I wasn’t even a chubby kid. It is curious what things my childhood brain absorbed and molded into my reality. It is completely amazing to me the impact that buying into one bogus belief created a persona, which I have struggled nearly my entire lifetime to overcome. Leave it to me to try and shatter the stigma of being a fat kid, when I was never even actually a fat kid! Trust me; I didn’t need to invent reasons to be self-conscious. If your teeth stick out of your head far enough to catch on the lip of a swimming pool, that’s probably reason enough!