Monday, May 31, 2010


Today, in the midst of routine Memorial Day shopping for lawn work and BBQ supplies, my brother called to tell me my parents had been in a motorcycle accident. All he really knew was they were on their way to the hospital, all other details were sketchy.  Suddenly I found myself helpless, unable to know what had happened and left with only my imagination to fill in the whos, the whats, the whens and the wheres. In shock, I wandered the store aisles far longer than needed; it’s hard to see the hamburger buns when I’m busy looking for reassurance.

I came home and helped with the yard work, trying in vain to pretend normal actions would make everything else normal again. Finally my brother called with more information. My mom had severe road rash, but nothing was broken. My dad, however, was pretty hurt: broken ribs, shattered shoulder blade, and being taken up for emergency surgery.

I somehow felt even more helpless. Mechanically I worked through my chores, for what else could I do? My body in New England, my heart in New Mexico. If I thought about it too long, I might come completely unglued, so I tried not to stop long enough to process.

I call my mom, I call my sisters. I call and I talk, but it isn’t enough. My brothers, one with my mom posting updates, the other dispersing the information to the rest off us, they help keep their poor sisters up to date. At least they are helping in some way.  Finally we find the surgery wasn’t in his chest, as originally thought, but his abdomen. My dad is now spleenless, but this diagnosis is far better than lungless.

Still, I am helpless. I want to be in the waiting room holding my mom’s hand. I want Peter to speak colleague to colleague with the surgeon, getting all the details in doctor jargon and translating to us in layman’s terms. I want to tell my siblings my husband thinks this is just an easily fixed, no problem, small deal.  At the very least, I want to not see the worry and concern on the face of a man who knows when the news is bad.

I want a reset on my day, to wake up to a happier reality, or to discover it is all a cruel practical joke.

I am helpless to have anything I want. I have nothing to give, nothing to offer, no way to fix, change, or relieve. My family needs help and, despite being full of desire, I am empty of ability. Helpless.





Maybe this is why I must constantly remind myself that I am in reality? The reality is that my father is (hopefully sleeping) in the ICU; he is in horrible long term pain. The reality is my mother’s skin has been ripped and rubbed with asphalt; she will sleep alone tonight. The reality is that my parents’ lives have changed forever. The reality IS reality, but I can’t seem to put my mind around it.

Dear God, please help me, help my mom and dad, for I am helpless.

post signature

Obviously this is not a post about the fantastic time I had at the Casual Blogger Conference last weekend.  Unfortunately I have other, scarier, things on my mind today.   I've learned that Motherboard's husband was also in a motorcycle accident today and, last I heard, was still in surgery.  If you can spare some extra prayers, send some their way, too.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Long runon sentence or short blog post

Do you ever have so much housework to do that you just don't even want to get started, but you keep trying to remember that your mother is coming to town and if you don't do it, she will

... and then you will feel guilty when she is cleaning your house; so you try to get it done, but at the same time you keep thinking, "if I just wait, I won't have to do it at all," and then you realize this is the danger of being supermom who can fix anything- they grow up and still half think you can fix all their problems (at least housecleaning ones)-

...and worry your kids will feel the same way and you will be going to their houses and cleaning the rest of your life,

...but then think maybe that isn't a bad thing, but that is really rationalization so you don't feel bad when your mom comes next week and does it?

Me neither.

So, anyway, I'm cleaning up all day today (and tomorrow).

Wish me luck.

post signature

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

At least someone loves my parents enough to visit.

My poor parents had the misfortune of giving birth to a not-prone-for-homesickness sort of person.  I never wonder where my children inherited their lack of separation anxiety, it all came from me.  (And having to never worry about my kids freaking out when I leave them anywhere, I would like to take a minute and thank myself)

When I went to college at the tender age of seventeen (my 18th birthday a distant month away), I did not go back home till probably Thanksgiving.  It wasn't like a huge ordeal, either.  It was a 40 minute drive from Provo, Utah to Sandy, Utah.  (I just mapquested it and it was 37 minutes / 31.71 miles).  At least I called often, right?  Wrong.  I was and always will be the worst caller on the face of the planet.  Back then I, as a computer/electrical engineering major, had access to one of the only computer labs connected to the internet, but e-mail was a brand new concept and wasn't going to be a way to communicate.  (Lest you think I remained in an engineering program, I did not.  After my sophomore year I transferred to physics education- you know to teach high school physics.)

So anyway, half way through my freshman year I started dating some guy 3 1/2 years older than myself and newly home from a mission to Norway.  Guess what he loved?  Going home to visit my family.  So all of a sudden we were headed over almost every Sunday.

Fast forward five years.  I've married this guy, we have 2 children and live 17 hours away from my family (Mapquest says 17 hours 4 minutes / 1185.25 miles) while said husband is in his second year of medical school.  I had argued, quite successfully I felt, that we should stay home for Christmas.  It was too much hassle to load up the car with all the presents and drive 17 hours straight (yes, that is how we always made the trip, without stopping unless the car was hiccuping its last fumes of gas) for only a little over a week.

I know, I am a true sentimental.  Sue me.

Anyway, Peter finished classes up and came home with this look.  "I really, really want to be at your parents' for Christmas."  I was in the middle of protesting when the two by four made contact with my head (this is a figurative two by four, my husband wanted to go, but not THAT badly).  Hello?!?  My husband was begging to make an insanely long and cramped drive . . . to see my family.  How backwards is that?  So I took a deep breath and said,  "Yes."

We loaded up the car that afternoon and set off immediately.   We told no one except my sister and her husband (because someone needed to know if we never arrived).  With the exception of a terrible snow storm through Nebraska and a deer who nearly killed us when we almost hit it, we made it through great.  Actually the snow storm and deer hit (figurative again) at the same time and the storm prevented us from stopping to save the deer.  It was saved by jumping out of the way at the last second and gave us the adrenaline to not worry about getting sleepy for the rest of the trip.

The next morning we pulled up to the house, set our two kids on the front porch, rang the doorbell, and ran to the side of the house to observe the results.  It was awesome!  My family couldn't figure out why two little kids were on their porch at first, then they were recognized and reality hit.  One of the best Christmases ever.  Totally worth the 17 hour drive without being able to move my legs (I insisted we could only go if we fit all the presents into the car.  I was literally -not figuratively- packed around and drove the whole trip with presents on my lap, under my feet, and around my body.

So anyway, loving family, just know that someone in this house loves you enough to make sacrifices.  And you're lucky I married him.

The End.

(This post is part of 5 for 10: Yes! and also a response to a pleasant memory I had when reading Momza's blog this morning)

What we packed into that tiny car:
 Luckily, Peter's brother loaned us a car top for the return trip:

This was our first year with matching pajamas.
My mom made them after we showed up
(please do not note the flat topped hair
and yet to ever be plucked eyebrows):
The whole family (why are you not there Brenda?) at temple square:

Lest you think my husband heartless
we spent New Years in Las Vegas with his parents.
He loves you guys, too:

post signature

Monday, May 17, 2010

I normally love unannounced visitors.

I remember as a full grown woman (with a couple little ones myself), going over to my parents' house and walking inside.  No knocking, no calling ahead, no nothing.  In fact, I'm pretty sure I had my own key.  Anyway, I wandered the house looking for anyone home.  In the basement family room I finally found someone: my brother's friend, eating cereal and watching TV.  He informed me my dad was still at work, my siblings were at various activities and my mom had run to the store.  It wasn't until later that I realized how odd it was that the only two people "home" didn't actually live there.  My parents had (and still have) a very open door policy.  Because of that, I grew up with an appreciation of and expectation for unannounced visitors.

Really, I love drop by visitors.  I mean, if you can handle a bit (or sometimes a large amount) of mess, I love to have you.  (Unsure if you qualify?  I've made a quiz for you to gauge your comfort level).   However, the crickets that keep sneaking into our basement are not exactly welcome, nor was the family of skunks a couple years back.  Last week I had another unexpected and not too pleasant visitor.  I mean really, neighbors, stop on by, just make sure you're of a HUMAN variety.  Also, you might want to knock before entering that front door the kids left wide open; don't just barge (or fly) in.  Oh yeah, and don't come if you don't know how to let yourself out.  Banging against the skylight is not productive.  I do appreciate that this visitor didn't poop on my furniture.  In case your wondering, I appreciate that with all my visitors.

post signature

Friday, May 14, 2010

That fickle thing called Memory

I forgot my children had dentist appointments last Monday. Four of them. In a row. Technically I didn't forget as much as I thought it was next Monday.

My husband says he remembers telling me when he got the reminder post cards, when he got the reminder phone call, and when he went to the dentist last Thursday and was told they had appointments. I, of course, have no memory of any of these conversations and he was out of town the day of the appointments. I can't really blame him (although I would really like to) because I did have it written on my calendar and do remember, when coordinating piano lesson times last week, mentioning there were dentist appointments set for that Monday.

(Please, please do NOT tell my husband as I am still willing to fight the "well you should have let the answering machine pick up when you saw it was the dentist calling, then I could have heard the reminder call" fight.

Husband, who gets an email of this blog: I am making up the piano thing to make you look less guilty.

Every one else: *wink* *wink*)

So anyway, I am positively, absolutely, 50% sure I had a memory before I had kids. I always say each pregnancy and infant related sleep loss kills about 20% of brain cells. After five kids I was at full brain deadness. The 6th put me in a memory debt so deep Dave Ramsey couldn't dig me out.

I once knew, and could use, a multitude of physics formulas. I struggle now to remember words with multiple syllables. Case in point? The other day I googled "crazy person suit with long sleeves" to help me remember the term "strait jacket." Not only do I love the example because it doesn't actually fit the case I was pointing, but because of the irony of what I was looking up.

You want to know the hardest things for me to remember? My kids names. Or at least the correct name of the child I'm calling. "Elise, Ryan, Joseph, Matthew, um, whichever one of you is 9 years old, come here right now!" If I ever blank on your name, just be glad I remember I still know you at all. Seriously, I blanked my own husband's name the other day. ("You now, the guy I've been married to for 14 years, the name is on the tip of my tongue." - This does not make a good impression on people for some reason.)

So. Was I talking about something?  I kind of remember.  Something about appointments?  Oh yes, I was writing about how my husband can't seem to remember to tell me the dentist called to remind us of appointments.  I swear, What's-His-Name's memory is so bad.




(If only I could remember where I hid some chocolate.)

post signature

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Lump of coal for Mother's Day?

I am a good mother...

My kids always eat healthy:

They're well groomed when we go to the store
(both in hair and shoes):

I provide only wholesome, educational entertainment:

I take pride when they follow my example:

I always provide adequate supervision:

Their chores are age appropriate:

I only provide well put together outfits:

They always have the best birthday cakes:

I would never make my sick child go to a party because I spent 500,000 hours making costumes:

I stay well rested so I can give the kids the energy and attenetion they need:

And the house is always spotless:

And that is why I was given a couple of lumps of coal for Mother's Day
(although they went through a few million years of pressure before I got them):

Happy Mother's Day!

post signature

Thursday, May 6, 2010

My life needs a narrator

The other day I had an epiphany.  Before you get too excited let me warn you: I'm a frequent epiphanier.  For unexplained reasons, the rate seems to increase sharply with lack of sleep, during showers, or when cleaning too long without listening to something in the background.  Some might think there is some sort of explanation for this that involves words like "lunacy" or "one strange woman", but I prefer to keep things mysterious.

So, back to this particular epiphany.  I realized that there is something missing in my life that, the addition of which, would make things so much easier.  I need a narrator.  Yep, that's right I need a voice over providing commentary throughout the day.  I'd prefer a large booming radio announcer sort of voice, speaking with gusto to some unknown audience.  

Wait!  Unroll your eyeballs and let me explain.  Think about how much easier it would be to have some omniscient narration keeping track of my life!  The next time I declare I want  to take the whole family on a 5K run, a voice could remind me, "And those were her famous last words"  before I leave the house.

What about using the restroom?  As I try to sneak a couple minutes in the narrator could be saying something like, "Meanwhile, down in the living room, the boys decided it was time to visit the neighbors ... in their underwear."

While making dinner I could get the heads up, "If only she knew her husband won't be home till late and the kids won't touch the food, she could save time and just provide chocolate chip cookies for dinner" or while headed to the store, "How long will it take before Charlotte remembers her wallet is not in her purse, but is still sitting by the computer?" 

Speaking of which maybe the next time my keys/remote/shoes/library books decide to wander off, it would be nice to have the narrator wonder aloud, "Will she ever think to look in {insert most bizarre place I will find keys/remote/shoes/library books this time}?.".

The more I think about it the more I think my life may never be complete without a narrator to help me out.   I'm still working out the details- whether or not other people should be able to hear my narrator, if I'm allowed to speak to him, and how comfortable the straight jacket will be (does it come in colors?).

I can't be the only one who would benefit from some life narration.  What would your narrator sound like and what would he/she/it be saying?
post signature

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Dead last in the 5K *Slightly Updated*

For a while now I've been feeling the strangest sensation.  It started as a bit of curiosity, but slowly has grown into a real desire.  To run.  Not the "away from it all" variety of running, either (although from time to time I feel that, too), but the real life, tie on some shoes and hit the pavement type.  I think it stems from a desire to reconnect to life in a physical way or maybe to reinstate my mind's authority over my matter, but for whatever reason, I've felt drawn to running. What I've been lacking is a catalyst to begin.

So when my husband informed me his work was having a 5K race, asking which kids I thought would like to participate, I answered that it sounded like a fun for the entire family.  "Why don't we all go?"

Famous last words.

After a rather rainy, windy, cold week, Saturday morning was gloriously pleasant.  We managed to rummage up exercise clothes for all eight of us and didn't have a single missing tennis shoe.  We drove over, registered and waited out an hour break.  Although Peter initially volunteered to stay back with the younger two kids, in the end I chickened out and took that job, letting him keep up with the older four.

One minute before the race began, poor Matthew mistook our friend's leg for Peter's and freaked out when the wrong face peered down at him.  So the race began just as my three year old decided being attached to the hip of a parent was safer than taking his chances among the throng of bare adult legs.

But I knew I couldn't carry him, so instead I herded a reluctant, whimpering child for the first several minutes.

At 5 minutes into the race ...  I finally convinced him to run with me a few yards.  But when he fell flat on his face, he decided he'd rather not.  The two minutes I spent comforting him (while trying to keep the five year old in my sights) was the only time I carried either child.

About 10 minutes into the race ... the first runner passed on the other side, already on the home stretch.

At 1 mile into the race ...  we were passed by a 500 pound man (and can I tell you how impressed I was with this guy?  He was going our pace the whole time, but eventually we slowed down.  I'm sure walking 3.5 miles could not be easy, but he was doing it).

At 1 1/4 miles ... we were passed by a woman breast feeding her newborn baby as she walked, her empty hand pushing the stroller .

1.5 miles ... a 75 year old couple shuffled past.

2 miles ... the 9 month pregnant lady waddled by.

Just as we crested 2.5 miles ...  I saw the police car cruising the route.  When he reached us, he turned around.  We were officially bringing up the rear of the pack.

The 3 mile marker was about the last time we had any other participants in our site.

And still we walked.  And walked.  And walked.

We had at least 5 people stop and ask if we were okay, if we needed a lift to the finish line.  I would smile and decline the offer.

The last half mile my two little ones lost their steam, but luckily we could see the stop light that marked the finish line.  (Or at least I hoped so, as I knew both children didn't have much left to give to the effort).

We crossed the finish line 1 hour, 27 minutes after we began.

But they crossed the finish line, my two little ones.

I don't know if they were listening when I encouraged them at the end, telling them they were stronger than they realized, that they were going to make it, but I was listening to my own advice.  Tomorrow I am going to start running.

(If for no other reason than so next time I'll have an excuse to stay with the older kids and let my husband take the younger two).

post signature

P.S.  In case your wondering, my older two boys made it in 44 minutes, the girls and Peter in 48.  Not bad for a family that has been doing little to no physical exertion for the last few months.

*Slight Update*
My husband would like to point out two things:

 1) He did walk back and catch us at the end with some hydration for the kids and to make sure I wasn't piggybacking both of the kids for the whole race. 

2) It is pouring rain today so my dreams of running might be put on hold till tomorrow (unless the rain clears up).