Friday, October 10, 2008

more things to cry about

Thank you for all of the well wishes and phone calls that have flooded our house in the past day. Your notes and calls have really lifted me up.

Thankfully, my mother and father are both doing well and are at home.

With Dad, his stroke was very mild. He woke up one morning and had blurred vision out of one of his eyes. He was admitted to the hospital for a few days and has since regained full sight. When I spoke with him today, he sounded chipper and loved the joke that I had received from my friend, Lorie.

"If you had purchased $1,000 of Delta Air Lines stock one year ago, you would have $49 left. With Fannie Mae, you would have $2.50 left. With AIG, you would have less than $15 left. But, if you had purchased $1,000 worth of beer one year ago, drunk all of the beer, then turned in the cans for the aluminum recycling REFUND, you would have $214 cash. Based on the above, the best current investment advice is to drink heavily and recycle."

(Thanks, Lorie. It's a very rare thing when my father laughs out loud.)

With Mom, after spending 24-hours in the hospital and undergoing a series of tests, it was confirmed that she didn't have a heart attack. Mom has been under a lot of stress and although I talk with her every day, I am so busy rambling on and on about what's happening in my world, I have been oblivious to the challenges that she is facing. Right now, Mom needs prayers and love. If you have her address, please drop her a note. (If not, drop me a line and I'll send it to you).

I'm reminded, once again, that it's really difficult living so far away.

If only I could be a little closer to help.

So within the past 24-hours, Charlie and I have extensively researched real estate from South Carolina to Vermont. And then we looked at the approximate value of our home and nearly wept when we realized that the nice chunk of equity we had established has almost completely vaporized over the past year. And then I received our third quarter financial statements yesterday and choked when I saw that the children's college education fund has dropped by 25% and both of our 401Ks have dropped by 35%.

No, we don't need that money any time soon, but GAH.

Drink heavily and recycle, indeed.


I've been really struggling with varying degrees of sickness for the past few weeks. I think what happened is that I caught a cold from the kids - and then - was hit with another bug (from the kids) before the first bug was fully out of my system, and because my immune system was suppressed, I'm having a very difficult time recovering.

What is up with these lethal preschool germs?

Sweet Camellia!
If they bottled this stuff up and blasted it in to enemy territories, we'd be seeing white flags everywhere. This is biological warfare. And to think, I'm paying good money to be this sick - every single week!!

On Monday, I went to the doctor and was prescribed an antibiotic that four days later, has done nothing. Clearly this is a deep-seated (seeded?) viral infection. I don't think I've ever experienced anything like it ... as in ever in my entire life have I been this sick. Or maybe I have, but the sinus pressure being exerted on my brain is blocking out all memories of any previous illnesses.

I've had to cancel all of my appointments and have left the house only once since the beginning of the week. If I hadn't had my tonsils taken out 25 years ago, I would be thinking that I had a severe case of tonsillitis. My days have consisted of taking taking pain medication every four hours, blowing my nose, sipping Green Tea with honey, and looking for some place to put my head down.

Thank God for Charlie. If not for him, the children would be eating Club Crackers and drinking water that they'd have to get for themselves. At least he is staying on top of the laundry and grocery shopping. And cooking. And dishes. And bathing. And teeth brushing. And dropping the children off and picking them up from school.

Charlie told me earlier this week that he was starting to feel sick. But I immediately went to bed and moaned, "Only ONE of us can be sick and MY sickness trumps YOUR sickness. TAKE A VITAMIN." Tomorrow, I have another doctor's appointment. I don't know what they are going to tell me, but I hope they tell me SOMETHING. More importantly, I hope that they DO SOMETHING. Otherwise, I fear this whole survival of the fittest thing is working it's way in my life and I'll be gone soon.


The children turn four next week.

As part of the Montessori tradition, on the day of their birthday, they will walk around a circle of their peers - carrying a globe - completing a full rotation for each year that they have been alive.

The teachers informed me of this tradition when I went to pick the children up one day last week. They told me that they would be having three separate "parties" for the children - since they are in three separate classes and I needed to come to school with snacks for all 24 of the children in each class with drinks, cups, plates and napkins and a goody bag (optional). Considering there are 24 students in each class times three ... I need to provide enough snacks, drinks and associated equipment for 72 children.

And for the first time ever, I wish that they were all in the same class.

What I have figured out is that the school our children attend is largely Hispanic. And I think that although goody bags and sugary treats are 'against' the Montessori method ... they are very much in line with Hispanic traditions. Think of the piƱata, right?

Seeing as the children are all in separate classes and they will be out of town with me next week at a business meeting in Palm Springs (because Charlie has declared that there is NO WAY he is staying home by himself for four days), they were scheduled to have individual parties in each of their classes, this week. William was due to have a party on Wednesday; Elizabeth on Thursday; Carolyn on Friday.

All of last week, I brainstormed what kind of snacks I would provide during the parties - and what - if any, goody bags I would supply. Since personally, I am opposed to giving children too much sugar and a bunch of cheap trinkets, finally, it came to me.

I took the children to a local pumpkin patch and we carefully selected 72 gourds which would represent the treats. This took me ten times longer than it should have, because when I was counting them out, "One, two, three, four..." the kids were also counting, showing me that they have learned numbers in school. But they weren't counting in any particular order. "Fourteen, Nineteen, Twenty-Eight, Eleven, Thirteen, Fifteen, Forty-Four." I must have restarted at least twenty times before I wised up and handed them pieces of gum to keep their mouths busy.

Then the next day, I took the children to an apple orchard, deep in the local mountains, and we hand picked organic apples. These would be the snacks - to accompany the fresh carrot and banana muffins that I had planned to make the day of the parties.

But seeing as I am so sick - I had to reschedule because there was no way I could carry off three separate parties, three days in a row. And just today, I noticed that the THREE BOXES of carefully selected gourds which have been in the back of our car in the blazing heat are rotting. I have since precariously stacked the remaining gourds on a very small table in front of our house in an attempt to "aerate" them.

Whether or not they last for the two weeks until the children's parties remains to be seen. In the meantime, I'm sure any one that walks by will think, "That lady is out of her gourd."

And they would be correct.


The one outing that I took this week, aside from visiting my doctor's office, was to the grocery store to pick up a mere three items: Omega-3, lettuce and bacon for a BLT that Charlie had been craving. The children were with me since it was the one time all week that I had picked them up from school.

My mother had seen something on Oprah earlier in the week and said that because a woman's brain shrinks during pregnancy (I had heard that before), it is really important that we take an Omega-3 supplement for our neurological health and memory. Or something.

So off I went to the store. With the triplets.

Carolyn is riding in the cart, stealthily pulling apart the leaves of lettuce that I had neatly put in the cart next to her and dropping them on the ground as we walked through the aisles. I only noticed this later when I was circling back and saw all of the Red Leaf Lettuce strewn about. William and Elizabeth are walking. They are touching everything. They are throwing random things in the cart. I am taking things out of the cart and placing them on random shelves.

I wander over to the vitamin aisle in a daze. My head is throbbing, my throat is raw, my nose is running and I have no tissue. I stand there for an eternity and I cannot remember WHY I am there. I know I need something but what I absolutely cannot recall. It was only by the Grace of God that I overheard someone ask a clerk where the Omega-3 was and my memory was jogged.

I follow my fellow customer to the Omega-3 source, pick up a bottle, make my way to the checkout, pay for my groceries, load the children in the car, drive home, get all the kids in the house, unload the packages and Charlie sees that I forgot to buy bacon.

The first and most critical component of the BLT.
But alas, I did purchase, thanks to my children, a Kakakiki KombBrush for African American hair care.

"Charlie, sure I forgot your bacon. But here's a nice brush to untangle your not-quite African hair. Because I am so on it."


  1. oh girl. So sorry about your sinuses. There are few things more miserable.

    I must say that I love your preschool party solution. Hope the gourds last until the parties...!

  2. So glad that things are going better for your parents. Hope that you beat the beast you have soon.

    Your party ideas are great but it does sound like the kids are going to get to practice counting some more:)

  3. This might sound weird, but have you tried a neti pot for your sinuses?

    I had never heard of it, but was desperate last spring for my daughter (freshman in college at the time) to get over the sinus infection that she got in October 2007 and it was then June 2008!

    (The preschool germs are a beast, but then the kids go to college and live in a dorm... YUCK!)

    Anyway, you use a saline solution in the neti pot to clean out your nasal passages. My daughter went back to school armed with her neti pot and she uses it everyday in the shower as a preventative measure. So far so good, but then again it is only October...

    Hope you feel better soon. I teach kindergarten enrichment in northern NJ and the first few years I taught I got slammed with LOTS fun...


  4. Karen in Buffalo10/10/08, 7:13 AM

    So relieved to hear that your parents are doing better.
    LOVE your ideas for the kids parties... very clever and smart in my eyes!
    I hope you or your Drs. can figure out how to make you well again soon. Have you been using your nasal wash thingy?
    Take care!

  5. Humor is the best medicine:)

    So glad your folks are better.

    I can't believe CYM didn't declare first from half way around the world!

    Have you tried Musinx DM??? Wonderful stuff. Clears the head!

  6. I REALLY like the idea of the party favors and snacks. Such a nicer and healthier solution than store-bought cupcakes and candy!

    But I'm so sorry to hear about the sinuses...that is just the absolute worst. Hoping you feel better soon!

    And also really glad to hear about your parents!

  7. I'm glad you and your dad enjoyed that bit of recycling humor! I have to tell you that my good friend, Courtney, made that one up!

    I hope that you are feeling better and rid of your nasty yuck before we come down on the 18th!

    Also, happy to hear good news about your mom and dad! :)

  8. Hate to be a downer but it is possible for tonsils to grow back. a little known fact. Better have them checked out!
    I would liek to highly recommend a steroid shot! Works every time I get that crud!

  9. Ugh. Those preschool parties are rough! Our school has a no sugar policy, which I love.

    The children there also travel around a lit candle behind a class sun, carrying a globe. I just cut up a watermelon and left the pieces in the watermelon rind. That was their snack. We didn't need to bring in all of the napkins and no goody bags, thank goodness.

    Oh, after all of this bragging (sorry!) I can tell you that Costco is selling boxes of gourds, should you need some replacements.

    I do hope you get better soon. I had something similar last spring and it stuck around forever. Ended up getting a nasal steroid spray, antibiotics and nasal rinses, zicam and come other stuff. Miserable. Feel better soon.


  10. Holy crap, I miss a day or two and you guys go to hell in a handbasket over here!!
    I was so glad to read that both of your folks are doing ok, regardless I'll be praying for them heartily.
    I got your message about the nasal rinse, and I agree I do use a neti pot on my sinuses daily (sometimes 3 times a day)I found however with this particular infection that the neti pot was making the pressure worse... My ENT mentioned that it was possible that I was doing it too much and also that the salt mixture was actually making the irritated lining of my sinus passages, even more inflamed and pissed off. I understand that analogy...
    In any regard, I SO feel your pain, and am currently on a THIRTY day regimen of Clindamycin... I have to take those suckers FOUR times a day. I don't even pee 4 times a day... For 30 days...
    I'm thinking of all of you...

  11. SO glad to hear your parents are better.

    I'm ignoring the part where you talk about moving to the East Coast because it wouldn't be fair for us in good old Ca to lose such a wonderful family.

    Hope you feel better soon.

  12. I'm so sorry to hear about your parents, but glad they are doing better. Hope you feel better. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts.


  13. First and foremost, so glad your parents are okay. So so so glad! Whew!

    Next, the preschool bugs are mutant forms of biological warfare. Here's what I've surmised with my one-year-ahead-of-you wisdom. If the shit doesn't kill you, you will be so strong this year. I swear the stuff has mutated since we had it as kids. I think you get all of it again and you have to build up your immune system all over again. Because the kids have been super duper sick this year already and I haven't, and I had three of them in bed hacking on me last night. I'm telling you, I am golden now. (bahahahahahahhahaha).

    Finally, I'm jumping in the stock market on Monday. I'm throwing it all on red, baby!

  14. For Jenna's Mom -

    So glad to hear that you are feeling better. This is a note to say how much I have enjoyed meeting you from time to time at our playdates! You are an amazing lady. And I draw strength for those challenging moments with my 4 when I recall the stories Jenna has told us of you and your family! You are an inspiration. And a great role model. I am so glad I've been able to meet you and come to know you a little . . . :-)

    Just something I've thought but had no occasion to say!

    Feel better . . .

    Jessica in Cardiff

  15. I read your blog often but don't usually have time to comment...but now I'm sure I'll have to make some apple goodies soon....your pics totally got me in the mood! Thanks for the inspiration...but I'll have to chat with you later about my waist-line!!

  16. Your writing makes me laugh out loud. I feel your pain on the sinuses and second the steroid shot mentioned earlier. Glad your parents are doing better and will do on the prayers for Mom. Hope you're feeling better soon!

  17. I was reading your post today and I just wanted to pop in and say I hope you feel better. I just recently got over a cold/sinus/tonsilitis thing that lasted well over a month. I started on antibiotics for what they thought was strep (and may have been) and it came back within a week of finishing them. Started another round of a different antibiotic... repeat process. Finally I was given the antibiotic shot and a seven day course of a third antibiotic and that finally did the trick.

    The doctor said he'd seen a lot of whatever this antibiotic resistent crud was this year.

  18. I'm so glad your parents seem to be okay! That must be so hard, being so far away from them. Good luck if you do decide to move.

    So sorry you are sick. I hate being sick, and I can't wait (read that sarcastically) until we get preschool germs from our little one. Luckily, I've still got some time.