Monday, March 25, 2013

Where the *Bleep* Did Spring Go???

Before I begin my rant--and it is a rant--my partner in crime, William Kendall, has a new blog posted today at Speak of the Devil, A Day in the Life of a Cat, while we have a new joint blog post over at Basking in the Afterglow.

Now for the rant....

Didn't we transition from winter to spring in the past week? I'm pretty sure we did. So what happened? Where are the warmer temperatures? Where are the sunny days, the birds singing, the green buds on the trees, the...oh, crap! Yesterday, it snowed. Not only did it snow, it snowed a lot! We got 12.6 inches of snow! That's a record snowfall for March. The previous record, 12.1 inches, was set on March 24, 1912. This was also our sixth-largest snowfall in a twenty-four hour period on record.

Then there was the infamous Blizzard of 1982.

Yes, yes, I know that wasn't really a blizzard, but it felt like one to those of us who had to actually go out in it--like me. I had just come home from the hospital, having had eye surgery the day before, and had to take Collin to the emergency room that night because my idiot cousin, who was living with us at the time, had failed to close the basement door. Collin, who was three years old then, fell down the stairs, breaking his collarbone. Said idiot is lucky I let her live. Dad advised her to be as far away as possible by the time Mom went to the hospital to pick me up. She didn't take his advice. Too bad she didn't go--and take her dimwitted twin brother with her.

But I digress. A year ago today, we were enjoying a warm, sunny 76 degrees. What I wouldn't give for a day like that today! We've been promised 62 degrees by Easter Sunday. If it doesn't happen, our local meteorologists will be in bigger trouble than poor Punxsutawney Phil!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

It's My Spot and I'm Sticking To It!

One of the running jokes on my favorite sitcom, The Big Bang Theory, involves neurotic genius Sheldon Cooper's obsession with his "spot" on the couch in the roommates' apartment. Sheldon has chosen his special spot for a number of reasons that relate to warmth during the winter, cross breezes during summer, angle in relation to the TV set, etc. It's played to the extreme for laughs--but how many of you have your own special spot in your living room, in your favorite restaurant, or anywhere else?

When I was growing up, we all had our own spots in the living room. Mom always had a recliner. We had a large sectional couch--Dad and I each got half. In our current home, Collin has a rocking chair. He likes to bring his computer into the living room and get online while we're watching TV--he has a computer stand on wheels. I'm always on the couch, always on the end next to the endtable. Like Sheldon, I chose my spot for specific reasons: the lamp, which I need for reading, and the table, because I always have something to drink and need a place to set it down.

The funny thing is that almost everyone who comes to visit also goes for that same spot. I'm not sure why. It's like some little piece of prime real estate, like Boardwalk or Park Place on the Monopoly board!

Collin has his favorite spot in the movie theater. I only care about being in the back row. Anywhere in the back row will do. If it's stadium seating, Collin likes to go all the way to the top and get the two seats at the end of the aisle, where no one can possibly be sitting in front of us, blocking our view.

I have an issue with the backward-facing seats on our city's light rail. I don't like to ride facing backward. Maybe I'm as neurotic as Sheldon....

Church is another place where most people tend to have their special places. On any given Sunday, it's not too difficult to tell who's there and who's not by glancing around the empty places in the pews!

Collin says he used to envison a cartoon depicting the breakroom of his first employer: a long, empty table at which only one person was seated--and a waiting line for that chair!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Listen to What Your Body is Telling You...Or It Might Beat the Daylights Out of You!

Have you ever heard of diverticulitis? Probably not...even though it's a fairly common disorder. Even though my own father had it--and had surgery for it twice in the months before he died--I didn't recognize the warning signs when I developed it myself in recent months.

Until he retired, Dad was healthy and in excellent physical condition for his age. After retirement, however, everything changed. Becoming a dedicated couch potato meant weight gain, high blood pressure, and what Mom and I suspected might be the start of a rather angry ulcer. Dad was never without a bottle of Maalox. He stopped using a spoon and just drank straight from the bottle. I suggested using a straw. Mom and I got him a case of the stuff at the discount pharmacy (I see they're selling it on Amazon now--where was Amazon when we needed them?). We demanded to know if he was holding out on us, if he secretly owned stock in the company!

The jokes stopped the night he doubled over in so much pain he had to be taken to the hospital and was admitted for surgery.Part of his colon had to be removed. It was so inflamed, he was given a temporary colostomy to allow it time to heal. A week after the second surgery to reverse the colostomy, he died.

To be clear, diverticulitis didn't kill him...but it can be a nasty business. Case in point: pro wrestler and former MMA fighter Brock Lesnar, who was sidelined by it.

I suppose I didn't make the connection when it happened to me because my own symptoms were so much more first. I'd had a couple of bouts of what I though might have been the result of bad food choices. There was the occasional momentary extreme nausea that never quite resulted in vomiting, the unexplained abdominal tenderness...but it was all temporary, and even though I'd made a note to mention it to my doctor, I never quite got around to doing so.

Until a few days ago.

We'd had a small get-together for Collin's birthday. I'd gotten him a cheesecake sampler--gotta love a good cheesecake. I felt fine. No problems. That night, I woke a little after midnight with cramps. I went into the bathroom. It was so sudden--but even so, I would not have bothered to call the doctor, had it not been for the blood. That scared me enough to want to find out what was wrong.

For the next twenty-four hours, I was unable to sit up for more than a few minutes at a time and could barely make it to the bathroom. I couldn't eat and took in only a little fluid. By the time I saw my doctor, two days later, I'd lost twelve pounds.

I was given a list of instructions and two prescriptions for antibiotics. A referral to a gastroenterologist is forthcoming. I'm slowly getting back to normal and wondering what life without macadamias and cashews is going to be like....

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Happy Birthday, Collin!

I'd planned to post this at 7:56am--the exact time at which you entered this world thirty-four years ago today--but the best laid plans can go awry, even for well-meaning mothers. I planned to use your hospital photo in this post, but not only have I not yet scanned it, I can't even find it. It's in your baby book--which I believe is locked in your grandmother's cedar chest. It was unlocked all those years--what genius finally decided to lock it, anyway? (Please don't say it was me....) Instead, I'll use the photo of you with Easter Bunny on your first Easter....

Yep. That's the one. Consider yourself lucky I didn't use the bathtub photo. I'm saving that one for your future wife.

So, anyway...this is my birthday message to you, and it just happens that everybody else gets to read it, too.

I'll never forget the morning you were born. You've heard the story before, but now I'm recording it for posterity. One day your kids can come and read all about your entry into the world...and know what a wuss their grandmother was!

It was cold, it was feet were so puffy, I couldn't get my shoes on when we left for the hospital. That was no fun. In spite of everything I had read in preparation for your arrival, I had no idea those vague lower back pains that woke me in the middle of the night were labor pains. For crying out loud, they were nothing like the women I'd seen in labor on TV! It wasn't until around 2am that I realized there was a pattern to those pains. Five minutes apart. Okaaay.... I went to get Mom. Dad had already alerted her. "I think you're going to the hospital tonight," he told her after my third trip to the bathroom. Seriously. I really didn't know!

By the time we got to St. Agony's--okay, okay, it's St. Anthony's!--there was no longer any doubt in my mind that you were well on your way. March 3rd--what were the odds of you arriving on your due date, yet here you were, about to make your appearance. I was excited--and scared to death. I had no business having a baby. I didn't even know how to take care of myself! I wanted Mom in the delivery room with us, but the nurse said she couldn't go because she hadn't taken the Lamaze classes.

"She doesn't need any classes," I protested. "She's delivered hundreds of puppies and pigs!"

They didn't understand that I needed her there. They had no way of knowing that she would be a calming influence if I were to panic. Mom had always been good in an emergency. She could handle it, with or without the classes. (Besides, taking the classes didn't guarantee anything--my hospital roommate's husband took them, and he passed out during her delivery!)

Labor progressed quickly for a first baby. "How big was she when she was born?" the nurse asked Mom.

"Six pounds and a half ounce," Mom said.

The nurse smiled. "This baby's going to be a lot bigger than that."

Just what I wanted to hear....

My obstetrician finally arrived and decided to examine me. "I just checked her, Doctor," the nurse told him. "She's not dilated enough yet."

He looked up. "She is now. Let's get her into delivery."

Your birth came fast. Six hours of labor, an anesthetic for me after I socked a delivery room nurse, and there you were--eight pounds, two ounces, twenty-one and a quarter inches long, with a mop of dark hair that got everyone's attention--especially since I was bald until I was four! I remember regaining consciousness and hearing Mom talking to Dad on the phone. She was crying. I thought something had gone wrong until I heard her say, "He's got hair...."

Oh, for crying out loud!

And now, for a laugh--Collin received this birthday card from our dear family friend, Pearl....

Pretty funny, huh?