Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Does the Toothfairy pay interest?

I have always been a bit ashamed, but yet readily admitted to being a big baby when it comes to needles. From the time I was little I fainted whenever I would get a shot. My mother has told me a story about when I was small, and getting a shot at the doctor's office. If I remember correctly, I was about 2 years old and I apparently fainted when the nurse gave me the shot. She went into histarics at the sight of my limp little body but my mother just calmly told her that it was Ok because, "She does this all the time." I am still very much that way. I am never too proud to keep it to myself when getting blood drawn, or an IV, or any other form of torture the medical community calls "treatment". I always inform whomever is my tormentor that I will likely get woozy, and could possibly pass out....they are very thankful that I prepare them for the possibilities instead of just falling out on the floor without warning! In fact, I have fainted so much that I am very familiar with the signs and can even tell you when I have gone so far into the process that there is no turning back. I have even fainted lying down! Did you know that could even happen?!? So when I recently got dental insurance after years (and I do mean YEARS) of having none, I was scared. I had been having tooth pain for at least a year and there was a large hole in the surface of the tooth that was causing my pain. I was fine at the initial appointment, but then I found out I needed 5 fillings, and the tooth that was hurting so badly needed to be pulled. Strangely it was a baby tooth...one of my 6-year molars to be exact. An adult tooth never formed under it, and so my body held on to my baby tooth all this time! The dentist told me I was lucky to have kept the tooth for 32 years, as it was designed to be a "disposable" tooth. Even so, I was not happy that I was going to get so many shots! Luckily I had chosen a dentist whom performed concious sedation. Hmmm, I thought that was a contradiction in terms!?! But who the heck cares...as long as I dont know whats going on, you can call it anything you like! The morning of the appointment I was nervous and sick....trying not to run to the bathroom and barf! I woke at 4am and couldnt get back to sleep. I jumped on my email, facebook, and surfed the web a bit just trying to keep my nerves in check. Then at 7AM I took my meds....all three of them. Usually patients are instructed to take one .25 mg pill an hour before their appointment and then once at the dentist office, they are given another .25 mg pill. But when I told the dentist I would rather give birth for a 6th time, than have a single shot of novecaine in my mouth, he sent me home with three .25 mg pills to take all at once...plus they were also using laughing gas during the appointment, and still giving me the shots!!!! Anyway, I took the pills at 7 AM. By 7:20, I was feeling pretty good. I remember my husband asking me to go get into our truck right then because I was getting really relaxed.....but I dont remember getting in the truck. I remember my friend Patty (our baby sitter for the day) arriving in our driveway...I remember seeing her lips moving...but I have no idea what she said. She told me later we had an entire conversation where I was slurring my words and smiling like the Mona Lisa the whole time....she also said it was all she could do not to laugh in my face! I remember being in a wheelchair, but I dont remember how I got there and I have no clue if the memory of the wheelchair was before my appointment or after. I vaguely remember 2 shots, and thinking "Oh they are giving me 2 shots....hmmm...ok" and thats it! My husband told me he wasnt worried until on the way home from the appointment I began talking about yard gnomes and mailboxes and chuckling a funny kind of laugh. I dont remember any of that...but he said he never saw a single yard gnome on the way home. The meds kept me out til 8PM!!! After arriving home, I have a few moments of memories...but not much at all. Once I came to, I looked through all the stuff the dentist sent home with me. I was out of it when I left the office so it was kind of like a mini christmas. My dentist is super high tech, and while most of you go home from the dentist with a small tube of toothpaste, floss, and a standard toothbrush.... I got the most awesome, rechargeable, muti attachement, cordless ORAL-B tooth brush with remote brushing sensor....it tells you if you are pushing too hard on your gums and other cool stuff!!! HOLY CRAP, its cool! And since then, I have found out it generally runs about $165-$185! Wow, never got a toothbrush like that from a dentist before!
But that wasn't the coolest....in a toothshaped, clear, acrylic box was my little, 6-year molar! My kids oooohed, and aaaahed over it. Then my 5 year old yelled with excitement, "You gonna put it under your pillow for the toothfairy tonight mommy?!?" I laughed...but my husband winked at me and said, "You never know, maybe the toothfairy pays interest!"

Friday, February 12, 2010

Hello, Mrs. Starcrunch!

I have a pretty big family and a pretty big grocery bill to go along with it. I frequent my grocery store nearly everyday for something. Its great that I can see the store from my back door and I can walk there in 5 minutes....although I only walk if I am not buying many items. Over the last 3 years I have gotten on a first name basis with most of the employees at the store. That's unusual but nice, considering that it's a national chain store, and not a small town. It's one of the few things that makes me feel like I am not just another face in this great big world. But while I know their first names, most of the employees don't call me by my name. They call me something entirely different.

When I was pregnant with Josie, and first moved to the area I went into the store on a day that I was craving a particular snack product. I hunted high and low, but it was not to be found. I went to the customer service desk to inquire about its location, and the manager directed me to the snack company's stock man, as he was in the store. As luck would have it, at that moment he was approaching the desk to speak with the manager. I asked about the snack cake, but he didn't have ANY!!! None on the truck, none in the store....NOT FOR THE PAST 3 WEEKS, he said! He offered to put them on order for the next delivery later that week. But I explained that my cravings were not consistent and that I would probably want something different the next day, let alone 3 days away. The store manager apologized and I told her it was ok, but I was going to have to go to the competing store down the street because I had to have a Starcrunch right that minute! She laughed and told me she completely understood.

I did get my Starcruch that day, but something else I got was a nickname for my baby and myself. To most of the employees Josie is "Starcrunch" and I am "Mrs. Starcrunch"! I have even been paged over the store's P.A., "Mrs. Starcrunch, please come to the front of the store." Over the years the nickname has stuck and even new employees know me as Mrs. Starcrunch. But something else that happened is that I am treated more like a friend first and a customer second. Its quite nice. It's like the theme song from the 80's show, Cheers. "Sometimes you wanna go, where everybody knows your name". Even if it is "Mrs. Starcrunch" and although it may be the grocery store.....it still feels good.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Lullaby, My Baby

Years ago, when I had my second child, I wrote a lullabye. I have sung it to all of my children at one time or another. My two youngest girls ask for it by name if they have woken from a bad dream at night or if they just want a song before they go to bed. I rarely sing around anyone, though my husband wishes I would, as he says I have a pretty voice. But I have learned from watching American Idol tryouts, that just because someone has said so, it doesnt make it true! So I sing to my children by the glow of their night light, and occassionally for my husband at his request.

But for a long time now, I have wanted to have the lullabye published as a children's book. So, at the encouraging of my husband, I am going to attempt publication. I am very overwhelmed at the process, and frankly, quite scared! I emailed Karma Wilson, my favorite of current day children's authors, asking questions about her process to become a published writer. In her response email she was very encouraging, but also realistic. She attempted to get her most known work, (and the first of my favorite "series" of children's books) "Bear Snores On" published for several years. Attempt after attempt was for not. But in spite of continuous refusal letters, she plodded forward. She even re-sent her manuscript to some of the same publishing houses. After several years, one of the first publishing houses she contacted (repeatedly) accepted her manuscript. It is now one of the most well known current day children's books! She told me that she likes to tease her editor about what he would have missed if it hadnt been for her persistence. She has gone on to write follow ups to the "Bear" books and several other books as well. She told me that Children's litterature is the hardest type of litterature to get published because the industry is satturated with manuscripts. But she went on to say that if I have something special, to keep submitting it, moving forward, and never give up.

Of course I think I have something special, as do my children, and my husband. But will the publishing world? How will I know when enough is enough? When do I throw in the towel and be ok with the dream remaining a dream. After so much effort, if I never get published, will I be able to accept the rejection of something so dear to me, something that is a part of me. To others it may seem like only words on paper, but to me it is a full expression of my love for my children. It is deep and full of emotion. My fear isnt so much of trying, its of failing and feeling trampled. As if my feelings or I are not good enough. I am afraid of the rawness of the wound and the anguish of rejection. Like Anna Nalick says in her beuatiful song, "Breathe (2am)"

'And I feel like I'm naked in front of the crowd
Cause these words are my diary, screaming out loud
And I know that you'll use them, however you want to"

It's a scarey place to be, trapped between a dream and fear of rejection. If I dont try, I have already failed and the wound is the lack of acting on a dream, the wondering of what could have been, and the "I could kick myself for not trying" kind of feeling. If I do try and fail, well, that wound has already been addressed. And even if I do try and succeed, like the typical artist, the wound is the revealing of the souls most inner depths, the nakedness Anna Nalick describes. Yet despite it all, it is still a dream to have part of myself out there, published. I have not accomplished anything that I have set out to do so far in my life. I have always been a quitter. I wasnt interested in putting forth any effort for anything, really. And in my younger years, I felt like I could play now and work later. I dont have time for that anymore. The luxury of youth is slipping away and the "Dawn of the Middle-Aged Grown up" isn't on the horizon....it is here! So now, the hard work begins. Wish me luck....I am afraid I will need it!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

We had our 2nd anniversary just days before Christmas. Last year we were terribly broke and couldn't afford anything for each other. This year, we are in a better spot and so we had both given each other ideas and were shopping the Internet for the perfect items. Since I had spilled the beans about Casey's Christmas gift (see "Spilling the Beans" post) I was able to buy some really nice accessories to go along with his traditional double-edged razor. I got him a really yummy smelling shaving lotion, an alum block, a great book that gives all kinds of wonderful advice to those new to traditional shaving, and a super soft badger hair shaving brush.

He wasn't as surprised about them as he was the razor, but he has really been pampering himself with a luxury style shave since then, and it has really become a relaxing experience for him. He used to go days without shaving because his skin was so sensitive and easily irritated. Now he has researched and found out the "right way" to shave and it doesn't involve modern shaving creams with multi blade razors being haphazardly dragged across the grain of ones stubble. Now that he knows how to get the closest shave I have ever felt, without any irritation, it is a time he looks forward to at least every other day. And I still sometimes watch. Its a curious thing for me to see all the funny faces he makes to get at every last whisker.
The gift Casey gave me, is hands down, the most beautiful piece of jewelry I have ever gotten! Let me divert....As a little girl, I remember my mother having a spoon ring. I loved it, and was very fascinated by it. I have loved spoon rings all my life, and about 6 years ago I found a genuine, vintage, sterling spoon ring at an antique store. I bought it without hesitation and wore it nearly every day. Then a mishap occurred involving my travel jewelry case and the neighbor's big rottweiler. As I was packing my car for a weekend trip, I left my car door open to go back inside for the next armload of stuff....I lived in the country so that was safe to do....and I didn't want to keep fumbling with opening the door with my arms full. I finished packing and the kids and I loaded in and left. All weekend I didn't notice my missing jewelry since I got lazy and didn't bother putting it on. It wasn't until we arrived home, 3 days later that I noticed it missing while unpacking. I rushed out to the car thinking it was under the seat....NO! I was in a panic at this point. I had a lot of jewelry in that little box, and some of it was VERY sentimental! After looking for hours, my son arrived home and I asked him if he had seen it. He informed me that he had seen the neighbors dog with it in her mouth the day we were leaving for our trip! WHAT!?!?!?! Why didn't he tell me???? His explanation was that he thought it was his sister's jewelry box. Hmmm, that still didn't clear up the question of why didn't he say something....but who can truly understand the mind of a middle-schooler. Lets just say after 4 or 5 days of combing the woods and grass and even using a metal detector, I was minus my spoon ring and approximately $500 of other jewelry, including my most sentimental pieces. Anyway, I told Casey the story several times before and he listened! He asked me to pick out different kinds of jewelry I likes so he could get and idea of my taste. I picked out several spoon rings along with other styles of rings, bracelets, and necklaces. But when I opened his anniversary gift to me, I gasped! I couldn't believe my eyes. It was the most beautiful piece of jewelry I had ever seen. And it was a spoon ring! The tears flowed. He did an amazing job of picking it out. He even custom ordered it for an exact fit! The ring is made from a spoon dating 1929. It is solid sterling silver and is so ornate. I normally go for things that are simple with interesting lines. I am not a jewel encrusted kinda girl. But this was like a work of art! The pattern is called Irian and there are lilies on the edges, and even on the back side, and a beautiful, half-naked woman (reminiscent of the Italian Renaissance era), surrounded by 3 cherubs. I have learned my lesson to just trust his taste....it far outweighed my hopes for a beautiful ring, and next to my wedding and engagement ring, it is my most Favored piece of jewelry. For weeks I was showing everyone....even the cashier at the grocery store!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Spilling the beans

So I told you that I would share our holiday happenings with you all. I know it is already February and this is waaay overdue. I am so sorry it has taken so long. But I have come to accept that blogging is somewhat of a luxury for me....unless I want the house to be a wreck and the kids to be hungry! (Of course I don't!) But, let's get on with this blog, shall we?
First, our holidays always begin on December 21st. Why that day? What an odd day, huh? Well, that is our anniversary! Casey and I have been married for two years now. He and I actually exchanged gifts this year-something we have never been able to afford before! But I will blog about our anniversary gifts next time. I must first divert from that story to give you a bit of background info so you will understand just how special this years anniversary and Christmas gifts to each other really are.
As a little boy, Casey remembers watching his dad shave with an old-timey razor. And recently, he has been wanting to learn how to shave with a traditional double edge razor. Yes, I know its "traditional", and that word just doesn't fit with Casey's personality, but sometimes sentiment excuses such out-of-the-ordinary behavior. This year, for the first time since we have been together, Casey and I could afford to exchange Christmas (and anniversary) gifts. I first asked his dad if he still had his double-edged razor from years ago. After several days of looking through their storage boxes, Casey's parents came up empty handed. So, I began looking for a new one. I had no clue about traditional razors. I spent hours upon hours, for days and days researching to find him just the right razor for Christmas. I wanted to get him the $184 one with genuine buffalo horn handle. But alas, we had set a budget for each other and I knew it best if I stayed within its confines......darn, stinking, budget! I settled on a razor that was of good quality, pleasing to the eye, and reviewed by many to be easy for traditional shave beginners.
Now, I have always prided myself on being extremely tight lipped about surprises. But after days and days of visions of razors dancing through my head (Oh wait that's supposed to be "visions of sugarplums")I was caught off guard and said something that totally gave it away! The package arrived and I felt like a little girl filled with excitement. I ran to the door, thanked the delivery man, and took the package into Ryan's room to hide it until I could open it and inspect its contents secretly. Casey was in the living room and knew something was up (darn Saturday delivery!). With a smirky kind-of smile he asked "So what was all that about?" I couldn't contain the wide cheese-grin on my face. I tried (and failed miserably) to act non-challant, "Nothing", I replied. He continued, " That wouldn't be for me would it?" I teased back with a childish, "Maybe it is and maybe it isn't." With that last remark we quietly settled back to our family time, but my head was spinning with thoughts of the razor. Would he like it? Would he be surprised? Would he really use it, I mean he HATES shaving? Would it give him terrible razor burn....his face is so sensitive you know. Would he cut his face and bleed everywhere thus making it a really terrible present?!? OH NO!!!!! I fidgeted nervously. I hadn't even opened the package yet, and it was eating me alive! My thoughts kept flitting from one thought to the next. In the midst of my A.D.D. moment, I remembered that Casey had talked about wanting to find a barber shop that still did the straight blade shaves, and that made me remember that I had seen straight blade razors for sale on the same web sight that I had purchased his razor from....and that's when it happened. Out of the silence in the room came my thought out loud, "Did you know they still make straight..." I stopped abruptly, mid-sentence. I had a shocked and yet guilty look on my face, I could feel it! I blurted out a very fast, "never mind" and looked away, hoping he hadn't heard, or maybe hadn't really understood what had come out of my mouth. I cringed as I heard the snide tone in his voice as he teased, "What was that you were saying?" And when I turned and saw the victorious smile on Casey's face, I knew I had indeed said enough to spill the beans. He continued smiling and while rubbing the 3-day old stubble on his face, said, "Hmmmm, I wonder what is in that box?" ***WHAT A BRAT!!!!*** I went and retrieved the package and he and I opened it together.
I didn't realize how important it was to me to keep it a surprise until Casey already had the razor in his hand. He was so supervised, so excited. You have to understand something, I wear my emotions on my sleeve. When I am surprised or excited I get all giddy, like a little girl. I will have a perma-grin on my face and I get all bouncy, wide-eyed, and giggly. Casey is one of those people who appears to not care. He really does, its just his "excited look" is the same as his "I am bored, can we go now" look. So when he was wide-eyed and couldn't stop smiling after getting his razor.....EARLY, I was so upset and disappointed in myself. How wonderful it would have been to see him excited like that on Christmas day. How special would that have made his Christmas. Now all I had to give him for Christmas was CLOTHES! And even though he asked for them, how exciting are clothes to a grown man? I cried in that moment. I was so, so upset with myself. The one thing that I was so excited to give him, and the anticipation and planning were all wasted on a muddled-brain moment!
Casey wanted to make me feel better so he gave me one of my gifts early. It was a beautiful walnut-colored leather archery glove to use when shooting the vintage recurve bow he gave me earlier in the year. I loved it! It was beautiful and felt so soft. I teased and said "Happy Hanukkah!" and we both laughed.

It did make me feel a little better to get a gift early from him as well. But what made me feel much better, was after putting the kids to bed that night, he and I had a quiet moment together while I watched him shave with his new razor. In that moment, I realized that spilling the beans early only opened up an opportunity to give him some really special things for our upcoming anniversary. Now my excitement and anticipation were back....I couldn't wait to buy his anniversary gift, I knew exactly what to get him, and I knew he would love it! TO BE CONTINUED!

Monday, January 11, 2010

It Looks Like Rockband Weather

We had such a great weekend! The kids got out of school early on Thursday and there was to be no school on Friday because inclement weather was moving in fast. When Casey got home Thursday afternoon he and I headed out to grab some bad weather wear.....or so we had planned. We got to Walmart and had a list of waterproof mittens and rain boots (its really hard to find snow boots in Georgia), and something for the kids to sled on.....ummmm that's just as hard to find here in this part of the south. We thought we were going to leave empty handed, but then it happened. Casey spotted Rockband. Hmmmm...he had always bashed Guitar Hero fans. He couldn't see the point of it. Oh he is a gamer, but more of the first person shooter type or even the fantasy games with really beautiful graphics. Me, I find the multi-button controllers all too complicated. My brain doesn't work that way....I am more of the one-button-and-a-joystick kinda girl....Pac man, Tetris, and all the other original arcade games are more my speed. And I don't really like to admit that since it shows my age! But let me step off the story's path to give you a bit of background info....we had a few friends over a couple of weekends ago. One of them brought their Guitar Hero so their kids could play it with our kids. But as the evening rolled on us adults got roped into playing by the kids insistent begging. We all took turns playing.....even Casey....in fact he was hooked in the first 5 minutes! Our friends didn't leave til 5am and as sleepy eyed as we were, Guitar Hero was played right up til the last minute! Now back to Thursday afternoon....Casey spotted Rockband....that was it, it was in our cart and he was ready to leave! Of course we had looked for the items for the kids, but couldn't find most of what we were looking for...so we opted for ROCKBAND, naturally! The kids did go outside for about an hour Thursday afternoon, but we spent the rest of the weekend, iced in, sick with colds, freezing cause our pilot light broke (the landlord did have a service guy fix it, but we were without heat all day), but having a blast playing drums, guitar, and singing. Well, Casey was on guitar, Ryan on drums, and London and I sang.....but mostly London sang....I was the band manager I guess! We were laughing our butts off, as a family.....and just having a great time. Who would've thought we could have so much fun being sick and tired and cold??? It definitely was a weekend we will never forget!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A time to grieve

This holiday season has been so busy that I have not really had time to blog. I promise to fill you in on all the wonderful things that happened during our last month. But for right now I need to write about something else. In an effort to heal I am posting this. It isn't a feel-good entry, but one that I need to share. I don't know why, but just posting this feels therapeutic. Maybe it is because I cannot vent or share with anyone around me because there grief is so much deeper than mine and I cannot burden them with my own. The only explanation that I have is that this is just something I need to post.

I received a very early morning text the Tuesday after Christmas with some devastating news. A very dear and life-long friend of my husbands had passed away during the night. It was abrupt, shocking, and seemed like a bad dream. The text had come through on my phone, I am unsure why they texted me and not Casey. But I had to wake Casey and tell him that Tre had died. I have never had to tell anyone such heartbreaking news and I didn't know how to say it. So I just said it. My heart was in my throat and my stomach was in knots, but I knew if I delayed, the horrified look on my face may cause Casey to think it was his mom or dad. Of course that is who one would think of first.... someone who was in the time of their life where you might expect to hear this kind of news. Casey was on the phone immediately with Brian, a friend of Casey's who was also very close to Tre, and who happened to be with him when he passed away. Tre was only 41! He had fallen and hit his head while in a convenience store and within a couple of hours was gone. How does that happen? It still seems so unreal. How can someone be here one moment and then through the smallest of circumstances, be gone the next moment? I was the only one in our group of friends that didn't know Tre so well. But his death was still so sad, so shocking. The day before the wake, I looked at Tre's obituary in the paper... No one had ever told me his first name....he never mentioned it to me either. Casey said he hated his name. His name was London Travon Hendricks. I did smile in that moment...but I wish I had known before he passed.

I have only attended a funeral as a small child, and really don't remember it. But I knew that since I wasn't close to Tre, I needed to be there for Casey and also for our other friends. We went to both Tre's wake and his funeral. Viewing him was confusing to me. My thoughts and emotions were all over the place. I can only imagine what everyone else was going through. Because my grief was not as deep as everyone else's, I had the presence of mind to be sure everyone was supported and was as comfortable as possible. Everyone grieves differently. Some people need to be with others, some need to be alone, some need to be held and comforted, some don't want to be touched, some need to cry and morn, some need to laugh and remember, but everyone needs to heal. And whatever form of grieving one needs to be able to heal, that is what is right. We stood in the funeral home during Tre's wake and went through every emotion possible. We cried, we laughed, we were numb, we were overwhelmed with emotion, we were angry, we were confused...but through it all we were there for each other and let each other grieve the way we each needed. The funeral itself was not quite as hard, but afterward we stayed graveside until the only thing left for the funeral home to do was to cover him. I knew my husband needed me, our friends needed us both. But it was the hardest thing I have ever done. Seeing everything makes it so real, so raw.

This tragedy has brought some of us closer to each other. But it has also brought so many thoughts and reflections to my mind and I am unsure how to handle some of them. Through my life experiences I have become timid and fearful of so many things. My husband has helped me to face and overcome several of my fears. But I have come to realize my biggest fear is of suffering and death. I don't want to die. I don't want to watch anyone I love die. Yet I know it is part of our life. I have heard of people being at peace on their deathbed. I don't understand that. I am afraid. I am even afraid of getting older because I know each passing year only brings me closer to the end, or even that any day could be the last. Casey tells me not to think about it, but to make each day the best it can be. To take the time to play with my kids everyday, to hug and kiss them, to laugh with them so they know just how much they are loved. He tells me to set my fears aside and learn how to live.... not just let life happen, and to take every opportunity to fill my life, our lives, with richness so that I will never look back with regret. There is a small amount of comfort in his words. I know he is right. But for now I cannot separate my emotions from my mind and logic does not console me. All I can hope for is that the sting of Tre's tragic passing will fade with time and healing, and that my thoughts will return to the normal day to day care and living of our family. That is my hope, that is my prayer.