The UTI and the flash flood

Ok, I’m going to make this quick, mostly because I’ve found out from my initial attempts at blogging that constant interruptions come and find me, so here it goes…..again….”starting today” again…

Our initial plans for a week of summer vacation went by the wayside as the rain continued to fall during the month of June. Turns out, in my neck of the woods June 2013 was the 6th rainiest in weather recording history. The original plan for a quiet, full week of relaxation up north at the lake (just got interrupted….sorry), was discussed and a decision made to postpone for a “rain check” in early August. However, this writer was definitively suffering from work and life-related burnout and needed some kind of a time out even if spent at home in the rain. The Thursday and Friday were therefore kept as “vacation” days and a long weekend loomed in the not too distant horizon. Vacation day one was yes, a rainy one, and I smiled thinking about the mosquitos and black flies that weren’t going to be getting a taste of this old girl’s O positive. Had a few errands to run and enjoyed my favorite brand of TV trash for several hours. All that was missing was a cold rocks glass of JD/lemonade followed by an effortless power nap. Unfortunately, hunger struck and dinner had to be made. Later that evening, noticed some unique “symptoms”…ladies out there….you know exactly what I’m talking about here when I say “symptoms” and UTI in the same sentence, right? OK, good, that being said, I didn’t give it much mind and headed off to bed with the husband, pillow bumper pads in place between us to save (sorry, another interruption….)me from unwanted kicks from the nightmare lying next to me…..but, I regress…that’s a whole other blog topic.

Friday morning: Yea! I can sleep a little longer. Sounds good, but I’ve got one quick change of plans and then back to sleep. ……YEEEEOOOUUUCCCHHH! That’s not good. I’ve got definite problems and have to call the doctor. Thank goodness I’m home for the day and can get in right away. Call the MD office and unfortunately, they’ve got other plans, my appointment has to be squeezed in at 1:30pm. Just great. I start chugging the cranberry juice and notice the gray skies outside approaching. Rainy days have become a normal part of the scenery this June. No big deal.

Later that day, (I won’t bore you with all the incidental details of how I managed to make it through the hours, minutes, seconds, microseconds, that passed.) (sorry, but that’s interruption #3–husband has come to check on me and wants ice cream….I’m not kidding.) (Now daughter comes to check on me too. She’s a good kid.) I start the drive to the MD office and it’s guess what? Raining, yes. Lightly. The normal kind that’s been hanging around all month, incessantly annoying and giving me a low pressure system headache. I check in at the office and hit the ladies room immediately. Wait patiently in my holding room, pacing, praying, actually starting my Lamaze breathing exercises, grabbing a tissue to dap tears, looking out the window at the steadier rain now falling and finally the PA comes to attend to my concerns. Thanks heavens for electronic transmission of prescription medication script to the pharmacy. I pretty much sprint out the door to my car with the five minute ride to Walgreen’s in store. Little did I know what was waiting for me down the road.

The rain was now pelleting down in very heavy showers. I got going to the main drag, turned the corner and noticed the ponding. “Holy cow, that’s a lot of water”, I thought. Got myself shifted to the inside lane and kept going. Cars ahead of me served as water guides as I noticed the level of water spraying out from either side of their tires as they drove through the main roadway. One thought was on my mind, besides the increasing desire to “you know what”….the rain was only helping to further exacerbate my symptoms…”I have to get to the drug store”….”KEEP DRIVING!!” I started down the slope in the road, heading towards the canal section of town. Water was pouring down the hill. Lots of water. I’m not just talking about a little trickle of water here, this was major water. The storm drains were bubbling up next to the road. I saw several emergency vehicles in the distance, where the roadway crosses the canal at the lowest point. “Holy crap, I’m not going down there.” I quickly made a Louie in a driveway and waited for the road to clear. Backed up and headed up the hill this time. Made it to the light and thought “where is the high ground” and “OMG, I need to get to Walgreens NOW.” Slowed down as I approached the four way stop intersection, now under a few feet of water. Drove through slowly, saying several Hail Mary’s, tapping the brakes and pretending to be a monster truck or an amphibious assault vehicle of some kind….with my only thought being “get me to Walgreens or get real wet, real soon” (if you know what I mean.) I made it up the next slope in the street and cut back around the other side of the canal and to higher ground. The intersection ahead was clear and I made the quick final maneuvers into the parking lot of Walgreens; presently under a foot of water. Put the car in park and ran into the store, with bottle of water in hand, to the heaven-like prescription counter. The angel that waited on me must have noticed my urgency and found the prescription medication transmitted through the magical system right away. Within a few minutes, I had the first dose down and thanked God profusely. Unbelievable. Found out later that evening, when watching the local news that our town hadn’t experienced flash floods in more than a century. Just my luck. Now, that’s a vacation day to remember ūüôā

(Sorry, got to go…another interruption is calling my name. More interesting blog thoughts to come again another day; just like the rain.)

Birthday soup (revisited)

little bear birthdaylittle bear party tableMy youngest daughter had jaw surgery recently. She’s on a liquid diet for 6 weeks. Needless to say, I can’t let the kid starve. I’ve had to figure out what foods she likes and can swallow easily with no chewing involved. Initially, I assumed the milkshake, ice cream, jello route would be the way to go. However, she pulled a fast one on me and went in the savory direction. Chicken broth was her first “like”, followed by pureed ham and bean soup….lots of fiber and protein in that one. That was the ticket for several reasons. With the return to school came the necessity for brown bag lunches and the discovery of a modern, microwaveable version of chicken & and stars, a childhood favorite from the past, finding favor once again.

Going into week #3, she’s asking for rice pudding (after my first attempt at making my husband’s, mother’s homemade recipe which required two hours of vigilant, non-stop stirring.) The trial batch turned out more like creamy, rice soup, but she ate it and enjoyed the cinnamon/egg/sugar creamyness. (My husband didn’t care for it….not enough like his mom’s, but, if I tried again, he reassured it would “get better everytime and pretty soon, would be perfect…just like mom’s,…. but might take more than two or three more tries, eventually, it would be edible. Just great.)

Recently she’s requested instant mashed potatos with gravy, moved onto mushy rice with butter and loosely scrambled eggs with melted cheese. Not bad, I say, what with three more weeks to go, we’re working this out and she hasn’t really complained yet. But, my dilemma is with tomorrow; it’s her birthday. I gave thought to the menu and it’s going to start off with “birthday soup.” What else? As I reflect on that title, my mind immediately returns to years gone by, a special nighttime story book and a different birthday soup. Thoughts of Little Bear, Cat, Chicken and Duck making their special soup for his birthday party. Each character brought a special item to contribute to the pot. They all were so proud of themselves and loved their celebratory soup while sitting around the table together. The best part was when Mother Bear brings in the birthday cake glowing with lit candles. I have the ice cream cake all ready to go. I’m sure my little bear will be so pleased.

My McDonalds Jesus

Chance encounter or meant to be?

Chance encounter or meant to be?

It was a dark, wintry night, the kind with squeaky snow under your feet and car tires. I had taken the kids to the big mall nearby for a special shopping trip. I hate shopping; but I did it for the kids. They really enjoy looking at all the cool stuff in the stores, while I grimace in thought of the price tags. After a few hours of somewhat manageable shopping we were done and ready to head home. Got in the van, rounded the bend leading out of the mall parking lot, and headed towards the main drag. I could see McDonalds golden arches in the distance. “I have a great idea”, I said to myself, “I can be a really cool Mom and treat the kids to a milk shake or fries.” I knew I had enough money in my wallet, something I very rarely did. Seemed I had grown used to having a semi-empty wallet, with an occasional twenty or ten, most normally a few singles keeping each other company. Tonight, I knew there was a twenty in there and wanted to make the evening a special one for the kids. This was going to be a great surprise. “How about we stop at McDonalds for a shake or something?”, I asked. Both kids cheered in agreement and I headed towards those magical, glowing arches. As I approached the stop light, I could see the restaurant’s parking lot across the street, a few cars parked under the street lamps in the darkness, the wind blowing snow around on the ground. There was a man. What? Was I seeing things OK? Yes, there was a man in the darkness, out in the cold, without much of a jacket on. He was walking through the parking lot, stopping at the garbage cans, looking inside. Looking for something to eat, I wondered? He was carrying a wooden stick with a cloth bundle tied on one end; like a hobo fresh off the train tracks. I watched him from the intersection as I waited for the light to turn. With “green” on my side, I pulled into the parking lot and found a spot for the van. The kids piled out and I looked for the man. He was at the end of the restaurant parking lot, looking inside another garbage can. Something inside me said “help him”. I walked toward the man and called “hello”, “are you hungry?” “I’d like to get you something to eat.” “Would that be OK?” “Come with us.” The man looked at me and walked towards me and the kids. I asked him again if he’d like something to eat and he said “yes”. I led the way inside the McDonalds and waited my turn for the counter. The man hung back by the doorway. I asked him what he’d like? “Cheeseburger and fries would be just fine, thank you”. I got the kids their milkshakes, along with a few cheeseburgers and fries. I gave him the bag and looked at him in the indoor light. He was fairly young, slight build, maybe around 30 years old, light brown hair, scared, but sincere eyes and a bruised and scratched face. He told me that some kids had beaten him up for fun and took his bag of stuff. Now, he said, he had to carry his belongings on the bundle tied to the stick. He had made the contraption himself and was very proud of it. I asked him if he had a warm place to stay and he said he would figure something out; not to worry. Another person gave the man a hot coffee. I wished the man a good night and asked him if he had enough to eat. He said he was “good” and “thank you for the meal”. He walked out of the restaurant back into the darkness and cold. Then he was gone. We walked to the van and I couldn’t see him anywhere. Where the heck did he go? Even today, I still remember his face. The cut on his nose and cheek. Dried blood and a bruised lip. My God, what do we do to each other? Seemed to me I had just looked upon the face of Jesus. I had the overwhelming feeling that this chance encounter was something special. A life experience that will stay with me forever. Whatsoever you do, to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me…..

Going home

I experienced a “going home” moment today. After over 12 years, I walked back into my childhood home. The house I grew up in. The house my sisters and brother shared with me, Mom and Dad. The place I hadn’t been able to re-enter since leaving the interior of a life without my Mother. She passed away on May 10, 2000. I remember coming there to gather clothing for her burial. My Dad walked in the door as my sisters and I were gathered in the kitchen. It was the oddest feeling seeing him there without my mother to serve as buffer and sanctuary. When I walked out the door that day, the background lights went dark and the door on that part of my life closed. I never wanted to go back inside ever again if she wasn’t there. That house was my home because of her presence. She was our everything.

I was afraid to go back. Afraid that I wouldn’t be able to handle walking in the door and find the shell of a home¬†lost in a state of fragile deterioration. The return actually came easier than expected. He needed help.¬†This was an opportunity to be a blessing. “And now¬†faith, hope and love abide; these three and the¬†greatest of these is love.”

Some super bowl chili, and dog bones for¬†his new best friend, got me in the door with ease. What was I so worried about? Next time, I won’t let 12 years get in the way.¬†

 

Getting started

So many thoughts in my mind. Thoughts from the past. Feeling older now and wanting to move forward in life, but the past holds me still in life path steps. How do I embrace the past, let go and move forward? Is it OK to do this? I think so. I think there is a way to hold dear those dear memories and let go of the hurtful ones. I’ve learned to accept others in my life for what they are. I need to learn to do the same for myself. I’m not perfect and need to stop expecting perfection from myself. I used to laugh and smile. I need to do more laughing and smiling now, before it’s really too late.

I’m almost 52 now. My mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at age 55.¬†That thought¬†preys on my mind and worries me that I’ll meet the same or a similar fate. My life end will come eventually and I want to say a few things before that time. She passed away at age 60. Time for me to get to work.