Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Trial-by-Fire safety.

Today did not start well; though, it could have been (much, much) worse.

The whole incident reminds me a bit of the time my brother and I started bacon on fire. We were probably ten and 12. That also ended WAY better than it could have.

This morning, I HAD to shower. Could not put it off any longer. Instructed the kids to get ready for school (you know, the things we do Every. Single. Day. Why. Am. I. Instructing. You. To. Do. This.) and make lunch/have breakfast. 

About 90% of the way through my shower, I smell toast, so I think "Good. they're making breakfast." Then, mid-conditioner rinse, Caden pushes the bathroom door open, "Mom. There is smoke out here." I say, "Okay..." He covers his mouth with his shirt, "No. A LOT of smoke!" Me, "Is there fire?" Him, "I don't know. Let me check." ...... "OH MY GOSH!".... (comes back to the doorway mouth still covered) "Yes."  

Grabbing the towel nearby, I run out of the bathroom and see smoke. Everywhere. As I round the corner to the kitchen, I see an upside down sea of smoke filling the kitchen from the ceiling down to the light switches, spilling out into the dining room, hallway and living room. The source? The toaster in the corner has been stuck in the 'toasting' position. Upon seeing the contents, I realize it has been stuck there for quite some time. Thankful there are no flames (just a large amount of smoke rising up from the charred and glowing remains of bread), I grab the toaster and hurl it outside onto the deck.  So thankful that it has rained a lot lately.

The kids have said a whole lot of things, but I really don't know what they were. I do recall one of them saying, "Do we get down low?" Yes, you better. It's not suitable to breathe the air up here. Caden just runs outside. Declan follows. I told him while he's there, he should hold the door open. Moira helps me open windows and keep the room doors closed all while trying to stay low. The rooms have mostly escaped smoke getting in them. Mostly. 

Every fan I own is put to work. I leave the entire house open while I was at work, hoping the smell won't be too terrible when we return. (It is, though.)

There are a few errors here, my friends, and this is how fires happen... (and believe me. I went over all of them with the kids.)

1) Pull the toaster out when using it. It should NEVER be under the cabinet. Even without smoke, heat still rises and makes the cabinet hot.
2) Don't leave an actively toasting toaster unsupervised. Things like this can be avoided simply by being in the same room.

3) For Heaven's sake... Make sure the damn smoke alarm is mounted on the wall. I had it down on the counter because I painted the walls and didn't get it back up yet. It did finally go off, but not until most of the room was filled with smoke.

These, I know, are the lessons that teach the most. They are so scary, though. And while the smoke has cleared from the house, the smell has not. We will now go through the house and clean up all the little smoke particles and wash all that was exposed to it. We will resume our lives with this new life experience tucked under our belts... much like my brother and I with the bacon fire. 
Thank you, God, that wasn't any worse.  
The hot toast landed on a paint tray, melting it. Those are the pieces remaining.

Excuse the mess... bathroom's on the left, looking out into the living room.

The kitchen after I started opening windows.

Under the cabinet immediately after.

Smoke all the way across the bottom and up the corner

After wiping it all off when I got home.

Toaster banishment.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Scholastic Can Parent Better Than I Can... Apparently.


That annoying thing that gets in the way of childhood.

The thing that keeps popping up day after day, taunting, nagging, challenging, growing, expanding.

If my kids could describe it, that's how they would put it (maybe with occasional 'fun' homework thrown in there, too).

It is a struggle. It never used to be, though. We'd punch it out together and be done within 1/2 hour. Now, it takes 2 hours (or more) and includes that day's lesson as well as all of the corrections of problems that were incorrect from past assignments. This can be (and usually is) several sheets. Many times tears happen. Tears of anger. Tears of frustration. Tears of disappointment that I won't cave and just let them do whatever they want.

After the crying is done, the homework gets punched out in about 20 minutes. I'll never completely understand the 'why,' but I suspect it has something to do with the fact they have now expunged ALL of their spare energy they were saving up just to argue with me. When intense arguing/resistance fails, crying ensues, then homework gets done. Seems a little unnecessary to go through all that, but... if I must....

This brings me to... today. *dramatic music*

I was "forcing" one child to get their stuff done from the night before. All of the corrections. All of the current homework. All of the project stuff. At first, the child was on board, mostly. Then, after a few correction problems, they decided they were hungry. I said they could eat when the homework was done; and, if they got after it, they would be done with enough time to eat.

This did not go over well.

I'll spare ALL of the details, but for the next 1/2 hour, I was berated and told what a mean mommy I am and how it was child abuse to not feed my kids. I kindly explained that, if they would have gotten the work done the night before, we would not be trying to do it before school. I also lovingly pointed out that the body can go weeks without food and that they weren't starving at all.

That also did not go over well.

There was lots of crying.

Oh my gosh, seriously, someone take me away.  

For about 15 minutes.

Really. They can't see this was their own doing.

At one point, I noticed them reading a book. I told the child to put the book down and that, if they just would get their work done, they'd have time to read after getting ready for school. The argument that ensued almost caused me to excuse myself from the room.

Because I was laughing. 

I know. 

It wasn't right.


2nd child chimes in "Yeah. Mom, it's really important to ...."

Mom gives "mom look": "Uh. we are not talking about the book fair right now, and the book is interfering with your progress. Put it down."


I started laughing. I just couldn't help myself.

*crying child in angry yelling squeal-type voice* "IT'S. NOT. FUNNYYYYYYYY!!!!"

And to prove their point: This is presented to me by both older children...

I like that shark. It looks as though its smart-ass smile is saying "read this" to help prove the kids' point of them turning into dummies just because they aren't allowed to read while they're on the toilet, getting dressed, brushing their teeth, putting on coats and while eating breakfast, lunch and/or dinner!
It was really unbelievable how escalated everything became this morning.

No, the child did not get breakfast (unless they sneaked something I was unaware of).
No, the homework did not get completed.
No, the wooden spoon did not have to get involved; though, I thought I saw it waving its arms indicating it was ready for action.

I'm left wondering, though, does laughing when they say stuff like that make me a bad person?? ;) hahahah Yeah, that's what I was thinking, too. What the hell. None of our other extremely awesome parenting skills are helping them channel their behavior toward the goal we are tirelessly steering them toward...

Laughter IS the best medicine, right? ;)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

New Bedroom!

After a week of planning, prepping, priming and painting (great alliteration!) we have a new big-girl room!!! We have to get the trim done and some curtains for the closet, but the big stuff is complete. :) Moira spent the weekend at grandma's while we did the striping, putting up the 'new' bed and moving over her clothes; so she was unaware of what exactly we were planning/doing. She only saw us painting over the boy colors with the primer and cream.
 Old Nursery- with the boy colors and some test paint up on the walls.

 Let the priming begin!

 Mommy was sad about painting over the little boy stripes.

 Uncle Alan taping off the striping.

 Just before pulling off the tape.

   Moira coming home, unaware!

 Moira seeing her room for the 1st time!

 What she saw when she came in!

 Mom, Mo and Daddy :) 

Sweet dreams, big girl! We love you!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Ice Skating Finals in Omaha

Ice Skating...

I got a very random (and last-minute) chance to go to the Ice Skating Finals at the Century Link Center (or the Clink, as some refer to it) on Saturday. In light of my last post about spontaneity, I fought back the urge to "just stay home" and decided to accept the tickets which were given to me by a coworker who could not go. I chose to take Moira on a Mommy-Daughter date (something we haven't done in a really long time)!

It was so much fun! After dropping my tickets once we got in (and having to go find them again so we could find our seats), we settled in our seats and watched some really good skating! We got to see the women's portion. Would have been really neat to see the couples skate but I think that was earlier in the day.

Anyway, here are a couple of pictures from Mo and my date.

Moira checking out the ice. 

I asked her to make an 'amazed' face.

Mom-Mo pose :) 

She got to walk down for a minute to see the ice. (oh yeah. and the skater.)

Skater Moira! She was probably more excited about this little thing than anything else. She says, "MOM! A thing where you can put your head in!!!" (We were on our way out here.)

Such a fun time and so glad we went!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Happy New Year!

As my title says, Happy New Year! 

I was going to try to recap on the last few months, but I all of a sudden had an inspiration for something else.

Our kids are playing in the kitchen. They have all sorts of HotWheels out which are all lined up side by side sitting inside a really wide track made for another type of car. They've been playing like this for about 1/2 hour, talking in high-pitched voices, making the cars interact. Mom (that's me) walks by and randomly tosses a squishy football-shaped pig into the kitchen. It lands right in between the two kids; and, like toy manna from heaven, Moira sees it and says in her high-pitched play voice, "OH!! (regular voice) Caden, pretend there was a pig coming in for a landing. (resume high-pitched play voice)" I laughed because it was almost like she was just waiting for the pig to enter the scene; and, right on cue, Mom throws it in providing yet another element to their fantastic play world. Our kids are pretty good with spontaneity... just flyin' by the seat of their pants sometimes.

When I was younger, (let's say... before kids and earlier) being spontaneous was essential to my well-being. I thrived with spontaneity. I didn't like sitting around doing nothing... well, to a point. I was always going to my friends' houses, running "in town" for yet another shopping trip for non essentials, Don and I going out on dates several times a week and being invited over to friends' and family's houses.

Once we started having kids, spontaneity became harder to accomplish - especially with baby schedules and nursing and work. Things start to get more predictable, and we still would get to go out fairly frequently... then there's another baby... then another. It's amazing to me how hard it is to be spontaneous now! It's not that I hate it. I still enjoy being spontaneous, but I find myself being comfortable with sitting still. These days, rigidity in the schedule is comforting, predictable, not stressful. Deviation from "a plan" causes stress and frustration. (depending on what the deviation is and who is causing it, of course)

Of course, there are days where Mommy and Daddy have to be creative; and a spontaneous play date or trip to the zoo comes to call. These trips don't feel so spontaneous but more like "sanity trips." Get-me-out-of-the-house-and-give-them-more-room-to-be-loud-and-run-around trips.

After paying attention to the kids' play this morning, I guess I fear that I've lost that fun/spontaneity side of me. Maybe it's just a normal part of being a parent... and maybe, hopefully, I can get all that back when the kids get older.  :) That was always a fun thing for me.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Knee Problems...

Don's got knee problems. Arthritis. Necrosis. Less than 1/2 of a meniscus. It's a pain. Really... it's a pain. 

Things were going fairly normal (as normal as could be for him) until his 40th birthday party which his lovely wife decided to throw for him... at a bowling alley! The knee in question was already not feeling great that day, but it was too late to back out. It was a surprise party, and it was all I could do to "randomly" choose going there for a "date night." He was surprised! And we had lots of friends show up to celebrate with us! He had a "Good Lordy, Don's 40" cake. Things were swell... well, until about 2 frames into the 1st game, when he turns b/c I said his name. *POP* goes his knee. :( He says nothing throughout the whole 3 hours we are there... but it's pretty obvious it's not okay by the time we get home.

This starts months of pretty intense pain that just doesn't want to cease. 

What the VA wants to do is just put Band-Aid solutions on it b/c he's WAY too young for a knee replacement. While I understand this, it is really frustrating knowing he has to deal with this every day.

Fast forward a little and here we were at the VA on October 22nd having a scope done to clean out some of that junk in his knee (torn meniscus) hoping this will relieve the sharpness of the pain and where my blog story really takes off. Forgive me for the length of this post. You know I can't really get a good story unless I use as many creative words as possible. :) 

The day of the surgery, I meet Don and his mom and our younger two kids at the VA after I take our daughter to school.  I went back to the room where Don was "waiting"... I guess they call this the pre-op room. It might as well have been called the crap-we-took-too-long-on-someone-else-so-you'll-have-to-wait-twice-as-long-as-we-originally-told-you...anyone-got-Yahtzee!? room. We waited for over 2 hours in that little room.

A couple of male nurses walk in and out of the area, one of them had a very straight, no-emotion kind of look on their face. I looked at Don and said, "Wow. How would you like to have that guy for a nurse?" We chuckle and talk about other stuff. (I forgot to mention they had Don change into what looks like an anti-radiation suit-type gown that dons the saying "Do not use in MRI." I'm now thinking, "A magnet would have been really fun right about then.")

About 1/2 hour before Don gets carted off to the OR and after the doc comes in to double check everything, that same nurse comes in and starts strappin' Don's arm to prep it for an IV. I'll put it to you this way. I'm almost certain they put him through a class on how to insert an IV just moments before entering his room. It was awful! It looked like he was bludgeoning don's vein, attacking it, making it bleed then walking away. Don and I give horrified looks to one another. He comes back! Oh crap. You're done for! The guy forcefully gets it placed, with much grimacing from Don... then I notice the GUY ISN'T WEARING GLOVES!!! ew. Seriously. Isn't that a code violation?!
While waiting, we found a CD and CD player near the bed. Three actually. The first was Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. AKA: "Frankenstein." HAA!! We were rolling, especially listening to it on the low-fi speakers on this 1990s CD player. Feel. The. Bass. We thought it would be funny to play that as they were wheeling him out but refrained from doing so. We also found a Tim McGraw CD and a Phil Vassar CD circa 1993. We sang a little and the nurses passing by would glance in past the curtain.

We were bored by then, so we started flinging the tabs that were on the edges of the doors over to indicate which service we needed... like "nurse" or "anesthesia" or "Specialist"... At one point, we had over 1/2 of them. Only one person looked at it and had a weird look on their face as though they weren't even sure what the heck the things were for! (that or they thought something must be really wrong with the dude in room 2. 

Caden was really worried about how horrible Dad's IV looked.
Really. Caden was holding his own wrists. (Notice the metallic gown.)
Caden and Declan and Grandma stop in. Tick Tock. What is taking so long? "We are waiting for the doc." So, the boys are running around this little room when all of a sudden, Caden finds a retractable magnetized door that holds TP on the other side. WOW! Toilet paper. They both play with that for a while, opening and shutting it... then Caden's eyes are drawn to the large black button just underneath the toilet paper... he pushes it. *FLUUUUSHHHH* The hidden toilet flushes. His bewildered look says it all. "I was not expecting that," he says. hahaha By this time, Caden has Declan saying in his monster voice "TOILET PAPER!" every time the TP pops out of its cabinet.  

So, the moment arrives when they take Don to the OR. They say, "Say your goodbyes and see-yous!" I looked at Don and said, "Well! Have fun!" They start carting him out, and I repeated something Don and I were joking about earlier... "I hope you come back with two legs!!" hahah To which the entire medical staff that was with Don GROANED! lol  I think the doc actually said, "Ohh, we're not doing THAT kind of surgery!" but no one laughed. I was laughing. :) and I'm pretty sure Don was, too... of course, that could have been the Valium. *shrug* I'll take what I can get.

We went on a walk while Daddy was about to go to recovery. This part of the trail terrified Caden.
The surgery went well, and it was a little funny watching Don come back to consciousness. Caden was with me. The "recovery room" was a GIANT room with lots of curtains with people all behind them just waiting to wake up. They had told me that he was having a hard time waking up, so I should come up and try. Was that them telling me that my sweet loving voice was going to coax him out of his drug-induced snooze?   *Deadpan voice* "Don. Wake up." haaha
We rounded up the clan and got him fitted for crutches and got him to the car.
The doc told him to not ever think about running again and that this is his last scope. The outlook for his knee is poor. It will be a long time before he can consider knee replacement, but things are looking okay for now; and we have some funny memories of waiting for the surgery to begin. Now, if we can just figure out what those pictures of the scope actually are of!

Don's knee after the bandages came off the next day.

Thursday, September 20, 2012



Ten paint samples and 13 gallons of the final paint color later, we have a yellow house. Again. I'm quite happy with the color, though. The house is cute in its yellow splendor and definitely still notable amongst all of the other different colors of houses that we live among (not one of them truly yellow, might I add). I thought the 13 gallons we had to use to cover the old color was a bit overboard, but we have a hunch that the previous yellow was the original color. It was sucking the new paint in as if it were thirsty from years of neglect.


(That's my brother doing what ended up being many hours of prep work, caulking, washing and puttying.)

Looks sunnier and brighter, don't ya think!? :) We like it. :) And our neighbors are probably glad we didn't choose purple. ;)