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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Fortune Cookie Series, Episode 2: Yes, I am ...

Like a hug and an "I love you, Mama" from my kiddo's.

Monday, December 29, 2014

My First Day Back at Work

Most everyone is off for the holiday, so it should be pretty quiet around here. Good. I could use a quiet day, distracted from the reality of "real life".

Wish me luck.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Nativity Scene at the Hospital

Once we left ICU, we could walk with Thing 3, and we did. All. Day. Long. 

The above nativity scene was on the nurses station in the Traumatic Brain Injury Unit. The unit went in a circle, so so we passed this nativity scene thousands of times a day. Every time I looked at it, I couldn't help but think that if that were my newborn baby, I probably ask the shepherds to move their donkeys back a bit. It would make me nervous to have an animal closer to my baby than I was. I'm pretty sure I would position myself between my baby and the livestock. Mary, it seems, is a lot more trusting than I would be.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

$1.96 a Gallon for Gas

On the way home from the hospital last night, I filled up the van ... for less than $30. I don't know that I've ever filled it up for less than $30. After the last couple of weeks, cheap gas was one of the few highlights.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas is Over

Now starts the long, cold winter. Ordinarily the time between New Year's and Easter is the worst time of the year ... it's too cold to enjoy being outside and there's no holiday to give you long weekends. But this isn't an ordinary winter, and I have a feeling this will be the worst one ever.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

I ran into an old friend at the hospital the other day. Her mother came in with heart problems a month ago. While in the hospital, they discovered she has cancer. Her mother has been in the hospital for a month now. They came today to spend a few hours with her and were told she probably wouldn't make it through the day.

This Christmas has gone nothing like I intended, but it's a lot worse for my friend. My Christmas was spent worrying about how long it will take my son to get better while she's spending hers trying to figure out where she wants to bury her mother.

I hurt so bad for her. My problems are real and painful, but at least I know that tomorrow my son will still be here ... so maybe my Christmas wasn't really as bad as it seems.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

It's Christmas Eve

I have reason to celebrate and be happy, but I have little desire to do so. I can't wait until this storm in my life is nothing but a frightening and unpleasant memory, and not something I have to deal with anymore.

I'm trying to stay upbeat and remind myself that things could be a lot worse, but it just doesn't feel like Christmas. I'm not sure when I'll have Christmas with my girls or when me and all the my kids can get together and open presents. We may skip Christmas altogether this year. I can't wait to get home and put away all of the decorations I never had time to enjoy.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Things Are Looking Up

My son is doing much better, but still has a long way to go. The biggest point of relief yesterday came from the arm restraints being removed. I watched him struggle against those arm restraints for a week, and aside from the discomfort of not being able to move or scratch an itch, I knew that a lot of his frustration was due to the fact that he couldn't turn over and lay on his belly. I don't think anyone believed me, but as soon as they got the restraints off ... and as soon as we could get him to STAY in bed and settle down, he wiggled onto his stomach and took a nice long nap. No one thought his constant struggle with the restraints had much to do with sleeping on his belly, but I knew that was a big part of it. I may not know everything, but I know how my boy likes to sleep.

Monday, December 22, 2014

My View Most of the Day

Because the only door to ICU is a straight shot to my son's room, I see everyone who walks in. I always look up to see who is coming through the doors. The emotion that funnels through these halls is heart-wrenching.

I wonder how many gallons of tears I've cried this week.

I no it's illogical ... but I hate that tree! I don't want to think about Christmas this year. A Christmas tree in the ICU unit isn't festive and it doesn't make me feel better. Sitting outside the door like that, it's like it's mocking me.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

No Christmas This Year

This is the Christmas tree outside my son's door in ICU. It's meant to be festive and bring everyone a little joy, but for me it's a sad reminder that I'll probably spend most or all of the Christmas season surrounded by beeping machines and watching my son struggle to recover.

I do have a lot to be grateful for. I am grateful he didn't break any bones. I'm grateful he wasn't paralyzed. I'm grateful he's alive. I'm grateful I have reason to hope he will make a complete recovery, and I'm grateful the other kid in the car spent less than 24 hours in the hospital and gets to celebrate Christmas with his family.

I am grateful, but I don't feel very Christmasy.

I always host Christmas with my brother and sisters and all our families at my house. It was supposed to have been yesterday, but obviously, that wasn't an option. My sister-in-law tried to organize a last-minute change of venue, but no one felt like celebrating. Everyone would have been thinking, "Here's your present", then "Let's eat so we can go home." Each of my siblings will have Christmas with their own family, but there will be no extended family Christmas.

My kids and I were going to open presents together tomorrow evening. That won't be happening either. My girls don't want to have Christmas without their brother, and I completely understand. I have no idea when we'll have Christmas, and if my son isn't there, it won't be very festive. It may come to pass that I give everyone their presents, then my son gets his own special Christmas when he's able ... or it may be that he's sitting up in bed and we have Christmas in his hospital room.

Christmas Eve is still three days away, and it's possible he'll be alert enough to open presents. We may not be home for Christmas, but if my son is able to celebrate with us, this will go down as the best Christmas ever.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

I Think My Son Said "I love you"

It wasn't clear and it was only a whisper, but I will go to my grave believing he pulled me close and told me he loves me.

He's still in there, and we have a long way to go. I sometimes alternate between fear and hope ... and I'm grateful that there are small moments of joy that make my heart smile.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Up and Down

Most of the time I can keep my emotions in check, but early in the morning, when I wake up in the hospital and look over at my son attached to so many machines, I get really scared and I can't contain my fears. I break down and cry for a while, then I force myself to regain my composure and brace myself for another day of watching my son fight his way through the fog.

Every day I hope to see his eyes ... to tell him I love him and hear him say he loves me, too. Maybe that day is today.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

My Soul is in Agony

Tuesday evening, my son was involved in a high-speed car accident. I got a call at 3:21 a.m. Wednesday morning and was told my son was in ICU on a ventilator. My stomach has been in knots ever since, and my heart hurts so bad I can barely breathe.

He has no broken bones. He has no internal injuries. He has no visible cuts or bruises, but he has three areas in his brain that are hemorrhaging. They appear quite small on the scans, but they were enough to render him unconscious upon impact, and keep him from responding in a way that will allow the medical staff to remove the ventilator. He can breathe on his own, but he has to be on a ventilator because he's heavily sedated ... not to the point of a medically induced coma, but enough that he needs a machine to make sure he's breathing.

I had only been asleep a few hours when I got the call, and I walked around all day yesterday in a fog. I went home long enough to take a hot bath and grab some things, then came back to the hospital and stayed in his room last night. I only got a few hours sleep again. I know I'm of no use if I don't get enough sleep and take care of myself, but I don't want to leave his side. He may be an adult, but he's my baby.

This is a pain no parent can prepare for. All I want is to see his eyes again. I want to hear his voice. I even want him to say stupid things and annoy me. It's only been a day or so since I've talked to him, but I miss him.

I want my son back.

For Christmas, all I want is to hug my son and for him to hug me back. I want to tell him I love him and for him to look me in the eyes and tell me he loves me, too. If I get this wish, I don't care if I get another present for the rest of my life.

If you're the praying kind, your prayers would be very much appreciated right now.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Some Handsome Visitors

My boyfriend and his grandsons came over the other day, and (of course) they made a beeline for the tree house. Little boys just can't resist a tree house! If only I could siphon off some of that energy!!

Monday, December 15, 2014

The House is FINALLY Decorated!!

The living room fireplace.
I've normally got the presents wrapped months in advance, and the house decorated long before now, and I haven't even started on my baking. For some reason, December has been super busy, but I'm back on track. The house is finally decorated. I'll finish my wrapping tonight, and I'll start my baking either later tonight or tomorrow. I love how pretty the house looks, but it's really a lot of work! Every year I say I'm going to cut back ... and I have cut back some ... but I have to remember I'm making memories for my kids ... so I keep decorating long past the point sane people stop!

Bird Girl, all dressed up for Christmas.
Bird Girl always holds pretty Christmas candy. I love her!
The family room
The family room.
The dining room.
The mouse family in the dining room.
A close up of the mouse family.
The kitchen.
The kitchen.
The downstairs bathroom.
Boneless Chuck always goes all out for Christmas. 
Even the toilet gets decorated.
The living room tree, sans presents.
I usually have a train around the bottom,
but I don't think I'm putting it out this year.
The stair landing.
And the upstairs bath.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Move Over Ugly Christmas Sweater ...

Make room for the Ugly Christmas Suit!
I think the winner is clear. Regardless of how ugly a sweater is, it would be hard to beat the Ugly Christmas Suit ... that comes with the matching tie!

Friday, December 12, 2014

How to Get Over a Painful Breakup

After getting dumped by her boyfriend, a woman in China went to a 24-hour KFC restaurant to self-medicate with chicken wings. While there, she decided going back to her apartment would be too difficult, so she called in sick to work and stayed at KFC ... for a week!

She stated, “I hadn't planned on staying there long, I just wanted some chicken wings.  But once I got in there and started eating I decided I needed time to think. I didn't want to go back to my apartment because it was full of memories of him. So I stayed.”

It took a few days before the workers at KFC realized they had been serving her for the past three days ... and that she hadn't actually left.

After a week, the local media caught wind of the story and flocked to the restaurant. At that point, she decided to leave KFC, and since she had already called in sick to work, she could continue the healing process at her parents house.

When asked why she left, she told the media, "I was getting sick of the taste of chicken so there was no point in staying there anymore."

It seems a week of chicken wasn't enough to completely mend her broken heart ... but it was a start!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

I Think I Know How I Got Strep

Thing 2 bought me a Donut Bank hope-you-feel-better-soon
iced cookie. I love these cookies!!
I cleaned the basement Sunday evening. My basement is more of a dungeon than basement, and is strictly used for storage. By the time I was done, my throat was on fire and I was really achy. I attributed it to the dust and allergies, knowing I'd feel better in the morning.

I took some ibuprofen went to bed early, but I woke up every few hours and it felt like I had swallowed lye. I went to the doctor and was told I have strep throat, which surprised me.  I don't know anyone with strep, I haven't been around school children, and I'm a real germaphobe! I don't touch banisters when I walk up and down the steps ... anywhere. I use my own pen when I need to sign paper receipts. I press elevator buttons with my knuckle, not my fingertips, and I flush the toilet with my foot, regardless of how I have to contort my body to accomplish this. I guess I could have touched a door handle someone with strep touched ... or more likely ... I wrote with an electronic pen when checking out someplace. I need to look into buying one of those pens so that I don't have to use a store pen when signing for purchases.

Thing 2 knew I was feeling bad and bought me a cookie, which I promptly ate ... I couldn't even wait to take a picture of it before I took a bite! I'd have to be pretty sick to pass up a cookie.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Peppermint Hot Chocolate ... A Very Tasty Bribe!

Thing 2 and I bonded over some delicious peppermint hot chocolate with peppermint marshmallows, stirred with a candy cane. I also gave her an early Christmas present ... a pair of fleece leggings ... super soft and warm. Thing 1 came over a little later. I gave her a pair of fleece leggings and a hand-stitched quilt I'd forgotten about (she loves quilts). Then I gave each of them both a big bowl of homemade loaded baked potato soup that is as tasty as the leggings are warm.

Then I went in for the kill and asked them to bring up all my Christmas decorations ... and I have a lot of Christmas decorations! They would have done it without the bribe, but it never hurts to stack the deck in your favor, right?!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Introducing ... The Personal Sleep Pod!

This one-person sleep pod (sorry ... there is no couples version), is designed to be worn as a backpack, then easily slipped over your head whenever you need to take a nap. Clever, no? The idea is that during the day, a short nap will refresh and invigorate you, making you more productive at work. I'm sure there is a market for this, but I don't really see it catching on in this area ... or at my place of employment. While they want us to be refreshed, invigorated, and productive, I don't think they want us to look like bags of laundry ... or like we've been murdered and hidden under a tarp ... and our co-workers are waiting for a good time to dispose of our body!

It comes in two colors ... yeah!

But remember ...
just because you can't see them ...
doesn't mean they can't see you!!!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Squirrel Knocks Out Power to 2,000 Residents

A squirrel recently knocked out power to 2,000 residents in Silicon Valley. The glorified rat came into contact with the grid, destroying the circuit, and was electrocuted. I'm sorry for the troubles of those affected ... but YEAH! One less squirrel in the world!! 
Need I say more?
My lack of love for squirrels is legendary. Squirrels are rats, plain and simple, and I will never understand why they are allowed to roam freely. I've written many a post on these disgusting rodents. There are those who might say my distaste of squirrels borders on the psychotic, and perhaps they would not be incorrect ... but there really is nothing cute or sweet about those disgusting things. Squirrels cause a lot of damage ... and they eat my flowers!

(You can read the full story here.)

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Who decides what "suspicious circumstances" are?

Since I don't know what actions "suspicious circumstances" encompasses, who decides what "suspicious circumstances" are, or what the penalty for such an offense is ... and, considering the fact that I don't want to end up on a future episode of "Locked Up Abroad" ... I think I'll just shy away from handling salmon entirely when in the UK!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Poor Pooh

The town of Tuszyn in Poland has banned Winnie the Pooh because some council members believe Pooh to be a hermaphrodite, and inappropriate for children, citing Winnie's attire and lack of genitalia. Apparently, a fully-dressed Polish bear called Misio Uszatek is a much better choice.

I can't help but wonder ... is Misio anatomically correct under his clothing? That's kind of a creepy thought!

Another council member ... who really hates Pooh stated, "I've written a poem that represents this discussion - 'Winnie the Pooh is an alcoholic and a liar. He walks with no underwear and has cut off his testicles'."


This "poem" rhymes in Polish, but even if it does rhyme, what did Pooh do to rile up this town? And what makes them think Pooh is an alcoholic? I don't recall Pooh ever express an interest in anything other than honey! And that part about cutting off his testicles??? Surely Pooh isn't the only stuffed animal in Tuszyn without shorts or underpants!!

Poland's Misio Uszatek
Not everyone in Tuszyn see's Pooh as a problem, with one man stating, "Winnie the Pooh is a bear with low intellect, and unfortunately, this is also evident in those who are concerned with this topic."

I'm guessing this statement went right over the heads of the rest of those in attendance ... and that this one lone voice of reason in Tuszyn left the meeting scratching is head.

Maybe it will be of some consolation to know that the rest of the world agrees with him!

Friday, December 5, 2014

And We Have Lift-Off!!

I left plenty of time to get ready for work this morning so that I could stop to watch the Orion launch, and I'm glad I did. I got some pretty cool screen grabs of it. I watched it on my iPad, so the photo quality isn't stellar, but they're still cool pics.

On the launchpad ...


Views from Orion's on-board cameras ...

Separation of the boosters ...

Jettisoning the fairing panels over the service module ...

Orion's view of the Earth ...

And finally, a few of the nerds that made this amazing feat possible ...