A small note

February 22, 2008

The Lemon Chalet Creme Cookies are…well, reeeeally lemony with this scary-colored bright (!) yellow icing.

I’m afraid that I won’t be recommending them.  Dan, however, ate like 74,993,932 of them.  So, your mileage may vary.


…I pick up Cookies (yes those Cookies) tomorrow. At 10:25. At the North location. I have received numerous deadly serious (and thus hilarious to me) e-mails. Apparently, Jesus Himself could make a request for a change of pick up time and Council would not grant it. Apparently it took folks at Council an agonizingly long time to come up with the current schedule, and thus, said schedule is set in cement. Too bad if you as the Cookie Mom Troop Product Sales Manager requested the wrong time — you WILL pick up your Cookies at your assigned time. Or else. (Or else, what really? But as usual, I digress.)

My favorite line from the aforementioned e-mails: “Council has not yet finalized traffic flow.” Somehow, this makes me picture various members of Council (all in black with masks to cover their true identities) with little glow wands, arranging and re-arranging orange cones, and shouting at oncoming cars: “Cookies, Cookies, Cookies! Over here Dammit!”

And if you, dear reader, have forgotten to order your Cookies (and though there are no Golden Yangles, Andy, there are new Cookies called Lemon Cremes. Tempting, isn’t it?), you can let me know and I will pick more up at the Cookie Warehouse Cupboard. Just for you. Because I’m nice like that.

Our troop has 22 fewer cases ordered this year (only 109), which will actually make little difference in the obstacle course that will become my living room for the next few weeks. At least the cat should enjoy all the boxes. Sorry in advance if your Cookies contains Cat Hair.

That’s what I said to Tim about ten years and one week ago, a couple of days after we had brought our most gorgeous daughter home from the hospital. The ultra-sound tech had been pretty sure she was a girl, but she had only gotten a quick peek before the baby turned over and closed her legs (this as opposed to my boys who seemed to view every ultrasound as an opportunity to display their…um…maleness). So we weren’t completely surprised when the doctor called out, “She’s a girl!” But I felt such a sense of joy when he said it. I cried out, apparently louder than I had intended (hey, they gave me a shot of super good drugs right after the doctor finished pulling her out via c-section), “I’m soooo glad! I reeeeeeally wanted a girl.” Everyone in the operating room laughed with me.

And then a couple of days later, as Tim and I stared rapt at our girl lying in her bassinet with one fist curled up by her head, I tore my eyes away from her to look at him and said, “There’s a person who lives here named Abby.” And we paused for a moment, silent, contemplating what should have seemed like a very simple truth, but somehow wasn’t. She wasn’t just “the baby” anymore — she was this entire complete person that lived here. She would grow up, she would have her own personality, her own likes and dislikes, her own dreams and disappointments.

And now, suddenly — I mean, really it feels suddenly — she’ll be ten on Monday. Double digits, as she keeps reminding me. I never could have known that moment staring at her in the bassinet how very much I would grow to love her. Heck, at that moment, I thought that I could never love a human being more than I did at that second. But knowing her, being her mom each day of the last ten years, has made my love for her blossom even greater. It’s not that every day has been easy, that she hasn’t frustrated me beyond all measure at times, that she hasn’t sometimes bored me to near tears (I am so not one of those mothers who can’t see the difficulties in her children!). But wow. Not only is there a person who lives here named Abby, but there’s this increasingly gorgeous girl who listens to God’s voice. There’s this girl-woman who makes me laugh at her jokes, who can in various situations glance at me with a certain tilt to her eyebrow and send me into a fit of giggles. There’s this generous-hearted kid who has in the last week said to me, “Thanks for taking care of me when I was sick, Mom,” (as if I wouldn’t?) and “Mom, you’re not going to bend over and clean the catbox. Your back hurts — I’ll do it.”

Tonight we have her party, a scaled-down, much more sophisticated do than last year’s. She’s having her two best friends over (I sold her on the idea that if we had fewer girls, we could do funner stuff). We’re going to Olive Garden, the height of ten year old culinary palettes. (“Mom, Max and Erma’s is kind of babyish. I mean, they have sundae bar.”) We’re going to the movie, The Spiderwick Chronicles, and then, in lieu of a goody bag (“Mom, I’m going to be ten, not five.”), we’re going to Barnes & Noble for each girl to pick out a paperback book. (“This party has to say something about who I am, Mom. And I’m all about books.”) Then we’re coming back home to make Aunt Annie’s pretzels. (from the box you can buy at the mall store — “Those rock, Mom, you know.”) The girls will decorate their own cupcakes and we’ll play Apples to Apples, Jr. (“Which is the funnest game ever, Mom”) and make kid mocktails. Then they’ll go down to our basement/rec room and curl up in sleeping bags and tell stories and hang out. Sunday morning, Dad has been instructed to make French Toast (“His is way better than yours, Mom. Not to hurt your feelings.”). And as a safeguard against starvation, we have little powdered doughnuts. We’re going to make mimosas with sparkling grape juice. (“Too cool, Mom.”)

One thing I’ve learned in planning this party — nearly ten year old girls talk in a lot of italics.

Man, I’m blessed with this kid. And I realize that while, right now, we have a person who lives here named Abby, I’m going to blink once or twice, and we won’t have her here anymore. And that will be cool — on some long days, I even look forward to an empty nest. But right now, this minute, I’m going to relish her; I’m going to be in the moment, this wonderful moment when my daughter turns ten.

Some other answered prayers

February 14, 2008

  • Tim starts a new consulting job on Monday. It’s a 2 month gig at this point, but it buys us some cushion.
  • My mom has gone one full week without needing a transfusion. Her hemoglobin actually went up, despite being on the chemo meds this week. No one knows why this is — but I’m willing to give God the credit (big of me, isn’t it?).

I have about one hundred ideas floating around in my head for various posts — I’ll try to get to those in the next day or two.

A good update for once

February 9, 2008

Abby is home, barf free at the moment.  I won’t go into the details about how the GI doctors who promised me that they would help care for her in the ER are all lying liars that lie.  But the actual ER doctors did pretty well (though I had to explain the diagnosis to the 25 year old resident who hadn’t slept in like 74 hours, but you know, these things are par for the course).  She felt much better yesterday, so much better that she began talking.  And talking.  And then talking some more.  It’s like she saves up all these thoughts while barfing, and then the exact moment the nausea leaves her, she’s like a balloon with the air seeping out, her words tumbling over one another almost faster than she can form them.  But God love her, it was good to hear her voice.

My dad is being released from the hospital today.  So yay on that.

And really, I am glad for the above facts.  I’m just…weary.  Tim is still in between jobs (and God love him, but he’s not in the best of moods today, and why would he be?), and financial matters are pressing (and pressing).  But God is good.  He’s been good and He will be good.  Hanging on to those truths for dear life!

Look to the heavens, my friends.

Abby has started out the day barfing.  In too much of a rush to provide the links, but if you either don’t know us and/or don’t want to look through my April/May 2007 archives, my kid?  A big time barfer.  We need to go to Children’s and get her on an IV.

Yeah, yeah prayers are much appreciated — though I’m beginning to question if God is up there going, “For them again?  Really?”

More later.

Thanks to…

February 7, 2008

  • John for posting about our situation — do you know that you tripled my traffic in one day, my friend?
  • Deneen for the most lovely card ever.  Ever.  I will hold up faith for you too, anytime you need.
  • Kate and Eric for wonderful food at the absolutely perfect time.  Yum.
  • Tracy for dragging my sorry butt to the oral surgeon and the oral surgeon for removing the tooth (though unlike the rest of you, he got paid for his time!).
  • The countless numbers of you propping us up in prayer.  We feel it.  Really, really.

Tim has an interview today, so more prayers for today are appreciated.  My dad’s heart was shocked back into rhythm yesterday — successfully, thankfully.  The hospital is keeping him a couple of days to monitor his medication, and then should send him home.  He will have to wait a couple of weeks for surgery to get completely off the blood thinners because he can’t have major surgery while on blood thinners.  My mom goes to the James today for blood counts and a meeting with her doctor, who may (hopefully?) have some answer as to why her hemoglobin keeps plummeting.

The tooth (or where the tooth was) hurts a bit, but in comparison, it’s infinitely better.  Dr. Uhle, the endodontist, is a most wonderful man, who said to me Monday, “Of course, I’m concerned for your tooth, but I’m more concerned for you as a patient.”  Wow.

And last night I was reading a book about women in the persecuted church, women whose suffering is on such a different plane than my own, that I almost feel shame for even complaining.  And you know what — almost uniformly — seems to help these women as they suffer unspeakable horrors?  Worshiping the Lord.  Singing to him in the night.  Continuing to remind themselves that God is sovereign, and that though this world’s circumstances may never change for them, neither will God’s all powerful love and reassurance.  Neither will heaven.  All and all, it’s pretty constructive thinking.

Thanks again to ALL.  Love to you.

In the last 24 hours…

February 5, 2008

  • My dad has been admitted the hospital and is in A-Fib, which basically means that his heart is completely out of rhythm.  He doesn’t want me there, because…
  • Tim has been diagnosed with the flu.  The flu, flu, as in influenza, as in “Why the fuck didn’t we all get flu shots?” flu.  Oh yeah, because my dad was in the hospital back in October when flu shots were being administered at Tim’s work.
  • It has been decided that my tooth, which is not getting better and has kept me up for four (4) nights with unspeakable pain, is officially at the DNR (Do not resuscitate) point and needs to be extracted tomorrow morning.
  • My mom is despairing of pretty much everything as she needed yet another transfusion yesterday and is still having severe gastric symptoms from the cancer medicine which is supposedly going to help her.
  • A giant meteor is going to hit Lake Erie sometime in the next 48 hours, causing a tsunami, and Dan, who will be holding the Wii aloft, will be the only surviver.  (Okay, this is just speculation, but based on the events of 2008, I have to ask you, is it unreasonable speculation?)

Hold me closer, tiny internet.

Yes, the tooth got worse. Whole lotta worse — worse like someone sticking a rusty railroad spike in my mouth. It seems fitting that after my complaining entry, I should find at least a few things for which I can be thankful. I am mightily thankful to the endodontist that I called yesterday for calling me back, calling me again this morning to check on me, and then coming in to his office to re-root-canal my tooth, which, indeed was full of icky infection and needed immediate assistance.

I am thankful to my friend Tracy who made me call said endodontist and then drove me there and waited the two hours while he excavated the aforementioned ickiness from my tooth.

I am thankful for my kids who laid their sweet hands on me and prayed for my pain.

I am thankful to my husband who hung in there today, despite being very sick himself — the man as a fever of 103 and he never gets sick like this. He’s going to the doctor tomorrow morning ASAP, and hey, one of the advantages of not currently having a job is that he doesn’t have to miss work, right? Right?

I am thankful that my mom has had a good weekend and that in her words, if she feels good enough to stagger from the car to the restaurant, then she might just as well have someone else do the cooking. Love.That.Woman.

I am thankful for narcotics. And antibiotics.

I am thankful that my boys went to bed tonight without a fight, despite having to miss some of the Super Bowl.

I am thankful for people in my home group who always make me laugh and who are starting to know me, warts and all, and still seem to want me back (if not, they fake it well and I take it where I can get it).

Still a lot to worry about, but I’m trying really really hard not to worry, what with God saying that it’s a sin and all. Plus, it’s unproductive as all crap. It’s just that I’m so very good at it.

Definitely covet the prayers of others — for Tim’s health, for my parents of course, for a ridiculously quick resolution to the job stuff for Tim, etc. etc. etc.

But wow, am I ever thankful for endodontists.

…but I haven’t had much time or any energy to write. And my computer croaked and had to be resuscitated by the Laptop Guys. And I’ve been taking my mom to lots of appointments. And my back has been giving me problems — disc protusions and the like. Oh, and today, just for the heck of it, I’ve woken up with a wicked tooth ache.

To catch up: my mom is still not holding her hemoglobin levels, and she has officially flummoxed the doctors at the James. We’ve established that we don’t think there’s a bleed anywhere in her digestive track, which is good and bad news. Good because obviously internal bleeding is not desired, but bad because the doctors can’t figure out why her hemoglobin keeps dropping. She’s been getting transfused with at least two units of blood a week, and she’s been getting new medicine that is supposed to be fighting the cancer, but is also making her sicker and more tired in the short run.

I don’t have words, really, for how exhausting and hard this has all been.

Meanwhile, I had an MRI on my back that showed further problems at the L4-5 and L5-S1 levels (lower back). The debate seems to be whether or not the unrelenting pain can be helped with spinal fusion surgery. Over the next few months, I’ll be talking to a couple of different surgeons, gathering my own research, and I suppose, making a decision whether 60% odds of improvement is worth taking the surgical risk. But I know I don’t want to go on like this, which is about 100% sucky.

Oh yeah, and Tim’s consultant contract with the company at which he’s been working ended super abruptly — so as of yesterday, he’s what they call “on the bench” while his consulting company looks for somewhere else to place him. And no, the bench is not where one actually gets paid or anything. So we’re kind of screwed here in the short term.

In short, things are hard, hard, hard. Trying to hang in there, trying to hang in there with God (but a tooth ache, God? Really? I mean, I feel like someone is ramming a sharp stake into my jaw. On the plus side, it’s putting my back pain on the back burner temporarily.).

I just re-read this post, and I suppose it sounds like a litany of complaints. Sorry about that. But it’s all I’ve got right now.