Archive for August, 2013


100 Things I Plan to Do Now That I Don’t Share My Home with Teens or Kids…

on her feet

Warning: You may want to get 2 beverages first.

The reality is that I started doing a lot of the following a long time ago. But perhaps the contemplative point is that we parents often don’t have time to realize just how much we change our previous lives when little ones enter our lives. Why don’t we have time? Just read below and you’ll probably figure it out. Here’s what I either am doing now that the kids are all out living their own lives or plan to do in the next few years:

  1. Use up all the hot water for my shower.
  2. Take fewer cold showers, thanks to # 1.
  3. Quit doing a 1 am check of the living room for bodies playing Xbox Live after bedtime. And people wonder why I’m an insomniac.
  4. Stop turning off all the lights in their end of the house.
  5. Pet the dog.
  6. Sip coffee on my back porch and do more of # 5.
  7. Have a 2nd cup of coffee on the back porch.
  8. Actually water my plants.
  9. Put photos in a photo album and actually use the hope chest for hope.
  10. Talk to my husband about something other than what part of the house now needs to be repaired and which kid needs some “active parenting,” thanks to their latest “issues”.
  11. Remind myself why I married the hubby…besides the fact that he makes a pretty good dad.
  12. Spend all day in the Container store.
  13. Actually go in an IKEA store. Hey, I live in a small town.
  14. Go to Toys R Us and play with the toys instead of telling someone not to play with the toys.
  15. While at Toys R Us, laugh wickedly at the moms telling their kids not to play with the toys.
  16. Quit saving Limited, Too and Delia’s coupons.
  17. Shop in stores filled with expensive, breakable items.
  18. Actually venture into the china department at Macy’s.
  19. Sit in a fast food restaurant, away from the Playland.
  20. Go to matinees of non-animated movies on a weekday.
  21. Make an exception to # 20 for movies with “minions” in them.
  22. Have leisurely meals out with friends without worrying about having to pick up a kid from an extracurricular activity or put one to bed.
  23. Quit instinctively putting my arm across the passenger seat when having to stop quickly in the car.
  24. Put things in the back seat without worrying about which car seat it’s closest to.
  25. Buy a sports car again (Yes, once upon a time MaryAnn owned something other than a mini-van and an SUV. Hard to believe, hunh?)…after the college moving years.
  26. Have a Bachelor/Bachelorette watch party with my BFFs. Don’t hate.
  27. Travel half as much as my hubby…buy a bigger suitcase.
  28. Haunt Sam Moon to buy the bigger suitcase…on a weekday.
  29. Stop closing down all the stores that stay “open late” during Christmas season because the hubby can only watch the kids for 1 long Saturday each December.
  30. Stop listening for the “silence.” Revel in it, instead.
  31. Stop lecturing and replace that with pointed, “open-ended” questions.
  32. Read a book all in one sitting, like Hop on Pop.
  33. Put treats in children’s hands instead of smacking them for reaching for the cookie jar right before dinner.
  34. Yank out those infernal safety plugs in my outlets.
  35. Take the safety latches off the cabinets with dangerous substances in them, like chocolate.
  36. Organize the Tupperware cabinet and pots and pans cabinet and marvel at how it stays that way for a whole day.
  37. Read the owner’s manual for my new cell phone.
  38. Beam that my car interior no longer contains science experiments gone awry in the back seat, random cheerios, and the missing puzzle pieces.
  39. Take the parental controls off the TV and home computer (They turned out to be a complete waste of time anyway with kids who were weaned on computers, etc.) Heck, throw the home computer out, since we all have smart phones, iPads, iPods, Xboxes, and laptops.
  40. Use the wedding china and wash it by hand.
  41. Buy necklaces that actually could be destroyed by chubby hands yanking a little too hard.
  42. Wear dangly and hoop earrings again.
  43. Leave the door open without expecting company in the bathroom at the most inappropriate times imaginable, like when I’m reading Hop on Pop.
  44. Take showers without toddlers to save time on Sunday mornings.
  45. Stop cutting up everyone else’s food while mine gets cold.
  46. Stop evaluating furniture based on child-friendly features such as being indestructible during a nuclear bomb attack.
  47. Use cloth diapers for dust rags instead of burping cloths.
  48. Save money for retirement.
  49. Pay off the mortgage.
  50. Buy a dress when it’s at full retail price…in white.
  51. Quit buying spray ‘n wash, bleach, sunscreen, aloe vera gel, Benadryl cream and bug repellant in 5 gallon drums.
  52. Quit buying the 21 pack of lunch box sized chips.
  53. Snuggle with my hubby on the couch in the living room and watch the Cosby show without having to move game controllers first.
  54. Still laugh at # 53.
  55. Make a real pizza.
  56. Stop closing drawers…everywhere.
  57. Marvel at the balance in the checkbook.
  58. Marvel that the checkbook is actually balanced.
  59. Marvel that you can now balance the checkbook online. This happened while I wasn’t sleeping at night, right?
  60. Talk to my girlfriends on the phone without having to say, “Just a minute…” and then putting my hand over the receiver while I berate some errant child.
  61. Quit giving the “look” to my children from across a crowded room. Instead, give the “smile” to my hubby across a crowded room.
  62. Move the beer and the wine into the main refrigerator.
  63. Make room for # 62 by getting rid of lunchables, juice boxes, juice, Gatorade, and the Pedialyte.
  64. Get rid of the freezer and the side of beef and whole hog that used to inhabit it on a regular basis.
  65. Start stocking up on the “noisy” toys to give my future grandchildren. Laugh wickedly when their parents realize  that these toys don’t come with an optional ear bud plug-in.
  66. Add on to my Christmas village collection and put it on a really low table.
  67. Use tweezers to actually tweeze something, as opposed to pulling out splinters.
  68. Quit explaining what plethora means.
  69. Marvel at how trash cans can stay empty for an entire week.
  70. Marvel at how the bathroom sink can stay clean for longer than 5 minutes.
  71. Marvel at the difference in color of the floor when it doesn’t have ketchup on it.
  72. Marvel at how the former boys’ bedrooms no longer smell like a gym locker.
  73. Marvel at how bathroom towels remain on the towel bar, neatly folded.
  74. Stop banning permanent markers and sharp scissors from the house.
  75. Give away the “Sex Talk” books.
  76. Stop saying, “We only talk about that at home.”
  77. Stop having a panic attack when I hear a school bus approach.
  78. Actually leave the house without having to return to the house 5 times for the favorite blankie, teddy bear, cheerios snack container, extra diapers and stray church shoe.
  79. Use the oven for something other than a frozen pizza or frozen cookie dough.
  80. Let my hair grow longer than my chin and refuse to put it up in a ponytail.
  81. Contemplate my navel.
  82. Stop eating food that’s “cute” or smiling back at me with a fruity set of lips.
  83. Stop evaluating restaurants based on whether they have a drive-thru lane, happy meals, a kids menu or a Rooty-Tooty Fresh ‘n Fruity option.
  84. Go back to “school” shopping for me. I plan to buy books with $ 20 words in them, try on oodles of cute blazers, vests and blouses that actually require ironing, and get myself a really, really tiny purse.
  85. Use the Irish linen tablecloth my dad gave my mother after returning from being stationed in Scotland without being concerned for its permanent demise.
  86. Use my grandmother’s hand-tatted lace placemats more than once a year.
  87. Listen to my music in my car.
  88. Be thankful I no longer know all the words to the songs on Barney, whether I wanted to know them or not.
  89. Take a trip without the children and not write a novel for the person responsible for caring or checking on our children/teens.
  90. Arrive somewhere on time or maybe…wait…can it be…5 minutes early. Be still my heart.
  91. Stop bribing the dentist’s receptionist to watch my kids while I’m in “the chair.” She now drives a Mercedes. Must have a wealthy spouse.
  92. Stop paying babysitters Steve Jobs’ last annual salary for 1 hour of babysitting because your children are that “challenging.” I heard, last week, that those sitters now own JC Penney.
  93. Start investing in Apple instead of paying them.
  94. Observe my children, not to correct or praise their behavior, but to notice which up and coming companies are worthy of my e-trade money.
  95. Sleep in without worrying about whether a kid got up for school on time.
  96. Stop buzzing through the living room every 15 minutes when the boyfriend or girlfriend is over for the evening.
  97. When I stub my toe, stop exclaiming “Sheee’s a really nice person” or “Dammmmmmmmmmms are places where beavers live.”
  98. Stop looking around before I open my lingerie drawer.
  99. Be a little wistful that one era of my life has passed and…
  100. Admire the adults I now refer to as my offspring because they stopped being kids a long, long time ago, in spite of their flawed parenting. 



If You Visit Your Cardiologist, You’ll Wind Up in Kansas?

ruby slippers

There are days when I truly wonder if my cardiologist gets that Prinzmetal Angina is stress-induced…and today would be one of those days. I had my first follow-up with him since my release from the hospital in June. If you’re not up on my “health adventures,” I suggest you read this first. Here’s why:

1. It takes 3 weeks to make 2 appointments 2 months away that require 75 minute car trips one-way.

2. Finding a parking space in the parking garage across the street from his office complex is basically an exercise in futility despite 4 rather massive levels.

3. The only way to get into the office building is via a continuously-moving revolving door with big red letters on the glass which says, “DO NOT PUSH DOOR UNLESS THE DOOR IS STOPPED!” People ahead of us invariably push the door despite its movement and thus, the door stops. (Picture me rolling my eyes!)

4. Once on the 5th floor, one is told to sign in and sit down. Upon sitting down (pretty far away from the receptionist), the receptionist calls your name and hands you a clipboard with a questionnaire asking you to reveal whether you are: a psycho killer, about to go into labor, or having a heart attack right now. (Well, I wasn’t, but now that I think about it, I have noticed some OCD moments lately, my seat is wet and this insanity is causing me to reach for the nitro pills.)

5. After you complete said questionnaire and you dutifully return it promptly to the receptionist, she takes the documents off the clipboard and hands them back to you to give to the nurse and you’re told to go back and sit down in Canada again.

6. A surly nurse’s aide takes you to an exam room and you are asked when the psychosis began, how far apart your contractions are and should they get the heart paddles soon. Then she proceeds to try and take your blood pressure from the very arm where vampires sucked every ounce of blood from your veins earlier in the day. To take it on the other arm, you either have to get really friendly with a surly nurse’s aide or become a contortionist. I’ll let you guess which option Ms. Surly chose.

7. If you should feel the need to relieve yourself while waiting for the physician’s aide, you have to take a left turn in Montana, a right turn when you’re in New Mexico and hope the sign is in English. After a while I really wondered if I was going to have to re-read, “Who Moved My Cheese?”

8. Finally the aide comes in and one gets good news. then she leaves to inform the doc that you really would like to see the Wizard. I guess that means I am either in the Emerald City or Kansas. Maybe I’ll get out of the maze now that I have a GPS location?

9. The doctor tells you pretty good news, as well. Hey, he really IS the Wizard. Guess I’m in Emerald City today.

10. About the time you think you can leave in the hot air balloon, another vampire deflates said balloon by sticking you with a pin to suck you dry one more time and to make sure you don’t leave Oz.

11. Then, the Wicked Witch of the West appears and tells you, “I’ll get you, my Pretty. You get to do more stomach injections.” Where is water when I need it???

12. Finally, you are granted permission to leave and you get in line to pay for all of this wonderfulness. Apparently, you have to pay green to get out of the Emerald City. And you wondered why they called it the Emerald City? Aha! Now you know.

13. After you pay the green, another receptionist tells you that it will be the next millennium until you can return to Oz to be poked and prodded by the Wicked Witch of the West again. Joy. Where is Glenda and the Munchkins when I need them?

14. After paying the green, then you get to go through the Yellow-Brick Revolving door again and begin your “Where’s Waldo?” search for your car in the massive parking garage. (Yes, I know I’ve mixed several metaphors now…but blame it on the lack of blood flow to my brain, thanks to the vampires.)

15. After leaving the parking garage, your hubby will exclaim, “There’s no place like DFW…there’s no place like DFW…” because that really IS where he lives. Someone forgot to tell him that Dorothy lives southwest of there. Time to call out my flying monkeys. Hmmm…maybe I’m turning into the Wicked Witch of the Southwest. If so, cancel the water order. If I’m seeing flying monkeys, I probably need more Xanax.

The bottom line? More stomach injections and another blood test on Thursday. *sigh*

Thursday’s Post: 100 Things on My To-Do List…

You might also like: Lessons Learned from De-Kidding My House and Lessons Learned from Being a Pansy and No, I Don’t Mean the Flower


26 Tuesdays: Benjamin Wheeler

Penny Lane

Last week we honored teacher Victoria Soto, the brave woman who tried to shield her students from the gunman. This week I have to give partial credit for my act of kindness to my youngest. He cleaned out his dresser and closet in preparation for beginning college and left a bag of clothing for me to donate to our local version of “Goodwill.” All I had to do was take the bag there on his behalf when I was out running the errands–so easy!

On Sunday our minister encouraged us to do “Organized Acts of Kindness” (OAK). This is particularly interesting because our church’s name is “Oakdale.” 🙂 I hope our church will, one day, be known for our acts of kindness! That’s what a church should be all about anyway.

So this brings our MIP “organized” acts of kindness total to 95! What OAKs did you do this week? Let us know in a comment below.

This week we honor Benjamin Wheeler. Here is what CNN said about Benjamin:

Benjamin Wheeler, 6

Ben loved The Beatles, lighthouses and the No. 7 train to Sunnyside, Queens, his family said in a statement. He and his older brother Nate “filled the house with the noise of four children.” “Ben Wheeler was an irrepressibly bright and spirited boy whose love of fun and excitement at the wonders of life and the world could rarely be contained. His rush to experience life was headlong, creative and immediate,” his family said. Ben loved soccer and swimming. Recently, he performed at a piano recital — a major feat for a little boy who rarely sat still. Friday morning before school, he told him mom: “I still want to be an architect, but I also want to be a paleontologist, because that’s what Nate is going to be and I want to do everything Nate does.” The family moved to Newtown in 2007. Francine Wheeler, Ben’s mother, is a music teacher and performer. Francine Wheeler’s band posted the following message on its Facebook page: “Francine Wheeler, a founding member of The Dream Jam Band, has lost her precious 6-year old son, Ben, to the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. Our prayers and love go out to Francine, David and Ben’s big brother, Nate.”

Thursday’s Post: 100 Things on my New To-Do List…

You might also like: 26 Tuesdays: Victoria Soto; 26 Tuesdays: Mary Sherlach; 26 Tuesdays: Lauren Rousseau; and 26 Tuesdays: Avielle Richman


Word of the Week: roseate

Picture picture

Picture picture

Last week’s Word of the Week (WOW) was aegis. There are 3 definitions for it at Merriam-Webster Online and I have a sneaky suspicion that the first one is largely archaic, but thanks to a resurgent interest in mythology cinematically, maybe it’s getting a little more usage these days. Here’s what had to say on the subject: 1) a shield or breastplate emblematic of majesty that was associated with Zeus and Athena 2) protection or controlling or conditioning influence and 3) auspices, control or guidance especially by an individual, group, or system. When I think about those last 2 definitions, I do believe I have heard this word in actual usage, but if it means auspices, why not just use the much more popular auspices???

Way too serious for a Monday? Okay…On to the WOW for this week, which is roseate. Here are my definition guesses for roseate:

roseate: (ˈrō-zē-ət) 1. when the dog eats your roses (a very real possibility at my house…sigh) 2. Ross’ seat in  le France 3. the lunch Rosie the Riveter had while working at the factory in WWII. You’re welcome for the bonus history lesson today.

So, what are your guesses for roseate??? Leave a comment below regarding your guess (or just the fact that my guesses are under the aegis of insanity)

Tomorrow’s Post: What act of kindness did you do for a selfless teacher?

You might also like: Word of the Week: aegis; Word of the Week: meretricious; Word of the Week: sangfroid; Word of the Week: eurytopic; Word of the Week: balneology


Lessons Learned from De-Kidding the House…

cleaning gloves

Warning: Get a beverage first. 

The last child departed for college last weekend. While I am a little sad about this new phase of my life, I am also excited about his future and the future wedded life of two people who haven’t stopped thinking about parenting since about 1984. My dad had a philosophy about entering his retirement years: “You don’t retire from something; you retire to something.” In other words you make some plans for the next phase of your life and get busy living out those plans. That’s my choice for this empty nest phase of my life.

My mother-in-law, upon entering this phase of her life, took one of her offspring’s bedrooms and converted it into a child’s playroom. Why? Because she was already a grandmother and felt the “grands” (as she calls them) needed a safe place to play when visiting her home. She took the “remnants” of her own children’s playthings and created a haven for her eventual 12 grandchildren. Recently, she and her hubby made the decision that it was time to move in with their daughter and her family and thus, the old homestead, including the playroom, went on the market. However, before it sold, all of us gathered at that home to reminisce about our memories of the house they called home for 43 years. Chief among the “grands” memories are playing in that playroom and that just stuck with me.

It also occurred to me that if I want to invite people over for dinner in this next phase of life, some of them are going to have young children and they are probably going to get bored with adult conversation at some point in the evening. So, having a playroom for them to explore and discover would be an awesome way to entertain them until the day when I have my own “grands”. Therefore, each of my children’s bedrooms are about to be converted. One is already semi-converted–my daughter’s former bedroom is slowly evolving into a writing office for me. My eldest son’s bedroom will revert to a guest bedroom for all of our out-of-town and out-of-state relatives. But, the youngest’s room is about to become…as you probably guessed…the playroom.

I have big ideas for that playroom, probably too many to actually put into one small room, but the first part of creating the playroom means gathering up all the “remnants” of my kids’ childhoods and when you begin to clean out closets, drawers, toy bins, game cabinets and student desks, there are bound to be a few surprises along the way. Their belongings have migrated all over the house, so “de-kidding” the majority of the house is a really interesting process, especially when your kids really like hanging on to things. Here’s what I have learned so far:

    1. Wear a hazmat suit.
    2. A welding mask may come in handy, too.
    3. Bring your own supply of oxygen and put a clothespin on your nose.
    4. Buy a case of hospital gloves. Change frequently to prevent getting bubonic plague.
    5. I now know why we never have any flashlight batteries. They were at the back of the “games cabinet” for the games that do not require batteries. I suppose this is somehow logical in a kid’s world.
    6. We don’t have much in the “safe” toy department. I’m not sure if this is an indictment of my parenting or if this is because the safe toys were all destroyed by ruffian children long ago. I didn’t say my children were stupid.
    7. We have a lot of kid movies, but no VCR to play them on.
    8. We have a lot of kid music, but no cassette player to play them on.
    9. I’m thinking the kid cassettes and videocassettes will make an interesting grandparent story that begins, “When your mom or dad was a little girl/boy, they had to walk 12 miles to school every morning in the snow, uphill both ways and they watched movies on a machine called a VCR. What is a VCR???? Well, your dad was fond of putting apple cores in ours because he thought it was hungry…”
    10. Order a semi-load of garbage bags.
    11. Alert your trash service that you need a dumpster.
    12. Question whether each item is trash or simply something you do not understand because it bears no resemblance to the toys you thought you bought your child.
    13. Throw out all the flattened penny souvenirs on the pretense that they are a choking hazard.
    14. Throw out all the gum wrappers…even the ones with antique status from 1987.
    15. Step around the stain in the carpeting that your children have carefully hidden on the pretense that they wanted to rearrange their rooms.
    16. Be thankful you’re wearing the hazmat suit based on the discovery of # 15.
    17. A kid can pack all of his stuff for college and his room still looks the same. I guess he kept all the “good stuff” under his bed??? I don’t think I want to know. I’m officially scared. Maybe Maizie should come with me for cleaning out under the bed….for protection.
    18. If you ever wondered what happened to the change left over from sending them to school to pay for certain necessary items, it’s in the dresser drawer that will no longer open without a controlled demolition of your son’s room.
    19. What’s keeping it from opening? My guess would be an experiment with gum from 1987.
    20. Dress socks are apparently non-essential stuff for college.
    21. I’m totally amazed the Children’s Story Bible is not essential equipment for a college dorm.
    22. I’m not really sure what I’m going to do with the purple and aqua frosted pop tarts in my pantry. Oh. Wait. There are probably enough preservatives in those things to last until I have a grandchild old enough to be poisoned by them…around 2020.
    23. I’d throw out more stuff, but I’m pretty sure it would damage the ozone.
    24. You know it’s bad when the dogs won’t even sniff it.
    25. I have found a new reason not to eat….ever. My cardiologist will be so pleased.
    26. I’m not sure Wally World has enough bug killer and Lysol spray for this operation.
    27. I now understand why we had credit card debt for 25 years.


Monday’s Post: Has it been aegis for you, too? 🙂

You might also like: Lessons Learned from Being a Pansy and No, I Don’t Mean the Flower, The Boy Leaves for Lubbock, and Things I Love about the Man I Married


26 Tuesdays: Victoria Soto

Back to School

Last week 26 Tuesdays honored Mary Sherlach, the counselor at Sandy Hook who, along with her principal, rushed into the corridor from their offices after hearing gunshots. U.S. school counselors do a nearly impossible job–their days are often filled with doing things they never really wanted to do, such as testing, scheduling, and other administrative work. Often, the counseling work they long to do has to be crammed into short segments of time (not ideal for helping people) or before or after school. It means long hours throughout the entire year–counselor usually do not get their summers off, like their teaching counterparts.

And yet, school counselors are often the very people who make life tolerable for a great number of kids. Sadly, more and more of our children are forced to live in families that are struggling for one reason or another. The reality is that life is often not very fair for our children. So, what sort of act of kindness should I do to honor Mary Sherlach?

My inspiration for this week’s act of kindness came from guess who. A school counselor. She happens to be a good friend of mine and when life didn’t seem very fair for me last week, I “vented” in her direction. She responded with her typical caring, her crazy sense of humor and…a card. She, herself, lives a life that is often not very fair to her. And yet, she still devotes herself to helping others with whatever problems they present to her. So I purchased a number of cards this week to send to others, those who have suffered some big hurts this week and could use a kind word from a friend. Such a simple thing to do, but a fast and dying act of kindness, due to the internet.

This puts our MIP acts of kindness count at 93! We closing in on the 100 mark! What did you do as your act of kindness this week?

Today’s honoree is the last teacher we will honor and Victoria Soto has been hailed as a hero for taking fast action to try and protect her students before she was unmercifully gunned down. Here is more about her via CNN:

Victoria Soto, 27
Soto, a first-grade teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary, moved her students away from the classroom door when she heard gunfire. “That’s when the gunman burst in, did not say a word, no facial expressions, and proceeded to shoot their teacher,” said Robert Licata, whose 6-year-old son, Aiden, escaped by running past the shooter. Soto’s mother said her daughter was selfless. “She would not hesitate to think to save anyone else before herself, and especially children. She loved them more than life, and she would definitely put herself in front of them any day,” Donna Soto told CNN’s Piers Morgan. Soto had wanted to be a teacher since she was 3 and talked about her students with “such fondness and caring,” her mother said. Soto’s cousin, James Wiltsie, said Soto “instinctively went into action, when a monster came into her classroom, and tried to protect the kids that she loved so much,” he said. “We just want the public to know that Vicki was a hero.”

Thursday’s Post: The return of Slow Reader Thursday!

You might also like: 26 Tuesdays: Mary Sherlach; 26 Tuesdays: Lauren Rousseau; 26 Tuesdays: Avielle Richman; and 26 Tuesdays: Jessica Rekos


Word of the Week: aegis

Picture picture

Picture picture

Last week’s word was meretricious. According to Merriam-Webster online, meretricious has several meanings and the first two may not be suitable for audiences under the age of 60: 1. of or relating to a prostitute : having the nature of prostitution 2. tawdrily and falsely attractive. The last one I like a whole lot better for my “rated G” audience: superficially significant.

I seldom comment on politics here, but I think we can safely say our “do-nothing” Congress is definition # 3 right now. Do you agree??? 🙂

This week’s word is:  aegis. Here are my definition attempts for it:

aegis (ˈē-jəs) 1. what a hillbilly thinks is a very, very long time. 2. the birth name of a Scot who was named after some really nasty food 3. when Regis Philbin isn’t behaving

What’s your guess?

Tomorrow’s Post: What was your act of kindness for the week?

You might also like: Word of the Week: meretricious; Word of the Week: sangfroid; Word of the Week: eurytopic; and Word of the Week: balneology



Lessons Learned from Being a Pansy and No, I Don’t Mean the Flower…


In the never ending theme of my life, “God has a sick sense of humor,” the hubby and I went off to the big city for an echocardiogram yesterday. Since I have been feeling better and better, I thought this would just be a part of the routine follow-up care one must endure after a heart attack. But, that would be oh, too simple for MaryAnn. Since I have had “echos” before, I knew this one was taking way too long. I could also see the screen this time and even my untrained eye didn’t like what I was seeing. And I was, once again, reading the body language of my echo technician. And it wasn’t good.

Apparently, the echo showed abnormalities. However, I was not scheduled to see the doctor on this visit–just to get the echo. So, after checking with a physician (My doctor wasn’t in the office, of course.), they sent us on our way and said there were no changes to my recuperative care.

While on the way home, we stopped for gas. While my hubby pumped the gas, my cell phone rang. It was my doctor’s nurse. My doctor had reviewed the echo and wanted several changes. First, stop taking the new drug I had just started 2 months ago. Also stop taking aspirin. These meds are usually considered vital in keeping me alive. The reason for stopping these meds? To take Warfarin instead. What?! Apparently, I have a blood clot at the base of my heart. The clot puts me at risk now for a stroke. Joy.

But that wasn’t the worst part. I also needed to start another drug right away, preferably by the end of the afternoon and the orders were to take it twice a day. Guess how you take this med. You self-inject it.

I’m pretty much a human pin cushion from countless allergy shots, hospital IVs, blood draws, etc., but all of those were administered by a medical professional. I’ve never, ever had to inject myself. And since I nearly passed out in 9th grade Biology when we had to prick our fingers to put blood on a microscope slide (I finally had to have my lab partner do it), this is enough to send ol’ MaryAnn to the psych ward for about 2 years.

This could not have happened at a worse time. Normally, I would probably have my son learn how to give me the injections, but he is moving to college this weekend. (He has a new reason to leave home!) Normally, my husband would rearrange his business schedule to help me out, but he is moving both of our sons this weekend. Normally, I know a pile of nursing students from our local university, but all of those have recently graduated and found positions in other communities. Normally, my daughter, who doesn’t live too far away, would probably meet me somewhere and help her poor mother out (even though I’m sure she’d rather go back to grad school!). She’s on a much needed vacation in Colorado with her new husband right now.

I got off the phone and the hubby could tell I was visibly shaken. I repeated what the nurse told me and we drove down the road silently for the next 10 minutes. Silence in the family car usually means something is drastically wrong. Then I received a series of additional phone calls from the same nurse with the following newsflashes: They don’t have the injectable stuff at my normal pharmacy that already understands how much garbage I endure because of my medical adventures, so I had to go through all the insurance garbage at another pharmacy. My primary care physican’s staff would not be able to give me the injections this coming weekend when they were closed. Pharmacies can’t give me the shots, either. I can’t have any alcohol whatsoever. (And after the first phone call, I was thinking inebriation might be the only way I could persuade myself to inject myself two times a day!) I can’t take any pain relievers except Tylenol and I can’t exceed 2000 mg of Tylenol per day (A mere pittance when I’m having a migraine and stress brings on my migraines.) I can’t be on antibiotics while on Warfarin. However, since my doctor won’t allow allergy shots right now, I’m coughing more which generally brings on bronchitis which is usually treated by antibiotics. I have to maintain a healthy diet, but no salad greens of any kind. No broccoli, either (A lot of my Lean Cuisines have broccoli in them.) I take cranberry pills to prevent yeast infections and you can’t take cranberry products when on Warfarin. (Read above to remind yourself about the old antibiotic thing!) Vitamin C and Vitamin K can be an issue, too. And both are in my multi-vitamin, of course.

Oh, and here are the kickers: I have to inject the shots into my stomach; I have to get blood drawn at least every week (maybe 3 times per week); and I’m not allowed to do anything in which I could injure myself (I walk into walls on a good day.) and I’m not supposed to gain any weight. So, how did mature MaryAnn respond? I burst into tears and I have only stopped long enough to consume lots of chocolate and other assorted junk food. I slept a total of 2 hours last night and my heart condition is stress-induced. Guess where my blood pressure was this morning? Right back where it was when I left the hospital in June…and that is NOT good. (It was fine yesterday morning before the appointment.)

So, for the last 18 hours I’ve been trying to do cognitive therapy on myself (There are some perks to having that master’s.) and I do have a contingency plan in effect until I can get my mind around this new little reality. The shots may continue for up to 4 weeks.

While I have a feeling I will have more “lessons to learn” as this progresses, here are the lessons learned (and a bunch of questions) so far from being a big, fat wimp:

1. Is this penance for actually owning Barry Manilow albums in the 70s and singing along to them???

2. Obviously, I’ve gone back to the 1970s, because I am now reverting to the “sailor language” of my college days. (My children do not believe I ever swore…my college homies would vehemently disagree.)

3. I can talk a brave game until I see the actual needle.

4. I have to shoot this stuff into my belly fat. Thanks, doc, for giving me twice daily reminders that I still have belly fat. Do not expect a Christmas present from me this year.

5. It will be easier to shoot this stuff into my belly fat, thanks to all the chocolate I plan to eat for the next 4 weeks….at least.

6. Open heart surgery now sounds so much more appealing.

7. Brain surgery now sounds so much more appealing and that may be what is needed in order for MaryAnn to stick herself on purpose.

8. When I was trying to opt out of this injection nonsense, Jesus chose that precise moment to remind me that he had nails pounded into his feet and hands. Yeah, Jesus. But you didn’t have to pound the nails in yourself.

9. Where is whale blubber when you need it?

10. Can I practice giving injections on my doctor first? (He has no stomach fat, and I’ve decided that’s my Christmas gift to him this year.)

11. Why is the practice needle about 1/3 the size of the one I’m supposed to really use???

12. I’m now beginning to understand why Jesus got perturbed with the disciples for not praying with him in the Garden of Gethsemane.

13. Where is Jeremy Renner when I need him? Or Dr. Marta Schering??? Can I viral my way out of this??? Where are the frickin’ blue and green pills??? I guess I dropped them while jumping from one mountain top to another.

14. If this is what is required of me in my 50s, what will be required of me in my 70s??? Water boarding comes to mind.

15. I’m now reviewing the part of my counseling textbooks on systematic desensitization. My counseling homies just laughed their heads off.

16. I can watch the headlines on the Today show 5 times and still not comprehend what Lauer and Guthrie are still discussing. Savannah did get a new haircut.

17. Sudoku Kingdom is now my favorite new web site….especially at 3 am.

18. Solving world hunger sounds like a much easier problem to tackle today.

19. This pretty much effectively ends the internal discussion I’ve been having with myself (Yes, I’m now hearing voices in my head…not a positive sign for mental stability.) about whether I can continue to organize our church’s little venture to Women of Faith. Right now…I don’t think I effectively fit the description for a Woman of Faith.

20. Maybe coaching others through the stressors in their lives is not a good idea right now…unless misery loves company.

21. The novel was progressing pretty slowly as of late. Warp speed now.

22. Where is my “Get Out of Jail Free” card?

23. When you bawl like a hysterical little 3 year old, your husband will suddenly be willing to give you “the moon.”  And that’s where I’d like to be right now. Last time I checked there were no mean doctors or syringes anywhere on the surface of the moon.

24. When I bawl like a baby, my husband starts bribing random nurses with homemade ice cream. I hope he leaves some for me.

25. I thought masochism was a bad thing.

26. When you get a shot as a kid, the doctor gives you stickers or a lollipop. I better get an All Day Sucker for this venture…each…and every time.

27. As of today, I have a new prescription for Xanax.

28. Looking up the cost of sharps containers online can lead to some interesting pop-up ads. But, I still got the gratuitous Netflix ad.

29. I’m thinking of taking up sword-swallowing as my next hobby.

30. We may need to move up the Hawaii vacation planned for 2017 to…like…tomorrow.

31. It should be easy to get IN to Mexico, right??? If a drug lord points a gun in my face, I’m going to tell him he can have it all, but he has to inject me with 2 syringes a day for the next 10 days. That’s in his job description, isn’t it???

32. The first song on 70s on the 7 this morning was very helpful–“Taking Care of Business.” The second one–not so much: “Freddy’s Dead.”

33. I must have pissed off a gypsy in a former life.

34. Maybe reading a book entitled “Heaven” right now is not such a hot idea.

35. Makeup doesn’t hide the “shopping bags” under my eyes very well. Need to get another vat of concealer the next time I’m at Wally World. Maybe I can pick that up with the sharps container, the Xanax, and the swords. Do you need a license to carry a concealed sword?

36. Even waterproof mascara is pointless at this point…and I don’t really want to talk about points right now…not even Weight Watcher Points. However, I may need Jennifer Hudson to sing to me while I inject myself.

37. Amazon will deliver a semi-load of Godiva chocolates to my house for free by tomorrow morning if I subscribe to Amazon prime.

38. I don’t qualify for home health to help me with the injections because I drive  my own car. So, if I itch my foot, does that mean it rains in Jamaica? Remind me to make sure I have my driver’s license with me when I shoot up.

39. Where is a heroin addict when I need one? He can give me injections and I can give him substance abuse counseling…it’s a win-win, right?

40. I’m looking for a cave to crawl into and if I see any Al Qaeda members there, I’ll let you know.

41. Is this because I had 3 pieces of butterfinger pie last weekend?

42. TSA now has a new reason to completely obliterate any semblance of suitcase organization I might attempt (as if carrying nitro pills weren’t enough).

43. I used to have a phobia about mice.

44. My self esteem went on my Hawaiian vacation without me. It had better take good pics of the volcano.  Of course, TSA could confiscate its camera.

45. I have the greatest friends and family. Thanks for all of the prayers. Please pray that these meds work fast and I can get back to the usual stupid stuff of my life….like facing an empty nest.

You might also like: MaryAnn’s Hospital Survey, Lessons Learned from Completing a Hospital Survey, and This I Just Can’t Resist




The Boy Leaves for Lubbock…

Tech logo

Several years ago I wrote about our oldest son leaving for his home away from home, Lubbock, TX. Lubbock is one of the most rapidly growing cities in the state of Texas and a large reason for that growth is the similar growth of Texas Tech University, home of the Red Raiders. Often referred to as “Raiderland,” it’s a great place for a young man to get an education and to further his walk with the Lord. Lubbock is also home to some very innovative, very large churches that cater to the Tech crowd. While there are innumerable “vices” in any college town, a Tech parent can assume that the friendly folks of Lubbock will do their best to help their students navigate the windy, “shark-infested waters” that they will encounter in Raiderland. What we didn’t know in 2004 when we first headed west from our home to visit the land of eternal red and black was the impression it would make on our other two children. Our daughter made Tech her # 2 choice, but wound up elsewhere because she did get an offer of admission from her # 1. And when Tech made the list of schools offering Restaurant, Hotel and Institutional Management, it became the # 1 choice for our youngest son. The youngest easily gained admission to his # 2 and # 3 choices, but Tech had higher standards and we were nervous that he might not be admitted. Fortunately, the folks at Tech saw something in him that we, ourselves, see in him–an uncanny ability in mathematics, an equally uncanny ability in Spanish and music, a love for great food, and a huge heart.

This weekend the youngest departs for Lubbock for the first time and his brother, the Tech alum, will be helping him to move to the very same hall he first inhabited as a freshman. To say that the oldest is rather proud that the baby brother is following in his footsteps is to utter one of the biggest understatements of the century. When that trip takes place, MaryAnn and the hubby will begin the next phase of parenting–the empty nest phase. Anyone who tells you that you stop parenting your children when they leave home obviously has never been a parent. But, it is, indeed, a “whole new ballgame” for us. Many of the feelings I wrote about the eldest leaving are now returning with a vengeance for the youngest. And my, how time flies! Here’s what I wrote about 4-5 years ago, with some additional thoughts in bold for this “go-round”:

The eldest departs for his real home soon, Lubbock. Let’s face it–our little town has not been home for quite some time. (Any parent who has endured the senior year of high school with their student already is getting an idea of that last statement!) And that is how it should be. But when he leaves, I know I’m one step closer to having to go back to reality…you know…working and chauffeuring and grocery shopping and all that stuff that consumes my normal life. (I think I can safely stop the chauffeuring part now!)

But, now I have to hug that big galoot I call a son and remind him to try not to besmirch the family name (He did plenty of that while here, I’m afraid, based on looking at FB pics), do some studying, do some work, call his mom and cut that hair…I couldn’t resist the last part…hee, hee. (I no longer have to study, thanks to completing the master’s a few years ago, but the youngest also needs a haircut.)

While I’m used to such departures, I still welcome and loathe them. I welcome them because it’s fun to watch your kids grow up and become who they’re meant to become and I loathe them because I do love the big galoot, despite his galootness. (Yes, I do love inventing words, especially when I have no earthly idea how to spell them correctly.) And because I love him, I will miss him.

However, I have missed one thing while he has been here. My near daily texts from the galoot brighten my day, even when he’s depressed, even when he’s whining (Yes, he whines…trust me on this….but in a manly way), even when he’s worried, and on the more rare occasions, even when he’s happy. Now, why do even sad, angry, manly whiny texts brighten my day??? Because the boy thought of his mom. A lot of manly men don’t and so, that makes him a good guy in my book…despite the lack of haircut. I did it again…hee, hee. (When he does cut that hair, it will be time to call the funeral director….I will need to be planted in the soil from the sheer shock.)

Safe travels, buddy…have a wonderful spring (this time the Fall semester) semester…enjoy dorm living…enjoy the games and remember to text your mommy. Love you. Oh…and…go to ALL of your classes, study every day and wash your clothing, sheets and towels more than once a millennium. If you want actual dates with the opposite sex, I also suggest bathing daily, wearing deodorant, wearing clean, presentable clothing and brushing your teeth….and cut that hair! 

Monday’s Post: What is meretricious???

You might also like: Things I Love about the Man I Married, What Would an Archaeologist Say About This in 100 Years?, and Why I’m Not a Blogger Blogger


26 Tuesdays: Mary Sherlach

woman reading

My mother came to a point in her life where she had to make the decision to either get blood transfusions almost every month in order to live an additional 2 years or to just “call it quits” and allow nature and God to take her to her final resting place. In true Mom style, she chose the latter, having already lived a wonderful 80 years. We (our entire family) were all there when she signed the papers indicating her decision and it was, as you can imagine, a rather sobering moment. Thus, my husband decided to try and lighten the “environment” a little by asking her the following question,”Nana? If you were to do it all over again, knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?” My mother was known for her pithy, inspirational thoughts in moments such as these and we expected such a response from this question. Instead, she surprised us all with this response: “Eat more ice cream.” We all laughed and when we thought about her past, we realized she was being true to herself–she had always loved ice cream and her constant weight issues had made it difficult for her to indulge that passion as often as she had wanted.

Today “Eat more ice cream” always brings a smile to our faces in our family and we now use the phrase to justify seemingly overly-indulgent, overly selfish purchases. It’s as if she’s giving us permission to enjoy life all over again. Last Thursday my youngest and I, along with quite a few members of our small community, chose to indulge her little mantra, too. Dairy Queen elected to donate $ 1 to the Children’s Miracle Network for every blizzard purchased on that day. I dispatched my youngest to go pick up 2 blizzards for our “lunch” that day and he elected to purchase 1 for his buddy, too. It’s difficult to find a child in America who doesn’t like or love ice cream and I like to think that Lauren Rousseau (last week’s 26 Tuesdays honoree) would love that one of the most favorite things for a child was used for some good in this world. And I also like to think that Mom was smiling down on us while we greedily gulped every bite of those blizzards.

If I include the folks who made it known that they also indulged their ice cream tooth last Friday, our MIP acts of kindness count just climbed to a whopping 86! If you also did an act of kindness, particularly if you also bought a blizzard on Thursday, please let me know via the comment box below or by contacting me via email on the Contact page. Who knew eating ice cream could do so much good in one tiny town?!

This week’s honoree is via CNN:

Mary Sherlach, 56

Sherlach, Sandy Hook Elementary’s school psychologist, was with Hochsprung when they heard a “pop, pop, pop” sound around 9:30 a.m., a parent with both women at the time told CNN. Sherlach was shot to death after heading into the hall to find out what was happening. “I … am always ready to assist in problem-solving, intervention and prevention,” Sherlach wrote on her website. Sherlach earned her undergraduate degree in psychology at SUNY Cortland and a master’s degree at Southern Connecticut State University. She worked as a rehabilitation assistant at a group home for disabled adults and as a community mental health placement specialist before becoming a school psychologist. She worked in three Connecticut school systems before moving to Sandy Hook Elementary in 1994. Sherlach and her husband for more than three decades lived in Trumbull, Connecticut, and, together, they were “proud parents” of two daughters in their late 20s. Her website listed her interests as gardening, reading and going to the theater.

Thursday’s Post: The boy leaves for Lubbock…the sequel…

You might also like: 26 Tuesdays: Lauren Rousseau; 26 Tuesdays: Avielle Richman; 26 Tuesdays: Jessica Rekos; and 26 Tuesdays: Caroline Previdi