Category Archives: family life

The Merry Adventures of Droppin’ Hood

As most of you know, my little Jewel had her tonsils out last Monday. While I was not thrilled to put her through the trauma of surgery at the age of four, the procedure was a necessary evil. Poor Jewel started out with occasional tonsillitis here and there, but by the end, she was going on two months with the same bout of illness. And you should have seen the size of her tonsils. Biblical. Seriously.



Jewel did very well, the surgery was very short, and we got to come home quite soon after she was done. Of course, we had a minor hold-up in the recovery room.



NEWS ALERT: Thomas is squeamish.



He doesn’t do blood, guts, bodily goo, or general squishiness related to the human vessel (not in real life anyway). Or apparently, as we learned this time, he doesn’t do the mere suggestion of any of those things either. At least not when it comes to his family.



When Jewel was waking up from anesthesia, she started a very loud, very nasty cough. It went away quickly, but I was not surprised when Thomas said, “I’m feeling a little green.” He got up to walk around on the pretext of using the restroom. I thought, “Good. He’ll get a little air, Jewel will wake up enough, and we can go home. No big deal.”



When he returned in short order, saying, “I feel kind of dizzy,” I started to get a little nervous.



When he sat down quickly and said, “I think I’m going to pass out,” and then proceeded to do so, I started to get a lot nervous.



So, let’s recap. Here I am, sitting in a rocking chair with a 40 pound, semi-conscious child on my lap. I am both trying to comfort her and keep from mangling the IV in her foot. I am also trying to keep her from sliding off of my lap because my legs are too short for the chair. This is a two handed (and legged) job. Then, I am forced to catch my now unconscious husband with one of those already needed hands, call for a nurse (who looks worriedly at Jewel, then confusedly at Thomas), and try my best to keep him from crumpling unceremoniously to the floor.



Meanwhile, I’m thinking, “CRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAP!”



At this time, Thomas is unconscious, eyes rolled back, twitching, snorting, the whole nine yards. Television makes it look like people just keel over and get really still when they pass out, like they’re sleeping or something. It ain’t that pretty.



Fast forward five minutes. Jewel is still on my lap, but Thomas is in Jewel’s hospital bed, recovering sufficiently for us to go home. Jewel’s fine. She’s ready to go. Just waiting on Thomas. *suspiciously innocent whistling*



Everything turned out okay. Thomas is fine. Jewel is still recovering, but she’s fine. I’m over it. Mostly.



But hey, at least we learned something. We now know that if there is a next time, Thomas (now known as Sir Faints-a-Lot, which can be abbreviated as Sir FAL (Mwah ha ha ha!)) stays home with the kids, and Grandmommie tags along to the hospital. We’ll all be a little safer that way.

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Filed under family life, humor, infant, marriage, pass out, preschooler, tonsillectomy

Midlife Crisis: The Advance Copy

Lately, Hubcap and I have started to plan his midlife crisis. It makes us laugh. If this surprises you, go back and read, “It’s a Nerd! It’s a Brain! It’s… My Husband!” Then we’ll all be on the same page. Got it? Okay, let’s move on.



So, we’ve been going back and forth talking about what kind of car I’ll let him get and what color he’ll dye his hair. Of course, he’ll have to get some ridiculous muscle clothes and tight pants since he’ll mysteriously begin working out with a vengeance. The tanning idea was immediately discarded, however. Hubcap only has two available skin tones: blinding white and barn-raising red.



Here’s the great part. He even said he’d let me pick his girlfriend! Then he thought about it and said, “You’re going to pick an ugg-o, aren’t you?” Alas, no. I have a much better plan. You see, I am an evil genius. I seem like your average nice, private, quiet person, but inside my mental closet are some very dangerous skeletons. More dangerous even than tooth decay and gingivitis. Hey, now. All those toothbrush and toothpaste commercials say that gingivitis is a very serious problem! *ahem*



Um, back to my evil plan. Because I’m evil. Right. Evil. So, will I pick the ugliest woman around? Nah, I’m not that simple. I will pick a very attractive woman. A very attractive woman who has a voice like she’s speaking through 10 noses. A woman who chooses to exercise her voice by talking, singing, and gossiping on the phone at every available moment. A woman who wheedles, nags, lies, and begs in said uber-nasality. A woman who has only one volume- freight train. In short, I will choose someone who is so repulsive in sound and character that the hubster has no choice but to ditch her as soon as humanly possible.



See? I told you I was evil. Like gingivitis. Yeah.

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Filed under family life, gingivitis, humor, marriage, midlife crisis

The First Annual Vanderburg Thanksgiving Extravaganza

Well, Thanksgiving is coming up next week, and this year, for the first time, we are hosting the meal. Wait, we’re hosting?! AAAARGGHHHH! <—— That was my panic about the impending invasion of my family and my realization that I have done pretty much nothing to prepare for it. I mean, sure, in theory I know what all needs to be done and when to do it. In theory.


Traditionally, Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. It was the only time all year that my dad’s entire side of the family would get together. We’re a bit stereotypical on Turkey Day in that the ladies spend the day cooking and the guys watch football, and our meal time is worked around whatever time the Cowboys game starts. We must all be stuffed to the gills before the game starts so that we can lounge around, semi-conscious, snoring, burping, and… well… you get the picture.


The past several years, since my nearest and dearest and I have lived up here, Thanksgiving has been here in Arlington, at my aunt’s house. However, she is getting too old to work so hard every year (she is a well-preserved seventy-one), and my cousin, who also lives in town, hates Thanksgiving. No, really, she hates it. She hates turkey, and she hates the smell and taste of sage. Care to take a guess what the main seasoning in the dressing is? So, she’s a no go. That leaves my dearest and I with the responsibility of maintaining my most beloved tradition. What were we thinking?!

Well, time to go do something Thanksgiving-related. Perhaps a grocery list. Of course, I’ll have to leave a couple things off so that we can send at least one male to the store, maybe even repeatedly, for the things we run out of or forget. Usually eggs. Pardon me while I add eggs to the grocery list.


Oh, and have a happy, Happy, HAPPY Thanksgiving!


P.S. AAAARGGHHHH!!!

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Filed under family life, football, marriage, preschooler, Thanksgiving

The Gall of It, Part 2

So, after seven months of pain and pie-lessness, I finally had my gall bladder removed. It went pretty well, I can say. The only hiccup was my blood pressure. The lovely nurse had to stand me on my head for a little while as the anesthesia was wearing off because my blood pressure was too low. If I remember correctly, and I might not since I was in a drug-induced stupor, it was down to 76/38. I also remember being just freezing when I woke up. The nurse saw my eyes opening, and she asked how I was, and the only word I managed to eke out between my full body violent shivers and my very heavy, woolly feeling tongue was c-c-cooold. She wrapped me up, head and all, in blankets straight from the warmer, and I was a happy camper in my toasty flannel pseudo-womb. I don’t remember much after that until a couple hours later when they sent me home.


I found it interesting that I didn’t make it to the operating room awake. I should have known, when the anesthesiologist was one of the folks wheeling me away, that there would be little chance of remaining conscious for long. He said, “Are you ready?” and I guess he meant it more immediately than I realized. I was out before I hit the hallway.


It’s now been four days since the surgery, and I’m feeling good. I’m still sore, of course, but I now only require ibuprofen instead of pain medication, and apart from the fact that it looks like somebody played “Where’s the gall bladder?” with my incision points (there are four, but there are supposed to be four anyway), I’m none the worse for wear.


I will be glad when I’m no longer sore, though, because it hurts to laugh. With my dearest husband, and my little three year old comedian, it’s a real challenge to remain pain free. On the other hand, I actually got to butter my bread yesterday morning, and that was exciting. It may seem trivial to you that butter is exciting, but when you’re deprived of something so simple for so long, it becomes a monumental event to revel again in glorious butteriness (yes, that’s a word).

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Filed under family life, gall bladder, marriage, preschooler, surgery

Futility Is In the Eye of the Beholder

I usually try and refrain from serious and/or depressing subjects when writing here, but in this case I felt that the importance of the subject warranted further examination. A couple days ago, a dear friend of ours attempted suicide by shooting herself in the head. We have yet to hear whether or not she has survived, and if she has, what sort of damage has resulted.


I know I just delivered this news in a rather detached and clinical way. Is this because I don’t care? Quite the opposite, in fact. The situation is so horrifying and heart-wrenching that I find myself quite unable to deal with it. This friend of ours is a total delight. Her energy and spirit always fill up any room she enters, and her empathy and sense of humor are remarkably uplifting. In short, she is adored. Not to trivialize her circumstances, but I feel as if I have undergone some sort of trauma myself, to have the memory of this lovely woman forcefully ripped from my mind and replaced with the intruding knowledge of what has befallen her.


In our country, suicide is the eleventh leading cause of death, ahead of liver disease and Parkinson’s. It outnumbers homicides two to one. Worldwide, a full one million people die at their own hands every year. I can’t decide what I think of these statistics. Is life so seemingly futile for so many people that they feel they must end it? As one who has suffered from depression in the past, I can understand some of what it feels like, though I was never in the pit of despair that others sometimes experience. So, what does it feel like? I describe it as being inside with sunglasses on. Everything you see is dim, and even the bright spots in your life are considerably dulled. If you have ever accidentally worn your sunglasses inside, you know that it can be challenging to see things clearly.


I thought about this friend just the other day, only a few short days before it happened. I thought, “I need to call her, see what she’s up to.” If I had followed through on that thought, what would I have heard on the other end of the phone? Would I have heard her pain, or would I have continued on, unaware, wrapped in my own self-serving pursuits as I am most days? It’s hard to say.


Is there a lesson in all this? I hope so. I hope that somewhere in this seeming black hole, there is some small ray of light trying to escape. I don’t yet know what it might be, but I still hold out hope that it’s there. God would not let such a tragedy occur without at least some small gain for His glory.


Please pray for her and her family.

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Filed under family life, marriage, preschooler, suicide

Reading Between the Lines

I love listening to Jewel as she reads. No, she doesn’t really read. We’re still reviewing her letters and their sounds, just to make sure she knows them all before we start really reading. But Jewel really loves to read. When she’s not demanding that we read her books to her over and over, she will read them back to us. Often, when she can’t remember the words on the page, she’ll make up a story by looking at the pictures. And the funny thing is, they’re pretty close to the actual story.


Then there are the books she remembers. Who knew that she could recall whole paragraphs at a time about the doings of Mama Bear, Papa Bear, and Brother and Sister Bear. There’s just nothing else around that beats listening to her sweet little (loud) voice saying “The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food, by Stan and Jan Berenstain.” Priceless. I look forward to the day when she will actually read the words on the page, but until then, I’m pretty content with listening to her version. It’s usually more interesting anyway.

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Don’t Bother with Curiosity. I’ll Do it Myself.

You know, I’ve met a lot of cats in my life. I’m an animal person, and while I’m really a dog person at heart, I love cats too. We have two cats, Cleo and Itty Bitty (not her real name, but it might as well be). Our cats are stupid. I’m not saying it just to be mean, either. I’ve met other people’s cats, and they seem perfectly smart. Sometimes I’m even impressed with what they figure out, and then I go home and there are my two dimwit feline furballs staring up at me.


What do your cats do, you ask? Well, for starters, Cleo licks. She licks us, sure, but she also licks everything else. Upholstery, windows, carpet, random children’s toys, fireplace bricks. Yes, I said bricks. In addition to her licking, she also howls. Constantly. She howls when she’s happy. She howls when she’s hungry. She howls when she’s scared. She howls when she wants to play. She howls whenever any mood of any sort strikes her. And she doesn’t have one of those cute little “mew” sounds. Nope. She has a full-blown, hear-it-around-the-world RROWWW which resounds through the house and lodges itself in my spinal cord. Lovely creature.


Now, Itty Bitty is a little smarter. She’s got the cute factor going for her since she’s so little and has a rather dainty meow. However, her main foolishness is that she lets Jewel catch her. She knows Jewel will chase her and pick her up, and that it will be highly unpleasant for her. Yet, almost every time, she will allow it. I used to wonder how many times she would allow herself to be hanged from her middle and toted around like a poor, hapless stuffed animal, but I stopped asking myself when no change seemed forthcoming.


I love our cats; I really do. They’re soft and sweet, and they’re nice and warm during the winter. They also seem genuinely pleased to spend time with us, which seems to be a hit-or-miss quality in cats. And, of course, they are endlessly entertaining. I just figured our two fancy felines could stand to gain a few brain cells. I think I’ll go listen to their conversation and give them a little attention. They probably deserve it, since they have to live with such a grumpy gus as me.

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Filed under cats, family life, marriage, preschooler

Sale Me Away

This weekend was our big garage sale. *gasp* On a holiday weekend? Of course! That’s the best time, since nobody else is foolish enough to have their garage sale on a holiday weekend. That, and it’s right after the first of the month, so people still have money. Of course, every time we have a garage sale, I always say how horrible it is and how I will never ever ever do it again and how I’ll just be heading to Goodwill or Mission Arlington next time I need to get rid of junk. And then what do I do? I convince myself, in the end, to go through the trouble all over again. The results from that decision this time? Some were good, some bad.


On the good front, we sold out of almost everything on Friday, so we didn’t have to open at all on Saturday. The extra sleep on Saturday was really nice. Plus, the weather wasn’t too bad on Friday. It was cool and cloudy, and a little bit sticky, but much better than the usual garage sale forecast of baking sun and shrivelingly hot temperatures. There’s nothing quite like being held hostage by your junk at a small table in the abject heat all day, idly dripping sweat down unmentionable places.


On the bad front, we got mauled on Friday. We had people showing up at least half an hour early, and it was crazy for a good two hours. There were people everywhere, and nobody put stuff back where it was supposed to go, and everybody wanted to buy stuff in the garage that wasn’t for sale. Oh, and then there was the fact that everybody wanted to ask questions at the same time, test out things with plugs at the same time, and pay for their junk—I mean treasures, at the same time. The only other bad thing was the weather. While it was nice and cloudy and cool, it also rained on us at the end and forced us to close early.


So, how do I feel after this, unusually good, garage sale? I am never ever ever doing this again. Next time I’ll just head straight to Mission Arlington.

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Filed under family life, garage sale, marriage, preschooler