Saturday, May 18, 2013

Graduation, Germs, Grossness, and Gentility

I have to start herding the girls towards bed in approximately 6 minutes, so I may not get this all done tonight.  But, seeing how it's the last thing on my to-do list for today, I'd sure like to try to get it done.

I went to three graduation open houses today.  The last was for one of Ben's Sp. Olympics teammates.  That was a sweet one.  She gave Ben a big hug when we walked into the driveway.  They had all kinds of desserts - cake, ice-cream and toppings, brownies, and -- a chocolate fountain with strawberries, pretzels, and marshmallows for dipping.  The kids were duly impressed, let me tell you!  They also fed a full pork meal, too.  I loved looking at her pictures.  Babies with Downs Syndrome are the cutest babies ever, I think!

At one of the other open houses, the graduate wore a shirt that proclaimed, "I'm sexy and I know it."  Classy.  I asked Will if he knew this kid's post-graduation plans and he replied, "partying, smoking, and getting tattooed."  Gotcha...

At the first party, they served us chicken cordon bleu!  It makes my planned hot dogs seem mighty cheap by comparison...

David is turning 14 next week.  That just kind of dawned on me a few days ago - not his birthday, but his age.  That's driving age!  So I've been letting him back the car out when the Littles need the driveway for bike riding.  When Will was 14, he was more than ready to get his permit.  He waltzed in there and aced the test on his first try.  Of course, he's the same boy who was giving me driving instructions from the back seat when he was six.  I don't think David is ready for a permit yet.  He's a nervous driver, which makes me nervous.  Just backing the van out around the house - a distance of maybe 6 feet, takes a good 10 min. and lots of stops and starts.  He's still not even sure which one is the brake pedal yet.  I may let Paul take over the driving instruction!

He and Ben have an egress window in their basement bedroom.  They have a window well now that's about 6' deep.  A man from church designed and built the entire thing for us, including the ladder that's down in there in case of fire.  It's really nice.  Well, a frog has taken up residence in the well and David is completely freaked out.  He hates frogs.  I mean, he hates frogs - always has.  He and Sam spent the majority of last Friday devising a trap made out of a box, a stick, and string that was designed to entrap the hapless reptile.  It didn't work, and the frog is still croaking outside David's window.  It's so bad the poor kid is having nightmares about frogs now!  I'm trying really hard not to laugh...

My mouth is doing lots better now.  I haven't had to take a pain pill since Monday.  I got my stitches out Tues. and the dentist said things are looking like they're supposed to.  I hope that's the last dental work I have to have for a long time!  I ended up catching Ellie's cold at the end of last week.  Only, it was a very odd cold.  Her's was a typical runny nose type cold.  But mine just gave me this nasty congestion that I had to blow out for about a week, but I never felt achy or sick and my nose didn't run.  I wonder if that has anything to do with the sinus surgery I had. But last Friday I woke up with complete laryngitis.  I have never lost my voice in my life (just ask my kids!) - it was so inconvenient!  I had to take Bella in for her surgery that day and had to whisper to the receptionist.  I received an important call from Ben's teacher and had to whisper on the phone to her - even more inconvenient!

Will is completely done with school now.  That means he's a little bit more available for help around the house, which is nice.  Wed. he had to have all his teachers sign off on his work.  His psych teacher who had him for 2 or 3 semesters sincerely told Will that the school is not the same since Will started.  He said that Will has changed the school for the better.  Wow!  Now, maybe he says that to all his students, I don't know, but it's still a nice thing to say!

This was our week for Craig's List finds.  We found 4 bar stools for the kitchen that match our cupboards perfectly for only $60.  And then I found a brand new love seat for $100.  Will wants to take my old, saggy one for his dorm room at Faith. 

Sam's MRI was Wed.  It went well.  They completely knocked him out and I was able to work on editing Will's final research paper while they did that.  Portable computers are a wonderful thing!  I got the results back the next day and his brain is perfectly fine.  So, we just wait on the Bell's Palsy to go away, I guess.  I've had several people comment, including Paul, that they think it has subsided a bit.  I don't know.  I don't really see it, myself, but he's with me all the time, so it's hard to say.

When we picked up Bella a week ago they told us to not use kitty litter for her for  two weeks because we had just had her declawed and it would be too rough on her healing paws.  So, we dutifully ripped up newspaper and filled her litter box with that.  I thought it was strange that the newspaper seemed to be staying awfully dry this week but was too busy and scatterbrained to think much about it.  Well, I got caught up on the laundry this week and discovered that she had been using my laundry pile as her litter box all week long!  Disgusting doesn't even begin to cover it!  I had to smell every single thing in that pile, pick up poop, re-wash the clothes in baking soda and vinegar.  She urinated on the carpet, which made the entire basement stink.  Ugh, ugh, ugh - THIS is why animals belong outside!  It was just odd, too, because she was so easy to litter train and has always been really good about using her box.  So I went out and bought the $10 box of scented litter, a scent thingy for her box, too, a pet odor removal disk for the basement, shampooed the carpet, and bought some Arm and Hammer pet odor vacuum stuff.  It's actually smelling pretty blissful now down there, so I think I got it taken care of.  Cat urine is just a nasty, nasty smell. 

Well, it's nasty when it's places it's not supposed to be.  It actually brings back fond memories because I think of when we would take our cat to her yearly visit.  Dr. Spay's office (yes, that was really his name!) always had this particular smell.  Of course, as a kid, I didn't realize that it was cat urine I was smelling.  I just thought that was a smell unique to veterinarians' offices!  This place I took Bella too didn't smell like that at all.  But they were burning a candle that they also were advertising for sale that is supposed to eliminate pet odor.  Apparently, it works.

This next week is going to be busy.  Monday, a couple of the boys have dental appts. I have my mom's group that evening.   Tuesday I have to go the chiropractor and Lizzie's therapist and then the boys have a softball game that night.  Wednesday I am going to spend in town all day, getting everything needed for the party.  Thursday, Ben has a physical in the morning for his application to Genesis and then that afternoon we are going up to Ames for his bocce ball tournament.  Friday I will spend getting ready for my 2 week shopping on Sat.  In between all this I have to be getting the house ready for the party.  I'd like to fit a hair appt. in there somewhere, too.  I really, really need to get up to City Hall and get some work done, too, but I think I am going to have to push that off until after the party.  I am not planning ANY outside appts. for the following week, but we'll see what happens.  I did have a lady at church volunteer to take the Littles for a day or two that week before the party and I definitely plan to take her up on that!

Oh, I think I have time for a rant before I close: it's now warm out (hard to believe that two weeks ago at this time we had snow!).  People are turning on the air and pulling out their summer clothes.  In fact, this week I actually packed away everybody's winter stuff.  Tuesday night I attended Ben's spring concert and it was the same old, same old.  The girls are told to wear dresses but what they show up  in - the vast majority, not all - is appalling.  They've got breasts hanging out, jiggling all over, skirts riding up to just under their buttocks, and all these chubby girls are wearing clothes that do not do anything to enhance their looks (not that skinny girls should be wearing stuff like that either!).  I don't blame the girls.  They're buying what's in the stores, what they see on tv, what their friends are wearing.  But I do blame their parents, who ought to know better.  One thing I have slowly deduced about the Pleasantville community is that it has a definite "trashy" element to it.  Obviously, that's not everybody, but the more I observe, the more I am concluding that it's probably the majority of people that fall into that category.  Of course, this is where pride can creep in, I suppose (thank Heavens I'm not like THEM!) and I have to guard against that.  And then Thurs. night I had to go to Walmart.  I went to the south side store, which, admittedly, is not a bastion of class.  But I just found myself getting crankier and crankier as I was forced, the entire time I was in there,  to look at women wearing super-tight tank tops (often plastered to their rolls of fat), cut off booty-shorts, and tattooed breasts jiggling out of their tops.  Eww - please, people.  If not for yourself, cover up for me!  I suppose I should climb off my self-righteous soap box about now.  But I just find it irritating, this year, more than ever before, for some reason.

Ok, I need to go cut Paul's hair.  I may be up a bit late waiting for that because he's outside working on the house and I definitely don't want to get in the way of progress!

Oh, Will is being promoted at his job, to cashier.  Moving on up!

That's all for now.  Well, I'm sure there's more, but that's all that made it onto my list.  Maybe I'll blog again before Will's party, but don't hold your breath.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Braids, Teeth, Eyes, and Being Thankful

I'm going to write this in between taking out the girls' braids in preparation for their bath/hair washing tonight.  Over the weekend I put in a whole army of little baretted braids in each of their heads.  Hairwashing night was supposed to be Monday, but after doing that much work I decided to let them wear them a little longer!  But then yesterday I noticed that Lizzie's head was stinking, so I guess you can't go too far beyond that 10 day wash period.  Of course, all the kids have been playing outside with the nice weather this week, so their heads have undoubtedly gotten a little sweaty.

Such a contrast in weather we've had in just the last week.  The beginning of last week was like it is now - warm, sunny, and shorts weather.  But Friday morning we woke up to more than 6" of snow and Ben had a snow day - on MAY 3!!!  Prior to that, the latest I ever recall having snow was on April 20.  Just bizarre...

I am in major, unexpected pain right now.  Ok, probably not as much as that bird that just dove into my window beside the computer as I was typing that sentence, but pretty close!  Last Thursday and Friday I noticed some pain in a tooth.  I figured it was just my sinuses acting up, popped a couple of Advil, and didn't think anything of it.  But when I woke up Saturday - oh, my goodness!  I was in agony, with pain radiating all the way up to my ear.  And of course, it was Saturday.  So I self-medicated for two days and then Monday morning I called my dentist and got in.  I was baffled at the tooth pain because two weeks ago I had my check-up and they said I didn't have any cavities at all.  Well, the dentist said he thought a nerve had gone bad (they can do that?).  He was leaning towards sending me to an oral surgeon, but I asked him if he'd do it instead.  I didn't want to wait for another appointment and I knew that it would cost bigger bucks with a surgeon.  We do have dental insurance, but I think we're still responsible for about half of everything.  It was the farthest back tooth on my left side and it was time to get it out.  What an ordeal!  The dentist had to break it out in pieces and I was NOT all the way numb.  He had to cut away part of the bone and then stitch me shut.  I have to go back in to have those removed next week.  On top of that, at one point, the dentist's tool slipped and hit the back of my throat, so that's all raw now.  The side of my tongue feels like hamburger.  So I'm a mess!  I'm living on Vicodin and pudding.  The kids keep trying to make me talk, just so they can hear how funny I sound.

But Paul was sweet.  He picked up my prescription for me on his way home from work Monday and came home with a "Get Well Soon" mylar balloon.  That silly balloon cheered me up so much!

This week I was able to finally get most of my kitchen decorations hung back up after more than a year of having them down.  To me, the decorations are such an important thing.  I know whenever we've moved, I've never felt like we're completely moved in until everything is hanging on the walls.  I'm not sure how it worked out, but now I have more wall space than I did before.  Before we remodeled, I had absolutely no room in that kitchen to hang up anything else.  But now I need to visit some more craft shows!

Things are coming together on the house.  Paul has a little bit of trim work left to hang, the kitchen floor to put down, a patch or two of drywall that needs to be painted and the front porch to be re-built.  We've got 3 1/2 weeks until D-Day - think he can make it?  I need to completely clean out the mud room and paint a few bare spots in there.  I got the invitations out the end of last week and we have a menu figured out.  Now I'm just trying to figure out how to buy for the projected 100-200 guests we've been told to expect.  And I'm not sure how much help to round up, either.  Paul's folks are coming and I'm trying not to worry about that, either, but it's hard when certain people don't know how normal people are supposed to act in public!  But his mom is making up 4 sheet cakes that she swears will feed 200, so that's good, and will save us money.

We visited the eye dr. again this week.  He kept saying that he thinks it's "very wise" of us to have the MRI next week.  He's the one who told us to have it done and scheduled it!  I really doubt there's any inflammation in Sam's brain, but there is some growing concern because his face has not yet gone back to normal.  While we were there, Sam picked out his glasses.  I didn't intend to have him pick his own, but he saw these tortoiseshell, "nerdy" frames and just insisted that THESE were the ones!  He was so disappointed when he found out he couldn't take them home that day and keeps asking me how many more days until he gets his glasses?  Maybe this is a good sign, that I won't have to encourage him to be responsible with them!  They did cost over $200, though, and we had to pay that up front - ouch!  Insurance will reimburse us $100 of that, but I wasn't expecting to pay all that up front like that!

More and more of Sam's personality seems to be emerging these days.  He's so laid back - very much like Will.  One day last week David had been watching all the Littles and was aghast when he discovered that Sam had removed the latch plate on the girls' door with a screwdriver.  He couldn't wait to tell me when I walked in the house just how horrible Sam had been!  Sam very nonchalantly defended himself by saying, "I just needed to know how it worked!"  He had put the plate back on, so I didn't think it was a big deal.  When he saw I wasn't upset, he immediately ran to get his screwdriver.  So I felt it then prudent to suggest to him that he might want to ask before taking apart anything else!  Lately, Sam has been fascinated with how all things work, not just things.  He's wanting detailed explanations of the brain and circulatory systems.  That is so not me!  I'm willing to accept how things work on sheer faith, and I'm having to dig into the recesses of my brain to explain some of these things to him.  We've got some good science books.  Maybe we'll start out his kindergarten year in science by learning about the human body!

One night last week Lizzie was complaining to Sam about something he had said or done that offended her.  Sam just shrugged his shoulders and said, "That's the way God made me!"  Then he launched into a monologue on how God makes everyone different in so many ways.  I think Lizzie was a bit sorry she had said anything by the time he got done!

Tomorrow we are having a meeting at the school to firm up Ben's IEP for next year.  I, along with his case manager and our family advocate, are wanting Ben to have a number of work-related job experiences next year and to be very focused in these three remaining years of school.  At the same time, the school is wanting to do summer school with him because they have recently started using a word-prediction writing program with him and the kid is churning out some amazing pieces of writing!  I nearly cry every week when his teacher emails his pieces to me because it is a wonderful, wonderful thing to be able to finally have a deeper glimpse into Ben's brain and to realize that he has the same thoughts and feelings that we all do.   But I had already begun making arrangements for him to enter a work training facility in Indianola for both job training and recreation.  So, now we have to figure out how to make everything work.  Just scheduling this meeting - finding a day and time that would work for the 6 of us that needed to be there - was a nightmare in and of itself.  Oh, my goodness!  I was nearly in tears before I finally got it all nailed down.

As it is, I'm probably going to kill myself before getting there.  Tomorrow is the Sp. Olympics Unified Sports Day at Drake and both Will and David are going with Ben.  But I need a babysitter for my Littles for the meeting!  So I'm going to drive up to Drake, collect David around lunchtime, and then go to the meeting.  Ugh!

I suppose it all seems extra overwhelming just because I'm in so much pain right now.  Last night I actually vomited up my mac n cheese into the kitchen sink.  I have no idea why.  But I had been feeling clammy off and on all day - probably mediation or mouth related.  But that sure didn't feel good  on my raw throat.  But I felt better afterwards.

Oh, we need to be praying for the girls' three oldest bio brothers.  They've been removed from the home where they were going to be adopted.  It was never a good placement and now something horrible has happened.  They need - so badly - a good mom and dad.  My heart aches for them.

You know, I'm tired and I'm hurting and I'm stressed, but life is still good.  Early last week I was driving and I was suddenly so overcome by thankfulness for all God has given me.  I can recall very few times in my life before where I have felt that degree of gratitude - much to my shame.  I just felt like weeping as I thought about the many, many good things in my life. I don't deserve any of those things, but yet, God has given them.   That's kind of a random thought there, but I didn't want to blog and not include this because I have not been able to forget about this event, if you want to call it that.  May I continue to be so aware and so thankful.

Well, I've got girls with soapy heads sitting in the tub.  I suppose I had better go take care of them.