Friday, April 27, 2012

a smash bang job

Yes, this is my car with the driver's side window obliterated.

I don't even know what happened.
I was driving to my son's competition at the high school.
I was about one block from the school in the left turn lane, waiting to turn.
All of a sudden I head a loud bang on my left and turned to see the window cracked into a bazillion pieces.
I don't know if a rock hit it or if someone driving past threw something at my window.
I managed to drive through the light and then stopped and called my husband and 911.
I then drove the rest of the block into the high school parking lot,
causing the smashed window to fall into my lap.

A policeman came to take a statement.
He was super helpful, especially when he said, "Personally, if I was a person* I would go to a car wash and use one of those vacuum thingys to take care of that glass."
And then he left.
Yes, I realize at that very moment there was probably an armed robbery, a murder and a tsunami taking place so he couldn't help me one little bit.
Not only did I have glass bits sticking out of my clothing and in my shoes, but how exactly was I supposed to drive away to that magical car wash, with my seat and door and everything full of glass?
So I did what any self respecting 40 year old woman would do,
I called my husband and cried.**
He made arrangements for (a different) son's soccer game and came and rescued me.

Needing to be rescued makes me frustrated and embarrassed and grateful all at the same time.
But, I guess we all need rescuing at one time or another.
The trick is focusing on the "grateful" part and forgetting about the rest. 

*obviously he was a robot.
**sometimes I really hate being a girl.

Monday, April 23, 2012


Life, I am sure you know, is unexpected.

I didn't expect to have four sons. I didn't expect to have three daughters. I didn't expect that one of these daughters would only spend 14 days on earth. I didn't expect to have grey hair quite so early. I didn't expect to live in Ecuador for 16 months. I didn't expect to love my neighborhood so much. I didn't expect to have such an amazing husband (though I hoped for it). I didn't expect to be such good friends with my sisters. I didn't expect to be so flat chested (although I should have known!).

I didn't expect to be diagnosed with MS a month before my 40th birthday.

I'm still not used to it.  Sometimes, I think in my mind, it's like having the flu.  Something that will knock me down temporarily, but I will eventually bounce back to normal. I'm having trouble adjusting to the finality of MS.  It's not going away.

I had a really good week last week.  I felt better than I have in a long time.  I got lots done around the house; cleaning, sewing projects and other things I've wanted to do for months.  Although sadly my pile of ironing didn't get any smaller.

I start to think, "I'm better! It was a rough couple of months, but now I will be normal again!"  These are happy thoughts.

Yesterday we went to church, ate a delicious meal together as a family, then went to see our darling newborn nephew at the hospital.  The weather was gorgeous and I was happy.

We returned home after the hospital visit and as I was changing clothes, I started to feel a change.

Within 10 minutes it seemed like every molecule of energy in my body had been sucked out.

I slowly shuffled to the couch and could hardly move the rest of the night.  I am the same today.

Life is unexpected.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

dandelion dilemma

Every spring we get a lot of dandelions in our yard.
Last year I spent a lot of time spraying each individual flower with poison.
It was a lot of work and frankly a big pain, and physically I'm pretty sure I'm not up to it this year.
So I decided on a lazy different approach.
I told my six-year-old last week I'd pay him a nickle for each dandelion flower he picked, figuring at least they wouldn't go to seed and make a million more dandelions.
In a very short time he racked up twelve dollars.
I could see that I needed to change my game plan.
This week I told all my kids I'd pay a penny a flower.
I seriously underestimated how many dandelions there are in our yard.
I now owe the kids close to $30.
And a day later there are a ton more dandelions growing.
Apparently I need a new business plan.
I think my new plan is going to involve lots of emotional fist shaking and the words,
"Curse you dandelions!"
(At least it will be cheaper!)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


I am not a morning person.
I never have been. 
My mom laughs about my teenage grumpiness in the mornings.
(I'm glad she can laugh about this!)
But now, it's 2012 and I am 40 (!) years old....
I am still not a morning person.

So why oh why, did I make an orthodontist appointment for my son at 7am this morning?
Meaning, I had to take all 5 kids with me and leave the house at 6:45am.
I have no idea.
The stop at a donut shop afterwards almost made it worth it.
(The kids think it was definitely worth it.)

Friday, April 13, 2012

a gift

We went to a surprise birthday party last night for a neighbor who, not that long ago, didn't know if he'd ever see another birthday. 

When we moved to our neighborhood a couple of years ago, he and his wife were one of the first ones to come and visit.  I felt embarrassed as my children acted, well, like children. They were excited to see visitors and ran around happily to and from the room we were sitting in.  Our new neighbors both sighed contentedly.  They lamented their quiet, empty house lacking in the joyful noise of children.

About a year ago, the first signs of cancer appeared, heartbreaking for his family and our neighborhood.  He declined rapidly.  The cancer and the drugs treating the cancer quickly ravaged his body.  Yet his spirit was cheerful and optimistic.  Soon his appearance was so altered we hardly knew it was him.  He continued happy and kind.  After a while I forgot what he used to look like.

I often saw him puttering around his yard.  He came to church with a surgical mask on.  He couldn't shake any hands out of fear that germs would compromise his already struggling body.  I never saw him without a smile.  He would often tell me, "I told my wife this morning, it's gonna be a good day, I didn't die in the night!" Then he would laugh gently at his own joke.

The party last night was well attended.  He seemed surprised that people would come to celebrate his life.  What he doesn't understand is, that he is a gift to us. A friend, a neighbor, an example.

On days when I feel down physically or emotionally, I hope to remember our neighbor. "It's gonna be a good day".

In slightly less emotional other news:
I saw a beat up old black truck today that had the words "Truck Norris" printed on it's hood.  And yes, the driver was sporting a mullet. 

People are awesome.

Monday, April 9, 2012


(Pardon the silence, it's been Spring Break for my kids!)

I own a couple of iToys, and I love them.  A lot. How about you? Do you iGadget?

When Steve Jobs died there was a lot of media coverage on his life and mention of his biography.

Intrigued, I got the book from the library and started to read. I enjoyed reading about his childhood and his teens and early twenties, but once he became a full fledged adult, the thought kept coming to me, "This guy was a real jerk." One of the main themes for the last 2/3 of the book was how badly he treated everyone, how he wanted full control of everyone and everything, how he played mean mind games with all his employees, etc.

Now, don't get me wrong, I have no doubts that he changed our world, mostly for the good. But, changing the world and thinking YOU rule the world are two entirely different things.

The book mentions several times that he had no regard whatsoever for handicapped parking spots. He felt like he had the right to park wherever he pleased, and did so, often in handicapped parking spots.

This really burns me.

In my pre-MS life I wouldn't have dreamed of parking in a handicapped spot.  I don't recall giving it much thought, but I knew those spots were not for me. Then, a few months ago, my husband insisted I get handicapped parking license plates.  It was painful to admit that there are often days when I really do need that extra help.  On days when I don't, I don't park there, freeing up the spots for those who need them.

A couple of weeks ago, I drove to our local high school to watch my son compete in a debate tournament.  I arrived after school hours and the large parking lot was almost empty. Except for the lady who was sitting in her car parked in the handicapped parking section, sideways. She effectively blocked the majority of the handicapped parking spots. With no other option available, I took the remaining spot that was furthest from the school.  After a few minutes her daughter came out of the school, got into the car and they drove away.  I may or may not have mumbled something to myself resembling the words, "Stevette Jobs".

I realize that Stevette Jobs probably parked there innocently, knowing that school was over for the day. Stevette Jobs probably thought, "I'm not going to get out of my car, so I'm not actually parking here." I am sure it didn't even cross her mind that she would inconvenience someone.

That's exactly the point.

Don't be a Stevette.