Saturday, June 28, 2014

Nothing Good Happens After Midnight

This week has been a doozy.

Part of it SO FUN as we celebrated Julie’s birthday, one of my party planning business partners.

We threw her a Barbie-themed party.
More on that later.

And somewhere in the middle of all that, I trashed my neck.

Bad.

Let me start by confirming that the old saying my parents repeated over and over to me,

“Nothing good happens after midnight,”

is true.

Monte was out of town.

McDaniel was at a bible study event that ran late and it was raining and her phone was in someone’s car and I couldn’t get in contact with her and I was worried and mad and tired

and clearly not in the right frame of mind to be reading anything on the internet.

It wasn’t midnight, mind you, 
but close enough in my world for crazy things 
like putting Frankincense essential oil on a mole on my neck 
to reduce its appearance to sound like a pretty darn good idea.

There was even convincing before and after pictures.

And I’ve always hated that mole, mind you. 

Remember, Monte wasn’t here to warn me that putting Frankincense essential oil on a tiny cotton ball and then putting a band aid on top of that and then going to sleep would end so poorly.

I woke up at 3:30 am with a searing pain in my neck area.

I ran to the bathroom, took off the band aid and found a HUGE blister,

WAY bigger than the size of the cotton ball 
or band aid I went to bed wearing.

In my grogginess, I splashed water on my neck, prayed it was all a dream and went back to bed.

In the morning, I realized it had not been a dream when I looked in the mirror and found a fiery red tear drop shaped chemical burn, 

with a mole in the middle of it,

staring back at me.

Neck chemical burn #frankinsenceburns

It took, depending on the position, two to three band aids to cover the hot mess on my neck.

And a 44-year-old neck is not pretty when bandaged. 

It becomes all foldy and wrinkly.

Even with clear band aids, 
it looked like I had a turkey waddle. 

Folds and wrinkles from neck band aids #turkeywaddleneck
Much better, right?

I had a long day of errands to run.

Errands in public places with people.

People who might wonder about the lady walking around 
with three band aids on her neck.

Why couldn’t I have had a lapse in judgement during turtleneck season?!

And I was worried two weeks ago about being seen 

I’d pay CASH DOLLARS to be seen publicly without my wedding ring on 
than have to explain why I have a bandaged neck.


I texted Monte about my neck mishap.

He asked if I should not be left home alone anymore. 

And if the girls should hide sharp objects 
and the internet 
from me.

The next day was the Barbie-themed birthday party.

I really didn’t want my neck wound to distract from celebrating Julie.

So I wore a scarf.

As only good friends can do,

 they saw right through my scarf-wearing cover-up.

I had to fess up.

Then they told me to see a doctor.

Of course, the very next day Monte and I had a meeting at the school.

My friends were good to give me answer suggestions if any questions pertaining to my neck were asked.

“I have skin cancer.” 
I’d have no ability to say this.

“I had a mole removed.” 
If only that were true. 
The mole is hanging in there nicely.

“I just got my neck tattoo removed.” 
Perfect! 
Except we couldn’t come up with a definitive answer on what the neck tattoo was if asked. Carisa suggested a skull with roses but I really don’t think I’m the skull with roses kind of person. But then again, I would definitely be the kind of person who would have a skull with roses neck tattoo removed. Hypothetically speaking, of course.

Julie suggested I hold my fingers to my band aids while talking in such a way to suggest I had lost my larynx or vocal chords or whatever it is you lose. to years of chain smoking.

So I said nothing. 

I didn’t say a peep about my band aids even when I saw the woman 
at the school meeting clearly staring at my neck. 

It actually became funnier to me the longer I said nothing.

Well, as funny as a painful chemical burn to the neck can be. 

I’m grasping at straws here, 
trying to find the funny.

Later that afternoon, I picked up the phone to make an appointment with my general practice doctor.

She’s a friend and I knew she’d get a laugh out of my story.

Not like the humorless Urgent Care doctor 
who didn’t even crack a smile when I told him 
I heard angels sing after I jammed a Q-tip 
too far into my ear canal.

My doctor has experience with “my ways” since I one time made an appointment to see her because I thought I was having heart issues and she diagnosed me with a pulled muscle around my breast bone due to poor form in my side planks while playing with the Wii Fit.

She gets me.

And if I remember right, 
she told me the mole 
on my neck was fine 
and not to mess with it.

Oops.

As my life would of course have it,

my doctor was booked for the day but the nurse referred me 
to another doctor in another practice within their medical group.

I prayed it would be a woman with a good sense of humor 
and a compassionate heart.

It didn’t start off well when the front desk lady couldn’t figure out how to file my insurance information and I had to stand up front at her desk with a bandaged neck for all in the waiting room to see for a really long time.

I contemplated walking out about 57 different times but the front desk lady still had my insurance card.

She decided it would be easier for me to pay for the visit out of pocket.

Stupidity costs, people.

A white-haired MALE (uh-oh) who looked like he just left the golf course, walked into the room.

He didn’t introduce himself or ask my name.

He didn’t ask what I did, 
what I did it with 
and why in the world I did it.

I didn’t get to tell my story.

Which is almost as bad as having a fiery red 
tear-shaped chemical burn with a mole 
in the middle of it on your neck.

In 4 1/2 seconds he looked at my burn,

told me it looked like I was doing everything right,

seriously?!

and that it should be scabbing nicely by next week.

woo-hoo…!?

So there you have it.

If you find yourself up late tonight,

don’t turn on QVC,

don’t watch that informercial on TV,

and FOR THE LOVE OF PETE,

don’t peruse the internet.

At that late hour, it will all sound too simple.

Too good.

Too quick and affordable.

But they are ALL LIES.

And you will be left to wake up to ugly jewelry you don’t need,

household products that don’t work

or a searing chemical burn on your neck.

Stupidity costs, people.

And nothing good happens after midnight.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Sunday Nights in the 70s

Saturday morning I read a great blog post by Motherhood & Muffin Tops that mentioned Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.

Do you remember that show?

Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom logo


It was a safari type animal show with an old guy, Marlin Perkins, who always seemed to be in the studio office while his younger side kick was always on the scene in the bush somewhere right in the path of an angry hungry hippo, tiger, lion or bear.

Wild Kingdom’s Marlin Perkins in the studio with an animal

I remember the narrator’s soft, calming voice describing the beauty of the serene gazelle.

This is the part where I hid my eyes because anyone who watched Wild Kingdom knew that the calmer the narrator’s voice 
and the more beautiful the description of the serene animal, 
the closer they were to a brutal end.

There was always some tiger hiding behind a bush that would 
pounce suddenly and drag the gazelle off to munch on.

I talked about this with Monte and we had the same memories of the show so he decided to bring up a You Tube video to share the fun and death that was Wild Kingdom with Ellie.

It was a clip from an episode where Marlin Perkins was in the studio (shocker) with a monkey that was chained BY THE NECK to his office desk.

I’m not even joking. 

Big chain.

Metal collar.

Hooked to desk.

The monkey was not even 3 feet tall so no King Kong threat was apparent.

Ellie was appalled and she might have left the room at that point.

Marlin started feeding the monkey something berry-like.

The monkey just shoved and shoved and shoved and shoved those berries into his mouth until his cheeks were ENORMOUS!

I guess they stored the berries in their cheeks for later meals.

The cheek capacity of this monkey was impressive.

I wanted to raise my hand and ask Marlin what kept another monkey, 
maybe a little down on his luck in the berry finding department, 
from walking up to an obviously filled-to-capacity-cheeked monkey 
and just taking both little monkey fists and popping those huge cheeks balloon-style 
thus shooting a few of those berries into his own mouth?

But Wild Kingdom was not an interactive show or much for 
staying away from the gray areas of animal cruelty.

I have to admit that, for the most part, I thought the show was BORING
(I don’t recall seeing the cheeky monkey episode back in the 70s).

The narrator’s calm tone of voice was like a monotone lullaby to me.

I was really only watching the show as the opening act to The Wonderful World of Disney. 

And to keep my dad from switching the channel to 60 minutes 
which was like brutal torture to a kid.

I’d get so excited when I’d see Tinker Bell flying over Cinderella’s Castle with my wet clean hair fresh from a bath and a bowl of something in front of me--sometimes ice cream, sometimes popcorn and sometimes sliced apples, mini marshmallows and bits of chocolate Hershey bar broken up into small pieces (seriously, like the best snack when I was little. Of course, I traded my chocolate pieces away for more marshmallows.)

The Wonderful World of Disney logo with Tinker Bell and Cinderella’s Castle

I remember watching all kinds of great movies on The Wonderful World of Disney.

Ichabod Crane and the Legend of Sleepy Hollow (scared me half to DEATH when I was younger).

Ichabod Crane with the headless horseman


The Strongest Man in the World with Kurt Russell.

Disney’s The Strongest Man in the World movie poster with Kurt Russell

Remember the cereal he ate to make him strong? 

We just found this on Apple TV and made the girls watch it with us. They weren’t super impressed. Monte and I still liked it.


And of course classics like The Apple Dumpling Gang with Tim Conway and Don Knotts.

Disney’s The Apple Dumpling Gang movie poster

The girls hated that too,

“Nothing happens!”

Sorry the bad guys carry guns they never use 
and no one gets thrown into a vat of nuclear waste 
turning them into a super villain 
or hero 
or troll.

But I digress.

Sunday nights in the 70s was magical.

It was family TV viewing time. We could all be together without fear of language or gore (other than the gazelle being munched on).

I miss that.

There just aren’t enough shows like that now. 

Wait. 

Are there ANY shows like that??

If you know of any, let me know.



Friday, June 13, 2014

The Story about the Hot Dog, Wedding Rings, Blood Blister and the Letter “J”

It started two nights ago.

As I was walking upstairs to go to bed,

I started to drop one of the sandals I was carrying.

In my not-so-smooth attempt to keep hold of my sandal,

I rammed my ring finger into the riser part of the stair so hard that I was sure it was broken.

The stair first.

Then my finger.

The whole incident scared the dog into McDaniel’s room.

The loud crack of wood and bone 
and then my wounded animal howl.

My ring finger,

the one that sports my WEDDING RINGS

felt all hot and heart-beatish.

Somehow I had the presence of mind to remove my rings,

which is not usually how I do things.

My stories usually start with,

“I wish I had thought to…”

Or

“It didn’t occur to me until later that…”

So, I’d like a little credit here

and soft applause.

Especially since clapping makes me feel 
a little nauseous with pain right now.

When I woke up yesterday,

my finger was the size of a hot dog,

if a hot dog had blueberry filling,

and a knuckle.

For some unknown reason I tried to put my rings back on.

The hot dog wouldn’t have it.

Mainly because of the searing pain.

Followed quickly by the hugeness.

So I iced down during breakfast and thought about how stupid I would feel having to tell the doctor at an urgent care how I jammed my finger into a stairway.

And I once had to tell a doctor (loudly) that I jammed 
 a Q-tip into my ear so hard that I heard angels singing.

I decided to ignore the pain and go about my day like I didn’t have a hot dog for a ring finger.

The girls and I went to Lowe’s to get some project supplies

because spray painting two chairs sounded like a great way 
to ruin the only good hand I had left to work with.

Of course we ran into everyone we knew,

me with no wedding rings on and all.

One was Carisa’s husband.

I’m surprised I didn’t get a call.

Or a banana bread fresh from the oven.
She is Southern after all, and programmed
to provide food in a crises.

(Her banana bread is almost worth a crises).

I thought on the drive home what a good thing it was that this life of mine wasn't an Andy Griffith episode because boy, Aunt B and her nosey friend would have had the “Karmen wasn’t wearing her wedding rings” information ALL over town by the end of the day.

Incidentally, driving is VERY difficult when you 
have an unbendable hot dog for a finger.

Mainly in the crucial steering department.

I casually mentioned all the people I ran into at Lowe's to some neighbors at a porch gathering yesterday afternoon.

“Of course no one would notice I wasn’t wearing my rings.


When one of my neighbors said,

“Oh, I would have!”

And, I have to admit,

I would’ve too.

I’m an observer.
It comes already loaded
with the story telling thing.

But before the neighborhood gathering,

and after the finger-hot dog incident, 

I managed to shut part of my arm in the double doors of our 
linen closet thus pinching a nice blood blister with a rapid 
heart beat about two inches from my elbow.

The dog was unphased by my scream at that point.

A few minutes later as I was walking to the garage at a hurried pace,

I pushed open the fence gate with some force and speed not realizing the gate was locked 
and my body didn’t get the memo in time 
so I ended up with a nice deep letter “J” scrape on my arm.



Cue the heart beat.

Let’s recap:

I jammed my ring finger into a black and blue hot dog,

potentially started rumors about the state of my marriage,

pinched the ever lovin’ life out of my arm

and managed to gouge the letter “J” into the flesh of my other arm.

All in a 24-hour period.

As I retold the horrors of my 24 hours (show and tell style) to my neighbors,

one who happens to be a nurse said three of the sweetest words to me,

“It’s not broken.”

But I learned it could be a couple of weeks before those 
wedding rings manage to make their way back onto the hot dog.

So I need to come up with a good story when I notice someone noticing I’m not wearing my wedding rings.

Any ideas??

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Our Beautiful Thing

I went to see the movie “Moms Night Out” again with a group of friends.


I was able to pick up different things in the movie this time.

There is a part of the movie where two characters are just fascinated with a live web cam of a momma eagle feeding her babies in the nest.

The women didn’t know why they were so captivated by it.

Not to give anything away, but it is later revealed that the momma eagle was simply doing JUST what God created it to do.

And that is a beautiful thing.

I think we can all relate to the fact that we want to know what it is that WE were created to do.

Our beautiful thing.


And we make it far too complicated.

I have been featured over at The Mom Cafe today 
so click here to read more.



Saturday, June 07, 2014

A Blast From the Past (Literally)

While talking with some friends last night,

my friend Jill mentioned she had a CPR class scheduled early this morning.

I was FLOODED with memories of Resusci-Annie being brought into our classroom in elementary school.

Do you remember Resusci-Annie?

Smart blue jogging suit, 

white Keds,

messy blonde hair,

breath that smelled strongly of rubbing alcohol.


Resusci-Annie

Ringing any bells?

Resusci-Annie came to our elementary school as part of the BAT (Basic Aid Training) program through the American Red Cross.

BAT pin

I remember mom volunteers teaching us how to keep our cool as we took turns practicing calling our local emergency numbers on one of those old-fashioned high-cradle phones with a mouth piece that weighed seriously 8 pounds.

This was all pre-9-1-1, people.

I remember taking home a BAT sticker with our local fire, police and poison control phone numbers on it and putting it on our Harvest Gold rotary wall phone with the cord that could stretch all the way into my bedroom almost.

We also learned about water safety from my friend Kim’s mom and when the ice was thick enough to safely ice skate on a lake or pond. 

When she taught us that, I remember thinking, 

“That’s not what Dad said.

But then again, I had already fallen through the ice 
on a pond at that point.

Clearly, Dad needed BAT training.

But my FAVORITE was the days Resusci-Annie came.

She came in with a professional of some sort, I think,

maybe the school nurse or an EMT.

I don’t know, I was focused on the suitcase they were carrying.


Resusci-Annie in a suitcase


The one that carried an adult-sized rubber mannequin that I got the pleasure of mouth-breathing and pounding back to life.

I can just see my 4th grade Dorothy Hamill-haired self wriggling in excitement in her Wrangler jeans and denim vest doing a happy clap as they pulled Annie out of the suitcase.

It truly was a highlight for me.

Which speaks volumes.

The appropriate professional would lay out Annie on a table and we’d line up to take turns mouth-to-mouthing her and later giving her CPR.

So we got two trips up to Resusci-Annie.

They would wipe Annie’s mouth with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol between each kid and that tasted pretty yuck but it did not curb my excitement in taking a shot at bringing this poor ill-fated jogger back to life.

I took it very seriously.

But not everyone did.

One boy in our class (I must find out who),

was a little aggressive in the mouth-to-mouth and blasted Annie’s lungs full and then some.

So much so that a great toot sound that ended in a high whistle escaped Annie’s body.

There’s just no bringing a 4th grade class back after that.

Let’s face it, it would be hard for me 
to straighten up now in that situation.

The appropriate professional was fairly upset and made the announcement, 

over our snickers and giggles,

that the boy had surely just killed Annie.

Snickers and giggles turned into guffaws and for real laughing out loud.

Another highlight was who got to help stuff Annie back into the suitcase.

Seriously, we excitedly shoved our arms into the air with anxious

“Me! Me! Me!”

shouts hoping to help shove her in a hopelessly too small case.

Resusci-Annie shoved into a suitcase

How did we feel good about doing this to poor ol’ Annie?

This is what we discussed in my driveway last night, laughing and reminiscing.

Jill sent this photo to me from her CPR class this morning:

The new resusci-Andy


with the message:

“No Keds!”

Annie is now an Andy?!

With no arms, legs or lower torso?!

Are we supposed to believe that CPR is going to bring Andy back?

Clearly he has other needs.

And I SO wouldn’t raise my hand and 

“Me! Me! Me!”

for the honor to shove him into a suitcase

or duffel bag

or backpack

or large purse.

 Jill said there is no mouth-to-mouth resuscitation anymore.

Just CPR.

So that boy in my class is no longer a danger to the ill-fated jogging Annie’s of this world.

Although I can’t speak to his CPR technique.

It obviously wasn’t funny enough for me to remember.


Have any Resusci-Annie memories?
I’d love to hear them!


Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Brain-Fried, Mooing and Zombies (Or in Other Words, Our Drive to School this Morning)

Tomorrow is the last day of school.

Picture of chalkboard door


Tomorrow is the last day of school.

Tomorrow is the last day 
of school!

She said over and over in a corner 
rocking back and forth 
sucking her thumb.

And if the number of emails between me and the school are any indication, it seems as if we are going out with a bang.

Or a boom.

Or a thud.

Needless to say, we are all a bit on edge here.

A bit emotional

with a teence bit of exhaustion

Ellie in the hammock exhausted
Ellie brain-fried on the hammock after
school yesterday.


and slap happy fried brain thrown in.

On the way to the high school this morning to take McDaniel to her second day of finals,

we passed the university dairy farm.

There was a herd of beautiful cows close to the road.

Cows in a field


McDaniel started mooing loudly to them like she did when she was still in a car seat and not almost ready to drive herself.

Not the kind of intelligent confidence 
you want your child to give you 
walking into day 2 of finals.

Like I said, 

we are all a bit fried right now.

As I turned the corner to head to the middle school to drop off Ellie, we noticed a "sort of display" set up in the front yard of a house along the way.

It was a bunch of scarecrow like “kids” dressed like cheerleaders and athletes 

but instead of faces they had blown up black and white close-up photos of kids taped to the front.

It must have been some sort of graduation tribute.

I’m not sure if it was the nature of the droopy stuffing in which the “kids” were made of or the hard rains we’ve been having 

but the whole display looked like a scene from the Walking Dead. 

Zombies in yard
Can you hear the creepy music?

A yard full of zombies.

One of the “kids” was propped up to be in a hand stand position with a rope attached to its feet and a tree branch.

Ellie said,

“Mom! One of the zombies is being hanged!

Like they weren’t already “undead”. 
Duh.

Another view of zombies in a yard

Some of the ink from the photo faces had bled adding to the overall creepy effect.

Congrats Class of 2014!

May your future be way more “lively" than this yard display!


But doesn’t that just sum up the whole school year?

We start out enthusiastic and energetic,

full of hope.

 I’m sure just like this “kid” display was meant to be.

But then, the year just wears us down

with rains and burdens.

And soon we’re just a creepy display of zombies 
with smeared faces in the front of someone’s lawn.

But tomorrow is the last day of school.

Tomorrow is the last day of school.

TOMORROW IS THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL!!

Happy Summer!