Wednesday, November 28, 2007


I nervously gathered my dress together, and climbed up into the carriage. The driver made clicking noises at the horse with her teeth, and the beribboned animal started forward into traffic. The two young women riding with me were watching the journey over their shoulders, faces alight with anticipation.

As the carriage lurched to a halt, I looked first for you, standing in the shadow of the gazebo. You were so handsome in your back tails, and you scanned the crowds, looking for me. Your eyes found me, and your face seemed to brighten.

I walked slowly up the bricked path to your side, and we began our journey. We married 5,475 days ago. Fifteen years. It seems both so long ago and just like yesterday.

I love you more now than I did then, in so many ways. We've grown, started a family, been blessed, and managed to hang on to all that makes us what we are. I do not know who I would be today if you had not stepped into the breach all those many days ago and showed me that love and care were possible for me. That I was still worthy of them.

When that carriage lurched into the hurrying stream of cars, I was glad to be riding towards you, happy to be starting a new part of our lives together. I could not have hoped for better than what we've had together. I dreamed, of course, but the reality has been so much better than dreams.

We argue, we sometimes get so mad at each other, and sometimes we say things to deliberately wound each other; ours is not a perfect marriage. But, I told you long ago that I am not a perfect woman, and not to confuse or mistake me for one. Our flaws are what make us human. In the end, we forgive each other and we move past what is troubling us; move on to the next phase, the next challenge. It's never boring, and there is always love to get us through.

You joke that every man who has been married for 15 years or more no longer has opinions of his own. I say you do. (And by your own joke, you now HAVE to agree with me!) I think you feel very strongly about things. I know that I can see the passion in you -- 15 years of marriage to me haven't totally crushed your spirit. And, I don't want a colorless, sycophantic yes-man as a husband. I want you, with your loving heart, your quirky sense of humor, and your deep, abiding love for our daughter and me. I could not ask for better.

I love you, honey. Happy Fifteenth Anniversary.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Going back to school after 5 days off.... Bleah! I guess I should go to bed at a decent hour tonight.

Hope everyone had a good holiday, and has a good week. Pop over to Wednesday Whine this week, where I will be hosting.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Annual Mass Gluttony Holiday Now Officially Over!

I hope all the Americans out there had a great Thanksgiving holiday, now that it's all over except the leftovers. To our Canadian readers, I hope you had a lovely day, and didn't get too bored, hearing all of us prate on endlessly about food.

My mother hosted this year's Thanksgiving festivities, as she does most years. 85% of my family live in CityOfMyBirth, such as my father, my paternal grandmother, my paternal uncle, and all but one of my mother's four siblings, and most of their assorted families. So, usually, Thanksgiving is done here in HumidityLikeABrickWall, at my mother's house. There are assorted people who put in a cameo appearance occasionally, like friends of the family, or family who no longer live close, but are in town for whatever reason.

This year, the crowd consisted of JF, Offspring, myself, my mother and stepfather, my brother and his girlfriend, my stepfather's niece and her husband, and two lovely visitors from the U.K. The U.K. visitors were most welcome, and I hope enjoyed themselves. They were a lot of fun to talk to, and as they're both employed in the forensic field, a source of endless fascinating stories.

My brother brought his two golden retrievers, and with my mother's Westie, there was a lot of doggie drama over who actually was the alpha dog, and who'd get the lion's share of attention and "accidentally" dropped tidbits. Now, the Westie is the size of a toaster oven, compared to the goldens' size of small boats, so it was an interesting spectacle to watch. My brother, the total sap, made each of his boys their very own Thanksgiving plate, complete with mac and cheese, turkey, and mashed potatoes. The dogs yummed it up so fast that I was worried they were going to lick holes into the Tupperware. I doubt my brother will be so happy with them later when they get gassy tummies from all the table food.

It was good to see my brother, whom I don't see nearly often enough. His girlfriend is a really nice person -- very smart, and it's clear that she really cares about my brother. What's not to like about that? Offspring likes her because she's nice and doesn't talk down to her -- Girlfriend has a way of talking to you as if she's interested in nothing more that what you have to say, and Offspring doesn't have enough of that from some of the adults in her life.

The visitors from the U.K. are helping my mother trace our family lineage, and brought my mother a rather thick folder with genealogical information on my mother's antecedents. We talked a bit about forensics, including things like the Madeline McCann case, and the Natalee Holloway case. They were amazed at the food my mother laid out -- if there's one thing we do real well, it's eat.

The good news is that things went very well, and there were no personal fireworks. There was no arguing -- most people seemed really happy to be where they were, and with the people gathered there. The food was cooked with lots of help, and the cleanup was spearheaded by my brother, which was a rare, and very special, treat. (I'm usually the one who gets stuck with KP duty, since people usually pass out directly after dinner.)

It was a good meal, with good friends, both old and new. That's what Thanksgiving is all about.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Poor Guy

Juggling Freak is allergic to pork. I am allergic to seafood. Between our two allergies, we eat a LOT of beef and chicken. When we go out to dinner, he will often order shrimp, while I order stuff with bacon. He and Offspring adore Mexican and Italian food, but I can't handle all the spicy sauces and tomato products. There's something about tomatoes that really do me in. They cause me untold heartburn, and if I eat either Mexican/Italian or tomatoes too often, I suffer for days.

JF and Offspring are usually pretty good about not demanding either Mexican or spaghetti too often, in deference to me. Tonight, I ran to the the grocery store after work to pick up a few last things for the upcoming Thanksgiving meal. While there, I thought I'd do a Nice Thing and pick up a frozen lasagna for dinner. It ain't haute cuisine, but it satisfies their tomato-y urge for a bit. My mind on my shopping, I just picked up the familiar red boxed lasagna, and paid for my purchases.

When JF got home, he was excited to hear that lasagna was tonight's menu, and was looking forward to dinner. Almost two hours later (those stupid things take so freaking long to cook!), he was hungrily awaiting his meal. As I dished it up and took my first bite, I thought I tasted sausage, but I knew that couldn't be right -- we'd had this lasagna many times before, and it was always beef! JF checked the fine print on the back of the box, and sure enough.... made with beef AND pork. I had, apparently, chosen the wrong one. It was labeled as "with meat sauce", but it didn't specify beef only.

He ate it anyway, and put a brave face on it, but about thirty minutes after dinner, he went to go change a light bulb in my craft room for me while I did the dishes and shortly after, I heard him tossing his cookies in the bathroom.

My poor boo! I feel terrible! I didn't pay attention to the box, and now my poor husband is suffering for it. He emerged from the bathroom, shaky and clammy, and went straight to bed. Add "husband poisoner" to the list of my failings. Luckily, his allergy is not as serious as mine, and pork will only make him vomit. Still, it's no picnic enjoying lasagna twice. I hope he feels better in the morning.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pissed Beyond Words

Offspring called me at school at 3:00pm yesterday. I was in the middle of dismissal, which is always a hectic time, so I had no real time to talk. The main point was that she didn't feel well. I made arrangements to pick up some medicine and juice on the way home from school.

When I get home from school, Offspring was piled up in my bed, asleep over her math homework. I gently woke her, and she informs me that she had gone to the nurse that morning because she felt hot and nauseous. I asked her what the nurse did for her. The answer was a maddening "nothing." I asked what she meant by nothing, and she tells me that the nurse let her rest on a cot in her office, and that was the extent of the care she got. I laid my hand on her to check her temperature, and she was burning hot through her clothing. I took her temperature, and it was 101.8. Offspring says that the nurse never took her temperature; never called either of us, her parents; and never sent an infirmary slip home that she'd been seen in the nurse's office. It is probably an understatement that I was hopping mad.

I dosed Offspring with Motrin and Tylenol, and she felt so worn down that she even went to bed early. This morning, she seemed to be acting all right according to JF, so he medicated her and sent her on to school. I called her school's office, intent on talking to the principal, only to find that she was off-site for the day. I asked to speak to one of the assistant principals, but neither of them was available. I told the secretary that I was very unhappy with the situation, and she gave me the nurse's name and extension.

When I called the nurse and identified myself, she got immediately defensive. She said that Offspring reported to her office because she felt "flushed and nauseous." She asked Offspring if she wanted to lie down for a while and rest. Offspring did, and ended up sleeping for an hour. At no point in there did the nurse think to put her hand on Offspring's forehead to see if she was warm or not. A normally energetic 11-year-old who'd rather skip lunch to *nap*? Does this seem right to you? In any case, I asked why she never had her temp taken -- the nurse's response was that she "didn't look like she had a fever." Well, my thought on that is that "flushed" generally means "hot", and "hot" means fever. Wouldn't you think that you would at least TOUCH the child to see if she's hot, especially if she comes to you saying that she feels flushed?

I straightened her out about several things, and asked her to pull Offspring out of class and check her temperature. She said she would, and would call me back. Five minutes later, the phone rings, and she tells me that Offspring has a 101.4 temp, and I have to come get her. I stopped by the store on the way there, and picked up some Motrin and Tylenol for the nurse to keep with a standing order to dose her as needed.

While on the drive to pick up Offspring, I phone the doctor's, hoping I can get her squeezed in for an appointment. They agree to see her at 3:00 today. Once in the office, she has a fever of ***103.7*** and they whisk her right into an exam room. I've NEVER been seen that fast by the doctor before. The doctor takes a swab of her throat, suspecting possible Strep Throat (and triggering O's extremely sensitive gag reflex in the process...) and orders a shot of steroids to help the swelling of the throat go down. We also get a prescription for Amoxicillin, to help combat the fever. She's also given a school excuse, and told to stay home until Monday.

You can bet your bottom dollar that by the time I'm done with that nurse tomorrow, she will neither be able to sit properly after having her ass chewed, nor will she ever see my child without taking her temperature and advising me every step of the way.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Back in Black

Offspring recently decided that she was tired of her old look, and wanted to dye her hair. Now, some people might think that "almost 12" is a little too young to be heading for the dye bottle, but I figure that it's *her* hair, and hair will grow out, eventually. Plus, I would much rather her ask for assistance and come out with a good result, rather than her doing it in secret and coming out with straw for hair.

But, typical of my daughter, she did not want to go half-assed into this project, no, no. She wanted the FULL experience. She wanted to dye her hair black. The blackest black that the store offered. Blacker than deepest space. Blacker than George Bush's evil heart.

So, she went from honey blond to inky black. What a difference, huh?

Monday, November 12, 2007

...And A Bottle Of Excedrin Migraine Later....

I have totally screwed myself up, people. I strained very hard somehow on Saturday night, and gave myself the worst headache I have ever had. I seriously thought I was going to have to go and wake JF up so he could take me to the hospital. Praying that my head would not roll off of my shoulders in the 30-odd steps it takes to get from the bathroom to the the bedroom, I very gingerly wound my way to the bed, stopping ever-so-briefly in the kitchen for three Excedrin Migraine, a bottle of water, and three Naproxen Sodium.

Most of Sunday was spent in bed, sleeping off this monster headache, and praying I did not get the awful nausea that *usually* accompanies such a headache. JF postulates that I strained a neck muscle, based on the fact that he did something similar a few months ago weightlifting. He was kind enough to let me sleep, and even offered to bring me anything, should I need it. I awoke in the early afternoon, feeling fuzzy and still slightly sore. I've been making sure to not move to quickly, and to not do too much that would cause re-injury.

Now all I have to worry about is my stomach rotting away from within from all the medications I've taken in the last few days to keep my head from exploding like a science experiment gone very, very wrong. Think happy thoughts, right?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Now Is The Winter of Our Discontent

Cold weather has come to our local, mostly temperate area. Or, maybe not. See, the problem with living in the warmer parts of the country is that we typically have two seasons: "hot" and "not."

Lately, it seems that Mother Nature can't seem to make up her mind about which season she wants us to enjoy. One day it is warm, and the next it's cold. I wore short sleeves on Monday, and a thick, bulky sweater on Thursday. I knew that Friday, our school was planning to head outside for a disaster drill run-through, and I did not want to be cold during the event. I figured that I would wear something warm, and then I would be comfortable for the drill. Mother Nature, however, had other plans.

Wednesday here in HumidityLikeABrickWall was cool. It wasn't hot, and it wasn't cold. Thursday was COLD by our standards. The kids all arrived in parkas, like they were expecting the Abominable Snowman to show up for snack and recess. Between Thursday evening and Friday morning when the alarm went off, I had to get up and put some socks on -- I was that cold. (And that's saying something, because I usually sleep with one foot poked out of the covers as my "temperature gauge." It helps keep my body regulated. I'm odd, I know. You don't have to keep mentioning that -- I get it.) Anyhow, so...socks, right?! I woke up to another brisk morning on Friday. I had no heavyweight fabric pants in my arsenal, since normally we wear clothing as light as possible (and without breaking any indecency laws...) here.

I caved in, and wore the pleather pants. I even called Juggling Freak, who'd had a couple of really bad days at work, to tell him I was wearing the pleather pants, hoping it might cheer him up. It didn't do much for him, because he wasn't there to enjoy them. He groused that I'd have them off before he got home and could even see me in them, so I promised that I would keep them on until he got home.

The weather was still nippy when I left for school, but by the time we got done with our disaster drill, I was roasting in those flipping pants. I went to the bathroom after we got back in the classroom, and damn near slid right off the toilet because my lower half was drenched with sweat! I *knew* there was a reason that those pants struck fear in me! They're uncomfortable and sweaty! Still, true to my word, I kept the pants on until Juggling Freak got home so he could see. Once he'd gotten an eyeful, I took those bad babies off and flung them as far as I could. That was a bit of a task since they now weighed twice what they had that morning. Being sopping wet with sweat will do that to you, I guess.

I have very few doubts that I won't be wearing the pants again any time soon. I did learn a few things, though. People don't think of me as a leather wearing kind of person. Those pants did inspire a few odd looks. I learned that Elmer's Glue will roll right off of imitation leather. And, most importantly, I learned to go with my initial instinct when involving outerwear. (Though I'm sure this applies to under-wear as well.) And, last but not least, I learned that Mother Nature's a fickle bitch.

Monday, November 05, 2007

The *Original* Version of "Mommie Dearest"

The scene: Our living room
The date: Earlier this evening
The players: Offspring, on the phone with her best buddy; Juggling Freak, in the neighboring bedroom: and KLee, cooking dinner in the kitchen.


Offspring is talking on the phone with NiceGuy, her best friend. She's sitting in front of the desktop computer in the living room, cruising through a bunch of stuff she has downloaded from YouTube, playing selected audio clips for NiceGuy, and they're happily chattering away about the different musical selections.

Juggling Freak is making kissy noises at Offspring from the bedroom, trying to embarrass her in front of NiceGuy. Offspring is valiantly ignoring JF's attempt to bait her.

All of a sudden, JF thunders from the bedroom into the living room, shouting, "What *is* that crap?! Bon Jovi? There will be NO BON JOVI in this house, ever!"

She can dress in as much camouflage and black as she likes, and he's even liberal enough to applaud her if she wants to express her creativity by dying her hair some odd shade, but let her have questionable taste in music? *That's* just bad parenting, in his book.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Empty Nest, at Least Temporarily

Offspring is spending the weekend at camp with her new Girl Scout troop, and JF and I are wandering the house like lost little puppies. We had a nice dinner out together last night, and it felt very odd to be asking the hostess for a table for two instead of for three. My fingers had even formed themselves into "three" before I fully realized that they had a life of their own.

JF let me sleep very late, which was a nice luxury. I normally sleep as long as they'll let me on the weekends, but this was crossing the border from "lazy weekend" into "slothful and hedonistic." It felt wonderful.

We've puttered around the house, him playing "Call of Duty" on the Xbox, and taunting the youngsters with his sharp-shooting prowess, and myself making Christmas cards in the craft room, and digging on some songs I downloaded from iTunes with a gift card leftover from my birthday. Eventually, JF got so bored that he decided to mow the grass. In order to pull ourselves from the mire of childless lassitude, we have the high-time party plans to go get some Mexican food for dinner and then to go grocery shopping. It's a hot time in the city tonight, people! Stop us before we do something truly dangerous!