Tuesday, December 30, 2008


It has been the Weekend from Hell. Literally.

It all started Christmas Eve. I know that was on Thursday, just... bear with me.

Christmas Eve, the Impossible Son started throwing up around 5:30 p.m. or so. My best friend and her family were due to come over at 6, and I figured they were already on the road, so I didn't call them. In retrospect, I should have, whether or not they were on the way, but it had been so long since I had last seen her...

The Husbandly One was doing most of the food prep (I had made baked beans earlier in the day, so he only had to take them out), so I handled Mr. Manzie and washed my hands constantly and touched no one if I could help it.

The Impossible Son was feeling much better by the time they were ready to leave. It had lasted only five hours for him.

Christmas day, we were due to go to Houston to have Christmas dinner with the Blonde Sister and the rest of the family, and my mother would come back with us to stay until Sunday, which I was thrilled about. She even brought her little dog, Katie. But, by Christmas night, the Impertinent Daughter was throwing up, and had escalated things by running a fever as well. As close to 103 as you can get. Friday morning, I called our doctor, who turned out to be on vacation until Monday. Great. So I took her to the local walk-in clinic. And waited two hours. The Impertinent Daughter was miserable and finally turned to me and said, "Mom, I need to go home. I just... I just can't sit here any more."

I said, "Let's wait just fifteen more minutes, sweetie."

She said, "Mom, now."

She was so pale. And I could tell she was at the end of her endurance, so I went up to the receptionist and told her not to bother, that we were leaving. She looked up from her computer and I started grinding my teeth. She was only just then starting on our paperwork. After two friggin' hours!

We went home.

The daughter went to bed, and I contemplated a nap. Everyone was tired. You could call this the calm before the storm. The daughter improved, and Saturday, we contemplated taking Mom to San Marcos or maybe to Austin. But we didn't, because the Impertinent One was still not up to it. In the meantime, Mom and Katie both were astonishing me by being far more active than I'd seen either of them in a long while. Katie is a little Corgie mix... I think. Actually, she looks like a miniature German Shepherd with short legs. Anyhow, she's 13 years old, and very stiff, and when my mom lets her out at home, she only wanders in a very specified small circle in the backyard. Here, she astonished us by wandering through the entire backyard, and actually running from time to time. She became rather playful, too, to my mom's delight.

I wish it could have lasted.

Saturday night, Mom felt like she had indigestion, and asked if we had anything for it. Well... we don't get indigestion much, so we pretty much only have Tums on hand. Which wasn't what she wanted or needed. I asked if she wanted me to run to the store and she said no, she was okay, and she went to bed.

I was pretty tired. I hadn't slept very well, and I woke up early, and it was close to midnight, so when I got settled on the couch (we had given Mom our room), it was a relief. I was just drifting so sleep when I heard Mom say, "Jo? I'm not feeling very well. I think something's wrong."

I sat up and found my mom standing in the doorway, trembling and shuddering in her pajamas. I was up instantly, and wrapped my arm around her to help her back to bed. I thought she was going to collapse on me twice. She was shuddering so hard, and shaking, and when I finally got her to the bed, she nearly slipped out! Once I got her settled, I went and got THO, who was cuddling the Impossible Son to sleep and had fallen asleep himself. And after that... oh geez, y'all.

Mom was so sick. She's always had the hardest time throwing up, and this was no different. She couldn't stand to have either myself or THO out of her sight, and when I had to go empty the slop bowl, she'd whimper, "Where's Jo?" and THO would say, "She's just in the bathroom, Mom, she'll be right back."

By this time, my hands were raw from so much hand-washing.

She got bad enough that I said, "Mom, do you want me to call 911?" Because she was getting very dehydrated, very fast.

We called 911. She was so dehydrated, the EMT had a hard time finding a vein just so he could hook up an I.V. and give her a little Phenargin for nausea to give her a little break during her ambulance ride. After they left, I gave THO a list of family phone numbers to call, but advised him to call the Blonde Sister and let her spread the news, and drove after the ambulance to the hospital in San Marcos.

It was around 3 a.m. by this time. And I sat in that emergency room with Mom with nothing but a chair to sit next to her. I was so sleep-deprived by this point that nothing seemed real. I helped the nurses turn Mom to treat her, to clean her, to change her bedclothes, because she had diarrhea at this point, and I called them when she needed help. I spoke to two doctors coherently, how I don't know, but I did, and finally got her into a room well after 10 a.m. I remember several times staring longingly at the floor, wondering if anyone would notice if I just curled up on it and went to sleep.

Mom kept staring at me when she was lucid and saying, "You're staying here with me. You're such a good girl, Jo." When she wasn't lucid, she said things like, "They're testing me by making me cook vegetables in the microwave to make sure I cook them all the way through."


I love my mom, even when she's out of her head.

So, we got her into a room, the doctor came to tell me that she was dangerously dehydrated, that this same virus that my kids got over so quickly was dangerous in a person Mom's age (81), and she'd probably be there for 24 hours.


Introduce guilt here.

I comforted Mom, got her settled, and promised to be back later that evening after I'd gotten some rest. I left, stopped to get some caffeine to keep me awake on the long drive home, and stupidly picked up some french fries to nibble as well (if I never see another french fry in my life, I shall die happy). Got home a little after noon, told THO everything so he could report to the Blonde Sister, and went to bed to crash.

And woke up five hours later, asking the Impertinent Daughter for a 7-Up (something we keep in the house when there's lots of throwing up, because it's soothing) and promptly lost my cookies.

I had it.

Needless to say, I did not keep my promise to my mother. And I spent the next 12 hours not really coherent, tossing my cookies and getting dehydrated from vomiting and diarrhea, but not enough for THO to call 911. I'm only just now getting the strength to sit up. THO had his own bout this morning, but he only got the diarrhea. The poor man has had his hands full, I am telling you!

The doctor at the hospital diagnosed this as acute gastroenteritis with dehydration, which really covers a multitude of sins. All I know is, this is apparently making the rounds and we are merely the latest victims. Oh, and my best friend's son got it, and one of my nieces got it.

Mom is still in hospital, still throwing up at the last report I got from my sisters, who drove in to check on her, and that they suspect she may have pneumonia. If she doesn't, she'll be released this evening. If she does, they'll be keeping her.

I hope I'll be able to drive in to see her later this afternoon. Her little dog has been wandering around the house, looking for her. My kids have been petting her and making much of her, trying to comfort her.

Okay, I have to go lay down again. I just... wanted y'all to know, I'm still alive.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


My mom is visiting!!

I'm so glad to have her here, and you know, she's been more active since she's been here than I've seen her in an age.

Not even the fact that Miss Priss is sick and was throwing up her toenails, along with a fever, can get me down!

The Impertinent Daughter is feeling much better today, by the way.

Anyway, my access will be a bit sporadic for a couple of days, so forgive me for not being around much, because... I'm hanging out with my mom!!


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"Rockin' around the Christmas tree..."

You know what sucks worse than having cold flashes?

Having cold flashes when you're standing outside, it's 34, and the windchill is 25, and you couldn't find your thermal underwear, so you're bundled up as best you can , but you had to give your hat to your son because his ears are the only part of him that are cold, so you're in your jacket, your scarf wrapped around your neck, and your gloves are on your hands... and then you get a cold flash.

We went to see a lighted display in Wimberley, one of those ones you walk through, and it was pretty cool. But I was freezing my butt off, I tell you true! Thank heavens, I found the wool socks I was issued way back when in boot camp, and I think my feet were the warmest part of me!! Most of it was pretty sheltered from the wind, and I was okay, but then... a cold flash hit me.

You know, most women my age get HOT flashes. No, not Jo. It starts on my back and I start shivering. Then my arms start crawling, and the next thing I know, I'm FREEZING!!

And this is even when I'm sitting in a warm room! So you can imagine what it was like for me last night!

My kids TAUNTED me, I swear. Miss Priss was wearing a light jacket (the same one she wore for Halloween) and a hooded sweater over that. And that's it. She wasn't even wearing socks under her boots!!

And the Impossible Son was wearing a jacket, but... the only real concession to cold that he made was that his ears were cold. So... in a fit of motherly sacrifice... I gave him my hat.


There was a really cool section where a series of pipes of different sizes had been set up for kids to bang on and make music. Mallets had been made with old golf balls on dowels, and the kids had a fine old time making music. There was also a group of different sizes of wooden planks strung up, marimba-style, that were surprisingly musical and in scale, too! And another wall of different sizes of tire rims that made a steel drum sort of sound. It reminded me of how my dad used to make wind chimes out of old bits of metal pipe and tubing he had around the garage and hang them in the back hard with ringers made of nuts, bolts, and bits of wood. They were unexpectedly sweet sounding, and his favorite way of recycling those bits from his projects that he couldn't otherwise use.

Right now, I'm contemplating what gifts I need to finish making (if the kids will let me), which I might take pictures of and show you later. Well... some of them at least.

I am also thinking what I housecleaning I need to finish. My mother is coming to stay for a few days after Christmas, which I am looking forward to. It's lonely for her in that house alone, so my sisters and I are trying to be sure to have her come visit as much as possible. However, she's not ready to leave her house yet, and I do completely understand. It's where her memories are, and she and Dad spent most of their married lives in that house. They moved there in 1950 or 1951, I think. They were married for 61 years, which I find all kinds of amazing. So, you could say she's grieving, and she's dealing with it best by staying where her memories are.

I have to say this for my mom. She is not the sort to walk into your house and judge you because it's messy, especially if you have kids. She used to say, "No one ever died from having a messy house. As long as your kitchen and bathroom are clean, what's a few scattered books and toys?" She's also said, "You can have a clean house, or happy kids. You can't have both, unless you're lucky enough to have a maid. In which case, I want to come live with you."

*dimples* See why I love my mom?

She KNOWS... she's BEEN THERE!

Well, I'd better get busy. Soon as I get over my cold flash. Don't worry, the doctor assured me it's my thyroid, and it should improve as we get my dosage adjusted. I'm already doing a lot better energy wise!!

In case I don't get to post again, Merry Christmas, and for my fellow pagans, even though it's already past, Happy Solstice!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

"I met a girl there and she almost knocked me dead..."

But Mom, it's not ALL black!

Punk Rock Girl, give me a chance
Punk Rock Girl, let's go slam dance
We'll dress like Minnie Pearl
Just you and me, Punk Rock Girl...


The Impertinent Daughter certainly has her own sense of style, doesn't she? That's Yuki under her arm, and Muta has his back to the camera!''

She said innocently, "But, Mom... it's not all black, so... it's okay! They can't send me home or anything!"

Pre-teen logic, gotta love it!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

What do you do...

The Impertinent Daughter has gone with the Husbandly One to a referee clinic in San Marcos today. She is officially old enough now to serve as a referee for the U6, U8, U10, and U12 groups, and even up to U18 (but for now, we'll stick to the younger leagues). Since she's trying out for her school's soccer team this spring, she's decided not to play rec-league soccer, so, she'll referee instead. This should be fun, especially with the U6 group. The youngest group plays three on three, with no goalies, and no score is kept, but it's so much fun to watch! Mostly because at that age level, it's all about getting them to run in the right direction, remember to actually kick the ball, and not get distracted by passing butterflies.

Sometimes, you end up with six little kids in a tangled circle, all of them kicking the ball at the same time, their little faces scrunched up with determination, and someone, usually the coaches, has to go in and rescue the ball by separating the players. Oh, that's right, the coaches are on the field, helping to direct the game. They can't kick the ball or touch it, they can only direct their players ("Keep kicking the ball! Keep kicking the ball! No, don't stop running, no, run and kick the ball, YES! There you go!!). It can be convulsively funny, and I can't tell you how many times I have had to hide my face in a jacket or a shirt to hide the fact that I was laughing myself silly!

I'm looking forward to watching Miss Priss trying to sort all this out. It should be interesting!

In the meantime, while they are off gallivanting through the FIFA rulebook, the Impossible Son and I will be having a special day all to ourselves. A "Mama and Impossible Son" day, if you will. He wants to go to China Palace for lunch, and then we will go see "Bolt," since he has been wanting to see that for some time now. The last time we had a day to ourselves like this, we went to see "Ratatouille" which was surprisingly good (I actually hadn't expected much from it). I am hoping "Bolt" will also surprise me in a good way. It's funny how something I'll anticipate as being good will suck, and something I'll wince at seeing, and have to be dragged to will actually turn out well.

After that, I guess we'll either go window shopping, or hit one of the parks, or some such. Hmmmm... a trip to the local state park (since we have free passes) for a bit of kid-sized hiking would probably not be a bad idea. Or maybe we'll get some ice cream. We both love ice cream.


This, of course, is if I don't poop out on him (which is entirely possible). Guess I'll be ingesting mass quantities of caffeine so I can keep up with him!

Oh, and before I forget, happy birthday to ! I hope it's a good one without too much drama!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

"Because the world is suspended in her tiny hands..."

Sometimes, I find my daughter to be a most astonishing person. Truly, I do.

She drives me nuts at time, especially when she gets hormonal, and her brother can seemingly do nothing right, and I have to intervene before World War Three and the gushing of blood begins.

And then sometimes... she blows me away.

Y'all know she wants to be a manga artist, and she is constantly drawing, and she now has at least three manga she's working on at this time, right? I haven't been able to scan them, because of a software issue between my Mac and my HP printer/scanner, but now I'm motivated to fix it because... omg, y'all, her current project is just...

*is nearly speechless*

Let me put it this way. It left me in tears. Because while the artwork is still a bit rough, it is light years from what I last posted from her sketchbook. There's this one panel that I just stared at, and it was just a three quarter side view of a clock, but it was executed so well! She must have sat and pressed her face against the wall to get that angle right...

And another, a sequence where she has a winged character landing. You see the shadow of the character with moonlight behind it, you see the wings spread and back-winging to slow the descent... then you see one foot touching down, a rather worn, ratty sneaker, and... a circular puff of dust pushing away from around the tip of the shoe. I know where the influence came from, I know the specific scene in Kiki's Delivery Service but... she pulls it off in a 2-dimensional setting in freaking pencil and... she's only twelve!!!


You guys, I swear... I have no doubt my daughter is going to be published by the time she's fifteen.


And all I can think of is those years I spent, lying on the floor with her when the crayons were nearly bigger than she was, a big 18 X 24 inch pad left over from my days as at art student at UH opened in front of us, coloring and drawing whatever she wanted me to draw, and guiding her hand to help her draw circles, squares, loops, cats, dogs...

... and here we are now.

She is going to be something, I really, truly do believe that!