Sunday, August 28, 2011

Starting The 3rd Week

I didn't realize it had been quite so long since I've written on here. It's hard to believe but the third week of school starts tomorrow. So far it is going pretty well. There has been only one bad day with regard to schoolwork and one bad lunch day since it got straightened out after the first one.

He really likes his teachers and his classes. He's broken-hearted because Friday was the last day for the teacher who was filling in for humanities. He really liked her a lot. He is hoping that the new teacher misses some time during the school year because she said that she would be the substitute if the new teacher ever missed. I hope he likes the new teacher too. His guitar teacher is still his favorite though. I think it has a lot to do with the superhero ties that he wears. He wasn't too sure how well he was going to like media arts but he likes it quite a bit. He's paired with an 8th-grader and they do their activities together. He was impressed when the boy let him use the camera--the BIG camera--by himself. He has figured out that there is no reason to be afraid of the 7th and 8th graders. He is so funny. He said to me, "Mom, some of those 8th-graders look like real people." I told him he was a real person too and he said, "No, you don't understand. One of the 8th graders in my media arts class has a MUSTACHE." He's too funny.

He hasn't had too much homework yet. Mostly he's just had a little bit of math. He also had one classroom assignment from science that he had to re-do--that was the bad day with regard to schoolwork. This weekend he had to take notes on Hurricane Irene for science class tomorrow. I've been reminding him to do it and he kept putting it off and telling me he would do it tonight. After the third time I told him he needed to do it before it got too late I told him that I wasn't reminding him again and left it at that. When John came outside after his shower he asked me if I had told Sean to do his homework. I told him I wasn't telling him again and he said I wouldn't have to because he was sprawled on the floor doing it. I'm not sure what inspired him but I'm glad it did. Now I just need to get him to write his name on it. Would somebody please tell me why it is so difficult to get him to sign his name to his schoolwork? My guess is that the first time Teacher throws his work away for not having a name and he gets a zero he'll get the clue that it's not that hard to do.

Funny story: The other day I asked Sean something about media arts and I started out, "What did Teacher say about......" He interrupted me and said, "She doesn't like to be called Teacher. She told us not to call her that." I laughed and he asked me why. I told him that she better get used to being called Miss then if she doesn't like being called Teacher. He burst into laughter and asked me how I knew because that was what most of the kids were calling her now. He forgot that I worked at the elementary school across the street for a year and a bit so I was quite used to being called Miss by some of those very same kids.

On a happy note, he is starting to make a few friends. He has one friend from guitar class that he eats lunch with and goes out to the playground with every day and there are a couple of the boys in his core classes that he talks with sometimes. They are all in the same academy even though they don't all have the same electives. I don't know if they will remain in blue academy all the way through 8th grade or how that works though.

Oh, and Open House is this Thursday. Blue academy is the latest one but that's okay. John is off on Thursdays now so we don't have to take the bus or miss it. I'm looking forward to it because we will get to see some of their schoolwork and we will also get to see the auditorium.

I'm glad to know that all of my friends in the path of Hurricane Irene seem to have come through safely. I would also like to add that they can feel free to send any extra rain our way as we are officially in a drought since we only got a little over 2 inches of rain during monsoon this year instead of the 4+ that we're supposed to get.

Not much else going on in our corner of the world. I hope all is well in everyone else's corner.

Monday, August 15, 2011

First Day Survived!

The first day of middle school has come and gone. He survived it. We actually got out the door on time without any trauma this morning and trust me, that is a blessing in and of itself around here. He even let me take a picture of him using his 3DS before we left. It's not the best quality but at least we have one. We made it to the school with no problems. No train. No crazy traffic. Kind of scary, actually.

When we got there we parked across the street and walked him in. We wanted to make sure he got into his first class with no difficulties. We met his first hour teacher briefly. She's very nice. Sean said she's his second-favorite teacher after his guitar teacher. She is from Germany and has a cool accent. Sean said she's very understanding about it and will slow down if the children are having trouble with it. It's not that strong of an accent but many of the children are not native English speakers and Sean has trouble with accents because of his speech issues. Evidently the two go hand-in-glove. He has a little bit of trouble saying her name but I told him if she says anything about that he needs to let her know why and that he is trying to say it correctly. Science is his first class. He sits at a table with 3 girls. He said he will probably get along well with at least two of them since they also like Wipeout.

After science he has humanities. Not much to say about that one as he didn't have much to say about it. The teacher he was originally assigned is not there as she had a baby and is taking this year off. He has a substitute and there is another lady in there as well. He has no clue what either lady's name is. He says they didn't say. I think he must have missed it because I can't imagine teachers not announcing their names but maybe they didn't.

Then it was time for lunch. He starved, but he's still alive to tell the tale. I had advice from some seasoned mothers of middle-schoolers to send him with lunch, however, he resisted so....he went without one. He stood in the line until it was his turn to enter his number into the machine (don't ask, I have no clue). He entered it and it didn't work. He entered it again and it still didn't work. They wrote his number on a post-it and told him to stand in the line. He stood there for almost the whole half hour. Finally got his lunch and took one bite and they got cleared out. On the upside, he put the time in line to good use and now knows his matric number by heart. That's pretty much the only bad part of the day at school.

After lunch he had math. He said it wasn't too bad. They did 5 problems--an addition, a subtraction, a multiplication and two division. He only had to fix one of the division problems when they went over them. We figure that's pretty good--80%. He said his teacher in there seems pretty nice also.

That was it for his core subjects and then he had his two electives--guitar and media arts. He said he was a little nervous about them going in because there are 7th and 8th graders in them as well but that it seems to be okay. He had already met the guitar teacher the other day as I related in my previous post. He said he was wearing a Wolverine tie today. He's a pretty cool teacher. He has all sorts of cool superhero posters up in his room and he also has two Cubs posters in there which went a long way with Dad. They will probably be getting their guitars on Wednesday.

His last subject of the day was media arts. He wasn't too sure about that one but the more he thinks about it the cooler he thinks it is. They do all the advertising for the school concerts, plays, dances, etc. They are also in charge of the yearbook. He was a little concerned because they use Macs in there and we are PC people in our house. We explained to him the reason for that with all the graphics and stuff they will be using. I asked him how close we were to getting the pronunciation of his teacher's name correct the other night and he said it for me. We were fairly close. He said she had a pronunciation key for it written on the board and she had them practice it a couple of times. I asked him if she was Italian and he said, "She grew up in Yuma. She spent 5 weeks in Italy this summer though." He is impressed with her. She showed them a few pictures from Rome and The Vatican. He is also impressed with the fact that this is her first year at Utterback and she is coming over from Pueblo High. His figuring is that if she is good enough to teach in high school for four years that she is more than qualified to teach in middle school. I'm not arguing with his logic. I hope he's right.

Today after school we met him by the Dasani machine in the main hall but after this we'll park across the street in the dirt lot. He no sooner got in the car but he told us that he had a list from his science teacher of supplies he needs. He was very pleased that many of them were things we had already packed for him and some of them we already had at home. We only had to buy a few things. We stopped at Walgreen's and picked them up. We didn't get him colored markers because he has some. However, when we went to get them tonight we found that they have joined the Green Lantern shirt on the missing list. So John will get him some after school tomorrow. No big deal. Tonight when he gave me the papers from guitar class to read and sign though, we found out that we have to buy clothes. Sean was extremely concerned about that, especially the fact that he needs another pair of shoes. He just about lost it over the shoes. I told him that we will get him his clothes before his first concert, no problem. He relaxed a little bit about it after that but I think it's still bothering him a little bit.

That's it for the school but we almost had major disaster shortly after we got home. I mentioned earlier that I had used his 3DS to take a picture of him. Well, I also took the SD card out of it to post the picture up on Facebook when John and I got home this morning. I put the SD card back afterward. I did it all just as Sean has taught me and thought nothing of it after doing it. I will not do such a thing again. John and I were sitting outside before he left for work and Sean came to the door with 3DS in hand. "Dad, Netflix isn't loading on my 3DS." Mom got worried. "NOTHING'S LOADING!!!! WHAT DID I DO?!" Bursts into tears. I ran in and threw my arms around him to calm him down. I told him that it was my fault because I took the SD card out to share his picture with everybody. He was frantic because: 1. That is how he gets, 2. He has a LOT of downloaded games on that card and 3. He was worn out from the day. I managed to get him to quiet down somewhat and had him take the SD card out and put it back in. Thank God it worked and everything loaded after that. I must not have had it seated correctly in there. I'm glad it worked because if it hadn't we would have had a miserable, horrible night around here.

That's it for the events in our corner of the world. I hope you are all having a good week so far. To those of you whose children have already started I hope it's going well and to those of you whose children have yet to start, I hope all goes well on their first day.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Ready For School? Maybe

**Note: This was started Thursday when it actually occurred but I didn't finish writing it until now. It is now after midnight on Saturday, so it is technically Sunday and school starts tomorrow.**

School starts Monday. First year in middle school. SCARY!! For everybody. Nervous kid. Nervous parents. Until today.

We're a little less nervous now. We missed the Open House where we could have taken him over to the school to visit. It was the Friday before we left for California. Needless to say, our minds were not on school at that point. Not only that but we didn't think it was in July. We all seemed to remember that Miss Lisa said it was in August. Today was the second registration day so we decided to go over there even though he's already registered. We figured maybe we would be able to wander around a bit and, if we were lucky, find his rooms for him. SUCCESS!! They didn't seem to mind people wandering in the halls at all. All of his classrooms were closed except for the guitar classroom. We wandered in there and he met his teacher and we chatted a little bit. He seems very nice. He thought Sean looked familiar and it turns out he was on the first OMA team at Corbett 9 years ago which was before Sean was there. Very strange. There was another family in the guitar room when we first got there. We ran into them when we were in the other hallway and it turns out that the boy will be in Sean's guitar class. He seemed very nice. The boys compared schedules and that's the only class they have together. We also spoke to the lady in the cafeteria because the lunch menu is totally confusing to try to figure out. She was very nice and explained how it will work. Now if I can just correctly decipher what the main entree is for each day of the month so I know when to send him with lunch from home. She also told us that they get a half hour for lunch. She didn't know when he would have lunch because it varies by which academy they're in. So he'll have to wait until Monday to find that out.

As far as the school itself, Sean is very impressed. It's large. In truth, it's larger than any school I've ever been in and seems more like a high school to me than a middle school. It is a fine arts magnet so there is a 400-seat auditorium. Sean was incredibly impressed with the fact that the auditorium isn't the cafeteria. Sadly it was closed so we couldn't see it. He was also impressed with the fact that you don't have to walk outside to access the library. One of the things he was sad to be leaving was the mural on the wall outside Corbett and the eagles on the walls in the inside hall. (Don't ask me why they had eagles on the wall when they were the Cougars. LOL) Turns out he doesn't need to miss the murals at all. His new school is FULL of murals in the hallways which have been painted over time by the students. The most wonderful thing of all is that he is no longer concerned about being a Unicorn. The first thing he said when we pulled into the lot was, "Look! They changed the Unicorn on the wall." No, they didn't change the unicorn. He just had a false memory of it. I was teasing him a little bit that he could still call it a horned stallion as Lawrence suggested if he wanted to. All in all the school visit was a success. Here's hoping the school year itself will go as well.

After leaving the school things sort of went downhill a bit. We had to get him a new pair of shoes. This is much easier said than done as he has not been wearing closed-in shoes since school got out except for a couple of times. He is also extremely fussy about shoes. I think this is mostly because he is extremely ticklish. It also might be because he sees how difficult it is for John to find shoes and thinks that it is a lot harder than it actually is. Whatever the cause, it is difficult. Finally we were able to find him shoes that were acceptable to him--and they are velcro, which makes Mom very happy. However, he has yet to get the tension correct on them. They are probably a little wide for his feet but if he's happy with them, so be it. We also bought him a new shirt to wear the first day. It's just a plain blue t-shirt but it's what he wanted. Unbelievable that it's not green. It probably would have been if they had green in his size but it's nice to switch it up a little. We had to get him a new backpack as well since he doesn't have one that isn't in tatters. This one is actually a skater's backpack so it has some funky straps on it but he's happy with it. It's black and grey with bright green trim so it looks like something that could belong to Ben 10. He decided not to get a new lunchbox this year but just to recycle what he already has so that was good. Our purchases finished with 5 of Wal-Mart's 20¢ spirals and 5 folders. He already had a pencil case and pencils at home.

So today (Saturday) we got his backpack all ready for Monday. We put his name, class and room number in each notebook and folder. I was going to let him do it but he wanted me to because he likes how my writing looks. Now he has everything packed and ready to go. We just have to put his schedule in there as it had to dry. It somehow got wet on the table outside. Not quite sure how that happened. We also managed to decipher the menu, sort of, and figured out that Monday is the chicken patty sandwich that he likes and Tuesday is the hamburger that he likes. Wednesday and Friday are pizza and Thursday is some unforgettable nasty meal. So two days he can eat and the verdict is out on the pizza until he sees it. The menu repeats every week for about six weeks or so and then they change it up to replace the Thursday ickiness with hot dog for awhile. Very strange the way it's set up. The only things left to do to get him ready are to buy him a new Pink Pearl eraser (he likes them better than the pencil-top erasers) and to locate his Green Lantern shirt. Here we go again--don't ask me how a shirt can go missing in a 580 sq. ft. apartment but it has. Hopefully it gets located because if it doesn't it won't be in the rotation for the first week and I know he wants to wear it.

That's all that's going on in our corner of the world. I hope all is well in yours. Good luck with back to school for those of you dealing with it.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Piece Of The Puzzle That Was My Daddy

Daddy (aged 4) and Old Shep
Night Terror

The fiery house lit up the night;
      The sky was ugly red.
The little children screamed with fright
      As from their home they fled.

Their father scurried here and there
     Some water to obtain;
Their mother wept in dire despair
     And called for help in vain.

The cattle stood beside the gate
     And gazed in placid wonder.
Across the sky the lightning leered its hate
     And was ranted at by thunder.

The flames spiraled up in mighty flight
     And smoke billowed high o'erhead.
Old Shep barked loud and then took flight;
     Out to the barn he fled.

The neighbors now arrived to stare,
     And then there came the rain.
The lightning exited in shame;
     Its antics seemed insane.

The house now lies in ashes white.
     An old landmark is dead.
Next week they'll build on this same site
     Another house instead.

by Millard B. Sargent

The house Daddy was born in. The barn is to the
right in the bottom photo.
I ran across this poem along with some others in the box of photos we recently had returned to us. This poem is a true story. I'm not sure how old Daddy was when it happened. I think it was around the time he had his picture taken with Old Shep. He only told me about it once in passing as though house fires caused by lightning were a normal, natural part of childhood. I knew better than to ask for details. He didn't talk much about his childhood. I do know that this was the first lightning tragedy his family suffered when he was young. He told me the second time they lost the cows. When that happened he was older and they moved to town for a year and a half but my grandfather couldn't stand living in town so they moved back to the country. By then he had trouble working even a half day and things were very hard for them. Daddy always felt that if he hadn't been born things would have been better because when he was about five he heard his father telling his mother that there were too many mouths to feed and since he was the youngest he thought his father was talking about him.

I've been in a blogging mood lately so I thought I'd share this with you all. Not much going on in our corner of the world. I hope all is well in yours.   

Friday, August 5, 2011

Times Have Really Changed

When we were kids things were really different than they are now. I'm referring to the boy-girl thing. At my elementary school we had two sets of everything--two swingsets, two merry-go-rounds, two sets of teeter-totters, two tunnels, even two trees. We were segregated, boys from girls. I don't know if this was a rule or if it was just a tradition. There were certain things on the playground that weren't. The bars were not and neither was the half-moon because there was only one of each of those. If we were playing a game as a group, which did happen sometimes, it was done in the open area of the playground. I think this changed later due to comments I've seen recently regarding activities in the tunnels over on the FB group from home. However, that doesn't have to do with this post.

All of this segregating of boys and girls didn't stop us from being together. I had my first "kiss" when I was 4 years old (prior to starting school) from the neighbor boy. His older brother, aged 9 or 10, found us and pulled us out of the bush and read us the riot act. He really put the fear of God into us. By the time we were in high school the object of my early affections was definitely on my radar and we were friends but he never asked me out. As adults I asked him about that and he said he was afraid his brother would come after him if he did. He was by no means my only early "boyfriend." By the time I was in 4th grade I had a boyfriend that I held hands with. Nobody thought anything of it. His mother still counts me as her son's first girlfriend. There were others after him who were just hand-holding, ride bikes together and sit in the cafeteria together boyfriends. The summer after 8th grade I briefly had a boyfriend from another town and we held hands, hugged and kissed. Nothing more than that. When I was a junior in high school I had my first "true" boyfriend, I suppose you would say. By this, I mean that we actually went on dates (as best you can in a town that literally has no place to go) and we spent time in each other's homes. He was pretty much a regular at our dinner table throughout my last two years of high school. Figured out later that he was a jerk and dumped him. Went out with some other guys while I was in college but none seriously. After moving to Tucson in 1987 I met John and we've been together ever since. I think that was pretty much a standard progression for most during the time we were growing up.

Fast forward to the present day and our son and girls. There is no segregation whatsoever on the playground. When he was younger he always had an entourage following him around. In 1st grade he met one little girl who he really liked and she liked him. They have continued to like each other all the way through 5th grade although not quite as much now as when they were younger. This last year there were a couple of girls in his class who really liked him and he found pretty but that was all there was to it. Things have changed so much that we have always cautioned him with regard to girls. We have instructed him that he is only to touch a girl if he is tapping her on the arm to get her attention or if he is instructed to for some activity in school. Other than that, it's completely hands off. Sean, being wired the way he is, has taken that to heart. He has never even tried to hold hands with a girl. Now we are reaching a point where hormones and past parental instruction are starting to clash and it is kind of funny--at the moment. Here's a story of what happened just recently to illustrate how funny this is. (Remember, folks, I'm the mother of a son. I have no daughters.)

Last Saturday Sean went over to his best friend's house for the day. A female friend of theirs was there as well. She has, shall we say, sprouted over the summer. Pretty hard to miss. All these years she has just been one of the group. It's possible that Lawrence has sort of fancied her as his girl but you would never know. As far as Sean was concerned, she was just a friend. However, after the hang-out on Saturday it is obvious that while emotionally he is NOWHERE near ready for this, his brain is telling him otherwise. I casually commented how pretty she looked and asked if he thought so too. He said, "Yes" and covered his head and refused to look at me. I asked him what was wrong and he told me he was embarrassed. I told him it was fine to think that she's pretty because, after all, she IS. He started talking about Bakugan.

Fast forward to Tuesday when he was out with John and the following conversation ensued (related to me later by John, unbeknownst to Sean):

Sean: R is really pretty, Dad.

Dad: That's what Mom was telling me.

Sean: Mom thought she was pretty too?

Dad: Of course, why wouldn't she?

Sean: Dad, she's got BOOBS. She didn't have those at school.

Dad: That happens to girls, son. She's becoming a woman. It's completely normal.

Sean: But she was my friend.

Dad: She still can be. Nothing has changed.

Sean: But Dad! She has BOOBS. I can't help but see them when I look at her.

Dad: Well, that's pretty much the way it works but it doesn't mean she's not still the same R you've always known.

Sean: But it's hard not to look at her differently. You and mom always taught me to treat girls with respect. Is it unrespectful if I can't help but look there?

Dad: Well, you can't be obvious about it. You can glance there and then look back up to her face. You talk to her eyes, not her chest.

Sean: Oh. Okay. What if I like her?

Dad: Does Lawrence like her?

Sean: I think so. He doesn't say.

Dad: Well, that's where you have to be careful. If Lawrence likes her and you like her there could be a problem. Especially if you invited her to a movie or something and he thinks that she's his girlfriend even though he's never asked her to be.

Sean: What kind of problem?

Dad: You could lose your friend because he thinks you stole his girl.

Sean: Oh. So we would have to do something all together and then she could choose which one of us she likes?

Dad: Maybe. Or she might meet somebody at her new school. (Side note: I spoke to R's mother and she's not interested in that yet. She's made several comments indicating that it's coming but mainly she just says she's still too young for that. LOL)

Sean: Well, whatever happens, she sure is pretty. Can I have cola with my lunch or is that too much caffeine?

And so ended the conversation. Everybody seems to be so worried about the current generation. I'm telling you that if this group is in any way indicative of the state of boy-girl relationships at age 11 there is nothing to worry about at all.

Oh, and if any of you think that I was a bad girl due to my early activities, let me take a second here to let you know that I was a "good girl" until I met John. This was probably due to the "sex talk" I was given by my mother. I will share it with you here. I think you'll enjoy it.

"You know how it works. If you choose to do it and think you're bringing a baby home for me to raise, think again. You have a baby before you're married, you're on your own." That was it, true story. I was 34 when my son was born. LOL

If anyone has any advice on navigating this crazy time with a boy, I'm all ears.

See, I promised the next post wouldn't have anything to do with bodily fluids. *grin*

Hope all is going well in everybody's corner of the world.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Good-Bye Nosebleeds (Hopefully)

Warning: Those who do not wish to read about my son's bodily fluids might wish to abstain from reading this post. 

Never had to put a warning on a post before but I thought it might be appropriate here since some people can get squeamish at the mere mention of blood or other bodily fluid. I'll try to keep it tasteful. However, there are only so many ways to describe this. That being said, here we go.

Since Sean was about 2 or 3 he has suffered from nosebleeds. We used to call them bloody noses but we were informed last year that "Miss Michelle says a nosebleed is one you just get and a bloody nose is one that is given to you." He had plenty of time to discuss it with her since it took over a half hour to stop that day, so nosebleeds they are. For those of you who think a nosebleed is no big deal, let me give you the scenario of what a bloody nose (before they were called nosebleeds) entailed in our house. When he was young it wasn't so bad because he didn't talk yet and therefore didn't place blame. He could, and did, screech and howl and shove our hands away when we tried to touch his face to help him. As he got older and started talking he began laying blame. I was not aware that I alone am the sole cause for nosebleeds on the face of the planet earth and it is completely and 100% my fault when they happen and that they don't stop instantly. I have been informed of this numerous times at high volume which probably did nothing to help said nosebleed as it most likely just upped his blood pressure (and didn't do mine much good, either). Luckily, most of this seemed to have been frustration and he got past that stage. Lately he has been taking care of them pretty much on his own but not without telling me first and wanting me there in the bathroom with him for moral support and as a clock-watcher to see how long it lasts. Well, except for the one time earlier this summer when he didn't alert me and I went in there after the fact and found what looked like a crime scene. There was blood EVERYWHERE.  We had a nice, friendly discussion about announcing nosebleeds so as not to cause Mom to have a heart attack. Any nosebleed longer than 5 minutes or so results in a crime scene in the bathroom but since the warning system is now in place my heart no longer stops when I see it. This is not something that happens only occasionally. They are at least 3 or more a week and sometimes 3 in one day. They can come anytime, anywhere, day or night. I have found him covered in blood in the bed. I have been awakened from a sound sleep at all hours of the night to the dreaded words, "Nosebleed, Mom. Hurry!" Extremely frustrating for all concerned because we knew it didn't have to be this way.

When he started having them we took him to his doctor who didn't seem to think there was anything to worry about. Just put vaseline in his nose and run a humidifier. He'll outgrow them. Okay. Sure. Nine years later we're wishing we owned stock in the Vaseline company. Have I mentioned that he didn't outgrow them and they got worse? Not a doctor's visit went by that we didn't mention these and ask if something could be done about them. We were told that nothing could be done unless/until he got one that wouldn't stop and then they would cauterize it. Visit after visit, year after year. Sean was getting so unhappy. This was really starting to affect his life. He would get them in school out of the blue and be embarrassed. Granted, he may have rubbed his nose but, c'mon, people rub their noses all the time and they don't start gushing blood all over the place. There is also another fun (not) aspect to this whole ordeal. Nosebleeds have a little-known side-effect. (Little-known unless you live with someone who has chronic gushers, that is.) Nosebleeds cause diarrhea. The stomach cannot digest blood and no matter what one does the blood gets into the stomach, particularly with the longer-than-15-minute ones. There are a few things that my son will not do and put his hand anywhere near diarrhea is one of them. So that means Mom not only is nosebleed assistant she is also diarrhea assistant on a regular basis.

Is everyone enjoying this post yet? Don't worry, it gets better. I promise.

Over the years he has done much requesting of us to GET THIS FIXED. He's even enlisted Hoof to help him. (Mr. Hoof, for the uninitiated, is a large stuffed pink pig who has been his companion since he was four. Mr. Hoof also is the owner of Hoof Studios and sometimes thinks he owns the world. *grin*) So Hoof has, on many occasions, told Nosebleeds to GO AWAY! He figured it worked (eventually) when he told Pneumonia to leave and never return so he tried it with the nosebleeds as well. Sadly, he was unsuccessful.

About a month ago Sean asked us if he could go to our doctor instead of to the doctor he's been seeing since birth. We couldn't switch him earlier for a number of reasons. However, at this time we were able to AND our doctor was accepting new patients. So we got an appointment for him two weeks ago. Sean was very happy because he was "going to a new doctor who isn't a new doctor because I already know him." First thing Sean asked about was the nosebleeds. Dr. Chris looked into his nose and said, "Yep, that vein is close to the surface. No wonder it's causing you problems. I'll get you a referral to the ENT across the hall." WHAT?!?! He doesn't have to wait until his nose won't stop bleeding?! We don't have to listen to the "he'll outgrow it" spiel? Wow! So after his appointment while I was taking care of stuff at the front desk he and John went across the hall and made the appointment for August 2.

The appointment went well once we got there. Sean had been up since 5:15 that morning because of--that's right, you guessed it--A NOSEBLEED. When the doctor came into the room the first thing he said to Sean was, "When was the last time you had a nosebleed?" "5:15 this morning, Sir." (Yes, my son says Sir.) Sean asked him about why he gets the nosebleeds and inquired if it was because of the heat. The doctor told him that Tucson is "the nosebleed capital of the world" because of the dust and dryness. He also asked us if we had spoken to a doctor about this before. We told him we had been for years and that he kept telling us that he would grow out of it. I loved the doctor's response. He's very dry and he just quietly said, "He would have been right eventually" with a tone that indicated any time between now and 100 years from now. Then he looked into Sean's nose with a special light affixed to his head sort of reminiscent of Jacques Cousteau. He turned to us and said, "Yes. He's got a spider-web in there and one vein is quite large. It needs to be fixed." He proceeded to stuff two cotton balls with anesthetic on them up Sean's left nostril and said he would be back in about 10 minutes. He returned and took a stick that looked like a matchstick with silver nitrate on the end of it and dabbed it over the area of the spiderweb and then stuffed two more cotton balls into his nose and said he would be back. Sean did really well through all of this. He only reached to grab the doc's arm once and John corrected him and he kept his hands down. I was glad because I was expecting to have to hold them. All the while with the cotton balls in his nose Sean is trying not to sneeze because it's burning a bit. He did fine until the doctor came back and then he sneezed. The doctor took the cotton balls out and showed us how it looked white over that area and said that a scab would form and it would be healed within a week but that there would be a bit of a scar there. All finished. Nosebleeds (hopefully) are history. Sean was extremely excited to share the news with Hoof and there was a celebration in the studio. It's been two days and he hasn't had one. He just has some itching in his nose because of the healing and he thinks he inhaled the scab. Other than that his nose is great. And guess what--no diarrhea this week either.

It's been a good week in our corner of the world. I hope it has been in yours as well and I promise my next blog post will not deal with bodily fluids.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Remembering The Good Times

Peter Gerald Mack, 1/26/1947-7/31/2011, RIP Beloved Son, Brother, Husband, Father, Grandfather and Uncle

As most of you know, my brother-in-law, Peter, passed away yesterday (7/31/2011). He was a young man, only 64 years old. I know some of you are saying, "64 is young? Hardly." Well, when you're looking at it from the vantage point of 46 years it's young because it's going to be here next month. That's the way life goes. When I first met him he was younger than I am now and that was just last month (1989) so by that reckoning I'll be 64 next month (2029) right?

With Peter's passing a cherished part of my life passes too. He was the last person who used my family nickname. Actually, his wife used it when I met her last week because that's all she's ever heard him refer to me as so I guess it isn't truly gone, now that I think about it. His use of my nickname was special to me because he was the only person besides my mother and my Noxon relatives who called me that. The first time he met me he asked me what name I went by and I told him it depended on who was talking to me. I explained it to him and he thought it was cool and told me that it fit me perfectly and he never called me anything else.

I've been thinking about him a lot lately, you wouldn't think, and the thing that keeps coming up in my thoughts is how he loved his family. I remember the Thanksgiving he put on in our single-wide many years ago--and I admit I wasn't that gracious about it at the time but he didn't seem to mind. He thought we needed a family Thanksgiving all together and so we had one. Then there was the Mother's Day when he showed up on Mom's doorstep totally unexpectedly. Not such a big deal, you say? He drove 600 miles overnight to be there to surprise her in the morning. Another memory that keeps coming to the fore is when he came out here after their mother passed away. He and John had planned to clean out their mother's apartment together while I stayed home with Sean, then aged 3. By the time John got over there at the appointed time he had the majority of it done so John didn't have to deal with it. Pretty much all that was left was a pile of "what should we do with this?" and furniture. He didn't do it to be the big man or to make John feel indebted to him. He did it because he wanted to spare his baby brother the grief of having to do it. Just recently he was so excited and proud that Sean got the lead in his class's portion of the 5th grade opera. He wanted so badly to see it the same way he had seen all of John's choir performances when he was in school. We feel so bad that we were unable to upload the performance from the disk and send it to him because it wouldn't work for some reason.

The other thing I remember about Pete was his laugh. When he and John were together they were always laughing. They have pretty much the exact same laugh. If only one of them was laughing I would have to look to see which one it was.

He wasn't a saint. None of us are. Over the years he and John had their disagreements as brothers will. They always got past it though and through it all they remained friends. That friendship and love totally overshadows anything else and it is with love and laughter that I remember Pete.

Give an extra hug or two today to those you love in your corner of the world. Time passes so quickly and you never know which hug will be the last.