Thursday, November 8, 2012

Carry me back to ole Virginny ...

I guess it's about time I posted about my most recent trip to Virginia to visit Jill and Jared and the kids (thanks to Susie's donated flight benefits -- thank you thank you thank you to Susie)!  It was a fairly uneventful trip, when you put it in the context of my usual life experiences, I guess!

I was set to fly out on Thursday afternoon, October 18.  I was planning to leave work around noon that day and had received permission from Bill, my boss, to do just that.  I was going to stay in for a few lunch hours to make up the time difference.  I would be all packed when I left for work on Thursday morning so I could go directly to the airport.  Julie was lined up to give me a ride to the airport and leave my car at her house (which is near the airport) so it would be handy when I was on my way home.  I started packing the necessities during the week before (I pretty much keep my bag of liquids intact between trips) but hadn't decided on how wintery my clothes should be.  I had planned to fly home on Sunday night, but I had asked Amy from my office to cover my desk on Monday if the flights didn't work out.  All prepared, right?

And the fates (or whatever) laughed.

I was sitting at my desk Wednesday afternoon, thinking that I should get things cleaned up and ready, just in case I didn't make it home until Monday.  I had a couple of hours left in the day and was procrastinating, thinking, I can work on it a little later and after all, I have all morning tomorrow (Thursday) to get it done, right?  So no worries.

Then my cell phone rang.  According to the caller ID it was Jimmy, but he couldn't seem to say more than "Mom ... mom."  I always worry that he's been in a car accident, so that was what I was afraid was wrong. Of course I don't want him to be injured or hurt in any way, but I also don't know how we'd replace his car, and he HAS to have a car.  The bus doesn't even run where we live, and of course he'd lose his job delivering pizzas for Domino's.  His car is old and falling apart, but it still goes down the road.  It's actually been a really good car, considering that it was totaled and rebuilt at one time (I bought it from the guy who rebuilt it).  Toyota Corolla.  I sat here wondering what was going on when my office phone rang from a number I didn't recognize.  It was someone from Domino's, calling to tell me that Jimmy was having a serious medical issue and that they had called 9-1-1.  She suggested that I get over there, so I grabbed my purse and rushed out the door.  Partway there, Jimmy called to say that he had decided to let me give him a ride to the emergency room, since a ride in an ambulance costs over $1,000 and their preliminary tests didn't show anything life threatening.  I picked him up and off we went.

His symptoms were that he felt a heavy pressure in his chest (left side), followed by light-headedness, shortness of breath, numbness in his fingers, and blurred vision.  He was in the middle of his regular pizza deliveries when it hit, no significant event or anything.  So I drove him to the hospital.  When they learned it was chest pain, they immediately did an EKG, which was fine.  After a couple of hours they did a chest x-ray.  Of course in order for our health insurance to pay a reasonable amount we had to go to UMC, our county hospital, so of course the waiting room was packed with people who didn't appear ill at all.  I know that people without insurance go there for any kind of medical issue because they can't be turned away.

After a while Jimmy's symptoms subsided and he was tempted to just go home, but we knew we had to find out what was going on or, I guess I should say, rule out what WASN'T going on.  After several hours, Jimmy encouraged me to go home and finish packing.  I didn't know if I was going to be canceling my trip or not, based on the results of the trip to the emergency room, but I did need to finish, in case I WAS going.  I was torn on whether to leave him there or not, but eventually I did, around 10 PM (we got there about 4:30 PM).  I went home and finished packing.  Jimmy felt well enough to send me a text, reminding me that I was going for three days, not three weeks (as if I overpack).  A sure sign that he was feeling a little better.  Then I lay down and tried to get a little sleep.  He called at 3 AM and said he was done, so I drove back across town to pick him up.  They didn't find anything wrong and assumed it was heartburn or indigestion of some sort and gave him a prescription for Nexium.  By the time we got home, it was about time for me to get up and get ready for work.  I called Amy, my backup at work, and she said she would take care of my desk, so I decided to go back to bed.  Of course my desk was a horrible mess because I sat there procrastinating when I should have been getting organized.  Oh well, good thing Amy is a good friend.

A few hours later, Jimmy took me to the airport.  We didn't know when I was going to be coming back, so we still left my car at Julie's house.  It didn't look too hopeful that I would get on that flight, but I did, miracle of miracles.  At first I had a middle seat (just grateful to have any seat at all) but they soon moved me to a window in one of those rows with more leg room, which was very nice.  The girls next to me were so skinny that they could just fold up their legs to let me pass.  I commented on that fact, and we became fast friends.  I got to Dulles somewhere around 9 PM their time.  

When visiting Jill, I like to sleep in their unfinished basement on an air mattress I bought when we visited last June.  It's cool down there, and I like to sleep where it's cold.  My only fear is the possibility of spiders or other bugs lurking around.  My answer to that problem is to purchase some bug spray and spray it around the area where I'm sleeping.  Don't know if it helps much, but it gives me peace of mind.  So of course that's what I did, and I left the can behind for the next arachnophobia-prone visitor.  Just don't use it all, leave some for me and my next trip!

I was awakened on Friday morning by Kadence and Jacob giving me a wonderful welcome.  It's nice to feel wanted!  They were soon going to get on the bus to go to school.  Kadence is in kindergarten now, but she has a full day of school, just like Jacob (third grade -- wow!).  Off they went.  Jill wanted to go to the gym, so I watched the boys while she was gone.  I'm not saying they got into any trouble while Mommy was gone, but they didn't mention anything about any rules ...

Mommy's gone, Grandma Karen's here, let the partying begin!

Hey, grandma, I've cleaned out the dog's water bowl (notice wet pants), let's play some Wii!
After Jill got home from working out, we packed up and went shopping.  We hit Costco and various other stores.  When the kids got home from school, Kadence wanted me to go upstairs to her room with her so she could show me some of her princess dresses.  I had to close my eyes until she was ready for the final reveal for each outfit.  Somewhere in the middle, she was chattering about her various grandparents when she stopped and said, well, there's one grandpa she doesn't like as much.  After searching her memory a bit, she said she doesn't remember his name, but he keeps pulling her hair and she doesn't like it.  She doesn't like him pulling her hair.  He shouldn't pull hair, she said, because "that isn't following God's commandments."  I about fell off the bed trying to contain my giggles.  As I thought about it, I realized who the errant grandpa most likely was.  My own father, her great grandpa Smith.  I've noticed him giving a little tug to his grandkids' (and great grandkids') hair, just to tease them and get their attention.  I could hardly wait to tell him that he isn't following God's commandments and had better shape up!  That night we went to eat at Chili's, which was probably a mistake.  The food was good but the service was S-L-O-W, and I mean slow.  Jill, Jacob, Kadence and I were supposed to go see Hotel Transylvania afterwards, but by the time we got there, it was late and there was a long line, so that plan got postponed.

Saturday was just a blur of activity.  First, Jill made pancakes.  Sorry if you don't like the picture, Jill, but you posed for it!  (not that you especially wanted to) 

Jacob was busy cleaning up dog doo in the back yard while Jared mowed the front and then moved to the back. 
Jacob inspecting the yard for further doggy deposits.

Then came practice for the Primary program which was happening the next day, and right after that was Jacob's soccer game. 
After the soccer game the boys went down for a nap and Jill and I sneaked off to the outlet mall for a little browsing.  Jacob and Kadence went to a birthday party.  As soon as we got back we had just enough time to wolf down some of the Taco Soup that Jared had made before heading out to see the movie we missed the night before.  I hate to admit it, but I fell asleep somewhere in the middle of the movie.  It's been a while since I've done that!

On Sunday we got up early for church.  Usually I'm not a big fan of primary programs, but it's different when your adorable kids or grandkids are participating!  I was trying to get a flight home that evening so that I wouldn't miss any work on Monday, but it just wasn't happening.  The flight was oversold by eight passengers and there were lots of standbys.  I was FORCED to stay another night!   ;-) 

The next morning, Kadence came to wake me up again before school.  We chatted a bit, and then she thanked me for giving her the Candace shirt.  The family is a big fan of the Phineas and Ferb show, and everybody has multiple shirts from that show except Kadence, so when I was in Disney World the month before, I bought a Candace shirt for Kadence (that says "You are SO Busted") and a Pirates of the Caribbean shirt for Jacob ("Dead men tell no tales").  Anyway, she said that she liked the shirt and thanked me for it, but ... well ... her birthday was a LONG time ago.  She assured me it was okay, but really, I was seriously late with the birthday present.  I told her that I got her something for her birthday.  She disagreed and wanted to know what I got.  I said I don't remember, but we would ask her mom.  So then Kadence got a puzzled look on her face.  If it wasn't birthday and it wasn't Christmas, WHY did I buy her a present?  I guess random presents from family members on vacation (or whatever) just weren't on her radar screen.
This is the picture Jill took of the kids and their shirts right after I sent them.  I didn't get any other decent shots of Kadence, so I added this one!
After that was the usual rush for shoes and papers to get out the door to meet the school bus, and when Jacob's backpack was finally located, Jill suddenly realized that there was a field trip that day, requiring a sack lunch, no backpack or lunch boxes, and other miscellaneous requirements.  The mad scramble began.  They got it together and out the door before missing the bus, but it brought back memories of past times.  I remember one time in particular when I was married to my first husband, I was dropping my stepson Ira off at school.  As I drove away, I looked in the rearview mirror and saw him chasing after the car, crying.  He had suddenly remembered that it was field trip day and he needed a lunch (he was planning to eat hot lunch that day).  I told him I'd take care of it, and I drove to my office at City Hall, where I bought a sandwich, chips, cookies and a drink from the vending machines and delivered it all back to him.  I saved the day!

I had changed my flight to midday on Monday and didn't make it on that flight, either, so I ended up leaving later in the day.  I don't mind waiting at the airport, really, since I have my iPad and can watch Netflix or whatever.  Other people were hogging the plugs to keep my stuff charged, but I made it through okay.

My seat mate situation on the way home was interesting.  I was given a window seat in an exit aisle (YAY) and at first an elderly asian woman was seated in the middle.  It soon became apparent that she didn't speak much English and wasn't going to work out.  The next standby people were a couple with three small children.  They sat the dad and one of the kids there temporarily, but I knew that wasn't going to last, either.  After much shuffling, they got a guy who had a window seat further up the aisle to switch to the middle seat, and they planned to reward him for his generosity.  He was a fairly young man, 28 years old, a chemical engineer, and as soon as we took off, one flight attendant brought him two bottles of wine.  After he drank those, he asked a different flight attendant and got one from her.  Then a bit later the original flight attendant returned with two more bottles of wine.  The guy offered to share his prize with me and the gal seated on the aisle, but we both declined, so he drank it all.  He asked me if I was getting any food and I said yes, the asian wrap, so he ordered it for me and gave it to me (I didn't have to pay).  He should have eaten at least some of it, because he kept getting more and more talkative.  He went to sleep (passed out?) for a bit and when he woke up he kept shifting around in his seat, so it was obvious to me that we might be seeing some of that wine again.  I asked if he was okay and he said no and headed for the bathroom.  I got a barf bag ready for him, just in case.  (I was only thinking of HIM, you know!)  He managed to hold it down until we got to Vegas, and I helped him find the gate for his connecting flight (he was going to California).  He was very nice and I always appreciate anyone who likes my jokes, even though he might have been slightly tipsy at the moment. 

All in all, it was a fun trip.  It was so busy that it went by in a blur.  Jill and I agreed that we should do more relaxing and less running around the next time I go.  Jared said he'll believe it when he sees it. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

This time it's all about me

Susie has challenged me to post 11 random facts about myself and answer 11 questions.  I don’t know if anybody is going to want to read all this, but here I go…

First, 11 random facts about myself.  This might take a while ... I can never think of things like this.

1. I vant to be alone. (No, I didn’t misspell that, I was quoting Greta Garbo.) Maybe I should change that to I like to be alone. Not all the time, of course, but I like to be by myself. Maybe after I stop working I’ll want to be more social, but now most of the time I prefer peace and quiet. There was a lot of chaos as I was growing up in a big family and lots more when my kids were growing up. I have to be “on” all day at work, being friendly and helpful and engaging and all that stuff. On my own time I like silence!

2. I like true crime shows. I used to watch them constantly and my DVR was full of them, but I’ve cut back a bit because they have become too predictable. I really like it when it wasn’t the victim’s spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend, sibling, child, or somebody else obvious who-done-it. Then I make Jimmy watch it, too. And yes, we have a burglar alarm, in use regularly.

3. I’m a makeup junkie. I love playing with makeup and trying new kinds. My eyeliner will probably just go on thicker as I get older and my eyesight fades. (Maybe that’s already started.) Anyway, I also love sharing my new discoveries with my daughters and Susie, my BFF.

4. I have the bad habit of thinking that I can get skinny by buying something. I have to face the sad fact that you actually have to USE the gadget or video for it to have any hope of working. I was once watching an infomercial and I thought, you know, I would buy one of those – but I already have one. Pathetic!

5. I have a dream of owning a baby grand piano someday. I even gave my old piano to Jill to help me work on the dream. So far no progress, just even less piano practice.

6. I love my navy blue Toyota Matrix so much that when the lease ran out on the first one. I bought another one just like it, only newer and better (but this time I bought it, no lease – that was a mistake). A lot of people didn’t notice I even changed cars. Toyota has stopped making them, though, so I guess I won’t be able to get another when this one dies. Maybe a navy blue Prius…

7. I am terrified of all bugs and creeping things, especially spiders and roaches. I don’t like the crunchy sound of stepping on them, though, and I also don’t like having that nasty “bug juice” on my shoe. Usually I just spray them with a lot of bug spray. If the spray doesn’t do it, they’ll drown anyway.

8. I love gadgets. Anytime I see a new gadget for doing something, whether it’s a tool or a new can or bottle opener or something electronic to clean the floors, I want to try it out. I also love trying out new miracle cleaners. Anything that makes cleaning up easier, I love it. My current favorite is “Whip It” which I buy from the occasional Sam’s Club Road Show (I understand you can get it other places but I’ve never had to look). It’s good stuff. It’s a concentrate, so you mix it with water and it lasts a long time. It also takes the spots right out of those carpets!

9. I’m sorely tempted to buy all of the miracle face creams that I see, but I know that when you put on too many layers, it’s hard to tell what’s working and what’s just rolling off. But what if I stop something that’s working and I didn’t notice until it’s too late? It’s a dilemma. Usually I do my best to resist changing (much).

10. I love jewelry, especially long, dangly earrings and watches, especially if they have a bit of bling. Jimmy says that I am revealing how old I am by even wearing a watch since today’s generation uses their cell phone to check the time. I don’t care. I can’t leave the house with earrings and a watch.  Oh, and eyebrows.  Must have eyebrows.

11. I absolutely adore my family. My dad, my kids, my siblings, my nieces and nephews and niece- and nephew-in-laws, my great nieces and nephews, all of them. I do have my favorites, of course, but I wouldn’t dare name them here. I think you probably know who you are. If you don’t know for sure, just assume that you are. =)    I also adore all of Susie’s family. They are wonderful.

Here are Susie's questions and my answers:  (I don't know why the format changed.  Looks the same on my Word document.  Stupid Word.)

  1. What food do you remember most from your childhood?  I guess the food I remember most is my mother's pot roast dinner we had almost every Sunday.  She did a lot more baking than cooking, but she made great pot roast!
  1. What is your favorite gemstone and why?  I love the blue sapphire because I love its deep blue color and it's my birthstone.
  1. Have you ever had a pet, and if so what was/is it?  I have had many birds in my life, but I don't have one right now.  Right now I have two Chihuahuas, Chica (my precious baby) and Dobby (tends to get into trouble but is impossible not to forgive).  We also have two cats:  Scout, a chubby white female left over from when more kids were home and I continue to feed, but that’s basically the only time you see her; and Mamo, Jimmy’s tuxedo cat who loves only him.
  1. What person (real, although it can be a person from the present or past) would you most like to have dinner with, and why?  Former President George W. Bush.  I think he’s a kind and wonderful person, and I’d like to pray with him, too.  I would want to say the prayer myself.
  1. What is your favorite book, and how many times have you read it?  Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham, and I’ve read it at least a dozen times and have listened to it on audiobook several more times.  It’s a classic that actually has a happy ending.  I love happy endings …
  1. Do you have a hobby?  Does shopping on QVC count?
  1. What is your best memory of the two of us?  Hard to say, there are so many.  I think my best memories are from when we were roommates in Cedar City and we did so much laughing that the store below the apartment thought we were always having a party (and occasionally some fighting) and both worked at Bob’s Big Boy.  We would go shopping in the middle of the night and putter around town in Susie’s pink truck.  Twerpie (my parakeet) would wake us up in the morning by preening our eyebrows as we slept.  Of course my dad baptized her then, too.
  1. Do you remember any favorite toys from when you were a kid?  I loved my Chatty Kathy doll.  It was so amazing; it came with tiny records that you put in its side to expand its vocabulary when you pulled the string.
  1. Do you consider yourself physically fit, and if so how do you maintain fitness?  Oh h*ll no.  I wish!  I have many plans for getting there in the future, though.
  1. What is your blood type, and do you donate blood?  A negative, and I donate platelets and red blood cells regularly.  Not, not for pay, to a nonprofit.
  1. How many times have you been to Walt Disney World?  (Come on, you knew there would be ONE Disney question…)  I don’t think I can count them all.  Can you, Susie?