Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Another look back: Halloween 2003

In case you haven’t figured it out yet so far from this blog, my life is a study in the incredible, hilarious, bizarre and ironic. This is going to be another look back at my life BC (before children), but while we were in the process of trying to get approved for our very first adoption homestudy.

It was Fall of 2003. We had done all the paperwork, put together our financials, written our adoption and personal history essays, filled out all forms, answered all the questions, had our friends write their character references about us, had our criminal background checks done, gone to all the doctors for the appropriate medical checkups, and now we were just a couple of weeks away from the actual home visit by the social worker to get our approval.

Our former home was at the end of a cul-de-sac in a very nice, family type neighborhood, backed up to some woods. Now, I do love gardening. I always had nice plants and shrubbery and trees and flowers at every home I had lived in as an adult. But this particular house, there was something in the ground, the Earth, the very dirt beneath my home that I was severely allergic to. It had taken living there about two years to figure this out, after many rounds of poison ivy, poison oak, you name it. So by the time late 2003 rolled around, all the outdoor gardening duties had been delegated to my dear hubby. He didn't mind, however; he loves gardening, too.

So this one particular week in mid-October of 2003, hubby's "Honey-Do" list for the week included not only getting all the Halloween stuff out of the attic and set up on display, but also included sprucing up the yard and front porch and sidewalk before the social worker made her visit during the last week of October. So he's plugging along one morning out in the front was a little cool, so he had on his long jeans, instead of his customary shorts. He's raking and weeding and digging and then, all of a sudden, he feels a pinch in the back of his leg. OUCH! Oooh, that hurt! He thought it was an ant hill he'd stepped in, and ticked off an ant that had crawled up his pant leg, so he felt around through his jeans on the back of his leg, felt what he thought much have been a really big ant, and SQUISH! Killed the sucker! Back to raking.

That night....meh, he's not feeling so hot. A little tired, maybe. Probably all that raking in the yard, and hauling a zillion Halloween boxes down from the attic. Goes to bed early.

Next morning: still not feeling so hot. Pain in this leg. We take a look at it. Red, very red. And swollen. We put some ointment on it and the day proceeds.

That evening he starts becoming very lethargic. Continuing to complain of pain in his leg, too. We take a look at's now very swollen, very hot to the touch, and looks almost like a burn. Mr. and Mrs. Doctor here make the astute medical assessment that it must have been "one hell of an ant bite" or even (and this takes real thinking here) a FIRE ant bite to leave that much of a mark.

The next morning, hubby's eyes are puffy and have dark, dark circles under them. He begins complaining of nausea. I tell him in my nicest, wife-y tone to "take it easy today". We're still not connecting the dots at this point that his ant bite has anything to do with these other symptoms.

That evening, the bite mark on the back of his leg has, for lack of a better term, exploded. The skin is shredding off his calf, and he's unable to keep food down, and the black circles under his eyes and the paleness of the rest of his skin make him look like a corpse. He's feverish and jittery, sweating bullets and can't walk. Lots of pain in the leg. He goes to the doctor the next day.

The doctor, our family doctor of the last 15 years, says it beats him what it is...that is, until Pete described the ant bite he received. Turns out it was not an ant bite after all. It was (drum roll here) the bite of a poisonous, deadly, potentially fatal brown recluse spider! Our doctor has never personally seen a brown recluse spider bite. It was so bad at this point, the doctor said if we had waited much longer, hubby could have lost his leg! As it was, hubby refused hospitalization (did I mention in an earlier post that my husband is extremely stubborn?)

So...hubby had to go into the doctor's office every single day for a debrieding of the tissue (spell check, please). I hope I'm using the right word, but basically, they had to cut out the dead and dying tissue from the back of his calf so that it would not poison the rest of the healthy tissue, then apply topical medicine and dress the wound, and he prescribed narcotic painkillers and antibiotics for hubby to take for 10 days. Our doctor even took pictures because he was attending a medical conference the next month, and wanted to do a presentation of the work done on my hubby's leg, since brown recluse spider bites are rather rare in Florida (at least, according to him). He took copious notes and video and pictures and really worked diligently to take care of hubby's hairy little leg.

Well, it was a difficult couple of weeks there, and needless to say, with hubby looking just this side of death (not to mention feeling that way) we had to postpone the social worker's visit to our house until the next month. But, for those of you who know me, you know that I simply could NOT let this episode pass us without memorializing it in some novel way. Because who else, if not us, would suffer a deadly poisonous spider bite so close to Halloween? So, you guessed it. I went to the local party store and if I bought one, I must have bought 100, paper, ceramic, plastic, velour, vinyl, rubber, anything, you name it, fake spiders to decorate our house with for Halloween. Yes, I am wicked, but hubby loved it. He "gets" me, and my bizarre sense of humor. If only I would use my power for good instead of evil....and to top it off? You may have read from an earlier post that I am just crazy enough to send out Halloween greeting own, not store-bought? Yup, you guessed that, too. I made copies of the doctor's pictures of the spiders bite...and sent those to a few friends and family members that I thought could take it. Not everyone, mind you...I'm not heartless. But my step-son (an Air Force medic) especially loved it...and asked for extra copies!

So that's how we celebrated Halloween 2003. A real trick, not much of a treat, but definitely interesting. And hubby's hairy little leg, to this day, still has the fist-sized scar to prove it. May your Halloween this year be much, much safer, but no less memorable for you! Trick or Treat!

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Rest of That Week......

.....contained every drama imaginable between two teenage girls and a hot-tempered grandma like my mom. But before that even, I managed to piss off my step-daughter and my step-son....royally. Hubby, upon first being admitted to the hospital after midnight on December 30th, was only supposed to be in the hospital for one day, just long enough to have IV antibiotics administered, and hopefully get his pneumonia under control. We fully expected to bring him on either the evening of the 30th, or the morning of the 31st. All during the day of the 30th, however, he starred in his own little comedy show. His brain had been oxygen deprived from the pneumonia just long enough to make him Loopy, with a capital L. As a matter of fact, he was just plain bat -bleep- crazy. He thought the newscasters on the TV were actually there in the room talking to him. And he was talking back to them, discussing the local news, politics, etc. Then he thought he was a pizza delivery driver, kept saying he had to get these pizzas delivered, and didn't like to keep the motor running on the delivery car too long. Next, he thought he was up in the attic, looking for something. Kept saying, "I'll be down in a minute, honey, I know it's up here somewhere." Then he thought Adrian was there with another cousin of her, when she wasn’t. Like I said, bat bleep crazy.

In one of his more lucid moments, I had specifically asked him if he wanted me to call Matt and Ashley. He said no, because he would only be in the hospital overnight, would be getting out the next morning, and he didn’t want to worry or upset them, especially given his crazy talk. So...I didn’t call them.

Well, Ashley’s boyfriend’s mother was a nursing assistant and when later that night, or more exactly, around 5AM on the morning of December 31st, hubby suffered a very mild heart attack, guess who was on hand to witness it? You got it! The boyfriend’s mama....who then immediately called Ashley...who then called me and left an angry message for me at the crack of down. Later that day, in her dad’s hospital room, I think it was only because her dad was there that she refrained from really losing her mind with me...she managed to keep it in check. But then I also was privileged to get it on the phone from Matthew when he called a little later. I’m just an old wicked stepmother, I guess. But if I had known the guy was going to have a heart attack, I certainly would have told them, and...if the boyfriend’s momma can call Ashley to inform her of the heart attack, why the hell wasn't I, HIS WIFE, HIS LEGAL NEXT OF KIN, called? Huh? Anybody got an answer for that? I was the one with him when he was admitted, I was listed on all his charts. But no one calls me? What's up with that?

Well, the day continued, and when it was certain that hubby would be in the hospital for several days or a week, my Aunt Chris and my cousin, Tabatha, who is Alex’s birth mother, came down from Alabama to help me while hubby was in the hospital. They made the drive together on the day of New Year’s Eve. Not knowing exactly what time they would arrive and wanting to be with him as much as possible, I accepted Adrian’s offer to call in sick to work, so she could watch the baby while I was at the hospital. What I did not expect, however, was for Adrian to then use Pete's illness as an excuse to get out of work, SO SHE WOULD GO OUT PARTYING on New Year’s Eve! Pissed? I was furious. She asked me! I did not ask her! She asked me if I could use her help with baby Alex, and when I said yes, she turns around and did that. Took off to go out with her friends. I was livid!

Aunt Chris and Tabatha arrived mid evening. Adrian’s first question to Tabatha is to invite her to join in the fun and festivities she had planned for the evening. I was happy to hear Tabatha’s response that she did not come all the way to Florida to party, but to help me out while hubby’s in the hospital. Adrian got pissed at that reply and took off. Fine by me!

So Tabatha and I spent some time with hubby in the hospital that evening, and come home to Aunt Chris tearing my house apart because she lost her keys. We actually ended up turning furniture upside down. We finally find her keys, and my house settles in the for the evening, minus Adrian. I didn’t know where she was, didn’t care where she was, or what time she got home. Of if she came home. I was still pissed.

Well, she did come home, at some point. Drunk, apparently, because she left her car parked in the street in front of our house. She was grouchy and hung over all day the next day, and at some point, she and my mother got into it when Adrian made a comment about Alex being spoiled, and my mom went off! She flew in to a rage at Adrian. They had words, harsh words, everyone upset to the point of tears. It was bad, really, really bad, mostly because I had to hear every word of it, blow by blow, detail for detail, from not only one, but from BOTH of them! And, to top it all off, the tension in the house between my mother and Adrian sent Tabatha off on a loop, not that I blame her. It was very upsetting to her, the emotion, the anxiety, all of it, plus this being the first time she had seen Alex since giving birth to him a year earlier. Then the girls decided to dye each other’s hair one night. Tabatha’s hair did not turn out exactly the way she wanted it, so she and Adrian got into it. They acted like 7-year-olds, not the 18-year-olds they were at the time. I mean, the name calling, finger pointing, drama....I was ready to have my own heart attack! It all finally ended with Tabatha collapsing into a heap of tears, wanting to go home. At that point, I was ready to leave and go with her. Anything had to be better than all this. It was a day spent trying to figure out the logistics of getting Tabatha back home, and ended up with Aunt Chris driving her back to her parents’ home in Alabama. Luckily, hubby was due to leave the hospital the next day, so it wasn’t a terrible hardship for me. My poor father had been unable to help or provide any babysitting that week, because of his own head and chest respitory infection...he didn’t want to get either Alex or me sick.

I guess all’s well that ends well....hubby recovered.....Tab went home.....Adrian started back to school and work now that the holidays were past.....Matt and Ashley got over being mad at me....but da-yum! What a way to start the New Year! Happy 2006!

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Next Day

It’s a good thing we had such a wonderful time for Alex’s first birthday, because the next day, the bottom fell out! Hubby had started developing a cough the day before, but managed to keep it in check for the day of the party. By the following day, he was really feeling rough. I had to go back to work, but hubby reassured me he would be OK, with Adrian’s help. Adrian had the day off from work, too, so she agreed to help keep an eye on both my boys.

I spoke to hubby once during that day, around noontime. He sounded awful, so I told him to take some cough medicine and hit the sack. I didn’t hear from him the rest of the day, but that didn’t necessarily worry me; I just figured he was sleeping.

When I got home, I found Adrian sitting on the floor in the family room. The hallway door was shut, the heat was cranked up to hellish, the baby was in his crib in his room, screaming, and hubby was nowhere to be found. I asked Adrian where he was and she said to check our bedroom. She said she thought he was asleep, because he’d been in there since early afternoon.

I went in the bedroom and found hubby slumped on the floor, in a pool of vomit, tangled in the sheets, pulled halfway off the bed. I rushed to him, thinking he was dead. He wasn’t dead, just looked pretty close to it. His eyes were bloodshot and droopy, he was hot and sweaty, his voice was raspy. I grabbed him and started trying to pull him up. He looked up at me and in his own predictable denial, hacked to me that “everything’s all right, I’m OK”. “OK?” I shouted. “Get up”! I ordered. But he couldn’t hold himself steady enough to get up. I start trying to pull him off the floor, and he keeps repeating to me, in a foul-odored, scratchy voice, “it’s all OK, everything’s all right, I’m fine”! “Fine! How are you fine! Is this fine? You’re on the floor, covered in vomit, and you can’t stand up! What’s going on here?” He replies that he just doesn’t feel very well, but he’ll be OK in a minute.

I go into the adjoining bathroom to wet a washcloth to clean up his face. I see not only an old bottle of narcotic cough medicine, but also a bottle of OTC cough suppressant. He couldn’t answer for me, so I was left to assume that he had been tossing back doses of both, according to the small amounts that were left in each.

I go back in the bedroom and start trying to mop up his face. He begins to complain about feeling his heart racing. Well, duh! I begin searching for our blood pressure cuff, only to finally find it broken somehow. A racing heart, combined with everything else I was seeing there, was really scaring, so I ordered Adrian to pitch in and help out by watching Alex, while I drove hubby to a pharmacy, so I could use their blood pressure cuff to check his pressure. We drove to the first pharmacy. I dragged hubby out of the car and half-carried, half-shuffled him into the pharmacy. Only to find the blood pressure cuff at that pharmacy was not working. I manage, somehow, to get him back out to the car, and we head off for another pharmacy. Unload him from the car again, manage to get him into the store, and find the blood pressure machine. All the while, I’m on the phone with my Mom, a nurse, getting advice from her. I get my spittle-covered and wobbly husband seated at the machine, and hook his arm through the cuff. I hit the start button and wait for the cuff to pump up, all the while, with hubby mumbling incoherently to himself. Customers in the pharmacy, waiting for their medicine, are giving him the fish-eye, me the sympathy eye, and giving both of us a very wide berth. Mom is still on the phone, suggesting I get him some carbonated soda, since he was complaining of thirst, so I leave him at the blood pressure machine to do it’s work, and went to the front of the store to pay for a cold diet coke. I get the soda, and return to the back of the store, only to find husband has fallen asleep and has slid off the chair at the blood pressure machine, WITH HIS LEFT ARM STILL ATTACHED TO THE CUFF! So he’s basically just hanging there, dangling, by his left arm, with the rest of his body crumpled on the floor. What a sight.

I unhook the pressure cuff, and manage to drag him back up to the seat. People are continuing to look at us funny, and a couple of people by now have come over to ask if I need any help. I’m sure they think he’s my dad, drunk out of his tree. “No, thanks”, I reply, “I can manage it from here.” I manage to snark to hubby that he’s creating a spectacle, and my darling hubby, ever the one to worry what others think, attempts to straighten up somewhat after I get some diet coke into him, and after a few minutes, he decides he can walk out of the store on his own. He stood up, and with me holding his arm to help guide him, we begin to leave the store. But, just leaving the store upright is not good enough for my needs to assure everyone that he is as on top of the world and living large and in charge as ever. So he begins to whistle. I don’t really know what it was he was trying to whistle, because it came out as a vomit-spittled hack. He began to hack so hard, with spittle flying everywhere, he began to stumble to the floor. We manage to make it outside, and I don’t know what happened, maybe it was the cold-night air hitting him, but he had to PEE! I said, “OK, fine, well, I’m taking you to the emergency room, so just hold it till we get there.” “No,,” he replies, “I need to pee now!” So I suggest we go back into the store and use the restroom, and start to turn him around to head back that way. Well, let’s just say he must have REALLY needed to go, because he lurched ahead of me, into the alleyway between the pharmacy and the store next door, unzipped and pulled down his pants, and WENT. Right there. At least he hit the dirty ground, and not the cement sidewalk.

Well, to make a long story a little shorter, he ended up in the ER that night being diagnosed with double pneumonia. We spent hours in the ER, with hubby finally, slightly sobering up from his earlier adventures with cough medicine. Always on the lookout to make sure people know he’s in full control and command, hubby tried valiantly to make meaningful conversations with everyone who entered his ER room during the course of the night. And every time he’d open his mouth and begin a monologue about who-knew-what, out came the vomit. Buckets and buckets of vomit. Every time, with someone standing in front of him, eagerly awaiting his words of wisdom. Every. Single. Time.

Eventually, he was admitted to the hospital to the medical floor. However, on his second night there, he suffered a mild heart attack, brought on by the lack of oxygen due to the double pneumonia. He was in the hospital for about a week. Safe and snug and far removed from the drama going on at home.

Yeah, that’s right....the lucky jerk gets to hide out in the hospital and have a heart attack AND double pneumonia, while I get stuck at home, having to sort out the drama, histrionics and egos of my mother, Adrian, and my cousin, Tabatha. The old fart! Stay tuned...........

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My baby.... turning a year old already! Where did the year go? We celebrated with what was supposed to be just a family party, but Alex is so loved, people kept calling and stopping by all day to wish the big guy a very happy first birthday! Grandparents were there, Uncle Mark was there, Sissy Puppy (Adrian) was there, Sissy Jessie was there, and Dannette and Mason and Kiley, Roland and Debbie, Stacy and Kirsten, and Tiffany and CJ, all showed up throughout the day. We ended up having quite a full house by the middle of the afternoon, so we ordered a bunch of pizzas and really let go with a good time.

There was cake, too, of course, baked by Granny. I had looked forward to my first child’s first birthday cake for as long as I could remember. The moment had arrived, and my wonderful son did not disappoint me. He tore into that cake like a starving refugee. Needless to say, we ended up having to steam clean the carpets by the time he was done, but it was worth it.

I loved every minute of it! I had feared that my little boy’s birthday, coming so close after Christmas, would leave him neglected and forgotten on his big day....boy, was I wrong! Toys, clothes, books, cards, games.....what a feeling of love and caring we all received that day for Alex. A whole year old. My baby’s growing up!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Alex's First Christmas

Well, his first official Christmas anyway. Christmas 2005. It's funny to look back at my first full year as a new mommy.

Alex was originally due on December 29 of 2004, but we had headed up to Alabama on the 22nd. We spent Christmas day the year prior at my Uncle Albert and Aunt Nell's house, right on the edge because Tabatha kept having contractions all day long. Around 5pm, we thought, "this is it!", but little Alex just wanted to keep us on our toes. He did not come until three days later. That Christmas of '04 was memorable for another reason, however. Aunt Nell had asked me for a private moment together. I thought it was going to be a moment of explanation or instruction or something along the lines of how they wanted us to raise this baby, but that was not the case. What she did say was, "I was told by your mother and Chris [my other aunt] that you want Al and me to still be this baby's grandparents. Is that right?" I said, "yes, of course." Aunt Nell had quite a funny look on her face: that look you get right before you start crying. She said, "God bless you" and started crying. Then, "do you know how wonderful that makes us feel?" My reply: "well, it's a no-brainer. Family is family. You're his grandparents, and we're all family. Case closed." She said that that was the best Christmas gift she'd ever received.

So....we missed Christmas 2004 with our family back home, since we were up in Alabama awaiting Alex's arrival. We did something kind of sneaky. We had not told anyone about Alex, and our adoption of him, JUST IN CASE. Only my parents and Aunt Chris and of course, Adrian knew. So when we weren't there for the family Christmas celebration with hubby's side of the family (and that's a large, extended family) we ticked some people off royally. We just left a quick phone message with my sister-in-law saying that a family member of mine in Alabama was going to be in the hospital (not a lie, right?) and that we wanted to be with her. Then when Alex was born 3 days after Christmas, and we called to tell everyone, no one believed us. They thought we'd taken off for the islands. And then when the stay dragged on and on, all across the Southeastern US, everyone really thought we'd lost our marbles.

So...when we finally arrived back in our home town in late January of 2005, we had a late Christmas celebration. We dressed Alex in a tiny, newborn Santa suit, and had homemade cookies, gifts, family, food, friends....everyone wanted to come see our miracle baby. It was a wonderful, wonderful celebration.Christmas of 2005, looking back on the past brought tears to my eyes. What a difference a year can make. It was in some ways a more difficult year than 2004....that first year without Angelia. I guess because by 20 months after her death, the shock of losing her had worn off. It was "real"...she was truly gone. That first year, that first Christmas without her, we were very caught up in the excitement of the arrival of our new baby. This second sinks's not just a bad dream... a painful resignation sets in...that such awful tragedies really DO happen. But, as we learned, miracles happen also. Never can one child replace another, but certainly, another child can bring you happiness and the will to go on and live again.

Alex is such a miracle baby, for that and so many other reasons. It was pure joy to watch him as he enjoyed his first Christmas.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Alex's Baptism

What a priceless day. My first born gets baptized. What a honor to have so many people there with us for the baptism, to be baptized in our family's church, to know that you are a child of the King, that you are so very, very loved.

Dear Heavenly Father, We praise and thank You with our hearts for the liberation You have given us from the clutches of sin and Satan. By Your death on the Cross of Calvary, You have put our old lives with its sin and judgment to death forever, and endowed us with a new life that is abounding with joy. We pray for our child to lead a life rich in the teachings of the Bible. We pray that our child grows into adulthood with a strong sense of sprituality and grace. We pray that our child will always call on Christ in prayers of thanks and prayers for peace. We pray that our child always enriches the lives of people he meets and never leaves anyone sad. We pray for our child.Lord Jesus Christ, You have given new birth to our child, by water and your Holy Spirit. You have made him a child of your Father, a member of your Church, and an heir of heaven. We offer You sincere thanks and promise with the help of your grace to teach him in accord with the baptismal promises to believe unhesitatingly in your message, to obey faithfully your commandments, and to remain ever united with You in life and in death.


It was a great day....surrounded by family and friends and especially the blessings of Our Heavenly Father! Adrian was there, Ashley and Jared were there, Matthew, Emily and Colton came in from Mississippi to participate in Matthew's baby brother's baptism, Aunt Chris was there, Uncle Bob and Aunt Jean were there, and many friends to share our joy. Our only disappointment was that Uncle Albert and Aunt Nell (Alex's grandparents) could not join us from Alabama. Aunt Nell had been diagnosed with breast cancer two months earlier, and was post-surgery and waiting to begin chemotherapy. We had considered postponing the baptism until they could travel to join us, but Aunt Nell insisted that we go ahead. She wanted us to have him baptized, because she knew how much it meant to us to have Alex join our faith and our church. So we forged ahead without them, but knowing they were most definitely with us in thought, spirit and prayer.

The service was beautiful, of course. Pete and I both cried, as did many others, I'm sure. Afterwards, we all gathered for a brunch at the Gateway Grand and it was a wonderful time. Thanksgiving weekend, surrounded by blessings of family and friends: Dannette and Danielle, Roland and Debbie, Ann and Jim, Paul and Marcy, Joe and Lorraine, Wendy and Stephen and Patrick....what a joy to see our beautiful son with so many people to love and support him.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Alex's First Thanksgiving

The Thanksgiving of the disappearing food....but not the way you'd think. Sounds strange, doesn’t it? Let me explain....

It was meant to be the Thanksgiving of all Thanksgivings. Our first with our new baby....and everyone and their Uncle Abner were invited. The Halloween decorations came down around November 2, and immediately the Thanksgiving decorations began going up. Pumpkins, cornucopias, scarecrows, turkeys, Indians, Pilgrims, not all of it politically correct, mind you, but very festive and Thanksgiving-y.

The folks: us, my mom, my dad, my brother, Gloria, Sandy, Jessica and Rick, and Adrian and Aaron; Ashley and Jared.

The menu: Turkey with oyster dressing (hubby’s fave); baked macaroni (Adrian’s fave); sweet potato casserole (my fave); green bean casserole; mashed potatoes with gravy; apple pie; pumpkin pie, pecan pie, my homemade cranberry bread, and my mother’s contributions: dumplings (Mark’s favorite); homemade sourdough bread (everyone’s favorite); and corn casserole.

The mystery: Chaos ensued at our house that morning, as it does all mornings, and at my mother’s house, as well. So hubby, in a chivalrous attempt to be helpful, offered to go over to my mother’s house to pick up her food platters and bring them here, since Mom and Dad and Mark wouldn’t be arriving until a little later, and our guests were all beginning to arrive at our house. The dumplings weren’t quite ready yet, but the corn casserole and the sourdough bread were, so hubby loaded them up from Mom's house and brought them home. He brings in the corn casserole dish, covered in aluminum foil. Sets it on the counter. He goes back out to get the sourdough bread, and set the bread down.....somewhere.

Fast forward to dinner time. Mom is arriving with Mark and Dad. Getting out of Mark’s van, Mom stumbled and dropped the huge casserole dish of dumplings right there on the driveway. The dish broke into pieces, and the dumplings went everywhere. Well, S**T! We set out the corn casserole, as well as the other various dishes and main entree (the turkey, of course) and upon removing the aluminum foil from the corn dish, we discovered that mom had given hubby the wrong dish out of her refrigerator. The dish was more than half eaten! Mom had made a corn casserole a week earlier for her house, and made a fresh dish the night before, for our Thanksgiving dinner. When she had looked into the fridge to hand it to hubby, she handed him the wrong one! The bread....where’s the bread....everyone loves Mom’s sourdough bread. Quite simply, hubby cannot remember where he put it down. He remembers that the counters were piling up, and the bread was not ready at that time to unwrap and set out, so he laid it somewhere....out of the way. WAY out of the way, apparently, because now we can’t find it! We looked everywhere. The rolls are simply gone. I thought hubby was joking, pulling a prank, but after long minutes of even him searching, I realized he had simply lost his mind and now our Thanksgiving dinner would be served without the bread! Luckily, my family has a sense of humor, and I baked and cooked enough for an army, so no one went home hungry. We did miss my mother’s cooking (Mark especially missed her dumplings), but I just couldn’t resist profusely thanking my mother for all that she brought to the table, on this most memorable Thanksgiving of 2005!

So how ‘bout you? Any Thanksgiving day dinner disasters to share?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Sissy Jessie Turns 21!

OK, I don't mind the kids getting older, I really don't. I love to see them grow up and find their way, their path in life, watch them take everything we've tried to teach them, and make a run with in their own lives, in their own unique way. I watched the stepkids grow up since they were just little things, and now they are all slowly but surely leaving the nest, leaving behind their youth, their childhood, their innocence, and us. It's a wonderful thing.

If only I wasn't growing older right along with them!

But mattered NOT that we had had all the same people together for our yearly Halloween soiree only two weeks earlier, or that we'd all be together again in just a couple of weeks for Thanksgiving. No siree! I love to plan and orchestrate any type of celebration, holiday or family gathering. I guess it's because I love my family so much.

So with Jessica's birthday falling on November 3rd, I organized and gathered the clan for a dinner celebration at a local family owned restaurant. So the big night arrives. Everyone shows up with gifts and cards, and we brought a cake for candles and singing. The first hint that the night would not go as planned was when our waitress appeared to be either drunk or on drugs. She was friendly, alright, but in that way of "oh, s***, I'm drunk....maybe if I'm extra nice to these people, they won't notice". Please, Lord, don't let her trip and fall over one of us. Maybe she wasn't drunk, I don't know, maybe she was just challenged in some mental or emotional health way. But whatever, she was just so overboard with us on everything. It was creepy.

Our second mishap was when one of the decorations hanging on the wall above our heads....fell OFF the wall. No one was hurt, mind you, but it was bizarre. It was just a flower wreath, but sure enough. The nail it was hanging on must have slipped, because the wreath came flopping down on top of our table.

Well, the family's all there....we order our food. And wait half an hour for our drinks to be served. The drinks finally arrive, and tipsy the waitress spilled my Dad's sprite all over him.

Eventually, our food arrives also. Now the fun begins. My brother and sister-in-law, Terry and Theresa, had ordered a medium pizza to split between the two of them. Their pizza arrives, a cheese and veggie pizza. The cheese is there, the veggies are there, but about the inner 1/3 to 1/2 of the pizza is still RAW PIZZA DOUGH! Disgusting! One in-law ordered a fish dish without pepper, due to her allergy to pepper. How did it arrive? WITH PEPPER! Hubby ordered a steak medium rare. It was so well done he practically broke his steak knife trying to cut it. They may as well have served him a brick. I ordered a Fettuccine Alfredo. The pasta noodles were way undercooked and hard to bite. Out of about 20 people there, only one couple had their food arrive as ordered, and edible.

But despite the bad service and WORSE food, a good time was had...I mean, isn't the point of a family gathering to enjoy the people you're with? We did...sure, the girls sniped and quarreled and gossiped. They're 18 and 21 and 25 now, but when the three of them are together, they still act like grade schoolers. But ya know what? That's them. Gotta love them. Jessica really felt the love that night. She got gifts and cards and a cake and we all sang and kissed and hugged her. Those things are important...our family learned the hard way with the loss of Angelia. You take the moments, even the bad ones, and embrace them, treasure them, hold onto them and remember them, because you never know when you might never see them again.

Happy Birthday, Jessica! My baby girl is growing up!