Thursday, April 12, 2012

Never Underestimate the Power of Incontinence

I have a boo-boo. And it's no fun. Two weeks ago I was ice skating with the kids when I rather unfortunately forgot that I am a 38 year old mom and no longer an 18 year old competitive figure skater. The result, a spectacular and humiliating wipe out worthy of a highlight reel. I hit the ice hard. I'm pretty sure it would have hurt my 18 year old 38 year old body was lucky not to break into tiny, frozen old lady pieces.

By the next day I was hobbling around like a contortionist who got stuck in mid-pretzel pose. After a week of saying, "my back hurts. My back hurts. My back hurts," Major Dad finally put his foot down and told me to see the doctor. And so the drama began.

First, my primary care doctor is apparently quite popular. I couldn't get an appointment. Even the words, "back injury" and "severe pain" got me nowhere.

Second, Major Dad called our insurance peeps and explained the situation. They said go to the emergency room. I said, "no."

Major Dad: The insurance won't pay for Urgent Care, but they will pay for the emergency room.

Me: But this isn't an emergency.

Major Dad: Well, that's your only option.

Me: No, I can always just wait the two weeks until I can see my doctor.

Major Dad: So you're going to sit around in pain for two weeks?

Me: It's a plan.

Major Dad: No it's not. We're going to the emergency room.

So after grumbling about the doctors looking at me like I'm stupid for going to the emergency room for a back injury and the likelihood that I would contract some real emergency disease from the sick people surrounding me in the waiting room, I (reluctantly, belligerently, finally) agreed to go.

Third, on a sunny Friday morning Major Dad and I roll up to the local emergency room. I hobble in and explain that I fell and hurt my back. I'm pretty sure the gatekeeper lady behind the bullet proof glass gave me a "sure, you did" look, but Major Dad says she didn't. An hour later I see the first nurse. Who gives me my "property of the hospital" wrist band and sends me back to the germ infested waiting room.

Then I go for x-rays. And get sent back to the sickness cesspool to wait for the films to be developed.

Who knows how much later, I'm called back to the actual treatment area. I get to put on the oh-so fashionable hospital gown and answer all the same questions. Again. Then the excessively perky nursing student who's going through the seemingly endless "how broken are you" checklist asks me if I have lost control of my bladder or bowels.

I'm sorry, what??

Major Dad smirks. I shoot him a dirty look and state a rather emphatic "no."

Then Perky Nurse and her supervisor leave. Later (time stands still when you're in a hospital gown) the Physician Assistant whom I shall call Speedy (which will make sense in a minute) comes in...and starts asking questions. By this time my back is totally killing me and I would very much like to get a diagnosis, a fix-it plan and go home. But alas, it's not to be.

Speedy: So you fell?

Me: Yes and the pain is getting worse.

Speedy: Hmmm. Well the x-rays look normal so nothing is broken. From your symptoms and the way you're standing (which was hunched over the bed like I should be ringing the bells in Notre Dame) it looks like a ruptured disc.

Me: Ok.

Speedy: But we can't confirm that without an MRI. And the emergency department can't order an MRI for this type of injury. Now, have you lost control of your bladder?

Again with the bladder thing?

Me: No.

Speedy: Hmmmm, too bad. We could order an MRI for that.

Did Major Dad just giggle???

Me: So now what?

Speedy: We'll get you some pain medicine and a referral.

And off she went.

Major Dad: I would have peed myself right then.

Me: Not helping.

So four hours later I left in la la land thanks to the Percocet they gave me with three prescriptions for even more pain killers, a suggestion to see an orthopedist who could order me to go back to the same hospital for an MRI and an inappropriately amused husband.


Monday, April 9, 2012

The Monopoly Ink Blot Test

We have game night in our house. That's right, game night...we're that family. And it's a total blast. The four of us sit around the dining room table, listen to music and play a board game. There's also usually a bizarre and wonderful combination of giggles, trash talk and victory dances. It's one of my favorite things to do. Yes, I am in fact that soft and mushy.

Last week, I added Monopoly to our board game collection. And not just any Monopoly, it's the high tech electronic banking edition. Target had it on sale and I had two coupons (that's right, not one...two coupons) so I got it for $5, plus I got a Battleship card game free with purchase. Five bucks! And the thing normally sells for $25. Hollar! Wait...Holl-yah? Holl-uh?'s hard trying to be hip. Let's just go with yippee!


Basically my fun with the game was getting it for such a great price. Actually sitting down and playing the game was just the ice cream on the cake.

So after getting it home and bragging to Major Dad about the sale, and waiting for him to properly acknowledge the sheer awesomeness of my bargain hunting skills, we set it up for game night. The kids were totally fired up to push the buttons on the electronic banking thingy. After we got everyone set up with their little playing piece (I was the cell phone, and I was surprisingly disappointed they did away with the cute little puppy and the battered old shoe, but I guess that's progress for you) Major Dad proceeded to explain the rules.

Major Dad: The point of the game is to buy as much property as you can and bankrupt everyone else. Got it?

Kids: Yay!!

Me: Hmmm, not the most Biblically-based game is it?

Major Dad: It's Monopoly.

Me: I know, but you basically just told our kids to buy as much stuff as they can and then try to take everyone else's money.

Major Dad: Well, when you put it that way...

Me: And they're not even using real money. They're buying everything with a credit card. Dave Ramsey would not approve.

Major Dad: Honey...

Me: Maybe I didn't think this through enough. Clearly I was blinded by the sale/coupon dynamic.

Major Dad: It's just a game, Sweetheart.

Me: And I probably should have gotten the one with the paper money. Then they could practice adding and subtracting money while we played.

Major Dad: Honey, not everything has to be a teaching moment.

Me: It's like you don't know me at all.

Anyway, we sat down to play and I promptly decided that Monopoly should be used as a standardized personality test. It's way better than ink blots and colors. Major Dad attacked the board with tried and true Marine Corps strategy...overwhelming force and no mercy. He bought everything he landed on. Ella agonized over every move. Buying property was a gut wrenching decision for her every single time because she thought she should save her money. Jack wanted to break everyone out of jail. Not bail them out...break them out. Of Monopoly jail. It was hilarious.

Oh, and I won. Yep, it's always the quiet ones you need to worry about.

P.S. Hi Betsy!

P.P.S. It's ok if you don't know Betsy. I do. I'm not making her up or anything.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

True Love

Of all the New Testament writers, the Apostle John stands out a man who truly acknowledges and is amazed by the depths of God's love for humanity. In his Gospel and his Epistles, John doesn't hold back when he talks about the extravagant, boundless, incomprehensible love God has for us.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

"This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." 1 John 4:10

"See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" 1 John 3:1

And there's more. John can't write enough about the love God has for each one of us. Have you ever stopped to consider why? Have you ever wondered why John was so passionate about God's love? I have and here's what I found and what I want to share with you this weekend. John was so focused on God's love and he was so committed to telling people about the lavish and wonderous love God has for them because John witnessed that love in action.

And I'm not talking about the healings Jesus did or the miracles or the teachings. John was a first hand witness to the depths of God's love for humanity because John was the apostle at the foot of the cross. The Bible tells us that John stood at the cross and watched Jesus suffer and die. John watched helplessly as the Son of God, the Messiah shed his blood on an ugly cross, taunted, tortured and abandoned. John had hours to see in vivid, brutal detail exactly how much God loves His children. That Jesus would willingly suffer for the sins of the world, that God would allow His Son to endure the cross so that we could be saved.

That's love. Love beyond measure, love beyond comprehension, love without restraint. And that's why John wrote without hesitation, "God is love." 1 John 4:8.

I don't know what your plans are for this weekend, what you believe or think. But I know this...God is love and He loves you.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I've Got Good News and Bad News...

...which do you want first?

Not that I can actually hear you, but I wanted to give you the option. Major Dad will sometimes come up to me with his "I'm about to go all Marine on somebody" look and ask me the same question. There's no right answer with him, because the bad news is usually really bad and the good news is usually something tossed on as an bubblegum flavored cough syrup. Sure it's sort of bubble gummy, but not enough to take away the rest of the nasty pharmaceutical taste.

But I digress (as usual) here's the good news...I'm writing a new book. Yay! And the bad news? I don't know when I'll be updating the blog. Boo! Here's what I have recently discovered, trying to research and write a book while homeschooling a 9 year old social butterfly and a 5 year old who has the uncanny ability to break anything just by looking at it, is a wee bit difficult. And by wee bit, I mean stupefyingly ridiculous.

Here's how it generally goes:

Me: (nose buried in research books, pen frantically scribbling notes that no one but me can read)

Ella: May I use your scissors?

Me: Sure. (back to scribbling)

Ella: The orange ones or the blue ones?

Me: Doesn't matter, help yourself.

Ella: Thanks!

Jack: Mommy, can I have scissors?

Me: No.

Jack: Can I have glue?

Me: No.

Jack: Can I have tape?

Me: (sigh) Why do you want tape?

Jack: So I can make a mouse.

Ella: Do we have any glitter?

Me: Wait, what? A mouse?

Ella: No, glitter. Why would I want a mouse?

Jack: Elllllaaaaa! It's my mouse.

Me: Why do you need glitter?

Ella: For the spaceship.

Jack: Oooooh, can I have glitter for a spaceship too?

Me: No!

Ella: No me or no Jack?

Me: Yes tape. No glitter. Now please go play. (sigh. Resume research and scribbling...but now my notes don't even make sense to me.)

Or for a better example...right now Ella and Jack are attempting to play baseball inside the house using a Beanie Baby and a yardstick. Poor Beanie Baby.

Monday, March 12, 2012

That's Right, I Speak Superhero...And I'm Not Afraid to Use It

Last week, when it was time to start schoolwork for the day, Jack was running around our basement/homeschool room with Tinker Toys stuck in the wrists of his shirts and growling. Now, he's a boy and he's five so I wasn't all that shocked. Actually, I've encountered worse creations from the mind of this imaginative and surprisingly mechanical little man. Claws and growling isn't so bad.

Me: Ok, Jack, time for schoolwork.

Jack: I'm Wolverine! (Hop, skip (in a manly, superhero way), leap, growl and strike a menacing pose).

And just in case you don't have superhero fans in your home here's Wolverine:

Me: Well, even Wolverine needs to learn how to read. How else could he learn all the X-Men rules? And he can't track down Magneto if he can't read the street signs.

Jack: (deep sigh, that clearly communicates my total failure to convince him that superheroes are both tough and literate). Mommy, I'm not really Wolverine. I'm just pretending.

Me: Oh, well then you definitely have to learn to read since you don't have that whole superhero thing to fall back on.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Holy Spirit Duct Tape

I have a long standing joke with a few of the ladies at my church about the importance of Holy Spirit duct tape. It's that oh-so necessary moment when you desperately want to say something, but God in His great mercy reaches down and slaps His hand over your mouth to keep you from blurting out the potentially hurtful, damaging or mean words that really, REALLY want to be said. Holy Spirit duct tape.

It's even Scriptural. True, it doesn't say duct tape, but it's pretty close. Here it is:

"Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips." Ps. 141:3

Sometimes the words we bite back deserve to be said. We might be totally, 100% right and absolutely justified in letting fly a big, giant "I told you so!" (Because we probably did tell them so). But those are the moments when we need Holy Spirit duct tape the most. When we have every right to point out someone else's flaws, foolishness, utter wrongness and put up a big neon sign advertising our brilliance, expertise and utter rightness.

Or when we're so mad, irritated and just plain fed up with someone that the defensive, hurtful or retaliatory words are practically begging to be given free reign. And we'd feel better. If we could just vent. If we could just give that person a piece of our mind so that we know that they know how annoyed we are...or how right we are (and by extension how wrong they are). If we could just express that then we'd feel so much better.

And the other person would feel so much worse.

Holy Spirit duct tape.

How many times has God had the right to point out our flaws, our foolishness and our utter wrongness? Who has more right than He to give us a piece of His perfect mind? But instead of reminding us of our failures and our mistakes, God gives us grace. He doesn't tell us that we're wrong, He tells us that we're loved.

So if God speaks with love, kindness and mercy to us, how can we do any less? Even if we're right. Even if we've been wronged. Even if we have every earthly right to put someone else in their place. Even then, we should look for, pray for and wait for...Holy Spirit duct tape.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

My Priorities May Be All Out of Whack

We're having a very strange winter. 70 degrees one day, snowing the next. It confuses me. And makes it very hard to get dressed in the morning. looks sunny, but there might be snow in the forecast. Or hail. Or giant blobs of Rice Krispie Treats. See, what I mean? It's hard to plan for both sunshine and the potential of falling sugary treats.

This week we had snow on Monday. If you're from someplace where it regularly snows then we didn't get much snow. If, like me, you're from Southern was the end of the world. And how did my adorable children greet me on the morning of the end of the world? By screaming at the top of their lungs, "it's snowing!!!!!!!!" And then there was some traditional kid-tribe snow dance of joy followed by hands and noses smushed against the windows.

And what did I say in the face of this boundless joy and glee? "Time for schoolwork!"

Yep. That's right. No snow days here. (Insert villainous theme music here).

Now, in all fairness the kidlets did get to go outside and romp in the snowy snowness later that day. After their schoolwork was done.

But here's where I think my priorities may be just slightly misaligned. Two days later I declared it a school-free day. Gasp! I know. So why had I suddenly transformed from the merciless mommy who makes them do schoolwork while staring longingly out the window at the falling snow to some kick back mom who cancels school? Well, I'll tell you. Major Dad was home from work and decided to rearrange our office/library/cluttered room of doom. So in order to properly take advantage of our slave labor....uh, wait...I mean in order to effectively use the cheerful and completely voluntary assistance of our munchkins, I cancelled school.

So, no cancelling school for possibly-the-end-of-the-world-snow days, but I'm perfectly fine with closing down the homeschool for Mary Poppins style cleaning days?

Yep. Works for me.