Monday, June 30, 2008

Hungry Hippos and Pink Plaster

Lots going on around here lately - which makes it difficult to keep up with the ol' blogg-a-roo...
I'll try to do a quick little update... (I said "try"... don't hold yer breath...)
The morning after Zack broke his wrist I picked up my favorite sis-in-law and her boys at the airport. The kids have been enjoying each other so much. We sent them off to VBS twice last week - morning and evening! It was nice for this homeschooling mom to get a little break and "piece of quiet" in there.
Here's a timeline for the broken wrist:

Tuesday he broke it and got his splint on - they scheduled him for an exam and cast with the doc the following Monday.
He was having quite a bit of pain with it and looping out on the Tylenol 3 they gave him - the codeine was giving him bad dreams about diamond ping pong balls and upsetting his stomach. With his cousins added to the mix he was getting bumped more often and the cats and dog didn't seem to realize that bumping the arm was a bad thing...
I called the doc and asked them if we could move the appointment from Monday to Friday, but the said he wouldn't be in on Friday, but they could see him Thursday.

Early Thursday morning the office called and asked if Zack had eaten anything yet. This clued me in to the fact that this was going to be a pretty expensive visit...
When we got to the office they took him right back but didn't even look at the wrist - just started the paperwork to send him across the street to the outpatient surgery center.
By 11:30 they had him in his little lavender hospital gown, split up the back. I told him I figured they were purple so that nobody would steal them... They started a saline IV on him and he immediately started to "hallucinate"... (oh brother...) We talked him down from his "high" and let him know that likely all it would do is make him pee more. Oh - "we" is my dad and me. Grampa came over to keep us company. They marked the splinted arm with a "yes" to be sure that they would fix the right one...

By the time the nurse anesthetist came in to give him the *real* drugs we had him giggling.
At about 12:20 I went looking for a bathroom and decided to make a quick stop at the desk to see if they knew how he was doing. Just then the nurse called us back to the recovery room. She commented all the way about what a great kid he was and how he was waking up so happy. Obviously someone had switched the charts somewhere...

He was OK at first but then started asking for morphine for the pain and then started in with some really nutball hallucinations - crying that the hippos were chasing him and were going to eat him.

His doc came by and said they had done a closed reduction (no surgery, just pulling yanking it into place) and that it had slipped back into place easily, which meant it could slip back out of place easily as well. They sent him home in a splint that was stronger than the original - not the pink cast that he expected. (Yes - pink... I'm told it's all the rage for boys his age...) They scheduled him for a follow-up visit the following Thursday.
On Tuesday evening when Aunt Shari picked the kids up from VBS she caught Zack riding a skateboard in his WET splint - and then watched him fall off it and onto his splinted arm. Apparently he'd irritated a girl and she'd dumped a bottle of water on him. I called the doc's office Wednesday morning and they worked us in that afternoon for the real cast. (The PINK one...)
This cast lasted for a week until they had him back to check on the swelling - apparently it shrank a little and the cast was a little loose - so they cut that one off and put on another one. And of course they had to take another x-ray... That brought us up to today.
We told the doc repeatedly that we're headed out of town for an extended vacation, but he never really seemed to hear me on that one... So today they finally gave me a copy of his x-ray and his SOAPs for the doc we'll find in Missouri (or "Misery" if you're a nearly 11 year old wanting to swim your summer away at the lake...)
I'm trying not to lose my head over the dirt showing up after 5 minutes on the pink casts... At least they're changing them frequently...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Oh How the Mighty

Here's a little sample of what we usually like to do on a hot Tuesday in the summer time. This is Zachary jumping and Jacob riding the zip line at the swimming hole of our homeschooling friends here in the Hill Country.

The kids LOVE it - I'd give it a shot myself - but I never swim - well... not until today. Oh - and I've basically grown into a big chicken.

Michaela even rode once - after I promised her a dollar... Then I totally missed the shot with the camera and she couldn't be persuaded to do it again. Nuts.

It's really beautiful out there. Even the drive over the "mountain" is beautiful with its hairpin turns, creeks crossing back and forth over the road and the lush green foliage.

Today was a little different though. Today we headed 'home' earlier than we usually do and with a bit more fanfare.

I didn't see it - but "eye witnesses accounts report" that Jacob was pulling the zip line back in and Zachary was preparing to jump from the tower, when his feet got tangled in the rope and his jump was transformed into a not so graceful dive. The rocks near the bank at the bottom of the roughly 12 foot tower broke his fall resulting in a banged up shoulder and busted left wrist.

Thankfully, he had the presence of mind to call for help and say that he was hurt. Two other moms were in the water before I was even able to decide whether or not to remove my flip flops and or wrist-watch. I reached for my shirt but then remembered (thankfully) that it wasn't that kind of party. So, into the drink I went fully clothed. Let me tell you - those pantie liners hold a lotta water! (no men read this, right?) It was not a graceful entry by any means - there was no "Bay Watch" dive...but rather a slip on the slime on the concrete "beach" and a plunk and slide on the backside.

By the time I reached the other bank my boy was tearing up and we could see pretty quickly that his wrist was most likely broken. He was a trooper though and after a bit of noodle verses blow up canoe engineering discussion, we got him across to the other side and all the moms kicked on the mom afterburners and like an ant hill poked with a stick, started making calls to doctors and my hubb (thankfully home from work today), getting an ice pack, gathering pain meds and water, drying and dressing my other two kids and finding their shoes, moving my van closer to the "patient", making a splint out of some clothespin doll art, (gotta love a homeschooler), wringing out my wet clothes (had to actually put on my bathing suit since it was dry...) and loading my van. What an amazing group of friends!

We headed to urgent care where they did a couple of x-rays to confirm the break at the head of the radius and the ulna (hopefully that won't interfere with the growth plate of the bone over the years), splinted it and gave us a prescription for pain meds. It was nice to have the doctor on call be the dad of another homeschooling family that we know.

We were able to make an appointment with the bone doc on Monday morning to have it cast. Hopefully they have a nice brown color so that the dirt won't show...
As far as negative experiences go - this was a very positive one.

We are VERY thankful that:

  • He didn't hit his head on the rock, but rather his shoulder and arm
  • He was wearing his life vest (even if it was against his will)
  • We weren't "alone" but surrounded by sound minded women and kids
  • We have praying, godly friends
  • Urgent care makes payment plans
  • This "rite of passage" comes with a good story - he wasn't riding a pink bike or ice skating or something else sissy.
I did lose one of my favorite tubes of lipstick that was in my pocket - but I'm willing to forget about it.

He's resting comfortably now. No complaints. This just proves that if you starve your kids from T.V. it can be used later to dull their senses. I did have him turn it off for a bit and read in our human body book about the different kinds of fractures (closed) and how bone repairs itself. (Gotta love a homeschooler...)

*Some more GREAT news* Just heard that my cousin Margie has gotten the official word that she is CANCER FREE! Her young hub also got word that he is still cancer free too! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!!

Edited To Add: Take a look at the photo of all the kids up on the tower - Zachary and his friend Zachary are pulling down the zip line handle so that Michaela can ride. If you follow the rope line down to the water you can see the rock that he ricocheted off of with the left side of his body.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Well This Explains Some Things...

Unbelievable, huh?
India's standard for electrical wiring.
No wonder I have a hard time understanding "Tech Support".
But just in case you think me heartless and crass (again), let me tell you a little story. (OK, OK... I don't know how to tell "little" stories - go grab a drink and maybe a sandwich too...)

I've been working with a small leadership team at my church for the last four months. Last October, our congregation began a process to refocus the ministry of our church to be more in alignment with the will of God, seeking His guidance through personal and then corporate surrender to His leading. It's been pretty incredible and life altering for those involved.

Anyway, as the "communications coordinator" I have many of the secretarial duties. One of the things I needed to work on was taking all the information from the history of our little local church that had been written on about 100 or so 8 1/2 X 11 color coded papers and taped to the wall in our fellowship hall and transfer it to a more personal size so that each member could keep a copy. (That run-on sentence right there is reason enough to fire me from the position of communications coordinator...)

Once a month for three straight months, we have an all congregation "Summit Meeting" to seek the Lord and discuss where we've been as a church, where we're going, and how we plan to get there. Naturally, at the first summit, (where we've been) we did this major church history time line deal that filled nearly an entire wall. By the time we were to have the second summit meeting a month later, I needed to have that information consolidated into one page.

Almost immediately, the team came up with the idea to put the information in a spread sheet and print it on 11 x 17 paper. This would be great and my printer has the ability to print up to 13 x 19. No problem. The spread sheet will take some time - but my dad is real accustomed to working with them and as part of the team will be helping me with that.

If you know either of us at all, you likely know we usually save any task (from showering to final exams) for the last possible second when the inspiration is flowing like water... BUT - I'm personally "refocused" now, so I'm going to start early - Thursday night rather than Friday night, to have it done for Saturday morning and the meeting that is slated to begin at 1:30 p.m. I called dad and we got busy working on it.

The time came late Thursday night (around 11 p.m.) to do a test print. I've never printed larger than 12 x 12 on my HP 9800 printer, so I had to tweak the print settings just a bit, but it's designed to do this - shouldn't be a problem.

I hit the print button and I get an error message. So I investigate and see that the printer is set to "offline". What??? OK - reset and try again. Same thing! Over and over - each time I reset the printer to put it back online, it resets itself to "offline". By now I'm getting tired, I've got my dad logged into my puter from his house via Teamviewer (nice to have now and then) and he can't figure it out either. And he's got all kinds of professional puter training!

We decide to leave it alone and try again in the morning.

Well morning comes and I get distracted with life and in the middle of my Friday afternoon errands I remember I'd better see if I can print now. So I drop back by my house and try again. Same problem.

I get dad logged back on with me and we're hooked up on the phone with headsets trying to figure out what the heck is wrong with my printer. He has me check to see that all the cords are solid in place so I have to access the back of the CPU and the printer - a task I detest, because now my nose is running and I'm sneezing my head off after stirring up the dust and cat hair that resided in all crevices of this house. We uninstall the printer, and while he's looking for answers online at HP I'm searching for my installation disc that came with it so we can get it back. After about 15 minutes of searching I remember I've sent it to California to my sis-in-law since her identical printer didn't come with the disc. Dad downloads the new drivers and we finally get it installed again.

Still nothing - except NOW, when we do the HP self help stuff, they don't even see that I HAVE a printer installed at all! It's time to call in the big dogs. I hate that... I ALWAYS get someone with a heavy accent that I can't understand - let alone the fact that they're going to be using big words I just don't get. The time is 5:30 p.m. locally and HP Tech Support closes at 6 - so we had to hurry. We decided to go with the online chat version and using the Teamview dad can see my chat box and tell me what to type via phone headset - so at least HE can understand and fix the issue for me. Yay dad. I feel a little bit like a secret agent with an ear bud crashing a government party...

I begin the tech support chat, type in the model and serial numbers of my printer and "Chad" (sure...) tells me that I'm out of warranty and if I still want live support it will cost me $25 - would I like to continue?... Well I sure don't want to pay $25 for tech support - I can think of dozens of other things I'd rather spend $25 on... After trying to be cute and funny (and "Chad" resending the "would you like to continue for $25" line three more times,) I remember I'm running out of time and I agree and click the link to enter my credit card information.

It clears immediately - but it takes "Chad" a full 7 minutes to evaluate the information. At the time I was not thankful for this.

He begins by restating my issue to be clear and waits for my confirmation. I give him just a little more info - about the self help not even seeing that I have a printer installed.

In walks my babies daddy from work. I immediately wave him off. As good a multitasker that I am, I still need to try to concentrate with this project looming, typing to tech support, (which flusters me anyhow) and having my dad on the phone. I drive home the gravity of this issue with my dear husband by spewing, "my printer has crapped out and this tech support is costing me $25 and they're closing in a few minutes! Keep the kids outta here and don't talk to me!!"

With that, my darling husband reaches over and plugs the USB cable into the FRONT on my CPU from my disconnected hub.

Veins pop, my face splits open and fire shoots out as once described by Bill Cosby.

Seems that he was syncing his phone/palm/puter thingy and "forgot" to plug my hub back in. It didn't occur to me that anyone would unplug anything from my puter. Of all the time logged here - he does maybe 1% of it.

Red faced (or fingered) I let "Chad" know that I seem to have fixed my issue and I will no longer require his assistance. I ask that he please change my name before he adds it to one of those "these idiots vote" e-mail forwards.

To my amazement, he even agrees to refund my $25 since we never got to the actual trouble shooting part of the appointment. Thank you Lord for that 7 minute delay!!!

With this issue now resolved, there's no rush to print the 11 x 17 document - it will wait until 5 a.m. and then with other printer/paper feeding issues it won't be finished until 12:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon. But it got done.

Actually - just to show you that the Lord really is involved here - we stopped printing at 34 documents - we simply ran out of time and figured people could share if they had to until we could print (or copy) some more. Well... 34 people showed up for that summit meeting at 1:30.

This all comes to mind because we're having a "rain date" meeting this coming Saturday afternoon and I need to be sure I have a few additional copies for people that didn't make the first meeting... That's originally what I got on here to do... so I suppose I should get back to that...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

6 Going on 16

On Saturday my baby turned six. I'm not really happy about that at all. I'd just as-soon she stay my baby for a bit longer... but she's already saying "ma-uuuhm. I HAVE to grow up, you have to let me." with that "duh" tone of voice usually coming from a girl twice her age, punctuated by a flip of her pony tail.

She bounced out of bed and I could hear her coming down the hall shouting, "I'm six! I'm six! Today's finally my birthday!!

We celebrated pretty low key. She picked out the dress she wanted to wear to church, asked for a special hair-doo, (she's all about her hair these days...) chose our menu for lunch and helped me put together the strawberry poke cake she'd requested.

She's growing wiser as she ages. She opted to forgo all the traditional birthday trappings of balloons, streamers and pretty paper plates for additional gifts. The biggest surprise was the fact that she hasn't mentioned her plans for her next birthday party yet. I guess she really is growing up.

It took some real doing, but we finally got a couple of descent photos of her. Lately, when the camera comes out, all we get are those plastic, beauty pageant smiles - the ones with the cocked head, squinted eyes and for some unknown reason, her "prissy" hands up in the air. But now that I look at her 1 day old birth announcement photo above I can kinda see a hint of the prissy hands emerging.

Gifts consisted of Webkinz from her brothers (they managed to get them free when they bought one for themselves at some Webkinz doo-dah in April.) a bathing suit cover-up from Gramma and Grampa, a My Little Pony and coloring book from her friend, Sara, some Disney Princess shower gels (that I picked up on clearance after Christmas intending to give her for Easter...) and with the money that Nana and Pawpa gave her she was able to buy the horse and carriage for her dolls that she's had her eye on. She also ended up with quite a wad of cash from various people at church. I'm fairly certain it didn't come from the offering plate.

When we welcomed Michaela into our family six years ago we decided three kids was perfect and retracted our previous plans to have four. As a toddler we were stunned that she was harder work than both of the boys had been put together. If there was a mess to be made - she made it. I was convinced that she was the true fulfilment to my mother's curse for me to "have one just like yourself" - the boys had merely been warm up!

But her charm and gentle spirit quickly won us over. She has the kindest, servant's heart of any child I've ever known. She's the first to grab a baggie of ice cubes for a brother's scraped knee, the first to see if you're OK or tell you everything will work out fine and urge you not to cry because she loves you. She offers hugs and kisses freely and always has an encouraging word. In short, she's been such a wonderful blessing to us.

As much as I hate to admit it, I am looking forward to seeing her grow into the lovely young princess that I know she is inside (and out...)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Clearly Guilty

How did June arrive so soon? And now a week is gone already!

I've got so much catching up to do that I'm just going to do it as I can - and that will hafta mean that I do my posts kinda out of order. So today I present to you a post I should have made last month right after I attended a class at Archiver's.

I was pretty jazzed about attending the class - it was for Acrylic Albums and was quite tough to get in to. In fact, the class filled up so fast that they had to see if the company would provide materials to host more classes. I got myself on a waiting list and when they did get a couple more classes on the calendar they gave me a call and I signed my mom-in-law and I up, even though it was more than a two hour drive from us.

Honestly, I expected we'd get a little more instruction to do with Acrylic Albums with the class, but I may have missed some of it since I was tardy… there weren’t any “tips” on the printed material either – just basically check to see that things line up nicely. And the album only had the acrylic front and back cover and one transparency page in the middle somewhere. Didn’t really meet my expectation as an “acrylic ALBUM”.

They did stamp (with those awesome Fancy Pants 6x6 acrylic stamps like my friend Colleen has in her store Journey Lane – I treated myself to some a couple of visits ago…) and said to use the Staz On ink. Just give it a good dry time – front or back, doesn’t matter which side you stamp – it shows through.

We punched a 1 ½ inch hole in one little page, put a big Making Memories Grommet in it and used a 2 ½ inch scalloped circle punch on the next page under the hole (and also made a “frame” for the hole by punching a 1 ½ inch circle then rim punching it with the scallop punch. That stuck on the back of the page to cover the grommet prongs. It was important to stack those pages with the binding lined up and make sure the hole was aligned with the scallop punch circle on the next page. Make sense??

Using double sided papers would be great – otherwise you can put a solid cardstock mat around your papers and stick patterns to both sides. Example: 4x4 black mat with 3x3 patterned paper in the middle stuck to side A, then 3x3 patterned paper stuck to side B. Watch the adhesive only goes in the middle where it will be covered on the opposite side. OR, you can cover adhesive boo boos with embellishments – just be sure you hide the adhesive on those too.

I may have missed extra tips at the beginning of the class, but I doubt it – I was coming up with hints for people in the class that the instructor wasn’t…

I was a little late getting there since I had to stop for a speeding ticket… dumb cop… don’t they realize we’re speeding cuz we’re LATE!? Then they slow us down more taking their sweet time writing the ticket and we’re forced to drive even faster once they’re out of our rear view mirror!! He says, “Is there some emergency??” and I’m thinking (not saying) “well YEAH – I’m late for a scrapbooking class…could you put a rush on this please???!”

The greatest part of the story is I can blame the entire ticket on my DH!

I’m driving along these ‘back roads’ for the last two hours and I’m about 20 minutes (at my current speed) from my final destination. I'm using my cruise control (which I rarely do) setting my cruise on 80 in 70 mph zones. I see that the speed drops to 55 so I turn off the cruise and start slowing down (intending to set it again at 60 – hey… I never said I didn’t deserve the ticket…) And suddenly my cell phone rings. It’s my darling husband, just checking in with me…

him: “Hey, how’s it goin’? Oh, listen… if, for some reason, you should get stopped, tell them I have the new registration sticker for the van, I just haven’t put it in the window yet…”
me: I’m sorry honey, I can't talk right now – I need to PULL OVER!!! There are flashing lights in my rear view mirror!!”
him: “Nah…yer kidding, right??”
me: “Uh – NO…thanks so much for calling though… Hi officer – would you like to hear a funny story?… No, huh?”

I contend that I wouldn’t have gotten distracted from slowing down if he hadn’t called me with his ‘just in case’ information.

So you want to know how expensive the class became?

The class was $15 – not bad at all since you received all your class materials for that. The gas was obviously a huge expense at $54 for the tank… (that was way back in May before gas prices were so high…) The speeding ticket was $163 – luckily I only got a warning for the expired inspection and vehicle registration – that would have been another $270, not to mention the $395 ticket for failing to have my updated insurance card with me…(again, responsibility with my darling) that would have been a total of $828 if you’re keeping track…Then there were the expected shopping charges for being in a great store – I believe that was about $98 (but all cash I’d saved for the occasion…) I came home with a couple of pieces of paper, that 2 ½ inch scallop punch, the 12 inch platform for my QK Revolution and the 12 inch scallop strip dies. Too bad I forgot my 30% off one item coupon, huh?

So – I ended up spending $330 on that $15 class… Thankfully my MIL (along for the whole fun time) picked up dinner at Chili’s after the class. I’m pretty sure she felt sorry for me…

If you're considering taking up scrapbooking as a hobby you might want to mull that over a bit more (and possibly speak with a financial planner...)
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