Archive for the 'life' Category

A coming of age comedy with zombies? Yup, I saw Zombieland.

October 16, 2009

First, on completely unrelated note.  Happy 84th birthday to Angela Lansbury!  Everything I read about Angela Landsbury makes me love her more and more.  She seems like a gentle soul with such a huge heart.  As she nears the end of her life, I hope that she doesn’t think that she would do anything different if she could do it all over again.
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Now on with it.

Between illnesses I went with my brother to see Zombieland.  I cannot tell you how much I loved this movie!  It is worthy of being on my top ten favourite movies list.  It is definitely on my top ten favourite zombie movies list.  Woody Harrelson is just amazing and Jesse Eisenberg plays off of him so well.

When I played the Dead Rising* video game, I knew there would be a sequel.  I was hoping beyond all hope that it would be killing zombies in an amusement park.  Since Capcom decided to go a more traditional route, I was left disappointed. (For now. Once I play it and wield a broomstick with chainsaws on each end, I will be as happy as a zombie at a qulit festival?)  As soon as my brother saw the preview for this movie, he called me and we decided to go together.  We finally made it this past Monday (Thanksgiving, no less) and I am glad I shelled out the big bucks to see it in the theatres.  It’s a fun movie that involves killing hordes of zombies in creative ways and it made me laugh.  Repeatedly.

Manhola Dargis’ editorial review of Zombieland for the New York Times made me laugh even harder than the movie, though.

The real point and, depending on your blood lust, the pleasure of “Zombieland” is its appetite for destruction. Despite its throwaway jokes, a hint of romance and various ridiculous bits of business, some involving Twinkies, the movie is strictly a compendium of all the ways to off zombies, which can be downed with guns, of course, as well as baseball bats, gardening tools, a toilet-bowl lid, even a piano. Sometimes the gonzo antics work, though the piles of bodies at the end did make me flash on the Nazi extermination camps, which, you know, really killed the joke, too.

So close and yet so far away!  Yes, the real point of the movie was seeing the many ways you can kill zombies**.  I’ll give him that.  But, zombie killing = Nazi extermination camp?  I’m not seeing it.  I can’t make this guy not see something he wants to see, but is he comparing holocaust victims to zombies?  Or is he saying the victims were zombies?  I’ll have to rewatch Schindler’s List or any of the numerous documentaries to figure it out but I’m pretty sure that the holocaust involved actual real people really dying while Zombieland involved actual real people dressed up as zombies pretending to be dead.  I mean, I know that the Third Reich did some horrible experiments on people they deemed unworthy (namely Jewish people), but I don’t think they involved zombies.  How about a little perspective there, Manhola?

What the review didn’t touch on at all is the humanity in the movie.  I won’t go into any kind of detail because I don’t want to spoil it, but there was some really great scenes and commentary (albeit it comedy commentary) about The Meaning of Life.  The moral of this movie could be summed up as either “take pleasure in the little things” or “is it worth surviving if you are alone for the rest of your life” or both.

Take the scene where the four survivors are in a store getting supplies.  It’s a pretty useless store, being a souvenir shop and they end up trashing it just to blow off steam.  They smash plates and snowglobes, have a marble fight, play dominoes with a bunch of shelves and just trash the place. In a postapcolyptic world, this isn’t a big deal like it would be in the here and now.  But, in the here and now, it takes so much more to bring us joy.  For those four people, it was throwing marbles (or maybe they were stones?) at each other for a few minutes of mayham.

In the end, the four heroes drive off to face whatever they have to face to survive in Zmobieland – together.  The group consisted of a geek whose social life revolved around video games, specifically World of Warcraft***, a bad ass psychotic loner who would relishes in the hunt and kill of the undead and two sisters who will do anything to survive, including stealing the ride and weapons of those who are trying to help them.  In the end, they all realized that surviving isn’t worth is if they’re alone.

This is not a deep movie.  It’s a fun movie with really good acting and creative zombie killing.  But it’s not the abomination that Manhola makes it out to be.

(PS I missed the zombie walk this year.  I wasn’t going to participate,just watch on the sidelines.  But it was on a really busy weekend for us and I couldn’t make it.  Bummer.)

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*OMG! People are just so creative. (If you don’t get this, watch this, this, this and this. Yes you are a photojournalist and on top of saving people, you take pictures.  It’s kind of a douchebagy thing to do, really, leave people hanging until you get the perfect shot.  Or instead of watching, how about you play Dead Rising! Come on over! I’ll get us some snacks and my official gaming day drink and we’ll play all day!)

**One really great thing about this movie is that it showed that anything can be a weapon against zombies.  It’s true.  While the double chainsaw on a broom handle is definitely a cool weapon, using a toilet bowl top and a sledgehammer from those carnival games is just as effective.  Keep this in mind people.  Shotguns are good, but in a pinch anything will do.  But it falls short in one area.  When the uprising happens, there will be two kinds of people in the world.  Well, three if you count the zombies.  There will be those who will bind together for survival.  Numbers will help with survival and getting together with a group of people will be a necessity.  But, then there’s group two and those are basically the psychopaths.  You have to fear them as much as you do the zombies.  People who will use the uprising as an excuse to do all sorts of unspeakable things to others just because they can or they will be people who just snapped and will shoot to kill anything that moves.  There will be the good psychopaths, of course, like Tallahassee in Zombieland and those are the ones you want on your team.  But, until you know what kind of person you are dealing with, you should always be on your guard when you encounter anyone new.

***No comments from the peanut gallery!  Plus, I haven’t played WoW in a looooooong time.  Like five months.  I play Aion now so that make me a more sophisticated geek.  I’m not one of those Wow losers.  So you just leave me and my delusions alone, you hear!

My Own Seven Layers of Hell

October 3, 2009

I know there’s the whole seven layers of Hell, but I can’t really put these in any order of bad to baddest. So, here are my seven layers of Hell, in no particular order.

4. An eternity where “It’s A Small World” and the Smurf themes are played non-stop.  It’s a small world.  Yeah.  We’ve all been on the ride or have at least seen some videos of the ride.  My memories of going through that ride, of course, all involve that song.  The first time I went on the It’s A Small World ride I was ten and had the distinct pleasure of having the boat stop for a good 15 minutes in the middle of the ride while the maintenance crew fixed the roundy gizmo that connects to the wogle dohick so the ride could continue.  I don’t want to be over dramatic but – Worst. Fifteen minutes. Of. My. Life. (Apparently, this is not an uncommon occurrence.)  When I was young, we would go to Canada’s Wonderland once a year.  They had Yogi Bear’s cave.  It was so cool!  You just walked through it and it showed little animatronic characters from Yogi Bear.  At the end, there was a room that was all upside down!  The furniture was above you and you were walking on the ceiling!  How cool is that!  Then, the Smurfs became popular and they replaced Yogi’s cave with a Smurf cave.  That isn’t so bad, really.  I liked the Smurfs and the cave was still really neat, although there was no upside down room at the end but Gargamel’s area was all dark with black lights and lightening and that was pretty cool*.  But the Smurf theme played through the cave non-stop.  When there was a lot of people, you would be forced to stop in one place for a few moments from time to time, all the while hearing the theme from the Smurfs.  Either of those two songs played for an eternity would be hell enough, but both of them.  I… I just don’t even want to think about that.

2. An eternity where the only food options are buffets.  I. Hate. Buffets.  Look, if I’m going to pay for a pre-made meal, I want it brought out to me.  I don’t want to have to stand behind some guy who can’t decide if he really wants the noodles with questionable sauce or not.  And then there’s the people who go the wrong way in the lineup.  Then there’s the kids who can’t see over the side and drop a huge scoop of food on the floor. And then there’s the “what exactly is this supposed to be?  Meatballs? maybe?” factor.  And then there’s the whole ordeal of getting the food for my kids (yes, in buffet hell, my kids would be there).  Go with Lilly and Madeleine and Victoria.  Hold Victoria’s plate and a plate for Rosemary while I try to scoop food on everyone’s plate.  Then Madeleine can’t carry hers so add that to the pile.  Then have the argument that no, Lilly, you don’t like that and won’t eat it so you shouldn’t take it because it’s wasteful.  It is better now that the kids are older, but I sill hate herding two of them to the feed trough to pick up their food.  By the time I get mine, they’re done their first plate and want seconds.  Yeah, buffets suck and would certainly have a place in my personal Hell.

7. An eternity of MMO lag.  “Oh good!  There’s that mob I have been after for the last three hours!  It finally spawned!  I’ll just run over there and…. wait a minute.  I’m hitting it but, why am I not doing any damage?  That’s weird.  All of the other players are standing still…. oh crap!  I’m lagging again, aren’t I?”  And the next thing you know, you’re dead and the rare spawn has been killed by another player and you have to wait for it again.  I shudder at the thought of spending an eternity like that.

3. An eternity without any Joss Whedon shows.  I don’t mean not seeing any ever again, although that would be bad enough in and of itself. My obsession with Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog is so deep I think that only an eternity with no access to that Emmy Award winning show could cure me.  And Firefly?  Yeah, that special place in hell reserved for child molesters and people who talk in theatres would be a hell without Firefly.  No more Buffy kicking ass, no more brooding, sorrowful Angel and no more perfectly beautiful Dolls. But, an eternity where Joss Whedon shows never even existed?  Well, that is a hell I have no interest in! No Slayer Slang? No crazy random happenstance?  No Shiny? Just no! Make it stop!

6. An eternity of listening to people quoting Monty Python nonstop. I love Monty Python.  I watch their movies and shows.  I have even quoted them myself.  But, you know, there is such thing as too much of a good thing.  I don’t want to spend two hours sitting at a table where people constantly quote Monty Python (true story), much less an eternity of it.  Don’t make me fetch the comfy chair! 

1. An eternity without Diet Coke. I have in the past gone on a sort of Coke cycle. I would be totally off any kind of pop and then start drinking Coke. I would then realize that all that sugar wasn’t good for me and switch to Diet Coke. Then I would think about all of the caffeine and how my body shouldn’t depend on it so much and wean myself off, only to start the cycle all over again a few months later. However, I have been stuck on the Diet Coke part of the cycle now for about a year and a half. I cannot imagine going a day without it, much less an eternity.

5. An eternity with nothing to read but 1980s (and early 1990s) young adult fiction.  Ah, Sweet Valley High.  How I loved you in my tweens.  Elizabeth with her romantic boyfriend, Jessica with her crazy schemes. And Babysitter’s Club.  You also have a special place in my heart.  Clear headed Kristy, artsy, exotic Claudia, sophisticated Stacey, shy Mary Anne and independent Dawn.  All of you from both books were with me when I was suffering at the hands of my bullies.  Your stories were an escape and I thought you were all just so cool.  I wanted your lives.  The babysitters all had it so together, the Wakefield twins were popular and beautiful, none of which I felt applied to my life at that time. But, MY. GOD!  Have you revisited any of those stories?  Elizabeth is a busy body know-it-all who will interfere with anyone’s life ’cause she has all of the answers and knows best. Don’t have a boyfriend?  Elizabeth will help you!  Parents headed for divorce? Elizabeth will get them back together!  Your parents are racist jerks and don’t want you dating someone of a different ethnicity? She can fix that too, just let her go talk to your parents.  It doesn’t matter if you don’t want her help, she’ll just barge on in and fix it all for you.  No need to thank her.  Just tell her how perfect you think she is and how much you wish you could have her life. And Jessica! What a skanky cock tease! Girl never put out but sure did have a long line of guys who wanted to pop that cherry.  Why, I will never know.  I’m not sure why any guy would want to have anything to do with a psycho who is not only unpredictable, but is likely to accuse you of date rape when you try to go for a feelskie.  The whole Sweet Valley universe is just so warped. Now, I have never left my kids with a sitter other than family (I’m cheap, what can I say?), but if I ever did and that sitter decided that she knew how to parent my kid better than me, I would put that 13 year old in her place so fast she wouldn’t know what hit her.  Listen, BSC. You may think you know what’s best for the kids you babysit, but you’re 13.  If you ever tell my overweight kid that it’s OK to go off the diet I have made for him with the help of a doctor, I will bitch slap your face.  If you ever convince my extremely shy kid that she should be part of a pageant because you’re jealous of your friends who are helping other pageant kids, I will put you in a frilly dress and have you stand in front of a crowd who will yell out your faults and shortcomings while you have a fake smile plastered on your face.  To run it down:  Kristy – bossy, controlling bitch who really should have no friends at all: Mary Anne – shy doesn’t begin to describe it, stand up for yourself and tell Cookie et el. to back off and stay away from Logan; Claudia – you need to go to a school for the learning disabled.  Really. And those clothes (I love the 80s!), I hate to tell you this, they don’t make you look artistic.  They make you look like a clown.; Stacey – Just stop it.  I don’t need you to tell me how sophisticated you are.  I get it.  Really.  You’re from New York.  Just shut up already!; Dawn – well, you have a special place in my heart Dawn because you were my favourite.  But… relax, OK? Just because you don’t want to eat foods consisting of refined sugar and ingredients I can’t even pronounce, doesn’t mean those of us who love Oreos are doomed to a life of cavities and weight watchers.  Stop expecting your friends to jump on with your causes.  Be the change, Dawn, be the change.**

I said they’re in no particular order…***

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* Sadly, they have gutted the cave to make room for an arcade.  I weep for this generation when we tear down an imaginative ride to make way for an arcade in the middle of an amusement park.  Video games at home are one thing but do we really need to put them in the middle of a park where kids should be encouraged to engage with the world instead of retreating into a video game?

** Lilly reads Babysitter’s Club now. I’m not sure how to feel about this. On the one hand, she’s reading.  But on the other hand, those books are so formulaic that I can’t even get her to look twice at the copy of The Breadwinner trilogy I bought for her. She has complained now about books that she can’t remember the characters because they’re not introduced like they are in Babysitter’s Club at the beginning of the book.  So…

***You know, I’m going to add an eighth level here.  An eternity of running from zombies and not having a shotgun or a chainsaw.  That’s just plain frightening.

The Adventures of Lilly and Madeleine – at the ripe old age of seven and nine*

September 28, 2009

While looking up stats and information for my Risk Your Child’s Safety For the Sake of Their Sanity series** , I came across Lenore Skenazy’s Free-Range Kids blog.  One read and I was hooked and now make it a daily visit.  Today, Lenore posted a story about a mom, Lynn, who let her seven year old go get the mail for the first time.  The mailbox is down the street and around the corner, putting her child out of her sight for a number of minutes.  I highly recommend you visit Lenore’s blog to read about it.  Lynn’s take on her situation is such a cute read!

It made me decide to tell the story of Lilly and Madeleine’s first trip to the Dollar Rama by themselves.  Now, we are a walking family.  I deliberately live in a neighbourhood that has everything I would possibly need within a half hour walk. So, me and my kids walk everywhere.  Let me preface this by saying I would never suggest allowing anything like what I allowed for a child who is not familiar with his or her surroundings, but I would suggest people familiarize their kids with their surroundings so they can do something like this. I’m afraid that this needs a map to fully understand what exactly went down.  I needed a map to fully understand it when they were explaining it to me!  So, here’s the map (let’s call the street running vertically Main St. and let’s call the street running horizontally First Ave):

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Lilly and Madeleine wanted to go to the dollar store themselves, sans growups.  It is marked on the map with the $$$.  The green dots represent streetlights and the red circle is a really busy intersection that I didn’t want them to cross alone, with or without lights. In order to avoid the busy intersection (because people there can be really aggressive drivers), I had to give them directions different than the ones we normally take.  They had been to Shopper’s Drug Mart to pick up milk for me before, but never had I let them cross the busy street alone before this experience.

The directions I gave them were to take the path that leads to the back of the Shopper’s Drug Mart and then to cross the parking lot and end up at the T intersection with the lights, which is another parking lot entrance and First Ave.  I wanted them to cross the street at those lights, walk to the corner of First and Main, turn left then walk down to the plaza with the $$$.  I thought it would be easy for them to follow as we had been to the $$$ numerous times (cheap snack crackers FTW!) by a more direct route but have crossed the street at that T-intersection many times for other reasons.

They ended up getting to First Ave with no problem but they didn’t really cross it.  Through some sort of weird directional mix up, they ended up walking toward the fire station!  They got to the fire station and said “Hmmm, this isn’t right!” and turned around.  They ended up at the corner of First and Main – the intersection I didn’t want them crossing – and crossed the street… the wrong way.  They ended up walking toward Archie’s.  Once they reached Archie’s, they said “Well, this isn’t right!” and turned around and went back to the corner of First and Main again and ended up crossing it again.  They were now headed toward the library.  They reached the library (where we go once a week) and said “this isn’t right either!”.  But they know that $$$ was right across the street and we have walked to $$$ after the library a few times.  So, they continued heading in the same direction down Main, go to the other set of lights, cross the street, end up on the right side of the street (finally!) and headed to $$$, which is how we go when we get there after our library trips. 

Being completely confused as to how they got there, they decided to just go down Main St, crossing the insane intersection yet again, continuing down Main until they reach the street leading to our subdivision.  From there, they made it home.  Crazy kids!

So, what did I do during this whole ordeal?  I did start wondering after they were gone for an hour and a half.  My mom was over and so she walked to route to $$$ that I gave the girls and called me on her cell when she didn’t see them on her way or at the store.  I started feeling a little anxious at that time.  I was picturing them walking around some subdivision off of Main St., trying to find their way home.  I went outside and took a peek down my street in both directions, only to see Lilly and Madeleine round the corner.  I gave my mom a call and told her all was well.

When they came home, I couldn’t help but laugh at their misadventure.  They were so scared that I wasn’t going to allow them to go on their own again because they crossed at the intersection I wanted them to avoid.  Had they deliberately disobeyed that request, I would have been angry and would have banned them from solo trips to the store for a while.  But, there was nothing malicious in their intent – they were just lost and confused. 

I was so proud of them for keeping a cool head and being aware of their surroundings.  I toyed with the idea of giving them my cell to call me if they got lost but it wasn’t charged so it stayed home with me (my cell is never charged, which I suppose defeats the purpose of having a cell).  In the end, I’m glad I didn’t.  They learnt something that day, a lesson I could never teach them.  And they gained a giant leap toward independance.

Prologue:  They have since made the trip to Dollar Rama two more times.  Madeleine now wants to go it alone without Lilly, and when the opportunity presents itself, I think I’ll let her.

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*Well, Lilly is nine and Madeleine is seven, but the title wouldn’t have rhymed that way.

**Part three is coming soon, really it is. Kevin’s seizures and those pesky demanding kids are keeping me from writing it up.  I mean, they like, want food and stuff.  And they’re so dirty so I have to, like, clean their clothes and sheets.  I know.  It’s so unreasonable!

"Meet the teacher" night is so overrated.

September 25, 2009

I don’t know how constructive this will be or if it will be more of a rant. Let me start by saying that I was in the ER with Kevin (again) the night before and was just exhausted. The kids were all hyper, I had to go to “Meet the Teacher” night with all four of them as the solo parent. The school is always overcrowded and I was just not in the right frame of mind to deal with all of that. So, perhaps I’m just being a crank.

Let me get the main point out of the way, and then go on with my pity party.  I really don’t like meet the teacher night.  It’s supposedly for parents to see the class and just spend two or so minutes with the teacher and then leave.  But that’s not how it goes.  You get a room full of lingering parents who think that their child is just the best child to ever grace the face of the planet, and don’t you think so teacher?  And oooooooh look!  Isn’t that the most beautiful picture you have ever seen?  Can you believe that their child did such a good drawing?  I know!  It’s just unbelievable how talented their precious little dew drop is! 

Maybe it’s just a problem at the school my kids attend that a lot of parents talk loud enough to be overheard so you can pay attention to how wonderful their child is.  It’s been my experience since Lilly’s been in Kindergarten, though, and I hate it.  My approach is “Hi, how are you, I’m Sara, Lilly/Madeline/Victoria’s mom.  How’s the year going so far.  Any issues?  No, good.  Well, I’ll see you later!” And then I say “OK, Lilly/Madeleine/Victoria, show me what you want me to see”.  I get a kid guided tour where I oooh and aaahh privately over what they show me and then we go home.  It just sucks the energy out of me to listen to all of the praises a lot of the parents heap on to their kids.  But, let’s face it, the yellow, red and orange finger paintings all of Madeleine’s class did all looked pretty much the same.  Really, I do care about your kids artistic ability, but only in the same way that you care about my kid’s artistic ability.  So, just keep it to yourself, mmmkay?  (Yes, I am a bitch.)

Any other mommies with school aged kids out there experience this?  Am I being a big crank?  Let me have it, I can take it!

So, on with the pity party.  We set out last night at 6:30. Living right behind the school, it took us less than a minute to get there, but by the time we got there I was ready to inflict great amounts of harm on the kids. I told Lilly and Madeleine I would meet them in their classrooms and they took off.  But Victoria and Rosemary took off with them.  No, that was not the plan!  So I yelled for them to come back and told them that they will stay with me or I would chose a family at random and they would go home with that family.  (OK, no I didn’t tell them that, but I was tempted. They were bouncing off the walls since about 4:30 that day and I was at the end of my rope already.)

We get to Victoria’s class and… no teacher.  OK then.  We wait around a bit and… no teacher.  I decided to go out front to buy them the one cookie each I said they could have and there is Victoria’s teacher at the bake stand selling goodies.  OK, then, let’s go see Madeleine’s teacher.

We get to Madeleine’s class and I say hello to Mme. Grouette and took the time to tell her about Kevin’s condition.  It’s usually something I tell the teacher’s during the first week of school, but I forgot this year.  So, we said hi and I told her that from time to time there will be a note saying there was an emergency and it’s always having to do with Kevin’s brain, but I that I like to keep the teacher’s informed of things like surgery etc. when life is a little more hectic for us.

Then on to Lilly’s class.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  But for both of those visits, all four of my kids were out of control.  So, we get outside of Lilly’s portable and I send the kids away to play for a bit, hoping it would burn off some energy.  I chatted with some parents I knew for about 10 minutes and then gathered Victoria and Rosemary to go to Victoria’s class.  I told Lilly and Madeleine to stay out of the classrooms and just go home when their friends did.

We get to Victoria’s class and there’s still no teacher.  So I have Victoria show me stuff around her class, show me some stuff she did, grab her shoes that she’s supposed to bring home every day and then we head on home causing Victoria and Rosemary to dissolve into a fit of tears because they want to play with Lilly and Madeleine.  But, it’s 7:15 by this point and they have to get to bed.  So, I go home and tuck them in to bed and go to collect Lilly and Madeleine so they can have a shower before bed. 

I send those two home and go for a walk to hopefully ease my frame of mind.  I walk around the park for about 20 minutes, and head on home.  On the way home, I see a plastic fireman’s hat that I pick up to give to the school, thinking they could use it.  When I get back to the school, I see them tearing down the baked goods stand and ask if they want some help.  And in turn for that I get attitude.  Big attitude.  This is from the teacher whose class Victoria was supposed to be in but ended up needing to be switched.  Thank. God.  She is a royal bitch.  I was met with resistance from everything I talked to her about the one day Victoria was in her class.  A friend of mine had an awful experience with her.  And then she bitched at me when I asked if she wanted my help?  So, I just held my hands up and said “fine” and walked away.  (She was pissy that there were a bunch of unlabelled containers that people didn’t pick up and when I asked if she wanted help she said in a snotty tone “Well, unless all of these are yours, there’s nothing you can do.”  So I jokingly said “You know, I live right over there (pointing to my yard) and I can easily take them off your hands!”  M. Baugley laughed, she glowered.  “What, are you going to go get a container?  I don’t have time for this.”  So, that is when I walked away.)

I went to see the principal to ask her a couple of questions and to give her the hat I found, which she said could be put to good use in one of the Kindergarten classes.  And then she complimented me on my jacket (for all of you visiting from The Parent Path, yeah, that jacket. The upholstery one.  See, Joann and I are not the only ones who think it rocks!)  I then left and went home.

So, along with my usual “Meet the Teacher” issues, I had the extra bonus of super hyper kids, being overly tired from the ER visit the night before, having to solo the visit and a snotty teacher.  I am going to add another level to my own personal hells.  There is buffet hell, and now there is “Meet the Teacher” hell.  But, on a plus side, I really like all of the kids’ teachers!

A slight name change for this blog

September 21, 2009

I made a slight change to the name of my blog.  Well, OK, it’s not slight at all, it’s a completely different title.

When I first made this blog, I was not in a creative mood at all.  I wanted a space to write some thoughts and articles on parenting, my life, depression, narcolepsy, God and anything else that effects my day to day life.  While the old title “Living my life… one catastrophe at a time” is certainly apropos to my life*, I didn’t ever really like it.  I was just not in a creative frame of mind and even considered call this blog “Not Very Creative”, but I just stuck with the original title.  I had thought of “Out of the frying pan and into the fire”, but turned that one down too.

One of my all time favourite books is Watership Down by Richard Adams.  It is a story of optimism, triumph, nature and the natural order of things and what happens when an outside force interferes with it.  When I am in a funk, I like to read bits and pieces of it.  I read it in its entirety at least once a year.  Hazel’s optimism and determination is contagious.  Add that to his all-too-human ability to make a large error in judgment and his none-too-human ability to learn from those lapses.  Then add Bigwig’s simplistic nature and his willingness to do what it takes to keep the warren from extinction.  Throw into the mix each rabbit’s ability to recognize their own weaknesses and strengths and their reliance on each other without the jealousy that certainly occurs too often in our human culture and I feel very uplifted when I read this story.

I got the new title from Watership Down:

Human beings say, ‘It never rains but it pours.’ This is not very apt, for it frequently does rain without pouring. The rabbit’s proverb is better expressed. They say, ‘One cloud feels lonely’: and indeed it is true that the appearance of a single cloud often means that the sky will soon be overcast.

 The clouds in my life are always in good company.  The blue skies between are the times when we are waiting for the next storm, but aren’t the blue skies just beautiful?

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* I feel like I should explain why I feel this way about my life.

My life has been a difficult one, but a happy one.  I have been hit with life experiences that most people have not.  Some have been my doing and some are completely random.  It has been the case that when one situation ends, another is just around the corner.  When things are going well for me, something is sure to go wrong.  Always.  I don’t mean this in a negative way, but I am just stating a fact.  I can roll with these punches and adapt to almost anything thrown at me.

I have yet to reach my breaking point and my faith in God has not wavered through anything.  I have not “turned it over to God” as those who live lives that are uncomplicated suggest we do.  I am forever grateful for what I do have and am forever thankful that I have persevered through everything.  I thank God for that, but in no way to I believe that God has “pulled me through” situations.  And in the same way, in no way do I believe that God is responsible for giving me a life that has been filled with more downs than ups. I don’t believe God micromanages His creation that way.  I believe that miracles do happen, and I give God 100% credit for those!  But if I give Him credit for making all of the good stuff happen, does that not also imply that He is responsible for all of the bad stuff as well?

What God does in my life is comforts me.  When I ask for comfort, I am given it.  When I ask for peace of mind, God gives it to me.  When I ask God to let me know that everything will be fine, I can almost feel His presence physically.  I don’t ever ask God to let me know what I should do, because then I will be left unfulfilled.I believe that my happiness is a choice.  I could easily despair.  When I feel myself going down that path, that is when I need the comfort and peace of mind. God is not here to micromanage our lives and will not tell us what to do and will not make us happy.  But when we “turn to Him” (as my evangelical brothers and sisters like to call it), He is there to help us.  And so, I can’t give God all the credit for my life, but neither can I give him the blame. 

Many don’t agree with me, and that’s fine.  We can’t all live in a world where each person thinks the same way.

The story of the beginning of Kevin’s special brain powers – Part 2

September 21, 2009

When last we left our heroes, one was inside the hospital on a stretcher and the other was having a total melt down in the parking lot.  Will Kevin be leaving the hospital today?  Will Sara pull it together and actually go in the hospital?  Let’s find out in The Story of the Beginning of Kevin’s Special Brain Powers – Part 2.

I asked my mom if she would come inside the hospital with me, just so I didn’t have to come back out and let them know that Kevin was indeed there and was not moved to another hospital or anything.  So, Paul stood by the van to keep an eye on the kids and mom and I went in.  The place was absolutely empty.  I got to the desk and the administration nurse asked me if I was here for the man brought in by ambulance.  I said yes I was and asked if he was there.  After she said that he was there, mom left to get the kids back to her house and I was taken back to where he was.  He had been there for about 30 or 40 minutes at that time.  They didn’t have the sirens going on the ambulance because there was no traffic at that time of night, but they did have the lights going so they got there fast.

I went back to sit with Kevin.  He looked OK and was no longer confused.  He knew he had a seizure and knew that the hospital was the place he needed to be so they could get to the bottom of it all.  The nurses there were absolutely incredible and kind.  We were asked all of the same questions that the paramedics asked – job, how many kids, any history of seizures, what were you doing when it happened etc.- and then came the questions that Kevin and I were to get very familiar with over the next few days.  “Do you know what day it is” (he got that one wrong but the nurse gave him a pass anyway as it was the wee hours of Friday morning and he said it was Thrusday), “What city are you in” “Do you know where you are” and the nurse left us alone for a while.  I can’t really remember what we talked about in that time, but I do remember we were laughing and joking around with each other. It is just our nature to make light and laugh when we want to cry.  The nurse assigned to Kevin came in after about 25 mintues and had some funny conversation with us for a bit… but she came with an IV for Kevin.  So with her pleasure came some pain.

Now, Kevin had never had an IV before.  Never.  He had to have one so they would be able to get some drugs in him if he started seizing again. Kevin did not like the IV experience.  Not. At. All.  They put it in his arm, not in his hand, and got it in on the first try, but it was not a pleasant experience for him.  The nurse told us that Kevin would be getting a CT soon and asked us if we needed any thing or had any questions.  I asked her how they would keep Kevin from having a seizure if he started to have one again.  She told me they would put anti-seizure medication in his IV and it just kind of shuts down the brain.  I remember us having a conversation with the nurse about seizure medications and seizures in general, but I can’t for the life of me remember what was said.  After we were done our conversation, she left us alone to do some nurse-y type stuff.

Kevin kept on pointing to his IV and saying “OW!” These were my exact words to him “Priorities, there Kev. You just had a seizure.  Let’s not focus on the IV. Mmm’kay?”  To which he would reply “Ow!” and point to the IV. (Kevin, if you’re reading this, you know I love ya! Mwah! But, um you’re a bit of a wimp.  Yeah… I think you know that, right?  You’ve had many IVs since then and it’s still always the same.)

Someone came and to get Kevin to bring him to CT after a bit.  I followed along and sat outside the waiting room while Kevin got his CT.  I was tired.  I was in bed at 1:00 and up at 4:00 with all of this. Sitting in the waiting room at CT was the first time I relaxed.  I was just leafing through a magazine and trying to keep awake.  The CT didn’t take long, however, so I didn’t get a chance to relax for long.  The orderly walked really, really fast.  She was such a nice lady and talked to us the whole way back to emerg, but she was one fast walker!  And I remember being freezing.  They kept piling Kevin up with blankets from the warmer but I was so, so cold.  And then when we were whizzing down the halls, I just started shivering.  Why are hospitals so cold?

We got back to emerg, and Kevin and I stated talking again. We were thinkging that the CT was going to come back normal and Kevin would be able to go home and would have to see a specialist or something.  We were our usual joking selves but by that time, the laughter was really hard to stop.  We were both so tired, physically and emotionally and we could not stop laughing.  We were right across from the nurses’ station and the two nurses were laughing at us.  We knew that, but didn’t care.  It was all in good fun.  Then, the resident in the emergency department came in to talk to us about the results of the CT.  She told us that there was a mass found in Kevin’s brain but could not say what it was.  We were told that University Hospital has a neurology unit and Kevin would be transfered there as soon as possible. She said that the mass could be anything from a virus to a tumour and they would be able to tell us more there.

We stopped laughing.  The nurse came over to check on us and we were both crying.  She brought us a box of tissue and I can remember her exact words she said to us and the compassion on her face.  “Not the news you wanted to hear.” A bit of an understatement, but I was so grateful for her for saying anything at all.  It made it all OK that we were falling apart.  She didn’t expect us to be cheerful through that news, and that was what I was really grateful for.

Kevin kept on saying “What if it’s cancer?” and I kept on telling him “Let’s wait to find out.”  Then he said “It’s coffee and muffin day today” very quietly.  At the company he worked for at that time, they buy a bunch of muffins and brew a huge pot of coffee when a new person starts working there.  They put all of this in the new guy’s office and people come in to get a muffin and cup of coffee and greet the new guy.  That day was to be Kevin’s coffee and muffin day.  He had bought a plastic table cloth and put an extra table in his office the day before in preparation.  The funniest things are important to you when your world is turned upside down.

The nurse came back in and told us Kevin would be transfered in about 20 minutes.  I asked her if I could use a phone to call my mom so she wouldn’t try calling there for an update or to get a hold of me. I got to the patient phone and dialled my mom’s number and got her machine. It was after 6:00 at this point and I figured that they were sleeping.  I was surprised that mom didn’t answer the phone to get an update but figured that she was just that tired (I sure was). So, I left a really tearful, incoherent message telling her that they found a mass in Kevin’s brain and he was being transfered to University and I would update her when I knew more.  I hung up and went back to Kevin’s bed.

When I got back to his bed, the nurses were arranging with some paramedics to get Kevin over to University hospital.  Because he had an IV, a nurse had to go with them.  While they were discussing all of this, Kevin said to me very quietly “It’s starting again”.  I ran over to the nurse and told her Kevin said he was starting to have another seizure.  If you want to see nurses move fast, telling them someone is having a seizure is the way to do it!  They grabbed the syringe, injected his IV and asked him what he felt now.  He said that he was still having his pre-seizure aura (a word the nurse taught us earlier) and so they put more in.  When he still felt it, they put in a really big dose. The nurse told me he would not be able to stay conscious with that much in him, but they could not risk him having a seizure during transfer.  His eyes started to get heavy, but he was fighting it.  I said to him “Don’t fight it, Kev. Just go to sleep.  It’s OK.”  He still continued to fight it and told me he didn’t want to sleep and leave me alone.  I told him not to worry about me, just stop fighting it and he would see me when he woke up.  He drifted off to sleep at that point and the nurse told me that they would be moving him really soon.  I asked her how I was to get to the hospital and she gave me a taxi voucher and told me there was a direct line phone to the cab company by the doors to emerg.  They pushed Kevin’s stretcher through some doors I was not allowed to go through and I went to the phones and called my cab.

I stood outside the doors waiting for the taxi to come pick me up.  The sun was up, the sky was beautifully blue with not a cloud and there was a wonderful breeze blowing.  People were driving past the hospital on their way to work.  I couldn’t believe just how normal the day was.  All of this normal activity was going on, all of these people were doing normal things and here I was, wondering if my husband was dying.  It was a very surreal experience.

While I was waiting for my cab, I saw the nurse and paramedics put Kevin’s stretcher in the back of an ambulance and drive off.  That was hard.  Once the ambulance was out of the parking lot, the lights and sirens were turned on and Kevin was on his way to University Hospital while I was left standing there waiting for my cab.

The cab came to pick me up and off we went, across the city to University Hospital.  Being that it was rush hour, the ride took a lot longer than I would have liked.  I wanted to scream at all of the people in the morning traffic. Didn’t they know that my life was changing! How could they act so normal!  I probably should have used the time to sleep.  I was dropped off at the emergency room entrance and made my way to the administration desk.  The nurse got an orderly to take me to Kevin and he was still unconscious. It was shortly after 7:00 by this time and he would remain mainly unconscious through blood being taken on two occasions and numerous pupil tests until 12:00.  (And here is a measure of my love for Kevin.  He had a huge zit on the bridge of his nose that was begging to be squeezed but I didn’t touch it.  Even though he wouldn’t have woken up.)

I decided to call my mom again to tell her that we got to University Hospital OK and that I don’t know any more than when I called before.  She answered the phone on the first ring and told me she had been waiting for me to call. I told her that they found something in Kevin’s brain and she just said “What!”  I filled her in on all I knew and  I told her I called earlier and left a message and she said she didn’t hear the phone ring and there was no message.  So, it was a bit of a mystery.  We thought maybe the phone just went screwy or something. I saw someone going into Kevin’s bed area in emerg and told my mom I had to go.  We hung up and I went to talk to the neuro resident for the first time.

Kevin was still sleeping and she wanted to do some tests but said it could wait until he woke up.  She told me that they gave him four times the regualar dose of medication and so he’ll be out of it for a while longer.  She asked me a lot of questions about what exactly happened when he had his seizure.  Was it his whole body? What part was affected first? How long before he lost consciousness? How long did the whole thing last? What is the family history? And on and on and on.  Boy was she thorough!  She did some reflex tests, had blood drawn then looked at Kevin’s pupils.  After all of the questions and poking and prodding, she told me that she looked at the results of the CT scans.  She said it looks like a cerebral arteriovenous malformation or something else I don’t remember but it is not a cancerous growth as far as they can tell.  She said to know for sure the will do and MRI but she was 98% positive that it was not a tumour.

I waited until 9:00 to call Kevin’s parents.  I told them Kevin had three seizures in a twelve hour period and was in University Hospital and they found something in his brain.  I told them that they were pretty sure it was not a tumour.  I told them to call whoever they thought would need to or like to know and I would continue to update them as I knew more.  Then I asked him (I was talking to Kevin’s dad) to not come to the hospital.  That may seem insensitive to some, after all, it was his son who we were talking about.  But, there was only one person who was allowed back in the emergency area and everyone else had to wait in the waiting room.  I didn’t want to worry about having to “entertain” someone in the waiting room and as it was, I could see Kevin from where I was calling.  If I had to go to the waiting room to update someone, I would have to leave Kevin and I didn’t want to do that.  I got off the phone with Kevin’s dad and called my mom and told her we knew that it was most likely not cancer and that’s all we knew for sure right now.  I then asked her to call Kevin’s work and let them know what was going on.  I felt badly about askng her to to that, but I didn’t have the number and Kevin was sill sleeping .  Plus it was long distance so I didn’t want to make that call from the hospital.  I then called my work and told them I wouldn’t be in that night and that I would be in to talk to HR on Monday about when I would be back.  I had started that job in mid-July and I was worried about being fired for missing a lot of days before my three month probation was up.

After all of the phone calls were done, I went and sat with Kevin.  And I sat.  And I sat.  And I sat.  Then I walked a bit.  Then I sat some more.  The nurses in emerg came over to me and told me to go get something to eat.  They were filled in on what went on and knew that I had been at this since 4:00am.  It was about 9:00 at that point.  So they pointed me in the direction of Tim Horton’s and I bought myself something to eat and a hot chocolate and brought it back to Kevin’s bed.  Then I ate and sat and sat and sat.

At 10:00, the neuro resident came back to examine Kevin.  Seeing that he was still asleep, she told me that she was had to wake him to do some tests.  She drew more blood before waking him up and then woke him up.  It took a very long time to wake him up.  She did reflex tests, picked him lightly with a pin and asked if he could feel it, asked him to push on her hands etc. etc. etc.  He stayed awake for all of that and after she left promptly fell back to sleep.

Part three in which Kevin finally wakes up – coming soon

The story of the beginning of Kevin’s special brain powers – Part 1

September 20, 2009

Two years ago at the beginning of September, my family’s lives changed forever.

I was working nights at Sparton Electronics (yes, I spelled Sparton right) and called Kevin at my supper break at 9:00 as I normally did. He told me he had fallen asleep and had a strange dream that he was lying on the floor and not able to get up. In his dream, he tried to yell for Lilly to call my mom but couldn’t get the words out. He told me that before his dream, he had a weird feeling in his arm and leg. He told me he didn’t know he even fell asleep and the next thing he knew he was in the bathroom. I told him to just get some rest if he wasn’t feeling well and I would call at my next break at 11:30. I told him if he was sleeping to not bother getting up to get the phone.

I got home at 2:00am and read for a bit to get some down time. Then I crawled into bed with Kevin, Rosemary and Victoria. Kevin woke for a bit and said he was feeling strange still, I told him to get some sleep. To tell the truth, I was kind of annoyed with Kevin right then. I can’t really explain why, just a feeling of frustration that he can’t even take care of his own issues and had to foist them on me. I was tired, it was past 2:00am, I was just getting off my shift, I was irrational. I drifted off to sleep.

At around 4:00, I woke up because the bed was shaking. I nudged Kevin and told him he was kicking in his sleep. He responded that he wasn’t doing it on purpose and that this had happened before he had his strange dream. I have to admit that even at that point, I was annoyed with him. I told him to stop it. Then his arm left arm started shaking. He grabbed his left wrist with his right hand and tried to stop the shaking and told me he was trying to make it stop.

Then, he lost consciousness.

As he fell back on his pillow, his left arm went straight out to his side and continued convulsing, all the while hitting poor Victoria in the head. I scooted her out of the way and then called 911. They told me it sounded like he was having a seizure and an ambulance was on the way. They asked me if he had ever had a seizure before, and I told them no. They told me to make sure he was breathing OK. I said he was making strange noises and how do I know he’s breathing OK. They asked me what did the noises sound like. I told them like gurgling, choking kind of noises. They asked if he was choking on his tongue and I said “How the hell should I know! He’s never had a seizure before!” Then the shaking began to lessen and so I told them I think he’s stopping and hung up on them. That is when the adrenalin really kicked in.

I have had many people say to me that they would have lost their head if that happened to them, and they wouldn’t know what to do. They give me compliments and praise me that I was able to remain so level headed while all that was going on.* I let them go on about how great I am, all the while thinking in my head “if you only knew…”

I got off the phone with 911 and Kevin stopped shaking. His seizure lasted two to three minutes, with him being unconscious for a good chunk of those minutes. When he stopped shaking, I sat down on the edge of the bed and started talking to him. I told him he had a seizure and that I called 911 and an ambulance was on the way. He just kept on looking at me and not saying anything. Kevin was catatonic and kept on tapping me on the leg and then tapping himself on his head. Kind of like this tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on my leg then tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on his head. Over and over and over. I talked to him but he couldn’t talk in his catatonic state. I said “Are you OK?” Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on leg, tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on head. “Kevin, are you OK?” Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on leg, tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on head. “Kevin, please be OK…” Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on leg, tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on head. I told him that I was going to move Victoria and Rosemary out of the bed and I would be right back. Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on leg, tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on head. I moved the two girls into their own beds.

I ran back and sat down by Kevin again. Then I thought “Oh crap! I better go unlock the door for the paramedics!” So I told Kevin I was going to unlock the door and that I would be right back. Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on leg, tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on head. I ran down the stairs and unlocked the door. You see, I didn’t want the doorbell to wake the kids. Yup, that was my thought process. My brain was just going a mile a minute at this point. Then I thought “I better call my mom. She’s going to have to take the kids tonight!” So I ran into the kitchen and picked up the phone and started dialing. Then I thought “Geeze Sara! What the hell are you doing! You need to go make sure Kevin’s OK!”

So I ran back up the stairs and sat back down on the bed. Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on leg, tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on head. “You had a seizure Kevin, I called an ambulance.” Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on leg, tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on head. “Do you understand?” Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on leg, tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on head. “I don’t understand what you are trying to tell me.” Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on leg, tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on head. “Kevin, can you understand me?” Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on leg, tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on head. “Are you OK? Does your head hurt? I don’t know what you’re trying to tell me.” Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on leg, tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on head. Right then, I was more worried than I had ever been before in my life. I didn’t know if he would ever recover, if he would ever talk again, if he could understand me, what he was trying to tell me. So, I decided to ask him to wave his hand in front of my face if he understood what I told him. He waved his hand in front of my face and then tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on leg, tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on head. I was relieved. I said to him “I am going to go downstairs and check for the paramedics. Wave your hand in front of my face if it’s OK if I leave you for a couple of seconds.” He waved his hand in front of my face and then tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on leg, tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on head.

I ran back downstairs and went outside, no ambulance. Then I thought “I better get the girls shoes and coats ready to go!” and started to gather their things. Then I stopped myself and said “No! Call mom! She’ll need to meet me at the hospital!” and ran into the kitchen to call my mom. I got to the phone and stopped myself again and ran back up the stairs and into our room to be with Kevin.

When I got in the room, Kevin was trying to sit up. I ran over to the bed and gently pushed him back down. I told him that he needed to wait until the ambulance got there before he got up. He was able to talk at that point and told me he had to go to the bathroom. I told him to lay back down until the ambulance got there. He snapped at me and said “I’m not going to the washroom in the bed!” Those were his exact words. I was worried for two reasons. One – Kevin never snaps at me. Never. Two – His wording was a little strange. I would have expected something like “I’m not going to pee in the bed” or something. I was so shocked and worried, but I helped him get out of bed. He could barely walk. I helped him into the bathroom and told him he had to sit down to go pee. He refused. I made him. He could barely stand and I was afraid that he was going to fall over just trying to pee. I didn’t want him to bang his head on the toilet, counter or bathtub so I told him if he needs to pee, he can sit down to do it. I helped him with his pants because he couldn’t even pull down pyjama pants on his own and helped him to sit down. That’s when the doorbell rang.

I ran downstairs and let in the paramedics. I told them what had happened and that Kevin was in the bathroom sitting on the toilet. Now, see all of that that happened above, from when I called 911 to when the paramedics arrived? All of that was in the span of less than five minutes. We lived really close to the station at that time that I’m pretty sure all of that transpired in under three minutes. I know that they strive for less than four minutes between a call and the ambulance arriving. Now, does any of that sound level headed? No, the only level headed thing I did that night was to call the ambulance. The rest of it was just the adrenalin telling me that I needed to be doing something, then something else and keeping me distracted from what I should have been doing – staying with Kevin. Not that I blame me, but it’s not the picture of calm that, for some reason, most people think I had that night and I can’t convince them otherwise.

When I let the paramedics in, I was ready to collapse. I was so ready to just turn the whole thing over to them because I was in way over my head. One went up the stairs while the other talked to me. I filled him in on what happened and that Kevin had no prior history of seizures and then we joined his partner and Kevin upstairs in the bathroom. The paramedic who was with Kevin was asking him a few questions. I must say right here how much I admire paramedics. When he was done asking Kevin his questions he said to Kevin “I’m going to let you finish up in the bathroom, and wait just out here for you. I’m going to close this door and your wife will help you. Don’t forget to wash up after you’re done.” Why do I admire him for that? Well, he basically told Kevin how it was going to go, what was going to happen and left no room for argument. But, he did it in a way that was commanding but so kind. I asked my paramedic brother just how you learn to talk like that and he told me it just goes with the job. (The reason he reminded Kevin to wash up is because people just coming out of a catatonic state aren’t quite able to remember these things on their own.)

So I helped Kevin finish up his business in the bathroom. All the while he kept asking my why the paramedics were there. I kept telling him he had a seizure and needed to go to the hospital. He kept on insisting he was fine.

One of the paramedics asked me to go downstairs to answer a few more questions for him while the other helped Kevin down the stairs. I’m glad that they got there before I attempted to take him down the stairs because both of us would have taken a tumble if I attempted it. Kevin could barely walk, but he was able to go down the stairs slowly, all the while the paramedic went backward down the stairs in front of Kevin with his hand on Kevin’s chest to keep him from falling. I never would have thought of that, and that’s why these things are best left to the professionals, kids.

While one paramedic helped Kevin, the other asked me some more questions. Just basic ones – what did he do today, what is his job, how many kids do we have, to what hospital did I them to take him, was I bringing my kids or did I have someone to watch them, did I want him to call the police to sit at my house until a sitter got there. Those are the only ones I remember. I answered all of them, told them to take Kevin to Victoria hospital because it’s close to my mom’s house and my mom can meet me and the kids there and take them over to her house. Just let me call her first. While all that was going on, Kevin and paramedic number two made it down the stairs and paramedic number two sat Kevin on the couch. He and his partner discussed a few things.

While they were talking, I called my mom. I told her Kevin had a seizure and that he was going to Victoria hospital. I was babbling and not really talking straight and she said “Tell me what you want me to do.”  I told her that she and Paul (my step-dad) need to drive to Victoria Hospital and wait for us there and then one of them will drive the van back to her house. I told her that she would need to come back sometime to get clothes etc. for the kids because I wasn’t going to have time to pack anything and not to bother taking the kids to school the next day. She said OK and we hung up.

By the time I got off the phone, the paramedics had a stretcher outside waiting for Kevin. Kevin was still sitting on the couch and was looking at me. I recognized the look he was giving me. He didn’t think he needed to go to the hospital but was going to humour me and go along with it. They helped him up on the stretcher and strapped him in. They told me that they would be heading to Victoria Hospital and Kevin would be waiting there for me. While they were loading Kevin into the ambulance, I went upstairs to get the girls. I did not want to see them drive away with Kevin.

I woke the girls up and told them that daddy was going to the hospital in an ambulance. Paramedics, like Uncle Mark, took him and I was going to meet him there and g’ma was going to take them back to her house. Madeleine told me all of the noise woke her up and she heard something happening. I’m very glad she didn’t go downstairs to see Kevin on the stretcher or anything. I marched the kids down the stairs and as I was helping them with their shoes and coats, the phone rang. I ran to answer it and it was mom asking me if I wanted her to just come to my house. I told her that the kids were pretty much ready and I didn’t want to wait that long to get to the hospital, so no please just meet me there. She said OK and we hung up.

I got the kids all out in the van and we drove to the hospital. It’s interesting driving in that time of night. There’s no one out at all. There’s an eerie sense of peace and quiet.  During the drive, I kept on thinking “I guess things were going too well for us.”

I got to the hospital and met my mom. Up until that point, I didn’t shed a single tear. I was teary, but I kept it together. My mom asked me what happened and I told her everything that I knew and then I said “Things were going so well” and broke down. My mom, who knows that nothing goes well for us without something bad happening after, gave me a big hug and said “I know”. You see, two weeks prior to that night, Kevin got a new, really good, job for a really good company. I had started working again after being at home with my kids for eight years and life was good. We had benefits again after two years of having none, so we could take the kids to the dentist (oh the silly things that excite us moms). We were digging ourselves out of some financial trouble, we had money to do fun things now, the stress level in our house was at the lowest it had been in a long time. We were just waiting for the other shoe to drop.

It didn’t just drop, it kicked us in the ass.

Part 2 coming soon

* In the two years since all of this began for us, I have discovered that it’s better to let people do their gushing without trying to tell them that I am only human and they would have done the same thing in my position. At first, I tried to tell all of the “I could never handle it as well as you!” people that yes they could. When you are offered the choice to keep it together or to let it all fall apart, you really have no choice. You have to keep it together. Humans are amazing creatures and are incredibly adaptable. I used to try telling people that I am no different than anyone else, but everyone always protests and tells me that I am stronger than they are. Now, I just sit silently when people tell me these things because it’s just not worth the argument.

Here I sit, not doing laundry

September 14, 2009

There’s a load to be hung out, a load ready to go in and a load ready to be folded and put away. Here I sit with my kids, snuggling under some covers and watching a movie.

There’s a load to be hung out, a load ready to go in and a load ready to be folded and put away. Here I sit in a tub full of bubbles with my kids, making bubble hats.

There’s a load to be hung out, a load ready to go in and a load ready to be folded and put away. Here I sit with my kids, reading a book all about cats.

There’s a load to be hung out, a load ready to go in and a load ready to be folded and put away. Here I sit with my kids, slurping melted marshmallows from the bottom of a mug of hot chocolate.

There’s a load to be hung out, a load ready to go in and a load ready to be folded and put away. Here I sit with my kids, playing a wicked game of Candy Land.

There’s a load to be hung out, a load ready to go in and a load ready to be folded and put away. Here I sit with my kids, watching the shadows on the walls change as the trees blow in the wind outside the window.

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There’s a load to be hung out, a load ready to go in and a load ready to be folded and put away. Here I am, putting the new load in, hanging the wet load out and folding and putting away the dry load. Sigh….

Time flies

September 11, 2009

It’s been eight years. Amazing.
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Dusting off the blog :)

September 10, 2009

So, summer is over. Well, not officially until Sept. 22nd but let’s face it, once the kids are back in school and the routine starts again, summer is at its end. I am hoping to get back to a bit more bloggin’ now. Not that my one reader doesn’t hear my thoughts on a regular basis (hi Kevin!)…

I am calling this post “Narcolepsy sucks and so do people”. Not anyone who reads this blog, of course. My awesomeness permeates the screen and rubs off on all who read this blog. Or is it that awesomeness attracts awesomeness and only awesome people gather here? A discussion for later.

One of the interesting symptoms of Narcoleopsy is called cataplexy. Not all narcoleptics have it, but I do. Here is what Wiki says about it:

Cataplexy, a sudden muscular weakness brought on by strong emotions (though many people experience cataplexy without having a emotional trigger), is known to be one of the other problems that some narcoleptics will experience. Often manifesting as muscular weaknesses ranging from a barely perceptible slackening of the facial muscles to the dropping of the jaw or head, weakness at the knees, or a total collapse. Usually only speech is slurred, vision is impaired (double vision, inability to focus), but hearing and awareness remain normal. In some rare cases, an individual’s body becomes paralyzed and muscles will become stiff.

In my case, it results in dropping things and getting clumsy when I experience extreme emotions. It seems to be getting worse, but that’s par for the course I’m told as narcolepsy just gets worse as time goes by.* I have had paralysis of my facial muscles (I thought I was having a stroke a few times before I was diagnosed) and often the left side of my face feels tingly no matter my emotional state.

OK, so on with the story. Today my kids were really aggravating. They just pick, pick, pick, pick, pick like only kids can do. Victoria and Rosemary were at it all. day. long. Then Lilly and Madeleine joined in when they got home from school. So I was really irritated, aggravated and had had it. I needed to go to the store. Lilly came with me (my mom was here to look after the others) and she was just nonstop complaining and bitching (I don’t like saying that about my own kid but hey, it is what it is). And it was over the stupidest things. Like not wanting glasses. We haven’t even got her eyes checked for crying out loud! Then it was about Madeleine, Victoria and Rosemary making fun of her for… having glasses she doesn’t even have. And then it was this and then it was that. It didn’t matter what I said, I was wrong. (Yeah, all you mommies with girls, you say it won’t happen to you… but it will. I tried, oh how I tried! But, here we are. Pre-adolescent girl with the mouth you want to smack sometimes.) Of course, I can’t get away from it because I can’t just leave her (actually, I suppose I could have as we were walking and she knows the neighbourhood.) So, on the way home from the store, during the nonstop bitch fest**, my one foot gives way and I trip and fall. I tried to stop myself, but there I was, sitting on my kiester on the ground, one shoe off (oddly, not the foot that made me trip).

There were people around. Three of them, all adults. Guess how many came over to ask if I was OK. If you guessed none, you were right. It took me almost a minute to regain proper control of my leg and no one came to see if I was OK. Lilly was cool. She put the stuff she was carrying down (the source of her complaint at the moment, being forced to carry a brick of cream cheese and box of stuffing) and rushed to my side to make sure I was OK. I had to reassure her a few times that I was fine, but no one came to check on us. I mean, if I had broken my leg or something, why would an adult think leaving me in the care of a not-quite-ten-year-old is an OK thing to do? One lady was walking right up the same path when I fell and passed us while I was holding on to the fence to keep my balance until my muscles decided that they would listen to my brain again. Walked right on by without saying a word. I simple “Are you OK?” would be in order, I think and it’s what I would have done in her shoes.

In order to not get more aggravated and experience yet another malfunction, I am indulging in 260 calorie chocolate therapy.

*Interesting note: Narcolepsy does not progress steadily, instead going in spurts. Narcoleptics will reach a plateau and remain there for a while, often years, and then suddenly, their symptoms will start to worsen. They will continue to worsen over an amount of time and then plateau again for a time. The brain is weird. This is why most teenagers who have narcolepsy are often written off as just lazy. Their symptoms are not yet extreme enough to warrant medical attention. But, as time goes by and their symptoms worsen and new symptoms begin to appear, that is when they are diagnosed. So mom, don’t ya feel guilty for calling me lazy all those years? 🙂

**I am not calling Lilly a bitch. Even the most even tempered person will on occasion bitch about something. Lilly is a wonderful girl who has a free spirit and genuinely kind heart. But, today, she had one major bitch fest.