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ambulance chasing

June 26, 2015 was an important day for Stevie Wonder. Due for the first checkup since nearly dying in April when his pacemaker had to be replaced after an epic failure to pace his heart (read about it here), he was understandably nervous because he had developed atrial fibrillation after the new pacemaker was placed in his chest.  His recovery from the second surgery was a bit rough compared to the first time.  I tried to reassure him that he was doing ok, and just had to give himself time to heal.  He was a bit whiny about the whole thing in my opinion, but I think that was because my patience was thin from dealing with my own breast cancer and surgery, which was taking place almost simultaneously to what Steve was enduring.


The twins were staying with us for a few days, so they went with us to the clinic. We were going to wait for Gramps to get all his tests finished, then go eat a late breakfast. We left at the crack of dawn for an hour long drive to the clinic. Duncan used the seat belt as a hammock for his head so he could sleep.

Duncan in a head sling

As we walked into the clinic (it was attached to the main hospital), I was explaining to Maddie what an echocardiogram was and the way I watched Gramps heart beating on the monitor when he was in ICU, before his pacemaker was put in. Her response to what I felt was a brilliant description was: “Disgusting!”.

the long wait

 As we sat waiting, we talked, and I played a few games of checkers with the kids. Time passed…one hour, then two. As we began our third hour of waiting the kids were about to mutiny from hunger and thirst.  So I took them to another part of the clinic to get some juice and a snack.  As I was digging money out of my purse to buy juice for the kids, Maddie (who was standing near the hall) uttered the fateful words: “There goes Gramps”.

I figured she meant he had walked past and was headed to the waiting room looking for us.  I said as much, and that was when she lowered the boom: “No, he wasn’t walking, he was on one of those rolling tables.”

“WHAT?” I said.
“He was on a rolling table Grammy.”
At this point I looked a little panicky because I was caught between putting a $1 bill in a machine for a snack for Maddie, and taking off after the gurney. Maddie made my mind up quickly when she said: “I don’t need a snack Grammy!”
So we took off down the hall. The hall took several turns, like a snake. Maddie had run ahead to scout Steve’s location as I brought the rear up with a still sluggish Duncan. She would get to one turn, I would shout at her “CAN YOU SEE HIM?”, she would shout back “YES I CAN”, and then we would advance to the next bend in the hall.

In my mind the whole time was that SW had collapsed during the stress test, and they had come looking for me to tell me they were transporting him to wherever they needed to go to fix him, and couldn’t find me because I WAS BUYING EFFING SNACKS FOR STARVING GRANDKIDS.

After what felt like a mile of scouting, reporting and running, I ran out of steam as I made it to the last bend and saw the end of the gurney and a nurse waaaaaaaaaaaay down the hall just going out of sight. I decided we would go back to the waiting room and wait until someone found us and told us the bad news.

So we sat there, they split Duncan’s honeybun and drank their juice and I fidgeted like I had ants in my pants. About an hour later, Steve walked in the door of the waiting room.

bubba gramps

WALKED.  I jumped up and almost shouted at him “ARE YOU ALL RIGHT?”
He looked at me like I had lost my mind and said “yes”.
I said “did you go by on a gurney about an hour ago?”
“No” he said.

Then it hit me.

I had been chasing a stranger down the halls of the hospital. I asked Maddie how she knew it was Gramps on the gurney. She said: “because he had white hair and was wearing a mask like Gramps does when he is sleeping.”  Steve saw my face and knew something was up, so I had no choice but to tell him what had happened.

He started laughing.

He was still laughing 4 hours later every time someone called to check on him and he got to tell the story again.

an anticlimactic end to the morning, at Waffle House

I thought I had finally lived it down until Steve said a few hours later:

I would have loved to see what happened if you’d caught that gurney and saw you’d been chasing a stranger down the hall.

Steam started coming out of my ears at this point.

I am now the victim of another Steve story, which grows with “embellishments” every time he tells it.

…life is like chasing gurneys, you never know where you are going or what lies ahead. ~cath
i am @jonesbabie on twitter


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life, washed down with cherry garcia

These thoughts go hand in hand with #FridayReflection prompt:  Reflect on the following quote: “Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got.” – Janis Joplin

When life throws me a curve, I head for my standby coping skill…music.  Lately it’s been music from my past, and last night it was the Grateful Dead.  I decided I needed some ice cream to add to my cope plan (that is my weapon for extreme emotional punches to the gut).  And my go to flavor is Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia. I grabbed some, and then spotted my newest coping obsession beckoning enticingly from a shelf on my way out.  I swear I didn’t intend to do it, but suddenly they landed in the cart.

So last night was a time for ruminating, minimal communication with my family to keep them in my loop, and just vegging with music and a sugar high.  Because let’s face it, the Grateful Dead still effing rocks, and Cherry Garcia slides soothingly across your tongue.

Along with a big ahhhhh of a bite of Banana Hostess Twinkies, a new flavor in a cake that is as big a part of my past as the Beatles, Disneyland, Santa Monica Beach and on and on.

And I realized as I slurped, chewed and listened, that what is happening is a bump in the road, and not a mountain. So it is time to deal, and move on, not to whine or worry.  Time to focus on the present, and let the rest take care of itself.

Sometimes, when you are grateful to be alive, all you need is the Grateful Dead in your ears, and some Cherry Garcia to wash it down.

…life is good with a little cherry garcia on it…  ~cat
i am @jonesbabie on twitter
 


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rubberband man

Two weeks ago I opened my closet door, searching for the lightest material I could find. It had to be light as gossamer, and not add one ounce to the scale when I stepped up at the doctor’s office. I knew jeans would add at least a pound of fake weight, so I dug through sweaters, tops, pants, jeans, searching…searching…beginning to feel desperate.

Then I saw it. Tucked back out of sight, never worn because it had always been too clingy. Too revealing of bulges and bumps I didn’t want on display. The dress. Just a simple navy, scoop neck knit. You ladies know the type of dress I am talking about. I twisted my lips as I wondered if I could get into it. Then I lifted it off the hanger and my decision was made.

It weighed about 2 ounces. Perfect. If I could just squeeze my ass into it. I went to ask Wretch if she had a slip I could borrow. It had been so long since I wore a dress that I didn’t own a slip. Wretched Daughter handed me a slip as she uttered the fateful words:

“It’s a slimming slip.”

That should have clued me. The key word was slimming.  I didn’t have time to think it through so I grabbed the slip and headed to the shower to get ready for work. That is when the fun began. I learned some valuable lessons as I struggled to get this piece of spandex hell on:

1. Never put on anything spandex while your skin is still damp from a shower. It sticks like glue and refuses to budge.
2. Never use lotion before putting on spandex for reason #1.
3. Never EVER put it on over your head.  STEP into it.
4. Once you have put it on over your head, you are trapped.

It was nice and soft and stretchy when I was holding it in my hand. Once I got it over my head and under my armpits, it turned into a boa constrictor. It rolled up firmly under my armpits, and refused to budge. I couldn’t reach it to pull it over my head, and I couldn’t unroll it to pull it down.

I was stuck. At that point, I got a bit panicky, and started to sweat like a pig. Which made the boa constrict tighter. It began to feel like I would die, and end up with a rubber band buried up in my armpits.

I pulled from the front. Then realized I was pulling the bottom of the slip out over the top and it couldn’t roll down. Not even one inch. I tried to unroll it from underneath, but it decided that it wasn’t going to budge that way either. I tried to reach behind my back and pull it down from there.  Nope. I tried to pull the whole nightmare of a slip off over my head. Nope. By then my body was swelling from having the blood flow constricted, and it was buried even deeper into my flesh, if that was possible.

I was running out of time and made one last effort. I grabbed the front of the slip and yanked on it like I was pulling down a shade. It hesitated, then suddenly unfolded. I rolled it down my thighs, and then stopped to catch my breath.

Suddenly it felt pretty good. Or maybe it was that I could breathe again. I slid my dress over my head and looked down. Bumps, bulges and odd spots all under control. It really was a miracle slip. Wretch cautioned me that it wouldn’t remold me (dang it) but that it would smooth me.  It sure did. I felt like a tire with a new tread. Today was going to be great, I could just feel it.

I drove to work. When I got out of my car, I realized that the rubberband slip was going to let me know all day who the boss was.

Because every time I sat down all day, the backside of the slip slid up and cupped my behind. I spent the entire day feeling like my ass was in a sling.

All that effort to save 6 ounces on the scale at the doctor’s office.

The dress went in the garbage when I got home that night. The slip is still embedded in my skin.

…you’re bound to lose control when the rubberband starts to jam… ~cath
i am @jonesbabie on twitter


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make it snappy

Truth is stranger than fiction. It’s a fact that I am blind as a bat without my glasses. I wear contact lenses.  There is a small period of  time when I remove my contacts, and before I put my glasses on my face, when I am blind and lack depth perception.

Tonight I took my contact lenses out. I reached into the cabinet, got out my glasses in their case. What happened next is what caused the chain of events below.
I opened my eyeglass case upside down.

My eyeglasses fell out, headed for the ceramic tile floor (brand new glasses by the way).

I grabbed at the glasses with my left hand to catch them before they fell to the floor and got scratched (only you eyeglass wearers can appreciate my panic).

As I grabbed with my left hand at my glasses, I reflexively closed my right hand.

Eyeglass case in my right hand (spring loaded closure) snapped shut with a loud crack.

On my right nipple.

I screamed and yanked.

I’m still afraid to open the glass case. 

I think my nipple may be inside.

…make life snappy… ~cath
i am @jonesbabie on twitter


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nightlife is the bright life

Reminiscing tonight after seeing something on the television triggered a memory for tonight’s photo response to the NaBloPoMo prompt, NIGHTLIFE.

When Jim (our middle child) was about 4 or 5 years old, we were eating dinner and talking when we noticed that Jim had gotten quiet.  We looked at him and started laughing.  He had fallen asleep in his chair, with a half eaten chicken leg still grasped in his left hand, his arm dangling at the side of the chair. As we laughed, it led to another “Jim story” from about the same time.  Steve got up before daylight one morning to find the refrigerator door standing wide open. Lying on the floor in the light cast from the open door was the red rind off a piece of bologna, an empty cheese wrapper and an empty soda can. When Steve checked on Jim, he found half a piece of bologna laying on the pillow beside his head.  He asked Jim why he had left the door to the refrigerator open. Jim’s response: “because it was dark and I was afraid I couldn’t see to get back to bed.”

Nightlife in my house revolves around the family refrigerator.  The welcoming gleam of the interior light provides security in a darkened room, foods and treats to scavenge, and drama after a big family meal when we struggle and fight to find places to stuff all the leftovers. Then there is the unsolved mystery of the light. Is it on all the time, or only when the door opens?  Even Jim still hasn’t figured that one out, 37 years later.

(Happy Birthday to my sweet Sneezer, who turned 42 on May 25.)

…life is good. ~cath
i am @jonesbabie on twitter


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friday reflection: the funniest thing I saw this week

This week, the +FridayReflections prompts offered a chance to go back to previous weeks and write about something we had not used as a prompt. Since I missed a few weeks, dealing with other things, I looked back and the prompt I wanted to write about jumped right off the page and into my head:

What was the funniest thing you saw or heard this week?

If you saw what I posted yesterday you will see a photo of a 10 year old boy smiling. If you are very observant, you will notice his tie. His mother noticed it the second she saw him from the other side of the room. Here is the story behind the tie:

Jen called me the other day to share something. I had been feeling a bit overwhelmed, dealing with one thing after another in my life. I was beginning to feel as though a day wasn’t going to dawn that didn’t bring some major thing to endure with it. So I was half ass listening to what Jen said at first. She told me about Awards Day at school for the twins, and their accomplishments. I was proud of the kids, no doubt about that, but still miserable in my own skin. Then she told me about Duncan. 

This year not only did they receive awards for accomplishments, the twins also graduated from elementary school to middle school. So graduation was a big thing for them. Jen told me she sent a tie, shirt and jacket with Dunc so he could dress properly for such an important occasion. She arrived from work just in time to see the ceremony.


And being a mother, she noticed it right away. Dunc, who didn’t hold his bottle until 3 days before Jen weaned him off it, and didn’t dress himself until he was well over 5, had dressed himself. Jacket, shirt and tie in place. Except for one thing.

The tie was INSIDE the neck of his shirt. When she saw it, Jen started laughing. Then she fought the urge to do corrective dressing and let him wear it like it was. 

I was laughing as loudly as Jen while she told me this. I could just picture it, and when I did get a picture from Jen, it was exactly as I imagined. And…the tie was RED, which meant it REALLY stood out.

A bit later I was struck by the real lesson. It wasn’t the laughter, although that was medicine for my soul. It was the fact that Jen got it. She understood what was important that day. It wasn’t the tie. It was the fact that Duncan, the boy with ADD who had been failing the first grade, was graduating on the A/B honor roll.

And THAT is more important than a red tie inside a shirt.

…life is good. ~cath
i am @jonesbabie on twitter

Today is day 23 of NaBloPoMo over at BlogHer and the prompt is OUTSIDE. I was stumped about it until we stopped at a traffic light today. Stevie Wonder said “look what is painted on the outside of that guy’s truck!”  I saw it, and as we passed by I shot this photo. Little bit of editing (I couldn’t be me without tweaking a photo with an app), a caption, and here is my take on the prompt (and also the funniest thing I saw besides Dunc’s tie):