Month: July 2004

MRI preparation

Someday I’ll create an essay detailing the reasons I dislike having to find babysitting. The reasons range from fear of babysittorial incompetance to fear of being-a-bother. The annoyance factor increases dramatically if I don’t want to go to the event that requires my kids to be elsewhere. There is just no happy in making 6 phone calls to try to round up babysitting for 4 children so that I can be drugged and stuck into a claustrophobic MRI machine. Particularly when with every phone call I have to explain where I’m going, that it’s nothing serious just a routine check up, yes I have one every year, no I don’t think the tumor is back, no it wasn’t cancerous, yes that’s right two surgeries and radiation therapy, Oh, you’d love to help but Friday is busy, well thanks anyway. Repeat. Only I don’t want to. I want to spend the next 4 days in denial about that MRI and in NOT thinking about a very dark period in my life which seems to be over now except for the yearly MRI test which requires me to lie still, not swallow, and contemplate how I really, really, really never want to do any of that again.

I normally don’t mind talking about my medical experiences. They’re part of my life. I learned from them I wouldn’t wish to have not gone through them because I came out stronger. It’s the MRI I fear. The MRI with it’s ephemeral possibility that they’ll find a reoccurance of the tumor. I wouldn’t wish the experience UNdone, but I really really want it to be DONE.

Enough angsty rambling. Back to the phone with me.

Examining Moving Thoughts

I love my house and my yard. I have great neighbors. I’m really comfortable where I am, why does the thought of moving appeal to me?

Because moving means change and change might mean less stress for Howard. Either he can cartoon full time or maybe he took a less stressful job. In this case moving would be the symptom of the desired change.

Because I’m too comfortable. Comfort doesn’t promote growth.

Because I’d like to try something different. Change for the sake of change I guess.

Because if I move I might be able to get a new house that already has the things which this house lacks without having to wait for them.

Because the last time we had the house almost paid off and spent $10,000 fixing it up, we moved. Seems like time.

All of these reasons for moving to appeal have a counter balancing reason for me to NOT want to move. It is because the reasons against moving are so solid and weighty that I needed to examine the small peice of my brain that actually wants to move.

Just poking around inside my brain to see what is there.

Dreaming of houses

I drove back from Boise today.  It gave me 4 hours of opportunity to contemplate vast vistas of empty and compare it to my packed subdivision.  I really like my house and neighborhood and yard, but sometimes the place feels too crowded, so I entertained myself by creating a mental dream home.  Since I’m imagining this Cost is not an issue.

Start with a plot of land somewhere between 2 and 50 acres.  Howard once mentioned “thirty acres” so we’ll say 30 acres.  This 30 acres is no more than an hour from a metropolitan area which contains a Walmart and a resonably sized airport.  The thirty acres also contains a natural water feature, a lake or largish stream.

Most of the land will be left the way nature made it.  I might occasionally do something to generate habitat for wild critters, like create a marshland or plant trees, but mostly that land just needs to be there.  About 2 acres will be significantly rearranged to accomodate a house, flower garden, vegetable garden, aviary, Discgolf course, etc.  The house will be about 25 years old, but built lovingly and correctly.  The owners planted trees the first year they built the house and so there are beautiful mature trees on the lot.

The house has a big porch with an attractive view, it doesn’t have to be a vista, just nothing ugly.  The house itself doesn’t need to be huge.  The kids can share rooms if the rooms are large.  It has to have a room with big windows that Howard can use as a studio/office.  No more basement caves for Howard.  There needs to be a big dining area so all the family can come for the occasional big dinner.  An outdoor grilling area needs to be handy to the kitchen.  There needs to be a mud room for hosing off the children.  I want lots of cupboards that are attractively built into the house.  A garage or shed large enough for cars, bikes, lawnmowers, tools, projects, etc.

There must be a fenced play area near the house for little ones.  A larger wild/dirty place for older kids to dig and build forts and generally feel like they’ve got a place of their own.

As I think of it, most of the stuff that I’d really like would fit into 2 acres or less.  I just like the idea of making homes for wild critters.  Mostly I want a space that is big enough to feel alone in.

Anyway this is how I whiled away the time while the kids watched Dora the Explorer for the nth time.  I had to do something to not be bored to tears.

Kid Packing

I’m hitting the road again tomorrow. Howard can’t spare the time from work or Schlock and so I’m driving 4 kids 5 hours to Boise without adult assistance. I’m fairly certain there will be moments during the journey where I question the sanity of the endeavor. I’m also fairly certain that we’ll survive the experience.

The kids are all in favor of this trip. They get to go and see cousins. Link in particular has been excited. He’s spent all evening packing up his stuff. He approached packing with his typical 6-year-old creativity. His original plan dispensed with suitcases entirely. He had all his clothes and pajamas laid out. He intended to put them on in layers. Pajamas, clothes, pajamas, clothes. . . Then when it was time for bed he could just strip off the clothes and be already in pajamas. Morning time? Strip off another layer. Ta da!

He was so pleased with his brilliant plan that I kind of hated to burst the bubble. I pointed out that all the layers of clothes would make him really hot and that we could just put the extra clothes in a suitcase. His response was simply “Oh” but the expression and tone of voice conveyed that this solution hadn’t even occured to him.

Link then filled his school backpack with clothing. He then filled his other backpack with clothing. Since he still had shoes that wouldn’t fit he hauled out his great big duffel bag suitcase and put the shoes into that. Two small, stuffed backpacks and a huge, mostly empty duffel. He was ready. At my sugguestion, all of the clothes got moved into the duffel, one backpack was put away and the other was filled with toys for during the drive. Finally a packing solution that we’re both happy with.

Gleek packed by pulling out her duffel and emptying the entire contents of her dresser into it. (Patches clothes too.) All done!

Kiki carefully selected clothes based on some obscure criteria (whether the matched or not had nothing to do with selection). The clothes were placed in neat little bundles in her duffel along with her blanket, her alarm clock, half the books we own, and probably the kitchen sink for all I know. She’s going to have to haul that thing by herself.

In theory they’ll eventually be able to pack for themselves without providing me with amusment. For now I get to have funny with my packing stress.

Drug Benefits

I really understand the temptation to drug children for convenience sake.  Last night was one of those nights.  3 out of 4 kids awake between the hours of midnight and 2 am.  Two of the kids with worrisome illnesses which had me mentally prepping for emergency room visits.  By morning all was well, or at least recognizably settled into colds rather than more serious illnesses.  Gleek’s cough was still croupy though so I gave her some cough syrup to try to decongest her.

An hour later she’d reached that wide-eyed loopy state that makes drugged people so amusing.  I had to go get blood drawn for a test on me, Gleek had to come along for the trip.  She sat quietly in the chair next to me blankly staring at walls.  The person taking my insurance information turned to Gleek and said “Wow, you’re such a lady!”  I was really really tempted to answer “Yeah, it’s cause I drugged her.”  Usually the commentary I get about Gleeks behavior are along the lines of “Wow, she’s really active.” Or “You certainly have your hands full!” Or wordless gasps of dismay as Gleek engages in acrobatics that should surely end in injury or death but somehow never do.  “Docile” is not usually in Gleeks behavioral repetoire.

Yet, docile is the best word to describe Gleek during that lab visit. It was the most pleasant Errands-while-herding-Gleek I’ve ever had.  She walked holding my hand, when I stopped, she did too.  When I sat, she quietly sat next to me.  Hence the temptation.  Fortunately I understand that parenting isn’t about convenience.  The point of parenting is to nurture the development of the children.  Drugged children simply exist, they don’t develop and they don’t glow with joy.  Gleek is very very good at joy which is one of the reasons why I can put up with all the mad and contrary.

After the blood draw we returned to the car and Gleek crashed into a nap.  She awoke back to normal and all in all, I’m glad for that.


I’ve just been perusing old journal entries and pondering the fact that having them exist only on someone else’s server makes me nervous. I don’t want a server crash to destroy them. Does anyone know of a way to easily archive Journals and commentary into a file so I can save them on my own computer? I can cut and paste into Microsoft Word, but it is tedious.

Peter Pan

This eveing I sat down and watched the live actor version of Peter Pan which came out last year.  The kids had never seen it before and neither had I.  The kids loved it.  Kiki and Link were entranced and giggling through the whole movie.  Gleek watched the first bit where Peter and the other kids fly and then spent the rest of the evening jumping off of furniture.  Patches was just glad to have everyone in the same place where he could climb on everyone equally.

I enjoyed the movie.  I can see why my kids love it.  But the movie makers got it wrong.  Most interpretations of Peter Pan get it “wrong”.  I’ve read the book.  It isn’t about Growing Up, it’s about being a kid.  Growing up is that little bit at the end where you have to step out of the stories and magic to pass them on to your children.

Peter is the quintessential child.  He is charming and spontaneous and mystifying and thoughtless and cruel and mischeivious.  He is younger than all the movies depict as well.  Every version I’ve ever seen shows him on the edge of puberty, the largest of the lost boys.  In the book he still has all his baby teeth.  He acts like a 6-7 year old. 

The movies are magical and each has it’s own message.  I especially enjoyed Hook with Robin Williams and Dustin Hoffman.  But for me none of the movies truly capture the magic contained in the book.

List of dreams

See some of Europe
Learn to play piano
Create a garden refuge in my backyard
Learn to draw/paint portraits
Decorate all the rooms in my house
Write stories
Get back to 120 lbs
Make myself a couture dress
Climb to the top of Mount Timpanogos
Go birdwatching in a tropical country
Go tidepooling again

Fractured Concentration

I think one of the hardest things about full time mommying is not having solid chunks of time to lose myself in projects. I do have chunks of time ranging from 10 minutes to an hour or more, but I can never predict when they will come or how long they will last. Many times I don’t start a project because I don’t expect to have uninterrupted time and the kids leave me alone for an hour. Even more frustrating is when I expect to have time to myself and then don’t. And then there is the whole concept of “free” time at all. There are ALWAYS house chores to be done. Any time I do something just for me it is because I’m actively ignoring between 3 and 20 other things I could be doing. (4 of the things are usually children)

As an example, during this entry so far, I’ve had three conversations with children. Not conducive to maintaining a flowing stream of thought.

There is joy in giving something my whole concentration. In being able to completely shut down the Mommy Radar and just read, or write, or garden, or scrapbook. People whose children have grown and left the nest tell me “enjoy them now, they’ll be gone so soon!” And I know they’re right. And I do enjoy them, lots. But there are moments when I really look forward to the opportunity to miss my little kids. Someday I’ll get to look at someone ELSE running around with small kids while I get to sit and relax and be nostalgic.

Date in the Afternoon

I got to see Spiderman 2 today. Great movie. There aren’t many summer blockbusters that make me cry and have me walking away from the theater really happy.

Even better I got to go see it with Howard on a real date. It’s been a long time since we’ve scheduled an event, hired a babysitter, and gotten out of the house in the same vehicle together. Most of our “dates” tend to be the “put the kids to bed and rent a movie” kind.

We showed up at the theater a little more than an hour early. In fact the theater wasn’t even officially open yet. We figured this out by walking into the theater, past multiple employees, up the the ticket stand, finding no one there, and enquiring who was taking tickets. Not once did anyone accost us or tell us that we should wait outside the building please. Then we sat down in the lobby area and watched the pop-corn making employees. None of them seemed to think that we were their responsibility. Not even the man with the keys who walked past us three times. I found it extremely amusing.

Knowing we were headed for the movie early I’d brought a book along. I didn’t have to open it. Howard and I had too much fun just talking about stuff and making fun of movie slides. Almost 11 years married and we still make each other laugh. That’s a good sign I think.