Saturday, January 30, 2010

It's not swine flu people!

Last night my son's girlfriend wasn't feeling well, so I took her to the hospital ER to have her checked out. Now we have suspected she had a bun in the oven again, since she was about 2 months late and the home pregnancy test came back positive right around Christmas time.

I walked into the ER area and sat down. All over the place there are signs saying that if you have a cough, fever, etc... you need to wear a mask. Now while I have had none of that, my nose has leaked more than my kitchen faucet and I've been gasping for air like a fish out of water these past few weeks. I've got a sinus/upper respiratory infection and the Z-pack I got wasn't touching it, which I have to admit, was pretty darn strange. In addition, the frigid subzero temperatures we've had have made me feel like a cold blooded mammal instead of a warm blooded one. Just touching my hands or feet, or even the tip of my nose and you'd have thought I was bitten by Edward and turned into one of the undead...I was just SO COLD!

Upon arrival, I am watched cautiously by the nurses in the triage area and the desk clerk. I take Kleenex after Kleenex out of the box provided on the table and blow with the force of a Mt. St.Helens eruption after a long dormant period. Had I been the late Mr. Jackson, I most certainly would have blown off the entire end of my nose while trying to get a good, deep breath of air. Other patients quickly moved a few seats away, while trying to ignore my complete misery. By then, my breath was coming hard and I was panting like I was on the delivery table having my son all over again. My eyes were weeping and nose was leaking and I just wanted to sleep. I was just...miserable.

Eager to get me the heck out of the waiting room, the triage nurses decided that my son's girlfriend was a priority, and we were called in shortly after arriving. I am sure everyone breathed a big sigh of relief when I left. Had I even sneezed or coughed, I know the ER waiting room would have been shut down for the night due to a biohazard. And I just know the guy from housekeeping with the disinfectant spray bottle and gloves in his hand that passed me on his way to the waiting room was a pure coincidence... NOT!

Upon arriving in the ER area, the nurse looked at me and asked me to sit on the table. She seemed a little embarrassed when I told her I wasn't the patient. Within a few minutes the physician's assistant came in and began chatting. I was seated to the side of her, dabbing at my eyes and nose with the box of Kleenex I'd stolen from the waiting area. I figured since I'd touched it, it'd be thrown out anyways, so brought it along just to be safe.

Out of the corner of her eye, she kept watching me. Finally, she turned to me and asked me if I was okay, and if I was crying. She probably figured I had a good reason to cry, since this is the second child of a 15 yr old mother and 17 yr old father, both babies themselves. I explained to her that I was sick, but I had it under control and pulled the Z-pack from my purse.

She even paid me the ultimate compliment when she told me that I looked sicker than most of the patients in the ER, and that I should check myself in because my Z-pack wasn't working. I mean, who doesn't want to look genuinely sick when they head to the Except that this appointment was not about me, and I wasn't there to get treated.

After some blood tests and an ultrasound on my son's girlfriend, the pregnancy was confirmed. Sometime towards the end of August, another little grandchild will be arriving. Definitely not planned, but I will do my best to make sure the little one is cared for. I've spoken to my teen son and mentioned a possible neutering if he even attempts going for a third one. I've even told him to look up the definition of Eunuch in the dictionary, as that could be his potential future if he so much as THINKS about sex after the next baby is born.

On the way out of the hospital a few hours later, the inevitable happened. I felt a sneeze coming on. A big one. It happened just as I hit the waiting room area, without warning. I had barely enough time to cover it with my hand as I sneezed loudly and with enough force to scatter my germs all over the immediate area. As I passed the waiting room desk clerk, I could see she was getting her mask ready...and I was almost out the door when I heard on the intercom: "Housekeeping to the ER waiting area..."

So here I am still sick and miserable as heck, nose leaking, sinus pressure in my face, and wondering when I will be over it. In the meantime, life goes on. If I don't post for a bit, I'm most likely in bed with a Kleenex shoved up my nose and Vick's vapor rub on my chest, trying to get some much needed sleep. Hope to be posting more again soon!

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Tale of Two Earthquakes

Like many of you, hardly a day goes by when we don't hear something about Haiti. Tales of survival, heartbreak, courage and heroism fill the airwaves on a regular basis. Graphic images of the horrors these people have endured are thrust into our faces daily, a grim reminder of the tragedy, sorrow and dispair their world has now become.

I have been fortunate enough in my neck of the woods (Central Maine) to not have endured the conditions these Haitians now face. Sure, we have snow, sleet, rain and ice. But earthquakes, hurricanes and other weather disasters usually don't hit our area with the severity of other places in the world. Although there are two events in my lifetime (the flood of 1987 and the ice storm of 1998) that were severe enough to affect my area-we as Mainers made use of our resilient nature and were able to endure the hardships using good old Yankee spirit, helping and watching out for our neighbors, sharing generators, and doing what we could to make it easier for those affected.

In order to better understand about the challenges Haiti now faces, I asked my husband to tell me a little about the February 4, 1976 7.5 Guatemalan quake that he had lived through. He was almost 6 when it happened. Although the death toll was 23,000 and falls far short of the 200,000 estimated dead in Haiti, it still haunts him to this day. Back then, he lived in a small town (pueblo) out in the country, about an hour from the city in car. The earthquake hit around 3 am, most people were sleeping. Growing up, he was extremely poor, and his family lived in an adobe type of home. The majority of these homes were destroyed, but for some reason, his remained standing. They didn't have lights, public water, or any of the things we consider a necessity when he was growing up. Thus, being cut off from the city (bridges had collapsed, there were rock slides and roads deemed unsafe) didn't affect him as much as it would have someone in the city. He says that relatives moved in together, often several families to a room. Because his community was mainly a farming community, they were able to survive on beans, tortillas and water for many weeks. People shared what they had, and made it last. And of course, people died. The dead were buried in makeshift wooden coffins and mourned. But life, as they knew it, went on.

My ex husband is also Guatemalan. He was about 8 when it happened. He lived in the city and tells a different tale. He says when the quake struck the sound of screaming filled the streets. People ran into the street, in all stages of dress (and undress) frantically looking for family members as their homes crashed down into rubble. Crying children called out to their parents, there were many injured, and many dead. He'd always get so excited telling me about it, and has repeated the story to our son more times than he wants to hear it. There was some looting, but not alot that he can remember. Those that did were shot or lynched by the mobs. Or had their arms or hands chopped off with machetes. Or were shot by the army or national police. Services took awhile to get there as the infrastructure was damaged, and international aid began arriving a few days later. Heavy equipment began moving the huge blocks that had once been homes, some with two or three stories. Under those blocks, the stench of death filled the air. Some people were never found, and children began to fill the orphanages. He doesn't remember mass graves being dug, but he does remember seeing the body bags filling the backs of trucks. To him, Haiti is reliving the memory of the quake in Guatemala all over again.

To me, it was interesting to see how two people in different parts of the country had two different observations to what had happened. The quake had affected them both in different ways, with my ex in the city enduring much more hardship than my current hubby who lived in the country. Just this past month, Guatemala was hit by a 6.0 after the Haiti quake. My current hubby's family lives on a ledge, on the outskirts of the city, huge cement poles holding up the back of their home. They have since purchased land on flat ground and are building somewhere safer. Years later, the shaking still affects them. After making sure that the children were outside, my sister in law paused in the doorway for a moment, and stayed there until the rolling subsided and it was determined safe to enter the house again.

For these survivors, the memories never go away. They linger in the back of the mind, and awaken with the first tremble of the Earth. Each aftershock brings fear, a sense of dread and foreboding. The body switches into survival mode, and everything but life's basic necessities now seems insignificant. The past is a distant memory, the future is unthinkable. For everything is all about TODAY.

The survivors have a difficult road ahead, but those that choose not to give up will endure whatever hardships they may face. The path will not be easy, but no one said it would be. Currently, the news stations are full of stories on the Haiti earthquake. In time, other news stories will come to take its place. Like those who died on 9/11 and in many other disasters around the world...gone, but certainly not forgotten.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Becoming my Mother...

I seriously think I am becoming my mother. Tonight I went out with hubby after getting my hair cut and colored (in my quest to be well preserved and a nursing home hottie) and we FINALLY made it to Margarita's Mexican Restaurant for my nachos.

While there, I ordered a frozen strawberry margarita. Now back in the good old days, I was sipping on these suckers like there was no tomorrow. Tonight I just wanted to sleep. Yes, sleep. As in curl up in a little ball and nap on the table between the salsa and chips. Granted, I've been sick, but that is no excuse for acting like my mother, who gets drunk from sniffing the inside cap of a beer bottle.

I looked around and observed others, not to far off in the distance we could hear the crazy hyena like laugh of some old broad who had one too many and I decided I would pass on the second round of liquid goodness. Nothing like drawing attention to myself at this stage in my life. Gone are the cute young men who would graciously help me get into the cab or a friend's car as I was leaving for the night. Nowadays it would take 3 strong men and a cot to haul my fat butt out of there.

Earlier, I had to beg my stylist to remember to cover up the grey hairs. I've got a patch of them right in the front near my forehead that makes me resemble the fat skunk that lives under the porch next door. The only thing I have going for me is that I don't smell as bad as he does. Lucky for me, my stylist went to school with me. She and I can really relate and bitch about how old we're getting now... and how our bodies creak and groan as we struggle to make it out of bed in the morning.

As more and more time goes by, I see little bits of my mother in myself. The way I act, the party pooper I have become. I can remember her telling me stories of how she was "back in the day" her eyes glowing with delight as she told me the secrets of her youth. And now, I find myself telling my kids the same stuff. (well, not ALL my secrets, but a few!)

I am about 4 years older than hubby, he will be 40 in July and I can't wait. He teases me about robbing the cradle all the time, so now I can officially call him an old man. Heck, he's been calling me "vieja" (old woman in Spanish) since I was 29! Tonight was fun, I celebrated, I drank, and I laughed. I realized I'm old, getting older, wider, and maybe a bit wiser. I will have stories to tell, grandkids to entertain, and maybe more wrinkles too. The expensive lotions and potions may erase the fine lines and creases, maybe a deep wrinkle here or there; firm and perky no longer exist except for in photos of days long gone by...

So I've become my mother, and she's become my grandmother. Something we always said we'd never become... but look where we are now. They say you are only as old as you feel, heck, if that was true I'd be mummified and living in a pyramid somewhere across the ocean. And the only cougars I remember are the ones with the first name of Mercury and the endangered species that lives in the forests...both rare and hard to find now.

I'd rant a little bit more, but seriously, it's past my bedtime and this middle aged momma needs her beauty sleep! Have a good night all!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

As most of you know, my hubby is back from Guatemala. During his time there, he enjoyed the warm sunshine and 70 degree temperatures. I silently cursed him (well maybe not TOO silently) as the snow fell, and the temperatures fell right along with it here in Central Maine during his absence.

It was only natural that he come back to Maine during a cold snap. As he waited in the frigid air for two hours outside of Logan Airport in Boston he began to wish he was back in Central America. His brother in law's vehicle had broken down, so he had to wait for a back up driver to pick him up and bring him to Providence, which was about 45 minutes away, so he could get his car and share the wonderful Guatemalan fried chicken (Pollo Campero) with his sister and her hungry family.

At first, when he came home, all was well. Then the sneezing began. Followed by the clearing of the throat, the runny eyes and snorting of the nose. I honestly tried to stay as far away from him as I could, but even a king sized bed has its limits. I warned him not to make me sick, because when I get it, I usually get a sinus infection to go right along with it. Which means a trip to the doctor's and a Z Pack for good measure.

Being a man, he whined and wanted me to wait on him hand and foot. I gently reminded him that was what his mama had done the past 3 weeks and that he'd returned home. Once that reality was stuck in his brain, he realized that getting me to do anything remotely nurselike was not going to work. So I made him PROMISE not to make me sick. I even asked him to pinky swear, just like my 8 yr old does when she really wants me to promise her something. But I don't think that was a good idea. That damn pinky had to have been carrying some sort of germ because sure enough, within hours I was sniffling and miserable.

As I write this, my sinuses feel like they have reached their limits. I've resorted to shoving Vick's vapor rub in my nostrils and could probably rival the neighborhood coke head fix for fix. My daughter says I'm offensive, I say I can't smell anything anyways so she has to live with it. We're in the middle of yet another snowstorm and a Z pack is not in my immediate future. So I suffer. And inhale more Vick's.

Hubby is still sick as well. I'm trying to keep away from the kids and the baby, because a whole houseful of sick people is NOT a fun house. And if mama stays sick, nothing gets done. So I am putting the over the counter stuff to me while I wait to see what course this virus is going to run. For the next few days, it will be rest, sleep, and trying to get rid of this thing. I'm off to bed for the night-although I might stay up awhile longer if I can't breathe. Have a good night everyone, and stay healthy!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Happy Birthday Memere!

Today my grandmother would have been 92 years old. It's her first birthday in Heaven, even though she promised us she'd lived to see 100 and celebrate with a big party. For those that don't know, I grew up with my grandparents and my mom who was single when being a single mom just wasn't cool.

Years later of course, my parents reunited and even though my mom continued to live with her mother, she visited my dad daily. Sounds odd, but its just the way things were.

I almost bought a cake today, to celebrate her birthday by myself. My mom and her sister managed to trod through the snow banks to get to her grave and say a prayer. On holidays and in the summertime, before she became pretty much housebound, my grandmother loved to go to the American Legion and touch base with her slowly disappearing circle of friends. Or Burger King, and get a burger and chat with the regulars. Her favorite drink was a rum and coke, and she'd have 2 or 3 and act like a silly fool, but it was fun to see her let loose after a week of housework and watching soaps. I can remember she'd bring her own bottle of rum because she complained that the drinks weren't strong enough, and add a little more to give it some flavor.

It's been YEARS since she'd been to the American Legion, but when mom and I were cleaning out the closet we found an unopened bottle of rum in her oversize purse way in the back-perhaps she was saving it for her party, the one she'd never have. The bottle sits unopened, waiting for just the right moment. I've decided that it will be opened January 17th, 2018- and I will celebrate her birthday for her... and wade through the snowbanks in the cold, barren cemetery and leave her a glass of rum and coke, spiked with a little extra for flavor of course, and toast her 100th! I'm sure she'll be smiling, happy that I remembered.

Happy 92nd Memere Dottie, may you enjoy your day and know that we love you and miss you.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Win a Hamilton 2 speed hand blender...

I would love one of these...we make lots of licuados (fruit shakes/smoothies) here in our house and this would make it super easy! Tiffany is giving one away over at her blog The Pifer Family and you should check it out. Stop by and leave her a comment, but make sure to enter quickly, she is ending the giveaway at noon CST on Saturday!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

January 15th, 44 years ago....

I used to remember when I was excited to have a birthday. I would anxiously count all the candles and blow them out while happily declaring that I was another year older. I think I stopped doing that when I turned 10. Seriously.

Sure, 18 and 21 were exciting-old enough to vote and old enough to drink. But at 44 candles, I'd need a super sized cake and sure as hell need an infusion of hot air just to blow those candles out all by myself. I strain myself now just blowing out one regular candle, and knowing my son, he'd fill up my cake with those trick candles so I'd huff and I'd puff, and then probably pass out from lack of oxygen and over-exerting myself.

However I have taken the day off in the hopes that I would be able to relax. Not so. I just discovered that my drivers license also expires that day. So now I will spend a good part of the day in DMV hell while waiting to get my license renewed. Top that off with a bad hair day and lack of a cut and color until my next payday on the 22nd and that is the icing on the cake. (not to mention the bad photo I will have to look at for the next 6 years.)

So my birthday is going to be a busy one, as I check out the local Asian buffet for the "free meal on your birthday" deal and possibly the local cinema for the free movie as well. Hubby will be home by then...but probably working since he's had so much time off. Maybe I will be blogging, or drowning my sorrows with a nice cold Diet Coke, as I search for new wrinkles in the mirror and research the latest potion online that promises the Fountain of Youth and to keep me well preserved into my senior years. (or at least looking pretty damn hot by the time I get into the nursing home.) In the meantime, enjoy your week people and keep those in Haiti in your thoughts after today's terrible earthquake that has devastated their country.

Friday, January 8, 2010

So I can't sew...but she can! Check out this giveaway-

If you're obsessed with all things Disney, check out the super cute personalized (with YOUR name!) Minnie Mouse apron! Stephanie is so talented, and wants to give one away!

But you'd better hop to it, the giveaway ends on the 13th-go check it out and enter to win, 'cause you just might end up cooking with Minnie :) Good luck!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I Kinda Feel Like Pigpen...

Lord...I need to clean the house! Lol... hubby will be back in about a week and the house looks like a hurricane hit it. I've got papers, bills, refund offers and coupons strewn all over the place as I have been trying to get organized and throw out stuff I don't need.

My teen son came downstairs last week and said in a somber tone, "Mom, I think you need to see this." I watched as he searched for the remote control...which was supposed to be someplace on my bed. Finally, he gave up and went upstairs. A few moments he came back downstairs, his own Dish Network remote in hand and turned on the TV. He then turns it to some show called Hoarders and proceeds to tell me he is contacting the network and putting me on TV if I don't clean up.

Wow. I had to admit the show was intriguing. No, I don't have have half eaten trash and a garbage pail for a living room, BUT I do have a paper clutter problem. I don't have rats and mice living amongst us, the only ones I have to see are the ones Tippy brings in as an offering to me. (and they usually end up taken out of the house by me that same evening, ewwww!) I mean, I DO have a junk room. Everyone has a junk room...don't they, lol. I have a bit of a storage problem, but with a cellar and those nice big storage bins I keep buying (and filling)I am overcoming it little by little.

My son of course was joking when he put on the show and told me he was calling them, but I was not pleased. I can understand how these people feel. I mean, at work or at home if something is out of place and someone has been at my desk or moved something I get really uncomfortable. I just don't feel in control of the situation. So say I left some coupons for Burger King in a pile on my desk. Someone comes over and moves things around, and my coupons are neatly organized in another spot. While they have meant well, I am really freaking out inside. And feeling very uncomfortable.

It is weird, part of me wants everything neatly organized like those home interior magazines that I get in the mail. It seems that there is a place for EVERYTHING in those magazines, but in my home, I just can't seem to get organized. Besides, I know where everything is-so that is all that matters is the way I see it. So maybe I do have a slight touch of the hoarder instinct, and don't even know it. But I do like my Spring and Fall cleaning too...and feel good throwing stuff out-it's just the organizing I need help with I guess, to FIND a place for everything in my home...and KEEP it there. (because my home IS big enough for everything, apartments I had lived in years ago were NOT.)

Since tonight is trash night, I guess I'd better get moving!