Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Achoo!

I'm not sick.  I don't suffer from seasonal allergies.  I do occasionally sneeze.  It's funny--lately I've noticed that I sneeze after I've overeaten.  If only it would happen about 15 minutes earlier I might be able to use it as a weight loss tool.

Some people have tiny sneezes that sound more like the squeak of a mouse.  Others (like my dad) have a more horn-blowing sneeze (sorry dad!).  I don't have one of those violent sneezes that can take down a building.  They don't come on so suddenly that it's a shock--I usually look fairly ridiculous but am able to grab a tissue or cover mouth and nose with something.  There's almost always more than one and I'm generally prepared for a series of 2-5 sneezes in a row.

My point is, they're not monumental.

I'd be willing to bet that you sneeze too--maybe not in the overeating prevention (or lack of) sense, but I'd bet you sneeze on occasion when you're not sick and that nothing has been damaged as a result.  If I'm wrong and you NEVER sneeze, then feel free to disregard the rest of this post.

If we can agree, then, that sneezes aren't out of the ordinary or anything to be surprised by, WHY then do people always respond to sneezes with expressions of deep concern for my well-being?  This is a regular exchange:

Me:  Achoo!
Someone nearby:  Bless you!
Me:  Thank you...achoo!
Same someone:  Bless you!  Are you ok?
Me:  Yes--just fine thanks!  Achoo!
Same someone:  Bless you!  My goodness!  Are you feeling ok?
Me:  Yep--just a sneeze.  Achoo!

And it goes on.  I don't understand this.  A sneeze is the body's natural way of keeping harmful things out of the lungs.  In some ways, they kind of feel nice--almost refreshing.  They never hurt.  My eyes have never popped out of my head and I've never suffered bodily harm from a sneeze.  Nick did ruin a pair of expensive sun glasses from a sneeze once but that's an entirely different story.  So, for the record--if you hear me sneeze once or twice or twelve times in a row, I'm just fine!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Together

I had a meeting with a donor this week and she mentioned how glad she was that her work from home husband finally got some office space away from the house.  I mentioned this to my boss yesterday and he sympathized.  His wife would hate it if he were home and underfoot all the time.

I am amazed by this.  These aren't unhappily married couples.  I've seen both pairs together and they're quite happy.  But every morning that Nick is home and I'm headed off to work, he practically begs me to call in sick.  And trust me I'd REALLY love to!  I love my job.  I REALLY love my job.  I work long hours and take it home at night and on weekends and that's just fine with me.  I obsess over my work in the middle of the night--it's what keeps me up much more than worrying about, well, anything else really.  It's a great job and I wouldn't trade it for any other (maybe a promotion or a raise would be nice but even without them, I'm perfectly happy).  But I would so love to spend all day every day home with my husband.  Or out with him.  Or whatever!

When I was living in Kansas City and he would visit, he would come to work with me and sit in a spare cube all day.  When we lived in San Diego, I often spent entire weekends at Sea World, not riding the rides or seeing the animals, but hanging out by whatever ride he was working.  When he worked at the San Diego airport I would go with him on Saturday AND Sunday nights, sit in the food court (right by the Starbucks) and he'd sit with me in between flights and on his lunch hour.  If we can't stay home together, we'll go to work together.  Of course, this was all before we had kids.  I couldn't spend a weekend at the airport now and definitely couldn't get away with not fully exploring Sea World.  We often joke about finding a job where we can both work from home.  Or maybe one day when the kids are on their own, I'll get a job as a flight attendant and we'll travel the country together on the same flights.  I really can't think of a better way to spend my days than with the one person I enjoy most in life.  I'm absolutely thrilled that he enjoys me as much as I enjoy him.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Denver

It was December 2002.  I’d been invited to go on a cruise with my then boyfriend (now husband) and his family for Christmas.  I was booked on a flight from Kanas City to Denver and then on to San Diego.  I was still afraid of flying but the excitement of the trip was outweighing my fears.  Also, I hadn't seen Nick in more than three months and had just spent the better part of the last year working out like a fiend and dropping 27 pounds.  In addition, I’d been spending my mornings in the tanning booth so I was a nice golden brown (I know—it’s really just skin damage but I was young and stupid.).  Yes, I looked GOOD! 

I’d planned my airport attire very carefully, wanting to walk off the plane that evening in such a way as to completely turn the heads of every man but most especially, Nick.  I wore a shockingly short tan skirt, black ¾ sleeve turtleneck (a slim cut) and my knee high black boots (my hooker boots—yes).  My hair was piled high on top of my head and put great effort into walking gracefully, sitting gracefully and just generally exuding utter beauty from every place possible.  This was NOT a practical outfit.

Sitting in the terminal in KCI, we were made aware of bad weather in Chicago.  Chicago—who cares?  Well, as it turns out, I did.  Our plane was coming from Chicago and it wasn’t expected to be on time.  I  walked up to the customer service agent, telling myself not to panic.  I was told more or less that I would probably miss my connection, but not to worry, there was a Frontier flight (I was flying United) that I should arrive in plenty of time for. 

Oh, whew!  Great!  He printed off something for me with lots of numbers and letters and said “Here—you’ll need this.”  I went back to my seat feeling much better.  When our delayed flight finally made it, I boarded with only slight nervousness.  Everything was going to be fine.  I’d make it to San Diego in plenty of time.
Or not.

Getting off the plane, there was a gate agent handing out hotel vouchers.  But I didn’t need a hotel voucher.  I had a ticket on a Frontier flight.  I tried explaining this to him but he didn’t seem to believe me. 

“Well, you can try to get over there.”  I would try.  Heading in some direction, I started looking for Frontier.  I was having no luck and time was short.  It was getting late and most things at the airport were closing.  I found a shoe shine man who was packing up his things.

“Excuse me,” I said.  “Can you tell me how to get to Frontier?”

His smile faded quickly to a look of pity.  “Oh…  Head that way—“ he pointed off to the right and I started to walk away.  “No no, you have to listen to me now.  Head that way, get on the train—“ a TRAIN?  As soon as I heard that I knew I would get lost.  I did my best to remember his directions and took off running—no easy feat in my hooker boots.  On my way to the train, I dug out my cell—nearly dead but I called Nick and left him a message with my new flight details.   I would make it—just keep believing it.
On the train, I finally relaxed.  Mostly because there was no other option.  We were packed in like sardines but I found a place to hold on and stand up.  I tried calling Nick again—no signal on the train.  I checked my watch—I had maybe 25 minutes.

Getting off the train I ran through the terminal, doing my best to remember the shoe shine man’s direction.  Finally I make it.

“Is this for San Diego?” I ask in a heaving breath.

“You just made it!”  The gate agent is taking my bag, my coat, asking for my ID.  I practically strip as they search me for who knows what.  I must have looked a fright—completely disheveled.  I’m sure I looked like a security risk of some kind.  But I’d made it!

Or not.

“Where’s your ticket?”  She asked.  I handed over the piece of paper I’d gotten in Kansas City.  “This isn't a ticket.”

“What?  What do you mean?”  I explained to her what had happened.  She’s typing furiously into her computer, shaking her head.  I started to panic.  Tears welled up and I paid them no mind.  What she’s telling me makes no sense.   I do not, in fact, have a seat on this plane.  I am not reserved.  Do not pass go.  Do not collect $200. 

I’m crying freely now.  Another gate agent has joined us and is trying to reassure me.  “It’s just one night in Denver.  It’s nice here.”

“I HATE DENVER!” I hissed at her.  I have lost all manners.  I was not polite.  I was not forgiving.  I was making an absolute scene.   Finally, the first gate agent says:

“Well, we can put you on the plane but your bags won’t make it.”

“That’s OK!”  I was suddenly cheerful.  My bags and coat are thrown back at me and the gate agent walked me down the jet way to the plane.  I was so grateful.  I thanked the gate agent over and over in between blubbering sobs. 

As I get on the plane, the flight attendant took my bag from me and pointed to the aisle seat in the first row.  I hurried to get my seat belt on.  They had actually held the plane for me.  I looked around and EVERYONE was staring.  The flight attendant leaned down and whispered to me.  “Do you need a drink?”

I just nodded and continued sobbing.  The internal monologue in my head was berating me for my behavior.
‘Stop it!  Stop crying!  You’re on the plane.  What’s the matter with you?’

But I just couldn’t stop.  I was sitting next to a little boy and his mom and I heard her whisper “Don’t stare!”  But everyone was still staring.  I was still blubbering.  The plane finally took off.  I had been using an airplane drink napkin as a Kleenex and it had long stopped working.  My makeup was completely cried off.  My hair was falling.  My eyes were red and puffy and now I was a snotty mess too.  At least my hooker boots were still on!

After I finally calmed down, a nice elderly lady sitting across the aisle put her hand on my arm.  “Are you ok?”  I relayed the entire incident and realized everyone was listening, even the flight attendant.  They were all so sympathetic!  I would have thought that since they were all now delayed because of me that I’d have gotten annoyed comments or harsh sentiments.  But they were all “Oh, you poor thing!”  Maybe Denver wasn't so bad after all. 

After half an hour or so, I was finally able to calm down and stop my blubbering.   I took out a mirror to try to salvage some of my hard fought outer glam.  It was hopeless.  The makeup was long gone.  Puffy red eyes, every blemish showing.  My hair had fallen from its once perfectly curled pile to dangling stringiness. 
Thankfully, when I got off the plane, none of this mattered to Nick.  He was there—just as I knew he’d be—to hold me and let me cry out the frustration and relief.  Of course, my luggage hadn’t made it.  When we went to his house, I finally got to meet his grandmother—my roommate for the cruise.  She’d said she wanted to go to Sea World the next day—Nick was working there at the time and could get us free tickets.  Would I like to go.  Well, sure!  But…


I had no clothes.  I had no makeup.  I had nothing.  Tossing the impractical outfit I’d worn all day into the wash and borrowing pajamas, I finally was able to rest.  The next morning, I put it all back on (hooker boots included) and spent the day completely inappropriately dressed for Sea World.  At least I’d made it.  My luggage was soon to follow.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Pedicures for Turkeys

I got a pedicure yesterday (ok, so I was trying to induce labor--it didn't work) so my feet are now pretty and swollen as opposed to just swollen.  I've always found feet to be pretty disgusting.  Just ask my friend Amy who was forever putting her feet on me when we were younger just to annoy me, or my dad who was always trying to find a way to put his foot in my ear (long story).  Feet=gross!  Pedicures are actually hard for me to sit through but that's mostly because my feet are really ticklish.  It's generally a pleasant process interspersed with moments of absolute torture.

This week I'm working my way through yet another Max Lucado book, Grace where he's talking about how good deeds don't get us into Heaven and salvation was paid for by Jesus and a debt we owed but He didn't (same old stuff, different book but always worth hearing).  The part I read this morning told a story of a women who was driving along when suddenly a frozen turkey landed on her car, smashing her windshield and shattering most of the bones in her face.  The teen prankster was eventually caught and prosecuted, but the astonishing part of the story was his punishment.  This woman would never look in the mirror again without seeing the effects of what he had done to her.  She was in incredible pain and forever changed.  Yet this young man got a very light sentence.  Even more astonishing was that despite the public outcry,  the victim was the one who suggested a light sentence.  She forgave him.

Max then went on to talk about the part of the last supper when Jesus washed the disciples feet.  He was basically saying that Jesus was cleaning the ugly stinky parts of his disciples and he went through the list of all of them who were selfish or prideful or some other undesirable character trait at some point.  James and John wanted special treatment, Peter would deny Him, Judas...well, we all know about Judas.  Anyway Max then suggested that we all have turkeys in our lives--a spouse, a boss, a friend, someone who treats us poorly when we don't deserve it.  What should we do about it?  Wash their feet!  This woman had washed the feet of her teen turkey thrower just as Jesus had washed the feet of his disciples, just as we are to wash the feet of the turkeys in our lives.

I have a couple of turkeys who particularly plague me and I'm trying to figure out just how I might go about washing their feet.  It's all symbolic, right?  I'm not actually going to touch ANYONE'S feet.  But doing something nice for them, forgiving them for being stupid (ok ok, so that's NOT exactly the lesson here), something like that.

But then I realized something very different about the disciples--at least in the way they are portrayed in the Bible, they would all agree that they were being turkeys.  Peter cried his eyes out after the rooster crowed.  Judas hanged himself for goodness sake!  I think we can all agree that they are being turkeys. But the turkey's in my life would strongly disagree that they are in fact, turkeys.  In addition, the disciples all agreed that their feet were dirty and needed cleaning.  These turkeys, I think, like their dirty feet.  What do you do when the turkey doesn't want his or her feet washed?

Now, I'm not talking about a turkey who has dirty feet, is willing to let me wash them but then walks right back in the mud.  That's an easy answer--you keep washing the feet.  That's what Jesus would say, right?  No, I'm talking about turkeys who like their feet dirty.  I don't think Christ's message would be the same if he'd had to wrestle the disciples to the ground and forcibly scrub their toes.  Can you imagine?

"Just hold still a minute!  Stop squirming!  Your feet are filthy!"  I say that to my children but I didn't see anything like that described at the Last Supper.  They might have felt unworthy but in the end, all gave up their dirt freely.  These turkeys don't seem to want their feet washed.  For example, I bring in a nice cake and give it to my turkey.  "Thought you'd enjoy this."

"I'm trying not to eat carbs," said the turkey.

I bring in the mail for my turkey, saving him a trip to the mailbox.

"I was trying to keep the clutter off of my desk," said the turkey.

So, what can I do?  How does one respond to the call to love thy neighbor (wash thy neighbor's feet) if that neighbor doesn't want to be loved (or have their feet washed)?  I don't think it would go over well if I to chase my turkeys around with a basin and a wash cloth.  I really think these turkeys would rather I just leave them alone.  All I can think is that if Jesus were here having this chat with me that He would tell me to pray that God would soften their hearts.  So I supposed I'll stop chasing turkeys around, keeping the pedicures for myself for now.  Unless anyone out there has a better idea.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Not Today

I was so hoping to be posting the details of my weekend labor.  Not so much.  I keep telling myself that it's only 39 weeks.  I'm not overdue.  But I FEEL overdue.  I feel like I should be heading to the hospital any day now.

We tried every trick in the book--spicy food, lots of walking, even a bumpy hayride at the peach orchard yesterday.  Nothing.  Today, more walking and more spicy food.  When I went in for my weekly appointment this afternoon I was fully expecting SOMETHING to happen.  Another centimeter (already at 3) more effacement (just 60%) my water breaking during the exam--ANYTHING to tell me that today is the day.

Nothing.

Well, maybe tomorrow.  I have a pedicure planned to help things along.  Keep your fingers (and toes and anything else you can) crossed!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Nick and Jane

Jane Austen was someone that my high school creative writing teacher told me that I would love.  He was right.  While I can't say that I've read all of her books, I've read quite a few.  Sense and Sensibility is my favorite.  I loved the movie when it came out and loved the book even more.

Nick loves a good period film and generally all things British.  We've watched every Simon Pegg movie (and I really love Hot Fuzz), Iron Lady, The Queen and dozens of others.  I suggested watching my favorite Austen movie earlier this week.  After World's End last weekend, I could stand for some intelligent film.  I wasn't surprised that he enjoyed it.  After all, it did star Hugh Grant, whom Nick often refers to as "charmingly befuddled".  Indeed he was in this movie.  Now that he's see this movie, I dared to suggest Pride and Prejudice last night.  But, not to push my luck too far, I also said that 2 Guns was also an option (a nice, violent, guy movie).  Much to my surprise and delight, and after very little consideration, he said he'd rather watch Pride and Prejudice.  What?  What wife could ever hope to be so lucky!

He loved Elizabeth Bennet and her quick and witty tongue and we were both charmed by Mr. Darcy and his reluctant esteem for this Miss Bennet.  Both so affable!

It's a rainy day today in Philadelphia so we have no specific plans (other than maybe attempting to induce labor).  We've explored the options on Netflix and both Emma and Mansfield Park are available to watch instantly.  I'm not sure which of the two of us is more excited .

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Uncle Danny

My brother-in-law recently cut his hair.  You might not think that's saying much but until a few days ago, when describing Dan to just about anyone, I would have said that he looks like every picture I've ever seen of Jesus.  Full beard, long (very long) flowing brown hair, blue eyes and tall.  Dan is the only 6'7 person I know where his height isn't necessarily the first thing you notice about him...but then again, he is THE only 6'7 person I know.

Dan is one of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet.  It's no surprise that our girls get more excited to see Uncle Danny than they do their own father.  Let's face it--Dad's lots of fun, but Uncle Danny is much more funner.  He does cool things like surf and ride a skate board (Dad can do these things too, but they always seem to forget that).  Uncle Danny has a dog.  We all remember what a disaster it was when WE had a dog.  Uncle Danny (and Aunt Meagan too) buys them really cool presents like marshmallow guns and bunny hats.  No one else does that.

Despite his gentle nature and kind heart, complete strangers might cross the street when they see him coming or at least be a little frightened.  Perhaps that misguided habit might change now that his once three-foot long tresses are down to a mere 12 inches.  It was a big shock for me when I learned that he'd cut his hair.  It's been this long for many years.  I was far less shocked, however, when I learned that he'd donated it to Locks of Love.  Well, of course he did.

Dan, you're a braver person than I.  My one and only Locks of Love donation happened just after Ivy was born.  I gave 12 inches of my own hair and was left with a shoulder length do that my husband proudly proclaimed was the "mom haircut".  (Note to all fathers--do NOT say this to your wife...EVER.).  Nearly eight years ago, this was my last true haircut.  I've gotten the occasional trim since then but my cautionary tales about hairdressers will have to wait for another post.  It's not that I don't like Locks of Love or respect what they do.  It's just that I like my hair a LOT more.  It's a wonderful thing to donate your hair and after all, it WILL grow back.  I just can't bear to part with mine.  I'm sure a lot of people thought the same thing about Dan.  Oh sure, we thought, he'll cut it SOME day, but not anytime soon.  How wrong we were.

Thank you, Dan for being an example of kindness and generosity to others--especially my children who will look up to you (literally and figuratively) for many years to come (until you're stupid like every other adult in their lives will surely be someday!).