Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Laid Up

Hey all...

If you're a personal friend of mine on Facebook, then you saw my post from Thursday with a picture of my foot in a splint.  Here's the full story on that:

I was getting kids out the door so we could meet Allen at the bank.  Max and Ruby were heading down the front steps already, and I was holding Ben and locking the door.  There are three steps.  I don't remember if it was from the middle to the bottom step or from the bottom to the ground, but at that moment my right foot wobbled in its Dansko clog.

At this point I have to just say that I feel like such a klutz, because Dansko is the official clog of Competent People (nurses, teachers, etc.)  People who are on their feet for work for 12 hours a day wear these things. Yet on more than one occasion I have wobbled my ankles in them, one time falling down while holding Max (although that time did not hurt my ankle but did hurt my hands and knees from falling into gravel and protecting Max from the fall).

Anyway, I wobbled at just the wrong moment because instead of recovering, the ankle just went out, 90 degrees style, first one and then the other.  I started to fall and twisted my body so that I would fall on my back and not squash Ben whom I was holding.  Thank you God for mother instincts!

I screamed as both ankles went out from under me, and again fortuitously the neighbor across the way heard my scream and came over to see what she could do.  She held Ben for me while I called Allen. Allen sped all the way home.  The kids were pretty nonplussed by the whole thing but relished the opportunity to play in the yard while I lay on the concrete.

Looking back on it, I know it all could have been so much worse.  For example, if I had fallen in just about any other position on that area of patio, I would have gotten a much more serious injury.  I could have smashed my head on a brick ledge, the rest of the steps, a tomato cage, or the fence.  I could have broken my back on the steps.  I did hurt both ankles, but the left ankle was much less severe; after a few hours I could bear weight on it.

We went to the ER (in the Echo, of course!) and our saintly friend Lauren came to the hospital to gather the kids and take them to her house until Allen and I were done in the ER.  I got into a room right away, which was lovely, and got some pain medicine, which was equally lovely.  They did x-rays.  The x-rays were somewhat inconclusive due to the amount of swelling, so they sent me home in a splint with directions to see an orthopedic doctor as soon as possible.

I got in to see one today (another mercy, since Lord knows doctors can be booked out for weeks and weeks).  They did another x-ray and are still somewhat in doubt as to the nature of the injury.  There doesn't seem to be a fracture or a ligament tear, but the PA seemed concerned by the way my bones were positioned and wanted to treat it conservatively for now.

Conservatively translates to wearing a "boot" for four weeks and using crutches so I'm not putting any weight on it.  Thankfully, I can drive if I take off the boot, and I can shower if I take off the boot. Still, I'd rather not do much driving, so I'm hoping to work something out with the other families at Ruby's school to see if any of them can help with pick up and drop off.

So, it all could have been worse, but boy, is it hard already!!!  I have three small kids.  The oldest is quite capable of doing what she is asked; the middle is capable at times but usually unwilling; the youngest is not quite 1 and not quite mobile, and definitely not able to do what he's asked.  I can't really pick any of them up unless I'm already sitting down.  I really wish Ben were walking already! That would make things a lot easier!

It's a very helpless feeling to watch your two year old sizing up the situation, know that you can't *make* him go to his room by carrying him there, and just defy you.  I've often relied on "the physical assist" in terms of carrying intractable children to their rooms for time outs.  Now I see I'll have to do something else.  I'm also thinking I might need one of those backpack leashes...except I don't want to get pulled down!

Anyway, I have moments of wondering how this is going to work for four weeks.  Thankfully I have great friends who are helping out and bringing meals, which is one thing fewer to worry about.  Allen can't really afford to take any more time off of work.  He used up his sick time staying home Friday and yesterday, and his company doesn't give personal time.  I'm sure he qualifies to get leave under the FMLA, but that's not paid leave, just unpaid leave.  Unpaid=no bueno.

I was over at Lauren's house the other day and she said, "Jenny, you need a nine year old!"  Anyone got some to lend out?  A mother's helper sounds great, but we can't afford to pay one to do it.

It is certainly an occasion that has already stretched us in many ways.  Allen was forced into the role of caregiver not only for the kids but for his wife, and that was hard to feel like a single parent AND a spousal caregiver.  For those spouses out there who are daily following through with the "in sickness and in health" part of their marriage vows, we salute you: it is surely not easy.  I felt (and feel) very helpless and useless lying on the couch, seeing things that need doing, and not being able to help with much of it.  The kids are mostly just confused why we keep saying in loud voices, "Don't touch Mommy's leg!!!"  Max and Ruby call my boot "the robot foot."  If only it had cool robot powers.

Please pray for us to have fortitude and grace to meet the daily challenges.  Oh, and for healing for this ankle.  The doctor intimated that if all is not well in a month, the next option involves screwing the bones together, which sounds like surgery, which sounds like bed rest, which sounds like "let's not even go there!"

One day at a time: it really is the only way to live.  It's not the same as being careless or imprudent or refusing to plan for the future: it's about putting each day into God's hands and saying, "Thy will be done and HELP me with it!"

Okay, back to sleep (this blog post brought to you by middle of the night ankle discomfort).

Friday, September 19, 2014

7QT: Of Spiders and FLYs

 Been a while since I've done one of these...let's do it!
I missed Small Success Thursday yesterday but this is what I would have posted:
Look at that sink! Sparkling!
 If you've ever looked around on the mommy blog interwebz, you've probably seen or heard something about FLYLady.  FLY stands for "First Love Yourself," I think.  Anyway, this lady runs an online community that advocates some help for getting household clutter under control and having a system for cleaning.

I first looked into it when we were living in a rental house which had no dishwasher and weird pipes, so when I saw that her first principle was always to have a clean and shiny sink, I just thought, "Lady, you are taking some choice crazy pills."  Many people must share that view, because one of the Questions on her FAQ page is "Why do I have to shine my sink?" Here is her answer:

This is your first household chore. Many of you can’t understand why I want you to empty your sink of your dirty dishes and clean and shine it, when there is so much more to do. It is so simple. I want you to have a sense of accomplishment. You have struggled for years with a cluttered home and you are so beaten down. I just want to put a smile on your face. When you get up the next morning, your sink will greet you and a smile will come across your lovely face. I can’t be there to give you a big hug, but I know how good it feels to see yourself in your kitchen sink. So each morning this is my gift to you. Even though I can’t be there to pat you on the back, I want you to know that I am very proud of you. Go Shine your Sink. – FlyLady 

(Here's the link to that quotation, by the way.)
When I read that, I rolled my eyes big time.  "Your sink will greet you and a smile will come across your lovely face?"  As my mom would say, gag me with a wooden spoon.  I thought it was nuts and also quite impractical.  I had all kinds of good reasons in that house and every house thereafter why it was a waste of time/unnecessary.  

And then a few mornings ago, I was washing the breakfast dishes (no dishwasher in this house either), and I noticed that the sunlight was creating lovely iridescence in the soap bubbles.  "That's kinda pretty," I thought.  When I was finished, I looked at the sink, and by George, it did make me feel good.  

Maybe it was just the sunshine, maybe I was just at a low ebb for morale, maybe I have given up on all rationality; but looking at that clean sink and two dishracks full of clean and drying dishes was a cheery sight.  

My secret weapon is my ScotchBrite Dish Scrubber filled with Dawn dish soap and white vinegar (and no, I'm not getting paid for product placement!)  I saw it on a pin for cleaning the shower, but I think it works wonderfully on the stainless steel sink.  

Of course, now I have to wonder whether any of FLYLady's other tips will work.  Uh oh...she also advocates getting dressed to the shoes every morning before the kids are up, so as to feel more like a professional in your home.  I get the idea, but boy do I dislike the idea of the execution.  I like to grab every last dribble of sleep I can get.

But that's the hard thing about finding out something that works when you finally apply it to your life.  You're no longer to dismiss out of hand everything else put forth in that source or by that person as being ridiculous. It may all be, but you have to give it a look.  I can't just scoff at FLYLady anymore...I might actually have to be a more charitable and less arch person.  Rats.

On to spiders: I don't like them.  I would describe myself as arachnophobic.  I can't remember a time in my life when I did not fear spiders.  I have a memory of being about Ruby's age and being told my by mom that spiders were more scared of people than we were of them and thinking, "That can't possibly be true."

Why, then, have I allowed a trapdoor spider to live in our bathroom window for the past month?  It is unaccountable.  The spider appeared after we came back from a week of housesitting for a friend.  Its web has gotten bigger and bigger.  I don't know for sure if it is a trapdoor spider, but it is the kind whose web is made of the very sticky, cotton-candyish silk, like the kind that people put out for decoration at Halloween. It has a little funnel area where it sits and waits for prey.

As soon as I saw it, I thought about getting out the vacuum and vacuuming it up.  But then, I just thought, "He's not bothering anyone.  He's staying in the window.  We don't open the window.  I guess he can just stay there."  I mentally planned to get rid of him as soon as he showed signs of trying to colonize the rest of the bathroom, but so far he's been content to stay there.

His name is Trevor.  That's right, I named him.  (Ruby insists on calling him Clever.)  Trevor the Trapdoor Spider.  Allen and I have also tried to bat houseflies into his web for him to eat.

I guess this is all in an effort to be a little less hysterical around spiders.  I won't lie, I still squash them sometimes (usually if they startle me or they are on me, they get my worse end of my "fight or flight" reflex).  But Trevor and I have made our peace, at least for now.

Again, I realize that this is pretty ridiculous and unimpressive to most people who don't care about spiders one way or another.  Baby steps, people, baby steps.

But now let's talk about something much more adorable than any arachnid ever could be.

A little while ago I got to see this sweetie pie:
Sarah and her darling little Olivia Paige

A baby who weighs under 23 lbs?  Yes please!
So sweet, so lovely, such a wonderful addition to a wonderful family.  Big brother Liam is an ace of a brother by all accounts.  He turned 4 the same day Allen turned 27: birthday twins!

Look look!  I'm learning to take not horrible pictures sometimes!  Also, I love my volunteer roses.  Sadly, one small bush seems to have been taken out by having Little Tikes cars smashed into it repeatedly, but the others are going great guns and extremely tall (one is probably 9 or 10 feet tall!) Thank you, City of Roses!
Did you read my latest post at Real Housekeeping?  You really should click it if for no other reason than to see the truly terrible pun in the title.  Everything I know about puns I learned from my dear dad.
Just downloaded my friend Emily Roig's newest single, Go, from iTunes.  How cool is that?  You should give it a look-see here:
 and then hop on over to the iTunes Store and get it!
I, for one, can't listen to this song without movin' and groovin'.

And that's all for now, folks.  In the time it's taken me to write these "quick" takes, my chidlren have destroyed my living quarters.  Oops.  FLYLady, help me now!
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Ruby's back to school...
Ruby's 1st day at Redland Montessori in 2013 (age 3)
Ruby's 3rd day (forgot the camera the first two days!) in 2014...so much taller!

Look at my fashionista!

Visiting a corn maze out in Hood River for a fun family day...

 Allen turned 27...
An Oreo Pie for the Birthday "Boy"
11 months old already!
Ben enjoyed it immensely!
Emily Roig's biggest fanboy (here he is in a signed shirt...thanks Emily!)
 The kids are full of liveliness and hijinks galore...

Ben could pass as Jack-Jack from The Incredibles
 Breakfast Clubbers...

Hanging out at Mt. Angel Oktoberfest...

Cook Bros., the Next Generation