Saturday, July 18, 2009

My baby girl

On July 8th, my little girl turned 14. She was 12 the first time a waiter offered her a wine list. To say she's growing up too fast is a huge understatement.

I'm amazed by her, daily. She tries so hard to do the right thing all the time. In fact, the other night, she was updating her iPod and came to me to ask which songs on a particular album would be "appropriate."

She's an incredibly talented artist. Her art teacher at school saw her first drawings for his class and said, "Are you sure you're not some 35-year-old artist, planted here to spy on me?" Here's her self-portrait and "nickname":

Yes, she's a percussionist, with the personality to match!

Here's her rendition of me, as an anime character:

It's very flattering. Ha.

If you're familiar with the TV show NCIS, then you might recognize these characters. She drew them as "chibi" characters, which are cute little chunky things.

You get the idea. She's also an imaginative writer, which delights me to no end. She very much has the creative personality, which causes her to have one foot in the world of her imagination most of the time. I'm afraid something had to give, and it was the tidiness factor. My darling Daughter leaves a trail of stuff everywhere she goes, which comes as a huge surprise to her each time someone points it out.

The fact that she isn't a little girl anymore was driven home to me last week. No, not because of her birthday, but because of something she said.

With my sister visiting with her kids right now, Daughter has given up her room. She stays in my room now, sharing my bed each night. I look forward to getting ready for bed every night, and the wondrous chatter of the day that she lets loose on me. I love every syllable, even as I wonder if the child breathes.

So, we're laying in bed, watching "Ghost Adventures." The guys are about to go into lockdown in an abandoned prison. They are looking through a ledger that lists each death that occurred at the place, and the cause of death.

One poor bastard is listed for eternity as having died of masturbation.

They point this out and move on. I'm a little thankful she hasn't asked about it, when Daughter says, "So, how does someone die of that?"

I laughed. "I don't know," I said. "Probably, this poor guy had a heart attack or something during it and was found that way, so they wrote it down for all of the world to remember him for it."

Daughter is laughing hysterically, "Poor guy!" She settles down and the room is quiet again, except for the TV.

"So," she says. "Now, I want to see them get one of their creepy voice recordings of a man's voice, saying, 'Let's get something straight here...I did not!'"

Now, I'm laughing hysterically. I didn't realize she knew what masturbation was in the first place, and now she's making jokes about it.

See? Constantly amazed. Our home is a crowded and over-run place right now, but I treasure the nights and weekend mornings with her and our peas-in-a-pod moments.

I watch her now, and she's a young woman. A spectacular young woman, with a bright, sensitive personality that I pray serves her well. And I especially pray that she finds a man who appreciates all of that about her, encourages her and never squelches her, inspires her, and truly is by her side for the journey.

She still calls me Mommy.

And no matter what the years bring, I will always see her as she is in this photo.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Everyone, sing along!

All together now!

Ding! Dong!
Drama Queen is gone!

(insert gleeful laughter here)

I think the end started with a fishing trip. No, that's not exact right. I think that was what finally pushed the issue. See, DQ was acting weird before that. The symptoms were:
  1. Coming to our house only once a week.
  2. During the week.
  3. But not every week.
  4. But she had to be home before her mother got home from work.
  5. And she just sat in the den, using Son's laptop for her summer school homework. (Note: DQ does not have a computer at her house.)
  6. And she never spoke to the adults in the house. Particularly, she never even looked at me, if I ended up being home while she was there.
  7. And she never saw Son during the evenings or weekends, or in public.
Yep, we could see this coming. Well, "we" except Son. He still talked about getting married to her next summer.

So, Son and my Dad plan this fishing trip. Drive a couple of hours up the highway. Go another hour on a 4WD only road, to meet up with the guide and camp personnel (cooks, horse wranglers, etc.). Ride horses for another hour to the camp and fishing site. Fly fish for a couple of days, under the tutelage of a fly fishing expert. Then, reverse and come home.

Son discovered two things during this trip, besides how to fly fish. First, absence does not always make the heart grow fonder.

Second, he thinks girls from Denmark are pretty damn cool.

She was one of the helpers at camp, doing the cooking, cleaning, etc. She's older than him, but they got along quite well. And she was easier to talk to about his interests than DQ. Who hated them.

I really don't know if DQ flipped out about Denmark. All I know is the story she told.

DQ's mom doesn't want her to see Son. They are too much drama, and she's sick of it. DQ has to stop talking to him and seeing him, and she must - MUST - go on dates with other boys.

This is what I read between the lines: "I want to see someone else, but I'm blaming my mom so you don't get mad at me, and I can still yank your chain if I want to."

So, he updates his Facebook to say he's single now. We anticipate a grumpy, difficult couple of days and give him some space. Know what he does?

Gets up early the next morning and mowes the lawn. Starts going to the movies with friends he hasn't seen in a long time. Talking to his female friends again. Going to the youth group activities at church.

It's all good.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Getting better....or trying

Apparently, the car is not going to be totaled. The other driver's insurance company is "accepting full responsibility," though, and my deductible ing waived. I spoke with my insurance people this morning, and they've authorized the collision place to do the work. They'll get it all written up by Monday, and I'll have a better idea then of when I'll get it back.

I can't wait, either! I'm in a rental. A PT Cruiser, to be exact. Going from a Ford Edge (small SUV) to a PT Cruiser makes the world look bigger. I don't much like that. And I'm a nervous driver now. Someone pulls up to a stop sign as I approach, and I start slowing down until I see them looking at me. I avoid driving as much as I can.

This morning, I had a diabetes follow-up appointment with my doctor. She's been chewing me out a lot over the last few months, for not taking care of it properly and for having too much stress.

I've gotten back on the ball with my treatment in the last few months, but my diabetes tends to be hard to control. Should say something about it that losing 60 pounds didn't help the diabetes any.... So, I'm back to two pills twice a day (the max dose of Glyburide/Metformin), and am now up to 45 units of insulin twice a day. If that doesn't get the numbers low enough in two weeks, then it's 50 unites twice a day. Ugh.

It's deja vu, from when I was trying to control it while I was expecting Daughter. I apparently hit a full-blown diabetic state (without being diabetic previously) by 10 weeks. They tested at 27 weeks. They got it under control at 38 weeks. A couple of days before she was born. That's why she was 9 1/2 pounds, and two weeks early. Thank God for C-sections!

As far as the stress goes, I don't know what to do. Work just accelerates all the time. But my boss said we might just get approved to hire TWO people to help me, including a media specialist. Woo hoo! That one doesn't relieve the current load, but they'll keep me from having to add more to my plate.

"Maybe then I can work only 40 hours a week," I said to the doctor.

She chuckled, but said, "Yeah, and you've just got to manage the stress you have. I mean, do you need to take yoga? Or a vacation? Or just alone-time every day?"

"I don't get alone-time," I said. "Nine people and two dogs live in my house right now. The only alone-time I get is when I drive to work. Remember my niece staring at me while I was on the morphine?"

She laughed. "Oh yeah. Well, maybe you need some time off alone. Or with your boyfriend. Not combined with work, like conferences, but real time off. To do nothing."

Those words sounded like magic. "To do nothing." Wow. If I can pull that off.....well, I don't know how I would. But we'll see. Maybe I'll get this huge settlement from the insurance company.... Yeah, dream on, Blogget!

In the meantime, I'm just trying to feel better and stop hurting from the accident. Then, I can see what's real again. At the moment, I'm learning that I love my chiropractor, and that "massage therapy" isn't necesarily the delightful thing it sounds like.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Here's something that doesn't help....

We've been looking forward to the Fourth of July for weeks. We planned on taking my sister and her kids to Ouray, where we had such a great time last year. Nothing like blocking off Main Street USA, in a little mountain town, to carry on a decades-old tradition: fire hose water fights. Topped off with an excellent fireworks display. Add the fact that Drama Queen is not coming along to pull a repeat of her drama act, and you have a great holiday, indeed!

Excited? I was over the moon!

We loaded up in two cars. Six people in my dad's Suburban and four in mine. Ranger rode with me, with Daughter and my 11-year-old nephew in the back seat. It's about a two-hour drive to Ouray, which is south of where we live. It's a pleasant drive, skirting the Grand Mesa and going through some fun little towns. We had no plans to stop, but it's a nice drive.

Daughter had control of my iPod. She picked fun songs that we could sing along to. We laughed a lot. I'd picked up a drink and a can of Pringles in each person's favorite flavor. It was a festive mood indeed! I was even getting a break from the pain for the day. Woo hoo!

Ranger's birthday was July 2nd. Son had given him a book of GPS waypoints for things to see in Colorado. He was entering some of these sights into his GPS, so we could see some around Ouray.

We pulled into Montrose, and I asked Daughter to stop the music for awhile. With busier traffic for the holiday, I didn't want the distraction while we went through town. Dad had mentioned stopping there so my sister and Son could switch seats in his car. I thought about making a bathroom stop, but decided it wasn't necessary. Dad decided not to stop, either. On to Ouray!

Let me set the stage here. My Dad is well ahead of me, disappearing around a bend. A pickup truck is ahead of me and another is behind me, a few car lengths. The one ahead signals to turn right at the next cross street and starts slowing, so I move to left lane. A car was sitting at the cross street, at the stop sign. It was something like a Ford escort. I see her start to punch it to cross the highway. I start saying "don't do it...." and slow down a bit. I figure if she jumps out and stops when she sees me, I'll need to swerve around her a bit.

She didn't stop.

She never ever saw me. Her head was turned, looking for traffic from the other direction. She was accelerating and starting into the arch to turn left. We were going to t-bone her, right into her driver door.

I remember yelling something, as I slammed on the brakes, hit the horn, and swerved left. I didn't want to hit with us going head-on. I knew we would hit, but wanted the right-front to take more of the impact. I heard Ranger yell "Look out!" I think he meant it for her because I was already reacting, and she still wasn't looking at me.

My right-front collided hard with her left-front. She was already starting to turn left, so she hit more on her front, which just about peeled completely off. The momentum of the impact threw my car across the highway and into the close oncoming lane. Luckily, no one was coming.

We stopped. I started asking if everyone was okay. Ranger was trying to open his door, but it wouldn't budge. Daughter was repeating, "Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God." Ranger turned around and took her face in his hands.

"Are you all right?"

She looked at him, like breaking a trance. "Yes."

"Good," he said. "Then move over. I have to climb out your door." She scooted over to where my nephew was starting to cry, and she put her arms around him. Ranger leaned his seat all the way back and climbed out the back door, to go check on the other driver.

I turned the car off and opened my door. A man was running across the road to me, holding a cell phone. "Is anyone hurt?"

"No," I said. "We're all okay."

"I just called 9-1-1," he said. "I'm going to check on the other driver."

I nodded. A woman with an American flag on her t-shirt told me she was going to direct traffic, since I was in the oncoming lane just past a bend in the road.

I opened my nephew's door and saw my daughter cradling him. Tears were streaming down his face. "Are you okay?" I asked.

"Noooo," he said through tears.

I thought for a moment. "Is your body hurt?"

"No," he said. "I'm scared."

"I know, sweetheart," I said. "Your mom will be here in a moment."

I called my mom's cell phone. They were ahead of us, around the curve, and didn't see what happened.

"Helloooo?" she said, being funny.

"We've been in a bad accident," I said. "We're all okay, but you have to come back."

"What?" she said, as though in disbelief.

"Come back! We've had a bad accident."

"So, do we need to come back?"

"Yes! I have to go."

Apparently, she turned to my dad and repeated what I said, but left out the "we're all okay" part. He turned around and sped back to us.

In the meantime, Ranger came back to my car. "There's a nurse here, helping the other driver. she's in and out of consciousness. Bleeding a lot."

"Someone called 9-1-1, so an ambulance will be here," I said. I told my nephew his mom was on the way, kissed him on the head, then looked at the front of my car.

The wheel is about a foot behind where it should be. Looking inside, though, the compartment where Ranger's feet were isn't invaded at all. I love this car.

My dad arrived. I had Daughter escort my nephew to Dad's car, and to his mother.

Son was in my face immediately. "What can I do to help?" I stared at him for a moment. He looked worried, scared. It touched me for a moment, this little sign that he just might care. I set him to work, cleaning out the car of all of our possessions. The car had to be towed, so we had to vacate it.

An ambulance arrived and started loading up the other driver. Looked like about six paramedics milling around. My sister called to me that my nephew was complaining of pain in his chest. I snagged a paramedic to go look at him. He advised us to take him to the hospital to be checked.

A State Trooper approached me. "Are you okay?" I was starting to feel aches, which I told him. "You go get checked out," he said. I promised I would. He gave me paperwork to fill out for him.

He came back in a few minutes. The ambulance was gone. I gave him the clipboard, and he said, "Unfortunately, I'll have to cite you for driving on the wrong side of the road."

I froze. My car was sitting in the oncoming lane, but only because we got knocked there! I said, "WHAT?!"

The Trooper furrowed his brow and said, "Aren't you glad I'm kidding?"

I took a deep breath. "I was about to totally go off on you...."

"Hm," he said. "I guess it wasn't so funny."

He proceeded to tell me the other driver was getting a citation for failing to yield right-of-way. He advised me again to go get checked out, and added that I should expect to be really sore in a couple of days. He handed me a piece of paper with his information, the other driver's name and address, her insurance information, and the towing company's information. My dad came back to pick up Ranger and I, and we went to the hospital.

I got checked in, then hugged my nephew. I said I was sorry he was hurt. He said, "I'm feeling better. It's okay. Not your fault." He went back to doing a puzzle with Daughter. I hugged her, too. She was worried about me.

They took me back to triage. My nephew had already been assessed and determined to be non-critical. The nurse took my vitals. "You are calmer than your pulse says you are."

"Yeah, I'm surprised," I said. "I haven't had a freak out moment yet. I've been pretty clear through the whole thing." I told her my history and my medications. I told her what hurt. She put me in a neck brace and had me lay down in a room with a backboard on the bed. "Wait here for the doctor," she said. Like I had a choice.

I texted Ranger and told him what was happening. In a moment, he was at my bedside.

"Your mom told me to come back here," he said. "I read the text to everyone. Your sister is throwing a stink fit that you got back here before her son. I guess I looked worried, so your mom told me to go to you."

I smiled. "Good. It looks worse than it is. Really."

He looked like he was going to cry.

The doctor came in and checked me out. He took off the neck brace and said he'd order x-rays. "Want to watch TV while you wait?" He turned it on and started changing channels. "Tell me when."

Flip. Flip. Flip. And...ah-ha!

"Captain Andy!" I exclaimed.

"Her favorite show," Ranger said. July 4th "Deadliest Catch" Marathon. Gotta love it.

The x-ray technician showed up. "My finger is starting to hurt," I said. My left middle finger was turning purple.

"I'll have the doctor add that to the orders," she said. She crossed the hall and said to the doctor, "Her finger is hurting." She stood showed him which finger, which meant she was effectively flipping him off. She grinned.

"Seriously?" he said.

"Yep," she said. And flipped him off again. She seemed to enjoy it way too much.

In the end, we found out nothing was broken and pain medicine is a blessing. My neck is pretty well messed up, so I'm seeing a massage therapist and chiropractor for that. Other bruises have emerged. Most notably, across my breast where I slammed into the seat belt. Sexy, I tell ya.

Ranger asked about the other driver. She's fine. She was released before I was. The Trooper called me and asked a few questions.

"Were you planning any stops between Grand Junction and Ouray?"

"No. I thought about stopping to pee, but if I had, this never would have happened."

He laughed. "Were you planning on stopping at the Ute Indian Museum?"

"The what?"

"Nevermind, that answers my question," he said. "See, the other driver is saying you were stopped at the turn-off to the Museum with your blinker on, turning right, but you changed your mind and smashed into her."

"What? No, no, no...."

"I know," he said. "It's not even possible. But she got her bell run pretty good, so I don't believe what she's saying. But I had to ask."

Three days later, I'm in a lot of pain. We were going to bowl this afternoon. I think not.

The Trooper said the second or third day is the worst. It is. At least, until I see what tomorrow is like. I'm counting on it being better. It's my daughter's 14th birthday, after all!

Be prepared...I'm about to get sappy-sentimental.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

It gets funnier....

So Drama Queen finally saw Son's car. His current pride and joy, mind you. When I heard she was coming to see it, I got a very specific picture in my head of her standing beside the car, arms folded, scowl firmly in place, making snide comments. Sucking the fun out of it for him.

Last night, my sister described the scene for me. DQ stood beside the car, arms folded, scowl firmly in place, making snide comments. I was wrong on one point. She did not suck the fun out of it for him. He sat in the car, revving the engine, goofy grin across his face. In absolute heaven.

As DQ stood there, she said, through curled lips, "It's so out-dated."

Hello? It's a 1968 Thunderbird. 1968 Thunderbird! How much of the point of "classic car" can you miss? Yoo-hoo!

I find this nearly as hysterical as "Does it have side curtain air bags?" Count your blessings that it has seat belts, sweetheart.

So, she declares it's out-dated. What does Son do? Revvv...revvv..... Grin.

"Oh good," she sneers. "It's loud, too."

More grinning from Son. See, in testosterone language, she just complimented his car.

He loves it so much, he got a haircut so he can find a job. He went from hippy to yuppy in about 15 minutes. This is love.

It's like I told my sister last night -- in life, you pick your battles. DQ might have just picked the hill she dies on.