This is So Wrong

So……..I am out here in Salt Lake City,Utah enjoying my time with daughter, Leah and granddaughter, Hazel! Actually….there’s not enough wine in the state of Utah to get me through these 4 days that I’ve been here. Let me just say that, Utah is primarily concerned with having enough sister wives for their men and not stocking up on wine in their liquor stores for me, so I’m at a disadvantage in this state.  And I’m gonna be honest here…..I’ve encouraged Leah to investigate the possibility of becoming a sister wife cuz it sounds like a pretty good gig to me.  But…..Leah has ignored my sage advice and continues to work as a NICU nurse at Primary Children’s Hospital. She’s worked two 12-hour night shifts since I’ve been here, so when Leah is getting home at 8 AM, Hazel is just waking up.  And guess what!  I am on Hazel duty!  I love Hazel to death, but she is the definition of a whirling dervish.  She still is not talking so we do a lot of sign language……and quite frankly – when I am hungover, I get “thank you” and “your welcome” in sign language totally mixed up, and then Hazel looks at me like I am the biggest asshole in the world.  Give me a break, kid…..I just learned sign language, like 6 months ago.  How about you make an effort here and start speaking the English language!

I wish I could post a picture of Hazel here cuz I have a ton, but I’m not on my computer so I don’t have access to all of the adorable photos I’ve taken (of Hazel, not me…..although I can be pretty adorable).

So, yeah…..it’s been fun being here.  We’ve frolicked in the yard (playing “dodge the dog poop”), found a dead bird by the tree line, and talked with the shirtless 50-something- year old neighbor who has half his teeth.  All in all, a pretty swell time! Oh…..and  Leah’s crazy ass dog lunged at me and tried to bite my hand off when someone came to the door and I tried to crate him (the dog….. not the person at the door), because the dog will literally rip the leg off a stranger.  I’m serious – Leah’s dog is a nut job. He is so protective and he does not tolerate strangers.  This canine is absolutely demented. He’s either thinking, “should I kill this person, or lay adoringly on his/her lap?”  He is a typical terrier (Wheaton Terrier…..cute as can be, but a total lunatic), and very territorial.  Damn…..I wish I could insert a pic here cuz I have a cute one of Hazel and Crosby (the demented dog) kissing one another. They kiss all of the time (but…I’m pretty sure Crosby only kisses Hazel in order to lick her boogers).  I’m just gonna do a post of all of these pics tomorrow when I get home and have access to my photo library and you can just toggle back and forth between this post and the pics and figure out where the pics go in correlation with my comments……..nothing like putting the onus on the reader to do all of the work (some of you might need to google “onus” cuz you won’t know what the hell that word means…..you’re probably confusing “onus” with “anus” right now).

Sooooo, moving along…….we three girls fly back to Hershey tomorrow (Crosby is staying with some unsuspecting friend of Leah’s who has no idea what a mental case this dog is) and then we go to our vacation club in the Dominican Republic for a week.  We will be pampered there and will have a private villa with a swimming pool, have our own chef to cook us breakfast every morning, have our bar stocked with all of our favorite alcoholic beverages (yes!), go to exclusive private beaches while tooling around in our golf cart, and pretty much just livin’ the life!  We are so excited.  Good thing sign language is universal cuz Hazel is gonna need to sign to the chef that she needs soy cheese in her huevos. And if the chef doesn’t know sign language, he might sign back “bite me.”  And all will be good with the world because we are on vacation!

OK….gotta wrap this up since I have to be up early with the sign language queen. Then we have to get ready to catch our flight to BWI.  God….I hope Delta serves wine.

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This Medical Journey Will Touch Your Heart

ImageWell…..doesn’t this picture grab your attention?  It’s only because of my terrible cut and past skills that this pic is even here…….I tried to get it down into a more appropriate section of this post, but to no avail.  I suck at at this.  It’s supposed to go in the super hero comment of this post.  Deal with it.

If you read my About section, you’ll know that I have 3 grown kids. Some of you might be thinking……man, she’s lucky that everyone is grown and out of the house.  She can just do whatever she wants.  But….once a parent, always a parent and shit happens.  You just never stop being there for your kids.  Things will be going along just fine….la-tee-da (did I just write that?), and all of the sudden, the bottom drops out and you have to spring into “parent super hero action!” This is where the pic was supposed to go…..dammit….

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Son, Chris and S/O Kristen (we love her!)

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Caitie in blue with her S/O, Kevin…..we love him; Leah and Hazel….we love them too

Anyway – my 2 oldest kids, Chris ( and S/O Kristen in first pic )and Caitie (and S/O Kevin with Leah and Hazel in other pic) are unmarried (see above pictures….damn this blog….I really don’t know how to post these pics where I want them), but they are dating great significant others and they should be marrying soon (right??)

My youngest daughter,Leah, has always been an enigma (read – problem).  Both of my daughters are neonatal intensive care nurses (NICU nurses) in really great hospitals.  First daughter, Caitie, is a NICU nurse at Hershey Medical Center. Leah is a NICU nurse at Primary Children’s in Salt Lake City, Utah. My son, Chris, is an awesome Pharmacy Specialist (in Cleveland) for a leading health care company and he pretty much has the greatest job in the world (we’ll be asking him for a loan soon).  Chris and Caitie are copacetic and all is good and their S/O’s are awesome.  Third child, Leah, is….well……a third child.  But – she did do something that has changed all of our lives forever.  While working in the NICU at Providence Hospital in Anchorage, Alaska, she fell in love with a very sick native Alaskan baby.

I need to give you some background here – Bio parents of said baby are from a remote Alaskan fishing village and just could not provide for this sick little girl they named Hazel.  Leah took care of Hazel in the NICU because none of the other nurses wanted to be assigned to Hazel. Leah asked for Hazel every time she reported to work (see….this could happen to you in the nursing home…..no one could want you and your only hope is some drunken nurse who says, “Oh….What the hell?  Yeah – I’ll take bed 7”)).

Leah became Hazel’s foster medical care giver and took her home once Hazel was discharged from Providence Hospital.  Hazel needed a very complicated surgery because she was born with long gap esophageal atresia (a disconnected esophagus).  She only had a small part of esophagus at the top of her esophagus and a small part at the connection to the stomach.  The only optimal surgery to correct that condition is done at Boston Children’s Hospital.  Leah fought very hard to get Hazel that corrective surgery.  The state of Alaska did not want to spend the money to send Hazel to Boston Children’s.  After much documentation, legal wranglings, etc., Leah was given consent to take Hazel to BCH for the surgery.  Leah quit her job as a NICU nurse at Providence Hospital in Alaska and she went with Hazel to Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) for the 7 month procedure.  This surgery for Hazel required induced comas, external stretching of the esophageal nubs which involved major surgery, a plethora of chest tubes, PICC lines (that often clogged), painful tests, etc.  The surgeons that are pioneers of this kind of esophageal repair are angels. The intricate surgery is incredible!  BCH takes takes a limited number of these complicated cases and they agreed to take Hazel! She endured so much……ImageWhile all of this surgery was going on, Leah and her partner, Jen, filed to legally adopt Hazel.  Leah was good about staying in touch with bio mom and bio mom and dad agreed to give up parental rights to Leah and Jen so that they could officially adopt.  The above is only one of the heart-wrenching pics I have of Hazel in the hospital.

But the good news is that Hazel’s esophageal connection was successful!  She is now an adorable little punkin with a totally functioning esophagus!  She eats like a horse despite having some food allergies.

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Leah, Hazel and Jen

Unfortunately, Leah and Jen broke up although they have joint custody of Hazel.  They both now reside in Salt Lake City, Utah because of Jen’s military assignment.  Leah wanted to keep the family together despite the break up, so she moved to SLC with Jen.  They both are totally committed to Hazel and being co-parents to an amazing little girl!

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Me and Hazel

This is Hazel now with me. We are so in love with this little girl who has gone through so much and inspired us all.  I wanted to introduce you to this amazing story because my posts will refer to Hazel and Leah often.  Leah keeps in touch with the bio mom who lives in a very remote Alaskan fishing village.  Someday, Hazel will want to know her bio mom, her sister, and her heritage. When that time comes, Leah will foster that connection.

So – this is my intro to grandmotherhood……a native Alaskan charmer who has stolen mine and Kevin’s hearts. Leah and Hazel are surrounded by lots of drama with such issues as health scares, job woes, and the break up of Jen and Leah.  It is a reality TV show that some astute producer should pick up on!  I have soooo much blog material just involving them, it isn’t even funny (or sad…..depending on your outlook)!

It’s so weird where life takes you……..I never would have guessed that I would be so enamored and in love with a Native Alaskan granddaughter who is fraught with medical issues.

My advice – don’t ever take for granted your position in life.  In an instant, it will be turned upside down. And the plans you thought you had……..they disappear into a cloud of love for someone you didn’t know months ago. Where you thought you would be going can take a 180 degree turn and take your heart with it.

As parents, your love is never divided, but multiplied among your children.  When you add grandchildren into the mix…….well……the multiplication table explodes!

Check Out This Blog

Hey all – I found a pretty funny blog that I think you might enjoy.  It’s called The Dimwit Diary and you can find it at http://thedimwitdiary.com.  Check it out……funny stuff!  Dimwit’s not as lazy as me…….he blogs (and replies) constantly, so always something interesting to read.  He’s worked with Danny Yourd, so that’s a coincidence, huh?

If you’re waiting for me to write something hilarious for today’s post, it ain’t gonna happen.  I got cheese under my fingernails and it’s hampering my keyboarding.  Don’t ask…….just take my word for it!  

Sole Confessions

I’m already getting some pressure to post today…..which is absolutely fantastic!   OK….I’ll admit, it was a family member that begged for another post, but I’ll take what I can get.  So – let’s just pretend that thousands of people bombarded my blog with requests for another post because they just can’t make it through the day without reading about an embellished ridiculous adventure of mine.  Fortunately for all of you, I am really pissed about something that happened to me recently and such pissiness (I realize that is not a word, but just go with it, here), makes for an excellent post.  This is what happened……

My favorite sandals broke the other day.  They died as I walked to a meeting across campus.  I am thinking of suing the University. I’ve been distraught for days.

Now…..in the past, I have used a dinky shoe repair place for “mending of the sole” (sounds like church), but I have to admit…..this shoe place is not great.

I couldn’t get away from work today for lunch, so Kevin (he is such a dear), took my sandals to said dinky shoe repair shop that we have gone to before.  The thing is…..they often say they can’t fix my shoes!  Now, you smart readers might be asking, “why do you keep going to this shoe repair place, if they can’t fix your shoes?”  Excellent question! But – let me ask you this – have you ever tried to find a shoe repair shop?  There are just not that many around.  We live in a disposable world. Who the hell gets their shoes fixed??

The first time I took a pair of shoes to this bush-league shop , they were successful…..my repaired shoes looked great!  For the past 3 crippled pairs of shoes that I’ve taken there, this is the response I’ve gotten, “Oh no….can’t fix…sor-eeeee.”  Is that really what you want to say to customers?  Why don’t you just lie and try to fix my broken shoes?

But, really, these favorite sandals of mine looked like an easy fix.  Apparently this ambiguous shoe shop didn’t think so…..”oh no…..can’t fix…..you can try just glue yourself…..we no sew that…..bye.”  WTF…….why can’t YOU just glue my shoe?  Don’t you want to make a frickin’ buck and just glue it yourself?  You’re the ones with shoe glue, for Christ’s sake!  What would it take for you to shoot some glue in there, fix the damn strap, and charge me 50 bucks?

Whatever……I’ll do it myself, then. Hell -I’ve made glitter shoes, so I can do this! I’m just gonna shoot a shit load of glue into the seam of my sandal and shove (real fast) the part that needs to be fixed right into the glue. Hopefully I won’t glue my fingers to the shoe in the process.

Wish me luck……….and if you need your shoes repaired, give me a call ( I have a bunch of shoe glue).  Below is a pic of my poor shoe  coming apart at the seam/sole   :- (

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Mouthguards and Home Invasions

The other night I realized that my husband was locking our bedroom door once we all (him, me and the dogs) got upstairs to bed .  I’m the toothbrush fixer, so I usually head to the master bathroom 5 minutes or so before my husband and the dogs.  The dogs always have to have their “nightcap” out of our toilet, so it gets a little crowded with the 4 of us in there at once (Kevin and I drink from the sink).  So, yeah……I get up there early and put the toothpaste on our toothbrushes and lift the toilet seat for the dogs.  It’s a rough job, but somebody’s gotta do it.  I need extra time with my toothbrush, though, because I have to brush 2 sets of teeth……..the ones in my mouth and then my night guard.  My dentist has determined that……after I have spent a fortune on root canals, a hodgepodge of crowns, and an implant or 2, that I grind my teeth and that wearing a night guard while I sleep would help prevent further damage.  I look like a big dork (with and without my night guard)…. Plus – the night guard really hasn’t helped so I am going to be embarking on a major dental fix up plan very shortly (Joe Jez…..where are you?).  You’ll be reading about my Oral Odyssey a lot once I start THAT whole process.

Anyway – as I prepared myself to high jump into our bed (which is about 5 feet off the ground because we bought this expensive mattress that is 4 feet of foam and isn’t worth shit), I saw that Kevin was locking the bedroom door (totally unnecessary at this point in our lives, if you catch my drift).  This is the conversation that followed:

Me with my night guard in:  digyujtilcktebejromdjor?

Kevin:  What the hell did you just say?

Me with my night guard removed:  did you just lock the bedroom door?

Kevin:  Yeah….I’ve been doing that so that I have time to react in case there’s a home invasion.

(these law enforcement guys…….they’re always thinking!)

Me:  Honey, that is totally unnecessary.  If an invader came into our bedroom, I would scare him to death just shouting at him with my night guard in my mouth….. not to mention if he actually got a look at me.

We both thought about that scenario for a few seconds and then imagined it out loud together……it was pretty hysterical envisioning me jumping out of bed wearing my mismatched pajamas, my hair flying in every direction, while “night -guard screaming” at the home invader.  We imagined something along these lines:

Me leaping wildly off the 5 foot bed and already having that height advantage while yelling:  get tha thuck outta here, you cweep…who ya think you are? comick ick my houth. im goy puth you down tha thairs, you thucka!

We don’t lock our bedroom door anymore.

Here’s a picture of me and my daughter with our night guards in.  We sent this to our “boyfriends” when we were out visiting my other daughter and grandchild and we figured our significant others were probably missing us.

Lookin' sexy and desirable wearing our night guards.

Lookin’ sexy and desirable wearing our night guards.

A Mistake of Historical Proportions

Today is an important historical day.  Do you know why?  I didn’t either, but this is how I found out:

I was enjoying my morning java on my deck with a cool stiff breeze blowing through my bed hair. On summer Saturdays I pretty much just crawl out of bed, brush my teeth half-heartedly, empty the half gallon or so of the previous night’s wine from my bladder, and proceed onto my deck to enjoy my morning coffee.  So – consider this fair warning that I’m a pretty ghastly site sitting out there Saturday morning, so don’t come a-visiting!  Anyway – my husband was doing some computer work inside while I was outside when, all of a sudden I see him out of the corner of my eye standing at the sliding deck door.  He opens it just a crack because, well…..the air conditioning is on inside and as the saying goes, “we can’t afford to air condition the outdoors too,” so all I see is half his face……half a double chin, half a lip, one nostril, and one eyeball sticking through the crack of the deck door.  He is saying something with a troubled voice, but I am only catching half the words coming from his half a mouth.  So – this is what I hear:

                today, historical, anniversary, first, walk, moon, awful, news

Jumping to conclusions, I leapt out of my chair to go inside and get the full story because I am really pissed with hearing what I think I just heard.  

Me: “Are you kidding me?  This is the anniversary of Michael Jackson’s debut of his moon walking and the news isn’t even mentioning it?  That’s terrible! After all that Michael Jackson has done for this country and he is dead and everything and we will never see him moonwalk again!”

Husband:  “No, you stupid ass…….today is historical because it is the 44th anniversary of man’s first walk on the moon and it’s awful that this morning’s news didn’t even mention it.”

Man, was I relieved!

To Keep the Glass or Not

So – my husband picked me up after work yesterday in our 106 degree temperature car and as we left campus, he took a totally wrong turn to be heading home.  Being the front seat driver that I am, he knew that I was going to “delicately” point out that we were not going the right way, so he quickly said…..”I have a surprise and you’re gonna like it.”  Given the 100 degree heat, I was hoping we were gonna go jump in a lake (I’ve often been told to do that).  But….the surprise was even better than that!  We went to a local new winery and did some wine taste testing (me, not him)……..5 tastes for 3 bucks!  Not a bad deal….. and I actually used my charming ways to coerce the girl pouring the wine to allow me 6 tastes ! (the trick here is – you just exclaim in a gushing way…..OMG, ALL of these wines look soooo delicious…….how am I ever going to choose just 5 and the server will cave and give you extra tastes because she’s probably had a bunch of wine already herself and she really doesn’t care).  Anyway -my husband is not a wino (unlike me) so I did all of the tasting while he basically spent the half hour admiring the gift shop knick knacks, helping himself to fistfuls of “palate cleansing” nuts and hoping that I would not like the most expensive wine.  He’s really NOT the best person to go to a wine tasting with, but I like him well enough, so it’s all good.

The wines were relatively expensive so there was no way I was going to do the “hold the wine on your tongue to meld and assess the flavors and then spit it into the beautiful silver spittoon” correct way of wine tasting.  No…..I needed to get the most bang for my 3 bucks, so I finished every last drop of vino short of licking the bottom of the glass.  Anyway – after sloshing back 6 tastes, we bought a couple bottles of the most expensive wine. I don’t feel bad about spending that kind of money on what amounts to a bunch of fermented crushed grapes……I look at it as a win-win.  I support the local winery/economy and it supports my love of wine (read alcoholism).

So – we delicately climbed back into the 103 degree car (we had parked in the “shade”) with my bottles of pricey wine and as we are pulling away my husband astutely asks me, “do you have your wine glass that you used at the tasting bar?”  I buzzedly said, “no……wasisupposedtotakeit?”  To which my husband reasoned that….usually the tasting includes the wine glass (background info here – we’ve been to all of 2 wine tastings that have used an actual wine glass with the name of the winery inscribed on it and all of a sudden, he’s an expert).  We immediately pulled off to the side of the winery driveway to discuss this perplexing dilemma……are you supposed to keep the wine glass that you used to taste the wine?  Is it assumed that the wine glass comes with the tasting?  Is there a direct correlation with price of the wine tasting and being able to keep the glass? (Feel free to weigh in here and comment on this important protocol issue).  Not ones to pass up anything that is free (or that we think might be free), we turned around, drove back up the winery driveway and parked the (by now) 102 degree car.  Now……let me brief you right here.  I don’t do:

dickering, negotiating, sending anything back to be done correctly, asking pertinent questions, figuring out ahead of time what the total of my bill should be, or pretty much anything to do with being a responsible buyer.

So – as my husband opened the car door to proceed to the wine tasting room to ask about the wine glass, I managed an apologetic look and said, “thanks” but it came out more like “schlanks” – remember – I’ve had 6 tastings of some pretty potent wine.  He is so much better at this sort of thing than I (plus he carries a 9mm cuz that’s his job, and that fact alone can make him pretty convincing).  If I had gone back in to ask the wine server about the glass, I would have muttered something like this:

Me (stumbling sheepishly back into the joint):  Um…..hello…….do you remember me?  I was just in here drinking a shit load of wine and well, the wine glass, ummm, is it still here? cuz – well, normally don’t people take or steal the wine glass that they used for tasting, cuz, yeah – if that’s the case I’d like to steal mine now so….. could you just, um, get it out of the sink there and put it on the counter so i can slip it in my purse…..cute dress, by the way.

On the other hand, this is how it would go down with my husband doing the talking:

Husband (walking very self assuredly back into the joint – remember – he’s packing heat):  Hello again.  Sorry to bother you, but….real quick – I wasn’t sure if we were supposed to take the wine glass with us when we made our wine purchase.  When we were wine tasting in the Napa Valley, the wine glasses were complimentary with a purchase, but I didn’t know if that was the case here.  No big deal, though…..just didn’t want to leave here without checking…..nice legs by the way.

And this is exactly why my husband went back in to successfully get the wine glass.

Expensive wine pairing with my "free" wine glass

Expensive wine pairing with my “free” wine glass