27 Years

27th anniversaryThat equals 9855 days, 236,520 hours, or 851,472,000 seconds that Mike and I have been married. We’ve certainly filled each and every on of those years! I can’t imagine life with anyone else. Here’s to the next 27.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Green beer for everyone.


Slacker – that’s me!

I have no excuse other than days just whiz by and I’ve not blogged. I’m sorry to leave you all hanging and unable to go on with your own lives. 😉

This past weekend, Andy went to the SE Regional Regatta as I mentioned in my last post. And, as I mentioned, his boat was outweighed and out-manned by the other competitors.  There is a huge difference between 14-15 and 18-19 year-old  boys/men.  Still, Andy’s boat managed a great time for their own records and they all had fun over the weekend. 

Mike went as a chaperone. He had fun running around with the boys but, man, was he a tired puppy when he got home Sunday night!  He waited until 8:00 pm.  By 8:01 he was snoring.

Here is some video – the first race you see involves half of the boat that Andy’s team replaced – they are in the dark boat wearing navy with an orange stripe.  Look at the size of those “kids” and picture a boat of Andy’s – about 6′ tall and maybe 135? (I smell a hit tv show – SuperModels Crew Team) Their coxswain – a wee girl who scares the s**t out of those eight boys- was allowed to carry 40 lbs of sand into the boat to help equalize the weight with the other boats and it didn’t make a dent. 

Doesn’t it look like fun though? (Of course, the video cuts off right before Andy’s race . . . lol – we’re so spoiled with technology, huh?)

I stayed home, what with Mike chaperoning and Andy bunking with his boat mates.  As it happened, Ian and Tim were gone to the beach for the weekend.  It was just me and Cally.  Weird. I did a lot of cleaning – baseboards, mirrors, bathrooms, kitchen cabinets – stuff I don’t normally mess with because well, they’re just boring to clean and they get undone quickly.  A little sushi for dinner and then I was confused. 

I sat on the couch for a minute and woke up when Mike called to say goodnight at 9:30. And then I woke up at 6:30 am stiff and really, really confused.  I have not slept for that long without interruption in years.  But, honestly, what are you supposed to do at 6:30 in the morning? Even Cally wouldn’t give me the time of day.  I ended up at Walmart buying the week’s fill in groceries, some fabric and chocolate. 

I came home to a spotless house, no laundry and nothing fun I wanted to do (I ate the chocolate on the way home). I actually took a nap that afternoon.  So very sad.  I’m happy to have everyone home again because now I know what to do.  Good thing Andy is going to homeschool college – just don’t tell him. 

Other news? Ian bought himself a car!!!  A 2006 Toyota Corolla.  It’s cute (in a manly way, of course) and I think he’ll get a lot of miles out of it.  It should, at the very least, cut down on the confusion about who’s working when and how they are getting there and getting home.  No more midnight runs to pick one or the other up. Yay!

Two more weeks of school. Finally, I will be done with 8th grade forever and ever and ever, amen. Now to find real-life applications for my mad algebra skills.

Danny is coming home for the first time since New Year’s – just a long weekend, but it will be fun to see him. He’s only got two semesters left and he’ll graduate.  How weird is that?  

I’m still writing for money – sort of. The pay is abysmal for beginners like me and the content is dreary and hard to glean inspiration from. I’m definitely faster and able to churn out content but it is not edifying in the least. Some of the things I have enjoyed writing are earning me repeat customers but now it’s time to find out how much they like my writing or how much they like running a sweatshop.  Ugh. I don’t want to make a fortune, but I do expect to surpass minimum wage. We’ll see what happens.  The whole global market thing means I am competing with writers from India and other places where writing for $.01 a word is a good living. 

Poor Mike . . .

In my last post, I complained about Mike and his insane middle-of-the-night/early-morning routine. He’s being trying really hard after I jumped up and down like a little kid.  He’s even accepted that I’m serious about him moving into the boys’ bathroom.  It’s been wonderful (for me, at least) and I’ve told Mike this several times.  However, I think when someone like me who is not a screamer or jumper or tantrum thrower by nature suddenly throws a tantrum it can have lasting effects on the tantrum-ee.

A couple of mornings ago, I heard Mike get up and quietly shut the door.  I smiled and rolled over ready to sleep.  The last thing I waited for was Mike opening and closing the front door repeatedly as he made his multiple trips to the truck with all of his stuff for the day. (It drives me insane, but I choose the hills I am willing to die on.  Sort of. Honestly, if you KNOW you’re going to make multiple trips from the kitchen to your car – a short trip in our house – why not just leave the freaking door open because, you know, it’s not even 5AM????? Ahem.) I heard the first closing/slamming of the front door.  I waited.  Nothing.  After about five minutes, I gave Mike a little high five in my head for figuring it all out and started to doze. 

I heard a thump as I was just falling over that edge into real sleep.  I figured it was a book getting kicked out of one of the boys bed or the clumsy dog.  But, then I realized I was really thirsty.  I padded out to the kitchen, no lights, no glasses to get a glass of water.  As I was walking back to the bedroom, the front door cracked open and a giant shadowy figure appeared in the doorway.  I asked, “Is that you?” guessing it was Mike coming back for his compass or something.  No answer.  Mind you, I cannot see past my wrist without my glasses.  I’m standing there trying to figure out what to do next.  

Never fear, Andy to the rescue.  Andy walked into the hallway, snapped on the light and proceeded to tell Mike off.  Andy is not an angry person. Andy is not a yeller.  I just stood there, unseeing, with my mouth open. Mike just nodded, turned around and went back to his truck.  By the time I turned to look at Andy, he was back in bed.  I was fully awake and fully confused.  

I tried sleeping, but that didn’t work.  I read for a bit and finally just got out of bed.  When Andy got up, I asked him what all the yelling was about.  Turns out, Mike has not figured out how to get all of his stuff out to his truck in one trip.  Mike made his first trip out to his truck and locked himself out of the house.  Fearing my wrath, he opted to break into Andy’s room.  He got the window open, forgetting there is a small love seat in front of the window.  Cally, the idiot dog, sleeps on the love seat.  Andy rolled over at 4:45 am to see a giant shape wedged between the love seat and the window and Cally, frantically licking the shadow’s face.  The thump I heard?  Mike managing to shove himself over the love seat to the floor.  He had managed to scare Andy to death and pissed him off as well. 

What I witnessed when I went to get my water was Mike sneaking into the newly unlocked front door to collect the rest of his stuff.  I don’t know if he thought ignoring my “Is that you?” question would put me at ease and send me back to bed or what.  

But, we’re all learning and growing.  We’ve learned that Cally absolutely sucks as a watch dog.  She never even left her love seat.  We’ve reinforced what we already knew, Andy and I are NOT morning people. We’ve also learned it’s probably time to invest in new windows.  I’m not sure what Mike’s learned – I think he’s only more afraid of us right now. 

Oops . . .

Mike was all pumped up about being able to change his debit card to one with the Solar Bears logo. At no charge, no less.  I had instructions to call him as soon as the new card arrived.  (You have to understand, this is a guy that grew up in Buffalo where winter sports were everything! The Solar Bears – a hockey team – are HUGE for him – and we can even afford for Mike and Andy to go see a game every now and then.)   Well, yesterday, an envelope, addressed to Mike arrived.  It felt like a debit card so I called to let him know it was here.

You’ve never seen someone so happy to get home from work.  He tore open the envelope while asking me where the scissors were to cut up is old card.  Ugh. You’ve never felt a silence like this – a man opening his first card offering him AARP benefits.  Bummer is one way to put it.  I gave him the scissors, and after I took this picture, we hacked up the card, you know, because we’re never getting old.  

The real Solar Bear card arrived today, not too much fanfare, though. 

Tonight we’ll be having a small, last-minute party to celebrate Mike’s 50th! If you’re in town, call and come on over,  or if you’re in the mood, raise a glass to the best man I’ve ever known. 


Thursday was a fun day. School went smoothly with Andy. There was nothing complicated about Ian and Tim’s work or lives that involved me driving all over town. I went to Aldi’s and picked up this Charlie Brown Christmas tree for $7.99.  It’s living on my desk right now and it makes me smile. I stayed up super late Thursday night and went to bed assured that I had passed 50,000 words on my terrible novel. By Thursday, it was all about hitting 50,000 words,  I don’t think this particular effort is savable in terms of being something worth reading.  But, there is so much to be learned trying to write so quickly in such a short period of time and I don’t regret doing any of the Nano challenges.

Woke up Friday am and tried to validate my novel on the official Nano Website. It’s kind of dumb really.  I know I wrote the words.  I know I made the effort.  But, getting the little winner’s logo is a bonus. The novel would NOT validate.  By around 5:00 pm, it was showing I still had 3500 words to write. I can write fast, but that’s a lot. Word counters on various programs can be different and, in the past, I always have tried to allow for a nice cushion.  This year was close and it was looking like I was screwed.

Poor Mike called on his way home only to get me nearly in tears and whining – no, I don’t think sleep deprivation had a thing to do with my mood.  I love Mike.  He listened.  He did not try to fix it.  He came home with these beautiful flowers and a plan for dinner that did not involve me. The flowers are extra awesome. My favorite movie is “It’s a Wonderful Life” and there’s a funny moment where a character is stuck in the hydrangea bushes. This bunch of flowers has two huge hydrangea “pods.” For all the times Mike doesn’t get me, when he does, he really gets me. I am very lucky in the husband department.

Around 11:57, after writing another 2000 words and finding another way to upload the novel, I WON!  I got my little logo – see it? Bask in it, if you like.  And now, I can resume my normally scheduled life.  Whew!

Weekend Update . . .

Wish I had Jane Curtain here, but you’ll have to live with me …
This weekend has been all about the garden.  I spent all of Saturday morning messing with my eSalon hair color kit here you go.  Not that it was terribly complicated, I just so rarely do anything like that, I did not want to screw it up.  AND, there were about 30 kids in and out of the house while I contemplated coloring my hair. It was a little distracting.  BUT . . . I finally did it.  I used the color and followed the instructions to a T.  I have to say the instructions are different from those you get from box hair color.  Kind of weird, but I did it.  Excuse the scary picture, but I am thrilled with the color.  We’ll see how it holds up to the Florida sun and my general indifference, but for now – awesome.  
I had not anticipated spending the entire morning on hair color and short people. I was planning to get to the garden in the afternoon. So, of course, it rained all yesterday afternoon.  I went to Plan B and ran out and picked up some stakes and managed to remember to get Easter basket stuff as well.  Danny, though he is approaching 20, still needs a basket. He drew the line at me sending the basket to his roommate to have the roommate hide the basket on Easter morning for Dan to find, just like he was home.  :::sigh::::  (Won’t Dan be surprised when I show up and hide myself, not the basket?  SURPRISE!!!!  It’s me, your Mom.  ROFL – I’m even cringing as I type.)
Today, Mike agreed to help me get the garden fully planted.  We made a run to the little nursery near the house and got some awesome flowers (later identified as a type of verbena) for the various sad parts of the front of the house.  Mike and I rarely get time alone where we’re both awake.  In the car on the way to the nursery, we engaged in a rather vehement discussion. We stopped discussing, we bought flowers, some seeds and a couple of hanging baskets.  We discussed more on the four minute drive home.  As we got out of the car, I asked Mike if he would still help me with the garden – we had not reached an agreement.  He nodded, headed into the garage and came out with a monster extension cord and my cd player.  I looked at him and he said, “I think we’ve talked enough for now.  Just tell me what to do while you listen to your book.”  And, that folks, is what knowing someone for 26 years will get you.  Smart man.
The garden is planted.  The flowers are going to be awesome.  My little donkey is finally moved to guard the big garden.  Man, I love that thing.  It makes me want to learn how to weld and solder.  Mike and I talked after finishing the garden and, while we still don’t agree, we’re okay again.  I do love Mike. He makes me nuts, but we are good together.
Later, I went on a walk with my neighbors.  I’m not sedentary by any stretch, but I thought this would be fun to do – something to look forward to each day.  While we broke no speed records, we had a lot of fun and covered three miles in a reasonable amount of time.  I’m hoping we can keep it up.  If not, I may have to rethink my approach to mornings and just get up and walk.  Gah – how I wish I did not kill I-pods.  With a good book on an I-pod, I’d be Forrest Gump in mom-shorts. 

And that concludes another exciting chapter in our lives.  😉

More about Mike!

Today Mike met with the GI from the hospital.  We both liked this man when Mike was in the hospital and we like him still.  He told Mike that he saw no signs of reflux in the first endoscopy.  Poof!  Mike is back to regular food and activity with some moderation.  Moderation is what Mike does best! (Thank goodness it’s not me, I absolutely suck at moderation.)
The doctor told Mike he thinks it’s a structural thing with his esophagus (makes sense with his history).  He wants to let the recent tear heal and at the end of April, he’ll do another endoscopy and a biopsy to make sure his theory is correct.  If it is correct, the doctor seems confident that he can treat it with steroids on a yearly or bi-yearly basis.  Cross your fingers this doctor is right.  
As long as you’re crossing your fingers, cross them and your toes and say a prayer and whatever that Mike does not get a stomach virus or another bad cough between now and late April.  The doctor did give us an rx for phenergren (sp?) should he feel remotely nauseous and he told Mike to call immediately if he gets a cough.  It’s only 8-9 weeks, right? I know it’s going to be fine.  Right?  It is.  I know it.


Sorry to disappear for so long.  All is well here.  Mike is doing well.  He’s back to work with no lifting and he’s still on the soft-food diet. That’s the nice thing about a family business, my brother and my parents are NOT going to let Mike tax himself.  They did let him make a small (under 10# ) delivery today to one of our long-time customers.  The customer met Mike at the door shouting “Don’t you DARE lift that!!!!”  LOL  Mike asked the guy if I had called him ahead of time.  Mike goes to the new GI doctor on Monday and hopefully we’ll have some kind of plan to work from after that.  (I’m not holding my breath, but I am trying to be optimistic.) 
The diet???  Who knew I use so many tomatoes when I cook? Too many, they’re on the restricted list!  For the first time in years and years I have bought (my Pittsburgh self wants to say “boughten”) bread (soft white – the kids are in fluffernutter heaven) and yogurt.) Weird, huh?  We only have another week with the soft foods and I think we can do it.  Tonight I wimped out and we had pancakes and salad for dinner.  Yeah, yum. Or not. 
I’m feeling kind of wishy-washy about all of this.  The “head” of Mike’s team of doctors was a total tool.  He marched in to Mike’s room not 12 hours after Mike had been admitted admonished the nurses in the room and told Mike he would have to stop “drinking the hard liquor and overeating the spicy food.”  Are you kidding me?  If you’ve read here for any time, you know I’m married to a Puritan. Hard liquor? Ummmm . . . no.  Beer – maybe one or two every now and then.  Overeating?  This is a man who can eat one (ONE) Oreo and be happy.  In the 26 years I have known Mike I have never ONCE seen him overeat anything!  
This doctor, I think, is maybe simply seeing too many patients every day (oh yeah, that’s his excuse for being rude to nurses and dismissing questions – I asked a question and he just turned away from me and never looked at me again for four days!).  He doesn’t take notes and based on the way his advice changed every single day, I’m thinking no one is taking notes for him.  I’m putting my faith in the GI doctor for now.  Cross your fingers he continues to pay attention to the details, you know, Mike’s file and history and factors that might actually matter?
I am trying very hard to remain rational.  I know in my head that what happened in 2004 is unlikely to happen again.  But, it’s still on my mind.  In my perfect world, Mike would be home drinking smooth smoothies made of rainbows and lollipops, wrapped in bubble wrap and happy to be doing that.  Strangely, my perfect world doesn’t exist.  For now, I’m trying to be as little of a nag as possible. I make the soft food.  Mike is leaving the house everyday, I can’t stop him from getting a giant char-broiled something.  I don’t think he’s doing that (yet), but it could happen.  In the meantime, I’m working on sleep and maintaining my own self.  I am not good at this, but I’m trying. 

Okay, that’s an update for now, right?  I’m off to bed.  Hope you all are doing well.

First Day Home

We survived Mike’s first day at home! He’s alive and kicking as I type. Yay us.  Mike is not too thrilled with the soft food diet, but, oh well.  My job is to keep him out of the hospital and that’s what I’m going to do.  It’s only two weeks!  I made shephard’s pie and a lovely rice pudding with a fig newton crust tonight, maybe that’ll add some interest?  
Andy is sick.  I’m not sure if he has what Mike and I had a week or so ago (awful sore throat, cough, monster headache) or if he’s getting strep.  I figure I”ll know tomorrow when I check his throat.  Upside to Andy feeling rotten?  He’s keeping Mike company!  It’s weird how in sync the pair of them are.  After oatmeal and applesauce, they watched game shows all morning, napped, snacked, watched more bad television (I wasn’t in the room too much but I can tell you it was mind-numbingly boring), ate lunch and napped again.  I think they were both happy to have each other today.  (In case you haven’t picked up on it, once you’re out of the hospital, I am not the most sympathetic caregiver.)
Tomorrow?  Who knows – a lot will depend on whether Andy’s throat has big spots on it or not in the morning.  
Fun stuff?  While driving to pick Mike up at the hospital yesterday, I spotted what I thought were big, old wooden windows on someone’s curb with a little sign that said “FREE.”  I love how old windows look hanging on a wall.  I called Ian and Tim and asked them to go grab the windows.  When we got home, we learned they were much bigger than I had thought.  In fact, they’re French doors!  For free!  After however many years in this house, there is a possibility that with a little elbow grease, we might finally lose the nasty sliding door and have French doors leading out to the porch.  Okay, maybe fun is an exaggeration.  Still, Mike can measure everything safely and start thinking about the project.  Right????  Tape measures are kind of fun, huh?
Funny? Mike and my brother work together at the family business.  My parents help out on a very part-time basis.  With Mike being incapacitated,  my folks have been working full time.  When I called to let them all know that Mike was home and that he was cleared to work (with no lifting) on Monday, they laughed. I think it will be a bit longer until Mike is ready to go back full-time and they agree.  My mom called me last night to tell me that they were going to have a t-shirt made for Mike that said “If you see me lifting anything, please call 555-555-5555 IMMEDIATELY.”  Strangely, Mike did not find this as funny as I did.  
I think that’s about it for now.  I have more I want to ‘talk’ about, but it’s all going to have to wait. 

Wednesday Mike Upate

He’s HOME!  Hooray!!!! The fever stopped sometime around midnight last night and has not returned.  There are still MANY unanswered questions and we will be pursuing answers in the coming days.  For now, Mike is home and stuck in bed or on the recliner, eating a soft food diet.  We’ll see how it all goes.  Today, by the time we got Mike home he was ready for a nap – a four hour nap!  I went shopping for “soft foods.”  The next couple of weeks are going to be bland, but interesting.  
Andy, Ian, Tim and Dan have been amazing through all of this. When I arrived home today with Mike, the house was picked up, dishes done, bathrooms clean and the laundry was swishing thanks to Ian, Tim and Andy! Early this evening, Mike was happy to get a call from Dan – laughter is good medicine.  However, I think the stress of the past several days have taken their toll on all of us.  Ian and Tim were in bed before midnight. I’m kind of at that punchy point where sleep is actually needed but hard to come by. Poor Andy just woke up with a raging fever – I changed his sheets, gave him some Tylenol and tucked him back into bed.  We’ll see what tomorrow holds. Mike?  You’d never know he’s been sleeping in a tiny hospital bed flat on his back with multiple IV’s and monitors – he is completely sprawled over our king-sized bed.  Unless something changes in the next 20 minutes, I”ll be sleeping on the couch.  Which is fine.  I’m just so happy he’s home. 

Thank you all for the support and prayers.  Now to find out the cause of this  . . .  hmmmm. . . . Stay tuned.