Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Thrilling Conclusion to the Pajama Crisis

Lots of people have asked how The Pajama Debacle was resolved. Well, I'll tell ya.

First of all, you can all be very glad that I have Shawn in my life. This has kept me from calling each. and. every. one. of you and asking your opinion on The Pajama Crisis. He refuses to let me believe The Plight of the Pajamas is a big deal. He keeps saying things like,

"This just isn't a big deal,"


"They would never let me be a counselor to a bunch of seven-year-old boys and even I could handle this problem if one of my campers didn't have pajamas!"

He's just doing his part to keep me sane for the rest of you. You should thank him.

Anyhoo. Back to the story.

I came rolling up on the parking lot just outside of the Registration Office ready to save the day with Spence's pajamas in tow. Before I could set Elizabeth on the ground outside of the car, there was a counselor at my shoulder.

"Can I help you?" he asked.

"I forgot to pack pajamas for my son."

"Oh, that's no big deal!" (Seriously. Did my husband pay you to say that?)

"Would you mind getting these to him?"


"His name's Spencer Johnson. It's written on the bag. His cabin's on there, too."

"Okay... Do you need anything else?"

"Um. No. Thank you."

"You're welcome."

People? I got the bum's rush.

I got in my car and started texting another mom to tell her I found out nothing about the status of our boys.

The counselor watched. me. til. I. left.

Dude. I get it. You don't want me here.

I guess there might be a mass outbreak of homesick hysteria if a parent is spotted on the property.

I also figure I can be quite confident that our children are well protected from strangers. Unapproved vistors are not welcome.

Duly noted.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Camp Packing FAIL

Spencer went to sleep-away camp for the first time!

We dropped him off on Sunday and we pick him up on Friday. He's there with some of his buddies from school. His counselor was a very sweet, soccer-playing college kid from England. (How cool is that?) I really was quite at ease as we drove away. I sent a care-package; we've written letters and emails. All's well... until...


It hit me like a ton of bricks.

Here's the packing list the camp provided that we used to pack Spence:
  • Camper :)
  • Sleeping bag and/or sheets/blanket 
  • Pillows and Case
  • Towels
  • Wash cloth
  • Laundry bag
  • Swimsuit
  • Shorts
  • One pair of clothes for getting muddy
  • Jeans
  • Light jacket
  • Tops or T-shirts
  • Hat/ball cap
  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • Boots
  • Shoes
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellant
  • Stationary, stamps, pen
  • Toiletry items:shampoo, conditioner, soap etc.
  • Flashlight
  • Shower Shoes
  • Disposable Camera
What's missing? Do you see it? If you don't, you're a bad mom... like me...


My boy is at sleep-away camp WITH NO PAJAMAS. Camp is only 45 minutes away. Guess where I'm going to be first thing tomorrow?

And, now. I'm going to try to go to bed and convince myself that he's learning valuable lessons about going with the flow... rolling with the punches... taking things in stride... and all the other cliches I can think of to make myself feel better.

*insert maternal angst here*

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Lost Puppy

I'm not ashamed to say that I only just emptied the kids' backpacks from the last day of school. Well, actually, I am. I just thought that if I used a lot of bravado you wouldn't judge me. You should judge me. There were things in there... I had to throw away a lunchbox because... well... it was better that way.

But, I was rewarded for my efforts by finding this little gem.

The Lost Puppy
By: Spencer
(translations follow each page)

There was a dog with its owner and its owner was
talking to some people. And the dog got free.
Should we be worried that the dog was evidently in captivity and yearning to break "free"?

And the dog is gone. And after the owner
turned around the dog was not there.
I'm sad to say that this scenario is probably a representation of some of Spencer's real-life experiences in public places; wherein he plays the poorly supervised dog and I play the easily distracted, talking pet owner.

Anyway. Who are they all waving at? The long lost dog? Bye, dog.

Have you seen my puppy? she asked a man.
I'm starting to think the dog was trying to escape from the trick leash the woman was using. Or she's swinging it in the man's face to prove that she actually has lost a dog. Either way.

And she looked high and low.
But she could not find her puppy!
Notice the exclamation point that escaped from the previous page. This is a very emphatic story!!

Notice, also, the illustrations for searching "high and low." Evidently, when you search high, you grow significantly. Conversely, while searching "low," you get teeny tiny. You should probably carefully consider your surroundings before you decide to search in this manner.

Then she went to the park to play. She saw
a group of puppies. She counted them.

And she took them home. The End.
So the moral of the story seems to be: When you lose something, just find another one somewhere else. And take more than you lost. Because more is better.

Ed note: There was one page of completely erased words. Evidently, there was an initial version that had the girl "earning" one of the dogs. But, the other dogs didn't have a home either. The girl didn't want to take them all, but she did. It seems it was originally a much more altruistic story. I'm guessing it got the Reader's Digest condensed version because all of those words were too tricky to write. That's okay. It's way better this way. I like the thieving, bad pet owner. She's gritty and real.

Monday, June 20, 2011

"Mom? Can we get him some food?"

"Mom? Can we get him some food?"

I have to be honest. My first thought was "Oh yeah. Spence can read now." That meant he had seen the guy sitting by the mall entrance with the handwritten sheet of paper that said, "Hungry. Please help."

I, too, had seen the sign. But, the guy looked well fed. And, I had a thousand errands to do - with two kids who were slowly losing patience.

But, I answered, "Of course we can."

I pulled into the Fazoli's drive-thru. I ordered a sandwich and a Coke. I was still having every cynical thought possible:

"That guy doesn't want food. It's just a scam to get people to give him money."

"I've heard of people who just throw away the food people bring them because they just want cash."

"He probably won't even be there when we get back."

But, I kept my mouth shut. I don't want to ruin Spencer's innocent view of the world. I don't want him to learn, just yet, that sometimes people don't tell the truth. And, anyway, Spence was concerned with how slow the drive-thru was being. And, he kept asking me where the guy was. And, where was the mall entrance because he couldn't see it.

We got the food. We headed back toward the mall. As we turned toward the entrance, I saw the guy get up from his spot and cross into the Dairy Queen parking lot. I pulled up to him with my car, rolled down the window, held out the food, smiled and said, "We got you this."

It's then, when he began to speak, that I realized he was mentally challenged. He said, "Oh, wow. Thanks." He held out a wad of what looked like one dollar bills to me and said cheerfully, "A guy just gave me this. Do you want it?"

I told him to keep it for later. I told him to have a great day.

We pulled away and I could only say, "Spencer. I am so proud of you," before I choked up. Later, I told him, "That's exactly the way God wants us to treat each other. You made God so happy today."

There is more Christ-like love in one little child's heart than all of we world-weary adults combined.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Walking, Anyone?

You all must be tired of hearing about this. Because I know I'm tired of talking about it.

So, looooong story short(er).

I don't know if I'm a fabulous healer or if you all have been praying. (Well, I know you've been praying because you've told me. Thank you. Truly.) But...

I'm walking!

Shawn and I used all the patience we had with this "wait and see" thing. So, we went back to the old home town (remember how the surgeon in our new town was on vacation for three weeks?), took full advantage of some of our friends, and got in to see the orthopedic surgeon. (This was an even easier decision to make since our kids are on their annual lake trip with their cousins, Shawn's folks and his aunt & uncle this week. Hol-la!)

The surgeon looked at the MRI and examined me. (*ahem* I might be the jumpiest patient that ever existed. He would touch my foot. I would fly three feet in the air. He would say, "Does that hurt?!" And, I would say, "Um... no." Seriously. Even I was embarrassed for myself.) He asked about my reconstruction when I was a twelve-year-old. (Turns out that business was cutting edge twenty-five years ago. Oh. That just made me sad to think I was twelve twenty. five. years. ago.), and said this:

The tendon is where it should be and is healing well. (That was my misunderstanding. The tendon probably *snappped* around the bone when I fell... but popped back. Or who knows what popped in there. I'm not working with a paragon of body parts here. It could have been anything.) I have an unusual amount of bruising (I just like all the pretty purple, blues and greens - and I think more is better!) and I am feeling nerve pain in places where I shouldn't. (Seriously, Ali? Must you always be unique?) So, what I need to do is this-kind-of-therapy and that-kind-of-therapy, wear the air splint (that I loathe), and come back in two weeks.

We left, I confirmed with Shawn that the only precaution/babying that the doctor suggested was the splint. Things might hurt a bit, but I wasn't going to damage it further by trying to use it or put weight on it (which, to add to my own personal brand of anxiety, is exactly what caused the extensive damage when I was a kid). Shawn agreed and I spent the afternoon trying to walk on it.

It's ugly and lurching. I kind of look like Frankenstein. But, it's walking!

Now. How long to you think it will take Shawn before he realizes I've been faking this whole thing just to get out of doing laundry?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Was There A Head Trauma Involved That I've Forgotten?

So. I've lost my mind.

Not only am I confusing Shawn for my high school boyfriend, I missed an appointment last week. Just flat up didn't go. It was in my calendar. I didn't go. The sweet woman was nice enough to reschedule with me for today. I got there at 2:45. For my appointment at 3:45.

What is wrong with me?!

I called Shawn and told him how weird it is that I've lost my memory. I told him, "I don't feel different. And, I'm kicking ass at Hangman on my phone."

His response? "Well, that's a good piece of life. Go ahead and hang your hat on that one."

I don't feel like he's being very sincere.

Monday, June 13, 2011


Me: "Remember when [blah, blah, blah, blah]?"

Shawn: "No. I really don't remember that. Like, I don't even have the slightest recollection of that.

Me: "Really?"

Shawn: "Are you sure that wasn't one of your other boyfriends?"

Me: "Oh my gosh. It really might have been [name of former boyfriend]!"

Shawn: "That's awesome."

People! I have never done that. But, it's nice to know that after being together seventeen years, I can still surprise Shawn.

Image of "Regret" from here.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Guess Who's FIVE?!

Lulu's FIVE! That's who!

The celebration began yesterday with lunch at... Burger King. And, she wore this "Birthday Crown" that she got on one of the last days of school when she received her summer birthday blessing.
Did I mention that she's never been to Burger King? But, evidently, if you're the "Birthday Queen," you need to eat at "Burger King." Who can argue with that logic?

For dinner, she took us to one of her favorite Italian restaurants.

She brought this goofy guy:
And some of her other favorite peeps:

And, she promptly added one more soul to her list of admirers.

He sang "Happy Birthday" to her in Italian and English.

Commence Operation: Birthday Cake Eating
Cake #1

Birthday Cake #2

And, of course... presents. Here's just one of them that she opened. But, I have a feeling she'll be having this reaction to money for the rest of her life. I know I still do...
All in all, a pretty good day.

Oh, my darling birthday princess!
Who is my very favorite little girl in this whole wide world?

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Medical Update(s)

My in-laws brought dinner last night. Holla! I made Lulu show Shawn and my mother-in-law the "bite" on her knee. The way they both reacted (neither of them being prone to over-reaction... EVER) made me want to flip out just a little bit. Instead. We ate dinner. :-O

But, then Shawn took Lulu to the walk-in clinic. (Can I tell you how happy Shawn is that he's the only healthy member of the family, so he gets to take care of the rest of us?) *Grossness Alert* When they got back to the exam room, the P.A. took the band-aid off of Lulu's bite. It was so swollen that her skin ruptured - like two inch-long tears. Shawn said pus just poured out of it.

Give me a minute. I have to go vomit.

Okay. I'm back. Diagnosis? She got a bug bite that got bacteria in it (aka, cellulitis). The P.A. said it's always worse on kids around their joints because they move so much and there is so much blood flow to the area to help it spread. I don't care how you describe it. I'm just gonna need you to fix it!

She's gave us some antibiotic. Lulu came home with a circle drawn around the swelling. If the swelling got bigger than the circle, we had to go back to the doc. But, this morning, it's already drastically diminished in size. Praise God!

And, here's the other awesome part. Shawn said Lulu... absolutely unfazed by any of it. That's my tough girl! He said she just wanted to hurry through it all so she could have the cookies out of the vending machine he promised her when they were done. Sweetest father/daughter team ev-ah.


Now the update on me... me me me me me me me...

We have an amazing friend. A-maz-ing. (I won't call you out by name, friend, because I don't think you would like that. You're welcome.) But, people? Above and beyond. And, conveniently... a doctor. He's shown my films to I-don't-know-how-many-doctors, and talked to his friend - the ankle surgeon. The prevailing opinion...

Let it heal three weeks and see where we stand. (bu-dum-cha! Thank you, folks. I'll be here all week.) We'll see if maybe, just maybe, this little ol' tendon of mine might heal itself. (Heal, tendon! *said in my best Southern Revival Preacher voice while flat-hand-smacking my ankle - well, no... not smacking... that would hurt... how about... waving vigorously*)

Three weeks? Um. That's when the ankle doctor up here gets back from vacation. I already have an appointment scheduled with him.

Sometimes coincidences like that freak me out just a little bit.

So. That's where we are. I'm off to figure out how to live life on crutches... with a smile... because, remember? It could always be worse.

Monday, June 06, 2011

I Don't Like to Complain. BUT...

...well, where should we start?

How about the car?

It started with the popped tire. But, that's okay. I was in front of a Firestone.

Then I locked my keys in my car - again. While a wildfire was raging all around our house. And, this time the "top window" (aka, sunroof) wasn't open. I had to pay a guy to break into my car. And, you know? He may work for a "business" of "locksmiths," but he's still really good at breaking into cars and that's just really disconcerting.

I tweeted all of that and posted it on Facebook.
(See? That's why you should follow me on
Twitter and Facebook, too. Just sayin'.)

Then I got a ticket for having an expired license plate registration - the renewal for which was sitting on the desk at home. (So Shawn told me after I got the ticket.) Awesome-sauce.

But, I was too busy to blog about most of that because I was getting the kids through their last days of school and getting all of us ready to depart for our annual Memorial Day family gathering.

And, well, you might have heard what happened while we were there... And, y'all? I'm trying to be a good sport. But, THIS. REALLY. BITES. I mean. Have you ever thought about how you would put your underwear on if you couldn't put any weight on your left foot? Have you?! It involves your bare butt having to touch stuff.

Thus, began the journey of physical catastrophes for the Johnsons.

The very day we returned from the Emergency Room in Austin, Elizabeth shrieked with pain if you so much as tried to tuck her hair behind her ear. Well, I absolutely know what that means when a kid has been spending every waking moment in a swimming pool. Swimmer's Ear. We tried to treat her with the home-remedy of 1 part white vinegar/1 part warm water in her ear for five minutes twice a day. That did... absolutely nothing. The night we returned home, Shawn went to check on her before we went to bed ourselves. She was whimpering in her sleep. So. heartbreaking.

So, off to the pediatrician's office we go the next day. Me on crutches. And, no pain medicine because then how could I drive?

Subsequently, this update:

The Johnson boys were walking around pretty cocky about their grasp on physical well-being. Until... Spencer jammed his thumb so badly riding his bike that it swelled up to twice its size.

Ok. That's it. What more could possibly happen? Oh, funny you should ask.

This morning Elizabeth was putting on her shorts and something on the inside of her knee caught my eye. It was a huge boo-boo. I'm sorry. Did I say boo-boo? I should have said abscess. With red, puffy swelling about an inch and a half around the infection. Awesome. Let's just say she wasn't a fan of me knocking the top off of that pus scab and dousing it with hydrogen peroxide for about 15 minutes.

Oh, yeah. And, then? The ankle surgeon we were hoping to see here in town? On vacation for the next three weeks.

All these things? They led to this update this morning:

So. That's it. My big complaining post. Thissucksthissucksthissucksthissucks.

I'm done.

Now. Off to find some silver linings, some half-full glasses, some this-too-shall-pass. Because, somewhere? There is someone whose health is being threatened with things that won't mend. Worse. There are people whose baby's health is being threatened with things that won't mend.

So, this cross of mine? Not quite so big after all. (But, I do need to figure out how to pay that ticket. Because, I'm not going to be able to run very far if they come after me with a warrant for my arrest.)

Sunday, June 05, 2011

I've Seen Who I REALLY Am.
And, It's Not Pretty.

Just a little tip: If you don't want to be stalked by every bedridden invalid on Facebook, you should set your privacy settings very high! Be warned.

And, if you have the misfortune of actually being one of my friends on Facebook? The chances are very good that I have stalked you. And, if I haven't, I will soon.

So. To be clear. This is what I do with my confinement:
Now you know.

My conscience is clear. Confession is good for the soul.

Now. I have to go. Tengo que hacer acosando.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

The News Could Be Worse...

Like. I guess I could need my foot amputated. I don't. So, there's the silver lining.

The facts we know so far? I tore a tendon. And, it took a jaunty little trip around to the "other" side of the fibula (or tibia - I can't keep those bones straight). Thus, the "snap" heard round the world 20-yards away.

Unfortunately, this will require just a touch of surgery. We've been told that, as far as ankle surgeries go, this is a relatively simple one. Yay?

That's that. I'm sitting on my a$$ while Shawn works his off taking care of the kids and me. The pain meds and anti-inflammatory drugs they gave me make me so zoned-out and sleepy, I think I may have drooled a few times.

So, don't expect blogging gold from me. I'm only one (very medicated) person. And, now I've got a bum wheel.

But, I do have one cute anecdote to share. Spence and I were sharing a quiet moment sitting on the couch yesterday morning (the morning after "the incident"). I asked him, "Were you worried yesterday or did everyone do a good job of letting you know I would be okay?"

His answer?

"Yeah. They told me about every ten seconds."

We're all just moms and dads at heart, son. It's best to figure that out now...


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