Tuesday, January 31, 2012

In Which We Have A Long Day

Connor had an outpatient procedure today, so we spent the first half of our day at the hospital.  Things went routinely and he's recovering well, but he'll probably feel a little under the weather for a few days.  He spent most of the afternoon on the couch, where we let him watch back-to-back movies for pretty much the rest of the day, in between naps. 

I spent most of the day reading Sookie Stackhouse novels in the waiting room and then sitting on the couch watching Connor and eating chocolate covered cherries.  Jeremy had the day off of work, so he helped with the waiting room/movie watching/cuddling aspects of the day as well. 

The little guy and I will probably be spending the day quietly at home tomorrow.  Hopefully he'll have a quick recovery and we'll be out and about again soon!


Monday, January 30, 2012

In Which We Go To The Doctor And Discover A Great Bear Book

Connor had some appointments today over at the hospital, so we spent a good bit of the day over there.  We got there about an hour early so that we could get a parking space.  There are a limited number of handicap spaces at the hospital, and as Connor gets heavier it becomes harder and harder to maneuver him out of the van if we can't put the ramp down.  Sometimes if I'm desperate I try parking waaaaaay in the back of the parking lot in the middle of a bunch of empty spaces so that I can put down the ramp, but invariably when I come back someone has parked next to me and I end up having to manhandle the wheelchair into the van by brute force.  So instead we just get there really, really early. 

Fun times.

Anyway, after the little guy's appointments we headed off to the bookstore for his reward book.  Normally I pick out two books and then give Connor a choice, but today I opened up a random book from the shelves entitled I Want My Hat Back, by Jon Klassan, read it through and immediately decided that Connor needed it because Jeremy was going to think it was perhaps the best children's book ever written.  Not only does it have an extremely deadpan and dark sense of humor, but it also models proper predator-prey relationships, which Jeremy has been known to add to books that he feels are unrealistic in that aspect (you really, really don't want to hear his version of Goldilocks And The Three Bears). 

Seriously, I have no idea how I didn't hear about this book when it came out.  Heck, NPR did a reading of it with Daniel Pinkwater playing the bear.  How did I miss it?   

So then I had to convince Connor that he wanted this book for his reward.  The conversation went something like this:

Me: Connor, do you want this book?
Connor: No.
Me: But it's a really really great book! 
Connor: No.
Me: Do you want me to read it to you now so you can see if you like it?  I think you'll like it.
Connor: No no NO.
Me: But it has a BEAR in it!
Connor: Yes want want want yes want more MORE WANT.

Yeah.  Connor likes bears. 

So anyway, after I convinced my child that he needed something I actually wanted for myself (aren't I a great mom?) we spent a little bit of time finding more books for me, this time adult books, ate lunch in the cafe and then headed home, where Jeremy was waiting.  He read Connor the book and agreed that it was, in fact, fantastic.  Connor enjoyed it too, though I'm pretty sure it was mostly because a) Daddy was reading it and b) it contained a bear. 

Any book with either a bear or a dinosaur in it is a good book as far as Connor is concerned!


Sunday, January 29, 2012

In Which We Have A Rainy Day

It was all cold and rainy again, so no Christmas lights came down.  I'm sure I'll take them down by, oh, July.  That's a realistic goal.

Due to the aforementioned cold wet weather we spent most of the day all snuggled up inside.  The cats thought this was a pretty good plan and offered themselves as official leg warmers and purr boxes.  While Connor and Jer hung out I had important work-- a nice stack of books to go through and a cup of tea to drink.  It was a real hardship, but I struggled through.

Connor's rash is completely gone except for one nasty area on his cheek, and we're not entirely sure if that's left over from the allergic reaction or if he's got a new skin rash going on.  Fun times!  We'll see what it looks like tomorrow before we decide whether or not to take him back to the doctor.

So really not too much happened today, which was kind of a relief to tell you the truth.  Connor's been keeping us on our toes entirely too much lately; it was nice to relax and have some quiet time!


Saturday, January 28, 2012

In Which Connor Feels Much Better And We Find A Therapist

Connor is feeling so much better today!

His rash looks dramatically better, and he didn't throw up a single time today!  The Benedryl did keep him pretty zonked, but he seemed to be way more comfortable anyway.  Sleep is probably just what he needs to help him recover. 

The plan today was to take down the Christmas lights now that the snow is all melted (yes I know it's over a month after Christmas-- don't judge me) but it rained.  So instead I took a bunch of stuff to Goodwill and Jeremy made another dump run.  Apparently the line for the dump was out of the facility and down the street because everyone was dropping off the tree limbs that had during the ice storm; our dump takes yard waste for free and makes compost and wood chips out of it.  So we're going to hold off taking the one small tree branch that came down in our yard and our Christmas tree (don't judge!!) to the dump until Monday, when hopefully everyone will be at work and I won't have to wait for two hours to drop them off.

Other errands today included a trip to the bookstore-- which sadly takes over half an hour to get to now since the one near us shut down-- and a visit to the post office to restock my supply of boxes for Ellen's care packages.  Ellen's Christmas and birthday letters finally came back from translation, so I can put her care package in the mail first thing tomorrow morning!  I ultimately decided to whittle down and combine the two care packages rather than send her two separate boxes really close together.  We don't want to overwhelm her with stuff, and she'll be getting a February package in a few weeks.  Hopefully our adoption agency will be visiting her orphanage soon as well!

Speaking of Ellen, I made an exciting discovery last week!  I found a marriage and family therapist nearby who specializes in adolescence, has experience with adoptive families, lived in Thailand for a number of years and is fluent in Thai!  Ellen is an extremely resilient, intelligent and brave girl and she wants to be adopted, but any child who is adjusting to a new country, culture, language and family-- especially a teenager-- is likely to have a difficult time (who wouldn't?) and we want to have resources immediately available for her should she need them. 

I called and spoke with the therapist, and not only is she more than happy to see Ellen should she need a listening ear, but she'd also be willing to meet with us before we leave for Thailand to help us figure out the best way to ease our daughter's transition into our family.  I'm really thankful that we've found someone who Ellen wouldn't need a translator to communicate with and who is extremely familiar with Thai culture.

Can't wait to get our daughter home!


Friday, January 27, 2012

In Which Connor Finds Some More Polka Dots

So yesterday Connor started breaking out in what I thought was a mild case of hives.  He'd been throwing up a lot, and sometimes when he gets sick he ends up with a bit of a skin reaction.  So I was a bit unprepared when I walked in his room this morning to discover that he was completely covered, from feet to nose, in a morass of raised, bright red spots.  When a hefty dose of Benadryl failed to have an effect, I loaded him in the car and we were off to the doctor's office for the fourth time in the past three weeks.

I am getting really tired of going to the doctor's office, by the way. 

Anyway, they took one look at him and told me that he was sporting a textbook case of sulfa allergy rash.  Apparently he's developed an allergy to Bactrim, the antibiotic he's been on for the last ten days to treat his impetigo.  This explains all of the vomiting we've been seeing too.  Luckily today was the last day he was supposed to be on it anyway, so we're just missing one dose of the medication and hopefully his impetigo is gone.  It's kind of hard to tell right now since the kid currently looks like he's been splatter painted with red ink. 

So now Connor has a whole new class of drugs to add to his Avoid At All Costs list, along with amoxicillin and colace (and lavender of course, though that's not a drug).  I'm really glad that I decided in the end to take him into the doctor; I really debated about whether or not it would be beneficial when I figured it was a case of hives and there's nothing they could do.  I was right about that part-- the poor little guy just has to wait out the effects-- but once you get a reaction like that the allergy tends to really ramp up the next time you are exposed to the drug, and so if Connor had gotten his evening dose of Bactrim tonight things could have been really, really bad. 

So we returned home with instructions to watch Connor over the next day and make sure that he doesn't start having airway issues, and to keep dosing him with Benadryl to help with the itching and burning he's probably feeling.  We're supposed to get as many fluids down him as we can to help flush the drug out of his system.  The doctor said that hopefully the rash will be gone in three or four days.  The Benadryl is making the little guy drowsy as all get out, and he spent the entire rest of the day asleep.  I have to say that's probably for the best-- he looks extremely uncomfortable while he's awake. 

He's just been having a rough time of it lately!


Thursday, January 26, 2012

In Which Jer And I Go Out On The Town

Jer and I just got home from a date!

Jeremy brought home tickets to an ice skating performance (Unforgettable Moments of Love on Ice!) from work, so we got all dressed up and went out on the town.  It was lovely to get the chance to go out just the two of us; it's been a while since we've had the opportunity to spend some one-on-one time together.  I think the last time we went out was in early December, so we were definitely past due.

The show was pretty awesome-- a number of Olympic medalists and world champion skaters did some amazing routines, and Gladys Knight gave a stellar performance.  Kenny G was also there doing his smooth jazz thing, which I'm sure was a fantastic performance if you are a fan of smooth jazz.  He actually spent some time out on the ice and was a pretty good sport about the whole thing.  I had a really hard time not visualizing the skaters performing in elevators during his numbers, but that's not his fault. 

It was a little odd because the performance was being filmed for television; apparently it's going to be on NBC the first Saturday of February (you should check it out because it was a fun performance to watch live.  I'd watch it again if I had TV reception-- and not just to see if Jer and I make an appearance on camera).  After the show was over they had us keep our seats and they reshot some of the jumps and routines to make sure they got enough good footage.  That was actually a lot of fun because the skaters cut loose a bit and joked with the audience while they waited for their cues. 

We had VIP passes to the afterparty, so when the performance was over we went upstairs, grabbed some dessert and coffee, and watched from afar as the skaters and Kenny G were completely mobbed by the other guests.  I'm sure they're used to it, but it didn't look like a whole lot of fun from our perspective.  We figured they had more than enough people to talk to, and we're not really the "meet 'em so we can say we met 'em" types.  But I will say that Sasha Cohen is just as pretty in person as she is on the screen.  Oh, and I now have a bit of a crush on Ryan Bradley.  He has got some serious muscles, ladies.

Also he does a mean back flip.

Anyway, it was a fantastic evening and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  It was just so great to get the chance to spend some quality time with Jer!  The performance was not something we'd normally think of doing if we hadn't received tickets, but we ended up having a great time.  Hopefully we'll have the chance to go on more out-of-the-box dates in the future! 


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

In Which Connor Is Sick And We Resend Some Letters

So it seems my Internet is only going to cooperate before noon in fifteen minute intervals right now.  Expect erratic blogging until things settle back down to normal over here. 

Connor's potassium levels came back normal yesterday, thank goodness!  So that means he's probably got a GI bug.  He did a little bit better yesterday-- only three seizures-- but he's still throwing up all over the place so he stayed home from school again. It's just been one thing after another for the kid this winter.  He seems to be feeling better again this morning, so hopefully he'll be back in school tomorrow for the first time in over a week.    

We resent Ellen's Christmas and birthday letters to the translator; it looks like she might not have received them originally.  No wonder it's taken so long!  So I'll either combine Ellen's Christmas and birthday care packages or she'll get two in close proximity.  I'm putting together her February care package right now too (Conversation Hearts, anyone?) but I'll send it towards the end of February so we don't overwhelm her with mail.  Our adoption agency will be making their annual trip over some time in the next few months, which is always exciting!  Our dossier will have been over in Thailand a year in March, and the process for first approval seems to be taking between 18-24 months right now.  So the earliest we could expect to hear anything might be around September.  We'll just have to see how things go, but it would be fantastic to have her home before she turns fifteen!


Monday, January 23, 2012

In Which Connor Creates Laundry And I Am A Bad Mommy

Hi again!

Our Internet is blinking off and on right now, and it's driving me nuts.  I shouldn't complain too much though-- there are still about 50,000 people in the area with no power.  A little forced down time with my books isn't going to hurt me any, though I'm not sure I'll ever get caught up on e-mail.

Instead of school this morning, I took Connor in to get his potassium levels checked, as he's become increasingly nauseous and fatigued over the past few days and is now gagging at the drop of a hat.  This is not particularly pleasant for any of the parties involved, except maybe the water and power companies. 

I've been running my washing machine a lot.

Anyway, it could be that Connor is coming down with yet another GI bug, it could be a side effect of the antibiotic he's on, or it could be that the antibiotic is reacting with one of his heart medications and driving his potassium levels way up.  So we went in to rule out the potassium, which is the only one of those that could potentially be really serious.  The lab at our doctor's office is still recouping after a week without power, so his sample had to be sent out.  We'll find out tomorrow morning what his potassium level looks like.

Connor did not have a particularly good day.  Not only did he end up having to be stuck multiple times on both arms before they could get a sample, but he also had five seizures.  This makes me lean towards the GI bug theory on why he's throwing up a bunch, but heck, everything lowers this kid's seizure threshold so it's not exactly conclusive evidence.  I was persona non grata today due to the Multiple Needle Poking That Mommy Didn't Stop Incident, so instead of napping on me like he usually does after a bunch of seizures he had a meltdown, told me I was a "Bad Mommy" and asked for Jer until he fell asleep on the couch. 

Fun times. 

I read him a bunch of books after he woke up and he forgave me.  He never holds much of a grudge, thank goodness.  Otherwise doctor's office visits would be significantly more difficult by this point. 


Sunday, January 22, 2012

In Which We Were Snowed In


I am extremely happy to say that our Internet finally came back on this morning.  Our power flickered off and on this week but thankfully mostly stayed on, but our Internet has been down since Thursday.  Apparently a tree hit something important. 

Trees hit a lot of things in our neighborhood; our house is actually one of the only ones on the street that didn't lose at least one tree to the heavy load of ice and snow.  A few pine trees bent and broke in half, but it was the maples and cherry trees that suffered the worst damage-- most of them either lost huge branches or in a few cases, simply fell over.  We ended up getting about eight inches of snow, and then we got freezing rain for two days, which formed a thick layer of ice over the snow.  If you were careful you could actually walk (or more accurately, skid) along on top of the snow without leaving footprints.  It was crazy. 

We got off pretty lucky; I'll need to go up and check the roof because some of the neighbors' overhanging trees dumped a massive load of ice and snow on it once temperatures rose and it started melting, but otherwise we didn't have any major issues.  We're on high ground, so the flooding currently going on shouldn't affect us either.  Connor has been off of school since Tuesday, and Jer ended up home from work most of the week too, so we kind of had a miniature vacation. 

The temperatures are back up above freezing and the snow and ice are melting (hence the flooding issues), so the streets are mostly clear now.  The biggest issue is the downed trees-- many of them blocked roads and did a lot of damage. 

The pets had a bit of an adventure too-- a couple of days ago Jer and I were startled awake by a tremendous crash.  At first we thought a tree might have gone through a window.  After searching the rest of the house and coming up with nothing, I opened the door to Connor's room.

The gerbil tank was on its side on the floor shattered into several hundred pieces.  Loki was balanced on three legs on the plastic frame of the tank.  He was using the fourth to fish around in the shavings inside.  Apparently he'd snuck into the room when Jer went in to give Connor his medication, managed to wedge himself between the tank and the wall and then shoved the whole thing off the table.  He's nothing if not persistent.

I leaned over as far as I could to avoid the broken glass on the floor and grabbed Loki, who was too busy trying to catch a gerbil dinner to try and get away, and deposited him outside of the room.  Then I went back to play a fun game of "Stick My Hands In Paper Shavings And Broken Glass" to see if the gerbils had survived their unplanned aerial adventure.  Amazingly, when I clicked my tongue at them like I usually do before I feed them, two little heads popped out of the shavings.  Cranston had a tiny cut on his heel, but otherwise they were completely unscathed.

Those are some seriously lucky gerbils.

So they spent some quality time together inside their gerbil wheel while I cleaned up the mess and braved the weather to find them a new tank.  They're lucky the worst was over by that point, or they would have been stuck in our bathtub or something until we could leave the house again. 

Crazy cat.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

In Which We Have A Snow Day

More snow today; at its peak we had probably about seven or eight inches on the ground.  The teenagers in the neighborhood roared by on their snowmobiles, and the smaller kids brought the sleds out and tobogganed down the middle of the street.  The neighborhood park is sporting an army of snowmen. 

Jer had the day off work and Connor was of course off of school, and we've already received the call that he'll be off tomorrow as well.  I have to admit that I'm getting just a bit stir crazy.  The wheelchair won't handle in snow that deep and we don't want to risk the van out on the roads-- especially since our street hasn't been cleared-- so we've spent the last two days holed up inside.  It's supposed to rain pretty heavily tonight and tomorrow though, so it will probably clear up pretty quickly.  Though it's beautiful, I can't say I'll be sorry to see it go.

It has been lovely having Jer and Connor both home though!


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

In Which Connor Is Fitted For Some Wheels And Has A Flair For The Dramatic

Connor had a pretty busy day today!

We woke up to about three inches of snow on the ground, and we're supposed to have a whole bunch more tomorrow-- up to twelve inches in what could apparently end up being the worst snowstorm here since 1985.  Connor's school was canceled this morning, so he got the chance to sleep in. 

And yes, I know that for all you hardcore Canadians and Easterners, a foot of snow isn't all that bad.  But nobody here is exactly prepared for that amount of snow, so people are completely freaking out about it. 

Anyway, we braved the snow this afternoon and drove down to the local hospital, where Connor had measurements done to convert his chair for long sitting (where you sit with your legs straight out from your body) so that he'll be stretching out his hamstrings whenever he sits in it.  Then we talked about getting him an adaptive floor sitter too, so he can play down with his friends whenever he has a play date.  And then finally it was time to talk about ordering his new adaptive tricycle!

Connor's long outgrown the Radio Flyer trike that we modified for him a couple of years ago-- his knees are all up around his ears if we try to put him on it.  Since it's pretty well impossible to find a bigger bike that will adapt well to modification, it's time to switch to a bike made specifically for children with special needs that will grow with Connor as he gets older.  It's practically the only physical activity that really motivates the little guy to work hard-- he loves riding and when we tried out a bike at the hospital today he was actually able to start it moving forward by himself!  So we'll be ordering him a trike from Rifton.  I'll let you know how it handles when it comes.

Shortly after we got home from our appointment I got a phone call from Connor's doctor.  The cultures they took of his impetigo came back positive for both a strep and a staph infection, because the little guy doesn't do anything by halves.  Also one of the infections cultured as resistant to the antibiotic we've had him on. 

Bactrim, the antibiotic that did wipe it out and thus is the one we're switching to, could potentially interact with one of Connor's heart medications and give him hyperkalemia (high potassium levels).  Normally that side effect only happens if someone is on the medication for a long period of time, so it's not very likely it will be a problem because Connor only has to take it for ten days.  They're being really cautious though, because hyperkalemia can do some really, really nasty things, like, um, stopping your heart. 

So when we picked up the Bactrim we also got a baseline potassium level drawn, and while he's on it we'll be checking Connor's pulse rate at least once a day and taking him back in for another test if it starts getting slow or irregular, and also if he starts throwing up a lot or seems really weak or tired.  Whee!

Seriously, it's like living with my own miniature soap opera, only with fewer serial killers and alien abductions. 


Monday, January 16, 2012

In Which It Snows Some More And I Buy A Cat Bus

More snow today; we've got about two and a half inches on the ground now and we could apparently get six to ten more inches over the next two days.  No news yet on whether or not Connor's school will be closed tomorrow; they may be waiting to see just how much snow we get tonight before making the decision.  It was closed today because of the holiday, of course, and Jer was off of work too.  So we spent most of the day cozied up inside enjoying each other's company.  Oh, and cleaning of course.  I'll put this house completely to rights if it kills me.

I did manage to make it out of the house to find a new laundry bin; I've been wanting one with casters so I can just roll my laundry back and forth across the house.  The one I found has three bins and a mesh shelf underneath, which the cats immediately decided was a little hammock just for them.  Loki has been quite happily lying on it and allowing me to push him between the bedroom, where all the interesting people are, and the laundry room, where his food is.  Basically instead of getting a rolling laundry hamper I seem to have actually invented a cat bus.

A bus for cats, I mean.  Not this kind of cat bus.

But other than providing feline public transportation services today was relatively quiet, which was a nice change.  His impetigo has almost completely disappeared, and he was in a cracking good mood so he's obviously feeling a lot more comfortable.  He's actually starting to take interest in his toys again and show a bit more initiative, which is something we haven't seen in a while. 

It's great to see him feeling so much better!


Sunday, January 15, 2012

In Which It Snows And I Clean All The Things

It started snowing yesterday evening, and this morning we woke up to a winter wonderland.  We've got just over an inch on the ground now, and over the next two days we should get another two to four inches, which is nothing like last year but still a pretty significant amount of snow for us.  I took pictures to send to Ellen-- they don't get a whole lot of snow in Thailand either.

I spent most of the day out and about at various derby activities, so Jer was the one to take Connor out in the snow.  The little guy was impressed by the snow falling but not excited about the cold.  He tried tasting some snow and apparently reacted like Jeremy was trying to feed him hot lava or something.  Connor's final opinion of snow: fun to watch, horrible to interact with.  As a result they spent most of the day cozied up inside.

I  love the whispery noise a heavy snow makes falling.  The birds all stuck to the safety of the trees today, except for the chickadees, who are sturdy little things and stay out in all sorts of weather.  They puffed out all their feathers so much that they looked like brown cotton balls hopping about in the snow.  All the neighborhood kids brought out their storage bin and garbage can lids and tried sledding on one of the big hills down the street, and when that proved to be unsuccessful switched to pelting each other with snowballs. 

Walking down our street this evening a shadow crossed mine and I looked up to see our resident owl ghost through the pine trees under the moonlight.  I felt like I'd stumbled into a Robert Frost poem.

What time I didn't spend out I used to start my deep cleaning of the house.  After Connor being sick for three straight months I'm sad to say that things have reached an alarming Level 8 on my Household Disaster Magnitude scale*.  So with Jer home for a three day weekend and Connor (barring his polka dots) on the mend, it's time for me to put everything to rights.

Also I can't paint my craft room or Ellen's room until we get the millwork for the garage window installed and the temperature rises enough to let the paint set.  We could use a space heater, but I get antsy about those running without any supervision.  So I'm throwing my energy into the rest of the house instead. 

As part of my cleaning I've been going through Connor's closet and it's amazing how much clothing he's actually outgrown.  Connor wears the same size clothes for a long, long time-- long enough that he actually manages to wear them out-- but during the course of last year he actually went up an unprecedented three sizes.  For the very first time he's actually in a clothing size that corresponds with his age; he's currently in a 5T.  That means the next time he goes up in sizes I'll have to go shop in the boy's section instead of the infant/toddler section, the thought of which makes me want to put my fingers in my ears and yell "LA LA LA LA LA" because I am in total denial and I am so not ready for my kid to be that big.

He'll be in first grade next year.  He'll be six in April.  Six.  That's like halfway to puberty, people. 



*Household Disaster Magnitude Scale

Level 1: Somebody Else's House Clean
Level 2: House Party Clean
Level 3: Important Guests Clean
Level 4: Pretty Clean
Level 5: Clean
Level 6: A Little Cluttered Dirty
Level 7: Stuff Shoved Under Every Available Piece Of Furniture And All The Closets Dirty
Level 8: Don't Invite Anyone Into The House Because It Is Deeply Embarassing Dirty
Level 9: Did A Bomb Go Off In Here Or Was It A Hurricane Dirty
Level 10: Filming for A&E Hoarders Dirty

Saturday, January 14, 2012

In Which Connor Finds Some Polka Dots

Connor celebrated Ellen's birthday yesterday by having a six and a half minute seizure and then breaking out in blisters all over his face.  He'd had a couple of spots show up in the last few days that I assumed were either eczema or a mild allergic reaction to something, but when I woke him up from his three hour post-seizure nap he looked like he was hitting puberty about eight years early.  Twenty or thirty red, raised bumps were scattered across his face.  His g-tube was also red, crusty and oozing for good measure. 

So it was off to the doctor's office we went.  We sneaked in a scant hour from closing time in the hopes that we'd be able to get an appointment; otherwise we'd have to go to urgent care.  I wasn't sure what was going on with the kid but it was obviously more than eczema, and I didn't want to leave it over the three-day weekend.  Luckily they were able to fit us in.

So it turns out the little guy probably picked up impetigo from somewhere.  Basically it's a skin infection that is usually caused by either strep or staph bacteria.  They took a culture to see exactly what type of bug is causing it, but in the meantime the little guy is now on both oral and topical antibiotics three times daily.  Hopefully that will solve the problem. 

Of course impetigo is contagious, so now Jer and I are having to do a spot check on each other daily until Connor's condition clears up to make sure he hasn't spread it to us. 



Friday, January 13, 2012

In Which Ellen Turns Fourteen

Today was Ellen's birthday; she's fourteen today!  Our girl is a full-fledged teenager now.  We hope this is the last birthday that she'll celebrate alone.

It's actually not likely she had much, if any of a birthday celebration.  In Thailand birthdays are much more low-key than they are here; if anything she'd probably be giving gifts to her friends rather than receiving anything.  However, it just so happens that the day after her birthday is the national holiday Children's Day, and the orphanage usually does something special for the kids.  So we hope that at least she'll be having a nice time tomorrow.

I'm worried she may think we've forgotten about her; our letter translations have been taking a while-- probably due to the holidays-- and we're actually still waiting on her Christmas letter to come back so we can send her care package for December.  So everything has been delayed.  If we don't get her letter back within the next week I may just go ahead and send her Christmas package and then send the letter separately when it comes back.  I don't want to leave her wondering why we haven't sent our usual package. 

Once we have the craft room finished I can really start putting her room together.  Right now her closet is full of my craft supplies.  I'm struggling to figure out exactly what pieces to get; we want her to feel comfortable in her room and be able to make it her own, but of course we have to buy the large pieces of furniture for it and all of her basic items before she arrives.  While it would be easier to paint and do things like curtain arrangements before she gets here, we'll save them until after she's here because that way she'll have a say in what the room looks like. 

However, though paint, linens and accessories do go long way towards changing the feel of the room, furniture still sets the tone, and it's hard not to speculate on what she might want.  Is she a tomboy, or girly?  Will she want neutral, soothing colors or bright, exciting hues?  I'm looking forward to finding out, and in the meantime I'm a little nervous about the choices I'm making because I'm afraid they won't be to her tastes.  The white metal day bed with porcelain knobs I found for her is almost an exact replica of the one I had as a teenager, and it's rather old fashioned and pretty girly.  I hope she likes it.

So anyway, a very happy fourteenth birthday to you, Ellen!  I hope it was a good one.  And I hope it's the last one we don't get to celebrate with you in person. 


Thursday, January 12, 2012

In Which Connor Has A Sad Day And Is Growing Way Too Fast

Both cats are sitting on my lap right now, and Cricket is washing Loki's ears.  This can only end poorly.

Connor was kind of a sadkin today for some reason; I'm not sure exactly why.  He didn't have any seizures or anything; he just seemed to be kind of down in the dumps.  After we did his stander time today he actually had a little meltdown, and then he curled up on me and went to sleep.  I ended up taking a bit of a nap too.  Then he crashed hard when it was bedtime.  It could be that he's still recovering from being sick, and that's why he's sleeping so much.  Or maybe he's going through another growth spurt.  Who knows?

He's definitely grown by leaps and bounds in the past few months; he's actually on the growth chart for both height and weight for the first time ever!  He's in the 11th percentile for weight, and the 1.4 percentile for height.  Connor's g-tube has made such a difference since he had his surgery two years ago; he's more than proportionate now.  And he's got two more loose teeth, to boot.  I just can't believe how fast he's growing.  Can you believe he'll be six years old in April? 

It just doesn't seem possible.  I need to tie a brick to that kid's head or something.

And now as expected, the cats have decided to wrestle in my lap.  I am not thrilled by this development.  I'm trying to suggest they try play-fighting on the floor instead, but they keep flashing all these pointy bits at me when I try and push them off.  Glorious. 

Crazy cats.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

In Which Connor Has A Busy Time And Does A Lot Of Standing

The day started off pretty slow for Connor, but his afternoon was really busy.  After his nap we drove over to one of the local hospitals to get the little guy's stander adjusted and to talk about his adaptive equipment.  Connor has some muscular and skeletal issues that are slowly starting to become more of a problem as he gets older.  Despite his school therapy and the exercises we do with him at home, his scoliosis continues to progress and his hamstrings are starting to tighten up, making it difficult for him to stand upright. 

So we want to modify his chair, stander and at-home seating to help stretch him out as much as we can.  We worked on his stander today, and on Friday we'll return to work on more of his equipment.  We'll also be looking at fitting him for another back brace some time in the near future.  A brace won't reverse his scoliosis, but it can slow down the progression of the spinal curve.  Connor will probably eventually have to have surgery for his scoliosis, but we want to delay it as long as possible-- ideally until he's stopped growing. 

So when we got home I put him in his newly modified and extended stander (he's gotten a lot taller!) and he watched two whole episodes of Fraggle Rock without fussing at all!  All in all he spent just over an hour in it today, which is pretty fantastic.  We've been keeping the stander mostly at school since he has other equipment at home, but since he's pretty much outgrown those things I think we'll need to start hauling it back and forth again.  It's a hassle, but until we have other adaptive equipment to help stretch out his hamstrings and his back it's the best way to do that passively.  Then we can focus on other things instead of having to spend all our time trying to stretch him out. 

After his stander work he and I changed into our bathing suits and I ran a nice warm bath for him.  We've been working on floating in the tub, and he's starting to get the hang of it.  He's not panicking any more when I lay him on his back, and he's okay with letting his body just float as long as I'm supporting his head and neck.  He's gotten to where he really enjoys bath time at home (as long as we get in after the water is done running-- he's terrified of the faucet) but it's still some major sensory work for him.  All the echoes and splashing definitely make it less than a relaxing experience for him, but he's gotten a lot better at tolerating everything.  I'm actually able to use a cup to pour water over his hair now without him completely freaking out now!  Trust me when I say that's a big step forward for him.

So between the appointment, the standing and the bath all that hard work got to the little guy; he was so tired he fell asleep in the middle of his bedtime story and Jer had to carry him over his shoulder to bed.  I think that if it's going to tire him out so much that he actually sleeps at night, more time in his stander at home is definitely in the cards. 

He's getting so big!


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

In Which Connor Is Better And I Spackle The Universe

I am the queen of spackle.

Connor woke up laughing this morning with no hint of fever and seemed to be fully over his bug, so I took him to school.  Then I went to our local hardware store and bought myself a drywall patching kit and a big ol' tub of spackle.

Guess what I did the entire time Connor was in school?

The wall in the area of the garage I'm converting is about twenty nine feet long, and I ended up using the entire tub of spackle on it.  In addition to the one giant hole where it looked like someone had gone through it with a 2x4, there were so many smaller holes, nicks and gouges that I think there might actually be more spackle than paint on the wall now.  Of course, I haven't even touched the orange peel texture peeling off of large swaths of the cement foundation.  I'm not sure what exactly I'm going to do about that yet, but I'm pretty sure it's a problem no amount of spackle is going to fix.

Connor was trying to fall asleep in his chair on the way home, so I figured he'd go down quickly and while he was napping I could finish frosting the world's biggest cake in my garage (doesn't that stuff look just like royal icing?).  Once I put him down, though, he decided he wasn't sleepy after all.  So I ended up cutting my spackling short and bringing him out into the living room, where he promptly fell asleep on my lap.  Attempts to move him back to his room to finish his nap there proved fruitless, so instead we hung out for several hours on the couch while he happily snored away on my sweater.  Yeah, I probably should have put him down anyway because I don't want him to get into the habit of only napping on me, but you know I can't resist Connor when he's a snugglebunny.  I figure I should enjoy it while I can because it won't be too many more years before he won't fit on my lap anymore.  That'll be a sad day.

Despite his long nap, by bedtime Connor was falling asleep in his wheelchair once again.  He was out five minutes after we tucked him in.  He didn't have any seizures today though, and seemed to be in really good spirits most of the day.  I'm glad he's recovering!


Monday, January 9, 2012

In Which We Do Not Have A Particularly Great Day

Well today was perhaps not the most fun day I've ever had in my entire life.

Connor slept in until almost 11:00 today, so while he was out I spent the morning taking the shelves down on the wall we're painting in the garage.  I thought it was only going to take me half an hour or so, but it ended up taking almost two because the fifteen screws were stripped on the eight foot long shelf closest to the ceiling.  I don't own a screw extractor either.  Balancing on a ladder and removing those was not nearly as fun as it sounds.

Once everything was down then it was time to clean the wall.  This wall was incredibly dirty.  At one point during the existence of the house there was apparently a wasp infestation, and apparently they'd made the mistake of trying to land on the deserted homes of the eight hundred generations of spiders that once lived there.  I thought there were a bunch of thumbtacks up near the ceiling, but instead it turned out to be the dead bodies of about twenty wasps (and one bumblebee) stuck to the wall with old cobwebs. 


After I did an initial sweep, I dust mopped and vacuumed and washed the whole thing and I would like to tell you that it made a huge difference.  It didn't.  The wall still looks terrible.  However, it's more the "that wall is really banged up and hasn't been painted for ten years" kind of terrible now and less the "that wall is really banged up and hasn't been cleaned for ten years" kind, which I guess is an improvement. 

I keep telling myself I'm going to have a craft room after I get all of this stuff out of the way.  But it's probably good I was doing this while Connor was asleep, because I'm pretty sure some of the language I was using during the whole unscrewing-shelves-and-dewasping-walls process was not appropriate for tender ears.

After that the little guy started making some "Hey I'm waking up now but I still don't feel so hot" sort of noises, so I stopped work in the garage for today.  He wasn't running a fever anymore but he still obviously felt lousy; I had to put his g-tube pump on really low because he kept trying to throw up.  He did okay for a couple of hours, and then he had an eight-minute long seizure and I had to use the Diastat and was literally picking up the phone to call the EMTs when he snapped out of it.  Then he went back to sleep and spent the next six hours or so completely conked out on my chest.   

So that was not the most fun day ever. 


Sunday, January 8, 2012

In Which Connor Is Still Sick And I Play With Sidewalk Chalk

Connor continued to feel Not So Good today-- he was still running a fever and had six or seven little seizures.  He spent most of the day either curled up on the couch or snuggled up in Jer's lap.  I think his throat might be hurting again, because he had his fingers in his mouth pretty much all day and he was drooling a lot.  We think he might be working on losing another tooth too though, so it's hard to tell.  Either way he won't be in school tomorrow, though. 

Hopefully this is a simple bug and it will be done in a couple of days.  The last thing we need is another five week saga of Connor being sick.

We'd been planning to take the Christmas lights down today, but because since the little guy is feeling poorly we didn't have the chance to do it.  We couldn't take him outside, and it takes both of us to get them down since somebody needs to hold the ladder.  We did, however, get the Christmas tree taken down and the indoor decorations put away.  We moved the armchair back into place in the library and now whenever I walk by I do a double take because it looks weird.  I've gotten used to having the Christmas tree there, and I'm a little sad to see it go.

Jer got to play with power tools when he chopped it into pieces small enough for the garbage truck to manage though, so that was okay.

After we'd gotten the tree taken down and Jer went back to playing Watch The Sick Child Breathe, I swept the eight bajillion pine needles out of the garage and then spent a while playing with sidewalk chalk.  I wanted to figure out where the furniture would go in my craft space so I can figure out where to hang the shelves.  I've drawn it out on paper, but it's easier for me to see what the flow of the space will be if I actually mark everything out on the floor, and since the floor is concrete that's not a problem.  I drew all over the walls too for good measure, since we're painting them anyway. 

It was great to see how everything will be laid out, and after viewing the space I made some changes in how I'm going to arrange things.  Now I have to take down the old shelves and start the fun process of cleaning off the floors and walls.  They've got about ten years of grime on them-- I'm pretty sure generations upon generations of spiders have lived out their little spiderly lives in here completely unchallenged-- so I'm not exactly looking forward to it, but it needs to be done.  The sooner I get it cleaned up, the sooner I can start painting!

We'll see how much I get done tomorrow with the little guy home, though.  I'll probably spend most of the day as a human armchair. 

Oh well.  I sure hope he feels better soon.  It's never fun being sick!


Saturday, January 7, 2012

In Which Connor Is A Sickikin Again

Well, Connor lasted all of a week and a half before getting sick again; he started running a fever this morning and by the time he went to bed he'd had four seizures and was throwing up at the drop of a hat.  I guess all of his friends brought their holiday bugs to school and shared them with the rest of the class.

So that was fun and exciting.  I spent some time at the pharmacy this morning and escaped for a little bit of shopping in the evening after Jer got home from the gym, but otherwise I was pretty much a comfortable pillow for the little guy. 

So I passed the time by making another felt pincushion.  Because what the heck, you can't have too many pincushions.  I used a crème brûlée cup I found at the thrift store for fifty cents as the base, and while there are some things I'd do differently next time I think that overall it turned out pretty cute.  It feels really weird for me to do a project that I can actually complete in one day-- I'm used to them dragging on for weeks.  Anyway, I have some other little cups and whatnot, so I might experiment with more pincushions sometime if I want to do a short project. 

I'm probably going to be doing quite a bit of sitting around over the next few days, so I might as well be productive while I'm at it.


Friday, January 6, 2012

In Which I Have A Crafty Sort Of Day

Today while Connor was at school, I drove downtown to browse the antique stores. 

I've started to think about exactly what I want my craft/art studio to look like, and so I'm shopping for some of the things I'll need to make it look like it does in my head.  I already have a lot of the things I'll need, like my card catalog (I'm lining the drawers with aromatic cedar and using it to store my felt), some apothecary jars for odds and ends, a large work table, and so on and so forth.  I'm still missing quite a few things I'd like to have in my space, though.  Because this will be a relatively small space we're carving out and I'll be using it for my creative pursuits, I feel like I should really go all out to make it pretty.  That means the plywood shelves held up with huge grey brackets that currently are above and below the window in the space aren't going to cut it.

So my mission today was to find some wrought iron shelf brackets to anchor my shelving in the craft room.  I didn't find any, but tucked up behind some other things in an out-of-the-way corner of one of the stores I found this glorious copper boiler, marked down to such a good price I knew it had to be mine.  I'll need a gift wrapping and shipping station in my space if I'm going to try and make things to sell, and I figure this will be the perfect container to store my wrapping paper in. 

I want to paint the one actual wall of the space (I have grand plans for room dividers made of unbleached canvas paint drop cloths, but we'll be here all night if I get started on those) the same dark gray as our bedroom, and use moss green and copper accents.

Speaking of which-- after Connor went down for bed tonight I decided I could get another quite project out of the way.  The walls in the garage are currently painted dingy, ten-year old beige and have matching dingy, ten-year old outlet and light switch covers.  I'm a total cheapskate, so I figured that rather than buy new outlet covers I'd just make over the ones already in the room.  I had a bunch of copper paint and patina maker left over from my steampunk roller derby costume, so I figured I'd just try a little sanding and painting.  These aren't the best pictures and the patina will continue to develop over time, but already they look a ton better than they did before. 

After.  Not designer, but vastly improved.

Before.  Ew.

So anyway, while the first coat of copper paint was drying I figured I'd tackle another quick and easy craft project I've been meaning to do.  The cats keep stealing my Makeshift-Scrap-Strip-Of-Felt-With-Needles-Jabbed-In-It pincushion and running around the house with it like it's a toy, which is not exactly good for the health of all parties involved.  Something a little more substantial was needed.  I dropped a clay cup a few months ago and chipped the rim of it, but thought it was too pretty to throw away.  So I put a cardboard base inside it, sewed up a quick ball of felt and presto!  One little mossy green pincushion.  Jeremy says that with the pins in it "looks like a plant of death," which I'm taking as a compliment.

Ta da!  Total work time: five minutes.  Now that's my kind of project!
So it felt like a very productive day, even if I didn't really do all that much besides paint stuff and make a felt ball.  Oh, and laundry of course.  Every day is laundry day in this house the way Connor goes through shirts.

I can't wait to get my craft room up and running!


Thursday, January 5, 2012

In Which We Throw Off Connor's Groove

Connor had his neurology appointment today in Seattle, so we spent the first half of the day there.  We were interested to hear what Connor's neurologist had to say about his new diagnosis of anhidrosis; apparently one of his seizure medications can cause the condition as a side effect.  However, the medication has also seemed to help Connor quite a bit; while on it we haven't seen a single seizure where he stops breathing completely.  We're also not sure at all that the medication is what's causing the anhidrosis, as Jer and I haven't ever seen Connor sweat and he's only been on the Zonegran a few months.  So it's difficult to know whether or not we should change the little guy's medication regime or not.

Connor's neurologist is going to consult with the head epileptologist and determine what the best game plan is going to be.  It might be that we don't change anything, it might be that we try a different medication or that we revisit the possibility of the ketogenic diet.  There's not a clear path here as to what the best treatment is going to be, so I'm sure they'll weigh the options very carefully.

After we left the neurologist's office we headed down the street to the giant Barnes and Noble where Connor usually gets his Reward Book.  Connor always gets a book after each appointment where he does well (which is all of them, because he's a fantastically well-behaved kid) as part of our Make Sure Our Kid Who Sees Eight Bajillion Specialists Isn't Afraid of The Hospital campaign.  We pulled up in the side parking lot of the bookstore, I got Connor out of the car, wheeled him around to the front of the building and stopped dead at the giant sign sitting out in front of the store.  "Barnes and Noble Has Closed," it read.  "To Purchase Books, Please Visit http://www.barnesandnoble.com."  Apparently the bookstore didn't renew its lease.

Connor was not a happy camper, and it wasn't just because of the words his mommy was muttering under her breath.  My child is a creature of habit.  One of the reasons he does so well at hospital appointments is that we keep the routine the same every single time, and we go over the routine repeatedly before we leave and during the course of the day so that he knows exactly what to expect. 

The routine goes:
1) Drive Into Town
2) Check In And Sit In Waiting Room
3) Go To Appointment And See Doctor
4) Get Labs Pulled
6) Leave Hospital And Drive To Bookstore
5) Buy Reward Book
6) Eat Lunch
7) Pick Up Salted Caramels For Daddy (there's a fantastic chocolate shop in the complex as well)
8) Drive Home

There was absolutely no room in this routine for "Stand In Front Of Closed Bookstore And Stare At Sign For Five Minutes While Trying To Figure Out Where Nearest Alternative Bookstore Is As Connor Gets Progressively More Upset."  We weren't going to be visiting the bookstore's website; somehow I was pretty sure that showing him an online picture of The Reward Book We Can Buy Online wasn't really going to cut it.

And then Connor proceeded to lose his little mind while I tried to get us back on the rest of the routine as quickly as possible.  We ate lunch, or at least I ate lunch as fast as I could and Connor yelled his head off, we stopped in the chocolate store where I bought chocolate and Connor angrily signed "No Don't Like Bad Want Go Bye Bye," and then we got back in the car and drove half an hour down the road to an almost identical Barnes and Noble, where Connor instantly reverted to his usual angelic self. 

So we'll be rewriting our hospital visit routine to put the bookstore visit after lunch rather than before lunch, and hopefully if I rehearse it with him enough times we'll avoid a repeat performance of the giant meltdown he had today.  That is if they'll quit shutting down my bookstores. 

I like getting a Reward Book too.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

In Which We Watch A Tear-Jerker And I Survey My Shelves

So today Connor and I watched the 25th anniversary DVD edition of Les Miserables in between loads of laundry.  Well, I watched it, anyway-- Les Mis is not the most exciting movie ever for a five year old, though he did enthusiastically participate in some of the musical numbers.  It's been a while since I've seen it because my 10th anniversary edition is VHS and we don't have a player for it right now, so I was psyched when I got the DVD for Christmas.

Les Miserables is my favorite musical of all time, despite the fact that it makes me weep uncontrollably for several hours.  I've never seen it in person, but the 10th anniversary edition came out on video when I was 13 and I remember having sleepovers with my friends where we'd watch it together, sometimes multiple times a night.  We'd all read the book, and we'd sit around and discuss it and the musical with passion most teenagers at the time reserved for the latest episodes of 90210.  Nothing like a little 19th century literature to get the girls squealing, right?  We were kind of strange kids.

Oh, and also we watched it because we thought the guy who played Marius was totally hot.  So maybe we weren't that strange after all.   

Anyway, so I was watching while folding laundry and bawling, and I realized that John Valjean, the character the book and musical revolve around, is an adoptive parent.  That made me wonder just how many of our movies and books involve characters who are orphans. 

Answer: a lot

Out of curiosity I made up a list of the kids movies we have on our shelves that involve a main character who was either an orphan or a foundling, and here's what I came up with: Lilo and Stitch, The Sword And The Stone, Jungle Book, Tangled, Snow White, Enchanted, Cinderella, The Little Princess, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Anne of Green Gables, Harry Potter, Oliver, Hercules, The Rescuers, All Dogs Go To Heaven, Peter Pan, James And The Giant Peach, Tarzan, Anastasia, The Secret Garden, Stuart Little, and of course, Annie.  Whew!

And that's just the movies.  Orphans in books-- especially young adult and childrens' books-- are so prevalent that I actually studied the Orphan Archetype in one of my literature classes.  If I listed all of the books I have on my shelves that contain orphan protagonists we'd be here all night.  And I'm pretty sure it's not just because I have an insane number of books and an eye for fictional characters that are plucky young orphans. 

I wonder which of the books and movies Ellen will identify with!  Of course I hope she'll enjoy Les Miserables (and there's a chance she will, because the DVD version I have stars one of the Jonas Brothers and I've been informed by the teenage daughter of a friend that he is "like, still totally hot, even though they are so not cool now").  I'm kind of curious now as to just how many kids books and movies are out there that feature a Plucky Young Orphan protagonist.  I looked for a list online, but haven't been able to find anything.  If one of you knows of a list, will you point me in the right direction? 


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

In Which We Go To The Doctor's Office But Not For Connor, Which Was Kind Of Weird Because It Pretty Much Never Happens

So Connor and I stopped briefly by the house after his school day was over and then hopped back into the car to go visit the doctor.  This time we were going for me for a change; my left shoulder has been bothering me for a couple of weeks.  I can't remember any specific traumatic incident that started the pain, but I had no doubt it was derby related; slamming into other players and the floor repeatedly on that side probably had something to do with it. 

The doctor did a whole bunch of holding my arm in various positions and asking me how much it hurt, testing how strong the shoulder was, etc. and then gave me a diagnosis.  Turns out I have shoulder impingement syndrome.  Now in my case, it's less likely that it was caused by poor posture, weak muscles or repetitive overhead arm movements and more likely that it's due to the aforementioned slamming into people and/or the floor (rotator cuff injuries seem to be extremely common in roller derby), but the end result is the same.  I'll be spending a few weeks icing the bejeezus out of it, using anti-inflammatory topical gel and resting the arm as much as possible so that it doesn't turn into a rotator cuff tear, which would be significantly more nasty. 



Monday, January 2, 2012

In Which I Am Probably High On Paint Fumes But Get Some Stuff Done

So I took the opportunity today while Connor was at school to start tackling the Hazardous Materials Corner we've had sitting in our garage since we bought the house.  These are all the glorious gifts the old owners left us, like the car battery in the hall closet, the half-full container of boat fuel, and various unidentified substances sitting around in unlabeled containers.  I've been slowly whittling away at it for a while, but one thing I had yet to do was tackle the old latex paint cans we found scattered throughout the house and garage.

Here's my glorious bounty of paint, people.  The oldest can I found was dated 1992.  It was, predictably, white.  There are fifteen cans of white paint there (look at the lids, not interior of the cans-- that is some old paint), and nearly all of them are the same color: Whisper White.  These people really liked Whisper White.  Some of them are almost entirely full.

Those cans are from two owners back, and you can tell because they are all lovingly labeled with the date they were mixed, the color of the paint and the room they were intended for.  Evidently they believed they needed a new, fresh can of paint for each room.  So there are labels like: "Wally's Bathroom, December 1993, Whisper White" and "Kitchen, August 1996, Whisper White," and, in a startling design departure: "Wally's Room, September 1994, Pure White." 

Bold move, Wally.  Bold move.

Then there are the paint cans from the people we bought the house from.  There are two cans of unlabeled white paint that I know are theirs from the date printed on the can, and then there are the only three non-white cans in this whole thing: the extra paint from what is now Connor's room, formally known as the Dartboard Room of Death. 

Just back away slowly and make no sudden movements.  It can sense your fear.
Apparently they painted this room in 2006, which means they must have liked it because they actually lived with it for three entire years before they sold the house to us.  Their designer room ideas seem to have petered out after that though, because I'm pretty sure they didn't touch the rest of the paint in the house; it all looked suspiciously like ten year old Whisper White when we bought the place.  This is a good thing though, because Connor's room was one of the smallest in the house.  I don't even want to think how much Kilz we would have needed if they'd decided to make over the living room. 

So at any rate, with latex paint you just have to let it dry out and then you can throw it away in your regular garbage.  I pried open the lids of all of these cans, and I'll probably add some kitty litter or paint hardener to the really full ones to speed up the process.  Then we'll haul the whole mess to the dump along with our next load of Dangerous Things The Previous Owners Couldn't Bother To Get Rid Of Themselves. 

No, really.  This is about half of it.
Fun times!


P.S.: Bonus Fact!  I've just been informed that apparently the exterior of the White House was, at least in 1989, painted Duron Whisper White.  Who knew?  Apparently we had the most patriotic house interior on the block, before we ruined it all by painting it mostly Sherwin-Williams Latte instead.  Oh well. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

In Which Our Landfill Is A Playground

Okay, so at some point I'll tell you all about our New Year's, which was a lot of fun, but I have to share this story with you first.

Yesterday afternoon Jeremy and I took another load of junk not fit for the thrift store or the recycling bin from our garage to the land fill.  Next to us, a man in a truck with a trailer attached pulled in.  The first thing I noticed was that he was throwing stuff on the giant mound of garbage while wearing flip flops. 

I glanced at the concrete floor, which was covered in a thin sludge with an oily rainbow sheen, and shrugged.  Then I heard a high pitched giggle and a couple of shrieks.  I looked over again. 

This guy had two kids with him-- probably both under the age of seven.  And they were playing in the garbage. 

They were shrieking and running around on top of the huge, smelly mound of trash, tearing open black garbage bags, pulling things out of the mound to examine, and at one point, pelting each other with bits of unidentifiable rubbish.  Something about a dead rat was mentioned.  One boy found a small, dented metal trash bin, turned it upside down to tip the garbage out and then wore it as a hat.  The boys would drag whatever they'd found over to their dad, who would then throw it back on the pile without comment.  They were still at it when we left.

I mean, dumpster diving is one thing, but I draw the line at allowing children to have garbage fights and use unwashed trashcans as headgear.  I hope those kids took long, long showers when they got home.  Also I hope that they're up to date on their tetanus shots. 



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