October 27, 2009

Grace in small things

A number of  big-time (read: they make money off this) bloggers have participated in a “Grace in Small Things” post theme this year.  I’ve loved following their posts and while I wasn’t really invited to participate, here’s mine for today:

1. Redbox – One movie, 24 hours, $1.  In the last 24 hours we’ve rented seven of them.  Yep, seven. It’s saving my sanity.

2. School pictures – the boys’ came home yesterday and gosh darn if they aren’t the really cute day brightener one needs when while everyone is coughing and having fevers and headaches.

3. The power of Vicks – Andrew is growing irritable about feeling flu-ish and was fairly irritating for a good portion of last night.  Then, at bedtime, he told me he loved me more than anything because I came back up to put Vicks on his chest. He’s forgiven.

4. Coffee – enough said.

5. Driveway repairs – we’re having the front portion of ours re-poured so we won’t have to accelerate to climb the car into the garage. The concrete truck came today. When Andrew and I were home. Hallelujah!

6. Boo! – being boo’d by neighbors.  The orange pumpkin full of treats and toys was a great mood lifter around here tonight.

October 25, 2009

I spoke too soon

In my last post, I mentioned that it was only Wednesday afternoon but it had been a, let’s see, I believe I said, “long-ish week” and that we were “holding on for Friday.”  I be so smart to type something like that.  I really had some nerve to tempt someone with that kind of language.

I think I posted that at around 7 p.m. on Wednesday.  At that time I had completed my conference commitments for the week, the kids were playing in the living room, the dinner dishes were cleaned up and I had successfully dropped my parents that afternoon at a hotel near the Kansas City airport, in preparation for their early-a.m. departure the next day.  It was cold and rainy but the big “to-dos” had been crossed from my list for the week.

At exactly 9:32 p.m. that very same night I received a call from Mark who was in St. Louis for meetings.  Upon answering, I could hear his friend Q asking him for the phone.  Mark and Q go back to approximately 1982 when they were teammates at KU and now work for the same company so I assumed they were out on the town in STL and braced for Q to entertain me on the phone.  He does that well. 

Instead, after a few seconds of polite small talk, Q informed me that he “had everything under control” and that I “didn’t need to be alarmed,” but that he had my husband with him in a cab and they were heading to a hospital as a precaution because Mark “wasn’t feeling well.”  Anyone who knows Mark knows that he doesn’t much do sick and that he especially doesn’t do doctors unnecessarily so despite Q’s attempts to downplay the alert level we should be at here, I was not feeling comforted. 

I’m under strict instruction by the patient in question to not overdramatize what happened on Wednesday night, but the basic story is that Mark was indeed not feeling well and was having some symptoms that might indicate he was having what Q described to me as a “cardiac event.” (SPOILER ALERT: He wasn’t.)

Awesome.  Let’s recap.  I’m in Lawrence with my sleeping children, my husband is in STL headed for an emergency room, my parents are in KC without a car and this isn’t feeling good. At all.

What followed was… harrowing.  (My word, no one else’s!)

It was harrowing for the patient who didn’t feel right at all but didn’t know why. He was subjected to a variety of tests and labwork over the next 16 hours that he spent on various cots and chairs in an ER where there were gunshot victims, drug withdrawals and other  heartwarming scenes playing out all around him.

It was harrowing for Q who was trapped in the ER of a sprawling urban hospital with a friend who was sick and the wife of said friend in panic mode at home. He was trying to keep me updated via text and calls, he was fielding calls from co-workers and eventually from Mark’s parents as well. I’m pretty sure he was never offered a cot so he sat in a chair all night and he even endured a nurse asking in all seriousness if he was Mark’s domestic partner.

It was harrowing for me because, well, I’m a drama queen and I was scared.

Here’s the amazing part. Within minutes of hanging up with my parents, who were my first call after I realized Q wasn’t joking around, I had calls and texts from Q’s wife, offering to come get my kids, to come and sit with me and just generally providing her patented brand of calm and wisdom.  Minutes later my friend Janice, who also works with Mark & Q, was calling on her way home from STL offering to come get me and drive me there while her husband stayed with my boys, or offering to get my kids, or probably offering anything I would have come up with for her to do.  My mom, who was stranded in KC and due to leave the country in 8 hours, was offering to call in my other friends to come so I wouldn’t be alone and yet, at first, just knowing that all of these people would come if I needed them to, was enough.

The hours dragged on and by 12:30 a.m. there was little news which was not comforting. My stomach was in revolt and I was slowly deciding that I wasn’t digging being alone anymore. From Q’s updates it was becoming obvious that they were in for a long night there.  When my parents called and said they had a plan to postpone their flight by 12 hours, rent a car at the airport and come home first thing in the morning I caved and asked them to come right then. And they did. Wow.

The upshot of all of this is that Mark is alright.  He was released at noon the next day and co-workers got Q home in time to see his daughter rock in her last regular season volleyball game. Another co-worker stayed behind and drove Mark home that afternoon.  Mark’s heart is, as we would have guessed, Tour de France-worthy and he knocked the socks off a stress test while running in khakis and dress shoes. We’re following up here on the unanswered questions and trying to lie low for a few days, but expect to find out that he’s in great shape.  My parents were able to rebook their flights for the next morning and they did a Groundhog Day where they went back to the same hotel and did the whole thing over again. All of us who didn’t sleep a wink that night are catching up and starting to feel back to normal.

And, here’s the amazing part: we have learned, in a way you never want to, that we have people in our lives who are better friends and family than we could have even imagined. I made exactly one outgoing phone call to my parents and one to Mark’s, and the rest were incoming and overwhelming. The boys never had a clue and we are blessed beyond measure.

I almost wrote this post yesterday about how I really had no clue that our long-ish week was about to get longer on Wednesday afternoon.  Good thing I waited because if I had written it yesterday it wouldn’t have included how Andrew woke-up today with a 102.2 degree temperature, wicked sore throat, cough and willingness to lie in his bed and watch movies. It’s probably premature to call it the flu, but gosh, it seems like he’s a little swine-y. 

The good thing is that on Tuesday that would have really sent me over the edge. Today, well.  No big deal.  We’ll just keep to ourselves and try not to cough on anyone until it passes.  Oink, oink.

October 21, 2009


It’s been a long-ish kind of week around here.  I do know it’s only Wednesday, but still.  We have marked a first this week where Parent A and Parent B needed to be out-of-town on non-negotiable business.  At the same time.

We saw the collision coming on the calendar months in advance and knew that there was no hope of either commitment changing so we had to enlist the help of the A-Team grandparents.  The boys are always fine in that situation. They get to spend lots of time with Grandma and PaRon and eat lots of cookies and drink Sprite after school and have pancakes on school days.  It’s me that doesn’t cope so well. 

My commitment was actually just an hour down the road so I did the 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. commutes to be able to sleep at home and relieve Grandpa and PaRon for the night.  It’s always better to sleep in your own bed but I am finding out that three days of that makes me tired. Mark is still gone so we’re just holding on for Friday. 

After three long days at my conference and many miles on the road in pouring rain, THIS is exactly the kind of news a girl can use to brighten a day that’s dreary on so many levels.  To this news I say, thank you USAF!

October 18, 2009

I hear your mom calling you

The boys have spent a great deal of time in the last week pretending to play KU football in the basement. The stairs are the locker room and they run down them into the family room yelling, “Here come your Kansas Jayhawks!”

Andrew has mostly been Dezmon Briscoe this week but after last night’s loss, is back to pretending to be Todd Reesing this morning. Thomas, though, is not as fickle.  He’s all Jake Sharp, all the time.  This has made him the subject of much teasing from his brother because Jake has been hurt and hasn’t played in the last few real games, making it hilarious to Andrew that Thomas would choose to be him. Further adding to that hilarity for Andrew is the fact that about 50% of the time, Thomas refers to himself as, “Jake SHARK,” which always prompts a correction from big brother “Todd.”

A few minutes ago, Thomas came flying upstairs and I said, “Hi, Jake. How’s your game today?”  He came to a screeching halt and told me that he couldn’t be Jake right now because Todd – aka Andrew - told him that Jake’s mom called and told him it was time to go home for dinner, so he would now need to be Kerry Meier.

With a brother like that, who needs your own brain?! 

October 9, 2009

Feel the love

The high school up the street from our house is the site of a lovely, new football stadium.  It’s kind of fancy for a high school football stadium with its limestone-lined bleachers, full-service concession stand, press box, brand spanking new turf and state-of-the-art lighting.  We can hear the band from our house so tonight – and last Friday night – we headed up after dinner to check things out at the new venue. 

It’s cold here tonight and we had no intention of actually getting out of the car to attend the game. We were just out cruising.  We had in mind that we would turn up the heat, roll down the windows and double park for a few minutes to see and hear the action.  Andrew had in mind that we would fight for a parking spot, pay for the family to enter the stadium, brave the elements and the crowd to find a seat, and really sit down and watch the game.

Fortunately, we’re still in charge…mostly.  We watched for a few minutes then Mark put the car in gear to head the ship home.

That’s when Andrew turned up the whine full-throttle and announced that we were the meanest parents he knew, what with how we wouldn’t let him sit outside without a coat to watch our local team being soundly defeated.  Telling us once that we were mean wasn’t enough, so he decided to repeat himself…a few times.

After about the third outburst Mark pointed to a bunch of police cars parked behind the school and said, “You’re right. We’re so mean to you.  We’re so mean that you might want to hop out and tell those police officers how terribly we treat you. Or, better yet, just call them.  Tell them how mean we are.”

…10 seconds of silence from the backseat…

Then Thomas pipes up. “We can’t tell the police that, Daddy,  ‘cause you didn’t get us pheletones yet.”

I guess we’ll add that to the list of injustices.