Charlie would like

Charlie would like his bedtime to be "ten-thirty-more-minutes" and I have to hand it to him--it's quite clever. It smacks of the "jam tomorrow, jam yesterday, but never ever jam today" plan from Alice In Womderland.

He has also found wisdom in having his turn last. Last bedtime story and last bath have their advantages, as does last at the dentist. If only he'd discovered this earlier--had he been content to be last to use the toilet, Melody's glasses might not have gone down it.

Speaking of which, many of you have asked about their fate. Despite being without scratch or bend, the rubber parts on the ear pieces and nose pieces had absorbed the smell. After over it soaks in vinegar and a day in the sun, it was still lingering. Had the perpetrator and owner been one and the same, I'd be content to let a child live with sewer-scented frames, but Melody did not deserve to have to go through the next few months with those on her face.

I took them back to Walmart with the intention of purchasing new frames, but they were kind enough to swap them out for free. Yes, they were under warranty against breakages, but I'm not entirely convinced their fine print encompassed our situation. Their kindness was much appreciated.


The Scoop

Oh, what a Spring Break. What an awful, wretched, broken break.

Except for the most awesome part. And truly awesome it was! Dowlan begins a job HERE in town after Easter. A job. A REAL full-time job with excellent benefits, decent pay and room to move up. 

It started with weeds. Well, for me it did. Dowlan went Saturday morning to an 8 a.m. job interview while I faced my nemesis: hip-high weeds filling huge sections of our half-acre yard. After two days of pulling, the front yard was ready to mow, only we didn't have a lawnmower that worked.

Then came the throwing up. Charlie threw up Sunday morning, but just a few times. Mostly he laid around watching TV and looking dreary, weary and bleary. This gave me ample opportunity to pull weeds for 10-15 minute stretches, checking in with him between bouts. Dowlan and the girls came back from church about the time he perked up and then the weeding became a family affair.

Monday began with dentistry. The numbness had not yet worn off when it was time for me to take Charlie to see the psychologist for his first time. The therapies we've done in the past have run their course and I'm trying to figure out what to do next. The 'next' is going to the psychiatrist for meds to help with his overwhelming anxiety and enormous peaks of rage. About halfway through, my feeling started coming back into my face, and talking through the tingling/itching/drooling was indeed awkward.

Then more weeds are supposed to be in order, but I quit after not much effort. I'm blaming my misery on the dental work. Feed the kids. Say good-bye to Dowlan as he heads out of town, only a belt snaps and he doesn't make it off our street. I thank God that he did not try to take his car to his interview Saturday and that PennyVann had gotten him there safely.

Fix the car. Pack for camping. Sleep.

Tuesday had the worst beginning of all--Melody barely made it out of the carpeted room before throwing up. I barely got her on the couch and comforted before I began throwing up. Dowlan began mopping. Melody and I laid on opposite ends of the same couch, a bucket between us. At some point, Schrödinger begins to throw up as well, but at least he can be tossed outside. At some point, Dowlan heads back out of town to work. Melody and I are still not going very long at a stretch. At some point, he calls to tell me the excellent job news, but it scarcely registers.

Wednesday our entire bodies hurt. At some point that afternoon, the lawnmower gets bought and I get the front yard looking passable.

Thursday is time for more doctor appointments. I go to the ENT, where we determine sinus surgery is necessary this summer. Then we take Dixie up to the radiology department for a quick test, then a "quick" trip to the counselor turns into about four hours. (Don't worry about the radiology visit--they're just double checking her heart since she's on a stimulant. All is good.) At some point that day, Charlie is angry to find Dixie using the bathroom when he wants to use the solo toilet in the household. He begins screaming and throwing things. I scarcely remember it, as he screams and throws things a lot these days, but this becomes quite important later in the story. Also that night, we realize that the toilet is not flushing well.

Friday morning we wake up early so that I can take the kids to gymnastics day camp so that I can head to a different medical specialist for a "quick" and  minor procedure, only I have to take a Wal*Mart detour for plumbing supplies. I work on the toilet for about an hour before heading to the doc. After waiting in the office for over two hours (as the doc was called in for emergency surgery that morning) I finally get called back and taken care of.

The procedure may have been minor, but the pain and misery are not. I go home and work on the toilet a bit more, clean a bit, then nap. Toilet, clean, nap. Go get kids, go clean, go plunge. Call my Mommy for help.

The next day, mom comes to watch the kids while I add a plumber's snake and driving to the gas station bathroom to my cycle of activities. Snake, clean, Stripes, nap. Snake, clean, Stripes, nap. Call my Daddy for help. Since he can't come until after church Sunday, mom takes the kids home for the night.

I sleep a lot. I sleep in and miss church, which is frustrating for a bit, but then I sleep some more before heading back out to the weeds. Poor Melody had woken up throwing up that morning as well. She was having some rather urgent trips to the bathroom to boot, which made bringing her home a rather frightening prospect. She and Papa stay home from church.

Papa and the kids arrive around 2 and he has The Big Guns when it comes to tools. He snakes from the toilet. He snakes from the pipe outside the house. He snakes from the top of the roof. Nada. He removes the toilet and sets it upside down in the shower and we all run into the hallway for the big reveal. Wrapped in soggy, used toilet paper is . . .

Melody's glasses.

We'd been missing those and knew they'd been in the bathroom during Charlie's tantrum, but neither Dixie nor I saw them go down the hatch and it never occurred to me to connect those dots.

Dad buys me a better weed puller on his trip to go get a wax ring from the hardware store. Toilet back in place, he goes to check how the line is from the house to the city's lines while I begin scrubbing the foul funk from every surface in the bathroom.

I clean up the glasses, which are completely unscratched. No bends, no scratches, no breaks. The only problem is that smell is not coming out. I leave them in a bowl of vinegar while I vacuum and steam mop all the floors and wash the rugs. There's no telling where all we stepped and what all was on the bottoms of our feet.

By bedtime Sunday night, my house is clean, my weeds fairly well taken care of, my kids all healthy again, my toilet working again. Just in time to enjoy the my vacation . . .



Now it is time for a round of Guess What Angry Charlie Flushed Down the Toilet. Winner gets $5 PayPal. Leave your guesses in the comments. No cheating Oma and papa!

If no one gets it I all tell you Tuesday.



Nine years ago tonight, I left my brother at the veterinarian's office and drove to church to walk down the aisle, wearing a veil and talking on the cell phone.

It was every girl's dream.
See, a month before our wedding, I moved into our new house. And Simon the Cat did not love the new house, therefore he would not use the litter box. Apparently, a large backlog of urine is decidedly not good for cats or their kidneys and emergency veterinary care was needed before we left on our honeymoon.

Because I had to get to my wedding rehearsal, which was just slightly more important than my Orange Boy, I left my brother with him after checking in and explaining, "This is my brother. I am leaving him to make any and all decisions regarding the cat's treatment including major procedures or putting to sleep, if it comes to that. I completely trust his judgment*."

During the rehearsal, the vet kept calling to ask questions. Then, as an entire room full of people are waiting for me to walk down the aisle one last time so we can go eat our brisket, they call back.

"We need a decision."

"That's why Trey is there. To make whatever decision is needed."

"Oh, he's not the owner. He can't make a decision for your cat. You have to make the decisions."

"A decision about what? I've answered a lot of questions, but I know nothing as to what is going on. I don't even know what 'decision' you're wanting me to make."

So they fill me in as I walk down the aisle. He will be fine, but needs a minor procedure that they can do that night. Then he'll be ready to come home Monday.

"I won't be here Monday. I won't be back in the state until Saturday."

"Can your husband come get him?"

"I won't have a husband until tomorrow. I am getting married tomorrow. Then we are leaving on our honeymoon. Tomorrow."

"Well, I guess you could come get him tomorrow if you take him on your trip. He can't stay unsupervised yet."

"I am not taking my cat on my honeymoon."

Simon has been one of the few constants in our crazy almost-nine years of marital bliss. We'd been dating 2 years when Dowlan drove me out to the no-kill shelter to pick him (and Abb . . . y**) out and bring him home. It was the same shelter we'd gone to to pick out Cassie, who had died of feline leukemia a few months earlier. We'd known she was positive for it when we first got her, which is why she could no longer stay in the home where she'd been. It is contagious, but she was healthy and had almost two good years left.

Simon is scraggly and scruffy and a complete wimp. He would purr and try to nuzzle cats who were trying to fight with him. Even when Schrödinger is at his pounciest, Simon never gave him a 'What?' look and a tail twitch. He was so considerate that he'd meow in the kitchen until we fed Cracker, the saltine-colored cat who gave birth to a litter of short-lived kittens under our old house one day and then stuck around for the next 6 years.

We used to joke that Simon Says was never any fun at our house, because all Simon ever Said was "Meow." He was a good kitty even if he did smell funny those last six months and occasionally drool too much. Simey was definitely a 'kneady' animal, especially on cold days when he caught you curled up under a fuzzy fleece blanket.

Sweet Simon passed away last Saturday. By our best estimate, he was 14 years old, having been guessed at 3-4 years when we got him 10ish years ago. It was a good, lazy kitty life and now he rests behind our barn.

Thanks for being a part of our marriage and family, Simon Boy.

*Disclaimer: When it comes to cats.
**Abb . . . y's fully name is Abbreviated Kitty. She has no tail. Abb . . . y is the abbreviation for Abbreviated Kitty. Nothing like a grammar joke for a cat name, especially one that mocks her disability. She has gone to live at Oma's House and Kitty Sanatorium as Schrödinger irritated the ever loving daylights out of her and put her even closer to the brink of psychiatric ruin.


After school yesterday, the kids and I dropped by happy hour with my coworkers to say hi and eat some quesadillas. Charlie, between sugar packets, asked me, "First you kiss da bride, den you have babies. Is dat how dat works?"

I pointed to the pretty, single, child-free kindergarten teacher next to me and said, "Ask Miss Stacey. She'll know."

As Miss Stacey's laughter and surprise prevented an immediate response, Melody stepped in with additional information. She stretched her hands out slowly. "Well, in the middle you need 'the process' " she said as she applied the appropriate finger quotations at the end of her sentence.