March 28, 2009

They gave it a good try!

Lately I have come to realize, as my kids grow older, that I no longer plan their weekends, but they plan mine. I'm not always very happy about this, because it often seems that I am only appreciated by those two always-hungry, often smelly things I call my teenage boys when I have car keys and/or cash in hand, preferably in combination.

This weekend has been much the same, so far, but it was also a little fun. Last week, Evan brought me the newspaper to show me an advertisement for a 3-on-3 basketball tournament to be held today.

"Mommy..." he said, which is always my clue that some major sucking-up and a loss of money from my wallet is about to commence. It's rather disturbing to hear a 16-year-old say "mommy," but it's a nice break from hearing him call me "Twink," the nickname that ONLY my parents are allowed to use and which he
loves to irritate me with. Anyway, since he actually remembered to ask nicely, I gave my blessing and my credit card and we signed up him , Braden, and another friend of theirs. All the money went to a charity called Buckets for Change, which helps youth in Africa, so at least it was for a good cause.

This morning, I woke up at 9:00 a.m. with Braden poking me. I should probably be thankful that they let me sleep in at all, but this week has been another of those long weeks where I have NOT been able to sleep worth beans, so I was
really really really (insert about 2 dozen more "really's" at this point) looking forward to sleeping in later than normal. I used their trick and asked for "just 5 more minutes." 3 minutes later they sent Savannah in to poke me again. We didn't have to be there until 11:30 for pity's sake!

We got to the event, signed in, waited in the hallway with about 60-70 other boys ranging in age from 14 to 25 FOREVER. Did I mention there was no place to sit but the floor? After an hour of waiting, they finally got the brackets together and the boys were assigned to play the winner of two other high school teams: a group from Mtn. Crest, the boys' high school, and the other team, from the land of the Phillistines (you know, where Goliath from your Sunday School days was from?). Okay, I may exaggerate a bit: They WERE as big as Goliath, but they were really from Logan High.

The rules were that the first team to reach 20 points won and moved to the next bracket. The giants easily wiped out the first Mtn. Crest team and then took on my boys. I have to say that the other team was very nice and had fun playing with the boys, kind of like a cat plays with a mouse before it devours it! Evan was the tallest on our team, at 5'7". Sophomores and seniors are NOT created equally. The top of his head literally didn't reach the shoulder of the tallest kid on the other team. They gave it their all, and they really did get some good shots, but it just wasn't enough. It was on to the next team, also built more like football linebackers and a good half-foot taller than any of us. Again, they gave it their all, but it was all over but the crying. They were done (secretly I was a little happy because we could finally go home. My butt was numb from sitting on hard gym floors for so long).

As we left, Braden, ever the comedian, thanked the organizers and apologized for having wasted their time. All in all it was about 5 hours lost in my day, but it really was fun.

When we got home, I picked up this morning's paper, which I hadn't had time to read earlier. There, on the front page of the sports section, was a full color, 8x8 picture of one of the kids they had played on the first game: turns out he was just named player of the year for the entire valley, and Goliath, also known as "Big D" according to the article? He's defensive player of the year.

I think our boys should be proud for the effort they put in! If it had been me, I'd have probably run the other way.

March 28, 2009

March 17, 2009

A Brief Gulp of (Cold) Air

Hello, Chickens, as one of my favorite bloggette's is fond of writing! Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I wanted to write a quick note as it seems like it's been forever since I've posted anything. Okay, probably not THAT long, but it sure seems like it to me. Some of you are probably thinking it's not been long enough! Anyway, here's the scoop.

Last week I had a wonderful, mostly-relaxing, almost-blissful forced vacation from work that we who work at the University fondly call "The Furlough" (insert scary music here). Aside from that pesky little thing called "
NO PAY," :( I really enjoyed myself. I used to think that I was never cut out to be a stay-at-home mom, but now, I really think I could! Provided, of course, that the children were all in school, that they were all capable of getting themselves up and off to said school, and that said school didn't release until 6:00 or even 7:00 p.m. each evening. But I digress...

Fun, Furlough Monday I woke up to a foot of new snow (and no, I am NOT exaggerating. All the previous snow had been completely melted) in the driveway with no end in sight. Ahhh... did not matter one whit to me! I didn't have to drive to work!

But then the kids and Tom also saw the snow and decided that
surely, school will be cancelled and the canyon to work will be closed. The 2 younger kids missed the bus (although Evan gamely went off. Lest you think he's turned over a new leaf and was being studious, I think it had more to do with wanting to spend time with his new crush) and Tom dilly-dallied around FOREVER worrying about road conditions (you've got 4wd - you'll be fine!). On MY Monday, where I was supposed to have time all alone. By myself. No one else! After some mild nagging, err, cajoling, errr... loving encouragement from me, they all finally headed out.

I had big plans for my week off: spring cleaning, laundry (sigh - it's a regular staple), organizing (not just closets but entire rooms!), scrapbooking (both paper and my newfound digital kind), reading, relaxing, and scanning thousands of old photos into the computer that I have organized into loose eons of time. Although I managed to do a
little bit of all, I didn't get near as much done as I had hoped. But boy was I relaxed!

As I said before, the only downside to this whole thing was the fact that I'm losing out on a week's worth of pay. But God is always faithful to provide: What the University taketh away, the good Lord giveth back! Days before the furlough I had not one, but two, of our Ph.D. students come to me to see if I would be willing to do their dissertation reviews, and then yesterday a Master's student also came to me with his. Heck yeah! I have been working diligently on the first (two long chapters to go!), have the second waiting patiently on my desktop, and the third in hard-copy which I am working away on in 5-10 minute increments (at a long stoplight, during breaks, and especially while I wait for my stupid, s-l-o-w home computer to decide to boot up so I can work on the other two. Grrr....).

All this to say that I promise to be back soon, if I ever come up for editing air. In the meantime, enjoy these pictures that I took of our snow day. We had 30 inches, yes, 3-0! in less than 24-hours. Interestingly enough, it's all almost melted away again. Which is only fair considering I'm back at work and have to drive again.

March 17, 2009

7:00 a.m. 4:00 p.m., and still snowing!

March 7, 2009

I Lived To Tell!

I have lived in the mountainous West all of my life, many years in southern Idaho and the longer part in Utah, home of the "Greatest Snow on Earth." In junior high, living in Idaho, I got frostbite on the fingers of one hand waiting for a schoolbus that never came (as cold as it had been that day, it probably froze to the road!). I forget now why it didn't ever come, but I do remember the incredible pain that I endured for weeks after those poor frozen fingers warmed up again. Honestly, I think I'd rather endure childbirth (albeit with an epidural, thank you very much) than have that again.

Anyway, since then, I have not exactly been your poster child for outdoor winter sports. My idea of a good time in winter is to curl up in front of the fireplace (even the imaginary one I now have) with a good book in one hand and a cup of hot tea in the other. Quick, close the door as you go out because you're letting in a draft...!

When we got married, one of the first things Tom did that first winter was to haul all of us (tiny kids included) every Saturday morning up the canyon to go snowmobiling. Braden, who was only about two at the time, rode with Tom while Evan rode with me. Unfortunately, Evan was about four, making him a little taller and just the right height to make the top of his helmet bash me in the collarbone and/or chin, depending on the size of the bumps in the trail.
While I have to say that I enjoyed those trips for about the first two hours, after about the 15th time that I got stuck in the snow or ran into a tree, I was done. Tom, on the other hand, didn't feel the need to quit until the sun was going down, QUITE a few hours past when I was ready. Nothing like trying to find your way back through the woods with little or no light, and if an after-hours blizzard happens to kick up, all the better!

Although I was always a good sport (even Tom will attest to this), I think my dear new hubby realized that he'd have more fun (and less work) if he left me home, at least most of the time. My brief stint with a winter sport had come to a blissful end! This set-up has suited me JUST FINE for years now, and I have to admit that it was a point of pride for me to live in Utah and never have been skiing. As I've mentioned before, I'm not the most graceful creature that ever walked this earth, and I honestly couldn't fathom strapping myself onto sticks of death and throwing myself down the face of a mountain. Really? Could I??!!!!

And then two weeks ago. Every year, starting in 4th grade, students in the area have a ski day where they can attend with their class, take lessons, and ski for a reduced rate. Not wanting to prejudice my children with my hatred of snow and all things cold, I have always ponied up the money and let them go on their merry way, letting their teachers be the first and only to see them reach this milestone. And I was fine with that, really. Last week was Savannah's first time, and Tom decided to sign up as one of the class chaperon's, even though he hadn't been skiing in 17+ years. I figured they'd go, ski down the bunny hill a few times, and then have it out of their systems.

Of course, that wasn't how it happened. Savannah loved it and took to the slopes like, well, like every other tiny kid you see up there. I swear these kids must come out of the womb with tiny skis and an innate knowledge of doing the pizza and french fry moves! Tom enjoyed it too, and since that day the whole family has been plotting my demise - oh, sorry - I meant to say planning a fun family outing!

Today was the day and it couldn't have been more ideal weather-wise; it was cold, but the sun was out, the skies were blue, and we were up out of the valley smog where you could actually breathe. I had immediate reservations as I tried to walk down the lodge steps in the rented boots without killing myself. Once I got the skis strapped on, my fear increased (especially when Evan tried to push me down a small slope, before anyone had even explained to me how to stop - thanks Ev - I owe you one!). A few pointers and many funny-looking runs down the bunny hill later ( where I'd go ten feet or so and then throw myself bodily to the ground to stop) I felt confident enough to go on the lift higher up the mountain. Actually, I was just desperate to get away from the tow rope which narrowly missed conking me in the head as I got tangled in one of my attempts to grab hold of it.

Anyway, Evan (are you seeing a pattern here?) assured me that the lift run was just like the bunny hill, only in two stages. What. A. Liar! I managed to make it in one piece to the bottom (only inwardly cursing small children who whizzed past me like future olympians) and after the adrenaline finished pulsing through me, I decided it hadn't been that bad and went on it again... and again... and again.

Towards the end of the day, feeling pretty good because I could ski slowly down the hill without having to flop over like a fish, a little boy about Savannah's age kept coming behind me, no matter how I tried to turn to get out of his way. It finally became apparent that he was trying to tell me something.

"Hey! Hey!"

"What?" I finally said, turning to look at him and praying I wouldn't crash in doing so.

"My sister could teach you how to ski! She's REAL good!!" Said sister was just feet behind him, grinning from ear-to-12-year-old-ear.

Guess I'm not as good as I thought, but it was still a lot of fun. Any guesses as to what I'll be searching for at yard sales this summer?

March 2, 2009

Doctor Visit Follow-Up

Today was Braden's appointment with the hand specialist, and things couldn't have gone better. Basically we were told that for this particular break, he did a great job of doing the least amount of damage that he could. Good job, Braden! The main concern was that the tendon might be completely disconnected, but that wasn't the case. He has to wear his stack splint (a hard plastic cradle for his finger that holds the tip in the exact correct position) 24/7 for at least the next 4 weeks. At that point they'll x-ray it again and see how it's doing. If it seems to be doing well, he'll just have to wear the splint at night for 2-4 more additional weeks. In the meantime, he gets out of doing dishes, so life for him is good!

Spending time with him in doctors' offices these past few days has been quite entertaining, as time with him anywhere usually is. Braden embodies the phrase "he marches to the beat of a different drummer," but luckily he's actually quite charming! He and Evan both are very quick-witted and have wicked senses of humor. Combine that wit with his ADD tendencies, and you have a fast-paced all-day comedy show. Both Thursday and today, even though he's in pain, were no different.

So Thursday night when we were waiting (endlessly) in our little stall in the emergency room, he had me constantly cracking me up. After we'd been there awhile, he made the comment that his finger would be healed by the time someone came to look at it. From there his routine continued on, launching into his "Achmed the Terrorist" impersonation, dangling his legs at weird angles as he sat on the edge of the hospital bed. As people walked past, he would stare pointedly at them and then back at me saying "Infidels!" Words cannot capture how well he can do this voice or how funny it was. There was much more, but my poor, tired brain can't remember it all!

Today was the same. The specialist we saw is actually a plastic surgeon who happens to be one of two hand specialists in the area, so you can guarantee that Braden had fun with that concept. To say that the office was deserted is an understatement. It was VERY quiet... We arrived a few minutes early to fill out the medical history paperwork. As I read him the questions, he would answer, almost always with a smart-alecky remark. Eye problems? He looked at me with one eye facing forward and the other swiveled off to one side. "Does this count?" And on and on it went. Finally we got down to the last section: Psychological. We both cracked up when we got to the question about "unusual thoughts." Are they ever NOT?

Then in to Exam Room 3. He was instructed to remove the wrapping that held the splint on so that the doctor could check it out. After we finally were able to release him from that particular bondage (man is that self-stick wrapping good stuff!), we couldn't see a garbage can anywhere in the room, so he just left it in his lap. Even though there couldn't have been anyone else in the entire office complex, we waited at least another 10 minutes or so. Braden decided that the doctor and nurses must be hidden out somewhere watching Grey's Anatomy.

The doctor eventually came in to meet with us and went over the ex-rays that had been taken on Thursday. He explained what he was looking for in the tendon and what course of action we would be taking. After his spiel, he looked at Braden and asked if he had any questions. Braden looked at him soberly for a long moment, and then said "Just one. Do you have a garbage can?" as he held out the wrinkled, dirty leftovers from his bandage. Even the doctor laughed.

I cannot remember when I've had such fun in a waiting room. I'm thinking I can rent him out for other people to take to their appointments. We could set up a little stand at the front entrance to the hospital where people could purchase his time for 30-minutes to an hour at a time. Hey, I need to find some way to pay for all this!

March 2, 2009