Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I Heart Blake

Today is Blake's birthday. His first birthday. I love him. He's so cute and fat, I can't stand it. I'm surprised that I haven't taken a bite out of him this year. It's hard to say exactly why I am so in love with him, and since this is a blog, I will now discuss, at length, possible reasons for my in"fat"uation with Blake

1. He's the Baby

Blake is our last biological child and possibly our last baby all together, so knowing that I will not have a baby of my own to play with makes this time so much more special. And the other benefit of him being the baby is that I am not as concerned that I am going to ruin him with any parenting mistake I make, so it's I'm a little more laid back. Little, by the way, is relative.

2. He was Hard to Get

Now this can come in handy in dating scenarios, but when attempting to complete your family, it is not fun. After two miscarriages in the second trimester, I wasn't sure that I could or would want to go through another pregnancy. But then one of my fellow nurses, Carol, who is a yenta (she would agree), told me that I was going to have another baby and that it would be a boy. i told her that that is exactly what I wanted, but my track record was less than 50% at that point. But she was right, and she reminded me throughout the pregnancy. She even wanted me to give him a Jewish name. I tried with the name Nathan, but Kevin won with his choice and he is much more a Blake than a Nathan.

3. Blank

When we first named him in the hospital, Olivia was very confused as to why we would choose a name for something your eyes do (blink). But then she realized there was a long a sound in it and has since called him Blank. I don't want to correct her and in fact call him Blank from time to time JFF.

4. Babbling

Does it get any cuter than a baby babbling. Although his first word was "ball" followed by "dada" and I get the occasional "mama", I love when he just bababababas, or mamammamammamas. He even sings. I'm not joking (or as Olivia puts it "choking"). During singing time in Primary you can here him babababaing in a sing song voice that he doesn't do when he's talking.

5. Athleticism

He's a natural athlete. I'm not just saying that because he's my boy. He throws a ball, crawls at record speed (he's too fat to walk), and loves my hand weights and tries to lift them. It's when he does that that I get after him that he's just like his father trying to lift more weight than he should. This morning his was batting around a eyeshadow container like a hockey puck. He has good wrestling moves. He had issues with his, um, diaper area, that his doctor told me to attend to it every time I changed his diaper, and when I did he would wrap both his legs around my arm to stop me.

6. Class Clown

Since he is the baby, typical birth order studies say that he will love being the center of attention and/ or the class clown. This is him. He loves to make a squinty face at the dinner table to make everyone laugh. He can be very silly.

7. Big Boy

He's going to be a large boy. Not fat though. He will skinny when he starts running, so I have no worries there, but he will be big, bigger than Dillan. His stats are bigger than Dillan was at his age, so I'm going to have another strapping young man on my hands in a few years.

I love Blake. I'm so glad that he's in our family. He makes our little family complete. I cannot express my baby love for him enough. I don't know if other moms go through this with the more children they have, or if I am just very blessed to have such a great boy, but I love this boy!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Big Announcement

Since no one was reading my blog except for my fabulous friends, the Waldroms, mainly because I hadn't let anyone know that I didn't know how to announce it. So I put out this email to my sisters and moms:
I know it's only been a year, but I am having another baby. This comes in the form of a blog though, so no crying, unless of course, I make someone cry from what I have to say. The blog is kimmicakes.blogspot.com. No pressure to read it or anything, but at this point, the only people who have read it are the Waldroms (family friends with five grown girls) so they think that my sisters don't like me, which could secretly be true but we can pretend, right? Anyway, it's a good way to find out if I'm saying anything about you behind your back for the whole world to read. P.S. I can't wait to read YOUR blog!
That's exactly how it was written, expecting that my sisters would go to my blog and read about it and know that I wasn't actually having a live baby but a blog that can take as much care as a baby. Now since I have talked to my sisters about this, one has said that I do need to explain some of my history with announcing a new baby in our family. When I was pregnant with Olivia, the third child, I was not living by any of my family and had not seen anyone since I had found out that I was pregnant, I decided not to tell any of my family until I went for the yearly summer trip which all of my sisters get together and bond. Usually it's fun, but sometimes there are tears. A couple of my sisters got it out of me, but my parents and two little sisters were unaware of my delicate condition. So when they saw me and I was nine months pregnant, there was a great deal of shock and awe, yet they have never forgotten how I told them I was pregnant with Olivia (and Olivia is a very unforgettable character). It was with this email going out that a few of my sisters initially thought that I was having a baby, a real life baby not a blog baby, but when they reread the email understood that I wasn't expecting. That is, except for Stephanie. She read the email and declared to her children, who had been praying, pleading, and begging for a new baby, that all of their efforts had gone my way instead. I hadn't been attempting to trick anyone in the least, but if I couldn't trick them with my story of dehydrated water for my food storage, I guess this was the next best way.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Grand Canyon Part II or Another One Bites the Dust

I did it! That's all that needs to be said, but alas, I will elaborate. And as for the title of this post, it has several meanings. The first is that it was the last song that I put on my iPod before we left, secondly, there is a lot of dust that I ate, and last, I decided to keep a "trip count" in tribute to my cousin, Janae, who has been attacked by the disease, ALS, and was a runner until this nasty bad guy reared his head and has said in her blog that she hopes (these may not have been her actual words, but it is what I got out of it) that if people trip while they are running, she wants to hear about it, so I knew that there was going to be a very high probability of tripping, slipping, etc but I will get to the Grand total (no pun intended) later.

We had to "carb up" for the big event, and I am embarrassed to say all of the food that I ate, but I did not want to risk not having enough energy for the task at hand, so I forced myself to eat. My dear husband has no trouble with this. Kevin and I went on our GC hike at the best time of year. Although I was absolutely freezing when we got there. People were in winter jackets and hats and gloves. I don't have a lot of cold weather gear, so I had a sweater. Fortunately, Kevin had a ski hat in his truck. This I wore around the rim as we had dinner and looked over the edge, etc. There are a lot of foreigners there to see this natural wonder of the world, but they only walk to the edge. We had a lovely dinner at the Arizona Room with a beautiful view of the canyon, but again, I had to force myself to eat because I was not hungry at all since we had been snacking on the way up, which is a lovely four hour drive from Phoenix. Kevin made me get a to go box for the rest of my dinner so he could eat it later (where does he put all that food???). I told Kevin the most exciting part of the evening was going to be going to bed and not even the possibility of someone saying "Mo-om" once. Heaven. Not that I didn't miss them or call them three times on the phone on the way up or wish that my mom knew how to text message so I could remind her of one more thing, but just sitting down and not having to do something for anyone else, enjoyable. Oh, wait. I forgot. Kevin was with me.

We woke up and got ready for the 7 o'clock "Hikers Express" shuttle from Bright Angel Lodge, which we barely made. I had four layers of shirts, hat, gloves, hand warmers, and leggings on because of the chilly weather. It was 32 degrees when we left. That's freezing. I was not going to risk being cold, hence, all the layers, which were quickly stripped off about a mile into the hike. This is me with the layers still on:

I look more like a skier than a hiker at this point, but you will notice, I'm not dirty. Yet.

Trip #1 came around this point. But it wasn't me. It was a woman who we passed who was going down very cautiously, kind of hugging the side and using hiking poles. We took a break at the first bathroom stop I was to make ( I will not be giving a Grand total of that) and had just taken off our packs when Kevin goes running back up the trail. I look and the woman has completely done a face plant on the trail. She was laughing and her two sisters were by me, and they all were giggling at this. Kevin, of course, helped her up and made sure that she was okay. She was wearing white shorts, which dirt does not wear well. They kept on going while we removed some of our clothes and when we passed them the next time, Kevin asked them how they were enjoying the "fall" weather. That Kevin. This is me after I had removed a little bit more layers:
There are not a lot of pictures on this trip because the battery to the camera said it was charging, but it didn't, so there should be more Kevin pictures, but he is usually in charge of the camera so it's mostly me. Anyway, we made it down in two hours, which is the fastest that Kevin has ever done it, but he probably could have done it faster if he hadn't slowed down for me at times to catch up. He is much better, more sure footed than me on the descent. I only let out a couple of yelps as I slipped or lost my footing, never major, but I am a little dramatic. We got to Phantom Ranch, mailed the obligatory post cards to the children with the "Carried out by Mule" stamp on them and I mailed one to my college roommate, Jennifer, for her kindergarten class that she teaches and we were back on our way out. This is us at the bottom, new and less clothes for the both of us:

It's here that I believe I O.D.'d on Fritos. It is strongly recommended that one consumes salty snacks during a hike like this due to all of the fluid consumed and risk of hyponatremia (decreased salt in your system) which can be fatal, so the Frito consumption is a potential life saver. I may have over did it though as I will describe later. The weather was still beautiful, some people were down at the beach of the Colorado River, but not many, but then, after we had crossed the bridge to get to Bright Angel Trail, we saw a motorized raft coming down. Cheaters. This is me with the lazies.

After we had hiked all along the river and made the turn up Devil's Corkscrew, we came upon a lovely surprise, a new bathroom. Brand spanking new. There was a little line (two people) and of course, Kevin rolled his eyes when I told him that I wanted to stop and use it ( it was brand new, how could I resist?) and he said that he would keep going and that I could catch up. The facilities were lovely, but of course, minimalist inspired. I caught up to him and he told me to not wait up for him, because he knew that I really wanted to see how fast I could go and get out quickly, so I did cautiously, what if I fell off the edge, what if HE fell (yikes-I can't carry him) but he reassured me that the trail is heavily traveled and should anything happen, there would be someone to alert the authorities. This may have been a big mistake for Kevin because he missed it. I tripped. Not a little slip and catch my balance. I tripped on a little rock and fell down and caught myself with my hands. There was one witness to this. The poor guy behind me about twenty feet. I thought, man I'm lucky I wasn't at a rocky area or close to the edge. Yikes! I think I picked up the pace a little bit so the poor guy wasn't right behind me should that happen again, or maybe he slowed down. There were three gentlemen working on the trail. They were replacing stabilization logs on the trail, so I know I appreciate the work that they were doing. I got to Indian Garden and Kevin was a few minutes behind me. I rested and ate a snack, mmm more Fritos. Kevin refilled his camelbak then said that he was going to head out so he could get another head start. I finished my snack, used the ladies room, refilled my camelbak and water bottle, replaced the moleskin on my heels then headed out. I didn't check the temperature there, but it couldn't have been more than 70 degrees. I got caught behind a mule train and was the last mule in the pack for at least ten minutes until they stopped and allowed me to pass, which is very scary, because you have to pass behind them as all the mules are turned on the diagonal on the trail to allow the hiker to pass along the inside of the trail and who knows what a mule could do... pee, poop, kick. But it was nice to pass them because the pace that I was going was faster than them. But then, I got stuck behind another pack of mules. Enough of the snide remarks people! I was able to pass them after just a few minutes and the mule driver was explaining why mules are sterile. Very interesting. I should have asked him why they have the parts. For show? And being stuck behind them also adds to the title of this post because they kick up a lot of dust, and I don't think it's all canyon dust. I caught up to Kevin and he told me to keep going, which was great because it felt like I got my second wind and was doing a little better than twenty minute mile pace. I know, all you long distance runners are balking at that, but it was uphill with a pack. It was somewhere around this point that I began to notice the symptoms of Frito overdose. My hands were swollen and my fingers like little sausages. My fingers were almost white from the swelling. It could have been the pack cutting off my circulatory system, but I still blame the Fritos. You know you're getting close to the top (besides the three mile rest house, followed by the mile and a half rest house) when you see small children on the trail or out of shape people or a pack of young men in wife beater t-shirts. That's the hardest part. You know you're close and all of these other people have no clue the endurance challenge that you have been through and fail to yield to uphill hikers even though it says to in "The Guide" which everyone is given when they enter the park. Really. Just read The Guide. I did use the cardio suggestion given to me to motivate me to push harder. There was a slight incident about 1/4 mile from the trail head. I turned from one of the many swithcbacks and felt a rip in my left third toenail. I thought, no way could my toenail have just fallen off, I cut them all last night. I kept on keeping on. Nothing was going to stop me. I may lose a toe, but I was getting out. I got out and laid down on a flat rock that was in the parking lot because it was in the shade and I was a little warm. I did the whole thing in a little less than six hours, seven hours total with breaks at Phantom Ranch and Indian Garden. I felt great! Kevin was a few minutes behind me. Then his true prowess showed through. He got us home in a little over three hours. Truly a feat of master driving.

Now for the Grand total of trips. Eleven. Most of that was uphill which is better than going down because gravity does not help in that circumstance. No face plants from me. But, I must say, I did think of Janae, not because she's a tripper, but because how grateful I am that I do have a healthy body that allows me to achieve these kinds of feats and who knows how much longer I'll be able to do that. So I cherish this time that I had with my fantastic husband and I am so lucky to have him. Not many men would tell their wife to go ahead, but he knows how competitive I am and I really wanted this.

What's next? Rim to Rim. This canyon is addictive!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

These Songs

I have been compiling a list of songs that remind me of people whenever I hear them. Since I know that if you are reading this you only care about the song that reminds me of you and not everyone because you may not know them, so I will arrange them into categories, i.e. siblings, college friends, etc, so that you can scroll to your assigned category, find yourself, read what I song it is, then make your comment if you have one. Here goes.


Matt-Vasoline by the Stone Temple Pilots, specifically the trip that I took with them to Las Vegas. That song played a lot on the radio while we were there and I hadn't really heard it before or as much right after.

Nikki-Any Howard Jones song from the Dream Into Action tape that she played every night as we were going to sleep, specifically No One is to Blame.

Stephanie-Been Caught Stealing by Jane's Addiction. I think she had this tape and played it a lot, because Sweet Stephanie would not be caught stealing!

Kellie-Footloose by Kenny Loggins. She danced and cartwheeled all over our living room while Jim Ballard played his bass guitar.

Jen-I don't have a song for her. Sorry.

Julie-(This one will be a surprise) Livin' La Vida Loca by Ricky Martin. That song was very popular when I went to visit them one time and Julie said how cute she thought he was. Go figure. And I could have chosen any of the songs that we used to do grandma water aerobics to.

Lauren and Nick- Stupid Girl by Garbage. On another trip to Florida, they had a CD with that song on it that they played over and over and those two sang at the tops of their lungs. They couldn't have been more than four and six. A close second is Peaches and I am forgetting the band.


Julie Allyson Taylor-That's What Friends are For by Dione Warwick et al. Not because of the obvious cheesy reason but because one time we were walking home from the library at Snow and one of us said something about gloves and we both sang spontaneously "That's what gloves are for." Our brains were knit together those days.

Kim Neerings-Queen of My Double Wide Trailer by Sammy Kershaw. No she isn't trailer trash, but I heard her singing that song before I heard it on the radio and she loved that song, and it is a funny country song.

Tracy Boswell-You Shook Me All Night Long by AC/DC. Those guys had just beaten a tough bunch of guys at a basketball game and acted cool out on the court, but once we got back to their apartment, they blared that song and he went crazy dancing and air guitaring.

The Partridges

Kevin-Give it to Me Baby by Rick James. Again, not what you are thinking! It reminds me of our first trek in and out of the Grand Canyon. It was the last song that I added to my iPod because I heard it at REI as I was shopping and thought it would be a good motivation song for me and it was.

Dillan-Do You Really Want to Hurt Me by The Culture Club. We had the Wedding Singer CD when Dillan was a baby, and since I had no other children to distract me, we would dance in our living room to that song over and over.

Chloe-Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me by George Michael and Elton John. When I was pregnant with Chloe and nervous that everything would be okay with her given the troubles I had before, and I was driving and this song came down and I knew she would be okay. And she was/ is.

Olivia-Since U Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson. I don't know another tow year old who could belt out a song like that. She's going to be something.

Blake-So Happy Together by The Turtles. I sing this to him every day before he takes a nap.


Julie Taylor/Coach Tidwell-Wildflower by The Cult. Julie and I took a jogging class in college and I stretched before we jogged to this song. We loved this class because of the teacher. We made sure that we couldn't run faster than him.

The temple-The Race is On by Sawyer Brown. Okay, I know, this one sounds a little sacreligious, but I am competitive. So without going into too much detail, whenever we are asked to put on our ceremonial clothing and the room is quiet and we're all getting dressed, I turn it into a race and try to get done before everyone else.

This list may not be interesting to anyone else but me, and unfortunately by biggest followers, the Waldroms (ha-ay!), are not on the list, but it doesn't mean they aren't close to my heart.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Grand Canyon Part I

Kevin and I hiked the Grand Canyon down to the Colorado River (the bottom, obviously) and out in one day in July 2007. Kevin is a natural athlete and avid hiker. He's hiked this hike several times, Mount Hood, and Humphrey's Peak to name a few, and he is the first person done with the hike because he hikes so fast due to the length of his legs. I had never done this hike before and though I had heard it was grueling, believed that I was up to the challenge and with a month to get ready, I set in motion what I felt I needed to do to get ready. I climbed the stairs at my work for about a half hour each morning before I worked, which was twice a week. I purchased my hiking boots the week of the hike, and I got a camelbak for the trip. Despite my husband telling me I needed to do more to get ready, I ignored his advice (which I do much too frequently, you THINK I would learn!) and felt I was ready to tackle this feat. Little did I know this was what I was facing: South Kaibab Trail going down is 7.1 miles, drop in elevation of 4780 feet, and an average grade of 21%, then to get out, we would take the Bright Angel Trail which is 9.7 miles, rise in elevation of 4263 feet, and an average grade of 14%. If that doesn't sound daunting enough, remember, we were going in the middle of JULY. Despite the fact that it is in Northern Arizona, the temperature at the bottom gets as hot as Phoenix does. It is no wonder that I had a lot of people telling me that I was going to hate it, it was going to be harder than I thought, or that I needed to make sure that I had money with me for a helicopter ride out. There was only one person who had great words of wisdom for me and that was our friend, Ed, who had done it several times before and is very lowkey. He said "You're going to have a great time." Never before had I appreciated words like that.

We drove up the day before the hike and spent the night in the hotel right in the edge of the canyon, El Tovar. It was so beautiful and huge. Grand is an understatement. We had a lovely dinner together and planned to get up the next morning around 4:30 in the morning to get on the trail by 6am, hopefully avoiding as much heat as possible. Going down was not terrible, but my toes felt numb about halfway through. Kevin kept telling me to drink water, which was annoying, but at least this time I listened to him. Unfortunately for him, this meant stopping at every bathroom.We got to Phantom Ranch in about three hours, had lunch, stayed there for about an hour, then set out to get out. By this time, it was very warm, okay hot (not HOT, that comes later). The hike didn't seem too terrible, but I was sweaty and thirsty. We hiked for probably a half hour and had to stop in the shade so we could eat. We kept having to do that and I was really frustrated with myself that I wasn't going faster. Then we got to Indian Gardens which is a halfway stopping point. We rested there for another hour, ate, used the bathroom and Kevin checked out the thermometer which they had there. He said he wanted to take my picture with it but I told him do not tell me what it says otherwise, I may not want to keep going. This is the picture:

You can't read the thermometer? It reads 114 degrees. That was halfway out, remember? Now from this point, again, it didn't seem too steep, but I could not figure out why I was not going any faster. We stopped a half hour after starting out and found some shade and I sat down and thought I was going to cry. Tears did well up, but I was not going to let Kevin know that I was feeling so bad. I was going to get out of the canyon! This part was definitely the most torturous of the trip because of the heat, exhaustion, steepness and just wanting to get out. Just to give you a picture of how hot it was, we came across a woman whose soles of her shoes had melted off and they had to duct tape them back on so she could get out. But remember, I was going to get out! I prayed for the clouds to cover the sun, and every time they did, even for a brief moment, my heart leapt for joy. Then Kevin told me that one of the reasons that I was having such a hard time was because I was going too fast. Now again, I don't usually listen to his advice, much to my detriment, but this time I did and let him lead us. Slow and steady did the trick and I was able to hike for longer without a break. This is me trying to get out: Notice the dirt and sweat. Lovely. But I was doing it! I have never ate so much, sweated so much, or drank so much in my entire life! It took us six hours to get out of the canyon and you have never seen a happier girl than me!

The fun was not over though. The result of me drinking 6 liters fo water/ Gatorade was that we had to stop four times for me to use the restroom on the way home, and five times during the night.

Does it sound like I had a terrible time? No, I loved it! Sure it was exhausting, grueling, taxing, whatever, but I learned so much from my husband like, take your time, be prepared, drink water. But he learned from me that I NEVER give up (he thought I might, so he brought a tent in case we had to spend the night). So, this all leads me to this upcoming weekend. We are hiking the Grand Canyon yet again. This time I have trained much more thoroughly, know what to expect, and have lost forty lbs so I am even lighter and quicker. I hiked it this past fall with a couple of my girlfriends and I kept proclaiming that it was 100% better than the first time, mostly because there was no heat and I had trained for that one, too. I am anticipating giving Kevin a run for his money and a challenge as I try to get out as fast as I can (hopefully under three hours max, given no extenuating circumstances). But most importantly, I am looking forward to the time I have to be with my dear husband...but really kick his tail! P.S. I lost ALL of my toenails from the hike down. I felt it was a badge of honor!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Nursing excitement

For those of you who think this post has to do with breastfeeding, sorry. I have worked as a registered nurse for almost (gulp) fifteen years. I guess that makes me experienced. Although some of this experience is more dealing with crazy people which is what this post is about. The interesting characters that I have come across. Like we used to say in the burn unit "Normal people don't get burned." There are exceptions to this rule, but generally true.
I worked as in home infusion for about five years after we first moved here which was fabulous because I had a flexible schedule, meaning I scheduled my patients, however, I usually had a tremendous patient load by choice so I was extremely busy and it was not unusual for me to see patients from six in the morning until five in the afternoon. This was when Kevin was finishing up his bachelor's degree so he was a SAHD going to school in the evenings, but again, I could schedule my visits around him. Going into peoples homes is an interesting experience. I learned where the clean public bathrooms were, because I didn't want to get stuck needing to use the facilities at just anybody's home. I also had a fantastic car to drive, for safety of course, but still, I miss it. In terms of the interesting people: The first one that somes to mind was a drug dealer/ gang banger who had been involved in an altercations with another individual and managed to get the other party's tooth stuck in his knuckle, which led to an infection, then a hospitalization, a few days later he was released and of had had some stuff taken from his apartment which of course meant that he had to knock their door in to get in back, and he was expecting some retaliation. That's where I came in. I called him to schedule an appointment to start an IV on him, teach him how give himself the IV antibiotic every eight hours for two weeks, and what he needed to do to maintain the IV in his arm for up to a week at a time. When I talked to him on the phone, he explained about him expecting some retaliation and what he did for a, um, living. I told him that we needed to meet so that he could get the IV antibiotics that he needed for his infection. After a great deal of discussion, he agreed to meet me at his friend's house for the appointment. I took precautions of not going alone by soliciting the help of one of the delivery drivers to go with me so I would not be alone with this individual. He learned quickly when we got there, no surprise, but he was shocked to learn that he would have to leave the IV in his arm for up to a week. He explained that due to the circumstances he was expecting to get in some fights that week. I told him that he better lay low for a couple of weeks because if he didn't take care of the infection, he wouldn't have a hand to fight with. He agreed that this was probably for the best and stated he would try to do his best to not get into any altercations. When we were leaving his home, the driver said to me "Man, did you see all those roaches in there?" To which I replied "Ew, gross, I didn't see any crawling around." And he said "No, the marijuana kind." Yeah, he got a big kick out of my naivete.
Another memorable home experience was when I was nine months pregnant with Chloe, it was the middle of July, and needless to say HOT. I had a patient to see in South Phoenix which is the roughest part of the valley. I went to her house and the delivery of medications and suppies had not been delivered yet, but I called the driver and he said he was on his way. So i took a seat with my patient, an elderly black woman, her husband and their daughter. We sat and chatted for at least thirty minutes while we were waiting for the driver and I could not believe they were not inviting me inside because, surely, it was cooler inside than out. When the driver finally arrived and we took the supplies in, I understood why we were waiting outside. There was nowhere to sit down. There was stuff piled all the way to the ceiling with a pathway through the stuff to the kitchen and bedrooms. There were TVs, boxes of who knows what piled high and I even saw a Mr. T head, just like the Barbie head that you could do her hair and makeup, but this was Mr. T. And there was no light. There was a lamp in the corner with a 40 watt bulb and nothing else. This woman had terrible veins, but I got her IV in lickety split (I didn't want to stick around for longer than I had to. Who knew what was living in that mess). The other interesting thing about her, and I am sure that this was due to her dismal economic state, was that she had a poorly fitting wig and dentures. I thought for sure that the dentures would come flying out at me at any time. She had very interesting accessories. One day I went to her house and saw what appeared to be large hoop earrings. They were really shower curtain rings that she had attached to her ear lobes. Another day, she had on a new ring. It was the inside pull tab off of an orange juice carton. What's a girl to do but compliment another lady on her fine accessories? I saw this woman on MANY separate occasions, mostly because no one else would see her and South Phoenix was my territory.
The last one that I will share in this post was another woman that I saw for almost two years every day for a little wound on the bottom of her big toe that she refused to take care of herself. In fact, the first night that I went to see her and explain what I was going to teach her and her husband to do, she rattled of such obscenities that would make the first patient in this post blush. I could never figure out how her insurance company let her get away with that, but somehow she did. She was a large woman, had a large husband, and therefore, had a large preteen son. Her son would answer the door without his shirt on and I had to avert my eyes because he looked like he should be wearing a bra. Her husband, as I said, was large, and he smoked and I believe they had fast food every day, so he was not in good health either. So it was no wonder when I showed up one day and the M.E.'s gurney is at the base of their stairs and the front door open. There's her husband, stone cold dead in the bed. He had died in the night. She didn;t seem too surprised by this and pretty much carried on as usual. I was a little more disturbed at this seeing him there, dead. I felt sorry for the M.E.'s office having to get the gurney down the stairs with him. Now the next part of my interaction with this woman and her family needs to have a grossness alert, particularly Kevin DO NOT READ ANYMORE of this. I have shared this story with friends and done all I could for him not to hear it because basically, he can't handle any of the blood, guts, goo, and other bodily fluids that I have had experience with. So this woman had a history of uterine fibroids, which meant that she had very heavy periods and passing of clots (Iwarned you it was gross). One day, I arrived for my appointment and she sauntered into the living room, but unfortunately was not wearing any underpants and left a huge blot clot on the floor in her trail. It was HUGE, like a little liver. It was at least the size of a softball. She sees that this has happened after she plops down on the couch. I stood in the corner and prayed that no one would ask me to touch it. She yelled for her seventy year old mother to come and get it (she was cleaning the bathroom for her dear daughter). Her mom comes out and sees the expulsion and yells at her daughter for not wearing anything to catch it and goes to get something (a shovel?) to clean it up. While this is happening, her son is enjoying a jelly donut. He needed to get past the obstruction and didn't see any reason not to just step over it while he is devouring something that looks strangely like the beast on the floor. There were no words to describe my horror at seeing all of this unfold, and now you understand why I can never share this with my dear husband. He's very delicate, you know.
Those are a few of the interesting characters that I have had the pleasure of helping in their quest to regain their health. I will post more interesting tales of nursing as I remember them and maybe even group them into a theme, like cockroach encounters and attacking patients.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Livin' in the Southwest

Before I hegin my thoughts on living in the Southwest, I need to recognize my BIL, Jake, for his assistance in getting this blog started. I was sitting at the computer trying to think how to start it when in he walked w/ Kevin from the priesthood session of conference. I believe I called him a genius when he was helping me because I have no idea. So Thanks, Jake. BTW, his wife is having a baby in October. The first Partridge cousin! Now we know that at least one of Kevin's siblings can procreate.
When we first moved here almost ten years ago there were a few things that I noticed that were not going on in Utah, where we had come from, or anywhere else for that matter. The first one was the amount of pick up trucks that had Hispanic men sitting in the bed of the car. I knew this was illegal in Utah, but I could not understand how this would be okay. There is not a law against riding in the back of a pick up and it was all of the landscapers. Just so we're clear, Kevin's employees ride in the cab of the truck, facing forward, hopefuuly with their seat belts on.
The next was that before we moved here, I heard a lot of people tell me we'd be fine in the summer because it is a "dry heat." Little did they know about monsoon season. The humidity builds until it bursts in the form of a downpour and floods the streets and "stupid motorists" try to drive through it and end up getting stuck in the water because you are unable to determine the depth of the water. There is a "stupid motorists" law because of these people in which they have to pay for their own rescue. I was so ticked off at one nurse that I had worked with in the burn unit who was the loudest proclaimer of the dry heat and inform her that it was indeed not. May and June are dry and comfortable, even with 110+ degree heat, but when the humidity rolls around, even if it doesn't hit a 100, it's uncomfortable.
The other fun weather related phenomenon here is the dust storm. Instead of precipitation, a cloud of dust travels through the valley in a huge ball. They tell you what to do in case of a dust storm, like pull over and turn off your lights. Like we need more dust here!
Now because of the lack of water here, a lot of houses do not have grass in he front yard. They have what I like to call "kitty litter" because it is just little rocks that is the ground covering in front of the house. But it gets better and more fun: you can have it in different colors and sizes. But there is some maintenance of the kitty litter. The homeowner must rake the rocks to keep them looking nice.
In terms of lawn maintenance (I did not subscribe to the kitty litter, so we have a large front and back yard. Full on grass.) there is seeding and reseeding that has to be done twice a year. Don't ask me what seed to put when, I could easily ask Kevin, but that would mean I would have to wake him up and he's sleeping so peacefully right now. That shocked me that it did not grow spontaneously and that there was a lot of work to this grass thing. But I still would not have kitty litter.
I was amazed at all of the different states license plates. I made a list of all fifty states and when I saw that license plate, I would cross it off. I saw all fifty states license plates here. Delaware was the last one. I even saw a few providence of Canada. I credit this to the snowbirds that descend upon us every October to April. We're no affected where we live, but if you go out to Mesa, look out!
There are other things that are different from living in Utah, but that is more about being out of the culture of Utah, like getting stopped in Costco and being asked did I mean to have that many children or was it an accident (love the snowbirds), but that is different from the fun of living here. There are many things about living here that I am so glad for and I will never leave, the weather, the people, the outdoors and Kevin's business (which is not seasonal here). I'm going to break out my Southwesten inspired jewelry and dust cover and love the lofe I have here! P.S. i admit, this is not an exciting first post after the initial opening post, but I'm new here, it's late, and I just had a baby (eleven months ago).

Saturday, April 4, 2009

My brave venture into the blogosphere

I have toyed around with the idea of a blog for a while now after reading a couple of cousins and friends blogs and enjoyed them, especially while we drive and I can read them to Kevin then we discuss other peoples lives. Very fun. But I have been apprehensive at the idea that others could read what I have to say and not wanting to be laughed at or exposed to criticism. It's like I am at the beach and I have my bathing suit on and a cover up and I really want to get in the water, but I don't dare because I think that everyone is looking at me and will notice every flaw I have and whisper to their friends that they can't BELIEVE I would dare go out in public in a bathing suit, maybe some snickering even. But, I decide I don't care what other people think and I am going to do it despite all that. So I take off my cover up. No one even looks my way. I walk then get bold and start strutting down to the water. Not even a glance in my direction. I dip my foot in the water. Nice and warm. I start swimming carelessly, even do a dive into the water. Whoops! My top came off. NOBODY NOTICED!! Why? Because they are all so concerned about other people looking at them that no one is paying attention to what other people are doing. So I gleefully join then bloggers, but with a little trepidation that no one notices me and sees that despite the fact that I have fixed my top, there is a starfish stuck to my backside.
Enough of the analogy. My dear, sweet husband, Kevin, is the love of my life. He's a hard working, truck driving, Spanish speaking (how about some lunchay), landscaping, master driving, serving everyone, man of mine. He owns a commercial building maintenance company which takes care of landscaping, janitorial needs of companies. Love it. Nice perks. New trees and we never run out of toilet paper.
Dillan's the first born. He loves to read, scare me and his sisters, run, jump, throw a ball around, play games with me, and hang out with buddies. He's tall. Everyone thinks that he's at least fourteen, but he's eleven.
Chloe is the first daughter. She's very smart and caring. She reads, plays the violin, eats, grows taller every day, loves to talk and is a daddy's girl. She's tall. Everyone thinks she's ten, but she's eight.
Olivia is the star. She loves to dance, sing, put on fancy clothes and make up (where'd that come from?), boss people around, and play. She's tall...you get the point.
Blake. He is so cute and fat. I love him. He is definitely the baby the way that he loves to make others laugh. He will be tall one day, but right now he's tall and fat.
As for the title of my blog, I wanted something catchy, and I don't know if this is as good as it gets (one of my all time favorite movies, BTW) or if I will come up with something better. I tell mu children all the time if they are serving themselves soemthing or taking a handful of M&Ms "You can always have more, but you can't have less." So I thought that worked. If it doesn't, it was the best I could do.
So, if you're like me, you've decided to read this blog, and now it is way too late, you should be asleep by now, but you really wanted to see what I was up to and if I was as great as you think. I don't know if I am, but I love reading funny, well written blogs, so that is what I will attempt to do.