Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Jack was a friend.
Jack was a family friend to be exact. My dad met him at work, I think. I was too young to know really how they met him, but ever since I could remember he was around. He was the kind of man every child needs as a friend. Once Jack invited my family to a friend's farm. The friend was a potato farmer, and had cultivated his potatoes but hadn't harvested them yet. The friend told Jack to come and get as many as he wanted. As a child of about 5 years of age going potato gathering was very exciting. I had my little bucket and started gathering. I found a huge potato, the biggest potato I had ever seen! I proudly showed Jack and he made me feel like I had found a piece of gold. He told me that potato could probably feed my whole family! Yes, every child needs a friend like Jack.

Everyone knew Jack.
I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania, and Jack lived there as well. Everyone in the town knew jack. If you walked downtown, everyone would smile and say "hello" to Jack. He was a friendly guy and always willing to lend a hand when he heard one was needed. He was the town snowplower and would always go the extra mile. He would often come down our street and pile the plowed snow in the field next to our house so my sister and I could sled ride down it.

Jack was generous.
I remember as a kid how he would always come on Sunday mornings and bring doughnuts. I will forever look at an apple fritter and think of Jack. Once when we were on vacation Jack took my broken, rusty little red wagon and refinished it. As we came home and drove in the driveway there it was, all shiny and new. He even took me for a ride in it!

Jack was silly.
Jack would tease the bejeebers out of my sister and me. I had a security blanket as a child and he would call me "Linus". He told me my ears would fall off if I didn't wash behind them, and if I kept playing with toads I would get warts. And to think I believed him! He would let us climb on him and sit on his feet while he walked never tiring of our play.

Jack was smart.
Jack taught my family how to make saurkraut, an important side dish in Pennsylvania. I remember him in our basement with my parents standing over an old whiskey barrel and using an antique cutter to cut the cabbage. Apparently beer was an ingredient in saurkraut, because he would always say "a swig for the cabbage and a swig for me".

Jack was an alcoholic.
He spent hours at the local bar, then drive home drunk. He once woke up the next morning to find a huge dent in the front of his truck. He panicked, not knowing what he had hit. He drove around looking for some evidence and found a tree on the way to his house that had damage that matched his truck. Phew! Just a tree.

Jack was mean.
He was known to get into fights at the bar when he was drunk. As a child I heard my parents talk about Jack's drinking, and not knowing what being drunk was like, I remember thinking he must have turned green and got muscular, kind of like the Incredible Hulk, and smashed chairs and things. Jack had a family but lost it due to his alcoholism.

Jack was lonely.
We moved to Texas when I was 10. We went back to visit a couple of times and visited Jack. He was off of work because of a work-related injury, and drunk pretty much all the time at that point. The townspeople no longer said "hello" to Jack, they avoided him and looked at him like he was a burdeon.

Jack died alone in his bathroom.
I remember the day I heard. I mourned my childhood friend, who really died many years before his true death. I will forever remember Jack as a part of my childhood.

Sunday, October 23, 2005


War is a bad thing. I don't like war. It scares me, and I often wonder if it hurts more than it helps. Unfortunatley, I feel as though there was no other way. Some species just don't deserve to walk the face of the earth, and we have to abolish them. Yes, I am a proponent of species clensing of fire ants.

I seem to attract the things. Perhaps in a former life I was a hot fire ant model who was very popular and all the other fire ants wanted to be like me. Yea, that's it. They're jealous.

Either way, I bought this property and I don't see them paying rent or sharing the house payment so I want them gone. I am ashamed to say, I have become the Little Fire Ant Hitler. I have declaired war even though I don't have the support of the French neighbors across the street. And even though the UN (united neighbors) voted against it I declaired war anyway. They weren't the ones terrorized on their legs by the bites.

As self declaired Commander in Chief of this war, and, since I am also the only person on this side, I had no other choice but to enforce a draft. I drafted my husband. He was promoted from Private to General in about 5 minutes since he was the only other person on this side.

As most Commander in Chiefs do, I made him do all the work. I armed him with the equivalent to the Tomahawk Missle in the Fire Ant War, Orthene Fire Ant Bait. It is a smart bait because it knows how to kill the queen. He put on his uniform (gardening gloves) and headed out to the battlefield (yard). We had our "shock and awe" mission yesterday. So far so good, but we're waiting for the counter attack.

Question: Is there anything in your life you'd like to declare war against?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Surgery

Rachel so cute
Originally uploaded by Carol H.

Things went well, as I said before. And thanks for your well wishes!

We woke up promptly at 4:30 a.m. because we had to be downtown at Texas Children's Hospital at 7:30 a.m. We checked in and went to the waiting area. Rachel slept, thank God. We were herded into one room where they weighed her (13 pounds 8 oz!) and took her blood pressure with a tiny little cuff. Then we were herded into another room where they took some blood from her. She was good the entire time. Then we were put into a waiting room where the people waiting for surgery are kept. The doctor comes into this room to talk to the parents before surgery. At this point I did an unscientific survey and realized 5 out of every 6 surgeries on children under 10 are due to foreign objects injected into various body orifices. The boy beside us put something up his nose (I tried to evesdrop to figure out what it was, but I missed it). The girl to the right of us swallowed a coin. There was a x-ray carried across the room that was clearly a chest with something stuck in the esophogus.

Luckily she was sleeping when I had to hand her over for surgery. If she was crying I don't think I could have handled it.

They brought us into recovery about an hour later. There she was, screaming her little head off, which I was unusually happy to hear. They told us we would be in recovery about an hour until they got our room ready. What they DIDN'T tell us is they meant an hour in football minutes, because we sat there for five hours.

We finally got to her room. Texas Children's hospital rocks. They have a day bed for parents in the room, cable TV, a room for each age group of children from 3-18 with age-appropriate toys, videos, etc. A clown that visits, videos to bring to the room, a family center with a refrigerator, free coffee and muffins in the morning.

The surgeons, well, they're good surgeons. Their bedside manner was, well, something else.

We were given a paste to put on her butt to numb it so the stitches didn't hurt so bad. However, she had an allergic reaction to it. So, the nurse gave us some skin drying paste and some vaseline. He said put the paste on first to dry the skin then the vaseline. It didn't have the numbing agent, but keeping the sutures on her anal opening dry would help.

Guess what? Paste + vaseline = glue. Yes, we glued my childs butt cheeks together. I had to soak her in the bathtub to loosen the "glue" to get them apart. Who said child rearing wasn't a science experiment? Come to think of it, maybe I should market the stuff to pay for her medical bills.

We came home Sat evening. With the exception of a little fussiness, as to be expected, she is doing great!

Question: Have you ever made an interesting discovery?

Monday, October 17, 2005

Things are fine!

Just wanted to let you know the surgery went fine! Rachel is sore but otherwise doing good. I'll post details a little later when I have a second. Thanks to everyone for their kind words. :)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The dreaded day is here

Actually I'm glad it's here I just want to get it over with. Rachel's surgery day is tomorrow (Friday). So, the next two day's we'll be at the hospital, so I won't be around much!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Commercial Jingles

As usual I was awakened last night at 2 a.m. by a fussing baby. I got her up, changed her, and started to nurse her. As I sat sleepily in the dimly lit room looking down at my precious little baby as she nursed all I could think was "Cambells, Chicken Noodle...possiblilities".

Yes, at this precious moment, a stupid commerical jingle was running through my head. It happens a lot. In fact, there's one that hasn't aired in years that seems to surface quite often in my head for some silly reason..."Doxidan, Doxidan, when nature needs a helping hand, get overnight relief with Doxidan". I would say if their goal is product identification they had a successful advertising campaign, although maybe not so much as I've never purchased the stuff.

I can still repeat the McDonalds jingle from the 80's "Two all beef patties special sauce lettuce cheese pickles onions on a sesame seed bun.". Or how about "The best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup!". Or more recently "I want my baby back, Chilies baby back ribs".

Nothing is worse than having a advertising jingle in your head. It is one thing for a company to have music during the commercial. Car commercials usually have great music. HP has some really good music with their commericals these days. The commercials where the person holds a frame in front of their face and the frame suddenly becomes a picture of them at that moment. I often find myself singing their songs (although I don't know the titles) hours after. I don't mind singing songs, but having an ad jingle in my head is downright irritating. Jingles are usually one line, so you are saying one line over and over again until you either buy a product or go insane. I don't think the companies care which one comes first.

Is there a particular jingle that you can't get out of your head?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Delurk Day

**When I came to my blog this morning and read what I wrote I think I sounded mad! LOL. This, like most of my posts, was jokingly written. Geez, I'm so rude.**

I have decided to have a delurk day. Many of my blogging friends did this long ago. I thought then that they were silly. I mean, if someone was to come to this page they would post, right? If nothing else but to tell me how stupid I am? However, in the last few weeks I have learned a few tidbits about my friends and family.

First, people I THOUGHT were reading my blog and not bothering to comment were actually NOT reading my blog. My sister is a good example. Do you know what that means? That means I get to start talking about her. I can talk about all the stories when we were little and how mean she was. Like the time....oh, I'll save it for another post.

Then, I found out that people who I thought never or rarely read my blog actually read it on a daily or somewhat daily basis. My husband is this example. That means I have to be nice to him on here. Not that I'm generally not nice to him, because I generally don't have reason to be mean to him, but if I did have reason then I know he would read it. Actually, that could come in handy. How RUDE of him just to read and not comment. And I MARRIED him.

Anyway, it's officially delurk day. If you are reading this, post something. If you don't you will officially hurt my feelings. Yes, I'm that pathetic.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Texas Traditions

** Something else I never thought about....a mum IS a mother, but it is also a flower, a chrysantheMUM. Sorry for the confusion! **

Fall is in the air (OK, not really. It's freakin' 95 here still. But for the sake of the story I'll pretend), the leaves are changing (I'm lying here, too), and the football season makes it way into the hearts of every Texan (This, however, is true).

There is a Texas Tradition that I didn't realize was a Texas thing. At least that's what my non-Texan friends tell me. The tradition is the homecoming mum during the High School homecoming football game. Please tell me we're not the only ones that have homecoming football games.

Anyway, this homecoming mum tradition. Basically, a guy asks a girl to the game (or vice-versa), and he buys her a mum. And you can tell how much a boy likes you by the size of the mum, and how gaudy you look in it. Here is an example (I couldn't find a picture of a mum that I could post, and, golly-gee darn I don't have a scanner to scan a picture of me in High School at homecoming, so that link will have to do. Speaking of which, where does everyone get their cool pictures for their blogs that aren't their own, anyway?).

The mum is about the size of a dinner plate. Sometimes, if the boy REALLY likes you, they will get TWO mums and put one in front and one in the back, going over the shoulder. Usually, however it is a single mum pinned on her chest, and has streamers that literally go to her knees or below. The streamers have kick-knacks on it that represent what the girl is into, such as a clarinet in my case because I played the clarinet, a little plastic volleyball, a whistle, a little teddy bear, or other trikets. Bells were essential, because otherwise how would your girlfriends know you were coming with a gaudy mum unless you had the noisemakers to go with them? The ribbons usually have stickers on them to say "Homecoming 2005" and another that says "Carol -n- Bryan" or something of that nature. Like I said, the gaudier the more the boy liked you, because the gaudier the more expensive.

Then, after the game, the high school girl would hang it in her room until she realized the tradition was both silly and gaudy, usually about the time she goes to college or she and the boy broke up, and then she would throw it out.

I never thought much about the tradition until I became an adult, pulled my very faded mum out of the remembrance box (AKA, the moth ridden, silverfish eaten cardboard box about to collape with a zillion pieces of tape on it up in the attic) and looked at it. And threw it away. I guess I'm a late bloomer.

What traditions do you have that you realized were silly once you thought about it?

Saturday, October 01, 2005

OK, this is offically now a mommy blog.

Rachel in purple
Originally uploaded by Carol H.
I tried not to go there, but it seems like this blog has turned into a Mommy Blog. Sorry.

I've been putting off blogging hoping for something to blog about that's a little more light hearted or fun. I mean, after a hard pregnancy, a baby in NICU for 11 days, acid reflux, and hurricanes I figured this blog needed it. But, alas, I have nothing. Instead, I will talk about the fact that Rachel needs surgery, because that's about all on my mind these days.

We went to the doctor because of crying that didn't seem to cease. Her tummy was bloated like a balloon, and very firm. It took the doctor little time to find the problem.

Poor little bugger has Anal Stenosis. If you google it, like I did, you will find out it is an unusual tightness in the anal sphincter. That means she can't pass gas or poop easily. Yes, my daughter is literally anal retentive. I knew she took after her daddy.

Treatment is usually the instertion of dialators "and in rare cases surgery". Of course, keeping with our theme of the year of bad luck, we are in the "rare case" category. She was so tight they couldn't even do a normal exam on her.

What's frustrating is she was diagnosed with this almost three weeks ago. They told me they would call to schedule the surgery in 5-7 days, maybe sooner because the doctor knew she was in pain every time she had gas or had to poop, so he requested the surgery be scheduled "ASAP".

Then, the hurricane came and everything in the Houston area came to a screeching halt. AND, to make matters worse, people from New Orleans have been transported to Houston hospitals, which have made the beds limited (not that they don't deserve good care, too, but you know what I mean). So, not only are people who HAD surgeries scheduled rescheduled, but the ones that didn't have them scheduled yet (us) were put off for a freakin TWO WEEKS.

So, here is Rachel, in pain most days until she has her poop. And working for hours pushing to poop. I'm talking sometimes 10 hours of grunting. And there's nothing I can do but call the freakin' pediatric surgeons office every day to beg them to schedule it. Finally yesterday they did. So, we get to have surgery on her butt in two weeks, on October 14th.