Monthly Archives: June 2006

To 11!

Last night Misty & Eli gave me my Father’s Day present: Guitar Hero.

You may be thinking that yesterday was Tuesday, several days before Father’s day.

I say that it is never too early to ROCK.

Books are Good

Geof loaned me his copy of Blue Like Jazz and it was excellent and very readable. Rick’s comment on it was either these are pretty common experiences on the Christian faith journey or that Donald Miller is in his head. I think that the experiences must be common experiences since I share in them as do a few other people that I know. Of course, if Donald Miller is in Rick’s head we should probably start on that movie deal now.

In other book news, I ran across a charity that seems a perfect fit for lots of us bookwormish types. The Dewey Donation System spotlights libraries that are in dire need of support. Right now they are trying to help the libraries in Southern Mississippi replace collections that were lost due to Katrina. You can purchase through Amazon and books get sent straight to the libraries. Also, the logo for this site rocks! Eli kept calling it “Dewey fly head” while I was looking at it this morning.

Things Eli Says

I was changing Eli’s diaper earlier today. He arched his torso in the air. “My butt is cuuuuute.” I demurred and put a new diaper on Eli. His eyes widened dramatically. “Where my butt go? WHERE MY BUTT GO?”

Overeducated

Eli’s steady diet of educational TV shows and our questions (“What color is this, Eli? What shape is this?”) has had unintended consequences. He now identifies and classifies non-stop, repeating things he learned from Sesame Street and Blue’s Clues.

We wanted him to be smart, where by “smart” we mean “able to perform cute tricks on command,” but my goodness, it never ends. He is a sponge, a self-squeezing sponge that absorbs knowledge and then dribbles it out everywhere later, and that is a metaphor that I’m going to pretend I didn’t make. I was dressing this morning when Eli pointed off to my right. “An X! Look, an X!” I looked where he was pointing, but didn’t see anything. “Over there! An X!” he said, now pointing to the left. I couldn’t see it. “Where’s the X?” I asked Eli. “THERE! Right there!” he said, now pointing at me. That’s when I realized that I was wearing an old Mac OS X t-shirt with a big furry X on the back, and he’d been seeing it when I turned around.

This also identifies me as a big geek, but you’ve probably gathered that by now.

It’s been like that all day. When he woke up from his nap all hoarse and sweaty like he’d just come back from yelling at a basketball game, he stumbled over to my laptop. “Look! An L. And an X. There’s a rectangle and a rectangle. Two rectangles! And a vent and anoner one and anoner one and anoner one and four vents! There’s a circle! I go to the other side of dad’s computer. There’s a circle! And here’s another one on this backpack!” When Misty called a while later, Eli said, “Dad is talking on the telefono. Telefono is Spanish for telephone.”

What will he be like when he’s an adult with a job? “Here is the TPS report, and another, and another. Three TPS reports! This is a summons to see human resources! This is the office for the head of HR! The door is a rectangle. This slip of paper is a pink! And a rectangle!” There’s only one thing to do. This afternoon we are starting him on a regimen of NASCAR and American Idol reruns. I hope he doesn’t root for Kellie Pickler.

It All Makes a Scary Kind of Sense Now

We have Mint installed on our server. Mostly because once Geof showed it to me I couldn’t look away. So I get a kick out of reading what people search for and how they find our site.

I have noticed a disturbing number of searches looking for Misty May (the Olympic volleyball player) and finding well, me. So today I decided to check it out. I clicked on the search that people are running over at MSN.com. The combination of Misty and May and Photos gets me into sixth place on their search engine!

I’m guessing the masses of teenage boys are a wee bit surprised when they get here and find only pictures of my kid.

So welcome to all you Misty May fans! You will not find any naked photos of her here but if you decide you want to read a few posts by a thirty-something couple living in Northern Alabama with a very precocious two-year old, this Misty site is for you!

Update: Limbo

My mom called last night with good news! My grandmother has stopped using the ventilator! She still has the tube but they expect to remove it today. Mom said that she was alert and answered questions by nodding and shaking her head and she was able to lift her hand to wave. She has use of all her limbs so they think there is almost no possibility of a stroke now. While she is not dancing jigs yet, it looks probable that she will be up and around agian.

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers and for your emails and calls. It has meant so much to me and you will never know how much I appreciate it.

After I posted Limbo, Ashley wrote about the loss of her only aunt over at Experiments in Life. My heart goes out to her as she deals with this.

I don’t claim to have anything new to say on loss or any particular topic really. A while back I posted about my collection of journals and what that has meant to me over the years. At the time I wrote that post, I had every intention of keeping up with a paper journal and posting to this site. Now, I see this site slowly replacing the journals as my memory repository. Maybe by writing some of my thoughts down here someone else can benefit from my experiences.

Noah

Since we returned from Alabama, Eli has been in rare form. He’s been testing boundaries, seeing if we really mean it when we say things like, “stop kicking the wall,” and “if you keep screeching like that I swear my head is going to pop off and twirl around spewing blood from its eyes.” A lot of this is attention deficit disorder: he had a lot of fan attention when he was in Arkansas.

When we got home on Sunday, Misty & I had a lot of around-the-house chores to do. At one point we were in our office, both of us working on our computers. Eli tottered into the room, brandishing his cup. “I drinking water.” It was filled to the brim.

Misty and I looked at each other. If you had been watching the movie version of this, you would have seen the room behind us expand away from us in that stereotypical dolly zoom horror-film effect. “Where did you get that water?” Misty asked Eli.

“From the refrigerator!”

“I bet you left a trail of water behind you,” Misty said. She headed to the kitchen to wipe up behind Eli. Then I heard her yell.

Let us back up and set the stage some more. We keep a big tub of filtered water in the refrigerator. It has a tap on the front. You pull the tap lever towards you and water pours out. You pull the tap lever from vertical to horizontal and water keeps pouring out.

I believe I just gave away the punchline. Yes, Eli had pulled the tap lever. Water had filled the refrigerator and spilled onto the floor.

We’d just spent a stressful week back in Arkansas. We were tired from the six-hour drive. This is our flimsy excuse for our anger. We didn’t yell! That’s a plus on our side! Misty made Eli help mop up water, but that wasn’t going well. To compound matters, Eli had a dirty diaper. Tempers were flaring, but because we are nice and polite, they were flaring inside, where surely they would do no damage!

I finally broke down and picked up Eli to take him to his room. Eli could tell he was in trouble. It was time to bring out the big guns. “Cute shirt, Daddy,” he said. “Cuuuuute shirt.” I was wearing a shirt from Rush’s Test for Echo tour. “Cute” isn’t one of the words I’d use to describe this ten-year-old t-shirt.

When we were done, I had Eli sit down in the kitchen and watch us clean up. “Don’t move until I tell you.” We then ignored him. “Daddy!” he said, and “Mommy!” Then he would cry because we were ignoring him to clean up his mess. Mopping up took us some fifteen minutes. The whole time Eli was whining and crying. The punishment was overkill for what was, in the cold light of next morning, obviously an accident. Did I mention we were tired? We were! Very tired!

Eli’s misbehavior continued throughout bathtime. I’ve never been more glad to see him in bed as I was that night. And his misbehavior continued the next day!

We’ve been torn. We don’t want to crush Eli’s nascent spirit, but we have to give him limits and boundaries. But he cries! And his lower lip pooches out! It is very sad and I went to work the next day with guilt bending my back and bowing my spine.

But I think our discipline campaign is succeeding. Yesterday his friends Delaney and Claire were visiting. They were jumping on the bed, an activity that is worse than screeching but better than sticking forks in sockets. Misty sent Eli to his couch as punishment. She went through our usual after-couch routine:

“Do you know why you’re on your couch?”

“Yeh.”

“Why are you on your couch?”

“Yeh.”

“Why did mom send you to your couch? What did you do?”

“Mom and dad say no jumping onna bed.”

“You can get up now.”

He walked into the living room and saw Delaney. “Delaney!” he shrieked. “Let’s go jumpin’ onna bed!”

Limbo

Limbo, that’s what I’m in. I’m afraid what I’m writing will sound like an obituary. It’s not. I don’t know how much longer that will be true. I want to write some things down so that I’ll remember them and so that I’ll remember that I was ready for whatever happens in the next few days. Or at least, I think I’m ready. I guess that’s the way life works. With all the big stuff, Stephen and I decide we’re ready and then we jump in and find out how much it is true. Except this time, there’ll be no jumping, only waiting.

Last Monday my mom called and said that my Grandmother was in the hospital. The doctors thought she’d had a heart attack but she was sitting up and laughing and talking about her upcoming 60th wedding anniversary she was planning. My mom didn’t sound worried so I went about my day. Tuesday rolled on and in the late afternoon, Eli and I began our usual preparations for Tuesday Night Supper/Movie Club. My mom called sometime between 4 and 5 p.m. to say that my Grandmother had had two more heart attacks and now had heavy internal bleeding. The doctors had called two code blues on her and put her on a ventilator. My mom had been crying. I stopped for a moment and contemplated that my Grandmother might not make it. Before I could get too upset, Stephen arrived home from work. Bless my husband for knowing what is important in this life. His first words after I told him the situation were, “Pack your stuff.” We debated leaving that evening but decided it would be better to hit the road fresh the next morning.

When we arrived on Wednesday, we picked my Mom up and went to the hospital for the 2 o’clock visitation. The Critical Care Unit has visiting half-hours — not even whole hours, the people are that sick. My mom had prepared me so I wasn’t shocked by how my Grandmother looked. At first I didn’t know what to do or say. My mom was rubbing my Grandmother’s hair. For some reason that surprised me even though I know that when someone is in the hospital, talking to them and touching them is important for recovery. I handled that first visitation pretty well. No tears. I was sad but all the news was good. Doctors expected her to be off the ventilator by the next day.

At the 5 o’clock visit, she was awake. I held her hand and we chatted, or, rather, the visiting crowd chatted while she looked around and squeezed people’s hands. I don’t remember who was also in the room, but when I started out to change places with someone in the waiting room, I told her I loved her and she looked at me with her eyes that are the same as Eli’s and she squeezed my hand.

I will thank God for the rest of my life that I had that moment with her. I pray she recovers, but if she doesn’t, I can hold onto that moment knowing that I said all I needed to say.

I am a lucky girl. I have four living grandparents. Eli has seven living great-grandparents. Not many people my age can say they have that many living extended family members. Stephen’s maternal grandfather was buried one exact year before Eli was born. Stephen’s mother has said several times that Eli’s birth on that day was a Godsend. I understood that with my head but only this week came to understand what that can mean to a heart that is broken from the loss of a loved one.

This makes it sound that I was especially close with my Grandmother. We aren’t estranged by any stretch of the imagination, but I think that, because I have lived away from home for so long, I have let a certain sense of neglect for all of my extended family grow. Not because I didn’t care or don’t want to know what is happening with them, but because of distance and time and all of us living our lives. I have fabulous memories of my grandparents and I think those very memories are what has made it so easy to think I have all the time in the world to say what needs to be said or to spend a few more hours with them.

By Saturday, I was discouraged. She had been sedated several different times. All of us who went in held her hands and carried on various conversations across her bed. Mom and I went for retail therapy before lunch and talked about when it was time to let her go. I was starting to wonder about how much truth the doctors were telling us about her recovery prognosis. Stephen gave Mom and me his standard rational pep talk adapted to fit our particular situation, which I wanted to believe with all my heart. We left to spend the night at my dad’s house knowing we were going home on Sunday. I hugged my mom extra tight when I said, “I love you.”

Every bit of our trip to Arkansas was dichotomous. We would spend time with my grandmother in the hospital room and then spend time visiting family in the waiting room. I saw all my cousins and almost all of their kids and spouses. I saw all my aunts and uncles and all their spouses and even some of their exes. I spent some really wonderful time with my grandfather and got to watch him play with Eli. I got to see Eli make friends with my cousin Daniel’s daughter, who is five months Eli’s junior. On Thursday, due to a previously-scheduled meeting, Stephen’s parents drove to Little Rock and we spent a bit of time with them. On Friday, Stephen, Eli, and I had lunch with my best friend at The Purple Cow. Saturday morning, Eli and my mom played in her garden. Saturday night we spent some much-needed time decompressing at my dad’s house. It is truly amazing how much trouble my dad and my son can stir up together. Sunday night found us back home, with nothing having changed with my grandmother.

I’d like to have a particular anecdote to tell about my grandmother so that you would have a sense of her life. I don’t have just one to tell. I can tell you that she loves to tend her vegetable garden. She has a passion for crocheting, embroidering, and quilting. She would let Daniel and me jump on the bed when our parents weren’t home. She came to visit me for my birthday a couple of years ago and she was amazed at the cotton fields around our house and how the picked cotton mounds up on the side of the road during harvest time. She let me try on all of her lipsticks (usually at the same time) when I was a little girl. She washed my clothes every Sunday during my six weeks at Governor’s School. I always take the best naps on her couch. These are the things that make up my memories of her.

So what do I say to conclude? I don’t have any new information. We’re all still waiting. We’re all still in limbo.

New Photos

I’ve posted some new photos from our trip to Arkansas. I have a lot to say about the trip but it’s going to take a bit for me to process it and write it down. We’re all exhausted but glad to be back home tonight.

In Mumsy’s Garden
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Fun with Pop Don
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There’s also a couple of new photos in Random Goodies.

Two Eli Anecdotes Involving Feet and Remote Controls

While we may be rather distracted, we can still provide you with the quality Eli entertainment with which you’ve grown accustomed. Behold, I give you two brief stories.

Misty’s mom has a universal remote, but it somehow became deprogrammed, much as if a psychologist had spent days with it, keeping it in isolation and telling it, “They were lying when they said you should run the TV and the VCR. LOOK AT ME.” To fix it, I had to stand in front of the TV and cycle through all of its codes. When Eli saw me doing that, he picked up a second remote and stood by me. “Whatcha doing?” he asked.

“I’m fixing the TV,” I told him.

A few hours later, my mom was visiting. Eli picked up two remotes and handed one to mom. “Here. We fixa Tivo.”

That last sentence doesn’t really convey the sing-song way in which he says it. “WE FIX-a TEEEEEEE-vooooooo” is more like it. I’ve had many chances to hear him say it, as evidently the Tivo needs a lot of fixing.

We were driving back to the hospital yesterday evening, with Misty’s mom in the back to entertain Eli. “One foot,” she said, grabbing one of his feet. “One foot,” she said as she grabbed the other. “Two feet!”

“No,” Eli said very seriously. “Two foots.”