Remember when you were little and people would ask what you wanted to be when you grew up. My answer up until the age of 9 was that I wanted to be a nurse. That changed after I spent 11 days in the hospital with double pneumonia. I was kept in isolation and because there wasn’t a room available on the children’s ward, I was given a room on the geriatric floor. The sounds at night were very scary to a 9-year-old. I was also having to get multiple blood draws and because I am hard to draw blood from, I was stuck over and over again. To a 9-year-old, I couldn’t understand why the nurses let me be hurt by the people drawing blood, so I decided that nursing was not my calling.
My husband finds it funny that I ended up working in the medical field. Yes, I work around nurses and know that all nurses are not mean, but I also know that I made the right decision not to become a nurse. My husband had the first of possibly three surgeries on his arm earlier this week. His arm had been feeling numb and tingling for the better part of a year. Of course, he being who he is, he didn’t tell me. He was worried that it was cardiac related. When I found out about it, I made him get an appointment with a primary care physician. He hadn’t been to a doctor since he left the military. His doctor I am happy to say is wonderful and has put him through a variety of tests. The good news is that he is better than I thought he might be. The bad news is that the numbness and tingling meant he has to have surgery.
I am fine with all of the things needed to be done prior to having surgery. I went with him for his MRI and made sure that he got his pre-op clearance physical and labs done in plenty of time for the records to be sent to the hospital. I also made sure he got copies of everything in case something was missing the day of the surgery. The surgery was scheduled for mid-morning and he had to check in 2 hours prior. They let me stay with him up until they were taking him to the surgical suite. I was given a number to watch the board to keep track of what was happening with the surgery. The one issue that I had with the surgical board was that the information was not real-time. By the time he showed up as “Procedure in progress” it was actually over and he was in recovery.
The first nurse he had in recovery was rude and totally out of line in regards to how she briefed the second nurse who came to cover her for lunch. It was like my husband was a total inconvenience to her. The second nurse asked questions and joked with my husband making him feel more comfortable. I went so far as to ask her if she could keep watch over him until he was released as the first nurse was not very polite. She said that she would and she did.
I was fine getting him home, making sure he was comfortable and took his pain meds. I got him ice for his ice packs and pillows to keep his arm elevated. And when he was hungry, I made sure his food was something he was able to manage one-handed. But when it comes down to having to look at the wound and change the dressing. I am not a good nurse. I know that it is psychological, but I get absolutely queasy dealing with someone’s wound. I don’t want to look at it and I am afraid I will hurt him.
It hasn’t been too bad so far, but I keep reminding him that this is the reason I didn’t become a nurse. He laughs and say’s he didn’t marry me for my nursing skills. I laugh and tell him it’s a good thing I knew I didn’t want to be a nurse when I was 9. If I had become one, I have a feeling I would be more like nurse #1 instead of nurse #2.
The scanning of family photos that my husband made his winter project came to an end shortly before the remodeling of the man cave/media room began. Once all the photos were scanned, my husband brought up a packet of photos that I realized I had never seen before. It was several photos of he and our son taken in California when our son had joined him for a long weekend while he was on a two-week business trip.
The photos were of the two of them at Legoland. We had told our son when he was younger that if we were ever near a Legoland, we would take him there. I had originally thought we would find time to visit the one in Florida when we lived in the south, but things had never worked out. So here were photos taken when my son was 17 and his dad took him to Legoland, fulfilling a promise made a long time ago. While my son was too big for many of the rides, they still had a great time. They also weren’t the only father/older son there. Looking at the photos, I saw two happy people and realized that it was probably the last time the two of them were in a photo together.
We have gotten away from taking pictures together and use our phone most of the time to capture events in our life. Very few of those are of more than one person in the picture. And even fewer have my son as a part of them. While cell phones are great to capture a moment, we should pull out an actual camera to capture family times that we can look back on and remember everyone together. Time is too precious and there are too many memories left to make.
So I caught a winter cold from work. One person has been sick going on three weeks. I am entering week two and my husband is still in week one. It is mainly a sinus and head cold. Not much coughing or sneezing. Just stuffed up and not sleeping well. At first I thought it was just due to the fact that we had been outside the day before raking and bagging the leaves. While I love looking at leaves, I tend to get stuffy when I actually play with them, so I hoped that it was just too much time outside, but I wasn’t so lucky. By the next morning, I felt horrible.
Before I made him sick, my husband asked what I wanted and I said I wanted Mrs. Grass chicken soup. It was what we were given whenever we were sick growing up and I even now I always want a bowl when I’m sick. There is nothing quite like being curled up on the couch in your pajamas with a warm blanket and a mug of Mrs. Grass’ soup. Unfortunately we didn’t have any in the pantry so my wonderful husband went to three stores until he found it. 🙂
He started to make it and I told him to make sure the golden nugget was dissolved all the way. He said there wasn’t a golden nugget. I thought he was joking. Mrs. Grass is all about the golden nugget. It’s what makes the soup taste so yummy good. And makes you feel better. He brought me the box and showed me there wasn’t a golden nugget anymore. The picture above shows the golden nugget, but my new box didn’t have it. I immediately Googled it and learned the company got rid of the golden nugget earlier this year. What the h#%l were they thinking??? Put the golden nugget back…..really. I’m sick and now this.
Of course the company wants you to know that it tastes the same. That might be a good way to spin it, but it didn’t taste the same. It just tasted like box soup. Not yummy. 😦 And I am sure that is why my cold has lingered. The little golden nugget would have made me all better by now.
Growing up, our Christmas tree always went up on Thanksgiving. It was an absolute huge fake tree that had color coded branches that had to be put together in a certain order. It took hours, especially when the colors started fading, but the end result was a beautiful tree that visitors always thought was real. The decorating of the tree would take place throughout the day, in between cooking and eating and socializing. When I married, I told my husband of this tradition and while he didn’t understand the need to put the tree up on Thanksgiving, he humored me because he loved me. It also helped that he enjoys the holidays and making the house look festive. My mother always said that once we were settled into a place of our own, we could haul the huge tree in its huge box (think bigger than the biggest refrigerator box you’ve ever seen) to our home and carry on the tradition of the tree. When my husband saw the size of the box in my parents store-room he stated that he didn’t think we would ever have a place big enough for the tree and I whispered that it was fine because we could always start new traditions.
Our first tree was one that was maybe two feet tall and we put it on the middle of our coffee table. We chose some of the family ornaments that we had brought with us and gradually added new ones as well. Every Thanksgiving we decorated the tree while the turkey was in the oven. At the end of the day, we would turn the lights on the tree and everything seemed peaceful and calming. The only time our tree didn’t get put up on Thanksgiving was when my husband had been deployed on a peace keeping mission to Kosovo and actually returned home the day before Thanksgiving. We picked him up at 3:00 am and he spent most of the next 48 hours sleeping. I put up a few things while he was sleeping, but it has always been something that we have done together.
Decorating the outside of the house has always been his territory. He can see in his head what he wants to do with the decorations and while he will ask me my opinion, I really leave it up to him. The only thing I insist on is that the lights be multicolored. I am not a fan of lights being one color, so he goes along with me on that.When our son was young, he went all out, but as we have all gotten older, we have kept the outside simple, yet welcoming. One of my favorite holiday looks was the first year in our house in Kansas. We purchased real pine garland and outlined the front of the house with it and had the lights shining out from the branches. Large burgundy bows and a huge wreath completed the look.
One year my husband was off and I had to work, so he decided that he and our son would get the lights up outside early. When I pulled up, I noticed that our neighbor, who never seemed to get his outside lights up all the way, had actually put up lights. Lights that looked like ours. My husband was sitting on a stool in the garage with strings of lights laying in rows on the floor, testing bulbs because they wouldn’t come on. I noticed there were no lights on the house.
“What’s wrong with the lights?” I asked getting out of the car.
“They won’t come on. I’ve been checking the bulbs. But every time I find one, another goes out.”
Hmmm, I thought, that’s what happened last year and we had to buy new lights. I got into the garage and I noticed that the lights on the floor were the lights from last year. You know, the broken ones that we couldn’t fix so we had to buy new ones. I stepped back out of the garage and looked at our neighbors house. “So Robert put up lights too?” I asked.
My husband looked at me, “Yeah, we helped him. His didn’t work so I gave him our old set.”
“That’s why they look familiar.” I replied. I looked back at the strings of lights on the garage floor. “Do you remember last year, when you couldn’t get the lights to work?”
He grunted, “That seems like every year, but yes I remember. We had to go out and buy new ones.” He looked up at me looking over at the neighbors lights and the light bulb went off. “Son of a !@#$%!!!”
“Yeppers!” I replied walking back to my car. He began rolling up the broken lights before joining me in the car where we went to buy new holiday lights for the outside of the house.
“At least Robert won’t look like Grinch this year.” he said nodding to the lights.
As part of our decluttering and reorganizing the basement, we have started to tackle the many photo albums and loose photos that we have. The first thing I did was take all of them out of the musty smelling, old albums. My husband then started to sort them into family photos, his growing up, mine growing up and ours. And also those from before we got together, his military photos and my vacation photos. The goal is to sort through them. Eliminate the duplicates. Yes, there really are three photos of me in kindergarten. And then they will be scanned and saved on a thumb drive for viewing whenever we want.
Looking through my family photos, I was struck by how many of them were tied to food. One of the first photos of me was when my mom brought me home and she is holding me in her parent’s kitchen. For my first birthday, I was placed on the table and my birthday cake was in front of me. Clutched in my hand was a piece of cake. There are other photos of us outside in the summer, faces dripping with ice cream or snow cones. I remember that they were made by my mom, who would crush up the ice in the blender and add Kool-Aid to sweeten it up. Or we would make homemade popsicles in ice-cube trays. Other photos were taken at family events, but the one constant in many of the photos was the food.
I grew up in a large blended family. My father was married before and had four children. He then married my mom and had myself and my brother. Money was always tight, but I don’t ever remember being hungry. Sunday dinners would be a big roast, potatoes, some type of veggie and milk or Kool-Aid for the kids. Dessert would be something my mom made, be it cake or cookies or pudding. That roast would make an appearance several more times during the week as leftovers. One of my favorites was roast beef and gravy over bread. The bread would make the meat stretch for several meals. Wednesday really was spaghetti day in our house. Remember the commercials in the 1970’s about Wednesday being Prince spaghetti day?
We didn’t really eat out. A treat for us would be pizza or sliders from White Castle. Pizza night would be the first Friday of the month, which was also my dad’s payday. I remember my mom would order the Family Pizza from Cold Spot. It was always thin crust and always Italian sausage. I remember that the family size was huge and fit in the back of our station wagon. Pizza night was also the only time we got to drink soda. Mom would open a bottle of Pepsi and split it among us kids. Leftover pizza was reheated in the little toaster oven. We didn’t have microwaves back then. To this day, pizza doesn’t taste good to me unless it’s reheated in a toaster oven. If not, I’d rather eat it cold.
Another rare treat would be when we would get sliders from White Castle. I remember that my dad would get a bag of 30 sliders and some fries. Each of us kids would get 3 sliders and some fries. When I moved away, I missed those little burgers. In the south, they had Krystal, which were just like White Castle. I got used to eating them and when they built a White Castle near us in Tennessee, I couldn’t wait until they opened. Once they did, I went for my slider fix and promptly discovered that I liked Krystal’s better. Taste buds change I guess.
My family was also a part of the clean plate club. Whatever food my mom put on our plates, we had to eat. And it didn’t matter how long it took you to eat. I remember getting vegetable beef soup for lunch and eating everything but the mushy vegetables. My mom wouldn’t let me leave the table until I ate all of it. I also remember the gallon of milk and my glass being filled over and over again to get me to swallow the vegetables. To this day, I will not eat vegetable beef soup. It is also probably why I find myself not wanting to eat many vegetables and may be why I am lactose intolerant. And I know that it is what contributed to my continual fight with my weight for most of my life. But it is also why I always let my son stop eating when he wanted. He doesn’t know what the clean plate club is and that’s a good thing. I guess there was a lesson learned in there along the way.
When I went away to college, I remember my dad slipping me $20 for pizza whenever I came home for the weekend. He always whispered for me not to tell my mom. Since she never slipped me any money, I have a feeling she knew. There were plenty of pizza places around my school that sold it by the slice, so that $20 went along way back then.
The food pictures didn’t stop when I married. There are the photos of the cakes that I made for my son for his birthday. I remember the Thomas the Tank Engine cake took me 4 days to finish. We were living in Louisiana and it was so humid that I could only ice a little of the cake at a time. I kept having to put it in the refrigerator to keep from melting. I also remember the pain in my back and shoulders from being hunched over as I iced it. It turned out really well and the pain was forgotten. Of course, it all came back when he asked for the same cake the next year. But it was worth it to see how happy he was.
Over time, there were less photos. Or maybe the photos are different. When before we were recording our family as it was growing, we are grown. The photos we take now are mostly of our pug and of the places that we visit. Sometimes those places involve food, but mostly they remind us of the happy times we spend together.
Let me start by admitting that the last movie I saw in a theater was The Incredibles. The original, not the second one. That was in 2004 or 12 years ago. We went as a family and I remember that my husband and I laughed more than our son, which seemed to be the case with most of the families that day. The parents got the jokes, the kids, not so much. What I enjoyed the most was that our family spent an enjoyable day together with a movie and then dinner out. We seemed to do more of that back then. Of course, our son was younger, so he still spent time with his parents. 🙂
Growing up we didn’t go to the movies. With six children, my family couldn’t afford it. On the weekend after dinner we would gather in the family room and watch Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom or whatever movie was being shown on ABC, which was usually family friendly. Some might think that we were somehow deprived of a childhood experience. For me, I didn’t feel like I was missing out. It truly was a case of what you don’t know can’t hurt you. Once I married, we still couldn’t afford a trip to the movies. We might go to a matinee once in a while, but it wasn’t something we did very often. My son wasn’t a Disney kind of kid so he wasn’t big on movies either.
At work, the conversation often turns to what plans people have for the weekend and I noticed that movies really aren’t mentioned much. Even those who have small children don’t seem to want to see the movies in theaters any more. One of my co-workers asked why no one goes to the movies. Most people admitted that they would rather watch a movie on Netflix or cable when they have time. For me, I rarely find movies that I want to spend money on. If I see something on tv that looks interesting, I might go online to read about it or watch other trailers. If the reviews aren’t good, then I will usually take it off my future watch list. If it still looks like something that I want to see, I’ll keep it on my list. And when it comes out on Netflix or cable and if I am still interested in seeing it, I might watch it.
My husband watches movies more than I do. He always asks if there is something I want to watch and I know that he will sit through something I pick, but I usually don’t want to see anything. We have different tastes in movies. If I say there isn’t anything that I want to see, he will choose something that has things that blows up, has car chases and lots of bad guys. In other words, nothing that I would want to watch. And that is fine. The last move we watched together was Spy with Melissa McCarthy. I literally laughed throughout the movie. But what I remember most was that my husband and I spent time together, sitting in our matching club chairs, each with our own movie snacks and our pug looking back and forth between us hoping for snack from one or the other or both. That was more memorable than the movie.