Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Crash Test Dummies

It is a very humbling experience to have an injury which leaves you less than mobile. The humiliation began a mere two hours after I tore my inoperable ankle ligaments. My dinner dates for the evening took a vote, decided I was fine since I "just rolled my ankle," and assisted my limping self all the way to dinner and a movie. However, my limping was quickly derailed by a doctor that assessed the ankle and went a little bug eyed when I mentioned that I went to dinner and a movie, and then drove three hours up north to meet my mom and the kids at my grandparents house. Stupid I know. It was after that jail break I was ordered to "STAY OFF IT" and my journey to total embarrassment began.

Having been carted around in wheelchairs and electric "mobility" scooters for the past three weeks I have begun to notice a few things:

  • First, there are not many folks under the age of 75 being toted around an airport in a wheelchair. So, when you roll through one with three kids in tow, people stare. And judge.

  • These judgements I totally understand. The more scooters I drag myself in and out of, the more I realize there are not many thin people that make use of them. I have become hyper sensitive to this fact while attempting to drive myself as close as I can to the Costco sample carts as to not fall over reaching for the latest tasty treat. If only they sampled more brussel sprouts, I wouldn't feel the need to stop.

  • Stopping a scooter is far easier to accomplish than effectively navigating turns. Suffice it to say, I now understand why trucks post the "Caution, wide right turns" on the back of their loads. Curly and I learned this when I clipped her foot and trapped her under the cart. I swiftly put the scooter in reverse to keep the crocodile tears to a minimum, but those obnoxious beeps accompanying the reverse mode tend to draw a crowd. A mean, judgey crowd of cranky elderly woman who shout nasty things regarding your inability to parent. Like I don't know I shouldn't run over my kids!

  • However, the judgements may have been a result of the "accident" in combination with the fact that those same kids figured out rather quickly that their little legs carry them at twice the speed the scooter carries me. Continuous games of Where's Waldo are not enjoyable inside Costco or WalMart. Please remind the wee one of this next time you see her.

All in all, I have found the scooters and wheelchairs to be enough of a humiliation. So please, you don't feed the bears at the zoo, so don't judge the fat people in the scooters. They may be old and frail. They may be young and weak boned. And chances are, they are not thinking "It is so cool to ride in a scooter around the store." It just beats sitting at home with one leg in the air.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Pack Up Your Adjectives

Last May I ran into a teacher in town and she said to me, "It's funny how different our count down is than yours." Never one to be outdone in the snarky department, I fired back through a smile, "Actually I love having the kids home for the summer." It wasn't a lie per say... it just stopped being fun somewhere around week six. Don't get me wrong, I love no schedules, no sports, no packing lunches, and no homework, but the fighting, and the words "I'm bored," really start to become intolerable.

We also learned this summer that while it may be true you don't shovel sunshine, the inferno of Phoenix can still leave you with a wicked case of cabin fever. So, the countdown to school began. Monday was the big day and the kids couldn't have been more thrilled.

Back to School night the week before school starts is our barometer of how the school year will go. Curly Sue discovered her teacher loves horses as much as she does. She also discovered several of her friends from church and kindergarten are in her class. She was very excited to start. The sucker from Mrs Arnold sealed the deal that this year would be her best yet.
Hollywood discovered his two best buddies from his class last year are in his class again this year, and that they got to pick their own seats. He also discovered when mom and dad are around, you have to pick a seat next the front of the class and away from your two best buddies. The disappointment of the latter discovery was tempered by the treat the teacher left at every one's seat.
The wee one re-discovered her love of being home alone with mom. No fighting with anyone, and all of the toys were hers for the plundering. I discovered that the tears shed from the pain of falling while getting out of the car in front of the school with 800 people watching are easily hidden among a sea of mothers wiping their eyes as their children file off into a new school year.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Bad Day

Lately, even Oscar ain't got nothin' on me. I am a grouch indeed. The reason? The toes on my left foot haven't touched the ground in three weeks. They miss the cool of the tile, the textured bottom of the tub, and even the fiery concrete of a Phoenix summer. They all wiggle, three bend, two tingle, none are actually broke.
All of this is a result of my renowned ability to trip on flat surfaces. I am not sure what occurred other than one minute I was confident, excited for a night out and vertical, and the next I was horizontal and alone on the floor of my mother's garage.
There was really no good reason the first phone call I made lying on the cool, grey cement with my left leg hoisted high in the air was to my husband 2000 miles away. But I must admit, when I am in any manner of suffering, I feel it important he suffer too. During childbirth, I nearly choked him and left all manner of claw marks. When I stubbed my toe and lifted it off the nail bed, I felt it necessary to punch him (partly because he was the reason I stubbed it in the first place). So, between heaving sobs of "I think it's broke, I think it's broke..." Nathan tried to assess the situation.
Eighteen days later, and with much of my life on hold, we are still trying to assess the situation. The R.I.C.E. formula is not working. The entire foot is still swollen. It has turned all shades in the later half of a rainbow, and hurts. Bad. Three days ago I finally conceded and went to the doctor who is now currently assessing the situation. It's not broke, but the ligaments are a hot mess. Tomorrow the Orthopedic Surgeon weighs in with his assessment. I sure hope some one can come up with a solution soon. Vacuuming in the computer chair is not as fun as it sounds.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Let it Be

A pilgrimage is defined as a journey to shrine of importance in a person's beliefs and faith. Going home this summer was a bit like that. Normally, when the plane lands and the oppressive humid air begins to instantaneously twirl your hair into frizzy kinks, and smears a film across your glasses as you walk from the runway to the air conditioned terminal, I think, "Ugh, I am so glad I don't live here any more." Normally, the airport terminal is dank and grimy, the roads are under construction, buildings are abandoned, lawns are unkept and overgrown, it's 95 degrees with 98 percent humidity, it's raining, and it's buggy. Normally, it's not the vacation I dream of.

But this year...this year was somehow different. Perhaps it was because Michigan is having its third coldest summer in history, which translates to the equivalent of a normal Michigan fall, which is what I believe heaven will be. There is nothing more beautiful than a Michigan fall with the changing leaves, the pumpkins patches, and the cider mills. It is breath taking.

Until now, I believed Michigan to only have one beautiful season. That was before I witnessed a sailboat glide by the lighthouse on the shores of Lake Michigan. Before I listened to the crack of the bat at Comerica Park. Before I heard my children giggle in glee jumping from a trampoline to an inflatable pool. Before I walked the tree lined streets with an ice cream cone. Before I went careening through grass planted sand dunes. And before I was surrounded in a backyard wiffle ball game by people from every stage of my life. People who have all contributed to my faith and beliefs in life. That night I saw the beauty of a state I had forgotten, and I discovered I had made my own pilgrimage home.