Saturday, February 28, 2009

Maybe bettern than an X-man

As I’ve stated, I’m not quite an X-man, but last night I would like to see Wolverine handle what was thrown at me. As it says in my blog profile, I am a parent of a special needs child. She is both mentally and physically challenged and the two conditions compound the complexity of her care.
At 1 AM I awoke to my wife getting out of bed and heading towards our daughter’s room. That means she heard something so I immediately followed, what we found was that Amanda had thrown up her spaghetti dinner from six hours before. Dawning latex gloves, which we keep in the room, we proceeded to attack the situation. Tina went and turned on the bath; I undressed and wiped down Amanda with a shirt that was all ready totaled. We have a house rule that we don’t salvage vomit clothing or linens. I then got Amanda to the shower and washed one very nasty smelling child. Afterwards Tina dressed her in new pajamas and I bagged the pillows and sheets from the bed. A good rule to follow is never go through my garbage, it just wouldn’t be worth it.
I brushed Amanda’s teeth and we moved her into the guest room which is always set up as a spare for just such an emergency. Old towels were placed over the pillows and a large bowl was brought in case this was more than just a onetime evacuation. Now came gut check time for myself. I had to lay down with Amanda and get her back to sleep. At first she was on her right side facing away from me, which is just the way you want it in these situations. Although she fell asleep quickly while telling her our version of Little Red Riding Hood, it was restless and full over kicking and rolling. Soon she was face to face with me. Now here I am, staring straight out 10 year old who had just vomited her marinara soaked dinner only an hour ago. Would she project again? Her history told me I had a 50/50 chance, but the way my luck had been lately I figured I was about to be ruined. But then fate intervened and she took a southerly route and had a BM in her pull up followed by a huge sigh of relief. So, it is now almost 3 AM and I am dawning latex gloves for the second time last night. I have her cleaned and back in a new pull up in under two minutes. Her breathing goes to a normal rate and she is quickly asleep.
I’m a veteran of such nights and I know how the rest of this will go down. She will sleep until the morning and I need to take advantage of that as best I can. So I retire back to my bed and bring Tina up to speed. We fall asleep for what feels like hours but is really only twenty minutes and I get up and check on Amanda again, she is fine. Back to bed for the rest of night but again it is really only twenty minutes and I check on Amanda and once again she is fine.
It is now 4 AM and I need to sleep, so it is back to bed. At 4:30 Tina tells me there is a spider in the bathroom. Finally, something easy. Armed with a slipper I smack the invader, put him in tissue and flush him because you can’t be too careful with spiders.
At 6:30 Amanda is awake for the day. A second full pull up and I dawn latex gloves for the third time in less than six hours, but she is feeling fine now and we can get on with our day.
It goes well for three hours until she does something with a full coffee cup, but that is a totally different subject.
The reason Wolverine can’t handle this like I can is twofold. First of all, rage is counterproductive to the mission at hand, and secondly his claws would not allow the latex gloves to perform up to maximum effectiveness.

Friday, February 27, 2009

An actual post about Texarkana

Texarkana, my home town, is finally having some real physical change. A major overhaul to our frontage roads has been ongoing for the past year but it wasn't until last weekend that anything had been built that could actually be driven on.

Now the odd thing about Texarkana is most of our frontage roads are two way and have been since I-30 was built, but now they are one way. Tex-Dot has made our frontage roads one way and for the time being, one lane. To help the drivers of our town understand that we are now in a one way system the wrong way lanes have been filled with barrels. I believe the equation for the number of barrels was rather simple. The civil engineer looked up the population of Texarkana and ordered a barrel for every person.

Monday morning the paper read that there wasn't a single accident with the new traffic flow. I can testify that it wasn't do to a lack of effort on the part of the drivers. I saw quite a few people turning left where they shouldn't, barrels be damned. But fortunately nobody bumped anyone else.

A lot of citizens in Texarkana are very leary of change, so it should be entertaining to read the letters to the editor over the next few months. There have been some in the past that I still hold dear, like the man who hadn't driven over to the Texas side in a few years but found the trip to Home Depot to be so difficult traffic wise as to claim the route was anti-Arkansas.

Having lived in Houston for five years before returning to Texarkana, I find that the people who complain the most about our traffic are the ones who have seldom left the area. I can only hope that they can acclimate to the new and improved system and not come barreling down on me from the east in a west bound lane. I like my air bags where they are.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

My limited playlist

I was relaxing last night with one of my beloved I-pods and a song came up that I actually listen to quite often, The Editors, An End Has a Start. Now this is a total package of a song, lyrics that tell a story with emotion, great guitar work, drums and bass. Best line, "Someone hit the lights because there is more here to be seen..."

But the thing about this song is how I discovered it. In December of 07 I was hospitalized with a terrible infection that was just racking my body. As two of my doctors put it, "you are the youngest person in this wing by 40 years, but you are also the sickest." I was in a great deal of pain with this because of a couple of bad disks, T3 and T4, became very inflamed with the infection and it kind of through of the diagnosis for a day. The pain meds they gave me were awesome, Phenergan and Demerol saved me. The TV was on Turner Classic movies and about every 10 minutes or so the station played a montage of movie clips with the Editors song playing. It stuck in my head and I downloaded as soon as I got home.

Another upside to having the song on my short list is it reminds me about how much better I feel now.

So what I am getting at is, give the song a try, it's better than most of what you hear on the radio.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Not quite an X-Man

I have a mutant ability. I wake up 4 minutes before my alarm clock goes off no matter what time I set it for. I have been doing this for years and it is to the point that when it doesn't happen the alarm scares Tina and I half to death.

4 minutes is an odd number, but it's true. This morning I had the alarm set for 5:30 and I was awake at 5:26. It happens more often than not and because I have travelled so extensively I have tested it in time zones across the country. The one place where it didn't work effectively is Hawaii, but I don't think I was there long enough to acclimate.

What happens when I don't have an alarm set? I sleep until6:56. If I sleep later than 7 with Amanda in the house I am taking my chances. She is disabled enough to where she can't get to the bathroom by herself in the morning. So 7 is as late as it gets.

Now, what advantage to waking up before the alarm clock is there? To the best of my knowledge, none for myself. But as I have said, Tina seldom has to hear it go off, but when it does I have actually dealt with it so infrequently that I virtually destroy the nightstand trying to shut it off.

As far as a name for myself to go along with my power I have come up with, Promptman. It's my only hope to get paired with a guy like Wolverine so I don't show up to meet the bad guys early and alone, I'm sure the other X-Men would get tired of rescuing me time and again.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Waiting for Spring

February is traditionally not a good month in our house. Although it is the month of Tina's birthday and Valentines Day, not much else seems to go right.

For one thing, Tina always seems to get sick. Now this is a woman who works out five times a week and has the muscles and strength that are envied by a lot of men, but when she gets sick she is as weak as a kitten. Must have something to do with her asthma. And she is sick again this year. I just have to admire her consistency. She has an appointment this afternoon and will get the meds she needs to feel better quickly. She hates being sick because she hates staying still.

The other thing about this second month of the year is the weather. I'm just tired of it it not being nice outside. I've been wearing a jacket, coat or at least long sleeves since November and I'm ready for it to warm up. I have a pool I want to open and a large yard to enjoy. I haven't even been on a golf course since early December and that just isn't natural for me.

March may be windy, but at least I can get back in short sleeves and spend some time outside getting some much needed vitamin D. When it is warm enough to wash my own car, then I'm truly happy. And now that I don't drive a Tahoe or a minivan anymore my happiness is multiplied by the simplicity factor of the chore.

So with this last week of February dragging on, my head almost congested, wife under the weather and daughter recovering from a virus that kept her out of school for week I say, Come On March! Let's do this thing!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Me and Facebook

What I like about Facebook is the distraction it gives me from the routine that Amanda demands. She does not differentiate much from one day to the next, and you can pretty much set a clock by her on the weekend as to what game she wants to play. So the fact that I have Facebook on my Blackberry allows me to at least have some contact with some of the adults in my life.

It's not that I consider being with Amanda boring, far from it, but if you had to have the exact same conversation on a four year old level day in and day out you would want to at least multitask. Facebook is a simple multitask because it can also be ignored for stretches at a time. Another thing I do a lot of is read the news from the various web pages. Amanda thinks Blackberries are cool, she has a collection of my old ones, and she will will mimic me by sending e-mails, texts, and phone calls to her various phantom friends while I read everything on

In another month it will be a lot easier in the evenings because it will be warmer and we can sit outside on either the bench in the front yard or the swing in the back. My WiFi actually broadcastes well enough for either location. This way we can sit until supper time and afterwards play a game. She is really into various cards games which is also good visual therapy. She has also learned enough to manipulate the game with her mother and I so that she can win more often than not.

But I digress. What I'm saying, I enjoy the connection that Facebook allows me to make and I think it helps me be a better dad.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Right gift at the right time

The coffee mugs were a HIT!!!!!!!!!!!

My sweet wife has never really asked for anything, but last year she was turning 40 and driving a minivan that was actually becoming difficult for our daughter to get out of because of her physical disabilities. Tina looked at me and said, "I just can't drive a minivan anymore." So I went and got her a Red Lincoln MKZ which is a combination of her two favorite things, a luxury car and red. And it actually is less on the budget than than the van so we are about $100 ahead per month.

Anyway, back to this year. We have a Kurieg coffee maker now. We use it all day long making coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoon and evening. Now, like most Americans, we like large mugs or cups of which we only have 4. So for Tina's birthday this year I bought her 4 more large mugs. These are clear glass and have a stand on the bottom. I went with clear because I didn't want to get the wrong color. How can you go wrong with clear. It was a better result than I had hoped.

We will celebrate Tina's birthday until the middle of next week. I am always looking for an excuse to spoil her and then is the one time of the year she can't argue about it. Sometimes being married to a truly unselfish person is harder than you think.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Happy Birthday

Tomorrow is Tina's 41st birthday. For some time now she has had a bad run on her birthday, being sick to one degree or another. I guess that is what happens when you are born during the cold and flu season. But she has also had gallbladder surgery, for her 40th and was on pregnancy bed rest for her 30th. This year she almost dodged the bullet because she is quite healthy, but Amanda is sick.

But she has such a positive way of looking at things like this, it's not the actual day that counts, its the enjoying the celebration when it finally does happen. So that is what we will do.

I'm hoping she likes her gift this year as much as last year, all be it much smaller. Last year was a Lincoln MKZ, this year we don't need a new car but we did upgrade our coffee maker, so I am upgrading the mugs. She'll be picking out a few more items so don't think I'm going cheap here. I just don't pick out stuff for the house or her wardrobe.

Anyway, happy birthday to my dear Tina, I'm so glad you are still into younger men, namely me.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Back to blogging

I have finally decided on a format for blogging. After Myspace and yahoo drove me nuts I decided to follow my sister's lead and use Blogspot via gmail.

It is the one nice weather day of the week and perfect time for golf, but, I have to attend a 5 S class on keeping my workspace clean. This class is paid for by a govt. grant so it is a use it or loose it situation. Now while there are people here who will need every ounce of instruction possible for cleaning up their landfill like offices, I'm not one of them. I have three working piles and my files, but mandatory is mandatory so I will have to just accept that I won't be on the course today. I will have to maintain mental health with chocolate and window filtered sunshine.