Friday, January 30, 2009

More Walls!

We are just stupid excited about these walls! I wanted to rush home to see the upstairs progress, but just *had* to make one stop to get my driver's license renewed on the way yesterday. Gah! Of course the place was packed, putting my preview off by another 45 minutes. Torture! I wanted to get home!

Clint was excited too, and while I sat in the DMV, he text'd me from the crawlspace in the house: "If you get here, don't go upstairs without me, I want to see your face when you see the place." Ah love. That cute message made me smile big, and I walked out with the best. driver's. license. photo. ever.

Anyway, I finally got home to have him accompany me for the grand opening of upstairs drywall:

The closets. We'll put a small chest or seat between the windows. All of the bedroom windows overlook the surrounding fields, for optimum deer-watching. Although there's usually 3 or 4 sauntering round, I had to stop one day this week to watch about 50 of them grazing in the field.

Can't quite see around this pile of scrap drywall, but you get the picture, compared to yesterday's shot.

Here's the hallway, looking down the shower/vanity area.

And the jacuzzi tub, all walled in. We did both have a sit in that tub together on Sunday afternoon. With work clothes and boots we took a rest and dreamed about future bubble baths.
And curtains.

(If you didn't see yesterday's entry, all of the "Before" shots of these photos are posted there, for comparison).

Taping and mudding begins on Saturday, and these walls should be ready for primer and paint in 1 week or so.

Yes, I have the colors picked out, they've been picked out for months. I'm sure that I will still be tuning in for your advice, however. Put on your decoratin' hats and get ready to boss me around, ok?

Because I'm on deck. While *we* are painting, Clint will get a break; it's his turn to listen to me bark orders discuss plans for awhile, in the next phase of our remodeling.

I have a feeling he's going to do most of his listening while sipping on a cold beer and sitting in a jacuzzi-full of hot water.

That's ok. He totally deserves it.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

January House Update

It's been awhile since the last house update. We're still plugging along.

Since the last update in October, it's been a building walls, installing furnace ducts, placing outlets and light switches, recessed lighting frames, and running general, a lot of stuff I can't do. While Clint slaved away, I was out of the overall construction picture in November/December because: 1) I don't know how to wire stuff and 2) I'm a weenie when it's freakin' cold outside.

But we're to a point where I can help again! Yay! We're gettin' walls, and boy, do they ever make a difference. Here's the kitchen, Sunday morning:

Drywallers were showing up Monday morning, and everything had to be finalized. Chop-chop! All day Sunday, I stuffed insulation into the walls, and around windows, while Clint put in last minute phone jacks, and outlets, and did 1,000 other things.

And here it is at day's end on Monday!

Whoo hoo! Houston, we have drywall!

Here's another Sunday morning photo. All of that wood had to come down off of the walls, and 100-year old insulation behind it cleaned up.

Here's the same corner, Monday evening:

Sunday: Mudroom

Aaaaaaand Monday Mudroom!

Walls certainly give the place a lot more definition, don't they?

Upstairs walls are going in as I write this. Here's how the place looked yesterday:

Looking down the hall into the vanity area. You can just see the edge of a jacuzzi tub at lower left. Bathroom on the left, shower on the right, and mirror/vanity will be front-right.

Here's another shot, where you can see the tub, and framework for future walls.

2 closets, with a window between them:

The view across the room, to the sliding doors overlooking the back yard:

I get off work at 4:00, and get to zoom over and see how the upstairs shaped up with walls. Are you as excited as I am to see how different it looks, now?

Ok! I'll post pictures of the upstairs next!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Food Buzz 24-24-24

I was blessed with an invitation, on Saturday night, to join some local food bloggers for dinner at The Apple Dumplin, in Urbana.

FoodBuzz held a contest: 24 bloggers from 24 cities joined to cook or eat out, and then blog about their event, within the same 24 hours. Champaign's own Lisa Morgan of Champaign Taste, was one of the bloggers chosen to participate.

Lisa's theme was "Comfort Food on the Prairie," and she invited local food bloggers to join her in the eating of the Midwestern comfort food, and to discuss that entailed, to us.

I was thrilled to be invited to come along for the event, and to meet other local bloggers. I addition to great Midwestern fare at the Apple Dumplin, I left the meal smiling over how much we covered, conversationally, in 2.5 hours we were there.

We all seemed to grow up from different regions, so our "definition" of comfort food varied a great deal. We discussed Thanksgiving dinners: Homemade noodles on mashed potatoes in some households was unheard of, while it was as important as the pumpkin pie in others. Some of the guests there had never eaten a homemade noodle, and we laughed when one asked the waitress what the difference was between a biscuit and a roll.

We talked about cooking. About our Mother's cooking: "Doesn't everyone think their mother was a fantastic cook, though," Lisa asked. A few of us shook our heads NO, and I was "forced" to regale the table with tales of my mother's soup that my sister and I entitled "Garbage Soup."

We discussed baking, and desserts, and Kitchen-aid mixers. The layouts of our kitchen, and the layout of our dream kitchens. We talked about catering, and restaurants.

It was great fun, and very interesting. I left surprised at how much I learned in the course of the evening, and how we actually stuck to topic. You you go to a book club and no one ever really discusses the book? Perhaps I was expecting a bit more of that.

Oh, we also talked about food photography. For an example of everything done wrong there, here's a photo of the final course of the evening: An Apple Dumplin:

Tsk. White balance is off, who put that shrimp tail on that butter thing, and seriously, clean that spot of caramel off of the edge of the bowl. Presentation is everything.

Or not. I'm sure the lousy photography isn't deterring you from realizing how yummy that dessert is. Be ready to split one, I could only eat half, and packing up the melted ice cream to take the other half to Clint didn't sound appetizing.

I have a cooking blog that's kind of gone by the wayside; it's been more of a holding place for my personal recipes, for my own personal reference. Lisa has lately motivated me to post there, more often, and was kind enough to include me as a "food blogger" for this event. I'm going to try to get over there and update it so it's a "proper" foodblog, and make Lisa proud.

Catch you at Hey Hey...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Wheatgrass, Returned

I wrote a post, last summer, about Clint and I trying Wheat Grass Juice. In summary, it was costly, tasted lousy, and research didn't turn up anything to substantiate its claims. I received this comment, verbatim, today [highlights are mine]:
I think you need to become more educated. The benefits of wheatgrass are real and extremely beneficial. Its very ignorant of you to read an article by some unknown person with no credentials and make a assumption. I have been studying health and nutrition for 16 years and i can tell you that wheat grass is packed with goodness and does help many people. The only placebo effect is in your own mind making you think the juice in no good just because your taste buds dont like the taste. That's obsurd. Sometimes things that dont taste great are really good for us and you're not a child so not everything needs tobe sugar coated. Knowledge is power.

I responded in the comments, because I stand behind what I write. If you're interested in the Jerry Springer catfight, go 'head and check it out the comments.

But this isn't about the catfight, it's about something else altogether.

What I don't get IS: If you have knowledge about a subject—and I do believe that everyone knows something I don't—how do you possibly stand to share it with the next person by belittling them?

I understand that we can sometimes engulf ourselves in our interests so entirely that it's hard to wrap our minds around the fact—yes, the FACT—that there are other people in the world that have any idea that what we deal with on a daily basis even exists.

I have friends that are nurses. They can look at a man's earlobes and know he's more prone to heart disease than others. My friends, though, don't walk up to that man and say:

"Have you not looked in a mirror at your own earlobes? Go ahead and kill yourself, moron!"
The friend that brought that to my attention, years ago, was sharing the information with me. She was not disgusted that I had no idea. She didn't think I was an idiot for being oblivious; it was merely one of her everyday realities.

If you have a certain expertise, share it with us! We're abolutely fascinated. If, however, you want to shove it down our throats as a means of spreading your tailfeathers, in the interim suggesting that we are idiots, then you lose entire credibility.

I'm serious: Anyone with any smarts is walking back to their car, rolling their eyes at your blow-hard-edness, and not in the least impressed with what it was you had to say. Even if you were right.

Don't beat people up! How hard is that to understand?

See, the nutritionist commenter that loved the Wheatgrass actually had a chance with me.

If he or she had said, for instance,
Dear Lori,

OMG, I wish you'd give this stuff another chance, even though you didn't think it tasted good. I swear to God, if you try it for one week, you won't be sorry. It has x, y, and z vitamins, and I know it costs a lot, but I double-dog-dare you to write a negative post about Wheatgrass Juice after trying it for one week. Put on your nose plugs and do a shot, Lori, and you. will. not. be. sorry.
Man, I SO would have gone for that. I wanted that stupid Wheatgrass to be a miracle cure. I wanted it to give me energy and make me lose weight, and to make my sister's cancer go away.

But all I got was someone calling me ignorant and absurd.

Somehow, I'm still not sold.

Go Figure.

Awareness Test

Shamefully lifted off of Laurie's blog, but hey! I just gave her credit for posting it first, so it's ok, right? Right, Laurie?

I needed something to tide you over until I get back here, hopefully with a house report.

Focus, people.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Taking Care of Mother. And Ourselves.

Wednesday afternoon my sister informed me that she'd spent the day with Mom, and that she was extra confused. "She kept insisting that she didn't know how to pour milk on cereal."

We have figured out that if Mom is really confused, there's usually something behind it. An "event" will rattle her, and she hones in it so much that she can't focus on anything else for a few days. Cereal and milk will be back after this brief interruption in our regularly scheduled show, folks.

I called Mom, then, and she surprised me by blurting out a confession: "I did something wrong last night!! I didn't tell Teri! A man came to the house and I called the police!! He was very nice. I kept telling him that I was trying to call my daughters! It's not going to cost us anything, though, don't worry, it won't cost us anything."

WHAT?! A man came to the house? You let a man in the house? What man? What did he want? What did he do?!!

But you can't shriek "WHAT?" Instead, you have to, while your heart is in your throat, calmly ask what the man wanted. Then you find out that he wanted to know if she was OK. From there you painstakingly piece together she told her story a bit backwardly:

She called the police. And then a man came to the house. And the man was a police man. And she was TRYING to call her daughter. And he was nice, and don't worry, because he won't charge us.

Awwwwwww. I tell her that it's ok; she accidentally hit the 911 button on the phone, that's all. It's okay.

By then, I was pulling into her driveway, to check up on things. In checking up, I realized that I was at fault for Mom's scare. This is the phone we bought for her:

She loves this phone. She just punches us in the face, and it calls us!

Our photos are stuck in there with two tiny little corner tabs, and my sister's photo had come loose the day before. I had distractedly popped it back into the square.

Um. Back into the 9-1-1 square. My mother tried to call my sister and ended up with the cops on the line. I can only imagine what kind of tailspin that put her in, and I wonder if she didn't hang up and try to call Teri again.

Crap. I fessed up right away, telling Mom that it was my fault, and what I'd done. I apologized, profusely. Her relief was visible and instantaneous, and the set about comforting me for making the mistake. "You take such good care of me," she told me.

I remind her that I recently cut her finger while clipping her nails and closed the car door too soon, whacking her in the elbow. "I'm surprised you even let me in the house!"

We laugh, and agree: we take as good care of each other as we know how.

This week we "broke down" and got a little outside help. I've been putting it off, calling outside resources. I finally broached the subject with Mom last week, when she skipped lunch, which contributed to her fainting while we were shopping:

Meals on Wheels, Mom! Hot lunch, every day.

She was incensed. "I'm perfectly capable of making my own lunch!" Hmph!

I know you are, Ma. It's up to you. It would just be nice to have hot food, with fresh salad and fruit every day.

This is me, looking shifty eyed, while I try to convince my mother.

Not so much grocery shopping, Mom!

Blink. Blink.

No more dishes!

It's cheaper than eating out, that's for sure.

What's she thinking now? Is she going to cave?

She didn't cave. She could By God get her own lunch. She tattled on me the next day, telling Teri that I had talked to her about Meals on Wheels.

My sister said "Dang, I wish I could have a hot lunch delivered to my door everyday at lunch time!"

That's my sister, now. Try to keep up.

Eureka! Apparently Teri's shiftier than I am (like we didn't know that already), because she called me the next day, and said "Mom thinks she'd like to try Meals on Wheels."

Yay! I got my pen and pencil out, and dialed M.O.W., preparing to take down a list all of the stuff I'd have to gather to get mom started. Statements and forms, and maiden names would have to be provided, I just knew.

But no. Here's how it went:

Me: I'd like to get my mom started on Meals on Wheels.

Nice M.O.W. Lady: Ok. We'll start Friday. What's her address? See you at noon. Bye.

And that's it! They'll bill us!

She got her first lunch today: Fish, potato wedges, green beans, a side salad with ranch dressing, a fruit cup, and a carton of milk.

$6.05 a day.

I can already tell that this has been a monumentally good idea for all of us. My sister and I, on day #1, are already relieved. Although we cook for her, wrap up individual meals and slices of meatloaf, for the microwave, there are days when she reaches for a crappy Banquet frozen dinner for one meal or another. I hate that.

She'll have a nice hot lunch on every weekday, and we can be over after work to help out with dinner. Weekends she's usually with one of us anyway, so we're set.

All of this: good food, a load off our minds, an extra smiling face at Mom's door every day, all for $30 a week.

Remind me again, why we are so hesitant to seek out help?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Benefit of the Doubt: FAIL

You all know I spend a fair bit of time at the post office. I've come to know first names of clerks at several different stations in the area, and I enjoy most of them.

There is one clerk, at one station, however, that I dread working with. She is strict! All I's must be dotted, and T's crossed. She gives advice that conflicts with every other postmaster, and serves to confuse me. She corrects, demands, and sends me to the back of the line. She is reminiscent of Jerry Seinfeld's "Soup Nazi."


I recently witnessed a woman sending a box of baby clothes across the world. On the customs form she'd written "toddler's clothes." CrazyClerk handed the box back to her and said " `Toddler's clothes' isn't good enough—is it socks or pants or shirts?" Seriously, in the event that the box was opened, who would think "No toddler's clothes here; only socks and pants and shirts for a 2-year old child."

What toddler's clothes?
I don't see any stinkin' Toddler's clothes.

Lesson learned for me, though: I would never go to her station after one of our big events! 50 volunteers seal up 150 boxes and I list what is "probably" in them. Most likely some socks and t-shirts, and maybe a toothbrush but maybe not.

I always leave her window, thoughtful: The hoops she makes people jump through seemingly satisfy her own compulsions. And yet I wonder, if she isn't, in the eyes of the USPS, one of their best employees. Every package taped perfectly, every label and stamp affixed with painstaking precision.
Is she crazy or is she extremely competent?

I had the "pleasure" of running into her again this week. There were 11 people in front of me, and 2 clerks: NiceClerk, and CrazyClerk. I stood in line praying that I'd get NiceClerk, and listening to CrazyClerk give odd advice to her customer—if his passport has expired, he should also update those of his children—while she weighed his manilla envelope. Really? Why?

As NiceClerk worked her way through customer after customer, CrazyClerk took forever to get through one transaction. After minutes, it finally rang through, receipts were printed, and she exclaimed "Oh, darn, I messed it up!"

As the rest of the line plodded along, CrazyClerk once again "messed up" the transaction, stating loudly, "Third times a charm, let's try this again!"

I had entered the line at 4:15 in the afternoon.

At 4:45, I was standing at NiceClerk's window, smiling sympathetically to the poor guy at CrazyClerk's station—the one poor guy that had been there since I arrived, mind you—when she triumphantly announced,

"THERE we go, I finally got it right! That will be 36 cents."

I don't know how he didn't throttle her.

As for my question to myself, I'm going with "not extremely competent," and I'm going to choose a different post office for my future transactions.

Do you have a recent or memorable experience with crazy clerks or customers? Share it!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Camera Unload

That time again: Have to clear up the memory disk in my point-n-shoot camera. Here are a few that aren't quite frame-worthy, but still too good just to throw away.

It's cold in the Midwest. Having lived here all of my life, I try to go with the flow, take an "it is what it is" attitude to the weather. I'm not doing so good with that year; I tire of these single-digit (and negative-digit) temps, and look forward to spring.

I came home last week to find a lemon-lime snowbank in the "sun" room. A case of diet 7-up that I'd left by the mini-fridge had literally blown up! Entire cans flew right through the box, and then blew themselves up. Who'd have ever thought of 7-up shrapnel? Good thing no one was home.

Oddly enough, the drinks inside the mini-fridge fared better than those out. Pretty cold when it's warmer inside the refrigerator than it is in the room. Oh, and I'm thinking that the money I spent a couple of years ago, to insulate under the sunroom, might have been a bit of a waste. Ah well, live and learn, silly female homeowner.

Moving on...

In my workplace, I essentially rotate between 2 different workspaces. One is my office, which is nice and neat and cozy and warm. The other, where I spend the most time, is a lobby of sorts. A computer on a folding table, no organization space, and no functioning furnace.

That's right, it's freezing up there. I work, during this weather, with a blanket (sometimes 2) on my lap, gloves (fingertips cut off), a space heater (sometimes 2), and when it's really wretched, a scarf or hat. I never come to work with less than 2 shirts on. Still wondering why I'm looking forward to spring?

Ah, this photo's been on my camera since last August, when my Grandma came to visit. She's such a sport. "hey, Grandma! Can I take your picture with these glasses on?" "Sure, honey."

She'll be 90 on St. Patty's day. Have to start planning a party!

I couldn't resist pulling over for a shot of this salon in Kankakee, Illinois, the last time I went to visit her. You'd really have to bank on folks' sense of humor to give your business this name, wouldn't you?

Diane and I visited Clint at the firestation a few weeks ago, so she could have a tour of the place. They got a call in the midst of the tour, so we snapped a few photos and kissed them goodbye.

I saved the best photos for last. These are a couple of photos that my cousin Mike sent me. He spotted this...uhh..vehicle, while driving through Tennessee a few weeks ago, and HAD to pull over for a photo. (Seems hitting the brakes for a photo op runs in the family.)

His e-mail to me pointed out that in this picture, you can see the passenger sipping on a can of beer:

© Mike Woodbeck

This little fact is more amusing if you know that Mike took the photo at 9:00 in the a.m.

Ok. Disk is clean and ready for the next round.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Dirty Laundry: Aired

Wow, you guys, thanks for all of your input, and kudos on the last post. Alas, it seems that I've misled you once again: There isn't anyone hassling me. Well, there is, kind of, someone putting pressure on me.

It's, It's me, that's who, that's been telling me that I might need to reveal a bit more on my blog. It's me who wonders if certain things I lead you to believe are entirely fair.

Don't we usually put the most pressure on ourselves, after all?

Ok. It's confession time.

You know, I write and write and write about my kid. If you'd been reading back in the day, his pre-Army days, you'd have noted a few admissions about a few lousy days, when we were at each other's throats. We argued, sometimes, back then. Go figure: he a teenage kid, and me a mother at wit's end.

Here's the deal. I often get people that approach me, in person, or via email, and lament to me "I wish I had the same relationship with my son that you have with yours."

It takes me back every single time, and I backpedal, and stammer, and admit to those people..."well, you do understand that it's not all rainbows and teddy bears between us all the time, don't you?"

And they don't, really. I've somewhere along the line given the impression that we speak daily, and that we never get on one another's nerves. That when he comes home, he mows the yard without my asking (HA! I kill me!), and that he's comfortable sitting around my quiet home for hours, just enjoying Mother's company.

And that there is never conflict between us.

I'm here to tell you that there certainly is conflict between us. Even after I worried and cried and gnashed my teeth when he was in Iraq. Even though he can't wait to get home and dig into Mom's cooking. We still lock horns.

The truth is, that over the holidays, there was a conflict of EPIC proportions in our household. One of "those" conflicts in which things are said, and done, and then said again in retaliation until the parties involved are completely shell-shocked from the pain inflicted on them, and the apologies they themselves should make. It was a conflict that had ancillaries. It branched out, and caused conflict between Brian and his father. It caused conflict between me and his father. And if not conflict, entirely, some heartache and confusion with Clint, as he tried to figure out what his boundaries were, in the midst of the whole mess.

I sent my son away from my home, and then I wept when he didn't want to return. For 3 days we danced around each other, and finally I asked him to join me for dinner. My treat.

He did. Our nervousness with one another was relieved by humor, when each restaurant we decided on was unavailable to us: No tables, or closed on Tuesday nights this week only, or just closed altogether.

We sat, finally, in the Esquire, with burgers and a beer, and we talked. Too tired and mentally bruised from the original argument, there was no need to hash it out. We didn't need much time, really, to say, "let's move forward."

We realize this: When he comes home, he turns back into a "kid" and I into his "parent." Its who we were when we lived here, and it's who we know to be with each other. It's comforting and nostalgic...and inevitably, eventually gets on each of our nerves. Truth is, he's a responsible young soldier, taking a Sargeant's test and trying to get into Airbourne school, and he doesn't want to be bossed around and parented for 2 weeks. By the same token, I'm a 46-year old woman that lives a pretty quiet lifestyle (yes, I really do), and I'm not interested in harping at a bunch of rowdy jackass boys to clean up their mess in the kitchen. (And I do say "jackass" most lovingly.)

And it takes us, in the end, just a few minutes, at dinner, to come to this agreement: "I am never kicking you out of my house again." And he: "You will never have to."

And we eat burgers and watch the game. And I cook at home for him and his friends the next evening. And we spend the day visiting his Great Grandma. And there's another big steak dinner before he leaves.

And I get up on the morning of my own birthday, and fix him and his buddy a big breakfast, and put them back on the road to Fort Benning with a bag full of lunchmeat pinwheels and poptarts and peppered sunflower seeds, and whatever else I can find in the cupboard. And I don't even cry when he leaves. Until I get back in the house.

He's back at Benning now, and we go about our own lives. He calls me for recipes, and to share things that his friends just did that crack him up. And I call him, occasionally, just to say "watcha doin?"

My son and I, we do have occasional conflict and disagreement—but never without resolution and apologies. We are also friends. We talk a lot, laugh even more, and we like one another.

And in the writing of the last blog, and this one, I've come to realize something:

You're right. I would wish my relationship with my son, on you and yours, if that's what you wish.

It's pretty close to perfect.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Dirty Laundry

I've been spilling my guts here for a little over 3 years. Many of the people that read have been here nearly since day 1, and have watched a LOT of transition in my life. Many others have joined as a result of those transitions, hopping on board when Toys for Troops came to be, or as natural networking when new friendships comes about.

I try not to think about you, specifically, when I write. I've had to develop the courage to not worry about what you think, in order to write honestly, here. I love that I've come to be comfortable with my own convictions, and also with your accolades, your indifference, or your criticism.

That said, it's interesting to me, sometimes, when people assume certain things based on what they read here. At times, I have no idea what I wrote that invoked a given interpretation. Then again, sometimes I take certain humorous liberties and miss my mark .

More often than not, it is what I don't say that steers people in certain directions. Maybe I didn't tell you that that cooler full of beer also had ginger ale in it, because I'm the designated driver.

This is most interesting to me. I don't necessarily feel that everyone in the world is entitled to everyone else's every little truths.

I have never lied to you on this blog.

But neither do I tell every. little. thing. As a result, it becomes increasingly clear to me that you may just have the wrong idea about a thing or two, and I struggle with this:

How honest am I being with you?
How obligated am I to spill all of my guts, and represent myself more honestly?
Do I really owe it to you?
Will I feel better if I clear this up? Why, or why not?

You're probably all crazy-curious now, and I've made this larger than it is; any "reveal" will only serve to disappoint, I am sure.

The truth is, that I know the answers to those questions. I am under absolutely no obligation to tell you the more-private aspects of my life, my troubles. If you were to "call" me on it, I'd tell you what to take in a freezing lake. Darling.

But there's another part of me that feels a need to acknowledge that chaos and heartache sometimes exist, and not admitting them to you makes me feel a bit of a farce:

There is never any conflict in Lori's life. There are no photos ever taken in which she has a double chin or arm flaps, she never *ever* argues with her boyfriend or friends or her son or her family. She loves her job, pays all of her bills on time, and has never had a cavity in her life. She is understanding and constantly loving and Christ-like, and, to boot, you can eat off her floors any day of the week.

I hate to break it to you:


My question to you, Fellow Bloggers, if you're feeling brave:

How much, really, do you censor yourselves?

Or is it none of my damned business?

I'll just jump in here and wait for your answer.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Joy Ride in an Ambulance

I decided, Sunday afternoon, to get Mom out of the house for awhile. She doesn't like trekking around in the cold, but personally, I don't know how she doesn't go batshit crazy from cabin fever, and it made me feel better to get her out of the house. That's what she gets for making me put on a sweater every time she was cold, when I was growing up.

The agenda for the day: hot chocolate and book browsing. Whoo hoo!

She was dressed and had her hair washed when I arrived. I dried her hair, and tweaked her appearance a bit, turning her sweatshirt around so it was on front-ward. We were out the door in no time, looking forward to some lazy afternoon browsing.

We had a nice time at Barnes and Noble, and ran next door to Bed Bath and Beyond. I was going to purchase a knife, and then we'd be off to some cocoa. With whipped cream of course; she loves the whipped cream.

As I was paying for my purchases, however, Mom tapped me on the shoulder, and I could see immediately that something was wrong. "I feel dizzy," she said. The young lady that was waiting on me, Ashley, was right on top of it, and directed us to a chair in a small, open office a few feet away.

I got Mom settled in a chair, removing her coat and gloves to cool her off. A bottle of water materialized, and after taking one sip, she lost consciousness, sending the bottle flying. The BB&B staff may have a different story, but in my mind, I remained calm, saying "uh-oh, she's out, can you call an ambulance, please?" I knelt in front of her, holding her hands, and talking to her, trying to wake her up. She opened her eyes, looked right into mine, and zonked back out. It's all kind of spinny from there; I was shaking, thinking she'd had a stroke, and playing out 100 different scenarios in my mind.

By the time the firetruck arrived with 3 EMTs in tow, Mom had acknowledged that she knew my name, but the word "Lori" was slow in coming and difficult to manage. An ambulance showed up shortly after. IVs and tests were administered right in the store, and Mom slowly became more coherent. She was too out of it to be scared, she thanked the people that were helping her, and yes, she would like to go to the hospital, please.

My eyebrows raised, as on the way out, she answered all of the EMT's questions with spot-on accuracy. Her name, how to spell it, her birthdate, and her address. These are questions that trip her up when a doctor in an office asks. The pressure to get such simple questions correct makes her mind go blank. I listened, not having to correct her, thinking "Go, Mom."

After a few tests, Mom was given a clean bill of health. Her fainting was due to a "Vasovagal reaction," that occurs when you bear down and hold your breath at the same time, causing your blood pressure to drop and make you faint. You've seen videos where the bride or groom passes out at the altar? Same thing there. Perhaps her shoulder panged her, or her back ached, as it sometimes does, or perhaps she felt dizzy from the heat or from hunger, and held her breath a second too long. We are thankful that it was minor, of course, and hopeful that it doesn't happen again. Too scary.

So, Mom was fine, hungry, and ready to find some chow! My sister and I had to keep her from crawling right over the guard rails on the bed when she was told they were going to release her. She still had an IV in her arm, and several other wires attached to her body. I swear she would have just dragged it all out behind her if we hadn't stopped her.

We were finally given the all clear to get her dressed, but she insisted first on having all of the tape and doo-dads removed from her being. Stuck on with 3M tape, the job of pulling these things off was left to me.

Not sure whether to take it easy or do the quick-rip, I started out slowly. While I was worrying that I'd hurt her, my mother threw up her arms and yelled "BOO!" You can imagine how this sent me jumping 3 feet into the air, while she and my sister rolled around on the floor, laughing themselves into tears.

Here's my devil mother, still giggling at her own evil self:

To add insult to injury, I arrived home to find that as I'd been removing those snap-things, and setting them aside, my sister had been picking them up and carefully tacking them to the back of my sweater as I worked.

With these 2 ladies in my life, it's really a wonder I don't carry a flask, don't you think?