Wednesday, November 7, 2012

It's All Fun & Games Until Somebody (almost) Loses an Eye!

The Laundry:

Although I can think of many painful and horrifying consequences of doing laundry, I'm going to share with you one of my own hair-raising experiences.  It was a Sunday morning and I decided to throw in a load of whites before we headed to church.  Jason, of course, was already there, so it was just Bella, Lulu, and Bubba-Man (who was a baby at the time) at home with me.  I chucked the clothes in, poured in the appropriate amount of detergent, and began to measure out the bleach when the unthinkable happened...without warning, bleach splashed into my right eye.  The pain was immediate and excruciating!  I couldn't open my eye, but keeping it shut burned like fire as well.  I rushed into the kitchen where the kids were eating there breakfast, blissfully unaware of the horrifying torture I had only begun to endure.  Stifling my screams, I leaned over the sink and began frantically splashing water into my eye.  Not enough.  I turned my head sideways and let the cold water run straight into my eye.  After several minutes, I shut off the water and stood dripping onto the kitchen floor.  Nope.  Not enough.  I resumed the position and turned on the cold water.  Only then did it occur to me that water may not be the thing to do for bleach in the eye.  So, I did what any mother in my situation would do:  I remained draped over the sink, water flowing over my face, and gurgled directions at Bella.
"Honey, go in the laundry room and look at the bleach.  See if it says what to do if you get it in your eye," I said to my wide-eyed six year old.  Now, Bella has always been pretty intuitive, even as a six year old, she inferred that a mom with her head in the sink, running water over her face, needed help.  She ran off into the laundry room where she stayed for an excruciatingly long time.  
"What's bleach?"  she finally called from the hallway.
"It's in a white bottle on top of the says, "Clorox" on it,"  I explained.  Her lack of response was not encouraging.  "What does it say???" I finally yelled after several more minutes had elapsed (was it too late to save my eye???).
"Ummm...Do you want me to bring it to you?" she hollered.
"No!  Yes!  No!  Is the lid on it?"  
"No.  Do you want me to PUT the lid on it?"
For pete's sake, I had my first grader handling the caustic chemical that was busily eating away at my eyeball!
"No!  Just...go help Lulu and Bub get ready for church."  
As soon as they had all three gone to the back of the house, I pulled my head out of the sink and made a mad dash for the laundry eye molten lava behind the lid.  I screwed the lid on and carried the bleach back into the kitchen with me where I immediately plunged my face under running water again.  Then (and this is really the part that should have been videoed) I proceeded to read the back of the Clorox bottle (which, of course, WASN'T Clorox, but some off-brand...I just feel like I have typed "bleach" a thousand times already here...) with my good eye, head tilted sideways over the sink, water running into the bad eye, blinking rapidly since the water then ran right into my good eye (you know...the one I was trying to read with).  Clearly I didn't plan the procedure enough to have my injured eye on the bottom.  On top of that, I kept having to blow and sputter, since I was nearly drowning in the waterfall that was cascading over my face.  
I finally deciphered the label.  It said that bleach may cause damage to eyes. (No, REALLY?!?)  First aid:  rinse eye thoroughly. (Check!) Once eye is cleared of chemical, go to the emergency room.  (Presumably for eyeball removal.)  Ugh.  I hate the emergency room.  I detest it.  I LOATHE that place.  But, the bleach bottle said to go...and, after all, I assume they would know!  I left the sink long enough to grab a few paper towels, then I wet them and put the dripping wad on my eye.  I checked on the kids who were in various stages of readiness, then called our local hospital and asked to speak to a nurse.  When she came on the line, I bravely, but in great detail, explained my accident, burning pain, and subsequent first aid.  I told her that the Clorox bottle said that I should go directly to the ER.  The nerve of that nurse!  She didn't even pause to think about it, just told me that there was no need for me to come in and that I had probably already washed everything out of it.  "But, the bleach people...the bottle says to go straight to the ER..." I stammered.  "They probably have to put that for legal reasons," she assured me.  But, as I was hanging up the phone I was thinking, "Yeah, for when people SUE them for the LOSS of their EYEBALLS, lady!"  
I briefly considered calling back and asking to speak to a doctor.  After all, she was just a nurse.  She surely didn't have abundant experience with caustic laundry chemicals in the eye.  There are very few things I hate as much as feeling like an idiot, but feeling like a sissy is one of them.  I could already picture that nurse and her scrub clad cronies standing around the nurse's station laughing at me for calling...there was no way I could go in now, vision be damned!  
I managed to make it to church on time.  Make-up applied to one eye only (the injured eye wouldn't quit weeping, and, I was hoping people would notice, too).  My eye did not shrivel and die.  My vision remained intact.  Darn that smug little nurse!
Two important lessons were learned that day.  1)  Never call the emergency room.  If you are ill or injured enough to go to the ER, you will know it.  Besides, if you call, you will just doubt the validity of whatever advice they give you, anyway.  2)  Doing laundry is dangerous.  As much as possible, avoid doing it.  If you must launder (and can't afford to pay someone to take the risk for you), wear safety goggles.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Cleanliness Is Next to Godliness

Because if you aren't careful, you could meet your maker!

The Bathroom:
Last week, I nearly died scrubbing our shower.  It's true! I typically spray one wall of the shower, scrub it with the scouring side of the sponge, then scrub the grout with the toothbrush (I use Jason's, of course), rinse by turning on the shower, then finish by wiping it down with the soft side of the sponge...repeat until all walls, the door, the floor, and the ceiling have been done.  But, this time, something went horribly wrong.  I had only finished the ceiling and one wall when my lungs started burning.  I felt like I couldn't pull in enough air.  I realized that I had trapped myself in our tiny, coffin-like shower, I opened the door, hoping to suck in some sweet, fresh air.  Unfortunately, our bathroom is smaller than most standard closets and has no ventilation.  It wasn't until I managed to get out of our bathroom, our bedroom, and get clear down the hall that the air was breathable again.  Geez, I thought to myself, that cleaner is good stuff!  Chalk it up to excellent house wifery or just brain damage incurred from inhaling pure fumes for 20 minutes, but I went back in.  This time, I left our bedroom AND bathroom doors ajar, propped open our tiny bathroom's minuscule window, and left the shower door wide open.  This time, I got the floor finished and about a third of a second wall when I had to stumble, eyes burning, tears streaming down my cheeks, wheezing like I'd just run a quarter mile (I know...but I don't run, so...) all the way downstairs to get oxygen.  What if I had blacked out in there?  I shudder to think.   I went in armed with cleaner, a sponge, and a toothbrush  and left with burning, bloodshot eyes, a headache, and black-lung.  

Tune in next week to learn about the hidden dangers of laundry in part two of the "Cleanliness is Next to Godliness" series!

Monday, October 15, 2012

For What It's Worth

I took quite a bit of heat for a Facebook status I posted a few weeks ago.  I typed it so flippantly that I don't even remember specifically what it said.  But, it was something like this:  "Every touch is not bullying.  Every conflict is not bullying.  Ridiculous much?"  I was absolutely floored by how many people were deeply offended by that micro-rant. 

I am frustrated at how quickly the media cries "bullying" when a child commits suicide or goes on a shooting spree.  I am frustrated at how quickly parents cry "bullying" when their child has a conflict with another child, particularly at school.  It seems that bullying has developed a connotation that includes any clash between peers, even horseplay where the "victim" is a willing participant.  In contrast, its definition specifies intimidation and victimization.

According to Webster's Dictionary, bullying is:
bul·ly·ing[ bullee ing ]NOUN

1. intimidation of weaker person: the process of intimidating or mistreating somebody weaker or in a more vulnerable situation



Synonyms: intimidation, mistreatment, oppression, harassment, victimization, maltreatment, hounding

Our culture's rapidly expanding definition of bullying, when practically applied, includes name calling, teasing, arguments, and rough play.  If that is bullying, then who among us hasn't been bullied?  I feel that to broaden the meaning of the word so widely, makes it almost meaningless. It cheapens what children who are truly being victimized actually go through on a daily basis.  To cry "bully," when children have a conflict in school or when one child is unkind to another applies a damaging label to children who are just being children.  If we apply these same standards to people of all ages, then I am a bully...and, probably you are, too. 

So, let's discuss bullying.  There are several key elements that set bullying behavior apart from normal childhood conflict.  Bullying can occur between individuals, between groups, or between an individual and a group.  Bullying consists of three types of abuse:  emotional, verbal, and physical.  This abuse is doled out as a means of intimidation.  Key #1- intimidation.  Norwegian researcher Dan Olweus defines bullying as when a person is "exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons," and goes on to explain such negative actions as being, "when a person intentionally inflicts injury or discomfort upon another person..."  Key #2- intention.  Bullying is constant and escalating.  Therefore, isolated or sporadic incidents of name calling, teasing, or even physical aggression, cannot be considered bullying.  Key #3 - chronic.  In summation, in order to be considered bullying, abuse may be any combination of emotional, verbal, and physical, but must be intentional, chronic, and designed to intimidate.
Researchers at the University of California at Riverside examined 153 studies from the last 30 years and found that both bullies and their victims both have poor social skills.  The same study found that more than anything else, poor academic performance predicts those who will bully.  Key #4- poor social/academic prowess. 

The fifth and final key element to bullying, is the victim.  Key #5- the victim.  In our culture, we are loathe to look to the victim for clues...we believe that victims are blameless.  But, in order to understand the problem of bullying, we must acknowledge that although the victims of bullying are in no way to blame for their victimization, they do, in fact, play a role.  Experts agree that bullying is cyclical behavior that includes an act of aggression on the part of the bully and a response by the target that is perceived by BOTH as a sign of submission.  Once both of these two elements manifest themselves, the bullying cycle often proceeds to feed on itself over time. The victim's response is so crucial, that if the bullying cycle is a new one, the intended target can often diminish the cycle or end it all-together simply by responding to attempted bullying with an attitude of clear self-confidence. The intended victim's response should demonstrate that he will not allow himself to be intimidated by the would-be bully.  However, if the intended target responds with an attitude of defeat, the bullying is likely to continue and intensify.  In saying that the reaction of a victim of bullying may invite further bullying, I want to be very clear that I am in no way implying that targets of bullies are "asking for it," or that they are responsible for protecting themselves if they are being bullied.  I am only suggesting that there are ways to help students respond to bullying that will empower them and even short-circuit the bullying cycle.  Therefore, it is very important for families, schools, teachers, counselors, etc. help students not to see themselves as victims and to coach them on how to respond should they be bullied. 

During one recent conversation on bullying, I was expressing my compassion for kids who have been labelled as "bully."   The person I was discussing it with disagreed.  He said that he doesn't feel bad for bullies because, "some kids are just bad kids."  I certainly understand feeling that way.  I have been known to villain-ize other kids when they were making my kids miserable.  But, when it comes right down to it, all people are precious to the God Who created them and gave His only Son to die for them.  So, who are we to write them off with a flippant wave of our hand?  So careless.  So cocky to believe that our own children would never, COULD never bully another child or even be accused of such a thing.  We all love our own children.  We see the best in them.  We are foolish to believe that everybody is going to see in them what we do.
So, what if it was MY child that other people had labeled:  "bad kid,"  "lost cause," "bully," "too difficult?"  

What if that child was yours?

Friday, September 28, 2012

We Haven't "Broken Up..." Facebook and I are Just on a "Break"

Yes, it's true (gasp!), I am taking a break from Facebook.  As you know, I am an avid Facebook poster...mainly because, let's be honest, I think I'm hilarious.  However, it has recently been (quite forcefully and painfully) brought to my attention that some people do NOT find me funny in the least.  In fact, several people lately find my posts hurtful and even mean.  Since it has never been my intention to hurt people, I decided to deactivate my Facebook account for the time being.  I'm sure I will be back on Facebook soon. 

I'm sure some of you are wondering what I'm going to do with so much extra time on my hands.  Well, I have a few ideas...

1)  I'm going to reorganize my scrapbooking materials!  That way, if I ever take a break from cooking or laundry, everything will be good to go and I can scrap to my heart's content.

2)  I will be posting a ridiculous number of pictures to instagram.  Okay, I already post a ridiculous number of pictures...I will be posting an obscene number of pictures to instagram. 

3)  I will have to resort to texting and making phone calls as my main mode of communication, so I'm sure that will take up a chunk of time.  I hope you will all enjoy the random texts you get from me about my day and the funny things my children say and do.  (Here's a head's up:  these are thinly disguised pleas for affirmation...please gush accordingly.  Resistance is futile.)

4) Because I vent/rant frequently on Facebook, I'm going to not only have free time on my hands, but also some aggression to work through.  In order to kill two birds with one stone, I'll be exercising on a daily basis

4)  I am going to save up my tidbits of cleverness, quirky stories, and miserable failures and channel them into more frequent blog posts! 

So, Facebook, I'm sure that I will miss you more than you will miss me, but, until we meet again, may my time be more productive and less offensive!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Top Ten Ways You Can Tell That Bella's Home From College

10.  There are long...really long...brown hairs EVERYWHERE.
 9.  The kids' shower drain has become unbearably appears to be blocked by a bird's nest of brown       hair.
 8.  There are delicious smells wafting from the kitchen.
 7.  The whole family takes extra care with their grammar.
 6.  The smell of Lysol and various other disinfectants is in the air.
 5.  The two little girls are looking decidedly less orphanish and Buttercup, Princeska, & Lulu are sporting ADORABLE dos daily!
 4.  We are all using phrases like, "Just like a Nazi!"  "Well aren't you just the cat's pajamas?" and "Loose lips sink ships!"
 3.  Every time I vacuum, I hear the clatter of hundreds of bobby pins rattling around in my sweeper...
 2.  We see victory rolls every day without even turning on the t.v.

And the number one way you can tell that Bella's home from college is......

 1.  We laugh a LOT more!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From the Ole Tree

Like Mother Like Daughter

A Chip of the Old Block

Genetically Predispositioned to Creative Hilarity

I Hope She Blogs More Than the Mother!

Yes, MY BELLA BABY IS BLOGGING! Read on, dear friends...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Where Bella's From

Bella had an assignment last semester in English Comp 1. The assignment was to write a poem titled "Where I'm From." She brought a copy home for Jason and I to read and I love it so much that I want to share it here!

"Where I'm From"

By Bella

I am from bedtime stories and hide-and-seek,

From dress-up clothes, a playhouse, and an easy-bake oven.

I am from bike rides and dance lessons.

I am from Sunday morning hymns,

From Amazing Grace.

I am from chapter books, adventures lived from my

Father's favorite chair.

I am from birthday cake,

From giggles and make-believe.

I am from a tent, listening to the rain,

Smelling dirt and pine.

I am from gloves and Clorox wipes,

Always in my backpack.

I am built of memories,

Shadows of time gone by.

Shaped by those before me,

And growing, always growing.

I love that so many of these things that my grown-up girl feels shaped her life and helped her become who she is were intentional. I love that so many of them were the result of spontaneity. I have so enjoyed watching this girl blossom into a woman. A godly woman with such a zeal for the Lord and a zest for life. What a joy and a blessing to be a mother. I am in awe of this woman that we raised. Amazed that even with all of our mistakes, we didn't manage to mar her. Excited to see what the Lord has for her and, I confess, a little sad that my little girl is so grown up.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Early Birds Catch Worms...

Concept alarms for sensible people who hate mornings...

*The Pulp Fiction Alarm: When this alarm goes off, you'll be jabbed in the chest with some adrenaline. Probably the only thing that would turn me into a morning person!

*The Back to the Future Alarm: My personal favorite (and I think this one would make it's inventor MILLIONS). This alarm looks like a mini Delorean and comes equipped with its own flux capacitor. When your alarm goes off, this little gem actually rewinds time so that you can wake up several hours later but still not be late.

*The Percolator: Remember your parents' coffee pot? Not only did it brew fantastic smelling coffee, but it made that charming perking sound. When this alarm goes off, it actually starts perking an amazing cup of joe. You'll be awoken gradually by the ever increasing perk and once you're up, you can start your day with a cup of coffee in bed.

*The Jetsons: This alarm gets you going before you get going. It sounds with the perky "Jetsons" theme song, then you'll be robotically whisked off, showered, shaved, dressed, and out the door before even becoming coherent.

*The Monster's Inc.: You'll be terrified into alertness by a top-notch crew of scary, yet lovable, monsters.

*The Kid Brother: There is no snooze button on this pesky alarm. When it goes off, it actually smacks you in the face and then runs off laughing! If you don't catch it, it'll be back to deliver dose after dose after obnoxious dose.

*The Cake Boss: Guaranteed to wake you up, but also highly likely to leave you in a foul mood. You know Buddy's sister, Mary? Yeah. With this alarm, you will be jolted awake by Mary's nagging. (comes with a trial prescription of Cymbalta)

*The Vacationator: Waking up each morning for work is nearly impossible, but if I'm waking up to do something exciting, like climbing a fourteener, catching a flight to somewhere exotic, or to swim with stingrays, I have no problem getting up. The Vacationator uses hypnotic suggestion while you sleep to subtly convince you that instead of getting up for work, you're actually getting up to have an adventure. By the time you realize you've been duped, you'll be wide awake and raring to go!

Maybe if someone would invent a few of the afore mentioned alarms I'd manage to be alert before 10:00 a.m.!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Queen of Quite a Lot Goes Shopping

It'd been over two weeks since I'd been grocery shopping. I usually go every week, so...Old Mother Hubbard, the cupboards were BARE! Monday evening had reached the point of opening random cans of things and heating them up in an event that cannot, except in the most fundamental sense, be termed a "meal." So, yesterday I decided to head to WalMart right after work and get the shopping done...Buttercup in tow.

Buttercup and I left school at noon. I was tired and she was hungry, but I knew from experience that if we went home we wouldn't get back out for a while, so we pressed forward with the plan. I drove through Chicken Express and picked up some sustenance (chicken and mozzarella sticks for Buttercup, caffeine for me) to enjoy on the way to WalMart. Now, in Woo-Town, Chicken Express and WalMart are just about as far apart as they could be and still be in the same town, but somehow Buttercup only managed to stuff in one whole bite before I had parked and was ready to go in and shop. Of course, realizing that she was going to have to leave her meal in the car caused her to become suddenly ravenous! We sat in the van for ten minutes while she chowed down and I played Words With Friends.

When she was finally sated, we started to climb out of the van, but I opened my door to find a pick up pulling in the space next to me. He was close. So close that I wasn't going to be able to squeeze out of my door. I pulled it shut and watched as the driver of the truck spent several minutes attempting to BACK INTO the parking space. After an excruciating 26 point turn, he finally shut off his engine. Was that really better than having to back out of a parking spot upon leaving?

We finally got into the store. Buttercup insisted on holding the list for me...which would be much more helpful if she could actually read. I successfully distracted her from the toy department by suggesting that she pick out her own new toothbrush, but my shopping experience went downhill from that point on. She wasn't bad, exactly, but the Queen of Quite a Lot is just hard to shop with. Yesterday she was very helpful. Too helpful. Not only did she insist on holding the list for me, but she was also determined to physically get all of the items on the list. Buttercup is 3' 3" tall. And, (please excuse me, but I feel it bears repeating) can't read.

So, we developed a system for getting all of the necessary items into our cart. It went something like this...
Me: Okay, let me see what the next thing is (cheerful)
Buttercup: (holding list close and turning to shelter it from my view) No, I'LL tell you.
Me: Alright. What does it say is the next thing? (forced cheer)
Buttercup: (looks intently at list while furrowing brow) I can't read what these letters say.
Me: Here, I'll help you. (hopeful)
Buttercup: (turns the list ever so slightly toward me without loosening her vice like grip) What does it say?
Me: It says two cans of whole tomatoes.
Buttercup: Ask me, now.
Me: What's the next thing on the list?
Buttercup: (looks intently at list while furrowing brow) Two whole cans of tomatoes. Where do we get those?
Me: Over here...(proceed to area where they can be found)
Buttercup: I'LL get them.
Me: Okay, they're up here. (pointing to the shelf above my head)
Buttercup: I can't reach those! (exasperated)
Me: I'll get them. (reaching up and retrieving cans)
Buttercup: Okay, but I get to put them in.
Me: (obediently handing over cans)
Buttercup: Two cans of tomatoes holes. (literally throwing them into the cart)
Repeat, substituting various items.

Our shopping trip was punctuated by two restroom pit-stops, each being requested at the furthest possible point from any available restroom. It was accompanied by periods of Buttercup singing the same stanza of a song over and over and over and over again in between discussing the list. It was complicated by requests for a variety of foods and knickknacks that were not on our list. Finally, we had everything (or so I thought, but that's a blog for another day)! My feet hurt, my head hurt, I was tired and hungry, and I was struggling with my patience. I was thrilled to head toward the self-check.

Unfortunately, so was Buttercup. She wasn't finished "helping" me, yet. She unceremoniously unloaded our cart onto the belt while I hurried to check and bag everything. She was fast, and had the cart completely emptied onto the conveyor belt before I had a quarter of our haul checked through. Then the Queen of Quite a Lot took over the scanning and our progress slowed significantly. She was actually pretty good at finding and scanning the bar codes herself, and didn't refuse help when she had trouble. Eventually, she swiped my card for me, I signed, and then she tore off and stowed the receipt.

Our shopping trip took almost two hours. I have a new theory about all of those celebreties who end up in hospitals for exhaustion. I'm guessing their fatigue is brought on by too many assistants who are providing too much help. It all makes sense to me!