Monday, May 5, 2014

RA, TP, and Hydrocortisone Cream

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“Keep your love for one another at full strength, because love covers a multitude of sins.”  1 Peter 4:8

 
In celebration of Mother’s Day this week, and a lack of progress in my book writing endeavor, I have decided to reactivate my blogging in hopes my writing will bring enjoyment to someone.  Me.  You.  Anyone??  Plus, I need to chronicle these stories in case I forget in my old age.  

Anyway, as stated before, I grew up thinking I never wanted children.  And some days I’m still right.  There was no lovey dovey feeling when they handed me my first writhing child, but as luck would have it they’ve grown on me.  Good thing, huh?  I blame endless entertainment as the bond that holds us all together.  

About a month ago, one of my children, who will remain nameless to protect the innocent, had a serious case of the RA*.  In babies, they call it diaper rash, but since he hasn’t seen a diaper in eons, I’m calling it the adult version:  red, chapped, whatever you want to call it, it’s not good! 

This was not the first time inadequate wiping had reared its ugly head, so I had showed him previously my face wipes that he could use to help clean himself up if he suspected the job was too much for toilet paper to handle.  They’re the cheap face wipes from the dollar store, but they contain aloe and are better than dry paper on an already tender crack.  And they won’t set you on fire like baby wipes. 

Not that I know personally.

Okay, maybe I do…

Maybe RA runs in the family. 

Said child had complained at bedtime of pain, burning, overall agitation, and restlessness due to the RA.  I tried everything I knew to help make him comfortable, but nothing was working.  I finally suspected stalling tactics to keep from going to bed, but when he came to me the third time flopping around and actually crying real tears, I knew there was more to the story. 

I asked him what he’d done.  He said he’d used some wipes.  Which wipes?  I asked. 

These…. 

Clorox wipes. 

So child ended up taking a shower about 11PM, got reslathered with the A+D ointment, and finally stopped being hysterical and went to bed. 

Nobody died. 

But good advice would be not to use Clorox wipes as butt wipes.  Just saying.

*****

We went out of town last weekend and stayed in a hotel for two nights.  On the morning after our first hotel stay, I have this conversation with the same child:

“Boy, that new toothpaste of yours really works!  My teeth even feel clean this morning!” he says.

“I know.  I got a whitening one this time and it really cleans your teeth good.”

“I don’t think I even need to brush my teeth this morning, they’re so clean!” he says.

“You still have to brush your teeth.”

“But they’re still clean!” he says.

“No, really, you still have to brush your teeth.”

(Goes into bathroom where father is brushing his own teeth.)

Overheard from father, “Hey, let me see that….  That’s NOT toothpaste!!” 

And what was it? 

Hydrocortisone cream.

That’s why I love them.  Because they make me laugh!

 *Red ass.  That’s what we call it in my house, although we usually use the abbreviation.


Friday, July 5, 2013

Roy's Wheat

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"Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows." - Galatians 6:7

Turns out that the side effects of too much sleep, inhaling too much smoke, and eating just plain too much on Fourth of July makes the Fifth of July National Cranky Mother’s Day.  So, I need a diversion, or a time out, or both, and maybe a nap.  I decided to write this instead. 

My stepdad, Roy, died when he was 36 years old of alcoholism.  More specifically: cirrhosis of the liver caused by chronic alcoholism.  I believe that’s exactly what the death certificate said.  Odd that I still remember that.  I can still picture the document.  He was, however, the best stepdad I could have asked for and he loved me.  A lot of my favorite childhood memories involve Roy and his family and all the stuff we used to do together. 

Lately, I’ve had several dreams about Roy.  Now I have weird dreams all the time, but not usually involving people I know.  When they are about actual people, I can really get upset over them because they seem so real.  Anyway, a few weeks back I dreamed I ran into Roy in a grocery store.  He was buying dog food and wearing his red baseball cleats.  I kept telling him how much I missed him and that I hadn’t seen him since he died.  He just kept acting like he had no idea what I was talking about.  And I woke up nearly in tears.  This November 20th will be 17 years since he died.

Now back to real life….

Roy’s family was full of farmers.  His dad raised pigs.  His sister raised cattle.  We had horses.  We picked pecans.  We fished.  We always lived in town, but Roy would plant wheat in our yard.  Usually out by the alley behind and around our redbud tree in a little patch.  It was always shocking green compared with the rest of our grass and I liked to pick the heads of wheat when they finally matured.  I remember hulling out the wheat seeds and sprinkling them around. 

Then one year his family raised a whole field full of wheat.  I remember playing in the back of an old farm truck full of wheat, running the seeds through my fingers.  I also remember we ground some of the wheat with a hand grinder.  I don’t remember what we did with the ground wheat, probably fed it to the pigs, but I remember my hands hurt. 

So, when I think of wheat, I think about Roy.

Three years ago, I had a couple of wheat plants come up by my back porch.  Must have been planted by the birds.  But I thought of Roy.  This was my first wheat crop:

 




I don’t know why I kept the seeds.  Nostalgia, I guess.  Maybe I thought I’d plant them and didn’t, but they’ve been in my laundry room ever since.  I ran across them every now and then.  And I thought about Roy. 

This year I am the same age that Roy was when he died.  I’m not a drinker.  Now that doesn’t mean I never tried a beer when I was younger, or that I didn’t send my husband to the liquor store for whiskey when I was sick of coughing last winter, but I’ve never acquired a taste for alcohol.  I even choose the grape juice at communion.  I have Roy to thank for that.  Living with an alcoholic for 10 years of my life pretty much snuffed out any alcoholic fantasies I might have harbored.  In fact, I find myself suspecting all people who drink of being alcoholics and wondering if it might kill them.  What would their children do without them?  How would they die?  In a car crash?  In their sleep?  Would they kill someone else?  Do their family members know how serious drinking is?  Do they?

I get through holidays, family gatherings, stressful times, relaxing times, and most generally every day of my life with nothing harder than lemonade.  Why can’t they?  Why couldn’t Roy?  And they drink in front of their children. 

I was one of those children.


He’d still be alive today if it weren’t for beer. 

Cases and cases of beer. 



 

This year I have 11 wheat plants that I’ve found in my yard.  I’ll probably collect their seed heads yet again.  This time, though, I think I’ll plant them in my garden area for next year.  Roy’s life was cut short by his habit, but the seeds he sowed into my life are evident every day.  I hope I’m as patient, kind, involved, and hard-working as he was, or at least I hope my kids see me that way, because that’s how I saw Roy.  I saw though that Roy had a character flaw that was a dark shadow on all things about him that were good, and I couldn’t fix that about him.  I hope my children see nothing but sunshine when they think of me! 

Am I in a better mood now?  Probably not.  But my focus is on “reap what you sow”, so I vow to be less cranky and maybe try some sunshine! 

Thanks for the therapy.  I hope I didn’t drive you to drinking!

Monday, April 15, 2013

My Garden

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My garden has things I did not plant.  Things I try to keep out of the garden. 

It is full of sunflowers, mint, and children.

Today I am planting hope. 

We dream of ripe tomatoes, cucumbers from the vine, and potatoes deep beneath the soil.

We search for the perfect plants at greenhouses near and far.  We choose them by how healthy they look.   

But the ground is not good. 

So the plants wither. 

We add compost, manure, leaves.  We till and hoe until we think there is not one weed left. 

But we always miss one.  And from one come many.

And the plants die. 

We water, water, water, but it is never enough.  We pray for rain.

Then the rain comes and the potatoes rot. 

The cucumbers yellow. 

The tomatoes die. 

Let’s plant something else say the children.

So we plant flowers.  It is too late in the season to expect that any vegetable will grow before it gets too hot.

Then we water, water, water, but it is never enough. 

Then it becomes a water fight. 

Then it becomes a slip and slide.

Then we are muddy. 

Then we all have sunburn. 

And the flowers die.
 
But the sunflowers, mint, and children grow.