Tuesday, October 31

Siberian Tigers Look a Lot Like Zebras

The cost of a white sweat suit: $10
The cost of paint supplies $5
Hours it takes to paint a tiger suit: 4

Satisfaction of wearing your very own creation for Halloween: Priceless

Little Chic was determined since summertime to be a snow tiger (she corrects me saying it's a Siberian tiger). I casually looked for a redi-made costume and decided on a white sweat suit instead. I had a bit of a time finding white in the north after Labor Day, but my shopping prowess made it possible. I offered to help paint the stripes but she would have none of it. She did it totally on her own. We found ears, nose and tail and she was thrilled with the outcome.

Hero Guy and Little Chic went on a trick-or-treat bender while Brainy Boy pretended to be too mature for such frivolity and stayed home with me. He did take full advantage of the treats Little Chic brought home for him. One bummer--a few people called her a zebra. How annoying. She just growled at them.

Monday, October 30

Wanted: Architect, No Experience Required

As Little Chic has been busy at work on all her projects, Brainy Boy has also been busy. This year he has blossomed into quite the accomplished writer as his teacher has been assigning one essay after another. He regularly reminds us that he is indeed pretty much the smartest kid in his class, proven because all the other kids tell him so. He also takes great pleasure in using vocabulary that no one else is familiar with. I take the responsibility to remind him periodically that there is no monopoly on genius and there is enough intelligence to go around for all of us. In any case, he continues to confound Hero Guy and I as to where his brains could have possibly come from. He's 10 and in 5th grade. Here's his most recent essay describing how to do something.

How to Build a Secret Underground Fort:
If you are reading this essay you are about to build the best underground fort ever. You might ask "Why do I want to build a secret underground fort? Well, if you are going to build something secret you're not going to build it out in the open. Or if you're trying to hide something you're not going to set it some place obvious are you? But now let's get something straight, this is going to be BIG and is going to cost a lot of money, so you have to know how to do it. Okay, with that said let's get to work.
First, we have to buy pipe, copper or PVC is good. This is for indoor plumbing which we will do later. To start the digging process, go rent a digger and dig a large tunnel. At the end of the tunnel create a catacomb, and underground room. Make sure the tunnel and the catacomb have structural integrity which means it will not cave in. To do this I recommend concrete and steel garters. Before the concrete hardens lay down piping for the indoor plumbing, also give the catacomb electricity by using wire. Now branch off more catacombs and give them indoor plumbing, electricity, and structural integrity. After that it's time to make smaller rooms, such as vaults, bathrooms, and several personal bedrooms.
Now for the main part! the central catacomb. This must be the biggest, make it about twice the size of the biggest of the others. All wiring will connect here. Also have computers, and monitoring equipment here. Now to put the barbed wire around the fort. Make sure the barbed wire is the twisty kind, it works better. After you finish doing that, start digging holes in some of the main rooms, ten should work. Turn these holes into tunnels. Make the walls strong enough to hold out, and then hide the tunnels behind something, such as a bookcase or a poster. Make sure to put a flash light near the tunnels so the people who will soon work there can escape quickly. Now you can furnish the fort with what ever needed.
Now you have a secret fort. You can use the fort for research, planning, a place of military operation, and maybe even a hidden passage from one point to another. Anyway now that you have read this essay you can start building.

The fact that he has never built a secret fort, or any structure for that matter, is a mere detail to Brainy Boy. His expertise apparently comes from all his books. Another positive note - low self-esteem is not one of his issues. He's a pretty funny kid, this boy of mine. He keeps us laughing with all his seriousness.

Sunday, October 29

What I Like & What I Don't

You know what I love about "falling" back an hour in the fall? I love that when I go to bed at 2am, it's now only 1am!

You know what drives me nuts about the time change? Spending all day Sunday hearing people say, "It's 8:00 new time, but it's really 7:00 old time. No, wait, it's 9:00 old time."

Friday, October 27

Just One Me

There are 280 people in the US with my name, but aren't you glad there's just one ME?!

LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Thanks for this tidbit that I really needed to know, Thad!

Creepy Carrots

Okay, so I didn't want to bring just plain carrots and dip to Little Chic's Halloween party. I was feeling a little out-done with all the super-cool moms in Brainy Boy's class who bring all these awesome creepy treats to his party. So I spotted this idea and decided to try it. The fingers actually grab you when you try to spoon out the dip. Heehee.

Thursday, October 26

Busy Buggies

Little Chic is who I want to be when I grow up. She is the craftiest, project-iest, most creative dame to ever hit this part of the family. I'm such a wannabe that I'll choose all these projects and crafts to do, run around and get the supplies, lay them out to get started and promptly lose interest. Not so with my dearest little gal. She is 100% all-American artsy fartsy. She actually wanders around looking for projects to do and this time of the year is perfect for that craving of hers. I have to say that although I can't take credit for passing her the create-a-gene, I do supply lots of opportunities for her to hone her skills in that particular area.

This particular run of creating started with her Cat-O-Lantern a couple of weeks back. I'm sorry to report that that project has now been relegated to the dumpster due to collapsing with rot. Little Chic progressed to her Siberian tiger costume she is making for Halloween (that will be featured when it's completed). I interrupted her work today by spying these adorable "beetle cookies" in the Halloween feature of a magazine at PTA Friend's house. I stopped by the store and had all the supplies layed out for her after school. She got right to work and whipped out three-dozen of those little buggers. The 4th graders will be chowing on them at their Halloween party tomorrow afternoon. After she was done with the cookies she resumed work on that black & white tiger costume that she'll be roaring around in come Trick or Treat night.

Although Brainy Boy, much like myself, doesn't enjoy the creating part, he's quite an accomplished judge, especially in the tasting arena and he approved of the beetles.

Wednesday, October 25

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

The Good News: I'm not pregnant. That's according to the Flu Vaccine Research study that I joined today. Not that I thought I was pregnant, but they kindly informed me that I'm not anyway. I've noticed that whenever it is imperative that you not be pregnant for some reason (like beginning a new medication, or getting certain types of x-rays, etc.) women of child-bearing age will be asked if they are pregnant. If you reply to the negative, they will promptly do a pregnancy test. I suppose they figure your word is more reliable if you are in the family way.

The Bad News: Looks like I'll be going to get that root canal after all. Dr. Miracle Worker's miracle filling isn't working out so well. The 75% better tooth has stayed that way and although it's not excruciating, 25% annoying is bound to get on my nerves since I've been putting up with this tooth for way too long. And believe me, whatever gets in the way of me eating my fall obsession (carmel apples) in comfort is on it's way to tooth heaven.

The Ugly: Because of my own lack of proper party planning procedure, I have become solely responsible for Little Chic's classroom Halloween party on Friday. I was able to scramble and get 2 people to contribute an item each, and they have promised to be there to help. But all the arrangements, planning and supplies other than plates, napkins and popcorn will be dragged in by me. I think I'm already experiencing Room Mother burn-out if there is such a thing. I do have a secret plan--I'm dressing up as a fairy and going to wave the magic wand around, hoping that everything will "POOF" into place. We'll see how that works for me.

Tuesday, October 24

Love, in the "Toothest" Sense of the Word

I just am totally loving my dentist today. I was a bit like a pig going to the...uh...pig heaven when I went to my 9am appointment expecting the worst. He had already warned me that a root canal would be in order. Now this dentist is actually one of the best I've ever been to. In addition to doing good work, he's also the fastest you've ever visited. There is no wait to get in and his procedures are always done before you've even settled into the chair. Even the shivers you get from the squealing drill barely get to your bone before he's ushering you out the door.

Today was no different. I arrived at 8:50. I was in the chair by 8:55. I was out the door at 9:10. In that amount of time, numbed me up, drilled out my filling (which caused me to come only slightly unglued), determined that everything still looked healthy and did a trial run with some sort of desensitizing filling material. I call him on Thursday to let him know if it's working. I have to say that already it is better, maybe 75% or so.

In any case, I just love this guy. At least until Thursday.

Monday, October 23

Toothy Trouble

Tomorrow I'm having my very first ever root canal. As a kid, I had several cavities around the 10-11 year age, but other than that, I've had pretty good teeth. I've been religious about going to the dentist even as an adult, and I've required little maintenance. I'm not sure if it's age or just the luck of the draw but for about a year, I've had a molar that is giving me trouble. It began when I had my dentist change out a silver filling for one of those pretty white ones. I quickly began to regret the vanity that prompted the switch because I noticed that cold and hot things really bothered that tooth. They said that white fillings tend to be more sensitive than gray ones, so I became loyal to Sensodyne. It didn't help. At all. Pretty soon it was any pressure (like chewing) that caused pain and eventually it even became sensitive enough that I can't brush it. After putting up with the aggravation for about a year, I went to see the dentist. He told me to take an antibiotic for a week and call him back. I took the antibiotic but didn't call him back, even though it didn't help. I was too busy. That was this summer.

I've finally gotten sick of putting up with the discomfort so I made an appointment to have a root canal. I made the appointment last week. The appointment is for tomorrow. Could somebody please tell me why over the past week, this tooth has gradually gotten back to almost normal? I'm pretty sure it's psychosomatic, but I have been able to tolerate hot, cold, chewing and even brushing. Veeerrry weird. I'm going to try the same trick next time I'm really sick with a sinus infection or something. Maybe just making the appointment heals you. Who knows? But I'm still getting the root canal.

Saturday, October 21

Tigers VS Golden Bears

My kids happen to go to the school that is the arch rival of the high school Hero Guy attended as a teenager. Little Chic has always taken great pleasure in heckling Hero Guy about "her" school beating "his" school in football. As luck would have it, tonight they were playing against one another and we decided to attend our very first high school football game since our kids have been school-aged. Brainy Boy really cared nothing about going, but he went along with the idea after I bribed him by letting him bring a friend along. Little Chic was totally invested, as she really wanted to see her dad's team beat and besides, she is really into any kind of competition, no matter what the game.

We met a couple of other families and sat in the bleachers until Little Chic realized that it was permissible to stand at the fence surrounding the football field. Once she became aware that she could be within touching distance of not only the life-sized tiger mascot but also the cheerleaders, she and I were permanently parked directly out of view of any and all field action because of the mass of cheerleaders in front of us. We did, however, have a clear shot of the scoreboard, and so we were able to scream and jump at all the appropriate times.

Hero Guy lost interest in the third quarter when it was clear his team was getting stomped, and he offered to take Brainy Boy and buddy home since they were harassing fans for their empty soda cans (all for a good cause - a church fundraiser, Cans for Christ). Little Chic and I toughed it out to the very end when she gleefully called her dad to announce the final score of 21 to 7 in favor of her beloved Tigers. We celebrated with a doughnut and hot chocolate from Dunkin Donuts and we even gave a couple dollars to a homeless guy who looked like he was needing something warm to drink on this chilly night.

Unfortunately, just as the weather is getting uncomfortably cold on these northern nights, Little Chic has decided she is a committed, die-hard high school football fan. She already has plans on how to paint her face in the traditional orange and black for next Saturday night's game. I'm planning on fixing a quarter for the toss-up with Hero Guy to see who loses and gets to take her.

Thursday, October 19

Love Language

I'm an English buff. In school, it was always my BEST, most favorite subject. I was one of the weirdos that loved diagraming sentences and I could always spell words that I didn't even know the definition for. As I've gotten older I've mellowed a bit, so rather than be a stickler for all things proper, I've joined the crowd in the casual grammar department. However I try not to sound like a total imbecile so I make a modest attempt to keep things the way they should be in regard to my language. When my dad sent me the following email, I thought it was a hoot. The sad part is, I have to work overtime to make sure my kids graduate knowing how to interpret this type of thing...

You Think English is Easy??? Can you read these correctly the first time?
1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish furniture.
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present .
8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10) I did not object to the object.
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row .
13) They were too close to the door to close it.
14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting, I shed a tear.
19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Let's face it: English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France . Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig. Why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese; so one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it? If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? . . . ship by truck and send cargo by ship? . . . have noses that run and feet that smell? How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out, and in which an alarm goes off by going on.
English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible. PS. - Why doesn't "Buick" rhyme with "quick"
You lovers of the English language might enjoy this. There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is "UP." It's easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP? At a meeting, why does a topic come UP? Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report? We call UP our friends, brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver, warm UP the leftovers, and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car. At other times the little word has real special meaning. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses. To be dressed is one thing but to be dressed UP is special. And this UP is confusing: A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP. We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night. We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP! To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look the word UP in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost ¼ of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions. If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more. When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP. When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP. When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP. When it doesn't rain for awhile, things dry UP. We could go on, but I'll wrap it UP for now. My time is UP, so... time to shut UP.!

Tuesday, October 17

Anything for a Buck

I've always liked doing research, finding things out, digging around for information - stuff like that. I remember about 15 years ago while working at a medical insurance company, I was intrigued to learn that the medical director had been part of a medical research study for Johns Hopkins for 10 or 15 years. I didn't know people actually signed up to be experimented on. Fast forward to yesterday when I got an email from PTA mom-friend stating that local doctor's office is doing research on a new supplier for the flu shot and you could actually make money if you volunteered and were selected to participate. I called. I qualified. I get it next week. It involves three office visits with a physical and blood work each time, some temperature logging and side-effect reporting along with a phone call or two. The final appointment will be at the end of flu season. You get paid each time you have an office visit. Cool.

This is actually not the first study I've been in. Brainy Boy and I just finished a six-month study run by the Psychology Department at the local university looking at how a mother's mood affects the mood of the child. That paid too.

For me the money was a perk, not really the incentive--I think it's interesting to participate and I get a shot that I might have gotten anyway. But I wonder if people actually do this for a living? I know I've heard of people selling their blood by the pint, but I've generally heard of that in connection with supporting unscrupulous habits. I'm not supporting any habit (even a shopping habit)--I'm just gonna help pay for that deer mount that will be delivered in the spring.

Monday, October 16

We're Gonna be FAMOUS!!!

If only it could make us rich. Hero Guy was up at the crack of dawn on Saturday morning on the prowl for Bambi's dad. Bow hunting season opened in NY and Hero Guy gets testosterone overload just with the thought of stalking something and then being able to drag it out of the woods. It makes it all the better if it's really, really mammoth, like this one was.

As a little background, the bigger the antlers, the older, wiser and more seasoned the deer, thus the tougher the chase. In addition, bow hunting requires you to be closer to the deer, so no noise and no human scent are of critical importance. That explains the grass-scented shower gel and the gross female deer pee that gets squirted on the boots before Hero Guy goes traipsing out in the woods.

Anyway, 5:30 am came, Hero Guy went and didn't peep until 7:00 pm when I got an excited call from the woods stating that he had bagged a big one. I'm always leery about claims made from the woods because adrenaline causes things to inflate in appearance. It took about 1-1/2 hours for Hero Guy and Hunter Bud to drag the monster up out of a ravine. It took another 1-1/2 hours for him to make it the 3 miles home because he kept detouring to every place he could think of to show it off. Show places included several friends houses, the gas station, the fire station and even church on Sunday morning. The unofficial word is that it will probably score as the 2nd biggest typical buck taken by a bow in our county ever. There's actually a book that records this stuff, if you can believe it. For the record, it is a 12-point (meaning 12 branches on the antlers) and weighed 195 field dressed. I'll let you guess what that term means.

And let me tell you a little tidbit about measurements. The buck measured 163. I'll explain it like this....you know when you go to the gym and you've lost 5 pounds, but the trainer says "Congratulations, you've lost 27 inches!" What the trainer means is that they measured your neck - you lost 1/4-inch. They measured your upper arm, you lost 1/3-inch. They measured your knee, you lost 1/2-inch there. They add up every possible place on your body where you may have shrunken a bit and they add them all together to come up with an enormous number of inches gone for your five pounds lost. Buck scoring is the same way.

This is all callous-sounding, I know, but I was quickly squashed in the wee first moments of my motherhood when I suggested that perhaps we would want to raise our children to think that shooting any living thing was bad...."Tree hugger" I was called so I quickly moved over to the dark side. So now, I've gotta start entering Hero Guy's name in every Big Buck Contest to try to make a buck or two off his hunting prowess, especially if there's a money reward. Bummer that he didn't get entered in any contests this year, so we'll be springing several hundred dollars for the big mounted deer head that he could've gotten for free. And I really had my heart set on those curtains at Pier One Imports.

Thursday, October 12

Vote for ME!!

Little Chic has definitely come into her school of dreams this year. For a little background, our school campus houses Preschool through 6th grade in two different buildings. The "primary" school is PreK to 3rd with one set of teachers and a principal and 4,5,6 go to the 'intermediate" school with another set of teachers and its own principal. There is definitely a more "grown-up" atmosphere in the older school and since Little Chic is now in 4th grade, she is fully enjoying all the perks.

Her first proclamation was that in the cafeteria you can sit anywhere you want AND they have a vending machine full of drinks (all quasi healthy). The second thriller was the opportunity to take instrument lessons which we covered here. Her latest and greatest pursuit is running for Secretary of Student Council. She's decided she is running for secretary, and she successfully made it through the primaries (apparently there were so many kids wanting to run, they had to pare it down to 6 in each office). Incidentally, Brainy Boy is running for Vice President (for which you have to be in 5th grade) but I haven't heard a peep from him about it.

Yesterday was the day that Little Chic found she was going on to the second round, where she's required to write a campaign speech and make campaign posters. It took her a fraction of a second to whip out the materials and she has spent the last two nights consumed with designing the perfect messages for each poster. She has labored over where exactly to place them in the school, since she gets to choose where they go. She decided to do a couple of posters to get them interested in her, and then a couple more to feature her best qualities and get people familiar with her name (hee hee). On their way to the hunting store last night, Hero Guy helped her pen the best campaign speech they could come up with....it's not due until the 18th, but Little Chic wouldn't dream of leaving something this important until the last minute.

I think her brother is hoping she'll get all her stuff out of the way and then help him on his own material. I imagine she'll be all too happy to do just that. I'm attempting to juggle encouragement with reality, reminding her that sometimes the first year is just a "practice year" as Brainy Boy didn't get voted in as secretary last year. If she doesn't get elected, there is always classroom representative, school newspaper, PTA mascot....well, kidding on that last one, but you get the idea.

Wednesday, October 11

Where've You Been?

Oh, it's me that's been gone? Well, I've been here actually, passing longing glances toward my blog as I dash to and 'fro taking care of all sorts of business.

First, the picture is of a VERY BAD HyperDog who got sprayed Sunday night for the second time in as many weeks. I'll just say it is a very good thing that the ingredients to the skunk shampoo are readily on hand, AND that I don't really like the chair she is sulking in (after her bath) all that much--because it has a permanent smell and will probably be going to the curb soon.

Also, I'm patting myself on the back because Hero Guy and I actually spent Columbus Day making home improvements (instead of just talking about it) by giving the garage doors, front door and two side doors a new coat of spiffy forrest green paint.

And last, I'm sure you'll be pleased to know that I again sat my butt in the wrong van this morning after going to the parking lot, actually hearing the locks pop up as I clicked my clicker, opened the door and stuck my feet on the rubber floor mat that MY VAN DOES NOT HAVE. For a second I thought somebody had driven off with the wrong van and left me theirs. Upon further inspection, I found that I wasn't dreaming the sounds of those doors unlocking...I turned to the left, and my own lovely dark blue twin was on my other side---When will these people learn to lock their cars and save me some panic. I only have so much, you know!

Saturday, October 7

Cat O'Lantern

I've said before that Little Chic is everything I aspire to be when I grow up.....crafty, always more than enough energy to join in any activity or club, a real go-getter. Procrastinator would not be in her personality description. With Friday and Monday off school, I had the foresight to suggest that we carve a pumpkin this weekend, but not enough insight to realize that we generally pack our long weekends way too full and I would end up not having the gumption to follow through.

After one-too-many activities between yesterday and today, I tried to beg off the pumpkin carving saying that tomorrow afternoon or even Monday would be such a better time. Little Chic would have none of it. I gathered my strength with the thoughts of yet another carmel apple (I believe I've had four since the fall officially started) and we ran over the hill to the local pumpkin farm to choose just the right shape and size for our creation. I bought a magazine yesterday that had some great ideas for unusual pumpkins and being the feline fanatic that she is, Little Chic decided to copy a cat o'lantern that was featured.

I dug out my two "spare" pumpkin carving kits (spare would mean bought last year and never got around to using them) and she did it all but just a little bit of the cutting. Both of us came in pretty splattered with black paint, but with self-satisfied smiles on our faces....especially mine. This year, I'm just way ahead of my usual game and pretty self-satisfied about it too~

Thursday, October 5

Letter to Medical Residents

Dear brand-new Medical Resident who is just learning how to do dictation:

I proclaim myself to be a stay-at-home mom, but truth be told, I am a work-at-home mom. That is a much more difficult job than being a true full-time stay at home mom or even being a full time working-outside-the-house-at-paid-employment mom. This is for two reasons. First you feel like a full-time stay-at-home mom so you try to do everything around the house on your own "since you are here anyway." Second, since my workplace is located at home, I have to get enough uninterrupted hours to accomplish my transcription, but keep enough hours free to do all the "housey" stuff like laundry, cooking, running errands and all the stuff that I'm "available" to do. To make my job easier and your life happier, I have a few tips to help us get along a little bit better so that your chart notes get transcribed efficiently and I keep myself from pulling your hair out.

1) It is really not nice to breathe loudly into the microphone as if you are making prank telephone call. I know you are concentrating, but do it with the phone held further away from your nostrils. Also, you're not a rock star, so no need to shove it to your lips either. Give it a little space, for goodness sake.
2) I will not be typing the "Uuuuuummmms" and "aaaaaaahhh" that you include in your dictation, so leave those out. That's what the handy little PAUSE button is for. It lets you find your place without having to fill up the recording with some sort of noise that raises my blood pressure.
3) I know they have you working 'round the clock and you barely have time for lunch, but Moo Goo Gai Pan sounds about as weird as its name when you are chewing it into the microphone. Please swallow before you try to tell me about John Doe's chief complaint.
4) I am fully aware that some of you are from a different country and that your accent when pronouncing words in English will differ from mine. I'm actually pretty good at accents. I understand what you mean when you tell me the patient is going to take a "POOF" on his inhaler. I'll change it to "puff" for you. I can also figure out what is happening when you tell me the patient is "WOMITING" and I'll switch to the more recognizable "vomiting". It is inconvenient, but I will even try to remember to make the substitution when you keep calling your female patient a "HE". But really, when it comes to medications, all of you, even those with traditional English pronunciations, need to help me out. Spelling the name of the drug would be much appreciated. I do need to let you know that the letters you use to spell need to be recognizable. There really is no way that I can tell that al'kdjlkjkjlkjbkl;jdlkjalks means "Aspirin." The same goes for other doctors' names.
5) I'm really nice, and pretty smart at that. No need to say "sorry, so sorry" each and every time you make a mistake. It's gonna happen and you're making me listen to things I can't type, so it's losing me money. It's okay...I'll just forgive you without the apology on your part. So no need to repeat that Mrs. Joney-Jones' blood pressure is 132/70 for the third time. I have a rewind button (just as you do) and I'll use it if I need to hear you again.

I'm sure you'll be glad when you have a few thousand chart notes under your belt, and so will I. If you follow these few tips, we'll both be happier because I'll get my work done more quickly and you won't have to make three zillion corrections on the same patient's note filling in blanks with information that could have been said slowly and with proper diction the first time around. I'm confident you'll do fine. Trust me. We'll both survive.

Wednesday, October 4

In Hot Pursuit

Little Chic is not the traditional dolly-loving, toy-toting kind of girly-girl. She is more likely to be found designing some type of wardrobe out of scarves and plastic Walmart bags or singing in her room to her karoke machine with her plug-in disco ball rolling. She does, however have a soft spot for cats. Real ones. Stuffed ones. Plastic ones. Large ones. Small ones. What's more, she has always had a lifelong ambition (okay, well for the last 6 of her 9 years anyway) to be a veterinarian. She has a deal with Best Friend Forever that BFF will open a pet rescue center and Little Chic will treat all the animals.

So when Hasbro came out with the Littlest Pet Shop series, Little Chic gravitated right toward all those thumb-sized kittens they carry. This particular toy hit upon two interests of Little Chic's - cats and collecting. She collects anything....everything from pretty rocks to store receipts. The fact that Littlest Pet Shop has some animals that they call "limited editions" makes them acceptable to her, even if they aren't cats, since she can "collect" them.

To put this in perspective, I am not the "run around driving yourself crazy to make your kids happy with something they want" kind of mom. What's more, I detest collections of any kind (well, except for books). But as a result of a collecting frenzy that was recently started with some birthday money that Little Chic has, we've been in hot pursuit of a particular horse that she declares is "very rare". I wouldn't even have entered into the frenzy at all, but Saturday night we were at the mall and I spied the coveted horse (only I didn't know it was coveted at that point.) I mentioned the horse to Little Chic, she seemed to turn up her nose at it, and we went on our way. Upon returning home, we opened the large poster showing the available figurines, and I nonchalantly pointed out the horse I'd seen. Horrified, Little Chic demanded to know why I hadn't told her I'd seen it. Being the good sport that I am, I offered to trot back to the mall on Monday while she was at school. As collecting luck would have it, the horse was long gone. Apparently there is more than one collector of this little item. I began to feel the adrenaline pumping with the promise of a contest - kind of like Amazing Race: LPS Version. The nice clerk told me that shipments come in every Wednesday and that I am welcome to call to see what they have. Game on.

It's Wednesday. As soon as Little Chic got home, we called K Bee Toys. Delivery truck hadn't arrived yet. Nice Clerk offered to call me when it came in. Two hours later, Nice Clerk called declaring that the truck arrived, and that a single pony was in the shipment. I asked if she was allowed to hold it. She was. Dinner is over and now we are just waiting for Brainy Boy to finish his homework (we're trying not to breathe down his neck) so we can win the prize....I mean, buy the toy. Frankly, it does seem like it would be a lot easier to order it online, but it wouldn't be half the fun. Plus, the mall is halfway to Coldstone Creamery....

Tuesday, October 3

Dog Days of Exaggeration

I had a 6:30 pm PTA meeting last night during which Hero Guy generously offered to "babysit" even though he was on call for the ambulance. The meeting was at a house just a couple of streets down, so we agreed that I would run home should he get an emergency call. Once I got to the meeting, I realized I didn't have cell phone reception, so I called him to give him the house number where I was. Approximately 90 seconds later, the phone rung, and it was Hero Guy....already.

HG: Did you run over the dog when you left for your meeting?
ME: Um, no.
HG: Well, you must have.
ME: Why?
HG: The dog just came running in the house and her ear is half ripped off.
ME: O, NO! What happened?
HG: You must've caught her head under the tire.
ME: What other injuries does she have?
HG: Just the ear.
ME: Is she whining?
HG: No, I don't think she even realizes anything is wrong.
ME: What is she doing?
HG: Jumping up and down, wagging her tail.
ME: Put some peroxide on it--I'm sure it will be okay if she isn't acting like she's in pain. I'll bet she got after an animal over in the brush and it bit her, or maybe she even got caught in the pricker bushes.
HG: Oh, no, you definitely ran her over.

Upon returning home, I inspected the tattered ear. It was more like a 1/8-inch cut on the corner of her ear. I'm quite sure I would have never noticed it if I hadn't been looking for it. I'm not sure how Hero Guy even saw it when the dog came bounding in the house in her usual manner. This would be the very same dog that has encountered two rabid raccoons (one requiring all four of us to undergo the rabies vaccination series) and the same dog who has gotten sprayed head on by skunks, not once, not twice, but three times (including Sunday night as the in-laws were leaving our house). It would also be the same dog who has sneaked 2 birds into our house and who regularly feasts on field mice whenever I am adhering her to the low-cal diet the vet has her on. She acts absolutely thrilled with herself each and every time she encounters any type of wildlife--and that is often since we live in the boonies.

Somehow I'm thinking the almost visible nick in her ear will do just fine. And I'm also thinking there would've been a lot more indication if I had actually run her over with my van--like some yelping and broken bones maybe?

Sunday, October 1

A Stranger Among Us

I have a husband. I'm proud of him for many reasons. He's a great provider, he's the kind of dad every kid wants, and he's just a really nice guy in general. I can tell you though, sometimes all those qualities wrapped up together can make a person weird.

It started out with a sense of boredom. To supplement the excitement one gets being an avionics engineer, Hero Guy decided to try his hand at flying lessons. A few times in the air and he was ready to try sky diving and building a kit plane. A short stint in the Air Force distracted him from those diversions, but he quickly rallied and began to yearn to go to medical school. It was something about the fact that he had always wanted to be a doctor anyway, but his dad thought engineering school would be the smarter option. In any event, by the time we had two wee ones, Hero Guy was a member of the volunteer fire department. Living in the rural area that we do, fires don't regularly break out in numbers the way they would in a big city, so the ambulance/medic option of the department became more attractive. After all, even hillbillies and farmers have heart attacks. Thus began the ultimate quest of excitement, adrenaline rushing, constant action.

After the fire department and the ambulance runs became monotonous, the HAZMAT team called and Hero Guy got yet another thrill in going to schools to learn how to safeguard against weapons of mass destruction, bad things like meth labs and the like. The latest chapter in our (and I do say "our" since somehow we all get roped into the crazy schedule and commitments, not to mention the stories that go along with it all) commitment to mankind is the SWAT team.

Hero Guy recently announced that he had been inducted to the local county SWAT team as their medic. Half the fun is the outfit--I swear. Well, and the fact that he gets to carry a gun and one of those really big shields like used in "David & Goliath". Once the position was a done deal, he began jetting all over town, internetting a zillion sites, to find just the right gear with the swiftest delivery to our house (and you thought I was going to say "at the right price" didn't ya?).

As I said before, I am very proud of the guy I call mine. It would be an understatement to say that he makes a contribution to society. The problem is that eventually he is going to have so many volunteer jobs that he isn't going to have enough waking hours in the day to do the one that pays the bills. Please be on the lookout for a "donation" button on my page if the circumstances get dire and throw a few pennies my way, wouldja?