11/28/12

Postcards from the Edge. (Cause I'm too #($* tired to talk.)









And last but not least, the gift I was given today by Max - who apparently DID miss me, after all. 
("You can keep it forever, Mrs. Smythe," he said with a smile.  And I will.  I most certainly will. ) 






11/27/12

Reports of her death are greatly exaggerated. (Sometimes disausted looks a LOT like death. Only smells better.)




This just in over the wire, Vodkamom is STILL alive and (almost) kicking, despite the abundance of turbulence in her life.




She has recuperated beautifully from her total hip replacement, and is, as we speak, preparing to return to her classroom tomorrow morning!  She is quite excited about returning to the land of the living, and was quoted recently as saying, “Recuperating from hip replacement is kind of like house arrest. Except you don’t get to commit a crime, and you have to serve yourself the three meals a day. “

While preparation for her return to school is what’s on her mind, she has also been spending the last two days unpacking the hundreds of boxes of crap she doesn’t need, that were moved along with her furniture to a quaint duplex a mere three blocks from her new school.  Although she brags to everyone she knows that she “could walk to school if I wanted,” we all know that she never will. Teachers are notorious for taking home anything they can carry that they might possibly need the end of the day- even though they never, ever look at it that night.  (That path of great intention….it’s quite crowded, isn’t it??)

Finally, as if she hasn’t enough to think about, she is anxiously awaiting the unveiling of a WHOLE NEW LOOK on this blog.  Her good friend Nap Warden has been working on a make-over, and the big reveal might be tonight…


Stay tuned to this channel for further details…but until then know this:  Mr. Darcy is even more of a prince than we first realized.  


11/21/12

Life is one grand adventure, and there's no time for being scared.

I knew I had to move.  

I loved the home; the home that wrapped me in love and comfort when I needed it the most.  It called out to me those dark days, and it kept me safe and warm and secure.  The angels who held me up stayed with me here, and helped scare away the sad and lonely thoughts that threatened to weaken me when I needed to be strong.

It did its job.

My heart was healed and Id risen to the surface.  I realized that yes, the house was warm and comforting, but it was a money pit that was keeping me from being financially stable.  I’m still providing support to someone who needs his father, and also to that particular person who shall not be named.

I couldn’t keep it up, and was going to try not to cry about it. 

I was, however, not in a position in September to start looking for a new place to live.  The lease was up at the end of November, and back then I was thinking of other things.  I had just unpacked in a new classroom, and was acclimating myself to a new school, staff and principal.  I was also in a tad bit of pain from The Fall, and was hurting more and more each day.

It was early October when my best friend decided to take matters into her own hands.

“I’ve searched online and in the papers for weeks now, and the only place that looks like it will work for you is on Smith Street.  It’s very close to your new school!  I think it’s small, but it’s worth a look.  Here’s the number- CALL THE GUY!”  She handed me the number and pointed to my phone.

We arranged to meet that weekend, and Sheila joined me. 

It was small, one-story, but it was adorable.  We walked through the place in about a minute, all the while listening to its amenities from the manager, Stan.

I smiled and nodded as I listened to him list all the pros about the place, and felt a bit of déjà vu.

“Stan? You’re voice sounds very familiar.”

He smiled, “Well, I work for Jones and Son Oil Company.”

My eyes widened as I realized who he was.  “Stan!  I’m the woman out on Lemon Road who called you every other month last year when I ran out of oil!  You helped me out all the time!  You were great!!”

He looked at me.  “And you are the one who made a promise to me about paying that huge oil bill.  And you KEPT your promise, and are all paid up!  You did what you said you would do.”

I secretly thanked God that moment, because I had received a check for my longevity pay from school two weeks before and had used it to pay THAT oil bill.  I wanted to, oh, pay for groceries or other things, but decided that the oil bill needed to be paid off.  At that moment I figured out that an angel had nudged me in the right direction.

“Also,” Stan said, “You share the laundry room with the lady who lives in the other half of the house.  You might know her, because she works at Smith and Wesson Elementary.  Her name is Sharon.”

Oh. My God. 

Sharon was the paraprofessional who worked in the library who had also recently gone through a divorce. We had given each other strength and comfort, sharing coffee, hugs and conversations in school over the last several years.

Sheila looked at me in shock.  “That’s it, vodka.  This was meant to be.”

I looked at Stan, shook his hand and said, “If you are good with me, then I am certainly interested in living here. It seems my guardian angels have made my decision for me.”

 


So now, on this Thanksgiving weekend, I will take the rest of my boxes, my furniture, my girls and my heart and prepare myself for this next great adventure.   With so many angels looking out for me, I can’t possibly allow myself to be scared. 



(Besides, I have a 6’6” angel carrying those boxes, and holding my hand each step of the way.  Ain’t life grand?)   











11/19/12

Vodkamom’s “Is your new man a prince?” survey. (Toads, beware.)




Ten sure fire questions to determine if you’re hanging out with a prince or a toad. (Ladies, there’s still time before the holidays to dump the toad and shop for the prince.  Just keep in mind, mine is TAKEN.)


If you were to fall on a mountain and completely shatter your hip socket, would your man…

a.)   Convince you that you were fine, and allow you to drag the garbage cans to the road yourself.
b.)    Find numerous excuses as to why he can’t see you, and yet spend every waking moment going to hot spots with his friends.
c.)   Buy you a cane, wait on you hand and foot and convince you that you should not be in so much pain and that you need a second opinion.


If you were to get a second opinion and be told that you require not only total hip replacement but six weeks of recuperation, would your man…

a.)   Run the other direction like a bat out of hell.
b.)    Find numerous excuses as to why he can’t see you, and yet spend every waking moment going to hot spots with his friends.
c.)   Arrange his schedule to not only take you to the hospital, but spend each evening there holding your hand while you sleep.


If you have a total hip replacement and are sent home for six weeks of convalescing, would your man…

a.)   Run the other direction like a bat out of hell.
b.)    Find numerous excuses as to why he can’t see you, and yet spend every waking moment going to hot spots with his friends.
c.)   Buy you the most incredible gift ever; an adorable, raised, padded toilet seat.


If during your six weeks of convalescing you also have to move from a three bedroom, three story home into a one story duplex, would your man…

a.)   Run the other direction like a bat out of hell.
b.)    Find numerous excuses as to why he can’t see you, and yet spend every waking moment going to hot spots with his friends.
c.)   Spend his free time helping you pack, buying you boxes and making thousands of trips up and down steps transporting said boxes to said duplex.


If you were to go completely insane and get incredibly depressed while under “house arrest” and undergoing another stressful move would your man…

a.)   Run the other direction like a bat out of hell.
b.)    Find numerous excuses as to why he can’t see you, and yet spend every waking moment going to hot spots with his friends.
c.)   Hold your hand, make you laugh, take you to dinner and make sure that your heart and mind were at ease.



If you were to fall on a mountain and completely shatter your hip socket, have to move to another house and also try to appease, comfort, take care of your two outspoken, spirited, strong-willed  daughters, would your man….

a.)   Run the other direction like a bat out of hell.
b.)    Find ways to avoid being around you when said daughters are home.
c.)   Engage in thoughtful conversations with said daughters, make them laugh and show them how a man with integrity and a high moral code is supposed to carry himself. 



But the last true test?  Look into his eyes and listen to his soul.  If he's the one, it sing a song that only you can hear…and it will be one that you will want to dance to every single minute of the day.


The best part?  That song is the real fountain of youth; it will make you feel 16 again.  (And it feels damn good.)









(And nothing says I love you quite like a padded toilet seat.)






11/17/12

You can keep your apples, I'd rather have the note. (Best. Medicine. Ever)

I opened my mailbox yesterday and was surprised to see a large brown envelope.  The return address was Best School Ever, Smithfield, Oregon.





I opened the package to see a stack of letters from the kids!!


And at the bottom of the stack?  The one I had been hoping for.


Dear Miss Smythe,

Being at shool is good but i miss you sooo much. We ar stil havng fun with out you.  How did your srgare go? Im sorry you kant mak it to shool soon. Did you trck or tret?  I hop you will be bedr vere soon.  Ar you evr coming bak?

Love,


Max





Pain killers?  Nope; just pass me the stack of letters again, cause that's the best medicine in town.

11/14/12

The (crazy) Walk of Life....just make it count.



I spent a lot of time today in my car.

Sure, I have a new hip, I'm packing and preparing for a MOVE, AND I have a column due, but when your child calls you in a panic you drop everything and go.


That's what moms do.


But while I was (carefully) driving, I heard this song.  It resonated, and reminded me about how we walk our particular path in life.  Do you walk your path with happiness in your heart?  Do you remember that each day is a gift? Are you thankful for all the gifts that you have? Do you refuse to give waste time with ugly emotions?  (I try.  I really try....)



I hope that you do.  I know that I wake up each day thankful for what I have.  I try to remember that each left turn is a challenge and a gift all wrapped up together.


And I am so thankful that Mr. Darcy, who is thus far STILL a prince, has the same particular view on life.   Why waste a minute on anything negative?


Why, indeed.


Enjoy......and remember, walk YOUR walk.   And enjoy every single minute.....






11/12/12

I might have to start wearing my mustache, especially to field hockey games.



I’ve spent 8 years of my life immersed in field hockey.

It was a sport I never thought I’d be involved in (“Oh no, my daughter won’t play field hockey!  She plays soccer!”)  but it’s one I’ve embraced with incredible enthusiasm and admiration.  

I’ve driven to schools in the middle of nowhere to watch high school games; traveled through raging snowstorms in the winter during indoor club field hockey; been a part of the booster clubs and parents organizations for any team of which she’s been a member.

And I’ve loved every single minute.

Sassy’s a strong competitor, and even though I’m her mother I’ve tried to remain objective.  (Who doesn’t think their girl kicks @$$??)

I was shocked when she told me she wanted to go to the college she chose.  We had gone under the assumption that she would go with another D-1 school that had been recruiting her for several years.  I was wrong.

“Mom.  THIS is where I feel good.  In my heart, this is where I know I’m supposed to go to school and where I want to play field hockey.” I listened and knew that I had to allow her to follow her heart.  It wasn’t easy.

And now, as she knocks on the door of her senior year, I am verklempt.     


She has blossomed and grown under the supervision of a hard-working, ethical and talented coach, and her loyal and hard working staff.  She has enjoyed three years of hard work, very intense training and intense playing with a group of girls who have high moral standards and equally high academic standards.  She's worked very hard to keep up on every level, even on those days when the battle is all uphill.


I couldn’t be more proud, and sad at the same time.

Several weeks ago we celebrated the efforts of the talented senior girls on the team, and as the parent of a rising senior it was emotional on many levels.  Oh sure, I was preparing for surgery that day, but I watched it online with just as much emotion as if I had been there myself.  (And you know what?  Mr. Darcy made the trip to represent.  THAT is no surprise, is it?)

We bid farewell to an amazing group, but there is one talented young lady that I want to send a virtual hug to today.

To our darling Jen…who not ONLY owns all kinds of scoring records for the college and awards from the conference, but has done it with grace and humility.

I hugged her after the last game I attended, and told her proud I was.  And what did SHE SAY??


“Thanks, Mrs. Smythe.   And can I say…. I LOVE YOUR BLOG!”



Anonymity.




It’s highly overrated. (And apparently hard to come by....)






(Jen?  You're the (wo)man.   :-)    Thanks for holding Sassy's hand... )


11/10/12

Now come on, you didn't think I would settle for a mere Hip Replacement, did you?? (Bring it on.)



What does one do after moving to a new school, suffering a broken hip, enduring hip replacement surgery and realizing that you CAN'T support two households?







You move.




In fact, you move (and pack during your MEDICAL TIME OFF) from a lovely three bedroom, three-story home in the country, to a quaint one story, single bathroom,  three bedroom duplex located THREE blocks from your new school.






Oh, please, don't worry about me.   He can't throw my any curve ball that I can't hit out of the park. (I'm one of His most entertaining projects.)






(Now if you'll excuse me, I have enlisted everyone I know to help me pack up my heart and my home and begin yet another new adventure...isn't life grand?)





11/7/12

I think about tiny moments...and marvel at their power.




I drove my vehicle down Baltic Avenue while in Virginia Beach last weekend.  I  was attending the national indoor field hockey tournament, and was stunned when my eyes spotted my old apartment complex.  (I spent a summer there before my junior year of college.)


There it was. 

I slowed to a crawl, pulled over and parked. I sat quietly and stared at the building, thinking back thirty years to the summer of my 19th year.

I got out of the car, crossed the street and stood at the front of the three-story building. I could NOT believe it was still there. In my mind I suddenly saw myself - a 19 year-old girl leaning against the porch post reeling from the news the police had just given her.

Our summer “apartment” family had gathered at a local hot spot not far from the beach to celebrate the end of the summer – and to say goodbye. Mike and Johnny, the boys in the apartment next door, never made it home. So there I stood, my head bowed in my hands and my body shaking with sobs. 


It was an earth shattering moment.




Sometimes memories sneak up you from behind and knock the wind out of you.


I said a quick prayer for the boys- thanked the Lord AGAIN that I hastily declined their ride home that night, and brushed away the tears.





I wonder how many other “tiny moments” have extended my life. 




I really, really wonder.




(It's re-post....but one that resonates with me to this day.....) 

11/5/12

Oh sure, chicken soup is the go-to healing medicine, but it's love and friendship that will really save your life. (Every single time.)




There are many ways that a person can heal from a traumatic event; and there are many traumatic events that a person can experience.


A traumatic event, in my opinion, is one that shakes you to the core of who you are.  It can be an emotional event, or an incredibly painful physical event. And, because I like to go BIG or go home, I’ve been fortunate to have had experienced both in the last several years.


The emotional event is one that continues to be a factor in everything I do.  You remember when I took my life in my own hands when realized that I was the one who had to save myself?  It’s a battle I continue to fight, and although there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel, I’m certain the scars from the battle will be very long to heal.  Those scars I hide well, and they are tended by the loving support and comfort from all of you, my incredible children and my family.  I can honestly say that I would NOT be as healed as I am today if not for all of that love.

The physical trauma of walking around with an exploded hip socket and broken HIP coupled with the hip replacement was another challenge altogether.   And honestly, I have to laugh at the roadblocks that the universe seems to throw in my path.  I can see God sitting upon his throne speaking to his best buddies and saying with a smile, “Just watch THIS.  She’ll be shocked at first, but MAN is she scrappy.  I can’t wait to see how she solves THIS challenge. Hey Peter, pass the popcorn!!”


I went to the doctor this morning for my staple removal, and to give him a chance to see how I was doing.  I couldn’t wait.  I knew that thanks to the support I’ve had THIS time, I’ve healed at a remarkable pace. 

Mr. Darcy (who is racking up points left and right) was my driver, and was given strict instructions from Bitchy about what I was and was NOT allowed to do.  I was called into the room, and walked unaided through the doors and down the hallway, laughing and talking with Nate, the doctor’s capable assistant.   He asked me twice about the date of my surgery, and shook his head with a smile.  My staples were removed quickly, and I waited for the doctor.  He walked in with a smile, surprised that I was standing near the counter reading a magazine.

“Look at you!” He said, as I walked proudly back and forth across the room.

He was thrilled with my progress, and we discussed what I could and could not do for the next several weeks.  He answered all my questions, and I left the room and made my way Mr. Darcy, who had been waiting patiently in the waiting room.   I walked through the door into that room with Nate, who looked at Mr. Darcy and then back to me. 

“Your husband must be very happy about this speedy recovery!” he said with a wink.

Mr. Darcy, not one to miss a beat, replied, “Well, yes I am!  I most certainly am!” 


***********************************************************

While I know this would be a comfortable place to end this post, I can’t help but think about all the friends who have rushed to my side to help me again.  My very best friend Sheila, who has done more than I can say...and who provided me with a nice bottle of "get well juice" inside a bag of amazing goodies at the hopspital.  Sue, who came to my house with soup, bread, an amazing book and spent several hours lifting me up.  Suzy, who emailed me incredible advice. Elaine, a friend I’ve know since we were 12, who brought a basket of homemade soups and sauces and spent hours laughing and talking with me about everything imaginable.  Karen and Teri who came to see me in the hospital along with Carol, Cheryl and Patti. Brittany, Danielle and Colleen saw me at my worst in the hospital and who have lifted me and keep me laughing every single day at work. There were others who have dropped of plenty of food, magazines, balloons, books and chuckles, and I can’t thank everyone enough.  (And yes, Mr. Darcy has been incredible....but that's another story altogether.....)



Sure the marvels of modern medicine are jaw dropping; but the power of love and friendship?  THAT is what heals the body AND the soul.

I am proof positive of that.




I know I've said it before, but I really AM the richest girl in town.














11/1/12

Sometimes when you look your very worst, someone special will see only your very best. (aka Prince Charming charms the nurses.)



I don’t remember coming out of surgery, talking to the doctor or being wheeled to my room on the third floor of the hospital.  I can only pray that I didn’t reveal any deep, dark secrets or humiliate myself.


I do recall coming around in my room and seeing my sister, my best friend and Mr. Darcy standing around my bed.  They were talking and laughing like old friends, and it was comforting to awake in such a warm and loving climate.

I saw the relief in their eyes, and knew that everything had probably gone off without a hitch. The happy juice flowing in my IV probably had nothing to do with my optimistic attitude.


I spent the next few days in a drug induced fog while my body tried to mess with me by lowering my blood pressure.  (THAT is no fun people, and I do not recommend it.)  I DO remember that my sister, best friend and other my fabulous co-workers visited me often- lifting my spirits and keeping me in a happy, happy place.

I also remember that throughout those drug-induced busy days, Mr. Darcy was always close; either a text, phone call or a glance away.  I don’t know how the angels go about their business, but his presence and devotion brought an amount of peace and comfort to me that I can’t really put into words. 

It was very early of the morning on my third day of my stay that my favorite day nurse came into my room to take my vitals.  Her name was Kim, and she was an angel who kept me smiling and comfortable throughout my stay. 

“Your boyfriend is quite a guy, isn’t he?”  she said as she took my blood pressure.

“Without a doubt!” I replied with a grin.  She thanked me again for the chocolates AND the cheese tray that he had brought for the nurses the previous two days. 


“He just amazes me every day,” I sad,  “and I can’t believe how lucky I am!”

She smiled and said, “You know, the night nurses told me something else.  At night when everyone’s gone, he sits at your bedside, holds your hand and watches you sleep.  Did you know that?”


 I looked at her and felt the tears pool in the corners of my eyes. 


I nodded. 



Somehow, deep in my heart, I knew that.