Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Adventures of Compass Man and Perpetually Lost Girl

Peanut Head and I just returned from a Caribbean cruise in celebration of our 20th anniversary. Now remember, we were 12 when we married, so that should help you to reconcile my immaturity level with my chronological age.

Or not. Whatever.

Cruising was a brand new experience for Peanut Head and I. I'm not letting him count his time on NAVY ships when he was a Grunt. Totally does not count. We had so much fun. We relaxed, we read, we slept, we ate . . . and we barely thought about our kids at all. They were safe at home with Aunt Marcia and Grandma Louie-Ann. Yay for us! That's probably why we didn't give them much thought. They were in good hands.

We cruised out of Miami, so that meant we had to fly to get there. Going there and back we had layovers at the Dallas Fort Worth airport. It was my first time at DFW, and I'm not exaggerating when I say that it's very spread out. It's so spread out that there are freeways intertwined amongst the runways. I kid you not. We took off on a runway that was elevated to cross over the highway, and the air traffic control tower is situated between the opposing direction lanes of the highway.

I guess you would call that a median. It certainly maximizes space, that's for sure. Perhaps the tower also doubles as a rush hour traffic reporting station? Maybe budget cuts prompted them to lay off the Eye in the Sky Man or something, and the Air Traffic Controllers had to pick up the slack. 

You know, because they don't have enough stress in their jobs.

The layout of the airport and its various runways is arranged in a triple circle pattern. Circles that do not intersect, mind you. Because the circles do not intersect, the airport has its own little bullet train dealie, manned by RoboCops, to get you from one terminal to another. The RoboCops do not particularly care about speed limits. They are more about efficiency, but just to show that they do have a softer side, they play the first few notes of "Tomorrow" as the train doors open. It's actually kind of eerie and I found it a little unsettling. 

Tomorrow will be better, but right now you're aboard the Crazy Train, so hang on.

Since the RoboCops alerted me to the fact that we were entering the Twilight Zone, I was on the look out for anything suspicious. Check this out.

Is it me or does TOILET seem icky somehow?  Peanut Head thinks its a language deal. Since DFW is an international airport, perhaps "Restroom" isn't clear enough. Let's list all the possible alternative linguistic options to replace "Toilets," shall we? All I can come up with is Potty Chairs. You try now. It's not as easy as it sounds. If it's going on a sign, it should be somewhat tasteful, right?

And that's just the airport. I have to say that duct tape anywhere on an airplane does not instill confidence. I spotted it on the armrest of a seat on our airplane, and I spotted what looked suspiciously like duct tape on one of the wings, arranged in a way that made it look like it was supposed to be there. 

Peanut Head insists that it could not possibly have been duct tape, and he pooh-poohed my suspicions vehemently. Still, I kept a stern eye on it the entire trip, watching for the hairy-sticky edges to start curling back, thereby signaling the advancement of our rapid, spiraling, flaming descent.

I have a vivid imagination.

Paranoid and delusional, call it what you like, I care not.

Since I'm already irrationally recounting our vacation, when we were boarding our Fun Ship, I turned to Peanut Head and asked "Is it wrong that I keep thinking about the Titanic?" Everywhere I turned there was opulence. Heavy opulence. I could not fathom how this big hunk of metal opulence could float. I know it has something to do with physics and the time-space continuum, but I still could not wrap my brain around it. I just kept picturing women in fancy dresses, swirling around in frigid water, cascading down the fancy staircase, tangled in chandeliers and bed linens. Cut to the scene with Leonardo DiCaprio taking his last breath and sinking into the dark abyss.

At one point during the cruise, I spotted our Captain on deck with his ship's officers, playfully bantering and enjoying the sunset.

I turned to Peanut Head and asked "If he's here, who is driving the ship?"

To which Peanut Head replied, "They probably have it on autopilot or something."

"What?! Well then who is watching out for icebergs?"

"This is the Caribbean. There are no icebergs anywhere near here."

"Well there could be. With global warming, freaky things are happening all over the world."

"Global warming would cause the Caribbean icebergs to melt."

That Peanut Head. He's impossible to argue with. He has an answer for everything.

He's such a smarty Smart Alec. He also has an uncanny sense of direction. I think in a previous life he was a homing pigeon. As a result, he has another name, one he shares with the Rocket Scientist. That name is Compass Man.

In contrast, I can't fight my way out of a wet paper bag. Hence, the Rocket Scientist bestowed me with the name of Perpetually Lost Girl. It is a name which I earned deep in the bowels of the indoor sidewalk city of Minneapolis, where I was lost without food or water for at least 45 minutes. A harrowing experience, one which I might share with you at a later date. For now, I must share the intelligence gathered aboard the Fun Ship.

Anyway, as I was saying, the Fun Ship is huge. And I am not directionally inclined.  Which means I was lost. All the time. Peanut Head took to quizzing me and challenging me to find various things on the ship, as he trailed me, amused and wearing his smirky little smirk. Then he took to teaching me about the correct names for the different parts of the ship.  Like the front of the ship is the bow and the back is the stern. The left side is the port side, and the right side is the starboard side. 

The part that really messed with me though is the use of the directional terms of fore and aft. Aft means toward the back of the ship and fore means towards the front. Except that alphabetically, that makes absolutely no sense. Correct me if I'm wrong here, but it seems that aft should be towards the front of the ship since "a" comes before "f."

On second thought, perhaps aft stands for after and fore for forward? Never mind.

People should tell me these things when trying to introduce me to nautical terms which are foreign to me.

I do believe Peanut Head enjoys discombobulating me.

While Peanut Head was exploiting me for his personal entertainment, we had a very polite Room Steward from Indonesia looking out for us. I was not prepared for the level of attention we received from this quiet man. I took to calling him our Room Fairy because he managed to sneak in and tidy every time we left our room.  We always came back to a freshly stocked ice bucket, tidy room, fresh towels--even when we had three shower days, and this little purposeful touch.

That's right. Room Fairy kept a point on our TP at all times. Because you need a point when you have business to attend to don't you? I'm going to add that chore to the girls' list of chores. Three times a day, I expect to see points on my TP.

Our Room Fairy seemed to never sleep. He was always tidying rooms, whether we were leaving our cabin at 7:00 a.m. or returning at 11:00 p.m., he was always there. I'm a little worried about him, working so hard like he does. I told him he needed to take a vacation. Go on a cruise or something. He nodded and looked at me with a pained smile.

This is the little Towel Menagerie our Room Fairy made for us. The elephant is my favorite.

It was a vacation to remember for us, and it was a great way to celebrate our 20th anniversary. It recharged my batteries, and now I'm ready to take on some projects that are long overdue. I can't wait to get started and share my progress with you.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Health Records Organized

Summer in our house is when we get caught up on all of our medical appointments, so last week I took the girlies for their annual physicals. As we were driving to the medical center, I realized that I had never blogged about their Health Record books.

Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit, what was I thinking?

I made these books for the girls when they were little bitty things. Sadly, I didn't think of putting one together when we were in the midst of Zoe's medical adventures, or her book would have been a wee bit fatter.

For the first year of Zoe's life, I spent a good many of her naps at the kitchen table, with medical bills spread out, trying to sort through all the details and making sure everything got paid by the insurance company. It was a nightmare.

After that experience, I vowed to always be prepared when it came to our medical history. I wanted something portable that I could jot down questions, record appointments and results, and then always have that information in one place to refer to while I was at the doctor's office. 

I started with just a small spiral bound notebook and added stick on notebook tabs.

The first section in my books is where I jot down questions that I want to remember to ask at the next doctor visit. This section alone has been a huge help, because I cannot be relied upon to remember things that are not written down. 

Which is why I am blogging about this thing that I love several years later than I should have. My bad.

The next section is where I keep track of immunization records and prescriptions.

Both of my girls have the little immunization cards that were given to them at birth, but who can read those things? Doctors have sloppy penmanship.

Yes, I'm making a sweeping generalization.

The other thing I don't like about the immunization cards, is they don't give any indication of when immunizations are due. I like to plan, you know.

Enter the spreadsheet with color-filled cells. As you can see, my spread sheet isn't perfect. I still missed a couple spots, but I'm dealing with it. I am calmed by the fact that the record is in chronological order. That, and I can see that May 11, 2004, was a very bad day for Stinkerbell.

Probably it was for me too. She was such a vengeful child.

I didn't take any pictures of prescription entries, but what I usually do is attach the receipt that has the date and what the prescription is. It's a quick way to keep a record of prescriptions.

This one is pretty self explanatory. Let me just put it out there right now, I have one of these books for myself, and it does not contain this section. For obvious reasons.

This is an example of the growth and development of Stinkerbell. I would have included Zoe's, but she's a bit of a runt and the progression isn't quite as spectacular.

Her mind was developing faster than her body. Yeah, that's it.

Zoe is my flower. Annika my weed.

Whoa, bad picture. But I'm not taking it again, even though it's making me a little twitchy.

So, as the label says, Medical History . . .

I still remember this entry. Annika was born with seriously bowed calves. In addition to that, she had these odd little feet that she used like hands. I used to call her my little monkey because she reminded me of a monkey when she would pick things up with her feet.

Her little monkey feet turned in, and they were sort of floppy when she walked. I was concerned, so I made an appointment with the Monkey Doctor.

Or maybe it was a Podiatrist. Or an Orthopedist.

Whatever, Monkey Doctor is easier to remember.

It turns out that her feet are fine, it's her hips. She has a freakishly large range of motion in her hips that allow her to do this:

And this:

Creepy, isn't it?

Since it appears to be another very bad day for Stinkerbell, let's just keep going with this, shall we?

Zoe had a weeping eye thing going on, so she was taking Amoxicillin. I put a dose of Amoxicillin in her sippy cup diluted with milk, and Annika yanked it out of her hands and took a couple swigs of it before I could intercede.

As a result, we found out that Annika is allergic to Penicillin because she broke out in a full body hivey rash.

I took these pictures two days after the initial exposure and one day after The Stink started taking Zyrtec to treat the allergic reaction. It didn't even occur to me to take these pictures for her Health Record until then. Doy.

Anyway, I have this picture and a few others in Annika's Health Record book to document her penicillin allergy.

As I mentioned, I made Health Record books for Peanut Head and I too. Except ours are not as pretty as the girls' books.

We have different sections too. Not just minus the scandalous Growth and Development section.

We do have the questions section though. I like to clip and save propaganda intended to scare people into ordering expensive medical tests, save them for my yearly, and pull them out of my handy dandy Health Record to confront my doctor with. I like to discombobulate him. 

For some reason, that sounds so dirty, but it's perfectly innocent. Good clean fun, I promise.

Peanut Head and I also have a section labeled Blood Tests. The main thing I watch and keep track of is our cholesterol. I need to know when it's time to stop with the bonbons.

I did my best making a spread sheet for my immunizations, but who knows if they're all there. My mom isn't the most organized person in the world, so these numbers could potentially belong to someone else. 

In fact, I think they do. Look at those dates. April 1966! That was the Olden Days.

Mom? Was I adopted?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Best. Year. Ever.

Can I get a Woot! Woot! for summer vacation? I'm on it right now.

Woot! Woot!

Sorry, I don't mean to rub it in. I can be mean sometimes.

I just came off of my Best. Year. Ever.

No lie. I had such an amazing class and we had so much fun, that you would think that maybe I didn't want it to end. And even though I'm crazy, I'm not that crazy because I loooooooove me a good summer vacation.

I will miss all of my little monster peeps though. Smooches, monsters!

This little cartoon was given to me by one of my students, Harrison, with a heartfelt request to post it on my blog. Don't worry, I made him get a signed note from his mom that it was okay for me to exploit him on the Internet.

If it makes me famous, I promise to share the profits with Harrison 50/50.

I'm sure that Harrison has been checking my blog daily since school got out, and turning away dejected, because his cartoon wasn't up yet. I can just see his wasted-on-a-boy, long, silky eyelashes fluttering in disappointment.

And I apologize for that, Harrison. I was busy sitting on my couch, drooling and telling myself "I should really get up and put Harrison's comic up."

It's a well-known phenomenon known as the End-of-the-School-Year Crash and Burn. It happens to teachers and college students the world over. Your body goes into shock from the abrupt change of schedule, and you either turn into an unsightly bowl of Jell-O, or you get a burning in your belly that makes you very twitchy and causes you to go on a massive cleaning and clutter purging spree. Last year I did the twitchy thing, this year the Jell-O thing.

I like to mix things up.

Anyway, here's Harrison's cartoon, complete with my unsolicited commentary. I'm sure he'll love that part.

I think this is a little dig at my "No airborne objects" in the classroom rule. I tell the kids on the first day of school that my classroom is a No-Fly Zone and there will be no airborne objects EVER. I then go on to explain that I am Air Traffic Control and they must ask for clearance before take off.

Air Traffic Control always says no.

I became a teacher so I can boss people around.

Don't touch it, you'll be sorry . . .

Consequences . . . stink.

Notice my lack of segmented insect body. I didn't like the results from that plan, so I switched to the Shapeless Skeletor plan. It makes my hair look like it has more body, don't you think?

Watch out, I'm wearing my Angry Eyebrows.

I love winning. It makes me happy.

I know this one is a dig. I'm always harping on the kids to watch their units, because if I ever hear of them crashing a satellite when they are scientists, I will come to their house and have strong words with them.

Americans and their stubborn refusal to embrace the metric system. 

Harrison loves Accelerated Math. I think I'll mail him a little summer math packet. Ugly long division with irrational numbers. 
He'll be so happy.