Monday, July 28, 2008

Crash! Bang! Boom!

That's what the back of Guthrie's head looks like right now. He has 4 staples in his scalp. Yes, they were put there intentionally. Oh, yes, we paid good money to have a doctor put staples in our son's head.

Yesterday started off normally enough. The house is total chaos, and really has been for weeks, with the girls visits and then the hurricane, so we decided our mission was to get things under control. And to start with the kitchen. And so, we spent hours cleaning the kitchen, and if you looked at it right now, you couldn't tell.

Okay, back up: Late Saturday night I got a call from my almost 17-year-old niece asking me if she should go to the Emergency Room for her injured wrist. Not quite sure how she injured it, but something about a ledge and her cat. She didn't have her insurance card, couldn't get ahold of her grandparents, and so she called me, thousand miles away that I am. And I didn't know what to tell her, so I spent the night worried sick about my poor injured niece.

Ah, yes, the kitchen. And the boys acting insane because we were ignoring them so we could give them a clean house, a hot meal, a nice home. Fighting, tantrums, the normal for 2- and 4-yo boys.

I napped with Turner. Things felt hectic but okay. I was scrubbing fingerprints off wallpaper when I realized it was about 5 o'clock, time to call Samantha.

She answers, says she's home alone, and that it's stormy. I was at the computer anyway, so I pulled up the weather channel for where she is, and - TORNADO WARNING!!! Anyone who knows me knows I HATE tornadoes, and Samantha freaked out (just a little bit) too. Home alone, going to the basement, sirens going off.

While I'm on the phone, Eric's making dinner, and I hear Turner cry. Eric says Turner broke his piggy bank. (This bank - it's a bear holding a honey pot, and I think actually belongs to Rosalind - has become Turner's "lovey" lately. He calls it "Puppy." It's hard and not cuddly, big and unweildy, but Turner insists on sleeping with him.) Fortunately, it was a pretty clean break and fixable, but Turner was pretty upset. He kept kissing it, holding both pieces, and saying, "I sorry," over and over again.

I'm still talking Samantha through the tornado warning. Asking her when her dad will get home, trying to find local (for her) news stations to see what they are saying. And then -


Guthrie was playing on the exercise tower I got for my birthday. He was hanging by his legs off the bottom bar, swung backwards, and BOOM! cracked his head on ... something. I'm not sure if it was the bottom bar of the tower or a wooden block on the floor. He screamed and cried, but, you know, little boys bang their heads all the time, so I was still on the phone with Samantha, Eric was still trying to make dinner and comfort Turner with the broken "Puppy." Guthrie climbed into my lap, and then we found the blood.

Oh, the blood.

I've never before seen that much blood come from one of my children, and I hope to never see it again.

I told Samantha I had to go, slipped on my shoes, and we took off for the ER. Eric was in a panic. There was SO. MUCH. BLOOD. We had a wet towel on Guthrie's head, but by the time we got to the ER I had blood all over me (and my purse and my cell phone), and Guthrie's hair was pink. He was crying, more in fear than pain. Eric's crazy driving there and his sense of panic probably didn't help much.

And then, 5 hours later, we left the ER, Guthrie with 4 staples in his head. Yes, staples. The doctor (she was really, really awesome, and really helped keep Guthrie calm through it all) said staples are better than stitches because they are much faster. Guthrie thought it was all awful, and I'm not sure how much the topical painkiller did to ease the pain of his head BEING STAPLED. And the thought of taking those staples out of my son's head? Not looking forward to Friday when he gets them removed.

Today, things are more normal. We didn't get much sleep. Eric fixed "Puppy," and Turner was distraught he couldn't sleep with him, but Puppy sat right next to Turner on the bed, and that's how he fell asleep. Samantha survived the tornado warning without any problems. Stacia, my niece, has some kind of fracture in her wrist and can't work for a week.

It was after 10 p.m. when we got home from the hospital last night, so too late for any treat. But today, to make up for the horrible owies Guthrie had to endure, the decapitated piggy-bear-puppy bank, and the general chaos of the day, I did what needed to be done: We went to Cold Stone. YUM!

And how was your Sunday?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Goodbye Dolly

Dolly has come and gone, and we survived mostly unscathed. We lost a lot of our garden - one okra plant is still standing, and the melons seem to be okay. We're going to have to cut down most of the banana plant, trim up the pretty pink flowering tree in the front yard, and just do some general cleaning up, but we didn't suffer any real damage.

We fared better than much of the Valley. We were without power for about 12 hours, without any real problems, never lost our water supply. Others are still without water or electricity, and there are areas with pretty serious flooding and damage. So far I've only heard of one loss of life, from Matamoros, across the border from Brownsville, where a man was electrocuted. It could certainly have been much, much worse.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Hanging in There

The first casualty of the storm seems to be my okra. About half of it has been knocked over on its side.

Otherwise, all is well so far. Dolly still hasn't made landfall, but is very close. Rain, some wind, fussy little boys.

We've got water, food, a full gas tank, coffee on to brew and a thermos full already. Now we just wait and see.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Getting ready

We made a quick run to Lowe's and Target for last minute supplies. I'm following the lead of others in our neighborhood as to what precautions we should take - the only windows I'm seeing being boarded up are those with the huge single panes of glass, and all of our windows have many small panes, I'm guessing designed for this very reason.

Eric laughed at Target when, along with disposable diapers (can't wash diapers if the power goes out, and just don't want to have to deal with it right now), I insisted we get wine and chocolate. If I'm going through a hurricane, I'm darn well going to have wine and good chocolate, gosh darn it!

All of Guthrie's play today has centered around the hurricane. Thomas took shelter in the roundhouse for protection from the impending hurricane. His toy taxi drove very quickly out to South Padre to pick up people stuck on the beach before the hurricane hits. Turner is oblivious.

The clouds are moving in, it's getting dark outside, it's hot and sticky with an occasional wind.

At Lowe's, I thought Eric might be a little crazy when his idea was to buy bags of dirt instead of sand bags - they would work the same purpose, but then we could use the dirt in the garden afterwards. There was one other person in the Lawn and Garden section, a woman buying dirt, and it turned out it was for the same purpose. She said she'd done it before and it worked perfectly, unlike sand which just eventually gets thrown out or makes a mess!

Hello Dolly!

I grew up in a land-locked state - Missouri - and, except for spending most of one year in Alaska, lived there my whole life until June 2006, when we moved to South Texas. I've experienced my fair share of natural disasters - in Missouri, an ice storm that left some people without power for weeks, a couple tornadoes that left me shaking in fear in a basement (yes, I have an irrational fear of tornadoes), and in Alaska, a very minor earthquake while eating mediocre Italian food.

As it appears right now, I'm about to experience my first hurricane. Last year, there was one storm (Dean?) that originally looked like it was going to get us, but ended up just giving us a little rain. This time, Dolly looks like she's headed straight for Brownsville, just 60 miles down the road from where I sit right now.

As I type this, the sun is shining, there is no wind, and a few clouds are just starting to appear from the east. I feel totally unprepared with no idea what to expect. We have batteries, we're filling up all of our water jugs we can find with water from the tap (NO we don't drink bottled water), we just went to the grocery store on Sunday and have lots of food to get us through (I think). The gas tank in the van is full. When Eric gets off work, we're going to the store to check for any last-minute provisions.

The prediction is that it will hit as a Category 1, and there are no calls for evacuations, at least not yet. Eric lived in Houston for years, and so he's been through these before, and I'm trusting him on this. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Mystery Melon

Still never figured out exactly what it was. I swear the seeds I bought and planted were for a plain old cantaloupe.

This is what it looked like on the inside. It tasted, mostly, like cantaloupe. The kids really liked it. I, on the other hand, absolutely cannot stand cantaloupe (I adore watermelon, love honeydew, but can't stomach even a few bites of cantaloupe), and we waited until Samantha got here to try it, only to discover that she is apparently still allergic to melons (and bananas, for that matter, becuase she had a reaction to the bananas we cut off our tree too).
We have a few other melons growing - the watermelons just don't seem to want to do anything at all though. We caught another mouse (the livetrap rocks!) who was eating our tomatoes. We've gotten a TON of okra (more than we've been able to eat), blackeye peas, and we have a bunch of sunflowers, including one that is about 12 feet tall. Now I'm looking at what we can plant in the fall and thinking about getting ready for that.
With all the rain that we (finally) got, our front lawn looks like a jungle, and we have weeds in our backyard as tall as the boys. We're not the only ones, though, as until today there wasn't enough of a break in the rain to get out and cut it, so everyone's lawns look pretty bad. We needed the rain desperately, but I was starting to get worried that we weren't going to go to the beach or do any of the fun stuff we had planned with Samantha here. No worries - it's sunny right now, and the weekend should be nice and warm and sunny - we're off to the beach this weekend! Yeah!