Saturday, September 30, 2006

You give me fever, when you kiss me
Fever when you hold me tight
Fever in the morning
Fever all through the night
-- Peggy Lee
Yes, I've been sick. Again. It won't be long before I've run out of music quotes that involve illness. If you can think of any, send them just in case. I know you are all tired of hearing about it, because I'm tired of reporting it. I have an appointment with a specialist in Richmond in a few weeks and hopefully we will get down to the bottom of all this sickness soon. Enough about that.
Before I got sick I managed to get a shot of a sign that is the topic of much conversation here on the Shore. Daughty's Market is infamous for posting the names of folk who haven't paid their account. There have been some amusing ones, but this is the first time I've gotten one on film. My favorite was a man named "Marvelous Jubilee". That is a real man, and it is his REAL name. We know this because Tracy had to attend driving school with him (a whole other story).
Since Daughty's is infamous for selling mostly beer and scrapple (if you don't know, don't ask) I would have thought the good Reverend would be so embarrassed that he would rush in to pay his bill, but this little gem has been up for two weeks.
Now that I'm back among the living we might actually leave the house; I'll have some new photos to post soon. Thanks to all who have checked in.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A Little Floyd For the Short People

Actually what India said last night was "Kate, how can you have any pudding if you don't eat your beef?", but what's the difference, really? They both looked askance at me as I quoted the correct lyrics in a loud, terrible British accent. Several times. Guess what album was stuck in my head the rest of the night?

Today was a busy one. Off to playgroup, rush home for lunch and naps, then my goddaughter Anne arrives for a play date while her mother, Susan, had a meeting with Ellie's kindergarten teacher.

I sat outside and worked crossword puzzles while the girls played.A little helper dropped onto my page when I was stuck. Can you believe how tiny he is?

John came by after work and all the Masons stayed for an impromptu dinner when Tracy arrived home (finally!) at 6:00. We kept our girls up too late for a school night, but the grown-ups were having fun and the short people and company were enjoying watching Mary Poppins. We take advantage of any quiet we can get with this foursome!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Watermelon picture 2006

see that watermelon smiling through the fence
i wish that watermelon it was mine
sometimes i think that old folks ain't got a little sense
when they leave that watermelon on the vine
well apples are sweet and peaches are good
rabbits so very very fine
but give me oh give me
oh how i wish you would
some of that watermelon smiling on the vine
-- Dave Matthews Band
Starting India's first summer we began producing an annual photograph of the Short People posing with a sample of our watermelon crop. This tradition began when my Aunt Katie gave India a "onesie" covered in watermelons; the picture was cute and a friend suggested we make it an annual event.

We have done this without fail, even the summer after Kate was born and we forgot to plant any watermelons. I scrambled at the end of the season, searching in vain, and in desperation finally bought two "personal watermelons" (whatever they are) from the market at a price tag of about $50 a piece. Cheater.

This photo collection hangs in our kitchen, and we'll keep going until the Short People rebel and declare themselves too cool to adorn themselves with clothing festooned with pink and green fruits.

Today the girls enjoyed eating the watermelon but had a much more exciting time sharing the rinds with Daisy. Daisy, like most labs, will eat anything, but has a penchant for melon rinds and corn husks...guess she has a clean digestive tract!

Taking the photos was the last task we accomplished before saying goodbye to Tracy. He is off to the Hotel Roanoke (yes, I am pea-green with envy) for a four day convention. Have a wonderful time, TT, enjoy the solitude and argument- and ketchup-free meals, and we'll see you Wednesday night!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Down With Disease

Down with disease
Up before the Dawn
A thousand barefoot children outside dancing on my lawn...
But when I think it's time to leave it all behind
I try to find a way to but there's nothing I can say to make it stop
Just two weeks into preschool and already India has brought home a lovely case of upset stomach to share with the other 2 Turman girls (photo above is from her first day). Been stuck in the house for two days and canceled dinner and lunch plans with friends and their children...didn't want to spread the joy, of course. The word on the street is this fabulous virus is making it's rounds on the Shore; we always love being the first to try out something new.
Today we are watching Mary Poppins while dressed in every possible combination of crowns, mardi gras beads, dress up clothing and scarves. Later we will wreck the kitchen by spreading play-doh (yes, Janice, the dreaded play-doh) through the kitchen and pressing in in the cracks of the floor (very colorful). Unfortunately it is too wet to go outside. I'm still trying to jump-start my fuzzy brain to come up with afternoon activities that prevent abject boredom and frustration. We'll see how it goes.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Did you see them in the river?
They were there to wave to you.
Could you tell that the empty quivered,Brown skinned indian on the banks
That were crowded and narrow,
Held a broken arrow?
--Neil Young
Five years ago today I had just left the Jones Institute for Reproductive Technology in Norfolk after having been poked and examined inside and out by 15 residents and giving a quart of blood to measure my hormone levels. I was in the pharmacy waiting for my $1000 worth of medication when I watched the bombings unfold on live television. I hurried to my car to cross the Bay and return to work as military planes and boats scrambled all around me; I was one of the last cars across before they closed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Two weeks later I discovered that this fateful day had begun the process that would give me my India.
Where were you?

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Bear in the Big Blue House

Welcome, welcome welcome to our big blue house,
Welcome, welcome, welcome to our big blue house,
Door is open, come on in!
It's 6am and I am up. Up and watching "Bear and the Big Blue House". Ninety-nine per cent of our childrens' television watching occurs between 6 and 7 in the morning because the short people are evil, subversive, communist beings who enjoy torturing their parents. Once I can pry my eyes open and stagger to the kitchen for coffee I usually hit the computer for something a little more stimulating than Miffy or, god forbid, the Wiggles.
This morning we are being entertained by "Bear in the Big Blue House". This is a perfectly fine show in the tradition of Jim Henson, but it's difficult for me to watch because I always recall the first time I ever saw this program.
It was December 7, 2003, 6:00am. I was laying on a child-sized hospital bed holding India tightly as she finally gave in to exhaustion and slept for the first time in almost 24 hours. She was 6 months and one day old and had to be held all night to keep her from tearing out her nasogastric tubing and IV. The day before, on her six month birthday, she was admitted to the Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters (CHKD) for "failure to thrive".
What got her there is a long complicated tale involving misdiagnosis, dismissal of me as a hysterical first-time mother, and several treatment wrong turns that worsened India's symptoms. Finally, during this week at CHKD after an exploratory surgery, steps were begun to help India become a healthy, normal baby.
So December 7 I'm laying there in this bed, exhausted beyond words and so emotionally over-the-top that this therapist lacks a pat phrase to neatly package the feelings, the tv in our room is showing "Bear" and, helpless to move or change the channel, I watch.
The episode was a Christmas one, in which the characters find a homeless dog alone and cold in the woods and take him in. Bear tries to explain homelessness to his friends and one of them sings a song that, at the time, was so heartbreaking I could not tolerate it. The floodgates opened, and I cried.
"Cried" is probably not the most appropriate wrd choice. "Racked with sobbing", "quietly wailing", or even "hysterical" are better descriptors. That show...that SONG (oh, it was soooo sad in my memory) had allowed me to finally break down.
So now I stiffen a little whenever "Bear" is on. And at Christmastime I fervently hope to never see that episode.
About 3 months after India's week-long hospitalization she was almost completely healthy and now is just like any other four year old girl. It is easier, most of the time, to let go of some of those darker memories and be so, so thankful for this beautiful, healthy creature that we almost didn't have at all and then almost didn't get to keep. And ultimately it is this beautiful gift that I remember whenever I think about the darkest point of our lives. My sweet, smart, funny, four year old India.
But I still don't like to watch "Bear".

Saturday, September 09, 2006

This Old House

This old house is gettin' shaky
This old house is gettin' old
This old house has seen the rain
This old house has seen the cold...
Ain't got time to fix the shingles
Ain't got time to fix the floor...
--Brian Setzer Orchestra
HELP! I'm drowning in home improvement projects. We are simultaneously painting the dining room (I'm flying solo on that one), installing an exhaust system for our oven, having our kitchen cabinets slightly restructured, installing new countertops, new roof and copper guttering over one section of the house, ordering some unfinished bookshelves for our den, pricing patio installation, and waiting for a claims adjuster to estimate our damage from Ernesto. The damage includes water spots on several walls, shingles and window screens down, loss of two telephones and a front door that is swollen shut. I think that's it. I may have left out a project or two, it's difficult to keep track at this point.

For someone who likes things organized this is torture. It doesn't help that you have to pass through the dining room to move from the den to the kitchen or bathroom! There is no way to avoid the ladders, sheeting, paint cans and paraphernalia that litters the floor. Most days I walk around with at least one of four colors of paint splotched on me house and I are both wrecks.
It is helpful that India started back to preschool on Thursday so I have a little more time to take care of some of this stuff. She marched into school with only one small wobble of her chin and had a marvelous day.When we picked her up she was full of tales from her day and gave Kate a HUGE hug, telling her "I missed my Katie all day!". For her part, Kate repeated "I miss Heenya soooooo much" about every 20 minutes throughout the day.

After school we celebrated with some of India's friends by having a "backwards" dinner (dessert first). Bet you can guess how much chicken India and Kate ate after their chocolate sundaes! Things got a little rowdy in Stella's after dinner; we tipped the poor waitress well and will just cross our finge
rs that we will be allowed back.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Let it rain, let it pour,
Let it rain a whole lot more,
'Cause I got them deep river blues.
Let the rain drive right on,
Let the waves sweep along,
'Cause I got them deep river blues.
--Doc Watson (orig. Delmore Brothers)
Ernesto was full of surprises Friday as it slammed the Eastern Shore with havoc-wreaking wind and rainfall. We were pummeled with gusts that reportedly reached a top speed of 73mph, and unconfirmed rainfall totals waver between 8 and 10 inches. The Turmanators were caught completely off-guard (odd, since Tracy is head of the Eastern Shore Disaster Planning Coalition, but you know what they say about the cobbler's children having no shoes). Normally I have potable water, non-potable water, food plans, ice, etcetera, but NOT THIS TIME.
The short people and I went about our business Friday until the power went out at 1:30pm. It was a rough afternoon, filled with play-doh, crayons, emergency stashes of toys and anything else I could think of that didn't involve going outside or needing to see each other all that was dark! The real trouble began when I walked into the laundry room and stepped into a puddle; water was dripping through the ceiling air vent. I frantically checked the house and found 5 leaks, 2 of which were hitting my great-grandmother's studio grand piano! Some of the leaks were coming through the clapboard siding because the rain was horizontal in the wind.
I scrambled around for 45 minutes throwing tarps, towels and buckets on everything while simultaneously refereeing the short people and preventing the entire kitchen from being coated in a film of play-doh. By 4:00 the driveway contained a pool, some major tree limbs were down, sheets of shingles were blowing around the yard and Tracy had made it safely home after backtracking twice to avoid flooded roads and downed trees. By 6:00 the wind and rain finally subsided and we went outside to survey the damage...not too bad.
Several hours later when it became necessary to flush a toilet we discovered that our decrepit claw-footed tub had not held one drop of the water I had filled it with hours before! No spare water...'til Tracy filled a 5 gallon bucket from some of the ponds outside. We ate dinner, listened to music on the radio and tucked the girls into bed (EARLY, I might add) via old fashioned hurricane lamplight.
Yesterday left the house at 7am and spent the entire day across the Bay in Virginia Beach, arriving home at 5:30 just as the power and our phones were turning back on. Heaven! Thank you, Delmarva Power and Verizon. Thank you, modern civilization.
We seem to be mostly unscathed, minus some roofing and leaking issues. You can bet that I'll be stocked to the gills for the next little thunderstorm!
Still having photography+computer issues...I'll go back and add some later.