Drama Queen

Communication can be a problem at times in any marriage. I sometimes feel that my husband makes it a point to make communication harder than it has to be. I’ve taken to referring to him as “Drama Queen” because of this tendency.
Mark likes to notify me that there is something of which I’ll soon be hearing. Then when I ask him what it is, he says, “I can’t tell you. You’ll have to wait to hear it from so-and-so yourself.” 
Take, for instance, the other day when I came home from work. I asked where Jake was and Mark told me he was out fishing with a friend. Then he added, “And by the way, Jake has some big news to tell you!”
Of course, I gave him the expected response. I’m sure my eyes grew big as I asked him with anticipation, “What? What is it?”
“I can’t tell you. You’ll have to wait until Jake gets home so you can hear it from him.”
Irritated now, I asked, “Then why did you bother to say anything? Why didn’t you just say nothing and let Jake tell me when he gets home?”
Mark just shrugged and couldn’t explain himself, as usual and so I reminded him again of his tendency toward the dramatic. In the end, it turns out that Jake had caught a big muskie and Mark wanted Jake to tell me himself. Before that could happen, Jake sent a picture text to Mark’s cell phone and I saw the fish long before Jake even had a chance to tell me himself. I don’t even think Jake cared about being the one to tell me the story of the big fish.
See what I mean?
Yesterday evening, Mark was at work and he called me at home. He asked if Brad was at home and I said that he was.
“Did he have a conversation with you,” Mark asked me?
“Not really, no. He was sleeping when I got home and we haven’t really talked yet,” I told him. “Why?”
“I told him he needs to talk to you about something he told me.”
Here we go again.
“What,” I asked? “What’s going on?”
“I’m not going to be the one to tell you. I told him he has to be the one to break the news to you.”
“Fine,” I said. “I’m waking him up right now.”
With Mark still on the phone, I woke up Brad and asked, “Do you have something you want to talk to me about?”
Brad had started work very early yesterday morning, which is why he was napping in the early evening. Looking a little groggy, he confirmed he had something to discuss with me. At that point, Mark told me he was going to hang up and let us talk. I was thinking the worst. I was panicked. I wondered if Brad had been fired from his job, was dropping out of school or worse…if this was a girlfriend-related issue. The word “pregnancy” sprang to mind as I saw my son’s future drastically changing very quickly.
“Brad,” I began. “What is going on?”
“Ummm…” he looked me in the eye. “Heather (his girlfriend) is going to live with us.”
I was confused. I wondered why Heather would want to come live in our house when she attends school in North Dakota. How did her parents feel about this? And why hadn’t Brad asked me if this was OK? Why was he simply telling me this as if I had no say in the matter. I blinked. And then the light bulb went on.
“OH! Heather is going to be one of your room mates when you go back to school?”
Brad looked cautious, trying to gauge my reaction. “Yes.”
“Will she have her own bedroom?”
“Mom! What do you think? Of course,” he replied, seemingly breathing a sigh of relief at the fact that I wasn’t going postal on him.
“That’s all,” I asked?
“That’s all,” he said.
I was OK with this news. Brad and his room mates needed one more person to share the rent. I already knew this. I felt that Heather staying in the same house seemed safer than her other options, for reasons I won’t get into. They are good kids and I trust them. I reminded Brad that they are young, and if a break-up were to occur, that would make things uncomfortable, to say the least. So he needed to be prepared for the possibility that things might not to work out as well as he might hope.
“Mom, there isn’t anything you can bring up that I haven’t considered. I know.”
So that was that.
“Your dad made this sound very dire,” I laughed.
“I can imagine,” Brad agreed knowingly.
“I should call and tell him we’ve got it all out in the open,” I said with a gleam in my eye. Brad smiled while I dialed. When Mark picked up the phone, I laid into him.
“So you’re comfortable with this living together business,” I demanded?
“Well…. I said I was OK with it, depending on you being OK with it…”
“Our son is shacking up with his girlfriend and you’re just fine with this,” I accused!
“How are we going to explain this to our parents,” I went on, winking at Brad. Brad picked up another phone, turned it on, pressed the mute button and began to listen.
“Well, maybe we shouldn’t mention it if you think they’ll be bothered by it,” Mark was saying.
“And you think it’s alright that they are sharing the same room? SHARING THE SAME BED,” I ranted on?
“Now wait a minute. I…I…I didn’t know anything about that. Brad told me that Heather would have her own room,” he defended himself.
I was on a roll. My words were growing more heated. “I told Brad that if he is going to be living in sin with his girlfriend, he damn well better invest in a big old box of condoms. Didn’t we raise him to know better than this?”
Brad was nearly in hysterics. I was waiting for Mark to respond. Mark was at a loss as to how to respond. He obviously didn’t expect this reaction from me.
Finally, I couldn’t contain myself any longer. With a snort, I burst into hysterics while Brad un-muted his phone.
“Dad! You should have heard yourself,” he said. “I was trying so hard not to laugh out loud while mom was talking!”
“Yep,” I said. “We talked it out and everything’s fine here.” The laughter continued on my end while we waited for Mark’s reaction.
“Who’s the Drama Queen now,” I asked? Finally, Mark conceded and let out a laugh and a sigh of relief.
“You guys are toast,” was all he could say.
Maybe so. But for now, I’m enjoying my reign as The Queen!

Preacher Dave's Pants and Other Bowling News

The summer bowling league is coming to a close in a few weeks.

Last night I brought a camera to bowling thinking it would be nice to get a picture of our little team for the blog. Preacher Dave was on board with the plan. Gina had other ideas. She refused to participate in a group picture last night, saying that instead we would do this another night and that she and I must coordinate our outfits with matching shirts as well as get Dave a shirt that complemented ours. (Insert eye-roll here.)

She’s also got a bug up her butt about Dave’s pants and is hell-bent on going out to buy him a new pair. (I have to wonder what Dave’s wife might think if he shows up at home with a new pair of pants purchased by another woman, but Gina doesn’t seem too concerned. Neither does Dave, for that matter.)

You see, Dave is a tall, thin man and he can’t seem to cinch his belt tight enough to keep his jeans where they belong. He is constantly tugging them up. Last night Gina informed Dave that he needs to get with the times and get a pair of jeans that fit what little ass he apparently has. She mentioned the words “low rise” and “tighter fitting.” I watched this exchange with amusement. I thought our shy, little Dave would be uncomfortable with the fact that Gina was contemplating his butt and the fit of his jeans. But he didn’t refuse Gina’s offer and he did tell her his waist size and inseam when she asked. Dave typically wears a standard pair of Levi’s jeans. Gina says she’s going to buy him something a little more fashionable and fitting. I’m trying to picture the day this actually happens. I can’t imagine Dave accepting a new pair of jeans from Gina and then running off to the men’s room at the bowling alley to put them on. But you never know. Gina seems able to convince anyone of anything. It could happen.

I finally remembered last night to exchange cell phone numbers with Dave. We plan to bowl together next summer and I since I won’t see him over the winter, I wanted to make sure I could get in touch with him when it’s time to sign up again next year. I promised him I wouldn’t be calling him all the time and bugging him to chat on the phone. I should have made him make the same promise. Periodically throughout the evening, he would dial up my phone, watch me scramble to answer it, then hang up and grin when I saw it was him. I hope that I don’t come to regret this!

Aside from wardrobe concerns and phone games, the actual bowling is going well. I seem to have finally learned how to throw my new ball and my scores are back up in their normal range. My high game last night was 150. Considering I had trouble hitting 100 last week, this is a vast improvement.

Mark asked me the other day when bowling will be over. I told him I thought we had a couple more weeks, and then the end of the season banquet. I wonder if I should have reminded him that the Monday women’s league starts up just a few weeks after that?

So I'm Nice! So What? Damn It!


Shannon called me Doris.

As in Doris Day.

Because apparently Doris Day had a goody-two-shoes reputation. (Or should I be saying “has a goody-two-shoes reputation?” Is Doris even still alive? Hold on a sec. I’ll go check.)

(OK. I’m back. Yes. Doris Day is still alive. Wikipedia speaks of her in the present tense so I think we can presume that death has not yet come a-knockin’ on Doris’ door. Sorry Doris. No offense.)

(Doris is 87 years young, for those who are wondering.)

Clearly, I digress. Got a little adult ADHD going on there.


Shannon’s brother sent her an email today which had the potential to cause a rift in their relationship. She asked me what I would do if I were her. I said I would take his words with a grain of salt because it was clear that his wife was the one behind the words. I said that he has to live with his wife and it seemed to me that he conveyed the message as gently as he could so as to honor his wife’s wishes but also so as not to come across too harsh. I told Shannon not to let this break their relationship.

And do you know what she said?

She said, “I knew you were going to say that, Doris! You are a modern-day Doris Day! Always taking the high road.”

Here we go again with that whole “nice” and “sweet and innocent” thing. Why is this such a bad thing? Nice works for me! And besides, how does she know I’m so nice? Maybe nice is just a front to hide the sarcastic bitch that resides inside!

Seriously. Ask my husband. HE knows. At home I can be a serious bitch.

But in public, and at work and around friends, I like being the nice one. I like to be approachable. I’m a non-confrontational kind of girl. Is that so bad?

And for the record, I can be a bad-ass.

What? I can!

Sometimes I toss my chewed gum right out the car window.

And one time I didn’t return my shopping cart to the cart corral!

Sometimes I don’t recycle a recyclable item!

Last week, I almost bought blue fingernail polish. Almost. My daughter said I was too old to have blue polish. But I might go back and buy it anyway! HA!

And tonight?

Tonight, I’m going to go out for a run and when I cross the street, I’m not going to cross at the corner! How’s that for being bad-ass?

AND…I swear at other drivers. But only when the windows are all rolled up. And no one else is in the car. But I say the really bad words! I do!


Don’t call me “nice.” Damn it.

Party at the Lake and Pictures

The softball team party at the lake turned out to be fun in spite of the weather. I left home wearing shorts and a tank top. It was warm with a slight breeze and sunny when we left our driveway. One hour later, when we had arrived at our friends’ cabin on Long Lake in Centuria, Wisconsin, it was cloudy, cool and windy. Thankfully, we had thought to bring along sweatshirts.

It stayed cloudy most of the day with a few breaks in the clouds now and then; enough to provide us with a few short-lived bursts of sunshine and warmth. Unfortunately, there were also several bursts of rain throughout the day. This didn’t stop the girls from going out on the boat, tubing, jet-skiing or having fun in spite of the uncooperative weather.

All of the kids wanted to go tubing. A group of dads took charge of the boats and hooked up the tubes. I was thinking about the fact that I would freeze my butt off in the water on a day like yesterday, but the kids weren’t intimidated. With two tubes hooked up to each of the boats, the dads managed to haul bunches of kids around the lake all at once. Afterwards, the girls had great stories to tell of sailing across the water, hanging on for dear life and getting dumped into the lake. Their smiling, laughing faces were priceless.

IMG_0437 by you.

While the tubers were out doing their thing, the rest of the parents piled onto our hosts’ big pontoon boat and took a tour of Long Lake. We marvelled over the various cabins and the ones that were too nice to be referred to as “cabins” and discussed the pros and cons of being the owner of a lake home. It would be fun, but there’s a lot of work involved and I can barely keep up with my own house, much less own an additional place! Still, I wouldn’t mind having one myself.

The wildlife on the lake seemed so tame. Maybe they are used to sharing their space with all of the human residents at the lake. We saw several loons up close and I regretted leaving my camera behind. When we returned to the dock, we watched an eagle land in a nearby tree and then dive toward the lake, swooping down to catch a fish and taking flight again to go enjoy his dinner. It was amazing!

The rest of the day was spent warming ourselves around a bonfire and enjoying lots of food.  The kids took turns jumping on a trampoline that sat in the lower part of the yard, their screeches and laughter providing background noise to the conversations that were taking place.

Not long after the kids left the trampoline to go find some other adventure, we heard more screeches and laughter coming from the lower part of the yard. It seems it was “girls’ weekend” at the cabin next door. A group of late forty-ish looking women had been sitting out on their deck, listening to music, drinking, singing (badly) and laughing like crazy. Some of the women from that party thought that the trampoline looked like fun. They decided to give it a try themselves. And let me tell you, there is nothing quite so funny as drunk women on a trampoline!

IMG_0449 by you.

IMG_0445 by you.

IMG_0446 by you.

All in all, we had a great time at the party. It was a fun way to end such a wonderful season. Can’t wait for next year!

IMG_0427 by you.

Party at the Lake

It’s a beautiful summer Saturday (so far.) I woke up shortly after five o’clock and went out for a run. The sky was just beginning to lighten up and I got to watch the sun come up over the horizon, turning the sky behind the farm fields a gorgeous glowing pink.

It was quiet outside today. Very quiet. If there was any traffic noise from the nearby freeway, I failed to notice it. The birds seemed to be in hiding. The killdeer who usually screeches at me to steer clear of her nest was nowhere in sight. I didn’t see my friend, the egret hanging out in his pond; just a lone mallard taking flight. One little robin made her presence known from her perch atop a speed limit sign.

I had a better run today, along with a better attitude than I’ve had lately. I took the advice of my friend at work and as I neared the usual end of my run, I turned the opposite direction and kept running even though my body was tempted to call it quits. I managed to add maybe three-fourths of a mile to my usual distance. It’s a start. And it felt good.

Today’s plan is to attend a party at the cabin of one of the families from Kacey’s softball team. The cabin is on Long Lake in Wisconsin, about an hour’s drive from home. We’re celebrating the end of a great season. Kacey made a bunch of white chocolate and chocolate dipped strawberries to bring along. She says they are all of the girls’ favorites. I tried a new snack recipe – Butter Ranch Pretzels. From the sounds of it, there’s going to be enough food there to feed an army.

So far it looks like a picture perfect day for boating, swimming and picnicking. We’ll see. The forecast calls for a chance of rain, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the rain never transpires. Some of the families and girls are planning to spend the night, including Kacey. Mark and I aren’t campers and don’t have a tent, so we’ll just come home this evening and sleep in our comfy bed, well protected from any potential rain.

Brad has gone off to spend the weekend with the girlfriend again. Jake picked up an extra shift at work and so he won’t be joining us either. He’s more interested in making money, but he seems to really like his job, so I won’t complain.

I’m off to get ready for the big day, but before I go… Have you seen this video? Apparently this couple was married just a week or so ago, here in St. Paul and the video of their wedding procession has become an internet hit. The story behind it is in the St. Paul Pioneer Press today. I couldn’t stop smiling the whole time I watched it. So if you need something to lift your spirits, this is it. Enjoy! And have a great weekend!

Life is Good – July 24, 2009 – Our Transplant Anniversary

It’s hard to believe it’s already been a whole year. Last year on this day, I was a patient at the Hennepin County Medical Center. So was my dad. I was donating my kidney. My dad was the recipient. After several years of dialysis, he finally had hopes of surviving on his own again.

My dad and me, just before our surgeries

It was an amazing time for my dad and me during the weeks preceding and following our surgeries. I was gathering information trying to learn all there was to know about being a kidney donor. I was connecting with people in the online community who had donated a kidney too. Michael, better known as De-I is one of those people. He supported and encouraged me from the start, shared his own story and has remained a cherished friend ever since.

My dad was preparing for a major and difficult surgery and what I remember best about him at that time was how hopeful he seemed. After several years of dialysis, feeling sick and tired and as if he was missing out on a big chunk of life, he was ready to get back to the business of living.

I also remember being surprised at how so many people seemed, I don’t know… I guess, kind of… awestruck… at what I was doing. Maybe it’s because I was doing it for my dad and once I knew I was a match there simply was never a question as to whether I wanted to do it. I certainly never felt like I was doing something amazing, and I still don’t. It was just something I had to do. The decision wasn’t really a decision at all. It was merely an understanding that this was something I would be doing. And it was one of the easiest things I’ve ever done. It really was. There was some pain after the surgery. True. But once I was home, two days later, healing happened quickly. Aside from being a bit tired for a few weeks, my life returned to normal; you might even say, better than my previous normal, very quickly. Afterwards, I had a new appreciation for the body and began to respect my own a little better than in the past.

As for my dad, he is doing phenomenally well. I know as well as anyone that an organ transplant doesn’t always have the happy ending that is anticipated. Not true for my dad. I think he is doing infinitely better than anyone ever expected. Just a few months after surgery, my parents were able to move to their winter home in Arizona. Although I kept in touch by phone and heard things were going well while they were away, I was still amazed when I saw my dad for the first time when they returned home to Minnesota this past spring. He had energy and spunk. He wasn’t so sleepy all the time and he was back to his old self and getting on my mom’s nerves again! ;-) It was one of the simplest things that really solidified for me the reality of my dad’s recovery. He was able to mow his own lawn again. Seeing my dad zipping around on his riding mower made me incredibly happy. I can see my parents house on the next block from my own driveway. I’ll often stop to just watch my dad as he putters around in his garage. Such a simple thing, and yet so significant to me, considering all he’s been through. He’ll celebrate his 69th birthday in September and I’m sure many more in the years to come.

Jake & Grandparents by you.

My mom, Jake and my dad, last month

I don’t think much about the surgeries anymore. Life is back to its normal routine. I do however, pause when I see my reflection in the mirror and the scars that remain from my incisions. A couple of those scars are pretty ugly, but they don’t bother me at all. Rather, they symbolize a miracle; the miracle of my dad’s life.

Crabby no more

I can’t believe I haven’t written anything here all week. I guess that’s because it’s been one of those weeks when every little annoyance feels bigger than it really is. And in spite of the fact that I know better, I let things get to me.

Yes. I’ve been crabby. Living up to my contrary label, you might say.

I didn’t write because I didn’t think anyone would want to read about how when asked to hang some wet clothing in the laundry room so that it could air- dry, one of my kids actually folded a wet pair of pants over a hanger (and it was one of those baby hangers, no less, because it was apparently too far to walk to any one of the five closets containing normal-size hangers and collect a few empties.)  And to top it off, the wet shirt was put on the same baby hanger over the top of the wet pants. There was no hope of those clothes actually getting dry that way and the offender knew it.

Did I mention I washed those clothes three times because during the first run, there was a pack of gum in the pocket of a pair of pants? It took three washes to get the little bits of white wrapper pieces and gum off the dark clothing!

I’m sure no one else has kids who do such things! ;-)

And I didn’t think anyone would want to read about how I am still frustrated by my runs half the time. I run because it often allows me to blow off steam, but lately I seem to be focusing more on why I’m not getting faster or able to stretch out the distance. By the time I finish, I feel no sense of accomplishment. And to make matters worse, earlier this week, as I was coming back after a run, I was walking up my driveway while the sun was going down and two neighbors caught sight of me. One shouted across the street that I shouldn’t be running in the dark. OK. I know she was really just looking out for my safety. But the other…The other  shouted to me that I looked like a little girl. Presumably this was because of the ponytail in my hair? Maybe it was because of the not-so-flattering effect of the sports bra! In my crabby state of mind, I was so tempted to shout back my own assessment of her appearance and suggest she might benefit from taking up running too, but thankfully, my sense of common decency prevented me from being mean. And I really do like my neighbors.

There was the drive home from work Tuesday night when it began to hail the minute I reached the freeway entrance ramp and there was no hope of turning back and waiting it out. I got stuck on a freeway full of slow moving vehicles, all of the drivers, like me, gripping their steering wheels and hoping for the best while the hail rained down for what seemed an endless amount of time. The hail was so heavy that at one point, it looked like it had snowed out! My nerves were frayed by the time I finally got home. Luckily, my car shows no signs of damage.

Oh, look. I spilled out all my complaints here anyway.

I could go on about the multitude of little things that got on my nerves this week, but I won’t continue to bore you. As always, there have been a few things that opened my eyes to how petty I’ve been acting this week and a few things to make me smile and I’ve managed to climb out of the funk.

First of all, I won something! Me! I did! Can you believe it? I won a set of Tungsten rings from Weasel Momma. Now I just need to decide what I want and let her know so they can be sent to me. Decisions, decisions! (Thanks, Weasel Momma! And have fun at blogher!)

Meleah bestowed me with one of her awesome and very lengthy titles which can be found here. Go check it out. You’ll want one too!

Then, I was surprised with an email from my friend across the pond, Genius Rock Chef. We exchanged a few silly emails about one of my previous posts in which I contemplated getting a tattoo. I admitted that I will likely never get a real one but might see about getting a henna tattoo just to satisfy my curiosity. Rock Chef even went so far as to find a henna tattoo artist in Minnesota and sent me the link to the website. The artist makes appearances at the Minnesota State Fair every year, so I may very likely be able to find her there and get that tattoo I’ve been wanting!

A woman at work asked me about my running. She’s a serious runner herself and I expressed my frustrations to her. She gave me a few tips and lots of encouragement. She told me that if I can run three miles (which I can) then I can run six or more. It’s just a matter of breaking past the mental barrier that prevents me from getting there. I have a totally new sense of motivation.

I really hate when I let a bad mood stretch out over so many days like I just did. I’m done being crabby now. We now return you to the normal, mostly happy, slightly off-balance Terri.

Carry on!