Sunday, April 29, 2012

My Week In Review

In case you missed anything...


Play It Again, Sam, Sundays - Doctor Daddy Watch What You Say

The culprit
It's true. Doctor's have to walk a fine line when speaking to their patients. While wearing the white coat, they choose their words carefully in an effort to make sure their patient and their family fully understand the state of their health and/or available courses of action needed to regain or maintain their health and quality of life.

Doc H walks that fine line beautifully at the hospital.  It wasn't until our Little Buddy was in the first grade, we realized he must also choose his words carefully at home.

Back then, Doc H and I (or just I, if he was working late) would make the rounds to each of the kids' rooms to tuck them into bed and kiss them goodnight. (Nowadays, they tuck us into bed. Sad, but true.)
This particular night, we each visited LB's room and spoke to him, kissed him, tucked him in, turned out the light and shut the door. The kids were all well, all was good, they were safe.

It was Thanksgiving time and Little Buddy (LB) was asked to bring in a can a vegetables to school to make soup for the class Thanksgiving Feast. Doc H was given this bit of information at 10:30 the night before via email from his ex-wife. Now, this wouldn't have been such a big deal if I normally stocked my pantry with canned vegetables. However, as luck would have it...I don't. Call me crazy, but I just believe in eating fresh vegetables, especially since we live in an area where it is easy to get fantastic produce all year long.

So, it's 10:30pm and I'm in bed exhausted. I decide I'll wake up early and head over to the grocery store to pick up the can of veggies.

Early the next morning, Doc H is dressed and ready to head to the hospital. I am in my yoga pants and his over-sized medical school sweatshirt. The older girls are up dressing, doing their hair, and starting to come downstairs to chow down on the freshly baked cinnamon rolls for breakfast. I yell at Doc H to get LB down to the table. Next thing I know, Doc H is sternly asking me to look at LB's hand, "Look at what LB did to himself!" Doc H was not happy.  I looked at his little hand and saw it.

We had gone on a vacation earlier that year and our girls had chosen toe mood rings as their souvenir. Apparently, after turning out the lights, LB had slipped out of bed, found one of the tiny rings and slipped it on his finger. He slept with it on all night. All night, his finger swelled from a lack of blood flow.

LB's finger was worse than this...
Doc H was already at the sink with LB standing there on his tip-toes, eye-level with the counter top with his arm swung over into the sink with cold water gushing over his hand. I told Doc H I was heading to the store for the can of veggies. I told him to try butter or oil. And with that, I ran out the door.

As soon as I walked back in house carrying the can of veggies, I knew we were in trouble. If LB were a little puppy, he would've had his tail wrapped down in between his legs. He looked miserable. He and Doc H were in the same exact place as when I left for the store. LB has a combination of oil and butter slathered on his hand. Doc H is washing it off. Looking at me in disgust and still washing LB's hand, Doc H irritably announces, "I can't get it off. I'm going to have to take him to the OR to cut if off!"

With that, Doc H quickly dried LB's hand and ran upstairs to call the OR to alert them he was coming in with LB. LB ran to me and buried his face in my stomach balling uncontrollably. I could feel the hot tears and snot soaking through my sweatshirt and it dawned on me. I pulled him off of me and crouched down to look him in the eyes. "Sweetie, you don't think Daddy means he's going to cut your finger off, do you?"

LB had the ugly cry going on. Poor kid couldn't even answer. He just nodded as as he howled in angst. "No, no, Sweetie. He's going to take you to the OR to use the ring cutter! Daddy's going to cut the ring off, not your finger."

When Doc H cut the ring off, it exploded into three pieces. LB proudly took the three pieces to school for show and tell....along with the can of veggies.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Photo Challenge - From a Low Angle

I'll confess straight away, I'm not a photographer. Doc H is the photographer in the family and he is quite talented at it. I've characterized him as a Renaissance man; he is incredibly great in a number of areas which exercise both the right and left side of his brain. There are times I feel quite jealous of his abilities and talents, and other times when I feel quite inferior and still other times I feel very proud. Go figure.

However, I did take this little photo all by myself with my little ole IPhone camera and thought it fit this week's photo challenge, "From a Low Angle" at Our Reflection perfectly!

Here it is in the raw. No cropping, no photoshopping, no instagramming, no color or hue saturation, no HDR, no SLR (I throw around these photographic terms I learned from listening to Doc H, just like I can throw around medical terms such as endarterectomy, thrombosis, popliteal, etc...) just the photo as it was taken by me...



I love this photo for a variety of reasons. In my mind, there is no other flower which symbolizes Spring and warmth better than the daffodil (plus gophers and deer won't eat them). I just adore daffodils. I also love the color contrast between the flowers and the sky. It was such a gorgeous day.

If you'd like to enter, it's not too late! There's just over a day left...so hurry!


Our Reflection Photo Challenge

Thank You!

Hi everyone! I hope you enjoyed the wonderful guest posts over the past week. 

If you missed any, here they are: 


Please be sure to check out their blogs and poke around. They are all wonderful and would love to see you visit their blogs! Please let them know I sent you!

Thanks to them all for stepping in, so I could enjoy some down time and mai tai’s!

Thank you to Ashley at Flats to Flipflops for inviting me to guest post last week! It was an honor and I just loved talking about my addiction!

Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn't mention lovely Michelle, who is responsible for my gorgeous new blog design! I can't thank her enough. She was a gem to work with! If you are interested in a new blog design or a little "lift", contact Michelle at This Little Light - embrace. the. joy. You won't be sorry!



Friday, April 27, 2012

A Sign From God


I took this photo on my IPhone.
Yes, Maui is THAT gorgeous!
I already told you how I fresh I was feeling after the long, first class trip out to Hawaii, so  I didn’t feel a particular need to make sure I had my ID in hand the rest of the day as we ventured out to familiarize ourselves with the resort and its surroundings. I figured if I was carded (which doesn’t even happen anymore at the grocery store), it was probably not a bad thing considering the levels of alcohol I had already imbibed earlier in the day.
No worries, my friends! I had no issues ordering my apple mojito during happy hour. 
The next day, despite a bit of a headache and cloudy veil which can only fall over you after a mix of champagne, mojito, pina colada, mai tai and red wine, Doc H and I awoke very early just like every other mainlander and set out to enjoy the beauty of the island and find some local watering holes to help level the chemical equilibrium. 
I grabbed by tote, threw in my tank-ini, my sunscreen, hat, and.... where’s my ID? 
I looked everywhere. No ID. Doc H ripped apart my purse. No ID. 
DocH: Where did you last have it?
Me: When we went through security. I know I put it back in my purse, but I couldn’t zip my purse up because I stuffed my Ipad in there.
DocH: It probably fell out in the plane!
Me: Nooooooo! 
DocH: How are you going to get back on the plane without ID! You need to call the airline. 
Me: Noooooooo! It’s got to be in the rental car.
DocH: Did you bring any other form of ID?
Me: No, but it’s got to be in the rental car. Let’s just go.
We proceed to leave. We make sure the hotel room door is securely locked.
DocH: What are you going to do if you don’t find your ID?
Me: I’ll take it as a sign from God that I’ve had my limit of drinks for this trip. {SIGH.} I won’t drink anymore.
DocH: Really? 
Me: Really.
As soon as one valet drives the car in front of us, Doc H walks around to the driver side to tip the valet. I open my door and as soon as I do, I see something glowing on the floor.
AAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! My ID!
I jut it straight out in front of Doc H with a Hu-MONG-OUS, "TAKE THAT (!)", grin. 
DocH: Well, what is God telling you now? It’s okay to drink?
Me: Abso-FREAKING-lutely!
I immediatley rang God up in my heart; “Dear God, Mahalo. Mahalo. Mahalo!”

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

You Gotta Learn How to Work The System...


If you’re not family in the medical field, or new to the medical life, please allow me a couple minutes to share some insight on these medical conferences before I share this brilliant tidbit I unearthed while in Maui.
Even after:
4 years undergrad
4 years medical school
6 years residency (4 clinical, 2 research)
2 years fellowship
Doc H, and others, must continue their education via Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits, hence these conferences. Here, doctors in a given specialty or group of similar specialties, will gather up to present and ponder incredibly thrilling and exciting topics, such as “Current Management of Perirectal Absess in the Non-Operative Arena” or “STAT1 Mutations in Autosomal Dominant Chronic Mucocutaneous Candidiasis" which particularly caught my interest. Yawn.
The presenter presents his/her topic or paper via slide show, entertains a brief Q&A session afterwards, and so the day goes...all.day.long. Like I said- thrilling.
These conferences usually take place in an incredibly lovely vacation destination with the hope to increase attendance and possibly even break into the black when all is said and done. The nicer the destination and the hotel, conference organizers know they can count on the spouses to back the conference. The annual conference becomes almost synonymous with “family vacation”.
But, just as all in life, there’s irony in this. While we spouses and the kids are having the time of our lives, our husbands (or Doc wives-let’s not leave them out) are cooped up inside a meeting room- working. So, it’s not truly a “familly vacation” unless you stay a day or two extra, which isn’t much time for anyone to wind down out of work mode.
Poor Doc H was already feeling overworked and overwhelmed by the end of Day 1 and commented how his is ready for a “real” vacation for himself. Being the super-supportive wife I always strive to be, I whole-heartedly agreed. We should indeed book a “real vacation” as soon as we return home. No arguments from me!
But, let’s face it, we could never or perhaps, would never book such an extravagant vacation for ourselves and the kids. Had we paid regular retail for this vacation, it would have cost us thousands in hotel fees alone. Instead, because he helped with conference planning, presented a talk,  and moderated a session, Doc H’s airline ticket was expensed, the hotel room was free for three nights and the extra nights were highly discounted. My ticket was purchased with points. Yeah...this type of vacation isn’t going to happen for Doc H without a conference involved....Poor Doc H...the guy always has to work!
So imagine my surprise, as I convey this whole injustice to a couple other doc wives as we are sitting on the beach under a fabulous large beach umbrella our fabulous beach boy, Juan, had set up for us, to save our skin from searing under the hot Maui sun, and one of them (who is a doc herself and about 10 years older- She’s not Mrs. Doc, she’s Dr. Doc) perks up and says, “Oh no! There’s a way around that!”
My ears, spine, and hair on the back of my neck all stood up at once, I tell you!
Me: Seriously?
Dr.Doc:  Of course, Sweetie! You know what me and my Doc Hubby used to do?
Me: WHAT?!
Dr. Doc: One of us would sign up for a conference we had no interest in attending, such as pediatrics or something, sign up for the conference, and take advantage of the fabulous room rates! 
Me: (pulling my jaw up out of the sand) REALLY?! 
Dr. Doc: Oh, you should totally do it. Your Doc H works so hard. He deserves a wonderful vacation with the kids with no work!
Yes, Yes. He. Does.
As soon as I get home I’m researching pediatric conferences around the globe.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

That Fresh, First-Class Feeling

We made it to Maui and I learned a few lessons on the trip out. I thought I would share this newly acquired wisdom so you could benefit from my mistakes and misconceptions should you ever find yourself considering paying the extra moo-la for first class.

#1 Upgrading to First Class on a "DEAL"

This was very exciting to me! Only my second time (1st time was due to a mistake by the airline and FREE) and Doc H and I thought it would be a good idea to upgrade based on these two notions: extra leg room, and we would arrive completely fresh and relaxed. No leg or neck cramps for us! Or so I thought.

I don't think I'll ever fly again without some compression stockings. Midway through the oh-too-long flight, I could feel the blood pooling in my calves and they cramped up anyway despite the extra 6 inches of leg room. I made countless unnecessary trips to the lavatory just for an excuse to walk about the cabin.

I'm pretty sure the two female doctors who were sitting directly adjacent to the lavatory had me diagnosed with a urinary track infection by the way they shoot a little half-smile at me each and every time I struggled with that darn fold-up door. In the South, you would call that scrap of a smile a "bless her heart" pity smile. In my neck of the woods, it's a "I'm sure as sh*t glad it's you and not me" scoff.

#2 Fly First Class and You'll Arrive to Your Destination Fresh as a Daisy

The culprit of my staleness
Doesn't happen that way. No matter how much of a "deal" you received on your first class upgrade (even if you got it FREE), it is impossible to say no to any of the perks available in first class.

Even my love and adorable Southern Bell M-I-L...

SIDEBAR: (who doesn't normally drink- she even lives in a "dry" county. -BACK THE BUS UP AND THROW IT IN PARK!- I didn't even know there was such a thing until I met Doc H and he warned me of this unfortunate circumstance after I had agreed to fly out there for a visit. Now that is a crazy way to live in my book. There are days I could take a bath in sweet tea and it still wouldn't soothe my problems like a rita or a tini or a glass of vino would.)

...confessed she had a glass of Chardonnay (well, she called it whaaa whaaaaan) the one time she was put in first class. So when the flight attendant came around offering champagne before take-off...Well, you...I took it, and asked for another, and after that, I moved onto a Mimosa, and so on , and so one.... I felt I had to get my money's worth of first class freebies!

Let's just say I now have a little better understanding of Alec Baldwin's Words with Friends fiasco.

While I was able to walk off that plane, I was no no way feeling fresh or relaxed. I needed a nap - STAT!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Guest Post: The One with the Red Stethoscope

Hey Everyone!
While I'm flying home from a crazy week of mai tai's and pina colada's, check out this guest post by The One with the Red Stethoscope. She is a relationship advice columnist turned medical student. She blogs about it all! I know once you poke around her blog, you'll want to follow along with her!


Don’t Waste Your Time on Cute Underwear, You Won’t Need It!


My friend, Rajiv, had offered to go with me to my first urology visit, but I was sure that I didn’t need him.  
I mean, after my gynecologist had referred me to a urologist at University Hospital, I had gotten an appointment for a consultation.  This was in my blissful pre-medical years when I knew nothing, so when my friend expressed concern, I confidently reassured him,
“Don’t worry!  It’s just a consultation.  They just talk to you.  They don’t do procedures or anything the first time.”
You can probably see where this story is going.
Two years prior to this appointment, I was rear-ended in a car accident.  For the years that followed, I’d frequently have urgency or wetting (let me tell you, a JOYOUS problem for a 21 year old college student), but the student health service always sent me home with antibiotics and told me that I had an untreated UTI.  
(Word to fellow students:  Do not, under any circumstances, trust your health to student health services.  Even when you are a medical student (*ahem*) and you falsely believe that you will get better care because it is in the hospital’s best interest to keep you alive for cheap labor, this is not the case.  I repeat:  THIS IS NOT THE CASE.)
Anyway, after becoming a bona fide grownup with real health insurance, I was now in the care of better medical providers who knew what they were doing.
The consultation started innocently enough.  
A nurse interviewed me about my past medical history, and I sat patiently—and fully clothed--on the exam table.  Next, I was asked to empty my bladder in a nearby restroom and come back.  Again, nothing scary.  When I returned, a cute, male medical student had joined the nurse in the exam room to perform an abdominal ultrasound.
Not only was I correct that I didn’t need Rajiv, but this appointment was turning out better than I thought it would.  I would get to see an ultrasound! On myself!  And hot damn, there was a cute medical student too!  Win!
While the nurse probed at my abdomen with a goop-covered wand, I chit-chatted with the medical student.  His name was Joe, and at 24 years old, we were about the same age.  I had no idea about third year rotations or specialties at this point, but as a wanna-be doctor, Joe was the ultimate of cool in my eyes.  I asked annoying questions about applications and rankings and gushed about how I wanted to eventually abandon my writing career to become a doctor.
During this time, I was paying very little attention to what the nurse was doing.  
There was some gentle pressure below my umbilicus, but I was still fully clothed with only my shirt raised.  It was your standard ultrasound with a gel-covered wand, but when I realized that I couldn’t see anything on a monitor, I had stopped paying attention.  When the nurse printed out a little piece of paper from the machine indicating that my bladder was still retaining urine that it was too weak to extrude, I barely noticed.  
Then, my doctor, Dr. CJ, came in.
“So, your ultrasound was actually abnormal,” he started.  “I’m going to need to catheterize you to see what’s going on.”
Umm…what?  I was suddenly back—fully engaged in the appointment and not a certain medical student--and not quite believing what I was hearing.
“If you’ll undress from the waist down,” Dr. CJ continued, “I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
My gynecologist had already told me that this practice didn’t have many female patients and as a young, female patient with an apparent “abnormality,” I could see the glimmer of excitement in Dr. CJ’s eyes.  
Before I could object, he continued,
“Oh, and since you’re such an interesting case, I’d like to have my medical student watch!”
Suddenly, the appointment was taking a turn for the worse.  Not only was I mortified and unprepared for an examination of my nether regions, but it was going to be done by a male urologist and his handsome medical student--whom I had just spent the past 20 minutes flirting with.  I had no idea what a urology exam entailed, but it couldn’t be anything good.  
I was 23, though, and entranced by the idea of medical education.  I couldn’t possibly say no to letting someone learn something in the exact same way that I wanted to one day.  The medical student had to be allowed to watch, right?
(Side note:  As a current medical student who is doing a clinical preceptorship with an Ob/Gyn, you do NOT have to let the medical student watch.  There will be plenty of other patients for the medical student to see, and I promise you that unless you explicitly say no, the medical student will take every opportunity to learn something—even if it is on you!)
So, I undressed as instructed and sat with a thin paper drape over my legs, which were spread slightly apart with my thighs resting in some sort of urology holsters on the exam table.  Dr. CJ returned with the medical student and a nurse in tow.
I promptly began to hyperventilate.
That’s right.  It may have been all good in theory, but there I was: cold, half-naked, and looking down the unfriendly eye of a catheter.  I also had an audience.  Mind over matter was. not. working.  I should have let Rajiv come.  He would have made the medical student leave.
Dr. CJ didn’t seem to notice that I was well on my way to passing out, and neither did the nurse.  But, Joe—bless his heart—started to reactively panic.
“Should I be doing something?,” he blurted out, awkwardly.  “Is there something that I can do to help?”
Yes, Joe.  You could LEAVE the female patient to get catheterized in peace.
“No, I’m fine,” I lied, smiling fakely, between gaspy breaths.
If I had been braver, I would have asked Joe to hold my hand.  The gesture had nothing to do with romantic intent, as much as trying to calm my nerves.  I remember a nurse reaching out and holding my hand during my first gyn appointment as a teenager, and it had been immensely comforting.  
Unfortunately, I was both cowardly and stubborn.  I was not going to ask the handsome medical student with urologic aspirations to hold my hand.  I would go down in a blaze of alkalotic glory if I had to!
(Second Side Note:  It’s OK to ask the medical student to hold your hand.  They don’t have anything to do, but watch, anyway.  They might as well make themselves useful.  Also, some of the asocial types need a cue, because they won’t volunteer to be compassionate spontaneously.)
Thankfully, before I knew it, the catheter was out and the wheels in Dr. CJ’s head were turning.  There were follow-up appointments, consultations, and eventually, a year of physical therapy for my pelvic floor muscles that cured me of my problems.
Before this, though, I had to come in for more tests at Dr. CJ’s office and you’d better believe that I came prepared!  I psyched myself up for the worst case scenarios and planned my reactions in my head.  Extreme pain?  I was ready!  Getting a bad diagnosis?  I could take it!  Peeing on the floor in front of Dr. CJ and his medical staff?  He’s a urologist; he had to have seen worse already!
Knowing that confidence underwear wouldn’t matter in this particular circumstance, I took a cue from Geralyn Lucas and wore lipstick to my next urology appointment.  It was a dark, lush red that was matte and rich and for which, I had always received compliments.
And, it worked.
Feeling like I at least looked pretty, even if I was traumatized, helped me relax.  Before I knew it, I was the girl with pelvic floor issues making friendly conversation with the nurse and talking to Dr. CJ about his personal life.  As it turned out, his wife was a doctor turned Christian writer, and he suggested that I email her to hang out.  
While this may not be the standard suggestion from one’s urologist, I did so, and wouldn’t you know that I became friends with Dr. CJ and his wife?  For the next several years, I’d attend Christian writer group meetings and parties at their house.  And, when the time came for medical school applications, guess which two M.D.s volunteered to be my proofreaders?
As for the cute medical student, Joe?  It’s possible that I accidentally turned him off of urology forever, but I don’t know.  I never saw him again.  
THANK GOODNESS.
You can read more at The One with The Red Stethoscope

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Play It Again, Sam, Sundays

Dressing for Doctor


Recently, I finally surrendered to pains which have been nagging me for way to long. Much like the plumber with the leaky faucet, we, Doc families seem to be walking case studies of a plethora of ailments, aches, and pains - especially the adults. If something's hurting, I just wait until Doc H comes home, mention it in passing and wait for a response. Usually, I get no response other than a nod (translation: I have no idea. You’ll probably feel better in a day or two) or the raise of an eyebrow as he turns to walk toward me to better assess the situation (translation:  It’s probably nothing, but I better take a look so she doesn’t get mad at me when she goes to her doctor and is prescribed meds).
My recent ailments sent me through a variety of departments. I went to my GP who then sent me to Podiatry and Radiology and then Podiatry sent me to Physical Therapy (oh, and let’s not forget the mammogram my GP ordered)...all within the hospital where my husband not only practices, but is Chief of his department. 
Today was PT day. I woke up late, threw on my comfy warm clothes to drop the non-driving teens off at school. I broke the speeding limit a couple times on the drive home to make sure I had enough time to shower, do my hair and make-up and put on my work clothes for my visit to the doctor. Was I going into the office afterwards? No. Was I going to meet with a client? No. Was I going out to lunch with colleagues? No. I was dressed up because Doc H asked me to do so.
Now, don’t go getting your panties all twisted up in a wad. Doc H is the furthest thing from a controlling husband (and I know. That was my first husband.) However, I will admit my eyes rolled as my jaw hit the floor when he made this “dress for doctor” request. Here are his reasons:
As a patient - While many doctors give the same service and attention to all, some doctors do not (think Dr. Alex Karev from Grey's Anatomy). The patient who comes in looking disheveled and unkempt with grubby clothes may not receive the same level of attention and care as a patient who comes in looking clean, groomed and neatly dressed. Now, I know it’s not right and I am glad Doc H is very open-minded and non-judgmental. He is the first to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. He enjoys working with the underprivileged and finds it very rewarding.
As Your Doctor’s Wife - Apparently, I (and I mean, we, to those of you who are in my club) need to represent. Even if I am not feeling well, I still need to look my best and put my best foot forward. These are his colleagues and just as we like to be proud of our husbands, they like to be proud of us. Plus, despite HIPAA laws, you don’t think word would leak that you were there, right? I can just hear all the NA and MA's talking at lunch, "Did you see Doc H's wife? She came into clinic today. She looked awful!" Or my worst nightmare, "What does he see in her? She's homely looking!"
Can’t wait until the day I need a colonoscopy. I may have to go out of state for that one.

So, I see Doc H's point. Besides, is it really that much harder to dress for doctor? 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Guest Post: Dr Erhumu- Health information based loosely on true stories


Top 10 Lies Doctors Tell

Stories from working in a busy hospital in Africa, based on true life experience and some imagination from: 



1. I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL.

He doesn't know how you feel, he has READ about how you should feel and knows patients that feel the same way.


2. I'M SORRY.

Not exactly, only sorry i'm the one that has to break the news. to you.


3. YOU'LL BE BETTER IN A WEEK.

Absolutely no guarantee . Just feels good saying that.


4. JUST WANT TO DO A FEW TESTS.

You would probably spend a whole month doing the tests.


5. I AM HERE FOR YOU.

No, i am really only here for you till i close at four.


6. IT WONT HURT.

Better brace yourself for some serious pain.


7. ITS A MINOR THING.

No its not, but if i told you that, you may cry all over me.


8. I'VE HANDLED IT BEFORE .

Yes, and the first time was yesterday.


9. IT'S NOTHING, JUST WANT SOMEONE ELSE TO HAVE A LOOK.

Its probably what we both fear it is, but i don't have the heart to tell you right now.


10. BE PATIENT, THE DRUG WILL WORK.

Since it hasn't worked yet, it is unlikely to work but i can't think of anything else.


Please visit Dr. Erhumu for more great reads!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Guest Post: Delilah at Confessions of a Semi-Domesticated Mama

If you haven't come across Delilah's blog, you've been missing out on some funny stuff! I am thrilled to introduce her to you. Be sure to visit her blog and read some of her posts. She is a kick in the pants!




Position Available: Mother of Tween

Job Description:

Seeking a slightly unbalanced mother figure with extremely high self-esteem for demanding, no paying position requiring enhanced crowd control skills, advanced peace keeping training and a willingness to be blamed for everything regardless of fault. Candidates must possess excellent bargaining skills, an innate sense of impending doom, and the ability to drop everything at a moment's notice to do the bidding of the Tween. Must be willing to work variable hours, including evenings, weekends- pretty much 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with no vacation, sick or personal time. Frequent chauffer duty is required. The ability to navigate emotional mine fields, tolerate excessive amounts of bad attitude and overlook mood swings is helpful. Candidate must possess the stamina of a pack mule and be willing to tolerate a frequently hostile work environment.





That is apparently the job I applied for all those years ago when my son was a fresh faced, sweet smelling, cuddly baby who laughed and smiled often. Unfortunately, nobody clued me in to what my future held while I was busy enjoying the baby phase. Nobody told me that there would come a time when he would be an uncommunicative, sullen, and hormonal beast. I grew up with a sister.  I am well aware of what to expect from my girls once they hit the tween years. I guess I figured it would be easier to be a boy at that stage.  My husband assures me that being a boy is just as hard when you are in that awkward phase. Personally I don’t know what could be more difficult than finding out your body is going to randomly produce blood once a month for the next 40 years but whatever.  He said something about testosterone and surges and blah blah blah. I stopped listening when I caught a glimpse of the chocolate cake on the counter.



These past few months into tween-dom have been very challenging for me. The day my son, Ty, came home and informed us that he was old enough to stay home alone was a shocker. He’s 11 and a card-carrying member of the male gender. He won’t be ready to stay home alone until his wife tells him he can. Next came the smells. There is nothing quite like the smell of a tween boy. If you don’t have one, please take my word for it. I rushed right out and purchased a variety of deodorants, shampoos, body washes and the all-important Axe body spray. I secretly stuffed odor eaters inside his sneakers. I installed a heavy-duty air freshener inside his bedroom. You know what I didn’t count on? The reluctance of a tween boy to take a shower. Every night ended with the same argument. Two hours of asking him to take a shower leads into yelling, screaming and threatening until he finally huffs and puffs his way up the stairs. Approximately 38 seconds later, he is once again standing in the hallway, still smelly and now naked and wet because he forgot his towel and his pajamas. There are not many things in life more traumatizing to a mom than being confronted with her Tween son’s junk on display. I may never recover.



Then came the news he has a girlfriend. I’m sorry, what? I can’t tell you how I responded to that tidbit of information because I was curled up in my closet in the fetal position, sucking my thumb and crying. I am not ready to venture into the world of girlfriends.  Girls are mean. Tween girls are really mean. I know this because I was one. When I finally crawled out of my closet and was able to form a coherent thought, I questioned him about his new girlfriend.  He looked at me as though I’d grown an extra head and hit the door running. Apparently, it’s no longer cool to talk to your mother. In fact, he has started making statements to the tune of ‘please don’t embarrass me in the store like you usually do’ before we venture into The Wal*Mart. I’m offended. With the obvious exception of the time I couldn’t stop giggling in his Sex Ed Class, I’m reasonably well behaved in public. Last week I found myself responding ‘you have no idea the ways I could embarrass you son’ and immediately set about brainstorming various forms of humiliation. Here are just a few I came up with in the spur of the moment.



  1. Break into a rousing rendition of Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ while in public. Preferably somewhere that we might see a handful of his schoolmates.



  1. Sign up to chaperone the upcoming field trip to the Health Center where they are surely going to learn more about the process of procreation.



  1. Insist on walking him all the way to his classroom each morning and leaving him with a big kiss and hug. Repeatedly say ‘Mommy loves you’ as I’m walking down the hallway to leave.



  1. Wear only pajamas to drive him to school and make sure to exit the car to help him get out and put on his book bag.



  1. Invite all his friends over for a surprise dance party and then bust a move on the Xbox 360 Just Dance 3 game



What do you think? I think any of those things ensure my nomination for Mom of the Year.



I hope the trophy is made of chocolate.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Guest Post: Living in Kellie's World

Aloha, Everyone!
I know you'll enjoy reading "Living in Kellie's World". Be sure to visit Joe's blog and poke around a bit. Joe always seems to have me laughing!



Earlier this month, Dr. H’s wife (she really needs to pick a moniker so we can gossip about her more easily) lamented about the inequities in the pricing of men and women’s haircuts.  I had a hard time connecting with her post because I’ve had little need for the services of a hair stylist. 
I served as an officer in the Navy for nearly all of my adult life, 29 years, 7 months, and 7 days to be exact.  During that time, I could usually get a standard military haircut for less than $10. Now that I’m retired, I don't cut my hair at all, reducing my costs in this area to zero.  As for hair coloring, I have no need for those services either.  Thanks to some rare genetic defect, at almost 53 years of age, I still don't have any grey hair, at least not on my head.  We won't talk about where I have found a few grey hairs since this is a family blog. 
As far as I know, only four other people in my family have the no-grey-hair gene: my paternal grandmother, my father, and my father’s two younger brothers.  However, the no-grey-hair gene produces an unfortunate side effect.  My grandmother, the obvious source of this rare gene, was only 4’10”.  And given the rather short stature of all the men with this gene (none of us is over 5’6” and anyone who claims otherwise is lying) it seems that the no-grey-hair gene is also part of the thou-shall-be-short gene complex. 
Thanks for urinating in the gene pool grandma.  I really should be more grateful though.  Grandma did neutralize some of grandpa’s genes.  He went completely bald in his twenties.
Joe Cereola is the author of the blog Living In Kellie’s World.
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