Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Yea! A box for Father's Day!!

Know how fun it is to see a little kid ignoring the toy and playing with the empty box? The captain is a little bit like that kid. Only his empty boxes come from liquor stores and are great for shipping treats to his beer buddies.

Father's Day weekend was full of friends and food and wine and beer and art and baseball and well, it was kind of exhausting. Good exhausting. And super fun.

Ali did, in fact, give her father a box for Father's Day. But it was decorated with lots of beer things from places he likes and inside was full full of things he can use, some things he can snack on and some words on paper promising even more good stuff to come. And a flashlight he insisted on having...

The weekend got started with a girls's trip to Crackerbarrel where we met Aunts Donna, Diana and Jaime for what for some of us was a healthy meal that included green stuff on our plates. 
Not so for Diana who had starch x 4 and was incredibly proud of it. We may have set a record for telling the most terrible stories from childhood but no one kicked us out.

Ali will tell you that she beat me at checkers. It was after I'd won handily and I was feeling generous. She doesn't have that gene when it comes to competition.
We went all over the place looking for Father's Day gifts and Jenna Tokash birthday gifts. But it was sunny and the top was down so we didn't care about the miles.

Friday night, Eric and Tracy came up and we met them and Susan and Jeff for Taste of Broad Ripple. Much eating and drinking and laughing.

The Indians won. Jeff, Eric and Ali scored stuff at the Talbott Street Art Fair. (We spoke with Gary and will follow up with more fun Father's Day stuff in person soon on a summer trip to Maine.)

Ali made incredibly good French onion soup and I helped with a pear & prosciutto pizza Sunday night. And Jeff got a box. All is right with our world.

All the kitties we're sitting (4 total) are happy and healthy. Well, we're not sure Oreo gets happy, but they're all just fine. Plants, too, Kirstin.  :)





Saturday, June 10, 2017

A week of Alison's Summer Break-ation

I’ve been telling Ali she should journal her summer now that it’s blown up by her collarbone fracture. She’s resisting but giving me gems. Here’s what I recall her actually saying along with some imagined journaling she'd do if she ever listened to me.

I promised I'd make sure you know this is ME journaling; not her. #Teenagers

Ali's Summer Break-ation


Day 1 (Thursday): Was going to the movies with Navy to see Pirates of the Carribean but got flipped off my bike and broke my collarbone. Hurts like a mother and when I called for help from my parents, neither one answered the phone. A random stranger and her husband helped me. Navy came and then my mom. I kind of gave her a hard time but she was beating herself up so well I didn’t need to.  I gave her a break. I'm what they call a benevolent despot.

Got home around midnight from the hospital. Will be sleeping on the Yogi Bo for a while so I don't hurt myself. Supposed to call out if the pain gets too bad.

Day 2 (Friday): I thought I’d get more time to get used to this sling and being a cripple but my mom just told me I still have to do chores. WTF??? I tried. It hurt. She said I could stop. Seemed really sorry that she’d made me do it. I guess I shouldn’t have told her that it wasn’t hurting me “at all.” Guess she’s not a total bitch. Wait: I wonder if this means I don’t get my allowance now...

I did get to go to my cat sitting job but I couldn’t ride my bike to get there like I'd planned. An hour with the kitties and I come out wearing a ton of cat fur. Mom got it off my sling and I showered. Alone. Thank you very much. I like her help but really didn’t need/want her in the shower with me. I'm 16 not 2!!!!!

Not taking the prescription pain med. It’s Vicodan!!!! Pretty sure I’ll be a drug addict if I start. Ice and ibuprofen is working just fine. I told Jenna about my arm. She said I’m a dumbass for not wearing my helmet. Guilty. Zoya and Hannah texted me all alarmed. They read my mom's blog. Guess I should tell some other people about it.

Took flowers to the Bryants (the family that rescued me) and picked up the bike. It's in better shape than I am....

Went to the Indians game. They won. It was fun. Got to go to the bathroom ALL BY MYSELF!!! My parents are weird. They practically body-guarded me walking in so I had no chance of getting knocked into by the crowd. I can walk, people....

Day 3 (Saturday): Bored. Mom tells me I should start my drivers’ ed online course. That sounds boring too. Just realized this stupid sling means I can't water ski or paddle board at Auntie Jen's. That is so unfair! And Jenna is going with me this year. Stupid collarbone. My life sucks.

Got through the rest of The Office on Netflix. Super fun. Maybe life doesn't exactly suck.

Considered feeling guilty that Mom is doing my laundry. Opted not to. I'm the crippled one. 

Saw the late show of Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Mom drank a Rockstar to be sure she made it to the end. She smuggled in chocolate for me. I love her. (She did not fall asleep!)

Day 4 (Sunday): Super bummed. I’m supposed to be going to Summer Camp today. Stupid sling. Mom and Day say I can probably go for part of the week if the doctor clears me. I don’t want to go if I can’t do anything. This summer sucks.

Dad came in to hang out with me. I was on the couch. He was on the YogiBo. Mom left for something. He was asleep before she got in the car, I think. Napping is good.

Ogdens came by to see how broken I am. I love them. They brought me creme brûlée!!!

Day 5 (Monday): Supposed to go to the orthopedic doctor to see if I need surgery. Something with insurance happened. Now no doctor visit. Mom seems pissed.  On phone a lot with nurses. It’s funny when she talks back to voice mail.

She said maybe I could go to summer camp, still, if the doctor cleared me. I really don't want to go if I can't do anything. Feel bad about stranding Bree there, though.

Catching up on South Park. OMG they killed Kenny! Bastards!

Day 6 (Tuesday): Researching collar bone breaks to see what I’m looking at. I don’t want to spend all summer in a sling. Getting some summer homework done. Have not started drivers’ ed.

Day 7 (Wednesday): Doctor visit. Practically at dawn. Doesn’t anyone know it’s summer? I think I impressed the doctor with my collarbone research. 

It’s a Type 3 break. I KNEW it. Xrays are cool too. Navy had been saying I didn’t really break it because they called it a fracture at the ER. Ha! Suck it, Navy!!! It’s totally broken. Super cool. And my bruise is getting bigger and easier to see, too. He says I don't have to wear the sling 24/7 and I can move around and if it hurts, stop. I made sure Mom was paying attention. I'M NOT A CRIPPLE OR 2 YEARS OLD!!!!!

Dad was home from work because we had some service call at the same time as the doctor visit. Mom had gone somewhere and I was on the couch. Hungry. Dad was in the kitchen just hanging. I asked him to make me Ramen, apparently without enough pathetic in my voice.

"Get your lazy butt off the couch and make your own damn Ramen. You're not crippled," he said.

I stopped myself from saying, "Mom would do it." So I made my own damn Ramen. And I made it fancy too. He said: "Hey that smells good. You gonna share?"

"Make your own damn Ramen," I said. I was pretty sure calling him lazy would be a step too far. But he made his own damn Ramen.

I wonder when Mom's coming home.


Day 8 (Thursday): Slept for 12 hours. Almost straight through. Kinda fell off the YogiBo but didn’t hurt myself. Doing a little more homework and have trash duty to look forward to. (NOT! I HAVE A BROKEN BONE, MOM. REMEMBER??!?)

Mom brought home Zheng Garden. I love her. Still haven’t started drivers’ ed. I have all summer, Mom!

Day 9 (Friday): Not a bad day at all. Slept in my own bed for the first time in a while. Did not fall off the bed. Go me! Mom was on a big writing spree so I got most of the day mostly to myself. Went to the gym with her today. Went 30 minutes on a bike that can't kill me. Feeling more in control of myself.

Day 10 (Saturday): So excited. An escape is just hours away. They're finally letting me out of their sight so I can help my friend Nikki and her family at the International Festival and then I get to sleepover at her house. Miss Sidi is an awesome cook and I LOVE her. They're Hungarian and I'm pretty sure they're not going to constantly be asking me if I'm OK or in pain. I guess I could have it worse: I mean, my parents care about me and all.  I love them. But man am I looking forward to a break. As in "time off." I don't need another bone break. :)

Mom seems to be taking well to this being at home. She says she's not working but it sure seems like she's keeping busy somehow. She says she's writing a book, which is kind of weird and embarrassing. I've seen what she reads. Trying to talk her into using a pen name if she actually gets it done. I really don't need my MOM to be writing porn. 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Grateful

Like so many things lately, we're dealing with a few wrinkles in our summer plans. 

Ali won't be enjoying her final week of camp at Flat Rock River. She's aging out, so this is the last year she can go as a camper. As we're still waiting for her orthopedic doctor to schedule us, it doesn't make sense to send her to the wonderland of jumping in the river, jumping in the pool, climbing crazy towers and all of the fun she's used to having.

But she's largely in one piece and she doesn't seem to have any major head trauma. "I like my brain," she said, the other day. "It's pretty smart. I'm glad I didn't mess it up."

Us, too.  In addition to being grateful for that, we're grateful for all the friends who texted, called, Facebooked or even stopped in to check on the patient.

Team Ogden came en masse today, Alex barely fitting through the front door and closing in on Jeff in the "Tallest Boy" contest. We had nice visit, which included another round of congrats to Hannah, the new high school graduate. I had been fortunate to snag a spot to actually see her get her diploma thanks (unfortunately) to the illness of her grandfather. (He's fine now.)

I'd helped Karin get photos of Hannah on the stage, so I'd seen her before the whole thing was over, as well as after. Later, Hannah said, "You know, I remember thinking that I didn't remember that we had a ticket for Mrs. Reed but it never occurred to me to think it was weird that she was there. Of course she was there!"

That almost made me cry. I do love those Ogdens. Even if its weird to hug Alex and have my face smashed into his chest.

It's possible that I'm being a little indulgent with the patient. 

Jeff skipped poker to go with us to the Indians game Friday night. Tribe wins! Tribe wins!

Saturday, we took her out to 317 Burger to celebrate her straight A report card and her awesome final exams that were also all A with  a couple +s.  And tonight we walked back into Broad Ripple for some Brics ice cream. Partly because we were too full from 317 Burger to have dessert last night. 

We discovered French onion soup dumplings at the burger joint. Ali and Jeff go there for the poutine, but I'll go back for those yummy, cheesy balls of joy.


It was on our walk home that she finally gave up her hospital wrist band. She's a little over the sling already, so it's going to be a long way to getting it off. She was on the couch looking out the window today when she saw a girl riding by on her bicycle. 

"She was not wearing a helmet and had one hand on her handle bar and in the other one, she was texting," reported my little patient. 

I asked her if she'd called out a warning through the window. She said she didn't. "But I said to myself, she's gonna regret that one day," she said.

That's that smart brain of hers kicking in, I guess.


Friday, June 2, 2017

Summer Brake?

It seemed like such a great plan. Jeff was playing softball and it was going to be a late night. I was teaching one segment of a PR accreditation class and was going to miss dinner. Ali was going to be home alone.

I suggested she find a friend and a movie that would work with my timeline to get there and back and problem solved, right? The movie that worked for me, didn't work for her friend, Navy, so we agreed that Ali could ride her bike to Glendale and I'd pick her (and the bike) up on my way back after my class.

So there I was, phone away from me, giving my presentation and catching up with an old PR friend and some new ones, blissfully unaware of the voice mail and missed call. Jeff, of course, was in the same boat. His was just sweatier.

I was in the car, prepared to get on my way when I checked my phone to hear my baby trying to talk through tears: "Mom, I was in an accident and I didn't have my helmet on and my bone is poking out and I'm ...."

I didn't listen more to the message. I called her and she picked up and it was chaos. She seemed to be in even more pain. I tried to figure out where she was. "Some people helped me and Navy is here." The phone cut out. I called back. Navy -- her awesome swim buddy -- answered.

"We are at St. Vincent's Emergency Room," she said. I told her I was on her way and tried to drive carefully. Luckily, I wasn't that far from her and it was just six million stop lights and few cars in my way.  I get there. No parking but valet, which is closed.  "Screw it. if it's closed, I can park in these empty valet only spots," I reasoned.

I walked in and it seemed like as soon as people saw me, they started smiling. I barely had to say her name when I was walked back to her. Front desk, nurses' station, they were all hiding grins. "Has she been a little profane?" I asked.

One of the nurses allowed that maybe she'd been a little profane. But that he was in the military and he hadn't learned anything new. I sighed.  I found her in an exam room draped in a gown, face still a little wet but in as good as spirits as Navy could get her.

And Kim Bryant. A woman who lives a few blocks from me but I'd never met but who is among my all time favorite people.

She and her husband were working in their yard at Primrose and 57th when Ali cruised by on my bicycle with only her headphones and flip flops to protect herself. She was also armed that morning with a map to help her overcome her directional deficiencies. She's used to being with one of us and will sometimes head Downtown when she's really in search of Broad Ripple. 

We just yesterday joined LA Fitness and she was hoping to ride there by herself to swim if I wasn't available. I didn't want her to end up in Illinois instead of the gym -- which is the same direction as the movie theater. I marked her N, S, E and W with Broad Ripple, Downtown, Taco Bell and the Monon to give her a better guide.

Her long legs have outgrown her bike, so we switched. Her bike has a very soft braking system compared to mine. She's only used it a few times and has never had cause to brake suddenly. According to Kim (and Ali) she was heading down 57th just fine but two cars came zooming along Primrose and startled her. Already on the fun side of a slight hill, she braked to avoid them.

And flipped herself right off the bike, onto the street. The bike kept going, of course, and smacked her head. One person in a car slowed and asked if she was OK.  Dazed, she said, "Yeah I'm fine." The other car didn't even slow down. The Bryants came rushing over to get her out of the street.

She said she wasn't in pain right way but when the Bryants pointed out the swelling, it hit her all at once. And of course, neither Jeff nor I pick up our phones. Thank God for the Bryants and for Navy. Kim decided Ali needed medical help. "I'm in HR so I know how much ambulances cost," she said.

So this perfect (and I do mean perfect in all respects) stranger, picks up my kid, along with Navy who comes zooming over and leaves her car unlocked and keys in it, and drives her to the hospital. And stayed with her until I finally got to my phone.

How amazing is that?! Her husband had put my bike in his garage and retrieved Navy's keys and locked up her car for her. And then they waited up until 11:15 p.m. when we finally got sprung from the E.R.

Ali has a fractured collar bone and cuts and abrasions all over.

"Head, shoulders, knees and toes. Hey Ali: you got the whole song," Navy proclaimed.

We were waiting quite a while and tried to pass the time with cards and stories. I said something to Ali about her last serious medical issue. She gave me a look. Trying to be discreet, I told Navy that it had involved a fire pole and a tear to a private area that happened when she lost her grip and then re-gripped with everything she had.  I even tried to be less graphic than I normally am. 

"Geeze, Mom. That's a little personal, don't you think?" she said, giving Navy the side-eye.

"Dude. I helped you pee in a cup. I think we're beyond personal," Navy deadpanned.

I LOVE Navy, who'd brought cookie dough and chocolate chips to get them through the movie. Alison's Nutella popcorn contraband was smashed in her backpack. I wasn't there in the beginning but I can't imagine Navy was anything but supportive and kept Ali from getting too over wrought.  She was just great. 

We finally got home and settled. Ali didn't need another prescription pain pill through the night and woke up in good spirits and not a lot of pain. I'm hoping that means it's not a bad break. I'm waiting now to see if she can even go to summer camp as expected Sunday and when/if/where I need to get her an orthopedic doc appointment on Monday.  

We are IU Health people, not St. Vincent people according to our insurance. So while I deeply appreciate the care -- and the humor with which the ER team treated my daughter and her sailor's mouth -- we may have to see a different doc than recommended by the fine folks at St. V.

Lessons learned:
  1. "I know I was a dumbass," Alison said, pledging to not only wear her helmet at all times but also closed-toe shoes.
  2. Choose good friends. (And be a good friend.) You never know when you'll be splat on the road and need them to scrape you up.
  3. Don't give up on the world: There remain awesome people out there. If you can help someone, please do it. As Kim Bryant told me, "I'd want someone to take care of my baby if she was in trouble. It's nothing. I did nothing."
She did a lot more than nothing. And we'll be forever grateful that the accident wasn't worse. Her bone will heal. I'm not sure my heart will. She's living the life right now, propped up on her highly malleable Yogi-Bo with what we call "the sick person's tray" Ramen and all of the bear necessities of teenage, first world life: phone, iPad, headphones and chargers.

The headphones, and possibly my bike, were uninjured by the crash.

Later today, we're going to compare hospital stories with Grandpa, who seems to have mad it through HIS bout with the Maine medical staff just fine.


Monday, May 29, 2017

Putting the Memory in Memorial Day Weekend

It's been a while since I put my child in danger.

Our hiking weekend doesn't count. Because while she may have been in danger, and I'm not saying she was or wasn't, it was danger of her own making.

Today, though. This was all me. I would like to stop here and make a case that I was simply trying to get the house in order. We have a small one coming over for dinner tonight and it's been a while since I had to really think about whether the corners in this house are clean enough for a crawler.

I'd gotten most of the grime out of the crevices when I glanced into the bathroom. Alison's bathroom toilet came with the house. And it's prone to have a semi circle of gorp hanging around the water line in the basin. Ali and Jeff had fled the cleaning craze to get last minute supplies, so I squirted in the cleaner I had on hand and let it simmer in all three of the toilets. None were pristine.

I'd finished most of the cleaning and had even scrubbed myself by the time Ali and Jeff got home and they'd brought bleach along with foodstuffs we'd need for dinner. I had a moment of inspiration. "Why scrub when chemicals can do that for me?" I asked myself.

I grabbed the bleach and added a liberal dose to each commode. Then, captured by another less-than-shiny object, I walked away. I was downstairs when my mildly asthmatic child asked me how long before she could use her bathroom.

"You can use it now," I said, "But scrub it for me first, please."

Off she went. In the basement, I caught a whiff of an exceptionally potent odor. I looked up as if I could see through the floorboards. And then I heard a cough.

"Uh-oh." In a flash, I remembered a few years ago when I was the cougher at the very same toilet bowl. Then, I'd invented a concoction of bleach, ammonia and Comet, I think. Jeff called it mustard gas, as I recall.

It was easy to recall because he was in fine Captain form, informing me that my chemistry credentials had never been extended to me.

We gave her a bunch of water and got her outdoors. Jeff set about opening doors and windows, flipping on fans and bringing more up from the basement. I sat with Ali, apologized but assured her she would recover.

Yes, I felt terrible. I ignored the tickle in my own respiratory system as she hacked up a bit and fretted that I'd inadvertently shredded her more delicate breathing apparatus. We took a little walk down the street. On the way back, she said she was feeling much better and was thinking ahead to next year's advanced chemistry class and how she might answer the question, "What did you do over the summer?"

"I inhaled pure chlorine gas," she projected into this flash forward classroom scene.

"You know, now that I'm feeling better, I'm kind of thinking about the chemistry of all that," she said. We wondered what might have happened had I added another favorite cleaning fluid: vinegar.

"If you'd added aluminum, you could have exploded the toilets," she informed me.

I'm going to take her off the cleaning crew. And hide the bleach. And aluminum foil. And maybe see if I can channel her back into baking. That's chemistry too.  I'll be her clean-up crew.

In other, less lethal, holiday weekend fun, we managed to attend the annual pre-race Tokash Indy 500 Bash and a Race Day gathering Cordy-Sweetwater at Lynn Sinex's lake house. Jeff found new craft beer buddies in our old friends the Fralich's and Ali won the Indy 500 race pool at the lake house.

We had to drive home through a near monsoon Sunday that started happily after the race  -- and with me at the wheel no less -- but again, we made it. We may be un-killable. 

The photo below is of Ali and me after the Captain evacuated the house while the fumes were dissipating. Ali is threatening to never enter her bathroom again, but I think I'll calm her down before long. 

The others are random weekend shots. Hope you're having a great weekend. And that your toilets are clean.














Hike!

I'm counting it as a mark of parental success that when I told Ali I was thinking of going hiking on a girls' trip, she didn't just nod as if she'd heard me, she said, "That sounds like fun. Can I go?"

Some 16-year-olds would gag a little bit if they were invited on an overnight hike with a bunch of old ladies. My kid said she'd go along.  And we actually had fun!

Sure, she got to play a couple of card games not really designed for mixed company of youthful and those who pretend they're still 20.

We went with Tracy Wiseman, Susan Kessler and my new great friend Melissa Miller, staying at Grand Bear Lodge. We visited Matthiessen and Starved Rock state parks in Illinois. Both were awesome, in part because we went during the rainy season so the waterfalls were in full rushing glory.

Starved Rock is allegedly the state's No. 1 tourist attraction, a factoid greeted skeptically by most of us. "Was there an asterisk for attractions outside the city of Chicago?" I asked.

We had planned to check for more detail about that but got sidetracked. We'd neglected to tell Alison that we were going to a park that was famous for a grisly murder in the 1960 that featured three middle-aged ladies. We three middle-aged ladies decided that with the addition of our youngster, we'd be OK.

We survived Starved Rock with only one small fall and were at dinner Saturday night at Casa Mia  when the secret got spilled. Phil, the owner, had stopped by and was asking how we came to drop by his charming little house-turned-bistro.  A charmer, Phil mentioned something about the murder site.

"The what?!" Ali paused while cracking a crab leg open.  She stared accusingly at me. "You took me to a murder park?"

It may have been about this time that Phil switched the subject to asking if we planned to visit Matthiessen State Park while we were in the area. We had been planning to return to Starved Rock but Phil's description changed our minds, and we were glad we did.

We were stopped before we got started down into the ravines and caverns by two men who seemed concerned that we "ladies" were up to the task. "It's pretty greasy down there," one said.

"Excuse me?" one of us asked.

"Greasy," he translated: "Muddy. You ladies best be careful."

We nodded. It WAS muddy. But we were nimble and in fine shape. Well, Ali was. We got to the bottom and came across a solo male hiker.  "You ladies be careful," he said. Before we got back another kindly gentleman had advised us to be careful.

I refused to feel matronly or out of my element. Yeah, maybe, there were a few times when one of might have shrieked a little as we slid down a slope perilously close to the icy creek.  Or gasped as we crossed said creek using rocks and logs to keep out of the drink. And when Ali climbed up a ravine, risking a slide over jagged rocks and stumps if she lost her footing on the way back, I might have grown a few more gray hairs.

But it was super cool.  We had a little fun scaring ourselves by wondering if the random animal tracks we came across were from hungry bears or rabid raccoons. We postulated on why the murder over at Starved Rock hadn't used some of the Matthieson nooks and crannies, which seemed like much more effectives areas to hide a body or three.  But mostly we just enjoyed the really beautiful parks.

And I loved chatting with Ali along the trails and watching her chat with my friends, all of whom seemed perfectly happy to have the next generation along. Maybe because we thought she'd be able to go for help if we did fall victim to our aged limbs and feeble ways.

That was before she reminded me that if a bear really was chasing us, she would likely leave me for dead. "I don't have to run that fast," she said. "I just have to run faster than you, and Mom, let's face it, that's not going to be hard."

If you get a chance to go, I highly recommend every place we stopped. Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Lodge has an indoor water parked that seems sized for the 12-and-under set, but there are separate cabin/villas you can stay at as well.

If you have a teenager, drag him or her even if the initial response is less than enthusiastic. Bring "Cards Against Humanity" and a game of "Chronology," if you can.
Accept that some of the more outrageous words/reactions that will ensue are within a cone of silence. If you're lucky, you'll come away with a new appreciation for a portion of Daniel Radcliffe's anatomy that will afford you years of hysterical laughter that no one outside your hiking party will get.

And yeah, maybe the bear WILL get you. But I bet your teenager will at least go back for what's left of your body.









Friday, May 19, 2017

You Put Your Poop in the Box

I'm not one to trot off to the doctor for every little thing. It's probably partly because I was raised by wolves and my parents didn't blanch at the sight of a little blood. Fevers were just God's way of burning your sin away. What didn't kill you made you stronger.

You had to have a bone protruding to get a trip to the doctor. Our small town doctor had delivered all of us and probably our parents so he knew us pretty well. We might have been unusually healthy. Or maybe Darwin wasn't paying as much attention as he should have.

Ali has always had respiratory issues. She had a tiny mask that we had to force on her in her baby days and she's always had an inhaler. I'm convinced she got that from me as I coughed like an old smoker all though elementary school. I carried a bottle of liquid cough medicine and routinely finished my work in the hall so I'd not disturb the other kids with my cough. If it was really bad, my mother would call Doc Rotman and ask for some red pills.

Red pills cured everything. I have no idea what they were but once when I was a grown up living on my own in Evansville I had another cough I couldn't shake. I called my mom. She called Doc Rotman and I got some red pills.

My brothers got banged up a lot. They may have been the first to discover that. Super Glue -- or Crazy Glue -- was just as effective as stitches. They self-medicated in more ways that that, of course. But the point is, going to the doctor just wasn't something you thought of early or often.

As a teenager, I once came home from school to find my brother laying on the couch with his foot propped up and bleeding on (probably my) pillow.  Out solo hunting, he'd somehow shot himself in the ankle with his bow. Like any reasonable member of my family, he hobbled to his truck and yanked out the arrow. Fortunately, he'd shot his left ankle so he could elevate it out the window and still drive home.

Sure this was before cell phones. But still. After I surveyed the situation, I suggested calling my friend the paramedic. My brother refused. See, he'd sat on the side of the bathtub and run water over the wound while pouring iodized kitchen salt on it. He was just waiting for the blood to stop flowing and he was going to superglue it.

My job was to clean up the mess he'd made. Which of course I did because that's what you do when you're the youngest wolf in a family of feral animals.

This is a true story. Not even an ounce of exaggeration.  I tell it to you to explain why it's taken me more than a month to get my bum leg checked out. I've been limping around for about a month and half or so, thinking if I rest it'll get better. I consulted with my friend and trainer, Kelsey Taylor.

"Hmmmm," she said when I told of my ailment, my diagnosis that it was a muscle strain and my cure.  "OK, try that for a few days but then you need to see a doctor, girl."

So finally, I went. My doctor is a great, conservative guy who tries to work within my "I don't like to take medicine" lifestyle.  I AM taking the anti-inflammatory meds he gave me. I even made an appointment for physical therapy. It was the other stuff that made me remember why doctors are to be avoided.

They want me to get another mammogram. I'm sure I did that not so long ago. Worse, it's time for the dreaded colonoscopy. Here's why you're going to be glad you suffered through my hunter-brother tale: I learned of a way to get around the colonoscopy.

It's a little gross. Alison is still disgusted by it. But I'm telling you. It's a great idea. And why it's taken this long to offer the alternative I can't imagine. If you're a pet owner, you probably wouldn't flinch. I'm not and I did.

The alternative test involves a small kit. In the kit are two strips of paper which have adhesive on each end. There are two in case you do it wrong the first time. Speaking for myself: once was enough.  And I mean that.

So, you, um, well, you make a deposit on that strip. I'm not going to get into all the things that could have been involved in this transaction but it's an action you really want to plan out well. I'll just say that.

So you have your deposit. I re-located it as quickly as I could because I don't like fishing for fish, let along that kind of deposit. Plus, I'm guessing it would have been contaminated and I'd have to start all over again.

So you have it. Then, you take out this stoppered vial that has an applicator not unlike, say, mascara or eye drops. You have to pierce the deposit six times. Not too much, not too little, but six times. Then, you replace the wand, tighten the lid, put it in a plastic bag that's got adhesive in it, put it in an already addressed and stamped box and hand it over to your favorite postal delivery person.  (Sorry, John.)

I am a forgetful person, so I had my carefully refolded and taped (Lynda) box on the kitchen counter so I wouldn't forget to return it.  Ali picked it up.

"What's this?"

As is my parental pattern, I answered her question. She dropped the box. Hysteria ensued.

"Why is that in the kitchen? We have FOOD in here?! Get it out! Get it OUT! GET. IT. OUT!"

She was truly disgusted.  "Dude," I said. "It's in a vial, inside a sealed plastic bag and inside a box."
I explained that it was just six jabs of the actual deposit, not the aforementioned deposit.

"I don't care. Ick. Gross. Ugh. Blech."

So I put it on the counter.  I did not make her take it out of the box.

I told Jeff about it and he thought it was as funny as I did. Being older than me, he'd gone the traditional route and may be a little miffed that I went a road less traveled.  This morning he chased her around a little bit with the box. Regardless of its location, she wants nothing to do with it.

Neither do it, but hey. Even a feral wolf understands preventative care.