Sunday, November 30, 2008

Lazy Thing Number Two

Updated to add my own observations about tonight's concert:

1. It is a damn miracle they haven't induced an epileptic seizure in any of the audience members with those blinding strobe lights.

2. Dude, seriously. Next year I will take sunglasses. I was squinting like Gilbert Gottfried every time those things started flashing.

3. When you're sitting that close to the side-stage, the fire is realllllllllllllly hot. In fact, I think my right eyebrow might be singed.

4. There is nothing cooler than taking two 10-yr olds who think "This totally rocks, man!" which therefore, makes me totally rockin' by association.

5. I have decided what I want to be when I grow up: a singer for TSO. Those girls are young, beautiful, have rock-star hair that they flip all over the stage, and can sing like nobody's business. Unfortunately for me, I am old, chubby, and can't carry a tune in a bucket. But I do have the hair ... so that's a start.

6. If #5 doesn't work, then my back-up plan is to make Kellen continue taking piano lessons until the day he can take over for Derek Wieland, then I can get in to all the concerts for free. I'd pin my hopes on Kendrie, but she says "loud concerts are scary" ... which pretty much rules out any hope of TSO.

7. I'm sorry, what did you say? My ears are ringing ......


Can you guess what I'm doing tonight? Hmmm? Can ya? Can ya, hmmmm?

Yep, my very most favoritest holiday tradition, the annual Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert. Blaine is not feeling good enough to go, so I'm taking Kellen and a friend of his, and bursting thier little eardrums exposing them to the experience that is a TSO concert at an early age. I can't stinking wait.

And, although blatant plagerizing is almost as bad as posting a link, or repeating myself .... dudes, seriously, I cannot sum up the TSO experience any better than Crystal did last year at Boobs, Injuries, and Dr. Pepper. (See link in my sidebar to read all her great stuff.)

I laughed until I pretty much wet myself when I read this on her blog last year and linked to her then. Crystal, because she is both smart AND pretty AND funny AND nice, gave me permission to post it again this year because seriously ... she is DEAD SPOT ON with her rendition of the evening and I can't WAIT to see it and hear it again for myself this year.

So tomorrow, if you see me wandering around town in a daze and call my name and I don't answer, it's because I made the parental sacrifice and gave my son the earplugs and quite frankly, SPEAK UP SONNY I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!!

In the meantime, thanks to Crystal for letting me use this again.

Friday, December 21, 2007


I saw the Trans-Siberian Orchestra last night. I have been wanting to see them for years, but their tickets are fairly expensive and we've just never had the extra money at Christmas.

This year, Chris bought them months ago and surprised me for my birthday. Gold star for him, because, seriously, DUDE.

Here are some of my observations:

1. There was enough hair, collectively, on that stage to keep Locks Of Love overwhelmed for a year.

2. This woman is not human. And nothing you can say will convince me otherwise.

3. This guy busted out with the Charlie Brown theme and then somehow segued into Chopin and I wet myself.

4. Tommy Farese sang some song, I don't even remember what it was but it was incredible. And then his Hair went crazy and ate the bass player.

5. It doesn't matter if you like rock, blues, classical or the sound of tiny leprechauns singing dirty limericks, you will find something to love about this show.


7. My husband was the one that screamed, "FREE BIRD!!", during a lull in the guitar solo. He cracks himself up.

8. The Hair got depressed after it ate one of the backup singers and sat quietly in the corner, weeping, before security hauled it away.


10. The lady next to me was drunk and smelly. I forgave her that because the narrator told me I had to be nice, being this was a Christmas show and all. When she elbowed me for the twentieth time, I leaned over and whispered, "My husband? He ate one of those huge chili-dogs with extra onions, so I apologize beforehand if you lose an eyebrow or anything." She leaned the other way. God bless us, every one.

11. It is well worth every penny. This show left me awestruck, and they did it for three hours. I don't think I've ever done anything for three hours.

12. Open flames, big hair and lots of hair product = some day, something really bad is going to happen and I hope they have a fire truck waiting outside. That's all I'm going to say about that.

13. They broke into, "Proud Mary", and geriatrics everywhere went ballistic. No one broke a hip and it was a beautiful thing.

14. Do you know they had a headline the day Ike turner died and it said, "Ike Beats Tina Turner To Death"? I mean, seriously? Who let THAT one slip?

I had one thing going through my mind through the entire show...but...


Merry Christmas. Keep your hair under control.


So, the first thing I do for Thanksgiving is recycle an old journal entry, and now the second thing I'm going to do is simply post a link. I'd like to blame it on turkey-and-dressing poisoning, causing my brain to atrophy and my creative juices to dry up, but truth be told, I'm just lazy.

Amy, a reader of this blog, recently posted the 100th entry on her own blog titled the "ABC's of Thanksgiving" ..... since I was too lazy to post my own list of thankfulness, she asked me to give her a shout out here, and I figured that would be WAY easier than coming up with something original. :)

So here you go.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Repeating Myself

If you've been following along on this blog, or even on Kendrie's Caringbridge site from the earlier days, you probably suspected this journal entry was coming. For those of you who have never read it before, I'm simply re-posting a Caringbridge journal entry that I originally typed on Thanksgiving of 2003. It had been approximately six weeks since Kendrie had been diagnosed with leukemia, and this post was really the first time that I felt I "connected" with people. While I don't think it's Pulitzer Prize material or anything necessarily worthy of repeating for literary sake, it *does* serve as a very good reminder to me that most of the time nowadays, I need to pull my head out of my ass and remember when I really *did* have something to feel upset about.

Thanks for letting me repeat it again ....

Friday, November 28, 2003 0:21 AM CST

First of all, I have to say how much we appreciate those of you who check on this web site and take the time to sign the guestbook. Several of you, and some who have e-mailed me privately, have made the comment you are glad to see me (try to!) put a humorous spin on things, and that you’re glad to know we’re coping so well. To be honest, I have no idea if we’re coping well at all. I just make it a point to do my crying and worrying and stressing in private, and put on a happy face, USUALLY, in public. But today, in this journal entry, I’m going to be a little more honest about things and the way I am really feeling. I’m not sure what has brought about this pathetic moment of self-introspection, but feel the need to get some things off my chest. If you don’t want to hear it, exit now, it won’t hurt my feelings. I promise to kick myself in the butt and be back to normal tomorrow. (No, I will not be taking volunteers for the chance to kick me, so all of you just put your hands down now. No, no, do NOT form a line!)

I think it’s the whole Thanksgiving holiday. Thanksgiving. Giving thanks. Something I’ve found pretty easy to do most years, and took for granted pretty much every year up until now. Sure, I know a little bit about worrying about the health of family members. Who doesn’t? My dad has muscular dystrophy. My mother-in-law is on dialysis for renal failure. My husband had two major surgeries to get rid of a cancerous tumor six months ago, and had a nice chunk of the inside of his head removed at the same time --- reconstruction still a work in progress. So I thought I was a veteran at worrying, but always managed to give thanks irregardless. WRONG. Nothing prepares you for the fear and worry when your child is ill. More than ill. Ill with a disease that, even in this day and age, still claims innocent victims. And now you want me to give thanks????? So here’s the lame analogy I came up with:

Imagine every year for Thanksgiving that you and your family go to a wonderful all-you-can-eat buffet. The food is always great and you look forward to getting the same delicious meal, year after year. So this year, you give your standard order to the waitress: an appetizer of “love”, a “caring” salad, the side dishes, “thoughtfulness” “compassion” and “laughter” and a big, juicy entrée of “good health and happiness for everyone”. The waitress brings you everything you asked for but the entrée. Instead, in front of you on the table, she places a big, fat crap sandwich. And the conversation goes a little something like this:

You: “excuse me, I didn’t order this crap sandwich”

Waitress: “house special. You got it without asking”

You: “but I don’t want a crap sandwich. I want good health and happiness for everyone.”

Waitress: “well, you got a crap sandwich.”

You (getting upset) “well take it back and give me what I asked for instead!”

Waitress points to a sign that says “Absolutely NO substitutions”

You say adamantly: “there is positively no way I am going to be able to choke down this crap sandwich and I think it’s really unfair for you to expect me to”

And the waitress replies “hey, look. You’ve still got love, caring, thoughtfulness, compassion and laughter, so try to appreciate those. Oh, I almost forgot, here’s your condiment tray for the crap sandwich. You also get big overflowing bowls of fear, worry, anger, guilt and resentment. Bon Appetit!”

And so you’re looking around the restaurant, feeling really grumpy about your crap sandwich, and you realize that there are a lot more people with crap sandwiches than you ever thought possible. And from the looks on their faces, none of them ordered them, either. Then you see a couple of tables with really, really big, Dagwood-sized crap sandwiches and you summon the waitress again. “Excuse me, why are their crap sandwiches so big?” And she explains that those people are facing situations even worse than yours. Their kids haven’t responded well to treatment, have had cancer relapses, or worse yet, died. And you start to think maybe your crap sandwich isn’t so bad after all. Maybe you should keep your big mouth shut, choke it down, and be glad when it’s all gone and everyone is well again. And then, right then, your waitress reminds you of one last thing: “Management reserves the right to serve you another, bigger crap sandwich, anytime they want”

That’s a little how I feel right now at Thanksgiving, living in this surreal world of leukemia. I know there are other people who are having a rougher time of things than we are. I know Kendrie is responding well to her chemotherapy. She is in remission and God willing, will stay there. But I am having a very difficult time Giving Thanks for this crap sandwich, and I’m unbelievably resentful that there are more crap sandwiches being made in the kitchen even as I type this, and terrified more than you can possibly know that our family might be due another platter.

I resent that “in remission” doesn’t mean cured. It doesn’t mean anywhere near cured. It means cured for right now. Today. Kendrie could relapse tomorrow; next week; next month; ten years from now. When are we ever supposed to relax? When will this knot in my stomach go away? It’s the last worry on my mind at night and the first thought in my head when I awake each morning.

I resent that for the rest of her (my) life, every time she complains of an ache or a pain or runs a fever, I will fear that the cancer has returned. Prognosis is no where near as good for kids who have relapsed. Dear God, don’t let her relapse.

I resent that I can no longer brush her forehead or cheek without covertly checking for signs of a fever.

I resent that despite my best intentions, my other two kids are getting the short end. There are only so many hours in a day.

I resent that I am so tired, and then feel frustrated with Kendrie for being the source of that, then feel ashamed of my frustration.

I resent that I saw Kellen had bruises on his shins tonight and for a split second, all I could think was “Dear God, not two of them.” It does happen; two kids in one family. What family could endure that? The ones that have to, I guess.

And that’s my point --- to all of you who say, “I don’t know how you do it” or “I don’t think I could do it” Well, of course you could. Do we have any choice? We do it because to do otherwise would be to shortchange Kendrie, and all the kids with cancer, which simply isn’t an option. And I try to do it with a little bit of grace and humor and optimism because quite frankly, if I wrote too many journal entries like this, I would depress the shit out of everyone, myself included. In fact, I don’t know what I hope to accomplish with this one, except maybe trying to explain that underneath the jokes and “looking on the bright side” is a terror so real that sometimes I lie in bed at night and can’t breathe. And I’m not trying to be overly dramatic. I’m trying to be honest. Leukemia kills children. Yes, the “cure” rate is 85% (For ALL, which is what Kendrie has. Other kinds have lower rates than that.) That means 15% still die up front, and the other 85% ONLY have to worry about a relapse for the rest of their life. I’m feeling a little sick to my stomach just typing all this, so maybe I should move on.

There are some things I am truly grateful for:

I am grateful that it looks like a CVS pharmacy exploded in my kitchen. That means there are drugs that can be used in an attempt to cure my child and beat leukemia.

I am grateful Kendrie has tolerated the treatment so well so far. I am grateful for remission.

I am grateful my husband has a good job with good insurance and that so far, finances are not one more worry to add into the rest of this.

I am grateful for the friends and family, both near and far, who have supported us so kindly, and who will read through this awful journal entry and love me anyway.

I am grateful that when Kendrie was diagnosed, my mother was able to drop everything to come to Georgia and be with us. I am grateful that my dad and my sister so willingly held down the fort in her absence.

I am grateful my husband had cancer this spring. Had he not, he wouldn’t have been placed on the “Do Not Deploy” list and he would have been in Sarejavo when Kendrie was diagnosed. As hard as that week was, I am grateful we were able to face it as a family.

I can’t come up with a reason to be grateful that Kendrie is going bald, but I’ll work on it.

I am grateful that my crap sandwich isn’t any bigger than it is.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

On the other hand ....

I realize I offended several of you in the retail industry by my last post ..... but I unapologetically stand by my opinion. Cashiers who kvetch about their job, boss, work schedule or co-workers in front of customers are rude and unprofessional. (and did I mention I don't give a shit???)

Thank you to Jen for pointing out (since a few of you seemed to miss it) that I was ranting against bad cashiers who are under the (extremely misguided) impression that I have an interest in their personal life, or in how many more hours until they get off, or in how much they hate their job. Or their boss. Or their co-workers. Or the company they work for in general. And I have no clue how the comments got hi-jacked to a rant about welfare, but somebody missed my point completely.

Cashiers who are competent, knowledgeable, capable, and friendly are worth their weight in gold. And because I used to BE one, I will share with you a few thing from the other perspective .... bearing in mind that I was a retail cashier back in the olden days before scanners and upc codes, when we had to ring up the items (gasp!) by hand by punching numbers on a giant cash register, and calculate discounts and percentages in our heads (math!), and memorize each week's sales circular because the machines didn't automatically reduce prices (brain power!), and we not only bagged the groceries for the customers, and carried them out to their cars,** but also emptied the carts ourselves onto the conveyor belt, oh my aching back .... **ok, so technically, the cashiers rarely carried groceries out to the cars, that's why God invented "baggers", hello, dashing 21-yr old Blaine Escoe, so nice to meet you and yum that you got assigned to my lane that fateful night at work .... but I digress.

Tips and pointers from cashiers to clueless shoppers to make this holiday season (or hell, make any day of the year) go more smoothly in the retail world:

1. If you are not sure if something is on sale, ask before I finish ringing up a hundred other items. Don't ask me to dig back through your shit to find out what the sale price was. Ask up front, it will save us both a whole lot of time.

2. Don't try to pass me expired coupons on purpose (yes, again, back in the day before they were scanned and automatically denied as expired.) If I point out to you that one (or more) of your coupons is expired, believe me, it's embarrassing for me, too. Just take it back and let's move on.

3. For the love of Pete, don't wait until I've finished ringing up a two hundred dollar grocery order to get out your checkbook and start writing your check. (I suppose in this day and electronic age, I should amend that to "get out your debit card") Have that thing filled out except for the amount so we can move on and both get on with our lives.

4. I am a captive audience while I am ringing up your order. I realize that, and don't mind at all when you talk to me during this time about things. In fact, it relieves the monotony of my job. However, please understand that the more I participate in this conversation, the slower I will go. (I feel the need to mention AGAIN that this was back in the day when we rang items up by hand and couldn't stand, facing our customers the entire time.) Also, as a courtesy to the customers behind you, please be aware that when I am done ringing you up and you have paid, it is time to bid one another a fond farewell and move on.

5. Do not eat a banana while you are shopping and then hand me the peel and ask me to weigh it. Seriously? Are you kidding me??? Yes, this happened on more than one occasion ... same goes for people handing me an empty bunch of grapes and telling me you ate them while you shopped. First, how the hell am I supposed to charge you for something that is priced by weight? And secondly, GROSS .... did you WASH those things before you started chowing down?? On the other hand, eating a snack or drinking a Nestle Quick chocolate milk (ahem) while you're shopping and handing me the empty packaging with the reminder to charge you is fine.

I believe that most retailers simply want to sell their items in a (hopefully) clean store, at a fair price, and stand behind their merchandise. Cashiers should be representative of that.

I believe that most customers simply want to buy what they want to buy, in a (hopefully) clean store, at a fair price, from a supplier who stands behind their merchandise.

So to that end, let's make a deal.

As a customer, I promise not to badger the cashier for something that is clearly not his/her fault. I will not roll my eyes or make snotty comments for things that are out of the cashier's hands. I will not take my cruddy day out on the cashier who just happens to be standing there when it's time for me to check out.*** I will be prepared with my payment, and if I have questions, go directly to the source (ie, Customer Service) that is better equipped to handle inquires or problems or concerns. ***you guys know I would never do any of thost things, right? I might be sarcastic at times here on the blog, but with the exception of one completely incompetent Geek Squad employee a few years ago who basically trashed my home computer, I have pretty much never taken my anger or frustration out on an employee. Wellllllll, there was that JC Penny episode many years ago, but that was TOTALLY the cashier's fault and I'm not taking the blame for that one, either. But besides THOSE two times, I am the ideal customer.

As a (former) cashier, I promise to do my job to the best of my ability, without bringing one iota of my personal life, feelings, or comments to the customer. I will greet you courteously and promptly, and then I will set about doing my job. I might think you are the dumbest, most annoying customer on the planet, but I will remember to do my job professionally. I also promise to remember that I am representing my co-workers, boss, and the company I work for .... so even if some shit goes wrong that is totally, 100% NOT my fault, I will still apologize to the customer on behalf of my employer because it is the proper thing to do. Then I will go in the employee breakroom and draw your face with devil horns on the bathroom wall ----- but in public, I will remember to be a professional, because it's my job and I'm getting paid to do it.

Deal, pickle?

Besides the retail store (like a Wal-Mart, but not Wal-Mart) that I worked for in high school and college, I also did a brief retail stint at a Lerners when I was sixteen. I hated that job, and sucked at it. I barely knew how to dress myself, let alone offer shopping advice to other grown-up women. The final straw came the day they made me stand out front of the store, passing out credit card applications, with a "Ms. Lerner" sash across my chest like in the Miss America pageant. I gave my notice that day.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Crabby Mc CrabbyPants P.S.A.

Since Thanksgiving is Thursday and the day after that marks the official beginning of the season of joy, glad tidings, hearts overflowing with happiness, crass commercial consumerism, well, we all know what that means --- that the vast majority of us are about to spend way more time than normal in relationships with retail cashiers (except for a few smug individuals who are already done with their Christmas shopping, not that I'm bitter, I used to be one of you and what the hell happened to my organizational skills????)

So, since I have vast retail experience (hey, I really *DID* work in retail in high school and college .... how did you think Blaine and I met? A Victoria Secret autograph signing???) I think it only fitting that I share a few basic rules with the cashiers and customer service agents and clerks out there:

1. I don't give a shit when your break is.

2. I don't give a shit how early you came in today.

3. I don't give a shit when you're getting off.

4. I don't give a shit how many hours you've already worked today.

5. I don't give a shit about how this was supposed to be your day off and so-and-so from Housewares called in sick and now you're stuck here working when you're supposed to be going to the movies with your friends.

6. I don't give a shit that Stewie from Automotive ate the Lunchable you left in the community fridge in the breakroom.

7. I don't give a shit that you've had to skip lunch because your store is so short-handed.

8. I don't give a shit how tired you are, or how hard you're working, or how excited you are for when you get off this evening.

THIS is what I give a shit about:

I give a shit that there be enough of you working that I don't stand in line for thirty damn minutes waiting for a register. I give a shit that you greet me (eye contact and smiling politely is a plus, but not required) and ask if I found everything ok. (PS. If I'm already unloading my crap on the conveyor belt, chances are the answer is "yes" ... otherwise I will go to the Customer Service Desk and ask, I'm not a moron, after all.) I give a shit that you ring me up in an efficient manner, and that if we do by some chance run into a problem, I give a shit that your manager be close at hand to answer any issues that arise. While I won't blame you personally if your register runs out of tape, you need to be able to put in a fresh roll of tape quickly and without needing assistance. I give a shit that I be able to read the receipt, in case a return is necessary. I do NOT give a shit about your ten percent off credit card .... if I wanted one, I need to take the time to fill the freaking application out in advance, and NOT tie up the one single god-forsaken lane for ten minutes and make everyone in line behind stand there while I contemplate my application (Why, yes, this did happen to me today, how did you guess?) I give a shit that you help me put the bags back in my cart, just for nicety sake, and then I give a shit that you say something pleasant as I'm leaving. Nothing deep or profound, just a simple "have a nice day" will do. When I say "have a nice day" to YOU, I give a shit that you don't reply with, "Heh, heh, I will when I get off work in about an hour!"

Your schedule is not my problem or my concern. Your social, business, or personal life is not of any interest to me and quite frankly is not something I want to hear about while contemplating how I came into Target for socks and a curtain rod yet managed to spend $150. I'm sure you're a lovely person, but this is not the time nor the place. If you have a boss or manager who didn't give you the day off you wanted, or forgot to schedule your lunch, or is making you work late ..... then ..... it sucks to be you. And I?? Do not give a shit. Please remember that and the Christmas shopping season will be much easier for both of us.

And this concludes my effort to spread just a little holiday cheer.


Are you following along here? Because if not, you really should be.

PS. Patricia in Georgia, it's relapsed neuroblastoma.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Why would I eat there?

So, driving in the car with Brayden yesterday, her voice piped up from the back seat, and the following conversation took place:

Brayden: Mom, what's I.B.S. ??

Me: Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Brayden: What's that?

Me: Well, I'm pretty sure it's when your stomach cramps, and you poop a lot. Or can't poop at all.

Brayden: That's disgusting.

Me: People can't really help it, it's just something that happens.

Brayden: No, I mean that's disgusting that a restaurant would do that.

Me: Huh? What?

Brayden: That restaurant back there, ::insert name of favorite local BBQ joint:: has on their sign "Best IBS in town". Why would we want to eat there if it's going to make us sick?

And you know, it took me just a minute to figure it out.

Me: RIBS, Brayden, best RIBS in town. The "r" is missing.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Dude. Where on earth did the last thirteen years go?

It kills me that I had to move away when you were only one, and I didn't move back until you turned twelve. That's over ten years of your life that I had to observe from long-distance (and yep, I'm still a little cranky about it, if I'm being honest.)

And now, I look up, and you've turned thirteen??? How did that happen???

I've watched you pretty close this past year, and I've seen the young man you're becoming. Mostly polite, mostly funny, mostly respectful, mostly friendly. And the *other* part, the part that isn't mostly, I have to take your mom's word on it .... because to me, you are all of those things, all of the time, and I'm so proud of you for it.

I owe you some thanks as well, because whether you realize it or not, you have three younger cousins here who pretty much think you walk on water. So thanks for your patience with them, and for letting them tag along on your life in general.

Now, I'm going to tell you what I tell my own kids ---- stop getting older, or I'm going to put a book on your head to keep you from growing any more. I already missed over ten years --- I don't want these next years to fly by too quickly.

We are Classy

I'm not sure which of these things shows the true measure of the caliber of fine folk we are .....

The fact we've had bedroom furniture sitting by the curb outside our house this week waiting for the freecycle people to come pick it up .....

Or the fact we had to hang a carpet runner out to dry on the fence today after Barley pee'd on it. **

Hello, Escoe family? The Clampett's called .... they'd like their house back.

**And can I just tell you that after she pee'd on the carpet in the hall, she ran upstairs and pee'd on the twin mattress we had sitting on the floor, waiting for the *new* bedroom furniture to arrive .....

Apparently, the house-training is not going quite as well as we thought.

"whaaaaat? I is innocent, I tells you. Der's no proof it was me. I bet you one of those kids pee'd on de mattress. Probably de little one."

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Holding Firm ...

A few of you mentioned in the comment section about how not only personal music devices have changed, but those cell-phone ear piece-thingys as well.

I think I made my opinion on that pretty well known a while ago.

And you know how sometimes in life you make a bold statement, and then later you circumstances change, or your opinions change, and you wind up with egg on your face because you've had to totally eat your words and alter your position on something?

This is not one of those times.*

*although I reluctantly caved to the peer pressure of texting. But I do it as seldom as possible, and I stink at it. So unless you're texting me that my house is on fire, don't expect a response. **

**but seriously, assuming I do continue to text (reluctantly and slowly) how do I fix my settings so that when someone sends *me* a text, their name shows up and not their number? Because I love my friends and all, but no way do I have their phone numbers memorized. So to the person who sent me a text yesterday morning, you didn't get a reply because I have no idea who you are.

***Buggy, basket, cart. Whatever. I use all three, and no matter what I call it, I always get the one with the busted wheel that veers drastically to the left.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thank you for ....

The other night I was in our local Homeland, as I am every few days, buying milk. Honestly, if someone could invent some kind of long-term pasteurizing method that would keep milk from expiring, so I could buy thirty gallons at a time, instead of having to continually run to the store twice a week for three more gallons, over and over and over, I swear I would kiss them on the lips. Drive through liquor barns in Ohio that also sold milk by the gallon??? Best. Thing. Ever.

But I digress.

After I picked up the milk, and some bread, and some Lucky Charms because my kids are on a Lucky Charms kick, and oh look, some Oreos fell into my cart ..... I pushed the buggy up to the check out lanes at the front of the store. There was a family in line in front of me ..... well, a mom and her teenage son, that is.

His back was to me, and I noticed right away that he was dressed .... well ... as many teenage boys are these days. Baggy pants, oversized hoodie, ball cap twisted sideways. The other thing I noticed immediately was that he had some kind of twitch. I mean, it was that, or a series of small seizures, but since his mom wasn't paying any special kind of attention, I just assumed it was a twitch. And I thought, "Oh, that's unfortunate." Then he turned around and I realized he had an ipod in his ears.

Dear Mr. Stork, thank you for delivering me in the mid 1960's, which means I was a teenager in the mid 1980's, the age of portable stereo systems and breakdancing. Because although I'm sure most of us born in this era looked just as silly as that boy when we were his age, at least people who saw us out in public usually could tell we weren't twitching, but instead were dancing --- the giant boomboxes were typically a dead giveaway. Who knew to be grateful for ghetto blasters?? We might have looked ridiculous, but at least it wasn't confused with Tourettes.**

**and I mean this with no disrespect to anyone with Tourettes, considering Kellen was almost diagnosed with that a few years ago ...... just that in hindsight, I'm happy for my boombox, which classified me as a dork, loud and clear, instead of teeny tiny ipods, which make kids of today less-obvious dorks.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A sure sign

So I was out running errands yesterday, and rummaging through my purse when I ran across a coupon for 99 cent mozarella sticks at Sonic. I looked at the clock and realized it was Happy Hour. Honestly, is there a better combination???

So I went to my local Sonic and drove through the drive-through. I reached the window, paid, and then sat there while the girl handed me my drink. I waited, and she looked at me and smiled politely, saying, "Have a great day!"

"Um, my mozarella sticks?" I asked.

"Oh!" she replied. "I'm sorry, I'm so used to you getting just a Diet Dr. Pepper that I forgot about them." Then she hurried around and handed them to me through the window.

And at first I thought, you know, when the car hops at Sonic know your drink order by heart, perhaps that's a sign that you spend too much time there.

And then I thought ..... naaaawwwwwwwww, it just means they're good at their jobs. I drive through there practically every day (shamefully, sometimes more than once a day) so it only goes to figure they would recognize the hot mom in the mini-van and know what she usually orders, right? (you know I'm being tongue-in-cheek about the hot mom part, right?)

Then today I drove through like I do every Monday on the way to piano lessons to get the kids happy-hour slushes. And when I pulled up to the window, a different car hop looked at me and said, "Oh, you're the one whose kids like to eat their slushes with a spoon. Hang on and I'll get you some."

So you tell me. Am I at Sonic way too much, or do we just have damn talented car hops???

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ty Pennington, eat your heart out

So, I've talked in the past about how lucky we were to get this house, in this school district, and how the previous owners renovated it from a tiny, older home into the house we currently enjoy. And while I feel blessed with every bone in my body to have gotten this house (Hello, Mr. Elementary School Principal, glad you don't hold a grudge!) and thrilled that we didn't have to do the work, and relieved beyond measure that buying this house negated what was pretty much the greatest financial mistake of our marriage ............. still, I have been slightly confused by a few things about our house.

I love being so close to the school, and our church, and the house is without a doubt bigger than any house we could have afforded to build ourselves, and I am so, so, so grateful we're living here and not in the middle of what I'm sure would be Renovation Hell in the first house we bought ..... but it's weird. I mean, the layout and design of this house is weird.

Who builds a 3600 sq ft house with only two bedrooms? Never mind the bedrooms are big enough to hold wedding receptions in, or perhaps land an aircraft carrier in ... who does that? And who builds a pantry bigger than most bathrooms, and puts in a state-of-the-art oven/stove/grill/vented hood thing .... but puts both of those items in a kitchen, the size of which is usually found in a much smaller house? And puts a closet in the upstairs bedroom that is bigger than most bedrooms? And yeah, we've got storage out the wazoo (remember, Kellen actually sleeps in a 20 x 12 ft CLOSET) but has a teeny tiny living room?

The living room is probably my number one pet peeve about this house. I'm sure it was the perfect size for the family before us, who only had one child --- I mean, it's not *really* teeny-tiny. That was me, exaggerating (imagine that.) But once you get all five of us sprawled all over the furniture, plus any friends my kids have over, or heaven forbid any of my family come over to hang out, not to mention the piano we purchased after the kids started lessons, ..... basically, there's just not as much room as we would like in some parts of the house, and way more room than we need in others.

We decided one way to clear space in the living room would be to move the entertainment center into the master bedroom and get a smaller, simple tv stand that wouldn't take up as much space. The entertainment center was something the previous owners left behind when they moved. First, I thought it was simple generosity on their part, leaving it behind for us to enjoy. Then I thought maybe since they were down-sizing they didn't want it. Because it's not just big, it's really big. After last night, we realize the *real* reason they left it behind is because it's so freakin' monstrous they couldn't get it through the door when they left.

There are two ways to get to the master bedroom, and both paths require a u-turn in a hall. Hmmmm. How do you get an eight-foot piece of furniture through a seven-foot doorway and turn a 180 degree corner at the same time? You don't. You measure, and squint, and discuss, and measure again, but ultimately, you don't.

So just what DO you do????

Like Larry the Cable Guy might say, you grab the necessary tools, and saw that sumbitch in half.

(OK, so maybe Larry the Cable Guy wouldn't really say that. But there's just something incredibly red-neck satisfying about the word "sumbitch" and I just don't get to use it often enough!)

First you discuss how hard the wood is, ie, "real" wood vs pressboard, and whether your skillsaw will be enough for the job.

Then you talk about the merits of actually sawing this piece of furniture in half, and how you're irreparably damaging a very nice piece of furniture for all time .... but really, what are your choices?

So the heck with it .... you start cutting.

At first your sister is all squinchy because she cannot believe the two men in the family -- one of whom has an engineering degree and one of whom has a surveying degree, so they both have a firm grasp on the concept of space and structure and form and dimensions, couldn't figure out a way to get that thing into the bedroom without sawing it in two .......

But eventually she comes 'round to your OCD ways, and even volunteers to hold the wet-vac hose while the cutting is going on. (Notice *I* am not doing anything? Besides documenting the entire process with photos for posterity's sake, of course. We all have our special talents, after all .....)

(Did I mention that my brother in law was diagnosed with walking pneumonia earlier this week? I'm sure the flying wood particles were especially helpful to his lungs.)

Holy canisters of Pledge, Batman! Had we dusted under the television since we moved here???? Ummmmmm, apparently not. But look! They got the sumbitch sawed in half!!! And since Cliff only coughed up ONE lung, and he has two, then everything is ok!!

And after moving both halves into the bedroom and reassembling, you can hardly tell any damage was done.

I owe my brother-in-law a very expensive thank you gift. Something perhaps nicer than the brownie sundaes I made for their whole family before they left. Because while the entertainment center was freakin' HUGE, it was the 37 inch console television that weighed 400 pounds and gave him a hernia, moving it. Kelly and I were both trying to help (but not succeeding, since we are basically puny little wimps delicate flowers) and we were ALL trying to keep Blaine from having to lift anything (what with the radiation and all ...... lightweight that he is) and so basically my brother in law wound up doing everything. Walking pneumonia and all.

Now, if you'll excuse me, before I can shop for his gift it appears I have some dusting to do.

PS. As an aside, this is the first time in twenty-one and a half years of marriage that Blaine and I have had a television in our master bedroom. I don't know whether to be sad because it appears as though the honeymoon phase is truly over, or to be thrilled because now I can watch Dancing with the Stars, roll over and go to sleep!

Friday, November 14, 2008


Thanks for the kind comments about our family photos that we had taken. They were actually taken in late September, before Blaine started radiation, which probably explains why he doesn't look like Sean Penn in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

I was flattered that a few of you assumed that I took them myself, but no. Not even with my timer feature and handy-dandy remote control could I manage to get a good family shot like that. At least not yet. A few more classes and maybe I'll be closer.

I have taken photos of friends for Christmas recently, and in years past, and of my nephews and sister's family in an attempt to get pictures of them good enough to send out in their Christmas card. I've done my kids soccer teams before and I was asked to do my nephew's baseball team photos last year which was fun .....

But I had never actually been hired -- as in, PAID MONEY -- until recently, when one of the moms at the soccer field asked if I would do their team photos, and some candid action shots of the girls at practice. I mean, the players were five years old, it's not like *they* care how the pictures turned out, but I really wanted the parents to be happy.

It went ok, and the exciting part? I made $81.00. Eight-one dollars!! I mean, it's barely enough to pay one months worth of cell phone bill, but it was still pretty exciting to actually make a profit. I thought about framing that first one dollar bill --- then realized that would make me even dorkier than I already am. Eighty-one bucks. Considering I've been a stay-at-home mom since Brayden was born, that works out to about one-billionth of a cent per hour for the past twelve years. Hmmmm. Wonder if I'll have to pay social security on that?

And since I don't know these girls or their families personally, it wouldn't be right for me to show you the images on this blog.

Well, ok. Except for this one. Because how stinkin' cute is this kid???

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Spell-check, obviously, does not know the difference between "ears" and "eyes".

Apparently I need to invest in some sort of anatomy-check on my computer. :)


You guys *do* know I was being sarcastic about the eyes, don't you?

I mean, sure, they're red and watery and discharging and he looks like Cheech Marin after a long night alone with his bong pipe .....

But I'm sure it's just irritation.

Or pinkeye.

Or he finally realized what a wonderful woman I am and how lucky he is to have me and so every time he looks at me his ears tear up with the joyful wonderfulness of amazement at his good fortune.

Or radiation blindness.

Um, yeah.

I'm guessing irritation.


----- Original Message -----
From: R.
Sent: Thursday, November 13, 2008 8:29 AM
Subject: Blaine

Blaine doing a little glad-radiation-is-finally-over dance? Thinking about you guys!


Yeah, well, apparently his wife is a moron who can't count. One more day. His eyes are red and oozing crap and he's pretty sure they've radiated them by mistake and he's going blind.
Good times.
PS. I'm just going to update my blog with this, do you mind????

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully it's not a train bearing down on us.

Well, assuming there are no car accidents or sewer line breakages or road rage incidents or nuclear power plant episodes to keep Blaine from getting to radiation tomorrow .... assuming none of that happens, then tomorrow he will complete his final (of 32) radiation treatments. Final, hopefully, as in his whole life, never again, knock wood wish on a shooting star pull the wishbone pluck a four leaf clover throw salt over your shoulder carry a lucky rabbits foot whatever the hell you want to do.

Several people have mentioned, that *I* haven't mentioned him enough during this treatment time of his. Ummmm ..... well .... I'm not quite sure what to say about that. I guess I'm just not sure *what* to say: Hey, my husband's having radiation --- AGAIN -- for his third go-round with sinus cancer, two thumbs up!! And then we only have to wait three months for the next scan to see if it worked -- woo freaking hoo! (no, no sarcasm here, why do you ask?)

In a glass half empty scenario, this last week or so has definitely been tough. The pain has caught up to him and he spends a large amount of time sitting in his recliner, covered with a blanket, eyes closed, holding a heating pad to the side of his face. Then, his pain meds kick in, the glass becomes half full, and he's actually able to interact with his kids for a brief while. And in a glass half-even-fuller scenario, the pain is much less than it was the last time he had radiation, which is certainly something to feel glad about. Also Milk Duds. I unabashedly feel glad for Milk Duds.

Here's a funny story: When preparing to receive each radiation treatment, he gets on the table and lies on his back. They place his mask over his head and face and then bolt it to the table so he absolutely cannot move during the treatment. The mask is sort of like a fencing mask, made to fit his head perfectly, only with small holes in it. Think "Hannibal Lecter", but made out of mesh, and it covers his entire head, face, and part of his shoulders. Apparently the other day he was a little past due for a haircut and the top of his hair was sticking out the holes in the mesh, so the nurses took turns rubbing his head like a chia pet for good luck while he was bolted to the table.

OK, maybe not so funny. But when you're 28 sessions into radiation treatment, I guess you take luck and humor wherever you think you can find it.

So, anyway, good to know it's almost done. Good for me because I'm about tired of being all solicitous and kind (Seriously! Being nice to a sick guy for this long is exhausting! And I swear if I have to watch one more episode of the Military Channel I will slit my wrists.) and I know it's good for him too because he's definitely feeling Just. About. Done. With. The. Whole. Thing.

Oh and hey, here's another piece of good news: We received notice today that the pharmacy we've been using for the last year, the one that has every prescription for every member of our family, including all of Blaine's -- which is no mean feat, is no longer accepting our insurance ---- TOTAL AWESOMENESS!!!

Monday, November 10, 2008


Perhaps not the best way to end the season, letting a goal slip right between your legs:

Although her team did win the game, which makes this not an unforgivable offense.

And, it happened right before the game where the goalie on Kellen's team got kicked in the hand and broke his finger, so all told, a ball between the legs is preferable, in my opinion.

Kellen's team played a tournament in a town about an hour away from our house. His first game was Saturday at 10:30 am, then the second game wasn't until 4:30 pm. It wasn't quite enough time to drive back and forth to home, so a group of us stayed in town, taking the boys out to lunch and then a movie. Since Kellen doesn't go to school or church with any of the boys on his team it was a great opportunity for him to spend time with his team-mates, laughing and joking around and spending an inordinate amount of time in the bathroom at Logan's Roadhouse, "washing their hands", finger quotes, which tells me they were likely getting into whatever mischief it is that 10-yr old boys get into.

It was also a nice opportunity for me to get better acquainted with the other parents on the team, especially Omar's dads, and chat with them about how this season has gone, now that it's almost over. Next Saturday is their final game of the outdoor fall season before moving on to indoor futsal, which I have no idea what the hell that even is, but apparently we have to buy new shoes and a new ball and of course we do because that's all competitive sports really is, a bottomless hole that we parents throw money into .... right, countless other parents out there???

Although none of the other parents on the team would ever say so (at least not to my face) it's no big secret that Kellen is one of the weaker players on his team. And I wouldn't even say "weak", because he's taller and faster and just as skilled as the other boys. It's just that he seems to lack the "assertive" gene that the other boys have. He'll run for the ball, but hesitates before throwing his body weight into winning it. Hmmmm. Maybe that's because he doesn't actually HAVE any body weight. He's simply timid .... or maybe "polite" on the field is a better way of describing it. Nobody rolls their eyes and groans when he takes the field, but nobody rubs their hands together gleefully and thinks, "OK, here we go!!", either.

So I was joking with the other parents that I need to figure out how to make Kellen more assertive on the field (NOT aggressive, there is a difference ....) and how my only hope for this entire season is that he score one goal. A single goal. What a difference it might make in his confidence level. Considering his coach plays him at defender, chances were bleak it would happen. But still ---- just one goal.

Fast forward to the Sunday morning game. (I know! Sunday morning! Which means apparently there won't be any soccer playing in heaven because all the players and their families are not getting in since we are forced to skip church to attend tournaments!!) His regular coach had another game to coach, so another coach from our league came to coach our boys. (How many times can I use the word "coach" in one sentence???) At the half, we were behind 3-0 in what to me, looked like a good game. In the second half, to my surprise, the coach put Kellen in as a forward.

I sat there and watched him play, and knew how badly he wanted that goal, and although I love him dearly, I just wasn't sure he could make it happen. When rushed or crowded, he has a tendency to pass the ball to his teammates, thinking it's better for our team to keep the ball, especially if it means someone in a better position could take the shot. So yeah, he's a team player, but that doesn't help in my "just one goal" quest.

So he's out there, playing his brand of "cautious" soccer, and I'm sitting in my chair on the sidelines. I despise people who only pray when they want something, but suddenly I found myself throwing up a silent plea:

"Lord, just one goal this season. I won't get greedy and ask for more. I won't get greedy and ask that it be a winning goal, or that he be the star, or that his team even win the game. Just one goal, to keep him interested in the sport and boost his self-esteem."

I crossed my fingers, too, for good luck. Do you think crossed fingers count for much with God?

Not thirty seconds later, from a far corner, with two players defending him, Kellen shot a high kick that went just over the tips of the goalie's fingers, and WOOOOOSH! flew perfectly into the corner of the net.

I'm pretty sure the folks in Canada heard me screaming. And because of the conversation I had just had with the other parents, they were every bit as excited for me. Michael's mom came and hugged me, Adam's mom came and we jumped up and down together, and Omar's dads both gave me double-high-fives.

But all of that paled in comparison to the look of pure happiness on Kellen's face. It might have been one of the greatest moments in his young sports life; I'm pretty sure it was, considering the first thing he did after the game was call his dad and his grandma and his aunt Kelly to tell them, then re-hash it with me the entire ride home, and then re-create the scene in the living room to "show" the rest of the family, and yes, we all know you were double-teamed, and yes, it went just over the goalie's fingers tips, ok, fine, you're a superstar, we get it.

Of course, that meant the rest of the game I had to sit there silently and NOT be unhappy when his team wound up losing the game 3-2, because a deal is a deal ....

But still, totally worth it.

Friday, November 07, 2008

One of those obnoxious posts where I make you look at pictures of my family.

But dang, I've got some good-looking kids!!!

Escoe Family Photos, Fall 2008

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Let the Hatred Begin

Well, perhaps "Hatred" is too strong a term. Maybe a better word would be "annoyance" or "frustration" or "crippling lack of creativity".

Remember how I complained last year about my kids' school's freakish obsession with costumes?

Yeah, well, it's already started this year.

We've had Spirit Week and Just Say No Week, which means we've done Crazy Hair Day, Mis-Match Clothes Day, Crazy Socks Day, Crazy Hat Day, Wear Your Clothes Backwards Day, Team Jersey Day, Slippers Day, and a host of other days, all of which were pretty manageable with things the kids already had here at the house .... with the exception of Hippie Day. For that, I agreed to go to the costume store and actually *buy* Brayden a 70's costume, if *she* would agree to wear the costume again for Halloween.

Kellen had to dress up like Patrick Henry for a book report, and will re-use that costume for the Colonial Fair in January. For the Live Museum in December, he has to dress up like Dwight D. Eisenhower (wtf???) and Kendrie has to dress as a professional baseball player, which means we will recycle the baseball uniform Kellen wore in LAST YEAR's Live Museum.

So far, so good.

Then, we received notice that this week is the 2nd Annual Vocabulary Parade. You might remember that last year the Parade took place -- literally -- our first week at the new school, so my poor kids didn't really get costumes. I hadn't even unpacked our household goods, let alone been able to manage costumes for the vocabulary words they were to "demonstrate" in the parade to their school mates.

No such luck this year --- we're here, and costumes are expected of us.

I didn't think Kendrie's word would be that difficult: arachnid.

I figured it would be pretty easy to get out my sewing machine and whip up a cute little spider costume without a whole lot of trouble.

Only two problems: 1) I don't actually own a sewing machine. and 2) I don't know how to sew.

The idea for the costume was easily found on the Internet, and didn't *sound* too difficult.

It didn't take long to remember, however, that I have the patience span of a gnat .... so thank goodness I have a husband who is handier with a needle and thread than I am, is all I can say about that.

Once we determined that she would also recycle the costume for Halloween, things actually started to look up:

Then I found out what Kellen's word is: strew.

How on God's green earth am I supposed to come up with a costume representing the word "strew" ??? Seriously ---- STREW?????

And about the time I really started getting anxious, about what the HELL are we going to do for "strew", I talked to sister, and found out my nephew's word:


Um, yeah. Strew's not looking so bad after all.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

No Wonder

During the twenty-six months that Kendrie was on treatment for leukemia, she took 2121 pills. Approximately 2121 times, we encouraged her to try to take them the “normal” way ….. just pop them in her mouth and swallow with water.

During the twenty-six months that Kendrie was on treatment, she had to swallow numerous doses of nasty-tasting liquid Zantac to counter-act the stomach upset caused by the steroids. She hated the stuff, so we encouraged her to learn to down it quickly, like a shot … just toss it back and swallow.

When her treatment was over she developed exercise-induced asthma and started doing an inhaler before soccer games and practice. We encouraged her to learn to use her inhaler properly …… take a deep breath, hold it in your lungs, let it out slowly.

Last month she developed a wicked cough that the doctor thought might be helped with a twice-daily inhaler, so we made doubly sure she knew the proper way to inhale.

Today we took her back to the doctor because not only was the cough worse but she was also complaining about ear pain and was (is) completely stuffed up. The doctor said to discontinue the twice-daily inhalers but gave her a steroid nasal spray to use in an attempt to dry her up. So Blaine has spent the evening teaching her the proper way to snort something up her nose (something I simply, totally, and plainly CANNOT DO because just the thought grosses me the hell out.)

So basically, we’ve spent her entire life teaching her the various ways to use drugs. Short of explaining a beer bong or IV cocaine or how to shoot up between her toes, there is nothing now she cannot do successfully.

And yet we’ll be shocked when she DOESN’T “just say no”.

Go figure.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Rite of Passage

So really, when your baby sister turns 40, just what are you supposed to do???

Why, throw her a surprise party, of course!

And yeah, I'd say she was pretty much surprised .... for the most part .... except I really should remember that it's always evident someone is lying (that someone would be ME, trying to pull off the surprise) when they give too much detail ... but all told, I think my brother in law and I pulled the wool *almost* all the way over her eyes.

And sure, there were tons of people there, and lots of laughing and goofing off and general merriment, but I still think *MY* 40th birthday party was better.


had a silly hat.

*I* had tons of alcohol.


had bowling ... and laughing .... and a trivia-hunt-road-rally ....

*I* had karoke.


had lots of friends for pizza and cake and ice cream ....

*I* had skinny-dipping with my girlfriends.


On second thought, I'm getting too old for that shit, and maybe her party was better after all. At the very least, there was no hang-over the next morning.

And darn it all, she'll ALWAYS be younger than me!!!

Sunday, November 02, 2008


I'm hopeful that after the presidential election on Tuesday, I will be pleasantly surprised.

I'm hopeful that if *that* doesn't happen, that I will be pleasantly surprised the next four years.

My concern is that neither of those things will happen.

Comments closed because I am not about to open up a big ole' can of political ugly on this site.

But remember to vote on Tuesday ... and when you're done voting, let that feeling of civic pride carry you a few steps farther, and go donate blood.