Yesterday was a pretty busy day around here. We got up bright and early so that we could have Maya at Sky Harbor Airport to go see her dad, Paris, for spring break. We were about 30 minutes into the 2 hour drive when I realized I'd left Maya's flight confirmation number at the house. So, knowing Paris would have it, I quickly called him up. I ended the call with, "So she takes off at 12:30ish. Cool." Just as the phone was cutting off I heard "11:30!"
There was another volunteer there with us, Ruth. This was her first volunteer event. We had a nice time chatting and watching the empty space in front of us where people should have been milling about. Even so, we managed to sign up 10 new people in our four hour shift. All things considered, that was a great feat. So I feel pretty good about it.
While Ruth and I worked the table, Chris did a lot of Kajsa entertaining. She got her face painted, rode a pony – and a roller coaster, and even participated in duck racing. Yep, PETA's probably gonna rail on me for authorizing such activities, but it is, well, what it is.
Unfortunately, due to the lack of general public at this event, all the food vendors raised their prices excessively. Even a small bottle of water was $6.00. So we went without. Next time I'll know and bring a bunch of water with me. But we did stop at Albertson's on the way out of town to get stuff for a little car picnic on the drive home. We even stopped at Sunset Point rest area at just the right time.It was truly a good day.
Kajsa's Kids Count 2007 on Vimeo
Yesterday was everything I had hoped it would be. Chris came home early from work to bring me the car. So he was able to load Kajsa up for her first day of preschool. I really don’t know which of them was more excited.
We got there a bit early. So there was plenty of time for playing on the jungle gym. We were in the middle of a rockin’ good game of peek-a-boo, when…
Kajsa spotted another kid. The look of wonder on her face is only barely captured by this photo. After three months isolated in a hospital room with no children (and most adult visitors wearing masks, gowns, and gloves), I don’t think she’d realized that this was going to be a real event. I believe that this is the moment when she truly grasped what was about to happen.
Her eyes were glued to the other girl until she walked into the building. Then Kajsa just turned and looked at me. I asked her quietly if she’d like to go inside. No comment…she simply nodded with eyes wide.
Upon arriving in the class room (and after the required washing of hands – yippee), Kajsa immediately sat down at the painting table. Of all things, the lesson of the day was “taste”. Could this have been more perfect? For a kid who’s lived most of her life in a state of almost complete oral aversion to be surrounded by lip smacking gustatorialy experimental children – well let’s just say, it was good. It was very good. She may not have liked everything she tasted. But the fact that she tasted numerous items was absolutely fantastic!
So she sat with her new teacher Ms. Polly. Don’t they always have the cutest names? I wonder if that’s a requirement for teaching preschool. “I see here that your name is Brunhilda. I’m sorry, but I’m afraid you just aren’t right for our establishment.” Anyway, Kajsa was really taken with Ms. Polly. Notice the rapt attention? I may very well be slipping in my title of:
"Most Fascinating and Cool of ALL Women".
So I slipped away with a kiss and a hug. Outside I placed Kajsa’s backpack on her very own hook. Yet another thing that I found irresistibly adorable. And check out the mischievous grin on that girl next to her. I can’t wait to find out her story.
So I returned to the school as Maya was getting out of hers. You do know that their schools are housed in the same building, right? Good for me – mortifying for Maya. Maya begged out so that she could run off with her own personal Jenny Piccolo, Tabitha, to
It was a wonderful day all around. I’d been feeling rather discouraged lately. (Gee, I wonder why?) But yesterday really renewed my spirit. I’m even fairly excited about the next year, or so.
We left the hospital again Friday night and drove home to begin packing to go camping. Now those of you who don’t know me, have no idea what a love of camping I’ve always felt. For years I would hike out to the woods to spend a week on some deserted trail, enjoying the sounds, smells, and feel of nature as a way to refresh my soul.
Chris and I enjoyed some car camping in the early years of our relationship, as well. These are the times I will always remember fondly. So when we had our little baby, we were so excited to take her with us to the woods for many outdoor adventures. But we only got one true camping trip in before she was diagnosed.
That first summer we were trying so hard just to keep her alive that we didn’t even have time to think about leisure. And then before we knew it, she’d hit end stage and required dialysis each night. We just figured this was one of those sacrifices of parenthood that you never see coming.
But we never stopped looking forward to the day that Kajsa would receive a transplant and be free of the machine. Who would have ever thought that hauling 9 meds and a feeding pump out to the woods would feel like the ultimate freedom? But we now do.
So off we went Saturday morning to pick Maya up in Prescott and meet two other families who’d decided to join in on the adventure. And an adventure it was. Shaun and Chrissy had apparently looked online to find a campsite for us all. Is this a crazy digital time or what? I mean, looking online for camping spots. It seems sort of ironic to me. But hey, if you can, why not?
After much running around to various stores to buy supplies and such, we were on our way. We drove through Prescott and Jerome then down to the Verde Valley, where we cut off onto a dirt road for another hour or so. And from what I’ve gathered, we took a wrong turn somewhere along the way and ended up at some campground other than the one they’d originally been looking for. The one we found was much more party central than I ever would have chosen, but a couple of the cars were hovering around a quarter tank of gas, and all of us were rather sick of bumping along the road. So we decided to stay. We located the last campsite in the whole place and set up our tents.
Chris and Shaun wanted to take their fishing poles out for a trial, so several of us followed along. Going down the hill, I slipped in the mud and had decided to simply wade out into the water with my pants on to wash them off. The boys, Ash & Alec, had already wandered into the water. And as I was handing Chrissy my watch to hold, one of the boys lost his footing and tried to climb up the other, as the current began carrying the two children away.
It must have only been a matter of 2-3 seconds before Chrissy and I were both in the water racing for the kids. Chrissy had Ash out of the water quickly. And while I grabbed Alec in short order, I couldn’t keep us both out of the water and find footing myself. So I held him up as I repeatedly pushed myself up from the bottom to gasp for air and holler “help!” I could see Chris racing down the beach toward us, and then feel him take Alec from me. Once unburdened, I was able to float to rest until I flopped my way over to the side.
So Chrissy and I stood on the beach crying for a few minutes until we regained some semblance of composure. I have now committed myself to taking some swimming classes at the Y, as soon as possible. I am far too out of practice.
The boys were very well behaved for about 30 whole minutes, and Alec even approached me later to thank me for saving him. My response was that I’d do it again in a heartbeat, but not to make me. Yes, I meant it – and no, I never want to have to do that again.
After this beach (mis)adventure, I was a bit spent, and wandered back to our campsite. And while the scenery was quite lovely, it was Labor Day, and there were a ton of people there – all, apparently, hell bent upon having a raging party. The biggest partiers of the lot were our neighbors, who, thanks to the evils of satellite radio, were able to blare particularly putrescent music ALL NIGHT LONG. So much for refreshment of the soul.
By around 1:00 am I was completely frustrated with the ambience of the place and swore I was going to rip the wires out of the drunkards truck if they didn’t let at least one song finish before changing to the next station. But, fortunately, Chris kept a level head, and calmed me down whenever I got too worked up.
Morning eventually came, and with it sweet silence. At least, that is, until our neighbors had slept off the inevitable hangovers. Our camp got up, made breakfast, and headed out for the day…
Now we’d heard that there were hot springs within walking distance, so we headed out to find them. And of course, we took the wrong path. The gentle, hour long stroll turned into a several hour trudge that included scaling cliff faces, wading though rapids, and traversing ankle turning rock fields.
But we eventually did find the hot springs. And they were absolutely worth the hike. Nestled above the river were a series of pools built into the cliff ranging in temperature from around 99 to 115. Kajsa got to take a dip, and thought it was truly delightful. Even Maya joined in the fun, leaving the “I’m so bored” look behind as she splashed and lounged along with the rest of us.
Before I knew it, the other families were ready to leave, so I gathered up our belongings and headed across the river to join them. But, they were already down the path, so we struck out on our own. While soaking, I’d spoken with a woman who spent every weekend there. She’d told me the true way to get back to the campsite.
We had a leisurely half hour stroll back to the campsite, arriving a while before the other families. So I took advantage of that time to lie down for a while, as my -haven’t-stepped-foot-outside-the-hospital-pale-as-a-boiled-egg-self- was pretty sunburned.
We had enough time to have one last swim before it was time to pack up our camp and head back. The drive home was perfectly lovely. We enjoyed a peaceful trip back to Camp Verde and then worked to try to keep each other awake for the duration of the journey. (Hiking, swimming, and sun can take it out of you, you know.)
Returning home, we had just enough energy to unpack the food, meds, and wet clothing before falling into our beds.
Despite being about 180 degrees from what I had anticipated, we ended up having a very nice time. I look forward to our next foray back into the woods.
Apparently we all have those neighbors. I can’t believe that people would want this man to remove his sunflowers. Perhaps if people would just slow down and smell the flowers, there wouldn’t be a need to worry about sight obstructions.
It’s kind of funny. Where we live, you have to be on a constant lookout. Not only do you run the risk of hitting a random javelina or coyote, but we’re in what’s considered free range land. This means that at certain times of the year, the ranchers have the right to open up all the gates and simply allow their cattle to roam anywhere. Neighbors of ours have had to call in to work, stating that they couldn’t drive in to town because of cows on the road.
You learn to drive slowly.
Perhaps we all should take a lesson.
Speaking of neighbors, and life in our small town, it looks like our time here is drawing to a close. There’s been pressure for this house to be utilized for different purposes. We have a couple of months, yet. But it’s still going to be a bittersweet parting. While it will be nice to be closer to schools, stores, and Chris’ work, I will miss the closeness our two families have shared during this past year and a half.
Strangely, as Chrissy was coming over yesterday to talk to me about this, a man was offering Chris a job working maintenance in a mobile home community in exchange for a 2200 square foot house in which our family could live. It gives me hope that something good will come along.
Now, I know that many of you are eagerly awaiting photos of our happy little transplant recipient. And I promise that they are coming soon.
As I tell Kajsa, please be patient. Good things are coming.
I love my dad. You know, the guy who went mostly blind in December, and is supposed to be sitting around in the dark, feeling sorry for himself. Well, no. That simply wouldn’t do.
He’s since become an even better potter, and is even taking his wheel over to Synergy Studios. He will be throwing pots, cups, and whatever else suits his fancy. Apparently his things have been flying off the shelves. (And not just because some guy keeps bumping into them, either.)
Furthermore, he’s going to a rehab/mobility training facility in a month or two. There he will learn to better use his cane, utilize echo location (he always was a bit batty), and accrue other helpful skills. Maybe then people will stop grabbing his arm and dragging him across streets. Yep, that really happened...poor woman honestly thought that she was being helpful.
So, he’s got a lot of this under control. Notice my blog is no longer visible from Saturn? He got software for that, too. Truly amazing time we live in, folks. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still got a lot to learn, but knowing my Dad, he’ll figure it out quickly.
Apparently, email was a snap. Today, I opened up my box to find that he’d sent me the following:
I have a problem."
"What's the problem, Eve?"
"I know that you created me and provided this beautiful garden and all of
these wonderful animals, as well as that hilarious comedic snake, but I'm just
"And why is that Eve?"
"Lord, I am lonely, and I'm sick to death of apples."
"Well, Eve, in that case, I have a solution. I shall create a man
"Man? What is that, Lord?"
"A flawed creature, with many bad traits. He'll lie, cheat and be vain;
all in all, he'll give you a hard time. But he'll be bigger, faster and will
like to hunt and kill things. I'll create him in such a way that he will
satisfy your physical needs. He will be witless and will revel in
childish things like fighting and kicking a ball about. He won't be as
smart as you, so he will also need your advice to think properly."
"Sounds great," says Eve, with ironically raised eyebrows, "but
what's the catch, Lord?"
"Well...You can have him on one condition."
"And what's that, Lord?"
"As I said, he'll be proud, arrogant and self-admiring...So you'll have to
let him believe that I made him first. And it will have to be our little
...you know, woman to woman."
Thanks, Dad. You’re one of the smartest guys I know.
And I’m not even just saying that to stoke your male ego.
When I was a kid I often wondered why my mother would work outside the home. My dad made enough to keep us comfortable. This was obvious to me even at young age. What wasn’t explicable, though, was why my mom didn’t want to just hang out at home and play with my sister and me.
Now here, some thirty odd years later, I totally understand.
I spent my day cleaning while a tiny tornado of a shadow alternated between tearing up what I’d just accomplished, and sitting on my lap so that I couldn’t do anything. I had to keep from gritting my teeth as I told her that, no, I could put the sheet on the bed by myself. At the time I was leaning over one side, as she dangled persistently on my skirt. I got 7 cups of water, but didn’t drink an entire one myself. I washed dishes, as my “helper” repeatedly threw all the clean silverware back into the soapy water. I am tired.
No, I’m exhausted - more drained than I ever knew I could be when I was younger. I used to party ‘til dawn, but was never as worn out as I am after a day with a two year old.
Yep, I get it now, Mom.
And you know what. I’m sorry for all those times that I stood at the window crying and waving at the window in hopes that you’d feel guilty enough to turn around and come home. Because now I know just how much the time away meant to you.