Thursday, February 2, 2017

Progress? Or Regress?

February 2, 2017

Do you ever feel like you grow hair on your head JUST so you have something to pull out because you are remodeling a house while homeschooling 3 children, while trying to keep an 8 month old alive because every time you blink, she's gargling another choking hazard? Oh.... Is that just me?

And here is another question. Is it inSANELY difficult to diagnose an ear infection? I'm just wondering. Squishy went to a wellness checkup- which is just code for more shots- about a month and a half ago.

"How's your baby?" the doctor asked.  

"She's great. Always happy."

"I can tell. Let's just check her out." Looks in her ears.

"She has a double ear infection."

SERIOUSLY? Mom award right here. NEVER would have guessed. And trust me, I KNOW kids with ear infections. I collect children, remember? Ear infections never "snuck up" with the other 3. It was happy baby, then blood curdling, inconsolable screaming baby. ALWAYS in the middle of the night when no doctors' offices were open.

Not a peep out of Squish, though, except her usual nightly freak-outs, but she's done that from day BORN until now- and she falls right back to sleep, so nothing unUSUAL about that.

She took a round of antibiotics. At the follow up visit a handsome little "almost doctor" flashed a grin and a ear wand around and told me proudly, "Well, her ears look GREAT."

Two seconds later, Dr. Stanford, the actual doctor came in, acknowledged his doctor shadow with a nod, looked in Squishy's ears, and, in front of poor other "not yet doctor" said, "Man, her ears are even worse. We'll have to try something stronger."

I didn't make eye contact with the kid that had JUST told me her ears were all better, because what do you say, "Sorry, sport. Kinda sucked that one up, eh?"  Poor thing, I thought, he's just new at this.

After a second round of antibiotics, I figured her ears were better, but then she broke out in a rash, that to the untrained eye, looked like a flesh eating disease. A tube of diaper cream later, and that is a LOOOT of diaper cream, she STILL had a rash. It had been like a MONTH. And she just wasn't her usual self anymore. She was whiney and feverish. She had snot and a cough. She was cutting her two top teeth so I didn't know if it was that or something else... I figured it was time to get the rash checked out and double check on those ears.

UGH.... I HATE taking my children to the doctor. I don't know why. The kids don't mind it. It's just SUCH a hassle. TWO HOURS of "Sit. Don't touch. Are you KIDDING me right now??? WHERE did you find that gum!?" And, "GET OFF the FLOOR. You're getting filthy!" And, "DON'T LICK the CHAIR! Do you know how many sick people have TOUCHED that CHAIR?!" If I have any WELL children, they come out with a bug, and my sick kid comes out with a NEW illness, usually something WORSE. Plus, with FOUR kids, it's a flipping CIRCUS. People's eyes forget they belong in their sockets and just sort of glue themselves to me and their mouths start talking before their brains have a chance to think about what they should or should NOT say. And my children, the lovely socialites of home school that they are, find great joy in telling each and every individual their life story (except Brighton, who literally tries to disappear into the floor) RATHER or not it's appropriate.

Boeing tells a random man in the waiting room, "Hey. We don't have a home." To which, I feel the need to defend myself, especially since my children have now covered themselves in whatever wasn't cleaned off the floor  of the waiting room and kind of DO look homeless.

At this point, I am forced to engage in a conversation with a man that is probably coughing flu on us with every breath, and looks like he'd rather go on and succumb to earthly death than continue listening to Boeing and me argue over rather or not we are homeless.

"We have a home. We just rented it out, Boeing." I smile at the man, "We are in the middle of moving. So we are half living at my mom's house and half living at one of our rental properties. Super fun, stuff!"

He half nods. Because he doesn't CARE.

"Well, yes. We are moving to Mexico. And we are going to go to Mega. Do you know Mega? Mega is my favorite place in Mexico. And we're going to the real Mexico. Not the New Mexico that we just went to that has snow. The real Mexico doesn't have snow. But I like snow. But I like Mega, too..."

"Boeing come do your math." Now a great grandma has heard our conversation. And unlike flu man, she is VERY interested in what Boeing has to say. So he adopts her as his, and that's that.

She wants to know all about Mexico.

Well, hmm... We were leaving two weeks after we rented our house. But we rented our house. And it's been two weeks. Well.... turns out remodeling two rentals takes longer than two weeks... But Home Depot is measuring for carpet tomorrow so hopefully carpet will be in the apartment and house we are remodeling sometime next week. THEN we just lack "finishing up." We just have to "get our ducks in a row." SUCH an awesome saying... get your ducks in a row. Apparently, like children and stray cats, I ALSO collect DUCKS. For every duck we get in a row, we find out another nest of ducklings have hatched. SO, naturally, we adopt them. Every last one. But we ARE getting SO MUCH CLOSER. If we can just refrain from starting any more projects.

It would have been AWESOME to know how OFF my time-line of departure was BEFORE I packed up everything we owned and stuck it in storage, though. I thought we were leaving in two weeks of moving out of our house so guess how many clothes I packed for us? No. Not two weeks worth, you crazy logical thinking person. ONE weeks worth. With plans to do a load of laundry in the middle. And do you know how long it takes my children to go through one week of clothing? Two days. Or less, if you consider that half of what I packed them to wear is blue jeans- and go figure- Brooklyn and Bry only like COZY PANTS, and Boeing refuses to wear "long sleeve shorts" period! Lucky for us winter feels like summer in Mississippi (except for the random "winter storm" that froze and busted half of our renters pipes and set us back a couple MORE days of repairs) so I've only had to have a few knock down drag outs with my four year old over wearing pants.

"Why does Boeing get to play and we have to do school?" Brighton whines.

"Because, technically Boeing isn't even school aged and I just make him do school to keep him occupied so I can teach YOU school. But now he's occupied with great grandma, so worry about your own self."

So Brighton goes to wallowing his face in the same chair someone's but sat in probably moments earlier. I tell him such. He gags.

"Belize Johnson," the lady calls.

Boeing thinks it's hilarious that someone called her Belize. "We call her Squishy," he tells the lady. She silently judges us all as kids KEEP filing in past her.

"Are these children all yours?"

"Yep. All four."

The doctor comes in.

"I'm worried about this rash that hasn't gone away in a month after stopping antibiotics.  Do you think maybe it's a yeast infection? And can you recheck her ears to be sure they aren't still infected?"

I barely open the diaper. "Yeah it's probably a yeast infection," the doctor declares.  

Two seconds in ears. "Nope ears look good."

"Okay... so...."

"I'll call her in some cream."


"NOT helping! The rash is getting worse, NOT better."

I go to a friend's house, show her the rash. "Here. She needs steroid cream."

Literally gone on FIRST application.

Squishy's little cough continued to get worse until her whole body rattled. Her cheeks were red and her eyes puffy. I finally decided to take her back to the doctor today after Starling gave me a guilt trip essentially diagnosing her with bronchitis (because he's a Google doctor plus hypochondriac- a perfect combination). But I would only take Squishy if Starling would stay with the other kids.  I started calling doctors' offices. Her doctor's office couldn't see her until next week. (Which would be fine- unless it wasn't bronchitis... it was RSV like tons of babies have right now and she could stop breathing and we're staying way out with my parents, twenty minutes from a hospital...) ONE didn't take kids that young. (A child clinic that doesn't take babies... OKAAAAY....), so finally the SAME clinic that I took her to only five days ago was my only option. AGAIN. "Just do a walk-in."

I took a book prepared to sit for two hours. WHICH I did. And it was nice, sitting reading my book, ALONE, with just Squishy sleeping on my shoulder. No talking to ANYONE. NO patrolling wayward tongues licking foreign objects. NO awkward explanations for why I have so many children, why I home school them, or why we are moving to Mexico when everyone else is moving to the United States.

I got a different doctor. THANK GOODNESS who looked in her ears and said, (you'll never guess), a DOUBLE ear infection. He gave me a shorter antibiotic that shouldn't cause her to have a side effect rash.

THANK GOODNESS. I just want this poor baby well.  

There is ONE MAJOR perk that I could KIND of (and by kind of- I mean- wish it would NEVER END) get used to, during this crazy.  Sharing custody of my children with my mom. Seriously. I have the kids all day; I home school them at the rent house, feed them breakfast and lunch, share life lessons- reassuring them that Legos coming apart is, in actuality, a normal part of life- not the end of the world, sentence them to hours of playtime anywhere Squishy isn't napping, then... like a descending angel, my mom shows up after she gets off work to pick them up and put them to bed at her house.

I don't even CARE that for the following 3 hours I have a sledge hammer in my hand and am ripping my fingers to pieces on flooring and probably aging my back by 10 years running up and down stairs with massive boxes of debris, painting walls (and my clothes)... something about being ALONE... or sort of alone (Starling is usually just a skil- saw away) is AMAZING... I can get done in ONE hour of no children the same amount it takes me to do the same task in SIX hours WITH children. And I don't lose my train of thought 45 times. It's like this overwhelming sense of PRODUCTIVITY that I am pretty sure I have not experienced since I started procreating.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Survival of the Soccer


I have four biological children. And I have fostered kids from infants to teens. If I had to fill out an application for the job of parenting, I'd feel CONFIDENT putting seven years of INTENSE experience. But I have to be honest here. Today? I felt WAY out of my league.

I suppose I'm not an "over-achiever" in the scheduling department. I am 100% in compliance with "not over-scheduling" my children. (Or myself).  I don't like the stress. I don't like the driving. And I don't like the psycho-crazy person I turn into when I have to be at THREE places at ONCE.

I have a rule in my home. Each child can be in ONE sport at a time. ONLY ONE! None of this- t-ball, soccer, gymnastics, karate, swim team, pole dancing business that these super moms running around in capes do. I can't even get all four kids to church on time. And that's in the same PLACE! No, no, no.  No way am I signing up to be a full time taxi driver.

Over the summer, my three kids did gymnastics. This fall, they asked to play soccer. In my head, I thought, "THIS IS GREAT! Think of the money I will save! I have all but given the gym my kidneys in exchange for what? (Have you SEEN my children try to do a cart wheel)???"

So I signed up THREE kids to play soccer. With a 4 month old. And a Starling. (If you are thinking my judgment is lacking, I concur. To the tenth degree of concur-ment).

First soccer practice on a Tuesday. Went fantastic! I only had to take Brooklyn and Squishy (that's the 4 month old) to the YMCA for a little indoor soccer fun.  

With all the false confidence of a delusional person that thinks, "I got this!" I went to the second practice on a Thursday where TWO of my children were practicing at Tatum (aka the maze from Hell), both at 6p.m. (As was at LEAST half of Hattiesburg). After driving around for, oh TWENTY minutes to find a place to PARK, I headed on another twenty minute HIKE carrying a 15 pound ball of baby, a diaper bag filled with water bottles, 2 soccer balls, all the while being followed by three complaining children asking, "Why are we walking so far?"

"Why are we walking in circles?"

 "Where is my team?"

Before they FINALLY came to the conclusion, "Ummm... I don't think Mom knows where she's going." (To which comment, I mildly LOST IT).

I finally interrogated every short person team I saw, and finally found Boeing's spot. I called Brighton's couch who was on the other side of the universe, and marched him to his position so I could finally enjoy (that's sarcasm) running laps in between the two fields seeing a bunch of NONE of their practice, just ATTEMPTING to supervise- sort of kind of. Their practices were ending at the same time so I finally left Brooklyn in charge of Brighton (Yeah. Brooklyn is a very mature SEVEN year old. Don't judge me. I was DESPERATE) while I hauled off to get Boeing.

My shoes rubbed blisters on my feet and my arms had long since turned to Jello.

And just when I THOUGHT we'd survived the practice, I lost my car.

Do you KNOW how many people drive WHITE MINI VANS at a SOCCER field? Is that a soccer mom requirement. "Don't forget to bring your white van?" I must have said, "FINALLY. THAT's our car!" at least seven times.

Needless to say, when I got home and Starling inquired about said practice, with his usual delightful, jovial personality- all smiles and happiness, I all but chewed his head up into little bits of fro and spit it back out. I sent him to Sam's to buy a wagon, and forbade him from EVER, and I mean EVER sending me ANYWHERE NEAR Tatum with four kids by myself again.

"I learned my lesson," I thought. "I'm going PREPARED," I proclaimed.

I arrived at the fields at 8:30 this morning, even though games didn't start until 9. I parked by a sign. I memorized the sign. I would NOT lose my car twice. I downsized my diaper bag to actually a bag with a diaper. I put squishy in the wagon.

But where was Starling? Coming. He was coming. He just "had to" (we disagree on the "have to" and "want to"'s in our marriage) buy another jet ski "real quick." He got there "on time"-ish. Which means late. Because I'd already deposited kids on two different fields, and he had to find a parking spot and then find us. Oh. And the temperature had already reached 812 degrees.

The coach asked Boeing if he wanted to play. "Um, naw," he said, upon seeing his daddy arrive with snacks. He brought the family favorite- Starling's own "beefed up" version of Peanut Butter trail mix. (This means he buys a back of trail mix and dumps a huge bag of m&m's in it. And who doesn't like a handful of chocolate with a pretzel and peanut)? Unless you are talking about the debbie-downer MOM who's eyes are twitching at DAD mentally screaming, "SERIOUSLY. You brought CHOCOLATE? To a soccer game? In MISSISSIPPI?" Boeing's hands were covered in brown goo in about two seconds, which he stealthily cleaned on his white jersey.

"Boeing you have to play. It's your turn."

"Ugh. I don't want to. It's too hot."

I ran back to Brooklyn to take her some water just in time to see her melting down, "Mom. It's SOO hot... and I'm just DYING!!"

I cut her off with an impromptu pep-talk through gritted teeth, because I mentally screaming, "SUCK IT UP."

Starling and I switched back and forth between Brooklyn and Boeing's fields because he wanted to "help them" with their soccer. On game day. (He isn't a procrastinator. At. All).

Brighton's game started in the middle of Brooklyn and Boeing's game so we got to enter the "be in three places at once" warp zone. It was truly enchanting.

I left Brooklyn just long enough to run Brighton to another field, prepping him along the way. "Kid. Your brother and sister are melting down. Team Johnson is falling fast. We have to have one kid that can hold it together and that HAS to be you, bud. You got this."  I left him with a huge thermos of water and bee lined it back to Brooklyn.

The ball was coming straight to her. "Stop the ball!" someone shouted. And she did. She reached RIGHT down and grabbed it. And then she remembered she wasn't the goalie. The mortification was too much for her to bear.  She broke down in sobs. The coach carried her off the field.  

I had VERY little pep left in me, but I mustered what I could and told her ALL about MY sports days. (Which is pretty limited. I quit playing basketball after one year in middle school because our practice was 2nd period and I didn't like getting sweaty). I didn't mention that part... I told her how people accidently kick balls in the wrong net, (on Boeing's team in the wrong net on the wrong field...). 

Between her first and second game, (what genius thought it was a good idea to make parents suffer through TWO games a KID EVERY SATURDAY?!), we ran to watch Brighton. Boeing's game was done, FINALLY, so Starling met us over there, too. Amazingly...Brighton was loving it. He made a friend and kept giving him fives and patting him on the head when he did something good. (Like a dog. We really need to work on that kids social skills). Starling told Brighton he would give him a Butterfinger if he scored a goal, and that's when he kicked into gear. And score, he did. I mean he told me he did. I didn't get to SEE it, of course. I had to be on another field trying to keep up Brooklyn's morale.

We said a prayer together on the way back over to her field that she would be brave and endure to the end of her next game. She said, "I can't let my team down, Mom. I can DO this!"

And boy, she umm... well... she tried, bless her heart. She ran AFTER the ball. She touched it once and stopped to give me a thumbs up and it was gone. She finished the second game with a smile. (EVEN though the other team stomped them and kicked them while they were down).
Boeing was a broken record of "it's hot" and "let's go"s by the time Brooklyn and Brighton were done. Since Boeing plays for the Bops team and since the owner is his coach, (get real- we went for me. Let's call a duck a duck- I wanted a snow cone), we went to Bop's. (Here's a Bop's plug. A REGULAR snow cone- which I have never been able to finish- is $2.19. What snow cone stand sells something you can't finish for THAT price? One feeds all three kids).

Apparently it was the thing to do because every seat was filled with soccer players. (Guess the word's out that if you go wearing your uniform you get an extra scoop of ice cream).

We got back in the car and I cranked up the air. It was stifling hot. I cranked it up some more. I had a sinking feeling as I stuck my hand to the air vent and the air was HOT. My A/C was out.

Oh wait. NO. It was just turned onto the heater. WHY?? Because Brighton was cold from his snow cone and turned on the heat. Without saying anything to the rest of us who were slowly melting to death from a heat stroke. (This is the same kid that tied wire all over our fire place Christmas Eve when he got to thinking about things and decided he didn't want Santa coming down HIS chimney).

We finally made it home and the best part of my day happened. BOEING took a nap.

 I now know why people decorate their vans in things that say, "Soccer Mom!" and plaster their kid's soccer numbers all over their car. It's like a rite of passage, a certificate of completion, a beacon of light to all other moms out there. "I DID IT. I SURVIVED SOCCER! YOU CAN, TOO!"  

Monday, September 5, 2016

Threats To the Community


I've been accused of being a bit dramatic. (At least by my parents who had the glorious blessing of raising me as a teenager). SO- I don't know if this should burn my cookies or not. As I have a different scale by which I measure INSANITY, I don't know if this is actually INSANE or local politics as normal. DO TELL ME YOUR OPINION. (But keep it PG because I don't like potty words and I would rather not excite any homicidal thoughts that I must repent for later).

Firstly, I would like to issue a public apology for threatening our community.

Secondly, let me be clear:  (in case I wasn't during my previous blog, The Zika). My husband is OVER the illness and HAS been before he was even TESTED. (And took all necessary precautions when the health community took none). He is no longer a THREAT. The virus is no longer active in him. Mosquitoes can chew him up, spit him out, turn him into a walking polka dot, and they will no longer catch Zika from him.  BUT none- the less...

We just received, by certified mail, (for a dramatic flare and to give me a twitch)? a letter from the Lamar County Board of Supervisors declaring our parcel of land to be (and I QUOTE),  "a threat to neighboring parcels as well the health, welfare, and safety of the community." (YowZERS! What blatant honesty)!

"Pursuant to a complaint, an investigation was conducted of the parcel in questions, there was observed to be several derelict vehicles, multiple miscellaneous items which can store and hold water, which can cause over creating a habitat for mosquitoes to breed."   (Wait. You lost me with "Can cause over creating a habitat"? Is that grammatically correct? Sorry- I got distracted.  Back to being threatened. Cars can store and hold water? Even when they have their windows up and none are convertibles? And to what miscellaneous items would they be referring? We just did a walk around. Unless you are talking about grass, everything else is covered where rain cannot even reach it. I'm a little confused right now).  

"Pursuant to Statue 19-5-105, failure to gain compliance will result in Lamar County Board of Supervisors voting to declare the parcel meeting the guidelines to be deemed unclean, unsafe, and a public health concern, and further will begin formal notice as provided in said statute. If notice shall be given by Lamar County Board of Supervisors, then said parcel will be put out to bid, the efforts needed to remedy the issues and lien the parcel not in excess of $20,000 to be placed on your taxes and payable when taxes are due.

Furthermore, Lamar County Board of Supervisors also retains the ability to file additional violations against you as the owner under any other ordinances which may pertain to this parcel as it is situated in the county." (Curious... will you file violations for too many bats once we put up bat houses to combat the mosquitoes? I hear they poop. I don't know what that has to do with anything, but I don't know what cars have to do with mosquitoes, either). 

I'm INSANELY curious. How many other residents of Lamar County have been given similar notices? I have this ODD feeling that we are being targeted. Hmmm...

 We rent to a car dealership AND to a mechanic shop... SOOOOO, pray tell,  Lamar County Board of Supervisors, are our renters not allowed to have CARS on the property?? Especially since they... FIX  and sale- oh yeah- CARS???

I was completely unaware that The Board of Supervisors had ANY say so as to what I put on MY property. Or what my RENTERS put on MY property. (Apparently I was wrong. VERY wrong).

While I would love a glorious white picket fence lined with begonias and daffodils- (and either an ice cream or snow cone stand- depending on which day you ask me- so I don't have to make midnight runs to Wal Mart on account of my over active sweet-tooth)- THAT's not what pays the rent. And when you start threatening my livelihood and that of my family's... I take it a wee bit personal. (We will chalk it up to over-active hormones).  So I ask again, "WHO else has been given thirty days to comply with some statue (statute?) that I've never heard of?" Are they also harassing our neighbors? And at what point does this become a matter of local government overstep?

Let's be frank, shall we? Are you, Lamar County Board of Supervisors, truly concerned about the cars for sale on our property OR are you singling out my husband because he HAD (as in past tense- no longer a threat. In fact, he's now immune and can never be a threat again) Zika?  And in doing so, are you not discouraging others who MAY in the future find themselves to have a virus, rather due to mosquitoes or something else, from coming forward and being transparent, working to ensure proper health precautions are taken? Do you think, for one moment, that people are going to put themselves out for the sake of the community, if they themselves are to become ostracized and began receiving certified (let's call it what it is) THREATS? Becoming a pariah to the community? Call me a pessimist, but I have my doubts.

We do NOT live in a gated community. We do NOT live within the city limits. We do not have a mile long list of covenants (or DO WE???)?  And I assure you, the "cars and misc" things on the property are NOT the breeding ground for mosquitoes that the Lamar County Board of Supervisors should be concerned with. If mosquito breeding IS your main concern, ye all knowing supervisors, there are two HUGE not so well maintained by the county- draining ditches on the frontage. You could start there. OH. AND there is a huge SWAMP behind our house. THERE lies the mosquito problem. (But it isn't our property, so I guess you can't threaten us with that)? We also have five acres. Yikes. What should we do about the grass? Oh and the fact that this is Mississippi?  AND it still rains... Eeeks... You think moving a car (which doesn't collect water- what in the HECK are you talking about?) is going to solve the mosquito problem?? Think again.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Zika

The Zika

You've heard about it on the news. The horror stories. The travel warnings. But thank goodness it's only travel related right? And thank goodness only the Aedes mosquito spreads it. And thank goodness we don't have THAT kind of squeeter in the States. Oh, wait. The news just reported that Miami has them. And they are spreading the virus to non- travelers. Stay away from Miami, people.

Well. I have bad news. One of our renters came over to tell us that someone from the health department stopped by his house right here in Lamar County in Hattiesburg, MS to give him a pamphlet on Zika, and informed him that one of his neighbors has contracted Zika.

More bad news. My dear husband responded with, "That neighbor would be ME."

After the man nearly broke his ankle trying to flee, Starling assured him he is no longer contagious. (Or is he? Bum... Bum... Bum...)...

What is the likelihood, you might ask, that Starling Johnson has had Dengue Fever (when he was serving a mission in Honduras), Chikungunya, last year while in Cozumel, and now Zika?? Well, I absolutely hated Stats class in college, so you're guess is as good as mine, but apparently he has extremely tasty blood (which I contribute to the fact that his blood is probably congealed corn syrup from all the sweets and sodas he consumes).

Since you are behind the safety of your computer screen and nowhere NEAR the local man with Zika- would you like to know HOW he got it?

From a mosquito bite, duh. (Sorry. I couldn't resist).

Starling traveled to Mexico and, naturally, brought back the souvenir from Hell. (I mean- couldn't he have just brought us back some sea glass)?  Luckily, because he has already had Dengue and Chikungunya (which have symptoms quite similar to Zika), he recognized his symptoms almost immediately. And I say ALMOST, because when the only symptoms were joint pain, I had ALMOST convinced him that he had gout from drinking too much soda and that the only cure was to never drink soda again. (Stupid Google and Zika ruining my plans to cleanse my house of Coca-Cola).

Starling prides himself (or at least annoys the mess out of me) with his online Google degree in Medicine. He had himself diagnosed with Zika within an hour of his first symptoms.

"Impossible." I said. (Really a word that should never come out of anyone's mouth when in the presence of a Johnson).

Like the health conscious man he is, (so long as it doesn't encroach on his sweet tooth), he quarantined himself to my house. (Lovely).

But not to fear. Zika isn't airborne (though you'd think so by people's reactions when they discover he's had it). Nor will it rub off on you. Research claims  it can only be passed by the Aedes Egypti and Aedes Albopictus mosquitos, which only carry Zika from one Zika infested person to an innocent, unsuspecting person.

Starling went straight to the doctor and told her, "I traveled out of the country and believe I have Zika." Upon examination, the doctor said, "It is possible...your eyes are red and the symptoms match, but we don't have a test for that here in our clinic. Go to the Health Department."

MORE bad news. People, I fear for the lives of Mississippians if ever we have a medical emergency in which our health department becomes vital for our survival.

Starling's visit went as follows:

After approaching the front counter, he told the individual at the front desk that he believed he had Zika. The young lady looked at him oddly, darted into the back, and returned with the response, "We don't test for that here."

Starling, wanting to be extra thorough, waited in a twenty minute line to see a nurse and set up an appointment to get a tetanus shot, (which has absolutely nothing to do with Zika, but apparently he was craving a shot).

Upon being called up to the window, he asked the lady about the tetanus shot and then reiterated, "I also believe I have the Zika Virus," and the lady leapt from her chair, yelling, "Don't be bringin that mess up in here!"

Another lady piped in with a more kosher response. "Ooooh Wee! I hope you get better!"

"But aren't you supposed to be keeping up with the disease? For statistic purposes or to warn people in case it comes to the area?"

"Naw. We ain't doin' no testin for dat."

Baffled, Starling asked, "So if I were to contact dateline NBC and have them follow me into this health department of Forrest County, MS, have them record your response to someone telling you he may have a rare mosquito born illness, you would be pleased with your answer?" She just shrugged.

Starling came home and told me defeated, "Well, I tried."

Dear people of Hattiesburg. OH MY GOSH. I didn't even think Starling had the dang Zika, but my blood got a little stuffy, what with the boiling it was doing, over the fact that the news is going bezerko that we are all gonna DIE from Zika and our friggin HEALTH DEPARTMENT is telling people, "We don't test for that."

Starling continued to quarantine himself, despite the complete disregard for safety exhibited from the very people in CHARGE of our local public health. After he was completely clear of symptoms, his doctor called him and asked how he was. He informed her that he was symptom free and felt fine. She, ten days AFTER his appointment, said that she had received Zika testing instruction and wanted to see if he was indeed Zika positive. (Zika can be detected from a blood and urine test up to 12 weeks after being symptomatic).

The call came. Bad news. "Mr. Johnson we have evaluated your urine sample, and you are Zika positive."

 Competence FINALLY emerged from somewhere, (I'm doubting from anywhere local) and the calls began. Where did you travel? How long were you there? When did your symptoms emerge? What WERE your symptoms? Did you die? (Just kidding- they didn't ask that last one, but seriously- they were a little over the top with their concern for his health considering they didn't bother caring until AFTER he was BETTER).

Where did Starling travel? Mexico. When did his symptoms emerge? A day or so after he returned home. What WERE his symptoms? At first, a sore big toe. (You can imagine my level of sympathy after Starling returned from a TEN DAY trip, leaving me home ALONE with FOUR kids under the age of SEVEN, and all he could do was whine and complain about a SORE big TOE). (And if you read my last blog entry on the sympathy I received during my non medicated BIRTHING of a HUMAN BEING- you'll understand my lack of give-a-dang).

Then he began complaining about joint pain. And then his eyes turned red like he'd caught the pink eye. And he felt really tired. (I, of course, blamed it on too much Coke consumption and told him to drink some water, get up, and take out the trash).

 When he broke out with a rash.... well... that's when we knew. Last year Starling and I bonded over a month of couples Chikungunya, and a rash was the dead give-away that it was a mosquito virus.  BUT, it's like chicken-pox; they say you only get it once, (which is appropriate because there are so many other fun and exciting diseases to catch from mosquitoes. Why not try them all)? And unlike Chikungunya, which was utterly horrific and forever lasting, that was it. The rash left after a day and he felt fine again. A very mild, 8 day from start to finish virus. One, that if you didn't recognize the symptoms, wouldn't even go to the doctor about. You'd just take Advil and grab a nap.

NOW, if Zika is as mild as I say it is, why are people FREAKING out so bad? Well, because Zika is a HUMONGOUS deal if you are pregnant or become pregnant. It causes severe birth defects such as microcephaly. The virus lasts longest in sperm so it is advised that a person that has Zika use precautions so as not to infect partners who are or may become pregnant. (What a blessing for us that Starling isn't pregnant and I'll beat him with a stick wrapped in barbed wire if he even THINKS of getting me pregnant again).  

SO- after several phone interviews, (that took HOURS of precious Honey- Do list time),  The State Health Department sent a mosquito specialist from Jackson to evaluate our property where she conducted a mosquito study to determine the species and landing rates in our area. She gave Starling a handy dandy Zika kit backpack complete with bug spray, pesticides, condoms, and several other goodies. (A "congrats on your new disease" package).  She took him to our closest neighbor and Starling was given the awkward responsibility of briefing him on the situation, and asking for access to the back of his property that joins our land.

"Whatever it takes!" he quickly complied, and returned indoors where he probably still sits to this day.

The specialist later knocked on our door covered in mosquito bites to give us- YOU GUESSED IT- (you are catching on). BAD NEWS.

"The Aedes Albopictus mosquito is present on your property." (And from the looks of the welts on the lady, FLOURISHINg).  Right HERE, people! In Lamar County.

That's when it got serious. The mosquito artillery unit was sent to bomb us. And they did. They went on bombing raids (via golf cart)  4 times the first day and 3 times a day afterward for the next week. Zika pamphlets were dispersed to neighbors. Panic spread like wild fire.  

That's when the shunning started. (Okay, people have actually been really nice to Starling so long as he doesn't come anywhere near them).

SO, while the news is having you steer clear of Miami because of the "discovery" of Aedes mosquitoes, you might want to be more concerned with the fact that they are probably in EVERY state in the US. And while you think, "Well no one around HERE has Zika or West Nile...," you may have people in your area that don't report it, OR you may, like us, have a government-run over achieving Health Department that sends people HOME.

SO- as a matter of public health- PEOPLE wear bug spray! And don't expect the news to know what's going on around YOUR house. Our health department doesn't even know what's going on in their own office.

The one good thing that has come out of this, is Starling's new nickname, replacing PePe. He now goes by Zeke.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Birthing Squishy- All NAT-UR-AL

I have seriously been trying to record this birth account for a week now. (It's amazing how little free time I have with four children and a Starling). But FINALLY- I'm DONE!

Birthing Squishy
(aka Belize Analie Johnson)

I was all set to give birth via induction on Friday the 13th of May. (A promising omen, wouldn't you say)? That would have jammed my little pumpkin between Brighton turning five on May 12 and Brooklyn turning seven on May 14. (If you are wondering about Boeing- he turned three on Christmas Eve- amazingly my only child to successfully evade our family birthing month). The scheduled induction would have been only a few days before her due date on May 18.

Perhaps patience is something I should work on, amongst just a few other things, but pregnancy is, and I mean this with all the gratitude for the ability to carry a child into this world, the single most excruciating physical ailment I've endured in my life. (At least I thought so, anyway).

All of my pregnancies have been equally agonizing, what with the fifty pound weight gains, nine months of puking, and sciatic nerve issues that made me feel like I was walking around with a knife stuck in my left buttock, but this last pregnancy was an over-achiever in the torture department.

It's never a good idea to start out a pregnancy with Chikungunya, a mosquito spread virus that put me bed ridden for... well that's a good question since I have no idea when it's wretched symptoms passed and pregnancy started... but it definitely took a toll on me. And despite the fact that I got no magical Zofran to assist with my vomiting, I still gained my normal 50 pounds. Maybe even more. (You understand my lack of zealousness in mounting the scale to know the "true" number. After gaining fifty, I figured I didn't WANT to know). To put it simply, I was miserable in my own skin. (And my husband tried to tell me lots of people are miserable in their own skin, at which point I had to clarify that lots of people don't have a baby trying to KICK themselves free through their bellybutton. And the women who DO completely empathize with my excessive whining).

I won't be shy about the fact that I was QUITE disappointed when my doctor told me the EARLIEST she could induce was a mere five days early. I wanted my adorable, precious KONG FU kicking Ninja OUT of me. As I lay in my bed night after night AWAKE (because who can sleep when your insides are trying to escape) watching my stomach stand up, twist, and slam into my bladder, while several other bumps jerked to a fro leaving me with the sweet sensation of mutilated innards, I took it upon myself to progress my labor. Against my very sympathetic (that is sarcasm in its purest form) husband's wishes, I procured a bottle of castor oil.

I selected a Friday, so as not to put out my Mom who would need to assist with my three already-out-of-me children.  I poured two ounces of oil into some cold grape juice, plugged my nose, and chugged.

If you want to know how castor oil tastes, next time you're frying chicken, take a nice long swig of your GREESE, and tell me what you think.

At that point, labor or no labor, no way was I going to drink more. (I am actually gagging just remembering the delectable consistency).

Even though I made excuses to save myself trips from having to walk to the other side of my house, that Friday night (May 6th) I waddled out of my front door around 9 p.m. in my walking shorts. I was on a mission. I secured my gut firmly in both hands and sped walked up and down the road by my house (which is no short walk on a NON- prego day), up and down the hills, back and forth until I figured I was so tired, I'd sleep through the next few weeks of pregnancy.  

Frustrated that neither the castor oil nor the walking caused me to have so much as a contraction, I sauntered to the shower, then fell into bed, my emphatic woes meeting Starling's snoring. (Which cheered me up immensely).

 At some point during the night I woke up with mild, but consistent contractions. I jumped up (after several attempts, of course) with glee, recognizing that I was going into labor. I bounced to the bathroom and shaved my legs, painted my fingers and toes... cleaned both bathrooms and the kitchen, all the while smiling ear to ear.

Then I realized that I hadn't felt the baby move in a bit. As I thought about it, I realized she hadn't even moved when I'd shaved my legs which was simply impossible because anytime I attempted even the slightest bend the baby would protest and stretch her body until I would eventually give up. (It had been so long since I'd attempted a good shave, I almost needed to secure a mower to get through the hair growth on my legs). So I drank some cold juice. (That usually sent her to squirming). Nothing. I had a mild panic attack and started whacking Starling awake.

"The baby isn't moving and I need them to check her. NOW!" Then, "Don't wake the kids. It's too early and I've got awhile before I'm going to HAVE her... Just I need to go. When it's daylight we can get my mom to get the kids and you can come."

While I filled out paper work at the hospital, the baby turned a summersault, enough to kick the paper from my hands.

"You said your baby isn't moving?" The lady checking me in asked.

"Oh! She moved! Okay. I'm good. I'll come back in a few hours once I put some make up on and fix my hair."

"Well, let's just check while you're here. You said you are having contractions."

"I am. But I have awhile before the "REAL" bad ones start."

But I rode a wheelchair, by direct order, feeling absolutely ridiculous, upstairs to a room to be "checked." (That's code for denouncing your dignity and handing over your self-respect).

Two massive elastic bands were strapped around my waist (or what once resembled a waist) and I was left for dead. For hours. (Well probably like 30 minutes, but the REAL contractions started almost simultaneously with being left and there was no one around to tell. So I laid there. In agony. But I knew they still weren't the REAL, REAL ones).

A doctor finally arrived, prepared to send me home, judging by the nurses introduction of, "but the contractions aren't very..."

"Yes! Yes they are-" I breathed. "I'd like an epidural now!"  The nurse scrunched her face and re-adjusted the bands that the baby had kicked loose moments after she'd fastened them into place.
"OH! Oh wow... okay. Sorry. The contractions weren't registering on the monitor."

The doctor checked me and said, "Let's get her to a room. She's about to have this baby."
I texted Starling to tell him they were moving me to a room and NOT to send the cavalry until AFTER I'd received my epidural. (I was entering HOT MESS status and barely holding it together).
I was barely admitted when Starling showed up with my mom and kids on his heels. (Meet my family. We excel in the "listening" department).  

Starling took the moment to teach our children about childbirth, as any astounding home-school parent would. "See how mommy is hurting so bad? So bad she can't talk? What is happening inside her is called a contraction... When-"

 I was gripping the hand rail so tight, I'm surprised I didn't rip it off. That was nothing compared to what I wanted to do to Starling's vocal chords at that moment. "Seriously Starling?!?"

And then piped up my mother.  APOLOGIES to the staff.  "She's a little bit dramatic. She has no pain tolerance. She gets that from her dad."

Yes. It's true. I am a drama queen. There I was in the hospital ACTING as if I was in LABOR or something.

I should've silently DIED with more composure.

"When is the epidural coming?" I winced, trying very hard to NOT sound dramatic. With all my effort, it still came across like the final plea before one gives up the ghost. (And if I'm being honest... The whole giving up the ghost thing was sounding like a viable option. That or taking some ghosts from some people in the room).  

"We are getting everything ready. Just a few more minutes," the nurse chirped merrily.

She gave me a dose of Stadol, which does zilch for pain, but is supposed to dope you up enough to not care. (Umm... I still cared. I just sounding like a drunk person trying to wine about it).

The nurse walked out and only my husband, mother, and three chatting children remained. Though I'd tried very hard to keep my teeth clenched and muffle my moans, I gave up and screamed, 
"SOMETHING IS HAPPENING!!!!!"  when I felt intense pressure- like a car trying to exit a garage with the door closed. I WAS THE GARAGE DOOR.  I screamed as I heard, yes HEARD and FELT a loud POP. It was my water breaking. It thoroughly FREAKED me out. But nothing, and I mean NOTHING compared to the fear that consumed me when the nurse ran in and said, "Uh oh. We don't have time for an epidural. This baby is coming out."

No epidural? NO EPIDURAL?!?!?!

Women train for natural child birth like they train for marathons. Have you ever heard of someone who has never jogged up and run a marathon??? NO! OF COURSE NOT!

Sure, women HAVE babies without drugs and have for years. SOME women CHOOSE to do it! They learn how to breath, take those Lamaze classes, practice hee-hee-hooing.

I didn't do ANY of that because I didn't NEED to. I have epidurals. I don't LIKE pain. Epidurals are little miracles. They take all the pain away and I just smile and talk and watch a baby pop out. That's MY choice.

I have since been congratulated on my "natural" childbirth. "I'm so glad you got to experience that!", "Isn't it the most beautiful thing?"

Ummm.... they must have trained for their marathon.

My experience was more like-, "I felt like I was being sacrificed!"

And that's exactly what I sounded like. A wild animal being sacrificed. I've never heard such a horrific sound, especially out of my own self. I didn't even know a human could MAKE that noise.
The sound coming out of me wasn't a scream. It was the guttural wail of a dying cat... Being burned alive. And for all the holding it in I'd done in the beginning... I made up for it by letting it ALL out at the end. Nothing can describe the pain. The only word that comes to mind? Excruciating. But that seems a rather mild adjective for such a NOT mild event.

 I hollered all the way until the doctor, who heard me in another part of the hospital, ran in to tell me to stop screaming (RUDE. AND IMPOSSIBLE) and while my mother grabbed my three, now wide eyed, mouth a gaped children and shooed them out of the room, and on until the doctor finally said, "She's out!"

I couldn't even compute the little baby, now out of me. I was still trying to understand how I was still alive.

Then the doctor said, "I need you to push one more time."

"ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?" I yelled at him. No. He wasn't kidding. Once all the gross was out of me, I got stitched up, which, amazingly... STILL HURT.

How bad was it really? A total exaggeration on my part? Well... Starling asked the nurse after I had regained my composure, "On a scale of 1 to 10 on screams... was she like an 8 or a 9?" The nurse didn't hesitate. "Oh a definite ten. Yeah. Ten for sure."

Though my husband describes the event as, "the most beautiful, excruciating thing I've ever seen; the most exhilarating experience of my life!", if any mom- to- be asks for my humble opinion about having a life-altering, incredible, magical NATURAL child birth.... My response is simple.


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

May 28, 2016

People keep asking me "how I'm feeling." Hmm. Well. I'm pretty sure I just threw out my back trying to shave my leg, if that gives you any indication. You should try it. Fill a beach ball with sand, stuff it under your shirt and then try to shave. It's great entertainment. Until the ball starts pulverizing your insides because you are squishing it. 

I can't do the most mundane, simple tasks. It's VERY annoying. This is my FOURTH pregnancy.  I was in the rafters wiring and hanging sheet rock with my last three kids. (Because there is a strange correlation with me wanting to remodel immediately after getting two lines on a pee stick).

This pregnancy has been an absolute DOOZY. I had to leave the Dollar General after carrying around a Root Beer because my contractions had me on my knees. (Again- other three pregnancies- carrying SHEET ROCK; this pregnancy can't carry a TWO LITER).

I think I caused this. First, we planned to return to Mexico to have our baby. After doing some research, I realized we'd have to stay a month or two for all the paper work to come in just so we could LEAVE the country WITH our baby.  (Plus go a month before the baby since flying is restricted when you're about to pop). We aren't in any position to leave for three months with our businesses so we had to scratch that. (But not before we researched driving an RV across the Texas border. Apparently, from the mouth of a native with family living in one of the border towns, that is suicide).

So on to my next, glorious plan. I've always wanted to have a baby at home. That's weird, yes. I'm well aware. But it would make for an awesome blog. The way I figure it, I pushed twice with Brighton before he came out and Boeing literally slid out before I even got a chance to push. I figure this one will fall out when I'm walking to the fridge. (And I have nurse friends. For some bizarre reason they are NOT very encouraging. Something about wanting the baby to live). 

BUT I forgot about the contractions. I was induced with the last two kiddos, and the epidural made my deliveries easy, cheesy. (Besides Starling and cronies eating dough nuts in front of me while I was only allowed ice. That made me a tad bit homicidal. Lucky for them I was paralyzed).

I have NEVER had contractions like the ones I've had during this pregnancy except for actual LABOR with Brooklyn when I thought I was going to kill over DEAD before they'd even admit me. So maybe I needed a reminder that I am a BIG fan of DRUGS. I still have seven more weeks before this baby is due, and I'm already daydreaming about the epidural.

To keep us occupied, since I find things like walking difficult, I signed my kids up for t-ball and gymnastics. I mean- why not commit myself to as much taxi driving as possible? Nothing like screaming sweet nothings at the steering wheel of my car while my inner womb feels like its ripping apart. It's such a normal occurrence,  my kids don't even think it's odd. Boeing will randomly grab his stomach and proclaim, "AHHH!!! Tractions!"

I have to say I am VERY impressed with Brighton in t-ball. He has completely surpassed my expectations. (Which wasn't hard to do since I thought he'd be wrapped around my leg like a spider vein, crying, and refusing to go on to the field). He actually participates and LIKES it. He doesn't "get" the concept of t-ball, really, but I wasn't expecting a miracle. He had his first game and he stood on the pitcher's mound yelling, "Hit it to me! Hit it to me!"  And when he wasn't playing in the dirt, he grabbed a few balls. Proud Mama, right here.

And Brooklyn LOVES gymnastics. Of course, she loves everything. She also loved dance where they put her center and BACK trying to hide her during the performance while she executed a self-invented abstract rendition of the ACTUAL dance alongside her peers.

I think extracurriculars are insanely overpriced. I have to pay a monthly tuition PLUS a yearly MEMBERSHIP FEE? (They aren't satisfied with the arm and a leg. They want both kidneys, too).    
Good grief, I'm not sending my kid to the Olympics. Isn't there like a "I just want the kid to be able to do a cartwheel" discount class?

Boeing starts gymnastics tomorrow. He's the only one I actually feel like I am making an INVESTMENT in. This is like paying for preventative health care. As of now, he is flipping off everything he can climb and I would prefer him to NOT die. I was promised he would be taught how to land without breaking his legs (or neck) and safe ways to perform all his favorite tricks. If a teacher can miraculously guide Boeing's insane obsession with break dancing to safer/ or at least trained techniques, by ALL means, have at it.

Brighton watched Brooklyn and now he wants to do gymnastics, too. (He wants to jump into the foam pit. Let's just say it for what it is). But unless I find more members of my body to part with, my kids are going to have to do one sport at time. Getting a whopping $5 sibling discount just doesn't cut it.

Since my life is boring and I've found homes for all of my foster cats, Starling, who doesn't even like cats and complains about Jax, the one we have, jovially accepted a pregnant cat for me. The cat is hormonal, stalks around yowling, purring and hissing at the same time. She curls around Boeing's legs like she loves him, then threatens to shred his face when he looks at her. She adores Brooklyn, and then DID slap her in the face, but only because she was mad at Jax and Brooklyn was the closest scapegoat. She wants inside. She wants outside. She wants to be social. She wants to be left alone. She loves you. She wants to kill you. 

As I observed her insanity, I realized she is ME. In cat form.

And if expecting a baby and a litter of kittens isn't exciting enough, we have started the eternally LOOONG process of renewing our foster care license.

Since we were out of the country for a year, we have to start ALL OVER again. And wouldn't you know ALL the classes are in April and May. So I have to convince my doctor to let me get induced on a Monday so I can finish my last class on a Thursday. Otherwise it'll take months and months of WAITING until they schedule another class. And NO; I'm not getting new kids the week after I have a baby. Trust me, at the rate DHS rolls, it'll be several months before they process all the paper work, do a home study, and get us re-licensed. And then we'll play it by ear.

Everyone acts like having a new baby is the hard part. But, FOR ME, after being a whale balancing on stork legs for nine months, a new born is a welcomed RELIEF. I can PUT her DOWN to bend OVER. I can walk from one side of the room to the the other without wincing. The BABY weighs MUCH less than the STOMACH I have to lug around every day. And that's AFTER I turn her into mini sumo wrestler.  

There is truth to the saying, "After three, what's one more?" I'd take that a step further to say, no kid has anything on Boeing Johnson. I have fostered HOW many kids now? And again, I reiterate, NONE of them have anything on Boeing Johnson in ANY department. 

He can stretch a nerve like a new rubber band. Brookie and Bry need help getting drinks. Boeing needs help getting rocks unstuck from his nostrils. He's just a special breed of human. 

There is a reason he was born so darn cute. 

SO THAT'S a LITTLE bit of what's going on with us. Same-o, same-o. 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Pregnancy #4:

Oh, being pregnant. How I have missed you. I haven't grown a pumpkin patch on my face in years. And I wear it with pride having not even attempted to cover my face with the slightest bit of make-up in a month. Why should I? Every time I throw up, tears flood my eyelashes making a lovely black and gray swirl foundation that is a bit darker than my, now, albino complexion. Well, albino everywhere but the circles under my eyes. They retained their blue color quite nicely.

Pregnancy has forced me to SLOW down and appreciate my life. I am now grateful for all walks, no matter the distance- from bed to bathroom. From bathroom to bed. And the joy of relaxing in bed all day... (with my vomit bucket tucked firmly between my legs). It's blissful. I love sitting there watching my children frolic about the house, while I consider telling them to stop using cereal as a form of confetti to decorate the tile floors, but finding myself too tired to beat them so I close my eyes and sleep instead. I love listening to the arguing and screaming as they self regulate their emotions with almost no parental intervention. And sweet Boeing running around making gagging noises and yelling, "I'm too tired. I have to take a break. I can't breave."

I believe pregnancy has enhanced my existing children. Their inventive ideas never cease to amaze me. Just now Boeing came to me with a new invention. I had to tell him, "No thanks, buddy. I don't want to pick my boogers with your used sucker stick." But what a genius idea. And Bry took all of the wooden slats out of his twin sized bed and built a race car track two rooms long. I didn't even mind breaking my ankle, foot, and falling into the wall tripping over it trying to find the bathroom in the dark. Today I even discovered that the boys had planted a garden in their room using berries. (CANDY berries). SURE about a cuzillion sugar ants had taken OVER their garden, but they were "sowing the seed" like in the scripture story we just read.

I've realized that my kids are quite capable of doing everything for themselves. Bry can make his own peanut butter and nutella sandwich, Brookie can fold and put away laundry. Even Boe, being only two, is completely able. In fact, he doesn't even need my help (or permission) to feed himself cookies hidden on top of the fridge. (Apparently my pregnancy has enhanced all his senses in addition to his mischievousness). He is so considerate so as not to wake me, he closes my bedroom door, the kitchen door, scales a chair quietly climbing onto the counter, stacks a variety of cereal boxes or whatever he can find to stack, and locates all the treasures "put out of his reach." After he climbs another shelf and uses the scissors to open his snack, he does a little mending on anything he sees worth chopping, (AH Daddy's khaki church pants- snip snip), then he remembers his snack and decides to eat. As you probably know, food is not meant to be jailed in containers. Upon opening food, it should be immediately freed, no matter the ginormous amount. Boeing is a stickler for cookie rescues and promptly dumps all 40 cookies in a pile on the tile floor, usually amongst a similar pile of cereal. But Boeing, with his tender considerations, takes it a step farther. He takes two handfuls of cookies from the kitchen floor and carries them, making a crumbly trail, through the living room and into either the kids' room where Brookie and Bry are playing or upstairs where they are playing. He then generously shares his bounty. Brighton graciously accepts, no questions asked.

Brooklyn, forever the only adult in the house at SIX, taps her foot, "Boeing, did you ask Mommy for cookies?"

"Umm, but no... but because Mommy is asleep."

I am then awaken from my sleep, which is my cue to puke, and told of the horrors occurring during my nap. "Lovely! So lovely! I'll just sweep that up." I stand, sway, gag.

"No. I'll just tell Daddy when he gets home."

Starling has been the MOST blessed by this pregnancy. He's always been envious of my household duties. What a grand opportunity to step into my flip flops! Laundry, dishes, sweeping, discipline. He's a natural. He loves it. Does he wait until every dish in the house is dirty to wash them? Of course he does. He loves a challenge! And has he fed us every single meal since I got sick. YEAH he has. He is KING of ordering pizza and food delivery. He is on call 24 hours. Thank goodness half the taco stands stay open past midnight, because sometimes, I just need to eat at midnight. (And again at 3 or 4 a.m. And again at 6...). Every day he tells me how great it is to live with an invalid. (Okay, he's never said it out loud- but I KNOW he's thinking it. I can tell by that expression of love he flashes me when I wake him up and start with, "Starling- can you....". Its super endearing. I can tell that he's NEVER been happier).

And can I just say how thankful I am for my super-sonic smelling power? I don't know what I've done without it for the last two and half years. I can smell someone grilling from 6 blocks away. And that is extremely useful. My "overactive sniff" combined with my overzealous gag reflex: I am just a happy go lucky time bomb. I haven't exactly pinpointed the need for the increased smelling abilities as it pertains to evolution, but I will certainly never accidently eat something inedible. Laundry detergent? Gag. Dishwashing liquid? Gag. Any "smell good" products that I once appreciated: perfume, cologne, deodorant? Gag.

But today! I have to say today was BETTER. The best day I've had for WEEKS! I actually got OUT of my BED and did LAUNDRY. (Starling did have to intervene towards the middle of me hanging clothes because I got to weak- but PROGRESS)! I think I'm finally bouncing back from Dengue, which I VERY fortunately caught at the SAME time as pregnancy. (Better to catch all the deathly ill at once and get it out of the way). I figure I'm filling my quota so I can be healthy as an ox next year. Or at least I'll think I am in comparison to now.

We are heading back to the States at the end of November. My brother is getting married and our visas expire. Our year long stay in Cozumel is coming to an end. I know my parents have to be thrilled to have us come live with them. Who doesn't want Boeing Johnson living in your house helping you reorganize everything you own? But it'll ONLY be until our rental lease is up on our house. So ONLY a month or so.... ONLY.... I can already imagine the joy a family of five will bring to the neighborhood... We might need to invest in a child size kennel. We are excited to see all of our MSippians. I'm ready for a big pot of greens and corn bread with a side of fried chicken. And every other MS food I've been without for the last year. I usually gain 50 pounds with my pregnancies. Just a gander... but the way I've been inhaling foot long subs and half a dozen tacos... I'm going with same-ole', same' ole. And that's the healthy stuff. I'm just counting down the days until I pull up into Sonic to get my 7 inch tall bacon cheddar toaster loaded with meaty, cheesy, onion ring, and bbq goodness....
Well, its midnight. Time to eat again. SEE Ya'll soon!!