Prince Charming


2008-03-29ship

A year ago today (by the calendar), Prince Charming and I were boarding a cruise ship for Bermuda. Not long after I started blogging (approximately 9 months ago), I thought I would blog about this trip when a year  had passed since taking it. Then My World came up, and I thought I would just do a couple of posts for that meme about our Bermuda trip. I might still do that, but last week I started a series about a local place we go hiking, so I decided to not break into that. I wondered if I  should wait to blog about this, but I have a few OCD areas of my personality, and it was a year ago, so I want to talk about it NOW!

This cruise was something I earned through my stamping business. I am almost ashamed to admit that I have been  a St*mpin’ Up! Demonstrator just shy of 13 years, and this was only the second incentive trip I ever earned.  The first one I earned (ironically, a cruise to Bermuda–they have  only had two in my  history, and I earned both of them) was when Chic was 5 months old. It was also less than a week after Prince Charming’s mother passed away, so we had to skip it. When Bermuda came up again, I was elated because I had had a fascination with it since childhood, and not going the first time was quite a blow. So I worked extra hard that year, and things fell in place over which I have little control, and I got it.

This was doubly good because Prince Charming and I had been married almost 10 years but had never had a honeymoon. (We  met online. He lived in North Dakota; I lived in Missouri. We  married in Canada, and moving him from North Dakota to Missouri was our “honeymoon.” I often say he’s lucky he did not get divorce papers after that!) We traveled quite a bit, but always to North Dakota, so those trips did not really count as vacations. Then Chic came along, then Chicklet. By the time we took the cruise to Bermuda, nearly 10 years after our marriage, our trips alone to not visit family amounted to a house-hunting trip to Albuquerque (which I believe we both cherish as a psuedo-honeymoon) and a 3-day trip to Las Vegas (which also holds a special place in our hearts).  But this was a week, no NINE days, on a relatively exotic trip with no. children. Although both of us LOVE to travel, if we never get to travel again, this trip will be a highlight for us forever. (I personally think a honeymoon after nearly ten years might be better than one right after being married.)

So what I have decided to do is post my favorite (or favorite few) photos from each day of our trip for now. I might do one or more My World posts about Bermuda later, but since time is important to me, I thought I would just do this now.

We actually flew out the morning before the cruise or we would not have been able to get there in time. We “sailed” from New York, so we spent the night there. This was a double-edged sword for me because I. LOVE. NEW YORK.  My first visit was at Thanksgiving my junior year in college, and I have been 3 or 4 times since.  There is just no place in the world like New York. (Not that I have been to the whole world, but you know what I mean.) So I was excited about being there (and especially getting a hot dog from a street vendor–I wonder if native New Yorkers think I am insane for that), but we were not going to be there long enough to stray far from our hotel  near Times Square, AND Prince Charming had never been to the state of New York, so this gave him a new state which made him tied with me for states to which we have been. (It is a silly competition, but most of our married life I have been at least one state ahead of him. I will go to great lengths to visit a state I have not visited in order to keep my lead. But now we are tied–at 44 states each–and it looks as if it will remain that way for quite some time–unless I can find a way to visit my friend in Tennessee and take a road trip to South Carolina.)

click photo to enlarge

click photo to enlarge

The picture of above is of Times Square. (I think. This is not as bright as I remember it, and there were so many more lights and electronic billboards than the last time that I had been there that it seemed like I was in a science fiction movie.) Prince Charming took it with his camera. I decided to leave my camera at the hotel because on my first visit to the Big Apple, my dad bought a camera from someone on the street, and we realized after developing the film that it had probably been stolen about 3 minutes before he bought it. I would have rather gone somewhere else our only night there, but since Prince Charming had never been there, it was important to see the place.  He has traveled more of the world than me and has been to places like London and Rome, but I think he was somewhat awed by New York. We did walk away from the crowds to a little pub to have dinner. It would be crazy to be in New York and not get one meal in a restaurant somewhat away from where all the tourists are.

The  next morning my friend (from Tennessee–I was so elated she was on the trip with us) and I got pedicures. She actually got a manicure, pedicure, facial and massage (for an incredible price), but I am not much into all of that. (Too ticklish. I only get a pedicure once a year to fix all the winter neglect, then I do my own the rest of the year.)  Then we met with Prince Charming for brunch–street hot dogs–at  my insistence. I should have taken a picture of that, but maybe my camera was still packed and hidden. (And I was not blogging then, so I was not yet taking pictures of every. single. thing. that crossed my path in a day.)

We boarded the ship, found a  nice gift from St*mpin’ Up! (we got a gift in our room every day of the cruise–the first day was a soft blanket which was good because it was COLD) and left port. I did not go to the Bon Voyage party because a) I was cold and b) I was on a ship without children with my husband!  From our balcony, we watched the Statue of Liberty go by and headed out to open sea.

click photo to enlarge

click photo to enlarge

We had an amazing sunset. The sky was most brilliant when there was not much sun left and after it had set completely, so I am not including the photo that everyone wants of the big orb just getting to the ocean.

click photo to enlarge

click photo to enlarge

The next day was a sea day. I only took four pictures that day, so my selection is slim. We spent some time looking at art and attending an art auction.  (Almost everyone I have talked to since who has cruised has done the same thing on at least one sea day.)

click photo to enlarge

click photo to enlarge

Since I am doing My World tomorrow, I covered three days today. I will make a concerted effort to get a picture or two up on Tuesday about my cruise. That will be the first day in Bermuda.

2009-03-08icewater1 One morning last week I was lying in bed, rather groggy, just before 5 a.m. Prince Charming gets up between 4:30 and 4:50 every morning, so he was downstairs. Then I heard this strange sound, sort of a jingling. I could tell it was coming up the stairs. Then I heard Prince Charming breathing. I cracked open an eye to see what was making the jingling noise. Just then he said, “You asked for ice in your water, right?”

WHAT?”

Reader, you must understand that I drink a lot of water. I drink it all day long. I drink it before I go to bed. (Thank goodness I have a strong bladder.) But I never, EVER drink water in the morning before something else goes in my mouth. I cannot tolerate the taste of water on morning, yukky-mouth! I must eat or brush my teeth before drinking water, neither of which is going to happen by 5 a.m. on most mornings. This is a known fact in the household. The other thing to know is that I do not like ice water in my giant 34-oz. mug because it STAYS icy forever. I like cool water, but have sensitive teeth. Cold water is not a good thing.

My voice squeaked (because I barely had a voice) out, “Uhhh, no, but thank you!” (Who am I to chastise my husband at 5 a.m. for bringing me ice water?)

Apparently Prince Charming had dreamed that I had asked for ice water. This is strange because he never remembers his dreams. Now that I am thinking about it, maybe he remembers lots of them, but he mixes them up with reality!

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This is what it looks like around my computer these days.  (And a mug of water–icy or not.)

2009-03-03sickBy the way, I just found these cough drops. They are my favorite. EVER. They are not too strong, but they work, and they have a “soothing honey center.” I live for that center!

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Last Wednesday morning found the three females of the house getting ready to go to school. It was in a more relaxed manner than normal for a Wednesday because the oldest female was sick enough that she decided she would not be teaching art that day. (This has nothing to do with this story, but I must tell you that I am NOT the type to cop out on something like that. But Wednesdays are non-stop for me from 5 a.m. – 9 p.m. with minimum 3 different “jobs” or activities, and art is the most draining of all. I knew I would not last in a functioning manner until the end of the day, so something had to go. I have more flexibility with art that the other things.)

I was upstairs herding the girls when I realized an altercation was in process regarding an Ariel music box belonging to Chic (purchased IN Disneyland on Chic’s 5-year-birthday-trip) which Chicklet had apparently broken. This is not the first incident in which Chicklet assumed ownership of anything that suited her and somehow altered it. Thankfully, it was something that was easy to fix, but this did not excuse  Chicklet’s behavior, so it was time for punishment for her crime.

Me: “Chicklet, you know we do not play with anyone’s toys unless they are here, we ask and they allow it.”

Chicklet (meekly): “I know.”

Me: “Do you want to throw away some of your toys or get a ‘spank?'”

Chicklet: “Throw away one of my toys.”

Me:  “Go get something. But I will decide if it is eligible.”

Chicklet ran off and brought back a Polly she had gotten from McDonald’s. NOT eligible! I told her that she needed to find something else. But she could still choose the “spank.” She preferred to throw away toys, so she ran down the hall again.

Chic (with worry and concern all over her face): “A spank would be better!”

Me: “I know, but she does not think so.”

So Chic ran down the hall and commenced to tell Chicklet all the merits of getting a quick spank vs. throwing out toys FOREVER! Chicklet was not moved. The discussion lasted quite some time. She returned with another Polly to add to the pile.  She did not even cry. In fact, she skipped away.

Maybe I need to think of some other punishment.

2009-03-04chicklet

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2009-02-13klpwhole

When Prince Charming and I first started dating, he had some difficulty with me in the department of gift-giving.  I personally believe I am relatively easy to please (and do not expect gifts in the first place), but to  him, I was an alien creature.

The first thing is flowers. Let me state for the record LOUD AND CLEAR that I do not MIND red roses. If anyone is in a mind to get me anything–no matter what it is, I am elated at the mere thought of it, grateful and appreciative. However, if the gift is flowers, I prefer something besides red roses. My reason for this is that red roses can be common. Every male knows about buying red roses.  I have always been a little “different” (as those who  know me in real life can affirm) and liked to be different, so why should flowers be any different for me? Red roses are beautiful, but peach roses, orange and yellow roses, white roses with red tips, anything else besides red is less common. Less common means I like them  more. And although I love roses, I am quite as happy with other flowers like unusual mums, giant sunflowers (my favorites), tulips or anything that is not quite so common. And if it is clear that the male in my life (which has been Prince Charming for almost 12 years) put some serious thought into it, my heart is completely stolen.

img_0461sunflowersThis was an adjustment for Prince Charming because being a thoughtful guy, he had given the flowers some thought and had decided that all women want red roses all the time. He was educated that I am not “all women” and that also, most women might appreciate some variety once in a while. In this he has been a brilliant student.

(Please do not leave me nasty comments about how I should appreciate any gift. I do. I appreciate all gifts. I appreciate gifts I loathe because someone thought enough of me to give a gift.  I just see nothing wrong with educating my husband (or intended husband, as it was) about my preferences. He was grateful.)

Next was jewelry. Apparently one of the easiest gifts for men to give women is jewelry; it is a sure-fire hit every time. The problem here is that I do not wear jewelry. None. Not the tiniest little thing. (I will admit to wearing an engagement and wedding ring for a few years, but neither of us wear them anymore. And I will also say that when he was shopping for engagement rings, I assured him I did not want a diamond because everyone has a diamond. We did see some brown diamonds I liked, but I wound up with an alexandrite, which I loved because it was quite rare. The expense of rarity was not important to me, but the  having something different was.) So Prince Charming was at a loss when we first started dating. No red roses, no jewelry. But he was up for the task!

Prince Charming became personal friends with the sales people at Bath and Body Works because I love bath stuff and candles and great scents. I still get gifts from there occasionally–quite enough to keep my Friday Night Bath scented and varied. But my “difference” has presented him with the opportunity to show how wonderful and creative he is, which he did yet again this Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day can be another problem because I am the accountant in this household. I know how much flowers cost on Valentine’s Day, and I think it is preposterous to pay that much for them. I have at times gotten grand bouquets the week after because he SO wants to get me flowers (as he is also personal friends with a local florist), but it is definitely taboo to get me flowers for the holiday.

So Friday I was wondering what he would do. It would be fine with me (really, it would) if he did nothing, but he is the romantic, and he will always do something.

He arrived home from work bearing the above-seen pie. I genuinely squealed. One of my favorite desserts is Key Lime Pie, and I had some when I was in Orlando last month and have been hankering to have it ever since. Was that not a terribly creative gift for someone like me?!

Yesterday morning I got a beautiful card and some wonderful chocolates as well (including Godiva), but the hit for me was really the Key Lime Pie. And the best part? My girls are not that enthused with it. That means it is all for Prince Charming and me. And he is at a meeting this morning, so that is what I am having for breakfast.

2009-02-15klpsliced

I hope all of you had Valentine’s Days as wonderful as mine! (And I hope to have time to get to at least a few blogs today to find out about it!)

Potato-Leek Soup in Bread Bowls

Potato-Leek Soup in Bread Bowls

During the winter months, we always have soup and bread on Friday night.  This tradition began when we moved to New Mexico, I became a stay-at-home mom and actually began regular cooking again. (In Missouri Prince Charming was in graduate school while I worked full-time. He did a lot of the “cooking” then.)

Friday nights are quiet at our house. Sabbath begins at sundown, and the pace changes. It is my favorite time of the week. Probably the entire 24 hours until sundown on Saturday night is my favorite period of the week, but Friday night is especially slow and quiet–a true blessing. (And it is host to the bath.)

Because Friday nights are special, I like to make something special for dinner. It cannot be complicated, however, because I also do the cooking for the next day on Friday as well. There just is not enough time to prepare two elaborate meals.  So Friday night dinners are simple, but special. That is how the soup and bread tradition came about.  All of us love both. If there is not the scent of bread baking in our house on Friday, something is wrong. (Or it is summer, but I usually bake some type of bread then anyway).

Last Friday night I made one of Prince Charming’s favorite soups. I tell you this because it was sort of for his birthday, which was at the beginning of January. Poor guy! If there is anything worse than having a birthday between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it is having one just after Christmas. He always gets the shaft. At the end of November and beginning of December, I had a whole slough of birthdays which got their own blog posts. Did Prince Charming? No! And it had nothing to do with him, but everything to do with when it was.  He did not even get his favorite meal until three weeks after his birthday. So I threw in the soup as a bonus later the same week.

So, without further rambling, here are the recipes:

Potato Leek Soup in Bread Bowls

4 lg potatoes, peeled and diced

4 large leeks, sliced

8 c chicken broth

1 tsp salt

1/2 c cream

pepper (optional–I never opt for pepper, but I know a lot of people use it in everything, and it was part of the original recipe)

Bread Bowls: Bowl-size round loaves, unsliced (4-6, depending on how many people you are serving), 2-3 cloves crushed garlic, 4-6 tsp olive oil, 4-6 T graded Parmesan cheese

In a large pot, combine potatoes, leeks, broth, salt and pepper if desired. Heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce to medium-low, cover and simer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile make bread bowls (recipe below for Italian bread which we love, but you can purchase them ready-made, or you can just serve it with bread on the side): Cut top off of loaves. Hollow out bowls leaving 3/4″. (Reserve leftover bread for croutons or bread crumbs). Rub inside of bread with garlic, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with cheese. Place hollowed out loaves and “lids” on baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree Fahrenheit over for 10 minutes.

Puree soup in batches in a blender or use a hand-blender. (If you don’t have a hand blender and make soup, get one!) Stir in cream. Heat through.

Spoon hot soup into bread bowls and top with parsley as a garnish if desired. Makes 6 servings (with some leftovers for lunch next week!)

Italian Bread

(This is our favorite non-flavored bread. I do not make it all the time because it takes a long time, but I have figured out when to start it so that the first rising is while I pick up Chic from school since she gets out at 12:30 on Fridays.)

2-1/2 c warm water (115 degrees F)

2 T active dry yeast (or 2 packets is OK)

8 c all-purpose flour

1 T salt

1 egg white

1 T water

Optional: Butter and cornmeal to put on baking sheet before baking bread

Note: I do this in a Kitchen Aid mixer on Speed 2 with a dough hook. The original directions were not for that; if you do not use a mixer for bread, I am sure you will know how to convert this. And if you use a bread machine, I am sure you can figure that out, too.

Pour warm water into warm mixing bowl; sprinkle with yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes, then stir in 2 cups of flour. Beat well. Add salt and gradually beat in all but 2 cups of the flour. Cover with a clean dish towel and let rest for 10 minutes. Continue mixing gradually adding as much flour as needed. (In my dry, high altitude setting, I can usually add another 1-1/4 – 1-1/2 cups.) Continue kneading for 3-5 minutes after last flour is added. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning to grease the top. Cover with wax paper, then a damp dish cloth, and let rise in a warm place for 1-1/2 hours or until doubled in bulk.

Punch dough down and let rise to double again, about an hour.  Turn onto a lightly floured surface and form small, round loaves (for bowls) or longer loaves (10-12″ long). (Since there are 4 of us, when I make this soup, I make 4 bowls with half of the dough and a long loaf with the other half of the dough. Otherwise I make two long loaves.)  Place loaves on baking sheets that have been buttered and sprinkled with corn meal (if desired, I never do this anymore). Add 1 Tbls water to egg white and brush top and sides of loaves. To cover, prop up dish towel around and over loaves using glasses OR make a reusable cover by lining the inside of an appropriately-sized box with aluminum foil and storing in a plastic bag to keep clean. (I have to let my bread rise in the oven with a dish of water because of the lack of humidty in this region. Propping up a dish towel with glasses is not feasible for me, so I made the box as described. It works fine. I use it for some of my other bread recipes as well.) Let rise until doubled. I check it after 45-50 minutes which is usually enough, but sometimes it takes longer, depending on how warm the oven has remained.

Place a shallow pan on the bottom rack of the oven; fill with boiling water. Bake loaves in center of oven preheated to 375 degrees F for 20 minutes. Remove and brush with egg white mixture again. Continue baking for 20 mintues longer, or until well-browned and done.

The bread can seem a bit intimidating because of all the steps, but it is really no worse than any other yeast bread if you plan the rising times when you can be doing other things. However, it is not something you can decide late in the day to have for dinner. If you do not eat the extra loave(s), your neighbors will LOVE you if you give a loaf to them, and it freezes splendidly.

Recipe  Credits:  Soup–Glamour Magazine, about 25 years ago. Bread–not sure.

2009

Here you learned that I was without computer. We were not happy. Who is when that happens? But it was right at the holidays. We thought it was going to be a week. It turned out to be two weeks, and it’s still not back to where it was yet. There is still stuff to load back onto it, and we have two computers now instead of one. (And my new one, though unbelievably small and cute, is difficult for me because the keyboard is so small.)

A lot of the things I do (besides blogging) involve using the computer. The thing I do most frequently with it is keep the records for my church’s finances. Prior to the crash, there had been a series of problems that put me behind in that department. Then with the crash, each passing day put me a little further behind. (I just started catching up today. And it’s year-end, so it is not as if I have the option about taking my time to get caught up.) That caused me a lot of stress. But in the end, what could I do about it?

Another major consumer of my computer time is blogging–both my own blog and visiting others. Obviously that was not happening, either.

But in the end, it turned out to be one of the best things that could have happened. Why? Because if I had had a computer and been able to work and blog, I would not have managed to do all the holiday things I did. As it was, it was the worst holiday season I have ever endured. Prince Charming and I have no intentions of ever living through such a fiasco again, but it would have been so. much. worse. had our computer been working and then be able to spend NO time on the computer. Though disguised, it was a gift to us.

Only the cat did not mind the chaos. Here she is on my work table.

Only the cat did not mind the chaos. Here she is on my work table.

Every year I do more for the holidays.  In this case, “more” takes on many meanings: in the form of more time-consuming  cards to send (200 of them), more elaborate ornaments to make, and more handmade gifts. The whole of 2008 was crazy. Much of it was “good” crazy, but it was an unusually busy year, and very little for the holidays was done ahead of time. So when the computer crashed and my list of how many ornament boxes to make and for whom was gone,

Ornaments boxes in process. In the end, I made 37 of them.

Ornaments boxes in process. In the end, I made 37 of them.

How the ornament boxes looked when completed.

How the ornament boxes looked when completed.

my list of who got handmade banners was gone,

I made 15 "winter banners (the snowflakes dangle) and 4 "merry" banners as gifts.

I made 15 "winter banners (the snowflakes dangle) and 4 "merry" banners as gifts.

my Christmas card list was gone (I did not remember to take pictures of the pile of Christmas cards. Suffice it to say they were cute and had many steps), never mind all the work I could not be doing; I was a little stressed.

With my husband’s work computer we managed to use our external back-up drive to retrieve some of the information which I hand-copied (barely legibly) to complete everything. But the problem was there was not much time left, and much had to be sent or shipped, and I was doing more than ever.  It was horrible.

Prince Charming got on board as he always does and helped me. He could not do everything, but there were things he could do to help. The week before Christmas, we stayed up until midnight or 1 a.m. every night making cards, gifts, whatever. He did all the packaging and labeling and postage printing, and I did the most of the making and wrapping.  Prince Charming also made all the “treats” we give away this year. We usually do several things, but this year it was only pizzelles (for more than 50 families), and he did all of it. I did not make even one. And all day long while he was at work, I did more making and wrapping. Truly, it was horrendous.

This was a baby gift for someone who happened to arrive in this time frame. I loved making it, and the parents loved it. But I have to say it wasn't easy fitting a 10-letter name into a frame! (They call her "Halle.")

This was a baby gift for someone who happened to arrive in this time frame. I loved making it, and the parents loved it. But I have to say it wasn't easy fitting a 10-letter name into a frame! (They call her "Halle.")

It is not like we never make our own cards or many of our gifts, but this recent holiday season just went over the limit of sanity. But the thing is that we do not want to change what we do. We LOVE making handmade gifts. Most of the people to whom we give gifts have plenty of anything they need, so handmade things just seem nicer; we are giving more of ourselves. And it has nothing at all to do with the fact that I hate shopping.

So what we decided is that we are going to force ourselves to work on everything as soon as possible and all through the year. The ornaments are usually done in February, but the boxes are never done before the holiday season.

This year's ornaments. I made the tops and put them on the gold balls.

This year's ornaments. I made the tops and put them on the gold balls.

Nor are the cards or handmade gifts. We have to start plugging away in any spare moment during the year–both of us–so we can have a relaxed, joyful and peaceful holiday season next year. (This year we got only a small fraction of the decorating done. I did not even get the autumn decorations off of my front door.)

Now Christmas is not my very favorite holiday, but I still love it a lot. I love the festivity and the way people tend to be more happy and generous a lot of the time. This year, however, PC and I could not fully get into the holiday spirit; we were just too tired. And that is not OK, especially for our children — it’s not their fault we the year unfolded the way it did and we did not force ourselves to do more all year long. There must be changes. So we are determined to make it happen.

Are we already working on Christmas cards, ornaments and gifts? No. Right now I am working on wedding invitations for a friend. They must be finished by Wednesday because they need to be mailed soon, and I am going out of town on Wednesday. Before I leave, I also need to make 100 swap cards to take with me since I am going to a stamping event. (And I am not even sure of the design for that yet.) After that I will make myself deal with Valentine’s teacher gifts and get them done right away, and after that holiday things will begin. The goal is to have everything finished and ready to mail by Thanksgiving. Everything. No exceptions. This is no small feat, because even after everything is ready, there is still wrapping, and like everything else in my life, I have to do that just a little bit more than ordinary. I always buy the wrapping, ribbons and trims right after Christmas, so there is no reason that gifts could not be wrapped and ready as made and purchased. (Yes, a few are purchased, but mostly through fundraisers my children have so we do not have to make them go sell stuff to friends and family.)

I love wrapping gifts, but it is another time-consuming thing. But part of the joy of getting it finished early will be enjoying the beautiful things under our own tree for a while!

I love wrapping gifts, but it is another time-consuming thing. But part of the joy of getting it finished early will be enjoying the beautiful things under our own tree for a while!

So while without computer, I realized that I could probably very happily live without it for a good, long time. I was way too busy to miss it much. I thought I would miss the blogging more than I did, but I really did not have time to even think about it. HOWEVER, when I started looking at Sky Watch contributions yesterday, I realized what I had been missing. The reason I got so enamored with blogging so quickly after starting last summer was that I love the blogs I visit.

And I will be visiting again, and soon. But I have not looked at my reader in over 3 weeks. That probably means it has more than 3000 unread posts. That means I will not even attempt to catch up. If I try, I never will, so I am just going to start with what is new.  I tried for three months to catch up and could not, so I think it is better to just start fresh.

Back to my goals. I never do New Year’s resolutions. Does anyone really even remember what those are after a week or two? For me these things are goals, and most of the time when I have goals, I meet them. It is going to take some diligent determination, but I know I can do it. And next year, the holiday season is going to be more meaningful and joyful and fun and full of festivity, not last-minute misery. I promise!

200811-16canopybedcard 

Yes, it is true. Prince Charming and I are sleeping on opposite ends of the house.

“How could this be?” you ask incredulously. “You have told us how wonderful and perfect he is! He is thoughtful and kind. What is going on?”

Well, Reader, everyone except me has flaws. It is just the way it is.

 

Let’s have a little background. You read here about Chicklet’s eyes. I am happy to report that they are better (but here is a better picture of how red they were), but she is not quite well yet.

200811-16redeyes

And last Thursday the clinic called (because we had to take her to Urgent Care because of course this happened on a weekend) and asked if she was doing OK. They had taken a culture on her eyes (I assume–Prince Charming, he was still charming then, took her), and had the results which were a little disconcerting. She had the flu as well as MRSA. Thankfully Chicklet was acting quite fine by this point, or I would have been a little nervous. She has been no worse for the wear since. But I called to tell Prince Charming, and he nearly flipped out overreacted like fathers of little girls tend to do.

We do not know from where Chicklet’s infection came, but we do know that Chic had some kind of cold-like virus a few days earlier. She probably got it at school, then brought it home for the rest of us. Chic was stuffed up for a couple of days and is fine now. The rest of us are a different story.

Last Tuesday after four days of my own bout with some kind of bug, I went to the doctor. I usually do not run to the doctor so quickly, but I was sick most of last winter and finally got better after going to the doctor in March. I cannot do that again. I cannot exercise when I am sick, and I am too old to start over every summer in the exercise department. So I went. (The reason I do not try to nip things in the bud is because I have not had very good experiences here with going to the doctor. When I actually SEE a doctor, it is not bad, but often I do not have that opportunity. I have some ugly stories of sickness without treatment from earlier in our life here. It just seems like a waste of time and money to go.) The doctor was teetering between virus and bacteria. She finally decided to write a prescription for antibiotics, trusting I would not use it unless certain criteria are met. I have not used it yet, but I am pretty sure I will tomorrow or Tuesday. One of the criteria is that I am no better within 10 days after it hit me. Today is the 9th day. I am no better.

On Tuesday Prince Charming started complaining of being sick. All you wives of husbands out there  know the feeling, the sinking feeling, when your husband says he is getting sick. In my post about Chicklet’s eyes, I put a link to “The Man Cold” on YouTube. We have all been there. We know what it is like. So I inwardly rolled my eyes and braced myself for the worst. Little did I know what “the worst” was going to be.

Prince Charming is actually somewhat not horrible when he is sick. This is ONLY because he knows that I am sicker than him almost always but valiantly, as all women, do not have the option to stay in bed to get well, but do my regular duties and responsibilities without whining or crying like a 2-year-old less-than-sympathetic to his plight, and it will do little good for him to whine. (It was a training, process, ladies. He did not arrive this way.) So although I inwardly groaned at his revelation, I thought that it would not be a large inconvience to me because I would not let it be.

So off to bed we went Tuesday night. Have I mentioned I am a light sleeper? Probably not, but I am. I wake up easily, and just as easily do not go back to sleep for 2 or more  hours if awakened too much. Prince Charming, on the other hand, is a fabulous sleeper. He can wake up, go to the bathroom, cook a meal (hypothetically), go back to bed and be asleep before his head hits the pillow. Prince Charming hit the pillow snoring lightly. I wiggled around so he would adjust himself. He did, and stopped for a while. I was just drifting into sleep, when the snoring got loud.  (He always snores, but I can usually make him stop.) I tried to wake him, but I had no voice.  It is somewhat impossible to wake a sound sleeper when one can only whisper. So I kicked him. He moved AND CONTINUED TO SNORE. I kicked him again (a little harder). Same results. I was too sick to go anywhere, so I spent the next two hours catching a slight bit of dozing periodically, but mostly awake.

Then my coughing fit set in. When I have what I have, it turns into bronchitis quite quickly, and usually sometime during the night I will have a little coughing fit. It is a well-known fact that I avoid cough medicine if possible because I hate it, it makes me feel weird and sometimes makes me sick. So I was coughing while Prince Charming was snoring. After about half-an-hour, he finally woke up. I did not WANT him to wake up, but apparently I can cough much louder than talk when I have no voice, so it woke him up eventually. As if the snoring was not bad enough, he went through the familiar, irritating ritual of trying to get me to take some cough medicine.

“Should I get you some cough medicine?” he asked innocently and groggily.

“No!” was my abrupt, clearly irritated reply.

He waited as I was having a spasm of coughing, then asked (more awake this time), “I would be happy to get you some cough medicine.”

“NO,” was my firm reply.

More coughing.

“I really don’t mind,” he said.

By this time I showed every second of not sleeping that had happened that night. “I do not like cough medicine. You know I do not like cough medicine. I am sorry if I am keeping you awake, but your snoring kept me awake for 2-1/2 hours.” This was said as I grabbed my blankets and went to the loft to sleep in the recliner. (The usual progression of things at times like this.)

I was actually starting to feel rested and relaxed, away from the snoring, when Prince Charming came out to apologize and try to get me to go back to bed. Reader, what IS it about men that they cannot just leave things be? I had not slept ALL night, I was just getting comfortable, and he was there BOTHERING ME!

I do not even remember what I barked (in a whisper) at him, but I am sure it was not sweet nothings.

In the recliner I remained until a hint of dawn woke me up. Then I got up and went about my duties as usual.

So Wednesday through last night (and who knows how much longer), Prince Charming has been sleeping in the toy room. (We have a guest room, but it is somewhat of a work room and the bed is usually only completely cleaned off when guests are here.) And get this, I felt GUILTY about it. I felt guilty because someone who can sleep through a tornado or earthquake (probably even nuclear attack) went to another bedroom because his cold (or whatever) made him snore-without-ceasing VERY loudly. He did not make me feel guilty; that is my own issue. But other than my nightly coughing fit, I have been getting some excellent sleep. (Even though I can still hear the muffled snore behind a closed door at the opposite end of the house.)  I even kept one of the cats inside last night to help me stay warm.

Prince Charming and I are actually getting along famously, just not sleeping together. In a few days he will be well (unfortunately I will not be), and he can come back until he tries to get me to take cough medicine in the middle of the night. It is the first time we have ever done this. I am always the one to go sleep on the sofa or a recliner (guilt thing), but now that I am used to this, I think it is a good plan for future illnesses.

 

blue and bright

blue and bright

 

The above picture is Chicklet’s eyes.

Both of our girls have blue eyes. That is not uncommon with red/reddish hair, but we have to admit that we were/are a little surprised by it. Neither Prince Charming nor I have blue eyes. Neither do our siblings. Or our parents. Yes, there are blue eyes in the family (obviously), but none close to us. Prince Charming’s mother even had red hair with brown eyes. The blue is strange indeed.

Last night Chicklet’s eyes were getting a little red and watery. We began to fear she had conjunctivitis. We were not sure because we were out later than usual, and she had had a very mild cold and had not had a good nap, so we thought it just might have been from being tired. However, this morning it was only worse. Here are Chicklet’s eyes when she got up this morning:

not so cheerful

not so cheerful

Last year at Chic’s school, there was a “pinkeye” epidemic which made them close school for 1-1/2 days to disinfect.  I used to get this when I was a kid. But in all my bouts with this condition and all the kids that had it last year at school, I have never seen eyes like this.

In the picture her eyes are so swollen that Chicklet cannot open them enough to see how bad they are. A great deal of the white portion is not pink, but brilliant red. It looks like her eyes are bleeding. Last night she was crying, and she cried blood. 

Prince Charming took her to Urgent Care when they opened this morning.

Let’s understand right now that I am not a reactionary mom at all, or an uptight one. Usually when we go in for our annual “well check-ups,” the doctor always says we must be really healthy because she so rarely sees us. Well, we get our share of fevers, flus and colds, but there is usually no point for going in for those things, so we do not. But my daughter was crying tears of blood. That stabbed me in the heart!

The rest of us have varying degrees of colds. We are praying (and washing our hands every 10 minutes) that no one else contracts conjunctivitis. Nothing is worse than having a sick kid (or, God forbid, sick husband) than being sick yourself at the same time.

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