Thursday, July 23, 2009

The chatterbox gene

Boys are supposed to be men-in-training...few words, more action, and little emotion.

Muggsy didn't get that memo.

Muggsy: Mom, what's this?
Me: A wrench.
Muggsy: What does it do?
Me: It tightens bolts.
Muggsy: Why?
Me: Because otherwise they'd fall out.
Muggsy: Mom, what's this?
Me: A bolt.
Muggsy: What does it do?
Me: It holds boards together.
Muggsy: Why?
Me: So I can build some shelves.
Muggsy: Mom, what's this?
Me: A bag.
Muggsy: What does it do?
Me: It holds bolts.
Muggsy: Why?
Me: Because they'd be all over the floor otherwise.
Muggsy: Mom, what's this?
Me: [exasperated sigh] MUGGS! Go play!
Muggsy: Why?
Me: Muggs, do you have an off button?
Muggsy: [without missing a beat] Nope.

Long pause.
Muggsy lifts up shirt and looks at belly button.
Sly grin.

Muggsy: Yep! Right here!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Film at 11

My eyes slowly opened, dry from the depths of a delicious afternoon nap.

"Hey, wake up. He's hurt. I need your help."

The words were not really sinking in, but the vision in the doorway of someone in full moto gear -- looking like a real-life Transformer figure -- rattled me to coherence.

"Hurry up. Drive the truck to the trail head. We'll take the 4-wheeler up the trail and get him."

What? Who? Hurt? Truck? Wait! Tell me what's going on!

But he was already kicking the 4-wheeler into gear, zooming down the dirt road with her on the back, and depending on me to know just what to do with limited instructions.

I somehow managed to get into the truck, get myself to the gate and wait. The caffeine in the Diet Coke was starting to make a difference, and with every peak in my heartbeat came building panic.

He's hurt.


I'm going to bring him down to the truck.

After what seemed like hours, I saw a flash of the sun's reflection on chrome as the damaged dirt bike came around the bend. Riding it down the trail to park it near the truck, he had a grim look on his face.

"He wouldn't get on the 4-wheeler. He's walking down the trail, but it's slow going," he said.

"What's wrong?" I asked, panic bubbling somewhere deep in my throat but still allowing me to speak.

"A few broken ribs, maybe some problems with his shoulder...." his voice trailed off. "I won't know until I can take a look at him," he shrugged.

I gulped, and in the depths of my anxiety I was grateful. His field training as a medic and current practice as an orthopaedist was priceless to me at the moment.

Soon enough we saw the 4-wheeler slowly bumping down the trail next to Mr. O, who was holding his left arm tight to his side, and taking carefully placed steps no longer than the length of his motocross boot. Slow going for sure.

By the time he reached the truck I could see that it was bad. Really bad. Getting him up into the back seat, using the running board and all three of us as leverage, did nothing but bring forth a string of expletives that I'd never really heard in that order before.

The bouncing dirt road back to the cabin was even worse.

"Use your phone to Google the nearest pharmacy. Get me the phone number," he ordered me. In the isolated lake resort where their cabin was located, the options were limited. It was a half-hour drive to get to the pharmacy, and they'd be closing in less than 45 minutes.

After dropping them off at the cabin, I quickly turned the truck around and set off to pick up the prescriptions for pain relief and muscle relaxers that he had called in to the pharmacy. I was 5 minutes down the road when he called me back.

"We need to bring him to the ER. I cut off his gear and there's a pretty bad gash that will need to be stitched up. He really needs some x-rays, too, just to be sure he didn't puncture a lung," he said with a blend of concern for his buddy and professional opinion.

By the time I swung a u-turn and pulled back into the cabin's driveway, they were loaded up in his truck. I hopped in the passenger seat and we bounced back down that brutal dirt road. Every cry of pain that came from the back seat just cut me to the quick.

We pulled into the small country town with 5 minutes to spare before the pharmacy closed. I ran in to grab the prescriptions, telling them I'd walk the 4 blocks to the hospital and meet them there.

Walking along the mostly deserted main street, I wondered what would be waiting for me when I reached the ER. After filling in the blanks on the admittance paperwork, I leaned around the doorway to the exam room. I saw Mr. O on the exam table with Dr. Chaos on a stool nearby, and the on-call doctor -- a 77-year-old OB/GYN -- looking at the wounds.

The nurse was pushing a generous dose of morphine into Mr. O's IV. And somehow, I knew it would be an interesting evening.

**to be continued.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Forces of the universe

A reason, a season or a many influences in my life just arrive. And if I'm cognizant enough to be paying attention, it makes a difference. A BIG difference.

H, you are my inspiration. On my worst day, you remind me that it's the best day in so many other worlds. It's been 5 years, and you are my electronic lifeline of perspective.

L, you are my safe, funky, girl-power comfort zone. No matter how much time passes between our visits, it's always there -- fun, supportive, and energizing.

E, you're here for a reason. Even though I alternate between typographically castigating you and bowing to your veiled wisdom, you are one of the best things about Facebook in my life.

D, you represent (in the best way) the gene pool that contributed to who I am today. Whatever the forces of the universe that bring us closer together at seemingly random junctions, I'm glad you own a piece of my heart. Your dad was simply the admission ticket to the biopic.

K, you remind me every time you venture down here into the suburbs from your hip, urban haven that material wealth is overrated. I know you would trade places with me in a heartbeat, and -- although I think sometimes I would do the same with you -- it's good to know that.

L/M, you are uniquely a source of inspiration and frustration. Just when I want to kill you, I have a moment of recognition -- of your unconditional love, support, and willingness to give to me what you don't give freely to others.

At a time when I need to constantly remind myself to keep my eyes firmly focused on the horizon and not the shoreline shrinking from sight over my shoulder, I appreciate the intriguing forces at play in my life.