Friday, November 28, 2008

Our "First" Thanksgiving

RockCrawlinChef and I have had a lot of "Firsts" together in the last eight months, but this is one I'd been looking forward to for a long time - our "First" Thanksgiving. Let me tell you, it was everything I'd imagined it would be and then some. The timing between meals worked out perfectly; my family's dinner early in the afternoon and RCC's family's late was perfect. We're talking about hosting dinner next year with the families combined - should be interesting! Thanksgiving went so well, I'm ready to take on Christmas!

I've always had a lot to be thankful for, but this year I seem to be extra blessed. Just a few of the things I'm thankful for:

  • My family, old and new. I'm surrounded by wonderful, pure-hearted people who improve others' lives just by being around.

  • RockCrawlinChef - I don't know how I managed to survive so many years without his love and support; he is the perfect balance for me.

  • The Heathi: Digger - even though he's a teenager and occassionally makes me absolutely ape-shit, he is a good kid with a good heart who doesn't deserve the shit he has to live with every day with his disease. Ashee-butt - she stresses herself to the max trying to be the peace-keeper between everyone and usually succeeds. I just wish she didn't feel the need to take on that responsibility. Must be a second-child thing. She's smart, beautiful and can think for herself (which can cause conflict on occassion) and I'm so proud of her. Monster - Ugh! Another teenager, but, again, one who is a good kid with a good heart who can make less-than-satisfactory choices. I wouldn't be who I am without The Heathi and even though I threaten to kill each and every one of them on a daily basis, I couldn't live without them in my life. I'm so unbelievably proud of the people they are all becoming.

  • I'm thankful that, although Monster and Ashee-butt couldn't be with us, they were together in Arizona. I think it's especially important that Monster have his ally with him during the holiday. He's never been without his siblings, and even though he's down there with his dad, step-mom and half-sister, it's not the same as having the people you've depended on your whole life.

  • My friends, who are also wonderful, pure-hearted people who have greatly enriched my life.

  • My life, which has, after years of struggle, has taken a big turn for the better and continues to improve every day thanks to my family and friends. I've had so many opportunities this year that I've not had in the past and I intend to take full advantage of all of them!
  • Tuesday, November 18, 2008

    A Girl and Her Gun

    Last night I watched one of my favorite movies, The Shooter, with Mark Wahlberg (my, has he grown up nicely!) which always reminds me of my dear friend and fellow Gun Diva, Tara Janzen. Tara and I have been shooting buddies since I helped teach a firearms class she was taking for research seven or eight books ago (it's been awhile). The movie always reminds me of when we were learning to shoot long-range, 1,000 yards, after she built "Kid's" sniper rifle. I would swear that the original Bad Boy who taught us to shoot long-range was a technical advisor for the film, as some of the phrases are straight out of his mouth. Each time I hear, "Slow is smooth; smooth is fast" I hear it in his voice, not Wahlberg's.

    Although I love the movie there are just a couple of things about it that make me absolutely insane. First, the minute your head comes up off the rifle, the lens covers go down. Should be automatic. If not, that's 10 push-ups :) Tara and I only had to do a few before we remembered to flip the lens covers down. Second, while Wahlberg handles his weapons well, he's missing the connection with the weapon. I would not have even noticed had I not seen someone develop that connection and it makes all the difference in the world.

    I was at the range with Tara and the Bad Boy getting ready for an upcoming match when I got the best gift in the world; I got to witness, first-hand, the connection being made. There is something absolutely wonderous and magical when a shooter and her rifle become one. Tara had been shooting and took a break so I could shoot. When she laid down with her rifle the next time she just breathed herself onto it. Between one breath and the next she and her rifle joined; they were no longer two discrete critters, but one living, breathing unit. It took my breath away to see the birth of Tara the Shooter. Before, she had been Tara who shoots.

    That was a couple of years ago and I can still close my eyes, see the range, watch Tara lay down behind her rifle, take a breath, lay her cheek against the stock, exhale and become one with her rifle. I've been lucky enough to witness this a couple of times with her and each time it takes my breath away; it is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.

    Monday, November 17, 2008

    I Miss My Monster!

    Ugh! I thought packing Monster off to live with his dad was hard last week when it actually happened, and I know it's the right thing to do (at least right now), but I miss my Monster! Even though his teenage hormones made him almost impossible to live with at times, his amazing sense of humor and quick wit always kept the house lively.

    This is one of my favorite pictures of him...he was so tired he fell asleep eating dinner.
    I miss him terribly and hope that everything works out okay for him in Arizona.

    Wednesday, November 12, 2008

    The Hardest Thing I've Ever Done

    Today is Monster's last day in Fort Collins. At 4:00 am tomorrow he loads up with Jim's mother-in-law to move to Arizona. He decided weeks ago that he was "screwing up" too much here, that he needed a "fresh start", and that that "fresh start" would work best in Arizona where he doesn't know anyone; can make new friends and start at a new school. I tried and tried to talk him out of it, but he truly believed that it was the best move for him so I resigned myself to his decision.

    He tried to change his mind this weekend, but after weeks of being told that he knew what he was doing, I'm making him stick with his original decision. He's right, he has screwed up - BIG TIME - here and he's not willing to make the changes it would take to straighten his life here up. I'm not convinced that he'll make the changes necessary in Arizona, either, but I've got to give him the chance to try.

    Now that I won't let him change his mind, I'm "making" him go to Arizona. Isn't it amazing how the perspective changes? Last week, he couldn't get packed and out of my house fast enough, this week he acts like I'm throwing him out. It would be easy to cave and let him stay - for about a day - until he fell back into his old behavior patterns. Even though I know I'm doing the right thing, it is the hardest thing I've ever done.
    I love Monster to death and I honestly admire him for making this decision; it couldn't have been easy to decide to pack up and leave eveything he knows to move to a place where he only knows his dad, step-mom and sister. It takes a lot of cajones that I'm not sure I have. If this is hard for me, it's got to be twice a hard for him.

    Monday, November 10, 2008

    Now the REAL nightmare begins...

    Whew! I thought that the worst part of Monster's accident was, well, the accident. Hmmmm...was I wrong.

    Last week as I was heading to the orthopaedist for Monster's follow up I received a voicemail from the owner of the car that hit him asking for insurance information. Since I was busy, I kind of blew it off, knowing that the important people (the hospital, the police, etc.) had all of the insurance information. When I got home from working for Mom at her B&B ( this past weekend, I was greeted by a letter from the owner of the car seeking my Homeowner's or Renter's insurance.

    No citations were issued in the accident, therefore no fault was assigned, so I was perplexed by his request. Turns out the owner of the car is not only a SOB, but he's also a personal injury attorney (kind of redundant, huh?) and by requesting my Renter's insurance (not that I have any) he tried to "trick" me into admitting that Monster was at fault in the accident and wanted my non-existent Renter's insurance to pay for the damages to his car. Not happening. No citations issued. No fault assigned. I'm not paying.

    Wanting to make sure that I had all of my ducks in a row, I went to the police department to pick up a copy of the accident report and much to my dismay found it completely incorrect and incomplete. If whoever is in charge of accident reports was a student of mine in Medical Records, he/she would fail the class. We're talking legal documents, people! At least try to be accurate. And the icing on the cake - the written statement from the driver of the car is in TURKISH! The police department doesn't have an interpreter who can translate Turkish, so no one knows what the hell her written statement says.

    UGH!!! Keep posted for further nightmare developments...

    Saturday, November 8, 2008

    Deejo's Old Today!

    Happy Birthday Deejo!
    As your oldest sister, I thought to myself, "GunDiva, what could you possibly do to embarrass the hell out of Deejo on his birthday?" The answer was nothing. We've told all the embarrassing stories - you remember, the Easter dinner when it came out that you had stripped at amateur night at the Cow Palace (do you still have that green sequined thong?). Everybody already knows about your time as a guest of Sheriff Joe (can you eat peanut butter - or was it bologna - anymore?). So I guess that means I'll just have to share a couple of my "remember whens"...
    Remember when... were a kid and tried to kill yourself on your bicycle? You'd just cleared a jump off the sidewalk, just to run smack-dab into the front of a parked car. I damn nearly peed myself laughing. I thought only cartoon characters molded themselves to the front ends of cars and then slowly melted off. busted your nose at Rolland Moore park and Junior thought you'd died? He came home as fast as possible on his bike and ran into the house screaming "Deejo's dead! Deejo's dead!" busted THREE of my ribs swing dancing? The Death Spin is just the name of the move, not really an invitation for you to kill me!
    ...your coolest older sister built you the most kick-ass shotgun ever, but you refused to let her put the SureFire fore-end light on because "it's too heavy"? Wuss. Your M16 was heavier than that little bitty shotgun I built you - what kind of Marine were you anyway? took Mom to look at a Goat you wanted to buy and she almost made the salesman puke?
    There are lots and lots of "remember whens" - enough to fill a book - but I just wanted to let you know that we love you and we're thinking of you even though you up and moved away to Arizona.
    Happy birthday!

    Wednesday, November 5, 2008

    Tinkerbell Moves Home

    This weekend wasn't all bad despite Monster's little "incident" on Thursday. RockCrawlinChef's baby, Tinkerbell, offered the perfect distraction after putting up with Monster's foul mood for two days. I've been in medicine in one form or another for twenty-two years and in that time I've learned something very important about myself...I can only dose out sympathy in 15-minute increments (about the length of an office visit). Anything more than that and it's pushing it. Twenty hours at Monster's bedside was waaaaayyyyy too much for both of us!

    While I was in the hospital with Monster on Friday, RCC spent the day at his parents' house working on Tink but was unable to get her running. His "baby" is a full-sized Chevy pick-up with lots of work to turn her into a rock crawler.

    I practically begged him to let me go with him on Saturday to keep working on her. I'm pretty sure Monster wasn't heart-broken either, he basically told me not to let the door hit me on the way out. He's as lousy a patient as I am full-time nursemaid.

    After tearing apart the carb (again!) and cleaning it (again!), he and his dad got her to fire up and run!!!! Tinkerbell hasn't been running for the past two years, so it was quite an accomplishment to get her fired up again. There is something to be said about a vehicle big enough for two grown men to sit in the engine compartment and work.

    Once she was warmed up, we loaded her onto the trailer to bring her home. Sounds simple, right? Drive the rock crawler up onto the flatbed trailer and away we go. Right. It took RCC driving and his dad and me spotting (one on each side) to load his little girl onto the trailer as she's just a touch wider than the trailer. I have to say, it's very disconcerting to look out the back window of his truck ("The Bitch"), which is a full-sized Dodge Ram, and not so little herself, and see nothing but giant truck looking back at you.

    Getting Tinkerbell settled into her new driveway was fairly simple compared to the production of loading. She is a LOT bigger than the garage and her roof is just slightly lower than the garage's roof, but she looks pretty good in the driveway - kinda like she owns the place. Ashee-butt now thinks she needs a 'crawler of her own (in addition to the crotch rocket and touring bike she already has on her list of "must haves"). The boys are kind of in awe of Tinkerbell but haven't said much about needing one of their own - thank goodness. As for me, I love the girl and can't wait 'til RCC teaches me to drive her and I can start snow bashing and tackling boulders of my own!

    The Day After...

    Finally, the election's over, the new president has been chosen, and all I feel is relief. I can't say I'm thrilled, nor disappointed, just relieved. I had gotten so sick and tired of all of the political crap that it was a CHORE for me to go vote - I'd become so numb to politics that I was apathetic about the election. Can't say that last night when I went to vote, I gave a damn either way. I must have, otherwise I wouldn't have hauled my apethic buns to the polls.

    Time will tell if we, the people, have chosen wisely or not. All I know is that I'm glad the damn thing is over and done with and I'm ready to move on and support my country under its new leadership. Good or bad, it's still my country and I love it!

    Thank you to all of the veterans who fought, and continue to fight, to keep our country free to make its own choices.

    Tuesday, November 4, 2008

    A Mother's Worst Nightmare

    On Thursday, October 29th, I got the phone call every mother dreads..."Monster's been hit by a car." RockCrawlinChef, Digger and I were visiting Digger's girlfriend who had broken her arm badly when she peeled off bars a couple of days before when Ashee-butt finally got ahold of me to tell me that Monster was on his way to PVH via ambulance.
    Monster was attempting to cross a street in his aunt's neighborhood, had looked both ways and started across on his skateboard when - BLAM! - he was airborne. A woman driving a Prius had turned the corner and neither saw the other when they collided. According to Monster, the sound of his wheels on his skateboard was louder than the Prius and he never heard her coming. The driver was doing less than twenty miles an hour (Thank God) when she hit Monster, but she managed to knock him clean out of his sneakers. He dented the hood and broke the windshield with his elbow, fracturing his left humerus, then completed two flips as he rolled off the car. His elbow hitting the windshield is probably what saved him from severe head or back injuries.
    By the time Ashee-butt got ahold of us, he'd already been picked up by the ambulance and was on his way to PVH with his Aunt Terri, who saw the whole thing. Since Monster was supposed to have been on his way home from Terri's house, my first thought was that he was hit on Highway 287 and I was greatly relieved to find out he was hit in her neighborhood. The injuries would have been so much worse if he'd been hit on the highway where the speed limit is 55 mph.

    When we got to the hospital, the police officer met us and could not get over the fact that Monster was getting away with just a broken arm. According to the officer, he should have been almost dead judging from the damage done to the car. So for anyone who owns a Prius or is thinking about owning a Prius, just know that an 85# child can total your car at very low speeds.

    From the initial x-rays, we were pretty certain that Monster would require surgery to fix his arm, as it was severely displaced, and he was admitted over-night until we could get an orthopaedic consult. After a VERY long night on Peds, we finally got our ortho consult and got amazing news - he wouldn't need surgery after all to reduce the fracture! The ortho P.A. felt that his fracture could be reduced using a clam-shell type fracture splint and surgery wouldn't be necessary! I can't tell you how excited we were to get that news. Monster is a lousy patient and was already super grumpy over having been kept in the hospital over night. The thought of having to stay for surgery was almost more than any of us could bear - he may not have made it out of the hospital alive!

    We made it through, though, and he's back home where he's back to the old obnoxious Monster. He got very lucky and understands how lucky he is to have come away from his accident with nothing more than a broken arm and a small bit of road rash. Bet he looks two or three times before crossing the street next time!