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The latest goings on...

We are on our third week of everyone being sick. Everyone seems to be getting over it now except Madison and I. We take turns coughing on eachother. It's getting pretty old.

As most of you know we are still preparing to move. It has caused the whole family a lot of stress. We don't have an exact closing date, but have been sure that it would be "soon" for several weeks. Due to the lack of a specific date our preparations have lacked focus. You don't want to have everything you own in boxes weeks before you move. The process has forced us to examine our inventory of "stuff." It is a lot of work to sort and dispose of extra stuff. We have made a couple of trips to Goodwill already. All the baby stuff needs to go. We would love to make a few bucks by selling some of it, but that either requires a garage sale or photographing and posting on line. Both of those options are time consuming and seem daunting. The little people have not been a big help in the whole process. Just keeping them all fed and happy is a full time job.

Imagine trying to pull all the things you don't want out into the driveway while four little kids are either running amok inside or trying to play with sharp things in the garage and running into the street. It makes me have to stop and take a deep breath just thinking about it. So most of the baby gadgets, that we have spent thousands on, will be going to Goodwill. I have nothing against charity, but getting rid of things is against my nature. I am a pack rat at heart.

We have managed to pack a handle full of boxes. Mostly books and dishes that we don't use much. I had started packing several boxes of toys. However, the annal retentiveness in me forced me to try to sort the toys as I was packing them. I left the boxes open so that as I found more Legos or Little People or doll house furniture I could put them in the proper boxes. Big mistake. The kids find packed toys much more interesting than loose toys and most of what was in the boxes has been removed by small hands.

We are trying to get the rental house sold. It has been headache after headache. I went over a few days ago with the realtor to see what we could do to make the place look a little more attractive. That is when we discovered that the water heater, in the attic, was leaking. Leaking badly. Most of the water was going into the drip pan, like it is supposed to, but some was running down a rafter and into the house somewhere. I propped a board between the water heater and the rafter it was leaning against. That was a big mistake, it caused the water to leak down onto the ceiling of the bathroom.

The realtor had put a home protection plan on the house, which was nice. However, the contractor they used had me jumping through all sorts of hoops to get the job done.
"They don't make water heaters this size anymore. You won't be able to fit a new one up here." He told me.
"What? That can't be right." I said.
"This one is 18 inches and the smallest on I have is 22 inches." he said. So I got my tape measure and measured the opening to the attic. 20 inches.
"So...what do I do?" I asked the "professional."
He stared at me with a blank expression for awhile then shrugged and said, "I don't know."
"Nice..." I said.
I called my Dad, as he is a very knowledgeable guy, and asked him what he though I should do.
"They DO TO make 18 inch water heaters, call Lowes or Home Depot." He said. So I did. And they do have 18 inch water heaters."
"Hey, I just called Lowes and they have 18 inch water heaters." I told the guy.
"We don't buy ours from Lowes. You don't want one from Lowes." he says.
"I want one that fits and works." I said.
"If Lowes has them then we probably do. I have to check with the warehouse." He tells me. "You will also have to put some decking up there so the new one can be installed."
"What? They got the other one up there without any decking." I replied.
"The office will call tomorrow to set up a time for the install." He says.
"I thought you were going to do it today." I said.
"Nope." He says with a smile.

I didn't have warm fuzzies about these guys so far. They called later and said that if I didn't build a deck around the water heater they would not come to install it. I couldn't believe it and was tempted to find someone else to do the job, but I didn't want my tenants to go without hot water any longer than necessary. So I went to Lowes and bought a bunch of particle board and spent a couple of hours flooring the attic. I also took the time to remove the attic door so they wouldn't have any reasons to complain about not making it fit up there. What a hassle.

The kids still get into mischief on a regular basis. Yesterday Kari's face cream went missing from her bathroom counter top. She walked around questioning each little person she encountered.
"Did you take my face cream out of the bathroom?" She would ask.
"I didn't do it." was the standard reply.
Kari asked Madison "Do you know where Mommy's face cream is?"
"Over hee ya." Madi replied becoming excited. "Over hee ya." She continued, leading the way to the kitchen. "In hee ya!" she said pointing to the freezer. Kari thought "Well they could have put it in there." So she opened the freezer door. Madi was hopping up and down.
"Right hee ya. Ikeem!" Madi announced proudly pointing to the tub of strawberry ice cream.
We all had a good laugh. But the face cream is still missing and I shudder to think where it may have been applied.

I feel like we have a lot on our plates at the moment. I have recurrent training to study for, two days of ground school coming up, I need to renew my medical certificate, need to continue packing, stressed about Reagan's upcoming surgery, still hoping to hear something about Kari's medical issues and migraines, I should start training for the 757 in April...and the list goes on. However, a friend put it in perspective for me when she told me about the health problems that they are going through. Her husband and daughter have brain tumors, her daughter also has Lyme disease, her son has migraines and an undiagnosed bowl issue that has him doubled over in pain most of the time and they (the doctors) recently removed his appendix, unnecessarily it turns out.

So things are not so bad and we are moving forward and staying fairly positive.

Where do I start?

I guess I will start with current events and work backwards.

The latest misadventures in parenting:

This morning as I was preparing to leave Newark and come home to Houston, Rylee and Reagan were up early and up to no good. It is hard to believe, even for me, that they got into so much trouble in such a short amount of time.

Kari got out of bed to find Rylee in the kitchen and caught a glimpse of Reagan bolting from the room. They had been thirsty and had helped themselves to iced tea and milk. Normally I would applaud such independent behavior. However, in this instance they went a little overboard. They had gathered all of the cups from the cupboard and filled them ALL with milk and iced tea. They then proceeded to mix all of the cups of milk with all of the cups of iced tea by pouring one into the other and back again. They went through a whole one gallon jug of milk and an entire gallon of tea.

Kari was trying not to lose her temper. She looked at Rylee. Rylee in an act of sheer self preservation spouted "I didn't do it!"
Kari ordered Rylee up to her room and surveyed the mess for a few moments. After a few deep breaths she turned to go up stairs to lecture the culprits. That is when she notice the empty bottle of teething tablets on the living room floor. We keep those in the medicine cabinet in the kitchen and the girls KNOW that the medicine cabinet is off limits. She picked up the bottle and brought it into the kitchen, set it on the counter, and started through the dining room toward the stairs. That is where she noticed a large pile of wrappers on the the floor. Wrappers from the individually wrapped multi-vitamins. "That's not good." She thought.
She continued her trek up the stairs. Towards the top of the stairs she found her yoga mat. That meant the the girls had been in the other off limits area, the guest room. She took another deep breath and three more steps to the top of the stair case. At the top of the stairs she paused. There she found the entire sewing kit, which is also kept in the guest room, spread across the floor. Hundreds of pins and needles were scattered across the carpet.
Rylee peered from her bedroom door. Their gazes met.
"I didn't do it!" Rylee piped.
Kari brought both girls over.
"Are you going to spank our bottoms?" Rylee asked.
Kari didn't spank they bottoms, but gave them a stern lecture about the dangers of playing with pins and needles. She then asked them what else they had gotten into.
"Nail polish..." Reagan answered, looking at her toes.
"Where did you put it?" Kari asked. Reagan led Kari to her bed room and reached under the bed to retrieve a small bottle of pink nail polish.
To their credit Rylee and Reagan did a pretty good job of painting their nails and didn't make too much of a mess with it. They got it on one of the cabinets in the kitchen, on one of the bar stools (the bar stool was pretty much trashed anyway) and on one of their toys.
"Well, that isn't all you got into. Come with me." Kari said, and led the girls down stairs to the pile of vitamin wrappers. She scooped up the wrappers and brought them into the kitchen as she was starting to question the girls on who had eaten what. Then Kari noticed that many of the medicine bottles in the cabinet had been disturbed. That started a new round of questioning on what else they had gotten into. As it turns out they only ate vitamins and teething tablets. Rylee still denied any involvement in that operation, putting all the blame on her younger sister.
Kari was certain that the vitamins didn't have iron in them, which would have been the most dangerous ingredient, but she called poison control anyway. The poison control center assured her the the kids were not in any danger and gave her a list of side effects that eating a bunch of vitamins could cause. Kari went to Reagan, who had been sentenced to sit on the couch and not move, and told her what she might expect to feel from eating those vitamins.
"You are not going to die. But your tummy might start to hurt, you might have a hard time going poop, and you might get a rash." Kari told her. (I have also found that it makes their pee really bright yellow, almost florescent. Just in case anyone was wondering.)
"Ooooooh." Reagan replied.
Kari lectured her awhile longer on how many of the things in that cabinet could make her very sick. Kari then went to the kitchen to start cleaning up the huge mess the girls had created.
"Mommy?" Rylee asked.
"Yes, Rylee?" Kari answered.
"Um, Mommy...I, um...I ate some of those too...Am I going to die?" She stammered.
After reassuring our oldest that she was not going to pass from this world she had to step outside and take some deep breaths.
"SHE LIED TO ME!" Kari was thinking. She was quite angry.
It is disturbing when your kids start to get GOOD at lying.

Other than that life has settled back into an almost normal state of chaos. We still don't have any answers to Kari's medical mysteries. I imagine that most of you who follow the blog have heard about the little scare that she gave us last week.

January 25, 2010 Kari collapsed at our home in Houston. She has suffered from hypoglycemia since age 12. She keeps glucose tablets on hand for just that reason. On several occasions I have seen her become almost incoherent and require assistance to consume the glucose. On all of those occasions she has “come out of it” in a matter of minutes. Almost as soon as the glucose is placed in her mouth.
On this occasion I noticed that Kari was eating glucose gel, which seems to work faster than the tablets, and I assumed that she was starting to feel faint. Normally that would be the end of it, but she asked for some glucose tablets because the tube of gel wasn’t helping. After eating one she slumped to the floor in a sitting position. I immediately gave her another tablet. (The paramedics advised me that giving glucose without know what her sugar level is can be dangerous and have convinced me to have a blood glucose monitor on hand, which we do now.) At this point her speech was very slurred and she was having trouble keeping her eyes open. I was still not alarmed because I had seen her in a similar state and she had always recovered quickly after having some glucose. I did become alarmed when she slumped over and could not remain upright. I picked her up and moved her to the couch. For the most part she was unresponsive. A few times she could move her hands and open her eyes. She then began breathing rapidly and dry heaving. That lasted for about 60 seconds. She then became very still and could only open her eyes when I spoke to her.
The paramedics arrived and immediately tested her blood sugar, which was 100, gave her oxygen and transported her to St. Luke’s Hospital.
At the ER she had a CT of her head, an MRI and or MRA of her head and neck, an EKG, a TEE, and several blood tests. So far all were normal, except that her cholesterol was high. She was advised to take aspirin, Lipitor, monitor her blood glucose, and stop smoking.
While the doctors found nothing conclusive they are fairly certain that she had a TIA. She has had a follow up meeting with the neurologist, where she was given an EEG, and that too appeared normal. She has another appointment with the neurologist next week and we are still waiting to hear the results of the clotting test on her blood.

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