28 July 2014

Overheard

In an email from Baboo today...

Baboo:  MOM sometimes I can't believe you. Sometimes I just had a crazy week and then I see one e-mail from you and everything's just better!

Me:  Blissful sigh.  Most gratifying email ever!

Baboo:  TELL ME ABOUT IT!


25 July 2014

Bridges

While we were in Oregon, the Hubba drove over one bridge that I anticipated would be problematic for me, but it totally wasn't!  I wondered what it was about this bridge that made such a huge difference for me.  For one thing, next to the street part of the bridge was a pedestrian walkway, so instead of being on the edge of oblivion, there were several extra feet before the side of the bridge.  It was a pretty wide bridge and it was in the middle of town so the traffic speeds were lower.  Also, (if only I knew bridge vocabulary!) there was a "structure" to the top of the bridge that was connected to the driving surface with huge steel beams.  That means that the view into oblivion was obstructed by substantial and reassuring features that made me feel safe.  At the time I said something out loud like, "That bridge was totally no big deal to drive over!"  I can't remember whether it was JJ or Wiyah that said, "That's how normal people feel over every bridge."  It was hard to imagine, actually.

When we left the Oregon beach to come home, the Hubba drove for the first several hours.  When we stopped for lunch, we switched drivers.  As it just so happens, I was driving through Portland.  And everything was mostly ok.  But then.  Mercy!  It was horrible.

First of all, remember that we are driving the megavan which requires quite a bit of room for maneuvering and lane changes, etc...  And with all my bad luck, it just so happened that I needed to pay close attention at a freeway junction (and change lanes) at the TIPPY TOP of what might possibly be the largest freeway overpass I have ever driven on.  There was water, too.  But I couldn't look at it so I don't know if it was the river or what.

Now, because there are often freeway overpasses when I drive around my city, I have come to be able to cope with them by just staring at the road and the car in front of me until I get off the overpass.  That's it.  That's all I'm capable of.  And it helps to know the road and know what to expect as far as turns go and how long the drive over will last.

But here I am having to figure out the road signs and which way to go AND change lanes at the very top of this thing.  And to make matters worse, there was a traffic problem.  I don't know why or what but we were basically at a stand-still.  So I was STUCK there.  For a very long time.

It was so awful.  I just...ugh!  It was a totally panicky feeling.  The only way I was able to keep any semblance of control was to just stare at the car in front of me.  That's why I was aware of the water, but don't know what it was.  And off to my right was something.  Some kind of structure.  I think it was made of metal. I have no idea what it actually was, but it reminded me of the angle of the St. Louis arch (which I once believed we had to drive over in the middle of a horrendous thunderstorm when I was about 9 years old) and that only made things worse because without looking directly at it, I was afraid that the road turned that way and that that angle was a driving surface.  But I couldn't look at it.

I couldn't take my eyes off the wheels in the car in front of me.  I felt nauseated.  I worried that I was going to throw up, but was never really all that close to actually chucking biscuits.  My skin felt prickly and my pulse was racing.  I can't remember if I actually started to hyperventilate, but I do remember that I eventually had to start regulating my breathing.  I was taking deep breaths and blowing them out slowly.  I tried to relax like during childbirth and started with loosening my death grip on the steering wheel.  I tried relaxing all over, but I don't recall that it worked.

I remember the Hubba was talking and Wiyah was talking about something like we weren't on the brink of a violent death and I tried to be cool and laugh along.  But the laugh sounded forced and more like a growl, even to me.  I *almost* told the Hubba that I was freaking out and he needed to talk to me and help me calm down.  But it was just SO embarrassing.  What I really wanted at this stand-still was to put the car in park and have him trade places with me so I could close my eyes.  Instead I just gritted my teeth and kept up with my deep breathing and continued to stare the wheels on the car in front of me--which blessedly were starting to move finally.

In just a few moments we were off the overpass and I was a normal, moderately high-function human being again.  I finished my turn driving without any further problems.  But I didn't want to drive again.  What if we hit more bridges or mountain passes?  Lucky for me, Wiyah was chomping at the bit for her turn to drive on the trip so she and the Hubba took it from there on out.

I'm planning a road trip in a few weeks.  I may be the only driver.  It's a 6 hour trip.  I know there won't be any bridges, but there may mountain passes.  We made the trip once a few months ago, and I don't remember there being any issues.  But I'm still a little scared.

Being afraid of heights sucks.


Love and Marriage

We are back from our vacation/family reunion.  I'm completely overwhelmed with the thought about writing it.  First of all, Wiyah took hundreds of photos and I haven't even seen most of them.  But also, my photographer sister-in-law and brother-in-law took thousands more photos with their sweet cameras and what am I supposed to do?  Ugh!

So I'm skipping that for now.

Last night we had the Sister Missionaries over for dinner.  It was hilarious.  They were so funny in this understated sort of way.  One Sister was from Guatemala and one was from Papua New Guinea.  Anyway, at one point the sister from Papua New Guinea was telling the story of how her parents met and got married.  OH MY GOSH!  Best story ever.  I'm pretty sure that I'm missing some of it because there were some cultural differences that I think I missed the significance of.  But basically, her dad saw her mom and thought she was beautiful and kind of stalked her.  Just watching her from a distance.  She didn't know him at all.  Every once in a while she would catch a glimpse of this weird guy looking at her and so she'd just go inside her house and shut the curtains.  In the meantime, he was making preparations to marry her.  He bought a house and got it all established and ready for a wife to move in.  Then one morning he went over to her house around 6am. First, the girl's mom comes out (the grandma) and sees him and asks what he was doing.  The guy says, "I'm here to marry your daughter."  And the grandma is like we don't even know who you are. Come back in 2 years", and she left to go fishing.  Her dad (the grandpa) comes out and sees him there and says, "What are you doing here?"  He responds that he's there to marry his daughter.  Grandpa is like I don't think so.  "Go away or I'll...."  (And here's one of those cultural differences because the weapon of grandpa's choice is a bow and arrow.)

A little while later, the woman comes out and sees him there next to his bike.  He says he's here to marry her and basically scoops her up and puts her on the bike, blindfolds her, and takes her across the island to the house he has all set up.  He invites her to stay in this house that he prepared for her and marry him, and she decides to stay.

Two weeks later, her parents in her village are sounding the alarm, blowing into a shell, because their daughter is missing.  So everyone on the island is gathering to decide what to do.  But the guy's dad is the chief of the village and knows what's going on and what happened and explains it to the girls parents in front of the whole village.  They basically say, "If she's happy and wants to stay, I guess she can."  And so she did. The wedding dowry for their island was to give the bride's family a shell, so the "husband" brought a shell to give to her family.

And then the sister was saying about how now when her mom gets really frustrated she kind of rolls her eyes and says "Why did I ever get on that bike?"  Her parents had never dated anyone else and really hadn't even dated each other before they got married.

I loved this story so much.  But it's even better when the sister missionary tells it herself.

11 July 2014

Today, I am the Queen of Family Travel!

And my family is the Royal Family.

We started a big road trip today.  First we had to go a bit out of our way to pick up the Hubba and Kelvinator from scout camp and hadn't really calculated how much time that would add to our trip.  Turns out to have been about two to three extra hours.

But everyone was so well-behaved and good-natured (aside from the first 45 minutes with Pinkleberry, but then she fell asleep and woke up in a much better mood) that as we were headed to the point where we had planned on stopping for the night, I realized that we would be in the car for 10 hours!

Now, I have to tell you that I gave up long road trips a long time ago.  I just flat out started refusing.  I put in my time on those family road trips and I paid the price and decided I was done forever.  So now when we plan trips, I'm game for 6-8 hour days in the car and that's it.  That's the way we've done it for years now.

Which was why I was so amazed when I realized we'd be stopping after 10 hours on the road.

But the thing is--by the time we actually got to our stopping point, everyone was still good.  We had plenty of daylight and there was no real reason to stop.  So WE KEPT GOING!  I just couldn't believe how well everyone was getting along and that we didn't even need the "noise-cancelling mouth tubes" that Wiyah wanted to purchase.  IT WAS SO AWESOME!!

We ended up doing a 13 hour day!!  And that means that our "long" travel day tomorrow is so much shorter.  Yay!

The other thing that's making me feel so great is that we have eaten well on this trip!  Travel food is expensive and we end up eating such junk that by the time we arrive I feel awful.  But NOT THIS TRIP!  Wiyah and I brainstormed and planned and shopped and cooked.

The night before we left, Wiyah made breakfast calzones from scratch--sausage, egg, cheese in a bread wrap.  Easy to hold in your hand in the car.  So I didn't have to feed the children and clean up after them before we left.  Just load them in the car and hand them a pocket of breakfasty goodness.

For lunch we had leftover calzones, chicken salad sandwiches, clementines and white cheddar baked cheese puffs.  Those were probably the best chicken salad sandwiches I've made.  Chicken, celery chunks, diced carrots, red grapes and diced apples in mayo on croissants (on sale!).  So yummy!

For dinner, we made orange chicken, rice and broccoli.  And then froze it.  We brought it in the cooler and heated it up in the microwave when we arrived at the hotel.  Awesome.  For dessert we have cheese danishes.

For snacks in the car, we had more calzones (and there are still some leftover!), apple slices, more clementines, some licorice and lifesavers and some potato chips.

Tomorrow we will do breakfast in the hotel.  For lunch we have chicken wraps--chicken, spinach, cukes, tomatoes and red onion with Greek sauce.  We made them yesterday and they are in the cooler just waiting to be eaten.  We also have some Sun chips and green and red grapes.

For dinner, we will be arriving at our destination where we have a full kitchen.  It's burritos!  We've already packed the beans, tortillas, cheese, pico de gallo and sour cream.  So we have everything we need ready to go when we arrive.

I'm so excited!  I love eating well.  And while I thoroughly enjoy it when other people make meals, there is a certain satisfaction at knowing I created this!  I'm so proud of myself!


Overheard

This week has been crazy with the Hubba and Kelvinator out of town at scout camp.  I'm trying to get everyone packed and the prepped and the house cleaned so that we can go on a family vacation.  We'll be picking up the scouters on our way out of town.  But I've also been working at the office and two out of the four evenings I have this week to get ready, I actually spent at the hospital teaching classes.  It has been exhausting.

Me:  Wiyah, I want you know that I see how you just keep pushing things along when I'm not here and I'm so grateful for everything you are doing.  You are amazing.
Wiyah:  Awww.  I get it from you!

These past four nights my knees and feet have just been aching from standing and walking all over the house a million times and standing at the sink washing dishes, etc...  When I came home from work tonight, Wiyah had made more amazing efforts at getting everything and everyone ready for our trip.

Wiyah:  I'm so stressed out.  There's still so much more to do.  I still have to pack my stuff.  And my knees and feet hurt so bad....MOM!  I'm just like you!

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