"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, ...". Many of you recognize that infamous line, as the opening line in Charles Dickens novel, 'A Tale of Two Cities'.
That line is also an all too appropriate title for what's been going on around here the last few days!!!
The original 'plan' had been, that Byron was going to meet Cyndi last Sunday, to pick the kids up again. But then he had the chance to work a twelve (12) hour shift that day. The paycheck wouldn't be very big without it. So.. we switched 'plans'.
Brian and I were going to drive down to 'the boarder' (the Michigan / Indiana border, not the Mexico / American boarder) and bring the kids back. Brian had called his dad and asked if we could borrow his car, for a large part of the trip. Riding in our van had gone from affecting my vertigo, to aFfEcTiNg my vertigo. Oh my word had it! The true extent of the cause had been found last week, when Brian had gotten under the back of the van for a different reason. Turns out the shocks were not only worn out, they had broken off in the back. So, riding forty five (45) minutes in it down to his dad's, affects me, but not nearly as bad as riding the whole way would have!!!
We got to dad's, talked a few minutes, climbed in the other vehicle and set off. We got to the meeting spot a good twenty (20) minutes early. So we took a booth and tried to relax.
Shortly after we took our booth, a mom and son took the booth behind Brian. She was a very sharp / refined looking lady, of I'm not quite sure which nationality. After looking her over and our smile exchange, I had a feeling that the establishment we were in, was not on her usual dining out list. This was comically confirmed much later, when the son questioned if she had liked her ___'s hamburger.
As is often the case when you sit in back to back booths, we could heard most parts of their conversation. No, they were not at all loud. It's just that only four booths had people in them, and we weren't doing much talking between ourselves, we were enjoying 'listening in'.
The mother had brought her son there, to have a good heart to heart talk. She was very firmly, yet also very lovingly, trying to point out different things to him. I guess the son to be around eleven (11) or twelve (12). Things such as, people whom will steal from you, openly mock you in front of others, lie to you and about you, etc. are not really friends. They are the kind of people who are 'using you' and will end up causing you great grief in the long run. You need to cut all ties with that type and keep your distance. She took the time to explain the difference between a "friend" 'mocking' you, and a friend who laughs with you, over something you've done or said. She spoke about how at his age she knows that the number of friends he has, is more important to him than his grades, but that it's his grades that will help him get into the right college to pursue the career he has said he wants. They talked about several other subjects as well.
My heart went out to the mother. She was trying ever so hard, to teach him, reach out to him, nurture him, and her very carefully chosen words and responses, were obviously coming forth from her oh so heavy heart.
The son on the other hand, while never being out and out disrespectful, knew his mother well. He knew what to say, to push her buttons.
Brian got a text, saying that Cyndi was getting off at the exit. I followed the tugging of my heart and stepped over to the neighboring booth. Looking at the mother I said, "I only have a minute before my grand children get here, but before they do, I wanted to share something with you." At first she looked very skeptical and physically backed away. 'Too late now', I thought. And plunged ahead. "As a mom of four sons, I just wanted to let you know, your on the right track. Keep it up. Your doing a great job!" I then turned to the son (who was looking at me all so skeptically) and said, "As a mom of four boys, I totally 'get' where your at. You see your mom as pushing her way into your business. Your pretty sure she doesn't 'get' your world." The change in his expression, told me that I had nailed it on the head. (:->) So I continued. "Your mom LOVES you. That's why she brought you here and why she's saying what she is. Believe it or not, it's not easy for us mom's to do. But doing so, earns us those 'mean mom awards'." He smiled and I heard his mom chuckle, but I did not turn away from him. "It's the mom's who don't earn the 'mean mom awards', who's children the rest of us hate having to deal with!" The mom slapped the table and said, "That's it exactly!". I turned to her and smiled. As I started to say that the kids had just pulled in, she leaned way forward and pulled me into a hug. As the hug broke she said, "I don't know who you are, but I want to thank-you. Your words were exactly what I needed to hear. You are the best New Year's gift I could have ever received!" (It was after all, New Year's Day)
Brian had gone out to help Cyndi bring the kids in. I was so eager to see them, that I wandered over to the door. Cyndi approached the door, carrying Analyse, then turned back towards the car, talking, as though she was answering Brian. But as she turned, Analyse spotted me. Flailing her arms, bouncing in her mother's arms, wearing a gigantic smile, she started shouting "gammy!!!" Cyndi turned back around, saw me and with a laugh, sat Analyse down and headed towards Brian. I almost didn't get the door open in time, for the rushing towards me Analyse. ;-p Awesomeness!!!
Brain had sat Elliot down on the bench seat and was starting to remove the seat belts, when Elliot turned tot he sound of my voice. The beamingness that started flowing forth from his adorable little face, was ever so thrilling to this grandma's heart!!!
Cyndi spent a little while talking to us and looking through the goody's that we had gotten her for Christmas. She also changed Analyse's yuckie diaper. She warned us that Analyse had thrown up a couple of times that morning, as well as having diarrhea. From the sounds of the coughing coming from Elliot, we knew his congestion was in high form. All-rightly then...
The weather men had been predicting snow storms. Thus far, our sailing had been clear and continued to be for quite some distance home. Although the super strong winds, combined with the oh so heavy clouds, told us that everything could change at a moments notice. And it did.
We made it back the east/west highway and changed onto the north/south highway with out any problems. But by then, the night sky was starting to darken, and the winds started picking up even more, and the white stuff started swirling. The sky went from darkening to black so quickly it was like God had hit the light switch. Everybody went from driving a tish slower than normal, to quickly dropping speeds. The thin layer of freshly fallen snow, was hiding black ice. Wicked stuff!
'Normally', it takes us about twenty (20) minutes to get from the highway exchange to dad's exit. We're not sure... we 'think' it took us forty (40) minutes this time, or was it an hour? All we know for sure is, that we never went faster than forty (40) miles per hour. Most of the time though, we were going twenty five (25) to thirty (30) miles per hour. And during that trip, we saw some frightening scenes.!
At one point in time, the car which was barely ahead of us in the other lane, was instantaneously trying to squeeze in front of us. "What the heck!!!" As Brian let him over, we saw his reasoning. The car which had been in front of him, was rocking to a complete stop - with it's headlights facing on coming traffic!!! Yikes!!! The inter lights of the car were also on and we could see the two people who had been in the front seat, scrambling to exit as fast as they could, out the passenger side door. This was at the very beginning of the bad stretch, approaching traffic was still doing seventy (70)!
A bit further on, I suddenly saw what looked to be a newer year Suburban, which had been maybe three cars in front of us, swerve towards the outside of the road. It then went airborne, flying our across the ditch and beyond. During it's flight, it turned like it might land on it's side. It then seemed to pick up momentum and for a split second, tuned upside down, before righting itself again. It landed. With a THUD! Then bounced far enough up, that the tires cleared the ground, before again thudding back down. It landed facing the highway, but at least twelve (12) feet back from the highway. "It's suspension is now shot" I commented. "And it's probably sunk a couple feet in, seeings how the ground hasn't fully frozen over yet this year." Brian added. The interior lights of the vehicle came on and we could see the driver putting his cell phone to his ear. We felt it okay to keep driving.
Yet another bit further, we spotted red flashing lights on the other side of the highway. As we got closer, we spotted a semi sitting on the inside of the highway, just past a highway overpass. Quite a ways behind it, was where the police car was sitting. Curious. As we got closer, we saw a small sized car sitting behind the semi. The front of it's car facing us. The passenger side of the car had huge smash-in's in it. We could not determine who had hit who.
It was so darn dark, with such heavily falling, swirling snow, that a couple of different times we thought we saw more cars going off the side of the road, only to learn as we got closer, they were taking an off ramp.
We debated whether we too should get off and take the back roads, but decided that if anything should happen, we'd be far more likely to be found and get help if we stayed on the highway. So we prayed our way forward. Praying for our own safety. Thanking God that the accidents we'd seen happen, didn't appear to have severely injured or killed anybody.
We got off at dad's exit, stopped to refill his gas tank, and ventured on to his house. He was ever so thrilled we'd made it there safe.
Dad just loves hearing Analyse say "Hi Papa 'Honey'! :-D" And it's a good thing, because she said it at least thirty (30) times. ;-p
Dad had already shown all of the guys what he had picked up for her for Christmas, and to a one they hoped she wouldn't like it so they could have it. ;-p. There's a big hard plastic ball on top of a long round handle. You push the buttons on the stick, and the lights on the inside of the ball light up. And flow in patterns around the inside. Two alternating patterns, at the same time. And Ms. Analyse, being herself, just had to keep showing "Gammy!" her new toy, by running to me and shoving it up towards my face. Me. Still being 'Ms. Vertigo'. Who had just survived what kind of a ride?! Dad at least claims, he does too love me. o;-p. I now know that I need to pack many more 'vertigo pills' than I 'think' I'll be needing.
Brian and dad turned the TV on and checked the weather reports. In the car I had told Brian, that I was in favor of just spending the night at dad's, but it would be his call and I would support it. It looked like we had passed through the worst of it. B-u-t, there were two more 'bad patches' we'd need to pass through to get home. "So ya gonna spend the night then?" dad asked Brian. Brian was silent a couple of minutes, looking at me, then the kids, then me.... then with a sigh answered, "Yeah, I guess so. If it was just the two of us, I'd press on. If something happened, we could always start the car for a bit to warm up, then turn it back off. But with the little ones with us, it's best we stay here.".
Dad got me out a pair of his draw string pajama pants and a T-shirt to wear for the night, and laid a long robe out for me. I went in and changed. When I came back out, with the intention of feeding Elliot a bottle and hopefully rocking him to sleep, Analyse came over to investigate the robe. She pulled the front of the bottom apart, stepped inside, closed it, then peeked out and said "peek-a-boo" to the two pappies. They roared with laughter!!! It was so good to hear dad laughing like that!
I was able to Elliot asleep and then sat holding Analyse on my lap, watching TV. Before I had a clue she had done so, she fell asleep. Sound asleep. We had promised to have her call Cyndi before we put her to bed, but did not want to wake her back up to do so. So Brian called Cyndi and 'splained, while I put Analyse down on her blanket bed. Amazingly she stayed asleep. For awhile that is.
Both young ones were asleep, so we decided it best we head to bed too. We just drifted off, and Elliot woke up. I had to climb over Brian to get to him, didn't want to chance waking Analyse, who's blanket bed was next to my side of the bed. Took a bit, got him back to sleep, and she woke up again, due to having horrible diarrhea. Gotr here changed, and rocked back to sleep. This time, as I was laying her down, she did what she has usually done (her whole life) when you lay her down. She opened her eyes for just a minute. At first her eyes focused in on my smiling face, she too smiled and started to relax. But then, with her eyes still open, she turned her head sideways. Her mind did not register what it was she was seeing. She sprung her head to look the other way. That did not register either. Sleeping was no longer happening! I tried again rocking her to sleep, she'd just start to drift off, and force herself back awake. She kept requesting to watch different ones of her shows. Papa 'Honey' doesn't have those type recorded like we do. Our emergency diaper bag shall soon contain a DVD of them!
Soon Elliot was again awake. His congested coughing being the culprit. Once I got him to sleep again, Brian said he would stay up with Analyse. The vertigo had me tilting and spinning something fierce on the inside! Worked out that while I did get more sleep than Brian, neither of us got much sleep that night.
The next morning Brian was asleep more than he was awake, sitting on a couch. finally he took my encouragement and went to bed for awhile. He even got some sleep. That is, until while I was feeding Elliot a bottle and papa 'honey' had left, and she slipped into the room and tried to join him in bed. Once I rescued him, he slept some more. That is, until the sleeping Elliot I had left in there, decided that a twenty (20) minute nap was all he needed. And on it went. Around eleven (11) he decided the roads should be cleared enough, the snowing had stopped, and we'd head out. Dad had gotten between four (4) to six (6) inches - just depended how deep the wind had left any particular spot.
As we traveled home, we were amazed at the lessening amounts of accumulations along the way.
The night before, we could tell that Analyse did not understand why we weren't going on home and seeing her daddy! While she was thrilled to play with papa 'honey', she also wanted her daddy! So Brian and I decided that we would surprise Byron and stop by the movie theater he works at and let his kids and him see one another. No sooner had we decided that, then he called requesting it. Spoil sport! ;-p
Speaking of "playing with papa 'honey'. Analyse had drawn on a couple pieces of paper. Later, while papa 'honey' was sitting next tot he table holding Elliot, Elliot kept trying to grab one of them. Brian sat down just around the corner from them, and started moving the paper so that Elliot could just get a hold of it, then Brian would tug it away. They did not want it going in his mouth! Brian had told his dad that he wished he could see all of the expressions on Elliot's face, they were priceless. After a bit Elliot's combined strength and wigglelyness was wearing dad out, so Brian took him and dad started moving the paper. Brian said he enjoyed watching his dad's enjoyment of playing with Elliot, as much as he had enjoyed watching Elliot's face!! Then one time after Elliot had gotten a hold of the paper and it they were in the process of tugging it away, the paper tore. In two. Brian's dad's eyes got bigger than his glasses! Elliot started giggling with glee. But his expression said that he too was surprised. "Damn strong little bugger, ain't he?!?!!!!" Dad questioned. Brian then had to reassure him that he WAS remembering right. Elliot really is only five (5) months old.
The kids had fallen asleep en-route home, but we knew seeing her daddy would be worth waking Analyse up for. We were right! Not sure who was more excited - Byron or his kids. ;-D He showed them off to everybody working. Everything went great till it was time to leave again. Miss Analyse would not accept that her and pappy would pick daddy up from work together soon! She was most indignant!
Thankfully when we got home, Uncle Brent!, Auntie Kayla! and 'Boo and Daisy'! were at our house. They had come back to our house after plowing all night, and instead of just picking the dogs up, seeings how neither of them had to work that day, they had gone to bed. Thank-you Lord! You KNEW we would benefit from them being there!
Brian and I slept so sound that night, that when Byron came in to question us something about Elliot puking, he had quite the time getting either of us to respond. And it was only 10:30 when he did so! We had gone to bed early... we were so-o tired!!!
The next morning, Analyse got sick at both ends again. And that night, Elliot did the same. Thankfully Byron had had the day off, so we had each taken and cared for one child all day.
That night, I too surcame to the flu bug. Not willingly mind you. Last night, it hit Byron. We're really hoping that Brian doesn't get hit as well. His work doesn't grant sick days. And besides, he did take a half day off yesterday.
Why? The house was quite cold when I got up yesterday morning. I figured it must be that I was running a fever with everything else. A couple of hours later, it dawned on me that I had yet to hear the furnace come on that morning. Humm... I went and checked the thermostat. The in house temp read fifty two (52). "That's not right!" Us Michigander's are funny. Out of doors, temps in their fifty's aren't all that bad, just depends on the wind factors. But in-doors, temp's in the fifties are cold! I got brave and turned the temp control knob up. Clear up to seventy two (72). NO, that is not the normal temp we keep our house at. I was just sure that by turning it that far up, the furnace would be clicking on in no time flat. But it didn't. At all. Bother!
Even though I was quite sure that Brain already knew I had touched the thermostat ("Dad's have a sixth sense about those type of things. Similar to mom's sense about the baked goods jar. ;-p), I called his cell and left him a message about the situation. He found the message at the beginning of his lunch break and headed home, hoping he could fix it himself. While he did figure out what part had failed, it wasn't something he felt sure enough about to replace himself. So we waited till the repair man came. We knew they had both listened to Brian's explanation of what he'd figured out, and looked up our file from when they installed the furnace, because he came with exactly the right part in hand! He wasn't here a whole ten (10) minutes. But we again have heat! :-D
So far today, no body has thrown up (that I know of). The diarrhea has continued on for several of us. But wellness is lurking ahead!
The house is showing huge signs of "it's been the worst of times". Yikes. I got started on that.. but then the dizziness hit...
I had made dinner.. which night was that?! Geesh! Anyways, a "tonight's special". I dubbed it "Stuffed Ham Logs". It turned out a success. I took pictures, and wrote down ingredients. Some day I shall post about it... Hopefully I'm back to posting regular like.... I have all of those pies to post about for you, and the.... But no promises. You know how often my life goes according to 'plan'. ;-p
Now, to address those whom I know have questioned whether I thought I had to write a novel seeings how I opened with a quote from a novel. My answer is no. I just wanted to put all of this into one posting, instead of making it too a series. :-D