Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Month, A Holiday or A Birthday

I'm not sure what it is but I was a sobbing mess all weekend. I'm not quite sure what triggered it. On Saturday, I finally had a day to get the yard cleaned up. Thank goodness Utah likes to give us a few reprieves after the first snowfall so that all those things that didn't get done can be tackled. It might have been that I was alone working in the yard and my mind could wander or it might have been because I realize it was one month to the day since dad's final words "I need to go to the hospital" The day where we all thought that a little re hydration would be the ticket and he would be fine. It also could have been that we had made it through Thanksgiving without too much sadness and I was having post holiday grief. Or it could have been the Facebook reminder that his birthday is this week which honestly felt like a kick in the gut. Regardless, it was a hard weekend with everything reminding me of dad.

Brian set up the trailer to get some books, the stored food and do a final clean up. It was such a reminder of the day we brought home the pop up last July. It was right after dad had passed out and before we knew he had lung cancer. He was still fairly weak, but he was almost more excited than we were to pop it up and try everything out. I had told him we were picking it up and almost before Brian got back with it, there was dad-the foreman. He said he'd always wanted one but it just wasn't something that worked out. He was able to get up the step and sat inside while Brian and the boys messed with every button and dial. Keegan was anxious to sleep in there so he kept saying "when is Grandpa Steve going home?!" Dad finally said he could take a hint and got up to leave. We told him that we would take him camping. Sadly, that didn't happen. We tried to get him to go to Yellowstone but he had that bronchoscopy scheduled. We tried for Lake Powell but he had the second bronchoscopy that week. We almost got him to go to Capitol Reef but it was Deacon Retreat Weekend and he wanted to go. I'm still shocked at how quickly he died. Who dies of sepsis from chemo? Don't people die from cancer not chemo? Brian did comment on how it always amazes him that we go from alive to dead so fast and that just goes to show that our body is just a vessel of who we are. HMMMM maybe there is some hope for the Catholic turned Agnostic after his mom died husband of mine.

But life does go on when you have kids. Because of Keegan and his enthusiasm, we have our tree up, the lights on the house and we are in the Christmas spirit. Kind of- I really don't give a rat's ass about my Christmas staff meeting on Thursday (dad's birthday) I'd love to cancel it and I have yet to buy gifts for my staff. I guess I better get an attitude adjustment.

I did brave the storm and go out for Black Friday, now Black Thursday. I don't like the starting at 10 PM thing. Our tradition was to go home after T-dinner, get a few hours of sleep and then be at the store at 2:00 AM. Then shop til 9:00 then head to mom and dad's where dad would make us breakfast. Mom still wanted to do breakfast so we shopped until 3:30, then took a nap on the couch and headed to the store that opened at 5 AM. When we finished, we didn't have any other stores we wanted to brave so we went home, took showers and headed to mom's. Had she not wanted to do the breakfast, we would have just gone home to sleep. It worked out though, we got some great deals and we had fun.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving and Why I Love My In-Laws

I'm not exactly excited about Thanksgiving this year but that is because we will have a huge hole at the table. But on the other hand, I am glad to be spending time with my family and also having three extra special guests this year. My in-laws and my uncle will be joining us this year. I'll get to that in a minute.

First things first. Keegan has been wanting to make me a blanket. On my birthday, we were at my in-laws being as I share a birthday with a favorite fall dress up holiday. Keegan told grandma Barbara that they needed to run upstairs and make me a quilt. She luckily was able to talk him out of it for the moment but promised she would have him over soon. So yesterday was the day. She bought material and got our her sewing machine. And she patiently taught Keegan how to sew and let him make the design for the blanket. This is what he did. I LOVE it.

Last Thanksgiving I decided to run the Cottonwood Heights 5K. Its a hard course but I did it- with an 8 degree starting temperature. It was brutile. The course is tough with all the hills and the temp was really bad but I had fun and I beat the mayor. So this year my sister Em decide to do it too. We signed up in mid-October and then dad died and I didn't run much. I hurt my knee somehow and I have bad sciatica. But we persevered. This year, we had a 34 degree starting temp. Yes, that 's Utah you never know. I had the same run time as last year and I tied with the Councilman so I still got a ribbon. Em came in under and hour which was her goal. So I am pleased with my start to the day.

Last year, when I hit the last hill, I didn't think I could keep going. Then the song Holier than Thou from the musical Nunsense came on it gave me that last little bit of energy. I thought about how dad always teased me about "soaring like and eagle when I live turkeys" and how he would give me crap about being up running in the cold when I could have been at home in a nice warm house. So this year I was a bit surprised when the second song that came on my ipod was that same song. I wonder if dad gave me a little message from heaven encouraging me to keep running and stay healthy. Regardless, it gave me a burst of energy to start the race.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

This That and The Other

I decided to repaint the living and dining rooms on Sat. It is a project I was contemplating for about a year but it kept getting pushed aside. I planned on doing it mid-October, but that kind of went to hell real quick. So last Wed, I stopped at Home Depot and got some paint. I have a rug that is blue, green, burgundy, brown and golden yellow. Since the two rooms are connected but have a natural break at the fireplace, I decide to do the dining area deep burgundy and the living area a sage (ish) green. Both colors are in the rug. My mom was sure it wouldn't work when I told her about it. So last Sat. I got up and started the job. I quickly spackled and while that was drying I made gingerbread cookies (don't ask). Then I sanded and started on the dining room. I almost immediately had unintended and not exactly wanted help from a seven year old. (Decorating gingerbread only kept him occupied so long). I tried TV, games, etc but he just wanted to paint. And not with a little brush. I got smart and called a friend to come over and play.

With the first coat of burgundy on, I quickly straightened up for the "company" and while we waited I broke out the green. Now I'm getting smarter. I figured out that if I load the roller with paint, then its not too drippy and Keegan actually does a great job with rolling as long as I can keep him far enough away from the edging (you may have noticed that I don't tape or prime. I know, not the professional way, but I was going over a very light yellow. The burgundy was paint with primer and the green was fine with me if it has a bit more of a yellow tint. I don't tape because honestly, I've gotten really good with trim and detail work- just a little bragging). Alas the friend arrived and I could get to work on the edges and then the second coat for each room. I worked all day, but by 6:00 PM, both rooms were done and drying. I was able to take Kate and her friend to see The Sunshine Boys at Pinnacle Acting.

With my fresh new room, I needed new accessories. The plan is to recover the Queen Anne chair I got from my great aunt's house because the thrift store wouldn't take it and actually it ended up to be very comfy although very ugly. I have a great dark blue fabric but a huge handicap with sewing and that sort of crafty stuff. So Em is going to come over on Sunday to help with that while I recover the dining room chairs. I can do those because they require my kind of tools; a screw driver and a staple gun. I have a great stripe with all the colors of the rug. I hope I have enough to make two pillows (or rather hand that project off to she who can sew).

But I digress. I needed to go to IKEA. I had saved my 300.00 that I won in Wendover last month and planned to use it on accessories. I'm generally cheap but this was free money so woo hoo! I bought a bunch of cute little shelves, two lamps and shelving for my laundry room. Now IKEA is not an easy little jaunt, you practically have to pack a lunch to get there and make sure you go to the bathroom so you don't have to make a pit stop on the way. OK, I exaggerate its only like 15 miles but its South I never go South it just makes it seem so far away. Why does it matter how far away? Well because I got home and found out that one of the lamps was black. It was in the white pile!!!!!! So I had to go back to exchange it. UGH!

I got back there last night which was really a pain because I picked up Keegan we got right into rush hour traffic. I know, I'm spoiled but with my work hours I rarely drive in rush hour and with the location I rarely take the main freeway, I use the belt route which is less congested. So we get there and head in to return the lamp (or rather exchange it) I get my number and sit down and wait and wait and wait. Keegan was awesome and I was pleased with his behavior (my willful/spirited child). They call my number and I get up to go exchange and this lady starts yelling at me. I had number A78, she didn't. Apparently, her number got skipped. So I tell the guy she can go ahead since I think she was there first. Well she had been sitting next to another lady who was returning stuff and they both start glaring at me. Because somehow it was my fault that my number got called first on a computer generated list. Well she went first, got her store credit and then huffed at me as she walked away. I made my exchange and then was delighted to find her in the bathroom when I went in. Being as I am passive aggressive, I made sure to use my good parenting and go on and on in my praise to Keegan about how good and patient he was while waiting and how patience is hard but its a truly good thing. I meant it for him but it was directed at her. I hope she has a better life.

So now, all is right in the world of my decorating, its gorgeous and I want to get right on the recovering of furniture. And if I ever get the battery charged in the camera, I may post pictures.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Spirited Child

There once was a girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her head
When she was good she was very very good
And when she was bad, she was horrid.

My mother in law reminds me often that this nursery rhyme wouldn't have been written if other children weren't like my baby.

My first two children were fairly easy to have. But I didn't quite feel like I was done. I really wanted one more. It took three miscarriages and four years before I finally got pregnant with him. Then I ended up having a placenta previa. I spent the whole pregnancy hoping to make it to the next stage- viable, 32 weeks, 34 weeks, until finally, I had a scheduled cesarean at 38 weeks and 1 day. I never had to go on bedrest.

I had a girl and a boy and I wanted another girl, but really I just wanted a healthy baby. And I kind of wished for a red head. I got the sweetest little boy with dark hair that eventually turned to a golden brown. We named him Keegan because I had a little boy in my class when I taught preschool named Keegan and I thought it was a great name. I maybe should have looked up the meaning. It means small and ardent or small and fiery. He is my biggest but still not a particularly big child and fiery/ardent he is.

He was easy until he hit about 8 months and from that point on he had a mind of his own. He wakes up with an agenda and God forbid someone tries to get in his way. With that determination comes quite a bit of obstinance. And everything he feels he feels intensely.

I frequently remind myself that these are good characteristics even though they are hard to keep in check. This is the child who has been sent to the Principal's office-unlike my other two.

This is also the child who when my dad died said very loudly in the quiet hospital room "all of us have to take care of grandma Annette because she doesn't have a wife anymore!" So he still hasn't gotten the concept of husband/wife but it was meant well. And then he made her a present. A picture of a broken heart. He went to great pains to wrap it and decorate the box. He also found a trinket from his room and gave that to her right before the funeral.

This is the kid who decided tonight that since it was snowing we would make a fire and gingerbread cookies. Except for rolling the dough (ok, refrigerated) opening the oven and lighting the fire, he did everything else. And then we sat by our fire eating gingerbread cookies and reading a Junie B Jones book. I do believe that Junie B is his kindred spirit and the books could have been written about him.

He is the kid who drove me crazy in school because I "was the bestest kid in the class" and the boys who couldn't sit still drove me crazy. Like the poor boy Tom who I told on every day in third grade because he was always talking or wiggling. And now I am the mother of "that boy."

So although I had a perfect little family planned out in my head and a wild zany child not what I expected, I wouldn't want him any other way.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

My Dad

My memories of dad from when I was young are not like the way Laura Ingalls Wilder described Pa. Rather they are of the guy who was my dad but didn't talk much and was mostly the disciplinarian.

When he picked me up from school, I sat in the backseat because I was kind of afraid of him. Not that he ever did anything to warrant fear, he just wasn't the loving/fuzzy kind of dad.

When I was about 9 he joined the third class of permanent Catholic Deacons for the Diocese of Salt Lake. He was ordained when I was in fifth grade. I was now, the Deacon's daughter or part of the Deacon's family. This defined my Catholic school experience (and apparently my dating or lack there of it. How was I supposed to know the boys were also afraid of my dad) and my role in our parish as an adult. Not that I haven't done a lot as me, but its always been nice to be one of Deacon Steve's kids.

In high school dad got sick. Idiopathic cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure most likely the result of being a preemie which weakened his heart and a virus attacked it. When he was first diagnosed, he coded and was "dead" for a few minutes until they revived him. He remembered watching them work on him, but was trying to tell them to stop. He said he felt at peace and was happy. He was glad he was revived but also felt like he had something he needed to do on Earth.

I'm embarrassed to admit it, but at the time, I really didn't care that he almost died. I mean why should I, I was in the midst of the selfish teen years.

Luckily for us and the whole community, dad got a second chance. I grew to love him and appreciate his witty, subtle and sarcastic sense of humor. He continued to be a deacon for the church although he was unable to hold a regular job due to health issues and was medically retired at the very young age of 36. Funny how at the time, I thought it was old.

A few years later, he found out that the police dept was opening a position for a chaplain. He signed on and continued for SL and WVC Police as well as WVC Fire. He was there to help notify next of kin of a death and there to console the officers after a difficult case. The one case that never left him was when the five little girls in WVC climbed into the trunk of the car to hide. Then they couldn't get out. It took several hours to find them and by then it was too late. Dad arrived at the scene with five girls ages 4-6 lying on the grass being hosed down to try and cool them off. All the friends, relatives, neighbors gathered around sobbing, praying, grieving. Dad was there to console them, council the police/fire workers. He brought comfort to strangers.

In 1996, the medication being used to treat the health conditions wasn't working and his doctor referred him to the University for a transplant. He was admitted in June for testing and observation then sent home to wait and see. On August 2nd he got the call. It was the middle of the night and he actually almost said no, he didn't want it. He was scared. My father in law was doing rounds and saw his name on the board and scrubbed in. The surgery was text book perfect and another true miracle because it was determined that he would have lived maybe 3 more days with his old heart.

He continued to struggle with medical issues: diabetes, prostate cancer, skin cancer, joint issues from the anti-rejection medications etc. But he lived with humor and dignity. He continued to selflessly serve others.

He lived 15 years with that new heart. In July, he passed out and then was very weak. He refused to go to the hospital. We finally convinced him to go to the doctor. They ran a bunch of tests and then found a spot on his lung. He kept saying it was just this cold he had ( a horrible cough that he'd had for too many months). But sure enough it was lung cancer. I went with him to a few appointments but missed the one where they gave him treatment options. Mom was with him and she didn't say anything until after but he was told that chemo was risky with his co-mobilities.

He went in for chemo on Friday the 21st of October. Sat he was fine-he was zippy actually. We made plans for dinner at my house on Sunday. Sunday he overslept mass and didn't come for dinner so I took it to him since mom and her sibs wanted to go to a play. He was OK, weak and had some side affects. He was thirsty, but I assumed from sleeping all day and water loss from being sick. He ate some and I made him a pitcher of the drink he liked. Emily and I put his feet in Epsom salt since they were swollen and cracked. I left because I had to get my kids ready for school the next day.

Monday he was sick. The paper said that was normal. Mom let him sleep most of the day. He apparently threw up everything he tried to get down.

Tuesday, I called and mom said he was sleeping- I didn't question it.

Wednesday I got a call that he had told mom to take him to the hospital. That right there should have been cause to hear foreboding music in the background but for some reason I didn't. I was told that he was still very sick and had turned up the thermostat to 88 degrees but was shivering. I told my mother in law that I was worried he had an infection but she told me that wasn't as much of an issue as the dehydration. She told me to go find my father in law and we could walk up to the cancer hospital to see him. But I was busy in my office and my FIL had finished his patients and gone home. I kept meaning to go up but got distracted- my daughter wanted coffee and was on lower campus, a staff member was giving me her schedule, a community leader wanted to collaborate on stuff. Then it was time to pick up carpool so I left.

I called Em and she said she was going up so I went ahead with my plans to take Keegan to the Halloween festival. After we played for several hours we drove home and I called Em. She said he was weak and drifting in and out of sleep but OK. Then she said they moved him to special care for acute renal failure and a temperature. I asked if I should head up and we went back and forth. I decided to call my uncle who had been up there and is a hospice nurse. He said that he thought the night would be the deciding factor so to just wait for morning. I called my sister in Oregon and told her to hold off getting on a plane that I would call her in the morning. I drank a rum and D/C, took a hot bath and finally laid down at 11:30 PM. I couldn't sleep. Dad's life was running through my head. I dozed off and the phone rang-12:03 AM. That is never good. Mom was on the line and said he wasn't doing well. I asked her if I was heading up there and she said yes. Now the ominous music was there. Mom NEVER calls for medical stuff EVER! She didn't even call us to tell us about the transplant; she waited until the surgery was over.

I got there by 12:30 and then my sibs began to file in. I called my husband and told him to bring the boys (Kate had come up with me). I called my sister to get the first flight out of Oregon. Fr. Dave came to give Last Rites. Then we waited. Dad made it until an hour after my sister got there. Then he passed away surrounded by all his kids, half of his children in law, 9/12 of his grandchildren, his three sibs in law, the West Valley Police Chief and two Captains, as well as a few others. The bishop of the dioceses and Fr. Dave came just after he died. He died of sepsis as a result of the chemo and an already weakened immune system. If you have to die, its the way to go-quickly without suffering. But I don't want him gone. I never imagined the ache in my heart from losing him. Pa Steve, the dad who scared me as a kid and who I didn't like as a teen. The man who married me (as in presided over the ceremony), baptised all my children, was the first one at the hospital after all three of my kids were born and the person who I had learned to go to for advice, encouragement and just to talk.

The funeral was beautiful- as funerals go. More than 200 people came to the viewing, I gave my tribute, Deacon Mark did a prayer service. The church was packed for the funeral. Bishop Wester said mass and the whole left side was filled with deacons and priests. The Knight of Columbus were there as well as WVC Police and Fire and Salt Lake Police. There was a bagpipe player at the cemetery and the police sent out the final resting call over the airwaves. He would have been humbled by the number of people involved.

Here are the links to the articles written about his death:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

My Tribute at the Viewing

I really wanted to be able to give a tribute at the funeral. Mom was resistant but agreed that it could be done at the end of the viewing. I know that its hard to speak at a parent's funeral, but I do public speaking for a living and I like it (yes weird) This is my unedited speech written as such so that I could remember how to phrase things. Ignore the typos and grammar errors.

You may wonder why it is that I was asked to give the tribute to our dad. I’m not the oldest or the youngest or the only boy. Well it turns out that apparently, I’m the biggest loudmouth or the “mouthpiece” of the family as I was so bluntly called last week.
From his premature birth until his death at a relatively young age, our dad had a lot of health problems. But he didn’t let that stop him. His determination, will to live and sense of humor kept him going. He rallied back so many times we used to say he must be a cat and have nine lives. We also called him the Energizer Bunny since he kept going and going.
In our family, nick names are a way of showing affection. Many of the names have a story to go along with them. In addition to the Energizer Bunny, we called our dad- dad, dadio, pops, pappa, pa steve, Father, Deacon Steve, Deacon Mel and Docen Stove to name a few. We got this renaming from dad since he called my brother George, my husband- Smith, McKenzie- MacBeth and my sons were at times called Osama and Al (for Al Quida) after they acted like little terrors on our trip to Oregon. With all the pet names being used, we always knew that if he used our whole name it was bad. Hearing Mary Margaret instead of Meg being yelled from upstairs was enough to make us all a bit fearful. But the name we will remember the most fondly is that of his dog Baxter. He loved Baxter more than anything (on some days or maybe most he loved Baxter more than us) and by the time Baxter died he was referred to as Baxter Dexter Walter George Lloyd Floyd Harry Sam. And yes, many times, dad spit that whole name out when he called the dog.
Just like all teens do, we all had our years when dad was a bit embarrassing. He said things in front of boys that made us turn bright red then run away and hide, he would turn the porch light on and off, on and off as a signal that it was time for a boyfriend or girlfriend to say goodnight and go home, but most embarrassing for our teenage souls was when we would go camping and he would wear his dress socks with tevas and shorts. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he used to walk around with a mag flashlight and shine it in other camp sites. When we would tell him to stop he would innocently say- just checking things out. And inevitably, he would break out the Vienna sausages and walk around camp offering them to everyone. Dad stayed the same, but we all matured and continued to camp with him not worrying about the socks, the light or the Vienna sausages. And to this day, even though none of us like them, we always include a can of sausages when we buy food for camping regardless of whether dad would be there or not.
People always told us that dad was so compassionate and caring. But for us, he was the guy who would get mad when our friends would call after 9 PM. The phone would ring and he would say “who’s calling so late? Its quiet time around here.“ or “lets keep down to a dull roar.” At home, his affection came with a bit of sarcasm or teasing. He would often times walk up to one of us and lightly slug the unsuspecting child on the arm. Of course we yelled “hey!” and he would reply, “just giving you a love tap” When the grand babies would cry he would sympathetically say, “you sure are ugly when you cry.“ And many a time I was told that “It must be hard to soar like an eagle when I was stuck living with such turkeys.“ When we did something great he would say “ you know, all those rotten things people say about you just aren’t true” And recently when we took him to Wendover, I won three hundred dollars on the way out the door. He was in his car and I was in the other car so he didn’t know about it until mom said something on the way back to the freeway. He called me up first thing the next morning and said, “I understand that I need to punch you in the face.” But really, he was excited for me. He was never overly demonstrative with us, but when we really needed him, he was there with a hug and a kind word and then left us with this question “in 100 years, will it really matter?”
Dad loved the grand babies. When Kate was born, he was in my hospital room at about 7:30 AM snapping pictures like crazy. And he never got over the fact that my father in law had gotten there first. He always said that Kelly had an unfair advantage since he works there and had to be in for rounds at 6 AM. He followed this trend with the rest of the grand babies. Em and Ray got home from California with Marcus very late at night. Dad waited as long as he could but finally called at 9:30 AM and said he would bring breakfast if he could come over. He loved to see the grand kids develop their talents. Several of us remember when Kate got her first lead as Ariel in the Little Mermaid. He had thought that the songs were a track and that the kids were lip syncing but part way through her solo he realized it was really Kate singing. His eyes welled up with tears and he said “is that Smith? It is, that’s Smith, Smith can sing” From that day forward he was proud of her musical accomplishments. He didn’t have the energy to be a grandpa out playing with the grand kids in the yard or to take them places but he was there for the them at their t-ball and soccer games, ice skating competitions, music concerts and plays.
The thing we want to remember most about dad was his sense of humor. It was subtle and sometimes wicked. We were all Facebook friends. Think what you want about Facebook but the past few years it was one of the best ways to stay connected with him. Numerous times, and as recently as two weeks ago, one or more of us was grounded or set to our room via Facebook for bickering, arguing or teasing over the internet. He also blackmailed us. As with any family, occasionally we get annoyed with one another and feel the need to vent. A few years ago, something was said in a message that all of us kids were copied on. A bit of heckling went on (I will hold all the rest of the details for our protection but to this day I maintain that I was initially innocent) Suddenly we get a message from dad saying that he figured if we each paid him 49.95 per month he could keep that post from getting printed and falling into the wrong hands. I don’t remember what I said, but we were hit with an increase and he was now blackmailing us for 59.95 per month. Not to be outdone, Meg and I arranged to have checks arrive in the mail on the first day of the next month. Immediately after getting his mail, he called and told us we were real smart alecs (and that isn’t the word he used) but he also got a good laugh out of it. And he never cashed the checks. But he did bring it up occasionally always keeping us on our guard.
If he wasn’t disciplining or blackmailing his adult children over Facebook, he was making witty comments on our posts. I have had several friends who never met him comment that they are going to miss my dad on Facebook.
His sense of humor was often times lost on us when we were younger. Poor Jen, being the oldest was the first to attempt to learn to drive. Our only option was a car with a stick shift. Dad offered to take her out for her first drive. Already nervous, she had barely started when he pulled a rosary out his pocket and began rattling the beads. Between negotiating a clutch and the rattling beads, her first drive nearly ended in tears. She made sure to teach me to drive.
On one occasion, Emily parked her car in the driveway and dad needed to get his car out. Since she was busy at the time, she handed him the keys and he went out to move it. He came back in and said, “yo Em! Its not that your music was too loud, its just that I didn’t WANT to Walk Like an Egyptian.” And then made the Steve Martin motions from the music video.
Dad had two health problems that most people didn’t know about. Due to his prematurity, he was blind in his right eye and eventually it was removed and he had a glass eye. One morning after Christine Leneski slept over, she and Patti walked into the kitchen and for some reason, dad’s eye was in wrong so it looked like he was looking in two directions. Patti was horrified and could just say daaaaad! That time was an accident, but then there was the time we were camping and dad had to take his eye out to clean it. Meg regretted saying dad! Gross! Because he then took his eye, reached across the table and said- “Hey Meg, I’ve got my eye on you!”
The other issue he had was his prostate cancer. Despite having a prostatectomy, he still had cancer cells. It was determined that the best way to treat it was to give him a lupron shot every six months. Lupron for anyone who doesn’t know is female hormones used to counteract the testosterone and slow the cancer growth. When he would go in for his shot he always called me from the front lobby to take him up to the clinic. He said I drove a wheelchair better than the messengers. After the shot he would say “well then that wasn’t too bad other than giving me an affinity for doilies and a desire to be in the knitting club.” Then we would go get a cup of coffee together.
Our favorite dadism of all times is what he would say anytime we asked him what he wanted for Christmas, birthday, Father’s day, etc. His response was always, I just want peace and quiet. Being rather astute on one occasion, Bill quickly responded with “I’ll be Peace” one of my much younger and unsuspecting sisters replied with “I’ll be quiet!” Then she realized what she had said. From that day on we would fight over who would be peace and who had to be quiet. We’ve spent many a holiday trying to come up with creative ways to represent peace and quiet in the gifts we gave him.
So in conclusion, this one time only, I’ll ask my five siblings to be peace and I’ll be quiet.

The Birthday Chicken

On October 27th at 10:28 AM, my sweet papa passed away it was both quick and drawn out. It was both anticipated but unexpected. It was bittersweet to say the least. And I still cry at the drop of a hat. I've started to write about it but then can't so on to something light and cheerful.

My birthday. I turned 42 on Halloween. I was kind of excited about 42, I don't know why. Maybe because I am feeling a bit emancipated with my kids older and my health excellent (well except that little pre-diabetic note in my medical file- but its at bay for now). Or maybe it was because I had it stamped on my calf for over a week after my triathlon (I do shower and all but for some reason I couldn't get it off) With dad dying just a few days before and the possibility of the funeral being on my birthday (a story for another day) I was suddenly not that excited about 42.

I have great friends-truly wonderful people in my life. My friend Julie drives carpool home on Monday and for some reason her daughter and the other girl weren't coming home so it was just my son Daniel. She told him that she wanted to do something for me since I was having such a difficult birthday. So they stopped at the grocery store. She said she was going to get me a fancy cupcake and a balloon. Daniel said, "you know Julie, my mom isn't much of a sweets person. She kind of avoids sugar at all costs." Julie told him that she knows that but its my birthday and besides what else should she get me. Daniel replied with "well, she likes meat." Julie said " Oh come on Daniel, what are we going to do get her a birthday chicken?" Daniel thought that was a great idea and suggested the roasted chickens they have at the store. Julie held firm and got me a really good mint chocolate cupcake that was so delicious and overly sweet but it was my birthday so I ate it anyway.

But the story of the birthday chicken was too good to be true so I told all my relatives as we went to their houses to trick or treat. We all laughed at poor Daniel's expense.

Not to let something go, when we got to mom's, Meg decided to be a shit head. She and Em had both gotten me a small gift. Birthday gifts are hit or miss in my family. Depends on who sees whom at the time. Em had gotten me a coffee mug and Meg got me a really nice candle. But Meg being Meg, she went to my mom's freezer and pulled out a package of chicken thighs and threw it in on top of the bag Just to make sure I got my birthday chicken.