Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The organs are on the way

Our girls have a friend whose cousin is very sick. Spencer had cancer as a young child. He develop lung problems as a complication from the life-saving therapies. Spencer once attended the girls' school, so everyone has been involved with fundraising, card writing and more. He doesn't attend the school any more, but it would be hard to tell given how invested everyone has been with his health.

This evening I saw a Facebook post from Spencer's father. He said they received an organ match. The transport was on the way. Spencer would be in surgery shortly. The girls were so excited for Spencer. They couldn't believe that organs matched. For so long the news was so bad that they had a hard time accepting good news.

Of course, the fact that the lungs were on the way was only good news for one family. I don't think they thought about the entire process. The generosity of one family in the middle of unbelievable grief was about to save Spencer's life.

We didn't talk about it because I was too tired to start the conversation. Some day they will realize what happened to save Spencer's life. For now, we'll take the good news and celebrate, while still thanking the family who made it possible.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A black eye would make things easier

After some additional conversations with the ENT, our insurance company and many friends, I decided to have my deviated septum fixed. The surgery, November 11, was uneventful -- if you don't count the nearly three hour delay. The finally wheeled me into the operating theater about the same time as I should have been going home if my surgery started on time.

When I came home I really felt like I had been through a surgical procedure. I was tired, unsteady and a bit out of it. I slept badly as I adjusted to everything going on from my nasal pain to my anesthesia recovery. It all went as expected, though, with one exception.

I thought I'd have some bruising on my face. Maybe I'd have a black eye or a random nose bruise. I thought there would be some outward sign of my procedure. I was thrilled that, other than some swelling, you couldn't tell that I had been through surgery.

The girls were great for the first few days, but last night left me wishing that I had some visible bruising. The girls don't understand why I have restricted activities for a few weeks. When they look at me they don't see any changes. As far as they are concerned, I'm all back to normal.

Of course this isn't true. Surgery is surgery, even if you don't see the work the ENT completed. I do have restricted activities for couple of weeks. The girls might not like it, but they are going to have to pick up more household chores until I get better.

Thursday, November 3, 2016


The fireworks were going off as I crawled into bed. Daddy woke up and said, "You're kidding?" No one was kidding. The fireworks celebrated the Chicago Cubs first World Series victory in 108 years.

"You're kidding" could have been everyone's first thought throughout the World Series. The Cubs lost two games at home. They went into Cleveland behind 3-2. They had to win three straight games to win the World Series.

Even the local sportscasters started hedging their comments. They went from solid confidence to comments about how young the team was and how there would be other chances. When the Cubs won the first game in Cleveland we were happy that the team delayed Cleveland's party. When the Cubs won Game 6, we started thinking that they might actually win.

As Chicagoans, there is always this little doubt when it comes to the Cubs. For 108 years fans waited to celebrate, year after year they were disappointed. It just seemed like this would be another disappointment.

Right after school the blond twin asked if Erin and Ayanna could come over to watch Game 7. The girls started planning their game party. Pizza, of course, would be the main course. They had Halloween candy and roasted pumpkin seeds for snacks. They rearranged the living room furniture so they could all gather around the television. It's the smaller of our two televisions, but it's the girls television. I invited them to watch in the family room on the bigger television. They declined. It was more about watching in their own space than seeing it on the big screen.

I talked to Grammie before the game started. If my Dad was still alive, November 2 would have been their 59th wedding anniversary. I said it would have been a great anniversary present for Dad. He was one of many Cubs fans who waited his whole life for baseball success. During the World Series run lots of fans wrote notes on Wrigley Field's Waveland Avenue wall about family members who died before they could watch the Cubs play in the World Series. The notes were touching, funny and sweet. I told Mom I wished I could have written a note for Dad.

About 8:30 p.m., Erin's mom texted to say she was going to pick-up Erin at 9:00 p.m. I texted back that the game was in the 5th inning. I offered to bring Erin home at 10:00 p.m. since the game was moving along so quickly. I was sure it would be over by then. The Cubs were winning 5-3. It was looking good.

Of course, these are the Cubs, so nothing went smoothly. The Indians tied the game in the 8th inning at 6 to 6. When the 9th inning ended in a tie, I told Erin and Ayanna it was time to go home. It was 11:00 p.m.

When I walked back into the house the girls were in bed and Daddy was headed there. It started raining in Cleveland. The grounds crew covered the field. Since you never know how long a rain delay will last, Daddy decided it was time to call it a night.

I stayed up a bit to clean up and check work. Before I knew it, the tarp was off and the teams were taking the field. The Cubs were up to bat so I settled in to watch. It sounds impossible now, but I was falling asleep. It was 11:30 p.m. Even the excitement couldn't keep me from drifting off during commercials. When the Cubs took a two run lead, I knew I was going to be up until the end.

When the game was at the bottom of the 10th with two outs, the ball cracked the bat. Kris Bryant grabbed it and threw it to Anthony Rizzo. Before the ball even got to first base, Bryant was celebrating. I held my breath. These were the Cubs on the precipice of winning the World Series. Surely something would go wrong. Suddenly the Cubs players were celebrating on the pitching mound. The team won after breaking the tie with two runs in the 10th inning, breaking 108 years of disappointment.

The celebratory fireworks woke the blond twin. She said she knew the Cubs would win. The brunette twin said she heard the fireworks, but was too tired to wake up enough to talk to us. Daddy summed up the whole night with his "You're kidding?" What seemed so impossible was now done. The Cubs won the 2016 World Series. It was time to celebrate and #FlytheW.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

She shoots and scores

The brunette twin's basketball team has been steadily improving. In a short time they have morphed into something resembling a coherent team. Their plays look coordinated and practiced. They cheer each other on like good team mates should.

At the beginning of today's game, the brunette twin took the ball put it into the air. The ball arched towards the basketball net and went in. She scored her first two points. We were thrilled. She smiled and ran to her position. She played the rest of the game smiling.

After the game she made sure we all saw her score the first two points of her basketball career. She asked about the details since she hardly remembered scoring the basket. In the game's rush, the brunette twin didn't have an opportunity to savor her first two points.

Not only did the brunette twin score her first points, the team won the game. We celebrated both victories and crossed our fingers that it was the first of many successes.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Basketball trash talk Middle School style

Overheard in our car...

Brunette Twin:  "The coach told us to trash talk the other team to try to get them to miss or distract them."

Mom:  "Really? What are you supposed to say?"

Brunette Twin:  "Things like your breath smells bad or your shoes aren't pretty. You know, stuff to annoy them"

Mom:  "What did you say?"

Brunette Twin:  "Nothing. I couldn't do it. One girl on our team told another girl that she had nice shoes, though. She couldn't do it either."

It's clear that our team is missing some kind of competitive spirit. They are having fun, which is good because they clearly don't have a grasp of gamesmanship.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

You can't teach tall

The brunette twin tried out for the 7th grade basketball game. It was the first time she tried for anything. She was so thrilled when she made first cuts. When she made second cuts, she couldn't sleep. She screamed in the morning when she logged and learned she made the team.

For the past two weeks it has been all basketball, all the time, in this house. She practices as often as possible. She talks strategy with Daddy. She comes home from basketball practice exhausted and exhilarated.

When she made the team, Daddy said, "Well, you can't teach tall."  He explained that they can teach her basketball skills, but they can't make her taller. Given that she was both tall and athletic, she made the team despite her complete lack of basketball knowledge.

The first home game today wasn't stellar. The team was overwhelmed by the other team. The visitors had a sharp, organized team. Our girls looked like a team that had only played together for two weeks. Our girls lost big.

Still, the brunette twin couldn't stop talking about the game. She was giddy that she played in her first basketball game. She talked about what went right and what went wrong. She replayed different parts over and over again.

Luckily for the brunette twin, the blond twin was suddenly a basketball expert. She was happy to tell her twin everything she did wrong and how to fix it. Eventually they settled into a conversation about the game, rather than a listing of the brunette twin's flaws.

The girls went to the basement immediately after finishing their homework to bounce the basketball and talk about tomorrow's game. Today's game was a loss, but they hoped for a win tomorrow.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Spell check

Overheard at our house...

Mommy:  "Girlie, you need to look at your poster. Unique is misspelled."

Brunette Twin: "Really?"

Mommy: "Yes, you need a "u" after the "q" in unique."

Brunette Twin:  "Sissy, how do you spell unique?"

Blond Twin:  "U-n-i-q-u-e."

Mommy:  "Really? You don't think I know how to spell unique?"

Brunette Twin: "I'm just checking to make sure you're right."