Thursday, February 21, 2019

See what I'm working with?

We went to lunch with some friends recently. Since the girls had the day off school, we met them in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood. 

Everyone chatted and laughed and told stories. The blond twin told her favorite story about how we almost let her die rather than believe she had appendicitis. I noted that we call her the drama queen for a reason, so it's hard to know when there is a real problem sometimes.

As we left, the girls complained about the 40 degree weather like it was -25. I was saying goodbye to our friends when the blond twin said, "Please open the car door. I think I have frostbite."

They laughed. I pulled out my car keys and said, "See what I'm working with here?"

Friday, February 8, 2019

On the road

The brunette twin started driver's education recently. Due to school and activity schedules, we didn't get her enrolled until this month. She was really excited to start her classroom work. She was more excited to start driving.

After only four classes, she was eligible to get her driver's permit. Daddy and I took her after work. We waited in line at the very busy Secretary of State's office. While we waited, the brunette twin kept wondering if she was ready to get her permit. All it really involved was taking an online test. She had to get 26 of 35 questions correct. The instructors told her that once she correctly answered 26, the test would automatically end. 

She fretted the entire time. What if she didn't study enough? Did she really know enough that she should be allowed to drive? Was she ready to start driving? What if she flunked the test?

We told her that she had to wait nine months after getting her permit to get her driver's license. The longer she waited to get her permit, the longer she would have to wait to get her license. We convinced her to try the test. If she didn't pass, we could bring her back on Saturday.

She was really nervous by the time they called her name. She disappeared into an area with lots of computers. We waited for her, trying not to look towards the computer area. When she came out, she was smiling. She said, "It was so easy."

A few minutes later she had her driving permit. As we left the building, she asked for the car keys. We laughed at her new-found confidence. Daddy made plans to take her driving the next day. The brunette twin was ready to put the student driver magnet on the back of the car and so were we.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Super patience

There's nothing better than watching sports with the girls. Other than hockey, they just don't remember anything they have ever been taught about any sport.

During the first quarter of today's Super Bowl, they asked about two million questions. Daddy answered them. I just laughed. 

All he wants is to watch the game in peace and quiet. Luckily for him, they will be in college in four years. He'll have all the peace and quiet he wants then. Until they leave, though, there will be a lot of questions. 

Thursday, January 31, 2019

-50 is the record

A few days ago the wind chill hit -20. On any other day, I would have expected the schools to close. Given the long-term weather forecast, though, I wasn't surprised that the girls had school. Within a few days, -50 would seem warm.

The ominous weather forecasts started early. Local news stations lead every broadcast by saying that life-threatening cold was coming. As the date came closer, the numbers started to settle around -50 wind chill. 

In the Chicago area, we are used to cold weather. We don't flinch when the weather forecast says -10 wind chills. Even a -20 doesn't make us blink. When we heard -50, everyone was paying attention.

The schools shut down for two days. Most businesses shut down on January 30. It was so cold that museums closed, stores didn't open and the United States Postal Service didn't deliver the mail. 

We only let Holly out for three minutes at a time. People bundled from head to toe would develop frostbite after five minutes. Holly didn't have nearly that level of protection. She ran out, did what she needed to do and came back in immediately.

We hunkered down for two cold days. We didn't leave the house January 30. We barely left on January 31 when it was only -35. 

By February 1 the Polar Vortex broke. We still had negative wind chills, but not life-threatening wind chills. The 2019 Polar Vortex was going into the record books. Some day the girls's children would ask about it, just the way they ask us about other historical events. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Introducing Baby

The blond twin has been calling Holly her baby for quiet a while now. Recently she started calling Holly "Baby" as if it were her name.

The blond twin was talking to a friend who asked, "How is Baby?"

She realized then that he thought Baby was Holly's name. She laughed because she didn't realize how often she called her dog Baby. Of course, Holly doesn't care what she's called as long as she gets attention.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Uncle Terry finds peace

Sometime around Thanksgiving we found out that Uncle Terry was in hospice care. He had exhausted his cancer treatment options and was in his final days.

It was incredibly sad, but also completely expected. Uncle Terry had been battling cancer for nearly two years. It all started when a stranger found Uncle Terry slumped over in his truck on the side of a St. Louis expressway. 

The news from that first hospital stay was bad. Uncle Terry had stage four brain and lung cancer. He fought hard for more than a year when he was diagnosed with bone cancer. Everything was stacked against him.

Still, he fought as long as he could. Maybe it was the soldier in him that kept him fighting. He defied all expectations until his body could take no more. We received the call that he died on Saturday, December 22. 

Between the holidays and the government shut down, scheduling a military funeral took longer than normal. Aunt Mary was able to finalize a December 31 funeral. We all gathered in St. Louis for a really funny memorial service featuring by Star Trek and Winnie the Pooh and Aerosmith. We laughed through our tears. It was a wonderful way to say goodbye to Uncle Terry.





Wednesday, December 12, 2018

And we have a winner!

The girls golf awards event was delayed. At the end of a match, the Varsity coach fell getting into the team van. She drove the team back to the school before deciding that she needed to go to the emergency room. The next day the team discovered that their coach broke her ankle. The original awards dinner was delayed until after the coach healed. 

When the team got together, it was like a reunion. The seniors talked about college applications and senior pictures. The freshman worried about their first finals. The parents wondered how the semester semester went by so quickly. 

The coaches did a lovely job talking about each player. They had special photo albums for each girl. There was a lot of laughing as the coaches and girls told stories.

The coaches ended with two awards. The MVP award went to the brunette twin's partner. She was a senior who mentored the brunette twin throughout the season. We were thrilled when she won. When the Varsity coach called the name of the other award winner, we all clapped -- then it dawned on me. The brunette twin was the winner. 

We were so excited for her. She really really liked being on the golf team. She was thrilled to be on the Varsity team. Now all her hard work was recognized. It was a terrific way to end her first season.