Friday, April 27, 2007

Mean People – I Can’t Stand ‘Em

I have encountered some seriously mean people lately. I try to give folks the benefit of the doubt – maybe they are having a really bad day, maybe their dog died, maybe they are hormonal or have just received some bad news. But when I am in the crossfire of multiple mean people in a small time frame, my patience wears thin and eventually the hot-headed Irish woman is gonna get mean right back. It is unfortunate, and I try to contain it in a civil way – but today the ticked off Maggie let loose. I can only handle so much idiocy in my life.

Today I spent the afternoon at the car dealership getting the bumper-that-fell-off-while-driving-on-the-highway repaired. While I was there, I realized I needed an oil change and some regular maintenance, so the wait was longer than I had planned for. And I had both of the kiddos with me. No problem. We were actually having a lot of fun together reading books and talking in the waiting room while Liam every so often toddled around on his chunky little bare feet.

Following is the Tale of the Buttinsky….

The waiting room was immaculate. Probably cleaner than my house since I am pretty sure the dealer vacuums every day (more often than I vacuum, I confess). After about 10 minutes of sitting in the wait room with the kids, a woman sitting across from me huffed, slammed her book shut, and said this to me:

“I am sorry, I have been TRYING to hold my tongue but I just HAVE to say it. As a mother of 4 grown boys, I am a nurse, a HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL, and I CANNOT remain silent. So I’ll just say my piece and butt out of it since it is none of my business (then why are you speaking to me, I think). You MUST put some shoes on that child of yours. I cannot BELIEVE you are letting him walk around on this carpet without shoes. As a HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL I just cannot imagine what would possess you to do that! There are so many germs he could catch! There are germs everywhere – you just don’t even know. And he dropped his bottle and it almost hit the floor and he put it in his mouth! The GERMS he could have INGESTED! As a HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL I am appalled! Apalled! YOU have some thinking to do. I've said my piece.”

Are you freaking kidding me? This woman HAS to be nuts. People in the waiting room are shifting in their seats awkwardly, clearly wishing they were somewhere else.

“Well,” I replied with a warm smile for the crazy lady, “I am really sorry this is obviously making you uncomfortable! My personal theory is that it is ok for kids to be exposed to some germs as it does help them build up their immune systems – I promise I will not let him suck on his feet after walking around barefoot. He has no open sores on his feet that would allow germs easy access and, aside from that, I am comfortable with it. If he were crawling he would be on the floor and have his hands dirty. On top of that, our pediatrician encouraged us to have him barefoot as much as possible as a new walker – and that shoes are really not beneficial right now. So I am ok with it. But if it is really bothering you I will put his shoes on – though he will immediately remove them.” I smile.

“Oh no no no!” Says Buttinsky. “It is none of my business just wanted to let you know my PROFESSIONAL OPINION”.

At this point I am trying to decide whether to roll my eyes, follow her advice, or throw something at her big fat head. ☺

Instead, I just sort of smile dismissively and turn my attention back to the kids. Time ticks away……I think, "Is she right? Am I awful for letting him have barefeet in a clean, carpeted area? There is no motor oil – even the service bay is cleaner than my kitchen right now. Will he get sick? Do all these people think I am a bad mom? Well, where else besides home is he barefoot? He is barefoot at the doc’s office by their command and where could there be more germs than there? Oh for goodness sake why am I letting this bother me!!! Forget her! What a rude person. Why have I encountered so many nasty people lately? I am going to let it go. Letting it go. Gone.”

Buttinsky – having said not one word to me since her admonishment – got up from her chair and stepped out onto the lovely patio to sit in the sun on the lovely lawn furniture (this is quite a car dealership). At this point, the other patrons in the waiting area start to give me sympathetic looks and a few say things like “Can you BELIEVE that woman?” “How rude is she?!” and even a “Don’t worry sweetie, it is perfectly clear you are a great mommy! Your kids are terrific!” I tried not to make a big deal and just sort of nodded thanks and shrugged at the incomprehensible rudeness of Buttinsky. I turned my head to glance outside to see Miss HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL with a stream of smoke coming out of her nostrils from her incredibly healthy and germ free cigarette.

NO WAY. I start to seeth. I was ready to let this go. It was gone. And then this woman who invoked her experience as a mother and a HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL as a means of humiliating me in criticizing my parenting skills turns around and is doing the most unhealthy thing one can do. I actually don’t care that she smokes – it is a vice and that is tough. But people in glass houses should not throw stones. UNREAL!

I sat and stewed. Should I say something? She was clearly the kind of woman that passive-aggressively attacks people and gets away with it regularly without anyone calling her out. People are too surprised, probably, to form a fair retort. Or too polite. I was sick of having mean people pick on me and decided I was not gonna let this one slide. I would never see this woman again (famous last words – I will probably see her at the grocery store tomorrow, now) – time for some of her own medicine.

I waited for my chance. I wanted it to be as I left or as she left so there would not be a big drama. She got called to the cashier first. As she was leaving, I peeked around the corner and waved her over with a warm smile. Kate and Liam and his bare feet were in the waiting room reading a book together quietly. Buttinsky approached.

I said warmly, “Being an accomplished mother of four (she smiled knowingly at me, obviously expecting some sort of compliment or pat on the back or seeking of advice from me) I am SURE you know how INCREDIBLY hard being a mom is! (She nods in all-knowing-condescension) It is SUCH a tough job and there are days when you feel like you can barely get by (she nods her agreement with her years of experience radiating off her smug face). And THEN some COMPLETE and TOTAL stranger chooses to haughtily criticize your parenting skills without cause and in front of a roomful of other complete and total strangers. And well, that can pretty much just ruin a Mom’s day! So thanks for that.” (At this point she is MAD because someone actually called her out and she was ambushed and she rolls her eyes huffily and starts to leave, but somehow sticks around for my next installment) I say “And IN that criticism, you repeatedly invoke your extreme knowledge and experience as a nurse and HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL yet I find it SO difficult comprehending why you would be SO concerned about germs on a strangers baby’s feet, but in all your HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL WISDOM you then turn around and ingest toxic and deadly chemicals through a cigarette, while also exposing other people enjoying the sunshine on the patio to said deadly chemicals. As a MOTHER I am surprised you are more concerned with the virulent carpet lint versus second hand smoke.” Sincere-looking smile from me while looking her directly and squarely in the eyes.

She said nothing. I could tell she was searching for words….I waited patiently for them to come. There were none. She furiously flipped me the bird and stormed off, dropping her keys and her purse in her flustered fury.

I felt like I was shaking. I NEVER do that. Usually, It is the kind of thing where you leave and the rest of the day you think of brilliant comebacks that you WISH you had said when you actually had said nothing at all. Only this time I said them. She deserved it. And I did it out of love for every mom out there that this has happened to because it happens all the time! People can be really mean. If I was REALLY mean, though, I would have added to the woman “And by the way, it is close to 80 degrees and you are wearing a purple and gold turtleneck topped by a purple Vikings sweatshirt with purple wool dress pants. You look like Grimace – a suitable name – and you look ridiculous.” But I am not THATmean, just interested in justice! Tee hee

I cannot believe the gall of that woman to begin with!!! Maybe I should have let it go, I mean, we ARE all aware of the national ad campaigns educating the public about the dangers of one-year-olds not wearing shoes, yes?! You can picture them - “The Truth: your toddler has an increased chance of stubbing his toe or stepping on spilled cheerio dust in his bare feet than if he were properly shod.” Too bad such campaigns don’t exist out there to let us all know about the potential hazards of cigarettes to smokers and non-smokers alike. My sister brought up that excellent point. Hmmmmmm…….

Maybe I should have just let it go like I let a million other minor irritations go. She was not worth the time and energy I spent thinking about it, saying what I thought, and even reporting it to you. But gosh it felt GOOD.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


I have the best hubby in the world. He stayed with the kiddos this past weekend while I flew to Chicago for some girl time with my best gal pals. My sorority sister is getting married so I met up with my group of girls (the seven of us that try to get together at least once annually to recharge and reconnect) to celebrate her wedding shower and bachelorette party. I also got to attend my cousin's wedding shower the same weekend and get to see my wonderful aunts, cousins and my amazing Grandma. It was an AWESOME weekend with lots of laughter and smiles. I love the women friendships that I have - they are a blessed gift and, while I miss them so much with all of us living here, there and everywhere, it is so great to visit with them. My cheeks always hurt from smiling and my abs get a laughter workout without fail.

So - from great walks through Chicago, a terrific dinner out, wedding shower luncheons and some seriously hysterical karaoke - I had a great weekend. The kids were great for Nick and he was an amazing super dad. yay! it was really nice to be able to be with the girls after all the crazy circumstances going on with Kate and the one-two-three-four-and-more punches that we have been trying to deflect! Kate is on the mend.....she has a low fever today, but is doing ok. Ever After Gowns is for the most part over for a few weeks. Nick has some great work stuff going on and Liam is a walking, babbling ball of adorable. Thank you, God for the family support and the friends that we have in life.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


I don't like April. I just don't like it. I know there are some tragic things going on in the world right now that are heart-breaking and I should have some perspective. But I am tired and in my own little world I am sad. I just found out that our Best Friends here, the Dunns, are moving. To Connecticut. Boo hoo. I am so sad. We have spent many holidays together, camping trips, trips to the fair and endless play groups. We kept each other company when Erin and I were both on pregnancy bed rest at the same time and We took care of each other when our respective children were born and they have just been the best friends imaginable. Of course, our friendship won't wane, but oh my gosh I will miss them SO much. We all will. I have not figured out how/when to tell Kate that her best friend, Maggie, won't be around. Kate adores her and talks about her all the time. I KNOW it will all be fine and she won't be emotionally damaged or anything. God knows I went through this COUNTLESS times in my own youth. But I am just sad.

Also found out that my exceptionally amazing, worth-a-million babysitter, Lindsay got into the PhD program at the U of So Miss and will be leaving as well. In THREE WEEKS. AAAAARRRGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She literally is part of the family - so much so that every night when Kate says her prayers, she says "God Bwess, Windsay". WHY did I write her such an awesome letter of recommendation???!!!!! (She was my advisee at the U of M as well). tee hee

I thank God for bringing such wonderful people into our lives. But I am just really really sad. And the fact that my tooth/jaw is screaming with pain from my root canal does not help.

Yes. Feeling sorry for myself. :)

The offer for sharing an alcoholic beverage from my previous post still stands. Any takers?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Some Recent Pics

Nick, Kate and Liam yesterday after the first "normal" day in a week! :)

Nick and the enormous and insanely cute Liam!

Ponytailed Kate getting ready to go for a walk with her Dad.

Kate and her Easter basket.

Uncle Packy over to visit on a bummer of an Easter Sunday - holding the sicky Liam and snuggling the Sicky Kate while Maggie was taking care of the Sick Nick. Blech. What a great brother he is!!!!


Last week was one FULL of challenges for me. In fact, the past month has been one of worry and frustration --- I have not blogged about it because I had no answers and did not want to raise alarm in anyone. But now that things are clearer, I feel ready to talk about it.

Kate has been ill for about 5 weeks now. She has had recurring, persistent fevers for over a month. Every single day she will have a regular temp of about 99.5 – mild enough, but when her base temp is a cool 97.6, 99.5 is warm for her. Then each day the fever would spike at some point to 101 or 102 and she would be miserable. The color would drain from her face, she would be lethargic and incredibly cranky. Then when the fever would break she would be absolutely drenched in sweat. This repeated itself every day for a month. About 2 or three weeks in, she started to lose her appetite on top of all the lethargy and irritability and getting her to eat anything was close to impossible. She is already a tiny peanut, so to see her get even a little more skinny was frightening. We had to figure out how to get her to drink those awful vitamin shakes. Through all of this, we had at least one doctor appointment a week, trying to figure it out. Initial general bloodwork showed all was well. Then there was a urine sample which turned out to have white blood cells in it, so they thought maybe it was a bladder infection/uti. They put her on antibiotics and nothing changed – and the further urine culture came back normal. So they took her off antibiotics. They continued to check her to make sure nothing was changing – no swollen lymph nodes etc. She continued to present healthy as can be save for the fevers, lethargy and no appetite. It was SO frustrating. This is why, when in Miami, we kept it pretty low key with no major time at the beach etc. and why Kate has been missing so much school. I just wanted my personality-plus Kate back. She was not down for the count constantly. She would be fine and then all of a sudden it would hit her. Then she would be fine again. It was a mystery.

Anyway – last week started with both Nick and Liam being seriously sick on Easter. Not to mention Kate! So I was nursemaid all of Easter Sunday. Our friends the Dunns, who we were supposed to have dinner with, brought Easter dinner to our door instead. So sweet. But it was a pretty gross Easter otherwise!

Then Monday brought Kate a trip to an Infectious Disease Specialist referred to us by our pediatrician because we all wanted answers. Kate had to have some major blood work done. They took 4 vials and I had to hold her on my lap while she SCREAMED at the TOP of her lungs. At one point she looked at the nurse drawing blood and yelled in absolute fury and with complete conviction, “GET THAT OFF OF ME NOOOOWWWWWW!!!!!” She was poked and prodded, xrayed etc. and I tried very hard to remain positive and calm. Nick was with me at the appointment so that was great for me AND for Kate. Then we waited.

On Wednesday, Nick left for Boston on business (therein lies a whole other blog entry….let’s just say I was absolutely GREEN with envy – he visited some of our friends, walked the old haunts, and got to dine at an amazing restaurant for work). That left me alone with the kids - - - and remember that my Ever After Gowns event for which I plan for an entire year is three days away at that point. Kate woke Wednesday with a slight fever. She did not get off the couch. By 11am she was asking to take a bath (a strange request). By 1pm she was literally shaking violently with fever and her temp was 105. I called the pediatrician to find out what I should do given all the other issues Kate has been having and was put on hold for TWENTY minutes while Kate and her glazed eyes lay there whimpering that she was “fweezing” even as her body burned up. The ped then told me to call my specialist since it was in his camp now. Guess what, the specialist was out of town, I was informed by the receptionist. She said she would have another doctor call me. I called my ped back – on hold forever, hung up. Still no doctor call from the specialists. I gave Kate some Motrin and snuggled her. She whimpered and would not answer any of my questions and I came thisclose to calling 911. Then there was a break – my sitter called out of the blue and said “I got off work early today and I know you have a busy week with Ever After Gowns and Nick being out of town – do you need anything?” THANK YOU GOD! I had her come over to watch Liam so I could tend to Kate. I called the nurse at the specialist office who was wonderful and walked me through what to watch for with Kate. The motrin kicked in and she got down to 101/102. Between Lindsay and I, we managed to keep her comfy. I had Kate sleep in my bed that night. She spiked fevers, but was ok.

Thursday we had another appointment with the specialist to review a skin test they had given her. That came back fine, but we finally got some results. Kate has something called CMV, or Cytomegalovirus (spelling?). It is a virus that pretty much everyone in the world can catch and carry, but it does not usually activate in people. Kate showed both antibodies in her blood, meaning not only does she have it, but is battling it. It causes mono-like symptoms as in long term fever and lethargy etc., from what I understand. There is no cure for it and there is not much you can do for the patient other than make them comfortable. It will go away. Most things I have read say it lasts a few weeks, so I don’t know why kate has had it for 5 weeks, but that is something to ask the doc at the follow up. So it is nice to have some answers. She will be just fine.

It does not account, however, for the high 105 fever. The doc wants to explore that a little. She could have just caught a bug given that her immune system is pretty worn down from fighting the CMV for so long. But he wants to keep an eye on her and watch for some other things to make sure it is not anything else. But she has been great this weekend, so that is promising.

SO – that is the Kate saga. All will be well.

There is more, though! So I had spent all day Wed and Thurs. with a hugely feverish Kate and trying to keep an eye on Liam. Also trying to make sure Ever After Gowns preparations were secure. I was so tired. Thursday night I was sitting with the kids and went to go grab a quick bit of food in the kitchen. I took a bite and, well, my darn tooth broke! I was eating BREAD, people. My back molar must have been cracked and piece of tooth just fell off. Awesome. Called my dentist and left a message on the emergency line because I kind of consider a tooth broken in half an emergency. Can you believe he NEVER called me back? Even today on Monday, still no call. So I called another dentist and got an appointment for first thing Friday morning. So my cracked tooth and I put the kids to bed and waited for Nick.

When Nick got home, we were relaxing on the couch, enjoying the peace and quiet, and I happened to look up and see a water stain spreading across the ceiling. We both lept up and after much scrambling, some bucket placement, and stealthy investigation of the bathroom next to the kids rooms while they slept, called a plumber.

So Friday morning saw Nick taking the morning off work while I went to the Dentist at 7am for my cracked tooth (I need a root canal, by the way – that is scheduled for tomorrow – woo hoo), and the plumber came and literally took our toilet apart to the point where the toilet itself was sitting in another part of the room. $300 dollars later, it was fixed. Phew.

The sitter showed up and I went to drive to our event venue to make sure it was set up properly. I was driving down the highway and suddenly heard this awful sound coming from under the car! A flat maybe? I had no idea. I had to pull over the car at rush hour on the highway and found a part of my front bumper hanging off the car and dragging. I was quite a picure - bracing myself against the car and prying the mangled piece out from under the car as vehicles whizzed by at 60mph. I threw it in the backseat and drove off....nearly having a heart attack at merging into full flow highway traffic from a dead stop to 60mph. Seriously. Is all this really happening?

Saturday was our event and it was awesome. It was so so so so great. The most comical moment, however, was when Nick called me from home and said “So, is potpourri dangerous”? I asked in what context and he answered “if it is ingested”? I assumed it was ingested by Liam and was correct. Nick said Liam was in his playpen, but it was positioned near a china hutch we have. Liam somehow managed to open it and Nick found Liam chomping on some potpourri from a nearby bowl and holding a crystal Waterford champagne flute. Classic. Turns out potpourri is not poisonous, in case you are wondering.

Soooo….temperatures, tooth, toilets, travel, and more… was quite a week. I kept my head above water and most of it, really, is nothing when dealing with a health mystery like Kate’s. But the hits DID just keep on coming and I am glad that it is behind me!

There are still ripple effects to deal with. Have to take the car in to get the bumper fixed. Have a root canal tomorrow. Still have some doc appointments for Kate. But all will be well. This, too, shall pass.

Thanks for all the help and reassuring phone calls, everyone! Thanks to my Ever After people for an amazing event where we had 200 girls invited to come select free formalwear for their prom. Thanks to God for silver linings and strength.

Anyone want to go out for a drink? I could use one! ☺ Maybe we can munch on some potpourri and chat…..

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Coming soon....

To a blog near you. The tales of Maggie and her entire week of events that can only be explained by the theory that someone, somewhere, has a voodoo doll of Maggie and is poking the heck out of it. Here is a teaser of separate incidents- temperatures, teeth, travel, toilet, traffic incident.....and so much more! The good news is, my good humor remains intact and all will be well. On a side note, we just had our MOST successful Ever After Gowns Boutique yet! I am blissfully tired and pleased with the results, yet glad it is over for a while!

More blogging soon!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Lessons Learned and Lotto Odds

Well, we are back from Miami! It was a wonderful visit with my folks at their beautiful home! I have to say; my Mom and Dad are two of the coolest most “Hip and With It” people that I know! They live in the coolest area, surrounded by great restaurants and architecture AND their building is so high tech, that Nick and I had to get fingerprinted in order to even gain access to their unit! We had to have our fingerprint scanned to even get in the elevator! Mom and Dad were very gracious and watched the kids so Nick and I could go grab dinner or lunch or jump on the metro to grab a coffee and stroll around. And it was great fun being able to bring the kids to the Seaquarium and the Beach and so much more. A HUGE “Thank You” to them! Here are some tidbits from the trip…..

 Kate is a fish. She LOVED swimming. She loved it so much that she would OD on swimming in the pool, and therefore unfortunately most swimming experiences ended with a meltdown – but then she would just go upstairs to the condo and nap like there was no tomorrow, exhausted by sun, water, wind and whining - so it worked out ok! ☺

 Liam is not so much a fish. He would love the water at first, but would get chilly pretty easily and would rather snuggle in a towel in the sunshine. He also was not a fan of the ocean waves (plus it was pretty chilly water), while Kate wanted to jump in the waves and was really brave!

 In a cruel twist of fate, the child who LOVES the water and sun must be slathered in SPF 4 Million lest she burn to a crisp while the child who would prefer to be in the cabana with a beverage seems to have Nick’s much more “tannable” skin. Go figure.

 Along similar sun matters, the sun gods convened and made the decision to add insult to injury when it comes to the sun and me. As you know, I am what they call “fair skinned”. Translation: practically translucent if not for my freckles. I have never been one who could get a really great tan – though I can get some subtle “color” if I take it slow and build it up in increments. As a teen this was the bane of my existence as my best friend could lay out in a neon bikini, slathered in baby oil and look like a California Dream Girl while I looked more like I had had all the blood drained out of my body and, had I dared to put baby oil on in the sun – would not be here to type this blog as I would have spontaneously combusted on the trifold plastic lawn chair in the backyard in 1992.

I DIGRESS. I was talking about how the sun gods decided to further punish me for reasons unknown. It seems that my RA drugs (that nasty methotrexate) CAN cause photosensitivity. Well, of COURSE in me it DOES cause it. It is not just that I burn more easily. I get blisters. Big ones. All over my body wherever sunlight has hit. And even without getting a sunburn. It actually is quite vampire-like, where I go in the sun and my skin cries out “noooooo!!!!” and blisters form.
(Ok so there is some slight artistic license there) Hence, while in Florida on our first vacation in who knows how long, I - who despite being pale really DO love the sunshine and take proper precautions so I can enjoy my time in the rays – looked like I had a disease. Well, a whole other one on top of the one that I actually already DO have! ☺ So on my arms, chest, face I have these unattractive, but at least flesh colored, bumps. OH WELL. They will go away. Though I will admit my vanity took hold and I seriously considered heading to the salon in Miami to go get a new haircut that included bangs just to cover my blistered forehead. I joke with Nick about how when we said “in sickness and in health” we did not expect me to be creaky and bumpy at age 31. Maybe in 50 years……

 In the world of “what are the odds????” - Guess who sat DIRECTLY in front of us on the trip back from Miami to Minneapolis? You guessed it, THE DEMON TODDLER!!!!! I guess that is what I get for blogging about it for the world to read. They sat in the row in front of us and the little man did not disappoint! He was in tip-top tantrum form, so Nick got to get a dose of it this time! Only THIS time his Mom was sitting with him and I slipped her a lollipop and the little guy was silent after that! C’mon, parents!!!! BRIBERY!!!! There are circumstances where it is perfectly acceptable – such as in crowded pressurized tubes for instance. Also at wedding ceremonies where your children are present and various other crowded events. I recommend NOT bribing to avoid tantrums in long Target and Grocery store lines because it acts as a signal to the managerial staff to please open more than one lane for every 20 shoppers and to perhaps staff them with people who know the difference between a cucumber and a zucchini so they can ring them in properly.

Once again – tangent.

 So finally, we left gorgeous, warm, blister inducing Miami to return – in the month of April - to Minneapolis where we landed in the middle of…..a snow shower. And today it is a balmy 26 degrees Fahrenheit, without the wind-chill. Awesome. My see-thru skin could not be happier. And my vanity thanks the opportunity to wear turtlenecks and hats to cover up my “sunkissed” blister body! ☺

Here are some pics….my posts may slow up here for a while. My Ever After Gowns event is the weekend of the 14th and I am SOOOOOO busy!!! I cannot wait to tell you all about it because it has grown so much and is going to be an amazing event!

Here are a couple of pics of the kids at the beach....there were major riptides that day so we opted out of going in the water and instead stopped by while we were in South Beach. The pic of Liam is him just hating the beach. :) Too cute!!!!!

Fun in Miami

Kate and Nick crashed after fun in the sun!

Nick and Liam on Liam's first carousel ride.

Kate on the carousel.

Kate reading on the balcony!

Kate and Nick reading together on the balcony.

Kate and Liam - The Ice Cream Sequence

Here are pics of Kate and Liam enjoying some Ice Cream in South Beach. They both loved it. Liam leisurely shared my chocolate cone while Kate requested, sampled, then ATTACKED her Strawberry Cone. She is like an Ice Cream Diablo here!!!! The last picture absolutely sends me into fits of laughter.