Saturday, April 15, 2017

Easter Odyssey


Easter morning normally starts out with the brotherly tradition of fighting over who gets which bucket for their stash.  Not this year, though. For unknown reasons, this year's bucket choices were based purely on logic. David was wearing a black shirt, so he picked black. Tom was wearing a purple shirt, so he picked purple. Peter was wearing a gray shirt and we even have a gray bucket, but he picked pink. Logically.

Also logical, I thought, was explaining that because it was so cold and wet outside, the Easter bunny had decided to hide the eggs and sweets inside. Luckily, nobody questioned the fact that bunnies live outdoors, even when it's cold and wet. They also didn't question how we knew that all of the stashed eggs and candy were restricted to the living room and the hallway.

No Easter is complete without a second round of egg hunting at Grams and Opa's. Gram's took a slightly different approach to explaining why the Easter Bunny had hidden the eggs indoors this year.

'I forgot to hide the eggs and it's too cold and wet to go outside. You guys go in the other room and I'll let you know when you can come out.'

So, yeah. That approach worked as well.


It was about that point that Tommy decided to turn Easter into an adventure.

'I can't breathe.'

He then started wheezing horribly and complaining that it hurt when he breathed in. We took him outside to see if some fresh air would help. It didn't.

Like most of us, I've always secretly wondered what the emergency clinic looks like on Easter, so I guess I can thank Tommy for that lovely experience. In the end, they deemed it to be a bronchial infection combined with a likely allergic reaction to pollen. They prescribed what looked like an asthma inhaler. Tommy took two puffs and then complained.

'That didn't help at all, it still...Oh! It's gone!'

It really took about three seconds and his wheezing was gone and we were back on track for devouring white asparagus topped with sliced ham and parmesan, another Easter tradition.

After an unplanned late lunch, Tommy and David gave me a glimpse of the swingers they are becoming.


As with any adventure, the trek home can be exhausting, and today's Easter Odyssey was certainly no different.


--------------------------------------------
Ladder Talk:  [The boys' nap on the ride home must have tired them out - no Ladder Talk]
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: ZZZZZzzzzz....
David: ZZZZZzzzzz....
Tom: ZZZZZzzzzz....

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: ZZZZZzzzzz....
David: ZZZZZzzzzz....
Tom: ZZZZZzzzzz....

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: ZZZZZzzzzz....
David: ZZZZZzzzzz....
Tom: ZZZZZzzzzz....

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Sushi and Broken Bones

There are some typical questions that people ask when they are looking at moving into a new place. Is there a school nearby? Is public transportation easily accessible? How is the parking? Most people overlook the most important question. How close is the nearest emergency room? But more on that fun later.

The real fun started at 4:00 in the A.M. when we woke up to kick Peter out the door and off to his week-long ski trip with his class. I was in the kitchen making a pot of liquid caffeine when I heard a frantic muffle from the bedroom. Mmm..., intriguing.


Instead of asking Angie why she was wearing a diaper on her head, I whipped out my iPhone and started snapping pictures like a seasoned paparazzi. I shit you not, I only got off one shot. When she heard the camera shutter, she released a guttural roar that would have made the Predator blush and started twitching like a flipped beetle.

I finally realized that she had gotten stuck taking off her top. Now, there's no way in hell to make that whole ordeal less funny, but in her defense, she did recently break her right shoulder. I felt bad for the poor T-rex that couldn't lift one of her limbs over her head and of course came to her rescue. There's often no thanks for helping others and this was certainly no different.

Right, so back to kicking Peter out the door. It wasn't hard, actually. He is not normally a morning person, but today he was wearing a disguise that was also, well, not normal.


'I am Pedro, the ski master. Can I have a coffee to go?'

'No to the coffee, but yes, you can go.'

I almost told him to break a leg, but considering our recent luck and the rather clever foreshadowing at the beginning of this blog, I thought I would take Angie's advice for a change and keep my mouth shut.

In the evening, Angie announced to me that she needed some extra time to get ready because Götz and Isabel were coming over for dinner. I questioned the extra time and innocently asked if she needed any help getting 'changed'. She retorted with something that I'm sure she thought was witty but only came across as hostile and either provocative or vulgar. I wasn't exactly sure which, but I wasn't afforded the time to contemplate. Let me just say, for a one-armed woman, she packs a hell-of-a powerful left-push out of the bathroom.

Tonight, Götz and Isabel were coming over to cash in the first of six dinner vouchers that we had given them for Christmas. First on the list was Sushi and Gyoza. Hai! Arigato!


Unlike the Johnson's, they actually showed up on time. I wanted to make sure from the beginning that they didn't think these vouchers for dinner at the Zoo were free rides, so I put Isabel to work straight away. Unlike Angie, she knows her way around the kitchen and was rolling Sushi logs in no time at all. As if to rub it in Angie's face, she didn't even use the kitchen.


Feeling safe that Angie wouldn't set anything on fire (like a salad bowl or a  cast iron pan), I left the lady to her work and went to the kitchen to fry up a few hundred Gyozas.

After stuffing ourselves, Sumo-style, we let the kids run wild until we had room for dessert. As we were waiting for Asian food to wear off, we heard screaming from the boys' room.

Screaming kids generally just annoy the kidless, but those of us with ankle biters can confirm that those shrieks are like fingerprints. Within seconds, you immediately know exactly which kid it was, whether the pain is real, and, more importantly, whether it's one of yours or not. This was real and not one of ours.

Götz raced into the room first and scooped up Paul. I followed and scooped up Angie's kids.

'What did you guys do to Paul?'

Luckily for the Zoo Crew, they had nothing to do with it. Unluckily for Paul, he had been swinging from the rafters of David and Tom's new loft bed and had decided to test the crash landing pad that we unfortunately don't have.

When the noise levels returned to what we like to call normal, it seemed like an ice-pack and some Jell-O might actually work. Surprisingly, all of the kids immediately quieted down and came to the rescue. David whipped out one of his favorite books and started reading to Paul. Marie was in charge of pointing at and sometimes licking the pictures. Lisi was supervising the whole operation and Tommy was in the background making burping noises. Okay, Tommy wasn't really helping, but the gyozas did have a lot of garlic and he has a very short attention span.

Everything seemed to be working out until a tall and self-denying undercover cop decided to launch his own investigation.


'It's broken.'

'Ah, come on. Just give him some more Jell-O. He'll be fine.'

'Nope. It's broken.'

Götz has three kids as well, so I didn't need to give him directions to the emergency clinic. We both have earned permanent parking spots there unless you ask them.

A night with the Johnson's is never boring. I just hope that the next five dinners, if they dare to come back, will be less eventful.
--------------------------------------------
Ladder Talk:  [Peter was on his ski trip and for some reason refused to call me from his room with all his friend and do ladder talk with me]
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter:
David: That we had a lot of friends over and we ate sushi.
Tom: That Lisi and her family came and that Elijah spend the night.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter:
David: That Paul broke his arm.
Tom: That Paul broke his arm and that Peter is gone.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter:
David: Meet with friends.
Tom: I want to do a challenge for the YouTube channel.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

In my defense

In my defense, I drew the last cartoon when Angie and I both thought that her fall on Saturday was nothing more than a bruise. Had I known that she had ripped her tendon off of her broken shoulder, I probably still would have laughed, but I might have toned down the finger pointing and the belly clutching. And I definitely would have waited, like a day, maybe even two, before publishing the cartoon.

On Monday, we knew something was strange when she still couldn't raise her arm higher than her waist - and trust me, we know strange. Angie finally agreed to go to see a doctor, who gave her his highly professional medical opinion.

'Of course it hurts - you fell on it.'

Oh, if only the doctor had ever met Angie before. It didn't take long before the doctor reassessed his initial diagnosis and ordered an X-ray.

'Okay, there is a piece that's broken off and it's the part where your tendon is attached to the shoulder, so I can understand why it is so painful.'

After more than a decade of pure bliss, I can testify that Angie just loves to be right. Even with the immense pain, I'm quite sure that she was grinning like the village Trump as the doctor was busy back-pedaling. All that fun came to a halt, though, when he explained that she would need to have an MRI to see if she would need an operation. Until the MRI, she had to wrap herself like a mummy in an upper body brace.

And that brings us to today. Angie has problems driving with two hands and I value the lives of pedestrians, so I volunteered to drive her to the clinic. After four hours of tests and waiting rooms, we finally got to the see THE DOCTOR. Yes, I'm pretty sure after all the waiting that they only have one.


The doctor whisked in, picked up the chart and plopped down in his chair.

'So, does it still hurt?'

'Yes.'

'Of course it hurts - you fell on it.'

I shit you not, I thought Angie was going to try her damnedest to beat the doctor with her left hand. Either the doctor has a sense of humor, which would be odd because he is German, or he saw 'the look' in Angie's eyes. Either way, he chimed in again before Angie could figure out how to unravel herself.

'Just kidding. Let's look at the MRI results.'

In the end, the news was, mmmhh... let's just call it mixed.
  • The tendon did not retract from the shoulder, so no surgery is needed. Yeah!
  • Angie can go back to work tomorrow. I had somehow chalked this up to the negative side, but apparently she's one of those people that actually enjoys working.
  • She cannot drive. For the sake of pedestrians everywhere, I saw this as a positive thing, but Angie has a 'thing' about using public transportation.
  • She gets to continue sporting the arm thong for the next 9 weeks. I think you know both my view and Angie's view on how to tally this one.
  • Starting next week, she starts physical therapy so that in 10 weeks she can start working out again. When the doctor explained this, Angie actually laughed out loud. So yeah, I think it's safer to say that in 10 weeks, Angie could theoretically start working out. Strike 'again' and emphasize 'start'.
When we got home, Angie was still feeling sorry for herself. Simba, our extremely bizarre cat, who  normally would have seized this opportunity to console her by peeing on her head or using her leg as a scratching post, decided for a change to afford Angie the distinct honor of snuggling with him.


Yes, fine - I was jealous. In my defense, though, I was able to control my green streak by reminding myself that this day was all about Angie falling out of a trashcan and not about me.
--------------------------------------------
Ladder Talk: (I'm writing again, so back off on the fact that I forgot to do Ladder Talk tonight!)
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: ZZZZzzzz....
David: ZZZZzzzz....
Tom: ZZZZzzzz....

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: ZZZZzzzz....
David: ZZZZzzzz....
Tom: ZZZZzzzz....

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: ZZZZzzzz....
David: ZZZZzzzz....
Tom: ZZZZzzzz....

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Don't try this at home!



This morning, I asked David to take out the paper trash. He complained that it was so full that he couldn't possibly manage the task. That's when Mama threw on her cape and came to the rescue.

'Look, David, I'll show you a trick.'

She then put her foot in the paper trash and started crushing the papers down with one shoe. This freed up some space, so she began pushing even harder. This worked so well that she thought it would be beyond brilliance to put both feet in and start frantically jumping up and down. On about the third hop, our flimsy plastic container had apparently had enough fun and sent Angie on a 180 degree flip that ended with her shoulder and head getting a free but unwanted closeup of the floor.

I think I showed great restraint by neither bursting into laughter, nor running for my camera. I even helped her up and asked her if we should go to the clinic, despite the general rule that weekend trips to the emergency room are normally reserved for the kids. Angie has a high tolerance for pain, though, and can be more stubborn than our cat. So, instead of pushing the issue, I retreated to the kitchen, made sure she wasn't within earshot, and laughed my ass off.