Wednesday, April 27, 2011


My daddy will be so proud. I have proven once again that my veins run true with Shepherd blood, and no matter how strong the Fox influence, I will forever be a Shepherd at heart.

On my way out the door to go tan (gasp! I know. Leave me alone. I love it.) I grab a handful of change so I can stop by McDonald’s for my other guilty pleasure – an icy, delicious, bubbly large coke. At the last minute Robyn decides to come with. Now, as I pull up to the drive thru I realize I have a dilemma. Robyn understandably wants a drink too. I count my change; I have an assortment of quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies that add up to just over $2. Now, being an extremely frequent connoisseur of large McD’s cokes, I know that at this particular location they cost $1.76. (How weird is it that at the one on 38th they cost $2.11) Realizing that I don’t have much time as there are only 3 cars in front of us, and being the sweet, soft-spoken mom that I am, I shout back to Robyn, “quick, look for coins!!!” I frantically scramble through the small change holder in my van, pushing aside paperclips, gum wrappers, tweezers (tweezers?) as this dialogue runs through my head, “I could order a medium and have enough to get her a small….Oh but I really, really want the large, I always get the large! Wait…I know! I could get the large and a small cup of ice and pour some of mine into hers. But no, then I wouldn’t have as much coke – I don’t want to share my precious coke. Plus, that would be totally irresponsible, she doesn’t need the caffeine! Hmmmmmm – that’s it! Completely logical grounds for not sharing with my little girl! Ugh! What to do? What to do!?!”
As we pull up to the squawk box to place our order, I quickly count the added change we have found, including one very sticky penny smeared with an old raisin. Our grand total has come to $2.56 (including the sticky penny.) Quickly doing the math, I am hit by a plan of extraordinary brilliance. I ask the voice inside the magic box the price of a child’s drink. The voice informs me that they don’t sell the child size drink without the happy meal (What? Ridiculousness!) The cheapest one I can get is the small for $1. Not to be deterred I order my large coke and then explain that I only have 80 cents left and (as I say this next part a tiny bit of Foxness kicks in and I find myself leaning in and lowering my voice so the car behind me cannot hear my proposition) I was wondering if the voice could sell me a small for 80 cents and then only fill it 2/3 of the way full. Brilliant, right? Ummmm….apparently not to the voice. She is definitely beginning to sound a little irritated with me as she explains that cannot be done. Defeated momentarily I change my large to a medium and order a small sprite for Robyn.
As we wait in line to pay, I realize we may not be beaten yet; surely we haven’t looked in every single nook and cranny. So once again I shout, in my most loving motherly voice, “hurry Robyn, look over there!!!! And I begin to hurriedly scrounge in my purse too. I open my wallet and I am hit by the realization that I have my debit card. But by this time, the Shepherdness has completely taken over, “I AM going to pay with my change!!”  By the time I pull up to the window and see the voice face to face, we have found about 20 more cents! Forgetting about tax, I excitedly change my drink back to a large, and she rings it up, giving me a total of $2.96. Whoopsy daisy, that pesky tax!! I am determined to make this work. I hand her the $2.76, as I remember a gift card with about 2 dollars on it. I explain that I am 20 cents short and ask her to put the 20 cents on the gift card. Just as I am about to hand her the card, I spot a dime and a quarter on the ground between us. I eagerly jump out of the car, Robyn yelling, “mom! What are you doing?” and squeeze myself down between the van and the brick wall. I grab the dime and hold it up high overhead so the highly aggravated hand behind the voice can reach it, then I begin digging for the quarter which has gotten itself wedged down in a little crack.
Unexpectedly, I hear the voice above me, in a very loud and annoyed tone saying, “just forget it, take the drinks!” but this Shepherd girl is determined to get this quarter first….if the voice doesn’t want it, I surely do!!! After a few seconds of digging, I realize I’m not going to be able to get it with my fingers. As my Shepherdness kicks into overdrive, I begin to think if I have any tools in the van that I could use to get it. Suddenly, having stood by and watched the inanity long enough (I’m sure with great shock at the impropriety); the little Fox voice in my head takes over, “uhhhh, hello sweetheart! It’s a quarter!” I shake off the nearly impenetrable Shepherd daze that accompanies any bouts of Shepherdness………I stand up, get back in the car, smile ever so sweetly at the now very angry voice and pull up to the next window. A young boy hands me my well earned large coke and small sprite, and we drive away, a smile of satisfaction on my lips as I take a huge sip of my delicious large coke, and glance back to see Robyn enjoying her sprite. Ahhhhhhhh....sweet victory at last!

Monday, April 25, 2011

this little thing we do.....

As I drove Robyn home from gymnastics tonite, I reached back towards her and she immediately put her small hand inside mine. It’s one of our little things we do. I reach back and she holds my hand, even if she is mad or tired, she takes my hand and I know she’s okay. Tonite it brought tears to my eyes. Her little hand fits perfectly inside mine, but what is so incredible to me is how strong that tiny hand is. It’s not soft and pudgy like it used to be. Her fingers are long and lean, her grip tight around mine. She holds my hand with purpose and intent. She tells me she is okay with one squeeze. When she is worried or stressed, she reaches out her hand for reassurance, and I hold it tightly in mine to assure her that I am there. When we cross the street she holds onto me, and my hand tells her she is safe. When we go to the mall together, we giggle and laugh and our hands swing between us as we walk, sharing our joy. Sometimes when I am sad, she comes to me and takes my hand in hers to comfort me. On Saturdays and Sundays we often nap together. Oh, how I love those naps. We lay in the middle of my big king size bed, almost nose to nose, Me and my firstborn. We get ourselves all cozy under the covers and then she reaches that little hand out to me and I meet her in the middle. We sleep like that for a couple of hours. Nose to nose, hand in hand. Even in sleep saying, “I will always love you as no other.”

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

i ♥ my pharmacy

Let me begin this post by saying without question that I love my pharmacy. We are on a first name basis. They have stood by me through thick and thin – although admittedly they didn’t really have a choice – dutifully filling one prescription after another for the past ten years. They have seen me through the extreme: spider bites *shudder*, MRSA *gag*, spinal migraines and meningitis; the more mundane: yeast infections, hypothyroidism and 9 months of morning sickness, and, for the past 15 months, the completely unknown *tantrum*. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship. They make millions off of me and my insurance company, and I, well, to be honest, I get these cool little orange bottles with childproof caps full of an entire smorgasbord of legal mood-altering, pain-reducing, vomit-decreasing, bite-healing, thyroid-controlling, trial and error drugs. I love my pharmacists and my pharmacists love me. Well, most of them do.
I am not a irrational customer, I don’t complain when my medications get mixed up, I don’t throw a fit when they aren’t ready on time, I don’t yell at anyone when they fill a certain prescription with the generic brand that I am allergic to for the fourth time. I am calm, polite, even overly nice (to a fault Charles would add) as I explain the mistake and wait for the fix.
I have to admit a not very well kept secret – I am high maintenance. Here’s the deal though, all my little high maintenance-ites - if you admit that you are high maintenance, then it cancels it out. No one can hold it against you once you claim it. So claim it, hold that HM flag high and true. Make it with glitter and demand the flagpole is solid gold. Let it fly! Be proud! Ugh….I just can’t help it…. another rabbit trail, for another day…..
Okay, so we all get it, I am high maintenance. To some drugs, I have crazy reactions that they have never even heard of before, causing them more work as they repeatedly fill new brands and different types of the same drugs just to find one that doesn’t make my mouth break out in a rash, or my muscles to twitch uncontrollably. And I am also a bit forgetful. I know, I know – who would have ever thought? There have been numerous times when I call right before closing, as I have just at that instant realized I have none, I am talking Z.E.R.O., pills left.
So come to think about it, maybe they don’t love me. Hmmmmmm……maybe the real draw is the millions. Now that I processing this more, what if they get a bonus every time they fill more than one RX per day for a single customer????
Okay, {{head shake}} I’m just teasing, back to reality…..
We had a situation today. It was a simple miscommunication between my doctor’s office and the pharmacy; with sweet little old me stuck smack dab in the middle. Admittedly, I had not realized there was an error on my refill until I was down to one pill……but when I called to fix it, the pooh-pooh hit the fan. I needed 90 pills for 3 a day, not 30 pills for 1 a day; the pharmacy says the dr called in 90 for 1 a day, but the dr’s office is mad because they swear they called in the 90 for 3 a day. In stereo I can hear, “IT”S NOT MY FAULT!!!!” It was like two toddlers arguing over who spilled grape juice on momma’s favorite dress, both parties are whining and crying, adamant that it wasn’t their fault, when in reality, who gives a flying fruitcake, it’s momma’s dress that is ruined!
To top it all off, Miss Little RUDEy two shoes ended up being my pharmacy liaison and all I got all morning was her bitter attitude and eye rolling, whining and smart aleck answers. I tried to remember that she might be having a bad day for some other reason, and give her some grace. I used it as an opportunity to teach Robyn that sometimes we have to be nice even when others treat us bad. Not that I’m perfect, I was annoyed, but I didn’t let it affect the rest of my day like I would’ve a year ago. In the end, I got the right prescription and it was all good. Now I just hope little Miss RUDEy two shoes isn’t working tomorrow….cause I just realized I need another refill. *chuckle*

Saturday, April 16, 2011

saturday morning

Awakened by the sleepy soft mumblings of our 2 ½ year old, Finley, emanating from the baby monitor. I know – I am still using the baby monitor. But, walk with me for a minute here, this is my theory, until she can get up and walk to my bed to get me, then I need the monitor to hear her call. Why, you are asking, at 2 ½ can she not get up and walk to my bed? *sigh* She’s still in a crib. I know, I know. I have a theory on that one too, but that’s for another time, and a longer walk.
Okay, so back to Saturday morning. Sweet mumblings, pre-dawn light barely peeking thru the windows. My brain immediately goes into damage control mode – how can I stay snuggled under these covers the longest?
Step 1: Thinking that the mumbles sound somewhat like “I cold” I send Charles up to give her another blanket ...and, more importantly…. to convince her it’s still nighttime. Admittedly, this trick seems to work better when it is actually still dark outside. I cross my fingers, close my eyes and snuggle deeper under my cozy down comforter. My trip back to dreamland is suddenly interrupted by that sweet little voice, “but it not nite,nite time daddy-o.” hmmmm, guess there is no fooling this one.
Step 2: So let me just say I was against the whole TV in the bedroom thing from the very beginning, but it has since become a very integral part of my “sleep as long as possible” plan. Put on a great movie, snuggle up close with my baby and doze as she sits back like a sweet little angel and enjoys a 2 hour movie, magically ignoring her thirst, hunger and soaking wet diaper. (Hey, a girl can dream!) As Charles deposits a squirmy, smiley little bundle in the middle of the bed, I squint – sans glasses - attempting to see the list of recorded movies on our DVR, finally settling on Enchanted. The opening credits start to roll and as the Disney castle appears I hear the footsteps of our 7 year old Robyn on the stairway. She sleepily stumbles into our bedroom, her eyelids barely open, wrapped in her favorite blue blanket and that sweet sleepy smell of children. She snuggles in beside Finley, and we pull the covers up over all 4 of us making a cozy momma and daddy-o sandwich. A smile grows in my heart and spreads to my face…..*sigh* ab-so-lute perfec- “I hungry!” demands Finley. “I don’t want this movie….” whines Robyn. And so the day begins……

Friday, April 15, 2011

the hospital gown

Visualize if you will: Me. If you don’t know me…well then… just picture an average girl. Average height, average weight, average brown eyes and long brown hair. Pretty, maybe in a tiny bit more than average sort of way.
Next picture what I’m wearing: black plastic flip-flops (the kind you get for two bucks at walmart), black cotton capris, long gray hospital gown (yep, hospital gown) just slightly darker gray hoodie sweater (super cozy and my favorite), and a long lilac-colored summer scarf (also my favorite). Next picture me trying to carry two large styrofoam cups – one of tea, one of coffee (intermittently craning my head forward to take sips of each), a huge blue binder, a book (Tithe by Holly Black), and a huge red hobo bag, stuffed to overflowing and slung over my shoulder. To top it all off, picture my hair pulled back with one of my daughter’s bright metallic purple hair bands into a wildly messy ponytail, considerably off center; tiny wire rimmed glasses resting slightly askew on my marginally larger than average nose, and the strains of “Apologize” repeatedly emanating from my bag as my husband, Charles tries once again to reach me. Think “Caractacus Potts from Chitty, Chitty Bang, Bang.” Better yet, think “insane librarian escapes from the mental institution.”
Now, if I am you, here’s the question I am asking myself: “Why a hospital gown?” I am not in a hospital, I am leaving one, but don’t they usually let you put your own clothes on before you leave? I too am beginning to wonder the same thing as I sneak out the front entrance, half expecting someone in scrubs to come running up behind me shouting, “STOP! THEIF!” There must be a reasonable explanation. Ahhhh, there it is…..I am exhausted after five hours of IV’s, scans and blood draws. That must be the reason. As I run this one past my husband (“you did what?”) I can hear the desperation of rationalization creeping in. Okay, that must not be it. After all, how much energy does it take to don a bra and a t-shirt? So, why?
Ah-ha! My crafty side kicks in as I hike to my car, ignoring my cell phone once again as not to upset my precariously balanced cups of FREE tea AND coffee (I might get thirsty!) as well as my perfectly categorized and organized 3-ring binder of medical history (one can never be too prepared.) My mind unfettered once I am clear of the main entrance and almost certain I won’t be arrested for grand theft, I begin to create…..”I think I could make a cute little kimono-style dress out of this! Hmmmmm, but what about the color? I guess it’s not so bad. Yes, yes it is – it’s awful. Okay, I can dye it…maybe purple…that’d be pretty. What about these god-awful sleeves? Ah – sleeveless! That’s the ticket…I can just chop them off. Hmmmmm, it’s a little loose in the waist…..belted? Yeah, that just might work…the 80’s really are making a comeback……” And so it goes, on and on, until I have to get out of my car to throw away the AB-SO-LUTE-LY awful (but more importantly, FREE) cup of coffee. It is only then that I notice what I must look like. That’s when it hits me. I am a Shepherd….thru and thru…till the day I die. Shepherd code states – thou shalt never, ever, EVER, under no circumstances, pass up anything free. My daddy would be so proud if he saw me right now. If he had heard the nurse say, “you’re welcome to keep that hospital gown,” followed 30 seconds later by, “there’s free tea and coffee down the hall,” he would have leapt for joy and walked out in his brand new hospital gown, balancing FOUR cups of free liquids right alongside me. I mean for heaven’s sake….you can’t pass up free stuff…after all “you might need it one day.” The list of possible uses for a wrinkled gray hospital gown that hundreds of sick people have worn is utterly ENDLESS!!! I mean, obviously it would make a great dress, but beyond that there’s rags to clean up a spill, a blanket if you’re cold, a tourniquet if you’re bleeding, you could reupholster a chair, make curtains, a bedspread, a bath towel, an oven mitt, a backpack, a pillowcase, a rope, a slingshot, a hammock, a picture frame, a gun rack, a rowboat, a spaceship…….and who knows…..someday I just might need a hospital gown again.