Wednesday, June 27, 2007


No, I'm not talking about royalty, here; unless, of course you ask this little guy's parents, who I'm sure will tell you he's a prince, and will wonder in their new-parent hearts why the whole world has not stopped to take notice of his arrival. Why are the church bells silent? Why are there no town criers on the street spreading the news? Why is there no mob rushing the hospital to get a first glimpse of this perfect boy?

Come on, parents. You know you felt that way too.

My nephew and his wife had a baby boy this morning. Landon Edward arrived at 6:58 a.m. and, with his eight-pound-14-ounce-self, made me a great aunt for the third time. I believe it was Melanie in Gone With the Wind who said "The happiest days are when babies are born." Melanie was so wise.

So little Landon is the 5th generation of first born sons in my family (on my dad's side) to receive the middle name Edward. There was William Edward - my grandpa; Ronnie Edward -my dad; Terry Edward - my big brother; Ryan Edward - my nephew; and now Landon Edward - my great nephew. Or is it grand nephew...? I was trying to explain this to my son (The Smart One) and he asked if he was going to have to use the name and I told him "No, because the tradition is on my side of the family and they are all Meadows Men (who will, any day now, be inheriting the Meadows Million, I'm sure.) My husband, The Don, also happens to have the middle name of Edward; though it came with no tradition. It's just a plain old Edward. The Smart One seemed relieved to be free of the obligation to use the name Edward. It seems he has enough to worry about these days. Like dragging himself out of bed by 12:45 this afternoon so he could see the first showing of the new Die Hard Movie.

Anyway, regardless of how you feel about the name Edward; there is something about a tradition like this that is so life affirming, so comforting, so in tune with the whole circle of life.

Think about it. Some 80 years ago, a couple gave birth to a little boy and decided to name him William Edward. Could they have known how important that middle name would become to their family's legacy? Could they have know that for at least 4 generations afterward, new parents would be saying "If it's a boy, his middle name will be Edward"?

I love traditions. I love babies.

A good day indeed.

Saturday, June 23, 2007


So, my inheritance check didn't come in today's mail either, but I'm sure it will be here any day.....

In many of the blogs I read, the authors use different names for their families. Some use nick-names and some use initials; both as a safety measure.

So, should I be using nicknames for my family to protect our identity from the 5 people who read this? I mean I think all of my readers know us on a personal level. I actually think my most faithful reader is our daughter (she is the only reason I keep this up) so should I really try to hide our identity from her? Might it confuse the poor girl? And if I do use nicknames, what should they be for each of my dear family members?

For our daughter, the obvious choice is The Princess, or Her Majesty. She is very sweet and thoughtful, but as a little tyke she was ALL ATTITUDE. So much so that we decided she must suffer from SPPS. Perhaps you have heard of SPPS - Self Proclaimed Princess Syndrome. I think the name of this disorder is pretty self explanatory. It is not life threatening; it just takes patience and a sense of humor to deal with the symptoms. She has completely outgrown this sydrome, and is still pretty darn sweet (and mighty cute too) plus she has a tiara or two lying around the house, so we will allow the label to stick. So from now on, our beautiful daughter will be known as The Princess, or Her Majesty. Unless I forget and accidentally type her name.

Our son is a little more tricky. Being a typical (nearly)16-year-old, he could be called "Silent One" or "Moody One" or "He Who Always Sleeps" or "Eater of Many Carbs." He likes to refer to himself as "Regional Wrestling Champ - 130" but that is a cumbersome label. As a newborn, he was called "Pumpkin Head" by the delivery nurses because his head was so round and he had red hair. Perhaps we can call him "Mr. President" in honor of his love for all things political and his unusual knowledge of history and politics. Or maybe "The Smart One" because sometimes when his father and I say something to him he looks at us as though we are STUPID. And I know if I could read his thought bubble, that is exactly what it would be saying. I think that's what it will be - "Smart One." But, remember, when you read that label to roll your eyes and say to yourself "yeah, right."

As for my husband, there are also many options. We could call him "Marathon Man" in honor of his accomplishment of completing the Chicago Marathon a year and a half ago. We could call him "Bean Counter" because he is a CPA, or "Finance Man" in honor of his career. Or "Monk" because he is very organized and diligent. We could certainly call him "He Who Treats His Wife Like a Queen" because, well, he does, but that is also a very lengthy title.

My husband loves the Godfather Movies. All of them. Several years ago, he was reading the book and he suddenly closed it and looked at me and said "Honey, from now on I think you can call me 'The Don.'" And so, for this purpose, I will.

Just wanted to give you all a heads up on these changes, so that you will know to whom I am referring when I mention Her Majesty, Smart One, and The Don.
I do not know what my family would call me if asked for suggestions.....

Thursday, June 21, 2007


No, really I am. Seriously. I am not kidding.

My trip to Sam's today reminded me of this upcoming windfall.

But before I tell you the story, I'd like to make a few of things very clear.

First, when I become a millionaire, I will NOT change. Really, I won't. I will stay in this house. I will still get my hair done at JC Penney. I will still get most of my clothes at Kohl's or Target. I will still buy Sam's Choice water. I will still decorate my house through Hobby Lobby and TJ Maxx. I will still be the same simple down home girl, who can't keep her house clean and loves Hershey's chocolate.

Second, I absolutely do NOT want a bunch of long lost relatives and sudden friends crawling out of the woodwork eager to get close to me so that I will buy you things. If you didn't like me as a middle class housewife, I don't want to see you kissing up to me when I am a millionaire.

Third, I will be honest. I intend to splurge on a couple of things. I will hire a personal trainer to come to my home to get me lean, because I hate the idea of working out in front of other people. But if any of you want to join me in those private workouts, it's on me. And I will hire a gardener. I love a beautful yard, but I hate to sweat so a gardener is a luxury in which I plan to indulge.

Now on with the story.
As I was entering the store I saw a man who looked like my uncle Frankie. It wasn't my uncle Frankie, but thinking of him made me think of the fortune that is sure to come my way any day now. We have chosen to call this fortune "The Meadows Million." Meadows is my maiden name, and since this money is coming from my dad's side of the family, we decided it is an appropriate title.

Several years ago, my grandma and grandpa started hearing from a "lawyer" in Texas about a Millionaire named Meadows who had died without heirs. This lawyer, out of the goodness of his heart, was tracking down the heirs and was doing everything he could to make sure they got what was rightfully theirs - evidently SEVERAL million dollars. So my grandparents responded to his request for money to help with the legal fees that he would incur while fighting for this money. I think they sent about $20 every couple of months. But so did many, many other family members.

Fast forward a few years to the day my grandpa died - about 7 years ago. Soon after the funeral, my grandpa's brother, Uncle Frank called me at home. The conversation went something like this:

F: Hello, this is Uncle Frankie, your grandfather's brother.
Me: Hi, Uncle Frankie.
Paul (whispering in the background with great gleee): IT'S ABOUT THE MEADOWS MILLION, ISN'T IT? I gave him a thumbs up.

F: I just wanted to fill you in on the status of the money that we, including your grandpa, have been working to free up. I wanted to let you know that since your grandpa has died, you are now a Third Tier heir, meaning you can now inherit DIRECTLY when the money is awarded to the family. While your grandpa was alive, you would have been a fourth tier heir and you would have had to take a portion of your dad's inheritance, or waited until he died to inherit.

Me: Well, I appreciate your calling and I mean no disrespect, but I am just not sure the money is really there.

F: Oh, it's there. It's there. We're getting closer every day to getting it released. It's definitely there.

A couple of months later, there was a big meeting in our hometown to update the "heirs" on the progress of the legal battle. My sister and her husband went while we babysat their boys. They came home from the meeting and THAT conversation went something like this.

Me: So, what did you find out?

Sister: Well, we think the money is definitely there and will eventually be rewarded but we are not at all comfortable taking any because it sounds very much like it was all earned through mafia ties.

Me: Wait, what?

I do not remember the rest of the conversation because I could kind of feel my brain bend. Mafia ties? So Paul and I discussed the dilemma for awhile. You know, would we be comfortable accepting millions of dollars that was gained through all sorts of dubious methods connected to the mafia? And what mafia operates out of Texas anyway? Actually I think we discussed it for about 2 minutes before we basically said "Heck yeah, we'll take that dirty money. We'll find a way to baptize it right quick..."

Monday, June 18, 2007


My husband and I have stumbled upon a new parenting technique. I've chosen to call it the Rotation Method. Here's how you do it. You have one child leave for an extended period of time, and then just as he/she is coming home, you send the other child off for an extended period of time; thus rotating the children in and out at various intervals so that you are essentially raising one child at a time rather than the two you gave birth to.
Here's the thing. I don't like it.

Ten days after school was out, Kayla left for Washington D.C. with a school group. She was gone for 4 days. She came home for 2 days and then spent a full week away at church camp. On the morning we were to pick her up from camp, Blake left bright and early for wrestling camp with his team at the University of Wisconsin. He will be gone 4 days.
I have felt nervous and jittery all weekend. I am ready for both of my children to be home and for our family to return to some state of normalcy.

Also, when people ask us about our vacation plans for the summer we get to say "Our kids both got to take wonderful trips."

There's something wrong with this picture.

Friday, June 15, 2007


Don't tell my husband, but I went shoe shopping today. Don't tell him that I bought two pairs of sandals - both on sale.

Anyway. While I was trying on these sandals, a young sales clerk came up to me and said "Hello, Ma'am, may I interest you in a sample of this Donna Karan body lotion?" "Uh, sure," I said and held out my arm. And she said "I'll just give you a hand massage while you try on your shoes." No kidding, while I was trying on sandals that were on sale, I was also getting a hand massage. Could my day have been any better? And it's not even my birthday.


I had not really been out of the house in about 10 days because I have been in a fog of pain with a pulled muslce. Actually a GROUP of pulled muscles. I think everything from my "trap" to my tricep, if I remember correctly what my doctor was saying. Everything going up the left side of my back and down to my left elbow, with extra pain in my left should blade (no chest pain, no dizziness, no shortness of breath,no numbness or tingling in my left arm) So basically, I had somehow pulled the entire left side of my body.

I have had a pulled muscle before, but I have NEVER had this kind of pain before, not even after my two c-sections. This pain was CONSTANT and EXCRUCIATING. I am not kidding. Oddly enough, it felt better if I was standing and moving my arm. I will let you use your imaginations on how that looked as I tried to stay comfortable in the waiting room of the doctor's office and then in line at the pharmacy. I think I slept about 3 hours a night for a week, because I would wake up and pace the floor swinging my left arm.

Here's the thing. For 3 of those days, Paul was on a business trip. I knew I needed a doctor, but I was in so much pain I did not think I could even drive to my doctor's office and I would not call anybody to ask for help. Why am I like that? I thought of several people I could ask, but I came up with excuses for them without even asking...."She's has little ones and won't want to get them out and wait in a doctor's office." "She has to be at work by 3 and I can't ask her to be late." And on it went. So I went to a nearby walk-in clinic and got something that didn't help a bit.

By the time Paul got home, I was unable to get an appointment with our doctor until Monday, so he took me to the emergency room where I got a couple of drugs that made me loopy enough to at least get through the weekend. When I finally got to see our family doctor, he told me to stop the happy pills and instead gave me a steroid pak to reduce the inflamation. I was feeling some relief by the next day, and feel even better now, although my arm is still really weak and tires easily. I have no idea how I injured myself so severely. I mean, seriously, I NEVER do anything strenuous enough to warrant such an injury. I HAVE been working on cleaning out our closet, which goes to show you that projects like that could be dangerous. Could it be that I have recently turned 4o and, as comfortable as I am with this age, my body is just going to start falling apart without cause?

Anyway, to repeat my question from earlier, why do I refuse to ask for help? I was really needing help and I know there are people who would have really been glad to help, yet I wouldn't ask. All this has made me wonder if I have made myself seem unapproachable. Have I let my light shine in such a way that somebody in trouble could say to themselves "I know she won't mind helping..." or will they think of me and say "I can't ask her because..."

So, for the record, I am always willing to lend a helping hand. But it will probably have to be my right one because I have to keep my left one swinging.