Thursday, March 20, 2014

In Rotorua, New Zealand, I read, that the air is so thick with stink that it literally sticks to your clothes, it goes home with you. Nicknamed Sulfur City, it sits on top of geothermal vents that regularly spew the stench of a natural gas which bares the olfactory overload aroma of rotten eggs. Oddly, despite the singed nose hairs and odor-clad clothing, the town attracts tourists due to its natural environment which also includes hot springs and geysers. If you want to breath different air for your get-away, this is one end of the spectrum.
Collecting at Midway Cycle.
I am my version of giddy about breathing different air starting this weekend, but I expect it to be yummy beach air. It stinks of distraction and chaos at this house right now, and my lungs need a break. I am so grateful to all of you that tried to help us find a place that was flexible and understanding of our constraints, which I feel certain we would have had numerous offers thanks to your efforts, but a big thank you to Caroline Wisdom who follows Eli and was able to line us up something quickly so we could make plans.

When I told the kids that we were going, Abbey said, “Can we just go to the beach and that’s all.” They are also ready for some relaxation and to put away the day planner…. now that will last about three hours on the beach and she will be asking “Can we go look at souvenirs. Can we go drive go-karts.” It was also requested that we not wear matching cancer shirts or any matching attire. They have no appreciation or respect for consistency in pictures or scrapbooks. The kids want a break from “standing-out,” and with Eli doing so well, that’s pretty easy… well, as easy as it can be for a party of six. So, packing was a breeze when I didn’t have to hunt down six Eli shirts, six Incredibles shirts, six car show shirts. I just threw in the first four shirts of kid number one that I came across and the first four shorts of kid number one that I came across, and continued down the line. Boom, wow, I’m done (well, not exactly, I simplified for the sake of the prose). I am struggling a little with the packing because the weather looks up and down with a likely chance of rain. But, if it’s gonna rain on me, rain on me at the beach.
Collecting at The Grasshopper.
At any rate, outside of Eli and in addition to Eli, I am glad to take a break because we have a stressful few months ahead of us moving out of the house into my mom’s two-bedroom townhome so that the workers can work quickly, and then hoping it sells quickly once they are done. By fall, I would love to be settled either in another house or settled knowing we will be here, so that we can move on from this aggravating house distraction. All the while laundry goes on. If I ever do write a book, I might call it Living with Laundry. That really best describes us. Dirty or clean, figurative or literal, it’s all, some, both or one of those at all times. Hmmm, I’m liking that title, seems so appropriate and it just flowed right out of me just now. My precious helper Wednesday dug us out from under mounds of laundry - all clean - and it really lifts such a burden. Even with us working together, it helps me to stay on task because there are 1200 distractions diverting my mind and attention. So, it helps more than just having the extra hands, it helps me to do the things I should be doing, too. I rarely do the things I should be doing when I should be doing them. Those things get done, eventually, but to no one’s satisfaction.
Excited about going back to 3rd grade.
I did get in another ugly four-and-a-half-mile run/walk this Wednesday, and, to coddle myself, I will say that I did better on my eating, although not really (The Office is one of my favorite shows. Michael always made strong statements only to contradict himself immediately.) I hope to get more runs in with Eli starting back to school some after spring break. Yes! Since he is tolerating the chemo well and his counts don’t bottom out, we thought he could go some. We talked with the principal and his teacher to get their feelings on him coming back to his class, and as I knew, they are eager with open arms. There is no real academic expectation. I was clear that his teacher(s) did not have to put any extra effort above what they already do for the individual learning needs of each kid, and even in his case less because there is no real goal beyond just allowing him to do the things he loves and going to school is one of those things. So, his participation in class should not take away from the instruction or attention given to the students of the class. I like to think that I have always been attuned to the fragmented efforts a teacher must make in a classroom, so I would just feel so bad to add to that for the teacher’s sake and the other students’ sakes. And, as I have said before here, I worry about the emotional attachment some of the kids might have to him or the idea of him as they have all worked so hard in their prayers. I told Mr. Adams and Mrs. Bauer this, but if any ABS parents are reading this and if you have any concerns about Eli’s presence at school in light of the dismal prognosis, please do not feel bad to let me know. You are just looking out for your child, and who can fault that. So, I will consider your concerns. If you want to be anonymous just send me a letter, or let me know and we can talk about it. Obviously, that is not something that Eli even knows the extent of, and we treat each day like there will be another one so that is how we approach it. As I told Hg, he is in treatment, we are doing all that we can and he is doing well. He is excited about returning, so I know this will be so good for him.
My sidekick.
The DVD drive was on the front page of the Athens News-Courier today. The Athens High Beta Club contacted me about helping with it, so it will hopefully generate some participation outside of our normal circles. I have already given the guidelines from St. Jude that the movies be “recent,” “popular” and “full-length” and rated G or PG. You can drop off during regular business hours at The Grasshopper, in downtown Athens, or Midway Cycle, in Madison, on why 72 west of County Line road. You can check MJ thrift store across from Hobby Lobby for $1 DVD’s, just make sure they fit the requirements. And, Vic, did find Kung Fu Panda 1 and 2 in the $5 bin at Walmart. So, multiple copies of those movies are fine. That’s the kind of movies I feel sure St. Jude is targeting, so if you see Disney or Pixar in the $5 bin, go for it. If you can’t participate in this drive, don’t feel bad… we will go back.
Picture for Heroes Wall.
Eli has a lab check in the morning at the clinic. He had his picture taken today to be included on the “Wall of Heroes” at the clinic where kids are featured and they list what they want to be when they grow up. He wasn’t excited about taking the picture, but is excited to have his picture on the wall. He took a toy mustang to hold in some of the shots, and said that he wanted to be a Mustang Builder. I don’t want to think about why they hurried us up to get that done when we have only been regulars at the clinic for two months. Nevertheless, it’s done, and it was cute.

I hope to write to you next from the sandy white beaches of the Florida panhandle.

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