Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Sickness Buffet

Rant of the Week
Usually winter illness is more like a casserole, you make up a big helping and everyone gets the same thing. Our family, however, has recently been hanging out at the sickness buffet. Everyone grabbed a plate, moseyed up to the buffet, and picked what they wanted.

Scott went tried and true with the common cold. He caught himself a good one and spent about a week feeling lousy. I chose to revisit my youth with a case of strep. As many youthful memories as my case of strep rekindled, it didn't erase a single wrinkle. Jaley started off with croup, sounding like
barking like a seal for three days. She decided that wasn't enough. She went back for a second course and got herself a top notch case of laryngitis. Watching an 18-month old child try to have a temper tantrum with no voice is equally pitiful and hilarious. We try not to find humor in our childrens' suffering, but trust me this was pretty funny.

Sarah decided to turn her buffet into an all-you-can-eat variety. She started off with what we thought was a stomach virus, but two days later we decided to see a doc. The pediatrician diagnosed her with influenza and strep throat. That was when I decided this year's flu shot was a waste of time. And thanks to Sarah's diagnosis we all got a dessert course of a 10-day Tamiflu regime to prevent passing the flu along.

But in competitive Harrell spirit, Sarah decided if she was going to win the illness award she was going to win big. Nine days (of 10) into her prescription regime she woke up looking like a pink dalmatian. She had spots on her entire body, from the top of her head to the souls of her feet. A classic case of an allergic reaction to Amoxicillin. Though last week we were very thankful for our antibacterial and our antiviral medications, yesterday we were very happy for our antihistamines.
Thanks to a little Benadryl, she is looking much better today and should be spot free by tomorrow.

And since this buffet was open to all, we made sure all branches of the family tree partook. Auntie Em suffered through a case of sinusitis.
And Grandpa Perry had a small fall. It wasn't the fall that was bad but the sharp corner nearby. He got himself a trip to the ER and 7 staples, but being the tough guy that he is, hasn't complained a bit.

Now that we all seem to be on the upswing and the calendar shows the end of February is near, we are hoping that the winter illness buffet has closed it's doors for the season.

Life in the Stroller Lane
With all of our germs, we have stayed closer to home that usual and haven't had too many adventures. In honor of the Hallmark holiday, we did enjoy celebrating those we love on Feb. 14. Sarah had a ball handing out Valentine's and candy to her friends. While, Scott and I enjoyed a special lunch out (without the children) that afternoon.

This week Scott is in California. He is one day into a six day trip and I am already eager for his return. Meanwhile, I am making arrangements for the upcoming vacancies at the rental houses. Both are still up for sale, but have had lots of showings. I know they are both a great deal and that the right buyers will visit soon. Not leaving anything to chance, I am making sure the homes make stellar first impressions. I am scheduling and preparing to clean, paint, carpet, and stage after the families move.

Next week is our big family vacation.
We are headed to CO to visit my mom and Tom in their new home. Plus as an added bonus, we are taking Sarah skiing for two days. Scott and I haven't skied since before the blessing of children, so we will all be novices on the slopes.

That is life in the stroller lane. Lots of love.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Moms of Steel

Rant of the Week
By the laws of nature, men are stronger than women, but I have decided moms are stronger than everyone. Although I don't expect a 40 year-old mother to take gold in the 100 meters this summer, moms have a day-to-day strength that eclipses just about all men. I have seen a 100lb mom carry three children, a loaded diaper bag, and three bags of groceries up a flight of stairs in the rain. I have seen a mom run at the speed of light across the playground to catch a child (not even hers) mid-air who fell from the monkey bars. It seems that moms just have a way of doing the impossible when it comes to caring for their families.

You see this trait in just about every mom you ever meet. My next door neighbor has pneumonia. Did she stop to rest? No. She just beefed up her the antibiotics and Advil as she hosted more than 200 children and fathers for the annual PTA Doughnuts for Dads Morning. One of my best friends of all time, had open heart surgery. Did she get outside help? No. Just a couple of weeks after the most major of operations, she was juggling it all again - two young kids, a house, and a full-time job.

It seems like a woman's DNA changes just a bit with the birth of a child. Women gain that eerie ability to tell a child's temperature with only their hand. Women gain the ability to know when their children are getting into trouble even if there is no sight or sound as a clue. Women gain the ability to run the family, the house, and everything else even when the are sick with the flu and haven't slept in days.

Although, I don't always display the super human abilities of some of my friends, our house is no different. This week, we were all sick. Actually, Jaley was well. That meant while the rest of us wanted to sleep, she, like the Energizer bunny, kept going and going. Scott had a cold, Sarah had a stomach virus, and I had strep throat. So through this week of sniffles, who cooked, who cleaned, who entertained Jaley, who held hair and the bucket while the stomach virus ran its course? I won't say who, I'll just let you guess.

And so let the laws of nature say what they want. We moms know that when it comes to strength, WWF has nothing on us.

Life in the Stroller Lane
Despite the coughs and colds, life here is always busy. Scott just got a promotion at work. The girls and I are so proud of him. He works really hard and is a top performer. It is great to see him recognized for his efforts. Of course, as is standard, his promotion comes with no raise and no new title. In his new role, he will enjoy more work and more business travel. It is corporate America's reward for a job well done.

And while Scott has been climbing the corporate ladder, I have been digging out from the paperwork mountain some called taxes. I just call it hell. Ever since we bought these rental properties, tax time has gone from annoying to excruciating. Last year, our taxes were so complicated they actually uncovered a bug in the CPA's filing software. Yes, a $400 swing in our favor that took two amended returns and 11 months to unravel. I just cleared up that mess two weeks ago, and now we are onto our 2007 returns. I was about 90% finished, when I found a discrepancy in one of our 1099 forms. Some team of people at Citi Bank under the heading "research" are trying to figure it out. I am sure they will come back with the lawyer written verbage that "all accompanying documents are for informational purposes only, contact your CPA for tax advice." So I thought I was rounding the corner and headed toward what I hoped was a refund, but now I am waiting for an answer from the research department and not sure if this discrepancy is going to cost us more or less.

Despite being sick, Sarah has really been a great recently. She is so much fun and loves to tell jokes (which are sometimes even funny). We have ditched the Pull-Ups (R) and she is wearing big girl panties at night with much success. I have done some extra laundry, but not too much. Jaley is into everything and is 18 months going on 19 years. She is all attitude. When she doesn't get her way (Jaley, you can't have the matches), she starts crying. If the tears don't get her what she wants, she starts screaming. If screaming doesn't get her what she wants, she stomps away and ignores us. She is just like a teenage girl, except she can't speak in complete sentences. As for Scott and I, we just laugh it off. But secretly, we are very afraid of what she'll be like when she really is a teenager.

And that is life in the stroller lane. Lots of love.