Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

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Gold Award Court of Honor

August 20, 2017

The Chief was unable to make it home. He missed it by a week. It couldn’t be helped. But he was there in spirit. His carved Girl Scout Bridge and his Hounds at Hazelwild medallion were on display. And he sent an email for me to read during the parents’ moment to speak.

Ok, now is the time to grab your tissues. T1, your dad, who is the Eagle scout, and I are very proud of you and this amazing project you created and undertook. I would say yes, there were times you were a typical teenager but then this wasn’t a project a typical teenager would attempt. I hope you know that after doing this, you can really take on any event and project you put your mind to.

                              The Chief sent the following message: Every Dad thinks their daughter is amazing, I have the blessing of knowing that mine is. When I learned the size and scope of the project she set out to do I had an initial bit of hesitation, knowing the amount of work that would be required. T1 insisted that she was up to the challenge and would be able to get the job done. In the end, the time, sweat and trials that went into this project were worth it in the end. Completing a Gold Award Project is something to be proud of, but as a Dad I was more proud of something else. Being able to have a vision, share it with others, and get so many people to give their time and energy to make it a success is even more amazing. Seeing the growth and maturity as she dealt with the challenges lets me know that she’s capable of anything she sets her mind to.

  I truly know my daughter is awesome.

Many of you know that T1 lost her special greyhound, Crookshanks, on March 31st. I was originally going to commission the same Cindy Liebel pendant for T1 but the idea came to me to honor Crook. Racing greyhounds have tattoos in their ears. One set of numbers marks the kennel the hound came from. The other ear has the birth month and year followed by a letter showing which order in their litter they were tattooed. Crook, who raced as Kiowa Saints, had identical tattoos to her sister Hedwig except for the letter–128F. I always said it stood for fair, as Crook was lighter than Heddie, who is 128D (for dark). I thought about a pendant but you are really a bracelet kind of girl. So here is a custom Cindy Liebel cuff bracelet with Crook’s tattoo numbers. And when people ask you about those numbers, Crook will always be honored as your first–but not last–greyhound and how she helped you earn your Gold Award.

Note: I had a few dads in the audience come up to me afterwards to say that they fought back a few sniffles. My SIL’s dad came up to me and said, “When she struggles in life, the first thing she needs is the Bible. The second is her dad’s email. Make sure she takes a framed copy of that with her to college.”

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Repeat & Add Craziness!

July 28, 2017

Does this year really need to repeat everything about last year?

One “perfect for you” job that I didn’t get. Adopt a dog on June 11. Second “perfect for you” job that I didn’t get. Now just waiting for that third job. Stinks. But I refuse to sink. I am trusting God again.

If I had gotten the first job this year, I’d be working full-time, 12-months a year. That just wouldn’t work right now. Two days ago we found out T1 has mild to moderate hearing loss of all the middle ranges in both ears.

Normal hearing is between -10 to 20 dB. T1 hears low sounds and high sounds in those ranges. Mild hearing deficit is between 20 to 40 dB. Moderate hearing deficit is between 40 to 70 dB. All of the middle sounds for T1 fell between 40 and 70 dB.

This is a “sound banana.” (Found on Pinterest, source unknown.)

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The middle sounds are between 500 and 3,000 Hz.

During the word tests, if they turned up the volume she could hear about 88% in one ear and 92% in the other.

Of course I asked if this was from earwax (a chronic problem for her)…nope, no wax to speak of. She hasn’t had an ear infection since 2012 that we know of and currently no fluid behind the ear drums. I asked if this was from earbuds and always wearing them… nope, no evidence of sound trauma from the other tests they performed. Looks like a nerve deficit.

To say that I was stunned is putting it mildly. T1 handled it great–she is relieved to know the hearing loss is real. Maybe her sister will stop picking on her and calling her deaf!

In short I contacted every family member I could, but I was desperate to hear from the Chief. I eventually called the ship on the satellite phone. Something I don’t think I’ve done in like 5 years.

The ENT is recommending either an amplifier or hearing aids but he wants to find the cause by ruling out some pretty serious genetic conditions. In case you weren’t aware, the inner ears and the kidneys form in utero at the same time. Often if one has kidney disease, one has a hearing problem and vice versa. So T1 needs a urinalysis. There are some chronic heart conditions, not “momentary” like my SVT, that also could indicate a hearing issue. So T1 needs an EKG. Need to find a pediatric cardiologist. The inner cochlear bones could be malformed. So T1 needs a CT scan. The ENT could order the CT scan but I needed to get her pediatrician to either do the other tests or order them.

And after talking to a friend who just got hearing aids, those will be a series of appointments as well… one to get a trial pair, one to see how the trial went, one to fit the ones we’ll buy, one to retest in the booth how they are working, etc.

And the Chief is at sea and due to circumstances out of his control may not get home until the end of August.

Pediatrician visit and urinalysis complete today. Her pediatrician, who had only started her private practice within the year T1 was born and had seen her less than a day old, was in as much shock as I was. We talked family medical history and about all the testing the ENT wanted. Opted to get T1 into Children’s Hospital for the cardiologist rather than just a routine clinic EKG. (“If there is a problem she’ll need a cardiologist anyway…”) Of course I couldn’t get into the closest branch until late September but by choosing a different branch she could be seen sooner and at least I don’t have to go all the way to the big city like when T2 had her first mystery illness. Cardiologist scheduled for the 7th and the CT scan will be local on the 10th. Follow-up with the ENT on the 28th.

Last night we told her private teacher for viola lessons about the hearing deficit. After his initial shock he said, “Now things make sense. She doesn’t self-correct like she should.” She has college scholarship auditions to prepare for–now we know we have additional work to accomplish.

Got a call today to see if we wanted to start the hearing aid process. I am not ready for that. Gadgets are not my thing. I know the Chief will research every model out there and have all the pros and cons and customer reviews on hand. He’ll look at cost and efficiency. He wants to know if this will be progressive. I’m going to wait until the 28th, crossing my fingers that he will be home, to start the process. I am not up to doing this alone.

On the drive home today T1 was silent so at the red light I signed, Are you okay? Of course she scowled at me. I had been jokingly signing I love you since the day before. I stopped giggling and said, “I have to joke about it because I think if I didn’t, I’d cry.”

“Really?”

“Really.”

The light turned green and I caught her out of the corner of my eye signing Are you okay?

“Maybe I have to find your old sign language books and watch YouTube to teach myself sign language. I might need it in the future.”

Like I said, she’s handling it better than I am.

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It’s a BOY!!

June 21, 2017

On June 10th T1, T2, Heddie, Simi-Ruthie, and I drove to Greyhound Central to meet new dogs. We had one in particular in mind–a gorgeous white and red 4 year old male. That’s usually how it goes–you see a dog online, apply for it, get put on a waiting list after you’ve been vetted, and you go meet dogs but usually not the one you saw online. Because by the time you’ve been vetted that dog is already reserved or the adoption group just doesn’t feel it would be a good match.

Cassiopeia was not the dog we saw online.

Crookshanks and Hedwig were not the dogs we saw online. In fact they were so hot off the tracks that their photos had never been posted!

I was very surprised when they said we would be meeting the dog we have applied for. I thought it was a good thing as the Chief had at least seen his picture.

But when we met him, he was kind of shell-shocked meeting Simi-Ruthie and Heddie. It was 90 degrees and the dog wasn’t panting. His tail wasn’t tucked but it wasn’t wagging either. I asked T1 if she had shared some of her Percocet with him (she got her wisdom teeth out on the 8th). He wasn’t feeling the vibe and neither was I.

They brought us out another boy. One we really weren’t considering because his picture didn’t “speak” to me and because he was still a “juvenile” at 3 1/2 years old. Simi-Ruthie did not like him approaching her head on but he just rolled with it and was like “okay, you’re the boss.” Our adoption coordinator got us to just walk around and eventually the two of them ignored each other. Hedwig walked just fine with him.

After seeing the first dog again, and being just as underwhelmed, they brought the second dog back out again. Simi-Ruthie lay down with her back to him–a sign that she was alpha and unconcerned by him. He lay down as well with his back to her. Hedwig will lay down at any chance and had been laying down for quite a while. They asked us if we wanted to see any females. I laughed. Simi-Ruthie would have no part of another female in the house.

After asking the important question: “What do you think the Chief will say?” the girls and I unanimously decided this gorgeous 3 1/2 year old solid red (with 3 white feet) boy would be coming home with us.

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Introducing Bailey, f.n.a. Precocious Bale, whelped on 11/24/13.

The Chief renamed him Bailey though the girls and I were tossing around Baelfyre from Once Upon a Time or Beowulf. The Chief would have none of those “fluffy” names.

We call him Bailey Boy. I guess it helps us remember there is a new male in the house. He is my first ever male dog. Same for the girls. The Chief had one or two males growing up.

He has been a dream. No marking in the house. Getting used to our schedule. No separation anxiety. Simi-Ruthie has to still wear a muzzle around him but even she is getting not so aggressive. Yes, she barked and barked until I sat with her on the couch so that she could sit on top of me so that he understood I was hers.

Heddie has bonded to him immediately. When we were inside filling out paperwork, his foster mom took him out for a potty break and Heddie stood up and howled for him just like she used to do whenever parted from Crookshanks. Sniffle.

I tried taking him into a pet store the other night to get his nails ground but he was having none of that. We take him for his first check-up in the morning–I hope he does better. We’re bring Heddie with us for moral support.

We can’t wait for the Chief to meet him. Maybe he won’t feel so outnumbered.

**Hedwig (Kiowa Packers) and Bailey (Precocious Bale) have a shared great, great, great grandsire named Downing. Downing was whelped in 1975 and was a champion dog. So neat that they are cousins of the same generation!**

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Describe a Moment of Change

June 7, 2017

And how you dealt with it.

Or at least I hope that is what the question was. Now that I think back, I hope it didn’t read a Moment of Challenge. But I think my answer might still apply.

I had my first of what I hope will be two interviews for a 12-month position at the school board. This was one of the questions.

My answer?

A chuckle. Then I answered, “I go through great change every 75 days!”

I spoke about how the girls and I work as a unit, stronger together. I spoke about some times getting only 12 hours notice. About putting myself aside to help my daughters adjust to life without the Chief. For 21 years. I talked about how we as a family have discussed the ramifications of what a 12-month job would mean for us, especially while the Chief was at sea.

You have to have routine but you have the be flexible enough for the changes that pop up. Or challenges.

Next up I hope to be one of two candidates called in on Friday for a follow-up interview with the Big Man. A decision will then be made either late Friday or on Monday before the School Board Meeting. Sigh. I hate waiting. Good thing T1 is getting her wisdom teeth out and I have that and house cleaning to occupy my time.

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