Wednesday, July 28, 2010

From the Department of Redundancy Department

You know what? I'm tired of posting about Michael being sick. It's getting really, really old. I don't want to describe the various forms of puke and poop I've gotten to experience as a mother. I don't want to complain about having to get up in the middle of the night to tend to a sick child. I want to post about how much fun we are having, the cool things we are doing, how sweet and cuddly Michael has become.

But, this past weekend was all about Michael being sick and not being able to do anything because I'm not thoughtless enough to take a kid with a stomach bug to a birthday party. Quarantining a 4 year old on a super hot summer day means being trapped in the house with a slightly cranky, slightly hyper kid who does not want to be inside. It's not much fun.

So, I'm hoping that Michael actually stays healthy for a few days so I can get back to blogging about things I want to blog about instead of the same old song and dance.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Mystery No More

I just received a call from Michael's daycare. He's running a fever and refused to eat his lunch. After his "false" alarm on Monday and a few more recent comments about a sore throat, I feel safe declaring this a real illness. While I feel bad for Michael that he's sick again, I do feel a good bit better knowing that he wasn't crying wolf.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Two Successes and a How Did That Happen

When I got home last night, Michael was in a wonderful mood and seemed perfectly healthy. I'm still confused about what happened the previous night, but I was very happy to see he was doing well. I was also happy because last night I had a promise to keep, and I was hoping Michael would be up for it.

When I learned that Michael would need both oral and topical antibiotics for his pink eye and ear infection I really just wanted to cry. Giving Michael medicine is just that difficult. And of course, giving him medicine is one of those battles that I have to fight. Slacking or compromising isn't an option when it comes to his health. Antibiotics mean at least 9 days of torture twice a day.

To motivate Michael, I made a sticker chart to help encourage him. We have had good luck with sticker charts lately, so I though it was worth a try. I allowed Michael to pick his reward and made up the chart. Here's what it looked like.

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Nice little piggy, isn't it? That's what Michael picked. He wanted a Piggy Bank.

About half way through the antibiotic wars, I got disgusted and handed the task off to Andy. I left the room, handed the medicine spoon to Andy and told him to do it. So, Andy walked in, handed the medicine to Michael and told him to take it. And he did. Tossed it back like a 21 year old doing shots on his birthday. I would have been angry about that, except OMG HE TOOK HIS MEDINCE!!!!!!!

After Andy give Michael the medicine one more time, I was able to do it as well. I'd just walk in, hand it to him, he'd take it, and I'd give him another sticker on the chart. You cannot imagine how much of a relief this was for me.

Michael completed the chart on Sunday and I promised to take him out for his piggy bank on Tuesday. So, last night, we went to Toys 'r Us and I bought Michael a piggy bank to celebrate his success.

After we found the piggy bank, we continued to look around the store.

Remember my "Snap To It!" posts from earlier this summer? One of the issues I was having with Michael was the constant demands for toys and candy in the grocery store. Well, we have been working on that, and last night I was able to put it to the test.

"Oh mommy, can I have this? Please, please, please?" was how it started. I did have to say "no" a number of times, but there were no tears, and after the 3rd or 4th toy I refused he stopped trying. I was very glad to see that being firm and consistent has made a huge difference in his behavior. I was very excited that not only has he gotten better at taking medicine, he's also learning boundaries on what he can and can't get. It made the trip very enjoyable.

In addition to the piggy bank, I also allowed Michael to get some add on track pieces for his Hot Wheels tracks. They were fairly inexpensive and it's something I know he'll actually play with. We looked around a little longer and headed up to the register to pay for the new toys.

When we got to the register, we put the bank, track, and Yoda action figure on the counter so the cashier could ring them up.

Wait, where did Yoda come from?

Let's see. We looked at the Star Wars figures. Michael picked up Yoda and took it over to scan the price. Before I got the chance to say "no" Michel distracted me with the Hot Wheels stuff.

Um...did he just out smart me? No, it couldn't be that. My 4 year old isn't smarter than me. Clearly, he used the Jedi Mind Trick on me.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Is it a wolf or a virus?

That's a strange question isn't it? I can tell you why I'm asking it, but so far, I don't know the answer.

Michael just finished up the last of his antibiotics on Sunday night. After all my complaining, the second half of the doses went down shockingly easy. So easy, in fact, that I didn't want to say anything for fear of jinxing it. When he took the last dose, we all cheered and I promised Michael I'd take him out and buy him a piggy bank. End of story, right?

Right?

Please, please please be the end of the story.

I picked Michael up from my mom's yesterday and by the time we got home he was complaining that his ear hurt. Not the one that was infected. The other one. I can understand the infected ear not healing due to drug resistance, but for him to actually get a new ear infection while on antibiotics seemed unlikely.

But Michael was very cranky and very sensitive. He insisted that his ear hurt. I tried tricking him into revealing that he was making it up by pretending it was the other ear, but he was consistent. I took his temperature. 98.6. I wasn't 100% convinced he was sick, but decided to take him to the doctor just in case.

She pronounced him healthy. Ears clear, throat clear, nose has boogers. He giggled and we returned home.

I'd been played.

I put him to bed and went about my evening. At 8:30 he woke up sobbing. Andy went in to find out what was wrong, but Michael didn't know. Andy got him settled again, and then Michael woke up again at 9:30 sobbing. I went in and tried to find out what was wrong. He said he didn't know again. I asked if something hurt and he pointed to his throat. I offered him Motrin and he freaked out.

Umm...what do I do?

I decided to cuddle and rock him for a few minutes and then I got him settled back to bed. I fully expected to end up sleeping on his floor during the night, and I figured either Andy and I would have to take today off to spend with a sick kid.

Nope. Michael slept through the night. He was a little cranky about getting up, and cried about not wanting to go to school, but nothing worse than normal. Part of me feels that he's actually sick and that I shouldn't have sent him to school, but his temperature is fine and the doctor gave him a clean bill of health.

To be honest, I really expected to get a call from the school today to come and get him. He's been there for 8 hours and we haven't heard anything yet.

I'm very interested to see what he's like this evening when piggy bank shopping comes around. Will he be sick? Will he be healthy?

Who knows? He could be playing wolf. He could be sick. Only time will tell.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Walking with Dinosaurs

We took Michael to see Walking with Dinosaurs on Saturday night. With Michael's well known obsession with dinosaurs, taking him to see the show was a no-brainer. However, after we scared the boogers out of him at Disney's Animal Kingdom by taking him on the Dinosaur! ride, I was a little concerned about how he would do when the lights went down.

The show was everything I hoped it would be. The dinosaurs are truly amazing. In the original BBC series, they did an incredible job bringing the dinosaurs to life. But that was for TV. I really wanted to see what they would do in 3-D. And, wow, did they deliver. Not only did they manage to make the dinosaurs look good, they managed to make them move in such a way that you could really believe they WERE actual dinosaurs. Add the sound track and it really did feel like we were sitting in a room with dinosaurs.

How did Michael like it?

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He loved it. The look on his face when the first brachiosaurus walked out was priceless. Pure joy and awe wrapped up in one. He sat on Andy's lap through the entire show so he could see better and every time I glanced over at him he was smiling. He really got into the show and even tried to talk to the dinosaurs a few times when they looked out at the audience.

I was very relieved when the lights went down and the first dinosaurs came out and Michael did not seem frightened. I was more concerned about the darkness of the area than I was the content of the show. Michael has watched the BBC series many times, and the fact that nature is not always pretty is addressed well in the shows. I figured that as long as they kept the fighting and eating of others to that level, we would be OK.

In fact, it was a little more kid friendly than the BBC series was, so certainly safe for the more sensitive kids in the crowd. I didn't hear any crying during the show, and I didn't notice anyone removing frightened kids from the arena. They did have three Utahraptors nibbling at a dinosaur carcass, which was pretty mild and blood free. They also had an ankylosaurus hit the big T-Rex with it's tail, but the T-Rex was fine and went on to take care of her baby. (In the BBC series, the Mama T-Rex dies after getting hit in the leg.)

The biggest concern with the show turned out to be the noise. Walking with Dinosaurs is very loud. It really adds to the experience, but there were a number of kids with their hands over their ears through parts of the show. Fortunately, Karen had cautioned me about this, so we took ear plugs with us. Both Andy and Michael are sensitive to noise, so this really helped them enjoy the show. And let me just say, even with the ear plugs, the show was loud.

They wrapped up the show with the T-Rexes, which was the perfect ending for Michael. Even though he jumped twice - once when the mama was hit in the leg, and another time when she roared - I'm pretty sure Michael would have gone down and tried to give her a hug if he had the chance.

Overall, Walking with Dinosaurs was a huge success. Andy and I enjoyed the show, and Michael smiled from ear to ear during the show and all the way home. I'd recommend the show highly to anyone who likes dinosaurs.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

That's Not Good

I have a very active imagination, which is normally a great thing, but does come with some draw-backs. By draw-backs I mean things like being afraid to go into the attic or basement by myself until I was 13 because, dude some spooky, scary monster thing is going to jump out and...um...I don't know. I never got that far. I just knew that it was bad.

My parents spent years paying for the decision to move a kid with an active imagination into a house with a tombstone built into it's foundation. I can still hear the exasperation in my mom's voice as her teenager begged her to go into the basement with her.

As I've aged, I've tried to calm my mind down and use my imagination for good, and not for over zealous reactions to things. I mostly succeed.

Last night I did not.

We had another storm front come through yesterday that pushed out just in time for me to take advantage of the cool air for an evening run. I took a little break after the 5K, and last night I wanted to really go for it an do a four mile run.

I felt great after the first mile. I was sure I was going to make all four miles. I could just feel it. Everything was just right for the run.

I ran up the hill from hell and was still doing great. I could tell that the sun was just low enough that I wouldn't bake along my favorite part of the run.

Then, it hit the two mile point. This is the point in the run where I'm the furthest from home. If I go forward or turn around, it's two miles either way. It's a pretty crappy place to bonk, let me tell you.

As I round the bend to head me back home I start to notice a little pain in my lower abdomen. Oh no! What's that?

My first thought was that it was that time of the month. Not a good thought. I'm two miles from home, wearing light running shorts, and all I have is a bottle of water and an iPhone. (Now, if I had an iPad, totally different story.) This could be very embarrassing.

I did some calculations in my head and determined that the potentially embarrassing scenario was highly unlikely. That would have been a relief if it wasn't for the burning feeling I was experiencing down there.

So, I went straight from ration assumption of my period starting to all out crazy ideas. OMG! I bet my IUD is falling out! Just because it's been fine for 4 years doesn't mean it coudln't happen now, while I'm running in the park!

At that point, the pain started to spread upward towards my chest. HOLY CRAP! I THINK MY IUD MUST HAVE PUNCTURED MY UTERUS! I'M GOING TO DIE RIGHT HERE IN THE PARK DURING MY RUN!!!!!!

Of course, I may have been overlooking the fact that it didn't even hurt enough to make me stop running. I'm pretty sure immanent death normally involves symptoms that require you to at least slow down your pace. But I was still in the middle of my mental, OMG!!! fest when it hit me.

When I got home yesterday, Michael was playing with his T-REX and he didn't want me to sit on the sofa. instaed of fighting him, I opted to lay down on the floor. While I was there, I got a little bored and decided to do some crunches. Clearly, I did a few too many crunches and running was using those same muscles.

Oops.

Maybe I got a little carried away there for a minute.

So much for trying to be level headed.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wipeout!

I think that I have accidentally given Michael the wrong impression.

Andy and I both exercise on a regular basis, and we think it's important to set a good example of how to stay active and healthy for Michael. We make a point of talking about exercise with him, and we make sure he knows that we exercise. Michael has played on our rowing machine and elliptical and he has watched each of us leave the house to go running. I even take him "running" with me some times.

Based on the times when I take him running, one would think his idea of running would be running a few feet and then begging to ride on mommy's back.

I've also spoken with Michael about running races. Michael and Andy came with me when I ran the 5K, so Michael has seen a group of people start and finish a race. If you add that with his idea of running, I would think his idea of a race would be riding mommy's back through the park.

A few weeks ago, we ended up watching the show Wipeout on TV. If you haven't seen it, it's a group of people trying to get through a bunch of crazy obstacles fast enough so that they can get to the next round. They do crazy things like try to jump across huge balls, walk along a ledge lined with a wall of punching arms that shoot out randomly, and get through courses with large mechanical swinging parts designed to knock them off. There is a lot of water, mud, soap suds, stuffed animals, and other strange things involved. To top it of two wise ass hosts make of of the idiots running the courses.

Some how, Michael joined the hilarity of this insane show with his mental idea of a race. And to him, it sounds AWESOME.

One night last week I took Michael for a walk in the park. He spent the entire walk talking about the race we were going to be in. He had all kinds of crazy details worked out. The race was far away. I was going to drive him. There was a ledge with sticky, grape gum that he was going to stay on. The race was going to be at 9:80 o'clock. He was very insistent that we would be going, and that he would win.

(By insistent I mean he spent the entire hour going, "Mommy? Then we are going to do this." expecting me to respond to every single statement he made. I'm pretty sure participating in Wipeout would have been less exhausting.)

Since then, his interest has only increased. On Saturday he watched the show online for 45 minutes. Last night he had me stack pillows so he could jump across them to practice for the "race". He made me shake the pillows to make the whole thing more exciting. The kid is preparing like it's an Olympic competition.

Ironically, I plan on taking him to Warrior Dash in October. I suspect that will do nothing to dispel his belief that a race involves crazy obstacles and mud.

Oosp!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Moms Just Know

Michael has been fighting a cold for about a week. He had already been through the gross nose part and was fighting the coughing all night part by last Friday. He was in a good mood when I got him up, and getting him ready wasn't a problem. When we were getting ready to head to my mom's house I noticed just the smallest amount of "sleep" under his eye. It could have been normal, but something in my mommy mind took note of it.

When I picked Michael up from my mom's he was in a good mood, but very mellow from swimming for three hours. His eyes were a little red, but they normally are after spending so much time in the pool. Both eyes were clean, so I didn't thing anything of it.

So, we went out to dinner. Michael was tired and hungry and we had one of the nicest trips to a restaurant ever. In fact, he was so good we decided to head to the mall for some quick shopping before going home. Well, the mall has much better lighting.

Hey kid, come here.

This is what I saw.
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Hmm...that does't look like cholrine irritation. There's no gunk, but maybe the pool washed it way.

By the time we got home, it was starting to get gunky. We all know what that is. Pink eye!

We had missed the walk in clinic hours, and Michael didn't seem to be bothered by his eye, so we decided to hold off until the pediatricians' office opened the next morning. I also noticed that his nose was really starting up again as well so I actually said, "Hey, if you are going to get an ear infection, do you think you could do it before we get to the doctor's office tomorrow?"

Ha, for once he actually did what I requested. By the time we got there, not only was his right eye completely encrusted with gunk, his right ear was inflamed as well. Umm...great?

It's good that we were able to catch the ear infection as well as the eye infection so a second trip to the doctor wouldn't be necessary. The bad part is that Michael needed both oral and topical antibiotics. When the doctor handed me the two scripts I was tempted to ask, "would you please just kill me now?" Two medications? Really?

Crappity crap.

So far, the eye drops haven't been bad. I got a Visine bottle and had Andy give me drops to show him what I was going to do to him. We are using the lay down, close the eye, place the drops, then open the eye approach and he doesn't seem to mind. In addition, once he gets his drops, I give him the Visine and let him administer drops into my eyes. He's very gentle for a four year old, and I think he enjoys giving them to me so much that he has no problem letting me give them to him.

The oral antibiotics for the ear infection? Not so good. He took the first dose from me and then must have remembered that he hates the stuff, because he dribbled the second dose down his chest. The third dose required a sticker chart and bribery. I'm pretty sure that at this point you can call what he's doing extortion. And I don't have anything in my arsenal to combat it.

Or do I? Last night I asked Andy to give him the medicine while I wasn't in the room. I suspected that Michael might not pull the extortion crap on Andy because Andy isn't a sucker like I am. And I was right. He took it for Andy without any problem, and they repeated the same scene this morning. So, 5 of 20 doses down, 15 to go. Anyone want to take a guess at how long he listens to Andy?

I am a little concerned about Michael's right ear. He's had three diagnosed infections in it since January. I suspect he actually had a fourth one in that ear right around his birthday because that is the ear that failed his hearing test at his well child visit. He had complained about it once, but upon repeated questioning said it was ok.

I have a funny feeling about this.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Randomity Randomness

Michael has suddenly become afraid of the dark so we bought him a new light for his bedroom. It's a bit too bright. He's also still in the coughing and gagging stage of his most recent cold. If you combine these two things, you end up with a kid who's not sleeping well and a mommy blogger that can't form coherent thoughts.

So, randomness!

  • I discovered that I've been listening to the New Moon soundtrack too much when I heard Michael singing along with "I Belong to You" by Muse. He's also been singing some Linkin Park, but he picked that up from Youtube.
  • We purchased a new elliptical and it was delivered yesterday. The difference between the old and the new is like the difference between a used Yugo and a Mercedes.
  • I knew the old elliptical's distance meter was off, I just didn't realize how bad it was. I suspect it shorted me between 40-50 500 in 2010 miles. I'm a little annoyed about that.
  • I'm still being influenced by the overly cute Wow Wow Wubzy speak, as you can see by my blog title. I apologize, but I can't guarantee that it won't continue. It's a sickness.
  • After reading a number of really good young adult novels I was starting to wonder why young adults have better literature than adults. At that point I realized that maybe I should take a break from Fantasy books so I raided the summer reading tables at B&N. I always forget how much I love Hemingway until I pick him up again.
  • Since I have such limited free time as a working mom, I decided to pick up the new Harry Potter Lego game to suck up the last remnants of free time I was actually able to find.
  • For the first time in the many years we have been together, Andy now knows what it feels like to have the TV taken over by someone playing a video game. I kind of like it. I'm considering taking over the remote too.
  • No, not really. I've tried taking over the remote before and I always fail. In fact, I strongly suspect that it's only a matter of time before Andy takes over my Harry Potter game too.
  • In other evilly evil news, I mentioned to my 74 year old father that a 74 year old man kicked my butt at the 5k. "So kid, what was your time anyway? When I was running last summer I was doing about an 11 minute mile..." I told him my time and pointed out that I would beat him. I promise you, it's driving him crazy right now.
  • It's a good thing the new elliptical has interval training on it. I'm going to need the added boost once my dad can no longer stand the idea that I can beat him at a race and starts running again.
  • And of course, when Andy takes over my Harry Potter game, I'll have more time to train.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

My First 5k

One of my 500 in 2010 goals was to run a 5k in the fall. I'm happy to announce that I have completed the goal two months early. It was very exciting and I'm very proud of myself.

The 5k was held at my local farm park. It's not a very big event, only 105 runners this year. But, it's the park that I train in, so how could I resist racing on my home turf?

It wasn't the most organized event I've ever been to. There was confusion as to whether it started at 8:30 or 9:00. Because I cannot stand being late, I got there at 7:45. And waited until 9:00 for the race to start. I spent a good portion of that time helping Andy keep Michael busy. I also spent too much of that time getting hot. But, this is this the send off I got, so totally worth it.

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For some reason they started us across the street from the park, so we had to gather in the school parking lot and wait for them to stop traffic so that we could run 20 yards to the entrance of the park road. Not a very good plan, and one woman actually fell making the hard right onto the park road.


Here I am standing at the start while the race director shouted instructions over two idling ambulances with diesel engines.

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You can see that we were not very organized.

I have to admit that I felt very intimidated waiting for the race to start. Most of the people were running in groups and most looked like they knew what they were doing. I just sort of followed the crowd and that seemed to work.

Starting the race was a strange feeling. I didn't know the etiquette of getting out of people's way, but I got lots of experience. I was passed by a large number of young folks, a good number of older folks, a man pushing two toddlers in a stroller, and a 74 year old man. In fact, I was passed by all but 19 of the 105 runners.

I'm not a very competitive person. I like friendly competition and I like struggling against personal goals, but I've never been bothered by other people beating me at things. So I was a bit surprised at how much I did not like being passed by so many people. I even caught myself passing two young women on a hill because I really thought I could take them. (I did!) At some point during the race I decided that not only did I want to come in at 33 minutes - my best 5k practice time - I also didn't want to let those girls catch up to me.

There was a time when I thought that passing the girls on the hill was going to do me in. I made it up that hill, and down and around a bend, but the next hill almost beat me. Several of the race support team members were clapping and cheering for me, and part of me wanted to tell them what I thought of their cheering right then. Of course, I was too out of breath to say "boo" let alone anything unpleasant.

That's when I came to a pile of dog poop right in the middle of the road. Who does that? It's a public park, for crying out loud! Clean up after your dog, especially if it's pooping in the road! Come on people, that's RUDE!

Next thing I know, I'm at the top of the hill. I guess getting angry at thoughtless dog owners was just the distraction I needed.

From there on out, I knew I was going to make it. I only had about .5 miles left and one hill to run up. Based on how many people had passed me, and how few were left behind me, I figured I had really tanked on my time. I would be happy for anything under 40 minutes.

Finally, I was at the top of the hill and only had a straight shot for the finish line. Andy and Michael were there to cheer me on.


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As I got closer, I saw the clock.


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It was 31:50. I put the last bit of energy I had into it and crossed the finish line at 32:06. Almost a full minute faster than my best time and my goal.

It felt wonderful.

And...
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A litte bit exhausting.

My knee hurt. I was hot. And I had to explain to Michael that no, mommy didn't win. But it was all good.

Even though I didn't win any awards, we waited around for the rest of the runners to finish and for the award ceremony. I watched two 76 year old men complete the run in about 40 minutes. That was awesome. Then, we all cheered as the final runner came across the line. It was a mom about my age who had run the race along side her five year old daughter who was on a toddler bike with training wheels. It was one of the cutest things I've ever seen.

When we got home, Andy and Michael had a little surprise for me.

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I'm the luckiest woman in the world!

Next up? Warrior Dash!


Thursday, July 1, 2010

I Smell Smoke

I'm a bit of a weather watcher, so I have the Weather Channel app on my iPhone. The thing I like the most about it is that it shows the local radar. That way, if I'm out and the sky starts looking dark, I can check and see if it's going to be a sprinkle or a downpour. It really comes in handy.

One thing about the app is it shows all of the weather warnings for the area. Sometimes, there will be up to seven or eight warnings. They cover everything from fog, to frost, to thunderstorms, to bad air quality. Many of the warnings are redundant because the same warning is issued for overlapping areas. It's very handy, but can be a bit much.

My favorite warning, which I first saw this spring, is the Fire Weather warning. Fire Weather? Really? I can see this being useful in the New Jersey Pine Barrens where forest fires are common, but I've never heard of a forest fire in the Philly suburbs. I'm not saying they shouldn't post these warnings, but I'm not losing any sleep over them either.

A wonderful mass of cool dry air has overtaken the region this week and it is glorious. Yesterday had brilliant blue skies, it never even reached 80, and there was a cool breeze blowing. When I checked the Weather Channel app, sure enough, it was Fire Weather. Noted, and promptly forgotten.

Andy and Michael were outside when I got home yesterday, so we stayed outside for a little while and played dinosaur bowling. Every so often, I'd get a whiff of smoke. Not cigarette smoke, wood smoke. Odd. So odd that I even mentioned it to Andy. I looked around a bit, but didn't see any smoke, so I figured it must not be too close and went about my business.

After dinner, Michael and I went back outside. When J and C came home, we went over to greet them. J's mom asked me to keep an eye on the boys while she ran all of their gear in.

She got to her steps and yelled, "OH MY GOD JOANNA!"

She's normally very chill, so I was very surprised to hear her yell. She called me up, and this is what I saw.


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The mulch outside her front door was smoldering and part of the fire wall was burnt and the drain pipe was melted through.

I said, "Oh my god!"

Michael and J walked up and said, "Oh my god!" What cute little mimics they are.

J's mom got a big bowl of water while I kept the boys away. She dumped the water on the fire and it did almost nothing. So she got another, and another, and another. There were no flames, but that sure was one hot little fire.

Soon M and her dad got home, and he came over to see what all the fuss was about. Poor J's mom was so upset I thought she was going to hyperventilate. Then, another neighbor came out to see what was going on. What an interesting situation for meeting new neighbors. The men held a conference and decided to advise J's mom to call the fire department to make sure that there was nothing smoldering in the underground drain pipe that was involved in the burning.

I continued to wrangle the kids. I felt a little like the red cross as each child decided he or she was thirsty. I made a number of trips into my house to fetch take and toss cups of milk for everyone. By this time, M's mom was also home, so we had a whole band of people out when this showed up.


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Sirens and all. In the end, two fire engines, the fire chief and a police woman showed up. You would think the kids would have been excited when a big red fire truck pulled in with lights flashing and siren screaming, but no. They didn't seem all that interested.

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Notice that Michael doesn't seem the least bit interested in the fireman with the extinguisher right next to him.
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Then again, that's the fire chief sitting on the steps with a garden hose. He wasn't all that worked up either.
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To be honest, I think the most exciting thing about it all was when a few of the men got a look at the young woman on the left in the above picture. I didn't get any face shots of her, but she was the most attractive fire woman I've ever seen.

Over all, it was a very minor incident. No one was hurt, very little damage was done, and we now have great material for neighborhood jokes.

I do feel very bad for J's mom and I understand why she was so close to a panic attack. She's an occasional smoker. She often sits on her front steps and has a smoke in the evening. It's pretty obvious that it was a hot ash from her that started the smoldering. If that's not bad enough, the last time she had smoked was the previous evening. That fire was smoldering all night long. It was only inches from the wooden front steps when she found it, but can you just imagine if it had moved that way to begin with? A fire could have started while they were sleeping. If it had, it would have been directly under the boys' bedrooms. Only luck prevented something much more serious happening. Can you imagine the horrible scenarios that were running through her mind the entire time?

I guess there are two morals to this story. One, smoking is dangerous, even when you are being very careful. And two, don't laugh at Fire Weather warnings.