I read this blog post a couple weeks ago when a friend posted the link to Facebook. I laughed until I nearly cried. It was just so funny and once I'd read it, posted the link to my husband's Facebook page and commented on the original link posting, I realized why I liked it so much--it reminded me of something I would have done and that I would have written before my life turned upside down.
Here is a one paragraph update on where we are (a length I'd like to restrict myself to when I write) and then I want to memorialize the things that actually matter and that I need to concentrate on so I can survive the crap in this paragraph:
My husband still can't see from his right eye. A year ago today, we were in the medical center at Ohio State. M3's two-week respite to California in early June turned into less than five days and a demand from me as not only her legal mother, but also a licensed attorney that she be returned to this state forthwith. The family who had been vouched for nine ways to Sunday was headed by a woman who turned out to be quite the kook case. And, no, that's not libel when it's the truth. When you know a child has been traumatized and you have a photo of a person in your possession who did part of the traumatizing and you show the traumatized child the photo even after her parents have told you we don't discuss that part of her life based upon the advice of her therapist, you deserve to be called more than a kook. But this is a famiy blog and I'm sure I've cemented my ticket to Hell with all the names I called her when I'd learned what she'd done to my daughter. M3 has been a mess since she returned; we also spent the last weekend of June in Shriner's with her for her first surgery on her burned hand [an injury she suffered in Ethiopia]. We were treated like just this side of criminals by nearly every healtcare professional we came in contact with there. Aside from an uncontrollable case of hives, we were nonplussed. We're kind of used to it--our own family has treated us similarly, so whatevs. No one had heard of Reactive Attachment Disorder and no one wanted to believe that little sweetiepie princess is a budding sociopath. Nope. Poptarts, syrupy pancakes and milkshakes were the order of the day--she came home and refused to eat for a week thinking we'd give in and start whipping up milkshakes too. We are actively searching for a new family for her and praying one will be found before we all go absolutely bonkers. And, my gallbladder has stones. I am in pain pretty much all the time and I cannot eat anything without experiencing greater discomfort. I've not eaten a decent meal in about two weeks. I'm awaiting a surgery date. It is not cool in the least.
Okey doke. That's the real life that eats up 99.9% of my day. But, I don't want to dwell on that all the time. It bums me out and pisses me off to no end. I want to get on with it and have time in my day for moments of joy and things worth remembering.
I had planned lots of things for the respite time we'd expected in June. Unforutnately, we didn't receive it, but my mom stepped up to take M3 for us so I could still carry out the plans I'd made for my husband's birthday weekend.
On my husband's actual birthday, we had tickets to our minor league team's night game. We have season tickets, but not for every game. We have a 17-game package and were lucky enough to have tickets for his birthday.
My husband rarely, if ever, smiles in photos. I love that even without him being tipsy, he is smiling here...I think it's because we waited in line behind a gaggle of children to pose with Heater.
I think he also found it funny that I wanted this photo in the first place. Heater was happy to pose with the Birthday Boy and his date. We had a great time. We stayed until the end of the game. We didn't have to take children to the bathroom. We didn't have to leave early because of M3's behavior. We didn't have to spend a fortune on cotton candy and peanuts (or listen to the whining if we refused to do so). It was a great way to spend a birthday evening.
The next night, we gussied ourselves up and headed to a restaurant we'd never been to for 7:00 dinner reservations. I finally had a chance to wear a dress I'd bought at my favorite consignment store--I'd purchased it thinking I'd wear it to last summer's military ball. Then, my husband tried to put his eye out and we didn't go anywhere the entire summer.
The atmosphere was amazing and the food was too incredible for words. I ordered a salmon that is only available three weeks each year. It had a light sauce over it that was lemony with dill and perfect. The orzo side dish with shrimp was unbelievably good. Wine? Check. Creme brulee? Yes, please!
Don't worry! My Weight Watchers train wreck that was this meal has more than been rectified over the last couple weeks where I can barely stomach a fruit smoothie...I've relost the weight I gained when my June didn't go as planned and I stressed out and ate everything in sight and didn't run but once or twice.
The other thing lighting up our summer is our garden. I've wanted a garden since I moved from home in 1990. I missed it, but it just never happened.
For Mother's Day, my handy husband built a raised bed on the sunny side of our house. Thanks to the privacy fence, the dogs, and the chicken wire he put up, we have not (knock on wood) had any (many?) furry invaders to our garden.
He did an awesome job on the raised bed itself. He and the kids were outside hammering and working for the afternoon. He basically made one trip to the home improvement store, talked to a guy about what he needed, bought that, came home and started building. He's quite the visionary.
The next day (May 8), the fun began. That's when we could put in the tomatoes, zucchini, and marigolds. Later, we added a basil and mint plant. I tried to tell him that the zucchini would take over and that the tomatoes themselves would need more room. He shushed me, bought the plants he thought would work, brought them home, and I planted them. I think because I'd never had a personal garden, he thought I didn't know of what I spoke. But. I grew up with gardening in my veins and dirt under my nails. So, I know what I'm talking about and, as you'll see, he is eating his words now. As long as the crowding doesn't kill the plants, I'm okay with having a crazy whack bed.
It didn't take long and things started growing. It's fun and easy to chart the growth because the bed is planted in front of the bricks on the side of our house--you can count easily the number of rows the plants are surpassing with each photo.
By May 25, the plants were starting to make some moves. You could see the potential for the tomato support cages to see some use by the end of summer (ahem!) or, as I astutely pointed out, by the end of the next month. Even I couldn't truly anticipate what the next weeks would mean in garden growth. We had lots and lots and lots of rain, not very hot temps and many conversations over the garden--I'm sure the C02 came in handy to the fledgling plants.
Then things became a little chaotic (see M3's never-ending drama, supra) and we neglected to take a photo of the garden for a bit. Someone said, "Have you been out to see your garden lately? Things are happening." You aren't kidding!
By June 12, our gardent was definitely taking hold. As predicted, the zucchini was elbowing and shouldering the other plants. The tomatoes were really settling in (save the one in the front right of the bed which we later evicted and replaced) and I started imagining what I would do with tomatoes. I'm seriously considering canning this year. If I could channel my Grandma and her sister-in-law, I would be an unstoppable canning machine. They were like Ethel and Lucy. Although I bitched incessantly as a child on canning days (always in the dead of summer and always hot as balls), I would always find myself gravitating toward the kitchen and their giggling like school girls. They worked together like a well-oiled machine. I so wish that cameras and technology were as available to me then as they are now, because I'd have some great pics to remember those moments by now.
The zucchini is completely out-of-control and the tomatoes are vying for sunny spots. The basil and mint were sending out shoots and feeler leaves to try and escape the umbrella of the zucchini leaves that had begun harshing their mellow.
I mean...LOOK AT THAT!!!
Martha Stewart would be appalled because we didn't properly space our plants. Let's face it, I'm kind of appalled myself. But, again, if the plants don't choke themselves to death and we have the joy of tomatoes, zucchini, basil and mint this summer, I'll live with it this way for this summer and then talk my dearest into a few more of these beds--giving ONE zucchini plant free reign in one bed.
Yep. Mark this one down in your calendar--June 25, 2011, Ft. W had its first ripe tomatoes. Woot!
They were super cute and super delicious. I made M1 try one--she is not a fan of raw tomatoes although she eats everything made from them, including chunky salsa. I told her, however, that tomatoes in the store, routinely, have nothing on one you pick yourself and eat immediately after doing so. Unless you are going to pay top dollar and you buy them they day they arrive from a local grower, forget it.
Your own will always be the best. I'm glad we could snap a photo of the girls' very first tomato in the garden they helped build from the plants they helped plant. That's important. This won't be our last garden, but because we've wanted one for so long, I know it may very well be one of our favorites.
Can't wait to show off our fresh vegetables and herbs in dishes to come this summer!