23.7.09

7 Quick Takes



1. A while ago I helped a neighbor clean up her house, and get cat diarrhea and vomit out of her rug, and fleas. Also climb over the mountains of dirty laundry to find the floor underneath. CPS was the motivation behind her needing to do it. She and the cat had been sick for some time and somehow a social worker became involved. Her kids couldn't come home until she got it clean. I got the feeling that she barely noticed the mess, or stench. I wondered how someone could possibly let things get like that, and then live with it for so long. I guess it's like the clutter that I ignore building up in the corners of my home. After a while it just seems like it belongs there. But I tell myself it doesn't matter as much, because mine doesn't stink. Well, after several days of having the Girl vomit in little splatters every time she coughs, I've taken to simply wiping it up, spraying it with pink solution, and waiting until this whole thing is over before doing a deep clean of the rug, upholstery, and occasionally even bedding. I guess anything can seem normal if you live with it long enough. Which helps me understand why extreme poverty can be so debilitating. People adapt to things, and sometimes those adaptations can be hard to undo once they are no longer necessary.

2. The hardest thing about a sick child is watching them suffer, and not being able to do anything about it. I watch as they literally stop breathing for a few seconds after a coughing fit because their diaphragm is in spasm. If I could be sick for them I would. But there's no way around suffering. The only way is to pass through it, and come out the other side. It's interesting that some of our most vivid memories of feeling love as children is in the comfort we received from our parents when we were sick. I could be building into them a memory of love and comfort in the midst of pain that may last them their entire lives, may shape who they are for eternity. That makes it a little easier to jump out of bed, again, 5 minutes after the last time I lay down.

3. Did you know delphiniums are poisonous? Do you know how many wedding cakes I've seen online decorated with blue delphiniums? I know this because the bride chose delphiniums as part of her arrangements. I was looking up the type of orchid to see if it was poisonous, and just happened to check the delphiniums as well. They can cause vomiting, and in some cases, if you ingest enough of them, death. Now all of those pretty cakes I saw are absolutely terrifying to me. I wonder how many caterers were blamed for the stomach upset that came from wedding guests eating them.

4. Another lesson from this weekend. I need to trust myself more. When I made the test cake, the icing worked out perfectly. The night I made the icing for real the GH was helping me to put it into bags to transport the next day. He kept making worried noises about how soft it felt. (He knows cake, he makes great cakes. It was he who made the ganache filling for the center. I wouldn't have even attempted it.) I was so insecure about it being too soft I bought some more icing sugar the next day and added it in. Only later did I learn that cream cheese icing slumps more and becomes less stable the more icing sugar you add. Which explains why the bottom layer started to go before I was finished. I would have done a much better job if I had only been more confident in what I knew.

5. It's fascinating to me to notice how much of my former life experiences make it easier for me to do the work I have to do now. Even though I had no idea what it was I would be doing at this stage of my life. Of course, I'm learning even more as I go along, but some parts seem custom designed to make my life easier as I figure out how to do things.

6. One of the perks of living in Southern California is fresh citrus, straight off of the tree. Especially the oranges and tangerines. So good. My kids like to make orange juice in the morning. And most days I manage to not freak out about the sticky residue all over the table after they are done. Of course, it helps that they bring me a glass of it as well. Nothing compares to fresh squeezed orange juice.

7. Number 7 was some thoughts on self discipline. It became so long once I started writing that I pulled it to make a separate post about next week. So I guess I have only 6 quick takes this week because I hear someone coughing in the next room...

This just in. It is surprisingly difficult to change the sheets on a top bunk, especially if you are trying to do it without waking the occupant of the bottom bunk. Also, there is no ladder. How on earth does he get in and out of that bed all the time? Come to our house, where even getting into bed can be an adventure. Sheesh!


7 Quick Takes is hosted by Conversion Diary.

image of oranges by Joe Shlabotnick

4 comments:

  1. I would LOVE to live where oranges are available right outside my door! Hopefully, fresh juice will help make the sickness you are facing a little more bearable :)

    I completely understand what you mean about the clutter starting to seem normal. How well you put it when you wrote about poverty being so difficult to get away from - normal has comfort, no matter how impoverished.

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  2. I'm emailing you about the pump... no kidding, it just died an hour ago.

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  3. Your life sounds so interesting! You do amazing things. Bless you for helping someone out who has become accustomed to how she is living at the moment. Your loving hands I am sure blessed her very much.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Trust in your child's ability to climb! I have learned, since a bunk bed made its appearance in our house, that small children have nearly magical skills of agility and balance. As for changing the sheets (the bane of my existence) I'd recommend using sleeping bags if you have any until the illness passes. You might go nuts otherwise. Or fall off the bed and hurt yourself--seriously how do they get in and out?

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