Archive for March, 2009

Email to Dr. Kym

Our wonderful family physician of nine years, Dr. Kym R., moved WAY out of state about two years ago.  She’s not a major email person, but she did include her new email on a Christmas letter.

Some two months later, I eventually emailed her and she replied.  My email was a fairly fun piece of writing, so I am posting it here – along with her sweet response.


Dear Dr. Kym,

I finally carved out some time to scroll through my overflowing inbox and realized I had never written to you.  Sorry.  Life got busy.  Know what I mean?  I have learned a few things lately and since I know you love to learn, too (ha!), I will share them with you now.

1.  If your firstborn attends college on the other side of the country, you will spend entirely too much time crying.  Punt that obeying God stuff and force your children to attend college within a five-hour drive.

2.  Never remodel anything in a house over 90 years old.  Especially bathrooms.  Just let ’em leak.  You’ll save thousands and your blood pressure will stay down.

3.  If you DO get the insane idea to remodel something, do not for any reason hire a friend from church to do the work.

4.  If you are foolish enough to hire a friend from church, make sure in advance that he really knows how to do the kind of job you are wanting done.

5.  Get all estimates in writing, and if your remodeler works on a cash only basis with no receipts or paperwork retained, double your Bumetanide dose, take 2 Alleve and call me in seven weeks – when the job might be done.

6.  When adopting a child, pre-order not only the gender and health status of your precious baby, but also his/her personality and gifts/abilities.  Unless you and your husband are both filthy rich (read:  physicians – ha!), do not request a child with a strong predisposition toward gymnastics, as it is the most expensive sport imaginable.  Baseball would be a much simpler choice.

7.  Perimenopausal women should be outlawed.  They are way too emotional and irritable to live among the general population, and in particular, no otherwise stable family should have to put up with one.  These pathetic creatures should be sent AWAY from humanity for several years and only allowed to return if and when they can carry on a converstaion without biting off any heads and remember why they have entered any given room.

8.  God must have been laughing when he set things up so that children would leave for college, parents would get old, arches would fall, stomachs would sag, bladders would leak, TRI-focals would be indicated, and husbands would have “mid-life crises,” ALL AT THE SAME TIME.  However, with sufficient hearing loss, one can at least occasionally disappear into one’s own world and ignore it all.

9.  Do not space your children more than three years apart.  Nuff said.

10.  Just because you created backup files of everything under the sun before your computer was reformatted does NOT mean you will be able to recover any of the backed-up information.  Always check your backups to make sure they are not corrupted before you have to use them for a restore.

11.  If your superlative in every way family doctor has the audacity to move out of state, and if you are fortunate enough to locate a passable (male) replacement for 2/6 of your family, a different but outstanding (male) replacement for 3/6 of your family, and yet another quite trainable (female) replacement for yourself, do not get too excited.  All the work of locating these fine physicians, dealing with two different (one bad, one horrid) insurance companies, and arranging and attending five different (can’t be back to back) get-established appointments will go down the (at least it’s not leaking since the remodel) toilet – when the passable male moves out of the area and the outstanding male transfers to an Urgent Care, both in less than nine months after you get established with them.  The moral of the story:  If your doctor is adamant about moving, consider following him/her or using frequent flyer miles to maintain your preferred patient status.  Failing that, you will be forced to pick a doctor out of the phone book and set up five more get-established appointments (over a period of two months) with some guy you’ve never met and don’t even know if you’ll like.

There you have it; the wisdom of the ages!




You really can’t imagine nor will you ever know, how very much I miss you.  You know I have office hours every Thursday afternoon and with the new Branson airport going in anything is possible…

love always,


Sign of the economic times?

This morning, I did my one-mile walk, as I do six mornings every week.  I walk on the shoulder of our highway, from our house for a quarter-mile, across the creek to a point where the shoulder ends.  I do two laps which equals a mile.  Sometimes I do more.

I always enjoy walking across the creek (four times) because it changes all the time and I get to see all types of flora and fauna.  There used to be a soft shell turtle that swam around right under the bridge.  This spring one or more beavers traversed the east bank, leaving sawed-off saplings in its/their wake.  Often, a great blue heron is wading for breakfast, and sometimes I get to see him take off and fly upstream.

This morning, an old, beat-up car was parked in the gravel “lot” beside the bridge.  The trunk was open.  I saw some things that may have been a bait bucket and cooler on the ground behind the car, the back left door stood open, and someone was sitting in the driver’s seat.

On my second pass, the occupant looked up at me, making eye contact.  I just kept walking, but on my third pass, the man was out of his car, walking along the edge of the creek, carrying what looked like a new black fishing net.  Not a hand-held net on a stick, but an armload of netting, with a bright yellow border.  Curious.  Was he setting a net in the creek?  It has rained a lot lately, and the creek’s running high and fast.  Nobody fishes it much, because the only fish in it are quite small.  However, once in a great while, we do see someone with a pole at Big Rock.  They don’t seem to catch much.

As I crossed the bridge for the final time on my westward return home, the beat-up car passed me heading east, very slowly.  The driver looked at me, and I will tell you that he had some weird blue eyes.  Rough looking car, rough looking guy, but maybe he’s just trying to put food on the table in rough times.

Handy husbandman is repairer of the leak(s)

So Scott set about to definitively diagnose the source of the attic toilet leak.  He is by nature an excellent problem solver, and he was soon able to determine that the leak was caused by the toilet having two screws loose.  He tightened the screws and voila:  no leak!

While up in the attic bathroom, he also gave Andrew a crash course on how a toilet works and why.  At first Andrew wasn’t all that interested in the lesson, but there was a whole lotta’ flushing going on, and he did learn it well enough to explain it all to me.  Ah!  Homeschool hours.  Let’s see.  Maybe that would fall under “General Science.”

A bit later in the evening, a damp and well-showered, towel-enshrouded Andrew trotted out of the boys’ bathroom.  He does that all that time, but something was different – or, to be exact,  sounded different.  It took me a minute to realize that . . . the shower was still on!  Just as I was about to holler at Andrew, “SON!  Shut the shower off when you’re done with it,” Andrew called for Josiah to come help him.

I was in the office at my desk, which places my ears only 30 inches from the back wall of the boys’ shower.  I overheard Andrew telling Josiah he couldn’t turn the shower off.  Then I heard Josiah deep sigh, mumble, and mutter.  Next I heard Josiah thump down the stairs to find Scott.  With three males now working on the problem, I decided my wisest course of action would be to stay out of the way and say nothing, which I did.

A few minutes later, I heard the shower stop running, so I assumed all was well.

BUT, shortly thereafter, a pajama-clad and somewhat disgruntled-looking Jessica emerged from her room to comment (to no one in particular) that, “I think they really should give you some warning before they turn off the water.”

Me:  What do you mean?

Jessica: Well, I went to turn on the water in my bathroom, and there’s no water.

(Enter the Handy Husbandman.)

Me (to HH):  Did you shut off the water?  All the water to the house?!?

HH:  I had to shut off the hot water because there’s something wrong with the boys’ shower and the only way to turn it off is to shut off the water.   So no, Jessica, you don’t have any hot water in your bathroom tonight, but the cold should work fine.

Okay, whatever.  We’d have Josiah take his morning shower in the attic – (where he could also use the toilet if he so desired, thanks to the HH).

Today after church, we had a wonderful lunch of steak fajitas, quesadillas, cheese dip and chips, and rice (with carrot cake for dessert) at the home of the D family in Battlefield.  After we ate, we stayed and played games and ended up not leaving till (gasp!) 5:00 PM.  On the way home, Scott asked to stop at Home Depot to get a washer.  He had disassembled the shower faucet for the hot side and found that the boys had been turning the hot off so forcefully that the washer had cracked.  Once home, he replaced the offending washer, instructed the boys to be kindler and gentler to their aging plumbing fixtures, and all was well.

That’s two significnat leaks repaired in less than 24 hours, and I’ll let our readers in on a secret:  Mr. HH is also in the process of repairing the broken doors of TWO kitchen cabinets.  They are resting comfortably in clamps in the playroom as I type.

Handy Husbandman, your skills and willingness are greatly appreciated!

Waiting for the snow. . .

It’s 5:30 PM on March 28 – that’s almost APRIL, you know – and our forecast for this evening calls for a 30-50% chance of SNOW from 8:00 PM till 2:00 AM.  I am so excited!

As members of the Branson AIM team, Jessica and Josiah were honored to be a part of Young Christians Weekend at Silver Dollar City today.  They had two presentations (in the saloon) at 2:30 PM and 4:00 PM.  Scott and Andrew went out for the first one and reported that, in addition to the team doing really well and their (especially Scott’s) being terribly proud, it was SNOWING as they left the city.  Now we just need that snow to head a bit north and east, and we’ll be in good shape.

In other news, this afternoon I made a carrot cake (replacing the explosive one from Scott’s birthday a couple weeks ago), but we cannot eat it tonight because it is reserved for tomorrow’s lunch.  A family from church called today to invite us to have lunch with them tomorrow (WOW!) – steak fajitas, so they say.  This is amazing, because I think I can count on one hand the number of times in six-and-a-half years that someone from church has invited us to lunch.  It’s not that church folk are rude; it just doesn’t happen often, maybe becuase there are several of us.  In any case, we don’t have to fix lunch tomorrow (hooray, hooray!), and Andrew made me promise to leave the carrot cake on the counter; NOT on the stove.  I promise.

Outhouses are looking better all the time

This evening, Scott came home, changed clothes, and called to me, “have you been in the attic bathroom lately?”  No, I had not.  In fact I am very thankful that for over a month, I have not had to use the attic bathroom AT ALL.  Instead, I have been blessed to be able to brush my teeth, shower, etc. in The Most Beautiful Bathroom in southwest Missouri.

I replied in the negative, and My Hero announced that we had a problem.  (Sigh)  I didn’t really want to hear about a problem, but he continued to explain that it seemed that the attic bathroom was dripping through the ceiling of The Most Beautiful Bathroom.  This was not an especially pleasant concept.

He climbed to the third floor and returned with the news that the tank of the attic toilet seemed to be leaking.  That maybe a seal was broken and needed to be replaced.  That it had probably been leaking for quite a while; long enough for the subfloor to become thoroughly saturated and then begin to drip.

He thinks it will be a relatively simple repair, and he hastened to inform me that he was NOT going to have that bathroom totally redone.  In fact, all he intends to do is get the leak fixed.  Sounds like a plan to me, but for some reason it also sounds vaguely familiar. . . as if we’ve had this conversation before. . .  He will not replace the soggy subfloor, because that flooring was already ruined shortly after it was installed, when we managed to flood the attic bathroom to a depth of more than an inch.

So, for right now, the attic bathroom toilet is strictly off limits, those utilizing the toilet in The Most Beautiful Bathroom are advised to carry an umbrella, and our goal is to have the problem fixed before Katie arrives for her spring break!

But the more I think about it, what our Ozarkian forebears gave up in the convenience of indoor plumbing, they must have more than gained in the simplicity of leakless living.

We have an employee

It looks like Jessica may have landed a fairly steady part-time job.  One day a week, she is babysitting 8:30 – 5:00 for another homeschooling family about seven miles from home.  They have two girls, ages 10 and 1, so Jessica is able to experience both the thrill of changing dirty diapers AND the challenge of trying to explain prepositions.  Mom stuff.

I’m really happy that she’s able to earn some money, especially doing something she loves – playing with and teaching kids!

What Jessica said

Jessica sent me this last month, and I keep meaning to add to it and then post it.  However, since I haven’t added to it yet, I’m just going to post it and give her credit for it.  Maybe I should give homeschool hours for it!


You know you’re a homeschooler IF:

– you go to bed at night with your science text book under the sheets next to you
– when your feet are cold, you sit on the edge of the bathtub with your bare feet in the hot water reading about 1956
– you take catnaps in between subjects
– you watch a calculus lecture while eating lunch
– playing pool counts as academic credit
– when asked when you’re going to graduate, you reply with, “I don’t know.”
– same response as above when asked what grade you’re in
– your family has six library cards with a capacity of fifty books each and at least three cards are near maxed out at all times
– spring break only happens if Mom feels like it
– schoolwork begins at 6:30 A.M. and is intermittently continued till about 9:00 P.M.
– the roads are covered with ice and you’re doing schoolwork
– you do schoolwork on the 4th of July, New Year’s Day, and Christmas Eve, but you have off on your birthday


We arrived home from our vacation to find that our yard had been completely transform.

In the dwindling percentage of lawn not covered by mountainous molehills, the ground cover is actually GREEN.  And I’m talking about almost ALL the weeds; not just the wild onions.   We also have those little purple-flowered sticking-up weeds all over the place, and the daffodils are in full bloom.

Then, in just the four days since we arrived, a few tulip leaves have pushed their way up through the mulch in the big bed, the crocus leaves have sprouted, the forsythia bush by the smokehouse has created a few feeble blooms (although other forsythias in the neighborhood are completely loaded with flowers), the Bradford pear has flowered, and this morning two crocuses – one white and one purple – both burst open.  Wow!

Spring is my favorite season, but it always seems to come too early.  I am never ready for its rushed days of frantic peeping, blooming, chirping, and changing.  I wish it would all slow down and space itself out better, so that I could enjoy each event deeply and singly.  However, even though spring will surely crash fatally into the dreaded heat of summer, today I am choosing to simply enjoy the springiness of it all.

The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ moms

gang aft agley.

For Scott’s birthday on Saturday, I served him a nice meal of pork roast, mashed potatoes, and green beans – and for dessert, I made carrot cake.  It was a lovely carrot cake, even though I didn’t go the layer route, but instead used my nifty enormous (11″ x 15″?) glass pan.  Sometimes I bake it in a 9″ x 13″ pan, but then the pieces are really thick and the frosting is almost unbearably deep.  This larger cake was perfect (if I do say so myself), and besides, we would each get to enjoy several more pieces over the coming days – YUM!

Sunday morning, I was in the process of dressing when both boys banged on my bedroom door to let me know that something terrible had happened.  The cake had exploded!  No one was hurt, but the mess was terrific, the smell was awful, and it would be better if I didn’t even look till it had been cleaned up.  Hmmm….

The night before, I had left the carrot cake, covered, on the stove.  The pan was so large that it was sitting on both the left front and left rear burners.  I had purposely left it there because Scott and Andrew like to cook major food for Sunday breakfast, often using the griddle which sits on the counter, and the massive cake would have taken up too much precious counter space.

Our oven vents through the right rear burner, and since certain family members – despite repeated warnings – have an undying habit placing plastic things on the right back burner, then turning on the oven and melting whatever had been placed there, I knew better than to leave the cake on the right rear.  I also astutely avoided the large right front burner, as it is the one that would be used if the Sunday morning chefs decided on eggs or omelets.

It seems that Scott had decided to boil eggs for our traditional Sunday lunch Chef’s Salad. He had shoved the cake to the back left burner, so as to boil the eggs in a small pan on the smaller front left.  He had then, however, mistakenly turned on the wrong burner, and his error was not found out until Jessica happened to walk past the stove just as the glass pan exploded all over the kitchen!

by the time I got downstairs (even after the mess had been “cleaned up”), there were glass shards everywhere.  In the burners.  All over the counter.  On the floor.  I noted a paper grocery bag of melted glass fragments sitting on the floor near the stove, an amazingly bad stench throughout the first floor, and, on the counter near the bread box, the remnants of the formerly noble cake, hastily transferred for salvation into a 9″x 13″ glass pan.

We all worked together to get things cleaned up, and then I personally re-tackled the mess after church.  Having noted that the top of the salvaged cake glittered under bright light, I advised that it be ditched.  However, after insturcting the boys to use tweezers to pick any remaining shards out of the frosting, My Beloved assured us all that the cake would be fine, and besides, it was certainly too delicious to waste.  After lunch, he had a piece, and for the next 18 hours he felt nauseous and was sure he had swallowed glass bits that had lacerated his innards.  He then tossed the remaining cake in the trash.

While it is likely that he ingested some shards, all the research I could dig up on the internet indicated that he would be quite fine.  Which he was by the next day.

So all’s well that ends well, with the exception of one glass pan of carrot cake sacrificed as a burnt offering.

Scientifically speaking, Josiah said the explosion was quite impressive, and practically speaking, I have learned that sometimes you simply can’t win, no matter how well you plan.

Why is it . . .

. . . that if one boy is sent to take out the trash, soon two boys will be seen in the backyard, pulling up clumps of wild onions and slinging them against the smokehouse wall?

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