Archive for March, 2010

WHAT a City!

Today, as a part of Young Christians Weekend at Silver Dollar City, the AIM team had two fifteen-minute presentations at the Boatworks Theater (10:45 AM and 1:15 PM).  Then the SALT team (older, leadership subset of the AIM team) had two additional thirty-minute presentations at the Saloon (2:30 PM and 4:00 PM).  Those shorter ones were Andrew’s first official times to present with the AIM team, and I knew it was important to him for us to be there to watch him.

The kicker was that guest passes are not allowed this weekend, and we only have four season passes.  Following Scott’s skiing accident, the time for ordering season passes rolled around, and we just didn’t know what our financial situation would look like this year.  Also, Katie, who is only here in the summer and for a couple weeks at Christmas is not the world’s greatest SDC fan, and although Scott likes to go occasionally, he doesn’t have a lot of opportunities to do so.  Given all that, and given the fact that for each season pass you order, you get a limited number of “free” guest passes (although each year the number of those passes and the dates they can be used gets smaller and smaller), Scott decided to buy season passes only for Jessica, Josiah, Andrew, and Walnut Shade Mom.  He and Katie would just go when the guest passes would allow them to

It made no sense for Scott to spend $56.96 for a one-day pass just to watch Andrew (and Josiah) present for 15 minutes, which is why I left the house at 11:50 AM to go to the City to see Andrew in the mime presentation at 1:15 PM.

The parking and tram-riding up to the park has changed a lot in the past year or so.  You park farther away, and the trams stop in more locations, so the ride up is a lot slower than it used to be.  Since I had plenty of time, I actually considered just walking up, which would be good exercise.  But then I thought about being hot and sweaty when I arrived, and about not having as much time to wander the park and take pictures before the presentation, and then I noticed that there was a virtually empty tram sitting RIGHT there, ready to haul me up the hill, and so I caved in and rode.

The tram filled to a person at stop 5, and there was a lot of talking, plus the groaning of the engine, so it was kind of hard to hear what the tram guy at the back was saying.  We’ve been really blessed to be able to go to Silver Dollar City a lot, and I have heard that welcome spiel quite a few times.  I didn’t really pay much attention to it till I heard him say – or thought I heard him say – something about being born or married in 1960.   He repeated himself, and that time I thought he said that if you were born in 1960 and brought in your driver’s license and birth certificate (or if you were married in 1960 and brought in your driver’s license and marriage certificate), you could get a free SEASON PASS! About that time, we lumbered past a sign about SDC’s 50th anniversary, and then my lightning fast mind finally put it all together.

Exiting the tram, I headed to Guest Relations, where “Marie” was most friendly and cheerful.  I told her that I thought I had heard on the tram that people born in 1960 could bring in proof thereof and receive a free season pass.  She said that was indeed correct.  (WOW!)  I told her that I was born in 1960, that I had my driver’s license with me but not my birth certificate.  I also told her that I already had a season pass, but that my husband did not have one.  If I were to bring in my birth certificate some other day, would it be possible for me to use my 1960 arrival on the planet to get a free season pass for Scott (even though he was not born in 1960)?  Marie said, “SURE!”  Well, now!  Wasn’t that something?

Then she said, “We can work that out for you right now.”  (Really?!?!?)  All she needed was my driver’s license and my own season pass.  In a matter of minutes, she created a free 50th anniversary pass in my name, changed the name on my old pass to Scott, printed them both out, and handed them to me.

So, just like that, thanks to my riding the tram, my parents’ well-timed family planning, and Marie’s helpfulness, Scott acquired a free season pass (value:  $77.38)!  I quickly called him and told him that there was a free season pass waiting for him at Guest Relations and that if he left immediately (12:32 PM), he could probably get there in time to see Andrew present with the team.  He did, and three minutes before they went on stage, Scott arrived at Boatworks.  You should’ve seen the look on Jessica’s face!

P.S.  Marie also gave me a 3″ diameter SDC pin that says, “I’m celebrating a 50th too!” and told me that I’m to wear it each time I come to the City so that everyone will know how special I am. Frankly, I find this a MUCH nicer way to usher in one’s 50th birthday year than the application packet I received from AARP a few weeks ago.


I have renewed admiration for that rare breed of person who teaches the SAME THING YEAR AFTER YEAR to yet another group of kids.  I am going through 5th grade math for the fourth time, and I can honestly say that if I never work even one more of these math problems, it will be too soon.

I have had kids who “get” math quickly, kids who understand math concepts but totally mess up mindless calculations, kids who dislike math but do it well, kids who don’t give a flying rip about math until forced to care, and now I have the kid who doesn’t like it, doesn’t care about it, AND has a very tough time remembering procedures and how to apply them to new problems.  Sigh.

This means that I get to work LOTS and LOTS of math problems with him, and frankly, I am weary of math.  I’m sure I will get over it, but tonight, please don’t show me any more challenging word problems.

Bear Chase

This morning’s forecast indicated a high likelihood of rain, so I was really pleased that it wasn’t raining when I went out to walk at about 7:00 AM.  I normally walk three laps (1.5 miles) six days a week, but there are some upcoming mornings that I won’t be able to walk, so I’ve been doing three-and-a-half laps lately in preparation for that.

I walk and pray on the highway shoulder, and Jessica runs, walks, and prays on Coffee Road.  She’s usually out a little earlier than I am, and although we see each other from afar we don’t generally cross paths or talk while we’re each doing our thing.

As I headed toward the house at the completion of lap two, I noticed that there was a brown dog scampering through our yard near the cellar door and that Jessica was walking into the yard behind him.  Brown dogs are not uncommon in our part of the sticks.  There’s Molly (two doors down, just this side of Bill and LaShell) who runs loose a lot and has very little brain, Sparky (four doors down) who used to jump on Jessica in the mornings, till she trained him to leave her alone, and of course the occasional stray.  From my mobile position on the near end of the bridge, I couldn’t tell which brown dog it was, and I didn’t give it much attention till I looked again a few moments later and saw Jessica petting a HUGE white dog by the cellar door.

That was a dog I had never seen before, and it was quite large.  As I got closer, I called to Jessica, who was grinning (her motto is “be joyful always”) and saying that she didn’t know whose dog it was .  He was massive with lots of long white, wet fur, but he was nice and mellow.  The brown dog was rather more spastic.

Jessica dug around and finally found a tag on the monstrous one (the brown one had no tag) and announced that he must belong to “McDowell.”  Aha!  Ann McDowell had led Josiah’s Cub Scout troop in Branson when he was nine and ten.  She and her husband had recently purchased a home on some land our in our neck of the woods, and, prior to actually moving out here, had had a brown dog (“Chase”) that was staying out at the house.  We had gotten to know Chase because he had twice gotten loose, gone down to Bull Creek (which abuts their land several miles upstream of 160) and followed the creek down to our house.  They had come looking for their lost dog, which is how we kind of reconnected with the McDowells after several years.

It had been a number of months since Chase had last appeared on our porch, and I hadn’t recognized this morning’s brown dog as him, but when Jessica read me the phone number on the the white monstrosity’s tag, “Apollo’s” phone number matched Ann’s cell phone number.  I called her, got no answer, called the second number on the tag, and reached Bob, who said he’d come get them.

Sure enough, ten minutes later he arrived to haul off two very wet dogs, calling the big white one “Bear,”  (which I guess is short for Apollo?) – hence the post title.

Andrew has two beautiful, functional teeth!

Andrew spent another hour-and-a-half in Dr. Petteway’s chair this afternoon.  Once again, he didn’t move a muscle or make a peep.  On each of the two teeth, Dr. Petteway drilled out last week’s filling material, enlarged the tooth cavity, removed some of the gutta percha, inserted a porcelain post, repacked something (?) around the base of the post, then used composite filling material to build up the tooth till it had the size and shape of a normal tooth.  It was quite laborious, but Andrew was once again the model patient.

The very moment he was released from the chair, he bounded to the mirror to examine Dr. P’s handiwork, and he was quite pleased with the result.  He should be!  (It costs a lot to have two root canals, two porcelain posts, and two “build-ups.”)  We have been assured that these build-ups will withstand the rigors of braces, and as long as he continues to avoid using them to bite into hard foods like apples and corn on the cob (no big deal, as such avoidance has been his standard operating procedure for several years), they should serve him well until he can get his permanent crowns – which should occur around the same time as his wisdom teeth extractions (sigh) and his voter registration.

To say we are all very glad to have this particular dental episode behind us would be an understatement.

It wasn’t a snake.

But Josiah thought it was.

Scott and I were playing a game of pool (eight-ball) in celebration of his completion of the ministry’s 2009 year-end report, in preparation for our upcoming annual ministry board meeting.  He had been way ahead, but I had come back nicely and was just about to sink the eight-ball to win the game, when Josiah came hobbling into the playroom and somewhat hysterically asked us to help him with his foot.

New neighbors moved in next door today.  We had met the four kids (blended family?), and after supper our kids had gone out to play with them.  They all went down to the creek.  That’s where I thought they were when Josiah burst in on my painstaking shot alignment.  He was hollering that he was pretty sure he’d been bitten by a snake, and there were two (fang?) punctures in his foot, and it hurt like crazy, and it was bleeding profusely (he held up his foot to prove the point, and, to his credit, it was dripping blood all over the place), and would we PLEASE come and help him, and would we please HURRY, and he surely hoped it wasn’t poisonous, because that would be very bad.  He was pretty intense.

So, we followed him back through the dining room – where there were splotches of blood on the floor every few feet – and into the kitchen, where Scott helped him get his foot into the sink so we could clean it up.  Once it had been rinsed off and doused with hydrogen peroxide, Scott examined the foot (while Josiah gritted his teeth and winced) and declared that it had only one puncture (maybe a nail or something?), that nothing appeared to be stuck in it, and that it wasn’t a snake bite.

Dried and bandaged, Josiah said the cut no longer hurt.  Really, I’m not sure how anything could hurt his feet, as they must be as tough as cowhide.  He never wears shoes except in public, and his feet get banged up, beat up, and cut up all the time.  In fact, two or three days ago, he did something to the same (snake bit) foot and has a nasty cut right up under the toes.  Does that motivate him to wear shoes?  Heck no.  Do I get too bent out of shape over his foot injuries?  Heck no.

As he hopped on one foot into the living room to read and pray with Scott, I did overhear him say, “maybe I should wear shoes tonight.”  Don’t worry.  I’m sure his backwoods hick image is still intact.  That thought about shoes probably only lasted ten minutes.

Better time management needed

So far today, I have managed to:

* Read the Bible

* Walk and pray

* Shower

* Continually prod Andrew through his academics and chores

* Make some peanut butter brownies to take to our new next-door neighbors (if they ever stay home long enough for us to go over)

* Renew and print library lists

* Prepare Scott’s lunch

* Record a few homeschool hours

* Telephone two friends

* Update household financials in Quicken

* Enter ministry giving checks

* Pay one ministry bill and write thank yous

* Check Andrew’s math and Josiah’s algebra and review their corrections

* Flip the boys’ academics for tomorrow

However, things yet to be done include:

* Calling my mom (I haven’t talked to her in quite a while)

* Planning a week of supper menus

* Making the grocery list

* Practicing the piano

* Cooking supper (but that’s okay because Jessica volunteered to cook tonight!)

* Doing something productive in the yard in the warm weather

* Recording a lot of homeschool hours (I did a few, but need to do many more)

So, I need to organize my time better and be more disciplined.  No news there.

A sick feeling

The last time the national news made me feel exactly like this was that dreadful morning in November 1992 when I woke up to learn that Mr. Clinton had been elected.

Now our members of Congress and our president have given us full-scale socialized medicine, and the whole thing turns my stomach.   God have mercy on us.

The old man must be snoring.

Because it’s surely raining and pouring!  It has been cold (upper 30s) and raining lightly but steadily for about 36 hours. What an unusual first day of spring.

When we went to church today we saw some amazing things.  Just south of Highlandville, the trees began to be ice covered.  Of course, it was still raining.  Then, as we got closer to Springfield, there was snow (or was it accumulated sleet?) on the ground.  Some streets in Springfield were slushy and/or icy, although the main roads were all clear.  Friends of ours who live west of Springfield had four to five inches of snow, and their car’s hood was encrusted in a half-inch layer of ice.

After church, when we stopped at the light at Battlefield (on Kansas Expressway), I saw a several-foot-long, javelin-shaped piece of ice fall out of the sky into the intersection in front of us.  That traffic light is rather long, and as we sat there, more and more ice spears fell from nowhere to shatter on the pavement!!!  ???  After about four of them dropped in rapid succession, we figured out what was going on.  Ice had built up on the power lines that ran above us, perpendicular to our direction of travel.  There was a strong wind from the north (behind us) that was causing the power lines to sway.  As they did, the ice came loose, was caught by the wind and flung southward over the intersection, where it fell.  We had never seen anything like it.  Those were some dramatic spears!

We then had to drop some books at the library, and as we left there and came to a stop sign, I called to the dozing passengers, “Look what’s on that stop sign!”  An octangonal sheet of ice had evidently formed on the back (north) side of the stop sign.  It had then slipped several inches down and to the left, so as to hang off the left and bottom sides of the stop sign.  It looked like the stop sign was wearing a clear glassy “shadow.”  Very, very odd.

Arriving home, we crossed Bear Creek, which was all in a rage and almost up into the end of the horse pasture.  I drove on across Bull Creek just for grins, and that stream was probably only a foot shy of Blansit Road, with all types of natural and man-made debris being hurtled along.

I guess Ky3 was right when they forecast widespread flooding in conjunction with this winter storm.

Like a transatlantic cable

(Andrew’s mouth, that is)

So, the prosthodontist is putting these very thin, salmon-colored, inch-long spikes that are wider at the top and narrow to a point into the Andrew’s hollowed-out teeth during his root canals.  I, who love to learn, am VERY curious as to what these things are and what they’re supposed to do.  When I can stand it no longer, I ask.  Dr. Petteway replies that they’re gutta percha.  Really?!?!? WOW!!  Now, this was truly exciting news.

I had only heard of gutta percha one time before and that was when I read a book about the first transatlantic telegraph cable.  It was insulated with gutta percha!  This was a teachable moment, as well, because Andrew and I had just completed a book about the 1883 volcanic eruption on Krakatoa (between Java and Sumatra).  In that book, we had learned that that eruption was one of the first natural disasters to be quickly communicated to the rest of the world, thanks to the telegraph.

While we sat there waiting for Andrew’s x-rays to be developed (to confirm that the root canals of his teeth had been effectively sealed), I told Andrew that his ice cream cone tips (I had earlier told him that just as you don’t want your ice cream cone to leak at the tip, you don’t want your root canal to be open to potential infection at its tip) had been sealed with the same stuff that was used to insulate those undersea telegraph cables that communicated the Krakatoa eruption.  Really, now, how neat is that?!?

Dr. Petteway heard us talking about the gutta percha and handed us a sliver of it to feel.  WAY COOL!!!

Not so much as a flinch or a whimper

Andrew has braces.  Largely due to his finger sucking habit of yore, his teeth are pretty badly misaligned.  The upper braces went on a few months ago, and in another month or so it will be time for the lower braces to go on.  However, because of a little incident a few year back where his brother threw a seat belt into his face, breaking off two of his lower permanent teeth, there’s not enough of those two teeth left to cement the lower braces to.

For that reason, the root canals and crowns that we knew would have to be done when he’s about 18 have had to be moved forward about eight years (and may possibly have to be re-done when he’s older;  sigh).  Therefore and thusly, this past week (on March 17, 2010) the two-step procedure on teeths #23 and #24 was begun.  He had two root canals done in one sitting.  Next week, we’ll go back for the prosthodontist to insert porcelain posts, sand down the edges, and permanently affix the crowns.  Which are supposed to be strong enough to handle the torque applied by the braces to move the teeth where they need to be.  May it be so.

I used to say that one could buy a car with what has been spent on Andrew’s mouth, but I’m pretty sure we should up that to a cozy starter home in an established neighborhood.  Anyway.

So I had explained to Andrew my understanding (sketchy, and all researched online, as I have no firsthand knowledge – thank God) of what would be involved in a root canal.  I told him he’d be numbed, and that Dr. Petteway would then do these various steps.  He said he was a little nervous and that, “that had better be some strong numbing.”

Frankly, when I am numbed, I always squeeze my buns, grips the armrests and moan softly.  Well, sometimes the volume is turned up slightly, but I don’t actually scream or anything.  I didn’t know what to expect from Andrew.  He asked me to come back and sit with him.  I asked the doc, who said that would be fine, so I sat there with a photography book, trying to smile and be encouraging to Andrew while the doc and his assistant prepared to do things that I was sure would be fairly scary and somewhat painful.

The boy did not utter a peep, did not squirm, did not argue, did not move a muscle.  He just sat there while they numbed him (twice), roto-rooted two teeth, irrigated them, dried the insides of them, packed them, and filled them.  I don’t think it was his favorite way to spend a Wednesday afternoon, but he never complained at all.  I was totally amazed.  I mean, TOTALLY.

I was really proud of Andrew.  May he have an equally impressive repeat performance this Wednesday!

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