Emily and I helped celebrate Hunter and Brayden's 9th birthday Friday with a pool party, which is pretty much the only way to do an outdoor kid's birthday party in June.


That's Hunter on top and Brayden on the bottom, despite the fact that Brayden is taller (for the moment).


Did I mention the pool part?


When you're about to turn nine, opening presents is a group activity. There were adults there too, but our group activity was hamburgers and German potato salad.



It's always better with ... Batman.









Bonus video! If it works.


Emily and I gave them a telescope -- always good to keep your eyes on the stars.

ozma914: mustache Firefly (mustache)
( Jun. 20th, 2015 12:10 pm)


My grandkids are turning seven! It’s particularly hard to believe, as I’m clearly too young to be a grandfather. But time is a thief that steals from us all, as I’m sure someone said sometime.


I’ll worry about them forever as I worry about my daughters, nieces and nephews, in this world where technology brings us new ideas and possibilities even as people and governments seem to get worse. Still, things have looked dark before; we can only hope it gets better again.


But there’s time for them to learn of all that later. Until then, leave them to their LEGOs, Mutant Turtles, and Ghostbusters!



I've finished the final polishing of "Red is For Ick", which for those who missed it is a 62,000 word young adult mystery. It's ready to be sent out to potential agents, which I'll probably start right after Halloween.  It's got a kind of Veronica Mars meets Gilmore Girls vibe to it ... I think it's pretty good, but that's up to future agents/editors to decide.

We didn't blow away, although I was out on storm watch for awhile Tuesday.  There were 10 confirmed tornado touchdowns in this general part of Indiana: Two counties that adjoin ours suffered damage, but although we were placed under a warning there were no confirmed touchdowns here in Noble County.

Insurance is getting the accident all sorted out, and it looks like I'll get a rental while my car is repaired.  Since we're taking a trip to Missouri in November, it'll be nice to know we won't have to hear the vibration of the crumpled panel or worry about the damaged tire giving way.

Aaaaannnnddd, the moment you've all been waiting for:  Cute grandkids in costume, photo taken by their proud momma!

Buzz and Woody, also known as Hunter and Brayden )

<lj-cut text="You people who read my Memorial Day weekend of woe post, you already know most of this stuff; I just retold the story to get a column out of it. 'Cause I believe in recycling.">
Frankly, I thought I was handling things pretty well.

We had … how can I say this …? An interesting Memorial Day weekend, in the same way the Chinese mean with their old curse, “May you live in interesting times”. It was fun for the whole family, in the same way some people say “fun” when describing tornado touchdowns and Ebola outbreaks.

Oh, let me begin this story by telling you the ending: Everyone’s fine. Remember that.

It started with my grandson Hunter getting poison ivy on his hands. He’s less than two years old, so that’s a big deal – although it’s hardly surprising, considering he’s one of those kids who has to grab hold of everything he sees.

To give you an idea of how the weekend went, by Monday I’d forgotten about the poison ivy.

Next was his brother, Brayden, getting rushed to the hospital with 105 degree fever. In an attempt to calm my daughter (Brayden’s dad had already gone airborne to the hospital, and he was not in an aircraft), I explained over the phone that high fevers weren’t nearly as bad for toddlers as for older people.

Which is true, but 105 is still pretty darn high. However, I was calm. After all, I wasn’t there.

When Brayden had to be admitted to the hospital Sunday to get intravenous fluids (because it hurt to swallow, causing dehydration), I told his parents that they’d take good care of him and he’d be wetting his diapers again in no time.

I confess, my optimism faltered when he had an allergic reaction to the medication that night, and had to be put on more medicine.

I visited the hospital for only a short time the next day, under the theory that he needed rest, which a bunch of people fussing over him wouldn’t provide. At the time, I thought I was putting up a pretty good front of willingly walking away from the expression of misery on that poor tyke, but who knows if witnesses would agree?

That was one ongoing sage, interwoven like a good detective movie with another storyline, only without the multimillion dollar salaries. The other started with a three a.m. phone call Saturday morning. A hit and run driver blew a red light in Fort Wayne, slamming into our family’s little Nissan Sentra and pushing it into a guard rail.

So right there came two of a parent’s worst nightmares: My grandkid was in the hospital, and my daughter in a car wreck. At least it was the other daughter, not the one with the twins – one person can only go through so much.

I handled it very well. Honest.

Emily and I, who had both just fallen asleep after a very long Friday, headed to Fort Wayne. I haven’t dealt with a situation like this in many years (and didn’t have a clue), so by 5:30 a.m. we were knocking on the door of my other daughter, whose boyfriend is something of a mechanical genius. (And whose son was sick, but Brayden was home and seemed to be doing okay at that point.)

Vinny, as expected, jumped at the chance to help out, because that’s the kind of person he is. (Actually he shuffled at the chance to help out – it was 5:30, after all.) But we were on a time limit: The tow company’s lot closed at noon, and wouldn’t reopen again until Tuesday morning. We either moved the car that morning, or paid a daily lot fee for three days.

I have no doubt Vinny could fix it, despite the bent wheel, broken headlight, and missing rear bumper. But was it worth it? The Nissan was twelve years old, covered in rust, its driver’s side window stuck in the up position, and with no working dash lights. I had only liability insurance for it, so that wasn’t a factor – it could be fixed and maybe run for awhile, or be compacted into the world’s heaviest ash tray.

Even with another tow fee, we could make a little more in scrap metal than it would cost to get it out of there. But it was late Saturday morning, hot, and I’d been up all night. Trying to get it moved was more trouble than it was worth. I signed it over to the towing company, and that extra couple of hundred bucks for scrapping it out was theirs.

I remember the day we bought that car: Jillian hated it at first. But both my daughters learned to drive in that little 1998 Sentra. It was the car I drove 500 miles to meet Emily for the first time, and we went through both good and bad times in it. Some of us were a little emotional.

Not me, though. I was being practical. I must have presented a cool, collected picture, a calm center, as we steered our collective canoe up Crap Creek without a paddle.

Then, a couple of days later, I saw the picture.

Charis wanted a photo of me in front of the Nissan, just for old time’s sake. If the paper has room to print the picture, look at my face. I looked like I’d just been forced to shoot Old Yeller. I was amazed at that haggard look, and will never again pretend to be the guy who’s not being affected by things.

Okay, I probably will, but I won’t let anyone nearby with a camera.

What the heck: We all survived -- except for the car -- and on Monday I slept for almost ten hours straight. It’s possible one or two good things even happened during that period.

But that doesn’t fit the theme, so we’ll save it for another tale.

<img src="<a href="http://s25.photobucket.com/albums/c97/ozma914/Family/?action=view&current=wreckedNissan.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c97/ozma914/Family/wreckedNissan.jpg" border="0" alt="wrecked Nissan"></a>" />
Well, I hardly know where to start this.  Time kind of went a little wibbly-wobbly for us over Memorial Day weekend, so if I screw up the timeline on this, I apologize.  Let me start out by saying that EVERYONE IS OKAY.  There were a few panics over the weekend, so I wanted to get that up front.

I guess it began with grandkid Brayden being rushed to the hospital with a 105 degree fever, Thursday night.  It turns out both of his ears were infected and he had a very bad sore throat, which figured into the rest of the story. Here are Brayden and Hunter a few weeks ago, on a good day:

Brayden and Hunter in their car seats; can't seem to make lj-cuts work this morning, so I'm doing the Photobucket thing.


Now, Jillian had been invited to a graduation party of a classmate of hers Friday night, and when she couldn't get to sleep she decided to head over. In the wee hours of Saturday morning she was driving down Coliseum Blvd. in Fort Wayne when some idiot ran the ran light at State Street and slammed into the side of the Nissan, forcing it into a guardrail.  I got that call that every parent dreads getting, and soon Emily and I were headed down to Fort Wayne to pick her up.

It's ... actually worse than it looks.

At that point Brayden was doing a lot better.  Because I have no talent or sense for this kind of thing, I barged into Charis' and Vinny's house at about 5:30 in the morning, hoping they could help me get the Nissan out of the tow company's junk yard.  They closed at noon, and if we didn't pick it up by then I'd have to pay a daily storage fee until they reopened on Tuesday. (Memorial Day weekend, remember.)

I was on days off, but we'd been researching and shopping for a computer for Emily; due partially to that, at the time of the accident we'd just gotten to bed, after sleeping only about 5-6 hours the day before. So when we were trying to decide the fate of the Nissan late Saturday morning, it was getting hot out and I hadn't slept since the the previous afternoon. Vinny thought he could fix it or, at the very least get a little more out of scrapping than it would cost to tow it.

Unfortunately, at that time of the day on a holiday weekend, there was no tow to be found. I was exhausted and upset, and ready to be out from under the whole thing, so I paid the initial tow bill and signed the car over to the towing company, which will likely make a couple of hundred extra dollars in scrap metal.

R.I.P., 1998 Nissan Sentra that had been in our family for so long that both my daughters learned to drive with it.  I thought I was handling it all pretty well, until the next day when I saw this photo that Charis took just before we left:

Guess I'm not handling it with such good humor, after all ...

After everything was settled, Emily and I finished the computer shopping (That part went well, except for a small issue that Vinny helped us with that evening.  Emily does know her computers.)  We fell into an exhausted sleep until around mid-afternoon Saturday when Vinny and Charis, who'd heard that I was looking for a dresser, called to say they'd found two and were on their way with them -- $40 for two good, sturdy dressers.  Something else happened at about that same time, but since it was very good news and this is a bad news post, I'll save it for later.

We fell back asleep ... for awhile. But Brayden was still sick, and his throat hurt so badly that he was refusing to eat or drink anything. On Sunday he had to be taken back into the hospital, where they found he was dehydrated and admitted him.  The poor little guy had to get an IV for fluids, and spent the night in there.  Because the weekend wasn't exhausting enough, he had an allergic reaction to one of the IV's, and at about 2 a.m. Monday was put on Benadryl and Lortab to clean up the rash and help with the pain:

Poor little guy is just as miserable as he looks.

Emily and I didn't stay long Sunday, both because I had to work that night and because the room was crowded, and Brayden was having enough trouble resting without all the fuss and extra people.  Emily, by the way, was still tired out from finals (4.0 GPA last semester!), packing up and moving to Indiana, and getting over a bad case of tracheal bronchitis.  Jillian has also been sick recently and went through two antibiotic prescriptions, although they were both well away from the twins and aren't germ suspects.  :-)  I had a photo of Vinny looking absolutely exhausted and holding both the kids, but I couldn't get it to upload.  Basically I'm the only person who hasn't been sick lately, and I guess I just jinxed myself.

Oh, yeah: And Jillian is likely moving from my house to Kendallville, where her mom, sister, and grandpa live, to be closer to both job prospects and her fall term at Ivy Tech now that transportation has become a problem.  That's not bad news, exactly, but it's hard on a papa.

So, yeah -- that's how my weekend went.  I apologize because, for the second time in the last couple of weeks, I was totally unable to keep up with my LiveJournal or Facebook friends, but under the circumstances I hope you'll understand.  I hope the long weekend went better for all of you!

The main thing to get out of this: Everybody's gonna be okay.
Ironically, the day after posting my rodent column I had back to back animal encounters. While I was at work a big orange cat appeared at the door of dispatch, loudly proclaiming it was very unhappy and needed love (and food) NOW. He let me pick him up while we called the humane shelter, but wasn't too thrilled about it and had his claws ready for action when I wouldn't let him down. Still, cat scratch fever is so less scary than spider bite allergies.

Now, at the beginning of his shift one of our deputies hit a deer as he was driving toward the office. My theory is that he felt guilty about the poor thing (even though it got up and ran away), so he adopted the cat and took it home. When he opened his garage door to get a cat carrier, the first thing he saw was a mouse run by him. Looks like Mr. Cat has his work cut out for him.

Cut to last evening. Jillian has come home from college for fall break (yay!) and was sitting on a chair in the living room when a mouse leaped across the room, literally right at her feet, then ran under the chair. There was a squeak -- someone squeaked. I headed for the kitchen for a mouse trap, and as I walked back into the room the mouse walked across the floor again, climbed up onto the sweatshirt Jillian left on the floor, and just stood there in front of her. We quickly concluded it was sick, or insane, or possibly had read my column and was screaming "You killed my father! Prepare to die!"

I'm not proud of what happened next, but ... well ... there was a broom involved.

I wonder if there's a statute of limitations on how often I can write columns about small animals?

Meanwhile, since I've been feeling kind of blah lately, here's the one thing that always cheers me up: Grandkid picspam!!!! (Photo by mom)

Brayden, Grandpa, and Hunter )
ozma914: new novel cover art by Kelly Martin (Default)
( Sep. 29th, 2009 08:36 pm)
I went into work early tonight to cover for another dispatcher, and the twins stopped by to visit! Yay! (Well, their mom was with them, of course.) They were -- naturally -- a hit. :-) Plus, they gave me food.

In honor of that:




ozma914: new novel cover art by Kelly Martin (Default)


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