Thursday, August 26, 2010

Painting the house red

Sometimes things happen and there's no better therapy than a glass of wine and a good ol' blog-post vent. Sometimes things happen and you wish you'd done a little research ahead of time. So you're prepared. Clearly I wasn't. So if my story will help someone else avoid the freak-out I just lived, I'll have done my good deed of the day.

So I pick up Caroline at pre-K and Ms. Faith hands me an Owie Report (no, it's not about our Dawie Owie). Apparently C had a nosebleed to the point her clothes and socks came home in a baggie. No big deal. We talk about it on the way home, how it's no big deal. Sometimes noses bleed. So I get her settled at home with a snack and not 15 minutes later, she comes flying into the kitchen with blood running down her face. I say, "No big deal. It's okay. We'll get it stopped. Don't worry." I press a rag to her face, then another, then another. And as she's soaking through washcloth after washcloth, she's also gagging because the blood is running down her throat.

But I can't figure out what to do because I can't let go of her nose to call anyone, or look up a phone number to call anyone, or get on the computer and figure out what to do when my baby's nose is a complete freaking faucet!

Finally, I get her to lean over the toilet and drip and spit, and I go grab the phone. Only I have to look all the numbers up in the phone book because who knows numbers in cell phone world. And I can't use the cell phone where I have all the numbers programmed because cell phones don't work in the 18th-century-no-cell-phone-tower-valley I live in. After an eternity the pediatric nurse comes on the phone and tells me to squeeze her nose. Actually I make her yell it because I can't hear her over Caroline's crying. So squeeze. Duh! I'm sure you're all saying, "duh!" But honestly that didn't even occur to me. I was too busy trying to remember if she should lean her head back or tilt forward. So the nurse talks me off the ledge and we hang up.

Then...her nose continues to gush for 16 hours. It seems like 16 hours. Maybe it was only 20 minutes or so. But the whole time I'm thinking I can't drive and hold her nose. Maybe I could put her in the front seat, but wait, Britney got in trouble for that. I should call a neighbor, so I call the only neighbor whose number I know, and she doesn't answer. I start to call my other neighbor, but I'm not sure she'd want to be my neighbor anymore if I make her drive me the 45 minutes to an urgent care center in Cookeville using the very long detour because both bridges downstream and upstream of our houses are OUT. So I resort to calling my father-in-law at work, and he proceeds to talk me off the ledge again. He suggests I might just stay put, add pressure and see what happens in 10 minutes. When he calls back 10 minutes later, her nose has dried up from a gush to a drip, and he reads what he Googled (another thing you can't do when you're holding your child's nose).

In case you ever find yourself living 45 minutes from civilization and your child decides to paint your house with her blood: lean head forward not back, pressure on the bridge of nose at the fleshy point for at least 10 minutes, maybe longer, spit if necessary. Ice and/or 4-hour nose spray can also help shrink the blood vessels. Most important: don't panic. As I said to Caroline 500 times while she was freaking and I was internally freaking: "It's no big deal."

An hour later she's dancing around the house in her underwear singing, "It's no big deal."

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Putnam County Fair

Somebody was in awe of the sights at the fair.

Now this feel more like home (Ethiopia home)...

It's hard to believe this gal gets car sick.

D finally got in on the action with Aunt Allison on the merry-g0-round.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Head above water

And house too. Water's receded, damage minimal. Spence spent Thurs-Sun working on the farm, repairing the tractor and lawn mower that both took a swim. He set up some de-humidifiers in the crawl space and fixed the water system. He repaired fences and did a million chores that are so much easier when wife and kids are out of sight. Sandbox and compost bin are still missing.

The kids and I hung in Nashville and had a lovely time living the city life. We did a little visiting, playing, eating, thrift shopping and churching. Then I just took the kids back to Cookeville tonight for an exchange with Spence (C has school tomorrow) and turned around and came back to Nashville for another 4 days. Walking back into my toy-strewn house made me very sad.

I'm eager to get back home.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Flood #2 - now with commentary

When I first saw these pictures this morning, I didn't have any words. Now, I guess the word is thankful. That it didn't get into the house or ruin the AC units or kill our water system under the house or hurt our horses. It sure wouldn't have taken much more to do so. The other word is goodbye - to our garden, compost bin and kids' sandbox, although Spence says good riddance to the latter.

The kids and I are staying in Nashville while Spence cleans it all up and rebuilds the fences...again. The third time in 2 years. Let me add we're by the river but not technically in a flood plain.

There are three stairs here:

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The lake

We start 'em early in this family.

Yesterday, we ventured out to Dale Hollow Lake for a refreshing break from the broiling heat of Tennessee. Beautiful blue bird sky, cool water, energizing breeze, leisurely paddle across the way to a lovely island, lounging in the shade of a sycamore reading a book and watching the kids splash.

Um, let me revise slightly... Relentless sun, nary a cloud, lake like bathwater, dead calm air, humidity enveloping your body like saran wrap, brief stint in the shade followed by a 26.2-mile marathon paddle around the entire lake!

Okay, I exaggerate a bit. I think it was only a 10-mile paddle and the breeze did cool us ever so slightly whenever a ski boat zoomed by. No, seriously, there were lots of smiles. The kids loved clinging to me and bouncing in the wakes of boats.

And when they were exhausted, the crawled into the makeshift fort Spence built and went to sleep.

Then the marathon began. My first mistake was not looking at the map of the proposed route, thinking ignorance would be bliss. But an hour later when my unprepared shoulders were screaming and all I could see in any direction was water!!! I started to regret being a sheep in yet another Spencely adventure.

It's not the first time my beloved has subjected me to utter misery. Like that time at Joyce Kilmer slickrock wilderness...or that time at Roaring River gorge with the paddle-til-you-die takeout. After 8 years, you'd think I would remember that Spence's middle name is Overshoot or Bite Off More Than His Wife Can Chew.

But, you gotta love him. He does dream up the best family outings. We see scenery that no one (in their right mind) will ever have the privilege of seeing.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Caroline's first day

She's officially a Dodson Branch Elementary Wildcat in the pre-K class. She was incredibly proud of her princess backpack, courtesy of Nana, and promptly told her teacher she was going to be a princess.

She didn't even mind posing in front of her school's sign, courtesy of Lowe's.

This is her teacher, Ms. Faith. Caroline had a time with her name: "Thayth?"

She had a good first day, but was the only one in her class to actually sleep during nap time. We really like her teacher and I'm so excited Caroline will be making friends and learning new things.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Farm week at Roaring River - edited

These fabulous photos are from Spence's all-boy boot camp last week. He typed up a really nice post about it, but committed some deadly blogging sin and lost it all. He's relegated himself to a brutal punishment of push-mowing the lawn in the blazing sun in hopes he dies of heat stroke rather than the shame of being tagged a lousy blogger. So allow me to tell his story -- briefly.

These fine young men are great-grandsons of Hattie and Will Terry Johnson, Spence's longtime next-door neighbors, both of whom died in the 90s. Their children, grandchildren and greats still enjoy the 100+ acre farm in Roaring River valley, and this summer the boys decided to sign up for some fishing, frivolity and fellowship with Spence.

Spence first took them to Waterloo Falls on Spring Creek, one of our favorite hangouts. Spence and the boys caught and cooked their own dinner. This photo was taken at Mill Creek Falls, a great spot to swim and fish.

The fruits of our labor. Well, mostly Jack's and Russell's labor.

This was a day when Spence wasn't cracking the whip and allowed the boys to just have fun. Just kidding! Campbell on the rope swing at Roaring River.

Russell and Jack fishing at Roaring River. Who's the best fisherman? Who caught the biggest and the most? These subjects were debated at great length all week.

Campbell, Will, and Wes at old mill site and falls on Flat Creek.

Wes, Will, and Campbell on Flat Creek. Cool rock formations. (This is a hike Spence and I have only done once together. We hike down Flat Creek, which really should be called Fall Flat on Your Behind Creek because the "flat" part of creek means the bottom is flat and slippery, until you reach the confluence of Roaring River, then you hike up RR through the gorge. The formations are so dramatic, it's hard to believe this is practically in our backyard.) Soon after Spence and the boys reached the confluence, some of their fish were in distress (obviously it's not practical to haul a cooler along), so Spence being the mountain-goat rock-hopper he is sprinted a 12-minute mile up Roaring River to the truck with them, where the cooler was waiting. He saved the fish! Of course, until they met their end with the filet knife a little later.

Spence with two nice smallmouth bass on Roaring River.

Nice catch!

Campbell's smallmouth.

One day, Spence went with the boys and grandmothers (who had been graciously keeping Dawit every day) to Hidden Springs Orchard about 3 miles from our house to pick blueberries. This is Betty Sue. Now that our bridges are out (one killed by the flood; the other being rebuilt), it takes about 35 minutes to get there.

It was a hot proposition, but Caroline and Russell had fun in the sun.

Russell and Jack were dang proud of their big catch Thursday afternoon.

Jack and his longear sunfish.

The boys agreed to share their catch with all of us at fish fry at the Johnson farm.

Dawit preferred corn!

Jack's and Russell's fish. Smallmouth bass and a longear sunfish above. Rock bass (redeye) below. (These are Spence's detailed fish facts, not mine.)

That's a big crawdad! Shouldn't he be on a leash? (I don't think anyone ate him.)

Hellgramite. Great bait, but not too pretty. (Ick!)

Dawie LOVED hanging with the boys, especially Jack and Russell. Here they were showing off Jack's box turtle.

Wes, Will, Campbell, Spence (back row) Russell, Jack, Dawit (front). What great boys!!