Posted by: Wagons Ho | November 26, 2016

Challenge Accepted

I have decided that 2016 is Barney from How I Met Your Mother. Just when I think things have calmed down for a minute, or actually have the nerve to think things can’t get worse, 2016 laughs and says “Challenge Accepted”.

I knew these last few months leading up to the anniversary would be tough. But 2016 decided just being tough wasn’t enough.

Let’s start with October, my birthday month. I spent most the month dreading any thought of my birthday. I cringed whenever anyone even mentioned it. I told Marshall, and my friends, I wanted to ignore it this year. I hid the date on Facebook, and locked down my page, just in case anyone remembered without the reminder and wanted to post a birthday greeting. I held back tears as I opened cards from the boys, and hid under blankets on the couch all day. I made it through without completely loosing it though.

October also brought the close of mom’s estate. It was 10 months to the day mom died when we met with the lawyer to have dad sign all the final paperwork. I should have been relieved, dealing with her estate had been beyond painful, but instead I was bawling. I’d like to say it was the relief of finally being done but I think more truthfully it was that we were done. This was the one thing we could still do for mom, the thing we could talk about instead of talking about how much we miss her, the thing we could be mad at instead of being mad that she was gone, this thing that had been with us for 10 months, and now it was done.

Other than my birthday, and the estate closing, we had a fairly quiet month. I thought we were safe for October. 2016 laughed. On Halloween we met with dad’s care team for what we thought would be a planning meeting for his discharge. After all the week before he had been home for a test to see if he could maneuver his stairs. They had started ordering adaptive equipment to be installed. They told him he would be going home soon. We thought wrong. During the meeting we learned that they didn’t think dad would be safe to go home alone. The team felt that he needed 24 hr care. They said that even though they had been telling us he would go home, and making plans for that to happen, they didn’t actually think it would ever happen. To say we were in shock was an understatement. After much back and forth they finally agreed that they were part of the problem with him “needing” so much assistance and they would give him 2 more weeks to show some improvement.

So for the next 3 days dad worked his rear off. He pushed himself to walk farther, do more. He wanted to go home and we were going to make that happen. Then 2016 said “Challenge Accepted” again. On Thursday night, after one of his best days in months, dad got sick. By Friday morning he was in the ICU. By Friday night, as I was on a plane heading there, he was put on a ventilator. He was septic from 2 different infections. It was Dec 2014 all over again (The drama is real ). For the next 3 1/2 days he was on the ventilator and more meds than should be given to any one person. But he turned around. He improved. He came off the ventilator. He moved to the step down unit. He was stable enough I could go back home.

Dad stayed on the step down unit for a week before he moved back to the rehab. He started back in therapy. He had a couple good days. We started talking about Christmas plans again. Then 2106 laughed and once decided not only to accept this challenge,  but to take it up a notch. Last Saturday dad started bleeding into his abdomen. They think it was from a procedure he had the previous day. He was rushed back to the step down unit for blood transfusions. In the midst of all this our old man cat decided it was his time to go. Seriously. So while Jodie (my sister) was at the hospital with dad, who was saying he felt like it was his time, I was at the vet with our cat saying goodbye. 2016 doesn’t play.

And here we are a week later. It’s been 11 months today since mom died. We survived our  first Thanksgiving without her. Dad, who has been in the hospital since Aug, is still in the step down unit, and had to have more blood today. It doesn’t look like he’ll be home for Christmas, or even the end of the year. 2016 accepted the challenge to kick the shit out of me and won. I hope it is done but I don’t want to tempt it to show me what else it can do. Maybe if I hide under the blankets for the next 5 weeks it will forget I’m out here. That’s a challenge I’d love for it to accept.


Posted by: Wagons Ho | September 30, 2016

9 months

I miss my mom. Not every second of every day, numb feeling, kind of missing. But hit you out of the blue, actual physical pain when you remember she is gone, miss her. The boys and I play a game where we say what we would do if we had a wish, or 2, or 3. In the past I always said more wishes, or millions of dollars, or a beach house, or some other silly thing. When they asked me the last time I couldn’t answer. Because the one wish I had was to have my mom back. Nothing else. Not more wishes, not more money, not to be skinny, none of the usual stuff. The first thing that popped into my head was “my mom”.

I’m crying at the most random times. Yesterday it was reminiscing with Marshall about the trip we took this summer. One second we are talking and laughing, the next I’m crying. Neither of us know why.

I find myself having to avoid more and more things. Movies, songs, tv shows, even commercials, don’t get me started on the one where the football player calls home to hear his dead mother’s voice on the answering machine. There’s always something that can trip me up.

I’m hiding again. Socializing, acting normal, forcing myself to not cry over seemingly innocent comments, it’s exhausting. So I stay home.

My patience level is still low. The kids, and Marshall, take the brunt of my freak outs. I apologize and promise to do better. I’m not sure they believe me anymore. I’m not sure I believe me any more.

More and more I find myself thinking “I should tell mom about that.” When it happens I have to remind myself that I can’t because she isn’t here anymore. It hurts like you would not believe.

It’s the time of year when we send Trapp’s birthmom a letter and pictures. I’m later than normal this year. Going through pictures, remembering holidays, it was harder than I thought it would be. I haven’t even started the letter yet. She’s one more person I have to tell, just when I thought I was done saying the words. I’m not sure I can do it.

I worry about my sister. I have Marshall to pick up the slack, and the kids to take my mind off of stuff. She has been taking care of dad, working, taking care of her house, and dad’s, dealing with the banks, and vehicles, and all the other estate stuff I can’t do from here. I hate that she has to do it all alone.

It’s been 9 months. 9 short, and long, months. Shouldn’t it be getting easier? Shouldn’t I be remembering happy times more, sad times less. Remembering more of the laughter, less of the pain? Crying less? Angry less?

I keep thinking it will be easier when the bank accounts are settled, when the estate is closed, when summer is over, birthdays are over, dr appointments and first days of school are over. It hasn’t gotten easier. This is so hard and I miss her so much.











Posted by: Wagons Ho | September 8, 2016


The summer flew by. We had a few adventures, and a lot of crazy, over those 99 days. I’ve started and stopped a dozen posts this last month but couldn’t seem to finish any of them so I thought I’d just do a list of things that actually happened this summer.

  • Flew home for a visit. While we were there dad got sick and ended up spending 3 weeks in the hospital.
  • Packed up mom’s clothes and cleaned out her bathroom. Smelling her perfume about killed me.
  • Visited Marshall’s family. It was relatively drama free, which is saying a lot for them.
  • Visited Mount Rushmore and some of the touristy things around there.
  • My grandmother, dad’s mom, fell at home and went to the hospital for an eval. They decided she needed home health care in order to go home and were working on setting that up when she fell and broke her hip. They have now determined she can’t live at home anymore and are working on nursing home placement.
  • Dad fell at home and broke a hip. He’ll be in the rehab until at least Oct according to his latest care team meeting.
  • We had bonfires in the fire pit.
  • We visited the amusement park several times. The season passes we got were worth every penny.
  • Continued to deal with mom’s estate. I’ve always wondered why it takes years to settle estates of rich/famous people, and now I know. I mean it’s been 9 months so far and mom certainly wasn’t rich, or famous.
  • Restarted my Weight Watchers plan. Well technically I never quit the plan, I just quit working it. After gaining back 45 lbs I decided enough was enough.
  • Restarted my budgeting. 8 months of rarely cooking dinner put a dent in our finances, and didn’t help my weight.
  • Cried, yelled, laughed. Sometimes all at the same time.
  • Missed mom, especially as we got ready for school to start. She would have loved to hear about Max’s first day of kindergarten.

All in all it wasn’t a bad summer but I’m not looking forward to the next few months. It was around this time last year that mom first started to say she wasn’t feeling well. She thought it was just her allergies acting up, if only it had been allergies.  School, work, and sports will keep us busy during but I also know these months will be hard as hell. Hopefully I can get through them without completely falling apart.




Posted by: Wagons Ho | July 28, 2016

7 Months

I thought I was doing ok. I had stopped crying every single day. I wasn’t as snappy at the kids. I was sleeping better. I stopped having headaches every day, and wasn’t scratching my head bloody anymore. I was wrong.

I spent Tuesday alternating between being mad and non-stop crying. Thankfully I telecommute so the rants, and blubbering over my keyboard, were only witnessed by the pets. By the end of the work day my head was killing me, I could barely see through my puffy eyes, and all I wanted to do was call mom and talk to her about the crappy day I was having. It was miserable. I miss her so much.

After seven months it shouldn’t be this hard. I don’t expect everything to be sunshine and roses but shouldn’t I be able to get through the 26th of each month by now without falling apart? Seeing her in pictures, hearing her voice on my parent’s answering machine,  dealing with the estate, these are all things that I know will be hard. They are things I prepare myself for. But for some reason I never prepare myself for the stupid 26th.



Posted by: Wagons Ho | July 21, 2016

The fire pit

I like the idea of camping just not the actual sleeping in a tent, spiders trying to kill you, having to find your way to a bathroom in the dark, communal showers part of camping. I do love the family time without electronics, lazy days, wadding in the river, sitting around the camp fire drinking with your friends part of camping though. So a few years ago we purchased one of those small portable fire pits. All the fun of a campfire without having to actually camp.

We used it a few times each year but eventually the bottom rusted out and we needed a new one. I decided this time I wanted something a little bigger but everything I looked at was ridiculously expensive for what they were. We were discussing my hunt for the perfect fire pit when a friend mentioned he had seen fire pit kits on sale at a local landscaping company and that’s when this year’s DIY project began.

Now you would think I would have been satisfied with the fire pit, but nope. I decided as long as we were doing it we should “do it right” and put in a paver patio too. This way we  would have a nice place to sit around the beautiful new fire pit. Marshall looked at me like I was a crazy and said “You want to do a patio too?” and, in typical fashion, I looked back at him, smiled, and said “Of course! I mean, how hard could it be?”

According to the internet, and when has that ever steered anyone wrong, this would be a 1 weekend project, tops. All we would have to do is dig out the space, level it, add rock, add sand, build the fire pit, add the pavers, leveling as we went, add sand to the gaps, and viola, paver patio with a fire pit. Simple right? We could totally do this. We have certainly done more complicated projects. This would be a breeze.

HA! You’ll be shocked to hear this but the internet lied. It was not a 1 weekend project. Now maybe if we lived in an area with no rocks, tree roots, grass, and a perfectly level space it would have been but noooooo we picked the one spot in the yard that had every rock made since the dawn of time in it. Along with the roots for every tree in a 5 mile radius. It was hot, hard work watching Marshall till and dig and cut to get the spot cleared, add in the rock and sand, and get the area ready to build on.

Once that was all done all that was left was the “easy” part of laying the pavers. Marshall wanted to just put down the pavers. As if you can just throw them down and it would look right. Of course this is also a man who thinks you can just throw tinsel on the Christmas tree (Tinsel People) but I wanted an actual pattern. One that would be even, and would have the colors vary beautifully. This required several hours of laying a few sections, standing back and looking, counting pavers, measuring, moving pavers, standing back and looking, and so on. Once I finally had it all worked out I began the never ending task of laying a paver and leveling it only to get a few pavers down the row and be completely out of level. I came to the conclusion that laying pavers is one of the many levels of hell.

After several weeks, a few tears, and a lot of cursing, we finally finished. It came out pretty dang good if we have to say so ourselves. I foresee many years of sitting around the fire, drinking and laughing with friends, while we scream at the kids to quit sticking stuff in the fire and trying to burn themselves up. It will also be a great place to think up our next DIY project. Marshall should be open to suggestions by next summer.

fire pit

Posted by: Wagons Ho | June 18, 2016

80 days

19 days are gone from my 99 days of summer, and my rear hasn’t done much moving off the couch, so I decided it was time to do something fun. The kids have been asking to see Finding Dory but I’m not one for fighting the crowds on opening weekend. I just about talked myself out of going yesterday when I noticed there was a 9:30 am showing, and not just any showing but an IMAX 3-D version. Now normally I wouldn’t pay extra for the 3-D, or IMAX, but since the price was about what we would pay for a regular ticket, and it was at the butt crack of dawn so hopefully wouldn’t be too crowded, I decided to go for it.

The theater was practically empty, the movie was cute, and I only cried a little. Don’t judge me! Disney and Pixar love to make me cry. We had popcorn, candy, and ICEE’s for breakfast and the boys picked their favorite restuarant for lunch. We hit the library for new books and signed everyone up for the summer reading program. Then we finished the day with free smoothies for everyone from Tropical Smoothie, just for wearing flip flops, and a late bedtime for the kids.

We did have a few moments of crankiness (mine) and tears at bedtime (mine again) but other than that it was a pretty good day.  80 more days to go.

Posted by: Wagons Ho | June 11, 2016

It’s A Girl!

I have been friends with Delilah for years. To say that she hasn’t always had a easy go of it is putting it mildly. She has many struggles I will never truly understand but I have always hoped that she knows I’m here for her no matter what. The other day she posted this about me.

“I had a great appointment today! We talked about fathers and father figures and I said I don’t have one right now. We then went over all of the characteristics and actions that I feel a father would do. That’s when I realized that I actually DO have a father figure!! Wagons Ho! You’re my daddy! Can I borrow the car?”

Now I don’t know what “characteristics and actions” she listed, and I’m really hoping it wasn’t “Has a mustache and wears socks with sandals” because that would just be weird, but I do know that one post made my day. It was nice to hear that while I don’t have my shit together right now I am still helping someone else with their shit. I seriously had a whole George Bailey, It’s a Wonderful Life, ZuZu’s petals moment reading it.

I’m also hoping this means I’ll start getting gifts on Father’s Day too. I’m thinking a mustache trimmer and some snazzy new socks and sandals might be in order.






Posted by: Wagons Ho | June 2, 2016

The Graduation Party

Max got an invitation to a graduation party for one of his classmates. His pre-k classmate.  PRE-K. As in pre-kindergarten, preschool, pre-understanding what graduation even means. It wasn’t even one of those fill it the blanks type of invites. This was a took the time to pick a picture, upload it to Shutterfly, make the invite, and order it in time to hand out invitation.

As I stared at the invitation I thought “Seriously? Is this a thing?” It never occurred to me to have a party for Max’s graduation. I did order him the cap and gown, although I really debated calling the school and seeing if they still used red ones because I’m 99% sure I have Trapp’s in a closet somewhere. But I ponied up the $15. And I have been debating about taking him out for ice cream after the ceremony. I might even invite a couple of friends to meet us there. Does that count as a party? I didn’t think so but maybe it does. I mean I did half mention to a friend that we might go out for ice cream after and that I might holler at them if we do. So it’s clearly very organized and official.

It’s not that I don’t think his pre-k graduation is special, because I do. I’ll be crying and taking a million pictures with the best of them. It’s just that I’ve never really been the “let’s make a big deal out of everything” mom. I’m more of a “let’s make this easy for mommy” mom. Graduation invites and a party for a preschooler- not easy. Text a couple friends to meet us for ice cream after the ceremony- easy. I’ll save my energy for his high school graduation. Knowing me I’ll have to start now if I want to have those invitations ready in time.




Posted by: Wagons Ho | June 1, 2016

Just keep swimming

Our community pool has a summer swim team for kids who live in the neighborhood. Trapp has randomly mentioned he would like to be on the team but he’s not a strong swimmer, and has resisted any attempt I have made to teach him. He loves being in the pool though so I told him if he wanted to try out he could. He, of course, decided he didn’t want to be on the team after all. I encouraged him to give it a go but he was adamant that he had changed his mind. Right up till 15 minutes before tryouts, after an afternoon of swimming at a friend’s pool.

The tryout consisted of him having to swim the length of the pool, any style. The only rules were no touching the bottom/sides/lane lines. Marshall took him as I alternately hoped he would make it (it would be so much fun!), hoped he wouldn’t (it would be so much work!), and worried he would drown trying. He didn’t drown and made it a little over halfway across the pool. He was so proud of himself, and we were so proud of him for trying. The coach decided that he should come to the team practices for the next couple weeks and then try out again.

We had our first practice yesterday. And by we I mean Trapp had practice while I forced myself not to jump up and run to the edge of the pool to save him every time he struggled. He had fun, and the coach was amazingly patient as he encouraged Trapp to keep trying. If he continues to improve, and makes the team, we’ll be spending the summer juggling swim team practices, swim meets, work, and summer camp. It should be interesting.

Posted by: Wagons Ho | May 31, 2016

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