26 November 2006

Happy Thanksgiving? (or, the pros and cons of being sick in a hotel room)

Warning: This post contains strong (smelling) content. Proceed with caution. Wendy, this means you!

Pro: When your four-year-old daughter wakes up puking at midnight Thanksgiving night, there are only 3 steps from her bed to the bathroom.
Con: You are highly likely to bruise yourself (or her) on some wooden corner along the way. Every. Single. Time. (Oh, number of times? I stopped counting at five, but I think there was more. That's between midnight and about 6:30 am.)

Pro: You won't have to wash her soiled linen in the middle of the night.
Con: You won't have readily available clean linen in the middle of the night, so she will sleep with you. And by "sleep," I mean she falls asleep immediately after each, um, episode and you sit bolt upright every time she moves, in anticipation of another episode.

Pro: You can leave the soiled towels from cleaning up on the floor of the bathroom. And you don't have to wash those, either.
Con: You will worry about running out of toilet paper before the maids appear with more in the morning. (But you will make it.)

Pro: You don't have to clean the toilet or the bathroom floor.
Con: You will be washing out pajamas (yours and hers) with hotel shampoo in the sink in an attempt to cut down on the smell. You will fail and deposit said pajamas on the balcony. Plus, no clean pajamas.

Pro: You don't have to cook breakfast for self or others.
Con: The hotel doesn't serve lunch, so you will go out foraging late in the afternoon and end up with peanut butter and jelly on the GF bread you packed. Husband will make do with a soft pretzel. Daughter, now alternating between wonderfully chipper and pathetically whiny, will refuse to eat anything but bagged popcorn. Which you will dole out in handfuls of approximately 10 kernels every 10 minutes, no matter how pathetically she whines "I'm hungweeeee."

Pro: You return to your room after breakfast to find clean linens on daughter's bed, a sparkling bathroom, clean towels, and freshly made beds.
Con: With no good way to get cross-ventilation, a miasma of ...well, you can imagine the smell well enough yourself.

Pro: Since you're on vacation, you have nowhere you need to be.
Con: Three exhausted people sitting in a hotel room that's approximately the size of our bathroom at home. All day. Jon did take Katrina out for a few hours when it was clear she was feeling better enough to ransack the room. They even found a playground. I tried to sleep off a splitting headache that had begun around 2 am. And failed. Tylenol helped, though.

What I'm Thankful For This Thanksgiving
That we left Austria a day early, making the 6-hour drive yesterday and getting in about 7 pm. Katrina started eating again at lunchtime yesterday (half a McDonald's cheeseburger and a strawberry shake). At 3 am this morning, I was awakened by the most wretched sounds I had heard since...well, since Thanksgiving night. Jon had succumbed.

Two down, one to go. What does one do when it seems certain the dreaded Stomach Bug has you in its sights? Laundry. Lots of laundry. Oh, and a blog update.

15 November 2006

More Katrina-isms ('cause she's more entertaining anyway)

On the way to swim lessons
K: "Mama, every time Miss Angie makes us go to the deep part. I don't like the deep part."
Me: "Why don't you like the deep part?"
K (in a disgusted tone): "Because it's TOO DEEP."
Me (suitably chastened, asks no more questions)

After "Dinosaur Week" at school
K: "Mama, what comes after all the people die?"
Me: "Huh??"
K: "What happens when all the people die?"
Me: "Well, when you die you go to heaven to be with God."
K: "NO! After dinosaurs all died, people came. What comes after all the people die?"
Me: "Uh, I don't know, honey."
K (louder): "But what comes after the people die?"
Me: "Sweetie, I don't know!"
K (getting upset): "TELL ME!"
Me: "Honey, if I knew, I would tell you, but I don't know."
Me: (try to change the subject as quickly as possible)

Katrina's current favorite word
"Evenly" instead of "even"
She uses it so often, I evenly don't notice it anymore.

Her imaginary friend(s)
She has a recurring imaginary friend. It's a little monster who is pink and furry. But she used to have feathers when she was a baby. She fits in Katrina's pocket or in the palm of her hand. Her name? Little Monster, of course!

Last week we were eating dinner with friends in a restaurant, and Katrina told us that "BoBo" was sitting with us, too. Bobo is a girl. At various times since then she has mentioned scenarios with Bobo and also a boy named Bobo something else (the second name changes). One either doesn't like the other or doesn't want to play what the other one wants to play.

Her "friends" are not around all the time. I think they come out when she wants to liven things up.

And speaking of livening things up...the Tattooed Lady
Jon left on Saturday for a business trip. Sunday morning, getting ready for church. Katrina is in the family room supposedly watching cartoons while I take a shower. The bathroom door opens.

K: "Mama, loooook!" She holds up her fingers to the shower door. The tips of them are bright (!) pink. She has a pink spot on her face, too. Then she turns to reveal several pink spots on her legs and feet. She's very pleased with herself.

While I was peacefully showering, Katrina was stamping herself with a pink butterfly stamp she "won" from the Chucky Cheese-like establishment on base. I didn't realize the thing was in the family room, much less that she could have worked off the shrink-wrapped packaging.

It was 10:30 am. She was in her nightgown, I was in my, er, altogether. We needed to leave for church by 11 am. I made her wash her hands (which dimmed the color just a bit), got the spot (mostly) off her face, and gave a few half-hearted scrubs to the large pink spot on her leg, which did no good. So, got dressed, went to church.

Home from church a few hours later, had lunch, etc. Katrina had to go potty. She still asks for help wiping when she poops. So I prepare to clean her up. And staring up at me from her little bottom is a perfect pink butterfly.

Did I mention that the ink apparently isn't the washable type? It's Wednesday. The butterflies are still fluttering.

And finally, a story in pictures: Sisyphus Cleans the Family Room
A few weeks ago, I was tidying up the way-cluttered family room in preparation for dinner guests. Meanwhile, Katrina was pretending to be a cat.

The lovely, clutter-free coffee table.

The rest of the room, aka Katrina's "cat place."

At least she waited until everything else was picked up off the floor. Hey, it was a rainy day. What else was the poor girl, er, kitty-cat, to do?

02 November 2006

Shiny Happy People

I have a thing about shiny, happy Christians. Now, I'm a Christian. Even a Lutheran, the denomination that emphasizes grace--God did it all for us--over works--we have to earn it. ("It" being salvation, heaven, all that good stuff. I'm such the theologian, aren't I?)


An innate suspiciousness overtakes me when people in general and Christians in particular want to wrap everything up in a neat little package. Because life isn't a neat little package. Christianity is not a neat little package, no matter what the "4 Spiritual Laws" or earnest young evangelicals tell you.

This little rant comes to you courtesy of a comment that one person made in a Bible Study over the weekend. What we were talking about reminded me of a Rich Mullins song, "Hard to Get." Unfortunately, when I tried to quote the lyrics, I couldn't remember the key ones, only the bridge, which is "I'm reeling from these voices that keep screaming in my ears./Words of shame and doubt, blame and regret./I can't see where you're leading me/Unless you've led me here"

And I tried to make the point that I thought the song (in its entirety) makes, which is that you can have faith and knowledge, but when you're going through bad times, what you really want is some assurance that God cares. Not just that God exists, but that God is "engaged and active" (terms mentioned in the study). I don't think I said it that well, actually, so perhaps the next comment was somewhat justified.

"But in the song, it turns out that it's okay, right?" I kind of said, yeah, it turns out okay. But something felt wrong about saying that. When I got home and checked the lyrics, I knew why. Because the song does not turn out okay, in the sense that the singer is shiny and happy at the end. A lot of Christian music does end that way. But not this one. The lyrics come through to an understanding, but you know that the pain is still there, the voices, the hurt.

So anyway, here is the whole lyric. Tell me what you think. Does everything turn out okay?

Hard to Get
(by Rich Mullins)

You who live in heaven
Hear the prayers of those of us who live on earth
Who are afraid of being left by those we love
And who get hardened by the hurt

Do you remember when you lived down here where we all scrape
To find the faith to ask for daily bread
Did you forget about us after you had flown away
Well I memorized every word you said
Still I'm so scared, I'm holding my breath
While you're up there just playing hard to get

You who live in radiance
Hear the prayers of those of us who live in skin
We have a love that's not as patient as yours was
Still we do love now and then

Did you ever know loneliness?
Did you ever know need?
Do you remember just how long a night can get
When you are barely holding on
And your friends fall asleep
And don't see the blood that's running in your sweat?
Will those who mourn be left uncomforted
While you're up there just playing hard to get?

And I know you bore our sorrows
And I know you feel our pain
And I know it would not hurt any less
Even if it could be explained
And I know that I am only lashing out
At the one who loves me most
And after I figured this, somehow
All I really need to know

Is if you who live in eternity
Hear the prayers of those of us who live in time
We can't see what's ahead
And we can not get free of what we've left behind
I'm reeling from these voices that keep screaming in my ears
All the words of shame and doubt, blame and regret
I can't see how you're leading me unless you've led me here
Where I'm lost enough to let myself be led
And so you've been here all along I guess
It's just your ways and you are just plain hard to get.

I want to say a little more about this, but I have to go pick up Katrina.