Sunday, June 24, 2007

rocky mountain rescue

how do you create amazing vacation memories?? i think it begins with kids in significant numbers and high levels of energy. and make them young preferably under the age of 7 when they are most dependent and fun. add lots of food, enough that at the end of each day you swear you will not eat as much the next day and repeat this everyday until you leave. pick a scenic location with lots to do, beautiful drives, scenic overlooks where children will lean entirely too far over the edge and scare the daylights out of their parents who are nervously trying to soak in a sight or two and make sure there is an emergency that you can swiftly be a part of.

yes, the emergency factor is how the greatest vacation memories are made. if you have not had it yet, you really have not experienced all that relaxing vacations were meant to be. our 'emergency' moment found us as we were travelling for the third hour through rocky mountain national park caravan style with 7 adults and 5 children under the age of 7. there are few things as much fun as two cars full of children winding their way up a mountain to the top with 5 people sharing in the bond of motion sickness and 2 others in a significant fear of heights. perfect.

we had mastered the technique of communicating with head lights and hand signals (very family friendly, mind you) since our cell phones were a no go which would soon prove to be a significant disadvantage of being immersed in beautiful scenery that only exists in remote areas. we had decided not quite unanimously to persevere up the mountain in spite of the steep drops, lack of guard rails, need to pee, feelings of nausea, hunger and fatigue. after all at the top of the mountain there was a (drum roll please) gift shop. and im sure a great view and above all a bathroom which we would later discover was a portapotty, which no self respecting sober individual would ever use.

we were well on our way with the peak being just over a mile ahead when we noticed a person laying in the road. clearly this was not by choice (the motorcycle on its side several feet away tipped me off). two cars with people going to hell simply veered away from her (how thoughtful they chose to not run her over) while the third car stopped and we were lucky cars four and five. of course we should stop. there was someone in need. i was a lifeguard and completed the red cross babysitter course in the sixth grade. if she was a child in need of the heimlich or a swim lesson, im your girl. unfortunately, she was a grandma from some parish in louisianna who had clearly not followed the instructions of her not so stable husband when he told her to lean right. he reminded her of her error while standing just above her broken leg. while he was lacking more than a sensitivity chip, he was concerned and no help.

the men collectively having never completed a cpr course piled out of the caravan like superheros ready for action. my dad began directing traffic, my husband began taking pictures while my brother in law worked his way into a position of significance by elevating the broken leg. ah yes. this would be fine for a few minutes until of course the children went crazy. i kept reassuring myself and georgia that we only needed to wait until the ambulance arrived which im certain would be momentarily. while she struggled to unbuckle her carseat, my mom and i sang songs, told jokes, promised a pony and thanked God that we werent in the minivan with 4 children ready to take over.

a storm rolled in, snow fell, winds blew and the ambulance did not arrive. we unloaded 5 coats on this poor woman to keep her warm and pat began to extract her life story while my dad tried to decide what a reasonable offer would be on a now damaged harley davidson. this was even more fun than i could have imagined. a park ranger came and was able to offer a tarp. great. now she wouldnt get wet while she lay in the road with a broken leg. after 45 minutes a shiny black suv appeared and i began to hear the fray in the background as dr. McRocky hopped out and began to leisurely walk past our car to the scene. finally a doctor had arrived, (these were the exact words of my 7 year old nephew) what a relief. a trained professional to take over this situation. mcrocky immediately stood to the side, surveyed the progress and began chatting with the other superheroes. not about her condition mind you, oh no, far more important things like what brought him to the rockies, how he too had been in the air force and on and on and on. obviously if there's no big surgery to scrub in on with dr. grey, he's just not interested in getting involved.

i began to look for the hidden cameras wondering if and when an ambulance would ever arrive and realizing that with the leg being elevated by my brother in law, we were not going anywhere until it got there. it did finally arrive and my contribution was to help drop the bed on wheels thingy to ground level. i couldnt even do that right...the lever stuck. if only she had needed the heimlich. yes, these were vacation memories in the making complete with pictures of the whole episode courtesy of pat who against all of my obvious non verbal cues to please knock it off and have some situational awareness could not help himself. unfortunately, they are on my lap top in korea so you will just have to use your imagination to try to capture the level of amusement that we will have for years to come.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

rock star husband & band

no i haven't gone stalking lenny kravitz like i did in my college years realizing only now that the pedestal of 'cool' i had him spending years perched on could have easily been called the pedestal of 'weird guy who wears the most bizarre things'. rather, this is more about my hubbie...the rock star known as pat. oh yes, don't be fooled by his endless collection of polos, button ups and all things khaki, his military hair cut that has only changed the length of a small ant in the past 15 years or his quest for the most 'reliable' car. he is 100% rock star and i will tell you why.

some of you may know that i recently celebrated the ninth anniversary of my 21st birthday. i know your shocked, i can hear the gasps even now, 'WHAT??? i thought katie was only 25' or 'REALLY, she just seems so much wiser than that tender age'. really. im hearing you loud and clear. but, no, its true, i have graduated to the new '20' as everyone keeps reminding me with care, concern and a tone of offering somber condolences in their voice. if you want the truth (which you will always manage to find here) i hadn't given it much thought. i gave it a lot of thought when i turned 29, but with all the spare time ive had the last several months, i just havent really spent much time thinking about it. of course there were the three bdays of my circle (a group of 4 of us from college that are so strangely close we pretended to be sisters once and it wasnt in the 3rd grade, it was last year...crazy and embarassing beyond words, i know) to remind me that my time (being the youngest of the circle by a few months) was coming. but, i really did not have plans or lofty aspirations for how i would spend my day. i was just hoping to have coffee with a great friend i was visiting in colorado springs in the morning, an uneventful drive to estes park and a reunion with my family that had been long awaited and much anticipated. thats it. time with family and an early bedtime and maybe a break from some diaper changing. rock star had other plans.

ill skip all of the mindless details and get to the part where said rock star orchestrated a wonderful dinner at a fabulous italian restaraunt where my entire family (minus one brother in law who was injured the week before) was able to be there with my sister carebear, 2 daughters and husband arriving from the airport in denver just in time. there was carrot cake, the birthday song and of course the tag team of chasing peach around a nice restaraunt. it could not have been any better. i felt unbelievably blessed to spend my birthday with family. dinner with them would have been more than enough. however, rock star status is not achieved by fancy dinner reservations alone. oh no. there has to be an element of creative, sensitive, mysterious genius involved for this title.

we went back to the condos for presents and what not and pat pulled out a book that my sister marty had assembled and began reading through the emails/letters and return addresses of an entire bag of cards. unbelievable. i was speechless except for that nasal thing that happens when the ugly cry takes over. he (with the help of family) and so many of you (the band) had collected so many thoughtful words that i am still feeling overwhelmed. i am blown away at the thoughtfulness he continues to show me and the profound blessing of your friendships. i cant thank him, the fam or all of you enough for taking the time to send your birthday wishes and more my way. it made for a day, a moment, a time in my life that i will treasure forever and truly never forget. you would be able to see a picture of my while these were being read to me, but the ugly cry was so ugly that i cannot bring myself to post it. you would thank me for doing so if you could see it. trust me. tears, weird eyes, snot and what not.

just know it meant the world to me. more than you can possibly imagine.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

maternal olympics

i wish i was posting about what an amazing husband i have, how he pulled off a fabulous and touching surprise for my birthday with the help of so many of you. or, about the episode on vacation that had us within close proximity of an ambulance twice. thats right. or, what happened that was funny the other day, but i am so far behind on my thoughts and subsequent blog postings (blame it on very remote locations like estes park and being locked in dial up hell at my parents house) that whatever the case i know that if i dont keep my thoughts in order of when they occurred, i will never get them all out. which might be perfectly fine for you, but is keeping me awake at night. im several weeks behind and will be playing catch up for awhile so bear with me patiently if you can.

this one happened a few weeks ago when i was dining out at a great italian restaraunt in town, boticellis, with 3 great friends as a final evening out before the big heong bye bynida. 3 of the 4 of us have kiddos. one is expecting her second baby and the 4th friend does not have any babies of her own yet, but is a certified nurse practitioner for kids and does an amazing job of balancing the fun friend mode and the professional reassuring 'georgia is perfectly fine and suffering from what is known as a cold' mode.

anyway, during this dinner i was reminded of the time in my life that lasted about 5 years when i was married without children. over the course of those years, i attended countless baby showers, coffees, dinners, girls nights out, come to my house and buy this crap from a catolog so i can get free stuff name it, ive been there. with countless mommies, i might add. what i remember about these times was a lot of women having a little too much wine and enjoying their 'break' from their responsibilities at home. hello, fair enough. i am that mommy now and do certainly enjoy my 'me' time. however, while the location, company and event may have changed the one thing that was always the same was the certainty of one conversation coming up. i like to call it the 'maternal olympics' conversation. you know, where women share the stories of whose pregnancy, labor, delivery and subsequent recovery was the worst. it consisted of different categories, each falling into the summer or winter olympics depending on what season the most rigorous part of their said suffering occurred and let me tell you, all women were going for the gold.

i sat through countless stories of hemorroids only to be one upped by the first poop (which trust me, i know this is waayy too much information that i will regret sharing later, but i prayed through mine and asked a few other trusted loved ones to join me). of course there was the epidurals that didnt take, the pitocin that sent them over the edge, the stretch marks, gas, reflux, sleepless nights, saggy boobs and occasional c-section after weeks of labor too. ah yes, it was so fun to listen to. i could hardly wait to get pregnant and vowed to never ever go for the gold in the presence of those without children. i just wouldnt put them through the mental pictures of way too much personal information graciously shared by those having gone through it.

so you can imagine my horror when replaying the conversation of the dinner out with my 3 friends (remember 1 without babies) enjoying my 'me' time with a little too much wine and remembering the next day that the maternal olympics were in full effect that night. ugh. i didnt win the gold and im ashamed i even let it happen. im hoping my sincerest apology will make it up to my friend and in case you were wondering (which im fairly certain youre not), having a baby is the single greatest joy i have ever known and even if i had every symptom and difficult experience under the sun, even if i could take the gold in every event, i would happily and graciously do it again. there is no greater love and i am eternally grateful and honored to be experiencing the privilege of motherhood. no more maternal olympics for me. ive got the gold, but its more of a peach.