One Year Ago

One year ago today, my father passed away.

It’s hard to believe that four seasons have come and gone since that cold, rainy evening when my mother called to tell me that he mercifully and peacefully slipped away in his sleep.

Our family has weathered this year of “firsts.”

I must have started to write something at least a dozen times, but I haven’t been able to get very far.

Except for this–

In the 38 years I had with my father, there is not one bad memory.

I haven’t glossed over anything because of the fact that he isn’t here anymore.

In all honesty, and with tremendous gratitude, I can say that every memory is good.

Every single one.

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I Probably Deserve a Time-Out

I got an email from my  friend, Diane, in which she asked how it was going with Tater Tot sleeping in his new bed, and I thought I’d just go ahead and update the whole wide world.  In other words, the other three people who read this.

So far Tater Tot is still waking up about three times during the night and calling for me in the most pitiful voice possible.  He’s pretty convinced that I should be sitting in his room all night, and it scares him when he wakes up and finds that he is all alone.  Since I hate for him to have to give up his dependence on me cold turkey, I’m staying with him until he falls asleep for the first few nights.  But tomorrow night, the weaning process begins.

You might wonder what Tater Daddy’s role has been in this process.  It’s gone something like this:

“You know why this is so hard, don’t you?  It’s because you’ve made him dependent on you.”

Oh, Tater Daddy.  How many episodes of CSI did he have to watch before he reached that conclusion? Now, y’all know I loves me some Tater Daddy.  But I’m just saying that one more comment like that and he may find that he’s fallen victim to that old camp trick where one hand gets plopped into a bowl of warm water.  (Note to parents:  Remember, if you send your children to summer camp, they don’t just learn how to paddle a canoe and make birdhouses out of popsicle sticks.)

It’s not that I can’t handle criticism (people who know me well are laughing their heads off), but I’m all too aware that we wouldn’t be in our current situation had I not sent my spine on a four or five month vacation.  Believe me.  I will feel guilty for a good long while over this one.

If there were a time-out chair for Mamas, I’d probably be there until Tater Tot starts kindergarten.

I Do Not Have a Title and This Post Is Lame Anyway

With four enormous dogs in this house, we go to PetCo nearly as often as we go to Schnucks.  I keep begging the manager at PetCo to put in a small section of 2-liter diet cokes, but so far my request has fallen on deaf ears.  If he ever does it, it will cut down on my errand-running considerably.

So anyway, Tater Tot and I made our way to PetCo today for a bag or seven of diet dog food for our herd.  Except for Zeus, the labs have packed on a few (cough, cough) pounds, and we need to get the weight off of them.

Tater Tot loves to go to PetCo to see the fish.  I can’t steer the cart fast enough to the fish section, and every time we go through the same routine.  We look at the “Nemos” and the “Dorys.”  We look for starfish, which we never find.  We see bright yellow fish and black and white striped ones, and there’s one wicked-looking fish with sapphire-blue eyes that makes my skin crawl.

Tater Tot’s favorite tank is the one jam-packed with goldfish.  There’s a sign that reads something ridiculous like, “Guaranteed for 24 hours from the time of purchase.”  I suppose that’s a better guarantee than what we got with all those goldfish we used to win at school carnivals back when my brother and I were little.  Most of those were floating at the top of the plastic bag before we made it home, and we only lived about .2-mile from the school.

Except for one particular goldfish who survived the car ride home. Good old Henry.

Henry was one amazing goldfish.

When my brother was in 4th grade and I was in kindergarten, our house caught on fire.  We had just built an addition, and there it was, going up in flames.  My mother herded my brother and me out of the house (my father was away on a trip) and we went across the street to our uncle’s house.

The fire department came and promptly put out the fire.  The house was saved, and most of the damage was due to smoke and water.

As my parents and their friends were sifting through everything a couple of days later, looking for things that could be salvaged, someone found the fishbowl.  The water was black, and when the person dumped it out, there was Henry, flopping around like a, well, like a fish out of water.

Ninety-nine percent of goldfish can’t make it home from fairs and carnivals, but we had one who survived a house fire.

I’d like to tell you that Henry lived a long and happy life after that, but I don’t think he did.  As I recall, we put him in my grandmother’s fish tank where he was soon killed and quite possibly eaten by another fish.

I’m not really going anywhere with this post other than to tell you that we went to PetCo, looked at fish, bought dog food, and even though Tater Tot begged and pleaded, we did NOT come home with a goldfish because of the traumatic memories and I have from my childhood.

That and I do not want to (A) explain death to Tater Tot as we are flushing his new pet away five minutes after pulling into the driveway, or (B) take on the responsibility of cleaning a fishbowl on the off-chance that we were to end up with one of Henry’s great-great-great-to-the-nth-degree-grandchildren.

Goodnight all.

The Big Boy Bed

Tater Tot’s room now has a twin bed in it.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure that twin beds were made for one person.  The 2 1/2-year-old who is currently trying to run our household spent the better part of Saturday night trying to convince me otherwise.

We spent the weekend getting his room ready for THE BIG MOVE in which he would start sleeping in his own room again.  Sweet, wonderful joy!  I even started to think of moving back into the master bedroom, but not until I’d spent a couple of months few nights enjoying having a king-size bed all to myself.  I imagined just rolling around in all that unoccupied space.  No feet in my back.  No little elbows up my nose.  No sitting up in the middle of the night to rearrange a horizontally sleeping child to a vertical position.  I could almost taste it.

The mattress and box springs were delivered Saturday afternoon by two very nice young men who were very, very polite.  I think it had something to do with the fact that they had to walk through the den where my husbands first love (aside from our son), his GINORMOUS flat-screened TV  just happened to be tuned to the Memphis/Maryland game.  (If you think I’m kidding about my husband’s love for that TV, let me just tell you that he bought it for himself last Mother’s Day. No lie.  TVs are his love language.)

We put the new sheets on the bed, along with the new quilt and sham with fire trucks.  Tater Tot loves his new bed.  We stayed in his room all afternoon and read books and worked puzzles and played with his toys.  He even hugged his bed and told it that he wuvved it.  I thought to myself, I’ve got this one in the bag.

When it was time for bed, I said, “Hey, Tater Tot, let’s go read some books and go night-night!” and he enthusiastically said, “OH, OKAY!  Let’s go!”  With that, he ran to his room, grabbed his teddy bear and a book and high-tailed it toward “my” bed.

The agony of defeat is such a blow.

“Wait, little man.  We’re going to your room.  We’re going to read in your new BIG BOY BED!”

“Oh, my bed!  Wite!”

We read for about 45 minutes.  I tucked him in and sat in the same chair I used to rock him to sleep in when he was a baby.

There were no tears.  He didn’t throw a fit.  It took a little while for him to fall asleep, but I anticipated that part.  After about 30 minutes, he was out like a light.  I tiptoed out of the room and closed the door.

I did a little victory dance.  A premature victory dance, that is.

Three hours later, there were tears and he was pleading to sleep in Mama’s bed. I was strong and said that he was a big boy and it was time for him to sleep in his room in his new bed.  Then he said, “Mama, you get in my bed.”  I explained that I was going to sleep in my bed and that he was going to be just fine in his bed.  He sniffed a couple of times, but he was a brave little Tot and went back to sleep in his bed.

I left his room.  This time there was no dancing.

Another three hours went by and he called for me again.  After another conversation about where we were and were not going to sleep, he went back to sleep, or so I thought.  I was in bed for about a minute before I was back in his room.  Bless it.  “You haff to stay wiff me, Mama.  Pweeze.”  And then two big tears rolled down his cheeks.  I will not lie to you.  It took everything I had not to pick that child up and declare that he can sleep in my room until leopards lose their spots if it makes him feel better.  However, I know that’s not the best thing for any of us, so I wiped his tears, kissed his cheeks, and stayed until his was good and asleep.

The last time he woke up was actually Tater Daddy’s fault.  He got up early to let the dogs out and let a door slam.  This time it only took a couple of minutes of rubbing Tater Tot’s back to get him back to sleep, and he slept like a rock for the next two hours.

We’ll see how things go for the next few nights.

With a nod to Barbara Mandrell and an apology for changing the words a little, here’s hoping that he’ll be sleeping single in his twin-size bed before long.

And the Mocking Goes On

Clearly, the technology is out to get me.  It looks me in the face and laughs.  It mocks me because it can.

Giddy over being able to connect to the world wide interweb again, as soon as I clicked publish last Monday I was rendered internetless again.

It went a little something like this.

When Tater Daddy was getting me hooked up to all things wireless and internetedness last weekend, we noticed that the wires in the power cord were, um, exposed.  We wrapped some electrical tape around the spot and pronounced it FIXED because the wires weren’t frayed or anything.  We are electrical engineer-y like that, what with our marketing and education degrees.

Along rolls Monday morning and I published my little post about how happy I was to be back on the internet, and I got the most thoughtful message from this PC reminding me that my battery  power was dangerously low and to please connect to my power source immediately.

I did.

And there was the tiniest bit of smoke.

The power cord  was dead.

Fortunately, while Tater Daddy was setting everything up — and wrapping the cord in electrical tape — he ordered a new cord.  It arrived Thursday afternoon, and Friday was so crazy that this morning is the first time I’ve had a chance to pop back in.

So, hey, technology?  Just because there are parts of you that scare the wits out of me doesn’t mean that I don’t adore you.  I do.  I think you are wonderful.  Oh, technology, you are quite awesome.  In fact, your awesomeness makes me quite nervous and leaves me feeling overwhelmed.  Please, pretty please with a gigabyte on top, let’s be friends from now on.

Love,

Tater Mama

I’ve Missed You!

Ever since Tater Tot doused my sweet Mac with milk, I’ve been cut off from everything.  And it ain’t been easy.  I haven’t been able to read your blogs, so I’ll be up until the wee hours of the morning catching up on all the news!  My Google Reader account?  Haven’t.  Even.  Looked.

I tried using my husband’s laptop, but after it let me publish my last post, the thing never let me get on the internet again.  Remember, the technology hates me.

My Mama came to the rescue, though, and is letting me use her extra laptop.  Oh, I am so grateful to her!  The one I’m using is a PC, so I’m having to get used to the differences between it and a Mac, but it’s good to learn new things, don’t you think?

I was having an awful time figuring out how to do a couple or nine things, so my friend, Diane, reminded me that I should just call up mycomputer guru friend, Dipti.  (If I were using my old sweet Mac, I would’ve linked to the post in which I wrote all about Dipti.  Since I’m using a PC, I have yet to figure out how to do that in WordPress.  So sorry!)

Of course I’m kidding.  I called my brother, Jim.  About 32 seconds later he had everything figured out, and TA-DA, folks, I was up and able to do more than turn on the computer.  The only thing that would have made it better would’ve been a big bowl of artichoke dip and a bag of Fritos Scoops.  (I was just craving artichoke dip at the time.)

The official word about my Mac is that it is F-R-I-E-D.  Plus, it smells like old milk.  I’m sure whichever poor soul gets the task of recovering the pictures from my hard drive (which they said is completely possible) is going to wish he or she had called in sick.  Because that’s how he or she is sure to go  home.

Milk May Be Good For the Bones…

…but it is NOT good for a laptop.

The reason I know this is because after I took my shower Tuesday morning, I walked back into the den to find my Macbook open and covered with drops of milk.

Then I picked it up, and milk started pouring out of it. Much like the tears that were flowing from my eyes.

I looked at Tater Tot who was smiling, very pleased with himself. With all the innocence of a 2 1/2-year-old, he said, “Mama! I gave it a baff!”

I will say that ol’ Mac’s surface has never felt smoother or looked younger.

But he’s just as dead as a doorknob.

And we’re not exactly using cash to start our grill, so my sweet Mac won’t be replaced any time soon. I’ll use Tater Daddy’s laptop when he’s not using for the next week or so. The blog is not likely to be updated much until we figure out a better solution.

Fortunately, Tater Tot’s milk has been replaced.

And all electronics have been moved to higher ground.

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