Monday, July 16, 2007

Menu Plan Monday - 7/16/07

I missed posting menu plan last week due to some family stress as well my son's birthday, but my mom-in-law is now home, and God willing, her PET scan later this week will be clear enough for them to extract her t-cells. Thanks for all y'all's prayers, and if you could keep 'em coming, that would be great.

Now - for food!

Sunday - Grilled chicken, potato packets, steamed broccoli

Monday - Homemade pizza, salad

Tuesday - Sonic night

Wednesday - Mom's burger stuff, tater tots, green beans

Thursday - Teriyaki chicken, stir fried veggies, rice

Friday - Smorgasbord of leftovers

Saturday - Fried fish, fried taters, shoepeg corn & pea salad

After much effort, we finally got our not-so-easy set pool set up and filled with water. It was lovely for about 3 days. Then, like all pools that haven't been treated, it started to get a bit - discolored. So of course, we tossed in some chlorine. That's what you do with pool water right?

Did you know that water in West Texas - especially well water - has a high metal content? And when that high metal content comes into contact with chlorine, it oxidizes? Yeah - me neither. And oxidized water can turn *colors*! In our case, that color was brown.

Of course, we didn't know that's what was going on at first. We just knew we had brown water. So of course, M runs and buys a ShockIt pack and tosses it in. Then we had REALLY brown water! Or - as our friend Kenny said - it looked as though we would have a nice batch of fudge by morning.

It turns out the trick is to treat the water with something called "Metal Out" which bonds to the metal, and causes it so settle on the bottom. Then you have to vacuum the bottom, then filter the pool for eleventy billion hours, and eventually the water turns clear again.

We've had this pool since before July 4th, and no one has swam in it since July 3rd. Boy - we're getting our money's worth now! In all fairness, I can't blame the kids for not wanting to swim in brown water. Or slightly yellowish water. But if they don't get in pretty soon, I'm going to be forced to shame them into swimming by forcing myself into a suit and getting in. And honestly - is it fair to scare the bunnies and bird on our land like that?

I don't think so either.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Big C

It's odd how when a doctor tells you a loved one is in remission, in this day & age, you just take that to mean that everything is going to be ok. That's how we felt back in December. That everything was going to be ok.

Um. Not so much. Last month, during my mom-in-law's 6 month check up, they found 3 new masses. She was admitted to the hospital yesterday to begin a new course of chemo, then they will extract t-cells to re-implant after a 2nd heavy dose of chemotherapy. She is only 60 years old.

She never smoked, although her first husband smoked. She never drank much, although I've seen her have a wine cooler or two at a bbq. She never did recreational drugs, although she has been on various other medications her entire adult life for various emotional issues. In short, she didn't engage in any of the normal risk factors that have been shown to lead to cancer.

Yet she is fighting a particular nasty type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma anyway. And it irks me.

She's a nice lady. I really do like my mom-in-law for the most part. She lives 4 hours away, but she took me in and treated me like family from the first time my husband took me to meet his family. She's had a rough life at times, and doesn't deserve to be in a fight like this. For her very life. But she is.

And I'm at a loss because I can't just walk away from my job and go take care of her. That's my first reaction. I want to be there in Amarillo. I want to be able to bring her whatever they'll allow her to drink, and hold that goofy little plastic pan they give you to hurl in, and just listen to her talk (because, good Lord love, that woman does love to talk!).

But today is my son's birthday. He turned 14. His party is Thursday - he has waited all year to go see the new Harry Potter movie with his friends, and I can't take that from him. But I am seriously considering taking off work early on Wednesday and driving to Amarillo, even if it's just for a few hours. I don't like her being there alone. Her "friend" can't be there everyday, as he has to work. Her mother is in a nursing home, and I'm not really sure if she really knows how ill her daughter is. Her brothers - well, let's just say they are not there for her. All she really has is us.

I don't know what her prognosis is. The doctors were very vague with my husband and his mother, other than to tell her this t-cell thing has a 35% chance of working.

35%. That's a 65% chance it won't. Having the cancer come back so quickly after her 1st round of treatment is bad. I'm afraid - for her, for my husband. That my kids won't get to know her anymore.

Cancer sucketh. Much.

Add to that - my husband's great-uncle, who is also the godfather of my children, has leukemia. He & his wife, after months of fighting it, have finally called hospice. They took him home. And I don't know how much longer he has. He is another member of M's family that I love dearly. I am so blessed to have married a man with a family who was willing to accept and love me from the minute I met them. I know not everyone has that. The bad side of that is knowing that you might lose them soon - it's an ache I fight every day.

I read the blogs of several young women - women who are just starting their lives, with small children, women whose faith in God astounds me on a daily basis. Heather. Kelli. Amy. I marvel at how they hang onto God's strength - how they use their illness as a way to minister to everyone around them. I wonder if I would have that strength if it were me. Or would I rail against fate, screaming "Why me? ! Why me?!"

I wish I had a point. I wish I had some profound finish. All I have is heartache and dread. And a request. A request that anyone who reads this consider adding my mom-in-law and my great-uncle-in-law to their prayers. Pray for healing, pray for peace, pray for strength. And pray that I'll find some way to be a help to my husband and his family in the days and months (God willing) ahead.

Because right now I feel pretty helpless.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Menu Plan Monday - 7/2/07 Edition

I seriously need to find more time to blog. All I've blogged lately are menu plans. We've just been so busy working on the landscaping at the new place, and work continues to be a mess. Maybe I'll add a little bit after my menu plan.

Sunday - Chef Salad

Monday - Spaghetti, salad

Tuesday - Sonic night

Wednesday - Fish fry, fried taters, fried okra, fried everything! (pfft. It's a holiday - calories don't count on holidays, right?) And watermelon for desert.

Thursday - Beef tacos, spanish rice, corn

Friday - Smorgasbord night

Saturday - Daddy's choice again - last week it was Pizza Hut. Wonder what he'll come up with this week?

In case anyone wondered, we are now the proud owners of a big ole John Deere tractor and plow. M had to drive the tractor home yesterday since he never could get the guy with a trailer to go out there with him. It only took him 4 hours to drive it out here, which was an hour less than it took him to bring the plow attachment home Saturday hitched to his loaner truck.

I think he's very glad to have that over with. Although we're afraid that the roads between New Deal and Hicksville will never be the same.

He plans on plowing up all of our weeds this week. Which sounds fine and dandy until I realized this means that I'll have 14 acres of dirt surrounding me when he's done. Because we don't have a way to *plant* all the land he's about to plow. If only he had found a shreader for the tractor first.

I meant to share with everyone our adventures in setting up one of those "easy set-up" 4 ft deep pools last week, but work got in the way. For now I'll just say that when they claim that you have to put it on an absolutely level area, they are not kidding. We had just a slight slope on the area we tried to set the pool, and sure enough, when it was about half-way full, the water caused the darn thing to collapse on that end, and it drained itself. I guess that's better than it rippin a hole in itself or something, but it sure made a mess. We have spent the last week trying to level the ground, and after much moving of dirt, last night we laid everything back out and voila.

Now it slopes the other direction. We seriously suck at this.

So tonight we will either pull the tarps back and rake out some of the new dirt, or we'll try putting more dirt on the other end. One way or another, tomorrow we start filling that pool, because we are SO going to have a nice cool pool full of water for the 4th of July y'all.

Even if it means I have to build a dirt wall all the way around the darn thing. Hmph.