Hurling Jello

If only my jello looked like this!

If only my jello looked like this!


You knew it was bound to happen, right? After all, it wouldn’t be fair to leave you hanging with just a list of the 5 Best Things About Being in the Hospital.  And, given the fact…

I’m. Still. Here.

…with nothing to do but read, write, play Criminal Case on FB, watch really bad television, and give The Man the stink eye when he shows up to have ‘lunch with me’ and brings a sandwich and FRENCH FRIES for himself, knowing I can’t have even one!  Whaaaatever. Karma is a bitch, and she’s my BFF. So there.

Anyway, I’ve decided to comprise a list of The Worst Things About Being in the Hospital. Notice there’s not a number attached, as I really can’t say how long this list will be. I’ve been here 6 days now. Could take a lil’ bit. So, pour a glass of wine or grab a fruity cocktail, maybe some chips & guacamole…or one of the other 8,472,931 edible things I can’t have…sit back, relax and enjoy!

In no particularly order, I present to you my idea of the worst parts about the forced hiatus from my life. Ta-da!!!

Food and Beverage Commercials- Believe me, I understand the power of advertising, but have you ever noticed how many commercials on television are food/beverage related? Probably not, because unless you are in the hospital on a liquid diet, you can choose (or not) to have anything that happens to flash on that screen. At first, I thought I was just sensitive to it, because I’m starving. Uh…no. I counted them. During one commercial break, there were 5 spots: one for chocolate, one for burgers, one for chips, one for Jello (isn’t that ironic?) and one for Applebee’s. I let the last one slide, because my friend Maribeth is the star 🙂 The last time my nurse came in to check on me and ask if I needed anything, I told her she could call the networks and politely instruct them to temporarily suspend the run of any and all food/beverage/restaurant commercials until I get sprung from this joint. She giggled.

I was dead serious.

Vampires- I know, I know…phlebotomists. Yes…I respect the need for them in the hospital. After all they are specialists at what they do. However, it doesn’t make me loathe their 4am, needle-wielding,  wake-up calls any less. Perhaps if all of them looked like Robert Pattinson, or the guys from True Blood, I would be less grumpy about the visits. Okay, that’s a lie. Anyone that wakes me up just to stick me, drain me, and leave me is never received with open arms regardless of the time of day. Oh, and overall…their bedside manner SUCKS.

Noises- There are more than half a dozen separate sounds I can hear at the moment: my IV pump, the air conditioner (very noisy), the nurses relaying chart information, the lady next door yelling “Somebody help me, I gotta get up!” (I think she may be in the wrong unit, if catch my drift), the hospital PA system announcing a “Code Pink” (it’s a drill, I asked),  an alarm on one of the elderly patients’ beds that plays the tune of “Old MacDonald” incessantly and various other beeps, bells and dings. It’s maddening….even with my DOOR SHUT. I will admit to the temptation of actually recording it. After all, The Man does post-production sound effects for film, and this stuff would be GOLDEN to have in his sound library. Then I remembered about the french fries.

Sheets and Pillows- Now before you go thinking I’m some diva, requiring Eygptian cotton, 5000 thread count (do those even exist?) sheets, and goose down pillows like the ones at a 5-star hotel….don’t. Totally not me. I followed The Dead in college and am perfectly happy sleeping in a tent with an air mattress, covered with a COTTON SHEET and a pillow that just doesn’t run from its pillowcase. The pillows here are covered in plastic, and I understand why…but I don’t have to like them, do I? The only thing that irritates me more than having my bed linens wrinkly and in a bunch is feeling little ‘pills’ on them. It happens on…you guessed it…50/50 poly-cotton blend fabric. And wouldn’t you know it….the place designed to keep me bedridden and resting uses these sheets! For the love of all things holy….that’s why 100%, no-iron, cotton percale sheets exist. Get a clue, hospital admin people.

Bathing- I’ve been here 5 nights and 6 days now, and had 2 showers. All the days in between, I smelled like a dirty hippie. You know why? Because bathing myself with basically one arm is almost impossible. You see, I have this pesky IV in my left arm and they put it right in the bend of my elbow (big fat, juicy vein there) so I can’t bend my arm. Plus, to take a shower it has to be wrapped in plastic and made waterproof with tape that MacGyer would die to have in his tool pouch. Medical tape is the first cousin to Duct Tape, I believe. Seriously. And forget about washing my hair. Just couldn’t happen. So what do you think is at the top of my “To Do List” once I get out?

Peeing every 20 minutes- Since I was beyond dehydrated when I came in, I’ve had constant fluids running through me the entire time. And between The Liquid Diet (see next item on list) and the fluids, I haven’t peed this much since I was preggo with Sweet Pea. Up and down, up and down. Every 20 to 30 minutes. It’s exhausting, and painful, given the nature of my illness.  Again, I understand the benefits, but I thought I was supposed to rest here. Hello, catheter anyone?

The Liquid Diet- Remember how I talked about loving Jello in this post?  Well, you can forget all that BS. Because I’ve got a bit of strength back now, and I’m fairly certain the next tray that comes through my door sporting a fancy little plastic dish full of that translucent, colorful shit is going to be hurled at the wall. That goes for its equally nasty friend gelato too. Maybe I can say I was redecorating, and I thought the walls needed some modern “artwork” 🙂

Luigi, please go back to chasing Mario, will ya?

Luigi, stick with your partner Mario and go back to your day job, will ya?

***On a serious note though, the MOST EXCRUCIATING thing about being here is missing The Beans. The hospital will not allow the littles to come up and visit. Sugar Bean barely made the age requirement herself, and only came once, on Saturday for about 15 minutes. I think seeing me here spooked her and I didn’t press her to come back. If all goes well, I’ll be out this afternoon, have my babies in my arms and go back to life as usual in a few days. Okay, maybe not ‘as usual’, since that got me here in the first place. I’ll be making some adjustments so I can continue to entertain y’all with the adventures of my life from anywhere but here!


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A Post-holiday vacation….in all it’s GLORY

As soon as the topic for this week’s Theme Thursday was decided upon and announced, as “My Biggest Vacation Disaster” I immediately knew the story I wanted to share with y’all. It’s an adventure straight out of National Lampoon’s Vacation franchise. That is, if one of their movies was set on a Carnival Cruise ship.

I only wish it had been a trip I TOOK. 

No, I didn’t cheat, and fabricate a story about a disastrous vacation with my family. I didn’t have to. My niece, Ryan Anderson,** and her husband actually had one worthy of an award, and she agreed to let me share it. I mean, why wouldn’t she? After it happened, she sent the following letter to American Express, and the Director of Public Relations called her on the phone, laughing hysterically, saying that everyone in the office now had a copy on their desk and nobody could get any work done because they were all giggling breathlessly. At the end of the phone call, they were discussing the possibility of making it into a commercial. Seriously.  Intrigued? Read on….

Dear American Express, 

Sitting around the house late one night after Christmas, my husband Hank and I, childless and full of adventure, poured some cocktails and spontaneously decided to take a Carnival Cruise over New Years. He spent the next hour or so online looking for an available cabin, and I truly believe we booked the last one….in the world. We rented a car that Friday morning, and headed down to Cape Canaveral, Florida, where we stayed the night at the Radisson Hotel. We boarded the cruise ship Glory the following Saturday morning. Our itinerary was 2 days at sea, a day in Cozumel (boring), a day in Belize City (not what I had expected), a day in Costa Maya (LOVED IT), then on to Nassau, Bahamas after a couple of days at sea.  We arrived at the port in Nassau at about 10:00 a.m. The night before, Hank read the daily schedule for the next day, and saw that we were due to leave Nassau at 16:00 hours, giving us plenty of time to enjoy the day before we got back on the ship. So, excited about Nassau, we disembarked in our bathing suits (mine was a skimpy little two piece thing), grabbed a taxi, and headed over to the Atlantis Resort where we purchased a day pass and spent the day relaxing on the beach. It was absolutely beautiful!!! The water was so clear, and the waves were perfect!!! After we got tired of the beach, we headed back to the main part of the resort, toured the stunning aquariums, then walked outside to shop some more and check out all the beautiful yachts docked at the piers. It was truly an awesome day. Around 3 p.m., we decided to head back to the ship so we could leisurely check back in before everyone else, pack, and get ready to enjoy the last night of our vacation. On the way back, we took a wonderful water ferry taxi, then walked through the local craft markets at the dock where I purchased a very cool pair of leather handmade flip-flops. Still can’t wait to wear them!!!

Tired, sandy and a little burnt, we left the craft market and walked towards the Glory. All of the big ships were there as well, so I asked Hank if he would take my picture with all the cruise ships behind me, before we boarded. He said yes, of course, so I immediately tried to pump up my wet hair and make myself look cute for the picture. I was standing there smiling with my head and hip slightly cocked to one side, like the ultimate dork tourist in my skimpy bikini, posing for my picture…Hank raised the camera to his face…I give him a big smile…and then, I watched all the color slowly drain out of his face. I was still smiling (my cheeks were beginning to quiver) as he slowly lowered the camera back down. With jaws dropped, he pointed to our ship behind me and in a weak voice Hank said…”Baby! The boat is moving! Our ship is leaving the port!”

Irritated at his lame attempt at humor I rolled my eyes, exercised my cheeks for another smile and reposed for the picture because I didn’t believe him….for those of you who know us really well, you know that Hank messes with me all the time. He is the ultimate smart ass.

I decided to give him what he wanted….you know, haha, joke’s on me, and turned around. My jaw dropped too….especially when I looked up to the top of the ship and saw everyone on the deck yelling and waving good-bye to Nassau.

With arms flailing we start running towards the ship like idiots, to no avail. It wasn’t stopping…I whipped out the camera and videotaped our ship sailing off into the sunset while we ran at break neck speed to another Carnival ship in port for help. They basically, in a short direct way let us know that we were S.O.L. Yes, my friends, we “missed the boat”. We were stranded in the Bahamas in wet bathing suits watching our ship sail off without us.

Ok, so, we are standing there speechless and helpless on the pier of a foreign country. Our wallets are on board, cell phone, keys, clothes…EVERYTHING, except thank God, our passports and our American Express card. Yep, that’s it…that’s all we had besides our camera. After making a second attempt to try to recompose ourselves in front of all the tourists who had now caught onto what had just happened to us, we ran back to the security station and contacted the ministry of tourism, with the hope of maybe getting ferried out the Glory. No such luck…the ship could not be stopped.

Ok, so, let’s back up to the day before (well, really the night before….in the casino on the ship…after cocktails…), Hank saw on the daily schedule that we were scheduled to leave Nassau the next day at 16:00 hours, which, of course, is 4pm….apparently, the “six” in “sixteen” stuck in his head, so all day long we thought the ship was leaving at 6:00. Yes, I just threw my husband under the bus.

We left the port authorities and grabbed a taxi after being assured that we could fly back to Cape Canaveral within the next hour, then get back on the ship the next morning to retrieve our belongings. Oh, if it had only been that easy!

We finally arrived at the Nassau Airport, and booked the last flight (7:30pm) to Orlando through BAHAMA AIR…ok, who has even heard of this airline? My thoughts exactly! We purchased the tickets, and proceeded through the airport to American customs. Of course, everyone in front of us have luggage, bags, purses, cute little souvenirs from their vacation in Nassau….Us? Nothing. We stepped up to our customs booth, and the officer slowly looked us over, cleared his throat and finally asks, “Uhmm, where are your bags? And how long have you been in the country?”
Hank and I looked at each other, looked back at him and said, “Everything we own is on the Carnival Glory, and we have been here for 6 hours.” He laughed out loud at us…I mean, who wouldn’t? Here we are getting ready to board a flight in semi-wet bathing suits, our legs and feet still have sand from the beach all over them, we have no luggage, and at this point we are beginning to smell.

Then, if that’s not enough, they walk us out onto the tarmac up to a little prop plane! At this point, I was scared to death and freezing my butt off. The flight didn’t even have beverages. I told the attendant that I was thirsty and she went to the bathroom and handed me a cup of tap water. Hank and I spent the entire flight huddled up together to fight off hypothermia. At every bump and drop in the air we professed our love for each other, wondering if it was our last moment together on Earth.

Thank God, we made it back to the States alive. We left the airport after I hurriedly purchased a sweat shirt and hailed a taxi back to Cape Canaveral to the Radisson hotel, the same hotel we stayed at the night before we departed. The taxi ride cost $100….we didn’t care, we just needed sleep, food, and warmth. Oh, and by the way, let me give you a visual of what I looked like. By this time, my inner thighs were so chaffed from the salt water and running around Nassau in a wet bathing suit, that I thought they were going to bleed, so I am gingerly walking around like I rode a bull for 8 hours, with my legs spread apart so my thighs don’t rub together. It wasn’t pretty and it hurt like hell. Also, to add to the visual, I have really curly frizzy hair that must be maintained with products and a hairdryer to look presentable. Mix that hair with sand, salt water, and give it a windblown effect…and you can imagine what I looked like. I was a dead ringer for the Bride of Frankenstein. My lips were also burnt and slightly peeled back, drawn taut from dried salt that I got tired of licking at some point on the plane.

We finally got to the hotel. Ahhhh, sweet peace. The first thing I did was run a hot bath while Hank went to the front lobby to get glasses and any free toiletries the hotel could offer. In the meantime, while soaking my thighs in hot water, I picked up the phone and tried to dial 411 to get my mother’s new phone number because she had just moved. I am no good with numbers, and I don’t have to be since all the numbers are programmed into my cell phone. HA! Where is the cell phone? Exactly…so, I dial 9 to get an outside line, then 411 for information….Can you imagine what happened next?

“911, what is your emergency?” I was horrified and apologized for inconveniencing them, that I just dialed the wrong number (apparently my finger didn’t push the 4 down all the way). I hang up, and completely exhausted, just give up and sink down into the tub. Hank comes back and I told him about the phone call and asked him if he would get Mom’s number for me. He did. 5 minutes later, the Brevard County police show up banging on the hotel door with flashlights. Hank goes to the door, opens it to find 2 officers on either side of the door with their hands on their guns. They weren’t playing around either. He assures them it was a mistake, but they insist on seeing me to make sure that I am not a bloodied and bruised up wife. So, there I am in the bath tub, trying to keep my boobs under the water line with one hand and the other hand struggling to cover up my hoo-hoo with any soap suds floating around in the water while they looked me over. My God….did it end there?


We finished off the night with some much-needed cocktails, and, naked from lack of clean dry clothing, ate hot wings delivered by a local restaurant who took American Express. Outside, our rental car sat gleaming in the moonlight, locked, in the weekly paid for parking lot with things we could have used, LIKE CLOTHES….but, oh yeah, the keys were on the  ship.

We woke up hours later, took a taxi to the port, and what do you know? Security would not allow us back on the ship to get our things. We had to sit on a metal rod bench (that must have been constructed by the same companies who make the furnishings for death row cells) still in our bathing suits, with minimal clothing, from 7:30am to 10:30am until the ship’s purser finally brought our things to us, which had been METICULOUSLY packed and inventoried on sheets of paper. On the papers each item was listed as “found” and then “placed” wherever, in whatever bag they had chosen. I mean, seriously…these people were thorough!  For example, I had a partly used roll of stamps in my purse, and whoever the unfortunate soul was who had the task of packing our things, actually had to count out each stamp and inventory how many= 92…seriously, you should see the inventory papers. EVERY single item that was in our room was listed, which we had to go over one by one with the purser so he could mark it off the list. With my heart pounding and my face full of shame, I silently poured over the contents until I finally found what I was looking for. There it was, in all its glory, my hot pink dildo. I have never been so embarrassed in my entire life. With impressive professionalism, he quickly checked it off after I nodded my head and moved on to the next item, which was not as bad but I am sure caught them by surprise…the two boxes of “decorative teeth” with fake diamonds embedded in them. Yes, the grills…the ones I had laughed so hard about that Christmas as I stood in line at the mall for an hour waiting to purchase them for our stockings. We actually wore them one night to the disco on the ship, and no doubt laughed by ourselves at how funny we were as we tried to dance to rap music.

So, we finally got our belongings, took a taxi back to the Radisson so we could load up our rental car and get the hell out of Brevard County, and I will be DAMNED….at some point while we were on the cruise, a drunken guest of the hotel had vomited all over the passenger door handle and door. It was pink and chunky and absolutely just not fair! The hot Florida sun had hardened it, and I couldn’t open the car door without tissues…it was beyond disgusting.

So, there you have it. The story is priceless, and I can’t believe all of it happened in less than 24 hours.  I simply had to share it, because if we hadn’t had our American Express card with us, I can’t fathom how horrible this experience could have been. Thank you American Express, I’m so glad we didn’t leave home without you!!!!!


Hank and Ryan Anderson

**Not only is Ryan my niece, she is also the talented author behind the novels in The Detective Hank Jordan Series, and you can order her books here.

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This rollercoaster belongs in a theme park.

Looks pretty scary, huh?

Welcome to my point of view. Just a typical day in my life, recently.

As I mentioned here, life has been pretty nuts around the ole Calibama Ranch. And here’s the thing: it’s all family drama.  Okay, maybe not ALL of it.  But…whatever.

My struggle is with the fact that I built this family. Literally. Everyone knows each other because I packed my life up and drove to California 16 years ago. Might as well change my name to CATALYST, because that initial decision, followed by the marital union of The Man and me 3.5 years later, charted the life courses of no less than 8 people. Seriously. I’m not kidding, nor exaggerating. I’d list all the connections and such, but they aren’t my stories to tell and at the rate I’m going, I certainly can’t risk the shit getting any deeper up in here. Suffice to say, with the exception of one, who made the move here shortly after I did, and served a stint as my roommate for a bit in the early years…my closest girlfriends from college, are now family…for reals. Sister brought it full-circle, by leaving blood relation–complete with their own full-scale dramatic productions– behind in ‘Bama and creating my very own ‘friendamily’ here on the West Coast. It took me sixteen years…actually only thirteen to be exact…to do it, but masterpieces take time, right?


Does that mean I’m responsible for this chaos? Please. Don’t. Answer. That.

At any rate, guilty or not, I have no regrets. None. Life has its highs and lows, peaks and valleys. Sometimes all in the same effing week. Even if the genie from Aladdin–complete with Robin Williams’ voice, a shiny gold lamp and a groovy magic carpet–suddenly appeared, offering me the opportunity to go back 13 years and do things differently, I wouldn’t. Every single introduction, experience, and life-altering event would remain intact, in its original, organic state. Honestly. Having all these people assembled together in my world interacting in such an amazing, tumultuous, meaningful way is a blessing, truly worth its weight in gold. Why, you ask?

Because I was given this life, and I appreciate every ounce of it.

Good MORNING, radio listeners!!


Old ass radio. Or 'vintage' if you prefer.

Old ass radio. Or ‘vintage’ if you prefer.

After two days of crying because of this, I was due a day of smiling, and some gut-busting laughter. That opportunity came today, after I picked The Beans up from school.

Every Thursday is ‘banking day’. Which roughly translates into ‘an excuse for our school district to make you pick your kid up early‘, I believe. I could be wrong, though. It’s happened before…on occasion. Anyway, because they get sprung early, we’ve made a sort of ritual out of the afternoons by going to Fro-Yo immediately after school. They get a treat before starting homework, I get to ‘check in’ on Facebook from somewhere besides my living room, so people think I have a life. It’s a win-win.

Well, today was an extra special treat.

On the way to Fro-Yo, we were listening to Radio Disney. Not such a strange thing, except today I was driving The Man’s car, and he doesn’t have the fancy-schmancy XM Satellite radio like my mom-mobile does. The music was coming through on AM1110, an AM station…complete with static. The hilarity ensued when….

Butter Bean asked, “What’s that noise, Mommy?” I reply, “That’s the radio, sweetie.” Sugar Bean chimes in with “You know, it’s the satellite causing the static.” Immediately, I correct her and say, “No, this car doesn’t have XM. The music is coming through on an AM station, and they can be static-y”. With that, Sugar Bean says “It figures. Why is this station even on right now? I mean, it’s an AM STATION. Don’t they only come on in the morning?” She said it with just enough certainty, there was no doubt she really believed it.

I almost peed my pants and crashed the car simultaneously, because I was laughing so hard. Seriously. Did my kid just say that? It was gooood, people. Priceless, in fact. I needed to tell someone right then.  So I called my sister. Both because I knew she would laugh her ass off with me, and also because she raised 2 daughters who had ‘those’ moments too, and wouldn’t think I had birthed a child whom I believe is quite smart, only to discover she the village idiot at the ripe old age of 12. The Man was at work, and unreachable,  so sharing this bit of comedy with him was out of the question 🙂

My sister reminded me of a conversation, that took place between my niece and I, while I was home visiting with Sugar Bean, who was only a year old, circa 2000. Meaghan was 15 or so, and I was 29. We were hanging out discussing the fact that she was the hardest person in the world to get out of bed for school every morning, despite the obnoxious alarm clock she owned.  Her alarm clock would wake the entire house, by blasting the Nickelodeon jingle “Nick, nick, nick, nick, na-nick, nick, nick….NICKELODEON!!!” at a decibel level that may not even be legal. They lived in rural Alabama, in a fairly large house and Meaghan’s room was upstairs. Everyone who slept downstairs could hear it. Their house sat on 110 acres, and their neighbors could hear it. Despite it being on her nightstand; she never stirred. Never hit the snooze button, if it even had one. And no, she isn’t deaf. Shocking, I know. Each morning started with someone else barging into her room, banging on the alarm clock until it shut up, and literally dragging her out of bed. Every. Morning.

Anyway, as I was complaining about the alarm clock waking the baby up every morning, she rebutted by saying, “Hey now. I love that clock. It’s a really good one. I’ve had it since I was in the 4th grade, and never once had to replace the batteries.” As I sat in complete disbelief, I calmly said “Meaghan. Does it plug into the wall??” “Uh-huh,” she replied, smiling at me with her big blue eyes wide open. I just shook my head and said, “It’s electric, Blondie.” We both erupted in laughter, and I’m pretty sure I wet my pants. The laugh was absolutely worth it.

I vowed to never let her live it down.

Here we are in 2006, acting like complete goofballs. She's a gem :-)

Here we are in 2006, acting like complete goofballs.

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