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Dear Diary

Well, I thought we escaped it, but we didn’t. The past week has been full of emesis, diarrhea, and disinfectant spray. Just when we think that things are on the mend, someone else in the family starts having a stomach ache. The vomiting is the worst. When it starts out, it sounds like a loud belch … until you hear the progression of the sounds. Yeah. Too much information. But on a good note, I have seen that my kids are immune to boredom. They were able to watch the same episodes of Disney sit-coms a half dozen times and still got mad when I turned off the television.

I’ve cut back on my work hours a little which gives me some extra time to hang out with Mrs. WhiteCoat and the kids. Kind of fun taking a morning to walk through the mall or going to lunch and catching a matinee before the kids get home from school. In fact, I took about a 30% pay cut from previous years, but we’re happier than we were before, I get to see a lot of the kids’ events that I used to miss, and we pay a lot less in taxes.

Last weekend at one of my son’s wrestling matches, I had some mom from another team call me an asshole. Probably won’t be the last time. And I wasn’t even the one instigating.
Wrestling matches last 1:30 each round. There are three rounds per match. It was a team meet and my son’s team was just barely beating another team — whose parents were sitting in the bleachers right next to us. During one of the matches, their wrestler was getting beat and, while on the mat, he signaled the referee that he was hurt. The referee stops the match and the wrestler jumps off the mat and goes to get some water.
Several of our parents started yelling. Wrestlers aren’t allowed to take water breaks in the middle of matches. The opposing team’s parents started yelling at us. I kept my mouth shut.
Mom from their team: “You all can just shut up!”
Mom from our team: “You BETTER not be talking like that to my family.”
One of our team dads yells “Your kids get water breaks? Our kids don’t get water breaks. Is that in the rules somewhere?”
A loudmouth mom from the other team yells “Hey SHUT UP. He has ASTHMA.”
Then I just let out a spontaneous laugh. I wasn’t laughing at the kid’s medical problem. I just thought to myself that I’ve been doing it wrong all these years. I should just be giving patients drinks of water instead of steroids and albuterol for their asthma attacks.  What a dunce I am.
Loudmouth mom looks at me and yells “What are you laughing at, ASS-HOLE?”
Them’s fighting words, of course. But I kept my mouth shut. I just smirked at her, held my water bottle high in the air, and took a long swig. Mmmmm. Breathing better already.
The water didn’t help as their wrestler got pinned shortly after his water break ended. I had about a half dozen snarky comments that I wanted to blurt out at the mom, but I didn’t want to start a brawl in the stands. So I opted to have another long swig of water. Mmmmmm.

Next week I’m having another surgery … on Valentine’s Day no less. Hopefully not a big deal. Just getting a hernia repaired. I’ve been dealing with it for a while, but now it has gotten big enough that it hurts, so sometimes I have to put my hand in my pocket to push it back into place to stop it from aching. I gave a lecture last week and noticed that a couple of people were watching my hand in my pocket while I was talking. When people in the front row think I’m playing with myself, it’s time to get the problem fixed.
The surgeon agreed to do the procedure under local anesthesia, so hopefully I’ll be out in a few hours. Just have to remember to get Valentine’s gifts before the 14th this year.

Rosie the roving garbage disposal has been working at a furious pace. She has a half dozen bones that she can chew on which are scattered all over the house, but she’d rather chew on her owners’ belongings. She has a thing for toothbrushes. She’s totally chewed the heads off of two of those in the past two weeks. She actually climbs up on the bathroom sink to get at them. She also chewed the legs off of a Barbie doll, partially gnawed a drum stick, destroyed a hair brush, partially chewed through a cordless phone, and went in to my hospital overnight bag and chewed through all the toiletries. The older dog just sat against the wall with his tail tucked as soon as I got home after the toiletry bag stunt, so I knew something was wrong. I went into my office and saw the mess. Then Rosie comes up wagging her tail … and pukes on the carpet right in front of me. Combination of bits of plastic and bubbles. Mmmmmmm. Maybe she’s got that stomach bug.

Rosie will sometimes actually chew her bones. When she does, it is usually on her bed in the room above my office. So periodically the vibrations from her chewing her bone will radiate through the ceiling of my office. Yesterday I was doing a project for my other job when the grinding noises started up. I put some headphones on and listened to music, but I could still hear the rhythmic grinding through the music, so I took a break and went into the kitchen for a drink … where I could see both of the dogs laying on the living room floor. And the grinding continues from upstairs.
I ran up the stairs to see what the grinding was coming from. The dog bone was laying next to the bed. The grinding seemed to be coming from the next room. I slowly opened the door. The grinding sounds got louder. I walked in the room and the floor creaked. Suddenly the grinding stopped. I looked all around the room and found nothing. I went outside to see if there was something on the side of the house. Nothing.
Then I came inside and the grinding was back. Scraaaatch … scraaaaatch … scraaaatch.
I snuck back upstairs and tiptoed into the room. It seemed to be coming from our closet. I opened the door and turned on the light. The noise was coming from the back wall. I got a MagLite and crawled down on the floor to look under the clothing that was hanging on the rack. If something runs at me I’m going to scream like a little girl right about now. There was a black blob on the floor next to the wall. It looked like a giant toad. I’m thinking that toads don’t make grinding noises, so it probably isn’t a toad. I nudged it with the MagLite. It didn’t move. Then I figured that I would pin it up against the wall with the MagLite, so I jabbed at it with the MagLite and pressed it against the wall. It collapsed.
It was one of Mrs. Whitecoat’s wadded up nylons.
I took all of the clothes off of the hangers. The grinding was coming from behind the wall. But the wall is an exterior wall — just a bunch of insulation between the inner wall and the exterior brick with studs every two feet — so what the heck could be going on?
I got a utility knife and cut a hole in the wall. I made the hole big enough that it covered a couple of studs in the wall so that I would be able to patch the plasterboard back in place when I was done. I even got a camera and videotaped this as I was going.
I pulled off the plasterboard and used the utility knife to cut the insulation. A piece of insulation fell to the side.
What the …?

Well, diary, I’m working a double shift tomorrow and it’s getting late, so I’ll finish the rest of this story later.


  1. My dog is usually pretty good about not chewing things after she decided the cordless phone’s base cord was a nice chew toy and got zapped when no one was looking. She was fine, she gets a worse shock from the static electricity in the house in winter. What she chews the crap out of is tennis balls outside where she isn’t happy until she has a good size hole in them and little cut offs from when I trim cordwood so it fits in the stove. She will wait until I put the chainsaw down to get another piece and run in and steal the chunk of wood I cut off and go to the other end of the yard to chew on. In the house she occasionally steals green face cloths from the upstairs bathrooms and like to chew on those. She won’t take any of the other linens or face cloths but only the green ones after they have been used.

  2. That pooch sounds like an obstruction waiting to happen.

  3. No, but thank you for asking.

    Dang. I hate surprises behind walls. Before I bought my first house, a friend warned me that a home is just like an old car. It requires constant upkeep, maintenance, and care. And for all the energy you spend on an old car, you just barely stay ahead of the rust. And boy, was he ever right. Come on, what was it? Saber-toothed squirrel? Giant Norway rat? Angry patient?

  4. So…?! What was it?

  5. “When people in the front row think I’m playing with myself, it’s time to get the problem fixed.”

    Words to live by! Hope the surgery goes well. Why a local, though? Propophol has never given me a hangover. Let the anaestesiologist treat you like a king — just not like the King of Pop!

  6. Best wishes on your upcoming surgery. Can’t wait to read the rest of the story!

  7. The surgeon agreed to do the procedure under local anesthesia

    Hmmm…bypassing the Versed this time around? ;-)

  8. Hernia repair under local – highly recommended, my surgeon says he has far fewer complications(urinary retention etc.) than with general. Was walking the dog that afternoon. Got my first experience with vicodin as well – can definitely understand the potential for abuse. Got off that as soon as I could.

  9. So, your house has a hernia and was pushing it back inside?

  10. You CRACK me up WC and you had me laughing out loud. :)

    I really enjoy your diary posts.

    30% cut in pay is significant, but there are some things you can’t put a price on. Good for you and your family that you have more time for them and yourself.

    Our adopted dog stopped all major chewing …although she lives to chew the kids wooden and plastic toys and won’t chew her bones. Hilarious that your dog goes looking for tooth brushes. I wonder what the draw is?

    I’m sorry about the hernia and wish you a speedy recovery.

    I look forward to the rest of the story. If you screamed like a girl at the nylons I would’ve choked on my tea at that point. :)

  11. I know suicide is a serious thing and I hope the patient is alright- but that tweet also cracked me up!

    “Hel-lo! I’m suicidal! Remember?” Could’ve been in a movie.

  12. Parents. The worst thing about youth sports.

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