Recent vice

This is me playing Metallica’s “One” on Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock for the first time on hard mode…

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Weekend at Mom’s and the onset of another anxiety attack

We left for Mom’s house early Friday afternoon and arrived in time to head over to Crossroads for fried catfish. After dinner we came home and I bathed Maly and Elise put her to bed. The rest of the night we watched TV and talked before going to bed.

On Saturday morning we woke up early and met Don and Linda at Tony’s in Sealy (a pretty good truck stop diner that I’m surprised I had never set foot into in the 8 years that I lived in Austin county) for breakfast. After breakfast Don and Linda headed on to Kyle for a family member’s wedding. The girls and I went to the new Wal-Mart in Sealy just to check out the new Wal-Mart in Sealy.

We got back to Mom’s house and put Maly down for a nap. Elise mowed the lawn while I ripped out landscape timbers that line the driveway and replaced them with new landscape timbers. I quickly came to the realization that I’ve become a city boy. After only a couple hours of “country work”, my hands were getting red and blistered, my legs were wobbly and my back ached.

Mom took Maly on a tractor ride and to look at the cows. We had roasted venison with veggies for dinner. We watched “Scary Movie” that evening and Mom turned in early. Elise and I stayed up and watched SNL (she fell asleep half way through) and went to bed at midnight.

This morning I went out to the driveway to remove all of the old nails from the landscape timbers. Maly came out and sat on my old skateboard and rode up and down the driveway while exclaiming, “da weee!”

When I was finally done with my landscape timber project, I took a shower and got dressed for our photos. Elise and I had planned on taking pictures to be used for our Christmas cards this year. Unfortunately by the time the camera was set and angled on the tripod and we were positioned on the swing that hangs from the huge oak in Mom’s yard, Maly switched into “it’s getting time to take a nap” mode. She didn’t want to sit still for a family photo. So we put her on the ground and let her play with the swing. She pushed the swing back and forth. At one point she stopped and started rubbing her hands together. Then she started to cry. Then she started crying uncontrollably and inconsolably.

Elise took her inside, thinking that Maly was just being cranky and needed to take a nap. Maly tried to go to sleep but again started crying in pain. Elise got Maly out of bed and tried to console her to no avail. Maly just kept crying in pain and rubbing her hands together. We looked at Maly’s hand and her index finger and palm were red and swollen. He forearm started to turn red as well. I nonchalantly FREAKED OUT on the inside and watched as Elise tried to comfort our daughter. Grandma provided momentary relief by giving Maly some homemade frozen yogurt. I went out to the swing with fingers crossed that I wouldn’t find a brown recluse or black widow spider underneath the swing. Thankfully I found neither. I did see a couple fire ants at the base of the oak tree and internally resolved that Maly just got stung by a rabid fire ant. In the meantime, Elise and Mom gave Maly some Benadryl, which seemed to help a little after half an hour of crying.

We decided to forego letting Maly take a nap at Grandma’s and instead had a quick, late lunch and then packed up and headed back to Austin. Maly slept almost the entire way home (which is very rare).

When we got home, we did our normal nightly ritual of dinner and a bath. Just before Maly’s bath, we were able to finally see Maly’s injury. She had a series of six or seven little bit marks in a very concentrated area of her palm just before where her index finger starts.

That’s when my anxiety attack started. What the hell kind of insect leaves bites like that?!? I knew that it couldn’t have been fire ants. Fire ant bites wouldn’t be that concentrated.

Right now we’re thinking she was stung by an asp. We’re pretty certain it was an asp, but not 100%. The not knowing is what is stressing me out. It’s the hearing my daughter cry in pain for nearly an hour because something stung her. It’s my anxiety that’s got the best of me – we put Maly down half and hour ago I can’t get the notion out of my head that she’s going to have an allergic reaction and go into anaphylactic shock at 3 a.m.

All-in-all, we had a great weekend. I’m just not going to sleep well tonight…

Monthly Maly Letter: Month 18

Dear Maly,

You turned 18-months-old this week. You’ve been with us for a year and a half now. It’s amazing that a whole year and a half have flown by. It seems like just last week you were taking your first steps when really that was over six months ago. And every night when I check on you before I go to bed I remember the first night after we brought you home from the hospital and how I spent that evening wondering how our lives were going to change. Since you’ve been with us, life has been nothing short of great.

But with the great comes the bad and the things that nobody likes to do. On Monday your Mom and I took you to the doctor for your 18-month checkup. As usual, you passed with flying colors, including the fact that you’re in the 95% percentile for head size. You have a big noggin. It’s a perfectly shaped and beautiful head, but your body is yet to catch up.

At the end of the doctor’s visit it was time for your booster and flu vaccination. As instructed I sat you on the edge of the examination table with your legs hanging over the edge. The nurse leaned her thighs into your legs to prevent you from kicking. Then I got my hated second set of instructions: to hold your arms down. The nurse proceeded to remove the cap from the booster vaccine and quickly jab it deeply into your left thigh. You immediately screamed and tears quickly started streaming down both sides of your face and onto the table just below your ears. I winced and let up on your arms enough so you could feel as if you had some form of retaliation strength. You cried and screamed. The nurse then removed the cap from the flu vaccine syringe and as quickly as the first, jabbed the needle into your right thigh. You jerked, shrieked, screamed and in a fleeting moment you caught my eye and gave me a look that said, “Daaaaaaddy, how could you EVER let this happen to me?!?!”

The nurse couldn’t put the little Tweety Bird band aids on you quick enough. The moment the second one was on your leg, I scooped you up and pressed you as close as I could to my chest and just started talking to you, trying to distract you from the pain.

I went on to work that morning and couldn’t stop thinking about you all day. Not that I don’t think about you all day, but on this particular day I couldn’t wait to come home and hold you again. I wanted to physically be near you so I could protect you and apologize again for having to let you get hurt. Of course by the time I got home that evening, you were completely normal and had forgotten about your morning of being a pin cushion.

This past month you got to ride a horse for the first time. You and your mom stayed at Grandma’s for a few days while Daddy was in New York on a business trip. One afternoon Grandma, Momma and you visited Tim and Wanda. Wanda took you on a horse ride and, from what I was told, you had a blast. I’m looking forward to the next time we go to visit Grandma because hopefully we can go to Tim and Wanda’s house and I can get to see you ride a horse.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever made mention of your teeth to you in the past. Your Mom suggested that I mention your teeth in this month’s letter. Maly, you have teeth. Eight of them to be exact. Well, I’m sure you have more, but they just haven’t managed to start piercing through your gum line to create an ever-flowing river of snot from your nose and a pain-induced crabby attitude that will most likely leave your mother and I wondering if we should have paid for the extended warranty on you.

Eight teeth. Eight teeth that I have a hell of a time trying to brush. For me, brushing your teeth is about as easy as a three-legged cat trying to bury a turd on a frozen pond. Your Mom seems to have a good system. I’m sort of of the thinking, “I’ll try as best I can, but if I can’t I can fall back on her mom.” Plus, the way I figure it, you’re just going to lose those teeth anyway. And the way that I let you play it’s a miracle you haven’t already knocked a tooth or two out.

One of your most recent past times has been spinning in circles. Just tonight your Mom and I stood in the kitchen and watched you spin and spin in a counter-clockwise circle to the point where you fell forward, bonked your head on the refrigerator door’s edge which then launched you onto your back on the kitchen tile. Then you tried to get up and you fell again. Once you regained your balance, you stood up and just started spinning again. You’re funny like that.

A couple of weeks ago your Mom and I took you to a local neighborhood park. We were lucky in that we had the whole park to ourselves. We watched you as you played on the springy horse, the see-saw, the swings and the merry-go-round. But the playground ride that you liked the most is what you excitedly and affectionately refer to as, “Da Wee”. The rest of us know “da wee” as a slide. You call it “da wee” because whenever you go down the slide your Mom and I both say, “Weeee!” as you descend.

Hearing you say “da wee” has got to be one of my favorite things that you say. Your excitement invigorates me. But in the same breath it makes me scared and sad. Scared and sad that before I know it a slide down da wee won’t captivate you enough. Da wee will be borrowing Daddy’s car just so you can get out of the house to be with your friends instead of Momma and me. In the meantime, I embrace every moment I have with you as I watch you grow and enjoy life behind such an innocent and beautiful smile.

I think the milestone that sticks out the most in my mind this month is kisses and hugs. Nothing melts my heart more than when you give me a kiss and then you throw your arms around my neck. Which is usually followed by, “Oosh?!? Bah bye!!” Which is your way of saying, “Get my shoes, I’m going to work with Daddy!” So, having to leave for work in the mornings has been really hard for me the past month. I generally make it a point to forget something in the house just so I have to come back into the kitchen and get another kiss from you.

There’s just some unwritten, unfathomable pride to having a daughter. The bond I have with you is amazing. There are no words to describe it. I cherish each and every moment I have with you. I cherish you now at 18-months and I will cherish you the same at 18-years and even then beyond yours and my scope of existence.

I love you, Sugar.