What a week…

Hubby and I traveled to Seattle last week. Xander, our seven-year-old godchild (with spina bifida) had his twenty-seventh surgery Thursday. We met him and his mom at the hospital for pre-admission appointments Wednesday and got the world’s best hug.

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Afterwards, we took the ferry to Kingsport. Xander’s dad is in the navy and Xander’s family lives across the sound from Seattle. It was a windy day, but “Pappy” and Xander ventured to the top deck of the ferry while his mom and I stayed in the warmth of the car.

Pappy and Xander on top of the ferry

Pappy and Xander on top of the ferry



with goolsby girls

We had dinner that evening with Xander’s whole family including his parents, his two older brothers and his two sisters. The family adopted the girls in December after serving as their foster family for over a year.







Pappy took lots of cute pictures of Xander after his surgery—most with his treasured Shark, Bruce, a gift from my friend Erica. Bruce went to surgery with Xander and had his own hospital bracelet (around his tail). Actually, Pappy went back to surgery with Xander too–and stayed until he was asleep. Xander wanted him to stay for the whole procedure, but no one else thought that a good idea.

Pappy ready to go back to surgery with Xander

Pappy ready to go back to surgery with Xander

IMG_Asleep with Bruce

Xander had to remain flat for seventy-two hours after the surgery. The doctors estimated he’d go home after five or six days, but he’s such a trooper. He left the hospital Sunday afternoon–about seventy-five hours after the procedure.


My sister. I'm so proud of her!

My sister. I’m so proud of her!


And…life goes on. My younger sister is the executive director of a large non-profit north of Seattle. Its annual fundraiser was Saturday night and we try to attend each year. Our guests this year included Jan Bono, a writer who responded to one of my blog posts a couple of years ago. We met face-to-face last summer when I was out for another of Xander’s surgeries. She plans to attend Killer Nashville in August.


With author friend Jan Bono

With author friend Jan Bono


I head home tomorrow. My trips to Seattle are never long enough to see everyone and do everything. I love everything about the Pacific Northwest—the climate, the terrain, the people. If I win the lottery, it’s where I’d purchase a second home. Maybe I should buy a ticket.

~ Kay

Spring Fever

It’s spring all right. Saturday was a beautiful sunny day with temperatures in the 70’s. Yesterday, it wasn’t quite as warm, but still lots of sunshine. People were out in groves–running errands, washing cars, planting flowers—enjoying the fresh air. Today, however, it’s storming and we have tornado watches all around. Yep! It’s spring in middle Tennessee.

Another sign of the season: I’m sick. Or, at least I hope my illness was due to the weather and not the server at a mid-level chain restaurant who coughed the entire time she served us last weekend. At the time, I remember thinking I hoped she had allergies. But, when I woke up Tuesday with an eerily similar cough I had my doubts.

Normally, traditional medicine is my last resort, but I’ve got a big week ahead and needed to knock out any illness quickly. Therefore, I went to the doctor Tuesday afternoon. He diagnosed an upper respiratory infection, gave me antibiotics, advised me to take Mucinex for the cough, drink plenty of liquids, get lots of rest…you know the score.

It’d be hard to know which saw more of me during the next few days: my bed or my couch. I didn’t read. I didn’t watch TV. I slept and coughed. Friday morning, Hubby took me back to the doctor because I was “rattling.” Luckily, it wasn’t pneumonia. I got an inhaler for wheezing, a broader-spectrum antibiotic, a shot of steroids, and something for the cough.

It’s Monday and by comparison, I feel great. But, every time someone phones they say I “sound awful.” I still have a cough, but it isn’t all the time and my throat isn’t sore anymore. I’m definitely on the mend.

It’s amazing how much energy being sick zaps from you. Hubby took me for a manicure and pedicure yesterday and even that wore me out. Do I dare tap dance today? I missed class last Wednesday, so I at least have to attend class. Whether or not I can dance—we’ll see. My doctor said I wouldn’t be contagious, but I’ll wear a mask, just in case.

My brain keeps going back to the server who was sick. Why was she working? What was management’s responsibility to the restaurant’s patrons on a busy Friday night—a little longer wait because they sent a server home or exposing goodness knows how many people to her illness? What would you have done?






One last look…

I just realized I forgot to do my weekly post yesterday. Let’s see, what was I doing? Why did I forget?

Hubby and I spent the weekend out at his mom’s farm packing up the last of her stuff, then met the movers yesterday morning. Pretty much everything that hasn’t been given away was relocated from the farm to our house. Several of the boxes went to a local womens’ shelter–they were very excited. The rest will go into the storage part of our basement when I have time to get in there and organize its contents. I refuse to cram one more box back there, until everything is sorted, labeled, and I know what’s what. So, the boxes from the farm might sit for a while.

Included in our haul were several pieces of furniture including two queen-sized beds. We’d given Youngest Son one complete set of bedroom furniture when he got married and turned that bedroom into a closet–much needed for off season storage and all of my tap costumes. Costumes are now in the basement (poor basement) and we have a second upstairs guest room again. We set the other bed up downstairs where we already had a king-sized bed and a trundle. If I enjoyed cooking early every morning, we could start a bed and breakfast! We have six beds (other than ours) ready to go.

Seriously, the finished part of our basement is as crowded as an antique store. Luckily, we’re only “furniture-sitting” several of the large pieces (including one of the beds) for family friends and our kids. The problem is no one can give us a time line on when they plan to pick up their stuff. Middle Son, who inherited the bed, is in Hawaii and we know he won’t want it until he’s back stateside.

The move went as smoothly as a move can go. It wasn’t that much stuff and it still took five hours. It reminded me why I want to stay put!

The farmhouse is all but empty now. Hubby’s sister has a few things left to pick up. The soon-to-be owners are looking around and thinking about changes they want to make before they move in. The husband is a civilian in Afghanistan who won’t be home until after the move so the wife gets to make all of the decisions.

Here’s one last look at the house, taken from the other side of the lake my in-law’s built. Hubby and I got married on the dock–it was before they added the gazebo. There are lots of memories out there. The new owners have said we’re welcome anytime…but it won’t be the same. For them, I hope, it will be even better.

~ Kay


Happy Birthday, Xander

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know about Xander, my soon to be seven-year-old godchild. Seven! Where does the time go?

Xander has severe spina bifida, and we had another health scare last week. He had a seizure Friday morning and his mom (Natalie) had difficulty waking him. She called Children’s Hospital. They advised her to call 911, take him to the closest hospital to get him stable, then transport him to Children’s. When they managed to wake him, he was disoriented and had memory loss. He couldn’t remember what he’d had for dinner the night before and it was pizza—his favorite! Of course, his memory wasn’t impaired so much that he didn’t remember to request Bruce, his shark pillow, to accompany him.

For those without small kids, Bruce is the Shark in Disney’s Finding Nemo.  If you don’t know about Finding Nemo, God bless you. I’ve seen it at dozens of times (in a row) during Xander’s hospitalizations. Bruce is a member of Fish-eaters Anonymous and tries to eat politically correct kelp (veggies) instead of fish.

Anyway, all’s well that ends well. The setting on the shunt in his head was off, so neurosurgery adjusted it  By the time they drove home Friday night, I could hear him chattering away in the back seat.

Xander has become obsessed with sharks during the past year or so. He reads about them, watches documentaries…if you have a shark question, Xander is your man!

Here are a couple of pictures of Xander and Bruce in the hospital.



His shark pillow was a gift from one of our friends and has been an appendage since he got it in December. His mom reports it was his favorite gift. It turns out the pillow is actually a hand puppet. During a recent trip to the doctor’s office, Natalie couldn’t find her car keys. After about five minutes of searching, she was frantic. She dumped everything out and was scouring through it when Xander calmly said, “I know where they’re not.” She stopped her search and asked, “Okay. Where are they not?” He gave her his practiced cherub smile and said, “Well, the shark didn’t eat them.” Of course, she found them in the folds of the puppet.

Since the shark pillow was such a hit, we decided to send him a shark outfit for his birthday. I found one online and had it shipped. It got there in time for his birthday party and his mom posted this picture on Facebook with a comment that he said he’s never taking it off.

Land Shark, Xander

Land Shark, Xander


Xander's "shark" birthday cake

Xander’s “shark” birthday cake

We won’t be with him on this birthday, but we’ll see him in a couple of weeks. I hope he lets his mom wash his shark suit between now and then…maybe while he sleeps.  Happy birthday, Xander!