Wednesday, July 28, 2010

a series of unfortunate events for mrs. b

it all started with an innocent family friendly game of soccer on the greater cooper family vacation outside of zion's national park, but what i mean by friendly is really competitive.  whenever the cooper family in its most organic form engages in any kind of contest, sparks are likely to fly.  add in-laws and grandkids into the mix, and the stakes get even higher.

take for instance kenna jo asking me if i got higher on the climbing wall than my two brothers-in-law after a day of recreation in zion ponderosa.  then there's my brother (i won't say which one) taking out his own daughter at 3rd base during the kids versus adults whiffle ball game.  and it was during this same game a brother-in-law (i won't say which one) wasn't about to let the munchkins win and i wasn't about to let the adults mess up the batting order for the sanctity of the game.  of course, that was just during the last greater cooper gathering.  that's not even counting board games or political discussions during countless other group events, both of which rarely take place anymore.

fast forward to the soccer game the night before the family outing ended.  there was some mixture of my brother, my wife, myself and a kid or two against my sister, kathryn, and a few in-laws out on the pitch and it was intense.  we went up one early on, but all of a sudden the score was tied.  next thing i know mrs. blogmaster is taking a cross from someone and squaring up to launch a howler to the goal.

at once, mrs. b cocked her leg back ready to unleash that stay-at-home mom pent up fury on that poor futbol, when, somewhat unexpectedly, my sister ever so slightly tapped the ball just accurately enough to the point where mrs. b's bombastic kick connected not with its intended target but with my sister's shin.

i believe a certain law of physics states that no two solid objects can occupy the same space at the same time.  so it was with aimee's foot and kathryn's shin, with aim's foot being on the unfortunate end of that collision.  let's just say we all heard a sound and it sounded like someone twisting a grip of bubble wrap packaging in one swift motion... and it wasn't kathryn's shin.  snap.  crackle.  pop.

aim's a tough cookie, though, and she seemed to want to stay in the game so i suggested she play keeper since the goal was just one single garbage can and that shouldn't have required much movement.  so, she limped over to her new position and prepared for the ensuing battle.

play on?  maybe not.

in the fog of war, things become somewhat hazy and it's difficult to keep one's wits about him.  things are often said or done that push the boundaries of moral relativism under the guise that the ends justify the means.  such was climate of the remainder of the game that day as i attempted to instruct my wife on the finer points of being a goalie... after all, i did serve my mission in the futbol worshiping country of argentina.  i know a thing or two (but not three) about playing goalie.

first, when an opposing player is approaching you unmarked with the ball, and it's just you and him, i was taught to charge the ball and minimize the angles said player has to take a shot.  such action quickly limits the oncoming player's ability to get the shot off he wants and forces him to commit to a shot/pass earlier than he might like.

second, don't let the ball go in the goal.

third, there is no third.

the first time a player approached aim it was just the player and her.  i raised my voice instructing, or coaching as i like to say, her "to charge the ball."  no such luck.  apparently, mrs. b's foot was more injured than i thought... unfortunately, that thought didn't occur to me at the time (see the fog of war comment above).  mrs. b didn't take too kindly to my, as they say in argentina, speaking in voz alta (literal translation: high voice), and quickly reciprocated my verbal fiery darts with a few of her own, cautioning me to not say another word.

i recognized that tone and knew better than to push my luck, so i watched quietly as a brother-in-law raced down the field and scored again thinking certainly mrs. b would charge the ball this time.  not so, my friend.  it just wasn't meant to be.  thus, we left field on the losing side of the match that day... some of us sulking, others of us limping.

long story short, we made  a stop at the kanab general hospital the next day.  x-rays came back negative and the doc said it was a bad sprain, but mrs. b still got some crutches.  turns out after a few more x-rays in vegas, mrs. b had tore some stuff, little things called ligaments.  i wasn't surprised, her foot was like a balloon.  she got a cool little boot that she gets to wear around, but all in all, it looked like we'd be over this in a month or two.

that was then.

not long after mrs. b tried to kick straight threw my sister's shin, she woke up next to me in a hotel room in southern california with a swollen eye.  you'd have thought i punched her seeing as how she looked like rocky balboa during his first fight with apollo creed (the one where they had to take the razor blade to his eye because it was so swollen).  well, it wasn't the result of a fierce boxing match, it was a severe case of pink eye... and during our little get away sans kids.  what?  so, here she was with her little walking boot for her foot and a swollen and irritated pink eye.

but, wait folks, it doesn't stop there.

next thing we knew mrs. blogmaster woke up on another morning and couldn't hear out of her left ear or swallow too well with her center throat.  so, she does what any sensible person would and goes in to get it checked out.  apparently, everyone has a middle ear (everyone with ears that is) and, apparently, it can get clogged up which clogging can last up to two weeks.  such was the case with little aim.  well, yesterday was the two week anniversary of the date she was told this and the deafness is still going strong.  plus, she still thinks she's swallowing glass every time she gulps.

then there was a fifth ailment...

so, not only did mrs. b have the foot, the eye, the throat and the ear to worry about, close to a week ago, mrs. b starts feeling a little drowsy and out of sorts and she gets diagnosed with mono.  you know, that sickness teenage boys and girls get from open mouth kissing all the time.  here's what i can't figure out, i don't have mono and my allegedly monogamous wife does.  go figure.  the only conclusion i can come to is that edward or jacob must have mono.

and you thought we were all done...

not more than two days ago, the results of aim's blood test came back saying she's got this epstein barr virus thing.  it's a bit of a bummer because there's not much that can be done about it and there are strong links between it and two rare forms of cancer.  we're still waiting to get some more information on the whole deal, but it's surprising to me how many people suffer from this ailment.  luckily, it sounds like it's something that is treatable, although not curable, so we'll play the cards we were dealt the best we can (thing is, i don't know how to play any card games other than uno... but, at least i'm good at that).

anyway, i just thought i'd let everyone know what's happening with the queen of the house of cooper, not for your pity or so you'll feel sorry for us; but, maybe you can say a little prayer for the mrs. during her bout with the numerous maladies she now faces.

i would be remiss if i did not express a very sincere and heartfelt thank you to the family members and friends who have gone way over the top and out of their way to help us out.  i can promise you that it is much appreciated and will forever be remembered.  you are all true friends.  your acts of charity and kindness are both inspiring and uplifting to mrs. b and me.

one last thing to mention before i bid you all adieu for the week: as if the above weren't quite enough for the fair lady aimee to have to face all at once, when i rolled over in bed again this morning to catch a glimpse of the incomparable morning beauty of my muse, either there was a glitch in the matrix, i was having a strange bout with deja vu, or mrs. b was channeling rocky balboa... again; only this time it was the other eye that was swollen up.  that's right, aim's now nefarious nemesis, more commonly known as pink eye, had struck again.  is that even possible?


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

hurry... somebody write this down: bladder augmentations

in this day and age of elective cosmetic surgery where typically any and everything bigger is better, i think we might be on to something here: bladder augmentations. i know such a procedure would improve the cooperfive's lifestyle dramatically. especially during movies. especially during road trips. especially when you are the father of three boys which roughly translated means dad is the only one who can accompany the offspring to the loo anymore. more on this later.
before i get into what now might seem to be my quarterly post, i owe my loyal zombies an explanation. true, i may have let you down last month by not authoring a single post and then waiting all the way until the 21st of this month to finally go ahead and share my unsolicited opinions. i know it's rough trying to get by each day without the occasional sermon from the blogmaster and for that i apologize. i never meant to abandon or hurt any of you. all i can say is i'm sorry. that and i've been a little short on inspiration lately. and when the inspiration has come, the motivation hasn't been there. bottom line: it's hard out here for a semi-professional blogger trying to chase that dollar in this economy. please forgive me and return to the fold. i won't let it happen again.
now, as far as bladder augmentations, i really see a burgeoning industry about to blossom here. take for instance 4/5 of the cooperfive, that 4/5 being every member of the clan except for me, and their lima bean sized bladders. i can't relate. it's like i don't even know these people... i mean, they'd rather urinate and be comfortable than get to a destination more quickly or sit uncomfortably through a throw-away scene during a movie. i don't get it because i, on the other hand, have jedi-like internal discipline that gets me through just about any meeting, movie, or drive across half the big island of hawaii just because i was determined to hold it in.
my point in mentioning this topic has something to do with my recent jaunt in public restroom hell. said jaunt took place about a month ago when the greater cooper family was on one of its annual outings to go see the grand canyon. long story short, we never made it to the grand canyon, but that's a post for another day. we did, however, successfully arrive at the world renowned vacation destination more commonly known as jacob lake while en route to the grand canyon.
jacob lake is a little spot on the way to the north rim that has a restaurant with good milkshakes. we stopped here to regroup our family caravan after the cooperfive made a brief stop in kanab to get mrs. blogmaster's foot x-rayed (another post for another day). that was before mrs. blogmaster got strep throat which was before she got pink eye which was before she got mono (all posts for another day). meanwhile i have managed to escape the carnage of attacking viruses and germs unscathed. kind of like will smith in i am legend. or superman in everyday life.
anyway, the cooperfive got to jacob lake just as big jeff and special k were high-tailing it back into their car in an effort to catch the grand canyon before having to be back to st. george to see tarzan at tuacahn that night. this is how greater cooper family vacations go: a hybrid of boot camp and a field trip on steroids. i wasn't about to get out of dodge that quickly, though. we had just gotten there and i had to try one of the milkshakes at the restaurant there in town as we had been told these shakes were the stuff dreams are made of. for those who are unaware, i love ice cream and all its derivatives... including milkshakes.
for me, at least 50% of an enjoyable vacation hinges on the quality of food you are able to eat. if there is a reputable milk shake place in a town i visit, i must try it. it's pretty much natural law. and not only must i try it, but i will eagerly anticipate the cool soft creamy consistency of milk, whipping cream, and sugar touching my tongue over and over in my mind until i do, in fact, try it. ice cream is the ultimate game changer, mood swinger, and tool of bribery all rolled up into one. and so, such was the mood i was in while eating lunch, biding my time patiently, knowing it would only be a matter of minutes before it would be just me and a cup of frothy and delicious milk shake.

in moments like that, i can withstand just about anything as it seems that i'm in the departing gate of an airplane bound for some blissful make-believe world where the refrigerator is constantly stocked with quality ice cream and frozen yogurt dispensers are a standard fixture in every kitchen. deep down inside i know such a world does not exist, but sometimes it feels so real to me.
and so there we were. eating lunch and surveying the menu to decide which flavor of milk shake each of us would get. it wasn't all that different from opening birthday presents, but on someone else's birthday. everything was going just as i had dreamed it would until caleb says the words that when spoken in the public arena are like poison being slowly dripped into my ears.
"i've got to go potty."
maybe aim will take him. not a chance. he's way too old and it's always my turn when we're together, especially on vacation. plus, she was on crutches at this point.
i say something like, "fine, let's go. make it quick."
so, we go to the restaurant's restroom which, unfortunately, is in a very narrow hallway and roughly the size of two porta-potties glued together: not only difficult to get into and out of, but difficult to maneuver to the urinal and toilet once you are in there.

it was like negotiating a rubik's cube. say there, kind sir, can you take a step back while i open the toilet door? now you, stranger, over there take one step to the left while i slide sideways into the stall. once i'm inside, you'll need to move back to your original position so i can close the door. after that, you two are on your own. needless to say, we made it.
no big deal. i can handle taking one kid to the public restroom. no skin off my back, i've got a big fat famous milkshake coming my way. not so fast, my friend, for no sooner do i go to order when mrs. blogmaster tells me that now colston has to go to the bathroom, too. i feel a hint of frustration start to swell somewhere within my upper bosom, but i just tell myself "milkshake, man. keep your eye on the prize."
off i go with son #3 (luckily son #1 is fully potty trained and capable of using a public restroom on his own). of course there's a line for the restroom by now and we wait. we finally get in and navigate the internal labyrinth, more efficiently this time, but colston's the kind of kid (like his dad, i'm ashamed to admit) that has to drop trow’ all the way down to his ankles when urinating in the urinal. don't ask me why. we just do it because we can, i guess (not that i do it anymore, i quit years ago. he can still get away with it, though).
colston takes care of business. we exit. a load has been lifted off my shoulders thinking the only thing now keeping me from enjoying my milkshake is the speed at which those puberty loving teens behind the counter can whip it up. not fast enough, apparently, for no sooner had i secured my milkshake in hand and begun to enjoy every bit of it and its delectable divinity that mrs. blogmaster motioned over towards son #2 anew and said, "he's got to go to the bathroom again."
you've got to be kidding me. he just went 10 minutes ago. can't you see i'm eating a milkshake here? am i a pigeon? is this a hot dog? what's gives?
"i think he had a bit of an accident," she says. "he told me he thought he was passing gas, but something came out (pardon the detail, faint of heart zombies)."
you've got to be kidding me... did i already say that?
in that moment i literally felt the seed of frustration already firmly planted in my fertile bosom start to spring forth a mighty stem with powerful branches budding at a break-neck pace.
"caleb, let's do this." i resolutely demanded.
back to the bathroom, through the maze, into the stall, to grandmother's house we go...
"let's survey the damage, caleb." off came the drawers and sure enough, there was some skid markage.
"looks like you're going commando for the rest of the day, son." that didn't seem to bother him, but then again i'm the one who had to clean the underwear there in the enclosed stall. i guess i could have left them there, but that didn't occur to me. then another issue popped up: what do i do with the shorts once i wash them? do i just walk out of here with a pair of little boy's underwear in my hand? not a chance. that can mean only one thing: i've got to hide them in one of my pockets. so, i did. luckily, i had cargo shorts on.
that was no fun. but i did it and there was still plenty of time to enjoy my shake. what could possibly go wrong now?
maybe son #3 having to go to the bathroom again. that's right, my two youngest boys both had to go to the bathroom twice each within a 20 to 25 minute time period all while i was trying to enjoy my milk shake. not a good situation for me.
at this point, the budding frustration in my bosom had full-on blossomed into a mighty redwood as i marched over to colston who was standing outside the front door of the restaurant where several other old people had congregated to wait for a seat. i stepped up to colston and leaned over to ask him if he really had to go to the bathroom or if he just wanted to ruin his dad's life (just kidding, i just asked him if he really had to go or if he wanted to go because he had seen his brother go. it happens all the time).
unfortunately, he wasn't as interested in answering my question as he was in showing me the butterfly he had just noticed in the potted plant he was inspecting.
"look dad, a butterfly."
"do you really have to go to the bathroom?" was my uninterested reply.
"dad, a butterfly."

in my head: son, i'm about ready to stomp on that butterfly, although i'm starting to think you don't have to go due to your lack of a response. i must confirm this suspicion, though.

so, i ask again:
"colston, do you really have to go?"
he's still not looking at me or acknowledging my question at this point so i grab the top of his head and turn it until his face is facing mine in order to get his full and undivided attention. his eyes, however, stay fixated on the butterfly.

seriously? does it really have to be this hard?
i then ask him one last time, somewhat sternly, "hey, do you really have to go?" he nods his head, yes. at this point, i'm at my witts end and to make matters worse i hear one of the older ladies not sitting far from us, who apparently had been observing the entire exchange between colston and me, say, "oh, look at the pretty butterfly," in an effort to acknowledge the observation of the poor little boy whose dad couldn't have cared less about his precious discovery. for, here was an opportunity to enjoy the beauty of nature outside of one of earth's most spectacular stages with my youngest son and all i could think about was running him to the bathroom so i could enjoy my shake. but, it was a good shake. and so, for one last time in that span of just under 1/2 hour i made my way back to the hobbit sized public restroom, with which i was on a first-name basis at this point, so colston could hit the stall and take care of some grunts.

i sat there observing the boy with my arms folded thinking that if anything can redeem this series of visits to public restroom hell, it was my milkshake which i left safely in the hands of mrs. blogmaster. even then, i could picture it in my mind sitting there loyally waiting outside for my imminent return. that would calm the storm. that would put me at ease and cause me to forget all my worries and allay all my fears.
and with that thought in mind, we triumphantly made our way back outside to be reunited with my cup of ice cream. but then, as i reclaimed my milkshakelike, like a giddy little school girl, from my dutiful wife and raised the straw up to my anxious lips, i looked down into the cup only to see no more than a 1/2 inch or so of melted milkshake remaining. i was devastated. it was a betrayal of the most devious kind. i felt as though i'd been double crossed by both the milkshake and my wife. the milk shake failed to repel the glutinous sips of my dubious wife in an act of duplicitous, not to mention gratuitous, reciprocation. i was so disgusted i couldn't even finish the damaged goods left for me and i summarily discarded the cup into the closest trash can before stomping over to the family car.
the drive back to st. george that afternoon wasn't a pleasant one. it started with a vociferous lecture from me to the boys in which i established a decree in the family of cooper that never again would there be two quick trips to the bathroom in this family when there could be one. not on my watch. i tried to get them to understand this concept, but i'm afraid my pleas fell on def ears. on the other hand, my stink eye stares in mrs. blogmaster's direction were certainly not without merit as my message of supreme immaturity and rank selfishness was received loud and clear.
but, then to top it all off, it was as if the demons who dwell in public restroom hell, who seemed to be zeroed in on the blogmaster that day, ready and willing to torment me at every possible moment, had orchestrated one final act of mischief to put me over the edge. for at long last after we had trekked down and arrived at our seats towards the bottom of the tuacahn amplitheater to see tarzan, and as i set my drink down (which was then serving as a poor man's substitute for the milk shake that had been so coldly taken from me earlier that day) which subsequently tipped over due to my lackluster efforts to hide the drink from the grabbing hands of the kids who would have surely robbed me yet again of the blissful joy i was expecting to experience from another sugar-laden treat, and as the soda seeped across the ground like a spreading pool of blood oozing from a wounded body, mrs. blogmaster tapped me on the shoulder and pointed down at colston who was informing us anew that he had to go to the bathroom... again.
you can't make this stuff up.

that was just the start of it. after that whole ordeal we made the mistake of going to see a 2.5 hour movie with the kids and buying them adult sized drinks beforehand. i kid you not, jameson left the theater no less than five times to use the restroom. i think he missed one hour of the movie.

then most recently, on our way to idaho, mrs. blogmaster informed me she needed to use the restroom. duly noted, love, i thought at the time. but as we cruised up 1-15 and as my mind jumped back and forth among the myriad issues a driver at high-speed with multiple passengers in the car has to consider, i drove right by an exit leading to a perfectly suitable restroom facility.

my bad.

only then did i inquire as to whether mrs. blogmaster would be able to make it to the next stop, which who knew when that would be. she then informed me that when she says she has to go to the bathroom on a roadtrip, that she has to go right then and there is no time to wait. thing is, the time immediately before that request, some 30 minutes earlier, she told me she had to go, but that she could make it for another 15 minutes or so.

go figure.

after pleading my case for a minute or so, in an attempt to clear my good name as a husband who does want his wife to be able to urinate when she needs to, mrs. blogmaster stated that when she tells me she needs to go, she expects my one goal in life to become the deliverance of her to a restroom facility. thus, in summary, life, eternal salvation, my job, the safety of others, and much, much more can all take a back seat to aim's urge to pee.

and to think all of this could have been so easily avoided with a few bladder augmentations.

iinitiate the blog

iinitiate the blog