Cookies, Storm Troopers and Icing ‘Em

I won’t begin under false pretenses. I went to Womack Army Medical Hospital today ready to fight. The past year of challenges and being bound by red tape finally hit a head last night when I refused to hit my head against a wall of bureaucracy any longer. I didn’t know what to expect exactly, but I was ready for action. I’ll caveat by saying I didn’t expect what happened. It was the most epic 2 hours I have had at Womack since my son was born.

The Armistice Breaks

As past blogs indicate, I have been applying for and searching for respite care for months. After my ER trip I finally qualify to have someone come to the house every week and watch the boys so that I can get groceries, take the other child to appointments, or just take a walk without being clawed at like I am the last non-zombie on the street. After leaving messages on two lines for three straight days, I received a call back from the Exceptional Family Members Program respite care office. She asked if my children were enrolled. I affirmed it and gave her the information. At that point she said, “No, you don’t seem to be enrolled. “

You have GOT to be kidding me. I’ve rolled my stroller and hauled my kids past her office weekly for nearly a year.

“Really?  I registered right there across the hall from your door.”

“Oh, maybe you’re in the section that doesn’t show up on our database. You have to physically come up and request a copy of the paperwork or sign a medical release so that we can get it from storage. Then I can see if you qualify and get the ball rolling. Just come up here tomorrow and get it to me, okay?” After 3 more phone calls and a maddening search to confirm that I did not receive that paperwork (in my meticulous, color coded files, thank you so much) I was at a loss.

Sitting in traffic I called the woman who is the very best when it comes to handling these kind of issues; Momma. She has a degree in these things and years of experience. She said, “You’ve been a good Southern woman all year. Now it is football season. Go hit someone- verbally, of course.” Thanks, Momma.

mama said

Turning to the Dark Side

Let’s review. I enrolled in the EFMP office. EFMP did not give me a copy of that paperwork. It was filed and disappeared from the system. I can’t access it. They can’t access it. My command’s health care can’t access it. I called one more time to ask about my course of action if my paperwork couldn’t be accessed. These two offices are literally 1,000 feet from each other. I need to visit EFMP to give EFMP proof that I am in EFMP to get respite care from EFMP.

failure to communicate

With one more call to a helper who couldn’t do anything, she apologized saying, “I’m sorry. You’re on what we call ‘The Dark Side.’”

“The dark side? Am I a storm trooper?”

storm trooper

Yes, I really said that. It is so much more fun imagining that the hospital is the Death Star.

Going to the Mattresses in Battle Dress Uniform

I woke up after another rough night of nightmares and getting used to the sounds of a new house. No one sleeps the night before a battle anyway. Promptly at 6:02 the day started with the care of the boys. I was determined not leave until the matter was resolved, even if the boys napped in the waiting room. By 8:20 both kids were bathed, fed, dressed nicely and playing quietly. Then I got all my files and packed the bags.  I began to dress for battle.

 My hair was actually washed, dried, and fixed. It was bigger than the baby when I left the house (regular sized when I arrived, thanks to the humidity.) I was dressed to kill like I had money and no time, and I knew it. There is something very powerful in the walk of a woman who is on a mission to get some positive attention and a call to action. High heeled stiletto boots make an impact when you kick butt.  A good swift kick gets more done than saying “Please” sometimes, right Chuck?

chuck norris

 As I pushed that double stroller through the revolving door, no one stood in my way this time. Everyone said hello. They smiled. They held the elevator. That sealed it; I simply HAD to wear these earrings more often. When I arrived at the desk to check in for my 9:30 appointment, I was greeted with this little gem.

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It reads: EFMP will be closed for training on Thursday 9:00-11:00. Please be seated and someone will be with you.

Rather than sit in the waiting room with another exhausted mother of three, I wheeled back to the hallway with the records room. It was deserted, except for the head doctor who I’d seen last week. She remembered us and was amazed at my issues getting simple paperwork. When we walked back to the front desk the fill-in receptionist was there and was ANGRY that I hadn’t stayed put. The other mom had clearly tattled. “Are YOU the mom who came to check in? Why didn’t you stay? Didn’t you see the sign?” I smiled sweetly and explained that I needed paperwork before checking in. There were a few more heated retorts as I smiled and killed her with kindness. If she was dealing with these folks on a regular basis, she was already caught in the crossfire.

A New Title

At that point I saw my savior. An attractive, blonde, nicely dressed figure came around the corner and smiled at me.  This amazing doctor and advocate since Secondborn was two weeks old came to the waiting area, saw what was happening, and shut the receptionist up with a simple, “Don’t be upset with her. Don’t you know who this is?”

Holy crap. My day had come. I was somebody! Wait, who was I, exactly?

She turned to me and smiled. “You’re legendary up here after last week. You have a nickname up here now!”

The receptionist was baffled. I was too, so I smirked and gave a coy, “Oh, stop.” She continued, “I shared your cookies with only my favorite people and by the time I got home I was fishing out crumbs from the baggie with my finger. It made my day. They taste like fall!  We call you the COOKIE MOM-STER.”

Matthew 7:20 says “By your fruits you will be known.” Well, at Womack Army Medical Hospital I am not known by my fruit. I am known by my cookies. That’s good enough for me. When I told her I had two more bags of slightly gooey molasses cookies for her in my bag, she looked a bit like this.

Cookiemonster2_FB

I briefly explained the stupidity I was sorting through, the problems with the receptionist from the week prior (and the week prior, and the month prior…) and she jumped into action. All agreed that my ordeal was utterly ludicrous and advised that I file a complaint with patient advocacy again.  I went to the appointment while the Red-Tape-Ninja got out her “I have a badge” abilities. Before Secondborn was done with feeding therapy she came in with three copies of the orders, told me they were already electronically sent with personal “Get this done” memos, and she gave me her card. I handed her two more bags of cookies. She smiled. I did too. Best hostage exchange ever.

Can You Hear Me Now?

As I buckled up the boys we wheeled over to audiology for a hearing test on the big one. “Oh, the cookie lady! I had a cookie last week. Thank you!”  The rumor was true!  At least we were off to a good start. Now, if you’ve ever tried to hold a two year old boy still in your lap, ride a bull, or stand still as a tornado swept overhead, you know where this is going. Keeping Firstborn still on my lap so that he could hear soft and high pitched noises was NOT happening. No kid hears anything soft when he looks like this:

crying kid

The tester was very patient and gladly took her bag of cookies. Therefore, I was told I had to test again in four weeks. Oops, I told her I would be gone to Texas when she wanted us to return but I’d be happy to see her afterward. She looked up with an annoyed look and with a slight staccato in her voice asked “Why? Are you getting tests done or something?”

Oh, for the love of all things. I could take it no longer. A Texan should NEVER have to justify a homecoming.

yallcan go to hell

I raised my eyebrows and said in my mommy “don’t touch that if you want to keep your hand” tone, “I’m going home because I haven’t been able to get respite care for four months. I haven’t had a solid night’s sleep since I knew my baby has Down Syndrome, I have a heart condition that is wearing me out, and quite frankly, I need my Mommy.”

 I had finally snapped. She was a bit short with me afterward, so I apologized for ranting at her and she was gracious. She even ran after us to give us back a dropped shoe and wished me the chance to get some rest with some hope. Thank goodness I made her cookies. When I left the office and opened the door I was greeted by a uniformed officer. I smiled and said, “Sorry, Officer. I didn’t think he was screaming that loudly.” He sternly said, “It was pretty loud, Ma’am.” Then he broke into a smile and wished us a great day. At least someone has a sense of humor. As I exited I saw several more uniformed officers, so I am sure something exciting was happening. Still, it is a great feeling to have Momma ask, “How did it go at the hospital today?” and answer, “Great! They have the nicest police officers!” I’ll always enjoy giving her white hair.

When I got home I wrote multiple complaints to the ICE complaint system and patient advocacy. It feels really good to ICE someone who has it coming.

Overall, it wasn’t a bad day. The boys took fantastic naps, I enjoyed the company of wonderful friends and watched the boys play nicely, and I finally got the ball rolling. Yes, I am the Cookie Momster. I wonder what would happen if I made some brownies or cakes. It wasn’t a perfect day, but it sure was an improvement. Tomorrow will be another fight and I am thoroughly exhausted, but in the best of ways. It sure feels good to win a round of fighting.  I can’t wait to see if anyone does the job they are paid to do tomorrow. I better wash the cookie sheets.

Breaking the Health Care System

By popular request, I have decided to finally write about a certain unfortunate incident that occurred last week. Honestly, I think I am still too close to the situation to write a full back-story or explanation, Lucky you. Furthermore, the medical information and requirements of my family shouldn’t be plastered online in detailed form.

Nearly every week I am asked why I have so many appointments or why I am never home. If that interests you, the explanation is below. If not, scroll down to the sentence in bold. My feelings won’t be hurt. Really.

The back story is that I have two children who have had need of extra care. Secondborn’s Trisomy 21 threw me into a whirlwind of mental upheaval- I had to become a crash-course expert on potential feeding issues, muscle tone, physical therapy, occupational therapy, new growth charts, and tactfully dealing with questions that have NO business being asked. In the military healthcare system beneficiaries must make an appointment to get a referral to see specialists. If I need my son’s thyroid levels checked I must make an appointment with his pediatrician who has 1500 patients rather than the 900 cap.  Then have blood labs drawn out of Secondborn’s head. This has taken a minimum of 45 minutes each time. Then that doctor refers us to a specialist. After 48 hours I can call to activate the referral. Then the new clinic and I play phone tag until I can get an appointment. Once that is done, we do follow-ups and then go through a billing process to make sure it is covered.  This represents an average of 8 hours, which also includes finding and paying for childcare.

Since January I have had 67 scheduled appointments, not including lab draws and pharmacy waits. Including drive time, childcare drop offs, wait times, appointment times, each one averages 3-4 hours. Friends, that is more hours than most universities require for a degree.

One of the hospital security guards knows me; he thinks I do laps with my stroller like 70 year old ladies do laps in the mall while holding weights or cans of green beans. Not yet, Sir. Not yet.

With that history in mind, I now had an appointment for Firstborn with the head of the child development. This was my 4th of the week. It was a hard appointment to get, but necessary to evaluate whether Firstborn needs some extra help with his speech to overcome the upheaval we’ve gone through this year.

We dropped the baby off with a gracious friend and arrived 5 minutes early. 40 minutes after our appointment time we were finally seen. 2 year old and I spent 45 minutes playing and quietly stacking blocks.

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Sweet single people and mothers of compliant children, this is like storming Normandy. Furthermore, he COUNTED blocks out loud. My kid that doesn’t want to talk, happily counted.This is a feat. When the doctor came out and snatched away the toys, it wasn’t so fun. Over the next 10 minutes of questioning he acted like a little boy. He played noisily. He tossed a ball. He climbed to retrieve the ball. He squealed. He tried to touch everything shiny. He fought the stethoscope. He didn’t want his knees hit with a hammer. It wasn’t the best.

I calmed him down and gave him a new toy. He played quietly for 15 minutes. I pointed this out, which was met with comments that he can certainly learn when he is calm. That is when the words “medication”, “calm him down so he can learn and interact” came up. The long of the short of it is I do not feel comfortable lowering the blood pressure of my 2 year old so that he won’t throw tantrums. What he needed was a lunch, a nap, and some time away from a hospital. Again, she is a VERY good doctor and was very pleasant. I like her. Really. I just don’t think 30 minutes of a toddler tantrum creates the most informed opinion.

The rest went a bit like this. “Audiology can see you at 2:30. Just go down to labs for the blood draw, grab lunch at the cafeteria, relax a bit and come back up for the appointment. “

“Ma’am, I have a baby that needs to be fed. I can’t just stay here for another 4 hours.”

“You can’t get the baby and come back?”

“No. By then I will need to feed them and we will miss naps. It HAS to be another day.

“Oh, okay. Just cancel on the way out. By the way, you’re doing great. Your hair is done, you are dressed nicely, and you obviously care for your kids well.”

“Thanks. If I came in here in pajamas looking exhausted, you’d worry about my ability to care for the kids. Composed people are treated better.”

“You know, that’s true.”

Of course it’s true. That is why I want doctors to look at me and see this:

i can do it

Not this, which is how I looked that morning after a sleepless night:

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(Yeah, I just put that on the internet. I am learning a lot about humility this year. I’ve been told how old and sick I look. Send concealer. Enjoy this dose of reality. )

Just to see if labs could be done quickly while most patients bolt to lunch, I went down 5 floors to Pediactric Labs. I ran into a great friend who walked with me the rest of the way. Her presence allowed me to keep control.

got your six

I checked in and THEN was told that the lab tech was alone and behind. There was no telling how long it would take. At this point Firstborn has escaped the stroller and is eating another young mother’s muffin. Worse, her baby is 3 weeks old, so she doesn’t know that this is normal 2 year old behavior in the middle of such a FEMA worthy disaster. I buckled him in, debated a wait, and then announced, “I’m sorry, but I can NOT wait.” Firstborn started sobbing. I received the ‘deer in the headlights look.’  “I’ve been here since 8:30. He hasn’t eaten or napped. I am not physically capable of laying on him to make him still enough for this. We are going.”

The waiting room looked at me like this:

no she didnt

The clerk was startled. I’ve seen her a LOT and always remained cheerful and peppy. This was not pep. Not rude, but not pep. “Ma’am, you are signed in… doesn’t he need the labs?”

“Then sign us out. We’ll see you another day.”

That’s when I unlocked the stroller’s brake and realized the toys from the 5th floor were in the stroller basket. Crap. Crappity crap. Sob. (Not mine. The kid’s.) I headed upstairs, determined to have the appointment cancelled promptly so I could get the heck out of Dodge City.

I reached the reception desk to see one of the worst employees in the history of Tricare was sitting lazily at the desk on the phone. He doesn’t know the doctors that work there (and have for 5 months) and has never been all that helpful. There was a line of several people gathered. I rolled the stroller past, put the toys down, and tried to calm my kiddo who was crying the sniffle-choke-gasp of a middle school girl at Winter Formal. After standing in line for 5 minutes and gathering genuine sympathy from all around us, I finally said that I would call for the appointment line to cancel. My dear friend, mother of 2 and 15 years my senior, rushed to that desk and asked for the phone number matter of factly. That boy was startled.

“Huh? What? Why?” 

That’s when he saw this behind a stroller full of crying toddler.

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“Someone made me an appointment for audiology today. I need to cancel. I’ve been here since 9:00 and I can’t stay for another 4 hours. THIS KID needs to go NOW. I will not wait. What’s the number?”

At this point I was standing at perfect dance posture, hand in a blade, and making this face. He rattled it off and said with a shrug,“You can call if you want.”

If I WANT. Yes, I’d LOVE to. This is my favorite thing to do. Let me get home and spend another hour on hold to do your job. Cue up Tom Petty, because I won’t back down. He saw this:

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What I was thinking was this:

bea

Now, the saving grace is that I had baked thank-you cookies for another doctor in that clinic and brought them that day. When she called to thank me I briefed her on the morning. She was appalled and helped me combine two appointments for the following week so that I wouldn’t have to make two trips. It will save me a minimum of 2 hours, 3 childcare credit hours, and lots of sanity. Never underestimate the power of cookies and thank you notes.

(Deep healing breath)

What came of this was a much-needed step back. I proceeded to call and cancel every appointment that wasn’t essential therapy and declared that if it really was a matter of life and death, they can send an ambulance.  More than that, when I firmly took a stand against a rude receptionist and refused to let a health care system dictate the lives of my kids, Firstborn stopped crying. He watched as I fought for him. When I buckled him in, he hugged me and relaxed. He was asleep by the time we got home. Apparently the time I spent earning the medical degree of motherhood actually taught me something. Hopefully my kids will learn it too.

boy flex

Partial Eclipse of the Heart

“So, what’s going on in your heart?” Wow. Talk about a loaded question. As most of you readers actually know me and love me enough to read this blog despite it’s imperfect sentence structure and Pinterest-worthy appearance, you probably know that the reason I haven’t blogged in a while is because I’ve had a bit of heart trouble.

heart health

Last week I suffered the symptoms of a heart attack as I was waking up, which progressed over the next hour. Convinced it wasn’t a panic attack or just stress, I loaded up the boys into the double stroller and we headed to the ER. That’s what women do when they think they could be dying. They load up the kids, take a minute to make extra snacks and drive themselves to the ER. Thankfully, when a young mom walks into the ER with two uninjured boys under age 3 and with gasping breaths says she is experiencing heart attack symptoms, our hospital jumps into action. The staff seemed surprised to see an actual emergency in the ER. Nice to be noticed.

The care was OUTSTANDING. My boys were also very well behaved for the three hour stay. They both flirted with reckless abandon. They took no prisoners and showed no mercy. The baby was soon passed around to all the nurses, who were happy to watch the stroller while I went into radiology and underwent tests.

hello nurse

Soon the cavalry arrived in the form of my Family Readiness Group friends and we returned home with a rather hazy diagnosis of inflammation along the side of my heart cavity, similar to what marathon runners have with strain. They weren’t kidding when they said motherhood is a marathon.

 This week I had a follow-up, which gave much more clarity.It starts with my immune system and endurance.

This summer has been a doosie. Well, this whole year actually. It’s been about a year exactly since I learned I was carrying a baby boy with Trisomy 21. Since then, we’ve had a full deployment cycle, literally hundreds of appointments and tests for everything under the sun, a premature birth, a rough adjustment for a toddler who decided to stop talking or signing when Daddy deployed (other than “where’s Dad?”), a stressful move, 3-4 therapy or test appointments a week, a visit to Texas, two deaths in the family, and somewhere in there the usual unending loads of laundry, dishes, and “I still love you, Baby”s. Needless to say, my under-eye concealer is now Shellac. That is the short version for why my immune system broke down enough for me to catch a virus.

The “I’m not a doctor but I stayed in a Holiday Inn Express last night” version is that the virus I caught dehydrated the sack that holds liquid between my heart and other inside squishies such as my lungs. Depleted of lubricant, my insides had friction and caused acute pain and other similar symptoms like that of a heart attack. Ladies, it’s at about a 4-6 cm dilated kind of pain.

Of course, I don’t have the ability to just stay in bed. I have two kids with extraordinary needs that only I can meet at the moment. As is the Army way, I was prescribed some Motrin. (Everything is cured with Motrin, crutches, and a pregnancy test in the Army.) I also have a few things for heartburn to alleviate any other pressure. Basically I have to drink water like a camel, keep Motrin in my system for inflammation and pain, and let it work itself out while I try to stay as healthy as possible.

How serious is it? Not a heart attack. Not fatal. Not too shabby. Like having the flu while being a mom, pretty much. I will survive but it won’t be pretty for a while. When I think of it I will shut my eyes, shudder and never want to go through it again.

The fun thing about heart problems (find the silver lining) is that the puns are awesome. I told someone with a straight face that my heart issue is not serious- just a partial eclipse of the heart.  I got crickets. So sad.

I’ll avoid any “Achy Breaky” references, as I would rather my son be on a football wrecking crew than naked on a wrecking ball.

So, I am listening to my heart. (It’s calling for you.) Pat Benatar and I agree that heartbreakers shouldn’t mess around with us. Try watching a soldier say goodbye to his wife and small children repeatedly and then talk toToni Braxton about unbreaking her heart. Those three hours pushing a stroller with my foot from a hospital bed was as close to a stay in the Heartbreak Hotel as I will get for a while.

Then someone who loves me said something wonderful. “When everything is stacked against you, your heart is still in it putting up a fight. When your heart is in trouble, that’s when I know it’s bad.”

Then a friend drove down the very next night to help me.  I haven’t seen her since graduation day, thanks to the US Army, but that opening the door and getting my hug made my heart soar. Then a new friend and her son came for a weekend. My son stopped hitting, started using new words, and found a friend. My heart healed a little. While I struggled to juggle errands, appointments, nap times, and meals, my dishes were almost magically done. Laundry was changed over. Floors were swept. Pictures were taken. My kids were loved. The sounds of belly laughs and giggles filled the house. My heart felt full. There’s something wonderful about three girls giggling over cheesecake.

golden girls cheesecake

Until the next night when it is gone.

 blanch cheesecake

Then there’s Bluebell…because we’re Texans.

 Isn’t it remarkable how wonderful friends are for the heart? The Bible says that laughter is good medicine. VeggieTales tells us that a thankful heart is a happy heart. Today I am very thankful. The house is in a state that could warrant a FEMA notice. The fridge is looking a bit emptier. The desserts have taken a hit. Yet my heart feels better because I have been truly loved in many tangible ways.

heart healing

 I have a long road to hoe, as Grandma would say. In fact, I am feeling a strain on my chest worthy of water and Motrin. No heart is perfect, but mine is a little bit fuller because of the outpouring of love I’ve received from so many. Please don’t stop. You’re all good for my heart.

Murphy the Arsonist

 

Murphy’s Law: If it can go wrong, it will go wrong.

Murphy’s Law for military wives: If it can go wrong, it will go wrong when your husband is downrange.

Murphy comes in many shapes, sizes and forms. Murphy likes to morph, teleport, divide and conquer, and generally be the way in which ‘battle testing’ comes to those of us who signed up for the military lifestyle by marriage. Murphy has a few favorites; pay issues, illness or injury (especially of children), house problems, etc.

While the wide array plagues us all, a few of us have a specific form in which Murphy appears. For one of my friends, it is water. Any plumbing problem or flood and she has been through it. Another is a wind girl– a true tornado magnet. If you have any land or “earth” form of Murphy, let me know so I can assemble some groovy outfits and form a band. My form of Murphy is FIRE.

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Yes, for me Murphy is an arsonist. If you’ve known be since 2007, you’ve probably borne witness to at least one of these incidents. Even before the military reordered my world, I was in a bus fire on a mission trip to New Orleans. At that moment I realized how ridiculous the “if you can save 2 things in a fire…” question is. I grabbed my sister. I forgot my shoes. Twice. Sorry- I time traveled to 2007 just then.

In 2007, less than 2 months after I married Hubby, he left for Fort Benning, Georgia. He jokingly said, “Don’t burn the house down.” For the whole story, you can check out this blog. https://laughmoreabundant.wordpress.com/2013/05/03/pcsing-and-free-plastic-surgery/

NOT my fault, by the way. It was Murphy…and the neighbors 4 units down. Then we moved to Korea and my inability to read in a foreign language caused a little fire from the stove which melted a cutting board. At this point, I didn’t realize I was a target for Arson Murphy.

Then we moved to Fort Benning. Here we lived on post in great houses that abutted beautiful pines…which had to come down for road expansion. For 6 months the trees were cut down and burned. Holy pollen and smoke attacks, Batman. Not too bad though, right?

With a 5 week old baby in the backseat Hubby, Mom and I traversed the nation from Georgia to Arizona. We arrived to find that wildfires had devoured miles of post and many homes in the mountains. The fire was making its way to the neighborhood where we rented a house. As I ran to Wal-Mart for diapers, Hubby signed for all our household goods in time to have emergency vehicles come over the loudspeaker saying, “Move your moving van! This area must be evacuated!” I only wish I could have seen him picking up his overnight bag and running with our 15 year old black lab to his truck. As the flames consumed the ground literally up to our across-the-street-neighbor’s backyard, we reached safety. Firstborn was having breathing problems at this point, so I spent all night in a bathroom with steaming water flowing in order to keep him breathing. At this moment I realized Murphy was real, was an arsonist, and was trying to take down my child, Momma, my dog… and quite frankly, I got really angry. When I looked out from our hotel, our neighborhood looked like this:

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Our saga continued another week, complete with tow trucks, thickly accented, “There’s a BAY-BEE involved!”, and meeting the neighbors from the backseat of a police car, holding a baby in a carseat.

So then we moved to North Carolina. We’d been here a year and had our share of housing problems and Murphy attacks, but no fire. It just waited…quietly… and I’d wondered if the curse had been broken by our flood or if maybe having the house struck by lightning counted.

Then we moved and I thought maybe the new dishwasher’s heating element bending down and burning into the plastic until the whole thing melted counted as the fire.

Now I know that the answer is resoundingly, NO.

Now that Hubby has reached his destination, I can tell you the tale of this year’s Deployment Day.

After a sad but now routine goodbye, the boys and I hugged Daddy and bid him farewell until 2014. As I pulled into the driveway I thought to myself, “I should hide all the matches and lighters, just in case.” I smiled to myself, pulled into the driveway, unloaded the boys, and walked into the house. Immediately, Firstborn ran for the pantry and as it was past lunchtime, I started to make a PBJ. With a kid ramming my leg like a shark, I started to spread peanut butter when the phone rang. 800 number… odd. Still, when the husband is gone, even if he is still in country, you answer it.

“Hello?” ( Wham of a toddler’s head into an elbow from excited jumping)

“Hello, I am calling from your security alarm company. We’ve received a call about a fire alarm and the Fire Department has been dispatched to your home.”

Good Lord. Murphy!

I checked the clock. I had not even been home 5 minutes.  Fast work, Murph.

Thankfully, when the woman said the address I realized it was NOT my current home, but the home we had rented. Although we cancelled service, we will apparently receive calls for up to 90 days when alerts come through. Oy. After a ‘no mea culpa’ kind of conversation, I called a former neighbor to give her notice that everything was (hopefully) fine, but to put on some lipgloss and start doing some gardening because some firemen were headed her way. Hey, sisters need to look out for the single ladies. The last time the FD boys showed up I thought the 2013 calendar team was on duty. If my girl across the street suddenly has a grease fire in the kitchen, I’m not judging.

I left a message for Hubby which he received shortly after. Then I called a girlfriend who has the Water Murphy. In fact, her toilet had just broken… and her Hubby left only hours before. Dangit Murphy! “So, when it comes to things going wrong, what Army Curse gets me every time?” I asked as soon as she answered. “Oh, NO. Fire. Honey, didn’t he JUST leave? What happened already?!”

As I talked to both my mother and mother in law, all I had to say was, “So, something funny happened…” and they both said, “Not a fire, right?”

Well, at least I get points for predictability. A veteran Army wife has threatened to send me a fire extinguisher for a housewarming gift. A good friend gets you something you need. (I do have one in the house currently. Fear not.)

So now I have two little guys as Murphy liabilities. I’m not sure either one would effectively warn me about a fire. One is barely mobile and the other stops, drops, and rolls every 3 minutes. They are as much a risk as a help. They are my own little minions.

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(Firstborn at 4 weeks old)

So I can only guess that a fire drill would be like the scene from Despicable Me 2.

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Presently,  life is continuing at its break-neck pace and I am trying to keep us fed, bathed, sane, and from going up in flames. I think that this deployment’s theme song will be “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” For now we are doing very well, but stand by for news. The deployment is young and Murphy is an Arsonist.

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