Re-launched, but still slightly under construction. :-)

Friday, October 30, 2009

What a Halloweenie!

Friday, October 30, 2009 By

"So will you dress up with us tomorrow?" I ask Scott.

"I will if you want me to," he laughs.

"Awesome! What are you going to be?"

"I'm going to go as the famous, handsome, dogged, determined, feared, adored, hard-working, award-winning, intrepid reporter Scott Hudson!"

"Frankenstein it is, then."

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Serious Journalists at Work, Here

Alice picks up a wad of flesh-colored cloth: "What is this?"

"That's my son's costume," Dave replies. "He's going to be a muscle-man."

Alice slips it on, to comic effect. The six-pack abs sit up on her chest, making her look like the triple-boob lady from "Total Recall."

There was some discussion about the possibility of him going as Tupac Shakur, but the idea was rejected. However, they are going to draw tattoos on the bodysuit.

"That reminds me of a tattoo I saw on the website Ugliest Tattoos of Biggie and Tupac, but they were birds... like one was red and one was blue... and it was weird," Alice says.

"That is odd," Dave says.

"Why would you make them into animals in the first place?" I ask. "Ooh, unless they were Beta fish."

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Aw, Hammer... You Hurt Me

Thursday, October 29, 2009 By

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rocking the Cradle of Love

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 By

AUGUSTA, GA - While we move, I want to get rid of things we don't need.

"Honey, do you think you can go through these old cassettes?" I ask Scott.

"But... Those are all my old recordings! The radio shows and the band I was in..." He protests.



"You were in Billy Idol?"

"Shut up."

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I Have Always Depended on the Kindness and Unrequested Advice of Strangers

Tuesday, October 20, 2009 By

AUGUSTA, GA - So, in case you haven't heard, Emmie was bitten by a pit bull. And there has been no end of drama since then.

"Ooooh, what happened to your face?" strangers croon over Emerson.

"Um, I wuz talkin' to a liddle girl, and den her dog comed up and put his claws on de fence and den he bite me in da face," Em replies, with plenty of drama and sometimes a little growl

"I'd have killed that dog," comes the inevitable reply.

Yes. We know. You'd have grabbed yer gun and shot the dog, then attended to your child.

That's not what my husband chose to do. He chose to ignore the dog and tend to our bleeding, screaming child.

And I'm proud of him for it. He exercised an inhuman amount of restraint in letting the legal system run its course. Yes, he was angry. Yes, he made some statements with which I didn't agree. But on the whole, he has acted with more control than, at least by their own statements, most people would in a similar situation.

And that commitment to calm and control has been a great comfort to me.

Besides, I already warned him that if he ever goes to jail for something stupid like that, I'm not bailing him out. Hee!

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009 By

This morning, Scott came in the front door with a bewildered look on his face.


"I know. I'm so sorry." I hung my head, mortified.

"But... How?"

(Sigh) I broke the car. Again. Backing up last night, I knocked the driver's side mirror off its post. Oh, it still works. But it dangles uselessly on the side of the car.

"See, I was leaving the new house, and trying to avoid the trailer with the yard trash, AND the giant pecan tree, AND there's no outside light, and I forgot about that weird leg of the fence that juts out right there... Please don't lecture me. I'm so sorry."

"I'm not going to lecture you. I just..." He shrugs, and heads back out the door. "Oh, well."

Really? That's all?

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And People Complain About the Lack of Surprise in a Marriage?

Me: "Hi, honey. Do we have access to a truck tonight?"
Scott: "Yep. What did you buy on the Metro Spirit classifieds?"
Me: "What are you talking about?"
Scott: "Just tell me."
Me: "I don't... what are you... why do you think I bought something?"
Scott: "Oh, please."

Of Public Toilets and Preschoolers... You May Thank Me

AUGUSTA, GA. - We were at Colonial Times in North Augusta, and there is nothing for "the privvies" except port-a-potties. It's the first time she's used one.

"Loot! Dere's dark poopies and light poopies and... mama? Why's der blue?"

Please. Just don't talk about it.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Time for an Eye Exam?

AUGUSTA, GA - We're ap the Colonial Times festival when Emerson spies a re-enactor.
"Dat loot lite my Daddy!" she says.
"Um, hmm. I don't think so, Em," I reply, while Kelli, my sister, laughs.
"Yeahuhuh!" Emmie shrieks. "It DO loot lite him!"
Judge for yourself...

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I Love My Sister

AUGUSTA, GA - We're enjoying the Colonial Times festival in North Augusta. There is an announcement of a battle to take place. The Daniel Boone re-enactor stands by a tree and tells us about his life.
"Why is he lecturing everyone? I thought there was going to be a battle with Daniel Boone," I said.
My sister, Kelli, grinned: "So just throw something at him."

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Lack of Planning Hinders Flow of Moving

Saturday, October 17, 2009 By

AUGUSTA, GA - Oh, the unending fun of packing, painting, moving, and organizing. About 20 boxes in, I realized that I hadn't labeled any of them.

Scott grinned, while I hung my head. The last time we moved, it was from apartment B to A in our current 2-story, 2-apartment house. One of us just chucked items down the stairs, while the other and then-18-month-old Emmie caught and placed them.

"That's alright," he said. "It'll be like Christmas."

(Sigh) Sometimes, he really knows exactly what to say.

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Friday, October 16, 2009

And This is Why English is So Hard

Friday, October 16, 2009 By

AUGUSTA, GA - We're painting the house and need another gallon. Scott has decided to do the hallway a nice, pale... beige. ***YAWN***

"I'll run to Wal-Mart and get it for you, if you want."

"That's okay," he says. "I have a tint in mind and I'm afraid you might get the wrong one."

"The wrong tint?"


"Of beige?"


"Daddy, you buyd a tint?!" Emmie asks, excitedly.

"Not yet."

"We goeend campeend?!"

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Why Short Men Can't Get Dates

Friday, October 16, 2009 By

AUGUSTA, GA - Emmie is coloring and narrating the story as she goes.

"Der once was a mermaid name of Ariel. And she decide to marry her Daddy."

"Whoa, doodle. That's a bit too Freudian for me," I laugh.

"Iss not Frodonan. Iss King Triton. Frodo is short an' hab big feet."

Dude, who let her watch "Lord of the Rings?!" I swear it wasn't me!
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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Amazing the Difference a Week Makes

Thursday, October 15, 2009 By

AUGUSTA, GA - After the dog bite, Emmie's face was horribly swollen. She could barely talk and everything hurt her. Now, almost a week later, with the bandages off, her face looks almost back to normal. You know, except for the 25 stitches in her face...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Oh, Yeah. She Doesn't Even Have to Work This to Her Advantage

Sunday, October 11, 2009 By

Behold! The peanut-butter-jelly to end all. And for breakfast. She gets maybe one more day of this craziness, and then it's back to eggs and toast, and a lack of deferential treatment. I don't want to find Veruca turned into a blueberry in Willie Wonka's Chocolate Factory one day.
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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Finding a Balance Between Control & Murderous Rage

AUGUSTA, GA - It is the call no one wants to get.

"Get home now," my husband gasps on the phone.

"What's wrong?"

"A dog bit Emmie. Tore up her face. Get home now."

"Is she okay?! How bad is it?! Have you called 911?!"

"There's a lot of blood. They're on their way."

 I hear a pathetic moan from Emmie. She is in a lot of pain.

"I'll be there as fast as I can!"

I talk to myself the whole way. Calm down. You don't know if it's that bad. You can't break down. Drive the speed limit. Text attorney. Call ahead to the hospital. What can you do if you rear-end that person? Nothing, so back off, dumbass.

A fire truck blocked the driveway. So I drive over the curb and tear through the front yard.

Emmie sits in Scott's lap. Both their shirts are covered in blood, like gruesome little red bibs. Emmie moans and cries, shaking, pained, terrified, possibly in shock. A bandage covers her face from eyebrow to lip; another across her chin. They are already seeped with blood. A firefighter stepped away, warily, as I hop out of the car and survey the scene.

"How is she? Where is the ambulance? What happened? Talk to me."

I pick Emmie from Scott's arms, sit down and cradle her to my chest. I can't see the wounds. I can't see her eye. I look at Scott, who reads my panic. With his finger, he wordlessly draws a line under his eye, points to his upper lips, and draws a line on his chin. I am relieved, slightly. She hasn't lost an eye. This can be dealt with.

Emmie wails and warbles and tries to tell me what happened: "Mama, a bad dog bite me! My blood came out! It was on da floor! I hate dat dog!"

"She's stable," the fireman says. "The ambulance is on its way, but it could take them a while to get here."

What the hell is the point of emergency services if we could be at the hospital before the ambulance arrives at the house?

"Let's just drive her ourselves," Scott says.

I nod and start towards the car. Wait. I can't drive her like this. And I can't sit in an emergency room with a bleeding child and wait my freaking turn.

"Honey, they'll see her faster if we come in by ambulance."

"The ambulance should be here in a second," the fire fighter updates us, one ear to his radio. Perfect timing: it pulls up behind him. Two EMTs get out.

As I watch them anxiously, I notice the neighbors outside in their yards, watching the scene. For a moment, I feel... trashy... embarrassed... like "COPS" or "Dog the Bounty Hunter" or "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" is filming on my lawn. I shake it off and focus.

The EMTs are loud and inappropriately jovial. They remind me of Santa Claus headlining the comedy stage of a summer retreat in the Poconos in 1963.

But I am so grateful to them.

"Which hospital?" the woman asks.

"Which hospital should we use?"

She nods once, decisively: "MCG. Kids are what they do."

"Let's go."

Emmie lies still on the stretcher, her eyes closed. The female EMT buzzes around her, taking her temp, BP, and checking all of the other acronyms and initials. Emmie is serene. I check to see if she is unconscious. She's not. I'm incredulous. It's as though she's gone into some kind of Zen trance. Then, after a few minutes, Emmie opens her eyes.

"Um, could you please stop that?" she asks the EMT.

After a shocked second, the woman bursts into laughter. "Sure, honey."

The EMT roots around in her storage bin until she comes up with a stuffed animal. She offers it to Emmie, who silently shakes her head. The EMT looks at the Emmie, and then back at the animal: It's a stuffed dog. She guffaws: "I guess she don't want a dog right now!" I manage a polite grin, but really have to restrain myself from chucking her out the back door.

Emmie is quiet and still until they roll her into the ER, and then she shoots up with tears in her eyes: "Are dey goeend gib me a shot?"

God, that's the last thing she needs. But probably. And then some.

Then she spots Scott's parents, who both, separately, have beaten the ambulance to the ER. She wails her story again. Scott's mom is on the verge of breaking down. I don't blame her. It looks awful. I don't know what's going to happen to Emmie, I just know that Miss Patsy can't faint right now. We only need one emergency to deal with. So, politely but selfishly, I tell her that she will freak Emmie out if she breaks down. She nods and visibly tries to pull herself together. It is an effort that I deeply appreciate.

Emmie is running a fever for no discernible reason. The bites are deep and wide: under her eyes across her nose, and on her upper lip and chin. They find no fractures. They suspect no other injuries. Stitches, definitely. But no surgery.

I've texted a friend who's husband is a resident at MCG. She texts me back. Her husband calls the chief. He comes down to check over the situation. Examines her again. I ask for plastics. They give us oral-maxillofacial. I am unhappy. The staff does not blink when I politely threaten to take her to another hospital. They've seen this mom before. The friend's husband assures me that they are every bit as good, "even if they're dentists," he jokes. "They actually do a lot of training on facial reconstruction."

Huh. I'd never have thunk it. Well, let's go, then.

They run an IV with antibiotics. Emmie is not happy with this development - but instead of screaming and fighting like many children, she has a peculiar instinct to try to reason with the medical team: "It hurts! Please stop! It's not nice to hurt me, so you hafta stop!"

But shortly, the procedure is over, and once the IV is inserted and taped, Emmie become fascinated with what they're doing with her. Heart monitors, saline drip, blood pressure cuff... she takes it all in, delighted, smiling. "I feel it cold, mama!" she tells me, when they start the saline. I remember the sensation from giving plasma.

Once they have everything organized and ready, they run ketamine, and she goes limp, her eyes open, her mouth slack. It's disturbingly as though she is dead. I almost lose it then, but I breathe deeply and try to keep myself centered. My father-in-law puts his arm around me. I'm lucky to have family in town. I'm lucky to have loving in-laws. I wonder if I deserve them.

They wash the wounds and stitch her face. I can't watch. It's not the sewing that bothers me. It's the pulling of the flesh. It's freakish, and I can only imagine how much it will hurt her tomorrow. I sit across the room, occasionally going out to check on my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law, Allison, who has thoughtfully brought a fuzzy pink blanket and an adorable stuffed elephant from her house for Emmie. She's expecting her first child, so I'm hoping this experience doesn't freak her out.

Scott arrives. He stayed behind to deal with the police, animal control, and neighbors. I am irrationally angry with him for taking the time to change his shirt, but it was soaked in blood.

Emmie is hilariously responsive in sedation. She hums lazily. She sticks her tongue out at the doctor. She follows commands with some prodding. The staff is endlessly entertained. And I want to punch them every time they laugh. It's not fair, but it's how I feel. I try remember that they see this every day, that this is a job to them, and that - frankly - this kind of thing is probably pretty exciting to them. I can see how it might be. So I try to keep my ridiculous anger from showing. They stitch the large gash across her right cheek and up her nose. They stitch the tooth punctures on her upper lip, the tear in her frenulum, the gash on her chin.

During this, Scott and I retreat to discuss what happened. It seems the neighbors at our new place have a little girl close to Emmie's age. Emmie was talking to her across the weirdly short chain-link fence that separates our yards. Without a sound, the dog casually walked across the yard, jumped up on the fence, and took a chomp out of Emmie's face. Emmie told me later that the dog didn't bark, growl, or snarl before it happened. It didn't run. Effectively, it gave none of the warning signs that I had discussed with her when dealing with domesticated animals.

Hell, we didn't even know that they had a dog. Their entire backyard is paved over, for god's sake. Have they never seen The Dog Whisperer? This is not an environment that creates a happy, well-adjusted canine companion.

Back at the hospital, they tie off the sutures, cover everything with sticky tape, and leave her with us to recover. We let the rest of the family in to see her. She begins to come around immediately, trying to talk through swollen lips and clutching our hands.

Within 10 minutes, she's speaking clearly enough to be understood: "lub you," "bad dog," and "Nona." She gives me and Scott "mooches" with her terribly swollen lips.

At 15 minutes, she vomits, and apologizes for it. Shortly after, she's clearly experiencing the side effects of the medication: "Daddy, you got TWO faces?!"

Within 45 minutes, she's eating a popsicle and complaining that she can't see "Phineus and Ferb" because of someone's head. It's obvious to me from this experience that if I got hit by a bus tomorrow, Emmie would be just fine. She'd have a dozen people to care for her.

We're cleared to go shortly after they decide she's not going to suffer any adverse reactions to the drugs or procedures. I look at the clock: six hours. It felt like two hours, max.

Easily 15 people worked on Emmie. I only remember three names: Dr. Hunt, the chief; Dr. Lopez, who coordinated the care team; and Stephanie, the smiling nurse with the great way with children. I hope that the other 12 people know that they are as appreciated.

Saturday, it became obvious that Emmie's not excited about dogs, anymore. She complained a little about being tired, but never wanted to nap. And we kept her from a friend's birthday party, trying to keep her quiet and calm for the day, as the doctor ordered. My parents came down and stayed with us all day, bringing food, and my in-laws came over for a while later, decorating our apartment with Halloween trinkets and staying for dinner with everyone. Emmie had birthday cake and ice cream for dinner, and I don't care.

But today, we expect to return to life as normal. We're going to try some different things to see how she does. She'll spend some time with Scott's grandparents. She might go back to school on Monday. We want to minimize the message that this is the kind of situation that should impact the rest of her life.

And, yet, it might. She has some treatments ahead of her to reduce the amount of scarring. She'll inevitably be asked repeatedly about the incident. Obviously, we won't have a great relationship with that little girl's parents, since they tried to convince the police that she fell in some thorn bushes. And maybe her modeling career won't take off as expected (that was a joke). And, yet, she may be really well positioned to deal with it. Any kid who can Zen her way through an ambulance ride can deal with those kinds of issues, I think.

Thanks, everyone, for all of your kind thoughts and prayers via Facebook, e-mail, and other outlets. We appreciate it more than you know.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Check out my birfday cake!

Friday, October 09, 2009 By

AUGUSTA, GA - Simply Sweet Bakery in Evans put this cake together for me.

"Honestly, I thought she'd just DRAW R2D2 on the cake," Shannon said.

But they are WAY COOLER than that. And, to top it all off, it was really good chocolate layer cake on the inside!

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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Things a Preschooler Cannot Understand

Tuesday, October 06, 2009 By

AUGUSTA, GA - Emmie came home from school on Friday with tears in her eyes.

"You not gib me any lemonade in my lunch, mama!"

"But, doodle, we talked about this. You were going to buy chocolate milk at school."

"No! I can't get chocolate milk! Dey said it's in da peeyooter, but I can't hab it!"

"HOW much money did you put in her account?" my husband asked, his teeth gritted together.

"Sixty. But, honey, I'm sure it was just a mistake."

"There are all kinds of children who get free lunches every day. They can give her a carton of milk. I am going to call that school on Monday. My child WILL have milk."

"Okay, Norma Rae. You take care of that."

He called me shortly after talking to her teacher. It seems our child doesn't understand the idea of credit.

Here's what Emerson knows about money: quarters buy bubble gum, and "da blue money and dollars card" makes twenties appear like magic.

But apparently she skipped the pre-pay aspect in her comprehension of how our monetary system works.

When she went through the line to pick out her milk, her teacher said that she started crying because she didn't have any "money-and-dollars." Even after they told her that she could have the milk, she was afraid to drink it because she hasn't paid for it. Obviously, we have some 'splainin' to do.

"Even if she didn't have any money," her teacher laughed. "We would still make sure that she got some milk."

Of course they would. We should never have doubted that.

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Saturday, October 03, 2009

I Think I Need to Watch My Smart Mouth

Saturday, October 03, 2009 By

AUGUSTA, GA - I forget, sometimes, that experts say that kids don't really grasp sarcasm until around the age of 8. I forget this because in the McGowen family, sarcasm isn't some benign humorous technique.

It's a survival skill.

"Hey, it's your world," I often joke, when she tries to tell me how things are. "We just live in it."

We're at Six Flags Over Georgia this morning, riding the parking trolley until my sisters and nephews join us, and Emmie proceeds to explain to me that she has no intention of riding the Batman roller coaster that just flew past us at breakneck speeds.

"That's fine, Emmie. You don't have to ride anything you don't like."

"No. I serious. I not goeend to ride dat ride. I'm skeered."

"Okay, Emmie. I won't make you ride anything that scares you. But you should know that every ride is safe, here. Nothing will hurt you. And part of the fun is being scared."

"Mama," she says, with a mature intensity, clutching my face in her hands. "Iss my world. I telleend you: I not goeend ride it."

Okay, then.

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Friday, October 02, 2009

Getting Ready for Halloween

Friday, October 02, 2009 By

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Deep Thoughts, by Emerson Hudson: Equal Rights Taken Perhaps a Bit Too Far

Friday, October 02, 2009 By

"Guesswhatlasstime?" Emmie started, running all her words together into one big word/question. "When I was sleeping an' dreaming? I dream I marry a pineapple!"

(LOL) "A pineapple?"

"Yeah," she grinned, and then shrugged nonchalantly. "But iss awright. I lubbed him."

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Dangerous Minds

Friday, October 02, 2009 By

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Now I Want it Even More...

Friday, October 02, 2009 By

"Who has floating arm keyboards?" H.Y. asked, incredulous.

"Mad Max?" I answered. We're admiring the metal artistry of local welder Daniel Foreman.

"That thing is awesome," Jay Jacobs said, admiring it.

"I want it just to have, like, in my living room," I breathed. Foreman does a lot of sign work, and also fabricated the bar at Sky City.

"Until you get up at night to use the bathroom, and impale yourself on it," Jay said.

"And you find Trent Reznor waiting on you in the bathroom," Heather grinned.

"See, now I want it even more."

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