It’s National Creamsicle Day

I love oranges. The smell, the taste, sectioned into pieces or as a juice, and I find them aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Heck, I used to eat baby aspirin as a kid because I loved that delicious orange flavor.

It’s a fact that I bought out all the “Henri Bendel Orange Flower” products from Bath and Body Works when they discontinued it a few years ago. I don’t know how WHY they discontinued it. It was the best smelling stuff EVER.  I estimate that I have about another cycle of the earth orbiting the sun before I run out.

I don’t, however, love creamsicles. I mean, they’re okay, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to get one. In fact, I’d be more apt to just take a small bite of yours instead of enjoying a whole one by myself.

I rarely go down the frozen food aisle, mostly because I’m not a fan of prepackaged meals or frozen vegetables. If I’m picking up anything from that aisle, it’s vanilla ice cream for the other three members of my family or garlic toast. I just never thought to pick up creamsicles. I guess I’m surprised to learn that they still exist.

There’s something about ice cream surrounded by a popsicle that just doesn’t mesh for me. Just because they’re both frozen doesn’t mean they belong together. I like popsicles. I occasionally like ice cream. But together? That’s just wrong. It doesn’t mimic the amazing union of peanut butter and chocolate, or even Sonny and Cher. Creamsicles, to me, are more like Laverne’s Milk and Pepsi combo.

As I was researching Creamsicles, I learned that there are other flavors aside from the traditional orange. They include  raspberry, blue raspberry, lime, and grape. Ick. These flavors don’t make creamsicles any more appealing to me. I would figure they’d try a root beer flavor… at least that’s sorta like a root beer float. I don’t like those either.

Summer does call for a tasty frozen treat from time to time. I’ll spring for an Ice Cream Truck run about once a summer. Despite all the kids in our neighborhood, the Ice Cream Man doesn’t really drive by our place very often. That carousel-like tinkling of circus music gets my kids so excited. The kids stop fighting momentarily, grab each other, jump up and down, and shout out “ICE CREAM”. It is just like the Eddie Murphy skit. My kids have never heard his routine about the Ice Cream Man (of course) but by the way they act you’d think they’d memorized it word for word.  It’s worth the $3.50 per popsicle just to get them to calm down for a few minutes. It brings peace to my “middle east”.

Today is a weird day weather-wise here in Denver. There’s no sunshine. We usually enjoy about 300 days of sunshine a year, but today is definitely not one of them. Ben and I are sitting here in the waiting room at Children’s, waiting for his blood work to come back. I’m working on a massive headache and Ben is bored out of his mind – despite having a DS and a computer at his disposal. I’m anxious for today’s report and that just makes the waiting more unbearable. I’m cranky. Short tempered. Borderline scowling. Maybe I’ll take Ben for a creamsicle. And get a bottle of orange flavored baby aspirin for myself.

More tomorrow. 🙂

It’s “Left Hander’s Day” AND Miracle Treat Day

I have to let everyone know that today is MIRACLE TREAT DAY! Go to a participating Dairy Queen and buy a BLIZZARD. The proceeds go to your local children’s hospital. This is Ben’s 3rd year as a Miracle Treat Kid. He’s not presenting a plaque to any of the local DQ’s this year because we didn’t know how he’d feel, but he’s got his Miracle Kid shirt and we’re going to go pick up a blizzard later.

IMG_0914Here he is presenting a plaque two years ago.

Ben is feeling pretty good. Last night, the manager of The Outback (Ben’s favorite restaurant) gave Ben a “Manager’s Card”. It has his name on it and entitles him to free meals! My wonderful friend, Angela, works there and told her co-workers about my incredible son. In fact, she was our server back in 2006 when we first moved here. I guess she liked the look of me because we exchanged phone numbers right there and have been friends ever since! Anyway, she told her c0-workers that Ben had relapsed and they’ve been so supportive. They gave Ben a gift basket while he was in the hospital, the Manager’s Card, and they’ll be holding a benefit for him in September. Awesome people! I have the greatest friends in the whole world.

Okay. It’s “Left Hander’s Day”. Two of my best friends in elementary school, Holly and Cortney, were left-handed. I remember this because they had “special” school supplies, like notebooks with the spiral on the opposite side. Many of you know that I’m obsessed with office supplies and paper, so I was envious that they had supplies created especially for them. I was curious as to when they would create special supplies for redheads. Maybe paper with an SPF factor? Anti-freckle erasers? Alas, it never happened. After all, according to a popular study, redheads will be extinct in 100 years. I wonder if our phasing out will be handled like “renewal” in “Logan’s Run”? We’ll all be called into a special chamber and spontaneously combust. Perhaps there will be an underground movement of redheads fighting to  maintain our existence – after all, the best place for a redhead is underground and out of the sun.

How do I always get so far off topic? I guess it’s my special gift.

I had to be left-handed once in middle school. My right wrist had a hairline fracture  – from gymnastics or general clumsiness – which required me to wear a half-cast for a while. I didn’t have many problems converting to left-handedness but I was far from being ambidextrous. I learned, however, that I’m prone to putting my left foot forward for sliding, surfing, and snowboarding (which I’ve not yet tried but plan to do someday). This trait is called “goofy-footed”. Most people, even the left-handed type, tend to put their right foot forward for such activities. Not me. I’m “goofy”. Explains it all, doesn’t it? If you’re curious about your status, crouch down on the floor, jump up in the air, and let your body do the rest. It will know which foot you prefer to place in the forward position. If it’s your left foot, you’re goofy, too. Welcome to the club.

Okay, Madeline’s off at school and I’m going to go snuggle with the Bean. It stinks that his counts are low but it’s pretty sweet that I get him all to myself. And speaking of sweet, don’t forget to go get your Blizzard at DQ.

More tomorrow. 🙂

It’s “National Middle Child Day”

I’m a middle child. Sort of.

My mother had two biological children. I am the youngest. My sister and I have different fathers. My father had two biological children. I am the oldest. My brother and I have different mothers. My sister is 6 1/2 years older than I am and my brother is exactly seven years younger than me. My sister and my brother have no biological bond. But between the two of my half-siblings I am the middle child. Try to find THAT birth order in any of those psychology journals. No wonder I’m a mess.

We’re finally out of the hospital. Ben was sprung late Sunday evening because his ANC had finally started to come back up. It was around 50 when he was discharged. We went back in Tuesday for blood work but Ben’s ANC had only climbed to 72. He needs to be at 500 to be “safe” (able to go to school) and at 750 to start his next round of chemo. He’s supposed to start that next round on Monday. We’ll go back in Friday to see if his counts will support him starting this next round. He might not be ready, which means we’ll postpone the next round for a week. He didn’t need a transfusion of red blood or platelets though. That’s a good thing. I’m just surprised that he’s not rebounding faster.

He’s feeling just fine. He’s upset that he can’t go to school (especially to see his girlfriend, Skyler). Meanwhile, we’re cooped up here in the house. No visitors. Madeline has fulfilled her duty as younger sister by antagonizing the hooey out of him. He actually says this to me: “Mom, she’s antagonizing me again.” I have to remind her that Ben is “sick” and to lay off. And then Ben antagonizes his sister. I have to remind him that just because he has cancer doesn’t mean he can get away with everything. Hard to say that, though, to that cute little bald head with big brown eyes.

Madeline is feeling a little left out of everything lately with all the attention going to her brother. After her first day of school she came home, stripped off her clothes, and drew red dots all over her body with a marker. She said “I’m putting my night-nights on. I’m sick.” I tried to pay a little extra attention to her to ensure her that she is, indeed, a very important part of our family. She doesn’t need to be sick to get our attention. Siblings. Such a delicate line to walk on and very difficult to find any emotional balance.

We did enroll Madeline in a program called “Super Sibs”. It’s specifically for kiddos who are siblings of cancer patients. The siblings get little packages in the mail, letting them know that they are special, too. Madeline got her first package yesterday. She immediately tore it open and loved all the stuff that was just for her. She needed that.

So Ben said the prayer last night before dinner. I haven’t been good at praying lately because I’m completely peeved with the Big Guy Upstairs. But Ben says “Thank you for this wonderful day. Thank you for this wonderful food. And, please, I need your help. I just need to get this over with.” Tears are falling because I just don’t understand any of this. As I’m soaking my spaghetti and meatballs with my waterworks, I wonder. So many questions. No answers. But knowing this sweet little boy is fighting for his life just makes me sick. If there is a God, which I am sincerely struggling with right now, if He didn’t hear that prayer and make my Ben all better immediately, then I just don’t know what to think.

Everything I’ve ever believed is crumbling. Is this a test? Punishment? I feel so helpless and am finding absolutely no comfort. I’m trying. It just seems to get harder. I feel isolated and alone. Sort of like a middle child.

So instead of wallowing in my inability to find answers I do the only thing I can. Hold Ben and love him. Hold Madeline and love her. I know how to do that. I’ll do it with all the energy I have.

More tomorrow. 🙂

It’s “National Lighthouse Day”

Funny that I just mentioned lighthouses in my prior post about the Coast Guard.

My brain is really fuzzy today so I probably won’t make a lot of sense. Last night was probably the worst sleep I’ve had in a long time. I was starting to doze off after Ben’s platelet transfusion when the nurses came in to do the nasal wash. It was a completely unpleasant experience – mostly for Ben – but I have to admit that I was not fond of holding Ben’s arms and legs down with all the strength that I had while the nurses shot water up his nose and tried to suction out boogers. Hearing those cries again, his pleas for us to stop torturing him, well, I’m going to need some therapy.

Once I did fall asleep it was fitful. I kept waking up with visions of bloody noses and having a carton of broken eggs at Target. I have an explanation for the bloody noses dream, but am completely curious about the broken eggs at Target. And there was only one checkout line. And it was self-service. There were no employees to help with my broken eggs. Plenty of people milling about in the traditional Red Shirted Target Uniforms, but absolutely no assistance. And a line of vicious customers yelling at me to hurry up. They didn’t care about my broken eggs. Nobody cared.

I could use a lighthouse about now. Something to shine a beacon of light to guide me through all this mess. Lead me home. Bring me safely into the harbor. Help me avoid the angry rocks that are trying to break through my hull and drown me. I’m sinking. Where’s my lighthouse? Spiritually, I’m completely lost. And I’m afraid I’m not going to find my way back.

The only attribute of a lighthouse I have right now is the horrendous sound I make when I blow my nose in the morning. It could rival any foghorn out there. For being a fairly small person I can make a tremendous sound with just my nose. It’s quite embarrassing actually. And now that we’re back in the hospital setting with no privacy, well, the entire floor can hear my foghorn in the morning. Calling out to them. “EEEEEEEE-OOOGH” But I have nothing to offer my fellow parents living this nightmare with me. No guidance. No support. No answers. Helpless in all aspects. Sinking. Flailing. Pasting on our smiles for our children to guide them through but being empty inside.

I guess that’s something. I can be a lighthouse for Ben. But I think I need a new light bulb. My foghorn, however, is in tip-top shape.

More tomorrow. 🙂

It’s “Wiggle Your Toes” Day

Up until about 10 years ago I was completely terrified of feet. I wasn’t born with this trait, it was learned when I was six years old. As most phobias go, one usually experiences a traumatic event that makes the blood chill, skin crawl, and yes, toes curl, when presented with the one thing that makes their system shut down. Mine was toes.

When I was about six years old, my biological father remarried a woman with two children. Stacey was one year older than me and Angela was a year or two younger than me. Built-in sisters! How lucky for me! I learned quickly, however, that they were not interested in having a new sister.  One-on-one we did just fine. I could play with Stacey for hours on end and then I could alternately play with Angela. It was peaceful until they got together and decided that I was “going down”.

The terror came at night. I shared a bed with Stacey and all would be well as my dad and step-mom tucked us in and said their good nights. Once the lights were out, the girls would start with ghostly sounds, you know, “ooooo” in that trembling voice, changing pitch and octaves, designed to give a six-year-old in a strange bed the creeps. My pleas of “Stop it. That’s not funny,” encouraged them to ratchet it up a notch. That’s when Stacey brought out “the toes”.

This is technically a tragic story. Stacey, a year or two before my appearance, was involved in a terrible accident. I’m not sure of the specifics but what I do know was that Stacey’s grandfather was mowing the lawn, Stacey was in the yard playing, somehow the lawnmower and Stacey’s toes interacted and Stacey’s toes lost. She was rushed to the hospital. The two toes could not be saved so they did a skin graft to cover the area where the two toes had previously lived. Underneath the skin graft you could feel two little nubs. The skin covering the little nubs was all puckered and hard. They were perfect for scaring the hooey out of a little six-year-old girl. Talk about making the most of your adversities… Stacey had it down pat.

Mostly, what Stacey did in the deep dark of the night was say to me “They’re coming to get you”. I’d tense up in preparation of the two dried up “raisins” making contact with my spindly legs. I’d stay perfectly rigid, like a victim in a horror movie hiding from her pursuer, and take the raking of her nubs up and down my leg while choking back groans of intense displeasure. It was terrifying. This went on for months of weekend visits until I wised up enough to make use of the Holly Hobby sleeping bag that was hidden under the bed. I might have to sleep in the same room with them, but at least I no longer had to share a bed with “the toes”. Whew.

My dad stayed married to my step-mom until she took her own life in 1987. I was 18 when she died. In the years between being six and my step-mom’s death, Stacey and I got along for the most part. Stacey was an “early bloomer” compared to my being a “late bloomer” so she was interested in boys way before I even gave them a thought. We didn’t hang out with each other very often, so my interaction with “the toes” dwindled greatly. They rarely came out after the first couple of years and the only time I ever saw them was if we happened to be at the swimming pool together. I know she’s married and has a couple of children now. I wonder how her kids feel about “the toes”.

It took me a long time to make peace with toes. I think the turning point was when a friend visiting from out of town suggested we do “girly spa stuff” and offered to give me a pedicure. I was 30 years old. The thought terrified me and she laughed as my face twisted in horror as I explained that no one had ever touched my feet. Or, I clarified, touched my feet without sustaining physical injury. It’s usually a precursor to any intimate relationship I’ve ever had – “touch my feet and die” sort of thing. I fought her with great desperation and only after having a couple of cocktails did I let her touch them. It was heaven. My fear of toes slowly melted away into a world of aromatherapy and pretty pink polish. I’ve never looked back.

Sometimes,  however, I think of Stacey’s two little toes, out there lying in the lawn on a hot summer day, wiggling around looking for their owner. I hope they don’t find me first.

It’s National “Work Like a Dog” Day

I’ve not owned any dogs that would do this particular holiday any justice. Perhaps on a destructive level they’ve earned their keep, but serious work? Not on your life. The dogs I’ve owned are prone to digging holes in my back yard, chewing the wood blinds on my front window, destroying any number of toys left on the floor by the children, peeing wherever they feel like it – stuff like that.

The only thing I ever saw Stella and Kya (our most recent dogs) work hard at was knocking the crap out of each other. They did such an incredible job at beating each other up – over a stupid rawhide bone – that there was copious amounts of blood, a trip to the Vet ER, and ultimate surrender of our two beloved pups because we couldn’t afford the vet bill. Oh, we might have worked it out somehow if we hadn’t had Ben’s emergency biopsy the day before this knock-down bout, but seeing how we were teetering on the edge of finding out if Ben’s cancer had returned or not, we didn’t have the strength (or the financial resources) to do anything about it. So we left them with the vet. It was a very difficult thing to do, but our options were limited. Plus, finding out what we know about Ben’s health at this point, two fairly young and energetic dogs wouldn’t have been a good idea. I sure miss them, though.

Cancer has made a mess of things over the past month. Not only is it trying to destroy my beautiful son, but we’ve had to make a lot of changes. Pet surrender. Hospital runs. Financial strain. Yes, insurance is nice, but there are still copays. Just since all of this started about a month ago,  we’ve put out $700 and then today’s little trip to the ER was $150. I’m sure there will be an additional co-pay for actually being admitted, since that is exactly what will be happening within the next couple of hours. Ben’s ANC (ability to fight infection) is at 46. It needs to be over 500 in order for him to have a somewhat normal ANC. And Ben is really trying to go to third grade. He’s gone just one-and-a-half days out of seven. This is going to be a tough year. Madeline was supposed to start school yesterday. Her first day of Kindergarten. Damn cancer. Hopefully, she’ll start Monday.

This is another thing that is tearing me apart. Since Madeline was born six weeks after Ben’s initial diagnosis in 2004 her first year of milestones were all experienced in the shadows of Ben’s treatment. I remember Madeline getting up the strength to walk across the kitchen while scooting a chair across the floor. I wanted to jump up and down but we were in the process of taking Ben to the hospital because he’d spiked a fever. Just like today.

Cancer doesn’t care what your plans are. It affords no normalcy. It makes you work like a dog yet never gives any sort of cookie for good behavior. I am dog tired.

Ben is sitting in his little hospital bed with a bag of sour cream and cheddar ruffles, a bottle of Hawaiian Punch, and watching Animal Planet while his antibiotics run their course. I”m not sure this is the best viewing option for us, as it’s the show where the animal control officers are chasing feral animals with those little head loop things. I sorta feel like one of those feral dogs right now. Any minute now one of the uniformed staff will come in with one of those gizmos and try to trap me in the corner. “Oh, there you are, Mrs. Brewer. Don’t you look pretty today? Just stay still while we put this around your neck… it’ll be okay… we’re going to take you someplace really nice… just be still… this will just take a second… shhh, be a good girl now… almost there… GOTCHA!” As I flail and attempt escape, twisting wildly around while they drag me off to the animal control vehicle. I hope they give me a sedative.

More tomorrow. 🙂

It’s National Coast Guard Day

Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines. And Coast Guard. I guess I didn’t realize that the Coast Guard was formally included with this group, but they are. In fact, on their web page (http://www.uscg.mil/), they keep repeating over and over that they ARE, indeed, the fifth branch of the armed forces. While we’re at “peace” they act on their own, but while we’re at “war”, they function as a specialized service for the Navy. I never knew that.

The Coast Guard (affectionately known as “Coasties”) set up shop in 1790 and was the only floating safety net we had as a young nation. I think the world was still flat back then. However, their duty to protect was overshadowed when that crazy Navy came along just eight years later. The Coast Guard has had to deal with this Navy bully for the past 200+ years, but they’ve yet to back down. Coasties protect us at all times: halting the flow of illegal drugs, aliens, and contraband into the United States through maritime routes; (b) preventing illegal fishing; and (c) suppressing violations of federal law in the maritime arena. I just had this crazy vision of Osama bin Laden doing some illegal fishing… I hope the Coast Guard catches him. This coup would catapult the Coast Guard into the superstardom of Homeland Security and maybe, just maybe, finally earn them the respect they deserve.

I could never be in the Armed Forces. There are several reasons: a) I’m too old; b) I have a legitimate medical issue; c) I don’t LOVE guns (but am an excellent shot); d) I hate sand; and e) I could NEVER keep a secret. Oh, I can keep little secrets, but those that are classified as supersize top secret, forget it. I’d be bursting to tell someone. A dear friend of mine was a big deal in the Navy a while back. He took me aboard a ship and showed me around. I was dying to receive some classified information, but, of course, he denied me. Mostly because he knows me and realizes I have no capacity to keep a secret, but also because he was just doing his job. He wasn’t supposed to tell so he didn’t. Silly rule follower. Secrets are to be divulged. And I’m not going to tell anyone. Well, maybe that creepy hairy guy that I’m out doing some illegal fishing with. Just kidding.

Also, while I was poking around on the Coast Guard’s web site, I found that one can actually BUY a lighthouse! The US Coast Guard and the US Lighthouse Service merged in 1939 (the year that The Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind were released). There are even some lighthouses for sale! My Ohio friends will be glad to know that one is available in their fine state. Click here for details: https://extportal.pbs.gsa.gov:443/ResourceCenter/PRHomePage/loadProperty.do?propId=6978

And did you know that the Statue of Liberty is considered to be a lighthouse? I didn’t know this, either. I’m finding that I’m pretty dumb when it comes to basic knowledge of my country. That’s a true blue shame. But I do know that Ohio has 88 counties (thank you, Mr. Smith – eighth grade Ohio History teacher). And it is clear that my knowledge of Ohio having 88 counties serves some purpose. It’s yet to be determined but I know it will come in handy someday. Maybe it’ll be the million dollar question on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”? If I win, I’m buying that lighthouse.

If you know a “Coastie”, call ’em up and thank them for their service. And tell them that Osama is out looking for Chilean Seabass.

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More tomorrow. 🙂

It’s National Watermelon Day

Sorry for the delay, friends. I’ve been a little, well, preoccupied. Last week was full of emotional moments for me: watching my son have poison pumped into him, celebrating when it didn’t make him sick, wondering if it was working since it didn’t make him sick, and trying to keep my mind from completely stopping all together. It wants to. I just can’t let it.

I wanted to leave this “world” behind. I really did. I thought we were in the clear. As Ben would say, we beat that level of the game. It’s not that I was ignoring the fact that lots of kids are still getting cancer – and dying from cancer – but I thought we were done. It was my understanding that our main issue would be that Ben hasn’t been growing – and we were working on that with an endocrinologist. But here we are again. Chemo. Shots. Needles. Pain. And then all the stuff that’s yet to come: hair loss, fevers, the tangibles that lets the whole world know that this kid is really sick. Ridiculous. Heart Breaking. My world has stopped in its tracks.

I just can’t care about anything else out there right now. The Gap is running a promotion to stop AIDS in Africa. And that’s great. But who runs a promotion to stop kids right here under their noses dying of cancer? That’s relegated to late night TV when St. Jude’s runs their ads of little bald kiddos – all the while most of America is asleep. I care about AIDS. I really do. My brother his HIV positive and I certainly want for him to have continued health. However, I am furious that as far as the NIH is concerned, AIDS is on the top of their totem pole. Don’t get me wrong, cancer gets a lot of attention, too, but pediatric cancer is at the very bottom of where the research dollars are distributed. And seeing that neuroblastoma is one of the trickier cancers in the world of pediatric cancer, well, where does that leave my son? It makes me furious that he is technically “not important enough” to find a cure for. What we as families keep hearing when we ask our politicians for help is that it’s going to take someone “famous” getting neuroblastoma to finally bring awareness. Really? My son is not important enough? That sucks. What these people are willing to “let go” is a beautiful, sensitive, sweet little boy who loves his family, Legos, all things Nintendo, and a sweet little girl named Skyler. It’s not acceptable that I have to live with the fact that my son now only has a 10% chance of survival. Not acceptable.

I’m angry today. I don’t want to go back to this world where my son has cancer. I don’t want to live here again. I don’t understand a God that would allow this to happen. I know, I know. God won’t give me more than I can handle, right? I hear you. I just don’t believe it right now.

It’s time to wake my son. He gets to go to school today. His first day of third grade. He’s so very excited and that’s what I’m living for right at this moment. He is brave enough to still want to be an eight-year-old. Even with all that he’s up against, he still just wants to be an eight-year-old. You gotta admire that.

As for watermelons, well, they’re pretty good about now. August is National Picnic Month, so maybe you should get some watermelon and take your loved ones on a picnic. Sorry I couldn’t focus on today’s National holiday but I had other stuff on my mind.

More tomorrow. 🙂

It’s “National Hot Dog” and “Vanilla Ice Cream” Day

This is a day made just for kids. These two items permanently reside on Ben’s favorite food list, which I’m sure will make it onto today’s menu.

Ben is currently “NPO”, meaning he cannot eat in the hours before his surgery. We are to check in at 12:30 PM today with surgery scheduled for 2:30 PM. It should take less than an hour to place his port and then hopefully he’ll whiz through PACU and we can be off to get our hot dogs and vanilla ice cream.

Ben enjoys his dog with ketchup only. Sometimes he likes them cut up so he can eat them with chopsticks. One time, Matt slid uncooked spaghetti noodles through the hotdog and then boiled it to give the hotdog a little more character. The kids weren’t impressed, but, of course, I took a picture.

IMG_1796

My favorite hot dog is a Chicago style dog – loaded with onions, relish, mustard, tomatoes, celery salt, and those two little spicy peppers that squirt the neighboring table when you bite into them. Wholly Joe’s in Powell, Ohio offer these, as does Bernie’s Dogs in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. Or, you can just go to Chicago and get a REAL dog. But while you’re there, you’ll HAVE to stand in line for hours on end to get Garrett’s Popcorn. Their cheddar cheese and caramel combo is AMAZING. I’m not talking about the nasty stuff you get in Christmas tins… this has to be experienced to be appreciated. But today is not about popcorn, is it?

As I’ve said in a couple of my prior posts I’m not a fan of ice cream. If I’m going to eat some I would most likely eat vanilla – or perhaps a little butter pecan. I guess that’s why I chose “ice cream” as my first occupation since I wasn’t in danger of eating the merchandise. This “first job” of mine was at the Kirk Kone in Kirkersville, Ohio. I spent a couple of summers there – I think I was 14 or 15. I know I couldn’t drive yet, so I found a job that was close to home. I liked the job well enough, we got to see nearly everyone in town and then on “race days” at National Trails it was a given that some greasy car enthusiast would try to “pick me up”. I’d always say, “But sir, I’m only 14.” I’d often get that blank look stating that age was not an issue with this group. *Shudder.*

I was pretty good at my job, yet never fully understood just how to make a medium sized cone. I could make a small. I could definitely make a large. But the medium size was always elusive to me. I’d make it too small or too large. Sometimes I’d tell my customers that we were all out of medium cones. That particular size was the bane of my existence.

The other problem I had was with banana splits. I would get so caught up in getting out the little plastic boat, creating the adorable little islands of ice cream, spooning pineapple, strawberry, and chocolate topping over the little islands, giving a brief sprinkling of nuts, top with whipped cream and a cherry, hand it to the customer along with the long spoon reserved solely for banana splits and malted shakes, accept payment for my creation, only to be told “Hey! You forgot the banana!”. It was true. For whatever reason I could never remember to put the banana in the banana split. It was a mental block that I just never got over.

Okay, I need to get going. We have to leave shortly to get Ben to the hospital. Please pray for smooth sailing and that he can enjoy a hotdog and some vanilla ice cream afterward. As long as I don’t have to make him a medium cone, I’ll be good.

More tomorrow 🙂

IMG_0920This photo is from Dairy Queen’s “Miracle Treat Day”, a National Fundraiser for Children’s Miracle Network. If all goes well with treatment, Ben will participate again this year (August, I think). It’ll be his third year as a “Miracle Kid” for CMN. This picture is currently featured on the wall of The Children’s Hospital in Aurora, Colorado.