Friday, April 25, 2008

"We take debit cards only. If it doesn't have a pin to enter, it ain't gonna work!" "Okay, that will be fine, I have a Visa." Well, we can only do it to the tens. We can do it to 90 and you pay me the extra in cash or we can do it to 100 and we'll pay you."

Is this 2008? Yes, it's Fish Camp 2008 in North Carolina. The Wildes are visiting Dale's sister in Gastonia, North Carolina. They were excited to give us the "fish camp" experience which is a grand encounter with boatloads of artery-stopping fried varieties of nearly all imaginable food items.

The evening began by first going to two other "fish camps" only to discover that they are only open Wednesday through Sunday. Good southern Christians apparently eat fish on Sunday, but not Monday or Tuesday. So, we settled on Twin Tops Fish Camp. They seated our party of ten and drink orders were placed. The drinks hadn't been there long before Daniel's Sprite was tipped by a ghost of fish gone by directly onto his lap. A large stack of napkins later we were back to waiting for our food, sticky table and all. That's okay the kids were packing away the fried hush puppies.

Bring on the food. At our table alone, we had three kinds of fried shrimp, fried perch, fried catfish, fried flounder, deviled crab, fried mozzarella cheese, fried dill pickle slices, fried apples, french fries, and one very loaded baked potato. Did I mention the food was fried?

Wow, with this kind of spread, we really should get a picture. Dale hasn't been in any other pictures. Let's ask the waitress with the greasy hands to take a shot of all of us. So, it took her three tries, but she's gonna show us it's good. Oh, it's lovely, let's hand it back to Dale - directly over his water glass. Oops! Must've been the greasy fingers. Now it's bobbing for cameras. Suddenly, this meal has gotten more expensive. (It's been a week now and the camera still works!)

So, we gorge. We eat, the kids play with the catfish skeletons, we eat, we wipe our hands, eat, catch another near Sprite spill, wipe our hands, eat, catch another "almost" drink spill, you get the picture. Yes, we'd like some boxes. We decide to box it up with like items together. As we filled one with fries, one with fish, one with shrimp, etc. we're certain we've witnessed a modern-day miracle of the fries and the fishes. We have enough food to stage our own home-version fish camp in a couple days when we can consider grease again.

Let's go out and pay for it on one credit card. That way we'll have a line that says "Tip" and we can write, "Don't drop the customer's camera in the water." But alas, we may never have that chance 'cause she can "only do it to the ten," we can't be that specific.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Just for a smile

I wasn't going to blog about this. I planned to just send the picture to some family members, but it makes me smile every time I see it. Maybe someone reading this needs a smile too. This is a picture of my sweet niece Katelyn and my Daniel. Katelyn was born 3 weeks before Daniel, but she was full term. This was taken the day I brought Daniel home from the hospital. The size difference didn't last long, but on this day, at this angle, it made me smile!


So, in the last two weeks, I've two nieces named Heather deliver sweet baby boys at 37 weeks gestation. In both cases, they were just enough early that they had some fluid on their lungs causing pneumonia. In both cases, they had to stay a little longer at the hospital while the babies rested, grew, and had antibiotics in the special care nursery.

As I went to visit, my mind and heart were flooded with memories of our stay with Daniel in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit as he was born at 29 weeks gestation. He had to stay longer with a little more help than sweet Eli and Jackson, but the feelings were clearly the same as I watched the Heathers fret over their sons' health.

I was able to offer some comfort in that Daniel had all those medicines and his lungs are fine today -- he recently took a lung capacity test in band and he passed just fine. But I certainly wasn't able to offer comfort that all would be smooth after they got past this hurdle. No, more years just bring more roller coaster emotions of highs, lows, joys, and heartbreaks. I keep looking at my older sisters and sisters-in-law hoping to see that the roller coaster ride is gonna end. However, it looks like the ride just gets scarier, louder, and riskier. I guess I have to hope that the fun parts are funner too!!

I recently heard about a new book whose title is based on a Yiddish proverb. It's called, "We Plan, God Laughs." I haven't read the book, but I like the title. I hope I can remember that on those days when I'm not getting the same good laugh. In so many ways, it seems my life has not gone according to my plan. But I have included a picture of my sweet Daniel while he was in the hospital to remind me how perfect it's been for me. Really, do they get in cuter than that??? (I hope all the readers are saying, 'Yes, my child was cuter.')

And so I return to my laundry, my packing for our trip to North Carolina, and my daily frustrations, but maybe somewhere in my heart my memories can help get me through the day. Thanks for the reminders, Heather and Heather.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Just some updates

I haven't written lately about the progress on our new digs in the basement. It's coming right along. We think we are probably two weeks away from total completion. I snapped a couple of pictures this morning just to show the change from the last pictures of an empty basement. These give at least an overview of the bathroom, the kitchen, the family room, and the hallway. It looks good, the work has been high quality, and the decision to let someone else do it all was one of our all-time brilliant decisions! I recommend the same for any of you who may be considering it.

And as an update to my last post, Cheyenne is doing really well in math. She's been doing well in the big class, and she's even started going to lunch with them. All seems to be on target for sending her back to Shelley Elementary this fall. It's a good thing, too, 'cause she tells every person she sees (construction workers, Costco employees, people in line at the store, etc.) that's she's going to Shelley! There's a happy girl!