A Silly Card Game

There is a card game called “Bullshit”. The object of the game is to simply get rid of all your cards first. The deck is dealt evenly among each player. During each turn, cards are put down clockwise in ascending order beginning with the player who has the Ace of Spades. When it’s your turn to play, you put your cards face down and announce how many of that card you are putting down. If you don’t have any of the card you are supposed to play or you want to get rid of more cards, you can try to bullshit and put down cards you are not supposed to. If you get away with it, great! If one of the players thinks you are lying, and you are, then they call bullshit and you have to pick up all the cards in the pile and put them in your hand. If you are not lying when someone calls bullshit on you, then they have to put the pile of cards in their hands. The winner is the person who plays all of their cards first.

Last night, my husband and I played a few hands of Bullshit with our teenage son and daughter while we were waiting for supper to finish baking in the oven. Playing Bullshit with people you live with isn’t as easy as it sounds. My husband and I have been together 29 years. I know he knows when I’m bullshitting and I know when he is too, or so we both think. There were parts of the game I found myself having to put my cards over my mouth when I was trying to pull off a Bullshit maneuver because I couldn’t control myself. Some I got away with it, some I didn’t. It was interesting watching each of my children trying to pull off a bullshit. They pulled off some slick maneuvers themselves and I enjoyed watching them nail each other for a bullshit as they are close siblings. The games were heated and intense as we all bullshitted and hoped not to get busted. In one move my husband accused my daughter of a bullshit and she wasn’t bullshitting so he had to pick a large pile of cards. “Oh yeah, there’s lot of bullshit going on here” was all he could say. All we could do was laugh and laugh and laugh and keep playing and keep bullshitting until someone lays down their final card and declares themselves as the master bullshitter of this hand. It was beautiful and I am still laughing to myself about it.

There are moments of life, like snippets of film that we wish we could pause because we never want them to end. This silly game of Bullshit was definitely one of them. When your kids are babies you enjoy each new stage of their development and each milestone they master. It’s so far away you can’t possibly imagine what it feels like when your first born is nine days away from high school graduation and three months away from moving into his college dorm or that your second child, your little girl is just three months away from beginning high school. It’s real now. The milestones and achievements hit you faster and faster now like a freight train and their transition into young adult hood is blatantly obvious. Change is coming to a theater near you.  When you look back, you realize there are rolls and rolls of paused film all over your life.

Our son thinks his life is the only one with uncertainty in it because he’s the one going off to college. In reality it’s all of us. How’s it going to feel for my daughter to come home to an empty house after school each day and have no one to routinely agitate on a daily basis? How is it going to feel when I walk by my son’s bedroom at 0530 each morning and he won’t be there for me to kiss his forehead before I leave for work? How will it be for my husband when he won’t have his daily dose of male bonding moments with the boy? How often will the boy come home? Will he be able to come home to watch the girl’s high school activities? Will his future summer jobs interfere with our family vacations? The boy doesn’t like us reminding him that he’ll be leaving soon so we just pause the film and enjoy each moment we have left of a household of four.

 

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Underestimate

This is a Daily Post Prompt from a day ago.

Here’s what’s going on in my life right now. In just three months, my husband and I will deliver our first born child, our son, our beautiful little boy turned guy with a beard, a girlfriend and a car overnight to his college dorm room so he can begin his freshman year of college.

I’m going to quote my one of my friends, who is also one of my followers of this blog by saying, “It takes an army to send a kid to college”. To say boy oh boy did I underestimate that, is an understatement.

Our son exceeded our academic expectations of him in high school and rightfully earned his place at a four year university. My husband and I took a different road into college than our son so I guess our underestimating was simply out of having not experienced the process ourselves. Who knew? We both started out in community college. In community college we grew up a little, got some prerequisites out of the way and raised our grades. My husband transferred into the university he would earn his BA from and commuted there each day. I entered a hospital based nursing program in the same city, lived on the hospital campus and earned my Nursing Diploma.

We gathered our troops and the battle began in September 2015, the boy’s senior year. Because he’s a minor we had to give the high school permission to release his transcripts to the schools he was applying to and then we had to set things in motion on two different websites the high school uses for the college application process. Next the senior English teachers join the army by teaching the students how to write college essays and college resumes. This alone was a blessing. College for us was along time ago… nuff said.

There were times when battle conditions became hostile and heavy when the army tried to juggle the boy’s marching band season, heavy academic load, social life, household tasks and a nasty little disorder called senioritis. Eventually the essays were written, the applications were completed, the submit button was pressed and the applications were sent off into infinity. Then we waited. I still haven’t mastered the art of waiting patiently but fortunately it wasn’t a long wait. The acceptance letters came to wish the boy a Merry Christmas and after the holidays more college visits were made one last time to enhance the decision making process. All though the last day to commit to universities was May 1, our son committed to his on March 26, 2016. This army had won the battle.

Oh good we thought, we’ll just sign him up for freshman orientation, apply for his student loans and  drop him off at the dorm and that will be it. Buzz buzzzzzz thank you for playing. Wrong. We were in peacetime for a few hot minutes, that is until the pre-freshman orientation checklists and the financial aid information came in the mail. More underestimating here on the amount of time it would take for our little army to get through the financial aid and pre freshman orientation checklist. I’ve walked around these last few weeks with a stomach ache because the senioritis is intensifying, more deadlines were hanging over us like a black cloud and there was bickering among the ranks of our army. Again, who knew? My Dad did all of these things for my brother and I and then…my parents dropped us off at our dorms when it was time to start school. Poof like magic. Miraculously though, our army got through yet another phase of battle and I am pleased to say that we have met the deadlines and completed the checklist. The next checklist doesn’t seem so intense but I’ll try not to underestimate and by the time the army has to gather again to complete it, the senioritis will no longer be a disease.

I’ve had friends tell me they’ve allowed their teenagers take the reigns and do college preparations themselves with little guidance. Too scary. Teenagers are irrational and their minds are all over the place. They don’t always have a sense of urgency for deadlines. Would we do this again for our son in the same manner and then assemble an army again in September 2019 when our daughter will be applying to college? Absolutely. This is huge. I believe that choosing a college helps create one’s destiny and path in life. If I have to assemble an army to put my children on that path and then get on the battlefield with them to make sure they are on the path destined for them, I will.

 

Not All Obsessions are Bad

Obsessions come and go. Some fade away with time and others cause problems and have to be handled appropriately. Some grow over time and others hit you when you least expect it. Take my one of my latest obsessions. This one hit me when I least expected it.

It happened last summer. It was a sticky, hot July day. It was the end of my work week and I was exhausted but I needed to stop to buy new tires for my car becasuse I didn’t want to have to deal with it on a weekend day.

The tire salesman scolded me as I checked my car in. Apparently tire price quotes only last thirty days and mine was clearly expired. Whatever. Thank you sir for honoring the price quote. Now I won’t walk out of your store without tires. He also rather bluntly informed me that I should have called ahead because this job would take a few hours. They had to get my tires from another location. Fine, I’ll take a nap in your comfortable, air conditioned waiting room.

I walked into the waiting room, called my husband to tell him I’d be home late and then I sat down. I really did intend on taking a nap but I glanced at the television first and the nap flew out the window. The History Channel was on and there was a show I didn’t recognize but it caught my attention immediately and I decided to watch it to pass the time. There in the waiting room of a tire store, my obsession with The History Channel series Mountain Men was born.

I’m going to start out by saying I am not a huge television watcher. I do not watch every reality show, sit com or drama on network television at night. I’m picky about the series that I choose to follow and I try at all costs not to binge watch. Sure I have my moments of all day tv and binge watching but it’s not too often.

Mountain Men is a different story. I’ve never seen anything like this before so of course I was intrigued and through the course of a few months, I binge watched all of the seasons.  At the time I discovered it, Mountain Men was a few weeks into Season 4, so I’ll start out with Season 4. The premise behind this series is to show the viewer how the other half lives and introduce viewers to people who live off the grid. These men live at least 100 miles away from the nearest town or grocery store and although some of them own automobiles and a few have electricity and running water, every one of them shoots their meat and grows their food.

Season 4 Cast of Characters:

Kyle Bell lives in New Mexico’s Cimarron Valley and is a hunter and outfitter who is teaching his 11 year old son Ben to be a mountain man. The footage of the west is gorgeous and the lessons he taught his son on hunting, camping, fire starting and animals were actually informative.

Rich Lewis lives in Ruby Valley Montana. With the help of his team of trained dogs, he protects the community by chasing mountain lions, bobcats and wolves deep into the wilderness. I enjoy his gruff personality and the way he trains his dogs to track scents of predators and chase them out.

Morgan Beasely is new this season. This guy bought a parcel of land in the Alaka Wilderness and is hiking 200 miles to get to his land to build a homestead because he doesn’t like to fly in planes. He is well versed and obviously well trained to live in the wilderness. I hope to see more of him soon.

Eustace Conway lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. He calls his land Turtle Island. I read a book about this guy. He’s a naturalist and actually has bachelors degrees in Anthropology and English. He lives a primitive life style. grows his food and there have been a few episodes where he’s eaten road kill or killed a squirrel and eating it right there. He does not have running water or electricity, the electrical power he has on his property for his tools comes from a stream. He also has a 100 year old saw mill for which he uses to cut and sell lumber.

Tom Oar lives in Yaak River Valley, Montana. He’s a trapper and a tanner. He uses ancient Native American techniques to tan hides, makes knives, arrows, moccasins, clothing etc. He uses every part of the animal’s body to make his living.

Marty Meierotto is an Alaskan Trapper that resides in Two Rivers, Alaska with his family. He flies a bush plane during the winter to remote areas of the Alaska wilderness to trap fur to make his living. This guy fascinates me. He’s also knowledgeable and well versed and probably my favorite. I’ve done lot’s of googling on him and have also learned that during the summers he’s a smoke jumper for the Alaska Fire Service and also teaches log cabin building.

When I first got hooked on the show my initial question was what kind of psychological or psychiatric do these guys have to make them want to live in the woods away from society? I was so intrigued by the off the grid life style, I did what I always do when I want to learn about something…. I read. I read a book written by Elizabeth Gilbert about Eustace Conway and I have read seven books about people who cashed in their urban lives to live off the grid in the Alaska wilderness in addition to watching a few you tube videos. I also follow someone on Instagram who moved to Alaska a few years ago in a similar situation. What I learned was something very simple: These people aren’t crazy, they just decided to take a road less traveled. They choose to live an uncomplicated life on their terms.

Would I be able to shoot and kill a moose or a deer, skin it, dismember it and eat it? Hell no. I can’t even do that to a fish. Would I be able to sell my house, cars, furniture, cash in my 401K and just move to the Alaska bush? Lol I’d like to. Some days I’d like to very much when I feel overstimulated but I have to settle for watching an episode of Mountain Men when I get home from work.  In reality I’m not sure if I’d have to courage to pack up, check out of the urban life and move into the middle of no where  but I have the deepest admiration for the people who do and am very thankful that some of them write books.

Then why bother to even write this post if I’m not going to move to Alaska? Because learning how the other half lives has taught me to learn to simplify my own life. Try not to make things so complicated, get outside more, enjoy nature, take care of yourself, let your mind wander, relax, have fun. For my husband and I right now, our lives are consumed with demanding full time jobs and the activities of our children. We have four more years of this kind of busy. Our son is off to college in the fall and our daughter will enter high school. There is a light at the end of the tunnel of pandemonium. Until then, I’ll simplify as much as I can. I’m learning how and I’m enjoying the activities I’ve begun to engage in.

Mountain Men Season 5 premier airs tonight at 10/9c. I can hardly contain myself!

 

Chaos

From yesterday’s Daily Prompt.

As I write this, “Lose Yourself” by Eminem is playing on my Pandora Radio. It reminds me of the chaos that was in my mind and in my heart this morning when I started work. On days like this I ask myself the same questions. Did I really choose the right profession? Has my burn out returned? Have I become desensitized? Why can’t I win the Powerball and retire?

I am a peri-operative nurse. My day begins at 0430 when I wake up feeling sorry for myself because it’s the ass crack of dawn and no one else is awake at that time but me. I get ready for work and my jeep/broom takes flight to get me to my 0600-1530 shift four days per week. My job is to prepare patients for the Operating Room. I review their history and physical, labs and diagnostics searching for red flags to alert anesthesia providers and surgeons about that may prevent the patient from getting into the operative room safely. I do a physical assessment, a care plan and a preoperative check list. I also initiate IV access and infuse Lactated Ringers and medications while they wait. On a rare occasions I’ve transfused blood before sending the patient to surgery. There is much critical thinking and hustle involved in this type of nursing and my time as an Emergency Room nurse prepared me well. My department opens at 0600 and we hit the ground running. By the time the first cases go in the OR at 0730, all twenty nine rooms in our area are full.

Chaos is inevitable when there are sixty OR cases in a day and two RNs called out. Of course I didn’t realize we had the call outs and I saw how badly my assignment sucked. It’s really fun being pissed off ten minutes into the shift and then try to put on a happy face so your patients don’t think your crazy said no nurse ever. I started my morning with two patients to get ready by 0730. One of them was not told the right time by the surgeon’s office and arrived way later than she should of. Put your foot on the clutch, drop the gears and move your ass nurse. My other patient was febrile, very sick and most likely septic. After much ado her surgery was cancelled and we took her to my old stomping grounds, the Emergency Department.These two patients were very kind and for that I was thankful. I took it one task at a time with each patient, expressed gratitude for everything that went right and drudged through it.

The two surgeons I worked today with are nice but not my favorites to pre-op for. They can be irrational, unrealistic and pushy when they change the order of who gets surgery first and all of their patients are train wrecks and take forever to get ready. Their lack of understanding for exactly what we have to do to get these patients ready safely puts me on edge as does everything I have to say to explain this to them. Sometimes I feel like I’m Charlie Brown’s teacher. Wa wa, the patient arrived late doctor.  Wa wa the patient has 20 medications to reconcile and they were not put in the computer by Pre Admission Testing doctor. Wa wa. I’m having trouble establishing IV access doctor.  Wa wa. I’m moving as fast as I can and trying to bite my tongue because I’m about ready to tell you to get off my ass and then I’ll get in trouble for my mouth. Wa wa wa doctor I know you are not listening to me trying to tell you I’m trying to get your patient ready safely. Yes doctor I’ll hurry.

My patients were sick today and I fought an uphill battle getting my patients ready until I got all of my patients into the operating room ,went to lunch and carried out the rest of my crap assignment. No wonder why I had heartburn when I left work today. Through the course of the day I realized that all of my coworkers were equally as miserable. Not that I like misery loves company, I felt justified because my feelings were not alone.

Days like this happen to every nurse on the planet and sometimes I want to punch that little girl who decided to become a nurse when she was four right in the back of the head. Other days I couldn’t think of anything else I’d rather do for a living. Very rarely do I tell my family exactly what happened during my work day because I leave it at the door of the hospital and don’t bring it into my house. When asked by my family how my day was, my answers are either, good, bad or busy. We all somehow find a way to survive and keep up with the flow to get through the day. Sometimes I wonder how I managed to get through days like this. The answer is simple. I am a nurse. I can do it.

Music

This is a Daily Prompt from six days ago. This is the first time I have responded to one of these and it took me several days gather my thoughts. I have a lot to say about Music.

Music has always been that song that comes on the radio that makes you feel so good. It could be a new song that you know you’ll love forever or an older song that you haven’t heard in awhile that immediately makes you smile the moment you hear it.

In recent years, Music has taken on a deeper meaning. It’s having my own brass section in my house. It’s the sounds of my son’s trombone and my daughter’s trumpet that resonate with me year after year as I hear their music abilities grow and evolve. It is the memory of the first time I heard each of them play their instruments in fifth grade. It’s listening to them practice diligently even if it’s getting later in the evening and I’d prefer the house be quiet as I get ready for bed. It’s watching them enter the stage looking like professional musicians in their concert attire and letting myself be carried away by the music they play with their peers. It’s listening to their band directors speak after a concert and feeling in my heart how much the band directors enjoy teaching music at the high school, middle school and elementary school level. It’s every concert, marching band event, state solo and ensemble event, all county honors band and orchestra event, jazz band and all county honors jazz band event that I’ve watched them perform in.  It’s all the awards and recognition they’ve received for their hard work. It’s a band parent being able to train their ears to hear their child’s instrument during a performance. It’s a hope that even though my son will not major in music in college, that he will join an ensemble for fun in addition to college marching band. It’s a hope that my daughter will enjoy band and marching band in high school as much as my son. Finally, it’s the community of band within our community that my family now belongs to because our children love it so much.

Who I am and Why I am here

Who am I? I am “that nurse”. Through the course of her adult and professional life, that nurse realized that writing feels natural to her. In high school, it was that nurse’s father who sat at the kitchen table with her, read all of her papers and taught her grammar and how to properly word her ideas to make her writing flow. At first she was perplexed as to how her father could actually do this eventually she caught on. These skills carried her through nursing school, nursing documentation, writing necessary for life and her bachelor of science in nursing degree. She wrote paper after paper while she was completing her degree and realized that she’d much rather write a paper than take a test. Since then, that nurse has encountered several people along the way who have complimented her on her writing and encouraged her to take it further. That nurse started this blog June 2015 at the suggestion of those people. She has a handful followers that include family and friends and a few fellow word press bloggers.

She’s here because she wants to be a writer as much as she wanted to be a nurse. She wants to reach someone with her writing in the same way she’s contributed to the healing of her patients. She is an avid reader. She observes the writing style of the books she reads and follows her favorite authors on social media. She imagines creating her dream writing sanctuary and becoming a success just like them. She has her enemies though. Insecurity, doubtfulness and sleep deprivation are nasty little voices that arrive out of the blue and know how to ruin the high a writer gets from producing a piece that they are proud of. Insecurity tells her she’ll never learn to write creatively and no one cares what she writes. Doubt tells her she’ll never establish herself as a successful writer. Sleep deprivation is probably the ugliest enemy of all. It is a black cloud that surrounds her Monday-Friday. It causes her to lack motivation, mental clarity and the discipline to write every day and quite frequently invites insecurity and doubt to join in. She knows now that if she really wants to chase those enemies away, she just needs to write, write and write. She pictures herself putting her hands over her ears singing “la la la, I can’t hear you” until she can no longer hear her enemies.

Maybe whoever is reading this is wondering why this post? That nurse doesn’t give up. Today that nurse decided to participate in a blogging course offered through word press entitled Blogging: Learning the Fundamentals. The first assignment was to answer Who am I and Why and I here and to tag. That nurse hopes she did the tags right because she’s not real computer savy.

Lastly, that nurse would like to thank all of those who have taken the time to read her posts.

Friday Adventures 

I went on a little adventure on Friday. What I gained from it is a priceless sense of independence and empowerment. I’d experienced this activity countless times with my family but have had a growing urge to try this alone. I’ve lacked the courage to do so in the past for two reasons: my sense of direction is a few fries short of a happy meal and I didn’t want to be murdered by the Boogie Man. Friday changed all of that for me. I finally went hiking in the woods by myself! 

We have the privilege of living near a state park that has a diverse ecosystem with an abundance of of wildlife, trails, streams and a river that I’ll never get tired of looking at. This place is becoming my new best friend, gym and place of solitude where I can leave my worries, my busy schedule and my job at the entrance of the trail. 

I realized as I was parking my car that I’d forgotten the map of the park that my husband had printed for me so I had to hike the trail relying solely on my memory from the one and only hike I’d taken on this particular trail with my family the weekend before. Fortunately this park color codes the trails. Once I found the turn off for the blue trail I knew I was on my way. 

My first obstacle was to cross a small stream. I’ve crossed plenty of streams and rivers but this one was different. I was alone. I had to survey the stream to find the safest place for me to cross. It was a tricky little stream with large rocks under water that could be slippery and if I stepped wrong I could fall. I was able to cross the stream and check box that obstacle. 

My sense of awareness changed after I crossed the stream and entered the deeply wooded area. My ears and eyes were in the drivers seat. My ears identified each and every word that nature spoke; the hollow sound of my footsteps on the ground, birds welcoming me, raindrops softly hitting the  fallen leaves and of course the silence. Occasionally I’d hear a cracking sound and wondered if it was an animal traveling through the brush or a branch that had fallen from a dead tree. My eyes focused on my surroundings, the beauty of the forest and the patches of blue painted on various trees indicating that I was on the blue trail. Look for blue. Stay on blue but don’t forget to do a 360 every once in awhile to make sure the boogy man isn’t behind you. 

I hiked along, kept my eyes open for blue, and remembered every land mark I’d made a mental note of from my hike with my family the weekend before. I listened intently to everything nature whispered to me. Each time I changed elevation, the woods presented me with a different flora to observe and a new appreciation for the experience. 

After I was about three quarters of the way through the trail I encountered a fork in the trail. Orange was to the left, blue was to the right. I did not remember this part from my previous hike with my family but I was alone and I had to decide what to do. I chose orange because it veered left and I felt that was to the direction that take me to the main entrance trail. I started getting nervous because I didn’t recognize the scenery but I knew as long as I stayed on a trail I wouldn’t be lost. From a distance I could hear the sound of the flowing river telling me I’d soon pick up the blue trail and sure enough I did. 

I could not contain the smile that came across my face as I approached the main trail that would take me out of the park. I didn’t want to leave but it was time for me to re-enter society, go to the grocery store for the ingredients for the supper that I’d make and then greet my children as they arrived home from school. 

I grew up in an era when kids played outside. I spent plenty of time outside with my brothers and the kids in our neighborhood swimming, riding bikes, playing ball and getting dirty. My family did not however, have an appreciation for the outdoors. We didn’t hike, fish, camp or spend time on the water the way my husband’s family did. 

Each decade of my adulthood has had a different theme. I am now midway through my third decade of adulthood and the theme of this one has been to earn a bachelors degree, change jobs, participate in my children’s extra curricular activities and stand by my husband as he earned a master’s degree. It is in this decade that I have developed a hunger, yearning and an interest in the outdoors. I want to be able to occasionally leave the craziness of life at the entrance of the trail to hike, fish and eventually learn to camp. 

I believe that everything comes in time at the right time. As the decades of my life unfold there will be more time for the outdoors but I know where that trail is, that I can hike it by myself and that when I need to leave society at the entrance of the trail if only for a few hours it’s there waiting.