Thursday, September 15, 2011

When the going gets desperate

The desperate eat ice cream and potato chips.

I have a family size bag of Wavy Lays. I have packages of individual Blue Bell ice cream cups in the vanilla, chocolate and sundae flavors.

At the end of the day, when I have confirmation of the last e-filed tax return on this final due date for most 2010 tax returns, how full (empty) will the chip bag be and how many empty ice cream cups will be in my office trash can?

That's a rhetorical question, of course, because I'm not telling.

Happy Tax Day!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A story to tell your teenage driver

The young man was a new driver, out driving with a friend on a Thursday late afternoon. Weatherford, Texas is a country town suburb to Fort Worth. The teens were on a two lane winding highway. My friend, who lives in the area, says witnesses reported he wasn't driving exceptionally fast, he was just driving impatiently and made a stupid choice to pass cars that were driving a little slower. Maybe it would have saved five minutes.

Instead, he and his girlfriend burned to death, trapped upside down after a head-on collision caused by his poor judgment. The rescue workers could not extricate them from the crushed car and had to listen to their screams as they died. The other driver, a father who had recently celebrated his remission from cancer, died at the hospital.

So please, guys, treat the machine you're driving as a great responsibility. We love you and want you to live long and prosper. In this case, at least three families are devastated and the rescue workers are haunted.

Here's the story......

Weatherford Democrat

September 2, 2011

Wreck becomes triple fatality

Christin Coyne
Weatherford Democrat
WEATHERFORD — Three people lost their lives Wednesday night in a fiery tragedy on Zion Hill Road.

Two teens were pronounced dead shortly after 7:15 p.m. at the scene of a head-on collision in the 3800 block of Zion Hill Road, and a man flown by air ambulance from the scene died at Parkland Hospital hours later.

Driver Jorge Flores, 16, and passenger Alexandra Elizabeth Hernandez, 13, both of Weatherford, were pronounced dead after the Mitsubishi car they were traveling northbound in crossed the center of the road and struck a southbound Dodge pickup head-on, DPS Senior Trooper Gary Rozzell said.

The driver of the Dodge truck, William Harlon Moore, 53, of Weatherford, was pronounced dead shortly before 11:30 p.m. in Dallas after being flown by air ambulance from the scene with serious injuries, including significant burns.

A witness said the Mitsubishi had been passing cars on the road.

He said the truck caught fire, and while he and others were trying to rescue Moore from the cab of the pickup, the fire spread along the dry grass to the overturned car where the teens were trapped.

Hernandez was born in Weatherford and an eighth grade student at Tison Middle School, as well as a former student at Hall Middle School.

A memorial service for Hernandez has been scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday, at the Galbreaith Pickard Funeral Chapel.

Flores, a former Peaster ISD student, had just started his sophomore year at Crosstimbers Academy in Weatherford.

Sandra Pearson, counselor at Crosstimbers, said she spoke with students during the afternoon assembly and the school is offering counseling to students.

“Right now, it’s difficult for a lot of them,” Pearson said.

Even if some students didn’t know him well, the school is so small that everybody had been in contact with him, Pearson said.

Moore reportedly worked in the oil field industry and was on his way to pick up his daughter when his vehicle was hit.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The way we were

My kids, as teenagers particularly, have thought themselves superior to their parents and grandparents - considering themselves more worldly, more sophisticated, more knowledgeable, more current.  We parents wait for them to mature out of those notions, smiling to ourselves about their naivete.

My cousin, a professional genealogist freely sharing her knowledge and research with the rest of us cousins, posted this picture on her facebook page.

This is my grandmother with her husband and first child. She was fifteen and he was twenty-five when they married. She's fifteen or sixteen in this picture, probably in the year 1929.  She joked that she played with her dolls and her babies at the same time.

At fifteen, she knew what she wanted and she made it happen. Like most men, I expect my grandpa never knew what hit him. They had four daughters and two sons, the younger son living only a few hours. The surviving son is my dad.

My grandparents were married for forty-five years, until my grandpa died at age seventy. She died in 1995 at age 80. They lived in southwestern Oklahoma, farming in rough conditions.

I am in awe of my grandmother's determination and her recognition, at such a young age, of the important things of life.

Have you hugged or called a grandparent today?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The end of the story

In June, 2010, my doctor gravely told me, in his office a few days after my first colonoscopy, that I had colon cancer. Without a pause, I asked what the next step should be, who would do the surgery, etc., etc. He repeated the diagnosis a couple of times, wanting to make sure I understood what he had just told me, expecting me to be upset. What he didn't understand is that I had been there, done that. My daughter had already shown me the way.

My journey of the past year pales in comparison to the road she traveled in 2001. I will tell her story, our family's story, over several posts, but it's an easier story to tell when you already know the ending.

Graduation at UVa

25th Birthday

Here is what she wrote today (italics added by me.)

September 1, 2011

Ten years ago today is a day that I will never forget. As I prepared to leave (the hospital after the last chemo treatment) , getting ready upstairs in my room, I had no idea why my mom insisted that I wear cute clothes and makeup. It was just not that big of a deal. As far as I was concerned, it just meant that I could watch new movies (the teen movie channel only aired Bring it On, Remember the Titans, and Center Stage in the summer of ’01 on constant rotation). But a few minutes later, I was completely surprised to walk out of the elevator to see 10 (or so) of my best friends, half an hour away from home in the hospital lobby to celebrate with me, complete with signs, banners, painted car windows, and gifts.

So we had a little mini-party there at Cook Childrens (Hospital), and then we proceeded to a local pizza place, where I was astonished to see 30 to 40 more friends waiting to celebrate with me. It was an awesome day, one I didn’t see coming, and one I won’t forget.

What I have forgotten, though, is a lot of that summer. I kind of consider it a black hole in my memory. I don’t remember that many days in the hospital, the fatigue, the biweekly trips to the clinic for blood draws, or that much about the regular shots given to me post-chemo by my mom. I don’t remember much of loud nurses or lonely days while my friends were at school or hanging out at the pool or on mission trips.

What I do remember, is the people who surrounded me then. I remember that there were always tons of us hanging out at someone’s house. There were lots of movies and nights out at the pool, afternoons practicing the (marching band) fundamental block to the fight song, and a never-ending rotation of teenagers in the hospital. I remember the first summer of marching band at Bell (High School) and the support of my basketball coaches and teammates during the summer workout program and subsequent fall offseason. I remember wiping the stubble of hair from my sweaty head at a basketball game, and joking about not having hair ties. I remember the permanent hall pass at BJH and the 9th grade only hat day.

But most of all, 10 years later, I am grateful. Grateful for the good times then, and grateful for all I’ve been able to do since because of the support that I had at age 15. I am grateful for those of you who were there for me. I’m especially grateful for those of you who were there for my parents, siblings, grandparents, and other friends, because you held them up so that they could hold me up. I am grateful that people were willing to pretend that nothing was wrong, because that’s what I wanted. I am grateful for the 3 years in the Bell band, including the privilege of standing up on the podium near tears during the finals of Grand Nats. I am grateful for my basketball career, because I love the game and was given opportunities despite my height.

I am grateful for my education. I am so grateful for the incredible well-rounded collegiate experience I got while at Rice and all of the relationships I made, and the new experiences there that shaped more of who I am today – all of the powderpuff games, trips to cool places with the basketball team, all-nighters, late night TC runs, and cramming 15 of us into my super stylish Suburban. And I’m so lucky to have met my best friend and soulmate (husband) there, and we’ve been able to establish such a great life out here in Coppell, with fantastic new friends, close enough to home to be close, but not in Mom’s backyard (love you!!). I’m grateful for my job, my church, the opportunity to go to UVA for graduate school, and very importantly, grateful for my health. No issues in 10 years! Can you believe it’s been 10 years? Some days it seems like 2, other times it feels like 20, but either way, it’s crazy!

I’ve come a long way since that day as a freshman where I woke up and didn’t know what was wrong (March 1, 2001, not that I remember), and I know that it was because of the people in my life, and for that, I thank you.
DisneyWorld July 2001

Marching band rehearsal Fall, 2001

Wiley (age 6) wanting to be just like Lindsay

I love a happy ending, don't you?


I received this in the mail today. (I've redacted specific addresses.)

This is a check to me from a firm in Fort Worth I regularly do business with. Both the return address and my address were clear and legible. I have no idea when the check was originally mailed.

The sticker added on the outside of the envelope says "we" found this in our mail room and we are forwarding it to you.

The mysterious "we," who could it be? The zip code of the stamp is downtown Fort Worth, although there is no cancellation mark. There is no business listing for a company with initials "CNOV." The check inside is dated April 1, 2011.

I tend to think the US Post Office found my mail in a neglected corner and sent it on to me. What do you think?

I wonder if this is how a government bureacracy administering a universal health care system would work......delayed and unpredictable service, anonymous supervision, little accountability, no recourse for the customer.