Friday, October 31, 2008

in the news

This story makes me happy:

11:08 AM CDT on Wednesday, October 29, 2008
By JESSICA MEYERS/ The Dallas Morning News

Marilyn Mock went to last weekend’s foreclosure auction in Dallas as a dutiful parent. She left as a minor celebrity. Now, she’s a national hero.

The 50-year-old Rockwall woman acted on instinct when she bought Tracy Orr’s Pottsboro home back for her while Ms. Mock’s son was signing papers on his first house. But at a time when economic woes rule the headlines, a stranger’s big-heartedness can make national news.Ms. Mock’s good deed prompted Good Morning America to knock on her door before dawn, drew local police to investigate CNN’s satellite truck, and led to a slew of interview requests from the Oprah, Ellen and Dr. Phil shows.

“All these people are calling and calling and calling and calling,” said Ms. Mock, who runs a rock yard with her three children. Two pot-bellied pigs wander around outside.

“I don’t understand it. I just happened to be there, and anybody else would have done the same thing.”

But few others have agreed to bid on a piece of property they’ve never seen, for someone they’ve never met. Ms. Mock paid about $30,000 for the house in Grayson County and plans to use her dump truck as collateral against the mortgage payments. Ms. Orr will make payments to her instead of a bank, Ms. Mock said.

The women are awaiting final approval from Fannie Mae before they visit the single-family home for which Ms. Orr, 38, took out an $80,000 mortgage in 2004. She lost her job a month after taking out the loan, and earlier this year she lost the house.

“I’d kind of already accepted the fact that this was the end. It was closure,” she said.The two women were sitting by the auction door Saturday when Ms. Mock struck up a conversation with the sobbing Ms. Orr and discovered that she was about to lose her house.

“Then she was standing there and bidding and someone was shaking my hand,” Ms. Orr said.

“She didn’t even know if I had a job or was a nut case. She didn’t even see a picture of the house.”

None of that mattered, Ms. Mock said. “She needed help. That was it.”

Ms. Orr’s fairytale rescue happened amid a sea of foreclosures. At least 4,200 homes in the Dallas area are scheduled for a foreclosure sale in November, according to Addison-based Foreclosure Listing Service. More than 46,000 homeowners have been threatened with foreclosure this year, a 31 percent increase from the same period last year.

“All these things were going through my mind,” Ms. Mock said. “I grabbed her arm and pulled her with me and tried to make her understand.”

After the purchase, Ms. Orr disappeared. “I thought, what if she left?” Ms. Mock said. “What would I tell my husband, ‘Hello, honey, I bought a house for this lady and I don’t know where she went?’.”

But Ms. Orr, a former U.S. Postal Service employee and now a housekeeper at All Saints Camp and Conference Center, was waiting outside in tears.

Then a news camera showed up.
“They caught us,” said Ms. Mock, who was hoping to keep the deal quiet.

The Mock family is adjusting to the extra attention, said her son Dustin,27, who accompanied her that day.

“I said, ‘I can’t believe you just did that. What are you thinking?’.” he said. “It’s a little annoying,” he admitted about the endless ringing of the phone. “People are calling to say, ‘The story touched me so much.’ We appreciate
it, but we are trying to get stuff done.”

The women talk on the phone daily but haven’t met since the purchase or worked out details of the financial arrangement. In the meantime, Ms. Orr said she doesn’t mind the barrage of media, saying she hopes others will follow Ms. Mock’s lead.

“More than my house, she gave me something inside, and that’s more important than material or financial things,” she said.

I was surprised to read THIS one. I SURVIVED MY FIRST EARTHQUAKE, and I didn't even know it!

Two minor earthquakes shake Dallas-Fort Worth area 08:26 AM CDT on Friday, October 31, 2008
The Dallas Morning News

Dallas-Fort Worth residents received a pre-Halloween scare as two minor
earthquakes shook the area overnight.

The U.S. Geological Survey says a 2.5-magnitude earthquake centered in
the Grand Prairie area was reported at 11:25 p.m. Thursday. A slightly stronger
3.0-magnitude quake centered in the Irving area occurred 36 minutes later.

Law enforcement agencies across northern Texas said they received some
911 calls from concerned residents but no reports of damage.

Irving police spokesman David Tull said his agency received about 25
calls around midnight from people inquiring about the vibrations, which set off
car and building alarms.

Grand Prairie and Fort Worth officials also reported no damage. "We
just learned about it on the news this morning,” said Dawn Atkins, a Grand
Prairie emergency dispatcher.

USGS geophysicist Randy Baldwin said the quakes, which lasted only a
few seconds, most likely felt "like a lightly loaded truck passing by, kind of a
sharp jerk and then a rapid vibration."

Irving resident Christine Laughland said she was sleeping when the
earthquake woke her up. She's from California and wasn't too shocked by the
vibrations. But she couldn't say the same thing for her dogs. “They were barking
hysterically because it was their first one,” she said.

Reports of the quake also came from Dallas, Euless and Hurst and
Fort Worth, Mr. Baldwin said. Aftershocks could last several days. There is also
a possibility of more smaller quakes in the coming days that no one would likely

Texas occasionally has earthquakes. An April 7 earthquake in southern
Texas had a 3.7 magnitude. A minor earthquake was felt by some people in
Amarillo on March 30, 2002. The Amarillo area also recorded seven minor
earthquakes in 2000.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

playing catch up

For someone who's stuck on her butt, I've sure been busy!
But enough about me.
Here's a quick run-down of what's been happenin' here in FunkyTown.
Dani is a senior! She's having the BEST year of her high school career, socially and academically. Thank goodness! Her SAT score came in last week, and she did great. These days, SATs are graded on a 2400-point scale. She scored 660 in math, 730 in verbal and 710 in writing, for a score of 2100. That's the equivalent of a 1390 on the old-school 1600-point system. :) She's still working for the lawyer downtown after school, but it's only 8 hours a week and she's finding that it barely puts gas in the car. She's looking for a temporary seasonal job through Christmas so she can afford to buy gifts. She auditioned for All-region choir last week and was bummed to place as 2nd Alternate, meaning she still has to learn the music for Area, but isn't guaranteed an audition time. She's been amazing while I've been hurt. She helps get the boys off to school in the mornings, picks them up in the afternoons, drives me wherever I need to go and pushed the wheelchair without being TOO horribly embarrassed, runs a bazillion errands for me, cooks dinner and cleans the kitchen more than she should have to, and does it with a good attitude. Last week, I had to be at a meeting about the auction (more on that in another post), and Darren was scheduled for a 5k race, and it also happened to be Open House at the boys' school. Dani took them, and even took photos of their work so I could feel like I didn't miss so much. To reward and thank her for her hard work and her cheerful disposition about it, Darren and I won something for her at the auction - but that's another post, too. Here she is with one of her BFFs.

Aidan started his first season of soccer this fall. He plays in the YMCA league; they play all kids at all positions at this age, but Aidan's favorite is halfback. It's amazing to watch him play. From the time he was four years old, he could dribble the ball. We couldn't believe it the first time he did it; he knew how to take the ball all the way down the field, dribbling between feet as he went! He's aggressive and FAST. I think he's one of those guys who is just naturally athletic. Speaking of... he's training with Darren again, and will run his next 5k on Thanksgiving morning. And he's growing his hair out. Before school started, he printed out a picture of (The Suite Life of) Zach and Cody and said he wanted his hair like theirs. Crack. Me. UP.

Ian is all boy. All over the place, all the time. He's been sent to the nurse twice this year after smacking his head when the legs of his chair went flying. He can't seem to keep all four of them on the ground at the same time. He loses his backpack, homework, folder, shoes..... constantly. And yet, his teacher loves him. Darren and I had a conference with her last week and she giggled the whole time. He's reading a couple of grade levels ahead of his class, and she's working on a special math curriculum for him. I've said for a long time that I'm not smart enough to raise this kid, and it becomes more evident every day! He doesn't hate girls as much as he used to, but don't tell HIM that.

Darren ran his first 10k a couple of weeks ago. His time was 58:47. I didn't get to go; it happened right after I broke my foot and I was still completely immobile. BUMMER! He's running both the 5k and the 10k at the Turkey Trot next month, and depending on where we have Thanksgiving, I don't know if I'll be here or 3 hours north in Oklahoma. I hope I get to watch him!

Monday, October 27, 2008

6 Random Things

The Rules:1. Link to the person who tagged you (Elaine tagged me).
2. Post the rules on your blog (this is what you are now reading).
3. Write 6 random things about yourself (see below).
4. Tag 6 people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they have been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Ok. Now that we have THAT out of the way...
The Random:

1. I'm a crazy driver. This wheelchair has two speeds: turtle and rabbit. I love to go fast, and because I'm not real good with the joystick that controls this thing, I've taken paint off of doorfacings, a chunk of wood out of the french door, busted a porcelain knob right off the kitchen cabinet, and run over two friends' toes. Even the cat is scared of me now.

2. I'm addicted to Dove Dark Chocolate and Blue Diamond Bold Lime n Chili almonds.

3. I won't drink out of a cup at a restaurant unless it's with a straw. I hate to even share my drinks with my kids, so the concept of drinking out of a cup someone else used this morning grosses me out. I've seen too many lipstick prints on "clean restaurant cups".

4. I kinda miss the workplace since I started working from home 6 years ago. I'm moving back into a full-time job, and am hoping to be full-time by this time next year.

5. The first thing I notice on a man is his calves. Then his butt. But if his calves are exposed, that's where I look first. Since Darren started running last year, his calves have become beautiful, and his butt.... never mind. I don't wanna embarrass my Mom.

6. I'm thrifty, frugal, and sometimes downright cheap, but there are a few things that I'm a brand snob about:
  • paper towels must be Viva, and white.
  • Mac-n-Cheese must be Kraft.
  • Coke must be Coke, not Pepsi and especially not "cola".
  • cotton swabs must be Q-Tip
  • Aveda hand therapy lotion
  • Secret deodorant - lately I'm hooked on the Asian Pear scent!

I tagged: Bobbie, Terri, Desiree, Summer, Nookie, Carrie

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

cautiously optimistic!

Dr. Myers looked at today's xray, then without facial expression, looked at me and said, "There's been no change."

It scared me at first.

"That's good, right?" I asked.

He replied enthusiasticly, "That's excellent! It's what we were hoping for."

"So... we don't have to talk surgery?"

"Not today, at least," he answered. "I'm cautiously optimistic."

So, all these hours of riding around in my wheelchair and making people run my errands is paying off. I have to continue staying off the foot for two more weeks. Then I get to start putting weight on it a little at a time... still in my boot and on crutches... 25% for 2 days, then 50% for two more days if there's no pain, and then 75% for two days. On the seventh day, he'll X-ray again and we'll see how it's reacting under pressure.

YAY!!! There's an end in sight! I can't wait to be able to walk again!

You should see my right leg. The little bit of muscle definition I'd developed over the last few months is gone. It's a sad little sorry excuse for a calf compared to my left leg. Doc says that I'll require rehabilitation, because my quads and joints and calves have been dormant for so long. It'll be 7-8 weeks from the day he declares me "healed" before I can count on walking for exercise or doing Nia.

Even so, I'm ecstatic!!! If I can just be good for two more weeks and stay off my foot, bone fusion surgery is getting drop-kicked out the window. YAY!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

diagnosis: grim

See the two red lines? That's where the fractures are. They're healing perfectly. Nothing to worry about.

Now, see those two circles? Take a look at the one on the left. Notice the vertical black space between the two bones. That's my healthy left foot.
Compare that space to the one on my right foot. See how the space is wider and longer? That's bad. It's a torn ligament. What's worse is, the reason the gap is so wide is because the other 4 metatarsals are sliding off to the right, away from my big tone bone. That's very bad. As the podiatrist said, "We're dealing with a substantial injury here. This is serious."
Then he had a Come To Jesus meeting with me.
Under no circumstances am I to put any weight or pressure on the foot - for FIVE MORE WEEKS. That means no walking, no standing, no stepping for balance, no driving, no kickball (ha!), and get this - no placing my foot on the ground when I'm sitting. NO STRESS WHATSOEVER.
There's no magic that will pull those bones back to where they're supposed to be; our only hope is that they don't slip further apart. It's imperative that I stay off of it. The doctor conferred with one of his surgeons today, who agreed that if it separates a fraction more, it'll require surgery. They'll recheck it in two weeks to see if it's continuing to slide. "Trust me," he said. "You do not want a bone fusion in your foot at 39." It would mean a lifetime of painful and limited walking. As it is, this injury alone could nag me forever. Told ya it was grim news. At least it doesn't hurt much anymore.
He prescribed a wheelchair. I wonder if I can borrow one instead of paying high rent for one?
Looks like I'll be learning real fast how to get over myself and lose some pride. I'll be asking for help. I won't be trying to sweep the kitchen myself, or throw a load of laundry in myself, or walk around in my boot - however carefully - ever again. I owe it to my family to let this thing heal so they don't have to deal with months of recovery instead of weeks. And I owe it to myself, damn it.
Over the last several months, so many things had started coming together in my personal life. One, my health was under control and I'd lost 60 pounds. Suddenly, I can't walk anymore, or dance, which were my two main forms of cardio. I've got to figure out a new workout strategy that doesn't involve my feet. Any suggestions?
And two, I'd finally conquered my intense dislike for housework and devised a system that was working for me. My house was staying CLEAN, and the laundry was never piled up. Even though Darren and the kids have taken over all of my former chores, it still realllllly pisses me off that all those months of hard work and getting things in order are going up in smoke. You know the saying... "If you want it done right, do it yourself"? I have to accept the fact that since I can't do it myself, I have to be content with how it's being done.
For someone as active as I am, being immobile has been torture. Five weeks seems like a lifetime, but at least there's light at the end of the tunnel. I can do it. What's harder for me is this: I have to swallow my pride and ask for help. I can't keep using my foot, and Darren can't keep carrying the extra load by himself. Neither can Dani. We need outside help. That's the hardest thing I've ever had to admit.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

I'm smiling because...

1. Darren brought me flowers today.

2. Ian said to Darren last night, "Will Mom be back before my bedtime?" (no) "Well, give her a message. Ms. Bailey (his art teacher) said she likes everything Mom does." awwww!

3. I laughed out loud several times tonight at Denny Crane.

4. I'm drawing near to a major deadline and that always gets me revved up.

5. I'm really happy with the job I finished today.

6. My orange pants are too big!!

7. The kitchen is clean.

8. The laundry is caught up.

9. The boys did their homework without complaint today.

10. I get to leave the house tomorrow. :)