And Now It’s December

Oh, where to begin?

I feel like so much has happened.

That is mainly because I have watched a whole bunch of TV, not because of a breakneck series of events in real life.

Anyhoodle.

Last Monday I met two of my favorite Auburn sophomores for lunch before I went to the doctor for a follow-up appointment about my ankle. It is still broken. I mean, I didn’t expect that it would suddenly be un-broken, but it’s healing pretty well and I go back in two more weeks and hopefully at that point I’ll get to start spending time outside of the boot.

I trust you know that I’m not referring to Italy.

The doctor asked if I’d been having any other issues, and I said, “well, sometimes my hip gets a little sore,” and we talked about the importance of shoe height for the not-broken foot and I told him I was trying to be careful with that and I felt good about everything when I left his office. Then I think I ran a couple of errands or something because Mama and Daddy were coming into town on Wednesday and I was trying to wrap my brain around my to-do list. (And by the way, I realize that I’m writing in a lot of very ramble-y sentences, but I’m trying to finish this post in time to watch The Good Wife so I’m rushing a little bit and I do apologize.) So for the rest of Monday I think that I made a list and propped up my leg and maybe even caught up on a wee small bit of Bravo-related business.

Well.

Tuesday got up and went to Publix while David and Alex went to Costco (David took off work last week since Alex and I were out of school, and OH MY SWEET MERCIFUL HEAVENS I don’t know what in the world I would have done if he hadn’t, because the boot was sort of inconvenient in terms of getting ready for company). I opted to go to Publix because I knew it wouldn’t take long and I can pretty much navigate the aisles there with my eyes closed. Sure enough, I only spent about 20 minutes in the store, and then I got to meet two more of my favorite sophomores (one Auburn, one Bama) for coffee and a whole lot of talking. It was delightful.

At the time I didn’t think it was a big deal because I really wasn’t walking around that much, but Tuesday morning I decided to wear a tennis shoe instead of a boot that seems to match the height of my ankle boot the best (did any of that make sense? I am just gonna hope that it’s clear enough and move on). The height of the tennis shoe felt pretty similar, so I felt like I was all good. I don’t remember doing that much on my feet when I got home Tuesday afternoon, but I probably cooked supper or something and then propped up my leg again because while I certainly don’t mean to brag, I am becoming a bit of a propping-up pro.

Wednesday I woke up and decided that I was going to make some cornbread dressing. Now I realize that doesn’t sound terribly ambitious – and really, it wasn’t – but I spent a big chunk of the morning pulling out pans and mixing bowls and walking back and forth to the pantry and whatnot. By early Wednesday afternoon I thought my hip was a little more sore than usual, so I spent the rest of the afternoon sitting on the couch off our kitchen with – you guessed it – my leg propped up. I have been plowing through all the seasons of The Good Wife for a few months now – at the expense of watching just about everything other than college football – so I watched a few episodes before Mama and Daddy got here late Wednesday afternoon. We heated up some chicken and dumplins for supper, and by 9:30 or so (seriously), we were all ready for bed.

I certainly can’t blame you if my tale of cornbread dressing excitement – and a 9:30 bedtime – has made you think of this 70′s classic.

And yes. I know. Half of you weren’t even born in 1978. And you probably even stayed up until, like, ELEVEN FIFTEEN the night before Thanksgiving. You young whippersnappers you.

Anyway, at some point in the night I woke up to go to the bathroom, and my very first thought was, “AYE, CAPTAIN – SOMETHING IS AWRY WITH MY BACK.” Only I didn’t really think those exact words because I am not in fact a pirate. But I did think that something was off, and when I finally got comfortable enough to go back to sleep, I hoped that I’d just slept weird and everything would be back to normal in the morning.

However.

NO. NO, IT WAS NOT NORMAL.

Since we didn’t have any extended family here this year, we invited some friends over for Thanksgiving dinner, and since everybody was bringing a dish, there wasn’t a whole lot we needed to do to get ready for company. Given the Not Normal, I still tried to be mindful about Taking Things Slow and Not Bending at Strange Angles, but my lower back was so stinkin’ sore. I was determined to power through, though, and by the time our company got here, I was feeling so much better. We had a great meal with some of our favorite folks, and after everybody left around 8 or so, I returned to my spot on the couch (say it with me: MORE PROPPING) while David cleaned up the kitchen.

ALL BETTER, I thought. SURE AM GLAD THAT LOWER BACK BUSINESS IS ALMOST OVER.

Well.

I don’t know what time I went to sleep Thursday night, but I can tell you with a great degree of certainty that I woke up at 4:00 Friday morning with what I can only describe as white-hot blazing spasms of evil in my lower back. It was like my lower back muscles had tied themselves into thousands of knots and then set themselves on fire, and since I’d never experienced anything like that in my life, I thought that maybe if I could just walk up and down the hallway a little bit I would work out the kinks.

That was the first of several mistakes I would make between 4 and 6 Friday morning.

I hated to wake up anybody because, well, I’ve been sort of high maintenance lately with this whole ankle thing, so I finally got myself slathered in some Icy Hot and very gently settled into a chair in the kitchen. I didn’t have a muscle relaxer, so I took some Advil and tried not to move so that maybe the spasms would stop. Trust me when I tell you that it was all a real carnival-o-fun.

Long story endless: I eventually got some advice from Melanie about what to do next (she has nursed P through a back ailment or five), and after Mama and Daddy left, I planted myself on the guest room bed (it has the most firm mattress in the house) and followed all of Mel’s instructions to the letter. David got me a heating pad and some Aleve, and two days later, I am almost back to normal. I’m gonna be slow-moving for the next few days, but I can’t even tell you how much better my back feels. And I guess the bright side is that I’ve barely even thought about my ankle.

So. That’s what’s been going on around here. Unfortunately my Bulldogs didn’t win the Egg Bowl, but they’ve had such a great season that I can’t really complain (well, I could complain about Gary and Verne struggling to know which team was the Bulldogs and which team was the Rebels, but I’m choosing to be like Elsa and LET IT GO). I am a little sad about not making it to the SEC Championship Game, but since Alabama beat Auburn (and that game was crazytown), we wouldn’t have made it anyway. So now I guess we wait and see where we’ll be going for a bowl, and maybe Sister and I can plan us a road trip accordingly.

Not if I’m still in the boot, though.

Because the boot and the back = BAD COMBO.

But you can rest assured that I’ll be wearing my black boot – the one that’s a good height – with my big ole black boot from her on out.

You can also rest assured that I will be taking my heating pad to work tomorrow.

I think it’s pretty clear that we belong together.

And my lower back most certainly agrees.

Hope y’all had a great Thanksgiving!

Hard Headed

After he told me my ankle was broken, one of the first questions the doctor asked me was, “So. Are you going to be able to stay off your feet and keep your leg propped up and do all the good things that will help you to heal faster?”

And I said, “Oh, yes sir. For sure.”

And then I said, “Can I still go to the James Taylor concert?”

And “Can I still go to the State / Alabama game?”

And “I’m supposed to go to West Monroe this Sunday; can I still do that?”

He told me that I needed to use my best judgment – and then he gave me some parameters that I needed to follow.

The bottom line, I think, was that the very best thing I could do was to sit my behind at the house. But I’d made a couple of commitments and I really wanted to go to the game and also I am stubborn and sometimes a little stupid and etc.

So Wednesday night, I went to see James Taylor with my friends. It was wonderful. HE was wonderful. Our seats weren’t the greatest, but right after the show started, one of the ushers walked by to make sure we could see okay – and when she realized that there was a big ole camera in the way of most of our seats, she offered to move everybody. It was the sweetest thing. By that point I was a little reluctant to move because I had sort of made friends with the ticket checker assigned to our section (in the middle of “Song For You Far Away,” she looked at me and said, “YOU KNOW, IT’S REALLY COLD IN HERE,” but I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I haven’t been cold indoors since approximately 2007 and then, when Elise and Tracey started moving to their new seats, she said, “WHERE ARE YOUR FRIENDS GOING?” – almost like she was afraid they’d decided that they didn’t like being with me anymore).

I ended up moving with Leah and Heather to some seats on the floor. The last few rows on one side were mostly empty, and I was able to prop up my foot / boot for the duration of the concert, which was ever so delightful. James Taylor is totally inspiring, and I love how he just STAYS WITH IT. He could have gotten jaded about singing “Fire and Rain” three nights a week and turned super cynical about having to sing “You’ve Got a Friend” ONE MORE TIME, but there appears to be some deep-down contentment in that man.

In my opinion, of course.

Please keep in mind that I do not know him even a little bit.

So I’m pretty much basing all of my assumptions on a lot of my personal feelings.

ANYWAY, my ankle was in fine shape on Friday morning, and I felt good about traveling to Tuscaloosa the next day. I might not have been quite so FULL-O-HOPE if I’d known how the first half of the game was going to go, but Sister, Alex, and I were excited about seeing the ‘Dogs play at Bryant-Denny. I ended up walking a little (LOT) more than I’d planned, and towards the end of a significant trek across campus – just as we were about to cross over to a side street for Dawg Walk – I officially hit my limit with crowds and tree roots and the F bomb (SERIOUSLY, COLLEGE STUDENTS OF AMERICA – LET’S PICK ANOTHER WORD) and the smell of bourbon and Coke. I promise I’m not being judge-y – heaven knows I’ve been to more than my share of SEC football games, so I am all caught up on the social culture. I’m just saying that the addition of the boot to my game day experience did not really do anything to increase my patience.

It did not help that my left hip was very angry from all the lopsided walking.

I even told Sister that I was tempted to pull some Icy Hot out of my purse and slather it on right there next to the stadium.

Thankfully, though, our experience inside the stadium was better. Our seats were on the end of a row (thank you, Lord) and next to the entrance for our section. We were right in the middle of the State fans, and some really sweet guys sat in front of us and high-fived Alex whenever anything remotely positive happened for the Bulldogs. There was a halftime incident where someone who had overserved himself caused a commotion with a couple of State fans and was removed from the game by a policeman, so Alex got his first up-close and personal lesson in Here Are Some Ways That Whiskey Will Betray You. I’m not sure that it’s a lesson I would’ve chosen, but every once in a while you just have to seize a teachable moment, I reckon.

The game didn’t end like we hoped, but we were proud that there’s no quit in our ‘Dogs. In fact, when we scored our final touchdown with just a few seconds on the clock, I gave Alex an impromptu pep talk about character and loyalty and perseverance that would have made Matt Foley look like a timid wallflower. Sister chimed in, too, and while I don’t know if A. actually remembers a word we said, I feel like we made some valid points. So if nothing else, I reckon, we left the stadium on an upbeat note.

Unfortunately, that upbeat note became a sad trombone when we walked the sixteen miles back to our car.

It was way later than I expected when we finally got home Saturday night, and Sunday morning I left fairly early for West Monroe, where Melanie and I were speaking. I decided on the way there that I was as tired as I’d ever been (ALL. MY. FAULT., by the way), but as soon as I saw Melanie and met the women in the church, I pepped up. We had such a good time and laughed a whole bunch and talked about a whole host of topics, so that made for a pretty awesome way to spend a Sunday evening.

So. Now I’m home. And I am determined – DETERMINED, I TELL YOU – to really rest this week and take good care of my ankle and not go to any concerts and maybe (?) stay out of football stadiums and keep my leg propped up at work and basically do all those things that will help me heal a little faster. I pushed way too hard last week, and while I’m mighty glad that I was able to do the stuff I’d planned to do, the theme of my life for the next two weeks is going to be STAY AT HOME, EUNICE. David has already offered to cook everything for Thanksgiving if I’ll sit nearby and offer advice / instruction, and while the part of me that LOVES to plan and prepare all that food hates to miss out of making the big list and going to the store and figuring out when to cook what, I think that even my inner control freak realizes that three days of standing up in the kitchen probably wouldn’t be the smartest move.

This feels like a very level-headed decision that is full of grown-upness and also maturity.

In other words: NOT MY NORM.

Hope y’all are having a great week!

There’s Sort Of A Big Game This Weekend

It’s been a weird week, what with finding out about my broken ankle and then spending Wednesday night trying to figure out how to prop up said ankle at a James Taylor concert (more on that later) and then dedicating much of my spare time to analyzing Mississippi State’s upcoming game against Alabama. I also made my first trip to the grocery store while wearing my boot (I only went to Fresh Market, so it wasn’t a hike around a giant Publix or anything like that), and last night I cooked supper for the first time in a week. I felt only slightly less accomplished than an Olympian.

Anyway, here are a few things I’ve been meaning to mention.

1. Since I work with teenage girls, I stay sort of perpetually ticked off at all the ways the culture lies to them. Here are two great blog posts that speak some truth: Annie Downs’ What you should tell your teen (and yourself) about Kim Kardashian and LisaJo Baker’s In A Culture of Fast Food Sex Let’s Give Our Kids Healthier Choices.

2. This Sunday Melanie and I are speaking at First Baptist West Monroe. We would love to see some of y’all there!

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I didn’t know that image was going to be quite so big until I added it. A thousand pardons.

3. “We’re all we’ve got; we’re all we need.”

Sister, Alex and I are headed to Tuscaloosa tomorrow. Yes, I KNOW I’M WEARING A LARGE ORTHOPEDIC BOOT. But something about this game feels once-in-a-lifetime to me. We may win, we may lose – but it’s the biggest game in Mississippi State history.

Hail State and Go ‘Dogs.

Apparently My Ankle Failed To Look At The Calendar

I woke up this morning and immediately felt like my ankle was better. I’d slept great, my foot didn’t feel as stiff, and the swelling wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected it to be.

So you can imagine my surprise when I went to the doctor and he told me that I’d broken my ankle.

The good news is that it’s a really clean break. He gave me the option of a boot or a cast, and I picked a boot because NO CRUTCHES. Apparently boots fall under a category in our insurance where we have to meet a certain deductible for it to be completely covered, so I had to pay for the boot out of pocket. I didn’t mind at all because NO CRUTCHES, but after the receptionist handed me my receipt it occurred to me that this boot is pretty much the most expensive shoe I’ve ever owned in my life.

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It’s certainly not the cutest, though.

On the way home from the doctor I started to think about everything that’s going on in the next six weeks – including, you know, CHRISTMAS – and I started to feel a little panick-y because THIS IS NOT A TERRIBLY CONVENIENT TIME FOR A BROKEN BONE. But the more I think about it, the more I realize that I can still do almost everything that I’d planned to do; the only catch is that I’m going to have to move a little slower. “Hurry” is not really an option for me right now. The boot will not allow it.

And honestly, I’m not so sure that that’s a bad thing. Especially during the holidays.

Clearly I’m in the middle of a glass-half-full moment.

And also: DENIAL.

But let’s just run with it, okay?

By the way, Hazel is just sick with guilt.

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Obviously.

I do hope you’ll keep her in your prayers.

An Unexpected Turn Of Events

I mentioned a while back that Melanie and I were going to speak at a women’s event in Charlotte, North Carolina, and we did just that this past weekend. I thought I’d never get my ducks in a row and be ready to leave town this past Friday, but somehow I did and made it to the airport with a little time to spare. The security line was unusually long, and I was a smidge worried about getting busted for carrying a gallon-sized plastic bag in my carry-on instead of a quart-sized one, but I made it through without incident and then enjoyed sitting all by myself (on one side of the exit row) all the way to the Charlotte. We were on a small, thirteen-row plane, and while I know that some people can’t stand a smaller plane, I enjoy the fire out of them because 1) you can gate-check a bag and 2) it doesn’t take forever to get off the plane. Sure, there aren’t any TVs in the headrests, and there’s no place to charge an iPad, but what a small plane lacks in terms of convenience it makes up for in efficiency. And that is fine by me.

After I landed I met the precious girls who planned the weekend (hi Sonia! hi Marti!), and Melanie arrived a couple of hours later. We’d never done anything like this particular event – we’d never gotten to tag-team with speaking – but oh my goodness, it was the most fun. I spoke Friday night, Mel spoke Saturday morning (and was awesome), and then after lunch we did sort of a live podcast-type thing with our favorite things and Q&A. We got to meet some of the sweetest women, and we had a blast all the way around.

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I also think you’ll be proud to know that after everything was over Friday night, Melanie and I went back to my hotel room and ate Pretzel Crisps with French onion dip because KLASSY.

Once we finished up on Saturday, we headed to the airport, and we immediately sought out some very average Mexican food in the main concourse area. We sat down just in time for the Texas A&M / Auburn game, and I honestly don’t know what was more entertaining: watching the game or watching Melanie watch the game. We eventually had to leave so that we could go catch our flights, and when I landed in Birmingham, there was something like 30 seconds left in the 4th quarter of A&M/AU and some very! excited! texts from Melanie on my phone. I immediately checked to make sure that State had in fact defeated UT-Martin because YOU JUST NEVER KNOW, and by the time I got to my car in the parking garage (which, by the way, the parking garage at the B’ham airport is currently going through a renovation, and there is so much heavy plastic sheeting in that structure that it ever-so-slightly CREEPS ME OUT), I was fired up and ready for Alabama / LSU.

On the way home I got to listen to Eli Gold broadcast live from Death Valley, and between the full moon and the brisk air and the big-time game and the prospect of seeing my people, I was just FULL-O-LIFE-AND-WONDER. I turned off of the interstate thinking that there was absolutely nowhere on earth I’d rather be than Birmingham, Alabama, and I couldn’t wait to pick up some supper and get to the house and put on pajamas and settle in front of the TV to watch Les Miles eat some grass.

I pulled into our driveway just a few minutes after kick-off, and as soon as I got inside Hazel just lost her mind. It was like she had forgotten all about me but then realized OH, WAIT – YOU’VE BEEN GONE – and she jumped and licked and yelped and jumped and cried. She was so happy, in fact, that she tee-teed in the hallway, and I know that to be true because when I was walking down the hall to go change into pajamas, I slipped in said tee-tee and wasn’t at all sure what was happening until I found myself sprawled on top of the new rug that I bought for my foyer.

As it turns out, that rug is very cushiony.

But that rug, unfortunately, was not underneath my right ankle when I slipped.

Oh, y’all. I’m afraid that there isn’t a lick of grace or poise anywhere in me because it was evident pretty quickly that I’d put the hurt on my ankle. Some of you may remember that I took a weird step onto our friends’ porch a few years ago, and last night was that same level of pain except that this time (in The Great Tee-Tee Fall of Fall 2014, as I’m calling it) the pain and swelling are in a completely different place. My ankle is also way more burn-y, if that makes sense. I don’t have any idea if it’s sprained or broken or if I just jacked up some tendons and whatnot, but regardless we are headed to the doctor in the morning. I was hoping that if I just elevated and iced it and stayed off of it as best I could that it would be ALL BETTER today, but it still hurts a lot, and I have kind of a deep, nagging feeling that I may need a boot.

All that to say: I have spent all day today resting and icing and listening to Hazel snore. Bless her heart, she has pretty much stayed right beside me. I don’t think she has any idea that her overactive bladder was the cause of my fall, so please don’t tell her if you see her. I’m afraid that she’d just be wracked with guilt. I’ve probably overcompensated with her a little bit; I even gave her a special dog cookie that two girls in Charlotte (hey Meredith and Emma!) sent home with me.

So. I don’t necessarily think that this week is going to look like I thought it would. I was all geared up for a trip to Atlanta and IKEA tomorrow, but that’s not gonna happen. Fortunately I don’t have to work tomorrow or Tuesday, so that gives me a little more recovery time. And I think we all know that my Bulldogs have the biggest game ever this coming Saturday, so I’m hoping Coach Mullen won’t decide – especially in light of my tee-tee-related injury – to keep me on the bench. My team needs me, y’all – especially in Bryant Denny.

I promise that I smiled when I typed that.

BUT I’D SUIT UP IF THEY ASKED.