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A Christmas Gift Suggestion.

It all started about a month ago at work during a case. Nurse I asked what would be a good gift for her inlaws. Dr. A threw out the different food a month club. I mean he’s the biggest foodie next to Emily that I know. After that CRNA L suggested the skylight picture frame. Family members can put an app on their phone and then send photos to the frame even thousand miles away. Sure enough that evening while scrolling Facebook both suggestions showed up in my news feed. After about a week I decided to order the frame and since I had Kohl’s cash and it was on sale I couldn’t pass it up.
Christmas came and went and then I called the in-laws to set the frame up over the phone. Three simple steps was all it was to take. Well of course we couldn’t get past the first step so I said I’m putting on a mask and coming over. I will not confess how long it took me to realize I didn’t order the skylight frame but another brand. So I downloaded the correct app to my phone and put in the numbers. Went to send a picture and nothing. Eventually I gave up and said let me take it home. When I got to my house all the photos came through. So I thought to myself awesome it’s working and I went back to their house.
Once I was back in their house nothing was happening. I made a couple calls to friends and did discover their modem was six years old and could be the issue. So I turned on my hot spot and connected the frame to it and instantly the pictures came through. So that evening I did modem research and ordered a new one from Best Buy.
I attempted to set up new modem and then realized I purchased one for cable and their internet provider is not cable so back to Best Buy I go. As I’m returning it the dude asks who their internet provider is and when I tell him, he informs me you have to get a modem from that provider. He assures me you can buy one from the providers store.
I arrive at the store to find their is an hour and a half wait and the natives are restless and complaining. So I ask if I can just ask a question first. It’s a good thing I did because the dude tells me they don’t sell modems you have to call the provider. So back to my inlaws house I go so that I can call from their house in case they need to talk to them as well. The man on the phone was super nice and said they were eligible for a free upgrade and could send someone out two days later to install for free. I said score in my head this mess is over.
I am at work when my mother in law calls me. The guy is there to install it but wants to know what their current speed is and what it’s suppose to be. I vaguely remember the guy mumbling that over the phone but have no memory of what it was. Apparently it took him about thirty minutes to figure it out but after that he set it all up and did a nice job. Apparently they are at the very end of the line and could only get their speed to about half as fast as he wanted but more than enough to run the picture frame. I think the best part was this actually lowered their bill which made it an even better Christmas gift.

Mole moral ~ My personality of not being able to let something rest until I figure it out certainly paid off. However, it will be a long time before I ever take present suggestions from L again.

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A Covid Christmas


It’s been a rather strange year, so I expected nothing but Christmas to be strange as well. In a way it was because it was the most peaceful amazing Christmas I may have ever had. Orginally we were going to spend the week with Emily. It was the first year ever that I had a week off around Christmas. However as covid numbers began rising and with two covid tests in a week, I decided the wise thing to do would be to stay home. I did not put a tree up this year but did get out my advent add an ornament tree. Allyson faithfully added an ornament every day and placed the angel on top on Christmas Day. One day the ornament was a girl with dark hair. I said oh that’s Emily and Kayla is the angel cause she has blonde hair. Allyson was like thanks a lot mom, I have dark hair too.

This was my seventeenth year of Christmas Angel. When I was sick at the start of it, I realized this is my second favorite two weeks of the year. The only thing better is Big Stuf camp. This years deliveries were very uneventful. I did two families and neither’s doorbell worked. On the second night I did manage to run over a deer that had just been hit by another car. No damage done to mine. My sister wanted Christmas Angel as well but couldn’t afford the gifts. I told her I’d buy them and also wrap as long as she delivered them. As much as I would love to do five or six families there is not enough time in the evening to deliver them all. It never fails the two people I choose always live in opposite directions. I really hope the crazy nightly gifts brightened their day as much as it did mine being stealth and not getting caught.

I will now reveal the best Christmas present of all. Six years ago a friend of mines husband passed away from ALS leaving behind four children. Since then we have talked about me making quilts out of his t-shirts for each of them. This was the year she was finally ready. I was so honored that she asked me to do them for her. Also, that she trusted me with them. We chatted about what she wanted and divided the shirts up and she left me to my creative abilities. She also gave me extra tshirts to use as fillets so every shirt was his. He was a big blues fan so I found blues material for the back. I had a lot of fun putting the quilts together and deciding what would go in the blank spaces. I must give a shout out to those St Louis 250 cakes because the arena cake had the checkerdome on it in a way that I could quilt. Here are all four of them.

On Christmas Eve I received a video of the youngest opening the quilt. His reaction warmed my heart and made me cry at the same time. He recognized all the shirts and was so confused at first at to where it came from. I could tell he loved it and it meant so so much to him. The other three had the same reaction and to me this was the best Christmas present of all. To create something from my heart that gave joy (and a little sadness that their dad is no longer here with them) to four wonderful people.

Mole moral ~ It wouldn’t be Christmas without a crazy gift from Brian. This year it was a scratch off and I didn’t even win. I gave him 100,000 bars so we were even. Often the greatest gifts are not objects.

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The American Mole Virus

It all started a week ago when I woke up with a raging headache. It wasn’t the headache that lasted five weeks and from my neck. It was actually on the opposite side of my head. It was a Saturday and I had to go in at seven for a case so I thought I will take Alleve and sinus medicine and I would be fine. Wrong answer. I’m really not even sure how I made it to work but I had no business driving. I had to call a co-worker and she agreed to cover my case and call. I could not drive home so I thought if I laid down for a bit I could. So I parked myself in one of our before surgery rooms and laid down. It gave me nice flashbacks to the headache on Women’s Health when the charge would have to watch my patients the last hour and I gave report in an empty room laying down. It’s no wonder I ended up in the hospital for a week. Anyway after about two hours I realized I wasn’t driving home anytime soon so I called Brian to pick me up.

I then proceeded to puke so I dug out my four year old zofran and after two doses at least I was no longer nauseated or vomiting but my head was still killing me. That evening Brian put his famous deer jerky on the dehydrator and I went to bed. When I woke up the next morning I realized I could not smell the jerky. Normally it wakes me up in the middle of the night because it is so strong. I seriously thought he forgot to turn it on and actually checked. If I got right on top of it and inhaled deeply I could barely smell it. I then drank the only coffee I had at home which is mocha which I hate and it really tasted ok. It was then I realized I needed to call the employee covid hotline for advice. After a virtual visit I received and email saying I needed to be tested. The girl on the phone said I could go to total access urgent care today or wait and go to one of our testing sites on Monday. I waited until Monday.

I was tested back in May when I threw one of my neck headaches at work and had to leave at 11am. It was only one of two times i have left in the middle of the shift. The other time was when my sister called me at 8am to say her husband had a massive stroke and my co-workers made me clock out and go to the hospital. Anyway that test was horrid. I thought I was going to come out of the chair and I stopped myself from grabbing the girls arm. It all made sense as to why most of the patients when I did that to them (same stick as a respiratory panel) they wanted to punch me. I was better prepared this time and sat on my hands. The gal that did it was super nice. It was a drive up tent and they have little building with some heat but they all wear coats so I knew they were freezing.

My test results were back the next day and negative but my symptoms still yelled covid so the hotline said reach out to your primary and call us back at 6:30 am and we will let you know if you can work at 7. So my primary does a tele visit and says you really should have been positive but you are weird and hard to diagnose. So he puts in for another test on Thursday and tells me to stay off of work. In the meantime the employee health nurse for my hospital is unavailable this week with limited voice mail access. So I will be dealing with the covid hotline for the rest of the week.

So back to the testing site and it’s the same girl. I asked her how she got stuck with this job. She says she applied for it. I told her I wouldn’t mind swabbing people all day but the weather is horrible. She agreed and said once the testing sites are done she will have a clinic job. I have decided that sometime in the next couple weeks I’m bringing them hot chocolate and maybe some donuts or something.

So my second test was negative as well and I call the covid hotline back. They are beyond wishy washy but tell me I can return to work Monday if I don’t have a fever. Advised me not to take anything for a headache on Sunday so I don’t mask a fever. Also told me to contact my primary about my headache. So I sent him a message through Mychart and told him what they said. I said over the counter medication is keeping this headache under control so I am not sure what you are supposed to do but good luck. I actually do not have a headache as I type this so maybe I’m at the end of this mole virus.

I am going to get the vaccine on Monday. They started giving it out this past Thursday. This may have indeed been covid and I am one of these weirdos that test negative. It may be something else. All I know is I never want to feel this bad again and if a shot can prevent that, sign me up. I also want to see my father and my in-laws again. This isolation has been horrible for them.

Mole Moral~ If I ever need an NG tube please use my left nostril because the covid test was way more tolerable in the left than the right.

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My nephew Tyler

I meant to write this on his sixteenth birthday but as usual I am a few days late. His entire life except for the day he was born, I seem to forget his birthday. But the late birthday presents make up for it, well maybe, probably not.

Anyway, I woke up to a message from his mom. She had ordered a yard sign to be placed in their yard as a surprise. It was a surprise all right.

At first I was horrified and then I shook my head and said he’s a Mole as well so of course this happened. The rest of the day I cracked up laughing every time I thought about it. Also, this has given him another nickname. Brian immedialty said I must text Trevor happy birthday. I was talking to his dad the next day and he said the older gentleman saw this on the way to work and flipped out thinking he had been calling Tyler by the wrong name for the past two years. The company fixed his name very quickly so when the older guy came home it was back to Tyler and he was relieved.

It’s hard to believe it’s been sixteen years since Tyler was born. He was born very close to Halloween which was my holiday back then. Since I knew his mom would be in the hospital, I asked if I could have Sarah for Halloween. Since she agreed I went all out and turned my kids and nieces and nephew into the wizard of oz. I made all the costumes and it was one of the last times I ever made costumes.

Tyler’s sister was Glenda the Good Witch. I will never forget Sarah’s grandfather saying she looked like she was wearing a Pope hat. It made me very proud of being able to make it.

Sierra wanted to be Dorothy so I said ok. Emily is still mad at me to this day. I came up with the creative idea to make her the house that falls on the wicked witch since she didn’t want to be the wicked witch of the west. However I used a card board box which became way too heavy. Looking back I should have used a styrofoam cooler. Anyway this was my favorite Halloween.

I still cannot believe its been sixteen years since he was born. In some ways it seems like yesterday and others it was a long, long time ago. I guess that’s what happens when you get older. Tyler was convinced he would get a 100 on his driving test. He indeed made a ninety seven so perhaps he is the only kid I should ever drive with. He wants to learn how to drive my manual and his father said “why, only people over forty know how to drive one.” I will let him attempt just like I have every other kid that has wanted to try. He will probably pick up on it as if he’s driven one his entire driving career.

So I gave him a gift card to QT and told him not to be buying smokes or alcohol with it. Then I said never mind about the alcohol, the crazy kid has never drank anything besides chocolate milk and water EVER. I mean if he had juice it was before the age of drinking out of a cup. I also made cupcakes out of Great Grandma Northcutt’s chocolate cake recipe because he will always be “chocolate boy” a nickname given to him by Emily’s first boyfriend!

Mole Moral ~ We are all crazy and quirky in our own way! It’s best to laugh and embrace the craziness!

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Mole Anniversary Dinner

We had hoped to spend our thirtieth anniversary in Utah renting an RV and seeing the amazing parks but covid had other ideas. So instead I came up with the brilliant idea to go out to dinner. I have been in a restaurant twice since things started opening up. I had a gift card to Texas Roadhouse so I decided we should go there.

When we drove up, no one was in the parking lot but one of the workers came up and said the power had just came back on but had been off for some time. He said cops were everywhere across the way so I assumed it was an accident. He said the kitchen should be ready in about thirty minutes so we could sit at the bar, wait in the corral or wait in our car. We chose to sit at the bar.

Brian asks for a bud light and they say sorry we are out of bud light and Budweiser. I just start laughing and say of course you are. So he settled on a Michelob Ultra. I had a margarita and Allyson had water. She asked if she could come along and I said sure you can pay. She claimed she couldn’t find her wallet. We were seated shortly after, only to find out they had no baked potatoes or sweet potatoes because of the power outage. One of the main reasons I wanted to go was for the baked potato so instead of getting all upset I just cracked up laughing and said I am not surprised.

Brian swears they rushed us out of there, while Allyson told him it’s called flipping the tables. The faster you flip, the more money you make. He said the waitress owed him two bucks for rushing him. Luckily Allyson took care of the tip. I had texted Brian earlier in the day that I had just picked up his anniversary present. It was a work coat that he has needed for three years. He is currently wearing a nylon coat that he has duct taped up the tears. So he came home with desert (cheesecake) and orange roses.

Mole Moral ~ One might be disappointed if they actually had a normal uneventful anniversary. Watch out Utah we are coming for you next year!

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The ultimate prize

I haven’t blogged in quite a while because after covid calmed down, my personal life ramped up and well I just didn’t feel like writing. That all changed today. My mom had asked me to take her to the Northcutt/Witt family reunion some time ago. I was like sure and didn’t think much about it. I was a little nervous thinking about being around a bunch of people. Thanks covid, I could easily never leave my house and you give me the perfect excuse not to. So I told myself not using covid as an excuse, leave your house as it was outside at the park in Sullivan.

It was great seeing my cousins Lisa and Alana again. What wasn’t great was how many aunts and uncles had passed into heaven and how old the rest of them looked. Lisa and I both agreed we are still twenty-five so that made no sense. When I was younger we would have Christmas on Christmas Eve and then drive to Sullivan Christmas morning and have a big Christmas lunch with everyone. They rented to IOOF hall each year. I can remember my sister and Alana fighting over who was going to hold the babies and I wondering what was wrong with them. I have so many memories of Great Grandma Northcutt from these Christmas’s and the summer reunions. She was a wonderful lady and I loved her so much. Before lunch as prayer was being said I could see her perfectly in my head, it was such a nice memory.

Then we found out there were attendance prizes and my moms name was called. She picked a letter that my great grandpa had written to my great grandma and I think it could be displayed as an ornament. I didn’t take a good look at it but I called it when she died. She then told me about another gem that was available. My cousin Shirley was called a little bit later and she picked out that prize and gave it to me. I was so honored that she would do this for me. I have been told many times I get my baking and sewing ability from Grandma Northcutt, so this is perfect.

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I am hanging it in my kitchen and I am making this cake tomorrow and bringing it into work. My co-workers are all chocolate lovers so I am sure they will love it. Usually if I bring in baked goods our newest CRNA Andrew is working with us as well. I am not sure if this measuring spoon was actually hers but I am telling myself it is. I just love it!

There was no cell reception in the park so it was so nice that not one person was playing on their phone. We all had to talk to each other in person  (gasp) and everyone was paying attention and not distracted by technology. It really was a nice change and made me miss something I didn’t even realize I missed. I guess a sign of getting older (besides everyone else looking so freaking old) is looking back into the past when things were simpler.

 

Mole Moral~I refuse to allow covid to turn me into the hermit that lies right beneath the surface of my personality! Next up Colorado for a week!

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Happy Birthday and Graduation Sarah!

My niece, Sarah Marie turned eighteen yesterday. She had a combination graduation/birthday party which was pretty awesome. At her party her mom had a notebook to write memories of Sarah. Of course my mind went blank and I only thought of a couple things. Of course last night as I was falling asleep the best story came to mind.

Teresa was telling a new neighbor about the letters that all of us wrote Sarah when she was born to read on her eighteenth birthday. She said to the neighbor it took a lot to get Sarah here. Such a beautifully painful statement! I told Sarah yesterday I prayed for her long before she was ever conceived. I will never forget how happy (and yes a little nervous) I was when her mom announced at Thanksgiving she would arrive in July. I remember thinking as I wrote her letter that eighteen years was a long long time away and yet here we are in just a flash of time.

My very best memory I am sharing on my blog so that one day when I am gone if any of my kids, nieces, nephews, and anyone else who wants to read my blog they can be entertained with my stories.  Sarah and Tyler came to our house every New Years Eve for years while their parents went out with friends. They stayed the night and then we would take them to Mimi and PaPa’s house for the annual New Year’s Day celebration. I worked evenings back then so every other year Brian would be on his own with all the kids. We so enjoyed that special time with both of them. And in a flash Sarah was old enough to babysit and then hang with friends and the old Aunt and Uncle became irrelevant. It was ok because we still had Tyler and ultimate ping pong (where you play off the walls and the ceiling) until last year when he went and hung out with friends as well. On Christmas morning 2007 Sarah and Tyler awoke to find a new dog out in their front yard. She was a puggle and they named her Chloe. Well, I am a total dog lover so I had them bring her over that New Year’s Eve to spend the night as well.

This was also the year Emily was dating Cody (he came over that New Year’s Ever as well) and he nicknamed Sarah and Tyler: Dog Girl and Chocolate Boy after Shark Girl and Lava Boy. He would have no idea that thirteen years later Sarah still loves dogs and Tyler is still insane about chocolate. Chloe passed away earlier this year and they just got a new puppy named Daisy. I am not sure how Sarah is going to be able to go away to school and leave her. As for Tyler he honed right in on the Ted Drews chocolate ice cream at the party yesterday!

Sarah did baton when she was younger. She was amazing at it but ended up moving on to dance. She started at Denoyer when Kayla was going and then moved to a closer studio and then was on the Lindbergh dance team. I went to a few of her competitions but not as many as I would have liked! I made Sarah this quilt as her graduation present. So many memories for her and of course she can’t forget me because I made it.

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July 11, 2002 seems like just yesterday. Teresa was in the hospital with Sarah putting an offer on a house she wanted to buy. She came home and then got her house market ready and sold and they moved it seems like by the time Sarah was six weeks old. It may have been sooner but my sister in law is as crazy as me with doing that kind of stuff! Happy birthday Sarah, I love you more than you can ever know!

 

Mole Moral ~ If you are ever asked to write a letter to a baby to open up when they are eighteen, do it! I can’t think of anything more special and I wish I would have thought of it for my girls!

 

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We’re all connected

Last night was our fourth subdivision block party. Every Saturday from 6:30-7:30 pm one of the original homeowners who is also a DJ plays music. He has super powerful speakers as it can be heard all over our street. I had received an email stating the news would be coming as well. I persuaded Allyson to come out with me for a little bit. After she left, one of the neighbor girls hung up a sign that said, “Fur suiters welcome here”. I read it like five times to make sure I read it right. So I went home and told Allyson what the sign said and she should put Prince on and come surprise the kids. I assured her no one would know it was her. She wasn’t so sure at first but when I came back with the ice cream she was almost ready to come out. If you are wondering what a fur suit is, you can read about her fur suit creations here.

So Allyson arrived

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and at first the kids weren’t too sure about this. Allyson has an original character named Prince and commissioned a girl to make the actual head. The fangs make him look scary but indeed he is just a kangaroo with a really long tail. The girl that posted the sign was so excited she wrote Prince a note asking if they could be friends. Of course Prince nodded yes. Then she got her suit on as well and they had a great time interacting and playing with the kids.

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Also way over a year ago at church a guy came up to me and informed me he was my neighbor. He lives in the very first house. He is not the original occupant (that man I believe is in jail) but bought the house to stay at when the Rams played. His wife passed away a few years back from cancer. I chat with him at church and wave when I see him on the road. A few months ago he introduced me to his friend at church and then I noticed that a car was at his house a lot. (Yes, you all know I am a stalker with mad door way assessment skills.) Yesterday before the party he told me that she was his girlfriend. I was so happy for him! It made my heart skip a beat. Last night I was chatting with the two of them and discovered their first date was at The Local House. This is where Allyson is a bus girl! I must be getting old or soft or something because it made my whole evening. This morning when I ran by his house, this was in the front yard.

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What a nice surprise for him! He is so nice and has been so nice to me that I am glad someone brightened his day!

I was so proud of Allyson last night that of course I told all the adults who it was. Our neighbor said she should hire herself out for kids birthday parties, she could make a fortune. Back in middle school she performed for an assembly and I was told she was a huge hit!

Mole Moral ~ In a world where everyone seems isolated we really are all connected in one way or another!

 

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A quilt for me!!

A year ago today I walked out of mercy knowing I would never return as a co-worker. It was time to figure out what I would do when I grew up. The summer was approaching and Emily was doing a travel job in Rolla and Allyson would be going away in the fall so I decided to enjoy the summer.
I had been on women’s health for almost nineteen years and during that time we had done many fundraisers with T-shirt’s. I always knew at some point I would make a quilt but I never wanted to start in case I accumulated more. So my goal was to complete the quilt by this day. I almost always accomplish my goals and this one was no different. So here’s my quilt that I love dearly with a story about each block. I’ll describe in the order you read a book. This blog is for the day I no longer remember much and I can relive the most wonderful memories. Yes, I have always been a nerd and a dork and I will be until I die.

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The first block was a fundraiser for the entire women service line. That shirt was the back and I thought it was clever how the word Family was incorporated.
The next block was my all time favorite and the last one. My buddy Tiffani was in charge of creating it. I put the front left pocket area on the back. I loved the stethoscope with the words women’s health.
The top of the next block was the front of the women service shirt and the bottom was the back of another shirt which I will discuss when I reach it.
Next up was one of three trivia nights we did for SLOCA (St. Louis ovarian cancer awareness).
The next is my second favorite shirt and was also our first shirt. It is also on display in the cafeteria as part of a big quilt. (At least the quilt was there a year ago). This was designed by Kim T (now Kim K) and Kristina P. I loved it and wore it to work quite a bit until Mercy went to black uniforms.
The next two shirts are from a Marathon relay that I did with Erin, Laura, and Kim. Both my husband Brian, and our good friend Lindsay were our coaches. They hung out with the three not running and jumped the metro link with us to get to the next exchange stop. That race was so much fun. The nurses running wild was on the back.
My third favorite shirt is up next. That was a SLOCA fundraiser but will always make me think of patient SH. She had ovarian cancer and I took care of her the night of her surgery. Her daughter told me I’d have to light a fire under her butt to get her moving. Several months later I was her nurse when she left this world to meet Jesus. That fall I would run the ovarian cancer run wearing that shirt with Laura and run into her daughters. Such amazing memories.
The next shirt and the one below were front and back from trivia night. I am always reminded of Vickie who was my boss when I left and Lindsay. Lindsay was the most fun tech I ever worked with and she left to become an athletic trainer. Brian always called her wangster Willy which cracked her up.
The top of the next square was from the night Women’s Health went to a cardinals game. I was at Big Stuf camp the night of the game.  So although I didn’t go to the game, I still bought a shirt. I would wear it at camp on jersey day.
I think the last shirt was also a fundraiser but I am not sure. I never wore it much but it is a great reminder of my years on women’s health.
I cannot believe a year has passed. After I left, I really thought I would work at a surgery center. Then my friend Tiffani from my favorite shirt started in the butt hut and told me to apply she thought I would like it. I told her I can’t do IV’s and I’m not working full time. Well wouldn’t you know, they had a part time position and the patients come to the room with an IV. Then a pandemic occurred and I ended up back in ICU where I hadn’t been for almost twenty years. Who would have guessed!!

Mole moral ~ Follow your path no matter how scary or unknown, you may just end in a wonderful place.

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Following my calling

When it became clear that almost every single Endoscopy case would be cancelled until the pandemic was over, I realized I had two choices. I could either stay where I was and screen employees or perhaps do one case a day or I could volunteer to help in the ICU. It’s very hard to explain but I knew my choice was the latter. I really felt God was calling me to go there. I’ve been up there for almost three weeks now. Those who volunteered were told they would not have to go to the covid side. Last night I again felt a calling to go to the covid side. Those patients are mostly medical ICU which is what I did all those years ago. I was going to discuss with charge nurse today. Today was my day to take team all by myself and they put me in covid unit, with a nurse I met in my RN orientation. As soon as I verified I could wear an N95 and not a respirator I was ok with it. I did fine with my two patients and actually got to call the spouse of the one and say their loved one was covid negative and would be moving over to the ICU side. Imagine my surprise when it was shared with me that not only is their wedding anniversary the same day as Brian’s parents but the same year as well. As we were hanging up it was said I hope we celebrate our anniversary and I said I hope so too and to stay safe. 

 

Mole Moral ~ Everything happens for a reason and sometimes a super scary situation turns into a huge blessing. Stay safe!!