Remember how I've been married for a year?
I've been making a car payment every month, on time, for that entire year.
The credit union has taken my money every month for an entire year.
Today they won't take my money.
Want to know why?
My married name on my check does not match my maiden name.
The same maiden name that has been on my account for the entire year I've been married and making payments.
I say to the person who is helping me, "I totally understand the need for matching names when it comes to withdrawing money. But why does it matter who pays the bill as long as the bill gets paid?"
They have no good answer to that question.
"So...if my dad, out of the goodness of his heart, wanted to pay my bill you wouldn't take his money?"
No...no they wouldn't.
I drive back to work grumbling and dig out my original marriage license and then drive back to the credit union.
"Here is legal proof that Noelle Platt became Noelle Livingston. Would you please change the name on my account and take my money?"
And guess what...they wouldn't.
Because I don't have a copy of my social security card with my married name on it.
For that matter I don't even have a copy of my social security card with my maiden name on it.
Let's be real...who does?
"If I were to pay in cash would you take my money?" I ask.
Why yes, yes they would.
I'm annoyed people...
And I happened to let the last person I talked to know that in the near future I would look for a banking establishment that actually wanted to take my money.
Last night my dad and I spent part of the evening at my aunt's house.
We were playing a game with my cousins, a couple of uncles, and my aunt.
At some point during the game my cousin got up to fix sandwiches for everyone.
I took one bite and was clearly reminded of my family's biggest argument:
Is there truly a difference in the taste between Miracle Whip and Mayonnaise?
I say there is...and it's a big difference. My brother-in-law is on my side.
My sister thinks we're nuts.
Can you tell a difference?
My aunt served chocolate mousse cake for dessert.
It was amazingly delicious.
She put the cake on the table and said, "This has to be gone before you leave here."
I had already given half of my cake to my gorilla of a cousin.
I knew there would be no way my dad would eat another piece.
One of my uncles is diabetic and I knew he wouldn't eat more.
It was going to come down to my cousins and my Uncle McKay, but he had already pushed his plate away.
My cousin Brigham, who just turned 22 whispered to his sisters and me, "Watch this."
As my dad and uncles carried on a philosophical discussion Brigham slowly and subtly pushed the cake towards my Uncle McKay.
He would push the plate a little bit and then stop...push it again and stop.
This continued until the cake plate was right up next to Uncle McKay's plate.
Like it was orchestrated, my uncle picked up a knife and sliced himself another piece of cake.
When he was finished, my aunt picked up the knife and did the same.
The philosophical discussion continued while my cousins and I snickered in the background.
When they had finished their second piece of cake both my uncle and my aunt moved their plates from in front of them.
My cousin smiled and said 'Watch.'
He continued to push the plate of cake closer to my uncle until it was right in front of him.
After a minute my uncle picked up his fork and started eating the cake right off of the plate it was on.
There were no snickers now.
We were full on laughing...with tears in our eyes.
My Uncle Gordon, who was sitting at the other end of the table, and who was just ornery enough to be humorous finally stopped the philosophical discussion and hollered, "WHAT IS GOING ON?"
I don't think we stopped laughing for 10 minutes.
-made it out of bed and to work on time
-placed 4 large plant orders
-have helped many customers with plant questions
-talked to an employee about his perpetual tardiness
-answered the phone 12 million times
-ate a roast beef sandwich for lunch
-managed to read 2 blogs
-took a payment to the bank
-visited with a sister-in-law
-made plans for lunch with a friend
-talked to an old man who wanted to complain
-massaged an ultra sore hip
Before the day is over I must:
-find something else to eat as I'm still hungry
-figure out how I'm going to ship a semi-truck load of trees to the tiny town of Monticello without having to charge a million dollars for freight
-listen to the 15 messages that are in my voicemail
-place two more plant orders
-figure out how to get some trees from Oregon to here ... by Thursday
-talk to an employee about his attitude
When I was living in ...
I can't remember if I was in Brooklyn or Queens.
When I was living in one of the boroughs of NYC I spent an hour one afternoon visiting with an older man.
I can't even remember how I ended up visiting this gentleman.
Maybe we knocked on his door and asked if we could come in.
Maybe he ordered a free Bible off of the TV and asked us to deliver it.
Maybe he found us walking in the street and invited us in for a cool drink.
It's been a long time...the details are a little fuzzy.
What's NOT fuzzy is what happened once we were in his house.
Did I mention the man was fairly old?
Old and probably lonely, because once we were sitting in his living room he talked and talked and talked.
He told us about his wife who had passed away several years before...
He talked about his career...
I'm sure he talked about even more but my mind began to wander.
It was hot and humid, and his house felt sticky.
I could feel the sweat dripping down my back.
I could hear a sound coming from the kitchen and I leaned forward as nonchalantly as I could, to look around the wall to see what the sound was.
Trust me when I tell you that I nearly screamed out loud when I saw from whence the sound came. (I just wanted to sound like Charles Dickens with that last sentence. Did it work?)
That's what I saw.
And the eyes in that head were looking right back at me.
I took several deep breaths to calm my heart, and told myself that I must be seeing things.
Self, you did not just see a head. It's not possible that you just saw a head. There was no body with that head. The heat must be getting to you. It must really be getting to you.
And while I had this inner dialogue with myself, the man droned on and on.
I leaned forward again to look around the wall.
The head was still there, and the eyes were still focused on me.
I wanted to grab my friend's hand and run screaming from the house.
At that moment the old man excused himself and left the room for a minute.
He walked toward the kitchen.
The minute he was out of sight I whispered frantically to my friend, "We've got to get out of here. There is something crazy going on. We're standing up and we're leaving - right now!"
She thought I had lost my mind and she told me we weren't leaving yet. It would be rude, she said.
Rude? RUDE? The guy has a head in his kitchen, and you don't want to be rude???
To be fair, I had failed to mention the head to my friend...I didn't have enough time before we heard the man walking back towards us.
He sat down and said, "Sorry. I was taking care of my daughter."
"Your daughter?" I asked.
And then the man got emotional.
And he cried for several minutes before he continued.
"My daughter is sick. She has _______."
And there we go again. I can't remember what she had. MS maybe? Muscular dystrophy?
Anyway, she had something.
"None of the regular treatments work and so we're trying something experimental."
"Two times a week we enclose her in a box and fill the box with bees. The bees come from Africa. She spends three or four hours in the box being stung by the bees and it seems to help..."
I looked around the wall again and saw the head, with the eyes looking at me. But this time I also saw the box, and I wanted to cry.
We finally left the house, and I walked on shaky legs the whole way home. AND I had bad dreams for what seemed like forever.
Have you ever eaten yogurt with a knife?
I figure at the rate I'm going, it will take me well past lunch before I finish this yogurt.
Note to self: buy spoons for the office.
I made pasta for dinner last night.
When I went to taste it to make sure it was done I burned my lip.
Jason asked if he could kiss it better.
All I could say was 'ow ow ow.'
He said he could taste the burn.
Today I have a blister.
I knew there was a reason I don't cook dinner.
Trouble and her sisters were at our house the other night.
Trouble found Emily's clothes.
With every outfit she held up, Trouble would ooh and ahh.
I was in the other room when Trouble ran full speed down the hallway carrying a pair of newborn pants.
When she reached me she snuggled up to those pants, sighed a big sigh, and said, "I just love Emily so much!"
I'll be honest...I got teary eyed.
My mom and dad went out of town yesterday.
I think it's the first time Mom has been on an airplane in three or four years.
She called me twice asking about what she could and couldn't take in her carry-on.
She was worried about being scanned at the airport.
Dad didn't know how to print his itinerary and so I did it for him.
I gave them both step by step directions to use the self check-in kiosks at the airport.
Mom was worried she had too much shampoo.
We suggested she leave her shampoo home and just use what the hotel provided.
She was worried they might not have shampoo.
And she was worried about not being able to find a travel size bottle of moose.
She called me once from the airport to let me know they made it through security.
She called me again to let me know that her hotel did in fact have shampoo.
That mother of mine...she makes me laugh.
And finally, my baby girl doesn't kick like she has heart problems.
I think she woke up yesterday and decided to have a party...and she's still going strong.
I love it.
Before I grounded myself from Google I read an article written by a doctor.
This doctor's biggest frustration in his 30 plus years of practicing medicine was the ultrasound.
More specifically, how as a result of the ultrasound, doctors filled their patients with fear...especially when dealing with Down's Syndrome.
"We terrorize mothers-to-be because of 'indicators' that we see. We tell them their baby has a chance of being born with Down's Syndrome. They don't hear the word 'chance.' They hear everything else. And then spend the rest of their pregnancy living with a fear that is usually unfounded. It's not right."
When my sister was pregnant with her fourth child, and only son, her doctor told her that he saw something wrong with Tyler's kidney.
Heather was sent to a perinatologist who confirmed that something was indeed wrong.
She too heard the worst case scenario...not once, but in every appointment she had with that doctor.
My sister got to the point where she wanted nothing to do with that doctor.
Not because of what the doctor said, but because of how she said it.
Heather's mind was put at ease when she met with her regular doctor who told her this.
"That perinatologist is new. She's new to Utah, and she's fairly new to this field. She's out to prove herself...to prove that she knows what she's doing. I can guarantee that you will only hear the worst from her."
And then Heather's doctor told her not to worry. He told her that her baby would be okay.
And Tyler was indeed okay.
When Jason got home from yet another business trip last night, he found me curled up in bed, with tears still wetting my face.
In a sad and weary voice I told him I was scared. I told him I didn't want our baby girl to be born with Down's Syndrome. And I told him that I felt guilty for feeling that way.
Jason's reaction was anger. Not at me, but at the doctor. The doctor who gave us the worst case scenario. The same doctor who told my sister that her baby would be born with major health issues. The same doctor who was absolutely wrong in her diagnosis of that little baby.
Somehow listening to Jason's anger made me feel better.
Listening to his opinion of the doctor's professionalism, or lack of, gave me strength.
Jason's frustration with the doctor doesn't change the possible outcome for Emily, but somehow it helps me hold on to that word 'chance.'
As Jason told me last night, "Our daughter has JUST AS MUCH A CHANCE of being born 'normal' as she does being born with problems. Focus on that."
And then in a quiet voice he reassured me of something else.
"Do you know how many people are praying for our daughter."
"Do you know how much faith is being shown in her behalf?"
"God is bound to honor those prayers and that faith."
"God is still forming our baby girl, and if He wants her to be born healthy, she will be born healthy."
"And if she's not, there can be no doubt of what He wants for our daughter."
And then my husband looked at me and said, "Noelle, I believe that Emily will be healthy and strong. Hold on to that. And if I'm wrong, we'll deal with that when we need to."
I was brushing my teeth last night when Jason said to me, "I'm pretty sure you're using my toothbrush."
That's just the kind of day it was.
Thank you...all of you...for your comments and emails and texts, and love.
I am blessed by all of you.
Jason and I feel differently about how much to say, and who to say it to.
Because nothing is certain, and probably won't be until little Emily is born, Jason wants to keep what we know to ourselves. And I understand where he is coming from.
I want to share what I know with anyone who cares to listen...because it's by talking it out that I feel better.
It's by talking about it that I'm able to talk myself down off of the emotional cliff I find myself so often wandering towards.
Husband? I hope you won't mind terribly that I wrote this blog post.
We went into the appointment yesterday believing that our daughter had a small heart problem.
We left with the words 'termination, amniocentesis, serious heart defects, and markers for downs syndrome' repeating themselves over and over again in our minds.
As the doctor spoke to us I held Jason's hand and cried silent tears.
What we know is that Emily has 3 of the 'markers' for downs syndrome, 4 if you add my age into the mix.
We know that she may have some serious heart problems.
And we know that the doctor gave Emily a 50% chance of being born with downs syndrome.
The doctor gave us the option of terminating the pregnancy.
For us it wasn't an option.
The doctor gave us the option of having an amniocentesis done, but warned us of the risks in doing so.
Again, for us it wasn't an option.
Knowing or not knowing will not change the outcome.
We will welcome our little Emily with all of our hearts, regardless of the difficulties she might be born with.
The next four months are going to be long ones.
And I have no doubt that they are going to be filled with a lot of high emotions.
We have an appointment in two weeks with a cardiac specialist and until then I'm going to focus on the positive.
Friends, if there is one thing I want you to know about me, it's this:
I have absolute and complete trust in my Heavenly Father, and I believe that miracles happen.
I have total faith that God can heal our little one of her heart problems.
I have total faith that He is in charge of the outcome.
And if our little Emily is born into this world with challenges, I have the faith that God will qualify us. That He will be there to show us the best way to love and care for our daughter.
And one more thing?
I believe with all of my heart that children born with disabilities are God's most choice sons and daughters.
And I am humbled at the thought of being chosen to care for one of those daughters.
But that doesn't mean that I'm not going to cry once in a while.
I'm the mom and isn't that what moms do?
If you saw me at the moment you would see a girl with a runny nose, some seriously puffy eyes, and dizziness that has persisted this entire day.
It's been a rough day in our little world...a really rough, hard day.
We had an appointment with a perinatologist today to further examine some concerns our doctor had with little Emily.
The news we got, while knowing full well the doctor was giving us the worst case scenario, was not at all what we expected, and it was hard. Gut wrenchingly, heart breakingly hard.
While I'm not ready to go into details, partly because we won't know anything concrete until we meet with yet another doctor in a couple of weeks, our little Emily has a fight ahead of her.
And her mommy and daddy are scared.
If you believe in God, and in prayer, we could sure use some of that faith directed toward our little one right now.
I am so not good at being a boss.
My sister has always done the hiring and the managing...until this year.
Things changed, roles reversed, and now I'm doing the hiring.
I hired a young man who worked for us many years ago.
He started this morning.
He's very proper.
"What day to day procedures have you implemented that I need to know about?"
Only believe me...the words he used were so much bigger.
I just looked at him for a minute and said, "Well, you get an hour for lunch."
Did you want to come and work for me too?
Has it been a few days since I last mentioned Trouble?
She comes to work every day and while she's here she makes the rounds.
She comes to my office to say hi to me and to Uncle Ben and to Travis...
She goes to the green house to find Amanda and Colter...
She stops in at the store to talk to Patti about the baby chicks...
She tracks her grandpa down to talk to him about important things.
She talks to customers.
A few days ago she was playing with the Christmas ornaments I have stored here in my office.
She found the star that goes atop the tree.
Trouble was using it as her own Christmas tree, and she was getting very frustrated at it's inability to stand up under any weight.
Every few minutes I would here her grumble.
"You're a silly tree..."
"What a stupid Christmas tree..."
I finally said, "Sami, it's a star, not a Christmas tree."
She replied with, "No it's not. It's a tree."
"No it's not," I said.
And we went back and forth with several 'nu uhs' and 'no it's nots'.
Finally Sami said, "Well, I love you much argue about this."
Thanks to her mom I got the translation.
"Noelle, I love you too much to argue about this."
Apparently Sami and her mother go the rounds too, and Sami hears the same words from her mother on a regular basis.
She was not impressed when I laughed.
And if you were wondering...
Jason is home ripping baseboard off of the walls in the baby's room.
If it all goes according to schedule, we'll have a new and improved nursery by the end of the week!
Do you know what's fun?
It's spraying your plants with deer repellent and having the wind change direction mid spray.
Instead of getting the rancid liquid on your plants, you get it in your face instead.
And then...it's even more fun when that's the time your husband comes to visit you at work and can't stand the smell of you, and instead of hugging you goes to play hide-and-seek with his girlfriend.
Trouble doesn't even have the decency to act embarrassed that she's stolen my husband.
I am plum tuckered out.
(Why do people say plum?)
It's been a long week.
And if it's raining again tomorrow, I will finally get to take the day off.
I can't decide if I'm hoping it will rain, or if I should hope that it will be a busy day at the nursery.
Would you be so kind as to do me a favor?
It's an easy favor, I promise.
Would you pipe up and tell me where you're from?
My sister Becca has a new posh office.
That posh office is home to one futon rocking chair, soft soothing music, and a phone line that doesn't work.
I'm going to go now, and sneak into that posh office and plant my weary self into that rocking chair.
If I keep the lights off I'll bet no one will even know I'm there. For added security, I'll lock the door.
I woke up three hours earlier than usual this morning and couldn't go back to sleep.
I had great plans to accomplish many things.
1. Measure the walls in the baby's room.
My brother-in-law is going to help us put up some wainscoat and crown molding before we paint and he needed to know the measurements to buy the material. How hard could it be? Apparently hard. Do you think I could draw the walls accurately? Not to save my life. And believe me, I tried. Over and over again. I finally threw my pen and paper on the ground and gave up. And if you're wondering, I had to draw the walls so that my brother-in-law would know which measurement went with each wall.
2. Scan the letter I wanted to post to my blog.
Again...not a big deal. And to scan it, it wasn't. I scanned it in three seconds flat. But then...then...I couldn't get the dang keyboard to work. I crawled underneath the desk, checked the cords, checked the power, checked everything I could think of to check and nada. 6 inches away sits Jason's laptop. I attempted to download the scanned item to Jason's laptop, but it's an Apple and I'm clueless. Really truly clueless.
3. Email important papers to beat a deadline.
I sent the email and got a delivery failure notice. I checked the email address and I had spelled it wrong. I sent the email again and got yet another delivery failure notice. I spelled it differently the second time, but still the wrong way. Grrr...
4. Comb my hair.
All was going well until I burned my finger badly enough that I couldn't wear my ring.
When Jason finally got home from playing basketball (because he's insane and gets up at 6 am to play) I told him he could never leave me in the house alone again.
Now, about that letter I wanted to post to my blog.
I've been cleaning out the future nursery.
It's been home to all of the random items that I have held on to over the years.
Last night I found a box full of pictures and letters.
I shall show you one of each.
When I was about this age:
I had moved away and gone to college.
I was young and I was shy.
I had been on one date my entire life up to this point and I was content with never going on another one.
I was somewhere doing something...forgive my memory...it's shot...and someone approached me and gave me this note:
Sadly, my memory remembers clearly that I did not in fact go out with him.
I'm sure just the thought of such an idea put me right over the edge of sanity.
Poor Sean. I probably broke his heart.
Jason is fairly confident that had it been he who had asked me out I would have gone.
It's highly doubtful.
And with that I'm off to nag my brother about some information I need.
He loves when I nag.
Really really really loves it.
Back in the day...when my blog was young...I dedicated each Wednesday post to my grandpa.
He was one of my favorite people and I wanted the world to know him.
As the months draw closer to little Emily's arrival, my thoughts are turned more to my grandpa.
I don't know what you believe about life: where we came from and where we'll go when we die.
I believe that we lived in heaven before we were born; we lived there with our loved ones, and we waited anxiously for our earth experience.
And I believe that we'll return to that place when we die...to be reunited with those who have gone before us.
I have a hope...a hope deep in my heart...
...that my little girl and my dearest grandpa are together in that place called heaven.
I have a hope that my grandpa is preparing my little one for what she'll experience here.
I have a hope that he is teaching her with his wisdom and experience...that she will come filled with the love that my grandpa had for everyone he met.
And although she won't remember the time she spent with her great-grandpa, I have a hope that when she hears his name, when I tell her the stories of his life...something will flicker in her heart and she will feel peace.
And I hope that when it's time...that when she has said her goodbyes there, she will have given him a big hug, and then another one from me.
My grandpa's name was Lynwood, but he was known as Lyn by all who knew him.
Someday I hope that my little Emily Lynn will love the man whose name she shares as much as I do.