Happy Halloween!

We did the candy bit yesterday at the church "trunk-or-treat", and tonight since it's Sunday, we're staying home to answer the door. The kids are disappointed, but I'm secretly looking forward to cozying up, munching on pumpkin pie made from real pumpkin and letting the neighborhood come to us. Although that's one more opportunity to see inside the brick house that's slipped through my fingers (that picnic last weekend- outside, dang-it!). Oh well- there's always next year...... I'm off to carve jack-o-lanterns!



Yesterday morning I picked Brigham up from school and took him and Marley to our new eye doctor here in Atlanta. I built in a few extra minutes for my favorite ritual of getting lost whenever I drive somewhere new, and we were making good time until we hit I-285. I should mention that it was raining. Apparently in Atlanta that means we lose the ability to drive and traffic comes to a complete standstill. When there were five minutes till our appointment and my directions said we still had 14 miles to go I called to office to tell them our situation. They were wonderful and seemed unfazed so we continued creeping along.

When we arrived (45 minutes late) I remembered that I hadn't ever called our old eye doctor to have Brigham's records transferred. I called Lindsay in Durham to get the number and soon had instructions to fax them a release form along with a promise that the records would be faxed right back.

Meanwhile the doctor came in, sweating and looking stressed. I apologized for our lateness (I have to say I give pretty good lateness apologies, having had lots of practice) and again, he was totally understanding, because of the rain. He said everyone was late and he was just trying to catch up. Then he mentioned that his wife had just given birth last week and though I tried really hard to suppress the words I just couldn't help but say, "Bless your heart!". He did the drill that we've been used to having a tech do, put drops in both kids eyes and sent us back out to the waiting room.

Back in the exam room an hour later we raced through more pictures, charts and procedures, with Brigham cooperating like an old pro and Marley taking her sweet time, covering her face, playing peek-a-boo and hiding in my shirt. The mechanical clown clanged its symbols and Dr. Elliot waved his Donald Duck toy and I trilled and clapped and coaxed, until all the hoops had been jumped through and it was time to get to the bottom line.

Briggie's vision is the same as it was a year ago, despite how hard he's worked to wear his patch two hours a day, six days a week, just like they told us. I had a choice to make: either stick with the old plan and accept the fact that he'll never have better than 20/40 vision in his right eye, or to up the patching to 7 hours a day and see if we can get those last elusive 20 points.

I wanted to cry for him. Brigham has been patching almost every day since he was four and a half. He probably can't remember life before the patch. I thought back to when he was three and started closing his right eye all the time. At the park one day Lindsay gently suggested that we have his eyes checked. I wrote it off as a tick. Eric had ticks and it looked exactly like a tick to me. Then one day we were at McDonalds and Eric asked Brigham to tell him the letter he was pointing to on a sign. He couldn't read the letter without closing his right eye.

I know that patch is itchy, sweaty and horrible. I know it must be frustrating for Briggie to have to use his "fuzzy eye" when he's doing school work. I know kids look at him funny sometimes. I know he gets SO TIRED of answering the oft-repeated question, "What happened to your eye?". But he never complains. I wanted so badly to throw a patch-burning party, buy him a huge present and call it quits.

Then I thought of his happy little face when I pick him up from art class every Tuesday afternoon. I pictured him hunched in his bed at night doing origami by the light of a flashlight. I remembered the pride in his eyes when he told me his dragon picture had won the class vote and would be the design on their field day t-shirt. My heart told me that Brigham needs both eyes to be able to fully express the creativity that pulses through his veins. So this morning when I pressed the patch over his eye, making sure to close all the gaps, I reminded him not to take it off until he got home.

Back in the doctor's office there was more news to digest...Marley has differing degrees of farsightedness in each eye- what the doctor termed "a perfect set-up for what her brother has". We'll start with glasses and hope that's enough to convince her brain to keep using both eyes. I'm ready to pray like crazy for help in keeping the glasses on her head and in one piece. I know it's vain, but it breaks my heart to think of her beautiful brown eyes covered by thick lenses. But I am so, so glad we've caught it early and that we have the ability to help her.

So...more appointments, more patching, more time spent searching the house for lost glasses....

What can say except, bring it.


Dinner plans

There is this house in my neighborhood that I'm obsessed with. I met the woman who lives in it while we were waiting for our kids at the school one afternoon. She had a B.O.B and I was thinking about getting one, so I asked her if she liked hers. I asked where she lived and she named the street, specifying, "next to the blue house".

The blue house is like the pretty blond cheerleader that everyone loves: cute in an obvious sort of way. But the house next to the blue house is like the girl who doesn't immediately stand out, but once you get to know her a little, you think she's pretty. (I use this analogy for a lot of things: towns, schools, teachers, houses...it's very versatile.) Anyway, personally, I always go for the less obvious- the diamond in the rough- and that's what this house is. It's long and low, with a faded brick exterior. The yard is a plain, flat expanse of grass with little in the way of bushes or flowers. There are no curtains in the windows, no pumpkins on the porch. I imagine the interior being equally plain and unadorned: white carpet, very little furniture, mostly blank walls. It's peaceful and uncluttered in a zen sort of way. I love it.

I spent the day putting the house in order and cleaning the bathroom, which included the sinkful of broken glass I found when I woke up this morning. It took me ten minutes to figure out that a light bulb above the mirror had somehow shattered and landed in the sink. For a moment I imagined Eric deciding to change it in the early morning darkness, but that just didn't seem likely. Later I asked him and he said he'd heard it explode spontaneously in the night.

Brigham went home with a friend after school and Eric and little Eric are heading to the airport soon to meet our dear friend Paul for dinner during his layover in Atlanta. Which leaves me and the girl for dinner and just try to guess where we're going?

The brick house.

They're Indian and they're hosting a dinner for the International Friends club at the school. And I'm half-Egyptian and I'm dying to see inside the house. We're taking pumpkin bread because I never have the time to learn how to make stuffed grape leaves. I'll probably walk, with Marley riding in the B.O.B. of course:).