A short while ago, much to my chagrin, Meredith and I returned to our beloved home to find it littered with poo all over the hardwood floor (and some on the L.L.Bean wet hog mats by the front door). You can imagine my surprise (and the James Bond-like cool with which I kept my composure).

We were turning around to head out some place and I paused long enough to actually consider leaving the poo in position until we returned later. Not cool, I remember telling myself. Pick it up now, I intoned to the dumbfounded me, or you’ll exercise that license to kill that you got from MI-6 during that “incident” in the communist stronghold of Penney, Vermont.

So, I would clean now and it would be fine. The question remained, with what shall I clean it, dear Liza, dear Liza? Regulation poop bags from Price Chopper weren’t going to work in the dense toy undergrowth that is our household floor. I paused a moment longer and decided on a course of action worthy of General Pickett. Armed with a fresh roll of paper towels and a spray can of Pledge I attacked the poo bunkers that dotted the floor in a pattern that resembled self portrait of Picasso on ritalin.

Who knew that, while providing a beautiful sheen to our otherwise lackluster floor, the use of Pledge would cause the surface of the floor to become like a freshly Zamboni-ed speed skating track. Over three weeks later and we are still stepping carefully over that portion of the floor in fear of taking a Vermont-sized digger.

The advice I leave you with is this: while you may pledge allegiance to our flag, I would keep your Pledge from your paths.

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We all have M names. Even the dog:
And Merlin

We did have a fish at one time that did not have an M name. In fact, it never really had a name at all. Maybe it died in despair knowing that it was never really a member of our family because it lacked an appropriately begun name.

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I have one.

Notice the lime green cast.

His name is Merlin.


He has his moments

He is a pug.

Are you lookin' at me?

He is also a Repuglican.

Patriotic Pug

The letter D’s theme was suggested by my wife, Meredith.

Good morning.

It has been almost a week since Meredith had her shunt removed, and praise God she has had no symptoms indicating a regression of any kind. It is still possible for swelling to occur but God willing that won’t happen. Everything seems to be headed in the right direction.

When compared to the progress she made when she first came home the progress that she’s making now seems to be in larger strides. She is still a long way off from where we all want her to be, but between the therapies, time at home in a “normal” environment, and a lot of blessings from God she is moving in the right direction.

We are also in the process of tapering the last of her medications. She has been on some form of steroid for about 9 months. I don’t know a whole lot about steroids and their effects on the human body, but from people who know more than me they say it is not a good thing to be on steroids if you can help it. So, hopefully by early December (if not sooner), she will have weaned off of the steroid and she will essentially be medication free.

Considering that she still has the tumor (as of the last MRI scan in August) and she still has a long road to neuromuscular recovery, I think that it’s pretty darn amazing that she doesn’t need any medication.

On another note…Malcolm has developed a fever that got as high as 103.8 last night. The good news is that it responds to Tylenol, so I haven’t panicked yet (I was considering an ice bath instead of medication, but thought better of it).

Maura continues to learn words at a typical almost-two-year-old pace. So, if you happen to see her, be sure to watch what you say. Or, if you prefer a challenge, I would love for my children to have a rich vocabulary and an inquisitive mind, so use plenty of multi-syllabic words with complex meanings. Of course, if you do that, be prepared to do a lot of explaining to an attention-challenged 21-month-old.

Merlin…well, he and I went to the dump yesterday. He loves the dump (who doesn’t?). He scored because not only did he get a treat when we brought our trash, but he got another one when we brought Papa’s office trash. Lucky dog.

Your prayers, thoughts, and generosity have been tremendous and I pray that God will bless you each in a mighty way. Take care and God bless.


Caring Bridge web site

Here is a copy of my post to Meredith’s CaringBridge site when we all took a trip to the grocery store…


…just had to share this…

I took Malcolm, Maura, and Meredith to the grocery store yesterday.  Yes, that’s right, by myself. 

We got to the store before I realized I forgot the list.  Whoops.  No big deal, I just barely wrote it down, so it was fresh in the memory banks.

Got out of the car and realized…how am I going to push the cart, the wheel chair, and keep two kids under control?  No big deal, Malcolm could push mommy and I could push Maura in the cart.

Got a quarter of the way down the first aisle before I noticed…Malcolm had run mommy into an unsuspecting grocery store patron perusing the greeting cards.  Got another quarter of the way down the same aisle before Malcolm and mommy nearly knock over a cardboard display box.  Yet another quarter of the way down the same aisle and I turn to see Malcolm investigating some sparkly, glowing sticks.  “What ‘dat, daddy?”  After a couple minutes of ruthless negotiating, I pulled him away from the pretty objects and finally made it to the end of the first aisle.

Plan B, I put Malcolm in the front of the grocery cart and I pushed mommy while I pulled the cart (poor Maura was like the caboose on a train, only seeing where we had already been and not where we were going).

Things are going swimmingly until we hit the magazine aisle.  Not only are there magazines, but there are children’s books as well.  Turns out that those books bought me an extra 10 minutes of peaceful grocery store time when all was said and done.

By the time we hit the cash register, all you could see of Malcolm was his little blonde head peeking out from between the loaves of bread and the toilet paper, Maura was no longer entertained by Dora The Explorer’s exploits, and Mommy was patient, but she was ready to lie down and rest.

Got all the way to the car before I realized…where was I going to put the groceries?  With two car seats in the back seat and Meredith’s wheelchair in the back, there wasn’t really room for the foodstuffs.  So, taking care not to smash the eggs, I packed the back of the car like a game of Tetris and gently slammed shut the door.

Now, on our way back home, I take look at the clock and realize…it’s quarter ‘til one.  That would be an hour past lunch time and only 15 minutes before nap time.  So, I had to feed everyone lunch, get Meredith and the kids to bed and find the energy to actually put away the groceries.  Trying to maintain my cool, I slow my breathing to achieve a zen-like state of mind.  Not that I began to achieve any sort of balance with the universe, but I kept my anxieties in check.

When we pulled into the driveway I realized…Zen is a load of hooey and I couldn’t use the wheelchair to get Meredith in the house before I unloaded groceries because you’ll remember that the bags are tucked Tetris-style into every little nook and Thomas’ cranny.  So, I walked Meredith from the car to the front door of the house and to the seat in the front hallway (which under normal circumstances would have been something to celebrate, but we were a little pressed for time).  Merlin managed to escape during our entrance to the house because Malcolm and Maura were just lingering in the open doorway while I was walking mommy.  With Meredith sitting in the gossip chair (that’s another story) in the front hallway, Malcolm, Maura and I went out to get Merlin back to the house.

He stopped across the street to pee and we managed to coax him back to our side of the street.  I told the kids to start walking to the house to encourage Merlin to follow us and Malcolm and I started to make our way back to the house.  I turned to check on the pug’s progress (apologies to Bunyon fans) and Maura and Merlin were in a stare down.  I told Maura to come with us so Merlin would follow.  She proceeded to get down on her knees and snort through her nose to imitate Merlin’s breathing.  Methinks she misunderstood.  At the time, I wasn’t particularly amused, but I knew it would be funny later.  Ha, ha.

Now, everyone’s back in the house.  Meredith needs to use the potty (which requires my assistance).  Malcolm and Maura are running amok on a hypoglycemic frenzy and Meredith and I are dodging two and four legged creatures as they dart in and out of our legs.  Malcolm comes over to me with one shoe off and says that he can’t get the other one off.  So, being the wannabe magician that I am, I give it a quick yank (as per the table cloth trick) and proceeded to triple sowcow Malcolm to the floor with a perfect landing for a high dive competition. 

After consoling Malcolm and cleaning mommy, I am finally able to bring the groceries into the house.  At this point, life returns to a more acceptable pace and I manage to get the groceries away, feed everyone lunch, get everyone down for a nap, and plop myself down to watch some football only to discover that the Patriots are getting creamed by the Dolphins.  No bit of light-hearted entertainment or encouragement there, so I took a nap.

PS And still the Red Sox find ways to make getting to the playoffs look like a Shakespearean comedy.  We’re at the part when we discover that David Ortiz is really a man pretending to be girl, pretending to be a man so that he can keep his number three spot in the line-up even though Dustpan Petunia tops the league in three different offensive categories (including nose hair).  Jacobin Elderberry is shouting vive le stolen base, while Jason “I’m not Manny Ramirez” Baywatch is looking for his muse.  Cocoa Crispies is negotiating a Faustian deal with Crackle, to take over Snap and Pop’s share of Kellog’s.  Kevin YouCanDoIt is still amazed that he wasn’t cast as Lex Luthor in the most recent Superman movie and VariTekTacToe, Paplebonbon and the First Lowell are masterminding a Machiavellian scheme to take everyone’s maple bats and replace them with pine.  In the end, let’s hope that we’ll see Kevin Rock the Cashbah throw off the catcher’s mask, tilt his head back and share a laugh with Terry Franconia Notch. 

As Maceo Parker would say, pass the peas like we used to do.