Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Into the New Year (part the second)

Continuing the adventures of Sonny, Ashley, Cricket & Maggie as they document their trek across Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi and back again…and you have NO idea how tempting it is to type “There and Back Again” as the title to this…

THE MORNING OF DECEMBER 26: DAY FIVE OF THE GREAT SOUTHEASTERN ROADTRIP OF 2007: If you want to see something entertaining, you should see me interacting with the gift that Ashley’s dad gave us. As a Christmas/late wedding present, we received a Tom Tom Go GPS system for the car – for no other reason than I have the natural navigation skills of a nearsighted Weeble. With vertigo. Which makes riding in my car with me driving in Miami an educational experience for sure. Anyway, we drove from Georgia through Alabama without a hitch until we hit Birmingham. Then, this device of the devil went partially blind and/or insane and navigated us through what can only be described as a “disreputable” part of the city. We eventually found our way back to Highway 78…but the best part was that as we drove on 78, the GPS system…lost us. We literally looked like we were driving through nothing on the face of the GPS monitor. As Ashley and I commented about “going off the grid” and “not even satellites can find us in Alabama,” we had a good laugh at the expense of this technological thingie.

We finally made our way to Tupelo sometime around 7:00 (CST) – and I got to see my parents for the first time since May 27. Almost seven months. I think my little Grinch heart grew three sizes in that moment.

One thing I have failed to mention up to this point was Ashley’s health. Ash, you see, has major allergies and asthma. Right about the time that her system was getting fully acclimated to Athens…after three years…we uproot and move to a completely different climate, with its own little new amounts of allergens in the air and water. Yeah. Fun. So, for the last few months, she’s been trying to get adjusted to living in Florida, with mixed results.

So – for those of you who’re sadistic and/or have a background in medicine (sometime, this runs a little closer that people might think)…imagine what it was doing to her system to go from southern Florida to southeastern GA to northeast MS in the span of about a week. But, more on that later…
The only other moment of note was when we made our way to dinner that evening and the restaurant managed to somehow mess up my order for a chicken calzone. Welcome home to Tupelo…

This morning saw Ashley experience a true Lemmons Christmas Tradition™ with the introduction of the “Happy Box.” Now, what might be a “Happy Box?” Well, this was something that my sister and I helped to concoct to meet the demands of my mother’s love language (giving gifts) and to keep her happy. Every Christmas, my mom would help to update the respective underwear drawers of my sister and me by going on a t-shirt and/or undergarment buying frenzy. However, no self-respecting kid wants to open underwear as a gift on Christmas morning, so we reached a compromise of sorts that would sate my mother’s desire to make sure we had clean, hole-free undies and to stave the rabid bloodlust for presents that a younger Sonny and Lea Anne had: the morning of Christmas Eve, we could open the “Happy Box,” which held the new unmentionables as well as a new pair of pajamas, which were not to be worn until Christmas morning.

This tradition has held up through the ages, and even extends to today…where my sister, Ashley and I all got similar pajamas to wear on “Christmas morning” the next day. And before you ask - no. There are no photos of us in our respective matching iPod themed pajamas. And you’re all depraved for asking.

So, besides having to endure the repeated comments of how precious this tradition is by my clearly mentally deranged wife – nothing of any sizeable event happened this day. We ate, we drive around the city of Tupelo, and…yeah. Oh, Ashley and I DID get to go to a Kroger’s for the first time in almost six months. And if that was the most monumental event of the day…you know the day was quiet.

DECEMBER 28: DAY SEVEN OF THE GREAT SOUTHEASTERN ROADTRIP OF 2007: So. That bit about Ashley’s health? This morning, it took a MAJOR turn for the worse…

Ashley woke up after only having slept maybe 3-4 hours that night due to her breathing being so labored. Her mother – who also suffers from asthma – had given her the portable treatment machine from her house in case she needed it. Turns out that this was greatly needed, as she used not one but two treatments in 48 hours. But, by this point, because her system was so hopped up on chemicals to help her breathe, coupled with the fact that she really couldn’t due to the conditions of my parents’ house, nothing was really working. So, at 5:15 in the morning, we went out to my car so she could sit in the cold air and just let her lungs clear out. This helped, but at the same time, I knew that something more drastic was needed. I kept suggesting that we go to the hospital, but she kept insisting that she’d be fine after a while.

We stayed out in my car for a good 45 minutes…which was great, because if nothing else, it gave the neighbors across the street something to gawk at. You see, the couple who live across the street from my parents embody the stereotype of the quintessential older Southern couple who take it upon themselves to – of course – be experts on EVERYBODY’S business save for their own, of which they, of course, have no problems, skeletons in the closet, or the like. Sweet kids as far as judgmental, opinionated and critical people go. Really.

Anyway, after we came back inside, it took the combined genius skills of me, my mom, my sister, and my dad to remember that I have a second cousin who is not only a doctor, but he is the only allergy specialist in all of Northeast Mississippi…and he was a phone call away. – look, I never said I was all that swift before my first 16 cups of coffee in the morning, did I? So, I spoke with Robert Bryson on the phone, explained the symptoms, and he graciously called in a prescription or two to the local pharmacist, at no charge. I still have to remember to send the guy a thank-you gift. Ashley and I waited a little while for the prescription to be filled, drove off to get it, and – thankfully – they helped immensely. So much so that she was able to stop using the bronchial inhaler. …which was good, because I needed it after all that. Ashley’s not the only person in our family who suffers from asthma. Our kids are screwed.

So, after all that…we came home, showered, changed clothes, put on our Happy Box PJ’s, and went downstairs to open our gifts.


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