Philmont photos.

The boys came back from Philmont last Thursday. The flight home was late and it meant that the boys stepped into the house at midnight from BWI. Jeremy and I spent the flight texting each other over WhatsApp which is free over their wifi system. Jeremy said that 24,000 scouts were suppose to go through this summer and although they hiked more than 60 miles, they were never really far from anyone. Philmont works like this, you hike about 4-6 hours a day, and there is usually an activity where the day’s hike ends or begins. They were working really short staffed and they were actually doing trail hires where if you were 18 hiking with your troop, they’d offer you a job right then and there and you just call your mom and tell her you aren’t coming home until later. None of our boys did that.

You can pick a hike heavy trip with fewer activities or a trip with more activities and less hiking or a good mix of both. Vince’s group picked an itenerary with a good mix of both hiking and programming, but a little longer on the hiking. The troop sent 19 people and split up into two groups. Vince and Jeremy went with the younger crew, so the hiking was just a tad easier. The other crew had older boys and did a more strenuous hike. So there was mountain biking, tomahawk throwing, pole climbing, blacksmithing, etc.

Jeremy said the mountain bikes were nice. Nicer than his mountain bike. He thinks the boy scouts get them at cost and it’s a nice product placement for the companies. Thousands of scouts will ride those bikes. Jeremy said the food was terrible. Mismatched and weird. He thinks also a lot of food gets donated, so there were items like sriracha peanut butter.

Vince’s troop hadn’t gone in 50 years to Philmont and the last time they went, a scout died when he was hit by lightning. All the boys knew about this and were actually telling it as part of meeting other troops on the trail. The whole lighting thing was nerve wracking for Jeremy because they were slated to climb Mt. Baldy, the highest peak in the area. But this involved an hour of hiking on clear, exposed rock. So they hiked up there, early to avoid afternoon summer storms. But when they got to the top, all the boys wanted to call home. They all knew this was the only spot to get cell service. And of course Jeremy was the only person to not let his phone completely run out of charge, so all the boys wanted to use Jeremy’s phone to call their mothers. That meant they were on the peak for an hour – the whole time, Jeremy could see the afternoon storm clouds come closer to the mountain. Anyways, as soon as the conversations were over, he grabbed the phone and hustled everyone off the mountain safely.

About 20% of the treks are burro itineraries. All over youtube and the chat groups, everyone thinks the burros are a pain in the ass. The advice is clearly – do not pick a trek with the burro. But the boys picked a burro trek and I asked Vince why and he said, the burro will be a pain in the ass, but there will be awesome stories. And there was a crazy story involving actually losing their burro. They had penned him up for the night and when they went to fetch him from the pen in the morning, the gate was wide open and the burro was nowhere to be found. They blamed their sister crew who also had penned their burro up for the night, but left a few hours early the next morning with their burro and probably left the gate loosely closed. Anyways, the burro was loose, but then about 80% of the way through the hike, they found the burro again, just happily eating grass on the side of the trail. The burro just followed them without a harness or anything to the next campsite.

A few videos for your amusement. Reentry into real life has been hard on all of us. I’ll tell you why in the next blog post.

Sunday night dinner.

I spent the day inside thankful that the air conditioning seemed to be holding up. I hosted Sunday night dinner, something that I’m perfectly capable of doing, but something that I don’t excitedly lean into doing. I made potato salad.

And homemade chocolate chip cookies – which got glowing reviews.

And I started up the grill and managed to grill a couple of homemade burger patties until I made Eric take over the grilling. It’s really something standing in front of a grill on a 95 degree day.

Mt. Baldy, heat, Minivan.

Jeremy, for a moment on top of Mt Baldy- the tallest peak in the Cimarron range – turned on his phone and sent me a text saying they had made it to the top and that the boys were doing well and they were having a great time. And then he turned his phone off. That’s it until Wed.

In some ways, I’m glad that he’s out there with Vince enjoying the (hopefully) cooler weather and beautiful nature at 12,000 ft and bypassing our terrible heatwave and the terrible national news.

It is another weekend hanging out with Edda, but we are mostly staying inside because of the oppressive heat. I vacuumed out the minivan today which was satisfying in its own way, sweating up a storm in the open garage with a shop vac vacuuming tumbleweeds of Ruby’s hair and piles of stale cheerios. When was the last time Ruby rode in the minivan? Election night 2016. When was the last time children ate cheerios in the car? Probably much longer ago than that.

Part time, normal, tupperware.

This is the last week I’m part time at both jobs. Starting next Sunday, I’m going back to full time at my regular job which means it’s been a whole year since I started working at the hospital. I’m enjoying the extra time in my schedule, I’ll be a little sad to see it go, but that was the plan all along.

Mammogram – everything is normal. Which is good because I was a little worried about them.

With Jeremy gone, I’m doing 100% of the kitchen work which is up from my usual 10%. I visit the kitchen often enough and try to be helpful in many ways, but it usually ends up with Jeremy taking me aside and saying for the 10,000th time, ok Doris, don’t take this as a criticism, this is only a suggestion, but if you face the forks in this direction instead of that direction in the dishwasher, then they won’t hit each other and you can load 50% more forks. Increased forkage! sigh. I’m always baffled by the Tupperware cabinet. I know there is a way to fit all the containers and the lids in some organized way, but no matter what I do, I’m always left with 2-3 containers/lids that I can’t stuff into the cabinet.

It’s nice that Edda’s caregivers are around during dinner. It means I actually make dinner instead of eating oatmeal or cereal for dinner.

I am still thinking of Vince’s college essay. How did it never cross my mind that the essay should be about Edda? I think I think that it’s not Vince’s story to tell. It’s Edda’s story to tell. Maybe I think it’s too personal to be a college essay. Does that make any sense at all? I think that the college essay should be more outward looking than inward looking, though I’m sure I mentioned Edda in my essay when I applied to nursing school. I came across this article about the problem with memoirs from the NY Times written by Neil Genzlinger who has a daughter with Rett Syndrome.

Philmont & Spiderman.

Jeremy and Vince dropped out of cell service this morning. Those two often travel away from me, but usually at different times and to different places and almost never without cell service, so suddenly I feel lonely without them even though they’ve been gone already three days now. And my in-laws are also not within cell service either – they’ve been crossing the Atlantic for the past week and now in Europe without phones. It’s like we are back in the early 90s with the Martin part of my family. Everything, I assume, went fine with Philmont check-in. I asked Vince if Jeremy was holding up OK – Vince said that Jeremy was not very loud, but doing great! I’ve been reduced to watching youtube videos of other troops’ hikes in order to live vicariously.

Checking in at Philmont.

Edda and I had the whole weekend together which is kind of a rare occurrence. I tried to mix enough activities out of the house with hanging out at home to make me feel like we are seeing people and doing interesting things and relaxing in a perfectly balanced ecosystem of moods. It’s tricky. If you don’t get the balance right, you can get the scary little thoughts creeping in like – I wonder if Edda knows the boys are gone? Does she miss them? I wonder if Edda knows I’m her mother? I’m not sure. Would she miss me if I were gone? What if the boys get in trouble and I won’t know for days? argh. I mostly did not think these thoughts and had a nice weekend.

Edda and I went to see the latest Spiderman movie. I have no idea what it is called and Vince was trying desperately to catch me up with all the Marvel gossip before he left for Philmont. I’m like there are bad guys and good guys and I think I only have to know that. It was a fun movie, I’m mostly bedazzled at what movie making can do these days.

Your friendly neighborhood spiderman.

We emission tested the van together.

Waiting in line at the self-help kiosk.

There was some quiet quilting and napping. We also had Sunday night dinner on Saturday at Eric’s house and Ning and Brian & Noah made dinner for us on Sunday. Now for a dog walk, some dishes, showering Edda and then tucking her in and finally tucking me in.


Philmont & UTIs.

The boys are off to Philmont. Started at 4am on Thursday morning when Jeremy’s alarm went off. It wasn’t necessary, he hadn’t slept at all that night. We did some last minute things (I think which only meant that Jeremy made himself a cup of coffee) and then loaded Vince up in the van and drove the 0.75 miles to the church – the meet up place. I did not bother to put on real clothes, I showed up in my pajamas.

Boys all in a row.

Of course, there was last minute drama. Medical forms that were handed in at the very last, last minute, someone had to run home to get something (30 min roundtrip), someone urging the carpools to leave right this minute (5:30am for an 8:50 flight) because you’ll hit traffic, people asking – hey remember to put in the frequent flyer number for the flight. But it was fine, everyone got into cars and headed off to the airport. I was there just in case, but it turns out there was no just in case, so I headed back home and tried to go back to sleep, but that was futile.

Jeremy with the boys at the airport.
Seated together.

The flight was fine, the rental vans were fine. Jeremy was nervous because he had tried to save money on the two days of lodging in ABQ (for altitude adjustment) and booked cabins which he had regretted last week because he thought there was no air conditioning, but it turned out there was air conditioning and a pool and the cabins were a nice place to hang out.


When I spoke to Jeremy this morning, he said he slept well and is much more relaxed. The plan is going well, the kids are having fun and getting along. He took a walk early this morning before the boys woke up.


The afternoon found them going up a mountain to 10,000 ft elevation taking the Sandia Peak Tramway.

Dinner at the Owl Cafe.

Grownups in charge.

After I dropped off the boys on Thursday morning and tried to go back to sleep, I ended up going back to the hospital to celebrate our unit’s 1-year-free of CLABSI (central line associated bloodstream infection) and CAUTI (catheter associated urinary tract infections). These are some of my silly and wonderful coworkers – there was a STAT team called the same time at the breakfast, so turnout was a little low, but I think they brought the food back upstairs.

Pain, blonde, essays.

The boys are getting ready to leave for Philmont tomorrow so the house is swirling with activity. I squeezed in three shifts at the hospital over July 4th weekend so I’m working from home the two weeks that they are in New Mexico.

On Monday, every single one of my five patients needed pain medication. I was giving out morphine, percocet, dilaudid, Xanax, oxy & flexeril all day. A day of pain management is a tough day. That’s like 3-5 doses of pain medication per patient so – 15 trips to retrieve the medication, administer medication and then to find a witness to waste the narcotic because sometimes the ampule comes with 4 mg, but the order says 2 mg. I hate pain management, one feels like a drug dealer.

There still is hair dying occuring in the house:

Bacon socks.
Vince is blonde.

We squeezed in the beginnings of the college application process a few days ago by beginning to talk about the “brag sheet” that Vince was to provide to the guidance counselor by the end of the school year last year. (whoops) It started out rough (because, as we know, my hang-up is college admissions), as these conversations usually go between me and Vince and then it smoothed out by the end (which I give 100% of the credit to Vince). Vince was writing about various jobs he’s had or leadership roles and, of course, I’m encouraging him to polish them up a little (spin) and he rolls his eyes. But we have fun. I’m like – put down that you babysat toddlers and they voted you favorite babysitter because you make a mean Kraft mac & cheese. Then halfway through the hour, hour and a half we are talking about this, he looks at me and says, am I supposed to get pity points? Should my college essay be about Edda? Because it sucks, of course, but I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for us. Then we discuss this a bit. I asked a friend about this – she said, of course you have him write the essay about Edda, how could you not? I’m like, Edda’s not really that sick. We are lucky, we aren’t in the hospital all the time, she doesn’t have seizures, she eats well, I’m not worried when she catches a cold – I can still control my lifestyle pretty well. Sure, I gotta find childcare, but it’s not super specialized childcare. And she’s like – Doris, you know she’s really far from being well, right? And then I say, only when I talk to people with typical kids and usually only for the first time I talk about Edda am I reminded that Edda is really far from well.

The spaghetti sauce exploded in the Target shipment.

Incontinent, tube of turkey, resilience.

On July 3rd, Vince hosted a party at the house. About ten kids, eating pizza and chips. I think Max got fed lots of pizza bones. When we got up in the morning we found a whole slice of pizza sitting right outside our bedroom door. Was Max so full that she couldn’t eat the last slice of pizza she found? I went to work at the hospital early in the morning, by the time I got home, Max had peed five times all around the house. Jeremy had stripped cushion covers off two couches, ripped the quilt and down comforters off of our bed and wet vac-ed numerous spots. I groaned. I’m like we have some crazy diabetic dog where we’ll have to give insulin shots Q4 hours. But it turns out that Max is probably just incontinent. Because, as the vet says, she’s a senior dog. I’m like – how is she a senior dog? She’s the new dog. The new dog we got 9 years ago.

Max loves the string cheese at the vet.

Jeremy is experimenting with turkey for Thanksgiving. Really though, my parents left us this large turkey when they went to the West Coast and we need to empty the freezer chest to defrost it sometime this summer. He took the turkey breast off of the turkey, tied it in a tube and then sous vide it for many hours. It turned out perfectly evenly cooked, but kinda not palatable. One could not help comparing it to spam.

Tube of turkey breast.

I had a difficult shift at the hospital on Thursday. I think I should be able to better handle the situations and be emotionally/physically resilient as time moves on, but it is not true. I spent a lot of time on Friday and today napping and fretting about going back to work tomorrow. Jeremy is trying to tell me that it’s just the way I see things – that I think there should be some satisfying and definitive solution to a flawed world. He thinks I should just accept a flawed world and that the world will always be flawed and we can only move the world towards being slightly less flawed.