Hey, It's Jade! and family

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Most Eventful Weekend...

On our way to ALR!
Two of my upline and I headed off on a road trip on Thursday (Jan 8th) to Ridgedale, MO (near Branson) for the Advanced Leadership Conference with our company, Usborne Books & More.  Our trip up was nice, trouble-free.  Stephanie and Holly had made the drive the year before in a dense fog and kept joking about how they almost died because they could not see... and there are a lot of high, mountain passes and twisty curves, so, yes... they had been in danger!  Our drive was fine, though.  We made it to the beautiful Big Cedar Lodge and had a wonderful first evening and full day of training the next.  The boys were staying with my parents Thursday evening, and Michael picked them up on Friday after he got off from work. 

Well, very late Friday night Michael started having what he thought were bad heartburn pains, and then coughing up blood.  He called me at 3am saying, "I think I have an emergency."  I tried to calm him down and figure out what was going on, but I'm not good at anything medical, so I didn't know.  When I hung up with Michael after that call, I didn't know what he was going to do... and since I didn't hear back from him, I figured it must have passed and he went back to sleep.  I didn't sleep much myself wondering and worrying, but got a text from him about 7am saying "I'm not dead yet, but at the ER.  Running tests!"  I didn't realize he had driven himself and the boys to the ER (and apparently Callen put up a big mean fuss about being woken up, yikes!)  Thankfully, Michael's parents are down for a two-month long visit and staying relatively near by, so Steve came and got the boys from the ER and brought them back to our house and they went back to bed.  I called my mom and asked her to go to the house and take over for Steve so he could go back up to the hospital to be with Michael.

After going back and forth through text with Michael and Steve, turns out the tests pointed to Michael's gallbladder and it needed to be removed ASAP.  SURGERY!  I was so upset that I wasn't there and was having a really hard time deciding between staying where I was and rushing back to Texas by myself.  Everyone told me to stay where I was, so I listened.  Michael was in good hands at the hospital, his dad was there, my kids were with my mom... there wasn't much I could do.  I tried to continue with a full-day of sitting through training, but I had a difficult time concentrating.  The word spread quickly and everyone was coming up asking questions and offering prayers and and nice words.  I even got a hug and a few words of encouragement from Randall White, our President/CEO.  I remember crying a lot, praying a lot and blowing up my phone with texts and calls all day long.  Michael's surgery kept getting pushed back, till finally about 5pm, he went in.  I could have been there had I left that morning.  The surgery went well, and this gallbladder was full of stones, according to the doctor.  He had 4 holes poked into him.  He stayed over night and was released on Sunday afternoon.

Sunday morning was the day we were supposed to leave Big Cedar Lodge and the girls riding with me agreed we could leave at 6am, so we jumped up and got in the car (in our PJs and all!), intending to miss a storm that was coming in from the Northeast.  Well, turns out we ran smack dab into the middle of one that was in Arkansas.  The main freeway was shut down and there was about a 2 hours standstill reported, so the GPS offered an alternate route, which LOOKED like it bypassed the mountains completely.  That seemed like a good idea at the time.  Well, we soon found out it steadily went right up a mountain and was far less traveled, which is NOT a good combination.  We passed many cars spun off on to the sides of the road and kept going.  Then we got to a part with a sign that read "Steep Slope Ahead."  Uh oh.  Indeed.  The entire highway was a giant sheet of ice, and there was absolutely nothing I could do anymore.... there was no way to accelerate so we just kind of came to a slow stop, and then the car started sliding sideways.  We slid, almost in slow motion, into a guard rail on the side of the road.  It was pretty much a straight drop down the other side of it, but luckily we just struck the guard rail a little.  We tried to get out, but the highway was, as I said, one giant sheet of ice, it was impossible to cross or walk around on.  We didn't see any other civilization, no real houses or businesses.  So, we sat there for a while, charging up our phones, calling 911 to let them know where we were exactly, letting our loved ones know we had a bit of delay, lol. 

Just slowly slid and stopped there.
Solid sheet of ice!
We sat on the side of the road there for about an hour and a half.  We got periodic calls from the 911 dispatch saying they couldn't come to us because all of their resources were stuck, too.  The firetruck had slid off into a ditch, the two sheriff trucks were off the roads, the wrecker was wrecked, etc.  REALLY!  We pretty much made it the farthest up the mountain out of anyone, and no one could come for us!  At one point we saw some hope!  A sand truck was making it's way up and around the corner, but then before our very eyes, it slid off the road, too.  Thankfully, the fireman who had the firetruck off into the ditch a little ways down came to check on that guy, and saw us!  He was able to make his way over to use and ask us if we wanted to come down to where he and a bunch of others were gathered in some warm work trucks.  My car wouldn't start at that point, I had ran the battery down charging the phones and such, oops!  So, we decided to take him up on that.  We gathered some stuff and blankets and headed along the guard rail with him down the mountain.  A little ways down I noticed a house across the street, and having to go to the bathroom pretty badly by then, wondered out loud if those people were home because it'd be nice to use there bathroom!!!  The sweet Fireman, grabbed his phone and goes, "Let me call them!"  We then realized we were in a town of 399 people, everyone knew everyone in Winslow, AR!  Thankfully, they were home and we could come use their bathroom, but we had to figure out how to cross the highway, which was solid ice.  Fireman Shane said he had witnessed a lady walk along on her blanket for traction, so we tried it and worked.  Was a very interesting experience shuffling along across a highway on a blanket (IN MY PJs, mind you!), but it worked. 

These sweet older couple let us into their home and we used their bathroom, they offered us coffee and cookies and said we could stay there as long as we needed.  Stephanie asked if they were football fans and they turned on the Cowboy game for us, lol.  They served us lunch and everything.  We had a wonderful time getting to know these people who saved our lives.  At this point I hadn't told Michael what had happened because I didn't want him worrying about me, so when I found out he was finally home with his mom, I called and told him the story.  We tried so hard to get up early and get home as fast as we could, we ended up with an extra 5-hour delay.  Finally, it rained a bit and warmed up a little, so the sand truck was able to drive backwards, sanding himself up the mountain.  We jump started the car and got it off the guard rail and everything looked fine.  The sweet couple escorted us all the way back down to the mountain and over to the main freeway again.  And we were on our way home at last.  I got home about 9pm on Sunday.

Whew.  What a weekend to remember!  Thankfully, Michael is doing much better now, he is healing very well and back to moving around and working and all that.  The dent in the car popped itself out pretty much, which is awesome.  And good grief, I learned my lesson about Arkansas back roads!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Christmas, New Years, Gone Already!

I can hardly believe we are sitting on this side of 2015 already.  I know once we hit Preston's birthday, time just rushes past... and yep, happened again.  We celebrated Preston's birthday, then mine, Christmas and New Years all in a whirlwind!

Michael was off for a week and a half so it was really nice having him home and all to ourselves for that long.  We put together two of the Thomas Kinkade Disney Puzzles, checked out the Whistle Stop Christmas display in Cleburne (and had some yummy BBQ there), watched our own little home town parade of lights, enjoyed time with my parents on Christmas Eve, had a lazy, quite Christmas Day, celebrated New Year's Eve by popping balloons every hour from 6-midnight, watched lots of movies, read books, slept a lot, and who knows what else.  It was wonderful!

My guys decorating the tree.
Ready to start our first puzzle!  Those faces!
Christmas Eve.  Can we open presents yet?
I am so proud of my boys.  This year, instead of asking for big gifts from Santa, they only wanted little things in their stockings and we spent time giving to others instead.  We took yummy treats to our neighbors, and Preston donated his brand new Razor Scotter to a local boy who wasn't getting much of a Christmas.  They were so kind and not at all upset about not getting a big Christmas morning surprise!  Love their little hearts!!!