Guns, Diplomas, and a Bar

We have just wrapped up Jerimiah’s birthday week, which was a little bizarre on account of the Covid-19 scare that happened halfway through, but still fun. If you’ll recall from previous posts we celebrate birthday weeks around here and give little gifts all week, until the finale on the person’s actual birthday. This year Jackson and I were at a loss on what to get Jerimiah. He’s sort of one of those people who never wants for anything for years and years, then suddenly he wants like, a new truck. Thankfully this was not a new truck year, so instead he asked for a new meat thermometer and a set of margarita glasses, so yeah, we didn’t have a lot to work with.

Jackson, who is currently obsessed with Call of Duty and SWAT teams, wanted to get Jerimiah a gun safe for his guns. The problem is, Jerimiah doesn’t have many guns, and the guns he does have he doesn’t really use. They are family guns that have been given to him over the years, and they sit around in long cases throughout the house. One tucked under a bed, one in a closet, an old German Mauser that I am pretty sure hasn’t been fired since like 1850. He just isn’t a “gun” person like our family (and Jackson) want him to be. He doesn’t hunt. He isn’t fearful for his life, feeling the need to keep semi-automatics around the house. He has a small array of these long guns that have been passed to him, and a nine mm that he keeps in a small safe in a location of the house neither Jackson nor I am privy to, with the bullets in a separate location. He’s a common-sense gun owner, if nothing else. So I compromised. I let Jackson pick out a gun rack for Jerimiah. One that he could sit the old, family rifles on. More like a display than anything else. That worked for Jackson and he went to work finding the perfect one.

Meanwhile, I asked his mom if she would get him some new frames for his diplomas, something simple and tasteful to stick in his home office, which has been his only office for the last four months. Then I set to work on reorganizing the office. Trying to decide what a real “man’s” office should be. Whatever that is. Whatever that isn’t, and well, with our powers combined I think we pulled it off. What follows is the redecoration/reorganization of Jerimiah’s office, complete with the added gun rack, a bar, and of course a bankers lamp, because every Controller needs one of those.

The Ascent of Jerimiah

Jerimiah was born on August 5th, 1981 at Mt. Carmel Hospital, a regional hospital in a small town in Southeast Kansas. The building itself was new, having been relocated in the late 1970s to a prime, 70-acre, $6 million lot in hopes of blossoming in a new era of hope, while shedding its reputation as a place of despair. It wasn’t the first renaissance the nearly-century-old hospital would see, and it was not the last. As it sits today it is the nearest level III trauma center option for people in a region of The Great Plains that sometimes has limited options.

Mt. Carmel Hospital was originally founded in 1903 by the Sisters of St. Joeseph of Wichita, Kansas. The same Wichita where Jerimiah would, 12 years after his birth at Mt. Carmel, attend middle school, the same Wichita that raised his mother. Mt. Carmel Hospital, though still standing as the good Sisters intended, has been through many transformations over the years and is now known as Ascension Via Christi Hospital. Quite the name. Quite the journey. A lot like Jerimiah.

Jerimiah’s parents chose his name based on initials. His uncle was John Robert (J.R.) Goodnight, and they wanted Jerimiah’s to be the same. So on August 5th, 1981 his mother scribbled the name onto his birth certificate paperwork, presumably on the labor and delivery floor of Mt. Carmel, either intentionally spelling her son’s name in contradiction to the Bible spelling of the same name because of her prophetic sense of who this child was, and who he would one day be. Or perhaps it was the slow IV drip she’d babied since the early morning hours. Or, you know, a typo. It was 1981, who can be sure.

What we can be sure of is that shortly after shedding his white blanket, with the pink and blue stripe every good, gendered, baby received from The Sisters of Mt. Carmel, the Jerimiah spelled with an “I” began his ascent to the loving, trusting, honest, hard-working, stubborn, educated, peaceful, kind man that he is today. That, and he stopped pooping in a diaper.

Jerimiah with an “I” has seen his fair share of ups and downs in his life. Like that time his older brother hoisted him into a tree by his overalls and let him hang around until someone else came by and took him down. Or that bright morning in high school when he decided to climb under his truck (while it was parked on a hill) to see what was going on, and he accidentally moved the gear into neutral and lay helpless as his truck ran over him. He was shaken by the truck, but had no broken bones. The torture of hanging outside in his overalls, well that had some further, lasting reach.

One can surmise a highlight of Jerimiah’s ascent to the man he is today, was set off by the love, kindness, tenacity, and beauty of his wife. Yes, that’s a fair assumption. Or perhaps it was the birth of his own J.R. Goodnight, in 2008. Either way, what Mt. Carmel, his mother, his brother, and his truck didn’t do to help, we certainly have. Gotta take credit where credit is due.

Which brings us to today (having skipped large swathes of time for reader enjoyment) Jerimiah with an “I”’s 39th rotation around the sun. Although I’ve only been part of 19 of those rotations, I am happy to have been part of the upward spiral, and incredibly excited about watching the next 39 work the same sort of magic, from the magic that lives, breathes, encapsulates the heart and soul of this amazing human being. Trust me, there’s more to come from Jerimiah with an “I”.

If you can squeeze in a happy birthday to this man today, I implore you to do so. And if not, that’s okay. He won’t think twice about it, and won’t have a mean thing to say. Unless you send him overalls.

Happy Birthday Jerimiah with an “I” from Mt. Carmel Hospital. May today, tomorrow, and all the tomorrows after that continue your rise to the person your Momma expected you to be.

I love you the most.

M.

Day Four

It’s day four of antibiotics and steroids. I keep waiting to wake up and feel like a million bucks, but the bucks aren’t coming. Still self-isolating while I wait for my Covid-19 test results. Jackson and Jerimiah aren’t exhibiting any symptoms which is good, but I’m still worried. We hoped for results today, but that was being optimistic of us. Jerimiah said he had a “white man moment” assuming that we’d get the results back at the earliest point mentioned. He’s funny, and overthinks sometimes like I do, but honestly it’s all probably just backlogged here. Meanwhile, my symptoms haven’t slowed, and I’ve developed some new ones. I’m playing this game of trying to think up reasons for the symptoms, like maybe my muscles ache because I slept wrong, or maybe I couldn’t taste my food because my nose is stuffy. Things like that.

I have two modes in most crisis situations: I either overreact immediately or, because I know that is a possibility, I under-react (is that a word?) as a means to combat the craziness that tries to sneak in. I felt myself wanting to overreact on Friday when no doctor would see me in person, so I’ve been mitigating that with this fun game of, “Chill, girl. You’re good. This is all just a funny, little mix up.” Ugh. It’s stressful. Stress! Maybe that’s what is causing the constant headache and joint pain!

So there you go. Day four of symptoms that I don’t usually have, that align pretty closely to the symptoms of a global pandemic I’ve spent the last four months actively striving to keep away from, in the middle of my husband’s birthday week. I slept alone in our bed last night, we decided Jerimiah should move to the couch. He’s not all the way down in the guest wing in the basement, not yet. I won’t let him. That’s too final. For now, just the couch. Tomorrow, who knows.

Hope you’re all staying safe, and wearing your GD masks!

M.

It’s a Monday…

I’m not feeling particularly well these days. I woke up Thursday with what I thought might be a cold or a sinus infection, then Friday morning I woke up with a fever and body aches. I thought for a second that I was getting the flu, then realized it isn’t really flu season. Within three hours I was seen by a doctor via video chat, was starting a round of prednisone, and am currently in self-isolation until my Covid-19 results come back (I was able to do that so quickly because I have health insurance, money for an urgent care copay, and Emory University Hospital ten minutes away. I’ve been thinking all weekend about people who don’t have those things…) I feel horrible, but not just physically, mentally and emotionally too.

We are knee deep in Jerimiah’s birthday week. I had plans, lots of plans. But plans change. Yesterday the coughing started. I began to feel myself pulling away from hugging my kid. I won’t know for sure until I have the results, but it’s a scary time we live in.

Mentally I know I’ll be okay even if I do have it. Something like 80% of cases are mild and treated at home, but there’s always that other percentage. My biggest fear is passing it to others, which I may have mistakenly done not knowing I had it. If I have it.

Obviously it’s a damn Monday around here. Not the best one I’ve had in awhile, not the worst. Hoping for a call from the doctor today. Hoping for a negative test. Hoping it’s a sinus infection, that I will have more energy, that I will finish this week strong for my husband, not worry my son. Lots of hopes going out into the world today. If you’re sending some put will ya send one out for me too? I’d appreciate it.

Stay safe and sane, y’all. I’ll keep you posted.

M.

Birthday Week!

It’s the halfway point in Jerimiah’s birthday week, and we have been having a great, albeit unusual time. The things we normally do, have fun lunches out at new, hip places, do exciting day trips, maybe actually take a trip, are all off the table, so we have resorted to finding other ways to fill the hours. Like Thursday, when instead of a lunch date at a place near Jerimiah’s office, we all met at the hot tub (now called the cool tub on account of it being in summer mode) at 1:00 pm and had fruit salad and talked about life. I mean technically it was a lunch break near his office because his office is right off the dining room now, but still. Not the same, but workable.

Friday night we surprised Jerimiah with a movie night. We ordered pizza and watched “The Hunger Games”. Jackson has been reading the book and of course he had to finish it before we watched the movie, so he finished it in secret this week to be ready for movie night! He’s been really into this whole birthday week for Daddy, even picking out what little gift to give him each day, and working on a bigger surprise for next week.

Last night we arranged a Zoom call with friends for cake and games, but some unexpected things came up, so we rescheduled, and instead we got donuts, played board games, made some FaceTime calls, witnessed a crazy accident on the way to Kroger (I’ll tell y’all in another post) and drank some margaritas.

Today it’s s’mores in the backyard firepit and outdoor games as a family. Tomorrow who knows?! The possibilities are… limited. Ha! But I’m sure Jerimiah will appreciate our time together any way it is done.

So if you see him around (you won’t, we are staying home) but you know what I mean, say happy birthday week! He would appreciate it!

M.

Highlights so far!

M-I-Crooked Letter…

This MFA program I am starting in oh, 19 days, has me nervous, true. My inbox is full with submissions for our lit review, my email is blowing up with announcements, financial aid is like, Hellerrrrr, welcome back thanks for paying us, but you need to do this and this and this... Ahhh, it’s a lot. I forgot how demanding grad school was and I’ve literally only been out for two years. Okay, enough complaining, truth be told I have very little to complain about these days so I’m working on doing less of it. I’m actually here to say I am a wee, little bit excited about the program, and here is why.

First of all, the program is through Mississippi University for Women and no, it’s not as bad as it sounds. It’s an old name that stuck around. And by the way, is anyone watching “P(ussy) Valley” on STARZ right now? If so, you know what I think of when I hear “M-I-Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, I, Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, I, Humpback, Humpback, I”! 🙂 All good things, all good things. Anyway, this program is fairly new and mostly virtual. There are a few times a year where we will meet in person, two separate residencies on campus, or at AWP, then when you defend your thesis and graduate. They are doing everything through Zoom right now, though, so I am getting a great look at what the process is like and it has helped calm my nerves. I mean, I am still fighting imposter syndrome, but it’s nice to be included in all these festivities, albeit virtually.

They include everyone on all the progress of the current class, and they share small victories (and big ones) with each other through social media, email, and on Canvas. It’s pretty cool. I am seeing faces and recognizing names already and it is making me feel better. It looks like they have their shit together for being such a new program, which is what I read about them when I did my research, but it’s nice to know it is true. They are very inclusive and they want everyone to get to know each other. I like that, since one of the reasons I decided on an MFA was to meet like-minded people whom I could connect with in this broader thing we call life. Whew. I’m hopeful.

Anyway, no complaining here, just a bit of nervous excitement. I’m not sure if the fall residency will be in person or not yet, but I’m betting not. I certainly hope we will be free to travel by next spring because the AWP is scheduled for none other than, Kansas City! Haha! Yea. No, it’ll be good. Now, I guess go forth and find something to be hopeful about today!

You are wise. You are kind. You are compassionate.

M.