Sunday, October 9, 2016

the imprint of my teeth...

So, a couple of nights ago, I had some nasty stomach pain which was followed by chills and sweat. Like a fool, I figured the gas in my lower intestine would clear out while I slept, so I went to bed and covered up with lots of blankets. At about one am, I awoke to an intense desire to use the restroom but was still shaking with cold as I lay there in a pool of sweat. Knowing that this couldn't wait till morning, I planned my attack. I would first throw off the covers as quickly as possible and then grab the closet door handle as fast as I could so that I could locate my robe in the dark and throw on a layer before I began convulsing from cold, and then make my way to the porcelain. All went pretty much as planned and I made it without freezing to death or tripping on anything. Then it happened.
I was sitting there about half-way finished and realized that my chills were multiplying quickly and that my body felt like it was shutting down. I broke into a dripping cold sweat and finished my business as quickly as I could. Stumbling to find the right light switch I grabbed the bathroom doorknob and bolted for the bed. The next thing I knew I was feeling my teeth slam something hard, hearing a crack that sounded like splitting wood, and feeling the carpet. Something warm and wet was dripping down my hair and face and the sweet voice of my wife was saying,
"Are you okay?"
"Jon, are you okay?"
"I don't think so."
Just then a light turned on and I could hear my wife saying something like oh my gosh as she said,
"Do I need to call 911?"
"I don't know..." I said. I really didn't.
"Can you get up?"
"I don't think so..."
It went on like this for a bit before I dragged myself from the floor and laid on my back in the bed. My face hurt.
Not knowing what to do, I called mom.
"Hey honey, what happened?"
"I don't know what to do. I had intense stomach pain tonight and... then I fell and... Laura says it looks like my teeth went through my lip."
So anyways, there was a lot of conversation like this for a bit and of course like any good mom should, she convinced us to wake the kids and go to the ER.
Laura was amazing - she held her cool and calmly got overnight bags for the kids and then got some clothes for me. I felt like I was going to die. Like all the blood had drained from my body and I was on my way out. I managed to get myself down the stairs and tried my best to reassure everyone that I would be okay, even though I really wasn't sure myself.
My parents met us at the ER and took the kids so that Laura could stay with me. As it turned out, the warm liquid I felt on my head was just from a glass of water I had left on the nightstand, but the pain in my face was from literally biting the corner of the nightstand (there are beautiful bite-marks there now) as my lifeless, blacked-out body careened toward the floor.
After a CT scan and lots of stitches both inside and outside of my mouth, the doctor informed my that I had diverticulitis and severe dehydration which had caused my black out. He would prescribe me some pills and all would be well... when my face healed. As they went to discharge me, I felt myself going cold again and asked to lay down. This did not make my doctor happy. He then had the take my blood pressure laying down, sitting up, and then standing. When I got to the standing part, I felt the cold sweat death-out coming on again and begged them to let me sit down (which they would not do). When they finished my pressure, apparently it had dropped to something like 37 over 44 which is  like the same pressure that dead people have, so they re-inserted my IV, and admitted me to the really real hospital where I stayed for the remainder of the night, the next day, the next night and most of the day after that.
Now, after being pumped very full of fluids and medication, I am back home, thankful for my amazing family.
So why did I post this? I think mostly because even though I feel much better, it's 3:34 in the morning and I can't sleep, so I figured I'd update the blog.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Dear Mom and Dad

Dear Mom and Dad
I write this note
It's ten o'clock
at night
It seems I got
Another glimpse
An insight in
To life
My son turned eight
With smiling face
A couple weeks ago
And now I write
To you two guys
What you already know.

Tonight I held
My little boy
The same way I used to
His head against
My chest his knees
Were folded like they do
I held him tight
And prayed for him
A third grade kid
That's right
I held my giant
Third grade kid
My baby boy

I'm crying now
I don't know why
I'm happy but
I'm sad
I want him to
Grow strong and smart
To know the good
from bad
I know he can't
Stay little long
It just would not
Be right
But tell that to
A dad who holds
His third grade child
At night

So mom and dad
I write this note
Because of all you did
And how you watched
Me all these  years
And now I have
Two kids
I kiss their heads
And then I think
Of you guys at your home
And how my face
Must look so strange
To the ones that used to hold
And how your hearts
Get rearranged
When you think of how
You held

Monday, July 11, 2016


It's funny the places we call home. Right now I am at a hotel in Sarasota FL. I am about six or seven miles from the hospital in which I was born and maybe twenty-some miles from the home where I grew up... and I am staying in a hotel. My grandmother's funeral is tomorrow so it is kind of like an impromptu reunion. There's not a large group of us, but all that can are congregating tomorrow to stand at the graveside as they lay the body that used to contain my grandmother into the ground.

So, we are home. Today my family and I visited my old high school, favorite beach and the house my parents built in Nokomis. I had to sneak through the woods on the edge of the property just to see what my old "home" looked like under new ownership. After some time in the afternoon sun at North Jetty, we ate pizza at one of my old favorite spots and told the boys that we would be home (our hotel) before long and that we needed to get ready for bed quickly because we had a big day ahead.

Home. Florida? Yes. Colorado? Yes. North Carolina? Yes. Where the heart is? Yes. But maybe it's more than just the heart. Maybe home is where the soul connects. When I am on vacation, home is the place I can recharge. Sleep. It's where whoever you are with can gather and talk about the things that happened that day. It's where laughter and loose muscles come easier and I can walk around barefoot without feeling like I am being watched. Home is a deep breath.

Tomorrow will be a sad day. It will be a happy day. It will be a long day. A hot day. Tomorrow I will be one of the people carrying the casket that contains my grandmother's body to a big hole in the ground. Tomorrow we will smile as we talk about Grammie going "home". Maybe home is simply an earth place that lets us see a piece of the heaven place. I think that tomorrow in a hot graveyard in Lake Placid, FL, the family will be home. Crying, laughing, hugging and sweating... a little bit of home. Until one day we all get to be home with Grammie too.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Life, Death and the Smell of Cinnamon Rolls

It is summer time and I am sitting in a Lazy Boy chair in the sunroom. It is almost 4:00pm and I have yet to go to work, but I am exhausted. For a teacher, summer means time off, second jobs and selling everything you own to pay the bills during the long hot months. For me it means working on the house and babysitting. Though I love this special time with my boys, something about it just wears me out. I find myself grouchy and a bit unkind at times and more often than not, I find myself in a situation that warrants a heart-felt apology and a plea for forgiveness. Especially today.

My grandmother died the day before yesterday. My mom, dad, and my wife Laura, all spent the day at her bedside listening to her labored breathing for many hours before we finally kissed her goodnight and headed home. We weren't sure if she knew we were there or not, but we really didn't care, we just wanted to be with her as she threw off her rusty, yellowed earth stuff and headed to heaven. In the end, we all missed her final trip, but I think she wanted it that way. She never wanted to get in the way, always sweet... too sweet to let us see her take her final breath.

Today my mom, the boys, and I began going through her stuff. Six years ago she downsized to a one bedroom assisted living apartment, so there really wasn't that much to go through, but it still felt painstakingly difficult. Boxes full of pictures, Bibles stuffed with tissues, notes and newspaper clippings, and a desk crammed with stuff that hadn't been looked at since my grandfather died fourteen years ago were just a few of the things that made up her meager belongings. Grammie was a quiet person, who spent most of her life taking care of my larger-than-life diabetic grandfather. When he died, she spent the better part of most days watching old movies and eating Cheatos, and spent the night hours in a recliner, even though the bed was just steps away. The thing about her was that it wasn't about her. Everyone knew that Bobbie's heart lay with the people she loved, and every visitor was greeted with a wide-eyed, false toothed smile. She was Bobby Klaus. WWII Veteran and mother of three. Her in-laws called her "The Klaus Angel," and I am certain that Jesus is hugging his angel right now. Just having Grammie's smile in a room, just seeing her hands formed in the "I love you," fingers let you know you were special. Grammie was the smell of fresh cinnamon rolls waking you up in the morning. Right away you knew you were loved, and were about to experience something sweet.

So here we are. 4:17pm. My oldest son playing with his Kindle in a bean bag chair and me typing on my laptop. I am tired. Sad. Happy. Strange. When someone dies, it's like the earth is breathing differently, trying to get accustomed to the missing soul. We divide the dusty and the forgotten, and we go on; not like nothing has happened, but more like something incomprehensable has occurred and we are just not sure what to do with it. A mortal who knows Jesus dies, and immortality is reality. At death, the eternal is finally recognized as truth, and lived as real. Maybe that is the heart of all of this. Something has happened. Something extraordinary, and we all are getting used to the change.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

I realized tonight that I didn't have a picture of Maxwell on my blog yet - - here he is. My future mountain bike buddy wearing the helmet he got for his birthday... he wouldn't take it off. That's my boy!
And I can't forget Jonathan with his first mountain bike - - - it's gonna be fun!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Stolen Hugs

I am a dad. I have two boys, Six and Two. Even to write the word dad is still a relatively foreign thing to me when speaking of myself... but here I am. Sometimes I wonder if the hugs I steal are felt the way they are given. I want to hold them and squeeze them so hard that they cannot help but know that I can never fully express how much love I have for them. They break my things - I get mad - I hug them and ask forgiveness. They do amazing things, I hug them and tell them I am proud. They wake up in the morning - I hug them and tell them good-morning. They are just there... just sitting there - I look at them and I hug them. I never want that to stop. I want them to grow, but I want them to stay the same. I long to see them become men but don't want to loose the child I have been given. Hugs for my boys are like water on a dry tongue.

Stolen Hugs
you don't know my forearms are feeling your breath
you don't know the skin next to my eye is feeling your cheek
you don't know my head is feeling your hair
you don't know my life is breathing your voice
you don't know the blood in my veins knows the word

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Perpetual Joy of Normal

Tonight is dark and cold, but I am not dressed in heavy clothes. The house is warm and the outside glass of the windows is covered in the black paint of the night sky. There is a thin layer of blown snow on the worn wood deck just beyond the window reflections and I can't be certain, but I think the dogs have pooped in the basement... again.
What happens when normal is what brings the widest smile? What happens when happiness becomes a habit and positivity a lifestyle? What do we do when an aching back reminds us that spring will soon be here and a scar makes us hug our children tighter?

I just thank God.