Suzi Beech and Family

This blog is about my family and my trials and tribulations as a work-from-home mom of twins.

My daughter had the dreaded H1N1 (I think) November 3, 2009

Filed under: family,Personal Stuff — Suzi Beech @ 12:16 pm
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Careful, it's contagious!

I’m sorry to report that my daughter seems to have had the dreaded H1N1 flu.  Well, at least I think it was the fearsome, extra scary flu.  I didn’t have her tested because they’re just not testing for it here anymore.  Weird, huh?  Apparently, if you get sick or your child(ren) get sick, and you have a fever, sore throat, cough and runny nose, everyone assumes you have H1N1.  Really?  Yes.  Whether it’s a normal cold or another virus, health officials will all tell you the same thing: “It’s probably H1N1, so we’re just going to say it’s H1N1.”

I talked to our pediatrician, checked their website, checked our county’s health website, checked the CDC’s website and all of them told me the same thing.  Keep her hydrated, give her Tylenol for fever, limit her contact with others, wash my hands frequently and make sure everyone, patient and housemates alike, get lots of rest.  I was instructed to bring her to the doctor or hospital only if she had trouble breathing or turned blue.  Yikes!  Thank goodness that didn’t happen!  I made the mistake of telling her she would go to the doctor if her lips or nail beds turned blue.  After that, she spent quite a bit of time alternating between looking in the mirror at her lips or staring at her fingernails.  Note to self:  don’t tell the kids scary stuff about their health anymore!

My poor little girl was a very good patient.  Her fever peaked at 103, but she remained fairly cheerful and not too demanding.  I set up the infirmary in our master bedroom.  She had a bedtray with her ever-present Propel, a rotating array of tempting snacks (including popsicles), a mug of hot tea, berry flavored throat lozenges and, of course, the tv remote.  She spent many quality hours with her laptop and we watched (and re-watched) all her favorite television shows, back-to-back.  I think it was a little like heaven to her, even though she wasn’t feeling well.

If I were to give out any advice to anyone else with sick kids it would be this:  don’t panic.  H1N1 sounds so scary, but in researching the facts, I found that it’s potential to be fatal isn’t higher than other seasonal flu varieties that come and go.  Of course, it should be taken seriously, but try not to freak out.  Keep a good eye on your little patient.  Make well sure they stay hydrated, as dehydration is one of the scariest aspects and can make their health really spiral downward.  Keep them comfortable, let them stare at the tv or computer if that makes them happy.  Remember, this too, shall pass (read – they won’t be home forever and will soon be well enough to go back to school so you can get back to your normal routine!)


R.I.P. Yuji Beech September 28, 2009

Yuji sleeping in the sunshine

Yuji in healthier, happier times

I had to put my cat, Yuji, to sleep on Saturday.  It was a choice I had been struggling with for months and it did not come easily on Saturday, either. Yuji was a beautiful long-haired, buff colored cat.  He was very shy and skittish and had been from the moment we adopted him.  He spent his first hours at our house hiding under a shelf, hissing at us. I thought he would mellow and relax as he got used to his new surroundings, but that was basically his personality in a nut shell and it didn’t change much over the last nine years.

We adopted him during our struggle with infertility.  My cat, Kiki, had gotten sick and I’d had to put him down.  I decided that our other cat, Fritz, needed a new playmate and I needed something to mother.  I had never had an orange colored cat, so I sent out feelers to see who was available for adoption.  It was fall and there weren’t a whole lot of kittens to choose from, but I got a call about a beautiful, light orange colored kitten and arranged to meet him.  He was more blonde than orange, and very pretty.  Even though he hid and hissed at us, I was smitten and agreed to adopt him.

He became more friendly, at least toward me, as time went on.  He was never a cuddler and was extremely particular about who he chose to let near him, but I knew he loved me in his own, stand-offish way.

It was pretty clear from the get-go that Yuji didn’t want anything to do with our twins after they were born.  Our other cat at the time, Fritz, didn’t mind them petting him and crawling around after him.  Yuji freaked out and hid under the bed until the kids were safely back in their cribs.  That’s how he dealt with them for years.  He made it very clear that he didn’t like kids – not our kids, not neighbor kids, not any kids at all.  They made him very nervous and he would hiss and swipe at them if they would happen to wander into whatever room he was in.  They were much too loud and unpredictable for Yuji’s delicate sensibilities.  He mainly slept under the bed when they were around and came out at night, once they were sleeping.

Such a beautiful kitty

Such a beautiful kitty

We brought Yuji and Fritz with us when we moved from Los Angeles to Portland in 2003.  Fritz became very ill shortly afterward and had to be put down.  Yuji was an only pet for a short time, then we adopted George.  George is a kids’ cat.  He loves to be involved in their games and is tolerant of being picked up, dressed up, covered up…whatever the kids do, he rolls with it.  He just loves being included.  Yuji and George got along very well.  Yuji even did well when we adopted our dog, Nico. I was so worried he would freak out, but it turned out that he really liked the dog and tolerated her much more than the kids.

In recent months, Yuji’s physical and mental health took a turn for the worse.  He had always had a sensitive digestive tract and could only tolerate one kind of food.  This year, though, even that food didn’t agree with him and he had constant diarrhea.  I had taken him in for every test on him and his poop the vets could think of.  No bacteria or parasite was at fault.  At the same time, his mental health took a dive.  He stopped taking care of his fur and became matted and dirty.  He didn’t allow for much brushing or hair care and was looking very shabby.

Most distressing to me, was that he began peeing where he shouldn’t.  I first caught him peeing on the floor in December when he peed on the Christmas tree skirt, right in front of me.  I knew this was his way of telling me he wasn’t happy.  I took him back to the vet where he was tested for infections and kidney problems, but nothing was found.  As the months passed, he became worse and worse.  The peeing was intentional.  I tried treating him with oral anti-anxiety medication.  After the first two days, he would see me coming, growl and hide under the bed.  Oral medication wasn’t going to be an option.  His weight dropped, his behavior became worse, and I came to the end of my rope.  He wasn’t a happy cat.  He wasn’t well, although we couldn’t determine exactly what was wrong with him.  After months of struggling with what would be best for him, I decided to put him down.   My 8-year-old son said Yuji is now in a place with comfy beds that are always in the sunshine and a giant, always clean litter box just for him. I think that is exactly what Yuji’s vision of heaven would’ve been.  Quiet, sunny, solitary and clean.

Yuji is not the first cat that I’ve had to put down, but he is the youngest at age 9.  My oldest, Missy, lived to be 18.  My next oldest was Tina, who died at 17.  Then there were Al and Baby, who both died in their 15th year.  Kiki and Fritz were both around 13 when I had to let them go, although their true age wasn’t known because they came into my life as full-grown strays.  I will pick up Yuji’s remains in a couple of days.  His container of ashes will be placed with the others in our “kitty shrine.”   Rest in peace, Yuji Beech.


Back to school…finally! September 14, 2009


I have to say that, although I love my children dearly, I could not wait for school to start again!  We had a wonderful summer full of parties, swimming, camps and vacations.  While all that togetherness was great, it was a LOT of togetherness!

I am lucky that I own my own business and can set my own schedule.  At the beginning of summer I tried to schedule work in the early mornings, late nights and when the kids weren’t home.  Just a few days into it and I was tired and crabby and realizing that they sure were home an awful lot!  After stressing myself out about what I wasn’t getting done, I rethought things.  I realized that this could be one of the last years they consider me cool enough to be seen with and fun to hang out with.  I decided, for better or worse,  to take most of the summer off and spend it with them while they’d still have me.  It went well, for the most part.  We had our battles of wills and our sibling clashes, but I don’t regret a minute of it!

Now that they’re back in school (big-time 3rd graders this year), I can get back into the swing of working again.  It’s really quiet a relief!  My mom used to tell me that going to work was easy, it was staying home that was hard.  I finally understand what she was talking about!

In the back-to-school spirit, I have also taken some classes on time management and productivity.   My first order of business is to set-up a daily schedule and block my time in 60 minute increments.  From there, I’m going to build it out into a weekly schedule.  I like order and predictability.  That’s just how I am.  I know there are people who prefer to fly by the seat of their pants, but not me.  So, I’m off to begin building my schedule for the hours between 8 and 2:30, Monday through Friday.  I’ll be sure to set aside blocks of time to keep my blog up to date, as well.  I know I have a lot of summer pictures and videos that you’re just dying to see, so I’ll get them all posted very soon!


I made it through Camp! August 3, 2009

Cub Scouts at campfire

Cub Scouts at campfire

Let me start by saying it has been one hectic month!  We went from the fun and games of the kids’ 8th birthday, straight into some new experiences for us.  The first was Gus’ first time at overnight camp.  He and his Cub Scout den went to a two-night, three-day camp called Cub World.  They had a blast.  He came home exhausted and missing a few shirts, but happy as a little lark.

Happy Cub Scout

Happy Cub Scout

My hat is really off to the adults who chaperoned.  I can only imagine what it was like to be in charge of those 11 young men.  The chaperones had to pitch and sleep in tents (on the ground, in the heat!!).  This alone, I fear, would’ve made me so grumpy that I would’ve been a not-so-patient Mommy helper. Good thing I didn’t go along!  I’m not really much of a camper.

Philip, Ruby and I drove out to the camp on the last day so Gus could give us a tour of the place and show us all the cool activities.  They boys got to sleep in a giant wooden teepee with built-in bunks where they could put their sleeping bags.  It was a cool structure, but in full sun and very hot.  They also happened to be near the end of the giant slip-and-slide the camp had set up.  This, apparently, led to some flooding issues.  The boys thought this was hysterical, the parents found it not so funny (especially when their own tents began flooding and had to be picked up and moved…).

There was a little “trading post” where the boys could buy inexpensive junk…I mean little treasures…which were scout with bow and arrowpromptly lost, eaten (candy!!), or broken.  We did have fun shooting bb’s, winging garbanzo beans with slingshots and trying to shoot with a bow and arrow.  The boys also did some leather working, whittling (earned their whittling chips and now can handle and own knives…or, at least, so say the Scouts, this mom’s not going for it!) and branding on wooden pieces.

We had only one night to go from Cub World onto our next first – Girl Scout day camp.  I was a week-long, full-time volunteer, which got me a discounted rate and meant Gus got to come along and be in the boys unit.  This was Ruby’s first year attending camp and we had been looking forward to it for a very long time.  Unfortunately, it

Camp - this-a-way

Camp - this-a-way

coincided with a record-breaking heatwave here in Oregon.  Even though it was hot, it was still lots of fun.

I am both happy and sad that our camps are over for the summer.  They were both fun experiences and definitely the stuff childhood memories are made of, but I’m happy to have my kids and “normal” life back!

I have pictures of both activities and will get them posted very soon.  I’m going to save telling all about Girl Scout camp for another post.