Standing up and taking a fall

Author: natalie  //  Category: It's all about me

A frightening episode sent me to Dr. Dancel’s office recently. I hadn’t been in several years –wasn’t avoiding him personally, I just avoid getting sick altogether. Plus, surviving all the “bugs” my children have brought home over the years has given me a formidable immune system. Goes to show good things can arise from suffering.   

I rolled over in bed one morning, and when I stopped moving, everything continued to spin.  When I got out of bed I literally bounced off the walls; my sense of balance was not right. I did what any self-respecting member of our constantly-wired society does: headed to the computer for a diagnosis. That’s the worst thing to do. I was either going to die very soon, or be just fine.

Having suffered sinus congestion and a subsequent earache, I determined an inner ear infection was the most likely culprit. I spent miserable hours with what I learned was vertigo; nausea and motion sickness were thrown in for good measure. The really odd thing was I got up the next morning feeling fine, and seriously considered cancelling my doctor’s appointment. My family, who had watched me in my drunken-looking stupor, would not hear of it.

The good doctor felt it was indeed the inner ear, gave the pleasant news of how it can act up that way, be over that quickly, and wrote down the name of a medication should the vertigo strike again.  Then the (mild) chewing out came over not visiting him for so long, and I promised to return the following week for routine blood tests.

Upon my return the following Monday, I encountered a social dilemma. I hope I made Miss Manners and my parents proud. If not, my family will have to suffer public humiliation for my faux pas.

It was a pretty busy morning for the nurse assigned to draw blood, and the doc’s office was full when I arrived. I was somewhat perturbed when I learned the entire crowd was also in line for lab work only.  What happened next absolutely melted my heart.

It was standing room only, and at age 37, I was fairly certain I was by far the youngest one in the room.  All the men starting standing and offering their seats.  I politely declined, hoping my posterior did not appear to require more than one chair.

I walked out into the hallway, and a couple of gentlemen followed, leaving their seats empty.  We started conversing, and I couldn’t have enjoyed the company more – what delightful people.

The discussion eventually turned to the many waiting, and the lack of seating. I was once again invited to empty chairs. In an attempt to tactfully stand up for what I believed in, I told them like it was: I appreciated their being respectful of a lady, but I was taught to respect my elders. It appeared we were at a stalemate.  “Who are you calling old?” was the reply I got from a gentleman wearing an enormous smile. 

It has been said, “Those who don’t stand for something will fall for anything”. I stood my ground, but I still fell for some mighty sweet fellas.

© 2008 Natalie Whatley

My AHA!!! moment

Author: natalie  //  Category: From me to you

Through my efforts to thwart comment spammers, who have basically provided me full-time employment keeping their “junk” off my site, I accidentally found out how to go back and change dates. I’m SO very excited…it doesn’t take much to rock my world.

So, all my articles are now in chronological order. If only I could go back and edit life that way…oh well, the mistakes made me who I am. Have a GREAT day everyone! :)

It’s cool to be hot

Author: natalie  //  Category: Home sweet home, Issues, National

I’ve been in a real funk this past week.  It’s not a side I generally allow the public to see, but since you’re becoming like family I figure it’s okay to let you view the not-so-flattering, and hope you’ll tolerate me anyway.

It all started with a phone call to the Public Utilities Commission, and the mailing of a $700 check to my now former electric provider. I called the PUC because my now former electric provider was “experiencing heavier than usual call volume”, could not take my call, and asked that I please try again at a later date. I did just that, and I bet you already know I never spoke to a living soul.

Seems many folks were pretty roasted (literally) over the 49% rate increase. The PUC had already heard my story verbatim from countless others. Long story short: Make sure you know your current rate, and when it will expire.  If you’ve not “locked in” on a rate, providers may charge whatever they like, and are not obligated to notify you of an increase – not even of the 49% magnitude. But, “thank you for being a valued customer, who always paid your bill on time, and have a nice day.”

On top of that, there has been way too much economic news that I just can’t peel myself from.  It’s hard to ignore the fact that you and I are going to shoulder even more  as our government plans to bail out yet another large institution that has been geared towards making homeowners out of people who would have been turned away in years past.  It’s maddening, I tell you. 

As an odd coincidence, I happened to be reading a rather interesting recently-published book titled House Lust by: Daniel McGinn.  It comes on the heels of what some are calling a real-estate market bust, and is a fascinating read on how those of us in middle-class America have been marketed to by developers and big-box home improvement stores. We’ve been sold that what was once a dream is now a necessity. 

As I read, I saw the pattern that began to develop right around the time I first became a proud homeowner in 1995.  By today’s standards, my home is sadly lacking. In some eyes, I guarantee we’re downright “slumming” it.  I really don’t know how we’ve managed without granite countertops or a master bath befitting royalty, but I’m told that in the very least I should be unhappy about it.

At the time of my purchase, I worked in Houston with several who saw pictures of my new abode, and teased me about owning a mansion. They lived in West University, where what I paid here would have netted a postage-stamp-size lot, with no improvements.   I thought I had a good thing.

Mulling over our economic woes, and the vast short comings of the place I don’t mind calling home, a silver lining presented itself.  An article entitled, “Is frugal the new black?” by Allison Linn caught my eye. It said my penny-pinching ways are now in vogue as increasing numbers are being forced to at least explore some degree of frugality. If I’m now so cool, why am I burning up? My guess would be to avoid sending another $700 to my now former electric provider.

© 2008 Natalie Whatley

Excuse me

Author: natalie  //  Category: Life with children

I had a great article all planned out in my head for this week, but… “MOM! There’s something that feels like Jell-O all over the carpet upstairs!” Excuse me. (Glancing at the clock and noting that it’s 2:06. I don’t wish to be rude, and I promise not to leave you sitting alone for long.)

Mystery solved. The Jell-O-like substance is Colgate MaxFresh. The mini breath strips are the tell-tale sign. Why does my oldest child walk around upstairs while brushing his teeth? I’ve wiped up the trail (only because he’s not home) so the dog doesn’t spread it further, or roll in it. Darn it, had I been thinking clearly, minty fresh would have been a vast improvement over Scooter’s current scent. I must learn not to act so impulsively.  Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, I had something …phone is ringing, please excuse me again.

That was a call for my middle child. I’ve recently considered hiring a receptionist to handle all the incoming calls, and additions/deletions to my children’s social calendars. What I was getting at…someone is knocking on the door. Excuse me. 

Writing myself a note – daughter is going to the neighbor’s house to play. Yes, I may forget where she is. I’m finding it increasingly difficult to keep up with them now that they’re all old enough to be out of my direct line of sight. Phone is ringing again. Excuse me.

Oldest is leaving Chili’s, going to Blockbuster, and then to a friend’s. Since I’m feeling particularly testy today, I did inquire about the toothpaste trail into his brother’s room. He has no idea how that happened. My suspicions have been confirmed – he wasn’t listening when I told him not to walk around outside the bathroom while brushing because…someone coming in the front door. I’ll be right back.

Daughter has been invited to go swimming, and needs to change into her swimsuit.  As luck would have it, her brother, the middle child, can tag along. My heart is about to beat out of my chest.  I’m on the verge of having some peace and quiet, and Jeff will be home by the time they all return.  The euphoria is almost too much. Phone again, I do apologize.  Excuse me.

Jeff’s been invited to play golf, and will be late. Sigh. I’m a big girl. I just need a few minutes to re-focus and get myself together. Argh! Doorbell, and I swear it sounds like someone tried to just walk right in before ringing. I’m terribly sorry that we continue to be interrupted. Excuse me.

I opened the door to “No one wants to play with me!” Dripping wet, the middle child started his tirade on how his sister absolutely ruins his life.

The veins in my temples are throbbing, and my vision is blurring. Glancing at the clock, I head for the bottle of Advil, thinking a bottle of something else might be more suitable. (To smash upside my head in hopes of an unconscious state, of course.) It’s 2:37. I can take two more Advil in four hours, or is it four more in two hours? I don’t know. I can’t hear myself think…phone is ringing, excuse me.  

© 2008 Natalie Whatley


Author: natalie  //  Category: From me to you

Hello, and WELCOME to my Baytown Sun readers!  If you’re reading this, you found the right place. I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for stopping in to see what I’ve been up to this past month.

Welcome to my virtual world

Author: natalie  //  Category: It's all about me

I know you’ve all been on the edge of your seats waiting for me to divulge the nature of the “big personal project” I alluded to last week. Your wait is over. 

Six months ago today, I introduced myself and stepped outside of my mostly anonymous existence as a stay-at-home wife and mother. Those who know what a loner I can be were probably a bit surprised. I enjoy solitude (as much as a mom of three can have), and tend to go my own way. Years of introspection regarding those facts, along with trying to decide if they were good or bad things, led me to the root cause – I was born that way. It was with some trepidation that I left my comfort zone to publicly dig up the parts of me that were buried as I traveled back through early childhood with my three children.

Writing this column has been loads of fun, interesting, and at times frustrating. It became stressful on a few late nights as I persevered through some “what have you gotten yourself into” moments while my deadline rapidly approached, and I had nothing to say. (Jeff is smirking, and sends his assurances on the rarity of that problem.) That negative has been more than balanced by those of you who let me know you enjoyed a particular article, or even better, me in general. I’m deeply humbled. Those words are gems as writers very much want to know if they’re hitting the target.

I’ve enjoyed this experience so very much that I’ve taken a rather large step for someone who always enjoyed living in anonymity. With a great deal of help and patience from Mike and Amanda at Vivid Evidence (,   I now have my own website  

 I’m officially a “blogger”.  For those wondering just what in the heck that means: Blog is short for web log, and a blogger is one who writes a blog. I was a moron for many days before I could boast the new title.  Absolutely overwhelmed by some details, I questioned my mental fortitude on several occasions. Lucky for me, I had a couple of certified computer whizzes lighting my path.

You all have an open invitation. Come by and check it out. I’ve spent the past month getting all my articles there, and you can read by category and weed out what doesn’t interest you. All feedback (the good, the bad, and the ugly) is most welcome, and you may leave it by clicking on “comments” at the end of each article. You may also contact me with the information given on the “About me” page.

My immediate family is thrilled that I’m done with the site for now with the exception of weekly updates as I write new articles. I let the pantry run darn close to bare, and laundry took a back seat to learning all I could about site administration. Don’t tell them I’m already looking at new designs.

The site is very likely to evolve with me in the coming months. I’m not sure where it’s going, but I’d be honored to have you all along for the journey. You are my friends, and I welcome you to my world…as I attempt to keep it spinning on its axis.

© 2008 Natalie Whatley