The Blog of Lacey Stephens-Papadopoulos
“House Calls”

By Kennedy Northcutt ©2011

These are the original blog entries of Lacey Stephens, a character in Desert Dreams and Mountain Memories by Kennedy Northcutt. No reproduction of any kind without the express permission of the author. And she's pretty cool with it, as long as you ask first .

Adult content: These entries explore a loving relationship between women. Enough said.

Language: As long as you speak American colloquialism with a few select idioms and some profanity thrown in for good measure. Yes, there is swearing. This is Lacey we're talking about.

Apologies: For those of you currently serving or formerly serving in the U.S. Military, this is a work of fiction (solely my imagination). I never served. It is not my intention to offend those who serve or have served our country. Again, enough said.

Feedback is welcome and appreciated. Send to . Check my real blog ( ) or submit a friend request for Kennedy Northcutt on Facebook for updates.



House Calls

November 11, 2007

It's been a little over a year since the man I knew as my father, and the one I never really knew as my biological father, died. I'm still trying to reconcile with the painful memories of those days. Damned if they weren't just as traumatic as all the other shit that's happened, lately. But I also have the love of a gorgeous woman to carry me through. Mackenzie has been my rock and my salvation in this crazy world. And this week we'll celebrate our one-year anniversary.

Yes, that's right, one year ago tomorrow. I can't wait to fly down to our private little getaway (no, we didn't buy the island) and bask in the sun on that pristine sandy beach together. The clear-blue waters of the Caribbean and the soft ocean breezes are just what we both need to refresh and renew ourselves after this crazy year.

The clinic is going gangbusters and I'm all booked up well past the New Year. I finally broke down and let Carrie hire a part-time receptionist to schedule appointments and answer the phones. Patsy has been a godsend. She's become such an integral part of the practice that I have no idea what I ever did without her. At least I don't have to type up patient files on my own anymore. Mackenzie says I'm a decent blogger, but when it comes to official paperwork, I suck.

Heh heh…If she only knew what I had to do with all those patient files while I was serving in Iraq. I used to pour over all that crap for hours and hours, until my eyes felt ready to bleed. My colleagues were the ones who sucked at paperwork. Not me. My insomnia was good for that, at least.

Mac was right. (Oh, how I hate admitting that. You have no idea.) But she was definitely right about hiring someone to do the lousy paperwork. And Carrie found the perfect person for it. Patsy is more organized than…well, I have no idea. But she is great. Can't sing her praises enough. It definitely frees me up to do other things, that's for sure.

I've actually been making all my appointments with Heather these days. Miracle of miracles. After that excruciating breakthrough last winter—did I mention that I couldn't stop crying for a whole damned week? Anyway, things are going a lot better, now. Not perfect, mind you. But at least those walls I hid behind and buried everything within are no longer as thick or as impenetrable as they used to be. Does that make sense?

Heather says I'm making progress. Mackenzie says I have multiple personality disorder. Carrie says I'm just nuts. And Ben? He sees me coming, turns right around and practically runs the other way. His boys think it's hilarious. (insert a big grin here—gotta ask Mackenzie how to do that. I know there's a way.)

I know I feel a lot better about myself, now that I don't hide nearly as much of my emotions as I used to. And that whole ‘physician heal thyself' stuff is just bullshit. Who was I kidding, anyway? I sure as hell wouldn't try to perform surgery on myself or try to stitch up a wound on my back. Whatever made me think I could fix my emotional and psychological problems by pretending they didn't exist?

Yeah, that's what Mac said. Speaking of which—here she comes now. Well, I guess that's gonna have to be it for this particular blog entry. I'll try not to be such a stranger and get another few entries in later. Take care, y'all!



House Calls

November 14, 2007

I will not say what we did on our anniversary. Needless to say, it was fantastic! Mind blowing! A-mazing! I will say that we ate like queens and took a really long moonlit walk along the beach. The water was bathwater warm. The alcoholic beverages were superb. And the company was exceptional. I am the luckiest woman in the world.

And I'm not going to waste my cell minutes on a long update. So, hope you all enjoy your turkey. I'm enjoying a really wonderful Big Mac—no cheese. Lol (is that how you do that?)



(a.k.a. Lacey Justine Stephens-Papadopoulos)


House Calls

December 30, 2007

Yes, I know. I'm a bad person. I promised to be more diligent with this thing and it just isn't happening. Sorry. But, on the upside, I really enjoyed our vacation. Didn't intend for it to last so long. But the warm, sandy beaches and that bright sunshine—the clear-blue waters—it was all so intoxicating that I just didn't want to come back to the snow and cold.

That was all Mackenzie's idea, by the way. She finally put her foot down and insisted we return to Jackson. She said she had responsibilities and so did I. Spoil sport. Believe me when I say I argued until I was blue in the face over that one. Literally. (I ended up with blue Maliblue Lagoon Punch all over me when she got frustrated and dumped it over my head)What could be more important than extending our vacation and enjoying some quality time together, I ask you?

We made love until all hours, then slept in until well past noon every day. We took sunset walks along the white sandy beach in front of our bungalow and beyond. We explored the island and found some interesting fauna and bugs. We ate like queens. And those crystal-clear waters were so warm and soothing that it was better than any long soak I've experienced. Granted, the water was salty and you had to take a shower afterwards…er, yeah, showers are especially nice when one shares them with a gorgeous woman. And the drinks were fantastic. We mixed our own.

We just don't seem to connect like that at home. Mac is always up before the crack of dawn, so she can make a passenger run to one of the surrounding towns or cities in that Cessna 206 of hers. She really does like to fly. But really. Does she have to do it every damned day?

And the clinic practically takes care of itself these days. I've even considered taking on a partner to lighten the load. I ran it by Tim Lyons over lunch the other day and he seemed genuinely open to the idea. Said it would give him the chance to cut down his hours at the hospital and let him improve his golf game.

He then hit on me and asked if I wanted to let him teach me how to play. I just gave him my stock droll expression and said, “Really, Tim? You do know I'm a married woman.” He then tried to turn the charm up a notch. I told him to consider my offer and left him to pay the bill. Heh heh. Teach him to make a move on me.

I told Mackenzie about it when I got home. She just shrugged it off and said Tim's been like that since high school. He even tried that charming routine on her once. She just laughed in his face and told him he wasn't her type. She wasn't interested in someone who had to keep ‘it' in their pants. Then she put an arm around his shoulders and told him she would, however, enjoy double-dating with a hot pair of identical twins. She said when she left him, he was actually considering her offer.

I believe it.

Getting back to my earlier musings, though. I really don't see why we had to come home and spend time with the family here at Christmas. We could just as easily shipped the presents here and just stayed on the island until after the holidays.

Although it was kind of nice to see Lily, Bill and little Briana. I'm glad they made it, in time, to spend Christmas with us. Little Briana is just so cute. I can't believe how much she's grown in the last few months. She barely looks like a baby, anymore. Lily was a little disappointed that Mac and I didn't take a side trip to Washington to be there for Briana's first birthday. But she did thank us for the presents we sent. Apparently, one-year-olds don't care who comes to their birthday party, just as long as they get cake and lots of colorfully-wrapped presents.

And Briana has totally won over the hearts of the Papadopoulos boys here this week. She doesn't have an extensive vocabulary, yet, but she sure knows how to get those boys to do what she wants them to. And DJ is such a little gentleman when it comes to watching out for her. I can't believe the change that comes over that little rambunctious young man when my niece toddles into the room. It is so amazing to watch the transformation from careless boy to polite and patient gentleman. Everyone else has noticed it, too. And they've all commented on it.

Except Mother.

She just couldn't pull herself away from her ‘responsibilities' long enough to make the trip up here this year. Now that Father is gone, she has completely immersed herself in the work she's doing for the foundation. Yes, I took Mac's advice and appointed her as overseer of the Stephens Foundation. And Mother is taking her responsibilities a little too seriously, if you ask me. Not that I'm all that surprised. She always was so very socially conscientious when Lily and I were growing up. I guess this is good for her and is giving her a sense of purpose. Not that she ever needed that in the past.

I just wish she would pull herself away long enough to spend time with Lily and her family. Maybe I expect too much from people, in that regard. Lily even shrugged off Mother's absence and said she was doing what she did best. But Christmas? Why skip the chance to spend Christmas with her only grandchild? I just don't understand the woman, sometimes.

Then again, I was the one who wanted to spend Christmas on a tropical island in the Caribbean, rather than with our family here in Jackson. So, has the apple really fallen that far from the proverbial tree?

Oh, that's my cue. Warm lips, a roaring fire, a glass of Auber Chardonnay, vintage 2001—time to spend some quality time with a certain dark-haired, blue-eyed someone who is insistently vying for my attentions. Talk to y'all later! (Yeah, like there's actually anyone out there reading this.)



House Calls

January 10, 2008

Note: No, I'm not giving medical advice here, people. So, just stop asking. You want a doctor's advice? Go see yours. That's what they get paid for. Remember, they have to pay for all that schooling they received in order to take care of you. And if you're too cheap to pay them a visit, there's always Yeah, I'm not promoting their site, just tossing it out there. And I'm also not single, so stop asking me out on a date . I'm not interested.

Okay, that being said. I'm just gonna dive right in.

Had the weirdest dream last night. Not a nightmare so much as a crazy-assed dream. I was on a beach. Dressed in leather—skimpy leather. Not much to that outfit, let me tell ya. Yeah, leather. Go figure. I am rolling my eyes while writing this, believe me (and my other half laughed her ass off when I told her about it). We were pinned down on the beach. It was like I was someone storming the beach at Normandy—except we weren't. Not anywhere near Normandy. I really have no idea where that beach was. The people with me weren't men, either. I was with a bunch of women. And they were all dressed in the same leather outfits that I was wearing. Except they all had beads and feathers as added decorations. Really weird.

I've never had a dream like that before. It was so vivid. So real. Only my war flashbacks are that real and I can never remember them. I just wake up with the salty tang of blood in my nostrils. And Mackenzie holds me in her arms and tries to calm me down. It takes a while, but eventually I come back to myself and the shaking stops. Mackenzie keeps holding me, even when she feels me relax. I love that.

This was totally different.

I remembered every vivid detail of this dream and I didn't wake up shaking. It was like one of those dreams you have as a kid. Everything is so clear and you are right there when it all plays out. You see through your own eyes, but you somehow know you're not really the person experiencing all that's happening. Surreal.

I thought I might start flying. Used to have those dreams as a kid. They were really cool. There were moments when I wanted to just start running and jump…

Didn't happen, though. I stayed firmly grounded. And a few of the women around me were injured. The doctor in me wanted to help them—practically screamed for me to help stitch their wounds and treat their injuries, especially when one of them died—but I didn't. I was…I really don't know. I wasn't a doctor. I was—someone else. I was their leader. Or, at least, that's my perception of things. I really don't know. Many of the women kept looking to me for guidance, for leadership. And I seemed to have it in spades.

There was another woman with dark hair and dark eyes who was there, too. She had feathers in her hair and kept arguing with me about every decision I made. I wanted to scream at her that I was flying by the damned seat of my pants—if I'd actually been wearing pants. But I didn't and I wasn't. I just gritted my teeth and listened to her arguments. Then I told her to do what I told her to do, no more arguments.

I could feel the gritty sand beneath me as I sat on the side of a pretty steep sand dune. I was mulling over a decision I had to make, when another dark-haired woman sat down beside me. She so strongly resembled Mackenzie in looks, if not in the strange outfit she wore, that I almost burst into tears. I think she gave me a pep talk of sorts. I don't really think I heard the words as much as sensed the love behind them. That's Mackenzie for you. But this wasn't Mackenzie. She had dark hair and blue eyes, granted. But it just wasn't my Mac. There was a hardness in her eyes—a darkness, you might say—that Mackenzie doesn't possess. Mac's heart isn't tainted by the ugliness that seemed to hide behind this woman's eyes.

Something happened after that. I can't really put my finger on why it happened. I was making my way across an expanse of ground toward a building—was it a castle? Not really sure. Anyway, the dark-haired chick with the feathers tried to shoot me with an arrow. Bitch. Why do women turn on other women like that? Huh? Had it happen to me during medical school and then again when I joined the Army. Those women I could understand. They were vying for their place in a man's world and had to have the brass balls to make it.

This didn't feel like that, though. This was different. This woman wasn't vying for a place in a man's world. After all, we were all women. She just acted like…I'm not sure. Like I didn't know what I was doing? I'm a doctor and decorated veteran of war, for crying out loud. I know how to give and take orders. Been there, done that.

She just didn't get it, though.

After she tried to kill me and Mac's lookalike stopped her—I was really pissed off. I was so pissed, in fact, that I wanted to tear someone's head off. I'm just glad Mac or whoevershewas stopped me from tearing into bitchy featherhead. Although, come to think of it, I don't think anyone would have blamed me if I did. It just wasn't the right time or place for it. I made some decisions after that. I felt like the woman's betrayal had girded me for what I needed to do and gave me the courage to lead those women.

Why was I vacillating before that? Not sure. All I know is that's what it felt like. Did I mention this was a dream? See how real it felt?

We ended up fighting for our lives deep within a forest, shortly thereafter. Don't ask me how I got there or what the deal was. I think we were stuck in the middle of an ambush. I've never experienced anything like that before, either.

Well, that's not entirely true. I've had to do the hand-to-hand thing before. Like the time that insurgent came at me and I had to protect a patient. Killing that guy left me with a knot in the pit of my stomach, but I just did what I had to do and pushed it to the back of my mind.

This was pretty much the same. Except that I had a sword and I knew exactly how to use it. I didn't want to use it, though. That I remember. Killing wasn't in my nature. But I definitely didn't hesitate when they came at me with murder in their eyes. I killed them and then stood there and muttered some trite phrase to the exhausted cheers of the women still left standing. My heart ached for what I had done, but I couldn't let it show. Those women relied on me to be the strong one.

And then Mackenzie was holding me and kissing me awake. Mmmm…love when she does that.

I opened my eyes and almost freaked. Her face was so close to mine that all I could see were her eyes. It was like I was looking deep into her soul and seeing the past flashing in their depths. I don't know if it was the dream or what, but I felt like our souls connected in some irreversible way. And then her lips were on mine…er…yeah, that's a little too personal to share with y'all. Suffice it to say, we did some early-morning calisthenics after that. The connection solidified for me. I love her more than I could ever express in mere words.

Anyway, gotta go up to the main house for my lesson. Did I mention that Mac is teaching me to ride a horse? Yeah, go figure. I'm the spoiled rich kid who never learned to ride a horse. And I bought a docile sorrel mare with a white star in the middle of her forehead. Her name is Rani. Hey, it was better than Hadji. Hated when the soldiers used that term to describe the enemy in Iraq. And Rani is a real princess. She even has the most beautiful blue eyes…er…uh…sorry.

Mackenzie is also giving me flying lessons. I had no idea she held a license or a certificate to teach people how to fly. Ground school is a hoot, by the way. I know more about clouds, fuel, weight, lift and drag than I ever wanted to know. Go ahead, ask me what a cumulonimbus cloud formation is. I dare ya.


Later guys,



House Calls

January 31, 2008

Went up for my first solo flight today. Ugh!!! Scared the piss out of myself, too. For starters, I totally forgot what to say to the guy in the tower. Jerry just laughed as he patiently corrected me. Then he told me I'd better get my shit together before I do my cross-country solo flight next week. The guys at other towers aren't as forgiving, he said. And wouldn't you know it? Mackenzie was listening in on the conversation. She piped in and told me to get my shit together, too. I just about spit into the mic.

But I managed to get clearance to take off and did a nice circle of the airport before bringing the little blue Cessna 150 in for a perfect landing. That's not what scared the piss out of me, though. I nearly “parked” the damned plane in the ditch at the end of the runway. Dummy me, I used too much right rudder and the thing started to turn, then I overcompensated and nearly flipped the damned plane on its nose.

Mackenzie's voice in my headset saved the day. She told me exactly what to do. No, I take that back. She yelled at me to stop being a dumbass and to think about what to do. Jerked me right out of my stupidity in time for me to stop the plane right on the edge of the asphalt. Only the front wheel ended up touching the grass.


I cut the engine and jumped out. Then I just stood there until I caught my breath. Good thing it was a light day. No air traffic around the airport for a while as I stood there and composed myself again. I then got back in the cockpit, started the engine and taxied the plane back to the hangar. As I pulled up to it, a crowd of cheering and clapping people were there to greet me. Embarrassed the hell out of me.

Mackenzie was right there, too. But instead of a huge grin or the laughter that everyone else was sporting, she looked genuinely concerned. I swear I actually put a couple of grays in her hair. Well, not true, actually. There isn't a gray hair on that woman's head. Can't say the same for myself, though. Good thing my hair is so light. Can't seem ‘em.

Once I had the plane shut down and everything turned off, she opened the cockpit door and asked me if I was okay. She didn't laugh. She didn't razz me for what happened. She just put a hand on my shoulder and stared at me with those beautiful concerned blue eyes of hers—eyes that make my heart melt and my knees go weak.

Man. I really have it bad for that woman.

I thought the luster was supposed to fade once you were married. But if anything, I'm more deeply in love with Mackenzie today than I was the day we stood on that beach and exchanged our vows together. When she's near I just want to crawl inside of her and never stop loving her. I feel like—like a kid experiencing her first crush. Except we're not kids. And this isn't my first crush. This is real. So real, in fact, that it scares me, sometimes.

I sometimes think about what happened when we were in Iraq. That helicopter wasn't nearly as scary at the time as it is now. I can't even imagine what I would do if Mackenzie hadn't survived. I would be…

Crap. Now I'm crying.

Shit. Shitshitshitshittyshitshitshit.

Nice, Lace.

Oop. What's this? Mmmmm…

Gotta go now. Mackenzie just wrapped her arms around me and is hugging me. And…

Mmm, I really love it when she does that. And I'm not telling you perverts what it is she's doing, either. Suffice it to say, it involves her lips on my neck and a really nice feeling…um…somewhere. Take a class in anatomy if you want a visual.

Later, gaters.

LJ – Soloist and almost-private pilot


House Calls

January 6, 2008

Well, that was productive. Went to see Heather today. Told her about the panic attack I had the other day. It sucked, royally. She listened. Suggested I take an anti-anxiety medication when I feel another attack coming on. I thought she said she wasn't going to push meds up my ass! Or anywhere else, for that matter. Sheesh!

I can't take anti-anxiety meds. They make me loopy. And being loopy does not work when one is trying to learn to fly. I have my cross-country solo flight tomorrow. I can't be loopy for that. I might fly the damned plane into the damned ground. That would really suck. It would also ruin my day.

And I know why the attack came on. It was actually a combination of things. My impending solo cross-country flight is just one of the reasons. I also got a letter in the mail from our attorney for the foundation. It seems that some prick is trying to weasel his way into becoming chairman of the board of the Stephens Foundation. Who does Emerson Brickle think he is, anyway? I mean, really. I don't even know the man. He was hired by Mother to do the bookkeeping this past Christmas. Now he is throwing his weight around and demanding that I make him chairman of the damned board.


Now I need to schedule a trip down to Houston. It's the middle of freaking winter, several of the ranch hands are off visiting family, two are down with the flu, Mackenzie is running around here like a chicken with her head cut off…

I can't postpone this trip, though. And Mackenzie can't take time off from helping Ben and doing her ferrying stuff to come with me. I really don't want to go alone. I hate Houston! Absolutely hate it! And I hate the fact that I started this damned foundation with MY money and now some dick thinks he can come in and take over!

No, that's not true. I don't hate the foundation. It is doing some fantastic things for our service people returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. It subsidizes so many programs that are already in place and provides my fellow comrades with job training and extra medical coverage. I'm really glad Mackenzie suggested I create the foundation. I just wish Emerson would get his head out of his ass and away from my business.

Yeah, I know. Stop whining. Take the meds with you. Fly down there, hash it out with this Emerson Brickle prick. Or maybe just fire him! Hey! There's a thought! What the hell, right? Who is this guy, anyway? And why does he think he can strong-arm his way into taking over MY foundation? He's not family. He has no connection to any of us. And why now? What the fuck?

Shit. I really wish Mackenzie was here, right now. I'm just sitting here petting our dog and trying not to go ballistic. That wouldn't help anything, right? It's snowing, again. Been snowing for days. The mountains are completely hidden behind low-hanging clouds. And Mackenzie is off in this crappy weather doing God-only-knows what. I really hope she's not flying. I hate it when she goes up in this weather. So much can happen up there…Yeah, stop thinking about it before you go crazy, Lace.

Speaking of which, Sully from the TCSAR team called the other day. That was surprising. For once, he wasn't looking for Mackenzie. He was calling me. Wanted to know if I wanted to volunteer. Apparently they're short-handed, these days. One of the other doctors moved to San Francisco with her girlfriend. Yeah, what a surprise that was.

Didn't know Brenda and Dani were getting that serious in their relationship. They decided it was time to settle down and even had a place all picked out just outside Jackson. Then Brenda got a call from UCSF Medical Center to head up their orthopedics department.

I had no idea she had so many specialties, truth be told. Didn't know she was pursuing a position there, either. Anyway, long story short, she and Dani picked up and moved to San Francisco early last week. And now the TCSAR guys are looking for someone with triage experience to replace her.

I told Sully I needed to think about it. He said I could take all the time I need, but that they would be lucky to have me. I actually asked him if he was serious, considering what happened the last time I volunteered to help them out. He just chuckled and said Brad Miller was a prick who no one liked. He said he breathed a sigh of relief the day Brad told him he was done volunteering for TCSAR. Then Sully thanked me for my part in getting Brad to quit. Said no one else had the balls to stand up to him. The others just put up with his bullshit attitude and complained about him behind his back.

Go figure.

Anyway, I'm not sure I'll do it. Don't know if I'm cut out to climb mountains in those damned snow shoes or go hiking all over God's creation to rescue some poor schmuck who doesn't have the sense God gave a snail. My knee still gives me fits when the weather turns ugly—like today. Had to put it up for a while as I sat here in front of a roaring fire. It was aching like crazy after I overdid it yesterday. I won't say what I was doing, either. I'll just leave that to all the perverted imaginations out there.

Dr. Johnson says I probably have some fluid built up under the kneecap, but not enough to justify surgery. Good thing. I really don't want to go under the knife again. It isn't the surgery, so much as the recovery and physical therapy, afterward. And I don't take pain meds, anymore. I take good old over-the-counter pain relievers, instead. And only when I can't stand the pain any longer. I won't put Mackenzie through that ordeal, ever again. That's all I have to say on the subject, too.

Not that any of you guys out there really need to know the particulars of my life, but I've had my moments. And they aren't all glitz and glamor, either. But, hey, such is life, right? We aren't perfect. Life isn't perfect. It's a journey, not a destination (Who the hell came up with that stupid phrase, anyway?). And we can only take it one day at a time. That's how I look at it, anyway. Maybe I should go into advertising—NOT!

I gotta go now. Time to take the dog out for her afternoon run. I'll be on my cross-country skis. Gotta get my exercise and do a little cardio workout. Don't want my butt going all flabby on me this winter. Then again, those late-night calisthenics of ours will probably keep that from happening.

Heh heh…

Catch ya later, guys…and girls.



House Calls

January 8, 2008

I made it! Got through my cross-country solo flight and am well on my way to becoming a licensed private pilot. And I only had one small glitch during the entire trip. It's so small, in fact, that it's not even worth mentioning.

I was entering the landing pattern for Skypark Airport, north of Salt Lake City, when a Beechcraft tried weaseling his way into the pattern and nearly clipped my tail. I can't believe the guy did that. I also can't believe we didn't collide. He was really that close. I could see him shaking his fist at me from his cockpit. Dumbass. I was in the pattern ahead of him and had already contacted the tower.

After we landed, he came over to my plane and was still royally pissed. Said I was the one in the wrong. Son of a bitch. He was clearly an idiot and butted in line in front of me. The tower guy was all over him for it on the radio, too. So, who was in the wrong? I guess it wouldn't have mattered if we both ended up as grease stains on the ground. Ya know?

I told him to shove it up his ass. He looked ready to punch me. I told him to go ahead and try it. Said he would find himself on the ground in a heartbeat, since I'm an Iraqi war vet and have some combat training. I didn't tell him my training was limited because I'm a doctor, not a soldier.

He bought me lunch and apologized for being rude. Rude? Really? I accepted his apology and ate my sixteen dollar steak in relative silence. He asked about my wedding band. Wanted to know about the intricate design. I explained that I'm married to a wonderful woman and we both agreed not to wear traditional wedding bands.

He nodded and didn't say another word the entire rest of the meal. He did, however, foot the bill and tell me to bring my spouse for a visit. His name is Chuck Straus and he lives in western Wisconsin, near Eau Claire. He teaches accounting in the Hotel and Restaurant Management Department at Stout University. He was staying in Salt Lake on business and was heading back later in the week. I wish him well—and hope I never see him again. Jerk.

All's well that ends well, I guess. And I returned to Jackson yesterday afternoon. The skies were fairly clear when I approached the airport. I'm really glad about that. I'm still only allowed to fly VFR, so I can't use the instruments to help me navigate. Besides, that particular 150 doesn't have IFR navigation. (I'll let all you techie types figure out all the acronyms for yourselves.) Suffice it to say, I have to fly with my eyes on the friendly skies.

Mackenzie met me at the hangar and gave me a big hug when I got back. Actually, she picked me up and planted a big kiss on my lips. Good thing she picked me up first. I probably would have slid right out of her arms and hit the ground, otherwise. I'm instantly turn to mush when she does that.

Anyway, she said she was really proud of me. Even her friend, Big Al, was right there with a big bear hug. He smelled like salami and some kind of stale cheese. Not sure which. Gouda? Munster? Blue? Don't think it was limburger. I think there was also beer on his breath. Yuck! And he rubbed his scruffy beard against my cheek and gave me road rash. Yikes!

He offered to take us to one of his local haunts for drinks to celebrate my accomplishment. I declined. So did Mackenzie. She just wrapped an arm around my shoulders and told him we'd take a rain-check. Then we headed to her pickup and came straight home. She cooked steaks on the grill on our balcony. We drank rum and coke. And we watched the snow fall outside as we sat next to a roaring fire.

Yeah, go figure. It started to snow on the way home. Clouds came barreling over the mountains and the weather turned fast. It was literally like someone flipped a switch. One minute it was clear as a bell. The next it was snowing like crazy. It is completely white out there, right now. Mindy keeps glancing at the balcony door and whining. I don't think even she wants to go out in it. It's nasty. And cold. Brrr.

But the fire is blazing and I am sitting here with a nice glass of…

Yeah, that's not important. I'm being paged. Time for bed. Heh heh…

Night, y'all!



House Calls

January 14, 2008

The New York Giants and the New England Patriots are going to the Super Bowl on February 3 rd . I don't really care about either team. It would have been interesting to see the Dallas Cowboys or the Houston Texans there, though. I might have actually purchased tickets for it. But not for two teams that I don't care about. DJ was disappointed. Tanner, too. Both of them want to go see a professional football game. Maybe we'll go next year. We'll see.

Speaking of the nephews, it brings up a really good topic for this entry. The “Big C.” But before I dive into that, did I mention Mac and I finally decided what to give Carrie and Ben this past Christmas? We couldn't decide on a present and finally settled on paying for them to go someplace tropical. They enjoyed our wedding trip so much that it just seemed like the perfect thing to do for them. And they never take a vacation without the boys. So, that's what we did.

They decided on Hawaii. Said they'd never been there and they really wanted to go. We bought the tickets and they'll be leaving at the end of February.

But there's a catch.

Yeah, I hate those, too. Not vacations, mind you. I hate it when there's a catch. And this one turned into a whopper. It involves the nephews.

Mackenzie and I agreed to be their godparents—their legal guardians, just in case anything happens to Carrie and Ben. Talk about being floored. They had us sign the papers yesterday. It's legal and binding. I almost threw up when I had to pick up that pen and sign my name on the line. My hand was shaking so badly that Mackenzie her hand over mine and asked if I was having second thoughts. I just smiled and said I was fine (not).

Later, after we were back at the cabin—I really need to stop calling it that now, by the way. We now have a loft above the living room and a much larger kitchen. Did I mention Carrie is giving me cooking lessons? I can now boil water. Yep. I am a water boiler.

Anyway, we were lying in bed after…um…yeah, still not going there with you pervs. Let's just say, there we were basking in the afterglow of some very satisfying calisthenics, when Mackenzie popped the question. The Big C question, mind you.

I about fainted. And it wasn't because I was still breathing heavily from…er…well, you know.

Children? Us? Really?

I know my eyes popped wide open and I looked like a damned deer in the headlights when that one dropped from her lips. And she just kept looking at me with one dark brow hiked into her hairline, like, “Well?”

I stuttered. Sounded like I couldn't form a complete sentence to save my life. And, truth be told, I couldn't.

Her face fell and so did my heart. Right into my damned stomach, which then proceeded to churn like crazy. She looked so hopeful and enthusiastic right before that, too. I felt terrible. Like I'd just taken candy from a—yeah, a baby. Go figure.

We talked about it for bit. Then the lights went out and we went to sleep. Yep, I pissed her off to no end. I really can't see myself as a mother. Are you fucking kidding me? After everything I've been through? Any child of mine would run screaming when faced with all that is me.

Mackenzie kept telling me I'd make a great mother. Yeah, right. Can you imagine me with a child, much less a baby? Well, I sure can't. Briana doesn't count. She's such a special little girl and smiles at the drop of a hat. She has the cutest little dimples and smells so nice and…er…yeah.

Mine would probably end up being little terrors. Then again, Mackenzie is really great with those nephews of ours. She took the two youngest riding the other day. In a light snow storm. They all came back laughing like crazy and dripping snow all over the place. We then shared hot chocolate and stories about their ride. The boys didn't even care that it was colder than hell out there. They were all rosy-cheeked and smiling the whole time. I really think there's a bit of hero worship going on with them where Mackenzie is concerned. She doesn't see it, but I sure can.

I still don't think I would make a good mother, though. I just can't imagine subjecting a child to my nightmares or Mackenzie's, for that matter. What in the world would a kid of ours say when she grew up and learned that both of her mothers were in therapy for everything that happened when we served in the military?

And don't even get me started on my father issues. I cringe every time I imagine myself as a parent having to discipline a child. I sure wouldn't do what that asshole did to me. I'm just sorry I didn't get the chance to reconcile with everything he did before he up and died. Damned man was always looking for the easy way out of things. He got it in the end, too, I suppose.

Anyway, the Big C question is tabled, for now. I know it hurt Mackenzie when I wouldn't commit either way. I just need time—a shitload of it, to be honest—to consider all the ramifications. I also need to come to grips with being a godmother to our three nephews. Granted, I'm already godmother and aunt to little Briana. And, for some reason that I just can't explain, it just doesn't bother me as much.

Jimmy is certainly old enough to start making decisions for himself, so he doesn't really need anyone telling him what to do. He already does a good share of the work around the ranch without being told when and how. He's so much like Ben that it's a little scary sometimes. He even watches out for Tanner and DJ when those two are underfoot.

I don't know. Maybe I'm overthinking this whole kid thing too much. I mean, they're mostly just little people. Right? How much could I screw them up…Nope. I still can't picture myself as a mother. I have too much of my own mother and James in me for that. I would totally screw it up. I just know it.

So, maybe it's just better if Mackenzie and I don't discuss it, ever again. Yeah. Avoid the topic at all costs. Maybe she won't bring it up again.

Yeah, fat chance, dumbass. You know she will. You just know it'll come up in passing conversation, when you least expect it.


I really need to discuss this with my shrink. Maybe she has some sage advice that will help me stop vacillating. Better yet, maybe she can just prescribe something to make me forget. Selective amnesia, perhaps? Yeah, that sounds good.

Well, that's my cue. Time to get back to work. Patsy is giving me the stink eye. Sheesh! Who's the boss around here, anyway? I think this is a damned conspiracy. First, Carrie. Now, Patsy. What's next?

Wait. Check that. I don't want to know.

Catch y'all later!



House Calls

February 26, 2008

And they're off!

Yes, we sent Carrie and Ben off on their three-week vacation to Hawaii yesterday. Sun. Sand. Beautiful beaches. And lots of touristy stuff to keep them busy. I think their first stop is the Pearl Harbor museum. They'll drop their leis in the waters just above the USS Arizona.

I had no idea Mackenzie and Ben's grandfather was one of those who went down with the ship that fateful day. Mackenzie said her grandmother was so devastated that she never fully recovered. Her health quickly failed and she passed away a month, to the day, after her husband.

That left Mackenzie's father, Jack, and his younger brother, Caleb, in the care of their elder aunt. Huh. History practically repeated itself when Mackenzie's father passed away, leaving his kids in the care of the same elderly aunt. The woman must have been well into her nineties by then. No wonder Ben struck out on his own and then sent for Mackenzie and Derek as soon as he was settled.

I'm a little jealous of Ben and Carrie, truth be told. They will be in their swim wear most of the time, while the rest of us are stuck here in our muffs, snow boots and parkas. We are also knee-deep in white stuff and it is damned cold. I thought the mountains were supposed to insulate us, here in Jackson Hole. Not true, though.

I decided to accept Sully's offer to help out with the TCSAR team, when needed. Now that Tim Lyons and I are partners at the clinic, I have a few hours available during the week. And when there is a really big TCSAR operation, we'll just close the clinic down and work the op together. Tim enjoys the challenge. I just think it's a nice change from the mundane cases we get at the clinic. I caught a cold the other day and am still struggling with the congestion. Damned thing went from my sinuses right to my chest. Ugh! I really hate that.

And Blackie is going to drive me nuts with that case of boot rot he's got going on. The man is more stubborn than a damned mule when it comes to taking care of himself. I swear.

So, I sicked Patsy on him last week. Now she drags him into the clinic every day to scrub and disinfect both of his feet. I think his right one might actually finally heal before spring arrives. I keep telling him to get new boots. Even offered to buy him a pair. He told me to mind my own business, then spit a gob of tobacco onto the ground near my own Sorrels. Gross.

Well, if Patsy can handle him, more power to her. At least he doesn't bitch and gripe at her. And if he does, she just gives him the stink eye and he shuts right up. She's pretty gentle for a woman with hands like a sailor's. And she knows her stuff. I guess those nursing classes she's taking during her off hours are really paying off. I just hope she doesn't leave us once she becomes an RN. My life would definitely suck if that happened.

Mackenzie and I moved some clothing and stuff, including Mindy, into the main house for the next three weeks. We thought it best to be close to the boys, so we can keep an eye on them until Carrie and Ben return.

Man, I never knew how hectic mornings could be, until this morning. Good thing Carrie hired a housekeeper to take care of things around here and also to do the cooking. Even with the few lessons Carrie has given me, I still don't cook. Neither does Mackenzie. And those boys would eat us out of house and home in no time flat.

Maryann is a godsend, let me tell ya. She raised six boys of her own on a cattle ranch about twenty miles south of here. She knows what it takes to feed a herd and keep them in line. And I think I just gained about ten pounds in the last few hours. Carrie's cooking is gourmet compared to Maryann's. But Maryann cooks for a damned army. I'm thinking of taking the leftovers to the bunkhouse for the guys. There's more than enough for all of them. Yeah, I think I'll do that.

Mackenzie won't be home from Idaho Falls for another hour or so and I'm bored. Tim is taking the patients for today. Said he needed the hours, since he cut back his hours at the hospital. I told him not to do that until things were completely settled here. Like most men, though, he didn't listen. That's okay. Gives me time to catch up on other stuff.

Like that stupid letter I received from the lawyer the other day. Emerson Brickle finally did it. Weaseled his way into Mother's good graces. She is now pushing for me to appoint him as Chairman of the Board. I want to kick his sorry ass. I know it shouldn't bother me. But I just don't see why I should give in to both of them at this point. The foundation is running just fine. Things are well in hand and I don't need some pansy-assed idiot throwing his weight around. It's my damned foundation, after all.

I guess I should finally stop dragging my heels and head down to Houston to meet the man. See what all the fuss is about and throw my own weight around for a change. I just hate the thought of having to play the debutante, after all these years. And that's exactly how Mother will play it. I just know her. She'll have to throw a big party and invite all of Houston's snobbish elite to welcome me back to the fold. Or she'll find a way to turn the thing into a fundraiser for the foundation. Ugh!

Maybe Mackenzie can free up some time to escort me down there. We'll have to wait until Carrie and Ben return from Hawaii, but that's fine. Mother will have more time to plan her big event. Not that she really needs all that much time with that bulldozer of a party-planner she hires to do the job for her.

Richard Topher is a whirlwind when it comes to planning an event. And his current flame is a master in the kitchen, at least from what Mother tells me in her letters. Yes, the woman still insists on writing letters on actual letterhead. No typewriter. Nope. She hand writes them.

Anyway, Beau Samuels is a gourmet chef who has his own catering business. Richard and Beau are the reason the foundation is doing so well, by the way. Their parties, soirees, fundraisers and balls are legendary. When they put on a shindig, everyone begs for an invite. The food alone is more than worth it. You are a true A-lister if you attend an event put on by Topher/Samuels. No doubt Mother would enlist their services for my homecoming.

I definitely want Mackenzie there. I can just see her in a vintage Dior gown or some such. I'm drooling just thinking about it. Silk? Blue or red? Something strapless? Whoa. Yeah, now I really want her to come home. With the boys at school we could…yeah, not going there. I think I'll go on upstairs and put on some mood music, maybe light a few candles. Heh heh…




The End (for now)

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