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sf arm 014No, not a Halloween post. I finally broke down and bought a bag of frozen peas. I had put it off because as Tony will verify there is nothing less attractive than an overweight, middle-aged woman, with her hair in a knot, wearing exercise clothes (that have yet to live up to their name), watching Monday Night Football, with a bag of frozen peas resting on her dead arm.

Nonetheless, I am learning at an exponentially speedy rate, that I am genetically predisposed to a slew of quirky medical problems including Dead Arm with Peas which by the way is a third generation mutation, hence, my recent purchase of frozen vegetables. I inherited  Dead Arm from my grandmother, “This arm is darn near dead; it don’t have a pulse in it,”(verbatim) and Peas from my dad.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, when my dad was killed, all of his worldly possessions were in his blue Hyundai parked in our driveway, including a paper bag on the floor of the front seat which contained all of his important papers. On top of the bag was a journal and in the journal was a dog-eared page with a list of where he planned to live throughout the year as well as how long he planned to be there. Tony and I were lucky enough to have our family room couch slated for 30 days (my mother a.k.a his ex-wife and her new husband’s extra bedroom had a three day slot). I’m sure there was some trial and error involved in determining how long was too long at each of the 20 to 30 households he planned to visit which eventually resulted in a formula that conveniently worked out to 365 days (so not only did my dad write the first computer programs for booster rockets, he also invented couch surfing).

We were thrilled to get the 30 days because he was very handy with household repairs and a great babysitter. Although the first time he babysat, we returned from a baby safety class for new parents on CAR SAFETY to discover that he had driven somewhere with six week old Kip while we were out – when asked how he drove with Kip without the baby carseat, he replied without any concern at all (like we were the dumbest people on the planet), that he had laid Kip on the front seat. “Dad!” I groaned like my kids do now when they think I have done something completely intolerable (like advise them not to wait until the last minute to work on a research paper or suggest they take the roommate survey a little more seriously or maybe run up a hill),  “I put the seat belt on,” he explained innocently.

When Tony’s dad babysat for part two of the baby safety class (during part two we learned from nurse Ocy Huff that a baby can drown in a bowl of Cheerios containing just a tablespoon of milk – our kids were doomed – now they know who to thank for dry cereal the first five years of their lives), we came home to all of the windows and doors open in the dead of winter because Grandpa Babysitter # 2 could not figure out how to use our stove and the house reeked of gas, “You didn’t tell us you were going to cook,” we groaned as we checked Kip’s tiny wrist for a pulse. We had another child before we had another babysitter.

Once my dad agreed not to go anywhere with the kids, not to turn any appliances on, and not to give them a bowl of anything with liquid in it, he was a great babysitter and more than welcome to sleep on our couch for as long as he wanted. During one of his extended stays, I learned about the peas. I could not figure out why every time I went to straighten up the family room, I would find a bag of partially thawed frozen peas lying on the floor between the Sesame Street Sidewalk play set and the Fischer Price Little People Garage at the far end of the sofa. I knew the kids could not reach the freezer (even though a bag of peas would have kept them much more entertained than anything Santa ever spent time shopping for, storing, wrapping, packing in the sleigh, and keeping her exhausted, oversized body up until 2:00 a.m. delivering) and besides the freezer had a baby safety lock on it, so I asked my dad what he was doing with our frozen vegies at night.  He was using the package of peas as an ice pack for sciatica (oh goody, something to look forward to); who needs physical therapy when one has Birds Eye? I had the same reaction my kids had when I pointed out where they were conceived, “Gross!”

So here I am almost 20 years later with a bag of cold peas draped over my shoulder because honest to God, my arm is dead (I think it’s adhesive capsulitis which coincidentally is commonly known as Frozen Shoulder); however, even though I cannot move my arm without intense pain,  I’m happy to report it does have a pulse and the peas are helping.