January 30, 2023

sadness, scary, & winter coat decision, intervention needed

HEARTBREAK:  Reg, Coach, Curly, and I attended the twins' mom's service today (drafting this on Sunday). Friends, it was impossibly sad. 

Please pray for/ keep the dad, Tony, and the twins in your thoughts. My heart breaks for this family and for this horrific, senseless tragedy. After learning more details, I fear the dad will never stop beating himself up for not calling 911 sooner. 

When I hugged Tony, I told him that we'll be helping in anyway that we can and that I can be bossy, so I won't be taking no for an answer. He laughed. 

The twins start drivers' ed this semester. Coach and I are seasoned at driving with teens. Need driving hours? We can pitch in. The twins both wear braces. I'm the scheduling queen over here in WHAT CAN I GET DONE DURING NAP TIME LAND. Plus, I have a few days a week that are toddler light - we can pick up at school and get them to the ortho - then I'll read books to the tots in the car. We've got this. 

Remember how we almost sent Reg and Curly to Catholic school? Coach and I agreed tonight. Based on how much the twins have been leaning on Curly, their paths were meant to cross. She needed to be right where she is. 

ALSO SCARY:  Coach got a text Wed. from his BIL. His sister had a colonoscopy and they'd ruptured her spleen. We now think they lacerated it. Still, SCARY. If your spleen is ruptured and you don't realize it, you can die. SIL stayed overnight in the hospital and they opted not to do surgery. She is home, taking it easy and they are keeping an eye on her.

This news arriving on the heels of Lisa's sudden death following a routine hysterectomy was jarring to say the least. 


Me:  AT LEAST 5. *the point:  I never had an issue. 
On to a lighter topics, warm - but lighter . . . 

I need an intervention.
WINTER COAT SHOPPING:  I bought myself a handful of Pajar winter coats online last week. Von Maur didn't have my size, so I ordered a small inventory in order to shop from home. I might need an intervention. 

The price is staggering. Even at 50% off, it makes me choke - but my last coat didn't hold up, and I believe this one will. Pajar is a Canadian brand and from reading Nicole's blog (hi NICOLE) those people KNOW cold weather. 

This is the cuff of one sleeve
 and a rip further up on the arm
My last coat was from a fancy-pants store. I assumed that it was a good brand, but it's raw silk and literally fell apart. It wasn't cheap. Maybe people who shop fancy-pants stores replace their coats more frequently than I do. I've embraced my inner Ma Ingalls and mended it here and there, but it's time to invest in something new. I've worn it since maybe 2015 and it's TATTERED.

Other cuff with the black
binding tape I sewed
over the seam because
it was so frayed.
Decisions:  The longer one has pockets that zip close, which I like. It has thumb holes in the elasticized cuff. It has an interior cord to cinch tighter. Both have a faux fur hood feature. Both the hood and the faux trim can be removed. 

The shorter one seems warm enough. The pockets snap shut, but zippers are obviously more secure. Not that I tend to do cartwheels while out and about, or anywhere really, so my keys should remain in place. The shorter one is a bit cheaper, but not significantly enough to sway me. 

The temperature ratings confuse me. Mini was equally confused, so I feel less dopey. Clearly if it will keep you warm when temps drop down to four below - then it will keep you warm if it's 50 degrees out too, so why list a range? Shouldn't it just be warm enough to four below or 22 below? 

Longer jacket, so
apparently not a coat?
Shorter coat -
but supposedly warmer?

I assumed the longer coat was warmer, because of its 'extras' like thumb holes - but according to this temp rating - the shorter one is warmer. Then I realized that the longer one is technically a jacket and the shorter one a coat. 

I ordered both styles in large and medium, so four coats (wanted to be sure I had enough room. The medium is sufficient). Then I added a medium in black when it went on sale. Go ahead, tell me I'm silly - I'll believe you. 


Remember my purse purchase dilemma? Do we now see why I can't be expected to shop for a coat more frequently? Do you have an opinion? If you live in a winter climate, how often do you replace your winter coat? Do you go with a favorite brand?  If you don't live in a winter climate, when should I come for a visit? 


Nicole MacPherson said...

First of all, I think that the way that you are offering to help the twins' family is absolutely perfect, Ernie. Helping with driving and with scheduling appointments, those are things that are HARD for a single parent to do, and I am sure that your help will be more than appreciated. This is such a good idea to help out.
Second, eeee about your SIL. A lacerated spleen! My husband has had colonoscopies as well and that is terrifying.
Third: I don't think you could go wrong with either of those coats but I would get the warmer rated one. I think those ratings actually do mean something - I have boots that are rated to -20 and to -40, and I can feel the difference in them. Those coats are really cute too! I think they have a lovely flattering cut, which is hard to get in a winter coat.

Nance said...

I like the coat on the left. The diagonal stitching is very flattering and it looks warmer and better made.

I actually have a heated jacket, made by Ororo. It has a lithium battery pack and three heat settings I control by pushing a button on the coat, which lights up. I love it, except for the fact that it doesn't cover my rear. In a perfect world, I want my heated jacket to be a coat.

kate said...

You are being exactly the kind of person I thought you were to have set about with helping that devastated family. Well done. Nothing you decide to do will be the wrong thing. There are no wrong things, there is only love and support.

I live in NH, we do cold pretty well (except so far this year). For 25 years all the serious winter coats in this house are LandsEnd. Well made, comfortable, warm, lots of choices, great sales, machine washable. all good.

mbmom11 said...

I like the coat on the left - the cut looks great. I think snaps are good enough on pockets - the zippers can get clogged and if you stuff your hands in the pockets, the zippers can irritate your skin.
I buy my coats from the thrift store usually, every 3 or 4 years. I'll buy them in the spring when they do a clearance, and then put them in the basement until winter. I usually have a few extra, as my adult daughters visit and sometimes don't have the right type of coat if the weather changes. And after a year or two, if I haven't worn it, I'll pass it onto a coat drive. Or, if I wash it and it turns out not to be washable, I hide it in the garbage... My current one is a Lands End that I did not buy on clearance, so $18, but it's a great length and I can fit a heavy sweater underneath.

Jenny in WV said...

I like the diagonal stitching on the shorter coat. The two different temperature ratings might be comfort level (you'll be comfortable warm down to this temperature) and survival level (you'll be cold, but you won't freeze). Sleeping bags are rated like that - according to people I watch go camping on YouTube while I snuggle under a heated blanket.

I think you have thought of wonderful and outside the box ways to help the twins and their dad. I wouldn't have thought about orthodontist appointments.

Also, that is scary! I had no idea the spleen could be ruptured during a colonoscopy! I'm glad your SIL is doing ok.

Ernie said...

Nicole - I do hope the dad will let us help. The perk of sitting during the day is that I can make appointments. I usually arrange for me to take kids or Coach, so what's a few more? I told Curly maybe I'll just become the tooth person - dentist and ortho.

The doctor told my SIL this was the first time in 20 years she'd damaged a spleen. Very frightening, especially after Lisa's sudden death. Things can go wrong so quickly.

I figured a Pajar coat would be a good investment.

Ernie said...

Nance - That is the one I'm leaning towards. Now I need to decided between navy and black. ;)

A heated jacket? I can get on board with that.

Ernie said...

Kate - You are sweet. I agree, whatever we can fit into our lives and step up to do will be one less thing for this dad. Every single thing that I do for my kids right now is reminding me that the twins no longer have a mother to do the same thing for them. After the service, Curly landed back at their house again in the evening. She came home and asked me to rub her back. She was sore from her workout. Oh, my heart - thinking the twins no longer have a mom to run their back, or meet whatever little needs pop up. It's too sad to think about.

Some of my kids have Lands End coats. That is a good brand for sure. Mini needs a new coat and I'm thinking maybe a Lands End one is the way to go. She said so many kids at Notre Dame wear the Canadian Goose coats. Yowza - so pricey.

Ernie said...

mbmom11 - The coat on the left is the one I am leaning towards keeping. The navy one is pictured, but I also bought it in black. I have to decide which color I prefer. You have a good point about the zippers scraping cold hands. I know exactly what you mean. Von Maur marks things down on Wednesdays. I'm going to check to see if the coat gets marked down again Wednesday before I cut any tags off of it. There is a method to my maddness.

You have a great winter coat purchase system. I imagine you find some great coats that way. What a great plan to have a spare for visiting kids. Why do kids today refuse to wear coats nowadays? It drives me mad. I always liked having a spare for my kids back when they used to play in the snow. One dry, one wet.

Ernie said...

Jenny - Aha - I knew someone would be able to crack the code on the temperature ranges on the coats. I'm laughing at you watching people camp on youtube while you're uner your heated blanket.

I can't help but put myself and my household in the shoes of this family. I know what I do and how Coach has really no idea what I do - even when he does the ortho appointment, he doesn't know that he has to call the school to get them a pass to get out of class. I do that in the morning. Plus, I will have college kids home in May and then we can tackle anything with extra drivers/adults here. Their mom was an only child. They don't have a lot of aunts and uncles. Plus, we live nearby.

That colonoscopy mishap was scary. It never even crossed my mind that something could go wrong while having that proceedure. Of course, anything could go wrong at any time. Embrace every day.

Pat Birnie said...

Ernie reiterate what your other readers (fans) have said; we all knew you would jump right in to help even if you are the busiest lady around. Be bossy; glad you made him laugh. That poor man - I cannot imagine the guilt.

Your winter coat shopping strategy makes me laugh. Just keep ordering until you find the one you love ! (Ps Canada Goose are ridiculously overpriced. People are paying for their brilliant marketing there are lots of other warm coats that look great)

Ernie said...

Pat - I don't feel like the busiest lady around anymore - not with the kids able to drive and with so many of them at college, so I do feel like I am able to pitch in. We found out more details over the weekend and Coach wept thinking of how tough it must be for that man. Gut wrenching. Truly.

My winter coat shopping is a bit extreme. I am nothing if not thorough. I am astounded at the cost of the Canadian Goose coats. What in the world?

Ally Bean said...

I've had three colonoscopies and I fear for my life during them. They've been difficult experiences for me. A ruptured spleen sounds exactly like how I'd expect the procedure to go wrong.

As for winter coats, I have two lined wool ones and one parka. They're so old that I couldn't tell you when or where I got them, all I know is they're enough to keep me warm.

Kara said...

You are doing amazing things for that family.

I no longer have a winter coat. We went somewhere cold over the weekend (mid 20's is freezing cold to me now) and I looked like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man with all of my layers. Sherpa Sweatpants exist and they are the most comfortable way to be warm (along with a pair of fleece lined leggings underneath them). My husband was jealous of my sweatpants.

Charlie said...

I literally teared up reading about your friends and how you are helping them. And to know that Curly is where she was meant to be is so special. You are such a great family.

I vote the diagonal stitch coat. I live in a chilly clime and would say I replace my coat about every 3 years, so good going from your coats!

Ernie said...

Ally - Colonscopies are so uncomfortable. The prep alone is an ordeal. I tend to be of the mindset that when something is routine, it will be just fine. Then this woman had a routine hysterectomy and it ended badly. One never knows.

I have been thinking about replacing my coat for years now. I really wanted to be sure to buy a great coat, since the last one was NOT great, but also not cheap. I am confident in this purchase. Glad your coats have lasted you so long.

Ernie said...

Kara - I envision myself doing many things for this family, but I have not yet bulldozed my way in there to make it happen. I'm hoping that he'll be receptive to it. I didn't know her well, but I feel like we would've become friends if I'd gotten the chance and that alone motivates me. My hope is to make something less shakey and uncertain, just to keep a few things seemless.

I'm laughing at your staypuff marshmallow imitation. I really do not enjoy winter, but I still can't comprehend not owning a winter coat.

Ernie said...

Charlie - You are sweet. Thank you. I don't think we are doing anything that any other family would do. I do hope that the kids become comfortable enough to tell me when they need something, but if they tell Curly - then she can let me know. She already told K that she doesn't really like shopping, but that I do and that if K came shopping with us then Curly might enjoy it more. I'm all over the clothes shopping thing. That's a walk in the park to me. Shit, if she needs a winter coat, I'll clearly buy everything on the market until we've nailed it. ;)

I'm going with the one of the left. I like the navy one more than I thought I would. Hmm. Might do the basic black. Why must decisions be so tough? If they mark these coats down again, I might keep one for Mini. She told me recently that her coat is worthless. She's in a cold climate at school.

Bijoux said...

I do live in a colder climate and probably replace my winter coat about every 10 years. They don't tend to wear out; more likely, the zipper will break. I bought my last new one at TJMaxx and it's super warm and comfy. It's a Tommy Hilfiger, which I didn't even know he made coats.

Ernie said...

Bijoux- I fully expected my last coat to last 10 years. Grrr. It didn't occur to me that a coat made from raw silk would not last. Why would a company specializing in winter coats use that material? I'm not taking any chances this time. I love it when I find a good deal at a TJMaxx place and it holds up.

Beth Cotell said...

Continuing to pray for Lisa's family. I'm so glad God pit your family at the same the twins.

Ernie said...

Beth - Much appreciated. Curly has really chosen a nice group of friends. It is a coed group - a first for my kids starting high school, but these kids are really tight.

Bibliomama said...

What kind of idiot would make a winter coat out of RAW SILK?

It's so nice that you have such an array of ideas of how you can help the family.

I hardly wear a winter coat, and all of mine are really old. I have a long puffy one that I wear on cold winter walks with the dog, a sort of long nicer jacket that I can wear when I'm dressed up and a fleece. Most of the time I just throw them in the car while I'm driving, because I can't wear a coat in the car. Even if I get cold, I'd put the coat on, and thirty seconds after getting inside anywhere I'm dying. We're supposedly in a polar vortex right now so I wore long sleeves and a jacket to walk Lucy and was too hot by the end. Sigh.

Life of a Doctor's Wife said...

I had to replace my winter coat this winter. Get this, Ernie: I bought the new coat in December and have not yet worn it. I'm afraid to, or something??? What if it isn't warm enough??? I am dumb! But my old coat is starting to look quite frayed. Holes inside and it's going grey (it was originally black, but the black faded somehow).

The temperature ratings are baffling. I agree with you -- why not just say they are good down to the lowest possible temperature they list?

I am so sorry about the twins' mom. How kind of you to offer to help where you can. I am sure that brings some much needed comfort to the family.

Ernie said...

Ali - See also: what kind of idiot would BUY a coat made of raw silk? Ha. I just didn't realize it. It's a black coat. It's warm. I liked the big pockets. The store was fancy and I assumed that meant high quality.

I guess you live in the right climate if you aren't the type (like me) to be ALWAYS cold. I just told Coach that I don't know how the toddlers can stand to play in the family room. All the toy bins are on the fireplace and it is downright BREEZY in front of said fireplace. He said THEY'RE PROBABLY FINE, BECAUSE THEY AREN'T 80 LIKE YOU. I should've chosen that time to tell him that you said he was a weenie after the b-day dinner fiasco.

It's not that complicated to me - I just think of all of the things that Coach would be clueless about and I insert myself in there. I texted the dad today to see if he wanted me to go to one of the twins' b-ball games. They used to divide and conquer. Grandparents were going, but he thanked me for offering. I then texted that I hope he doesn't find me to be a pest - but I will be continuing to offer to help until he accepts. He said he won't consider me a pest and he will appreciate the help because he tends to not ask for help.

Ernie said...

Suzanne - I am the same way, but my hold off and maybe wear it later stems from a WHAT IF IT GETS MARKED DOWN FURTHER? That's where I am with the winter coat situation at the moment. I have to take the extras back, but I want to do that at night just before they close and then be able to race back there and buy it back if it has been marked down further. Like I said INTERVENTION.

The temp ratings - what on earth? I was so relieved that it wasn't just me. I purposely asked my very smart kid and when she found it weird, I breathed a sigh of relief. I was like AM I NOT ABLE TO READ THIS?

Well, it isn't too hard to imagine what my own family would need help with - so I just imagine a few scenarios. I plan to keep sending him messages until he agrees to let me do one thing for them. I can do ortho and dentist and just be their new tooth fairy lady reimagined. It's just such an awful nightmare, only not one that we can wake up from.

joymariecooks said...

I'm thinking the temp rating is a CYA move. If they give a range for the lower bounds of the coat's comfortable range, then it's less likely that someone will get mad because the coat said "good to -20 C" but that individual was cold at -18 C.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Praying for Tony and his kids. I can't imagine.
You need to (please) tell me what he thinks he could have done; signs, symptoms, etc. My date is approaching.

I'm perplexed about the temp ratings, and what in the world is the difference between a coat and a jacket? I would think the longer one would keep your biscuits warmer than a short one. Right?
I really only know hoodie vs cardigan.
You are welcome to come to visit. it's 85* and I'm hot.

Ernie said...

joymarie - Ah, I guess that makes sense. It really threw me off. I was also confused by the fact that the coat that seemed to have more warm features would be rated less warm than the other one.

Ernie said...

Suz- I'm jealous of your outer wear knowledge being liminted to hoodie vs cardigan. I think jacket is more of a fall thing, like not made for weather as intense as winter. But the coat seemed less warm by design. My bisquits might get chapped either way. ;)

I will text you a few more details, but it is just so impossible. It reminds me of a movie that had characters feeling such regret it was hard to stomach. It was starring Brad Pitt. I think. Something about him being on a bus and his wife is shot by a sniper while on the bus? Anyway, I remember being glad I could turn off the movie and able to say over and over, NOT REAL, NOT REAL.