Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Frankly I don't know if it's the big hormone dive or medication-related or possibly my accelerated cookie consumption but I am currently in the midst of a month-long hot... flash? Can a flash last a month??? I would think it would be more aptly named a hot era or something.
I have taken to using clinical strength antiperspirant on most of my upper torso just to keep The Girlz from being washed down the river of sweat that runs between them. The thermostat is turned down to the point that my scrawny daughters have started wearing down blankets around the house and even Hairy Homer, who might be part yak, is sporting sweats. But you know the saying 'If mama ain't happy....' Yeah, so do they, so they don't argue. Besides, I have threatened to run around buck neck-ed and that's not something anyone wants to imagine... well, except maybe Homer but he's too busy salivating over the lower heating bill. I guess cheap trumps porn in his game.
So I'm wearing more shirts and fewer sweaters, lighter jackets and fewer layers and still
Which makes me wonder; shouldn't all this hotness be burning a monumental amount of calories??? I was kidding about the cookies... mostly, so I should be about a size 2 by January if this keeps up. Okay, that's like 5 sizes in two days so I don't think it's going to happen. Which seems really unfair.
I guess I should take up back country skiing because I think if were buried in an avalanche I could steam myself out in a matter of minutes. Which also makes me wonder; has any woman ever been saved from hypothermic death by a hot flash?? I'm picturing a middle aged snowmobiling couple who gets lost in the wilderness (because the man wouldn't ask directions) and the rescuers finally reach them and the man is laying stone cold in the snow shelter and the woman is all sitting there in her shirt sleeves wondering how she can bottle 6 below and take it home with her.
Don't even laugh. Global warming isn't near the threat to our polar ice caps that I am right now.
Gad, where is my fan!!
Monday, December 29, 2008
Having Christmas Eve day off really saved my heiny. I still had a few gifts to buy so I headed out to the mall early. WTH?!?! So did everyone and their cousin. It took me 10 minutes just to nab a parking place. I heard on the news that people were shopping late this year which really irritates me. That is MY time! All you organized people are supposed to be well out of my way by December 24th! You cannot just randomly decide to take over our procrastinators' shopping time.
I had everything purchased and wrapped by noon. Yay me! Can I just say that one good thing about this recession is that Christmas seemed much simpler this year. There wasn't all that crazy buy-a-gift-for-your-dog's-pedicurist mentality. I mean, I'm all about the spirit of giving but I just don't need another bag of candied fruit slices. Especially when there are people out there who don't even have breakfast.
The afternoon was set aside for lefse making. For those of you whose last name doesn't end in -son, lefse is basically a Norwegian potato tortilla. You butter it up, sprinkle it with sugar, roll it like you're gonna smoke it and yum! It's good but it's also a lot of work and goes better with a helper. Omega agreed to do the cooking if I rolled it out. This lasted all of three very browned pieces... because she was paying more attention to texting her friends than watching her work. I got a little um... testy and soon it was just me doing everything since Alpha was off snowboarding with some totally hunky guy and Homer was... oh, just STARTING his shopping. Anyway, it turned out quite well.
We had lasagna for dinner on Christmas Eve and then we opened out presents! This is the way both Homer and I grew up and still seems to be the norm back in the 'Otas but it is NOT the way of You-tah. People here couldn't be more shocked by our actions if we pantsed Santa in the food court but it's worked for generations of Jane-people, which are easily identified in a crowd by their lack of Christmas morning eye bags. We get to sleep in because all that's left for Christmas morning is stocking stuffers and noon church. We used to do midnight mass, which is actually at 11pm, but who can stay up THAT late any more?
Christmas Day we had our traditional ham and potato dumplings... and lefse... and a little squash for color. This totally defies the family green bean casserole custom but my mother ruined that for me by using canned green beans. I can't even talk about it without throwing up a little.
And, well, that pretty much sums up our Christmas... except for the laundry. Did anyone else do laundry on Christmas Day? I just couldn't help myself. It's that Siren washer... she calls to me.
I spent the rest of the weekend doing odds and ends and rearranging the family room for the new BIG tv that Santa brought. We just need to hang it on the wall... when Homer gets the mount... right after the second coming.
A p.s. on the morning dog pee story: I never realize how freaky I sound until I expose some little habit of mine to all of blogdom, and once again feel the need to explain myself. You don't even have to pretend you care. This is about my needs.
Pepperann doesn't wake me up to go out. My Sweet Pepper not only stays in bed as long as I do, but she does her best to defend me from the moocherous cats that try to wake me with paw slaps to the nose and insistent mah-rowing that means it is time for morning kibbles. True,
sometimes her 'defense' is more rousting than the cats, but her intentions are good.
Back when PA was new to our home, I used to take her out first thing in the morning and I would tell her to pee and then wait for her to perform. This serves two purposes: one is that it's
very helpful to have a dog trained to pee on command if you are traveling for instance and two, I then know that she is drained and has not fallen victim to some distraction like a blade of grass or say... the air. It only takes a minute and then we return to the kitchen and put the feedbags on.
A year to the day, after PepperAnn moved in, I got distracted by Alpha's birthday breakfast and I FORGOT to take PA out. She peed right next to Alpha's bed. That was her first accident in almost year so I blame only myself for breaking our routine. I should also mention that she does have a dog door and she takes care of all the rest of her daily business ALL by herself, when she doesn't have visions of breakfast clouding her focus. She also takes care of herself when I am
not around, which is good because she would probably shatter her bladder waiting for anyone else in this family to arise.And now you know the sunrise story.
Uh, no, I didn't think to take my camera with me... but I did happen to know, for once, right where it was. Sometimes that happens.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Also notice the love dust piled high and deep. There are many, many happy powderhounds tearing up those mountains even as I write this.
Ciou for now!
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
But apparently she does have her limits.
I was out shoveling the driveway that afternoon - a fairly ambitious job after Friday's big storm - when I noticed Nick, the 7-year-old tree toppler, doing the same.
Jane: 'Nick, how's it going?'
Nick: 'Not so good. I have to shovel.'
Jane: 'Really? All by yourself?'
Nick: 'My mom's mad. She said not to come in until she can see some concrete.'
Jane: 'Yikes! You better get to work.'
Nick: 'How much do you have to do?'
Jane: 'Probably the whole drive.'
Nick: ' You must really be in trouble. What did you do?'
Jane: 'Married wrong.'
Note to husbands in cold climes: If you let your wife blow off steam by shoveling snow, be warned that at the same time she is accumulating some sweet upper-body strength that may soon enable her to throw your a$$ over the back fence.
Merry Christmas Everybody! Santa has promised to put a better outlook in my stocking this year. I better go check it.
Monday, December 22, 2008
For you younger moms who usually read this blog for the 'horrible warning' side more than the 'good example', I will tell you that getting to THIS stage of mothering makes the empty bank account, full calendar and crapped out car totally worth it... I'm still not sure about all those poopy diapers.
Not only did they bake the cookies and decorate the tree but they had fun and they got along and, get this, THEY CLEANED UP! Okay, that's not what makes it worth it but it surely doesn't hurt. No, the bonus is that they are always there with hugs and smiles and lots of love for their dear old mom. I love them and I'm keeping them.
That said, the rest of my weekend was sort of an emotional junkyard - some jewels, mostly trash.
I left work Friday in a raging snowstorm. Since traffic was moving almost backwards, I decided to detour though the surface streets and break up the drive with a few stop and shops. I hadn't been able to get ahold of Homer so I had no idea if there was a dinner plan. I decided to stop at home to pick up a return and then throw myself at the mercy of the mall. Oh, there's Homer. Back from skiing, napping on the couch.
I bought some presents and then stopped off to pick up my glasses, that were being fixed... except they couldn't find them. Yes, they called and said they were ready... yes, they should be there... but weren't. They were nowhere to be found... until I was back home... when they called and asked if I wanted to drive back in the raging snowstorm to pick them up. No thanks. So... it's 7:30. Looks like Homer has gone to bed. Poor guy, I think. Rough day on the slopes. I did some laundry and cleaned up and finally went to bed.
Saturday morning I notice that the noise is worse in my left ear and the pressure seems greater in both. I was two days off of the big steroid bump they gave me to try and... I don't even know what. So I'm cranky because I have a lot that I want to get done - most of which involves public interaction. For some reason, I am a chat magnet. I am often asked for directions, my opinion or help. I realize that being almost 6' makes me a good top shelf picker, but small talk? Really? I don't think I appear all that friendly. Maybe I look like a challenge. Whatever the reason, I'm usually more than willing to oblige... when I can hear. When I can't, I have two choices: pretend that I know what they said and smile, hoping that the conversation is over OR stick my right ear in their personal space and say 'Sorry, what did you say?' which makes me feel like Nelda Nursinghome.
Yeah, I know, get over it Jane.
But I accomplished a lot on Saturday: picked up the elusive glasses, purchased some gifts, finished two scarves I was making - one knit and one crochet (Meg, are you proud?), put together my Christmas centerpiece - Marthaverymuch, and shoveled the driveway... among other things. Homer? Oh, he was a real trooper. He kept that couch from sailing away ALL DAY. He might have risen once when he called me at Target to make sure I remembered the list of recipe items that he gave me a week ago. The same list of things that I suggested he could buy with a little time carved out of his busy schedule of, oh, a ZERO hour work week.
So I said to him 'Okay, then, let me just step out of this REALLY long line and go get your F#&$ing stuff!' Yes, I used the real word and judging from the looks on people's faces, I used it quite loudly. Sorry Target guests.
Oh, and then there was the prescription that I forgot to fill at work and took to the local pharmacy. It was new and I realized it might be more expensive there but... $150!!! Um, no thanks. She tells me it would have been $700 without your insurance. This matters to me... how?
Okay, you can see that I was getting a real butt-nasty mood on without even telling you about how the moronic dipshits parked at the mall. But I brought home the Homer-requested dinner ingredients. Except the peas. I don't do peas. Sorry. So he SAID he would take care of dinner. He was going to make Shepherd's Pie since he found a recipe and we have never in our lives had
Shepherd's Pie. Oh, did ever make it? No. I guess the couch started to jump a little.
By the time I go to bed on Saturday night, I have some serious insight. I'm sometimes clever about piecing things together and it's become pretty plain that he is pissed at me because I can't hear. I realize it's probably not all that clear to you because I have left out most of our recent interaction about how he complains can't talk to me but still he turns away from me and mumbles or yells from the other room. If I ask him to repeat he YELLS in my face. But apparently this is HIS problem. I am making his life difficult and not paying enough attention to his problems. That's why he can't get off the couch. Because I am making his life TOO HARD. This goes hand in hand with his policy of 'if you get mad at me, I'll get madder at you.'
I am probably going through the MOST DIFFICULT thing of my entire life so far, which has happened to coincide with my dad's major health issue and Christmas. But whatev. I realize that life goes on and I am doing what I can. I do not want pity. I cannot for a minute imagine pulling the covers over my head and shifting to poor me mode. I truly think I can handle whatever is sent my way. All I'm asking is for people to temporarily handle their own real or imaginary crises. I can deal with the millions of holiday minutiae but he can't make it to the grocery store?
Yes, I'm angry. BIG angry. There is not a font large enough for my angry.
Oh, and then when I went out to get the paper on Sunday morning I noticed why Homer had parked the SUV off to the side... which he never does because it is a considerate move. It looks like the front bumper has been smashed in. Wonderful. Someone backed into him he thinks.
This morning? It gets even better. I realized that I really can't taste much anymore. And just now I got a call from Omega. The SUV overheated on her way to her friend's last night and she doesn't dare drive it home... and Homer called to see if I can stop and look at it on my way home from work.
So why am I telling you all this? Good question. Mostly because I am on the verge of exploding, which would be a shameful waste of the 5 cookies I just ate. Partly because I need to decide which one of you I can trust with my Blogger password. I'm thinking there might need to be some posts deleted from my blog... should there happen to be a suspicious death in my family in the near future.
Shupe? You're in charge of the shovel.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
I know. You're thinking why the heck did I need cookies when I had Style 5 belts to come home to. For sustanance, that's why. Changing the belt on my vacuum is only slightly easier than getting teenagers to focus.
Okay, men? This is the point where you might want to just head over to the BCS website and admire my fine Utes for making it into the Sugar Bowl. Nothing to see here. Go on... run along!
Okay, the one item on the $54+ list that I did have a problem with was the $8 box of tampons. Seriously? Now I'm all in favor of this product, because when you have teenage daughters you don't want to NOT be buying them if you know what I mean from a Sarah Palin point of view. But eight dollars for 36? Plus, I had an isolated incident of clarity and recalled the same daughter tossing the same box into my cart not 3 days before. What is she doing with $16 dollars worth of (gold plated?) tampons? I believe you could actually wring her completely out and not come up with enough fluid of any type to fill up 72 tampons. And older daughter has always made due with storebrand. I'm good with generic, even. I'm sure Omega would be mortified to hand out Target Tampons to her cheer posse but, you know, moochers should not be choosers because 0nce they're installed people can't even tell what brand they are. Really.
Now I admit to being cheap but I am not chinsy. I have bought the special Playtex Sport model before because they profess to have a little extra security skirt or something... which is probably useful to someone who is regularly being tossed in the air by boy hands applied to her spanky-clad butt. So I save the coupons - usually for a whole dollar and I watch for sales because it really is the principle of the thing. Storebrand on the fly... but namebrand requires my sick shopping skilz.
I examined the box and not only noted that they had no special skirt but, I didn't see that they would clear up your zits, or get you a date or even make your parents disappear so... jeez, and I am not getting over this very quickly... eight dollars?? At Target? Did the Chinese tampon factory get a little too close to the fireworks warehouse... or I have I just been woefully neglectful of prices in the hygiene aisle?
Since I'm really not one to go stand in the return line for something like this, I need some closure... ideas? Anyone?
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Twenty-Something Receptionist is studiously filling out the online form:
TSR: Do you have a pacemaker?
TSR: Any this... any that?
J: No. No.
TSR: Any chance you are pregnant?
J: *laughs* Define chance.
TSR: Do you have any metal in your head?
J: Uh, yeah.
TSR (stops typing): You do. (Not a question because I guess she gets this a lot?)
Isn't that just like Jane to make TSR's life difficult?
J: I had to have my jaw joint rebuilt a bit about 30 years ago. There's a metal thingy (medical term) in there making up part of the joint.
TSR: What's it made of?
J: Beats me. Something metalish? It shows up really well on an x-ray.
TSR (still tapping away): Well, could it possibly be titanium? Because if it is titanium, it will spark, which will not be pleasant... besides all the damage it could do to the equipment.
J (ever the comedian): It's probably not titanium. I was only about 20 when it happened. I don't think titanium had even been invented yet...
TSR (looking me over for the first time): Oh yeeahh. Duh!
And then Jane lumbered her big ole Brontasaurus body out of the office and back to the tar pits.
PS: For those of you who do realize that titanium is an element - discovered in the 1700's - rest assured that the doctor and radiologist were ultimately consulted and it was determined that Jane's head will not be sparking. This time.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
no-bake fudge cookies,
make the cookies and put the decorations on the tree.
Actually, these were the very same ingredients that they supposedly bought back in November so they could make the
for Thanksgiving… with money that I gave them.
Well, of course, that money has long since dissolved into probably breath mints and French fries so they needed more. I had zip in cash so I handed my debit card over to the younger, usually more fiscally responsible one and left.
I will skip relating the fun of sitting through a 3 hour party when you have little ability to grasp what is going on around you or the obviously very entertaining speaker who talked for an hour. Oops, I didn’t really skip it did I?
Anyway, one of the things that rambled through my head as I pretended to listen was the reward that awaited me at home… cookies and a decorated tree! But especially the cookies… oh, and dare I hope? A scrap of pizza.
When we finally made it home, me drooling a little bit at the thought of a
no-bake fudge cookie
as reward for my patience, I found an empty kitchen.
Oh, except for my debit card and a receipt for $54.38.
FIFTY DOLLARS FOR COOKIES, you say? Well, these are not your average cookies… they have absolutely NO calories. Really! So you can eat as many as you want! And NO ONE will know because these cookies are also invisible!
Just like the decorations on the tree!
Apparently the sisterly love fest fizzled after they raided the cosmetics department at Target... at my expense. One went to the gym and the other to a friend’s house to ‘study’.
Like how hard would it have been??
You don’t even have to BAKE the
Oh, btw, there was no pizza either.
Santa is very disappointed and will be cutting back his gift buying for certain naughty sisters this year.
Monday, December 15, 2008
What I think you might be proud to know is that I currently have a cleaned, rearranged and partially decorated living room that includes.... a tree! A Christmas tree! With lights!! Yeah, no decorations yet but soon... like tonight! Maybe. Think I'm rushing it?
Of course when I went to bed last night Omega had homework sprawled all over the living room floor. And this morning Homer was working from the recliner, with piles of papercrap ev. ry. where.
Why is it that family members always gravitate to the cleanest spot in the house? Are they like spiders that get a little spidey sense alert that there's a hole in their web? I guess they feel the need to cover over that offensive little spot of clean with their junk. Or maybe they worry that too much neatness might bring me out of my crazy momentarily and then who knows what I might get into.
So the tree happened yesterday and Saturday night I baked some cookies! I know! Christmas cookies! And before that I spent SIX HOURS AT THE MALL! Shopping! Which I didn't think was going to happen because when I woke up Saturday morning there was almost a blizzard going outside. We don't get wind with our snow very often... okay it wasn't Midwest kind of wind... but I was shocked to see snow coming down unvertically. Big deal you say, but we ended up getting a good, heavy 6" of the stuff and it kept snowing and melting and freezing and snowing some more all day. And it's STILL below freezing. Okay, that's my weather whine.
But, trooper that I am, I made it all over the mall and to the Target and B3 and even Wlmrt, where I didn't find anything, thank goodness, because the lines were long and harsh looking. Sadly, I still have MUCH to do.
So... since this seems to be a backward blog, that brings us to Friday... when I went to see the ear specialist. I told the kindly old guy about my ear infections 2 1/2 weeks ago and how I feel fine but I CANNOT HEAR. And then he told me that eustachian tubes are sometimes tricky to unblock and maybe it could take 3 to 5 weeks for it all to clear. I thought I was going to cry. I waffled between accepting what he said and flinging myself onto the floor in a full fledged tantrum screaming "I NEED to HEAR!!!" Luckily, I was wearing my most favorite suede blazer which I would never allow to touch medical flooring. And really, if you take your jacket off before you start a pounding/screaming floor tantrum, I think it takes away some credibility. So good sense prevailed and I settled instead for a tirade.
I told the good doctor that I CANNOT HEAR and when I say that I do not mean that I need to turn up the volume, I mean that turning the volume up does NO good because what does come through mostly makes no sense to my brain. I told him that there is much noise in my head that shouldn't be there. I hear whooshing. I hear chimes. I hear tones... NO, I don't hear voices... which is the problem. I cannot watch tv or listen to the radio, which is extremely hard for an audio multitasker like me. I wanted to mention that I couldn't even blog much because I am stuck in my own little world which is about as exciting as cardboard. I did tell him that people at home and work are getting, frankly, quite sick of the whole thing. Which is a whole 'nother post I could write but who needs all that bitterness during the holidays. He decided to get the audiologist to test my hearing. You know... so he could tell me I was over-reacting.
Half hour later he brings in the results of the hearing test. I have significant hearing loss. Of the six or so ranges/pitches of hearing, I have ONE range in ONE ear that is within the normal parameters. You know that old joke about the guy who had 'I told you I was sick' written on his headstone? That is how I felt. Like I certainly didn't want this awful, crappy news but at least I was finally being taken seriously. The doctor (who is the deparment head of a large medical institution) was stumped and is sending me to a neuro-otologist today. This is where I did start to tear up. He consoled me by telling me that I would be a good candidate for a cochlear implant which started a full fledged cry on.
But I got over it quickly because when I got back to work the news there was even harder to take. Budget cuts to be made. Serious cuts that could affect jobs.
I really didn't plan this very well. I sort of fell into the backwards reporting method accidentally and now I see that from a feel good perspective, this wasn't the best route. Oh wait!! I do have good news! My dad got out of the hosptial Friday morning and is feeling good and eating well. Well, eating my mother's cooking isn't exactly well but... Yay Daddy!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Jane: Oh hey! That was Lily's Jenkins mom! Have you ever met her?
Alpha: Um, don't think so.
Jane: She's really nice. I worked with her on the last fundraiser. I swear she must be a marathoner or something. She has absolutely not ONE ounce of fat on her.
Jane: Yeah, you know I should be a sport and offer to share some of mine with her.
Alpha: That would be SO nice of y.... I mean, what fat? Mom, you can't afford to spare an ounce yourself!
If she works on her timing she could have a future in politics.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
It could be my fear of ending up in East Bosnia or my need to be in the driver's seat or maybe my inability to stay on schedule or even the fact that they keep stopping for all those other people! Whatev. That's between my shrink and me.
The point is, despite my neuroses, I HAVE been riding the bus. Several buses, in fact. Hey, when I break through, I break through BIG! One thing I've noticed is how all the buses smell the same - kind of a mix of dust and plastic with woodsy undertones and subtle hints of Cheez-wiz.
I also work in a building next to a transit rest stop... where the drivers cop a squat and a smoke, and I've noticed when passing these people in the halls that they all smell the same... just like the buses.
Now I'm totally bewildered as to how the drivers pick up that smell. I mean have you ever noticed someone who smells like new car? Can't say that I have. Is there an official bottle of cologne that they hand out with the blue pinstriped shirts? Or do they sit a little too close to the 'new-bus' scented tree fresheners?
Okey, dokey, once again I think I have overthought.
Time to stop and be grateful that my ride home doesn't smell like a mixture of B.O., overheated polyester and moldy salami.
Now I have something else to worry about. When I stop at the market after work do people sniff in my direction and say, 'Ewww, I think that lady's been rolling in budget figures.'
What do you think people smell on you?
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Cute invitation idea + cute answer delivery = dance date.
So much cuteness! I guess it uses up all the creativity that we directed towards scoring Boone's Farm, vodka and a room at the Holiday Inn for the post-dance parties back in my day. I can't tell you how many times a day I thank God that I am not the parent of myself.
Well, winter formal has rolled around again -which is girl's choice - and Omega set her sites on going with Mr. Bigmanoncampus. Only one problem: she was summoned to the vice-principal's office where he informed her that she has been accused of running from a hall monitor. At Omega's high school students are fined $5 if they are caught in the hallways during class so sometimes they try to outrun the law.
VP: I have a report that you ran from a hall monitor.
O: Are you kidding? I never ran from a hall monitor. When?
VP: After lunch yesterday.
O: No way. Check my attendance. I have no tardies in that class.
VP: Sometimes the teachers don't report it.
O: I have Mrs. Analretentive that period. She would NOT have missed it.
VP: Well, I'd like to believe you but the hall monitor is quite positive.
O: How did he know it was me.
VP: He picked you out of the yearbook.
O: From seeing the back of me.... running away?
O: Whatever. Do you want me to just pay the $5?
VP: I'm afraid it is beyond that. I have to suspend you.
VP: It's a mandatory one-day suspension which also means you can't cheer at the playoff game tomorrow.
O: No way.
VP: How can I contact one of your parents?
O: *mumble, mumble* figure it out youself...
VP: Well, here's your suspension notice.
Omega looks at the form which has several violations checked off. One of which is 'disrespect of authority'. And in the comments section it says "Mr. Bigmanoncampus says YES to winter formal." Whereupon Mr. BMOC jumps out of the closet, video camera in hand.
As Omega is telling me the story, all I can think is 'where did this child come from?'
I asked her how it happened that she did not either cry or wet her pants because I am pretty sure that at 16, I would have done both... probably even at 50. What? Vice principals are scary!
She said that she had a feeling she was being punked but when Mr. VP said she would have to miss the football game she almost got teary.
As for her date... if I were him, I would be very afraid.
Monday, December 8, 2008
So, what do you want first: the good news or the bad news?
The first thing that comes to mind is a bad news thing so...
Bad: You know it is not a good thing when your teenage daughter hands you her $162 paycheck and sobs "Here you can have this." Even the fleeting idea of a new pair of UGGs does not distract you from the realization that this is no windfall on your part. Once you determine that it is NOT, in fact, Opposite Day causing the kid who usually sucks money to start dispensing it, a quick visual inspection of your car will supply a piece of the puzzle as big as the scrape on the passenger side.
Good: No one was hurt... yet. Kid-ding. Possibility of a lesson learned about distracted driving that could save lives in the long run. Maybe a $250 deductible will make a deeper impression than a mother who preaches on and on just for the fun of hearing her own voice.
Like, what do parents know anyway. *eyeroll*
Bad: I spent this morning at the local endoscopy clinic. Yeah, those of you who are post-50 know what I'm talking about. I have now been videotaped from the bad end up to my bellybutton. I even have full color pictures. If I had a scanner, I'd share. Anyway, they say that the prep is the worst. That's probably true but I have to say that waking up in the middle of it probably came in a close second. Did I not mention my superhuman ability to metabolize anesthesia to that goose crew? Yes, I did, but partial credit should also go to my 'loopy,tortuous colon' and the fact that it took an hour longer than usual. No kidding. I have a kinky colon.
Good: ... a kinky, but healthy colon. I shouldn't need to resubmit to the process for 10 years and by that time I fully expect that modern medicine will have developed a much less personal approach to the process. Like say... maybe just fart in a jar and bring it in?
Enough of that subject. I apologize if I overshared.
Bad: My ears have not improved. I still have fluid in my middle ears. I have partial hearing in my right ear... if your voice is not low... and I can read your lips. My family and coworkers tell me they are getting tired of my condition. Ooh, not me! I'm having a blast. The asses! I think I'll fake the hard of hearing thing for an extra week or two just to get even.
Good: I get to see an real ENT specialist this week. Apparently after two weeks, which have seemed like forty, you get to move up from the quickie clinic virus doctors.
Bad: My dad is still in the hospital. He has had numerous ups and downs since I came home and I have been hesitant to report anything because it seems like I no sooner tell someone he's doing well and then he takes a turn for the worse. I claim that I'm not superstitous but really have no proof of it.
Good: Right now he is doing better than ever but shhhh.... I didn't say that.
Bad: My bed has now reached capacity at: 1 Me, 1 laptop, 2 cats (one on the keyboard), 1 dog and 1 napping daughter. I suspect most of the attention is because it is animal dinner time and only I have the keys to the food locker... or so you'd think.
Good: I don't have to think right now because I had anesthesia today and am fully released from driving or thinking for the next 24 hours. Sometimes it's not so bad to be me.
Peace, love, Jello!
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Two Sundays ago, I flew back to Familyland in the upper mid-north. I grew up there but I left half a lifetime ago so it's no longer my home even though all of my family still lives there.
My dad is scheduled to have major surgery the next day and my mother's mind is getting a bit too fuzzy to fully cope with this kind of stress. The surgery is necessary to repair a prior surgery-gone-wrong from last August. I won't say screwup or malpractice because pointing fingers serves no purpose at this point. I will say that this time I resolved not to be 1000 miles away and at the mercy of others to be my dad's care advocate. I will also say that in spite of my mother, my two brothers and their wives, my dad might only have survived last summer because of my former sister-in-law and a cousin who were good enough to jump in and demand some answers.
Oh, have I mentioned that I'm the family bitch? Yeah, I have the misfortunate character flaw that causes me to question authority and say what I think. The rest of my family does not make waves. They secretly complain about my differences but have no problem exploiting them when it suits. Whatever. Some times you just have to block out all the disfunctional noise that is your family and do what feels right.
The biggest reason I'm going back for the surgery is because my dad wants me to come.
But, oh, as long as I am packing up my B-ness and coming that way, could I have a talk with my mother about getting some help for her developing dementia, they asked. I mean, it's not like they don't see her every day whereas my contact with her is pretty limited. Bitter? A little.
So, in spite of a crappy nasal gomboo and a buttload of job-work, I take off for 10 days of family fun. I am actually thinking of it as a bit of a break. Sometimes my optimism is a bit misplaced.
The plane ride was fairly uneventful... except that my eardrum ruptured at 27,000 feet. Wow. At least the plugged up feeling is gone... in one ear.
My dad picks me up at the airport and takes me to their house where I soon realize an early Thanksgiving dinner is in the making... with the WHOLE family. In this case WHOLE doesn't imply a large family so much as it means every member of the family. Including my newest sister-in-law - who is not very new but I lack a better identifier. As much as I dislike her for the selfish witch that she is, I can be civil around her. She, however, cannot return the favor because she believes me to be the soul reason for the sad state of my brother's family relationships... but that is a complete 40,000 word blog of its own. My brother, with whom I once shared a close relationship, pre-witch, mostly pretends I'm not there because to acknowledge me with other than vague pleasantries would probably cost him sleep and sex for a year. My mother thinks that we will all be one happy family again soon. I have given up trying to teach her about reality.
The next morning we take my dad to the hospital bright and early. He is optimistic and ready to have done with it. The people at the hospital are SO nice. Really. Unless you have spent time in the 'Otas, trust me, you do not know NICE. Even the doctor is nice. Not curt or quick or all doctor-talky. My dad is off to surgery and 5 hours later is in his room to sleep it off. Growing up my dad was the strongest man in the neighborhood. He was the one the neighborhood called on when they needed some serious muscle. Now at 83, he is lying in bed, tubes snaking out of every opening with my mother looking on helplessly. I am suddenly aware that life has changed. A lot.
With the surgery out of the way, the next day I resign myself to getting some professional help for my throbbing, bleeding ear and drive myself to the quickie-clinic even though I feel like shit. My mother offers to take me but I can’t let her do that. I am 50 years old and she is 78. We’ve crossed the equator as far as who cares for whom and there is no going back. I don't 'want my mommy' anymore.
I tell the receptionist right up front that I have no idea whether my health insurance covers their services because I do not have the strength to track down an internet connection to find a ‘participating facility’. I even go so far as to tell her that I am pretty sure it doesn’t. No worries, she tells me. Why don’t we just run it through and try. She wants only my co-pay and neither my arm nor my leg. I am too sick to lecture her on how the wonton trust of her culture will surely bankrupt them. That nice thing again. I take a seat and wait no more than 5 minutes before my name is called.
I’m examined by a kindly, older nurse practitioner who sees my burst ear drum and raises me a double ear infection. Ten minutes later I head out with three prescriptions in my pocket and try to find a pharmacy based on my fuzzy recollection of one in the general area of… okay, I’m lost… and I’m sick… and I am driving around aimlessly in my dad's truck with an empty prune can rolling around the passenger floor - probably the remains of his last presurgery 'binge'. I am thinking that my life can’t get more pathetic than this. I am way wrong.
I struggle through the pharmacy experience and finally make it home. Oh my! My mother has plugged the toilet. I glance briefly into the bathroom and see her plunging brown water. I tell her that if she will leave it alone, I’ll take care of it later but I just can’t deal with it… right now. I hit the couch and focus on fighting my nausea. I drift off only to be roused by the periodic sound of plunger suckings, which join up in my mind with the brown water visual. Finally, it’s unavoidable. I run to the brown water bathroom and puke into the sink… several times. No way was I getting close to that toilet.
Meanwhile, my mother has called my father... in the hospital! to find out what should be done. He asks to talk to me. He says she is plunger-challenged. I tell him I will take care of it. I tell my mother that I will take care of it. I tell myself that I WILL TAKE CARE OF IT! What a big help I'm turning out to be. I finally sleep a miraculous, rejuvenating 90 minutes and arise to battle the crap clog. Once the pipes are clear, I notice that my mother has obviously been using a wire hanger... or something, to try to poke out the poop. There are black scratches all over the bowl. Not my problem... bitches don't do toilet bowls.
So over the next few days my dad's condition improves... and deteriorates... and he's better and he's worse. He's trying so hard to get out of the hospital. My dad, unlike his daughter, follows his doctors orders to the T. But he's a textbook case of what isn't in the textbooks. What should work doesn't. IV's in... IV's out. They try liquids... and take them away. The tests show that everything should be working. It's not. Then it is. My dad is very sad and I cannot fix it no matter how I try.
I put off the 'talk' with my mom until my dad's condition seems somewhat stable, which doesn't happen. My other brother, the one who put in the bitch request, keeps asking about my plans to take care of the mom business and about this time my own husband starts calling persistantly asking when I am coming home... and can I make it sooner. All the while where I once had ears it feels like there are large cotton-stuffed conch shells. I am able to hear less every day. But that doesn't stop my mother from talking to me... while my back is turned or I'm out of the room. Everything must be repeated at close range. Again... and again. I want to yell 'WTF don't you understand about I CAN'T HEAR YOU?!?!' The 'Ota nice is obviously not catching.
Okay, now go back and read those last two paragraphs over and over... at least 4 or 16 times and you will have an inkling of what goes on for the whole first week. I feel mean and unhelpful... and like I should not have come.
I run off with my BFF for yummy Indian buffet and some mad lipgloss shopping on Black Friday, then it's back to her house for mojitos and 'What Not to Wear.' We totally poke fun at everyone - even the 'experts'. Just the therapy I needed.
When I get to the point where I am almost completely deaf, I go back to another doctor... who gives me more drugs and the 'sucks to be you' rush. I am dreading the plane ride home. I am dreading the talk with my mother. I find ways to misplace my cellphone because I cannot handle even one more call from home. My dad wants me to stay another week. I feel like the worst daughter in the world because I can't... or won't because extending my stay another week would make everything else beyond difficult. I am a wimp and I am feeling depressed and totally ineffectual when I make a visit to my in-laws who feed me the world's best pizza and some empathy... and I leave feeling better.
And then there is more... but for another day if you can stand it.