Monday, June 30, 2008

Quick Update

I am back home to get the kids - friends have had them for the past four days. I am taking a quick breather to check the mail, pack, and get things settled and then we're back on the road to the hospital.

Thank you, thank you thank you for your thoughts and prayers. It means so much to everyone and I believe that so many people are praying for his recovery that something good is bound to come out of this.

There isn't a lot to say, other than everything seems upside down right now. Bob's brother is in a very good neurological institute. His legs aren't moving, but his arms are, and that means there is hope. He had an Arterial Venous Malformation on his spine, along with a blood clot. Surgery took care of that, although another MRI has revealed potentially another AVM on the spine. He's alive, he's mentally here, and that's the biggest blessing of all.

He has family and friends by his side at all times, and that won't change. Our lives may be upside down, but the good thing about that is it shakes out all the extraneous clutter that doesn't matter.

Only the love sticks, and that's what we have.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Call for Prayer

My husband's brother is badly hurt and had to be life flighted to the hospital.

He collapsed while hiking and hasn't been able to feel the lower part of his body since this happened. We don't know what, exactly, is wrong, and although many doctors have consulted and scratched their heads into the night, all we know is that he has to be moved to another hospital where they can diagnose and treat him.

Please send your prayers of healing to this dear man as he, his wife, his kids, and the family all try and cope with this. My husband is racing across the desert into Utah to try and see him in Idaho before they move him. His brother is his best friend, and he us understandably both distraught and yet determined to be of any help to my sister in law and her boys. Before he left this morning I heard him tell his brother, "Just stay positive, okay? We're going to figure this out. Do you hear me?" And I watched his shoulders slump, then almost instantly straighten as he threw a bag into the car and blew a kiss to me as he peeled out of the driveway.

Prayers of healing, swift and pain free recovery, and of course an accurate diagnosis would be most gratefully received.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Chaos: I Can't Quit You

In the past month we have had a child turn from a 'tween to a teen (as in TEENAGER, as in I now have a child the same age as Juliet, as in TEEN.AGER, as in where's my flask?) another become a solid 'tween (with the requisite mood swings firmly in place, natch), a wedding anniversary to mark 15 years of marriage and another June date to mark 19 years together, a couple of quick trips, a few weekend shifts at the hospital, two writing projects that keep me glued to the laptop when I can hide from the kids, nearly a dozen playdates at the pool and of course the rest of it which is just life as we know it.

Whew. Oh, and we got a cat. Because what's one more living thing in this house, anyway? The nice thing is, the kids actually slow down long enough to enjoy Princess Clarissa Socks (her full name) so that I can take a non-blurry photo.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Paging Dr. Gupta

Paging Dr. Hotty McHotterson. Dr. Hotness? Are you in the room? I told you I would get a photo op at the PTA conference with Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Meow.

But the PTA convention was so much more than posing with hot men informative guest speakers, all of whom we listened to with rapt attention.

For example, we had to keep our strength up for all of the seminars with health beverages, which we wisely packed. It's a well-known fact that scurvey can suddenly strike while at conventions.
We had to take in all that the convention center had to offer.

And we had to conference with friends who lived in the area local experts who guided us on the best way to drink mimosas with lunch digest the informative lectures we had attended.
PTA - somebody's gotta do it.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Business in the Front and Party in the Back

A few days ago I made last minute hotel reservations with a genial young man on the hotline. I requested a single room for four days in San Diego, starting today.

"Will you be needing a king or two queens?" he asked, not entirely innocently. He had been chatty throughout the entire process and I found it amusing to be flirting on the telephone with an agent named Brandon while holding tube of diaper rash ointment in one hand and a handful of cotton underwear from the laundry pile in the other.

"Oh, two queens. My girlfriend and I are traveling together."

"Oh yeah? Party time or work time?"

"Brandon, it will definitely be a party to remember. We're headed to the National PTA Convention. I get to meet Maya Angelou and Dr. Sanjay Gupta! [hot doctor who writes for Newsweek and is on tv all the time] Whoo hoo!"

He was all business after that. But I did make him laugh.

PTA - Partying T & A? Not quite. But I hope I get a picture with Dr. Gupta.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Girlfriends and Sex

I need a cigarette. Yeah - it was that good. I think I'm even glowing a little.

Last night my girlfriends and I donned our cutest skirts, slung our summer bags over our shoulders and made the pilgramage that was long overdue for all of us. We finally went to church Sex and the City. Oh mah gawd. I can tell you that if I had waited to see it on DVD or pay-per-view I would have found it to be a good movie. But the electricity between my girlfriends and me was on high excitement, our giddiness to be out of the house/dressed up/at a chick flick made the energy palpable, the movie was suddenly great and when our friend, Heather, casually whipped out a dainty silver flask and topped our Diet Cokes off with a little somethin' somethin' it turned the evening into a rare thing: pure girliness.

We shrieked at the right moments, we squealed when Mr. Big bought Carrie the palatial apartment, we sighed over the first appearance of the Manolos and we clapped and hooted at the brief, but steamy, full frontal scene. Have you seen it? An Adonis in an outdoor shower made a naughty appearance that nearly caused my contacts to dry up - I was that loathe to blink and miss it.

Afterward, in the theater restroom, we met up with four other girlfriends. They instantly knew it was our group that was the loud and raucous gaggle of women in the front of the theater. "Wow - and we thought we were crazy," they said. "We actually smuggled in a bottle of wine." That set us off - we let out a simultaneous scream of laughter and Heather whipped out her flask. Which sealed the deal - none of us were going to head home and finish the last load of laundry or clean the dinner dishes inevitably left for us to take care of or crawl into bed and watch reruns of Sex alone.

No, we all made our way to an adorable Japanese joint and had cosmos and sushi. Which was even more fitting than you think (if you haven't seen the movie) because Samantha at one point makes homemade sushi and lays on her table, artfully covered in California rolls in order to surprise her boyfriend (the steamy but limp noodle Jared). She had a tiny little lotus flower topped with sashimi on her hoo haw which made me snort out loud. I elbowed my friends and said it would definitely be eating sushi in the rainforest if I tried to nestle a roll there. My husband would have to do some major clearcutting to get to his lotus flower.

We spent the next few hours at our joined tables talking sex, perimenopause, and childbirth. We debated the, er, deforestation of our rainforests - whether or not massive clearcutting is sexy or just weird. The age divide definitely played into that vote - and we clanked our martini glasses together in the spirit of girlfriends.

Our kids will grow up and leave us, and we may or may not all be married to the same men in twenty years - but good girlfriends will be with us until we die - in my case with a martini glass in one hand and a bottle of tanning lotion in the other (I am taking up excessive drinking, tanning and smoking once I hit 75).

Now, does anyone have a light?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I am such a P*ssy

And I don't mean pissy. I mean that every time Bob goes out of town - every time - I am up late listening for every little creak that could signify that an intruder is going to crash his way into my home and attempt to ravage its contents (me included) unless I can save us all.

Never mind that we live out in the country, on a dark road that is lit only by the Big Dipper and the rest of the stars. Never mind that there are signs posted all over our property warning potential ravagers of my guard dog. Never mind that when my dog does muster up a bark with her 110 pounds of muscle, she sounds like a lioness guarding her cubs.

Because when I'm up working on the computer and I hear a squeak, or a creak, or the wind rustling a tree branch against the house, I go into fight or flight mode. I sleep with my cell phone and my land line. I double check the locks. I look in the kids' closets (because of course someone has been hiding there all along just waiting for the time when Bob may be out of town), and I hone my hearing skills so that they are probably as good as my dog's. It's exhausting.

Of course, I'm only this way the first couple of nights that he is gone. By the third or fourth night I am so weary of the routine that I fall into bed and I just think - screw it. If tonight is the night a band of burglars breaks in, so be it.

But last night two of the kids slept with me and for some reason I, too, slept like a baby. Why? Do I think that should something happen (and it could, right?) these two little kids, weighing less than a hundred pounds together, are going to join their mother in fighting for safety - kind of like the kids in the Chronicles of Narnia who go from pasty English children to mighty warriors alongside the God Lion, Aslan?

Seriously, folks. I need to do some more self-talking before going to bed. But I must say I get a hell of a lot of work done on these business trips.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Bunko Post Script for Wordless Wednesday

You know how I went and subbed for that Bunko group? I won - both pots of cash. See the money stuffed in my cleavage below...THIS is why I don't get asked back ;)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Like Butter

I woke up this morning to the clanking sound of dishes and glassware. I went downstairs to investigate, still so tired that my contacts felt glued to the back of my eyelids, and as I went into the kitchen I saw Jacob standing on the counter.

"What are you doing? Get down from there!"

"Mama I'm getting breakfast ready for the sisters."

I looked around. He had set plates out for everyone, napkins, glasses, and even Jack's plastic monkey plate at his highchair. I looked down at my son, now six years old, his hair sticking up from sleep and just melted.

Sometimes it's really easy to get caught off guard with this parenting gig.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Dreaded B Word

If you invite me to your Mary Kay or Pampered Chef or Stampin' Up! or even Creative Memories party - I will come. Once. I get that there are a lot of good women out there trying to carve a living for themselves while managing a home and doing something they love. Get it with a capital G. Go women. Rah.

When I was a young mom I actually loved Creative Memories. I bought stickers and funky scissors and die cut thingeys and over-priced acid-free scrapbooks because my God what if the paper wasn't acid free? What if it was all acidic? WHAT THEN?

But then something happened. And one day I woke up and I was no longer aroused by my shiny folder bursting with Stickopatmus stickers. The scissors just lay there with a dullness I hadn't noticed before. I saw the stacks of thousands of sheets of colorful, patterned paper and thought, Maybe Bob should take over the historian role in our house. Or maybe I can just get some plain photo corners and store my photos in an album without stickers and borders and artfully penned journaling under every single stinking memory. One day I just stopped.

My girls grew older and I gave them my stamps. I bought them their own albums and said "Have at it" - and you know what? They did. They are able to record their own memories, and I don't feel like it's a little lame that I am collecting stickers at my age.

But there remains something I thought I had also put behind me. Something I thought was long dead and buried. And it keeps rearing its ugly head and snarling my name - Bunko.

Tonight I am illustrating how dear my lovely friend Kristi is and how much she means to me by acting as her Bunko sub. I have been totally up front with her and told her I am coming for the free drinks and food. I can't even remember how to play the game, and when I try to conjure up the memory of the last time I shook the dice with a bunch of women, I just hear chopper blades in my head and everything goes dark. Bunko.

Years ago my best friend Sarah and I bonded over our mutual disdain for the game. We were probably rebelling against everything else in our life that was structured, social, and involved gaggles of women. We both endured the Officer's Wives Club, the Key Spouse responsibilities, and all the other "have-to's" of officer's wife life. So we drew the line at Bunko.

But we got sucked in anyway. And then we were promptly kicked out. Is it just me? Or is it really hard to get kicked out of a Bunko League? Anyone?

Sarah and I were blatantly silly at the Bunko games we attended with the other medical and logistical wives. New to the game, we refused once to switch tables because we were both so enamoured with how the track lighting made our new jewelry sparkle. Why did we have to move? Why did we have to roll the dice so quickly? Why couldn't we just talk? Couldn't we convert the whole thing to a book club? And then we went on to win the entire pot and all the prizes anyway. People weren't thrilled. The last straw came when we had to bring a Christmas present for a gift exchange at the December Bunko. It was maybe 30 minutes before we had to leave and Sarah was on my porch drinking a cold glass of wine when she shot me a panic-stricken look. "Jen! The gifts! We have to show up tonight with a gift!"

"No problem," I slurred said. I'll just have Bob swing by the local Kroger and pick something up - they have candles, right?" Buoyed by our wine and our inventiveness , we agreed that it was a genius plan and Sarah ran home to grab some gift bags.

Just in time for our departure, Bob showed up with two very cheap jarred candles that were Kroger brand, and Sarah and I hastily threw them in two foiled Valentine's gift bags. "It was all I had," she said, "but it's red, so that's Christmas-ey, right?" Of course. Yes. It would all work. We arrived at the home of the Bunko hostess in our newest clicky shoes and let ourselves in.

*Cue Psycho horror music*

Lined up in the foyer, were piles of beautiful, artfully created gift baskets, decorated bags, and elaborately wrapped gifts. And there we were, looking fabulous, but bearing the equivalent of a porn mag at the birth of Christ. We hid our bags and went in to the game, more subdued than usual, won anyway, and then endured the shame of the gift reveal. The women didn't even try to hide their disdain - and it was finalized that another woman would take the candles home and regift them in a near-constructed teacher gift basket for the holidays.

We were never asked back.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


You know you're in a bad mood when you start ripping on adorable five and six year-olds in the form of kinder graduations. Heh. But, today is another day - and clearly yesterday my moon was in retrograde (which I have no idea what that means - but if it means dangerously close to being up my ass - that's where it was).

June is always a delicious, yet bittersweet month for me. It's hard for me to take the time to savor and enjoy all that there is - we're right off of Jacob's birthday, and we have Chloe's and Maddie's nine days apart this month; there is Father's Day (and I'm working - but don't cry for him Argentina because Mommy worked on Mother's Day, although most of you get why that was a present in and of itself), our fifteenth wedding anniversary and of course a trip squeezed in there for good measure, and as soon as we exit this month, which will surely fly by, Jack turns two. It's a whirlwind and I'd like to slow things down this summer.

This month my oldest officially (as opposed to her hormonal write-in) becomes a teenager, Chloe enters junior high, and I face the fact that it was fifteen years ago that I shakily said I Do to Bob. Of course it was nineteen years ago this summer that I met him at a party just a couple of months before my freshman year in college - but I'll just pretend I spent those four years of college with my nose to the grindstone instead of lots of wild monkey sex at his fraternity being in love and skidding into my senior year with less than a 4.0.

So much to think about, so much to do, and I feel this almost visceral panic that it's just going by too quickly. I love the ride, I really do - I just feel like dragging my feet right now and taking it all in.

Drag your feet with me, will you?

ps regarding yesterday's post - when I said I wanted a drink and something else, I meant SEX. Hello! I received an email asking if I was going to start the slippery slope into harder mind altering substances other than wine or a gin and tonic. Uh, NO. I just needed to get laid so I could relax. I would never do drugs; I will always stay a respectable borderline drunk, thankyouverymuch.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Don't Read This if You're Feeling All Pollyanna Today

Oh the graduation season is well upon us. I can get really worked up over a good college graduation - easy enough. Especially since I struggled so hard to complete my own education - working full-time, getting married - all of that makes things like taking Structural Functionalism and You a little less palatable and a lot more rewarding when you do it anyway.

High school graduations? I can still work up the enthusiasm. I have friends who have sent me announcements for their child's graduation and it's with some nostalgia and joy that I send the requisite card and check. Of course, I also think we go a little overboard celebrating the step which is still in my mind the minimum expected. But I get it.

Junior high graduations? Forget it. What's to celebrate? Really...they HAVE to go on to the next level. It's like taking your next breath. Yeah, congrats for doing what basically every American kid can do.

And as for kindergarten graduations? One of which I had to attend today for my own child? It was sweet. He was met in the arms by his new first grade teacher - it was ceremonious and sacred and very - sweet. Did I already say that? At least they didn't subject us to the kids in mortar boards and robes - sweet Mother of Jesus save it for college (and high school). But I was less than weepy at this one. Plus, the entire time Jack was on my lap conspiring to make an already craptastic day even more so. Jacob had a special wooden star wand that he received to represent the magic of school (which I appreciated - at least it wasn't a diploma for cripe's sake)...which Jack promptly yanked from his brother mid-ceremony and proceeded to beat me with.

It's the kind of day where I was actually happy that he didn't draw blood from my face. I considered that a huge plus as I attempted to keep things down to a dull roar as the other children matriculated from paste eating the hallowed halls of kindergarten.

I need a drink and something else....