Thursday, January 26, 2012

What do we say to death? "Not Today..."

My friend Chris' mom died this week after being transferred to hospice. When someone is in hospice, you pretty much know they're not going to be around much longer. My friend Marie's husband has had COPD for years and other lung related issues, and he got pneumonia on Thursday and went to the hospital. Sunday morning he passed away. One does not expect that.

Chris knew this was coming, and I think there is a lot of relief for him. Marie, on the other hand, didn't exactly see this coming. I think she thought he'd be coming home on Monday morning.

I've been reading the George R.R. Martin books, "A Song of Ice and Fire," which HBO started making into movies with the first book "A Game of Thrones." In the series, the ancient language has a phrase of Valar Morghulis, which is "All Men Must Die." It is known. It is indeed known.

Right now I feel sad for my friends, their families, and the loss. The flip side of the coin is Valar Dohaeris, which is "All Men Must Live." And the reading at today's funeral for Marie's husband was from Ecclesiastes, the famous "To every thing there is a season" passage.

While it is true that all men must die, it is also true all men must live. The thing is, you have control over the latter and not the former. All of us can say to death, as Arya Stark is told by her sword teacher, "Not Today."


It's been a rough time for me where getting out of bed some days is hard, getting INTO bed sometimes is hard. Sleeping at appropriate times is hard. Trying to keep my thoughts straight is difficult. A lot of things are beyond my control, but what I decide to do with the hours of my day for the most part I can control. And I choose to live the life I'm supposed to live.

At least, I hope I can and do.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Learner's Permit, Take Two

Jess had a learner's permit when she was in high school. Doug took her out a couple times to drive and she almost took out our fence in front of the house and panicked, so she didn't want to drive anymore. She kind of did the same thing when she was learning how to ride a bike and fell off of the bike, and hasn't been back on one since.

The learner's permit expired during her freshman year at Pitt. She didn't care, she was taking the bus and getting around, living the hip urban lifestyle with her grocery bags on public transportation.

Now that she's home, we're back on the driving thing. She's semi terrified about it, but today we went and took the test again. Twenty five questions, you have to get eighteen right to pass, and she got eighteen. The last question was about under aged drag racing, and what the fine is if you're caught. And this sort of made my head explode because that may never come up again in my daughter's life but a YIELD sign might come up again, and she and 90% of Massachusetts drivers should know what the heck to do at a yield sign. Based on my commute to my happy little part time job, I would say 100% of the people who drive in Newton need review on yield signs and right of ways and well, basic niceness on the roads.

I let her drive from the intersection up the road to the driveway. She wasn't very confident, she almost hit the fence again, but she was laughing her ass off.

It helped that her friend Eric was with us. Eric makes her laugh and they have a very good time together.

Eric didn't pass his permit test, otherwise I would have given HIM a chance to drive too. So he's out $30 and sad about it. But I bought him lunch and took him and Jess to the comic book store and that cheered him up.

I'm thinking of actually sending her to a driving school because it made me nervous as hell with her behind the wheel. But suffice to say, she's got the permit and I'm hoping before summer she is a licensed driver and able to get herself around.

Fingers Crossed.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What I will tell you

I got deposed today.

I will not write any details about the deposition, because blog entries are printed out after you write them and people question you about what you meant at the time you wrote them.

Which is nice when you're painting a picture of yourself as Frodo, with Sam by your side. And months or dates don't match up with things because you're writing off the top of your head in a flurry of finger flicks.

I still do feel like Frodo. And whenever I see that scene in LOTR when Sam is begging Frodo, "Do you remember the Shire?" and strawberries and all that .... just the THOUGHT of it makes me cry.

And as Doug is my Samwise Gamgee, my lawyer is my Gandalf. I wanted him to know that today, and I think it made him happy. How on earth do you appropriately thank your personal Gandalf?

Suffice to say, it's done. I went in, I was scared, I was nervous, but I got through it without requiring anti-freak out medication, passing out, vomiting or any other of the many bodily functions I may or may not have felt like doing.

What I will tell you is at 1:45 this morning Jess came into our bedroom and woke us up from sound sleep. I had been worried that I would not be able to sleep at all, but that wasn't a problem. My head hit that pillow last night and I was out cold. So to be roused at an ungodly hour when only the Baking Fairy is awake, it was a surprise.

"We have a leak in the livingroom." she tells us as she turns on the light to REALLY wake us up. I had heard her say "hey guys," but I thought she was talking to the dogs, not to us.

Funny, she didn't say "um, mom?" I hope my sister laughs at that. Jess' whole life, she's walked up to me and said "um, mom?" when she has a question. Lately she just calls me "hey lady," which is a joke between us and two of the little kids who go to our church. I'll tell you that story another time.

Doug and I went downstairs and sure enough there was gushing water coming from the baseboard in the livingroom. Jess had been sitting here watching Craig Ferguson when it happened. The house felt like a Sauna, the wood floor soaking up the hot water smelled wonderful. But I knew that wasn't good. My house should not smell like a scandinavian sauna, or a russian Banya...

Jess had grabbed some towels and Doug went downstairs to try and find which valve did what to where. We spent about two hours until we figured out we'd better just shut all the valves down, the house would stay warm enough for the next few hours for sleeping. We'd call the plumber in the morning with  fresh eyes and a little sleep under our belts. I think I fell asleep around 4:30. Doug got up at 5:15 and let me sleep until 6.

Jess stayed awake and kept the woodstove going so the room would be warm. She's a champ like that. Doug and I left and took the 7am train.

What I will tell you is that I rushed home on the train as Doug was going in to get deposed so I could meet the plumber.

He is here now, fixing our leak and I dispatched my daughter to bed...

What I also will tell you is that I took the T (the Subway for those of you not from around here) after the deposition to North Station. When I got off the T, I walked past a lot of people. For some reason today, people made eye contact with me, and I smiled.

A beautiful black woman with bright pink lipstick and big thick lenses in her glasses, and a bright pink knit cap smiled and closed her eyes and she whispered "hello" as we passed. I smiled back at her as big as I could. A lanky older hispanic man walked past me with his headphones in. He was grooving to his beat and he smiled at me. When I smiled back, he laughed and tossed his head back.

Person after person walking towards me were smiling at me.

I started to shake a little.  I  started to cry as well. Each smile made me feel safer, protected, loved. I'm crying sitting here typing this out. On this day of all days all of Boston was loving me and speaking to me making me feel like it was alright. Everything is alright. You're fine. Lay away your worry. It's okay.

On the train, after the conductor took my ticket, I just sat there and cried like a freaking idiot, wiping my eyes with the inside of my jacket because I wasn't prepared for tears. I had no tissues, no nothing. I felt just so relieved and so tired. And so loved. How do I deserve such a love as this?

So, thank you everyone in the city who smiled at me. I should have hugged at least one of you.

Monday, January 16, 2012


Tomorrow is Deposition Day, and today I am home, nervous and angsty. Geoff has a school holiday for MLK day, Jess is working at "awesome" and hopefully having an awesome time. Doug is in his office working.

I am doing dishes and moving around firewood and putting away the last of Christmas. I changed our bed sheets. I washed our quilt. I am glad I'm home today because Brodie has been acting very strangely. She attacked Gonzo in the middle of the night and then again this morning and I had to physically break it up....

And about an hour ago she had a shaking fit on the floor here that looked like a seizure or something. She's been hiding in my bedroom, like she's done something wrong, and won't go outside with the others when they want to go pee.

My jaw hurts, I'm not sure if I have a toothache, and ear infection, a tooth infection, or if I'm grinding my teeth at night.

I need a shower and a trip to the market. But really, I just want to go back to bed.

Wish me luck for the next 24 hours, will ya?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Good Day, Bad Day

Doug recently was told that he has diabetes.

He's taking it well and today we went to the nutritionist to talk about food, how we prepare food, what food to eat. Doug's family has a history of Diabetes, but that is something he can control. Whereas the fact that his family has a huge history of hypertension and heart disease, which no matter what diet he eats and others in his family eat can't be controlled. Genetics is a bitch.

We had a nice meeting, and it brought back memories of when I was pregnant with Geoff and they told me I had Gestational Diabetes. I "failed" my test by one point so they put me on a diet. When I delivered Geoff, my daily blood sugar reading each morning was between 60 and 70 whatevers per whatever (I'm not good with this stuff) and the nurses would ask me "are you SURE you have gestational diabetes?"

The thing is, when you follow instructions, do what you're supposed to do, you're all set. I also weighed 10 pounds LESS when I delivered him than what I weighed when I got pregnant with him. I liked that diet.

We'll be back on that diet, or one similar to it. It was a good meeting, and we talked about food science, how I totally refuse to use margarine instead of butter. I know we need more salad at home and less mashed potatoes. Doug talked to her extensively about beer. She wants him to reduce calories so she kept pushing light beer and ultras, and we're all about Craft Beer, so he wanted to know if the beer itself would hurt his carbohydrate balance and blood sugars. He was less concerned about the calorie intake.

It was a fun meeting. We actually had a lot of laughs. Doug has been grumpy about this but is good with it and is ready to tackle it. It falls upon me as the person who makes dinner to know that shrimp isn't as good for your blood sugar as scallops are. Who knew?

On Tuesday, next week, we get to go be deposed by BOA's lawyers. For almost a year now I've been moving money into a savings account since BOA has been refusing our payments. It was going great until December. I'm about 4,000 dollars short of what should be in the account due to the fact that my unemployment ran out about 6 weeks ago. I spent money that I should have put into that account to get repair work onto the front of the house (facia boards and soffits, because water was coming in and wrecking the ceilings in Jess' bedroom).

So we're short on what we should have, I think my lawyer is MAD at me for this. But honestly, unemployment paid 50% of what I was earning before I got laid off, and it was just right for the amount we needed to have coming in. Now that it isn't... well... It kind of sucks super bad. We literally have like 10 dollars in the bank And Doug got paid today.

I really thought I'd have a full time 60k a year job by now. But I don't. I just don't. And it pisses me off to no end. I love that Jo keeps me employed and lets me do stuff for her in the office and at home. I LOVE MY PART TIME JOB. I just wish it was a full time hugely lucrative well paying job.

I don't like that my lawyer is mad at me because we're falling short. I don't want to fall short.

So I kind of feel like this morning's "shit" situation with the nutritionist that turned out to be loving and fun and educational got blown to almighty fucking hell at 11pm when I checked my email and had a message from my lawyer that makes me wonder what I'm doing and why we're bothering.

I'm truly sick of everything. I just want a nice normal life again.

In the mean time.... I'm not sure if I should even be publishing this so if you read it now and it is gone tomorrow you'll know that I came to my senses and pulled it down.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

And Geoff is 15

"It's just another Saturday. It's a nothing day. There is nothing special about today."

Geoff is a little annoyed. None of his friends (he doesn't have very many) wanted to go out to dinner and do something fun with us tonight. "15 alone" was what he announced today would be. I met him by the Playstation this morning, and he was slumped over, playing halfheartedly, and didn't want to do anything at all.

At least we'll go out for dinner. We'll have a nice time. I'll take you to Gamestop to get some new games with your birthday money.

"No. It isn't worth it." He swung his sword on screen with little or no attention or effort.

I feel badly. I've confessed here year after year that I suck at planning a birthday event for him. Last year we took one of his friends to see Avatar in 3D. But this year it seems like there are fewer people that care to spend time with him. I try to explain to him that he sends out a vibe that says "Fuck you" to people so it is no wonder no one wants to spend time with him. "You need to work on being a better friend, that way people want to be with you."

He feels it is useless and worthless, that he's lost faith in everyone, and that 2012 sucks, his birthday sucks. Everything sucks.

Having Aspergers or NLD (like he does) makes it hard to relate to people at all, and makes social living a near impossibility at times.

We went to Gamestop and bought games. We went to The Grill Next Door and he had a great time there. We thought about going to GoKarts in Haverhill but he wants to do that with a friend some other time. I'm thinking of trying a Summer Unbirthday party for him this year.

Happy Birthday Geoff. I can't believe you are 15 years old. I wish I could give you all the friends you need to make you happy. But all I can do is be the mom that does her best for you.