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Writer's Block: Sick Day

Assuming I am just sorta-kinda sick, not deathly-scary sick: lying on the sofa all day, sipping tea and nibbling at whatever people bring me, knitting and reading, maybe watching a movie, and not feeling at all guilty about not being more "productive"

watching movies from Netflix

Him: Eastern Promises. Is this some kind of chick flick?
Me: Umm, no.

2 hours later
Him: That was SO a chick flick.
Me: Huh?
Him: It had a baby in it.

(OK, I mostly ordered it so I could get to see Aragorn buck-ass neekid, but that's FanGirl, no generic chick.)

Striking out at lunch

Decided to run out at lunch time to a local New Agey store and score some of a particular incense I really really like a whole lot. So naturally that's the one flavor they are out of. No big problem, its only around the corner from work. Figure I'll get some lunch while I'm out and spare myself cafeteria slop for one day. There's a chinese carryout in the same strip I've never been in. Completely space out at the counter and order Sweet and Sour pork - a dish I haven't eaten commercially prepared in over 30 years (used to be my standard chinese carryout order as a child, why it came out of my mouth today I have no clue.) Figure WTF, how bad can it be. Brought it back to work and sat down at a picnic table in the courtyard. Open the bag, and what I've got is......

sweet and sour pork. There's a box of white rice, and my egg-roll (no mustard, though, only duck sauce.) But the entree consists of a plastic tub of sweet red syrup (with no discernible sour element) and a box of breaded deep fried pork nuggets. The pork was good, light and crisply fried, not a bit of greasiness. I've already admitted, I haven't ordered this in a long time, things change over generations, but I really truly expected to get some veg with my pig - onions, pepper, carrot, perhaps pineapple chunks. But no, nothing but meat and breading and sugar.

My fortune cookie said "You and your wife will be very happy together." WTF?

Happy Birthday, my darlings!

18 years ago, right after midnight, my first son Big Will was born. I look at pictures taken the next day, how young Hamish and I were, and how happy (we are still as, even more, happy, but the young is gone for good) and of course how completely clueless as to what we were getting into.

Almost 4 years later, at about quarter to midnight on January 2, I was enough into labor with my second to call the midwife and folks over. Someone, I can't recall who, observed it would be "really funny" if the second was born on the same date as the first. Since I was going to be doing most of the hard work, I didn't think that sounded funny at all. But sure enough, 24 hours and 30 minutes later, after a long day of back labor that stuck and only came unstuck when the midwife suggested I drink a nice refreshing beer, Middle Boy Pete showed up.

Will has registered to vote and for the draft. He isn't really interested in any major new freedoms and I'm confident will continue to be a comfort and joy to me. The most major rite of passage may be that tonight he is going to get what will amount to his last enforced haircut. Hamish and I do not enforce short hair, Hamish had too many fights with his father and I saw/heard too many fights between my father and my brothers over hair. I have let Pete grow his hair all summer when he wants, one year I gave him a mohawk dyed bright pink for the last weekend at the pool, but they attend Catholic schools so the hair stays off the collar. But Will's excellent school lightens up on the dress code for graduating seniors in the spring; he won't "need" a haircut until the day he wants to get a job you need a good suit and a haircut for. I'm really curious as to how he'll deal with the freedom. Just grow it forever (he has lovely, thick hair) or stay about how he has been the last four years, growing it until its just starting to get into his eyes and asking Hamish to take him for a haircut, maybe end up with a girlfriend who likes to give him makeovers.

In any event, I am proud, and happy, and grateful.

While the Cat's away

Hamish is out all nite to Laytonsville, sharing some of his homebrew at a party for an out-of-town friend. The Fabulous Miss Evelyn immediately jumps at any rumor her Daddy is Away For The Night - she gets to sleep in the Big Bed with Mommy!

Nutrition flies out the window. We are eating pizza from scratch (the sauce is out of the freezer, but from scratch by me all the same.) I mark off my little part of each pie with a sprinkle of pepper and onion, like a dog marking it's spot.

It's all good.

Writer's Block: Wedding bells are ringing

The prompt suggested one describe the last wedding attended. So here's the story of how I married my brother last October.

My divorced Catholic brother wanted to marry his divorced Methodist sweetie. They couldn't find legitimate clergy to do the deed. Maryland doesn't have any type of civil servants/justice of the peace type folks unless you are willing to get married at the courthouse; Chris and Robin wanted to be married outdoors, along the South River. Chris was bitching to me on the phone one day about how the best he could do was hire a Unitarian minister, and they all want more money than he felt like paying for some stranger to do an hour's "work". I said shit, I'll get get myself ordained over the internet and I'll marry you up. Chris thought this was a splendid idea, so much so that he ponied up the $35 for my ordination. He found two internet denominations and chose to affiliate me with the one that specifies it is Christian, lest my Catholic scruples be offended. I did worry about what my parents would think. Fortunately, Mom thinks Chris can do no wrong, Dad thinks the same of me. They wrote their own vows, all I had to do was show up on the day, stand in the gazebo and say the words. I'm used to speaking that way, during my Wiccan interlude I led rituals regularly, now I read at Mass. It's all good. We all went out for a splendid supper with plenty of wine all around. The reservations were made for a family party with no mention of weddingness, everyone ordered off the regular menu and there was no gratuitous wedding-related price jacking.

My brother keeps saying I should put up a web page and start a marrying folks up business; I can't imagine my parish priest would be pleased if word got back to him. Besides, my weekends are pretty full as it is.

Further progress.

We ended up deciding not to go to Maine for Easter this year - it was just too cold to enjoy being without central heat. It can be kept comfortable, but its a lot of work and uses up a lot of pricey firewood (the stove takes shorter than standard pieces that need to be special ordered). We like the isolated feeling we get when there aren't a lot of summer people around yet, but it starts to feel cabin-feverish if its too cold to spend time on the porch during the day, and the kids start to feel the lack of cable and internet if they can't run around outside. Heavy snow and associated power outages late last week confirmed our decision was correct.

We spent Easter at home instead, Peter and Evelyn served Mass (and looked like angels) the church was beautiful, white and flowers after purple and spare, the music was wonderful. We had dinner with my family, my father is hardly limping at all and it is always good to get everyone together.

I took the children to a tenebrae service. It was very well done - started out with lots of candles and a full choir singing, as it became darker and darker the hymns became simpler, just one voice, and then no music, just spoken readings. Then darkness, and a loud noise. All 3 were moved, in their own ways - Will thoughtful, Ev almost weepy, Pete nonchalant but then very animated when he described it to Hamish back home. I was pleased to see such an old format work on my little wired media junkies, even the Latin that they don't understand a word of.

Hamish has been fitted with a CPAP machine for sleep apnea. He doesn't especially like sleeping in it, but every time he has gone into a-fib has been at night, and I know that he often struggles mightily to breathe when he's sleeping. If it keeps him alive and out of the hospital, its worth the expense and bother.

Saturday, we expect a 4 month old rottie-shepherd mix spay. Coming from a shelter in West Virginia, the rescue group is letting us try her out for a week or two before we decide for sure. I'm afraid that makes us 2-dog people. I had though 2-dog people were somewhat insane, unless they were running hunting dogs or breeding them or something. We had 2 dogs almost constantly for years before we found Gimpy, but one was always a foster, so it wasn't like we OWNED 2 dogs. Then Gimps showed up, but he was only going to stay until we found his owners (we have taken in at least a dozen dogs, some more than once, for periods ranging from a few hours to a few weeks. He is the only one we couldn't re-unite with its family). So we had 2, but that was an ACCIDENT of fate. But now we are actively seeking out a second dog. I guess its the folks with three or more who are unhinged.

Moving right along

We're healing from a difficult winter. My father was unusually compliant with the rehab program for his hip(including forgoing his evening scotch to cut down on the danger of taking a second fall)and can walk short distances without a cane. We've processed the loss of Kelly the Wonder Dog to where we can start looking for the next dog. We considered Dobies, got involved with fostering for a Dobie rescue that was run by bizarre fascist psycho control freaks. Currently considering a few pups from the county shelter and a Rottie pup who's currently in a shelter in West Virginia. We haven't done a puppy in almost 20 years, its a lot of trouble and there are plenty of good used dogs available. Now we're tending that way because we want a dog that will end up being large, but will permit itself to be somewhat bossed around by our teeny terrier. We feel like Gimpy has the best of shot at happiness with a spay who grows up with him. Fortunately we don't spend more than $30 on any one piece of furniture and every inch of floor in the house has already been defiled by dogs (and children) so we're plretty much pre-disastered. I just need to lock away my yarn.

After checking the extended forecast we decided earlier in the week not to make our Easter trip to Maine. The Fabulous Miss Evelyn protested loudly, since she was going to ditch us the minute we got there and spend the week with her friend on the island, who lives there year round in a house that features central heat, cable TV and internet access. Now the news is reporting massive power outages and even she admits we made the right call.

RIP, my friend.

Better all the time

My father came through surgery for his hip like a champ - 2" incision, 3 titanium screws and he's good to go. He should be released this afternoon - my beloved childhood home is a much pleasanter venue for a visit (although I made good progress on a sock for my Mother in the hospital yesterday). He was slightly groggy from general anesthesia when I first got there, but as he woke up more he was quite alert and in good spirits.

Medicine has clearly advanced from when I was a young girl - someones Grandmother would break a hip and shortly after, and as a direct result, Granny would be dead. Now its a treatable injury with established protocols for rehabilitation.

Dad's been doing all the shopping and much of the cooking/kitchen work since he retired (which is the bulk of the daily housework, really, for a household of 2 adults with no pets). Now he's not to drive for 6 weeks and can't put any weight on his hip at all for the first stretch of recovery. He's gonna drive Mom crazy. I need to make sure I get over there to provide her respite (and make sure my brothers do the same.)

fuckety fuck fuck

My father is at Suburban Hospital, having broken his hip sometime this afternoon. He's not clear how long he lay on the floor waiting for Mom to come home after he fell, but he WAS lying on a nice Persian rug inside a heated house - he's alone most of the day (Mom still works) and putters about, he could have easily waited on the slate floor in the not-that-heated basement, or in the mud outside by the fish pond.

He is, in many ways, an asshole, but he's my Dad and I love him. He's 69 and slowing down, but I'm not ready for him to turn into an old man with a walker. He's become WAY less of an asshole since he retired from running his own business and reads history and writes poetry and cooks dinner for my mother to enjoy when she gets home and fiddles around with various projects. Arranges outings with his grandchildren. He worked very hard and deserves to enjoy this time in his life.

Surgery in the morning, I'll go over and see him about 1:00. Its an excellent hospital and signs are good (they needed a CAT scan to see the break because the bone hadn't shifted, it should pin up well) and we have lots of peeps all local to circle the wagons with. And make sure he does his fucking physical therapy. (I ignore a whole lotta Doctor crap like what I should eat or drink or how I should never have a baby at home, but I DO always comply with my physical or respiratory therapies to recover from injury/disease. It has worked out famously for me, despite being in some moments stunningly painful - I get recovery levels and quickness that amaze the doctors and please me well enough I continue to support rehab. regimens.)

He's been without cigarettes now for hours and hours. I don't imagine the nurses are gonna let his narcotics wear off much, unless they can manage to slip a little nicotine into his IV. I've seen him give up the weed for Lent, it got so ugly after and hour we prevailed upon him to take it back up as an act of charity to his family.

St. Theresa of the Little Flower, pray for us. Amen



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March 2008


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