Sunday, July 28, 2013

English Breakfast

Oh joy, I’ve woken up to a living room chock full of camp counselors, from all over the globe no less. Full living rooms make me happy and mine has felt especially empty lately. Tall one has been camp counseloring for six weeks with one more to go and I’ve been missing him. Little dude isn’t one to have friends over and I’ve been spending my time sans kids home alone, not knowing what to do with myself and with tired body and fuzzy brain.

So while they’ll be out of here shortly and I’m keeping a respectful distance in the kitchen, I was able to provide some Providence Made {IRIE} English Breakfast tea to some charming brits who were craving a cup and I’m happy for the noise and that my son is well ensconsed with a lovely pack and I might even get my lawn mowed out of the deal. As there are about ten of them, they could do it relay style, each do a power lap and poof, it'll be done without anyone breaking a sweat.

Despite being in the hands of a good lawyer, I have still found it very stressful since being served with divorce papers. Papers that offer zero alimony and list my car and my business under his assets -- "value to be determined". There’s something very jarring about that when you’re in my precarious position. How on earth does this work? I bought that car well after we were separated. Are his new wardrobe and apartment full of furniture my assets? What about whatever gifts and meals he’s shared with his girlfriend? And what is my business other than me? Value to be determined, I feel violated. I suppose me and a bunch of scratched up ikea tables, cut-rate grid wall and found furniture, oh yeah, and rent, studio rent that is more and more difficult to pay.

I didn’t in my wildest dreams, or worst nightmares think we’d ever be reduced to this, never. But I underestimated a lot of things, sometimes being gullible can be funny, an endearing quality, sometimes not.

I’m trying to manage the stress with behavioral modification techniques, controlling what I allow myself to think about, clipping the mental loops of doom, I’m quite poor at this, especially, terribly bad. It will be what it will be despite my worry and panic. Stress is canciferous and so now, not only do I simply not enjoy it, it scares me, I fear it killing me by urging my RNA to replicate poorly.

I believe I have a rock solid case, I believe I’ll be fine once my supporting affidavits start pouring in, once they’ve been seen by a judge, but it’s going to be a long, painful slog and an ever worsening stomach ache.

I think it is cruel and unusual for anyone to inflict this on me now, at this particular juncture. I’ve had enough for a good long while and I want to focus on my rehab and learning how to walk without falling down, finding my bearings and it seems like there’s only one person in the whole wide world who doesn’t understand that cancer isn’t like getting the flu. You’re not just done, you’re never just done and you’re not who you are physically or mentally when you’re “all better”. Some people get all better, and I'm thrilled for them, although I'm sure they'll always worry. There are all different kinds and degrees of cancer, I had bad cancer with bad treatment options. There is no all better for me, there’s only making the very most of the rest of my life whatever it turns out to be and adjusting to a new normal where my body and my brain don’t look or work like they used to.

Even writing this makes my stomach churn, is this what it will be like for the next year? Never once during my diagnosis or illness did I ask “why me” or ponder the unfairness of it. Fair isn’t part of the deal, some people get sick, some don’t, we don’t know what causes cancer or M.S., or Lupus or an endless slew of other less than pleasant maladies or who will get them and why, but that’s just the way it goes, I drew the short straw, so be it, I hope I accepted the situation with grace. But this isn't fate, this is someone to whom I gave half of my life and to whom I was kind and supportive and who tortured me with apathy and disregard for decades, choosing to put me in the meat grinder and I can’t help but ask why me? why now? when do I get a break? I’m so tired, so weary, putting every ounce of energy into being the best parent I can be, and to stay afloat financially and yes, to experience a moment of joy every day because that's the whole point isn't it? O.K., focus on Mexico, focus on my amazing, beautiful friends, and my spectacular children. Focus on the present, the day to day, sticking with rehab at the Y, Mexico, Mexico, M E X I C O, and breathe, breathe, keep breathing.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Small Problems

Global warming is a hoax and we’re dwelling in post-racial America. Not. I’d still be wondering what happened to spring, why my kid was wearing long sleeves until the last week of school, but my swiss cheese brain has melted into a tiny puddle of goo.

I can’t fathom how a man who chooses to carry a gun, chooses to whirl himself into that adrenaline feuled state, who stalks another person, causing them fear and terror, causing them to be in an adrenaline feuled state isn’t culpable for what results. It kills me to hear the Zimmerman’s saying that the tall, skinny teenager with a pocket full of skittles was also armed, he used the pavement as a deadly weapon. Well, seems to me that the pavement was quite innocuous until Mr. Zimmerman turned it into a weapon by stalking a stranger and scaring them into protecting themselves with whatever means necessary. And that assumes that the boy did smash the man’s head into the pavement, I don’t know, I wasn’t there, but I do know who left their home armed with a gun and looking for trouble, and who went out to get a snack. Was the young man a perfect model of youth? Don't know, don't care. That night he causing trouble for anyone, just strolling along with a snack in his pocket and a girl on the phone, minding his own business before getting scared shitless and then getting dead.

Where was the suggestion that “excuse me sir, are you lost?” might have clued Mr. Z into what this young man was “up to”. A simple act of civility or minding his own damned business because someone isn’t suspicious until they’re jimmying open a door or climbing through a window and even that, very often has a logical explanation. Lost keys perhaps? You know when you intervene Mr. Citizen? When someone's getting attacked, when there's already violence going on, you intervene or you call for help.

Mr. Zimmerman is an adult. Adults should know not to stalk other people, especially if they’re afraid of them. They call the police, they keep watch from a safe distance or they go home. We are not a well-ordered militia.

I also don’t understand why prosecutors allow themselves to be outflanked, was going to say, outgunned, but that’s too awful a pun. There must have been many willing, able, civil rights attorneys willing to consult pro-bono, how is it that the prosecution in these big cases are the only ones who don’t read the news, they might have gotten a clue, that in fact, there was a smattering of racial profiling going on. Why do they allow themselves to get clobbered this way? Did they want to loose? I’m not one for conspiracy theories and I really don’t care if there was a second shooter, I just know JFK is dead, but what gives with this ineptitude?

My heart hurts for every ethnic parent of a son, who has to have the uncomfortable conversation with their boys that I’ll never have to have with mine. How to behave when the police pull them over for being black, probably over and over, how to handle strangers fearing them with no cause, how to handle the fear and stupidity and recklessness of lesser people, small-minded, yet arrogant people.

I’d go on and on, but I have an overheated, grumpy little person downstairs stomping around to get my attention. My problems are small.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Tax Time

I’m sitting in my accountants office waiting to do my taxes, but he’s been on a conference call for the last 50 minutes with a client and their estate planning attorney, I've been listening so long, I've figured out who the players are. He's a good guy and since he’s patient with my disorganization over the years, I can put up with his. I feel funny sitting here listening to this maddening conversation with a big, old, red-eyed dog sleeping on my feet. I know way too much about how much Elsie and the kids are inheriting. I think it's a sheep dog, he is big.

I was in whole foods the other night picking up something for dinner at the prepared food bar. I was getting hot food and the round cardboard containers I prefer weren’t present in the medium size. The large size seemed wastefully large and the fold up cardboard containers always leak. So I grabbed a medium sized plastic container and while filling it up I noticed a large man hovering. I thought he wanted to go next, but not so lucky. As soon as I snapped on the lid he loudly accosted me with “so you must really like having petroleum products mixed in with your food”. I was in my grocery store haze, end of day, very hungry daze and it took a minute to register, so I stammered, “oh, plastic container, hot food, I know I’m not supposed to do this, but they were out of the containers I usually use.” You should have used the large one, he told me, but apparently you enjoy leeching petroleum into what you eat, would you pour crude oil on your food, because you're doing the same thing. Then he went into how much I must love big oil and how I shouldn’t even shop there if I’m going to just put my organic food into plastic and mix it with petroleum, I’m wasting my money. I gotta say, I was just shell shocked and when he launched into the evils of the plastic water bottles which I wasn't even buying, I started walking away, faster, and he followed me, towered over me, but then I ran into someone I know and just turned my back and started talking, babbling really, because I was kind of shaken up, the whole encounter was so surreal, and so hostile. It’s awful when someone pops out of thin air just to tell you how stupid you are.

Oh my god, it’s been over an hour now and the estate planner's voice is really irritating. This appointment was supposed to be a joyous occasion where I cap off my week of productivity. I’ve retained my lady lawyer, my refinance is in the approval pipeline, my taxes are soon, so soon to be done. They’re confusing the shit out of this poor multi-million dollar business owner, lawyers, ugh. He seems like a really nice man, the lawyer is a pitbull and she’s on his side. I already know there are five kids, not sure if any are shared or they both came into the marriage with kids, I'm pretty sure it's a second marriage for at least one of them. He's a farmer, he's a nice man and direct. When he tries to be funny with the lawyer, it's like he's speaking a different language to her, I know that feeling. Oh snap, he just said, really calmly, "I am really confused, I really don't know what the hell you're talking about." Me neither, I can't follow her at all, she's making things wildly confusing. Yep, make a problem for someone and then charge them to fix it. My accountant, I don't even know where he is, he keep leaving, I think he's pretty bored too.

The length of this appointment is going to cut into my gym time and defeat my goal of getting there 3x this week. Fair market value, insurance policies, who’s taking over the business, what if this one dies before that one, yikes!

70 minutes, I’m getting impatient. I’m not even sure why my accountant is on this call, he’s spoken up once.

Luckily Elsie has gotten an inheritance, so she’s all set either way.

Oh, at last my taxes are done, phew, but I’m too late for the gym, I’ll try again next week.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Upside, Downside

90° heat is not a good time to misplace the cat brush. There are tufts of fur flying around the room seeking places to affix themselves, like my sweaty self, blech. The air conditioned bedroom in which I’m sequestered, organizing my getting-later-by-the-day tax documents is too hot for clothes even with the window unit. The missing boobies really do have an upside. I can sit here shirtless very comfortably, no girls jiggling around, getting in the way, no sweat underneath, no stuffing my sweaty parts into a bra and definitely no nip-slips although I worry about scar slips, it seems to me no one's supposed to see that, but maybe I'm wrong, I'm constantly hiking up my shirts, so it's not showing. Not an optimal situation, but there really are quite a few benefits, I can sleep comfortably on my stomach, I can trampoline without self-consciousness, all sorts of things. I am, however annoyed that every tankini top has built-in bras, underwire bras or dominant pleats. Anything called a mastectomy top has built in foam falsies with a corresponding high neck, hideous, yuck... that is just silly and uncomfortable.

I had the best of intentions the other night. As large one is counseloring away at camp and little dude is at his dad’s, I decided to take a break and go to the gym, I checked on-line and it said that they were open until 9p.m. on Saturday. I headed over at about 6 and lo and behold they were closed, I guess some people have better things to do on a Saturday night. I was so proud of myself for making myself go and they thwarted me. I stopped at the grocery store on the way home and bought lasagne and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, talk about good intentions gone awry. I settled into the couch to watch t.v., with my pint of ice cream which I didn’t even bother to put in a bowl... I knew I was gonna eat the whole thing and I realized I’m a cliché. Lonely, middle aged woman eating pints of ice cream and then being horrified that clothes don’t fit. Not good, not good at all!

My goal for this week is to get to the gym three times, I want to get into a Monday, Wednesday, Friday routine which would be great, I’d feel great, my heart would be happy and healthy and I’d be lowering my chances of a recurrence, but it’s so damned time consuming. My workout takes about 1.25 to 1.5 hours, add in commute of 40 minutes round trip and that’s a good chunk of the child-free part of the day and pretty much everything else takes me longer than it used to.

The heat is aggravating my neuropathy and while I don’t notice it in my hands as much as my feet, I do notice how much slower I am at work, that I’m constantly dropping things  and fumbling... I’ve become a fumbler and a wobbler, and as for the feet, they’re not happy. My big toenails were a little too long and I stubbed my toe, which you do a lot when you can only partially feel your feet and my toenail bent back and snapped right off, impairing my pedicure situation. It seems a little too short to paint which is important because the trip has been booked! Yes indeedy, I am going to Mexico {Isle Mujeres} in a mere five weeks, I am so excited, I could cry, o.k., I did cry. I haven’t been this excited since I don’t know when. Downside, you stub your toes a lot, upside, it doesn’t hurt, cause the reason you’re stubbing your toe is because you can’t feel it.

My dear, dear, wonderful friend and gay husband, because he accidentally booked us the honeymoon package is treating me to this most amazing trip. He’s in the middle of a breakup which is really sad to me, but does have the upside of me getting him all to myself for a week {and it’s all about the upsides, right?} and he pointed out that if he were going with X, he’d have to spend 3x as much money just on himself, because X likes the luxe life. I’ve never quite experienced the luxe life, but damn, am I game. I’m grandpa in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang -- it’s the posh life for me. The place we’re going is gorgeous and cheap cause it’s August and I guess people don’t want to be in Mexico in August and the deals are amazing. I figure it will be hot everywhere and I’d rather be hot somewhere with ocean outside my door, crystal white sand and a jacuzzi on my balcony. And half-gay married for a week to boot what could be better?  In the time it took us to commit, the Regular room turned into a Deluxe room and then a Deluxe Suite for less and less money, I guess you have to hit that sweet spot of waiting until almost the last minute, but not the very last minute where you won't get a flight. I’ve known R since I was 18 and he was 20. We went to the same high school but didn’t know each other -- big school, different grades. My last summer at home my friend was dating his friend and so we were always at the same place at the same time and we became friends instantly, like seriously, motherfucking friends for life, instantly. I didn’t know he was gay at the time, always wondered why he wouldn't flirt with me, pompous little brat that I was, although really didn’t care, I was in it for the friend thing, we’re so much alike, it’d be like dating myself and that could be ugly. He was living in disguise as a dull as daisies, not meant to be, heterosexual, and pretty damned tortured at that, despite knowing his whole life he was gay, living an inauthentic life because he just plain didn’t want to be gay. He’d heard and seen what people say about gay people and there are so, so many things to be afraid of, and back then, no one was saying “it gets better.” This makes me angry, because when my friend finally came out of the closet and embraced his true self you could nearly see the burden lifted, he is such a happier person and he’s someone who deserves to be happy, I can’t think of a finer human being albeit, sorry for him, equally neurotic as I. I love this man more than I can say. We’ve never lived in the same city, but we have always kept in touch and visited although not as often as we could or should.

I’m beside myself with excitement. I’ve got my passport which I take out of the dresser drawer and caress regularly and have already had my first travel anxiety dream, but we’ll leave that for Dr. Freud... you know, missed the flight even though I was at the gate, they insisted I wasn’t, I guess I’d turned invisible, forgot to pack a suitcase and had to rush home, went to the wrong airport, and the airport was also a furniture store, go figure.

Here’s the best part though... it’s Whale Shark season down there... they swim in large pods close to the surface and are slow moving, so if we are lucky we will see them and swim with them because they’re gentle giants. I’ll get my chance to swim with the magical healing dolphins and there’s a turtle sanctuary and I’d suppose a margarita or two.

Yay for gay marriage!

Jonah is being a good sport, he asked a few times, “um, why are you going on vacation and I’m not?” and I just straight up told him “because you won’t swim and hate the beach and I need to spend a week swimming with the fishies, my soul needs it and you'd be bored silly.” “o.k.” he says, he gets it.

Don’t bother reading this if you don’t know the tune or love grandpa, it just isn’t worth it:
This is livin', this is style, this is elegance by the mile
Oh the posh posh traveling life, the traveling life for me
First cabin and captain's table regal company
Whenever I'm bored I travel abroad but ever so properly
Port out, starboard home, posh with a capital P-O-S-H, posh
The hands that hold the scepters, every head that holds a crown
They'll always give their all for me they'll never let me down
I'm on my way to far away tah tah and toodle-oo
And fare thee well, and Bon Voyage arrivederci too
O the posh posh traveling life, the traveling life for me
First cabin and captain's table regal company
Pardon the dust of the upper crust--fetch us a cup of tea
Port out, starboard home, posh with a capital P-O-S-H, posh

Friday, July 5, 2013


I can be chatty as the next gal, sometimes I chat with folks while waiting in line and sometimes I don’t, and I hope I always pick up on non-verbal cues as to whether someone wants to chat back.

Today, I was in line at the post office, undeserved care package in hand, because PayPal decided Wakefield, RI wasn’t a real place and wouldn’t print a shipping label for me. A woman followed me in, yapping all the way. She had to leave the beach early today because her M.S. was acting up, “I’m sorry to hear that”. M.S. is the silent disease she informed me, “yes, there are many of those.” Her dude wanted to stay, what the hell? is he trying to prove he can be darker than she is? you know people go to the beach because they want to be black, and of course black people want to be white and people get their hair permed so it’s curly and people with curly hair get it straightened. And yes, we were on line with a bunch of black people and I’m really hoping they didn’t hear that last comment. All the while she’s talking to me, clearly one snap crackle away from a full box, or maybe not, she is not slyly, but aggressively, changing places with me, so we’re starting this dance of supremecy, but pretty quickly I decided it would be best to just let her cut in front of me, because I’d had enough of looking at her leopard print bra and excessive cleavage busting out of her ugly, way too short dress. I might be obsessed with boobies, but these girls were not attractive. Cut she did, just glided on past without a care, well, except for the heat and the M.S., and how early the post office’s close out in the sticks where she's from, livin’ out there, “no thanks!” I planted my feet firmly on the floor as the line moved forward to put a larger and larger gap between us, but she just began twisting around to yell commentary back at me, even when it was her turn at the counter where she was surprisingly rude to the clerk. BFF’s. I lingered, I did not want to run into that chick in the parking lot. I blame PayPal for this.

Just like last year, every day when I pick Jonah up at camp there are folks parked in the two handicapped spots sans permits. Even more maddening is that there is a space between the two, filled with painted diagonal lines to indicate “no parking, this is not a space” because parking in it renders both handicapped spaces too narrow to utilize. Every damned day if miraculously there’s a free handicapped space, one of a medly of giant SUVs is obtrusively parked in the middle space.

The other day, a woman was putting her small child in the car, while parked in one of the aforementioned spaces and I very politely, in a steady monotoned voice used for such occassions, said, “excuse me, maam, are you aware that you’re parked in a handicapped space?” Yes she was, but she was only going to be there a few minutes. “I’m sorry, but that’s not o.k., you are still illegally parked in a handicapped space.” “I told you I was rushing, I’m going as fast as I can.” I replied, still nauseatingly politely that that just didn’t matter, she was parked in a handicapped space thus preventing someone who legitimately needs it from parking there. And then she let loose and started yelling. She knew all about handicapped spaces, her brother had a brain injury and he eventually died from it, and she has a lot of things going on in her life right now, she was going through a lot, and I had no idea what she was going through and blah, blah, blah. “I’m very sorry for your troubles, but you know, we all have them and they don’t suspend the rules of the road and it's still not o.k. to park in a handicapped space with out a permit.” I really am an obnoxious dog with a bone with this, but it's become my cause, my pet peeve x10. I don’t think she was agreeing with me, as she slammed her car door and almost ran me over, not BFF’s. I should have told her that M.S. is the silent disease. Which actually it is, M.S. sucks, I just don’t want to hear about it from very tan strangers with skanky bra’s invading my personal space. I wonder if post office lady thought I had a perm. I kind of look like I have a perm, a perm gone bad, turned to a life of crime. In a few weeks I’ll legitimately look like Medusa with a head full of adolescent snakes that could jump out and bite you any time. No worries though, I’m teaching them good manners, especially when it comes to parking ettiquette.