30 April 2019

But What If I Could

Years ago, my friend lost his seven-year-old in an accident.  It was hands-down the worst thing I have ever experienced. And I've seen some stuff.  I can't talk about him without struggle, even now and it's been years.  It does a disservice to Casey because man, he was an awesome kid.

Casey came up in conversation the other day and a random memory popped up later.  It is the absolute perfect example of who this kid is.  I refuse to refer to him in the past tense.

We were out at the parents and Casey and I were down at the lake talking.  I don't remember the specific thing but I remember I said "But we can't do that. It's not possible." 

He just looked at me, like he would - an old soul, for sure - "But what if you could?"   There was no whimsy, or childishness. He just straight up Yoda'd me. 

But what if I could.

Casey B, dropping some wisdom. I'm telling you, that kid.  What a gift

28 April 2019

Desiderata - My All Time Favorite Poem - April National Poetry Month


GO PLACIDLY amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
By Max Ehrmann © 1927
Original text

26 April 2019

Karmic Spaghetti

We were eating dinner last night and Kevin suddenly exclaims "Oh! We totally ate that spaghetti sauce!"

Okay. Random.


"The spaghetti the family sent over the other night.  You tossed it right?"

"No," I laughed, I put it in the freezer and I told you."  (to be "fair" he's going deaf and we both have the attention span of small children)

"Well, the family thinks we ate it."

Ummm, okay?

"He asked about it earlier and the lie (pantomine a chef's kiss) was out of my mouth before I even knew what happened."

I would like to say that this is ridiculous and never happens but I cannot.  His brother is Sensitive Pants.  He would take it as a personal affront that we didn't eat the stupid spaghetti sauce.  And I had to freeze it because it had already been about three days when they sent it over so we were looking at food poisoning if I didn't.  To be fair again, it's always a risk here really.

"Well, you didn't technically lie.  We just haven't eaten it yet."

"I just wanted to let you know so if it came up, you would know to say that we ate it and we liked it."

Ummm, way to have my back?

Then I started laughing.  One of Kevin's favorite shows is Rules of Engagement with Patrick Wharburton.  The character has an episode where he explains the art of lying.

"Small, random details!"  I exclaim

"Yeah, it was good but it was So Much"

"And yeah, I spilled it on the floor but it just missed the carpet."

"And Lucy got into it and she was sick because puppies aren't supposed to eat spaghetti sauce."

Now I'm nearly crying laughing.  (it's been a week)

"JACKSON FARNSWORTH!!!"   If you don't know the show, this is lost on you.  It's a pretend character he uses to get out of things.  "Jackson Farnsworth needs me in the office"  "We're going to dinner with Jackson Farnsworth" etc.  (I can't find a clip...google it, maybe you will)

"He came to dinner and he loved it!"

Fast forward almost exactly 24 hours.

I'm trying to defrost our fraudulent spaghetti sauce and it's not going well.  Sometimes Karma is instant.

First, my sister-in-law put it in a dollar store container that is cylinder shaped.  I can't get the frozen sauce out.  I looked at container everywhere to see if it was microwave safe. (it certainly Didn't Say it was BPD free or whatever so we're probably dead)  I had to risk it.

Three sets of two minutes in the microwave and it barely is able to slide out of the container.

After some awkward juggling, I transferred it to a real bowl.  A few more sets of two minute cooking and it's marginally defrosted.  I did another set.  I considered going out to the shop: "Chain saw?  Saws-All?"

I tried to stir it and I realize that it's full of MEATBALLS.  "AHA! OF COURSE!"  I shout to no one.

This is where Kevin walks in, home from work, because of course. "Who are you talking to?" he asks while looking around our tiny house for a guest. Or the dog.

"Well, our karma for lying about the spaghetti sauce is that it won't effing defrost and we're never going to be able to eat it."

"Serves us right." is all he says then went outside.  Super helpful.

I've written this entire post and the spaghetti sauce is now in bowl #3 and is "mostly" defrosted. The noodles I cooked because "this possibly can't take that long" are now probably total crap.
Karmic Spaghetti, man.  I'm telling you.

And please don't offer possible solutions. This was our punishment.  And talking about cooking is like doing math or using worlds like "West".

Pink = sketchy dollar store container, white = original bowl, frosted = desperate attempt

Exterior Decorating

We live in the woods and although the neighborhood has become more populated over the years, there is no denying that we are still sometimes at the whim of mother nature.  This past February's unending snow is a good example. Four days without power a few years ago is another. We are just coming out of our Annual Winter "Why Do We Even Live Here?" Festival this month.

We live above a creek.  I know, you just did a wistful sigh of "Oh, that sounds so nice."  Mostly it is. We were excited about it when we bought the property with high hopes of spending time down there.  Then real life intervened and it's just a pretty background now.  We are high above it and we used to have a beautiful view of it but nature just insists on growing and changing.  Trees grow, weeds grow, high waters take out chunks of your property.

Wait, what.  Yes.  The creek has moved inward over the years and taken pretty good swaths of our property.  Some of it is from too much rain, some of it is nature reclaiming what used to be hers, some of it is from beavers, and some of it is just bad luck.  Yea Mother Nature!!

Normally, I wouldn't care.  We don't use that space, the kids are grown-ish and aren't interested in catching frogs or camping anymore.  Lucy likes it down there but she can go down there her ownself.  But, we do have a well down there and it is now threatening to wash it away.

Super. Because you know what we need? We need more drama up in here right now.

So, a series of phone calls and emails and meetings and hikes through the property has brought us to the next adventure in our lives: Exterior Decorating.

The Department of Fisheries and Wildlife is swooping in and taking care of that part of our property now. It's a salmon spawning creek so they are very interested in helping us AND it is at no cost to us.  Hooray!   They'll reinforce the bank, they'll plant trees and native plants and make happy spaces for the fish.  They'll take care of it forevermore.  The beaver gets to stay and probably the heron too, much to Lucy's dismay.  (it's Lucy's nemesis)

We are ceding 35 feet inward of property, for the entire length of the property, to the State.  This triggers a little bit of rebel in me but my love for running water supercedes any of that nonsense.

Funny part, because we live where we live, is the whole "Well, there are cougars around so keep an eye out."  It's a game of I Will See You One Destructive Beaver and Call You One Roaming Maneater.

Come live in rural Pacific Northwest folks, it's great!  It rains a lot, Winter is forever, and you might not die.

24 April 2019

Death on Aisle 34

(this unpublished post is nearly a year old)

We used to have a golf cart to use at the racetrack.  I wasn't a fan of it, for multiple reasons.
Despite my objections, it was stored outside and my father-in-law used it for things not meant for golf carts.  So it was pretty used up and a little too redneck for my taste.  Secondly, after not being able to walk for months, I still cherish being able to do so.  So I take any opportunity to walk that I can.

You might be wondering why we would have a golf cart at the racetrack.  Well, if our pits end up being on the far end of the track, a person could have to walk up to a half mile to get to the staging lanes or the tower or whatever.  Or if something really goes wrong, it's an easy tow with the golf cart instead of one of our vehicles, that are often hooked to big trailers.

And mostly, Kevin's brother uses it.  Enough said.

Kevin had the great idea of getting bicycles for the pits.  At first I was a little "Um, look at me. Is this really a good idea?"  Then I decided to just go with it.

We went to Wally world because it isn't worth spending any kind of money on bikes that we might end up not using or use just a few times during the summer.  Yes, I'm aware that bikes can be ridden outside of the racetrack. Shush.

Scene: wally world. Bike aisle.

This is where I say that I've never had a new bike.  Grew up poor and with parents who weren't so much interested in providing such things.  I had a hand-me-down pedal bike that went through both brothers and a hand-me-down 12-speed that my grandma gave to my brother just before she died.  It was a boy bike and too big for me but I rode the wheels off of it anyway.

At the store, there are so many options.  Too many options, almost.  So I'm overwhelmed almost from the beginning.  And I know NOTHING about bikes. Two wheels and won't kill me. That's all I need.

There happened to be a cruiser bike out of the rack.  It's a little too girly for me but I've heard that they are comfortable to ride.  And this is where I almost died.

I haven't ridden a bike in tens of years.  Many tens of years.  The phrase "It's just like riding a bike"? It's nonsense.  Kevin had legit worry on his face.

It was a little too big for me because I'm less than tall but I tried it anyway.  The combination of polished concrete floors, narrow aisle, wide handlebars, and less-than-skilled rider nearly sent me crashing into all.the.things.

I skidded to a stop, got off, and just announced "NOPE"

Kevin, at this point, isn't sure what to do.  "Are you sure..." he cautiously asks "that you know how to ride a bike?"

After nearly clearing a shelf of helmets, I cannot be indignant.

We returned that bike to the rack and began to look again.  Again, I have zero idea what I'm looking at.  "Just find a color you like" he suggests.

"I like black. I do not like pink." because I am EIGHT.   All the bikes that I thought were my size were pink or had pink.  "The black ones are boy bikes" Kevin "helpfully" pointed out.  I just raised an eyebrow at him and kept looking.

Kevin found a bike almost immediately and tried it out.  "This will work" and he is happy.  Spotlight back on me.  I continue to look while he skillfully rides his bike around.  Boundaries? not his thing.  He's totally fine riding a bike in the store.  Me, not so much. Even if I did have the skill.

Eventually I notice that there are signs on the bikes that are "You can ride this ride if you are THIS Tall" THANK YOU.   Now we're making progress. I'm not small enough for a kid bike but I am good for the adolescent bike.  I'm too short for the grown-up bikes.

I found a bike I didn't hate so Kevin took it down and I tested it. A bike the correct size, I must say, is much easier to ride.  I didn't die.  I still wasn't the most confident of rider but I didn't die.  Even then, I scrunched up my face at Kevin "The seat is uncomfortable."

"Bike seats ARE uncomfortable."
"But this is UNCOMFORTABLE.  Don't make me say it."
"We'll find another bike"

Finally I kind of chose a good enough bike because I was over the adventure of buying bikes.  Indeed, all bike seats are uncomfortable but this one wasn't bad.  Kevin explained that he could adjust it and worse case: replace it.  "It's $100. It's not going to feel like your couch."  Fair enough.

And it has pink.  Sigh. It's predominately black so that's good.  I wondered aloud if we can take the decals off and Kev was all "Nope".  "Can we paint it?"  This time I got the raised eyebrow.  FINE.

We paid and wheeled them out to the truck.  I'm excited at this point and ignoring the price tags on this "surely it can't be that expensive" adventure.  "You know, you could ride it out here. It is yours."

No, I didn't know that. I'm a little embarrassed to say that I didn't think of that. I jumped on and it felt like a completely different bike now that the risk of dying in the middle of the store was gone. I loved it.  I was actually excited.

Fast forward a few days and we were at the racetrack with our new bikes. It was so great and I am sad we didn't think of this a long time ago.  Even more fun, a few of our friends had their bikes so we were like a little gang.
(gratuitous racecar photo)

22 April 2019

A Dose of The Parents

There is a wi-fi receiver for my father-in-law's pacemaker, which is pretty cool.  As I arrived home today, he asked if I would come over during dinner and install it. Sure, fine.  I'm comfortable with the fact that I am their I.T. Department.

Then I thought about it.  His appointment was yesterday.  He's talked to Kevin and his brother, via the phone and in person, multiple times since then.  Why have we waited a full 24-hours to ask me? We'll never know.  This is how it goes and I shouldn't be surprised any more.

Anyway, I went over there and they have about ten different papers out.  Pause a full minute while he shuffles through them.  I spotted the user manual and asked/took it.  "No, that's not the one." he says.
My impulse to wave it and melodramatically gesture to the words "USER MANUAL" was squelched just in the nick of time.

Instead, I just started to read the directions that one would usually find in the user manual.  It turns out that the mother had the instructions he was looking for.  Because, of course.  It was just a  simplified version of what I was reading.

"Okay" I say "It says to set it up next to your bed. So let's do that."

"Well, we can..."

I interrupt "It.Says. Set it up next to the bed.  That is Step One and we're starting at Step One and Step One says set it up next to the bed so we are going to set it up next to the bed because that is Step One."  (Thank you Early Childhood Education and Experience)

We walk to the bedroom and I say "Oh, perfect. You have a counter and an outlet right there. This is going well."

He plugged it in and then fussed with the alarm clock, because that is important right now.
I started to read the directions aloud.  "Push the power button"  and he doesn't.  I reach over an push the power button and it begins to beep loudly.

I continue to read.  "It says that it will beep while it is setting up and searching for everything. One light will..."


"What do you have to put next to your heart?"
"The thing. They said I have to put it next to my heart."
"What thing?  It says nothing about putting anything next to your heart.  Not in these instructions or in these instructions, so where does it say that?"

"THEY said I have to put it next to my heart!"

Tone has crept into my voice at this point.  I began to read, from the beginning, the instructions while gesturing Vanna White style to the power button and the search light, and the wi-fi light.
"So far it's doing what it says it's supposed to do."  Nope, he insists.

We walk back into the living room and he can't find anything that says Put It Next To Your Heart.  And now the mother has followed us back into the room because she's a mom and knows when there's about to be a brawl.

"Okay, I'm going to start this all over again."  And I do.  He is quiet.  I mention that the next step is to stay in front of the receiver until the stars icon lights up, which can take up to 15 minutes.  I continue to read the directions.  It says if you have a pacemaker, you cannot set this receiver up.  This would have been good to know at the beginning but I don't have a pacemaker so we're good.
It also says to keep electronical devices away from the receiver.  So, I take my cell phone out of my hoodie pocket and put it in my back pocket, without saying a word.  Quietly, my father in law gestures to the alarm clock and says "Is that an electronical device?"  MOTHER BEAR.

If he can READ the damn thing, why am I doing it?  I answered that it probably wouldn't bother it but we'll see.  He continues to sit.  I mention that I forgot to look at the time but if fifteen minutes pass and it doesn't work, I will return and we will try it again and/or phone the company.  If it doesn't work, IT'S NOT A BIG DEAL WE WILL FIX IT.

As I'm walking away, the stars icon lights up and it happily beeps. "See? it's all set up. Just like that."  They're both quiet because they know when they've overstepped.

I turn to leave and spot...I can't even...you won't even believe me....a bit bowl of GRAPES next to the mother's side of the bed. GRAPES.  I stopped and turned. "Why are there grapes next to the bed?"   Now, Kevin has talked to her before about how super bad of an idea this is of hers so none of this is new information to her.  "Well, my mouth gets dry in the night so I have a grape."

*deep breath*

Then get a bottle of water, or a popsickle, or anything other than grapes.  You know that's a bad idea and a choking hazard."

"No, because I chomp on it and eat it really quickly."


"Okay, you're going to do what you're going to do.  You're going to risk choking and dying when there's, oh, any another solution.  Okay. I've said it and we're moving on."

I went back home and about an hour later Kevin phones.  "Is anything going on there?"  He asks  this every afternoon because so often there is SOMETHING.   Unintentionally, I unloaded the grape story on him and finish with a sigh.  Then he says what I said: "They're going to do what they do. You said it and that's that."

I laughed and told him "Well, I just took a dose of your parents so you don't have to today. You are welcome."

Draft Picks

I have the tendency to begin writing then not returning to it.  If you have read here for a while, you are very aware of this fact. :)  I've eleventy drafts on this platform, a Prompts file in my notes app on my phone, and a few untitled email drafts because nothing is more fun that trying to remember where I wrote something down.

I decided this morning, while the family is busy, to cull through these.  The first email I opened only said "My wife needs more. You don't get to complain."  I have ZERO idea what that refers to. My guess it was something related to Kevin's brother.  I have no context now so it remains a mystery.

In the prompts file, there is note titled "35 Minutes"  At first, I was all what?  Then I remembered that I wrote about that and didn't take it off the list.  Kevin's commute is 35 minutes long and that's how long it takes for me to get my sh*t together before he comes home. So, that one kind of worked other than the not deleting it thing.

Then I stumbled on this one, from almost two years ago.  It's titled "Allergic to Breakfast"
In case you're wondering how the "new" job is going, there was recently a team breakfast where I was allergic to almost everything.  If anything can encapsulate this job, that is it.

I mean, it's nice that there is a breakfast, for sure.  Right up until you're allergic to most all of it.  It's an apt analogy? metaphor? of this job.  Here's this nice thing; but you're not quite allowed to enjoy it.

The reason that I'm specifically invited to this event is to for team building because I don't really work with the team I'm assigned to.  I feel comfortable saying hello but it's not like I can easily hold a casual conversation with most of them.  Oh, and they have a meeting afterwards that I'm NOT A PART OF.  So, it's like being invited to just drinks and appies then having to leave once the actual party begins.

Not bad but really didn't have a direction, other than a little bit of whining.

Then way down the drafts list is this gem.  I super wish that I had followed through with this post because now I'm dying to know what in the world of Carmen San Diego I was talking about.  The title is simply "Atheists Make Me Sad" with no other prompts.  They don't, really, so I'm guessing it was said with irony and not judgment.  We will never know now.

And this one, titled "The Death of Pretty" and the text just says "high school senior portrait"  Sigh.  My guess, because it's dated in 2011, is that trend of looking homeless and how everyone mostly looked nice in the 80's...maybe?  My high school portrait isn't all that so I'm unsure what I was even referring to.

By just publishing this post I can delete four drafts/ideas and move on with my life. So maybe my system does work, a little bit.  There are other drafts that still  deserve my attention.  There are a few others that time has passed and now they feel irrelevant.  I'm uncertain what to do with those, other than to continue to let them languish in Unpublished Land.

21 April 2019

Happy Easter Bunny Eggs

Whether you celebrate the Resurrection or the Chocolate, 
Happy Easter to you!

(title courtesy of Kevin's dad who says it every.single.Easter.to.everyone.all.day and we don't know why)

20 April 2019

Tula - April National Poetry Month

Tula [“Books are door-shaped”]

Books are door-shaped
carrying me
across oceans
and centuries,
helping me feel
less alone.

But my mother believes
that girls who read too much
are unladylike
and ugly,
so my father's books are locked
in a clear glass cabinet. I gaze
at enticing covers
and mysterious titles,
but I am rarely permitted
to touch
the enchantment
of words.

All are forbidden.
Girls are not supposed to think,
but as soon as my eager mind
begins to race, free thoughts
rush in
to replace
the trapped ones.

I imagine distant times
and faraway places.
Ancient warriors.
Fantasy moves into
the tangled maze
of lonely confusion.

Secretly, I open
an invisible book in my mind,
and I step
through its magical door-shape
into a universe
of dangerous villains
and breathtaking heroes.

Many of the heroes are men
and boys, but some are girls
so tall
and clever
that they rescue other children
from monsters.

Margarita Engle, "Tula [”Books are door-shaped”]" from The Lightning Dreamer.  Copyright © 2013 by Margarita Engle.  Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

15 April 2019

No One is Winning

This is the sequel to the This.Is.Fine post.

Everyone in a family wholeheartedly believes that they help.  Mostly with no ill intent but sometimes.  Everyone thinks that they contribute.

With my family, I live kind of far away from my mom so the brothers who live closer take care of her. Also, their relationship with the mom is different than ours.  Sure, I step up when needed.  I contribute in small ways they're probably not aware of.  I fully acknowledge that they are the better siblings and bear the most burden. That is okay and I believe that it it is the way of many families.

On the flip side, as mentioned endlessly, I have my hands full with my family here.  They live next door, their health is declining while my mom is remarkably healthy.   I am closer with them than I am with my own family.

If one is to do the math, I was part of my family - if you will - for about nineteen years.  My brothers left home at 18 and 16-ish, so I was an only child at twelve.  Now I'm fifty, been with Kevin almost thirty years.  I've spent more time as a family here than there.  But that's not my point.

Like I mentioned, I contribute with my mom less than my brothers.  Here in this family, we contribute more than the brother-in-law.  We help pay bills, we occasionally feed them, fix things for them, run errands, etc.  We're first line when the ambulance is called.  I'm the one who solves problems with bills, tablet, television, etc.

The brother-in-law does remarkably less than that.  However, he believes he does a lot.  If asked, he will totally take care credit for caring for his parents. Because he wholeheartedly believes he does.  When in truth, the person who usually contributes the most on that side of the fence is actually his wife.  Even then, it is much less than Kevin and I do.  Also, like my family, I'm sure there are things that we aren't aware of but just on a financial and time basis, the lion share is ours.

Here's the point:  this is a thing amongst siblings and families.  Everyone thinks they do their share and it isn't accurate.  There is always someone who does more and someone who does less, and someone who doesn't do much of all.

The trick is to not do exactly what I'm doing here: taking credit.  Just do your thing and move on with your life.  There will be no convincing anyone that someone did more or less or enough.  Even in  the happiest and closest families.  Everyone's perception and ability to contribute is defined differently, by themselves and by others.  I believe that this adversely affects many families and relationships and it's just not worth it.

What matters in the end is that the person who needs the assistance gets it.  It doesn't matter in the end who did it.

But this won't stop my rants like "This.Is.Fine".  I still get to rant.  As should you. It's necessary and healthy to rant when in this situation. Just don't do it while it's happening among the family members.  No one is winning.

14 April 2019


I've said raising parents is not for the weak.  Anyone who is caring for/helping with their elderly parents all agree: it's exhausting.  It never ends.  It's frustrating.

The latest on the parents is that Kevin's dad had to have a pacemaker installed.  This isn't a big deal on the grand scheme of things but nothing ever passes without some sort of drama.

I will begin at the beginning:

We haven't done family dinner for over a month because Kevin's mom tried to die on us again. We've finally gotten to the point where we aren't going every Friday anymore, thank you tiny, sweet, little 8lb 2 oz baby jesus.

Then we went about a month ago.  The parents chose Olive Garden. Fine.  We all get seated and Kevin's dad announces "So, I went to the doctor today."  (Pause: the sons talk to them every.single.day.during.the.day so this announcement is already melodramatic.  Play.)

Everyone stiffens because of course.  And it would TOTALLY be like them to announce a bad diagnosis in the middle of a restaurant.  Bread sticks?  Sure, why not an appetizer too?

He needed a pacemaker.  I nudge Kevin and whisper "Not a big deal."

He continues:  "Yeah, the doctor was so surprised that I walked in there. She said "I don't know how you're standing here." It's so bad.  I watched on the heart monitor and it was like a straight line (flat line) for this long."   (Measure out your hands a generous 12 inches.) "It goes a long time without beating. They just don't know how I haven't died yet."    Do you need more salad? cheese?

It's taking everything in me not to do the high school bullsh*t cough.

He continues on for about a minute when Kevin gathers his wits about him and asks "When are they doing the surgery?"   WAIT FOR IT...

"Oh, in a month."

SO, pushing up my sleeves, you're saying that: you're flatlining for minutes. The doctor thinks you're the walking dead but we're waiting for a month to intervene?  Okay. Sure. Totally plausible.
Oh, good, our food is here because I'm about to slug an old man.

Now, fast forward to Friday.  They said the surgery was at 8:00 a.m.  We were dumb enough to believe them.  No, check in is at 8. The surgery is at 10, barring any delays. Kevin went to work and I got to take Lucy to the vet because she needed her bum taken care of. (so gross)  I got there just before 10 and Kevin is already frustrated.  A new record.

I walk in with him and they're all crammed into this curtained space because it's necessary to have six of us standing there. I looked at Kevin's mom and ask "Where is your oxygen?"   "Oh, I left it at home. It's fine."   It's totally NOT FINE.

She was in the same exact hospital for a week six weeks ago with pneumonia/pertusis, kidney failure, and the beginning of sepsis.  You're right, you totally don't need life support.  Silly me.
Also at this point I want to smack the father-in-law and the sister-in-law who drove them to the hospital for not bringing it. This should be a habit by now. Oh, I forgot: the mother-in-law is in a wheelchair because she can't walk more than a few paces.  But the oxygen? totally don't need it.

They do all the things and the surgeon explains what is happening.  We learn that his heart would indeed stop but for 3 seconds, not the minutes that he reported.  Go figure.  They take him and ask us to wait, it would be a little over an hour.

We go to the waiting room and sit.  Actually, I stayed in the hallway because it's a tiny waiting room and I'm still feeling stabby and punchy.   I checked into work and did some work via my phone until Kevin asked me to come sit down. "Don't make it weird." Oh, buddy, that ship has already sailed.

Awkward silences for a while because his brother hates it when Kevin and I talk to each other.  He feels excluded and ow, my eyes hurt from the eyerolling.  Finally he tries to talk and Kevin uncharacteristically is monosyllabic.  He stops.  Few minutes later he starts squirming around, clearly "trying to get comfortable". (he's over six foot and over 300 lbs, btw)  Finally, he gets the result he was hoping for:  "What's wrong?" his mom asks. The mom in the wheelchair whose husband is having surgery. "He has a headache" the sister-in-law deadpan states, without looking up from her tablet.  He sighs.  Even she is over it at this point.  Silence continues.

Finally, the surgeon comes out and gives us the update. It's all good.  They're eventually taking him upstairs but there isn't a room available yet.  He suggest we say hi then go get lunch.
(doctor speak for "There are too many of you.")  He leaves and everyone just sits there.  Ummm, okay...

Kevin stands up, a little annoyed. "I'll take mom back then."  He wheels her out and I follow him to open the door.  Usually I stay back to give them some space but because the brother has suddenly fallen mute and immobile, I went with Kevin.  We chat for a minute then leave to get lunch.

They are still sitting in the waiting room.  Kevin pauses and says "We're going to got get lunch."  Still, they're immobile.  Kevin just starts walking away.  I love this version of Kevin.

While we're walking there, I suggested that he just park his mom at the table and we will get whatever she needs.  Noooo....because she has to SEE WHAT'S AVAILABLE. In the cafeteria she has been to hundreds of times.  In.the.cafeteria.  Kevin is starting to spin out.  His brother and s-i-l continue to lollygag behind us.  Then they are in front of us, because reasons.

(And as I write this, I realize that they never went to say hi to the dad.)

Finally, I flipped into combat mode. I grabbed what I needed, got Kevin's wallet, paid for my food, and grabbed a table. It was lunchtime so it was busy. By the time I returned, he had awkwardly parked his mom in the way of everyone.

"What does she want?"  "She doesn't know."  He asks her again for the billionth time.  An egg salad sandwich.  I filled out the card because there wasn't one premade and hand it to Kevin.
"I'm taking your mom" and walked away.

I parked her at the table, got utensils and napkins then returned to Kevin.  He is in full-scale about to lose his sh*t mode.  Brother and s-i-l have already ordered and are wandering around looking at stuff.  WTAF.  I took Kevin's wallet again and asked/told him to go sit with his mother.
"I.NEED.A.BREAK.THIS.IS.FINE." he says.  Okay, then.

Her order is ready and now we're waiting for his.  Meanwhile, the brother has gotten his order and is sitting at the table with his mom.  Now he's "helping".  Finally, Kevin's order is up and we paid.  I set up his mom and he sat down at the table with his meal.  He is spun out and no one seems to notice except me.

Now, my book, water bottle, and meal were already at a seat, next to his mom. At the table I set up for us. They're all gathered around a four-person table and have awkwardly pulled a chair up to the corner.  *DEEP CLEANSING BREATH*

I picked up my stuff and sat at the nearby table.  Kevin, absentmindedly says "You're sitting there?"  *DEEP CLEANSING BREATH*  "Where.Do.You.See.SPACE.for.me?  It's ridiculous to cram everyone at a table when it's not necessary."  This is a conversation we have way more often than is reasonable in anyone's lifetime.

During lunch Kevin began to get texts from his guys at work.  He had already planned on returning but they hadn't planned on him being gone so long so there wasn't a contingency plan. Now it was a hurry thing. And Guess what happened?  Suddenly, his brother has to make a call to work, while sitting at the table.  It's a mystery how the same exact things happens to him. It really is.

I peacefully ate my lunch while watching The Pioneer Woman make a dessert and wondered what tempering eggs meant. I finished, cleaned up my table, cleaned up Kevin's stuff.  "Ready?" I asked and he jack-in-the-boxed up and announced he was going to work.  I'm not even certain he said goodbye.

We walked to the parking lot while he muttered.  I'm just scurrying beside him because he's an annoyed six-foot tall and I'm 5'3".  He went to work and I went home to peace and quiet. He went to work to organize ten guys and an excavation company during the busy season because that was easier and more pleasant than his entire morning.

The father-in-law is now home and on the mend.  There has already been two arguments about them accepting help with the house.  Kevin won and our niece will be cleaning their house every other week.  "Oh good, she can do the things I can't do" the mother finally says.  WHICH IS EVERYTHING AND THE WHOLE DOGGONE POINT.  And Kevin made it happen, not his brother.

I'm telling you: raising parents is not for the weak.  Not killing siblings takes superhuman powers.

Nothing Gold Can Stay - April National Poetry Month

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

08 April 2019

Beautician and Magician

Almost eight months ago, way back in September I had a haircut and I haven't touched my hair since.  Why? you ask.  Because a terrible thing happened.  I decided that I was going to cut the length off to just touching my shoulders.  I do this about once a decade and regret it every.single.time. But that wasn't the problem.

Once again, I came away from the stylist with Moe bangs.  They were so, so, SO SHORT. OMG. SO SHORT.  I'm not usually vain but this was embarrassing.  I have honestly not cut or trimmed my hair since September 2018.  My bangs didn't begin to really bother me until late January.  OMG. SO SHORT.  Think of what every single preschooler looks like when they cut their own hair.  That was me.

I asked my nieces who cuts their hair and gave her a call.  She is just wonderful.  Imagine the perfect hairdresser and she is it.  She is mid-60's, chatty, friendly, will tell you what to do without making you feel stupid.  She is Truvy without the accent.

And she changed hardly anything at all.  She trimmed the dead ends and showed me how to do it.  (I know, right?) she trimmed my bangs so I don't want to shave my head (and showed me how to do it) and she trimmed the sides so it's not a giant cliff from bangs to the rest of my hair.

More importantly, she has hair like I do.  I have baby hair; super fine and soft, and so much so that hair pretties will not stay in my hair without glue.  Braids are impossible.  She knows how to deal with that.  I've just turned fifty and she taught me like I was a teenager and I so appreciated it.  I was never the girl who really cared about hair.  Putting it into a ponytail is the most effort that I will give it.

Here's the other thing with my hair: I have cowlicks. Two of them.  Also, to turn the awkward level up to eleven, one side of my hair turns inward and the other side turns outward.  Because of this unmanageable state I've never really worn my hair any differently.  With the exception of the spiral perm days and when feathered wings were popular, neither of which are a good look if we're being honest.

Now instead of bangs that curl downward-ish, the bangs sweep to the left and the right kind of does whatever it wants to.  Sometimes it's really good and sometimes it isn't.  This is just the state of my hair and my patience on any given day.

Now I have to figure out how to not have our friend cut my hair anymore.  She still cuts Kevin's hair and does a good job with him, just no longer me.  I usually go with him because it's a Let's Do Errands and Have Lunch kind of thing.  This is awkward, super awkward.  I can use the excuse that I had someone else cut my hair for my brother's wedding but that will only last for a while.

We're friends on the facebook so she probably won't believe Kevin if he told her I'd been abducted by aliens.

07 April 2019

Ithaka - April National Poetry Month


As you set out for Ithaka
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope your road is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you enter harbors you’re seeing for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to learn and go on learning from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you’re destined for.
But don’t hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you’re old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn't have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.