Oh the funnies…

Woman overjoyed by Giant Uterine Parasite.

Not a lot of good to write about today, but the above article made me smile, so I thought I would share it.

Oh yes, and this one too. (Thanks Alena!)

It’s just another day… again.

We are staying in Denver until the weekend, having changed our tickets so we can better respond to the various issues that have arisen with Mom’s hospitalization.

We went and visited her in the hospital again today, and she is really no better or worse. She is responding to commands, but her 2cnd degree burns are becoming 3rd degree burns despite her doctor’s attempts to prevent that by flooding her with saline. She still looks horrible, and I have no idea what to hope for. All outcomes point to wretched.

I spoke with the fire marshal and it looks like she may have been smoking after all. Either that or there is a massive conspiracy to kill her and make her death look like and accident. Ockham’s Razor would indicate that she has begun smoking again.

We have no idea how to feel about that, or at least, I don’t.

We found out that her apartment had asbestos in it, so all her stuff is covered in asbestos, so if we want to keep any of her things we have to pay to have them professionally cleaned of toxic waste. Many of the things Lee planned on keeping as momentos of his childhood were in her place. I wish there was something I could do to make this easier on him.

In other news, Marlena was on better behavior today, and got all cute and creative making crowns for each member of the family. She went about it all quite intelligently, measuring the size of our heads with strips of paper, taping them together, cutting out shapes and taping them on for decoration. She even made one for Oliver. It kept her busy for a while, without the T.V.! Yay!

We still had an issue at bedtime, but pretty much she was good today. I think she is feeling the tension in the air, and responding to it the only way she can. Sadly, that looks a lot like being psycho.

Oliver tried a new food today. So far he can eat Rice Cereal, Squash, and Carrots. He tried Pears, but did not like them, so we will have to try them again later. He is getting better at actually eating solid food, instead of pushing it out of his mouth with his tongue after each bite.

We will go and see mom again tomorrow and hopefully we will have a better idea of her chances then.

Oh… so that’s why he does it!

We went to a friend’s house for dinner this evening. Initially all went quite well. That is, of course, until she sat down to something gasp new to eat.

“I don’t like this.” Said She-Who-Will-Not-Be-Fed.
“Marlena, that is very rude, please try the chicken burger and sweet potato fries and thank Jon for cooking for us.” I said, with a tooth-clenched smile plastered on my face.
“Thank you for cooking Jon.” Said She-Who-Will-Not-Be-Fed, in the same voice she would use if I had asked her to thank me for throwing all her worldly goods in the garbage. Then she picked up her chicken burger, took a miniscule nibble, and proceeded to behave as though it was the worst thing she had ever tasted in her life.
“Marlena…” I say in a warning tone.
“I don’t like it together!” She yells at me, having jumped from calm to yelling right off the bat, and proceeds to strip the chicken burger into it’s component parts. I cut up her chicken, after asking her not to yell at me, and then watch as she takes a bite.
“It’s dry.” Says She-Who-Is-Hell-Bent-On-Rudeness.
“That’s is, time out.” Says I, as I grab her hand and begin to help her out of her chair.
“No!!” She yells, yanking her hand out of mine.
“Now Marlena, Time Out.” Once again taking her hand.
“No!!” She whine/yells, while pulling hard against my grip.
“Marlena, you will go to Time Out now or there will be no dress up for a week.”
“FINE!” She yells, leaping out of her chair and stomping into the other room.

Deep breath… breathe, breathe… in with Ghandi, out with Hitler. Breathe….

I follow her into the room, and tell her not to yell at me any more. In mid-sentence, she turns around and claps her hands over her ears.

“Fine. That’s it. You can stay in here.” I turn to leave, only to be roughly grabbed by the now frantic young girl screaming “No! I will listen” while sobbing. I calmly turn to her. “Marlena, stop and look at how you are acting. Do you really think this behavior is going to get you what you want?” She calms down, apologizes, and sits in Time Out.

She finishes her Time Out, we have a talk about rudeness, she comes out, apologizes, and sits down to drown her chicken in ketchup and consume it. All is well for about 5 minutes until I hear “Mom, can I have five more bites and be done?” I look at the plate, which is full of chicken and sweet potato fries. “This is all you get to eat tonight” I say,”so you better make sure you are full.”
“Oh I am.” She says, of course, until dessert is mentioned, at which point we have the drama of bringing back out the plate of untouched chicken and ketchup. I section off the amount she has to eat to get ice cream and tell her I want to hear nothing more about her eating. She will either eat and get dessert, or not eat and not get dessert.

“Mom, I am eating.”
I ignore her.
“Mom, look how many bites I have left.”
Ignoring her, trying to talk with other adults.
“Mom! I am eating!”
“Sigh. What did I tell you Marlena?”
“Not to tell you anything more about my dinner.” She says sullenly, obviously upset that I am attempting to pay attention to anything other than the slow and painful progress of her dinner consumption.
“Right. So don’t tell me anymore.” I say.

Five minutes pass. During this time I actually get a sip or two of wine, a nibble of dessert, and a short conversation with Mar.
“Mom, have I eaten enough for dessert?”
“Did you finish what I told you to eat?”
“Then no.”
Small whiny sounds and a great deal of sighing.
“I don’t think I want dessert.” She says, with the face of a martyr.
“Okay, then put your dish in the kitchen.”
“No, No Mom, I want to eat!” She yells. (Notice how at this point, she has cleverly played both her role, and mine, so the fight and drama can continue, as I have removed myself from the fight by refusing to discuss or negotiate further dinner options.)
“Marlena, if you yell at me, argue with me, or bring up your dinner one more time tonight you will be grounded!” I say, having lost my robot mom voice and progressed straight to Mad Mom voice.
“Sorry” she whines, “Sorry Mom.”
“Just eat.” I say, going back to the couch to deal with the now cranky and overly tired baby.

Finally food is eaten, dessert is tried and rejected (Cheesecake, another something new), and she is seated at the table with my mother playing a puzzle game. The first puzzle is pretty hard, so she asks me for help. I give it, show her how to solve the puzzle, and pick another puzzle for her. Of course, this one requires help too, so I assist a little here and there, until she begins to yell at me about using the wrong pieces while simultaneously whining to me about needing help. Finally I tell her I am done, she can figure it out by herself, and I go sit down.

Where oh where has my little lamb gone? Oh where oh where can she be? Has she been replaced with a demon spawn? Oh where or where can she be!?

Six is hard, she argues over everything. When we were getting into the car on the way to dinner I asked her to get into her seat, when I looked up, she was still outside the car, futzing with something on the ground. I asked her to get in the car, and she yelled “I AM!” then threw herself into the car and proclaimed “You DON’T have to ask me so much!”. I calmly informed her that I asked her because she was not in the car, and to not yell at me.

I miss the girl who only yelled when she thought things were grossly unfair, and who actually meant it when she said “I’m sorry.” I know this phase is important for her growth, but I just feel beat up by it. Oh yeah, and I really understand Homer’s desire to strangle his son. If we were cartoons, I would be so tempted to follow in his stead.

Taking the sweet with the sour

I think one of the hardest things about being a human being (not that I have any experience being anything other than a human being), is learning to embrace the happy moments in life, when you are mired in the sad moments.

As a young woman, I was fascinated by the Victorian concept of languishing away, like Madame de Tourvel in Dangerous Liasons. It seemed more sensible, during times of hardship, to have that hardship affect everything else in my life. I would wallow in sorrow, wrapping it around me like a comfy coat, until the sun would somehow shine again.

Maybe I am just too tired to have such intense and long lasting grief now, or maybe I am more balanced, less ridden with the changing hormones of youth. Maybe age has put all the bad things into better perspective. All I know for sure is I can’t be sad all the time, even when there is much to be sad about.

Which is why this morning found me reveling the giggles of a certain baby boy, and doing everything I could to cause them. Oliver thinks it’s very funny whenever we say “agoo” to him, so this morning I was “agooing” in between planting kisses on his tiny little nose. He found this so funny that my morning was filled with robust baby belly laughs. For a few precious moments, all seemed right with the world.

I am carrying those moments with me like a shield today, so they can soften the sharper thoughts trying to cram themselves into my head.

Lee’s mom is not doing any better, we are still playing the waiting game to see whether or not she is likely to recover. Even if she does, she has a long, long, long road ahead of her, with multiple surgeries, rehabilitation, and lots of pain.

I am waiting to hear back from the fire marshal, so I can learn what the investigation has uncovered, and tell him that she didn’t smoke, so cigarettes were most likely not the cause of the fire. I am trying not to call the management of her apartment building and yell at them for saying it was caused by smoking. I am trying not to let the news reports, both t.v. and print, get under my skin. I don’t know why it bothers me as much as it does, but she wasn’t a smoker, so I don’t want her remembered as one. I guess it also seems less stupid for the fire to have been caused by an electrical spark, than by smoking in bed.

We did go and see her yesterday, and I have to say, try to avoid ever seeing anyone in the burn unit. Those images simply will not go away. (La la la… thinking of baby giggles now…really, I am.)

Thanks to all who have shared their love and support with us, it helps to know you are thinking of us.


Sometimes life kicks you in the teeth. Then it smacks you on the head, thwacks you in the bum, and punches you in the gut.
I know, I know, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” (Unless, as Lee adamantly puts it, it F&*%ing cripples you.)
Well I would like a little less strength of character, and while you are at it, fewer character strengthening opportunities. At least for a little while.
Why am I ranting about life being evil and cruel? Let me tell you!
The last time we came to Denver it was on the heels of the death of my close friend, and the near death of Lee’s mother.
This time, it was for a happy visit and a wedding. Oh, and the near death of Lee’s mother.

Yes, Mom is back in the hospital, this time in the burn unit at University, having been pulled from a fire in her apartment. (Yes, she is the woman who was in the apartment fire at the senior facility that has been all over the news today.) She is not well. We will not know if she will pull through. The doctors say we should know more about her chances in the next 72 hours. She has burns on 30% of her body. Her quality of life will be incredibly diminished if she survives this. She will likely experience chronic pain. We will go see her tomorrow, we couldn’t face it before going to the wedding today.

We don’t know what happened. There are rumors being bandied about that the fire was started by a cigarette, but she was an avid anti-smoker who suffered from COPD. I had seen her earlier in the week, and as an ex-smoker myself, I can tell you there was no trace of the smell of cigarette smoke on her during our visit. I just can’t see her picking up the habit now. So really, who knows how the fire started. I hope we can get some answers from the Fire Marshal.

It’s just so sad. I am so sad for my husband, and for his mother, and for the people who were hurt trying to help her. I am so confused as to what happened, and what will happen now. I am worried about her. I am worried about him.

So I find myself, once again, facing tough choices and hard emotions. As my dearly departed godmother would say: It’s an AFGO. (Another F&%$ing growth opportunity.)
Personally, I feel my friends and family have had enough of them this year.

And now I can relax…

Lee and I are at the point in our marriage where we have little to say to each other on the phone, but we miss each other terribly when we are apart.
This makes travel very hard. We like have the other person on the end of line, but can’t think of much to say after we have shared our day’s activities and expressed our love. It makes the distance seem so much more profound than it would if we had a lot of gossip to share. We don’t though. We know all of each other’s stories of our pre-together times, or at least most of the stories, and the stories that have occurred since we got together feature both of us, so we certainly don’t have to talk about them.
Add to this mess the fact that both of us hate the phone, and you have a couple who spend a lot of time listening to each other breathe, simply to have the connection.

Happily, I no longer have to listen to him breathe on the phone to feel closer to him, as he is here!! Yup, I picked him up at DIA last night. The minute I set eyes on him I felt much of my travel stress fade away. I guess I am so used to having him around that I get antsy when we are apart.

We are here for another five days, and then it is back to the home in Jersey, and our regularly scheduled lives. I have been enjoying the visit home, but he and I agree we should avoid having weeks apart as much as possible. It is too hard.

Thoughtfulness lasts forever…

When my daughter turned four, my friend Tessa purchased and decorated an old trunk, then went around to all the area thrift stores and purchased small dresses and skirts, hats and shoes, and other dress up items. The result? A beautiful and well stocked dress up trunk that has served us well for the past two years.
Her thoughtfulness has lasted, not only because the items in the trunk have given us hours upon hours of fun and entertainment, but also because she taught us a precious lesson.
Do not spend twenty dollars on a Disney approved mock up dress for your child, spend twenty dollars on five size two prom dresses, and stick them in a decorative hat box or trunk.
I was reminded of this lesson today when my father ran me by the Salvation Army to look at book shelves. All of their clothes were on sale for .99 cents, and before I could blink, I found myself perusing the dress area for small gowns for Monkey to parade around in.
Soon, she will have a small, yet fun dress up trunk here at Nama’s, to play in with friends and cousins whenever we come to town. We will no longer face the travel boredom that comes with leaving all our toys behind. Instead, she will be excited to come and play in the trunk she can’t play in when she is home, as will her friends.
Thank you Tessa, for giving us a gift that has truly kept on giving.