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Wednesday, June 30, 2004

The Almighty Avocado

Today's entry is inspired by the Blogging for Books contest over at The Zero Boss. This week's subject is an act of compassion that changed your life.

I had always wanted children. I was the kid who kept babysitting well into high school because I just loved being around little kids; and I was the sitter they all clamored for because I didn't talk on the phone and read fashion magazines, I played! Once I hit my twenties I became serious about seeking a man who was "mate material" and met my standards for being an excellent prospective father. I found the man who fit the criteria (I thought) and we were married in less than a year after our first date.

We were both in grad school, and knew kids would have to wait a bit. But we were unanimous in our parenting goals: kids, and lots of 'em! The more the merrier! As many as we could afford; the sooner the better. We waited the prudent almost-year after marrying and then threw birth control to the wind. And waited. And waited. And saw doctors. And were told we were young and impatient. And we waited some more. And some more.

And we told no one. Because it was somehow shameful, this. Not being able to get pregnant? At our ages? When we had played by the rules and been fine upstanding members of the church and our community? It didn't compute. And if we didn't talk about it, maybe it would go away.

And every month I spent a small fortune on pregnancy tests, and every month my period came and I cried. And we told no one.

And after well over a year, and having become somewhat numb to the entire ritual, I was late. And I tested. And it was positive. And my husband was thrilled, and I was terrified. We talked about it, and decided not to tell anyone until it was confirmed and documented and whatever else it is that doctors do to put a "genuine pregnancy" stamp on things.

So I went to the doctor and she confirmed I was indeed quite pregnant. And we decided to wait just a little bit longer to tell folks; just give it a little bit of time to let it all sink in. So we waited. And life went on. And with each passing day I felt more excitement and less fear, until finally just a couple of weeks before the end of the first trimester we decided it was time to tell the world.

We told our families. And I went to work and sent out a clever little email to my coworkers, inviting them to drop by my office for celebratory cookies. And my husband announced at his dissertation defense to the entire room that we were expecting. We divulged that this was not just any baby, but a long-awaited one, and we wanted to share our joy with everyone. And life was grand.

And far too many of you know how this story goes, I'm sure. I started to spot, we had an ultrasound, and our fears were confirmed. No heartbeat. Arrested development weeks earlier, which--it appeared--my body was refusing to recognize and tend to properly. With the shock still settling in around me, I was scheduled for a D&C, after which I developed a serious uterine infection.

There I was: home from work, living 3,000 miles from most friends and family, getting my first bitter taste of how my husband and I lacked the ability to support one another through a crisis. There was nothing to do but sit around and woulda-coulda-shoulda myself most of the way to insanity (the fever was helpful, there) as I wondered if I had just experienced my one and only pregnancy and would not, in fact, ever be a mother. Clearly my body was broken. I could not get pregnant; I could not stay pregnant. Hell, I couldn't even recover from a simple procedure like a D&C with a little dignity. A message was being sent to me, loud and clear. It was all so at odds with what I'd always thought to be true, I felt I was on the brink of madness. This, I was sure, was how people lose their minds. There is a level of cognitive dissonance from which one just cannot recover. I spent I don't know how many days trailing my fingers along that precipice, wondering when I would--inevitably--roll off.

I was saved by a bowl of guacamole.

My friend Andrea--a good and true friend, but a relatively new friend, at that time, from work--came over one afternoon as I lay listless on our sofabed, watching (sort of) television. I hadn't showered in days. I also hadn't eaten for several days, which I think my husband may have shared with her when she called prior to her visit. Anyway, Andrea showed up with a grocery bag, came and said hello to me in the living room, and then disappeared into my kitchen to make the biggest bowl of guacamole I've ever seen.

Among her many talents, Andrea makes a mean bowl of guacamole. Once it was complete she came and plunked herself down on the fold-out bed with me and asked what we were watching (I don't remember). She brought the huge bowl of guacamole and an equally huge bag of tortilla chips, and a calming aura of complete and utter acceptance. She didn't ask me how I was. She didn't offer platitudes. She didn't seem ill-at-ease. She didn't try to cheer me up. And she came bearing one of my most favorite foods in the entire world.

Since that day--years ago--I have met many other amazing humans who have gone way above and beyond the call of duty in my life. What is notable about Andrea and the guacamole is this: Andrea was single, and had no interest in kids. It had been a running joke between us that she utterly failed to understand why in the world I wanted this so much. When the boom fell and I was surrounded by well-meaning people who had Been There and Done That and still had a remarkable ability to say and do the most insensitive things, the person who pulled me from the brink had very little understanding of what I was going through. Maybe that's what made it easier for her; I don't know. All she knew was that I was hurting. She knew I was hungry for something I wasn't getting. And she knew that avocadoes would draw me out of my haze in a way that flowers and cards couldn't. I don't know how she knew what to do, but the simplicity of it was incredible.

We ate most of the guacamole, and played cards, and talked about nothing. We did speak, briefly, of my grief. I should say, I spoke and she listened. She heard me. She was with me; nothing more and nothing less. By the time she left, I no longer felt crazy. Sad, yes. Disappointed, angry, confused; of course. Still wounded. But whole.

A great while, two children, and many experiences later, I underwent a training course to become a Stephen Minister. It took me fifty hours of training to learn how to do what Andrea did for me those many years ago: listen, love, and just be there. (It is also worth noting that Andrea is a non-religious person; and as she is a fellow lover of irony I had to add that in.) In Stephen Ministry we are often characterized as "walking along" with a person in need. That is much more difficult for most of us than we realize. Had Andrea not done it for me, back then... well, even assuming I would've healed on my own (which I am not, by the way, convinced would've been the case), I would not have understood the necessity of this type of care. Now I aspire to it, all because of one bowl of guacamole.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004


Monkey hopped in bed with me at 8:30 this morning (much later than usual; divine) after making a very wide circle around the bed while soliloquizing as only a four-and-a-half-year-old can about how he was going to be so very careful not to touch my ouchie belly and be very gentle with his nice Mama. Then he got in bed and snuggled up and patted me for a while.

Chickadee spent her day alternately mouthing off to me and clinging to me. I think I would like to understand what's going on in her head, sometimes, but then I realize that with this complicated little one my heart is better off not fully getting it.

My skin hurts. Even in places it doesn't appear to be bruised. I am aggravated with myself for not healing faster (as if I could control that, because dontchaknow I don't have nearly enough reasons to beat up on myself; not being in control of my body's rate of healing is a failure worthwhile of my concentrated self-loathing).

In the midst of what seemed like a very long day, I mustered what felt like my last ounce of energy, and walked down to the mailbox. I had six pieces of mail. They were all junk. I almost cried.

After I got the kids to bed tonight, I collapsed into the sofa and finished the first book I've read since before the surgery. It may not have been my best choice, but I finished it (which felt good) and it's certainly a must-read for anyone feeling like life is hard or unfair. (Moral of the story: it could be much, much worse.)

Although I am still doing too much, it is heavenly to not have to cook meals or clean up after them. And better still to have other adults around.

Monday, June 28, 2004

"This is your conscience calling"

My conscience phoned me this evening.

My conscience is, of course, a dear friend who knows me too well. It was early suppertime, and my father was being Super Grandpa and making french toast for the kidlets, and I was merely taking bacon out of the package and spreading it on a paper-toweled plate in readiness for the microwave. Then the phone rang.

"Are you taking it easy?" she demanded. There I stood in my kitchen, phone in one hand, plate of bacon in the other, trying to open the microwave with my elbow.

"Yes, of course. We're just making dinner for the kids."

"We? I bet you anything your parents can do that themselves. You cannot push yourself! You need to be taking it easy! What are you doing?"

"I'm... uhhhh..." I slammed the bacon in the microwave and used my free hand to drag a chair over to the phone. I dropped into the chair. "I'm sitting down! I'm fine!" Now my dad was laughing at me, and ever the ham for Daddy, I stuck my legs out straight in front of me. "It's okay! My feet are up!" Now my father was in virtual hysterics, I was giggling, and my conscience lectured on about how I will regret it if I do not take the proper care of myself during my convalescence.

Can I tell you how much I hate it when my conscience (real or imagined) is right?

It is 10:30 PM, and I haven't had a nap today, and I should be asleep. But I am awake, and writing this entry, because I had a fabulous day with my children and my dad and my stepmom, and I feel like I hardly did a thing other than sit or stand around, maybe the stairs a few times, maybe some very light lifting, maybe a little more walking than before, I don't know, and sweet lord Jesus I am in so much pain I cannot sleep.

So along with the 72 other little informational stickers on the bottle about not operating heavy machinery, drinking alcohol, or driving while taking vicodin, they should add another little cheerful sticker, perhaps with a keyboard icon, stating that the amount of time for it to take effect so that you can close your eyes and rest is just long enough to write in your blog.

And I thought, when I came up here to put my jammies on and such, that I was just imagining things or being a big wussy. (Both of which, by the way, may still be true.) But then I was getting changed and uhhhh... hmmmm... how do I put this delicately and in such a way that Genuine doesn't start begging for a picture of my pubes, again? Well, when in doubt, out with it. Okay. I have several new bruises in my incision area. And as my dear sweet Monkey only used me for a fulcrum once today in a way that brought tears to my eyes, and the affected area is not one sporting a new mark, I can only conclude that my extended time today upright and in motion caused some bleeding... uuhhhhmmm... somewhere under there. Which is disturbing, to say the least. But does perhaps explain the excrutiating pain.

So now I am just completely screwed, because my conscience was right, and at some point my parents will read this and yell at me. But it is too much fun having them here and having the kids home to just lie around like an invalid! *grumblegrumblegrumble* *ow*

My 100th post: It's All About the Hair

How momentous to cross this esteemed barrier on such a scholarly subject! But that's just who I am... a woman who knows when to hold 'em, knows when to fold 'em... knows when to walk away... knows when to yap about my hair as if it were important. And I do it all for you, dear readers. Yes I do. So let's get to it, shall we?

I have--I am told--gorgeous hair. It is thick and shiny and silky and curls into perfect corkscrews. And up until recently it was a beautiful mahogany; now it is a beautiful mahogany shot through with rather more silver than a woman of my age should have, but I think it adds character, don't you? (Plus I used to dye it, and I don't care what the big wall of hair color at Wallyworld claims, I will not find a perfect match to my color there no matter how long I look.) Just about everyone I have ever met has reached out and traced the path of one of my curls almost as if they couldn't help themselves, and proclaimed, "People pay all kinds of money to have curls like this! You are so lucky!"

I am so lucky, that of course I started chemically straightening my hair the moment I could afford it. I hate my curls. Hate them with a passion! They frizz up in the heat and they dent in bizarre ways when I sleep on them and they tangle something fierce unless I keep it short, at which point I resemble a large poodle. I fought the battle of the curls longer than I could stand it, and then I discovered that I, Too, Could Have Straight Hair.

It's quite simple, really. I pay an astonishing amount of money every three or four months to have my hair "relaxed" at the salon. This is a long and smelly process during which I read magazines and try not to pass out from the fumes and remind myself that I love having straight hair. After that, I return home. Where every other day I wash and condition and then gloop my hair with expensive straightening products, blow dry it out with my ionic hair dryer and round brush (the former costing about the same as a small boat; the latter running at about a week's worth of groceries), and proclaim myself pretty! The system works pretty well.

The thing about having my hair relaxed, though, is that if I don't go through the blow-drying ritual, I am left with... uhhhh... sad hair. My poor hair is now shunned by both the Rebel Curlies and the Cool Kid Straights, stuck in a purgatory of in-between. The corkscrews are gone, but my hair still has significant wave. And thanks the combination of modern chemicals and the fact that most everybody has different types of hair on their head (that accordingly respond more or less to said chemicals), my hair is curlier in the back than in the front, where some rogue locks will actually hang stick straight with no prodding. It's a look that could only be most generously referred to as interesting.

So by now, you have either wisely stopped reading, or you're thinking, "Hey Mir? Why are we talking about this? Why now?" And I assure you this is a very timely topic because I have spent an entire week in hair purgatory.

Spending 25 minutes with your arms in the air, drying your hair section by section, isn't really on the list of Important Priorities after surgery. As you well know from my previous posts, taking painkillers, sleeping, and peeing are pretty much all I've been able to juggle this week. But as I have slowly improved I've managed a number of showers... after which I have watched my hair twist into some awful configuration and had only enough energy to combat it with a woman's best friend in times of need: the ponytail elastic.

Well, my friends, I am here to tell you that yesterday I cleared a very important hurdle. I shaved my legs! Yes, I had to sit in the kids' tub to do it. Yes, it took a long time. Yes, I had a moment of panic afterwards when I realized I wasn't sure if I could, in fact, get out of the tub again. But by golly, I did it and lived to tell the tale. Now today, my dad and stepmom are arriving, and my children are coming home to stay, and really, the hair was the last obstacle between me and Some Semblance of Normalcy.

When my head isn't in a bucket, nothing stands between me and my Semblance of Normalcy, dammit.

So, behold! It is Semi-Normal Mir! Fully cleansed! With straight hair! In deep need of a nap, now, but Back To Herself (Kinda)! It's amazing how one little thing can make you feel so much more in control. And sooooooo exhausted. How many days do you suppose I can go without washing my hair again...?

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Quotable Quotes

(Or, "The more things change, the more they stay the same".)

Monkey: Nice Mama. *said while gingerly patting me all over, as if I were made of the most delicate porcelain, or perhaps hair-trigger explosives*

Chickadee: Want me to sing you a song I learned? It's about my BUTT!

Monkey: Mama, you need to be resting. I get you a blankie.

Chickadee: I am not being fresh. I'm being mouthy.

Both *upon viewing my incision, which they had clamored to see*: Eeeeeewwwwwww! GROSS!!


Yay, yay, and hey--by the way--yay!

Yay 1: Despite a rather horrid night of asleep and not and nightmares and awake and general ikkiness, since rising this morning I have not considered vomiting even once. And I ate some breakfast, even! I mean, yes, okay; I still feel very much as though I was run over by a truck. But today I envision a small delivery van, perhaps something from FedEx Ground, rather than the large semi that had previously been featured in the Recurring Movie Of My Own Creation Explaining How I Came To Feel Like Complete And Utter Excrement. YAY!

Yay 2: I was able to corral my brain cells into attending to an entire DVD this morning! (Yes, I am aware that I am quite possibly the only person the planet who had not yet seen it. Shut UP.) (Besides, this way, I'm well prepared, now, to wait another two years before seeing the next one....) (Did I mention, shut up??) I did one single activity--granted, I pretty much only had to sit there, but still--for two and a half hours. Up until today, post-surgery, I was pretty lucky to hold my attention to an activity for about two and a half minutes. Besides enjoying the movie, this gives me great hope that they did not, in fact, accidentally remove my frontal lobe along with my uterus and peripheral organs. And there was much yay-type rejoicing!

Yay 3: The children will be landing in just a few hours, and I think I will have enough time to manage both a shower and a nap before they get here. At which time I am confident that I will smother them in so much ikky gooey Mama love that they will roll their eyes and beg me to stop. But not before I have kissed them a million gazillion times. It will be a lovefest of heretofore unknown proportions. And I will use every ounce of energy I can muster to drown them in a week's worth of pent-up maternal instinct, and when I am just inches from death, they will leave again. And I will go to sleep. And tomorrow I will get up, and perhaps feel even a smidge better, again, and then they will come back, to stay. And my parents will arrive. And I will be delirious with joy!

I believe this is as close to perfect as life gets when there is an area of your body roughly the size of a basketball that is simultaneously numb and burning with the fiery heat of searing pain. Trust me.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Another exciting revelation... this one from the nurse on call

"Listen, honey. You're our least favorite kind of patient. You're young, you're healthy, and you tend to just not get it that you've just had major surgery and it's going to be a while before you feel yourself again."

Well. That was edifying. Please allow me a moment to gather up my nausea, fever, pain, and--oh yes--my bruised and battered ego before meekly thanking you and hanging up the phone....

So that was yesterday afternoon, after which I did the smart thing, which was go to bed for the night. At about 4:30. It's quite amazing what fiften and a half hours of sleep can do for you. You don't really feel any better, afterwards; but there is security in the knowledge that you're about half a day closer to "normal," whenever that may be arriving.

All the narcotics are now out of my system, and I am surviving merely on mega-doses of advil. I was hoping that would help with the nausea. And it did, a little. Problem is, it appears that the main source of my nausea is this teensy little satanic hormone patch on my ass. The same patch that will stop me from growing a beard, dying of osteoporosis at 40, and all those other good things. Yeah, that one. Apparently the other major function of that "practically invisible" little disk is to make me feel like I'm on an airplane stuck in turbulence. All. the. damn. time. I am puzzled as to what is so redeemingly feminine about chronic pukiness, but then, I've never really understood much of what it means to be a fetching female in today's society, so perhaps it will become clear to me later on. When I'm no longer walking around my house with a bucket for constant company.

(By the way: so far, mint in various forms seems to be the forerunner for best combatant. I will think of some reward for whomever suggested it... probably just my slavish and undying gratitude.)

Oh, I was also blaming the vicodin for the disturbing nightmares I was having, but I'm still having those, so I guess it wasn't the drugs. Several nights in a row I had really terrifying dreams about my daughter (never my son; I wonder why that is) and woke up in a sweat. Last night I was free from witnessing a freakish accident befall my eldest while I watched but couldn't act, but instead dreamt I was back in a junior high talent show and about to perform--as part of a very glittery and large-haired trio--a meaningful lip-sync routine to "Our Lips Are Sealed" by the Go-Gos. Granted, still nightmarish, but I am striving just to be pleased that it didn't involve my child. Small favors, and all that.

In other news: I need to pull myself together by tomorrow. My children are coming home! It may be the hormones... in fact, let's go right ahead and blame it on those evil hormones, let's! But I got off the phone with my offspring last night and bawled like a baby. My son--who is quite possibly the most adorable boy-child ever to walk the planet and don't argue with me because anyone who has ever met him will tell that it is so--started doing the whole "I sending you lots of hugs! Here they come! You catch them? Don' worry, I got more here in my pocket, but I will take them out tonight so Grammie don't put them in the washing machine cuz then they get all gooey!" And I got a little sniffly. But he is a lovebug by nature, so I held it together, and sniffled bravely, and soldiered on. But then my daughter--little miss I am far too independent to require actual love unless I'm sick or have a booboo--told me she missed me and started making kissy-sounds into the phone. And I was a goner.

Up until that moment, I'd been too busy either anticipating the surgery or dealing with the pain to actually miss them in a palpable way. But then, move over evil pukey hormones! There's a new bone-crushing force in town! And its name is "I want to hold my babies!" *sniffle*

So. Then. Today will be about baby steps, and working my way back to human. I can do this. I will do this. Besides, I'm way too much of an anal perfectionist to be anybody's "least favorite kind of patient," dammit. I feel an Irene Cara song coming on! Oh wait, it's easy to confuse that with the nausea... hang on... okay, I'm alright.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Houston, we have... clean pits!

Another exciting day of progress here at Post Op Central.

It is barely 11:00 AM, and I have been up! I have eaten crackers! I have had nice cold water! I have showered! I have shaved my armpits for fear of frightening visitors if I didn't! I have donned the silky soft loungewear that Jill and Mindy sent me! (I love them, the loungewear and the ladies, and I wish to marry them all!) I have seriously considered vomiting! But I haven't! Yet! Still considering! Stay tuned!

I have a visitor coming in about an hour, which is probably just enough time for me to get downstairs and... ummmm... die... before she arrives.

Anyone who leaves me a nausea-battling tip that works will win my undying gratitude....

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Scintillating recovery news!

There is big news happening here in my house, and I know that there are hundreds--nay, perhaps thousands--of you out there, waiting with baited breath to hear every thrilling detail of my miraculous recovery. I do not wish to disappoint or even leave out a single marvelous detail of this riveting journey, so I am here to relay every moment with the full fanfare each of those moments so richly deserves. I am. I will. Just as soon as I pry the cap off of this bottle and take a couple more of these magic pills which take me from wanting to curl up and die all the way to giggling a little while I wonder if it might be a good idea to curl up and die.

It's been kind of a long day.

But the good news is, Lee and the missus have welcomed their newest bundle of joy! Stop reading my drugged ramblings here and go congratulate them!

Anyway, back to my day. Well. It's been very exciting. My phone rings a lot, mostly when I'm sleeping. So I answer the phone and someone who loves me tells me how good I sound, and I play along until they stop talking. Then I hang up the phone and wonder who just called me, and then I fall asleep again. That's sort of fun.

Then, of course, there is my very busy schedule of hobbling to the bathroom to pee because I can't remember if I've peed recently or not. It's very important to empty the bladder regularly so as not to get a bladder infection, you know. After abdominal surgery there would really be no way to know if you have a bladder infection, anyway, because everything already hurts so much there's no way you'd notice, but there ya have it.

So that all keeps me very busy, but somehow I manage to sandwich in Puzzling Over Intake, too. That consists mostly of staring at the little bottles on my nightstand and trying to remember what I took when, and can I have some more now and if not, when can I? Also I hobble into the kitchen periodically and grab something and bring it back to my bedside and consider eating it because I suspect there is a large hole being burned into my stomach from all the wonderful meds I am taking without eating. I have all sorts of yummy foods here and they all taste like... yellow jello. I think my taste buds have been permanently scarred from the Liquid Diet experience.

Oh, I also seriously considered taking a shower. That took up a good portion of my day. It merited serious consideration for an extended period of time. In the end, though, I opted for a nap instead. To compensate, I brushed my teeth about four times (that was easy enough, since I was in there peeing five hundred times, anyway).

It's amazing how a full schedule like that can make a day just fly by. Will ya look at that... bedtime, already? Wow. Well, I am feeling a bit fatigued. I really shouldn't push myself, so.

Ow! Ow! Ow!

No, that's not me after surgery. That's me, at home, reading Jilbur and Mindy's posts and laughing so hard my stitches threaten to let go. *wiping tears*

Tis true! I'm home! And I owe my girlfriends many thanks and trinkets of appreciation, for not only did they hold down the fort and make me sound ever so much more heroic than I actually am, but they also had a care package waiting for me upon my return home (damn, they work fast!) and I am just about the luckiest uterus-less lady in the world, I think. So there. If you simply must have all your reproductive organs ripped out, this is definitely the way to have it done. So, first: a round of applause for Mindy and Jilbur, please!! Yeah!

Next: I am still a bit woozy and whiney, so I will regale you only with a few pertinent highlights for now, and save the rest for a later time, I think. But you've all been so wonderful to hang about and wait for updates, I have to share just a little bit....

1) I actually had an argument with one of the intake nurses, while in pre-op, because she wanted me to sign a "sterilization authorization" release. Not a big deal, right? Except that my last surgery was an endometrial ablation and tubal ligation (say it five times fast). In other words, I've already been sterilized. She still wanted me to sign the form. I felt rather strongly that this is how people end up leaving the hospital with the wrong foot missing. We were at an impasse, and finally we were saved by a smarter nurse (and I didn't have to sign).

2) My anesthesiologist? So cute! I wanted to pinch him. All over. He wanted to talk about my nausea tendencies after surgery... I wanted to squeeeeeeeze him. My friend who was with me on surgery day asked me if I thought I'd seen a wedding ring, and I replied that I hadn't noticed, but that after the guy knocks me out and watches them pull out several misbehaving organs, it seeemed doubtful that a date would be in our future. Alas.

3) I remember NOTHING from post-op other than my doctor about an inch from my face saying very slowly "NO CANCER" (that was at my request), and a lot of "9, 9, 9!" (They ask you to rate your pain on a scale of 1 to 10, and apparently I wasn't all that happy with the morphine to begin with.)

4) The hospital where I had my surgery has the nicest nursing staff in the world, and the worst food. To wit: one nurse, after waking me out of a sound sleep in the middle of the night because she had to take my vitals, gave me a back rub (a good one, too!) to help me get back to sleep. However, the three identical "clear liquid" trays I was served (despite Mindy's sound advice, it took me a while to get those toots going) were uniformly frightening. Chicken broth or beef broth... didn't matter... they were both just dirty-looking salty water. And yellow jello??? Who eats yellow jello? And once I'd graduated to solid food... well... I wished I hadn't. Ick.

5) There is no hormone patch in the world that will stop your emotions from taking a roller coaster ride. What Jilbur did not tell you about my first trek on two feet was that they got me up and I started to sob, and continued to do so until they put me back to bed. I have no idea why. And the two nurses walking me acted like it was perfectly normal.

6) My doctor, the one who had the habit of forgetting who I was or why I was there? Will now be granted sainthood. She was supposed to come by around 5 last night to discharge me... and as things usually go, it got later and later and now there was a question of who would come get me and when, and she was still willing to discharge me if I could make arrangements, but she discovered that my prescriptions needed to be filled that night because the floor nurses wouldn't be allowed to give me enough medicine to last til the next day. I then discovered that I hadn't brought my wallet, and the prospect of having to send a friend to fill a prescription for me when it was now getting to be quite late and everything... well... I may have gotten a little frantic. My doctor patted my arm, told me to sit tight, and said she'd be right back. She returned with my prescriptions. Which she'd just driven to the pharmacy to fill, and paid for herself. She told me to pay her back at my post-op appointment but not to worry my head about it. Nice, huh?

Alright, that is all for now, as I am still quite tired and cranky and drugged. I am soooooo glad to be home in my own bed. And I am sending out huge gigantic thank-yous to Mindy and Jilbur for being such amazing hostesses in my absence... when I am no longer loopy I will come up with a more appropriate thank-you, but for right now you'll just have to settle for a teary "I LOOOOOOVE YOU GUUUUYS!!!"

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Tussling Over the Convalescent

OK, Jilbur, that does it. I was going to comment on your entry, but since you are being sooooo petty, I am just going to make it into a post! Humph.

I am very glad indeed to hear that Mir is chipper. I did let her know before her operation that I felt much better than I ever believed possible after each of my c-sections, and that her fears were probably worse than the reality. Having said that, heed my warning: do not stretch out the intervals between pain medication dosages. Payback is a bitch.

Reading Jilbur's comment about Mir being out of bed already, I remembered all the cruel feats they expect you to perform after abdominal surgery. For one, they insist you get up and walk that very day, if only to the door and back. They try like hell to make you go further, but a loop to the door and back pretty much lets the nurse check that one off. For another, they will not let you have any kind of solid food until you can demonstrate resumption of peristalsis.

That's right, you must fart for your supper. To quote Mir, you're welcome.

The first time I heard this particular request, I was flabbergasted, and then amused. I finally asked a nurse why in blue blazes (as it were) eveyone wanted to know if I was farty, and she calmly informed me that once I was tooting again, they could be sure that my digestive system was operational and could tolerate an overcooked chicken breast and an oatmeal cookie.

So, Mir, fart away, It's likely to be the last time you'll get to do it, boast about it, and be rewarded with food for your efforts.

Unless of course, you decide to meet up with Jibur and me in the fall! We'll think up all kinds of fun feats and rewards!

Data! we want data!

If this were my blog, I'd go on a rant about the incredibly annoying day I've just finished up on, but as I am supposed to be on my best behavior, I'll just say that here is the info that I would have posted three hours ago if I didn't instead have to play a maddening game of "Hurry Up And Wait" with my beloved, frequently enriched-by-me Firestone dealership:

At about 3PM EST, I phoned Mir in her room and let me tell you, I was shocked, just shocked. She sounded ...

GREAT! I haven't been this surprised since after labor when they put my baby on my belly, and it actually looked like a baby and not like one of those aliens in the Weekly World News.

Anyway, it was a very brief convo because her pal was visiting, but my goodness, she's no cheap narcotics date, this girl: she sounded as alert on Vicodin as she would have been after a triple-double cappucino on a Sunday morning.

And apart from the knowledge that she was no longer actually on an operating table, I got little else in the way of detailed info except: she's already had a little walk down the hall, even (next stop: the surgical-convalescent Olympics!), and that her doc said they thought that the state of her previous interior looked unmenacing. Innocuous. I don't know--I'm just a guest-blogger; fill in the good-news adjective of your choice.

Mindy, I'm two up on you, girl. Not that I'm counting ...


Pant, pant... I am here at last, and as usual, Jilbur is a bit quicker than I am. Curse you and your New England ways!!

I am soooo relieved to hear that Mir has come though OK, and that she so far does not appear to have a wrench or anything else left behind where it doesn't belong. We can only hope that her doctors read this article as well before starting in on her...

Monday, June 21, 2004

Everybody breathe ...

I just got off the phone with the lead nurse on Mir's floor: she's in her room, sleeping. So--that's the end of Chapter 1 in the gripping saga, How I Went To The Hospital and All My Neurotic Friends Showed Me How Much They Love Me.

So far so good ...

Jilbur here with the first Mir status update!
I got antsy and didn't wait for the email Mir told me expect, and yes, you can expect me to be that kind of guest blogger ... Anyway, I phoned the hospital myself, and as of now (around 3PM EST) she's still in recovery--but I'll follow up within the next hour or two to report that she's safely in her room!

And! Nothing very entertaining! on this! guest blog entry! But stay tuned! I'd like Mindy and me to be able to truthfully say that we drove Mir's stats up while she was gone, because I'm certain that any increase in traffic will stay with her upon her return; so everyone do your part and refresh! refresh! refresh! Do I sound like Dr. Bronners yet! Okay!

Be right back....

Well boys and girls, I'm off to the hospital. I should be back online by Thursday or so. In the meantime, I've handed keys over to Jilbur and Mindy, so that they can pick up the mail and water the plants and let you know I'm alive... stuff like that.

Let me just leave you with these parting words: reproductive organs? We don't need no steenkin' reproductive organs....

Sunday, June 20, 2004


I was riding high on the... uhhh... high (high high high!) of my clean house yesterday as I prepared for an evening of pizza and sympathy with a few friends. My last supper. Courtesy of Pizza Hut. I should just move into a trailer and be done with the facade, I know. Anyway. I was feeling good.

Six friends had been invited. In the end, one made it. Well, that's okay. Other people have lives, too (so I hear), so I was not to be deterred from my high! Alright! Excellent friend, you and me, baybeeeee! Let's eat some pizza and watch a really bad horror film! Okay! Rock on!

We had a good time.

About halfway through the movie the ex and my children called, having landed safely in ex-law land slightly earlier that evening. Monkey got on the phone first:

Me: Hey baby! Where are you?
Him: I'm fine.
Me: No, silly, not how are you, where are you?
Him: I'm at Grammie's!
Me: No way!
Him: Yes! And I had CAKE!
Me: No!
Him: Yes! And it was CHOKLIT! And I ate it all!
Me: Mmmmm, that sounds yummy.
Him: ByebyeIwuvyou.
Me: I love you too! Are you done talking to me?
Him: [already gone]

Oooooookay. Well, at least he said he loved me. Monkey was sent to fetch Chickadee, and after several agonizing minutes of small talk with the ex I suggested that perhaps he needed to go extract her from whatever she was doing so that I could speak with her. Finally she came to the phone.

Me: Hey baby, how are--
Her: MAMA! Grammie made me a new blanket and it has my name on it and she also made one for S [girl cousin of the same age] with her name and so I grabbed S's blanket and said "Oh, this is MY blanket" and S laughed so hard she fell over!!
Me: Wow. Sounds like you and S are back to your regular stint as Frick and Frack.
Her: [sounding a bit worried, and annoyed that I didn't get it] No, Mama, it's okay, S thought it was funny. She laughed. Really hard! I didn't do anything wrong!
Me: Oh sweetie, I didn't mean you did anything wrong! I just meant you and S are like sisters when you get together, and I think it's great you love each other so much.
Her: Oh. Okay. ByebyeIloveyou!
[sound of phone clattering to the ground]

Well. I'm glad they're having a good time. And I'm sure the novelty will wear off after a week and they might even be glad to come home to me next weekend.

So my friend and I finished watching our movie and eating cookies, and we said our goodbyes and she went home. In retrospect, it may not have been my brightest idea ever to eat supreme pizza so close to having had a tummy bug. Live and learn. I went upstairs and unwrapped my brand new bottle of Pepto. I gave it a good shake (per package directions).

The lid flew off. In my freshly. cleaned. bathroom. I'd say half a bottle of Pepto is about... oh... six gallons?

Fortunately, after a few hours of major blood and guts on film, even with a slightly upset stomach I had to giggle a little while cleaning up the splattered slaughter of the Pink Monster.

I'm telling ya... someone is trying to make tomorrow look good in comparison. And I really wish they would stop already.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Guest with the Rest

Have you visited the most mouth-watering blog in the blogosphere yet?

If you said yes, gold star! If you said no, look very ashamed, or I will bop you on the nose with a rolled up newspaper.

While Bakerina is away, the mice are not so much playing as having a party to end all parties. I can barely keep up. But I did wander over and post a guest entry this afternoon, just cuz Bakerina was silly enough to grant me access. And because I'm so pleased that I finally finished cleaning the house. And because I don't want to go tend to any of the other million things I should be doing.

Check it out, won't you?

Saturday: Cleaning Dos and Don'ts

1) Don't wait until facing major surgery to clean your microwave. Trust me on this one.

2) Do pour bleach in all the toilet bowls to soak for a while.

3) Don't assume that surfaces above head-level do not accumulate dust just because you can't see them.

4) Do enlist the children's help in tidying up their messes.

5) Don't forget to check their work before they leave on vacation.

6) Do blame yourself for not being more specific. Do say, "Please tidy up the playroom." Also remember to say, "And that does not mean just pick up all the crap and shove it on the shelves or kick it to the perimeter."

7) Don't forget about the bleach in the toilet bowls before adding cleanser unless you have a deep fondness for ammonia fumes.

8) Do pick up all floor detritus before vacuuming.

9) Don't bother picking up tiny little pieces of annoying toys that you hate, anyway. (Ooops!)

10) Do take breaks often; then when you feel like you're not accomplishing anything, at least you have an excuse.

11) Don't buy "freshly scented" abrasive cleaners thinking they will smell any better. "Green Apple" scented Lysol Tub and Tile cleanser is just as noxious as the original--perhaps moreso.

12) Do take the garbage out.

13) Don't notice how grody the trash can is... you have enough other stuff to do today. Put a clean bag in and call it good.

14) Do feel free to remove to the basement/garage/closet anything that needs to be put in a proper place, someday, but not right this second.

15) Don't worry about getting everything done; prioritize and do what you can.

16) Do finish anything that will either drive you batshit if left undone or you wouldn't feel comfortable asking someone else to do for you during your convalescence.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Fourth Installment: Friday Facts and Fiction

Welcome again to another edition of Friday Facts and Fiction, where I address your questions by telling the truth, lying pathologically, or sometimes both. This is not altogether different than my blog entries in general, but I do address your questions in some way.... Anyway. Onward!

Kym asks many things:
... how did my pits smell?

Well, I did remember to put deodorant on this morning, but it's been a long day.... (Truth.)

... am I nervous about my surgery?
No. (Fiction.) Yes. (Fact.) Shut up.

... what am I most nervous about?
Hospital food. (Fiction.) Want it straight up? Dying. That's my big full-out-uncontrolled-anxiety fear, though not a very realistic one I guess. It's something I can't help considering when undergoing something like this... not because it would be such a tragedy to me (I mean, I wouldn't know, right?) but because the thought of my kids growing up without me (read: being raised by the ex) terrifies me. The more realistic fear is of being alone and miserable when I get out of the hospital. Most of the time I am fine with being single. Times like this? I feel very sorry for myself. (Truth; I'm pitiful.)

... whatever happend with my thoughts about going back to school? Where do I stand with that?
Already did it. I'm a lawyer now. (Fiction, though that really would've come in handy during the divorce....)

Kym was privvy to my Big Plan over the winter, when I decided to go back to school to become a radiologic technologist. The program is two years of intense study, followed by licensure and then, decent money, normal hours, and high employability. It all sounded good to me. Unfortunately, the only program in my state is over an hour away, I missed the deadline for 2004 and was told I was "welcome to apply for 2005," and due to the way my post-divorce arrangements came out, waiting another year made it virtually impossible, financially. Now there are ways I could make it work (thanks, Dad), but I'm not sure I'm willing to wait three years for my new career. I'm exploring other avenues (not that any of them have led anywhere, yet, but who knows). And to be perfectly honest, there is a very indignant, snobby portion of my brain insisting "I already have plenty of degrees!" (Fact.)

Milady Zoot asks:
... did I remember deodorant?

Yep, see above. For all the good it did me. (Fact, ambiguous though it may be.)

... how long have I ever gone without wearing deodorant?
Once, I went for, like, 11 years! (Fact!!) But after that, puberty hit, and I've worn it every day since. (Gotcha.) I hope you enjoyed your hippy phase, but I have always been freakishly fastidious about personal hygiene, because I just find the alternative too scary. It's one of the reasons I could never go on Survivor. By the third day I'd be a quivering heap, sobbing for antibacterial soap.

... what's the last item of clothing I bought?
A red leather cat suit. Meow! (Fiction; I know you're all stunned.) Okay, just in case you didn't think I was pitiful from my answer to Kym, above, here's your chance. I last bought... a package of white socks. Hanes. So, who wants to come clubbing with me? (Boring Fact.)

The ever-sex-crazed (what up with that, girl??) Debby wants to know:
... have I ever had sex in a car?

Could you be more specific... like, type of car, number of partners? (You know, my Dad hasn't commented on here in a while. This sort of thing may be why.) Okay, sorry, nope. (Fact.)

... what's my favorite kind of cereal?
Grape Nuts. (Fiction!! God, I want to vomit just typing it. Whose bright idea was it to market dirt-flavored gravel as food???) Hmmmm. Honestly I love most cereals. I'm Seinfeldian, that way. Oddly enough, one of my favorites right now is Grape Nut Os, which taste nothing like their predecessor. (Fact.)

... favorite holiday?
Don't even feel like coming up with an interesting lie for this one. It's Christmas, hands down. That's what happens when a little Jewish girl grows up and converts, I guess. (Fact.)

... what KIND of deodorant do I use?
Teen Spirit, of course! (Fiction, but I have been waiting years to tell someone that!) I am currently using Arrid Total in "cool shower" scent. I switch between that and Secret Platinum Unscented depending on what's on sale and what coupons I have. (Fact, and now you can be just like me, right down to the armpits! Yay!)

Dear Chewie asks:
... do I wear make-up much?

Only when I'm awake. (Fiction.) I have never been much for make-up. I wear it--lightly--for special occasions, only, and no matter how many Mary Kay parties I go to or how many times I'm roped into someone "doing my face," I just can't get into smearing all that stuff everywhere. I mean, yeah, sometimes I like the way it looks, but it seems like too much trouble. (Fact.)

... do I have many people to really trust?
Trust no one. Did you learn nothing from The X-Files, woman??? (Fiction.) I trust different people for different things, you know? But I am blessed right now. I may still be lousy at asking for help, but it is always there when I need it. (Fact.)

... do I ever wear a thong?
Nah. I never wear underwear. (Fiction! Can you imagine me with my clean issues, going commando? Frightening.) I do wear thongs when necessary to eliminate panty lines. I hate them. Everyone says, if you find the right one it's nice and comfy; as a result, I now own about 8 different thongs, none of which I like. And why is it that the less fabric panties contain, the more expensive they are? Sorry, that's another rant for another day.... (Fact.)

And last but certainly not least, Jennifer asks:
... do I have a crush on anyone?

Someone asked this on a previous Friday (Debby?), and I said no. Then I thought about it some more and decided that was pitiful, so I am now making a more concerted effort to find men to drool over. (Fact? Fiction? Even I'm not sure, on this one.)

... how long do I take to get ready to go somewhere?
About three hours. (Fiction!) Hmmm. From shower to out-the-door, including blow-drying my hair, about 50 minutes if I'm trying to look nice. But I don't wash my hair every day, and I don't shave my legs every day, and I'm rarely trying to look anything other than dressed, so there's a lot of variables involved. My skills in this area aren't put to the test very often, ya know. (Fact.)

... what do my kids call me?
Her Royal Majesty Queen Mother. (Fiction, but maybe I'll work on that one....) They call me Mama, although if the whining gets bad it sounds more like "Moooooooooooooooooomaaaaaaaaeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!" Also, Chickadee is at that adorable age when she thinks it's hilarious to call me by my first name in the stern voice of a librarian who just sucked some helium, so that's an interesting twist on things.... (Fact. How do I make her stop??)

Okay, that concludes this week's installment. As always, thanks for playing! Please don't let any of the information herein bother you. Discontinue use if rash occurs.

It's Official! It's Official!

First Official Announcement: It is now Summer. I know "they" say Summer commences on June 20th (21st??), but "they" (who are they? uppity bastards) are wrong. Summer has begun when I trip the circuit to my bedroom by running both the air conditioner and my hair dryer at the same time. This auspicious event occurs just once every year, at the start of Summer. After that, I reset the circuit, say "duhhhhhhhhh" a couple of times, and remember not to do it again. Until next Summer.

Second Official Announcement: I would lose my head if it was not attached. I was just over at Lee's and got about halfway through his WILF list before realizing omigosh it's Friday already!!! (This brain blip may be partially due to this morning's power outage, but that's stretching matters.) (Yes, Lee, I will now always think of you when I use the phrase "due to.") So if anyone wants to leave me Fun Friday Fact and Fiction queries, g'head, and I'll tend to them tonight. Right now I have to go smell my armpits to see if I remembered to put deodorant on this morning....

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Packing Panic

(Or, "How To Make Something Really Simple Incredibly Complicated.")

When I was married, packing the kids for a visit to the in-laws meant locating an appropriate piece of luggage and filling it with clothes and some other stuff. It might've taken half an hour, tops.

Now that I'm divorced, packing the kids for a visit to the ex-laws means hyperventilating and thinking about it and hyperventilating some more and weighing the options and finally, arriving at the day before the trip with nothing packed.

First Issue: Quality. If I pack their older, "play" clothes, I will be bad-mouthed as the terrible mother who doesn't dress them properly. If I pack their newer, nicer clothes, they will come back ruined ("Well, Daddy lets us use permanent markers!"). Or not come back at all. Lord knows that Daddy may come through with rice krispie treats and chocolate milk for breakfast, but he didn't know which clothes belonged to our children when he still lived with them. Now? Anything I pack for Chickadee stands a 50/50 chance of going home with her cousin of the same age unless I charge her with the responsibility of tracking her stuff. Call me crazy, but I don't think that at 6 she should have to be policing her clothes.

Second Issue: Quantity. My ex's mother is a laundry addict. So the ex doesn't ask for many outfits. But as near as I can tell, all laundry is washed at her house in hot water, dried on nuclear heat. Does packing more clothes mean less lost to the laundry? Or merely more items laundered at the House of Hot and ruined? I just don't know.

Third Issue: Coordination. I know I need to just let go on some things. It should not make me want to climb out of my skin and howl at the moon to know that when I carefully fold matching articles of clothing into cute little packages, the ex can still pluck an orange striped shirt and red plaid pants and pair them up. I have to hope that with the help of the other adults around on this trip, this may not happen. Or that everyone will have the good sense to recognize that if it does, it is not my fault. But, well, everything is my fault as far as this group is concerned, so why not one more thing to obsess on, right?

Fourth Issue: Health and Safety. Theoretically, the ex has his own Epi Pens, sunhats, sunblock, vitamins, medications, etc. But if I pack mine in the suitcase, at least I know these things are making it on the trip. On the other hand, it's his job to remember this stuff on his own, or figure it out. (After losing Monkey's Epi Pen just once, I have to say he's gotten better about these things.)

Fifth Issue: Lovies. Fun Daddy now has more toys at his house than we have here. But if I insist that only items from his place make the trip, there is nothing of everyday there with them. Conversely, if I let them take their "regular" lovies, they may be lost.

Sixth Issue: My babies should not be allowed to spend eight entire days away from me in a discipline-free vacuum amongst people who think I'm pond scum. But what I do or do not pack doesn't influence that one, I guess. If not for the fact that I will spending a good portion of their absence in the hospital (preferably in a morphine haze), I might have to spend the week having a prolonged we-miss-our-kids pity party with Zoot.

Party in my pants!

Would you like to know how much five days of cream for "elevated white blood cells in the cervical mucus" costs after insurance? Of course you would!

$20.00. For five days. Though technically, I will only use it for four days, as yesterday I gave up without it.

So that's $5.00/day. Damn. This had better be the most fantabulous thing I've ever put inside my... uh... well, you know. (I think I already said vagina and vaginal enough times, yesterday, to keep the frightening Google hits coming for quite some time.)

Truly, this is the most action I've seen in a long time. Between this and the anticipation of that twinpack of medicated douches, well, I'm all aflutter! Or is that atwitter? Afuckit.

This is my brain

Stolen from Oliquig, found here. This is apropos of nothing at all except it seemed kinda cool and I am still recuperating from yesterday's adventure, plus I have a ton of stuff I should be doing other than blogging, today.

(Like, say, doin' the 'ku.)

My brain-ed-ness (I don't even care if that's not a word, so there) profile:

Mir, you are somewhat left-hemisphere dominant with a balanced preference for auditory and visual inputs. Because of your "centrist" tendencies, the distinctions between various types of brain usage are somewhat blurred.

Your tendency to be organized and logical and attend to details is reasonably well-established which should afford you success regardless of your chosen field of endeavor, unless it requires total spontaneity and ability to improvise, your weaker traits. However, you are far from rigid or overcontrolled. You possess a degree of individuality, perceptiveness, and trust in your intuition to function at much more sophisticated levels than most.

Having given sufficient attention to detail, you can readily perceive the larger aspects and implications of a situation or of learning. You are functional and practical, but can blend abstraction and theory into your framework readily.

The equivalence of your auditory and visual learning orientation gives you two equally effective sensory input systems, each with distinctive features. You can process both unidimensionally and multidimen- sionally with equal facility. When needed, you sequence material while at other times you "intake it all" and store it for processing later.

Your natural ability to use your senses is also synthesized in your way of learning. You can be reflective in your approach, absorbing material in a non-aggressive manner, and at other times voracious in seeking out stimulation and experience.

Overall you tend to be somewhat more critical of yourself than is necessary and avoid enjoying life too much because of a sense of duty (*my note: crap, they've met The Toad! He ratted me out!). You feel somewhat constrained and tend to sometimes restrict your expressiveness. In any given situation, you will opt for the rational, and learning of almost any type should be easy for you. You might need certain ideas explained to you in order to fit them into your scheme of things, but you're at least open to that!

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Mir and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

(With my apologies to Judith Viorst. And my apologies to everyone who reads me, because I really have turned into quite the whiner of late.)

Ladies, do you ever have that... not-so-fresh feeling? (Guys, take this as your cue to exit now if you are squeamish.)

Alright. I thought last night was bad. Ha. Once again, I have forgotten that if I assume there is nowhere to go but up, I merely haven't spent enough time envisioning down.

We got off to a slow start today. Just when I thought we were all just tired, drained, and cranky... my shower was interrupted by "Mama, can you clean my undies?" Call it an aftershock, if you will. (That's the most pleasant-sounding thing I could think of to call it.) Finally we were all up, cleansed, and clothed... and it was time to head to Daddy's for the afternoon. (Wednesday isn't his regular afternoon, but I had a doctor's appointment, plus it's his birthday.)

By the way... martyr or damn fine human? You decide: despite being the purveyor of the Toaster of Cluelessness, the ex is receiving this little slice of geekdom from his children for his birthday today. (Don't worry; we got it on clearance at Target.)

Anyway. I dropped the kids and headed off to my appointment; number 36, I believe, in the series. I checked in. I sat in the waiting room. A nurse called me back. She asked me a battery of questions, but didn't appear to be paying much attention to the answers. So when she'd finished her list of medication questions and reiterated, "So you're not taking any type of medication at all?" I couldn't stop myself from casually responding, "Nope, nothing other than cocaine." It took her a minute. A very long, worrisome minute. Then she looked so panicked I felt sorry for her, and had to confess that I was just kidding.

I was parked in an exam room and instructed to take off my clothes and don the latest in paper fashion. I did. I sat, and sat, and sat some more. I read an entire copy of Allure. About an hour later, my doctor came in, apologizing for the delay. She recapped our last visit--and this time remembered that I'm having surgery, woohoo--and said today was just for a quick pre-op physical to make sure I was healthy enough for surgery. Okay then. She listened to my lungs and heart, felt my thyroid, did a quick breast check, and then directed me to the stirrups.

Bear in mind, at this point, I've had exactly one piece of toast since last night's ill-fated Bologna Sandwich of Doom. I'm tired. I'm cranky. I'm wearing overgrown paper towels. "Again??" I blurted out, regarding the stirrups with horror. She apologized, but said they have to check for infection pre-op; so yes, again. I slid down, grumbling. She disappeared up to the elbow and I hastily (and probably loudly) reminded her again that I'd had a cyst rupture on Sunday, so please don't press too hard. No problem, she said. And she only poked me until I wanted to scream, not until I wanted to vomit, so I suppose she was true to her word.

Eventually all foreign objects were removed from my much-beleaguered nether regions, and she left me to dress while she checked out my swab under the microscope. "Have fun!" I offered as she headed out the door. I used my wadded-up paper gown to scrape the three pounds of Artificial Slime away, then redressed. And waited. And waited. And then the doctor came back, and said "Good news. You don't have bacterial vaginosis." But the thing is, she didn't look all that happy.

"Um... I sense there's a 'but' coming...?" I hedged. Well, she explained, my cervical mucus was showing an elevated white blood cell count, which could indicate an infection of some kind. I very much wanted to offer my own hypothesis, which is that perhaps my cervix is just all kinds of pissed off at having been poked and prodded a gazillion times in the last month, and what with the ruptured cyst and the stomach bug, calling in a few extra warrior cells just seemed like common sense. But I didn't. Instead I asked, "So what do we do now?" and she started to write me a prescription for some sort of vaginal cream, saying that certainly I wouldn't mind using this cream for a few days.

"Sure!" I said. "Heck, lord knows I'm gonna need a warm-up for Sunday's marathon of magnesium citrate, enemas, and medicated douches! A little vaginal cream will just help get me in the mood! And then I'll be all ready for you to slice me open on Monday!" She stopped writing and looked up. I offered a weak smile. She started to laugh, and told me I've got "quite a sense of humor."

What a relief. I'll be the funny lady in the OR, having a panic attack, but with the intestines and vaginal canal clean enough to eat off of. That is so reassuring.

She gave me the prescription, went over my oh-so-fun "cleaning" regimen, again, to make sure I understood what all was required, and then sent me over to the lab for bloodwork.

I checked in. I sat in the waiting room. They called my name, and looked over my paperwork, and told me to come back on Friday, unless I wanted to wear a little plastic bracelet for five days. I did my best impression of a deer in the headlights and she explained that part of my bloodwork was to be a type and cross-check, after which I would need to wear a bracelet until surgery stating my information.

"But, if I come back on Friday, I still have to spend my whole weekend wearing a paper bracelet with all my medical info?"

"Plastic bracelet," she corrected.

"Fine, plastic. You can't just give me the bracelet to put on on Monday morning?"

"Oh no, I'm sorry, hospital policy states that we must attach it ourselves."

Fine. I'll go back Friday. And I'll proudly go to church on Sunday in all of my O+/Allergy to E-mycin glory, I suppose.

By this time, I've been at the doctor's for an hour and a half. I am still tired, and cranky, and hungry... and now, also sore from being manhandled. Most of my precious kid-free time has elapsed, but I need to go to the store. For. Prescription. Vaginal. Cream.

Alrighty. Target is out; I go there for prescriptions, normally, and the pharmacist is a nice man intimately acquainted with the children's and my prescription needs. If I bring my prescription there, I am setting myself up for a life without Target, and that's just wrong. Walmart will do. They're so disorganized no one will even notice me. Besides, that way I can pick up all my other embarrassing supplies at the same time, and be done with it. So it's off to Walmart, where I drop off my prescription and begin loading up my cart.

First: clear sodas and sports drinks. Check. Pull-Ups for the Monkey ("I wanna pee in my pants when I'm sleeping and you can't stop me!"). Check. And then... a voice from above. A page loud enough to be heard throughout all 277 acres of the Super Walmart, calling me back to the pharmacy. Well, that can't be good.

And it wasn't. Sorry, we don't have any. We can order it, and you can come back tomorrow. Oh, but that would violate the fill-the-prescription-and-not-show-my-face-in-that-store-again-for-40-days-at-a-minimum rule, so no thank you. I take my prescription back and shove it in my pocket. Fine. Well, I'm here, I'll buy all the other stuff, at least.

I swing my cart over to Health and Beauty, trying to act casual. A bag of pads, no problem. The Pepto I'd really wished I had last night, easy peasy. A quick check to make sure no one is looking... and... magnesium citrate ("pleasing lemony flavor!" Who the hell do they think they're kidding??). Still no one around... store brand enemas. Now it's a party. Hooboy. Okay, all that's left is one medicated douche.

Only, first of all, you cannot buy one douche. You can buy 2, or 4. But not just one. Apparently it is going to be such a rocking good time, I am going to want to do it again, as soon as possible! And to add insult to injury, douches come in a million varieties. Who is buying these things?? And who is in charge of naming them after air fresheners? There I stood, dumbfounded by the myriad of choices, and so stunned to find myself in this situation that I did, indeed, ever so briefly, wonder if "Country Flowers" could, in fact, be Super Special Douche Code Words for "medicated." (They're not.) Eventually I found the medicated ones. (FYI, medicated douches come in sad, plain, discreet packages. They are very jealous of their multi-scented cousins with windswept Harlequin Romance ladies on the front.)

Done. Hooray. I checked out without incident (although honestly, a "CAN I GET A PRICE CHECK ON AN ENEMA, PLEASE?" would not have surprised me even a little, at this point) and came home. And sat down. And have not moved, since.

I mean, look. It's one thing to talk about this stuff here, with maybe a dozen fellow bloggers who are at ease with Too Much Information in cyberspace. This? I love. So much. In fact, I may change my site's name from Woulda Coulda Shoulda to Douche-a-Rama With A Side of Vaginal Cream. It's all good. But to go through a day like this? Have to get poked and prodded, read a magazine all but naked, discuss things pertaining to my vagina with a pharmacist not once, but twice? And then I'm to be expected to drive to another store so I can share the joy with another pharmacy? No. Not today. It will have to wait until tomorrow. My cervix needs to rest, dammit.

One big happy... bug

I take back any complaint I may have made--tacit or implicit--about my children's behavior yesterday. They are angels.

Shortly after I finished writing yesterday afternoon, it started.

"Mama, my tummy hurts."
"My tummy hurts, too, Mama."
"I haveta go to the bathroom...."

Those four hours til bedtime? Never longer. But knowing what I then knew? Their behavior earlier in the day? Awesome.

Also? I would like to personally apologize to anyone who was in the Shaw's Kid Stop or my local Post Office yesterday. Cuz... ummmm... I'm just really, really sorry. I didn't know.

So we made it through... and by bedtime they seemed... uhhh... empty. Thank God. Monkey actually cried to go to bed, and went right to sleep (he'd had the worst of it, I think... having proclaimed at one point to me "Mama, did you know that your tummy is connected to your tushie??"). Chickadee was feeling a bit better and so had to play around for a while, but even she, eventually, dropped off to sleep.

All of which left me free to begin my own journey with this particular little virus starting about half an hour before I'd intended to go to bed. Yay! One would think--with my oldest now being six--that I would have figured out by now that no illness passes me by, no matter how obsessive-compulsively I wash my hands over and over. But this is part of the amnesia that keeps us moms nurturing our young instead of running, screaming, into the night. We conveniently forget that which is horrible. And so we do things like, say, tend to two children stricken with a tummy bug for four hours, put them to bed, and then have a sandwich. A bologna sandwich. Sometimes my stupidity amazes even me.

I had a great post planned for last night, too. But given the circumstances it seemed wiser to just hang out in the bathroom and wish for the sweet kiss of death. I may pen it, later, after I run out to the store and buy up all the Immodium, Emetrol, and Pepto they have the on the shelves.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go open all the windows and spray my entire house with Lysol.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Day Two: is it September yet?

Haha! Just kidding! I am really not wishing for September already. We are having a fine time, me and my offspring. Never better. You so wish you were me. Here's how the day has gone, so far:

5:45 AM. Monkey arrives in my bed. I open one eye, tell him that he may stay as long as he is silent and doesn't move, and go back to sleep.

6:00 AM. I remove feet from my hair and turn on the Disney Channel. Did you know that the remote works under the blankets? Technology is wonderful.

6:45 AM. Monkey informs me that my pajamas are very pretty, and he is so hungry he could eat a hippo. Flattery will get him everywhere.

7:30 AM. I stick my head in the Chickadee's room to ask if she might like to join us downstairs. I think she actually bared her teeth at me, but I left so quick when she started snarling, I can't be sure.

8:30 AM. Everyone is up and fed. I sit down at the computer, the kids hit the playroom.

8:35 AM. Yahoo! mail isn't working. Bah. And the playroom is trashed.

9:00 AM. I head up to take a shower. The family room and kitchen are trashed.

9:12 AM. I get out of the shower to piercing screams from the floor below. Still dripping, I remove the cover over the vent in my floor and shout down "What's going on??" Instantly all screaming ceases and a twin angelic chorus answers "Nothing!"

9:20 AM. I corral the kids upstairs to dress and brush teeth.

9:21-9:59 AM. Mayhem.

10:00 AM. We leave for the supermarket. And there was much rejoicing!

10:14 AM. The kids get checked into the Kid Stop at the supermarket.

10:42 AM. I discover that Breyer's is on special this week, 2 for $5. God is good.

10:55 AM. I attempt to check the kids out of the Kid Stop at the supermarket.

10:59 AM. I shout loudly enough to be heard in the next county, "HELLO! I bought you ICE CREAM! Which is MELTING! Get your butts out here!"

11:12 AM. We arrive home. I shoo the children into the back yard and tell them to play while I put the groceries away.

11:15 AM. Chickadee comes inside and informs me that I am a terrible mother forgot to give them sunhats. I give her the hats and send her back out.

11:17 AM. I peek outside to see Monkey sitting astride the baby swing, resplendent in Chickadee's floppy butterfly hat. Chickadee is using Monkey's Flaphappy octopus hat to collect caterpillars.

11:22 AM. I put the last of the groceries away, ball up the profusion of plastic bags, and sit down.

11:23 AM. The children come inside. It's too hot. It's too windy. There's nothing to do. There's too much bird poop on the swingset!

11:55 AM. Lunch. Monkey eats nothing; Chickadee clears her plate.

12:15 PM. Yahoo! mail is still being flakey. ARGH! In my frustration, I survey my surroundings... which resemble an explosion at Santa's toy factory. I demand that this room be cleaned up right now!

12:18 PM. I am happily (?) cleaning my shower (bought cleaner at the store, finally) when a tearful Chickadee comes in to report that Monkey simply will not help her clean up. She is slaving away, in fact she has cleaned up most of it, really she is doing the work of several children, and he just won't cooperate!

12:19 PM. A rousing rendition of "It's a Hard Knock Life" is avoided (she was on the verge, I swear) by Monkey's appearance and immediate reporting of Chickadee smacking him in the head.

12:20-12:25 PM. Mama Lecture #32, "Can't We All Just Get Along?" The children roll their eyes, they get stuck that way, and they have a brief nap.

12:26-1:15 PM. I do chores and the children bicker over who will pick up what.

1:16 PM. I announce that we are going to the Post Office to mail the Mother's Day packages. (Better late than never. Shut up.)

1:17-1:50 PM. Mayhem.

2:07 PM. We arrive at the Post Office, and I stand in line with the kids thinking "Wow, I haven't been to this branch in a long time."

2:08 PM. Our turn. The lady behind the counter remembers us, and nods towards Monkey and says "That isn't the little guy whose hair used to all stick up, is it??" Wow. That means she hasn't seen us since Monkey's fuzzy baby hair days. She fusses over the kids while I vow to be nicer to them this afternoon.

2:13 PM. We drive through Dunkin Donuts and get an iced coffee for me and a lemonade coolatta for the kids. I give them each a straw and tell them to bend one of them so they will know whose is whose.

2:14 PM. Chickadee bends her straw.

2:15 PM. Chickadee bends Monkey's straw.

2:16 PM. Monkey realizes he doesn't know which straw is which, and starts to cry.

2:17 PM. Mental note: no good deed goes unpunished.

2:32 PM. Arrive home, park children on couches in family room, put on movie. Suggest they take a little quiet time. Perhaps insinuate that if they get off the couches before the movie ends they might come to great bodily harm.

4:05 PM. That's better. Recharged, refreshed, and... only four more hours til bed. Piece o' cake.

Deux Menage-a-Trois!

Hey, that's all the French I know. Unless you would like me to order lunch. Which I can do. Bagette. Fromage. See? Practically bilingual, I am. (That's counting English as a language I speak, which I'm sure some would argue....)

I did not write last night. I was busy. Because I have not yet figured out quite enough ways to fritter away my spare time, I got Yahoo! Messenger installed and found myself getting down-n-dirty with some of my fellow bloggers.

First it was a wild (if brief) romp with Mindy and Jilbur. I couldn't keep up. This is both the fun and the curse of blogging; you meet folks you adore, then get all bummed that they live so freaking far away. But there may be a real-life meeting in the works, and if that happens, look out, Boston! I have a feeling the three of us could do some serious damage (or at least draw some very disparaging looks from passersby).

After these fair ladies had left me because they, you know, have lives, I came across Genuine. Who has a web cam, and uses it. So I got to see him shoot milk out his nose! Okay, not really, but it was pretty funny to watch him laugh in herky-jerky slow-mo webcam time. He is adorable, as are his two children whom I got to watch, puppet-like, run in for goodnight kisses, and then Mrs. G. showed up and it was all so adorable I wanted to kill myself. But the mesmerizing images of the webcam kept me right at the computer, giggling. So I talked Gen's ear off for a while, then I did the same to Mrs. G., and eventually I felt so warm and fuzzy that I had to go sleep it off.

By the way... got a problem? Genuine will solve it for you. Maybe. Well, he'll definitely offer. Though I'm thinking I may have offered to slay a vorpal bunny in his honor and chances are excellent that that's never gonna happen, so we may be even. (Though, Gen? Where's my promotion?? I thought last night was special, baybeeeee!)

Oh, did you think from the title that this was going to be a... uhhhh... action post? Shame on you. Like Kira, pretty much all I have left to me now is offhand remarks about questionable dinner foods. Alas.

Monday, June 14, 2004

How To Be A Hero

(Or, "Sometimes It Really Is That Easy.")

Serve octopus for dinner.

(Bonus points for adding a grinning mouth. Two demerits for trying to sneak broccoli onto the plate, under a veil of cheese sauce.)

But wait... there's more!

If you're a regular reader, you know that I am still recovering from the shock of the karaoke night from hell. I thought time would mellow me out on this one, but not so much. The more time that passes, the more pissed off and shaken by it I find myself. Lucky me.

But I have good news! Good news indeed.

First, I scraped together the courage to say what I needed to say to my friend; namely, that I love her dearly, and I am worried about her. That I will never participate in such an evening again. That I fear a night like that may indicate there's more going on than she has shared, and I am here for whatever she needs. That she scared me. That I don't want to judge, or lecture, but I needed her to know how unsettled I felt.

I spent the weekend debating speaking my mind. I'm glad I did. And I'm glad she accepted it as gracefully as she did. And now I wait and see.

But the better news is this: you know how often you go through something sucky, and the only thing that really cheers you up is the knowledge that it could've been worse, or--better yet--that someone else had it worse? I'm sorry for being happy about this; I really, truly am. But I can't help it.

Both of the other drunks threw up in the nice lesbians' car on the way home. If anyone who did not in fact used to live in my body ever vomits in my car, I will not be held accountable for my actions. Now I know it could've been much worse, and I feel better!

"... wormy, squirmy mac and cheeeeeese..."

School is out.

Have you heard? No more school. At all. Until Labor Day. It's a small child's Christmas and Easter and several lost teeth all wrapped up in one gigantic Mama-frazzling joy!

In the two-and-a-half hours since this day began, my children appear to have had the caffeine equivalent of a twelve-pack of Mountain Dew, apiece.

"MAMA CAN WE GO TO THE BEACH TODAY???" Why sure, sweetie... but you'll have to wear a sweatshirt since it's only 66 degrees outside... plus since this is, you know, New Hampshire, the water isn't going unfreeze for another two months... but what the hey....

"MAMA LET'S PLAY DOCTOR! YOU TAKE CARE OF ME!" Ooookay... this would be different from my day-to-day activity how, exactly...?

"MAMA I WANT TO READ YOU THIS BOOK!" Oh boy! The same book you read me last night? And twelve times before that? You do know you have an entire bookshelf full of a range of books...? Oh, but this is the most wondrous book on the planet, because it contains the words "balloon butt". Alrighty then.

"MAMA CAN WE GO TO THE SUPERMARKET?" Now that we can do, but I'm still disturbed that my children treasure trips to the store because of the "Play Place" there... which is essentially a big room like our family room, complete with crayons and a wide-screen television.

"MAMA I'M SICK! COME QUICK!" What's the...? Oh, I'm not finishing up on the computer fast enough for you, I see. Just a couple more minutes.

"CAN WE PLAY OUTSIDE??" Of course, but if you'd rather that Child Protective Services not interrupt, you really need to change out of your pajamas, first. I know I've only told you to get dressed five times so far this morning, so naturally you still haven't done it.

"MAMA I AM GOING TO SING YOU A PRETTY SONG!" Hence the title of this post. I am one lucky lady.

And of course, fill in the obligatory hounding-me-while-on-the-phone interlude, which I could type out for you, but it was pretty predictable. School's out, and I will not be having another uninterrupted phone call until September.

This will almost certainly be the last summer that I have the luxury of staying home with my children. I pray that I will find a way to appreciate it.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Timing is everything

I am not having my most fantabulous day. I didn't sleep very well, I got up and started getting ready for church... only to discover that discomfort was turning into stabbing pain... and back to bed I went. Probably another ruptured cyst. If you've never had a ruptured ovarian cyst, here's the medical protocol:
1) Call the doctor's office.
2) Wait for the doc on call to call you back.
3) Describe symptoms to doc on call.
4) Doc on call tells you to go to the ER for an ultrasound.
5) Head to ER, wait for 3-4 hours.
6) Have ultrasound.
7) Doctor comes in, looks at films, and declares it was a ruptured cyst.
8) Doc gives you a prescription for pain pills.
9) Go home, take pain pills.

As I've already been through this routine multiple times, I figured I'd save everyone a lot of time and money and just skip straight to step 9. A quick rummage in my medicine cabinet and... yes!... one lone vicodin, left over from the last time this happened. Praise the Lord. (Now before anyone gets all maternal and scolding on me, I did make a note of the time and the pain level and vowed to pursue the proper channels if it got worse or lasted longer than 8 hours.)

I went back to bed. But first I had a little chat with the Big Guy about how I get it, I need to have surgery, I'm having the damn surgery already, next week in fact, and these little cosmic reminders are neither necessary nor endearing. Hmph.

I got up around 1:00... feeling better but not great... and commenced hobbling around the house and getting myself into a dither over all the tasks that lay as yet undone. The kids will be home around 6:00. Hmmmm. I took the trash out; after which, I seriously considered another nap. Okay, clearly I was not going to be getting much done so I should just get rid of that idea right now. Focus, Mir. Pick a few small, lightweight tasks and call it good. Okay.

During the school year, I pack lunches in the morning by retrieving the lunchbags from backpacks, emptying out the debris, wiping down the inside of the bags, and then filling with the new lunch. If I were a better mother I'd probably empty out those lunchbags the second the kids get home, leaving them sparkling clean and ready for the next day... but I'm not so I don't. Sue me. On Friday--the last day of school--we brought home roughly twelve tons of school-related junk which is still exactly where we dropped it in the mudroom when we got home. Emptying out and putting up the lunchbags would be a light task, and I would be very glad to have done so today rather than suddenly realizing, say, two weeks from now that there was still rotting food hanging about.

I retrieved the bags (which are soft-sided lunchboxes). Strawberry Shortcake for the Chickadee, Thomas the Tank Engine for the Monkey. Both were mercifully empty of edibles. The Chickadee's lunchbox held an impressive assortment of found objects... toothpicks, trading cards, a bottle top, and some "Funny Money" from someone else's Lunchable. The Monkey's bag was empty, but felt too heavy. Odd. Then I remembered the small zippered pouch on the outside. This pouch isn't big enough to hold much of anything, but I do sometimes slip a nutrigrain bar or other safe snack in there for him just in case the school (which provides snacks) finds themselves short for him at some point.

So I unzippered the pouch expecting to pull out a cereal bar, and instead I found the Ultimate 4-year-old Stash of Treasure. I was laughing and cursing as I emptied it out. I don't know why it struck me as so funny; had the Monkey been here when I discovered it, I probably would've hollered at him. But oh, at that moment, there was nothing in the world that could've made me feel better.

6 Danimals yogurt cup lids. 9 little juice box straws. 4 deflated yogurt tubes. 2 cheese pouch wrappers. 5 apple stems. 3 snack-size ziploc bags. 3 red plastic sticks from the hand-i-snack thingies. And a partridge in a pear tree. (Okay, no bird; but it wouldn't have surprised me.)

That was way better than the vicodin. There is an odd comfort in a child's proclivities.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Seek ye crap information elsewhere

I am all done being useful to my fellow humans. Last night took it all out of me, and I don't plan to be even slightly utilitarian again to another person for quite some time.

But before I disappear to tend to my own needs (yes, I have a need to clean the house, and maybe make some dinner, and watch a movie), let me make it crystal clear how much I am just not the go-to girl for ye olde random internet searcher. A sampling:

"Lonely local slutty girls on Maui"
I am lonely, but not for you, scumbag. Nor do I live on Maui, nor has anyone ever described me as slutty unless they were in fact using sarcasm to communicate that I was dressed like a nun.

"gingy Shrek stuffed"
Ummmm... huh??

"miriam mcdonald from degrassi pictures"
I may have confessed to watching this teeny-bopper program, but you'll still have to find your teenage porn elsewhere, bud.

"ENTP hoarding"
Yes, I have an entire closet full of ENTP types I'm hoarding for just the right time. And you can't have any!!

"sonohystogram" (3 hits!)
Ummmm yeah. Sonohystogram (I said it again). I had one. The information I shared about it would be superfluous to someone trying to learn more about the procedure. It was probably superfluous even for those who like to listen to me whine, but there you have it. Also? The link to my site? About 6 pages in on the search results. If you're that desperate for information, call your doctor.

That is all.

I'm getting too old for this crap

Yes, I am ancient. Geriatric. 32 going on 99.

Would you like to hear about my wild evening? Of course you would. First of all, I was the youngest in our group of six. The friend who invited me along is just a few years older than me, then we had four ladies in their upper forties. One may have been over fifty. Not that this has anything to do with the price of tea in China or what it means to find oneself trapped in skanky karaoke hell, but it just seems like it needs to be pointed out.

I'd offered to be the designated driver, because I'm off ibuprofen, NSAIDs, and alcohol until my surgery. Things wouldn't have been much different if I was drinking; see my "100 Things" list for details, but "me drinking" means I have one drink... maybe two if I'm feeling wild. And something I didn't put on my list but I realized last night was this: I never get drunk in public. I rarely get drunk, anyway, but on the few occasions that I have? Either in my home, or the home of someone I trust. I do not understand the allure of making an ass of oneself in front of lots of strangers. I just don't.

You know how this story goes, right?

The karaoke place is the lounge of a local Asian buffet place. Four of us got there, ordered appetizers, and they ordered scorpion bowls. By the time the additional two friends showed up, my three compadres were already tanked... and it was about 8:30. Shortly thereafter the karaoke started, and all the dregs of society started showing up. It was quite the conundrum, deciding which was worse: the very loud, bad music, or the scary people who were now surrounding us in droves.

First, it goes without saying that we were the oldest people there. Second, it turns out that I was inappropriately attired. I had no idea. Women there wore either black leather or nothing much at all (bonus points for combining the two). Also, our table was short about a dozen piercings.

One of the friends-of-my-friend latched on to me for meaningful conversation. Joy. It went kind of like this:
Her: Mir, I'm so sorry that I sound so drunk.
Me: Don't worry about it.
Her: But really, I am, and you won't hold this against me, will you?
Me: Nope, what happens at karaoke stays at karaoke, hon.
Her: *laughs so hard at my not-funny joke that I fear she will wet herself*
Me: So, are you gonna go up there and sing?
Her: Oh no! How embarrassing! I couldn't!
Me: Oh, you can't be any worse than any of the rest of these people.
Her: Mir, I have to apologize, I'm so sorry that I sound so drunk!
Me: Ya know, you really don't sound all that drunk, except for the fact that you keep apologizing for it.
Her: You won't hold this against me, will you?
Me: Um, I have to go to the bathroom.

Through creative trips to the bathroom (so concerned was the waiter over my drinking only water and diet coke, I somehow ended up with more liquid than anyone else at the table, and did in fact have to visit the facilities multiple times to keep from exploding) and various seating shuffling therein, I managed to work my way over to the two latecomers. They were a really nice lesbian couple (the same woman who kept apologizing for being drunk announced as soon as they were away from our table "Did you know that they're LESBIANS???" and did I mention one of them was her sister? so nice) who were not getting tanked, so I had a nice time over there with them, for a little bit.

But then the three drunk ones got a little out of control. During one of my trips to the facilities, they apparently made friends with the table behind us through a request for the salt shaker. Table behind us? Big group of smoking, overly-pierced high-school-dropout twenty-somethings doing body shots. And to them I say, good for you! But to our group I wanted to say, For the love of God, you are middle-aged married women who could be their mothers, stop fraternizing!! But I didn't, of course. The young table found our table terribly amusing, and the boys (men? I suppose they're men) in particular found the drunken flirting of the "aged" hilarious. This was where I starting thinking about crawling into a hole and dying.

I would've left, if I could. But oh yeah, Mother Miriam, designated driver! I couldn't leave, because they wouldn't leave. So I stayed, and prayed for a power outage.

Two of our group decided to set up one of the guys from the young table to do a song. They spent a good twenty minutes up there perusing the songbooks to pick just the right tune to debase him. And that was a drunken great idea, except they picked a song no one had ever heard of, so when his name was called and he decided he was game, it was a bust. He didn't know the song, no one in the place knew it, and the DJ ended up going on to the next person on the list. Wow, they sure got him good. But somewhere in the midst of this master plan, the most senior member of our group was treated to a peek of said young man's dual nipple rings, and was so drunk astonished that she reached out and petted him. Which he thought was hilarious. Dudes, check it out, I'm being groped by grandma!

By this point, I was checking my watch about every... oh... twelve seconds. ("Mir, I am so sorry that I sound so drunk!") The Nipple Groper left for the bathroom and didn't come back. After various permutations of members of our group going to check on her, it was discovered that she was busy puking her guts out. Alrighty then. It's a party now. Could someone please pass me the blue mascara? And, ohmigod, could you maybe go ask that cutie if he wants to dance with me? Bad flashbacks, man.

So between the sober couple and myself, we're trying to figure out how manage this, who's driving whom, etc. The other two were now alternating dancing and coaxing the amused young guys into buying them more drinks. One trip back from checking on Pukefest 2004, two of the young guys stopped me and drew me in close enough to hear them speak.

Guy1: Hey! Are you babysitting tonight?
Me, surveying what the other women are up to, and probably turning crimson: Yep, I guess so. Is it that obvious?
Guy2: Oh yeah. *they both laugh* Good luck getting them outta here.
Me: Uhhhhm yeah. Thanks?

Because I am a logical person with a good head on my shoulders, I chose to focus my remaining energy on hating The Toad (the one who appeared to be a prince, was my first post-split involvement, and promptly turned back into a toad as soon as my divorce was final). It was his fault. All his fault! If he was still around--and not, you know, an asshat--I could've either been happily spending the evening with him; or if I was stuck in this situation with him at least he could've helped me see the humor. But no, he used me and discarded me and look at me now, here in karaoke hell. All his fault. Yeah.

Assignments were made. The couple would drive the puking Nipple Groper and her friend, I would drive the friend who got me into this in the first place. I was encouraged to go ahead and gather my friend and be on our way; they would wait for the puking to stop and then do the same. Those of us who were sober exchanged pleasantries and goodbyes.

My friend didn't want to leave. Surprise, surprise. I talked her into it. She tried to get out of her chair and fell on the floor. At this point I decided to just proceed as if everything is hunky dorey, because there is no way in hell that this is actually happening or is a part of my life. Clearly I'm having a very bizarre, embarrassing nightmare and will soon wake up. We were, at this point, the center of attention. And why not? My friend is sprawled on the floor laughing her ass off, I am clearly mortified and trying to pull her up again even though she outweighs me by quite a bit. We were better entertainment than most of the karaoke, to be sure.

I steadied her on the way out to the car, whereupon she nearly got into an altercation with a young lady talking on a cell phone. This girl committed the sin of laughing (at her conversation) as we walked by. My friend was sure she was being laughed at. Oh Lord. I managed to talk her out of that one and get her into the car. She talked a lot on the way home, but I didn't understand most of it. She thanked me for taking care of her; that much I did get. At one point I asked her to not bother trying to talk to me because I don't speak Drunkish.

And so, dear friends, I arrived home after midnight. I was tired, I was grumpy, my hair reeked of smoke (can I tell you what I hate more than smelling like smoke? I can't, because there isn't anything), and I felt ooooooooold. OLD. What was fun about that evening? Am I actually supposed to enjoy that?

Anyone wanna come over and watch a movie tonight?