Monday, June 8, 2009

Mutha of the Year

Ok, the only person noticing that I haven't written for forever is my stepmom, Rosemary~ thank you for being my one and only reader! Yea you! So, I'm feeling a little guilt for neglecting this blog that I was so gung ho about one year ago. I'm a starter, not a finisher, per se.

I can finally tell you a "working mom" type story without getting in trouble with my company due to it's extremely confidential and conservative nature. Yippee~! So, I'm sitting in a rough around the edges doctor's office waiting to go back and talk with the docs in the extremely stuffy, pathogen infested waiting room, wondering what venereal diseases are lurking on the cracked, vinyl chair beneath my big fat ass. Eww.

In walks two women with two little ones. I couldn't initially figure out the ages of the women, I had to guess maybe in their late 20's? I later learned that one was the GRANDMOTHER and the other the mother. The kids were about 2 and 3 years old. Super cuties. They sit right next to me despite the multitude of other rows and rows of vacant VD chairs. The little 3 year finds the childrens' books that the office so graciously has available offering a subliminally pro-literacy alternative to the CNN Accent on Health TV that hangs multiply bolted on the ceiling, for obvious reasons.

The little 3 year old boy asks his mommy, "Mommy will you pweese read me this book?" The mommy impatiently snaps, "NO, now go sit over there and watch TV!" I was impressed that the kid said please without any prompting.

The little one asks again, "Pweese mommy, read!" Mommy angrily looks up from intense texting and screams, "WHATEVER! GO WATCH TV AND LEAVE ME ALONE!" I audibly gasped.

Now, have I ever encouraged a little TV watching when I needed to get stuff done? But of course. I'm not judging, I'm just saying. She was just texting. And mind you, on a phone that was way scmancier than mine. This did not irritate me until she started talking to amazingly young grandma about waiting for her Welfare check to come and "When was it F-ING going to come?!" You and I are paying for that fancy phone, probably not stuff for the kids like books or food like it should be intended for. I was steamed. Thank goodness they called me back so I didn't have to witness any more ungrateful texting.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Bad Mammogram, Born Again

This is a photo of us at The Price is Right: my sister, Marcy, me, Norris and Mom and baby sis Kate.
I'm a born again. Not really. I feel like one today. Or at least I think I know what it feels like to be born again, kinda.

A few Sundays ago, we had Sunday night dinner, which is a regular occurrence for us. The "us" includes my little family, Jerry, Cole and Patty, my sister, brother in law and their two boys and my parents. Usual Sunday night dinner crew. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, until an enormous bomb dropped right there in mom's kitchen, when Mom announced, very casually and somewhat bravely, that she had a "bad mammogram". The world stood very still and the words seemed hazy and unfathomable at that long moment.

They found not one, but two spots that looked suspicious. This is when the stillness was abruptly interrupted by the cancer bomb which fell through the vaulted ceiling, crashing through the granite countertops, hitting the travertine tile with a deafening thud in my heart. Fear coupled with uncertainty and wondering engulfed my seething brain.

Mom was certain that this was going to be "nothing". There is no trace of cancer whatsoever on that side of the family, so it just couldn't be. Cancer. To even think that icky word makes me reel with images of my paternal grandmother curled in the fetal position, calling out for her own mother and not recognizing who I was. My grandmother died at age 65 of breast, lung and brain cancer. This could not happen to my own young, hip mother. I would not allow it.

As you may recall, Mom had just been run over by a Range Rover less than one year ago. How could God zap her with the cancer wand? Not possible. She had two needle biopsies on Tuesday. We waited like lunatics for the life-changing results for three endless days. Three days of knowing deep down that this was "nothing" but not actually knowing. So what if?

The not knowing plays with your mind and forces you to plan. Mom already decided that if it was breast cancer, she would get them "whacked off" and a new perky pair plunked on. I started thinking of all of the physicians that I could ask for good oncology referrals. I would have no choice than to start training for the Breast Cancer Three Day Walk that I had completed a few years ago to show support, but this time it would be to fight. I would start bargaining with God hardcore. There were the plans.

By some sort of miracle, the results were benign. What a wonderful, terrific word, benign. We all breathed a heaving, heavy sigh of relief, screamed and cried and had a beer. We are truly "born again" for this second chance to enjoy life with Mom once again. And I told her to go buy a lottery ticket.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Working Girl

Hi~ I've come to a startling revelation. Now, I'm certainly not the brightest bulb in the box, but it just occurred to me that I started this blog in hopes that I could help other working moms, like myself, make sense of this crazy "work-life" bullshit. (Notice the cuss word. When I was a virginal blogger, I was wary of offending potential followers who may be sensitive to such brash language, so I never cussed. Now that I realize that only family members and a few loyal, sympathetic friends are the only ones reading this, I'm over it.) Well, it is actually impossible to discuss anything work related on this lonely blog due to the extreme conservativeness of my industry. Coupled with the fact that I live in a Right To Work state, and of course the spiraling economy, ya just never know. So I guess I will just have to be cautious when citing work issues.

I will share one working mom moment that happened to me this week. I was dutifully getting my doddling, leisurely kids off to school, as I frantically do each and every scrambly morning, when my car made a choking, horrific noise and then died in the middle of the intersection about a block or so away from school. I had to get these kids to school on time and get myself to a morning meeting, followed by a lunch with customers and a full day of sales calls. Luckily, a very kind friend pulled behind my defunct car and offered to take my kiddos to school. She was a godsend. Half a dozen moms from school stopped and asked if I needed anything? Coffee? Could they take me somewhere? Do anything to help? Sweet and genuine offers. I stood on the side of the road in my heels and dress, probably looking more like a "working girl" than a working girl. The greasy tow truck came to my rescue, followed by a rancid smelling rental car. Now, two hours late, I could start my corporate day, where I was expected to perform a full day of sales calls, irregardless of the morning mishap. Instead of going 55 MPH today, I had to crank it up to 75 MPH in order to pick up my kids before sunset.

So there's a boo hoo, whiny working mom story for ya. Several jealous thoughts crept in my head like "if i was a SAHM, I could easily just carry on with my day, frustrated with the inconvenience, but knowing that thank goodness I didn't have to be anywhere pressing today." I pushed those thoughts out of my head, and forged ahead, going about my working girl day...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Three Deaths in Two Weeks

Hi. I'm going to begin with my usual apology for not blogging regularly. So here it is. I. Am. Sorry. That's it. That's all I'm gonna do.

Over the past two weeks, I have been somewhat touched by three deaths. They say bad things happen in threes. I think they do. The first one was our school principal's daughter, who battled depression for years and is finally at peace at the very young age of twenty-five. She was the principal's only child. My brain cannot even begin to fathom the deep and scorching pain that must burn a hole right through your aching sole when something so earth-shattering happens. Awful.

The second death was our Uncle Albert. He wasn't exactly an Uncle, he was my stepdad's cousin, I think. Uncle Albert was like a father to my mom, very caring, kind, gentle and sweet. A good, endearing man who you longed to be around. He talked about "making memories" and the importance of the concept. He was in his late eighties and suddenly was having bizarre delusions, his hands turned black due to some apparent vascular blockage and after a few days of ups and downs he passed away. He is now with his equally lovely wife, Dorothy and their child, Marcy, who died when she was only nine years old. With this much tragedy, how could he have been so kind-hearted? I would have become a menace to society for sure.

The third death occurred today, a rep who works for my company in Tucson, in her early forties passed away. She was having GI issues for a short time, was admitted to the hospital and died during surgery. Unexpected. I just saw her a month ago at a meeting. Hard to believe.

These type of events rock my core. It makes me want to go live better, stronger, to feel alive right this very second. It makes me want to promise that... "I'm gonna..." and then I list stuff that I'm gonna do or not do, so here they are:

I'm gonna...
Not be so nice to EVERYONE~! This is a detriment to myself and I know it. Why do I need to be overly nice to the hostess at the restaurant cleaning off the crumbs stuck to the menus, the lady in front of me at the grocery store who has fifty gazillion coupons, the ultra bitchy acquaintance that doesn't give a crap about me that I smile at anyhow and say, "hi" to, not expecting anything in return but a grimace. I'm tired of being nice. It really sucks. As my mom says, "Nice guys finish last!" So screw it. No more over the top sugary sweetness from this bee-otch. I'm just gonna save it all up for the people who I love and who love me back. So take that~!

I'm gonna...
Make more of an effort to be a better "homemaker". I know you're snickering at the 1950's Leave It To Beaver image and the prospect of me with an apron on, whipping up a casserole in heels and perfect hair. It's kinda funny. I just really hope my kids don't only have memories of me making quesadillas in the toaster oven and pasta ev-er-y sin-gle sol-i-tar-y god bless-ed night~! I also would love it if my husband came through the door and looked amazed and excited when his nostrils filled with the unbelievably savory aroma of a fabulous home cooked dinner, at least once or twice a week, instead of the usual, "whadda you want for dinner?" which usually follows with us eating tortilla chips or an apple. I just finished ironing Jerry's old, faded jeans, so you know I must be serious about this one.

I'm gonna...
Take better care of myself. We just joined a schmancy gym that is three minutes from our house, so we'd better get our flabby asses there. My cholesterol is high and I know it is imperative that I get it under control because I want to be around for my kids to "make memories" with. In the same breath, I'm also not gonna "not live" to the fullest, today I had a Grande instead of a Tall at Starbucks and ate the rest of the king size bag of Cheetos without a single regret. I forgot how absolutely delectable Cheetos are. I even licked my orange stained fingers and held the giant bag up to my mouth and polished off every single fabulous crumb.

I'm gonna...
Love more fully. I tend to hold back at times, not intentionally, but I just do. I am not as verbal or emotionally available to tell my loved ones how deeply I love them, even though I think it. I will try to share my gratitude and love more openly, not to be confused with being too nice though.

Kinda New Year's resolutions like, eh? But they're just "I'm Gonnas" to make me appreciate how fragile and ever-changing life can be. Notice, I didn't include "I'm gonna blog more..." Cuz I can't commit to something that demanding. So there it is for now. Go forward and conquer. And make some memories.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Delusional Winter Break

I could not wait for Winter Break. Two weeks I had blocked off for vacation from work, so I could stay at home with Cole and Patty and pretend I was a Stay At Home Mom. I had it all planned out, I would bake them delicious blueberry muffins for breakfast, we would giggle while playing rounds of Candyland and Monopoly. Our days would be well planned, riding bikes to the park, creating crafty projects like making castles out of toilet paper rolls and baking cookies together.

Delusional? Oh yes.

My children commented that "these blueberry muffins taste REALLY bad...they are NOT like Bubbie's...", Candyland turned into a wrestling match on top of the kitchen table and my vocal chords are spent from screaming at my darling offspring. ALL. DAY. LONG.

Threats that "...and if you don't behave, I'm cancelling Chanukkah tonight..." hung in the air. Time out after time out and taking away TV time was becoming standard. Where was the Brady Bunch Break I so yearned for?

A few playdates, driving around looking at Christmas lights and cute family movies later, things have become more peaceful and quite wonderful for all of us.

Happy Holidays to All! xo

Saturday, December 20, 2008

On Becoming A Hobo and The Great Depression

Happy Holidays to all, I am late in these wishes to everyone, but I guess better late than never. I have felt less than inspired to write anything once again. Excuse of the month: Holiday hub bub, lists that don’t end. It’s not that I’m so totally slammed with stuff to do, just little things here and there that stress me out.

Cole came home from school the other day stating that in Social Studies, his class was discussing the Great Depression.

“Yeah, mom, um, during like, a really long time ago, like in the old days or something, there was a really bad time and they called it the Great Depression.” Cole explains.

“And…” I prompt, wanting to be assured our tax dollars are hard at work.

“And, like, well, people were very poor because they lost their jobs and so they didn’t have any money. So then they couldn't work and so then, they couldn’t buy any food and they couldn’t live in their house any more. So they had to live on the street. It was sad. “

And the nine year old version of the Great Depression continues, "And my teacher said that history repeats itself and we’re probably going to have a Great Depression, or somthin', like that, Mom.” He looks up at the ceiling, thinking deeply, tapping a pencil in the space where his two front teeth used to be. Long pause… and then, “Why did they call it the Great Depression, it doesn’t sound like it was really that‘great’…”

“No the Great Depression was not ‘great’, Cole. And your teacher might be right. Things are tough right now, Cole. There are people losing their jobs all over the country. Luckily Daddy and I are ok right now. Our jobs are safe at this time. We are just being careful, watching every penny we spend.”

Patty, the quiet, but soaked little sponge sitting nearby, taking in all of this serious commentary, bursts into tears, announcing dramatically, “I don’t want to be a hobo, Mommy!”

Hobo. Hobo? Where did this child get this term? When we were young, a hobo was someone dressed up for Halloween with a stick resting on a shoulder with a filled, red bandanna tied to the end, black smudges painted on their cheeks and tattered clothes. Nothing gets past Patty.

So this holiday season, let’s hope that if we are headed into a Great Depression, that we can make it somewhat ‘great’?...and that Hobos will be somewhat back in style?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thankful for Mom

I am thankful for...lots of things, especially this year. Mostly for the fact that Cole is such a sweet, dear person. He had to write what he was especially thankful for this year in school.

He wrote, "I am especially thankful that my Bubbie is feeling better from her car accident."

(Bubbie is my mom) I was overwhelmed with pride, amazement and sadness that he thought enough about her ordeal to put it on paper.

In May 2008, my mom was involved in a "freak accident" as many refer to it. That day, an hour before it happened, I actually ran into her coincidentially. I was working with my manager that day. We were heading into a doctor's office to bring them lunch. My mom was just leaving her appointment in that same office. I introduced my boss to my mom, we laughed about what a small world it was. My mom was then off to get her hair colored, her once-every-three-weeks ritual to keep her grey roots from appearing.

The day went on, and because my boss was in my car, my cell phone was turned off till 5:30 p.m. Once we parted ways, I checked my phone to find about seventeen missed calls from my sister, Marcy. Something was up. My heart pounded as I spoke to her.

"Are you driving?" Marcy inquired.

"Yes, just tell me, what is it?"

"Pull over." she demanded. I was relieved she wasn't crying, so at that moment, I knew no one was dead, because I knew she would have been hysterical if it had been something totally horrific.

"No, just tell me." I stammered, still a little scared for what would come next.

"Mom was hit by a car today." she stated calmly.

"Hit by a car?" It didn't make sense since she drives everywhere.

Long story short, mom was sitting in the chair at the same beauty salon she has been loyal to for the past 25 years, processing with color on her hair, reading a book. A woman who was going to park and head in to get her nails done, allegedly confused the brake and gas and ran her Range Rover through a celing to floor glass wall, through a stuccoed 3/4 wall, hitting my mom, who was sitting on the other side and another woman, and kept driving 25 feet to the back wall of the salon. My mom and the other woman were pinned under the Range Rover, holding hands. The paramedics came and had to use airbags to lift the Range Rover up, so they could pull out my mom and the other woman.

The other woman's injuries were minor and she left the hospital and attended a baseball game that night, we heard. My mom had three fractured ribs, sixteen stitches on her shin and a severe contusion on her eyelid, which called for a very young plastic surgeon to work for three hours hours on the eye. We joked this was one way of getting an eye lift, although it wasn't cosmetic whatsoever. The driver walked away with a few scratches.

"Go home and feed your children dinner. I'm fine" she stated when I arrived at the hospital. After trying to remove the many tiny shards of glass and pieces of drywall from her hair, it was obvious that someone had to be the advocate here, and it was going to be me. As long as I could remain bossy to the doctors and the hospital staff, insisting they replace drugs that were not on their formulary with ones that were less sedating, constipating and other awful side effects, I was not upset. I knew that she would recover and that her injuries were not life threatening, and that made the whole thing less troubling for me.

Mom on morphine and other opioids was memorable. Calling the plastic surgeon, "Doogie Houser", because he looked like he was twelve years old was one classic moment. Yelling at uninvited, nosy, psychotic family members, to "GET THE FU%# OUT!" when they came to visit her out of sheer curiosity was another hysterical incident.

Her attitude throughout this whole ordeal has been, "Hey, I'm still alive." This is insanely heroic and realistic and I admire this outlook immensely. Although she is experiencing some post-trumatic stress at the six month mark here, her progress has been surprisingly accelerated.

I, like Cole am beyond thankful that my mom is still here to celebrate Thanksgiving and every other upcoming holiday and just because it's Wednesday and she is still around.