Chaos reigns

There are times when things slow down, when you start to take the quiet for granted again after maintaining the status quo for a while. That’s when, as when we found out my cancer is making a comeback, life tends to go off track again. When shit starts to hit the fan from every angle.

When I was first diagnosed 7 years ago, I started making contingency plans for everything. One of the big ones was to confirm with all my beautiful strong women friends that they would be here for SG and my girls should the worst happen. I have built this amazing community of friends who I know will look out for my family if and when I am not here to do it. That knowledge has given me so much peace in my darkest hours.

There’s only one problem. That means we have to still live here when I’m gone.

Two weeks ago SG found out the funding for his position at work is gone. Keeping him around puts the department in the red. After some rearranging of the budget, it looks like we may get one more year here but it’s just not good. He hasn’t slept in 2 weeks. I have gone from denial and anger to full on panic.

We may have to move. IF he can find another job. There are other plans they’re attempting to put in place to save him but I’m not holding out too much hope. It means we move and it means my contingency family support plan is shot to hell.

Now what?

When we moved here the girls were little. That’s the best time to make friends. Your children make friends and you meet the parents – because they’re tiny and you don’t trust just anyone to supervise playdates. Especially when it’s your precious firstborn entering kindergarten.  Every friend I have here, with the exception of some work colleagues and their wives, I met through my girls.

But now they’re older and you don’t bond with teenager parents the way you do when they’re little. I’m struggling with what to do when I meet new people, wherever we may end up. IF we move. I’ve got to hold out a tiny bit of hope right?

Do I join the PTA and open with:  “Hi, I’m Annie, I have cancer. Are any of you willing to maybe look out for my family when I die?”

Is that a little too forward?

Should I tone it down a little?

In the meantime, I’m thinking of crashing the meeting the dept. chair is going to have with the dean regarding SG’s job. Do you think, “if you fire him I die” is the wrong approach. Too much?

Afterall, my meds are $8,000/month. How the heck do we cover that if we lose insurance?

Obviously my plans are all works in progress. I’ll let you know what sort of brilliance I come up with.

It’s like the world exhaled

The quiet is overhelming this morning. When you’re surrounded by feet of snow, every sound is a little more muffled.

The dogs are sleeping, the snow is falling and the chaos of snow days has ended! Sure I still have one kiddo at home – the high school had a planned teacher work day – but she’s blissfully asleep as teenagers are known to be at 9:00am.

I thought that living in the rocky mountain west would eliminate things like “school closure due to extreme weather”. We didn’t have snow days growing up and we were at 5,000 feet elevation. We got seriously dumped on, on a regular basis. This past week’s storm though, was of epic proportion and the snow plows couldn’t keep up. School buses couldn’t get through, cars were stuck everywhere and people were skiing in the streets. Despite the constant shoveling it was pretty cool!

We ended up with two feet of the beautiful white stuff in our yard in a VERY short time. It’s gorgeous!!! Outside.

Inside was a different story. It was a constant stream of snow-covered boots, snowpants, mittens, hats and scarves thrown to the side as they came in the door. Pools of melted snow big enough to swim in took over our laundry room and found its way into the kitchen. Towels handed to them to wipe it up were thrown in the middle and soon became just another building block in our mountain of mess.

But it didn’t matter! A snow fort was built, sleds were dusted off and laughter was the constant background noise. Ok, so was arguing and me saying “please just shut the hell up for a few minutes” and “can you all please go back to school!!” But we survived and today I’ll deal with the mess. With the help of my still sleeping teenager. She’ll be so excited!

There was a moment in it all when SG, D1 and D3 were gone and I was tired and taking a little time to just sit and read.  D2 decided to go outside and when I looked out at her playing in the snow by herself, I thought “what the hell am I doing?”

I got up, put on my snow clothes, grabbed the igloo block makers and joined her. The smile on her face when she saw me almost brought me to tears. We spent the next 2 hours building a fort, falling back into snow banks and just enjoying the mountains of fresh snow everywhere. Together.

Too often I’m worn down and I think I’ll go outside “next time” or I’ll join in “a bit later”. Maybe it was the scan this week that made me think a little more that there might be fewer “next times” ahead. I don’t know what it was but I’m so glad I didn’t stay in and watch. She’s 11 and soon may be more interested in sledding with friends than hanging with me.

The enormous smile on her face was enough to remind me that NOW is when I need to be outside with her. Her genuine happiness when I joined her reminded me that today is what matters. The  joy of playing in feet of fresh snow in the sunshine is exponentially greater than the energy it requires. This is what builds the memories they’ll have long after I’m gone, even if I’m here for another 50 years.

So today while they’re back at school, I’ll put the house back together and watch even more snow fall – yesterday I had much more important things to do and now a bruise on my left butt cheek to prove it. I don’t know who put that damn jump in the middle of the sledding hill!

Today – I’m Pissed

You will be missed Chris Cavanaugh.

*warning – cancer rant ahead. I WILL be swearing!*

January 2006 – D1 (at age 9) lost a classmate to brain cancer. It started as leukemia when he was 18 months old. He was diagnosed with testicular cancer at age 6. Brain cancer at 9.

February 2006 – My insides blew up and tried to kill me. I was diagnosed with GIST

December 2006 – D1’s friend lost her mother to brain cancer

April 2009 – My pills stopped working. Had to tell the girls it was back.

Memorial Day 2009 – D1 went camping with a friend and her family. The mom had “allergy headaches”

June 12, 2009 – The mom died from a brain tumor

Last month – The father of D1’s bff since kindergarten went to the hospital. Diagnosed with multiple myeloma – still in the hospital on dialysis. Started chemo last night. He didn’t go to the dr. because they have no health insurance. It may be too late.

Monday – SG’s mom had breast cancer surgery. She starts radiation as soon as she recovers. Thankfully they found it early!!

Last night – Picked D1 up late from an out-of-town volleyball and had to tell her this:

Honey I’m sorry, but that sweet 14 yr old boy you’ve been friends with since 1st grade – the brother of D2’s friend – has leukemia.

What. The. Hell?!?

I am so tired of this. I am exhausted by the number of times I’ve watched D1 cry because of this damn disease! SHE’S 14! It’s too much.

I’m afraid to scan next week because I just can’t do this anymore. I can’t do it to them anymore. My heart is broken!

This fucking cancer has taken their smiles again. It’s broken their hearts too many times to count. The kids don’t understand. Hell, I don’t understand.

WHY? What has gone wrong in our world that so many people are facing the loss of their parents and children?

How do I explain and try to make sense of something to completely senseless? How do reassure my oldest daughter that it will be ok when I’m not convinced myself?

Why her? Why so much loss for her at such a young age?

Why am I having to promise her I’ll do my best not to be parent #3, or #4?

Why is that something we even keep track of?

Just why.

Nothing is more Funk-Free than a science fair!

Hey, you know how I was all poor me and my life sucks on Friday? Sorry about that and thanks for all the nice we love you and you can do this comments. I love you guys!  No really, I do. Thanks!!! You all rock!

SG knew the BS was getting deep around here so Saturday he said:

“You know what we should do babe?”

And I said:

“Tell me, oh wise one, what should we do? Does it involve a thong?”

But nooooo, he said:

“We should take the girls to the Science Circus at the high school today. I’ll buy you tater tots on the way home! The thong is optional.” Do you wonder why I love this guy?

So we went.

And we saw these:

Crickets

Covered in this:

Mmmm....chocolate

And I got one of these:

I'm so cool

Could my un-manicured hand look more deformed and swollen? Yes, that’s a leg sticking out of the chocolate. I ate it anyway because that’s just how cool I am. I passed on the garlic baked mealworms. Even I have limits.

I was going to show you the picture of the dissected fetal pigs but again, even I have limits so I’ll show you these guys instead. Pigs that were allowed to go beyond the fetal stage. They were much cuter!!

3 wks old

And lest you think we’re uncultured swine. Get it? Swine? Fetal pigs and baby pigs? Oh never mind. Here you go:

Jealous yet?

That’s right my NYC friends, we have musicals here in the boonies too!

Act I – Family, genus, species, that’s the way it goes.

That's right - organisms!

Act II – Albert Swinestein the genius pig.

Do you sense a theme?

But wait! That’s not all the excitement. We also had this:

A laser show. Set to music!

I’m not sure if you noticed but the screen in Lab Rats the Musical was filthy. I think it might be because of this:

Diet Coke & Mentos

SG tells me regular Coke works better. I actually knew this already because of the ants in our driveway last year after he did the same thing. Minus the kiddie pool.

But wait, there’s more. This is a series of pics so watch closely:

Really??

Balloon, duct tape, skewer. Hmm.

10 minutes later

 Ok, in their defense it was more shrinkable than poppable and yes, I do realize that the 2nd balloon is a different color. D3 wandered off so I tackled D2 and took a picture of her balloon as follow up instead.

 Now in case you’re starting to think your pain via pictures will end soon, you’re wrong. If I get to spend 3 fun-filled hours, yes THREE, so do you.  Hang in there, it might get better. Or it might not.
 
 
Have you ever wondered just how big those little absorbent pellets in disposable diapers will get? How much they’ll actually absorb? Neither have I, but here you go anyway:
300x original size!

 If I had known this, I would have just bought 1 diaper each!

And in case you DO leave the diaper this long. Here’s a way to make your house smell better:

Ivory soap in a microwave

 

It will make your home, and everything you cook, smell like soap for up to 3 days. You’re going to go buy some and try this aren’t you?

Oh, you know how winter can get really really long and all the snow can get you down? Here, try this. I dare ya!

It was cooler in the dark

I asked SG how they did that and I think he said something about methanol or methane. I don’t know, I wasn’t really listening. He might have farted then mentioned methane. Hey, I’m not the one with the Ph.d.
Now, if I may, one more picture before I go: (like you have a choice)
 
The Science Circus was a gift that will keep on giving. Who can stay in a bad mood when our little potato head will soon sprout a little grassy hairdo? Maybe they’ll let me give him a mohawk.
PS – I did get my tater tots.
PPS – I have no freaking idea how I screwed up all the spacing in this post but it’s far too long to battle with anymore. I’m as bored as you are.

I Think We Could Call This a Crabby Day

Well clearly it’s not my day. To the 4 of you who read yesterday’s post on search terms, we were robbed!

Today as I clicked on my stats page, not that I’m obsessive or anything, I glanced at the “search engine terms” section and was rewarded with this little gem:

“a picture of a doughnut on a cock”

REALLY???

The perv out there looking for a pastry covered penis couldn’t have searched a couple of days sooner?

Again, REALLY?

And since its crabby day here in chaosville, while I was fuming about what could have been search term gold, the phone rang.

It was the school secretary asking if D2 was home with me today. Uh, she got on the bus with D3 and she’s not marked absent. Did they drop her off at Starbucks?

Teacher error? I was told they’d call me back if she’s truly not there and that was 30 minutes ago. So it must be safe to assume she was in the bathroom when roll was taken? Do they not double-check these things?

It’s 4 below zero, I doubt she went for a walk!

Speaking of below zero, this is the song that started going through my head when I looked at the thermometer this morning. It may be the real reason I’m on edge.

I’ll leave you with the opening lines:

“Oh, it’s 40 below and I don’t give a f***, got a heater in my truck and I’m off to the rodeo.”

The biggest question: Why do I know this?

Tooth Tales

Wow, I don’t know what to write about first. Do I tell you how I killed the tooth fairy? Or how I sunk to a new low and played the cancer card at the pediatric dentist? Or maybe how SG called the tooth fairy names?

It’s a veritable smorgasbord orgasbord of bad parenting topics to cover this morning.

Let’s start with how I felt so guilty about forgetting to get the girls in for 6 month cleaning (it turned into an 18 month cleaning) that I immediately started making excuses for D2’s cavity when we walked into the dentist’s office.

They said “Good morning, how are you?”

And I said, “I’d have gotten her in sooner but I had 2 surgeries in 8 months and then I started a new drug that makes me really tired because well, I have cancer. Do you like my new headband? It covers my bald spots. You know, the ones I didn’t try to hide so I’d look worse? Did I mention I have cancer? Because I’d have totally gotten her here sooner if I was at all healthy. But I’m not.”

Lord knows what else I would have come with up had they actually commented on the delay in cleaning appointments. That was a new low but it worked. I may use it again.

Then, first thing this morning, D2 walked up to the kitchen counter, put her tooth fairy box with the tooth in it and said “You forgot to give me money”.

I said “No, the tooth fairy forgot. I’m sure it was the bad weather on the east coast because you know, she goes there 1st since it’s later. I’m sure she’ll make it up to you tonight!”

SG said “That tooth fairy is a stupid son-of-a-bitch!”

We’re classy parents that way. This is even better because he doesn’t ever swear around the kids.  But man, that damn tooth fairy really pissed us off.

In all honesty though, when our tooth fairy started giving scratch off lottery tickets, the gig was pretty much up.

I followed all this up by zoning out this morning when the kids were getting ready for school. I didn’t give D1 time updates to keep her moving – because you know, 14 yr olds can’t tell time on their own. Even with a nice watch on her wrist.

So by the time she was at the front door saying “mom, can you hand me my lunch box please?”, I had to say “I don’t think that’s going to buy you enough time. Your bus is at the corner.”

She tried to use  the tried and true “but I was making my bed just like you want me to” card. It doesn’t work as well as the cancer card.

It was a nice drive down in the fog.

I don’t know how June Cleaver did it.

Yeah That’s What I Needed, Another Time Suck!

Today’s post as well as all meals, laundry and other household chores are on hold.

I seem to have lost my soul to the Twitter Gods. When I retrieve it I will be back. I may be shaky and incoherent due to lack of sleep and/or food but I will return.

Please talk amongst yourselves.

Damn you people who told me I “needed” an account.

If you want to make sure I lose even more time? I’m @LostAnnie

Come follow me so then i can follow you and i have more people to keep track of, then i’m even more lost…yaddayaddayadda….you get the idea.

In Case My Knees Weren’t Ugly Enough Already

Close-up of one of User:dr.frog's figure skate...

Image via Wikipedia

You know how sometimes you think you have a really amazing idea but it turns out to be a little questionable in the end?

I asked for ice skates for Christmas and Santa came through. Then I had the bright idea that we should try them out after Christmas dinner.

They’re very cool comfy skates that look almost like tennis shoes on a blade. They are NOT your mother’s tight stiff figure skates! The only problem, they are figure skates and somewhere along the way I figured out that I’ve been wearing hockey skates more often than not when renting them at the ice rink.

The difference you ask? No toe thingies. I know there’s a name for them but who am I? Michelle Kwan? Why would I know this? Let’s just call them toe picks for lack of a better word. I’m talking about that spiky part on the front.

As I twirled my way around the outdoor, Zamboni free rink with all the ridges, bumps and snow, I realized I tend to drag my left foot a little. Not in a zombie, leg hanging off sort of way. More of a “damn, i keep catching my left toe pick” sort of way. It took away from the beauty and grace and I expect is the reason I never made the olympics.

Well that and I suck. Turns out arm flailing isn’t nearly as pretty as you’d suspect.

Still though, we had a great time and D3 even held my hand most of time. I’m not sure if she thought she’d fall or if I would. It didn’t matter. It was a nice temperature, it was snowing lightly and the lights on the rink made it seem kind of magical. I was looking around me thinking what a perfect night it was.

Until I decided to be a dork. I had the bright idea that I should pat my sister on the butt and take off. With my mad skating skills, why would I suspect it wouldn’t go as planned?

It didn’t.

I got the pat in and took off. Approximately 3 feet. Then my left toe pick caught. I flew through the air and did what would have been an impressive belly flop had I been in a pool.

Thankfully I’d taken my bra off before we left. It was dark and the underwires tend to rub on my scars (I should have started that with a TMI alert huh?). I say thankfully because my lack of bra gave me padding much farther down than I’d like to admit.

It did not however protect my knees. I know you were thinking it might but you really should be nicer to strangers!

I felt like Nancy Kerrigan after an afternoon with Tanya Harding! I hit my left knee cap and tops of  my thighs full force on the ice. My right knee caught just under the knee cap and I’m surprised the nearby hockey players weren’t able to use it for a puck. I certainly felt like it shot out my hip and across the ice. I’m so thankful it was dark so I can pretend the spectacle I made of myself wasn’t seen by all. Please play along.

The pain of hitting the ice with the full force of my considerable body weight almost made me pee, scream and use every swear word I know. And I know a lot! My mamma taught them to me. 

You’ll be proud to hear I refrained from the worst of them since I was surrounded by my kids, my  nephews and several other post holiday meal skaters. There was, however, a symphony of words under my breath that would have made any trucker proud to call me friend!

After my sister inspected the big divet I’d made and stopped laughing long enough to help me up, I hobbled to the car and took those damn things off. I swear I sat there 10 minutes before I caught my breath enough to even unlace them. 

I know I should have kept them on and gotten back on the proverbial frozen horse but it wasn’t happening. My left knee is still bruised and my right one is still swollen. I’d have given anything to be back in my stair free home instead of my parents’ house with their 13 steps between each floor!

I will eventually put my skates back on but you can bet I won’t be patting any butts anytime soon. Unless it belong to my handsome husband and he’s bringing me a hot chocolate with a little Grand Marnier in it.

Back Off Little Varmint!

Rodent

Image via Wikipedia

So now that I’ve told you I’m from Montana, I’m debating whether or not I should tell you D2 got bit by a squirrel today. I have this fear that you’ll all begin to suspect my family tree doesn’t branch or that I’m FB friends with the Unibomber.

But alright I’ll go ahead and tell you that it’s been one of those days. I left the house and left everything I needed on the counter. We were at the gym with no water bottles, D2 had her new remote control car but I left the controller behind, the car smelled like something crawled in the engine and died, and we were late to meet Science Guy.

When we got to the gym we found it full with a lunchtime pickup game so we headed across campus for snacks. Because well, doesn’t everybody substitute exercise with dark chocolate covered Rold Gold pretzels? D2 got peanuts and promptly wanted to find squirrels.

I’d like to preface the rest of the story with the fact that SG was the parent in charge at the time of the rodent assault.

I was still inside with the other two because D1 wanted to finish her ice cream before heading out into the -10 windchill. She’s difficult that way. SG said he’d take D2 with him and we’d meet him there.

Five minutes later they were back. D2 looked upset and yelled something that sounded a lot like, “MOM, the barrel shit my dingle!!”

What?? I don’t know if it was because I was crunching on my pretzels or what but that made absolutely no sense to me. Um, whose barrel did what and watch your mouth!

Then I saw the blood dripping on the floor and remembered she’d headed out with a sack full of peanuts. Oh….the squirrel bit your finger??

The little furry fucker drew blood!! Lots of it. Turns out she had a tiny peanut between the tips of her fingers and the squirrel missed and got her. Not sure what she was thinking or why there wasn’t any parental intervention. Did he really not see that coming??

She was then washed, rinsed, anti-bacterialized, and band-aided. I think she’s had all her rodent disease prevention shots but I’m keeping an eye on that finger anyway. It’s been cleaned several times since. I’m like Madge the Palmolive lady but with hydrogen peroxide.

In other news, SG reports she sent the offending rodent flying. She was so shocked and mad it bit her that she flung it full force off her finger and she’s strong! It was nowhere near her when it landed – on its feet – and ran away.*

I’m not sure if my little animal lover is done feeding the wildlife or not but you can bet she’ll be tossing food instead of feeding it out of her hand.  

* No rodents were harmed in the telling of this story but only because it got away before I could find it. And yes, I know we aren’t really supposed to be feeding the wildlife but it’s not like those morons in Yellowstone who try to feed and pet bears. You know, the dead morons? These are squirrels who are fed out of dorm windows. They’re tough little guys.

Chaos in the House of Chaos

Costumes and goodies and birthdays, OH MY!

I had poor planning skills early on in this motherhood thing. I had my darling firstborn on the afternoon of October 30th. I should have  known it was always going to make things a bit crazy when I couldn’t even get a freaking Motrin the morning after she was born. My cute little nurse in her bunny costume was too busy shaking her tail at hottie doctors to be bothered by new moms in pain.

It’s been chaos ever since but honestly, I kind of like it. I think I thrive on the craziness of last-minute costumes, school treats and a birthday all thrown together. I mostly love that this year we get a weekend to work it all out. Not sure I should admit that D1 made her own cookies to take to school today though. It’s Science Guy’s mom’s family recipe and I’ve cleverly managed to avoid ever making them. D1 has them perfected and she has a friend who shares her birthday and requested them. More power to her! My baby is 14 tomorrow – wow, just wow!

And because I still haven’t developed any sort of advance planning skills, I didn’t remember until Wednesday night that the younger 2 needed their costumes TODAY for school parties – not just for trick-or-treating on Sunday. I think I’d buried it in the dark corners of my mind. By the way, did you know you have to spend over 2 hours shopping just to find ONE sheet for a ghost costume? Just sayin’. If you have done it yet – forget it, you’re screwed!

SG is coming along to the 2 school parties so he can blow up pumpkins and check the students’ hair for werewolf DNA. He sort of rocks that way! He can also help keep my medicated brain on track. Right now I’m hooked up to an IV of caffeine and eating a Toaster Strudel because I also need to finish birthday shopping this morning. It would be helpful if I could develop some organizational skills. I should also stop rambling and shower. I should definitely shower.

Wish me luck!