This past weekend I spent time with a great friend and her husband.
Susan has been my friend since high school. She is Son2’s godmother. We’ve been to functions with each other’s families and friends. She was the one I thought would never get married. She always said that she didn’t want kids of her own, even though she doted on her nieces, nephews and godchildren. She surprised nearly everyone who knows her when, after six months, she married a guy she met in a bar.
We had a chance to meet Tom at Son2’s graduation party in 2004. He was a tall bruiser of a guy who looked even taller beside Susan’s five foot body. He was an ex-Marine who still worked out and wore the “high and tight”. This guy was damn good looking! He was a cop, a very large, imposing cop. Eventually, life got in the way of visits. It was difficult, between work schedules, kids and family obligations to carve out time for simply ‘hanging out’. Phone calls filled the void….calls that lasted hours, even though each of us hated talking on the phone.
Our New Year’s call brought tragic news.
Tom has brain cancer and was given three to six months to live.
We tried all summer to make time. When we had time, they didn’t. When we had time, Tom wasn’t up to it. It was so hard. Finally the stars aligned this weekend. I was a bit nervous when I considered the fact that “three to six” was nearly up. Hubs said that no matter what came up, we were going to the mountains to see them.
Friday night we drove up to the Poconos to their home and it seemed like no time had passed. This was the longest time that Hubs had spent with Tom. They were like two peas in a pod. They had a great time together. I don’t remember ever seeing Hubs so freaking chatty! They talked about politics and sports and work. Susan and I caught up as women always do. We caught up on each other’s families, looking at pictures and non-stop laughter and reminiscing. The difference was Tom. He seemed several inches shorter. He legs stuck out of his shorts as spindly little twigs. His face was bloated by steroids. But his laugh was still robust. His mind sharp as a tack. He was embarrassed by the body that has betrayed him.
Susan has always been the most laid back, no worries type of person. The Susan I spent time with, was anxious, jumpy. She made sure Tom took his meds. She got nervous when Tom nearly tripped over the dog, thinking it was his balance. We had stayed up quite late on Friday night, and Tom napped late Saturday afternoon. Susan checked on him several times. She had been told that when the end was near, Tom would sleep more and more.
This is what my friend’s life has become. It was NORMAL to nap when we had stayed up. It was NORMAL to trip over a huge German shepherd. Instead each event has become a ‘symptom.’
We celebrated Saturday. It was Tom’s “death day”. It was the official day that the doctor’s claimed he would never see. We celebrated by bar hopping and watching the Phillies game. Susan gave him a gift….a banjo. He has said frequently that he wanted to learn how to play. She found a guy at their local VFW who will teach Tom to play. The joy on his face was beautiful to behold.
Saying goodbye was so hard. Will we be able to see him again before things get bad? I truly hope to. All I know is that when the end comes, we will drop everything to hold Susan up when she needs us.
You weathered many obstacles and no doubt will continue to do so. Rain my have caused your beach wedding to move indoors, but you were in the shelter of the love of family and friends. Nature cannot stop love. “What God has joined together, let no one put asunder”
This weekend my Hubs and I drove to North Carolina to witness the union of Blondeblogger and her sweetheart Boobtubious.
First of all, I made sure I had a new dress to wear on the beach. Because it was a beach wedding, I made sure to take my flats and flipflops for dancing in afterwards. I was prepared. New shoes, dress, jeans for pre-wedding dinner night, and a new hoodie (with no stains!) I have never been so excited about wearing a dress.
The ride down was not as unbearable as I had expected. Hubs and I saw a few cool things, like the origin of the Chesapeake Bay and the tunnel bridges that were incredible. Midway across the bridge I realized that I was totally surrounded by water. Kinda scary!
After a beautiful day of driving in the bright sunshine and hot sun, we got to the wedding house just in time for the wind to kick up. I’m not talking about a nice, cool sea breeze, I am talking about blow-the-chairs-across-the-deck and brace-yourself wind. Clouds and rain came along with it and like a bout of the flu, the rain hung around……for the entire weekend. So much for the wedding on the beach. and so….the wedding moved indoors.
Talk about a beautiful wedding! I can’t remember ever seeing a more happy union of two families. The kids all love each other. They love their new parents. And they loved meeting mom and dad’s blogger friends. It was like we had known them all forever. Before the wedding, I watched as Boobtubious helped N. check her blood sugars and give her an insulin shot. The gentleness of this man with the little girl who was to be his stepdaughter was so touching. I watched as Blondeblogger laughed and joked with her new stepkids. K genuinely likes to spend time laughing and dancing with her new stepmom. J said that he had never seen his dad so happy and was glad that his dad chose a woman that everyone loved.
I was honored that my ‘sister’ wanted me there on this special day. I was honored that I witnessed the love that she shares with this man. I was blown away to see the unabashed loved that is shared by all eight of this unique family.
***It was so cold that I ended up wearing jeans to the wedding. Yes, jeans. Someone get married in the summer so I can wear my new damn dress!!!
***Boobtubious told his daughter that they were planning a surprise of 150 trained dolphins that were to jump out of the ocean into a heart shaped arch upon the completion of the vows. She believed him. It was a funny joke and she took the teasing like a champ. But I’d still kinda like to see something like that. If anyone figures out how to do that, let me know.
***Lastly….Thank you Blondeblogger, for keeping your cool. You were the center of attention with grace and beauty. Thank you. No one needed to see my boobies hit my knees.
As I looked through the archives to see if I had any new insights into 9/11, I noticed two things. One, my insights haven’t changed. Two, I always seem to be down with a major allergy flareup.
This year is no different.
First off, after a lot of the storms blew through here, we had some yard work to do. No damage to the house, thank God, but lots of debris strewn through the yard. Son2 was doing gutter work, Hubs was handling the bigger branches and I was on rake duty. After about half an hour, with three quarters of the yard done, I was suddenly tired. Like SUDDENLY. My legs were shaky, my arms were too. I wanted to drop the rake. Afraid that it was my back, I stopped doing everything and went into the house to lie down.
After awhile, I felt normal again and took a shower, a few ibuprophen and then relaxed for the rest of the night.
The next day, my arms and legs still felt tired. I got up got dressed and moved to the couch….
where I stayed for the next three days.
Yep, three days. I called the doctor and he told me to stay put and just keep taking the ibuprophen and sleep. Apparently this is something that is happening in this area. Nothing to pinpoint, it just goes away in a couple of days. But in the meantime, every joint in my body hurt. My muscles felt clenched and even my jaw felt like I was constantly grinding my teeth. It was the worst, but thankfully, it passed.
Only for me to get hit with allergies. The rains have kicked up the mold in the yard and now I have the sneezing, runny nose and sore throat. I am on day four and my Zyrtec has done a bang up job on drying up the faucet known as ‘nose’.
I need a day or two on a beach with friends, and love, and drinks…..
Oh, yeah! I’m heading to North Carolina for BlondeBlogger’s wedding! I’ll be seeing Poppy, Bubblewench and others!! So see that sentence up there about the day or two on the beach? I”M GOIN’!!
Labor Day. A time to reflect on all those who have built this country on the sweat of their brows and strength of their backs. A time to thank God that you have a job when so many do not. And of course, a time to spend with family and friends at a BBQ or at the shore….good food, cold drinks, and great times.
It is holidays like this that make me miss my in-laws the most.
They were the ones with the biggest yard, most parking and two bathrooms. Mom and Dad’s house was the place for everyone to stop in to say hello and end up staying because someone would offer to light the grill. Tom1 and Tom2 would offer to cook the food. The ‘sisters’ would offer to make salads and whatever. Nieces and nephews would show up with wading pools, water guns, bubbles etc, and most importantly…..the horseshoes.
Children’s laughter would ring out. The clank of horseshoes followed by the men yelling over whether it was a ringer or not. The women would compare recipes, discuss school schedules, or just bitch about their husbands. Since we lived four doors away, and another sister was next door to us, the kids would run up and down the block, and play stickball in the street, or get juice and snacks away from their mom’s watchful eyes.
Now, with Mom and Dad gone, the house is owned by my SIL. She loves family too, but is impatient with babies. She would like everyone to visit, but please go home after an hour. I understand that. Hubs is much the same way. For a while, BBQs were held at another sister’s house, but then the kids became young adults with kids of their own. Her house just couldn’t handle the number of people.
Besides, it isn’t the same.
Mom and Dad aren’t there. Dad isn’t nodding off on the couch. Mom isn’t complaining about the footprints left by the kids or the bugs getting into the house. She had a way of doing that was a million laughs to imitate. It was always a welcoming time. If you had plans, you just didn’t show up. If you didn’t have anything to do, someone would be there to hang out with. Kids would bring their friends…..all of which called them ‘Grandmom and Grandpop”.
We could do it all today. Have a party full of people, food and drink. We’d laugh and have a great time.
And we’d miss Mom and Dad…..even after four years.
Saturday was Shenanigan’s baby shower. Lemme say from the getgo that this was an incredible event thrown by her sister. Because Shenanigans never had a baby shower for Jazzy, this was the opportunity for Jamie to go all out. She did the food, the decorations and had several games planned for the guests…..around 50 of us….in a small house and back yard….in the heat. Despite the weather and crowd, it was awesome and everyone had a very good time.
Shenanigan was surprised….truly surprised. This is no small feat because she is the type of person who needs to every single little detail of things and never likes for plans to go awry. Everyone did a great job of hiding things from her and even son was quiet. She went to lunch with a friend, during which she received a call from Jazzy who told her that she was at grandmom’s with a bloody nose. They jumped into the car and raced there to SURPRISE!
After the food, she started to open her gifts, and Son1 arrived to watch. He stood in the back of the crowd and just looked at her, smiling. A few minutes later he came over to me and put his arm around me. I looked at him to see tears in his eyes. I asked what was up.
“Just look at her, mom. She is so happy. I’m just a little overwhelmed with all of this. Look! We got everything we wanted and then some. All of these people are here because they love us! This is just filling up my heart.”
To hear these words from my son made me emotional too. I always knew he was a sensitive guy, but never realized the depth of his heart. Later he drove me home and it was just the two of us. I asked if fatherhood seemed more real to him now that he had tangible items to prove it.
“Oh yeah. It scares the shit out of me. I mean, you saw how I was at the shower. How will I handle watching Shenanigans in so much pain, knowing that I can’t do anything for her? I hate when she gets upset, so how will I deal with her hurting?”
“You will hold her hand, and rub her back, and listen to her scream. You will tell her that you love her, and that she is beautiful. That is about all that you can do. Afterwards, that is what she will remember.”
My son looked at me and said,”Thanks mom. So…are you going to the Union party later?”
And with that, the subject was changed.
I keep replaying this conversation over and over in my head. I have done a good job with this kid. He is responsible. He is solid. He is a man who is now ready to be a father, not just a dad. He has shown his true colors. Compassionate, sympathetic, gentle, and most of all, loving. Not only does he feel love for others, but he can see the love that he receives from others.
He didn’t only receive gifts for his child, he received the gift of actually seeing the love that flowed from his family, his friends, his extended family.
Most of all, I received the gift of seeing his love for this young woman who will give him the greatest gift of his life…..a son.
Summer is such a lazy time. The heat slows things down to a slow crawl and my head is no exception. There is no inspiration these days. Life is good. Things are moving along but there is nothing truly blog-worthy. I’ve been dating my husband, seeing movies, spending time alone and such.
However, August is upon me and with it comes a full calendar. The baby shower for Son1 and Shenanigans is coming this weekend, as well as a party/event that involves my beloved Philadelphia Union. Saturday will be long but worth a post or two. Immediately following that, I’ll be headed off to the beach for a much anticipated week. Beyond that, we will be preparing for Babygirl to head off to college again.
Two big events are also looming on that horizon. One is the wedding of my dear ‘twin’. She is marrying a friend from grade school whom she met at one of our mini-reunions. I am very excited and happy for both of them. The other is the wedding of BlondeBlogger. I will be travelling to North Carolina for the ceremony and am taking Hubs. Once more, this will be blog worthy.
And so, I just wanted to let y’all know that I have not fallen off the face of the earth. I am just trying to stay chill in all of this weather from hell. I hope you all are cool as well.
Seven years. Two kids. Wonderful husband. Then why am I here?
These thoughts swirled in my head as I sat in my car parked across the street from the hotel. Round and round they went on a loop. I truly love my husband. I don’t want to jeopardize this. My kids…oh God, my kids. I love them fiercely.
I feel like a shadow of myself. I clean my house, wipe snot off the kids, cook for them all. My husband thanks me and never fails to kiss me goodbye or say “I love you” when he leaves the house. But sometimes I feel like he doesn’t see me. As if we are going through the motions.
The red car pulls up and he moves easily to the hotel door. As he unlocks the door, I watch. He is beautiful. My heart skips a beat and I feel a flush of desire infuse me. He looks into my eyes when we speak. He laughs at my jokes. He tells me that I make a difference in his day. I miss that with my husband.
I start the car and the radio is playing Bruce Springsteen…”Hey little girl is your daddy home? Did he go and leave you all alone? Ooooh I’m on fire…”
I park my car next to his and look into the mirror. I run my fingers through my hair, touch up my lipstick. I join him in the room.
He kisses me. Possesses me. His tongue devours mine, greedily. His hands, ever gentle, leave a trail of fire on my skin. He removes my clothes and his own and then….Oh God…and then….
I feel strange in my own skin. I allow things that I would normally shy from. I am wanton in my desires. All thoughts of family and spouse are gone. I am needed, I am wanted, I am the only thing in this man’s universe…for now. He is the only thing in my world….at this moment.
I must leave. The kids will be home from school soon.
I feel dirty, used. What happened to the feelings of ‘worth’? I feel guilty and tell him so. This won’t happen, CAN’T happen again. I love and need my family more.
I close the room door and wipe the tears of shame from my eyes.
I start the car to leave and the radio is playing “Careless Whisper” by Wham!
“I should have known better than to cheat a friend
And waste the chance that I’d been given
So I’m never gonna dance again
The way I danced with you”
I drive through the traffic, to return to my life, my home….
Once upon a time, I had a date with a girl. Her name was Becky (aka Hellohahanarf) She had a smile that lit up the room and a laugh that bubbled up from her toes. For the chance to be with her for just one night, I traveled across the state of Pennsylvania to the city of Pittsburgh. The things that Miss Becky showed me changed the way I look at churches, beer, and lego people.
Bubblewench and I drove for a whole day. That particular day began with rain….it was the tail end of the tornado storms that had raged through the midwest at the end of April.
We arrived at our hotel which also happened to be where the NRA were holding their convention. (“Are you here for the gun show?” “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours…!”) The hotel room was awesome but we barely had time to check in before the phone call came for us to cross the parking lot and join Becky at her job. She showed us where she works her magic by day:
Apparently her job is high stress because she makes sure that the office is stocked with clear fluids.
She took us through the building and introduced all of the suckers hard working employees who were still there past 4pm on a Friday afternoon. She even showed us the desk where all the important work gets done:
After our tour, we freshened up and Becky came to get us. She took us to the place that all good girls should go – to Church. This place was incredible and the hummus was huminahuminagood! Becky even got a motorboat in church! Then we met up with her friend Young William and his friend Alfredo. We had tons of laughs and headed to the Hofbrauhaus where the crowd was kinda young.
The highlight of the night for me, however, was the trip to see the skyline. The view was amazing.
One thing we noticed, is that Pittsburgh is full of easily found businesses. We saw the “Food Store” “The Deli” “the Italian Bread Place” and even ate in “Eggs R Us” (and for some reason, the pictures of that great diner are missing)
Let me tell you, if you are ever in Pittsburgh, hook up with Becky. She loves her hometown and is chock-full of interesting trivia that you won’t get on any other type of guided tour. She made me and Bubblewench feel like VIP visitors to her town. I wish we had had more time to stay and visit, but she crammed so much into the few hours we spent with her. I can’t wait to visit again.
Thanks Becky. You’re the best Becky in Beckyland!!
The dinner party was okay. I looked good, didn’t fart or swear, and only had one glass of wine. That’s all I’ma say ’bout that.
Now, onto NoVa Con.
A group of bloggers gathered in Chantilly, VA this weekend. I rode down with Bubblewench, Bellaventa, and Libragirl. As soon as we pulled up to get Bella and Libra, the shenanigans began and they didn’t end until some time on Sunday. I laughed so much that I hope I managed to burn more than a couple of calories!
We got there, checked into our room and headed off to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. We saw lots of airplanes and such and I was more impressed with the trip than I thought I was going to be. We went to a store for alcohol and to eat lunch and then back to the hotel for cocktails, showers and naps.
The naps never happened.
After showers, Ren called and said “Hey, let’s hang out!” And with that, NoVa Con was on. CissaFireheart also wanted to hang out and so they both came to our room and we got our drink on. We took pictures, shared lots of laugh and then there was a knock on the door. BlondeBlogger and her man Matt were there! Yay! I have waited for what seemed to be a lifetime to hug my ‘soul sister’ and at last the moment was here. We hugged and in the middle of such a group of folks, I would find myself just looking at her, drinking up the sight of her and storing away mental pictures and memories of her beautiful laughter. A pint of tequila, some rum and cherry vodka later……..
Dinner time came so fast, but that only meant MORE bloggers! We met with Poppy and Dawg (and Mrs Poppy’s Mom, and a few of Cissa’s friends) We went to one of those Japanese restaurants where they cook at your table. It was incredible. Mr. Shiny joined us and I have to say, he gives great hug. Whall was there via Skype on Ren’s ipad and we passed him around to say hello. As the ipad got to the end of the table, a shout went up….
Whall was with us! He had been in DC since Thursday and Ren had managed to keep it under wraps. No one-and I mean no one-had a clue that he was actually in town. It was the best prank ever.
After closing the restaurant, everyone went back to our suite. We all hung out on the fold out bed laughing, talking and causing mayhem. The group of young kids in the suite next door was bothered by OUR noise. We were told “Think of the children” when their chaperones scolded us! We called SybilLaw and left a great voice mail. And we took pictures……lots and lots of pictures…..
Things finally broke up and we promised to meet the next day for breakfast and shopping.
Unfortunately, NoVaCon had to come to an end. Some went on to a kite fest, others (us) went shopping and GeoCaching and still others got a jump on the traffic and began their way home. It was the best time ever, full of great friends, great times and great food and drink. It went so well that we are planning on making this an annual celebration. Keep this time of year clear on your calendar so that you can join us in 2012!
Last Monday, Hubs came home from work with a scrape on the bridge of his nose. This is a normal thing when he is using his CPAP machine when he goes to bed. However, he hasn’t been using it lately due to the head colds that are making the rounds of our family. Babygirl happened to notice it and she asked what happened. “I don’t know. I probably just scratched it wiping spider webs out of my way.” This is a normal thing too. (So no bells and whistles are going off although, hmmm….it’s odd for someone not to know how a scrape the size of a dime got on the middle of their face…..)
And so….end of conversation….
Flash forward to Sunday night. We did our usual get-ready-for-the-week planning. You know-what jobs need to be done, what bills to pay, what appointments are coming up, etc. He put some paperwork into his office and came back out. “Hey, if we get anything from “P” Hospital, let me know.”
We have no reason to go to “P” Hospital. It isn’t local. No one’s been sick or had an emergency. Maybe for a work contract?
“Remember the scrape I got last week? Well…..”
He proceded to tell me about looking at a job. He had pulled down a ladder to the attic area and a two-by-four had slid out, hitting him on the bridge of his nose. He fell backwards and through a sheet of drywall. According to him, he was looking up one minute and waking up to smelling salts the next! The home-owner insisted that he go to the hospital to be checked out. (He had a slight concussion) The homeowner also drove him home in his work truck and parked in our driveway. (I sortof remember seeing this, but just assumed that Hubs was talking to someone that he knew who pulled into the driveway to chat.)
“WHY THE FUCK DIDN’T YOU TELL ME???? YOU ASS!!! ”
He couldn’t understand why I was upset. I remembered how he didn’t want to go grocery shopping, how he stayed home on Tuesday, and how he gave Son1 a day of work. He was under doctor’s orders to take it easy for the next few days. His excuse was that he didn’t want to upset Babygirl when she asked him about the scrape. His excuse was that he didn’t want me to worry.
This is my biggest fear. More than spiders or fire, I fear that something will happen to him at work, rendering him incapacitated or God forbid-worse. Of course he didn’t want me to worry, but knowing what the problem was, I would have watched him carefully and gotten past it. Now, I find myself second-guessing the way I look at him.
How could I not see that he was keeping something from me? I kind of did, but like him, I didn’t want to push it in front of Babygirl. But why didn’t I ask him again later? When he stayed home from work, he claimed a sinus headache. Since I’ve been battling one for weeks, I accepted that. But why didn’t I say more when he wouldn’t take anything for it?
I stayed up the other night wondering if I have become complacent in our relationship. I always thought that I never take him for granted. Well, maybe I do. Maybe I just need to tweak my game. In the past few days, I look into his eyes more. I find myself listening ‘harder’ when he talks to me. When he sneaks up behind me to kiss my neck, I let it linger, even though I’m cooking or folding laundry.
I always considered the ‘little things’ to be important. Now I know that the ‘tiny things’ are important too.