Sometimes you’re the bug.

Sometimes you’re the bug’s asshole.

For months now, my mother’s been complaining of back and ass pain. She was convinced it was a muscle pull in her ass. The rest of us were convinced it was her back. Of course, she did not seek medical attention for this.

You see, my parents have some sort of fucked up frontier mentality when it comes to seeking medical help. They’ll more or less let themselves get to the point of collapse or loss of limb before they go see a doctor. My brother and I, on the other hand, go see doctors when we’re sick. As a result, we’ve been labeled as weak and this is brought up as yet another reason why we had daughters; I’m not man enough to raise sons.

At times like this, JewelrySlut likes to remind me that nothing about my family or my upbringing was normal or healthy. I used to laugh comments like that off, but I now realize how right she was. My family is a mess.

Back to my mother’s ass:

So, by last week, it was so bad that she couldn’t walk. She was in serious pain. In addition, she had a lovely stomach virus that’s tearing through the collective asshole of The Triangle.

By Wednesday, my father got her an appointment with an orthopedist. Said doctor would review the MRI taken on CHRISTMAS EVE!

Yup…seriously fucked up disk. Surgery time!

So, on Friday evening, my mother had back surgery and wouldn’t you know it, but her ass and legs and back feel better.

So, the good news is that my mother’s going to be able to be more or less pain free now.

Here’s the bad news and how it impacts us.

We’re fucked and I’m pissed about it.

**Momentary background**
JewelrySlut and I are tired. We’d like just a few days, or even a few hours, away from the kids. As she says “For a little while, I’d like to be someone other than Mommy”. We haven’t had any time to ourselves in nearly 6 years. I know that this is a part of parenthood, but everyone gets a little time, don’t they?

Shmuppie was home for 5 weeks and was cranky for 4 1/2 of them.
Moo got sick right after Christmas.
We had last week’s puke parade.
I was sick on Thursday and Friday with the stomach flu.
Last night, Shmuppie broke out in hives and swelled up like a balloon. The por kid is missing her 3rd day of school in 2011 today.
It’s supposed to ice tonight. This will cause another 3 weeks of school cancellations.
The whole “father in law’s health is deteriorating” thing is really kicking into gear. It’s not “if” he’ll move to a facility at this point; it’s “when”.
JewelrySlut is turning 40.

The last one isn’t a bad thing, but it’s an event. Her birthday trip started out some time ago as a week in Aruba. Then, we had Moo. Then, it became a long weekend up in NJ with ChurchBomber and MerlotMan. Well, we killed that 2 weeks or so ago because we could see all the shit that was heading towards our fan.

We’d decided to go to Asheville for a weekend, stay in a nice hotel, and just chill.

Well…now that’s not happening.

Now, am I mad because my mother had surgery and can’t lift Moo? No…that’s not it. I’m happy she had the surgery and will be getting better. Am I FUCKING FURIOUS that, a few days after we would have gone away, she’ll be well enough to get on a plane for 2 weeks in Maui?

You bethca.

We need to save our strength and heal up for our vacation. I’m not sure how one can be well enough to sit on a plane for the better part of a day and not be well enough to care for a grandchild, but that’s the case.

So, JewelrySlut and I will be home…yet again. Yes, we’re acting selfish, but dammit, we want a weekend away from the mess. We’ll try again in late February, but I’m sure that will also fall to shit when one of my parents’ dogs gets a hangnail and needs full time nursing care or some bullshit.

PS: Before I posted this, JewelrySlut and I had this very discussion. It’s not that we’re pissy that she had surgery…it’s quite the opposite. We’re pissy that every effort will be made to ensure that she can go to Hawaii (Even if, as JewelrySlut said, she needs to be administered epidurals on the tarmac at RDU and upon arrival in Maui) because, in the end, that’s what’s important.

Go away if you’re squeamish

Obviously, life changes when you’re a parent. Uh-doy.

But, let’s talk about sleep. You start off, after the baby is born, sleeping whenever you can. Once the baby starts sleeping, you wake up every time he/she sneezes, moves, coughs, farts, etc. These noises, of course, are all signs that your baby is deathly ill and will cause you to not sleep as a result.

Then they move down the hall. Now, you don’t hear every cough and fart, but most of them. No matter how deeply asleep you are; you hear it.

CREAK!

Shmuppie’s door opened. The 3 bedroom doors upstairs all stick somewhat, so JewelrySlut and I have excellent early warning detectors. We heard a creak and I shot awake.

You know when you wake up sometimes from what’s obviously been a deep sleep and you have to really stare at the clock to decipher the rune-like symbols on it? Yea…that was this morning.

My brain churned for a few seconds and came up with 1:48 as the answer. Awesome…

Despite her ninja skills, I can usually hear her if she’s making her way to our door. I didn’t hear said sounds so I drifted back to sleep.

“OOMPH”

JewelrySlut and I are now sitting up in bed. I stumbled out of bed and went out into the hallway. The bathroom door was open and the light was on.

“Shmuppie? Are you O…?”

There was a lake of vomit on the floor outside the bathroom.

So…we had a problem on our hands. I went back to our room and more or less stood in one place while my brain tried to wake up. I suspect it looked a lot like me when I’m trying to start the leaf blower.

“Set the lever halfway between the rabbit and the turtle…remind self to look up what ‘choke’ means on Wikipedia some day, pump the little thing…pull the string 47,000 times”

That was my brain. I knew we had a situation in the hallway that needed cleaning, but I lacked the mental capacity to determine how. I knew I needed rags but my brain could not process where to get them. YES! The linen closet! They’re in a bag on the floor! “Way to go, Brain!”

JewelrySlut was now up and had thrown on some clothes. I was still in my drawers. She hurdled the lake and went into the bathroom where Shmuppie was standing in her pajama top. Only her top. I started scooping up puke while JewelrySlut cleaned Shmuppie up and assessed the bathroom. It was not good. The child had somehow managed to puke her way from the hallway to the bathroom, hitting everything in sight EXCEPT the toilet or garbage can.

We sent Shmuppie back to her room to get new PJ’s as we tackled the mess. I was so happy that I had made those green beans with the nice bright orange sauce made from those cute little orange cherry tomatoes.

(To self)
“Well…this isn’t too bad. At least it doesn’t…”

(Out loud)
“Oh God…there’s the smell”

YAY! It’s 2:00AM and the upstairs now smells like industrial waste. We scooped up the chunks off the rug, cleaned the walls, doors, baseboards, ceiling, vanity, bathtub, car, etc. JewelrySlut went outside to throw away the puke rags. I put a towel over the mess and gathered stuff from the bathroom.

(Back story)
On December 31, Shmuppie was excited because I could no longer call her “Pee Pants”. I had told her in January of 2010 when she wet her bed that as long as she kept that up, I could call her “Pee Pants” for the rest of the year. December 31 meant that the statute of limitations was up…until she peed herself again.
(End story)

I gathered up the bathmats and her Pajamas from the bathtub (where JewelrySlut had tossed them).
(Entering Shmuppie’s room)
“You shit your pants, didn’t you?”
Yes…we are not candidates for Parent of the Year by any means.
“Yes”
“HA! I win!”
I got a weak smile from that comment…she knew what was coming as a result…another year of abuse from me.

JewelrySlut took the underpants outside and I started the laundry. There’s nothing as refreshing as starting the laundry at 2:00AM.

We all went back upstairs and back to bed. Needless to say, Shmuppie is home from school today.

We have a few issues here.
1: She’s on a strong antibiotic for strep throat
2: The ladies spent Sunday at my parents’ house, babysitting my mother who had pulled her ass…AND…had a stomach virus.
3: Shmuppie never seems to have a good ability to sense what’s coming. I can’t tell you how many near-accidents there are in this house because she forgets to go to the bathroom until the train is leaving the station. Last night was a perfect example. She waited too long and ended up missing the target…from either end.

I’m going to go upstairs now and fire up the carpet cleaner. Wish me luck.

Hi…miss me?

When I went upstairs, Moo was sitting at the table, happily munching on a pancake…in different pajamas?

“Yea…when I went upstairs to wake your daughter, I found her covered in vomit”

Oh shit…it’s gonna be like that, isn’t it?

I’m tired and my head hurts

Go to hell.

Not much has been going on lately. Shmuppie spent last week on a cruise ship in the evil clutches of my mother. They got back late Sunday/early Monday after their train (??!?!?) broke down somewhere outside Rocky Mount, NC. Yes, they took the train home because they didn’t want to buy plane tickets home and my father didn’t want to drive up to MD to get them. I’ll never understand them. Now, Shmuppie is home and she refuses to talk to us about her trip (or anything for that matter).

“How was the trip?”
“Can we just talk about it tomorrow?”

I so look forward to a week on St John with her. Speaking of which…we’re 4 1/2 weeks or so away from the trip. I’ve done little planning.

Chicken (who I think I will start calling Moo) is crawling. She’s also got a taste for power cords. That’s fun. She likes to eat them, and anything else that comes within 7-feet of her head.

5 years ago yesterday, we bought a little house in NC and started this adventure. I guess it would be more meaningful for me if I’d spent all 5 years here. I did some ciphering and figured out that I’ve spent an entire year not here since we moved here. That’s fun!

As overheard last week while JewelrySlut and I only had one child:

Me: Would you like me to go get you a piece of fruit tart?
JewelrySlut: Yes, but come kiss me first…a lover’s kiss.
(Rolls eyes)
JewelrySlut: You can touch my boobies if you want.
(Sprints over, pulls up tank top, awkwardly fondles while kissing)
JewelrySlut: What the hell was that?
Me: I don’t know. The angle was all wrong. I hate to say it, but that was wholly unsatisfying.
JewelrySlut: It was. You could have said ‘no’.
Me: Say ‘no’ top boobies? Inconceivable.
JewelrySlut: I do it all the time.
Me: And I’ll never be able to understand how.

Some time later…

Me: Do you want more fruit tart? (We’d skipped dinner and were just having dessert)
JewelrySlut: Sure
Me: You have a choice; the piece with more fruit or the end. Mind you, the piece with more fruit comes with a piece of kiwi. And we all know that kiwi fruit is the bonus surprise to any fruit tart experience.
JewelrySlut: You should be writing this down.

In other news, Chicken had a cold last week. Now JewelrySlut and I have a cold. We both feel like shit, have a moody 8 year old in the house, and a reinvigorated 10 month old. We’re both feeling, looking, and acting like the walking dead.

4 1/2 more weeks. I keep telling myself it will be OK. Shmuppie will behave and ChurchBomber and MerlotMan will still want to be our friends after this. They’ve never spent that much time with Shmuppie, and if yesterday is any indication of future behavior, they’ll never speak to us again. Shmuppie starts school in 3 weeks. Maybe they’ll whip her into shape before the trip. Though, Js is SUPER EXCITED to be doing homework while on vacation. Because, it’s normally so much fun at home!

That’s it for me…for now.

People of a certain age

I’m not really old. I just act like I am and certainly feel like I am. I blame the business travel. The past 5 years aged ne like 30. In any event, I’m getting older. We all are.

But, lately, it’s hit home. Within the past 6 days, 2 people I knew died. Both were older than I am, but neither by much. One was a former neighbor in NJ who was also a coworker of JewelrySlut. He was a nice guy and helped us out from time to time whenever one of our cars would be dead and JewelrySlut needed a ride to work.

The other was an “internet friend”. Did I know him personally? No. But, through a website or 2, I got to enjoy his wicked sense of humor.

Now, 2 of my contemporaries have passed. It’s sobering I guess. I managed to avoid death for a lot of my life. I’ve really only had 3 people I cared about in any meaningful way pass away. I’ve only been to 3 funerals. Not a bad stretch of luck for 35 plus years. But, it’s coming. Sure, people in their 40′s don’t usually die, but it certainly happens to people in their 40′s more than it does to people in their 30′s. Is it something you have to mentally prepare yourself for when you reach a certain age? MA I getting close to that age? am I already there?

As usual, I have no point, but, I’ll add this. For the 2nd person, a sort of “living wake” took place over at The Forum. To say the very least, it was touching. Few of us island geeks have met in person, but we’re a tight little community of borderline alcoholics and obsessive compulsives. Mr. B was one of us, and getting to watch the memories pour forth over the weekend and then the “RIP’s” this morning was special. It brought a tear to my eye and, as we all know, I’m a hardened asshole.

I don’t know…no point as usual, but it’s funny how so many of us now count among our friends people we’ve never met and, quite possibly, never will. But, we’re all friends somehow. And, I kinda lost 2 recently.

And, lastly…cancer fucking sucks.

Whine whine whine

Yea…I know. I got me a little pal up in Connecticut who’s saying I don’t write enough.

It’s true. I tried to write daily after Chicken was born and that failed miserably.

I have 2 problems:

1: Typing, for me, if hard. Anyone who’s spent any time here knows that fact. Not only can I barely type, but I do it poorly. Pounding out 1000 words takes me a long time. I think a lot faster and if I had a machine that could transcribe my thoughts, I’d have a fucking book deal by now. But, instead, I get stuck with my stupid fingers and can’t get anything written. Good excuse, no?

2: I’ve been busy. The new job is overwhelmingly filled with stuff to do. There’s a huge learning curve to overcome and I’m doing my best to stay above water. I’m making progress, and I’m probably doing well, but I keep stumbling over little details (conveniently not included in any of the training I received). I know what do do and even can usually figure out what software package to use to do it, but lack the knowledge of exactly how to go about doing it. This says nothing of the fact that this part of the company speaks a different language from the old job, and even within this group, teammates speak different languages. Is the TCOW the same as XFW? Sometimes. XTM and XMT…well…they used to be the same but you use XTM now but it’s similar to XMT. XSM? Oh…it’s still XSM…unfortunately, XSM seems to think I live in Sweden. I have no idea how I did that.

3 weeks ago, I was fighting with the jackoffs in PA over reporting and production scheduling. Now, I’m working more or less exclusively on an account’s offices in Brazil. I’m trading emails with a coworker in freakin’ Brazil! Theoretically, one could go down there to Manaus or Belfam and see the fruits of my labor. I’m sure that will be old hat some day, but for now, after years of pushing out statement after statement that nobody read, I find it very cool.

So…that brings me to how I work around Excuse 2. At the end of the day, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I take Shmuppie to swimming. It gives me an hour in the gym to forget about work. I guess I could bring the laptop and write, but mentally making fun of people in the gym is better for me. Plus, I’m hella ripped these days. I’m gonna start drinking Jaeger and posting pictures of me pulling up my shirt to show off my abs. Watch out ladies.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I cook. This past Thursday was rough. I’d spent 12 hours or so over the past 2 days making what I thought was good progress on one of the Brazil sites. Then, I realized that I’d been working off of bad data and that everything I had done was for naught. It was a good exercise in the software but it’s all wrong. I was sad…and mad at myself for not noticing the error…not that I knew never to trust anything a Brazilian does.

So..I knew we had some mahi fillets thawing. What I wanted to do was cook. There’s a scene in one of the first few seasons of the Soprano’s where Artie’s all busted up. I think it’s after Tony puts his hand in the big pot of sauce and he’s all scalded. Anyhoo…Artie’s all depressed at the restaurant. A young couple comes in at closing time and he doesn’t want to cook for them. Char makes him cook, despite not having anything in the kitchen. He finds a rabbit and an old recipe and makes it. But, the scene unfolds in a way that you can see the very act of cooking and re-taking control of his life helps heal him. Now, I certainly had not been burnt by any mobsters, but I needed some kitchen healing.

The very act of cutting up an onion and sauteing it started to make me feel better. I was in control and knew what to do. I has Shmuppie help me measure out the rice and I managed to find a proper combination of spices to make a passable yellow rice base. When the rice was about 1/2 way cooked, I layered on some tomato slices and then put the seasoned mahi on top of it all. On went the lid and it all went into the oven for finishing. What came out was tender and lovely…and I’d made it.

Yellow rice, red tomatoes, white fish, some green beans on the side…the plates looked colorful and the food was wonderful. I’d reclaimed a little sanity in my day. I chose that over writing.

But, in the coming weeks, work should be slower. I’ll try to pound out some words about something. Lord knows I have plenty to say.

I can probably fill page after page complaining about how I have to go to Cleveland in January (In case you care, I made 7 typos in the past 30 words…This is not easy)