So. That happened…

It’s been a while since I last posted… a year and nearly ten months, holy cow…but I have one hell of an excuse.

I think.  You be the judge:

If you haven’t read my last post or you don’t remember it, you might do that now.  I’ll wait.

Yeah, so it turns out that the pancreatitis thing wasn’t over yet. In fact, at my very next checkup, the doctor took one look at me and ordered me directly to the nearest ER. Who had me airlifted for emergency surgery to a hospital an hour away.

The surgeon, the incredible Dr. S, did her best to piece my insides back together–from what I was told later, it was a bit like tatting lace.  Things had melted to other things and had to be pried…well, never mind.

That was September 4th.

Since then, I’ve had five major surgeries (only three planned), about twelve procedures under general anesthesia, and countless adjustments, stitches, rebagging (think ileostomies and colostomies) and retubings. At one point, I was sporting approximately eight drains around my waist, a hula skirt from hell.

Coincidentally, my torso looks a bit like target practice for a small, hungry shark packing a twenty-two.

I spent around eight months in various hospitals, under various levels of sedation and the really good painkillers.* Not to mention various Dante-like circles of PT, learning to sit up and maybe do a little walking, as someone followed me with a wheelchair, just in case.

When I left the first hospital, for a specialty one nearer to home, the nurses and staff lined the corridor and gave me a standing ovation… because (i was told much later) most of them weren’t sure I would make it.

That changes a person, knowing that kind of thing, even more than the 140 pound weight loss (I didn’t eat anything by mouth for a long time), or my new 4-inch belly button. Or having to resign from my beloved job (who am I, if I’m not a librarian?)

I couldn’t write for the longest time, either, even after I came home, this time possibly for good, two months ago.  I was tired and empty and in quite a bit of pain.

But bit by bit, I’m getting stronger. I walk a little every day, sometimes without my walker.  20170202_090039I no longer have a stomach tube and am down to six medications, only one of which is longer than my thumbnail.

Money and insurance are worrisome, buy I’m working on applying for Medicaid and Social Security.  I’m also looking for a stay-at-home job that doesn’t involve stuffing envelopes or fraudulent practices.

And better yet, I have incredibly supportive friends who have stuck with me through all this mess (including those of you who keep asking me when I’ll be blogging again–this is all your fault!)

And I’m writing again. Maybe not well, but there are words now, and sentences, and maybe stories, too, however rusty and convoluted.

And I am here. Battered and bruised but not beaten.

How have y’all been?

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*It is a terrible thing to put someone with a fraught imagination on heavy drugs when they have no outlet.  At one point, and I’m not kidding, I refused to wear my socks because I was convinced they were pregnant…and when they died in childbirth (because they aren’t built for it, obviously), I tried to convince the nurse to call a funeral home so they could have a decent burial.  She’ll be telling that story for decades; I should be getting royalties.

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So . . . Here’s What Happened . . .

Yesterday, was my day off. I’d planned to use the gift certificate I received for Mother’s Day to get my nails done and then maybe blog about it because I know how much y’all adore every detail about my nail care routine.

But I also  had to buy a birthday present for Sunny’s friend, dishwashing detergent, pumpernickel bread, a specific birthday gift for my husband, balloons for Jane’s science assignment illustrating static electricity.  I needed to make dinner for a friend who just had surgery (which is why pumpernickel bread is mentioned in the previous sentence) and deliver it.  I then had to pick up the kids from school—because my husband graciously agreed to take them to school that morning—and get them home in time for my husband to take them to their respective music lessons.Dancing Cake

Piece of cake.

I perhaps slept in a little more than I wanted to but I did get on the exercise bike without too much whining.  Showered, dressed, and sufficiently caffeinated, I set off.

The first store had Sunny’s friend’s gift and the detergent,* but no pumpernickel, specific husband gift, or reasonably priced balloons.

The second store had reasonably priced balloons (plus the gift bags and birthday cards I’d forgotten to add to the list), but didn’t carry bread or gifts my husband would appreciate.

I zipped over to my nail appointment, by which I mean I followed at minimal safe distance a series of other drivers who seemed to be unclear about where they were going and how quickly they needed to get there, but were adamant about leaving their turn signals on to save time.  But I did make it with minutes to spare.

Say what you want about the frivolity of manicures, but it’s always lovely to have someone hold your hand for half an hour, add a little color to your life, and then massage pineapple oil into your sore writing muscles.  My nails are now a shade called “Imagination”, which might look beige under artificial light, but sparkles gold in the sunshine.  I like that.

I only wish I’d remembered my gift certificate . . .

The third store had my husband’s birthday present and every kind of bread I could have wished for, as long as I didn’t wish for pumpernickel.

The fourth store had pumpernickel.

I went home, hid some of my shopping,** and started scraping carrots, de-stringing celery, and denuding spuds for a vat of baked potato soup (this one with smoked sausage bits added to the onions—and yes, the cat still considers himself a key ingredient) to feed my friend’s family, plus enough for my family the next night.

Halfway through, my stomach demanded to know what I was going to do about its state of impending implosion, so I made lunch, ate it, and continued making soup.  Once soup had been achieved, I let it cool and called my friend for directions.  Her husband, who is a jwonderful man who fully intends to take on his beloved’s work load but had no idea she did quite this much, answered and gave me detailed directions that depended on landmarks that haven’t existed since well before we moved up here, so I secured the street address to their town house complex and dug out the GPS.

I love my GPS but its suction cup mount and I have a non-aggression pact, which it violated by popping free just as I reached the part of town I knew nothing about.  Figuring that GPSing from one’s lap was worse than texting, I pulled over and got my own back by licking the suction cup and slamming it onto the surface of my windshield, where it stuck . . . upside down.  I pried it free, tried again, and we all went on our way.  I don’t believe I was imagining the disapproval in the GPS’s voice, but I didn’t start it, so I didn’t care.

I delivered the soup, bread, a box of Godiva, and hugs to my medication-goofy friend and her exhausted husband, and went to pick up the kids.  While waiting in the Parental Line, I checked my e-mail and found that Jane’s Humanities teacher had cc’d me on an e-mail that supplied the four assignments Jane had missed that month, all of which were due the following day at 3:30.  To her credit . . . pun woefully unintended . . . she fully acknowledged that she needed to do them and told me she needed my computer.

I agreed, because legitimate excuses for writing avoidance are not to be ignored and I’m not interested in providing her with a scapegoat for her lousy grades, thank you.

Brain FailWhen we got home, my husband had put the potato soup in the fridge, which would have been perfect, except he’d inadvertently unearthed the roast I’d bought, which I’d meant to slow-cook Monday but had instead ended up dropping it into the black hole I have where other people keep their memory centers.  The date label suggested that I either cook it by the next day or lose it in the black hole we keep where other people have freezers.

So instead of spending the kids’ music lesson time doing a post on my busy day, I prepped the roast for crockpotting (it’s a Real Verb, Downith, I swear), and began gently reheating potato soup.

The kids came home, told me they didn’t like potato soup and would prefer Campbell’s, please, and dispersed to deal with their Humanities backlog and top up their RDA of cartoons, respectively, which may well have saved their lives and the state of Illinois the cost of a trial.

So I opened cans and heated things and kissed my husband good-bye . . . I think . . . and ended up burning the bottom of the potato soup, because of course.  But everyone was eventually fed and homeworked (she says) and showered, so I made good use of the dishwashing detergent, and sat down to write a belated post about I don’t even know.

And then my MIL came upstairs to complain that her toilet was bubbling, and the last time it did that, the sewer line outside the house had backed up into her back room.

It did that this time, too.

So that’s why my regular Tuesday post is being posted today and also why there will be no random Thursday post tomorrow.***

Because life is being random enough at the moment.

Time Flies

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*Which was so well-hidden behind a young man examining a bottle of drain cleaner and his full cart that I made three passes down the aisle before I realized he was blocking the shelf I needed.  When I finally stopped and said, “Excuse me,” he smirked and said, “Sorry, I have a girlfriend.”    I gave him Sunny’s best unimpressed look and said, “I’ll forgive you if you move so I can get that green box right there.”  Wait for the pitch before you lob it back, gentlemen.

**Not because my husband doesn’t know exactly what he’s getting, but to prevent the kids from opening the bag if front of him, pulling out the gift and saying, “Mom?  Who is this for?”  Bother birthdays and parenting often depend on plausible deniability.

***That and Sunny’s Girl Scout bridging ceremony Thursday evening.  And I just remembered that I have to iron all her badges on her vest.  And that the ironing board is in the back room of my MIL’s apartment . . .

 

 

 

This Post is a Fuggly Hack

I don’t have a Real Post™ today, because I lost my grip on the amount of time I’d planned to use to write something thoughtful and profound and ended up using all of it to scan images of the family for a school genealogy project due tomorrow; attempts to fix my printer’s sudden amnesia regarding our WiFi connection; and copying out Sunny’s math homework by hand, while squinting at a series of tiny, texted images sent by an angel of a fellow parent, whose child did NOT forget his math book yesterday.

The first of four pages.  And yes, the hand is supposed to have four fingers, though I'll admit that it does resemble a pinkie amputation, rather than the thumb-tuck i was going for.

The first of four pages.*

And then I had to finish up my wordcount, because if I want Thanksgiving off from Nanowrimo, I can’t start slacking now.

So instead of entertaining you with my quirks and eccentricities and the epic battle to keep our elderly cat as continent as possible—or at least incontinent in acceptable areas—here’s a link to  terrific article by Cory Doctorow, which was published in this month’s issue of LOCUS:

My theory is that the parts of our brains that keep track of other people and try to model them, the seats of our empathy, can be tricked into treating the adventures of imaginary people as though they were real. Even though your rational mind knows that imaginary people are inconsequential, the largely automatic, unconscious systems that organize information about the people around you in order to figure out what they’re likely to do — and that let you predict how they feel in given situations and sympathize with them — don’t differentiate between information about real people and imaginary people.

“Stories Are A Fuggly Hack” Cory Doctorow, LOCUS, November 2014, p.25

And while you’re reading that, I’ll be trying to get my printer to cough up those school project photos I scanned and/or hacking away at the fuggliest story I’ve written, to date.

Wordcount, ho!

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*And yes, the hand at the bottom is supposed to have four fingers, though I’ll admit it does resemble a pinkie amputation, rather than the thumb-tuck I was going for.

But Meanwhile . . .

I have no post for you today.

But I do have an image of the Ultimate Imaginary Wrinkle Dog that will magically make you forgive me all transgressions, past, present and future and make you come back tomorrow for the first Poetry Wednesday we’ve had for a while.

Himalayan Squishie

See?

More of Dave Kellett’s irresistible squishiness—oh, hush, you know what I mean—can be found here.  And here.  And starting here.

See you tomorrow!

Monday State of (so-called) Mind

Mondays

I’m back!  Sort of!

I’d planned to discuss my week off and my re-prioritization efforts and the cool stuff I was given for my birthday and my dentist appointment, and also the shopping trip I took with both kids yesterday—solo.

But what with the chapter attack and shopping and laundry and three levels of The Beardless Warrior (ironically, a time management game), I only managed to get about half the post done by the time I had to wake up the kids this morning.

I figured I’d finish up the blogcation/prioritization/birthday present/dental/shopping/parental post at work before I clocked in, but I might save the dental/shopping/parental part for Tuesday.

But Jane couldn’t find her day camp field trip shirt and Sunny decided to  take twenty minute to eat a peanut butter tortilla and fell back asleep while putting on her shoes,  and when we finally all made it to the car and hit the road, we was halfway to the kids’ school (twenty miles away) before I suddenly recalled that it was summer and I was supposed to be taking them  to the YMCA Camp (two mileaway).  So I ended up making myself late for work—although I partially blame all the delivery trucks, construction equipment, and cautious drivers that I was forced to follow all the way to work.

I figured I’d finish the  blogcation/prioritization/birthday present/dental/shopping/parental post over lunch, though I thought I’d save the dental/shopping/parental parts for later . . . and also the birthday present part, because I hadn’t downloaded the photos, &#!% it.

And then I realized that while I’d remembered to pack a bag lunch for Jane and give her field trip money, I’d forgotten to pack my own lunch or save enough cash to go out.

I figured I’d grab a bag of chips to eat at my desk and at least take a stab at writing up the decisions I’d made during my blogcation concerning my priorities and the changes I needed to make to stay productive, sane, and healthy. Or best two out of three, ’cause I gotta be me.

And then I thought about those priorities, showing vs. telling, and the definition of insanity.  And about not slapping myself on the hairpinned side of my forehead.

Ow.

So.

So at the time this post goes live, I’ll be sitting in my favorite nearby restaurant and having a nice salad and about a gallon of iced tea, because Rome was not decaffeinated in a day—unless that’s why it fell—and planning out a series of posts featuring a single topic each in the efforts to boost coherency.

Hey, it could happen.

Stay tuned.  Please.

So . . . How’s your Monday treating YOU?

Boxing Glove