Monday, December 9, 2013

Observations from the Chemo Center

I'm really supposed to be working but the connection here is so sucky I thought I'd take a break, hope the Boss Lady doesn't mind.  Today is Kicking Cancer's Ass, Round 4.  After round 3 my dad got some really great news that the chemo is working and the cancer numbers are decreasing.  At least now he knows he doesn't feel crappy for nothing.

We got here super early today so we staked out our spot and I nabbed the wobbly TV tray for my office.  That Francie is dedicated.  She was late today and before she even took off her coat she came to make sure we have what we need.  Apparently today is ugly holiday sweater day.

The people here today are more chatty.  A gentleman was getting some treatment today and was talking about how sensitive he is to the cold.  My Dad said something to him about having had that before and this guy tells my dad he only has 3 or 4 months to live.  I can't even imagine.  Some of the people here today won't be around when my dad finishes his treatment a few months down the road.

There is another lady who was here last time.  Before she had this big ass suitcase, I'm talking giant, like you would take on a 2-week trip.  Last time she asked for the shuttle to come pick her up to take her over to the hospital, she didn't have enough energy to make the walk.  You all know me, while feeling really bad for this woman all I could think was "if your suitcase wasn't the size of a house, you could probably make it!".  Today she is here.  She maybe works at Taco Bell, she is wearing a Taco Bell shirt.  They have these nice recliners but she has her legs wrapped up in heating pads on a chair in front of her.  I don't know why she doesn't use the recliner, it would be much more comfy.  I could give these people some advice but with my lack of filter I'm keeping my big mouth shut.

Oh goodness, she just told the other lady that she is homeless.  She stays in a shelter or she stays at a hotel after chemo.  Not that having cancer is bad enough, she freaking has nowhere to live.  No wonder her suitcase is so large.  I want to take her home with me after listening to her talking about her circumstances.

The Fed Ex and UPS delivery guys that come here are quite handsome.

They have rabbit turd ice in the ice machine here.  Like Sonic ice.  I love that kind of ice.  Crunchy.

I did some work, now I'm back.  Dad has a harem here on aisle 2.  The newest entrant must have seen my sister's hair at some point and thought that teal would look nice with her gray hair.  She maybe should have gone to my sister's colorist.  She whipped out this GIANT needlepoint project that's on a frame.  This thing is so huge that her arms are totally extended out in front of her to work on it.  You know me and my picture taking...totally not appropriate here.  :(  This teal haired lady, she is the happiest cancer patient ever.  She's over there just smiling for no reason and she's had lots of phone calls.  Happy Happy.

Another lady just joined the harem...I'll assess the situation and report back...

Dad got a visitor and then we left so I have nothing to report on the new lady.  There was a lot more activity today and his treatments are getting shorter, but after observing some the the people today, it really makes me thankful for my health, and I even re-evaluated my crappy "I hate the holidays attitude" for a few minutes.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

This new trend is flat out annoying

I've noticed lately that when I go out shopping, there is usually something in my cart that flags the cashier and they try to sell me a "service plan" or "extended warranty".

It started with the new vacuum I bought a couple of months ago.  Wal-Mart wanted to know if I wanted to buy the "whatever-it's-called" for an additional fee.  This is in case it breaks or something.  If it breaks, I'm going to take it back and ask for a replacement, why should I pay extra for that?  I thought it was weird.  I know they do it for TVs and stuff, but a vacuum?

Fast forward to last week.  Tommy's equipment bag for baseball needed to be replaced.  the zipper had broken and would no longer close.  We went to Dicks and bought a new bag, it was $25.  They asked me if I wanted to purchase the protection policy (all of the stores call it something different) for $5.  Are they joking?  It's a bag that gets thrown around the dugout, gets sunflower seeds spit onto it and holds dirty, smelly gear.  My guess is if it wears out, it is a sign that it's time for a new one.

Over the weekend I bought Tommy a Disney Infinity (video game where you have different character figures) person, it was $13.  Wal-Mart flagged it and did I want to pay $3 for the extra coverage?  REALLY?  On a plastic monster with a computer chip in it's butt?  I think not.

This is really becoming irritating.  Are we buying products that are so shoddily assembled that we now need to pay for extra insurance that the product works and lasts as long as we expect it to?  Higher ticket items like cars and appliances, sure...but NOT a video game character, or a vacuum, or a canvas bag.  I'm outraged!

What's next?  I've come up with some scenarios for you:

You buy a bottle of tequila, do you want to pay $3 extra to make sure you get really drunk?

Pay extra for a gallon of milk so that it doesn't expire before it should?

How about a surcharge on pain reliever?  If you REALLY want that pain to go away, you better pony up another few bucks!

When you get a face-lift you better buy that extended warranty in case your cheeks start to droop.

I'm boycotting all of these service plans and if my crap breaks, I'm taking it back.  End of story.  However; if I could pay a few bucks extra next time I go golfing to guarantee I shoot under 100, I'd be all for that.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


I hate that word.  It's like it is this buzzword that all kinds of behavior gets attributed to.  Even one of the housewives on Bravo claims that the other women were bullying her.  I thought of it as just a word until recently, when it really hit home.  MY home.

As many of you know, Tommy has been struggling this summer.  He has mentioned here and there about kids picking on him and I told him to deal with it, or ask for help at his summer program, also known as BASE.

About 6 weeks ago he started sleeping A LOT.  After BASE, on the weekends, in the back of the car, AT BASE, everywhere.  Tommy hasn't napped in years, yet he's sleeping 3 hours at a time.  We went to the doctor, ran a zillion blood tests, went to the neurologist, no one has a solution.  In the meantime he gets an ear infection which makes him feel worse.  He misses several days of BASE, indoor skydiving and other fun things, and he doesn't care he is missing it.  He'd rather stay home and sleep.

During this process he is still mentioning that he's getting picked on and I'm starting to pay attention.  I mention it to the BASE staff, they tell me they haven't noticed anything. 

Yesterday I dropped him off and he sat down at one of the tables and it literally broke my heart.  I have never seen my son look so sad and dejected in my life.  I step into the office to talk to yet another member of the BASE staff and let her know what's going on.  I'm not in there 5 minutes and when I walk out, Tommy is in tears.  A group of boys immediately started picking on him and being vicious to him.  The other staff member said she addressed it and they admitted it and apologized.  I. Was. Livid.

Me:  Do you boys get some kind of thrill out of picking on Tommy?
Little Bastards:  Nooooo
Me:  Would you like it if you were treated that way?
LB:  Noooooo, shaking their heads
Me:  Why do you do it then?
LB:  I don't know
Me:  Do you think your parents would be proud of the way you treat other people?
LB:  Nooooooo
Me:  Well maybe they need to find out.  I'm going to call your parents and tell them how horrible you are.

You should have seen the look on their faces as I walked out.  I took Tommy back to the doctor today because after I left him yesterday, he slept in the office for THREE hours.  The doctor thinks that the bullying is really having an effect on him, and since no one at BASE would believe him, he is internalizing it and is basically saying screw all of you, I'm going to sleep to escape this crap.  We have an appointment with a counselor tomorrow, so hopefully that will be of some help.

This afternoon I marched my ass into the BASE office and had a good talk with the director.  As I was waiting for her, she comes around the corner with the Little Bastards.  They took one look at me and they knew they were in trouble.

I told her the names of all of the boys who have been tormenting him all summer.  Two of Tommy's friends also told me that they have witnessed him being picked on, so she talked to them, and she talked to the perpetrators.  She told me it would be taken care of and that she's really upset that Tommy hates the summer program and is miserable.  I told her that it's not acceptable for Tommy to ask for help, and he gets told to deal with it himself.  How is a 9-year old supposed to deal with a gang of bullies???

She told me that she would be speaking with all of the parents of the boys involved this evening.  When I got home there was an email from her to all of the parents about bullying, that they had a big discussion with the kids today about what bullying looks like, and how important it is to talk to a teacher when they see it happening to someone.

She called me tonight and my heart literally broke.  Every single boy admitted to it, that they had been doing it all summer, for no reason, and to no one else but Tommy.  I can't even type the things they said to him, I won't be able to see through the flood of tears to finish this blog.  How can boys be SO mean for no reason?  Tommy never did anything to those boys.  In fact, two of them don't even go to our school, they were just in the program for the summer.  They said they have been mean to him since day one, without even knowing him.

After all of this, I had a long talk with Tommy and told him what happened today and that the boys would be dealt with.  The relief that washed over him was transformative.  It was like he was a different kid afterward, chattering about this and that, I couldn't believe it.  Someone FINALLY believed him and took his side and took a stand to get things fixed.  He kept saying "Tomorrow is going to be a good day, right?"  I think he's petrified that there will be repercussions from these Little Bastards.

The physical toll this has taken on him, the sleeping, and his nervous tics coming back, it's heartbreaking.  When your child says he's getting picked on, it's easy to gloss over...all kids get picked on at some point or other.  That it got this bad, and to this point, I am disappointed in myself as a parent.  I'm angry at the kids involved, I'm angry that Tommy asked for help at BASE and was ignored...and I'm really mad at the other parents for breeding and creating those Little Bastards.

Please teach your children about bullying.  Tell them that's it is never OK to treat another person badly for no reason.  Tell them to talk to an adult if someone is picking on them.  Make this a regular topic of discussion as bullying takes different forms as our kids get older. 

I've held it together most of today, but now, I am going to go have a good, long, cry.

Monday, May 20, 2013

I really need to stop trying to be things I am not

You know how the whole Boot Camp thing went.  Dismal failure.  So I am not even sure WHY I decided a few weeks ago that I was going to become a runner, but I did.

I got all my gear ready, heart rate monitor needed a new battery...check.  My shoes were trashed...check, got some new shoes for running.  Dug out my old workout shorts that were nice and long (thigh friction is brutal).  Got a SpiBelt to carry my phone and keys.  Downloaded some apps to help me on my running venture...I was ready to go.

The Couch to 5K program allegedly will get you running a 5K in 8 weeks, if you run 3 times a week.  I ran a total of 4 times.  About the second time I decided the whole idea was stupid, but I'd hang in there.  The 3rd outing I took Rhoda.  Big mistake.  Big.  She's a little slut and I almost got my arm ripped out of it's socket when she came to a dead stop in front of a stranger, flopped over onto her back and practically demanded a belly rub.  On top of that, running HURTS, and things flop around.  It's not fun and it sure as heck can't look good coming from the opposite direction. 

I am a walker, not a runner.  This is confirmed.  I actually ENJOY walking.  Rhoda enjoys walking.  Walking doesn't hurt and I can carry on a conversation whilst walking.  When I try to talk while running it sounds like I'm trying to make a 9-1-1 call, gasping for air, coughing, hacking.  So from now on, walking it is.

I also have discovered I am not a gardener.  My friend, Susan, SHE is a gardener.  She is a gardening GODDESS.  She looks at stuff and it grows.  I like to look at the results of gardening, but doing the work...that shit is hard.  Digging holes and dragging soil and dirt (and a few dead trees and such)...all very physically painful.  Princesses don't like pain, but my yard was a mess and I knew Susan could whip it into shape.  Saturday we devoted over 6 hours to the project and it's not done yet.  I'm not sure how it will be finished since I literally can't move.  My body hurts from my sunburned nose to my shredded, formerly pedicured toes.  On top of that I got a wicked "I'm dehydrated and now I have a migraine" headache. 

Our yard has never looked better, and after we dig another 39 holes to plant more stuff (Susan has such a green thumb that he stuff grows huge and she divides plants and I am the beneficiary) it'll look even better.  I just wish there were cute outfits that went along with gardening.  That might make it more tolerable, but I doubt it.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Teaching Moments

Tommy and I have been wanting to see the movie 42 about Jackie Robinson ever since we saw the previews last fall.  Tommy is really into baseball these days, so when the movie came out this past weekend, Adrian and I made plans to take him. 

I had some concerns, especially since we would be exposing him to one of the ugliest periods in American history. I read some reviews in preparation, one of which referred to language so blisteringly foul you may question whether to take your kids to see the movie, but recommended taking them anyway.

We sat down with Tommy before we went to the movie and explained racism to him.  We talked about how terrible it was (and and still is, in some areas) to treat people poorly because of the color of their skin.  We told him that back then African Americans had to use different bathrooms, and use different entrances to the ball park, just because they looked different.  We also told him there would be some awful language in the movie and that he was going to hear words he had never heard before.  We told him they started with the letter "N" and that it was completely unacceptable to ever repeat those words.  We pretty much left it at that and headed off to the movie.

What a fabulous movie.  I loved every second of the story of triumph, seeing his teammates finally accept him and stick up for him.  I found myself with a smile on my face throughout the majority of the movie and I even clapped a few times, cheering Jackie on.

Most importantly, Tommy loved the movie too--even though it wasn't animated or in 3D.  He also learned something, which was worth the price of admission, in my opinion.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Yet another example of age creeping up on me

I went to the Bob Seger concert last night with my friend Karen.  Joe Walsh was the opening act, and for a guy who is 65 years old, he rocked it.  His band was full of sound and I was really surprised at how good he was.  When I come back in my next life, I want to be his middle back up singer because she gets to stand next to a hot hunk of man named Bubba.  *swoon*

During the intermission I was looking around, because I love to people watch, and made a few observations:
  • Aviator frames just aren't for sunglasses.  Or, this gal has had them since the 80's and can't let go of them.
  • The most popular hair color was gray.  At least half of the men were bald, going bald, or had comb overs.  I even saw a comb forward, trust me on this one, it was not pretty.
  • Women still perm the hell out of their hair.  Many of these relics from 1987 have long, permed hair, but their bangs were straight as a board.  Did we really wear our hair like that back then?
  • Handicapped parking was likely at a premium.  Lots of geezers on power scooters.
It's OK for me to make fun, this is pretty much my generation, but I did wonder if I might run into some of my Mom and Dad's friends there ;)

We made some additional observations before Bob came out on stage:
  • We didn't see any trashy women with their boobs hanging out of their shirts, or their asses hanging out of their shorts. 
  • No visible tattoos...Karen said they probably had them, but they were the kind you get in the Navy, anchor on bicep kind of thing with that old blue ink.
  • I didn't see one facial piercing or those weird stretch-your-earlobes-out thingies either.
It's like I fell into a time warp and ended back in 1985!

Bob Seger was just as good as Joe Walsh, and he's going to be 68 next month!  I kept thinking, what if he falls and breaks a hip?  What if he has a heart attack on stage?  All was well though and they put on a great show.  We were laughing at the one back up singer, she was a cross between Maude, Sharon Osborne and Caroline Manzo from RHoNJ.  They were like the Golden Girls, those back up singers!!!

His other band members were oldies too, and the drummer, I was laughing so hard at his hair.  Take a look below:

That is like an afro mullet.  I Googled him  and that curly hair is all natural, no perm:

What a great night, we were thoroughly entertained.  It makes me sad that groups like this won't exist in another few years, and we will be stuck with current acts like Rhianna and Maroon 5.  No thanks.  I'll take the geezers instead!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The gross thing about birthdays

I have never ever loved the concept of eating a slice of cake that someone has blown their spittle and germs all over whilst blowing out the candles.  It's really a nasty thought.  Nearly as bad as taking communion during flu season, I would imagine.

So Tommy's birthday was last weekend.  We had a cake, he blew out the candle:

Everyone ate cake, some people had two pieces (ahem, that would be me), everyone went home.  Tommy, who has been complaining of a stomach ache for weeks, had even more cake, and them promptly puked his guts out Saturday night.

Monday comes, he comes home with a stomach ache, but goes to school Tuesday because it's his ACTUAL birthday and he had taken treats for his class.  We went to dinner, he came home, and puked his guts out for the rest of the night.  I was up all night with this kid.  At one point he missed his happy meal Halloween puke bucket and got the floor.  PSA:  Nature's Miracle works on kid messes too!

I later find out that Dylan, a friend from the party, had the pukes and missed school early in the week.  Another friend, Wyatt, said it felt like a grown up punched him in the stomach.

If this isn't a case to end candle blowing and wish making on birthdays, I don't know what is.