my girl
Apr 30th, 2008 by wrekehavoc

of course, resolution is necessary after a post like that, is it not?

i picked someone up from school today. who? oh, i dunno. some blustery nine year old girl. and before i could open my mouth, the apologies spilled out, along with a little bouquet of buttercups she had collected and taped together. for me.

mom, i’m so very, very sorry. i cried as i tried to walk the second mile because you weren’t there. i was the only one who didn’t finish three miles.

of course, the human is not easily separated from the mother. the human was furious at being treated like crap. the mother was feeling terrible because she made her girl cry, and she never, ever likes to do that. but she is the mother, not the friend. and she has to buck up at times, as it is her job to teach.

i took a deep breath. and i put my arm around her.

i’m sorry you were upset. i was upset, too. you really hurt my feelings when you dismissed me.

those big eyes, the same ones her dad has, glanced upward at me, slowly and sadly. mama, you misunderstood. i thought you wouldn’t want to do the stretches, so i was telling you to go away over to the other side so you wouldn’t have to do stretches.

another deep breath. pull the other one, little girl. i need to stretch just as much as anyone else, honey. you know, BC, i hate running. i came here because you asked me. and then, when you told me to stand on the other side, i was very angry. i don’t need to do these things; i do them because you ask me to. if you don’t want me there, don’t ask me. i have plenty of other things to do.

girlfriend is not a teary-deary like her mom. it was her turn to take a breath. i know, i know. i’m really, really sorry.

okay honey. i was about to tear up. that’s my job. i love you, even when i’m upset with you or mad at you. you’re my girl, and i love you no matter what.

we smiled at each other. and we proceeded on with the rest of our afternoon. we were together, and we were happy. i was happy. i needed to be happy, and sometimes, the way into unhappiness for me is also my way out: my children.

sometimes, i like to milk an apology for all it’s worth by adding something random for which my child ought to be thankful. is it a jewish mother thing? no. a me thing? probably. i’m so evil.

so tonight was no different. i pulled up youtube, as madame was in a dancing mood and we love to dance around here.

i pulled up some pink floyd. a n c i e n t pink floyd. the floyd BS doesn’t like, thanks to the inclusion of one syd barrett, a guy i adore not just because he would probably be secret boyfriend material for me (if he were: 1) about 40 years younger; 2) not mentally fried; and 3) not dead) because he truly is one crazy diamond. and i started in.

now see, if you didn’t already have a cousin named emily, you might have been named emily, all because of this song.

BC pricked up her ears and listened to the weird psychedelia. EWWWWW! she squealed. did she hate it? were the roaming piano lines, the groovy organ runs, the sudden percussive loudness too much for her? was i going to squeeze out another you’re the best mom in the world; thank you for not naming me after a crazy, drugged-out syd barrett song?

nope. girlfriend proceeded to do a floaty, 1960s swim move. and she beamed her thousand watt smile my way.

that’s my girl.

about last night
Apr 30th, 2008 by wrekehavoc

about last night: i wrote an absolutely out-and-out scathing post, a post about how angry i am. it was so screamingly angry that i deleted it.

days upon days upon days of little sleep are adding up to one major wiped-out woman on the verge of something. i couldn’t even sleep last night, even though the kids were in bed. i am just so wound up. so many people in this house are not sleeping for one reason or another. and when you’re the mom, you end up being the catcher of all this sleep deprivation, by default. even the best dads might sleep through things, but moms never do, unless they have been drugged or killed.

so there i was on the computer, and i was bombarded with messages about mother’s day: buy mom flowers. send mom a card. get mom jewelry. take mom out for a nice meal. now, i have no quarrel with getting my mother or my mother in law some token of appreciation for the day, and i certainly appreciate the cards and sometimes unidentifiable objets d’arte that my children make for me.

but there are times like today, yesterday, the day before, all last week… times when i just feel like everyone is sucking the lifeblood out of me. i work for my family. i work for the house. i work for the fucking WORLD. 24/7, whether it’s doing the dishes, or dealing with illness, or handling my exploding home, or helping my kids navigate through some crisis or another. i don’t get paid for it. i don’t get thanked for it. i sometimes don’t even think people realize what i do. but it’s all down to me. i am in charge of directing my family’s life.

and no one works for me.

in short, i don’t want mother’s day. i don’t need jewelry. i don’t need to go to the International Fucking House Of Putrid Food. and i don’t want any flowers.

what i want is mother’s life.

i don’t want to be appreciated on one day. i want to be appreciated every single day. i want people to notice that i never get a day off, much less a weekend. and i’m glad to do it, even though it wasn’t necessarily my first career choice. i am grateful i get to do it, too, all right? but i wonder sometimes whether it was the right choice for me.

the other day, we were talking about clothing, and BC said oh mama, you don’t need to ever wear suits. you are just not the suit kind. this child has no recollection of a time when i worked outside the home and wore something beyond sweats or jeans. this child thinks i live and breathe for her. and, through the choices i have made, helped along by my health predicament, i guess i do. or have done.and of course, i will continue to do so.

but i often wonder what sort of example i am setting for her. yes, dear: study hard, get a masters degree, and you, too, can become the floor upon which your family walks.

and of course, if i complain, i am ungrateful. ungrateful that there is a roof over my head, food on my table, and IVIG in my veins. what a shallow bitch, one might say. do you know that Susie or Sally have it SO. MUCH. WORSE. THAN. YOU. (yes. i know. thanks.)

but is self-preservation an unworthy goal?

i have just come from BC’s school. their big 5k training run is this morning; and while BS is running with BC on race day, BC asked me if i would run with her this morning. parents are not required this morning, but she wanted me to run with her. let me point out for the record: i hate running. but, i got suited up, rushed my kishkes around, and drove her there at 7:50 in the ayem. we get there — there must be about 50 girls there plus some parents. and there’s a huge circle being formed. girlfriend runs over to one of her friends as they make the circle. i walk over to stand beside her. no, mom, she says. you stand over there, and she points to siberia on the other side of this tremendous circle. no other moms or dads are being banished. they are all standing next to their respective daughters.something inside me just snapped.

nope, i replied. i’ll see you later then. good bye! and i walked away. and i left.

so yes, add that to the collection of why i am a bad mother.i’m not going to be treated like shit by any nine year old. i am not going to be treated like shit by any 40-something year olds, either. in short, i am no longer taking shit from anyone out there, related or not.

i am tired, tired and extremely angry. and appreciating me one day in may, a day where i will have woken up all cranky and cold because i will have slept overnight in a cabin devoid of electricity and indoor plumbing, courtesy of my little Girl Scout, will probably be too little too late. i appreciate every single person around me; at least, i appreciate the ones i’m related to — and certainly quite a few to whom i am not.
appreciate me now.

the letter
Apr 28th, 2008 by wrekehavoc

Dear Fairfax Hospital Administrator:

Today, my child went to INOVA FFX Hospital for Children. She had both a CT scan and an upper GI. We arrived a little early just because as my child could neither eat nor drink, I thought it best that we just get to the hospital. The people in the CT department were stellar: they got my child in and out right away, including her paperwork for the upper GI, which had to be done through pediatric radiology.

We arrived at about 9:15 in pediatric radiology. We checked in, and my daughter had the pleasure of overhearing the initial woman who greeted us complain to her coworkers about how much she didn’t like working there. That woman left for parts unknown, and another lady took her place, a lady who apparently didn’t get the message that we were there. We sat. We sat. At 10:30, after watching several people get taken before us, I went up to the desk. The woman had no earthly idea we had been there and were waiting. She called the GI folks and explained what I had told her, although she provided misinformation — making it sound like we had just arrived when we had been there for a long time already — and I had to continue to explain to her that we HAD BEEN THERE for NEARLY 90 MINUTES, waiting. Once the GI tech came out, the tech apologized profusely, stating that they HAD BEEN WAITING FOR US FOR A LONG TIME. They had no idea we were waiting.

I think the best part about the experience was how the receptionist broke out a big tub of spaghetti at about 10:15, which was just near the jar of candy in front her her window. My daughter, who had not eaten since 9 pm last night, nearly burst into tears, she was so hungry. In a room where several children may not eat or drink before their tests, how on earth does that demonstrate any sort of empathy for the children in the waiting room?

I actually chose to bring my daughter to Fairfax Hospital for tests, as I was under the impression that FFX specifically knows how to treat children with respect. It actually costs me more to do so. My child — at AGE 9 — has now asked me: HOW COULD YOU TAKE ME THERE? I NEVER WANT TO GO TO FAIRFAX HOSPITAL AGAIN! This is a child who has been to Arlington Hospital as well as other medical facilities. She is quite upset with me and with the entire experience. Frankly, I cannot blame her.

The doctors and the techs we encountered were professional and kind to my child. Pity your administrative staff cannot act accordingly.



guilty pleasure monday: choo choo boogaloo (buckwheat zydeco)
Apr 28th, 2008 by wrekehavoc

it’s official: i have lost my mind.

and what better day to lose your mind than guilty pleasure monday!

today’s guilty pleasure selection, choo choo boogaloo by buckwheat zydeco, is with us thanks to the fact that i’m a mom. you can’t not love this one, even if it is a kiddy song.

when i first became a parent, i swore up and down that my children would listen to all sorts of music. never would they listen to music that was dumbed-down for children: i wanted my kids to hear the straight dope. why, i even agonized over julian’s first mix CD before he was born. the kids are reared on the classics: the beatles, bruce springsteen, the clash, and that sort of ilk.

when you have a baby, you get all sorts of presents, and some of them are CDs. at least, some of mine were. and i don’t know whether it was hormones or something else, but i actually grew to love some of the music i heard. for example, one compilation, the planet sleeps, has a song i think is absolutely haunting, Chi Mi Na Morbheanna, by canadian band the rankin family. another compilation featured a song i will always love, good night by the roches.

but probably my favorite song from all of these compilations — and i have a few — is choo choo boogaloo. when i hear my kids sing:

well, it’s one for the money
two for the show.
the name of this music is zy-de-co.
three for the singing,
four for the dance.
put on your dancin’ pants!

i simply crack up. the kids have always loved to dance to this one, and it offers both a geography lesson (from lafayette to new orleans we sing!) as well as a genre lesson (the name of this music is zydeco!).

i picture myself at 90, hearing this song and tapping the ground with my toes. or perhaps my walker. we’ll see.

so yes. i like some music that’s really meant for kids. which must mean that i am inherently a kid.

a really big kid.

hanging on the telephone
Apr 25th, 2008 by wrekehavoc

dear fairfax inova hospital,

press 1 if you want this in english –>

press 2 if you’re annoyed, press 3 if you’re upset, press 4 if you feel like you want to hurt someone –>

to be sure, it is not your fault that i am having a week from hell. i don’t blame you for my flooded basement, for the response time of the remediation people, or even for my allergies, which seem to have taken on a life of their own.

but i do wonder whether anyone is actually at work there.

my child has some testing to do on monday at your facility. it is difficult enough to face the fact that she is not exactly the happiest person when dealing with any medical procedures whatsoever. (i personally can’t wait ’til i tell her she can’t eat until lunchtime on monday.) in fact, i am specifically taking her to your facility precisely because you deal so well with children during such endeavors. your reputation precedes you.

on wednesday afternoon, someone left a message to preregister my child prior to the procedures. for reasons i do not understand, they left this message on my husband’s voicemail at work. fortunately, my husband, always a guy on-the-job, informed me of this early thursday morning. i called the number and hit someone’s voicemail; only, too bad for me. the voicemail doesn’t identify itself as debra from inova fairfax or even debra, period. it’s just a robo-voicemail-bot. the first three digits of this telephone number don’t even match the numbers of most of the numbers i have since dialed. i could be calling someone at molestors-r-us for all i know with my baby’s info. i think not.

press 5 if you want to leave a helpful, though basic, tip to people who are part of a large corporate entity->

[if it’s a business phone, you ought to leave your name and business info, at the very least, on your voicemail.]

so i went to your website. it should be easy to get a phone number from there, right?


basically, i was left with the main hospital number.

press 6 if you are on the verge of volunteering to redesign a corporate entity’s website ->

literally all thursday afternoon, after giving up on hearing from debra, i spent my time bouncing from place to place in your phone system. (though i should say that geraldine, the main operator, is very nice.) so much fun to be had, including being given erroneous information, such as that there’s no way possible my child can be having a procedure, as there’s no pediatric endoscopist available that day. (did anyone HEAR ME? the girl is not getting scoped! she’s getting SCREENED. ARRRRGH.)

lucky for me, of course, i spent the better part of yesterday WAITING FOR THE REMEDIATION GUY, so i had NOTHING BETTER TO DO THAN SIT AND PLAY PHONE TAG!

so this morning, because i really love to hear on-hold muzak, i thought i’d try again. (that plus the fact that i have no earthly idea where the hell we are supposed to go.) i tried my new old friend geraldine, who sent me to the wrong place again, only this time, the person on the line gave me a few numbers to try, including a supervisor. amazingly, though, no one is around (only the supervisor gives her name and business on the voicemail, btw). i called the lady back and politely asked her whether anyone besides herself was at work that morning. after our giggles, i got off the phone and wondered what the hell i was going to do.

lightbulb moment: i found the initial scheduling number (thank Dog), and tried there. they don’t preregister there, but maybe, just maybe, they can at least tell me where to show up? of course, there’s more on-hold time:

[we are sorry for the delay. please continue to hold until our next available staff member can be with you.]

press 7 if you are sick of our on-hold muzak->

then finally, after enough time has elapsed for me to clean out the receipts in my wallet and cook a turkey breast, a live human. a live human whom i cannot HEAR. i am not deaf; she just is speaking rather softly.

press 8 if you are on the edge->

so i sit. perfectly still. and i strain to listen to her, best as i can. yes, there’s a record of your daughter’s tests…no, you are already registered; we did that when you set up the appointment. why did that person call you? did they need to verify your insurance?

press nine if you feel your blood about to shoot out the top of your head->

i don’t actually know why the person called. the first three digits of the telephone number are very different from yours.


uhm. well, let’s hope it was to verify insurance. but here’s where you go on monday…

so administrators at fairfax, i realize there are plenty of insane people out there, and you’re probably reticent to share phone numbers with the public. but people, we need numbers. at least main ones. most businesses have a minimum level of transparency for their customers: you know, so we can actually call you with our business?

and the hours i spent on the phone? i’ll share my hourly rate. you just take that off my bill and we’ll call it even, k?



the waiting (is the hardest part)
Apr 24th, 2008 by wrekehavoc

on sunday, the pump that pumps water out of my utility sink in the basement broke. sounds minor except when you stop and realize that this pump pumps the water from the washing machine up and out of the basement. and that would be the only room in the house that actually has professionally installed carpeting.

yeah, you see where this is going.

to make an extraordinary story short, i called a few places to find out estimates for work, as i did laundry and the water is now inhabiting a portion of my basement. (note to self: G-d does NOT want you to do laundry. Ever. Again.) the plumber came out straightaway and installed a new pump so that i am free to do laundry again (yay?). however, i have not yet heard back from one company (chem dry.) and today, a person from service master was supposed to come by and give me an estimate between 11-1. i rushed my kishkes around all morning to make sure i was back by 11. and i have been waiting by the phone, waiting by the door. i wanted to shower, but i was afraid i would not hear the people when they came. i am, to borrow a phrase, a member of the great unwashed.

guess what?

it’s 1:30, and not a peep.

i called service master, and the man who answered the phone will be over my house in 20 minutes. ::fingers crossed:: ::eyes rolling::

maybe i am misguided, but i always believed that when i am about to potentially engage someone in some sort of business experience that will cost me probably a few hundred dollars, the person might actually have the decency to show up when he says he will. if he can’t, i will understand just as long as he calls me and lets me know that he is delayed/can’t make it. it’s called communication.

i still am reeling from the time when i tried to get a plumber to my house. it took three tries…and he never showed. well, i take that back. one time, he showed up … hours past the time when he was supposed to show. at 7pm. PM. as in, Post Mortem.

and this is not the first time something like this has happened.

i am so pissed off that i have wasted the better part of a day. waiting.

on the bright side, one stellar human being, one marvelously amazing lady, brought her dehumidifier over my house last night. this woman is the yin to my yang in hebrew school carpool land; i take her daughter there, she brings my daughter back. she is one of the nicest, kindest, and funniest people i’ve met in the past year. yesterday, she pulled up in her car with her eldest in tow and brought me some yummy chocolate-crunch matza. in passing, i mentioned my basement.

and at 8:30 pm last night, after her various carpooling duties, exercise classes, and mom jobs were through, this saint of a person (who of course is a red sea pedestrian, like i am, so she can’t really be sainted, i think) schlepped over this two billion pound dehumidifier, a machine which as of this cranky typing has already required to be dumped out twice. and things are a bit dryer downstairs.

all because of her.

when passover is done, i am SO baking them a cake. or two.

i just won’t start now, though, cos as i start mixing, i’m sure the service master guy will show.

of course.

gee whiz
Apr 24th, 2008 by wrekehavoc

thanks, grandy, for the award:


never had one before! i’m so honored 🙂

building the perfect beast
Apr 23rd, 2008 by wrekehavoc

kids ask questions. lots of questions. perennial favorites include:

  • where do babies come from?
  • why do i have to go to school?
  • where is jimmy hoffa?

add a new one to the list: why are your boobs bigger/tummy flatter/nose smaller?

lucky for our children, there is a new book by plastic surgeon michael a. salzhauer called my beautiful mommy. this book will explain why mommy has bandages and why, for a little while, can’t pick up her cosmopolitan without help.

what it doesn’t explain: how mommy will have any credibility once her child grows into puberty and doesn’t like what she sees looking back at her in the mirror: well mommy, you changed your [enter body part/s of choice here] in order to look like Barbie; why can’t i?

fix you
Apr 22nd, 2008 by wrekehavoc

just because i don’t post about my health every blessed day doesn’t mean it doesn’t loom in my little bear brain every blessed day. everyone needs a hobby in life; and it has become abundantly clear that mine is a career as a professional patient.

thanks to my CVID, i get to do the following at a minimum:

  • hook up to an IV for a few hours every four weeks for my yummy IVIG treatments;
  • visit the hematologist/oncologist every two months and have a look at my platelets – and only if i am well. we get to see each other more frequently if my platelets tank;
  • visit the infectious diseases doctor every six months and find out how i am progressing (and now that mine has changed practices, i get to meet a new infectious diseases doctor — hooray!);
  • get a lung and sinus scan annually, which means i will glow in the dark forever;
  • experience an endoscopy and colonoscopy on a fairly early and often basis; and
  • occasionally visit a pulmonary doctor to ask whether my lungs are getting bad.

(did i mention i pay a zillion copays and thank my lucky stars that i have health insurance?)

lest i forget, there’s my beloved regular plain old doctor, who sees me every time i end up with an infection i can’t lick on my own. that poor guy. i walk in with the weirdest illnesses. i can’t believe he doesn’t run away when he hears i’m on the schedule.

all this gives me little time to think about other health issues that a woman of my age needs. like high cholesterol. heart disease. weight. my vision. that sort of thing. i suppose i could make it my full-time job to obsess, but i prefer to place my obsession with my children. their health concerns are so much more interesting to me than are my own.

but, as being in the hospital so powerfully reminded me, if i don’t take care of me, then i’m not there to take care of them.

so i do.

monday, i went to the hematologist/oncologist office, where i had blood drawn for a platelet check and visited the very wonderful nurse practitioner, who has seen me through negligible platelets, a major steroid hump, and all the joy that comes with it. she is so upbeat, so cheery, and yet so genuine. and she leaves no stone unturned.

however, on monday, one stone was slightly off the beaten path. normal platelet counts start at 150k and work up to 450k. (memorize that in case you end up on medical jeopardy.) depending on which part of my IVIG cycle i’m on, my platelets usually are anywhere between 175 and 200. but too bad for me: i got my little yellow paper from the lab, and it said i was at 155. yes, still above normal, but not by much.

in short, i freaked.

when you have some sort of weird illness or condition, you try so hard to reach for a sense of normalcy in your life. it’s something that having a life-threatening condition strips from you, along with complete peace of mind, as you know what it’s like to have a body that is completely in revolt. mental tranquility is simply not there anymore, although when you’re a parent, you fight hard to fake it, especially in front of your children. they deserve peace all the time. but yet you have these periods of time when denial is as close as you will come to that peace. you embrace it because you want life to always be like this.

but on this monday, denial was peeled away like onion skin, leaving my fear completely exposed. what the hell is happening to me? i thought i had things under control. i thought they had fixed me as much as they could. am i broken again?

i shivered when the nurse practitioner came in the room to see me. how are you doin? she asked, ever perky.

well, i replied, i thought i was ok. but then i saw this paper, and now, i’m not so sure.

she took a look at it. oh, i see. her eyes looked at me apologetically. the platelet number isn’t what you want, huh.

it’s a little lower than my usual, i replied.

you know, she said, our machine is on the fritz and keeps spitting out the wrong numbers. doctor has been on the phone with the hospital and the company – he is furious that no one has given us a new machine yet, what with all the blood we draw. in the meantime, we let the blood sit for 15 minutes and read it again. we’ve been getting better results this way. let’s do that and see, okay?

was this going to be my hematological deus ex machina? i sure hoped so.

the lab rechecked my blood while i went through my personal checkup with the nurse practitioner. and lo and behold, my numbers were delivered: 176. much, much better.

i don’t know how reliable those numbers are versus the first ones. but as far as i’m concerned, i am fixed again for another day.

little wing
Apr 22nd, 2008 by wrekehavoc

18 years ago today, we were dancing to this:

happy anniversary to the guy whose bark is definitely worse than his bite.

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