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guilty pleasure monday: norwegian wood (beatles)
Oct 26th, 2009 by wrekehavoc

please, please, please cut me slack this week.

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as i write this, i am trying to make it through perhaps the worst month, or at least one of the very worst months, i have encountered in my short but eventful career as a human. you may recall the start of the month when both my husband and my ceiling collapsed just over 24 hours apart. and yes, i left for san francisco, a story i have yet to finish here.

later that week, i took BC for a tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy, a simple operation with a short healing period everyone said. bring on the ice cream. only, too bad for the girl — she’s probably the only child on the planet who isn’t keen on ice cream, ice pops, or other soft, cold foods. additionally, the pain meds didn’t control her pain, and when they were raised, she threw up. on columbus day afternoon, she ended up visiting the ER to get some IV fluids because she was completely tapped out. when she returned, we thought we were going to turn a corner. and we did.

a bad one.

girlfriend was still not eating or drinking and getting sicker by the day, complete with a fever. anti-nausea meds were not making things any better. by wednesday morning, the ENT on call told me to take her back to the ER and possibly get her admitted to get her back on track. that’s exactly what happened. she and i spent wednesday through saturday noon at fairfax inova, a terrific hospital for pediatrics. we had a few challenges: one morning, we awoke to find the roof leaking onto her IV, so we were moved next door to a room where he child inside was confined because of “droplets” — a sure sign that someone in there had something contagious.

hospitals are important institutions, and i surely am not knocking them in any way, shape or form, as lord knows we have needed them in the past and will one day need them again, perhaps. but a hospital is not a great place to stay healthy.

i can’t be 100 percent certain, but i think that’s where girlfriend and i caught the flu.

when we were released on saturday, i thought the worst was over. girlfriend returned to school on monday. tuesday, i finally got my IVIG, albeit two weeks after i was supposed to get hooked up (i couldn’t schedule it while my poor little girl was recuperating.) tuesday afternoon, i started feeling poorly; at the same time, i received a phone call from the school clinic: come pick up BC. she has a fever of 101.5F.

what????

so girlfriend and i proceeded to spend some more quality time together. we went to her pediatrician’s on wednesday as a follow-up for her hospitalization. the doctor, noting that she still had a fever and was coughing, asked us to start some tamiflu just in case. BC is not yet adept at swallowing pills, so we visited a local old-fashioned pharmacy to get the darn stuff compounded into a liquid. (for you trivia buffs, the actual compounding part? not covered by insurance.) just before noon, she started tamiflu.

and at 1:00? she threw up a little blood.

people had warned me that when the artery/ies behind the tonsils blow, you need to run, not walk, to an ER. halfway there, i pulled over. there’s no more blood, mommy BC pointed out. i called BTD because, after all, he is my Brother The Doctor, who talked me down from the ledge and told me that if it stopped, go home. if the levee breaks, you’d know it.

at 3 am that morning, the levee broke.

girlfriend tugged at my sleeve. mommy, my mouth is full of blood! sure enough, it was extremely clear what was happening. we put on our shoes, i grabbed my purse, and off we rode into the night. i ran red lights, i ran over a median at the hospital, and i parked the car in front of the ER. (thank you, G-d, for the parking space.) the triage nurse took her in pretty speedily — i am, pathetically, an experienced ER patient at virginia hospital center, you know; and this was much faster than when i had almost no platelets left in my body — and next thing you know, we are in a bed in the ER. the doctor talked for a minute and left. i looked at girlfriend. suddenly, she vomited up a tremendous amount of blood, more than i had ever seen in one place that was not in a transfusion or donation bag.

i was terrified!  i pulled open the curtain. please help! my daughter is throwing up blood!!

three nurses and the doctor came running to see poor little BC, spewing so much blood that i was terrified that she was going to faint. or worse. off came the clothes. in went the IV (not easily, either.) and soon enough, girlfriend was whisked off to emergency surgery to close things up.

i waited for about an hour until the doctor came out and told me that he’d closed up the leaker. normally, he’d send her home after recovery; but after hearing her recent history, he wanted to keep her for the day to make sure she was on the right track. if she behaved herself, he would send her home around dinner time.

i was frantically calling home on the hospital phone (i left my cell home when i ran out), only to remember that i had brought all the phones upstairs to my room so that ringing would not wake up BS, who desperately needed sleep and who was camping out downstairs. so i just continued to leave messages on his cell and on the home phone voice mail, hoping eventually i’d get a live person. and i did, two hours later. BS came to the hospital at 9, just after he’d gotten jools to school. this was a good thing. this meant that i could finally hit the doctor’s myself, as i was not feeling so great by this time. adrenaline had taken me pretty freaking far, but i didn’t think it was going to last.

because my doctor was booked, i ended up visiting Ye Olde Doc In The Box (aka the urgent care clinic.) lots of people wearing masks and a receptionist telling me that there was already a 90 minute wait were not stellar signs, but this was the only opportunity i was going to get, so i sat and sat with my mask on, trying not to pass out.  when the nurse called me in, she noticed my hospital bracelet, the one i got from earlier in the day. when i explained how the day had started, she was pretty startled. nevertheless, she noted, we need to test you for flu.

for the record, having pointy q-tips shoved hard up both nostrils is not pleasant.

long story short: doctor comes in and tells me that i have type A influenza. but hey, i protested, i had the regular flu shot last month!

well then, you probably have swine flu. but they’re both treated the same way, so does it really matter?

with apologies to gertrude stein: tamiflu is tamiflu is tamiflu.

i give the doc props — he actually called up my immunologist to double-check how i should be handled. they both decided that with my track record of bacterial infections, i should rock the zithromax as well.

so basically, BC and i have both been fighting the flu. poor little girl has been fighting it on top of recuperating from not one, but two surgeries. i am praying my husband and son do not get sick or this house of cards will crumble. as you can imagine, my creativity is the least of it at this moment.

so here’s my favorite song of all time. nothing to feel guilty about. completely unfunny, especially since it’s about a guy who burns down a woman’s house because she doesn’t put out. but still an incredibly beautiful song, even when john gets creepy at the end, as he does in this version.

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i know i’ll be feeling better soon, everyone will be better soon, and the world will be right again. in the meantime, everyone wash your freaking hands, cover your freaking mouths, and take care of yourselves!!!

egregious '80's: time for requests
Oct 19th, 2009 by wrekehavoc

we interrupt this guilty pleasure monday for a general announcement. you may not like it. you have been warned…

november is coming around; and those of you who have been with me for all these years know what THAT means…

nablopomo!

yes, national blog posting month. every year for the past few years, i have been making a concerted effort to blog every single day in the month of november. i tend to pick a theme (or few) and beat it to death attract people who probably ought to get better hobbies rather than arguing with me over the idea that the song playground in my mind has redeeming qualities start lively discussions. it’s a lot of fun, and i make a lot of new bloggy friends this way, many of whom i am quite good friends with now. (and no, i am not being stalked. yet. i think.)  in november 2007, i took on several leitmotifs: best and worst children’s books ever (it was a bonding moment when i discovered that i am not the only person who loathes the giving tree) as well as great grownups music for kids.

last year, i took on the now-legendary blatantly bad ’70s music. and make no mistake about it: people out there do respond to this delightful tiptoe through some truly awful music.  oh, the agony of the earworms! oh, the pain of hearing people defend why wildfire is just the most. amazing. song. evah. oh, the magic of songs like  i’ve been to paradise, but i’ve never been to me! yes, i had to do penance for that monthus terribulus by providing an entire month of guilty pleasure mondays that were good 1970s songs. songs like bad blood by neil sedaka and elton john.

you’re welcome.

it was so much fun to crucify some of the worst in ’70s music that i thought, hell, why not go after the eighties? that’s my primary era, and there’s so much crap there — some wildly obvious. so i’m making a list and checking it twice. and in november, hold onto your izods and your jheri curls, cos i’m going to attempt to corral some of the most awful offenders on your then-radio dial. (or MTV station, back when Music Video Television actually played videos.)

so please: share your requests in the comments section below or on my contact page. (not on my facebook page, please, as i will lose your stuff in a matter of days when the comments go south.)

the request line is open.

(and, as always, guilty pleasure monday gets suspended in november so you can get all the earworms i can squeeze into a month. bad ones, that is.)

blog action day: like the weather
Oct 15th, 2009 by wrekehavoc

every year, i participate in blog action day.  i like to tilt at windmills as much as the next grrl, and they always pick topics about which i tend to care.

this year, the topic: climate change.

as a mom and as a somewhat crunchy being, i tend to worry about polar bears and glaciers and all sorts of seemingly unnatural alterations to our present time-space continuum. i often wonder when the day will come when kansas develops coastal waterfront property. i ponder whether my kids — and, G-d-willing, their kids — will inherit a world that continues to turn and continues to exist as we know it. and, being one whose own health is a somewhat fragile topic, i also do imagine the potential health issues that happen when climates go awry.

greater heatwaves hit people, especially those poor folks who don’t have air conditioning or who choose (insert tongue firmly in cheek as that word is said) to live al fresco.  (well, that’s what my conservative friends tell me. homelessness, apparently, is a life choice. and apparently, climate change is a complete farce. next, they’ll be telling me that i should trust in big business and the free market. but i digress. per usual.) and when it gets very, very hot, all sorts of diseases can become even more of a problem before. for example, mosquitoes would dig climate change, if they had brains bigger than an atom, because it increases their ability to find a date and dinner, which of course can lead to all sorts of happiness for mosquitoes but also a whole world of trouble for us two-legged buffet tables.

and when it’s cold, well, in short, people freeze to death.

i suspect there are potential long-term problems in the offing. agriculture can suffer, which could mean people could go hungry, people might have to move.  while in the midwest recently, i saw a news segment about a farm that had a bumper crop of pumpkins thanks to the hotter, wetter summer. however, every other crop of theirs — tomatoes, etc — went straight to hell thanks to rot. i’m not especially a fan of pumpkin pie, and i don’t want to face a future where i have to eat any sort of squash in order to maintain my existence.

see, one can only eat so much zucchini before one contemplates something drastic.

now some people think that global warming is a crock of shit.  but i find that a lot of the commentary on global warming tends to be from people who cherrypick their data. i will freely admit that as someone who doesn’t study the topic 24/7, i try to comprehend the information that bombards me. but i cannot understand people who shut down the discussion. i have plenty of friends who think the whole idea of global warming is bunk, and they pull my tail at all turns (and they will likely pull it in the comments section as well. go for it, kids.) even if you believe global warming is bunk, can you not fathom the idea that perhaps looking toward some better practices could only improve health on the planet? is it so wrong to try to develop and use new technologies to use fewer amounts of non-renewable natural resources and possibly, just possibly, make the air cleaner and easier to breathe? is it wrong to try and work on agricultural solutions that don’t employ so damn many chemicals, some of which are polluting not only the earth but ourselves, thanks to the toxicity of these antibiotics and other supposedly-safe substances on our systems?

i get very tired of the naysayers who don’t want to explore solutions and who only want to piss on the progress parade.

so all right. who knows whether the ice age is coming. who knows whether we’ll all evaporate into vapor. who knows whether animals as we know it will die out.  we could all be drinking beer with jimi hendrix in heaven tomorrow for all we know. but i believe that  it is our responsibility as people on the planet to encourage anything to help us all live healthier lives, and that includes voting on policies that encourage safer and environmentally-friendly industrial practices. who knows: there may be an economic stimulus in there somewhere that will help us get out of this global financial rut we’re in as well.

it could be a win-win on the health front: our health, and the health of our world.

san francisco (be sure to wear flowers in your hair) : part two
Oct 13th, 2009 by wrekehavoc

i know, i know. i left you in suspense since part one.

you’d be surprised how nice airline people and TSA folks can be. on that friday morning at an undogly hour, when the lady at the northwest counter started to help me check my bag [note to self: you needn’t have bothered. people took bags the size of wisconsin on the plane.], she asked me a simple question: are you okay?

in what may end up being my finest impression of mary tyler moore, i sobbed: noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

that lady came over the counter and gave me a hug. when she found out that this was my first solo trip since having kids, she said girl, my son needed a break from me when he was three months old. you need to get out. this will be good for you! so i got my bag checked and a mini-psych session. who knew!

i then dragged my tear-stained, hadn’t-slept-since-tuesday-night-face through the TSA area. i have been lectured endlessly that the humorless people of TSA are not to be trifled with. no jokes, no conversation, nada. in short: do not taunt happy funball. i’m a friendly sorta chick, but lucky for me, i was one stripe short of a flag. i dragged myself through. Mr. TSA Guy stopped me. oh shit, i thought. my very existence will get me flagged for something i have not done. time for the instant replay of everything i have done wrong this week: i’ve put some whites in with darks in the laundry. i’ve ignored a few emails. i probably dropped the f-bomb in front of the kids while swerving my way through DC traffic…

then, a deep voice: are you ok, miss?

a loaded question from a TSA person, right? at least, it was to a sleep-deprived, unhappy flier like me. but somewhere, the answer came:

i miss my kids.

TSA Guy smiled at me. i understand, miss. i smiled back and walked on through. SWEET! score one for crazy mothers everywhere. i did all i had to do, removed various articles of clothing, bought coffee, and got on the plane.

sadly, i couldn’t get a direct flight from DCA to SFO, so i had the pleasure of a three-hour layover in scenic minneapolis. i was pretty freaking happy to have that layover, though, as the plane ride from DCA to the twin cities was nightmarishly turbulent, so much so that the air hosts tried to start beverage service twice and twice failed. i’m not a happy flier to begin with; to ride a plane that feels like it’s a trampoline fest? priceless. (if i ever find that kind tax lawyer who talked to me through the entire experience, i will definitely see that he gets knighted.)

so spending three hours in the minneapolis airport was a godsend to a person desperate to be on the ground. i walked up and down and all around. i bought a powerball ticket, as BS and i have decided that people who win powerball usually live in places which can probably be bought, lock, stock, and barrel, by the dollars garnered by said winning ticket. [read: the deep south, the rural midwest. maybe minneapolis isn’t rural, but it isn’t far from rural places. (yeah, i know, i know. it’s not like the people’s republic of arlington is that far away from rural places…or rural places that are dotted with mcmansions, anyway.)] i got a hand massage — only my right for some reason — in the body shop by a lady who clearly thought i needed a break.  i watched endless CNN coverage of the selection of the olympic city. (as an aside, i was taken aback by the coverage, as the commentator was actually upset — UPSET — when chicago was first dinged off the list. walter cronkite shedding a tear at the news of JFK’s death? definitely defensible. this guy getting actually red-faced over chicago? SERIOUSLY? did this guy spend any time in J-school?)

after starting and finishing war and peace, it was time to board the second plane du jour.

a bigger plane. yay. a lovely older couple flying to SF en route to china beside me. fine. a little late departure? no problem. we’re up, then we’re down.

and i had finally arrived.

guilty pleasure monday: the time warp (rocky horror picture show)
Oct 12th, 2009 by wrekehavoc

in honor of columbus day, i give you… columbia!

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i love the rocky horror picture show…not enough to dress up like any of the characters and act it out, but enough to have seen it a few times in my formative years.

i have plenty of tales of my rocky horror movie viewings, including one that required my friends and i to spend some serious time in the belmar police station (not my doing, incidentally; i was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.) but the first time i saw the rocky horror picture show, i was struck by two things: a roll of toilet paper (right in the eye, damn it) and rice.  i was also struck by the surreality of the story line. my most difficult realization was that some of the characters were related…which was an incredibly gross idea. as always, i was trying desperately to follow the plot and understand the message; only, too bad for me. there really is no message.

the whole point, i think, is participation. people yelling the lines at the scream, people dressed up and acting the show out in front of the film, people, in short, behaving badly: a dream for a teenager who always behaved, i think.

now, i put the tamer kidz bop version on my kids’ mp3 players. i really don’t have the stomach to explain what a pelvic thrust is all about for now, and kidz bop sufficiently bowdlerizes it all, just in time for halloween. it’s cool — the whole family can do the time warp, and no one can be the wiser.

i suspect that when columbus discovered america, he had no intention of claiming it for sweet transvestites, meatloaf, and pink haired ladies. sorry, chris.

san francisco (be sure to wear flowers in your hair) : part one
Oct 7th, 2009 by wrekehavoc

it was 1998 when i last went anywhere just as me, myself, and i, rather than as somebody’s wife or mother. this idea gnawed at my soul for a long, long time, until finally, my best bud murph and i figured out that this would be the year we would go away somewhere. since she had moved away, we never got to spend much time together anyway, so why not? besides, murph had some frequent flyer credits to kill, so as long as we selected a place where her plane would take her, we were golden.

we settled on san francisco. san francisco is home to many, many things, some less printable than others.  for our purposes, it would be home to the free hardly strictly bluegrass festival in golden gate park. now many of you faithful readers (and i know you are out there, you people besides my dad) are familiar with the fact that i am not exactly the biggest country fan on the face of the earth. this, as we all know, is true. however, i have an appreciation for classics, like emmylou harris, who, i think displays a startling beauty in her work. i also took note of the hardly strictly part of the title. i saw names i adored on the list of performers, like aimee mann and nick lowe. and, in short, i was sold. besides, one of my other dearest friends, m2k, lives there, a lucky strike extra indeed.

now, you might think that that would be that, and i could simply say i got on a plane and off i’d go. but nothing in my life ever goes quite like that. for starters, i am a bit frightened of flying, a la isadora wing. sure, i have flown plenty in my life; i’ve been overseas and i was a regular in the 80s on people express to florida. but somehow, since i’ve become a parent, flying freaks me out. i guess the thought of potentially not being there to see my kids grow up makes me freeze. but i have also learned in life that i have to step up to the plate and just face the things or people i fear and get past them.

so i do.

i was slated to leave on friday, october 2 at 5:15 in order to catch a plane at 6:40 a.m. i packed during the week during fleeting free minutes. by wednesday, i was nearly ready, putting final touches together while BS and jools were out at a cub scout meeting in the evening. they returned home late, 9ish, so i stopped my packing and put jools to bed. then, as he was standing by the sink, rehashing the evening’s events to me while drinking a glass of water, BS suddenly grabbed his throat, then his side, then toppled to the ground, hitting his head on the hard kitchen tile floor. i ran over to him immediately, patting his cheeks and calling his name. no one was home. then, his eyes opened and went back into his head. this is not really happening, i thought. (you bet your life it is, a little voice sang.)

i wedged BS on his side against the dishwasher, jumped up and ran to the phone. only too bad for me (as my heroine junie b would say), that glass of water BS had been holding had spilled all over the floor. i slid and fell on my ass. that hard tile floor contact seared along my legs and backside, but as my ass has plenty of cushion on it, i knew the floor had probably hurt BS’s head a lot more, so i struggled up and grabbed the phone, dialed 911, and slid back to BS, cradling his head in my arm while keeping him on his side.

911 operators, for those of you who have never spoken with them, are rather tough cookies. calm down now, ma’am the lady kept saying to me. i am not one of those people who likes to be told to calm down; it makes me more frantic. but i looked at my husband’s face and knew i had to keep myself together. so i described what had happened, where we were, that sort of thing. as i looked at him, my husband’s eyes opened again, and this time, i saw a glimmer of recognition. i’m fine, he said to me, over and over. i’m fine. i had the feeling that he did not want to trouble the EMTs; that’s the sort of guy he is.

too bad, i thought. i don’t take direction from people who have been unconscious in the past five minutes. the EMTs are coming.

he looked like he was coming to for good; and when i heard the firetruck, i ran to the door to open it, then ran back to my husband. EMTs and firefighters filed in. one took me aside while several hung with BS, asking him all the usual questions to ensure his noggin was still in working order. after lots of questions, the EMTs decided that he probably somehow messed with his vagus nerve and gave himself a brain freeze to remember (or not). he was probably ok for now. fabulous.

i spent the night watching him sleep, as i was afraid whether he’d have a problem again due to whatever happened or perhaps even a concussion from whacking his head on the floor.

the next day, i tried to calm down and finish packing. by the evening, though, i was terrified of the impending flight. i was upset by the idea of leaving my formerly unconscious spouse alone, especially with two kids to look after. in short, i was afraid. i went to bed that night, unable to sleep.

now everyone occasionally hears things that go bump in the night. and, as little miss non-sleeper 2009, i heard two knocks in the night, pounding sounds like when water goes through the upstairs pipes. curious, i thought to myself: no one is running the tub. but i sat there, and i pondered. that is, until i heard the sound to end all sounds.

BOOM!

at around 3 am, a thunderous noise literally pushed my husband and i up into the air (it seemed.) ohmyG-d, ohmyG-d, ohmyG-D! was all i could mutter as i ran down the stairs to find out what the hell had happened. i didn’t have to run far. the ceiling of the living room, AKA the room beneath my bedroom, had fallen. the 60 year old plaster and drywall concoction had finally breathed its last and decided to fall atop a table the kids use to do crafts and play games on. amazingly, all of the toys that were underneath the heavy ceiling were relatively undamaged, though the ceiling did rip a hole in my pullout couch. but no one was injured. (after all, no one else was awake save for insane jane moi.) i checked on the kids, who had no idea what the hell had happened.

and then, i proceeded to stay awake and fret. after all, i had to wake up at 4:15 in order to get myself together for my 5:15 cab. how the hell can i leave you? i shrieked at BS. this is like a sign from G-d — i should not be going anywhere!!! BS told me i should get on that plane and not worry about signs — i needed to go and besides, murph would be very upset with me if i blew her off.

by this point, BC was up for the duration. in between telling me what i needed to wear (you’ll be cold if you don’t wear this jacket, she told me, handing me a windbreaker. she was right, incidentally. glad i listened to the 60 year old in the 10 year old suit.), girlfriend was crying her eyes out. don’t gooooooooooooooo, mommy!!!! oh, i didn’t want to. i really didn’t want to.

but i got in that cab, blew a kiss to the little girl who was sobbing at the window, and was off to the airport.

once there, i stood outside northwest airlines’ entrance. and i sobbed. i called BS. i don’t want to go, i cried.  what kind of wife and mother leaves her family after these things have happened?

BS, who by this time was probably one step away from a one-way trip to whothehellami land, very calmly uttered: just GO!

so i did.

guilty pleasure monday: drown (smashing pumpkins)
Oct 5th, 2009 by wrekehavoc

a rarity: something by the smashing pumpkins that i actually like!

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i never got the smashing pumpkins. there was something so calculated and so predictable about their approach to music that i just could never get too excited about anything they did. the music never worked for me. plus, they kinda creeped me out.

sadly, i could not escape the pumpkins in the ’90s. i still remember when mellon collie and the infinite sadness was released. i was one of four tech producers (and about six or seven account managers and business-type people) stuffed into a windowless office. the geekers all sat in the four corners of the room, while the other folks were circled around haphazardly. one of my fellow geeks was a huge pumpkins fan, and when mellon collie came out, he played it. constantly. to this day, i cannot abide that double album.  if i don’t hear bullet with butterfly wings anymore in my lifetime, it will be too soon.

but long before mellon collie entered the picture, there was drown, a song the pumpkins contributed to the movie singles. (damn, just thinking about that soundtrack puts a paul westerberg earworm in my head. but i digress…) there’s a certain languid dreaminess to drown that i really enjoy. if you’re in one of those moods, the song will envelope you in a way that lets you wallow forever.

however, there’s only so much wallowing a person can do before wallowing becomes boring. so in small doses, i heart this song.

just don’t call me a pumpkins fan.


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