Time Enough

So. My dad has decided to go ahead with chemotherapy after all. I don't agree with this. Nobody does, actually, except for one doctor who seems to put chemo on par with prescription-strength Tylenol. Take one! You'll feel better in no time! Giddy up, let's get this systemic invasion started! My mom called me yesterday from a pharmacy parking lot just so she could finally scream and cry out loud about it. Best case is maybe a year or two of remission before the cancer comes back. Because this kind of cancer always comes back. The more likely case is that the chemo will kill him, or make him so desperately sick that the extra time will be the opposite of good time. But he's changed his mind and. He. Wants. That. Time. Which means it's probably time for me to stop talking about it for a little bit, because even though my opinion on the matter is probably something like this... ...I shall instead post the other photos of the mini-pre-birthday party we threw for the boys last weekend like this: There were cakes! To tenderly caress! Festive paper fire hazards! The realization that omg, our shirts like, totally... Read more →

Three to Six to Who the Hell Knows

We left later on Friday than we'd planned, as always, heading up to Pennsylvania in the thick of DC rush hour, hitting additional rush hours in Baltimore and Delaware and Philly all the way up, to a degree where the math of "rush HOUR" starts bending the space-time continuum and we basically sat in traffic for five solid hours, until 11 o'clock at night. We arrived at Jason's parents far too late to get over to visit mine, and I admit I was grateful for one last chance to steel my nerves before having to walk in and see my dad, now that we Knew, here in the After, the Suck. The first thing he said was that he'd read my posts. I'd emailed my mom and all but ordered her not to read them -- I didn't want to make her cry, but I needed to write what I needed to write, and I knew I'd end up with something different if I imagined them in the audience. She completely ignored me, of course, and then promptly told my dad to read them. He loved them. He stood there, looking so thin and pale and bruised like a peach,... Read more →

After the Fall

Thank you. I...don't really know what to write next, but a formal Internet-wide thank-you note seems appropriate, for all of your lovely and kind comments, emails and tweets. Reading them felt like...well, like an actual physical hug and actual physical arms propping me up. Thanking each and every one of you personally would probably be the best thing to do, and a much better use of my time than what I've actually been doing. Which is...not much. A lot of staring into space. Watching cooking shows. Swiffering up our yearly mid-September ant infestation in the foyer because the wipe-out-the-colony-in-a-blaze-of-Jonestown-glory traps aren't working nearly fast enough for my liking. I've made significant progress through the box of Godiva chocolates Jason ran out to fetch me almost immediately after I got the news, but that's only because it fits so well into my established plan of sitting on the couch and staring into space. The one thing I haven't been able to do yet is cry. Which is a weird feeling for me, because I cry over everything. TV shows, movies, commercials, any YouTube video involving a dog, news stories about the triumph of the human (and/or dog) spirit. But for the... Read more →

The L Word

I felt vaguely unsettled yesterday. I made multiple stabs at writing a semi-funny story, but every attempt ended with me losing interest and idly staring into space before holding down the delete key and obliterating everything I'd written. Noah was home from school because of the primaries, so I figured I was just distracted by the constant interruptions of Mommy, Mommy, look at this Star Wars toy I made it's from Legos but I put this piece here instead of here and now it's a pod racer Mommy do you like it Mommy it's from Star Wars pew pew pew! I finally gave up and decided that we both probably needed to go play outside for awhile. *** Three months ago, my mom mentioned my dad's platelet count. Among probably a good five or six other things that were of concern. Ever since the roller-coaster ride of his heart surgery and multiple bouts of pneumonia, I haven't written much about my dad, I know. There was almost too much to say, what with the continued irregular heartbeat episodes, his permanently damaged lungs keeping him tethered to an oxygen machine 24/7, his diabetes, his hearing loss, the falls, macular degeneration, mysterious... Read more →

For Posterity's Sake

We visited my parents this weekend. I haven't really written about them in awhile, I know -- it's easier to report on a crisis than to write entry after entry about a parent's slow decline. But I'll skip ahead to the conclusion of a lot of stuff from this year: My parents are getting ready to sell their house and move into some kind of senior/convalescent/assisted care home. And now I'll gloss over THAT and skip ahead to the bright side of things, which is that my mother's attempts to purge their house of as much clutter and stuff as possible mean that I came home with a HUGE BAG of hideously embarrassing artifacts from my childhood and adolescence to share with you guys. There was also an ex-boyfriend sighting and if you're the type who likes to keep a mental score when it comes to these things, let me assure you that I TOTALLY WIN, OH MY GOD. Bright side! We shall look at the bright side! But before I start firing up the scanner so y'all can make fun of my hair and I dunno, I think there's some poetry or some stories about unicorns in there too,... Read more →

Better Parenting Through Abandonment

This weekend was Jason's company's annual holiday party, also known as the event we always get SO. EXCITED. about because it involves a full night away from our ungrateful, wretched children, thanks to a super-discounted hotel room and free babysitting from the in-laws, but also MORE CORRECTLY known as the event that never quite works out the way we hope, as we either 1) stay up too late, 2) drink too much, or 3) both, always both, and then either wake up just as early (or earlier) as we usually do because of 1) hangovers, 2) construction noise from four feet from our hotel room window, 3) that weird parental spidey-sense you get because OMG, it's 7 am, my child is waking up and demanding cereal two zip codes over, or 4) some hellacious combination of All Of The Above. (That whole paragraph, including two [2!] separate numbered lists, was one sentence. That might be my finest work yet.) This year was no exception. After a deadly combination of inedible finger food and cheap-ass liquor, our night ended during an after-party in the hotel lounge, where I sat around talking to people I've never met before about topics I don't... Read more →

Let's Sit Down & Throw Some Words at the Screen For Awhile

Oh hi, this is me, typing with no head. It blew off. Or up. I don't know. I don't remember. Your head is where you keep your memory. All I know is that one day I looked around and realized that I have an freaking buttload of deadlines and work obligations every day and two very high maintenance children who want love and attention and someone to keep the little one from drinking dish detergent or slamming his fingers in drawers or...or...oh HELL, he's got the adjustable-blade slicer from the kitchen. Again. Today. Head. BOOM! Just like that. Wut? Hilariously, optimistically, I placed an ad for a part-time mother's helper-type person about three weeks ago. And I got a ton of interest and applications and promises of never-ending love and devotion to my children, at least for 10 hours a week, as it seems This Fucking Economy has left a bazillion previously-out-of-our-price-range, actual-real-professional nannies unemployed around here, so they're all promising stuff like cooking meals and housekeeping and taking my baby to the ART MUSEUM, or something. Teaching him German. Handicrafts. I'm like: Or you could just keep his hands out of the toilets, more or less. I'm fine with... Read more →

In Lieu Of

This post is sponsored by the American Cancer Society. I was in the ninth grade. It was early spring, a few weeks before Easter. My mom offered to take me out for lunch, and I, in my infinite gastronomical taste and sense of occasion, chose Taco Bell. We sat at a tiny table by the window. I remember I talked a lot. I don’t remember what I talked about, but afterward, when we got back into the car, my mom drove out of the parking lot…and then parked the car a few yards away, in a different fast food parking lot. That’s when we had the conversation I realized my mom had probably intended to have at the restaurant. “Your dad has cancer.” *** He had cancer of the larynx, to be exact. The voice box. He’d quit smoking when I was a tiny little asthmatic thing, but the long years of cigarettes and daily high school English lectures had taken a terrible toll. He underwent radiation. I have a weird memory of going with him to a radiation treatment that I think I may have made up. I started writing short stories and essays in earnest around this time.... Read more →

So Many Entries to Write, and Yet I Give You This

I am losing mah mind over here, people. You know it's bad when I start breaking out the phonetic Southern accent that I don't actually talk with. 1) My baby is SIX MONTHS OLD today. Six! Such a random number to get worked up about, I know, but six! Half a year! Totally in need of a long detailed entry about the state of every tiny little thing he does! But who is going to write that, I ask you. WHO? All my ghostwriters called in drunk. 2) Noah's evaluation with the school district is TOMORROW. At the crack of 9 o'clock. And I've got a whole entry about THAT percolating in my brain, in which I confess that the last couple weeks have actually been w-o-n-d-e-r-f-u-l and we've made a lot of great p-r-o-g-r-e-s-s and now I have NO idea what to expect from him tomorrow, like I think there might be a chance we get sent home with zero services and I think I might be okay with that, because seriously: w-o-n-d-e-r-f-u-l. But the minute I say all of that out loud I just know I will jinx everything and come home tomorrow feeling like a truck up... Read more →


Oh, God. I seriously just typed, "Hi, we're all still alive" without thinking about it, because I wonder if some of you are expecting someone to NOT still be alive, which is like, heavy and bleak and depressing, especially since we are all MOST EMPHATICALLY ALL STILL ALIVE. In fact, as evidence for the "I am perhaps made of magic after all" theory, I think my father has improved dramatically since I got here on Monday night, when he was thin and frail and shaking and I honestly didn't recognize the little old man wearing my dad's glasses. Then I made spaghetti and meatballs and he ate two helpings and I figured out how to TiVo the Phillies game even though the guide wasn't showing that there even WAS a Phillies game (leave it to my dad, though, to still know exactly when the Phillies are playing despite being bedridden since January), and today I brought him a terribly unhealthy lunch of a bacon cheeseburger, like do I know how to help a cardiac patient or what, and he ate that too and played lots of peekaboo with Ezra and declared him "human cuteness personified," which is English professor speak... Read more →