I Couldn’t Stand Being Left Out

I mentioned last week that I didn’t believe I had substantively much to offer here these days.  I’m saving my blogself for “The Road Trip” which is to commence in T-minus three days.  After rerouting no fewer than fifty-three times, at last our hotels are booked, activities planned and purchased where that could be done prior to arrival, and Caleb the Wonderdog has visited his day care provider, AKA my husband’s brother and his family, to acclimate.  *pleasedon’twreckalltheirshitpleasedon’twreckalltheirshitpleasedon’twreckalltheirshit* 

I’m 82.4% certain that this adventure is going to be pretty cool, and only 17.6% (but often it feels exactly like 100%) that my failure will go down in the annals of family history as epic.

I’ve dubbed 2017’s summer The Summer of Appointments.  I cannot recall two consecutive days where I haven’t trotted one or both children to a symphony of piano lessons, a dentist, orthodontist, orthopedic surgeon, pediatrician, emergency room, physical therapist, imaging department, or sports medicine specialist appointment.  And that doesn’t even include baseball practice or games, and my children do NOT maintain freakishly overscheduled lives.  Despite having been fitted for an orthodontic retainer of my very own at MY AGE, I must have been feeling neglected, left out.  I wanted my very own orthopedic injury.  Kid #1 has a broken collarbone and Kid #2 has that separation in his bone growth plate, but what about me??  I want to be like the cool kids.  Daddy, I want an Oompa Loompa, I want an Oompa Loompa right now!

Somehow I’ve destroyed my rotator cuff.

And yeah, I say “somehow” because I have not the slightest inkling how the injury occurred, aside from just being old(er).  Naturally I blame the dog for having pulled fiercely when I walked him, because he’s a total jerk on his purple leash, and only walks decently, OK, really, like a canine prince on his Weiss Walkie leash.  His misbehavior is the most likely culprit, legit.  In the runner-up spot for destroying my shoulder is yoga, but I do not believe that my centering has taken me this far off-center.  I don’t.  I don’t know how I wake up one day having lost the capacity to move, but who am I to argue with nature?  It hurts.  Like makes-me-cry hurts when I engage in certain angles of movement.  Getting old and overuse is Bachelor #3 for etiology, but I just don’t wanna go there. Crap. 

A short list of things rendered excruciating by a wrecked rotator cuff:

  1. Sleeping.  Holy shit you guys, what I wouldn’t do to sleep on my side or belly.  Or not wake up yelping in pain.
  2. Walking the Wonderdog, although with the Weiss Walkie leash, it’s mostly OK.  I feel like the Weiss people should flip me a couple bucks for my endorsement here.  Right?
  3. Putting on or removing a bra.  I have preparatory tears as I consider retiring to bed tonight.
  4. Sitting erect.
  5. Typing on my laptop.  I hate this computer, but until this week it hasn’t inflicted physical pain, just emotional.
  6. Hold the phone.  This is not figurative language.  It hurts to hold my cell phone in my hand at the position and angle needed to you know, see it.
  7. Washing my hair (and washing the floor, but let’s not fool around here–I’m no more likely to wash the floor now than I was before).  Most hygiene tasks are complicated–shaving my underarms or applying deodorant leap to mind–and if you think that’s too much information, clearly you are new here.  Welcome. How are ya?
  8. Cutting food with a knife and stirring.  Also, cutting pizza hurts like hell.
  9. Eating.  But I like to eat, so I suck it up.
  10. Pretty much extending my arm more than about 40 degrees in any direction, crossing midline, raising my arm, and moving my neck to the left.  Super for driving. And being.

I’m a quirky kind of ambidextrous.  I consider myself a lefty because I write and eat with my left hand; I also bat and play tennis left-handed.  But I throw with my right hand, cut food with my right when I eat (but when I prepare food, the chef’s knife is in my left), and I use a right-handed scissors.  What I do with one hand I absolutely cannot do with the other though. Drat my quirky.  It’s my left shoulder that’s jacked up, so my body is so confused.  And so, so tired.  I’d donate my spleen to sleep longer than three connected hours. Do you even need a spleen?  Like a lot?

Boo-hoo, Wendy, put on a brave face, load up with ibuprofen, and keep moving.  I am.  Like my firstborn, I am badass with pain.  At my husband’s insistence however, I made an appointment with my general practitioner yesterday.  I say my husband made me, but when I am willing to go see a medical professional for myself, you know I’m one step from the grave.  I don’t go to the doctor unless it’s categorically necessary.  Quirky one, right here.  But I went, was sent for x-rays, and referred to an orthopedic/sports med doc of my very own.  My appointment with the orthopedist?  September 14.  I’ll be paralyzed or have descended into madness from lack of sleep by then, so I’m gonna have to trust WebMD for all my physical therapy needs.  (Also, I’m gonna totally possibly hijack my son’s PT appointment this morning and inundate my ballplayer’s therapist with “hypotheticals” about rotator cuff injuries which are totally in line with pitcher’s rehabs, so my questions won’t sound completely out of left field. It’ll be our little secret though, OK?)

After a star-studded June and July, the Explanation of Benefits statements from our health insurance carrier have begun to roll in, and give it up for Wendy! I only snot-cried like once.  I don’t get paid again until mid-September, such is the life of a public educator, so I’m not all summer eager-beavery about all the checks I am going to have to write.  The Summer of Appointments price tag will run upwards of $4,000 out of pocket.  Maybe that’s not a king’s ransom for you, in which case, you’re quite fortunate.  It’s not going to bankrupt us, but I can’t say it doesn’t sting.  Oh, and I have “good” insurance.

As I checked into my imaging appointment yesterday, the receptionist informed me that they required a $50 co-pay prior to my admittance, and the facade cracked.  The guy next to me was yelling at the woman checking him in about not broadcasting his address (you know how they ask you questions just specific enough to confirm you’re who you purport to be? “And Mrs. Weir, you still live on South Sesame Street?” or “Your phone number ends in 7777?”), and I needed a moment.  Just a quick moment to collect myself.  My eyes prickled from pain, but also from that feeling of “Stop it, weird over-reacty guy! I just want to get out of here, stop yelling at her!” I stared intently into my purse, searching for please-don’t-cry-right-this-second.  Found it!

I’m down, but not out. Never out. I’m the mom, ain’t no time for pain. I got some great mail this week, and mail you can touch and hold from a friend who always seems to know just what you need never fails to buoy my spirits. And my shoulder. 

In my mind, my two sons and I are lined up á la those see/hear/speak no evil monkeys, except we’re bandaged, casted, and splinted. I’m the short, hunched over one in the center.  A modern day visage of Larry, Moe, and Curly, us three. 

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What Kind of Grinch Do You Think I Am?

Visions of blogging sugarplums were dancing in my head, I swear!  Sweet dreams of authoring some magical piece about the warmth of chestnuts roasting on an open fire, or the spirit of jolly ol’ Saint Nick were had.  There are so many who do it so much better than I dare dream, so I am going to leave Christmas tale-telling to the masters.  I’m no Dickens.

I am however, acquainted with a talented bunch of writers from whom I will steal.  And by steal, I mean share selected works with you.  Because Christmas is about giving, y’all, not stealing.  Geez, what kind of Grinch do you think I am anyway?  What follows is a  short compendium of blog posts that, for various though not necessarily linear, logical reasons to you, struck a nerve with me this past year.  Consider this my gift to  you:  I am going to shut the heck up in deference to these people whose tales beg to be read.  Merry Christmas.

Ghosts of October made me miss my best friend acutely.   Like @seanpcarlin, its author, my best friend Deb is a transplant from a four-season climate to southern California.  Sean captures the crisp of autumn in a way you can smell and feel the chill in your very bones.  Sean is an author–a for reals writer–and all-around good guy.  My best friend is a librarian, and reading his post made me feel like they’d met for coffee in an alternate universe.

Doug Warren is a blogger I met last winter in one of WordPress’s Blogging U courses.  He’s a musicologist of sorts, and has been turning out Spotify playlists and recommendations I love.  Though having a full time job significantly cuts into my listening time (stupid reality of paying bills and stuff!), I do enjoy the playlists he pulls together.  Please enjoy this classic Christmas collection. Your ears will thank you.

I was recently introduced to the term inspiration porn.  You’re flooded with quotes and memes and life hacks if you visit social media in any capacity.  Jackie’s blog used to be titled Diary of an Inspiration Junkie, but as she has morphed, so has her blog. I never understood how inspiration as a package, so to speak, can backfire on a person, on us all, and Jackie illustrated that for me.  Read her insightful and forward-leaning response to it here.

You know that I celebrate a “concentrated hobby” with a certain Canadian musical foursome.  I know what you say about me–I mean I’m right here in the room with you when you say stuff, people, so I can hear you!  I have Barenaked Ladies; my friend Jennifer has Hamilton.  Neither of us is alone in our, ahem, focus, and both of us freely admit to inching one pinky toe over the line when it comes to the musical loves of our lives.  #ATL2Lin_Manuel was her hashtag and rallying cry, and by the powers of the Great White Way, Jennifer and her daughter got to to see Hamilton’s original Broadway cast in one of its final performances last July.  There were tears shed and cheers heard from NYC to ATL to MKE.   Read about Jennifah’s road trip of a lifetime, complete with Broadway-style show stopping finale here.

And because I am who I am, here’s BNL’s Elf’s Lament.  It’s the best lyrical holiday ditty of all time.

The psychology minor in me loves The Psy of Life blog by @calicojack always, and even a little more for this one: His post was written after he read something I wrote. It’s an indescribable compliment and a recognition I’ll never forget.  I had written about my Facebook life, observing how some people overshare on social media.   Yikes! The stuff people broadcast when they’re down and seeking comfort (attention?) is something to write about. Read what I wrote here if you wanna.   Jack explains the psychological and biochemical processes underlying human behavior, plus he uses genteel and sophisticated phrases like “blog whoring” and “shit show,” so I’m pretty sure we’d be best friends in the real world.

I’d previously taken this and run with it, but if you didn’t read it when I recommended it before, do read it now.  It’s a gift that looks AMAZING on you and totally doesn’t make your ass look fat.  Wil Wheaton, yes, that Wil Wheaton, writes so well. Read his post.  Follow this advice.  This is the moment.  Do it.

This IS the moment–Merry Christmas, friends.  Thank you for being here with me.  You, my dear readers, my individual and collective therapists you, thank you.  You’re a gift I treasure each day.  Your readership, your feedback means the world to me.  Space here allows to me to call out but a handful of blogs today, but there are so many voices worth hearing, so many stories that demand telling.  Keep writing, keep reading. Do more of what makes you happy, and keep being kind to one another.

I love receiving gifts of all stripes (red and white wines equally appreciated), but so far, this is my favorite physical gift of this holiday season.  Who knew a decorative little tin box was specially crafted with me in mind?  Profanity DOES make talking fun!  I’m totally putting that on a tee shirt.

 

 

 

Oh Yeah

It’s not like I forgot my son has Muscular Dystrophy. I’m not that kind of airhead. I haven’t focused on my son’s disease here too much of late. Maybe some of you are thinking my blog has lost a bit of its focus. It has.  But come on, you know me well enough by now to know that I have but a passing acquaintance with the beaten path.  Plus, the fact of the matter is that writing here has soothed my anguished heart, and distractions are a gift.  My mom heart of blissful unawareness will never be whole again. Ever. But the despair I felt for a good while is subacute these days.  These days I write to amuse and entertain myself, and hopefully one or two of you as well.

They say music soothes the savage beast. So does writing. So I wrote. I write.

And most days, as the kids say, it’s all good, yo.  But then this arrives, and you go, “Well, shit.”

Oh yeah, that’s right. . .  we’re part of the MDA “family” now.  We get these publications now.  We get information from this wonderful organization we hate having the affiliation with.  No, not hate.  Not hate.  You guys, the work they do?  Whoa.

The “I’m writing about whatever thing leaps to mind” these days stops in a flash and I’m transported back to Day One. To the day marking our before and afterAfter, as I’m completing my son’s field trip permission, waiver, insurance and health forms for his class trip to Washington, DC, I have to complete the Illness/Medical Conditions column and the Necessary Accommodations column.  *sigh*  It’s not that I forgot.  Obviously.  It’s that sometimes life forces me to remember consciously and pointedly.

I remember quite distinctly sitting down at our computer to compose my first blog post.  I was terrified.  But I was distracted from my sorry state, and that was good.  Never for a moment did I think I’d title this home away from home anything other than Greater Than Gravity.  It’s a lyric, THE lyric in my favorite song, the line that made my tummy do flips the first time I heard it, the line I once thought and sometimes still do think I’d have tattooed on me somewhere, and the one that can’t suppress my smile when I hear it.  Every time.

I’m a complete geek for my band, not apologetic for that, and only slightly apologetic for hijacking someone else’s words from a sweet little pop love song for my project here.  I had no idea what I was doing when I began here, only slightly clearer an idea nearly two years in, but the words stuck:  Love.  It’s greater than gravity.  When I get mail like I did yesterday, those words are the lifesaver tossed into the choppiest sea of my emotions.  I barely catch hold of that lifesaver, but I got it.  I got it.  And I hang on.

You don’t have to get it for you.  I get it for me.  That’s enough.

 

 

Complicated

Note to readers:  If you’re a male, you might, maybe, possibly, potentially be just a hair, say a teensy smidgen offended at the gross generalizations I am about to lay down.  They’re gross generalizations and super-stereotypes. 

If you recognize shades of your own behavior in any one of the following items though. . . well, stop it!  Or do it! 

(Also, with the addition of a male canine at Chez Weir, I am feeling outnumbered.  I can barely breathe here because Caleb [yes, the kids have chosen to stick with Caleb] rarely, if ever, extracts his head from my rear end.  I fully and openly acknowledge that I can be a most magnificent pain in the ass to the Y-chromosome carriers I share my life with.  I’m anxious, I talk a lot, I can adopt one mother of a sarcastic tone, and these are just a few highlights.  I know I am not above reproach.)

Unless I am at a restaurant or fast-food joint, I rarely add ice to my beverages.  It’s not that I’m not pro-frosty beverage, it’s more that mostly I drink stuff directly out of the fridge, and it’s already sufficiently cooled.  After dinner tonight, I was dying for a Coke Zero.  (You’re so welcome, Coca-Cola, for the free endorsement here)  I also rarely seek a glass vessel from which to drink my adequately cooled beverage, but tonight for whatever reason, I was in the mood for a pint glass of Coke Zero over ice.  Glass pint, check; room temp Coke Zero, check; ice cubes, not a one.

My husband consumes and chews ice like it’s his job.  There was a time in recent history when I was sure his ice chewing would be my undoing, so constant was the jaw action, but lately I guess I’ve been distracted.  And also since I used to listen to music through headphones so loudly that they’d bounce off my head, I am finally willing to admit that my hearing acuity may have taken a slight dive, and I can’t hear him.  Or tuned it out.  Probs both.  Being a cheap-ass, I never quite understood why people purchase ice for home use.  I mean, sure, it’s ice and it comes in swell cylindrical shapes which do possess a simply superior mouthfeel and glide as if made of, well nevermind. . .  They are made of ice.  It’s ice.

But with a minimum amount of exertion, anyone can make ice for free.  See, your fridge comes with these little plastic or silicone trays.  They’re also available for purchase in fun shapes or just your standard twelve if you need or want more.  If your fridge is newer, you probably don’t have them because holy crap!  You have an icemaker and have reached the pinnacle of culinary technological advancement!  If you’re an old school girl like me (until Saturday anyway when the new appliances are scheduled for delivery), you can make ice cubes.  Let me elucidate:

Fig 1:  Turn on your faucet.  You’ll want a low-to-medium flow so as to avoid splashing and water waste.  Believe it or not, if your tap flow is too forceful, you’ll end up with very shallow trays, not filled well whatsoever.

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Fig 2:  Place the empty ice cube tray under the running water.  Fill all twelve compartments with water, oh, let’s say about 7/8 of the way filled.7111-zoom-a

Fig 3:  Walk over to the open freezer.  Wait, maybe open the freezer should be Fig 1.  You pick.  If you choose to renumber here, it’s OK.  Do what works for you.  See how flexible I am?

twist-and-serve-ice-hrf224fw-haier-224-litre-fridge

Fig 4:  Place said ice cube tray in the freezer and close the door.

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This process seems to me to be fairly uncomplicated, yet every man I have ever lived with, and if the internet is to be believed, a great many male inhabitants of first world countries, struggles with this labor-intensive process.  Help me out here, guys.  Why is it so complicated?? 

While I’m on a roll here, may I offer some helpful suggestions guaranteed to prevent your wife/girlfriend/sister/mom/mother-in-law/daughter/neighbor lady from losing her mind?

Pro Tip 1:  Try opening the door before standing there staring at it for an extended period of time.  Sometimes it’s not locked.  Also, knocking.

Pro Tip 2:  Do not yank a pair of shorts from the middle of a basket of folded laundry.  Put your shit away.  All of it.  You do nothing but create Mount Washmore when you upend a basket of nicely folded clothing.  Related–the laundry baskets?  Those white, rectangular receptacles filled with your clothes?  That you pass by seventeen times as you go up and down the stairs?  Your vision is not that bad, I know this.

Pro Tip 3:  Toothpaste is meant to be washed down the drain, not to serve as an artsy turquoise accent to the sink bowl.

Pro Tip 4:  Toilet paper is conveniently located in the vanity under the sink.  For when you use the last square. . .  You don’t even have to get up.  But please do.

Pro Tip 5:  Empty cups and dishes with nothing left but crumbs have no place in the fridge.  It’s called a sink, and it’s kissin’ close to the fridge.

Pro Tip 6:   Blankets can be folded.  You might want to remove your stinky socks first.

Pro Tip 7:  Close the door when leaving the house, especially when the air conditioning is on.  What?  You born in a barn? (I wish there was a way to convey facial expression via text because I just channeled my mom and made the “holy crap, I just became my mom” wide eyes.)  Conversely, when the door is closed, say to my bedroom or bathroom, it’s a surefire clue to stay the hell out.  Seriously.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I feel a whole lot better!  Whew.

It really isn’t complicated, fellas.  I leave you with this:  You can do/not do many dingbat things, but if you bring me a dish of ice cream, unsolicited no less, after you fumble on the ice, you are still a hero.  I’m not taking all of it back though because I’m a helper, see, and I think my pro tips are solid.  I stand by ’em, no doubt.  Plus, crabbing about silly (un)complicated stuff like this takes me away from the real world.  In my real world, in my city, there are some very real and complicated social issues including rampant gun violence and rioting.  I have dedicated my career to serving inner-city youth, and my heart breaks to read about unrest and destruction where I work.  I just don’t have it in me tonight.  I am happy to report however that Puma, a dog we intended to adopt but didn’t because she was kind of a b with a capital B, got adopted by another family.  Yay!

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/complicated/”>Complicated</a&gt;