Archive for May, 2009

What Are People For?

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

Dash spent the night with us last night, while Lisa went to our friend Alexis’ wedding to create a horrendous Sunday morning hangover with old friends. Dash and the kids were up early this morning. I let Todd sleep in, as he had partied with neighbors until the wee hours of the morning. So, i was wrangling my now very mobile nephew (He’s going for the stairs! He’s going for the dog’s bowl! He’s juggling knives!), keeping Malex the Pup from chewing everything in his way, and attempting to make Mama some coffee, all the while fielding the constant barrage of questions, interspersed with their own brand of commentary, that a three and five-year old will throw at us in the mornings.

What are we having for breakfast? Can we have blueberry pancakes and eggs and apples with peanut butter? We don’t have milk. We should have juice. We can have water, but if we have the water the juice will have to be watermelon. Can I smell that coffee? Dash is funny. Who is the Birdiest of the birds? And so on. The coffee continues to drip in slow motion, not nearly fast enough to save me.

“Mama?” Rollie says, “What are people for?”
I look at him blankly.
“Huh?”
“What are people for?” he says again, a serious and thoughtful look on his face, his morning hair mussed.

Todd received Wendell Berry’s essay collection What Are People For? for Christmas, and I have been reading it, ahem. . in the bathroom for a few months. I thought, well, maybe Rollie read the title of the book.

“That’s a good question, baby,” I said. Damn it, coffee! Drip! For the love of God, drip!

“I mean, like, what are people for? Why did God make them?”

Since he started school this past year, he has started describing things using the word, “Like.” It makes him sound like a complete and total dumbass teenager. It is driving me crazy.

“Well, baby, that is an awesome question. In fact, people have been asking that question for a couple thousand years, and taking years and whole books to answer it. No one has really answered it. And I can’t begin to talk about it without my coffee. We’ll talk about it this afternoon, okay?”

I was astounded. Holy crap. Not enough coffee in the world.

Plus: Superfluous Mama needs coffee song. . .

According to Rollie

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

If a car has a spoiler, it is a racecar. Cars without spoilers are “Rookies.” I guess this is a Cars (the movie) reference. I don’t know why it makes me laugh so hard. Now, whenever I am driving around, I think to myself, “what a rookie” when I see cars without spoilers.

Rolling With the Punches

Friday, May 29th, 2009

So, i am doing a triathlon a week from tomorrow. I am trying not to panic or get wigged out by the fact that my family obligations have shot my training all to hell. I have gotten in two workouts this week. I know that nothing i do now is even going to have an impact on my performance. So frustrating that I’ve worked out and prepared for this and then everything went to hell in a hand basket in the last few weeks of my training. I guess that is just life.

So, i am going to go ahead and do the damn thing. I know I can finish the distance. I just think it is going to be a lot more painful than I planned on it being. I know I will probably have to walk parts of the run, which sucks; My main goal is simply to finish; my in-the-back-of-my-head goal was to finish the run having not walked a bit of it.

I guess sometimes success is not about preparation, but more about having the stones to do something that intimidates you and for which you are unprepared.

Torn and Shattered

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

So, this is going to be a big ole diarrhea of the mouth, pity party of a post.

Our world is fucked. The automobile and the plane have made it possible to stray so far from home that we never go back. Modern medicine has made it so that we live forever, eternally burdening our families with caring for us, when by all laws of nature, we should have been dead years ago, and not in a long-drawn-out manner. Maybe we were meant to keel over with heart attacks in the front yard, or die a sleepy diabetic coma death. Our families suffer for the way that our modern world has attempted to fix things.

Families are not meant to live in different cities, where they cannot take care of one another and shoulder burdens for one another and carry the loads together. I should be able to take the four hours my husband will be home today and use that time to dump the kids on him and go check on my Daddy, and my Mama, and my Pop. It is not natural to have to drive an hour and a half just to get there. My sick mother should have me and my sister helping take shifts to watch Daddy. When the doctor yesterday told her she should go straight to the ER for the infection, she should have gone, knowing that we would be around to watch Daddy. If i lived in a town with her (God, no. Not Warner Robins. That is not what I am saying!), she would have had the peace of mind to know that we would be able to cover for her. There would always be someone to spend a night with the kids, or take my Pop to the ER, which is what my mom is doing this morning, even though last night, the doctors wanted her to go herself. There would always be someone to let the Goddamn dogs out. Woof Woof Woof.

What is wrong with us? This is so wrong, so unnatural. How do other people do this? Do they just not care that their relatives are suffering? Do they suffer themselves, in silence, pushing down the fact that they can’t be in two places at once? Is that healthy? Is my family really that freakishly close, some anomaly, just because I want to be there and care for them when they are sick? Do other people feel this torn and shattered all the time?

What the fuck is wrong with us?

Malex

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

So, mom and dad got a dog. Right before they were supposed to leave for Alaska. And right before Dad ended up having heart surgery. So, now Todd and I are taking care of the dog. Todd is being really sweet about it. In between his grumbly moments. . . .

This is Malex:
The Sleeper
Close up of Malex sleeping.
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Malex, right before he paints the future.
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Malex awakes.
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Please put away that camera.
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Look at my cuteness. Now put down that camera.
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Home Sweet Home

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Thank God. We are home as of about an hour ago. I feel like I am on tour with Allman Brothers in the 70’s or something. “On the Road Again” has been stuck in my head for days. I put over 700 miles on the car this week. Went down to meet mom and Dad at the hospital in Macon on Tuesday. Drove to Warner Robins that night. Spent the night. Wednesday, drove to the hospital to see Dad then drove back to Atlanta to pack some clothes, pick up the dog, and check on the kids and my Mother-in-law. (Oh, and kiss my husband before he left for Anchorage the following morning.) Drove back to Warner Robins Wednesday night. Went to bed at 11. Got up at 4 a.m., in time to go with mom and lisa to hospital in Macon before Dad’s surgery at 6 a.m. Sat around hospital all that day til they put him in ICU and said he wasn’t gonna die in the next couple of hours. Left Lisa at the hospital and drove my mom back to Warner Robins. Turned around and drove back to macon to be with sis. Saw Dad. Went back to WR with Lisa for dinner, a glass of wine, Xanax, and bed. (Hotel Virginia is awesome: Before bed, everyone got a glass of wine, a Xanax and a hot bath before putting on jammies and retiring to our respective bedrooms, with our dogs lying by our sides and each of us reading books til we fall asleep.)
Got up, went to hospital in Macon. Stayed with Dad for a while, then went on a search for men’s pajamas for Daddy, button front (NOT drawstring) and with matching top. They evidently do not make those anymore – Just the PJs bottoms with drawstrings, and coordinating t-shirts. I went three places. No dice. Gave up and went to bookstore and bought whole Sookie Stackhouse box set instead. Went home, and went to bed. Next morning, got up and packed all three dogs (Quint, Emily, and Malex) and took them to the lake, because i thought their wrestling in the house and the constant barking might give Mom the big one. Drove over to Milledgeville.

Got to the lake and realized how very bad Dad must have been feeling before his surgery; the weeds up by the road and the grass around the house were knee-high. I have never in my life seen that yard not mowed weekly, sometimes more during warm weather. I mowed and cut back some shrubbery that was getting out of control.

Let the dogs go free the weekend, romping in the water, rolling around in dead fish, playing with the country dogs always coming by to see us. At one point, I had eight dogs running around the front yard and in the lake: Our three, two chocolate labs (Josie and Choco – v. original), one unnamed poodle, two yellow labs, one of which they call Lego, but whose name is Legolas (v.literary for Milledgeville) and a pug named Lulu. Oh, that’s nine. Anyway, it was mayhem and it made me happy. It poured down in the afternoon and i sat on the porch and read my vampire book.

Lisa and Dash came down the next morning. I finished the last of the lawn, then we took the boat and the Seadoo out. It was relaxing to get out on the water and cut up on the seadoo and i knew Dad wished he could be there. V. few Memorial Days have I spent with neither my Dad or my husband. Definitely the first one i have ever spent with just my sister and my nephew.

Packed up yesterday morning. Drove to Macon, then to Columbus. If I ever bitch about how boring 16 is, just tell me to shut up and remember the poor people who have to drive from Macon to Columbus. I defy anyone to come up with a more boring drive. From Columbus, cut over to Opelika, then Dadeville to get the kids at my in-laws’. Spent the night over there (decided against driving back to Atlanta for two hours, in what would surely have turned into an 85-roadwork+Memorial-Day-Traffic clusterfuck of monumental proportion). I did get to hang out with my brother-in-law and my niece, Luci, who is cute as can be, and was so fun to watch with Rollie and tiller. They are all old enough now to play with each other and she and Tiller even got into a few arguments with one another. Good times!

Drove back this morning. Had fun discussion with Rollie in car:

R: “Mama, I want to move to Alabama, so that I can go to Sunday School.”
Me: [Laughing out loud.] “Baby, they have Sunday School in Georgia, too. What did y’all talk about in Sunday School.”
R: “We learned about this guy, his name starts with a D.”
Me: “David? Daniel?”
R: “There were three guys and they didn’t like the guy with the D name, so they tried to kill him.”
Me: “Um, okay, can you tell me more? Who else was there?”
R: “Knights and guys on horses.”
Me: “And what happened?”
R: “Well, the d guy, he had a plan. Also, the other two guys had a plan also. God was going to save them from being killed.”

This went on and on for about ten minutes, me trying to figure out what the heck bible story they had taught him, and him getting frustrated because I kept asking questions. Still haven’t figured this one out. Also haven’t decided if all the learning about people being killed is so great either.

Got back home. My garden is growing like gangbusters.

Oh, and Dad went home yesterday. He is driving me crazy, calling every few hours to check on us, tell us things that need to be done (wash the dog, mow the lawn, how is my garden? Don’t forget to fertilize it) and then waiting until we are midsentence in reply, and saying, “bye bye!” and click, he hangs up on us.

Love, Happy to be Home Dogwood

Another Cecil Update

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

This just in from my sister: “Just talked to Cecil on the phone. He said, “My nurse is a Porto Rican” (said just like that). ..in front of the nurse who I heard say “Phillipino” and then Dad says “Oh, he’s a Phillipino MALE nurse”. Because men can’t be nurses. Glad to know Big C is feeling like himself again.”

Dad Update

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

When Dad came out of surgery, he went to ICU. They wouldn’t let us see him for a couple of hours, but finally we were called from the ICU waiting area (not a happy place) back to see him. When they got there, the curtain was pulled and Dad was in ICU until yesterday, when they moved him to a new room.

Now he is off the oxygen, no more catheter, taking percocet by mouth instead of the morphine. They got him up and walked him about 100 yards today. He is definitely feeling better, because he called me three times this afternoon to see what I was doing at the Lake. I was mowing. He actually told me how to crank the lawn mower. I have been mowing the lawn since about 5th grade. I was so scared that he would die last week and thankful he didn’t that i actually listened and acted like i was learning something I didn’t know. Supreme willpower not to be snarky.

Mom is doing well – she is exhausted from worrying so much. I think she is nervous about Dad coming home and having to help him. My sister is with her until at least tomorrow. Lisa and Dash might come up and stay at the lake with me tomorrow. Pretty weird to have Memorial Day weekend pretty much by myself. Todd is having fun in Alaska and I am so thankful that he got to go on his trip – he totally deserves the break. The kids are being spoiled rotten in Auburn with the in-laws. All the family dogs (Quint, Emily, and Malex) are with me at the lake, which is where they are happiest: Swimming in the lake, running loose, eating sticks, and showing up at the back door smelling like dead fish.

I know I said it before, but I am so thankful to have such wonderful friends, family, and neighbors. We had a shitty week, but it was also the most loved i have felt in years.*

*Don’t worry – Dogwood Girl will be back to her old snarkastic ways in no time. This emotional shit is exhausting. . .

p.s. Macon pretty much sucks ass.

Dad’s Out of Surgery

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

They just took him to ICU. We can’t see him for another hour. The Dr. came and talked to us and said he did okay with the surgery, but that his arteries were “horrible.” They were only able to do two bypasses and he was sure that one took well.

Going to eat a crappy caf lunch.

Cecil Off Bypass

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Thank god. They had to do two grafts (bypasses) and they said they were finishing up and would be done in about 30 minutes. Doctor is supposed to come talk to us.

Did I mention that the Doctor is Lebanese? Cecil did his usual slight accent when he talked to the doctor Tuesday. He doesn’t realize he is doing this, but he picks up and mimics the accents of people he talks to. It is really funny and also embarrassing.