Friday, December 2, 2016

At the Movies

I’ve been at my new job for a year now
One of the biggest adjustments for me, aside from getting used to all the accents and cultures, has been dealing with people (work colleagues and customers) strictly via email
I mean I am hard enough to love and appreciate in person and now, now the only way to do it is through the written word with people who have never met me and therefore, do not know “my voice”
And, to boot, I am in contact it with more non Americans than Americans
Which means they do not always pick up on my pop culture references (much like my British born husband)
And sometimes, things get lost in translation (literally and figuratively)
The majority of my work colleagues I interact with on a daily basis are in Sweden, China, and the UK
And though most of my customers are here in the US (with a couple in Canada and Brazil) they are concentrated on the West Coast
So we are in no fewer than 4 time zones
Makes it hard to get anything done in a day
Emails are not answered within an hour of hitting someone’s inbox
Transactions usually occur over a 48 period and an email is typically answered anywhere from 8-24 hours after it’s been sent
As someone who is all about instant gratification, you can imagine my frustration
Sometimes, I have days like today where I walk in and spend the first two to three hours of my day doing nothing but writing
And by writing I of course mean emails
Sometimes, just for fun and to pass the time, because writing emails like this for hours at a time gets really boring as no one answers you back, I make up games
One time, I wrote song lyrics into my emails
Another time, I threw in some movie lines
Sometimes I write in idioms
Today, I decided to incorporate movie titles in all my emails
All in context
And all with the proper capitalization as a hint to the recipient
Like this:

The two cathodes we had in stock were literally Gone in 60 Seconds as I received back to back requests
I sent that pump out a couple weeks ago for The Italian Job
We were thisclose to closing the sale and just like that (insert snap of the fingers for dramatic effect here), it was Gone with the Wind
The HV Unit finally arrived after apparently traveling the world via Planes, Trains and Automobiles
Please make sure the information provided is accurate….I’d hate to be caught Telling Lies in America
In my follow up email about the HV Unit above: Well, could have been worse, it could have gone Around the World in 80 Days

I’ve sent out at least a dozen emails like this
My last email was sent to my favorite work colleague ever
I interact with him multiple times a day

And as with any work colleague, you get to know one another
He totally understands my humor and totally hears my voice in email
He is teh one who usually figures out what I’m doing....then starts to play along
One of the things I have learned about him is he is a huge American football fan
I also recently learned he has taken to printing some of my emails and hanging them up on the refrigerator in the "break room"
Earlier today, I sent him an email with the following passage (we’re trying to wrap up and resolve a customer issue):

Well, it seems to me we have made All the Right Moves and provided him with enough options to choose from – now it’s up to him
But, I do believe this can wait until Monday; it’s getting late there and I don’t want you burning the Friday Night Lights
So how about we give it the weekend and come up with The Game Plan Monday?
Hopefully it won’t be Two for The Money of one cathode because the 675 hours it ran was well within the parameter of expected performance
Once we get “customer so and so” to realize that, maybe he’ll get with The Program and stop asking for The Replacements every 400 hours
Thanks again for all your help - your protection of The Blind Side relieved the pressure I was starting to feel from “so and so”
Have a good time with your Little Giants this weekend
Talk to you Monday
Until then, I remain Everybody’s Favorite All American,


Within five minutes, 
He responded:
You win
I’ve printed this and hung it up
This is definitely one of your top 5
And you are indeed my favorite American

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Great Pumpkin

We love Halloween
Not really for the ghouls and gore
More for the candy and the carved pumpkins
Sean spends hours carving intricate designs
I'm in charge of scooping out the pumpkin guts
I am also in charge of carving the obligatory and traditional Jack-o-Lantern
Sean is then in charge of fixing at least one eye and the mouth on said pumpkin
Sean and Lucy will spend hours talking about and deciding what the design on the pumpkins should be
They search for the perfect picture whilst I scoop out pumpkin guts readying their canvas
This year though, Lucy had other plans
Recently, Lucy introduced us to Kung Fo (Fu) Kitty
Maybe you saw his picture I shared a couple weeks ago
He's a black cat
He wears a red face mask
His paws are always raised and at the ready as is one of his back legs
He comes from the mountains of Japan which he has spent his whole life protecting
Kung Fo Kitty can kick your ass
But not for no reason, he's actually here to protect us from bullies and evil
This afternoon, Lucy informed her Dad she'd like Kung Fo Kitty on her pumpkin
Sketch him out for me said Sean as he handed her a pencil and piece of paper
Lucy drew Kung Fo Kitty's head complete with mask 

Then Sean took the pencil and sketched out Kung Fo Kitty as a template, on paper first

Then, he turned that into a "drawing" on his computer
Which he then printed as a template

He laid the template on the pumpkin and went to work
and 2.5 hours later..........

The Great Kung Fo Kitty Pumpkin

Friday, October 28, 2016

An Ode to my Old Friends

This article made me think of and miss some old friends

Friends I had some of the best times with....

Bob Dover - I seem to remember doing shots of this with you and Kirk......but I recall flames......
Brandon - I'm pretty sure you were there too...pretty sure you were driving...pretty sure you should not have been...but then again, none of us should have been
If I make it to 90, I'm going to start drinking again....and someday, I shall be Dorothy
Paul Sikora -
My Ted Williams jersey is still one of my favorite, most prized possessions
As is the Cubs hat I bought with you the first time I ever went to Wrigley
I have a vague recollection of tearing up
Still gives me goosebumps
My memories of watching Ken Burns's Baseball with you are some of my favorite
I miss your Seinfeld like musings and now and then, have a thought or idea that I know only you would appreciate and understand
Harry Carey still has a special place in my heart
Someone asked me the other day who I was cheering for
As a self proclaimed and defined purist, I replied:
I only have one AL team, the Red Sox
Never would I cheer for another .. even one managed by Tito
In 1990 something, I met this guy Paul - he loved baseball and smoking as much as I did
He introduced me to the Cubs
Because of him, because of his love of the game, the Chicago Cubs became my NL team
They have my support
I follow them all season with little fanfare, but they are my NL team
Mark Grace is still my favorite
And Kerry Wood was a dream to watch
He then asked me if we were in touch now watching the Series
I told him I'm living and dying every pitch with Paul in solidarity, in hope, in silence...but no, no talking....don't want to mess with anything
He shook his head and said baseball and its fans are way too superstitious for him
I guffawed
No we're not I declared while I poured a circle of salt around myself, said Ernie Banks's name 14 times,
Ted Williams's name 9 times,
shoved three pieces of Wrigley's gum in my mouth
all whilst genuflecting with some of the Holy Water I keep in my bag for just such an occasion
We most certainly are not!

October 27, 2004

October 27, 2004
Still rocks me to my core
I watched the win with my kid sister
Neither of us said a word when it was over
We were in stunned silence for minutes
One of us finally blurted out
Holy shit! Did we just win?
Yeah, we just won
Fuck - we just won
We let out a whoop, a single whoop, hugged
And then I went home
I think we were in shock
Drove with a goofy grin on my face, windows rolled down, WEEI turned up
From Watertown to Medford, people were on the streets, spilling out of house cheering, laughing, screaming, crying
When I got home, my landlady and I shared a class of champagne together
Which turned into three (ok fine, the bottle)
Then we drank beer
We sat on the front stoop in silence for about 20 minutes
The people across the street were screaming and yelling enough for the whole street
I never thought I'd see it she said
I know
I just saw it she said
You did I replied
I wish my Mom could have seen it
I know I said
Is your grandfather a fan? she asked
He is I said, though he has a soft spot for the Braves
I bet he is losing it about now she said
Probably...not as much as my Uncle John Demaso...but I'm sure Grampy is pretty excited
Grampy died a little over a month later at the age of 91
But he saw them win
For the first time in 86 years
I went to the Parade with my youngest sister, her roommate and Karen Smith
Karen, by the way, almost did not come because she had laundry to do
The Red Sox win for the first time in 86 years and Karen says she may not come to the Parade because she has no clean clothes
WTF Karen Smith?!?!
I have a washer Karen
I know but....
Karen! The Red Sox just won! for the first time in 86 years...
I know but.....
KAREN! You will put your dirty laundry in a basket, you will put the basket in the car, you will come to Boston....WE HAVE TO GO TO THE PARADE!!! THEY WON
OK OK I'll come
It literally took that long to convince her
Karen drove 6+ hours on Friday night from Baltimore after work for the Parade...dirty laundry in tow
We did her laundry and stocked up on snacks for the next day
I remember wandering through the grocery store at 11pm that night giggling and giddy because we were going to a Parade
A Parade because the Red Sox won the World Fucking Series
We met my sister and Katie at Back Bay and headed towards the Library
The crowds were overwhelming
The vibe was amazing
And even though it was cold and a bit windy, no one cared
The Curse was broken
Our backpacks were filled with food and know, to keep us going throughout the day because we were not taking breaks for food or drink
No way were we going to miss a moment of this
We took nips out of a flask
We jumped up and down to stay warm
Every once in awhile, one of use would say I can't believe we won!
I don't think we ate a thing
For some reason, Karen and I felt the need to purchase the biggest container of hummus we could find....
Because nothing says Fuck you Curse of the Bambino like an 18oz Party Size Container of hummus
I don't even think we opened the hummus
But we had it just in case
To this day, hummus makes me think of the Parade.....
....Of the Duck Boats Boats filled with the players, their families, the team owners, the coaches, the management
The players were taking pictures and video of us just as we were taking pictures and video of them as they rolled by
I am not sure any person on the streets that day, player, fan, or coach, had fully processed what had happened
But we were all there celebrating
Laughing, crying, cheering, yelling, drinking. still crying, screaming, dancing, whooping...
It was the best party I have ever been to in my life
Those last two have yet to sink in
And though I relish those wins, nothing will ever be like 2004.....

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Election 2018

I loved Curt Schilling when he was wearing a Red Sox uniform
I loved him even more when his actual sock turned red
My love peaked for him in 2007
I noticed him again in maybe 2010/2011
I don't really remember when it was...whenever he returned as a baseball analyst
I truly enjoyed listening to him talk about baseball
He loves the game
He knows the game
And he respects the game
But, I do not like listening to him talk about anything else
I did not like listening to him talk about 38 Studios
Maybe because I don't understand the whole gaming world culture
Or maybe because he seemed to take advantage of some folks and his status here in New England
I did not like listening to him about politics
He started to get rabid and sometimes, said things that I just had no idea how to process or interpret
He started to make Glen Beck look placid
I especially did not like when he took to posting on Twitter and Facebook some taunts and twits about things that were just so out of line they made even me cringe
I say even me because not only do I lack a social filter I am also admittedly prejudice....which by the way I think we all are to some degree its just that I own mine
I mean really, being prejudice is, by definition, a feeling of like or dislike for someone or something especially when it is not reasonable or logical
So one can be prejudice not just against something or someone but for something or someone.....we seem to also forget that last part there...
Anyway, I digress and that is a conversation for another time and another place
Today, what caught my eye was the headline Curt Schilling to run for Senate seat against Elizabeth Warren (if his wife says it's okay...not part of the headline but certainly part of the sub title)
I'm not an Elizabeth Warren fan
Though I respect some of the stances she has taken (suck it Wall Street), I am not a Warren fan/supporter
But when I read that headline (and I swear, we've read it before in year's gone by) my blood ran cold, I got a little dizzy and I may or may not have laid my head down on my desk for five solid minutes trying to regroup
Its because I love voting
I love the polling place
I might be the only person who even looks forward to the off year elections
But this Presidential Election Cycle (and there is nothing presidential about this cycle given all the shenanigans going on) has been ruined for me
And now there prospect of the off year election being ruined has me even more distraught than I already am
Schilling v Warren would be, in my head, so similar to Trump v Clinton that my head and heart would potentially explode
Our forefather must be spinning in their graves
Or perhaps laughing at us
Maybe both
I sort of wish Jack Bauer were real...he'd know how to fix this

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Old Orchard Beach Airbrush Booth

My brother in law Jeff loves Old Orchard Beach

This was not something I knew about Jeff until about a month ago when he and my sister Felicia moved into their new house in Saco.... a mere 4.8 miles to Old Orchard Beach 

Old Orchard Beach (OOB) is, in Jeff's words, The Bangor State Fair with water, sand and Canadians in speedos

He could not wait to take us there

The water and sand are, well, beach like 
 Jeff and Felicia taught Lucy how to Boogie Board 
Luce had an absolute blast and laughed every time a wave knocked her over and gave a victory whoop when she caught a wave and rode it into shore 

The Fair element is located at one end of the beach 
It is a permanent board walk of rides run by carnies who are apparently imported from the Slavic countries 

And I totally forgot OOB is indeed a vacation destination for Canadians...and they do indeed sport speedos 

On top of that, as if the Fair and foreigners in speedos were not enough, the streets are lined with food booths, kitschy stores and, the ever present booth at which you can buy some of the classiest art ever created on a T-Shirt, a License plate, a hat, coffee mug, key ring.....

That's right 

I'm talking about the Airbrushing Art Booth
The booth you can't ever imagine purchasing anything from but you are so mesmerized by the process, you stand there for extended periods of time enthralled with the artistic process unfolding before your very eyes

I'm talking beach sunset scenes complete with the names of the two young loves
Unicorns, monster trucks, and/or cartoon charters personalized with your name in big bubble letters

At some point, when we decided we would make a trip to OOB, Jeff started talking about getting my sister just such a license plate.... maybe the orangey/yellow/brownish sunset beach scene with her name 
Or a rainbow and unicorn and hearts with her name and Summer 2016 
Or their names surrounded by hearts and the words Together Forever blazing across the airbrushed night sky

In any case, Jeff planted this seed of airbrushed wearable art in my head 

And by the time we arrived at the OOB Boardwalk, I had convinced myself that Lucy's summer would not be complete unless she had a personalized airbrushed something....

So we wandered through the Fair 
We spent $15 on games that we were a bit too cocky in thinking we could beat and walked away with a stuffed shark I'm pretty sure I saw in the dollar section of Target 

We decided to wander up the street to poke our heads in a couple shops
But before we hit the kitschy stores that lined the street boosting boogie boards and beach carts for $9 and hemp pullovers (2 for $15), we stopped at the Old Orchard Beach Airbrush Booth

I brazenly told Lucy she could pick out whatever she wanted 

She immediately honed in on a cat design

And though it was a tabby cat in the sample book with a yellow background, she convinced the guy she needed it to be a black cat like her Ziggy Boy with an orange background because orange is her favorite color 
Oh an if they didn't mind, could they do her name in cursive...she loves how her name looks in cursive 

Sure, we can do that the cranky balding guy with bad teeth told her 
For $28 he said to me with a snarky scowl on his face and a tone of indifferent impatience in his voice 

I gulped 


Then I saw Lucy's face 

And I saw his face peering at me out of his portable booth daring me to ruin my child's summer by denying her this one of a kind airbrushed T-shirt

So I pulled out my last two $20s and handed them over 

And Lucy's summer is complete

And Uncle Jeff, you owe me $28

Inner Peace

Lucy has a blue folder in her back pack
It goes back and forth to school with her everyday 
Her teacher places in it any notices we as parents need to review
Homework that needs to be completed 
And any packets or worksheets that were completed in the classroom 

Below is one which came home today 
Lucy walked me through it:

Bill and Deb are the characters

Bill likes be quiet and sit still  
Deb likes to be on the move and make noise

She is way more like Deb than Bill but sometimes she does like to sit still

The lines behind Deb are to illustrate she's running 

And Lucy informed me she tried to draw Bill sitting down with his legs crossed because that is the best way to achieve inner peace but her time was limited so he had to be standing up....

New Rock Bottom

September 15, 2016

Thought I hit rock bottom the (second) time I woke up in a hotel lobby not quite sure of where I was or how I got there
Turns out I have a found a new rock bottom
Just now
Like an hour ago
I was wandering through the supermarket crying because I am a hot mess of a 44 year old with feminine hygiene products in one hand and ice cream in the other when Bam!
I bump into a guy I used to date
I was way more into him than he was me
Fucker dumped me at a baseball game
Right on the third base line
And there I am in the frozen food aisle with puffy eyes, a tear streaked face and Always Overnight Pads because apparently I'm 12 again
So I make small talk for 4 minutes
I have no idea what he was saying
I was actually trying to figure out how to hide what I was buying
When I realized I really couldn't because I had no cart, no basket and not one but two containers of ice cream
So I briefly consider telling him I have a teenage daughter to justify my purchases
But then I realize, I could give two shits what he thinks
So I interrupt him
Tell him I really have no interest in catching up
This is just not a good time and I have to go because I have cramps, my ice cream is melting and the baseball game is on
I speed walk to self checkout, add a Twix bar to my haul and then eat that Twix on the drive home
Who are we kidding
At the self checkout, the pads would not scan properly and of course it was a 20 year old boy who had to come over and punch his secret code in to get it to work
Not once but twice
Then I knocked over the bag holder thingy in my haste to throw my stuff in a bag
So I just grabbed my things and walked out
And ate that Twix bar on the way to the car
Only to realize Joe was walking a couple steps behind me and saw me eat the whole thing
Turns out he was parked next to me
More aptly, our driver's doors were side by side
He let me get in my car first
I glanced in the mirror to see if I looked as badly as I felt
I did
There was a chunk of chocolate in the corner of my mouth and a string of caramel stuck to my chin
My new Rock bottom
Until I got home
Where I was greeted with a big hug from Lucy
And Sean turned the baseball game on for me
And insisted I sit down
Then he made me dinner
And listened to my whole tale of woe
And only laughed once

Parent in the Hood

September 9th, 2016

I do drop off in the morning now
Even though I know Lucy loves school more than anything, I hate dropping her off
There's always this pang of guilt, fear and worry that courses through my veins as she hops out of the car, slings her backpack over her shoulders and bounces to the door of dear old Linscott
Fortunately, that pang is tempered with the love I know she has for school and the love and pride I have for this little person Sean and I created who is thriving in spite of us
This week was the start of school
I've walked in with her each morning, lingered for a few minutes then gone to work
This morning, as we crested the hill to school Lucy informed me she would like me to just drop her off and she'd go in on her own
Oh honey, I think I should go with you
Mumma! You have to realize I am in second grade now, I can do things on my own without you
I know kiddo, I just want to make sure....
Mumma! I am 7, I am in second grade, I do not need you parenthooding me any more! Now I love you but stop the car without parking, I will just hop out and you go straight to work
Mumma! You are going to have to let go some time
I couldn't answer but just thought indeed I am little one...but please, not today
So instead of parking, I pulled into the school yard, waited for her to jump out of the back seat and just opened my door to lean down and kiss her good bye
Lucy placed her hands on either side of my face and pulled me to her so we were nose to nose
I'm always gonna love you and you are always gonna be my mum but I am gonna have to grow up
I know honey, I said kissing her nose, and I am super proud of you
I'm proud of you too Mum
Thanks honey...*gulp, she said Mum not Mumma.....
She stepped back, clicked her tongue twice, winked and gave me a double finger gun and then turned and ran to the door
I love you I heard her yell to me and I'm going to be fine Mum!
She was in the door before I could yell back
I love you back kiddo....and I never doubted you for a minute......

Second Grade

September 7th

Lucy started 2nd grade this morning
She was ready to go to school at 7am
We did not need to be there until 8:15
So we compromised and left the house at 7:55
She is excited because she got the teacher she wanted (Mrs Plamonden)
Nervous because her classroom is on the second floor and she could potentially trip going up or down the stairs
Her backpack is bigger than she is, but I think her grin shall carry her through the day
I keep asking her to please slow down, to not grow up so fast
She informed me she has to because this is how God made children (to grow up)
I stood back and watched her in the sea of children this morning as we all gathered in the gymnasium
Moms were smoothing the kids hair down and snapping pictures The Dads were just trying to stay out of the way
The kids were content to yell back and forth at friends they had not seen all summer
Some shared hugs and giggles
New haircuts and backpacks were shown off
I watched Lucy out of the corner of my eye as I chatted with a friend
Believe it or not, she looks awfully young compared to some of her classmates
The grin never left her face....and she was surprisingly quiet as she often is in a crowd
I bent over at one point and asked her in a whisper are you ok?
She nodded
I just can't believe I am in second grade belly feels funny
Thinking we were having "a moment" I said
Oh honey, that's because you are a bit nervous and excited at the same time...I bet some other kids feel the same way
Actually Mumma, it's because I have to fart and I'm holding it in....
Moment over
Let second grade begin

The Day Before School Starts

September 6, 2016

For Lucy, the first day of school rivals Christmas Eve
She's been talking about the first day of school since the beginning of August
She is so excited to be in second grade
Are you nervous at all? I've asked her
No way she assures me!!!
But then she says well, maybe just a little nervous
What are you nervous about kiddo?
Second grade is on the second floor...what if I trip going up the stairs or coming down?
Hmm, that is a legit concern I say
Yeah well, that's what I'm nervous about
So we devised a plan to hopefully avoid any such falls
Now she's not so nervous
Today, she woke up and spent most of the morning bouncing around the house giggling and laughing and hooting and hollering about tomorrow
She took an inventory of her school supplies
She laid everything out on the bed and counted it twice
She admired every pencil, marker, glue stick and notebook like they were the crown jewels
When I told her we needed to stop at school to drop something off, she got so excited, she may have passed out
And when we walked in and she saw her 1st grade teacher, her principal and her new teacher all at once, her head almost exploded
There was a bit of a battle of what she would wear tomorrow but we finally reached a compromise And spoiler alert, her outfit will have cats on it
We celebrated the day before school starting like it was a holiday
We went out for dinner and there was chocolate cake for dessert
She received text messages from Noni and Papa and Auntie Cheetie wishing her a happy first day of school
Auntie Flea (who is a teacher and started school today) Facetimed Lucy and she was happy to show off her new backpack and lunch box
Lucy showered, brushed her teeth and read stories with her Dad
Before bed, we had Lucy try on her outfit and shoes (because unlike responsible parents, we did not have her try on anything at the time of no, we like to play that game of we'll try it on as soon as we get home and return whatever does not fit.....three months later, I'm giving away clothes with tags still attached)
I put her to bed and as we lay there, Lucy wiggled and giggled and was just so excited to start school she could not lay still
I suggested she say a prayer to see if that would help her settle down
She prayed that she would have a good day, that she would do her best and asked God to stay with her to help her get through the day
She closed her prayer by saying and God, if you could, please make sure I don't trip going up or down the stairs that would be great.....I don't want to get blood on my new backpack
She was asleep in less than ten minutes
But, she has been downstairs twice since we put her to bed
Once to see if it was morning yet
I assured her it was not I thought I slept through the first day of school she said in a sleepy voice
I assured her I would not let that happen
She went back upstairs on her own pausing to look out the window to make sure it was still in fact night time
The second time she came down was about twenty minutes ago 
She asked if it was morning yet so she could go to school 
No honey, not yet
She stamped her foot at me and legit started to cry 
Why not???
Why not what honey?
Why isn't morning?? I want it to be morning!
Well, the earth is still rotating on its axis Luce....we have to wait for it to complete its turn before the sun comes up and its morning...
She stared at me
She stamped her foot again 
I gave her a hug and a glass of water and assured her if she went to sleep, morning would be here before she knew it
She glared at me
Where's Daddy?
In the basement sweetie
Fine, I'll just go get him, he'll make it morning for me
So she went to see her Dad
She came back up a minute later and looked out the window
Still night I see
It is Luce
Well, guess that didn't work 
Guess not...why don't you head upstairs honey, I'll be up in a minute
Honey, come on now 
You know what, you won't let it be morning, I won't let you take me upstairs!
Oh, Ok well, that sounds reasonable 
I don't want to be reasonable, I want it to be morning!
Ok well honey, I'm not sure what you want me to do....I just want you to get a good night's sleep for tomorrow......
And I just want it to be tomorrow 
Ok well listen little Orphan Annie, the sun will come out tomorrow but first, you need to go to bed
What? Why do you say such weird things Mumma? You don't even make sense!
I know.....but it's part of my job 
Great, you don't make sense and Daddy tells bad jokes and you two are supposed to take care of a child??
What is happening right now Luce?
I don't know Mumma.....I might just be tired.....I don't even know what I am saying.....
Sean took her upstairs
She was asleep within five minutes
I anticipate at least two more visits from her before the sun rises
Pretty sure those conversations will make even less sense

Bless You

August 27th, 2016

Sean is in Maine as he is every year at this time for the American Folk Festival
Historically, every time Sean goes out of town something happens
He left this past Tuesday and things have been pretty uneventful
Up until 20 minutes ago
That was when Lucy clogged the toilet
And I seemingly forgot to put the pot on the coffee maker before hitting brew
Then the cat ran into the closed sliding glass door
So I cleaned up the kitchen and made a fresh pot of coffee
Unclogged the toilet and wiped down the bathroom
Then soothed the cat and gave him a treat
I parked Lucy in front of the TV and came out onto the back deck with my fresh cup of coffee
That was when the acorns from the tree over our deck started falling onto my head and into my cup of coffee
And then the cat sneezed and somehow threw up at the same time
On my foot
I did not know a cat could sneeze and throw up at the same time

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Election 2016

I don't often make political comments on here
Partly because I think this is a tough medium in which to interpret not what is being said but how it is being said
Mostly because I am not strong enough with written words to defend myself and/or my platform on this medium
Nor, quite frankly, do I have the wherewithal to argue back and forth If we're going to do that, I'd rather sit on the back porch with you and do it over a cup of coffee
But this evening, I read an article in which my Party's nominee implied, suggested, who are we kidding, he outright said President Obama founded ISIS
It does not matter if I like President Obama or not (though I have to admit, I love how he Geek Dads out around kids), he is the President of Our United States
He is my President as much as he is yours
And he is yours as much as he is mine
He holds an office, a position I have a great deal of respect for
It does not matter if I like who is in that Office, I respect whomever is sitting there
So when a nominee pops off and says the leader of our country founded a fundamentalist group which pretty much hates us, I just find something so terribly wrong and offensive about that
This accusation concludes a week (plus) in which he has suggested we take up arms against his opponent (to stop her from appointing liberal judges to the US SC if she wins), attacked the family of a fallen soldier and continues to upset, offend and feud with members of our Party
Members of our Party
He and I are members of the same Party
I have never been more embarrassed in my life
And this is coming from someone who has woken up in the lobby of a hotel with no recollection of how I got there and to boot, my shoes were missing
And one time, I dated someone for like a month and called him by the wrong name...that was why he finally dumped me
And another time, I went to a wedding with a friend and accidentally outed him to his whole family
And at another wedding reception, I went to the bathroom, returned to my table and realized AFTER I finished my salad I had actually returned to the wrong wedding reception
I have done some pretty embarrassing things over the years
But this election cycle has rocked me to my very core and I am embarrassed by my Party on so many different levels......many of which I did not even know existed  
Because here's the thing:
I love voting
I look forward to it every year
Even my local elections
It's almost like a holiday for me
When I get the ballot in my hand and start filling it out, I am typically overwhelmed with this tremendous amount of pride and admiration for what I am doing
I am proud to be able to make a choice
I admire those who not made only made it possible but continue to make it possible for me to vote
And please, I know the electoral college basically negates my vote for the highest office there is but do you have any idea of the impact my vote, our votes, can have on the local level?
It's called grassroots and there's nothing more I love than a little engine that could and did
I think that voting is both a privilege and an obligation
It is a right and a responsibility
I think it is one of the fundamental cornerstones of being a citizen of this country
And I have always, and with no remorse or apologies, been a registered Republican
And I have always voted party line
I may not support a particular candidate, but I have always supported the Party (even when Sarah was waving to the Russians from her house, I stayed loyal)
But for the first time, in a long long time, I dread election day
And for the first time in a long long time, I don't want to vote
For the first time, I can't support my Party the way I have always been able to
I feel as empty as I did when Nomar was traded and when Varitek retired
I'll still go to the polls
I'm not so sure I'll be able to bring myself to actually cast my vote
And though I'll still feel a sense of pride as I clutch that ballot in my hand, that pride shall be tempered with a twinge of shame and the cringe worthy knowledge that my Party has potentially gone off the deep end
So embarrassing
Way more embarrassing than waking up in a hotel lobby with no shoes on.....and not nearly as fun.....

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Exam Room 3

Sean and I met in in April of 2005

By August, he was a staple in my life – and was becoming so with my family as well

He cemented his relationship with my Dad by volunteering at the American Folk Festival in Bangor, ME that summer

He has returned almost every summer since then

Almost every summer

My Dad’s involvement with the AFF started in 2002 when Bangor was chosen by the NEA to host The National Folk Festival for three years  

In 2005, The American Folk Festival was borne of the National Folk Festival in an effort to continue the Festival tradition

It is a three-day celebration of multi-cultural tradition arts, music, crafting, food and storytelling

My Dad, and Sean, are so terribly proud of it

And they love the week plus they work setting up and striking the stages, dance floors and tents

They are outside working from early morning until after 10pm at night

And they start looking forward to the next year as soon as this year’s Festival ends

Sean usually goes up the Tuesday before the Festival starts and stays there until Sunday
Sunday, he drags himself home tired, sunburned, and with cuts and scrapes all over his hands, arms and legs

But he is rejuvenated and full of stories about the crew he works with and the shenanigans they got into

Sean has been every year from 2005 through 2014

See how 2015 is missing

In what would have been his 11th Festival, August 2015, there a catastrophic event that prevented Sean from attending

The date was August 22, 2015, a beautiful sunny picture perfect Saturday…mere days before Sean was set to leave for the Festival

Sean, Lucy and I were out front poking around in our little flower beds discussing our schedules and travel plans for the next week and a half:

Sean was headed to Maine on Tuesday the 25 for the Festival which was scheduled to start on Friday August the 28th

Lucy and I would stay in Woburn for her last week of Camp and I had to work

On Saturday the 29th, Lucy and I were catching flight to Dallas, to visit my brother, sister-in-law and my three nephews

Our flight was scheduled to leave at 7:15am and if all went according to plan, we’d be arriving just in time to have lunch with them

But if you know me, you know nothing ever goes according to plan

On Monday afternoon, August 31st, Sean would fly to Dallas and spend the rest of the week with us

We’d fly home September 6th and Lucy would start school on Wednesday September the 9th

You know, if all went according to plan

Which it did not

For in those moments during which we were determining what should be packed, who should take what car where, and watching the clock as we were meeting some friends in a couple hours to go pick peaches, I somehow stabbed myself in the left hand with a pair of gardening shears

Everything went weirdly silent in my head

I legit saw stars and possibly a planet or two

I remember pulling the shears out of my thumb where they were standing at attention

I am not sure if I fell or fainted but I was on the ground

I heard Sean speaking sharply to me trying to get my attention

I believe Motherfucker was the first word I uttered

Followed by that fucking hurt…fuck, fuck, fuck…..

The pain was excruciating and I was light headed

I couldn’t standup and my blood was running cold

I crawled into the house and into the kitchen thinking if I just put my hand in cold water, it would feel better

My entire hand and forearm were numb

I could not move or feel my fingers

Nor could I stand up

Sean followed me trying help to but I kept brushing him off

I was on my knees in a vain attempt to keep my hand under the flow of cold water but finally gave up and laid on the floor

I think something is wrong I said

We ended up at Urgent Care for the next three hours

Lucy went peach picking, I did not

And my left hand/arm was rendered useless as I had cut the tendon in my thumb

Saturday, after the incident, I was on some great pain pills

I spent most of Sunday in tears as the pain was overwhelming

On Monday, we decided Sean would delay his departure to Maine a day or two as I was convinced my hand would be fully functionally by Wednesday, Thursday at the latest

By Tuesday, I still could not use my left hand and any contact with it brought tears to my eyes

By Wednesday, when Sean should have been in Maine, it was becoming more and more apparent to us there was no way I could handle getting myself and Lucy to Dallas on our own

We based this on the fact I still could not dress myself in the morning without help

By Thursday night, it was decided Sean would forego the Festival

Friday morning, we changed his flight

And Friday evening, instead of being part of the kickoff parade for the Festival, Sean was packing the bags with the clothes I could not fold as my hand and forearm were still immobile

Sean does not ask for much

Sure, once in a while he asks if I’ll make liver and onions for him (to which I say no…apparently my love for him is not unconditional as I thought it was)

And yes, sometimes he loses his head and asks me to spread Marmite in his toast…. again, conditional love applies here

But really, all he asks is that he be able to go to the Festival each year

One year later, I still feel badly that he missed what would have been his 11th consecutive year

So it was mutually decided this year, from August 1, 2016 on, I would not be allowed to touch any gardening tools

Really, we agreed I would touch with a sharp point that could potentially cause me bodily harm to ensure Sean would in fact be able to attempt his 11th (though not consecutive) American Folk Festival

And we’ve done just fine

As it stood on August 13th, we were on target for Sean to leave for the Festival on Tuesday, August 23rd

And then it was August 14

A Sunday on which we had no plans…. except to get ice cream

We decided just after noon we should go play some mini golf then get ice cream and maybe run to the grocery store

Hey, I said as we changed and got ready to leave, how about we stop at blah blah MSPCA Shelter and see the kitties?

Lucy, who want nothing more than a kitten/another cat was over the moon

Sean loves cats almost as much as Lucy does

I just love the two of them

So we wandered around the kitties (and by kitties I mean they were all over a year old so technically, not kittens but all cats are kitties in Lucy’s world) for a bit over an hour

We spent some time with a sweet kitty called Eli but someone had already put in to adopt him

There was a big old black cat like our Ziggy Boy called Pork Chop, but he was a bit of a cranky old bugger and when we approached him, he swatted us away – and not that hey play with me swat but a get the hell away from me swat

Lucy wanted a cat to come home with us in the worst way and started just randomly running over to cages and saying this is the one! This is the one for us I know it is!

Sean and I reeled her in and reminded her we had to get a cat who liked kids and could get along with other cats

And then we saw Scampy

Scampy, a four-year-old tabby

She was quite pretty

I don’t like female cats uttered Sean for the 15th time

I know I said, but she is cute

And she was

Sean and Lucy opened the cage to meet her and she rolled on her side nestling her head into their palms

They stroked her head and started talking to her

She responded by nestling against their palms with abandon

Scampy loved the attention

Lucy was falling for Scampy

So was Sean

I was falling in love with Sean and Lucy all over again

And her little sign says she’s ok with kids Daddy! And other cats! proclaimed Lucy excitedly

Mumma! Wanna pet Scampy?

Sean moved so I too could meet Scampy

Lucy was still perched in front of the cage

I knelt down next to her and did just what she and Sean did:

I opened my hand and Scampy nestled her head into my palm and started rubbing against my hand

So I stroked her head just as Sean and Lucy had been

Lucy remained at my side with her hand on Scampy

A volunteer was standing next to us watching with a smile on her face

Has anyone given you information on Scampy yet? She asked

No Sean replied

Well, she said with a big smile as she listened to Lucy talking to Scampy, I’ll go get some

It was at that moment, as the volunteer started to walk away when Scampy decided she did not like me as much as I liked her

And she bit me

Really hard

On my right hand

Specifically, the thumb of my right hand

Not to be confused with the thumb of my left hand on which I stabbed myself a year ago with gardening shears

I pushed Lucy away from Scampy as her hand was still in there and popped up so I was standing next to Sean

Blood came rushing the surface of the puncture

I don’t think anyone but me realized what happened until I held up my hand and said, quite stupidly, surprised and somewhat shocked,

She bit me!

She what? asked Sean

The volunteer sucked in her breath

Oh dear, did it break the skin?

I turned my hand so she could see

The blood was running down from the base of my thumb and pooling in the palm of my hand

Yes, she broke the skin

Can we get her Mumma? Piped up Lucy all excited, She’s so cute!

Honey, we need to go

But can we get her Mumma

Sean bent down and explained to Lucy what happened

Her face fell

We walked to the front desk with the volunteer

You need to fill out an incident report she said

Ok, no problem, sorry about this I replied

As we walked to the desk, I looked down at my hand

It was swelling at an oddly rapid rate

My fingers and thumb were going numb and my forearm was aching

A young woman, who appeared to be in charge redirected me to the bathroom to wash it then asked me to come back and fill out an incident report

By the time we got to the bathroom, my hand was bigger

By the time I washed it, my thumb was at a weird angle and looked distorted

I could not straighten my thumb and my fingers were still numb

I stepped out of the bathroom and said to Sean I think we need to go get this looked at

I was fighting the tears that kept springing to my eyes as I did not want Lucy to get upset

We filled out the incident report in less than two minutes

The young woman looked down at my swelling hand and said yeah, I if I were you, I’d go somewhere….

Thanks for that pearl of wisdom I thought in my head

But aloud I simply said yes, I probably should

She apologized again and in typical fashion, I apologized back

Its ok I said, I know it can be stressful on the cats

We hopped in the car, a very sullen Lucy dragging her feet behind us, and headed south on 93

A couple times, I thought I would pass out

My hand was so swollen the skin was tight and the throbbing was resonating in my ears

Honey, maybe if we just go home and wash it, the swelling will stop

Sean glanced over at my hand

Umm, no we’re going to the clinic

We arrived at Urgent Care within 20 minutes after the bite

The doctor took one look at my hand and called out to a nurse to get an IV of antibiotics 

Cat bites can be really dangerous she said, and based on the way your hand is reacting, we’re treating you for cellulitis

Oh right, ok I said sure

She poked and touched my hand some more

Hey can you not do that I asked, it hurts

I know she said, sorry

The Doctor pulled me over to the sink and started scrubbing my hand clean with a medicated sponge

The pain intensified and I tried not to yelp

I need to sit down I said to her

Not yet, she said, we really need to get this cleaned out, cat bites can be bad 

I think I should down I said, I don’t feel so good

She looked at me and pulled the chair over with her foot still scrubbing and sort of pushed me down into it

I closed my eyes

My fingers were numb and when she moved them, the pain shot up my forearm

After cleaning my hand, she started applying pressure asking me to rate the pain

When she moved my fingers and thumb, I swore at her

Sorry I said, that hurts

So that’s a ten? she asked

I grimaced

It hurt so much I could not even bring myself to crack the standard Spinal Tap turn it up to 11 joke

When was your last tetanus shot? she asked

A year ago, I replied, when I stabbed myself with garden shears on this hand

I picked up my left hand and pointed to the puncture scar on my thumb

Wait what? she asked

So I gave her the Reader’s Digest version of the thumb injury while she pulled up my records on her laptop

She chuckled

Maybe next August you just stay home she said

I was thinking of starting on my feet next year I replied

At some point Sean and Lucy came in to see me and I sent them home

I was going to be there awhile and did not want them to have to wait

The IV was started and I put my head back and closed my eyes

Poor Lucy, I thought, she wanted that little Scampy so badly

Sean and I liked her too….the way she responded to Lucy, the way she reacted to Sean

She was quite cute and appeared snuggly

You know until she bit me

Poor Luce, her little heart was broken

And poor Sean, I know when this happened his Folk Festival Life flashed before his eyes 

And poor me, I thought, I just wanted ice cream

A little more than two hours after we arrived, and being told no less than a dozen times cat bites are the worst, I was unhooked from the IV, sent home with an oral antibiotic and with instructions to return Monday for another round of IV antibiotics

Keep the hand elevated tonight said the doctor and if you develop track marks or a fever, get to the hospital


And we’ll see you back here tomorrow

You bet

Oh and try not to use your hand, it’s going to be sore for a couple days and tender….so try not to bang or hold anything in your hand

Ok, anything else?

And the antibiotics we gave you, both the IV and the oral ones, well, they are pretty strong so they may make you sick – like throw up or have diarrhea so just drink plenty liquids

Great, thanks, I said, see you tomorrow

One other thing


I would not get that cat if I were you

Really, I say, because my husband and daughter already went back to get her

I returned Monday for another dose of IV antibiotics

Heard the same story about car bites being the worst

Saw the same doctor

How’s your pain she asked

My pain is well, I said, making its presence known

It’s going to get worse before it gets better she reminded me

Ahh so this is why my diet is not working!

Well, the good news is the tissue is no longer swollen and the inflammation has gone down

That is good news I say

And see this hard bump?

I wince as she presses it

No I say, I’m too busy seeing stars from the pain you are inflicting by squeezing my hand

You are so funny! she says

Huh, I wasn’t trying to be…..

Well, this bump, feel how it’s hard and hot to the touch?

Yep, sure do

My skin was indeed taunt and hurt when touched 

That is the infection raging below the surface and remember, it will continue to get worse before it gets better…days two and three are the worst of it and today is day two

I felt my eyes filling

No I answer

Thanks for the head's up I say

I sat on IV for 45 minutes and was sent home with instructions to return at 7:30am Tuesday

Monday night my hand still hurt and there was a dull ache in my whole arm

Plus, my pee smelled really bad from the antibiotics

I returned Tuesday for another round

Different doctor this day

The Doctor touched my hand and I flinched

He poked this lump that had formed at one of the puncture wounds made by the cat - the one that bled

That was not there yesterday was it?

You know, he says, a cat bite is the worst...if you are going to get bitten, human bites are not so bad, dog bites are in the middle, but cat bites? Cat bites are the absolute's because of what's in their saliva....

He's poking my hand and I'm on the brinks of tears so I ask

Where do vampire bites rank?

He just looked at me

Your infection has an infection


There are two layers to the tendon here, and that lump? It’s an infection on top of your 

Of course it is, I say, because I don't have enough body image body just continues to reject me

Well, you have pretty eyes says the doctor


Too bad you have to wear glasses

I stared at him

You know, because they cover your eyes…how about we get that IV going?

Yes, I say, let’s fill me up with that kryptonite shall we

Actually, it’s Unasyn

Oh good, I say, because kryptonite is radioactive you know

Right, ok well, I’ll send the nurse in

I left that day with strict instructions to take the oral antibiotic at appointed times and to return Wednesday, for a final evaluation

I was also reminded that if the infection did not show signs of subsiding by tomorrow, I would be sent to the big house

Prison? I asked

Umm no, probably just Winchester Hospital, or Lahey in Burlington

No one gets me

Tuesday night was just as uncomfortable as Monday night

Sean watched me from his perch on the couch as I sat in the chair with my hand elevated

It’ll be fine Sean, I promise, I think you will be ok to go next week

I’m more worried about your hand, about you

I know honey, it’ll be fine…remember, it’s supposed to get worse before it gets better

He grunted

Well, I say, look on the bright side, I’ve done well staying away from sharp objects

He grunted again and turned the volume up on the TV

When I awoke this morning, the hand, though still tender, did not hurt as much and looked better

Sure, it is still hot to the touch and my skin is pulled so tightly it feels like it is going to burst at the seams at any moment and that weird little lump is still there……but it feels better

I arrived for what I hoped would be my last treatment

The nurses greeted me like an old friend

I told them I was starting to feel like I was part of the team and whose turn was it to bring donuts and where are they ‘cause I’m starving!

I was put in Exam Room 3 and asked if it been reserved for me

Funny, said Ellen who was there with me Monday and Tuesday, you have been in this room everyday

The PA and doctor made the same observation as did Judy who was also there with me yesterday

All four of them huddled around my hand as the doctor picked it up and started poking and pressing

Looks good

The three women agreed

It’s still hot

So am I, I said

And it is still a bit hard

That’s what she said, I answered

He looked at me

You are a funny one aren’t you?

Well, I said, one cannot get by on looks alone

That lump is still there, the PA noted, it’s an abscess

But it’s smaller than yesterday I chime in

It is, they agreed

The PA and doc further agreed this would be my last round of IV antibiotics

But it is imperative you take your oral antibiotic on time; we’ll give you a schedule to follow  

Ok, what about this abscess, I asked

The PA pressed on it

I yelled out Uncle

Finally, the doctor laughed

If it gets bigger, puffier or moves, go to the ER

Ok……so if it’s an abscess does it burst…like well you know an abscess does? Like will it explode out from underneath my skin?

Well, it could but hopefully it won’t

Ok…. is that hopefully won’t like the brakes in your car could go at any moment, but hopefully they won’t…or is that hopefully won’t like you could be walking down the street and be hit with debris from the space station but the likelihood of that happening is slim to none, hopefully won’t?

It’ll be fine, the doctor said as he patted my hand

Judy and Ellen were charged with getting the needle in my arm and the medicine mixed up

As one put the needle in my arm, the other busied herself with setting up the medicine bag in the IV stand

Judy caught me up on her daughter’s divorce (that ex of her’s Phil is a real jerk) and Ellen (who by the way used to live in our house in Woburn) told me about her son’s new “friend” – she seems okay but we all think he can do better

The PA then came in and caught me up on what happened when she took her boyfriend’s daughter back to school shopping in an attempt to bond with her – it did not go well – and now we are pretty sure that John is not going to propose as she thought he had planned

55 minutes later, I was done

The Familiar Four walked in with my marching orders

Do NOT miss a dose said Dr K, remember, cat bites…

Yes, I know, cat bites are the worst…worse than humans, worse than dogs…but I still don’t 
know what to do if I get bit by a vampire

Go to the Urgent Care Clinic down in Woburn he replied

Touché doc, Touché

The PA and the nurses hugged me

Judy promised she would not bad mouth Phil in front of the grandkids (they repeat everything) no matter how much of a big jerk he is

Ellen would give her son’s “new friend” a chance, it’s hard being the girlfriend of someone’s only son and only child…. but I do think he can do better

The PA and I agreed she should try shopping again with the boyfriend’s daughter – and not be so concerned with will he or won’t he propose……all in due time

I agreed we would not adopt Scampy

As I walked out of Exam Room 3, I reached into my bag and grabbed the post-it note I had scribbled while I was on the IV Drip

I slapped it on the wall next to the little plaque that read Exam 3

It said

Maria’s Room, No Cats Allowed