Friday, February 29, 2008

Foot Pad Scam and Searching for Lola

Remember my idea to get the Konoki foot pads to cure my MS and whatever else is ailing me on a particular day? According to Dr. Z's blog, it's a scam. Oh well. I guess I'll have to keep giving myself the shots.
It is now February 29--Leap day. If it was last year or next year, today would be March 1 and the March issue of Lola Boston (with my article in it, by the way) would be at every single one of the HUNDREDS of distribution sites listed on the Lola web site. But, NOOOOOOOOO. The bad news just keeps coming. Lola is late and Kinoki foot pads are bunk. Bummer.

Since Christina called me Wednesday morning to tell me she had Lola in her hand, I've scrapped three separate missions to find the lovely Lola, the last one that included the kids and I driving from Weymouth to Quincy to Dorchester to Back Bay to Kenmore to BU to Longwood to JP to Roxbury to Mattapan to Milton,to Quincy and back to Weymouth. We had fun, though. The kids ate pizza and drank chocolate milk in the car and we sang along with the radio. Zane brought his Rescue Hero walky talky and his compass in case we got lost on our mission. He kept telling me to go Northwest. Ruby wrote down the names and addresses of Lola distribution sites as Ken read them to me over the phone. In some cases, she left out critical info like the name of the place or she had trouble deciphering which street number went with which street since she wrote in a circle on the back of one of Zane's pieces of artwork. We found MANY of the Boston Globe newspaper boxes with the Lola plastic container on the side, but they were either empty or had February issues inside.

This latest mission ended at 8pm tonight with me carrying a sleeping Zane into the house and trying not to pee my pants on the way inside since I had been holding it for about an hour. Tomorrow is another day, Lola, and I will not sleep until I find you!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


But I havent seen it yet! Have I mentioned how much I LOVE delayed gratificaton...not!

Christina called me first thing this morning when she saw the new issue in the lobby of her North End apartment. I screamed and made her read me the editor's note and my credit. (Apparently, the editor called me a "saucy single mom!" I always wanted to be saucy! Bette Midler is saucy. And, apparently, so am I!)

After I dropped the kids off at school, I drove to three different Boston Globe boxes listed on the Lola web site as distribution sites. No luck. They were either empty or had a few damp copies of the February issue. I gave up and resigned myself to be tortured while I worked at home all day today.

Not to worry. It's still February and my article is in the March issue. I think they must distribute copies to Boston proper first and then to the burbs later. My office lobby is a distribution site and it's closer to Boston than Weymouth, so there's a chance I'll be able to pick it up on my way into work in the morning. There's also a chance that my colleagues saw my article before I did. Which might be a little weird. Or not. We'll see, I guess.

I'm thinking about using the article as a book proposal and getting this publishing party started for real.

Monday, February 25, 2008


I am officially sick. The GP on call at my primary's office thinks that the MS disease modifying meds have weakened my immune system and my cold is now a sinus infection.

I feel like crap. No, I feel like the fuzzy stuff stuck to the crap on the bottom of your shoe when you've been walking around on it all day. I have a headache, a face ache, my ears are throbbing, and my throat hurts. I have antibiotics, tea, juice, Afrin nasal spray, tylenol, and alcohol-free cough syrup. I feel incredibly whiney and there's no one to whine to. I think I'm going to invent a service for people who want to whine. You pay $1 a minute to whine to someone on the phone and the person on the other end will agree with everything you say, make comforting responses like "Awww" and "Mmmm," and insist that you deserve all the sympathy in the world. Why is it that run-of-the-mill illness is a self-pity magnet for me even though my response to MS is to buck up and write a book about it?

The kids are at school for another 2 hours max and I have no idea how I'm going to pull it all together to make dinner, give baths, read books, supervise homework, and, most importantly, be nice and motherly. Good motherly, that is. I guess I'll just watch another episode of the OC on SoapNet, doze, and then dig deep and find my inner Claire Huxtable at pick-up time.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Cat Yak

I was about to sign off my computer, was thinking about the lunches I'll pack and hoping I will experience a miraculous cure (to my cold if not the MS) while I sleep tonight. And, then I heard it. The unmistakable sound of my cat yacking. I prepared to jump up to move the cat off the new carpet, when I realized he was on the overstuffed chair. So, now, I will add to my to-do list: Wash Cat Vomit off the Slip Cover and Throw Pillow Case.

I love my life, I love my life, I love my life, I love my life...

Terrible Mother 2

I regularly read a column called Terrible Mother on The writer, another single, divorced, custodial parent, eloquently streams together all the words in my head and heart about what it's like to co-parent with someone who does not have to (and usually doesn't) pick up the slack.

Her latest column really hit home with me because:
  1. This was one of the every other weeks where the ex doesn't see the kids at all from Thursday night to Tuesday night.
  2. I feel like shit. (Specifically, I have a cold, a cough, a sore throat, fatigue, blurry eyesight, weakness, etc.)
  3. I was a terrible mother this weekend.
I'm guessing that, while 1) and 2) are not excuses for 3), they were definitely contributing factors.

I decided that since I probably did too much yesterday, we would take it easy today. No church, no meeting, we didn't even get dressed. We watched a lot of movies, the kids did some artwork, and we even made sugar cookies. Sounds like pretty good mothering, huh? Between stints as Carol Brady, there was also a lot of me napping on the couch and getting pissed when the kids woke me up and lots and lots of threatening to take things away if whining and fighting continued (there was a lot of whining and fighting, probably due to the fact that there were 3 of us in 900 square feet all day).

At one point, the kids were watching Little Bill, which set off my bad mommy tapes. (My mind map: Little Bill to Bill Cosby to The Cosby Show to Claire Huxtable). I kept thinking about how Claire Huxtable didn't yell at or threaten her kids but managed to command respect with a single look (and the look didn't include gritted teeth). She always stayed calm and never acted like she did not like her kids.

I did not like my kids all day today. At one point, we were watching Call of the Wild on demand with Rick Shroeder. It was PG but we had already seen all the animated crap that was rated G--even the Chipmunk movie I swore I would never watch. My children, bless their hearts, did not shut up throughout the whole move. First there were the questions: What's going to happen now, Mommy? What's that, Mommy? Why'd he do that, Mommy? Are they in Alaska, Mommy? I think we didn't get through one scene in the entire movie without a question. Then, there was the bickering: Stop touching me, Ruby! Zane's in my way, Mommy! I can't hear with her talking! Your feet smell! And then the demands: I'm thirsty--can you pour me some juice? Can we make popcorn? I'm still hungry--what are my choices? Can you pause the movie so I can go pee-pee? Wait, I have to go first!

They're in bed now. I think the're alseep. I gave them baths, read them books, and now I'm afraid to go check on them. If they're still awake, I want to smile, all the way up to my eyes, and channel Claire Huxtable to get them to settle down and close their eyes, but I'm afraid I will grit my teeth, croak out another threat in my laryngitis voice, and leave them to their nightmares of being chased my a rabid mother dinosaur. I'm going to check now.

The terrible mother dinosaur is dead...for today, anyway. Claire was there to kiss my beautiful sleeping babies on their cheeks. Tomorrow's another day, Scarlett.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Not Good

I'm eating organic cereal out of the box, watching reruns of Mad TV, and I'm too tired to go to bed. My eyesight sucks, my head aches, I feel hot but I don't have a fever, my fingers are tingling, my arms feel heavy, and I've been in a pissy mood all day. Is it MS or just a bad day?

We watched High School Musical 2, dug the car out of the snow, went sledding, had a snowball fight with Ken and Matt, took a nap, and went to a church potluck supper at Ken's church. Not exactly the stuff that horror movies are made of.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Another Public MS Sighting

I just learned that Michelle Obama's father had Multiple Sclerosis. He actually died of complications from MS which is very rare these days. Before dying, however, he supported a family of four on a city worker's salary and put two kids through Ivy League colleges.

I find this news strangely comforting. If Obama becomes President, I like the idea that the First Lady will have personal experience with MS. If there is a Supreme Court vacancy and one possible nominee has written opinions against stem cell research, maybe she will whisper in his ear that he should take a pass.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


I just found a competitive scavenger hunt to raise money for the Accelerated Cure Project for Multiple Sclerosis! I'm going to enter and I'm gong to win!! Who's in???!!!

Speechless and Tim

I have laryngitis. My worst nightmares usually include scenes of impending danger or violence where I have no voice. I open my mouth to scream and nothing comes out. I hope no one chases me today and I don't need to call for help. I also hope my sugar addiction isn't set off by the soothing tea with honey I'm drinking.

In the past, when I've lost my voice, it's usually connected to a loss. I'm not sure if that's true this time. If it is a loss, which one is it that is taking my voice? Loss of my condo? Loss of my perception of invincibility? Partial loss of eyesight? But why now? Why not last fall when I was diagnosed with MS? Why not last month when I did the financial inventory and came up very short in the housing column? Maybe it's just a cold. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Tim is home without oxygen. His breathing is better but they are still unsure of what caused his atypical pneumonia symptoms. It may be his heart so he has to see a cardiologist. This doesn't scare Christina and it definitely doesn't scare me. I have an ex-brother in law who seems to use open heart surgery how some people say women use abortions for birth control. (I find it very difficult to believe that a woman would rather get sedated and have her uterus vacuumed or scraped clean instead of popping a pill, inserting a diaphram, or dealing with the discomfort that the first few days of an IUD bring, but some pro-lifers insist it is true.)

Neal smokes, drinks, eats like crap, and doesn't exercise. Every few years, he has a hard attack and they either blow all the gunk out of his arteries or they open up his chest and fix the blockage.Tim does not smoke, eats ok, and gets exercise. I am expecting and hoping that, whatever caused his breathing trouble, is a quick fix.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

51 Days into a Great Year

2008 is a very good year so far. I have healthy children, a bald hot boyfriend, a job, a roof over my head, health insurance and medical care, I'm about to be published, and, perhaps most importantly for the world as a whole, it's an election year. We are going to elect a new President of these United States. Thank God!

People who know me for even 5 minutes know that I'm a pacifist. I abhor war. There is nothing other than my children that I believe is worth killing for. Even then, it would have to be a situation where Ruby or Zane would die if I didn't kill someone and I can't imagine how that situation would come to be. I hate when I tell people this and they come at me with a lot of challenges to find specific alternatives to war in specific world political situations. Please don't mention the Nazis. The Holocaust was real and horrific and needed to be stopped. And I think what's happening in Darfur is criminal. Beyond the general recommendation for "diplomacy," I don't have any specific solutions. I am not a world leader, nor do I want to be. I want to elect someone who has those alternatives or can find them or will work with the people who will find them. How do Switzerland and Canada stay out of war?

I want to elect a President who cares about helping people, here and in the rest of the world. I want to elect a leader who will protect the rights of all our citizens, regardless of gender, race, finances, class, ethnicity, immigration status, sexual orientation, religion (or lack thereof), marital status, disability, children (or no children), etc., etc., etc. I want a leader who believes that women have a right to choose what to do with their own bodies, that war is not the answer, that Iraqi and Afghani babies are just as precious as American children, that stem cell research hurts no one and could potentially help millions (included me and others with MS), that people should be able to love and marry whomever they choose, that politics should not be a game that is won by the one with the most money, and that we should not be so arrogant as to believe that we always know what's best and that it's our way or the highway. It pisses off the rest of the world which makes us vulnerable to awful things.

I always wanted to vote for a woman on the presidential ticket. Maybe I will someday...but not yet. Hillary Clinton is not my woman. When I don't know how to explain what I believe or why I believe it, I love when a writer finds my missing words:

I believe that Barack Obama is the best option still open to us as the next President of the United States. Maybe you believe differently. That's ok. Believe what you want to believe. (Start your own blog if you want to tell the world.) If you don't know what you believe, do a little reading, and figure it out. If you're not registered, call your town hall and do it today so you will be ready in November.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Tim, Carpet, and Towels

Christina is a colorful and prominent square on my patchwork quilt of love and support. And I am a decorated officer in the troops she calls in during times of celebration or trouble. We are the kind of friends who can call each other in the middle of the night.

Night came when Christina's dad died 8 years ago. Night came when I was diagnosed with MS last fall. And night came again on Saturday morning.

Christina's husband Tim was admitted to the hospital last week for pneumonia. During our daily telephone conversations on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, she was concerned but "handling" it. (Christina and I are both very good handlers.) She was busily moving into a new temporary apartment in Boston, taking care of their son, and visiting Tim in the hospital, trusting that the doctors and all the antibiotics were going to make him better. Yesterday morning, as I was trying to get the kids out the door to go with their dad overnight, the phone rang and I let the machine pick up. My hand was on the doorknob when I heard Christina's voice break as she told me that, if his oxygen level didn't improve by Monday, they were going to test Tim for lung cancer--the disease that took her father's life at the age of 54, just two and a half weeks after diagnosis.

I gritted my teeth, robotically got the children outside, put the recycling into the bins, and turned the kids over to John (after he had to bring me a can of gas because I still miss the beep on my old car that told me when I was almost out of fuel and I didn't have enough gas to start my car--for the second time!). Finally, finally, in what felt like hours after Christina called (but was only about 15 minutes), I was alone and able to call her back.

Christina told me that Tim met with a doctor that morning who told him that, unless his oxygen level increased significantly, they were going to have to do a biopsy of his lungs. I listened, I recited comforting platitudes like "We're not there yet, it's only Saturday," I asked what I could do, and didn't believe her when she said, "nothing." I insisted that she call her mother and ask her to take her son, so she could go into the hospital and talk to the doctors herself. I asked her to keep in touch and then I stalked her with phone calls every hour.

In the meantime, Ken and members of his committee (including two ex in-laws), installed carpet in my living room and dining area. I bought the carpet and they did all the rest. Ken's son Kenny, and his nephew, P.J. met us at my condo to lift the humungous roll of carpet up and over my balcony railing. They wouldn't accept my offer of money, either. Then, P.J's dad, who is the brother of Ken's ex-wife, spent 5 hours in my house, rolling out, cutting, gluing, and tucking carpet with Ken. They insisted I needed to just get out of the way, so I ran to Lowes for more glue, cleaned carpet adhesive off the cat's paws when Pepper ran out on the gluey floor, and brought out a boombox to fill the working man silence.

I continued to stalk Christina by phone every hour, getting her voicemail again and again and trying to just wait until she needed me. I needed her to need me. I needed to be there to support her . Finally, just about the time Ken and Pete were making the last cut and I was running out to return the carpet roller to Taylor Rental, Christina called me back and told me that she wanted me to come in and go out to dinner with her and sleep over if I wanted to.

Ken and I had post-Valentine's Day plans that included a tiny little red number I bought in preparation for this weekend. Although I was disappointed, I knew I wanted and needed to be with my friend and that the red lingerie would be just as sexy a day later. Ken, who not only knows how to put in carpet but also shares his feelings, believes in a Higher Power, cares for his children, rocks my world, and calls me on my shit, told me that he understood I needed to be there for my friend and that he wouldn't expect anything else. He also drove me into Boston to meet Christina and visit Tim at Mass General.

Tim looked better than expected but very scared--his smile didn't quite make it to his eyes. He had tubes in his nose giving him oxygen, an IV in his hand, and a monitor showing his oxygen and heart rates. I kissed him hello, chit chatted with him and Christina's aunt and uncle who were visiting and then Christina and I went out to dinner.

When we left the restaurant about 9:30, we went on a mission for towels which Christina had neglected to bring to the temporary apartment. Have you ever tried to find towels in Boston proper on a Saturday night? It's not like there's a Walmart on every corner or that Store 24 sells Linens-n-Things stock. I suggested that we go into a hotel and steal some towels (because I thought it would make a great story) but Christina nixed that. She can be such a fuddy duddy sometimes.

After walking in and out of every drug store in the North End, we returned to Christina's apartment, googled several different stores in various Boston neighborhoods, and started calling places. We were told that the 24-hour Walgreens in Roxbury Crossing carried towels. Unfortunately, we neglected to ask for the towels' dimensions. When we drove to the store, we discovered that they had a vast array of face clothes, kitchen towels, and auto towels. Since the auto towels were in packages of 4 and they were about the size of hand towels, we opted for those. I also picked up a pink plaid pair of jammies, Christina bought two hampers, and we got a couple face cloths. I am not a newbie to late night Walgreens shopping since it was one of my favorite ways to escape home when I was married. Christina, however, thought the two for $7 pop-up hampers were the best thing since sliced bread.

When I called Ken the next day and told him the towel search story, he asked why we didn't just take towels from Tim's hospital room. OMG!!!!

Back home now with my full-size bath towels, I am praying for Tim's good health.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Please Tell Me This Is Not My Future

I just read a horrible article about a woman bed-ridden with MS who died in a fire. She burned to death in her bed because she was paralyzed with MS and because 911 screwed up.

Trade You a Title for Some Good-n-Plenty?

I have no title for this blog entry. I have no words that I NEED to say. I have no energy. But I havent written in a few days and I have no sleepiness so what the hell.

I am on Day 2 without sugar (again!) and the half a cannister of raisins I ate while watching House didn't take away the cravings. The house is a pigsty and it didn't pick itself up while I lounged. Getting up feels too hard, though. Plus, it would bring me closer to the leftover brownies and conversation hearts in the kitchen.

The kids go with John in the morning and then Ken and I install carpet. Did I mention I single-handedly ripped the carpet out of my living room/dining area, demonstrating that the freakish strength I had before my MS diagnosis/exacerbation has returned? Well, the concrete floor is not only unsightly, apparently it's also evidence of bad parenting. Ken told me he would install the carpet because he didn't want the kids playing on concrete. I thought he was overreacting until Ruby tripped and fell yesterday and skinned her elbow on the living room floor.

My Bald Hot Realtor Boyfriend also got two different calls about my overpriced condo today. He's going to show it on Sunday so we thought flooring might be a good idea. I can't imagine that anyone will buy it for the price of what I owe the mortgage companies but Ken seems to think a short sale is possible. I'm prepared for the worst but hoping for the best.

In the meantime, I looked at a rental house in Weymouth today that's available in June. I liked the house and the location a lot (it's walking distance to the library and park), but I want to look at a couple others before making a commitment. The owner is moving to Ireland so I have some concerns about how much I will have to do on my own--shoveling, lawn mowing, house maintainance, etc. It might be like owning a home again without the tax write-off. Is that a good thing?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day Sugar Hangover

I have a BAD hangover today...a sugar hangover. I had a slip yesterday. was more of an avalanche, actually.

It started out innocently enough. Zane was still home sick so, after dropping Ruby at school in the morning, I went to the DD drive-thru to get an iced coffee to get me going for my day of working at home while catering to the needs of a 4-year old with a croupy cough and a fever. "Large Iced Coffee with Extra, Extra Skim Milk and NO sugar" I declared to the microphone on the raspberry colored post leading up to the little kiosk.

I proceeded to the window, paid my money, and retrieved my iced coffee. I drove away quickly as I always do because I don't want to make the next person wait any longer than necessary to get their morning java. I didn't take the wrapper off the straw and insert it into my beverage until I had already left the parking lot. Uh-oh. There was so much sugar in the coffee that it was literally crunchy. For about 30 seconds I considered turning my car around and going through the drive-thru again to ask for a new coffee. It was pouring rain and I didn't want to get wet again unrolling the window to order and then pick up my coffee. "Na," I thought. It won't kill me.

Famous last words. I think, after 44 days with no sugar, it set something off inside of me. All day long, I craved sugar. I eventually succumbed when I decided it was time to make Valentine's Day brownies and cupcakes for the kids' classrooms and for a work bake sale to benefit homeless families. I licked the spoon on the brownie batter. On the cupcake batter, I licked the spoon and the bowl, too. When the brownies came out of the oven, I ate all the gooey parts that stuck to the knife when I cut the tray into squares. Then there was the frosting--white and pink--and the candy hearts. By 11pm, I stopped the charade. I took the opened bag of candy conversation hearts to bed with me and finished them off.

I feel like a piece of unidentifiable, gooey and crusty gunk stuck to the bottom of a dumpster. My head aches, my vision is blurry, my legs are weak, and I feel as if I didn't sleep a wink. Is it MS? Is it the sugar? Is it the MS on sugar? Is this just reinforcement that I'm doing the right thing being OFF of sugar?

It's kind of cruel to be on Day One of no sugar again on Valentine's Day. I received a box of chocolate hearts from an agency I work with; there is still another unopened bag of those pure sugar candy hearts at home; and there was the bake sale downstairs from my office (that I contributed to but did not attend). The kids will, no doubt, come home with treats, too. Temptation is EVERYWHERE!

Well, maybe I'm supposed to love myself this Valentine's Day by realizing and accepting that I am just not a "moderation" kind of gal and that sugar might taste great in my mouth but it hurts my whole body later.

I bought a sexy (sugar-free) gift for Ken that we will not get to enjoy until the kids go with John on Saturday night. I'm actually thrilled we have no child care tonight because I am too sick with the sugar hangover to truly enjoy my bald hot boyfriend. I am stopping by his house after work and praying really hard he doesn't give me candy.

Happy Valentines Day, Everyone! I receive an email from a friend that included really funny (and really offensive) rejected Valentine's Day greeting card sentiments. I will leave you with my favorites:

Our love will never become cold and hollow
Unless, one day, you refuse to swallow.

You're a woman of style, you're a woman of class
Especially when I'm spanking, your big-round-fat ass.

Before I met you, my heart was so famished
But now I'm fulfilled. . . SO MAKE ME A SAMICH!!!

I don't wanna be sappy or silly or corny
So, right to the point, let's do it, I'm horny!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Sick Monday

Ruby woke up with a temp of 101.7. Zane's was 103. Both have coughs that sound like they are 80-year old smokers that disturbed my sleep. So, we are home for the day and making sure the doses of ibuprofen are right on time.

So far so good. Ruby is hunkered down in my room with the TV and the Vicks-filed humidifier running full blast. Now that his fever is down, Zane is walking around in his pajama shirt and Diego underpants, coloring, filling up wallets, asking me how to spell things and doing his best to interrupt me every time I call in to work to pick up my voicemail messages.

We have a refrigerator full of food, plenty of Ibuprofen and cough drop strips, many beverage choices, and thank God for PBS Kids.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sunday Matinee

Ruby woke up in the middle of the night wheezing, coughing, and feverish. I gave her ibuprofen and brought her into bed with me. (Good thing I went to bed at 11:00, huh?) Zane did not have a fever but he did wake up this morning with a bad cough, too.

So, home we stayed. We didn't go to church or my meeting, we didn't go to the birthday party we were supposed to go to, and we didn't go out to play. We didn't do anything but lay around and watch movies, PBS Kids, and Home and Garden shows on Demand. Eventually, we ran out of food and medicine so we took a brief sojourn to Shaws where I read every label and mourned the fact that Sorbet has way too much sugar. Instead, I found some organic frozen fruit bars that I've eaten three of since the kids went to bed.

By bedtime, Ruby's wheezing was back so I put the humidifier in her room with Vicks inside. I gave them both ibuprofen before bed and sent my boss an email heads-up...just in case Ruby and/or Zane are home sick tomorrow. Please GOD AND EVERYTHING THAT IS GOOD IN THE WORLD, let them BOTH not be home sick!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can do one sick kid and working from home, but I'm pretty sure I can't do two. They will argue, they will be bored, they will whine, they will watch a lot of TV and fight over which shows they will be, and I will feel very, very trapped having the no grown up in the house with me for a second consecutive day.

No....let me reframe and refocus on the positive. We will have an opportunity to hang out together, like we did today, read lots of books, finish our Valentines, do some laundry, eat a hot lunch, and take care of the two little sickies. I will be fine, no matter what. I am, however, picking out my clothes and packing lunches in the hopes that we don't have to find out.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Iced Coffee is Evil

Iced coffee used to be one of my best friends. Extra skim milk with Splenda, night or day. Now, I've given up Splenda, Equal, and sugar, and even gotten used to the taste of my coffee with nothing in it other than milk--sometimes skim, sometimes soy. Yesterday, I made the very poor decision to finish my third (or was it fourth?) iced coffee at 8:00. That's 8:00 P.M., the time my children are usually going to bed and I'm supposed to be winding down. I had a busy day yesterday and I was definitely using the iced coffee to help me make it through. Here was my day:

  • 9:00 a.m. - Leave the house, clean the snow off the car, and drop Ruby at school
  • 9:15 a.m. - Drop Zane at school, stop in the Director's office to select his school pictures and end up having a 40 minute conversation about my experiences with Early Intervention.
  • 9:55 a.m. - Call Ken on my way to DD for my first iced coffee of the day to tell him I was running late and to find out if he wanted HIS coffee (medium regular with extra sugar). Ken was supposed to be at my house at 10:00 a.m. to help me carry my entire living room full of 20-year-old carpeting and padding I ripped out all by myself a couple days before.
  • 10:10 a.m. - Arrive home to find Ken waiting to help me. We go out onto my balcony (where the carpet and padding had been sitting in a big, filthy lump for a couple of days), and heave the whole mess over the railing to the walkway below. Then we run outside and drag the mess to the general area of the dumpster that serves my building in our complex. (I feel the need to go on record that Ken suggested we cut the lump into pieces with an exacto knife and then put the pieces inside the dumpster.) But I dismiss his suggestion and assume that the garbage truck will just pick up the lump when they empty the dumpster.
  • 10:30: I kiss Ken goodbye and go to Lowes to buy a tool to rip up the rest of the carpet tack strips, concrete glue, and a new threshold for my doorway since I had ripped out the carpet and there was a raw edge between the concrete floor in my apartment and the carpet in the hall. I go up and down every aisle to find what I want because I like looking around at Lowes and there is no one around to help me anyway and I didn't feel like chasing anyone down.
  • 11:15: I leave Lowes and drive to Marshall's to return some pants I bought on clearance for Ruby that did not meet her stringent fashion requirements.
  • 12:00: I get home and start my afternoon of working at home, checking email, voicemail, reviewing copy, scheduling meetings, and checking in on other projects. I make a bizarre shake for lunch that consisted of frozen blueberries, soy milk, organic non-fat yogurt and a half-carafe of cold coffee. It was actually very good and gave me the necessary energy boost I needed.
  • 1:00: The manager of my complex knocks on my door to "discuss" the carpet lump that is now covered in newly fallen snow next to the dumpster. When I open the door, he glances down at the concrete floor and asks me who is replacing my carpet. I do NOT tell him that I'm not sure I am even going to replace the carpet, that I hadn't gotten that far in my thought process, and that I am even considering painting the concrete subfloor and leaving it like that. Instead, I blush, apologize, and mumble something about my boyfriend and me doing the carpet. (Which is not a total lie--my boyfriend and I DID remove the carpet.) The manager, who usually speaks with a stutter, speaks clearly and distinctly: "You are going to have to remove it." I explain that my boyfriend is in a class all afternoon (true!) and that I wasn't sure we could get to it. (I was also unsure of whether I could count on Ken at all, particularly after I ignored his advice to begin with.) The manager continues, still with no sign of his stutter, "If the trustees see that mess, they are going to fine you! You are going to have to cut it into pieces and dispose of it in all the dumpsters around the complex, before the weekend." I mumble, "Ok, sorry" and close the door, knowing that I have no exacto knife and no extra set of muscles to borrow before the weekend. Uh-oh.
  • 3:00: I sign off email and go to Ruby's school so I can wait 15 minutes for her dismissal bell to ring. You have to get in this weird line of cars on the upstairs playground so the principal can direct all the parents to drive out in an orderly manger after all the kids come out.
  • 3:30: The principal waves us out of the parking lot and Ruby and I go to Building 19 to look for a carpet runner to cover the cement entrance to my apartment and cover up the big crack that I didn't know was there when I ripped up the carpet. We walk around the entire store and leave with nothing.
  • 4:15: Ruby and I drive to Holbrook for her girl's yoga class. We wait in the parking lot for the instructor (the Fabulous and Serene Nancy) to arrive. When she does, I leave Ruby, and go to the Dollar Store to look for a cheap runner. I find what I think is a runner but when I get home I realize is just a long doormat-size remnant. I also buy some valentine stuff for the kids.
  • 5:15: I get back to the yoga studio and wait for Ruby's class to get out. When it does, we head back to Weymouth to pick up Zane.
  • 5:45: We pick up Zane and discuss which fast food option we will partake for our pre-meeting, commuting meal. Because I'm feeling the need for yet ANOTHER iced coffee, we go to Dunkin Donuts drive-thru where they now sell individual pizzas that are a big hit with the kids. I opted for a bagel with peanut butter. They ate their pizzas and sipped their chocolate milks while we drove to Quincy for the one single meeting I go to that has babysitting.
  • 6:20: We get to the meeting (that starts at 6:00), drive around looking for a parking spot in the busy area, park across the square, and head inside. I insist (as I usually do) that Ruby and Zane use the bathroom before we head into the babysitting room. Zane fights (as he usually does) and Ruby goes into every stall before she finds one that she likes (as she usually does). I manage to get their hands washed and dried, their coats and boots off, pay the babysitter in the room (a lovely older woman named Sherry) and get to the meeting while the speaker is still speaking...and speaking...and speaking. I usually sit near the front so I can see and so I can pay attention without being distracted by everyone and everything between the speaker and me. But Karen Teacup was in the back row and I hadn't seen her in a while so I slide in and tried to focus.
  • 6:45: The speaker wraps it up at last (with a sexist Winston Churchill joke) and I take my turn in the babysitting room to give Sherry a hand. There are 7 kids and I know all but 1 so it was easy and fun.
  • 7:00: I head back to the meeting and try to sit still while I listen to people in the room treating it like a roast, telling the speaker how much he has meant to their personal recovery, etc. I don't mind this except for the fact that, as a newcomer, I often felt excluded when I attended meetings with this tone. I thought AA was a clique and that I wasn't a part of it...again. Towards the end, a couple people speak who have really great things to say about hope and faith and the role their higher power plays in their lives and in their recovery.
  • 7:30: The meeting is over and Karen Teacup and I go to the babysitting room to retrieve our children. All my kids go to the bathroom again, we get our coats, hats, boots, and gloves on, and head to the cars across the square, holding hands and saying "hup, two, three four" so the kids would think it was fun. We hugged Karen, Matthew, and Ariana bye-bye and head out to do a drive-by of a possible apartment in Quincy. I never found the actual house but I found the area and thought "Na, I want to live in Weymouth." So I guess that settles the angst I was feeling earlier. I knew it would happen like that. I would just KNOW. It was clear and obvious to me that I want to stay in Weymouth for this year of renting. After that, we'll see. I have made MAJOR changes in my life this year and I need to have some things stay the same. Ruby's school and child care and my meetings are good things to keep the same. On the way home, we drive by a place in Weymouth that may or may not be available for rent in June after a client of Ken's may or may buy it as an investment property. While we're driving around, I finish the iced coffee I bought before the meeting.
  • 8:30: We get home, get in jammies and the three of us lay in Zane's bed together and read two books (Horace and Morris But Mostly Delores and Arthur Goes to School).
  • 9:30: Everyone's alseep. I turn on the TV and log on to my laptop to look for apartments (for June??? Who the hell am I kidding???) Four hours later, I head to bed and realize my novel (that I ALWAYS read before falling asleep) is in the car. I read a magazine instead and finally, finally turn out the light and close my eyes about 2:00 a.m. It's not like I was clubbing or even awake having sex! I was internet surfing and watching friggin TV until 2:00 a.m.!!!!

Today was a busy day, too (lunch out, play date with Ruby's friend coming out with us, library, sledding, cocoa at DD, etc.) so I'm hoping we'll ALL fall asleep at a reasonable hour tonight. After dinner and baths, we watched a cool kids movie (5 Kids and The It) and Ken came over to study for the Personal Training Certification Test he's taking tomorrow. Ken's gone and the kids are in bed. I heard soem noise coming from their room a little while ago, but I'm hoping they'll get bored with their talking if I leave them alone.

It's been a good day despite my "poor sleep hygiene" as my therapist likes to call it. (It sounds like I go to bed with filthy feet, doesn't it?) I'm going to try to remember that, for whatever reason (MS, motherhood, age, humanity) I can NOT burn the candle at both ends without getting badly burned. Unless I want to spend tomorrow morning crabby and dozing on the couch while the kids watch too much PBS Kids (like this morning), I need to go to bed by 11pm tonight. I'm going to give myself an incentive. If I am in bed with no TV and computer on by 11pm, I get to have eat some organic sorbet (with low sugar) tomorrow night.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Stuff in My Head Coming Out Through My Fingers

I'm hoping that by June, the kids and I will move to a 3BR apartment. The thing is, I don't know where to look...or where not to look. Where do I want to live?

It would be easiest to stay in Weymouth. But is that what's best? If we stay in Weymouth, even if it's not in Ruby's elementary school district, I can probably talk the Town Dept. of Ed into allowing her to remain in her current school since she only has one year left before moving on to middle school. But what about Zane? He's supposed to start Kindergarten in the Fall. Do I try to talk them into Zane going to Ruby's out-of-district school, too? Do I have Ruby go to one school and Zane to another? Do I keep Zane at his child care center for their Kindergarten program and worry about 1st grade when we get to 1st grade? And what about the recreation/after school programs in Weymouth? Will I have to investigate the specifics of every prospective town before picking? I didn't do that when I first moved to Weymouth 6 years ago because Ruby was only two and I didn't know I needed to know all that stuff. Do I have time and energy for all that research now?

Is this how people end up staying in one place all their lives? Maybe it's just easier not to move. That's not really an option for me with 68% of my income currently going to housing.

Since I'm moving anyway, maybe I should take this opportunity to move to a totally different community. Do I really fit in Weymouth? I think maybe I should live somewhere closer to Boston where it's easier to take public save gas and to have car-free commuting options just in case my sight gets worse...again. It's really hard, without a car, for me drop the kids, get to the train station, commute all the way to Cambridge, and then take a very slow shuttle all the way to work. .

Maybe I should move to Arlington, Newton, or Brookline where the schools are good, we'd be closer to the city, and I've seen some 3BR places in my price range advertised in those communities. Or maybe, I should move to Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, or Hyde Park and put my money where my mouth is with living in a diverse community. I sent a letter to a couple mom friends who live in Boston neighborhoods to gather info about how the school assignments are made.

But what about my ex? He lives in Weymouth, too, which makes it easy for him to pick up the kids at school 2 days per week, take them to dinner, and drive them home for bedtime. While I don't want to be tied to my ex's community, would my life be harder farther away?

And what about my boyfriend? Bald Hot Ken lives one town away which makes it easy--ok, nothing is exactly easy with two single, custodial parents who date each other--but it makes it EASIER to see each other. I know Ken loves me and that those feelings have nothing to do with my zip code, but it may change "stop in" kind of visits.

What about my job? I have a very, very long commute. Would it be easier with the whole work/life balance stuff if I lived closer?

What about my meetings? My home group is in Weymouth but I only get there every other Sunday and they don't require residency for membership.

Maybe I should live in Quincy. It's closer to the city but still on the South Shore. But the kids would still have to switch schools. Would I be missing an opportunity to make a real change? But, why change? Is it a "geographical cure" like what my dad was searching for when we moved across the country and back? Hmmm.

What do I like about Weymouth:
  • I like the schools
  • Department of Recreation has great programs for kids
  • Close to Ken
  • Sameness/Familiarity (I'm used to it)
  • Friends/Group Members live nearby
  • Zane's Child Care Center
  • Library/Parks
  • Beach in town
What I don't like about Weymouth:
  • Long commute that eats up money, gas, and time
  • Distance from the city and avoidance of additional commute on the weekends for social/cultural stuff
  • Idealogical differences with many people in my town
  • Need the car to go anywhere/no convenient public transporation
  • Some diversity but not a lot.
  • Not a walking beach
  • Not very pretty

I'm going to write about it (check!), talk about it, do the footwork/research, and meditate about it, and trust that I will be led in the right direction. The answers are inside of me. I just have to be still and listen.

Post Super Tuesday

I voted in my state primary election yesterday. My candidate did not win in my state. It probably will not come as a surprise to regular readers that, although I am a registered independent (called unenrolled in Massachusetts), I chose to take the Democratic ballot. I really, really wanted to vote for a woman and was excited that, for the first time ever, that was an option. Hillary, however, is not my woman. Not now anyway. If she wins the Democratic nomination, I will, most likely rally behind her because McCain, Romney, and Huckabee scare the crap out of me. I like Barack and I would love to see how his fresh perspective and energy could improve the country.

I don't care who you vote for as long as you vote. I love voting. I feel like I am standing on the backs of Elizabeth Caty Stanton and every suffragist who fought for womens' rights to vote. There are people who died for the right to vote in this country and people who still don't have that right in other countries.

Hang on to your seats. November is right around the corner.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

I'm Definitely Not Ready for My Close-Up!

I met an old work colleague for lunch today. Usually, if I'm meeting someone I haven't seen in a while, particularly since the MS diagnosis, I try to look my absolute best (which is probably why they say "you look so good"). Well, I completely forgot about the lunch until I got to work and saw it in my calendar. I thought "Great, it'll be nice to get out and see Lisa." Then I remembered what I was and was not wearing.

I did not pick out my clothes last night so this morning, I had to do the whole grab and match method to get dressed. You grab one item that covers your bottom half, grab a second item that covers your top half, and see if they match. Well, that's not really true. You see if they CLASH and if they don't, then that's matching enough. This morning I grabbed pinkish/purplish velveteen side zip pants that only go past the knees, a tall pair of black boots, a purplish/pinkish turtleneck and a funky black jacket with 3/4 sleeves and white contrast stitching. I had no time to blow dry my hair this morning so I pulled it back into a black headband. I didn't create a "do" or anything--I just slapped the headband on top of my flat, wet hair and tried to tuck all the random pieces behind my ears. I did not put on a stitch of makeup and when I dug through my purse after I remembered the lunch date, I could only find translucent red lipstick. Red. I was wearing purplish/pink and pinkish/purple. Definitely NOT matching.

In other words, I looked like ASS...the place that shit comes from. But, you know what? I still went to lunch! And, when I was there, I didn't make one mention of looking like crap, waking up late...nothing! I simply WAS. That is HUGE for me.

I used to wear a full face of makeup and contact lenses every single day. These days, I blow dry my hair, put moisturizer on my face, cover up any pimples with powder, wear lipstick that matches my outfit (usually), put on my new, overpriced, green Prada glasses, brush my teeth, and head out the door. It's not that I don't like how I look in makeup or that I'm making some kind of feminist/natural statement (remember when Jeanine Garafalo refused to wear makeup on talk show appearances?), I just don't have time.

The thing is, I used to put on makeup during my commute to work. That was my routine; drop the kids off, turn on WBUR, and start primping in the rearview mirror. I usually applied foundation along Quincy Shore Drive, blush on the Neponset Bridge, eyeshadow and eyeliner on 93, mascara on the Mass Pike, and lipstick in the parking lot of work. Not anymore. When you're blind in one eye, it's hard to close the good eye to put liner on the top lid, particularly while operating a motor vehicle.

I could, of course, make time to put makeup on at home. I could also train for the Boston Marathon, stop biting my fingernails, and learn to speak French. I rush around in the morning as it is. Then again, my lashes are invisible without mascara and my cheekbones look much better with blush on them.

You know what I need? A hot boy to flirt with at work that will motivate me to find time to primp! Don't worry...the only one I have follow-through with is Bald Hot Ken. I am loyal and faithful to a fault. I once had a dream about Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz when I was married. Although I lust after him something fierce, even in my sleep I told him I couldn't rock his world because I was married. I actually said, "Sady, no" when he requested that I spend the night in his Hollywood Hills mansion.)

I could just start going through the cute toll guy's lane on the Pike instead of using my EZ Pass. Or, better yet, I could find and befriend a not-so-snotty makeup woman at a fancy, dancy department store cosmetic counter and stop there every day on the way to work to have her apply my makeup.

Do you think I could contact the Make a Wish Foundation and plead my case? To Whom It May Concern: I am a single mom with MS unable to apply makeup. Can you please pay for a personal make-up artist to apply my cosmetics everyday? Perhaps, you could pay for a limo and driver to take me to work every day and the makeup artist and I could sit in the back and do my face during my commute. Thank you in advance for your anticipated consideration.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Post Super Bowl Apathy

The Patriots lost the Super Bowl yesterday. I knew they were in it. I knew they were playing the Giants but that's about it. A friend at my meeting asked if I was going to be watching the game with the kids. I told him I didn't even know what time the game started which should provide the answer he was looking for. He said that if I didn't let Zane in particular, watch this historical game (Patriots went into it with a perfect record), he would call DSS.

I do not miss that level of sports fanaticism. My ex used to get depressed when the Yankees lost a game. Seriously, couldn't get off the couch or crack a smile depressed. It's not like he played for the team or even gambled on the games. He yelled at the television and took it personally when the players did not follow his expert advice.

The 10pm drama I was watching while writing last night was interrupted by a newsbreaking announcement. I expected it was going to be election related or maybe some world leader was assasinated. Nope. "The Patriots lost the Super Bowl," said the newscaster. If people watching the show cared about the Super Bowl, wouldn't they would be watching it? I laughed as the low-level reporter stationed in Kenmore Square had the cameraman pan the empty streets. Poor guy. He was hoping some drunk fans would celebrate the big win by lighting cars on fire and tipping them over starting a riot. Then, he would have been able to file a national story that would air on the network. Maybe it would have been his big break. But instead he got one minute for a stand up on an empty street. Aww.

There was almost no traffic on the way to work this morning. I think people stayed up late to drown their sorrows. Or maybe, like my ex, they were glued to the couch with post-game depression.

There was one local win, though. I met my deadline with Lola Boston and, even though the title that I didn't write is kind of embarassing, my True Story article is going to be in the March issue. Eat your heart out Tom Brady!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Pink Eye for Real

Zane woke up this morning with his eyelashes glued together by conjunctivitus gunk. It required a warm washcloth to unglue them. Yuck. When I told Ruby that Zane had pink eye, she asked if it was going to end of being MS. :-( She remembers that I thought I had pink eye when I started to lose my vision before I was diagnosed.

I assured her that I only THOUGHT I had pink eye and that Zane ACTUALLY has pink eye and has the gunk to prove it. I told her that Zane absolutely positively did not have MS and that he would get eye drops from the pediatrician and his pink eye would go away.

I meant everything that I said. What I didn't say was that also felt pissed that I did not have pink eye. I can't get eye drops to take my MS away.