“That’s a fake Santa,” said Rocky.
True. But he’s sure a good sport.
“That’s a fake Santa,” said Rocky.
True. But he’s sure a good sport.
Farm Girl got her first cell phone.
I swore I’d never get one. Widespread cell phone usage marks the final downward spiral of humanity. Don’t ask me why, it just does.
I didn’t get just any phone, either. I got a family plan (mine and Rukan’s phones match!), T-mobile MyFaves(tm), unlimited texting, instant messaging, wireless internet, music, phone, video, GPS, laundry service, personal training, skywriting, and there’s a button to launch the space shuttle.
What the hell is a podcast?
I’ve moved up from Lucifer’s Telemarketing Company. I officially quit today, after an intensive interview and subsequent offering of a Promo Field Rep job with a business to business marketing company. It’s loooong hours (8-6, M-F), but it looks challenging, there will be a lot of management training (they’re trying to grow assistant managers), and, the coup de gracie, they offer benefits. That’s what sold me. I’ve got to get my kid insured.
Okay, I’ll admit it. SUITS AND LIPSTICK! SUITS AND LIPSTICK!
p.s.: It doesn’t look like we’re going to take that house. It’s getting too complicated with the owner. So we’re home searching again.
Hello, this is Blue with Humperdinck Home Improvement, I’m calling to elicit disgust and fury over the mere fact that I’m a telemarketer and your meatloaf is on the table, and I’m going to pry aggressively into the state of your home and keep on and on and on until your ears are bleeding and you finally succumb to my verbal onslaught and order replacement windows you don’t need, and then I’ll get a commission on top of my low hourly wage. Thank you, and have a nice day!
P.S.: We got the beautiful house. That’s why I didn’t quit yesterday.
I got a job. It’s not glamorous – in fact, it’s telemarketing – but it’s a job. Monday through Thursday, 5:30-9:30, and Saturdays and Sundays 9-3. Could be worse. Given how hard it was to land, I’m feeling pretty grateful.
And I think we’ve found a house. The landlord wants to rent it to us cheap, in exchange for us fixing it up, over the next few years. She’s also interesting in taking off rent in exchange for massage and housekeeping for her mom. Rukan and I went over there today to check it out. It’s a brick house on a corner lot, in a beautiful, central neighborhood. It’s going to take a lot of work, to make it livable. It’s full of trash and old furniture, and it’s pretty dirty. We’d have to trap a few mice (“You mean, YOU’D have to trap a few mice,” says Rukan). But underneath the piles of crap is a gorgeous hardwood floor, a lovely, bright sun room, a full size dining room, a tiny but cute kitchen, two carpeted bedrooms and a small bath. Upstairs there’s a sweet living space with its own bathrom. There’s a large basement that is full of monsters, and I don’t want to talk about it. The front yard is lovely, there’s a front porch and a lovely, sturdy back deck, and a cute fenced-in back yard that’s big enough for a garden. And, the landlady told us we can have CHICKENS. Sigh. Heaven. The neighborhood seems a little hoity-toity, but it is beautiful – and hell, coming from the Bouldin Creek neighborhood, we should be used to yuppies. If they’re friendly, I can coexist.
We’re going to go talk to the owner today.
Quote of the Day:
Rocky, from the bathroom, trying to get those tricky footies off for her shower: “Mama, I’ve got a bit of a situation in here.”
In other news, the job search is proving more difficult than we had imagined, probably due to the fact that L’ville is sunk neck deep in this whole recession business and everybody’s holding onto their jobs for dear life. Trying to get in anywhere at all seems to require that you know somebody who knows somebody, which we do, considering that we have several hundred relations within city limits. Even with recommendations from relatives, it’s been three weeks and there’s no sign of employment on the horizon.
The good news is, I got approved today to take the national massage exam, so I could be getting my Kentucky license within the month. There are massage jobs out there – even if it’s at The Envy (“Massage Envy”, in massage therapist talk – the original cheap fast food massage-in-a-box). The bad news is, my friend who works at Massage Pimp was giving a massage recently and her prone client gave himself a quiet little Happy Ending. Right there during the massage. ICK.
I just want to reiterate: ICK.
She ended the massage and Mr. Ickypants was asked to not return. My poor friend. I wanted to sage her, from 1000 miles away. And I don’t want a Mr. Ickypants on my table. I’ve already had a client with a full-on erection ask me to rub his nipples. Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiick.
Really, there’s a therapist for every client. Some therapists are proficient in Happy Endings. I have nothing against Acts between consenting adults, in or out of the professional setting. Homie just don’t play dat.
Ick. Ick. Ick.
In other, better news, the fall foliage was gorgeous. There are robins everywhere – they must winter here. I miss the din of downtown grackles at dusk, but now I get to hear crows again. I miss everything I love about Austin, but how nice is it that I can teach my family to ski this winter?
Speaking of schools, I am absolutely thrilled at the selection here. L’ville used to do bussing; they don’t anymore, but have replaced it with a system of inner city magnet schools that draw kids from all parts of the city, assuring continued racial integration and class diversity. There are two public Montessori schools (public = free), and one school in particular that catches our eye, a public school with a traditional curriculum, structured in such a way as to foster the students’ creative energy and independent thinking.
Speaking of diversity, I’ve never before lived in a truly integrated city. Most of the black folks I knew in Austin were at St. James’, traditionally an African American church; now that I’m here, that community looks very beleagured. The black community here is huge. And it’s not like Austin, where the Latinos are mostly in one place, the blacks are in another, and the white people take up most of the space. This city is integrated. I am loving the ‘Ville.
We’ve also started church shopping. Nothing’s going to be our wonderful St. James’, but we’re trying to see in the new churches what is special about them, instead of what’s lacking. We’ve been to one so far. It’s tiny. The music consists of a piano, two acoustic guitars and, of all things, a banjo. The preacher is a cute guy with long hair, wearing jeans and a sweater. It’s . . . different. Parents are encouraged to let the kids stay in the sanctuary for the entire service (love it). The service includes a Sacred Time for Children, right before the sermon, when the kids all gather in a circle on the floor in front of the alter and the preacher’s wife tells them a story, giving them a kids’-eye-view of the sermon (LOVE it). Everyone is welcome to take communion. The community is close knit, and the whole feel of the place is just absolutely warm and welcoming. It’s completely and utterly white. I mean, white, bone white, every corner. Rukan was like a Hershey’s Kiss in the middle of a crowd of Marshmallow Peeps. What was I just saying about diversity?
But there is a POTLUCK after every service. Be still my heart. Sigh . . . I adore potlucks.
I’ve been boxing with Rocky. She’s got a violent, aggressive side, like most (if not all) people. I want to nurture it, instead of telling her to put it away. Ru and I don’t want her to go around beating up on people, but we do want her to be able to defend herself, so we’re teaching her when and with whom it’s appropriate to fight. If there’s a bully, and she’s bothering you, and you can’t get her to stop by talking to her, and she starts hitting you, hell yeah, you can deck the little fucker! I love seeing my princessy little girly-girl with that mean look on her face, swinging those fists. Makes me proud. Sniff.
When she’s not learning to beat people senseless, Rocky is growing tall and more gorgeous by the minute. She’s earnestly learning her letters, draws pegadogs (winged Sunnys, mostly), uses the words penis and vagina in public like it’s no big deal, shows no hesitation about telling people not to mess with her, and is turning into an incredibly caring, empathetic young child. She does stuff all on her own, no prompting, to watch out for people and make them feel better. Yesterday, she brought a homemade ornament to the woman next door. “This is for you, Mrs. Strong,” she says, and gives the housebound Elder a big hug, eliciting misty eyes and smiles all around. “Mama,” she says when we’re stopped at a light, “that man needs help.” We roll down her window, and she gives him a dollar and talks and giggles with him until the light turns, and they part ways with beaming smiles and waves. I’ll be halfway up the darkened stairway, and she’ll flip the light on for me on her way past.
My alien child, what celestial lottery did we win to receive the blessing of you?
The following is a collection of my recent posts, from my old Blogger account. I couldn’t get them to import properly, probably due to the fact that I’m straight from the farm, where we peed in a white ceramic bowl and tossed the contents out the window.
I am totally serious.
Nov 9, 2008
If I’m crazy, about a zillion other UFO witnesses are, too.
My brother and I were walking along Popham Beach in Maine late one night in 1989 or ’90, when we saw what looked like a lighthouse light to the Southwest down the coastline. Something about it looked strange to us – I can’t remember what, but we started walking down the beach to get a better look. As we got closer, we saw that it was not a lighthouse, but a very bright ball of light hovering over the ocean. At first I thought it was a helicopter, but we didn’t hear anything coming from it. There was a beam of light between the light and the ocean surface, and it seemed that something was moving up and down in the beam of light, tiny particles of something – though, since I don’t know quite how far we were from it, they could have been larger somethings.
Pretty soon, Bill and I started getting just a wee bit nervous. We started heading back up the beach, away from the object. We looked behind us – the vertical light was gone, and the ball of light was rising up in the sky. It seemed to have shrunk, or condensed somehow, and it had changed color – from white to red, if I remember correctly. Then the fucking thing started flying toward us, faster than any plane or helicopter we’d ever seen. We started to run, holding hands, the soft sand sucking our feet down. Then my knees gave out, absolute fear making my legs feel like jelly, and I sank down, pulling Bill with me. He urged me to keep running, but when I told him I couldn’t, he stayed with me. Arms around each other, we looked up – the object had stopped directly above us. It’s hard to say how big it was, or how far it was from us. It wasn’t blocking out the sky or anything. It was perfectly still, and completely silent. I saw three lights, in a triangular formation. Depending on which of us you ask, it was two white lights and one red, or two red and one white.
Then, the object shot straight up in into the sky and was gone. In one or two seconds, what had been hovering in the sky over us disappeared into the Milky Way.
Bill was so scared that for a long time, he hasn’t been able to talk about it, even to me. Even now, it makes him nervous, and he doesn’t like to mention it.
I mostly forget about it, in my day to day life. Tonight, in our hotel room, I was flipping through stations when I came across a thing on UFO sightings on the History Channel. It was about one night I think in early 2000 or so, and the sightings were spread across two or three midwestern states (me and my sad attention to detail). I thought, this should be entertaining. But the “eyewitnesses”, mostly cops, an FAA control tower worker and a police radio dispatcher, were saying things that were starting to sound familiar. Bright, hovering ball of light. Vertical light, shining from the object to the ground. Moving faster than anything any of them could explain. [At this point, I start getting the willies.] Three points of light, forming a triangle. No sound. [Gooseflesh, hair on neck stands on end.] Object suddenly shoots straight up, and is gone in the blink of an eye. Now I am most definitely freaked out.
I want to mention here, for science’s sake, that before I saw it, I had never before heard of an object like the one I saw, and so a suggestible imagination is not going to explain this. Plus there was Bill, who slept with a revolver next to his pillow for quite some time after that.
I’m sure it was just some secret military aircraft.
Some ALIEN secret military aircraft.
Nov 9, 2008
Another day, another 450 miles
Regarding yesterday’s panicky post: apparently Frustrated Fag lives in the burbs. It would be like us moving to far northwest Austin, which, if it’s anything like it was when I cleaned houses there years ago, is not a neighborhood into which I’d move my queer, ethnically-mixed family. We’d get chewed up and spit out.
In other news, my cat has gas.
Seriously, I fed Bob some pieces of cheeseburger last night, and holy noxious fumes, Batman. I awoke in the dark night to a stench that would kill a horse. Of course in our cheap little room there’s no fan, not even in the bathroom, and we can’t open the door because then the farting cat would get out. Which is maybe not such a bad idea, because I CAN’T BREATHE.
Second day out: starting in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. One Nissan Pathfinder filled with plants and pets, one UHaul truck filled with everything else plus a chattering daughter. Trailing all, on a tow dolly, the old maroon beater Honda I couldn’t bear to part with, covered with hail dents and Texas dust.
Nov 8, 2008
We’ve given up our home, our preschool, our jobs, we’re nearly to Little Rock . . . and now you tell me.
“Don’t come here. My parents moved to Kentucky after we did to be near us. If they weren’t here, we would get the hell out of Kentucky. It is a hostile mean-spirited place, with religious nuts (half the families in the local girl scout troop threatened to quit, if our daughter joined the daisy scouts). The other parents even called the newspaper wanting them to write about us. As non-biological adoptive parents we still feel like Kentucky could null our daughter’s adoption since it is from another state and there is no provision in Kentucky for dual parent same-sex adoption. Of course now in Kentucky even unmarried straights can’t adopt. No one showed up for that forum either. I had to explain to my five-year old that we could not go back to girl scouts because ‘they decided they don’t like us, before they have met us.’ The gay people here couldn’t come together if their lives depended on it (which it does).
Frustrated Fag in Kentucky”
I’m . . . uh, how do I say this?
HAVING SOME SECOND FUCKING THOUGHTS.
I can’t fit ten years in a blog.
I love you.
Nov 7, 2008
Saying goodbye to the grown ups is bearable. It’s the babies that are killing me. First I said goodbye to Emily, aka Baby Bumbo, the little one Ru and I nannied for. She was with her new nanny, and when she saw us she started squealing and laughing, and almost wiggled out of the nanny’s arms to get to us. Rukan and I wrapped our arms around her, and she grabbed us with her chubby little arms, lay her head on my shoulder and clung like her life depended on it. Who knows about the mind of babies, but the way she just held on, quiet and intense, it seemed as if she knew we were leaving. She’s particularly bonded to me, and I to her. “Grow up big and strong,” I whispered. Mo handed her back to her nanny. Bumbo started crying. I looked back quickly, on my way out the door, and waved bye-bye. She was reaching for me, wailing.
I went back to my car, shut the door, and cried and cried. I tried to sob all the heartbreak out of my heart. But when the crying left me, I just felt heartbroken and empty of tears.
Yesterday I said goodbye to Rocky’s classmates. Again, these are little kids I have grown to truly love and adore. It delighted me to delight them, with pirate stories and old games my grandfather taught me, like Trot Trot to Boston, and one of my own invention called “Armchair” (a lap game that involves being bounced around until the kid falls off into the dirt). I’ve so enjoyed getting to know them, each of them with such a distinct personality. They’ve taught me so much about kids, how to meet them where they are (Kate isn’t much for hugging; Amanda will warm up to you if you make her laugh, and expresses affection by beating on you; Mia likes to climb you like a tree and look deeply into your eyes, grinning). “Grow up big and strong,” I whispered to each of them. I am so sad I won’t be here to watch them grow up.
Today, it’s Ev. I can’t think about it.
Nov 5, 2008
Hot. Fucking. Damn.
Call me unpatriotic, or call me a hippie child raised by blacklisted hard-core lefty activists in a post-Vietnam War cloud of anger and mistrust, I’ve never, before now, felt pride in my country.
Nov 2, 2008
my 4 year old on the election
Rocky: I’m going to stop John McCain from winning.
Mama: How are you going to do that?
Rocky: I’m going to put soap in his eye.
Nov 1, 2008
Barbie Mates with Cow, Births Unicorn
Rocky was a Rainbow Princess Unicorn for Halloween. Really, what else could she be?
She was, as always, fabulous. We are not able to do the picture thing right now, unfortunately, but hopefully will be back up to standard soon. I was just going to paint my face, but as it turns out, according to Rocky, I was Sunburst, the Sparkle Fairy from Barbie Fairytopia. It was most definitely the first time I’ve ever gone as Barbie for Halloween. Rukan was the devil. Or, according to Rocky, a red cow.
Today was my last day at Massage Pimp. It was sweet. I had some good people around me there, and I am sorry I won’t be able to enjoy our friendships in person. Tomorrow is the big Go Away Party (so named by Rockster). We’ve invited everyone we can think of (in Austin); if you read this and you are feeling like you should have been invited but weren’t, you probably should be invited and we just missed you, so call me. Because, after 16 years for Rukan, almost 10 for me, and her whole life for Rocky, the Ox family has grown quite a community. We probably invited over 125 people. What’s really most cool, though, is that a sort-of famous person is hosting it. We’re friends with a sort-of famous person. I think that’s really cool.
To my sort-of famous friend: I like you because you’re awesome. Not because you’re sort of famous. Although that’s really cool.
A week from today, we will be in a U-Haul truck, headed North.
Oct 27, 2008
Did I mention that I stopped nursing Rocky? About a month ago, when I started medication. We stopped without fanfare (obviously; I didn’t even post a single blog-tear). We’d been winding down for a while, and frankly, I was getting annoyed with it. See? I knew the day would come on its own, that weaning did not have to be painful. When we nursed for the last time, she knew it was the last. She nursed for about 30 seconds, then latched off, jumped down and got into something else. I thought, I should feel sad right now. Then I thought, but I don’t. So I got up and got into something else, too. And that was that.
She still has a relationship with my breasts. Every once in a while she will ask to say hello to them. She gives them each two little kisses, and two little hugs. She says, “I love you, Nukins.” And the nukins smile quietly to themselves.
Oct 19, 2008
Last stop on the Blue Line
The beginning of the end of my time in Austin is tomorrow, when I clean that mansion on the lake for the last time. I’m saying goodbye to all my clients’ houses (and, in some cases, the clients themselves) one by one over the next two weeks. Rukan is insisting that I say goodbye to housekeeping, as well – other people’s houses, anyway. We’ll see, when we get to L’ville, what’s available for work. I told Ru that if she could support us, I would become a housewife and clean and garden and play house all day long, and she could come home to hot meals every night. How hard can it be to microwave a Hungry Man Dinner?
I did a massage marathon today, starting at 11:15 and ending at 6:30. That’s six in a row, with 15 minutes in between. Sure, it may not seem like a lot, to you lay people and Popeye-arm MTs. I could have done one more without injuring myself, but I think that’d be my limit.
I’ve enjoyed getting to know my co-workers. I’ve never been much for getting to know people, but it’s growing on me. I’m getting stronger in my grown-up identity, the present-tense Blue, and it’s giving me the confidence to emerge from my little shroud. I’ll actually miss some of them. In my new home, I’ll have the opportunity to plot a new course, through heretofore uncharted waters: get to know people, make friends, and not leave. I’ve been a nomad for 34 years. It’s actually possible that I will get old and die in Louisville, Kentucky. I like the sound of that. Except for the getting old and dying part.
Oct 17, 2008
Our move date
is set: November 8. We’ll all be going as a family, two grown-ups, one kid and two pets, and we’ll be staying with Ru’s parents until we find jobs and a place to live.
Oct 12, 2008
Drugs are our friends
It’s hard to believe that my time in Texas is coming to a close. By the time I leave I will have lived in Austin just shy of ten years – the longest I’ve ever lived in one town.
Two housing prospects have fallen through, so, unless something else happens soon, Rukan and Rocky will be leaving at the beginning of November, without me. I will stay here with the cat (we can’t take him with us until we have a place of our own in L’ville), pull double shifts and rake in as much money as I can for hopefully no more than three weeks, then drive up and join them. Which seems pretty funny, really, when you consider the fact that I can only drive for 20 minutes at a time, before needing to pull over and take a nap.
It’s going to take me two weeks to drive 1000 miles.
My antidepressants have officially taken hold of my brain, and the difference is amazing. I’m actually . . . happy. Like, smiling at people, joking around in a relaxed, not forced kind of way, cleaning the house regularly, because hey! I have the energy to! This could also be due to the Neurontin, which was prescribed to counteract the strong anxiety attacks the Zoloft was giving me, and which has a sedative effect. I take the bulk of my dose at night, and sleep has never come so easy. In fact, when I wake up to pee, I have to fight to keep my eyes open. The first night I took it, I was stumbling around and my speech was slurred, and the next day, my therapist couldn’t stop laughing at me – apparently, I was pretty stoned. The next night, when it failed to make me high, I was sorely disappointed. Now I just have to keep myself from falling back to sleep on the toilet at 4 a.m.
I still sometimes get that failure feeling, for not being able to get over the depression and anxiety disorder on my own. But if this really is what it’s like to feel normal, there was no way I was ever going to get here just through diet, exercise and counseling. This is a galaxy away from how I felt before meds. I like drugs.
The Neurontin just kicked in. Time for bed. Whoa.
Oct 8, 2008
Look! Up in the sky!
I was working at the multimillion dollar mansion out on the lake in west Austin on Monday, and while I was taking a break out on one of the 5 stone decks overlooking the water, I saw an enormous bird flying over. It had a wingspan as wide as my outspread arms. Having studied ornithology, my mind quickly went through the species options based on the mostly silhouetted view I had. I was startled to realize it was a bald eagle I was seeing, gliding away down the river.
Apparently there was a bald eagle sighting at Hornsby Bend, a great Austin birding site, a while back, so it’s not unprecedented. My bird books are in the Hundred Week Quarantine (Rocky’s name for the 18-month plastic-wrapped quarantine of our possibly-bedbug-egg-containing special stuff), so I can’t look up their migration routes, but it seems they come through central Texas from time to time. Cool.
What do you think, Mags, my birding buddy? Do they come through pretty regularly, or was this an unusual sighting?
Oct 3, 2008
No more playdates, honey
Before we moved out of our house, a woman and her little daughter were talking with Rocky about the little girl’s stuffed animals, that she gathers all around her at night to cuddle with while she sleeps.
The woman asked Rocky, “What kind of animals do you sleep with at night?”
“Bedbugs,” said Rocky.
Sep 29, 2008
Between multiple viewings of My Little Pony: Pinky Pie’s Special Day, Rocky had enough time to come up with this:
“Mommy, I think I’m allergic to boogers.”
Sep 27, 2008
What I had for lunch
I love where we’re staying, and the friends we’re staying with. It’s very mellow and relaxing here. I look forward to coming home after work, and am always greeted by people happy to see me. Very nice. I’m bringing Bob the cat here on Monday. I’m going to keep him inside while we’re here; we’ll see how it goes, since our hosts have two indoor cats of their own.
I’ve been on medication now for almost three weeks, and it seems to be starting to work. I’m not anxiety free, but the worst of the depression has lifted, I think, and that’s a drug-induced miracle. I’ve actually felt a sense of joy several times in the past few days. I had forgotten what actual joy even felt like!
I miss writing. Anything I’ve blogged has been silly journal-type crap. But I suppose that’s just where I am, and what I have the energy to give. I am looking forward to getting back my writing mojo so I sound like a grown-up writer again, instead of telling you what I had for lunch today.
Sep 21, 2008
I am now officially a mainstream parent.
Orlando, Florida. Day one: princess princess princess princess princess pink pink pink princess wait wait wait hot heat hot MAMA I MET ARIEL minnie mouse wedding veil ears. Day two: Africa Asia jungle noise drumbeat safari dance dinosaur ride whitewater soak. Day three: giant golf ball Nemo manatee flying soaring fast fast race car ride meltdown at last.
My family gathered in Florida over the weekend for my mother’s 60th birthday. I saw family I haven’t seen in years, and Rocky met some of them for the first time. Today, day four, we stayed in the big many-room vacation house that has served as home base for the clan, swimming, napping, playing Scrabble, eating Fritos (the official family food) and resting up for the trip home.
Yes, we did Disney.
Tomorrow we say goodbye and head back to Austin, not back to our old house, but back to our sweet little room in our friends’ house, where we’ll be staying until we leave for Kentucky. I have limited computer access and a busy work schedule, on top of therapy, the national exam and moving, so posts will be infrequent for a while. I’ll try to check in when I can.
Sep 8, 2008
Me, soaked from a cold shower, dripping dry on the office chair, not caring because it’s getting thrown out anyway, sitting at my computer at the end of a long day of purging/sorting/decontaminating/tossing/recycling/packing/sealing/arguing/pizza ordering/directing helpers/paying helpers/petting Bob, who I miss terribly, now that I’m no longer living in this dirty, almost empty house which suddenly looks so spacious, funny really how we still have the computer hooked up, the only corner of the house that looks lived in, Rocky’s room a heap of throwaway wooden things, an eisel, her little table and chairs, her doll house, all contaminated and deemed too big to store for an 18 month quarantine, my living room a heap of trashed furniture, Rukan having taken a hammer to it all in what surely was a very satisfying therapy hour, the sun setting, casting that dusty golden Texas sunlight in from the West, as only a Texas sky can do, turning everything glowing amber and rust, even me, and now I’m dry.
Sep 5, 2008
Hi my name is Blue, and I zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
In other news, I think I massaged someone tonight who had a staph infection. Nice. Thanks, pathology class! I think I’ll go boil my hands now.
Well, to be less dramatic, it wasn’t pussy – wait, that doesn’t look right – it wasn’t pus-y or anything, and I avoided it, because you generally don’t rub on puffy, inflamed skin. Or pussy. Ok, moving along.
Tonight is our last night living in this house. I’ve lived here 9 years. Rukan’s lived here 15. Rocky’s lived here her whole life. It’s a little sad. I think we’re going to try to come back after we have it all cleaned out, set up a little blanket-bed on the floor and camp out, just have a good-bye.
I went to see a fancy-pants psychiatrist today. I came away from the meeting with the diagnoses “moderate anxiety/depression” (well, yeah, I told you that), “moderate obsessive compulsive” (???), and she wants me to go get screened for – hold onto your steering wheels! – narcolepsy. Yeah, funny, right? Hahahahazzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Sep 4, 2008
Dr. Fox in the News
I was writing an email, home alone tonight; the TV was still on after the RNC, and when I happened to glance up, the person I saw there made my heart jump and my body leap for the un-mute button. It was Rocky’s heart surgeon, on the news. Just seeing Dr. Fox chokes me up; hearing this story was a double whammy. the link won’t work, so here it is re-printed from KXAN.com.
The little Chinese boy in the story shares Rocky’s diagnosis.
AUSTIN, Texas (KXAN) — He is only 7 years old, and he has just deplaned following a 4,000 mile trip, accompanied only by an American Airlines escort.
He seems exhausted and a bit stunned, but he walks with a confidence that belies his tender age and his tender heart.
You see, Sun Keai was born with tetralogy of Fallot, the medical term for what is commonly called “blue baby” syndrome. A hole in the boy’s heart impedes his blood from reaching his lungs.
Without surgery, he would likely die before his 20th birthday.
There’s more. Keai’s mother, upon learning of her son’s diagnosis, was inconsolable.
She attempted suicide by leaping from a bridge into a river. Passersby rescued her, but not long after, she consumed agricultural fertilizers from the family’s small farm and died.
Now, Keai’s father has made the gut-wrenching decision to trust his son’s life into the care of doctors and volunteers half a world away.
As the boy reaches the escalator that leads to the baggage claim area at Austin Bergstrom International Airport, a man calls out to him in Chinese.
His name is Marshall Hammond. He is fluent in both Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese, as a result of missionary service to Chinese immigrants in Canada.
After a brief double take, the child approaches Hammond cautiously. The man extends his hand, but Keai seems puzzled and does not return the gesture.
Hammond is patient and speaks softly, introducing members of his family and representatives from HeartGift, the Austin-based organization that coordinates free surgery for young heart patients from around the world.
Keai is HeartGift’s patient number 71.
Hammond and his wife, Julie, along with their four children, will be Keai’s family for roughly six weeks, as he prepares for and recuperates from the surgery that should give him a long and normal life.
Dr. Kenneth Fox, Austin’s only full-time pediatric heart surgeon, will perform the operation without charge. Other medical professionals and Dell Children’s Medical Center will also donate their services.
It will fall to the Hammonds, though, to provide the cocoon of safety and love that will help the boy heal his heart, emotionally and physically. They know what they are doing.
Keai is the fourth HeartGift patient they have welcomed into their home. Not only that, but their own daughter, Crystal, underwent similar life-saving surgery with Dr. Fox to heal her own congenital heart defect.
It was after that, in gratitude, that the Hammonds began to reach out to the young patients from around the world.
Now, Hammond serves on the HeartGift board of directors.
Back at the airport, the handshake Hammond offered never materialized.
Keai refused the gift of some rice and a stuffed panda bear. As the group moved toward the escalator, however, Marshall reached out again and that time, Keai, already beginning to trust, accepted the offer, and the two of them left the terminal building, hand in hand.
Keai is scheduled for surgery early Tuesday morning, Sept. 9, at Dell Children’s Medical Center. He is expected to spend a week or so in the hospital and then head for the Marshall home to recuperate.
If all goes well, he should depart for home in China sometime in early October.
Return to our Web site for periodic updates on his progress and for ways to help HeartGift with its mission, head to the organization’s Web site.
Rukan, I wish you had been here.
Alll byyyy myyyyseeeellllllf . . .
Aug 31, 2008
Help Me Help Bob
Do any of you cat people have advice on how to train an old cat (Bob) to the litter box? This could be what stands between taking him with us, or not. Right now I have a box in a corner by the door, filled with about an inch of unscented clay litter. He knows it’s there, and we’re not letting him out. Here’s hoping. Any help?
Aug 30, 2008
Rocky’s sessions with the feelings doctor seem to be working.
For the past two years, Rocky’s make believe play has mostly been about being a little hurt puppy or kitten, some small defenseless creature, being lost, stolen or hurt by a “bad man”. We finally decided to take her to a child psychologist; she’s been seeing her “feelings doctor” for a month and a half or so.
Today, Rocky asked Rukan to play a new game with her. “Mommy,” she said, “I’m not hurt, I’m not sick and I don’t need shots. My heart just stopped, and you need to fix it.”
She laid out across Rukan’s lap, face up. “You’re the mommy, and I’m the baby puppy. You need to put medicine in my mouth to make me go to sleep, and you need to poke a hole in my chest – no, you have to take a knife and cut my chest -” (and here she made the motion of cutting, from the top to the bottom of her scar) “-after I go to sleep you cut with the knife, and then you fix my heart, and then you just put a bandaid on my cut, no stitches, and that will make it grow back together. You tell me when to wake up.”
At this point, Rukan was choking back tears. She did as Rocky asked, step by step – put the anesthesia mask on, made the cut, took her time fixing Rocky’s heart (since the actual surgery did take about half a day), and closed her chest back up.
The puppy was a little groggy when she woke up. “Just take it easy for a while,” Rukan told her.
I would like to know how she found out the details of the surgery – such as having “medicine” put in her mouth and being made to go to sleep, and the fact that her skin was not sewn, but held together with adhesive butterfly stitches. The fact that she was cut open she can probably deduce at this point, but still. To my knowledge, no one has ever told her any of that. Having never had surgery, I didn’t even know until tonight that they didn’t knock her out with a shot in the arm, or something. The kid was only 4 months old. It could be coincidence, or she could actually be remembering, and finally, healing.
Aug 27, 2008
I’m Smiling! I’m Smiling! I’m! So! Okay!
Tonight I was interviewing a sweet young man who had never had a massage before. I was preparing to leave the room, and said, “so just undress, and get between the sheets-” and he obligingly began to unbuckle and unzip his pants. “-after I leave the room,” I added gently.
Things are in a state of chaos chez Ox, as Pam and Rukan recently unearthed a motherload of bedbug eggs (in the wooden joints of Rocky’s bunk bed). Our house has been a wreck for months now, since we started packing and purging the house, but we’ve been too busy with work and the kiddo to finish what we started. I guess the discovery of the eggs drove Rukan over the edge. I have to admit, I’m at my wits’ end as well. We decided today to move out as soon as we can find a place to stay. We’re looking for a cheap room in Austin, which we’ll live in for a few months; we’ll pay rent here for September, and use next month to come in and take care of business here. We’re getting rid of almost all of our furniture; we threw away Rocky’s bed already. It may seem extreme, but when it comes down to it, no amount of pest spray will guarantee that all the eggs are killed, and we are NOT taking them with us to Louisville. The smaller stuff that can’t be decontaminated or thrown away is being double wrapped in thick plastic and quarantined for 18 months (how long it can take bedbugs to die). That will include such items as my antique musical instruments, Rocky’s stuffed animals, the books, the computer. We’re looking at staying until the end of October, then Melissa and Rocky may fly out to L’Ville without me; Ru will try to find work with insurance and a place to live, and I’ll stay behind and work my butt off, pass the National Certification, and finish things up here. Then I’ll road trip with the pets and our stuff (and hopefully my Dad, or another suitable road trip buddy), straight to the cheap, wonderful, everything-I-ever-dreamed-of little rental on a wooded lot that will be a perfect home until we have enough money to buy, and Bob will not try to run away back to Austin, and Rocky will get into an incredible school, and we’ll just smile and smile and smile and smile.
Next week I’m going to see a psychiatrist, to talk about mind-altering medication and what it can do for me. That makes me feel like a failure. I also got (another) “desire to stop” chip at an AA meeting last week. That made me feel like a fake, because I don’t think I’m specifically an alcoholic. I’m sort of just . . . an addict. When I told people that at the meeting, afterward, they nodded their heads in actual understanding. Not “yep, that’s what they all say”, but an actual yes, we get that it’s not so much the form the addiction takes as it is the mindset that drives you to it.
How can hope and such utter chaos exist together in the same household?