Archive for the BS (beloved spouse) Category

girls, girls, girls

Posted in BC (beloved child the elder), BS (beloved spouse), FAMILY, jools (also a beloved child) on January 28, 2010 by wrekehavoc

mommy’s six-year-old heartbreaker…

we’ve been horribly remiss in setting up playdates for jools for awhile now. part of this stems from the fact that our house has been a complete disaster from the ceiling caving in; but part of this has just been probably laziness on my part. see, back in my day (when dinos roamed the earth), you just went and knocked on a neighbor’s door to see whether they wanted to come out and play. sadly, there are not a ton of people jools’ age or temperament nearby, so the boy usually ends up home playing wii or trying to go and play with BC’s friends (which seldom ends well.)

this past weekend, i decided to get of f my ass and be proactive. as the weather was not going to be bone-freezing, i figured i would take jools, BC, and any friends they could find over to a nearby park to play for an hour or two. first, i called up jools’ main squeeze, mo. mo and jools were in the same kindergarten class last year and became fast friends. mo is lively, sweet, and absolutely adorable. best of all, she is a great friend to him. (once, mo tried to talk jools out of a meltdown he had at soccer practice when the other boys weren’t sharing the ball.  if anyone was going to reach him, it was her.) i suspect when they are teens that jools will be lucky if mo is still talking to him, as she is going to be an absolute knockout when she’s older. in the meantime, though, both mo and jools have shared with their respective parents that they are going to get married when they grow up. it’s heart-meltingly sweet.

unfortunately, mo’s mom wasn’t answering the phone; and thanks to the short timeframe we had, i didn’t leave a message. instead, i asked him which friend i should call next, and he picked his newest best friend, a cute school newcomer named L. the previous evening at the school ice cream social, jools and L sat together at a table inhaling a few bowls of ice cream. when they were done, jools was a gentleman and took her bowls as well as his to the trash while BS and i looked on in shock. (i can barely get this kid to bring his dishes to the dishwasher some days without nagging him two or three times.) the two of them looked like they were on a date; it was a bit surreal.

i called L’s mom. sadly, they had plans for that saturday, but could jools come over and play monday after school? sure, i replied, wondering if i would be able to get the boy to do his homework once he came home. so jools was booked for another day, but we still had that afternoon to think about.

who to call next? jools had no hesitation. call P, mom! he announced. i figured if things didn’t work out with P, we were going to have to punt for the day. P, you should know, was also in jools’ kindergarten class. a bright and precocious little girl, P likes to sit on the schoolbus with BC, who is four grades ahead of her. BC, being good-natured, often lets this happen, even though there are kids her own age she’d rather be joining on the bus. last year, this worked to my parental advantage, as P would report on all of jools’ antics, good and bad, at school… which BC of course would then share with me. P kept me better informed than the teacher did. i missed that this year, now that P and jools were in different classes.

so i called P. it’s tax season, so i won’t be seeing her accountant mom for probably a few months, i suspect. but P’s dad gladly let her join us. so i picked up P and off we went to the park, where P and jools played beautifully together (my favorite moment: they decided they were on aircraft in an airfight: he was going to be luke skywalker, she was going to be hermione) while BC ended up practing her mother’s helper skills by befriending a toddler and her mom, then a preschooler and his mom. (she is still the baby and toddler whisperer, i swear. i wish i had her skills with young children. too late for me, of course.) afterwards, i took them for ice cream (it would have been hot chocolate, but all three kids said that dunkin donuts’ hot chocolate was awful, and when a kid passes up hot chocolate, you know it must not be very good) and then returned P home.

jools apparently prefers hanging with the girls in his world than with the boys for the most part, save for a few of the guys. i’m not entirely sure why this is, but at this age, i guess i’m glad he’s playing with anybody that isn’t in a video game. and i must say, the girls he has as friends are really all lovely people, so i’m just glad he has found some kindred spirits who love to play tag, pretend they are fighting evil-doers, and simply giggle a lot.

of course, this comes at a price. on saturday night as we drove to a restaurant, jools was troubled. what am i gonna do? he mused out loud, shaking his head sorrowfully.

what’s the matter, honey? i asked, perplexed.

well, Mo is my girlfriend, and she’s gonna be mad at me because i played with P today and have a playdate with L on Monday.

i thought for a second. you know, honey, it’s okay to play with other friends, and you don’t really have to report about your playdates to Mo anyway if you don’t want to.

the boy looked alarmed. but mom, he protested, i’m her boyfriend. and boyfriends have to tell the truth to their girlfriends. i have to tell her!

BS, who was driving the car, looked at me for a second, probably mirroring the same confused expression that i offered back to him.

is this boy six or 16?

world aids day 2009

Posted in BC (beloved child the elder), BS (beloved spouse), CVID, FAMILY, health, jools (also a beloved child), miracles of science, political animal on December 1, 2009 by wrekehavoc

(no awful ’80s earworms today. promise.)

today is world AIDS day, a day started in 1988 to bring awareness and education to the plight of those living with HIV and AIDS. years ago, when i worked at the US Dept of Education, i had the privilege of putting together two years’ worth of WORLD AIDS Day commemorations plus helping to develop training materials for fellow employees so that they would understand how to deal with employees who were HIV+/AIDS patients. (in short: treat them as you would want to be treated. you won’t catch the disease from working with people.) i was proud to volunteer the Department’s building to house part of the AIDS Quilt, which was at the time laid out on the National Mall for all to see.  while sadly, the quilt has gotten larger, we seem to be learning more about slowing the disease and helping those afflicted live longer.

i know people who have died of complications from AIDS. i also know people who are living with HIV/AIDS.

yesterday, i was talking with my kids about AIDS, which is not easy to do when the kids are 10 and 6. i explained that it stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. BC looked at me a little scared. don’t you have immunodeficiency, mom?

in fact, when i was first diagnosed with CVID, some people thought i had AIDS. i do, honey, i replied, but that’s different from AIDS. the A in AIDS means “acquired” which means doing something to get the virus. i didn’t do anything to get this immunodeficiency; i just was born with these particular genes. and you can’t catch it from me unless you have the same genes, too.

hellboy wasn’t getting this, really, but girlfriend was. and she continued. so what do you have to do to get AIDS? she asked.

well, basically, you can get it from other people’s body fluids.

she crushed up her nose. you mean, like pee?

once again, i am the one with the fun topical conversations, not BS.   well, things like blood, for example. before they knew more about HIV, they didn’t know much about the blood supply, so people who were hemophiliacs who got transfusions sadly ended up dying of AIDS.

what are hemophiliacs?

people whose blood doesn’t have the stuff in it to help them stop bleeding. a little cut could kill a hemophiliac if not treated properly.

girlfriend was connecting dots again. you mean, like when you had no platelets and were bruising? she looked sad.

that’s a different problem, and i’m better now. but sort of. (time to divert the attention in order to get her away from the thought of my demise.) anyway, people who share needles when they shoot up their drugs can give it to each other. so don’t do drugs and that’s one problem solved.

ewww! who would do that!!!! she exclaimed.

not anyone with any sense, i said. anyway, another way of getting HIV is… i looked over at the boy, who was probably busy thinking about star wars and continued cautiously…through sex.

girlfriend’s eyes now got HUGE.

we can talk about that part away from your brother right now since i don’t think he understands this the way you do. but know that there are things you can do to keep yourself as healthy as you can be.

girlfriend seemed satisfied with that answer, only stopping to note: mommy, isn’t that guy on EastEnders a guy with AIDS? (we’re so far behind in our episodes here in the US that Mark Fowler is still alive.)

yes, honey. and he still is living like everyone else on the show.

i got a nod from her, and then we moved on.

it’s never easy talking with your kids about AIDS, but i figure if i start early at ages when they can understand and in words that they can comprehend, maybe i’ll help them out somewhere down the road.

then again, maybe somewhere down the road, there will be a cure for this scourge and moms won’t have to have these sorts of conversations.

egregious ’80’s music: take my breath away (berlin)

Posted in BS (beloved spouse), egregious '80s music, music on November 18, 2009 by wrekehavoc

happy birthday, BS. you take my breath away. but if you play this song in this house, i’ll take your remote away.

i know, i know. you all think i’m the scrooge of romance. i ding songs that probably are part of the soundtracks of your love lives.i’m so mean. boo effing hoo. of course, nothing could be further from the truth. i am a giant mushy marshmallow when it comes to these sorts of things. take my word for it.

that being said, berlin was not historically a band about romance. check out this video for sex (i’m a.)

(not you, dad. i know you’re out there. pass right over it with your eyes closed, please.)

yeah. so much romance there, you can cut it with a knife.

follow-ups the metro [with my favorite misheard lyrics: you were waiting there, swimming through a pile of cheese. sorry!] and no more words were equally cool songs: stylish, clever, and catchy, blending punk and new wave sensibilities. it was a great combo.

fast forward a couple of years. suddenly, terri nunn’s formerly wild appearance is tamed down, and only she and founding member john crawford are still with the band. clearly, they were looking for a hit, and they looked no further than synth king giorgio moroder. voila! moodymoody synth piece that takes my brain away, it’s so freaking slow and ponderous. the fact that it’s affiliated with tom cruise doesn’t exactly endear it to me, either — i have never been a fan, not since risky business anyway. and, like cruise in the movie, the song takes flight. such a wonderful song for the ages, it was covered by jessica simpson, as it spoke to her of her and her now ex-husband’s relationship.

something got taken out of that relationship, and i don’t think it was just breath.

anyway, for me, this song constitutes some sort of artistic sellout. it has nothing to do with the band berlin was. it has everything to do with the commercial band they wanted to be. i’m sure their royalties keep them warm at night, but this song pretty much cut them out of my life.

san francisco (be sure to wear flowers in your hair) : part two

Posted in BS (beloved spouse), FAMILY, miracles of science, ms. malaprop on October 13, 2009 by wrekehavoc

i know, i know. i left you in suspense since part one.

you’d be surprised how nice airline people and TSA folks can be. on that friday morning at an undogly hour, when the lady at the northwest counter started to help me check my bag [note to self: you needn’t have bothered. people took bags the size of wisconsin on the plane.], she asked me a simple question: are you okay?

in what may end up being my finest impression of mary tyler moore, i sobbed: noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

that lady came over the counter and gave me a hug. when she found out that this was my first solo trip since having kids, she said girl, my son needed a break from me when he was three months old. you need to get out. this will be good for you! so i got my bag checked and a mini-psych session. who knew!

i then dragged my tear-stained, hadn’t-slept-since-tuesday-night-face through the TSA area. i have been lectured endlessly that the humorless people of TSA are not to be trifled with. no jokes, no conversation, nada. in short: do not taunt happy funball. i’m a friendly sorta chick, but lucky for me, i was one stripe short of a flag. i dragged myself through. Mr. TSA Guy stopped me. oh shit, i thought. my very existence will get me flagged for something i have not done. time for the instant replay of everything i have done wrong this week: i’ve put some whites in with darks in the laundry. i’ve ignored a few emails. i probably dropped the f-bomb in front of the kids while swerving my way through DC traffic…

then, a deep voice: are you ok, miss?

a loaded question from a TSA person, right? at least, it was to a sleep-deprived, unhappy flier like me. but somewhere, the answer came:

i miss my kids.

TSA Guy smiled at me. i understand, miss. i smiled back and walked on through. SWEET! score one for crazy mothers everywhere. i did all i had to do, removed various articles of clothing, bought coffee, and got on the plane.

sadly, i couldn’t get a direct flight from DCA to SFO, so i had the pleasure of a three-hour layover in scenic minneapolis. i was pretty freaking happy to have that layover, though, as the plane ride from DCA to the twin cities was nightmarishly turbulent, so much so that the air hosts tried to start beverage service twice and twice failed. i’m not a happy flier to begin with; to ride a plane that feels like it’s a trampoline fest? priceless. (if i ever find that kind tax lawyer who talked to me through the entire experience, i will definitely see that he gets knighted.)

so spending three hours in the minneapolis airport was a godsend to a person desperate to be on the ground. i walked up and down and all around. i bought a powerball ticket, as BS and i have decided that people who win powerball usually live in places which can probably be bought, lock, stock, and barrel, by the dollars garnered by said winning ticket. [read: the deep south, the rural midwest. maybe minneapolis isn’t rural, but it isn’t far from rural places. (yeah, i know, i know. it’s not like the people’s republic of arlington is that far away from rural places…or rural places that are dotted with mcmansions, anyway.)] i got a hand massage — only my right for some reason — in the body shop by a lady who clearly thought i needed a break.  i watched endless CNN coverage of the selection of the olympic city. (as an aside, i was taken aback by the coverage, as the commentator was actually upset — UPSET — when chicago was first dinged off the list. walter cronkite shedding a tear at the news of JFK’s death? definitely defensible. this guy getting actually red-faced over chicago? SERIOUSLY? did this guy spend any time in J-school?)

after starting and finishing war and peace, it was time to board the second plane du jour.

a bigger plane. yay. a lovely older couple flying to SF en route to china beside me. fine. a little late departure? no problem. we’re up, then we’re down.

and i had finally arrived.

san francisco (be sure to wear flowers in your hair) : part one

Posted in BC (beloved child the elder), BS (beloved spouse), FAMILY, jools (also a beloved child), music on October 7, 2009 by wrekehavoc

it was 1998 when i last went anywhere just as me, myself, and i, rather than as somebody’s wife or mother. this idea gnawed at my soul for a long, long time, until finally, my best bud murph and i figured out that this would be the year we would go away somewhere. since she had moved away, we never got to spend much time together anyway, so why not? besides, murph had some frequent flyer credits to kill, so as long as we selected a place where her plane would take her, we were golden.

we settled on san francisco. san francisco is home to many, many things, some less printable than others.  for our purposes, it would be home to the free hardly strictly bluegrass festival in golden gate park. now many of you faithful readers (and i know you are out there, you people besides my dad) are familiar with the fact that i am not exactly the biggest country fan on the face of the earth. this, as we all know, is true. however, i have an appreciation for classics, like emmylou harris, who, i think displays a startling beauty in her work. i also took note of the hardly strictly part of the title. i saw names i adored on the list of performers, like aimee mann and nick lowe. and, in short, i was sold. besides, one of my other dearest friends, m2k, lives there, a lucky strike extra indeed.

now, you might think that that would be that, and i could simply say i got on a plane and off i’d go. but nothing in my life ever goes quite like that. for starters, i am a bit frightened of flying, a la isadora wing. sure, i have flown plenty in my life; i’ve been overseas and i was a regular in the 80s on people express to florida. but somehow, since i’ve become a parent, flying freaks me out. i guess the thought of potentially not being there to see my kids grow up makes me freeze. but i have also learned in life that i have to step up to the plate and just face the things or people i fear and get past them.

so i do.

i was slated to leave on friday, october 2 at 5:15 in order to catch a plane at 6:40 a.m. i packed during the week during fleeting free minutes. by wednesday, i was nearly ready, putting final touches together while BS and jools were out at a cub scout meeting in the evening. they returned home late, 9ish, so i stopped my packing and put jools to bed. then, as he was standing by the sink, rehashing the evening’s events to me while drinking a glass of water, BS suddenly grabbed his throat, then his side, then toppled to the ground, hitting his head on the hard kitchen tile floor. i ran over to him immediately, patting his cheeks and calling his name. no one was home. then, his eyes opened and went back into his head. this is not really happening, i thought. (you bet your life it is, a little voice sang.)

i wedged BS on his side against the dishwasher, jumped up and ran to the phone. only too bad for me (as my heroine junie b would say), that glass of water BS had been holding had spilled all over the floor. i slid and fell on my ass. that hard tile floor contact seared along my legs and backside, but as my ass has plenty of cushion on it, i knew the floor had probably hurt BS’s head a lot more, so i struggled up and grabbed the phone, dialed 911, and slid back to BS, cradling his head in my arm while keeping him on his side.

911 operators, for those of you who have never spoken with them, are rather tough cookies. calm down now, ma’am the lady kept saying to me. i am not one of those people who likes to be told to calm down; it makes me more frantic. but i looked at my husband’s face and knew i had to keep myself together. so i described what had happened, where we were, that sort of thing. as i looked at him, my husband’s eyes opened again, and this time, i saw a glimmer of recognition. i’m fine, he said to me, over and over. i’m fine. i had the feeling that he did not want to trouble the EMTs; that’s the sort of guy he is.

too bad, i thought. i don’t take direction from people who have been unconscious in the past five minutes. the EMTs are coming.

he looked like he was coming to for good; and when i heard the firetruck, i ran to the door to open it, then ran back to my husband. EMTs and firefighters filed in. one took me aside while several hung with BS, asking him all the usual questions to ensure his noggin was still in working order. after lots of questions, the EMTs decided that he probably somehow messed with his vagus nerve and gave himself a brain freeze to remember (or not). he was probably ok for now. fabulous.

i spent the night watching him sleep, as i was afraid whether he’d have a problem again due to whatever happened or perhaps even a concussion from whacking his head on the floor.

the next day, i tried to calm down and finish packing. by the evening, though, i was terrified of the impending flight. i was upset by the idea of leaving my formerly unconscious spouse alone, especially with two kids to look after. in short, i was afraid. i went to bed that night, unable to sleep.

now everyone occasionally hears things that go bump in the night. and, as little miss non-sleeper 2009, i heard two knocks in the night, pounding sounds like when water goes through the upstairs pipes. curious, i thought to myself: no one is running the tub. but i sat there, and i pondered. that is, until i heard the sound to end all sounds.

BOOM!

at around 3 am, a thunderous noise literally pushed my husband and i up into the air (it seemed.) ohmyG-d, ohmyG-d, ohmyG-D! was all i could mutter as i ran down the stairs to find out what the hell had happened. i didn’t have to run far. the ceiling of the living room, AKA the room beneath my bedroom, had fallen. the 60 year old plaster and drywall concoction had finally breathed its last and decided to fall atop a table the kids use to do crafts and play games on. amazingly, all of the toys that were underneath the heavy ceiling were relatively undamaged, though the ceiling did rip a hole in my pullout couch. but no one was injured. (after all, no one else was awake save for insane jane moi.) i checked on the kids, who had no idea what the hell had happened.

and then, i proceeded to stay awake and fret. after all, i had to wake up at 4:15 in order to get myself together for my 5:15 cab. how the hell can i leave you? i shrieked at BS. this is like a sign from G-d — i should not be going anywhere!!! BS told me i should get on that plane and not worry about signs — i needed to go and besides, murph would be very upset with me if i blew her off.

by this point, BC was up for the duration. in between telling me what i needed to wear (you’ll be cold if you don’t wear this jacket, she told me, handing me a windbreaker. she was right, incidentally. glad i listened to the 60 year old in the 10 year old suit.), girlfriend was crying her eyes out. don’t gooooooooooooooo, mommy!!!! oh, i didn’t want to. i really didn’t want to.

but i got in that cab, blew a kiss to the little girl who was sobbing at the window, and was off to the airport.

once there, i stood outside northwest airlines’ entrance. and i sobbed. i called BS. i don’t want to go, i cried.  what kind of wife and mother leaves her family after these things have happened?

BS, who by this time was probably one step away from a one-way trip to whothehellami land, very calmly uttered: just GO!

so i did.

guilty pleasure monday: photograph (def leppard)

Posted in BS (beloved spouse), guilty pleasure monday!, music on September 14, 2009 by wrekehavoc

the one song where i required actual medical attention.

the creme de la creme of hair metal, english band def leppard (intentionally misspelled by the group so as to not seem like a punk band) are still rocking it worldwide, in spite of losing band members as well as band member body parts. (bionic drummer rick allen has been drumming for the band for decades even though he lost his arm in a car crash. perhaps he was meant to be a spinal tap drummer at some point in his life?)

i have particularly happy memories of def leppard from the summer of 1983, when i was about to enter college. as mentioned in an earlier post, i had worked as a day camp counselor (for the whopping sum of $50/week), which left my evenings free to be a somewhat economically-challenged teenager. some nights, when my oldest brother, BTD, had no one interesting to hang with (i always knew i was asked only after every conceivable person did not pan out before me, but what the hell), we’d drive over to the boardwalk and play pinball and drink cheap grape water and sometimes, sometimes, get cheap pizza at the sawmill. with some financial support from my folks, we’d maybe go on one of the wildly unsafe waterslides at night, which was extra cool because i was afraid back then to wear my contacts when i did that. so there i’d be, a few stories up in the air, in the dark, going down a waterslide (where one false slip and you’d end up as road pizza a few hundred feet down) where i could not see. good. times.

but, most of the time, my oldest brother was having a life (and my middle brother larry did not want to be within one mile of my presence because i was that annoying moody 18 year old sister (tonight on ABCFamily!)). so i spent the bulk of the summer with my buddy, simone. simone would drive like a big ass bird (to quote her dad) to toms river, pick me up, and we’d end up pretty much where we’d always end up: the ocean county mall. we’d rock the stores, gossiping about everyone we knew, then finish up at friendly’s (where my freshmen 15 started before i entered college thanks to the reese’s peanut butter cup sundae). many times, we were obliged to bring her younger brother, joel, along for the ride. joel was so cool, we nicknamed him chilly willy. [i’m not certain, but i believe he is now an accountant, a profession which would suit him to a T, considering he was so calm, cool, and collected, even as a young guy. it’s important to be cool when people are crapping themselves after realizing their tax realities.]

i’m pretty sure it was joel’s def leppard tape.

we listened to def leppard’s pyromania c o n s t a n t l y that summer in simone’s dad’s car. it must have been a tape. but what a killer summer soundtrack. foolin’ — what a great song to scream out a window! the videos made no sense, of course (and this was back in the day when we watched videos, boys and girls born after 1980) but the music wailed — and of course, gave us important words to live by, like:

Gunter glieben glauchen globen


you betcha.

anyway, it was a special summer for me, thanks in no small part to simone (and chilly willy’s soundtrack).

fast forward to 1990. i was a newlywed in VA, back in the days before the internet had been invented by al gore. it had been a long while since i had heard pyromania; it wasn’t in my CD collection, so i went sadly without for many years. i was upstairs in our tiny, two-level WWII-era townhouse. suddenly, i heard the opening chords to photograph coming from the TV downstairs. SQUEE! my little bear brain yelped. i ran down the upstairs hall (official olympic length: 5 feet) and proceeded to run down the steps to see the video — because we WATCHED our music back then, you know. only, too bad for me: i was wearing brand new, slippery-soft cotton socks. i slipped and tripped while running down those recently-redone wooden stairs.

WHOOPS!

i fell on my back and my butt, all the way down the damn staircase. (about 16 stairs, i believe, for those of you keeping track.) i landed, badly banged up, at the landing. lucky for me, i had been hired the month prior at a place that offered me a crappy level of health insurance; i ended up going to a quack who did very little for me. and voila! i started down the road of back pain bliss that i still experience to this day. sweet!

anyway, i love this song. and i will always hope that my first memory of it involves driving in a car and singing at the top of my lungs (which probably didn’t go over well when we were passing by members of the chasidic community in the town where simone lived.) to be sure, BS still looks at me funny whenever photograph comes on the radio in the car.

i think he’s afraid i’ll lose control and smack the car into the nearest pole, ending up with my not-so-glamorous photograph in the paper.

for all the wrong reasons.

flashback: safe and sound

Posted in BC (beloved child the elder), BS (beloved spouse), political animal on September 11, 2009 by wrekehavoc

because i’ll never forget 9/11.

and i suspect you won’t, either.