Missing my morphine drip

At this moment, I should be in a hospital bed enjoying the benefits of a morphine drip and a pain-free existence, while recovering from surgery. But I’m not so I went for a walk instead and now I’m just sweaty and enduring pain which is entirely unrelated to the need for surgery.

Surgery has been postponed until next week. If you must know, I’m having some lady-parts removed. For the technical-minded it’s called a hysterectomy. Why “hyster?” Why is hysteria associated with women’s health? Please don’t feel the need to answer, it’s a rhetorical question.

So, for now, I’m plumped up on homemade pizza. I have yet another week to anticipate losing some body parts, and to consider the amount of sleep I’ll get while recovering. There’s potential here for getting some reading done, too.

Send chocolate. If I don’t feel like eating it right away, don’t worry. I may be minus a few lady-parts, but the chocolate gene isn’t located there. I’ll eat it eventually.


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I finally recovered my hearing

It took a week. But it’s back. My hearing, that is. Saturday last was the second and closing night of “Grease” at the middle school. Even though the story in  “Grease” is about a group of kids in their last year of high school, it seemed a little wrong for middle schoolers. Oh sure, they had the cleaned up version. But at the end, Sandy still came out looking like she should be working the Vegas strip. A look which sent Danny to his knees because any teenaged boy who is into girls would probably have had trouble standing on two feet at the sight before him.

Back in the dark ages of the ’80s, I did a professional production of Grease and one night during curtain call the actor playing Eugene did not come out for a bow. His excuse: “I had a woody.” And he wasn’t referring to Andy’s cowboy doll in “Toy Story.”

Just in case you were wondering.

Plus, this was years before “Toy Story” came out.

So to speak.

I feel, at this moment, that I’m digging myself deeper into a hole that I may not be able to get out of.

So to speak.

The show was a rousing success. I’m sure it didn’t hurt that the audience was probably 97% families of the approximately 100 members of cast and crew. The remaining 3% of audience was likely made up of school administrators, families whose kids moved on to high school but may have had friends in the show, and curious locals coming to gawk.

To be honest, seeing it once was all I needed. The Boy was in the ensemble and only in four scenes. I had my proud parent moment and that was enough.

After the show on Saturday, as per tradition, the cast descended on the only diner in a 15 mile radius. It’s a good sized diner, but the mass of raging hormones, along with the accompanying parents, drove out anyone who might have been there for a quick bite. As I went to pay the bill just before we left, I looked around and I didn’t see anybody in the place who could possibly have been a civilian.

It was a madhouse. The type of noise you’d hear if you opened the dictionary to the definition for the word”din” and there was an actual audio example of “din.”  Kids were everywhere, most of them on their phones typing away when they weren’t using them to take pictures, and still the noise was extraordinary. I was sitting with a couple of other parents and we decided that the kids had to be texting each other.

Even I had to call the Boy from across the dining room when he tried to mouth something unintelligible at me. We could barely hear each other on the phone. But it was good that I called because he seemed to think that I was going to pay for the girls (that he didn’t really know) at his table.

In spite of the noise and chaos, the delay in some people getting their milkshakes, and after a few tentative hugs, we were out of there in about an hour and a half. Much to my relief.

The Boy wanted to listen to the Beach Boys on the way home.

I said no.

I’m old, now. I’m that old lady – deaf and cranky.

I hate that old lady.

And no, I have no pictures from the show. Just an afterthought from the makeup room, which was actually a science classroom.

In make-up and with his other shirt underdressed, the Boy being uncooperative. Again.

In streaky make-up (done by me – we didn’t have the proper tools) and with his other shirt underdressed, the Boy was being uncooperative. Again.

I asked him if he would do the show again. I got a non-committal “maybe.”

And that’s okay with me.

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A rant

The Boy is in rehearsals for his school musical which opens for paying customers on Friday. On Thursday, the cast will do a performance for sixth graders in the region. They’re not ready.

Today, the cast had their first dress rehearsal. I had volunteered to be a rehearsal monitor. I guess I didn’t fully understand what I was in for when I signed up, but I went anyway. Actually, what’s notable is that I stayed anyway.

Since it was a dress, the cast when not on stage spent their downtime in the hallways just outside the stage doors. Which opened with alarming frequency for no apparent reason. My job was to keep the kids quiet and off of their devices.

This is a cast of seemingly thousands. Eighty girls, twenty-ish boys. Eighty seventh and eighth grade girls subjecting others to mean girl attitudes you’d like to strangle them with. Eighty girls with petulant pouts who don’t seem to understand the concept of keeping their voices down. Eighty girls smirking their disrespect for the adults who have the misfortune to be sharing a space with them.

Okay, maybe not all eighty. But it only takes one bad apple (or four) to make you wish you had a tazer.

I was joking with another mom that tomorrow we should fortify our water bottles better than we did today. Because the school water fountains don’t run with tequila.

Much to my disappointment.

You would think that I would learn from my mistake and not go back. Alas, I never learn and I am going back tomorrow. But I’m going armed with a sewing machine and scissors, and if any girl gives me attitude, I just might alter her costume for her.

Because I’m a bitch. Just ask the one who wouldn’t quiet down until she was asked her name.

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Thirteen years

Thirteen years ago today I became a mother to a baby boy. I had just turned 40 eleven days earlier. I gave birth without drugs. It was the most pain I’d ever experienced. It was so painful that, even though I had decided going into it that I would not want an epidural, I changed my mind. I said “I want an epidural.” The Dad said “No, you don’t.” To which I thought, “Fuck you.” But I didn’t say it, because he was right. Plus I had an amazing mid-wife.

He discovered trains early on.

He discovered trains early on.

That baby boy became a little boy who became a big boy who is now a young man.

His first visit to a real train station

His first visit to a real train station

He is the light of my life and he makes me laugh.

This is what snow is for.

This is what snow is for.

I only have him for a few more years before he goes off into the world pursuing his dreams. Everyone I know with kids older than the Boy have suggested that I “enjoy every moment.” I intend to give my best effort at following their advice. Except when he’s being a jerk. I don’t feel contractually obligated to enjoy those moments.

Happy Birthday to my special boy. I love you more than you can know.

This was how he often slept.

This was how he often slept.

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Always listen to children because they know more than you do

You know how in scary movies and psychological thrillers there’s sometimes a kid who’s trying to tell the adults what’s going on but no one listens and then everyone gets horribly maimed or dies?

I don’t watch those movies. If I did I’d probably be better about listening to the Boy when  he’s trying to tell me stuff that goes against what I think I already know thereby invalidating what I believe to be true regardless of whether it is or not because I can’t at that moment see the bigger picture unless it’s coming at me like the zombie apocalypse.

For instance (you knew this was coming, right?), there’s been a new episode of American Experience sitting on our DVR for several weeks titled “The Rise and Fall of Penn Station.” Not what you’d consider a horror movie.

Unless you’re a rail fan.

What's not there now

A sight you can only imagine

The Boy didn’t want to watch it because of Penn Station’s ultimate demise, but we – being older and therefore, by default, wiser – deemed the show a must-watch. Plus, we had to clear some space on the DVR.

It was fascinating and informative. There was some extraordinary historical and archival film footage of New York at the turn of the last century, phenomenal photos of Pennsylvania Railroad in its heyday, and informative history about undertaking the building of tunnels under the Hudson and East Rivers, as well as the eight acre construction site in the middle of the city.

Another sight you'll no longer see - long since sent to the scrap yard

Another sight you’ll no longer see – long since sent to the scrap yard

What you don’t think about is the displacement of all of the families living in that area, known as the Tenderloin, when all of their buildings and tenements were bought up and torn down.

People used to live there in squalor

People used to live there in squalor

Which leads me to wonder … if the low 30′s between 7th and 9th Avenues were known as the Tenderloin, why aren’t the neighborhoods south of there, like Chelsea and the Meat Packing District, known as the Ribs, or the Liver, or the Rump Roast? Why Tenderloin? These are the things which occupy my mind when I’m wired on caffeine.

Inside the light-filled space

Inside the light-filled space

The show is absolutely engaging until, after World War II, the Pennsylvania Railroad starts losing money and ultimately decides to demolish the station in favor of air rights and mid-century urban blight, also known as Madison Square Garden.

And then I hear weeping.

Welcome to New York

Welcome to New York

It’s the Boy - he is weeping as he watches 50 year old footage of the demolition while repeatedly mumbling “fuck you” at the powers-that-be who thought it was a good idea to reduce Alexander Cassatt and  Charles McKim’s monument to transportation into a pile of rubble.

The demolition phase

The demolition phase

My heart broke. For him and for me, since I was only two when the station came down, and I also never got to see it – all the more poignant to me since I was living in New York during the restoration of Grand Central Terminal. My experience of Penn Station is that of the “rat hole” that takes you down to trains for Amtrak, the LIRR and New Jersey Transit. And a concert or two at the Garden when I was still going to concerts.

When the program was over, the Boy left the room so that he could play with his Trainz simulator on the computer where he is building his own railroad empire. He hadn’t forgotten his distress, but he had put it behind him.

He had known, and had articulated, that he didn’t want to watch that show for that very reason, but we made him watch it anyway. We didn’t listen to his warnings. If this were a movie, I’d be on life-support right now.

If I was lucky.

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