What Fresh Fuckery Is This?
I don't usually drop the F-bomb, well I do, just not publicly. Today is sort of special. It could have something to do with the fact that I live in the frozen tundra of Upstate New York and have been snowed in.
It could have something to do with being a recent widow or that I haven't been laid in two years, which might not be a big deal to some women, but it's a huge deal to me. When you've been married to a man who's voice alone makes your toes curl, it kind of sucks big time. It also sucks that I can't think of one man I would want to hit the sheets with, I mean other than Sam Elliott, and he's kind of out of my league. By the way, Bill always knew I sort of had a thing for Sam. Hell, his voice can make your panties fall off.
My main issue, the thing that launched me into Bitch Mode, is my laptop. Now I love my Toshiba. It's always my first choice when shopping for a new pc, but it's developed a quirk that is quickly becoming so frustrating I may have to fix it myself, with a hammer and a chisel. And yes, I have the technology to do this even though it would be hard to find someone more challenged in that department than I. Note to reader: Today would not be a good time to question my grammar.
In any case, this laptop now has a black and red screen that keeps popping up telling me to restart so some update can be installed.
What up date? I ask.
Well, that's a surprise. There are no identifying factors on this screen and at first I was pretty cooperative, being the sweet, well-behaved lady I usually am.
Okay, I'll play your little game, go ahead and update me.
Apparently that was the wrong choice as now that screen appears many times a day. I can click 'remind me later'. That worked for a while. I can also close the screen with the red X in the corner, but it always comes back, annoying the hell of me like those men on Facebook who friend you and then are too ignorant to under stand that I write FICTION and have no real interest in being spanked by a TOTAL STRANGER! Ugh.
Unfortunately, I cannot delete the little box from my friend list, banishing it forever.
I've tried everything. If I left-click, there is no source to identify where it's from. I cannot do system restore. It has never worked on this pc, not from day one and I don't know why. I've even shut off my anti-virus, which is Bit-defender and has always been good to me. System restore will not restore, period.
I uninstalled the Adobe update that came just before this issue started and that didn't work either.
Now I am losing work, which is not acceptable. If I close the box and ignore it, at some point it will pop up and apparently it's connected to a keystroke of some mysterious letter, for it will restart me in the blink of an eye without my consent. I do not like trying to rewrite what I've already written. It's almost never as good as the first time.
Word is now set to save my work every two minutes automatically, but it's amazing how much dialogue you can lose in 1:59 if it kicks in at the last second.
This is so pissing me off! I am considering buying a new pc, but I really like this one, even though I've worn some of the letters off the keys. Another thing is I don't really want Windows 10. I am a creature of habit and I like my Windows 8.1. Windows 10 if full of constant ads streaming in the background and I pay for my internet by the gigabyte. No, I don't want 10.
So, in the hopes that this is or has happened to someone else I am posting a picture of my tormentor.
If anyone has any suggestions, I'd be happy to hear them. I really don't want to take the bitch outside and shoot it, but the next time it steals my work I may have to take drastic measures. I hate to shoot it in the house. It would scare the children and I don't want to shatter the pink elephant bank Bill bought me. Beside it would mean getting dressed and putting my boots on, which I buy every year but never wear. Lifelong New Yorker's get through the winter in a hoodie and sneakers.
So here's my question. Will words still come from your fingertips even when your heart, mind and mouth can't make a coordinated effort?
I used to be, well...chatty. I could strike up a conversation with anyone, anywhere. It was not unusual for me to spend long periods of time talking to total strangers while I waited at the doctors, in a check out line or at a garden center while I picked out flowers for the yard or the cemetery.
Many times I would come back to the truck where Bill was waiting patiently and he would ask me:
"Who was that?"
"I have no idea."
"Well what were you talking about?"
"How can you have a half hour conversation with someone you never met before about nothing?"
"It's a gift. Hey, pull up the road about a half mile. Stella said they might have what I'm looking for."
"The lady I was just talking too."
"I thought you didn't know her."
"And this is exactly why I don't let you out alone."
So, once upon a time, I was that girl. Open, friendly, interested in life. Now I'm not. I'm simply not. I don't know if this is temporary, or if life has just plain kicked my ass and I'm down for the count. I'm not sure I care.
The important thing is, can I still write? Well, that's not entirely true. I know I can write, I am writing, but can I write with emotion and depth of feeling? Can I write with humor when nothing, absolutely nothing in my life is funny?
I was working hard on Maeve and Sean's story. It will be a prequel to the O'Malley series. I've been asked hundreds times to write it and to write Noah and Colleen's story and Patrick and Molly's...well you get the picture. So I'm writing along and feeling okay about my skills.
With each book I improve and I know that. I find and delete hundreds of 'had" and 'that'. I do less of the dreaded 'head-hopping', although it's never been a big deal to any of my fans. After a few books you begin to recognize habits you have that need to go. You learn how to tighten up your story and get rid of unnecessary and or repetitious words or phrases. Writing is like anything else, the more you do, the better you get.
Anyway, I was working on the O'Malleys story and couldn't get past the feeling that something wasn't quite right. By now I know these characters forward and backwards, but this was different. The story begins before they are a couple who produce a horde of children and grandchildren. It's their story, how they met and fell in love. The struggles they face as newlyweds who leave Ireland to begin a new life in the United States could make or break them. Sean is, as always, larger than life, determined to succeed at anything he attempts. Maeve is fiery, independent minded, and not at all afraid to say what she thinks. Things get messy.
I froze up. Is this them? I'm going back nearly forty years. What was she like, this woman that produced Maggie, Colleen and Bridget, three of my most beloved characters. Is the young Sean more like Rory, or Patrick? I can't screw this up, I tell myself. It's too important, too close to my heart.
I sent what I had finished off to a trusted beta. She didn't like Sean. Thought he was too harsh, too controlling. Ugh! The emotion was missing she told me. So I have to wonder if that's because in my personal life my emotions are in the deep freeze.
Always before writing has been a form of escape for me. A way to distance myself, if only for a short time from a reality that becomes more and more painful. I don't want to lose that.
I don't talk to many people, at least not about anything deeply personal. I also have moments when I could toss my cell out the window. Where I used to go to the salon and chatter away the entire time, I now go in with my hair clean and say, "Cut it, no wash or blowout, just cut it and I'll be on my way." Five minutes, tops.
I've lost around 40 lbs, yet my blood pressure and cholesterol are higher than they've ever been. How the hell does that happen? Seriously, I'm off Cheetos and onto lightly salted chips. What the hell! No wonder Sean was always in such a bad mood.
I no longer post on this blog much, unless it's promoting a book. I don't go to chat, am hardly on Facebook and still haven't learned HTML so I can get my website up and running.
Look, I know I'm not the only author going through hard times. I just want to know how others handled/are handling it. Did you keep writing, even though you weren't sure it was anything good? Did you take a total break from it, and if so was coming back like stating over? Did your fans feel as though you'd abandoned them? Did you keep going because you needed the money, not really in a position to worry whether the book was up to what you'd written in the past?
What about changing your genre? Did anyone turn to writing a darker type of romance to reflect what you were dealing with? If so, how did it work out? Was it cathartic in any way? Or did it draw you deeper into the darkness?
Any and all suggestions, opinions, and insight are welcome. You can even tell me to shut the hell up and quit whining. It's not like I don't tell myself that every day.
If you haven't experienced it yet, believe me, at some point it's coming. For me it was a shock. Not that I don't realize how old I am, my body reminds me everyday, but for some reason it still caught me off guard.
In some ways I'm kind of unique. My parents divorced when I was six months old and my grandparents played a huge part in my life. We moved in with them when I was around two years old and for most of my life I've been more comfortable with older folks than my peers. I learned to bake early, around eight years old and could kick ass at Canasta soon after. Playing Checkers with my Grandfather was one of my favorite pastimes.
Needless to say, when I finally settled into a 'career' it was working with the elderly. I worked at several senior centers and ended up as a Senior Outreach Counselor for Office for the Aging. It was a good fit. I'd always had a tremendous amount of respect for the generation that lived through two world wars and survived the depression. These people were tough, resourceful and most reluctant to accept help. It was always important to me to make sure their dignity was preserved.
During the interview/home visit process, my questions were directed at the client. I'm patient. I could wait for their answer, even if it took a few minutes to assemble their thoughts. Many times their children were present and while I wanted to offer assistance and support to them, my focus was my client. What do you need? How can I help? What help are you willing to accept?
Subsequent visits were usually more informal as we got to know each other and friendships developed. I made it a point not to talk over their heads unless they were inarticulate and/or unable to understand me. If that was the case I had no options but to get the family involved, and I did, but again, for me it was all about the client.
I tell you all these things to show you my natural mindset so you will understand how upsetting and downright angry it made me recently to have age discrimination hit me right between the eyes.
My daughter is a Godsend, in every way. During Bill's (and mine) illness the past year she's been with me each step of the way. Cathy will be 43 in February, I'll be 61 the same month, not exactly over-the-hill, but I've noticed that when she's with me, which is often, many times the answers to my questions are directed to her.
During Bill's recent hospitalization, the fourth in five months, I found that the nurses would come into the room and speak with her as though I wasn't even there. When we returned home the nurse from the home care agency did the same thing. Thank God she was temporary and just covering for the nurse that covers our area. She's a gem, but the first one, ugh! After having my questions either ignored or answered by way of speaking with my daughter as though I was a complete idiot, I finally walked out of the room.
Apparently I need to have my high-lights redone. I was scheduled for eye-surgery on the 19th, but I put it off once again, figuring even Cathy couldn't take care of her Dad and a blind mother. I'll do it as soon as he's better. Maybe then I will look younger and appear more worthy of getting the information on caring for the man I've loved for 44 years!
In the meantime I'm plotting something entirely new in my head. A erotic romance/murder mystery. Death will be by egg salad sandwich. I'll explain more later, if this old, incompetent bitch can manage to string two sentences together. WTH!
But the way, in case you're wondering why I changed careers, it was because I burnt out. The career life of an Outreach Worker is only a few years due to the stressful nature of the job. I did it for twelve and changed after caring for my mother who died of cancer. The Hospice nurses were some of the kindest and most compassionate I've met.
Note: You must imagine Jaws theme song while you read this. Also if you have a relatively calm life, please keep it to yourself.
Seriously, you guys are probably convinced by now that I'm a whiny middle-age woman suffering from panic attacks, lack of sex and an overactive sense of drama. Two of those are true and I was beginning to wonder if I was developing a persecution complex. The old 'why-me' frame of mind...until yesterday. That's when I knew for sure it's not me and I'm considering hiring a private detective to hunt down the evil culprit who has a voodoo doll of me and is intent on torturing me into insanity.
Whoever said, "Truth is stranger than fiction" knew what they were talking about. In my wildest imagination I couldn't make this shit up, nor would I want to subject any of my characters to the Hell that has become my life.
You all know that Bill has had two surgeries this month and I have not left his side as I pray for him to recover. It's exhausting to see him in so much pain and if he's getting better, it happening so slowly I can't see it. The new pain medication is both a blessing and a curse as now I get to sit at the table and watch his eyes roll back in his head many times a day. On the plus side he seems drugged enough to be able handle the other crap raining down on us.
Late Sunday night we got a call from our the fiancee of our youngest son (#3). He was in excruciating pain at the hospital. His gall bladder, liver, kidney and pancreas labs were all horrible. Because of his previous gastric by-pass two years ago, they could not find a surgeon to operate. Upstate in Syracuse wouldn't take him, they were only taking trauma. Neither of the hospitals in Utica would take him as the surgery to remove his gall-bladder would be tricky. Finally they shipped him off by ambulance to Albany Medical Center (a drive of several hours) for emergency surgery, which by the way has still not happened and it's Tuesday! He was running a 104.2 fever, and they have done test after test trying to decide how to approach the mess that is his belly. Right now I am waiting for a call with a time for surgery some time today. At this point I'm wondering if they are trying to let the infection kill him so they don't have to operate at all.
My oldest daughter, an angel of Mercy, hopped in her vehicle and went to Albany to be with her baby-brother, her term not mine, although he will be 32 this year.
While waiting for news the next morning, I spoke with son #2 around 9:30 a.m, giving him an update. He sounded fine, was visiting a friend of his in Utica and I would call him later. At 12:15 I got a frantic call from his wife. Son #2 was having a heart attack and 911 had been called. She was at least 45 minutes away from the trauma center and would get there as fast as she could. I immediately called son #1, who works nearby and asked him to hurry to the hospital. The ambulance ride was only about 3 minutes, but long enough to determine the danger my son was in and a team was standing by as soon as they got to St. E's. He was in the cath unit before son #1 even got there and out again before his wife arrived. They found a big clot, put in a stent and saved his life. YAY, St. E's! He's now in Cardiac ICU, but should get moved to the heart unit today.
My sister # 2 and her husband arrived at our house quickly to provide support to Bill and I. Sister #3 called and asked if I wanted her to fly home. The phone rang non-stop with friends and family offering to help in anyway. Youngest daughter and fiance arrived last evening and did whatever she could to help.
So, to sum it all up, since 9/10 we have had 2 vascular surgeries, one very sad death of a family member, one heart attack and if they do son #3's surgery today all this would have happened in 19 days. Xanax is my new best friend! I tell myself that things could be worse, and surely they could be, but good Lord, I need a break from this. Sparkling lights were literally dancing in front of my eyes when the call came about the heart attack. If you see anyone carrying about a voodoo doll that resembles me, kindly slap the crap out of them.
Sometimes life just sticks its big nose in and messes with you. At my age, I should be used to it,but I'm not.
My earliest memories are filled with fear. The man who raised me, my beloved Grandfather, was sick. Fear was instilled in me from a very young age.
Gramma would whisper "Shh, Grampa had a spell," and we all froze, fighting down our panic. The house was quiet, the shades drawn and he would be in his room, laying on his bed while Gramma silently went about her business of keeping watch over him and tending to us.
I was the youngest, slipping out the back door to my swing in the old Maple tree or slinking off to my room, trying to imagine what I could do to save him. Maybe if I prayed hard enough, or promised God I would be good for eternity I would be able to keep him. At five, it seemed reasonable. I wasn't sure what a 'spell' was, but I suspected it had something to do with his heart. He carried a little bottle of pills with him that he would stick under his tongue. I wanted God to stop those spells.
At eight years old, I saw him have a head on crash right in front of me. He was coming to pick me up after a Girl Scout hike to the Fish Hatchery. It started raining. Arrangements had been made that we would be picked up by our parents if that happened. I saw him wave to me as I waited on the shoulder of the road for him. The other driver was drunk, his speedometer frozen at 80 mph when they towed the mangled cars away. I stood on the side of the road, watching the whole thing unfold but unable to do anything.
Grampa's car spun like a top just feet away from me. I believed it I could get to it, I could stop it, but someone yanked me back at the last moment. When the car finally settled, I ran to the passenger door, or what was left of it. Grampa was laying across the front seat, blood gushing from his face and covered with shattered glass. His first words to me were "Are you all right?"
I was crying, digging through the broken glass for his glasses as he assured me he would be fine. He seemed broken, in so many places I didn't know what to do. Someone pulled me away and the paramedics got him out of the car and put him on a stretcher. He held my hand and I tried to get into the ambulance with him, but they wouldn't let me.
"Go home and tell your grandmother to come to the hospital," he hissed, his voice bubbly with blood. With the sound of breaking glass, screeching tires and twisting metal in my ears, I prayed. Stuck another bargain.
I was to young to know that God didn't make bargains, but I found out at seventeen.
The last time I saw him alive was at the hospital. I'd been there the day before and he was sitting up in bed, the winter sun reflecting off the snow, lighting up his room. He looked good, called me 'peanut', which he knew embarrassed me, and talked animatedly with Bill and I. The next day was a complete turn around.
I started in the door and froze. The lights were off, the drapes pulled. Grampa was hooked up to all kinds of machines and I could hear the whooshing sounds they made.
I backed up a step, than another until I was able to spin out of the doorway and collapse against the hallway wall.
"I can't go in there," I whispered, my hands over my eyes as though that could take it all away, turn the hospital room into something unseen. "I just can't."
"You have to," Bill said softly. He'd lost his father a few months earlier. He knew what I was feeling. "Suppose he saw you? Do you know how much it would hurt him to know you were here and didn't come in?"
With his hand on my back he nudged me gently into the room.
We spoke quietly, and I was glad the room was dark as Bill was nearly holding me up and tears were streaming down my face. Grampa's eyes were closed and he didn't seem to have much air, despite the oxygen. He told me he loved me. Asked Bill to take good care of me. I didn't say much, I couldn't except to say I loved him and would see him tomorrow when he was feeling better. I didn't of course. He died the next morning.
Bill is a wise man. I'm smarter, but he's wiser, if that makes sense. I'm driven by emotion, he's thoughtful and steady. He saved me from having a major regret for the rest of my life. I would not have gotten to say good-bye, tell Grampa I loved him for the last time, or kiss his cheek.
Twenty years later, Bill got sick, really sick. It was his heart. All my old fears consumed me. I was like a five year old at thirty-seven. He was stoic, strong, brave. I was paralyzed, frozen, angry. Pissed at God, and yes I know how bad that sounds, but I was. Furiously I told my kids, "don't cry to me!. You have aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, counselors at school, cry to them. I can't talk about it and I can't help you. If I start crying, I'll never stop. Go!"
Writing it now, it sounds heartless. At the time it was the only way I could cope. I was on auto-pilot. Get up, get the kids up, make breakfast, go to work, come home, make dinner, schedule tests, write, go to bed, start all over. Scream, cry, break things, swear, they were all packed away in my chest of things to do later. Talk about the Scarlet O'Hara mind set! The one thing I did do was pray. They were angry prayers, but I still did it.
He survived, despite the fact that we had a head on accident a few days before his surgery, but my fear did too. He now ticked like a clock that was somewhere across the room. I got a sound machine so I wouldn't stay awake at night listening for the ticking to stop. That would only mean one thing. I also got insomnia. My life became consumed with medical issues. If he got a serious cut, he could bleed to death. No more hunting I told him. You'd never make it out of the woods. No more going to fires, your lungs can't take it. Oh my God, you've got a cut! Don't you know that any infection can go straight to that artificial aortic valve and kill you? Can we say psycho wife?
Over the years since then, I've gotten better, until the last year, that is. I've had years of therapy and learned that fear is the devil, fear is ego, fear is trying to control the uncontrollable, fear keeps us from spirit. Yeah, I learned all that. I even got hypnotized to get the sounds of accidents out of my head while I sleep. Believe it or not, it worked. But despite all that I'm terrified.
Bill is having surgery on Thursday and I'm doing what I normally do, my M.O. I'm nauseous, frozen in panic, struggling to keep my head from exploding and acting like it's just another day. I'm spilling my guts to friends and strangers on my blog, because I can't talk to anyone I love without having a complete and total meltdown. This morning he said to me, "Are you all right? I don't want you worrying about me."
I actually laughed. "You might as well tell me not to breathe."
"I know," he smiled, "but I'm going to be all right."
I'm praying he's telling the truth.
By the way, I have a new book coming out, probably tomorrow. Effie, book three in The Marriage Market Series. I should be pimping it all over the place, but I just don't have it in me. I'm hoping some of my friends will jump on it when Blushing puts it up and plaster me all over the place.
One more thing, I'm not editing this. Yeah, I know that's bad and I promise my books have a fantastic editor, but right now, just for today, I don't care if there are any mistakes.
So here's what happened.
Yesterday morning while scrolling though Facebook posts on my phone, I ran across a post a friend of mine had shared.
It was a copy of a Craigslist ad posted by a young mother. In it she said that she and her son had no food. She went on to describe her situation, and it was sad to say the least.
Last summer she'd been homeless. Now she was trying to turn her life around, was enrolled in school full time and had applied for Food Stamps, but didn't expect to receive anything for another two weeks. She pleaded for someone to help her and her child. This young woman had also been the victim of domestic abuse.
I commented to my friend, trying to ascertain if the ad was legitimate and got no reply.
Now this isn't something you can 'unread'. I replied to the ad, asking if she was still needing assistance. Her words back to me were, "Yes, Please."
We messaged back and forth, during which time she told me her son was three and his favorite food was grilled cheese sandwiches. I got her address, which was not far from me, raided my freezer, cupboard and sent my son-in-law to the grocery story with a list.
At first she was afraid of a man coming to her door, but after my reassurances she agreed. I watched and she took the ad down almost immediately, knowing help was coming.
I asked her about personal product, and ended up buying toilet paper, garbage bags and dish soap. I also added several treats she hadn't asked for.
t turned out that my husband and son-in-law made the trip. Thankfully another family had also responded and were carrying food to her door.
When she opened the door, they could see that she was very young. She had no furniture to speak of, no couch or chairs and a 13" TV sitting on the floor. There were toys visible, but not much else.
So, you would think this was the end of the story, right? A young mother reaches out for help and people in the community respond. Not quite.
Later last night my daughter called me to tell me a a Facebook page was blowing up with negative comments about this mother. They called her a scam artist with all the usual rants.
"There are programs for people like that!"
Really? People like what?
"There were lots of people who took her food!"
So, this is bad, why?
"She's taking advantage of people!"
Oh, yeah, she's really living high on the hog, lap of luxury. Snort.
Frankly, I don't care if she got enough groceries to last and her child six months.I hope some kind-hearted soul wrote her a check so she could go buy a bed!
I didn't get in the conversation, it was too much like an angry mob where everyone opened their mouth and let their ignorance spill out, fowl smelling and bitter.
Abused women are not, as a rule, aggressive or fighters. They don't go into Social Services and say, "Hey, I need help and I need it now! My child has no food, no bed."
No, they quietly go to the counter and ask for an application, make an appointment for maybe 2,3,4 weeks away and go home to wait their turn in silence and hunger. After their appointment they wait for the case to be opened and then wait some more to receive anything. (Twleve years as a social worker, I know what I'm talking about), It took a lot of courage for this young woman to reach out for help and I'll bet if she didn't have her precious son, she would be quietly starving.
I applaud her and I don't regret for one second what I did to help. It doesn't make me angry that so many others did too, it's reassuring to know there are still people in this world who give a crap. I'll bet most of the ones bitching didn't do a damn thing to help, are probably embarrassed by their selfishness and trying to justify it.
On a side note, I write about domestic discipline, not abuse. None of my characters would ever hit a woman with intent to harm or I would be writing my first funeral scene.
Thanksgiving is big at our house, maybe the biggest holiday of the year. It's not about gifts or candy. There are no children running around with the 'gimmies'. It's not even an especially religious holiday, although being a Christian, I know who to thank for my many blessings. No, Thanksgiving is about family and friends coming together and sharing a meal as well as each others company. It's about being grateful for what we have and also remembering those who are no longer with us.
Last year my Dad passed away just before Thanksgiving. Early in the evening on November 20th we received a phone call saying he'd fallen and was being taken by ambulance to the hospital. I wasn't particularly worried. My father was always in a hurry and at ninety years old he'd spent the day decorating the exterior of his house for Christmas with my son-in-law's help. Over the last several years Dad had taken a few spills, banged himself up, but like the EverReady Bunny, he kept on going. I often wondered what it would take for him to slow down, that night I found out.
When I arrived at the hospital and went to the window to inquire about him, an EMT asked me to come immediately to the double doors. He said the doctor wanted to speak with me before I saw my Dad and I knew then, this wasn't a simple fall. I imagined a few catastrophes, a broken hip, a concussion and having spent many years working for Office For the Aging I was already putting a care plan together in my head as I went through the doors. We didn't exactly live next door. I only had one sister locally but I had daughters and nieces. Everyone would help out until he was back on his feet, I was sure of it. Everything would be alright.
"Wait here," the EMT said as soon as the doors closed behind me.
He went into Exam Room 1 and returned immediately with a tall doctor I'd never seen before. He didn't mince words.
"You're father has suffered a massive stroke. He's in A-Fib and I believe he has Sepsis. He's not going to survive this. What do you want to do?"
I couldn't wrap my mind around what he was saying. Wait! Wait! I wanted to scream. I need a rewind. I knew what A-Fib was, my husband had just gotten out of this same hospital with A-Fib. I'd stood in the hall by Bill's room and cried as the woman across the hall flat lined, her family sobbing out their grief in the corridor. Now you're telling me this about my Dad? I couldn't comprehend.
And where the hell was everyone? I have a huge family, why was I alone, hyperventilating in the hall? I'm the youngest, dammit! It's not my job to make these decisions! I took care of my Mother every day when she was dying of cancer. She lived with us. It's someone else's turn.
All of these thoughts happened in what seemed like the blink of an eye.
"I can't make these decisions," I finally managed to croak out.
The doctor nodded and held open the door to Dad's room for me to enter.
Inside the room was exactly why I never watch medical dramas. The scurrying nurses and technicians jostling for position, the wildly beeping heart monitor, the IV tubes, oxygen and my father.
To say he was laying in the bed would not be accurate. He was damn near levitating off it, his tremors and shaking so violent I immediately reached out to him. Dad grabbed my hand and arm like a lifeline, his strength incredible for one so close to death. I stroked his head as his beautiful blue eyes looked to me for some kind of explanation. I didn't have one, so I lied. I told him everything was going to be alright, he was going to be alright. The doctors were going to take care of him, he needed to try to relax.
"Just breathe, Daddy."
Finally he whispered to for me to call my brother and sister.
Yes! Praise the Lord.
"I'll be right back," I promised as I gently pried his hand from my arm.
In the hall I collapsed against the wall and dialed the numbers in Colorado, Georgia and Indiana as I sank nearly to the floor. I choked out the details, wiped my face and charged down the hall and through the doors, ready to rip someone a new ass and skidded to a stop.
They were there in the waiting room, huddled together in a small group. My husband and daughter, my sister and her husband, my niece, a cousin and my son-in-law. None of them had any idea how critical Dad was, but they were there, my family, my back-up, my support.
We took turns, caring for Dad. He was never alone for a moment from the time I got to the hospital until he passed. I sang to him. When Mom was dying my sister and I played all her old 78's on the record player for her. Song's from the 40's, her heyday and beyond. I didn't have that available so I sang 'Over The Rainbow and old show tunes until I was hoarse. It seemed to soothe him, but on the other hand he may have been thinking, "I wish she'd just shut up." Who knows. I couldn't think of anything else to do. I couldn't save him.
Mike, my son-in-law slept in a chair by Dad's bed each night, giving us a break to get some sleep. In a lucid moment Dad asked him if he was the 'Look out?'
Mike assured him he was.
The elders flew in the next day. (Sorry guys). After that I was just part of the endless entourage that commandeered the waiting room on the second floor and filed in and out of Dad's room every few minutes, like the palace guard changing shifts. Comfort Care is what they called it and the nurses kept an endless supply of coffee and cookies available. Bless them.
Dad passed away on the 24th with his loved ones counting the seconds between breaths. His funeral service and Mass were on Wednesday afternoon. When everything was over I went home and baked eight pies. On Thursday, we had what passed for our usual Thanksgiving dinner, but we were missing someone. I didn't have time to think about it then. Everything happened so fast in that week.
This year it's hitting home. I really miss him.
I always go all out for Thanksgiving, using my Grandmother's china, my Mother's crystal and linen tablecloths and napkins. I have a nice set of silver Bill bought me many years ago, but this year I have something new. I found this treasure going through my Father's things and immediately snagged it as my own. I mean who else would appreciate such an ornate set besides someone who breaks out the 100 year old china for holiday dinners? Thanks, Dad. I''ll be thinking of you.
I got thinking today about life in general and I wondered how many other writers feel the way I do. It seems I'm either working like crazy, on a roll and consumed with my characters and plot, or I'm frittering away the day. This led me take stock of what I actually do when I'm not working. Here is what I came up with.
This is a good starting point but then,
All...righty then, let's try something else. I know! How about some Cheetos? A little boost always helps get the juices flowing, right?
There, that should do it. I'm ready. Let's see...um...maybe...naw.
Okay, I have nothing to say. I get it. Maybe I'll do a little housework, just so my day isn't a total bomb.
So, I take down all the drapes in the dining room and living room. Toss them into the laundry room and wash a total of 4 windows. Now this may not seem like much, but 1 window is huge and the other 3 all tip in so I have to clean both sides. Inspired, I then clean the glass on on the hanging pictures. Whew! Now I'm here.
But, I shall persevere! A little liquid refreshment is now in order.
Ah, sweet! I throw a load in the washer and continue.
When I come down from my sugar rush, this is where I am.
Okay, maybe Cheetos and Pepsi weren't my best options. I shall prepare a nutritious lunch. Something to sustain me through the afternoon.
I return to my laptop, give myself a stern talking to and imagine something like this, just for inspiration mind you.
Sigh, he's right of course. I should be writing. In fact if he were sitting right next to me I'm sure I could be inspired to compose an incredibly sexy scene, and I'm sure the words "Don't Stop" would be in there somewhere. But alas, nothing, zip, zilch, nada. So... I paint my nails...
And read a little...
Check my email...
Play a game...
Read Facebook post from all my friends and...
Ah, time for a snack.
Oh wait, wrong snack for the kind of day I've had.
Wait! I know, I can look for some really cool pictures just in case I need them. At least the day won't be a total waste.
So there you have it. A day in the life of a writer, at least this writer on this day. Hey, I got a blog post out of it. Tomorrow I shall begin again as they say,
I haven't been on this page in a while, so either there was nothing really 'bitch worthy' happening or I've just been to damn tired to complain. This week changed all that.
This week I had an appointment with my Rheumatologist. I have these 4 times a year, one of which I get to see the doctor and the other three I am subjected to the physician assistant. Now I'm not against seeing a PA. Some of them I prefer to the doctor. I find in general they take more time with you, actually listen to what you have to say and are compassionate. Not so with this PA.
When I first started seeing this doctor, I was thrilled. She's incredibly smart and thorough and I'm lucky to have found her. That being said, seeing her PA is frustrating, pointless and yet, still expensive.
This particular PA is a pretty little thing, with a lisp that would be endearing if she didn't have the heart of a viper. A 'doctor wanna be' who asks questions, doesn't really listen to your answers as she is to busy typing away on her little keyboard, and then proceeds to argue with everything you say. You know she isn't listening to you as at your very next appointment she will have things written down that were never said. Her selective hearing it exemplary and the speed at which she can type this incorrect information is stellar.
Before each and every appointment, I tell myself that I will NOT talk to her! I will answer her questions with simple, one word replies and escape intact, leaving her condescending attitude and eye rolls behind. It never works out that way as I am basically a nice person and find it difficult to be rude to others. Despite the fact that as soon as I open my mouth its on, I still allow her to draw me into her web where she can badger and insult me until she's had her quota of fun and leaves the room.
I can't tell you now many times I've left there in tears, although I never let her see, vowing to find a new doctor. She will ask me about my pain and then poo-poo me as though I am some whine-ass. There have been so many time I wanted to sink my fingers into her streaky hair, pull her ass off her tiny stool and say, "Listen Bitch, I had five babies all without a drop of anesthetic. I had my eye taken out and put back in and I had my gall bladder out at 8:30a.m. and was climbing back into my truck by noon! I only take ibuprofen for pain as I'm allergic to acetaminophen and codeine, so don't tell me about my pain level, you insensitive wretch", but of course I can't do that.
I guess I need to get my records and find another doctor. I don't dare ask to them transferred as who knows what the hell 'the evil one' would put in there. I certainly don't want to end up like Elaine on Seinfeld. It's a shame too because the doctor is one of the best around but I don't think she would believe me it I told her about her assistant's unprofessional behaviour. I will send a letter after I leave the practice and she can do with it what she chooses. Until then I'll be armed with this really cool product I found online.
I swear, with so many good books arriving in my mail each and every day from Book Gorilla and Book Bub, how am I supposed to get any writing done? I'm trying to be good, but really Longshot Louisana by Jana DeLeon, couldn't put it down. It's laugh out loud funny and the Sinful Ladies Society, what a hoot! Plus, now I have to buy the others!
Then yesterday with, His Wicked Games by Ember Casey, hell's bell's that is one hot story!
Today there are even more great stories trying to tempt me away from The O'Malley's. However, there's the fact that I haven't felt well, so maybe I should just go curl up and read for a little while, sigh.
This page, Stevie Spouts Off, will be reserved for my rants and raves. See the teapot at the top of the page blowing it's lid? Well, sometimes that's me. I plan to use this page to vent as well as cheer, so if you like witnessing meltdowns, this might be the page for you.