Sunday, October 30, 2011

Stop trying to guess what my costume is and buy me a beer. I mean a soda.

We went out last night.

I am back on the wagon after last weekend. Last weekend looked like this:

This weekend I was stone-cold sober, and it looked a little more like this:

I was exhausted and emotionally drained, and with each email and phone call I got, I realized that everyone around me was on edge. It was a big weekend for roller derby, but it has also been nuts around here in general - as though I was navigating a web of personal, emotional and financial strings being pulled in about a thousand different directions. It was like the economy was kicking people's asses while they had the runs from food poisoning and then their dog died. You know what I'm saying?

Basically, October 2011 sucks big huge hairy donkey balls.

But as it turns out, even when you are exhausted and emotionally drained and absolutely positively NOT taking any pain medication because you need to be able to think clearly, if it also happens to be Halloween weekend, you have to put on a fucking costume and go tear some shit up.

I tore shit up from the couch.

Don't worry - the couch was located in a bar. The bar was filled with half-naked and'/or costumed deviants.
It was lovely people-watching.

I had a costume on, of course. Six inch red patent stilettos and a skin tight black tube dress that showed more than it covered and made wearing underpants a total impossibility. I rocked a massive, spiky head of hair and bright red lipstick.

No, I'm not Ziggy Stardust.
No, I'm not Joan Jett
I don't want to talk about this anymore. I hate it when I wear a costume and no one knows who I am supposed to be. I hate walking through a parking lot and having people point at me and shout out their guesses like I am a goddamned prize on The Price is Right.

I hate Halloween, actually.
There. I said it. I used to think I hated dressing up - but I don't. I hate Halloween. And by midnight I was completely over it. Which was right about when my girlfriend stepped on a broken glass and cut her foot, and I was so happy to be sober and able to take her back to the hotel we were staying at and climb into bed with my heating pad after making sure she had all the neosporin and hydrogen peroxide she needed.

I was dehydrated from the events of the day, and despite sipping on juice and water and coconut water, I was not feeling that great. I passed out almost immediately.But in the morning, I felt worse.

I wasn't expecting that - I figured if I didn't drink, I would feel fine. So I wandered out to the pool and found a shady spot and settled in for the day - I napped while the kids played on the water slide. Before heading out to the pool, I had carefully applied lotion to every square inch of my face.

Would have helped if that lotion had contained sunscreeen.

My newly colored hair and my entire upper body are monotone. And that tone is a horrific tomato red. My forehead wrinkles have tan lines again. My scalp is itching. And now I am dehydrated times, like a thousand. Sam took one look at the sunburn on my chest and made the executive decision to pack up. I followed him to the car without a peep. I needed to take a shower and go to bed. Inside, this time - sleeping outside had been a poor choice, it turned out.

When we got home, I made a beeline for the bathroom. While the kids were still arguing over who was going to take the first shower, I beat them to it. I only realized I still had sunglasses on my head when I started to shampoo my hair.

I kept shampooing.

I am going to wash this god-forsaken (literally, I do believe) holiday right out of my hair. But first, I have to take the kids trick or treating. Please give me chocolate.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Dude, that's nothing to sing about

Let's just start off by stating the obvious:
Boys are gross.

There are many, many ways that they are gross - the smell alone is enough to remind you to keep your distance. They haven't quite worked deodorant into their daily routine yet, and handwashing is still optional.

But the place where they can really show their true colors, really let that freak flag fly, is in the bathroom. And it's not all about the fact that they cannot hit their mark when standing to pee. It's not that instead of magazines, like their fathers, they now bring their phones into the can with them to help things along. It goes beyond even that. I once watched a 12 year old boy saunter nonchalently into the bathroom at school holding a sandwich. His mother tried to stop him - but it was no use. It just never occured to him that there was anything wrong with going in there while eating. That maybe food+toilet=gross.

For years now, we have been trying to drive home the point that flushing and washing your hands after using the bathroom are a hard and fast rule. No exceptions. When the kids were first toilet trained, flushing was a novelty, and they flushed with enthusiasm. With abandon. Sometimes more than once. But somewhere along the line, once the magic was gone, they left that habit behind.

Max tries to tell us that he is saving water. I told him that drought or no drought, he has to flush the toilet when he takes a dump. Lucy just smiles blythely when asked, and says "Oh okay, I'll go flush right now." But this means that every time my kids use the toilet, I have to ask "Did you flush and wash your hands?" So if we are in public, say a restaurant, and the kids come back to the table and reach for the bread basket and I say "Hey, did you remember to flush and wash your hands?" and then there is even a moment of hesitation? I die a little inside.

But lately, the problem has grown.
Now, the neighbors are involved.

Max got braces and a mohawk last week. These two life-altering events have tripled the amount of time he spends in the bathroom. Between the Waterpic and the spray gel, he can keep busy in there for, like, an hour. He is the most enthusiastic waterpic-er I know, so much so that there is now a bottle of Windex and a roll of paper towels stashed in the bathroom.

Might as well get him to clean up while he's in there.

This morning, about 30 minutes before we were leaving for school, he announced he was going to the bathroom. I got nervous. He was kind of cutting it close.

So he wanders down the hall and closes the door.

A few minuts later, I was in the kitchen making lunches and I heard something. I heard singing.

Singing that was coming through the kitchen window, from outside somewhere.
How strange. I opened the back door and slowly it dawned on me......I realized what was going on. That singing was coming from an open window. The window was located in the bathroom down the hall.

Max was in the bathroom singing. Loudly. He does everything loudly, but the acoustics in this bathroom - apparently - are epic. I could hear every word.

He wasn't just singing - between the lines, he was talking to himself, cheering himself on, providing a running commentary of his performance. There was some drumming. I assume there was air guitar as well - but I can't be sure. Because I realized that if I could hear him, that meant the entire neighborhood could hear him.

I didn't want to make a big deal about it. I have suffered from bathroom shyness in the past - most notably when I was unable to poop for the entire first semester of college in the public bathroom because my mother remarked on how hard that was for some people. Another challenge arose when my boyfriend welcomed me back to bed one morning after I had used the en-suite bathroom that was floor to ceiling marble, by telling me the story of Marilyn Monroe meeting Arthur Miller's mother. The story goes that Arthur introduced the two women and after a time, Marilyn excused herself to go to the powder room.

"So, mother" Arthur asked while she was gone "what do you think? Isn't she wonderful?"
"She seems like a lovely young lady," his mother replied. "but she pees like a horse."

Thanks to that little anecdote, I spent 4 years unable to pee without having water running to drown out the noise.

So I didn't want to make him self-conscious, but on the other hand, I didn't want him to be oblivious. It was a delicate line, I didn't want to do the wrong thing. So I tried to play it cool. I am not cool. Which means I was a total dick about it.

"Max!" I shouted. "SHUSH!"
The singing stopped abruptly.

"WHAT DID YOU SAY?" he shouted from the end of the hallway/my back yard.

"SHHHHHHHH!" I hissed.

I didn't hear another sound. A moment later he appeared in the kitchen, looking sheepish. "Sorry I didn't realize how loud I was." He reached for the bread to start making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch.

"Dude, you are, like, the loudest person I know. And you forget - that is not a soundproof room! There are OPEN WINDOWS in there. We have neighbors. They can hear everything!"

I paused, and realized something. It had been very quiet down there. I hadn't heard a single sound since I had "shushed" him. In fact, he had gotten back here awful quic- dammit.


"Max. Did you remember to flush and wash you hands?"

He sighed, put down the knife, and walked back down the hallway.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Mayonnaise is trying to kill me

"Mayo Culpa" was my status update. I have a lot of regrets in life, but the biggest regret was eating that tuna salad on Friday. I am an idiot.

It will be 4 weeks this coming Friday since I had my gallbladder out. I am still coming to terms with the fact that I can't eat certain things. That may be because I am still struggling to absorb the news that once they removed my gallbladder they discovered that my complete hysterectomy six years ago was, um, actually kind of incomplete, and that my insides were riddled with scar tissue and fallopian tube and ovarian tissue.

I also have been distracted by the fond memories of my anesthesiologist. He looked like Anthony Bourdain and I totally wanted to suggest blowing off this whole "surgery thing" and getting a beer instead.

But the hardest thing to cope with, the thing that is haunting me the most, is the diet limitations. So far I have discovered that butter, mayo, cheese and eggs are almost impossible for my system to handle.

As you might imagine, I am devastated. Please remember that I am the woman who almost got into a fist fight with a friend who helped herself to some of my brie at a restaurant. I am the woman who starts every recipe by throwing a stick of butter in a pan and saying "we're gonna need to make a roux". I am the woman who believes that eggs scrambled in melted butter with melted cheese mixed in is, like, a food group. I am the woman who smears mayo on everything from spoonfuls of avocado to the outside of grilled cheese (cheese! WHY MUST YOU TORMENT ME?) I even started dipping my fries in mayo after I dated that guy from Belgium (the one who dumped me when I told him I loved him. I ate a lot of "frites" after that. Bastard.)

So basically, life as I know it is over.
There is life before mayo, and life after mayo. Which is no life at all.
Someone suggested I try Vegenaise. I kicked that person in the shin.

I have been assured that it will get easier. That in time, I might be able to eat these things again. That I will be able to enjoy a ham and cheese croissant and an espresso without feeling like my soul is being pulled out of my body through my bellybutton. And that is all well and good, but I am starting to lose the faith. I just don't think I can handle the process of trial and error anymore. I had to leave groceries on the conveyer belt in the grocery today and run in a cold sweat through the store to the bathroom, after enjoying french onion soup for lunch. And then there was that time I accidentally got kicked in the stomach during a fight this weekend - that didn't really help matters any.

But we'll save that story for another time, when I can find some humor in the situation.

And so, my recovery continues. Please order the eggs benedict with swiss and bacon on my behalf, and know that you are taking one for the team.

Friday, October 21, 2011

I like big trucks, how about you? Do you like trucks that dig wells too? And a contest where you can win stuff.

So I am heading off to Camp Mighty, and I am pretty damned excited about it.

The first thing I want to tell you about the camp is that we are all joining forces to raise money to buy one of these things:

I know. Awesome, right? And pretty? I think I'm in love. I want one for myownself. BUT FIRST we are going to send one to Ethiopia. Here's what I like about this: I am not giving someone money - I am buying them a tool. Something they can use, something that will benefit many, something that will change lives. Save lives.

I would be so grateful if you would contribute - the website makes it super easy to donate. And the best part? This rig is going to be equipped with a GPS so we can track it online and follow it's progress, watching this truck make a difference for so many people. And you can look at all of the towns, with their new wells, and you can know in your heart that you had a part in that. And that is amazing.

I think this may be the first of many amazing things that come out of this camp. I am really and truly excited to be a part of it - so excited that it is really hard to contain the dorky part of me that is internally making that hideous "squeeeee" noise. Okay, I made that noise one time, right after I got my plane ticket last week. I'm better now. I sent my mom the link to the camp and got an email back. It went something along the lines of "I don't really get it, but it sounds like it might be interesting". And you know what, I didn't really get it either. All I know is that I need to learn how to open a champagne bottle with a sabre, and I cannot believe I have gone this long without doing so. I also can't believe this is going to be my first sleepaway camp experience.

Wait, that's not true. I went to a daycamp once that culminated in a sleepover, where we slept in hammocks we had made and mine came untied in the middle of the night and I woke up face down in the dirt completely tangled up in what was essentially a fishing net.


So. This will be better. I am going to sleepaway camp in Palm Springs, with cocktails and an anti-gravity chamber. There will be hammocks, but someone else will have attached them in a more permanent fashion and they should stay up this time. And there is a knot tying class, so I can always reinforce the knot if I have concerns about the security of my hammock.

And mom, don't worry. There are no ponds in Palm Springs that I will be forced to swim in (even though the water is murky and the bottom is slimy and gross), and I won't write you any sad letters begging you to come get me. I swear.

Please, don't come get me.

But if you could send money, that would be great. Send it here:
And please, in the comments tell them Daffodil sent you.
Which leads me to the contest: I will draw the name of one person who makes a donation of any amount and tags it with my name in the comments. That person is going to get a very special just-for-you gift box from Maui. You know you want it. You must put my name in the comments to win.
Donating is easy. Walking miles for water is hard.
Thanks for your support. Contest ends 11/6/2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The list of things I should have done already (updated)

In life, there have been two things that have prevented me from doing things I want to do:

Commitments to others.

Lack of finances

And then, of course, there's the fear factor.

Or it could just be my penchant for procrastination.

So I am compiling a list of things I really want to do. And these are not things I want to do before I die - these are things I want to do as soon as possible. It would have been cheaper and easier and far more convenient to do them without two children in tow, but everything is better when it's shared with someone you love. Right? (Just do me a solid and agree with me here, the alternative is too depressing.) (Use the phrase "do me a solid" correctly was totally on my life list. Done.)

So, the list. As inspired by the Divine Ms M(aggie Mason) in preparation for Camp Mighty.
(2012 updates in parenthesis)
1. Take my kids to Lebanon to get to know their relatives and learn Arabic
2. Master a killer karaoke performance that will bring the crowd to it's feet.
3. Write a book (so people will stop asking me when I'm going to write a book). (SO close. SO CLOSE.)
4. Make really good fried chicken.
5. Yoga retreat in India
6. Learn to can/jar things
7. Open a roller rink
8. Buy a small house right on the beach. On the sand.
9. Set up a sewing nook and sew some stuff.
10. Laser hair removal. It's time.
11. Have an apple tree in my backyard for climbing and snacking.
12. Become a competent surfer who can paddle out without making an ass of myself or getting tired halfway out.
13. Touch my toes.
14. Master liquid eyeliner (victory!)
15. Change the oil in my car.
16. Also learn how to use the jack. Why the hell not.
17. Live in a city and rely solely on public transportation
18. Be the primary breadwinner for a while.
19. Find the perfect pair of Red Cowboy Boots
20. Teach English in a foreign country
21. Write a wedding ceremony. Then marry people.
22. Renact the entire movie Mamma Mia on a Greek island, playing all the parts.
23. Drive a bitchin' Camaro (CHECK - on the Vegas Strip, no less)
24. Do a girls roadtrip through the desert a la Thelma and Louise (bonus points if I do it in a Camaro)
25. Learn to sail a boat
26. Take a calligraphy class
27. Raise chickens
28. Run for public office
29. Learn to like my big nose
30. Run a 5k just so I know that I can do it without collapsing
31. Bake a souffle just so I know I can do it without it collapsing
32. Knit something that doesn't have holes and look dirty when I am done.
33. Dive off the deck of an overwater bungalow. Over and Over again.
34. Fly a plane
35. Have a regular column in a magazine
36. Have an office to go to each day. (CHECK! Although, ironically, I choose to go to a coffee shop instead)
37. Springtime in Paris
38. Rent an RV and tour New Zealand
39. Live in a hacienda with Bakey when we're old and gray with a hot pool boy/gardener and a masseuse(Can be the same person)
40. Pose for one of those costumed old-timey sepia photographs with Sassin
41. Play tambourine for Pearl Jam
42. Make croissants from scratch.
43. Take a group of friends to my grandmother's house on Inishbofin
44. Become debt-free
45. Raise my children to be amazing, kind, generous, loving people who can support themselves.
46. Have a bedroom that is big and bright, with a huge antique iron bed and lots of storage
47. Have a house with an AGA stove. A big AGA stove.
48. Go to a show on Broadway at night, all dressed up with a new makeover like Cher in Moonstruck.
49. Be able to live half the year in Maui and half the year somewhere else.
50. Forgive 2 people who have hurt me and who I no longer speak to.
51. Make photo albums annually for my kids and give to them each Christmas
52. learn how to play chess
53. learn how to rollerskate backwards
54. spend some time living in a farmhouse in France. Bonus points if David Sedaris is my neighbor.
55. have a long paved driveway that we can ride bikes and rollerskate on.
56. intern as a merchandiser at several iconic retail stores who's aesthetics I admire. Like Anthropologie.
57. Go back to the Virgin Islands and charter a liveaboard boat to sail around for a few weeks.
58. Buy a large piece of land with friends and family, build homes, and share responsibilities and expenses as a group. Stop calling it a commune, mom.
59. Clear out my closet once and for all, and stop buying random crap. Quality not quantity. (DONE!)
60. Build a small guestroom/playroom so family can visit more often. (COME VISIT, WE HAVE ROOM!)
70. Sell this house and buy something with more outdoor space and higher ceilings.
71. Buy a fabulous vintage ballgown and attend an event like The Costume Institute Gala at the Met.
72. Take my dog to a trainer who can teach him to stop humping other dogs. It's gross and embarrassing.
73. Bake my grandmother's lemon meringue pie. (A reluctant check. I am going to try again with packaged pie crust. Mine was like shoe leather. What a nightmare.)
74. Get paid to travel
75. get rid of those frown lines between my eyes. I frown too much, obviously.
76. Go to a really great event like SXSW with my husband and discover new bands together.
77. find a way for my husband and Slam's boyfriend to jam with Eddie Vedder
78. go to an open mic and perform
79. do a five minute stand up comedy routine at an amateur night
80. get a film role, even just a walk-on
81. win an award that I am proud of
82. rescue an animal - not from the pound.
83. start taking pictures again.
84. Make videos of the kids.
85. Take a river cruise in Europe (France?) where I can hop off and bicycle around.
86. Make a list of amazing things to do when the kids say they are bored.
87. Clip articles I love out of magazines and file them so that I can actually find them again
88. Learn how to work this drilling rig I'm fundraising for, then fly to Ethiopia and work with the drilling crew.
89. Re-establish Sunday night dinner at my house, and have a circle of friends that join us regularly.
90. Visit places that intrigue me like Bali, Cuba, and Maldives
91. Finish my epic tattoo, so that it actually tells a story and isn't a random bunch of small pieces.
92. Start speaking a foreign language at home with Sam and the kids. Maybe just in the car, or at dinner time to start.
93. Create a family tradition for Christmas Day.
94. Only use the computer during working hours.
95. Live somewhere with an incredibly low cost of living, so I can have a $10 massage every day if I want to. Oh, Thailand, I miss you.
96. Make chocolate, Eat it. Repeat.
97. Throw out underwear when it's time to get new ones - am I waiting for them to actually fall apart before I replace them? (I did it! It hurt to throw it away, but I just threw it away!)
98. Teach my kids to be really good drivers.
99. Stop letting money stress me out and make me feel bad. I give it too much of my time.
100. decide what I want to be when I grow up

Things that have been crossed off:
Own a Mini Cooper (leased, I'm okay with that)
Eliminate fast foods and soda from my diet (with exceptions for emergency McDonalds french fry cravings.)
Join a Roller Derby team
Bring a market basket with me to do my shopping, and stop using plastic carrier bags
Dye my hair red
Have a well-stocked pantry ready for whipping up a quick meal or special something
Take a spur of the moment international vacation when I see a cheap ticket online
Get Married in Vegas
Pierce my nose
Attend a cooking school in another country.
Try kombucha (actually yummy!)
Switch to more natural cleaning products
Cut down on using disposable stuff like baggies and paper towels
Find the perfect school for my kids
Skate at Rockefeller Center at Christmas time
Ring in the New Year in Times Square
Sell everything and move to Maui
Quit a job I need, because I hate it

Monday, October 17, 2011

And THAT is how you deal with an inconsiderate neighbor. Poop on their Porch.

The sun was shining when the barking started. We have a neighbor who sees nothing wrong with letting his dog (who we will refer to as the "f*cking white dog" or FWD for short) out at 6am to run through the neighborhood, raising the ire of every dog in every yard he passes. You can track FWD's progress by the cacophony of barking that rises up and sweeps through - from the dead end where he begins by raising the hackles of the three dogs that live on all sides of that cul de sac, all the way up to the main road 4 blocks away. As the howling and barking and growling rise up from every corner of the circle of homes, one by one each house along his route is awakened as he trots down the street - walking boldly into unfenced yards, and pressing his nose against fences that block his path. Usually he will stop to pee on a shrub just outside the fenced in yards, effectively marking the territory as his own - which drives the dog who actually lives there absolutely bananas.

If you are lucky, FWD will choose your yard as the perfect spot to take a huge steaming dump before wandering off to wreak more havoc. If you are really lucky, you will step in it on your way to get in the car for work or school, or maybe while mowing the yard or getting the mail. During all of this, the owner of FWD stays home, reading the paper or taking a shower or perhaps even climbing back into bed now that he has let the dog out to do his business.

There have been a series of confrontations between the FWD owner and the neighbors - with and without dogs of their own - who are sick and tired of these shenanigans. No one wants to be woken up at 6am every single Sunday morning forever and ever until the end of time. And no one wants that dog running free through the neighborhood, shitting and pissing everywhere, for them to clean up.

A few weeks ago, when the barking began before dawn, Sam lost his mind.

"THAT'S IT" he leaped from the bed with his hair flying and his eyes wild.
"Oh for god's sake." I muttered, rolling over and burying my head under the pillow.
"I'm going down there." he announced as he pulled on a pair of shorts.
"I really don't think that's a good idea."
"I really don't think it's a good idea for that asshole to let his dog out loose."
"But Sam, you can't just go down ther-"
"Yes I can. YES I CAN."

He turned on his heel and stomped away.
"Zip your fly" I shouted after him.

10 minutes later he was back.
"Please tell me you didn't hit anyone."
"Of course not."
"Did you talk with the guy?"
"No. I stood in his yard and yelled 'HEY!' until he opened his door. And then I told him to keep his fucking dog in his yard."
"That's it?"
"That's it."

That was two weeks ago. Yesterday, it was almost 7am when the barking started - but Sam was still not having it. The dogs were all going nuts. Our dog Boston was alternating between leaping 4 feet in the air trying to launch himself over the fence, and racing in circles around the yard barking and snarling as the FWD sniffed along the property line. Sam went outside to see if he could corner the FWD and call animal control. When he got out there the FWD was taking a massive shit.

Which hit the fan.

Sam was enraged. He went and got Boston's leash. "Why do you need his leash?" I asked as I shuffled to the refrigerator for coffee.

"Because, that dog hasn't done anything useful in his entire life, and I have continued to feed him and make sure he doesn't get fleas or heartworm, and now I need him to do something for ME."

"Um. Like what, exactly?"


"Okay, listen. Boston doesn't even sit when you tell him to. Plus, he's always constipated. He never poops. Ever. That's why we love him so much. There is NO WAY he is going to go along with this."

"Well, he better." Sam said darkly.

"Good luck with that." I turned back to my iced coffee preparations. Sam stormed out the door, leash in hand. He stood on the porch and whistled and clapped. Boston eyed him warily from under the deck where he had retreated at the sound of Sam's raised voice. Boston wanted nothing to do with any of this. He lay down and looked guilty, but he wasn't budging. If Sam wanted backup, he was going to have to carry him down there like a lap dog. Since Boston weighs about 40 pounds, that wasn't going to happen.

"Really, Boston? REALLY? I need your help. When are you going to grow a pair?"

"He had a pair" I hollered from the kitchen. "We cut them off."

"Jesus." Sami shook his head and threw the leash down. He grabbed a shovel from next to the garden, and headed down the stairs.

"What are you doing now?" I asked from the window.
"I am bringing that asshole his dogshit."

I watched through the window as Sam walked over, scooped up the mess that had been deposited in our side yard, and marched down the street, shovel held aloft in front of him. He walked right onto our neighbor's yard, and dumped the contents of the shovel right in the middle of the porch, just as the church bells began to chime.

He came back to the house, stuck the shovel blade into the garden soil and came inside to wash his hands.
"Who wants to go to church?" he shouted over his shoulder. The kids (who have never been to Sunday mass in their life) sat and stared at him. I snickered into my coffee. Boston, however, crawled out from under the porch, and stood at the gate wagging his tail.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

One man's trash is another man's crap. Don't argue with me.

We have an interesting neighborhood. It is mostly families, many who have lived on Maui for generations. People don't sell their houses often here - the location is convenient and for the most part it is very peaceful. Everyone takes care of their yard and brings their trash cans in after pickup, there aren't any loud parties and no one is doing drugs or causing any trouble. But there are, as with any neighborhood, issues that have arisen. Thankfully, most of the issues have to do with overzealous reporting to the Humane Society if someone's dog is barking at night, or parking issues. On the 4th of July and New Years (aka "the fireworks holidays") things get a little rowdy with firecrackers attached to lightposts, and there was that one time that this guy was running with a paper bag filled with cetalyne gas and the friction caused the bag to explode in his face. But that was just that one time. Usually the cetalyne doen't explode until he sets the bag on fire.

Yes, for the most part, it's pretty mellow. However. There is one house in particular who's residents seem to feel that the neighborhood - the entire neighborhood - is theirs for the taking. They are the Christopher Columbuses of street parking - they simply park their car in front of your house - right on the grass - and leave it there. Once we had a car parked in front of our house for a month. But even with all of their obnoxious, thoughtless behavior, we had managed to co-exist - mostly because we had our own driveway and didn't need the street parking.

And then they somehow took over the house across the street from us.

I was not kidding with that Christopher Columbus comparison.

Over the summer, they moved in 3 adults and 6 or 7 kids. And their dogs. Everyone has a dog. And every dog has a doghouse in the yard, to which they remain chained. The family shares a profound love of the F word and they don't seem to own any shirts whatsoever, and they appear oblivious to the fact that they have neighbors in close proximity who may not be thrilled to have complete bedlam erupt every time someone walks down the street. During the day, the neighborhood is the usual oasis of peace and calm - the dogs sleep on the roofs of their houses, the kids are in school, and the adults are home........well, I don't know what they are doing. All I know is that they stay inside, and it's quiet and lovely. I am sitting here now listening to the birds chirping outside my window. But then school lets out and the mid-day heat breaks, and the air begins to cool, and people come home from work. Suddenly, the neighborhood is bustling. Every evening, the family spends a lot of time walking back and forth between the two house, or hanging out in the cul de sac cursing, throwing balls at each other's heads, and making the smaller children cry.

Last night, these folks from across the street were standing in the cul de sac PER USUAL. Only they were standing next to their pickup truck, and the back of that truck was piled high with.......well, with crap. I can't even tell you what it was, except to say that it wasn't furniture, or appliances, or anything actually recognizable. Some of it seemed rusty, it was all dirty, and I was struck with the sudden fervent hope that they were moving out.

"Oh my GOD!" I thought to myself. "Maybe this is really happening. Maybe people will stop standing in the street screaming, and posting threatening signs at the end of their driveway!"

I had reason to be hopeful - earlier in the day, I had watched two of the kids drag a dog house across the street towards the truck. And another truck in one of the driveways had furniture in it! This was looking really good. Really really good. Well, not the furniture. The furniture loooked like a combination of pleather and particle board. But the fact that a significant amount of stuff was in the backs of their trucks? Very encouraging.

Until they started unloading.

That crap wasn't being taken away. It was coming home, baby.

And the doghouse was simply being moved to a different location, overlooking the gulch. The gulch is like oceanfront property for dogs - it contains a thriving population of feral cats and chickens, which means almost zero rodents or bugs in our neighborhood. I am sure the dogs will be very, very happy there.

You know who is not happy? The neighbors who live on the other side of the gulch - and have a full and unobstructed view of the shantytown cropping up across the way. They are not happy. As a result, I am carefully avoid any paperbags that I see casually lying around. They will undoubtably be set on fire, and one can only guess if they are filled with highly explosive gasses, or dog doo. I have no interest in finding out.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

You won! YOU WON! Now, pay up.

Lucy came up to me a few days ago, waving a piece of paper in the air excitedly.

"I WON!!!" She was overjoyed. I was perplexed. She's six. Was she entering lotteries without my knowledge? Maybe she snagged pre-early admission with a free ride to Harvard?

She thrust the paper into my hands and pointed. "I scratched the circles and I won!"

Oh. Crap.

She and her brother each get a few subscriptions in the mail each month. Ladybug, Highlights, National Geographic know - kids mags with crafts and stories and poems. It keeps them busy in the backseat when we are in the car, and I am usually totally thrilled with them. But sometimes, they have an outer cover, which is actually just a big ad for some sort of "club" and it totally gives kids the impression that they really have "won" something. The fine print is *very* fine, and it took me about a minute to even find what I was looking for so I could show her. "Sweetie, what it is, is that they send you these things free, and then you have to pay $13.97 every 5 weeks, forever. So, it's not really that great a deal."

Her face fell. She was devastated. I mean really, who doesn't like free stuff? No one, that's who.

Today I was in bed checking my email and the first message was from a familiar name.....someone I had read about. "Congratulations" it began, "You are a winner."

The email offered me a slot in a sold out conference, said my name was next on the list to be offered this space. Gave me instructions for registering. I didn't recall putting my name on the list - in fact, I remember looking at it and thinking: "(sigh) I can't spend the money." But I did recall leaving my email on their site a year ago, asking for information about another such event, and maybe this was because of that? I was perplexed...but intrigued.

I rushed the kids off to school, came home and sat down to read the email again. And again. And again. I don't really know what it is. The objective is to improve your life. Well, plenty of room for that around here. But is there a sweat lodge involved? It says that it is for people who like to make cool stuff. Does that mean crafts? The last time I used a glue gun I glued my fingers together, burnt my ear, and swallowed a button. While I enjoy "the crafts" I am not crafty.

And then I checked plane fares.
Because, here's the thing. Living in paradise is amazing, but it is has a moat around it like no one's business.

I did the math. It's going to cost me, realistically, about $1500 all together, between registration, airfare and food.

I do not have $1500. I do not, in fact, have a job.

And while this conference may be just the ticket, may be just what I need in order to choose a direction - one that is not governed by marriage and children - I don't know if it is, indeed, the golden ticket.There is a risk involved, and it could go one of several ways:

A. I can not go, and then have a convenient excuse for why I still have no idea what i am doing with my life. So far, I have been presented with several similar opportunities - writers retreats and such - and each time I have shied away. While the financial risk was one reason, the emotional risk was another. Because if I go, I have to have something to show for it afterwards. Scary.
B. I can go, and then come home and resume life as usual and feel like a huge jackass for spending the money on a weekend of drinks and crafts and conversation. I don't want to do this. At all.
C. I can go, and come home and struggle to make it worthwhile, following the talking points, trying to manifest all of the great ideas I was surrounded with, and maybe absorb some of the entrepreneurial spirit, and then in the end just resume life as usual, secure in the knowledge that as a wife and mother I have attained my penultimate goal - as stated since my childhood - while secretly feeling like a huge failure for not having a career.
D. I can go, and make some amazing friends, return energized and inspired, with a clear plan and a set of goals to achieve - and the motivation to make all my dreams come true.

I don't know if I can afford to go.
I don't know if I can afford NOT to go.

But the bottom line is, while I have been offered the spot (and I guess that is techinically winning) it doesn't feel like winning - it feels like a challenge. An ultimatum. The idea of going is just as nervewracking as the idea of letting yet another opportunity slip by, waiting for "the right one" to come along. Sometimes you just have jump on, hang on, and enjoy the ride.....across the moat.

Monday, October 10, 2011

And then I shaved his head.

When Max was a baby, we called him Goldilocks. He had a head full of shining blonde ringlets, and we had no intention of cutting them. He never mentioned it either, until one day when he was about 3 years old, and he came up to me and said "Mama, I want to cut my haiw."

"You do?" I said with surprise. "Your beautiful hair? Why?"

He looked at me, his impossibly blue eyes fringed with thick black lashes. "Because, mama. People think I'm a giwl."

I wanted to punch that damn supermarket cashier in the throat. The day before, she had laughingly said that it was time to cut his hair, because he didn't want to look like a girl. He had looked at her, agast. "I am NOT a GIWL." He was indignant. "I AM A MAX."

I had grinned at him, and turned to her triumphantly. "I am pretty sure Max can set them straight." I smiled at her sympathetically, for being so conservative and narrow-minded as to believe that anyone would think my son was a girl just because he didn't have a crew cut.

But now, the tables were turned, and I was left holding the tablecloth. "You really want to cut your hair?" I was devastated - mostly because I suffer from some serious hair envy. Everyone in this house has gorgeous hair, except me. Max and Lucy are both blessed with an abundance of soft blonde curls. Sam has beautiful black hair which had been long glossy ringlets until Max was a baby. And then his curls had formed some sort of horrible dreadlock borne of a few forgotten Cheerios and some rice cereal (which is, by the way, like cement when it dries) and he had shaved all of his hair off, vowing to grow it back when Max stopped eating with his hands.

Anyway, when Max wandered in rocking his pullups and a muddy t-shirt, telling me he needed a haircut, I was faced with a vexing problem. I loved Max's hair. And I didn't want to cut it. But if he wanted it cut, was it really such a big deal? What was I going to do - forbid him from cutting it?

No. No I was not.

So Sam took him along the next time he went to the barber, and they both got their hair cut. No pictures, no video, but the barber did remember to send me home a few ringlets. As Max rounded the corner into my room that day, holding the baggie of curls aloft, the wind was knocked out of me. My baby boy looked like a man. A very little, stubby-legged man. It was eerie.

I hated it.

I got over it eventually, of course. Got used to the short hair. I didn't like it, but I had fun with it. Mohawks, fauxhawks, skater bangs, flock of seagulls - whatever I could manage with clippers and a pair of nail scissors, basically.

When Lucy was born, Sam grew his beautiful hair long again. "Your hair is beautiful!" people would exclaim. Once I watched him get fully accosted by a woman at Home Depot ("You can do it. We can help" indeed. She was going to just help her damn self until I walked up carrying a squirming toddler and a chainsaw) who ran her fingers through his hair while "helping" him at the customer service desk. Eventually Max got tired of hearing about how gorgeous his father's hair was, and what a shame it was that Max didn't grow his hair long too. Last year, he decided that maybe he would give long hair a try. Oh happy day! He didn't remember having long hair, so for him it was a big surprise when a thick head full of shining blonde ringlets grew in. Lots of em. It was like wearing a helmet. A sweaty, blonde helmet. Huh. Hadn't really factored in the pre-teen sweaty factor. Not as enchanting as I had remembered from his toddler days, that's for sure.

For months now, he has been marching around dripping with sweat, his curls flopping in his eyes, his hair just a few inches shy of a ponytail. He is always tossing his head around as though he's mid-seizure, and you couldn't see those beautiful blue eyes with all of that hair in his face. I hate to say it, but he looked like a slob, and always seemed hot and annoyed by all of those curls he had on his head. I bought massive amounts of conditioner, and he amassed a collection of hats. I lived in fear of The Uku, which is just no way to live at all. Finally, I gave him an ultimatum: Put your hair up, or cut your hair off. I was sick of looking at it, sick of inspecting it, and sick of buying Fabio over there, all of the necessary hair products. And then one terrible, dark day, I realized that I sounded like someone's mom. From 1962.

What the hell was wrong with me? I had to stop, I had to get over this June Cleaver bullshit.

Easier said than done. They had a point. I am here to tell you, mothers in the mid-1960s must have been drinking heavily. Because I had to chant a mantra to myself some days, just to keep from losing my mind. It's just hair. It's fine. I'm fine. He looks fine. And then I developed a twitch: he would toss his hair, and I would wince. But dammit, I was not going to say anything. Okay, maybe I said something.

Little did I know, we were both getting sick of the hair hanging in his face.

"Shave it off, mom." he announced today. Was he calling my bluff?

Damn. Was he saying this because he thought that was what I wanted? I didn't want to shave it off. But I really wanted to shave it off. I was a woman on the brink of madness.

"Think about it for a while." Sam advised him after catching a quick glimpse at the look on my face. "We can talk about it at lunchtime." Max rolled his eyes. I went and dug out the clippers. Just in case.
After a few hours that were spent in the mid-day sun gardening, they trooped back inside for lunch. "So dude, what' it gonna be?" Sam asked as he made them sandwiches.

"I'm ready to get rid of it." Max replied.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Mommies are not allowed to die

Mommies should not die.
They should not be allowed to die. Their role is to create and nurture life, and dammit they should be left to do that. They can also run the country or fly off into outer space or drive a big rig or sail the seven seas - but they have to come back home, wherever home may be. Which is to say, where their children are.

Children should not be left motherless.

This past week, I got the news that pathology results from biopsies taken during my surgery last week had come back clear.

I did not have cancer.

Which is good, because I don't have time for that bullshit. I am going to recover, and heal, and continue to be here for my children, for as long as they will have me.

Since becoming a mother, mortality has taken on a whole new meaning. There is a bubble that you live in when you have a newborn - this sort of parallel reality where everything revolves around a completely dependent brand new human being. You sleep at odd hours and you spend a lot of time cleaning up some pretty disgusting stuff, and sometimes someone pees IN YOUR MOUTH and all you can do is laugh, because it is just how things are. They need you to live. You live for them. Nothing is the same as it ever was. And the first time I realized as a mother that parents can die - that I could die - the bubble just......burst. Sometimes parents die. Sometimes, children die. Sometimes parents and children die. I will hear that a young mother or a young father passed away, and I will be sad, and I will feel grateful, and I will be reminded to appreciate my life, and I will be able to move on. For the most part, I am able to process it in a healthy way, and not go off the rails.

And then sometimes, that does not happen at all. Sometimes, something happens that is so terribly awful that I do not even know where to begin to deal with it. And I go to a very sad, very scared, very dark place. A place I am carefully avoiding right now, because I know that she would never, ever want anyone to remember her like that. And because it does no one any good. And because it is not about me.

This weekend, someone's mother died. Three someones, actually. Three children woke up on this crystal clear Saturday morning and were told that their beautiful, vibrant young mother who loved them more than the earth and sky was never going to hold them in her lap again. They would never smell her hair or hear her voice or feel her arms around them.


I saw the breaking news report posted on my twitter feed, and again on my facebook, coming from various news outlets. It was strange - to have it showing up over and over again like that for a local accident. Very unusual. One, two, three times it popped up - finally I clicked on the link the third time, mostly because the headline mentioned a road that was a block away from my house.

It was early. We had just left the farmer's market, and we were driving up to Lucy's ballet class. While Sam steered the car up the mountain road, I had turned on my phone and scrolled through my newsfeed. When I clicked over to the story I saw the name and I froze. I thought "No, it must be a different woman with the same first name, I must be remembering her last name wrong. Because it can't be her. It cannot be her."

We had just reconnected last week at a friend's brunch, and talked about our kids and school and her plans for becoming a teacher. This was not just a name and some clinical details about a one-car accident on a country road. I did not know her well, but I did know her - more as a mother than anything else, for she was a mother through and through. She loved being a mother. She embraced it. She was the epitome of the word. Gentle and strong, loving and firm. She had a kind face and a nurturing, comforting spirit.

If you met her, you would wish she had been your mother. She was so young, and so sweet, and so beautiful. My clearest memory is of her sitting on the floor at a playgroup, with all of her children climbing over her like puppies as she sat in the midst of them, beaming.

And on Friday night, she was in a terrible accident on a winding road.
And now she is gone.

The children are surrounded by love and light. They have a father, and aunts and uncles and grandparents who all adore them. But they do not have their mother.

Something has gone terribly wrong somehow, because mommies are not allowed to die.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Steve Jobs died and I'm taking it personal

The first computer we ever had was a Mac. Dad brought it home when I was in the 4th grade - which was in 1984. I had no idea - until today - that the Mac was invented that year. My father was cutting edge in several ways - namely in getting Saab in 1972 before anyone even really knew what that was, and his life-altering switch from Budweiser to Coors. And then, with this. He got an Apple credit card, and bought himself a computer. My father was, unbeknownst to me, one of the pioneers of desktop publishing. Apparently.

One day, with very lttle fanfare, dad brought home a square, tan case with a shoulder strap, unzipped the top and pulled out a square, tan box. He set it down on a table in my parent's bedroom, and the rest is history. Within a few months he was publishing a newspaper on that thing, and I was spending hours drawing strange patterns on MacPaint and playing carefully approved video games heavy on word play, all the while desperately pretending I didn't want an Atari like Dina across the street.

I was too young then to appreciate the gift I was given: I was 9 years old, and I knew my way around a Mac. I wasn't just learning how to type - which is a skill that I developed quickly at that young age - I was also able to cut and paste, to move boxes of text, to caption photos, to spellcheck, and change fonts. And with desktop publishing, it was easier for my father to work from home - a mixed blessing to be sure, but I did learn an awful lot about desktop publishing. I also learned that the closer you got to deadline, the more you had to shout "FUCK" and the less time you had to go get another vodka tonic from the kitchen.

Important life lessons I carry with me to this day.

It might surprise you to know that even after being raised in a completely Mac-centric household, I have never owned my own Apple computer. In fact, even though I was at the forefront of the mac culture right out of the gate, I basically stalled out in 1990. I have an ancient laptop. I bought a Droid phone. I did break down and get an iPod a few years ago, but we don't actually use it that often and I only have a few albums on there - I hate hooking the damn thing up to my dinosaur computer and as a result I have been slow to download music off of my cd collection - never mind trying to upload anything from the internet. But I understand the convenience of the technology, and the way Steve Jobs has changed daily life for everyone. His contributions are immeasurable, and I know that there are still ideas in development that we don't know anything about yet. And I know that some day I will get up to speed - only about 15 years behind everyone else - but I wouldn't even be there if it wasn't for Steve Jobs.

My fear is that, without his ideas and foresight, who's going to come up with this stuff? He is the golden child of technology, and I haven't even fully integrated all of his amazing developments into my life yet - what if I have questions? What if I want something different? I just can't believe we are out of time. Now I feel like I have to go buy a Mac. Before someone at Apple starts really screwing it all up over there.


Steve Jobs encouraged artistic expression through technology, and provided the tools to accomplish that. He was able to combine high-tech with fine art, color with light, sound with picture - and he made it accessible to everyone. Even if we didn't know we wanted it yet.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Bitching about folks and stuff, continued. PART TWO. (The one where Sam forgets the clothes)

We drove directly from the valet at the hospital (yes, we have Valet parking at the hospital) to the valet at the resort, and I somehow staggered up to the front desk. The nurse had thought to cut off my hospital bracelets when I was discharged, so you would never know I was ill, except for the fact that I was walking doubled over with a limp, and my hand was bleeding from the bruise I got from the IV, my hair was standing on end, and I still had a lede from the heart monitor stuck to my shoulder.

I looked totally normal if normal people look like they just escaped from a hospital/war zone.

I rested both arms and my chin on the front desk and waited for someone to give me a room key.
I might have burped.

We went up to the room and after some confusion with housekeeping I was finally propped up in a lovely bed piled high with white linens, and an amazing view. All ready to recuperate. "You need anything?" Sam asked as the kids ran in circles around the room swatting each other with towels and rash guards. He leaned over and patted my leg sympathetically.

I sensed that this might become a theme of the weekend - Sam hovering in concern while the kids annoyed the shit out of me.

"I need you to leave me alone. I brought you all with me so you would have something  fun to do - not so that you would spend the day with me in this room."

"Um, okay. Geez, how do you really feel?"

"I feel like shit, man. I had my stomach cut open six times last night, and a bunch of stuff scraped out and now I just want to be left alone to clot."

"Right. Nice."

So they left, and I dozed off in front of the tv, waking up occasionally to hit refresh on facebook and check texts. The problem was that I was pretty drugged, and having trouble seeing straight. Eventually I gave up. That night we went downstairs for dinner, and I was nervous about eating. The nurse had assured me I could eat anything within reason, and just suggested I avoid fried or greasy foods.

So naturally I had the BLT Butterfish and the lamb. It was completely reasonable.

The next day I felt like hell, almost as though I had been stabbed repeatedly in the stomach. Go figure. The anesthesia was worn off completely, and I hadn't slept for more than an hour or two at a time since surgery, and that dinner was totally kicking my ass. I was restless and uncomfortable, alternating between pacing the pool area, and pacing our hotel room. Checkout was noon, and Sami wandered upstairs with the kids at 11:45am. As soon as Lucy was dressed, I took her with me and went down to the lobby to deal with the paperwork, leaving Sam in the room to pack up and get Max ready, and then take the bags down to valet and load the car.

We drove the hour home in silence. I was completely exhausted, and high on Vicodan.

Sam brought the bags inside, and asked if he should put the towels and bathing suits in the washing machine.

"Great, yeah, that would be a good idea." I nodded. "Wash them on cold, okay? And maybe put my dress from yesterday in there. Did you stick that in your suitcase or mine?"

"It's in the laundry bag."

"Okay, where's that?"

He stood there.
Deer in the headlights.

"Sam" I said slowly "where is the laundry? Where are our clothes, Sam?"

God bless him, he looked so confused. "Didn't you get them?" he asked.

For a split second I thought maybe I had. And then I remembered that NO I hadn't packed up his dirty laundry. I hadn't packed anything besides my own clothes as I changed out of them, because I had just had my stomach cut open. I had packed all of the clothes to go on the trip And made food. And done laundry. And changed sheets. And cleaned the fucking bathroom. And not for nothing, but I had just provided a completely free weekend in a six star oceanfront resort. But no. No, I hadn't packed up his dirty socks and underwear. My bad.

MY clothes were in my suitcase. Except for this dress that he had so helpfully put in some mythical laundry bag that he was now unable to locate. My eyes narrowed.
That dress was my favorite.
That dress was from Anthropologie.

Someone was going to die.

"Shit." he said.


He called the hotel, and they were able to locate the bag of dirty clothes that he had left on the floor of the hotel room. As I announced later on facebook, the man had zipped an empty suitcase shut and rolled it out of the hotel room. He had taken it downstairs, and put it in the car, and taken it out of the car, and carried it into the house, and it had never even ONCE crossed his mind that perhaps it felt......light. I mean, even taking his obvious brute strength into account, he didn't notice that the bag was empty?

He didn't notice that the bag was empty.

If I thought the drive home was quiet, well....the drive BACK TO THE RESORT was deafening.

"So tell me, at what point did you think that I was responsible for packing anything at the hotel? Was it when I was able to pee without assistance? Maybe when I was finally able to operate my cellphone without you typing the numbers for me because I couldn't see the screen?"

"No, I know, I was supposed to pack. I just forgot about that bag."

"You forgot about "that bag"? That bag had ALL THE CLOTHES. You forgot ALL THE CLOTHES. You did not, in fact, pack ANYTHING. You didn't forget anything. Except everything."

"That is not true."

"It is true!"

"No, I remembered to pack something."


"I remembered to pack the toothbrushes."

"The toothbrushes? Really? Do you want to go there, Sam? Are we talking about the same toothbrushes you had to go out and BUY YESTERDAY because you LEFT OUR TOOTHBRUSHES AT HOME?"

"Well, yeah."

"Well then I guess I owe you an apology Sam."

He graciously decided to let it slide.

Screw the photo essay, I'm going back to bitching about stuff and folks. PART ONE

Judging by the precipitous decline in readership following my attempt at photojournalism, I can only conclude that you do not come here for my mad photography skills and clever captioning. You don't have to tell me twice - I read you LOUD AND CLEAR. Which is why today and tomorrow I will not be posting a single photo. No, instead, I am going to be unloading some seriously repressed emotions regarding the division of responsibility in my household, and how this weekend, I felt as though perhaps it was just COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY OUT OF BALANCE. Now, to be fair, I am emotional, and my nerves are frayed, and I am experiencing a serious hangover from the general anesthesia that was administered Friday afternoon, so perhaps my judgement is skewed.

Turns out that having extensive -albeit laparascopic - abdominal surgery leaves me feeling a bit out of sorts. Go figure.

Let me back up and start from the beginning.

On Wednesday, we decided that my gallbladder needed to come out. Sooner rather than later, actually. Sooner was Friday. The general surgeon was on board as soon as I told him I was feeling worse by the hour. And then another surgeon (who had already been planning on taking a look in there in a few weeks) cleared her schedule to get in on the action. And then a third surgeon wanted to put his own stamp on things. So one two three - THREE surgeons scrubbed in for the Daffodil Campbell version of an afternoon delight. I should have brought party favors and cupcakes, or at the very least, my flask - but I was sort of distracted and to be honest I had trouble choosing a theme. Then Sam flat-out refused to stop and pick up a pinata on our way to the hospital. He is no fun at all.

Surgery wasn't scheduled until 2:15pm Friday. I received my instructions Thursday night: nothing at all to eat or drink after midnight.

Nothing. For 13 hours.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I do not go for 13 hours without food. Ever. Even at my sickest, I have always managed to choke down some yogurt or something in the morning, because my blood sugar gets all wonky. But Friday morning it was strictly NPO all day long. So I did what any normal mother would do before going to the hospital.
I did the laundry.
I changed the sheets on all the beds.
I made meat sauce from scratch.
I vacuumed our bedroom and cleaned the bathroom.
And then - with 30 minutes until check in time at the hospital - I took a shower, hopped in the car, and zipped down to town. Sam dropped me off right in front of admitting, and I kissed him goodbye and told him I would have them call afterwards. He went to get the kids from school, I went to get my stomach cut open.

My anesthesiologist looked like Anthony Bourdain, which I found strangely comforting. Two of my surgeons were there before I went under to talk to me and reassure me that they were present and accounted for, and lucid, which I also found comforting. There was rock music playing in the OR and they put a warm blanket on me and started the drugs. And then they went ahead and got to work. While Sami drove the kids home and gave them snacks and walked the dog, the team removed my gallbladder. And detached my intestine from my liver. And found some fallopian tube that was left behind during my hysterectomy, and missed again during follow up surgery. I had a total of 6 incisions - but since they were able to do everything laparoscopically, it means much faster recovery, and much smaller (almost non-existant) scars. 

I was scheduled to go home that night - laparoscopic surgery doesn't require a hospital overnight - but they couldn't get me to wake up. I can't say I did it on purpose, but I haven't had a good night sleep in three months, so you can't really blame me for riding that anesthesia as far as I could.

The problem was, I had somewhere to be that night.

I had a pre-existing work commitment, and it was something I was really looking forward to. This whole surgery thing was planned sort of last-minute, and coincidentally right around  the time I was supposed to be released from the hospital, I was also supposed to be checking in for a staff retreat at a hotel on the other side of the island. And dammit, having my gallbladder removed was not going to keep me from a free weekend at a hotel. Sam knew that was my plan, and as the hour got later and later Friday evening, he started to panic a little bit. He certainly didn't want to be the one to tell me that instead of going to a hotel I was staying in the hospital on a plastic mattress with an IV that didn't even have a morphine pump. He kept calling to be absolutely sure they weren't gong to let me go home. He had the car packed, and the dog was already at the kennel for the night. Finally, at about 8:30pm, the nurse told him it couldn't be avoided. I was spending the night in the hospital. He suggested giving me some more medicine to insure that I actually didn't wake up at all until morning, for everyone's health and well-being.

She thought he was kidding.

When I finally woke up at 9pm and realized I wasn't going to the hotel that night to sleep in a luxury bed and have room service, I was pissed. The nurse brought me some broth and tea to make up for it. I was not amused. They added some jello, and it took everything I had to not wind up and throw it into the hallway. Then they told me I couldn't leave the hospital until I peed in the potty.

Fuck. That. Shit.

You need me to pee in the potty? Oh, I'LL PEE IN THAT POTTY.

I sat on that toilet off and on for almost 5 hours. Turns out, my brain would not let my body pee. It's a trick that general anesthesia plays on me - I am completely unable to pee for hours afterwards. But I persevered. Mind over matter. I sang, I watched youtube on my phone, I played solitaire, I drank endless cups of tea, and I walked in circles around the bathroom. At 2am I triumphantly staggered out into the hallway, clutching my IV rack, with my johnny untied and hanging open, and a piece of toilet paper stuck to the bottom of my foot. "I peed." I announced. "I want to go home now."

The nurse coaxed me back into my room with a syringe of morphine, and I followed her like the pied piper. She got me settled in bed, dosed me liberally, and turned on the Food Network. I was just about to doze off, sort of woozy and cotton-mouthed, staring catatonic at Guy Fieri. And then my roommate woke up.

I think we can all agree that, even under the best of circumstances, it can be tough to have a roommate.

The hospital is not the best of circumstances.

I realized within 30 seconds that she was in the bathroom, and had not bothered to close the door. She was in there, peeing and farting and flushing - all with the door wide open. When she shuffled past again shortly thereafter, I was also aware that she had not bothered to wash her hands.

I immediately decided that I had to get the hell out of that room. But the morphine was kicking in, and I couldn't remember how to call the nurse, and they were making brisket on Food Network, so I decided to wait until I saw my nurse again to raise the red flag of bio-contamination.

And then I forgot.

I woke up at 7am WHEN SHE DID IT AGAIN. "That's it." I said to myself, struggling up out of the bed. "I am outta here." I texted Sam, and went and found a nurse and informed everyone that I was going home. I offered to take out my own IV, but they insisted on handling it themselves. Sami and the kids arrived as I was digging my clothes out of the plastic bag I had stuck them in the day before during pre-op.

"Hey." I greeted them with a smile. "Did you bring up my toothbrush?" Sami looked panicked. "Uh....did you pack a toothbrush?"
"I threw my whole kit in the overnight bag in case I got admitted yesterday. Remember?" He looked relieved and unzipped the bag he had dropped on the floor as he walked in the room. "I just told you to pack for the kids." The panicked look returned.
"The kids?"
"Yep, remember, I said 'I'm putting their clothes in here, but nothing else.'"
"Oh. Yeah."
"Do you need to go to the drugstore to buy toothbrushes now?"
"Did you remember everything else?"
"Um, I think so, yeah."
Turns out, notsomuch.