Category Archives: Family

No Context For You – February 10th

There are places that we need to have ready if we should need them – but we really don’t want to ever need them.

There are places that don’t exist that we desperately need to have, but we go on every day knowing that they’ll never exist.

This reality thing is really weird sometimes.

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No Context For You – February 01st

No matter what you think this might be, it’s not. I’m pretty sure of that.

Tomorrow is Groundhog Day. While that’s one of my all-time favorite films, I don’t think there are any days in the last couple of weeks that I would want to live over and over and over. While we’ve come out the other end in pretty good shape, the journey to get here has sort of sucked.

But February’s going to be better!

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In & Out

It’s not just a premium hamburger chain any more. It’s how we spent our day dealing with the hospital, starting at 04:30.

The Long-Suffering Wife is back home again tonight, and that’s a good thing. It was touch and go and she actually was re-admitted this morning, but they think they’ve got the latest issue figured out and corrected, so we’re gonna try this “sleep in our own bed” thing again.

Much better is the fact that the biopsy results are in and they show her to be CANCER FREE! We are not anticipating the need for any follow up treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation. They caught it early, they dealt with it, we have a great doctor, and despite the usual annoyances and delays that are a part of dealing with a huge, complex operation (see what I did there?) like a major hospital in a huge healthcare organization, it went just about as smoothly as could be possibly be hoped for with results that are about the best conceivable given that we’re dealing with cancer to begin with.

See, posting that “FUCK CANCER!” thing last night twice worked! (That was odd by the way – WTF is up with FaceBook with that particular issue?)

Now I really, REALLY need to get some sleep. A third of a night’s sleep combined with three weeks’ worth of adrenaline is highly contraindicated.

 

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FUCK Cancer – Again

I know it’s been said before, unfortunately even here previously (five years ago), but it’s time to say it again:

“FUCK Cancer!”

Tonight I brought The Long Suffering Wife home from the hospital, having once again had a major surgery for cancer. We are hopeful that it was caught early (we won’t know exactly for a few more days when the biopsy reports come in) and she’s an Olympic gold medalist in quick healing. It helps a lot that the procedure was done laparoscopically, and it helps a lot that she had a truly outstanding surgeon. Still, they were telling us to expect at least four to five days in the hospital, possibly even twice that, and she’s home in half of that.

So now it’s time for recovery again, a slow climb back to a new “normal.”

It also should explain the tone of many posts in the last couple of months. Let’s hope that the tone can improve along with the situation.

(Interesting – FaceBook in their infinite prudery won’t allow me to post a link that has “fuck” in the name? Let’s see if this alternative URL name will work…)

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FUCK Cancer – Again

I know it’s been said before, unfortunately even here previously (five years ago), but it’s time to say it again:

“FUCK Cancer!”

Tonight I brought The Long Suffering Wife home from the hospital, having once again had a major surgery for cancer. We are hopeful that it was caught early (we won’t know exactly for a few more days when the biopsy reports come in) and she’s an Olympic gold medalist in quick healing. It helps a lot that the procedure was done laparoscopically, and it helps a lot that she had a truly outstanding surgeon. Still, they were telling us to expect at least four to five days in the hospital, possibly even twice that, and she’s home in half of that.

So now it’s time for recovery again, a slow climb back to a new “normal.”

It also should explain the tone of many posts in the last couple of months. Let’s hope that the tone can improve along with the situation.

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2018 – The Year Without Christmas

In what I will almost certainly always remember as one of the most bizarre and chaotic years of my life, above all 2018 for me will be The Year Without Christmas.

I understand that there are whole cultures on the planet which include billions of people to whom “Christmas” is only an abstract idea and commercial construct from a distant Western culture, something that gets rammed down their throats as they make their living in June making cheap toys for under our trees in December.

But I’m not a member of any of those cultures. And while I may have rejected the religious basis for the holiday when I rejected the religion, and while I may be incredibly cynical about the commercial aspects of the holiday, there’s still plenty left to “Christmas” that is warm and comforting and familiar. (And, no, I’m not talking about the damn Hallmark Christmas movies.)

Childhood memories of Christmas are happy ones. (Not all other childhood memories can say the same.) Even as a young, single, college student, going home to my parents’ house at Christmas was something to look forward to. When I got married and had kids, making Christmas special for the kids made it special for me. And for decades as my kids grew up, a significant family tradition of putting up enough Christmas lights to become a hazard to local air traffic.

In 2018…

After everything else that went on in that God-forsaken year, we had the opportunity to go away for almost two weeks, to Seattle and Kansas Cityto see some football and a whole slew of museums and other sights. The kids are grown. The pets are gone. The office is closed. Why not? Wasn’t this exactly the sort of opportunity we’ve been waiting for all these years?

The trip was a lot of fun and I don’t regret a moment of it. But there was a tiny side effect, which wasn’t completely unexpected, but I misjudged the magnitude of it.

There was no “Christmas.”

We were flying from Seattle to Kansas City on Christmas Day. As expected we found KC to be pretty much shut down on Christmas Day, not a fast-food joint to be found open and most of the regular restaurants shut down as well. We ended up scrambling just to find a place to have dinner.

The hotel was festive and decorated to the nines with a huge Christmas tree in the lobby – but it wasn’t home. We had put up our tree before we left, but in all of the chaos and being gone, this is the first year in several decades that I don’t have a picture of it.

There was never a single gift put under the tree – the trip was our gift to ourselves. And since we were gone, the gifts for the kids and others were just gift cards delivered by email and FedEx and UPS.

Mostly as a result of the new, smaller house, but also as the result of 2018’s time pressure on me and the chaos that seemed to fill the year, the number of lights put up was less than 20% of what we normally put up.

New Year’s didn’t do much better than Christmas. We were flying back home on New Year’s Eve and our big “celebration” for the evening was finding an open grocery store and getting enough staples to make it through New Year’s Eve and Day without needing to go find an open McDonalds. With the jet lag and the early wake up call to make our return flight, staying up to midnight wasn’t quite the thrill that you see on TV.

Overlaying it all was the “trip mentality” where I was completely unanchored from my usual routine, leaving me constantly trying to remember what day of the week it was and what the date was. On Christmas Day I literally forgot a dozen times that it was Christmas Day, leaving me wondering where everyone was on the freeways in KC and why there weren’t any stores open. If you want to feel stupid, have that dazed and confused “what planet are you from?” look on your face when you say to some Hertz rental car clerk, “Wait, you mean TODAY is Christmas??!”

Now we’re already a week into 2019 and the routine is being re-established. But there’s a hole in the end of 2018. Where normally there would be memories of presents and family celebrations and college football bowl games and a big turkey dinner, we now have memories of museums, BBQ, and freezing our butts off at Arrowhead.

The new memories aren’t bad in any way. For the most part they’re all wonderful. But they’re not “Christmas.”

So where do we go next year for “Christmas?” London? Hawaii? Rome?

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Opportunities Exchanged

Sometimes the universe offers interesting opportunities. No doubt it’s all just coincidence as filtered through the forebrains of some slightly evolved apes who have a knack for pattern recognition and not some higher power trying to guide us. But still…

Last Thursday, John Scalzi was in Los Angeles on his latest book tour. (“The Consuming Fire” just came out last week and I finished it on the plane today – it’s very, VERY good, I enjoyed it tremendously, FYI.) I’ve gone to see him on his last four or five book tours and I highly recommend catching him if you ever can.

But last Thursday I couldn’t, or didn’t, make it out to see him on tour this time around. Too many priorities, a location that I would have loved to see but is harder to get to during rush hour, etc. Lots of reasons to not go and not enough excuses to make it happen. I was disappointed, but not devastated.

Then I noticed in his schedule that tonight he was going to be in Raleigh, NC, on the other side of the continent. By sheer coincidence, I’m in Raleigh, NC tonight, for a family wedding this weekend.

Coincidence? Or message from the gods??!!

Right. Coincidence. Still…

There’s one opportunity. While we were travelling all day to get here and had to be getting to our hotel and meeting family for dinner and so on when we did get into town, it might be possible to boogie out of the family events by 7:00 PM. Maybe. The signing tour site isn’t that far from our hotel, and by LA standards (where “across town” can be 120 miles and six hours at rush hour) it’s literally almost walking distance. (Granted, I’ve run marathons and enjoy walking, so two miles might mean something different to me than it does to others.)

That’s one opportunity.

On the other hand, at dinner I got to meet my new grand-niece-in-law (?!) for the first time. She’s a two-year-old sweetie and I need to get started early on being a bad influence for this next generation. I am, after all, the “funcle” in the family. (A certain amount of exhaustion and some challenges in getting a two-year-old dressed to go down to dinner led me to being labeled “Funcle Pants” at one point, but that’s a story for another day.

That’s another opportunity.

In the end I chose to spend time with my new future co-conspirator, which earned me both hugs and the pride and joy of hearing her learn the phrase “Funcle Paul.” I’ve seen Scalzi before, and will no doubt see him again many times in the future. But there’s only one chance to become Funcle Paul.

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