Adventures in Adulting

Due to circumstances of the physical, mental, and social variety, there are many things that I, a fully formed adult, have not yet done on my own.  Given certain limitations over the past 20 years, I am a little late to some of the parties.  For instance, my credit score.  I don’t have one.  Well, I do, but I am what is called “credit unscorable,” meaning I have very little activity, credit-wise.  But, I do have a little debt.  My husband is “credit invisible,” meaning he has absolutely no credit history, and no debt attributed to his score.  That is at least something we can build on, I knew none of this until I started looking for an apartment, another grown-ass human thing I never really did before.

Now, this is not my first apartment, but in the past it was different.  It was desperate.  First, there was an emotionally unstable anciet landlady who barely spoke English and tried to evict us for “no GD reason,” as per the cops that showed up Easter Sunday to make sure we were out.  So, we moved quickly to a dump that was available and rented out by an LLC who kicked us out 2 years later to renovate (I’ve yet to see that happen, PS.)  So, again, desperate, we move to a place owned by a landlord who makes unstable landlady look like my lovable grandmother and literally causes both my husband and I to catch a PTSD diagnosis from our respective psychiatrists.  Desperation again, and I find this place:  a nice apartment just the right size at the right price with a good landlord who makes me feel at ease. 

Now, six years later, and time for change.  The rent elsewhere has skyrocketed, and they know they are losing money on us.  We know we have outgrown where we are.  And so, I make the decision, for the first time, to move on.  What I want is for them to fix this place up and get more money for it.  That might sound weird, but this has been my home for six years, and I want only good things for it and the people who provided it to me.  When the billion bucks was on the table for all of us last week, Mark and I were talking about what we would do with a bunch of money…not even a billion, but enough.  I’d leave some for my landlords, so they could update.  Like a thank you, because it might be their house, but for a while, it was my home.  And their kindness over the years helped heal some of the scars left on me from my previous landlord.  I am appreciative. 

But I am broke, so instead I’m just going to try to clean the hell out of the carpet, which has seen 6 years of my kids growing up and God knows how long of the family of toddlers that lived here before us.  I am PRAYING there are decent hardwoods underneath this thing for them.

But I digress…

So in looking for an apartment, sans desperation for once, I am encountering moments of adulthood I was not previously familiar with.  Like, credit scores, and their total ineffectuality when it comes to renting property.  Why, landlords of Buffalo, does my credit score apply? Just ask for a rental receipt.  I don’t know how you budget, but rent always gets priority in my house.  I will take a shutoff notification from the electric company and I will take a deferral on my student loan and I will take some bread from the food pantry, but you can be absolutely certain I paid my rent.  But no one keeps track of that.

Then I go to a showing and learn of a software called Avail that lets landlords use rent payments to apply to your credit score.  I don’t know why EVERYONE isn’t using this, but if they were…I wouldn’t be looking to rent an apartment right now.  I’d be taking out a loan with my good credit to put a down payment on a house that’s mortgage is HALF MY CURRENT RENT.

It’s a flippin’ scam, kids.  Adulthood is a scam.

Y’know, I’ve yet to buy a car that I didn’t find on Craigslist, also.  I can’t wait for that day, I’m sure my head will explode in a similar fashion.

Anyhoo…I continue with my apartment hunt.  I plan to be out the last week of September, so if anyone in the Buffalo area knows of anything available then…hit me up.  Unless they want a credit score, in which case they can GTFO.

Toe Trouble

So, on Thursday I decided I wanted to go down by the creek and kill an hour fishing.  I do this on occasion in the afternoons when I don’t have anything going on, and I find it to be a really good stress reliever for me.  Afterwards, I went to Aldi’s to pick up some dinner, and as I am pushing the cart through the store, I think to myself: “Gee, my foot kind of aches…probably shouldn’t have worn flip flops today.”  I continue shopping.

I drive to Mark’s work and pick him up, and then head home.  I take my shoes off, not thinking about the pain in my foot because it really does just feel like I needed to take my shoes off. I go about making dinner.  When everything is in the oven, I think “huh, my foot still kind of hurts.”  It hurt the way a toenail that need to be cut does, so I grabbed the nail clippers and took a look at the toe in question.

The toe in question was caked in blood.

Vague panic as I cleaned it up and thought of my dead Aunt Ka.  One day, before she was dead, naturally, she stepped on a nail that went straight through her shoe and into her heel.  She walked around all day with that nail in her foot, completely unaware due to diabetic neuropathy.  At the end of the day, she noticed her shoe was filled with blood, and went to have the nail removed.  This story horrified me as a child, because I just could not fathom how you wouldn’t notice a flippin’ nail in your foot!

Welp, I too have diabetic neuropathy, so of course I didn’t notice that I had practically sliced off my middle toe.  If you don’t want to know what it looked like, skip the remainder of this paragraph…ohmygod it was like a sliced hot dog.  You know Beeker, from the Muppets?  It looked like his MOUTH.

Anyhoo, I started panicking something fierce.  I think it was shock, and some rush of chemicals to the brain, because all of a sudden, I was going a mile a minute and couldn’t sit still, my thoughts racing faster than my quick speech, and my hands shook like I was freezing. It was bizarre, and somehow, I drove myself to the WellNow to get it looked at, walking in the front door and telling the nurse at the desk that I hurt my foot.  She picked up immediately that I was not in a well state, both physically or mentally, and they took me to a room where a nurse cleaned it and calmed me and then told me I would need stitches.

Still freaking out, they took me to a procedure room and the doctor came in and took a look.  He told me that since I am diabetic, and since I was at the creek, and since they have no earthly idea what did this to me, he can’t stitch it because it would make for a greater risk of infection.  If they closed bacteria up in there, I could lose the toe, especially being diabetic.  So instead, I got some glue and some steri-strips and a tetanus shot and antibiotics.  I was told to keep it dry and rest for a few days, which I did, more or less…resting has never been my strong suit.  I mean, I spent all yesterday morning on my feet at my new jobby.  Fortunately, there was little to no pain and I didn’t even need Tylenol when I got home.

So, yeah…I have no idea what happened.  I surmise that something cut me at the creek…what, I’ve no clue.  The doctor said it was a clean cut like a razor or knife, not like a rock or stick or something sharp in nature.  And too big to be a fishing lure or something like that.  Whatever it was, it was super sharp.  But I hobble on.

Anyhoo, that’s all for today, just a tale about my toe.  Happy Tuesday. 

“Friends” in High Places

I wrote some time ago about my mother, and the fact that she was in a semi-coma after complications following a quadruple bypass.  While her condition has improved in many ways, she remains in the hospital, though she will likely be transferred to a rehab soon.  I visit, and she knows it’s me because she smiles or kisses my cheek, but I can’t talk to her.  She can’t speak, and I can’t carry a one-sided conversation very well.  It has been months since I have heard my mother’s voice.

Driving home from taking Mark to work this morning, I remembered something kind of silly about my mom; one of our morning conversations that wasn’t about anything pertinent or serious.  It was October of 2019, and I came in that morning all a flutter, because this:

DO YOU KLNOW WHO THAT IS??

That is the one and only Mr. Joseph Gordon Levitt, former child actor turned Hollywood star, now CEO of a social art platform built to connect creatives.  I am a BIG FAN, and have been since I was a 12-year-old watching 3rd Rock from the Sun. He was one of the folks I followed on Twitter early on, because Twitter suggested him to me.  Over the years, I watched as he started hyping HitRECord, and eventually I checked it out for myself.  Then I made my first post, and tweeted about it, just to drum up a reader or two…lo and behold, the above photo.

Anyhoo, when I tell my mother this, she finds it fascinating, because she finds Twitter fascinating.  She once asked if she should get an account, and I said no, and she replied, “well, if the *President* is on there, maybe I don’t want to be.”  Still, she loved hearing about the connections I was making around the world via my Twitter, and Joe Levitt is definitely her favorite. As time went on, she would check in.

“How’s your friend Joe?”  
“Who is Joe?”  
“From Hollywood.”  
“Ma, Nick lives in Hollywood; I don’t know a Joe.”  
“From that John Lithgow show…”

Sometimes I play along.

“Oh, he’s great, got a new film coming out.  Focusing a lot on HitRECord, too.”  
“Oh, good for him!”

Listen. I obviously do not know Joseph Gordon Levitt, but I think it’s adorable that mom sort of thinks I do.  And given current circumstances, I am loving that I thought of this little memory this morning, because it reminds me of all the fun, silly things about my mother that I have been missing, 

I won’t lie to you and tell you that the road is getting easier, because it is not.  It is still very much an uphill climb.  But at least I have moments along the way where I can throw my head back and laugh.

No Magic Words

You know that feeling when someone passes away, but you don’t really know them, and you feel for the people that have lost them?  That’s me this week.

As the usual reader knows, my brother-from-another-mother is a man named Kevin.  A brief backstory on Kevin’s family tells us that he was adopted.  In his early teen years, he discovered he had two sisters, Jessica and Melissa.  This delighted the boy who wanted family, as all kids do, and he was happy.  Over the years, he has grown closer to both of them.  I know Jess pretty well, as we are almost the same age and she lives in state, while Melissa, the youngest, has been elsewhere for some time.  We’d met a few times, but I don’t know her the way I know Jess.

The other night, I woke up around 2am, for no reason. There was a text from Kev on my phone, stating that his little sister had died.  I knew he meant Melissa, in the way that I sometimes know things.  He wasn’t awake at 2am, but I wanted to hop in my car and drive to his house and hug him, because ohmygod, I would be crushed. 

I was a little crushed.  She was too young, it was a tragic accident, and it hurts when someone you know passes, no matter what your relationship.  And then, I ached for Jessica, who grew up alongside her sister, and Kevin, who I think always wanted that chance, to grow with siblings.  I mean, we always had each other, and I consider him to be the brother I never had, but it isn’t the same, especially when you’re an adopted kid looking for some sort of tether to your heritage. 

He went to Tennessee the next day, where Melissa lived.  Were it a decade ago, I would have dropped what I was doing and gone with him, but alas, it is not.  Instead, I went to work, but I worried all day.  I worried for my friend, and hoped he would be alright out there, and when he came home, he described the whole experience as “intense,” and I suppose that is probably the best word to use.  I felt intensely when I heard she was gone, not for myself, but for her siblings that loved her so much.  I felt sad because I always meant to hang out with her, for real, as adults…and I will never get that chance.  But furthermore, her family will never get the chance to see her grow and change and become more herself, and that is what makes me sad. 

I am sad for my friend Jessica.  I am heartbroken for my brother, Kevin.  But I have no direct contact to Melissa, so I feel almost fraudulent in my emotions, as though I have no right to have them.  Alas, I know, through years of therapy, that all emotions are valid, and embracing them isn’t the end of the world.  So, I will accept that I feel terrible, but I know it is only because people I love are hurting. 

Perhaps the gods will grant me some magic words to say to make it all better.  Probably not, though.

Edit: Melissa’s gofundme can be found here.

Death of a Smile

Housekeeping first:

By next week, my domain names will expire, because I haven’t enough cash for the webhosting bills. So it will be back to wordpress.com/hamneggs716 and wordpress.com/brigidhannon for a bit, until finances are situated. Thing is, we are very strapped and have to move apartments during a rent spike, so this is not the month for this bill. If you would like to help out, I would direct you to the tip jar link on this page, where you can make a donation that will go directly towards writing expenses, like this damn domain bill. Also, CashApp for Ham ‘N Eggs is: $hamneggs716. (Just throwing it out there.) But in the meantime, I will have to scale it back a bit.

Anyhoo…here’s a blog:

In middle school., we learned about eating disorders.

I myself was an overeater-I discovered the why and what of it all and was able to heal from the trauma that caused it, and find healthier ways of eating.  This took years, but I came to have a good relationship with food.  But this isn’t about having an eating disorder, it’s about what that health class in 6th grade stuck up inside my brain, one little fact that fixed with me for some reason: bulimia teeth. 

I learned that when you were bulimic, sometimes, your teeth rotted and chipped due to the profuse vomiting.  I don’t know why this stuck in my head…probably because the universe is an author, and we love to foreshadow. 

I was rewatching one of my TikTok’s when I noticed it.  My teeth were…not right.  Now, you have to know two things going in: 1, I have always had perfect teeth.  “Movie star teeth,” my dentist called them.  2, I have more body and appearance confidence than I have any right to have considering I spent my adolescence as a fat, four-eyed, balding weirdo.  Since about 8th grade, I have eschewed beauty culture for body positivity, embracing the “you be you” side of the lens. 

Well, folks: my teeth are screwed up from vomiting due to gastroparesis and I’m super insecure about it.

They have eroded a little.  There are cavities.  There are a couple of chips in the back.  They are weak, and discolored, and I am self-conscious for the first time in a long while.  I have found that it is super easy to love the skin you’re in…until you don’t.  Until you look in the mirror and don’t recognize the face staring back.

I want my glasses back, too.  I like not wearing them, especially when watching a movie at night, but I hate having to put on specs to read, and I wish I could just wear a pair all the time.  I can, actually, I just haven’t gotten the prescription yet.  I was on the fence; now I think I’m over it. 

Because since not having my glasses, I have noticed my teeth. So maybe they are connected.  Probably.

E tells me I have a beautiful smile every time she sees me, and the flaws are hardly noticeable, because she knows I am insecure regarding it, and she wants to reinforce that I am beautiful to her no matter what…I know I am.  I love her for her efforts.  Still, I see my once perfect smile eroded, and I only think the worst.

I have to call a dentist, but I’m scared.  Scared it will hurt, scared it will take time and money, scared I won’t like the result.  But I don’t like what I have right now, and it will only get worse, so I have to human-up and do it.

In the meantime, I will be smiling with my mouth closed, because I am self-conscious, and battling with insecurities I haven’t felt in years.  I am damn near 40, and yet, I feel like I am 12 again when I look at my smile, and feel that old familiar pull of frustration and shame that comes with not seeing yourself the way you want to.  Someday, I hope I look in the mirror again and smile…maybe with fixed teeth, maybe without. 

Either way, I will work on trying to accept myself, because even when you are 40, body image is a bitch.

Retroactive Reunion

Saturday night was my high school reunion.  I was prepared to go.  I got dressed, even put on makeup, and was driving down Harlem Rd.  I came to the 33, and instead of going straight as planned, I hooked a right and went elsewhere.  I blew it off.

Many moons ago, my friend Chelsea and I made a pact to attend this reunion, our 20 year…well, 21, given Covid.  However, Chels was out of town.  I messaged Jaime, and neither of us seemed to know if we were going until it was time to go.  I’m still not sure if she did.  I do know that I did not.

First of all, most of my friends from high school are scattered now, and people that I would like to see are out of state or country.  Sure, I’d be happy to see other girls from school, but my core group of friends really wasn’t going to be represented.  Secondly, while the school held an all-class bash that I also did not attend, the reunion itself was at a bar and I wasn’t in the mood.  I would have preferred something at the school, or perhaps outdoors.  I don’t really drink, and I’m not about to spend a ridiculous amount of money on food or something, and I generally do not enjoy a bar atmosphere anymore.  So, the whole idea of going just seemed oppressive.

Still, I wanted to, which I why I got ready and started driving.  But then, my anxiety woke up.

It already wasn’t a stellar day, but when my chest tightened as I drove down Harlem, I knew a mistake was being made.  See, high school was no high point for me, and traumatic memories came flooding back as I drove, making me feel like I am not as healed as I thought I was.  So, I turned right, got on the 90, and headed towards Carey’s house. 

Evening found me sitting on her porch overlooking the Niagara River with my husband and friends, and feeling happy.  Much happier, and much more myself, than I would have felt at that reunion.

Save my close friends, those girls don’t know me.  Many of them barely tried when I was right in front of their face, so why should anyone try now?  I used to worry about reunions because of my lack of successes.  My graduating class is something of a powerhouse, and I have always felt subpar in comparison to them.  But then I became an author, and that stopped mattering.  Now, apparently, the only thing keeping me from reuniting is bad memories. 

Anyway, I think I’m going to ask Chelsea and Jaime if they want to get dinner sometime soon, and perhaps a couple of the other girls that I do wish to see, because I did have good friends that I miss.  Still, it is hard for me to separate the good part of my high school experience from the bad part.  Perhaps I need another 20 years.

Algorithmic Blues

I’m forcing myself to write right now, because I haven’t had the urge too much lately.  That’s not quite true actually, I have had the desire but not the means…simply no time.  This morning I have a moment or two, but really, I am so tired I would rather be curled on the sofa watching Grace and Frankie.  Alas, it is Monday, a fresh week, so here I sit.

I wrote a poem called Uvalde, and I made a video for it, which I posted on Facebook and TikTok and also here in my blog.  It did well on Facebook…not so much on TikTok.  So, I had to look around as to why.  All my friends on that platform loved it, but then I realized…It was only reaching my friends. It only got 30-something views over the course of several days.  Then, almost on accident, I stumbled across an article about the TikTok algorithm.

There is a feature on TikTok where you can add captions to your video.  I always do this, not just for the hearing impaired and those sneakily watching at work, but also because I am a writer and my words are my strength-so of course I want you to see them.

What I came to find out, however, is that if you add captions to your video, sometimes you may use words that TikTok doesn’t approve of.  If they find such words in your captions, they don’t promote your video to For You pages.  So, naturally, I used the word “gun” a few times in my poem about gun control…apparently, I should have used an emoji.  I also used “dead,” for which the article tells me I must write “unalive.”

Are you fucking kidding me?

I know a lot of kids use TikTok so I’m guessing that’s where this algorithmic rule comes into play, but most kids over the age of 6 can make out most words-I’m saying they know how to read.  And what’s more, they can HEAR me say whatever I want-so whether I put an emoji or the word “gun” in the captions…kid just heard me.  It’s stupid, beyond measure.

I joined TikTok because I thought it would be a cool way to share some of my work, and it is, but I’m a little peeved that if I write certain words, it will be censored. If you want to keep kids safe or whatever, kick them off the site.  Probably shouldn’t be here anyway.  Or, make all videos need approval.  Go big or go home, essentially, don’t walk a tightrope between free speech and censorship.

So, I took the captions out of my video and waited 24 hours and lookie here! 300 views.  Yes, I did totally screw myself in the algorithm…but I shouldn’t have, because it’s ridiculous and shouldn’t exist.

That’s my gripe for today, folks.  I wish I had a little more to say, but I do not.  As previously stated, the sofa has been calling my name this morning, and I still have four more projects I need to work on, so I will cut this one a little short.   Do have a happy Monday!

Buffalo Strong

I had a plan, you see.  I was going to write today about the Bans Off Our Bodies rally I attended on Saturday morning.  Then, for Thursday, I was going to post about how I caught my biggest fish yet, and how nature has replaced church for me. 

But then, after fishing, I stopped at the Tops on Harlem real quick to get some milk, and then I headed home and curled up with my phone…y’know, to check my socials and messages and such.  I saw a Facebook post from a friend about the local hospital, and suddenly the world crashed down and the fish, and even the rally, seemed insignificant.

On Saturday afternoon, 13 people we shot and 10 people died at the Tops on Jefferson, fifteen minutes from my house, because a self-proclaimed 18-year-old white supremacist decided that was the place in the state of New York where he could murder the most black people.

That is a lot to unpack, and I don’t know how much I will get to in just one post.

I had just walked out of a Tops.  I texted Jaime…she had just walked out of a Wegmans.  How many of us went grocery shopping on Saturday afternoon? It may seem silly, but knowing that I was doing the same thing as my neighbors on the east side of town when they were gunned down…it just turned my stomach.

As details came out, we learned the shooter had posted a manifesto online, as well as livestreamed the attack on Twitch.  We discovered that he had selected the Tops on Jefferson because that zip code has the highest black population in the state.  Our elected officials made it very clear that he was an “outsider.”

Cute.

Listen, I love my city, deeply.  But we have a racism problem…deeply.  We are on the list of the most segregated cities in the nation, and even a tourist can tell, folks.  Have you EVER taken a visiting friend to the east side for any reason, white Buffalonian reading this?  Ok, actually, I have done this…I took a friend there because they wanted to get some weed.  That’s the reputation the east side has in white Buffalo.  Drugs, crime…and black people. 

Now, I’m not saying there aren’t white folks on the east side, because there are certainly black people in my mostly white south side neighborhood as well, There’s just less.  Everyone who lives here knows: the whites live in North and South Buffalo, the blacks live on the east side, and the Hispanics are to the west.  All of this sounds super racist, and it is.  It’s also a fact. 

My neighborhood is strongly Irish, and therefore mostly white.  We live within ten minutes of 6 grocery stores…3 of them are Tops.  The Masten neighborhood is mostly black, and they have one.  Wegmans won’t set foot over there.  There’s an Aldi’s not too far away, but you would definitely need a car to get there, and Masten is a lower income neighborhood, so that’s not an option for everyone.  People in that area live with food insecurity everyday…I don’t.  I might feel like it lately, while money is very tight and I can’t get the things I want, but I do have enough food in my cupboard to survive.  I’m not worried about where my next meal is coming from.

And I’m not worried about being shot at my grocery store, either.  Probably should be, but I’m not, at least not by a Nazi.  I am never worried about being attacked by a hate group, because I am a white woman, and no one wants a dead white girl on their hands.  Generally, I don’t worry about gun violence at all…because I am privileged.  The people in that grocery store are more worried about it than I am, because someone gets hurt on that side of town from gun violence nearly every day.  My point here is that I worry about neither guns nor white supremacy, because I live in a “safe” (read: white) neighborhood.  I put “safe” in quotes, because it isn’t, exactly.  We have crime, too.  We have our low-income section, and we have folks who just don’t give a crap sometimes, also.  Overall, though, my neighborhood is definitely considered “better” than theirs, here in Western New York.

Anyway, like I was saying, mayor Byron Brown was adamant that the terrorist came from outside the community.  Here’s the thing…I know more than one person who was betting on which suburb this asshole came out of, because we all automatically assumed he was a WNYer.  EVERYBODY knows we have a racism problem in the area.  We had a crapton of arrests in Erie County related to Jan. 6th.  I remember seeing tour buses carrying folks down to DC.  Yes, my city is mostly democratic, but the outlying areas are abundant with MAGA republicans.  And while Buffalo itself tends to vote blue, we do have a fairly dodgy police force to contend with, along with the basic segregated setup of the city.  I mean, my first thought when I heard about this shooting was: we need to check on our black friends.  Might sound racist because I was thinking about their skin color, but the truth of it is that they all use that grocery store, because they all live on the east side.

Me, I went to that Tops once at 8am to use the bathroom on the way home from a doctor’s appointment.  I have never had any reason to be there, other than that.  I only ever go to that particular neighborhood if I am visiting the Science Museum there.  I have often wanted to…they have a big park with an amazing splash pad that my kids would have loved in their youth.  Alas…we never went. 

Racism is a huge problem in my city and if you don’t believe that then you either don’t live here or you’re a racist.  It’s as plain as day to anyone with a conscience that we need to change the way we do things around here.  Because that murderer wasn’t from here…but he could have been.  He oh-so-easily could have been.

Buffalo is known as the City of Good Neighbors, and it is.  One time my car got stuck in a snowbank on the east side, and four very large black men approached.  I would be lying if I said I wasn’t slightly nervous (of course, their gender trumped their skin color in my mind, but still.)  These gentlemen pushed me out of the snowbank and got me on my way.  I was exceedingly grateful.  Yeah, maybe it’s true that nobody wants a dead white girl on their hands, but I’d also like to believe that nobody in this city wants anyone to be in trouble if they can help.  Do you have any idea how many snowbanks a stranger has pushed me out of, or how many times a neighbor mowed my lawn just to be nice, or helped shovel the sidewalk?  Tons and tons and tons.  All we do is help each other, which is why I have no doubt that we as a community will make it through this crisis.

So sadly, I can’t tell you about how great the rally was, or how big the fish was.  Maybe I will save those for later this week, but they have become afterthoughts in my mind.  And I’m nowhere close to being done talking about what happened in my city, because I am a firm believer that if you want change you have to stay and fight for it.  All I know right now is that my heart hurts for this place I love so dearly.  I only hope we can all find a way to heal.

My Tiniest Bestie

I didn’t write this week, except a piece for my Patreon, because I was too stressed out to settle my head into any sort of space to get work done.  Even now, a part of me doesn’t want to sit here at the desk and peck out my words, but I am because if I fall off too hard, I won’t get back up.  So, here’s some words about my tiniest bestie.

Last night I was feeling down, so after work I went over to my Gram’s house because on Fridays there’s always folks over for dinner.  It was just her, two of my aunts, and my 12-year-old cousin, G.  I was going there solely to get a hug from my Gram, because Gram hugs are the best hugs, but I ended up with a solid gold 10-out-of-10 hug the moment I walked in, and it came from G.  They are short, so they wrapped their arms around my waist and squeezed and said they were happy to see me.  This filled me with joy and made me feel instantly less crappy.  G has a way of doing this, though, and has been doing it for over a decade.

I remember the Easter when my aunt Mary told me she was pregnant and I was so excited, and then the following Thanksgiving they burst on the scene, a miracle baby made from love and science!  By the end of June, my yet-to-be husband was living in their house, and I was seeing them every day.  They would toddle over in the morning and take my empty coffee cup and climb onto the sofa beside me and watch the news while pretending to drink from my cup.  Mark would play blocks with them and read them stories.  They would holler out the window at us when we were in the yard, baby-speaking to us as though we  could understand them.  “Skibidee,” or “Skibs,” remains Mark’s favorite nickname for them-those were the noises they would make when they were in deep conversation with us, before they learned their words.

After Mark moved out, I didn’t see tbem as much, but we still had playdates often and family events where we would hang…and that’s when I realized-we hang.  They have always thrown down with me the exact same way an adult would.  They has always been considerate and kind with me, never bossy or manipulative or begging or the million other things kids can be when they are kids.  They show great maturity when with me, so in turn, I have always spoken with them as though they are my peer.  G isn’t just my little cousin, or a friend of my kids, they are my friend.

So yesterday, when I needed a friend, I walked into the door of my grandmother’s house and found one.  They ran up to hug me and instantly took away my rain clouds.  We sat across from each other at dinner and they had conversations with me and Gram and my aunts, and it was lovely.  They also drew me a picture of a cat, which I shall keep because I personally also think they’re a brilliant artist.  The moral of the story is that I went home smiling and now it’s morning and I’m thinking about them and I’m still smiling.  So what if they’re 12?  That’s a good friend that can make you do that.

G’s first Christmas.

The World Ain’t Slowing Down

On Thursday, I had therapy.  My counselor was quite pleased, because for the first time in our year together, I was at baseline!  Sure, there was some circumstantial stuff happening, but overall, I was peachy-keen, and we were so pleased with my mood.  Then Friday happened, and I thought, “welp, that was a nice minute of calm.”  I desperately want to get in for an emergency session right now, but my therapist is booked up at the moment so I’m waiting on a call back…which means that you, dear reader, get to play counselor today.

My mother, as I mentioned previously, had a quadruple bypass on the 19th of April.  She came home the following Saturday, and was doing ok.  In the mornings, I would go over and make her coffee and get her pills and wake her up, so Dad can sleep in a little.  On Thursday night, she called and told me not to come over at the usual time, which is between 5 and 6am, because she wanted to sleep in.  So, I set my alarm for 7am, when I have to take my eyedrops.  I woke then, got myself moving, and headed over to Mom’s at about 7:15.  I made the coffee and got the pills, and went into her room to find her sprawled on her back making a terrible noise.  Dad was snoring beside her, completely unaware.  I tried to wake her, but it was no use, so he finally came to when he heard me yelling at her, and tried smacking her in the face.  Nothing.  We tested her blood sugar and it was very low, so we trier to get sugar in her, but she only choked on it, and I had to get behind her and lift her up, which couldn’t be good for my eyes or her heart, but needed to be done.  No use.  So, we called 911.

As I type this, I think of my mother some time in the future reading it, and doing two things: one, she is crying because she feels terrible to have put us through this…which is silly, mother.  Stop that.  And two, she is slightly peeved I’m posting this on the internet, but you know what Maureen?  I can’t talk to you right now, so I’m going to go talk to them.

Anyway, she’s been unconscious since.  There have been slight improvements, in that her brain scan is normal, her blood sugar is normal, and she has been moving her hands and feet and occasionally opening her eyes.  Nurses seem to think she is aware that she’s got tubes in and is in the hospital, but that’s about it.  It has become a long game of wait-and-see.

Friday was extremely hard for me.  It was very triggering of my PTSD.  First, I am confronted by a woman in a bed who is making a terrible sound…just like when I was 8 years old and found my Grammy dying in her bed, her death rattle signaling me to get an adult NOW.  And then they put my unconscious mother in the ICU at Mercy…just like when my aunt Ka was dying, and they made me visit her there.  Nope, sorry mom.  I love you, but I cannot just walk myself into a waking nightmare.  You know that.  You don’t mind. 

So, when I told Sahar what happened, she packed a bag and drove up from Cleveland because she is the best, and she spent two days here trying to keep me busy.  I blocked a lot of Friday, so I don’t know what we did, but I know she was next to me the whole time.  And on Saturday Beth came by with breakfast, and then Sahar and Mark and I took a drive and went to get groceries.  At night, we went to the bar at the corner and heard my cousin Dom’s band play, which was a good time.  (Funny sidebar: so Dad calls me while I’m there and I can tell he’s in the car and he says “WHERE ARE YOU” and I panic, assuming the worst.  I tell him I’m at the bar, and then he says “oh ok, be right there.”  Man just needed a drink.)

Sahar didn’t leave until 2am, when I was tipsy and tired.  I woke up feeling surprisingly not terrible considering the previous night’s drinks, something I have all but given up since living that gastroparesis life.  Mark and I went to the History Museum to se the Cherry Blossom Festival.  It was a nice little walk through a beautiful little park, and then we went to wish my Gram a happy 91st birthday.  Sahar went home to Ohio, and now it is Monday and back to the normal life.

But it isn’t the normal life, because Momma isn’t here in it at the moment.  The doctors are positive.  Her brain scans came back normal, and she has been moving around a bit, but there is no real change.  They just tell us to wait, as through I am not the most impatient person on the planet.

But I will wait.  And I will hope and pray and wish and wonder, and soon my Momma will wake up and read this and say “Jesus, Brigid…did you have to tell them everything?”

Alright.  I’m off to call my therapist again.  Have a…Monday.  Just…have a Monday.

This is one of my Momma’s favorite songs.