2021-06-05 Cliches About Time are Cliche Because of Their Truth

The push and pull of all these days blurs into a gravity that begs to be let go of. Time is relative. Emotions are relative. Thoughts are relative. The next thing can only be measured against the last and the moment in time that lingers longer than it should, repeating itself in the mind, becomes greater as time passes. It’s natural.

Funny how the more you want to let it go, the harder it holds on and the harder you want to hold onto it, the faster it slips away. Why? I often think that I’m not ready to work on answers to the questions yet, because I’m still working on the questions. Maybe in my last minutes wandering this waking world I’ll come to understand the questions. Maybe then, and only then, I will feel ready for the answers. 

Since the funeral on Thursday, I’ve been replaying the same moment in my head over and over again. Each time I think maybe I can get through it without that emotional swell that brings me to tears. 

My mom and I arrived 20 minutes early for the funeral and there was no one in the receiving line before entering the main part of the chapel. Even before I saw the line, I could feel my emotions rising through my body, in my stomach, and up into my throat. By the time I was standing in front of my ex, i was already full and bursting from the eyes. I attempted to maintain my composure as I gave him a light hug and offered my condolences. 

Next was his mom, who I had been most worried about and felt very sad for. She hugged me tightly and whispered in my ear, she loves me, she’s glad I came, thanks for sending flowers, and that I’ve done a good job raising the kids. 

See, I can’t think of it now without tearing up again. 

I was worried and anxious and had nothing to worry about. I wish I had been more prepared. So many unsaid things are in my head and it’s too late for me to say them. So now they are stuck inside of me. And now I realize it’s too late, their “stuck-ness” hurts. 

I proceeded down the receiving line. Kristy, Wendy, Scott, and Larry. Family that used to be my family. Family that would be my family had I stayed married. Family that I was separated from suddenly and unnaturally. It was the toughest part of my divorce and standing there I was reduced to my younger self, broken and exposed and not knowing what to say. 

I hugged each person in turn, followed by my mom making easy casual conversation with folks the way she does. Why couldn’t I have inherited her easy social nature? 

We proceeded into the church and selected a spot near the back of the room. The service was nice. The personal portion was touching and the religious portion allowed me to splay my thoughts in different directions. 

My children were there, sitting with their cousins and though I said hello to them, it felt like I was approaching strangers, not really a part of that circle. They are all so grown up. The oldest cousin having children of his own now. That’s life. 

We didn’t stay for the reception after. My mom was in a hurry to get going. I almost regretted bringing her as I may have stayed longer if it wasn’t for her. It was probably for the best. I don’t really belong anyway and it would have been awkward. 

That was 2 days ago and that 120 second clip of navigating the interactions in that line will not stop replaying in my mind. Two mornings now I’ve woke up thinking about it. The words whispered, the embraces, the flood of emotions. It leaves me wondering what I will need to do to release myself from repeating that memory. That’s the question. 

I’ve told three people, and each time I began to get weepy and still that did not help. I’m hoping writing this will help. I guess we’ll see. Time will tell. 

Time heals and time wounds. Time is forgiving and cruel. Time keeps its secrets until it’s too late, revealing the questions when the answers no longer matter. 

My former father-in-law is gone and I can no longer tell him how I feel about him and how much he means to me, my memories locked inside because I’m not able to sit around the table with the family and reminisce. 

I can’t reach back in time and change anything. I can’t rewind and ask my grandfather about his life. I can’t stay in touch with Stacey and convince her life is worth sticking around for or change the way I treated KS. Life goes on and as cliche as it is, it waits for no one. 

That’s a good a place as any to stop. There’s more I could say about family and attempting to spend more quality time lately, but it’s Saturday and going to be hot out and I need to water my plants. 

Another cliche but so true—there’s no time like the present.

With peace and love, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-05-29 KC Road Trip Part 1: It’s All Going to Be OK

This is new. My daughter is having her first “friend” road trip/weekend and I’m backseat chaperoning and trying not to backseat drive. She drives like a teenager—too fast, following too close, and extremely irritated when I offer pointers. I’ve seen what she calls her most social finger waving to me from the driver’s seat at least 4 times now. I have to bite my tongue.

Right now she has one hand on the wheel and one hand awkwardly gripping the top of her Starbucks cup, sipping some overly-sweet concoction that doesn’t even have coffee or espresso in it. In my head I imagine she squeezes too tight and the lid pops off and the seat of my car is irreversibly sticky, uncompromisingly ruined as syrup and melted whip cream seep into the seams of the fabric. 

I wince as she removes her “wheel” hand to pinch the straw and swirl it around the bottom of the cup. 

The miles stretch on as we pass semi after semi. She read somewhere that driving seven miles over the speed limit is “acceptable.” Acceptable meaning, you won’t get pulled over. Sometimes I have to look away, close my eyes, take a deep breath, and remind myself (in my head), that it’s all going to be OK. 

This is her trip and she’s waited a long time to get to do something like this. It would probably have happened during or just after her senior year of high school but the Coronavirus had other plans for all of us that year. So much of what was supposed to happen had been ruined and, at times, I feel like I am overcompensating–trying too hard to make it up to her. I feel like I might be doing that for the rest of her life. Letting her drive is such a small thing. 

I have to remind myself that I did this trip to KC when I was her age—a right of passage for many teenagers from CB and Omaha alike. We didn’t have chaperones. We rented a motel in town the night before we left, didn’t have reliable cars, or smart phones. Hell, we didn’t even have enough money for gas for the trip home. We didn’t think too far ahead and didn’t worry about breaking down or all the terrible things that could have happened. We just went and it all turned out OK.

***

It’s all going to be OK. 

Or is it?

***

When my daughter approached me with the idea for this road trip.. I was all for it. I would even have been ok with her and her friend going without supervision or help. They are very responsible girls and my daughter is a serious planner so she would have thought of everything well in advance. Well, only the things she knew to consider anyway. 

It was her friend’s parents that would not let them go without a chaperone which I happily agreed to do. I even said up front I would stay out of their way and let them call the shots (hence the driving situation). What I didn’t realize then was that the weekend they were planning was a holiday weekend and also one of the first of the season when the main activity they wanted to travel for would be bonkers busy. The destination I’m talking about is Worlds of Fun in Kansas City. 

All the planning in the world can’t prepare a person for the fresh hell we experienced at the park.

We arrived at our hotel in Liberty Missouri about 1pm and were able to check in early. Side note for all you young travelers—in these parts you can’t rent a hotel room unless you are 21 years old. It’s a good thing I was along for the ride! 

With no time to waste, we changed and drove a stones throw up the road to Worlds of Fun.

Parking? No problem.

Waiting in queue to enter the park? No problem.

Navigating to our first ride? No problem.

But that was the end of our problem-less sidewalk.

We surveyed the line for the first “starter” coaster we wanted to try. It seemed extremely long. We got in it anyway. In about 10 minutes time it barely moved. Red flag. 

The woman in front of us was eavesdropping on our conversation, part of which included the fact that there was a Panda Express right next to the ride and how absolutely gross their food is. After a few more minutes she says, “you guys know this line is for the Panda?” Ugh 😩 

So we wasted about 15 minutes in that line and quickly made our way to the correct line, which didn’t seem all that long. In fact, I kinda remember the last time I was at the park and it was equally as long. It moves pretty fast. I said to myself. 

It didn’t. 

And it’s one of those lines that you can’t really see where it winds around as the queue is out of sight. Well, you can’t see it until you’re already far enough that you’ve committed 40 minutes of your life to it, which is exactly what happened. And it wasn’t moving fast.. It was barely moving.

My daughter was the one who made the call. We dipped out of the line to go elsewhere. Mind you, we arrived at the park at about 2pm and now it was 3. She said “which way do we go?” 

I urged that we head toward the Mamba, which is the major coaster at the back of the park. She said “we can’t start with that one!” 

I said, “ok. We’ll stop at a few on the way.” The first one the girls were interested in (that was operational) was the detonator. An extremely tall tower that you sit in and it shoots you up like a rocket. There are two towers, 12 people at a time each. We got in line. 

Between people with fast passes and only one of the two towers being operational (and clearly incompetent people running the ride) it took two hours and forty-five minutes to get to the front of the line.

After dipping out of the line on the first ride, we were all-in on this one and no way we were leaving without actually getting to ride. It was horrible. The ride was good, but not worth the pain. 

When it was over, the girls looked at me for direction. I just shrugged and said “maybe if we hurry we can ride the mamba before the park closes.” The park closes as 7pm. We sprinted in that general direction. 

We got as far as the end of the line and made the call, no way in hell we were waiting in that line. We retreated and continued on the path to leave. It was now about 6pm and we had been at the park 4 hours and rode exactly 1 ride. I was one hot mama on the hunt to get my daughter a refund for the hundreds of dollars she spent on tickets for this weekend. 

En route to the exit, we stopped at the Zulu and waited in line 45 minutes to ride it. So 5 hours and 2 rides. I explained to the nice kid at guest services that my daughter paid in advance for three people for three days at Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun including a fast pass for three people for Sunday that she purchased while we were standing in line at the detonator.

They were ready. They knew that people were angry and it’s not like we live here or have season passes and can come back any day. No. This was a destination for us. This is the whole reason we came to this city. We wanted a refund. I told the kid “there is no way we are returning for two more days of this.” They gave her almost all of her money back, including the money for the tickets for the current day. What a relief. 

Sad to be so relieved to not have to go back to an amusement park, but true. 

We eventually found our car in the sea of departing vehicles and got in yet another queue to leave. Little did we know that the park was not done with us yet. The line to leave didn’t budge. We sat for 20 minutes without even driving 1 car length. There are a series of parking lots all connected by one road. One way in and one way out. 😩 

So we waited. 

My daughter had happily given up the driver’s seat and sat behind me googling directions on her phone. She said that there was another road in the map, an alternate way out. I argued that if that was the case, more people would be going that way. 

She pleaded and I was just desperate enough to listen and indulge her. I peeled out of line and went the opposite way. 

We arrived at a gravel lot where the road was crumbling, but I continued to follow it around to another paved road that had a sign—no guest access. The girls giggled from the back seat, “just DO IT.” So I did.

We wound all the way around the back side of the park and came to what was clearly an employee / service area. Then we hit the end of the road. A large metal gate blocking the path. We could see the main road just on the other side of that. We were so close.

My daughter wanted to try and move the gate, but it wasn’t latched and it looked electronic to me. I started to back the car out to go the other way and she pleaded again to let her try. 

I said “it’s not the kind of gate a person can move. It’s probably operated from a remote or keypad or button.” Just then, I surveyed the gate again and saw a button. I said “like THAT ONE!!”

I jumped out of the car and pushed the button and sure enough, the gate began to open. Huzzah! Something finally went out way!! 

On our way out, we drove past the long line of cars still waiting their turns at the final stop sign before the exit onto the main drive. We probably saved ourselves an hour by bending the rules. And I was ok with that. I Just hope that decision is not going to come back and bite me in some way. It might.

***

Despite it being almost 8pm at that point, we found a spot for dinner and still had time left after that to visit Wal-Mart and pick up a card game and some snacks. I crashed out about midnight and vaguely remember asking them to turn the TV off sometime quite a bit later.

Now it’s tomorrow and so far this day isn’t going as planned either. But it’s not my day and it’s not my plan and whatever happens, it’s all going to be ok. Right??!!

Until next time,

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-05-27 The Elephant in my Heart

After a time.. feel as though my hiding from the world at large is exhausting.

Maybe I’m just exhausted from lack of sleep. No matter how productive I am, it’s not productive enough. 

Still..  was looking forward to today when I woke up. Despite the dishes piling up, clumps in the litter box piling up, and mail requiring attention piling up, I’m still looking forward. The biggest question now is if I’m writing that because I want it to be true or if it’s actually true. 

My friend T texted she won’t be at the exercise class today, the one I vowed a few weeks ago I was quitting but too chicken-shit to tell her so I ponied up 50 more bucks for 5 more classes. 10 bucks a class is outrageous. The only way I can get my monies worth is to get the unlimited package and then go to like a gazillion classes. 

I need to grow a spine and just tell her. She probably already thinks I’m a complete flake, backing out of class after class. Then yesterday I went and lifted too heavy on biceps and hurt my arm. I’m going to start lifting with my husband instead. We have all this damn equipment at home I never use .. I just need another person to feel motivated to exercise (outside this treadmill walking). 

Why is that? 

I just need to tell T I want to hang out with her outside of a class, just you know, coffee or the zoo with her kids, or just sitting at one of our houses. 

Right now I’m avoiding the elephant in the room of my heart—the passing of my former father in law, my kids’ grandpa. He was a father figure to me for 18 years of my life and a genuinely wonderful person. I had a better relationship with him and his wife than my own parents who never paid any attention to me. His parents cared and they showed it.

And on it went like that through the duration of my 18 year marriage until the day I ended things with my ex husband and became enemy #1 in the eyes of my mother in law. I had to sacrifice my relationships with most members of his family for that decision, including the one I had developed with Larry. Sad that it had to be like that.

Just because I haven’t talked to them in years doesn’t mean I don’t feel grief. I do. I am hurting. I’m feeling it for myself, my ex-husband, my children, for the whole family. Funny the way it is when someone dies and you just don’t know what to say. I just don’t know what to say.

The kids are pretty closed up at this point, their first (close) grandparent to pass and just internalizing their own pain. They don’t want to talk about it and we’re all holding our breath in a vacuum waiting for news about services. The longer we have to wait, the more likely it willl be this weekend, which is in conflict with my daughters first planned road trip with a friend. She’s had so many disappointments from plans being derailed in the last few years, it’s disheartening.

I’m a little closed too, kind of feeling I have no one to talk to about how I feel about him or his dying. We all knew it was imminent, but that doesn’t make it any easier. I think most people would think I have no right to be upset, because it’s been so long but people feel how they feel. That is part of what makes us human.

For me this creates a bit of a conundrum about whether or not I should go to the funeral. If I had my way I would but Jim thinks I should not. I feel like it’s the respectful thing to do but he thinks it would not be right. It’s one of those situations where I don’t trust my own judgement and seeking counsel from others. Ultimately the decision is mine but I just want someone else to tell me what to do. But the fact that I’m resisting Jim’s advice is telling.

It has been 10+ years since I had interaction with the family. But I want to be there for myself and my kids. But they have their dad. But their dad might want me there. But he might not. My head goes back and forth and the worst part of my indecision is thinking if I go for myself that it will be selfish or self-serving like my mom saying she wanted to go to my step-moms funeral last year “for her kids” (all grown and not needing her and frankly not wanting to be there themselves). 

Still, maybe I need some sort of resolution for myself and I shouldn’t be so concerned what other people think. But I do care and their feelings matter. I just don’t know. 

If we were still in the middle of COVID, that would be a big reason not to go. But we’ve all been vaccinated now. I just don’t know. 

I’m not really feeling motivated to continue walking (or thinking about this) right now. I have so much to do today. Too much.

Deep sighs,

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-05-18 Music as Inspiration and Other Rando Crafty Thoughts…

I’ve had my new phone for over a week and finally.. FINALLY.. got my music library loaded. So now I’m officially down to using one device daily. 💃💃💃

This morning, instead of picking a playlist, I’m listening to the ultimate shuffle—all the songs that are in my library. Another advantage of my new phone is that it has space to hold all the music I’ve loaded onto iTunes on my laptop, which is a fraction of the songs I’ve acquired in my lifetime. I only load artists, albums, and songs that I want to hear so as to avoid spending time skipping a whole lot of garbage that I’m not into.

In any case, listening to the ultimate shuffle today began with Mrs. Potters Lullaby by Counting Crows. That’s a song I once got inspired to write a poem about. One of the few instances (besides my Fall Out Boy poem) where I remember the exact circumstance—where I was and when.

I was at the Panera Bread in Papillion on 72nd street and it was just after a meetup with my ex, Matt. I sat in a corner chair—one of the bigger lounge chairs that’s not at a cafe table. I had my laptop out and was writing when the song came up. I was immediately immersed in the song and stopped writing. I couldn’t remember hearing that one before and I’ve listened to a LOT of Counting Crows. 

After the song was over, I hit the back button to listen again. And then again as I began to compose a poem. I let the song influence the poem, both in meter and rhyme. Each time I listened I pulled a line or two out to mingle with my own thoughts and I repeated the song until I was satisfied that the first draft was complete.

I then closed my laptop and drove home. 

Months later I found it again, perusing my personal slush pile and worked on revising, with the limited knowledge I had at that point (still early in my MFA). I didn’t spend too much time on it though, dismissing it because of the heavy rhyme and all the lyrics I’d hijacked and twisted to suit my needs. I wondered if the poem was too much of the song. Would that be considered plagiarism? 

Fast forward about two years and I’m revisiting my slush pile again, hunting for something to submit to workshop for my final MFA residency. I had a lack of new material and really wanted to push the envelope with something I felt was good and worthy of workshop, but would spark conversation about rhyme and “stealing” lines. 

It did exactly that and I was pleased with the outcome, yet, I have not submitted that one for publication and as I write this, I’m questioning why not. 

Perhaps that should be one of the next poems on the agenda for revision and research. Research because sometimes it takes a little effort to find a place that the poem would be a good fit for. Many publications I research actually say that rhyming poems are a tough sell and honestly, the poem itself is lacking tension and that’s probably a problem.

But tension can come in many forms. The subject itself can be edgy, the writing can be such that it surprises, or the tension can be more subtle—hidden in the play between the fundamental elements of the poem. Interruptions in established meter or form, changes in diction, or juxtaposing simple colloquial speech with complex rhetoric can all be effective means to create tension. I just have to decide what my poem wants—what would work with what’s already there. 

But… it could be that this is just a learning experience and the poem isn’t meant to be out in the world. Many aren’t. 

Maybe the experience I can learn from happened years ago when I first composed the poem, leaning into a song for inspiration. Maybe the daily reading of poems for inspiration can be expanded to include whatever song I feel moves me the most. 

Right now I’m listening to a song by Justin Bieber and that’s NOT inspiring me to write anything. I like some of his songs but listening to the ultimate shuffle, I’m still left skipping through a lot of garbage. Ugh!

Times up now anyhow. The taco Tuesday train is about to leave the station. All aboard! 🚂 

Peace, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-05-07 On This Day in History… 🤱

Seventeen years ago, at this very moment, I was gettin busy pushing a baby out my vagina. That’s pretty freaking amazing right? That I can grow a human being inside my body and then birth it into the world in a matter of hours. 

More amazing than that is the mystical act of parenting. That a tiny, helpless being would be completely dependent on me in order to survive and thrive. And eventually get to the state of life where he could refuse to have his hair cut, develop an affinity for grape gatorade, and be sensitive and secure enough at 17 to hug his mama in front of his schoolmates. Yup.. pretty incredible indeed. 

He’s always hated having his hair cut. It wasn’t until very recently that, as a parent, I let go of pushing my own agenda for his hair. I let go and it was a beautiful thing. He’s not quite at man-bun stage yet, but well on his way. We’re now actively encouraging him to grow his hair out and get through the current awkward phase where it’s long enough to be in his eyes but not long enough to tie back. 

At first he thought we were trying to use reverse psychology on him but now we’ve reached the understanding that we’re all super stoked about it. His sister included, which I think seems to help. 

And contrary to his sister who was in line at the dmv at midnight when she turned 16 waiting to get her drivers license, he’s a year past that now and still has no interest in driving. His dad thinks he’s lazy and I dunno… I think he just has it all figured out. 

It’s not a bad thing to be chauffeured around everywhere and not be responsible for running errands for your parents. I was like that at his age. I never wanted to drive either and the sacrifice of being dependent on other people never bothered me that much. 

That’s why when his dad called me last week, in a fit, because C was refusing to drive, I just shrugged it. It will happen (his learning and getting his license) and I’m not worried. I just listened and said that I’d support helping him learn by driving with him when school is out. 

Also.. His dad having his panties in a bunch over it is delightful to me. That’s wrong, I know, but I don’t care. 😜

I’m actively working to slow down time, engaging in practices to allow the world around me to move at a pace that’s more amiable to my own. I don’t mind if it takes him the whole summer to learn and have drivers Ed. I don’t mind one bit. 

I’m sad to not get to spend any time with my super C today. He’s off school and hasn’t even responded to my text yet. I’ll wait a little bit and call. I’ll get my QT with him this weekend or next week. It’s a good thing that he gets to spend time with his paternal peeps today anyhow. 

Today is Friday and if I recall correctly he was born on a Friday too. Lemme check…. (Hold please)….

Yes! It was indeed a Friday. Thanks Google! 

That’s what made the timing so perfect for bringing him home from the hospital, We were able to do that on Sunday which just happened to be Mother’s Day. The same as it this week. 

Jim is off today and we’re just hanging out—cardio together, running a few errands for his son’s birthday, and probably yard work later. His sons 17th birthday is today too. How wild is that. 

At the same time I was pushing a baby out my va-j-j, my future husband’s first wife was having her belly cut into to extract their son. No disrespect to any woman who has had to have a C-section, but I’m glad to have done it the natural way. Even if they had to pull that baby-suction device out of the closet of the labor and delivery room to pull him out. Crazy times! 

Anyhow… that’s probably it today. Not a lot else going on. 

Three Cheers for Successfuly Slowing the Passage of Time, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-03-21 Questions of Life and Death

I guess it’s been a few days. I guess that’s what happens when life gets busy. I feel like I complain a lot about not ever having enough time but then something happens and I have even less time. I guess that’s the nature of life. Experiences that are constantly teaching you that you don’t really know Jack about life.

As of today my mom has been in the hospital for 10 days and she’s probably got 3 or 4 to go. I’m the designated visitor (at the Med Center you can only have one) and I’ve been to see her everyday. It’s fine, but I’m kinda tired of my new routine and am really looking forward to her discharge. 

She is making good progress improving but still needs so much help from the staff I can see that after discharge is when the real work will begin for those of us who will be her home care team. At least once she gets home she can have as many visitors as she wants. And I’m sure I’ll be able to get a break when my youngest sister comes home to help. 

My brother has made no mention of trying to come home for anything. I might be harboring some resentment towards him for that. But whatever. 

In embracing my new routine I’ve had no problem letting go of a few of the household tasks I typically have high standards for. I’m letting the kitchen go a little and litter boxes don’t need scooping daily. The cats will live. And if the other humans don’t like it, they can do something about it their damn selves. 

It’s Sunday and I spent some time checking my stats though I suppose that’s another thing I have let go thinking about most of the week. I didn’t write anything in my planner and there have been no to-do lists so the only stats I can collect are those from my FitBit and phone. 

My exercise is solid and sleep has been average thanks to the Trazidone. My new screen time goals feel unachievable and it’s not the social media interaction that’s the problem.. it’s text messaging. And that’s kind of unavoidable. However, I might do a full court press on that after my mom gets discharged. 

She “sat me down” yesterday to tell me that she’s decided to fight the cancer and wants to see her life extend beyond this next year. This might seem like a no-brainer but for her it’s counter to what she’s always thought about decisions like this.

For years she’s said that if she got this old she wouldn’t put herself through any extensive life saving measures. That she would just let go and let whatever it is take her naturally. I know this because she’s told all of us that several times, especially after watching her own mom pass away. 

This issue, though, came on so suddenly and she was in so much pain that she just went along with what the doctors and hospitals were doing and telling her she needed. She said she was caught between a rock and hard place and didn’t really have a choice. Now that her primary pain causing issue is on the mend, she’s facing a different predicament and 6 months of chemo and more surgery.

The way she sees it is that she does have more of a choice now. She can just go home and let the cancer spread and take her or she can fight it. So the conversation yesterday with her decision to fight is a big deal to her. 

I told her years ago I would support any decisions she would make. I still do. I haven’t verbally said that lately because I didn’t want that to influence her in any way. I mean, I can’t imagine saying to her now “if you want to die, I’m ok with that.” It’s got to be her decision alone. 

Instead of verbalizing my support of her decision I’ve just been trying to remind her of all the things she loves about life. And when she started talking about traveling and putting her toes in sand and doing things like walking out in the rain, I’ve been encouraging her. 

I might have even promised to take her to New York City. The Universe only knows if that will ever come to pass, but if it kept her thinking about living instead of dying, that’s ok. 

If I’m being honest, I don’t know if there’s anything that can repair how I feel about our relationship or her. I’ve lived my entire life feeling like my parents did a crappy job at being parents. I’ve held a lot of resentment towards both of them about how alone and invisible I was as a kid. I feel like my moms part in that was because she’s so selfish and made so many selfish choices. Some of which had a direct hand in the trajectory of my adult life.

I suppose that’s what makes her current “demanding” behavior harder to take. She’s particular and begun taking really well to the attention and immediate reactions to her “calls.” Those poor nurses probably can’t wait until she gets discharged either.

Most of what I’m doing I’m definitely doing out of obligation and my desire to “do the right things.” Of course I can’t tell her how I really feel. Not while she’s contemplating living or dying. 

I’m not sure how this will play out or if the extra time I spend with her can heal my old wounds. I really doubt it. I just keep thinking it will all get easier when my sister comes home. We’ll see. 

I’ve been walking about an hour and have to get going with all the Sunday things. 

With peace and love, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-03-14 Designated Daughter

The saying “Hurry up and wait” is often attributed to the military but I think is also quite appropriate for the hospitals and medical care. Nothing like waiting around all day for something to happen or change and being disappointed because nothing happens. And why is it that the waiting and nothing is also somehow exhausting? It makes no sense. 

My mom has a tube up her nose and down her throat and she was sure that when the doc (finally) came in yesterday in the late afternoon she was going to get them to take it out. Of course the opposite happened. He basically told her it was a slow process and would take upwards of 72 more hours to see real progress to help her predicament. 

Her predicament becoming more complicated every damn day. Her predicament being cancerous tumors lining her abdomen, a partial bowel obstruction, and now a large amount of fluid building up around her lower abdomen. 

The doc showed us a comparison of the cat scans last night, and the changes that have developed in just a few short days. Of course the build up of fluid is going to make her obstruction more difficult to resolve. I have to imagine all that pressure is making it worse. 

I’ve had limited exposure to medical complications in my life. I’ve never witnessed some of this. And let me tell you it’s pretty gross to think about a tube sucking the contents of your GI track out through the nose. It’s disgusting and smells horrible, but it’s the most non-invasive way to clear a person out (when the opposite end is not working). 

I think they are going to try to drain some fluid out of her today. It’s strange for me to say I will know more when my husband wakes up. He knows the surgical oncologist that’s in charge of my mom’s care at the Med Center. From Med school I think or maybe early in their respective careers. They talked on the phone last night but it was too close to the time I was just out of it. 

Out of it meaning that my unexplained exhaustion plus having a big meal when I arrived home (with a glass of wine), had lulled me into a sleepy state around 9:30pm. They talked as I was taking my tired brain to bed. If Jim gave me an update after that call, I don’t remember it. Right now I wish I did. I wish I knew what last night’s CT showed and what the plan for today is. 

It’s still pretty early and I’m dreading going back to the hospital. I was awake at 4:30ish and up by 6am. My mom texted before 7 and I’m currently on the treadmill (of course). 

*** 

I think my mom has a high pain threshold but very low tolerance for extended discomfort. When my grandma (her mom) passed away she pretty much said she didn’t want to “go out like that.” Withering away in a hospital bed, losing control of physical capabilities and her marbles. I get it, but what else can you do? 

After the consult yesterday and seeing the CT on the screen, she became convinced that this was it. It was just enough evidence to solidify the fact that treating all of her issues was not only going to continue to be unpleasant (to say the least) but it was also not going to end anytime soon. 

Even if the obstruction is resolved in the next 5 days (with or without surgical intervention), she’ll be facing 6 months of chemo and eventual surgery in her abdomen. After the doctor left the room she pretty much told me she was done. Like “done done” and ready to check out of this life. What the Universe am I supposed to do with that? 

And why me? 

When my grandma passed, my mom made me promise that when the time came, I would help her out. But this is different. She’s otherwise healthy and enjoys life. She has a lot of friends and enjoys her book club and her dog and bird and going on trips. She can still do all that stuff when she gets better but she doesn’t see it that way.

She said she’s satisfied with the life she’s lived and has made peace with herself about all the bad things she’s done in her life. She’s also recently found a new belief in God. This was news to me. She’s been an atheist for as long as I can remember. 

It’s really challenging to talk a person through treatments and expectations when they don’t want any of it. So now I’m not just the designated visitor.. I’m the one responsible for convincing her it’s worth it to go through all this shit so she can feel better and keep living her life. 

I mean, I know what I promised her years ago but that was all hypothetical. What am I supposed to do? 

Again I ask.. why me? 

We’ve never been close. She’s so much closer to her youngest daughter and their mother/daughter experience was much better and more supportive than ours ever was. 

Growing up my mom was always so preoccupied with the other parts of her life and never had time for me. I was a very lonely kid. My parents were divorced and I lived with my mom but my primary role was babysitter. I had two younger sisters—8 and 16 years younger than me. I was an “easy” kid who was quiet and got good grades so easily never the priority. It sounds terrible but I feel like I never had the love and help and support I craved.

I left home at 18.. or rather I was kicked out because my mom chose to side with her husband in an ongoing conflict between him and I.

I moved in with my dad but that didn’t last long as I got married and escaped my situation completely when I was 19.

After I left home, I never looked back. And never had support from either of my parents in anything I went through as an adult. Yes, they showed up to celebrate holidays and birthdays but that’s about it. 

So why is it that I’m now in charge of both of them? 

I clearly have a chip on my shoulder. Good gravy!! 🙄

Jim says I have to be the person because I’m a good person and it’s the right thing to do. So after a lifetime of my parents doing the wrong things I have to suck it up and do the right things??!! 

Whatever. 

It’s now 8am and I’ve got 10K steps and should probably just quit lamenting.

Peace out, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-02-27 Three Days Rolled into One

Yesterday felt like two or three days long. Waking up just past two and milling about in the middle of the night and eventually meeting with the normal morning routine felt like day 1. Day 2 was going to a yoga class and returning home to house chores and a bunch of stuff for the GLR well into the afternoon. Then an unexpected thing happened that altered the trajectory of the day and threw me immediately into a third full day.

In short we scrambled to get our act together enough to make an impromptu road trip to Kansas City. 3 hours to get where we were going. 1 hour to “take care of business” and 3 hours home. When my head hit the pillow at 11pm last night I was asleep almost immediately. Waking up this morning, it feels like it was all a dream. Strange. 

The “business” was the purchase of a new car for Jim. We’ve had repeated trouble with the vehicle he drives (as in stranded twice in the last couple weeks) and that’s just not something he’s keen on happening again. Though we likely have the problem with the Jeep (2001) fixed now, the “experiment” of buying old cars has lost its appeal. He just wanted something that would be reliable. 

Shortly after I moved in with him I gifted my daughter who was 17 at the time my car. It’s a 2012 Prius-C. I also had a “fun” car which was an impulse buy sometime after my divorce. That was a 2004 RX8 which was fun, when it ran. But it was non-operational more than it was operational and taking up a garage space so we sold it. That left me with no car of my own except for the one Jim was leasing when I met him. A Mercedes. It was a great car but I’m just not a Mercedes kind of girl so when the lease was up, I elected to get a Hyundai Kona. It’s a cute little hatchback with all wheel drive when I need it. And I love it.

But Jim was driving old cars. Ones purchased outright with the thought that it would be more economical to just fix them when they break down. In theory this was a good plan, until the breakdowns threw a wrench in this day and that day and pretty quickly he got fed up and started looking for a newer option. He did a lot of research and picked out what he wanted, including options, but there were no cars in the Omaha metro area meeting the specs. So he’s been keeping an eye on surrounding areas, which apparently includes KC. 

Finding that yesterday, he snagged it right up. And they refused to hold it for us overnight to Saturday, hence the impromptu road trip on a Friday afternoon. This of course meant that I had to drive home by myself. You can see how being awake since the early morning that day coupled with no real rest during the day would equate to a big problem driving solo for three hours in the dark at 8pm. It was tough.

We had to stop several times just so I could snap out of my sleepy haze. I could tell Jim felt really terrible, but was also pumping with excitement about his new car. It was cute and annoying at the same time… all the text messages (hands free with apple car play) kept me going but also became irritating because I just wanted to be left alone. When I say that little trip felt like a whole day, I’m not kidding.

He actually felt so bad about it he elected to sleep in a different room last night so that his heavy breathing/snoring would not keep me awake. As a consequence, I slept for about 7.5 hours which was glorious.

I didn’t get out of bed until 8am and that too was amazing. Now I’m walking and working on recovery. Recovery from living those three days as well as the week of hell I put my body through with exercise classes. I’m taking this day as a rest day and going to let my aching muscles heal a little bit. No weights and no heavy cardio. Just walking. 

Having my afternoon and evening hijacked yesterday meant I didn’t get to some of my Friday chores. I didn’t finish washing and drying laundry or the cat grooming or scooping litter boxes. So these are on the agenda today instead. Other than that, I’m gonna take it easy.

I’m thinking about my attempt this week to roll back the calendar to 2006 and formulating thoughts about that little experiment but I think I’ve written enough about cars and stuff so that’s gonna have to wait. 

With that, I’m gonna quit early and get to all that relaxing I’ve promised myself. 

Happy Caturday, 🐱

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-02-21 Sunday Status Funny Money 🐹

It’s Sunday and I’m checking my stats. How did I do meeting my goals? 

For sleep I achieved my goal 6 of 7 nights. 

Healthy eating.. 4 of 7. 

Mood.. 4 of 7.

Meditation.. 2 of 7. 

Exercise.. 6 of 7. 

Most of this looks good but feels a bit like funny money. Like you know how you get paid every two weeks for doing a job and the money is electronically deposited in your bank account and then some other company comes along and takes that coin back out for things like rent, electricity, insurance. It’s like a magic trick. One minute the numbers are there and the next.. Poof.. gone.. It happens automagically. You never actually see the cash, hold it, count it. That’s funny money.

Kinda makes a person feel like a hamster in a wheel. You know, in that metaphor what gives the hamster quality of life? Stopping to eat. Stopping to wee (or woo). And getting pulled out of the cage by the giant 6 year old who lets her run around the bedroom floor for a while. Perhaps getting a lettuce or carrot on these tiny adventures and of course weeing and wooing on the purple rug is the BEST! 

What does this metaphor teach us about life? That we need to maximize our time off the wheel. Cuz pretty soon now, that tiny little pumping heart can’t take anymore and the hamster dies. Poof!.. Just like that. 

I check my stats regularly. I set goals for my self. I’m constantly evaluating myself and my health. I gave up my old hamster wheel last year but I’m still on this one.

My New Years résolution this year was to do less instead of more. To be kind to myself and more forgiving. To meet that end, I backed off on my daily goals. But here we are nearing the end of February and I’m questioning the validity of all this. Like money in the bank, it all becomes numbers and checkmarks on a page. I add them up but they don’t amount to much.

So I backed off on my sleep goal and the result this week is a 6 of 7 instead of 4 of 7. So what? I still feel the same. I still have the same energy issues each day. I don’t get more restful sleep just because I back off on my goal. It just makes me feel better about how I’m doing. But it’s a magic trick. An illusion. 

It’s the same with the other stats. I have my daily step goal, which I reduced from 12k to 10k as a part of my resolution. So today’s calculated 6 of 7 would have been 4 of 7 instead. So what. It doesn’t change anything. And the other measurements are just as suspect. 

I took away “productivity” and replaced it with “mood” and I added one for meditation. Mood is subjective as there are no numbers and this feels more legit. Of all the stats I’m tracking, it feels the most genuine and important. I think that’s because that’s the real goal. To FEEL better. To FEEL healthier. To FEEL like I’m getting the most out of every day. 

Tangentially related is the brain child idea I had this week about inviting 2006 to 2021 and living life for a week the same way I was back then.

No smart phone. No social media. No googling everything or relying on the internet so much. It crossed my mind that 2006 was pre-FitBit too and before I tracked my stats so vigorously. 

It also predates any regular daily writing so my mind is really foggy with how life really was. It might be an interesting exercise to try and mentally recreate a day in the life of Miss SugarCookie in 2006. The first step of course is removing all those things I just mentioned. 

This means (if I go through with it) that I’ll not be keeping stats for as long as the experiment persists. And won’t be mentally tethered to my phone.

Tangentialy related is also the argument I had with my darling daughter last night because I did not have my phone with me when she texted the specifics of what she wanted to eat. I cooked the wrong thing and she refused to eat it and it was so ridiculous. I got so so so angry that she was acting spoiled and ungrateful and she just didn’t get it. Jim said I just needed to make the other thing and remember that she’s sick (one day post vaccine shot and running a fever and in bed all day). So I did. And she didn’t even thank me. Whatever. 

My point is that the people that will be the most affected by this little experiment of mine are those who “expect” things from me or are used to communicating via text. Nobody on FB will miss me because I’m not really on FB anyway. Same for twitter. And since I don’t have a 9 to 5 anymore, there’s nobody who is going to miss me not getting back to them ASAP there.

So today is my day of preparation. Thinking about what it is really going to look like when I pull the trigger on this test. Rolling back to 2006.

Why 2006?

I had to draw a line somewhere, you know, and thinking about what things add value to my life, like that hamster with their brief breaks from the wheel. Eating adds value and so does sleep. It is not a basic need in the pure sense of the word but music is pretty much essential for my daily existence.

If I’m giving up my phone for a week, then I need some other way to get my tunes. I don’t have a working CD player so my original iPod will have to do. I actually looked up the model number and it’s circa 2006. So that’s why. 

No Bluetooth of course so I’ll have to find a wired set of headphones or earbuds. I know I have some somewhere, just have to find them. That part will be easy compared to making my people understand that if they want something from me, they need to ask me in person. How novel. People living in the same house sitting down face to face. 

I think my treadmill time today is past being up. I’m secretly hoping people stay asleep a while longer so I can get more time to myself. We’ll see. 

Next stop.. 2006 and scrapping the stats!

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-02-19 The One that Wanted to be About Sex but Couldn’t Make it Past First Base…

I looked into the salty air thinking about my irritation over an email I just read and said to myself “it’s time to get serious.” 

Then I looked at myself in the mirror from the treadmill and said “NO!” I actually pointed at myself as I said, “NO! NOT THIS TIME.” I’m not going to let it get to me. 

No. It’s high time I take things less seriously. I’m not joking around about this. I’m…. wait for it…. 

Dead serious! 😜

Life keeps trying to drag me down with greedy little tentacles. Green tendrils with those innocent looking suckers that you pay no mind to until they adhere to the thin layers of your epidermis, and you realize they’ve no intention of letting go. 

No. Not this time! 

I’m digging through my pockets to pull out all my weapons. The claws are coming out now, and with them the sword I’ve been sharpening for a while now. This day and it’s down smash is no match to that of my Princess Peach. 

Where’s my crown? Somebody hand me my crown! 

I’ll not be a victim of your bullshit patriarchy or any preconceived notions about the definition of the word success. Your archaic constructions can’t touch me today. 

I’ve got my kickass gear shifter playlist fueling my adrenaline and my hair looks amazing today. I’ve got knives up all 8 of my sleeves and under the skirt of my ball gown too. I’ve been practicing my moves and if you try to touch my mood I will cut you! 

Ok. Now that that’s settled. Let’s get down to business. One of two ways for this to go from here. It’s either “Freak Flag Friday” or “First Draft a Friday.” 

Really torn about this and gonna make a quick trip to Paris to see if that tips the scales…. BRB

***

In Paris today I found “The Sisters of Sexual Treasure” by Sharon Olds. So that’s how it’s gonna be?! I’m not so inspired by this somewhat erotic poem that’s got a bit of a Freudian flip. I mean.. I could easily springboard off this 21 line expertly crafted piece of writing and compose my own revealing paragraph about how my experience leaving my mothers house at 18 (sans sisters) was the polar opposite of hers, but I don’t feel inclined to. 

I’m not keen writing about how I never learned anything about sex from my mother except what her orgasms sound like through the wall of the tiny house we lived in when I was a senior in high school. 

To this day I wonder if she was faking it. To this day I’m quite disturbed to have this memory and have oft blamed it for the sexual dysfunction I’ve suffered for so many years of my life. 

Now I’m a parent with a teenage son and daughter. I wonder if it’s fair to blame anything squarely and/or solely   on a parent. Still, in this case I think it is. 

I dare say I could write more about all of this but I don’t want to. Why Ms. Olds was compelled to write, let alone send her poem to the Paris Review to be published escapes me. I have to reason that she was comfortable in her own skin and that no topic was off limits. Not that sex is or should be off limits. On the contrary, it should definitely have a place in poetic discourse as it is a fundamental part of our common human existence. Just maybe not a part of my induvidual public canon. 

Perhaps I’m still somewhat bent and broken when it comes to sex. Mind you, bent and broken is different from being confused. I’ve experienced enough that all of my curiosities have been satisfied. I know myself. I am who I am, as always, a complicated compilation of all of my explorations and experiments.  

Anyhow… today… I have neither the time nor the inclination to continue this trail of thought. 

***

8 hours ago I was very fired up and ready to throw all my knives at the day. I might have even gotten a little farther on the topic of sex, if I had not been rudely interrupted by obligations and responsibilities. Chief among these were taking lunch to my dad and waiting 2 hours in line (outside in 20 degree temps) with my daughter so she could get her second dose of the vaccine. All of that put a damper on any freak-flag flying or first draft drafting. 

It’s been a good cage match but I’m tapping out. Gonna save my strength for tomorrow’s down smash. 

There’s always tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow,

~Miss SugarCookie