drills. the non-mechanical kind.


we're launching into good old springtime weather in texas. which means the usual crisp (kind of) and gorgeous days of shockingly blue skies and lush, green baby grass. and also the threat of having limbs forcibly torn off just before the rest of you is crushed by that half dead tree falling on your bathroom ceiling. or, in my case, having a heart attack because you're so incredibly worried all of that will happen to you. spring: a time for dichotomy.

violet woke this morning for school and reported a hurting tummy. which isn't all that unusual for her. i encouraged her to forge ahead to the bathroom and attempt a refreshing bowel evacuation. i was scrambling with my first and most important task of the morning: getting the coffee pot on the stove. i was very confused about priorities when i thought i heard her saying she was going to throw up and i guess that gave brian enough time, after i hollered did she just say she's going to throw up?, to get in there while violet spittled on to the floor.

look, i gotta get the coffee started on time if i'm going to have something acidic to pour into my stomach to kill a viral infection.

after spittling on the floor, she made a tiny spittle into the vomit bowl i had produced after starting the coffee. i put an assortment of rubberbands and clips into her hair and walked her back to bed. she was all warm and pale. blargh. i put her face on a towel and put the vomit bowl on the floor by her and reacquainted her on the proper steps for a successful throw up. convinced brian to scrub the long-suffering front toilet. i followed this up with a personal administration of probiotics, lysine, and vitB for good measure. popped some probiotics in oliver's face.

wait. i didn't come here to talk about spittle violet. she's fine now. she practically hopped in place while saying, "soooooo... you know how when i'm sick i get to lay down on the couch and watch tv?"

i packed oliver into the car to head out for the bus and i asked him, because of today's approaching storm, if they've had a tornado drill this year. he said they hadn't, but have had a lock down drill in mr. ruiz's class. and my stomach made a clench as it does whenever i hear the phrase lock down drill spill from the mouth of one of my children.

i asked him what they tell them about the drill and he didn't get what i was asking. he said they don't really hide, they just line up against the wall and stay quiet.

the reason i said uuuugghh up there was because this is the part where i learned that even though oliver has been doing lock down drills since first grade, shortly after sandy hook, he didn't actually understand the why of it.

"it doesn't make sense to have us stay quiet. if someone's breaking into the school and they think no one is in that room, they're going to think, 'hey! i bet there's a lot of great stuff to take in there. and no one is around to catch me.'". he postulated this because, "no one would want to break in to kill kids."

and then i have to cry. he doesn't know that's precisely why they have lock down drills.

i wanted to cry and sob really hard really bad. but, you know, oliver's in the car and we're sitting in the parking lot across from hexter now and so my eyes are just bursting from the pressure and leaking a little and i'm hanging on to my breath.

i stop myself from revealing the disturbing and grisly truth, even though i'm frequently pretty truthful with my kids about the ways of the world. but this one is just too much. too personal for him. too terrifying a prospect. in a weird way, too hurtful of feelings. breaking in just to kill kids?

i told him well, sometimes people react violently when caught in the act of committing a crime because they don't want to get caught. so that's why you want to stay quiet. and if they think no one is there, they won't run off quickly and that gives the police more time to respond to the alarm that someone will send and catch him.

and i stuffed the tears down, down, down, and put him on the bus.

well, great. violet just puked again. fuck this, i'm now wearing a mask. she's watching animal odd couples like nothing happened.

sunset panic.

on my way home, i remembered.

i panic when the sun sets.

maybe that's why i had started to cry at home. i wasn't sure. there were a lot of variables to account for...

the kids have been gone since monday afternoon. they've never been gone. oliver went away for one night once. i went away for two when violet was born. two more when bradley was born. another for ruby. another for samuel. i only leave leave them, begrudgingly, for births.

violet has never been away. not for an instant. and then five nights, straight out of the chute. no looking back. no panicked late night phone calls.

all my tethers had untied themselves. children gone. two schools abruptly left behind. the season changed definitively to the stifling summer heat. the rains stopped. our yard became a meadow. no work.

my husband left this evening. he's gone to get the kids. i stayed behind for some reason. none of this was my idea. i have the guts of spring cleaning to repair. cupcakes to make for the family party at my sister's. a star-shaped foil balloon to buy and put in the front yard with violet's new school sign. a car to have detailed while it's empty of carseats.

my husband left this evening. i calculated and searched: this is my first night alone in at least a decade. since before leaving my loft in deep ellum at six months pregnant. 2006.

i don't know how to process all this. how to feel. the children gone. do they still exist? if they did, it seems like they would be right here.

he left as dusk was approaching.

soon after, i panicked.

i burst into tears and sobs. i told myself i didn't know why i was doing this. i needed to get out of the house. i couldn't get out of the house like that. but i needed to get out of the house. something was wrong.

i got out of the house. it was getting dark. i put the window down and drove to the video store to take back the grand budapest hotel.

i panic because the day is shifting gears and i feel i have to hurry to make it count. i sense people going places and being together and feel myself falling behind. i can go with a friend to a bar and see it empty and feel urges to go to where all the people have gone. why did they leave this bar and go somewhere else without leaving a note? i go into social comas and wake a year later to see we're in the wrong place. everyone moved on to the next great thing. we're missing it. they're living life without us.

without whirlwind children here, i have nothing to occupy my mind. i feel myself left behind. i didn't go with brian.

when facebook exploded and everyone reunited and posted old photos, i saw how many had all my friends gathered together, but i wasn't there. where was i? did i know i had missed it? was i left behind on purpose? it's happened before. a boyfriend no one liked. another that everyone hated. and later on for reasons i never understood. it turns out, nothing is forever. forever can't and shouldn't be counted on. it doesn't exist.

i panicked because i don't know how to feel. i can't feel happy to have my children gone. i can't celebrate and mourn the same thing. they're coming back. i've had ten years SOLID SOLID SOLID of living inside a ball of static. zapping. pressing. always present. short circuiting my head. my emotions. my patience. my personality. my marriage. my ability to breathe. chest tight, waiting for the next ping to my person. the next request. the next fight. the next demand. the next requirement. the next detail not yet done. wave after wave of incomprehensible intensity of emotions. a rainbow. too much to handle and it grows from here.

ten years. first decompression. i don't know how to feel. i don't know what to do with it. i don't know how to make it count. i couldn't get my husband to do this with me. i dragged him along, sulking and grumping and too tired and i'm sorry about work and my throat is sore.

my days have floated anchorless. no schedule to hold me in place and create hatchmarks on my timeline. to tell me when to eat dinner. i've eaten lunch and lazy late afterthought dinners. no anything else. food untethered itself.

i drove to the movie store and there were some people in there. quiet, like they were in a library. which, they were. i placed the case on the counter and walked to the back wall to stare at it. i couldn't find anything. i walked to the front and back again. looked again. i didn't want to get something and then feel too anxious to finish it. i didn't want to connect the player back up to the tv. switching a plug from here to there was overwhelming. i finally left and stepped out to the sidewalk, warm air. the store sign crackled and radiated overhead. Ross "Pistol" Love glowed red to the left across the parking lot. i looked out to mockingbird and strongly felt where we were bobbing about in time. how this would all be gone. how it never was before. how all time is warmly, lazily layered upon itself in fuzzy-edged waves of concurrence.

i rolled two windows down. music up. i drove and ran into the ghosts of me. one putting ttyki down and begging her to help me. one slowly pulling into the parking lot on the back side of the block, oskar's body dead on my lap.

i pulled down the ramp to the lake. it was black. the water was rough and the chops broke the moonlight abruptly. i could see little. driving into fireflies. a bird stood motionless and daydreaming on the road ahead. passing people in the dark parking lot, hatches popped. what were they doing. how do people manage to have large groups of friends they go out with at this point in life. how do i still not know how to do this?

i circled through the lot at the park, children still running and screaming in the dark. back up the west side of the lake. dim lights on inside too-large houses. what were they doing in there? were they lonely or sad? were they home at all?

i didn't leave the porch light on for myself. my neighbor's car in the drive makes it look like there are more people here than there are. they've made themselves a new driveway and i've offered to come rollerskate on it for them.

the blog of the angry mommy: i'm sending this with them when they bad mouth me in future therapy.

i have lost sympathy for my children.

this sounds terrible, but it's actually a workable tool. with sympathy, i sound like, "i know he didn't clean his room, but i'll feel so bad about him missing activity X."

and i sit here and think i'm completely not serious as my catchphrase is pretty much, " that's it, i've had it, i'm totally done with this!"

but yeah. there's a loss of sympathy that's usually more elusive.

this morning, i asked the kids if they wanted oatmeal, because it's a non-egg day and they pretty much just have granola or cereal or yogurt. and there were no takers on the oatmeal. so i finished constructing lunches and coffee and headed off to the bathroom to powder my nose.

oliver shows up. he says, "WHERE'S MY BREAKFAST?"

and i say, "you said you didn't want oatmeal, so there's yogurt..."

"I DON'T WAAAANT THAT KIND OF YOGURT!" like some kind of giant, mannerless baby.

and i spun around with the force of jameson thinking a finger is a carrot, grabbed his shoulders, put my face very close to his and, through gritted teeth said, "do not talk to me like that. you may leave here now." that's probably the censored version. with a speed matching that of jameson's bowels, i had him turned and out the door and the door shut and locked.

jameson is a guinea pig, by the way.

i came out of the bathroom to find violet had poured some granola. and then left the empty bag and the clip and granola sprinkles on the floor. and i asked her to clean it up. of course, she did not. i asked her five more times to complete her work cycle from when she was kind enough to go insane yesterday afternoon and start scrubbing floors and toilets with oliver's nail brush. i asked her to clear her bowl from the bar. she did not. by the time we left, there was food just ALL OVER THE BAR, and the bowl, and oliver's vitamin. and granola sprinkles on the floor. the granola bag was sticking three-fourths out of the trash can.

yesterday, they were just really into baby carrots. and violet kept hauling the whole bag out to the backyard. and i said twice, because once is about as effective as whispering it to my calloused big toe, i said, "don't take the whole bag outside because there was that time you people took the whole, full bag outside and just left it in the grass for the bugs."

and then, i later see the empty bag. just out there wafting in the grass. because our yard is a trash pile. it ain't the first time they've done this. thrown their trash in the yard. or dishes. oliver once threw a metal bowl, trying to hit the trunk of the pear tree, but since he has terrible aim, it instead flew over the fence into the recluse's yard.

then, oliver tells me his story about how the wind and rain finally removed his tub of spry gum from the roof of the shed, but he discovered after chewing a piece that the sun had worked to melt the flavor off of it, and i asked if he actually chewed a piece of this nature's creation and he had, but he spit it under the deck.

and i said, "!!!"

but, he spit it UNDER the deck so no one would step on it.

their rooms are a constant pile of shit (much like my rooms, but that's neither here nor there) and oliver's origami habit is just really out of control. there is always ALWAYS scraps of paper on the dining room table and floor. markers. crayons. tape. sequins. whatever. just ALWAYS. a rainbow of colors, textures, and dimensions... none of which register in the eye structures of young children, apparently.

so my sympathy stores finally evaporated.

without regret, i publicly shamed violet at school this morning while i regaled stephanie with violet's massive success at going out of her way to make a mess and leave it. and violet crouched down and i said, OH WELL. LOOK AT ME WITHOUT MY SYMPATHY.

i told the children i would have to cancel their imaginary playdate this afternoon. no tv for as long as it takes. no screens... no computer. and even though we've spent the past two fridays sneaking in thai food through our bedroom door and storing it under the bed when a child leaks in, i am going to sit right down tonight and eat that shit RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEIR FACES. EXTRA RICE.

violet is still deaf. so she likes to play the "but i can't hear" card sometimes.

during the winter of '13-'14, we began to notice she couldn't hear us. we hauled her in to the on call pediatrician new year's eve day for an exam and violet straight up lost control of her entire mind. that might have been the day she kicked the doctor in the crotch. and possibly hissed and clawed. it ended with the ped promising her ice cream (thanks!) and us restraining her while she screamed and cried, and the ped got about a two second peek in her ears. there was also an ineffectual attempt at one of those pure tone tests. it was inconclusive.

while i took my sweet time figuring out where to take her next, it cleared up.

she passed her hearing test at school last fall and then december arrived and brought the hearing problem with it again. we figured it would do like last time and clear on its own. surely it's sinus and allergy issues.

and it didn't. and it didn't. and finally, at the end of march, brian took her in and they did the pure tone test and then they did a tympanometry and something called an evoked hearing test, and found that nothing was coming back out of her right ear and the left ear was a question mark even after all that. they said she had fluid trapped in the eustachian tube, possibly because of swollen adenoids, and told us to squirt nasonex in her nose for a month.

it didn't seem to work, at least not completely. i guess. i don't know. what am i? a tympanometer? our recheck is monday and so we decided to douse her canals with hydrogen peroxide, even though the doctor said she didn't seem to have prohibitive amounts of ear wax.

but that fucking exam cost $255 AFTER insurance. because our insurance really sucks and exponentially so with each passing year. we thought surely brian's $7000 dollar kidney stone would clear out our deductible, but apparently there's still an individual deductible.

i've just spoken with her doctor and canceled the appointment and we've decided not to go to an ENT. i confirmed she's not at risk for anything beyond having a temporary hearing problem because i frankly do not want to pay for more tests just to be told to go to an ENT for more tests just to be told she should be put under and have tubes put in or adenoids removed and then have to pay for that as well. it's just weird to take that kind of medical risk for something so benign anyhow.

so here's to another month or two of the additional frustration of my child legitimately not hearing me on top of the complete complacence of not listening to me.

ineffective strategies: i've had a few.

sometimes, i get a word stuck in my head, as we all do.

for awhile, it was demoralized.

it described my internal state of being. it still does, but i guess the word fell a little out of popular usage.

it's because of my children. or, if we want to expose the full cycle of responsibility, it's because of my ineffectual parenting skills, which causes certain childing behaviors, which causes more ineffectiveness (sometimes called "impatience" or "yelling"), which causes more intense childing behaviors.

today. this morning, i just. GOD.

-violet spent the first part of her morning defecating in our bathroom. i later went in and smelled something. lo, there were fluffy feces relaxing in the waters. she couldn't be bothered to flush. she couldn't be bothered to turn on the vent. she couldn't be bothered to not leave two feet of toilet paper dangling off the tube. decorated with spots of brown.

-violet dropped her dirty clothes on the floor. about two feet away from the hamper. they can never make that last push to actually put clothing IN the hamper. i suppose i shouldn't complain, since the other popular option is to shove dirty clothing in nooks and crannies in their rooms and then bitch that they don't have clean socks.

-i emerged from the feces-covered bathroom to find violet standing an equal, and short, distance between the trash can on one side and a pile of pistachio shells she had dropped on the floor and made the effort to try and scoot them under the cabinet.

-oliver had been busy throwing some pistachios across the room and when i "asked" him to retrieve them, he actually went to put them BACK IN THE BAG. after he redirected to the trash can, proclaiming hey, what, they're in the shell, i invited him to remove it from the trash can and put it in his mouth.

-before practicing pistachio-hurtling, oliver had pulled the strings from the clementine round of his breakfast and deposited them ON THE FLOOR. i guarantee there was no planned round of sweeping.

that was just in 20 minutes of my day.


yesterday, by some gracious act of nature, we were out the door a couple of minutes early to drop oliver off at school. as i was preparing to exit the driveway, violet erupted in number 3 of 31 of her daily dramatic meltdowns, initiated by oliver, saying he had acted like he was going to punch her in the face. he had so much motherfucking spare time during the act of buckling into the car that he thought he'd take a whirl at some needless aggression.

i was aces and put the car in park and remained so goddamn calm. and i said, "oliver, do you think it was kind of you to pretend to punch your sister in the face."

and oliver said, "yes."

i stayed so fucking calm.

"do you really think that's a kind thing to do?"

"yeah. i didn't actually punch her in the face."

"would you think it kind if i acted like i was going to punch you in the face everyday?"

so, this went on for a good 6, 7 minutes. i talked him down to a more vague admission of it not being kind, but we were still oceans away from him taking any kind of responsibility for being an ass. i was still totally kiss-my-ass calm. i was a CHAMPION of calm. i was winning the day's parenting award.

he started to become agitated because he could see the clock and the fact that the first bell had already rung and we had been going in circles long enough to span being early(ish) to being late.

and then he called me brainless, because he sometimes likes to do this because he thinks he knows more about parenting and psychology than his parents do.

hey, to be fair, that's not exactly a high bar to hurdle over. but i ain't going to tell him that.

i attempted to derive from whence he had learned "brainless", though i admit it wasn't the first time he had used it. i asked if he had heard it from school, but i secretly wanted him to answer, "from diary of a wimpy kid," because i hate those books. zero redeeming value and just a menu of bad behavior. a juvenile delinquent playbook, if you will.

it was somewhere in there that i placed the car back into drive and placed my rage into overdrive. like, with that little button on the side of the gearshift that gives additional traction. and i railed halfway to school. maybe threequartersway. it was top notch and undid everything previously accomplished and i begged again for my children to explain to me why they preferred i holler my fucking head off instead of just cooperating when nice mommy is still in town.

i don't know if i've told you about oliver's penchant for stealing. i think i left off back when it was things like my peanut butter cup. underwear. daddy's security badge. violet's new xmas ornament. slices of bread. a whole potato. just weird, inexplicable shit. he eventually graduated to money and was initially busted spending one of violet's $20 bills. we were talking that shit out all the way to target, trying to get him to confess that it was not his. because i wasn't 100% certain, but all signs were pointing.

and because he is the type of criminal who enjoys eventually confessing his crimes, it came out that he had stolen it. and he had taken some of my gift cards and i forget what all else. then there was that time last fall when he tried to steal a one hundred dollar bill from my mother with only "50% remorse" after a talking to. we had a ciruclar argument about consequences, because he likes to blackmail us with additional bad behavior as a consequence to our giving of consequences. and then i get real life on him. and he still won't relent. and then i drive myself straight over a cliff.

well. after the $20 theft, i had them both turn in all their money to me to keep in my closet vault so that if he is found with any money, we can assume it isn't his. which is downright pathetic and maybe not the right thing to do. BUT WHAT THE FUCK DO I KNOW AT THIS POINT.

and then he upped the ante last saturday. i had placed $15 on top of violet's recital ticket form on top of my purse, by the door. as we headed out to class, as predicted, the $15 was missing and i asked oliver where it was. and he said he didn't have it. and i asked oliver where it was. and walks over and says, "oh, what's this that i see?" and he walks into violet's room. "i think i see something. what is this?" and he goes to the corner where the little, vintage adrienne chair sits flush on the ground because the legs somehow managed to get busted during a playdate, and he lifts the chair up to reveal the $15. and, his willingness TO FUCKING FRAME HIS LITTLE SISTER FOR THEFT.

and then i drove myself straight over a cliff.

baggies filled with golden spoons.

my vintage golden spoons, which brian said i should buy, though i have no good reason for buying golden spoons at this present point in my financial history, arrived yesterday. they are especially golden. more golden than i thought would be possible.

stanley roberts designed them and he put his name in a curly cursive font on the backs of the handles.

they are marked "stainless", and i know steel isn't golden, so i worry-wonder lightly about what the golden part really is. i wonder-worry less than i would if they were modern day spoons, and subject to the litany of questionable materials people of low ethical quality might employ in the manufacture of golden spoon coatings.

i feel a small twinge of guilt handling my deluxious set of golden spoons, as my first thought of purchasing one was with the intent to send it to adrienne on the event of her 40th birthday, with the hope that she would use it to put something celebratory, and hopefully food related, into her mouth. i don't know why i was unsuccessful finding the golden spoon at that time. my skill set in the area has developed in the interim. and now i sit with my greedy hands coveting that which was originally intended for another. i am dirty.

i can see small divets in the backs of the spoon bowls, and i received the flash of an image of vintage teeth nibbilng into them. a close up of a mouth on spoon. tiny, tiny dings.

old things, time machines.

florida and the breath of cherokee in me.

i went to florida last week. i believe this was my 29th visit. i went with my family. brian, two children. we met my father and mother there, in florida.

since retiring, dad has developed this routine where he rents the best condo out of five buildings for the entire, off season-rated month of september. he keeps it booked two years in advance. he is very serious about this. it's a corner unit with two bedrooms. room 469. you can wash the dishes and look up to see nothing but ocean. but somehow, you always forget to look up when washing dishes.

i missed a handful of years back when i was doing things like having newborns and one year olds during the summer, and a stack of hospital bills. we took oliver when he was two. my last concurrent trip was the week i began suspecting i was pregnant with oliver. or, who would later become oliver. just me and dad. THAT WAS UNCOMFORTABLE.

brian would sit at his job in the old, now burned down condom store and urge me to find a reason to borrow my dad's car to go down to the drug store for a pregnancy test, which i would then urinate on and find out i was pregnant by myself in a condo bathroom.


i waited until i returned home and couldn't sleep and got up at 6am and then freaked out and cried to my sister on the phone about HOW ARE THEY GOING TO GET IT BACK OUT!? and then went around noon to tell brian, who was still sleeping soundly and not at all concerned with solidarity. i handed a box of ft walton beach saltwater taffy to someone dressed in socks, underwear, and a tshirt and told him he was going to be a father. i mean, PUT SOME PANTS ON instead of scarring my taffy memories.

i went to florida last week. second year in a row. dad now offers free accomodations, so we just pay $300 for gas, a beach umbrella with two chairs, and a couple of dinners out. it's hard to say no to a $300 paradise. brian was a little financially freaked out because the week before, he had to have a sonogram, or whatever they're called when there's not a baby involved, because he keeps urinating blood and having back pain the day after everytime our a/c goes out, and he started having other pains one day and our increasingly stupid insurance has a $1500 deductible and we just finished pulling the trigger on $1800 worth of insulation and radiant barrier and today, the $2800 dollar re-roofing trigger was pulled, and that's never mind about the way our house is still sinking into the soil two years later. brian asked for the babyless sonogram instead of the more expensive ct scan because maybe we'd be out less money. but after the inconclusive monogram, he went on to being violated by a more specialized lady doctor who signed him up for the scan anyhow.

we went to florida last week. i said i'd pick up the vacation tab, as it's a mid-term election year, which provides for fatter paychecks for me for a handful of months and i can briefly pretend i'm not taking a really long descent into moneylessness.

i stressed and floundered about leaving oskar and finally signed up andrea and darren to visit him daily and take him into the vet for fluids a handful of times. he did not die or deteriorate while we were gone, but did take to the new and curious habit of curling up on my motherfucking laptop keyboard. not to be outdone, ozzy began hanging out on a barstool and then realized how easy it was to haul himself up to the kitchen counter, where he will recline unabashedly for us to see. i do not understand why they are doing these things.

i made the epic drive a week ago saturday. the children did not fall asleep until 20 minutes before the lunch stop and refused to sleep again. for the entire remaining six hour drive. they slept through the crossing of the mississippi river, despite my best attempts at slapping their thighs from the driver's seat. after much fruitless searching, we stopped in vicksburg for lunch at mcalister's deli. every item off the children's menu is adorned with a packlette of teddy grahams. the applesauce side comes with not one, but two kinds of corn syrup.

i snapped on the radio just in time to go underwater via the bankhead tunnel in mobile so that we could hear it turn to static. i dutifully pointed out the battleship alabama and the first sightings of ocean water as we crossed the bridge. we made the usual extra stop so oliver could poop.

we finally rolled into the el matador parking lot at dusk and before removing a single piece of luggage, we quickly moved the few remaining yards by foot so that we could see the ocean disappear into the darkness.

our old lives fell quickly away. we have always lived here. on the beach. in the sand. walking in water.

despite my best efforts at applying sunscreen and wearing a shirt and sitting under a thick, canvas umbrella, i will quickly find myself adopting the appearance of a 42 year old, crinkly, brown paper bag. my melasma increased in strength.

on sunday, i skipped walking at 6:30am with dad and gave myself a break. i was exhausted from missing a night of sleep thursday in order to be with my niece and her boyfriend for the birth of her third child, samuel. and i had gotten up pre-crack of dawn on saturday.

on monday, i continued to give myself a break.

on tuesday, i woke up and before exiting bed, i already knew that my lower lip was rebelling against the sun exposure and had swelled to double its normal size, which is no small thing for my already large lip. it occurred to me the same thing had happened last year, but the sparkling sun-filled water memories had pushed it right out the brain door. i was too embarrassed to go out like that and chose, instead, to photograph it and post it to the internet.

this continued for two more days. i'm not sure if it was the sun or the water or a combination, but i couldn't dial back all that much. the weather was impeccable and the water was crystal clear, save for a few batches of trash, sunglasses, and jellyfish. i couldn't stop going out there. my fear of being in the same pool as billions of slimy, dangerous sea creatures could not assuage my desires. the threat of burning to a crisp and having my lip explode right off my face did not slow me down. the adventurous red flag days had subsided into smooth, rippling waters and, at one particularly glorious point, i nearly started singing the ocean version of the hills are alive, except i didn't know of one. i was spinning and pontificating about beauty to brian. i wanted to wrap myself in the water, but that would have killed me.

eventually, the face herpes began to manifest. i already looked like a waterlogged, stringy pile of shit, and the lighting in the bathroom was terrible, so i marched on and took it in stride and tried to roll my lip in when passing other people.

when brian and i went on date night the last night there, i made him let me choose the spot where my lip sore would be closest to the wall at noonie's thai cafe. and then, i realized i was under a spotlight and facing where the owner had set himself up. perhaps they burned the forks after we left.

while seeing if noonie's still existed, i was reminded of this particular online review:

Wow, what a experience! The owner, tried to sale me heroin. And, I just meet him! Unbelievable! My advice, stay away, unless ur into drugs.

i held this information in my mind as we dined. we pulled up to a curious smoking fire in a can out in the parking lot. they use this for burning forks. i suspect the area might have been some kind of patio. once inside and seated, the owner commented that everything could be made vegetarian. he remembered us from a year ago. there were no other diners there as we ate, save for a very talkative patron, who apparently reguarly visited. he hopped up and recommended the sweet and sour with delicious pineapple before disappearing. he might have been there last year, and was rather tweakerish.

i thought, well, i suppose it might be really easy to remember some of the few people who actually came in for the food... if this was actually a front for a heroin operation. they launder their money in the pad kee mao. which is delicious, by the way. the literally tubular tables and chairs reminded me of malls in the early 90s and the small space has two dueling big screen televisions. while we dined and chatted, i noticed the owner perk up to a presence outside and he went thataway. he returned. later, he went out to talk with a woman i could see through a crack in the door who was wearing a bikini top. no food ever went outside with him.

they only accepted cash payments, the owner said as he referenced the non-existent sign on the door.

so. perhaps we ate dinner in a drug den. it's difficult to say.

we took one last turn through alvin's islands to purchase postcards of a bikini-clad lady with an impossible thong and naked cats (oliver was in want to make a billboard of florida cats for oskar and had already purchased one with his very own souvenir money). i made brian purchase these cards and a different bikini lady card earlier in the week, when the sales girl tried to upsell him to a cheaper bulk rate.

not ready to let go of utopia, we took beers down to the pool and i tried to imagine being 7. 10. 14. swimming in that pool. night swimming. we talked about what our dreams of the future had been before we met. did we want kids and a big house? i previously wanted to marry in the woods while wearing a red crushed velvet dress. 90s edition.

we left at 7am saturday and returned to dallas at 8:30pm. on the way out, i tried desperately to keep the radio tuned to 80s hits that would evoke the youthful angst of all my other beach departures, tucked in the backseat of a volare or a cutlass sierra. the radio provided. cars, everytime you go away, vacation (all i ever wanted). the three hour drive from shreveport to home threatened to push me over the edge.

our house felt weird. it smelled weird. it smelled really bad, i suppose from being shut up? but the litter was clean. what was that smell? is it always here? CATS. i blame it on the cats. foul creatures. maybe we have not found all the treasures from oskar's pre-vacation excrement fest where he pooped inside the plug on the air mattress and pooped in the path of the vacuum cleaner before i realized what was happening. if your cat is plugged up, i highly recommend greenie's intestinal treats and a small, closed room.

my lip is 65% healing herpes sores. if you are at all familiar, that means i am in the phase where they are crusting and chapping and bleeding profusely. where lip flesh is torn and curdled and raw and stinging. i have tried my best to remove myself from the public, but it is not working. i have to explain, "vacation was great! look at these sun allergies!" brian always says, "i can't see anything," and he is obviously lying or blind and i can never trust him again regarding appearances.

i am 41 years old.

i don't think i have ever managed to be so unaware of a birthday as i am of the one arriving tomorrow.

i suppose it's the effect of more work and less navel-gazing.

i have been telling this journal my age for 11 years. holy shit.

i am 41 years old. i am 41 years old. i am 41 years old.

i am 41 years old. holy shit. maybe tomorrow is the day i wake up and find myself 84 years old.

HELP ME: a technical question.

if anybody is still around here...

livejournal has switched me over to whatever new version it has worked up. when i go to my friends filter and get to the bottom of the page, where one might normally find the option to click on PREVIOUS ENTRIES, it will reload more entries a few times and then, it just decides it's done with that.

i can't even take the exhausting route of going directly to each, individual journal because i just get some weird cached page from 2008.

i can't find a place to go back to the old version and the help section is useless, as most help sections tend to be.

who has the magic bean here?

oskar goes to the vet.

a note for myself, really.

i've just returned from a vet visit to check oskar's kidney values and weight. he's been out of the joint almost six weeks now and has been energetic and spunky, though still on the thin side.

as he's an avid pill-avoider, i haven't even tried to give him hypertension meds or pepcid, but occasionally wrangle an appetite stimulant into him (see night of the attempt to eat oliver's burrito dinner, facebook edition). he's struck a happy balance of snuggling without clinging. i rarely wake up to find him sitting on my arm while i'm on my side anymore.

during the past week or two, brian and i have finally found a balance with the IV routine. we scrapped the old IV harness after two failed attempts and i stopped warming the fluids, fearing i might be accidentally steaming him from the inside out. he puts up a little fuss, for the sport of it, and then he lets me catch him, he makes a mournful meow for added effect, and then i set him on the towel that is on his cat saucer beds. he settles in and lets me burrito wrap him. he really likes burritos. i clip it at his neck, for added security, and then slide the whole kit and kaboodle on my lap. brian sticks him while i coo and pet his face and head. i hold the needle. brian starts the flow. i coo and pet some more. a minute or two later and 100 units in, and brian removes the needle.

oskar has become so calm (or possibly highly mortified), that he no longer tries to run and i keep him a few seconds longer for pets before releasing him to the payment of one hip action glucosamine treat.

god, getting old. am i right, man?

so we went on in. his weight was down a smidge. the lower 9 pound range. less than a pound lost. i'm glad i waited to try the phosphate binder i purchased behind the vet's back, because his phosphates, which had at one time been literally off the high end of the chart, is now normal. he's still in the high range for BUN and creatinine, but has shown significant improvement.

yeah, motherfuckers!

she also reported he seems really well hydrated and has suggested doing fluids every other night for a trial run. i think we'll try taking every third night off. i don't want to fuck this run up.

now if he'd just poop already.

REPORT CARD, for my records: old on top, new on bottom.