Tag Archives: whiplash

Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go: Putting 2017 in the Rearview

12 Dec

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PHOTO (AND RUSSELL KID BOMB) CRED: ANI VATTANO

Even though the rapid succession of mergers and acquisitions in IT that started in 2016 resulted in bringing my business to a grinding halt, I have to admit that the universe probably had a hand in it looking back. And that may be the only reason I’m not completely bald. (The Rogaine helps too.)

I am going to dub this year THE SHOW ON THE ROAD YEAR. Mostly because the YEAR OF DEATH is just too macabre. Even for me.

Let’s get the sad part over with first, shall we?

The first one came mid-January. The death of democracy as we know it vanished before our eyes as the Grabber-in-Chief was sworn into office. Setting the tone

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The bean machine

for what would become a daily diatribe between the hubby and me as we agonized over some new bit of news. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. This election has set the tone for us this year as we entered a level of mourning and sadness that we didn’t think was possible. Leading us to march in Denver as a family for women, science, the EARTH, common sense, equal rights, immigrants, blacks, browns, LGBTQ…pretty much ANYTHING EXCEPT power-grabbing, rich, white guys. (Don’t worry. It’s all fake.) And here ends my political rant, as I know better than most that it falls on deaf ears anyway among those of you who still, in spite of everything blazing into our brains daily, LUV YOU SUM TRUMP.

Then, end of January was Uncle Dick. It was a very hard hit because even though we knew his diagnosis of ALS was really, really bad…we all thought we’d have a little more time. Uncle Dick was one of our most favorite people. Always good for a laugh, a little gossip, a fantastic manhattan. He introduced us to The Stinking Rose, our favorite city, San Fran, and was one of the inspirations (along with Val) behind our move west. As Kenny’s godfather and uncle, he was a constant source of inspiration for a life well lived, outside of the normal, expected boundaries. I don’t know that we ever thanked him enough for always being there and for the positive impact he had on our lives. I hope he knew.

It wasn’t until June that the next news came. Just a few short hours after we’d returned without the hubby (who flew straight to Greenville, SC) from Montana. My aunt Kathy. She’d been in the throes of dementia, but now there was more to the story. Stage IV metastatic bone cancer. She’d be gone in two months. I’ve written quite a bit about her and you can too here and here. It was an incredibly rough summer.

During this ordeal with Kathy, our dear friend, Martha (age 15), had a scan that showed her Ewings Sarcoma had relapsed. So shit news all around. In fact, I was driving Martha and her mom back from her first chemo when the news came that Kathy had died. Life is just really a shit show sometimes. For real.

So why THE SHOW ON THE ROAD YEAR? That sounds so exciting, right? Well, seeing as how the hubby was gone for most of the year for work and we’d have to meet up with him to do things like celebrate his 50th in NorCal, but then attend his dear uncle’s funeral later the same week…well, you get the picture.

We were, however, lucky enough to stage a full-fledged getaway to Riviera Maya at the Andaz Mayakoba for spring break. Even scoring a sweet day in the epicenter of the

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In the belly of the Spring Break 2017 BEAST

spring break maelstrom also known as a catamaran in Cancun. (We are SO smart. The girls have now been officially indoctrinated! Rum punch and death-defying spinnaker flights for everyone!)

We made the best of the trip the following month to Marin and Sausalito, even through it was under such sad circumstances. The hubby was in San Jose that week for Monday and Tuesday. Flew back Tuesday afternoon (his birthday) just in time for some champagne on the porch and dinner at Blackbelly with the girls. And had just enough time to pack again and fly back to San Fran the very next day.

We got to hit Zuni Cafe (we live and die for that chicken!), saw a guy smoking crack on the way back to the car (“welcome to the city, girls!”), stayed at an awesome carriage house in Sausalito, tasted vino in

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A buncha hog legs

Healdsburg, shopped at the Heath outlet (yay for new dishes!), ate our collective body weights in oysters at Hog Island, and then spent the weekend celebrating the life of a man well-loved. It was beautiful, joyful, sad, bittersweet, and we were so thankful to be there.

The next month it was off to Montana to celebrate our sweet Ty-Ty and her amazing high school achievements.

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Congratulations, Ty!

Then, upon receipt of the Kathy news, Lucia and I were back on a plane to South Carolina to check in on her, get her settled in with Hospice, and help her friend, Bobbie, with anything else that was needed to sell the house and settle her affairs.

When it was time to leave, I was extremely upset and torn. I felt I needed to be in SC as much as possible and knew I’d need to go back as soon as I could. As luck would have it, Kenny was working in Greenville a ton, so it wasn’t very hard to arrange an extended stay for the end of July. Plus, there was a work event his boss asked us to attend in his place at the Ritz-Carlton at Lake Oconee, so with a huge amount of logistics wrangling, and a schedule for 2 ½ weeks that took a spreadsheet to manage, we were set to return.

On July 4th, we were enjoying the respite at home before we hit the road again. Lucia had headed up to a friend’s family cabin in the mountains to spend the day BBQing, canoeing and hanging with friends. Sella was jumping on the tramp with some neighbor kids. And Kenny and I had just scooped ourselves some freshly made frosé for our planned Crown marathon on Netflix. So you can imagine how startled we were when three of Lucia’s friends — who were supposed to be with her at the gathering — show up asking if we know where Lucia is. It was one of those moments every parent of a teenager dreads.

After a short bout of questioning, Kenny whipped into action, getting both the car description and license plate and placing a call to the police. I grabbed my keys and loaded the boys into the car with me to retrace the drive up the canyon. It was a very solemn ride and I kept reminding them to look down the cliff on BOTH sides and keep their eyes peeled. I was fuming a bit assuming they had done something stupid or were pulling some antics.

Well. Turns out they weren’t. I arrived to a scene of cops, paramedics and another frantic mother who had beat me there. My legs turned to lead as I started to get out of the car. The frantic mom was on me immediately and I whipped my head around looking for Lucia and her boyfriend as I took in every fourth word or so from the stream being hurled at me. It went like this: ACCIDENT. ROLL OVER. AMBULANCE. As my level of hysteria grew, my knees started to give way and bile rose up in my throat, a police officer grabbed my arm and said the words I so desperately needed to hear, “Every. One. Is. Safe.” And that’s when I finally spotted Lucia. The relief flooded me as we hugged for dear life and cried our hearts out. She’d lost her phone. I told her I could care less about that. All I cared about was her. Patrick was okay too. He’d just burned his leg a little on the exhaust pipe as he helped everyone out of the car.

The car came by on the tow truck about then. It was totaled. And I think I aged about 15 years in 15 minutes.

Yes. Lucia has a boyfriend. They have been an item for almost 9 months now, are inseparable and Kenny is having the appropriate dad-of-a-baby-girl fit. Luckily he’s a

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Love birds

good kid and treats her like she’s made of spun gold.

Then, Lucia had her wisdom teeth out three days after the accident (wanna see the video?) and, a few days after that, it was time to hop back on a plane to head south again. The spreadsheet was officially enacted and we traipsed from one side of the state, then to Georgia, then back again with a little lake fun thrown in between visits to the nursing home to see Kathy. Then a few days at the HAUNTED rental in Greenville (blog on that coming soon) while Kenny worked and the girls and I goofed off. We got home to Colorado and had two whole days before Kenny left for Chicago and Lucia left for five days in Minnesota with Patrick’s family. (Are you keeping up still?)

Then it was wedding weekend for our dear friends, Julie and Tricia. (So incredibly happy for them! What a touching day.) And then school started back (Bean is a middle schooler!

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First day: 11th and 6th

Teen Queen is a JUNIOR and looking at colleges! Shitdamn.) A few days later we celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary, then the very next day, Martha started chemo and Kathy died.

The month of September was a blur of funeral planning and crazy cat ladies and chemo (for Martha). And then we were back on planes to say another final goodbye.

Even though some may think I should call this THE MOST FREAKING DEPRESSING YEAR EVER, I’m gonna stick with SHOW ON THE ROAD and make that my silver lining playbook.

At this point, I am happy to report that the deal finally closed for Kenny’s original company, paving the way for the deal for his new company to close. So he is now officially an employee of Ruckus Networks, an Arris Company. He has no travel planned for the rest of the year and we are all happy, healthy and glad to be home for a bit.

As for me, I am actively plotting a March adventure and fervently hoping 2018 will be a little more kind.

Here’s hoping it is for ALL of us.

Some 2017 Highlights and Bragging Rights:

  • Bean was Simba in the Lion King and graduated from Mesa Elementary, thereby ending an 11-year run at the school for us. It was sad!

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    Behold Simba-Bean

  • Teen Queen got her license (my heart still hasn’t recovered).
  • We fit in at least one camping trip and didn’t tip the camper over or anything.
  • We hiked our butts off every minute we could — our adopted home state is a truly glorious place.
  • Bean secured a spot in the middle school jazz band as the only female trombone player.
  • Bean braces went on 12.12.17. Jumping straight into the season with a sore mouth. Oy.
  • Teen Queen has thrown herself into photography, guitar lessons and hip-hop dance in between boyfriend and school. I don’t know how she does it. 😆 🤪
  • We got two toes in sand times for the year. Not too shabby considering.
  • Our dear friend, Amy’s, book was published and will be available for orders soon 22770521_922019764616703_4899359695158133580_othanks to the passionate efforts put in by her loving husband and family. Her memory lives on in her vibrant words. We love you always, Amy.

 

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Words Make My Mouth Exercise

16 Sep

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to a touch of whiplash from the last few weeks/months. In the continuing theme of ‘never a dull moment,’ I could never claim boredom or being stuck in a rut. Here’s why.

As you may recall, all hell broke loose on us yet again about two years ago. No, it wasn’t the year of hell that was 2010, but it was still a three-punch in the gut. (These sets all seem to come in threes, no?)

This year was humming right along. Hubby back in school to prep for the CPA exam while he continued his job hunt, me going strong with Mugs & Wit. We even started a cleanse to kick off the year with a (ahem)…clean slate.

Then round about January 20th, one of the Va-Jay-Jay BFFs, Lady Lou, had to go and join the Big C Club. Cleanse aborted and many bottles of wine later, we had almost all cried ourselves out. So we dusted off those big girl panties and armored up to take this shitty cancer thing DOWN. AGAIN.

She finished up chemo the first week of June, ran away to do the hula in Hawaii for a few days and came back to get radiated (as if she isn’t radiant enough already). She is now in the after care phase with Herceptin injections every three weeks until February 2016. Tamoxifen is her daily friend for the next five years. Take that you big bully, cancer. She is doing GREAT. And I’ve been privileged enough to be there with her through most of it all — even when I’ve had to cry to make her let me come. (I’m a good friend like that.)

And while we’re on the subject of crying….that seems to be my new modus operandi. I cry over sinks full of dishes, friends who won’t let me go to their oncology appointments, dear uncles who get diagnosed with ALS, and other friends who up and have a kid with bone cancer.

I try to blame it all on the other letter that should always have the word BIG in front of it: M. And maybe it is that. Hot flashes suck ass. I had my head in the freezer the other night and the hubby says, “Gross. You’re going to get hair in the ICE.” I thought, “Maybe I should go buy an ice pick to stick in his head.”

But I digress. Crying over dear friends/family members fighting for their lives while you helplessly sit by and wring your hands is pretty normal. It’s the sink full of dishes things that isn’t really like the others…

To progress this story forward, I’d like to say that when I highjacked Lady Lou’s appointment (on my birthday in April) with the doc that we share announcing that the hubby was FIVE YEARS ALL CLEAR, and we hugged and cried, that was a full circle moment. She could see for herself that the little yellow-ish flicker at the end of that long, dark, drafty tunnel will soon be HERS TOO.

And forward from there, we had a summer of fun. Camping, 10 days at the beach in SC, hiking, day trips to Denver by bus. It was really great — even though work was busy as holy hell. We got through and the hubby had landed himself a newfangled job just as it was all coming to a close. Awesome.

It’s the last few weeks that have made me dizzy. Weird I know. After 2.5 years of getting my company ramped up, bringing home the bacon and feeling like my head was sizzling itself from it all, business just dropped off. The timing was fantastic since I am playing single, SAHM most days with the hubby traveling, doing the job of two people since his coworker was fired 8 days in AND trying to finish up his accounting classes before he goes on halfway-through-I’m-going-to-lose-my-mind hiatus. Oh. And having his back freak the shit out and double him over. Right on the conveyor belt in the Whole Foods check out line. (ER visit plus MRI showed a pinched nerve and compacted disk. The meds worked. He’s getting better. Much. Thanks for asking.)

Seriously great timing. But. I am struggling mightily with it. Living in this strange gray area that isn’t quite SAHM OR bringing home the bacon/money-making fool. I’m so used to being one OR the other that I can’t quite wrap my head around being a seriously half-assed BOTH. Or with how quickly it all changed.

I would say that in light of the other shit that has gone down this year, this is NOTHING. But it sure feels like SOMETHING to me.

The only glimmer of hope in this freshly-minted identity crisis is that I haven’t cried about it yet.

And look at me, would you? I’m all writing again and shit. At least until the next big deadline rears its head. Amiright?

TODAY’S THEME SONG: When a problem comes along (you must whip it). Devo

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