Friday, September 30, 2011

The Diagonal Mow

As I have mentioned in blogs past, ever since moving and becoming the unemployed one of the household...a household that only houses a child 3 months out of the life has taken on a whole new meaning. My sense of accomplishment and contribution to the world stemming more from domestic endeavors than a paycheck. More from the hope of getting (as my friend Sara put it) an "Atta Boy" from my husband than a gold star from my employer.

I like to say these days, probably to my husband's chagrin, that I am currently the man AND the woman of the household. I say this because, not only do I cook and clean and launder, etc...I also do the yard work, take out the trash and recyclables, hang pictures and do minor household repairs. This is not to say that my husband wouldn't do these things, but a) I feel guilty NOT doing this stuff while he is working 8-10 hours a day, sometimes more and b) getting these tasks done while he is working ensures that he will be freed up to spend more time with me when he is home.

*Side note: One thing my husband does do is clean up the kitchen after I cook, which is awesome because to me...clean up is the WORST part of cooking. Am I right? while I was mowing the backyard, I realized that I take the pattern of my lawn mowing very seriously. For instance, one week I will mow north to south and the next week I will mow east to west. Not that  ANYONE other than myself even notices this.  Its pretty and I take great (almost to the point of ridiculousness) pride in my finished lawn. Is this normal?

So...about three-quarters of the way through mowing today, I got really upset with myself because I had wanted to try The Diagonal Mow. You know the mow I am talking about. Crisp clean diagonal lines across the lawn. This seems to be a pattern only the most experienced and conscientious mowers can pull off and dernit...I wanted that to be me. How could I have forgotten?  After a good 5-10 minutes of berating myself for forgetting and agreeing with myself (me and myself do a lot of conversing these days) to do The Diagonal next time, I started thinking "OH.MY.GOD. THIS.IS.WHAT.MY.LIFE.HAS.BECOME!?" The most important and serious conversation I had with myself today is my approach to how I mow the lawn?? This can't be good. THIS.CANNOT.BE.GOOD. This CANNOT be normal.

Anyway...I suppose I will have to settle for diagonal vacuum lines in the living room today. Completely normal. Totally.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Unacknowledged Sneeze

So today in church, I sneezed. Big deal. People sneeze all the time. But, whilst I sneezed, my husband sat beside me...stone-cold silent. Really? I can't get a little "bless you"? "Gesundheit"? Not even a whispered "you are SOOO good-looking" a la Seinfeld?

On the ride home from church, I broached the subject of The Unacknowledged Sneeze. 

Me: Honey, I sneezed in church today and you didn't say anything.
Him: You sneezed? When?
Me: During the sermon.
Him: Oh. I never bless anyone. I don't see the point.
Me: But, we were in church. In front of people. Now people know that my husband doesn't bless my sneezes.
Him: I don't see what the problem is. 
Me: But it is rude not to bless someone when they sneeze.
Him: Why? Because it is important for me to acknowledge that you got a piece of benign dust up your nostril and expelled it?
Me:  Don't you appreciate it when someone says "bless you" after you sneeze?
Him: No. Because after someone says "bless you", I feel obligated to say "thank you" and that is just silly cause I don't even really know what I am thanking them for.
Me: <Heavy sigh>

After this exchange, we went on to further debate the merits or lack thereof of saying "bless you" or "God bless you" after another person sneezes. My take is that, regardless of its origin...whether it started as a response to the need to bless those suffering the bubonic plague some 1500 years ago or a shield against the entrance of evil into your soul as your heartbeat stopped during a is now, in this day and age, all a matter of etiquette. Pure and simple good manners.

After a quick search on The Google; however, I find that this is not an uncommon debate. While there are a lot of people who are offended by a lack of "bless yous" and feel that it is simply rude not to say it, there are an equal number of internet users who have sentiments similar to my husband's. Here are some of their comments:

  • "You sneeze, spreading your germs all up and around and on me and I am supposed to thank you by blessing you?"
  • "I could care less whether someone sneezes or not."
  • "No one says anything when you cough, so why should they say anything when you sneeze? It's the only bodily emission that apparently deserves public comment."
  • ""Jesus Christ, why the f@ck don'tcha cover yer goddamn face you pig" always works for me. Guess it depends on the crowd you hang with."
  • "My boss has the annoying habit of saying Bless You everytime I sneeze, and I feel I have to say thank you and excuse me at the same time. Or she will say GodBlessYouGodBlessYouGodBlessYou really fast to cover the three sneeze annoys me no end. The blessing isn't what bothers's the unnecessary calling attention to the sneeze. I'd rather people just ignored it."
  • "I've been in the grocery store, late at night, the only soul for aisles, and sneezed, and had someone halfway across the store shout out "Bless You!" and I have to shout back "Thank You!". Very annoying."
Gosh...I have always been THAT person who says multiple "bless yous" to multiple sneezes or will shout a "bless you" across a room. I just feel like its friendly and kind of me. Now I feel confused. I am rude and annoying for calling out a sneeze?  If so...I don't think I can stop.  I can't. I HAVE to say "bless you". It's just there. I have to. Please don't hate me for acknowledging your sneeze.

By the way, after arriving home, I sneezed twice in the house. 

My husband: Bless you. Bless you.
Me: Ohmygosh...THANK YOU, honey!
Him: You realize I was being ironic, right? Those were "ironic bless yous".
Me: <SIGH>

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

What I learned at today's doctor's appointment:

  • Apparently, 2 weeks ago...they were supposed to biopsy a lymph node, not my liver. Ehhhh. Minor mis-communication. Ha!  Liver. Lymph node. It's all the same. LOL. Seriously, though...the story is longer and more complicated than that, but basically the spot on my liver is SO small and SO close to my lung that it was really not an ideal place to thrust a needle through my body grab some tissue. (Not that there is really ANY ideal place to do this). What I didn't know before today was that they weren't sure if they got the right spot on the first try and though they went in for a second try, when I was experiencing so much pain, they abandoned the attempt.
  • I am being scheduled to have another biopsy sometime next week. This time, they will biopsy a lymph node and the sacral mass in my pelvis. Two for the price of one! The good news is that this "should" be less painful than the liver biopsy. The good and bad news is that the masses are SO small that  it won't be easy to get samples. I, personally, think this may be a "good" problem to have. Certainly better than "the masses are so large, we could get a sample with our eyes closed"!
  • Despite mine and my husband's efforts to coerce the doctor  into predicting my future and accurately diagnosing me on the spot with his special doctor powers, we don't have any answers. It is all speculation at this point. Could it be cancer? Yes. Could it be something else? Yes. If it is cancer, can it be treated? Abso-freaking-lutely Yes.
It is easy for me to gravitate to "worst-case scenarios". After all, I am a woman and I was bred for that kind of catastrophic thinking. It's how we learn to protect ourselves and our young. And, as if I didn't already think daily of my friend Steph, who lost her battle with cancer in 2009 at age 35, now I think about her even more. Constantly almost. She had such strength and spirit and grace and determination and every good word I can think of...and she didn't make it. It's SO not fair. BEYOND unfair. So far beyond unfair that in 2 plus years I still have not been able to wrap my itty-bitty brain around it. Why her? Why? Why me?  I have to keep reminding myself that these are different journeys. That even if this does turn out to be cancer, it doesn't mean I won't be ok. That for every heart-wrenching soul-crushing loss of life to cancer, there is a story of hope out there. People who get through it. Everybody's story is different. I am no exception. It sucks...SUCKS...that she is gone. But, it doesn't mean my journey will be the same as hers.

I don't really know where I am going with all this, which I suppose is the point of "stream-of-consciousness" writing. But, I know that...though I don't know much...I think I have a lot of things going for me in this situation and I am gonna do my dernd-est to focus on those things. I know that the size of my support system is immensely larger than the size of those little buggers that are lighting up in mah belly. I know that I am in a really GOOD location to have this problem. I know that there is still a chance that my body is just super-weird and there is something super-unconventional happening in there. (Key the music {"She's a Superfreak, Superfreak...yeah"}...)

My husband doesn't say much. Ever. But today, he said 2 things that I needed to hear: 
  1. Something to the effect of: "If it's cancer, they will get in there and zap those suckers and all will be ok."
  2. "I'm not going anywhere..."

Monday, September 19, 2011

Rollercoasters....They Aren't Just for Theme Parks Anymore

So. I met with an oncologist at Johns Hopkins today. After an aggravatingly long wait to see him, I got the news that my PET scan was not "clean". It was actually quite "lit up" as in glow-y but not in a good way. This glowy-ness included the spot on my liver that was previously deemed as "normal". So NOT how I was expecting this appointment to go. Other glow-y spots seen include a whole bunch of lymph nodes and a larger "spot" in my pelvis. Kidney looks ok. Yay for small victories.

And...the rollercoaster of emotions rolls on...

What does this new information reveal? A whole lot more frustration and mystery, but no diagnosis. The Hopkins oncologist is asking me to get EVERYTHING collected...from the actual pathology slides collected during my 2008 cervical cancer surgery to the results of the liver biopsy (including a photograph of the needle going into the liver mass). He isn't convinced those cells are "normal". He gave me the 2 most likely scenarios (in his opinion). One is cancer (based on the PET scan results and my history of cancer). Two is an autoimmune reaction (based on the PET scan results and my current autoimmune my eyeball).  I suppose the only way to rule out cancer is to have another biopsy done...this time of a lymph node, but he wants to read the liver biopsy report first before we do that.

So...that's the latest. I am trying not to get too worked up because tomorrow someone may say it's nothing. I have no control over this rollercoaster and I just have to hope that it lands safely in the station at the end of the ride.

On a somewhat separate note, but not really...I am seeing an acupuncturist tomorrow. I went to this particular acupuncturist about a decade ago and I really felt that he helped me. Some may find this approach "hokey" but I think those old-school Traditional Chinese Medicine folks are onto something. Either can't hurt! What's a few more needles!? Heh.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Holy Mary Mother of All That is IKEA

I forgot how totally AMAZING and AWESOME the IKEA store is!! It has been years since I walked into an IKEA, and on a whim this weekend, I made a pilgrimage to all that is holy in home furnishings and decor. After fighting through Maryland vs WVU football traffic (that's the trouble with doing something on a forget about these types of unplanned-for obstacles), I arrived at the Big Blue building, parked in the gi-normous parking lot and slowly escalated up the...uhh...escalator to "The Showroom"...aka Grown-Up playland...awww ahhh...<key the majestic heavenly lights shooting out from the ceilings of the IKEA store>.

Top 3 things I love about IKEA:

1) The Showroom and its itty-bitty, yet grown-up size "playrooms". Its like being a live adult-sized doll inside a real adult-sized dollhouse. You can sit in various styles of living rooms, bedrooms, offices, kitchens and bathrooms and imagine yourself in a whole different trendy and sophisticated life. You can lounge on a couch and watch the fake big screen TV or read a fake book while cozied up on a chaise lounge covered in a silky mohair wool throw. You can sort through your wardrobe in your super-organized closet or chop veggies on your pristine kitchen counter with your wall-mounted knife set while your kids dutifully do their homework at the free-standing kitchen island under fully-integrated environmentally-friendly lighting. IKEA makes me want to be a better person. IKEA also makes bedding look like a warm soft fluffy cocoon that you never want to emerge from. I have never actually crawled under one of these inviting swaddles of cloth in the IKEA store...but...oh how tempting it is!

2) The Prices! Oh My God...The Prices!! Sure there are pricey items there, but most things are so affordable yet stylish and sturdy...I can't tell you how many times I gasped while touring around the store. A duel-sided art easel (chalkboard on one side, whiteboard on the other) for $14.99!?! Gorgeous queen-sized duvet sets for $39.99!?! Are you kidding me?!? A pair (pair!!) of lined (!!) curtains with tiebacks included (!!) for $19.99!?! Get the heck outta here!!?? Seriously, I could go on and on. The prices astound me. 

3) The People-Watching. Very few people shop alone at IKEA. Mostly you will see couples and families embarking on a multi-sensory hours-long adventure through the store. Mostly you will bear witness to these other people and their families playing make-believe among the mini-rooms, couples discussing the merits of leather versus fabric or spring versus memory foam. Parents helping their new freshman college students furnish their first dorm room. Newlyweds trying to negotiate needs versus wants and his style versus hers. It's fun. It's entertaining. And in IKEA, I can just pull up a $69.00 armchair and take it all in.

One of the downfalls of IKEA is that, despite its well-marked arrows to help you flow seamlessly from one department to the next, it is very easy to get lost and disoriented inside the store...especially if you need a break for food or bladder relief. Its like getting lost inside the Louvre (has anyone else ever gotten lost in the depths of the Louvre...its feel as though you will never find your way back to daylight again). I circled the store probably a total of 14 times in the 2-plus hours I was there and if you asked me to find a specific department or item...I couldn't do it. 

The other downfall is the fact that my husband will never set foot inside the IKEA. I so want him to experience this world, but it is so far beyond his comfort will never happen....unless I strap him to a flatbed and force him to roll through the labyrinth that is IKEA, roll him into the cocoon-like bedding, somehow convince him that the TVs are real. not gonna happen. Oh well...that's what my girlfriends are for....who wants to go!?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Sit Back, Relax and Enjoy the PET Scan

So, I had my first ever (and hopefully last) PET scan this morning. What a pleasant change of pace from the Stabbing of the Liver I had last Friday.

They had advised me to bring a book, which I just couldn't fathom. I mean, I kept picturing myself laying flat on my back on a scanner and holding a book over my face trying to read and turn pages without moving. Not to mention, with my current physical condition (or lack thereof), I am not sure I could lift a book over my head. Alas, as it turns out...the entire first hour of the process (after receiving an injection of radioactive glucose) I was relegated to a HUGE comfy black leather recliner chair (think Joey's chair on Friends) and covered in a soft clean HEATED blankie and THEN advised to "just relax". Hello!? Sign me up for this test everyday! Ha.

Of course the 24-hour no-carb, no-caffeine diet followed by the 6-hour fast to prepare me for this hour of relaxation was no picnic (literally) for this Pennsylvania Dutch/East European starch lover. In case you didn't know anything about PET scans, which I didn't before this week, you need to eliminate the glucose in your diet prior to the scan. Apparently, those super busy cancer cell devils love the sugar. Therefore when the radioactive glucose is injected into your body, any kind of cancerous tumor/growth will suck in the glucose and show up all glow-y on the scan. That is your medical lesson for the day.

Of course, I am praying for a completely non-glowy scan, but I won't know til Monday.  I feel better about this test than previous ones, but it may just be because it was TOTALLY less traumatizing.

Anyway...that is TAH-day's story. Hopefully, I will return soon with more comedic jabs at my loving therapeutic.....

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Man's Field of Vision

I have been pondering this morning my husband's (and perhaps other men's) inability to see things that are RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIS FACE. What IS the deal here? This morning, for example, I noticed that my husband was eating two pieces of dry toast for breakfast.

Him: We need milk.
Me: There is a brand new carton on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator.
Him: Oh. We need syrup.
Me: There is a brand new bottle of syrup right behind the almost empty syrup bottle.
Him: Oh. 'bout that!

I shared this story with my mother on the phone later and she, in turn, shared a story about a conversation she and my father had today because he couldn't find the mail key...which was hanging IN THE SAME PLACE it always hangs, but because the attached key chain was turned backwards, and he therefore could not recognize the insignia, he determined that the mail key was in fact missing. And that, of course, this was my mother's fault. 

It got me thinking about some other recent conversations with my husband. 

During dinner Sunday night:

Me: Why did you get a clean spatula out to serve yourself the roasted potatoes? What is wrong with the one I used while cooking?
Him: Oh. I didn't see it.
Me: You didn't see it? It's RIGHT NEXT TO THE BAKING SHEET. (*It was TOUCHING the baking sheet*)
Him: Oh. You should have put it ON TOP of the baking sheet.
Me: <eye roll>

During another recent evening meal:

Me: Aren't you going to put dressing on your salad?
Him: Oh. But you didn't set any dressing out on the counter.
Me: Heavy sigh.

It leaves me wondering how these men could possibly function without a woman in their lives. Granted, when my husband was single, his refrigerator was more of an empty vessel of cold air than a storage place for food and beverage, so it wasn't hard to lose anything in there. But, the sheer number of times he has stated "I don't know how...can you do it for me" or advised me that we needed something that was present in his DIRECT LINE OF VISION leads me to believe that without women, men may just very well wither away...un-fed, clothes un-laundered (does my husband even know where the laundry room is?), clean dishes on the counter because they can't figure out where to put them in the cabinets and drawers. Unable to pack up leftovers because after 18 times of SHOWING them where the food storage items are, they still can't find them....sigh.

So...I love my husband and he works hard to bring home the bacon (mmm.....bacon), but how did he survive on his own? Was he completely capable as a single man and then suddenly forgot basic observation and survival skills when I entered his life? Why was he able to prepare and cook a delicious meal on the night he proposed, but now married cannot turn on the oven without it catching fire? Why can't he see things? Does anyone have the answers to these perplexing questions? Is it just me? Or is this a mystery to all women?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ow...That's My Liver!

I haven't really talked about this, but now that I have some answers, I thought I would share my experience of the Liver Biopsy fun day.

For anyone who is completely clueless....I had a CT scan of my abdomen and pelvis done mid-August because I am having a lot of abdominal pain, lower back pain and blood in my urine. A round of antibiotics did nothing to cure the pain. So, the doc thought we better take a closer look at what's happening inside my buddha belly. During said scan, they found a bunch of on my liver, one on my kidney and a whole bunch of little ones along a bilateral path in my pelvis. I saw an oncologist (based on my history of cervical cancer), who recommended that I get a biopsy of the liver mass. One, this was the one they were most concerned about and two, this was the easiest access point for a biopsy. This "fun" procedure took place yesterday, 9/9/2011.

Prior to the procedure, I met with the radiologist, who reviewed my recent CT scan and answered  A LOT of my questions. She is/was my new favorite person (I say was because she did cause me a lot of pain later. LOL.) She told me that the mass on the liver is very small, only 1 cm. The report said that it was 5 cm! And my PCP even called it "lemon-sized". I asked why the difference and she explained to me that the "enhancing" view of the mass makes like a glowy outer ring, but that she felt that the actual mass was just the little portion inside. I think if someone had told me this...oh 2 weeks ago...maybe it would have saved me A LOT of worry!! You think? Anyway, I asked her about the mass on my kidney and she said very non-chalantly "oh..that is a should not worry about that". Again...why could no one else tell me this? I also asked about the other masses (I have multiple masses along the iliac and adnexal lymph nodes, which is where I had multiple lymph nodes removed in 2008). She says that likely these cysts have developed because fluid in that part of my lymphatic system has nowhere to go...can't drain when you don't actually have nodes, I guess. I am thinking this is the cause of all my pain...but I don't know for sure. It was so nice to have someone actually give me answers, though it makes me feel a little distrusting of the other doctors I have seen.

After they did the first biopsy of my liver (I was awake but mildly sedated and let me tell you...I do NOT recommend having a needle stuck in your my case right next to my lung). My diaphragm cramped and I had radiating shoulder pain and couldn't breathe. I started to cry, which is unlike me, which made it even harder to "take shallow breaths" as I was being advised. LOL. The radiologist took these first samples to the pathologist to see if there was enough tissue to study and make a diagnosis. The pathologist looked at them and said they could only find normal cells. The radiologist feels confident that she biopsied the right spot, but just in case...she went in again...trying a different approach/path. So...I went through the whole crying/pain/breathing thing again. This time I could not stop crying.  She finished, took the sample again to the pathologist and the pathologist again said that they only found normal cells. I must have boo hooed for 20 minutes while the nurse comforted me and returned me to the recovery room. The radiologist decided she had done enough poking and probably couldn't deal with my crying anymore. Ha ha.

After the procedure, I was pretty miserable for an hour or 2. They gave me a bunch of pain meds, which in turn made me sick. Once I finally got some crackers and some zofran, I was feeling A LOT better. I had a chest xray to make sure that the radiologist did not puncture my lung during the procedure (she did not) and finally got to go home. What I thought was gonna be an in and out 2 hour from beginning to end procedure...was actually a 7 hour day. Ha. Shows you what I know! And for the record, hubs was right there the whole time (though he did have to spend a lot of time in the waiting room) so he does deserve some kudos for enduring that long day with me.

So...the radiologist has recommended a PET scan to be sure of the results and to also look at the adnexal and illiac cysts for malignancy. Depending on the results of the PET scan, I could have a biopsy of the other cysts. I am still in a lot of pain and I keep testing positive for blood in my urine (but negative for any types of infection). BUT...I am soooo beyond relieved that the liver mass seems likely to be a non-issue. Per the radiologist's request, I am trying to get ahold of a CT scan done at Duke last year of my chest to see if the spot shows up on that scan (they were looking at my lungs for sarcoidosis at the time, so the report doesn't say anything about my liver). So anyway....that's my story! Oh...and for those who have eye is still an issue...but it seems to have improved over the last month. I had hoped that these conditions were related and we could finally have a diagnosis and get me all better. But, one thing at a time, I suppose! Maybe you will see me on Mystery Diagnosis one of these days!

That being said...

Nothing wakes you up like a health scare! Please take care of yourselves and don't wait to see a doctor if you feel something isn't right. Most importantly....cherish your loved ones...not only are they your best support system (thank you all so so so much for your prayers and loving thoughts), but you never know how long you will have them.

Special thanks to the Ruggieros and Grandma Sue, who called the Billy Graham hotline to pray with someone for me...and to Annie for sharing that tidbit with me cause it makes me grin everytime I think about it.

Oh and special thanks to Patty, who insists that she called Gayle King, Oprah's lesbian lover, to pray for me because Oprah wasn't available.

Love to you all!!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

To Bleach or Not to Bleach...That is the Question

For as long as I can remember, I have loved the smell of chlorine. Put me in the lobby of the local indoor Y and I was in heaven. During my childhood summers, my mom would bleach our crisp white sheets and lay them out on the living room floor in front of a big box fan as a cool way to relax in the days before air-conditioning. As such, the smell of chlorine bleach reminds me of cool, refreshing, crisp clean-NESS. 

As an adult, I have always felt it important to use bleach and bleach-containing products when cleaning and laundering. There is something quintessentially hygienic about the use of bleach when cleaning. For me, the smell of bleach equals the smell of clean. I can picture the little bleach molecules destroying the germs and mold and bacteria and viruses clinging to the surfaces of my house.

BUT...I have discovered two things about using The Bleach. the my best friend likes to point out to me often. The Bleach is toxic. It can burn your skin. It can burn your lungs. The Bleach can even kill you if you are not careful. Per my BFF, other products clean and sanitize just as well as bleach. Point taken.

The second thing is more of a personal problem. I cannot contain The Bleach. Every time I clean anything with bleach, I end up bleaching everything in my path including (but not limited to) whatever outfit I am wearing to clean. Yesterday....I squirted bleach-containing toilet bowl cleaner on my favorite lounging pants. (Little overzealous with the toilet bowl cleaner, you might say. But, is my toilet sparkling? Oh yes!) When we cleaned our apartment before moving...bleach....all over my lovely brown shirt. I have had people point out to me that I have something on my shirt, pants, sweater, whatever and have to explain..."oh yeah...that's a bleach stain". When I first moved in with my husband...I destroyed a set of really nice sheets. Bleach. (In my own defense, before my existence in his life...he rarely RARELY washed his sheets and I felt that extra sanitation was in order before I slipped my clean, sanitized body between them. I sanitized the heck outta those much so that they just...umm...fell apart?! Oopsy!) He hasn't let me forget this incident since. 

Anyway...given my latest pants bleaching incident and the fact that I have almost assuredly come close to asphyxiating myself while cleaning the bathroom on multiple occasions, I think it is really truly time for this girl to step away from The Bleach. It will take me some time to replace my bleach-y products with safe non-toxic yet germ-killing goods, but I think in the long run my skin, lungs, internal organs, wardrobe and marriage will all be better for it.

Goodbye crisp clean refreshing and lovely chlorine smell. You will be sorely missed!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Labor Day Minus the Labor

It seemed kind of odd this year to take a "Labor Day" vacation when I don't have a job. After all, Labor Day is the day to observe and celebrate the "economic and social contributions of workers" of which I am currently a non-participant.

In all honesty, without a regular 9 to 5, my days have been all mixed up in my head. There is no truly definitive beginning and end to a work week. And, its kinda funny (but sadly true), I tend to keep track of the weekdays by my reality TV shows (like...I know The Bachelor Pad is Monday nights and Jersey Shore is Thursdays and I look so forward with anticipation to these two TV-centric evenings that my week revolves around an extent...yeah...I probably shouldn't put that in writing).

Also funny and sad...I realize now that during the summer (especially in that one-bedroom apartment)...I treasured the weekdays, half-dreaded the weekends and looked forward to a reprieve from my more intensive weekend wifely/stepmotherly duties come Monday. The work week reversed.

Anyway...I digress. Because what I really wanted to write about today was how incredibly awesome my Labor Day vacation was. Though we already established that I am not a laborer, life has become a little too serious and scary for my liking lately and I certainly needed a vacation. According to Mr. Webster, a vacation is  "a respite or a time of respite from something". While I couldn't/can't really avoid the facts of life facing me at this juncture....traveling out of town on an airplane with my husband and step-daughter (who by the way...flew by herself...age proud!) to be hosted and entertained and fed and coddled by family (my wonderful in-laws) was just what this non-working girl needed. It was busy for sure, but it was all happiness...from reliving my husband's undergraduate years and cheering on his alma mater to eating Chicago-style pizza late in the evening. Pulling children around a big flat green yard in a big red wagon and cautiously holding a nearly-newborn baby, taking in her nearly-newborn baby smell. Sharing stories of what it's like to be married to a man from my husband's family while dining on a home-cooked-not-by-me meal and watching old home videos of my husband acting a-fool. Pure entertainment. 

Time of respite from something? Mission accomplished.