About kvetchmom

Geeky & cheeky. Writer, bookseller, blogger, World Record Holder for Continuous Kegels Performed In 24 Hours.

Hello (hello….hello…)

Where have you been?

I do not know.

I do not know?

Well, I know, but I’m not sure.

(This is turning into a Pink Floyd song in a hurry.)

I’ve been folding laundry. Yes, that.

Discovering that if a small child pushes the tiny brown button on his Pillow Pets Dream Lites enough times in a row it will flash maniacally and turn bedtime into a psychedelic clown show.

Beer. And that.

Considering the question: Who am I? How did I find myself having deep conversations based on the statement (delivered in a deadpan voice as I was sitting on the toilet):

“Mama, pasta can come out of my nose.”

Writing one poem in the last 6 months that felt like a miracle and an ending and a beginning as all poems do.

Wishing. Always wishing which is so silly because look at all of this: the dog curled up on the lap, the boy holding a dog-eared book, the girl going down the slide backwards, the other boy yanking at his underwear, the new job, the rain, the eternal missing, and always (thank goodness) always laughter.

Hello.

Run!

Ah, the sun is shining, I have an hour to exercise! This is going to be great.

Oh my god. I can’t believe you’re making us do this. Our ass cheeks are hanging out of these running shorts. And who the hell decided that running shorts have to be so freakishly short?

The neighborhood looks so beautiful and green. Look at me! I’m running. Wow!

Have you noticed what is happening to our lungs? I can barely breathe. The neighbors are staring at us. They are trying to figure out where the wheezing sound is coming from. 

Well this isn’t so bad. I haven’t exercised for a long time and I’ve actually made it to the end of the block. Awesome! Hi, neighbor!

I can’t believe you’re waving to the neighbors when you’ve got some serious ass jiggling right there for everyone to see.

Coming up on a hill. Slow and steady wins the race. Focus on positive thoughts. This is so good for me! Healthy! Strong! Yeah!

Well, that was good for today! We can turn around now.

This is a little uncomfortable, but look…I’m halfway up the hill!

I think my thighs feel a little chafed. And there seems to be sweat under our boobs. This is definitely not comfortable. Running is for suckers. Let’s just walk. Walkie walkie walkie walk. Walkwalkwalkwalkwalk. HEY! YOU! Do you hear me? 

I will erase negative thoughts. I will keep running. I’ll go another block and see how I feel. One step at a time. Keep going. Keep going. Keep going!

One step at a time my foot! I feel a blister coming on. Or maybe a heart attack. There is going to be serious bruising of the lower back if we keep going. This is not a run, this is a death march. Do you not feel the painful degradation of these muscles? We are going to pass out and die right here.

Just be quiet! Just keep going. See that mailbox? If I can make it to that mailbox I am freakin’ golden. Don’t listen to that.

Don’t listen to that? Hello, crazy? That “that” is you, freak. 

Shut up! I know! Pump the arms, pump the arms. Not that much. Okay, keep the breathing steady. Two short inhalations, one long exhalation. That’s right! You remember how to do this! You are awesome. Go. Go!

Seriously. You are cheerleading for yourself? How about we just turn aroundsky and go home and have a nice cool drink and a few brownies? Brownies! Brownies! Brownies!

Fine. Fuck you. I’m done. 15 minutes isn’t that bad.

15 minutes? Seriously? You’re going to stop after 15 minutes? You can’t turn around and limp home after 15 minutes. How embarrassing.

Embarrassing?! Who was just chanting, “Brownies! Brownies! Brownies!”? You are such a jerk.

Look, you said you wanted to get healthy. Let’s save face here and at least “wog” for another 5 minutes.

Fine.

Good. Go! Why aren’t you going?

I really hate you sometimes.

Stop your whining and run, girl! Run!

Hey! Maybe we can make it to the Dairy Queen!

I like the way you think.

Strange Matter

“Strange matter turns anything it touches into this kind of slimy, grimy, goopy stuff,” declared Ruby after watching Ten Ways to Destroy The Earth for the fourth time with her all things universe obsessed brother.

“What’s your favorite way to destroy the universe?” asked Lucas as images of vaporizing heat and black holes spaghettifying the earth passed across the television screen.

“I never thought I’d say this, Lucas, but do you want to be friends?” asked Ruby with raised eyebrows.

Lucas’ jaw dropped in amazement and a huge smile spread across his freckled face.

“And by the way,” she went on, “my favorite is number two: destruction by strange matter because how cool would it be if the earth turned into a goo ball?!”

Lucas extended a pizza sauced hand toward Ruby and said, “At long last the sibling break up has broken up! WOO!”

Ruby shook Lucas’ hand in a businesslike manner as the moment was broken by the crash of Theo’s plate hitting the kitchen floor.

Ruby jumped down from her bar stool, grabbed the remote control and said, “Do you want to watch Dark Future for the Sun now?”

“Let’s compromise and alternate one episode of earth destruction with one episode of My Little Pony, okay?” declared Lucas.

Agreement brokered, the siblings plopped onto the couch as our sun unleashed its final fury in a giant fireball.

What To Expect When You Are Expecting v. 2.0 Reality

A friend and I were texting this morning about our children and I realized that there are no textbooks that can prepare you for the onslaught of parenting. Yes, What To Expect When You Are Expecting might tell you about preeclampsia and low birth weight, it might guilt you out of drinking copious amounts of wine and eating hotdogs, but it doesn’t prepare you for the reality of becoming enslaved to your little darling/s.

Here are some things that should be included in WTEWYAE:

1. Stock up on stain remover and buckets. You should have an 18-year supply of carpet cleaning solution and whatever will remove vomit, feces, spit-up, urine, blood and snot from your clothing, furniture, purse, skin and hair on hand at all times.

2. You might give birth to an experiential learner. In that case be prepared for the Brown Glove: “Mama, my hand is a brown glove!” Never allow the experiential learner to shit unattended. You may also experience the Yellow Wall: “Mama, I paint pee!” Never allow the experiential learner to be naked unattended. Also the White Mouth: “Mama, I eat clay!” “Mama, I eat toothpaste” And, more than likely, the Mouthful of Something Unidentifiable: “Mama, I dog food!” “Mama, I cat food!” “Mama, I no know what ish is!” Never leave experiential learner unattended around pasty substances or at PetSmart.

3. You may give birth to a child who is on “The Spectrum.” Since being on the spectrum does mean sliding down a rainbow or riding on unicorns or fairies, prepare yourself for years of wondering if your child is simply a lovable dorky oddball or someone with a diagnosable challenge. Set aside thousands of dollars for therapy with psychologists, neuropsychologists, therapists, speech pathologists, and occupational therapists. Be prepared for the possibility that after years of therapy your child will more than likely remain a lovable dorky oddball who now has a diagnosis.

4. As much as you completely love your child, there will be times that you feel gasp disdain, irritation, mortification, disillusionment, boredom, withdrawal, anxiety, depression, elation, joy, and humiliation as a parent. Your friends may think you have a drinking problem because you really love, think, and talk at length about that one glass of wine you drink every evening.

5. Each month as your write out the loan payment for your graduate education that has rendered you unemployable, you will be subjected to the tones of your child’s “friends” and wish that you could be rendered unconscious at will:

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6. Summers will no longer be a time of frivolity, sunbathing, and carefree, sexy vacations. You will now be considered the vehicle for entertainment, the planner of play dates, the manufacturer of fun. You will beg various relatives to come for visits. You will count down the days until school begins.

7. You will pray for your own death when you sink your bare heel into a tiny Lego piece that has been strategically left in the carpet. This will happen in the middle of the night so you must learn to weep, scream and curse silently so you don’t wake up the children.

8. Your relationship with your partner will be different. Sex appeal and charm may take a backseat to her/his ability to A. Catch puke, B. Distract screaming children, D. Kill spiders, remove rodents, E. Retrieve ice cream, cupcakes, cake late at night F. Make strong coffee. Rather than seduction for seduction’s sake, you may find yourself seducing for more time to sleep, a day without children, time out with friends.

9. You may give birth to a gay child. Prepare your best gay friends to expect texts asking for parenting advice. You may be thrilled (I love gay people!), you may be scared (life is challenging enough!), you may fall in love with this child even harder because she/he is so uniquely, authentically, beautifully human.

10. Nothing about parenthood will be Expected. Many things you think you will not do, including co-sleeping with your child, breastfeeding your child past a certain age, and giving up sexual freedom, you will do. Expect it.

Ruby

In the beginning I was simply an envelope. And then when it was time I was the carrier of a tiny note that was writing its own song even as I slept.

At first you were a word, a quickening heartbeat, a wish, the etch a thin willow makes as it worries the window.

I am here. 

Already you were recreating my histories.

Proof that my body hadn’t failed me, you and I were the tongue to the glue, the glue to the paper. You had been sealed in my luckiest of days.

We walked in Central Park, your father and I, with you lulled by the rhythm of my footsteps. The heel of your foot rested under my rib as we made our way beneath the tall trees that dripped with rain water.

Months earlier we had picked out your name, but now, just days before your arrival, I knew it was something different. Something with fire. And so you became Ruby. Our Ruby. But you had been your own Ruby from the beginning. Brilliant, brimming with life, our dear, charmed girl.

On your 9th birthday I am filled with gratitude. You are my daughter and my teacher. You have made me a better person. You have broken my heart wide open.

I love you to the moon and back.

Here’s a song for you, by Ray Charles.

They say, Ruby you’re like a dream
Not always what you seem
And though my heart may break when I awake
Let it be so, I only know
Ruby, it’s you

They say, Ruby you’re like a song
You just don’t know right from wrong
And in your eyes I see heartaches for me
Right from the start, who stole my heart?
Ruby, it’s you

I hear your voice and I must come to you (must come to you)
I have no choice, so what else can I do ? (what else can I do?)

They say, Ruby you’re like a flame
Into my life you came
And though I should beware, still I just don’t care
You thrill me so, I only know
Ruby, it’s you

(I hear your voice and I must come to you)
(I have no choice, what else can I do ? What can I do?)

They say, Ruby you’re like a flame
Into my life you came
And though I should beware, still I don’t care
You thrill me so, I only know
Ruby, it’s you

Things That Make Me Go Hmm….

Today I’m linking up with one of my favorite blogs The Good Life. She is the curator of a fun writing exercise called Monday Listicles and an absolutely incredible photographer. You should definitely take some time to look at her photos. But, I warn you, you will have a hard time tearing yourself away from all that good living!

Here’s my stab at Things That Make Me Go Hmm:

1. Why is it so hard to find a really quality bagel outside of New York?
2.  Clowns. We all hate them, and yet they still show up at parties.
3.  The magnetic attraction between the dog’s water bowl and any toddler in a five-mile radius.
4. Why people call a bookstore and say, “I’m looking for a book.”
5. The missing puzzle piece and the missing sock. I think they’re in bed together.
6.  Why so many of us are depressed even though many of us have so much? Is all the stuff making us depressed?
7. Why I can’t function in a kitchen without paper towels even if there’s a dish rag nearby?
8. Birthday parties that cost as much as a Bar Mitzvah. Bar Mitzvahs that cost as much as a wedding.
9. Why you must have a license to drive a car or a motorcycle or boat, yet there is no training/licensure for parenthood.
10. Why food tastes so much better when you’re sitting in a restaurant.

What makes you go hmm?

Adventures With Cancer, Part 4

PART 4

The Upper East Side office is on the ground floor of a brownstone. The brass handle is heavy in my hand as I push the door open and step into a room occupied by several women reading magazines.

A large glass bowl filled with Kingfisher daisies sits on a low glass table in the middle of the waiting area.

My soon to be husband is waiting for me, pats the seat next to him. A single slant of sun bisects the floor. He holds my hand and I cross my legs and swing one foot in and out of the light.

Through the small glass window of reception I can see a large bulletin board tacked with pictures of babies.

Twins.

Triplets in matching jumpsuits.

Chubby babies in the bath. Babies blowing bubbles. Babies with big wet gummy smiles.

Several blue petals lie on the floor under the glass table like small breathless fish.

I’m thinking about scans. An MRI in two days. A CAT scan the day after that. I wonder if cancer lights up a bone like shoots of bright spring flowers.

The intake form asks how long have you been trying to conceive and number of miscarriages.

I am thinking about chemotherapy. Nausea. My hair. The wedding.

The exam room is non-descript other than an ultrasound machine plugged into the wall. The gown I wear has small green diamonds across it, ties once around the neck, once around the waist.

There is a photograph of a small white boat and impossibly blue water.

My soon to be husband is on the doctor’s rolling stool, careening back and forth across the tiny room. He is trying to make me laugh.

For a moment I hate him.

For a moment I want to be very small and climb up his solid body to his broad shoulders and whisper go, go.

I will myself to leave. I feel unreasonable. I feel oddly reasonable. I imagine walking out the door in the green gown, climbing on the next bus, climbing into bed.

The doctor is tall and I am transfixed by the gray curls brushing the top of his coat. His shoes are impeccable. Italian. I hate him. I feel like a beggar. Please give me some embryos. 

I imagine how the doctor must sit on the edge of his bed early in the morning as his wife sleeps. How he must bend to tie his shoes so carefully as not to shake the bed.

He shakes my hand. Asks questions. I want to shake him. I want to yell, Don’t you know I might be dying? He explains the ultrasound. Inserts the wand. Says here is your uterus and here is your right ovary. 

I see moonscape. Sand. A terribly still ocean. A static field.

I feel my husband to be put his hand on my forehead and think of E.E. Cummings:

love is more thicker than forget
more thinner than recall
more seldom than a wave is wet
more frequent than to fail

it is most mad and moonly
and less it shall unbe
than all the sea which only
is deeper than the sea

love is less always than to win
less never than alive
less bigger than the least begin
less littler than forgive

it is most sane and sunly
and more it cannot die
than all the sky which only
is higher than the sky

Read PART 1

Read PART 2 

Read PART 3 

read to be read at yeahwrite.me

Three Wishes

You have three wishes.

Go.

Not so easy, huh?

Please join me as I make 3 Wishes at Meg O’Keefe’s wonderful Pressure Cooker blog.

Three wishes. One for the past (something I wish I could go back and change or go back and re-live). One for the present (something I wish for or am working on in my life right now). One for the future (something I aspire to, hope for or wish to do in the future).

It wouldn’t be fair to wish for a potato chips and ice cream orgy with no consequences, right?

Take note of the special summer drink recipe. That one is for you, SP.

About The Fault In Our Stars

“You put the killing thing right between your teeth, but you don’t give it the power to do its killing”–Augustus Waters, THE FAULT IN OUR STARS

Thank you, John Green, for writing this incredible book that made me think and laugh and cry. So many things about THE FAULT IN OUR STARS resonated with me that my thoughts feel scattered into a far off, peculiar constellation.

Ten years out from having cancer, I realize that I have largely been stuck in a post-cancer head space.

Time moves apace, but a part of me is often in that chair watching chemicals drip down the tubing into my vein. It keeps me from the next poem, the next chapter, from loving as deeply as I should.

I, too, do not want to detonate.

Knowing that I might have died, not knowing that I might someday be again in the might die is paralyzing.

I can spread the peanut butter on one side of the bread, smooth the jelly on the other side and slap them together. I can take the wet clothes from the washer and put them in the dryer, but the might, the maybe, the percent and possibility is always there, just one beat behind me.

(Maybe that’s why I run from my car to the house on dark nights? It’s not a physical threat I feel, it’s the fear, as Hazel put it, of “the universe’s need to make and unmake all that is possible.”)

No doubt Hazel Grace could write this post with much more eloquence than I am mustering at this moment.

I am glad, ecstatic, guilt ridden that I survived. Scared, angry, hallelujah hell yes happy and nervous that I survived. When happy I see the shadow of the anvil. When sad I see the sun coming up in the terrible sky and am reminded that the tenacity of my foothold is a mere scratch in the dirt.

Blogger’s Dance…Respect!

Okay.

So, I tend to swing from the completely ridiculous (Superhero, The Tampon Warrior) to the fairly depressive here at Kvetch Mom. Writing about the cancer stuff is making me angsty, so I decided to blow off some steam with my blogging girlfriends in a Blogger’s Dance .

Thank you to my brilliant soul sisters for the inspiration (and big hairy balls): HouseTalkN (rocking the Ellen Degeneres), Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms (pole dancing, who knew?!) and The Bearded Iris (best Sprinkler I’ve ever seen).

Herewith you will find that I need Botox and a haircut and probably fresher dance moves. Features a guest appearance by T Funky Fresh H to the E O. Music by my favorite artist in the world, the great Aretha Franklin.

I dedicate this dance to my beloved Geri Broder Murray.