Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Can someone please explain to me why it is that every television set, in every hospital waiting room in the country, is apparently pre-set to Divorce Court? Or Jerry Springer? Are there little waiting room fairies, or goblins, whose job it is to find the dumbest, most inane shows, and make sure those are turned on? And why is it my fellow waiting-room family members (not MY family, mind you, but the other families who are also waiting) seem to find actual enjoyment in these useless programs? And why, also, everyone around me is usually DEAF, or at least hard of hearing, and why the televisions must be turned to FULL VOLUME?!?!?! SO THAT THERE IS NO WAY TO IGNORE THE STENCH OF FILTH THAT IS BEING REGURGITATED FROM THE TV?!?!?!?!?!?

(deep breath)

Now, I am by no means an intellectual snob, or highbrow. I like a good "Friends" re-run as much as the next person. But I truly don't understand why we must scrape the bottom of the FCC barrel while waiting around in hospitals. What's wrong with The Today Show? Or maybe a little Discovery Channel? Twice yesterday I was left alone in the waiting room, and both times I turned the tv to CNN and turned the volume down. Both times, within ten minutes, someone had come in, flipped the channel to Judge Hatchett, or Judge Judy, or Judge Somebody-or-another and sound-blasted the room again.

Why? Why??? WHY??????????

If I have to listen to one more episode of 19 year old Jerry Lee trying to tell his 17 year old wife, Taneisha, that he has no idea where the red thong panties she found in his glovebox actually came from ....... or 20 yr old Juan complaining that his nosy, bitchy mother-in-law is interfering in his marriage, while his 18 year old wife, Bobbie Sue, who happens to be the mother of his baby, cries on the plaintiff stand ...... or (GASP!) yet another SURPRISE PATERNITY DNA TEST RESULT ---- No, NO, "HE'S NOT THE FATHER OF YOUR BABY, YOU LYING, CHEATING SCUMBAG!!!" -------------- Well, I swear I will lose my mind.

Not that I actually *listen* to any of this. Oh no. There is a reason God invented portable DVD players and earphones, and this is it. But still, just glancing around the room, at the vapid, idiotic faces around me, who are captivated, who actually find this sort of crap titillating, it nauseates me.

While I definitely prefer the 1:1 Nurse:Patient ratio of Intensive Care, I have to admit that the solitude and peace of a private room is becoming more and more attractive.

I promise, I won't even complain when Blaine wants to watch The Weather Channel. Or even The History Channel for 24 hours straight. Unless they're airing a special episode about "Was Thomas Jefferson REALLY the Father???". Then, when you see a report on tonight's news about the crazy lady who threw the tv from the 9th floor of Ft. Gordon Army Hospital, you'll know what happened.

Sunday, February 26, 2006


Good news #1: Lager, the wonder-mutt, is home and much improved. He's walking again, and even eating and drinking a little ... I wasn't even upset when he got white dog hair all over my black sweater yesterday at the vets (that should tell you how happy I was to see him!) I had completely steeled myself during the drive home from Augusta yesterday that I would be making the decision to have him put down when I got to the vets. I showed up and the vet said, "I think we should let him go home" .... and I assumed he meant the great doggie-play land in the sky. When I realized he meant home, as in OUR home, I was so relieved I burst into tears right there in the office. He might be old and deaf and arthritic, but he's ours and we love him.

Now, he's taking nine pills a day and I'm reminded of the days of giving chemo. Just like Kendrie, we crush up his pills and hide them in his food. Getting a dog to take pills is a talent; one that I don't have. So as long as Blaine, the official pill-giver, is in the hospital, we'll be playing "hide the big blue pill" in the Alpo.

The only bad part was when the vet came in to talk to me (remember, my mother, who I love dearly, but who is 63 years old, took the dog to the vet on Friday.) The vet said it would be ok for me to bring him home .... then asked "When will your daughter be coming back from out of town?" --- OK, he thought I was my MOTHER??!?! I mean, I had just driven three and a half hours home in a rainstorm, and I know I possibly wasn't looking my best .... but my MOTHER?!?!?

Good news #2:M\ Kellen's basketball team, with a record of 8-1-1, won the league championship yesterday. So although the SICU nursing staff thinks I am the most neglectful wife in history for leaving my pain-ridden, drug-addled husband alone, it was worth it for the smile on Kellen's face.

I'm headed back to the hospital today and will stay there until Thursday, hopefully bringing Blaine home with me at that time. Otherwise, we'll play it by ear. In the meantime, I can hopefully update from the hotel's computer, although I am unable to get into my e-mail ... so to the people who have been kind enough to send me personal e-mails, please know I'm not ignoring you, I just can't answer them until I get back home. But I do appreciate them

Friday, February 24, 2006


The most embarrassing thing that happened to me today:

Falling asleep on a sofa in the Surgery Intensive Care Waiting Room. (Hey, cut me some slack. Blaine was first in line for surgery today and we had to get up at the insane hour of 4am to make it to the hospital in time!)

What made it even more embarrassing:

Waking myself up because I was snoring so loud.

What made it even more, MORE embarrassing:

Realizing that I was not only snoring, but drooling.

The icing on the humilation-cake:

Hearing a young boy across the room stage whisper to his mom: "Wow, that lady finally quit snoring!"


Thank you all so, so much, from the bottom of my heart, for all the warm thoughts, prayers, and kind messages in the guestbook. It's truly heart-warming to come here and see so many notes of support.

Surgery did not go as well as could be expected. They weren't able to do all of the reconstructive work, nor were they able to remove all of the tumors, so we're most likely looking at radiation in about six weeks. The good news is that there is a business center here in the hotel I can use, and they served my favorite whitefish in the hospital cafeteria today. And really, isn't that all that matters? MY appetite? :)

We'll know more in a few days, when the final pathology report comes in. In the meantime, he's in good hands in Intensive Care, although in a lot of pain this evening. I feel terrible leaving him here, but I have to get home tomorrow because Kellen has a basketball game, and because (are you ready for this?) it appears our wonderful, gentle, loving 15-yr old dog has picked this weekend to die. SERIOUSLY!! All I'm waiting for now is lightning to strike and burn down our home, or a plague of locusts to attack and eat all our crops! Poor Grandma got way more than she bargained for with the dog, and he's at the vet now on IV meds and fluids. The vet says I need to be there by noon tomorrow, so I'm glad Blaine is being taken good care of here (how's *that* for a grammatically incorrect phrase?) so I can go home and deal with the poor old, deaf, arthritic pooch, who will hopefully rebound and go back to driving us crazy.

So, specific prayer requests for us:

1) Pain relief for Blaine.
2) Miracle-recovery for Lager, the wonder-mutt.
3) A vat of liquor for Kristie so deep I'll have to take stilts and a snorkel with me!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The News

Well, this is a journal entry I’ve put off typing, because I wasn’t sure *if* I should share, let alone when or where or how. But for purely selfish reasons, I’ve decided to go ahead and let you all know: Blaine’s cancer is back. So, in what is becoming typical-Escoe fashion, now is when we sit up and beg and solicit once more, in an entirely self-absorbed manner, for all of you to send up warm thoughts and prayers for him, his doctors, and his recovery.

I won’t go into great detail for those of you who are already familiar with his story (I heard there’s a shortage of Kleenex and I don’t want to bore you all to tears.) If you aren’t familiar with what he’s gone through, you can go back in the journal history to March of 2005 and read the long version.

The short version is that pretty much anything that could go wrong with his reconstructive surgery, has. Hell, pretty much anything that could go wrong at ALL for the poor guy, has. Staph infections, additional surgeries, collapse of the flap, repair of the flap, a hole in the repair ….. and now, two new malignant tumors. We found out for sure last month and have been sitting on the news, waiting until closer to time.

His *next* step in the reconstructive process was scheduled for this Friday, and the surgeons have decided to go ahead with the surgery and remove the tumors at the same time. He’s extremely apprehensive a little nervous because (warning, graphic imagery ahead) they will be peeling his face off like they did before, which he said hurt like hell was a wee bit uncomfortable. One of the tumors is near his carotid artery, which scares the shit out of me makes everyone a little anxious.

But when all is said and done, he should be tumor-free, the hole on one side of his defective flap should be repaired (with tissue from somewhere else in his body, I’m not really sure where --- at this point I’ve simply lost track of all the anatomy-borrowing that has gone on in the Science Experiment That Is Called Blaine) and he will have implants, which puts him one step closer to having TEETH!!! Hey, you don’t realize how much you might hate being a toothless person until it happens to you, is what he keeps telling me. Apparently, “not having to floss” is not perk enough, and he longs for the good ole’ days of sinking his chops into a double cheeseburger.

Anyway, he’ll be in ICU for several days and in the hospital for at least a week. Since the hospital is three hours from our house, and there’s no real way for me to drive back and forth every day, once again, Grandma has flown in to save the day and the kids are thrilled. I’ll be coming back home this weekend for a day or two, assuming everything goes ok with Blaine, and I’ll try to update then.

I feel a little shameless asking yet again, but if you could spare some well-wishes his way come Friday morning, it would mean a lot to us.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Day 68 OT

Kendrie accidentally spilled her water bottle in her book bag last week, soaking the contents with water. Contents included a school agenda, mittens (why?) and her library book. She was most worried about the library book and the trouble and punishment she was just certain the elementary school librarian would inflict upon her small person. We tried laying it flat, even blow-drying it, but to no avail. Not only were both the pages and the binding warped, but it had begun to mold (We do live in the southeast, after all.)

So today when I took her to school, I told her I would take the book to the library and explain what happened. If need be, I would even pay for the book. But I assured her she would not be in trouble. She protested and explained that particular book was part of the Accelerated Reading Program at school and she needed to take her test and get her points before returning it to the library.

AR tests are taken on the computers in the classrooms, and I always feel a little funny sitting there while my kids take their tests. I enjoy watching, but then I get a little paranoid. If they get a 100 percent on the test, will the teacher think I slipped them the answers? Like I really *know* the storyline of every Mystery Treehouse book in the library, or that I actually give two hoots about Danny and his Dinosaur? But still, just to be on the safe side, I told Kendrie to go take her test and I sat myself on the other side of the room and waited for her to be done.

While I was waiting, the teacher from the gifted program at our school came into the room and handed Kendrie’s teacher two envelopes. The teacher turned to me and said, “Oh, here. One of these is for you.” I opened it (here is where the moment of obnoxious parental pride comes in) and found a request to have Kendrie tested for the school’s gifted program. It doesn’t begin until first grade, but they want to test her now to see if she qualifies, and if so, then she could start next year.

So I’m sitting there, swelling up with delight. Literally, swelling. And a wee bit of smugness, if I were to be honest. I mean, the kid missed an entire year of pre-school due to cancer, but today came the realization that ALL THOSE MONTHS OF FREAKIN’ PUZZLES AND WORKBOOKS AND READING AND GAMES THAT I PLAYED WITH HER REALLY AND TRULY PAID OFF!!!!! I mean, in a psuedo-sense, I took over her education for that year, and now they think she might be gifted???? That’s my girl!!! It’s thrilling!

I looked up at the teacher, pride and happiness shining in my eyes, to be sure, and just then Kendrie walked over. My prodigal child, my beacon of intelligence, the fruit of my loins that will someday win a Nobel Peace Prize. And what bit of remarkable wisdom would she bestow upon us lowly earth creatures????

“Well, I sure failed THAT test!” she proclaimed loudly, in front of all of us.

“What do you mean honey? You failed an AR test? You FAILED a test? You haven’t failed a single test all year …. Are you joking???” I stammered, worried the gifted teacher was going to reach over and snatch the envelope out of my hand and rip it into shreds right in front of my eyes.

So close …………. We were Soooooooooooo close!




Proof that the gifted request might very well have been a mistake: The kids are required to keep a reading list, and were attempting to complete six hours of at-home reading to qualify for free Six Flags tickets next summer, as part of a school reading program. The lists were due today, and my kids haven’t been the most faithful about writing down all their books. So last night found them frantically trying to remember every book they’ve read for the past month that they might have forgotten to include. I *know* they’ve read six hours because we read together almost every night, so I was just sort of half-listening as they tried to remember all the book titles.

Kendrie turned to me and said, “What was the name of that first book, the one in the Bible, with God, and the garden, and his friends Even and Odd?”

Yeah. We’re SO not making it into gifted, are we?

Monday, February 20, 2006

MY BUSY, BUSY, BUSY, BUSY DAY (aka I’m So Important)

Day 67 OT

So, yesterday being Sunday, and us being heathens and all, we didn’t take the kids to church. Instead, we decided to have a “lazy day around the house”, which translates into “I’m bored, there’s nothing to do” in nine different languages. I have to thank my girlfriend Jadine, though, who on my recent trip to Texas taught me the golden parenting nugget of: “Only stupid people say they’re bored …. You have a perfectly good brain, so think of something to do and quit complaining.” Now, my kids were still complaining that they were bored yesterday, but Kellen, at least, added the following: “Well, I know I’m not stupid, but I *am* still bored.”

Anyway, just to give you a glimpse into the demanding, fulfilling, rewarding life of Kristie Escoe, I thought I would break down yesterdays’ schedule for you:

7:30 am: Wake up. Think about how much I would like to go back to sleep.

8:00 am: Get out of bed

8:10 am: Tell everyone that they are eating Cocoa Krispies cereal for breakfast because I am just too lazy to make pancakes. Promise to make pancakes tomorrow.

8:11 am: Pour myself a bowl of Cocoa Krispies cereal. Hey, these things are pretty yummy. Who needs pancakes?

8:15 until 9:30 am: Lounge around on the sofa, watching cartoons with the kids. (This is what the experts call Parent-Child Quality Bonding Time, in case you need to justify this sort of behavior.)

9:30 am: Tell Blaine all the quality bonding time has left me worn out and I’m going to go lie down for a nap.

11:30 am: Wake from nap. Change from sleep t-shirt into daytime t-shirt. This is noteworthy because it constitutes the productivity highlight of the day.

11:40 am: Wander into the kitchen, sit down and watch Blaine unload the dishwasher. Think to myself, “I’m bored.”

11:45 am: Eat left-over vegetable pizza for lunch. If you purposely choose the leftovers that you know none of the kids like, then you get out of having to make them lunch at the same time and can enjoy your own lunch in peace.

12 noon: Sit back down in the living room with the kids, who are watching a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. Despite your protestations that this might be the dumbest movie ever made, find yourself getting sucked in and watching it with them. Well, we’ll just classify it as even *more* quality bonding time.

1 pm to 3 pm: Honestly, these hours were kind of a blur yesterday. I remember sitting on the sofa, reading a book. And playing on the computer for a while. And supervising the building of the world’s biggest pillow/blanket infrastructure known to mankind. I also remember thinking about doing some laundry, and taking another nap, but I never did. I’m not quite sure what else I accomplished. Or didn’t accomplish.

3 to 4 pm: Ahhhh, Blaine finally caves in to the children’s demands to go outside and play basketball with them. I refused all along, since it wasn’t even 50 degrees. But once he took them out, it gave me an hour of peace and quiet to, uh, what did I do? Oh, yeah, I sat back down on the sofa and read some more.

4 to 6 pm: Blaine took Kellen to basketball practice, so the girls and I sat down and watched two hours of The Learning Channel; “A Face for Yulce” and “The 750 pound Man”. Although their total TV time for the day is already up to about ten hours, and I’m pretty sure their brains will be leaking out of their ears soon, I tell myself that this is an educational opportunity for me to warn them of the dangers of playing with fire and eating too much junk food. So really, I’m not a lazy parent, I am a concerned one.

6 pm: The boys come home from practice and I realize, belatedly, that I have prepared nothing for dinner.

6:01 pm: Immense relief that there is still half of a pot roast in the fridge from dinner that nobody wanted Friday night.

6:15 to 8 pm: Again, a blur. I’m not really sure *what* we did. Or didn’t do. But I know it involved a lot of kvetching about the pot roast.

8 pm: Sigh loudly, and agree the kids can stay up to watch “Max Keeble’s Big Move” on Disney. Truly, is another two hours of tv going to hurt at this point? Under the guise of "parental observation", I lay down on the sofa and watch it with them.

10 pm: Put the kids to bed, and then go to bed myself because I am so exhausted from the events of the day.

So, today is President’s Day here in the US, and my kids and my husband are both home for the day. Without a doubt, I need to get out of this computer chair, into the shower, get dressed, and find something for us to do.

Otherwise we risk another day as laborious and arduous as yesterday. And I just don’t know if my butt can take it.

So, how are YOU spending your President’s Day?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006



I got my hair cut today.

Ok, wait. Let’s back up. When Kendrie was diagnosed with leukemia, I was 37 years old. I had been trying to grow my bangs out …. in earnest ….. for about 15 years. I could get them nose length, lip length, once I even got them down to my chin, but I always caved in and cut them before they were long enough to pull back into a ponytail. Women everywhere know what I’m talking about, right? That pivotal moment, hair hanging in your eyes for how many days in a row, when you snap, “I just can’t TAKE IT anymore!” and hack away at the poor innocent bangs, dull kitchen scissors in hand. (Admit it, you’ve all been there, haven’t you?)

About two months after Kendrie was diagnosed, I had my bangs down to mid-eye length (the MOST offensive length, in my opinion, requiring the constant wearing of sunglasses to keep the bangs from poking you in the eyes all day long.) I was standing in my bathroom, brandishing the scissors, grumbling about the stress and hardship of growing out my bangs, and then I looked over. Over at my nearly-bald four-year old, who was close to losing the last few wispy strands of hair she had on her entire head.

I felt really small and ashamed of myself and my petty griping at that moment, and vowed right then and there that as long as Kendrie was on treatment, I wouldn’t cut my bangs. NOT cutting my bangs would be my symbolic gesture, my “giving the hirsute finger to cancer” and in some {insane} way, I just knew Kendrie would stay healthy as long as I didn’t cut my bangs. And so I didn’t. If that brave little girl could endure 2 plus years of chemotherapy, I figured the least I could endure was the well-known Growing Out Of The Bangs Phase. Thus began the employment of barrettes, clips, headbands, sunglasses, ball caps, and anything I could use to keep those wretched bangs out of my eyes for the next 26 months.

So the bangs grew. And grew some more. And now they are down well-below my chin, almost to shoulder-length, and if I say so myself, they look fabulous. What DOESN’T look fabulous are the wrinkles across my forehead that the bangs had been hiding all those years. From raising my eyebrows in shocked surprise at my children all the time, I am sure. But there it is, in all it’s glory: my big, fat, wrinkled-y forehead. Botox, anyone?

So, today I went for my first haircut since Kendrie finished treatment. Two guesses what I did, and the first one doesn’t count. The second one doesn’t take a rocket scientist, either. If you still haven’t guessed, go back and re-read this entry from the beginning.

What really cracks me up about the whole thing was Blaine’s response when he got home from work and saw me for the first time: “Hey, honey, your hair looks really nice. Did you get it colored?” because he knew darn good and well that I did. I told him that this morning. But you could totally see him, patting himself on the back for remembering, and thinking I would be oh-so-impressed with him for noticing. What he didn’t notice, were the bangs. That I haven’t had in over two years. That are suddenly there now. That he still hasn’t noticed, several hours later, as of the typing of this journal entry. I’ll lay you odds that he doesn’t notice at all, until he reads this journal update for himself, then he’ll most likely try to convince me that he knew all along ….. nope, honey, I’m not buying it.

You know who noticed? My friend Jeanette, because she is a hairdresser and notices everything that has to do with hair, and Kendrie, the Kid-Who-Used-To-Be-Bald. It was the first thing Kendrie said to me when I picked her up at school: “Hey, you cut part of your hair!”

I mean, it’s not like I’m so self-centered I thought everyone would stop and take notice. It’s not even a drastic change. There’s no need for a billboard or marquee. I just thought it was interesting that Kendrie, of all people, noticed. Maybe it takes being bald, or having been bald, to truly appreciate a haircut. To truly appreciate the choice of bangs or no bangs.

As for me, I haven’t decided if I like them or not. After two years of no bangs, it’s going to take some getting used to. And if I decide I just hate them, I can always grow them out again, right?

PS. UPDATE: 48 hours. That is how long it took Blaine to notice. And he didn't even notice then, he read the website and realized it that way. Truly, his observation skills are outstanding. And although I really don't think the bangs are photo worthy, here you go:

Although now instead of obsessing about the big fat wrinkles on my forehead, it looks like my new concern should be the bags under my eyes.

Monday, February 13, 2006


Dear Brayden,

Happy Birthday! Nine years ago today Blaine and I managed to fool someone in Heaven's Baby Placement Department into thinking we were mature enough to be parents, and that afternoon, you were placed in our arms. I’m not quite sure what they were thinking, as we could barely keep a houseplant alive, but we were thrilled. In fact, we haven’t stopped being thrilled since the day you were born.

I am sorry, though, that you got “starter” parents and have had to endure some of the dumber parenting mistakes that have been made in our family. Like the time I hit the “collapse” lever on the stroller and folded the whole thing by accident, with you still inside. Like the time I accidentally got your tummy-skin caught in the high-chair buckle and couldn’t figure out why you wouldn’t quit screaming. Like the first time we flew with you, a 10-month old, and let you gnaw on the flight-safety-instructions …. only to have you come down with the worst cold EVER a few days later. Like the time I lost you at church (although really, that was sort of your own fault, since you got on the elevator and pushed the button all by yourself at eighteen months and were perfectly content to wander the upper floors of the church building all alone, until a total stranger brought you back down to me, as I was near sobbing and hyperventilating by then.) Like the time … actually, maybe I should stop before I incriminate myself.

What small bits of parenting wisdom Blaine and I have gleaned over the years have most certainly come at your expense. When you are “first”, your mommy and daddy have to learn on your shift. No book or magazine prepares someone for being a parent. It might help us to develop a theory or two, but let’s be honest, all practical experience is done on the firstborn, the guinea pig of the birth-order. Then the next kid comes along and we feel like pros. So thank you for giving us nine years worth of confidence.

Thank you for bringing us, also, nine years of joy, laughter, and happiness. We love you dearly. Happy Birthday.


PS. In my previous post about the gentleman on yesterday’s flight, I want to make sure you realize that it wasn’t my intent to gripe about heavy people. I’m hardly a pixie-fairy, myself. Maybe that’s my point. Perhaps the airline should match people up at the same time they print the boarding passes, based on their physical size. I most likely wouldn’t mind sharing my seat with my neighbor’s ass, if I only weighed 100 pounds. BUT I DON’T, PEOPLE. My ass needed a seat all its own. That was my point.


Kendrie: “Well, Kellen is one inch taller than Brayden, but Dalton (our OKC cousin) is one inch skinnier than Kellen.”

PSS. M.E., we love you dearly and will be grateful to you always.

Sunday, February 12, 2006


Day 59 OT

Attention to the hefty man who sat beside me on the airplane today: The cost for my round trip ticket to Austin was $300. That makes the cost for today’s flight home: $150. Since you took up not only the armrest, but also one-third of my seat, I think you owe me one-third of today’s cost; That will be fifty dollars, please. I take cash, check, or money order. I will use it to pay for the chiropractic appointment I need, after spending two and a half hours leaning half-way into the aisle, since I was unable to sit upright in my seat, thanks to your arm. Or perhaps I will need to give it all as recompense to the poor woman I tripped as she walked to the lavoratory, since I had to cross my leg and stick one foot way out in the aisle thanks to you and your thigh.

I didn’t want to come across as disagreeable, because you seemed pleasant enough, but next time, let me just tell you that falling asleep and snoring for an hour does not endear you to your cabin-mates. And that really, you should consider buying yourself a first-class seat.

Maybe I should use the $50 to develop a prototype of some sort of device to use on airplanes, with dividers at the shoulder, butt and thigh, so that it’s not possible for one person to appropriate another person’s space. Like a car-seat for adults.

Anyway, despite this one small inconvenience, I had a WONDERFUL weekend away! Julianna Banana, rest assured that the city of Pflugerville is all you had hoped and your term as mayor someday will be very enjoyable! And Jadine, Brianna and Madison all say HI!

As I was driving the 100 miles home from the airport, I realized how content I was. I didn’t die in a fiery crash, I thoroughly enjoyed my weekend in Texas, I was on my way home to children who would be sleeping angelically by the time I arrived, and Monsters of Rock was blaring in the cd player. Truly, nothing identifies me more as a child of the 80’s than my love for big-hair-arena-rock bands.

Life does not get any sweeter.

Friday, February 10, 2006


Day 57 OT

I mentioned in yesterday’s journal entry that I was going out of town this weekend and would miss Kellen’s basketball game on Saturday. I AM the sort of mother who leaves her children two or three times a year to visit friends, or go on scrapbooking getaways …. I am NOT the sort of mother who feels guilty about it. Blaine takes perfect care of them (probably better than me, if the truth be told, since he’s willing to actually go outside and *play* with them, unlike me, who feels that feeding them and applying band-aids to bleeding wounds is enough to show adequate parental responsibility) and I know their world doesn’t stop turning simply because I go MIA for 48 hours.

I DO, however, feel great angst whenever I fly. Specifically, I worry that whatever plane I am on will fall out of the sky, plummeting me to a fiery (although blissfully quick) death and my children will grow up motherless. Or worse, with a step-mother from Hell because Blaine just couldn’t wait to get married again to someone younger, prettier, and skinnier than me.

And it’s not like I’m flying off to the Noble World Peace Summit, or to save the rain forest, or anything like that. I’m just getting away for a weekend of chocolate and gossip --- enjoyed, but not particularly necessary. So I feel anxiety whenever I fly, wondering if I’m risking the future happiness and security of my children for my own selfish whims. Although, as Blaine-Mr.-Logical so eloquently reminded me this morning as I was yammering on about it, “Look, there’s a much greater chance you’ll get killed in a car accident on the way to the airport so just shut up about it already.”

So, in the off-chance I am killed in a plane crash this weekend (I know, what kind of reasonable person sits around and obsesses about this sort of thing???? …. Oh wait, I know --- MOTHERS) I wanted this morning to be a wonderful, happy, loving, laughing time with my kids. That way, their final memories of me will be warm and affectionate.

I bought Krispy Kreeme donuts for breakfast as a treat. Can someone tell me why my 7-yr old son has not yet learned to chew with his mouth shut? No matter how many times Blaine and I remind him, he’s like Bessie the Cow chewing his cud at the dinner table. We even tried putting five nickels in front of his dinner plate and taking one away every time we caught him smacking, thinking the monetary incentive would be helpful. Nope, not a bit. Not one time did he leave the dinner table with a nickel to his name. This morning, after asking him repeatedly to please chew with his mouth closed, I finally turned to him and snapped “If you smack that donut in my ear one more time I swear I’m going to spank you!” Ah, that was warm and affectionate, wasn’t it?

Then, Brayden and I got into a fight because I was quizzing her for today’s spelling test and she didn’t know ANY of the words, because she forgot to bring home her spelling homework not once, but twice this week, which made me angry. So I kept quizzing her, which made her frustrated, which made her argumentative, which made ME insane. By the time it was over, she had stomped (literally, not figuratively) from the room muttering, “I HATE this family!” under her breath.

Then Kendrie decided she wanted to wear Kellen’s Old Navy sweatshirt (never mind she has an entire closet-full of clothes herself) and he said no. They must have bickered for ten solid minutes before I threw my hands up in the air (figuratively, not literally) and stormed out of the room, yelling, “I don’t care if you go to school NAKED, just get dressed!!!!” {That sentence doesn’t even make any sense! But that’s what they’ve reduced me to.}

Fortunately, we still had fifteen minutes before it was time to leave for school and we managed to salvage the morning. No-one was *laughing* when we walked out the door, but the tears and yelling had all stopped (theirs, and mine). There were even hugs and kisses when I walked them to their classrooms and said good-bye.

So the point of this journal entry is that if I do indeed die in a fiery plane crash this weekend (or in a car accident …. Thanks, Blaine, Mr. Voice of Reason) would someone please let my kids know that the crazy screaming woman who sat at their breakfast table actually did love them more than life? And that they better learn to chew with their mouths closed, remember their spelling homework, and dress themselves without arguing, or their new evil stepmother will eat them alive.

PS. Did anyone hear me on the Radio-a-thon for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society fundraiser this morning??? Did I sound like the biggest goober on the planet??? That's just a *little* too close to public speaking for me to be comfortable, but I really wanted to do a good job, in thanks for all the LLS does for families like ours!

Thursday, February 09, 2006


Day 56 OT

GUILT FOR LYING: The emotion I felt driving Kellen to his basketball game Tuesday evening when he asked if I knew what team they were “versing” (his word, not mine) and I told him no, actually, I don’t.

RELIEF: The emotion I felt when he saw the giant mutant blue team walk through the doors (ducking their heads so as not to bump them on the door frame) and he didn’t immediately burst into tears or wet himself.

BIGGER RELIEF: The emotion I felt when the first quarter team lined up and Kellen was NOT guarding the giantest of giant mutant boys, #13. Here’s a visual shot from the last game, in case you missed it:

EMBARRASSMENT: The emotion I felt when Blaine looked over at me during Kellen’s first quarter of play, my fists clenched, and reminded me, “It’s just a game, honey.”

HOPEFULNESS: The emotion I felt when half-time rolled around and our team was actually ahead by four points.

ANXIETY: The emotion I felt when the teams lined up for the third quarter, and Kellen *WAS* guarding giant mutant boy #13.

GRATITUDE: The emotion I felt when the quarter ended and giant mutant boy had not squashed my son flat as a pancake.

EXCITEMENT: The emotion I felt as the minutes ticked down and it looked like our team might win the game.

EMPATHY: The emotion I felt for the little (well, comparatively speaking, anyway) boy on the other team who double dribbled three times in a row and lost the ball each time in the fourth quarter.

EXHILERATION: The emotion I felt when the final buzzer went off and we had WON!!!

SHAME: The emotion I felt when I realized that MY adult inner happy dance was at the expense of the young boys on the blue team, who were now standing to the side, trying manfully not to cry, just like our boys were doing last week when *they* lost.

LIMP WITH RELIEF: The emotion I felt when I realized the game was really and truly over and I could quit holding my breath.

DREAD: The emotion I felt when the coach reminded us that now we are tied with the blue team for first place and will most likely play them again in the championship game. Here we go again!

No wonder I was exhausted by the time we got home that night!

They’re seven, for Pete’s sake. Blaine asked me, “If it’s this bad in elementary school, how are you going to be when he’s playing for a high school championship?” and I replied, “I’m writing a sick-note that day to excuse him from the game…. I just can’t take the pressure.”

I am not a competitive person! We refused to play Pictionary with our neighbors in North Dakota twenty years ago because the wife would continually jab the pencil in my direction and yell “In your FACE!” whenever she drew a better stick figure. I don’t need that kind of tension in my life ---- yet there I sat in the stands, sweaty and anxious, for a 7-yr old basketball game. Soccer didn’t do this to me; neither did baseball. What is it about that round, orange ball that mocks me …. Calling my name …. Heckling me???

Thankfully, I will be out of town and unable to attend Kellen’s game on Saturday. I think a little breather, a little time away from the sport that taunts me so, might be just the thing. Lord knows my cortisol level could use a break.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Day 54 OT

Just in case any of you think now that Kendrie is off-treatment and our lives are plugging along (more or less) like normal, that we’ve forgotten or are less involved with the friends and families we met along the way, let me reassure you that isn’t the case. I still belong to my online support group and can’t imagine letting go of that yet. I still spend WAY too much time reading Caringbridge sites (the dust on my living room furniture will attest to this) and I still worry, celebrate, cheer, and grieve for all the kids we’ve met along the way.

A few families struggling right now that could use some support are:

Keegan, who had a relapse scare last fall, only to find out he actually *has* relapsed at this time. He is beginning a tough new protocol this week and I know his family would most likely appreciate a note of encouragement in his guestbook, if you have a spare minute or two.

Cam, who is dealing with numerous leukemia relapses, yet keeping his game face on and living life as normally as possible while awaiting yet another transplant. Truly, if you look up “tenacious” in the dictionary, you will find a photo of Cameron there! Drop him a note of support, if you can.

Alexia, also dealing with a leukemia relapse, but dealing with a whole lot more…. She and her family have relocated from their home in South America to North Carolina, just three weeks ago, so Alexia can have the transplant necessary to save her life. Although I don’t like to, I can imagine Kendrie relapsing …. I can imagine going the transplant road, although I cringe at how awful and stressful it must be and hate that ANY family has to face it. But what I can’t imagine is doing it in a foreign country, speaking a different language, far, far away from family and friends. Please drop them a quick note; Alexia’s transplant will be in less than ten days!

So don’t think that we care less, or worry less, just because the journal entries I write now are filled with the chaos, insanity, and total gooberness of our mostly-back-to-normal family. We still care about our online friends and know they would appreciate any support you can give them, too.

On to other stuff:

Kendrie stayed home from school on Thursday with a head cold. Nothing more than a case of the sniffles and the need for a good afternoon nap. Of course, always one to “practice what I preach”, I laid down with her for a few minutes and we were enjoying some together-time. Do you remember when your babies were teething, and wanted to be hugged and cuddled most of the day? Dinner didn’t get cooked and the house was a mess and the laundry piled up like Mt. Everest, but it was ok, because you got to cuddle with your baby? You knew they weren’t seriously ill, so you could just enjoy the one day where they weren’t running around like a cyclone and were content to lie on your shoulder and sleep??? Well, *I* remember it and felt like I got a small taste of that on Thursday with Kendrie. I even said to her, “I’m sorry that you don’t feel well, but I’m happy to have you home with me today so we could spend some time together” and she replied, “I remember when I first got cancer and I stayed home with you all the time. Then I got too old to hang out with you.”


This is public plea to the makers of young girls’ clothing in America (or China, or Bangladesh, or wherever the heck it is they make those clothes) to please add at least an inch or two to the waistband of blue jeans. I monitored 5th grade testing last week, and watching those girls bent studiously over the desks, pants inching down like it was a 10-yr old plumber’s convention, was not attractive! Personally I’m going to pray to the patron saint of buttcracks that something be done to stop the insanity.


I don’t know if I ever mentioned it, or said a public THANK YOU to all of you who gave donations to Kendrie’s End-of-Treatment collection (that was *supposed* to be done in lieu of gifts, even though too many people did BOTH!) We were able to make a $170 donation to Caringbridge and a $170 donation to CureSearch in honor of Kendrie, thanks to everyone’s generosity. Thank you so much!


I’m sorry we won’t be able to join all our friends at Camp Sunshine’s Family Day at the Circus this weekend. We went last year, and except for the huge fit Kendrie pitched beforehand because I had brought her the wrong clothes to wear, we had a great time. I hope all of you have a wonderful time this year, also.


One last thing --- Kendrie has re-named herself “The Handsomeness”. More specifically, "Troy ‘The Handsomeness’ Bolton", after the lead character in Disney's High School Musical. (PS Marni, I think it was you that sent the picture …. She adores it!) I only know she has given herself this new nickname because one morning last week on the way to school I heard her talking under her breath. She was practicing a public speech of sorts, mumbling things like “Don’t worry, don’t worry, you’ll all get a turn to sit next to The Handsomeness ….. wait your turn, everybody, there’s enough of me to go around” and I said to her, “Kendrie, who are you talking to?” She informed me that she was practicing what she would say when she got to school that day and all her friends wanted to be with her. I don’t know whether to call that arrogance, confidence, or just a really active imagination!


Well, wish us luck. Kellen’s basketball team is having their second game of the season against those giant mutant boys tonight. I can only hope one or two of the biggest ones have tested positive for steroids at this point and will be kicked out of the game. Otherwise, coming off last week’s loss, things could get ugly. Very, very ugly.

Friday, February 03, 2006


Day 50 OT

***DISCLAIMER***The following journal entry contains graphic language and imagery. It is most likely not suitable for minors, anyone who is squeamish, or anyone with a penis who has never given birth. Please read at your own risk.

I am a terrible parent. Obviously, I got cocky after the chocolate sauce episode, and seeing that shiny white tooth come out of Kendrie’s mouth. Cocky and overconfident. All that came crashing down. Twice -- not once, but twice -- in the past 24 hours I have been reminded that Blaine is actually a much better parent than me. I’m not sure why, but he is. In fact, I should hope he doesn’t file for divorce anytime soon because not only would he be granted sole custody of our children, I wouldn’t even get unsupervised visitation.

First, it was the basketball episode last night. Kellen’s team, undefeated (or “undefeatable”, as he liked to say) for the season, lost their first game. It was one of those extremely painful losses, where your team is only behind by one point with ten seconds left and you actually have a chance to sink a shot and win, and then someone on the other team steals the ball and makes a long, lucky shot and then you’re behind by three points with eight seconds to go and you know its hopeless. Painful like that. And even though they are only seven years old, and it was by no means the Final Four Championship Game, they took it pretty hard. Kellen wasn't the only team member with a quivering lip at the end.

It’s about a twenty minute drive home from the gym and Kellen was very upset. I ran the gamut of unsolicited parenting advice: “Son, losing is a part of life … at some point in time you’re going to lose homework, a job, even a girlfriend (I stole that from his coach’s talk) and there’s no reason to be upset. As long as you did your best and had fun, that’s all that matters.”

That didn’t work, so I tried a new tactic: “Kellen, it’s ok to feel sad and disappointed because you didn’t win, but it’s not OK to be a quitter” (This was after he informed me he hated basketball and never wanted to play another game.) New, cheerleader attempt: “Kellen, you’ll get ‘em next time!” but nothing was working. We got home, he went straight to his bed, pulled the covers over his head and cried for twenty minutes.

So Blaine went in the room and shut the door. Ten minutes later, Kellen came out, if not SMILING, at least markedly less depressed. I asked Blaine, “What did you say to him?” and Blaine replied, “I just told him losing was a part of life, and it happens to everyone and it’s ok to feel sad and the next game will be better.”

Um, ok. And *what* was it I had been saying the entire drive home? But obviously it worked better coming from Blaine. Episode #1, proving he is a better parent than me. I’m still not sure how or why, but chalk one up for Blaine.

Then, this morning at breakfast, we somehow got on the subject of the kids when they were babies, and newly born. My kids, like many others (I can only assume) love hearing details about their births and subsequent first year of life ….. “Who was the fattest when they were born? Who had the most hair? Which kid was it that pooped on you the first time you gave her a bath?” Those sorts of things. (PS. Kellen, Kellen, and Brayden, in that order.)

Somehow, this morning’s conversation started with Kellen commenting that all boys come out of the stomach (he was a c-section baby) and all girls come out of the pee-pees. Let me just reiterate the conversation for you, so you can form your own opinions:

Kellen: “Boy babies come out of the stomachs and girl babies come out of the pee-pees.”

Kendrie: “That’s not true. Some boy babies come out of the baginas.”

Kellen: “Well, I’m glad *I* didn’t come out of a vagina!!!”

(At this point, the giggling has started in earnest. I suppose when you’re in elementary school, “Vagina” is the funniest word on the planet.)

Kendrie: “Well, I came out of a bagina and it was fun!”

Kellen: “Fun??"

Kendrie: “Yeah, it was fun!”

Brayden: “Oh, like you really remember?”

Kendrie: “Yeah! It was like a roller coaster ride!”

(even the adults are giggling at this point)

Kendrie: “Yup, it’s a good thing I had my seat belt on!” and she proceeded to throw her arms up in the air like she was going down a big hill. “Wheeeeeeeeee!!!”

All five of us are laughing now at how silly she is being, and I see what I think is the perfect opportunity to redeem my lackluster parenting episode of last night by furthering the frivolity at the breakfast table. I say to Blaine, “Hey, hand me the salad tongs” and then I hold them up and wave them around, saying, “Yep, but at the last minute you wouldn’t get OFF the roller coaster, so the doctor took a pair of these and pulled you out this way!” (me, smiling, thinking all the kids would think that was sooooooo funny)

Instead, total silence.

Kendrie, with a horrified look on her face: “That’s not true. That didn’t happen.”

Kristie, still laughing and thinking we were all having big-fun: “Yes, it is. Your head got stuck so they grabbed hold of it with a big pair of tongs and pulled you out that way.”

At which point Kendrie renders an earth-shattering scream, runs from the table, and throws herself on her bed, crying hysterically.

And once again, I’m left sitting there, thinking, “What the hell did I do wrong? I thought we were having fun.”

Blaine looks over at me: “Smooth. Real smooth”

So he goes into her bedroom, talks to her for five minutes, and then she comes back out, giggling once again, and points to Kellen, “Yeah, but Dad says when you born, you were blue!” which she finds hysterical. (Never mind that it’s not even true.)

My point is, everything I say is wrong and everything Blaine says is right. Why is this so? I mean, *I* was the one with a baby’s head stuck in my bagina, why is she upset with me for pointing it out???

Obviously I need to re-take Parenting 101 and brush up on the chapter on age-appropriate information. Otherwise none of them are going to want to talk to me about ANYTHING! Of course, with the birds and the bees conversation coming up in a few years, maybe that’s not a bad thing. The way things are going, Blaine will be better at dispensing *those* golden nuggets of wisdom, anyway. Knowing me, I’ll just brandish salad tongs and traumatize them further.