El Viejo

My Dad died on Saturday. On Sunday, he would have turned 72. It’s far too young to die, but he had been unwell for a long time. So, although we were prepared for it, it still came as a shock. Much more of a shock than I had anticipated.

My father was not a perfect man, perfect husband or perfect father. But he was a man, he was here, he lived here for 72 years, and if not for him I would not be me, and my kids would not be themselves. I owe him an immense gratitude for that, for my life and therefore being here to be a mom to my kids.

No one is perfect. Some are less imperfect than others, but no one is perfect. When we’re children, we think our parents are, I mean, for the most part. You grow up and you come to know your parents as imperfect, ordinary adults and for some that enlightenment is not always great. Our parents are fallible and thusly normal.

I didn’t have the opportunity, or really, the courage, to sort out my own issues with my dad before the end came for him. And that is a regret I’ll live with for the rest of my life. All I have now is the imaginary conversation we have in my head, filled with realization, empathy and forgiveness. And although that imaginary conversation is comforting, it didn’t actually happen. And now it never will.

If someone you love hurts you, tell them. If you love someone, tell them. If you have to have a knock-down, drag-out fight with someone you love, do it. Just do it. Or else regret it when it’s too late. People don’t live forever.

I hope that somehow, somewhere, if our energy transfers when we die, that “el Viejo” can see in my heart. That’s a comforting thought, too.

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It’s Not Just for Rooftops

Is anyone else the opposite of a hypochondriac? Like, ignoring stuff that bothers you and plodding through illnesses, just pushing yourself that much harder, and only missing work if you have a severed appendage? One that you can’t simply tourniquet and continue on your way, I mean? Yeah, me too. Listening to whiners complaining about nothing ailments is about my least-favourite thing in the whole world.

We get to go to the doctor as often as we want in Canada, but I never do because unless I think I might possibly die, I don’t work it into my schedule. Another of my pet peeves is people who always go on about how busy they are – we ALL are, we’re GROWNUPS, it’s part of the deal. You’re not more important by virtue of being busy. Actually, you are that much more boring to me when you go on about what a busy, important person you are. Still, I’ll never complain about being busy, I’d way rather have 8 billion things to do than nothing to do, but free time is at a premium on my calendar and my doctor’s lucky if he sees me once a year. “Lucky” is used loosely.

The reason for my recent trip to the doctor’s was two-fold. One was pure vanity: I had this really nasty ugly eczema on my shins (it’s true, world-wide web – and I don’t care who knows it) and with summer coming up (oh yeah: memo to Mother Nature – get on that), I wanted something to fix it up. Most of my summer wardrobe consists of dresses and skirts and I didn’t want the world to see my ugly shins. Since they’ve been covered up since like October, I’d been dealing with it since then.

Another reason was this really big like, um, new elbow or something growing out the side of my neck. The likes of which could be seen from outer-space. One day it was just THERE, and it wasn’t going away. I looked it up, they said it was a swollen lymph node, and was most likely in response to fighting an infection, no biggie. Or, you know, cancer.

There are 2 things get me to the doctor: growing a human person in my body, and the C word.

I mean, I didn’t go right away. I waited. Thought the stupid knob thing was sure to go away. Except it didn’t. And then my boss was out of town, so I made the time to finally go.

Here’s how it went:

“So Veronica, why are you here today?”

“Just came to get some stuff for a few things. I’ve got this stuff on my shins, see, it’s a bit of a pain and pretty ugly so I need a cream.”

“Hmmm. OK. Anything else?”

“Well, you know, not really, I mean I’ve got all these little bumps at the top of my spine, they’re kind of itchy, I’m pretty sure a bug or a spider got down there or something but maybe that same cream will do the trick. And…I’ve got this little bump on my neck (displays enormous neck-elbow), which is probably just nothing, and now that I think of it might be there in reaction to my spider bites. Wait, do you think the spider laid eggs in my neck or something? Because, now that I think of it, that probably makes sense.”

Pause.

“Veronica, did you actually find a spider or a bug down your back?”

“Well no, but that’s what it has to be, I mean, I was outside when I felt all this sort of stinging and itching and it kind of burned even, and it was weird, the sensation went all down my spine. But then it went away. But the bumps are still there.”

“Did you go to a doctor to get it looked at?”

“For a bug bite? Come on. No.”

“Have you had a lot of headaches?”

“Well, yeah.” (Doesn’t everybody? Where did you get your degree? Write me my scrips…time’s a wastin’!)

“Have you experienced any shooting pains in your shoulders and neck?”

“Well, yeah.”

“Numbness in your fingertips?”

“Yes! Ha. That’s funny that you would know that. I just rub my fingers together and it goes away after a while.”

He ran down a laundry list of other questions, all of which I answered in the affirmative, and may I say, served to renew my faith in his doctor know-how. Not only did he ask the right questions, the answer to all his questions was “well, yeah.”

Then he said, “Veronica. Have you been under any stress?”

Wait, what? Okay, not expecting that one. Have I been under any stress? Hmmm. I mean, I don’t think so. I kind of never think about it. When you’re a single mom who works full-time, you don’t allow yourself to think about it, I mean. You’ve got your kids, who even though they’re getting bigger now, still need you for everything. You’ve got your boss, who needs you all day. You’ve got tons of obligations, which you’d better take very seriously because you’re setting an example for your little people, who basically look to you to see what being a grown-up’s all about. I get up every morning, an hour before my kids do, and get myself ready for my day, then I get my kids up, and while they’re rousing, get their lunches ready, get their clothes out for them, make their breakfasts, put their little toothpaste blobs on their little toothbrushes for them, make sure they eat, make sure they brush their teeth, make sure they get dressed, drive them to school, make sure to take advantage of the 20-minute drive to discuss social issues, gay marriage and bigotry is our latest favourite, then backtrack and drive the 40 minutes to the office, work all day then drive back home to pick up my kids, make their dinner, make sure they’ve done their homework, clean up from dinner, do laundry, clean up the kitchen, take out the garbage, have the nightly “take your showers because you smell like jungle people!” argument, even though I’m not sure what jungle people smell like but it’s usually what gets them to rinse off, get them to bed, and try to get a good night’s sleep before doing it all again the next day, all the while preparing for going in and out of family court on stupid, time-wasting, no-brainer issues, and all the while being reminded by one person what a useless excuse for a mother I am, because I’m not a ‘real’ mom since I’m not a stay-at-home mom, and I’ve got it so easy and good, which is funny that I always stop to consider that feedback and never tend to listen to 99% of the other feedback which applauds the job I am doing, and crazily struggling to meet deadlines, be everywhere I need to be when I have to be, and being pulled in so many directions that they’ve now invented new directions, and to top it all off, now that I think of it, I’ve got this new appendage growing out of my neck, which, let’s face it, is the reason I’m REALLY here, because that, if you give me some scary news, is gonna add a whole new wrinkle to all of this, because if it IS something scary, I’ve got a whole new set of stuff I have to think about, like, what’s going to happen to my little people if they lose their Mommy? What’s going to happen to my little people if they lose their Mommy? Have I been under any stress? HAVE I BEEN UNDER ANY STRESS?

“Nope.”

“Veronica, you have to admit to yourself that you have stress.”

“I’d rather not.”

“You must.”

“No, thank you.”

“Veronica. You have Shingles.”

SHINGLES? What? It sounds like something out of Little House on the Prairie. Something that Doc Baker fixes (oh yeah – I went there) with a concoction in a foot-long needle. Isn’t shingles some old-fashioned thing? This hardly sounds appropriate.

“And I think you’ve had it for a long time.”

He went on to explain to me where it comes from (have I had Chicken Pox? Well, yeah) and how it’s treated. He went on to tell me that in people my age, it’s brought on by bouts of stress, and he told me how to manage my stress. Stuff like going on long walks by myself (no time), allowing myself to sort out my thoughts (sort out my thoughts?! Denial is way super better), going on a vacation (sorry, did we already discuss the lack of time? Keep up!), etc.

The main thing I cared about with this antiquated virus I got was that it wasn’t contagious, as I tend to be super huggy and kissy with my favourite people, and he said no, just that I shouldn’t rub up on immuno-suppressed people, which I don’t think I have lately, even though I AM super affectionate.

I listened to his advice, which was really good, but again, can’t follow it. He wrote me my prescriptions and sent me on my way.

Shingles. THIS, I can live with. He told me to come back if my neck-knee didn’t go down, but it already has. AND my shins look fabulous now. So I’ll see you again in about a year, doc. I mean, unless you want to talk about stress, because I don’t want to, see. And also, just knowing this stupid shingles thing is going to go away goes a LONG way in making everything else seem like a walk in the park. EVERYONE should be told they have shingles.

Shingles looks like a weird word now, which it IS. But it’s been about my happiest moment of this year, being told I have it. Them. Whatever.

Kids, Habs, American Idol, Divorce, Nail Polish and He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named

As we all have, I’ve had lots of thoughts filling up my head lately, none of which could singularly fill a blog post, so here’s another edition of the quick and dirty update.

  • The kids have always been super fun to hang around, at all their different stages. They’re getting pretty big now and our conversations are getting more fun and interesting. There’s no question in my mind that they’re both smarter than I am. They ask me way too many questions about puberty and sex but I’m proud of myself that they both think it’s no big deal to broach the topic with me. I think of asking my mom similar questions at their age and it still makes me go “eeewwww.”
  • I’m particularly pleased that they like good music (requests for Queen? Madonna? and Rush? WIN) and appreciate good comedy. My son and I watched a Fish Called Wanda yesterday and he got ALL the jokes.
  • The Habs. Four game winning streak, including a shutout, the 7th this season for Carey Price in fact. And last night they beat Tampa, coached by Guy Boucher, a huge game leading up to the playoffs. No complaints. Even Nomez played a good game, much to my surprise, but it will still be a long time until I like him.
  • We’re watching American Idol. Look, it’s about the only show on prime time that is appropriate to watch with the kids that isn’t on one of those maddening Miley/iCarly/Sweet Life channels, so back off. Casey is our favourite. He’s the bomb.
  • I’m in denial about a crappy couple of days I’ve got coming up at the end of the month. I wish we could just fast-forward to April, or that I could clone me and send my clone to have the crappy days. La la la la la.
  • Charlie Sheen is at the very least bi-polar. I’m no expert, but I don’t have to be. I have eyes and ears, so I am qualified. I would like him to go away now though. But for his sake, I hope it’s in a strait-jacket, as it will clearly have to be against his will, and that he goes and gets all the legal meds he needs.
  • I’ve got way more to be thankful for than not, which is what I like to focus on rather than dwell on what sucks. But a lot sucks, for sure. I can’t stand the people who are always loudly proclaiming how perfect things are and all the stuff they have and the charmed, enviable lives they lead. Who are they trying to convince? I always think they’re full of it. Also, the people who always complain drive me crazy. My own best friend was shocked when I told her I was leaving my husband. I never whinged about my marriage to her or to anyone – that is so dull.
  • We were just talking the other day about how when I did end my marriage and proceeded to be deliriously happy, that she and another of my friends thought – OK, that looks like fun – and left their own husbands. Those guys went on to blame me. Nice, eh? After I was nothing but nice to them. The 3 of us were married when we met, and have so many funny/ha-ha and funny/sad stories about our breakups that there’s a screenplay in there somewhere.
  • This is turning more introspective than I intended.
  • The kids and I went out for lunch with my mom yesterday and when we got our meals, the kids’ fries were cold. It drives me crazy when restaurants pass off their older food to kids, like they’re secondary citizens or something. I seldom speak up, but I did. The kids got new fries, AND their meals were taken off the bill. I love when that happens.
  • I got a new Macbook Pro a couple of weeks ago. It’s great to have another computer in the house, and now the kids don’t have to compete for computer time anymore. I mean, they do right now because I’m typing this on the MBP.
  • So, I got the Macbook and was then driven crazy by not being able to sync it with MobileMe. Nothing worked, it would not accept my username or password. All my other devices did. I went to Twitter, wasted a lot of people’s time trying to kindly solve my problem. Spent hours on Support Chat with Apple, who offered me all these solutions and NOTHING worked. Finally, Apple determined I’d have to take it in for service, which I never had the time to do. My eight-year-old was on it the other day. She said, Mom, why does the Macbook say it’s October 19th? I adjusted the date, and voila, everything works now. This is part of the reason I had kids, I tell them. To pick up on the details I miss, along with helping me carry groceries.
  • I won’t even try to deny that in a large part, my time between October-April is measured by days between Habs games. Boston’s on Tuesday. How I hate the Bruins. Can’t wait.
  • I love bright red nails. I’m going to single handedly put Revlon out-of-stock of Revlon Red.

And with that, I am clearly out of updates. And I promise to never employ Charlie Sheen as a topic again.

Glad to have a Rant Outlet

My name is Veronica.  It’s been like…weeks since my last post.  Ummm, more than two, like.  Here I was rolling right along with this, then life got in the way.  I’m a multi-tasker and a little thing like life usually doesn’t bog me down, but it did this time for a minute, but I’m giving this post a go.

When I first started blogging, I thought about all the personal crap that I’d LOVE to write about but could not, and actually started a post about why I could not effectively blog, because all the stuff on my mind that I could put to the blog with my eyes closed is too intensely personal and not that I care that much about talking about myself (obviously), but these internets are too pervasive and I want to protect the innocent and not-so-innocent, even though the latter don’t deserve it.

Did you need to pause for a breath after that sentence/paragraph? I did.

I’m giving the above-mentioned post another shot. In innocuous, random point form.

  • On infidelity: Bite me, cheaters. Seriously. Take your need for having your cake and eating it too and stuff it. You hurt people. Pick a partner, and leave a partner. Don’t have both. Don’t lead on the people who trust you and love you and somehow manipulate the facts and confuse others to make yourself seem the victim, or even worse, the hero.
  • On superficiality: Really? How old are you? People who are pretty on the outside cease to be attractive if they show themselves to be empty or ugly on the inside, in my opinion. Have substance. Don’t congratulate people for their outsides. It’s genes, they had nothing to do with their beautiful eyes, long neck, whatever. And being obsessed with the appearance of others implies an emptiness of your own. I once had a guy suggest we could save our relationship if I got a boob job. Stay classy, name withheld! I hope you found the porn star your were looking for, and that things are working out great. Really, I don’t.
  • On judgment: People in glass houses. Seriously. Anyone know anyone who is perfect? I don’t. And I am far from perfect, perfect is actually on another planet, in another galaxy, even. But you know what? I try. I don’t not try. I don’t try to be perfect, but I try my very hardest, every day, to be my own best, for my kids, at work, for my friends, for my family, etc. I know most of us do. And for those of you who delight in pointing out how imperfect and inadequate the rest of us are, I just say, leave us alooone. I know that I for one dwell on my inadequacies enough for both of us.
  • On double standards: Live by the standards you impose on others. Don’t impugn me for doing what you regularly do, conscience-free. I felt guilty enough already. So, while we’re on the topic…
  • On guilt trips: Don’t treat someone like garbage, take advantage of them, manipulate them, lie to them, behave completely selfishly as though no one’s feelings matter but yours, and then expect to be treated with love and have people lay down the welcome mat for you just because you’re, for instance, family. Don’t whip out the (for example) family card and obligate others to respect blood when you obviously do not. It’s not fair, and it’s the opposite of love..fine, continue doing it, because you know I’ll continue indulging you, anyway.

No reason.

Now, I know that the above will seem like I’m angry…I am in a way, but more in a “I’ve had it” kind of way; in a “I need to say this” kind of way. And now, it’s out of the way. That’s the good thing about outlets.

I’ve got a great life, and the awesome people I know and continue to meet and have in my life outnumber the idiots by a WIDE margin. And I have a ton of blessings. And I look forward to every day. So if you’re happy that you got to me, not so fast. You didn’t.

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