The Pea Coat: Lose Your Voice Today!

I've been slowly making my way through Bob's half of the closets. I'm not parting with any of his things, just storing them for now. Still, it's a heart-wrenching task, touching each item. The memories are overwhelming.

Work shirts, motorcycle pants, the death t-shirt he loved to wear to chemo, and at the back of the closet, his pea coat. Well, it wasn't really his, I guess. It was inherited from a good friend when her father passed. Bob loved that coat, especially when he traveled to colder climates.

He had a great story about wearing it to his first Packers game, standing there with his arms crossed, beer in hand. Somebody told him he needed to move. "Oh, I'm sorry, am I in your way?" he asked. "No, dude, there's a snow drift forming on you."

It's a warm coat.

I pulled it out of the closet, and as I did with each of his coats, checked the pockets. In the outer pocket I found his ear muffs. Well, not real ear muffs. They're those tiny, individual ear covers. He liked those better.

As I checked the inner pockets, I found what felt like a postcard. I pulled it out. On the front was a black and white shot of Lambeaux field.


I flipped it over.


See, that was Bob's first NFL game ever. It was a playoff game. And it was at Lambeaux field with his friend John, a lifelong fan who had taken Bob there to see the game.

I quickly texted John a picture of the note. It was, as I suspected, from him to Bob.

After I finished a sob fest, wrapping myself in the coat, clutching the note, and texting with John, I thought about Bob at that game, and how happy his was to be there; how much he loved life; how much he lived for "losing his voice."

Wallowing was not part of his world, and any time I do it for too long, I feel him kick me in the ass. It's time to lose my voice!


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It Lives, It Breathes...Mostly

I will never be accused of spinning all the plates in the air. One or two plates? Maybe. Never a full set of dishes. Certainly no cups and saucers.

Last week I had The Flu. I remained horizontal for many days, which is fine for computer related activities, I suppose. (It did enable me to finish Infinite Jest.) Not so great for the management of a family or a household.

Then there’s The Homeschooling (really hard to find a sub, I’ll have you know). Also, educating one's children is a bitch to do from the horizontal position. Bug and I were supposed to start our pie baking project (more on that later) last week. That didn’t happen. Peanut slacked on her science. (Thankfully, she’s miles ahead in all of her subjects, but still.)

Oh, and my writing took a colossal crap. Not just here, but also Here and Here and Here fell way behind. Seems I suck at coming up with meaningful content while my brain is soaking the NyQuil jacuzzi.

I missed Bob’s first post-cancer hare scramble where he kicked ASS! He got knocked down into a ravine and still came in 11th. Go Bob!


I’ve fallen a little behind on the hygiene, as well. I either need to wash my hair or change my name to Emo Philips.

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Um, No

So, I’m sitting next to my man. We’re watching So You Think You Can Dance. Why? Because I’m waiting for Glee to come on, and I’m too lazy to extend my arm toward the remote and change the channel.

As we watch, a dancer performs a super-human feat, flips himself backward through the air, lands on his forearms and walks across the stage like a turtle.

Without missing a beat, Bob turns to me and asks (with total sincerity), “Can you do that?”

Yeah, Babe. Right after I bowl five frames.

You know who can kick ass, though?

My man!

He rode in his first post-cancer enduro this past weekend. And this weekend he’ll be riding in his first hare scramble. Bob is my cancer-fuckin’ hero!

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Questionable Future In Beer Pong

It’s no secret ‘round these parts that my athletic skills do not rely on eye-hand coordination. Aerial flips on a narrow bit of wood? Fine. Hit a ball with a bat? Fuck no. Consider my philosophy on golf. If the sport requires me hitting a ball, then bystanders beware.

I do, however, have a killer serve in ping pong. I'm a fucking serving savant. Unfortunately, I’m so old that beer pong did not exist when I was in college. Or high school. Or middle school. Hey, shut up. Some of us were over achievers. I coulda been a contender!

The nice thing about having a killer serve AND no eye-hand coordination is that you rarely have to go past the serve into an actual volley. It’s all ping. No pong.

Friday night, I tried to teach my son this important life skill.

It’s going to be a few years before the verdict is in on the kid, but he amused the hell out of himself trying.


Next time, I need to remember to put myself on the side of the table that has a wall behind me. I’m not into aerobics. Either that, or he needs to practice on a table folded in half.


He managed to sucker his sister and some friends into a few games after I gave up on playing what can only be described as Ping-Pew.


Saturday, we took it down a notch at the in-laws' where he practiced his pool game. As you can imagine, 9 balls and a stick + me = a frightening proposition. I spent my time in the other room. Any other room.

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Poached Eggs and Cheese...heads


Image by cdw9 via Flickr

Bob’s on a plane to Wisconsin—his first post-cancer flight. (He even has hair.) Fortunately, this trip's for pleasure, not business.

He’s on his way to the Sea of Cheeseheads for Sunday’s Packers v. Bears game. They don’t make football like that in California; you have to travel to Green Bay to get it. Thanks, John, for making this weekend happen.

While Bob’s off bumpin’ cheese wedges in Green Bay, I’m holding down the fort with the kiddos. Big plans on deck here. Oh, yeah. First, I’ve decided to do our taxes. You know, the ones we were supposed to do around the time Bob got his diagnosis? Seems that extension’s only good until October, which turns out to be next month. Shit.

Ever the Master Procrastinator (did I mention that my apartment in college was never cleaner than during finals week?), I’ve mastered free-form egg poaching (first try!) and whipped up a kickass batch of biscuits (at 2am) in an effort to avoid both sleep and productivity. I’ve also located a recipe I’ve been meaning to try for Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Anyone want to place bets on whether or not there will be a loaf rising before Sunday afternoon?

Hopefully, my CPA isn’t reading this. In case he is, I promise to throw a biscuit and a loaf of bread in the box with the rest of my mangled paperwork, Mike. And can I just send you pictures of my BlogHer swag from last year and let you figure out the value? Awesome! You're the best.

(Hey, at least it’s not chicken shit. He has clients that give him receipts with chicken shit on them. I’m way classier than that. A booger here and there, maybe, but no chicken shit.)

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The Essence Of The Hole

A golf ball directly before the hole

Image via Wikipedia

I have a fabulous sense of direction. I sense the right direction, and I go the other way. After 20 years together, my husband still asks me which way to turn. I still answer. Who’s the idiot in this equation?

Add four days of no sleep, a death cold, 12 hours of being held hostage by United Airlines, and it’s no wonder I took the Long Term Parking Shuttle Bus (the right bus) to the wrong stop, where I promptly exited, in the blue-black night, realized my error, and waited for the next bus to come along so I could ride it to the correct stop.

No biggie. I’ve done 4,999 dumber things. Most of them earlier that day.

Bus # 2 pulls up. The driver does not open the door. Instead he makes hand gestures at me. I make the blank face of a woman about to cut a man. He makes the hand gestures again. He is either trying to tell me he’s going to snap my ass in half or he’s going on a break. Either way, I don’t give a shit. He finally reads my mind, and I board the bus, exiting 3 stops later, where I meant to get off in the first place.

This is why it takes me twice as long to get places. Sometimes. Much like my golf game, I’m highly inconsistent. I may drive it off the tee like the next white suburban housewife Tiger Woods, and my next swing, I’ll miss that little white dimpled fucker of a ball entirely, dislocating my shoulder in the process, which is why I keep score using something I call “The Essence of The Hole.” If I feel like I got the ball into the hole in 5 strokes (even if it took me 25 and a couple of martinis), I call it a 5. It’s not like I’m hitting The Tour any time soon, so kiss my ass.

Quite frankly, my favorite round of golf is spent riding along in the cart while my husband plays, I have a cocktail or 3, and a good book to read. That’s 4+ hours of relatively uninterrupted reading time, catered drinks, a date with my husband, and fresh air (which is the same thing as exercise, last time I checked). I throw my clubs on the back of the cart and wear some golf attire, just to make it look good. Even with the green fees, it’s a pretty cheap date when you break it down to an hourly rate, which if my husband had to hire a hooker for that kind of timeframe…it’s a downright bargain. Plus, I’m literate. I even bring my own book as proof.

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Sensory Success

When you have an Aspie kid, you often have a kid with sensory issues (even Sensory Integration Disorder). By issues, I mean that getting dressed in the most mundane of clothing can be cause for a meltdown of mass proportions. Can't they just deal with it? I don't know. How well do you deal with your skin being on fire? How are you with ants crawling up and down your body? What's your threshold for daggers in the shins?

Yeah, that's about the same. For a kid with sensory difficulties, the seams in socks, tags in shirts, or texture of a fabric can be akin to those burning, crawling, stabbing sensations I just mentioned. Fortunately, Bug's sensory issues are mild by comparison to some, but he certainly has his hurdles. In some cases, like shoes or certain smells, he's hyper-sensitive. In other situations, like personal space, he's hypo-sensitive--meaning he bumps into things just to know where he is in the world, gives bear hugs that can maime frail relatives, and rarely cries when injured.

Last night was the first football practice where Bug needed to be in full equipment--helmet, jockstrap, mesh unders, football pants, knee pads, hip pads, thigh pads, tailbone pad, helmet, mouth guard, undershirt, practice jersey, socks, and cleats .

Hubs got the pads all set up in Bug's pants the night before, discussed the finer points of the jockstrap (pouch in the front, junk in the pouch), and had a dress rehearsal. Not only did Bug don his getup with little fuss, he kept it on until bedtime.


Last night at practice, his shoulder pads were pinching and giving him trouble. He insisted on taking them off. The coach asked him if he was going to quit. Bug's answer, "I don't quit anything I do." When Hubs picked him up, Bug told him about the coach's question and his own answer. "Dad, I just love it so much." You may recall that Bug didn't like the flag football camp I signed him up for (my choice, not his), because he wanted to run into stuff. Watch out world, he's comin' at ya.

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