Hot Or Not: Also, I'm Gonna Talk About My Sex Life

"Advice for Strays"Image by califmom via Flickr

I never had to think about whether or not I was sexy to anybody but my husband for at least two decades. It didn't occur to me to care.

He'd tell me I looked hot. I'd roll me eyes or laugh it off or say thank you, depending on my mood. He'd ask if it sucked to be so sexy all the time, and I'd think he was joking, trying to get some. You know, husbands.

We had a healthy sex life, I think. Ups and downs over the years, but never a dry spell that a single person would endure. I've since tried to explain that to my single friends. In the world of married people, a couple weeks is an eternity. Sorry if that's TMI for some of you, but I'm sure the married folks in the audience will relate. At least, the happily and healthily married.

As Bob got sick, we were still fortunate that things remained normal until almost the very end. Damn lucky for both of us.

At the funeral, his closest friends, the frat brothers (keepin' it klassy, as they do), made a mention of me dating. It was the furthest thing from my mind at that time. As time passed, I considered it, but only to think that I'd most likely be dating people my age or older, right?

The thing is, I wasn't really ready to go out looking for people to date. Instead, as luck would have it, because of my very visible life, people found me. And they weren't my age. They weren't older. They weren't homely or even passable. They were kind of hot. They were smart. They were interesting.

So, I started to wonder, was my husband really telling me the truth? It's not that I never saw myself as sexy or interesting or smart. I just never saw myself as that person for anybody but him.

It's been a strange journey reframing my vision of myself as this person independent of another. I like her, this whole, sexy, smart, fully-formed me. She's kinda awesome.

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Short Skirts And Pom Poms: A Letter To My Husband's Doctor

A pair of pom-pons.

Image via Wikipedia

Dear Dr. Waffle Cone,

While it may have seemed like a stellar idea to you to kick off today’s appointment with a doom and gloom tone while telling us that in my husband’s very grave situation the only real options are “palliative care” (which you proceeded to discuss for so long we were beginning to believe you were going to tell us the transplant option was off the table even though Bob’s due to be admitted to the hospital Wednesday morning!!!) or the very, very, very, very (could you have said that word one more time) risky (another word you wore the knees out of today) allogeneic stem cell transplant.

Now, I understand it’s mingling with the mortals. I have to do it myself. So, when I ask you well-thought-out questions about my husband’s diagnosis, treatment and future prognosis, answers that equate to “meh” and “he’s S.O.L. if the transplant doesn’t work” aren’t acceptable to me. Why? One, because I know better. Two, because you know better. Three, because we deserve better.

Now, back to your bedside manner. Here’s the deal. Our oncologist at Kaiser, Dr. W, he’s an awesome dude. He’s delivered more bad news to us than he’d probably care to remember, but guess what. He’s done it with a no-bullshit approach we love (you claim to like to be direct—we dig that,too), but he always manages to maintain a sense of humor. How can you not? You picked a field of study and practice where people are going to die, paint a fucking smile on your face, wear a mask if you have to, bring a fart machine. I don’t care what it takes. Lighten the gotdayum mood, dude.

We know this is serious shit. We’re the ones facing his mortality. We’re the ones explaining it to our children. We’re the ones checking our wills. Our life insurance policies. Filing for disability. Looking for housing and childcare for the next four months. Maybe you’re not working on a study about the effects of the patient’s psychological outlook on prognosis, but somebody is and has, and I’m telling you, your sourpuss ain’t helping shit.

Next time I see your ass, you better have on a cheerleading skirt and some mother fucking pom poms. I want to see some high kicks and a big “Go! Bob! Fuck That Cancer!” Or, so help me, God, I will knee you in the nutsack.

Carry on.

We'll see you at the transplant. With our pom poms, cuz that's how we mother fuckin' roll.

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Decisions You Have To Make For Yourself, And They Suck

Califmom BW 09The scientists studying human cloning need to hurry the fuck up. I need two of me, immediately. Like yesterday. I need one of me to take my husband to the hospital Christmas Eve, and one of me to pick my children up from their grandparents’ house and bring them home.

I need one of me to spend the next three days at inpatient chemo with my husband. And I need the other one of me to spend Christmas with my children who are too young to be allowed into the hospital to visit their father thanks to the “nobody under age 14” rule. (Thank you H1N1 virus.)

But, these damn cloning scientists seems to be taking Christmas off, unlike the doctors who will be working to save my husband. Cloning slackers.

After today’s surgery, Bob got to come home for the night. We go back tomorrow to do a new chemo regimen, in the hopes that it will do a better job at getting the cancer into a complete or near complete remission for the transplant process.

The chemo regimen they’ll do this time is called R-ICE chemotherapy. RICE, RICE, BABY -- but I don't think they have a dance for it yet. I'll have to work on that. Anyhoo, it’s another common regimen used for treating lymphoma that’s recurred, and is often used prior to transplant.

The biopsy was done to determine if the lymphoma tumors that have been growing rapidly the past week are of a new type. This will help the team at Stanford decide if a different transplant approach is warranted. The initial plan was for an autologous transplant, which requires a complete or near complete remission of the current lymphoma. Otherwise, an allologous transplant becomes the next option. In that case, they’d start looking for sibling donors. Good thing he has a bunch of those! God bless a good, horny Catholic family.

Now, if I can just figure out how to make two of me before tomorrow. I have two kids who want to be home and a husband who’s health is in a precarious state who doesn’t understand why I won’t just leave him at the hospital to go be with the kids. Men. They can be dense fuckers sometimes.

Thankfully, the kids are old enough that we discussed opening gifts with Daddy on Sunday when he comes home. They get that. We'll just move Christmas by 2 days. Christ wasn't born on the 25th of December, anyway. God will get over it.

Bug asked me to text Santa to let him know we’d need to postpone our delivery by two days. No problem, dude. I’m on it. Then, my boy who never worries about his dad, at least not in words, the kid who never uses his cell phone, texted me and then called me tonight. He’s worried. He wanted me to say prayers with him. Part of his prayers for the past 6 years have included people we know who have passed—my grandparents, and my two girlfriends who died of cancer in their 30s and their families. (Non-standard, I know. He's a non-standard kid.) I didn’t maintain. He said, “Mom, it sounded like you either got sad there or we had some static on the line.” No, dude, I got sad there. “Yeah, Mom, I’ve been feeling sad, too. I’m getting worried.” I’m worried, too, bud.

Peanut texted me in the middle of the night last night. Her stomach hurt. She wanted to come home. She misses her animals. Dr. Doolittle, that one. Both dogs and our 20lb. cat sleep with her most nights, piled onto her twin bed. They surround her during the days while she does her school work. She’s homesick. She needs the surroundings that calm her. Her best friend/cousin is out of town for the holidays, which adds to her lost-at-sea feeling, I’m sure. I wish I could just take her with me to the hospital. If they didn’t have a record of her age, I’d lie and say she was 14. She certainly looks it, and it would reduce her anxiety immensely to be with us. She’s the kid who needs to know what’s going on to feel calm. I text her during the day when I can. She wants to know why she can’t just be home alone while I’m at the hospital all day, just so she can be home, where things are familiar. The kid is breaking my heart.

This is what it’s like to be a mother, and a wife, and to love so much you want to be able to cut yourself into pieces for the people who need you most and who you most want to be able to support and love.

Cloners. I blame your lazy asses. Scotty, too. Should have been able to beam my ass back and forth by now.

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Cancer Is Easier, Unless You're The Cleavers

When Bob tried to kill himself with The Cancer, my first instinct was to go fetal. My second instinct was to jump off a bridge. After that, my role of Supportive Spouse was defined. His role of Chemo Boy was defined.

He got the bitchin’ cape and bald head.

chemoboy

I bought special calendars, wrapped our children in bubble wrap and rolled them down a hill. (Oh, like you’ve never wanted an excuse to do that. Don’t get all Judgy Mcjudgerson with me.)

IMG_7446IMG_7381 IMG_7416

Much like they were for Ward and June Cleaver, our roles were clear. Chemo Boy’s role was to NOT DIE, and mine was to provide comic relief and NOT JUMP OFF THE BRIDGE.

But, now what? Now we’re on a rudderless boat. The Cancer Survivor’s Handbook doesn’t talk about this part. Google "divorce after cancer." Better yet, don't. I don't have enough Zoloft to share.

Even though we’re thanking Jesus, Mary, and the Juju Tree that he’s in remission, the kids and I miss having him at home with us. Yeah, he was sick while he was home, but he wasn't as sick as he was before he started chemo, and we like him. So, it was nice to be around him. Well, except when he was popping Prednisone, which could have made Mother Theresa a raging bitch. We just wore body armor those weeks.

Then there's the issue of territory infringement. Oy vey! Evidently, my man got used to how he started to do things around the house while he was home, but this is my mutha flippin’ domain. I’m happy to stop by his office any time he’s looking for a little input. Until then, this captain sails this domestic ship. Sometimes she sails it from a seated position, but so did Captains Kirk and Picard. And, in their absence, they had a crew fully capable of manning the helm until they returned. Mini Martha and Data are well-trained to take the controls should I leave the deck for some adult interaction to maintain my SANITY. For fuck's sake, I was babysitting other people's infants for money (and driving, but we'll save that for another post) at their ages.

Meanwhile, Ward and June need to take the Beav' out on the town. Date nights have been downright nonexistent since The Cancer came to town. No restaurant dining for The Artist Formerly Known As Chemo Boy meant no couple time for Us. We’re long overdue for a weekend away, dinners out, somewhere other than our usual haunts, movie nights, and rekindling that grown-up stuff that keeps the sparks sparkly. 

It’s time to rebuild more than The Artist Formerly Known As Chemo Boy’s atrophied muscles. It’s time to rebuild some normalcy—our brand of it, anyway. Because there is one thing I absolutely refuse to be, and that's on the shafted end of crappy statistics.



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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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Considering Our Options: Yo Mah Wiggahs

You really have not lived until you've perused the world of artificial hair for men. Even if you limit yourself to just the artificial hair intended for their head, it's a world materials I guarantee you had not considered, looks that will leave you shaking your own head, and descriptions that will make you go WTF?

Since some chemo drugs target the cells that divide rapidly (like skin and hair cells), you get to be a bald mo' fo' while they're killing the good and the bad. If you aren't comfy flying commando nugget, you can get a rug for your nugg. We've done a little exploring for Hubs, even though his chosen to stick with the hats, we just had to share some of our better finds with y'all.

Without further adieu, I give you Wigs for Men:

Combover






























MonkGiantHermitWig RicoSuave

Wigger
































Menwigs

If you find a superior product, and I'm sure you will, do pass it along to me in the comments. There's no need to hog these fine products to yourself.

Also, for the caregiver with a cold, I highly recommend this surgical mask:

Pig_mask__code  

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Chemo Calendars and Golf

ChemoCalendar April is not the month to go looking for a smart-ass wall calendar for your husband to use for recording his projected chemo cycles. (We use google calendar for keeping track of our family's scheduling, but he wants something old school to provide that visual motivation.) Even Office Max was a bust. I couldn't even find some ugly-ass cat calendar at Walmart. Nothing. Nada.

After three hours and one slightly pink In-n-Out double-double, I settled for a DIY calendar from Target where you fill in the months and dates. The up side is that it's made by Real Simple. So, it's all about the anal organizing, and comes with color-coded movable stickies to use for keeping track of your activities. Red seems like the obvious choice for chemo days, but I'm letting Hubs make the call on that one.

While I spent this afternoon deciding how many months to fill in on the DIY Chemo Calendar (Do you fill in more because you're optimistic he'll be done and wanting to use the calendar for other events long after he's done, or do you fill in fewer in hopes he's done sooner, or will that be too depressing if he has to add months if he's not done in the number of months you've filled in?), anyway...while I was having this existential calendar completing crisis, Hubs was out playing golf. Eighteen holes.

Is he amazing or what?

I felt like I had a kid leaving for his first day of school. Do you have sunscreen? Where's your hat? Do you have water? Have you eaten? What about anti-bacterial wipes? For your clubs? What about for your hands? Are you driving? Do you have your phone? Did you go potty? Do you need a wipe?

God help the man, if chemo wasn't going to make his hair fall out, I would. Speaking of, it's starting to go, finally. We have a lovely array of hats lined up thanks to some creative friends and family. We have the "I'm making cancer my bitch" hat from T of SendChocolate. Love that woman. We also have a stunning purple turban, courtesy of my SIL. I've also started perusing the Interwebs lovely offerings, including a rubber crewcut, a mullet hat, and something that looks like a cross between a muppet and a troll. Mostly, I'm just jealous that I'm stuck shaving my legs all summer.

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My List: From Big to Small Xmas '08


I have a little bit of everything on my Christmas wish list this year, except a pony. I totally left the pony off the list. Didn't want to appear greedy. Plus, I've had a pony. Not the friendliest of the ride-able mammals. I went kind of traditional: jewelry, a laptop (girl’s gotta dream), a new set of bamboo sheets (softest sheets evah!), gadgetry, bath bombs, clothing, literary finds, an eco-friendly coffee mug, and some art. Oh, and a plushie uterus. For reals. Check it out. Thanks to @clapifyoulike me for that hot tip. The biggest test: Will Hubs order any of it in time?

By the way, this is my first year using Wishpot, and I’m loving the ease of use. I can browse any page on the Interwebs, find something I want, click the Wishpot button on my toolbar, and my wish list is updated. So flippin’ cool. It even pulls pictures and prices when it can. Then, I email it to Hubs with a big fat PLEEEEEEEZZZZZZ. (It's also handy for keeping track of ideas for gifts for others...if you're into that sort of thing.)

Also, I cannot push this idea enough: If you spouse struggles with what to get you for the holidays, send him (or her...yeah, right) a clickable wish list. Make it simple stupid. That's what I'm telling you. Best idea for maintaining that marital bliss.

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The Bliss

Fourteen years ago, on this date, as the sun dropped behind the horizon, I married my best friend. After dating for 5 1/2 years, we finally tied the knot in a tiny church on the college campus where we met.

Love feels a little lacking in describing the feelings I have for Hubs. He is my rock, my hero, and my opposite. He also makes me fucking insane, and I him.

When looking for a mate, I highly suggest finding one you can discuss politics, religion, and farts with, all in the same conversation. You must laugh together. You must laugh at each other. You must laugh at yourselves.

Happy Anniversary, Hubs. You still make my socks go up and down. I love you.

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How To Curse Your Husband

  1. Blog about his Thanksgiving Day football game the night before he plays.
  2. Blog about the likelihood he, or another middle-aged man, will be injured reliving the glory days.
  3. Stay in the comfort of your bed while your husband heads out to the football game.
  4. Suppress fits of laughter when he limps in from the game.
  5. Let fits of laughter roll as he says, "Well at least I got out of bed and did something this morning." To which you reply, "A lot of good that did you."
  6. Note that it's his left leg hamstring, not his right, and he'll still be able to do the driving for the 9-hour trek home on Saturday.
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