Tag Archives: fiasco

Off and Running

11 Jan

Why begin the new year with mediocrity?  Well, to answer the question as plain as I can, we are not.

To kick start our meander into 2013 we had the awesome pleasure of learning our daughter’s first semester as a full time college student ended with her gaining  “A” grades in every class.  And since my mother was in town when the good news arrived (her last visit before moving full time to the south American country of Nicaragua) we decided to have an ‘out to dinner’ celebration.  Which we did, at a local Japanese-California fusion type restaurant.  We had a magnificent time until I looked across the table and over at my son, only to realize with a single hand he was (literally) squeezing a restaurant spoon with such force that the head of the spoon found itself visiting with its tail.  My son is strong to be sure, but this action was not customary even to him.

Turns out he was experiencing a significant amount of pain which led me to square up the bill in a hurry and get him home where his pain medication innocently awaited his return.  Unfortunately not even prescription narcotics could avert the intensity of his anguish.  Mind you, he has been through a lot…brain surgery, eye surgery, kidney stone passing, combat zone activity, etc.  And yet, this amount of pain was causing him to have respiratory failure to the point his hands were numb and had turned blue.  We watched him attempt to pull his hair out as he writhed on the bathroom floor awaiting the emergency crew who had just been summoned by me, via telephone.  We were at a loss, what with no bloody wound to apply compression to.  And no apparent heart attack, choking, or drowning in process.  Only an abdominal pain so severe that the five of us (Cole included) weren’t sure if this was his last hour.  HAPPY NEW YEAR! 😉

So off to the emergency room we went…for further celebration, of course!  Thankfully Cole is still with us.  He had an intestinal blockage and the ER doctor gave him the necessary shots, IV’s, and nutrients so Cole was able to return home and suffer out the rest of the process here at home.  Now the day after our celebratory fiasco, my mom had to get to the airport, my son to his doctor, and my daughter to the store for a couple international necessities (voltage converter and the like).  Those errands were accomplished and Esther was packed and ready to go.

Brian and I took Esther up to LAX airport (insisting to Cole he remain at home due to his tenuous circumstance and uncertainty of requiring a second trip to the hospital).  We left our young world traveler in the hands of the long security line with the loving words of a TSA agent as her new found guide, “Where is your boarding pass?  You need to be prepared!”  Esther, in her inexperienced manner, had clipped all of her paperwork together…annoying the agent because she had to rifle through a few pieces to encounter the boarding pass.  Brian and I left our little girl smiling anxiously, knowing the next step was unfamiliar for her, but having confidence she would learn even if from her mistakes.

LAX International

The sea of security, LAX International

LAX security line

Mom’s shaky hand manning the camera, notice the boarding pass!

So she is now in France.  She has already experienced a class at the university, the marketplace, the local cuisine, a 16th century apartment, and been introduced to various people.  She called us this morning (via Skype) because she said her brain hurt from so much French–meaning, she is truly in an immersion situation and her abilities are being utilized and stretched beyond their present capacity.  …mission accomplished!  At this moment, with her host family, she is on her way to the coast and tomorrow they will venture into Spain.  We couldn’t be more excited for her…and she is truly enjoying every moment of being there. …Touché to the movie, “Taken”…touché!

Now on another front, you might not believe this, but I am still sick!  I actually finished my regimen of antibiotics last Friday, but after our trek to the hospital and then the days which followed with quite a lot of activity, I have again landed back on my ass (buttocks, not to be confused with my imaginary mule).  What the heck?  This is one tough repiratory virus, that is all I can say.  And of course, when combating such a fierce microscopic bug, I do recommend staying far away from their known watering hole…the hospital.  But like I was going to send my son off in an ambulance with a kiss and well wishes…NOT.  So to the watering hole I went, and here I now sit as result.

The good news, 2012 shall not be outdone!  We roll into this new year like a band of wild horses who know not which way they are headed; just off and running, as is their custom.  Sweet Jesus, can you please keep the minions at bay?!  For we just might want to nibble a small crumb of mediocrity for a spell.  …I don’t know, it’s just a thought. 🙂

Frankie Goes to Hollywood

23 Oct

My title should actually be, “Relax…”; However, with that title I begin singing the song by Frankie Goes to Hollywood…”Relax, don’t do it, when you wanna get to it. Relax…”  I’m not exactly sure if the lyrics have sexual connotations (though I’m leaning toward a definite ‘yes’ on that one), which is why I utilize the ellipsis instead of finishing out the lyrics.  But the theme of “Relax” is where I’m at, though ironically instead of heading north to Hollywood, we headed south to San Diego.  We being my most benign partner in crime, my beloved, Brian.  He bears the title of benign because he is my anchor to following the laws of the ‘establishment’.  For you see, I do not imbibe alcoholic beverages, nor do I utilize mind altering prescription/non-prescription pharmaceuticals (drugs–for you street smart folk).  Therefore my “high” in life comes from the perpetuation of “breaking the rules”–or bending them at the very least.

My Brian does not do those things willingly.  And if he does, perchance override the system, his conscience hounds him mercilessly into the wee hours of the night.  Not so for me.  I am happy to trespass, go through a ‘do not enter’ door, run a red light when no one is around, ride my bicycle on the sidewalk when the sign says, “no bikes allowed”, and drop the moniker of my cousin, for personal benefit, though she is not the songbird one would think she is, etc..  And much to the dismay of my loving husband, I do not lose one wink of sleep as a result of my shenanigans.

So here we are, the grateful recipients of a private shelter, gratis and courtesy my prima, Suzanne Vega.  I will refrain from sharing a photo of her home, as I am sensitive to protect her loving abode from the bombardment of more hooligans, such as myself, looking for a free-ride of a vacation. 😉

We packed our bicycles (my Raleigh 1973 and his 5 dollar who knows what it is) into our 1956 Ford Customline vehicle and headed south.  We had intended to also bring along our 1930’s kookbox surfboards (modeled after a Tom Blake), but Brian strained his back, thus we decided the ‘water-loggers’ would better serve his recovery if left behind.  Now it was our intent to have a full two weeks respite from regular life, and by ‘leaving our nest’ our two not-so-little ones would also enjoy a break from the watchful eyes of their parents.  However, given how our vacation began–we were skeptical to the reality of the ‘two week’ dream.

The short of the story is as follows (skip if human feces, and the discussion of it, causes you a problem)…

For some reason, our plumbing likes to fail only on a Sunday.  Sometimes it will choose a different day of the week, but only if out of town guests are due to arrive on another day.  So on Sunday October 14th, our main sewer line decided to back up.  Brian and I were alerted to the situation at 6a.m when our daughter came running into our room to proclaim, “my shower is not draining and the toilet is overflowing.”  Since this exact issue caught us off guard two months prior, I was keenly aware that her news carried with it the undeniable truth that all of our toilets and showers (two to be exact), sinks and the like, were now ‘out of commission’.  And being it was Sunday, I knew our faithful plumber (and good friend) was also not available.  I did put a call into him, just to give him the heads-up of the situation, and ironically he and his wife were in San Diego for a weekend getaway…not courtesy my cousin.  There it is…fate.  It was fate my plumbing, my plumber, and my vacation plans were intertwined with each other.  For when he came on Monday, to clean out our line, he told me the stories of where he and his wife found enjoyment in the southern city–exact locations my husband and I intended to visit in the upcoming weeks.

Back to my story…

What to do in the event my bowels decided to move, as is customary for me after my morning brew (of coffee)?  Well being the intelligent woman I am, I borrowed from my experience with the portable head on our sailboat, and I covered my loo with a plastic bag which was, yes GROSS, but a better alternative to the non-flushing option my husband utilized after ribbing me of my ingenious efforts.  In fact, I do believe his exact apology came in the form of a cry from the bathroom…and it sounded like this, “GET ME A BAG…please!” 🙂 🙂 🙂  Those little emoticons showcase the laughter emanating from my being as I handed him the bag and he “ate face” in his own stubborn toilet-y mess.  Not exactly the best overall tone in which to launch an intimate, and relaxing, vacation–but it is how we started.  I promise, I don’t make this stuff up…life hands it to me in the bag! hahahahahaahahaha (oh that was bad)

San Diego at last, albeit the relaxing part is a work in progress.

Our first week was a trial in error, with our bicycles and extended family helping to keep us accountable to our ‘vacating’ frame of mind.  We were blessed with agreeable weather and the legs to pedal us forward.  The plumbing has been superb which proves complimentary to my freshly ground, morning cup-o-joe.  Brian and I are very much in synch when it comes to our interests in architecture, history, design, and culture (well I’m more of a culture buff than he, though he lends me his listening ear as I explain the “Dia de los muertos” influence and tradition, seen more rampantly here in the border-near town of San Diego).  Although his knowledge of history gives my cultural education a run for its money.  In other words, we are complimentary one to the other and enjoy tooling around investigating ‘new to us’ finds and locales.  So far our children are faring well…minus a trip to the doctor for my daughter’s ailing kidneys for which her brother foot the bill, and an emotional hiccup for my son who was grateful to have the nurturing comfort of his loving sister.  Given the circumstances of the last two mentioned, it is a wonder I am still here…on vacation.  I say “I” because my husband has found himself in the middle of an employment opportunity, right here in Little Italy, San Diego.  He has been commissioned to design and build a new office space for a creative firm.  Being we were already down this way, he took the position.  We trekked back home yesterday so he could gather his tools and such, paint a few paintings, and then head back down.  The timing was perfect because I needed to re-group as I ended up being plagued with a horrible migraine headache, which required my being home for a few moments to get it under control.  I dropped him off at the location this morning and returned to my little bungalow away from home…alone.

Today relaxing means to me, the opportunity to be quiet.  Do a load of laundry.  Clean the borrowed bathroom.  Remove the full trash bags and replace them with empty ones.  Eat lunch utilizing the leftovers from my cousins ‘main house’, and sit in silence as I write this blog post.  Relaxing to Brian means, creating and spending his time engaging his artistically fabulous gifts.  What a good life! 🙂

More on the second week of our journey next time.  La vie c’est grand…

Hungry, Hungry, Hippos, Alex the great, & Evita

31 Aug

Does anyone remember the Hasbro/Milton Bradley children’s board game ‘Hungry, Hungry, Hippos‘?  The reason I bring it up is because I have felt like I have been living inside that game these past two weeks.  Or maybe more accurately, a gopher bop game.  The “fun” machine that features a gopher popping up out of a hole (in the board surface) and the player using a cushioned “bopper” to whack it back down.  In both games, the winning strategy involves swift and striking, calculated movements.  With the object being to either hit as many gophers as possible or eat as many marbles as possible with the hippo head–violent hand maneuvers subject to a time clock.  And guess what?  Within both analogous childhood recreational games, I am either the gopher or the marble.  Itch, itch, itchy, itch, itch…I must pause to pacify my epidermal irritations.

So why write about subject matter that is so heavy, as in my last post?  Why bring down the various readers with my muck?  Well for the most part, shoot…there is no most part and I have backed myself into a literary corner by suggesting it so.  Essentially, this blog is where I live out whatever it is I am living out.  Which brings me out of the corner to the thoughts I wish to discuss.  Health.  In this case health of mind, health of relationship, health of family…my health.

I do not want to be the “gopher or hippo” in life.  The other day I wrote my “Every Once in a While” post in the morning.  I wrote it from a fairly heavy place–emotionally.  But I wrote it in the morning, and the day just continued to get worse, meaning, I was the gopher and whoever was the player had the lead in scoring points.  It went like this:

I left the house with Cole resting and ventured to the United Fifty (www.u50.com) shop where Brian was working.   I was so down my stomach hurt so I didn’t make myself a lunch.  I spent some time with Brian, when our daughter and a couple of friends dropped by for a visit as well.  But my stomach just wouldn’t relent so I declared I was heading home.  As I backed my car out of my spot I hit the curb.  The curb which was covered by a metal grate that slashed my back tire.  I called Triple-A (AAA) who came and put on my spare and then I drove to the tire store.  The mechanic fit me in but had a pressing need to pick up a vehicle from another client and I was pulled into the errand.  That errand ended up being a 3 hour excursion making me miss my Spanish class.  And by the time I returned home it was 6:45p.m.  Brian was preparing dinner for himself and Cole and wondering what took me so long.  No big deal except that I was a bit worn out and the tickets we had for the evenings performance of “Pageant of the Masters” in Laguna Beach (http://www.foapom.com/site/pageant_theme.asp) were not strong enough to rouse my energy level to the point needed for me to attend.  Hence, we didn’t see the show (tonight is this seasons final performance).  And if that is not enough for one little female to handle, my day offered an additional infraction.  I had purchased a “Groupon” for two 90 minute, therapeutic massages for a mere $99.00.  An absolute steal (for those of you who are unfamiliar with the world of massage).  I purchased them because both my daughter and I hold much of our stress in our shoulder muscles and while they should, in fact, be fibrous tissue, ours are more in line with the rock of Gibraltar.  So while visiting my husband I called the spa to set up our appointments.  Only the nice lady (owner of the spa) informed me the Groupon was to be used by only one person, it could not be “shared” by two differing names.  Well I did what any martyr mother would do, I gave the Groupon and the TWO, 90 minute massages to my daughter.  And at the end of the day, I wanted to cry.  I wanted to pout.  I wanted the spa owner, the Pageant of the Masters owner, the tire shop owner, Cole, my daughter, my husband and the rest of the world to feel sorry for me.  Especially as I felt sorry for myself.  Especially as my husband and I were still a bit emotionally downtrodden due to the A-bomb Cole had previously dropped (see last post).   …poor, pitiful, me.  I am a gopher.  I am a marble in a Hungry Hippo game.  I am hit (sounds more like a scene from the Milton Bradley game, Battleship, if you ask me!).

Now yesterday, I found myself again very low.  At the brink of tears.  And I realize the cause.  I have been carrying the weight of my son’s emotional health upon my shoulders.  This is a natural ramification of him returning home from the hospital, in May of 2011, regressed to his infantile physical state.  Being his caregiver and with him throughout the day and evening, I invest much time and energy into keeping his outlook positive, healthy, and forward thinking.  But I also do that with my daughter and with my husband as well.  Heck, I do it with myself and anyone else who G-d sends along my path–provided I can.  So it was, yesterday, that I realized “this needs to stop”.  This being, my happiness dependent upon the happiness of my children/husband and more specifically, my son.  Especially if my son, for whatever reason, cannot find true joy in this life (though I will not quit my investments in helping him pursue it).  This is not a new epiphany.  I was at this place when Cole graduated high school and joined the Marine Corps.  Many of you readers have moved on from this place long ago with your own children.  I believe I am here again because I, in a sense, was returned to my previous role as ‘hands on mother’ to Cole.  And now as he gains stability within his new physicality, my ‘hands on’ needs to let go…again.  Additionally I have my daughter transitioning out.  The road ahead is still a ways down, but we see it on the horizon and are experiencing the appropriate sentiments connected.

I am at a loss when it comes to time frames, suffice to say that at some point while revisiting my mishaps from the previous day, I thought to myself,  “This pitiful ranting sounds awfully familiar!  It sounds like the character, Alexander, from the children’s storybook, ‘Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.’  Which means my plight is not a new one.  My whining about it just compounds the sadness within me.  And, it “even happens in Australia” (a pertinent line from the book, for those of you unfamiliar with Alex).”  Well folks, I don’t want to be like Alexander.  I don’t want to live life as if swinging from an emotional pendulum which is out of my control.  And though I contemplate the ‘much and many’ in this life, the good Lord has truly given me a disposition of positivity…for the most part.

So yesterday evening, both Brian and I took a walk at the beach.  Crystal Cove in fact (see post titled, Crystallized).  And we both were fantasizing about running away for a spell.  But to where?  For how long?  I wanted a month, he felt a week would do the trick (I told him he is wrong!).  However, the reality of us taking a vacation this year is nil to none.  And together we decided that we need to invest in “fun” for ourselves and with each other–right here where we live–just as we were doing so together at the Cove.  Because at the end of the day we are married to each other, we are not married to our children.  It is most perfectly natural that Cole and Esther will move on from us because they did not choose us.  Our hope is that they will like us and want to visit from time to time.  It also donned on us that we hope we like them.  The last statement being most profound because I never truly evaluated any other possibility in life.  I truly hadn’t considered the possibility of not liking my own children.  Because the majority of my joy, these last 21+ years, has come from time spent with them.  Itch, itch, itchy, itch, itch!!  And what if I don’t like them?  …I will always love them, so it doesn’t matter.  But life will definitely be more fulfilling if they end up being people I enjoy being around.  That is just the pure truth of  it.  It will also be an added “life bonus” to have them find enjoyment in time spent with their father and me.

This is one long post!  I expect not one reader to even make it down to this line because I am sure each and every one of you has enough soap in your opera without needing to blast through an ounce of mine.  But if you did make it, thus far, I want to clue you into a promise I have made with myself (though I might forget I have done so).  Well more of an intention of mine than a promise.  I hope, if I can remember, to keep my writing from delving into the sad, sad places of my soul.  Not because I have to, or because I am hiding those places.  But because I do not wish to dwell in those places.  And because I typically don’t (dwell there).  Yet when the darkness is published, it quite possibly remains in the present tense.  So let us talk of sunshine, nonsense even.  I will strive to jump off the emotional teeter-totter that I have been riding, and writing about.  Oh I am sure “fiasco” will still run its fingers through my themes, that seems to be merely the “BentRivka” way of things.  But I refuse to clothe myself in any fabric that resembles that of a hippo, a gopher, or Alexander the great.

Besides, I am not a martyr mother.  I care for Cole because I want to.  Period.  I gave the massages to my daughter because I chose to reward who she is.  Period.  Oh she felt bad, for a split second, that I would not enjoy the muscular respite alongside her.  But her first appointment is this afternoon, so the sting of the circumstance didn’t set its roots too deep.  Thankfully.  And Cole cares about his father and I or else he would have split instead of giving the relationship between his dad and he another go.  And tires?  Well, they wear out.  They pop.  They need replacing.  And Pageant of the Masters tickets?  They expire, they come around again, and they were only seven dollars each–no big loss.

So please, “don’t cry for me Argentina.”  In fact, don’t cry at all.  Just send in some homemade chocolate chip cookie reinforcements to remind me of who the winner is, in my game of life.  Don’t ask why the cookies will help, let us just eat and be merry!  Now onto the business of figuring out, and learning again, what makes me happy.  Of course, my children’s health and well being will always remain at the top of my list.  That is part of my maternal code.  Period.  Itch, itch, itchy, itch…

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