Monday, July 30, 2007
A twelve-hour day...
Four hours traveling...
An hour unloading and loading...
An hour dropping off cars...
Six hours kayaking the Kickapoo...
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Yesterday, deciding our vacation days were there to be used, Nick and I scheduled a day trip to Gurnee, IL—home of Six Flags Great America. I had never been to the park, never been on a roller coaster—I know you're giving me a funny look. Everybody gives me a funny look when I tell them that and see me as though I have been living in a hole all my life.
Truth is, I was simply brought up to appreciate a lot in a little and we never went out LOOKING for fun in my young life—because it could be found all around if we had the right perspective. My father wouldn't tolerate a whiner or a picky eater, so I'm pretty much as mellow as they come, and probably just as boring. Not that I think my father's strictness was bad parenting—quite the opposite. The children of today, given power to set the conditions of family life, seem so ungrateful and frivolous. And LOUD. Anyway, my view of where our future is headed tucked in its little handbasket is a different post for, perhaps, a different day.
We arrived before the park opened. Nick, a seasoned thrill seeker, had me good and stoked to enjoy. He packed a picnic lunch for us the day before, complete with fresh peaches, Fig Newtons, and the Pringles with the lowest fat content of any of them there—even though it probably took him twice as long to shop that way, he knows I am a stickler for reading labels and wanted my day to be the most wonderful that it could possibly be.
As soon as the gates opened, he grabbed my arm and high-tailed it to Superman:Ultimate Flight while he explained in detail, again how cool it was going to be, how there isn't any floor, how it feels like you're flying. I asked him, again, not to talk about it because I, an Earth being, rather liked floors and knew that this bod wasn't equipped to fly. Waiting briefly in line, he wanted to document that, indeed, I was tall enough to ride. Even if only just.
I watched from my place in the line as those before me were strapped in, as others returned with sparkley eyes and unabated laughter and took a deep breath when our turn came. This was my first thrill ride ever (What? You mean the swings don't count!?), and I was duly nervous. I think I left my stomach there at the start only to pick it up again after the ride had finished, but no matter which way I alter the memory in my mind, I am pretty sure this picture tells it best:
To sum it up in one word? FUN.
And then it was on to this one—the Batman ride was a lot like the first for me, and I dropped my stomach off at the same spot as last time, only to collect it at the end, and I followed a whooping Nick on wobbly legs. I was having fun, but this was all very new to me. And then, we came to a ride that I didn't get a good enough look at before I marched up the platform to join the queue.
The deafening sound of speed was punctuated regularly by screams and my heart started flopping around in my chest in a desperate plea to escape my body before I was stupid enough to board. Vertical Velocity was pure evil. I tugged his hand over the racket and told Nick with a trembling lower lip that I was going to sit this one out, that I didn't think I could do this one. He looked down at me, crestfallen, and reassured, "Dear, it's safe!" I shook my head. Didn't wanna do it. Too scary. Couldn't breath. Going to throw up. And, wow! I haven't had an anxiety attack since Mom died! But, there you have it!
With my mind engaged in freaking out as it was, I am sure it was easy directing my body to the open seat...and when it hit home where I was, I tried not to cry.
It was friggin' awesome.
And I think it made Nick's day that I did not, in fact, keel over.
We went on many others...American Eagle, Demon, Giant Drop, Raging Bull, and Viper...descriptions can be found here. I tolerated them all considerably well, having already watched this other one and determining that I would not be going on that ride. No way. Uh uh.
And then I found myself in a confusing place, a place wherein I knew I wanted to be able to say the I rode them all, but yet, I so enjoyed having four functioning limbs...and you know, life. The line was long enough that we joined in at the end, and I figured I'd have plenty of time to turn back.
But the longer I stood there, the more it felt as though the contract had been signed, and I would feel like a coward if I backed out. Over and over again I heard the execution of Déjà Vu, the screams, the air slicing sound of intensity and I felt my heart threaten to walk out on me again. "No way!—I didn't sign up for this," it practically spat.
We got there. I bit my tongue and said nothing as we boarded. The ride began and lifted us almost 180 feet into the hair, so that my body was pointed to the ground and the harness was the only thing keeping me from Death...and then there was a pause. I whimpered and felt the tears burning at the back of my throat.
And then we descended. Slowly. They had us all get off so that they could do a safety check and I looked at Nick once we were safely behind the gates again and he knew that this was me at the verge of a meltdown. He hugged me and rubbed my back while I stood rocking, mute and trembly. "If they don't fix it in 5 minutes, we'll go," he decided aloud. I prayed for a 6 minute turn-around time.
It was not to be, and we marched out to the ride once more, his hand gripping mine tightly, and I tried to suck it in to get my seat fastened even tighter, but no matter what I did, that hip bone wouldn't move. Nick still had a grip on my hand, and he kept telling me to close my eyes if I needed to...and then we rose again, hitting the highest peak and then what felt like a free fall. I screamed, I couldn't help it.
And then we hit the curve at the bottom, spinning up and around and around and it was pure glee. All at once the silliness of my fear hit me, and I spent the remainder of the ride laughing maniacally, giving Austin Powers' Dr. Evil a run for his money. The ride over, I was still laughing in an almost disturbing timbre while I unstrapped myself and followed a leaping Nick down the ramp. Nick likes to push me—which is good for me, good for anybody—but I think I scared him not once, but TWICE today that he had pushed too hard, and he was beyond relief that even though I was in mirthful hysterics at his heel, I was no longer two steps away from the other extreme.
We got to the landing and he grabbed my hand and hugged me, asking what I wanted to do now seeing as how we had hit all of the thrill rides. Sobering up, I looked at him directly and stated, "Beer."
Sunday, July 22, 2007
She has such a personality these days—and while I won't commit one way or another how I find it, I must say that it is entertaining. She's quirky like me and clumsy like Nick...and vise versa, too. She loves French Onion Sun Chips and licks the butter from your toast if you leave it unattended. As we drift to sleep, the wall-mounted LCD on timer, she can often be found at the end of the bed, braced up on her front paws against the foot board, her ears perked forward to watch the CSI rerun.
She snubs broccoli—my über food—and turns in disgust while I kickbox. She finds my sweaty body scandalous and wastes no time in looking at me with eyes that place me in a cave with a pelt-toga and disgruntled extras from the Geico commercials. Her tail straightens up into a plume and she walks away, paying me and my evolutionarily retarded lifeform no mind. I imagine vividly that one day I will return to find her belly up in the recliner with Sun Chip crumbs nestled in her fur and remote under paw. To say the least, she has inherited our bad habits, taking in none of the good.
And though I am irritated that she won't let me sleep past a certain point, I am secretly tickled that she wants to spend time with me—you know, after I've showered and scrubbed the broccoli stench from my breath—and I love those brief moments in the still of morning when she doesn't want to play, she doesn't want treats, and she doesn't want to gnaw on the pet repellent pellets we put in the houseplants....when all that she does want, is me.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
I had a pelvic ultrasound yesterday which was ordered primarily for the purpose of a "parts count". Waking up from surgery just shy of a year ago, my surgeon notified me that I had a didelphys uterus, another piece of the genetic disorder that I inherited from Mom. My doctor yesterday told me that it is an autosomal dominant disorder but was not as quick to say that children weren't a possibility—only that the fetus would likely be in breech position, it would have to be by cesarean section, and it is likely that it would be a pre-term birth.
Good or bad, I've gotten the hang of accepting what life gives me. I guess I don't have a strong opinion on the matter either way.
I went to these set of doctors after my last physical in May, when my physician still, even looking for it, could not detect an anomaly in my reproductive bits. I was sent to an OB/GYN, and similarly, it took her awhile to find it. I felt so foolish for awhile, because it was like I was pleading my case that I was abnormal. At one point, I told the latest doctor, "Look, I was told about this after I had surgery. I am pretty sure my surgeon physically SAW something out of place. I just want some information about it."
The ultrasound technician was very kind, and said at once that she agreed with my surgeon. Also, that I had two of everything that I was supposed to have two of—which had been a concern with the kidneys—and two of some things that I was only supposed to have one of. I had her draw pictures for Nick because he's very interested in all of this...but I lost them. He is understandably upset.
The next step is sending me to another geneticist. In a complex that often represents itself as incomplete, apparently I demonstrate nearly all of the syndrome's features: sacral agenesis, anorectal malformation, presacral mass, urogenital malformations, and in the slew of "other malformations", I have flat feet and that pesky leak in my spinal cord fluid.
From there, with supposedly more information at my door, I can make an informed decision about permanent birth control. I am concerned that while (fingers crossed), my disorder is not deadly like Mom's wound up being, I do have more of the malformations...and, if it was her mother that gave it to her, which we suspect, Mom certainly had a broader mutation off of hers. Would my child take a step further—if I can even carry to a late enough term—have spina bifida? Have a tumor that develops into Cancer just like Mom's? Is that a pair of dice I want to roll with?
Man, my father must be disappointed: my brother does not want to have children because he doesn't want a child to be like him and here I am pondering the same. And like that, a family name ends.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Usually, my Thursdays are spent with my aunts—time I thoroughly enjoy. Nick is away at golf and I am bonding with two of the most important people in my life. Tonight, they are to be out of town, and I find myself excited to be home alone.
I've always enjoyed my alone time...time to read, time to write, time to dream and time to muse. It is the best, and granted there were times in the last 2ish years that I was not to be left to my thoughts because they weren't so comely just then, but that is not now.
So this morning, on the floor on all fours after our kitten had finally managed to trip me and get a tiny bit stepped on, I closed my eyes and planned out my evening...
...and I came up with cleaning the house. Deep cleaning the house. Because, won't the scent of Lysol make it oh so much more homey? It is now that I know that my mother's spirit is possessing my soul—out damn spot! Bring back the idleness! Bring back the sloth!
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
He came home late from work last night, which gave me plenty of them to make the bars I wanted to for work today, and clean up the kitchen both. He opened the refrigerator looking for something to eat for dinner, and picked up a storage container, holding the translucence up to the light. "It's tofu," I say.
"There is almost always tofu in there. I use it in the wraps I make for lunch. It's really good—" he shudders—"It tastes like whatever you marinade it in."
He says we have to have a talk, that he's not sure the tofu can stay in the house, leastwise not in the same refrigerator as the "normal" food. Goat gotten, as he had hoped, I hiss that there's also shredded broccoli, sprouts and, gasp, soy cheese in there. That last one got him.
"WE LIVE IN WISCONSIN!"
He would have liked Fred, my feline friend that we always referred to as a Ca-human due to his fondness for human fare. We often muse that he is in Heaven now, thoroughly irritating God who keeps slapping his forehead with regret that he ever thought to splice the two species. Fred was not a glutton—he wouldn't eat just ANYTHING...he didn't like ham, or anything grilled. He hated while I was staying with him to take care of Mom because I was too clean of a cook and didn't drop things like dear Aunt Debbie. Though, the one time I did drop a bit of some soy-derived product, he looked at it, licked it, and looked at me with his mouth open like, "You eat that crap!?" Brenda exorcised their refrigerator of all of that after I was back in North Carolina and I imagine Fred did a heathen dance dressed in boar's teeth and vulture feathers.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Sophie has been a different cat the last weeks. After her trip and overnight stay at the vet's in April, she seemed to have an attitude problem. Go figure. But I kept giving her treats in the morning and a can of Fancy Feast when I got home, and it got to the point where she would get me up in the morning and run to me when I came home at night...she still didn't let me touch her, but it was something...until one morning, her head bowed as she all but inhaled her Whisker Licken's, I reached down to scratch behind her ears.
At first she froze like, "HUMAN. TOUCHING. ME. OH. MY. GOD." And then I think her eyes actually rolled back into her head as she flopped back and began to purr. "Hhhhuman....ttttouching...mmme...ssso...goooood." I continued the surprise attack loving for several days, and within a week she was asking for t.l.c. before treats. It was such a welcome change.
And now, she's all over us. It sometimes takes me 5 minutes to cross the room because she's weaving between my legs and I'm afraid I'll step on her. She seems to actually like being around us, and now she sleeps with us. "Sleeps." Yesterday I woke up to find between us both Sophie, and a soggy tennis ball. A few nights ago, Nick and I were trying to fall asleep for the night and she was wild with her nighttime crazies, jumping up and down from the bed, from the floor to my probably-bruised pelvis. Nick grabbed the ball from her mouth and threw it across the room.
She sprinted from the bed to find it, jumped back up (ON ME) with ball in mouth, and he snatched it away again, and she chased the ball down again, and they went back and forth for the longest time. Finally, he tossed the ball so that it left the room and bounced down the stairs and further from what we could tell by the echo of the jingling bell and Sophie ran down to search out her prey. Nick laughed and his face dimpled as it always does with his best smiles, "I love our cat."
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