Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Pictures Of The Eye

Do those help?

Brooklyn's Eye

Is disgusting. Something is wrong with it, but I'm not sure what. At first I thought that there was something in it, but when I tried to remove it, it was just her eye. So her eye is bulging out in one section. I will have to take a picture to show you what I mean, because I can't articulate it here. I'm too grossed out. But what should I do about it? Will it fix itself?

Aargh. Why did I get a dog again? On second thought, don't answer that :O)


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Why I Love Living Here
(In no particular order)

  • My backyard. Have I shared with you what a great backyard I have? I always feel so lucky sitting out there with my friends, as we watch our kids playing freely. My backyard is amazing.
  • My house. This is the house Joe and I bought together, This is where we made our babies. This is where Joe last lived, and where his clothes and spirit still live.
  • My job. I have a great job, at a great school. I don't see myself teaching anywhere else. But I don't see myself doing anything else either.
  • My daycare. I have the very best daycare situation in the world. It's irreplaceable.
  • My friends. Do I need to go into detail about my friends? I think not. All of you regular readers know that I am incredibly lucky to have found some of the most wonderful girlfriends anywhere. How could I leave them?
  • Widow group. I can't imagine Monday nights without them. (Or any other night for that matter.) They get me through times that no one else can.
  • My therapist (hi Lisa!) She's the best.
  • My mom. Ok, so she charges me $85 to watch my kids for the day. But she really is good with them. And they adore her beyond words. So that, in itself is worth $85. (I think)
  • My brother and his wife. They are unbelievable with my kids. They are very generous with me as well.
  • The cemetery. It's a 10 minute drive from my house. How can I leave the spot where Joe is buried?
  • My pediatrician. Would you believe that he hasn't charged me a single co-pay since Joe died? That's a lot of co-pays. He seems to genuinely care for my kids. I'd hate to give him up.
  • My commute. It's short, and at times, relaxing.
  • It's familiar. I've lived here my whole life. It;s what I know. And like RAD said in the above post's comments, "I've had enough change." (Well, she said something like that. I'm too lazy to look right now.)

Monday, May 29, 2006

Random Thoughts and Observations About My Weekend In NYC

  • The pizza in NYC is far superior to pizza here. Why is that? As I was eating my second slice of mushroom pizza last night, my sister asked me if the pizza was being added to the pros side of the list for moving to NY. The answer was, absolutely. If you have never eaten pizza there, you don't know what you are missing. (same goes for bagels.)
  • My sister and brother-in-law talk about Joe a lot. They talked about him to the boys when I was upstairs. (I overheard.) They talked about him to each other, and they talked about him to me. They told the boys really funny stories about Joe, and shared funny memories with me over dinner. Other people in my life talk about Joe, but only after I bring him up. It's almost as if people are afraid to bring him up, or just don't think to. But my sister and her husband brought him up on their own. And that made me really happy.
  • When my kids woke up at 5:40 am, and I didn't want them to wake up the household, we went out on a walk. And most places we walked by were open! And we weren't the only ones out, which was slightly unfortunate because none of us were dressed. But mostly it was very cool.
  • My sons loved playing with their cousin.
  • I loved hanging out with my sister and her family.
  • My nephew is so adorable, and it made me sad that he didn't really know me/trust me.
  • The parks in NYC are so beautiful. The trees are gigantic and fun to play hide and seek with.
  • I don't dress anything like most of the women I saw.
  • I love taking long walks with my sister and the boys.
  • Having a slush stand on the corner of your street is perfect for hot summer nights.
  • Nothing beats being with family.
  • I could quite possibly become a New Yorker. (But no decision will be made until September!!!!!!)

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Good News

We're in New York! Will post all about it later, but we got here this afternoon, and have had a great visit so far.

Just thought I'd give those who care an update :O)


Friday, May 26, 2006

So Bummed
(a haiku)

New York was the plan
when will I learn not to plan
goddamn coxsackie

Damn Dog

While I was in the shower just now, my dog ate my pajamas.

My brand new pajamas from Gap Body.

Literally, they are torn to shreads.


Thursday, May 25, 2006

Fill in the Blanks

I was tagged by Leslie, which worked out well, because I had no idea what to blog about tonight!

I AM: hopeful. I have hope that my life will one day be what I dream of.

I WANT: my boys to have amazing lives. I want them to look back at their lives when they are old with happiness, and few regrets.

I WISH: I was skinny. ('nuff said)

I HATE: driving in the snow. Scares the crap out of me to the point that I have a panic attack.

I MISS: Joe. My husband, my best friend, my lover, my partner in crime. Joe. (I'm not sure why this came out bold. I can't change it. Is that you Joe?)

dying and leaving my kids with no parents.

I HEAR: voices in my head all the time. Is that normal? (Just kidding, btw)

I WONDER: if Joe is watching us, and if so, what he's thinking.

I REGRET: some of the choices I made when Joe was in the hospital.

I AM NOT: a fan of Dancing With The Stars.

I DANCE: only when I am very drunk.

I SING: all the time even though my voice sucks. My kids already yell at me to stop singing. Yesterday Jacob actually said to me, "Mommy, you can't sing."

I CRY: in my car. Almost every day.

I AM NOT ALWAYS: nice. Sometimes I just don't have it in me.

I MAKE WITH MY HANDS: really good cookies.

I WRITE: my thoughts in this blog. (same as yours, Leslie)

I CONFUSE: my students on a daily basis.

to buy paper towels. Desperately. For some odd reason, every time I go to the grocery store I convince myself that I don't need paper towels. But I do! I'm always out of them. What's wrong with me?

be better about brushing my kids' teeth.

I START: my day with my kids and my puppy, in a sea of total chaos and confusion, usually with a few fights, and me dropping my kids off at daycare angry with them

I FINISH: my day by reading all of the blogs I've become addicted to, while watching reality tv.

people I tag: Slacker Mom, Mel, Jen, Pentha, Ali
Widow Board

I can't get on. It's saying the address no has expired. Any widow friends having this issue?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

American Idol continued

I am seriously impressed by some of the guests they brought on tonight. I wasn't expecting it at all. I thought it would be 2 hours of fluff. There were quite a few questionable performances however. Meatloaf? Is there something wrong with him? And Toni Braxton? What happened there? No winner yet, but Prince just came on. Prince, on American Idol. Who would've thunk it?

Here's A Good Story

This story pretty much sums up my mother. I should preface it by saying my mother clearly loves me, and adores my children. However...

My kids are both sick. I was called at work today saying that Josh had a fever. I took both boys to the doctor after school, and it turns out that Josh has Coxackie yet again. She then checked out Jacob just for the heck of it, and he has a double ear infection! Neither child has been complaining at all, so it's rather odd, but regardless, they can't go to daycare tomorrow.

I know that last time this happened I alleged that I couldn't miss work, and it was the truth. But I can't miss work tomorrow either. The math portion of the high stakes test is tomorrow, and I need to be at school to administer it. I also have a meeting scheduled about a boy I am worried about academically, and it would be very hard to reschedule it, due to the various people who are coming.

So I called my mom. The same mom who told me that she would quit her job and watch my boys if Joe died. I told her the situation. She told me that she would call me back.

Here was the conversation we had when she called back:

Mom: OK, I can do it.
me: Oh, that's so great. Thank you so much.
Mom: How much do you pay the babysitter?
me: um, $85 a day?
Mom: Great. You can pay me that.
me: um, ok.
Mom: See you tomorrow!

Now I have a feeling my sister will come to my mother's defense, saying that she only gets paid the days she works, so she is losing pay by watching my kids. And I understand that, and really have no problem paying her what I would have paid my sitter.

But it's strange, no?


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

American Idol

Who should win?
Who will win?
Do you care?


Monday, May 22, 2006

Joe's Car

In 2001, Joe totaled his fairly new car. He got quite a bit in insurance money, but had just been laid off, and didn't want to blow all the money on a new car. So instead he bought his dream car. A giant, blue, 1989 Cadillac Fleetwood.

This car was huge. And ugly. And in need of many repairs.

But this car gave Joe this bizarre sense of pride and happiness that very few things had prior. He loved this car. He gave tours of the car, especially of the trunk space. He reveled in the fact that it failed inspection 3 times, and would continuously work on fixing problems, and washing this car.

Joe really loved this car.

Then Joe died. And he left behind his car. This car that I now loved because it had Joe's spirit inside it. I would sit in it for long stretches of time after he died. I would put on the cd player, and listen to the music he had last been playing. I would inhale the distinctive smells that went along with this car, and that Joe had smelled like.

The car was a tangible connection to Joe.

But the car didn't want to live without Joe. It stopped running in July. In August fluids began leaking out from underneath the car, flooding my driveway with sludge. The roof of the car had become horribly faded from the sun.

So it was decided that the car needed to go.

I cannot convey in words how hard it was to let go of this car. This car that I despised when Joe was alive. This car that I resented because Joe spent so much time working on. This car suddenly felt like a living being.

I went to NY to my sister's house for 2 weeks that August. While I was in NY the car was going to be towed away. The morning that the car was being towed, I had a dream.

I saw Joe, and he asked me what was going on with his car.

I began crying, and said, "I'm donating it, because it was falling apart. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry."

He told me that he was glad I was doing that. That he hated watching it falling apart. He wasn't angry, he was glad.

And I woke up completely at peace.

I miss that car. I wish it was still here.


Saturday, May 20, 2006

Laundry Day

I was trying to be good. Really. I even sorted the laundry by material and color. (I say even, because typically I throw everything in together. Underwear goes with towels, etc.)

Anyways, I had all of the clothes sorted in neat piles. I went to get a laundry bag to put one pile of clothing in.

And along came.... my children.

Who decided that the clothes would be much better off all mixed up and thrown in the air. And then once they landed, it would be fun to jump in them.

Here are some pictures:

Friday, May 19, 2006

(a poem for Jacob)

When you were born
almost three years ago
your daddy held you in his arms
and told you all of the things
he was going to teach you
one day

The bike you would learn to ride
the strokes you would swim in the water
the way to best break all traffic rules without getting caught
how to love the Red Sox
even when they would most likely disappoint you
in the end

But mostly
what your daddy wanted to teach you
was how to play baseball

When you were born
almost three years ago
your daddy held you in his arms
and told you about his plans for the two of you
he would pitch, you would hit
He would teach, you would learn

I told him to slow down
to enjoy you as the newborn baby that you were
that he'd have time to teach you all of the things
that you would want to learn

I was wrong
and I am glad, in hindsight
that he shared all of the things he wanted to teach you
so that when you learn how to do them
you can know that your daddy is there with you too
he's watching you, guiding you, teaching you
even though you can't see him, smell him, feel him

He's the wind pushing the ball through the air
he's the bat slapping the ball
he's the grass that you fall gently down on
he's the base that you step on with all your weight
he's the announcer yelling, "play ball"

Play ball my son, play ball


Thursday, May 18, 2006

Have I Told You Lately?

That I look at your eyes, your toes, your strong legs with utter amazement
I can't believe I had a part in creating you
Your smiles, your laughs, your jokes, your hugs, your touches
are what keeps me going
what makes me get out of bed in the morning
are what makes me continue to smile, laugh, joke, hug, touch

When I look at you I see your father, I hear his jokes coming through yours
I see his pouts when you pout
I feel his tenderness when you caress my skin
And that smile
Your smile is his smile
Your eyes are his eyes

but yet
You are both your own souls
separate from dad's or mine
you have your own opinions, viewpoints, likes, dislikes
you make your own decisions, good choices and mistakes

You are unique, smart, funny, amazing boys
you make life worth living
You make life worth loving
you make me a better person

Have I told you lately?

Brooklyn Pics
(I thought you could use a cute puppy fix)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

This is what taking a shower sounds like in my house

Jacob: Mom, can I flush the toilet?
Me: When I'm done taking a shower.
J: Are you done taking a shower?
M: Not yet.
J: Now are you done?
M: No.
J: Now?
B: Jacob, you'll know that I'm done when you hear the water turn off.
J: Oh.
J: Did the water turn off?
B: You need to leave the room so I can shower in peace. Please. NOW!
J: Ok, I'm just gonna flush the toilet first.
M: Jacob!!!!!!
J: You're done now?

How annoying was this to read? Not nearly as annoying as it was to experience. And I have a feeling that every mom reading has a very similar if not the same story. Please children, let the bathroom be our place to escape you. That's not asking too much, is it? Is it?


Monday, May 15, 2006

More Random facts
(you said you wanted them!)

  1. I hate cleaning, but I love walking into a clean house.
  2. I don't brush my sons' teeth nearly as much as I should.
  3. I love watching a student who has been struggling, finally "get it" because of me.
  4. I hate listening to commercials on the radio. I will flip through stations non-stop until I find music.
  5. I cry way too easily.
  6. I am contemplating buying Jacob pink sheets because he really wants them.
  7. I love listening to my boys talk to each other in their cribs. They have a language that only they understand.
  8. I think of Joe at least once an hour, maybe more.
  9. Half of my closet still has Joe's clothes in it, and the floor of the closet is filled with his shoes. The closet in the boys' room has all of his suits still hanging. I need the space for our clothes, our shoes. But I can't pack them away. There is still the glimmer of hope in me that one day he will need his clothes, his shoes, his suits.
  10. I love sleeping in a freshly made bed.
  11. I love chocolate.
  12. I laugh over really stupid jokes.
  13. I loved breastfeeding my children. I wasn't even uncomfortable doing it in front of people. It felt so natural to me. It was one of the few things that came easily to me.
  14. I am amazed at what a great uncle my brother has turned out to be.
  15. I don't know what the first word either son said, or when they said it.
  16. If I knew that I could have plastic surgery with no chance of complications, and no fee, I would do it in a heartbeat.
  17. I don't feel like I am living the life I am meant to live.
  18. I love to travel, but get homesick easily.
  19. If I close my eyes, I can physically feel Joe cuddling me.
  20. I love reality television, and have no patience for sitcoms.
  21. I think Bill Murray is a genius, and could watch his movies all day long.
  22. I wish my mother was more of a mother.
  23. I really want to start running.
  24. I wish that I had an endless supply of money.
  25. I hope to one day have a daughter.
  26. I miss my old life, yet am not sure I could ever go back to it because I've changed so much.
  27. There are some things about marriage that I don't miss.
  28. If I don't pick out my clothes for work at night, it's a disaster in the morning.
  29. Same with making my lunch.
  30. It kills me to think that my sons will never know their dad. Not know him through me, but know him. Know his touch, and his voice, and his humor, and his anger, and his craziness. Know him.
  31. I am very curious as to who reads this blog. I wish my lurkers would say hello. (I love lurkers, just wish I knew who you were out of curiosity, not anger.)
  32. I need sleep.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Random Facts About Me
(who else would they be about?)

  1. I have always been afraid of the rain. I'm not sure where the fear stems from, but I think it may be from watching a movie when I was very young about oceans being formed. My fear has gotten much better over the past two years, but there are times like today, when they rain is coming down so hard that my sump pump never stops actively going off, that the anxiety is impossible to ignore. It doesn't help that I have a tenant living in the apartment in my basement, and I am worried that water will flood it.
  2. According to my family, I am a very picky eater, but according to my friends, I am among the most adventuresome.
  3. I will avoid going to the bathroom in public restrooms until it is such an emergency, I can's see a way around it.
  4. This is my first Mother's Day not focused on Joe's death. (2 years ago was his funeral, last year was his memorial service.)
  5. I am jealous of mom's with husbands who have possibly let their wives sleep in, and maybe even will give them some time to be alone today.
  6. I hate the way I look in pictures right now, but can't seem to do anything about it.
  7. I love setting up the train tracks with my boys, and watching the trains travel over said tracks. I may enjoy it more than they do.
  8. I sucked my thumb until I was 9, and miss the comfort that it gave me. (but no worries, I will not be sucking my thumb again.)
  9. I miss sex like you wouldn't believe. But not enough to just have it for the sake of having it. I would like it to mean something. But man, do I miss it.
  10. I love being a mom.
  11. I hate doing laundry more than any other chore. It is never done completely. As soon as one load is done, there is another load needing to be washed. It makes me crazy.
  12. I love driving a mini van, even though I swore for years that I would never ever own one.
  13. I could eat cereal 3 times a day, and feel satisfied.
  14. I am convinced that Mint Chocolate chip ice cream is a cruel invention created by the makers of diet plans.
  15. I have the best friends in the world. But I feel like they are much better friends to me than I am to them.
  16. I wish depression wasn't ever a part of my mood.
  17. Laughing is one of my favorite activities.
  18. I miss reading. I really miss reading.
  19. Before Jacob was born, I swore he wouldn't watch tv. Now he has the whole noggin line up memorized.
  20. I am torn between staying here, and moving to NY.
  21. I miss cooking and baking.
  22. I am a good liar about non-important things, but suck at keeping secrets.
  23. Sometimes I hate everyone that's married, just because they're still married.
  24. I love being a teacher, but I really want to work in a bookstore instead.
  25. I am irreversibly messed up.
  26. Starting this blog has been better than therapy for me.
  27. I worry that I will never meet the right guy for me, and will grow old all alone.
  28. I worry that I will get cancer and die before my kids are grown.
  29. I hate that I worry so much.
  30. I look forward to Mondays.
  31. (amazingly, I could keep going. But am slightly doubtful that anyone would even read to # 30, so I think I'll stop here. Oh wait. # 31. I'm narcissistic.)

Saturday, May 13, 2006

My Sister sent me the following column. I'm pretty sure I read it a few years ago, but I love what it says, and thought it was the perfect Mother's Day post. Happy Mother's Day to all!

On Being Mom

by Anna Quindlen,
Newsweek Columnist and Author

If not for the photographs, I might have a hard time believing they ever
existed. The pensive infant with the swipe of dark bangs and the black
button eyes of a Raggedy Andy doll. The placid baby with the yellow ringlets
and the high piping voice. The sturdy toddler with the lower lip that curled
into an apostrophe above her chin.

All my babies are gone now. I say this not in sorrow but in disbelief. I
take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost-adults, two
taller than I am, one closing in fast. Three people who read the same books
I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me in their
opinion of them, who sometimes tell vulgar jokes that make me laugh until I
choke and cry, who need razor blades and shower gel and privacy, who want to
keep their doors closed more than I like.

Who, miraculously, go to the bathroom, zip up their jackets and move food
from plate to mouth all by themselves. Like the trick soap I bought for the
bathroom with a rubber ducky at its center, the baby is buried deep within
each, barely discernible except through the unreliable haze of the past.

Everything in all the books I once pored over is finished for me now.
Penelope Leach., T. Berry Brazelton., Dr. Spock. The ones on sibling rivalry
and sleeping through the night and early-childhood education, all grown
obsolete. Along with Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things Are, they are
battered, spotted, well used. But I suspect that if you flipped the pages
dust would rise like memories.

What those books taught me, finally, and what the women on the playground
taught me, and the well-meaning relations --what they taught me, was that
they couldn't really teach me very much at all. Raising children is
presented at first as a true-false test, then becomes multiple choice, until
finally, far along, you realize that it is an endless essay. No one knows
anything. One child responds well to positive reinforcement, another can be
managed only with a stern voice and a timeout. One child is toilet trained
3, his sibling at 2.

When my first child was born, parents were told to put baby to bed on his
belly so that
he would not choke on his own spit-up. By the time my last arrived, babies
were put down on their backs because of research on sudden infant death
syndrome. To a new parent this ever-shifting certainty is terrifying, and
then soothing.

Eventually you must learn to trust yourself. Eventually the research will
follow. I remember 15 years ago poring over one of Dr. Brazelton's wonderful
books on child development, in which he describes three different sorts of
infants: average, quiet, and active. I was looking for a sub-quiet codicil
for an 18-month old who did not walk. Was there something wrong with his fat
little legs? Was there something wrong with his tiny little mind? Was he
developmentally delayed, physically challenged? Was I insane? Last
year he went to China. Next year he goes to college. He can talk just fine.
He can walk, too.

Every part of raising children is humbling, too. Believe me, mistakes were
made. They have all been enshrined in the, "Remember-When-Mom-Did Hall of
Fame." The outbursts, the temper tantrums, the bad language, mine, not
theirs. The times the baby fell off the bed. The times I arrived late for
preschool pickup. The nightmare sleepover. The horrible summer camp. The day
when the youngest came barreling out of the classroom with a 98 on her
geography test, and I responded, What did you get wrong? (She
insisted I include that.) The time I ordered food at the McDonald's
drive-through speaker and then drove away without picking it up from the
window. (They all insisted I include that.) I did not allow them to watch
the Simpsons for the first two seasons. What was I thinking?

But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing
this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now
that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs.

There is one picture of the three of them, sitting in the grass on a quilt
in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish
I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they
sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not
been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I
wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it
done a little less.

Even today I'm not sure what worked and what didn't, what was me and what
was simply life. When they were very small, I suppose I thought someday they
would become who they were because of what I'd done. Now I suspect they
simply grew into their true selves because they demanded in a thousand ways
that I back off and let them be.

The books said to be relaxed and I was often tense, matter-of-fact and I was
sometimes over the top. And look how it all turned out. I wound up with the
three people I like best in the world, who have done more than anyone to
excavate my essential humanity.

That's what the books never told me. I was bound and determined to learn
from the experts. It just took me a while to figure out who the experts

Friday, May 12, 2006

Some Things Make No Sense To Me

For example, every day on my drive to work, I drive by a subway station that is the first stop on the green line. (If you know MA, that makes sense, if not, just know that it's a busy subway stop.)

There is a traffic light that is next to the entrance to the parking lot. This light works perfectly well. It has left arrows, right arrows, and a straight arrow.

Yet for some reason, it also has a cop. The cop stands at said intersection, and waves cars on when the light tells them to go. Why?

Isn't this a waste of taxpayer's money?

Am I missing something?

If the cop needs to be at this intersection, then why aren't cops at every set of lights?

Isn't that what the lights are for?

Anyways, every time I drive through this intersection after being told by both the cop, and the green arrow that it's safe to proceed, I think about making it a blog entry. And so here it is.

What makes no sense to you? (aside from my blog entries, of course!)


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Poll Results

Well the results are in, and the majority of you say I should call him. Thanks for all of your feedback.

I am going to hold off on calling him because tonight I went on a date with someone new, and it went really well.

I have learned from the past not to post my date details here, but it was a new eharmony match (not a Joe). I had a really great time, and am hoping for a second date. If it doesn't work out, I will give this other guy a call.

But for now I think I'll stick with the guy who doesn't seem to need any convincing to date me :O)


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

A Poll

I'm curious as to what your opinion is on the following dilemma.

A woman I work with is a self-acclaimed matchmaker. She has been telling me all year that she has the perfect match for me. He's 34, an attorney, and Jewish. His mother would be a mother-in-law to die for. (her expression, not mine.)

Recently I gave her the go ahead to match us up.

Last week she came into my classroom with his name and phone number. She informed me that I needed to call him, because he was a bit gun shy about the whole thing.

I asked her if that meant he wasn't interested. She said no, but he needs a little convincing about the whole kid part. But his mother thinks I'm perfect for him, and so does she, so just call him.

Well I didn't call him. Today the same teacher came back to my room to find out if I called him. I told her that I really wasn't interested in convincing someone to go on a date with me.

She told me that she's sure we a perfect for each other, and that I really need to ask him out for coffee.

Thoughts? Opinions? What would you do?


edited to add: the teacher comes in to teach math every so often :O) (how's that , Mel?)

Monday, May 08, 2006


If you have children
your backyard can
turn into

(click on image to be really scared)

And yes, that is an indoor sweeper you see.
The boys wanted to "clean" the yard. Sheesh. Let this be birth control for all!


Sunday, May 07, 2006

Things I Don't Miss

When someone you love dies, it's natural to turn them into a perfect person. I most definitely have not done that with Joe, but I am reminded of the things I miss about Joe far more frequently than I'm reminded of the things that I do not miss.

This morning I was reminded of something that I do not miss about Joe.

I was making coffee, and somehow one scoop missed the coffee pot, and landed on the counter. I of course wet a paper towel and cleaned up the grinds, as most people would do.

Joe however, missed the pot every single day. Coffee grinds would land on both the counter and the floor. But for some reason, Joe wouldn't clean it up. Ever.

I'm not sure if he really didn't notice the mess, or if he just didn't care.

But every single day, I would come home from work to find the counter and floor littered with coffee grinds. I would then clean them up because I couldn't handle the mess. And in doing so, I was simply reinforcing this behavior. But I would be pissed off.

One time my sister actually witnessed the scene. She was in shock. No description I could give, would do the scene credit.

But it's funny how I forgot about it until today's accident. And of course the memory made me smile now that I don't have to deal with it on a daily basis anymore.

It's good to remember the imperfections I think. Not that I wouldn't take them back in a heartbeat if I could have him with them, but still, it's good to remember.

Groundhog Day

Does anyone else love this movie?


Saturday, May 06, 2006

May 6, 2006

Today was the two year anniversary of Joe's death. And as usual, the lead up to the day was far worse than the actual day. I tried to make a photo journal of the day, but forgot to take pictures of half the things we did.

We started out by going out to breakfast at a restaurant that Joe and I used to frequent pre-kids. Mel and her girls joined us, and I must say that I was really proud of how well the boys behaved there.

We then picked up flowers and balloons to bring to the cemetery. When we got there we placed the flowers over the cards that the boys made for Joe. Jacob dictated his to me last night. It read: Dear daddy, we got a puppy! Josh's was a series of scribbles.

The boys then released their balloons so they could travel to heaven, but a really cool thing happened on the way. Back in December I spoke to a medium. When I asked her if Joe could see us when we visited him at the cemetery, she responded that he could, but that he watched us from the tree behind his grave.

I counted to three before the release, and both boys let go at the same time. Joshua's yellow balloon flew straight up into the sky, as there was no wind blowing. But Jacob's took a different route. It stopped in the tree behind the grave. It stayed in that tree for about 5 minutes, and then, for no reason that Mel or I could understand, it left the tree, and floated gracefully upward until eventually it left our sight.

We then headed to a furniture store that is a local chain full of fun things to do. My mother met us there, and bought Jacob his first bed.

The rest of the day was spent in our backyard. Mel and Chris came over with their kids, and they played for hours. Supposedly, Mel is going to update her horribly neglected blog, and write about me teaching the kids how to play, duck, duck, goose. If she does, I will attach a link here, but I'm not holding my breath!

Mel convinced me at the last minute to call a babysitter. Chris, Mel and I went out for dinner and margaritas. Yum! (I forgot my camera at home, but took a pic with my camera phone of our drinks. As of right now though, I can't figure out how to get it to post here.)

Oh, and at the restaurant a Bruce Springsteen song played. Joe was shouting out a big hello. And no doubt he was raising his drink at me, pleased that I was out on the town.

(Jacob with his balloon)

(balloon heading toward tree)

(The balloons going their separate ways)
(cards and flowers)
(Jacob's big boy bed)

Friday, May 05, 2006

Other Happenings

I didn't want to interrupt the flow of the death story to share other news, but now I feel free to share. I'm getting married.

hee hee. That was a joke. Just trying to see if you're really paying attention.

Anyways, what I really wanted to post about was my outing on Wednesday afternoon. I was dreading going home, so I picked the boys up from daycare, picked the puppy up from the house, and headed to our local pet store.

While we were slowly perusing the dog toys, the pet store was robbed! By a guy with a gun! He held the gun up to the manager, got the keys to the safe, went into the back room where the safe was, took the money, and left.

Where were we during this? In the aisle next to the back room.

But....I missed it. I missed the whole thing.

Suddenly police took over the whole store, and an announcement was made that we all needed to leave. Upon leaving a police officer asked me numerous questions about what took place, and I was slightly embarrassed that I sucked as a witness. I used to be so devoted to crime scene television shows, you'd think I would be ready to be the perfect witness.

Instead I just kept pointing to my two toddlers, and the puppy, and repeatedly said, "I was a bit distracted!"

The cop thought I was a total airhead. It probably didn't help that I asked him if he was the one who installed my car seats. (he wasn't.) Here he was trying to gather evidence from a crime scene, and the only witness was too caught up in her own world to notice an armed robbery going on in front of her eyes. And then she tries to make chit chat to boot!

Oh yeah, and then I asked him if he thought it was safe to go to the other local pet store. (both stores are franchises of a national chain.) I asked if he thought the robber was hitting all the pet stores. He gave me a funny look and said, "I'm sure the other pet store is fine."

What can I say? I suck at being a witness!


Thursday, May 04, 2006

On Letting Go

Back in February, Slacker Mom wrote a post on, letting go. At the time I responded with a comment that I had my own tale of letting go, and that I would soon write about it. So three months later, here it is: my tale of letting go.


At around 6am the doctors woke me up and told me that my talk with Joe, and my arms around him had worked wonders. His oxygen levels had gone way up, and he was in better condition than he had been the night before. I went into the waiting room to share the good news with all the sleepless people who had gathered. Melanie left to call people with the good news. My step-father questioned if my mother really needed to fly home after all. I left the hospital for the first time in almost 24 hours to walk next door for coffee. I felt myself breathing for the first time in days.

But within a few hours, his oxygen levels went back down. The doctors had to perform the same procedure that they did in the middle of the night; turn him back over, this time onto his back.

When I was allowed to go back in the room to see Joe after they flipped him, I was shocked all over again by what I saw. I had become accustomed to the huge amount of fluid in him, the 40 pounds that he had gained in the past few days no longer phased me.

What was new was the discoloration in his arms and legs. They had turned blue. When I touched them, they were ice cold. Even through my gloved hands, they were too cold to touch. His eyes, which were closed, had blood continuously pouring out of them. I asked permission to wipe them dry, and it become a never ending struggle to keep the blood away. His ears no longer looked like ears. They were completely crusted over and curled up.

I asked the nurse about his arms and legs. She explained that when your body's blood levels get very low, the blow circulates around the organs that need it most. Therefore it stops circulating through the limbs. I asked if he would lose his limbs, and she told me that was a possibility.

I didn't leave Joe's side all day. I kept rubbing his arms in legs in a vain attempt to warm them up. I also never stopped talking to him. I never stopped telling him to fight. I never stopped talking about our future, and our children's' futures. I also kept singing him a song that he would always sing to Joe. But every time I would sing it, my voice would break, and the tears would start up. I just couldn't believe what was happening before my eyes. I couldn't believe what was happening to my future.

My sister and the nurse insisted that I lie down, but I refused to leave the room. They set me up on a chair in the corner of the room. While I was sitting there, I heard my sister remark on how cold Joe was. The nurse decided to take his temperature. This was a disaster. Joe's tongue had become so enlarged, she couldn't get the thermometer under it. When she finally was able to get it in, it registered 92 degrees fahrenheit. This shocked me enough to get back up, and continue talking to him.

At around 3:30, my mother finally arrived. I was never in my life so relieved to see her. And so it was, for the next two hours my mother, sister and I stood by Joe and told him various stories, most of them funny.

At around 5 pm my sister went to eat some salad. She was also pregnant, and had not been eating or sleeping nearly enough. My mother insisted that I lay back down on the chair in the corner of the room.

I lay down, closed my eyes, and listened to my mother's familiar voice as she talked to Joe. She told him that my sister was eating salad, and that I was finally resting. I think that was Joe's signal. He had waited for my mother to get there, he had waited for me to relax just a bit, and now it was time for him to go.

I heard the heart monitor making a strange sound. I sat right up and asked the nurse what was going on. My mother told me to lie back down, but the nurse told her no, that not only should I not lie down, but that someone should get my sister. I stood up and rushed to the bed. The nurse looked in my eyes and said, "This is it. He's going."

The room was suddenly filled with all of the doctors who had been treating him, along with numerous residents. I didn't notice any of them as I began letting go.

I had taken off my gloves when I lay down, but now I instinctively ran my hands through his hair. I suddenly realized what I had done and looked at the nurse. She told me not to worry, to touch him all I wanted. And so my hands never left his body. Finally we were skin to skin. For the last time, I was touching my husband.

I told Joe that is was ok, he had tried so hard to fight, but now it was time to let go, and rest. I promised him that I would talk to the boys about him every day, that they would know him through me. I promised him that I would be strong, and would make him proud. I told him how proud I was of him, and how much I loved him.

Then I panicked. I changed my mind. I wasn't ready to let go. I looked up at the nurse and said, "I've changed my mind. He can't go! Can I tell him to fight again?"

She looked at me with tears in her eyes. "You can tell him whatever you want. But he's going."

My sister has told me since that at that point she wanted to scream at all the doctors to do something, to save him. But as she looked around she could see that they were all crying too. She knew that there was nothing left for them to do.

I went back to telling Joe to go. I promised him we would be ok. I promised him he would never be forgotten. I let him go.

And then he was gone. The heart monitor showed that his heart was no longer beating. The doctor gently announced that he was gone. I insisted that he was lying, because Joe's stomach was still rising and falling. He then unplugged a machine, and his body lay still.

The doctors told me that they would give me privacy, and that I could stay with Joe for as long as I wanted. I remember standing there with my mother, sobbing. I kept asking her how I was supposed to leave him. How can you walk away from the love of your life? How can you say goodbye?

But he was already gone. The body that remained wasn't Joe. It didn't even resemble Joe anymore.

I had let him go.

I am still letting him go.

It's just so hard.


(To everyone who took the time to read this entire story, I thank you for letting me keep my promise to Joe. He will not be forgotten.)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


I woke up early, and called the hospital. Joe's nurse from ICU got on the phone and informed me that Joe had a really bad night. His heart had stopped (twice?) and his oxygen levels were far too low. She told me that I should get to the hospital as soon as possible.

Mel picked me up to take me to the hospital, and I remember that being the worst car ride of my life. (No offense, Mel.) I was crying the whole way, and Mel wasn't sure of the best route to get to the hospital. (I live in a suburb not too far out of Boston, and the hospital was right near Fenway Park. Kind of a confusing place to get to.) She took what may have been the longest route possible, but I couldn't focus enough to give her better directions.

I ran into the hospital, and took the elevator up to Joe's floor. Before the nurse would let me in, she prepped me by saying that Joe looked far worse than he had the night before. But that he could likely hear me, so to try staying positive when speaking to him.

You could not imagine more machines hooked up to one person. He had tubes coming out of every spot possible. He had also blown up to be even larger than he had been the night before, and his ears were folded over from all of the fluid. He was no longer Joe.

The only positive thing was that the doctors had determined it safe to not wear a mask if you had already had the chicken pox. I still had to wear gloves, which was annoying, because I just wanted to touch Joe, skin to skin. But at least my mouth was uncovered.

Wednesday was a long day. My sister arrived at around noon with Joe's parents. They provided the comic relief for the day. Not because they were trying to be funny, but because the questions they asked were so asinine. Joe's dad, when sitting down with the resident in charge for a family meeting, asked the following questions:

Where did you go to undergrad? (who the fuck cares! But he was pleased by the answer, University of Virginia.)
Will the chicken pox leave scars? (that's the least of our worries.)
and, my favorite:
Let me ask you something, have you tried penicillin? (Eureka! That's it! We can save him! Get the penicillin!)

His parents had Joe in their 50's, so they were pretty old at this point, and really couldn't grasp how serious the situation was. Neither of them could remember if they had the chicken pox as children, and in order to visit Joe they would need blood tests confirming that they had. Neither of them wanted to take the blood test. A nurse actually said to them, "This may be your last chance to see your son alive." I ran from the room crying, and the nurse later apologized to me.

Joe's parents eventually got tested, and were then allowed to visit him. That was terribly sad, especially when Joe's mom kept asking why he wasn't answering her. They really, truly, did not get what was happening. And I really couldn't blame them for that.

There were many meetings throughout the day with various specialists. The social worker from ICU would sit with my sister and me at all of these meetings, and would ask questions that I couldn't think of at the time.

I gave permission for them to try every thing they asked permission for. Every time we would meet with a new specialist my sister would ask him (it was always a man) if he thought Joe would make it. Only one doctor said he had seen people in worse condition make it back. Only one.

Meanwhile, my mother was still in Europe, but was going to be home the following day. I hadn't spoken to her since Joe had gone into the hospital, and finally, late in the day, she was patched through to a hospital phone.

As soon as I heard her voice, I lost it completely.

me: Mom, I don't think he's going to make it!
mom: He's going to be fine, I'm sure of it.
me: But what if he's not?
mom: Then I'll quit my job and stay home with the boys, and you'll go back to work.
me: ok. Please come home.

(Of course, after Joe died, my mom said she really didn't think he would die, and the thought of staying home with my kids was too depressing, so I'd better find day care, but that's a story for a different day :O) )

That night my sister and I playfully tortured Joe. First we watched American Idol in his room, and told him everything that was going on. At one point the nurse asked us if Joe was a fan of the show, and we had to tell her that he hated it. She gave us quite the look.

To make up for it, we watched the Red Sox game after Idol. We were trying to do play by play announcements, but kept screwing up. We imagined that Joe was saying to himself, "Will they please shut the fuck up!" This made us do it more of course.

Finally my sister said she had to get back to my house. Jrowe and Mark were watching Jacob, and she needed to relieve them. I didn't want her to go, but I understood.

The night nurse encouraged me to get some rest too. They set me up in a little room off of the ICU waiting room. There was a cot with a pillow and blanket.

I was awakened twice. The first time was at about midnight. Two doctors were knocking on my door. They were going to try some procedure, and they needed me to sign permission for them to do so. It took me a while to fall back asleep because I was so anxious, but finally I did.

Until the 2 am knocking started. The same two doctors were back, and they looked really upset. I sat straight up and asked them what was wrong. Dr. J told me that Joe's oxygen levels were horribly low, and the only thing they could think of to make the levels improve was to turn him over. But he had so many IV's in him, turning him over was very risky. If he lost any of the IV's.... so they wanted me to say my goodbyes to him, just in case.

I couldn't believe it. I begged them to save Joe. I told them that I was only 29 years old, that we had a baby at home, that I was pregnant. I told them that they were not allowed to let him die. They told me that they would try everything they could, but just in case, they wanted me to have a few minutes alone with Joe.

Before I went into Joe's room, the nurse asked me if I wanted her to call the hospital's rabbi. I said yes. She asked me if I wanted her to call anyone else. I said Mel.

I then went in to see Joe. I told him that I loved him more than anything, and that I needed him here with me. I told him that he needed to fight with everything he had in him. That he could not leave us. I reminded him that he wanted to teach Jacob how to hit a baseball, how to ride a bike, how to do so many things. He needed to fight. He couldn't leave.

The doctors came in and told me that it was time. I went into the waiting room and sobbed. I called Kristen on the phone, and told her that Joe was about to die.

The rabbi found me, sitting by myself in the dark, sobbing. He tried to console me, but it wasn't doing any good. Mel arrived and put her hand on my back. My brother, his wife, and my step-father arrived. No one spoke. We just waited.

Finally the doctors came in and said the procedure was successful. I was allowed to see Joe again.

I went in to find him now lying on his stomach. I wrapped my arms around him and told him I was so proud of him. I pulled a chair up next to him, put my head on his back, draped my arm around his side, and fell fast asleep.


Thanks, Kristen for sending me the pics.
This one is from my wedding shower:

This one is when I was pregnant (Hence the hand on belly pose):

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


As soon as I woke up, I called Joe's cell phone. It went straight to voicemail. Each time I called it went straight to voicemail. It wasn't until I eventually made it to ICU, that I realized cell phones weren't allowed in the unit. I was no longer able to talk to Joe. Or more accurately, Joe was no longer able to talk to me.

My sister drove up from NYC first thing in the morning. My mother had flown to Europe for work the same weekend that Joe was hospitalized. We began trying to contact her through her work to tell her to come home.

I called the hospital and asked for permission to come visit. The Dr. told me that it still wasn't safe, but hopefully by the afternoon I could come in.

I got a phone call around noon. My sister and I had just sat down for lunch. It was the Dr. She told me that Joe was having a lot of difficulty breathing, due to the chicken pox in his throat. They decided that the best option for him was to put him in a medicated coma, so that he could be comfortable. Then, in a few days, when things were better, they would take him out of it.

I asked questions about the procedure, and kept making her reassure me that he would come out of it. She said she couldn't 100% guarantee it, but he was just too uncomfortable the way he was. There was really no alternative.

She then told me that she was going to put Joe on the phone with me, so I could speak to him prior to the procedure.

Regret number three is not jumping into the car, and driving to that hospital before they began the procedure, but I just wasn't thinking clearly, and there's no way they would have let me into ICU without clearance.

They put Joe on the phone with me for what would ultimately be our last conversation.

"Hello?" he said weakly.
"Hi babe," I responded, trying hard not to cry.
"Did they tell you what they're gonna do?" he asked me.
"Yes. How do you feel about it?"
"I'm scared," he said, choking up.
"Don't be scared. The Dr. told me this is just to make you more comfortable. You'll be awake on Friday, and this will all be over."
"I've got to go," he said.
"I love you!" I yelled.
"I love you," he whispered.

Finally, in the late afternoon, I was given permission to visit Joe. Nothing could have prepared me properly for the world of ICU. I'm not sure if any of you have ever been in ICU. First you have to ring a bell to get in. Then when you get inside to the unit, there are curtained off areas with beds in them.

But there are also mini rooms in the ICU, for those that are contagious. You need to go through one set of glass doors to a scrub room. There you need to put on a mask, gloves and gown. Then you're allowed to go through the second glass door to the patient.

That is the room Joe was in. But he was no longer Joe.

He was connected to numerous IV's, and was blown up like a balloon. The nurse, greeted me by saying, "We were wondering when you would get here." I felt like screaming at her, but instead focused my attention on my husband, who was a shell of the man I left on Saturday night.

Unless you saw Joe, I cannot accurately describe what he looked like. The best way to describe it, is that he was filled with about 20 pounds of fluid. He had gone from 160 pounds to 180 pounds in 72 hours, and at least 10 of them were in his face.

The nurse told me that although he couldn't respond, he could hear me. I spoke awkwardly to him for about an hour, and then we were told that we needed to go. I told Joe that I would be back in the morning, squeezed his hand through my gloved hand, kissed his cheek through my mask, and walked out of the room.


Monday, May 01, 2006


I was awakened by my friend Kristen calling me at 5:30 am. Joe usually watched Jacob while I was at work, and I was supposed to have conferences with all the parents in my class on Monday, so I scrambled to find back up child care. Kristen had said she could do it, but was calling to say that her own daughter was too sick to make the trip.

I decided that I had to call in sick to school and stay home with Jacob. I called Joe on his cell phone at about 8:00, and actually tried to make him feel guilty that I had to call in sick. He sounded so distant, and it was pissing me off.

I went on a walk with Mel (who was home on maternity leave) and our kids, and I remember complaining about how depressed Joe sounded. I thought that he could at least try to sound upbeat when speaking to me.

I took Jacob to music class with Mel and her girls, but felt anxious through the whole thing.

I went home, called Joe, and told him I was coming to see him. He told me not to come in. When I asked him why, he told me that his rash had spread, and he didn't want me to see him looking the way he was. I told him that I didn't care how he looked, I just wanted to see him. He firmly told me not to come in.

I called him again about an hour later. I asked him for an update. He told me the doctors still didn't know what was wrong with him, but that he was really sick. Again I pleaded with him to let me visit, and again he told me not to come.

I called my friend Nikki, crying. I told her that I just wanted to know what was going on. She suggested that I call Joe's physician.

I called his primary care physician, and the receptionist picked up.

R: Hello, Dr. O's office
me: Hi, my name is b, and
R: Hold on one minute, the Dr. wants to talk to you

This exchange was my first inkling that something was really wrong. The Dr. got on the phone, and quickly informed me that Joe was really sick. I asked what exactly was wrong with him, and he told me that they were still unsure, but people from the Center for Disease Control were trying to determine that.

I asked if Joe could die from whatever it was, and the Dr.'s words sent chills through my spine. "He could. If I were you I would come in as soon as possible."
I told the Dr. that Joe was telling me not to come in.
"How is your marriage?" he asked.
"Our marriage is great!" I responded.
"He probably is worried about you seeing him in the state he's in. But I would come in."

I hung up the phone and called Nikki back, crying hysterically. I told her that the news wasn't good, that he could die. I think she, like most people I spoke to at that time, thought I was exaggerating. How could he die from this unknown illness?

I packed a bag to bring to Joe. I put fresh clothes, magazines, and pictures in it. I was so naive, thinking he'd be changing clothes, or reading.

I called him one more time to tell him that I was coming in. He said that he was glad, that he wanted to see me.

Right before I left the house the phone rang. It was Joe, asking me if Jacob's friends had the chicken pox recently.

"Is that what you have?" I asked.
"Yes," he answered.
"Oh thank god!" I said.

I felt almost giddy as Mel got in my car.

"It's just the chicken pox!" I told her excitedly.

We got to the hospital, took the elevator up to Joe's floor, and walked out of the elevator. I saw a large group of doctors huddled together, talking. I told Mel that I was sure they were discussing Joe.

Here's my second regret. I should have just walked to Joe's room. Instead I walked over to the doctors, and told them my name. They looked at me with such pity. They told me that they were moving Joe to ICU because he was so uncomfortable. He needed a full time nurse, and he could only get that in ICU.

I told them I was going to see him, and they informed me that I couldn't. They knew that he had the chicken pox, but they couldn't rule out other things as well. Since I was 7 months pregnant, they couldn't risk the baby catching something.

I begged them to let me go in for just a minute. The answer was no. I asked if I could just stand in his doorway. No. I couldn't believe it. Joe was so close, yet so far. I went to the waiting room where Melanie was. I started crying, as I told her the doctors wouldn't let me see Joe.

We left feeling defeated. Joe called me soon after I got home.

"What happened?" he asked.
"They wouldn't let me see you. I came, but they wouldn't;t let me go in." "I'm so sorry, Joe. I'm so sorry."
"I need sleep," he said.
"I love you," I told him.