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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Butterflies and SCIENCE!

Today was the culmination of Lizzy's butterfly unit in science.

Second-grade science is a wonderful thing, because they're so in awe of everything they see. It's the same mindset that made Lizzy come out to the living room one night about 20 minutes after bedtime, all round eyes and discovery impatiently waiting to be expressed. "Mom," she said, in a tone of barely suppressed glee, "Mom, they're called dementors because they make you demented!"

Good catch, kid.

And today, we went on our trip to the Pacific Science Center (on "a bus with comfy seats with beautiful patterns on them!" with a gross or so of other second-graders from our school, and at least one group from five or six more schools from as far away as Moses Lake).

The intention was to see the butterfly exhibit, eat lunch, catch the IMAX of A Beautiful Planet 3D, and then putter around (with SCIENCE!) for an hour before climbing back onto the bus for the trip back to the school.

Three kids to an adult.

Mine were Lizzy, Steph, and A. (so called because I don't have her parents' permission; read the note at the top, folks). These girls are Lizzy's Dream Team, and when I suggested a team name so I could herd them all together easily, they promptly came up with Team Meow.

All righty then.

We played in the Science of Music area (all about sound waves and acoustics), saw a few bugs and snakes (and I, being Geek Mom, used both "Don't wander off," in my best Who accents (which cracked Steph up) and "No Pareseltongue," which made Lizzy laugh)

We saw the movie (fabulous, by the way) and played with the water stuff outside, and then hung out in the Science Playground for the rest of the time.

It was a blast.

I'm freaking exhausted.

Not least because my fitbit noticed that I had achieved my daily goal when we were about halfway back to the classroom from the beautiful-seated bus (thereby scaring the heck out of me). Six thousand steps might be nowhere near fit, but it's rare that I meet the goal, and never before that early in the day.

But we never did get to the butterflies.

The lines were too long for that.

And nobody even cared.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

All About Me

This is Not a Cancer Post™.

It is, in fact, all about me™.

I'm depressed.

To anyone who knows me, this is not surprising. I'm a fretter under the best of circumstances (which these clearly are not), and I'm prone to seasonal depression if I don't use the sun lamp and take enough Vitamin D (although this is not the season in question).

And Google knows I have cause for situational depression at the moment.

Which is why this post is all about me™. Laston is the one who is sick, it's true. But I'm holding down a full time job, caring for a family, and caring for a sick spouse (none of these are physically taxing, but I don't have a lot of emotional energy to spare). And I'm just tired. I'm also trying to lose weight, fretting about money, and just generally having a rough time.

These things make me a little emotional.

This was brought home to me today, here at work, when my very first customer of the day burst into tears after I helped him fix his phone so he could call out. I found it upsetting, and usually I'm not quite as, well, hair-triggered on being affected by such things as I have been lately.

I'm sure it's understandable given the circumstances. Laston is ill, three kids in school, a horrific attack on a teacher where our 15yo goes to school, end-of-year shenanigans, joblessness (on Laston's part) and the list goes on.

Nobody blames me for my blue mood, not even me.

But I don't really like it about myself much.

I'm a cheerful person in general, grumpyjenn email notwithstanding (at the time I first got it, I was umpteen months pregnant with Abby, now 13). So I'm not a real fan of being an easily-upset grumpapotamus.


But I guess that's what breaks between calls are for; they're here to give me a chance to vent all over my blog page. And that makes me feel better in general.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Some Days... doesn't pay to get out of bed.

Yeah, it's a Cancer Post™

I knew this, today, and so I took a half-day off, took a Benadryl (hello, cottonwood!) and went back to bed.

The plan was to get a couple more hours of sleep, then go into work, and that's exactly what I did.

But I should have stayed in bed.

Work was fine, if a bit busier than is comfortable. I came home, changed into sloppy clothes, threw in a load of laundry, and began to play a video game with Laston.

So far, so good.

Then we had coffee (his regular, mine decaf)... and then he was feeling very ill. No fever, nothing like that, just abdominal pain and not-quite-vomiting.

Now, this could be anything from an allergic response to the injection he had today (to improve white blood cell count) to a full-blown ulcer. We just don't know. So we behave like good little oncology patients, and call the after-hours line. Doc agrees; most likely acid reflux of some sort, but that's a symptom, not a disease in itself. He will take a closer look tomorrow during infusion time; in the meantime we should Prilosec and Zantac and Tums and BRAT.

We don't have any of the first two, are low on the third, and have one lone banana for the last. So off I go to Walgreens (after putting on my Laundry Day Bra, which is very uncomfortable), where I pick up everything but the bananas, and then I grab those at a convenience store.

And then, on my way back, I run into a little snag. Radio stops talking and I glance over. No lights on it. There's a little hesitation in the shifting and in an effort to turn on my blinker and turn, I accidentally hit the windshield wipers.






I begin to pull over to the (thankfully large) shoulder.

Then the power steering went out, and I was also reminded what it means to pump one's brakes.

Alternator, I think, since the lights and power windows and stuff still worked.

But I got home safely (thanks, Mom!), and my car got to Goodyear safely (thanks AT&T Roadside Assist and Ballinger Towing!), and Laston got his meds (and bananas).

All is well, if a bit stressed. Honestly, it's a wonder I don't have an ulcer.

Still though, really? Just add it to the pile of crap we have to deal with.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Beer and Coffee

This is a Cancer Post™ (but in a good way).

And the beer in question is not actually Blue Ribbon (which I think we have discussed before). It is, rather, Budweiser, as that is what my father-in-law historically has drunk.

They are coming to visit.

He's not drinking much anymore though, so I'm glad I only picked him up a six-pack, instead of the 24-bottle case I contemplated. It is, after all, only a few days.

They are, however, drinking coffee, and as they are living in Washington-but-not-Seattle-ish, they are not the coffee snobs we are here in the Puget Sound region; they drink Folgers. Which is nice, because it is relatively inexpensive. Certainly (as a rule) less expensive (and probably more ecologically sound) than our little Keurig coffee pods.

Anyway, back to the cancer post. I know that about a hundred of you on Facebook are already aware of this, but you will still be glad to know that the newer chemo cocktail is doing its job.

And doing it well, in spite of the Side Effects of Doom.

Laston's cancer markers are down about 400 points (that's around 40%, I think). The liver lesions are visibly and markedly shrinking. The only unhappy bits at the moment are gastrointestinal side effects and a certain fluid retention in the abdomen (it makes him look a bit like a malnourished child, with thin limbs and a round belly. It's neither uncommon nor immediately dangerous, but it is uncomfortable. They'll drain it if they have to.)

So he's relatively healthy, just in time for a visit from his folks, who live about an eight-hour drive away. I have a couple of days off for this (in addition to my usual weekend) so I can see my in-laws and help ride herd on excited kids.

Should be a good time.