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We who are about to don paper gowns salute you - UPDATED

I don't really know how to tell you please, friends, brace yourselves.


Everyone sitting down, preferably with the beverage of their choice?

I...I'm going to the doctor tomorrow.

What's that? WHY am I going to the doctor? Well, for a routine check up, but still.

WHAT? Are you (like my beloved) calling me a wimp?

I'll have you know that doctors and illness are very tightly associated. I'll bet I could work up a study that PROVED that an extremely large percentage of people who seek medical attention experience some degree of ill health. I bet I could even get government funding for it. 

We've all read the inspirational articles about women who have battled their way back from some horrible illness, right? And how do they begin? "Sue woke up one morning with a headache. She ignored it for a while, but when it wouldn't go away she saw her doctor, who informed her that she had contracted a rare, virulent form of brain eating monkey." And WHAT do all these stories have in common? Exactly.A trip to the doctor. So it seems pretty likely that if I actually GO and SEE a doctor, I will be struck down with a terrible illness. And then I'll have to bravely fight my way back to health, blah blah blah. Honestly, who has that sort of time?

So, as if doctors=ill health weren't enough, there's the whole SCALE issue. As in, they are sure to have one. And to expect me to stand on it. And then the nurse will write down a number in with her heartless little clicky pen with the name of some pharmaceutical emblazoned on the side of it, she will write down the number and she won't look at me, but SHE WILL be thinking derogatory things about my belly. And possibly thighs. But not my butt, because it is awesome, and I dare that snippy nurse with her clicky pen to say otherwise. Bring it.

Where was I? 

Oh yes, the scale. Hate the scale. True story: the last time I got a physical I was NINETEEN and was having health issues, and so I ended up having to go back to this whack-job old man doctor at the student health center for one hundred thousand follow up appointments. Or so. And every single time I graced his paper-covered table with my gown-covered behind, he opened the visit with this question, "So, what are you doing to lose weight?"

The three worst things about that were; 
1) I had never asked about weight loss or implied that I was interested in the subject.
2) I was nineteen and sort of stupid and didn't have the sense to kick him in the head firmly request that he direct his attention to the health issue I was there for.
3) I actually weighed about 14 pounds LESS than I do right now, which is to say I WAS NOT FAT.

No, I'm not going to tell you what I weigh now. What are you, a clicky-pen-ed nurse? STEP OFF.

*deep breath*

Sorry. Where was I, again?

Other than the aforementioned problems (doctor=ill health, THE SCALE), there is also the blood work. They'll be testing for cholesterol, blood sugar, milk of human kindness, things like that. The fact that my actual blood will be scrutinized makes me THINK that I should be eating nothing but salt-free beans topped with oat bran in preparation. But it makes me WANT milkshakes and steak. With cheese. I just ate a fistful of almonds. Don't you think that I should get some sort of credit for that? Am I the only one who crams for a cholesterol test?

Well, wish me health. I have to go eat the rest of the food in the kitchen in preparation for twelve hours of fasting, lay out my lightest-weighing clothes and shoes, and write my will. Just in case.


Not ONLY am I not dead, I have been declared completely free of virulent brain monkeys (can't blame me, Joss). My doctor, whom I adore, did not only refrain from weight loss discussions, she actually said, "You, madame, are perfect." Actual quote. AND she was palpating my ovaries at the time, so one has to assume that she knew whereof she spoke. AND I don't even know what the evil scale said, because the display was way up on the wall, and I opted to look at my pretty toes instead of it, whilst the nurse wrote with her clicky pen (which said Gardasil).
And they lived happily ever after.

I was wrong.

I really was. On a couple of fronts.

Remember the other day when I snarked on the neighbor boy? Well, I was wrong. First of all, it's against my personal policy to use this here blog as a forum to bash people. But I went ahead and did it anyway, because the kid had really really made me mad. So. Principals that aren't broken to unless one really really wants to?  Yeah, not so very principal-y. 
Secondly, and worse, I got all judgy about the kid's parents. I didn't articulate it very well (which I suppose was a third wrong committed, poor quality writing, but I am unrepentant, because the fact that y'all keep showing up to read my babble is a sort of de facto agreement to put up with it, so it's partially your fault), but in my head I was throwing my hands up in the air, they WILL NOT deal with their child. They SIMPLY WON'T.
A few days ago I was out in the front yard, and the neighbor boy's mom started chatting with me over the fence. It seems he's had a bad year. First year in middle school, and it didn't go well. From hallway beatings to dropping grades, he's been through the wringer. 
"I hope Max and Tre are ok," she said, looking fixedly away, "I hope they all work it out." They've actually decided to homeschool both their kids, which is a huge step.
I was surprised. I was taken aback. But mostly I was humbled. 
I had made them into the enemy, had decided that they were just wrong. I go around, hoping that people will judge me gently, that they will take into account my earnest desire to do what is right and will cut me some slack when things go not-right.
And then I lock the neighbors up, mentally anyhow, in the TOTALLY NOT-RIGHT ghetto when their kid is having a rough time.
I owe them an apology, except to do so would have to start out with me saying, "hey, I don't think you know this, but I was whining about your child on the internet the other day..." and it's hard to recover from an apology that starts like that. So instead I'll tell you. 
I was wrong. I'm sorry.

p.s. the boys have played with the neighbor boy all week. There have been very few problems, all of the normal kid interaction sort. The summer stretches ahead of us, golden and promising.

Waiting for Tre and Clay

Today, after what seemed like months of training, Clay and Tre rode their bikes 25 miles in the Elephant Rock ride. They were up almost as early as the cacophony of birds in our back yard. The very air around Tre was vibrating with his excitement. Clay was somewhat less thrilled to be getting up so early on a Sunday, but he managed it with good humor, and before long they were off. 
A few hours later Max, Raphael, my dad, and I followed, so we could be there when they crossed the finish line. It was a somewhat loosely organized event, with minimal parking and LOTS of people, so we ended up parking and walking some ways. 

By the time we got to the finish line, Max and Raphi were both over the whole bike race deal. It was hot, and standing there, watching all the people who weren't Clay or Tre ride across the finish line, was not as much fun as you might think. Max had somehow torn a rather large hole in his shorts, and he stood, clutching the edges of the hole, looking uncomfortable and irritated. Raphael climbed onto and off Dad, chattering. The sun was hot, pressing down on us and making the act of standing and watching feel like work.

I waited, my purse full of water bottles pulling hard on my shoulder, my fingers working through the ends of Max's heavy hair, watching and thinking.

Clay and Tre. Each, in their own way, in their own time, changed my life. I remembered holding Tre for the first time, gasping for air, stunned that this blessing had come to me. I remembered the first time Clay managed to make me listen to him. Sitting in my room, late late at night, pressing the phone so hard to my ear that it hurt, my hand slick with sweat, listening to his voice and realizing that my life was cracking wide open.

In a way, I'd been waiting all along for them.


And then, there they were.