life just really isn’t fair

the other day I found out that my uterus is falling out and I have to have it removed

the next morning, my father died

then, I broke out in a horrible rash that I finally got looked at today because I haven’t been able to sleep due to outrageous itching in my lady-parts

you know how it is almost orgasm-inducing to finally give in and scratch a really bad itch that you know you shouldn’t mess with but when you cave, your eyes roll back in your head and you can barely breathe because it feels so good…try that on your clitoris

it’s practically indecent

so the itch is due to an infection due to the cream that the ob-gyn used when she examined my faulty bits down there

but, while today’s doctor was inspecting the hinterlands she glanced at my thigh and said, honey, you’ve got shingles

seriously

no. seriously

I lost it; all snot and tears and woe is me

she said, I’d hug you but I’m pregnant and you’ve got shingles so actually, I’m going to get as far away from you as possible

mom said, what can we do to help?

I said, shoot me

my brother said, a little too quickly, okay

rat fucker

 

this is so surreal

It doesn’t seem real. It doesn’t seem like he’s gone.

The house isn’t any quieter – my mom and brother and I make plenty of noise – my poor dad couldn’t get a word in edge-wise when all of us were here.

His chair is still in the den – my brother sat in it tonight. My mom sat in her regular place. I sat on the love seat between them and we watched Wimbledon.

I went grocery shopping today; there were a few items that I didn’t need to purchase, but basically, the grocery list was the same as always.

Just not as much ice cream.

We also went to the Funeral Home today – that was bizarre. Everyone speaks so softly and wears a benign (comforting?) smile on their face. They were all men – big burley men – men in grey suits. The couches in the waiting area were covered in vinyl and they served coffee with powdered creamer.

Sitting in the office of the Funeral Director talking logistics seemed to have nothing to do with my father. When you talk about “the deceased” it’s easy to forget that that person is connected to you.

Marshall, the man in the grey suit with whom we met, asked if Montclair, New Jersey was one or two words.

One. But I told him that New Jersey was two words.

I went back to the funeral home later in the day to spend time with my father. Mom and my brother decided to not go – they had each had their goodbyes.

I went because I thought that seeing him would help reality sink in.

But it wasn’t real. He wasn’t real.

They took him out of the fridge and put him on a medical cart and covered him with a sheet and placed the cart at the front of the sanctuary – where the alter would be in a church. The lights were dimmed.

For a more peaceful atmosphere? To make him look better? Who knows.

Whatever the intention, it didn’t work.

He just looked fake and he was as cold as a popsicle and his lips were glued shut so he didn’t gape but they didn’t do a very good job and he just looked unfamiliar.

I cried for a minute. Then I lay down on a pew and stared at him. After ten minutes, I left. Dry-eyed. There didn’t seem to be anything else to accomplish in that room.

So I went to TJ Maxx and wandered the aisles. Then I went to the Publix to buy hamburger meat.

My family is funny. Funny funny, not odd funny. My dad was really funny. We tease each other. We can get a giggle out of most anything. So we laughed a lot today and gave each other a rash of shit.

Then we went back to tennis.

When my sweet boyfriend called to check in, I almost felt guilty for not crying.

We’ve talked as much about the godawful heat in Florida, in July, as we have talked about Dad.

We have brief moments when someone starts to crack. Eyes well up. A laugh almost turns to a sob. But no one has fallen apart.

Yet.

Is this all normal?

It’s normal for the Strazzas.

As normal as can be with our patriarch gone.

 

 

my dilemma

Someone I know and respect just posted something about the atrocities imposed on bulls as part of the bullfighting culture in Portugal.

Things we don’t like to think about.

But then there’s this…

When I was 13 and was still an innocent child and yet also a budding bleeding hearted liberal, my family went to Spain.

We travelled all over the country going to castles and vineyards and eating tapas.

My mother who was the most incredible tour guide ever, always wanting us to experience the true culture of wherever we were, announced that Bullfights were on the agenda.

She’d never had a bad idea before so we all said yes.

My parents were concerned that their daughter, Elly May Clampett, wouldn’t be able to handle the murders, that they had a plan for extricating me from the arena if it looked like I might run into the ring to throw myself in front of the matador’s sword.

I surprised everyone, mostly myself.

I fucking loved every second of it. A good bullfight is a glorious thing.

It’s insane. You are hanging on the edge of your seat from the second the bull is released into the arena.

Six matadors. Six bulls.

It’s horrible when you think about it – truly cruel.

And yet, I was cheering them on.

Then, just to add to the experience, my mom found out about an artist who had been a bullfighter and lived in a tiny old stone home within the walled city and he painted using bulls’ blood.

And he had taken in a young orphan boy named Frederico and raised him and we came home with a portrait of the boy painted with blood.

So when I read that bit on Facebook, I felt a little defensive.

Does that make me a bad person?

family

I just want to say that I am one of the lucky ones.

I am spending this week with my parents and two of my kiddos. We are together 24/7. I am even sharing a bed with my mom. The boys and I had an adventure today then came home and spent the evening with the grandparents.

There has been laughter and quality conversation and sharing and honesty and openness and sincerity and love.

What there hasn’t been…

Strife

Family “dynamics”

Stress

Disagreement

Arguing

Traumatic triggering

Anger

Resentment

Passive aggression

Disgruntlement

A desire to be anywhere else

I dig my parents.

I fucking adore my kids.

There is no where that I would rather be this week. Any week. Any time.

There are absolutely no people with whom I would rather be.

I have the most amazing family in the world.

I know that this is rare – that so many families have undercurrents of shit.

Not us.

And I do NOT take that for granted in any way.

I say that we are lucky but the reality is, when you put this many fantastic people in the same place at the same time, you can’t help but love every second.

#sayingaprayerofthanks, #lovemymommyanddaddy, #mykidsarebadass, #mydadisafuckingriot, #momsmybestfriend, #howdmykidsturnoutsowell?

Vacation?

The boys and I are headed to Florida in a couple of days – for a couple of days.

It started with “I need to get back to Florida.”

Then, “I really need to get the boys to Florida.”

Then, trying to find dates that work for all three work schedules, which included contacting one boss and working out a schedule with him while the child was on the river.

Then, the next one, trying to figure out schedule and getting permission from the parole officer to leave the state.

Because that’s our new normal.

Then, trying to schedule a trip over a weekend so that someone doesn’t have to cover me for a full work week. But that didn’t happen.

Flights?

$2300 to go to Florida for 5 days.

Plus a rental car.

Then I had to find a house sitter – someone with whom Elvis will bond not bite.

All of that taken care of and suddenly I realize…

I’m going on vacation with my children.

Holy shit, it’s been years.

It’s also been eons since I’ve gone to see my folks when no one is in the hospital.

Vacation.

VACATION.

Granted, August in Florida might sound a little torturous, but it’s the beach and the ocean and snorkeling and my mommy and daddy and my amazing boys, and their birthdays, and dune grass and palm trees and sea glass and chocolate milkshakes.

And no smoke.

After all of that squeezing in and finagling and coordinating I get to sit still, do something fun, relax, read a book, and hang out with my favorite people in the whole world.

Yay Florida in August.