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Friday, August 15, 2008

Part 2 Mickey Mouse Sucks

I dont want to finish this story. But I have to.

I never understood the attraction of a blog or writing things down but it is somehow easier to forget about it after you do.

Or mabye I just get to tell my side of the story.

We do not have any money. A combination of... Cancer? Ok lets live for today! and Fat Bastard stealing our store leaving us in lots and lots of debt.

So you get it. We dont have enough money for extras or even just the basics.
A trip is something that would take us forever to save up for.

And we did. We worked all year at the store and saved up all our money to go to Disneyworld. Daughter #3 and #4 had never been there. We planned on closing the store for the week we were there. We had to go to a sports show in Orlando so it was the perfect chance to get more products for the store and visit Mickey and Goofy.

I never even thought of it when I left for Reno. That is not true actually. I really thought I would fly to Reno, find out that Tizzy was fine and then I would return home in plenty of time to leave for Disney.

I tried to change the trip. Couldnt... I wanted to stay in Reno with my sister. Couldnt... I had to go to Disney. Who says that? I HAD to go to Disney. But I did.

So we are in Reno and its Wednesday now, I am skipping around I know but this part is important. And my flight is scheduled for Friday, 6am, Laguardia Airport, NY. To Disneyworld.

I agonized over this decision. My sister said "No...Go" but I didnt believe she meant it. I wanted someone to be with her at all times.

Wow this story is so big. Bigger maybe than 2 parts.

My mother says she will fly out to Reno, but she doesnt want to fly alone. Tizzys father and brother arrive in Reno the same day we do only later in the day. Tizzys mother wants to come to Reno but she is sitting with her youngest daughter, Tizzys sister in Sloan Kettering in NY while she undergoes treatment for the same cancer as hubby.?????? I know long story. Unbelievable? My life reads like a soap opera.

Tizzys mother says she can leave on Friday but my mother doesnt want my sister to be alone if I leave Thursday night in time to fly home to NY to fly to Disney.

I havent even touched on Tizzy yet and his injury. That makes the difference here. His prognosis is grim. The doctors say they have seen people with worse injuries get better and the ones with less injuries die. They just dont know. My sister should not be alone. Just in case.

When we arrive, we get to the hospital and a nurse comes to greet us in the waiting room of the ICU. She says Ok he looks pretty bad. He is in a coma and he has wires sticking out of his head and all over his body to monitor his vital signs. He is broken and bruised and right now we should just talk to him and be aware that he may hear us. The doctor will talk to us after we see him and give us an update.

I hold my sisters hand. We walk in together to the ICU. Tizzy is in the corner, he has wires sticking out of his head, I mean right out of his forehead. The two friends he was snowboarding with are there. They are totally overwhelmed. They cant look my sister in the face.

Ok cut to the chase... Tizzy has broken every bone on the left side of his face. He has damaged the front temporal lobes and his left ear is severed. Months later we find out he has broken his shoulder but right now the doctors dont care and think I am crazy that I keep bringing it up. His face is so swollen he is unrecognizable. He is on a breathing machine, an ICP( for all you nonmedical personnel,that is Internal Cranial Pressure) lots of other monitors, all scary.

He has come in at the lowest number on the Glasgow Coma Scale. A three. 3 means that he is unresponsive to pain, to verbal instructions, and unable to breathe on his own. People on the lowest level of the Glasgow Coma Scale dont live. There is no sign of life. Everything points to the end. I dont know if we knew how bad the coma scale thing was. It doesnt ring a bell until later in my memory.

Well you get the idea. Tizzy is in a dire situation, my sister is 6 months pregnant, I have to leave for Disney and my mother cant come until Tizzys mother can leave her daughter to fly with my mother. My mother wants to get other people to fly with her and leave earlier than Friday. Tizzys mother is mad because she wants those same people to fly with her on Friday. My family thinks his family is selfish, we think Merry should have someone with her at all times.

All hell breaks loose.

We are staying in Harrahs in a giant suite because the friend who was with Tizzy snowboarding is really his boss who is a kabillionaire and feels so bad about the accident. We have the high rollers suite in a casino in the biggest little city in the world.

We are in the hospital all day. I make her eat. She could be anorexic on a good day. Stress stops her from eating. I just want Ben and Jerrys, but there is none to be found. And who could eat Ben and Jerrys with the pregnant women when she eats bananas.

We check into the "playas" suite at Harrahs, side note Howie Mandel is playing there, long before he made a comeback on Deal or No Deal. And we are wiped out. The news is not good but right now it is not especially bad either.

We order a fruit platter. I know! Who the hell eats fruit in a crisis? She does which is probably why she is skinny and I am dumpy.

There is a knock on the door. It is Tizzys dad with Tizzys boss. Tizzys dad is 6'5" and is very intimidating. Tizzys boss is 5'6" and is a giant wuss.

Tizzys dad is ignorant and rude and yelling at my sister. What? How could anyone do that to a pregnant women who is in danger of losing her husband?
He is saying that she is being selfish by wanting my mother to come on Thursday instead of Friday. He is loud and he is mean. He is saying things I dont even care to repeat.

And my sister is yelling back at first. Then she is crying and sobbing and he will not stop. She is screaming and hyperventilating and saying things like if Tizzy dies you will never see your grandchild. The small boss stands by.

I am the most nonconfrontational person you will ever know. I have opened my mouth on very few occasions. But this is one of them.

I scream to Tizzys dad " Get out, get the hell out. Leave her alone."
He finally leaves. Merry is hysterical. Not just crying over this but sobbing over it all. Sobbing because her Tizzy is in a coma and he may never see their child. Sobbing because we are in Reno, Nevada and even with it being the Biggest Little City in the World, we dont want to be there. Sobbing Sobbing Sobbing. I call my parents from the 400 square foot bathroom with the dual showers and the whirlpool tub. My dad talks to her and somehow calms her down.

I dont know how but we sleep a little.

The story goes something like this....
Tizzy, bossman and supermike decide to take one more run down the mountain. It is in the afternoon and they have probably been drinking for hours.

They get off the lift and right away Tizzy is losing his balance and he starts to fall backwards. He is a master snowboarder, better than anyone he is with.

He falls backward, over a cliff, off the mountain, head first, onto a rock. 5 feet down. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

Head smashes against a rock. Broken Tizzy falling down.

His friends thought he was kidding. Get up Tizzy they say. Why isnt Tizzy moving? What is the red stuff pooling around his body?

They said the blood coming out of his body sounded like milk being poured from a gallon.

They scream for help. There is an angel who arrives. He helps control the bleeding. He gives Tizzy mouth to mouth. He dissapears when the mountain patrol gets there.

Tizzy is airlifted to Washoe Head Trauma Center. He aspirates in the helicopter. He almost dies multiple times. His friends drive from Tahoe to Reno. It takes them hours to drive around the mountains and the whole time they have no idea whether or not Tizzy is alive or dead. They call Tizzys parents, no one wants to tell the pregnant wife.

Tizzys sister calls us and that is where this story just begins.

Part 3 tomorrow. Disney is hell for me. It makes me think of comas and sadness, not happiness or princesses. For me its all about the time that a brain injury stole my brother in law, my friend, my kids uncle. Theres no magic in the kingdom for me. None.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The biggest little city in the World

I hate this story.

I very rarely relive this moment, oh for so many reasons, but I feel like I must.

Maybe things will be healed when I write it down. Probably not but I will do it anyway.

The Biggest Little City in the World. Thats what they called it. There was a giant sign right in the middle of the main drag. The sign said The Biggest Little City in the World. And we drove under it 5 times a day. It was Reno Nevada and I spent a year there one month.

That was a joke I told constantly when we were there. HaHa, my jokes werent as funny as when hubby had cancer. I dont know why. Is Cancer funnier than a brain injury? I guess it is.

I just want to clarify that this is my account of what happened in Reno. This is how I remember the details of it. Maybe someone else will have something different to add and seriously I am not stamping my feet and saying NO its my way or the highway. No I believe that my vision of this may be skewed, but I have a very vivid memory of the moment that ruined so many lives and I am certain not many would argue with my account.

The call came at 8pm on a Tuesday, January 6th, 2004. Wow it has been over 4 years. So much has changed yet so much has stayed the same.

PS my kids fear calls in the night. Any calls. They believe that only bad things come with nighttime phone calls. I wish I could assure them that this wasnt true. But I cant, there were more phone calls in 2005 that changed our world. And they all came at night.

So the phone rings and we are at the store, our store, the one that has been stolen.

Hubby answers it, it is after hours and I wanted to just leave and not answer the phone. The phone call is from k.p. the sister of my sisters husband. She is talking and I start to hear my husband sounding concerned. It would be very unlikely for her to call us. At the store, at night, for any reason.

So I am hearing words like, blood loss, consciousness, alert, blah blah blah, I know my brother in law is vacationing in Tahoe, Nevada. And I know this is bad.

She tells my husband that Tizzy, my brother in law, her brother, was in a snowboarding accident. She thinks he is conscious and she thinks he will be ok but she wants us to tell my sister. My sister is 6 months pregnant with their first child and is just about getting home from work. We are across the country from where Tizzy is in the hospital in NY, where we live and we are still unsure of what has happened.

Hubby calls my mother who is en route from my fathers basketball game in Brentwood to their home in Selden. He tells her to pull over, she is not good in these situations. He tells her Tizzy was in an accident and that we have to go tell Merry my sister. She turns her car around and heads toward Plainview were my sister and tizzy live.

I drive to my parents house in Selden, about 10 minutes away to wait for my Dad to get home. I know when he sees my car there instead of my mothers he will panic and think something happened to her, so I wait outside and tell the story in 4 seconds.

My mother has reached my sister who has called tizzys family and gotten more information. She has called the Head Trauma Center were he has been taken and found out a lot of nothing. Then the doctor calls her back.

My father and I are driving from Selden to Plainview in a blue minivan and we are going as fast as we can for 2 rule following law abiding citizens.

My mother calls. Get here fast she says. It doesnt look good.

I drive faster and make stupid conversation because I cant stand silence. My father cant stand stupid conversation and can not speak about scary stuff. My father loves Tizzy. He was the son he never had and my mother never wanted.

We arrive in Plainview and Merry is on the phone with the doctor. I hear words like coma, first few hours being the hardest, head trauma, get to Tahoe.

Those hours are a blur. The doctor called multiple times. He said that head traumas are hard to gauge and that it could go either way. He said there was no way to tell until a few days went by. He suggested she get there quickly.

We didnt know if she could fly being over 6 months pregnant. We didnt care really.

I knew I had to go with her. I knew whether it was good or bad I was the only person capable of handling it with her. I didnt think about the logistics, who would take care of my kids, who would run the store, how I would fly but I just knew it had to be me.

My father thanked me for going. I know he couldnt. I knew no one could but me.

We couldnt get a flight out.

There are a lot of details here I am leaving out, like about tizzys family attempting to fly out without us. Or the fact that the company my sister worked for arranged for our flights, got us a car service here and in tahoe.

We couldnt leave until the morning. It was the first flight from New York to Reno. I have implemented a rule that makes my children unable to attend college outside a 5 hour radius. I have to be able to get to them in an emergency.
Not being able to leave was torture. We didnt know what we would find when we got there.

We were up all night. My hubby drove out with a bag of clothes for me. My mother drove back so she would be there when my kids woke up. They werent little but this was their favorite uncle tizzy and I didnt know how bad their reaction would be. They were 16, 15, 10 and 8.

In the morning a car service came to get us. We went to Kennedy airport where we left for Tahoe/Reno. The name of the hospital was Washoe Head Trauma Center. The flight was over 8 hours with a stop over in Phoenix. It was a very long trip. I desperately tried to assure my sister that things would be ok but I wasnt sure. She had a good feeling that by the time we got there he would be sitting up in bed talking to her.

Tizzys sister had said something about him not remembering my sister. I remember thinking Oh please that only happens in movies.

Even 6 months pregnant she was faster than I was, speeding through the airports on a mission for her life.

We landed in Reno and we found our car. The next part of our journey began but I will have to finish that tomorrow. It is too much emotion for one day.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The New York Knicks have never won the championship

I love this story.

I just told part of it at a party the other day and I forgot how much more there was to it.

Hubby and I loved the Knicks. We had gotten tickets as a gift in 1991 for hubbys 25th birthday and we were hooked. We sat close to courtside and saw Patrick Ewing play Spud Webb and the Sacramento Kings. It was amazing.

I am not by any means a sports fan. I am certaintly not one of those woman who supports her man in a pretend passion for sweaty athletes. I was a cheerleader. And I never knew if we were on offense or defense.

My father is still a football coach and has been my whole life. I attended his games when I was younger and I watched the cheerleaders. I never knew whether it was a touchdown or a home run. Ok so I wasnt that bad, but for me it was about the hot chocolate and the cheers.

So I get weirdly obsessed with basketball. We got tickets alot the next year 1992 and the Knicks are actually finally good that year. I find out I am pregnant with daughter number 3 in September. Basketball starts in November and we get tickets now and then.

So its April 1993 and the Knicks are going to be in the playoffs. I am ridiculously pregnant with #3 and still feeling sicker than I ever felt before. I still need to go to those games.

We find out that tickets are going to be on sale at Madison Square Garden at 7am. This is in the days before the internet and buying tickets online. You actually had to go wait on line and buy them. It was a long process but Knicks tickets were worth it.

So Hubby wants to take the train into Penn Station to Madison Square Garden and I am like no way, you cant be on the train at 2 am. I rant and rave like I have been known to do about the crazy people riding the train and the dangers of Manhattan. Seriously 15 years ago, the city wasnt as safe as it is today. So I am like no, no, no, take the car.

And like what usually happens, he listened.

So hubby drives into Manhattan at 2am and parks the car and goes to wait on line at Madison Square Garden. At 7am he is issued a bracelet to purchase tickets at 10am. He decides to go back to his car and sleep for a little while.

So he walks to where his car is parked, no car. Hmmm, have I mistaken where I left my car at 2am or more likely has it been stolen?

He finds a cop and tells him his car has been stolen. The cop is like hey maybe it was towed and hubby is like why would it be towed, its parked in a legal spot. Cop is like well this store over here probably has a friend at the Department of Transportation and had your car towed so he could get a delivery. Hubby is like holy crap where is my car? Impound yard, and a hundred and fifty dollars to get it out.

Hubby buys tickets to the 3 playoff games at home and goes to get his car. It takes hours. He loses a whole day at work, 150 dollars for the impound and all the money for the tickets. Originally we were going to sell the other tickets and just go to one of the games, butttt after all the aggravation we are like ,,, we have to go now.

I am now 9 months preggers with kid 3 and we go to the first 2 games. Third home game is like May something and I am now overdue with kid 3. My due date has come and gone and I am going to the doctor twice a week. In my defense I ask the doctor if she thinks I will have the baby soon and she says probably not. I dont actually mention my planned trip 60 miles away on a train, after my due date with kid 3. I didnt think it was need to know info. I was going anyway. Worse case scenario I give birth on the court and I name my kid Patrick Ewing after he delivers the baby.

Off we go, on the train this time because I learned my lesson about having the car towed. We have the crappiest seats at the game, I mean last row, top of the garden, behind one of the baskets.

Have you ever sat in the crappy seats anywhere at any sporting event? You know what kind of people sit there? Need I say more??

We are not drinking, me being about to give birth and hubby being supportive of that and needing to drive home after the train ride back to Ronkonkima. Crappy seats, sporting event, we are the ONLY people not drinking.

Nine months pregnant... anyone... yeah I had to pee about every 4 seconds. Being in the crappy seats, there is no bathroom on that level. So each trip to the bathroom is a flight of stairs down, across the hall and sometimes waiting on line although usually not because its mostly men there.

Did I mention we are in the last row of the highest level of seats? There is a railing behind us. And drunken idiots all around.

A fight breaks out in our section. We just stand there as security guards rush around and seal off the path out of the area, my only path to the bathroom. These two drunken fools are shoving each other close to the edge of the 400 section about to plummet down to the better seats, the 300 section.

I have to pee. Really bad. And I am waiting patiently, not so patiently, about to pee in my water bottle. And the guards are letting them fight it out. Stupidly letting drunken people push and shove each other close to a 15 foot drop.

I have an 8 and 1/2 lb baby pressing on my bladder. And as my bladder is getting bigger, she is pushing back , hard and I am starting to sweat. So I decide to do the only thing I can do.

I am going over the railing behind our seats. So I have 175 lbs all in my belly, wearing a maternity Knicks jersey and I am climbing over a railing at Madison Square Garden in the cheap seats. Strangers are staring at first, then they are helping me and I do not even care. I have one mission and that is to get to the bathroom. Fast.

So I climb over the railing and those drunken white trash people are soooo impressed. I go to the bathroom and when I return... I am a legend. And hubby is proud. Life is good, and we watch the Knicks beat Reggie Miller and the Pacers. People are high fiving me throughout the game.

It was quite memorable. The kid wasnt born until a week later so I guess I was safe. The Knicks did not win the title that year or any year after. We were fans for years and saw many other games. One year my sister got us a mini plan for Christmas and we saw lots of games that year. But no title, never.

The Knicks lost a lot of their good players, some of my favorites, like Charles Oakley and Anthony Mason. They have new players now, maybe some who can finally win. We dont go to games anymore. The cost is just too much and although I am not pregnant I probably have to pee more now than I did then.

I wonder if people are still talking about that giant pregnant woman who jumped the railing just to pee. The biggest Knicks fan at that game, hanging in the cheap seats with the drunken losers, screaming for the win, wearing a tent that had the Knicks logo on it and hoping to make it home without my water breaking. I made it and then some and it was a great memory and a funny story.

Go Knicks.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

There is a time to every purpose under heaven....

Friends come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. I am sure you all have gotten these sappy emails that talk about friends and what they mean to you and whether you are a reason, a season or a lifetime.

Unfortunately you never know which ones are which and sometimes just when you think you have found a forever friend something changes and makes you realize that they fit into a different category.

I did not have good friends in junior high school and high school. I have often over the years looked back and wondered why I was the person I was then and how I became someone so different. I owe a lot of it to my husband who grew up completely different than I did and has a strong set of morals that I envy.

I have been with him since I was 16 so I believe his influences on me ( and me on him ) have made us into better people.

When I started Kindergarten I was only 4 years old because my birthday was in December. I am not bragging when I say I was brilliantly smart, it was more of a curse my whole life instead of a good thing. I was already reading when I started school, so when it came time to get into reading groups I was by myself in the blue group. Just me. Alone. No friends to play with or share milk and cookies with, just the blue group... the teacher, me and a book.

They finally sent me up to first grade for reading because I was so far ahead. I sat with my head down and cried silent tears that dripped on my textbook. Nobody wanted to be friends with the baby kindergartener who was smarter than they were. No first grade friends here.

I was painfully shy. Really I was. I was introverted and sneaky and rude really. I was fresh to adults and did not respect authority in any way.

I had some friends in elementary school but they all went to a different junior high. I was in all advanced classes when I went to junior high, so I was finally with other smart kids. I had some nerdy friends but I always desperately wanted to be cool. And I would do whatever it took to get there. I sacrificed my friendships for that opportunity.

In eighth grade I tried out for cheerleading and didn't make it. Then I tried out for volleyball and didn't make it. Then I was being picked on by the "cool girl". She tortured me everyday and I was scared. My nerdy friends were in no way capable of saving me. Then I got mono, and I was so sick for a long time. I was out of school from before Thanksgiving to after New Years and I was home tutored.

By the time I came back to school after my illness any friends I had had moved on. So I started hanging out with the druggies. They were so much more accepting. They wanted everyone to be their friend or just a customer really, it didnt matter to them.

I would have done anything at that point to be cool. I had no real friends. And I got into lots of trouble.

The next years through high school I finally made cheerleading and I made some good friends through there. As usual with girls though things went bad and I ended up in my senior year being completely alone. Hubby had left for the Navy, all my friends had joined some sort of I hate Nancy club and I walked those hallways of Newfield High School alone and wishing for friends.

I was a follower. When I got married I met some Navy wives and I was still desperate for some sort of status coolness that I thought was going to bring me satisfaction. I was easily influenced by people I never even knew existed in the world. Instafamilies we called them, young single moms looking to snag themself a sailor. Did you ever see Officer and a Gentlemen? One of my favorite movies of all times. Thats what they were. Small town girls with big dreams riding on the bellbottom jeans of the enlisted men.

I had no friends from high school, no one to trust from the Navy and finally we moved back home to be near our families.

I longed for a friend like a sister that you could call at any time and know they would be there for you. I have a sister but she never had any interest in having that kind of relationship with me. I was close with my mom but I wanted to have someone my own age.

Over the years I have made some amazing friends, people that I thought would be the lifetime kind who just dissapeared into a sea of dysfunction.

Lets face it. There are points in your life when your friends are people that have kids your kids age. You meet for lunch, have play dates, talk about diapers and naptime and what life would be like if you could just get 5 minutes to yourself.

Then you meet people through work or your husbands job and the kids arent a part of it. Maybe you hire a babysitter but most likely all you can talk about is the kids and how fast they are growing and you compare stories about the teachers and the price of sneakers and how great it would be to have 5 minutes to yourself.

I have made many friends that have been in my life for a reason or a season. When I look back now, I can certaintly see why they were a part of my life and the importance of what their presence meant to me. I have grown as a person through these relationships. A reason.

I had friends through each kid I have. Number 1's friends had parents that we got together with for every holiday. We had a standing invitation for Memorial Day, Labor Day, New Years, every one. We rotated, we had theme parties, the kids all got along great (they were all girls- 11 all together) Then the kids started high school and half of the girls went bad and the ones that didnt formed their own new group but the parents didnt follow. We just gave up our get togethers and moved on. A season? Or a reason? Sometimes they cross over.

One of Number 2's friends mom was my closest friend, the one I always wanted, like a sister, for quite some time. It was her who I thought would be my "lifetime". We planned to sit together as little old ladies on a porch drinking peach snapples complaining that our husbands were lame and that our kids didnt call or write. Unfortunately I didnt know in her mind she was filling her peach snapple bottle with vodka and beating her kids with the bottle when she was done. It has been a wake up call for me. How was I so easily fooled? Have I always been this naive, since I was hanging out with the druggies or making poor choices with the white trash navy wives? My kids said I acted poorly when I was with her. I am a follower.

I have had moments when my friends were the only things that got me through the most tragic moments of my life. 2004-2005 were two of the worst years of my life and I had a friend who listened to me cry almost every day. She moved in November of 2005 and I didnt know how I would make it without her. But things got better and I got stronger. A reason? Definitely!!

I have some great friends now. People I see everyday and others I just cant seem to catch up with. I wonder if these are my reasons, seasons, or lifetimes.

As I have gotten older I have given up my longing for a sister. I have daughters. And they are people that I would love to be friends with. I know they also need friends their own age. But I hope they always stay in touch.

I am grateful for the people in my life now and I have learned to enjoy them just in case they are only with me for a short time. I have learned that life is short, you never know how long you have with anyone and sometimes you only get a season. I can see the reasons for the friends I have now and those who have gone their own way. A lifetime is a lot longer than I can wrap my head around right now.

There is a time to every purpose under heaven,
A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together
Turn, Turn, Turn