Thursday, May 27, 2010

What do you mean my dad is NOT Superman?

Maybe I should say: What the HELL do you mean my dad is not Superman?? My mom just called 5 minutes ago. My dad has prostate cancer.

My mom and dad are regular blood donors - the kind that gives blood once every 6 weeks. Sometime last month my dad was refused because he was anemic. My dad is NEVER anemic. He has been turned away because his hemoglobin is high, but never because it is low. So he got some tests done and the PSA came back high. Last year's results were normal. My Brother-the-Doctor told my dad to get checked out right away. That was sign #1: my brother getting involved like that. Ask any good doctor and they'll tell you the same thing: "I don't treat family members. It's too personal." Then he called in a favor with my dad's doctor (they did their residence together). That freaked ME out: my brother doesn't do that. After the exams, my dad's physician told him that there was something there that needed to be checked out by an urologist. Also, he needed a colonoscopy. My dad called me to tell me that he had an appointment in 2 days. That was sign #3: I knew the office he was referred to. There is a waiting list for new patients that is about 2 months out. I didn't tell him.

Finally, the biopsy was last week. Results were going to be available today. My dad told his doctor to schedule his colonoscopy, BEFORE the biopsy results were back. He said that if it turned out that he did have cancer, no one was going to put nothing up his butt.

After yesterday's colonoscopy he sounded great on the phone. He was upbeat and even told me that if indeed he had a "little bit of cancer" at least the colonoscopy was done.

Today my mom called from the doctor's office. I asked her how my dad was doing, "he's scared". I asked her how she is doing, " I am sad."

The thought of my mom being so sad is just as bad and scary as my dad having cancer. Him being scared about it is worse than ANYTHING. I have a very close relationship with both my parents. I call my dad EVERY day. I asked him last weekend if it bothered him that I called him so much and his response was, "Not unless I am in the bathroom or have a doctor's finger up my ass." My dad is funny, smart as hell, and very loving (BTW, he doesn't answer the phone if he's, uhm... busy... he just calls me back.) He adores my mom and his kids (although we know that my mom goes first). They just celebrated their 40th anniversary.

I am sitting here at work, trying to keep a straight face. Trying to compose my thoughts. I am OK for now, but I can't help to get watery eyes every so often. That's my dad. He is my Superman.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I have NO idea where he learns some of this stuff... I swear.

ince we are now settling into our new home and our new lives, we are trying to spend some quality time together as a family. For the last couple of weeks, we have been treating ourselves to dinner on Sunday night and sampling some of the local restaurants in the new neighborhood.

Last Sunday we tried a little Italian place close to our house. Good food but overpriced – it was just pasta after all, and even if you flew it in from Italy, I know it is NOT worth that much money… but I digress. The place has several TVs inside of the location, giving it a casual if not even sports bar atmosphere. All the TVs were tuned in to different sports. One of the TVs was tuned into a dirt bike competition. Skywalker was sitting there and asked, very casually if he could have a dirt bike. I almost chocked on my $13.95 eggplant parmesan. I had to decline his request. Then the negotiating began:

S: “But Mooooom, why not?”
Me: Because you are too young and it’s dangerous.
S: But my friend So-and-So has one and he is one year younger than me!
Me: What is his last name?
S: Dangerous
Me: What is your last name?
S: My mother is a pain… (That’s what it sounded like when he said the last names)
Me: Are they the same? No? Then that’s why he has one and you don’t.
S: But Mooooooommmmm….

At this point Sunshine jumped in and pointed at the TV… just in time for Skywalker to see a major accident replay. “THAT is why you are not getting a dirt bike,” he said. Skywalker’s response? “You guys don’t let me have anything.”

Since I don’t like such generalizations, I asked him what he was talking about. “I asked for a dog and you also said NO.” Ah, the DOG conversation. I reminded Skywalker about his failed attempt on being a pet owner, which ended with us having to give away his guinea pig… less than a year ago. “Oh,” he said, “but you won’t let me have a cell phone either! I have to wait until I’m 13!” I reminded him that I had promised to THINK about it when he was 13 not that he was going to get one then. And then, my son pouted. Sunshine and I just started laughing at his reaction. We were once again the “meanest” ever (so if any of you thought you had the title this week, we have usurped it). As I paid for the delicious dinner that I had just provided my son, including the dessert that HE wanted, I told him that once he could have a dirt bike, a dog, AND a cell phone – “Yeah, I know, when I can pay for it myself, in my own home,” he said. (Have I said this THAT many times?)

As we walked home from the restaurant, my NINE YEAR OLD SON turned around and said, “You know, when I move out, I AM going to have a dog, AND a cell phone, AND a dirt bike… I will have a nice pad, where I can entertain the SWEET LADIESSS…” Sunshine caught me as I simultaneously tripped, choked on my own spit, had heartburn and had this image of my son:

“Let it go. Don’t worry,” said Sunshine, “with that repertoire, the line of ladies will  probably be a bunch of posters taped to the wall.”

Monday, May 24, 2010

When can a furnace NOT burn any fuel?

Hello, my name is Loving Wife, Working Mom and I am going through menopause. Who would’ve guessed? Not me! And at 36! Well, I saw the signs coming and I have been having symptoms, but I thought that it was just the beginning of a LONG journey, not that I was going to be catapulted into this torture. I have to say that menopause is just another cruel joke from Mother Nature. The more I think about it, the more I think SHE is a bitch, although I have my suspicions that it was Father Nature, but men did not want to be blamed for all the crap women go through (they already go through that at home) so they changed it to a female. I can assure you: no woman would’ve blamed on her own kind the monthly bloated feeling, the hormonal mood swings, the headaches, the damned discomfort of wearing a diaper or a plug for days at a time, the weight gain, the carrying of the kid for 9 months (sometimes more), the swollen feet, the extra fat that takes years to drop off (unless you have a trainer and your job is to look good and brain wash 13 year old girls into thinking that losing 30 pounds or more in 6 weeks in time for the Oscars or the latest Victoria’s Secret catalog is normal) – and THEN… after YEARS of putting up with this crap, in the name of childbearing, then, you are handed with the Golden Ticket of menopause.

Five years ago my doctor told me that I had secondary infertility. The reason: my hormones were about 10-15 years older than my body and my eggs were “aged”. In other words: unless your eggs are made of wine or cheese, this was not a good thing. Still, God blessed us with another son when we weren’t looking. Fast forward 3 years and all of a sudden, at the age of 35 I was having symptoms that I couldn't explain and refused to admit, but were clear signs: including this burning sensation in one ear and a funky buzzing in another. My heart (which is very sensitive to any hormonal changes) was having a tough time keeping up. Finally, my GYN did a test and there it was: I was going through menopause. Not peri-menopause like a lot of women my age, but menopause. My hormonal age never slowed down and here I was. I was able to talk to my doctor into a partial hysterectomy and she agreed. It’s not like I was allowed to use my uterus anyway, so why keep it there giving me troubles? Out it came. Best decision I've ever made after saying "Yes, I'll marry you".

The symptoms abated for a while. Then, the bitch, Mother Nature (why MOTHER, WHY? WHAT DID WOMEN EVER DO TO YOU???) upped it another notch. Women in menopause have difficulty losing weight. Oh yeah, I said: take that, I will watch my weight and exercise more often and all that. She scoffed. Now, I am having hot and cold flashes. Holy shit. Last night I woke up at 4 AM drenched in sweat. Not glistening, not mildly bothered, not covered in dew… SWEATING. I thought that the air conditioner had broken. I rolled over and saw Sunshine, bundled next to me like an Eskimo in a wind storm in Antarctica. What was going on?? I kicked off all the sheets off of me and laid in bed trying to catch a breeze from the fan, which is usually at full blast, but I swear I didn’t feel anything. I ended up getting up about 40 minutes later and went to the Y to work out. Might as well. It’s not like I could sleep anyway and I was already sweating.

So please, Mother Nature, explain this to me (or any of your bastardly minions out there) how can it be that you can raise my core temperature to the point of sweat rolling down my back, but not burn a single calorie in the process? What are you burning in there? Hopes and dreams? So I got a hysterectomy and tried to get my hormones under control – are you so mad that I don’t get your monthly curse that you have now the urge to punish me? Until what age? Haven’t I done everything you wanted me to do so far? You defy the laws of physics.

And as I sit here, under an AC vent at work, with two women next to me in sweaters while I am dabbing by glistening forehead, I wonder why you didn’t spend this enough time and effort in channeling this heat/energy source in some other way, so we can harness it and use it for fuel instead of dumping oil into the Gulf. If this is payback, let me remind you Mother Nature, that I am pretty sure that it wasn’t a woman that designed the Hummer.

Friday, May 21, 2010

I usually don't do this, but I do...

Quick one today:

How many times have you gotten a chain email that starts: "I usually don't forward these, but this one is special" or "I don't believe in these, but I wanted to make sure..." Listen. If you are going to send me the fairy godmother email with the pukey little cats with wings at the bottom, and the one with the "scroll down and count down while you do this prayer" and the "the phone will ring in 10 minutes I swear" crappy ass emails, at least have the cojones to say: I have no other reason to send this to you other than the fact that if I got it, you will suffer with me. At least, I can appreciate your honesty. Oh, and by the way, if the ONLY time you are going to email me is to send me these messages, don't be surprised if you are tagged as SPAM and never hear from me again. I just deleted you from my contacts.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

To move or not to move

I am now having nagging thoughts about Mini-me’s daycare situation. You see, Mini-me was born in October and is currently in the PK4 group at his daycare. The center does not have a Kindergarten group, but they have a 5 year old group – you know, for the children like Mini-me, who miss the state’s Kindergarten deadline. On the other hand, there is a center close to our house that DOES have a Kindergarten program that starts later in the school year. Mini-Me would probably qualify for this group. You would imagine that it would be an easy decision, after all, I already have a son older than Mini-me and I can base my decision based on experience, but unfortunately, it’s not that easy.

Mini-me has the advantage of being a second child, so he has someone to learn from and try to emulate, therefore he is definitely more advanced than his brother was at the same age. Not only that, but having a brother 5 years your senior, can definitely influence your thought process and learning curves as well as you have a less neurotic mother who lets you explore and experience more of your surroundings including but not limited to playing with Lego’s past 3 years old but way earlier than the age on the box, allowing you to use your brain in ways your brother was not allowed to UNTIL he turned the age on the box.

To add to this, Mini-me is über-smart (his old teacher’s assessment although I concur). The kid has always been a smart one… and I am not only talking about being a smart-ass although that also applies at times, I mean SMART. Mini-me is the type of kid that can figure something out by looking at you do it… and if it’s something mechanical, watch out. The kiddy gates were no good in our home: he figured them out in 3 days. The covers for the electrical outlets: 1 day. Since he likes to hang out with me, he has been “helping” me make brownies since he is about 2 years old. When he was about 2 ½ he asked me if he could crack the eggs into the bowl. Since I didn’t care about the mess that day I told him that it was fine. Then to MY surprise, the kids cracked 2 eggs into the bowl… perfectly… on the first try. He has been doing it ever since.

So… smart-wise the kid is ready, but how about emotionally? Socially? Skywalker is very immature. In Puerto Rico we compare maturity to the ripeness of a fruit (because if we can, we compare everything we can to food) and he is greener than an unripe avocado (I should add this one to my list of folk sayings…) So even though his birthday is in September, the question of his attendance to school was NEVER raised. We knew he could benefit of being in a grade lower – his maturity couldn’t handle anything else. But Mini-Me? According to his old teachers, he is ready. He was playing mostly with the 5year old kids that were waiting to go to Kindergarten this year and got along with them great. You see, Mini-me knows he is four, but he refuses to act like a four year old.

To add to the dynamic, there is the recent move. We just started him in this new daycare a couple of months ago. Should we move him again? He is very resilient, but is it fair to him? Distance or hours of care are not an issue (I don’t know if that is good or bad, because a huge difference would tip the balance one way or another). His current daycare is less than a mile away, and the other one is 2 blocks away. His current daycare is $195 a week (gasp) the new one is $226 a week (gasp, pant) but really, that is only a $124 difference a month – not bad considering that the second daycare is considered a “private school” and not quite a daycare at that age. The more I ask, the more ambiguous are the answers to my question.

My window of opportunity is closing. I need to make a decision soon, as the spots on the school being considered get filled quickly… Decisions, decisions….. AARRGGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Chocolate is always good, son.

I have always wondered if it would become an issue for my kids to be part of a multi racial family: especially nowadays when it seems that the Hispanics have become the target of choice. My children do not look Hispanic at all, but I certainly can't deny my heritage (and no, I don't have J-Lo's butt - THANK GOD!).

I have been trying hard to make sure that the kids meet people of all racial backgrounds and so far, they are blind to any differences, or so I thought.

Last week we were in the car riding home from my brother's house. I was sitting in the back seat with Mini-Me so my dad could ride in the front with Sunshine. All of a sudden, Mini-me looks at me and asks:
-Mom, what color am I?
-What color is my skin?
-Uh.... I don't know.... what do you mean? (thinking of the famous "where do babies come from question)
-You know, my skin... what color is it?
-Well, honey, I think it is a VERY light brown with some pink.
-How about you, Mom? What color are you?
-I guess I am a darker brown.
-My teacher told me she's black. But I don't think so.
-What do you mean you don't think so?
-She's not black. She is chocolatey. I LOVE chocolate and my teacher is VERY nice too.

It took me a second to understand that he thought his teacher was being literal to the color of her skin, and that he did not agree with her description. So, I guess is not about being blind to what we see, but embrace the entire person and love every part of who they are. Thanks buddy, and by the way, you are right, I love chocolate too AND I think your teacher is Awesome.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The shrimp does what?

Ah, the joys of speaking two languages! Some people say that one is fluent in a language when you can a) understand songs in that language and b) have dreams in that language. Both of these are true, but I have to add another caveat: you are officially fluent in a language when you understand the folk sayings. You see, this is just the cultural part, not the language per se part. Take Sunshine for example, he doesn’t know tons of Spanish other than commands that we give the boys: sit, stop, time for a bath/shower, eat, milk… and of course the words that come out of my mouth when I am either angry, REALLY angry, or when I stub my toe… words that I wasn’t aware I kept saying until the day Skywalker dropped some toys he was carrying (he was probably 3 or 4) and he said “Coño!” – clear as day. Sunshine didn’t bat an eye; he just looked at me and said, “I know he didn’t learn THAT one from me…” After that, I was more careful. I still say them, but not as often… I mean, you can’t help it when you step barefoot on a Lego or when the recipe called for ½ teaspoon and you just dumped ½ tablespoon and that was the last 2 cans of pureed pumpkin in the city… but I digress.

I was talking about folk sayings. Since I am all about edumacating those around me (I love that word…) I decided to share some wisdom with you. I have already shared some of these words with my husband and my best friends. Most of them quote them religiously now and get the same raised eyebrow look that I get from anyone who doesn’t understand (and that they gave me the first time they heard them). The following sayings are translated directly from Spanish, which makes it fun. Some of them are shared in different countries. When you say one of these in Puerto Rico, nothing else has to be said. The circle of wisdom is complete. But words of wisdom they are, so brace yourself! You are about to be enlightened in Puerto Rican wisdom:

1. Shrimp that falls asleep, the current drags him away – If you are not paying attention to what is going on, you will face the consequences – they don’t have to be fatal ones, just sucky ones. You know, you snooze, you lose.

2. Pigeon pass – another form of not paying attention, but in this case, you are a sucker for it. For example, when you check your receipt leaving the store and realized that you weren’t charged for an item, you say, Pigeon pass… and walk away. Or, when you give someone the chance to do buy the first lottery ticket and they don’t but you do and then you win? Pigeon Pass.

3. Taking me/you for a low hanging mango – when someone (me or you) is taken for a fool (or someone is trying to).

4. Is not the same to call the Devil than to see him coming – Not the same to say you can handle or deal with something than to actually have to handle it/deal with it (and of course, you can’t). In other words, be careful what you wish for.

5. I don’t have hairs on my tongue – “Yeah, you heard me, I said it, so what?” or speaking the truth bluntly.

6. Changing oranges for bottles – made a bad deal, got something of lesser value for something of higher value.

7. The front light is the one that shines – A favorite of Sunshine: Do now what you can do now or you might not have a chance later: for example, “Kids do you need to go to the bathroom before we leave” “No!” “The front light is the one that shines!” (And if they don’t go, then they have to go and there is no restroom in sight… that gives you liberty to say: “I told you that the front light is the one that shines” again).

8. There is a cat trapped in here – Something is fishy here…

9. Slower than a tar drip – No need to explain… have you tried to drip tar?

10. That’s another $20 – That’s a different story altogether.

11. The monkey knows the tree it climbs- is perhaps best understood as ‘no-one knows the truth of a situation better than those involved in it’. Which is similar to:

12. Nobody knows what is in the pot, except the spoon that stirs it.

13. They even took the nails from the cross – This one is based on a true story. Many years ago, San Juan was attacked by pirates and they ransacked the city. They even took the gold nails that were in the crucifix at the Cathedral. Therefore this means: they took EVERYTHING.

14. Although the monkey might dress in silk, monkey it still is - This would seem to be a comment that no matter how a person tries to present themselves, they cannot hide their true nature.

15. Whoever doesn’t like soup, he gets 3 bowls from heaven. – Similar to when it rains, it pours.

16. Without pants on - it is used to mean something said without prejudice but also without tact, bluntly honest

17. Let’s see how the copper is beaten – we’ll have to wait to see how things turn out.

18. The eggs were priced at a quarter – Things got bad.

19. To be barer than the knee of a goat – Without ANY money.

20. While the ax comes and goes – While we wait

21. To tie the dogs with sausages – to do something stupid, that makes no sense.

22. When Columbus puts his finger down - in Plaza Colon Old San Juan there is a sculpture of Christopher Columbus. The sculpture shows depicts him pointing towards the sky. The expression is used to signify that something will never happen.

23. This one is an answer: When my kids ask me where are we going, or where am I going and I don’t want to tell them (because they just need to get in the car after me asking them 20,000 times or because I am not in the habit of informing there of EVERY one of my comings and goings): “To old age”. I usually say it in Spanish: “Pa’ Viejo”. They know what it means…

24. To make hearts out of guts – to make the best out of a bad situation.

25. Thinking of pregnant little birds - used to describe someone who has their head in the clouds or who's daydreaming.

26. Tell me who you hang out with and I’ll tell you who you are – your reputation is tied to those you keep company with

27. So much swimming, to drown at the shore - used to describe someone who has come very close to completing something and yet failed at the end.

28. It is not easy taking Rambo's knife away from him, but it can be done. – I told you we were wise.

Now, be aware that these are not the only ones. There are MANY more… these are just the ones that I feel comfortable putting in a blog… we Puerto Ricans can have a pretty filthy mouth. I grew up listening to many of these (I still get #23 from MY dad if I ask where he’s going and he doesn’t want to tell me).

Now you can use these. Wow your friends with your newly acquired pearls of wisdom. Just don't put them in a fortune cookie, that's just the wrong culture. But you can put them inside a mofongo... mmmmmm.....

Fried foods? That's another post...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

After all this time, I am back.

Like the rainbow and the sun after the rain, I am back.

Like the lost puppy everyone oohs and ahhs over in the news, I am back.

Like the first sprouts in the garden, I am back.

Oh, who are we kidding….

Like the 3 feet of snow that fell in Colorado in May, after you thought it was all done, I am back.

Like the garlic bread you had for lunch yesterday, I am back.

Like that pimple that you thought you had taken care of before ID picture day, I am back.
 (OK, I won't gross you out with a picture of THAT)

Like the cough that you tried to quench with some Robitussin and now you are in church, I am back.

Like the kid you thought had graduated and moved out of the house and now you had turned his room into your long awaited sewing/craft/reading/pretty guest room, I am back.

But just like all those things, I am GLAD to be back. I have missed you all. So...Be ready now. If I can continue to get away with writing my blog at my new job at least a couple of days a week, I would get a sweater, because it’s cool, Baby!