What else???

I’m having the distinct suspicion that someone or something is out to get me.

Today at work, I was feeling fairly good. Sure I was coughing like a crazy fool, but I still felt overall pretty good.

Well apparently people at work didn’t think so. I was called into my manager’s office at about 3:00 PM and told to go home because they thought I wasn’t well enough yet.

That’s nice and all, and thank you for your concern, but I was there to work and I was feeling fine. But, they insisted and I went home.

So I got home and worked on a few things at my computer. Hey, I had the programs, so I figured I’d take a few things home. I sent those off and went to bed for a nap. (You think I wasn’t going to sleep? Ha!)

I woke up and checked Email, chatted a bit on the Internet and just took it easy.

I got a notice saying that my Internet Security program needed updating, so I started the process to update it.

I restarted the computer.

I got a blue screen of death.

That’s right folks, my brand-new computer, not even 6 months old, has just gone kaput on me.

Luckily I have a second computer at home (yes, I am that geeky) and was able to pull up Dell’s customer support. I talked with the guy there and he ran me through a bunch of diagnostics, only to find that my hard drive has, indeed, crashed. Again.

God. Damn. IT!

So Dell is sending a new Hard Drive my way. That’s wonderful and all, but it doesn’t replace every fucking program and every fucking file that I had on the old one. And yes, I did keep backups but it’d been a little while since I’d done a backup. Now all that stuff is gone.

Can I say it again? I’m going to anyway.

GOD. DAMN. IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So tomorrow I am going to the doctor in hopes that I don’t have Pneumonia. With the way my luck has been going, don’t be surprised if I am admitted into the hospital for a while.

I’m not saying I will be, but…

..just don’t be surprised.

Holiday Blues Already

Can I tell you how much I am dreading December?

My life is going to be full of nothing but rehearsals, shows and rehearsals for the next three weeks. You read that right, folks. THREE weeks. And somewhere in the middle of all that madness I have to clean my apartment, buy a Christmas tree, decorate it and my apartment, and buy groceries for my annual holiday party (December 17 if you are in the area). And meanwhile continue to go to work, rehearsals, shows and more rehearsals.

Are you exhausted yet? I am already! 🙂

Here’s a rundown of my schedule for the next three weeks. If you see a moment where I can shop for an overpriced Christmas Tree before December 17, just let me know.

Monday, November 29
Work 11:30 – 8:00 PM.

OK I could probably try to find a tree after work, but that means taking the train all the way home, grabbing the car, driving to a tree place (hoping I find the hunky lumberjack guy that’s sold me the last three trees I’ve bought in Chicago… Woof!) and then getting the thing home, up 3 flights of stairs, drag out all the Christmas crap, find the stand, plop the tree in the stand, water it, and maybe start decorating it if it’s not already past 3am by that point.

Yeah.. maybe not…

Tuesday, November 30
Work 9:30 – 6:00
Rehearsal (Slickers) 7:00 – 10:00 PM

Yeah, that day’s shot. Next.

Wednesday, December 1
Work 9:30 – 6:00
Dress Rehearsal (Slickers) 6:00 – 10:00 PM (?)

Another day blown.

Thursday, December 2
Work 9:30 – 6:00

What’s this? Nothing to do after work? Hmmmm.. If I’m not dead from exhaustion already, I might be able to do something on this night. See how well you’re helping me? What a great pal you are.

Friday, December 3
Work 9:30 – 6:00
Show (Slickers) 6:00 call in Oak Park. Show starts at 8PM. Runs til 11PM.

Notice how my work end times and my show/rehearsal call times overlap. Acrobatics and a bit of magic, my dear readers.

Saturday, December 4
Show (Slickers) 3:00 call. (Luckily this is just blocks away from my house. Thank God for small miracles.) Showtime 5:00. SECOND SHOW 8:00 PM. Done by 11:00 PM.
Party (Slickers) after show.

Yeah this day’s shot too. But wait, the week’s not over yet.

Sunday, December 5
Rehearsal (CGMC) 2:00 Call. Break 5:00. Start up again 6:00. Done by 9:00 PM.

And the madness begins yet again.

Monday, December 6
Work 11:30 – 8:00 PM

A free night! Whoo hoo! What to do!? Where to go? Who to see? Oh yeah.. Clean.. shop… decorate… continue on….

Tuesday, December 7
Work 9:30 – 6:00
Rehearsal (Slickers) 7:00 – 10:00 PM

In a perfect world, I’d have this night off, since that concert is already past. But no. I still have two more shows with this group. Read on.

Wednesday, December 8
Work 9:30 – 6:00
Tech Rehearsal (CGMC) 6:00 – 11:00 PM

Thursday, December 9
Work 9:30 – 6:00
Dress Rehearsal (CGMC) 6:00 – 11:00 PM

Friday, December 10
Work 9:30 – 6:00
Show (CGMC) 6:00 Call; 8:00 Curtain, runs til about 11:00 PM
Party afterward somewhere.

Saturday, December 11
Show (CGMC) 3:00 Call; 5:00 Curtain, runs til about 7:00; Dinner break; 7:45 Call; 8:30 Curtain, runs til about 11:30 PM
Cast Party afterward somewhere.

Sunday, December 12 (my birthday)
You’d think I’d get my birthday off, right? Ha!
Tech Rehearsal (Slickers) 4:00 – 6:00 PM
This is for our cabaret show, one of which is happening on Tuesday, the other on the following Sunday. I begged. I pleaded. I absolutely threw myself down at the mercy of the group to have this on another day. Nobody would budge. Thanks, guys.

Monday, December 13
Work 11:30 – 8:00

I ain’t doing shit tonight.

Tuesday, December 14
Work 9:00 – 6:00
Show (Slickers) 5:30 Call (yeah we’ll see how that goes); 8:00 Show – Done by 10 PM at the latest.

Wednesday, December 15
Work 9:00 – 6:00

Crunch time… gotta get all the shopping done now!

Thursday, December 16
Work 9:00 – 6:00

Last-minute cleaning… more shopping?

Friday, December 17 – PARTY DAY
No work (I took the day off.)
Party starts at 8:00 PM

Hell, if I ain’t ready by now, fuck it.

Saturday, December 18
A day of rest. Oh. My. GOD.

Sunday, December 19
Show (Slickers) 5:30 Call; 8:00 Show – Done by 10 PM at the latest.

Monday, December 20
I drop dead of exhaustion if I haven’t already.

Thanksgiving – My mother, My hero

After reading my posting about Thanksgiving, I need to add a few things that I think are really imporant, after all that has happened (and now that I am feeling a WHOLE LOT better. God love drugs.)

1. I can’t begin to express my appreciation, admiration and adoration for my mother. The woman is an absolute goddess. Upon her amazingly fragile shoulders, she carries this family, and carries it with the strength of 150 mothers and fathers combined. When the chips are down for her, she sees the silver lining and never, EVER gives up. She plods onward and makes things happen. If she, in her own weakened condition, can still do these things, then I am a far, far weaker person. I don’t know if I could handle it.

2. This weekend, my mother cooked a 23 lb. turkey, baked two pies, prepared sweet potatoes, vegetables, stuffing and all the rest of the fixings IN ADDITION TO caring for my father and accompanying him to the hospital AND taking care of me when I was feeling ill. She then proceeded to feed four hungry people.

3. The next day, my mother and I went to my sister’s house, where she baked COUNTLESS dozens of cookies– more than I could handle in my own weakened condition — and still went home feeling fine. I was the one who had to sleep for 4 hours.

4. Today, my mom was up and around again, ready to begin another day’s chores and activities, while I, in my still-weakened condition, could barely move.

Now granted, when I’m 100% healthy, I can run circles around the lady. But sometimes she does the same to me. And it simply astounds me. She just never quits.

I want to share a story about my mom with you. This story has long inspired me to believe in my mother as my hero. I think you will agree that she is rightly named as such.

In 1994, everything that could have possibly went wrong with my mom went wrong.

It all started with her hip replacement surgery, which, ironically, was supposed to finally make something right. She had for years been suffering from a deteriorated hip joint due to Legg Perthes Disease, which had afflicted her as a child. The hip replacement was many years too late in coming. The surgery was a success, but her recovery, and the toll that everything took on her heart and lungs weakened her system drastically.

However, we did not know this right away. In the hospital, all her signs were good for a full recovery. She went to physical therapy, got better, and came home.

After a couple weeks had passed, we noticed that mom was falling asleep at very odd times. Watching TV… at dinner… while talking to her. She had never done this before. We also noticed that when she did sleep at night, she snored so loudly that we could hear it in adjoining rooms. Again, this was never the case before. Finally, one day while at work, (my mom was a nurse at the same hospital where she had her surgery) a fellow nurse noticed that her nail beds were blue. Definitely a bad sign. So back to the hospital she went… to discover she had developed Emphysema as a result of the stress that her surgery and recovery put on her lungs; and also due to the fact that she had Asthma and was never correctly diagnosed. 3-4 weeks later she returned, forced to retire from work, and on Oxygen.

But that wasn’t the end. While doing cancer tests mainly on her lungs (my mom was a smoker for many years, however she had not smoked in over 10 years at this point), the doctor noticed blood in her urine and ordered a test on her kidneys. A lump was revealed. Mom had kidney cancer.

This scared us the most of all. Our family has seen the ravages of cancer on friends and family members alike. The extent of this cancer would not be known until the kidney came out, and it definitely had to come out. We were afraid of this procedure not only because of what the results could be, but because of the further stress on my mom’s already battered body. But mom surged forward and remained strong, although she did take some time to take pictures with my sister and I and the rest of the family, just in case. This was a very scary time for all of us.

The day of surgery came, and the whole family waited together. When the news came that the got the kidney, we were elated. It had not spread, and they got it in time. Mom was safe, for now.

We all headed to the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit to see mom. She had been intubated and was still asleep. When she awoke and saw us standing there, we could tell she was scared, but encouraged.

“How are you feeling, Mom?” I asked her.

Gently, and gingerly, my mom raised her right arm. And then, with a single, sudden movement, gave us the “Thumbs-Up” sign.

Now, after all she had been through; after all the pain and suffering, worry and despair, and procedures and operations; for this now-fragile woman to wake up from surgery, with tubes down her throat and in her arms, to be strong enough and sharp enough to know exactly what she needed to say in one simple gesture, conveyed to me that this was no ordinary woman.

Awash in tears, I knew right then and there that this extraordinary woman was more than just my mother.

She was, indeed, my hero.

And I still believe this today.

That’s something –someone– to be thankful for, if you ask me.

Thanksgiving from Hell

Aah Thanksgiving. Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie. Simple, right?

Not this year.

Not long after I posted about rcktman.com being up, I got a phone call from my mom.

They had taken my dad to the hospital on Wednesday night. Another Diabetic problem. He was delirious, didn’t know where he was, couldn’t get in or out of chairs, and even wet himself on his living room chair.

My mom had been with him all night in the emergency room. She was just getting home and getting to bed. She wasn’t sure if dinner was still on or not, since we were going to also host my dad’s brother (the priest) and their cousin. With me being sick and dad in the hospital, mom was about ready to call it all off. But I was feeling a little better by Thursday morning (I had barely slept since I slept almost all day Wednesday) so I told her I’d be there to help her out.

I finally got myself together and out the door by 1pm on Thursday. I hit some traffic on the way up, so I didn’t get to her house til 3pm. But by then a lot was already done, I just had to help with the heavy stuff.

Dinner finally occurred at 6pm. We were done and cleaned up by 7. And then out to see my dad.

Dad was still not doing so well. I could tell he wasn’t completely coherent about his surroundings yet, and he was certainly not happy to be there. He did know it was Thanksgiving, and didn’t want to be there for it. I couldn’t blame him, but then, considering the circumstances, I’d rather have him there than anywhere else.

As I’ve explained before here, my mom and dad are both not extremely well health-wise. With dad’s diabetes and mom’s emphysema, it makes it hard for both of them to even live together, since my dad is essentially confined to his chair, as he can barely walk… and mom has a hard time getting around because any over-exertion and she starts coughing and wheezing. Yet somehow they still live in the same house I grew up in and get by.

I keep waiting for the episode that will change all of that once and for all. It’s not because I like to be doomy and gloomy; it’s just that it’s inevitable and it’s going to happen soon.

The next day, my mom and I were supposed to go to my sister’s to make Christmas cookies. I was feeling fairly OK, although the fever has still not settled into the “normal” zone. I called my doctor to see if she would prescribe me something without me coming in and luckily (since what I now have is sounding more along the lines of bronchitis, which I’ve had zillions of times) she prescribed some antibiotics for me. But I was feeling bullish so I went along to my sister’s anyway. Probably not the best idea. After a few batches of cutouts and spritz cookies (and that was just scratching the surface), I was exhausted. I started coughing violently. So I took a nap in my sister’s spare bedroom. I missed the rest of the cookie baking. Luckily they split up the batches and gave me some to take home. 🙂

So I came home and crashed again… and this morning woke up feeling incredibly sore and worn out from all of the violent coughing I’ve been doing. So I gingerly got my stuff together and got ready to head home.

My mom felt bad for having me go along to my sister’s yesterday, but I told her I made the choice to go, it’s my own fault. She shouldn’t have to worry herself so much.

So Here I am… I still have a few things to bring upstairs. It’s pouring rain outside, it’s simply miserable, and I just want to go to bed. But my bed is stripped because all my sheets are in the car (I did sheets and blankets at my mom’s house while I was there.) Great.

Today is just one of those “Calgon Take Me Away” days that you always saw on TV. Yet there’s no magic box of bath soap to cure my ills. I just have pills and the love of two kitties. I guess that will have to do. I just wish they could carry stuff up from the car for me. 😉

Anyway… off to bed soon. Just wanted to share my hellish Thanksgiving story with you. I hope yours was much better and happier. 🙂

Announcing: Rcktman.com!

I can’t believe I’m telling you this. It’s taken me TWO YEARS to get this worked out. But finally, after much hair-pulling and frustration, I introduce to you: rcktman.com

Nothing much as of yet (and due to a big screw-up I lost a whole bunch of stuff) but eventually I’d like to move this blog there and keep everything central. All in due time.

In the meantime, make sure you visit the Photography section for the long-awaited pics from NYC! 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving to all!!