Is that a TENT POLE in your pants?

If you are sexually repressed or overly sensitive, please do not read on. Because I am now going to talk to you about hard-ons. That ubiquitously male tent pole in the pants that can at once be a source of shame or a badge of honor, depending on the age in which it occurs.

The thing about a hard-on is it can happen at any time. It’s uncontrollable and sudden. And it’s a beacon that ultimately points to one thing — and one thing only — regardless of sexual orientation.

Now when you are male and come down with the big C, the part of the body that must be attacked to save your life is beside the point. But once said cancer is duly disposed of, it could be that your life is irrevocably altered if you’ve had giant lasers and surgeon scalpels pointed at your nether regions.

You see where I’m going with this. Now, enter VIAGRA (or any of those other tiny male miracle pills that fill our inboxes daily with spam). I don’t know about you, but I am HIGHLY unlikely to take these mysterious offerers of HOT SEXY FREEDOM up on their drugs that come from GODKNOWSWHERE. This is, of course, beside the point, but...

Instead, I delete the emails like a daily plague while saying a silent prayer of gratitude that these pills exist in such abundance. Here’s why.

For more years than I can count, I’ve been among those hoards of women who pretend to be asleep. Who inwardly go concave when — TURNS OUT — I was about to be the recipient of a nice, big INNOCENT bear hug with no underlying innuendo.

You all know these women. We’re at your girls’ nights, your book clubs, your PTO meetings, on your Facebook and at your dinner tables. We’ve been finishing college and grad school as hot little willing participants. But then we started those long days of corporate desk or travel slogdom. Bringing home the bacon too while taking our temperatures and saying, “NOW.” Then came the ultimate juggling act. Big time career coupled with those little birdies crowding up the nest with their sweet little mouths waiting for the worm.

So those UPALLNIGHT worm-providing through our once ample — and much ogled — breasts episodes, followed by the days of trying to be A WOMAN OF THE 00s began to take it’s toll. Some of us quit to focus on the birdies and TO STOP BURNING THAT DAMNABLE CANDLE AT BOTH ENDS. Some of us kept up the good fight. And some of us channeled our creative juices into a side business that we run after the birdies are roosted for the night and you are in your birthday suit pitching a tent in the sheets and waiting for us to return to you.

About the time of a second wind called ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (and a little thing called completely unfair and poorly-timed hormones), you might be ready to go back to rock-n-roll queen-dom. Patently unfair if you happen to have a partner with the BIG C.
Luckily, some mad scientist — who I’m guessing was not female (just sayin’) — uncovered the secret formula for loving forever. (I think Hugh Hefner was behind it all.)

So if you’re 40-something and just trying to survive the madness. And if you happen to end up with a male partner with cancer, there may be hope after all.

And if — after a few months of religious pill use — he wakes up one morning, reaches for your hand (awwww...) and pulls it towards his crotch beacon that is suddenly emitting a signal with no pills in sight [LOUD needle scratch], you may actually find yourself NOT feigning sleep THIS ONE TIME.

TODAY’S THEME SONG: Make Some Noise. Beasties. My rhymes... age like wine as I get older. I'm getting bolder competition is waning.I got the feeling and I'm single laning.


All over yer face, kid.

Without warning your life goes from cancer [insert dark cloud and boom of thunder that follows you everywhere] to you’re done!!! [insert people looking for all that sparkly sunshine that’s supposed to be poking through them thar clouds] But there really haven’t been any moments of screaming from the rooftops. No moments of intense jubilation. No shoulders suddenly removed from ears moments of oh, that’s where they go.

And this was puzzling me. Where were the hallelujahs and praise Jesuses? Or even the champagne fountain complete with fireworks that shoot out of everyone’s ASSES at the push of a button? No where. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why.

And then it hit me. Like a shot of sun reflection to the eye from a shiny bumper in a summer parking lot. CANCER IS NOT OVER. IT WILL NEVER, EVER BE OVER.

Ah-ha moment complete, the hubby and I had a chat. And the truth of it is that no matter how many times we assure people that, “Yes, he’s better! Yes, he’s all done with treatment! Yes, we are so relieved to be on this side!” We are a couple of fucking liars.

We smile and nod and say all of the right things. Because, really, even your closest friends DO NOT want to hear what you’re really thinking. And that is something like this:




So now that I got that off my chest, I’m concentrating on removing my shoulders from my ears and remembering what it feels like to fully inhale and exhale like you have all of the time in the world.

We took some time after the last treatment to try to get life back on track. I was immediately bombarded with all those “YAYS YOU’RE BACKS! Now you can finally get my shit DONES!” We got pummeled and batted around like a trapped fly with medical reports (see my last post). Got the pump out and did a couple of fist pumps for that. The hubby headed back to Cali for some overdue work meetings.

Then it was off to Florida for the much-anticipated and much-needed vacation. After about a million ideas including everything from Fiji (my all-time ultimate dream vaca, just in case you’re really rich and want to sponsor us) to Turks & Caicos (running a very close second), we landed in Tampa with a small thud, but very thankful for the amazing generosity of friends who loaned us their posh condo in a four-star resort.

It’s funny how we were so GOING BIG and then sat there two nights after the port was out and said, “We’re tired.” We suddenly had no steam to fuel the energy needed to update passports, book places abroad and fly for hours. No. We just needed some warmth and a pool. And the Brents were at the ready.

Turns out it was just what the doctor ordered. The pool was perfect and staffed. The beaches were an easy day trip away. And we even decided last minute to surprise the girls with a day trip to the Magic Kingdom on a rainy day. It wasn’t until they spied the big ears that they had a clue and it was priceless. We slogged around my formerly most hated place in the universe and joined in with their joy immediately. We laughed all day because we were soaked to our unders and wearing Disney ponchos no less. At one point, I ran into one of the many stores to grab said ponchos and when the hubby called to find me, I explained, “I think I’ve landed in the place were the princesses go to vomit.”

We truly had a GREAT day. Embraced it fully and didn’t let the constant drenching downpour and closed rides due to lightning dampen our enthusiasm. “I JUST FINISHED CANCER TREATMENT AND I’M GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!!!”

Uh. No. But I’m so riding Dumbo again the next time I go...

So since we landed back in reality post vacation, we’ve been in the throes of kitchen remodel. We have to fully move out this weekend. And then there was the downed apple tree from—er—MAY 2010 to contend with. And a garden to plant. And soccer games to attend. And science projects to complete. And birthdays to celebrate. And new clients to pitch. And annual meetings to plan.

And. Well. Before you know it, you’re back ensconced. Forever changed and liver enzymes all wack from too much wine. But.

I may never take a fully deep breath again. An so what if my shoulders reach for the sky. My nearest and dearest is here and alive and sassy enough to tell me to take a chill pill. So that’s all I need. (I don't need this or this. Just this ashtray... And this paddle game. The ashtray and the paddle game and that's all I need... )

TODAY’S THEME SONG: These Days. Black Keys. My hand to God
I didn't mean to. After all. Look what we've been through.


I'm a little teapot. What? What?

“I've had some time to think about IT
And watch the sun sink like a stone
I've had some time to think about you
On the long ride home...”
-Long Ride Home

“Things can move at such a pace
The second hand just waved goodbye.”
-Let Him Fly

Patty Griffin just seems to pop into our minds on a day like today. Close call? Coulda been IT? HOLY SHIT? I did think these lyrics at many times over the last of these HELLISH 9 months. When you hear those FUCKING stupid words: CANCER. STAGE. THREE. I immediately pictured myself in black (painfully stylish though trying to look too grief-stricken to care.) Jackie O. Yes.

GDMF. It’s been a LONG STRANGE TRIP. And today when we got up for the early call of the surgeon, it felt like deja vu. Our hearts racing in fear of waking up late. But been there done that. So up we got. At 5am. Showered. Dressed. Then girls. Complaining. “I’m exhausted.” (Yea. Me too sister.) Purse Girl at the ready (along with TRPL TRBL and Tabby Cat if needed). We are SO freaking blessed. And I don’t really mean that in a JESUS way. I mean it more in a UNIVERSE HAS BEEN EXCEPTIONALLY KIND TO US kind of way. (Though I’m sure that all of my many, many friends praying to Jesus has helped too.)

Today was the day. The day that I could officially stop wallowing and start to truly look forward. But, DAMN, if it didn’t feel almost the same. The palpitations. The same ride to Lutheran in Wheat Ridge. But instead of all of those side-head-tilts-I’m-sure-it-will-all-be-okays (Mel? Ring a bell?), it was HELL-YES-ES! As in HAIL-YAY-ES. Seriously.

When someone actually arrives to have a PORT taken out? Well, that just means another FUCK-YOU-CANCER! (And who doesn’t want to SCREAM that from the top of their lungs? Seriously.

The last few weeks haven’t been the rosy road I had envisioned (delusions of grandeur anyone?) After the biopsy and Mayo send, we were all SO? (Kind of like Pauly D on Jersey Shore. “WHAT-CHOO-LOOKIN-AT-BI-OTCH?!”)

Turns out. No. Those results weren’t just nothing to worry about. They were showing more FUCKING CANCER to not just one, but TWO pathologists. And. Turns out? Not one of the three awesome docs wanted to be the one to say those truly SHIT-I-FIED words to us. THE COUPLE. The couple who is so in love that they all well up with tears when they look at us? Yea. That’s US.

So it wasn’t until our dear, dear Kelly at the surgeon’s office came in to meet with us that we learned the full scoop. Dr. Hollywood (love him) was still in surgery, so she grabbed paperwork in that“HOLYSHITYOU’VEGOTTOBEKIDDINGME” kind of way. I could read it on her face. Lucky for us, Doc Mozia returned before we left. Cleared it up like this:
“It’s like this. We were all shitting our pants. Knew it couldn’t be more FUCKING CANCER. But DAMN if those results didn’t just scream that right in all of our overly educated faces. So. We all three agreed: TIME FOR ANOTHER OPINION. And we decided to keep this juicy tidbit to ourselves. No staff. Just the three of us. And whoever got the results back from Mayo first? Well. THEY could do the deed.”

One of them did. Just. That. But how can you NOT freak out all over again when cute Kelly is welling up and asking how we’re taking the news. My breath LEFT me. No breath for the wicked. (I’m sorry, Jesus. I really do love you. I take it all back.)

It wasn’t until the mystery was all cleared up. NOFUCKINGCANCER. And 10 minutes down the road that I lost it. Full wailing. Holy shit. The dam broke. Then later than night and some wine later: “So. What would you DO?” “Well. If it was 20 years and I was 63? I’d fight it. If it was 40 years and I was 83? Not so much.” Okay. I could live with that. Because I was thinking: “Kauai. I will move us there and we will be exceptionally happy for FIVE YEARS.”

What a relief. I can keep the love of my life for a little while longer AND we can start making some seriously kick-ass plans for the FUTURE. Future. A concept that has just rejoined our vernacular. A few short hours ago.

So after the surgery, we hit Union Brasserie before they were officially open and those Profts. Well. They opened their arms. Their bottle of prosecco. And made us one freakin’ awesome omelette. Yes. We. Are. Blessed.

We love you all and our hearts are now so open that we can’t imagine a life without each and every one of you...

TODAY’S THEME SONG: Road Trippin. Chilis. So much has come before those battles lost and won. This life is shining more forever in the sun.


POW-POW (Gotta get that.)

The vast majority of my friends here in Colorado are obsessed this time of year. And I can only nod with a small twinge of envy. We live in one of the top skiing destinations in the world — great skiing in fact only 30 or so minutes away — and then there is us. I want to be one of the cool ones who talk about this elusive pow-pow. Epic days. All those exciting, hip words that are commonly associated with the kind of powder power that only the Rockies can deliver. And once upon a time, we were there too. Season passes purchased that took us up on many an early weekend morning to hit the slopes and squeeze in a quick apres ski before bellying up to the beast that is a return on I-70 on any big powder day (or even not).

But not now. We’re a rare breed. Just because we haven’t truly skied in over 4 years. So the question is: Where do we find our own very special brand of POW-POW if it’s not careening down a thickly powdered hill at 20 mph?

Here’s what happened. This year was finally going to be THE YEAR. The bean finally old enough to really shred it up. Miss-miss already riding a lift alone and knocking it out (and only a year away from the free ride pass that all 5th graders get. Yahoo!) But we got stuck on the lift. So next year we may be cool again. This year, we’re just going to stick with uncool and cancer-free.

The hubby’s last chemo was on February 15th. He almost didn’t make the cut due to low platelet and white blood cell counts, but...he did well, collected his congrats coffee mug and we bade farewell to our wonderful nurses (for at least until Thursday when we were due back for pump removal and IV). It was a milestone day. Without a doubt. But it’s hard to skip-to-my-lou when you are feeling like a dookie sandwich.

Then he got the added insult to injury of having to head home and conduct two enemas in a row, then try to hold his butt cheeks together and let me drive him back to the hospital so Dr. Matt could stick a tube six inches up his arse with no anesthesia. Who said we weren’t cool?

The verdict — which was delivered in that damnable room again — wasn’t terrible. They took two biopsies and would call us in the morning. (Or more like a few days.) Ulceration around the incision site and more swelling the rectum. Oh ass fire? Can you hear me? “Probably nothing to worry about, but we want to check it out.” Okay. But, uh, doc? Did you have to put us back in this room again? “This time the door was open. Did you notice?” Ha.

In preparation for our expected ‘down for three+ days’ post-chemo (which had become de rigor), I’d made reservations at the new and awesome Pizzeria Locale for miss-miss’ big 10th b-day. No pressure on the hubby. He could just stay home if needed. But miss-miss would get her day. I went big on the presents also in anticipation. The girl truly did expect to wake up with fireworks shooting out of her butt. And I’m so not kidding. “It’s a DOUBLE-DIGIT BIRTHDAY MOOOOMMMM! .

But this particular week, the hubby didn’t go completely pancake-flat. He was up and around, though still with a vague sense of malaise, discomfort and lack of poop control. So let’s just suffice it say, we’ve had worse. Usually it’s all of that PLUS an inability to raise his head and utter a sentence. So I’ll take it.

He was able to function (and control function) well enough to cook birthday breakfast and attend the dinner. He left a little early, but he was THERE. Again. I’ll take it.

We had a long weekend and miss-miss had a friend over for the night on Sunday. We took them brunching at Union Brasserie (our dear friends’, the Profts, new restaurant in Lakewood), pedicuring and we ended the night with a movie and personal pizzas cheffed up by the hubby.

He continued on a slow improvement bent (though walking into the 4th Grade Mini-Society event that celebrates colonial economic ventures, I noticed him walking a bit funny). We were able to laugh about it all later. Because who on Earth would ever think you’d poop yourself walking into your kid’s elementary school event? No one. And he just continued on — unphased — after a quick stop at the restroom. The irony of it was just too much. Still is.

I think the thing that struck me the most is how normal that is for us now. It used to break us both. The mere thought. Like you’ve retreated back to infanthood and have to wear a freaking die-dee again. But now it’s just another thing. Shrug it off. Ass cancer. Meh.

Friday came and Dr. Matt called with the pooptube scoop. The ulcerated cells looked off. So they are sending it off to Mayo for further analysis. The hubby was all zen. “Yea? Just crapped my pants. So?” I was all, “WHAT THE FUCK?!? WHENISTHISGOINGTOBEOVERFORFUCKSAKES?!?” Huh.

And this was only after a night of downing an entire bottle of Free Range Red at Purse Girl’s. So it could only go downhill from there apparently. (I scared JMac off. And that’s really hard to do.)

So what is becoming crystal clear in all of this is: We may never be done. Post-surgical damage. Post-radiation damage. Mental derangement. A new, skewed sense of normal. Another surgery to remove the port (IF his blood counts are back to normal by tomorrow. Fingers and toes all crossed.) Another set of biopsy results due back from Mayo in a week. Ad nauseam.

The consensus is that it’s time to just get on with it anyway. So we went out for a date night on Saturday. Catching up with our friends at The Kitchen. Putting ourselves on the wait list for their April Wine and Beer class. Eating and drinking at the bar. Laughing and feeling truly normal. No poop stops. Just a night out. Like the normal people.

So with the exception of a few things still waiting to be checked off of the medical to-do (which is now much shorter, thankyouverymuch), here we go. Time to get that boom-boom-pow(-pow). And maybe even hit the slopes. You never know.

TODAY’S THEME SONG: That Moon Song. Gregory Alan Isakov. ...and ahh that full bellied moon she's a shinin on me. yeah she pulls on this heart like she pulls on the sea. Even more beautiful to hear when sung in a barn on a cold, clear night...


The headless chicken and the zen cowboy.

Last night I dreamt there was a rattlesnake in my bed. I woke up with a panic. Then realized it was the chemo pump. Poison must all sound the same.

We go through these motions. Trying to keep our chins up. Eyes on the prize. But it gets blurry when my eyes keep betraying me with tears. It seems logical that I’d feel like we’re on the homestretch, but it feels more like on the rack being stretched limb from limb.

I’ve had no explanation for it. None what-so-ever. But as I sat with the girls at the breakfast table encouraging them through their oatmeal this morning, it was clear as a bell. For as I looked into their faces, I spied the hubby just over their heads. Doubled over in pain. Back to us. Miss-miss got up before I thought to stop her and she said, “Dad? Are you crying?” He’d taken a bite of OATMEAL and the neuropathy had attacked his eyes. Suddenly. Without warning. Straight from the jaw.

And that’s the way it goes. I see him struggle. Strain. Pain radiating through his body during the most mundane of daily tasks. (Pooping? Check. Taking a bite of oatmeal? Check. Grabbing a bottle of milk to make a latte? Check.) I see it in his eyes and my whole gut aches. His face is riddled with pain and discomfort. It’s impossible to miss when you know someone from the inside out.

It’s painful —excruciating in fact— to watch. And I struggle with keeping up the brave face. But when your chief partner-in-crime takes leave of his facilities. Well.

He tries so hard to hide it. (He’s always been such a talker.) I think of it as going inside of himself. We all have to do it when we’re in survival mode, as anyone who has gone through childbirth can attest. I remember walking down the hall to my last c-section, IV pole in tow, hubby holding my left hand, sis-in-law on my right. And she was so nervous she was jabbering away. I went completely inside of myself and my vision even narrowed. The instinct was so strong I wanted to trip her to make her STOP TALKING. And then, just as suddenly —once that baby was out and the hubby went off to attend to her— I was so thankful for her and her chatter and her arm rubs that I nearly cried from relief. Those animal instincts are so random.

I owned up to the PA on Tuesday. My crazy death thoughts (CDTs induced by SPCs). The fear of this neuropathy palpable as I conjured up calling T-Rocks to come build us a ramp because the hubby was most certainly wheelchair bound. “I went to my crazy head place,” I told her. This stopped her dead in her tracks. She took us both in and said, “Let me tell you something...” The gist was that I am in the worrying role and that means I take every bit of every worrywart inkling and carry it around. The unhealthy part is that the hubby lets me and gives me all of his too for good measure. So while I’m off running around in headless chicken mode, he’s all zen and so not going there. And one day it will hit him. And he’ll be a wreck. So if anyone has any ideas about how to coach a chronic worrywart into handing it off mode, I’m all ears. It gets kind of heavy inside this head.

Before the amazing coaching session with the PA, we had a random nurse encounter. One of the floaters was doing the rounds with us —temp taking, BP, Rx review, etc. And during the BP I distinctly heard a squeak. Then another. And I was pretty sure. Could it be? THAT WAS SO NOT THE HUBBY. She’d cut not one —BUT TWO! The hubby and I exchanged a look as she kept on her merry way and didn’t even acknowledge said in-fart-tion. When she left the room, the green cloud descended and we both were like “THAT is gross.” I opened the door. Then she happened back by and closed it again. We were trapped. Nasty.

We’ve had school closed since Monday. Today being their first day back. The weather took an odd turn from our normally bright sunshiney days. Dipping well below zero for the HIGH. So my little neuro-pathetic hubby who is in BIG trouble in cold (as I’ve mentioned) was house bound. Me left to scrape ice and keep those home fires burning. It wasn’t a big deal though. Our friend and savior (thanks Meggie) called to up the bean’s playdate from after school to all day then to overnight and Purse Girl swooped in with grabbing the miss-miss for Tuesday and we all just chilled in our various locales during chemo then back at home to rest and wait out the rattlesnake/pump and weather and anything else headed our way. T-Man threw in some food for good measure (and on her birthday, no less) and we were set.

Now we’re here getting that damnable pump removed and getting some fresh fluids into the hubby’s bod. The machine says 17 minutes to go and I am blogging instead of writing that data sheet that’s due tomorrow or getting invoices done or anything else I should be doing instead.

I’m even more behind than usual because something got me yesterday and I couldn’t stop sleeping. At least not until Purse Girl showed up and stared at me through the darkness. She’d been spooked out of her house by the sound of a piano key being hit, followed by shuffling around. (And who could blame her.) Still not 100% sure what it was, but her Robby checked it out and only found a couple of books on the floor with nothing missing.

It’s nice to keep things exciting, doncha know.

Bottom line is this: YES. The next couple of days are highly likely to SUCK BIG FAT ASS. YES. The hubby is very likely to be couch bound with very little sign of life. YES. It will take a few days until his pain subsides to bearable. YES. He will JUST be starting to come back to me when it’s time to go under again. BUT. The next one is the LAST one. And that, my friends, is the light I am going to focus my sights on even as my vision narrows, gets blurry from tears and I go inside myself where the sun don’t shine.


TODAY’S THEME SONG: Sunshine on Leith. Proclaimers. I will be with you while the Chief, puts Sunshine On Leith. I'll thank him for his work and your birth and my birth.


Look who got beat with the ugly stick.

When it’s chemo week, Monday takes on a whole new meaning of ugh-ly. Today it’s been flat out beat with the ugly stick. My legs went to lead getting out of bed. The hubby’s head hung lower as he leaned into me for some reassuring head scratches (a proven calming action for him). I can feel the dread oozing out of him. And then he took a few deep breaths and we both got on with it. (Though pulling the covers back over our heads would be far, far preferable.)

Even though we’ve both talked about not really remembering what in the hell normal means any more, last week was almost there. I noticed that he wasn’t in complete agony with ass pain and that his trips to the poo-poo-potty were a titch less frequent. We had two meals out during the week (an all time record low for us) and he never once hit the men’s. An effin miracle in my book.

So it’s hard to avoid going all sad sack when the week of doom comes around. You start having visions of those kind, kind nurses wearing black hooded capes and carrying scythes. And damn if the hubby didn’t nearly hurl the last TWO times we walked into the temple of doom. (Okay, so there’s hope there too. I know I tend towards the melodrama. No need to remind me.) But last time we got to infusion (after the near-hurl episode walking up the stairs) there was an elderly lady in chair one of our row, eyes closed in restless sleep, head back, mouth agape, strange breathing/not breathing sounds escaping her maw as she grasped a rosary. I’m sorry, but that’s a little hard to stare at for over four solid fucking hours.

After various half-made plans went awry on Friday, we landed at the Robbins-aas-es for some of that spontaneous weekend fun we used to all know and love. Two of our dearest friends and we never-ever seem to be able to gather. So we reminisced over a bottle or two of wine and good food and pledged to do better. I always know that once the little-littles are big-biggers it will come full-circle. And we’ll all just do our best until then, right?

Saturday morning was the pre-chemo-week-errand-running-fest. Finally picking up one of Mima’s chairs I took in to have recovered over three months ago (or more). I also appear to have acquired a small obsession with a certain dog breed (I can hear the collective uh-ohs from here) and —as luck would have it— Tim the upholsterer happened to have one right there on hand. Huh. So after some consultation, I realized that I would really have to write back to the breeder and let him know that, while I am unfortunately not planning to use her for HUNTING, I do promise to take her on various adventurous pursuits in the wildlands of the Rocky Mountains. (After I wrote back to tell him we were looking for a family pet, I was greeted with a full day of complete and utter silence. Breeders and their snobberies. :) He wrote me back right away after receiving the adventure reassurance and it was settled. I had made the cut because I was southern and get it. And who knows? Maybe I’ll take up huntin me some a dem birds...(that dog’ll hunt.) Is cow hunting legal?

The hubby-jury is still out, but he knows when defeat is growing nigh. And the mama dawg isn’t even preggers yet (mr. breeder guy is going to write me after the vet visit and ultrasound this week) so he can relax for at least a few more months...

After running around to pick up stuff and buy stuff and recycle stuff, we cooked some stuff and headed out to Cure Farm for the Slow Food potluck. I was supposed to be on hand for set up and greeting people and didn’t quite make it. I’m lucky that most of my fellow board members there and with BYBA have accordingly lowered their expectations of moi after I pulled out my cancer card and flashed it around.

The girls had a ball running around the farm with Anne and Paul’s little girl, petting the Berkshires and ducks, and riding the toy tractor. We very much enjoyed the delicious eats with our fellow foodies and were happy that we could bring a taste of South Cakalaky —with chicken BBQ cooked in homemade mustard-based sauce and some apple fennel coleslaw. It was all gone. No leftovers.

Sunday brought us back to food. (Really. Why try to escape its inherent goodness?) We headed back to Lakewood with some finishing touches to Union Brasserie. Our dear Profts are finally realizing their dream of opening a restaurant and it’s hard to not be excited by a decorating gig that requires me to shop with someone else’s money. This is my first ever time moonlighting as a decorator, but the Profts had ultimate faith in me because Vancy-pants and I bonded many times while he tried to work out the hundreds of kinks in our circa 1968 POS house. He usually started a project in his contractor days by helpfully suggesting that we “just tear the piece of shit down” albeit with a stronger Czech accent then I could ever muster. And even though he thought my color choices were sometimes suspect ("baby-shit-brown” or “Czech-army-green”), he appreciated my keen eye and design sensibilities. Or something like that. And Eve obviously agreed because she is the one that sits behind the long table and makes decisions “like a fucking communist regime.” (Another Vance-ism.)

But over the course of 15-some-odd years, we’ve thrown around ideas, designed basements, plotted out pergolas and patios and decks, figured on fences and enjoyed more amazing meals together than should be legal. So as I barked orders out to the hubby who was dangling from a sky-high ladder, I had a glass of fine champagne in my hand and some fresh calamari, a crisp wedge salad or plate of oeufs au plat, jambon et pommes de terre nearby. (Okay, I let the hubby come down every now and then and have some too.) The girls were in heaven and it was one of the finer days I’ve spent.

Waking up today to the dread was not what I had in mind. And when you add in a hubby who is entirely resistant to cold at any level on chemo in the face of -6 degree temps this week. Well. Hells. Bells. You see, one of his most difficult side effects of the oxaliplatin in his chemo cocktail is chemo-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN). It’s the one that had him throwing ice cream at me after the very first infusion. (No, I really didn’t deserve it that time.) So the moment cold air hits his airway, he has an instantaneous spasm that’s like what I imagine water-boarding must feel like. He actually can breathe, but it feels like he just swallowed a sword. So today I’ve been trying to think through the logistics of getting him into the car after infusion tomorrow so he, a. doesn’t puke on me and, b. doesn’t spasm out and choke to death. But, seriously, no pressure. Mmm-kay?

I also do not savor the inevitable shoveling and ice scraping each morning as I try to herd the screaming mimis into the car. But. This too shall pass.

I keep reminding myself that I am here for HIM no matter what. My selfishness can come again another day. And no matter what I am facing, I am so not the one facing the walk of doom to the drip-drip-drip that turns you into a ball of pain with a body of mush and a spasming bronchial tube. I just get to watch.

And? After tomorrow, we only have ONE EFFING MORE TO GO. That makes me want to run out in the street buck-naked in the negative-below-tundra of this week’s Boulder and scream happy-happy-happy. Really. So be glad you aren’t one of the lucky few who calls me howdy-neighbor.

My friend, Bubble Girl, said it best. “60 degrees on Friday, 0 degrees today. Colorado's bipolar.” But aren’t we all?

Here’s to keeping the hubby breathing and out of a wheelchair this week while not sliding the car into anything and getting groceries and girls to school. And so forth. Then it’s on to the next one.

Last up: February 15th. Mark it down and meet me outside. Be there or be square. Clothing optional.

TODAY’S THEME SONG: Marry Song. Band of Horses. Lighten your load. And see how I killed the wheel barrow I borrowed.