Proof of slightly alive

Monday night, when we went to bed, we decided to leave a window open to produce perfect sleepin’ weather in the room. Tuesday morning I woke up with a cold– one of those things where there’s no getting sick process, just oh, I guess I’m sick.

I got home from work on Tuesday and went to bed. Immediately. I woke up at 3:45 AM and called in sick then went back to bed until about 45 minutes ago, when my family got home and I moved into the living room. I doubt it will be more than another couple of hours until I’m in bed again.

Whee.

In which we’re all gonna die

Eagle-eyed and observant readers may have noticed that yesterday’s non-music-related post went up at about 2:30 PM, which is a time when one might expect me to be at work. As it turned out, yesterday was a snow day; we got ourselves a nice little ice storm Tuesday that went through into the morning hours and basically every district nearby called out, so the boy and I were home together all day.

Honestly, I suspect that the cancellation was less due to icy roads than icy school parking lots; the walk to my car after work was genuinely fucking terrifying, and while the roads get salted and plowed all night, the parking lots of the many schools we have in town do not, and it only takes one person slipping and breaking a hip and then the district is out a huge amount of money.

Today, there was school. Tomorrow … well …

Twenty below zero wind chills is gonna mean no school tomorrow. There are legitimate safety issues with kids who walk to school or have to wait outside for buses when it’s that cold. It ain’t happening. I’m sure they’re gonna make us wait until 5 AM and all that like usual when they make the call-off, but … nah. It ain’t happening.

Next week? Yeah, this is next week:

JESUS CHRIST, WEDNESDAY, WHAT THE FUCK DID WE DO TO YOU?

Now, the 20 below thing tomorrow morning is wind chill. The temps on that image are actual air temperatures, meaning that Wednesday is gonna be fifteen below before the seventeen mile an hour winds get taken into consideration. I would not be surprised if we lost the entire back four days, and Wednesday and Thursday are Goddamn guaranteed unless the forecast changes substantially. That’s “the air is trying to kill you” territory right there.

So, yeah. If I suddenly stop posting next week it’s because the entire Midwest is frozen fucking solid. So we’ve got that to look forward to.

In which I’m not dead yet

Close? Yes, close. Today was a little better than yesterday, but not by much. Tomorrow is payday, and Friday, and there’s a three-day weekend coming. I can do this.

Sure.

Fuck cancer

(A note, before I begin: there is going to be a nonzero number of you who know me in Real Life and also knew Becky. Her parents, who I know, and sister, who I really don’t, are on Facebook and have been monitoring her page. She followed Luther, but was not friends with his account. If her family sees this, they see it, but I would appreciate it if no one goes out of their way to bring it to their attention. I am, as will probably become clear pretty quickly, writing it for me, not for them, if that makes any sense. Thank you.)

Becky Arney died yesterday. She used to pull my hair in fifth grade, and now she’s gone.

She was two months younger than me, and had been fighting cancer for nine Goddamned years. She spent most of the last month of her life in the hospital until her family finally decided she’d had enough and brought her home.

Nine damn years. The cancer started off as a small-cell cervical cancer that, as far as I ever understood, had a five-year life expectancy just north of “you’re kidding, right?” and she managed nine years. I think it was actually liver failure that got her in the end; the cancer was in remission for a while but then popped up in a bunch of other organs and that was the essential body part that gave out first.

The biggest problem I’ve ever had in my life is being able to see my feet past my ample fucking gut and this badass bitch got handed a life where she had to beat the shit out of cancer on a daily basis for nine fucking years in her thirties and forties. And frankly she did not lead the sort of life prior to getting cancer that was going to lead to gold-plated health insurance, either. She worked in the arts. She worked in prop design. I can only imagine the extent of the medical bills.

She was my first real crush, in fifth grade. If you look at my fourth grade yearbook there’s one particular girl whose picture I drew a green box around, but I don’t remember anything about falling for her. My unrequited thing for Becky lasted two or three years, at least. It was a Thing for a While. She knew; I’m sure she did. There was one particular field trip in sixth grade to a museum in Chicago where she spent the whole day letting me take her picture next to dinosaur bones and then sat behind me and intermittently pulled my hair the whole way home. She knew. By high school we were friends; we drifted apart when I left for college and then reconnected via Facebook just after I moved home and got married.

The last time I saw her, I was with my wife and son at Bob Evans, of all the goddamn places, and she just happened to be there with her grandmother. It was the only time she ever met my son; my wife was a couple of years behind us in high school so they already knew each other. When I killed my personal Facebook account, she didn’t send Luther a friend request, but she continued to follow the page, and I got updates from my wife.

She lived with her grandmother after she got sick. Imagine that. Imagine being old enough to be a grandmother to someone in their forties and you eventually have to bury them. I can’t do it.

There is not going to be a funeral, which is good, because I am generally not good at funerals at the best of times and I think there’s a good chance that “absolutely everyone from high school is there!” will not qualify as The Best of Times. She was that person who had every single person from our graduating class she could find and a sizable number of the kids from within a couple of years of us on her friends list. The eventual “celebration of life” that her obituary alludes to will be a de facto high school reunion. I have already skipped three high school reunions. I don’t know that I can make myself go to this one. We’ll see.

I’m not old enough to have to be writing this shit yet. She wasn’t old enough that I should have been writing this about her. She should have been raising the kids she never got to have, or doing whatever else the hell she wanted to do if she didn’t want to have kids. I can only assume that a cancer diagnosis at 33 can tend to alter your plans.

I used to tell people that I wasn’t really scared of anything, other than blindness, which was my greatest fear for most of my life. But for the last few days, which have been spent mostly restraining the urge to ask my wife to check Facebook again to see if her family has posted any updates, I’ve gotten this cold sort of existential horror in my gut every time I’ve looked at my son. Because apparently I’ve reached the age where people my age start dying of fucking cancer and so that’s a thing I need to start worrying about. About leaving him behind, before either of us is ready. About, hell, something happening to him. Because she was young, but it ain’t like cancer is especially discriminating, now, is it? And it’s not like this has been unique to the last few days– she had had cancer for two years before my son was even born, and one thing every parent becomes familiar with very quickly after their first child is born is the notion of their own mortality.

(This is what I meant when I said I was writing this for me, by the way.)

I don’t know. I don’t have a cute or clever way to end this, so I’m just going to stop writing.

Fuck cancer.

In which I guess I’m ready to go back to work or something

The last few days have been characterized mostly by pointless ennui and waiting around for things that didn’t happen. We had a Plumbing Incident occur on New Year’s Eve, which is the perfect day for such things to happen, and while the Incident itself hasn’t really affected my life all that much tomorrow will mark the third (and, hopefully, final) day that I’ve spent sitting around waiting for a plumber to come out to my house, charge me an arm and a leg, and hopefully this time actually fix my problem.

Which will involve digging a hole in my back yard. For a while yesterday it looked like the problem was going to require a backhoe to fix. We think we’ve dodged that particular bullet, but I’m at the point where I’m mostly just thoroughly tired of this and just want it all to go away so I can stop thinking about it. My wife went back to work yesterday and I think I might be jealous. I spent all day on Twitter today, leaving the house only to go get the cat from the vet after my wife dropped her off for shots this morning. It was supposed to be Plumber Day 3, but they called at 8 and rescheduled for tomorrow. The boy is perfectly content to spend the entire day fucking around on the iPad, so if I don’t man up and find some non-iPad activities for us to do, that’s what’s going to be happening. There has been precious little energy lately for good parenting, unfortunately.

I dunno. This is a proof-of-life post, I suppose; the music challenge posts are all written and will continue apace but I thought I’d make sure y’all knew I was still out there regardless.