I had never been in a recovery room before and I am not sure what I expected.

I think I expected to smell something.  But the smell never came.

I think I expected there to be more people.  But it was just us.

I followed the soft footsteps of the nurse around a corner and into a largish open room with one gurney-bed in it holding my loopy husband.

The rest of the recovery room was quiet and empty.  Apparently Sunday night was not the busiest time for surgery for this small community hospital.

As I approached, the nurse informed me that since waking up from surgery, he had been gleefully thanking all of them for a job well done.

I smiled cautiously as I approached. I knew what he was like drunk, and it sounded like drugged up was going to be similar.

I was still halfway across the room when he noticed me.

“THERE SHE IS!  THERE’S MY WIFE!” he exclaimed.  He sounded as if he had had an entire fifth of Captain Morgan.

He started telling me how great of a job the surgical team had done taking his appendix out.

“Hey, I really should buy you all a beer,” he insisted.

The nurse giggled.  “But this is Zeeland.  On a Sunday.”

“Well not right now,” he explained.  “Clearly I am in no condition to drive.”

He was still laughing at his own joke when the doctor came in and explained the procedure and recovery to me.

I was only half listening because I was keeping an eye on my husband who was clearly still high and flirting unabashedly with the nurse staff.

“Um, do you think he will be walking around by Wednesday?” I asked in a hushed voice.

But he heard me.

“What’s Wednesday?  What’s WEDNESDAY?!?” He asked with the same joy and impatience of a child who has walked in on a secret surprise conversation.

I hesitated.

I was enjoying this joy from him, however drug-induced it was.   I felt bad bringing him back to his harsh reality.

I looked down at my hands and said quietly, “your dad’s funeral is Wednesday, babe.”

The joy left his face and he got very serious.  But it was the seriousness of a child who is about to tell you something you already know.  It was cute seriousness.  It was drug-laden, funny seriousness. Even if the topic was anything but funny.

“Oh yeah,” he said, “my dad died.  did you know that?  My dad died today?” he asked the doctor.

The doctor looked at me with incredulity and puzzlement.

“Yes, it’s true.” I nodded,  “His dad passed this afternoon after struggling with lung cancer.”

“I am so, SO sorry,” the doctor said.  I could tell this wasn’t the usual routine after surgery.

There was more explanation of what would happen and discussion of bringing him up to his room.

It was also decided I would spend the night with him on a cot.

Because I did not want to leave him alone that night.  His dad had just died.

Posted in appendix shuffle, being an adult is really not that great, cancer, he died, i can't handle death, life changes, missing a you and a me, nonfiction, out of my control | 10 Comments

White Agony

the following post is entirely fictional.  Any resemblance to people in real life is entirely probable.  But this did not happen, and Lord help us, hopefully it never does.

The wheels on the bus go ’round and ’round. ’round and ’round.  ’round and ’round.  The wheels….

She was trying to keep things calm even though she was terrified.  Her knuckles ached as she clenched the steering wheel, squinting into the bright white sheet in front of her.

This was certainly not the first time she had traveled this dark road in the winter.  She had experience, so this should be easy.


He had no idea.  He was happily snug in his car seat, singing along with momma, the same as every Tuesday night.

Every now and then he would stick out a chubby little mittened hand and proclaim “ohhh” at the swirling terror around the car.

It delighted him.

It horrified her.

“Just concentrate,” she told herself.  “Concentrate and keep things light.  Take it slow.  You’ll get there.”

The people on the bus go up and down.  up and down.  up and down. the people on the bus…

The wind would switch direction and the snow would swirl and swoop into a curtain of white.  Her car would pull to one side while maneuvering an unforeseen drift across the dark road.

Ice patches would sneak up from behind the white insanity momentarily seizing the control she struggled to hold on to.

Her stomach would drop in that tiny second.

A prayer would be murmured, “please let me get us home safe.  please let me get my little boy home safe.”

And back to the hypnotizing white swirls.

The door on the bus goes open and shut. open and shut. open and shut. The door on the bus…

This was the worst part of the commute.  This long, dark road.

On warm summer nights they fly down this road with the windows open, laughing at the breeze blowing in their faces.

Tonight they bundled themselves against the bright darkness outside the vehicle.

She just wanted to get home.  Inside their warm house.  In their pajamas.  Cuddling on the couch.

She let her mind wander to that place.  Just for a second.  Just for part of a second.

The wipers on the bus go swish, swish swish.  swish, swish, swish. swish, swish, swish.  The wipers on the bus go…

The world suddenly became incredibly small.

The wind incredibly loud.

She snapped back to their tense reality, but it was too late.

Their universe went all topsy turvy.

Very quickly their solid ideas of the physics of the world–knowing “up” from “down”–vanished.

There was a sense of being shaken.

And then the cold, white agony surrounded them.

As did silence.

Except for the blowing of the wind.

And the cry of a terrified, chubby-handed child.
The title came from a little help from my writing sounding board, twitter.  Thank you, @alannacoca!
Posted in fiction, Red Dress Club | 16 Comments

left behind for the best

Six bridesmaid dresses.

Ten friends and counting…pairing off.

rings and flowers and vows.

young brides.

doting grooms.

happy lives.

new homes.

gifts from registries.

swelling tummies.

growing families.

over a dozen babies born.

smiling and celebrating with them.

as I sit in my house…alone.

not a wife.

not a mother.


for him.

to make my forever.

Posted in being an adult is really not that great, how i met your father, Mama Kat, me, my attempt at poetry, not being part of the group | 7 Comments


This piece is Part 2 to this piece. It will make more sense if you read Part 1 first.  Go ahead.  We can wait.

Welcome back.  Here is that conversation that was finally had:

I was both terrified and excited about having this conversation.

It needed to happen because what he had said just days before was still just hanging out there.  In fact, we had only communicating cordially through email since then.

A real life, face-to-face needed to happen.

He was coming over and I had promised myself that I would be sober.  Not because it would have mattered to him if I had had a few beers, but because I really wanted him to trust that this was serious to me.  This conversation was important.



I sucked in and just went for it, “so you were serious when you said you were falling for me?”

He looked me straight in the eyes.  This friend of mine stared at me with his hazel eyes. “You got it.”

“So do you expect me to be for it or….I mean…do we just…do this?  Do we become more than friends?  I don’t know if I can do that. Is that what you want?  This is so confusing.”

“I know,” he replied.

“Seriously?  SERIOUSLY?  ‘I know’?  I need some input here.  Now that that is out there,  nothing will ever be the same.  Our million year friendship can’t be the same no matter what happens next.”

He just nodded.

“well?” I was getting impatient.  I was always getting impatient.

“well, you’re right.  but I already told you…you know…what I told you.  So I guess it’s really your choice.”

“NO!  this can’t all be put on me.  this is NOT just my choice.  You are in this too.  What do you want to happen from that statement?” I stared at him incredulously with my mouth agape.

“I guess it’s not a good idea.”

Ok good.  He was going to be all reasonable.

“No.  it’s not.  We are friends.  Best friends.  If anything happens?  We are DONE.  Look what happened to me and Lance.” I leaned back on the couch and crossed my arms.

“You’re right.  It’s a bad idea,” he said nodding and also sitting back on the love seat.



We sat and looked at each other for the longest minute in our lives together.

The cat stretched and walked slowly off my lap and I leaned forward again with a huge, telling sigh.

“But then why do I not FEEL like it’s a bad idea?  You know, in my heart?”

“I don’t know.  I don’t feel like it’s bad either. That’s why I told you in the first place.”

My palms went up to my face and I rubbed the heels of my hands in my eye sockets.

Posted in beach love, changes, doing something new, giving in to fate, how i met your father, life changes, life decision, nonfiction, Red Dress Club, together | 10 Comments

acting like children

I knew it would happen.  I did.  I knew I couldn’t live in the same smallish city with him and NEVER run into him.

So I knew it was inevitable.

But not mandatory.

And after almost seven and a half years of it NOT happening?  Well, let’s just say I wasn’t expecting it outside of Joann’s Fabrics.

I had gone over hundreds…no MILLIONS of times in my head what it would be like.  Who doesn’t do that?

Of course I was reasonable with my visions.

I would be looking perfect.  Great hair, a nice skirt and sweater, cute boots. It would probably be in the grocery store after work.  I would have my cute purse on my arm and my phone in my hand.  And I would be about 40 pounds lighter.

Shut up, it’s my vision.

Ok, so the outfit changed in my mind somehow, but even if he caught me in yoga pants, I would be ROCKING those yoga pants.

And always I had my little guy with me.  Or a complete obvious token of him.  Sometimes the hubs was along too.

It really doesn’t matter.  The one consistency in all visions of how it would go down included this:  I was the cool one.

It’s a long, stupid story, but after our five-year relationship ended, he acted like a child.  Avoiding the hubs and I at all costs regardless of our long history and deep mutual friendships.

He was the immature one and it was bothersome, but not important.

The hubby and I?  Moved on with our life in big ways.  We have a wonderful, loving family.  He?  was a child.

In fact, the hubs has run into him.  Quite a few times.  Even with the wee one.  And really?  I loved that.  I loved that he saw my wonderfully cute and happy son.  I loved that he could see the joy in my life.

Seeing him while walking across a snowy, wet parking lot to my salt-covered car after an unsuccessful trip to Old Navy was not in any of my visions.

I was just thinking about what a dud of a trip out it had been and how the boy would be up from nap when I got home.

I was wearing the last jeans in the pile because tomorrow is laundry day.  You know…the ones that are two thigh rubs away from having holes?  Yeah.  Those.

I had an entirely too huge hoodie, a dingy winter jacket, and my hair was piled up in a ratty buy with one of those stretchy headband things around my head to keep the wispys out of my eyes.

The only thing I had going for me was that I had decided to shower before this jaunt out of the house.

I don’t even know if he saw me.

He was marching across that lot with his new wife and a kid (his? a stepson?) toward a car parked RIGHT. NEXT. TO. MINE.

And I was too far into the parking lot to be going anywhere except my car.

But they were parked next to my driver’s side.

And we were going to arrive at our cars at the same time.

And I would have had to make some sort of social contact since I would have had to wait for his wife.  He would have FOR SURE noticed who I was then.

So I hid.

Yup, I opened the passenger side door, ducked down and pretended to rummage through something on the floor until I heard his car start.

Then I grabbed my sunglasses, kept my head down, and walked around to my side.

By that time?  They were gone.

I have no idea what his wife looks like.

I don’t know what kind of car it was.

All of this?  Took place in about a minute and a half.

Very quick and then done.

But I sat in my car shaking for about five minutes before turning the car on and going home.

I hid.

Not how I thought I would ever act.

I hid.

Like a child.

Posted in being an adult is really not that great, how i met your father, me, nonfiction, out of my control, things that make me go barf, what the hell am i doing | 11 Comments

Rearview Mirror

This post is completely fiction.  It was written in response to The Red Dress Club’s prompt to write a 26 sentence piece where each sentence starts with the next letter in the alphabet.  I have done my best to write something that follows that rule AND has some sort of meaning.  Please be kind.

Around the bend and over a small hill there was a run-down park.  Because this park didn’t have the “new” plastic “toys”, it was rarely frequented by the neighborhood kids anymore.

Cautiously, I approached the ancient swing set.  Dangling from the rusted chains were old, rubber swings.  Even though they were worn from countless years of weathering, I decided to give one a try.

Fingering the chains delicately to see if the rust would escape and find a new home on my hands, I gently lowered myself onto the swing. Giving myself a push with my feet, I let go.  Hampered by the weight of being an adult, I didn’t immediately soar as I did as a child.  I remembered for a second what it was like to swing so high that I would come off the swing at the height of my flight.

Just as I was about to jump from my swing like I did as a smaller version of myself, i realized I was being watched.

Keeping my nerves to myself, I slowed down my swingfest.  Leveling my eyes with the horizon, I kept the figure in my peripheral view.  My hands started sweating.  No longer alone, I was embarrassed by my uninhibited display.

Only after I had distanced myself from the swing set did I start to calm down.   Positioning myself near the picnic area, I tried to act interested in a placard near the picnic structure.  Quickly but quietly, I inched my way toward the back of the structure to escape the line of sight of the Park Intruder.

Reluctantly I admitted to myself that I was the one who would not stay.

Sighing heavily, I started toward the gate.

Touching it, I realized I would never be back. Unfazed, I continued through the gate and back up the hill.  Vacantly I walked through that familiar neighborhood–completely unseeing of the changes that had taken place in the past many years.

We had run through this neighborhood all those years ago with such innocent excitement.  Xanthic-tinted dust had rolled around our feet as we raced to the park.

Yesterdays were in the past; however, and I had to accept that.

Zeroing in on the crossroads ahead, I continued to walk.

Posted in being an adult is really not that great, changes, fiction, Red Dress Club, stuff that means stuff | 18 Comments

Selfish Charity

She was so stinky.

I mean, I have had some students who didn’t smell pleasant before, but this girl was so rank everyone had to hold their breath around here.

And being pregnant, I often gagged when she came near me. Of course, I pretended I was coughing.  I didn’t want to hurt her feelings.

This particular student?  Loved me.  She shared everything that happened to her with me.  And she was a close talker.  Had no understanding of personal bubble space.

But everyone else tried to teach her by giving her TONS of room.  She sat in the back of the room near no one.

When school starts around here it is typically in the 80’s or 90’s.  Most students are traipsing the halls in shorts and tank tops and walking the line of “appropriate for school.”  Not her.  Even in the hottest weather she wore jeans and a hoodie.

So there she would sit in the back of my room, in her winter gear while we all sweated, greasy long hair, and a smell that was so rank she had a green hue about her.

The students, although dying of the stink, were very good not to say anything directly to her.  Although they said things to me…a lot.

I constantly told them that I was sure it would get better when the temperatures dipped, but in the meantime I alerted the counseling staff (who did nothing but mention it to her).

The weather got cold.

She still wore the same hoodie and jeans.

No other clothes.

And she still carried around the smell.

I again said something to the counseling staff, which had gained a new member since my last complaint. The new counselor met with our friend and found out that she did not have a regular place to sleep or shower.

Her mom bought the bare minimum of food and didn’t have any left over for soap, so most showers (if there were any) where just water.

It was getting really cold.  Even though we were all passing out from her smell, I couldn’t help thinking about how that was the least of her worries.

I asked the counselor if I could donate a gift to her anonymously.  If she would give it to her.  She agreed.

So I took up a collection amongst staff (mostly her teachers) and I went shopping.  I bought soaps and shampoos and conditioners and lotions and razors and shaving creams and toothpaste and toothbrushes and tampons and pads and deodorant and perfume and nail polish and hair brushes and combs and hair accessories.  I went overboard, admittedly.

I then bought a big basket and lots of ribbon and brought it to the counseling office.

After Christmas break?  She didn’t have an odor, but she did have tons of self-confidence.  She had painted nails and cute ponytails in her hair.

Much later I found out she wept with joy at the gift that she intended to share with her mother.

It started as a way to calm my sensitive pregnant stomach, but it ended being the only Christmas gift a girl received.

Posted in love not hate, nonfiction, Red Dress Club, things that make me go barf | 8 Comments