House Dating

We are here.  Yes, already.  In the blink of an eye, we are into Week Six in our Eleven Weeks of Summer Vacation.  And I can not believe that it is more than half over.  Where did the time go?

Well, for us it was a whirlwind of house nonsense.  Back in the spring I had started looking for a new house.  I was mainly looking for a bigger kitchen, a bigger basement, and a bigger yard (yes, size matters – let’s be real).  And right around the time that Kid A graduated from high school, I had found what I called The One… it had a bigger everything, plus a salt water pool and a hot tub.  I wanted it so badly.  It wooed me so effectively that I dismissed its (albeit, few) glaring flaws as “charming” and “additive of character.”  But after a lot of negotiation, it turned out not to be The One.  Just like in high school, I would have had to pay a much bigger price then I was willing for it to be mine.  And I couldn’t do it.  So, with my heart a little broken but my honor intact, I moved on.

Meanwhile, we had aggressively priced and listed our current home in order to make our offer on The One stronger and more appealing.  We totally glammed it up, and it looked good.  In less than a week we had multiple offers.  We accepted the cleanest one (full price plus, no closing costs, no contingencies) because after our brief hook-up with The One we were confident that there was a bigger, better house out there for us.  Dice rolled.

I would also like to mention that the moment our realtor planted his sign in our front yard, I started receiving texts and phone calls from my neighborhood friends.  I was definitely feeling the love.  They all told me that we could not move, even to the neighborhood right next door.  Some even swore to shun me if we went through with it.  I think several of them were concerned that they would inherit the title of Craziest Lady in the Neighborhood once I left.  So I appeased them with invitations to future hot tub parties.  And I wore the For Sale sign around my neck like a bold, scarlet letter as I went back to my search for the perfect house.


Within days I found it.  We called it Sugar’s House after the sweetest old golden ever.  She kept watch (and by “kept watch” I mean “took a nap in the front office”) every time we came to look at her owner’s beautiful home.  I could actually feel the love inside that house as I walked through it.  I could also feel my girl parts tingling over the gorgeously renovated kitchen, brick-surround fireplace, and master bath (complete with a shower-for-twelve).  Sugar’s House was soon going to be our family’s home.  I just knew it.

But then the buyer for our home backed out at the eleventh hour (I’m so serious… the contract termination came through at 11PM on a 12 midnight deadline).  Sheepdog and I had been at a wedding at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens all evening, where I had made friends with several vodka cranberries.  I may or may not have mentioned to other wedding guests that I was wanting to punch the game-playing buyer in the vagina when she tried to bully us into conceding money for things we already took into consideration when we priced our house so aggressively.  And she knew exactly what she was doing because she was in the business of real estate.  So we called her bluff.  But then she walked.

So here we stand, robbed of our original marketing momentum and feeling the sting of a too good to be true buyer.  To be honest, it hurts to have somebody break up with you like that.

But there is still hope for us.  We decided to take our house off the market (no more showings or inspections…yippee!) and we decided to love our own house again.  It has great bones and over the past seven years we have turned it into our home – a home that is filled with great memories and love and laughter, just like Sugar’s house.  And soon I’ll be making a phone call to the contractor so our kitchen and master bath can look like Sugar’s as well.  I’m getting tingly parts already!

Wish me luck for tomorrow…





Magic Markers

Every year I take the kids back to school shopping for new supplies.   I usually despise shopping, but I love this particular trip, as I am hot for office supply stores and the wares they peddle.  I can’t really explain it, but I can tell you that I get a little tingly every time I go down the padded envelope aisle.  And I have a thing for 5″ X 8″ notepads too.  I like to touch the paper.  My favorite thing is the sound it makes when I fan the pages.  It’s like a magical purring noise. “Puuuuurrrrrrrrr.”  So sexy.  But I digress.

Anyway, each August the kids come with me to Staples and Target to pick out new folders and notebooks and binders.  The younger ones also get rulers and scissors and crayons and index cards.  And everyone gets a new box of markers.  Now, some are classic colors and some are dry erase, some are highlighters and some are washable.  None of them are actually called “magic” anymore, but to me they will always be magical and special, because they mark another important milestone in each kid’s life… the start of a brand new school year.

This year the markers led me to thinking about other milestones in my life and the kids’ lives and how quickly time is passing.  This summer, in particular, seemed to whiz past us in a spectacle of raindrops and road trips and beach sand.  It marked the first summer we didn’t get to relax together as a family (until one week near the very end, which was pretty awesome).

I realized that this marks the last year that all five of my kids will be heading out the door on the first day of school together.  Kid A is starting her senior year in high school.  Next year she will be off at college, starting her own life with some pretty significant new markers of her own.

Then I realized that Kid E still has twelve more “first days of school” ahead of him.  He is not thrilled about this, especially because “school does not have very much Minecraft.”  Sorry, kid.

Kid B started high school this year – a big marker made complicated because her boyfriend also started, but at a different high school.

This is the year that Kid C started dancing en pointe in ballet.  Kid D will begin kid-pitch in baseball next week.  They are in 7th and 3rd grades, respectively, which can be full of all kinds of markers… middle school relationship drama, puberty, playground fights.

Sheepdog and I made it to the 20-year mark of marriage this summer.

And today marks exactly three months since Braden died.

So many markers.  Not all of them are magic.  And not all of them are huge.  But together they become the stories that make up our lives.  So I write them down and take pictures on film and in my mind so we won’t forget.  And we can look back on them and remember each one of the markers and what they meant to us at that time in our lives.  And they will shape us and affect us and make us who we are.  But they can also inspire us to make change, to do more and be more, if that is what we want.  So much possibility can come from those markers, big or small.

And that is truly magical.  Just like the purr of a good notepad.

I get high with a little help from my friends.  You say "toluene and xylene," I say "magic."

I get high with a little help from my friends. You say “toluene and xylene,” I say “magic.”  Source:  Google Images

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

Take Me Out to the Ball

This weekend Sheepdog and I went out.  On a date.  To a Ball.

I know, I know.  How did a girl who is – by conscious choice – perpetually in flip-flops and sweatpants, and usually in bed by 8:45 on Saturday nights, end up at a fancy-schmancy ball?  So weird and just wrong, am I right?  Well…

Cinderella’s shoes for The Ball. Sheepdog approved.

Earlier last year I was talking to my dad about travel.  He and my mom are fortunate in that they go on a lot of trips throughout the year.  But one of the things that drives him crazy is the inefficiency of commercial airports and airlines.  Well, duh.  Flying sucks nowadays.  Gone are the days when everyone is all dressed up in the airport like they are straight off the set of Mad Men.  These days you are more likely to see people in their actual pajamas than you are people in suits.  It is no wonder that we are treated like idiot cattle and consider it a “good flight” if we don’t have to sit in our teeny, tiny seat next to somebody who needs more than one seatbelt extender (more often than not this is also the person who has the very questionable showering habits) and/ or we didn’t have to hang out on the runway or tarmac with only recycled air for countless hours waiting for fill-in-the-blank (clearance to take off, repair of the broken filangie, the pilot to sober up, blah blah blah).  So, half joking but half seriously, I suggested that he look into private planes.

One thing that I will tell you about my dad is that he is a big talker.  Not that he doesn’t often deliver, mind you, but he sure does like to make grandiose plans, especially around cocktail hour.  And only about 17% of those plans actually come to fruition.  For example, just last year he brought up the idea of “The Epic Trip,” involving him and my mom, me and my three sisters, and our husbands.  He sent out an email to all of us that explained how he wanted to go somewhere and do something truly meaningful together, so he asked us to submit ideas and wish lists.  The girls dreamed of huts in Bali, the boys named world class golf resorts, and Sheepdog wanted us to work on a dude ranch in Montana.  The best idea came from the Other Rob Fisher (long story short, my dad always accidentally uses a bogus email that he thinks is for my brother-in-law, but in fact belongs to a really funny guy with the same name who always comes up with awesome responses to our group missives, without acknowledging that he is not actually Our Rob Fisher – it can sometimes take a while for anybody to catch on), who suggested we should go surfing in South Korea and he attached an article like this one to the email:

Surfing in South Korea (AT YOUR OWN RISK)

Anyway, I looked into flying on private jets.  What I discovered was a whole new world of luxury and lavishness that I had never before allowed myself to fantasize about.  But after peeking behind that curtain, I was all about it.  And from what I have heard from those who have flown this way before, it is like crack.  You will never want to go back to Hartsfield-Jackson or Spirit Airlines again, sister.

So I reached out to a couple of companies on my dad’s behalf.  We went back and forth for a while and my dad and I finally got our schedules to mesh and we went to a meeting a few weeks ago with a rep from one of the best.  And I think the big talker actually got excited about the idea of a private plane.  We will see once the quote comes back.  But in the meantime…

The rep called me last week to see if I (or my dad, more importantly) had any questions.  I actually did, so I met with him one more time.  He also mentioned that he had two extra tickets for a black tie event and asked if Sheepdog and I would be interested in attending, along with him and his wife.  They also have a crap-ton of kids, like us, so he figured us moms would be all excited about getting dressed up and not having to take care of them, if only for a few hours.

Normally, I would make up some excuse as to why we were unavailable, but I recently made a promise to myself that I would try new things.  I vowed to go out of my comfort zone and be open to new people and experience different adventures.  So far, all I have done is use a telephone number instead of a website, when available, to deal with customer service issues.  And I thought I was making grand strides!  Before I could even control myself on the telephone, I blurted out that we would love to attend The Ball with them.  Gasp.

We ended up having a really fun night.  In typical fashion, I wanted to back out around 4PM.  Sheepdog was sick with a cold, the boys did not want us to leave them, and it started raining buckets.  But I dragged my sorry butt into the shower and proceeded to get dolled up (hair AND makeup… I know!).  Sheepdog put on his tuxedo (he looks fiiiine in a tuxedo, by the way – more incentive for me), and off we went.  The Ball was to benefit the American Heart Association, so there was a silent auction and dinner then a live auction.  It was really fun to watch as people raised their paddles to spend thousands of dollars in support of a great cause (and a trip to Hawaii).  We really enjoyed the rep and his wife too.

One of the funnest moments of the night for me was seeing that another woman had on the same dress as I did.  I pointed it out to Sheepdog and he tried to make me feel better by saying hers was “more purple” or something, but there was no denying it.  I bought it off the rack closest to the cash register at Macy’s, for goodness’ sake, (yeah, I’ve never been much of a shopper) so what did I expect?  I honestly did not care, but thought it would be fabulous if Sheepdog ever so subtly took a picture at The Ball of me and the woman “together.”

photo (1)

Who Wore it Better?

Thus confirming that, despite even my good-hearted attempts to evolve as a person and try new things, you still can’t take me anywhere.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

The Going Out Speech

Kid B went to a party in the neighborhood last weekend. She had another friend from school with her. They spent hours getting ready upstairs. I’m talking pedicures on their toes, trying on all their clothes. I asked if they needed a ride to the clubhouse when they were finished.

“No!… I mean, thanks, but we can walk from here.”


My educated guess is that they were meeting up with some boys on the way to the party. Harmless enough. I remember making out with a boy or two playing spin the bottle in eighth grade, and I had waaaaaaay more freedom to roam around my hometown during those years. As long as they weren’t brushing their teeth with a bottle of Jack first, right?

But as more memories came flooding back of the things my thirteen and fourteen-year-old self thought and did, I decided that I should at least say something to them before they headed out for their night of (hopefully) harmless antics (after first doing a casual breath check for alcohol). They were clear so I gave them my standard going out speech:

“Girls, look at me and listen when I tell you this. When you go out this door, you are not only representing yourselves but you are representing this family as well. Have a good time, but also behave in a way that makes you proud of your actions. Don’t be whores.”

Kid B shook her head in acknowledgement (and a touch of embarrassment, as I had just yelled “whores” out the garage door and into the night) and her friend asked if she could have my spiel on an index card. I had given them a similar pep talk on Halloween night before they all went out trick-or-treating, so she knew the drill. She claimed that my speech made her feel cared for and good. Or she was making fun of me. Either way, at least the sentiment of being loved and worthy of self-respect was in their consciousness as they walked down the driveway.

I realize that soon my going out speech for Kid B is going to have to change a little. I recently included an aside on “not having sex in the basement guest bedroom” in one of my soliloquies to Kid A. At one time or another I will more than likely refer to the following… cheating, grinding, alcohol, 3rd base, sexting, skipping school, making out with teachers, shoplifting, prescription drugs, illegally downloading music, unprotected sex, meth, unprotected sex while on meth, vandalism, eyeballing, “No” means “No,” drinking and driving, and fashioning bongs from household items… and that’s just a warm up.

For the record, I am against most of those things.

But even though the topics that I cover (mostly for shock value and quite often ripped off from a recent episode of Glee) may vary and I may be a hypocrite for telling them not to do those things and they may or may not follow my sage advice, my kids (and their friends) will always know that they are important and special and that I care enough to yell “whore” out into the dark night for them.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

"Son, unless you are always wearing a hoodie, you'd better keep your bird in the cage.  I tell you this because I love you." Photo: Yahoo Images

“Son, unless you are always wearing a hoodie, you’d better keep your bird in the cage. I tell you this because you are important and I love you.” Photo: Yahoo Images

The Other Shoe

There is an old tale about a weary traveller who stayed for some time at an inn. His room was just below that of a man who worked nights. When that man would come back to the inn after his shift was completed, he would ready himself for bed, starting with the absentminded removal of one shoe. It fell to the floor with a loud thud, waking the sleeping traveller below. Having been startled, the traveller would wait for the other shoe to drop before he would allow himself to fall back into deep slumber. But the upstairs man had remembered by then that there was someone sleeping below him, so he carefully removed his other shoe and placed it on the ground with nary a sound. Eventually the frustrated and impatient traveller would yell out, “For goodness’ sake, would you just drop the other shoe already!?!”

Years ago I was awoken by the “thump” of a falling shoe. It is a long story – one not meant to be told right now – but know my sincerity when I say that I surely didn’t expect to contemplate a bare foot just then. I was distracted with the day-to-day of working and mommy-ing and daughter-ing and sister-ing and wife-ing and house-running that I did not see the signs. Sometimes you just don’t. The shoe just falls.

Afterwards, I felt uneasy. Other things in my life suffered neglect because I was always watching and waiting for that other shoe to drop. But life doesn’t always happen in the way you hope or plan or will it to. Some things happen without rhyme or reason or logic or order. I learned to focus again over time, without always looking over my shoulder for a black cloud or a bad sign or some warning for some unnamed, unknown thing that may or may not ever happen to me. Day by day I slowly moved on and I began to participate instead of just letting life happen to me.

In my mind, the greatest thing about being a human being is what you can learn from relationships and what you can learn from experiences. Not just your own, either, but yours, mine and theirs too. If you truly open your heart and mind to people and adventures then you can learn all sorts of things that have the potential to help you evolve. I’m certainly not always successful, but I do try to pay attention to the lessons that are presented to me along my way.

One of the things I have figured out is that many shoes will likely fall throughout my life. Some I will anticipate, but others will startle me out of a deep sleep. And when they do, I will continue to try to face each challenge with strength and courage and, of course, humor.


He was getting stronger and healthier. He was gaining weight and an appetite. He was running and biking. His freckles came back out. His hair started to grow back. He could drive again. He was throwing around the idea of starting college in January because the doctors said it might be an option.

Kid A with Braden before Homecoming in October

Then, last Wednesday, another shoe just dropped. Braden’s leukemia came back.

He started chemotherapy on Monday. We will celebrate his nineteenth birthday next week.

It is scary and uncertain and my instinct is to wait and listen for the other shoe to drop before I can go back to sleep. I want to hit stuff and I want throw things and I want to curl up in the fetal position and cry. I physically ache for Braden and his mom and dad and sisters and brothers. It hurts so very much to watch as Kid A lives out this experience. I want to yell out, “Just drop the other shoe already!” And I will.

But I (hope that I have) learned which behaviors are effective and which ones are futile, so I will go back to being strong and believing and praying and having courage. I will do my best to uplift him and his family and, of course, Kid A, as they ride this crazy roller coaster of cancer. And this time I will remind myself that not all shoes come in pairs. Or I will remember that sometimes the upstairs man will lay them down with nary a sound.

Here’s hoping that life’s shoes will be more pretty Louboutins than ugly rubber boots, but I will make room in my closet for all of them.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

More Than Words

It was August of 1991 and I had just driven myself in my awesome Honda CRX down I-95/ 695 around Baltimore and then Westward, Ho along the I-68 into Morgantown, West Virginia.  I had spent the past three years rebelling against my strict parents by pissing away the $16,000 a year they were spending on my private college education.  I think during my final semester I was registered for three classes totaling 9 hours and I got a C, a D and an F on my report card.  Stellar work, genius.  But I sure had fun!

Actually, I did not have that much fun.  I was lost and trying to figure out who I wanted to be.  And I had no freaking idea how to do that.

I transferred to a different, much less expensive college that accepted such impressive transfer grades (fortunately I had a decent high school transcript), and hunkered down to actually get a tertiary education.

Now, I do not know if any of you remember West Virginia University and/ or it’s reputation in the early 1990’s.  Suffice it to say that the town was just beginning to come down off the high it brought to an entire state with superstar quarterbacks (and Heisman Trophy candidates) Jeff Hostetler and Major Harris.  There were endless stories of burning couches being a staple at the end of all-night or, more commonly, all-weekend block parties on Sunnyside.  The rumors and urban legends ran wild and almost every one involved raucous partying and drinking and almost unbelievable stories of ridiculous behavior.  I may have even attended one or two events that were remnants of the good ol’ days in my first days and weeks in Morgantown, but the locals lamented that it just wasn’t quite the same.  Many reckoned it never would be again.

Fortunately for me that was true, at least during my time there.  I needed to focus on studying for and passing my classes, not partying like it was 1999 (which was still cool because it wasn’t yet).  But I still found time to attend football games just down the stadium access road that meandered past my apartment.  I was earning a liberal arts degree – not training to be a nun – for goodness’ sake.

On one such Saturday (September 14, 1991, to be exact) South Carolina was playing at West Virginia.  My roommate and I held a small pre-game gathering in our apartment and then we eased on down the road with our friends to watch some football.  The way that WVU tailgating worked back then was pretty standard… there were rows upon rows of cars and trucks and trailers and tents set up with varying degrees of food and drink awesomeness for the enjoyment of the masses.  Fans would make our way down the access road and stop whenever we saw someone we knew to exchange pleasantries, meet new friends and partake in said food and drink.  It was under these magical conditions that I met Sheepdog.

He and his friends were running a keg about halfway to the stadium.  My friend knew him from high school days so we stopped and said hello.  Sheepdog smiled and offered me a solo cup and then he introduced me to his redheaded girlfriend.  My friends and I moved on.  WVU won that game 21 – 16.

A few days later I was taking a shower in my apartment and I walked out of the bathroom, through the common living area that lead to my bedroom.  I was honestly quite surprised to find Sheepdog sitting on my couch.  I was wearing nothing but a towel, which was surprising to no one.  He claimed to be there to “reconnect” with my roommate’s boyfriend, but I was no dummy.  I put on my best jean shorts and fluffed up my Jersey hair as big as it would go and we all went out to a bar called The Underground.

Immediately after that, the redheaded girlfriend got her walking papers.  Being emotionally immature (and chronologically immature… I was only 20 years old), I kept trying to push him out of my life.  But, damn if that boy was not tenacious.  We did the most logical thing and got engaged a few months later.

Our parents were actually supportive of the union (especially since I didn’t seem so lost anymore), as long as we waited to get married until after we had graduated from college.  Our WVU Graduation was in May.  We got married one month later, on Saturday, June 19, 1993.  We were both twenty-two years old.  And I wasn’t even pregnant.

Our wedding was a super fancy fairy tale. The horse even had a bag to catch his poop.

Today marks our nineteenth wedding anniversary.  I write that with such pride and joy that I almost want to use smiley emoticons.  But not really because they are so stupid.

There were times that we almost didn’t make it.  There was even a time before we had Kids D and E, when we had decided that divorce was the right option for us and Sheepdog planned to look for an apartment just after the holidays.  Then we had the most relaxed, fun Thanksgiving and Christmas break with the girls and with each other and we decided we were even dumber than our decision and we needed to fight to make our marriage work.  So we went to more counseling and we learned how to communicate better and listen better and how to just be better to each other.  We worked hard but we were also very lucky.

We are lucky to have found each other and lucky to have so many fundamentals in common.  We are lucky that we are both so very stubborn.  We are lucky that we are yin to each other’s yang and our parts fit together well.  And we are so lucky that we still like each other after all these years.  At least most of the time.

Cheers! to the most awesome wedding song ever. And to this timeless headpiece.

But the thing that I feel luckiest about is the wedding song that we selected to dance our first dance together as man and wife.  While our contemporaries were swaying to Real Love by Mary J. Blige, Can’t Help Falling In Love by UB40, and Nuthin’ But A “G” Thang by Dr. Dre, we chose a quirky little love ballad by the heavy metal band, Extreme, called More Than Words.

Family and friends, and even the emcee/ deejay during the ceremony, made fun of our choice.  I guess they wanted us to pick something more mainstream, like Knockin’ Da Boots by H-Town.  But we went our own weird way with it and – like our marriage –  it has stood the test of time.  More Than Words has become a kind of a classic.  I hear it all the time while I am out running errands, in elevators, in doctor’s offices, in the grocery store.  Every time I stop what I am doing to bust out the best lyrics of the song… “Hold me close don’t EV-AH let me go!”  And every time it reminds me that I am a very, very lucky girl.

Happy 19th Anniversary, Sheepdog. xo

What’s Up? Nothing Much… Got Leukemia.

Last summer Kid A began dating a boy she had become friends with at school.  She told me all of these nice things about him first (too good to be true?) and then she broke the news to me that he was going to be a senior and was almost 18-years old (she was 15 and starting her sophomore year at the time).  Immediately I had a flashback to my high school days and being asked out by older boys while wearing my catholic school girl uniform (it was mandatory; I wasn’t just being all slutty) and the warning sirens went off in my head.  But knowing very well what happens when you tell a teenage girl that she can not do something, I decided to take a different tack.  I told Kid A that it was fine that they dated, as long as she brought him to our house so we could get to know him.  So she did.  A lot.

It turns out that Kid A was right about the boyfriend being a great kid.  He is smart, witty, a little bit sarcastic, a lot cynical, well-read, comfortable around adults, and he has street smarts too (he lived in Washington, D.C. with his dad for a while).  He was on the cross country team at school and he held a part-time job waiting tables at a restaurant.  Plus, he listens to good rock music and not that odd, hipster stuff by Lights or Meg & Dia.  He is just the right amount of scared of Sheepdog and he is always respectful of our family and our rules.  He plays with Kids B – E and he rarely seems to get sick of them (I don’t get it because I get sick of them all the time).  Most importantly, he is very respectful and sweet to our daughter.

So time has passed and they go out on dates and hang out here and talk and text and have continued to build their relationship.  They have had mostly ups, but they’ve experienced some downs too.  It is pretty amazing to watch both of them handling a high school relationship with such maturity.

Then last Thursday, the boyfriend (although technically he is now her manfriend, as he turned 18 last November) was admitted into the hospital for suspected epiglottitis (an inflammation of the epiglottis, which is the flap that covers the windpipe during swallowing).  While there, his doctors ran a bunch of tests.  By Friday he was in the ICU, where he was diagnosed with leukemia.  He was then transferred to the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit.  He shaved his head on Monday and started chemotherapy Tuesday afternoon.  It has been a whirlwind.  I really can’t believe it has only been a week since his diagnosis.

I am in shock.  Sad.  Scared.  Heartbroken.  Worried.  Angry.  Frustrated because I have no control.  Studying to learn more about the medicine.  Yearning to make it all better.

Stupid cancer.

Then I look at him.  I am in awe of his strength, even in his vulnerable moments.  My heavy heart gets a little bit lighter every time I hear him make a joke or laugh about his disease, because it takes a very strong person to laugh in the face of adversity.  Everyone knows it’s not really funny, but what else is supposed to take down the elephant in the room that makes its presence known every few seconds with a click-click as the poison gets pumped directly into his heart.  Kids should never have to contemplate their own mortality.  Sarcastic optimism really is the best medicine in my book.  That’s how you face down a monster.

News of Manfriend’s leukemia is now starting to reach people in the community.  He’s getting a ton of friend requests from people on Facebook.  He gets texts and phone calls and cards and visitors and cancer presents (DVDs, video games, hats, warm socks… all excellent gifts) every day.  People want to reach out and show their support and let him and his family know that they care and they want to help.

Some people know all too well what this disease can do to people’s lives.  But others have been lucky enough to never have been touched by the clammy hand of cancer themselves.  It is most interesting to see how people act around someone who is sick.  Some say or write just the right things.  Some are extra nice.  Some do the nervous talking thing.  Some are cautious.  Some are the same as they ever were.  Manfriend seems to be responding to everyone with a natural extension of his already sardonic teenage personality and I think it is going to serve him very well through the inevitable ups and downs of his recovery.

A friend came by the unit to see him the other day.  When he knocked and entered the room he saw his sick friend wearing a gown, lying in a hospital bed, hooked up to tubes and monitors and machines.  Seeming to gloss over the unmistakable, the friend simply asked, “What’s up?”

Ever the smart-aleck, Manfriend responded, “Nothing much… got leukemia.”

Yeah, I think he’s doing just fine.

Wish me luck for tomorrow (and please keep the manfriend and his family in your prayers)…