Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Dog Picked Today

To pee on the dining room rug. A lot. Tonight my friend Erika, my pedicure pal and partner in numerous capers, arrives from California with her husband and baby. So I am tidying and swishing things up. And I got back from taking the kids out to breakfast to find a big puddle of dogwhiz in my entryway. She went on the wood floor in the entryway and it spread to the dining room rug.

Matt had helpfully marked the spot with a pile of paper towels. (Let us not dwell on the question of why he didn't clean up the pee. I'm going to assume that at the precise moment he noticed the dog's mess, an angel straight from heaven was ringing the doorbell with a telegram from Jesus. Or, maybe he spied a 1930's silent film baby crawling along the ledge of a half-built skyscraper, wearing an adorable bonnet and an impish expression, oblivious to its immediate peril. Whatever, I'm sure he meant to return to the dog pee, so I will harbor no grudge.)

Where was I? So, questions:

1) You know what happens to a jute rug when you get it wet?

It puckers. And even after it dries, it will never quite be flat and smooth again.

2) Do you know what that means for cleaning such a rug?

It means you can't clean it with water.

3) So why did I put the one rug in the house that can't be cleaned in the dining room of all places, where spills and such are inevitable?

I don't know. If you figure that one out, tell me.

We've been in this house with that rug for four years. Maybe that's how long a jute rug lasts? But I don't know if I can find another one I like that much--it's an adorable striped one from Pottery Barn. But don't be all picturing a striped rug just because I said it's striped. It's a subtle stripe. You got that? SUBTLE.

So what I did do was to spray a bunch of that enzymatic pet mess cleaner on the affected areas and rotate the rug 180 degrees so that the stain is hidden in the corner. What would you have done?

What have y'all got going on? Tomorrow we'll go up to the North Carolina with our buds for some more tubing and mountain activities. Then back to ATL, then I'll drive the kids to Florida before I head to BlogHer in NYC. This all happens in the next week somehow. I'm not sure how but it will be a mysterious process.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Mommy Dearest Moment

Okay, well yesterday I was feeling the love for Conspiracy Guy, you know, in a neighborly way. But I swear to Pete, his children just almost made me lose my mind. You may have seen me refer to his little girls as the Foster Children because they are under my roof so much, showing up unannounced and staying to be fed, clothed, and educated. Whatever, they are good playmates for Hank, mostly, and I've started letting Hank go to their house too. So we've got some reciprocity going.

But the oldest girl, who is six, has an amazing ability to open the fridge or freezer door and then just stand there doing something else. She does this with our house doors too. Just now she was rooting for a popsicle in the freezer, and then she just abandoned the quest and turned her back to the open door.

I said, "Honey, close the freezer," several times with increasing volume. I used her name. I spoke clearly. She was looking right at me with her usual vacant stare. Finally I said, "Oh my God, close the freezer RIGHT THIS MINUTE." I kind of shouted it actually.

I have already lost the Mother of the Year Award for 2010 so this isn't too big a blow to my standings.

I heard someone say that yelling is the new spanking. Maybe that's right, because when I do it I feel guilty about it, but I will say this: Yelling is there for you when you need it, and when you need it, nothing else quite gets the job done.

Edited to add: It occurs to me that yelling at someone else's child is perhaps a more serious offense than yelling at one's own child. But don't you often find that other people's children so richly need it?

Oh well, I will become a better person, tomorrow probably.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cats and Dogs Living Together

A couple of nights ago, Matt said, "You should tell your blog readers how Conspiracy Guy helped us out." Matt is like this blog's Jiminy Cricket. He doesn't want the impression of CG as a one-hundred-percent crazy neighbor to go unchallenged in the face of recent events.

Remember the other day when the giant tree fell across our driveway for no reason? Well, not only did Conspiracy Guy lend Matt his chainsaw, he did some of the cutting to get the driveway clear. THEN, after I was gone to the mountains, he came over one day while Matt was working and cut all the big pieces into manageable logs and stacked them neatly. Then THEN, he hooked us up with a guy who wanted to haul away the wood. The morning after we got back from vacation, there was a dude with a trailer in our driveway, loading up the wood. None of this cost us a cent.

So Conspiracy Guy, we may not agree on the events of 9/11 or on whether microwave cooking poisons food, but thank you for being a good neighbor.

Of course, we need to thank him in some way that he will actually see, since he doesn't read my blog.

Furthermore, earlier that same day, I'd needed to go to physical therapy, and I needed someone to watch the kids. I decided to ask Frenemy Neighbor for a favor, since I've watched her daughter a lot, so she came over to my house and sat with the kids for a while. And then, when I got back, I didn't want to seem like I was dismissing her, so we sat on the couch and chatted for an hour. It was perfectly pleasant.

Truly this is a sign of the end times.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Mittens and Pronunciation

Laura and Hank are about to take the dog out for a walk (never mind the fact that the dog still hasn't gotten up for the day, they are hellbent on it and are coaxing her out from under my bed) and Hank walked into the sun room with a mitten on his hand.

He said, "I'm going to wear this mitten outside." I started with, "Baby it's too hot for that mitten . . ." but then I stopped and backed up because he had pronounced "mitten" with a distinct "t" before the second syllable, like mih-ten, instead of the more natural (and correct) mitt'n, with the second syllable nearly unvoiced. Say it both ways and you'll hear what I mean.

So naturally I spanked him.

No. But it caught my attention, so I said, "What is that you're wearing on your hand?" Mih-ten. "And what do you call a baby cat?" Kih-ten. Same unnatural and overly precise pronunciation. Where did he get that?

It reminds me of a brief period in my early teens when I took to pronouncing "didn't" and "shouldn't" as did-dent and should-dent. I did this until my parents were like, "Listen to yourself." Youthful rebellion. I think I was laboring under the same impulse for overcorrection and (wrong) hyper precision that has resulted in people saying "interesting" as though it has four syllables. Or pronouncing the "t" in "often."

Oh yes I just went there.

In the time it took me to type the above, Hank tired of walking the dog and showed back up at the front door, giving the doorbell a brisk four rings. He came in and pulled off his mitten and said, "It is like seventy five degrees out there!" I said, "No baby, it's more like a hundred." And he said, "How did it get so sunny from the space?"

How indeed.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Cancer Treatment Is Mostly Driving

This morning Matt and I went to see a radiation oncologist. This is one of the fun things we're doing together while the kids are out of town. Actually, I always have fun going places with Matt and chatting with him. If you know him in real life, you know he'll talk your damn ear off. We also ate at a new taqueria last night. We are nailing this dating thing.

Back when the idea of radiation was first raised by my oncologist, I was hoping that if I needed it, I'd be able to go get irradiated by somebody up here in my neck of the woods, rather than having to drive all the way down to the big hospital at the perimeter. Which is Atlanta-speak for the interstate beltway that goes all the way around the city in a ring. We live way up the highway north of that ring, about a forty minute drive from the big hospital. Forty minutes of driving is not THAT long, but it's forty not-very-awesome minutes. Anyway, my onc was like, "Yeah, you can go see Dr. Chad, the local dude ten minutes from your house, he's good, no worries." Really, his name is Chad.

This matters because we're not talking about one trip to get radiation. Count yourself lucky if you don't already know that radiation treatment is every day, five days a week, for five or six weeks. I know, like, geez.

So part of me was not even surprised when the radiation issue came up again at my appointment on Wednesday and the oncologist was all, "Yeeeeeah, I really think that you should drive down to the big hospital and see Dr. Wonderful. Dr. Chad is good but he ain't her. She's thoughtful and she won't treat you unless she thinks you need it. Other doctors have the machine on before you get in the room. You will like her. It will be a long haul every day, but if it were me, I'd go to her." Dr. Wonderful's name had kept coming up. The surgeon had recommended her, and now the oncologist was bringing her up. They really truly are like a sorority, these docs of mine; it's interesting to me how they operate and how they communicate with each other about cases. Anyway.

We rolled down to see this Dr. Wonderful this morning. I did like her. And it's funny, these docs must get the word from each other that when Matt and I show up, there will be a test, because they are like going on and on about this protocol from MD Anderson and that study and 30 year outcomes and what have you. We ran the smart cop/dumb cop on her and I was satisfied. She also had a young intern with her and he got to see my boobs. Score one for him.

The doc marveled at how good my reconstruction was looking, and I was like, "Yes, in spite of everything I am totally hot, thanks for noticing." Or maybe she meant it looked good from a medical standpoint.

She called my original surgeon while we were there and conferred with her, and she wants me to have 28 treatments. We are in agreement with her that we don't want to half-ass this thing.

28 days of daily 80-minute round trips down to the perimeter is 37.33 hours of driving. I asked if I could be put under general anesthesia for the five weeks of treatment, but nope. So dang, here's one aspect of this whole thing that I didn't think was going to be the most maximum hassle that it could be, but it turns out it will be that much hassle. I know, please call the wahmbulance.

I'm not sure how all the scheduling will work out, but I won't start treatment until after school starts for Laura. Hank won't be in school yet. The doc actually said that I could bring Hank with me, and the nurses could watch him while I got zapped. She said a lot of mothers of young children do that. That doesn't sound like an attractive option, but we'll figure it all out somehow.

There's some Friday boob news for yous.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Home Haircuttery, with Uncertain Results

Hank, Before Haircut

Obviously Hank has needed a haircut for some time. I know this not only because I can see him with my own eyes, but because virtually everyone we come into contact with offers this opinion. "That boy needs a haircut!" Yes, I expect this from grandparents, but the UPS guy? Really dude, just take your brown shorts and your advice and get back in the truck.

Hank is shaggy, I know. He has also been resisting the idea of a haircut for a long time. When I bring it up, he says, "But I like it this way!" So I let it go. He has beautiful blond hair and I like it that way too. I did trim his bangs a couple of times.

Finally, yesterday, I decided he needed shearing. I thought it would be less hassle if I cut his hair, rather than coaxing him into the barber's. I have never cut his hair before. But I am cocky and figured I could do it. Also I am cheap.

First I took another "before" pic of Shaggy. He's shaggy but happy.

I knew that I could do a pretty tidy job with the electric clippers, as I've done Matt's hair that way. But I also knew that if I cut Hank's hair too short on top, we'd have weeks and months of rooster tail, because that's what his hair does if it's not long enough on top. So I decided to try to give him a scissor haircut.

Mistake. I really don't know what I'm doing with scissors. And yes, I know there are, no doubt, countless Youtube videos that would teach me how to cut hair, but who has time for that? Did I mention I'm cocky?

Here's a "during" picture.

During Haircut

If he looks unhappy, it's because he was. He was nice and patient though, in his beach towel with chip clip, sitting on the stepladder. In fact, he kept saying, "Aren't I being so nice and patient?" Heartbreaking.

So, scissors in hand, I got the front done okay and then headed around past his ear. Then I really started to screw things up. He just has a lot of hair. And it seems there really is some kind of trick to it. Okay, I repent! It got to the point where I would pick up a random piece of hair and clip at it in desperation. Not good.

I decided to turn to the clippers. I put the number 8 guard on and did the back and sides, attempting to fade them into the the longer hair on top. I was going for one of those longer-on-top with short sides little boy cuts. Reader, I don't know if what I achieved is an acceptable haircut or not. I want you to tell me if he needs a twelve-dollar fix at the barber. Everyone at my house kept saying, "Well, it's not really terrible."

"After" pics.

After Haircut

I Messed Up One Side

You can see in this second photo that I couldn't get that right side right. Actually the pic makes it look worse than it looks in life, but it got to the point where I was worried I'd make it worse by "fixing" it. Here's the back.

Back of Haircut

Fortunately, he doesn't give a rip how it looks now that he's not having to be nice and patient anymore. And I can't tell if it really looks okay, or if I just think he is so cute it's blinding me to a fugly haircut. Maybe it's good enough for summer? You guys need to talk to me and tell me what you think.

Both kids are on their way to Chattanooga right now to spend a few days with Matt's amazing mother Betty. It's only until Monday, but I'm worried that I'll miss them too much. Laura has been out of school for two months now, and I have absolutely loved having more time with both of them. They are nonstop hilarious and (mostly) charming little souls.

Maybe Betty will take one look at this haircut and march him straight to the salon. If so, she has my blessing.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Smooth Move

Is it already Wednesday? Weird.

Our friend Rick is in town, and last night he and I stepped out to the picture show. On the way we stepped into the Starbucks at the bookstore, which was not, as it turned out, a real According-to-Hoyle Starbucks, because they could not make my drink, a short cappuccino. They only have tall, you see. Now, the short is not on the Starbucks menu, but in my experience, they will always make it, and it costs about two dollars. But not here.

Remember the song "Punk Rock Girl" by the Dead Milkmen? I thought of this:

We went to the Philly Pizza Company
And ordered some hot tea
The waitress said "No!
We only have it iced."
So we jumped up on the table
And shouted "anarchy!"

I shouted anarchy and got the regular plain old coffee. Then, because I can't slurp down a tall coffee in ten minutes, we took our beverages to the movie theater. The ticket girl informed us, with great sadness, that while we were welcome to finish our drinks in the lobby, we could not take them into the theater.

So, of course, while I was in the ladies' room, I nested my coffee cup down in my big hobo bag, and then held it still with my forearm while we walked into the theater and took our seats. Classy, yes.

Then as we were getting situated in our row, I carefully reached in to retrieve my cup. I must have made a noise of distress, because Rick said, "What's wrong?"

"Nothing," I said. "There's just a shitload of coffee in my purse."

Luckily I had a pair of Laura's sweatpants in there (?) to soak up the spillage. Also some mail.

We saw Inception, which I enjoyed totally. I can't figure out why it was so good, because it has so many moving parts and such a complicated premise that it should have been a big pile of doo. But it was fun and it worked for me, not just as a gee-whiz experience but on a human level, thanks in large part to Marion Cotillard. I definitely recommend it.

I do not recommend drinking a tall Starbucks coffee at ten pm. When you do that, you are still chatting gaily at 2 am, and getting to sleep before 3 is not happening.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Oh Goodness

Well, we're safely back home tonight from our North Carolina Family Mountain Free-for-All Aquatic Fun and Summer Bookworm Extravaganza. I am rather tuckered and will have more to say about the adventure of my sensibilities, but just now I was taking an inventory of the unfortunate turn taken by my eating habits the last ten days.

This morning I noticed that my capris were rather snug in the tum. And I thought, "Hmm?" And then I thought, "Vacation food." Yes, there were lots of fresh fruits and veggies from curb markets, but there were also cheese grits, hamburgers, ice cream cones at the general store (what am I doing) and, God help us, white russians. White Russians. The hecks? Who even drinks those in the summer? What is wrong with me? I blame my sister-in-law, whose drink of choice is Kahlua and milk. Gentle thrills, yes. But it is delicious. I noted this concoction and thought, "Well, that's two-thirds of the way there." So along comes vodka and bing bang boom, white russians in July.

There was also the fact that yesterday, Hank and I sat in the back of a convertible and shared a gallon-sized bag of party mix. (Party mix is an artisanal tradition in that family.) It seemed to me that snacks eaten while taking in beautiful scenery are part of some special permissive food pyramid. And the scenery was so pretty--along the Cullasaja River gorge into Highlands. Munch munch.

Austerity program begins tomorrow.

I leave you with a recommendation that you go read my sister's latest two posts. She writes about a harrowing travel snafu--I was on the edge of my seat and I already knew how it turned out. First part here, satisfying conclusion here.

Bon weekend, my buds.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Stay Awaycation

I know that when the harassing emails from my sister begin arriving, it's time to tend my blog. You see, after the tree fell out of the clear blue sky last week, I said, "My vacation starts now," and I fled to the mountain house with the kids. On Saturday, Matt's entire family joined us. Matt came too. Now we are having a week-long mountainpalooza. I sorta forgot to mention it to you guys. There's no internet at this house, so I was going into town to blog but then I got distracted by a nail salon, and I got my toenails done. Later my mother-in-law said the color looks like leprosy. She's not really wrong. (Essie's Chinchilly, if you're interested.) It was cuter in the bottle.

So as you can see, that was a lot to deal with.

Otherwise it's been so relaxing that it is almost unnarratable. But I never let that stop me, do I? So here are some things that have happened:

I finished The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest. You know, I read the second and third book in that trilogy with enjoyment, but I think they could have been way tighter. The first one is really the only one I'd recommend, I think. I loved all the Swedish stuff though--gender equality and hopping on and off the tunnelbana.

I also read Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go. That was good, I read it in two evenings.

The boys (Matt and his two brothers) got smashed in the hot tub drinking Malibu Rum with pineapple juice. So macho, I love it. I had some myself. I don't remember the last time I drank Malibu rum.

I am also cross stitching. What? Yes. I am a stranger even to myself.

We went on a family tubing excursion at Deep Creek, just inside the national park. Awesome as usual. Hank's tube was, once again, bungeed to mine. He actually fell asleep in his tube as we floated down the creek. Imagine feeling able to do that, to just conk out in the middle of a river, in a small flotation device.

We went out for dinner last night and all ordered drinks and only Matt got carded. Odd.

And when the hostess was seating us in this little private room, we asked if she could turn up the air conditioning. While explaining that she didn't yet know how to work the machine (it's a new place), she said, "Actually you guys are breaking the cherry on this room." She said that in front of our four kids. My sister-in-law Robin and I turned and looked at each other with identical OMG faces. Laura goes, "What did we break?" And we said, "Nothing! She just means we're the first to be in here. We didn't really break anything, she's teasing!" Afterwards I wondered whether that hostess really knows the origin and meaning of that expression.

We are playing competitive Boggle on Robin's ipad.

That is really all there is to report. I am obviously a terrible blog citizen this week, as the only internet our various iDevices can find up here is the non-3G "Edge" network. You know that when you see that little "E," you better also be reading a magazine while waiting for your webpage to load. Once I even saw a little "O" up in the corner of my phone. I don't know what network that is. I think it stands for "Oh My God, stay right where you are and we'll come rescue you!"

I'll be back around to catch up with all of you next week. Muchas smooches.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Pottery Blogging, or "Plogging"

Back in the winter I griped at length about the inept shipping practices of pottery sellers on ebay, and then I had another bad experience and griped some more with the griping. Then I announced that I was done. I believe my words were, "Done. Crocodile Dun-dee."

Well, I wasn't all that done.

New Acquisition

Red Wing

Red Wing Bowls

That's my new yellow friend there in the middle. The pictures don't do it justice, because pictures of my dining room taken at night always wind up looking like clown ass. But it's a very pretty yellow with a celadon underside.

And, it was very nicely packed and it arrived unbroken. The only slight problemette is that it has a small chip that wasn't disclosed in the auction. Very small, and I don't even care because get this:

I won the auction for one cent. A PENNY. So I paid the shipping, which was ten bucks. Still a total score. And doesn't it look nice with its two friends!

Why did this auction end at one cent? (I didn't even know they could start that low--I think I thought I was bidding a dollar.) Seller dude had it listed as a "Red Wing Veggie Tray." Um, no. So the words "console bowl" didn't appear in the auction anywhere, which may have had something to do with the lack of bids.

Now I need to be done. But there are so many nice things in the world that need a good home, how am I to deny them? I thought I better show y'all, because I am still trying to get a good grade in show-and-tell.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sexy Lumberjacking

I swear I am unable to think of any other post title.

So yesterday, in the middle of a normal, lovely afternoon, I was sitting in the office chatting with Matt and his partner Lincoln. Hank was playing outside with the foster daughters from next door, Laura was upstairs, having, I suspect, sneaked up there to watch "Cake Boss" on my laptop. The dog was somewhere lolling. Not a cloud in the sky.

Then Laura came running into the room. "You have got to see this!" she said. I figured that the dog had climbed onto a bed or barfed. Or that Laura had figured out a new way to sign her name in cursive. There is just no way to gauge the bigness of an event from Laura saying "You have got to see this."

But good grief, look.

Healthy-ish Oak Tree Fell Down

A big oak tree fell across the driveway. Laura heard it from her room. And--I get the shakes even writing this--Hank and the little girls saw it fall from where they were playing, in Conspiracy Guy's front yard, two houses over.

Who expects a tree to fall over in the middle of a calm, sunny day? This tree had a few issues, I guess, because its twin tree had to be taken down last year. That was the time that the tree dude talked me to death and then stole my nuts. And then charged me $750. But this tree was healthy, I thought, because look at it. Look how leafy it was.

As we went out in the front yard, Hank and the girls came running up to the downhill side. Y'all, I had several moments of what I think was shock, and distress, realizing that they could have just as easily been playing in our yard or walking down our driveway when the tree fell. Awful. I could not get that vision out of my head. But there they were, fine and chattering with excitement.

That top picture doesn't show it so well. This was a big ass tree.


Laura with tree, rolling eyes

Tree trunk

The trunk more or less broke off at the ground. The roots were rotten, but I never would have thought it.

Then my thought was, "Okay, we are now marooned in our house forever." Sitting in the office, I had just said, "Matt, is there any reason the kids and I can't go on up to the mountain house right now?" Then, crash, and my reaction was, "Now I can't go to the mountains!" Sometimes in an emergency, I whine.

I need not have worried. Matt borrowed a chainsaw from Conspiracy Guy. Then he and Lincoln set about cutting up the tree. I think it was a nice break from their desk work, actually. A man likes a chance to wear his steel-toed boots.

Plus, Matt + chainsaw = hot!

Matt Lumberjacks

Matt with Chainsaw

Yeah, cut it, baby!

Now the driveway is clear, so we're not trapped in our house after all. There is tree crap all over the yard, but I'm leaving town and I am guessing that problem doesn't have my name on it.

I love men.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

I'm Kind of A Big Deal

Dudes, lookit. A post of mine is featured on the front page of BlogHer today. Here's the post (which you faithful readers will remember from a few weeks ago), and here's the front page so you can see me in all my full-frontal page glory.

Y'all! Why don't you go over there and look around, but play it cool, like, "Oh, why who is this amusing Suburban Matron? So droll!" Maybe wear a disguise or something. And leave a comment so they'll think people like me. Only do that once, Mom and Dad.

I hope you guys are having a fun Fourth weekend. We kicked it off with a neighborhood kids' bike parade this morning, and then the neighborhood pool party. Oh my God, what a mashup! Blog soup again. I will have more to report.

Go see me on BlogHer! There's other good stuff to read over there, not ONLY me. xoxo-B

Thursday, July 1, 2010

This Week in Boob

I don't think I've told you guys much about my plastic surgeon, beyond the fact that I have one. She scooted in right behind the oncologic surgeon during my mastectomy and started the breast reconstruction. I say "started" because it is still ongoing. Rome wasn't built in a day and all. She put in a tissue expander to make space for a regular implant later. The expander is an implant that can be filled with liquid over time until it's the right size. More about that little procedure below.

I say "liquid" as though it could be something besides saline. Like, hey, root beer!

So the doctor is a tiny little lady. Just a wee slip of a thing. We'll call her Dr. Hottie McTrottie. When I met her the first time, she was wearing stiletto sandals and toe rings. She also has a rather unrefined bleached blond thing going on, or I thought of it as unrefined for someone who is a) not nineteen years old, and b) works at making people beautiful. I don't know, not everyone is trying for the natural look. She is also nine days younger than me. She told me this at my hospital bedside.

Matt and I have imagined an entire back story for Dr. Hottie, based on just a few data points. Her personal style and grooming is one of those data points. Another is that--according to the diplomas hanging in her exam rooms--when she graduated from medical school, she was Hottie McTrottie Schmo, suggesting that there was a Joe Schmo in the picture, but by the time she finished her residency (her CV is very impressive), she had lost the Schmo and was back to being Dr. McTrottie. Oh, and I know that she grew up in a little town in California.

So what happened with Hottie and Joe Schmo? We were moved to speculate. Matt and I envision a hardscrabble girlhood for Dr. Hottie, always being brighter than people expected or needed her to be. Burning through the days at her small high school somewhere in the Central Valley, with not enough to do, pretty and popular but studying hard, planning her next move. At night she would do her homework at the table while her mother wiped the kitchen counters down, wiped the same place over and over again until she wore the finish off the formica. Hottie dreamed of getting away from that worn kitchen and that town, away to someplace where people had kitchens they never even went in.

Like moths to her pure, bright flame, everyone in that dusty place was drawn to her. One of those people was Joe Schmo. He was an older guy (of course) and Hottie liked him because he wasn't talking all the time like the high school boys, those boys always thinking nothing and bragging over nothing. She wasn't sure what Joe was thinking but that was okay with her. Joe had only a vague sense of Hottie as something rare, something he needed to catch and pin down like a butterfly. By the time she figured out he thought that way, she was well on her way to being Dr. Hottie, and she was tired of imagining Joe Schmo as better than he was. Thank God she'd never had his baby. So she shed him and his name, and made it all the way to her own plastic surgery practice in the ATL.

Or maybe this was the plot of Silence of the Lambs. Was I raving?

Yeah, so I've gone to see Dr. Hottie several times since my surgery to get my expander expanded. It's already the right size--it's symmetrical with the other side--but now the idea is that because I'm going to have radiation before too long, and radiation can make tissues shrink, we want to over-expand it to leave room for it to contract back to the correct size. Got it?

Yesterday, Matt and I went down there for another expansion. There's a valve in the expander that they can locate by putting a magnet on the outside of my skin. Freaky! Dr. Hottie's adorable PA (picture a large American Girl Julie doll) finds the valve and then marks it with a ballpoint pen. Then Dr. Hottie sticks a needle in me, through the valve, and squirts in a GIANT syringe of saline solution. Reader, are you okay or do you need a moment?

So this never used to hurt because a lot of my skin near the surgical scar is numb. But yesterday, when she stuck the needle in, I was like, "Anyway, yeah, it looks like it might rain OH HOLY CRAP OW!" Dr. Hottie said, "Yeah, I always tell my patients, that pain is both a good thing and a bad thing. Good because you're getting more sensation back. Bad because, you know." Yes, I know.

So Dr. Hottie put 100cc's in there, and then I sat up. She and American Girl Julie stood side by side and studied me. "Hmm, you know what?" Dr. Hottie said, "I kinda want to put some more in there! You think?" American Girl Julie said, "Yes, totally!" Dr. Hottie said, "You're so tall that 100cc's just spreads out on you. So let's do this again in a few weeks!"

I get that they can't predict exactly what the effects of the radiation will be, but it's funny how all of this is seeming less and less like an exact science. She was more like someone hanging a picture on a wall. "Hrrmmm, I think a smidge more to the right? Now scootch it up a bit?" Like that but with needles. I have a lot of faith in Dr. Hottie and I know everything is going well, but the needles are not awesome.

So that's what's going on with my rack. Sometimes when I contemplate writing a post about my post-surgical reconstruction, I think about all the people I know in my life who read this blog. People who I'm not on intimate terms with, but whom I know are friends of my family's or who are following along, concerned for my welfare. Then I think about actually walking up to one of those people, in person, and saying, "Boob. Hi! Boob." It is really too weird. But I also figure you guys might find these things informative. xoxox-B