Today we saw most of the Little Rock Zoo, including snake buddies in a bucket, a fancy pigeon, and a dumpy tree frog. I feel so bad for that little guy.
We’re in Arkansas: North Little Rock, Sherwood, somewhere, I don’t know. It is seriously confusing driving around here. We went to dinner at a restaurant on the same side of the river as our hotel but had to cross the river twice to get back.
The last forty-five minutes of our trip was through a torrential downpour, no lie. Ian drove. We were about half an hour early, so we looked around at the flea market next door, where Ian found a Kirby Puckett card.
Then we went in and waited on the comfy couches for Katie to finish up my drawing and get everything ready.
But oh, it was definitely hurting by the time she was finishing up. I don’t know if I can do that to myself again. Maybe on my legs…
We haven’t decided what to do with the rest of the weekend; the weather’s supposed to continue sucking until Sunday, when we head home, so the zoo is probably out. Maybe the natural history museum.
Aaand the cable just went out in our hotel room. Told you the weather’s bad.
A little over a year ago, I posted about my piercings. And I said this:
Which reminds me of all the tattooed people I know who are dying for me to get inked up. Why do you do that, guys? You’re like junkies who need someone to join in on their next fix.
I don’t have any tattoos. I don’t have plans for any. I do have a couple of drawings I’d likely have tattooed on me if I were to ever get one, but they’re just not my thing. I haven’t felt the call of the wild tattoo.
You know what’s funny about that? Tomorrow is our ninth anniversary, and we’re going to Arkansas for my fifth tattoo. And I’ve gotten four piercings since our eighth anniversary. So at this time tomorrow, I will have gotten more tattoos than piercings in the past year.
I’ve been living with my ureteral stent for five and a half weeks now. The first week sucked a lot.
As I said the day I got it, if you’ve ever had a catheter, you probably know that it sucks to pee for a while afterwards. That lasted a couple days, and my urine was clear of visible blood by six days out. I read that intermittent bleeding can occur, but I’ve been fortunate enough to not have that symptom.
This week, the bladder spasms have increased, which is unpleasant, to say the least. Standing is not the best, so while I was sitting at work the other night, of course the district manager showed up to print some things and bitch at me.
“What if everyone sat while they’re working?” he asked.
“Not everyone has a kidney stone and a ureteral stent,” was my response.
He seemed to let it go for a few minutes before picking it back up. And the next day the assistant manager let me know that he showed up again and was asking if I had a doctor’s note saying I needed to sit. But what’s he going to do, fire me?
The fatigue is much worse than I expected. Most days I feel like I did so much more than I actually did, like today. I’m just tired.
But three weeks from now I’ll be NPO in preparation for my surgery where they’ll remove my stent and zap my stone with laser beams.
And next week when I get my preop stuff done I’ll try to find out whether or not I get another stent afterwards. Fingers crossed it’s a big fat no. Really tired of feeling like I have to pee all the time.
“Come here, child, let’s have a talk,” she said, patting the couch cushion next to her.
I was an obedient child; I sat next to her immediately. “What are we talking about, Grandma?” I asked her, curiosity getting the better of my patience.
“What do you think about the way things are?” she asked me.
I was very young, probably five or six. I had no idea what she was asking me, and I said so.
“I mean, how we live here, and how your friends from school live, and how other people in other parts of the world live,” she explained.
I wasn’t really getting her point just yet, though I struggled to understand and come up with an acceptable answer. “It’s good, right? I mean, I have toys, and my friends have toys, just about everyone has toys, don’t they? Doesn’t Santa bring everybody toys at Christmas?”
“Not everyone, sweetheart. Some people lock their doors and their chimneys so Santa can’t get in.”
I was taken aback at this thought. I couldn’t imagine a world without Santa, or a world in which Santa didn’t visit every child in the world, as I had always believed. I didn’t know what to say to that, and so I didn’t say anything. My grandmother took that as her cue to continue her lesson.
“We are very lucky people. We have everything we need, and then some. Do you know there are people all over the world who don’t have anything at all? No home like we have, no clothes, no food, and no toys.”
This was even worse than imagining no Santa. Dirty people, running around with nowhere to eat a dinner they didn’t have. My little mind boggled, and as the boggling began to slow, the horror began to kick in.
“Why don’t they have anything, Grandma?” I asked her.
“A lot of reasons, honey. Sometimes it’s their own fault, and sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes it’s because of a bad choice they made or because of a bad choice someone else made. What do you think of that?”
“I don’t think it’s fair at all, Grandma. And I think if they don’t have anything, then Santa should definitely visit them, especially their children,” I offered.
“I think you’re right, but that just isn’t the way the world works,” she told me, shaking her head sadly.
I wanted to talk more; I wanted to ask a million questions and get to the bottom of this, but I didn’t know what to ask or how to ask it. I sat there quietly, waiting for my grandmother to offer me the solution.
She never did.
Her eyes protrude with Graves’ disease, her hair lank and mousy: unimpressive. But the kindness in her face fades these superficial faults to nothingness. Her husband smiles to himself, secure in this knowledge.
Slow and steady wins the race: he is slow, and he is steady, carrying a heartfelt birthday card for his wife who naps at home. Slow and steady and kind and caring and in love.
He stops once more to again offer me the X-wing he bought at the toy store. He knows I love Star Wars, but I haven’t had the heart to tell him yet that I don’t pray. I’m not entirely sure how well he would take it.
He talks on his phone, pausing every other word to check on the small boy trailing further and further behind him. It’s a challenge to step one foot per floor tile when the tiles are so much longer than his short little legs, feet encased in sandals. He gives up, and races forward heedlessly.
Her laugh is so loud, so loud. It echoes off the floor, the walls, the glass storefronts. Her joy is palpable. Today I can handle it; some days I cannot. She pauses to sweep up an abandoned free sample bbq French fry, greets a passerby, and laughs again. Raucously. Today I can handle it.
P. S. I haven’t forgotten, Laurie!