Thursday, November 29, 2007

Flat. Where?

Never buy the flatware. Words to live by......

Two years after we married we bought our first house in Warren County, New Jersey. Shortly after we moved in my wife said we should get a matching set of flatware. The knives, forks and spoons that we were using came from a variety of mismatched sources. She figured, since we were now homeowners, that we should have a set of matching knives, forks and spoons. I agreed. Things were hectic, having just moved, a baby on the way, you know the deal. She didn't get around to picking out a set of flateware right away.

So, a couple of months passed, our younger daughter was born, we had our first Christmas in our own house. One day I find myself across the bridge in Stroudsburgh Pennsylvania at the new Wal-Mart Super Center. Wal-Mart was a relatively new, and still exciting experience for us at the time. We had not yet begun to despise Wal-Mart, or the Wal-Martians who lurk in the aisles there.

Where was I? Oh yeah, flatware.....Yeah, so I'm over the bridge at the Wal-Mart and I accidentally, believe me it was an accident, walk down the housewares aisle and I see sets of flatware on display. Oh boy, I think to myself. This will be great! I'll get her that new flatware that she mentioned. Needles to say, not one of my better ideas.

It's like this, okay? If "Real Men Don't Eat Quiche", then real men definitely should not buy flatware. Just so you know, I had to do spell check on both quiche, and flatware. I had them both wrong. So you can imagine my wife's surprise, read shock and horror, at the flatware pattern that I chose. I got the one that was on sale. I guess it was on sale for a reason.

I'm only bringing this up because I think we might need new flatware, again. In the dozen years that have gone by since the "Flatware Incident", the flatware set has deteriorated through sheer attrition.

It's mostly the spoons. The spoons get packed in lunches for work and school. The spoons get thrown in the trash by accident after the school or work lunch is consumed. The spoons also, sometimes, end up standing in the garbage disposal drain. The spoons are usually damaged when a less attentive person (me) then activates said garbage disposal unit. It makes one hell of a sound. It's almost as if the spoons cry out in agony, there little spoon heads spinning at a high rate of speed while the very sharp blades attempt to shred them into little tiny spoon pieces. A tragedy really.

So, this afternoon, while emptying the dishwasher I noticed that we are down to two spoons. The regular size tea spoons, the spoons you eat your cereal with. We have plenty of the larger soup spoons, the table spoon size spoons. I'm really the only one who uses the larger spoons. It's easier to shovel large amounts of food into my big mouth with the larger spoons.

So I'm thinking we should probably get some new flatware. I'm thinking that it would be best if I don't say nothin' about it. I'm thinking that I don't want to know from the flatware. I'm thinking that the only "flat" I need concern myself with is the flat spot on top of my square head.

I did buy two boxes of disposable plastic spoons for work and school lunches. I know it's not very ecological of me but I really don't care. I am not getting involved with flatware. I hope Mother Nature can forgive me my transgression in this one particular area.

The plastic spoons don't last too long in the garbage disposal.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Saturday. Blue. One.

So I'm home alone. My wife and the younger baby girl are over in Jersey visiting family. The older baby girl stayed here, she has to work all weekend at the store. I saw her last night when she came in. I saw her for a little bit this morning before she went to work. She just left with her boyfriend.

The sky just lit up. The house just shook. BOOM, POP, BOOMBOOMPOPBOOM...........Heart races for a second.......... I remember now..........They shoot off fireworks here, the Saturday after Thanksgiving they shoot off fireworks down in the park.

Last week I bought a pay-as-you-go type cell phone, a TracFone. I wanted my wife to have it with her for the drive to Jersey, just in case. I set it all up. I activated the phone on the TracFone website, I added the airtime minutes and charged the battery. So on Thanksgiving I had to go to the store for some last minute grocery type stuff. I'm standing by the spice display rack looking for ground cinnamon and I hear this ringing sound. I'm thinking to myself, do they have some kind of spice rack display alarm here? Then I'm thinking, no, that makes no sense. I'm thinking maybe that ringing sound is part of the song that's being piped in over the store's sound system. I'm thinking about how bad that is, and who would add a phone ringing to a pop song. I'm thinking about how I just don't get it, all this new music. I'm thinking about how much better the world would be if The Alllman Brothers were still on the top forty charts.........That's when I realized that it's my pocket that's ringing. I brought the TracFone to the store with me in case my wife thought of something else she needed while I was there.

So I'm fumbling with the phone, flipping it open, saying "hello" repeatedly. I'm thinking she must have hung up so I'm dialing the house, not realizing that she's still on the line listening to the beeps as I attempt to call her back. She hangs up. I hang up. I call her again and she answers, we laugh at my lack of technical knowledge. I'm so damn analog.

We had Thanksgiving dinner. It was the best, like always. Friday morning came and they left, eastbound for Jersey. It's only been a day and I miss them so much.

There was a time in my life when I cherished solitude. There was a time when I embraced loneliness. That was all before the whirlwind of crazy in love ripped open the doors bringing light and laughter into my solitude........ Loneliness can't stand up to that. The day I met her was the day I truly began to live. The baby girls multiply that by numbers so high you can't count them.

I don't want to dwell. I just can't get away from it. She has breast cancer. Early stages, treatable yes, but still it's cancer.

My gut takes a turn all on it's own.

I'm so damn scared. I stumble, I fumble. It's always there. I'm so damn scared.

Her favorite song is Silent Lucidity.

When we first met she laughed because I went to the 7-11 to buy groceries.

She wears Poison. She sprays it in front of her then walks through it.

When we first met I used to eat at my friend's tavern every Thursday. That was meatloaf day.

She loves Christmas.

Before we met, pizza and a Star-Trek marathon made for a perfect Saturday night.

She thinks Jack Black is hot.

Long rides on my old Harley. Bars I'd never been to before. No one to laugh with.

When she says she loves me she means it. My heart soars when she says she loves me.

I don't want to go back there. I want to know for sure. I want to know that she's going to beat this cancer. This world is a much better place because she's here. Our baby girls are who they are because she's here.

Hey Tommy. Something tells me that you know what I'm talking about. Something tells me that you know the truth. Something tells me that you ain't planning on sharing the truth with me. Would it break the rules if you did? Would you get in trouble?......Maybe it's just not done. Maybe it's never been done........Hey Tommy, I've never really asked you for anything, and forget about that fifty bucks. I've never asked you for anything so real.......Can you let me know?

Hey Tommy. Guess who just called? That's right bro. I feel better already. She needed a recipe, I read it to her from her recipe card file thing. Guess she's cooking for her father and her brothers and her sister. Sounds like they're having a real good time. She told me to call her back in like forty-five minutes......The last thing she said to me was, "I love you".


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Do The Chicken?

She was up all night. It's normal, she works the midnight shift. I got home about 2345 last night. She woke shortly after. I took my after work shower while she drank some coffee. We talked for a bit, then I crashed. I got up a little after eight this morning, she was just coming in from an early morning run to the grocery store. The kitchen was immaculate, all the laundry was done.

We hung out, drank coffee and made fun of the dogs. She told our younger baby girl to get The Parrot out of his cage so he could hang out with us too. I gave the older baby girl a ride to the pharmacy, she's working nine 'til five today. The Parrot hung out on the counter, playing with the measuring spoons.

She's back at the store, more stuff needed for the eat fest that is this coming Thursday. We got our turkey yesterday, it was free. Her company gives out certificates for turkeys to all employees. They also have a payed holiday break from Thursday through next Tuesday. Monday is Opening Day, rifle/deer season here in Pennsylvania. It's big doin's and the schools are closed and most people don't go to work anyway. Most companies just give everyone the day off. I'm off too, down at The Dock.

The Christmas decorations will come down from the attic this week. She so loves Christmas. She so loves being home with her children, and me I guess, and the birds, and the dogs, and the music and the food. Christmas means it's time to bust out the Christmas With Elvis CD, along with all the other Christmas music, but Elvis is my favorite. No matter what ends up in the CD player, (It holds five CD's, it's an older model) Elvis is always there.

She has had several good days in a row now. She says she feels like, maybe, she's getting used to it. She is getting to be good friends with the new lady at The Plant. They really seem to hit off. They exchanged e-mail addresses. My wife ran in to her at the store this morning. She met her husband too, says he's a good guy. She says her friend's husband has gray hair in a ponytail, seems around my age, thinks maybe we'd get along too. That's cool.

She signed up for a Roth I.R.A. at her work. The Plant matches funds up to three percent, then a percentage after that. It works out to four dollars for every five, not bad. She said she gave the financial guy a hard time. I say so what, he's makin' money off of her hard earned dollars, he can answer her questions and deal with her healthy skepticism. She says she asked him what his cut was. She asked him what's in it for him. He's talkin' all about how great this is for her, like he's doing her a favor or something, so she called him on it. Good for her.

Too many people think they can pull that sales crap on you, win you over with their fake enthusiasm and practiced smile. Nothing wrong with this guy puttin' some scratch in his pocket when he signs people up for these deals, that's his job and he's got to earn a living too. Just don't act like it's anything more than that. Don't act like you've dedicated your life to helping press operators at the powdered metal plant secure a future in retirement for themselves. Nothing wrong with liking your job. He may actually feel that way. He may enjoy helping people out, but he ain't doin' it for nothing.

We have been scammed too many times. It's taken a while but we have figured out that you can't assume everyone else is coming from an honest place, just because you are. Maybe that's what they mean about, life begins at forty. You don't tolerate cheesy car salesmen. You despise insurance companies who take your money yet try their best to avoid holding up their end of the contract. Slick people wearing the business uniform, preying on the rest of us. If they can't, or won't answer a question then they don't get our business. If they want to get all offended, tough shit. If they want to get angry, then to quote Roscoe Rules from The Choir Boys;

"Knee drop 'em, and make 'em do the chicken".

Figuratively, or literally if need be................I'm still not sure what that means exactly, I just like the way it sounds.

Yeah, we are at a point in our lives where we don't have time to play games with stupid people. My wife has cancer. We don't know what's coming next. Try to get the most out of every day. Try to avoid stupid people, and if we can't then we take a stand.

It turns out that this financial advisor guy is a good guy, or seems to be at least, for now. He answered her questions. She said he was pretty straight forward with her. That's a good thing. Not enough of that in this world.

Hey Tommy. Yup, I heard that....I don't know if I'm going out to The Camp this year. I have to see what's going on, you know?.................Exactly bro.......That's exactly what I'm sayin'. She's too important. Like I was sayin' man, everythings changed......Man, I do so love this woman.........Yeah, catch you later.

Monday, November 12, 2007

It Just Is.

No school today, for the younger baby girl. The older baby girl has classes. So as I write this, The Parrot is hanging upside down. He's ringing his cowbell toy, he's all fired up. The younger baby girl is in the next room watching cartoons. I just heard the theme song to Top Cat.

Phone just rang, it's for the younger baby girl.

So I had to run two errands today. First stop was the smoke shop where I bought a bag of Black Jack tobacco and some tubes. I make my own cigarettes, it's a lot cheaper that way. Second stop was the one stop for everything gas station/convenience store for milk. I bought a lottery ticket also. It was an impulse buy. I haven't bought a lottery ticket in almost a month.

It's raining, kind of nasty out. I popped a CD into the CD player in the old Jeep on my way to the smoke shop. The Allman Brothers. Stormy Monday. It wasn't intentional, it just happens to be Monday and stormy.

Ups and downs. Lefts and rights. Strange weekend. We stayed up all night on Saturday, my wife and I. We watched a show about Humpback Whales. We watched a good movie. We ate cake and ice cream at five-thirty in the morning.

Earlier that evening we were talking about financial stuff. Scary student loans, intrusive disclosure statements all related to the older baby girl attending art school. She'll be transferring from our local campus after she finishes out this fall semester. So it's mind boggling stuff.

"Well, it's a distraction from all this other stuff".

That's what I said to my wife while I motioned towards her with a wave of my hand. I didn't think much about it. Later on she told me how much that hurt her. I didn't mean to hurt her. My wife is not the type of person to make something out of nothing. She is not so easily hurt, not so easily offended. If she says something hurt her feelings, it's the real deal.

I felt bad. I still feel bad. It was a stupid thing to say. It's all still very fresh. It's all still very new. It's all still overwhelming.

In waves. It comes in waves. No rhyme or reason. No time to prepare. It comes in waves.

Everything is changing. I have to change with it. When I went out with the guys from work a couple weeks ago I was supposed to call her for a ride. I never called. I just showed up at home around 0230. I should not have done that. Last year it would not have mattered so much. I don't go out often. This year it's different. She really needs me. Now she has breast cancer. Everything is changing. I have to change too.

It rolls up like a tsunami from the otherwise calm. It rolls. No time to prepare. She doesn't know when. She's really not sure. It just rolls over her.

I have to be there always, not just be there but really be there. She has always been the very cool wife. She has never given me a hard time about going out to my friends camp for opening day. She was happy when I went to the dirt track races this past summer and ate too many chili dogs. She knows that once a year, after inventory week, all the guys from down on The Dock go out for beers. But like I was saying, everything is changing. She needs me to be more than I've been. She needs to be able to rely on me, like never before. I can't keep fumbling through with my half-ass grin and an "I'm sorry baby".

When it's time to take The Parrot out of his cage you place your hand against his belly and say "step up". I have to step up now too.

She was talking to a woman she knows, a woman who's been through this. This woman said she'd just bust out in tears for no reason. She could be at work. She could be making a sandwich, she'd just burst, and cry.

It comes out of nowhere. No rhyme, no reason. It just is what it is.

It just is.

Friday, November 09, 2007


It didn't work. the printer cartridge refill-it-yourself kit didn't work. Our printer is almost ten years old. We have a new computer that we bought two years ago 'cause the girls really need it for school. These days it's essential. Never did buy a new printer. Need to do that now. They both have papers that have to be turned in this coming week. The older baby girl has a paper due for her religions class at college. The younger baby girl has a book report due on Tuesday up at the middle school. They have completed their papers. We just need to print them out.

I was going to do a little work on the old Jeep this week. It will have to wait 'til next week. School is the priority in this house. The new printer is the priority this week.

The older baby girl was accepted at the art school. She's excited. If all goes well she will be leaving just after the first of the coming new year. She will live on campus. It's very expensive. She's very smart and talented. She will get some help from the school, the rest will be covered by student loans. We are going to help her as much as we can. I love her so much. We are so proud of her. Her high school G.P.A. was 3.8, I can't relate to 3.8..........I think my high school G.P.A. was around a 2 or something.

Her little sister will miss her. They are very close. They will e-mail and talk on the phone I'm sure. The younger baby girl will hang out in her big sister's room, just to give it that "lived in look" that teenagers seem to be so comfortable with.

Yesterday I was crying about the National Debt. Today I feel stupid. No sense crying about what you can't change. No sense crying at all, it doesn't help. Crying just clouds your vision.

Worked some overtime last night. When I got home there was a note on the kitchen counter. She wanted me to put the meatloaf away. It was right out of the oven and too hot to throw in the fridge before she had to leave. She made meatloaf before she went in for her shift. I'm the only one in the house who really loves meatloaf. She makes meatloaf for me. She makes really good meatloaf. It was difficult to put it in the fridge without sampling some. I was strong. I did not partake. Today will be different. I'm going to have some for lunch. I'm going to bring some to work with me tonight. We eat lunch at half past eight on our second shift.

She's not crying today. She's on the phone with a friend right now. She's laughing. It's so damn good to hear her laugh.

She knows that she has to have more surgery. She knows that it will be hard. I will be home with her when it's time to remove the dressings. We won't make that mistake again. Who knew? It's not like somebody told us what to expect. My advice to anyone who faces a similar situation is this. Do not be alone. Make sure you are sitting down. Be prepared, as prepared as anyone can be, to be hit with a sledgehammer.

The doctor says that the double mastectomy may mean she can avoid chemotherapy. She knows that losing her hair would be the worst, for her. It's almost like she'd rather lose her breasts than her hair. If she ever does need chemo, I'm going to shave my head too. I wear it buzzed to less than half an inch now. I will take it right down to the skin if that happens.

Maybe I'll grow my hair out, donate it to Locks Of Love. Probably not a good idea. Anybody want some forty-five year old graying blondish hair that smells like Marlboro smoke, beer and hydraulic oil?

Hey Tommy. I was thinking about you the other day. I was thinking about the time when I wrecked that old Sportster. I was pretty lucky that night. A couple inches either way when I hit that tree and I wouldn't be here, or I'd be pressing these keys with a pencil in my mouth........
Yeah bro, that was a hell of a night........It should be me. It shouldn't be her.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


It all comes down to money.

We are very lucky to have good insurance as part of my police retirement package. What about all those people who don't?

I am trying to land a position as a full time tractor trailer driver down on The Dock. I have my class A CDL and a good medical card. If I'm able to get the new job it will mean almost twice what I'm earning now. That would mean my wife would able to worry less about money and more about getting better.

She needs more surgery. It's called a bilateral, or double mastectomy. Recovery time will be longer than the first time. They called this first round a lumpectomy. It was more than that. Once they looked inside, they discovered more than they thought they would. They actually removed so much tissue that they might as well have taken the whole breast.

She is upset. A couple of good days followed by some not so good days. It hurts her, she has pain in her right breast and she's still going to work every night. She started back this week. She doesn't think she'll be able to do the overtime on Saturday. I'm glad she's not going to. Knowing her, she still might.

I don't want her working in the powdered metal plant anymore. It's not my place to tell her what to do, but I did tell her how I feel. I don't think it's a healthy environment. I don't think it's conducive to a healthy recovery. I hope I get this new position. I never heard back from the railroad, oh well. I hope I get this new position so that she can work part time around the younger baby girl's school schedule and be home with her more than she is now.

The doctor says expect the worst. The doctor says prepare for the worst so that we are not blindsided by this cancer. Well, expecting the worst. The more time she can spend with the girls the better. Know what I mean?

She's angry. She's determined. I'm determined to back her up all the way.

My wife says they have free mammograms available for those who can't afford it. Her point is this. Then what? What does the woman who has no insurance do when her mammogram results harbor bad news?

I heard on the news this morning where Congress and the President agreed to raise the National Debt level to nine trillion dollars........Nine trillion dollars........Assholes.

It all comes down to money.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That's what we here in this country are guaranteed. The only time I've heard that said lately is on those Cadillac ads. They drop the ending. They drop the "of happiness" part. They just say "the pursuit" part.

So if we can buy a new Cadillac then we're guaranteed these things? I don't want a new Cadillac. I want to see my wife beat cancer. I want the older baby girl to be able to continue her pursuit as she prepares to attend art school in the spring semester. I want both of our girls to be able to spend as much time with their mother as time will allow.

Nine trillion dollars in debt. Three bucks a gallon for gas. Natural gas prices going through the roof. Electricity rates about to be deregulated. It's like these idiots in charge really want to return to those long lost days when they ruled over us. They don't want to serve their fellow man. They just want run the show while the rest of us foot the bill.

Nine trillion dollars. How come I can't go to the bank and borrow more money than I will ever be able to pay back? How come I can't go to the bank and borrow money that I don't have to pay back because it will be paid back by other hard working people? Oh yeah, I forgot. I didn't go to college and learn how to be smart like they all did...........Assholes.

Don't hand me that Democrat versus Republican thing. They all did it. They all continue to do it. They will all continue to do it and nothing will ever change...............Assholes.

She's sleeping now. I just used one of those refill-it yourself printer cartridge kits and I'm waiting for it to set up. Both of the girls need to print out stuff for school. I saved over forty bucks doing it this way. I sure hope it works. If it doesn't, maybe Congress can send me printer cartridges that they bought for the Pentagon. They probably pay five hundred bucks for what I can get downtown for fifty.

Nine trillion dollars in debt. There ain't enough overtime available to pay that off.....................


Tuesday, November 06, 2007


My favorite Stones song is Let It Bleed. I always liked it more for the music than the lyrics. It's got that bluesy old school rock and roll thing going on. I love the guitar licks.

It's still my favorite Stones song. The lyrics mean more to me now. Some of them hurt, but that's okay.

She went back to work Sunday night. Midnight 'til eight on Monday morning. They hired someone new while she was out on medical leave. The new hire is a woman who has a pet rabbit trained to use a litter box. Very cool indeed. My wife seems to be hitting it off with this new lady. That's good, they seem to have a lot in common. My wife says the new girl is not nosey. She doesn't get all intrusive about things. That's very good 'cause we are private people.

I let the younger baby girl stay home from school today. She had an orthodontist appointment at 1300. It snowed here for the first time today. Nothing sticking, still a little too warm for that. Before her appointment we went and bought a fishbowl, two little goldfish and some goldfish flakes. We got blue glass marbles for the fishbowl. If these fish survive and grow some, we'll get a twenty gallon tank with a filter.

Years ago we had a goldfish who lived 'til he was twelve. He was almost a foot long. My wife got him for ten cents when she was seventeen. He was already pretty big when I met him. We put him in a thirty gallon tank, then a fifty-five gallon tank. He died one year when a big storm knocked the power out for three days. I guess no filter and no 02 put too much of a strain on his old system. I always took real good care of that tank. It was spotless. Crystal clear water, no algae, no smell.

So she wants goldfish. She wants to try again. I'm up for that.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Mister Cairo.

I received an e-mail from England. That's a first for me. It seems that these good people at a website called selected one of my posts as Post Of The Week. The post they selected is titled New Tears. 20OCT07.

At first I was happy to be recognized for my writing. Conflicted is how I felt next. My wife never reads my blog. I had to ask her to read New Tears. She liked it. She thinks it's good that I'm writing about it. She said it's good that I have an outlet. After sharing this with her, I no longer feel conflicted. I feel honored to have been chosen. It means a lot to me.

I have been trying my hand at this writing thing for several years now. I wrote a novel, that novel sucks. I am trying to write another one, it's on FictionSquared, my other blog. Old cop stories, old war stories. It's all been done before. Now this. Now breast cancer. Now something so real.

My wife wants me to keep going. She wants me to share this. It is certainly not what I want to write about. Breast cancer was never the topic I envisioned myself discussing with Charlie Rose at the big oak table on PBS. One of those daydreams I share only with my wife.

Have to go for now. More to say later. It's birthday dinner day for our older daughter who is nineteen tomorrow, o5NOV......Doing it all today. Tomorrow she's got classes all day, then works at the pharmacy 'til nine o'clock at night......Roast beef, mashed potatoes and green beans with lots of gravy. That's her favorite.

Yes. That was good dinner. After we ate, the birthday girl and her boyfriend went up to the college. She had to take a test on the computer there. They were back in an hour, we had coffee and birthday cake. The girls and the boyfriend are all settled in the living room watching Cabin Boy on DVD. It is a funny movie. My wife just went upstairs to take a nap. She's going back to work tonight at midnight, her regular third shift routine. She's a little bit apprehensive. It's understandable given the circumstances. The doctor said she's clear to return to the plant. I don't want her to go, but I know she should.

Yeah, today is a really good day. We cleaned and cooked and listened to music. Last night things got a little romantic. Our relationship is changing, for the better. We are both looking at each other through new eyes. We are both seeing what it was that brought us together in the first place.

So the doctor says she has time. He says not years, but time. She has to decide when to schedule the next round of surgery. She has to decide when to have her breasts removed.

We have been talking a lot about this. Hours of conversation. I try to just listen, only say something when I have to. These are her decisions, I think she's making good ones. From all that we have read about breast cancer, one thing seems perfectly clear. At her stage, very early, her best shot is a double mastectomy. It's never a guarantee, but it's so damn close that it seems like a no-brainer. There are women out there who never had the chance to decide. We know how lucky we are to have this chance.

My wife gets angry sometimes. She gets angry at a society that places so much importance on appearances, and breasts.

I do not want her to lose her breasts. I would not want her to lose her ears, her big toes or any other part of her body. I do not want to see her go through any of this. I do not want her to have cancer. I do not want her to lose her life. Her decision is the right one. I am proud of her.

She says she doesn't like it when people tell her she's brave. She says she's not brave. She says she's scared. I still say she's brave. Many acts of bravery are motivated by fear. It depends on what you do with that fear. She is facing it, head on.

Hey Tommy. I got to tell you this one bro. This morning I sat down in front of the TV with a cup of coffee. Our younger daughter joined me. The Maltese Falcon was on one of the cable channels, she watched it with me. She got a real kick out of Mr. Cairo. He really is a funny character. She thought it was great when Sam Spade took the gun away from him, knocked him out and tossed his wallet. Maybe she gets that from me. She thinks it's great that I'm an ex-cop from Jersey. She's daddy's girl, no doubt.......Catch you later man.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Oh One.

Pink Ribbons...Fender Benders...Titanic Book Bags.

Yesterday, the first day of November. Our older daughter, the bigger baby girl. She takes the old Jeep up to the campus for her morning classes. She calls me at around eleven. She says she hit a parked car in the student lot. She's crying. She said she left a note on the windshield of the car she struck. The note said she was sorry. The note included her name and our phone number. She's a good kid. She did the right thing.

So I get a call from this woman down in Pittsburgh. Seems it's her daughter's car that was struck. I tell her that our daughter will pay for the damages. This woman is very nice. She says her daughter did the same thing in a store parking lot a couple of years ago. I tell her that my daughter will be home soon. I tell her that I will call her back. She is concerned that her daughter may not be able to drive safely at night. Damage is to the passenger side front blinker and headlight assembly.

When my daughter returns my wife and I give her hugs. We tell her it happens. We commend her on doing the right thing, leaving the note. With the nice woman's permission, the mother of the girl who's car our girl hit, my daughter and I go look at the damage to her car. It's not as bad as I first thought. I call the girl's mother back. I tell her that it appears like the lights will function, repairs are required of course, but she should be able to drive the car until repairs can be made. The other mother is relieved, she talks to our girl on the phone. She tells our girl that it's all okay. She tells our girl that she appreciates her honesty. She tells our girl not to worry, it's an old car and all they want to do is repair the lights. They are not worried about scratches and paint.

The doctor calls at around half past two. My wife gets the results of all the testing done on the mass they removed from her breast a couple of weeks ago. The first round of tests showed more cancer than was originally thought to be there. The more extensive tests confirmed that. The more extensive tests also showed that none of it is invasive yet. They are calling it aggressive D.C.I.S.........The doctor says that the whole breast will have to be removed.

My wife is telling me all this. I had to leave and pick up our younger baby girl at the bus stop. I return and my wife tells me the rest. I have to leave and go to work. I call her at lunchtime and we talk some more about it. After work last night we talk again.

She tells me that our younger baby girl left the cap loose on a bottle of water. The bottle of water was in her backpack. Her nine-hundred page math book, drenched. Her science book, drenched. The water logged school property was sitting on the heating vents, upright, opened slightly. As the pages began to dry they had to be seperated from each other. It was a save. The books are usable but obviousely damaged. The process continued well into the wee hours on Friday morning. We will have to pay a fine at the end of the school year. We will also have to figure out how to repair the damage on our old Jeep. Did I mention that a crease and dent are now visible on the passenger side front fender as a result of the older baby girl's failed attempt at parking in a clearly marked parking slot that's big enough to roll a semi-truck through?

With what we are facing, it don't mean nothin'. Wet books and dented Jeeps. Forget about it.
Jeeps look good with a couple of small dents anyway. Jeeps can carry that well. Battle scars. I know I've got a couple of old scars that I am actually proud of. Old Jeeps and guys, we can carry that well.

My wife is determined. She is going to kick this cancer's ass. She is going to have both of them removed. I think that's the right decision. It's important to note that what I think is, and should be, secondary in her decision making process. It is part of what we have been talking about. She wants to know what I think. I told her I just want her to live. I told her I just want her to survive. I know it's traumatic for a woman to loose her breasts, but as man, I can never really know. She is only thirty-eight. There are women even younger than her who are facing this.

She knows how lucky she is, early detection and all. She also knows that much of what they found did not show up in the scans or the ultrasound. It did not show up in the mammogram or the core biopsy. Most of what they found showed up when they examined and tested the tissue that they removed during her lumpectomy a couple of weeks ago.

Oh One. Oh one hell of a day. Many more to come I'm sure. She will lead the way.

Hey Tommy.......Yeah. Drive on.