Category Archives: Life stories

This part of adulthood is The Worst

 

This post was originally entitled “I am nothing but feelings.” You’ll see.Dad dimplesThe phone rang at 10:46 AM on November 17. It was a Monday so I was at work when my parents’ home number flashed on my cell phone, making my heart jump to my throat.

“Hello?” I answered, feeling tense.

It wasn’t Mom, calling to tell me she was taking Dad to the hospital. It was Dad, sounding fine.

I willed myself to breathe again.

Dad said he felt bad for not calling more. He just called to chat.

For years, Dad didn’t know my phone number – seriously – and it drove my mother nuts. She gave him grief about it constantly, writing the number on notepads in the house and entering it into his seldom-used and seldom-seen cell phone. But I always told him the same thing: I know how much you love me.

Still, it’s a surprise when Dad calls. A great surprise. I drop everything for him.

We talked about The Voice, which he absolutely loves. The bromance between Adam and Blake cracks him up. But he has a new favorite now.

Via JustJared and NBC

Dad asked about my cold and told me that he’s feeling good. The last three years have taught me not to take that for granted. Tomorrow is not assured.


Holidays are different now. On Thanksgiving night, I cried in my childhood bedroom thinking ahead to the day when I will no longer have a dad.

I used to save projects for Dad. A necklace that needs fixing. A shelf to be mounted on my apartment wall. He was my own personal McGyver. No challenge was too great for Dad.

But now, Dad is often physically vulnerable. I don’t ask him to do things for me now because I know it would break his heart to say “I can’t. I’m so sorry, Jen.”

My father seems to be fading like an old Polaroid. Sometimes I think about asking if he’s scared. And by scared, I mean about dying. But that’s a door I can’t open. Even thinking and typing the word feels like a betrayal.


Dad spent six days in a hospital two hours’ drive from home last week. His condition, pulmonary hypertension, is very difficult to manage. He has an excellent specialist who does everything you’d want a doctor to do, from calling the house to check in between appointments to visiting my father in the hospital, even though he’s out on vacation.

But getting Dad back on course takes time and tries his patience. He hates the hospital food, and the hospital twin bed and worst of all, the hospital TV that doesn’t offer a guide or menu. Fortunately he loves the nurses (and they love him).

I call a few times each day, trying to encourage and distract him.

“At least The Voice is on tonight, Dad.”

“You’re right, Jen. I can’t wait. It’s good to have something to look forward to.”

“I love you, Dad. So much.”

And then I hang up and cry. I can’t let Dad know how scared I am.


 

December 18 update: Dad was just diagnosed with shingles. 

About these ads

I am a New Year’s Eve early adopter (for once)

Every year, there’s angst. Where should I spend New Year’s Eve and with whom? NYE can be hell for the single and the unmarried.

Whatever. This year I feel great about my plans because my friends at Bowery Collective are throwing an elegant affair at my favorite hangout, Bowery Hotel.

NYE2015

If you have joined me at Whiskey Washback or Arte Agave, you have some idea of what to expect. But this is New Year’s so it will be extra special. Snazzy even.

 

Come for the Champagne cocktail station or the scotch lounge with live jazz. Or just come to hang out with my friends and me.

Just don’t dare ask for a Coors Light, please.

Click here for full details.

 

Because my readers are awesome, I’m offering you a 40% discount on tickets. To get the discounted rate, use the promo code ‘Jen’. Tickets are available now here.

The discount will go away so don’t dilly-dally. See you on New Year’s Eve.

 

 

 

New York City is not a cold place

Empire

I had just crossed 34th Street at Park Avenue en route to the subway. Something made me look back to the north side of the street. That’s when I saw her.

The woman was lying on the sidewalk, her body stiff and twitching. I ran back across the street. I don’t remember checking for traffic.

While another woman called 911, I dropped to the sidewalk next to the woman who was still seizing, her lips turning blue. Continue reading

Working remotely

Tobys

Today at the coffee shop…

Australians ordering flat whites.

The guy I pretend not to see, and not to know.

Two people, one male and one female, who look like troll dolls come to life. Maybe it’s the beanies.

Lounging long-haired lesbians

The man who looks like Val from Dancing with the Stars (but only in profile)

A photographer, and a stylist and an artfully rumpled model looking bored

A woman resembling grown up Lorde

Me listening to Sia on repeat while writing a handful of proposals, booking business trips to Nashville and London, and marveling at this tweet:

 

I survived the mother-daughter weekend!

I had a mother-daughter weekend in the DC area. A cousin got married and Mom asked me to be her date. Dad is doing pretty well, but his health ups and downs mean he’s less likely to enjoy all of the standing around a wedding reception can entail, or a four-hour car ride.

I was [mostly] happy to step in, for the chance to see relatives and to try to see old friends in DC, time permitting.

And to see my mother too, yes. So long as she didn’t comment on my weight, hairstyle, lack of boyfriend and/or failure to visit.

The wedding was lovely.

Flowers

Continue reading

This new thing I’ve been doing

Twenty-five pairs of eyes stare back at me.

A young man in front asks question after question, all of which sound less like questions and more like statements meant to make him seem smarter than the instructor.

The instructor who is me.

I have taken on a new project recently teaching a class at a local university. For obvious reasons, I can’t share too many details. But I wanted to let you know why I have been posting less than is my normal. Teaching is in addition to my full-time job so I have less free time than usual.

Teaching is a bit outside my comfort zone, but in a good way–at least so far!

For your enjoyment, here’s a pic of me from a pajama party-themed fraternity mixer a gazillion years ago.

COLLEGE

If you have any advice for me, I would love to hear it. What made you like and learn from your favorite professors or teachers? Any “what not to do” tips?

XO,

Professor Chicklette