That ’70s Show

Kristen came home for a visit during the summer after her first year of college. She planned to crash with us for one night and then go off again for two days to visit friends and see a concert. She would then come back and stay for two weeks before returning to school.

Kristen arrived with “Disco Stu.” No, Stu was not her latest boyfriend. Stu was a white hamster whom Kristen agreed to babysit for a friend from her old dorm who had to travel home by plane for the summer. She said her friend couldn’t take Stu on the plane. No, she didn’t mention ahead of time that she was bringing Stu. Kristen would never do such a thing. Kristen and Stu simply appeared together. And now I was expected to babysit Stu.

As Kristen was getting ready to leave for her two-day trip, I said, “Please make sure Stu has food and water before you go because I’m having nothing to do with him other than living with the allergic reaction the two of you have imposed on me.”

Kristen replied, “Oh, uh, oops, hee hee, I’m all out of hamster food. Hee hee.”

“Kristen,” I said, “that’s not funny. Get to Petco or wherever you have to go. I’m not feeding that thing much less shopping for hamster food.”

Kristen said, “He can eat oatmeal.”

“Fine,” I told her, “get some oatmeal out of the cupboard and put enough in his dish to last for two days.”

Kristen replied, “Is it organic? He only eats organic oatmeal.”

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Airbrushed

There was a little girl at the Verizon Wireless store yesterday who could not possibly have been older than eight, maybe nine. She was there with her Nicole Richie-sized mother, who was buying cell-phone jewels, little stick-on sparkles for cell phones. Cell phone bling. To make a bedazzled cell phone. I guess. Anyway, the jewels were apparently for the little girl’s cell phone, the cell phone perched in a (bedazzled) pink case on the non-existent hip of her pint-sized (bedazzled) designer jeans. Laura took in this scene, right down to the pink-frosted lip gloss, which the little girl reapplied with great fanfare at least five times in the five minutes she was in the store.

Laura turned to me and said, “Can I pleeeeeeeease have my own cell phone?”

Mom: “Laura, you are six. You don’t need a cell phone.”

Laura: “Yes, I do. I really do.”

Mom: “No, you don’t.”

Laura: “Why not? What if I want to call Daddy?”

Mom: “Laura, you go everywhere I go and if you want to call Daddy you can use my phone.”

Laura stepped a few feet away from me in order to go stare more closely at the soon-to-be-sparkly cell-phone-clad child. Laura looked at her as though she were thirsty and the little girl had a Big Gulp. She glanced up at Laura and said, “How old do you have to be before you can get a cell phone?” Laura said, “Probably eight or nine.” The little girl said, “Wow, that’s a long time.” Then she expertly applied more lip gloss.

Can You Hear Me Now?

I’ve been pondering for some time how just how open I will be on this blog. My previous public forums (email updates and Christmas letters) have left no topic unturned and no one safe, least of all me, so I might as well jump right in with the really personal stuff.

Yesterday I got the results of the previous day’s breast biopsy, which caused me today to get a new cell phone. How so? Was finding out that I was going to live cause to go ahead and commit to another two-year Verizon contract, or what?

So as you’ve surmised by now, it is officially benign. It’s the good news I was expecting, and nonetheless ecstatic to have confirmed!

How did I hear of this good news you might ask? It could have only happened this way in a sitcom.

I was driving toward home after Laura’s swim practice in bumper-to-bumper traffic, thinking that it was close to 5 PM and that at this point I probably wouldn’t hear anything from the surgeon until Friday morning. There was a steady stream of cars moving inch by inch up the road, stretching on as far as I’ve ever seen. I was approaching a spot along the route at which I would have no cell phone coverage, when my cell phone began to ring. Of course. Caller ID said it was a restricted number, so I knew it was probably the surgeon, and that if I dropped the call I would not be able to call her back. I answered, and in her strong accent, and over the static and popping of the bad connection, the surgeon said, “Cheri, this is Dr. Rajgopal, I have the results of your biopsy.” And then . . . silence. Absolute silence. Dead phone. DROPPED CALL. The screen on my phone said, “CALL WAS LOST.” Folks, I’m not making this up. I do not so much as embellish even one iota for effect. It happened just that way. So I immediately pulled a U-Turn smack in the middle of a very busy thoroughfare, which actually became a three-point-turn-around, because it is a single lane on each side, and I couldn’t pull off a “U” and keep holding my phone, and it hurts my right breast to move my right arm too much. Never mind the Range Rovers, BMWs and Mercedes SUVs cursing me in my rear- and side-view mirrors. I held that phone, finessed that otherwise-foolhardy turn with one arm, and began speeding back down the road. (I could speed because traffic was going the other way.) I was heading for cell phone range with a vengeance. And while doing all of the above, I prayed aloud (as Laura is my witness), “Please God, make her call back. Please God, MAKE her call back! PLEASE. GOD. MAKE. HER. CALL. BACK!” Moments that felt like centuries passed by and the phone rang again. Dr. Rajgopal was back on the line and she said, “Good news, good news, Cheri, it is benign.” She said some more stuff, which I’ll ask her to detail at my appointment next week, because what with her darling accent and my pounding heart, I had a hard time understanding just what that other stuff she was saying meant. Plus Laura kept saying from the back seat, “Mommy, why are you praying? Why are you praying?” So I just verified with with the doctor, “It’s all good? It’s all normal? There is nothing to worry about?” She confirmed that the news was indeed positive and that she’d see me next week for my post-op follow-up. Armed with our good news, Laura and I inched our way toward home all over again.

Today I went to get a new phone. Courtney made me commit to doing it, and I did. Duh. That was all it took. An amused Courtney listened in while I chatted with Kristen all the way home from the Verizon store without a single bit of static or echoing, much less a dropped call. I kept saying, “Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now?” And Kristen could! I’ve suffered with dropped calls at and near my house for a YEAR without getting around to getting to the bottom of the trouble. What was I waiting for? Moms always put themselves last on their lists. I have to stop that this instant!

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