Could I Get Any More Depressing?

My brother came into Huntsville for dinner earlier this week. It just worked with a trip for work he was making and it was something my heart needed more than anything. To see the one person in the world who I know misses Dad as much as I do.

We spent some time talking about how we’re “dealing” with things. What times are the hardest, when it hits us, what annoys us the most about the way people react to our grieving, and what sympathies really pluck our heartstrings. We both feel like we’re looking at the world in a different way, but neither of us have figured out what changes that will bring to our lives.

When I got the call that Dad had died in hospice, I told them I could be there in four hours and to please leave him there so I could say Goodbye. I had already discussed this with my brother, that I’d want to say goodbye to Dad one last time. They said they’d keep him there, and to just get there as soon as I could.

It took me longer to get the family packed up than I thought it would and we hit horrid traffic leaving town. It ended up being almost five hours before I got there, and I started panicking that they would have to take the body before I could say goodbye. MrZ didn’t really think I’d want to be with him long once I got there, but I knew I would. He pulled into the hospice and I literally jumped out of the car and ran inside, terrified I was too late. Of course I wasn’t.

I guess there’s nothing that really prepares you for seeing the dead body of someone you love. The body without the soul. Or the spirit. Or the lifeforce. Whatever you want to call it. If it’s a person you knew for a long time alive and energetic, seeing their lifeless body is a shocking thing. But I’m so glad I did it. As I was telling my brother, it has been really helpful to have that starkly honest image in my head to remind me: Dad’s gone. Because there are many times where I feel like it’s still not real. I say the words, “Dad’s dead,” but the truth of that statement is off somewhere else. The words mean nothing when I say them because there’s still a part of me who sees him at the next holiday, or in his house, or hears him on the phone. But that picture – the picture of his soulless body in hospice. That picture is there like a flash of lightning to remind me of the painful truth: He is No More.

If there’s anything I’ve learned these last few weeks is that I need that reminder. I need that stark image in my mind to shake me back to the reality of life without my Dad. I wonder how I’d be coping if I didn’t have that image, and I’m fairly certain I’d be much deeper in denial. While it’s a painful image and one my Dad would have hated me having – I’m glad it’s there.

He’s gone. I’m still crying at weird moments (like during Chuck because it was the one show he watched) and my heart still hurts when I see his name scrolling through the contacts in my cell phone. (Why can’t I delete his name out of my contact list? WHY?) The night is the hardest. The kids keep me distracted during the day but once they’re in bed? And the house is quiet? I’m left alone. Looking at his furniture in my bedroom. His books on my bookshelves. I get angry because someone so healthy should get to live to see their great-grandchildren. I get jealous because other’s still have their Dads. I get sad because I miss him. Still. Always.

So, it was good to see my brother. To see the one person in the world who has the same hole in their heart as I do.

Do Your Kids Like The Disney Channel? Can I Borrow Them Once In Awhile?

So, remember when I used to talk about how much I loved things like High School Musical? And how LilZ didn’t have to force any of the Disney tween sensations on me because I loved them all on my own? Well…that was a long time ago. Somewhere on the road to High School teens ditch Disney Channel and pick up things on The CW. I didn’t realize how much I missed the Disney Channel until LilZ and I found ourselves vegging in front of it one day – watching some sort of Hannah Montana marathon.

“I can not believe we have watched three episodes in a row and neither one of us has tried to change the channel.”
“It’s a good thing because if you tried to change the channel now, I’d be forced to cut you.”

(I’m not going to admit who said what in that exchange.)

While we were watching the marathon, we kept seeing previews for other shows and talking about how “Oooh…that looks good. We should TiVo that.” In the end we ended up scheduling several recordings of Zack and Cody (Did you know they’re living on a boat now?) and some new movie about a Duck Mascot. The best part? Sunday night we excitedly gathered around to watch the new episode of Hannah Montana. You know the one, where Lilly and Oliver kiss? CAN YOU BELIEVE THEY KISSED?

Unfortunately, it was only LilZ and I watching the show. (And I’ll deny he was into it if his friends ask…) NikkiZ is still not old enough to appreciate the high quality tween programming on the Disney Channel. She tries to – because some of the kids at school talk about Hannah Montana – but in reality? She just doesn’t get it. Not enough for me to justify watching it anyway.

So – I’m forced to either give it up for a few years, or watch it alone. It’s a tough decision. One thing is for sure though – with our without my kids? I’m totally Hatching Pete on Friday, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

Weekend Wrap-up: Smooth Legs Edition

This was our first full weekend home since February 10th. We celebrated the ability to sleep late and in our own beds by waking up both Saturday and Sunday before 6:30am with both NikkiZ and AndyZ in bed with us. BOTH MORNINGS. What the…? How did this happen? More importantly…why did this happen? Because our children are testing the limits of our sanity, I’m certain. And if my sobbing into my coffee moaning, “I just want to sleeeeeeeeppp” was any indicator – they found my limit.

But, we weren’t going to let a little bit of exhaustion keep us from Getting Things Done, were we? NO! We spent Saturday at the Hayes Nature Preserve, a park in Huntsville we never even knew about until recently. We also did some work on the garage and I vacuumed for the first time in about…10 years. (Speaking of vacuums…we’re in the market for a new one, any suggestions?) I even found time to…get this…shave my legs! Essentially – it was the perfect weekend. Just enough accomplished to feel like we didn’t waste the weekend, but we also made sure we scheduled some relaxing family activities – like watching last night’s new Hannah Montana. THERE WAS KISSING! EEK!

(Am I the only person who really gets into the cheesy teen shows on the Disney channel? Please tell me I’m not.)

Here are some pictures from our Saturday outing.

Cuteness. You’re doing it right.


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Hat Twins

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The “falconer” holding this owl said they couldn’t release him into the wild because after nurturing him as an abandoned baby, he now thinks he’s human. Heh.

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Flint River

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NikkiZ thought this was the funniest thing EVAH


So – what did you do this weekend?

Wicked Awesome.

LilZ and I went to see Wicked last night and I can say that his gratitude alone made the cost and the effort of the trip worth it. He must have sincerely thanked me 900 times and if you’ve ever known a 14-year old you will understand that such intense gratitude is something to be cherished.

And I can say all of that even considering the fact that I was up all night hugging the toilet in (a very cool) hotel room due to some incredible awesome food poisoning. His gratitude was THAT AWESOME, that it counterbalanced the cost of the trip, the tickets and my misery.

Now…all of that said? My love of the actual production? Turns out to all be icing on the cake. I loved it more than I would have ever expected. We’ve been listening to the soundtrack for months, so we felt like we wouldn’t be in for any surprises. Little did we know…we were so surprised. The dialog was funnier than I expected and there were parts of the actual story that I hadn’t picked up from just the music. If you get a chance to see the show, YOU MUST SEE IT.

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome.

Now, I need to get to bed because I’m still feeling very woozy as I was still puking even up to about 4 hours ago. I’m just now starting to feel kinda human again and now really ready for a good night’s sleep. Somewhere other than the floor of a bathroom.

And, on an un-related note, MORE PHOTOS!






Wicked and Photos

For LilZ’s birthday in January, I got he and I tickets to see the traveling production of Wicked which I knew would be coming to Birmingham in the Spring. Some time last week it occurred to me, “Oh, shit. Did we miss it?” Luckily, we didn’t. It’s tonight. And while I’m stressed to be planning an overnight trip when we are still no where near back to normal life, I’m also very much looking forward to a very fun evening. Our tickets are 10th row (this was obviously his only real birthday gift) and we’re staying over night at a fancy schmancy hotel. This will be his first real stage production and will only be my second one. While it’s a stressful time to be ditching my real life for 24 hours, I’m totally looking forward to an escape from that same real life I feel guilty for ditching.

I’m not making any sense now, am I?

Anyway…my point? Me. LilZ. Fancy clothes and awesome musical. TONIGHT. Woo Hoo!

Also – here are some pictures from the last few days. Mainly Easter but also one token Kid Eating Cheese Puffs shot from school yesterday.




Now, don’t say I never gave you anything.