Wednesday, June 27, 2012

When a Video Goes Viral - Epilogue

Two weeks have passed and I regret that I ever uploaded the video to my YouTube account. We are no longer responding to media requests to use it and, despite multiple offers, my son and daughter-in-law have decided not to sell the rights to the video -- I decision I totally agree with.

The knee-jerk reaction against zoos could have been predicted, I suppose, but the pure vitriol of so many of the comments posted on YouTube and other websites caught us totally off-guard -- some even wishing the chimp would break through the glass and tear the baby apart. My daughter-in-law asked me to take the video down and I did, then my son asked me to put it back up and I did, with moderated comments.

But I'm tired of being the gatekeeper; it's adding stress to my life that I just don't need. I wish my son would transfer the video from my account to his own, if he still wants it to be public. I'm feeling a little bit traumatized, to be honest, and I just want my quiet, uneventful life back.

The moral of the story is: when your video goes viral, it's not necessarily a good thing.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

When a Video Goes Viral...

It all began with a simple trip to the zoo last Saturday. My daughter-in-law and her sister took the kids to see the animals at the zoo. And then this happened:

My daughter-in-law posted the video to Facebook but hadn't been able to upload it to YouTube, and asked if I could figure it out. I did, and somehow the local news in her city caught wind of the video and interviewed her about it for their Monday evening newscast.

Then local radio stations picked up the story and, just this morning, the video appeared on Good Morning America, the CBS Morning News, and the UK's Sun News website. And those are just the ones I know about! Meanwhile, I've been watching in disbelief as the stats on my YouTube page steadily climb, with viewers from around the world, including Russia, Saudi Arabia, Romania, and Japan.

What to make of all this? Heck if I know. Life in the 21st century, I guess. It's an odd little blip in our otherwise ordinary lives, but it does have me musing over what a small world it's become, thanks to the Internet, and how our sweet little boy and a sweet little chimp and three minutes of video can touch people we will never ever meet.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


I'm not allowed to write about my husband on the Internet. He has asked me repeatedly not to. Usually, I mention him only in passing, maybe something funny that happened, but mostly I try to respect his privacy.

But something happened, something that wasn't funny at all. And I have to write about it, to try to purge some of the awfulness out of my brain.

Sunday night was hard for me. I was thinking about Mom and had a good cry before going to bed, where I tossed and turned for a couple of hours until I finally gave in and got up. So I was awake at 4:00 when Mikey woke up. He didn't say anything so at first I didn't realize something was wrong, but soon he was moaning and groaning a bit and, by 6:00, he was vomiting repeatedly and then he was on the floor writhing in pain.

By 7:30, we were off to the emergency room, stopping along the way so he could lean out of the car and puke some more. Before long, I was sitting in a hospital with someone I love beyond measure, again. With something very wrong with their gallbladder. Again. And he sounded just like Mom did when she cried out in pain. Believe me, I was more than a little freaked out.

Blood was drawn, an IV was started, morphine was administered, and eventually there was an ultrasound done. The doctor told us that Mikey did have some small stones in his gallbladder and was apparently passing one, but he also had a very high white blood cell count that wasn't accounted for by what he saw on the ultrasound. He suspected that it was unrelated and wanted to admit Mikey to run more tests.

Leukemia. Oh, my God, leukemia.

The doctor left to arrange a CAT scan and Mikey was worried about the payroll checks he was supposed to be writing, so he sent me home to grab the checkbook. I didn't give a crap about payroll checks, somebody else could write them, but I was glad for an excuse to get out of there for a few minutes. I sobbed all the way home and prayed hard. Please, please, please, oh, please...

At home, I googled "high white count" and the Mayo Clinic's page listed 18 reasons for an elevated count; six of those were various forms of leukemia. All I could think was that I was going to lose my husband, and if that happened -- well, you might as well dig a hole big enough to bury both of us because there's not enough left of me to survive another loss of that magnitude.

Back at the hospital, the doctor told us the CAT scan didn't turn up anything out of the ordinary -- I suspect he was looking at Mikey's lymph nodes and spleen -- and that he could keep his gallbladder for now because the stones were so small. And so, after a dose of IV antibiotic, he released Mikey with prescriptions for pain pills and something that might dissolve the stones, as well as instructions for a low-fat, low-cholesteral, high-fiber diet to follow from now on because Mikey is a "stonemaker."

Kind of anti-climactic after all that, but I didn't argue. I was sleep-deprived and emotionally drained and so ready to go home after eight hours in the ER. There is a follow-up appointment scheduled and I presume the doctor will check the white cell count again and decide if there is any further cause for concern. And so we went home and slept off and on throughout the rest of the day and night.

This morning Mikey was still in some pain but eventually went off to work, promising he wouldn't stay very long. Meanwhile, I'm scouring the Internet for advice and recipes, trying to figure out what the heck I'm going to feed him now.

Just my luck, I went grocery shopping Friday and blew two hundred bucks on all the wrong foods. Gah.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Mama Bear

Last night I took Britt to a "Children Reading to Dogs" event at our local library. We got there a little early to pick out new books to bring home and then sat at a table where she worked on a craft while waiting for things to start. Another woman and her daughter, maybe 10 or so, sat at the table with us, the daughter's nose buried in a book.

It was all going so well until, eying our stack of easy readers, the other woman asked Britt how old she was. "Seven," she answered, and I instantly felt the waves of smug disapproval rolling off Mrs. Judgy McJudgerson over there. "Well, she just turned seven. She's only in first grade." I spoke nicely but inside -- oh, man, I was seething. She had just poked a stick at the Mama Bear in me. How dare she judge my cub? She has no idea what an amazing kid Britt is. Sure, maybe I could have worked with her and had her reading sooner, but her teacher says she's right on track and doing well, so where's the problem?


Once you become a mom, you do run up against these women occasionally -- the super-anal, uptight uber-moms with very rigid ideas about the right way to raise children. You and your kid(s) will inevitably fail to measure up. And I'm sure this particular woman homeschools her kid and that she was reading by age 3 and a McDonald's french fry has never passed her lips and they don't even own a TV set. Fine for them, but that's not us. Their ways are different, not necessarily better or worse. Just different.


Britt does not lack supervision or intellectual stimulation. I have always read to her. She has an insatiable curiosity and I try to answer all her questions and, if I don't know, then we look it up together. We go to museums and find other educational activities around town. We provide her with all the tools and resources and encouragement she needs to explore her interests. No, she isn't taking soccer and piano lessons and ballet and gymnastics, but I don't want her to be an over-scheduled neurotic mess. (I had planned to sign her up for soccer this term but it didn't feel like the right time and, as it turned out, it wasn't. I could not have coped with a soccer schedule dictating when I could make the two-hour trip to visit my dying mother.)


I've already raised two kids (as a single mom) who turned out to be independent, self-supporting adults. No prison records, no drug problems, no welfare checks. They are bright, delightful people following their own paths and I'm very proud of them. And I have faith in Britt's intelligence and creativity and initiative and have no doubt that she will turn out just as well. I won't raise her to be an over-achiever, because she doesn't need a Harvard MBA to be happy. If she lives a normal lifespan, God willing, she will have many, many years to be an adult, but childhood is so fleeting and I'm content to let her be a happy-go-lucky kid as long as she can. Maybe I baby her too much but -- so what?


Anyway, one of the library ladies came over and asked Judgy's daughter if she wanted to do the craft, which consisted of coloring a birthday cake and decorating a party hat because they were celebrating the 16th birthday of one of the dogs. The girl answered, "No thank you. We don't observe birthdays in our home." WHAT?! Now it was my turn to be Mrs. Judgy McJudgerson. What the hell, woman? You can't spare one day a year to celebrate the life of your child? No parties? No presents? No cake? WHAT KIND OF TWISTED CRAP IS THAT?


This morning I took Britt to the pediatrician for her 7-year checkup, which went pretty well -- except that she failed her vision test and failed to provide a urine sample even though I spent 15 minutes crouching next to her with my arm in the toilet holding the cup and she wouldn't get on the examining table so her exam took place on the bench and it took three of us to hold her down while she SCREAMED BLOODY MURDER as she got her flu shot. Before we left, the doctor put her hand on my shoulder and whispered to me, "You baby her too much, Grandma. Stop it!"


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mom's Dying

I have a wall of deniability up; that's what gets me through this. I can almost convince myself that Mom isn't really going to go; that visiting her in the hospital is what life is going to be now. Of course I know that's not true, but it's how I cope. The wall teeters occasionally, but I don't want to be a blubbering mess right now. I just want to be here. There will be all the time in the world to fall apart after. I'm not ready to be in that place yet.

It's 2:15 am and Mom is dying. It will be very soon, but when exactly no one can say. Her physical self lies here in this hospital room, struggling for every breath, fighting so hard against the pull of death. But the Mom we know is gone. We will never see her on this earth again.

The room is always crowded; there is a shortage of seats. We talk over her, around her. We think she can hear us -- our voices, if not our words. We share memories and catch up on family news and flip through family albums. Sometimes we whisper in her ear, those last things we need to say. We kiss her forehead, her cheek; we hold her hand, or her foot if that's all we can reach. There is nothing more we can do for her, but be here.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I'm baaaaack!

Two and a half years later, I have overcome my Facebook addiction and I'm wondering why the hell I ever quit blogging in the first place. There will be no retrospective of the missing years because nobody but my family reads this thing and you guys already know the highlights anyway. More or less.

So, Britt's two front teeth have been wiggly all summer and one of them is FINALLY hanging by a thread. Like it would totally pop right out if I could just get a good grip on it, which I can't because it's so small and slippery. She won't let me tie a string around it either. Papa also gave it a try last night but had no more success than I did, so we all subsided and headed off to bed. At which point Britt started hollering that IT WAS COMING OUT! RIGHT NOW!!! And so we convened in the bathroom:



Alas, it was a false alarm. But all was not lost, because Britt then treated us to a demonstration of how she talks in her sleep:


Sunday, May 03, 2009

I'm melting! Melting! Ohhhhh, what a world, what a world...

Walked into the bathroom last night and saw this:


It cracked me up.

Britt quote of the day: "Kids are not people. They're just kids and stuff."