Wednesday, March 12, 2008

357 days, 6 hours, 55 minutes, 44.4 seconds

She has a rabbit too, you know. A big soft stuffed white one with floppy ears that she named Louisa Mae (thinking Southern Comfort, despite the cliché). A rabbit who was even packed in the computer case and spent Christmas in the hospital. The nurses adored her. She arrived the last day of chemo and has been such a comfort. Finally warm, finally home, they lie down together.

357 days, 7 hours, 19 minutes, 4.6 seconds

Once upon a time there was a PBS rabbit named Buster. Buster traveled around the country, visiting different families and learning about their lives. In January 2005 he was in Vermont, learning about cheese and maple syrup. Learning that some families had two mothers instead of a mother and father. Digusting, Bush’s new Secretary of Education called it. Not examples we should hold up before our children.

359 days, 23 hours, 0 minutes, 25 seconds

The room heats up finally, thanks to the space heater he bought just as the cold spell was ending. For him it’s plenty warm in here. Lying under four blankets, she tries to read, her fingers numb with cold. Finally the blood begins to flow again. She bought him a similar heater years ago, but the thermostat never worked.

362 days, 6 hours, 45 minutes, 31 seconds

Trapped under his ATV for three nights and four days under frigid conditions, a man survived by whistling to scare off coyotes. He kept himself warm by surrounding himself with dead beavers and eating their rotting flesh. And here she was just about to cart the wig off to storage.

362 days, 11 hours, 8 minutes, 32 seconds

Oh Kenny Boy, the stockholders are calling, the press is up in arms. The summer's gone, and all the flowers are dying. 'Tis you, 'tis you must go and I must bide… 'Tis I'll be here in sunshine or in shadow… That’s right folks. Step this way and meet the man Georgie Porgie thought of appointing Secretary of the Treasury. Don’t be afraid of the bars, they’re only locked from the inside. Or actually they’re not locked well at all. Any credit card can trip them. Six years ago today, Kenneth Lay resigned from Enron. Lay, lady, lay, lay across my big brass bed… Bush claims to barely know the huge campaign donor. Oh Kenny boy, oh Kenny boy, I love you so.

363 days, 0 hours, 12 minutes, 14 seconds

Never boil a kid in its mother’s milk.

363 days, 0 hours, 49 minutes, 55 seconds

She missed the shortest day of the year (also probably the day she fell in rehab). She missed Jaqnuary 20, the one-year countdown to the end of Bush’s term (a box over her head that would be used for books any moment). Days she’d been planning to celebrate. Had she taken a gun to her earlobe she’d have probably missed. A woman, friend of friends, stuck a revolver in her mouth, fired, survived. Severely brain-damaged.

363 days, 15 hours, 19 minutes, 30 seconds

She never turned on her computer. Her camera never made it out of her pocketbook. But at least he thought to snap this,the ramp of the van coming right on the porch. He showed it to her last night, along with photos of Italy and his grandsons at Disney World.

364 days, 4 hours, 31 minutes, 43.6 seconds

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - It's been a chilly welcome for America's president: The Mideast, known for blazing sun and scorching winds, has been hit with an uncharacteristic wave of heavy rain, frigid gales, and even a smattering of snow. If President George W. Bush thought he would escape the winter weather back in Washington when he jetted off to this region for eight days, he should have stayed home. It was nearly the same temperature in Washington on Tuesday as it was in Saudi Arabia.

364 days, 4 hours, 52 minutes, 19 seconds

The furniture’s cold. The storage room’s cold. They won’t let her near it.

The truck spent the night on the street last night. This morning they drove down, unloaded, then went back to unpack and set up the shelving. They couldn’t believe how cold it had suddenly gotten. Instead of the heat from the storage room spreading out, the cold from all those boxes took over. It will be a few days before she sees the work they’ve done.

364 days, 5 hours, 10 minutes, 38 seconds

All weekend she’s felt colder than she’s ever been, brought to tears crossing the street, despite the layers. And she wonders if this is what death feels like, all the warmth seeping out of the body.

364 days, 11 hours, 55 minutes, 6 seconds

From now on, only handicap bathrooms. On the Atlantic City Boardwalk they had bathroom stalls that were little more than port-o-sans, but then they always had one or two regular stalls, kept reasonably clean. These you had to pay a dime for. Unless someone was coming out and holding the door for you. Unless there was a child around who could crawl under and unlock the door. Maybe she crawled once or twice, maybe she never crawled. But she remembers being on the floor like that.

369 days, 20 hours, 41 minutes, 12 seconds

Walls are her friends.

369 days, 20 hours, 45 minutes, 8 seconds

There are always Orthodox scattered around these doctors’ waiting rooms. A woman in a very synthetic sloppy wig placed askew on head chats on a cell phone. Another woman comes in with a wool cap on, sits down, pulls out a mirror, and spends five minutes arranging dirty bangs with her fingers.

369 days, 22 hours, 2 minutes, 4 seconds

He kept his arm around her.

369 days, 22 hours, 14 minutes, 59 seconds

They stopped for ice cream (her body desperate for sugar once again; it’s been this way since chemo). The flavors weren’t written down and she was having trouble understanding what the guy was saying, so she just ordered from the first tub: raisin. He hates raisins.

369 days, 22 hours, 10 minutes, 15 seconds

She bought another five hats today, taking a cab to John St. after two doctor’s appointments. God knows what was going through her head. Besides exhaustion.Not quite the final half price markdowns, but there’s a 30% off after Christmas sale, with some really good hats left. She doesn’t want to be greedy, just covered.

371 days, 23 hours, 37 minutes, 52 seconds

Because he’s hiding!

369 days, 22 hours, 48 minutes, 49.6 seconds

According to the calendar: on this day in 2005, Bush was asked why Osama bin Laden hat had not yet been apprehended.

Because he’s hiding

371 days, 23 hours, 37 minutes, 52 seconds

The Bye-Bye Bush calendar reminds her that on this date (Jan. 14) in 2002 President Bush showed up for a press conference with a purple bruise on his cheek and a red scrape on his lower lip. He swept aside rumors that he’d literally fallen off the wagon, saying he choked on a pretzel. She’d forgotten those tales of the future president stumbling and falling, and getting up and
then quickly falling again and maybe hitting his head and briefly passing out. As if she’d ever cared. It had nothing to do with her.

376 days, 3 hours, 57 minutes, 36 seconds

It was during the first few months they were together. They drove out to Long Island, to a place that offered hang glider rides. Up above the clouds. Sun coming straight through that plastic. She barely staved off nausea. He asked the pilot what stunts he could do.

376 days, 5 hours, 13 minutes, 30 seconds

Everything grows better in a greenhouse, that protected environment. She takes a plant home and it’s dead within a day or two. She comes home, her balance certain, and… Don’t say it. Don’t even think it. Besides, all that glass and plastic closing in on her makes her faint. Faint means losing balance. So there’s no way out for her.

She breaks wind.

Germans, she reads, have developed a way to harness methane emissions from cattle. Cut down on the greenhouse effect, help fend off global warming. Increases the cow’s metabolism as well. It aids glucose production, makes the milk sweet. Now if they can just convince the cows to swallow the fist-sized pill.

She breaks more wind. Sorry.

377 days, 2 hours, 17 minutes, 18.5 seconds

11 steps. If you count the landing it’s a 12-step program.

379 days, 0 hours, 37 minutes, 28 seconds

I miss my parents, her mother-in-law said in a barely-audible whisper the night before she died. And she thought what a beautiful sentiment, knowing she’d see them soon. But her father-in-law, who could barely hear, heard I messed my pants. You hear what you need to hear. Depends.

377 days, 9 hours, 36 minutes, 24 seconds

Primary Day in New Hampshire. She wishes she could run.

379 days, 7 hours, 4 minutes, 38 seconds

She’s slipping on ice. But there is no ice.