Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Changing Faces of Adversity

Replica of offspring and beau, engagement beanie baby, prince and princess bank 
<------  I am beginning this post with a photo of Very Important Things which remind me each day that I have loved, and I am loved.

Most of these items will somehow become relevant to this post, eventually -- so study them now left to right, to enhance your understanding.  Go ahead.  I'll wait.

Okay then, let's move on to the status of our tub.

I finally fed the broken chain-mail fishing sinker back inside the tub's faceplate hole, screwed on the plate, and never looked back.

We stopped taking baths.

Each evening, we set our cellphone alarms to alert us to turn the oil burner back on at 5:30 A.M. to heat shower water, then shut it back off when we are done. This prevents the oil burner from using precious fossil fuels to feed the Scalding Gusher pouring from the broken tub faucet. Boy, have we adapted to the Faceplate of Adversity! Especially since our plumbers -- Roosevelts I and II -- officially forgot about our work order.

I am not re-phoning to remind them because I am learning to enjoy the many faces of adversity with which I now live. I live each to the fullest.  Let us explore some now, shall we?

Face of Adversity #1.

1.  My husband of Myeloma Land begins his first infusion of a drug that -- in trials for people who were VERRRY ill with 4 "R"s (relapsing, resistant, rowdy, resplendent myeloma) -- there was a 3% chance of cardiac death.  Or 7%.  I failed statistics. He begins the Heart Stopper Special on Monday, June 3. This provides Face of Adversity Challenge #1.  Statistics and his actual physicians indicate he'll be fine.  He is NOT on any descending treatment-spectrum and out of options. In fact, he's the opposite. We are taking advantage of this newly-approved medicine to kick his disease's resplendence  in a huge way, up front, within his first 9 months of treatment.  Technically, our face of adversity involves "grace" -- maintaining gratitude that we are among some of the first folks NOT in a trial to utilize this potent drug in a more 'up front' setting, during a more healthful, early phase of his disorder.

Ironically, his Adversity Challenge isn't to survive that first infusion. It is to survive my company.

I will be the one jittering and jabbering nonsense, drooling from Boston Creme Donut Infusions, waiting for the day and its events to end.  Mild sedation may be involved.  Probably for us both.  His will make him smile and allow ear bud music to transport him to utopia.  Mine will make me emotional, and obsess over the final installment of The Big C, Hereafter which, in my altered state, I shall tearily edit, so instead of angels and eternal peace, Cathy gets a big infusion of The Heart Stopper Special and rallies.

Oh gosh.  Was that only #1?

Face Of Adversity #2:

2. Mathematics.  I need a math tutor and I need it now.  My absolutely drop-dead-gorgeous 5' 10" 130 pound college daughter is enjoying an online Finite Mathematics Course.  This involves reading a text chapter, then taking an online test.  Twelve times. The test program brings up hints and prompts from the actual book, and offers three chances to get the correct answer. It's almost fun.  But the REAL fun is waiting until the day the test is due...  to begin reading the first chapter.  This involves one father and one mother taking the day off to assist her, phoning her brother Jacob multiple times during his work day, phoning one physicist friend at 10:30 PM, a retired math teacher sister-in-law at dinner time, a medical student at 9PM, and a math-teacher married couple I will anonymously refer to as "John and April."

Here is a fun word problem!  In two parts:

Part One:  Of the six people Carolyn phoned, and the four that took her call, three worked diligently on a supply/demand slope problem.  Of these three, how many hung up on their mother?

Part Two:  Of two phone-remainders, which got the correct answer?  The mathematics teacher Aunt, or the Medical Student?

Technically, neither:  the answer was found by Abby.

I know, right?

There she was, phones positioned to her left and her right, on 'Speaker' -- directives shouted out like Santa calling reindeer. Abby is feverishly calculating, taking a formula construct from one speaker phone and a logarithm from another -- ignoring both -- and voila!

She plugs in some Supply Equation that looks like ancient runes ( S=#.>~/}\ =-4x + 31) and she receives the sounds and sights of test-success with a happy DING and the Festive Light O'Green.

She promptly hangs up on the medical student and sister-in-law announcing, "I got this."

The rest of the evening without the Phone-A-Friend Option was so unspeakable, I cannot recall it.


 *Her next 'TEST' is due June 6th and we have not started reading Chapter Two.  Email me if you can help at


Won't you give generously of your time, right now?

Face of Adversity #3a and 3b.

3a. My oldest son is getting married June 15 in Ontario and I have a dress fitting tomorrow.  It is the only dress requiring alterations ...of the six dress-finalists I selected.  Out of a total of eleven.

3b. The seamstress insists I bring the actual shoes I will be wearing the day of the wedding -- with this specific dress -- the one she is 'adjusting' tomorrow.  I will have to purchase shoes -- for this dress and the others -- some time today, Saturday, in a heatwave, when I need to be mowing lawn and opening our pool.

3c.  I didn't prepare you for C, but there is one.  I did not realize a seamstress needed my personal body inside the dress she is adjusting. When I first met her, I pointed to where I estimated some hem should be, and pinched fabric on the dress's breastplate to close a plunging 'gap' that would allow strangers to view my ankles from the earlobe arena.

My seamstress's most unsavory reaction happened when I 'twisted' two shoulder straps around my index finger to show her how I'd like them  'hoisted upward' in an anti-gravity maneuver.  Because after that maneuver, I dropped the dress and sped to my car.

Like a cheetah, she raced ahead and blocked the door handle with her arm.

"Carolyn, your alterations don't work this way. You have to, technically, be INSIDE the dress, then I'll pin your hem and . . ."

I blacked the rest out.  I suspect more pins will be involved near the two arm straps and breastplate gap . . . likely my eyeballs . . . but the horrific part remains:  I need shoes.

No one warned me that shoe shopping was a feature of dress-alterations.

Shoes that match will be tricky: the dress is the color of a plutonium periwinkle.  Neon-glimmer not-even-remotely-close-to-sapphire blue.  It is non-descript.  I'm thinking the shoes should be clear plastic and I'll dye my toenails that color.  Anyway, this brings us to

Face of Adversity #4.

4. I have to shoe shop today.

Enough said about that.  I am leaving in an hour and will make a quick trip to the liquor store or a bar (are either even open at 10:00 AM?)  and have Abby Of Mathematics drive me.  I am saving my Klonipin for Monday.  (Oh stop worrying -- I am a professional humor columnist. I will neither enjoy alcohol nor Klonipin for either event.  I have learned yoga, breathing and meditation so I will be using all three as I slip my feet into shoes with an arch like the triumphant one in Paris that has broken women's feet for centuries.)

Face of Adversity #5.

5.  Speaking of Paris, there is a wonderful blogger, D.J. Paris, whose site is called  Thoughts From Paris -- and today, he is honoring the millions who live the face of adversity each day.
Read my Guest Blog at 4PM today

D.J. Paris is a member of a support organization called Band Back Together. It is devoted to those facing mental illness.  Quite naturally, I am involved in his mental illness endeavors.  To honor the month of May, which was Mental Health Awareness Month, D.J. launched a Blog-A-Thon yesterday, May 31, and it runs for 24 hours.  D.J. is posting a new piece every hour written by a guest author,  and one of my pieces will be featured today LIVE AT 4PM!!  I offered D.J. a handful from which to choose, so it is a surprise which will appear.

 Please view DJ's blog at  CAROLYN'S PIECE IS HERE AT 4PM TODAY  and don't forget to visit the site BAND BACK TOGETHER.

Speaking of mental health, for the love of all that is good, tutor my daughter in finite math hell.

You know, I am reminded of the great founder of irreconcilable challenge -- Britain's own Tiny Tim -- who, looking out upon his afflicted family said, "God bless us, every one."

Each numbered 'face of adversity' above is a gift: modern medicine, mathematics-friends, our child's  wedding, gorgeous dresses, being a guest author to support websites that improve quality of life.

I've changed the face of adversity -- it doesn't get better than that.