Friday, September 28, 2007

We're Home

Yep. We're home from the hospital. Andy's doing just fine. A week or so of nause up ahead. Nothing we haven't been through before.

Wedding tomorrow. Should be a good time. Joey & Emma are in it. Andy's counts are up, so all good in da hood.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

CT Scan - Preliminary Results

Andy's oncologist looked at the CT scan and said it has srhunk by about 40% to 60%. More importantly it's almost all the way out of the right side of the liver. I got the impression she was hoping for more shrinkage, but she wasn't too upset with these results. Her main concern is if we need to cut back on chemo doses because of hearing loss.

Her next step is to meet with the surgical team and get their thoughts incase we need to cut back his chemo dose or stop chemo altogether because of his hearing. In other words, their thoughts on potential earlier-than-expected surgery. She'll get back with us.

So... Is it good news? Yes. Is it great news? Not really. Is it bad news? No. Scale of 1 - 10? About a 7.

Day by day.

While it's good news, I'm not as confident about everything as I was 20 minutes ago. I need some time to think.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I Owe, I Owe, It's Off to Work I Go!

Wow. This is crazy for me. Here's the background: I grew up watching the generations that preceded me work their butts off only to wind up frustrated and distant from their families. Fortunately my parents weren't like this, but I observed, as I do now. I saw things around me. Like many in my generation, I swore I'd make my life revolve around my family, not around work. (FYI, I can be thought of as either the last year of X or first year of Y. I prefer the former, and given my personality traits, music, friends, etc., I'd say I definitely fall into the former.)

So in keeping with this, I worked my butt off from 1994 when I got my first job until 2003 when I had my first kid. It was nothing for me to put in 60, 70, even 80 hours a week, and most of my jobs were salaried. I did it because I wanted to, not because I needed the money or had to. Then in 2003 when my oldest was born I cut waaaay back. I now work 40 - 50 hours a week. With the work done at home during the evening, it's probably closer to 50 most weeks. Since this whole thing started with Andy, though, it's been closer to 40. In fact, it's been right at 40, not a single second over.

So with that in mind, this is very strange when I think about it. I knew this would be a busy week so I needed to get in some extra hours since I'm low on PTO and can't use EMTO for Andy. So yesterday I worked 7:00am - 8:00pm. Stumbled around the house after that then went to bed. I got up this morning, worked a little bit before we came to the hospital, went through all the hell at the hospital, then started working. I plan on working until midnight tonight so I'll have those few extra precious hours to carry into tomorrow, because I'll need 'em.

So think of it. I worked literally all day yesterday, did what I had to today, then worked the rest of the day.

I've been doing nothing but working since 7:00am yesterday and I'm not done yet.

Yes, I'm working right now, I just have a script running, so I need to wait for it to finish.... and I type very, very fast.


Greetings from 4202!

Wow, what a day. We got to the hospital at 9:00am and finally got to our room at 3:00pm. This is all because of his hearing test.

One of the side effects of Cisplatin is hearing loss. As such, they need to monitor his hearing from time to time. He has mild hearing loss in the 4kHz range (they were unable to test 8kHz). What does this mean? At that high of a pitch, it doesn't mean much. It maybe means he can't hear a dog whistle. (Shaddup Greg, I can already hear you making jokes about dogs whistling.)

It boils down to this: His hearing is probably about the same as a 40-year-old. In fact, it's better than mine. He was hearing stuff that I couldn't hear. Yeah I know, that's not saying very much given my hearing loss, but still, it's not too bad. Does this mean that when he's 40 he'll be hearing about the same as an 80-year-old? No. I'm not going to go into detail, but think back to jr. high science class. The hair follicles die with age, but Cisplatin kills the nerves. If you paid attention in jr. high science class, that should tell you why this won't affect his hearing when he's older.

So back to what I was saying. The delay was so that they could decide whether or not to lower his Cisplatin dose. The doctor said this amount of hearing loss is normal given he is on Cisplatin, so we are proceeding as normal.

Andy's white blood cells and platelets are still normal. Yay!

Chemo hasn't started yet. Still waiting for it. *sigh*

CT tomorrow! We'll find out what this thing looks like.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


I hate the countdown to the hospital stay. I was hoping to get in a lot of extra work to make up for the time I'm going to undoubtedly miss. I haven't been able to do so. I've been able to get in all of an extra hour. sheesh

Depending on the mood I'm in, I'm thinking about taking the camcorder to the hospital with me. You know, document stuff. On the other hand, these aren't exactly memories I want to keep. We'll see.

25 hours and counting.

Back to work, slacker!

Monday, September 24, 2007


I think the Smashing Pumpkins might be one of the greatest things to ever happen to this planet. Siamese Dream in particular, although Mellon Collie was awesome. If Mellon Collie is, in Corgan's words, the "The Wall for Generation X" then Siamese Dream is the "Dark Side." I love The Wall, but Dark Side is defintely my fave.

Time is never time at all.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

Small, Medium, and Large

I'm too much like my grandma Key when it comes to names. I keep forgetting the kids names, or I'll call Emma "Lauren" before I remember she's Emma. I call Andy "Joey" a lot. From now on, I'll just refer to Andy, Emma, and Joey as Small, Medium, and Large, respectively.

We go back to the hospital Wednesday. Cisplatin Wednesday. They'll take a CT scan of Small on Thursday. This will show us what the tumor looks like now. This will be the definitive proof that the tumor is getting smaller. I can't wait. Friday we are discharged.

Who says chemo stops development? Small has been climbing to a stand on the couch and is now walking along the couch while holding on.

Speaking of development, medium is really building a vocabulary. And large is coming along with his letters and numbers. Today we did a little addition. 3 + 1 = 4! :)

And for my family who keeps trying to e-mail me and having it bounce, it's: "ariesgeek 2-year-olds-are-a-pain-in-the-ass". Get rid of the spaces, and substitute an @ sign for "2-year-olds-are-a-pain-in-the-ass". Apparently you're hitting "Reply to All" but my e-mail address is wrong in the original e-mail.

Recap: Chemo cycle #3: Wednesday Cisplatin. Friday 5-FU and Vincristine. A week from Friday and the following week are Vincristine. Then we do chemo cycle #4. Then surgery! Then 2 more chemo cycles.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Chemo, Counts, Bachelor Parties, & Pretentiousness

Vincristine today.

Andy's counts are normal! Weird...

Bachelor party. Looks like I'll be there. For how long? Unsure.

And I still have a mental image in my head of my grandfather wearing a foil hat. (my aunt Jerrie gets the joke)

Grandpa. Tucson. I'm thinking about a smidgeon of a comment I left on Grandpa's obit guest book. I mentioned I probably won't ever go back to Tucson. I love my 2 or 3 remaining relatives there, but now that my aunt Kay and my grandfather are both gone (they lived next door to each other), I think it will be too painful. Plus, it's finally happened. Since the early 1990s I've been watching the LA folk invade Tucson and turn it into another LA. It has now happened. Tucson, AZ has become an LA-style snobtown. My two biggest pet peeves are political correctness and pretentiousness. Tucson, like SoCal, has become a haven for both.

It's unfortunate. I used to love the place. Hell, I used to live there.

Oh well, there's always Vegas! (and I have family there too!) ;)

Speaking of Vegas... Jerrie & Al, get ready! Julie and I are coming out to Vegas when the whole Andy thing is over. Yes, after many a year, we'll finally get around to taking our honeymoon. I don't know how we'll afford it, but screw it, we're coming out! See ya in 6 months!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Grandpa Would be Upset

Wow, my grandfather would be terribly upset. Let's see:

  • OJ is free on bond.
  • Bush is beginning to pull troops out of Iraq.
  • They want to free the "Jena 6" even though they're criminals, rather than keeping the "Jena 6" in jail and finding the rednecks who hung the noose and started it all, thus putting all of the criminals behind bars.
  • The feds cut interest rates, which in the long run will only hurt things even worse.
  • The leader of a terrorist nation wants access to Ground Zero.
  • MoveOn's back at it again.
  • And Velociraptors had feathers.

Ok, so the last one wouldn't bother him, I just think it's funny sounding. Even though many reptile scales are chemically very similar to feathers. It's just funny sounding.

And FYI, I'm purposefully keeping my political views out of this site altogether. The above does not necessarily represent my views on things, only my grandfather's. :) (those of you who really know me know my views on the above, we'll leave it at that)

Happy late birthday Babs!

Happy birthdy Aunt Carol!

Bite me Greg!

And if anyone sees my sister, once again punch her in the arm and tell her it's from me.

Chemo tomorrow along with counts. I have a feeling counts will be low. (Sorry Dweeze, this could mean no bachelor party for me, not even an appearance.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Upcoming Events

You've seen some of the bald pics of Andy. Doesn't he look like a hardass? He's a tough baby! If he were a dog breed, he would be a Teacup Biker. (thanks Patience!)

So here's what's up and coming for Andy & Family:
Friday - Outpatient chemo (Vincristine)
Saturday - A bachelor party, if possible
Sunday - Rams Football, baby!
Tuesday - CT scan to see what this thing looks like now
Wednesday - Inpatient chemo (Cisplatin)
Thursday - Still inpatient
Friday - Released from the hospital
Saturday - Dweeze & Janice's wedding

At some point this weekend I'm going to try to get to Jefferson Barracks. I don't think Grandpa's ashes have come home yet, but I'd still like to see my grandmother's grave. I haven't been there in over 20 years.

P.S. If anyone sees my sister, punch her in the arm and tell her it's from me.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Our Hospital Visit

So 10 minutes after I posted that things were getting back to normal, God decided to pimp-slap me. I guess I was getting too uppity.

Andy's fever went as high as 104.6, but within an hour or so went down to normal and stayed normal. This is the second time we've had to go to the hospital because of fever the day after chemo + port access. Port access alone or chemo alone doesn't result in this.

Of course all blood cultures were negative.

Andy was very upset about being in the hospital. About 50% of his waking minutes were spent screaming.

He did not go to bed Saturday night until 11:00pm. His normal bedtime is 7:00pm.

He woke up at 4:30am. Never went back to sleep.

He was awake, screaming about 90% of the time, from 4:30am until 5:00pm. No nap. Yep. No nap. And guess what? He slept for all of an hour.

So from 6:00pm until about 9:30pm, he was awake, screaming. No pain, he was just screaming because he didn't want to be in the hospital and because he was overly-tired.

He slept from 9:30 - 12:30. We were awake from 12:30am - 3:30am. He slept off and on from 3:30 - 11:00 (as did I), and he was just fine the rest of the day. We were discharged around 2:30.

What a way to spend a weekend.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


As you read in the earlier post Andy was running a fever and not feeling well at all. Well we took his temp about 10 minutes after Daddy made the post and it was 101.6. So it was a call to the doctor and they told us to bring him in. Luckily we asked and Danny did not have to got through the ER, he was able to go straight to the 4th floor (saved us $50.) Now Andy and Daddy are back on the 4th floor. Joey, Emma, and I went up to see them this evening and Andy's fever had gone up but he is in good hands. Andy is in the hopsital it sounds like for at least 48 hours. Hopefully he is sleeping for Daddy right now. So that is what is going on, just as things get back to normal things become abnormal again. room 4306

Update on Things

Things are getting closer to "normal." I was able to go into the office Thursday and Friday. Julie will be going into her office on Monday. I was able to get to my drum lesson on Thursday. I was able to get my weekly stress relief on Friday (that is, an hour or 2 downstairs hitting the drums). Heck, Julie and I even went out for a couple hours for drinks with friends Friday night! Since Andy's counts were up, my mom volunteered to watch him for a couple hours while we went out. Add the words, "For the first time since 8/9" to all of the above, by the way.

Yes, things are normalizing a bit.... for now.

Andy's counts should drop sometime next week. One of his chemo drugs, Vincristine, is starting to catch up with him today. Pain, general unconfortableness, etc. He's running a bit of a temp right now. He was 100.4 about 20 minutes ago, so we'll have to watch it over the next few hours. 101.0 or higher is a hospital trip (and a $50 ER co-pay, dangit).

Here's a picture of the kids. Sorry for Joey making a silly face, he just likes to do that sometimes. :)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

AFP Numbers

Andy's AFP numbers have gone from 1.38 million to 138,000. This is amazing. The numbers are 10% of what they were.

What's this mean? It means his tumor is definitely shrinking.

Someone asked if it means if we can have surgery sooner. I doubt it.

On a side note, I went into the office today to work. It was great. It's been a month since I've seen my office. I loved every minute of it. I miss my co-workers. I miss my desk. I even miss the 30-below temps in my office.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Andy Video

For all you naysayers who think I'm either exaggerating or fooling myself about Andy's feeling great and acting like normal... observe!

(gratuitous clips of Joey & Emma too)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Dr. Visit

The results of the doctor visit today were very positive. Everyone continues to comment on how good he looks now. So much better than before. His oncologist is finally giving us permission to start cutting back on the bottle. He can have 3 a day now and we'll start cutting back on those even more.

We may start cutting back on his TPN next week.

So far his white blood cell counts are up. They will probably drop next week.

More chemo Friday at 9:00.

Andy has been doing very well. He's back to being Andy, acting like a 13-month-old. He's been playing with his brother and sister. This is a good sign.

I'm dealing with Grandpa's death ok, I guess. I still haven't had the nerve to look through the photo albums that my aunts & uncles sent home with my dad, but I'll get there. I get 3 days off work for bereavement. That is helping.

I haven't talked to my dad or anyone else whose last name is Kelley, but I think people will generally handle this pretty well. We'll have to see.

Tomorrow is a new day.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Lloyd Kelley 12/2/1925 - 9/9/2007

It happened this morning just after 4:00am Tucson time.

As promised, here is the picture of me with my grandparents on my third birthday. From left to right: Grandpa (Jason) Key, Grandma (Jean) Kelley, Grandma (Joann) Key, Me, Grandpa (Lloyd) Kelley. As of today, they are all gone.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Keep Our Babies Safe

Apparently Andy's little website here inspired an old friend of mine to start her own similar blogspot website. In June, 2007, a precious 3-month-old life was lost unnecessarily. A daycare worker, who was left in charge of 10 babies (yes, folks, that's too many), put this baby down on his belly in a pack-n-play. You can imagine the end result.

Please visit and show your support to this unfortunate family. Be sure to read the oldest post for some background.

A Few Words

First, I should delve deeper into what the oncologist said regarding Andy's tumor. I told him about grandpa's situation and said I wanted to deliver to him some good news before he passes. So I asked his AFP numbers.

The doctor responded and said that his AFP numbers aren't in yet, but that he doesn't need to see them. The numbers are down. This is good. He said without a doubt the numbers are lower than they were.

He is responding to chemo in an abnormally good way. Normally a hepatoblastoma dies from the inside out and it takes AFP numbers and/or a CT scan to see if it's actually working. Andy's tumor is actually shrinking in size. Yes folks, it is actually getting smaller.

What does this mean? It means your prayers are working. Please, please do not stop! Keep the prayer chains going, keep praying for Andy, keep doing what you've been doing.

Something else I was thinking about. Who do I complain about a lot on this website? You guessed it. My dad! Dear old lovable old dad. You know why I complain about my dad? Because I love him so much that I can complain about him and not feel like crap for it. We just have that kind of relationship... And because he's easy to complain about when I really need someone to focus my anger or frustration on.

I truly have the best father in the world. He and I are like brothers for the most part, but when I need a dad, he shifts right into dad mode. I will never have to utter the words, "I'm sorry I'm not the son you wanted me to be." I will never have to utter the words, "I blame it on my father" (or mother for that matter). I will never have to utter the words, "I've disappointed my father." I do, however, get the honor of being able to utter the words, "I've made my father proud" on an almost daily basis.

And although it probably doesn't count for much, he can utter the words, "I've made my son proud."

I'm truly blessed. I have a baby boy who is making a miraculous recovery from cancer. I have a toddler girl who is my grandma Kelley reincarnate. I have a boy who is the best big brother on the face of the planet. I have a wife who loves me unconditionally. I have the greatest brother, sister, father, mother, stepfather, in-laws, grandparents, and step-grandparents a guy could ever ask for. And when I was a kid, I had 3 (sometimes 4) sets of grandparents to spoil me at Christmas! ;)

...oh yeah.. and I have a dumbass cousin who is addicted to Keno. He's fun to laugh at. Yes, folks, he will go to the most exciting city in the country (Vegas) and spend hours playing the most boring f***ing game in the world. Keno. So yes, I'm blessed with a never-ending source of humor as well.

Sorry for the lack of updates

The wireless AP we setup wouldn't reach to room 4200. Frankly, I haven't felt like doing much of anything. At least the grieving process has begun.

Andy's doing fine. He's received his chemo and is dealing with it pretty well so far.

The oncologist said that he's doing very, very well. No AFP numbers yet, but he said without a doubt that they will be lower. The chemo is working.

A reminder about the chemo cycle:

Day 1: Cisplatin.
Day 3: 5-FU and Vincristine
Day 10: Vincristine
Day 17: Vincristine

Chemotherapy is not radiation!

Chemotherapy, as its name implies, uses chemicals. It was discovered in WWI or WWII during a mustard gas accident. Chemotherapy uses toxic chemicals in controlled doses to kill the cancer cells.

Radiation, as its name implies, uses radiation.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

day by day minute by minute

Andy had a really good day today. He is really back to his old self just in time for his next round of chemo. He sits on the floor and plays and plays just like a baby should. In fact he plays with toys more than Joey and Emma do. It has been a long week even with the holiday on Monday. Although Monday was the frst day in a long time that I actually did absolutley nothing. I sat in front of the boob tube all day watched a marathon of No Reservations, great show. Then Tuesday hit and it was back to work and the doctor's office. The visit Danny warned me would be a very long time and that I should find someone to watch the kids. So God bless my mother. I was not there as long as I thought I was going to be and Andy was in a great mood the entire time until we got into the exam room. The doctor and I had to stand in the hallway it was the only way we could hear each other. Andy did not like the room. After the appointment it was back home and back to work. Andy went down for a nap as did Joey and Emma and I went to work. Work contrary to my husband's issues mine has been a God send. They set things up so that I can worlk from home on a daily basis and for the most part I have been able to get in 8 hours a day. The kids are great when I am working but when I am done they are extremly happy. Joey asks "Mom are you done for the weekend?" I would love to say "Yes!" but I can't. We are also in the process of potty training Emma, what a time. Whoever said girls are easier than boys lied. So tonight after the kids went to bed I went to work. Now I am sitting here tyoing this and waiting for Danny's flght to land. I can tell talking to him he is ready to be home and yet he did not want to leave. He just called he is home taxing on the runway. Talk about up to the minute updates. Okay enough of me rambling I need to go turn Joey's t.v. off that is the only thing that I hear through the baby monitor. Good night all.

Still in a Dream

I still feel like I'm in a dream. Or a nightmare.

As I sat down in my grandfather's office to do some work and write this, I noticed something.

My grandfather has always been big on education. I think he's a big part of the reason why I did well in school, went on to get a BS and a BA with a 3.98 GPA (even though it took me 7 part-time years), then continued on to get an MBA. I think he's a big part of the reason why in 20 years when my house is paid off, my kids are on their own (kinda), and I can afford the pay cut, I'll get a Ph.D and spend the rest of my life teaching.

The last time grandpa was in St. Louis was in 2005 when I graduated with my MBA. He was very proud of me, I could tell. I still have the bottle of Dom that we shared.

Just before he left, I gave him my tassle. He knew exactly what it meant that I was giving it to him, and it meant a lot to him.

So back to what I was saying. As I sat down in Grandpa's office to do some work and to write this, I looked over and saw my tassle hanging proudly on his wall.

I showed it to my dad and my aunt. My aunt told me I could take it. I declined, saying, "No, I'll let it go to wherever the rest of his stuff will go."

I looked through his old photo albums, which by the way were about 80% pictures of me, and only took one picture. It was my third birthday party and it's a picture of me with all four of my grandparents (my blood grandparents, that is). Probably the only such picture.

Of course, Grandpa Kelley is holding me in that picture. :)

I'd love to go into more detail about some of the goings-on in my mind during this trip to Tucson, but this is, not

Speaking of Andy... I'll be arriving in St. Louis at 11:00 tonight. 9:30am tomorrow, we're back in the hospital. Friday he will receive his chemo.

I don't know whether or not I mentioned it, but Andy's hair started falling out. Julie shaved his head Tuesday. Of course we saved his hair.

Emma, Emma, Emma. "Emma, what the hell are you doing?" has become the most common phrase around my house. Emma looks like she could be my aunt Jerrie's daughter. Or she looks like she could be her sister. Emma and my aunt Jerrie both look like my grandma Kelley. For this reason, if nothing else, I wish my grandfather could have seen Emma in person.

I'm getting sick of having to work on top of everything else. Instead of being a pleasure, my job has turned into a huge thorn in my side. I don't need that crap with all of this going on.

Meet me in St. Louis!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Greetings from Tucson

What a day. I got up at 4:00am and took my time getting ready to go. My dad and I got to the airport and to the gate right about 5:15. Perfect timing for my 6:15 flight. Except for one thing. During times of stress, I get a bit of dyslexia with numbers. The flight time was 6:51. grrr....

Uneventful flight to Phoenix, and an uneventful drive to Tucson. I was able to get 6 hours of work done today, so that rocks.

Grandpa's not doing so well. He reacted when my aunt told him that my dad and I were here, and he tried to say something when I talked to him.

My gut tells me Friday will be the day. I don't know why, my gut is just telling me this.

Tomorrow at around 3:00 (that's 5:00pm central since AZ doesn't have DST), I'll start the trek to Phoenix, and I should be in St. Louis by around 11:00pm.

Andy's doing great. He had his appointment today and Mommy took him. His counts are almost normal. This is very good.

I've become so used to seeing people like this (remember, 2 grandmothers, 2 aunts, a couple cousins, etc. in 2006 alone), that it was no surprise to me to see Grandpa in this condition. I tried to explain to my father what to expect, and still he was shocked. I was a bit upset with him at first, thinking "Once again, you refused to believe me when I tried to explain this to you" then I realized that unless you've been through this 5 or 6 times in the last year, you just can't be ready for it.

Nothing new to report. I'm just glad I got to see my grandpa and his house just one more time.

I have now become emotionally numb. I knew that if I saw my grandfather in this condition and it didn't phaze me that it means I have now become emotionally numb.

The other night I tried to cry, but couldn't. I knew it would be healthy to do so, but I just didn't really feel the need to do so despite feeling down. I think it's safe to say that emotion is pretty much gone with me.... except anger. And frustration.

Greetings from Tucson.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Day 25

What a Day! Emma turns 2 this Friday, so since Andy's counts were up, we decided to have her birthday party today. Grandparents only, for obvious reasons. It was a lot of fun. There's a video clip at the bottom of this post, embedded from YouTube. (couple shots of Andy and Joey as well)

Andy's hair has begun to fall out. He'll soon look like Uncle Jason. ;) It's pretty sad running my fingers through his hair and pulling it out now. But once it's out, it's out, and we'll get used to it.

Andy had a great day today, playing with his grandparents. You could tell he missed his grandmas and grandpas.

As I sat down earlier to start this post, and Andy came crawling over... with blood coming out of his port. Yep. You guessed it. The tubing broke again.

So back to the hospital to get his port reaccessed it.

Then back to bed.

Not so bad.

As promised, the clip from Emma's brithday:

This Week

Monday - I'll be working the holiday. Julie may or may not.

Tuesday - At 6:15AM, I'll be on my way to Tucson. My dad will be in the seat in front of me. At 9:30, Julie will be taking Andy to his appointment. I think Julie's mom will be here with the kids. I hope to put in 8 hours of work.

Wednesday - At 11:11pm, I'll be touching down back here in St. Louis. My dad won't be with me, he'll be back in 24 hours. I hope to put in 8 hours of work.

Thursday - Andy and I will go to the hospital. He will be pumped full of fluids. We'll spend the night.

Friday - Yet another Friday that I'll be waking up in the hospital. Chemo cycle #2 begins. Fluids continue. We'll spend the night again.

Saturday - Yet another Saturday that I'll be waking up in the hospital. Fluids continue. If all goes well, we'll be discharged afternoon or evening.

Sunday - Carolina @ St. Louis in 60" High Def! Unfortunately I won't be able to have the kickoff party I was hoping for. :( If his counts are up at the time, I will encourage grandparents to come over. If not, then I'll enjoy HD football all by my lonesome.

Everyone, have an excellent week.

Before I go, I have a question for you....


That will be the return to yourself

If you want, then start to laugh.
If you must, then start to cry.
Be yourself, don't hide.
Just believe in destiny.

Don't care what people say,
Just follow your own way.
Don't give up and lose the chance,
Your return to innocence.

That's not the beginning of the end,
That's a return to yourself,
A return to innocence.

When it's the year 1996 or 1997 and you're a college student living with your grandfather in Tucson, AZ, the above sounds great. It sounds spiritual. It sounds inspirational. And it sounds very gay, but gay is cool in the soutwhest in the mid 90s, so no harm no foul. In fact, it's a great way to get the girlies! Weird, eh? (I mean nothing against my gay friends reading this, I'm just calling it like it is.. er was.. or whatever)


When I was a very young child, Joey's age and younger, someone was always there for me. My grandma Kelley, aka Kerney. She passed away in.. hmm.. 1983? Yeah, I think that was the year. Maybe '82. Either way, she was too young to die and I was too young to deal with it. But there was someone else to help. Who else was there? Grandpa! (by the way, look at Emma and you see Kerney)

Lloyd Miller Kelley was almost like a third father to me. Jim Thomason will always be my second father, but Lloyd Kelley will always be my third father. (For what it's worth I adopted a 4th father in 2004 when I married into the Gambill family. Linn Gambill is a wonderful man who I'm proud to call my father-in-law.)

After my grandmother died, Grandpa was there to help me get through it.

When I was 5, we made our first "summer trip" via plane to LA. We saw my Aunt Jerrie (Brat Aunt) and Uncle Al (Owl) who lived in West Covina at the time. We also saw my Aunt Patti & family who lived in Orange County at the time.

When I was 6, we made our second "summer trip," this time via car to Florida.

When I was 7, we made our third "summer trip." This time back to LA, via Tucson (car not plane). At this time, my mother began to ask the question, "Where are you going next year?"

It became an annual thing for Grandpa and me to go somewhere. Usually Florida or LA.

I really loved driving to LA via Carlsbad, NM and/or Tucson, AZ.

Oh God, Grandpa, why do you have to leave me?

I used to like to remind him that if he lived to be 100, I'd be 50.

Then the 90s came around. I became, as he loved to put it, a "hairy-legged teenager" and no longer had such an interest in hanging out with Grandpa.

In 1991, Grandpa left the crapass climate of STL and went to Tucson.

In the summer of 1992 I came to visit him in Tucson, and stayed for most of the summer. It was a great summer. I had a lot of fun.

I also came out to visit him and the Caids (his wife's family) in 1993, 1994, and 1995. In 1996, after I graduated high school, I moved to Tucson with him. In 1998, I moved back to St. Louis. Homesick.


There's the short version of the story.

I'll be going to Tucson this week, despite Andy's problems and despite the fact that I won't be able to pay my bills because of my unpaid time off work to make said trip.

When all is said and done, Grandpa will be sent back here to St. Louis to be buried in Jefferson Barracks. (He was a hardass Marine in WW2 who was injured at the battle of Saipan, but that's a story for another day.)

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go cry now.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

To Whomever Put Toys on my Grill...

Whoever it was that put the plastic toys on my grill at Andy's birthday party... You have destroyed my $140 grill (plus tax, thank you). The inside is coated with plastic that is burning, almost out of control. "Burning it off" is not an option, the grill is dead.

Thank you for destroying my grill, thank you for destroying my labor-day weekend BBQ, thank you for destroying my attempt at being back to normal for the weekend.

If it was you, it's time to step up and admit it, then replace my grill.

If you know who it was, I'll give you a cash reward for turning them in.

Champagne Supernova

How many special people change?
How many lives are living strange?
Wake up the dawn and ask her why
A dreamer dreams, she never dies
Wipe that tear away now from your eye
Slowly walking down the hall
Faster than a cannonball
Where were you when we were getting high?
Someday you will find me
Caught beneath the landslide
In a champagne supernova in the sky
Someday you will find me
Caught beneath the landslide
In a champagne supernova
A champagne supernova
Cuz we don't believe
That they're gonna get away from the summer
But you and I will never die
The world's still spinning around we don't know why

"But you and I will never die" I love that line.

I had no choice today but to overhear a mother telling her son that yeah, there is a chance his leukemia will kill him.

At least Andy doesn't know what's going on.