November 15, 2002

the sound

I mentioned here that the sound of Jenna's head hitting the concrete, the thwack, was a sound I remember from my younger days. In fact, confession be told, today stirred a trauma memory in me I had all but forgotten, or at least had forgotten the sound of. It's so real to me again tonight, I can't quite get it out of my head, so, I figure, I'll let it out my fingertips, here.

I was about 14, 15 maybe, at the barn where my friend kept her horse. I had been forced to give up my horse a couple months earlier when my parents decided not to pay the board for him. A whole other story. But don't let me hyperlink back too far. The farther I jump, the odder it gets. So anyway, my best friend and I were at the barn, doing what we'd done every day for years, riding and grooming, daring and laughing.

My friend decided to let her horse out in the paddock after we were done riding. He was an old thoroughbred. She'd had him for several years by then. A remarkably skitzy breed thanks to man, the thoroughbred can be a handful. Especially the ex-racehorse variety, which this gelding was. But he had age on him, and he was calm as thoroughbreds get. Mostly because he loved his owner. Very much.

I see the day so clearly now, sun shining, a cold western new york early winter day, and I see my breath in the air, I see the light rays breaking through the leaves of the trees all around us, I smell the hay, manure, wood chips, and I see her walking out into the padock with a lead line to get him.

I see him looking playful, breaking into a proud trot, she stops, hands on hips, and decides okay, boy, let's play, and the two begin a game of chase until he forgets she's not a horse and kicks up his back feet, and I see them come up and I see them thrust back and I hear them connect with her head, with her face, and I hear that thwack that echos then and doesn't stop echoing ever.

thwack. and the collapse, and the screams. those screams.

I'm closer to the main house than I am to her, so I fly to the door, but no one's home, so I fly to the long driveway, see a couple walking a dog, and scream like crazy, echoing my best friends' screams, someone help us please!

I can barely make my knees bend to take them quickly behind the barn to show them where she is. Why won't my legs work? And I take off my ski hat and do my best to keep up with them, but my legs aren't bending, they stiffen with each step, and I'm lagging behind them, but we reach her finally, and we lift her, me under one shoulder, the man of the couple under the other, and we walk her down the hilly driveway to a neighbor's house, and as we walk I see the bloody ruin that was her face, and I put my ski mask up to her face to try to stop the bleeding, and I tell her she'll be okay, just a few stitches, and she says no I don't think so, and I say it happens all the time, you'll see, the doctors will know how to fix this.

And I'm the one left to go see the horse, catch him, put him back in his stall, and take her dog home once the ambulance drives her off, and I'm the one standing inside her house when her father races in the front door after hearing there's been an accident, and I'm the one who says, "They took her to the hospital, sir," as I watch him begin to crumble and then gather himself in his race back out to the car.

She spent weeks in the hospital, with plastic surgeons rebuilding her eye sockets and nose out of new material, removing the mass of shattered bones from her nose, around her eyes, up to her forehead. They gave us the news that 1/2" difference in the landing of his kick would have meant certain blindness and perhaps death; if he'd have had his back shoes on, she would have been dead without a doubt.

I digested this.

I don't know how many surgeries she had over the next several years. A lot. Coming home from college on vacation meant going into the hospital for another surgery. I do know that when I got home from the barn the day of horror, when I told my mother what had happened, she gave me a drink. Of whiskey or something. To calm my nerves. I do know that I didn't ride for a dozen years after that. My friend did though. She loved that horse, knew it wasn't intentional, that he was playing, except that he had a 1000 pound and four hoof advantage. She has horses to this day.

The event left me with lots of emotions that never really found a home. Guilt over not running to her first; instead I ran for help. Guilt over not being able to warn her that his feet were coming. Fear of animals near my face. Wonder at how the alcohol made me feel so warm in a moment when I felt so cold inside.

the near miss

I had one of those moments today, where you wind up face to face with the potential for your life to be changed forever. You look that possibility in the eye, and wait for it to decide your fate.

Jenna and I were headed off to school. We have steps that lead from the basement to the garage. As usual, my assertive daughter opted not to listen to me and to push ahead of me and start down the steps on her own, leaving me with a handfull of items--purse and coffee among them--to fiddle with closing the door.

I saw her mis-step half way down. The proverbial slow motion began as she tumbled head first down the steps, smacking her head on the concrete garage floor, the sound of which you only know if you've heard it. And I'd heard it before, many years before. But that's for another post.

For a split second after the impact, as I dropped everything in my hands, I heard only silence. That's the moment I'm talking about. Where you come face to face with an instant that is extraordinary in every way. Sometimes they're good moments. Usually not. Seems like anyway.

The shrieking began "MAMA MAMA!" I told George I don't remember how I got from the basement two flights up to the kitchen. It feels like I flew. I don't remember my feet touching the ground at all. A hurt child is weightless. This is when parents develop super human powers. Lift cars. Fly. Things like that. Because I know I flew all the way up with 50 pounds in my arms. I touched down at the refridgerator, grabbed the ice pack from the freezer, flew again into the living room and put Jenna on the couch while I screamed GEORGE! at the top of my lungs. I think waking up to the cries of your daughter and beckoning of a traumatized wife ranks right up there with one of those traumatizing moments.

I thought that find her face crushed when I first looked at her, which I hadn't done until we landed by the couch. I expected blood. I feared the worst. It was the sound, you know? That thwack. You feel it all the way through your stomach and into your spine. But amazingly, her face was clear except for tears, and there wasn't a cut on her head! She landed more on the top of her head than anywhere else. We got ice on that spot right away.

Then George took over while I stepped outside and looked for my cool. Definitely lost it. When I got my cool back I went back inside. He was talking with Jenna, having her follow his finger and asking her about this and that. He was very soft and collected. I was so grateful. That's why it's good to have two adults to evey child. So one can always be in varying degrees of freaking out while the other keeps cool, and then you swap, and so on.

Anyway, we rushed her to the doctor, who pronounced her well, took some time to discuss the amazing resiliancy of children, and told us to take her to school and go home and enjoy the morning.

Collective sigh. Collective thanks. Aside from a headache, she seems unphased. But we'll be keeping our eyes on her.

So my instant of horror passed me by, this time. I feel blessed beyond all else for my daugther's health, her life, her laughter, her joy.

I love my sweet baby so.

ladies and gentlemen, meet Hunter John Willis

Finally, somebody asks about the kitten! I've been wanting to say more about him, but not give myself over to cat blogging completely. So let me indulge myself for a minute and say so far allergies are going okay and so far kitty has a home--with us. Jenna named him: Hunter John Willis. Don't ask me why. Never ask why. We're calling him Hunter. Which, as far as ankles, calves, and finger go, he is. He hunts us down and latches on until we scream.

Other times he's very tame.

Mostly he's nuts.

And awefully cute.

Wish us well with him. One day at a time.

November 13, 2002


this week i've been feeling the noise. coming at me from all directions. not really able to discern it, separate out into sounds, voices. just noise, a rush, a dark wind, blowing my hair back, makes it hard to keep my eyes open, makes me dry and scaley and wind worn. the weather, maybe. i don't know. there's a lot of effort in living, isn't there. a lot of effort in dying. no way to escape hard work, and for what. too tired to make initial caps. lower case looks just right. why bother with upper case. why did we ever bother. weren't periods enough. anything involving the shift key, even a question mark, is too much. an extra effort, and for what. you get my meaning. uninterrupted clickety-clack, like the noise coming at me from all directions. not able to discern it, separate out into sounds, voices. just noise.

November 11, 2002

National RageBoy Day, November 12th. Hang Yourself at Half Mast

It was seven months ago when RageBoy had his heart surgically removed by an accomplished surgeon. The operation was long. The cuts were deep. Rageboy mentioned the specific pains of this operation many times on his blog. It's not pretty to see a man's heart ripped from his chest.

Many thought RB was down for the count after his heart surgery. Not me. Not never. You see, Rochester winters breed a hardiness in you that makes you come back for seconds. I don't know what it is. The shoveling, the shivering, I don't know. I do know that it takes more than heartache to defeat the King of Pain.

And soon, he was reborn...

How, you ask? Well sure, there was this:

And don't forget this:

But, no, not really those. Only partly those. Old meets new, same head, same hand, new heart.

And finally there is this:

He gives all year long. Now it's my turn to say Happy Birthday, Chris.

I didn't know what to get you, so I started a new team blog in your honor.

For the man who has everything, one more blog never hurt.


okay, no, I got it, I got it.

So Blog Yearbooks seem like a good idea to some who have commented on the posts below. I got another one. How about The Best of Blog Memes 2002. Right? How fun would that be--from Fucknozzle to Gary's Inquirer pages to... well.... heck, I don't remember them all. That's the point. Of having a "Best Of" book. Ooooh man, I'm thinking of all kinds of things... stop me now, before I end up reinventing hyperlinks. gotta sleep. ignore me. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

November 10, 2002

looping back...

Did you ever feel like you're at some wierd point in your life, like you've just crossed over the top arc of a circle and things are starting to loop around again? Kind of feeling like that, mostly about technology today. Back circuits or something. For instance:

I don't think to email my blog friends as much anymore as I think of calling them on the phone. Blogging gets personal fast. The natural urge for some of us is to speak with the people whose voices we hear but don't know the tenor of. Suddenly deeper friendships develop as we hyperlink out of blogs and onto the phone lines.

We don't have cable in our house anymore (hence no TV), but are seriously thinking of getting satellite radio. I just got a satellite-ready radio and CD player for the van, and all of the stations I care about from cable TV, PLUS all of the music I care about, can be in my car with me instantly for $9 a month. Just as easy to get it turned on for your house, I hear. Kids programs, comedy programs, world music, everything--and the bonus: it's mostly commercial free. I can just see the family sitting around the radio at night, all cozy, gazing into our warm monitors like the fireplace of days past, blogging, and wondering what the hell's a TV?

I'm starting to care about print again. Hard copy. You know, paper with words printed on it. 'member? Hence my post on blogger yearbooks below. I'm starting to want to sit in bed and turn pages, which you can't do so well with a monitor. I'm not wanting to do that all the time, but I'm wanting the OPTION of back circuiting my online world to paper.

I guess it's about that--options and channels.

When many of us first fell in love with the net, we started shopping there. Buying stuff. Real fast, companies began to move to the Internet as a viable channel to interact with us, ultimately to sell to us, and then to interact with us again. Many of the companies that aren't around anymore (that would be dot-coms) adopted and sold to us exclusively through the online channel.

The dot-bams (bricks and mortars) took the approach (we later learned the smart one) of offering us multiple channels for interacting with them, the Internet being one of them. Over the last year, we've gotten used to that--having options. I want to order my food online and have it brought to my house. I want to look up when a movie's showing but go to the theater to see it. I want to find out how much KMR kitty milk supplement is but pick it up at the pet store along with a flyer of cat rescue shelters.

It is nice to have options. It is just what we wanted. But does it end here?

I am left, somehow, wanting to do the backloop, to take my rotary dial phone off the hook, turn on a good radio comedy show, and curl up on a comfy chair with Tom Matrullo's blogger yearbook.

Nostalgia on fastforward. The past on Internet time.

see ya yesterday tomorrow,
The manglement.