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kkatowll's Journal

26th October, 2016. 11:24 am.

So. Alice's CAT scan came back and it's not good.

The tumor is bigger than before. There is a slight chance that could be scar tissue.

Also there's more specks in the lymph nodes.

So, it sounds like it is stage 3 lung cancer after all.

She is getting a PET scan in three weeks (can't do it earlier because it has to be a certain time after the radiation). Then meeting with oncologist.

The median life expectancy with stage 3 is 15 months. At that time, 50 percent of the people diagnosed have died.

15 months.

KB would be 3. Maybe three. This could be our last Christmas.

I am just so devastated.

There is some hope. Maybe they could operate, though it's dicey with her health. There are a lot of new medications now. The life expectancy figures are always a couple years old so they don't reflect the newest treatments.

This sucks.

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26th October, 2016. 10:33 am. Adventures in budgeting

So, on Oct. 15 by bank did not take out the money for my mortgage. Being that it was a Saturday, I waited til Monday and then called. They said, oh, on Oct. 1 we sold your mortgage to this other company.

WTF?? Without telling me??

Oh, we don't have to tell you. But don't worry, you have a 60-day grace period to pay them.

So I called them (I can't remember their name). They said they had sent me a "welcome letter" on the 17th (the day I called them, isn't that convenient?) and that I could pay by phone right now with just a $20 fee! Oh and my mortgage was due the 15th so there's a late fee. I could mail them the check, but it will be considered late, of course, since it is now the 17th and the check won't arrive for a few days.

So I told them, "This is how you're going to start our relationship?" and they backed down and said, oh actually we see you don't have to pay a late fee this month.

They offered the pay by phone thing again and I refused, because I don't want to pay them $20 for the right to pay them. I wanted them to set up an automatic deduction, like I had before. They couldn't do that because my account hasn't been set up yet.

When will it be set up?

Oh, within 60 days.

You have GOT to be kidding me.

So I finally got them to give me the mailing address and mailed them a check, which I was relieved to see they cashed today. Relieved because, when I got their welcome letter a couple days ago, it said I should not mail personal checks! Who doesn't use personal checks?? So I began to worry that they would actually send my money back. But no, they cashed it. I am not worried enough about "mail security" to send them Western Union checks or whatever. I looked that up and there's a $20 fee for that too. Insane.

I suppose it's just $20. But that adds up. And anyway I am morally opposed to paying people for the privilege of paying them. Now I have to mail them a check again for November, because god help them if they set up my account in a reasonable period of time.

My mortgage has never been sold before and I am seriously annoyed by all this. I've read about how bank sell mortgages all the time, but I didn't realize it was this annoying. I complained to HSBC and they said that they COULD have transferred my payment information to the new bank but didn't because of some personal security policy. I was like, in my mortgage documents, the new bank has everything else about me - but you balk at the one piece of information that could make it easy for me to keep paying them?

And I've only ever been late once, and that's when they changed their online account thing years ago and it took me three days and multiple calls to make the darn online payment work. I don't think three days late counts, anyway. They waived the late fee at the time.

I actually told them that - I am a good customer, I am never late, and you do this to me? They told me it was nothing personal. "We package many mortgages together and sell them as a block."


I anticipate many more phone calls as I get the online auto-pay set up. They have to send me a piece of physical paper that I must sign and return with a physical, voided check. Are you serious? Also, why does this still take 60 days?


I told them that I was able to go on Paypal and set up a bank account there in three days MORE THAN A DECADE AGO. They told me I can pay by Paypal - with a $20 fee.

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25th October, 2016. 3:11 pm.

It is nearly Katie Beth's birthday! She is so excited. Every day now she asks to read the Pookie Birthday book. Yesterday Sandy said, "And YOUR birthday is in three days!" And she answered, "No, 30 minutes!"

By this time two years ago, I was walking so slowly that Wayne said I walked slower than his disabled student! I am so glad to not be pregnant anymore.

Today was the seventh anniversary of Sandy's trip to Disney with Jane, so we all looked at the photos together when they popped up on Facebook memories. KB was delighted to see pictures of Momma on roller coasters. And she was excitedly identifying Mickey in every picture. He is EVERYWHERE. She could find him no matter how tiny he was.

Poor Katie Beth, too short for the exciting-looking, terrifying roller coasters.

But she has to be just 36 inches for Diggerland. We are soooo going next year. Hopefully she will be 36 inches by spring. I don't want to go in the summer when the lines will probably be crazy. She is going to LOVE driving real construction trucks!

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26th August, 2016. 4:42 pm.

KB loved the Washington County Fair. She loved seeing all the animals and kept saying she wanted to pet them - and then we would get close and she would realize how big the animal was and she would say, "All done. Mommy pet."

She got very brave with a cow that was laying down, and climbed over the hay to pet it. But she sort of tripped and that made the cow move a little and she began to cry hysterically.

So scary, cows.

Later she begged to see cows again so we went back. This happened at least three times. She could not bring herself to actually pet them ever though.

The bunnies were a big hit and she did pet them. She loved them. She also petted the black sheep (she was delighted and sang the "ba ba black sheep" song to it several times in a row). And she really liked looking at the goats, horses, oxen, cows...

She LOVED the ducklings in their little bath with the water slide. She desperately wanted to pet them and the chicks and chickens. (No petting in poultry booth, poultry bite little fingers.)

She took a nap in the stroller without any fight, and slept through a huge rain storm. Afterward she played in puddles and got soaked. She loved it.

I was working the whole day, but as work consisted of walking around interviewing people at the fair, I took Sandy and KB along. :)

Amusing conversation transcribed by Sandy today, which I love because it shows how much she understands now:

KB: Gaga sleeping
Sandy: Maybe
KB: Mama sleeping
No mama driving
KB: Mama sleeping
No mama driving
KB: Mama sleeping!
Ok we can pretend mama sleeping
KB: Sleeping time! Get wumma.
Get wumma huh?
KB: In bag. Get wumma.

(After this, a discussion about what they were doing before sleeping time)
KB: Going store. Fix glasses!
What are we doing after fix glasses?
KB: Uh uh uh uh I don't remember. Going bank.
That's right we're going to the bank first
KB: Bank first. Yeah.

One more day til vacation!!!

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12th August, 2016. 3:22 pm.

I was thinking about my Girl Scouts when Simone, a black swimmer, won gold last night.

During one of the dream chart exercises, something like 9 or 10 years ago, they said a dream would be learning to swim. I was like, we could do that!

No, Damara said, black people don't swim.

After all - their parents didn't swim, no one they knew could swim, and there were no pools in their neighborhood at which they could learn to swim.

So I drove them to Guilderland and the YMCA let them swim for free for months til they all learned how.

And then we moved on to other things and pretty much never thought about it again, except that I didn't worry quite as much about them drowning on camping trips and at Six Flags.

In fact I haven't thought about it in years. Then two days ago Damara - who is now in grad school, can you believe it?!?! - posted on Facebook pictures of cliff jumping with her friends.

Because she can swim.


And then to see Simone try, hesitantly, to talk about that without out-and-out saying "black people don't swim" - a loaded concept about pools being for whites only for far too long and slaves not being allowed to learn to swim because they could escape more easily, and other historical facts that people find it convenient to forget.

So she hesitantly said she had the weight of the black community on her shoulders and she hopes to inspire more kids to swim.


What I would've given to have someone like her to point to when my scouts said black people don't swim!

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5th August, 2016. 3:28 pm.

Sleeping has not been popular this week. Sad hysterical crying at naptime and bedtime. However, she only cries for a minute and then she sleeps all night, so it's not all bad. Yesterday every time I tried to put her in her crib she acted like she was being dipped in boiling water (screaming, clinging to me) so finally when she requested the "Hannah and Patrix song" I told her she was going to see Hannah and Patrick this weekend.

She choked down her sobs, trying to stop crying, and stared at me.

"Soon? Hannah and Patrix soon?"

"Yes, soon."

After that she forgot to go back to crying!

I'm guessing this weekend is going to be SUPER popular. I'm trying to decide whether to tell her where we're going Saturday night or not. She won't get to play with them until the next morning so maybe it would be better to just say we're going on an adventure. If I tell her we're going to see the amazing cousins, she might refuse to sleep for the whole drive!

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30th July, 2016. 4:24 pm.

What a week! Sandy is currently using my phone as a baby monitor but all is going well at Wayne's Birthday Part 1.

I packed everything in the push-cart so that she could manage KB, KB's stuff and the cake in one trip. Kb had a great time playing this morning (the theme is Wayne Con and everyone is playing games for points, with prizes to be given out tomorrow). She went down for nap in Wayne and Scott's apartment with no problem (hurray!) and Sandy used the app to link my phone and her phone, the one we use at hotels. Works like a charm. If my phone hears a sound, it calls her phone, and Sandy can listen and either hang up and go get the baby. She can even talk to her through it, though we sadly don't seem to have the sort of baby who will soothe from someone's voice. Either she's asleep or she's done sleeping and wants OUT.

She's woken up twice this week after sleeping through the night so nicely lately. :( Whyyyyyy. I was up with her for 90 minutes this morning. Here's hoping she sleeps when we abandon her with her grandparents for DragonCon! Although it's just four days - they can recover - the important thing is WE will sleep! :)

Tonight I'm going to Wayne Con as soon as I get out of work. Tomorrow, we will wrangle her at the birthday party together.

Plans: next weekend I'm taking KB to RI, where we will see the Favoritest Cousins Ever, otherwise known as "Hannah and Patrix." Sandy is staying home to work. The following weekend, we both have Saturday off and we're going to Glimmerglass alllll day while Christie takes care of KB and even puts her to bed for the night. (God I hope that goes well.)

The weekend after that is two more birthday parties, one of which is probably not very toddler-friendly, but whatever. After that is the Renn Faire, and then DRAGONCON!!!

I will miss summer so much when it's over. I look ahead to September and after DragonCon, it's just work, work, work.

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26th July, 2016. 2:28 pm.

Ah, calendars.

Scheduling next year's family reunion. We said we could do it after July 4, because Sandy's convention is always the weekend of July 4.

But July 4 is the middle of the week next year. So naturally, the convention is AFTER July 4.

On the plus side, the reunion is also in Texas, so we have to fly. As Sandy pointed out, it will cost just as much for us to fly separately as together, so I'll fly with KB on Friday and she will join us Sunday night.

This means I will keep a 2-year-old entertained by myself during a 7-hour trip (plus time spent renting a car and then driving the hour from the airport to the reunion).

Best I can do is one layover, but I think that's probably for the best - she could (in theory) run around and burn off some energy between the flights.

Also I get to fly home with her alone, since I think Sandy has to fly in and out of the same airport, so she'll fly from Newark or something, then take the train to Poughkeepsie where we will go get her.

Another 3-hour roundtrip drive with KB.

Ugh, I need to stop thinking about these logistics. I am super psyched about the reunion and very glad that Sandy doesn't want me to miss half of it. It's going to be incredibly expensive but we'll figure it out somehow. (The $1,500 plane tickets are painful, but hey! Not driving for four days total! I think that's almost worth $1,500. In fact if I broke it down by the hour, I think I would find myself willing to pay about halfway through the 21-hour drive each way. And you never know, we might find cheaper flights. I think realistically the best we can hope for is $400pp but maybe there will be a sale.)

Sandy is not enthusiastic about flying alone. She's worried we might have to buy two seats since she would intrude on a stranger's seat (airlines don't mind if you're intruding on the seat of someone who is travelling with you). I told her to take this as motivation to lose enough weight that she could scrunch into one seat.

She has managed to lose 15 pounds recently so she's pretty motivated to keep going. I have lost...two.

Anyway, KB is going to LOVE the reunion. I am slightly worried about keeping her from drowning, but other than that, she is going to love hanging out with her cousins. Seeing how much she loves Hannah - she is going to be over the moon about the reunion! In addition to the other kids, she'll also get to see gramma and papa and Uncle Kelsea and Aunt Brii. (But not their dog. Sadness. I asked her recently, "What do you like about Uncle Kelsea?" And without hesitation she answered, "Doggie." Yeah, poor Kelsea! Feeling the love! On the other hand, if you ask her what she loves about her mommies she will say "milk" for me and "read books" for momma. Ask her who she loves in general and she will say peaches. So there you go. She needs no people, just some dogs, books, milk and peaches. In all seriousness she would happily live on milk, peaches and chicken.)

KB is pretty much done nursing. It's funny - people told me the morning nursing would be the last to go and I discounted that. But she hasn't nursed at night in many weeks, and yet every few mornings she wants to nurse. Today she insisted on nursing for a long time, and then after about two minutes she wanted to nurse again. I told her she would have to wait because she drank all the milk. She insisted on trying. Then she stopped and said, "Wait."

Yup. No more milk right now!

It's amazing to see her talk about things now and really understand things.

This weekend she will be playing with other kids all day on Saturday and Sunday. It will be interesting to see how that goes. Mal came to visit from 10-4 last Sunday and KB tried very hard to get him to play with her. She would bring him toys, call him over to see things, come over to him to play with him, and he pretty much ignored her. He's roughly four months younger. He was totally fine with her existence, but didn't really play with her. Still, KB really enjoyed playing with him. He goes to daycare and never tried to take any toys away from her, which I'm sure he's learned from all the socialization there. Twice KB tried to take something out of his hand, while he hung onto it. Both times I told her not to, but didn't do anything else, and watched as she tried to figure out what else to do. She tried offering him a different toy, but that didn't work. She tried talking to him - didn't work. She tried finding and playing with other toys that did the same thing, which mostly satisfied her. Finally she simply waited until the moment he let go and then she grabbed it. (Then he tried to get it back and they had to work that out.)

She needs a lot more interaction like that - preferably with a kid who will fight back - to learn how to handle these sorts of conflicts. I've found that when we have playdates, which are usually at a playground, the kids tend to not have any conflicts - or even any reason to talk to each other. They all know to take turns, for example, and then they all sort of ignore each other and slide and swing or whatever.

So we need to have more playdates where the kids are all playing in a more enclosed area. But that is not really what people want to do in the summer. Oh well. I'll just offer to babysit Mal a lot more. :) Poor Mal, at one point he was holding a little person in each hand and KB was trying to pull them both out of his hands. When I told her to stop, she sensibly went off and found more of the six million little people we have in the house. I think there's at least one in every single room in this house. Seriously, I saw one in the bathroom yesterday. Somebody had been giving him a pretend bath.

Anyway, they had a great time playing with the water table once KB realized she could drown her own people. I mean, have them go "swimming." They don't float, by the way. Plunk, sink, while KB caroled at them, "swim! swim! whee!"

She also sent them down the ball drop. "whee!" Killing little people left and right. :) Mal plunked them in, lifted them up, poured water on them from a cup, put them in the cup...so much excitement drowning little people.

Sandy is going to hide a few toys today to bring to the events this weekend in hopes that KB will be excited to see them again and happy to play with them with whatever other kids are at Wayne's two-day birthday.

The weekend AFTER next, we are going to see KB's current favorite person in the whole world, Hannah.

When I said that we were going to see Mal on Sunday she said wistfully, "See Hannah?"

She asks me every night too. So yesterday I said, "yes, soon." I am not at all sure she understood what soon was, but she did understand that it was not now, so that's an improvement.

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22nd July, 2016. 11:14 am.

So tired today. Last night we watched the first of the two-episode finale for Flash and SOMETHING STUNNING AND HORRIBLE happened and so I said I didn't want to watch the second episode. So we switched to Arrow, which we are about two seasons behind in, and THE SAME STUNNING AND HORRIBLE thing happened.

OMG this is why I should just read books I have safely read a dozen times before, I know what I'm getting into then!

But actually right now I am rereading Moreta, which I stopped reading because I didn't want to read about death either.

I am surrounded.

So I took my phone on a pokewalk, and it died before I even got to the sidewalk.

It just wasn't my night.

I took Sandy's phone and took her character on a pokewalk while she made blue roses for a wedding cake, and in 40 min I hatched two eggs and leveled her. Only then did I realize I could've signed her out and signed into my account on her phone.


Then of course there was Trump's speech, which went on far too long and I ended up staying up way too late and today I am super tired. So of course I have tons I have to do.

On the plus side, at weigh-in today I had lost two pounds. 23 pounds to go...

And, thinking positively - I have an awesome playdate set up for Sunday, so that will be great. Hopefully we will also see Ghostbusters and Star Trek this weekend. Just two more days! And then the radiology appointment for Alice, which hopefully will be good...and Sandy's appointment to figure out what's wrong with her foot (whatever it is, here's hoping they can fix it before DragonCon!) and ugh this isn't making me look forward to the weekend after all. Let's focus. Playdate and movies. Yes.

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12th July, 2016. 2:45 pm.

Oof what a month it has been! I must admit I am now looking at the next 6 weeks and thinking ahhhh, no vacation for awhile. Oh good.

This weekend is Tisha's house warming, in two more weekends is Wayne's birthday, and the following weekend is our big all-day date to see two operas at Glimmerglass. Then there's the Renn Faire. But, generally speaking, "nothing."

It's been a lightning round of vacation on steroids. I literally picked up KB at the babysitter and drove directly to RI when I got out of work Saturday. Got there just before 10 p.m. Left Monday night after dinner (and after returning to pick up things I'd forgotten, including MY WALLET which luckily Aunt Mary remembered seeing so we were able to find it).

When I said goodbye to Patrick, I said it had been a wonderful two days, and he said, "TWO days? It felt like 20!"

I decided he meant that in a good way. ;)

He also asked repeatedly if we were going to see him again "this summer or even this year." Oops. I'm sorry, kiddo. I used to see him almost every month...but then life got busy...like four years ago. Yeeaaah.

I am campaigning to have them spend a few days up here with us this summer. We haven't quite figured out how to get them, though. And of course their schedules and ours are packed. Sigh.

Last night KB fell asleep in the car about 9 p.m., basically slept through my carrying her upstairs, changing her and putting her in her crib, and stayed asleep until 9:30 a.m. When I went to get her she said she was still sleepy and wanted to stay in her crib (but also see momma, so she agreed to leave the crib). She was industriously working on the zipper of her sleep sack, which of course she wanted me to put back on.

She excitedly told Sandy all about the "pony" or "cow" that she rode and petted. (It was a camel.) She also told her about the gaffies (giraffes) and bears. What else rated a mention? "People! Hannah, Patrick, Hannah. Doggie. Barking. Stairs. Piano!"

I'm guessing one of the two Hannahs is really Anna. The doggie that barks is Aunt Mary's dog, who is a total sweetheart. KB LOVED her.

But mostly she loved the kids, and they were really amazing with her. They played with her and entertained her so well, particularly Hannah, that I was able to take a shower one morning and a (very short) nap one afternoon. KB wanted to do everything they did. Which is why in two days she managed to hurt herself about four times. It's hard work, keeping up with big kids! (And she was fine - nothing major.)

She didn't sleep well AT ALL, though definitely better when she wasn't sharing a room with the ever-fascinating Hannah. She rolled over at 2:30 a.m., saw Hannah sleeping nearby, woke up completely and spent more than an hour lobbying to have Hannah play with her. This included chanting "wake up wake up wake up" and "sleep big bed, BIG BED" and even hysterical screaming at one point. She eventually sort of slept with me, constantly turning and climbing and crawling and then sleeping briefly before doing it all again.

So I learned 20 months is too young for a sleepover. Ah well. She changes so fast, this won't be forever. It will be MUCH more convenient on trips when she can sleep in the same room as other kids. In the meantime I think I will invest in a small hanging-curtain thingie so I can create a little room for her. Because sleeping in the same room as the mommies seems to get the same eager reaction.

So - at various times I got to have really good (separate) conversations with Peter, Anna, Aunt Mary and James, Patrick and I built a salt-water-battery robot that worked briefly, and we went to the zoo.

It was SO COOL to hang out with Anna now that we can have full conversations in English. She remembers me even though I haven't seen her in 4 years and she even remembers the cake Sandy made for her 4 years ago.

Now I am tired but I'm at work til probably 10 p.m. or later so...coffee it is! I didn't manage to get home til midnight, fell asleep about 1 a.m.

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