It's a creekmore world

Week # 11: The Costs of Cancerpallooza

The crowd is wild (except foot-jumped man, who is still pouting)
It’s hard to have as good a week as the last one.   In fact, we start the week, July 5th with a rest day.  The girls find a few play dates with friends, and we play Warhammer most of the day.

We take naps too.  Trish doesn’t nap every day, but she is increasingly fatigued.  Chemotherapy degenerates the body over time, and it gets tired trying to rebuild the healthy cells.   And as her red blood cell counts get lower, her muscles and organs get less and less oxygen.

The costs of cancerpalooza

The somewhat obvious problem with cancerpalooza is that it’s expensive.  I got my first credit card bill today and took a hard gulp.  It was three or four times our usual spending.  Yikes.

That costs how much?
It wasn’t a total shock.  I knew this would happen.  But the credit card bill is always a little higher than one expects, right?  Well this was a lot more than that. Ouch and LOL.

Is Cancerpalooza worth the money?  I think so.  Yeah, we’ll have to use up a bunch of our reserves and savings.  And it’s true, tickets to OzzFest aren’t exactly an emergency expense.  But Cancerpalooza is an opportunity to smack one of life’s harder pitches out of the park.  And that’s a pretty good way to spend your emergency money.

Of course, I have a good job, and we carry no debt outside of our home.  We were in a financially sound position to spend this kind of money before this started.  For that, we are grateful.  We know that not everyone has the kind of resources we have.   And I’ve managed the finances pretty well.

Singing ‘Freebird’ in the back of the carpeted van.

Trish is only 5 years older than me, but there is almost a generational difference in developmental environments. She is from small farm town in Northern California that felt rooted in the high-flying, cheesy, arena-rock,  late 70’s.  I was in the suburbs and boroughs of New York City in the disaffected, insolent, hardcore, mid-80’s.  If her experience is like Dazed and Confused, mine was more like Repo Man.

One of the reasons we are so in love with each other is we have similar taste in music: classics like Metallica, X, and Green Day, as well as lesser known stuff like Spiderbait, Local H and Teddybears.

that generational difference shows up in our musical tastes, because she loves, and I mostly dislike, ‘Southern Rock’.  And so I offer the court my most compelling evidence of true, unselfish love to my wife:  I bought her right-up-front tickets to Lynyrd Skynyrd (and .38 special, OMGWTF) for an outdoor arena show at the rediculously named ‘Jiffy Lube Live’ pavilion in Manassas Virginia.  Case closed, amirite?.

This needs no caption.  You're in Skynyrd Nation.

Trish spent several of her teen years driving a wood-paneled van with carpeting and a dirty mattress.  (Really, Trish? That’s so gross.) around the dusty, dry, Sonoma county apple orchards.  (There were very few grapes back then.)  The van had two 8-track tapes; the Rolling Stones ‘Hot Rocks’ and Lynyrd Skynyrd ‘One More from the Road’ on which, Ronniue Van Zant historically asks the crowd “What song is it you wanna hear?’  and they yell back  ‘Freebird’!

This is the wiggle I love.
To hear his younger brother yell the same question to the crowd tonight is an epic moment for Trish.  It’s one I can’t relate to, but I love to see her joy.  And of course, I again get to be next to her as she wiggles that little butt to Rock n’ Roll.

In the end, I have to admit that Skynyrd puts on a fun show, full of lively hits.  And it does feel special even though there is only one remaining member from the glory days.

Cancer divides the family

Cancer, the bitch, tries to divide our family.  Between Trish’s chemotherapy brown-outs and her diminished capacity to deal with stuff, she has a harder time connecting with the girls (and me).  They understand that on an intellectual level, and are very supportive, but of course being seven and ten (and 42), they still need their mom (and wife).

It’s hard on us all.  I often feel like there are two families I’m managing:  the one with Trisha, and the one with my daughters.    With camps and the medical schedule, it’s really easy to not do things together as a family, so I’ve been making sure that one day a week we do a big adventure, like Six Flags last week.

The Creekmore Circus

She was born to be in the circus.
Traffic is surpriseingly bad on the way downtown to the Navy yard waterfront area where the four of us will take a Trapeze class together, one of the family’s favorite activities.

Trish and I did it the first time at the ultra-hot Club-Med Mexico (Ixtapa) in 2003, right before her last breast cancer. We both loved flying, although I didn’t love it enough to make the trips up to Baltimore.  Trish has been going regularly and does awesome on the high-flying rig.

Then, last year, the TSNY Trapeze school opened up an awesome facility near the Nationals stadium on the waterfront in South East and Trish has been doing even better including an awesome show the week she was diagnosed.

And does a perfect knee-hang!
TSNY has taken a special interest in Trish and her cancer struggle. There are a lot of young women trainers and staff that look up to her and they were really excited to see us back as a family.   There were more than a few tears shed ncluding one from a staffer that is also a nurse, who donates her hair annually for breast cancer victims.

Last time Lily went she was 3, and climbed up the ladder but didn’t swing.  She’s still afraid of fish, bugs and thunder, but not of heights! She jumps right off the 25-foot platform and swings with little hesitation.  It takes her most of the class to get used to the way the physics of trapeze feel on the body, but she does great.

WOOOT!  perfect swing.
Emma acts like an old pro and works on her ‘Set Straddle Whip’ for two hours, while I do the ‘Set Whip’ for the first time in three years. Trish just works on her swing, which is an intermediate level exercise that one has to practive on for years before going to the advanced tricks.

When we travel, we often do ‘Kid Reporter’ sequences where I film them reporting to us about their experience. Here are a few of the best: Luxor, Egypt (with the ‘side-monkey’),Venice,  and Petra, Jordan. Lily picked up the Flip Video herself and did play-by-play of Emma trying the catch.  It’s absolutely hilarious.
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The H-street Corridor

The Atlas theater is a newish dance performance space in DC connected to a Joy of Motion dance studio. We love Joy of Motion, a local non-profit community dance center. We’ve been to the rapidly developing ‘H-street corridor’ for performances at the Atlas, but never realized how much the new area is growing with cool stuff.

After Trapeze we hang out at one of the best coffee shops in DC with lots of space and free Wifi, sample amazing (but expensive) pies at Dangerous Pies. The H-street country club is not well-reviewed for it’s food but they do have an indoor mini-golf course that’s really fun.  Do like we do today, and get there right at 5:00pm, because it fills up fast and the course is much more fun when it’s empty.

We like sushi, but the kids don’t , so it’s never a family meal. Sticky Rice takes care of that by specializing in homemade tatar-tots in addition to affordable, interesting sushi. The place is packed and the service isn’t great but we all have fun.

The H-street NE corridor has a lot more to offer, but we are exhausted. Trapeze really makes the body feel tired and we head home for a quiet night.

Girls at the spa

A spa day brings out smiles
Sunday morning Trish’s friend Jodi shows up at 9am in her sundress. I asked her to block out the day to be with Trish, but didn’t tell either of them what they were doing. We drink some coffee and I serve some breakfast.

They both make small talk, but the conversation is halting and tentative.  It’s obvious that they are itching to find out where they were going for the day. Okay, I’ve made them wait long enough.

It’s a spa day! Jodi and Trish are going together for a girls spa day at one of DC’s top (maybe the top) spa at the Mandarin Oriental hotel. It’s a beautiful space, particularly the water room with colored steam jets and an ‘experience’ shower with crazy settings like ‘Hurricaine’, ‘Forest Mist’ and ‘Tropical Rain.’  All the services are well designed and multi-faceted.  (You get your choice of music, aromatherapy scents etc…

Lobby at the Mandarin Oriental
Afterward, they have tea. Well more accurately, they had wine and a whole lot of small cucumber sandwiches.  They said the tea was really good.

For the Mandarin Oriental, it’s a relative bargain for about $30 each.  You could get a manicure, do the spa shower and water room and the afternoon tea for about $100 if you wanted.  Check it out someday.

These two are very, very close friends but neither one picks up the phone to talk to the other one. I wanted them to get some time together, and they sure got it today. Both looked very happy (and beautiful) when they got back.

101 Surprises: Half way to 101

I may be running out of cash, but not ideas.  This week was all about surprise.

Woah.  New glam necklace gets Trish excited.
  • 46)   Lynard Skynard: ‘See Freebird before they all die.’  Check.
  • 47)   Glam Necklace: This thing is gorgeous on her.  It’s super heavy too.
  • 48)   Family day: I surprised the whole family with our Trapeze/Mini-Golf/Sushi/Tatar-tots day.
  • 49)   20-pack trapeze: I really want Trish to keep doing Trapeze this summer so I bought her a 20-pack of classes to stay motivated.
  • 50)   Spa day: Who wouldn’t like a spa day with your BFF?  Everyone should go at least once.  It’s a beautiful space.

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