My Dearest Love,
I have been thinking of you a lot lately. Today, of course, is Easter - one of your favorite holidays, though not always because of the traditional family gathering. I don't go anymore because of the rift, but K and J go to see their cousins mostly. So, today it is just me and the Wonder Dawg lazing around the house.
The Dawg is acting a little hesitant since she has been home here less than 24 hours after spending more that a week with her foster family in the old neighborhood while the kids and I were in Mexico for K's senior spring break trip. More on that in a sec, but first some sad news.
Kay was diagnosed with severe acute leukemia about two months ago and just got home from a six-week stay in the hospital. She and Dick and I visited for about an hour yesterday when I went over to pick up Sophie. She looks very thin and was wearing one of those baldness bonnets that we saw so many of down at the U transplant clinic. Our conversation was a good one with no false optimism found in so many interactions between a person with cancer and a well meaning, but healthily ignorant friend. All three of us were victims and survivors of one form of cancer or another. They were the second family I have known where both parents were hit (after ourselves).
As we were wrapping our visit up, Dick gave me a heads up. He had gotten a call from Winky (remember our old neighbor?) who told him that her son had been diagnosed with lymphoma. He gave her my name and phone number. He didn't know what kind of lymphoma, but he wanted to let me know that he had done that. Too many people are getting sick.
Did I tell you that Lee had prostate cancer? Last summer he went through a radical robotic resection of his entire prostate. His recovery was prolonged and very painful. Thankfully, he is now much better and living much in his old style. Sex is no longer and option, but with Lee that never seemed like one of his higher priorities anyway. I went out to visit him this winter for Ski Camp for the first time in about three years. He was as energetic as ever. I myself however, seemed to fatigue easily and found myself retiring early most days.
Now, to Mexico. This trip was organized by the mother of one of K's friends. K's close posse of nine girls, their parents, and assorted siblings, making up a party of about 30 people flew into Cancun, Mexico, hopped on a coach for an hour's drive south and spent a week at a huge all-inclusive resort complex. This was a much different trip than the one you and I did fourteen years ago on the Pacific coast. The place we stayed at must have had over four thousand rooms and suites spread across four different hotel complexes. Each hotel had its own atmosphere and set of amenities. The wristband you received at check in bestowed upon you a caste system of accessibility. Since we were staying in the swankiest hotel, we had access to all other hotels, bars, restaurants, etc. There was only one level higher and that cost an additional $35 US per night.
Not like the little casa we shared in the landscaped gardens off of the playa to the west. Here we could walk up to any bar and come away with whatever we wanted. When hungry, go to any beach front grill and select from a bountiful buffet or order something custom from the grill. Feel like hitting a few golf balls - no problem. Kayaking, snorkeling, shuffleboard - the same. Just give them your room number and a quick glance at the color of your wristband and you were set. Of course, having unlimited access to booze without having to cough up cash for each drink had predictable effects upon the hoards of high school seniors and college types that made up a significant percentage of the guests at this particular resort. I saw more than one young person being led from the carnage by a couple of slightly less impaired friends.
I am happy to report that I had no actual eye witness experiences of that kind of thing with our two teenagers, though I was led to understand that they both crossed the sobriety line a couple of times. Apparently the older fed the younger a shot of tequila a time or two.
My days were spent by and large in a prone position, wrapped in the comfortable embrace of a beach hammock under a protective awning. I had no desire to repeat the el rojo experience I went through with you on our last visit to Mexico. So, I staked my ground early and defended it over the week, attended by my trusty books and lubricated by the occasional Bacardi pina colada whipped up by my friend Angel at the Coco Bar which was mere steps to my rear (as was the bathrooms and the towel service).
In front of me spread the beach walk and then on the other side of a low stone wall, the beach itself, extending for about a mile to my right and perhaps a quarter mile to my left. The foot traffic was very entertaining and I missed your acerbic comments which fit so well with mine on the occasions where we were treated to a constant show of human flesh in all its various forms. From my stand point, the high percentage of youth clothed in practically nothing at all kept me from making constant progress in my readings, but even so, I went through two and a half novels while entertaining myself in other passive visual sports, laying in my gently swaying lounge hammock.
One of K's hopes about this trip was that I would get to know the parents of her friends better. I did that even though I found myself staying apart from the group most of the day. This was mostly because many of them, like their daughters, wanted to lay in the sun and there was not an abundance of shade on the beach. Another reason was that they were all couples who had known each other for some time so there was a lot of shared background between them that shaded their conversations with the kind of verbal shorthand that acquaintance permits. I simply felt like an outsider and preferred the company of my books and covetous lechery under my sun awning.
It's not like I was anti-social or anything and the other parents didn't seem to take offense. Whenever the group decided to go eat lunch, someone would come by and invite me along and I would happily go. We also met up for evening cocktails prior to dinner and we shared tables at all of the meals including breakfast if we happened to find each other. I did get to know the other parents better (some more so that others), but I still have trouble with names. Kate gets frustrated with my swiss-cheese memory, but I have long since stopped beating myself up for it. Kay and I had a nice little discussion yesterday about chemo-brain and what it can do for (or against) you.
Anyway, we had fun in Mexico. One thing struck me though. About on the fourth day, I asked K if she was having a good time because she looked a little somber. She surprized me by saying she missed being home. She said that this laying around in the sun all day was all very well and fine for her friends, but she was bored with it. So she was really pumped to leave our little beach heaven and fly home where we landed to heavy overcast and four inches of wet slushy snow. The southern suburbs got as much as ten or twelve inches out of the storm that passed through in the hours preceding our arrival. For the past 24 hours it has continued to snow on and off. Needless to say, our septic system did not thaw out while we were gone.
Now it is Sunday and I am lazing around putting off doing the things I know I should do. One of those things is to try to read through a bunch of legalize having to do with the money I have to borrow to renovate my mother's house up north. Having to do this without your council scares me to death. I question myself all the time about the rightness of this path. I miss your wisdom and guidance. I am afraid of all of the jargon and the small print. I don't want to be one of those people that I read about in all of the papers who sign a legal document and then get caught by some clause they didn't see or understand. I will muddle through this, but it is nerve wracking. If you get this, please stop by while I am sleeping and review all of these documents and let me know if it is OK to proceed. That would help a lot. If you can't do this, then no recriminations when we do get together later. I'm doing the best I can.
Enough of this now. I have to get out from under the covers, take a shower, walk the dog, and then write out a few bills. I love you still, every day.