Monthly Archives: February 2010

The Hierarchy of Me

Yeah, yeah – just me checking in to whine yet again. But hopefully some of you out there can relate to the ping-pong game my brain is going through lately.  I thought I was good with the whole process that my husband was going to go through. I thought I had a plan in place I was comfortable with. Then we got firm dates and my mind went BLAAAARGGGHH!

I was talking to my friend yesterday, and told her that, like everyone, I have many Cates. In order, there’s Mommy Cate, Wife Cate, Worker Cate, and Writer Cate. Writer Cate already got shoved aside for awhile, and let me tell you, she’s ticked about it. But until she starts paying a bigger portion of the bills, she can sit back and shut up.

But now Worker Cate is going to take a hit. She’s not nearly as mad about that, but where anger lacks, guilt reigns supreme. Not to toot my own horn, but  I have a lot of folks who rely on me here at the Not-So-Evil Day Job, and I am going to start disappearing for weeks at a time.  This brings out someone who should be at the bottom of the hierarchy, but who’s very loud and obnoxious – Guilty Cate.  She’s bitching and moaning about missing work and not writing both, so she gets very irritating.

Mommy Cate and Wife Cate are at odds right now. Right or wrong, being a mom has always been top priority since Son #1 showed up. The husband and I agreed that throughout the transplant process, it is of utmost importance to keep the kids’ lives as stable as possible. We don’t want them missing school any more than we can help it. However, Wife Cate is insisting she needs to be with her husband while he gets tested for his upcoming procedure, and she beat the mom side of me hands down. Giving Guilty Cate more to complain about. Oy!

This all leads to all the Cates coming together as one entity – Insane Cate. Thank God for pharmaceuticals, baby!

By the way, for those of you confused by the stem cell transplant process, here is a quick primmer (as best as I understand it):

Step 1 – DH is given chemo and “growth factor” to grow more stem cells

Step 2 – Stem cells are collected – we think inpatient – through a process called pheresis, in which his blood is pumped out of him, the stem cells are collected, and the blood is pumped back into him. Yummy. This should take about a week.

Step 3 – He checks into the hospital, gets about 5 days of intense chemo which kills his bone marrow. He will have no immune system, so will need to be in isolation. The stem cells are then injected back into his body, and will slowly rebuild his bone marrow – healthy, we hope. This should take about 2 months, during which time he will be very weak and susceptible to disease.

We hope to see him more than once or twice during this process, but due to distance, the kids and I will not be able to make it there often. And thank God for a ton of great neighbors and friends willing to watch pets and our house when we do have to be gone!

So that’s it in a very large nutshell. Is it any wonder I’m nuts?

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Goodbye to Charlotte

Her name was Charlotte Isabelle. I knew it from the second I laid eyes on her. We were at the Humane Society, just looking around, when she literally reached out and grabbed my husband. That was almost sixteen years ago.

Today I came home and knew it was over. She couldn’t walk and was too weak to even meow. She left us shortly before 4:30 this afternoon.

Goodbye, sweetheart. You were a good girl, and I have no idea what life will be without you. A little sadder, that’s for sure.

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Geeking Out

Yeah, so I made the conscious decision to abandon the bah-g for awhile, but I thought I’d check in. Life is still scary, and all the reasons I decided to step back are still firmly in place. However, I do miss being that writer lady on occasion. Okay – more than occasionally. A lot. I want to get back into a book and dive in head first, but as my husband’s stem cell transplant is looming, I don’t dare. Happy Medium was killed by distractions and I don’t want that to happen again. Best to wait until I can concentrate again. Right? Yeah, I’m not fully buying it, either.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t have the odd writer moment from time to time.  There are two noteworthy occasions just recently: the arrival of my first print book, and the first time I saw it in a store.

The first was wrought with ceremony. I received the box in the mail, knew exactly what it was, and waited until the kids were settled and I was alone. It was a sacred moment. I sliced the tape, and prepared myself. “This will only happen once,” I said to myself, and opened the lid to find my beautiful books. And I felt… nothing. Don’t get me wrong, it was cool and I am sure not complaining, but I thought I’d get a charge from it. I should have gotten a charge from it. But even thinking it was kind of cool to see my book in my hands, I was a little numb.

Hmmm… could be because six months ago I told my doctor I wanted to be drugged like a ’60s housewife. You know, the ones who could get run over by a truck and not care? Yeah. That would work for me. So it stole my big book moment. I guess I’m good with that. Kinda.

The second was seeing my book on the shelf at my local bookstore. I was there for a completely different reason, and turned around to see one whole copy of Let’s Dish turned out and staring at me from the bottom shelf. This time I had a reaction.

“You have it!” I said. Squawked, actually. My mouth was working pretty much independently.

“We have what?” the lady behind the counter asked, looking semi-helpful, semi-confused, and very, very scared.

“My book!” I shoved my hand into hers, totally on autopilot, and shook it hard. “I’m Catherine Wade.” I don’t think I made much of an impression on her – well, not a positive one – but was impressed with myself how my pseudonym rolled off my tongue and I didn’t trip over it. I still struggle when I sign a book not to sign my legal name, and feel like a fraud when I introduce myself as what my friends call Writer Cate. She feels like a twin I have no real right to, but she was in full presence when I saw my book for sale in our little one-horse town. So maybe there’s hope for me yet.

Then again, maybe I’ve got issues that those ’60s drugs can’t even hope to touch.

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I’ve Lost My Colors

My mother and I were talking on the phone last night. Apparently my father is so enamored with Let’s Dish that he’s taking it everywhere with him and telling everyone his daughter wrote it. Really sweet, huh? Just wait until he gets to that scene, and he’ll burn it in public. (If you’ve read it, you know what scene I mean. And it ain’t the one with the ice and squid.) Ahh well – he’s proud of me for a moment before I embarrass him into his grave.

Unfortunately, Another Time Around won’t be much better for his psyche. But Mom was surprised to hear that it was already out in e-book, and would be out this summer in trade paper (plug plug plug). So she asked me the inevitable question: How’s the new book coming?

Uh…it’s not. The “new book” she’s referring to is Happy Medium. I had the idea for HM two years ago, and had it all in my head. It was rife with tension, conflict, and I even had a resolution. The characters were dancing around in my head and telling me their stories. I had started putting it down and all was going swimmingly. Then I sold Let’s Dish and had to put it aside. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. Just saying that HM had to go on the back burner.

I tried to go back to it after about a year, and had some trouble getting back into the heads of my characters. But I was starting to move again when disaster struck: my husband was diagnosed with leukemia. Obviously that took my head out of every story except my own. But as the dust settled, I tried again, intending to finish it during NaNo 2009.  But this time, I couldn’t get back into the story. I wrote a good bit, but it was reaching and my characters were so offended that I dropped them twice, they weren’t talking to me.

I explained this to my mother, telling her I was afraid it was time to leave HM for awhile and try something new. “It’s like when I have to leave one of my pictures,” she told me. You see, my mom does needlework, and she’s amazing at it. I’m looking at several of her counted cross stitch pictures as I sit in my living room writing this, and they are far an above anything I could do with a needle and thread. But sometimes Mom gets too busy to finish a picture and has to walk away for awhile.

“When I come back, I can’t remember what I was going to do with the colors. I forget what goes where and the life just goes out of it for me until I can get my colors figured out again.”

That struck me as true for me, too. I’ve lost my colors. Oh, I know who Alex is and I know who I was using as a place holder for Jeff (Jeff Goldblum, by the way), but they have no life right now. Their color is totally gone. Unfortunately, I don’t have a color chart to refer to to get me back on track. My notes from two years ago are sketchy, because once I have a story in my head, I tend to pound on it until it’s written. That didn’t happen this time, and Alex, Jeff and her crazy grandmothers may have permanently suffered.

So I need to find some new colors. Something that jumps out at me and is so brilliant I have to write it down.

Yeah – I got nothing.

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