La La How The Life Goes On

Outside the Beltway

Posted on: April 25, 2010

As many of you know we used to live in Washington, DC. We LOVED Washington, DC. We lived right on Capitol Hill, took the metro, walked every night to the dog park, and generally had a fun urban existence. Until the arrival of the Bambina, when all of a sudden that dude masturbating on the park bench seemed less icky/funny and more threatening to my child’s wellbeing. When finding a condom in the playground was, again, less “Que sera, that’s city living” and more, “Jesus Christ! My kid sits on this see-saw!” When having to have your fedex packages delivered to your office because they always got stolen from your porch became less de rigeur and more disconcerting because–now that I don’t work at an office–who the hell is up on my porch while I’m in the house with my kid?

That said, the joys of living in DC were many and beautiful and valuable and deeply rewarding. I used to walk Bambina in her stroller around the Capitol, around the Thurgood Marshall Federal Building, Union Station, and do a running commentary (that I’m sure was all Charlie Brown Teacher Voice [wah wah wah wah] to her 10 month-old mind) on the history and significance of these buildings, these institutions, this democracy. As she got older, she always knew we were close to home when she saw “the big dome.” The big dome became her touchstone for returning, for family, for familiarity, for friends. And she always knew she was close to the big dome when she first saw The Little Dome (the Jefferson Memorial). It was a neat and wonderful experience for her to have at a young age, to identify so closely with the architectural icons of our nation.

Please imagine my horror yesterday when she said the following: “Mama! You know how I know we’re close to home? Like in DC it was the big dome? When we pass the gone-out-of-business Tweeter Etc.” I almost steered the car into oncoming traffic to end the rapidly-unfolding nightmare. This is my suburban hell, friends. My child identifies home with a defunct 80’s hi-fi purveyor. In whose hallowed halls the words “woofer” and “turntable” were once uttered, triggering, I’m sure, a revolution! Of what I can only imagine.

Speaking of imagining, I am hoping that the end has arrived for my monthus horribilus. I finally had a day this week where I wondered aloud(?), “Who do I have to fuck around here to catch a break?” First the ear/blood thing. Then I had a weird growth on my leg (totally benign, thank you), then I threw my upper back out trying to lift my chunky funky monkey, then still hadn’t managed to get rid of the left arm blood clot, then went to Dana Farber and found out (gladly?) that my legs and upper arms are not turning to massive cellulite because of the prednisone weight gain, but because of the GVHD attacking the fibrous tissue under my skin–with the long-term consequence of me being unable to move my legs if they don’t arrest it. Frack. So I’ll be getting something called ECP, which is an ongoing process whereby they take a bunch of blood out, hit it with ultraviolet light, then put it back in me. For some reason, it kills the T-cells that are messing with the skin, and has few side effects beyond fatigue and low blood pressure. It works for 80% of the people, so I’m hoping I’ll be in that number. Certainly because I’d like to not have my legs stop moving from scleroderma, and also because, speaking of beltways, mine is getting ever-larger from the damn prednisone and I’d like to not be put on more. There are only so many pant sizes you can go up before you really just feel like the lovechild of Augustus Gloop and Violet Beauregarde post-Wonka misadventure.

And with that, I’m off to have a midnight twinkie.


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