As of 2:30 this morning, I thought I was going to shake apart. I got up to use the bathroom, and every muscle in my body was shivering as soon as I left the covers.

I knew that it was coming, which is why I got up at 2:30 but had THOUGHT about getting up for a hour or so before that. I felt that familiar twinge in my bones that signaled a fever about to break, but was going to take me on one helluva last ride before it did.

Well, it did.

Thank god Lynn was good-natured about it. I scrambled back into bed like a wounded animal seeking refuge in its borough. And when I got under the covers, I clung to her like there was no tomorrow, trying to warm myself with her. She let me, even though I am certain I was being utterly annoying. Then she cooed to me softly, and offered to get up and get me a glass of water and some Tylenol (both of which I desperately wanted, but was too chicken to face the night air again).

It was just what I needed.

I woke up this morning and felt human for the first time in three days. As soon as I opened my eyes, I could feel that the strangle hold the sickness had me in was broken. I got up and, even though I still felt a bit woozy, I started my day. And oh, how good that felt!

So…today is truly that proverbial first day of… Lynn and I are going to go out to lunch today, then to Home Depot to pick out a new tub for our upstairs bathroom (yes, folks! It’s a getting’ fixed!). Then it’s off to Herberger’s to get Lynn a new winter coat and find some heart-shaped crystals for China trip thank you gifts. From there, we’re taking the kids to a movie right after school (broken promise from this weekend due to sickness, which needs to get in before the start of chemo), and then to Lynn’s reception at church tonight. Oh…and I have to call a guy about movie stuff…mustn’t forget to do that.

A busy day! Crap! How DID I ever fit in work, too! Seriously, though, it will feel really good to do this stuff with Lynn. We always have a good time running around together and doing goofy stuff like errands. Oddly enough, those are some of the fondest moments I remember throughout our time together.

They’re the husband and wife moments, I suppose…the ones where it’s just the two of you, connecting one on one, doing things to build or fortify the infrastructure of your collective life. I don’t know about you, but I feel almost giddy during those times—kind of tingly on the inside. It’s when I get to be the “big, strong man” in the relationship and to be goofy like when we were dating, too. It’s also the time when cool plans are made, and whether or not they actually come to fruition is irrelevant. It’s only the planning, and the connectivity and energy that is borne from it, that matters. And, finally, it’s just “being” together.

Anyway, today I feel relaxed and ready to do whatever needs to get done. As much as I hated going through being sick this weekend, it forced me to simply vegetate for a couple of days and rest. It seems to have done me a lot of good.

Here’s to the new day.

Day onennnngh! Cough! Cough! Hack!

There is no f’ing way I am going to be brilliant today. My mind just isn’t working. About all I’m good for today is lying around and moaning.

So…I took the leave. Yesterday was my last day of work until February 2 at the soonest. Who knows what I will return to, but for now I just don’t care. I’m sick…and when I get sick, I am a big, fat baby.

Actually they were pretty understanding in the end (who couldn’t be, I guess). Of course, there really isn’t a lot of higher brain function stuff going on in my little department right now. Between now and the end of January, I guarantee all my folks will be doing is content, content, content…and then more content. I tried to get things reasonably sewn up, and my boss seemed satisfied for the time being. The company also came through with three things (including some back compensation they owed me) that I’ve been harping on for months. It was nice to walk out of there with all that stuff put to bed.

All that said, I just broke down in tears when I left there yesterday. The relief that washed over me was overwhelming. What a year it’s been…what a hard, terrible year it has been at that place. I am happy to be out of there for a while. As Sheree commented yesterday, I “need to get away.” Well, now I’m away. Here’s to whatever time I am there in 2004 being a better, more positive experience.

Now it’s get the house put back together by Tuesday, which is the day that Lynn (presumably) starts her new chemo. Of course, the infection from the “bullet hole” needs to clear up first. For now, it seems to be acting a bit stubborn about going away.

Regardless, there’s a lot to do to get ready for that, and for Christmas, and for life. I really need to use this time well. And I plan to!

But not today… Today I feel like shit, and I am sitting in my easy chair with Lynn’s Chinese comforter (or “puff” for you Canadian readers. You know who you are), typing on my little iBook, and sipping juice. And I am going to continue to do that until tonight, when we have to go to Syd’s holiday show at school. And if I do anything…ANYTHING else today, it will be to sit on my butt and watch DVD movies. That’s it…

Cough, cough…sniffle

P.S. Here’s a cool little thing I found on the Wilmeister’s blog. It’s called Mr. Picassohead. It’s really fun, and about my speed today. Enjoy!

If you are in Minneapolis next Monday (12/8)

No smart-alec post or witty repartee here, folks. Just two VERY IMPORTANT things…

1. On Monday, December 8, there is a reception for my beautiful wife, Lynn, to celebrate her safe return from Shanghai, China. As many of you know, she went over there for 2 1/2 weeks recently to study chilel qi’gong with–I don’t know–grand masters, I guess? They also did a lot of “chi healing” for her, too. Anyway, she will be there to talk about it, we will take a look at the pictures from over there, and talk a little qi’gong (we’re actually trying to get a speaker to come in). We will also be recruiting people to walk with us next September in the 3Day Cancer Walk and be asking for generous donations (our team goal is $25,000! We can’t make it without you!). Finally, there will be drinks and cookies! How can you beat that! And ALL OF THIS FOR ABSOLUTELY FREE! What an evening. I believe it’s at 6 p.m at St. Stephen Lutheran Church in Bloomington. Visit Lynn’s website, Lynn’s website for more information. Please join us, and bring friends! The more the merrier.

2. Speaking of the 3Day walk… I am going to ask all of you know to do one or two things. PLEASE reach into your wallets, grab out your credit cards, and go to my 3Day web page. Make a donation today. It’s for a great cause, and the Susan G. Komen Foundation is the real deal. Also, I would encourage you to tell your fiends and family to donate, too. AND CONSIDER WALKING, YOURSELF! THE MORE PEOPLE, THE MORE ENERGY AND FUN! Sign up to walk, and then roll up your sleeves and help us meet our goal of raising $25,000 for breast cancer research!

(BTW — Can you tell I figured out how to format my posts now? 😉 )

Thanks again to everyone for your terrific support over the past weeks. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Note to Self

Dear Self,

A word of advice: next time you have a notion to melodramatically wax on, wax off, instead.

You may not realize it, but at least three of your friends called you yesterday concerned that you might be falling over the edge because of your posting yesterday. I, of course, being the more sensible and lucid one living here in this so-called mind of yours, once again played my role of clean-up guy and peacekeeper. I assured each panicked friend that all is well, and that they didn’t need to buy any black suits or dresses on our behalf just yet.

You see, self, you’re not alone anymore. The words you put out here in the electronic ether don’t suddenly dissolve once you click “post.” They stay intact, and other people access them and read them and are affected by them. You know about this because we’ve talked about it before. Not only that, but the people who are reading these words care about you, and they are bound to be shaken when you make posts like the one you made yesterday without tacking on a more upbeat ending, or at least some sort of disclaimer at the end.

I’m not certain I get you, self. What do you think journal is, your own private digital Idaho? Do you think that you can use this forum so wantonly? To simply express your “deep” thoughts when ever you want and selfishly engage in such utterly cathartic acts like getting things off you chest? WHAT DO YOU THINK THIS JOURNAL IS HERE FOR, SELF?!?

Oh…well, I guess you might have a point there. Upon further examination, I see that you, reckless soul that you are, put a statement in your bio that indicates this site may be used for purposes of revealing self. I understand that this type of activity might include posting things that are potentially controversial or disturbing from time-to-time. I also get that—toward this end—not every post can end on an upbeat note or provide “closure” for your readers.

It is unfortunate, but in all of these arguments you are 100% correct (I do, by the way, hate it when you’re right).

I further understand, however, that people love you and are concerned about you…especially during this very difficult time in your life and the life of your family. There will be times when they read things you write, and they will be concerned…sometimes very concerned. They might even feel the need to reach out to you at these times.

This is, of course, wonderful because it means that you don’t have to bear the burdens in your life by yourself. Other people are willing to share the load with you. This, in itself, is terrific, and I hope you know—TRUE-ly know—how fortunate you are to have something like that in your life. That, and I am certain it also boils down to that age-old African adage, “It takes a village to raise a Bill.”

All right, self, in the end, I guess there’s nothing wrong here. Go about your business. Post whatever you want. Be wild and free like the wind! Swishhhhh! But just keep these words from your sensible side in the back of your mind when you’re writing in this journal, okay? Be wild, but not careless. Be free, but at least marginally mindful that others are reading this little “TRUE LIFE” thing of yours. And in the end, your goal is to inspire them, not to scare them half to death.

Otherwise, just to let you know, self, your day yesterday went just fine. You really enjoyed spending time with your wife yesterday. The two of you had an opportunity to get out of the house for a little while together and have a relaxed and enjoyable time together—something you haven’t had in awhile. In the end, you were really glad that you took the time.

Also, you did just fine re-packing the wick thing in her “bullet hole” wound. It was a little difficult at first. You felt a little squeamish, but you sucked it up like a man and did it, anyway. Way to go, self!

Last night, you had a very fun and inspirational time with your new friend, Doug Wenzel. You went out and had a very nice dinner at Tejas, then you went to see the movie PIECES OF APRIL afterward (you also, by the way, posted a review of the movie in “Exhibit M(ovies)” on this page). You gave Doug some well-received feedback on his screenplay, FIRMAMENT, and you are confident that subsequent drafts are going to yield a terrific piece of work eventually.

Oh! And by the way, you actually got an e-mail yesterday from the writer whose book you’re adapting. It was like you had won the lottery. The only person in the world you might have been more excited to get a message from is probably Elvis Costello, but you don’t want to adapt any of his books (what books?). He was very gracious in his message, and it looks like you really do have a green light to move ahead! Wow…

You handled it pretty well, too. You regained the ability to speak coherently within 15-20 minutes, and you avoided the unsightly incontinence problems you’ve had in the past when situations like this arise. Lynn was very proud and even more relieved.

All in all, self, yesterday was a good day.

Now, self, it is nearly 7:30 in the morning. You have been at this for quite some time now. Stop typing, get your butt up off the chair, drive your kid to school, and get ready for work. Today is another day and another opportunity for living. Live it well.

All the Best,

Running From the Monster

Yesterday was a hard day.

This doesn’t happen so much any more, but when I was a kid I used to have that type of dream where I was running away from something. I would have these dreams pretty frequently—at least once or twice a week that I can remember—and I would always wake up sweating and panicked afterwards.

The dreams were all basically the same scenario, although the settings and characters (including who I was) would change from time to time. In a nutshell, it was me running—or trying to run—with some monstrous thing hot on my tail. My heart would pound in my ears, and I could actually taste the salt from the perspiration that was flowing freely from my hair and forehead, down my cheeks and into my mouth. I was always screaming.

It sounds like your garden-variety dream, I know. The difference for me, though, was that I could never run fast enough in these dreams to get away. Not that the monsters were so fast, mind you. Rather, it was me that was so slow.

I knew how fast I could run. I was no speed demon in waking life, but I was fast enough to leave a big, lumbering monster in the dust. Yet for some reason, when I tried to make my legs go, they would suddenly feel like some strange conglomeration between rubber and concrete. I would try to pump them, but all I could manage was some slow motion kind of thing, where my legs would feel weaker and weaker with each plodding step. Eventually, I would simply collapse and not be able to get back up again.

It never took very long in these dreams. The monster always caught up with me. My mind was always kind enough to wake me up before the really horrible part, but not kind enough to spare me everything. Just before opening my eyes, I would feel it upon me, its teeth or claws or whatnot scratching or scraping or boring in to me. Every time, it felt like what I imagine it must feel like to be stabbed with a red-hot poker. My whole being would cry out, but it was helpless to do anything about it. I would simply lay there in agony and get devoured.

Then I would awaken.

Yesterday we went to Lynn’s doctor’s office on an urgent basis.

Turns out one of the incisions from her “chest thing” (I can never remember that they really called it…”pleuradesis?”) has gotten pretty infected, so they needed to pack it was some kind of gauze-like wick thing to draw junk out of it while it heals. I swear, when the nurse practitioner cleaned the thing out, it looked like a bullet hole. It was that deep—like a little cavern set in the back of her torso. And lucky me, I get to change her dressing and poke a new little wick inside there today sometime. If I can only keep from fainting..!

The infection, however, will heal. They got her on some pretty strong antibiotics, so that’s not really the problem.

The problem is chemotherapy. It looks like things are quickly going south. There have been some strange things occurring for her physically, which indicate her liver functionality is beginning to be somewhat impaired. She has, in fact, gotten a little spooked by it. So…she asked that they begin chemo as quickly as possible. At the moment (and depending on how well she recovers from the infection), it looks like it’s going to begin next week.

I know we will make it. I do. I can’t help but feeling, though, that the monster is once for on my tail. Only this time I am awake, and what will happen when it finally descends upon me? There will be no waking relief.

Sorry this post is such a downer. It’s just how I feel this morning. I took the day off, so I could be with Lynn and help her out today. And so I could clean the damned house. And so I could just rest and not worry about stuff today.

God, I am glad I am taking some time off.

There’s Still Space

An odd day. I got to work, turned on my computer, opened up my e-mail, and started to work on a memo that I really needed to get done last Friday. What did I do next? Promptly stared at my computer screen for the next 7 hours, that’s what I did. The writing is on the wall, I know when to say uncle.

I finally made overtures to take some time off over the coming weeks. As such (and assuming everything is approved), I will be taking a six week leave beginning next Monday, January 8. It will be really nice. I need time to get back on my feet, and I really want to spend some quality time with Lynn right now. Also, she needs me here on a more full time basis to help care for her and care for our home. And I also really want to make this a REALLY memorable Christmas for the kids.

Man…it sounds like I am trying to sell someone, huh? I don’t know. It still bothers me a little that I am doing this. It will take money from savings, how will it look to the blah, blah, blah… It’s not simply that I want this time, however, I believe I really NEED this time. I have pushed myself far enough over recent weeks, months, years. Even the great Bill-dini needs a break every now and then, I guess.

So…there it is. And, of course, I am hoping that this allows me some time to write. Perhaps get a ways on the adaptation? Who knows. I would kill to walk out of January with at least a draft, though. Know what I mean?

I am still caught in the space in between, and I can’t seem to quite get out of it yet.

Anyway, that’s all I got for tonight, folks. On the more technical side, however, there are a couple of really cool developments.

First-My eBusiness department (i.e., Tim Canfield…THANKS! YOU DA MAN! …And yes…I am buying your wife soup tomorrow) set up web domain forwarding for me, so when you type in your browser, you automatically come here. That means that until further notice, I guess this is the home page for Cool, huh?

Second-I posted a few writing works of mine. People have been asking me about it, so I thought I would oblige. It’s all short stuff, so they’re pretty fast reads. And, no…I didn’t post RUNAWAY BOYS. Sorry…you’ll have to wait for the movie now.