I don’t know where the volume is on my new computer. No idea. I actually have no idea where anything is on this computer. I’ve never had a Mac before.

According to my husband, though, we are now Mac bitches.

Between us we have an iPod shuffle, an iPod nano, an original iPad, two iPhones and now a MacBook Air. The Air, who I have named Margaret (for no apparent reason), is the newest addition to our family.

My goal for this season at the arena was to earn enough to pay for my eye surgery and if there was anything left at the end, I wanted a laptop. The eye surgery was paid off in November and, much (much, much) to my surprise, we were able to swing this.

I didn’t earn quite enough for the whole laptop, but my husband loves me and spotted me $300.

Our previous computer was a big beast of a machine, but it was really old. I think I’ve had it for six years. It lived in the guest bedroom (it’s a desktop), so whenever I wanted to use it, I basically had to cut myself off from my little family. Plus it takes about 10 minutes to load, then another five minutes or so for all of the desktop items to start up, then another minute or two to get Explorer up and running. It was such a hassle, we avoided the computer at all costs. The only time I’d haul myself up to the guest bedroom was to edit photos.

The downside to Margaret: I don’t have access to a cheap (i.e. free) copy of Photoshop. The upside to Margaret: when I save enough to get Photoshop, it’ll kick ass on the Mac.

It’s funny – we’ve been checking out laptops for about five or six months and Allan had a list of criteria that our new computer MUST have… and this laptop basically has none of them. But when we started playing with it and really looking at it, we couldn’t resist. It’s so damn cool. It weighs less than three pounds – THREE POUNDS! – and it’s amazingly slick and thin. I think it may actually be thinner than our iPad.

So, I’m excited about this. Really, really excited about this. This is only the third computer I’ve ever had and it’s my very first laptop, so I’m loving the idea of being able to have flexibility – both in my home and outside of it.

I’m happy to be a Mac bitch.

I’ve been uber stressed lately. Which is why I haven’t felt like writing in here. Which is also why I’ve been catatonic at home, basically cemented to the couch for the past few nights, not saying much. Which, by the way, my husband does not enjoy. I think he doesn’t mind the part where I just sit there, but he seems to mind the not speaking part. Apparently he likes to be talked to and paid attention to, which is what I normally do, but not for the past few days.

The thing that’s stressing me out the most – and making me downright depressed sometimes – is my vision. I can’t see, yo. Well, I can’t see if I’m looking at something 10 feet beyond my face. It all turns to blur at that point.

The people who stand in the doorway of my office: their faces are blurry.

The aisles in Target: I can’t see what’s for sale.

The signs in BJ’s: I have no idea what they say.

The jumbo tron at the RBC Center: it’s fuzzy.

Road signs: if I wasn’t familiar with the area, I’d be lost.

Leaving my house is a constant reminder of my vision problems, and I don’t like to do it anymore. I’d rather just stay at home where everything’s within a reasonable distance… and clear.

The culprit appears to be dry-eyes, a normal condition for about three months post-LASIK. But I had no idea it would be like this. Absolutely NO IDEA it could be this bad. It’s not something I feel – like, I don’t feel like my eyeballs are coated in sandpaper – I just can’t see. I swallow giant capsules of fish oil, I sleep with Vasoline-like ointment in my eyes and I take scalding baths and showers to give my eyes a healthy dose of steam. I also use drops methodically and for about 20 seconds after the drops are put in, my vision is crystal clear. It’s beautiful. And then it goes away and my life is a Monet painting again.

The only thing that makes me even the tiniest bit optimistic are those 20 seconds of crystal clear, crisp vision. If I didn’t have those seconds – those cumulative two minutes of my day – I would probably need to be on Zoloft.

I chose this. This was my decision. I worked and worked, saved and saved, and I did this to myself. So I go through a cycle of being furious at myself, of feeling helpless and terrified, then back to being furious at myself. It’s awful.

I hope and pray that after the healing process is over, I can say this was worth it. That LASIK was the best thing I’ve ever done. That I’m thrilled with the result. But right now I can’t say that. I can’t say that I regret doing it, either, but it definitely hasn’t been what I hoped it would be.

Said Allan:

When my contract is up in November (2012), I’m going to switch to Verizon, but I’m not getting an iPhone. I’m getting another Droid.

I might get an iPhone when I switch to Verizon in November.

I might want to switch to Verizon and an iPhone for my birthday (in March).

I might want an iPhone for Christmas.

I might want to go ahead and just order my iPhone this weekend.

Allan on his iPhone last night.

With the exception of Monday, I have cried every day this week. I cried Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday and today.

Prior to this week, the last time I cried was, um, I don’t know when. I’m not a crier, people. I’m just not. I have myself a sweet little life and I count my blessings for it, and as a result of it, I rarely shed a tear.

But when your vision suddenly deteriorates after LASIK, and especially after you hear the words lung and cancer in the same sentence as your mother’s name, tears are in order.

The vision problem has brought on tiny, frustrated tears, while the lung cancer diagnosis has brought with it heaving-from-your-guts, hot, molten lava tears.

My mother has lung cancer. I’m devastated, an emotional wreck. Thoughts have been swimming in my head uncontrollably since my father uttered those awful words. I feel like not a minute goes by without my brain redirecting to lungs and the terrible things that can happen inside of them.

I’m mad, too. Angry, furious, enraged. How could she make the choices that led to this diagnosis? Lung cancer isn’t a secret. Everyone knows about it. It’s not a maybe thing, like maybe if I smoke I might get lung cancer. Chances are good, very good, that you WILL get lung cancer. And if you’re not as lucky as my mother, it WILL most likely take your life. Cigarettes took the lives of both of my grandmothers and one of my grandfathers – people I loved and someone I didn’t get a chance to love.

No one is invincible when it comes to this addiction, even if they think they are. If you smoke and you think, no, not me, I won’t face any concequences, you’re wrong.

A little over a year ago, my mother quit smoking. A miracle precipitated by the knowledge that a new baby was on her way, we thought. Also a little over a year ago, unbeknownst to us, my mother was diagnosed with COPD. She quit smoking because she had to start using a nebulizer and going to breathing therapy. She also had to start having chest x-rays every six months.

Her x-ray at the beginning of the year was normal. Her x-ray in October was not. Thank God for COPD, mandatory x-rays and early diagnosis.

They caught it very, very, very early. As early as possible. If all goes as they expect, she will have surgery in a few weeks to remove the cancer and the tissue that surrounds it. With any luck, that will be the end of it. A death sentence narrowly averted. Thank God.

I’m not trying to make light of what she’s going to have to go through. The surgery isn’t a walk in the park, and for the rest of her life she’ll be looking over her shoulder in fear of the cancer’s return. But as far as these things go, she got about as lucky as you can get.

And my eyes seem minor in comparison. It’s funny actually, not funny like haha, but funny like huh. At dinner on Tuesday night, I was in tears over the fact that I can’t read road signs while driving, freaking about the (extrordinarily unlikely/nil) possibility of not seeing my husband’s beautiful face again. And then on our way to Barnes and Noble, I got the call that made root canals and blurry vision seem terribly inconsequential.

Isn’t everything inconsequential in the wake of a cancer diagnosis, though?

A visit to the eye doctor this morning put me at ease – a little bit – about my eyes. It’s all perfectly normal, they said. I’m dealing with a combination of dry eyes and fluctuating vision. The fluctuations are a normal part of the healing process, the dry eyes are also a normal side effect, but it’s being compounded by the season’s dry air and dependency on heaters. And when your eyes are dry, your vision is blurry.

I have to be patient and let my body heal, but I have moments of being scared shitless. Not that I necessarily believed that it was, but LASIK certainly isn’t a ‘quick and easy’ procedure. It’s a lot more complex than advertised to be.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I’m looking forward to not having to get out of my pajamas if I so choose.

It’s funny the things that go through your head when you learn that your mother has lung cancer.

Here’s what went through mine:
What if she doesn’t meet my children?
I have to talk to my best friend.
I need to get her a card.
Is this really happening?
Where can I get a card? Can I get one at Barnes and Noble? (I was in a B&N parking lot)
What if she dies?
I need to get her more than a card.

Between those stupid thoughts and fighting to keep the bile from erupting from my throat, I missed big chunks of what my father said.

My mother has been a smoker for 35 years, so I always knew this call was a probability more than a possibility, but the thought of her having cancer was always in the abstract, never real.

Unfortunately it is real, though. My mother has lung cancer.

Please send your positive thoughts her way.

Oh, Internet. I had the most wonderful, perfect little weekend.

I did fun things with friends such as bowl and eat pizza. I went to the arena and watched a great hockey game while spreading my “I quit!” news to all of my fellow servers. I watched the Steelers spank the Bengals. I slept late. I cleaned out and organized one of our kitchen pantries (yes, odd, our townhouse has two big pantries). I got a kitchen island(!!!). I wrestled and cuddled with my husband.

And then before 9am this morning, the afterglow from my beautiful weekend fizzled out and died. It died because I found out that I need a root canal. And I’m getting it done first thing tomorrow morning.

So, a little more about my weekend before we descend into the gloom of my tooth’s innards being ripped out, shall we?

Ok, so we went bowling for the first time in almost three years! In the final game, out of 11 people, I came in second place!!! My butt-head husband came in first – he is entirely too competitive to let me steal the win EVEN THOUGH he knew that I bowled the best game of my ENTIRE LIFE. No, seriously. I’ve never broken 100 before, and on Friday night I bowled a 148!!! W00t w00t!

Saturday we went to the Canes/Pens hockey game and throughout the event, at different times, they play songs. And they play those songs at the same time every game. And when I heard the song that’s always played midway through the third period, I felt sick to my stomach. No joke, it was a visceral reaction. I felt ill. Why? Because when that songs is played, I’m usually flying around the arena trying to close fridges, count stock, print checks, and get checks signed and submitted. All within 10 hockey minutes. It’s, by far, the most stressful time of the game. Although I still have seven more events to go, only three are hockey games. Only three more times will I come face to face with all of that crazy arena stress. Sigh.

Ok, then on Sunday, we got a kitchen island!!! Our kitchen is really huge and really nice, but there is absolutely no counter space. I guess it’s like most kitchens: you’ve got the L-shaped cabinets, beneath which are the L-shaped counters, which are broken up by the sink and stove. Leaving no counter space. NO COUNTER SPACE, I tell you! Since Allan moved in, an island has been on his back burner. And when I moved in, an island was placed on my back burner. But lately, it’s moved up to my front burner. Not Allan’s front burner, mind you, just mine. So we’d gone looking at a few places, but all of the islands we found felt flimsy. If I tried to set a bag of groceries on them, I’d be afraid they’d fall apart. They just weren’t that nice.

When we returned from visiting yet another store to search for islands on Saturday afternoon, I decided to take a quick look at Craig’s List. And I found it. I found a beautiful, solid cherry, custom made, granite-topped island for the price of the crap islands we saw in department stores. Luckily the owner still had it and it was ours for the taking (buying). So we took (bought) it. And I LOVE it! The wood doesn’t match our cabinets at all, but who cares? Last night it was so nice to stand around the pizza and beer covered island with friends.

And then this morning happened. Long story short: in September I had a hidden cavity filled and was told that it was big and nasty and may still need a root canal. Two weeks ago I had a cleaning and something must have happened because, a week after the cleaning, my tooth started to hurt. When I called the dentist to tell her what was going on, she told me to not even bother coming in – I needed a root canal.

So, tomorrow morning I’ll be sitting in a scary endodontist’s chair (never met the guy, mind you), having the guts of my tooth removed… sans nitrous oxide!