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When you are the caregiver, or the patient, you spend a disproportionate amount of time in waiting rooms. Now, before I became the crabby cancer wife, I would have said “this is an excellent time to cultivate patience.” I would have read the magazines in the office, perhaps read a book. I would have answered my email, tidied my purse, paid some bills, balanced my checkbook.

Yeah, screw that. I’ve now spent enough time in waiting rooms that I could have read War and Peace twice, balanced the national budget and knitted a garment bag using toothpicks and pocket lint.

When I hit the waiting wall the first time, I realized what I needed was a project. Something portable, easy, and cheap (because cancer is damn expensive, and I didn’t want to throw around big bucks on a time filler). Something hat would give me a sense of completion and make me feel that was not just sitting around waiting (which was in fact, exactly what I was doing).

CrabbyCancerMan turned to online gaming: fruit zen and ultimate alphabet became favorites. I turned to counted cross stitch. Counted cross stitch is quick to learn, easy to master, highly correctable without tearing out lines of yarn (unlike crocheting or knitting), and really, who couldn’t use a tea towel? This said, my nice wife facade was cracking, and the crabbiness was setting in. I realize that no sweet saying was going to cut it. So I turned to Subversive Cross Stitch. She had a dainty little sampler with bunnies and sparrows that said in big, friendly letters “FUCK CANCER“. My oh my yes, that sums it up quite nicely.

So each day I would demurely sit with my hoop and thread, working away at the pattern. I would smile to myself and imagine stabbing the stupid cancer in its stupid cells while CrabbyCancerMan was poked, prodded and zapped within an inch of his life. And the sweet other caregivers with their magazines and books would ask “what are you working on, dearie?” I would smile and blush, and say “well, it’s a little rude.” And they would look up expectantly and nod as if to say “show me.” and when I did, I can promise you that every person said something to the effect of “I couldn’t have said it better myself.”

What other projects do you think could fit the bill? Or alternatively, what other things could I put on my tea towels?

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