Monday, August 31, 2009

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Lost in Translation

Recently, I had reason to venture into our fine county courthouse, for the purpose of assisting my older son in paying a traffic ticket. He hadn't realized that the court would not accept starter checks and he had not yet received the "real" checks for his new bank account.

I work right around the corner so I offered to write the payment from my checking account, he could write his check to me and all would be good. Right?


When you enter the courthouse, you pass through metal detectors and have your belongings xrayed and all that. This fine day, the detectors were manned by two deputies somewhere in their early to mid 60s, I'd say.

Also on this fine day? I was feeling a tad ... puffy. 6 weeks of prednisone did nothing for the upkeep of my girlish figure, you understand, and I'd decided to employ the use of specially designed Foundation Garments to help keep things in check.

Anyway. Y'all can guess where this might be headed, no doubt. And you'd be right. I stepped through the gate and the detector went off with a resounding alarm. The deputies gave me the evil eye and pointed to the side. I slunk over as they approached with The Wand.

"Ma'am, are you carrying anything we need to know about?"
Blushing, I whispered "it's my... Foundation Garment. It has metal hooks."
The deputy frowned as the wand beeped at my midsection. "Your what?"
"Foundation garment."
"What is a Foundation Garment??"
Realizing I was about two beeps away from a strip search and calculating the deputy's age, I hung my head and gave him an answer he'd understand.
"It's a girdle."

His eyes widened in comprehension and he blushed too.

"Uh... You can go on through, ma'am"

My son was waiting, looking horrified as I approached the elevator. Another couple was standing there, looking at me curiously. Alas, I was still doing the Walk of Chagrin, and it required one last compound before it would crystallize into bright, bitter Shame.

The deputy turned to his partner and explained "It was her girdle!"

Aaaaaand he said it just as there was a lull in the noise of the atrium and everyone on both levels heard him.

Lord, sometimes its a party to be me.

I wanna new drug

Items circulating through the brain matter this morning:

my rheumatologist is NOT on my happy list this morning, wtf, this hurts and I'm over it.

I need a new blog. New name, maybe new location. Alas, brain is fogged in and can't think straight.

I'm still going to hunt down the Universe and kick it in the balls six or seven times for L & J and G.

Short Stuff said something downright hilarious to me last night, sounding more like 30 than 3, but the brain fog has hidden it away from me and its pissing me off.

With my new haircut, if I dye it bright bright red and slick it back with lots of gel? I could TOTALLY play Columbia at the nearest midnight showing of Rocky Horror.

Wtf? I am twenty years past the RHPS roleplaying scene.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dear Universe... you suck

Yeah, I know, Life Is Not Fair and all that bullshit. But sometimes something happens to good people that is so unbelievably NOT RIGHT, you just want to grab the universe by the hair and give it two or three shots to the kisser and then kick it in the balls.

And its not every going to happen no matter how much you really really want it to, so all you can do is sit there and feel helpless and heartbroken and angry and cry a lot and make wishes that can't ever come true. Wishes that you could rewind things, get do-over, somehow make all of this NOT HAVE HAPPENED to two wonderful people who were getting their wish and then it fell apart.

And if you wish in one hand and spit in the other, its no surprise which one fills up first. So you pray, and you keep wishing anyway, and you cry some more and you desperately want your friend not to have to be going through this.

But she is. And so is her husband. And a little outside their circle, so is everyone that loves them.

L & J, I am so sorry you had such a short time with your angel. I am so sorry he had to go so soon. I would give anything to have this just be a bad dream. My heart is broken. I don't have the words, I just don't have the words....

And I don't care if I sound like a five year old.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Great Literature Being in the Eye of the Beholder...

My mom is still in the hospital, recovering from surgery. On my way to visit her this afternoon, I stopped at the local bookstore to pick up some magazines for her and maybe some short stories if I could find some she hadn't read yet.

As I was checking out the "new fiction" display, there was no way to avoid overhearing the rant another customer was delivering to one of the employees. The rant-ee had her husband and pre-teens in tow, and was she righteously angry? Oh yes... yes she was. Apparently, this store did not carry a particular book and the helpful clerk had offered to a) order it for her or b) provide her with a list of other stores that did have it in stock. This was simply not acceptable.

"Does NO ONE in this town read? No one? This is APPALLING. I cannot BELIEVE I am going to have to go to another TOWN to find it. We just moved here from TEXAS and this is like STEPPING BACK IN TIME. I cannot believe this. I have never SEEN such a bunch of UNEDUCATED, UNREAD people in my LIFE and they don't even seem to CARE!"

She stomped away to another display and one of her children murmured something about a vampire book on display, which triggered another round. "I am not buying you that, you don't READ your books!" she said, in the sort of smug tone you usually here from eighth-grade girls. "You need to READ some of the books you already HAVE. You're not like ME, I READ all my books, I read all the time! I can't go a DAY without reading!"

I turned to see what kind of woman was delivering these elitist, self-aggrandizing tantrums and discover what books she was shopping for. Elie Wiesel, perhaps? Isabelle Allende? Zorah Neale Hurston? Or perhaps Descartes? Voltaire? Dostoevsky? Faulkner? Barbara Kingsolver? Salman Rushdie?? Virginia Woolf??? Oh, Enquiring Gerbils HAD to know!

Y'know... her entire spiel probably would have carried a LOT more weight if she hadn't been carrying three really trashy bodice-rippers.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Goin through the Big D and I don't mean Dallas... or divorce.

So amidst my other adventures in recent months, I really began to have trouble keeping up. I chalked various physical symptoms up to this or that... such as the insomnia and incessant hot flashes - hot flashes that were less hormonal surges than pyroclastic hormonal clouds ripping down the mountainside, laying waste to everything in its path in an incandescent flash. My doctor shrugged and suggested perimenopause and I gritted my teeth and thought evil thoughts about the whole thing.

Fatigue became my constant companion. That, too, was easily brushed off. My mom's going through a hellish cancer treatment, there's always some other family drama happening, my job was getting stressful and I have a preschooler. The common response? C'mon, say it with me. All together now: DUH.

And then I noticed joint pain constantly swelling lymph glands and began to suspect there was something else going on... Unfortunately, most doctors attributed this combination of factors to "Stress" and "You're a woman".

Stress? Seriously, they have NO IDEA what kind of stress I can take in the teeth and keep on going. This was not stress.

Luckily, my insurance changed and I had to get all new doctors. And finally started getting taken seriously. This was good, because I started really going downhill. It got so bad that if I tried to vacuum an 8 x 11 rug, I had to lay down for two hours. I really wish that was exaggeration. The joint pain was overwhelming - every single joint felt like it was filled with molten lava mixed with razor sharp broken glass.

And lets discuss the brain fog, the incredible haze of stupidity I found myself flailing in. Or rather, lets not because that was the most humiliating aspect of the entire experience.

This went on from December until the end of June. Each week brought me lower and lower. By the time I was sent to a rheumatologist, I really had to fight to be able to get out of bed each morning. Worse, most people thought I was making everything up, that I was just being lazy or looking for attention because there was nothing apparently wrong. Nothing they could see, therefore it could not really exist.

Let me point out that I am not telling this story to fish for sympathy, not at all. I am telling this because sometimes something small, something unseen but something ridiculously common can lay your ass out like Mike Tyson.

After months of blood work, they finally tested my vitamin D levels. Guess what, I had almost NONE in my body. Who knows why... but the result? It messed me up something fierce.

I had not known that Vitamin D does a hell of a lot more than allow you to absorb calcium and help strengthen your bones. Vitamin D deficiencies can bring some friends after a while, including: high blood pressure, increased risk of certain cancers , multiple sclerosis, several autoimmune disorders, type 1 diabetes, cognitive impairment - including that damned brain fog - and a host of other issues.

Symptoms of a deficiency? Yeah. Pretty much everything I had, including a burning muscle pain. And it took more than 7 months for someone to order this blood test, even though they also told me that the deficiency is becoming more common.

There may be something more going on, but in the meantime, I take massive amounts of D3 for another month or so, and then a lower dose until November, when I'll have the bloodwork run again. I also take my blood pressure medications since I developed hypertension, and my medication that allows me 6 or 7 hours of clear thinking and a respite from the muscle pain.

Pay attention to what your bodies are telling you, folks. I wish I had pushed harder when the first set of doctors blew me off.


And now for something completely different. Are you familiar with LOLcats? Jacob MUST have my lolcat book when he goes to bed. This has been going on since Christmas. That book and his stuffed lamb, every night.

I'm pretty certain his preschool teacher thinks I need professional help.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Can I Get a Witness?

I'm driving home this evening on a fairly busy intermediate county road. Its one of the few roads that connects the eastern and western ends of the county directly, so it gets a respectable amount of traffic.

I'm setting the scene here, see?

And as we're traveling along, I see a person standing in the ditch up ahead... the state has really cut the budget for roadside mowing, so the weeds? They are tall. And thick. And dry and probably scratchy and all that. In short, why in the hell would anybody be standing in the middle of the weedy ditch???



Yeah, as I get close to the guy, I see its a teenager - about 17. And I see why he's standing in the ditch.

He is having a pee.

In the weeds. In the ditch. On the side of the road, in front of dozens and dozens of cars.

Klass. Ur doin it rong.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Meanwhile, back at the ranch....

My kitchen table is exactly two and a half steps away from the countertop. Not long ago, Short Stuff and I were sitting at said table. I was finishing a cup of coffee and he was drawing pictures with washable markers. I finished my coffee and got up to set the cup on the counter.

Two and a half steps.

One one thousand, two one thousand aaaaand turn around.

And in that amount of time, this happened:

I looked at my little Picasso and asked "Jacob, what did you DO???"
"I color mah FACE!" (thinks a minute) "It a snake."

And with that we learned the next Life Lesson. Washable markers? Not. so. much.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

'Scuse me while I whip this out

Mom went to the emergency room last night with some complications and they decided to admit her for a couple of days. And when the night nurse came on duty and was checking things over, she remarked on the ostomy mom still currently has after the bowel resection last Halloween. They're planning on reversing it next month.

"I had cancer too," she told my mom. "I had breast cancer and had a double mastectomy. I had reconstructive surgery and they did a really great job."

wait for it.

waaaaaaaaaait for it.


Yes. She. Did. The nurse, understandably proud of being a cancer survivor, and feeling that she was encouraging my mother in her battle, and I don't know, maybe feeling some sort of Surgical Sisterhood going on... she pulled the top of her scrubs and her bra up.

And displayed her bare breasts to my startled mother.

And this serves to illustrate that the trait of having the most bizarre things happen is clearly hereditary.

Friday, August 14, 2009

I'm finally ready to admit this. Last week I almost killed a b*tch. With a tampon

Another glimpse into the embarrassing world I live in.

So there I was in the Super Target near my office... and it was THAT week. And since Jacob was born? It has gotten progressively worse to the point where you wouldn't be surprised to find out that my period is actually one of the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse, moonlighting. It requires strict measures to deal with the horror for at least 3 or 4 days. I'm not going into specifics, just trust me when I assure you that my body does some really horrific things with itself. Not for the faint of heart.

And as I waited in line with my stuff, I realized that we were reaching Critical Mass and there was a limited amount of time before Total System Failure and there was NO way I was going to make it back to the office to deal with it.

Nope. I was going to have to brave the Target bathroom.

Grimly, I scurried into the first stall in time to avoid disaster. And it was... bad. REAL bad. I pull a new tampon from my purse... now, I must admit that things are so bad I have no choice but to use the purple OBs. The Ultras. THE BIG GUNS. These are to your average tampon as a howitzer is to a bb gun. (Even these only last me 30 minutes, so I am totally out of options)

I unwrap it and do what I need to do to prepare it for use. I don't need to share the detail there... I'm sure a lot of you get it. And... I dropped it. And it BOUNCED. It bounced and rolled to a merry stop between the high-heeled wedges of the chick in the next stall.

What do you do? Do you laugh heartily and say "hey, d'ya mind kicking my tampon back over? ha! ha!"?? Do you ignore it? Do you gasp and clutch your pearls?? And as I am running through my mental catalogue of Etiquette for Stray Tampons and coming up with nothing (and hoping to god I had another one in my purse - not that I'd dare use the migratory tampon anyway, yuck)... girlfriend next door finished her pee and stood up.

She was wearing those tight skinny jeans, the kind where you have to do the little dance/hop to get them over your hips? And as she did that, she stepped on the tampon in her high heeled wedge and slipped and fell HARD into the stall wall. And she looked down and started shrieking.

"OMG, what the f***? That's a tampon, omfG somebody left a f***ing TAMPON on the floor and I stepped on the f***ing thing and that mother f***er is HUGE, OMFG, what the f***" yadda yadda yadda as she slammed her indignant way out of the stall and washed her hands and stomped out the door, still cussing and going on about the horror of the enormous tampon she'd nearly broken her ankle on.

Ok and that was bad enough. I finished my business and zoomed the hell out of there and back to work. I called a friend and told her and she howled.

But it got worse. Today? I'm sitting in my office working on expense reports and I hear.... THE VOICE. I told myself it was surely coincidence, but I looked out in the hall and see one of the new contractors talking to someone. And... she's wearing the shoes. Its the chick from the Target Bathroom. I am never leaving my office again, it can only end in tears.

I can't wait for menopause.