Archive for July, 2006

Pretty Good Year

I realized on Friday that it’s been exactly one year since we closed on this house. Exactly one year since we made the irrevocable decision to leave our home and move to this odd little state, and honestly? It’s fucking weird. There are moments where it feels like it hasn’t been but five minutes that we’ve lived here, and there are days – days like this weekend, mostly – that I think that I’ve been here an eternity, and I’m not sure I can take another moment of it.

And so, to deflect any agony I feel at being the girl with giant glasses who wasn’t invited to prom while you all Blog your Blog Her-ing and I sit here, meeting no one except for the lady at the grocery store, I will calmly, and not-at-all-tearfully note: what a year it’s been. We’ve danced with Southerners and played bingo with the elderly and talked about shooting squirrels and met Janet Reno and Michael Shiavo and learned how to kayak and got a dog and thought about having babies and learned how to tile the floor and got a new job and ate at new restaraunts and went to the beach and watched the sunset. And we’ve learned a lot.

I’ve re-learned that I am married to the right person. You can’t live in complete isolation with a mistake. Add a pile of outside stressors, like loneliness, depression, career crises, isolation and a raging anxiety disorder and it’s a miracle we haven’t killed each other. But we haven’t! And in fact, we’ve gotten better! Yes, better! I hate to go all sappy on you and all, but I really do love my husband, and God, I’m so freaking lucky. It’s been the two of us against the rest of this odd little world for a year. No friends. No family. And we’ve done pretty well, I think. And yet, I laugh every day because of him. Because of him, I’m on a different path in life – he made me quit my horrendous job and get a new one that I loved – even though it meant a pay cut of astronomical proportions – just so that I would be happy. I married someone who would never want anything for me other than what made me happy, and I didn’t realize how huge that was until I was completely alone with him. And that’s pretty fucking cool.

I got a new job. A job that pays me less, less, less and did I mention LESS? than half or even, um, one third, of what I made before, and a job that most college students could probably handle. But dude, I write – WRITE! – for a living now (along with various and sundry other administrative tasks, which I also love), and I love it, and the salary really doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. I can freelance anywhere now, and I didn’t have that before. And the golden handcuffs of a gloriously inflated corporate salary? Gone. I can subsist on mere pennies now, thank you, and I will.

But God, it’s so hard sometimes. The amount of money we spend on travel just for baseline activities like weddings and family gatherings, etc. that we used to just DRIVE to, would make your head spin. The fact that we have no one to watch our dog when we go away or anyone even to pick up our paper and get the mail is pretty awful. It’s been a year, and we still don’t have any friends, which makes me feel so…God, it makes me feel a lot of things. It would be one thing if I was meeting all of these people I liked and wanted to be friends with and they just didn’t like me. I could control it, whatever “it” was. But I’ve met exactly no one, which feels like staring out into the barren wasteland of the cold west watching the tumbleweeds fly by like giant rolls of hay.

There are long, hard stretches of days where I don’t talk to anyone but Adam and my colleagues, that make me want to put my head in my hands and just sob until I can’t breathe, and sometimes that’s exactly what I do. Sometimes it feels like life is just driving by in a glass bus. I can see in – can see the people inside talking to each other, laughing and interacting and functioning in a world that doesn’t revolve around the VFW’s activities calendar – but I can’t be a part of it. I can’t play.

It’s been an odd year. A year of working, playing, relaxing on the beach. A year without family, friends or any outside contact. But it’s been a good year – a year of odd little unexpected gifts and joy and happy days with my husband and dog beach and kayaking and all the beautiful things that we love. And when it is over, I think in an odd little way, if we ever leave here, we will miss it.

P.S. I think if I’d realized our lovely Sarcomical was going to alight me with such kind words, I might have written a less maudlin post that doesn’t make people want to stab me with white-hot knives of asympathetic frustration.

P.P.S. BlogHer 07 in Chicago? That’s not east. That’s midwest. THAT IS NOT EAST. Don’t lie to us and say you’re “bringing it east” when that IS NOT EAST. “Business” conference in New York my ass. Splitting them was not a wise move, if you ask me. But no one did.

**Tori Amos

22 comments July 31st, 2006

Where is My Mind?

I learned some valuable things this weekend. First: I have a strong tendency towards camel toe. Pants just seem to naturally fall all camel-toe on me, and by the 30th camel toe I caught in the mirror as I tried things on in the dressing room this weekend, I was pretty much mystified. The problem was clearly not the pants, right? It must be me! And what, exactly, is it about my nethers that invites camel toe?

I considered the fact that I could have hair that, while not excessive, is prone to um, volume? Or worse…is it fat? Have I gotten fat everywhere?

Secondly, I love going to my usual nail salon for so many reasons. Let me explain: although I am a fashion dullard who can barely move beyond the confines of Reefs and khaki cargo pants, I get regular pedicures and eyebrow waxes. Totally incongruous, I know, but I am a stickler for manicured feet and eyebrows. Plus, I love hearing the stories of the Vietnamese family who owns it. I love hearing their soft chatter in a language I couldn’t comprehend if I had a magic decoder ring. The other day while I was getting my feet done, Oprah was on the TV talking about the challenge of minimum wage workers, and all three of them (sisters) were screaming, “GET ANOTHER JOB! I COME TO THIS COUNTRY WITH NO MONEY. I GET THREE JOBS! I START BUSINESS! BE SMART! MAKE SOMETHING OF YOURSELF!” Then they looked at me: “Americans are so stupid sometimes. And also fat and lazy!”

They’re hilarious and so blunt and my God, they are so smart. They have a giant franchise of nail salons and probably make more than I’ll ever dream of making, and yep, they started with nothing – all three of them worked at McDonald’s when they first came here 8 years ago. What’s not hilarious is the French pedicure I’m sporting that I let the youngest sister talk me into “French! FRENCH! I DO FRENCH!” She said it in such a stern tone that who was I to argue? Anyway, “French” and “pedicure” are two words that should never be used in the same sentence. French manicures are designed to make nails look longer, no? Why then, would I wish to make my toenails look longer? I am now sporting freakishly defined toenails that resemble fingers.

Gross. Gross! And yet, I have not changed it, because I am lazy, and also fat. And American!

And in the non-sequitur department: while shopping this afternoon, I got to chatting with an elderly clerk at Macy’s for no logical reason. While she rang up my (tiny) purchase, she was complaining about working on commission, but that she loved helping people. When I politely offered that she could work at a boutique-y type place, as there are so many here! So many! She replied:

“Yes, but this is where Jesus told me to go. I will stay until He tells me otherwise.”

And so at Macy’s she will stay until Jesus hands down further instructions.

Happy Monday.

**Pixies

26 comments July 30th, 2006

From the End of the World

I’m trying to keep it light, as it’s BlogHer this week, and many people are traveling tomorrow. And I? Am not the least bit jealous. Nope. Not jealous. Not annoyed that I won’t get to spend the entire weekend at Whinger’s with Whinger and Partner and Dog and Cat and meeting all the other fine ladies of blogging. Nope. NOT AT ALL. I’ll be here contemplating poking my eyes out with sharp objects to get away from the madness. A smattering of the maddening madness:

— We’ve had such bad thunderstorms these last few days that I’ve been afraid to go downstairs. I have, in the most embarrassing of fashions, taken to bed. I am afraid that the lightning is going to come through the lanai doors and zap me on the couch. I have obsessively unplugged every single item in the house before we even lost electricity, because it was coming! For me! FOR ME SPECIFICALLY. You don’t understand. The lightning was right there. RIGHT THERE. I heard the sizzle and saw this entire bar of blue – BLUE – lightning going into the lake outside my door – steps from where I was resting my pretty little head. Repeatedly. And then it hit the grass and burning! There was burning! And crying. God, I was crying. And hiding under a blanket. And the hail! Jesus, the hail that pounded on our windows. It was the size of nickels, pelting down on us like little electrified bubbles, waiting to strike us down.

— Tonight at dinner, I ordered crab cakes and a side salad. My side salad came with no less than a full half-pound of raw bacon on top of it. Raw. bacon. RAWBACON. And when I tried to send it back, the waiter looked at me as though I’d lost my mind, “So you’re saying you don’t want it? The bacon, I mean. Do you want me to just take it off and bring it back?” While I realize bacon is cured, um, I really don’t think that the FDA advises eating any sort of uncooked pork products, no? And who puts pork products on a SIDE SALAD without warning? I ordered “mixed greens,” and ended up with a pile of swine. And no. No, I didn’t want it back with raw bacon grease after you took it off, spit in it and brought it back. No thank you.

— With all of the rain, the frogs are back. No, I’m not talking about Evil Toads, I’m talking about the frogs. They’re everywhere and then some. Covering our door at night. Clinging for warmth to our lampposts and climbing trees and walls and cars with their gummy little legs all OVER the place. It’s like some kind of freakish infestation we can’t shake. I can’t walk out the front door without displacing at least 25 frogs.

– I learned that a weird little group down here is opening up some sort of alternative burial site for people who wish to be cremated. Um, they’re offering the deceased the opportunity to be part of a “living reef” project. As in, you donate your ashes or, I’m assuming, the ashes of your loved one, as ashes can’t talk and how can the deceased be offered ANYthing? – ahem, anyway, you donate someone’s – a neighbor, a dog, whatever – ashes, and then they mix the ashes with all of these other people’s ashes and some sort of “eco-friendly compound” and then they are making some sort of GIANT MAN-MADE CORAL REEF off the coast, where manatee, dolphin and shellfish will frolic with your loved ones, apparently.

Um, okay. I haven’t seen a shellfish frolic in a long time, or maybe ever. And it’s a man-made “coral” reef made out of dead people. A death reef, if you will. The man-made death reef is just a cover for something more sinister, mark my words. But let’s face it, even if it’s not: what the hell? There’s a deadline to participate sometime next month. So if you’re itching to be part of the Death Reef, then you’d better off yourself, and soon.

— And lastly, it’s a blessing I’m not going to BlogHer. My normally-brilliant hairdresser cut my hair to resemble a circumcized penis, which would not bode well for people who just met me. I’d be remembered not for my sparkling wit or charming personality, but for the head that looked like it was about to ejaculate.

*ELO, from ‘Time’ the greatest album of all-time. All-time, get it? Gah. Boring. So boring today.

18 comments July 26th, 2006

Maniac

I’ve been tagged by Lawyerish, by way of Martha (do you read those two? If not, you should. Go there now. After you finish here, of course), to list my obsessions over my lifetime. So, am I the last person, like ever, to get this meme? And, as Martha accurately asked, how the hell do you SAY meme anyway, and what does it stand for? I doubt that it’s “meem,” like I want it to be, but “meh-may” just sounds stupid.

Anyway, it’s a welcome distraction, because I can’t bring myself to communicate with anyone since we got an erroneous $12,000 bill from a certain terrifying government agency. One of our banks made a mistake and lo! a $12,000 bill made its way to our mailbox today and I have only recently begun breathing again without the assistance of a paper bag after we discovered the root of the problem. If I’m wrong, I shall eat my toes one at a time after stringing them on a necklace. I am not Richard Hatch, I swear.

But anyway. Gah, I was obsessed with so many things throughout my lifetime. Let’s start with knitting, shall we? I was way – WAY – into knitting at one point, to the point where I would dream about yarn and knit my way through the hardest of times. I put in so much tireless effort into knitting, you would think that I would have a house full of hand-knit things! Socks! Booties! SWEATERS!

You would be wrong. I never progressed beyond scarves, and I have a dangerous overabundance of them. I tried making a sweater once, but I ran out of the proper yarn and ended up thinking that I could just sub a different yarn for the arms, when in fact, YOU CANNOT. I ended up with a giant sweater that was supposed to be a turtleneck, but instead resembled an off-the-shoulder cowl neck with veryvery tiny arms. And so ended my career as a knitter.

Erasure. Yes, I loved and wanted to marry – MARRY! – Vince Clarke. And you know what infuriates me? I could have, if I’d only put in a little effort! And um, he liked me and I liked him and all that, but whatever. Leave me to my fantasies. He’s married to some totally normal woman and he lives in Portland (Maine! New England!) which means that I totally could have had a chance if I’d been willing to do a little stalking. And you know, I believed the rumors that he was gay? Wrong! I was so, so wrong. Later, this obsession transitioned to Depeche Mode where I spent a long – LONG – time trying to convince my mother (at the age of 14) that I should get a tattoo of “DM” on my arm in electric blue ink. It didn’t go over so well, like, at all, and let’s all praise Jesus. Because while I still love Depeche Mode, do I really want them tattooed on my ARM? In electric blue? For ever and ever, amen? Uh, no. And as usual, my mother was right.


Jason Bateman
. Before “Arrested Development,” our resident hottie was on a show called “It’s Your Move,” followed by “Valerie” with Valerie Harper. And I loved him. We were totally getting married. I actually wrote in my diary that I wanted to bring him home and introduce him to my mother, and then I would go to meet his mother and then – THEN – we would be betrothed (I said “betrothed.” In my diary. God.) and then would get married and make out, which was all married people did. God, he was adorable, and frankly, he still is, is he not? Who wouldn’t want to make out with him? I was also obsessed with Chad Allen of “Our House,” but I can’t bring myself to talk about it, except to mention that the pictures I had of him on my walls from Teen and Tiger Beat displayed what horrendous acne he had, and Jesus, did they not have AIRBRUSHING then? Oh Chad.

Flashdance. Jennifer Beals. Jonniker. We were synonymous, in my mind. I watched the movie over and over and over again and when I couldn’t watch it anymore, I listened to the soundtrack over and over and over again. Michael Sembello! Kim Carnes! Nude women! Welders! I had no idea what it was really about, all I knew was that they were dancing! For money! In bars! I informed my mother on about 100 different occasions that I wanted to be a flashdancer, and to her credit or detriment, she indulged me and bought me a set of shirts that said “Flashdancer!” on them in glitter, which I promptly wore with hot pink legwarmers and teal plastic dance pants and whirled around the living room for hours and hours and hours on end while channeling Alex the Welder. I was maybe 12, so even if I was a Flashdancer! there wasn’t much to flash, except maybe to a pedophiles, which is, um, gross and I can’t believe it just crossed my mind. So, um, Flashdance. Rock on.

The Golden Girls. This obesession lives on, my friends. Bar none, hands down, this is the best show ever to be on television, and if anyone – ANYONE – tells me differently, I will hunt you down. Blanche. Rose. Dorothy. Sophia. I do not lie when I tell you that I have every single episode on VHS, and am in the process of collecting them on DVD. And worse? I have every single episode memorized. Toss me a line! I can finish it for you. And, in case you were wondering, my favorite character is Dorothy. I know! I know! Most boring EVAR! But I think that’s why I liked her – boring, simple, sarcastic – but entertaining in a droll sort of way. Responsible! Immune to foibles! My exact opposite, in other words. Sigh.

And with that, I’m out. I need to go search for more documentation of the most ridiculous proportion to figure out how to explain why in the name of Christ we’re not supposed to pay an inordinate sum to the government. This is a lame, cheater of an an entry, and I apologize.

But I will totally pay it forward! Yes! Erica, you’re up! Yesrie, you’re up! Lara, you’re up! And Jen! You’re up too.

*Michael Sembello. Bring on the legwarmers.

24 comments July 24th, 2006

Save Me

I love doing photo assignments for work.* I get out, I take some pictures, chat with a few people and get on with my day. Everybody wins!

Except sometimes I have to take photos with my personal camera if the photo editors have the company ones with them, and it’s shit. (The wonderful people I work for are getting me one of my own for these situations, God bless them.) It’s fine if I’m just noodling around taking pics of Sunny frolicking at the beach or Snapper on top of the cabinets, but if there is any quick movement or inadequate lighting, then what we end up with is a giant gray blur. And on work assignments, it can be embarrassing just to be there. You’re standing there with a point n’ shoot next to a professional dude from a competing paper with a six-foot lens and a belt full of special attachments while you’re just trying to act like you aren’t someone’s mother.

So, fast forward to Friday. The assignment in question is some sort of skin-diving/lifesaving training that the local fire department is putting on or putting themselves through or whatever. On my way there, I realized that they were nowhere near where I thought they going to be, which left me wandering around the beach a full half-mile away from where they were doing the training, so by the time I found the site, I was about 10 minutes late. They were already in the water on some sort of giant inflated boat-like thing while a bunch of dudes were in snorkeling gear sniffing around the water. Shit.

Oh my God, I was going to miss it. No! NOOOOOO!!!!! Ugh, the events in retrospect are humiliating.

Um, I swam out to them. In my clothes. And shoes. I launched unnecessarily into Serious Photojournalist mode for reasons that are still completely foreign to me. I went into the water and started swimming, fully clothed, khakis and polo asunder, camera over my head (POINT AND SHOOT, MIND YOU) clicking madly away in the general direction of the snorkelers. People were staring, but I was not going to be deterred, because I am a professional! Bad camera? WHO CARES? I AM A PHOTOJOURNALIST! Would I be less of a writer if I only had a typewriter? Um. Right.

By jove, I was going to get that photo come hell or high water! Or both! God, I was so serious about it. The firefighters – who are all dangerously hot and muscular – were staring at me, this completely insane rogue swimmer in a POLO SHIRT AND SUNGLASSES taking pictures of them while they’re trying to load some dude onto a floatable gurney as they’re banging into me as I tried desperately to maintain control of the camera. God, I was just trying to keep my pants on.

But dude, I got the photos. And, um, then they politely yelled at me to get out of the way as they turned around the boat, picked up the divers and headed back to the beach, because this was apparently only the first in at least four hours of drills and um, would I like to come on the boat later to take pictures instead of swimming in water up to my neck, which was entirely unnecessary?

My God. I was standing there, my sopping wet clothes clinging to me with the grace and forgiveness of too-small Spandex. I was wearing khaki pants and a frigging black thong that seemed harmless under normal circumstances, but sopping wet? Not so much. Hello, thong, nice to meet you! Love, the firemen.

Enter the boat. Or should I say, enter me entering the boat. I tried to climb in, but with my rubber pants, could not properly figure out a graceful way to get in without sticking to the buoy-like orange sides. So I had to roll on my belly and shimmy my way over the edge like I was crawling over a log, which meant not only baring my full, wet behind to an entire cadre of hot firefighters, but it also meant that once I got INTO the boat, I couldn’t regain control. I ended up splayed out face down on the bottom of the boat, completely vanished from the firefighter’s view as they yelled, “Um, photographer lady? Are you there? You okay?” I popped up like a piece of toast and tried to act cool (“Here I am!”), which was impossible in silicone khakis, a black thong and a soaking polo shirt that showed my nipples.

Once I got on the boat and we started to ride out, they handed me a life vest, citing, “you don’t have to zip – “

“I AM ZIPPING IT.” I strapped myself in. I was so nerdy about it, but I wasn’t about to DIE for this photo, for God’s sake. So there I am, wearing Saran Wrap clothing with a giant orange vest zipped up to my earlobes, praying I get out of this assignment with a single shred of dignity intact.

How about a resounding “no?” Sound good?

They casually mentioned they were going to “clear out some of the water,” as we launched off, which meant, unbeknownst to me, that they were going to drive around VERY VERY FAST, which meant that I fell again, and ended up stuck on the bottom of the boat, my notebook in my teeth and my camera over my head A-FREAKING-GAIN, while they panicked and apologized. Through the course of the boat ride, I fell some more, almost fell in to the water again while taking pictures and baring my ass, ended up hugging some strange (and hot!) firefighter’s calf for dear life, fell again, etc. etc. blah blah freakin’ blah.

I came, I saw, I fell, I died. Story of my life.

*Edited to add for the love of God, I am not a photographer, really. I pitch in as needed. Do not expect brilliance in Flickr. Lord. Lord no.

**Remy Zero

20 comments July 23rd, 2006

Daysleeper

I can’t say I’m really a fan of perky people at any time of the day, but morning is the worst by far. Through the years, I’ve had coworkers who bound in like giant Labrador retrievers, eager to start their day, and excited that look! We have AIR! And computers! And WORK to do! The possibilities are endless! Meanwhile, I’m shuffling in wearing mismatched socks, jacket and shirt askew and maybe a hair or two standing on end from a last-minute hair product spritz gone awry. Oh, and I’m usually wishing that they would just shut up and die already.

I confess, the hatred is simply a thin veil over intense jealousy. What special gift did these people get that they can bound out of bed in the morning, leaving the safe confines of their snuggly little cocoons? They get up, they shower, and they face the day without fear that the best part of the day was still in that bed.

I’ll never forget the first time I got to witness a Morning Person first-hand. It was Erica of PinkMob fame – a real-life close friend of mine, regular commenter and all-around awesome person who is, unfortunately, a morning person. But I love her anyway, and she gave me a valuable glimpse into morning people behavior. We were sharing a hotel room during a weeknight after getting stranded in the snow (after many, many drinks at a work function when our boss drunkenly dumped us into a room at the Seaport) and the next morning, I witnessed a scene unlike anything I’d ever experienced. She woke up and got out of her bed within the same minute, got ready and had her hat and fucking MITTENS on before I’d even put a foot on the ground and murmered, “d-d-do yooou h-h-have t-t-toothpaste?” I’d like to point out that I was wearing a cheap hotel robe for pajamas, and there was likely a boob or god forbid a vagina poking out from the sheets (thank God for two queen beds). I’m sorry, Erica. So, so sorry. Anyway, there she was, all be-mitted and be-hatted staring at me, “Oh! I packed it. Sure.”

She produced it in 2.2 seconds and smiled, chatting easily about the day ahead. It couldn’t have been later than 7 a.m. I was in awe.

I can’t get out of bed. Most mornings I lay there like an anesthetized pickle, my arms splayed out like starfish, ignoring the screams from the cat and the persistent face rubs that smear catspit on my cheeks and urge me to rise, because there is breakfast! Breakfast that is still in the can that needs to be consumed! LIKE NOW! MrowmrowNOW! Through the process of screaming and wandering, he’s awakened Sunny, and she’s whimpering because there is about to be a bladder explosion of monstrous canine proportions and I? Am still in bed, ignoring them both and just wishing that I’d gotten a goddamn goldfish instead. But the truth is, it’s 8:15 a.m. and I’m late for work. Little fuckers.

I’m not lazy. I’m an evening person with a fucked-up circadian rhythm, and life isn’t built for me. I come alive around noon, and am essentially useless prior to that. My peak working hours are between 4 and 8 p.m., which means that 90% of work (or life, for that matter) schedules are not built for people like me – I can’t do a night shift, as I crash by 1 a.m., and I can’t do a morning shift, because I can’t sleep UNTIL 1 a.m. Fortunately, I have a flexible job now that enables me to work at night if I wish and live like a real person – I work more, probably, than I ever did before, but at least it’s on my own timeframe.

In normal worlds, you are generally expected to be at work by a certain time, a feat I rarely accomplished. When I did, people would exclaim, “Wow, you sure got here early!” in a stupidly simple tone that usually made me want to gouge their eyeballs out with pointy objects, like maybe a box cutter or a grapefruit spoon.

No one understands. And God forbid you sleep late. My father-in-law is a morning person. He and his wife get up at 5 a.m. every day, when it’s still dark out, and at an hour that not too long ago was an acceptable bedtime for Adam and me. He calls us on the weekends, usually between 7 and 8 a.m., to see if Adam wants to play golf, or if we want to have dinner that night. His messages are usually accusatory, “God, don’t tell me you two are still asleep!” What he – and most morning people – fails to recognize is that when he was going to bed, I was still eating dinner. We’re not lazy and sleeping oh, 15 hours of the day, we’re just sleeping our normal sleeps at different times than you are. Okay? OKAY?!

This frustrating fact is also 99% of the reason I look like a vagabond by the time I get to work. I generally like to get there around 9:30 a.m., so as not to arouse any suspicions about where in the Christ I was all morning (usually with Gary Oldman in the Carribean somewhere, if you must know). This means if I rise at my usual 8:15 a.m. , I have exactly four minutes to get ready after walking the dog, feeding the furries and making a pot of coffee so that I can drive to work without killing someone. This schedule leaves little time for anything, such as showering, which means I have to shower at night so as not to become hairy moldy beast. This then perks me right up and keeps me up until 1:30 a.m. laying there praying for a piece of the ceiling to fall off and knock me the fuck out.

And the vicious cycle continues. I dream of changing this behavior like people dream of winning the lottery. I have visions of all the things I could accomplish before work – there are gyms to go to! Dishwashers to unload! Dogs to walk more than 30 seconds! Instead, it’s 10 p.m. and I still haven’t accomplished half of the things I want to get done before tomorrow. And before you know it, it’ll be 1:30 a.m.

Fucker.

*REM

39 comments July 20th, 2006

The Hardest Part

Is there any scenario more played out than the gynecologist’s office? I mean, we all know the pitfalls, the misery and I’ll bet most of us have even heard the “friend of a friend” urban legends that purport various transgressions and incidents from pervy gynocologists to children’s glitter getting into the patient’s undies to dizzy up the girl. However, I contend that for all of its legendary misery, the gynecologist is not that bad, seriously. I mean, I don’t mind it as much as any human being can *not* mind getting their legs jammed into stirrups while some strange man fingers them.

I went today, after having my period for 30 days, which was fraught with misery and many a Costco-sized box of tampons (like 11 or so). And though I knew that it was likely caused what I already have (thyroid disease), I committed myself to a few hours of waiting and reading Surf n’ Sun Magazine followed by some serious time in a paper drape with a speculum.

Today’s visit would have been mostly uneventful (yep, thyroid), except that the intern I got instead of my usual doctor (who was out delivering some emergency baby) was terrified of being a gynecologist. I mean, the man took one look at me in a paper drape, turned the color of a turnip, then – I am sure of this – seriously considered whether to run screaming out of the room, crying, “But wait – WAIT! How did this happen? I said dermatologist, not gynecologist! Moles! Give me moles! Not vaginas! MELANOMAS!”

I endured the world’s most awkward pelvic exam, which involved him nervously fumbling around down there, dropping the speculum and forgetting to lube me up first, crying, “JELLY! Oh no oh no oh no. JELLY!” The jelly oversight unfortunately prompted him to empty an entire tube of K-Y onto my crotchal region, which made for the most uncomfortable morning, like, ever. And then the poor man had to try to address me. He could only speak to me by proxy: his notebook.

“I’m circling dysfunctional bleeding on patient’s chart.”

“I’m writing down that the patient’s pelvic exam is normal. Patient exhibits a slightly tilted uterus, which causes no problems, and should cause no problems in the future, should she decide to procreate. ”

He said procreate.

“I’m writing down that the smoking gun – heh – appears to be the patient’s elevated TSH levels related to FSH, which is causing anovulation and should be alleviated with new thyroxine dosage. Dr. Christy Carmine is working on problem from metabolic standpoint. I’m checking the ‘other provider’ box and writing his name on behalf of the patient.”

He chuckled at ‘smoking gun.’ God. Why?

Throughout the whole ordeal, the nurse kept mouthing to me over his melon head, “I’m SORRY,” because, who talks like that? She explained later that he was a particularly nervous intern. Somewhere around the “FSH” nonsense, I started laughing because I felt that surely I was on some sort of X-rated Candid Camera. He never chuckled as I laughed and in fact, didn’t address me directly once. Thankfully, my next appointment is an ultrasound, which is managed by the nurse practitioner.

Before I go, I feel compelled to point out that I’ve never felt like more of a second-class citizen than in the waiting room of an OB/GYN. My (comparitively) flat belly rendered me at the bottom of the list, which was frustrating, though it was hard not to get caught up in the palpable excitment of the couples around me as they waited for their ultrasounds, exams and heartbeat appointments. They were giddy with hopes for the future, and of the glimpse into the baby they were waiting for. I smiled at the first-time parents – the husbands rubbing their wives’ bellies and stroking their hair as they asked repeatedly, “Is it moving? Are you comfortable? Do you need water?” God, they were so sweet.

And I never felt more compassion and sympathy for anyone as much as I did for the couple who was clearly there for fertility treatments. The woman welled up, though she tried to hide it, at every sight and sound of parenthood for the couples around her. At the strollers being loaded in the too-small entrance with screaming infants and overtired mothers. At the lush, swollen bellies occupying every seat, smugly guarding their prize. I heard him whisper to her, as they were close to me, that today would be different. Today they would figure something out. He held her hand and she tried to smile.

I imagine that getting help for infertility is yet another in a long line of humiliating experiences to put in the bag of misery and hope. I didn’t think about that part – how that is the one time, the one place, where you are reminded at every turn of what you can’t have, not just by the function of who you are, but by the presence of everyone – literally everyone except for a few stragglers like me – around you who has what you want in such a visceral, visible way.

I so hope that this time really is different for them.

*Erasure. From Crackers International.

**My OB/GYN also includes a visiting reproductive endocrinologist. And before anyone asks, I okay’d the intern before I met him. I just wanted to talk to someone first, and I knew I’d have follow-ups.

10 comments July 19th, 2006

Here is the House

I think it’s important to preface this by pointing out that I have black bean soup on my boob. I had a rough dinner, as I banged my knee on the table, and black beans flew everywhere. It seems appropriate in light of what I’m about to talk about, really, which is that I am, in general, a slob who can’t dress herself or even consider, maybe, a little decorating?

My house is a mess. It’s clean, in terms of clean toilets, a clean kitchen and mostly, the floors are clean and GAWD yes, we have clean sheets, as I’m insane about cleanliness, though you would never ever guess. But otherwise? Um, I can’t seem to live like a grown up. I thought by now, I don’t know, that I’d have matching furniture or something on the walls. Oooh ooh – plants! Live ones, that I would nurture into glorious life, full of flowers and maybe fruit! Kumquats. Yes, I would have kumquats outside here in Florida, next to my lemon tree, where we would pick fat lemons and make pies. And there would be interesting art on the walls! Like African artifacts that I picked up on safari and maybe a Chinese silkscreen from that trip to Bejing, because I would be well-traveled, in addition to possessing impeccable style. Ooh ooh, and photographs! That I took! Black and white prints! That people would come to my house and ask where they could by them, and I would modestly offer them a print from my personal collection, gratis.

Yes. Yes, that’s how it would be.

Or not.

Instead, my living room looks like this:


That’s a fake mini palm in the corner. Costco. We’re classy.

But that’s not all! There is the wonder that is our dining room:

Everything moved to the center of the room so we can paint. We’ve been looking for a new table for months, but can’t agree. Instead, I think the cat tree makes a nice table. And please tell me someone else lives this way. No? Just me then?

I might vacuum, but I can’t pick up regularly, especially during PMS. Take, for example, the floor on my side of the bed:

But, truthfully, the piece de resistance is definitely the nightstand. It has everything I could possibly need, plus a few spores. Granted, it’s never been this bad before, as with the PMS this week, I’ve just been….COLLECTING and not CLEANING, which terrifies even me, but how horrifying is this? What kind of person lives this way?

But lastly, I will leave you with this unrelated photo that is keeping me awake at night. I found this outside the door near my office. It’s about four inches long, and when I walked to the hardware store for a Dr. Pepper, I noticed, oh, I don’t know, a hundred of these? Dead, along the perimeter of the building. Which means, hello, at one point they were in the building. With me.

**Depeche Mode

18 comments July 18th, 2006

Let Go

I flipped Adam off this morning before I left for work. I didn’t mean to, I swear. For some strange reason, I decided to flash him two-fisted “rock on” hands (as demonstrated hilariously in this site) with my arms over my head as I was walking out the door this morning. This alone would be cause for alarm, but instead, my hands did what I was actually feeling towards the world, and I threw up two middle fingers and walked out the door without explanation or even a vague awareness of what I had done.

And the PMS train rolls on. Today’s casualties include not only a third box of Triscuits, but also two pounds of cherries and two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. This is among the rich, rational myriad of reasons I’m truly terrified to become pregnant. I see 100 pound weight gains in my future, because something else took hold of my body while I was eating those cherries. My mind was saying “No! NO! Put them down!” and my heart was saying something totally different, as there is a pile of pits next to my wine as tall as the end table.

I also sunk further into the depths of hormonal despair and found myself crying at a restaurant named Porky’s (in the Everglades, no less. Adam kept screeching, “YOU CANNOT CRY IN PORKY’S. PLEASE.”) while I regaled Adam that I was a woeful failure in life, as my salary is somewhere in the range of the high peanuts since I gave up my corporate career. And then we’ll move back to Massachusetts and I will be forced to get a job at Big Lots because no other newspaper will have me, and so I spent the day (the DAY) searching for freelancing jobs so that I could write people’s resumes, random copy and, I don’t know, help a Nigerian national figure out how to get his funds back in the United States just so that I wouldn’t have to go back to Big Lots and I could earn my keep.

God, I haven’t learned anything. Funny how you can change circumstances, but you can’t change the person. I felt like a failure when I was working all those hours at my last job because I wasn’t living my life and I wasn’t being the best corporate drone imaginable and I thought if I didn’t do it perfectly every day, I would lose something. If I didn’t kill myself and make it as miserable as possible, then I wasn’t achieving what I needed to achieve.

Not much has changed. Sure, I’m less anxious about some stuff – maybe I now know that the world won’t end if I make a mistake, or if I don’t work 100 hours a day. But I’m still yanked out to the point of obsession that I’m not doing enough to be successful as a human being, in some sort of strange, elusive definition of success that only I can explain or define. I write a column for a publication with a circulation of 50,000, and I’m still not happy with it. I should be doing more. I should be king of the newspaper business after a mere six months of this, and have finished five books by now, and have no fewer than six professional blogging gigs, in addition to various and sundry freelance writing projects in order to call myself a successful writer and/or person because anything less is just cheating.

In other words, I’m good at setting realistic goals for myself. Clearly, I still don’t know what it means to be successful. Is it leaving the world a better place than you found it? Meeting some strict set of personal goals? Working until you drop, or until someone else says you’ve made it?

And then I remember that a year ago, I never could have imagined what I’d be doing. That I’d be a professional writer and editor. That I’d have a dog. That I’d be a little (a little. A LITTLE) closer to having a baby. And that I should honestly just shut the fuck up and go get the ice cream and peanut butter and see where life takes me.

But gah. I CAN’T. Send beef jerky.

*Frou Frou

14 comments July 17th, 2006

Everything Zen

Somewhere between Thursday night and Friday night, I became angry. Not just angry. Infuriated. And upset. And weepy. And…blocked up. I couldn’t write a coherent sentence to save my life, so I decided that I was permanently damaged and would never write again and the the best I could do was to become a bricklayer or asphalt specialist or maybe a pig farmer.

By Saturday night I’d evolved into a giant lump of pasty flesh who did little more than eat and fart, sometimes at the same time. The entire weekend, I had a box of cheddar-flavored Triscuits surgically attached to my hands, and at one point (like, um, an hour ago), Adam gently pried them from my fingers and suggested that maybe it was time to stop, as I don’t think he’d heard me say anything without the crunch of wheat muddling up the words in several days. I even kept them with me at meals, along with a jar of peanut butter and a block of Asiago cheese.

This eating frenzy came in handy during Saturday night’s dinner at Panda Pavilion with my in-laws when the Israeli-Palestinian-terrorism discussion came up. I cannot explain why, but through some bizarre misunderstanding, Adam described terrorists as “brilliant,” meaning “kind of smart sometimes about terrorizing people which is very, very bad,” not “I love terrorism and terrorists! Where do I sign?” and for some reason, his father screamed – screamed – at both of us, with complete sincerity:

” Oh my God. Are you…son, are YOU A TERRORIST? ARE YOU PART OF HAMAS?** J – do you know anything about this?”

He was absolutely furious. And I was too hungry to risk giving up even a single sparerib, or even a chicken finger to throw at his head and my mouth was full, thank God. The whole room turned to a screeching halt, and I caught the woman behind us whispering, “Do they look Middle Eastern to you? They look so normal! Oh my God!”

I am now likely on multiple terrorist watch and no-fly lists.

The good news is that although my father in law thinks I am a terrorist, I’ve pieced together that the eating is PMS and it will pass, hopefully before I turn into a post-blueberry Violet Beauregard. It’d better, because as of this moment, in addition to various and sundry full meals, I have consumed two boxes of Triscuits, a block of Asiago cheese, a container of hummus, a block of dark chocolate, a bottle of chardonnay, a bottle of pinot noir, an alarming amount of shrimp cocktail, an entire plate of Chinese spareribs, and more! Much, much more! And I am still hungry.

It was just after I polished off a jar of wasabi almonds that I realized that I really wanted to go on a road trip, preferably with the almonds, and maybe some Combos. And, since the CIA is likely tracking my every move now, driving might be the best I can do. I miss road trips since moving to Florida, as driving anywhere is sort of pointless, as it’s all the same. Flat. Trees. Heat. BFD. And then, as I licked the bottom of the jar, I realized that it wasn’t the road trip I missed, or the Combos and almonds, it was the beef jerky.

Oh, beef jerky. I love beef jerky, but not just *any* beef jerky – it must be Damn Good. I promptly ordered four pounds of this stuff. You think you know beef jerky? Think again.

As I dreamed of the jerky hurtling its way to our home in a happy box, a strange calm settled over me. The jerky is coming. It’s going to be okay.

*Bush.

**The Hamas thing is particularly hilarious, as we’re Jewish, sort of. I don’t, um, think they’d take us. And terrorists? TERRORISTS. OH MY GOD.

18 comments July 16th, 2006

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