Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Concern and lost irons -- things that are driving me crazy

So my mother would be quick to tsk, tsk this particular post for several reasons. So I put that warning out there -- don't judge me too harshly.
Two things are making crazy right now.
The first -- I can't find my iron. I've looked every where. My house at a cursory glance is in order (well a very quick glance). But really it's a wreck. Michael moved in with me a few months ago right before I started taking 10 hours of classes and working 40 hours a week. Needless to say, I didn't have a ton of time to get things in order. And admittedly, I have a lot of crap. Most of it isn't worth a cent. I've lived and traveled to several countries and have a lot of mementos I've picked up along the way. Also, I'm a giant pack-rat! So all of those things have contributed to the fact that I can't find my iron.
I've looked everywhere -- dug through closets, looked under beds, unpacked Rubbermaid tubs stacked in the sun room and looked in all the probable spots. No luck! I'm sure a new iron won't cost too much, but I want to find MINE. And I want it now. I've got all the needed supplies for my next project (a present for Evan Otis, it's a surprise) and an iron is required. Bah!
The other thing weighing on me... concern. I know, it seems so sweet and nice and wonderful doesn't it!
Eh... I'm over it.
Am I an ungrateful brat?
I tire, though, of hearing, "Are you OK?" "How are you feeling?"
I know those sentiments are sincere and the asker has the best intentions. I get it. I am Sicky McSickerson. But for weeks after every hospital/ER stay/visit it is a cacophony of these questions/concerns. And then there are others who go even further than the occasional question.
I've had friends who have been on the verge of calling the police or fire department when they couldn't get me on the phone. I have a friend who every time he hears on the police scanner, "woman unconscious at ..." he calls and says, "are you at...?" And if I haven't returned a phone call within 15 minutes instead of thinking, "oh, she must be walking the dog" the first thought is, "Oh no, she's passed out somewhere bleeding. I have to leave work and drive there now!"
I'm sure I'm being hypocritical. I'm the first one to make up a fun comfort package full of crayons, a princess crown, play-doh, plastic bugs and dart guns for a sick co-worker or friend. I'm also the one who organizes the get well card and goes to the hospital to pass along all of our well wishes! And I'm sure I ask the dreaded questions too.
So, yeah, I'm a hypocrite, but I'm OK with it.
As bratty as it sounds, I think the concern bothers me because it reminds me that I'll always be labeled as the sick one. When my Peace Corps friends categorized everyone during our reunion, the joke about me was around the passing out (in Bangladesh is when all this started so they too were exposed to it) and when we came up with jokes about each of the reporters for a joke newsletter mine also was associated with it. I guess I just don't want to be known only as that. I want people to forget about it! (Maybe it'll go away then!)
I'm working on it. I'm working on taking it as it is meant and not getting resentful.
So forgive me if I don't eagerly reply to your concern. I'll try.
And just so you know, I'm feeling kind of crappy right now!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Do it yourself projects

So this whole blog thing has opened my eyes to a whole new world of crafting. Yeah, I've always been super into "do-it-yourself" fun stuff but now I have oodles of blogs giving me inspiration. So I thought I'd share with everyone my first blog project -- my new chair! I have to give Lindsay credit for opening my eyes to all these fun blogs. Many of them are blogs she links to or blogs that were linked from one of those blogs.
Saturday night I got home from work around 10:30 p.m. Instead of working on the story I had to write for Monday's paper I was facebooking and reading all these blogs. Michael gets home from work around 12:30 a.m. and he starts playing video games and watching sports while I continued my blog hunting. Every few minutes I go, "Hey Michael, look at this." or "Ohh, look at this one!"
Around 2 a.m. I've found a project I MUST do -- reupholstering an office chair.
So we get out at 2 a.m., go to the office to pilfer a chair (I took one from the dungeon that had a tag from it saying it was purchased in 1980). Then we head to Wal-Mart (the only place open at 2:30 a.m. that sells fabric.) Of course we meander our way through the store stopping in the fruit section -- cherries, peaches and Michael had to handle every plum to find two perfect ones. Then we get some more Tang and salad dressing -- the necessities. We go by the baby department to get needed items for another craft (more details to come). Then we go to the craft section and look and look and look for fabric. There isn't any. How does Wal-Mart not carry fabric. Apparently they aren't putting the fabric sections into the new Wal-Marts.
We purchased our items and pile back into Josephine and head to the other Wal-Mart. We headed straight for the fabric department but at 3:30 a.m. it was hard to find someone to cut the fabric we picked out. And when we did find someone she was quite surly.
We get our fabric, staple gun and buttons and head out. But At this point (4:30 a.m.) I'm hungry. I'd been up since 9 a.m. working and only eaten lunch. A stop at Taco Bell for chicken burritos seemed only natural.
We got back home and we started working. We pulled off the rubber coverings and took out all the old staples and then I recovered it with the fun new fabric. Then I spray painted the rest of the chair with "watermelon" spray paint. It is spectacular. It is my guest seating at my desk!
Come by and see me and check it out!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Medical mishaps and why you just have to cry sometimes

So things aren't always that exciting, and I don't know if I would classify this week as "exciting," but it was certainly eventful.
If you haven't heard my classify myself as a lemon yet you can hear me say it now (well imagine I'm saying it) "I'm a lemon! There's a lemon law that allows for a trade-in in these situations. I demand a new body!" OK, now that I've said that and I've moved on to reality, I "broke down" this week and had another "episode."
I'm throwing all these quotes in because these are the various phrases used to describe my "syncopal episodes" which are really me passing out and smacking the heck out of my head. It typically happens at the most inopportune times (not that there really are opportune times to lose consciousness). It has happened during press conferences of a national news event, outside of a burning home, in front of a brick hearth and most recently after a mayor's press briefing onto a marble floor. Fun stuff huh!
Well, far removed from it there are a few funny moments from this most recent "medical mishap." My friend Rob, who has been around for this phenomenon before was on hand. Up until a few weeks ago Rob was also a co-worker. Now he's competition. Well, unconsciousness apparently overrides competition, even "minutes before the noon." Rob knows that the whole passing thing out happens, and I am NOT a fan of 911 getting called. This is what I've been told happened:
Rob took control of the scene assuring every one that every thing was OK. That lasted for only a few minutes when he started to crumble like a little girl concerned that I'd broken my neck. Apparently I wouldn't come to, was shaking funny and laying in an odd way. Well after several minutes a city clerk took my black high-heel off and stuck it in my face. My feet are apparently stinky enough to bring me out of unconsciousness. Awesome!
Well emergency medical folks came and went. I knew the firefighters, not at all embarrassing! I didn't go with them. Instead I called a frantic Michael to come and get me to take me to the emergency room because my head and neck hurt SOOO bad. He left in such a rush that the first time he walked out of the house he didn't have a shirt on. He eventually got one on but came to pick me up wearing swim trunks, flip flops and a T-shirt.
We went to Cabrini and started the waiting game. OK, so it was only like 30 minutes but I've never had to wait in an ER. Usually they rush me right back and I was hurting. And there were terribly loud and obnoxious children screaming all around.
We get back and the poking and prodding begins. SUCKS!
We got there around noon and didn't leave until around 8 p.m. Michael, who was exhausted, was a trooper. He didn't sign up for this. I'm apparently even giving him gray hairs! But Michael eventually had to go to work, and I really didn't want to be by myself. Well, this is where living 15 hours from family makes things tough. Michael goes to work, Rob has a brand new baby and wife at home and David is on vacation. So I was going to have to be by myself.
Michael's wonderful momma though came and hung out with me. What a blessing! Even though I don't have "my family" here, I feel like Michael's family has become mine. It meant so much to me to have her there and made that experience so much better.
I came home that night and slept until the next morning when the medical mishaps continued. I woke up and the subdued feelings of nausea were full-front. I spent the day throwing up and feeling miserable. I couldn't even keep an ice cube down.
That's where having to cry came in. As great as it is to have Michael here to take care of me and his loving family it's not the same as my own momma. She called and I cried and cried. A late afternoon prescription to control the nausea made all better. Around 8 p.m. I even got hungry. Michael made me a grilled cheese sandwich (with honey butter... interesting mistake.)
All of this gobbly gook means this -- I'm tired of this whole sick thing but am not giving up and will continue to fight, I have an awesome dude to take care of me, I am grateful for my new family but I still miss and need my momma!
Happy, healthy thoughts your way!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

terrible schedule... that I think I'm going to miss.

So this sumer I've been going through a hellacious schedule, terrible really. But honestly I think I may miss it, at least a little. I know Michael won't though. I'm sure I'm going to be MUCH less cranky. Here's a run-down:

Mondays and Wednesdays
6:55 a.m. Get up and get ready.
8 a.m. Make cop calls, check cop briefs in email, type up and post any urgent cops news.
8:35 a.m. Kiss a soundly sleeping Michael on the head to say goodbye and drive way too far out to LSUA.
9 a.m. Sit through a ridiculous Spanish class.
12:10 p.m. Race home for a super quick lunch or scarf down disgustingly good fast food or go straight to work.
12:45 p.m. Start work.
5:10 p.m. Leave work and drive way too far to England Airpark for English class.
8:30 p.m. Leave English class for home.
8:50 p.m. Scarf down dinner and play with puppy.
9:30 p.m. Start homework for next day's Spanish class, do homework for online Criminal Justice class.
12:45 a.m. Pass out on couch.
1 a.m. Get kiss on the forehead from Michael to send me to bed.

Tuesdays and Thursdays
6:55 a.m. Get up and get ready.
8 a.m. Make cop calls, check cop briefs in email, type up and post any urgent cops news.
8:35 a.m. Kiss a soundly sleeping Michael on the head to say goodbye and drive way too far out to LSUA.
9 a.m. Sit through a ridiculous Spanish class.
12:10 p.m. Race home for a super quick lunch or scarf down disgustingly good fast food or go straight to work.
12:45 p.m. Start work.
7 to 8 p.m. Leave work to go home (depends on the work load.)
8 p.m. Eat dinner, play with puppy. (on Thursday's Michael is off and joins me for the rest of my nightly routine, sometimes even doing some of my homework for me!)
8:30 p.m. Start homework for English, Spanish and Criminal Justice.
12:45 a.m. Pass out on couch.
1 a.m. Get kiss on the forehead from Michael to send me to bed.

6:45 a.m. Get up and get ready.
8 a.m. Kiss a soundly sleeping Michael on the head to say goodbye and start work day with cop calls and runs.
12 p.m. Come home for lunch and play with puppy. Kiss a soundly sleeping Michael on the forehead to wake him up.
7ish p.m. Leave work and come home to a happy Michael who has the day off.
7:30 p.m. Eat dinner and play with puppy and boy.
8 p.m. Start homework -- Criminal Justice (and if I'm feeling exceptionally proactive I'll throw in Spanish and English).

8:30 a.m. Get up.
9 a.m. Eat breakfast, play with puppy.
9:30 a.m. Start homework -- Criminal Justice (and if I'm feeling exceptionally proactive I'll thrown in Spanish and English.
11 a.m. Get ready and eat lunch.
12 p.m. Kiss Michael on the forehead to say goodbye. Go to work.
8 p.m. Come home and finish up homework, eat dinner and play with puppy.
1 a.m. Michael gets home from work and hopefully doesn't have to wake me up (but often he did have to).

10 a.m. Get up and watch trashy television I've DVRed while Michael snoozes.
1 p.m. Make Michael get up.
1:30 p.m. Go to Pit Grill for Sunday terribly greasy and delicious dinner.
4:30 p.m. Michael goes to work, and I get to work on my homework. (Seriously... there was something due in my Criminal Justice class EVERY day, even on July 4th!)
11 p.m. Hopefully get to bed.

I can't believe I did it. I can't believe I didn't kill anyone throughout this summer! And now I get three weeks off (after my English final tomorrow) until next semester when I take 12 hours. I wonder what that schedule is going to look like!

All you working moms, working students, two-job workers, etc. -- I don't know how you do it!

Happy living. I'm back to studying for my English final.

Monday, July 20, 2009

ahhh... but not such a contented ahh...

I told you guys I would become a blog monster. Seriously, it is addictive. I have an overwhelming desire for the two people who read the blog to know my every move. Sickening really.

Well, I'm watching my TIVOed episodes of the Newlywed Game (sorry Michael that I didn't wait for you so we could play along) while studying for my Spanish final. And as you learned from my first blog, I have an overwhelming urge to procrastinate and watching television just wasn't enough.

So I decided to check my credit report (something I've been dreading since learning that my name, social security number and date of birth are being passed around in the Connecticut "I don't wanna pay my power bill" circle). I found a few things that shouldn't be there and decided to call to put the fraud alert on my account. This means that anytime credit is requested with my information I will get a phone call, well at least for 90 days. A few more hoops, and I will be able to get this put on for seven years. But of course after I put the thing on the guy in Pakistan is trying to convince me to pay "only $14.95 a month" to have them monitor my credit every day. And when I said, "Thanks but no thanks," he made me feel guilty, like I was refusing to give my child medical care or something. Ick!

Speaking of children and medical care, poor Van Gogh has yet another ear infection. I think he may need tubes in his ears. Isn't that what they do for constant ear infections? Maybe it would help. My poor baby! He doesn't seem to be too bothered by it though, other than when he scratches his years. When he does that he cries!


So I just got back from Cracker Barrel -- delicious comfort food! I needed it. I just finished my Spanish oral exam; I finished two papers last week and have two finals ahead of me. It was a last minute decision but one I don't regret. It wasn't because the food was extra yummy (even though it was), and it wasn't because the diet coke kept coming (which it did). It was because of the wonderful company.

I'm not sure if I say this enough (or even feel it enough) but I'm very grateful. It didn't take this silly and satisfying meal for me to realize this, but that meal did remind me. And it's the little things -- a package of chewy runts -- that slam those thoughts to the forefront. Let me give you a little background:

Michael, my BFF and beaux (I am in Louisiana after all), and I went to Walgreen's after our traditional Sunday lunch at the five star fine-dining establishment Pit Grill. While there we purchased a lifetime supply of highlighters (they have them on sale for nine cents people, so GO there NOW and stock up) and packs of pens for .19. Of course the always healthy restrained couple meandered down the candy aisle. There we discovered the boxed candies three for $3, and I innocently mentioned a desire for chewy runts. There were none there; I thought nothing more of it.

Tonight when Michael met me for dinner he says, "I've got something for you." Oh yes, it was chewy runts. How flippin' sweet!

And it isn't just the runts. He loves me a lot. And he isn't one of those "I'm too tough to show it" kind of guys. He's also not one of those obnoxious over-the-top fake kind of guys either. He's "just right," right Goldilocks? Right!

I'm not nearly as good at expressing my appreciation, my love and my admiration of him. It is there, definitely, but I'm not always so good at expressing it. Yeah, I have my moments. I got him tint for his pride and joy's first-week birthday (tint for Josephine the Versa) and when we put a moratorium on Valentine's/Birthday presents that cost to help save money in the era of furloughs I made a coupon book. But it is the little things I'm not so good at.

So, I'm going to try harder. I realize that the anti-change man (aka Michael) has gone through a lot of changes recently for me. I am grateful; I am thankful; and I'm smitten!

P.S. I'm want to see Ruby and the Rockits on ABCFamily. Just wanted to put that ridiculous thought out in the blogosphere.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


So I refuse to do this (unlike a certain former big-headed co-worker who likes to drop the F-bomb on a regular basis, OK, I'll just say it, ROB) on Facebook but feel like I can get away with doing it here. It is MY blog after all. And I really can do whatever I want, right? Are you wondering what it is? Are you sitting there hollering, "Tell us already! Come on, I can't take the suspense." Or is there no one reading this but Michael, and that's only because I made him and he really, really loves me? And Michael is used to me burying the lead. OK, now I'm being really mean and realizing that once I tell you what it is that I refuse to do on Facebook but plan to do on my blog will really be a super-duper let down. It will, but here goes anyway -- POST MY STORIES.

I'm such a nerd.

Anyway... here's the link and here's some behind the scenes:

On Friday, I met an amazing little girl. I was bemoaning having to do this story -- about a no-name foundation building a deck around a pool gifted by a big-name foundation for a girl who was dying of cancer. I thought, "Oh, how uplifting. Sad, dying girl gets deck. That's going to be a great story."

Instead, when I show up I'm greeted at the door by a vibrant, smiling young girl wearing a hot pink shirt with green accents. Those are my two favorite colors but that wasn't the reason my poo-poo attitude about this story shot out the window. The girl who answered the door was as bald as a cue-ball but looked as healthy as any other 11-year-old girl. She got her mom who ushered us in as she frantically went around finishing getting ready. The little girl -- Christian -- plopped back down on the over-sized red sofa and continued shoveling down Ramen noodles and laughing with her BFF Grace about the current "Suite Life" episode on Disney. They were gushing about how in six hours, 54 minutes and 12 seconds the "big episode" was going to be on where it was Hannah Montana, the cast of Wizards of Waverly Place, the Suite Life and other teen dream sensations were all going to be on the same episode.

It was spooky. I had been told this girl had only weeks of "quality life" left and only months of actual life remaining yet she reminded me of any other tween I'd spent half of my teen years babysitting.

A few minutes later her mom joined us, harried rush past her and perfectly coiffed hair bouncing above her shoulders. She sat across me on the loveseat, Christian and I on the couch adjacent to it. Tia, the photographer started snapping pictures. Neither Christina (mom) or Christian were phased. With Christian less than an arm length away her mom started into her story.

In January 2008 she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. The only symptom was a droopy eye. They were told they needed to get to St. Jude's Hospital as soon as possible and the family of five hopped in the car that night and drove to Memphis. There she went through eight rounds of chemotherapy, 15 days of radiation and surgery to remove a tumor from her adrenal gland -- 10 months of torture for the little girl and her family. They were told in September 2008 that she was cancer free; an answer to so many prayers the faithful family had put out. But in May -- just two months ago -- she was given a death sentence. The cancer was back and had ravaged her already war-torn body.

Doctors only gave her a 33 percent chance of survival the first time around. The second time though, they said there's no chance for survival. But Christian wasn't done fighting. She gave it another go with experimental drugs but it made things worse. Doctors said there was nothing left to do. The more-mature than her years Christian said, "No more. I just want to enjoy the life I have left."

So that's what the family is doing. Her mom said she feels the family is blessed. That statement instantly made me cringe, which she said it does most people. "How could we be blessed when we know our daughter will die a way too early death?" But Christina said her daughter's strength and faith has taught her and so many countless lessons. The girls short life has affected so many.

Back to the pool and deck -- Christian continued to shovel in the noodles as her mom spelled out the diagnosis and journey of the disease. She seemed unaffected. She was just hungry and ready to swim. Soon she and Grace put on their brightly colored bikinis, and we all headed out to the pool -- which was supposed to be the topic of the story.

I get chills recounting the meeting. She was so positive, so vibrant, so energetic. Doctors told the family she'd have at most three months of quality life. That was nearly three months ago and she's shown little to no signs of slowing down. And doctors said she'll probably be dead before May rolls around next year. Christian isn't thinking about that though. Instead, she said she's enjoying what time she does have, especially in that pool of hers.

The story in Sunday's Town Talk talks more about this wonderful little girl.

First blog

So, I'm supposed to be working on a 12-page term paper right now. Instead (when it is due in less than seven hours and I haven't really even started) I decided I wanted to start a blog. I don't really have anything interesting to say. I'm not really all that interesting, and I'm certain no one will care. But doing this is much more fun than writing that silly old paper about the differences between civil service law enforcement agencies and non-civil service protected agencies.
Anyway... I'm sure the theme of this blog will be procrastination, which seems to be the theme of my life!