Saturday, June 30, 2007

Night and Day

One of the aspects of my job that makes it so weird is the randomness of it all. You can be pretty sure a normal shift will include all the usual suspects such as back or abdominal pain, headache, car accidents, cardiac events and the like. But you never really know what is going to walk in that door at any minute. It's this uncertainty that keeps you perpetually off-balance. Things may be quite calm right this second, but it can change on a dime. And the unwritten rule is that things almost never change for the better. I get very cranky with this rule.

Some days are mostly bad. Some days are mostly good. Then there are the days that include such a dramatic combination of the two that it takes your breath away. I had one of those this week and I'm just can't shake it. Everywhere I look...there it is.

The first patient was mine. A woman brought in by her husband because all of a sudden she started talking funny and her right side got really weak. Not an old woman either, no more than fifty-five. No other in-your-face stroke symptoms, but we swung into our protocol to rule it out. Many (speedy) tests later the verdict is in - this woman is having a massive brainstem stroke in front of our eyes, and her time is running out fast. Sounds odd to say, but she's got a few things going in her favor. She is a perfect candidate to undergo treatment with TPA, a kind of stroke miracle drug. It's been called the clot buster, because that's what it does. There are three catches. First is that you have to use it within three hours of the event. Three hours and one minute and you are no longer eligible. And the second is that up to five percent of the people who receive the treatment die as a direct result. The third, and most important, catch is that you have to be having exactly the right kind of stroke to qualify. She met all of the criteria and we put the plan into action.

It was this lady's lucky day. We administerd the drug with all the meticulous attention to detail of a shuttle launch. Then we monitored the bejeezus out of her to see how she would react. We had a bad moment about two minutes in when it looked like she was going to be one of the unlucky five percent, but it was very brief. And then I witnessed an absolute miracle. This woman started moving her right arm and leg and began speaking normally and with full mental functioning. Within ten minutes she was talking about what she wanted to eat for dinner that night. And by the time we sent her up to ICU she was calling me sweetie and telling her husband to remember to walk the dog. He stopped in the next day to tell us she was ready to be discharged. With no residual effects. At. All. It was the first time I've ever given this drug and it was the most amazing thing I've ever seen.

Several hours later we get an ambulance call that EMS is coming in with a young man having seizures. This is a college town and we're all cynics, so the first thing we think is drugs or alcohol or some combination of the two. The guy comes in actively seizing and none of the meds are touching him. He looks very young and very business like in his dress, but hip and trendy with his hair and soul patch. His nurse races him to CT Scan just as his parents fly in the door to see what in the world is going on. No outward hysteria, just puzzlement. The patient gets back to his room and there are tons of people in with him. Respiratory therapists, doctors, nurses, EKG techs, lab techs...and his parents, huddled against a wall, shoulders touching, trying to stay out of the way. With enough meds on board to stop a tank he's still seizing.

A few minutes later his CT comes up on the screen in the doctors station and there is a collective gasp from everyone looking at it. This kid has a huge mass in his brain. Totally clean history, no drugs or alcohol, no signs or symptoms. Before today. The ER doc took his parents into a private room to talk and then we prepared to send him to ICU. His parents stayed by the bed the whole time, each one gently stroking him. When he went upstairs they followed the bed, holding hands, shoulders still touching. It looked like they were holding each other up.

As I was walking in to work the next day I saw his mom in the hall. She was walking toward the exit carrying hospital bags full of his belongings. I couldn't help but notice that she was wearing the same clothes she'd had on the day before. As we got closer she smiled gently at me and wished me a good morning. And kept on walking.

I had tears rolling down my face as I walked into the ER. And I couldn't have stopped them if I tried.

The young guy with the seizures... should never have even been there. He should have been planning his weekend or washing his car or playing basketball with his friends. The lady with the stroke should have died, but didn't. I've been a nurse long enough to know that miracles don't happen as often as we'd like and that she really had found the golden ticket.

So why is it his face I can't get out of my head?

Friday, June 29, 2007

wireless, part two

Something has to give with our computer situation. I had a post already in mind today and then switched mid-stream because I'm so frustrated with our set-up. We have one computer in the house. We have two other (older) computers in the studio that aren't set up, because we can only hook up internet in one place in our house. We have a chair in front of the computer in the house that is never, not for a second, cold, because as soon as one person's butt slides out another one slides in. I. Am. Fed. Up.

This isn't a new thing here, it's just that now it's started to affect me. You know how that goes. It's allright as long as it isn't my problem. But now that I want to be on the computer more, I'm tired of duking it out for computer time. I like to post my blog relatively early in the morning, because I know from past experience that once the day gets going it gets away from me. I've even started trying to wake up first so I can have some uninterrupted computer time. And let's get this straight right out - I am not a morning person in the slightest. This is a pretty clear sign of my desperation. But once people start getting up there's a line for the damned computer all day. And everyone - self certainly included - takes the attitude that once their butt is in that chair it isn't moving until they're damned ready. I'll get off when I feel like it, thanks.

We've been stuck because of the internet situation, but then someone recently brought up the whole idea of making our house wireless, so we could all be on line at once. Wow! Ain't technology grand? And before my husband jumps down my throat, I understand that it hasn't happened due to time and financial constraints so far. But...the time has come. Just think - three computers...all on-line...all the time....

And a chair that could have a few butt free minutes.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


Unbelievable. My Code Pink post from earlier this week just got picked as Post of the Day at The Rising Blogger. Now I admit that he called me "all over the place", but hey, I'll take it. What a kick! Thanks for the nomination, Leigh!

The Thursday Three

I'm going to step away from food for a while and take on something "useful". The list today is...

Three Skills I (Really) Wish I Had.

This is one of those lists where I could come up with thirty things instead of the three that I've stupidly limited myself to, so I'm going to try to limit it to skills I've envied for a long time, not just this week. That should cut it down to twenty-eight. I may seriously have to rethink this three thing. I'm just too long-winded.

#1. Home Handywork. Sure this is prompted by the fact that I live in a 120 year old money pit, but it is still a skill I've always wanted. I want to learn all the non-heavy construction aspects of it - that is to say I'd like to know how to refinish a floor but don't necessarily need to know how to pour a foundation. For that I'd just need a checkbook, a box of tissues and my second born child. He's much more barterable than my first. Some of my specifics within this broad scope would be laying tile, simple plumbing and easy woodworking skills. Usually, if I'm shown how to do something I can manage it from there. Witness my newly acquired PhD. in plaster patching and advanced sanding. (All right, all right, I can hear the Film Geek now. I didn't actually do any of the sanding - because he didn't trust me with it - but I watched. And I bet I could. In a pinch).

#2. Linguistics. I would love to be fluent in more than one language, and sadly for me sarcasm doesn't count. Nine years of French in school and several years of working in restaurants in LA have given me very basic skills, but not nearly enough. I can tell when an irate line cook is calling me a fat slow moving air-headed whore in Spanish, but I'm not sure how that would really help me in the real world. It never helped me then, either. I just moved slower and stupider out of pure spite. (Like I've said earlier, I was the worst waitress ever to pick up a tray). The language thing is such a lure, though. My room-mate in college was German and could speak seven languages fluently. She usually translated the restaurant Spanish for me, chuckling all the while. My father spoke two languages and learned English as an adult. It's odd about that. My dad liked to talk to me in his language and when we moved to California the state even certified me as bilingual, but I lost it growing up. I could pick up words and some context, but not much else. But several years ago my dad died and I went back to Michigan for his funeral.While I was there one of my aunts pointed out that people would speak to me in their language and I would answer them properly - in English. I didn't even realize I was doing it, so I guess it's still there. Buried. Somewhere.

#3. Surfing. I would give anything to learn how to surf. All my mis-spent youth at beaches in Santa Monica, Zuma and Laguna and I still can't surf. With a board, anyway. I think it's a pre-requisite to graduate High School that you can body surf, but I've never hung ten (or any factor of) off of a real surf board. I used to be a pretty good body surfer (and have the screaming vertabre to prove it), so I have had that feeling of being in a wave hurtling forward toward the sand at a million miles an hour. And it's fabulous. I like boogie boards, where you also get that rush, although it's been years since I've really been on one. But I want to really surf. I noticed a while ago that there's a camp for women in Mexico that has "chick lessons" in surfing. It's a three or four day camp that includes surfing, bonding and cervesa. (See, I'm already working on #2). Wouldn't that be a blast?

All right, there you have it. As usual I'm encouraging all of you to send in your lists too. I think it's so much fun to see what other people think...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

never mind...

I saw this quote displayed in a very cool way at a friend's house last week and fell in love. She had it typed up in a bold graphic on a piece of white paper and set in a typewriter. Very functional art-ish. It is my new favorite quote...

The Pain of Discipline is Far Less Than the Pain of Regret

Isn't that wonderful? Of course, still being in blog birthday mode, I'm thinking about the discipline of writing every day, and I'm all for it. Nose to grindstone, fingers to computer, that sort of thing. You know, fun discipline.

I guess though that it could apply to other kinds of self control as well. Losing weight, getting enough exercise, not buying the $4.99/lb cherries even though I really want them, putting down the book I'm immersed in and mopping the kitchen floor, blah blah blah.

On second thought I regret to say that I may need a new favorite quote. Pass the cherries.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Today is a milestone of sorts for my little blog. This is my 100th post since I've started, and it also falls on the three month anniversary of the very first posting. I think we need cake and streamers or at the very least some really boring introspection and dissection on the whole blog process. I promise not to babble too much. Really. Prop your eyes open, grab another cup of caffeine and let's go...

Shortly after I started doing this several people asked me why. (Translation: Why do you think anyone would want to read it?). And I had no concrete answer. (Translation: I didn't think anyone would read it either). I just knew I wanted to do something, and this seemed like a good idea at the time. My original purpose was to reconnect with people I had neglected, either through inertia, laziness or just plain life. And that's what happened. The bridges I wanted to be reestablished were, for the most part, and I felt relief that my olive branch was accepted. As time went on though, things kind of took on a life of their own and this blog started becoming very important to me, in ways I never would have imagined. It had met it's original purpose and than started shape-shifting on me. (Sorry, Harry Potter marathon!)

So what would my answer be now to the "Why" question? Well, first and foremost is that it's mine. There are so few things in my life that are really mine, and I'd forgotten how much I like having my own stuff. That book with my name in the front cover is being read by someone else and that furniture that I helped pick out is being trashed and that piece of pizza I hid in the fridge is being inhaled by someone else. My house is chaos, my kids are everywhere and there is no "mine". Virtually everything I do has to be considered as to how it will affect someone else, and if it's even worth it once other people start expressing an opinion.

But the blog...I can do anything I want. Bored with the color? Change it. New layout? Done. Produce verbal diarrhea on any subject known to man? I'm there. (Pretty sure I won't get any arguments here). It's mine mine mine and I love it. I have so little creativity in my day to day life anymore, and I'd forgotten how nice it feels to invent something from nothing. I can throw together a great meal and in fifteen minutes it's gone. And there's a mess to clean up. Paint a room a gorgeous color and then not be able to see it through all the video gaming equipment and empty Cup O' Noodles containers. But to go from wracking my brain for a topic to having something written, posted and responded to is wonderful. It stays the same unless I change it. And I've become quite addicted. There are endorphins flying around everywhere. (High above the stadium, searching for the golden snitch. Oops.)

And then there are the fellow blogsters. I've "met" some wonderful people on the web, and it never would have happened without our blogs. From Mya in France to Jen in Georgia to Stacie in California...I now follow their lives too, and sadly for them I feel free to comment as well. (Check out my new links on the sidebar). My friends (relevance and revolution) and family (cinamattographer and happy in the abyss) use our blogs as a way to communicate as well.

Now that I have a meter on the blog I can check to see who is actually stopping by to read it, and that's always fun, too. How many hits did I have on Monday compared to Thursday? Which posts get the most comments? (The Surfer Dude post is the most commented on, if anyone is interested). Which ones go clunk and head to that great blog junkyard in cyberspace? (Too many to count). How many people read regularly but don't comment? (That's okay, by the way. :o) I know you're there).

I'm having so much fun with this, I just can't tell you. It's filling needs I didn't even know I had. Thank you all for that. Thank you for your feedback and your encouragement and most of all for the fact that you're still reading this interminable ramble.

Now we can have cake.

Monday, June 25, 2007

a lazy list

List of things to do today

1. Start Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Jump up and down because now we're only 26 days away from Deathly Hallows.

2. Go through lost from last June's move box of living room decorations that I thought I'd never see again. My husband has been tackling the garage/studio and it's reappeared. Re-apparated?

3. Maybe take the kids swimming. Maybe not. Maybe take them for a shaved ice at a seasonal place here that serves about three thousand flavors of shaved ices and that my kids look forward to from the time it closes in October. Maybe not. Maybe yes though. They're pretty good.

4. Ponder for hours my lack of motivation in getting anything done or doing anything, for that matter. Reach no real conclusion, but consider the mental effort in trying to figure it out sufficient exercise.

5. Tennis, baby. My TV and I have a date.

6. Make some fabulous dessert because I have a terrible sweet tooth at the moment. Any suggestions? (This sounds suspiciously like work, now that I think about it. Maybe just a gallon of mint chip ice cream? I don't know what the rest of my family will have).

7. Wish Happy First Full Day as Fifteen year olds to my very favorite boy-girl twins in the whole world, Jack and Erin. Meant to say Happy Birthday yesterday...oops. Some Dude made me forget.

8. Thank the heavens for two days off work. I'm shot. Get it...shot...bad nursing pun. HA! (I obviously do need some rest).

9. Take a nap on a flatulent dog's belly. Take shallow breaths.

10. Write my blog. Done.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Wimbledon 2007

On the eve of this momentous day, let us all take a deep breath and say that most magical
of all words...


Or, as they say at the club, The All England Lawn Tennis Club or simply The Championships. The pinnacle of the tennis world for virtually any tennis player from virtually every country...and it starts tomorrow.


I fell head over heels in love with tennis when I was a kid and I have no idea what triggered it. No one we knew played then, although Southern California has always been a tennis mecca. I spent my days hitting balls against walls and rallying with my friends. I had posters of every tennis pro known to man on my bedroom wall. One year in Montessori school every biographical report I turned in was about a tennis player. My teacher lodged a half-hearted complaint with my mom but nothing changed. I was a kid obsessed. The highlight of my year was when the Virginia Slims women's tournament came to town and my mom took me to both the semis and the finals. Every single year. I practiced my Chris Evert two-handed backhand until my palms blistered. It was fabulous. (The experience, not my two-handed backhand).

I don't play that much anymore but I still adore watching it. I'll watch any podunk match I can, but I especially love the Grand Slams, the four major tournaments of the year. The Australian Open is in January and is very problematic, being seventeen hours ahead timewise. I've gotten up at three in the morning more than once to watch a particularly anticipated match. The French Open starts at the end of May and, due to the clay surface, often produces some unbelievable play. This leads into the grass court season, which of course culminates with Wimbledon. From there we go to the U.S. hardcourt season and in late August the U.S. Open, which produces the single best tennis day of the year on what they call Super Saturday, begins. This is the day where they schedule both men's semi-finals and the women's final. I call in sick to the world on this day, spending it in front of my TV more zoned out than any junkie. I would sell body parts to attend this in person and one of these days I will. The only place I'd rather be is...


I've been there, just not during the tournament. The Film Geek has actually been on Centre Court, the most famous tennis court in the galaxy, the day after the fortnight ended. It is the most I've ever envied him. This happened during a working trip to Europe where he got to visit a lot of countries I covet, but the Centre Court thing threw me over the edge. I finally understood his aggravation when I was working at Paramount and shared an office floor with the Star Trek:The Next Generation people, whom we saw constantly, whether we wanted to or not. Payback is truly a biatch.

The cool thing is that three of these Grand Slams are pretty close together, so once the French starts they come pretty fast and furious. I've always considered my June birthday to be kind of a tennis gift, because from the end of May to the middle of September is saturation time. And I'm ready to be saturated.

Maybe not as much as the gentleman above. He looks like he's had a few, doesn't he? I don't know what it is about this oh so proper old boy's club that attracts streakers the way Wimbledon does, but they're always good for a chuckle. I'm not sure the old boys are laughing, but the crowd seems to be enjoying it. Nice socks.
So...grab a cup of tea and some strawberries and cream and make yourself comfortable.

It's showtime.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

code pink

During the years I was popping out babies, I always hoped there would be a girl in there somewhere by the time I was done. This desire was based on lots of notions that may or may not be true, but I really hoped, each time that EPT turned blue, that there would an innie at the end of nine months instead of an outie. And as we know, it just wasn't meant to be. I reside in Boyville, a run-down suburb of Testerone Town, where the air is permanently filled with the funky smell of wet toilet seats and well-hidden science experiments. There is no pink in my house unless it's mine, and when my kids misbehave I tell them to expect a Malibu Barbie playset for their next birthday as penance. Works like a charm.

And the thing's okay. It really is. Somehow, over the years, the need for a daughter has gone away. I adore my stinky boys, no matter how much I bitch about them, and am grateful every day of my life that I have them around. I can overlook that sometimes when I'm removing forbidden dirty dishes from bedrooms, and listening to the repetitive whap whap whap of a soccer ball against the wall for hours on end, and when I'm being forced to watch people get to new levels of video games I don't give a rat's ass about and pretending to look interested. It really is okay with me that I don't have a girl.

Part of it is seeing what's going on with my friends and family who do have girls. It really is a different world out there and I'm not sure I'm cut out for it. I have a couple of surrogate daughters I can borrow for a few hours when the mood strikes, but when the estrogen levels get too high I can just send them on their way. I'm well schooled in boy drama, but girl drama, even though I am one, confuses me.

We've had a run of attempted suicides at work the last few weeks and they've all been girls. Girls who have broken up with their boyfriends or been dissed by a "best friend" or wanted badly to get their parent's attention somehow. Beautiful, intelligent, well-loved girls. Girls who come in on stretchers in a blare of sirens. Girls who are unconscious while their hysterical parents stand at the bedside and give police reports. We haven't had one succeed yet, but it's always in the back of my mind, taunting me. Most of the time they aren't even awake when we ship them to ICU or, god help me, peds, but I just want to shake them and ask them what the hell they were thinking. I at least want to share my personal mantra with them, maybe even at the top of my lungs...

There is no man on Earth worth dying for unless you gave birth to him. Period. If you don't have children (or sons) feel free to delete the second half of the sentence and I still stand by it. We had a grown woman with four small children come in OD'd with a note that thanked her cheating husband for finally giving her a reason to kill herself. WTF? This is how you pay him back? I believe in the Roseanne Barr theory - Stay alive and really make 'em suffer. Or here's a a dignified human being and get on with your life. Model that behavior for your kids. I'm not saying that all females get sucked into this destructive behavior, that's not my point at all. It's the internalization of feelings vs. the externalization that I'm talking about.

Now I'm the first to admit that I've never had a girl patient come in saying she'd been hit with a baseball bat because her friends wanted to see if it would hurt. Never had a girl patient cut by broken glass when she tied a brick to ceiling fan blades to see what would happen. Never once had a girl patient who ate a lit pack of matches on a dare. But we get a lot of boys (and very often men, sadly enough) who seem to think this is all par for the course. And while I think they're idiots I have enough boy experience to almost understand the thought process (or lack thereof).

But the girl drama? I just don't get it. At all.

Friday, June 22, 2007

sleepover blues

Why, yes. Yes, I did. And I may have another one tomorrow. Is that a problem?

Actually I may not have another one tomorrow. To start with I won't be tripping over prone post-sleepover/allnighter/computer and gaming geeks at the crack of dawn as I did just now. Dear god, they're everywhere - on the floor, on the couches, one is even still awake and on the computer, unaware that he's about to get the boot. And just when did my son's friends start having beards? And goatees? Or whatever trendy thing they're called now?

Tomorrow is a non-work day, which increases my odds of non-bitchdom. I'm more than ready to stop with this full-time work business. I think everyone involved believes that our lives are a lot easier when I'm only working part-time and am able to deal with all the house/kid/financial stuff on a daily basis. Summers are problematic though, since my husband teaches one summer session and that's it until late August. I have to work full-time if we plan to eat in July. Of course if you reread the last paragraph, you'll see that no food is not an option at the RC Flophouse. This year is going to be different, though. The magic date is July 23rd. That's the start date of the feature film the Film Geek is going to shoot. At that point he'll be working around the clock for four weeks and then will transition right back into teaching. I work on Sunday the 22nd and then officially go back to part-time nurse stooge. I can't wait. Sounds so melodramatic to say I'm counting the minutes...but I am.

And speaking of magic dates, July 21st, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. 29 days from now. Cannot wait for it. I'm about 50 pages into the third book in my ritualistic rereading of all the books to prepare for the new one. Admittedly this becomes a more daunting task with each addition. Toward the end of this process last time I actually began to have HP dreams. Kind of fun, actually.

Well, thank you all for reading my daily therapy session. You can send all your bills to my email address. I'll catch up with them on the 23rd.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Thursday Three

Today let's talk about...

My Three Favorite Comfort Foods

Now normally I'm more of a cold weather comfort food eater, but things have been stressful around here lately, and I find myself reaching out for my trusty stand-bys. It's funny, because no matter how "grown up" my taste buds have become, my most beloved comfort foods haven't changed in years. You could even call all three of them "kid foods" if you wanted to. Maybe that's part of the comfort appeal. Whatever it is, they usually do the trick.

#1. Mashed Potatoes. I like them kind of lumpy and with butter, salt and pepper. No gravy. If you're feeling especially in need of comforting you can even play with them for a while before you eat them. Gotta do something to cool them down, right? I don't make mashed potatoes a lot, to tell the truth, and when I do they've usually got something else in them, like roasted garlic or cheese. But I order them often whenever I'm eating at any restaurant that has diner-like tendencies. The cafeteria at work usually has pretty good mashed potatoes, and sometimes during a really insane day I'll run down for a quick take out and a sanity break. It usually fixes me right up.

#2. Peanut Butter. I could write a love poem to peanut butter. I love it that much. I prefer chunky, but I don't play favorites. We have a split household on chunky/creamy, so we always have both on hand. Sometimes if I can't make up my mind I put chunky on one side of the bread and creamy on the other and just slap 'em together. No jelly, just PB, although I do adore it with apple or pumpkin butter. The bread is absolutely non-essential too. Apple slices and bananas always taste better with a little smear. I have been known to just grab a tablespoon and get to business with the jar. If I'm really in the dumps and have some chocolate chips on hand I load up the spoon with PB and then dip it in the chocolate chips. Repeat as needed.

#3. Popcorn. The longest years of my life were when I had braces and couldn't eat popcorn, because this is my most favorite comfort food. No contest. I'm a purist, though. I'll eat microwave popcorn in a crisis, but I'd really rather not. I like it made in a real pot, with oil. I always intentionally scorch the bottom a little bit so there are some slighly burned kernels. Sprinke with seasoning salt (or red salt, as my kids call it) and eat the whole bowl. I don't like butter on popcorn and don't see the point of air popped. Lately, I've been lightly dusting it with chipotle powder and garlic powder and it's out of this world if you like spicy. When I'm home alone this is my lunch more days than not, and I can feel my blood pressure go down with the first handful. Never fails.

Does anyone else notice that this list appears to have been brought to you by the letter P? Strange, huh? So in keeping with the P theme...

People Please Publish Personal Preferences. Or as we say in non P-ville, let's hear about your favorite comfort foods...please?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Legend of Surfer Dude

I've known for a long time that there's something not quite right about Surfer Dude. It's hard for a mother to admit these things, especially about her baby, but there comes a time to face facts. This particular fact has been ten years in the making, and every day that passes adds luster to his resume. He was the most docile of my three during infancy and he's been making up for lost time ever since.

I bring this up now because of something he did last week. The day I came home after work sick, I collapsed on the sofa, SD at my side. As the room bobbed and weaved around me I heard him on the phone talking to his dad at work. In gruesome, and highly embellished details, he had me sounding as if I needed the quickest Life Flight out. He finished off with a cheery "Bye Dad, have a great night, don't worry about mom. I'll take care of her." It took me a minute to realize that the phone had never rung and he was fabricating the entire one-sided conversation just to see if I was paying attention. A little later he started talking absolute gibberish to absolutely no one, making me, in my feverish state, look blankly around the living room to see who the hell was in there. When I pointed out the sadistic aspects of his tactics he laughed lustily and then promptly fell asleep. He had done what he set out to do. I don't know what exactly he was trying to do, but evidently he felt he had done it.

This is the kid who once ate half a slug on a dare. The kid who slept with his hand down his pants, a la Al Bundy in Married With Children, until he was in third grade. The kid who drank lighter fluid, and while I was on the phone hysterical with Poison Control, cruised the patio with a slab of watermelon in one hand and the other hand...down his pants. On the subject of Poison Control there was the time he picked up the wrong tube in the bathroom and accidentally brushed his teeth with Ben Gay. That was the only time I've ever heard Poison Control laugh out loud. And on the subject of watermelon, there was the time he took a house key and pushed it all the way into the cut part of a big watermelon. As I was racing around like a crazy woman looking for the key, he casually suggested that I might want to check the watermelon. Yeah, that would've been the next place on my list to look. Recently, he's become a foodie (at ten) and wanders into the kitchen as I'm cooking to critique my technique and offer suggestions that would make his hero Anthony Bourdain blush. Every time he says "deglaze" or "amuse bouche" or "tartare" he beams like a shopaholic in Macy's . He's not a normal kid.

I could go on for hours, I really could. He is the biggest character I've ever known, and while that isn't always good it's often funny. There are two quintessential Surfer Dude stories, and here is one...

The weekend before we made the move from California, my folks had a huge going away party for us. The Film Geek drove the moving truck and my mom was going to fly out with me and the kids (ages 7, 3 1/2 and 2). As we were running around doing all the crazy last minute stuff, Surfer Dude wandered out onto the patio and found an empty Corona bottle that we had somehow missed after the party. For all you Corona innocents out there, the important thing to remember is that the bottle is clear. He picked up the bottle, looked at it and casually threw it. Over the fence and into the pool, where it hit the water in the shallow end and shattered, all the nice clear glass pieces sinking to the bottom. I watched him do this, but wasn't fast enough to stop him. He was already moving on to his next bit of mayhem within seconds. My mother was beside herself, thinking that Grampa Stu was going to blow a gasket. The other kids were beside themselves wishing they'd thought of it. I was beside myself on general principle. So, as our rides to the airport started to arrive, this was the scene that greeted them -

My mother was crying on the phone trying to explain everything to Stu, who was laughing hard enough to hear across the patio. I was stripped down to my panties and bra, and was in the shallow end of the pool with a snorkle and mask diving for glass pieces. And all the boys were trying to climb the fence to take one last California swim with Mom.

And as I sat on a plane in wet underwear for four hours all I could think was "Damn, I could use a Corona about now."

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Zombie, RN

Take a good look at the gal to your left because she could be my twin about now. Except that you wouldn't catch me dead in a cap. And I wear scrubs and my hair is usually pulled back. And I never went to dance school in the first place, much less zombie dance school, which is immediately obvious as soon as you see me on a dance floor. (Although, when I stepped in that huge puddle of pee at work the other day, I was doing dance moves of my own to stay upright as I skidded about four feet. If I hadn't grabbed on to the patient's IV tubing I'd have gone down). She may have better color than me though, now that I look closely. If you saw this walk into an exam room carrying a needle how reassured would you be?

I'm still trying to shake whatever that thing was that nailed me last week. It's mostly gone, but hovering just a bit in the form of off and on light-headedness. Very off and almost not at all on, but still strikes when you'd least like it to. Sunday, the last day I worked, was brutal, and is making me very apprehensive about going in for my next shift, which happens to In one hour and thirty three minutes, not that I'm keeping track. Oops, just had a little bout of brain wander and now it's one hour and twenty eight minutes. Can you feel my enthusiasm?

Oh well, better suck it up and go face the music. It's only twelve hours and then I have two beautiful days off. Hopefully it will be enough time to de-zombie myself. Or at least buy a cap.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Fun Never Stops

Aaah, yes, the annual exam. The highlight of any woman's year, the opportunity to renew acquaintance with instruments that could have been designed by the Marquis de Sade. How many of us write that appointment down on our calendars and look forward with anticipation to the day? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

You'd think with three kids I'd be over it, but it still isn't on my list of fun ways to spend a morning. Surely I'm not alone in this, am I? I'm constantly amazed at work by the women who continue chatting on their cell phones or with their boyfriends while we're doing a pelvic exam. I've even, so help me, heard them tell the doctor they were cute during the procedure. Eewww. He was cute, if you go for the Doogie Howser type, but still. Eewww. We ask the family to step out and the patient says "Oh, they can stay, they aren't going to bother me." Tell them you need to put in a catheter? No problem, just push mom out of the way and hand them the new copy of People. Five minutes after we're finished they ask if we're done yet. It's a nice little lack of attention to detail that I wish I had. Suffice it to say I don't.

The whole process is just icky, no matter how hard anyone tries to make it nicer. Yeah, okay, there's a cute kitten poster on the ceiling telling me to "Hang in There", but by the time I'm staring at the poster my brain is already going haywire. It's a bunch of factors. The whole prep thing, for instance. I don't have to shave my legs to go to the dentist. Then there's my fear of "routine procedures" to haunt me. I'm not a fan of routine procedures, having seen them go off-course more than once. Of course we have to factor in that I'm a world class hypochondriac. I'm always convinced they're going to find something wrong, ranging from a third ovary to erectile dysfunction. Vegas could book odds on me.

Well, I'm off. Gotta get this done so I can start looking forward to the mammogram.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Some Dude

Working in an Emergency Room and before that in a trauma ICU, I'm on a first name basis with Some Dude. Much like Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, he's everywhere, at all times, but unlike these postive icons Some Dude seems to have a more nefarious agenda.

Let me give you a scenario.

Patient comes into the ER with three gunshot wounds and a pocket full of cash. Lots of cash. More cash than I'll be seeing this pay period.

ER Doc: What happened?

Patient: I don't (deleted) know what the (deleted) happened. I was just (deleted) hangin' with my (deleted) boys.

ER Doc: And...

Patient: And then Some Dude (deleted) shot me. Shot me in the (deleted) (fill in the blank). I wasn't doin' a (deleted) thing.

ER Doc: Why do you have all this money in your pockets?

Patient: What (deleted) money are you talkin' about? (deleted) Some Dude must've been tryin' to (deleted) set me up. Make me look bad to my (deleted) boys. Only thing I had in my (deleted) pocket before was my grandma's (deleted) bible and now it's (deleted) gone.

Here's another example...

Guy comes in with an alcohol level off the charts and he's just been jumped. Reeks to the heavens and belligerent to boot.

ER Nurse: What happened?

Belligerent guy: What the (deleted) are you talkin' about (deleted)? I was on my way to (deleted) prayer group and Some Dude jumped on me and kicked my (deleted) (deleted).

ER Nurse: Was it someone you know?

Belligerent guy: (deleted), I never saw the dude in my (deleted) life. He just came out of (deleted) nowhere and (deleted) me up. And you know what else he did? He (deleted) stole my brand new bottle of Vicodin I just (deleted) got filled. Guess you need to (deleted) give me a new one, (deleted).

Not only is Some Dude everywhere, but he has a big family, too. This Dude gets around, as does That Bitch. Often they travel as a gang to prey on the unsuspecting innocent walking to church at three in the morning with one pocket full of cash and the other full of crack, meth or ammunition. As in, "I was mindin' my own business when Some Dude kicked me in the head and then This Dude took my money and then That Bitch drove off."

If you see any of these people I'd advise you to steer clear. Evidently, they're capable of anything. Whatever you do, protect your Bibles and your Vicodin.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

You're It!


It's a blogging first for me. I've been tagged by Daydreamsupercollider to list 8 Random Facts about myself. Then I get to tag 8 other bloggers to do the same. I'm not sure I know 8 other bloggers, but I'll try my best. If I tag you and you don't want to be tagged - sorry. Just know that I think it would be really fun to read your list. Also, I apologize in advance if any of these links don't work. Technology is not my middle name. But wouldn't it be nice...

My 8 random facts...

1. I'm a virtual life long Southern Californian who moved to the Midwest eight years ago.

2. I have a terrible nail biting habit that I am constantly trying to break.

3. I have a bad case of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder when I hear the words "Arsenio Hall".

4. I consider sarcasm to be my native tongue.

5. I'm terrified of Siamese cats.

6. I think Elizabeth Hurley is the most beautiful woman on the planet.

7. I would sell body parts to have written the screenplay for "When Harry Met Sally".

8. Today is my birthday. Honest!

Tag! You're It!

Lost In The Abyss

New 'Do

Relevance and Revolution


Missing You Already

Confessions of a Pioneer Woman

Boykins Old Hotel

heeeeere Storkey Storkey

Anyone else reading who doesn't have a blog can post here in comments. Come'll be fun.
P.S. And I've tried the links and they don't work...DRAT!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Postcards from the lake

Here is my mom trying to relax while my kids run around the dock screaming like banshees. Enjoy today's post while you can, because once she sees this picture I'm dead meat. (I think she looks great, but that won't save me from the concrete shoes routine). I just have two words for you, mom. Pajama picture. Don't you feel better now?

This is Sasquatch driving the Jet Ski for the first time. Amazing the difference happiness can make on the face of a scowly teenager. We did have a little dust up the last day because I wouldn't let him drive it without an adult on the back, but it all worked out eventually. He even swam in the lake, and enjoyed it to boot. I stand in awe and amazement.

Gumby loved the Jet Ski too. The driver is Tim, the fabulous neighbor who owns the boy's favorite new toy. Tim and his wife Robin live next door and are both absolute sweethearts. Out of the goodness of his heart Tim offered these rides on two different occasions and taught the two younger boys to fish. They followed him around like puppies. If puppies could fish anyway...

Surfer Dude, blissed out beyond words. You could hear him across the lake screaming for Tim to go faster. Then they played a game where Tim tried to buck him off by practically laying the craft down. It worked pretty well, to Surfer Dude's delight. The day before we left was a Saturday and there is always a lot more boat traffic on weekends, so the wakes are way bigger then. Tim took the boys out to experience it and they had a blast as he cut directly across the wakes, basically taking the Jet Ski totally out of the water. Do I need to tell you how this went over?

This was the Rotten Correspondent at the lake.

You didn't really think I'd out myself in a bathing suit picture, did you? Besides, there's an advantage to being the one behind the camera.

This was not me at the lake.

But it's a really cute postcard, isn't it?

Any questions?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Thursday Three

Three things I want today...

I don't want to have to call in sick. But I'm going to have to.

I want the room to stop spinning. But it won't.

I want to go back to bed. And I am.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Lure of the GoCarts

If you ask the kids one of the highlight of the trip is always the go carts. If you ask me the part of the trip I always dread is the go carts. Maybe it's the nurse in me, but I don't think so. I think it's just the paranoid mother in me, to tell the truth. But...every time we're at the lake the go carts come up. We stumbled on the track by accident on one of our earlier trips, and the kids begged and pleaded. I said Hell no, are you out of your minds? The next time we were there they all started in on me early about riding them. Finally, because I don't want to totally scar my children with some of my fears, I said yes. We went to the track and Sasquatch rode alone while Surfer Dude and Gumby rode as passengers with Stu and I. It went okay, although Stu made me look like a little old lady driving and the kids never let me forget it. The male need for speed gene is definitely present in my home.

It was during the next lake visit that the event I was dreading took place. They each wanted to drive alone. No adults in the cart to steer, brake or scream in terror. We would have to do that from the stands, the screaming part anyway. It was pretty much set up to be three minutes from hell for me, made worse by my recent work experiences. I was still in a trauma ICU and had for weeks been taking care of a grown man in a coma from a go cart accident. Now I'll grant you that his story was different. He was on private land in a personal vehicle traveling at a high speed and with not a single piece of safety equipment to be found. His go cart had flipped and crushed him. It would not be a story with a happy ending for him, and as one of his primary nurses it was no walk in the park for me either. Putting my kids in one of these deathtraps didn't make me happy, even though all the safety measures in place were hard to miss, even for me. (Did you know that they actually put airbags in these things?) But, to repeat my theme, I don't want to pass all of my fears along to my kids, since one of my worries is that if I totally restrict them they'll become daredevils just to spite me. Surfer Dude in particular is fearless, and could take several years off my life if he chose to. I’m trying not to push him down that road.

So they got on alone, started their engines and took off grinning and waving. Surfer Dude wiped out on a turn and spun his car around hard enough to knock his helmet off. Come to find out later that it wasn't even buckled. The whole time they were driving I was pacing and saying my version of a Hail Mary. Except for that one incident it went fine and they were full of themselves for how well they had done. I went back to the cabin, drank a bottle of wine and tried to forget. Last summer they got to do it again and once more did beautifully. I covered my eyes with my hands, they drove, all ended well. I might still have gone back to the cabin and drank a bottle of wine, but hey, it took a lot out of me just to let them do it. Now that they were gaining confidence it just made me more convinced that they were going to start pushing the envelope. (You know, the envelope containing the copy of my obituary from where I dropped dead from a heart attack on a go cart track).

And then we come to this trip. The two younger boys wanted to play putt putt golf, so we went to the go cart track at the putt putt place. It was a track they'd never been on and it was different, more of an up and downhill figure eight than the banked oval they were used to. There were two other boys on the track and we stood with their dad to watch the show. The track attendants carefully strapped all the kids in, meticulously adjusting straps and helmets. My boys had already set themselves up to be the neurotic out of towner tourists by requesting safety helmets to wear. In the Ozarks wearing pink tights and a bra would be less of an admission of being a sissy momma's boy, but they wore them without complaint. I do get my way on some things and my absolute inflexibility on helmets is one of those things.

Good thing they did, too. Sasquatch hit a wall and spun around at exactly the right angle for Gumby to T-bone him. Surfer Dude, bringing up the rear, almost managed to avoid them but ended up slamming into Gumby who then plowed into Sasquatch again. This all happened in a matter of seconds, and of course it happened on the far curve of the track, in a place we could barely see and not get to. We watched the crash happen and heard the sickening crunch as my heart did one of those fall out of an airplane plunges. As the track workers headed over we waited for the kids to get out of their cars and brush themselves off. I started pacing.

Nobody moved. Nobody made a sound.

I barged through the security entrance and onto the track as the attendants started moving a lot faster toward the wreck. My mom was calling out to me asking me if I could see them. I couldn't. I was about twenty feet up the track when the manager tried to throw me off for “liability reasons”. I was still arguing with him when I saw Gumby get out of his cart and head shakily down the hill. He headed toward me telling me he was okay and so was Surfer Dude, but that he couldn't see Sasquatch. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Sasquatch start talking to one of the workers. As I slowly moved off the track I could see them separate the cars and start to herd them back to the starting line. Gumby said he didn't want to get back in and the manager told me that Sasquatch said he was done too. Surfer Dude, unsurprisingly, was ready for another twenty laps. At the highest speed possible. His brothers may have given in to sanity, but he was above all that. They were all, thankfully, unhurt, although Surfer Dude's airbag did deploy.

That's when I took a deep breath and told Gumby and Sasquatch that they should get back in their carts and finish their turn. I knew that the longer they had to obsess over the crash the more they would freak themselves out, and that by the time we're back next month they would be petrified. Now I could care less if they ever go cart again, but I would like to not subject my kids to any more paralyzing fears than I already do, so I encouraged them to get back on the horse, so to speak. They did, and finished their rides uneventfully. I mentally chugged a bottle of wine while they drove. It didn't help.

Sasquatch felt terrible that he had started the chain of events that triggered the whole thing, but I told him honestly that he shouldn't blame himself. These things happen and guilt is pointless. My mom paid for another round for the two other kids driving, since they were really good sports about having their ride interrupted for the crash. I'd like to think next time we're there they might want to do something else instead of the go carts, but something tells me this is unlikely. The seed has been planted.

Better stock up on wine.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I'd like to buy a U...

Well, there really isn't anything like hitting the ground running, is there? Took my mom to the airport yesterday morning and drove straight back into a morass of errands and to do lists and empty refrigerators and uncooperative checking accounts that appear to be a decimal point off. Ick. It's hot and humid to add to the joy. Wouldn't a lake breeze feel good right about now?

My sweet Isaiah, The Most Perfect Dog In The World, was very happy to see me Sunday and is still hot on my heels today. Wherever I am there he is. Problem is that when he's excited that little intestinally challenged issue tends to come up and my entire house now smells like the wrong end of a porta potty and death smoothie. All day yesterday the sounds of "Oh, Isaiah!" rang through the air, accompanied by the clatter of running feet. I keep telling anyone who will listen that this is a but a tiny flaw to keep him humble in his perfectness, but the gagging noises drown me out. You'd think I'd get a little sympathy since I'm always the closest one to the epicenter, but evidently not. Poor that the face of a deliberate toxic cloud?

Speaking of toxic, Sasquatch got his report card while we were gone. Photography, which had been (along with AP Biology) the big bad monster this semester ended up with a grade of...F. Lots of F words come to mind as I ponder this. First, since this is the first time we've had this happen here. Flatulent, as in my poor nearly perfect farty furry friend. Failure, which is not a word anyone likes to connect with their firstborn child. (Or any of the later ones, either). Freud, because as his father the Film Geek says, nothing says I hate you dad quite like failing Photography, of all the god forsaken subjects. Hmmm, dad is a tenured professor in film at the university level and does pretty well with freelance film projects as well. What would Freud say? On the whole I think Freud was a horse's ass, but I'd still like to hear his take on this. Finally, as this appears to have at last gotten the child's attention. Then, of course, there's the obvious F word that has gone through my head forty four times this paragraph. I suppose I should be grateful he pulled out a pass in Biology, but to get an F for missing work makes me FURIOUS. In Photography?

F_CK. Would anyone like to buy a vowel?

P.S. Happy Belated Birthday, Stu!!

Monday, June 11, 2007

A Room With A View

Here is the view from where I sat on the dock writing.

This is how it looks from the deck and is what I see almost first thing in the morning when I wake up.

Do you wonder why technology hasn’t seemed so important?

It really is amazing how quickly you can forget about the real world here. It feels a lot more remote than it actually is. Mostly because it’s so secluded. From the cabin you can be in town in about seven minutes, but the trip is across windy country roads and it feels like you’re meandering through a very lush forest. There are some houses but not a bunch and there isn’t a lot of traffic. Any other car on the road, however, is guaranteed to be right on your butt because the local traffic always seems a little impatient about how the tourists drive. That speed limit sign looks pretty cut and dried to me but they seem to take it as a suggestion rather than an edict.

The town in all its gas station/bait shop/fast food glory isn’t much to write home about but it could certainly be worse. We’re not on the touristy side of the lake, thank God. You can walk fifty feet without tripping over a drunken frat boy which is more than I can say for the “party” side of town. I might have enjoyed it for a weekend twenty years ago but now it makes me tired just to watch them in action. Call me old but some pimply faced guy calling me “dude” just isn’t a turn-on.

The thing that is so blissful is the feeling of being in the middle of nowhere. I guess that’s the eternal appeal of a vacation but in a place this “remote” it’s even more. No cell phones. No internet. No cable. No “technology” to speak of. Yes, I’m fully aware that I’m writing on my mother’s laptop and the digital camera hasn’t been cold all week and that even the supermarkets have WiFi capabilities and that the rides on the neighbor’s jet ski were drop-dead fabulous and that the kids were duking it out over the 360 but you get the idea. Call it Technology Light, if you will but we all survived, quite well, thank you. Tune in this week for a recap of our lake adventures.

And now we’re home. Back to reality. Damn.

Monday, June 4, 2007

I'll be back...

Well, here I've spent the last two months getting in the habit of posting something every day and now I'm off for six days with no internet. It hurts, I tell you, but I'm sure I'll survive. I'm more concerned for the people who will be cooped up in a cabin with me and no outlet available for my stream of consciousness diarrhea of the mouth. They'll be in a world of hurt for sure, and you should throw very good thoughts their way. I think we all know that they'll need them.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead of them. Remember to check next Monday for a vacation recap. I'm sure by then I'll be in some kind of withdrawal, unless I can find a Blogger's 12 Step program at the lake. "Hi, my name's Julie and I just can't stop telling people about all the trivial details of my life. No matter how hard they beg"

This will be me...

Stop by next week and save me from myself. Please.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

a little whine with that?

I don't want to go to work.
I have too much to do.


An hour of laundry folding barely made a dent. No one is packed and I'm not even totally sure where the suitcases are. We can't find our copy of the first Harry Potter and the library is picked clean. The dogs need flea dipping and I'm trying to use up all of our farmer's market produce before we leave and I have no idea why I put those two sentences together.

I don't want to go to work.
I have too much to do.


Saturday, June 2, 2007

Summertime and The Easy Living Myth

"Michael," ten year old Surfer Dufe said dismissively to his sleeping over best friend, "You don't even know what a hooker is."

And so begins another Saturday at chez Rotten Correspondent.

We have been on a seemingly never ending sleepover roll for days. A just finished game of outdoor hide and seek has added to the geologic mud layer on my floors. The two youngest kids are sunburned because their loser of a mother forgot sunscreen at the pool Thursday. My cell phone is dead from a leaky water bottle. Our living room smells like a landfill and looks worse. The Film Geek is shooting all day today and I'm working all day tomorrow and we leave for the better part of a week Monday morning for the lake. The laundry pile has it's own zip code and there is a pair of Sasquatch's shoes with a stench that could be used to perpetuate the war on terror. And it just won't stop raining.

It must be summer vacation.

Vacation was a lot more fun when I wasn't working. Now it just makes me pissy. I'm tired of stepping over smelly teenage boys passed out in front of the 360 with pizza dribbled down their shirts and pop cans still in hand when I'm on my way to work at six in the morning. I'm exasperated by children who are too tired to clean up their mess but have the energy to practice their goal kicks against the side of the house for two hours, no matter how many times I tell them to stop. I'm sick of every single piece of dropped clothing being "not mine".

I'm ending with a retelling of a just happened event. Gumby, in a head lock, is pounding on the (glass) front door. Surfer Dude, of the head locking arms, is screaming that his soccer ball has been kicked across the street, by guess who? Michael, the sleeping over friend who doesn't even know what a hooker is, is on the porch swing applauding the accuracy of the head lock. When I fling open the door (in my bathrobe), Surfer Dude accidentally stomps on my bare foot with his big ol' boat tennis shoes when he throws Gumby onto the hard wood floor. I stop shouting at the kids long enough to wave at the elderly neighbors walking cautiously by. And when I get the kids in the house and read them the riot act, they tell me that I'm being unreasonable.

Is it August yet?

Friday, June 1, 2007

The Family Message Blog

I've discovered that if you play your cards right you can make this whole blogging thing work pretty well for you. It can stop being a fun little pasttime that makes you sit on the computer for hours while your poor children plead ridiculous excuses like term papers, and actually start earning its keep as a hard-working family member. In short, it starts paying big dividends on itself.

Here's how it works. Take two people who are married (preferably to each other) and have them each start a blog. It helps if they're both posting about day to day events and thoughts/opinions/rants, but it isn't an absolute necessity. The important thing is that they are both interested in and willing to read the other person's blog. Then comes the huge payoff moment.

You never have to talk to each other again.

It's brilliant. It's cost effective. (Think of all the dry erase markers you don't have to buy). It's even environmentally friendly. (Think of all the carbon dioxide that talking releases into the atmosphere). In all modesty, it is simply without a flaw, and I'm making room on my mantle for my Nobel Peace Prize whenever it should arrive. There's not a married woman in the world who wouldn't nominate me. Probably not too many married men either for that matter. It works without a hitch, at least in my house.

Take Wednesday for example. I picked up a 3-11 shift at work and the Film Geek was home with the kids. At some point in the day he got work news that has the potential to change his whole summer schedule around, but since I wasn't here he couldn't tell me. (He might have been a little nervous as well, since it was also my schedule that was getting jerked around. But I digress). So he blogged about it. I woke up yesterday morning as he was on his way out to a meeting, but when I got on the computer I read his blog and now had the whole story. It works on my end too, since I tend to write a lot when I get home from work late at night and can't sleep for hours because I'm too wired. He'll read my blog to see how my day went, because lots of times I can write about it but can't talk about it. I never said I was normal. I want you all to remember that. The day I had the really bad headache I felt too rotten when I got home to even mention it, so I didn't. I blogged, because I was still wide awake, but went to bed early. The next morning I woke up to him hovering over me asking how my head felt. It's the computer equivalent of telepathy. He is out of nowhere quoting things I told him fifteen years ago and never heard another word about, but now that I've blogged about it, all of a sudden it takes on a new importance. We say what we want, get to finish entire sentences and don't have to worry about someone taking offense at our tone.

Seriously, how easy is that? It's the ultimate in lazy marital communication. We even argue with each other through the comments section. Our little Dirty Dancing drama was played out for the world on the internet, and we didn't even care. We played a lot nicer with an audience than we would've in private.

Laugh if you will, but I think I'm on to something here. Oh, and honey...I know you'll be reading this while I'm at work, so could you bring the trash cans in? And check the dog's food and water? I looove you...