Thursday, December 25, 2008

the big day finally arrives

Happy holidays to all. May they be everything you want them to be...and more.

We're off to the lake tomorrow to celebrate with my folks, so I'll touch base next week.

Happy Happy Joy Joy!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

out of curiosity

Hypothetically speaking...

How long should you give yourself to come up with a post idea once you've actually sat down at the computer? How many times might you get distracted by word games on Facebook, or a Scrabble game where you're getting your shorts handed to you, before you give up on the post and call it a night? How many times is too many to check your Yahoo account, or the local newspaper headlines - which oddly enough haven't changed a bit since you checked them three minutes ago? Head over to the Trader Joe's website to find that in the 24 hours since you've last looked, they're still not planning a store in your area, casually make sure you aren't a Missed Connection on Craigslist, check your pending auctions on eBay, look into your stats on Site Meter, read a bunch of posts by people who can actually write on Bloglines, make sure there haven't been any earthquakes in California or that there aren't any snowstorms heading your way...and then, still with no idea at all of what to write, repeating the whole cycle?

Hypothetically speaking...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

older and wiser?

Well, let me see.

There was the time I tore a ligament in my foot doing Jane Fonda aerobics and refused to not finish the class. I ended up on crutches for weeks, and I swear I can sometimes feel that very same ligament twinge. That one I can chalk up to being young and stupid.

Then there was the time I tried to slice my thumb off while cutting up food for my then pet parrot. Several hours of microsurgery and hundreds of stitches later, my "reward" is a scar on my left hand that is quite the attention grabber. I can blame that one on handling carbon steel knives without enough caffeine running through my system. And being young and stupid.

I once waded through a flooded house and grabbed at the handle of a still plugged in fridge. Bad idea. (Young and really stupid). At my dad's house, I turned the gas up too high on the gas grill and ended up burning off my left eyebrow and all of my eyelashes when it ignited on me. (Young, stupid and funny looking). This was the same grill, now that I think about it, where I once absent-mindedly flipped a steak over onto my other hand and gave myself second degree burns. This happened the day before I was going home to California, so I spent the entire plane flight with my hand stuck in a big cup of ice water. (Young, stupid and clumsy).

There was the great Entertainment Center Throwdown of 2007, which left me with a scar on my shinbone from knee to ankle. And the time I got dragged half a block by a German Shepard on a cat finding expedition, taking all the skin off both knees. And the time the above mentioned parrot tried to stop himself from falling off of my shoulder by grabbing onto my nose with his beak. That wasn't pretty. Who knew a nose could make a noise like that? I could go on, but I think I've made my point. You could sell tickets to a guided tour of the scars on my body.

But I'm making a lot of changes in my life, and not repeating past mistakes, so I thought I'd try something new this time. This time I figured I'd hurt myself and not leave a permanent mark. I wanted to lay the Young and Stupid mantle to rest and start working on Older and Wiser. This may be a very long process.

Today - two weeks and four days after Dee Dee the wonder dog knocked me down the stairs, eight twelve hour shifts under the bridge, many Christmas shopping trips finished, three quarters of a bottle of Lortabs and countless Ibuprofens later - I finally went to the doctor. It took a co-worker picking up the phone and dialing the number for me (and then standing there while I actually made the appointment). If stupidity was a sport, I'd be a gold medallist.

My ankle is fractured. Distal fibula, to be exact. It's not a huge break - both the ER doc and the radiologist missed it, probably because of the swelling. But it's damn clear now. The good news is that it's a break that can heal even when bearing weight, as long as it's supported by my lovely ankle boot. The bad news is that the ortho doc sat across from me with a work release form and said "Tell me what you want and I'll write it. Do you want off work for the next six weeks? Do you want to work half-shifts? Quarter? Name it and it's yours."

And I said, "Oh, it's okay. I'll be all right working."

Old and stupid? You be the judge.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

a weekend off??

I guess we're coming into the time of year where blogging may get a little spotty - and I guess I'm starting right now. I'll be back Monday or Tuesday, but at the moment I'm just overwhelmed. All it took was one sick kid today to upset the balance, and to be quite honest, I think it says somewhere in my mommy contract that a puking kid takes precedence over posting. I should have looked more closely at that thing before I signed it.

Don't get too excited - I'll be back.

Friday, December 19, 2008

some cheese with that?

Well, well. It looks like my super downer of a post Lost Time co-won a Post of the Week. Many thanks to Elizabeth for the nomination. Can I just tell you how much I appreciate that?? Mwah!

And that's my post for tonight. No awards for this one, trust me. I've had a very stressful day at work - the first of four in a row. There's an ice storm heading our way and my kids are bouncing off the walls over the hope of a snow day. I walked in the door to Surfer Dude having a meltdown over a book report due tomorrow that ultimately ended with me typing it all out for him because of a computer snafu. And at the risk of being a big old whiner, my foot is fricking killing me. It hurts worse now than it did when I originally hurt it. Our ER docs are telling me I need to go to an orthopedist. (Orthopod?) Whee. Considering that I'm working six out of the next eight days, that doesn't seem bloody likely, does it?

Is there an award for the whiniest blogger? If there is...sign me up.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Thursday Three

What's a holiday without cookies? What's a Thursday without T3? And thanks to Susan, aka My Two Cents for the idea of combining the two.

Favorite Holiday Cookies (and a recipe or two)

#1. Shortbread. This recipe came from my friend Monique a long, long time ago, and it's still my favorite shortbread ever. Absolutely delicious. And easy. Did I mention easy?

Monique's Scotch Shortbread

5 oz. softened sweet butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour

Mix. Press in pie pan. Prick top all over with a fork. Bake 30 minutes at 325 degrees. Cut warm. Sprinkle with sugar. Eat the whole pan. (Oh, alright. I added that last part).

#2. Pfefferneuse. Well, specifically Trader Joe's Pfefferneuse. For years, we would get care packages from my mom -either through the mail or in person. The Pfefferneuse season at TJ's usually runs from right before Thanksgiving to New Years. I don't know what it is that makes these so good, but for the entire month of December my family runs around with powdered sugar rings around our mouths. Not this year, though. In the great TJ's Pfefferneuse shortage of 2008 (why would I expect anything less this year, seriously?) they changed their packaging and ran out almost immediately. We have a recipe to try at the lake next week. Cross your fingers.

#3. Gingersnaps.
We all love gingersnaps, and these are the best I've ever had. The fact that they're low-fat is a complete bonus. We don't normally dip them, but if you have the desire, it just makes them twice as good. We made a batch of these this week and Gumby and Surfer Dude took them in to class "just because". Surfer Dude was thrilled when his teacher threatened him with repeating sixth grade unless he brought in more cookies.

Funny aside about these cookies. I use a lot of spices in my cooking and have a pretty comprehensive spice cupboard. The turnover is pretty high, since I believe what I read about spices losing their flavor over time. But I had bought a restaurant supply size bottle of ground ginger which continued to smell and taste just fine. I used it rarely, because with most things needing ginger I used fresh. Well, we used the last three teaspoons of it in these cookies - and it was the end of an era. We had moved this bottle of ginger to Kansas with the summer of 1999.

That's some seriously potent stuff.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

for my third trick

Years and years ago, back when I was in college the first time, a boyfriend and I went white water rafting in Northern California for the weekend. On the last day, we decided to try something different and went inner tubing instead. Sounds simple on the surface. Instead of being in a multi-person raft in the rapids, you're in a single person inner tube barreling toward...something. And you're doing it fast.

Somehow we ended up taking the wrong fork of the river, and what did we see ahead of us but a dead tree laying directly across the water we were speeding over. A nasty splat seemed inevitable. I've blocked out exactly how this happened, but one of us decided that the best thing to do was to try to grab a low hanging branch to stop ourselves. So we did. The folly of this was apparent immediately, as we clung to dear life on the branches with our upper bodies, while our lower bodies were almost horizontal from the force of the water.

As we hung on - damned if we did and damned if we didn't - I turned to him and said, "I can see the newspaper headline now. Stupid Southern Californians Rescued from Tree on the American River."

Needless to say, we survived. But today this Stupid Southern Californian drove the interstate during a snowstorm. And even though the only similarity with the first episode is that I spent the day writing newspaper headlines in my mind, there is one thing that comes to mind. The process. Sometimes it's all in how you get there.

When we woke up this morning it was to many inches of snow and more in the forecast. When I drove my kids to school, I slipped and slid all over the place. When I stopped to think that I needed to drive the hour each way to pick up Mom and Stu at the airport, I got a little antsy. I'm not a good snow driver. I've actually had friends force me out of the drivers seat of my own car so they could take over. The fact that I was facing oncoming traffic at the time was not lost on me.


I timed my day to run a couple of errands, pick up Surfer Dude from school early to go with me, and hit the road. At the appointed time, I trudged out of the house, all babushked up, started my car and pulled out the window scraper. By the time I was done I was cold and wet, and my right foot, daintily ensconced in an open toed to the knee walking boot, was covered in snow. If you're going to tweak your ankle, I highly recommend winter time for it. Warm toes are completely overrated. I went to climb back in the car and head out.

The door was locked. The door that is supposed to be unable to lock with the keys in the ignition unless you're in the car...was locked. And all of its little door friends - in solidarity - were locked as well.

And my keys were in the car.

Which was still running.

And so was my phone.

And I don't stash a spare house key under the mat.

And thanks to Sasquatch, I only have one car key.

And I needed to be on the road in thirty minutes.

Today's headline: Stupid Kansan Wishes She Was Still On the American River.

To make a long story short, I ended up walking to Gumby's school and getting his key. (Three and a half blocks each way). Then I tore the house apart looking for the spare keyless remote for my car that the FX gave me back when he moved out. Found that and got in the car. Which had miraculously not been stolen. Picked up Surfer Dude more or less on time, and was so stressed out from all of that that I barely even noticed that I was slipping and sliding all over the interstate. Picked up the folks, came home, made dinner, climbed into bed, and am just now able to feel my toes. Note to self: tomorrow try four pair of socks on right foot instead of three.

The major piece of good news in this whole scenario was provided by my back door. For months I've been griping that the door doesn't close right and that any moron on a mission would be able to kick in my door in about four seconds flat. Well, I stand corrected. The moron on a mission today couldn't make the door budge.

Even with the kick-ass ankle boot.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

talk is cheap

Sasquatch: Mom, can I have some money to go downtown? Can we go out to dinner instead of making it? Can't we just order a pizza? I'm tired of pasta (chili, stir-fry, soup) - I want meat. Lots and lots of meat. Can I have two people over to spend the night on Friday? Yes? Can I have three? Four? Five? Will you drive me to the comic book store so I can buy a pack of Magic cards? Will you give me the money to go to the comic book store so I can buy a pack of Magic cards? Will you drive to the ATM to get the money to give me so I can go to the comic book store and buy a pack of Magic cards? Whaddya mean it's nasty outside? It's not an actual blizzard. It's only fifteen below. I don't need a jacket. I have a hoodie. It's not even cold out there. You're such an alarmist. (and so on and so on and so on until I want to scream).

Gumby: So I'm building this alternate world in my computer game and I'm having trouble with the Derschnitzes. Whaddya mean you don't know what a Derschnitz is? I've told you a whole bunch of times. The Derschnitzes are the ones who exploded the universe and killed all the Hobblegangers before the fall of the Weebleblitzers. Whaddya mean you don't remember the Weebleblitzers? They're the ones who threw a flameball the size of Wyoming into the den of the Boobiebuckers until they finally gave in and brought them the head of the king of the Whosiewhatsis on a platter. Why do you have so much trouble keeping this all straight? It's really simple. Here, I'll explain it all from the beginning. (and so on and so on and so on as my eyes glaze over).

Surfer Dude: What would you rather do? Go without food for a year or not be allowed to go to the bathroom? How about this? Would you rather eat a maggot covered rotten banana or a live spider rolled in poop? Would you rather be locked in a trunk for a week or nailed in a closet? Would you rather have a finger or a toe chopped off? If you had to give one of us up for adoption which one of my brothers would it be? What's your favorite place you've ever been? Why? If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be? Why? What's the maddest you've ever been? Why? What's the best movie you've ever seen? Why? What's your favorite Beatles song? Why? Who was the best teacher you ever had? Why? Why do you have that look on your face? Does something hurt? (and so on and so on and so on until my head explodes).

I always said I wanted verbal kids.


Monday, December 15, 2008

give peace a chance

Sometimes it's easy to spin your wheels endlessly and just hope to god you get through the day. A lot of days are like that, actually. Of course, this time of year is notorious for making even the calmest and most easy going people (present company definitely excluded) feel like they're in a dawn to dusk free fall. It's not a nice feeling, as I'm sure we can all attest. And the harder you try to break the cycle, the more the fates seem to delight in showing you - yet again - that you just have to suck it up and muddle through. These are truly the days where life seems like all work and no joy.


Sometimes in the chaos, there's a moment. A moment that seems to sneak through all the crap and bring with it a shining glimmer of contentment. These are almost always small moments, borne of small things. A slice of clarity in a crazy world. A reason to get up the next day. A sense of peace. I love those moments. One of them can keep me going for days. And I had one tonight.

We had a busy day. A good day, but full. All kinds of holiday stuff on top of the usual getting ready for the week, plus my folks are coming Tuesday and my ankle is still tweaked so I'm slow and the weather has not been our friend and a million other little details. One by one, we tackled everything we needed to do. Got the tree. Hauled all the decorations down from the storage loft in the garage. Laundry. Groceries. Stacked firewood. Bagged leaves. Dinner. Collapse.

Freshly showered and in my most comfortable pajamas, I climbed into bed, newly made up with just out of the dryer bedding. My mega mug of steaming decaf chocolate hazelnut tea was on the bedside table. The apple pie from dessert was sitting snugly in my belly. My sweet dog was curling up around my feet, resting his nose against my toes with a sigh. Kids were either showering or on their way to bed. Outside, the wind roared and the sleet slapped against my windows. I felt like all was right with the world. I felt warm, I felt indecently cozy, I felt...peace. And from such ordinary, run of the mill things.

These may be small moments, but they're wonderful nevertheless.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

$30/30 days

Has anyone else seen the story that's been circulating recently about the two married high school teachers in Southern California who gave themselves a food budget of $30 each for a month? For the month of September they spent $60 total on food - three meals a day for two people for thirty days. And they blogged about it, too. It's a very interesting read, if you have the chance. And not terribly long either.

According to their story, there was no political agenda behind this. They just wanted to see if they could. The rules were minimal - ramen noodles only when absolutely necessary, attempt a varied diet, any "freebies" they ate had to be available to everyone (such as fast food hand outs like ketchup and maple syrup). I got the impression that part of their motivation was to make people think about what and how they ate, and the fact that a huge number of people eat this way not to challenge themselves, but because they have to.

I've got to say - it sure made me think. Like an armchair quarterback, I found myself thinking of what I'd do differently. Things I'd eat that they never even contemplated. Ways to buy food cheaper so you could eat more for less. Bulk cooking to provide more variety and be less time consuming. In my head I worked out the whole scenario as it would apply to my family.

And then I remembered. One dollar per person per day. For a month.

More power to them. But count me out.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

on tape

What's the proper answer for the following scenario?

You've removed an IV from a patient in readiness to discharge them. This, unfortunately, involves a fair amount of tape pulling which admittedly doesn't feel great. The patient - college aged, preppy and surrounded by her sorority friends - has howled and cried her way through the tape and IV removal, at one point pitifully imploring me to "just get it out". One friend is stroking her head and another is grasping her hand. By the time we're done (thirty seconds), she's in tears.

She then proceeds to ask me my opinion of drug-free and natural childbirth. (Out of nowhere. No context whatsoever). At my baffled face, she informs me that even though she is years away from having children, she knows that she won't consider any kind of drugs at all in her labor and is already filing away information about how to go about this. Clearly, the fact that I'm wearing a stethoscope makes me some sort of labor and delivery expert, and she expects some kind of a relevant answer.

Would you go with:

A. It's totally your choice how you have your baby - whenever that may be.

B. You have plenty of time to think about this. No need to make a decision right now.

C. Let me give you my phone number so you can call me when you go into labor - because this I've got to see.

There's an epidural riding on the answer.

Friday, December 12, 2008

analyze this

This is kind of interesting. I'm not sure I agree with it, but it's still fun.

Here's what it came up with for this blog:

ESFP - The Performers

The entertaining and friendly type. They are especially attuned to pleasure and beauty and like to fill their surroundings with soft fabrics, bright colors and sweet smells. They live in the present moment and don´t like to plan ahead - they are always in risk of exhausting themselves.

They enjoy work that makes them able to help other people in a concrete and visible way. They tend to avoid conflicts and rarely initiate confrontation - qualities that can make it hard for them in management positions.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Thursday Three

Perhaps you all overlooked my plea last week for Thursday Three ideas? Hmm? Oh, well. You're stuck with this today. Consider it incentive for next week.

Three Things I (Stupidly) Refuse To Spend Money On Unless I Absolutely HAVE To

1. Parking. I have a parking meter aversion that I can't seem to shake. Unless the weather is horrific or I have a whining kid in the car, I'll park blocks away to avoid a meter. (Or a funky ankle, but that's another post). This meter phobia was a lot worse in LA, but is still something that I have to deal with in Liberal Collegeville. What makes this just plain stupid is the fact that you can park downtown for two hours for fifty cents - not a sum that is going to break the bank.Even my bank.

And if your meter runs out and you get a ticket? Two dollars. The first time I got one, I swore until I saw the amount. I looked for extra zeros. Then I laughed out loud. Two dollars. That's not something you'll see in LA. Maybe two dollars a minute.

2. Stamps. Almost all of my bills get paid on-line or by automatic withdrawal, both to save time and money. Most of my personal correspondence is done by e-mail or on the phone. And although I aspire to sending personal little notes and cards by mail, I almost never do. So I very rarely have stamps in the house, and hate buying them with a passion. Like the meters, forty two cents is not a big deal, so I don't have a clue what my problem is.

Unfortunately though, there are things that can't be done on-line or in person - things like legal documents and medical bills. For those things you need stamps, so I'll bite the bullet and go out and buy them. But only the amount I need. (This is especially stupid because I keep extras of everything on hand. I hate running to the store for every little thing. Evidently, this doesn't apply to stamps).

Today, however, I had to mail two things and I bought six stamps. Woo Hoo. Maybe she's finally seeing the light, folks.

3. Bagged Salad. We eat a lot of salad. For a long time we couldn't find the lid to the salad spinner. And I hate wet lettuce. This is a bad combination all around. The obvious answer was to either buy a new salad spinner or bagged, already washed, lettuce. Well, lets go for the not obvious. I kept buying lettuce (romaine, our very favorite) and washing it. Then I would struggle to get it dry enough to make me happy - an impossibility. I would think of this every time I passed the pretty little expensive bags of salad in the produce aisle, but I still wouldn't buy them. (I buy bagged spinach every week as part of my "staples" list. I have no idea why I consider that different). Finally last week I couldn't take it anymore. I broke down and bought a new salad spinner.

And a big head of romaine.

Your turn.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

our regularly scheduled programming

Sorry. It's Holiday Bunco night and I've just rolled in the door, long after midnight. Yikes. In light of the fact that I currently have 80 proof blood, how about we just agree to come back for tomorrow's post?

Trust me. It's better this way.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

lost time

The sound of the helicopter landing outside was growing louder as all of us in the room scurried around. The man on the bed had woken up this morning the same way he always did, with no clue that the day would take the turn it did. In two minutes, we would load him into the chopper for the fifteen minute ride that would, hopefully, save his life. His wife stood watching, her fist pressed against her mouth. I gave her a map and directions to the hospital he was headed to, and suggested that she might want to get a jump start on him and leave, since it would take her considerably longer on the ground than it would take him in the air.

She leaned in toward him and said, "Don't leave me. Please. We have three boys. We aren't done yet, you and I."

My eyes filled with tears and I had to turn my head quickly to the back wall. It wasn't an unexpected reaction on my part. This job makes me tear up more than I like to admit. What was unexpected was my next response.

I was furious. In the unlikeliest of settings, I had accidentally stumbled onto what it is that is making me so "blue" at the moment.

I am really, really angry at the FX, and don't have any problems saying so. The reasons I'm angry at him are not, I'm sure, the reasons he would expect me to give, but I think we've proved repeatedly this year that he doesn't know me nearly as well as he always thought he did. How telling it is that he never thought I was worth the effort of figuring out. Just as telling is that I never trusted him enough to show him the real me. Should I be surprised that my reasons to be mad would be perceived differently?

Here's why I'm NOT angry:

I'm not angry that I'm not married to him anymore. I am - honest to god - more at peace with the world now than I've been in my entire adult life. It's like I'm me again. He's been out of the house for six months, and in that period of time I haven't missed him one single time. He's fine in small doses, but then he starts doing the things that always drove me crazy, and I'm thrilled that I don't HAVE to deal with them anymore. That's not anger. It's relief.

I'm not angry about his job success. Lately, he has had some accolades for a couple of the projects he's done recently. I have mixed feelings about this. The first thing that popped into my mind was "Oh, yeah. That film you're thinking is such a big deal? Wasn't that the same one I had to listen to you scream and yell about, about how much you hated doing it and that you were ready to quit? Who was it who held your hand and calmed you down enough to think rationally about what you were doing? Who was it who talked you into staying on this project? Huh?" But then my calmer side comes into play, and what I end up thinking is this. I'm happy for his success. Truly. I think that for a person who measures his worth as a human being based on how other people perceive him and his success, this is a very necessary thing. Imagine what it would be like if he threw everything else away and then didn't even have a career to fall back on.

I'm not angry that he continues to want to talk to me. He wants to chat, he wants to gossip, he wants to shoot the breeze. Why? Do you not have any other friends to play with? Why in the world would you ask my opinion about anything that doesn't involve the children? Why do you care what I think - now - when you never did before? What's the purpose? This one baffles me. I just don't get it. But it doesn't make me angry. It just makes me scratch my head.

And here's why I AM angry.

The kids.

The kids.

And the house.

There was a comment made here a couple of weeks ago that I've carried with me since. I think it was Frances who said it, and what she basically said was that the kids had a right to be angry, because their father had deliberately chosen his happiness over theirs. Short and sweet. Devastating. And so true. I watch them all, watch the way they deal with their hurt and their anger, and I wonder. Does he see it? Does he see all the ways they compensate with him to hide what they're really feeling? Surely he does with Sasquatch, because he has the subtlety of an onion sandwich. But the other two? Does he just think that because he's okay they're okay? Or worse yet, is he so caught up in his own world that these things never even occur to him?

The house speaks for itself, too. Tonight, my saviour Kevin came over and fixed my sink and my downstairs toilet. On a work night and with one day's notice. Toting a kid along with him while the rest of the family did some holiday stuff. And wanted to charge me a whopping $15, which was exactly what he paid for supplies. (Even called me a dumbass when I argued). When I thanked him profusely, he stopped me in my tracks. "Listen," he said, "we both know this is not how this was supposed to be. You would never have bought this house if you thought you'd be trying to do this all on your own." Short and sweet. Devastating. So true. And so anger inducing.

The woman today was speaking out of love for her husband, and how much their kids needed him.

For some reason it reminded me of one of our earlier blow-ups back when we were "trying to fix the marriage". I have to put my needs first, the FX told me. Well, I replied, I have to put the kids needs first. To myself I said, Wow. Someone's needs aren't being taken into account here.

I think I'm making up for lost time.

Monday, December 8, 2008

it's my party

Surely it would be a dull world if everyone was always happy. That's what I'm telling myself anyway, as the guest of honor at my very own Pity Party. I've spent most of the day fighting it, and have finally decided to go with it, to wallow in the mood until it passes. It's a workable plan as long as the party is over by tomorrow. The only thing I'm worse at than being ill or a patient is being blue. I just don't have the knack. I'm a very happy person at heart, and these dark moods really throw me for a loop.

I'm not sure what it is that's causing this. I know what I think it isn't. It isn't my foot, although it sure could be. It isn't the holidays, because I'm going low-key like nobody's business this year. It isn't money, because I see way too many people in genuine financial crisis to stress out about my situation too much. It isn't my kids, isn't my job, isn't my health. It isn't even my house. The tub is draining, thanks to some miracle stuff that my step-father recommended, and my kitchen sink is being looked at tomorrow. All my ducks are in a row. Everything is good.

Good and blue.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

a lazy sunday

It's been a long time since I've done a quiz, but for some reason this seems like a good time for one. And I don't know why the header is so hard to read, but it says You Are 61% Likely to Survive Another Great Depression. (This is kind of an interesting quiz, actually).

You Are 61% Likely to Survive Another Great Depression

Even though you may not be expecting the worst, you're the type of person who prepares for the worst.

You live a relatively modest life. You don't overspend, and you aren't very materialistic.

You are also quite self sufficient and independent. You have many useful skills.

You can take care of yourself and those you love... which is crucial to surviving another Great Depression.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

and for my next trick

My foot isn't broken, thank god, although our doc was worried that it was. Maybe it was when he pushed in slightly right on top of my ankle bone and then had to scrape me - whimpering - off the ceiling. He wrote me out some orders and I toddled over to x-ray, where, three views later, I was pronounced intact. If my foot had actually been broken, I'm pretty sure I would have broken down and cried right there. That would have just been the cherry on the sundae. He doesn't think it's a tendon, which is also good news. The consensus seems to be a deep bone bruise. I can live with that, as long as it's gone by tomorrow.

It would be a big fat lie to say I was on my game today. Here's a perfect example. I had to mix two bottles of meds and then put them into a liter bag of saline for an IV drip. I drew my first bottle of meds up in a syringe and then went to inject them into a port in the IV bag. Somehow, I managed to put the needle itself through the bag and into my finger, so I stood there watching my bag spouting like a saline geyser and my finger dripping blood on the floor. A co-worker, watching in amusement, said, "And for her next trick...". Sigh. There wasn't even anything good in the med bottle I stuck myself with.

I managed okay (semi-okay?) at work because I had no choice, but now that I'm home I'm exhausted from dragging my foot behind me all day. And it hurts. It hurts enough that I just broke a cardinal medical rule and took two of the painkillers that Surfer Dude didn't take when he broke his wrist. By my calculations I have about fifteen minutes before I turn into the Loopy Correspondent.

In light of that...goodnight. And a happy - ambulatory - tomorrow.

Friday, December 5, 2008

this post is brought to you by the letter F

Why F? Stick around.

Fabulous Friends: The picture above is a pair of socks knitted for me by the wonderful Rudee at A Knitting Nurse, and which I opened tonight. The package came yesterday, but a child who shall remain nameless seemed to think it was a Christmas present and hid it from me - hence the delay. I had known she was making me a pair of socks but didn't really know what to expect. Aren't they incredible?? I can't even begin to describe the way they feel - so soft and comfy and fitting perfectly on my feet. And the name of the hand painted yarn? Crazy Woman. Perfect. Wonder what made her pick that yarn??

Thank you from the bottom of my happy little feet, Rudee. I absolutely, positively adore them!

I woke up this morning feeling not so hot. Okay, I lie. I felt really rotten. I laid around and moaned and then finally decided to go to the gym. I'm now at the tail end of the 5th week of this 8 week running program, and am feeling motivated. I told myself if I just couldn't hack the treadmill, I could go sit in the dry sauna, which is one of my favorite things in the entire world. Well, not only did I finish the run easily, but I felt a heck of a lot better after it. I'm still not sure what it was, but I'm voting for the power of suggestion. We've had a lot of patients in with the stomach flu and some of the nurses have caught it too. One of them was telling me about hers in blow by blow detail yesterday, so, being me, I was sure I'd catch it too. Maybe I will. But not today.

Frickin' hell:
So there I am congratulating myself on how well this running thing is going, when I found myself on the downhill side of a one hundred and twenty pound Lab running hell bent down the stairs. Handfuls of Ibuprofen, bags of ice and a new Ace wrap and I still can not put any weight on my right ankle without lots of pain. It goes without saying that I have to work tomorrow. There are only two positives here. One, if I walk tomorrow the way I've walked this afternoon, I plan on hoisting my foot onto some poor doc's work station and saying HEY! Take a look at this. And fix it, while you're at it. And two, I have Rudee's fabulous socks all lined up to wear to work tomorrow. They may be my very own magic cure.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The (not) Thursday Three

I know I've promised a Thursday Three every, um, Thursday, but I'm going to take some liberties with this one. It would be easy to make up some really good excuse, but the bottom line is that I can't think of any topics. Plus, I'm half-asleep, which is never a good way to start writing a post. The sleep I can take care of all by myself. And will, in about twenty minutes. As for the topics - hit me with some ideas, people. The sky is the limit. Go for broke. Ain't no mountain high enough. Whatever. You get the idea.

Anyway, as promised...the (almost) Thursday Three. One story. Too easy.Three segments.

#1. I'm a sucker for anything with the word Makeover in it. I don't know what it is, but I have always loved the idea of turning a duckling into a swan in 30 days or less. Maybe on some level I still believe in fairy tales. Who the heck knows? I have something about this half-written already, so I'm not going to get into it too much right now. Just believe me. Makeover. It's all about the possibilities.

Along those lines, and in keeping with this deathly grim and yet oddly exhilarating self improvement kick I'm on, I've been doing this on-line Makeover called something like How To Look Younger In 30 days. I've never given my age a second thought, but with everything that has gone on here recently, it's been on my mind. I've got no problems with my age. I wouldn't trade the smarts that come with being three years away from the big 5-0 for anything. I'd just rather not look it. Shallow, huh?

#2. Anyone who has been reading this blog for any length of time knows that I'm not a horn tooter. I would rather stab myself in the eyes than say anything nice about myself. Why? Who the heck knows? It's not that I'm down on myself. I say nice things to myself on a regular basis, because that's a good thing to do. Telling other people nice things about yourself is just a little too testosterone charged for me. I'm all about the estrogen, personally. Nice and low key.

Now having said that, you have to forgive me this one. Please? Because even though I'm sure I'm being BS'd, I had something happen at work that made my week. In the shallowest, most self-serving way imaginable. Don't say I didn't warn you.

#3. I was talking to a guy I work with who is, god help him, in his twenties. (And has not the slightest interest in me, I know how you all think. I could be his mother). He was telling me a story about something that is totally irrelevant to my little saga, and in telling it, to make a point, he asked me how old I was. And this is how the rest of the conversation went...

me: how old do you think I am?

young deluded whippersnapper: 34?

me (choking): try again

ydw (so help me god): up or down?

me: up

ydw: 36?

me: up

ydw: you are such a liar. okay. 38?

me: up

ydw (standing up and walking out): If you're not going to take this seriously, FORGET IT.

It's really bad to get such a kick out of this, isn't it? Isn't it?

Tell the truth. I can take it.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

on your mark, get set...

All around me I'm hearing about people starting their holiday decorating. Whether they're buying Christmas trees, getting ready for Hanukkah or celebrating another holiday altogether, it seems like there are a lot of people who look at Dec. 1st as the magic "get ready" date.

As a person who never buys a tree until the middle of December at the earliest, I'm always in awe that there are so many organized souls in the world. If I unearth our advent calendar by Dec. 10th, I figure I'm ahead of the game. And let's not even get into the whole cards/presents/holiday baking thing. I can't even go there until the smell of pumpkin pie is completely gone from my house.

Anyone want to let us in on how you handle this in your home? And one more thing - do many people actually send cards anymore, or is this a dying trend? I'm really curious.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


I was on-call today, and sure enough my phone rang three quarters of the way through my treadmill run. It was THAT kind of call, and my heart sank, as I've so far managed to be on-call for all the uneventful days. Say good-bye to that streak. Before we even finished with the first person, a second one was coming in the door. I spent virtually my entire "day off" at work.

Sometimes I think I project a tougher persona than is completely true, and that often people think I'm more bullet proof than I really am. I'm certainly not believing my own hype tonight. At least I'm formulating an answer for how I'll end up handling this. I've always been neurotic about personal safety. I think that may get even worse.

In the meantime, thank heaven for three kids at home and three big, loud, protective dogs. Because otherwise...

Monday, December 1, 2008


I'm too cranky to be allowed to live. So don't expect much here tonight.

Since I've woken up today I've:

Had a mouse trapped under my fridge. A loud, squealing mouse. When I climbed up on a kitchen chair to peer behind the fridge, the chair suddenly gave way and the whole inside part of the seat fell out, sending me falling through the middle and taking all the skin off the outside of both calves. I grabbed a ceramic bowl of potatoes in a feeble attempt to break my fall, which proves you don't have to be a rocket scientist to write a blog.

Had a mouse casually walk across the kitchen right in front of me and climb in the dog food bowl for a snack. It might have needed glasses, because it failed to notice the broom in my hand. I whacked it hard and presto! it disappeared. Then I noticed it crawling up my brand new thermal drapes in a futile attempt to get away from my buddy the broom, and I wound up in my best hit the ball out of the park stance. Home run! And a nasty red spot on my new drapes, that thank god none of the kids have noticed yet. I know it's there - that's bad enough. Now I have mouse blood on my conscience.

Gone to push a turkey carcass into the stock pot to make soup, and had the wooden spoon slip off of the turkey and plunge my hand into boiling water. Oh, yeah. That felt good. Karmic payback?

Broken up endless computer arguments, had to rip out a scarf I've been knitting (and that I really liked) because I realized I'd screwed it up a while ago and by the time I caught it it was too late to salvage, gotten excited because the tub finally drained, but then put the younger boys in for showers and realized that I got excited too soon, had the power go out for several hours due to some stupid circuit malfunction, blah blah blah. When I finally plopped down to do some computer stuff the wireless is out. Jeez louise. I'm a frickin' mess.

I'm going to bed. I don't care that it isn't even nine o'clock. At least if I'm asleep I'll stay out of trouble.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

revenge of the money pit

I'm not bothered by the "usual" problems of divorce. I'm not lonely, have a perfectly adequate social life, don't have any more money worries than I did when I was married, and manage the kids single about as well as I did before.

What's going to kill me is the house.

Thanksgiving Day I developed a leak under my kitchen sink. As my mother always says, if you're going to have plumbing problems, it'll be the day you have a bunch of people about to troop in to eat. It's tricky to put a holiday meal on the table when every time you run water in your kitchen sink it drips underneath.

Then yesterday I crawled out of bed at zero dark thirty to go to work, and climbed into the shower half asleep. Yowzah. I wasn't asleep for long. There was about four inches of ice cold water from my shower the day before, just standing there, refusing to drain. I was in such a state of denial that I convinced myself that the drain doo-dad was down, and not allowing any water out. I raised it up carefully after my shower and crossed my fingers. When I got home last night the water hadn't budged. Strike One.

So today I took everything out from underneath the kitchen sink (duct tape in hand), only to find that where the water is coming from is from a corroded out part of the either the faucet or the sink itself - way beyond my puny little fix-it skills. And falling in such a way that I can't even put anything underneath it to catch the drips. Strike Two.

Then I went upstairs with the plumbing snake I got from the FX to see about the tub. I even put on my Superwoman shirt that I got as a nursing school graduation present - just to get my mojo going. While I struggled and cursed and snaked, my phone rang five times and Sasquatch came bolting out of his room to tell me that he thought he saw something scurry across his floor. Since his room looks like the New York City Dump, I wasn't surprised. I'd been telling him that all the mice had suspiciously disappeared from the rest of the house and that if I were a mouse, I'd be moving into his room with my beach umbrella and some elastic waist pants. Then, keeping an eye out for fat rodents, I got back to my snaking. Unsuccessfully. Strike Three.

I refuse to call a plumber on a holiday weekend, so we can't use the kitchen sink or the upstairs tub. The upstairs toilet is fine, but the downstairs toilet is a prima donna. The upstairs sink doesn't work - the handles are jacked up. The downstairs shower is, how do I put this nicely, a piece of shit handheld with the water pressure of a squirt gun...but it'll have to do. I showered in it today after the gym, and except for having to wash just one part of my body at a time, it was workable. Barely, but beggars can't be choosers. I have two toilets, two tubs and two sinks - and between them they equal one working bathroom.

When I think of all the times in my life I made myself crazy wanting to own a house, I have to laugh. What I wouldn't give to be able to call a landlord and have them fork over the cash to get things moving again. And now I get to worry all day tomorrow about exactly how much cash we're talking that's going to come out of my tight little fist.

I have to do laundry tomorrow. I can hardly wait to see what the washer has in store for me.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I'm just sayin'

Travel Advisory to Liberal Collegeville -

If you happen to be in the vicinity, local officials advise that you don't drink the water. According to ER reports, the amount of narcotics accidentally dropped into the toilet/bathtub/kitchen sink, and needing immediate replacement, has quadrupled in the last 24 hours. Officials are looking into a connection between this phenomena and greasy Thanksgiving turkey fingers.

More bulletins as events warrant.

Friday, November 28, 2008

shades of grey

Sasquatch and I had to have a long discussion today about the concept of "black and white". He's sixteen and he's male, so I completely understand that he sees the world in a very cut and dried way. I'm not sixteen and I'm not male, and I've learned that more often than not, grey is the overriding hue in the world. Things aren't usually cut and dried, they aren't usually all good or all bad, all right or all wrong. Life can be murky, but I think the ability to understand that comes with experience. Today, he got some experience.

It's no secret that he is very angry with his father and has been since March. He barely talks to him, and has spent only a couple of nights at his father's new house. The other boys go and hang out, but not Sasquatch. He stays here or he goes to a friend's house. I've talked and talked - to both of them - and finally realized that there's only so much power I have. At this point it's up to them. I can't do it for them. I know the FX wants to make it right, but doesn't know how. I know Sasquatch thinks he could care less about his father, but I don't believe it for a second. I know the two of them are so similar it hurts, but neither one of them see it. I'd laugh, except that it isn't remotely funny.

Sasquatch did not want the FX to come here for Thanksgiving. He's been saying for weeks that it would ruin his holiday. At first I tried to reason with him, then I tried to appeal to his better instincts, and then, having no success with either of those, I just started ignoring him. It was already a done deal. This was very important to the other two boys. I was beginning to suspect that it was more important to the FX than I might have initially thought. I was okay with it. I'm in this for the long haul, and was looking at it as the first of many such situations that I have to look forward to in my life. It's not negotiable. We will have an amicible relationship for our children. Period.

This isn't to say that we'll spend all of our holidays together. Far from it. But this is the first one (second if you count Halloween, and we did that together too), and I think the younger boys felt really good having it to look forward to. Not Sasquatch. So this afternoon we had another come to jesus talk in the kitchen while I was peeling potatoes. He was not happy, still convinced that his father's presence would ruin his day. Doesn't he have anywhere else to go, he asked? Does he not realize that he gave up family holidays when he decided to leave his family? How could he show up at your house and expect you to be happy to see him after the way he treated you? Don't you see how awkward it's going to be with our other guests? Can't you just call him and tell him not to come?

Black and white. Black and white.

It was hard to even know where to start. Our other guests were my friend Stacey and her family, and we've celebrated lots of holidays and occasions together. She and her husband are grown-ups, and I knew there would be no angst caused by them, even though they have stayed "my" friends. Your father did not divorce the whole family, he divorced me. I'm sure there are plenty of other places he could go, but he'd like to come here. Do you have any idea, I asked, what it must be like to go from living here to living all alone most of the time? Do you not think he knows how angry you are, or how helpless he feels in dealing with it? Do you think you could even remotely consider that at some point in your life you may change your mind and want a relationship with your dad, and that maybe it's a bad idea to slam doors shut too fast?

And then I played my trump card. Listen, I said, it's been a really crazy year. But if you're doing this out of a sense of loyalty to me, you need to stop and consider something. I'm happier than I ever remember being. I feel bad even saying it, but this has been one of the best things that's ever happened to me. If you're angry at him for you, that's totally okay. But don't be angry at him for me. Because I'm not anymore. I'm genuinely, truly okay. Could you just go into it with an open mind?

He wasn't happy about it, but he did. And we had a lovely night - all around. Sure there were undercurrents, and sure there are awkward things with the transition into our new life. It's hard to sit across a table from someone in a position you've been in hundreds of times and all of a sudden go Wow, this is totally different. It's weird to entertain someone in a house they use to live in. It's strange to see vulnerability in a person who has created such upheaval in your life. It's bizarre to realize that you really are done, and even wilder to feel more peaceful about it by the day. But in the end, I looked at my smiling kids - all three of them - and did say my silent words of what I was thankful for this year. I'm thankful for two adults who continue to put their children first, no matter what. May it long continue.

When everyone had left, Sasquatch found me in the kitchen again and thanked me. You were right, he said, that was really nice. It all worked out great and Dad and the boys seemed really happy that he was here.

I noticed he didn't add himself into that, but he didn't need to. I may not be big on black and white, but I can read grey pretty well.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

a sigh of relief

Thanksgiving came a day early at chez RC, delivered by the mail lady.

My gas bill - the first since all of my weatherproofing efforts - came. I kid you not, my hands were shaking when I opened it.

Last year, the bill for the first month of heat - a month we were never warm - was right around $400.

This year, the bill for the first month of heat - cold outside, but oh so toasty inside - was...


I have a whole new appreciation for saran wrap.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

giving thanks

Ah, yes. Thanksgiving. It's tomorrow, right?

Like I'd forget. For some reason Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday around here, and not just because we all eat like garbage scows. I'm honestly not sure what the big appeal is, but since it's so hard to get a majority on anything in this house, I'll take it no matter what. It may be my last one until next Thanksgiving.

The food will be what it always is - pretty traditional stuff. Surfer Dude and I will do a bunch of stuff ahead of time today - just like we always do. I did all of my shopping last week to avoid getting caught in horrendous grocery lines, so I've got a second wind for the cooking. We're brining the turkey this year for the first time - cross your fingers. And we've got some friends coming over for dinner - which will make the day especially nice.

The elephant in the room, of course, is that this is our first post-divorce holiday. But in the continuing amiability that is my divorce, we've invited the FX to come and eat with us. This was very important to Gumby and Surfer Dude, so it's what we're doing. I've said all along that if we could get the kids through this relatively unscathed, then it would be very possible to have a happy ending. I'm sure it'll get weird, but what the hell. It can't get much weirder than the rest of the year has been.

One thing I think we'll need to do differently is going around the table and having everyone say one thing they're thankful for. That will probably be better avoided this year, because it could get pretty sticky. I'll say mine mentally, though. Because I know exactly what I'm grateful for this Thanksgiving.

I just don't think it would go over too well.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

cover me

I've been grumbling about work for the last week, so here's where I go all Gemini and say that I can't imagine ever leaving my job. Or more specifically, that I can't imagine ever leaving this job. Never mind that I bitch and moan with the worst of them...I don't see myself ever willingly leaving this job.

This is not to say that my job is perfect, because it isn't. I miss trauma. I really do. That gut wrenching, blood spewing, helicopter landing trauma that feeds my inner adrenaline junkie so thoroughly is a hard thing to give up. I know I'm a sick, twisted individual and I'm dealing with it the best I can. In the meantime, I'm smart enough to realize that I've pretty much fallen into The Dream Job and that it's never a good idea to tempt the gods.

My boss is an enormous part of this. The tone of the department, the morale, the all starts with her. I hate to gush, but I would walk on glass for this woman, and I'm fairly sure I'm not alone. The people I work with are also a huge factor. Everyone - nurses, doctors, PAs, aides, unit secretaries, registration, techs, housekeeping, security, medics, lab, radiology - gets along smoothly enough that it mostly feels effortless. I can honestly say that I like pretty much everyone I work with, although of course there are those you gravitate toward more than others. There are personality clashes to be found, but for the most part people tend to make nice and play well with others. You have to know that your back is covered, and other people have to know that you have theirs, too. Once that trust is established there's no looking back.

We also tend to be more laid back than you might imagine. We have to be. If you fall apart or stress out about every little thing, it makes for a very long shift. Not to mention a very short career. By the same token, there's very little in the way of angry outbursts or random bitchiness. There's some, of course. We can trash talk with the best of them, but tend to save it for special occasions.

This week was one of those occasions.

I'm not going to bore you with the medical specifics, but someone - either the surgeons or anesthesia, we're not sure which - decided that we needed to change something we do routinely. This change, it goes without saying, would make their lives easier and ours a lot harder. Not only would it make us potentially have to do the same task twice, but it would also put us on the spot immediately in terms of our critical thinking and, as we put it, (very tongue in cheek), our ability to forsee the future. Basicallly, they were expecting us to know immediately if a patient was going to end up needing surgery - before labs, before x-rays or CT, before anything. Not bloody likely.

To make it even worse, the first we really knew about it was when one of our nurses got reported without any warning. Not only one of our best nurses, but one of our most universally liked. And the way it was done was by going around our boss, which pissed everyone off. And the next thing you knew, this nice, cohesive, flexible group of people all grew fangs. Loudly and simultaneously. We all said they could write us up until the cows came home, but we weren't going to change a thing we were doing. We started doing what they didn't want us to do even when we ordinarily wouldn't have done it in the first place. Out of pure spite. The non-rabble rousers were fired up, the hell raisers were in flames, and when one of our most devoutly religious nurses stood in the hall and loudly said F#*k 'em, we knew this was going to get bad.

But it was over before it really started, because our boss forced a "meeting" with our adversaries and took them on head first. And two hours later, she staggered out of the room and said, "Never mind. Do it the way you always have. They've finally seen the light." They even apologized to us, for the love of god. Do you know what it takes to make Surgery apologize? A lawyer and a video camera, that's what. Oh, yeah. And my boss. My wonderful, fabulous, 24 carat gold boss. My ass-kicking, take no prisoners boss.

Who needs trauma? I've got everything I need right here.

Monday, November 24, 2008

so much for Barbie

Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dumb sauntered into the triage room and plopped down. They had a little Tweedle-ette with them, a girl in the eight to ten range. She wasn't their daughter, and they never did make it clear exactly how she was related to them, even when they were asked directly. Tweedle-Dumb tried to take control of the whole question and answer process, but the nasty Nurse Ratchet wouldn't let him. He sulked through the entire thing.

Tweedle - Dee's chief complaint? "It hurts when we have intercourse and he's really deep inside me and I'm on top."

Nurse Ratchet - biting back the three things she wants to say immediately-

#1. "Well, then, why don't you stop?"

#2. "And this is an emergency WHY?"

#3. "Honey, from the looks of him, if I were in that position I'd be hurting, too."

And then one that she couldn't stop herself from saying out loud. "Do you really want this little girl in here listening to all of this?"

"Oh, it's fine," said Tweedle-Dee. "She hears all about this stuff from her dad anyway."

"Duh," said Tweedle-ette, mortally offended. "It's not like I'm a kid or anything."

Saturday, November 22, 2008

the weakest link

When I was younger, and life was simpler, I often gauged how well things were going by the following three criteria: my grades, my weight and money. When I got a real job, I took my grades out of the equation and started worrying about the job, my weight and money. Over the years, as I've picked up a husband, kids, dogs, a mortgage, a second career, a divorce and a house that's trying to kill me, I've often looked back nostalgically at my simple little trio. The fact that I still worry about both my weight and money doesn't escape me, it's just that there's too much else going on to care. As I've gotten older, I've realized that something usually has to give, that it's almost impossible for all the cards to fall your way simultaneously. There's always going to be one area of your life that refuses to play nice. I think it's nature's way of making sure you don't get too full of yourself.

This pattern applies to other areas of my life, too. For example, if I'm looking relatively put together when I leave the house, and am managing to put healthy, home-cooked meals on the table most nights, then it stands to reason that my house will look like a landfill. If the house looks clean and inviting, and I'm still managing to put healthy, home-cooked meals on the table most nights, then I'm guaranteed to look like ass every time I set foot out the door. Look okay, clean house? Frozen pizza for dinner. It never fails. I can keep two balls in the air, but the third one comes straight down and knocks me half unconscious.

Right now, it's my house that's trying to do me in. Partly because of this self-improvement crap I've been doing, I look alright - some of the time, anyway. My weight is okay, I have fingernails and my roots aren't showing. I've just finished week three of my eight week running program, and am amazed at how well it's going - so far. Money is not as bad as it could be. My job is going fine. So obviously, my house is going to be the problem.

The talk with the boys went quite well today. I sat them down and said This Is The Way It Is, and it's really not open for discussion. I did not argue, I did not get angry - I simply said Times are a'changin' and it's time to get with the program. We'll see how it goes, but it was a promising start. With any luck my house will be able to get off of the condemned list sometime soon.

Which kind of worries me. Because then what would be the weak link?

cue the Jaws music

Thanks to all of you who commented on yesterday's post. You might be gratified at how much to heart I'm taking your suggestions and insights. Sometimes in blogging, the result is a primal scream, and, as always, I'm bowled over by your response.

To quote my favorite movie ever - When Harry Met Sally - "You're right, you're right...I know you're right."

And now I get to put it all into play...

Friday, November 21, 2008

strike three

We've just gone another nine rounds, me and Sasquatch. Nine rounds of the same old shit, nine rounds of everything I do that is wrong and everything he does that is just a rational response to his crazy, melodramatic mother. The irony of him being downstairs bellowing "Oh, my god. OH, MY GOD could you be any more melodramatic?" is completely lost on him, as it usually is.

And what has prompted this? The attempts on my part to lay down some firm lines in terms of me not doing virtually everything around here. The two younger ones get it. But not my eldest. Not by a long shot. The palm that is extended for entertainment money is curiously unable to do any work for it. The mouth that inhales every speck of food I cook is curiously unable to say anything to me that is not hateful and cruel. The child who compulsively says he loves me every time he leaves my side is curiously unable to do a damned thing to prove it. Everything that is important to me is mocked, everything I do is taken for granted, everything I say is twisted until I don't even recognize it anymore. By the time we finish one of these arguments, he has me really believing that I'm as awful a person as he says I am. I don't know how much longer I can do this.

The fact that the two younger ones get it doesn't mean they actually do anything about it. It just means that they feel a little guilty that they're not doing anything about it. I've collared each of them individually and told them all to set aside some time on Saturday for a good, old-fashioned family meeting. Things cannot continue the way they are around here.

I think I'm about to go on strike.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Thursday Three

Let's do a down and dirty Thursday Three, shall we? Because I've just worked three (coincidence? I think not) in a row, and if there's anything functioning properly on my person, I can't think of what it is. Not only can I not think straight, but my whole body is revolting as the result of a very ill-thought out trip to the gym after work last night. I looked like an Ibuprofen commercial getting out of bed this morning.
And it's almost as bad tonight. So - I'm looking for easy.

Favorite Condiments.

#1. Salsa. Love it. The spicier the better. Red, green, chunky, smooth. Chipotle, lime, corn, fruit. I'm all over it. Yum. Not only on Mexican food, but also baked potatoes, as salad dressing and on scrambled eggs.

#2. Mustard. Again, I'm fairly Catholic in my tastes. Hot, sweet, spicy, dijon. However you want to use it, I'm a fan. As far as I'm concerned, no sandwich is complete without mustard. (Tuna and PB&J most certainly excepted).

#3. Blue Cheese Dressing. I cannot tell a lie. I could drink Blue Cheese dressing out of the bottle straight. I usually don't, but I could. I think a salad with really good BC dressing is about as good as it gets. But I also love it on sandwiches, as french fry dip and, to totally defeat the healthy purpose, on rice cakes.

And one I can't stand - mayonnaise. Except on tuna or in cole slaw. Or tomato sandwiches, for that matter. Which is even more weird because if you're going to have a tomato sandwich it needs to be on white bread, which I'm also not a fan of, but on a tomato sandwich I'll overlook both of them. Why ask why?

Wanna play no-brainer T3? Go for it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

ER Throwdown

Work the last few days has seriously resembled a WWF wrestling match. In a nutshell, a certain faction has decided that we need to take something that we do routinely (and damned well, if I do say so myself), and change the entire way we do it for their convenience. My department, in spite of the pressure cooker we work in, is really very laid back and easy going, but this has gone just a little too far. They are stepping on our toes big time, and we're fighting back. Hard.

Keep your stations tuned to CNN for further developments. (Oh, all right. Just check back here instead).

And here's a hint. It involves my very favorite group of people in the world.

P.S. In reading this over, I remembered that last week's write up wasn't my first in this job after all. Ahh. Good times.

P.P.S. This battle is unexpectedly over only a couple of hotly contested rounds in. A TKO was scored by one of the departments involved that rendered the opponent helpless and without recourse. Any guesses?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

coincidentally enough

Hot on the heels of yesterday's post comes this update.

I came home from work tonight to the following:

Half of the planned dinner already cooked and eaten. The other half still in the freezer.

The empty oven still on.

One kid on the computer and two kids glued to the television.

One kid drinking out of a measuring cup and another out of a coffee creamer because no one had bothered to check the dishwasher for clean dishes.

The overflowing remains of a baking soda and vinegar volcano.

Three dogs with crossed legs and bursting bladders.

Tomorrow's trash pick up still by the garage, and not at the curb where it belongs.

And the thermostat set at 90 degrees. Which no one will admit to doing.

I've stood in the shower for thirty minutes and I'm still hyperventilating.

I'm going to bed now.

Monday, November 17, 2008

rats in a maze

Clearly I was a little distracted last April when this study came out, because I guarantee you that I would have thrown my two cents in long before now. Now that I've run across it, though, I feel that I have to speak. Evidently, researchers at the University of Michigan have found that on an average, a husband creates seven hours of work around the house for his wife a week. Seven hours a week. Per husband.

Now it's a matter of public record that I no longer have a husband, but in a blind statistical study one man is as good as another, and since I happen to live with three of them I'm adopting this survey for my own purposes. Because lets face it, it's the perfect excuse. I can now rationalize away twenty one hours of each week and blame it on my kids. The most perfect dog in the universe is male. Can I make it twenty eight?

Personally, I think the wife having to pick up after her husband for seven hours a week is getting off easy. She only has to follow one trail of crap around the house. My trails of crap resembles the Los Angeles freeway system. I'm forever picking up clothes and dishes, closing cabinet doors, turning off lights and television sets, putting food back in the fridge or freezer and looking for important papers that were "right here just a minute ago!" When you can tell exactly which kid didn't flush by either the abundance of or lack of toilet paper, you could be the subject of a brand new study.

Seven hours.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

thanks for clearing that up for me

My plan was to post something tonight, but I've been informed by my sixteen year old son that no one can understand anything I say - in any way, at any point or anyhow.

Well. I guess that takes care of that idea.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

a quarter of the way there

Well, I've made it through the first two weeks of this running program I'm trying. It's gone well up to this point, but we're at the stage where it's about to get a lot harder. I've actually enjoyed this so far, but up to now, it's been mostly walking and then bursts of running. But next week it becomes evenly split, and then the week after that it kicks into mostly running. I'm a little concerned that this is the point where I flat out stall.

Usually, when I start something health related, I begin with a diet. When I've lost "enough" weight, I add in exercise. This time I did it completely backward, by starting the running first. I told myself I could eat whatever I wanted as long as I exercised. And oddly enough, I wanted to eat better just because I was already being so virtuous about the running. The better I eat, the better I feel. The better I feel, the more I want to stick with the program. All of a sudden, I'm back in Motivated-ville.

Hmmm. Maybe I'm on to something.

Friday, November 14, 2008

little miss nosy

One of the cool things about the internet is that it often makes the habits we consider so quirky to look pretty darn normal in comparison. I'm not talking about those really creepy or bizarre websites that gross you out for days. I'm primarily talking about blogging and the blogging community. Chat rooms would do the same thing, as would discussion boards. They're all a wonderful opportunity to throw whatever you want to out into cyberspace and then realize that, for the most part, we're all in the same boat.

I was gratified to find that I'm not the only person who peeks into houses on Halloween to check out the paint colors and architectural details. I'm relieved that other people deliberately put something they've already done onto their To Do list so they have something to cross off immediately. I'm happily surprised to know that other people are just as interested in the mundane details of other people's lives as I am. There's normalcy in numbers - or at least I'd like to think so.

Today I was trying to download a master grocery list on-line. You know, one of those lists that you customize with your own grocery needs and take to the store with you, all in the name of being an organizational freak and shaving a few minutes a week off of your chore list? (I'm not being judgmental. Honest. It takes one to know one). And what did I stumble upon but this? It's a website that people send their grocery lists to and they post them. The basic premise is that a huge number of people are just as nosy as I am, and I am here to tell you that these lists are fascinating. They've even turned this site into a book, believe it or not, sort of a gastronomic Post Secret.

Don't worry. I'm not going to post my grocery list. I've got it written and ready to go, though, because I've already had to plan meals for next week, since it's going to be wicked busy. But as I looked at my menus, that old nosiness crept back in. I write a lot about what we eat, partly because I'm a food junkie. But I always wonder about other people and what they put on their table. Obviously I'm not alone, if a grocery list website can spawn a book.

So, lets trade. I'll tell you one meal we're having either this week or next, and then you do the same. I'm really curious about this.

Our sample meal is salmon teriyaki, jasmine rice and steamed broccoli. I don't normally plan desserts - if I do make something, the kids eat it and if I don't, they either go without or have some ice cream or something. (I'd love to say they eat fruit for dessert every night, but I'd be a big time liar).

Okay. Your turn.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Thursday Three

It has definitely been a little wacky around here this week. Blame it on the full moon or something, but I have to confess to some

Very Out of Character Behavior

It would be very nice if anyone else is having the same problem and wants to fess up. I might feel a little less alone. That's a hint, in case you didn't notice, and a pretty desperate one at that.

#1. I bought a new computer. A good one, as a matter of fact. The stars kind of fell in line on this one, and when it happened it happened fast. Like in a matter of hours. Let me speed walk you through how this happened, because I normally don't make big ticket purchases quite this fast.

a. Our computer died.

b. I was about to have to start making payments to the FX for the dead computer. (Long story, but he's not the bad guy here. It's just a comedy of errors and would take a whole post to explain. It's not nearly interesting enough for that).

c. We've had several missed homework assignments because a. Our computer died.

d. When we were at Best Buy last Friday buying the Video Game Release of the Century (gag) for Sasquatch, I started looking at computers. Then I noticed that they were running a special until midnight Saturday for 18 months financing with no interest. I thought about it and then two hours later, still dragging kids, went back and bought one. A good one, as a matter of fact. (I have to keep reminding myself of this). So for not much more than I would have had to pay the FX anyway for a piece of merde computer, we have a brand new computer system that makes every single person in this house very, very happy. Myself certainly included.

At least until the first bill gets here.

#2. I got written up at work.
Not by anyone in my department, but by someone on another unit. I forgot to do something before I transferred a patient to the med/surg floor, and the nurse on that unit reported me. It wasn't anything major, and I had a perfectly good reason, but the bottom line is that my boss had to follow up with me and write an incident report. And as much as she rolled her eyes and told me not to give it a second thought...I do. It's the first time I've had an incident in this job - and only my second one ever. (Coincidentally, the first one was also on a patient I was transferring to another floor, but my old boss wasn't so nice about it. She was even less nice when I was able to prove - several weeks later - that I had done exactly what I was supposed to do according to their own policy manuals. But by then, the write-up was in my permanent record and she refused to take it out. Clearly, from here on out I need to refuse to transfer patients to other floors).

#3. I made fried chicken for dinner tonight.
And while this might be common place for some, it most certainly is not for me. In the first place, I don't fry anything, except about twice a year when I cave in to kid pressure and make a huge tray of tempura. This isn't about health issues, either. It's about having a southern grandmother who could fry your shoe and make you weep with delight, a grandmother who fried everything - in lard no less - until the day she died. My mother got a wild hair and decided years ago that she was going to make fried chicken at least as good as her mother did, and after years of experimenting she nailed it. So now I have two of them to live up to. Call me a quitter, but I refuse to even try.

And just to prove that I'm not even in the game, I made oven fried chicken.(And oven fried fake chicken to drag my karma down even further). And oven fried okra. (The rumbling you hear is my grandmother spinning in her grave. Oven fried. What a joke. They'll run you out of town for crap like that in the south). The big bowl of cole slaw might have passed muster, but I doubt it. It had almonds in it.

It's the full moon, right?