Friday, February 29, 2008

auntie meme

I borrowed this from Janet, who graciously told me to go for it. I love these memes on brain fart days

60 Things You Possibly Don't Know About Me
(and why would you even want to??)

1. What is in the back seat of your car right now?
All the recycling I forgot to drop off over the weekend.

2. When was the last time you threw up?
It's been years. I have to be dying first.

3. What's your favorite curse word?

Um. Rhymes with truck.

4. Name 3 people who made you smile today?

My kids. Two of them intentionally.

5. What were you doing at 8 am this morning?
Dropping Gumby off at school.

6. What were you doing 30 minutes ago?
Trying to decide between a nap or blogging.

7. What will you be doing 3 hours from now?

Getting ready to go in to work for a few hours.

8. Have you ever been to a strip club?

Only the Chippendales type stuff.

9. What is the last thing you said aloud?

Where the hell is the phone?

10. What is the best ice cream flavor?

Mint chip.

11. What was the last thing you had to drink?

Crystal Light lemonade.

12. What are you wearing right now?

Yoga pants and a tank top (aka my pajamas)

13. What was the last thing you ate?
Popcorn with seasoning salt, garlic powder and chipotle powder.

14. Have you bought any new clothing items this week?

15. When was the last time you ran?
On the treadmill at the gym. Really, really slowly.

16. What's the last sporting event you watched?

In person - kid's soccer. On TV - Australian Open tennis.

18. Who is the last person you emailed?

My boss.

19. Ever go camping?

Yeah, and I like it well enough. But I'd never plan it on my own. I need someone to drag me off into the woods.

20. Do you have a tan?

I wish.

24. Do you drink your soda from a straw?


25. What did your last IM say?
How come I can't make this thing work?

26. Are you someone's best friend?
God, I hope so.

27. What are you doing tomorrow?
Getting blood work done. Very long staff meeting. Hanging out with my kids. Project Runway.

28. Where is your mom right now?
As far as I know at home in California.

29. Look to your left, what do you see?
The world's fattest black lab. Snoring and drooling. On my bed.

30. What color is your watch?
Silver with gold edging.

31. What do you think of when you think of Australia?
Tennis. Fantasy vacation. Patrick Rafter. Smart ass Barbie wranglers.

32. Would you consider plastic surgery?
Not today. Most likely not tomorrow, either.

33. What is your birthstone?
Moonstones and pearls.

34. Do you go in at a fast food place or just hit the drive thru?
I'm not a big fast food fan either way.

35.How many kids do you want?
Only the ones I've already got.

36. Do you have a dog?
Three of them.

37. Last person you talked to on the phone?

38. Have you met anyone famous?


39. Any plans today?
Sitting on my bed being a slug until the last possible minute. Reading. Blogging. Working for a few hours later on.

40. How many states have you lived in?

41. Ever go to college?
Twice. One bachelors in Communications and then my RN.

42. Where are you right now?
Sitting on my bed, surrounded by dogs.

43. Biggest annoyance in your life right now?

44. Last song listened to?
I Want to be sedated by the Ramones. After Rudees blog comment on Tuesday I just had to go back and listen to it.

46. Are you allergic to anything?
Sulfa. Ironing. Arrogant people.

47. Favorite pair of shoes you wear all the time?
I live in my black Crocs at work.

48. Are you jealous of anyone?
I wish I could say no, but that would be a lie. I envy smooth, well-ordered lives.

50. Is anyone jealous of you?
Not as far as I know.

51. What time is it?
12:18 PM

52. Do any of your friends have children?

Most of my friends have children.

53. Do you eat healthy?
Yes. In moderation.

54. What do you usually do during the day?
It depends on whether I'm working or not. If not I putter around the house, run errands, buy and cook food, entertain kids, pay bills, etc. Workdays are the easy ones.

55. Do you hate anyone right now?

I think hate is pointless. And very destructive.

56. Do you use the word 'hello' daily?

Yeah, I'm sure I do.

58. How old will you be turning on your next birthday?
47. Sweet Jesus. Can I rethink question # 32?

59. Have you ever been to Six Flags?
Yes. I'm a roller coaster junkie.

60. How did you get one of your scars?
A jicama, a brand new carbon steel knife and a ravenous Amazon parrot. It wasn't pretty.

Aren't you sorry you asked? Oh, didn't.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Thursday Three

I've been trying to come up with a Thursday Three idea all day and I'm totally stuck. Everything I think of seems kind of stale or stupid or I'm afraid I've done something almost exactly like it already.

It's tempting to recycle some of these topics now that there are so many newer people reading, but I feel like that's cheating in some way.

So, I need some help. I need topic ideas and I'm willing to bet that you bunch can come up with a pile of them. All ideas happily accepted - the wilder and wackier the better. Cool and calm is fine, too. I've never been called picky before and I don't plan on starting now. (Okay, I have been called picky before, but I won't be now. I promise).

It's been a crazy week. By the time it's over I will have worked five out of six days. Surfer Dude is in the final throes of rehearsal for his play, so there's a lot of late night carpool pick-ups. (And cranky kids from not enough sleep. Adults, too). I need an indwelling caffeine IV.

That's why I'm calling my lifeline. That's you.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

the $20 question

I still have writer's cramp from yesterday.

Or carpal tunnel. Whatever.

So I thought today we could try something different.


Here's the scenario:

You have one hour and twenty dollars (or euros).

You can't drive more than five miles from home.

You can't take anyone with you.

And you have to spend the money or lose it.

What would you do?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Warning: Traumatically long post ahead. This will teach all of you who asked when the next installment would be. Be careful what you wish for.

I was in the middle of a really bad work run. No matter how positive I tried to stay, it seemed like anything that could go wrong was. Bad days can happen to anyone in any field, but I was a couple of months into the abyss and it was really starting to take its toll on me. And it wasn't just one patient or one situation - it was everything all combined.

We had a teenage gangbanger that had been on the unit for almost nine months. That's a ridiculously long time to be in the ICU. He had finally been stable enough to go a med/surg floor, where he spent many more weeks. To say this kid was a pain in the ass is the understatement of the year. He refused his meds (except the narcotics), he referred to all of us simply as "bitch" and he had an out of control girlfriend who didn't mind chasing you down in other patient's rooms to scream about every single aspect of his care. For a while we had to keep a surgical mask on him because he would spit at anyone who came into his room. When we transferred him to the regular floor we all wanted to throw a party. But when he went home we were, in spite of ourselves, really happy for him. Maybe we were just happy for ourselves. A year is a long time to be in the hospital. For all of us.

He was home less than 24 hours when the rival gang came back to finish him off. Two point blank bullets in the head later he was right back where he started. He died on my shift. On my watch. The shooter was the girlfriend's brother. He made our patient watch while he killed his own sister. And then he shot him. It wasn't hard. Paraplegics don't move so fast.

Then an attending surgeon wrote an order for a procedure that was unclear enough that I checked it out with one of his residents before I carried it out. We both interpreted in the same way and I went ahead. Needless to say, what he wrote was not what he meant and he went off on the both of us. I mean went off. His head didn't swivel and he didn't spew green bile, but it was close. This was followed by a nerve wracking week to see if the patient suffered any ill effects from the procedure. Thank god he didn't, but the resident and I did. I'm sure we both still have pieces of that attending's shoe in our lower intestinal tracts. Leather, I believe. Italian.

We were also being inundated by patients with seriously communicable diseases. A large percentage of our population had Hepatitis C, which you cannot be immunized against. A fair amount were HIV+. And on any given day, at least one of my two patients was an isolation patient. There are many different reasons for this, but the big one is MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). This is the staph infection that is such a problem in hospitals world-wide, but it is by no means the only problem out there. Lots of these "hospital bugs" were lethal when they got their hooks into someone, so we had to be very careful, both for the patients and ourselves.

Each of the rooms had an isolation cart by the glass door. Before you went into the room you had to put on a mask, gloves, a surgical cap and a lovely yellow paper gown, which tied behind your back. When you came out you would wait until the last possible second to take it all off and throw it into the trash can right inside the door. Then you would scrub violently with soap and hot water, finishing (if you were paranoid) with antibacterial gel. Everything in the room itself was considered contaminated. This whole routine was tolerable if your patient was either a) calm or b) stable. It was when they weren't that problems arose.

I had one gal who was on her call light every couple of minutes. Her anxiety level was perpetually off the scales. Quite simply, she didn't want to be left alone for a minute. She was another long-timer, and somehow I ended up with her a lot. She had a trach, so she couldn't talk. She'd hit her light and when you went to the door she'd motion you in. I'd stand in the doorway and ask if there was anything in particular she wanted. Violent head shaking no. Sixty seconds later, all suited up, I'd go in and she'd write me a note that she wanted pain meds. I'd take off all my gear and go get her the meds. Suit back up and go in. Which med is that? she'd write. I'd tell her. I don't like that one, she wrote. I want another one. Take off all the gear and head out to page the resident and pass this on. Waited for call back and her light would go off again. Stood in the doorway and asked if there was anything in particular she wanted. Told her I was waiting for a call back from the resident. Violent head shaking and beckoning me into the room. Sixty seconds later, all suited up, I'd go in and she'd write me a note saying she'd changed her mind and she really just wanted her anxiety med instead. I'd take off all my gear and go get her anxiety med. Then I'd put it all back on and go in to give it to her. About this time the resident would return my page, but I'd be in the isolation room unable to pick up the phone to tell them that I was about to murder their patient, and could they be a dear and write me some orders for that. We did some variation on this dance every few minutes for twelve hours straight.

People in isolation are also, for some obscure reason, more likely than the "typical" patient to pull out central lines and be shooting blood everywhere while you race to get suited up before they bleed out. Jugulars and subclavians gush like big dogs. It's like some demonic obstacle course where you try to staunch the bleeding while simultaneously dodging it and with your third hand attempting to tie your gown which you left open when you ran into the room in a panic. Add in perpetually cracked and bleeding hands (read: susceptible to infection) from all that washing and it's a situation ripe for worry.

It was during this period of time that I got a particular song stuck in my head. I know I've mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. I could not shake this song. It wouldn't go away. It became my own personal soundtrack.

There was the time we had a weather related power outage that knocked out all our vents. Even though it was pretty quick, it felt like forever before the emergency generator kicked in. I got floated down to our Burn ICU for a day, which will go down as some of the more horrific twelve hours of my life so far. Burns are not my thing. I stood by a teenage girl's bed, flanked by neurosurgeons and her parents as her brain herniated in front of us. It basically swelled so much that it descended into her spinal column. As the numbers climbed on the monitors all I could hear was her mother saying frantically, "Why is that number going up so fast? Is that bad?" And I had a patient who had lost control of his motorcycle (helmet-less, of course) at high speed and basically turned himself into a tattoed omelet. The waiting room was full of his Hell's Angels buddies, and they let us all know in pretty uncertain terms that if he didn't survive they would expect some answers. (Here's your answer: Wear a damned helmet. Don't drive 90 miles an hour. Don't drink a case of beer before you drive. And get the hell out of my face. Now).

I had gotten to the point where I couldn't ever forget about work. I'd come home and lie awake for hours trying to relax enough to sleep. I don't think I ever actually dreamed about a specific patient, but I'd have these weird, fragmented stress dreams. Night after night. One of my friends told me she could always tell when she had gotten me on the phone after a day of work. She said I didn't even sound like myself. I knew exactly what she meant, because I didn't feel like myself either. I've had some wild fantasies in my life, but telling a furious Hell's Angel to fuck off was not one of them. Who was that (stupid) nurse with cojones the size of watermelons? Because it couldn't have really been me. I'm a coward by nature. A coward with a very, very big mouth.

But even all of those things weren't enough to push me totally over the edge. It was going to take something really special for that.

It was going to take the neuro patient from hell.

This poor guy had had a massive head bleed. Unfortunately, he was behind the wheel at the time and proceeded to drive his car off of a small bridge. Normally it would have been a toss-up as to whether he was a neuro patient or a trauma patient, but since the Neuro ICU was at capacity, it was a moot point. He came to us. By the time I took over he was critically unstable. He was intubated. He had a central line and a femoral arterial line. He had two tubes going into the ventricles on either side of his brain. This is called a ventriculostomy and is used for two things - to monitor the intracranial pressure (ICP) and to drain cerobrospinal fluid (CSF) off of the brain. Part of the set-up is the tubing and part is the drainage system, meticulously calibrated to drain off exactly the right amount of CSF. One of these ventrics is bad news. Two is above and beyond the call of bad.

His condition continued to decline. He had at least ten drips going. His ICP was going up and his blood pressure was going down. He was not breathing at all on his own and was totally dependent on the vent. Because he wasn't on the neurosurg floor the docs were having to come to us for all his treatment. So when a bed became available on their unit they jumped on it. Next thing I knew my charge nurse was telling me to call report to the neuro ICU.

I balked. Big time. I was afraid breathing too hard in his room was going to send him over the edge, much less moving him and all of his equipment down a couple of floors. My concerns were duly noted and summarily dismissed. The neuro guys wanted him on their own unit. We had a helicopter flying in with a trauma and we needed the bed. Balking is a lot more satisfying when you get what you want.

So I got him ready to move. Big ICU bed. IV drips on pole (with the tubing attached to his central line in his subclavian). Ventilator (with the endotracheal tube in his airway). Two additional poles that had the ventric set-ups on them (each with tubing that attached into his brain). Arterial monitoring system (with the tubing going into his femoral). A transport monitor so I could keep an eye on his vital signs during the trip. The big red crash suitcase, in case he took a dive during the move. I enlisted the respiratory therapist to help with the vent. I got an aide to help maneuver us to the elevator. And away we went, like a herd of really slow turtles.

We were just off our unit, in our lockdown hallway, when his vent failed. It made a really impressive noise and shut down. I've always thought that nurses had the worst mouths in the hospital, but that RT made me look like a slacker. She cussed non-stop while she bagged him and I pushed the bed at breakneck speed back to where we had started from. We waited while the vent was swapped out for a functional one. Take two.

This time we made it to the elevator without incident. Our teaching hospital was not new and the elevators were on the tight side. By the time we fit in a bed, a vent, three poles and two people, there wasn't an inch left to spare. I was in the back of the elevator, squeezed into the wall. The RT was next to the vent pressed into a corner. I was just congratulating myself on having the transport monitor facing toward me so I could see it when the elevator door started closing.

And snagged one of the ventric tubes and got it caught in the door. The RT and I watched in horror as the line got more and more taut and we both simultaneously flung ourselves at it. She ended up taco shelled across the top of her vent. I ended up crawling up my patient's bed (seriously - sometimes unconscious is good) until my feet were right next to his face. And we still couldn't reach it. One of the anesthesia residents was passing in front of the elevator and, alerted by my professional shriek, stuck her hand in and stopped the doors from closing. Without a word she unsnagged the tubing and put it safely back inside the elevator. Later she told me that she had thought she was having a bad day, but reconsidered after that.

We delivered our patient to the neuro ICU without further incident. As we signed all the safety checks and transfer paperwork I felt very grateful that it was done and I went back to my unit thanking my lucky stars it hadn't been worse. I don't remember anything else about that day until about eight hours later, when the medical director of the neuro unit flew onto our unit madder than hell. Next thing I knew he and my boss were standing in front of me with a look on their faces that I knew well, having watched residents get handed their shorts on a daily basis. I was about to receive another Italian loafer enema.

The medical director was waving a paper chart in the air in front of me and demanding to know why nothing had been charted. Hour after hour of columns for vital signs lay empty. How dare I call myself a critical care nurse, had I gotten my degree from a convenience store, and so on and so on. As he shook it two inches from my face I got a good look at the chart up close. And then I sat back to listen to his rant.

Finally, when he exhausted himself, he asked me in an extremely condescending tone why in the world the last time this patient had his vitals charted was at ten than morning. And I'd be lying if I said I wasn't being a flat out bitch when I replied

I couldn't tell you, because I transferred him to your unit at ten this morning. As a matter of fact, if you'll take a look at the chart, all those neat columns of vitals prior to ten this morning have my signature on them.

He turned a shade of purple that made me think he should up his blood pressure meds and stormed off the unit. Not a single word of apology. And as I watched the door swing slowly shut behind him all I could think was

I've had enough.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Fun Monday

Mariposa at Mariposa's Tales is our Fun Monday hostess this week and she's given us a double header. First, she wants to know why we named our blogs what we did. And secondly, she wants to know what the favorite or most commonly made dish made in our house is.

The name of my blog is pretty self-explanatory. I am a rotten correspondent. And I'm confessing to it. I don't know why I am, but I am. It was a little easier to rationalize back in the old days where you actually had to buy a stamp and mail a letter, but now there's no excuse. And even with e-mail I'm not great. I love keeping up with people. I adore receiving mail of all kinds. I just...lack motivation on my end.

When we moved from Southern California to Kansas in 1999 it got even worse. I had friends that I really wanted to stay in touch with...and didn't. Not because I didn't want to, but because (all together now) I'm a rotten correspondent. Last year I finally had enough. I woke up one day, sat straight up in bed and said "I'm gonna start a blog to keep in touch with people." And in March I did. Guess what I called it?

And in terms of strengthening old bonds and forming new ones, it's been a home run. Enough so that I could almost rename it Confessions of a (formerly) Rotten Correspondent.

Moving on to question two confuses me a little. This isn't easy to answer when you have three bottomless pit boys who all have different tastes and preferences in food. I'm also a compulsive recipe collector who loves to try new things, so the temptation to post something really fun and different is huge. But I'm not going to. I'm going with something I've made since the kids were tiny, something my mom made for me. The vegetarians have it with the mock chicken cutlets.

My kids call it Green Chicken. And it's terribly, terribly complicated and time consuming, so if tricky recipes confuse you, I'd skip it. Ready?

Take a bunch of chicken. Any pieces are fine. Skinless is fine. With skin is better. Plop 'em in a baking pan.

Sprinkle them liberally with garlic powder, seasoning salt and dried parsley flakes.

Toss them in a 350 oven for an hour-ish. Depends on what pieces you used.

Dinner is served. And it tastes a lot better than it sounds.

Now go see what everyone else is throwing on the table.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

the envelope please...

Well, I fell way short of my goal of seeing all the nominees in the "major" categories, but as of Oscar Time here is my tally of what I will have seen:

Best Picture
Michael Clayton
No Country for Old Men*

George Clooney - Michael Clayton
Johnny Depp - Sweeney Todd

Ellen Page - Juno
Laura Linney - The Savages

Supporting Actor
Javier Bardem - No Country for Old Men*
Tom Wilkinson - Michael Clayton

Supporting Actress
Tilda Swinton - Michael Clayton

Jason Reitman - Juno
Tony Gilroy - Michael Clayton
Joel and Ethan Coen - No Country for Old Men*

Original Screenplay

Diablo Cody - Juno
Tony Gilroy - Michael Clayton
Tamara Jenkins - The Savages

*subject to change

I do think I may set a record of a different kind, however. In my (admittedly pissy) opinion, I'm betting that I haven't seen a winner in any category. I'm pretty sure that Daniel Day-Lewis and Julie Christie have Actor and Actress sewn up. I think Director is going to Paul Thomas Anderson for There Will Be Blood. And I'm willing to bet that Atonement takes Best Picture. This would be especially ironic since this is the one film I've wanted to see the most and haven't. I'm still trying to figure out how to fit in in Sunday afternoon, but I can tell you right now that it won't happen. Oh, well.

What are your picks? Any particular favorites?

Let the show begin...

Saturday, February 23, 2008

big dilemma

There are three hobbies in my life that bring me great pleasure.

I love to read. Anything and everything.

I'm a relatively new knitting devotee. It's the most Zen thing in my entire life.

And it should come as no surprise that I like to blog. Far, far too much.

Does anyone see the problem here?

I do. You can only do one of them at a time. Now, that's a problem.

I have dueling addictions.

Surely it's a sad commentary on our society when we feel bad that we can't multi-task our hobbies. We spend our days juggling one task after another and then feel guilty doing just one thing at a time - even (or especially) in a moment of relaxation. As a reflection of the expectations we put on ourselves, I hate the idea of making myself feel bad that I'm doing one solitary thing.

But in practicality it's a real problem. The fact that some things can't be combined makes my life more difficult, or at the very least, less fun. And the fact that each of these hobbies can be combined with other things but not each other makes me crazy.

Take reading. It's the ultimate multi-purpose passion. I can read at the gym, on a plane, or at red lights if the book really has its hooks into me. I can knit while I'm gossiping with friends, watching TV or waiting at soccer practice or play rehearsal. I often read blogs while I'm watching TV with the kids because if you get distracted it isn't hard to get back on the train. It takes a little more concentration to write, of course, but I've learned to take what I can get and be grateful for it.

But you can't combine my top three. At all. Maybe some people can knit and type at the same time, but I barely manage them separately. Reading and blogging doesn't work in my world. And while I suppose some people technically could knit and read simultaneously, I'm not one of them. So I have to pick and choose between my vices, giving each a place of its own in my day.

I like to blog in the morning, coffee in hand. This isn't to say that I don't check in at other times during the day, loving comments the way I do. Knitting helps me to sleep, so it's usually what I do right before bed. I used to read myself to sleep but find that knitting clears my head better, especially when I've been at work. I read in bits and pieces all day long, whenever I can fit it in. If I have an afternoon at home alone I usually curl up with a book and a dog.

It's a balancing act, much like life, and sometimes it gets a little out of kilter.

Sometimes it's a real dilemma.

As you can see Header #1 won by a landslide. (Hard to fault when even the person who created it preferred it!) Doesn't it look terrific?? Thanks, Carolyn!

New installment of RC/RN on Monday. I hadn't realized it's been a month since the last one, so if you want to reread it go here for Part 1 and here for Part 2. Hopefully, I can wrap this up in one last go-round!

UPDATE: SORRY!! I totally forgot Fun Monday. RC/RN on Tuesday. Where is my brain??


Friday, February 22, 2008


A zebra in simplified medical slang is someone or something that is not what it first appears to be.

First was the patient who was in for simple nausea and vomiting. Pretty straight forward until he puked so hard he turned midnight blue and keeled over. (Don't worry. He got back up. Eventually).

Then there was the guy in because his knee hurt. I triaged him and figured him for the ice/xray/splint hat trick. My feeling of laissez-faire ended abruptly when I took his blood pressure and it was 62/41. (He walked out on his own two feet. Eventually. Didn't even need a splint).

I totally understand people being sick, but do they have to be so sneaky about it? Present themselves as one thing and then turn into something completely different?

I was feeling a little cranky when I plopped down at a computer and complained loudly to anyone who would listen. I was on a roll about how unpredictably some inconsiderate patients behaved when one of the docs (who has an advanced degree in giving me hell) said

Did it ever occur to you that unexpected things might happen - considering that this is an Emergency Department?

and I said

Well, yeah....but does it have to be that kind of an Emergency Department?

He would have come back with something, but he was distracted by the medics bringing in the simple slip and fall of the elderly gentleman at home. Seems someone forgot to mention the twin traits of homicidal and schizophrenic in report.

As we all ran over to keep him from flying (literally) off the gurney, the doc looked at me with fire in his eye and said

Don't say a word.

Who? Me?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Thursday Three

This week's Thursday Three is going to break from the norm a little bit. And it's not because I can't think of a list topic or a good idea to make everyone jump in with an opinion. Honest. It's not. It's just that this is a perfect time for the blogging firm of Grovel, Acknowledge and Glee to make an appearance. Ready?

#1. Grovel. I'm taking the easy way out here, because I'm tired of writing a gazillion comments on all your blogs saying "I'm catching up. Sorry for my absence. Nothing personal. Love you loads" - over and over and over. (And I'm still trying to catch up). A lot of new people have popped in here lately and, even though I always make it a point to personally say "Welcome!!" - I haven't. I even got the first comment ever from Graham Cracker, who I know for a fact has been reading since Day One - and I never even acknowledged it. A fellow blogger whom I adore sent me an email asking for a favor (that I absolutely intended to do) and I totally spaced out on it. And am too embarrassed to even contact and apologize. Bad RC. Bad! My mother raised me better than that. I really am sorry.

I'm sure most of you have figured out that there's been trouble in my paradise. Gee. And that makes me so special. In my regular blog surfing there are people going through all kinds of crap on a daily basis. Premature babies in the ICU. Health worries. Job security fears. Teenage children trying to take out their parents on a daily basis. Marriages in crisis. Derelict dogs. Name it. We're all going through something.

Maybe I should follow my own advice and Get Over It.

I'm going to be fine. Life really does go on. Bless all of you for caring.

I'll stop whining now.

#2. Acknowledge. When I posted those wonderful headers of Carolyn's yesterday, I never imagined the response. It was amazing. As soon as I get a chance I'm going to sit down and make a little tally of the choices. Stay tuned for the final answer.

I was particularly pleased with the opinion that I couldn't lose no matter which one I picked. Because that's certainly the thought that I had. It was like an all-you-can-eat dessert buffet. How can you go wrong with that?

And even though Carolyn tells me no thanks are necessary, I have to say it one more time. You should all go over and check out her blog. It's beautiful and fun and she always has interesting sites linked that I would never find in a million years.

I also have to thank Jackie at mother's pride for giving me permission to "nick" the fabulous marriage graphic above. She comes up with the most fabulous retro graphics - just the sort of thing I adore - and she's very generously sharing. If you haven't checked her out yet I highly recommend it. Mwah!

So thank you all. Acknowledgments complete.

#3. Glee. If anyone remembers the two installments of RC/RN, I mentioned my best friend from nursing school in passing. We met the very first day of anatomy class and, like some freakish beacons of type A angst, bonded immediately. And permanently. On paper we couldn't be more different. In spirit we were twins. She was a major factor in my survival during that three years.

We always said we would work together, but it never happened. She signed on at her local hospital and I went to the Trauma Center grail that I had been after. She always said she wanted to be in ICU. I said I though ICU would be dull and boring. I coveted ER. She thought ER would be chaotic and out of control.

I became an ICU nurse. She became an ER nurse. Should have seen that coming.

I switched hospitals. She stayed put. But after I switched I started a typically subtle campaign to get her to make a move. I begged. I argued. I probably even whined. And to be fair, she wanted to be at the hospital I'm at. But there were no openings with the hours she needed. Until last month.

So today something is happening that I have fantasized about for years. When I walk onto my unit for my shift - she'll be there. Scrubbed and ready to go. After living in each other's pockets all through school we finally get to work together as professionals. For years we told each other that if we could just survive we would be fabulous nurses. And now we get to do it together.

I give her a week to get used to the layout. And then I'll be eating her dust.

I can't wait.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

over my head(er)

I need some help. Well, I really need lots of help, but in this case I have a specific need. Last week, out of the pure and total goodness of her heart, Carolyn at laughing alone in the dark created new headers for me. Completely unasked. She had picked up on the twin cues of my discontent with the way my blog looks and my absolute inability talent-wise to do anything about it. She left a comment with a link to see the header she had done and then offered to custom design something for me. And through questions about fonts and colors and style preferences she came up with fifteen different headers for me. I about fell over because they were all fabulous.

It's taken me several days, but I have them narrowed down to six. And I'd like some input, if you don't mind too much. I thought I had the perfect one picked, but then another one stole my heart and confused me in the process. I'm over my head.

So take a look and let me know what you think. Is she incredible or what?








Tuesday, February 19, 2008

slap fights

This past week won't be going on any Top Ten lists whenever I finally look back at my life and pick my favorite memories. My Saturday evening wine/chocolate/Hugh trifecta failed to deliver, much to my chagrin. Insult was added to injury when we ended up watching Michael Clayton instead and even George Clooney couldn't help. Now I'm the first to admit that they lit him very badly in this film but still. George and Hugh both? That's bad.

So on Sunday I shifted into Plan B - the fabulous bells and whistles bath. Lovely bath salts and oils, a moisturizing mask on my face, my favorite incense burning, a huge cup of tea - the works. This would relax me, damn it. I was going to insist on it. As the tub filled I took deep breaths and thought calming things. I was repeating my mantra - this too shall pass - when I heard a horrible thump from the living room. And again. I ran out of the bathroom, soothing carrot mask beginning to work its magic on my face, to see what the commotion was.

It didn't take long. As soon as I hit the dining room I took in the sight of Sasquatch and the Red Headed Step-Child rolling around on the floor, grunting and making inarticulate noises. The RHSC had a huge hunk of SQ's hair clutched in his hand and SQ was swinging blindly at the RHSC's head. Gumby and Surfer Dude were watching transfixed from the living room. This was a new one.

Channeling my inner mommy superhero, I grabbed them each by the collar and dragged them apart, shrieking at the top of my lungs the entire time. (I'm more used to dog fights and was wishing I had a water hose). Bear in mind that SQ is 6'1 and RHSC has a good three inches on him. No sooner did I start getting the story (a classic case of he said/she said) than SQ picked up a frickin' chair and swung it toward the RHSC's head. I deflected it with my arm (ouch) and proceeded to quietly go insane on him. Okay. Maybe not so quietly. The thumping I had heard was the two of them brawling on the stairs on the way down, knocking out spindles as they descended. I have a glass front door at the very bottom of the stairs. I was not amused.

I sent SQ to his room and drove the RHSC home. I wanted to call Laurie/Elly Mae on the way to give her a heads up on why I was bringing her son home in a battered state, but he was in the car so I couldn't. And even though we have a pact to treat each of these boys as if they are our very own, I somehow thought that looking like I had beaten him senseless was taking it a step too far.

I dropped him off and he ran upstairs in tears. I came home to find Sasquatch upstairs in tears. When I realized I still had the carrot mask on my face I wanted to hide upstairs in tears. And my bath water had gotten cold. Damn. The scent of soothing incense was in the air but I wasn't feeling the love at that point.

The reaction from people close to the boy brawlers was interesting. This was certainly a first. Our buddy Stacey, who knows them both far too well, said she imagined it would have been like a girlie-girl slap fight. (We might have taken this the wrong way, but we all knew that her son would have been the third girl in the ring). Paternal units were nonplussed. (And conveniently not home at the time).

But the exclamation point on the whole episode was provided by Gumby. As I walked back in the door from taking the RHSC home, Gumby stretched out on the sofa, grinned at me and said

Mom, you're a betting woman. If you hadn't pulled them apart who do you think would have won?

I took my bath later. Strike three.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Fun Monday

This week Fun Monday is being hosted by SayreSmiles. And this is what she has to say:

Every day as I go to work, I see things around me that make me laugh. Usually these are in the forms of signs. So take your camera with you as you go about your business and take a picture of the things that make you laugh along the way (but it doesn't necessarily HAVE to be a sign).

Okay. Here's my problem. I sort of accidentally signed up for this, because my camera is out of commission and I don't have any way to take pictures of funny things I see on a daily basis. This is not to say that I don't see some pretty funny things, just that I can't prove that I see them.

But...every time we go to my folk's lake house we drive out of our way to avoid one particular sign. It all started when they were looking at houses and the realtor who was driving us all around tsk-tsked when we passed it. Of course this made my boys curious about what the sign really meant. I'm about as open and up-front as you can be, but I'm not really feeling up to dealing with this one:

Seriously, can you blame me?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

rainy day

Here's the Saturday Night Line-up:

a Valentine's Day gift from my dear friend Susan

crisp and chilled

a rainy night, cold and blustery

Sasquatch at a friend's house, Gumby upstairs with a sleeping over friend, Surfer Dude out cold wrapped in a fuzzy blanket

and an on-demand movie I've been holding off on seeing, waiting for a rainy day

I've always said that if Hugh Grant can't make it better it isn't fixable.

No pressure, Hugh.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

amazingly enough

Thanks to pixelpi for this absolutely perfect graphic for yesterday's post. I couldn't have said it better myself. And I look terrible in gingham unless it's red. So there you are.

I've been toying with an idea for a book lately. It's all still in the formative, who the hell knows what's going to happen next stage, but it's in progress. I've got a beginning and a middle, but the end is still up in the air. I hate that, don't you?

I thought I'd run a trial scene by you all to see what you think. My gut tells me it's too over the top, but my gut doesn't have the best track record, so input is appreciated. Really.

We open with our main character leaving the marriage counseling session from hell.

As she walks to her car, she notices that she's gotten a parking ticket.

And she has to go to her kid's school because she's the room parent in charge of the class party.

Because it's Valentine's Day.

And as a special treat the music teacher has arranged for the junior high school orchestra to play in the halls and serenade all the revelers as they clutch their bags of Valentine's cards and make their way to the various parties.

And the orchestra is playing Celine Dion.

"My heart will go on."

From Titanic.

Anyone not see Titanic? Not high on the happy ending scale.

In lugging supplies in for the party she hears this song approximately 36 times.

And she doesn't even like Celine Dion.

Never has.

And in total and absolute pent up anger and frustration and fear she does the only thing she can think to do, short of eating three tables worth of pink cupcakes with hearts on them.

She spots the room mother who made her winter holiday party such a pain in the butt and she slowly breaks into a smile.

As she deliberately walks toward her, malice on her mind, we end the scene.

Tell me the truth. Is anyone going to believe a word of this?

Friday, February 15, 2008

it's alright...

It all started with the phone call Wednesday morning from the high school detention officer, telling me that Sasquatch has a three hour detention after school Friday. Seems the fact that he's consistently ten minutes late to first hour has finally caught up with him. To sweeten the pot, from this point on every day he's late to first hour is an automatic three hour after school detention.

If you had been a fly perched on my wall when the new semester started in January, this is what you would have heard:

RC: You have to make a much better effort of getting to school on time.

SQ: It's alright, mom. You can have ten tardies before you get a detention.

RC: That doesn't mean that you should deliberately rack up ten tardies. Save them for when you really need them, like when there's ice on the car or you've legitimately overslept.

SQ: It's alright, mom. Don't worry about it. My first hour teacher doesn't care anyway.

RC: Really? I find it hard to believe that he wouldn't care that you're late every day. I would care if I were him. I'd care a lot.

SQ: It's alright, mom. Why do you always get so angry with me? You're always attacking me. Why are you in such a bad mood anyway? You're always in a bad mood.

And if you'd been a fly perched on my wall this morning this is what you would have seen:

RC: get up, make coffee, oversee breakfast and lunch making for younger two, shower, sign schoolwork and planners, feed dogs.

SQ (in same amount of time): put on socks.

Guess who was late to school?

It's alright...cause I don't give a shit.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Thursday Three

Well,'s February 14th. It's a perfect day to talk about

Holidays I Just Don't Get

I know I'm out of sync with a lot of things. I don't care for football, I've never seen Grey's Anatomy and I don't understand certain holidays. I mean, I understand them. I just don't get them.

#1. Valentine's Day. Surprise! It's a day that is manufactured to make you feel like crap, in my opinion. If you're in the first bloom of love, there's huge pressure to make it spectacular and special. If you've just broken up, it's guaranteed to make you miserable. If you're married, it's just one more day that society tells you to buy flowers and prove how much you love someone. Well, hell, if tulips could do that we'd all live in Holland.

I guess I have issues with holidays where we're all supposed to "prove" how much we love someone. If you really love a person that much don't you try to prove it everyday?

#2. New Year's Eve. Not my holiday at all. Maybe it started all those years ago when I was a cocktail waitress and this was the holiday from hell. There's a reason it's called Amateur Night.
Or maybe it was all those years we lived on the formation route for the Tournament of Roses Parade and couldn't get in or out of our street without going through a police checkpoint. Puts a damper on celebrating in the traditional way, let me tell you. (Although it was pretty funny when we totally spaced on that one year and had (or tried to) a New Year's party. No one could get through the checkpoints and we never tried that again).

I love the New Year idea of taking stock of your life and getting a fresh start. I just don't know why society expects me to be hungover when I'm doing it. If I make it home alive in the first place.

#3. Mother's Day. Okay, hear me out before you start throwing things. I'm a mother, for god's sake. And I'm a daughter. And a daughter-in-law. And I still have issues with this holiday.

This goes hand in hand with #1. I don't like feeling like I have to go out and buy something "meaningful" just to prove how much I love my mother. I adore my mother, which I think is a matter of public record. And I'm a crappy present buyer, which makes it even worse. As far as my own kids and what they get me for Mother's Day, feels a little forced sometimes. Sure, it's nice to get things they've made for me, but they do that anyway. Breakfast in bed is always a treat, but lately Surfer Dude has been bringing me coffee in bed every morning just because...and I want to kiss him to smithereens when he does. He's doing it because he wants to, not because Hallmark told him to.

Okay, people. Let's hear your two cents.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

out of the loop

I opened a group email yesterday that had my cousin's name as the sender. My cousin and I have been pretty tight for most of our lives, right up until the stupid family squabble that neither one of us had anything to do with but still got pulled into. We've been tenuous the last couple of years and it has stunk. The email was actually sent by his wife and it read -

As you may or may not know [RC's cousin] and I have divorced. If you'd like to keep in touch with me here is my new email address.

Then I got home from work tonight and opened another email. This was from my old best friend, my maid of honor when we got married. We had drifted apart before we left California, but it's been really bad since we've been here. I hear from her on birthdays and Christmas and know she's gotten married in the last few years. Well, this was a bunch of pictures from a vacation and I didn't know a soul in them. I can only assume she was taking them. But there were kids - two of them - and the last I heard she didn't have any kids. Are they her husbands? Adopted? Vacationing friends?

Tonight was Bunco night, the one night a month I get together with a group of long-term good friends. I'd been looking forward to it. Then today work called and asked if I'd be interested in working tonight. I said no. They said what about for double time pay? I said no - I had plans.

Then I hung up the phone and started thinking about all the money that has gone out this week and I called them back and said ye$, I $ure would be intere$ted in working a night $hift. So all my friends got together and had a great time and I bowed to the almighty dollar. Whee.

Why is it so easy to lose touch these days? And why do I feel so out of the loop? I adore my cousin and am hurting for him. (And his wife for that matter). I miss my friend in California and would like to know who all these new people in her life are. I feel bad that I chose money over friendship tonight, even while I don't see that I had a huge choice.

I emailed my cousin and his (ex) wife and got a response tonight. I'll contact my friend and ask all the questions I can think of. Tomorrow I'll make a few phone calls and collect all the Bunco dirt. It'll all come out in the wash.

So why do I feel like I'm living in a bubble? Is it just me?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

just routine

One of my dearest friends went to the doctor recently with heel pain and ended up with two stents placed in her heart. And before you say WTF?? (which was my first reaction, too. And second. And third) consider how many health things happen in seemingly random fashions.

I personally dread the routine test. Any routine test. I'm not big on routine doctor visits, either. I'm not saying I don't go. I do. I just whine and carry on and worry myself half to death in the process. (And this is for things like tetanus boosters. Imagine when it's a "real" visit).

My friend had her foot looked at. At some point toward the end of the appointment the doctor casually took her pulse. Then decided to listen to her heart. Then suggested a 12 lead EKG. After that she got sent home with a heart monitor for 24 hours. Her heel was smelling like a rose at this point. A 24 carat, dipped in chocolate rose.

She called me with the results of the 24 hour monitor and asked what I thought. And, in a perfect example of why I'm a much better blogging friend than an in-person one, I said "You are not in that rhythm. I've never even seen that rhythm in someone who wasn't coding." (Way to go on the therapeutic communication there). Turns out she had misunderstood something they told her, but only slightly, and before you know it they were scheduling lots and lots of tests. One of which found the possible blockages in her heart, which lead to the cardiac catheterization and the necessity for two stents. Two blockages - one 90% and one 70%. No real symptoms. No real warning. No real...anything.

She just turned 50 in October.

So I spent part of last Friday night in our ICU. On my night off. Elly Mae and I went to hang out with her and provide witty repartee and shiny happy faces to cheer her up. She didn't fall for it for a second, but her spirits were pretty good considering. She wasn't at all happy about this whole thing, but her attitude was hard to find fault with - thank heavens it had been caught before something really bad happened.

There's a rush right now among our group of friends to schedule stress tests and cholesterol counts and all that other good stuff that's so easy to put off until next year. As much as it galls me, I'm part of that rush. I may not be in the target age yet, but I'm close.

My dad died in his sleep at age 63 from a massive heart attack. It was his first. And even though I can tick off a long list of risk factors he had that I don't, the mere fact that he died the way he did knocks my risk level out of the park.

As much as I hate the thought of getting the tests done, I know I have to. As scared as I am of facing up to it, I don't feel like I have a choice.

Because now I'm scared not to.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Fun Monday

Crown Princess at Ooh, a shiny pen is this week's Fun Monday guru and she's looking for a little insight into our souls.

Uh oh.

Music plays a vital role in most of our lives. It is everywhere. I want to hear the ONE song that is you. The song that whenever it is heard, you smile. I am not looking for the soundtrack of your life, just that one song. Your friends hear it and think of you. You can post the video, the lyrics, the wav file. However you want to post it is great.

Alright, here's my song, and let tell you why. When I was younger I was afraid of almost everything. It's really only been the last few years that I've developed this weird "face your fears" attitude. This approach has changed my life in more ways than I can say.

And every time I hear this song - like the instructions say - it makes me smile.

(Of course, there was no YouTube for this, so this was the only way I could figure out how to do it. I'm really looking forward to seeing how other people post songs).

Sunday, February 10, 2008

the sunday slacker

Well, finally there's proof...

You Are Fairly Normal

You scored 55% normal on this quiz

Like most people you are normal in some ways...
But you aren't a completely normal person. You're a little weird too!

Why You Are Normal:

When you're in a car, you prefer to be the driver

You eat the frosting first

You prefer ruffled potato chips

You think glasses can make someone more attractive

If you had to, you rather live without music and still have laughter

Why You Aren't Normal:

You know a little about many subjects

You prefer a good nap to a good meal

You'd rather have cockroaches than rats in your home

You would not eat meat from a cloned animal

You are no longer with your first love

So, how about you?

Saturday, February 9, 2008

mega gabbies

It's been an awards explosion all over Blogville the last few weeks and I've been lucky enough to have some of them tossed my way. I do love awards. They're like books. You can never have too many. And they look so nice when they're displayed.

I was going to not worry a huge amount about who already has what when I pass them on, since I'd like to get this post done in less than a week. But in spite of my plans I did end up taking a peek to see who has what posted. Even so, I'm sure some of these will be duplicates. Que sera sera.

There are some people I'd be thrilled to hand things off to, but they've already got everything I have and more. (Are you listening laurie, jo and akelamalu?) So consider yourselves awarded in spirit, if not the flesh).

A special award should go to Jo for actually having the nerve to give Willowtree a Spreader of Love Award. (and darn her for beating me to it). I shudder to think of the end result of that photoshop session. Can you shudder in anticipation? Uh...

And can I just say one more thing about awards? They're wonderful to get - no doubt. But boy do these babies take time. (If you don't know what I mean - don't worry. You will). This entire post was brought to you by the blog firm of Browse, Cut, Paste and Link.

In order of appearance, this one comes from Dumdad, Omega Mum, laurie, Rose and mother of this lot. Wow. Don't make me pull out my Sally Field picture again. Once was enough, don't you think? Here's the story behind this award:

I love being a part of the blogging community and part of all the friendships that I've formed so I wanted to give a blog award for all of you out there that have Excellent Blogs. By accepting this Excellent Blog Award, you have to award it to 10 more people whose blogs you find Excellent Award worthy. You can give it to as many people as you want but please award at least 10.

Excellent. This award is E for Excellent. I love it.

Thank you all so much. I'm passing this on to -

Diary of a Housewife
laughing alone in the dark
The Misadventures of Adulthood
Musings of a Muse
Now is Good
Summit Musings
Twaddle everyday rubbish
Blog to the Bone

This one is from ann at For the Long Run. In honor of this award I decided to finally change a few things around on the blog, basically changing one boring but pretty beach scene for another boring but pretty beach scene. I have other ideas that are way more creative. I just don't have a clue how to do them. This is why there isn't a Competent Blogger Award on my sidebar.

Thanks, ann!

This goes on to -

A Life of Triggers
Omega Mum
mother of this lot
Lil Mouse
Big Blue Barn West

The Mwah! is from Mya at Missing You Already. Mya and I have been swapping awards since the great 2007 stone age, and somehow she knew how I was coveting this one. She's intuitive like that.

‘It’s a big kiss, of the chaste, platonic kind, from me to you with the underlying ‘thanks’ message implied. I really do appreciate your support and your friendship, and yes, your comments.’

A big Mwah! back at ya!

I'm flinging a Mwah! at -

A Snowball's Chance in...
Crystal Jigsaw
For the Long Run
La Vie en Rose
Lost in the Bible Belt
The Other Side of Paris
Swearing Mother
Temporary Insanity
Heeeeere, Storkey, Storkey!

The Spreader of Love Award is from Jo Beaufoix, another of the Stone Age gals. (I mean it in the nicest way, sweetie). And I love the award!

This one is off to -


Missing You Already
potty mummy
Sweet Wood Talking

Whew. I'm spent.

Your turn.

Friday, February 8, 2008


My two younger kids take a lunch to school every day. It's not that they can't get a hot meal in the cafeteria, but they turn their noses up at the school food. To tell the truth I don't blame them a bit. The nutritional info is horrifying and all the food looks like it's been sitting under a heat lamp since the Fourth of July.

So every day we pack up their lunchboxes and send them on their way. I'm lucky in that all of my kids love leftovers, so what we normally do is fill a thermos with (planned) leftovers from dinner the night before. They get a hot lunch, I know they're getting decent food (that they'll actually eat) and everyone is happy.

Well, almost everyone.

Right before school started in the Fall I went to Target and bought them each a super duper thermos that cost a stinking fortune (for a thermos anyway). The neat trick of this thermos is that you nuke it for a minute when you put the food in and it keeps everything nice and hot until lunchtime. When I clean up after dinner at night I fill them up and pop them in the fridge. The next morning I take the lid off, toss it in the microwave and then pack it into a lunchbox.

We've had some problems with the kids being able to get the lids off when they go to eat. They've complained several times and I've always written it off as them giving me a hard time. It's not like I'm screwing the lid on that tight. I just want it to stay on and not drip food all over the place. I did kind of think that maybe the fact that the lid went on to food that was hot could have been the problem. But like I said, I didn't think there really was a problem - besides kids pulling my chain.

Today as we were walking out of school one of the teachers started laughing when she saw me and asked the boys if they'd told me about the day's events. Evidently it had been a dual thermal mishap day and neither one could get them open. They handed them off to teachers, who were also thwarted. In the end, the school janitor had to take both of them to his workroom and put each thermos into a vise to get it opened. When he entered the cafeteria - victorious - both kid's tables applauded.

As we walked to the car Surfer Dude told me that none of the kids in his class believed that his mom was so strong that she could shut the lid on an unopenable thermos. Gumby chimed in that I didn't even need a car to pick them up, and that his friends all assumed I could just leap over buildings to cross the couple of blocks to the school.

Maybe I let that Superwoman label go too soon.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Thursday Three

I don't know what it is about winter and food. But when it's cold and gross outside, food takes on a whole new meaning. Comfort. And what's more comforting than pasta? But, like the basic black dress, it's all about what you do with it.

Favorite Pasta Sauces

I'm not sure you can do much wrong with pasta, but here are my favorites. I'm not mentioning marinara, my all time fave, because it's a little plain jane for T3. (Even though it's what I eat 95% of the time!)

#1. White clam. I love white clam sauce on linguini or fettucine. I used to have a really fast five minute clam and lemon sauce recipe that I loved, but it never really flew with the kids and got ditched as a result. I should really track it down because it was really easy and really good.

Like the good coastal raised girl I am, I have to mention that anything with clams is twice as good with scallops. In Kansas, however, I'll stick with clams. Canned.

#2. Puttanesca.
How can you not love a sauce named for hookers? Really? This is a very spicy sauce, loaded with capers, olives, red pepper flakes and (don't gag) anchovies. For someone who is as squeamish about meat as I am, I have no rationale for why I love anchovies so much. Oh, well. Predictable is not my middle name.

I almost never make this at home, but I do a down and dirty version without the anchovies. It's still pretty good. If I do say so myself.

#3. Mushroom.
My mother's mushroom sauce. The one that I cannot seem to pull off. I've watched her a zillion times and still can't do it. I'm convinced that she sends me out of the room on a fool's errand and then throws in something bizarre like pineapple juice or ketchup behind my back.

It looks simple. Melt some butter and olive oil together and throw in a bunch of garlic. Saute for a minute and toss in a huge pile of sliced button mushrooms. Cook 'em down for a sec and then add a bunch of broth and let it simmer. It's a really soupy sauce. Pour it into a bowl over some pasta. Grate some cheese on top and slurp it down. Let it settle for a few minutes and go back for seconds. It's that good.

Alright, I'm done. I'd like to hear about your favorites.

And I promise next week's list won't be about food.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

built to last

Embarrassment and humiliation seem to be recurrent themes lately here in blogville. As I have cruised my usual haunts the last few days, it seems there are a lot of people pulling out their embarrassing stories for public consumption. And of course, being human, we all think our story is the most embarrassing and humiliating one in the world. We all have think we take the cake.

I usually don't toot my own horn, but I'm going to here. And that's because I know I have the most embarrassing and humiliating story in the history of the world. Which for some obscure reason I'm about to share. Why? I'm giving up self-esteem for Lent? No? I'll think of something. Just give me time.

My story takes place about twenty years ago when we had just gotten married and were living in a tiny little duplex. Now there are two important facts you need to know:

1. I absolutely, positively, without hesitation adore my in-laws. Always have. Even after this story.

2. I used to sleepwalk. I did it sometimes as a kid and still do it every now and then.

One night I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. The FG, who was in bed, came looking for me when it took me a long time to come back. As he walked into the utility room he saw me lift up the lid on the washer, hoik myself up on top of it and...

Do my business in the Maytag.

The next day he had a field day with my little somnolent faux pas. I had to admit that it was a little on the bizarre side, but, since no one but my husband knew about it, I was finally able to laugh at the absurdity of it. Besides which, isn't that why the drain cycle was invented? And bleach. Lots of bleach.

There was a big family get together on his side a few weeks later. I can't remember exactly what it was for but there were a ton of people there. Some I was meeting for the first time. The FG was videotaping it, so I was kind of on my own for a good part of it. Afterwards, a whole bunch of people got together at his folk's house to watch the videotape.

I was finally relaxed after a day of trying to make a decent impression on people I barely knew. I watched the tape, following along as my husband got in people's faces and shot them with their mouths full and caught fun little candid camera moments.


The camera panned to my mother in law, mid-sentence and in the middle of a bunch of people. And she was saying

and then she picked up the lid of the washing machine and...

You could have heard a pin drop as she told the story. My husband, camera in hand, was heard chortling in the background. And the living room audience was dead still. All except for me. I was making odd little noises as I tried to see if I could asphyxiate myself in a bowl of french onion dip. (Final verdict: No).

I don't remember another thing about that night, but my MIL and I have laughed about it for a long, long time. I can laugh at myself. Eventually. I don't think I was laughing that particular night, however.

I don't think I have any lasting effects from that little episode. But I don't buy Maytags, either.

Anyone else want to share?

Postscript: My husband has just read this and says I have it all wrong. He says it was a plastic five gallon bucket next to the washer, not the washer itself. And he says that the only reason he told anyone is because it was so "cute" when I refused to get off the bucket because I "wasn't done yet". And he says he ought to know since he was the one who was awake.

Whatever. It was still embarrassing as hell. Am I too late for the Bucket List?