Tuesday, March 31, 2009

really not a good day

The sun'll come out tomorrow

Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow

There'll be sun...

It's possible that today I saw the worst thing I've ever seen in my nursing career, and considering my work experiences that's really saying something. I can't even begin to process it. I don't even know where to begin. I simply cannot go there.

Sweet Jesus.

Monday, March 30, 2009

the gratitude files

My house is still standing.

And completely minus any funky smells emanating from the Silence of the Lambs basement.

The dogs are a little twitchy from last night's teenager overload, but muddling through with the help of lots of Milk Bones.

All my kids are home - snoring softly in their beds.

Mom and Stu are back tomorrow for one more night before they head home.

We had a lovely, calm, drama free weekend in the ER. No joke. We really did. None of us believed it, but it was true. (Except for that pocket full of narcotics I accidentally brought home. Oops. Live and learn.)

And I have a week off right around the corner. To stay in town and get some things done - peaceful like. Run, write, relax. Surfer Dude's soccer season kick-off. Gumby's first ever tennis tournament. Sasquatch's birthday dinner tomorrow night with the grandparents.

Life is good. I'll take it.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

may you lead an interesting life...

As I write this I have ten sixteen and seventeen year old boys downstairs celebrating Sasquatch's birthday. There are televisions set up with video games and my dining room table is surrounded by Magic players. If I had a dollar for every bag of chips and containers of french onion dip scattered through my kitchen, I could retire.

The lingering smell of the "sewage leak" in my basement is much diminished, partly due to my spending one of the more unpleasant hours of my life dealing with it. I'll write more about this when I'm strong enough, but in the meantime here are the two most relevant facts about this very unexpected surprise.

#1. I may not have cried at work once during my entire separation/divorce, but I sure did today.

#2. I nominate our friend Kevin as Man of the Year. And on his much deserved award will be engraved the words that melted my heart today..."I'll take care of it". Or "I'll be right there". Take your choice. Nirvana. I don't care how independent or self-sufficient you are, a man who can take care of business - out of the goodness of his heart no less - is worth his weight in platinum. Nominations are closed. We have a winner.

And this was Day One of three at work. It's a good thing I bought beer yesterday.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

you might be an ER nurse if...

This is an oldie but goodie that's been making the rounds for years. I certainly didn't write it, although I have posted it once...way back when.

It sure is perfect as I head into the brutal longest work stretch of my monthly schedule - and look longingly at my warm, snuggly bed. To make it even better, we're expected to get slammed with snow tonight and tomorrow, and to an ER nurse that just means a bunch of pinhead sledders running into trees. Add in the combination of March Madness and alcohol, and I feel a good time weekend coming on. Let the festivities begin.

You might be an ER nurse if -

Discussing dismemberment over a gourmet meal seems perfectly normal to you

You have the bladder capacity of five people and the flat feet of Fred Flintstone

You can identify the positive teeth to tattoo ratio

You believe in aerial spraying of Prozac

You disbelieve 90% of what you are told and 75% of what you see

You say “great veins” when looking at a total stranger

Your favorite hallucinogenic is exhaustion

You think caffeine should be available in IV form

You have ever restrained someone and it was not a sexual experience

Your idea of gambling is an alcohol level pool instead of a football pool

Your immune system is so well developed that it has been known to attack squirrels in the backyard

You’ve ever had a patient with a nose ring, a tongue ring and a pierced eyebrow tell you they were afraid of shots

And my personal favorite…

You might be an ER nurse if your shoes have ever been seized and quarantined by either the Centers for Disease Control, OSHA, the EPA or the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Friday, March 27, 2009

the comment that wasn't

Thank you all for your comments, compliments and constructive criticisms on yesterday's post. I have read them over several times and tried every one of them on for size. When it comes time to fiddle and tweak I will definitely keep them in mind. (Man, I can't wait to fiddle and tweak. That's the fun part.) I tried all day long to get on the computer and respond to them one by one, but it unexpectedly turned into one of "those" days, and a lot that I had really planned to do got left by the roadside. Oh, well. There's always tomorrow, right? I'm sure tomorrow will be calmer. Right? Right?

One of the things that occurred to me reading your comments was that I need to brush up on my fiction writing terms, among other things. Maybe go out and buy a bunch of books on how it's really done. See, I have no fiction writing experience - a fact which is probably obvious. I know journalism (in the way you do when you have a degree but have never worked in the field - which is not at all), but I am flying by the seat of my pants with this fiction business. I don't know the lingo, I'm not aware of rules I'm ignorantly breaking, and I'm sure there's a whole protocol that I'm bypassing completely because I don't even know it exists. Add in the fact that I'm totally aware that I can hit three different tenses in one sentence and you've got trouble.

So here's my plan, in completely non-writer terms, and I hope I can explain this the way I want to. The post from yesterday is the very beginning of the book. The book will cover a year (give or take) and move forward along the lines of how my last year has progressed as far as the divorce and all. As the plot (such as it is) advances, I'm also moving our relationship and marriage along from the very beginning - in a sort of abbreviated flashback way. (I hate to make this comparison - yet again- but the format at least is very much like Heartburn, which starts when she finds out her husband is having an affair and ends when she leaves him. In between you get her whole life story.) In that vein, just for kicks and giggles, I'm also throwing a lot of nursing stuff/Hollywood stuff/and my own kind of unique upbringing into the mix. I almost hesitate to call it "fiction", although I will just for the freedom of imagination that label will give me. I fully plan to invent a real live "chick flick" ending, but the details of it keep eluding me. It'll come, I promise. I do love me a chick flick.

Basically, it's my life, with the emphasis being on the last year or so. I'm awfully used to my life - it being the only one I know - so I'm always a little surprised when people think there's anything particularly compelling about it. But as even I admit, I've got some interesting stories to tell. This is one of them. Actually, this is all of them rolled into one.

Kind of like meat loaf. With a happy ending. And no heartburn.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

work in progress

Today this blog turns two years old. When I wrote my first post on March 26, 2007 I was living a very different life than I am now. So what better time to talk about that life a little bit more?

This is the beginning of the book I'm writing. Some of you may have seen it before and it's virtually unchanged, since I'm trying really hard to knock out a first draft before I go back and start my compulsive tweaking. I'd really love to know what you think. Is this a book you'd keep reading?

In the end, really, it was all a lie. I suspected it at the time and couldn’t prove it, but as time went on it all fell into place, one puzzle piece at a time. You’d think the fact that I knew it was all a farce would have softened the punch a little, but it didn’t. It made it worse, to tell the truth. If there’s a rattlesnake coiled up two feet away from you that is looking in your direction and the person who supposedly loves you assures you it’s only a corn snake and it won’t hurt you, you don’t worry as much. And this is your first mistake.

See, what happened was this. My husband sat me down one day out of the blue and said these words to me:

“We have to fix our marriage or end it.”

He had that look on his face he gets when he’s put something off for a long time and really doesn’t want to face it, like the time he took over paying the bills and accidentally paid the gas bill four times but forgot to pay the electric. It was pitch black in the house when he was trying to explain the situation to me, but I knew the look was there. It’s a look I’ve grown accustomed to over the course of twenty years. It’s the look that says “I’ve screwed up but I’m going to find a way to make it your fault.”

That was actually written into our marriage contract, the clause about everything being my fault. I don’t remember the exact wording, but it was something to the effect that he had retained the law firm of Dodge, Divert and Deflect to keep him from ever expressing an opinion one way or another and when I had no choice but to make a decision, it would then be held against me forever in the emotional equivalent of Marco Polo. (Remember Marco Polo? As a real California kid, I grew up playing this pool hide and seek game. You swim blindly underwater trying to tag people who can see you coming the whole time. Every now and then – when you’re desperate – you come up for air and yell “Marco!” and they answer “Polo!”, ostensibly to tell you where they are, but then they move away as quickly as they can and you keep swimming hopefully toward them until you drown. Because you never catch them. They always get away. That’s the way the game is set up.)

This all ran through my head sitting at my kitchen table hearing what I took as an ultimatum coming out of my husband’s mouth. Fix it or end it? Could he be a little more specific? What exactly was it that he thought was broken? The kids were all in the other room, so I knew he was speaking to me. He was still talking. At least his lips appeared to be moving. He reached out and took hold of my hand, as a few of the times he’d had this particular look on his face flashed through my mind.

There was the time he’d sworn he had made the car payment on time and then I caught him frantically trying to do it on-line before I noticed. The time he insisted he’d stuck to his low-carb diet, yet had part of a jelly donut smeared on the outer corner of his lip. Or how about when he was an hour late picking me up from the airport and blamed it on the traffic, only for me to find out later that he hadn’t even left the house for the thirty minute drive until ten minutes after my plane had landed?

“I’m at the point in my life,” he was saying, “where I’m really looking at where I am and where I want to go. I love you, and I want us to stay married, but I want to make it better. I want to have a different kind of marriage than we do. I want us to be closer and do more things together. You're the woman I want to grow old with, so I’m really ready to put the time and effort into making this the best possible marriage it can be. I’m willing if you are”.

And that’s when I knew he was leaving me.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

thought for the day

Unlikely T-shirt on one of our well known (and sometimes violent) paranoid schizophrenics:

I have many personalities and none of them like YOU.

There was a lively debate about this after the patient walked down the hall. Was it a bit of really sly group home humor? A passive aggressive gift from someone who figured they wouldn't "get" it, so it was kind of a joke on them? A warning to tread carefully? Or just the sign of an awfully well adjusted mental health patient who figured that humor was one of the best defenses? A way to embrace your diagnosis, as it were?

What do you think?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

okay, so I know this is pointless...

Anyone else play the Revisionist History game? It goes like this...

"If I could go back and change something - anything - in my life, what would it be? Which one thing could change the entire course of my destiny?"

This is a problematic game when you have kids you adore, because you always have to add in the mental caveat that no matter where you end up in your life you'd have the same kids, which is impossible, of course, because it takes two specific people to make a specific kid and if you're rearranging your life in such a way as to make one of them, um, non-existent then it doesn't really make much sense. But that doesn't matter. You can change any one thing you want, but the kids stay. It's the unwritten Mommy Rule.

(And here's a small thought, while I'm discussing making certain people non-existent. Why, when I've gotten both the apologies and the closure I wanted, why, when I'm more grateful by the day that I don't have to put up with crap that drove me nuts and made me feel completely insignificant for years, why, when I can't help but see that he's finally trying to step up to the plate for his kids - in the best way he's capable of - why am I still so pissed off at the man? It still continues to come in waves, totally unexpected when it arrives and not missed at all when it leaves. I tried to ask a divorced male friend about it today at work, but he lost me when he told me not to be surprised if the FX and I end up in bed at some point just for old time's sake. I told him that I'd gnaw off my own foot before that happened (and his too while I was at it for even putting that mental picture in my head to start with), and the conversation kind of went downhill from there. I've felt a little sick to my stomach all day since that, but I have only myself to blame. I should never have asked in the first place.)

Where was I? Oh, yeah. Introspection. Revision. The mythical ability to go back and change the past. The problem is, the more you think about it the less tempting it looks. Because one change in the past can change so many things in the present, both good and bad. Would you still have met the people who are so important to you? Could your life have somehow gone down the tubes? What if you made a different choice and it made your life worse? Then what? (A pointless question, because how would you even know?) It's like quicksand...the further in you go the more it shifts. And it can be very hard to keep your balance when you start thinking it through.

I think if I had to make one change it would be this: I would have gone to UCLA like I was supposed to instead of the school where I ultimately met the FX. For lots of reasons, extending far beyond him, this has been a real regret of mine as I've looked back, completely excepting the other day when I watched them get handed their shorts in a real piece of March Madness brutality and thanked my lucky stars that they were only my imaginary alma mater.

If this post does nothing else, it should at least illustrate the spaghetti piles in my head at the moment, the piles I'm unravelling one by one. This may (or may not) be the only time in my entire life that overthinking may (or may not) actually be a good thing.

Monday, March 23, 2009

fantasy land

I want a day - a mere 24 hours - where I can say whatever I want without having to worry about what anyone thinks. A day where I don't have to be polite or understanding or supportive or anything. A day where I wouldn't have to worry about looking petty or vengeful or difficult. A day where I don't have to be the good mother or the compliant employee or the agreeable ex-wife.

I want a day - a mere 24 hours - where I can just let 'er rip and let the devil take the hindmost. I want to be a woman without a filter for one short, delicious period, and I can guarantee you that I'd make very good use of the time allotted.

Is this too much to ask?

Friday, March 20, 2009

so this is what relaxation feels like

Between working my regular schedule, having the kids out on Spring Break and Mom and Stu being here, I'm not finding a lot of time for blogging at the moment. I could fight this and slam my head into the computer to come up with something to write about, or I could accept the fact that I need a couple of days to just hang out and relax. I hear relaxing is good. I think I read that in a fortune cookie once.

So in light of this, I'm taking the weekend off. Of everything, actually. No work scheduled, no pressing chores, nothing that absolutely has to be done. Wow. I'll bet I could get used to this. I'd certainly like the opportunity to try. There will be bon bons in my future. I'm going to insist on it.

I'll be back Sunday or Monday - all frisky and full of vinegar. In the meantime... I hope you all have a fabulous weekend. I'm sure hoping to.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

at a loss...

Damn it.

Damn it, damn it, DAMN IT.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

this is why I hate being a nurse

I love Liam Neeson.

The voice, the face, the accent, the intelligence, the whole package. Love him, love him, love him.

And I have watched from afar as this man I adore has made a life for himself with a woman he is obviously captivated with. A woman at least his equal - and maybe more. So today when I fired up my computer and saw that Natasha Richardson had been "critically injured" in a skiing accident, it got my attention. I like celebrity gossip as much as the next person, but it always feels like it's from a distance. This one felt a little too real.

A lot of my romantic fantasies come from Hollywood, as my love of Chick Flicks should prove. But it was a line from Neeson that I will always remember. Talking about Richardson, he said that she touched places in his soul he didn't even know existed, hit buttons he didn't even know he had. And even though I was appalled that anyone would choose to be married the day of the Wimbledon Finals, I've always followed their marriage closely. I know Hollywood is all about illusion, but these two sure do seem to be the real deal.

So tonight I'm following this story as it unfolds on the internet and my heart is doing a really slow and painful contraction. My own personal experience isn't helping much, since I have lots of mental pictures of people in the same situation stuck in my head. Working in a Trauma ICU will do that to you. I've seen firsthand so many times how things can change just like that - and it's terrifying. You never get over that randomness. Never. From the details coming out it sure sounds like a bleed - which can resolve itself easily or be absolutely catastrophic. It's all luck of the draw.

I don't often find myself in a position where I do my own version of praying for someone I don't even know. But tonight I think I just might.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

the downside of time travel

I'm having a really hard time with this book I'm trying to write. And while I think there are several reasons for this (three kids, full-time job, extremely needy house), the real problem is what I've come to call the Alternate Universe Dilemma.

Which is this...

I'm at such a nice place in my life. There's legitimate happiness and a real peace. But going back a year (or two or twenty) does unpleasant things to both my blood pressure and my sense of well-being. In short, in pisses me off, which then leaves me in a kind of funk for the rest of the day. A lot of the stuff in the past that is vital to the story I'm trying to tell is pretty painful to revisit, but it absolutely has to be done. I don't have a story without it. I try and tell myself that this is my own down and dirty version of therapy - just pour those emotions out on paper and feel cleansed at the end. Maybe.

But on the other hand, I don't want to wait to write this. Already my memory is blurred. I've had to go back to the many, many emails, journals, IMs and blog posts of the time to reconstruct what my brain is already leaving behind. If I wait much longer it may be too far gone. It's also getting increasingly difficult to hit the right mood. It needs to be written from the pain and anger of then - not the self-realization and awareness of now. And what if I wait ten years and still find that the process of looking back on all this crap is still painful - even then? Then what?

I ask myself these questions when I reluctantly leave the serenity of my 2009 life and deliberately make myself go back to 2008 or 1998 or 1990 or any one of the many years in between that were fraught with angst. I do this to myself, because I really believe that what could potentially come out of this process might be a redemption of sorts. I can see the T-shirt in my mind. I was in this marriage for twenty years and all I got out of it was this lousy book. (Or I was in this lousy marriage for twenty years and all I got out of it was this book. Your call.) I'm not being literal. I know I got more out of it than that, but right now that idea is a big motivator. The triggers that fuel this process continue to fascinate me.

Fuel being an operative word here. Because mostly I feel all fired up to get 'er done...but some days it's like going down in flames.

Monday, March 16, 2009

does this mean I'm growing up?

A sure sign that I'm getting smarter as I get older:

This past week was an interesting one on the health front.

A. I was sick.

B. I only ran three times - and just nine miles total.

C. The last seven days have been food laden. A nachos and beer after-work get together. A mexican potluck at work today. A tray of baklava in the break room. Chipotle cheese mashed potatoes for dinner last night. The list goes on.

D. A scale that hasn't budged.

Used to be these things would throw me into a tizzy and I'd just say the heck with it and throw in the towel. I'm a pro at this type of rationalization - "Oh, well, I blew that week, so why even bother anymore?" But I'm not going that route this time. Yes, it's been an off week. Yes, it's hard to run when you can't breathe. Yes, I ate my first ice cream sandwich of the entire year today - and dang, was it good.

And yes, life goes on and I intend to live it. There's no point in being skinny and healthy if you don't live a little. There's always next week. (Or not, since my Mom and Stu get here Tuesday for a visit and I always seem to eat like a cow whenever they're here.) Okay then, I'll try something really radical. I'll go with moderation...and having a good time.

I couldn't do that in my twenties, or even my thirties. I was strictly an all or nothing kind of gal. But now it's finally sunk in that you really can inch your way to what you want...

...and actually have fun on the trip.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

more drama than trauma

One of my patients today - drunk off his heinie - evidently woke up feeling dramatic this morning, because everything he did was drama, drama, drama. I, unfortunately, woke up dreaming of a drama free zone, so the two of us were mismatched from the start. Add in that he's a frequent flier and that 90% of my patients today were intoxicated and belligerent, and it was just bad all around. This is not a story typical of my behavior, but I plead lack of oxygen to my brain based on the fact that I still can't breathe. If my patients can rationalize everything, then darn it, so can I.

I was on my way in to start his IV when he told me that he apologized in advance, but that he had been known to knock nurses into the wall when they stuck him, but that it was a completely involuntary thing and he couldn't help himself in the slightest, so if he hurt me when I hit the wall he was sorry.

Like I said, he and I were on opposite pages from the very start. This is not a good subject at the moment since one of our doctors was attacked this week right in front of several of us, triggering a terrifying take down, an all hospital code and many, many men in blue uniforms. This doc is young, tall and built like an ox. If it could happen to him...

I gave my patient the evil eye as soon as he finished his little speech, since I could practically see him choosing which wall to "accidentally" knock me into. And I told him that I apologized in advance, but that if any part of my body hit any part of a wall, I could guarantee him that his ass would hit a jail cell about fifteen minutes later. It's called assault, I continued, and being drunk and stupid doesn't let you off the hook, so you might want to concentrate real hard on those "involuntary" urges.

And lo and behold, he did. Sometimes the Nurse Ratched approach is the only one worth even trying. It makes me feel terrible to be that way. But not as terrible as hitting a wall.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

the Ah-Hah moment strikes again

I'm sick. I never get sick. And on the scale of positively rotten patients, I'm very near the top. Luckily I got one of the docs at work to write me a scrip for some antibiotics before it got too bad, so I think I'm on the downhill side of it. I hope so anyway. I'd forgotten how much I like being able to breathe. It's the small things in life that make it worthwhile.

I slept a fair amount today, which I think helped. I do some of my best thinking in those floaty moments in between being awake and asleep, and today was no exception. Then when I woke up I got to test out some of my thinking on my buddy Laurie, in a marathon country drive/bilateral vent session. Actually, to be fair I completely forgot to bring up the first one, so caught up were we in the other, but here you go anyway...

#1. I've finally realized (and totally seen the humor of) the irony of my being suddenly obsessed with running at the same time that my hormones have seemingly woken up with a vengeance from a twenty year siesta. Gee. You think there might be a connection? Can you spell S-U-B-L-I-M-A-T-E?? I guess until I feel ready to do something about it I'll just keep on running. I may need to invest in a sturdy pair of shoes.

#2. The one that completely negates #1. I can't do this and I've finally realized it. As you may have all guessed, something happened that kind of rocked my world...and not in a good way. This had nothing to do with me directly, but the nuances and big picture cut me to the core. So I'm reverting back to my long held theory about me and romantic love. I'm just not cut out for it. As much as I want desperately to have that deep connection with another human being, I'm too scared to give it a shot. I'm too scared to open myself up enough to even think about giving it a shot. It seems to me that very bad things happen when people love too much, so I am now officially removing myself from the game. Checkmate. The Queen has left the board.

I guess it's just as well that hot tax guy never called after all.

Friday, March 13, 2009

a friend's prayer

Dear God,

Every now and then you throw something my way at work that makes me weep with gratitude at how my life has turned out. Today may have been the grand-daddy of those days, but my own personal relief is spattered with indescribable fury...and waves of nausea for the indescribable pain of those who seemingly have so much more to lose than I ever did.

Please take care of those who are incapable at the moment of protecting themselves or those they love. Please allow them to step outside of their anguish - if only for a moment - and take in all else the world has to offer. Please let them see a child's smile as a lifeline, a sunny day as a promise, a door closing as another one opening.

Thank you God, from the bottom of my heart, for this not being me, for never coming even remotely close. And please help me to erase the mental pictures that are dancing in my brain. Please. My heart is scorched by so much pain. I simply cannot bear it.

I've been holding it in all day. I think I'm finally ready to curl up in a ball and sob. Thanks for listening.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

scarred by shellfish

Every now and then something happens in my life that makes me itch to sit down and blog about it. Immediately. And most of the time I do just that. But sometimes it can be a little tricky, since I really do try to keep this a relatively vanilla blog. Oh, I know I cuss too much, and I talk about hot pinheaded men (who still haven't called), but even so I'd like to think it stays relatively family friendly around here. So this particular episode has been a real challenge, and it's been perplexing me all day. I'm ready to give it a shot, but I have to be very upfront about this. I have absolutely no idea how this is going to fly - and it could get ugly. I'm really in uncharted territory here.

This story starts (and ends) with shrimp. Any kind of shrimp - scampi, cocktail, tempura, grilled, whatever. As long as it's shrimp, we're good to go. Well, we're not good to go, but someone is, and for the sake of our story that's all that matters.

One of our Bunco Babes is a riot. Well, actually a lot of the Bunco Babes are riots, but in this particular shrimp story we're going to focus in on one. She's a little tiny thing, but she carries a big presence. (She also drops in here from time to time, so if my body is found drifting ashore after I post this you'll know where to look first). She's free spirited and a little wild and crazy - a dancing queen with long Stevie Nicks hair. This gal and her much older husband separated and divorced right before the FX and I started having trouble, but the critical difference (to my mind at least) was that the whole thing was her idea. To say we were all stunned is an understatement. Almost no one saw it coming, but she had been unhappy for a long time and one day she just said enough. In spite of the fact that I love her to pieces, I had some real issues with her when this all happened, because the same thing was going on in my life, but the things she was saying to me about her marriage were almost word for word what the FX was saying to me about ours. It all got worked out, but it was a little funky there for a bit.

But that was a year ago, and things are very different now. Me, you know about. Her? Well, her life is really, really good. She's happy, successful and has been blissfully involved with a new guy for a good many months now. They seem very happy together, and we're all happy for them. Now you're all caught up on the back story.

It's time to introduce the shrimp.

I honestly can't remember exactly how it came up, but at some point last night, apropos of absolutely nothing, she casually volunteered that as long as her new boy had shrimp on his plate there would never be the need for Viagra in his life. Or hers. She's known for dropping these little bombs, so we all took it in stride - at least to start with. However, she was hell bent on elaborating, and soon - very soon - she had everyone's attention. Seems that recently, after a shrimp dinner with her man, she had a night where she, uh, found Jesus. Loudly and rapturously. Ten times. In one night.

Ten. Times. In. One. Night. She swore up and down it was the absolute truth. We believed her. Maybe it was the Cheshire cat grin on her face as she declared that she was "making up for lost time" from a marriage that hadn't been doing it for her for a long time. Maybe it was the nitty gritty details we could have done without. Whatever it was, she certainly had center stage.

Someone needs to tell the Shrimp Advisory Board about this, because this is an ad campaign just waiting to happen. On a big scale. Imagine the marketing ploys that could be used. Of course, the pharmaceutical companies would have a cow, but it wouldn't matter. It's a depressed economy, to be sure, but some things are relatively recession proof. And if you can save ten bucks on one Viagra just by throwing some shrimp on the barbie...well, why not? Something tells me that if you're a guy you could even talk your woman into cooking the shrimp for you. I'm just sayin'...

The after effects of this little scene carried on into today. One of the Bunco Babes is on a mission to find a shrimp "substitute" that she can feed her husband within Jewish dietary guidelines. (I facebooked her husband and told him to pick up some shrimp on the way home from work anyway. I figured she might be willing to overlook that whole religious thing just this once. As a social experiment, of course).

This same gal started today off with an offer to buy me as much shrimp as I wanted. I replied that I'm minus a shrimp eater at the moment, but I appreciated the offer nevertheless. And surely it's a testament to my hormonally driven self at the moment, but I've had shrimp on the brain all day long.

And not a grill in sight.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

do I look indecisive to you?

One of these months I'm going to write my post before I go to Bunco, so that when I get home really late it's all ready to go. Better still, I'll schedule it on Blogger so it posts itself at an assigned time and I don't have to worry about it at all.

This won't be the month. Not even close.

So since it's midnight and I'm about to turn into a pumpkin - with nothing at all interesting to say - how about I ask for opinions? And just to shake things up a little bit, I promise not to use the words "tax", "pinhead" or "hot" even once. Okay? We'll go for a different kind of opinion today. Just to give you all a break. God knows you deserve it.

Here's the question - there's a local race here the middle of April, and in addition to a half marathon course, there's also a 5K and a 10K. (As a little aside, I am NOT the one who brought up the idea of running the 10K. Honest). But...I think it's kind of an interesting idea - in a boil yourself in oil sort of way. Anyway, I can't decide which one to do. The 5K would be fun and I could try to improve my time. It would be less stress and less training. But the 10K could be a pretty interesting challenge, although I'm not entirely sure why I feel the need to test myself again in that way so soon.

Any thoughts? 5 or 10...pick your poison.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

cupid bites the dust

Life really is funny, isn't it?

On the one hand, my more age appropriate would- be suitor has really picked up his game a lot. It has become impossible to misinterpret his intentions - for anyone involved. This has become very problematic for me, because I really do like this guy - I just can't see myself in a relationship with him. He obviously feels differently, and, in spite of what anyone may say about me, I'm not a person who enjoys hurting other people. It was kind of fun to screw with him when I thought he was just messing with me, but now that I see he's got something invested in this it just makes me feel pretty awful. The relationship gods really are sadistic little buggers. Why is it always about timing and hormones?

On the other hand, to be perfectly honest, I've been pretty up front all around about not being interested in any relationship at all. The fact that I took a lust driven detour last week is just a fluke, because besides that one notable exception, I still have no real interest at all. My interest in the one notable exception is, however, still piqued beyond what is probably good for me. And that's too bad, because I can tell you right now that this won't end well.

I called him last week. Thursday, to be exact. Under the auspices of wanting an estimate for some work in my Victorian Landfill. Now I will grant you that I did my overly accommodating routine as I left the message - "I know you're really busy with your seasonal job and there's absolutely no hurry, just whenever you get a chance give me a call"...blah blah blah...just a considerate "business call". And I still haven't heard back from him. Five days later. He could be dead. He could be tied to a chair in some third world IRS office. He could have had a horrible accident with a table saw. He could have dropped his cell phone into the toilet before he retrieved the message.

Or he could just not plan on calling. For whatever reason. And I certainly don't intend to leave him another message, so the picture starts looking a little bleak at the moment. Sigh. Just when it started to get interesting.

It's enough to make you want to box Cupid's ears.

Monday, March 9, 2009

well, I DO live in a college town

This has been the first weekend I've had in a long time that actually felt like a "real" weekend. And, since I'm writing this late on a Sunday evening, the past tense makes me a little sad. On top of that is the fact that I hate this particular time change, which all adds up to a grumpy end of the weekend mood. (I love the fact that it stays light so much later. I just hate the idea that when my alarm goes off at zero dark thirty it feels even earlier than it should. I am not a morning person, and yet I have a job that expects me to be wide awake and competent at 6:45 am. This is either funny or tragic, depending on how little sleep I've gotten.)

I think the theme this weekend was friends and beer. Seriously. Friday night saw me hanging with a friend I don't get to hang with much, which is too bad because I love him to bits. We sat and chatted for hours while the kids ran around crazy and we drank his beer. (Not too much, since the run was the next morning.) Saturday found me on two different sets of friend's porches while we soaked up the sunshine (and later a violent thunderstorm), dissected the behavior of errant tax men and drank beer. (The younger boys were with their dad, and Sasquatch was off being sixteen, so I could.) And Sunday ended with a three family impromptu dinner out where the kids played pool and the adults gossiped and...drank beer. I do like beer. But I like hanging with my friends even more.

My stress inclination has always been to hide out, and I feel like I spent most of last year hiding out. By the time I felt ready to emerge this year I'd kind of backed myself into a corner with my solitude. So I've really been trying to make an effort to engage lately. I know my friends love me. I know I love them. Now it's time to get off my butt and get back into circulation. I'm ready.

Bloated, but ready.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

race day

For something that kept waking me up last night in a sweaty panic, the 5k today went pretty well. I got up early, had some coffee and half a bagel and headed out. Surfer Dude and one of his friends went with me, and by the time we got to the starting place, the crowds were spilling into the street. We met up with all of my fellow ER workers and compared rotten nights of sleep. Evidently the stress bug was going around, and it was hitting us all pretty hard.

The weather was great. Warm and, since we were running on a river levee, windy. When the crowd of people in front of me started moving at the start, I popped in my earbuds and tried to calm down. SD and his friend were at my side, SD being completely bent on beating me to the finish. We wished each other luck. And then we were off.

The thing that amazed me the most was how easily I fell into my groove, and how quickly I did what I always do when I run. I zoned out, my mind a million miles away. I ran the first half with my gym buddy, but then when we made the half-way turn we split up. I kept passing and being passed by SD and his friend, but the last time I really saw them was when I was on the way back and they were still heading to the halfway point. Before I knew it, we were climbing the final hill to the finish. I saw the giant stopclock to my left and the crowd of people cheering as the runners crossed the finish line. It was an amazing feeling to cross that line, and to realize that I took five minutes off my gym running time. It was even more amazing to realize that I'd finished at all.

SD passed me right before the end, gloating and beaming simultaneously. (He's been telling everyone who will listen that he stomped his "old mother" today, but I have it on good authority from a friend that he got confused and turned around toward the finish at the one mile marker and not the half-way point. Whatever. It's obviously important to him that he "beat" me. I was just happy that he went and did it with me at all, although if I have to hear about "old mother" again, I may do a little stomping of my own).

And at the end? We all clustered together and congratulated each other and continued on with the teamwork and comraderie that gets us through the work day. Until one person said, You know...there's a 10K late next month. We should give that a shot. If we can do this, why can't we do that?

Uh oh. Just one more reason why I'm glad I'm not Type A.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

why don't you say what you're REALLY thinking??

It has been brought to my attention that I'm a Type A personality.

I was shocked, to tell the truth, since I've always considered myself firmly in the laid back, go with the flow, Type B crowd. Oh, alright, maybe I wasn't exactly shocked, since I have recognized in the past that I could possibly be a little Type A from time to time. Okay, okay, perhaps I have noticed that from time to time I can be a little anal, a little compulsive...a little rigid. But the thing that - in my mind at least - kept me from tipping into the Type A column was a complete lack of any kind of competitive nature. To my way of thinking Type A equals a competitive drive and the need to somehow do better than the other guy, whoever that poor shmuck may be. And since I never felt that way I was able to rationalize the rest of it away.

But when my friend Stacey pointed out today that the only thing I'm missing is a scarlet A emblazoned on my forehead, I took notice. I wasn't happy about it, but I took notice. Good lord. Could this be true?

I'll have to think this through a little more, but I can't do it now. This 5K race is starting in ten hours, as I write this, and I need my sleep. The inclination to psych myself out is huge, but I'm trying to resist it. It's a 5K for the love of god. It's not a marathon. I run more than 3.2 miles on a regular basis. I just don't do it in a crowd, with a stop clock going, or surrounded by a whole bunch of Type A people from work who all think they're going to kick some serious co-worker butt.

It's a good thing I don't think like that, because that would make me Type A. Right?

Friday, March 6, 2009

notes to the teacher

Dear High School Attendance Officer,

Thank you for your concern regarding Sasquatch and his tardiness issues. Despite the faint note of disbelief in your voice when you called me, I am well aware of the situation and am taking measures at home to ensure that he makes it to first period on time from here on out.

The first thing I have to do is buy a new dryer.

For reasons unknown to me, the child insists on starting a load of his laundry every school night at approximately 11 pm. Then, since he is falling asleep on his feet, he sets two alarms to wake him up early enough to put his clothes in the dryer before school. In the morning, he proceeds to sleep through both alarms, only waking up when I go into his room to ask why he isn't out of bed yet. If he is unable to talk me into going downstairs to put his clothes in the dryer, he drags himself out of bed and does it himself, grumbling loudly under his breath about uncooperative parents.

This is inevitably followed fifteen minutes later by the announcement that he is going to miss his bus because his clothes are still wet, followed immediately by him spewing abuse on the dryer for taking longer than a quarter of an hour to dry a "full load" - aka a pair of cargo pants, a pair of boxers and a t-shirt.

Just so you know how seriously I take these attendance issues, I thought you might like to follow along on a typical exchange.

Mom: Why can't you wear something else?
Sasquatch: Because these are the clothes I want to wear.

Mom: Why do you always wait so late to wash your clothes?
Sasquatch: It's okay, Mom. Don't worry about it.

Mom: Have you not figured out yet that this isn't working the way you want it to?
Sasquatch: Stupid dryer. It doesn't work. And stupid alarms. They never go off the way they're supposed to.

Mom: Your alarms went off fine. They woke up everyone in the house but you.
Sasquatch: No, they didn't. I would have heard them.

Repeat on a daily basis until one of you cracks.

I'm very sorry to involve you in our nightmare. Look at the bright side. The end of the school year is only two and a half months away.

I'm sure I'll be hearing from you again before then.


Sasquatch's Mom

Thursday, March 5, 2009

head meets pillow

One of our docs told me today that our ER is now busier than the regional trauma center an hour or so down the road - my old stomping grounds, as a matter of fact. I couldn't believe that, and said so, but he was on sure ground. He started pulling out facts and by the end of the discussion I realized that he was telling the whole, crazy truth. I was horrified, but I believed him.

I don't know why I'm surprised. We used to work hard, but at a tolerable pace. Now we just flat out run for twelve hours in a row. Lately we're always packed, always overflowing into the waiting room, always accompanied by the sounds of the medics calling in report on the patients they're bringing in any second. Our staff is working sick a lot of the time, because we're so busy that people feel guilty about calling in - even when they really should. Considering what we get exposed to on a daily basis, it would be shocking if we didn't get sick. And all it takes is a few days of running at this pace when you're sick and should be home in bed to make you even sicker for even longer...and nothing in the world you can do about it. When my co-workers finally face the fact that they're falling over it takes a lot more than one day off to get them back up to snuff. The people I work with are fabulous. It's the pace that's gonna kill me.

This is all a long winded way of saying that I've got nothing tonight. The brain drain has done me in.I've just finished the longest run of my schedule. Three straight, one off, one on. Four days on out of five. And now...

Four days off.

Back to the regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

what was I thinking? take 36

Oh, god.

This 5K race that I signed up for in some kind of fugue state is in four days. I think I'm gonna be sick. Seriously. What was I thinking?

On the plus side, it has brought out the inner jock of half the department. We all used to stand around and talk about what there was to eat back in the break room, but now we talk about training schedules and how far we ran the day before and how bad our feet hurt. Oh yeah, and who's going to crash and burn on race day and not even make it to the finish line. For a laid back bunch of people we've got some seriously Type A crap going on. Someone pulled up a half marathon course on the internet the other day and said Well, if you can do a 5K...

On the minus side, I'm trying to figure out which of my friends I trust enough to use the defibrillator on me when I collapse in a heap just the wrong side of the finish line. I'm up to running 5 miles, but something tells me that the conditions of an actual "event" will make the 3.2 mile course feel more like 20. Is it too late to sign up for the 2 mile Fun Walk? Is it too late to just skip the whole blasted thing and go straight for the green beer?

I don't feel so good.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


While there were certainly lowlights, there were also some funny highlights of this three day work run. Just like the days themselves, the experiences this weekend were all over the map.

My boss struck first. During my review she had asked if there was any criticism or anything I wanted to bring up about her or her management style. We all know how I feel about the woman, so the only thing I could think of to complain about was the fact that her bottomless candy jar had no Reese's Peanut Butter Cups - my personal favorite. She said, "You know, I've always wondered if Administration even reads these things" and typed it into my official review. And when I came in Saturday, my cubby was full of Peanut Butter Cups. It was an auspicious - and caloric - beginning.

The final score was 2 to 1. We got spanked 2 days and had 1 nice one. Luckily, the middle day was the slow one, so we could regroup a little bit, but by Monday afternoon I was threatening to shoot out the tires on all the ambulances so they'd have to stop doing runs. People were laughing until they realized just how serious I was. I spent 12 hours in triage on Saturday. It never slowed down enough to pull me out. On Sunday I was walking toward triage to go out to the waiting room and one of the docs yelled out to ask me where I was going. I said the waiting room and he said, "Good. If you were heading out to triage I'd have had to break both of your legs. Anything to keep you out of there." Nice. That's Nurse Shit Magnet to you, Doctor.

Then on Sunday I had yet another in a string of cute young thang paramedic students following me around all day. They're with us mostly to work on their IV skills, so that's what we primarily focus on. On his first attempt with me he missed, because this woman had lousy veins. He looked at me with that deer in the headlights look that I remember so well - needle still hanging out of this gals arm - and asked me to take over. So I did. I pulled the needle most of the way out and went at it from a different angle - and a little deeper. I guess it was a little more aggressive than he'd seen before because he just blurted out "Oh, my god!", and then had to scramble big time when the patient looked at him with a WTF? expression on her face. Luckily, my hitting her vein at roughly the same time distracted her. Next guy we had also had rotten veins, but I let my student try anyway. No go. I tried. No go. Used to be this would freak me out. Now it just makes me mad. In the end I managed to get a line going in a teeny tiny little vein on this guy's thumb, a feat that ensured I walked around with my head too big for my britches all day long. My favorite doctor was working all weekend too, and when he saw that IV he told me that I had bigger balls than he did. Awww. My co-workers say the sweetest things, don't they?

All in all it was okay. Long, but okay. Peanut butter cups make anything bearable.

Monday, March 2, 2009

heads I win...tails I lose

If I'd have been home today, I would have written this all in the comments section of my last post. But since I wasn't, I won't. I'll just turn a comment response into a real live (albeit short) post. Don't expect a lot from me tonight. I'm just trying to get through one more day of work and then allow myself to fall over in a discombobulated heap.

Even with a couple of people changing their answers, it's pretty clear that the overwhelming vote was to Call The Man. Even I could see which way the wind was blowing. I don't want anyone to feel any pressure to give me the perfect answer. I'm a big girl, and in spite of my Majority Rules comment, I'm going to give a lot of weight to what my gut is telling me first and foremost. But some people brought up a few things that could be interesting to look into a little further.

Laurie asked for more information. Did I get vibes? Did he seem nice? And the answer is...I don't know. About the vibes anyway. He seemed to be a nice guy. I'm way past the point in my life where I see any attraction in anything other than nice. It's hard to tell about vibes because he was at work. Most people - especially when they're working with paying customers - tend to be nice. Now having said that, I certainly felt that we were both flirting - in a very understated way. That doesn't necessarily mean anything, since I'm a terrible flirt most of the time without even meaning to be. (Note to self: Work on that). She also mentioned that hot people aren't always too nice, which is absolutely true. But here's the thing. My own personal "type" isn't a type that the whole world finds hot. I like quirky, I have a weakness for geeks and I'm bored silly by classically good looking. Now having said that, no one would call this man a dog.

Did I answer the question? No? I didn't think so, either.

Then there was Devon. Make a list, she said. Excellent suggestion. So here's the one off the top of my head.


It could be fun.

I could really like him.


He might be a jerk.

It could be fun.

I could really like him.

He might not be at all interested.

What would my kids say?

It could ruin my whole image of myself as a spinster for the rest of my life.

I haven't been on a date since Madonna was a pup.

Well. That's a little lopsided, isn't it?

And then there's Frances. The problem here is that I agree totally with the core of what she's saying. He knows where I am. Hell, he had his hands all over my financial panties for an hour. He has two of my phone numbers and an email address. I fall back onto the work dilemma, though, since if it were me I wouldn't call someone I'd met on my job and ask them out. If they got offended or something, that could be problematic. On the other hand, he's handing out business cards for his own business on this job, which I find a little odd, if you want to know the truth.

There's another factor at play here, too. Maybe what I need the most right now is the fantasy. The possibilities. The opportunity to walk around with a goofy ass smile on my face just because I can't help it. Maybe the next time I see him I won't be moved at all. Maybe this is my safe way to work through some of this stuff as a kind of trial run. Maybe the fantasy really is better than the reality.

I can't see that calling him to give me an estimate on fixing something would make me look like I was chasing him. But there is the curiosity factor. Left to his own, would he make a move? Would he even want to?

It was funny, actually, how it worked out in the first place. The day I met him was a frantic day of too many things scheduled. I had gone to the gym to run and had kind of half planned to throw on a hoodie over my workout clothes and pull my hair back into a ponytail and go straight to do my taxes from the gym. But I talked myself out of it because I'm trying to not look like a schlub any more than I have to. So I came home, showered, put on decent clothes (including a new shirt that I adore), put on make-up AND perfume, and just generally tried to get myself into the best mood I could to tackle a daunting day. Not my usual routine, to be sure. Usually I'm a hoodie and ponytail kind of gal. Kind of an odd time to pull out the put together act...at least in hindsight.

Oh, well. It's all just as clear as mud, isn't it? And not even short like I promised.

Maybe a good night of sleep will help.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I am out of my godforsaken mind...

Okay. Majority rules.

I knew for a fact - since he told me- that hot tax fix it guy was going to be out of town this weekend. Skiing. In Colorado. Sounds good, no?

But as of Monday, he'll be back

So here's my question. Do I call him? Find some fix-it job to do? Or do I chalk it up to hormones gone mad on my part? Should I treat this whole thing as the joke I'm dying to...

Or not? I've not responded physically like this in 20 years... I'm just sayin'...

Majority rules. You guys call it.

Game on.