Monday, July 22, 2013

A Sadist on my Back

I haven't written in a while.  In fact, I haven't done much of anything in a while.  I suppose the last few weeks I have suffered from some depression, caused by my accident and the fact that I haven't won the lottery yet.  In the time since the accident, I had held on to a lot of hope that I was healing, that life would have to get better, that everything would get better.  People keep telling me I'm so lucky, and so I tried to hold on to that.

Then I started having sharp pains in my back and chest like nothing I'd ever felt before.  The doctors knew something was wrong, because I usually list severe pain as a 4 or 5 on the scale, and I was calling this a 9.  Unfortunately, I attempted to Google "left shoulder blade pain."  Don't do it.  WebMD always says you have cancer, except this time.  This time it said dissecting aorta.  I wished it were cancer.  When I finally got to see my doctor, she took my shirt off and moved my arms around.  She said I was having muscle spasms.  Muscle spasms.

Somehow, the diagnosis seemed lacking.  When the pain got intense, my body would contort in such ways that my bra even unhooked on its own.  Try as I might, I haven't been able to re-create that particular move, but once I do, I'm going to market it.  I mean, this all has to be worth something.  I told the doctor I was going to call the muscle spasms Annie Wilkes, because that sounded more in line with what I was actually experiencing.  I would have been far less surprised to hear that a maniacal sadist had taken up residence in my trapezius and was ready with a sledge-hammer when I needed a good hobbling.

I am your number one fan.

Nothing has really helped the pain, so I've sort of retreated.  I haven't cooked or baked, even though I love doing those things.  I haven't really talked a lot to friends, yet I feel irrationally angry with some who haven't reached out to me.

Perhaps this too shall pass, and in the meantime I'll work on finding my funny again.  I tend to find it in margaritas, though I have to warn anyone who drinks with me that I'll probably explain things like the historical significance of des mouches or why the Royal Baby doesn't have a last name.

Speaking of the RB, I bought a commemorative cheese to celebrate the occasion.  That's right.  This child has a limited edition cheddar called Royal Addition.

Someday when I have kids, I'm going to give out cheese instead of birth announcements.

I had been waiting for over a week to try out my new cheese, and it was difficult to leave it untouched each time I opened the fridge.  Today, my dad called to tell me the good news, in case I was not online.

Dad:  You can open your cheese now.
Me:  Really?
Dad:  Yep! The British had a boy.
Me:  The whole nation had a baby?
Dad:  You know what I mean. I'm watching the whole limo thing. Everyone's excited, but not like jumping up and down or anything crazy. You know, they're British.
Me:  Well, yes. I think I want to be British myself.
Dad:  Not me. They live on an island. Scary stuff. Once global warming really takes off, there will be a lot more water and a lot less island.
Me:  Technically all land is surrounded by water, but I guess if I were insane I'd see your point. I've got to go eat my cheese now. Thanks for letting me know.
Dad:  Really, shouldn't you wait until you know the name of your Royal Cheese?

So, I guess congratulations are in order, even if I am waiting to try the commemorative cheddar.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

That Time I Almost Died of Sticker Shock

I went to HEB on my way to the Frio, and everything started out normal and boring.  Or, as normal as can be when you realize you've parked next to this:

Plant food = God's "chemo"

So anyway, I walked into the store to look into getting what I needed for my trip.  I'd been in this HEB before, but only ever with a friend who is one of those list people and had a plan for the whole week written neatly on a piece of paper.  I just knew I was going to starve if I didn't grab a couple of kind of thought out items.

I was making it through quite nicely, when I started to feel an itch on the back of my leg.  At first I thought it was just the new capri pants I was wearing.  It's just a weird seam thing, right?  As I turned into the next aisle, the itch was back, and I realized it wasn't just an itch.  It was a scraping, scratching feeling going across my thigh.  Moving.  It was a living itch.  I stopped in my tracks, trying to think of what to do.  Surely it was nothing.  It's always nothing, isn't it?

But then my brain remembered Grandma's story about the time she put on a dress as a little girl, and there were wasps in the "bosom" of it, which turned out to be pretty awful but then later doubled as a good tactic for keeping grandkids (or at least me) terrified and awake.  And then I thought about how we had to check all of our shoes and things left on the floor when we lived in Arizona because we had scorpions and other disgusting things in our house all the time.  My dad even tried to describe scorpions to my grandparents when they came for their first visit, saying it was some little armored thing that had a big stinger tail on it and lobster claws.  As we all stood around the kitchen listening to him describe it, Grandma suddenly said, "Uh, like that?"  And sure enough, one had scampered across the kitchen floor to stare at us as if to say, "What up, yo?"  until Grandma just reached out with her little vinyl flat and crunched it to pieces on the linoleum.

Grandma, as portrayed by Harry Hamlin

So now I was sure.  This wasn't just an itch, it was a poisonous creature.  Maybe it was a black widow, and I was going to die before I could even get to my car.  I mean, I was in the middle of the grocery store, and it wasn't like I could just reach into my pants and get the little beast out of there.  By now I had started sweating and trying to keep calm, thinking it would keep me alive longer if the horrid creature in my pants couldn't sense my ever rising panic.  What did I need again?  Oh, right.  Milk.  I started promising God and myself that I'd write lists from now on if I could just live through this experience.

The scratching was getting more insistent.  Forget snacks and whatever else I had planned for the rest of the week; I needed to get to the safety of my vehicle.  So, I went to the check out and tried to look as non-panicky as I could while asking for a bag of ice, but that probably just translated in an over-large, awkward smile as I had sweat rolling down my face.  I felt like someone in a hostage situation who has to secretly convey their plight to be rescued, but how do you do that when the terrorist is in your own pants?

I run to my car awkwardly, trying to not move my leg even though legs are required for things like running, and then leaving my groceries and ice in the backseat for a minute, because, well, getting this thing out of my pants is more pressing.  I have tinted windows on my car, but it's not like I drive a limo, so I have to do that fun contortion of trying to look like my arm isn't down my pants even though it's totally down my pants.  When I grab onto the first thing that isn't made of me or capri pant material, I grip it tightly enough to be sure it's dead on the way out, but then I realize that it's much too small to be a black widow.  What if it's a species undiscovered by science?  It would be just my luck to find something as yet unknown to science, but then die before I can report it, or, perhaps worse, have destroyed it completely.  Still, being cautious, I get the menacing little harbinger of death out of my pants and then throw it onto the passenger seat, in case it has the cockroach-like ability to not be dead even when it's dead.

Except, it's not dead.  It's not even alive.  It's a piece of paper.  I un-crumpled the little bits of stickiness.  Who knows?  Maybe the spider got away and left me a message that would make sense of the last 15 minutes of my life.  Instead, I find this.

Well, that was unexpected.

So, I guess that was somewhat of a let down, all things considered.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

That Time My Dad Diagnosed My Whole Life

One day not too many months ago, my dad called just to say hello.  This time, I was in quite a bad mood because my non-level oven had just ruined a lemon meringue pie I was making for a party.

Dad:  What's up?
Me:  I ruined a pie, so I'm mad.
Dad:  Didn't you ruin a cake last month?  You're supposed to be good at baking.
Me:  I did NOT ruin a cake.  My oven caught on fire.  I'm pretty sure oven fires are in the category of "not my fault" until such time as I intentionally set this piece-of-junk oven alight because it un-levels all of my cakes and sometimes decides to broil instead of bake.
Dad:  You're like a living episode of I Love Lucy.
Me:  Shut up. I'm hanging up on you.
Dad:  But everybody loved Lucy. It's a good thing. You just have a lot of mishaps, and it's funny.
Me:  I don't want to be stupid.
Dad:  Lucy's not stupid - she just had adventures that didn't turn out so great for her. For us, they were hilarious.
Me:  Fine, but I still like Ethel better.
Dad:  Oh, now she was stupid. Her best friend was Lucy, and that b**** was dangerous.

So this is how I came to be diagnosed with Lucy Ricardo Disease.  It all makes sense now.  Every time I have a somewhat dumb conversation with a stranger, or say the world's worst curse in front of a little old lady, or tell a police officer my whole life story until he decides not to give me a ticket, or become a witness to some silly adventure at the store, it's really just a symptom of my disease.  And while I can't see that this disease is terminal, at least in the dying sort of way, it does seem that the harder I try to do the right or nice thing, the more likely I am to set my fake nose on fire or be forced to eat a million pieces of chocolate.

Yeah, I took awkward photos ON PURPOSE.  What now?
I guess there's no point in trying to hide just how awkward I really am, but I figure being a little like Lucy Ricardo isn't the worst thing in the world.  After all, I could be Ethel.  

She makes a good point.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Happy Late Birthday, America!

I was supposed to write this post last week, as it was Independence Day, but I was going out of town, procrastinating on packing and getting ready, and then....well, let's just say there were some margaritas involved (because packing always works out better when there are margaritas involved).  So instead, this is a late Independence Day post, kind of like those late birthday cards you get from distant family members who can only remember that your birthday is sometime in February and that March is still kinda close.  Besides, if I had actually written this last week, I wouldn't have been able to add a bonus about this year.  So Happy Birthday, America, even if I am a little late.

For the last couple of years, I have gone to the Frio River to celebrate the 4th of July.  This means preparing for everything I'll need to eat and wear and do for a few days of complete laziness, so, naturally, I head to the grocery store for supplies.

Last year, I needed bottles of ginger ale but couldn't find any at the closest HEB.  So, I settled and went to Randall's, where I had to settle again and get Canada Dry.  As I went to the check out, a very young boy decided he needed some way to start an awkward conversation.

Checker (16 year old boy): Good old Canada Dry.
Me: Yep.
Checker: You know, I've got a friend in Canada that I met online. I know a lot about Canada, eh?
Me: That's...nice.
Checker: Like did you know yesterday was Canada Day?
Me: Yep.
Checker: We should totally have a US Day. Wouldn't that be awesome?
Me: Seriously?
Checker (mistaking my incredulity for interest): Yeah! All they do is drink beer and shoot off fireworks and.... oh. Wait.
Me: There it is. Thank goodness.

I left this conversation feeling kind of sad at the state of our education system, but it was really because that was not the first frightening conversation I had that day.

Earlier, at HEB:

Checker:  Do you think England has a July 4th?
Me:  I'm pretty sure every country has a July 4th.  It's on the calendar.
Checker:  You know what I mean.
Me:  Uh...nope.
Checker:  Like, do they celebrate it?
Me:  Well, if by celebrate you mean that they relish in the fact that they're no longer responsible for us or the dumb things we might do, then maybe.
Checker:  Oh, I just meant fireworks.
Me:  Well, then, no.

Every once in a while, I get to be part of the "dumb things" category, too.  This year, I was out on the Frio, enjoying that time and most of my phone and internet service didn't exist and that I could have mojitos and books all day long.  At our group dinner, one friend of mine told me I was being ironic.  When I asked why, she said, "What are you wearing?"  So I looked down, and then back up at her, and said, "Um, clean things?"  Then she asked what day it was.  It was July 4th.


So, does being accidentally ironic count?  The great part was that no one else had noticed until Katie brought it up, though I have been told that most people know I'm an anglophile and wouldn't think that to be outside of my normal behavior.  Later that evening, I texted my dad this picture to tell him I was a bad American.  His response was, "Why?  I'm wearing Old Glory underwear, so it all balances out."

So there it is, America.  Happy Late Birthday from a bunch of silly kids who haven't quite mastered the concept of independence or what, exactly, we're supposed to do with it.  I think I'll continue my normal celebration style, complete with mojitos and books.