Monday, September 27, 2010

Controlling the chaos

At some point in my life, I'm going to realize that things are never going to "calm down" and that I'm always going to be "crazy busy." I used to think it was my fault - have a free night? Fill it with banjo lessons! You have a board position open? No problem, I'll take over! Do you need the number of a good plumber? Hell no, I can DO IT MYSELF!! But I control only so much, and I'll take my share of responsibility for it, but folks, things are "crazy busy."

And here it is:

My brother miraculously sold his house in two weeks, sending the whole family (what's left of it) into panic mode. He's moving into my dad's house, and is buying me out of my half. But before he moves in, the whole house has to be gutted and remodeled. Well, we did the gutted part. My childhood home now has no bathrooms on the second floor and no kitchen. There are holes in walls and floors all over the place. And brother is moving in on Wednesday. And I'm helping. Not because I'm good at demolition, or enjoy week long arguments about whether it is truly necessary to knock out and replace every single wall in the house (not an exaggeration), but because I'm a good sister. And I want him in, so he can get his mortgage, and I can have my money. But mostly because I'm a good sister.

As we are filling the biggest dumpster money can buy with barbies, drywall and toilets, Prof is busy cleaning out his house, and I'm desperately trying to get things fixed and organized at my house so he will be able to move in. Its less than two months away and I've made little progress here. Basement still needs a cleaning and organizing, kayaks need to not be in the living room, closet has to be cleaned out so that there is room for boy clothes in there. There is SO not room for boy clothes right now. But at least I still have kitchen cabinets. And two months.

Two months seems like a long time, until you count the weekends. And take away the two weekends that I'll be away for wedding celebrations, and the weekends I'd like to dedicate to knocking on doors making sure that the village idiots aren't elected to office on Nov. 2 (or going to the Rally to Restore Sanity), and the weekends I'm supposed to be researching and writing my 20 page paper for my class (not to mention the group projects. Group projects!), due right after Prof moves in.

Did I mention the Great Kitty Litter Battle of 2010? That's pretty time consuming too.

I should probably also mention that I've taken a new board position, but I'm not in charge. I narrowly escaped being in charge by grabbing the second-in-charge position. But I'm totally screwed if the chair can't fulfill her duties and I have to wear the tiara.

Things would really be out of control if I could exercise or kayak, but thanks to my elderly hip, I'm still sitting on the bench with a doctor's note. Susan can't participate in gym until her doctors can figure out what the hell is wrong with her.

So, before I drop into bed today, I'm hoping to get my group project rolling, write an analysis of a case study, and clean some crap out of my closet. And have a lengthy conversation with my brother about insurance and bills at dad's (brother's) house. But I wanted to also let you all know that I was still here and still kicking, and still have lots of stuff to say. Just not the time to say it!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Getting down, geriatric style

I really, really, really hope that Prof and I stay together forever and ever and ever. Because last night, I got a taste of what the 50+ single scene is like. And folks, it is not pretty.

Oh, and also, Prof's the most awesomest boyfriend that ever was (he reads this now, you know).

My friend KT came into "town" ("town" meaning the vast suburban/rural hell region where I live) to visit. Thankfully, she was staying with her other friend, because my house and my life right now aren't really up for accommodating overnight guests (unless they will soon be paying half my mortgage and will occasionally pick up some cat poo for me). So instead of a slumber party, we went out to dinner at the "best" restaurant around.

Its only the "best" because its the only one not in a strip mall.

The place is on the water, in the middle of nowhere and has a big deck. The food is, of course, overpriced and not that good, but I was willing to sacrifice just to avoid hanging out next to the Shop n' Bag. What I didn't know is that we were walking into a baby boomer dance party.

That's right. Baby Boomers dance and get it on at restaurants.

The band was setting up when we got there, and I was wondering whether our choice to sit on the deck might have been a mistake. It was as far as us talking to each other - but it was a great choice for people watching.

Holy mazoly. The crowd was mostly over 50, and dressed for a night on the town. Everyone who walked by had hip problems (I am now an expert at spying people with the particular limp that i now have). The local chapter of the "Single Boomers" was in the house. And so was KT's 71 year old aunt and uncle, who follow this band, and other local dance bands, all over the region to get their geriatric dance on. Uncle was once a regular on American Bandstand - this once impressed me, until I realized that 1 of every 7 Italian men over 65 around here were once regulars on the show. But, he's still got his moves. And the ladies love him, even those that aren't his wife, as evidenced by the 80 year old Keebler elf who pranced in front of him twice so he could pinch her ass. In front of his wife.

I did say he was Italian, after all.

Standing next to our table for most of the night was a 51 year old lady, on a date with a 56 year old. I'd say this dude was a catch - he had a mostly full head of hair, he danced with her, and he didn't have a hip limp. She must have overheard me yelling to my friends about boys, because she came over at one point and just volunteered that she was on a first match date (think she might have been a little tipsy?), and tried to set one of us up with her 25 year old single son. She was shocked when we told her how old we were, but persisted anyway. Perhaps her son needs a mother figure?

Anyway, the fascinating thing about this match date, was that there was another guy in the mix. She danced and flirted with him, and with her date. I think he got her number when the date went in to get another beer. We were so confused! They were all sort of a group, but one was on a date and the other wasn't? Was it a threesome date? I don't know man, but it was weird, and desperate.

We left at 10:30, and the old folks were still dancing and living it up with they were in college. It felt a little pathetic, not wanting to (or being able to) stay up late and party like we were 70. But I wanted to go to bed. I guess there will be plenty of time for dancing when I'm retired.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Suckage & Smelling Salts

When did I become such a friggin' baby?

I've been having problems with my left hip all summer. I suspect that somewhere along the line, I did something not nice to it while kayaking. But, it could have been anything. 200,000 miles of pushing a beetle clutch? 35 years of sitting weird with my left leg under my right butt cheek? Premature aging?

Whatever it is, its been interfering in my life. I'd wake up in the middle of the night with it throbbing. It hurt while kayaking. Then I tried to start running again and it was over. Holy crap. Then it really hurt. I felt like something was clicking or pushing or something. Something was wrong. But whatever. I just don't run anymore. No big sacrifice. Really.

But then, I couldn't even sit in my kayak comfortably, and I broke down and went to the doctor. And as we all know, the doctor is a gateway drug to other doctors. If I don't have a cold or the flu, Doc C. sends me to a specialist.

So I got x-rays (normal) and went to the specialist. He twisted my leg in a couple directions and got the hint when I screamed. Yeah. "I don't go that way anymore." Specialist thinks I might have a labral tear in the hip. I guess its fairly common amongst the sporty set (which I still don't really consider myself to be a part of, funny enough). So off for an MRI.

But this wasn't an ordinary MRI. They did one of those MRIs where they put dye in and track where it goes. Whatever, right? No big deal.

Except that it turned out to be a big deal.

I stripped down and put their ugly gown on. Then they laid me on this very hard metal table, with some sort of imaging machine attached to it. I was nervous. As I've gotten older, needles and procedures have affected me more and more. And because of some stuff I had read on the internet about pain during and after the procedure (damn internet) I was already a little bit freaked out.

I laid on the cold metal table for 5-10 minutes staring at the ceiling and trying not to panic while the tech got various needles and shots prepared. Then the doc came in and they spent another 10 minutes mixing and lining up shots. I was getting a local anesthetic, two different cortisone shots and the dye. And lord knows what else. I couldn't look at all that shit sitting on the tray. It was freaking me out.

As soon as the first needle hit my hip, I got really unhappy. I could feel it in there. And I kept just thinking about all that crap they were blowing into my joints and I started feeling sick to my stomach. I didn't feel any pain, just pressure. But it was sickening.

Then, I started to feel hot. Then clammy. I know this feeling. Its the feeling I get right before I pass out or puke. And they had told me not to eat, so there was nothing to puke. I had no choice. I was going to have to pass out. I told the technician that I was feeling woozy and clammy. Doc said "you look pale." Wow, really? Four years of medical school, for that?

I really was not doing good, going back and forth between wanting to forcibly push my way out of the room, and wanting to pass out. A tech came over with a cold compress, then I heard "get the smelling salts." Really? Smelling salts? What am I, a corseted 19th century housewife? Then there she was, shoving foul smelling salts up my nose. Ever stuck your nose into a bottle of ammonia? Well, its not pleasant. And it stopped me from fainting, since I switched from worrying about the needle in my hip to worrying about the permanent damage that had just occurred to my nostrils.

Then they were done and I could sit up and recover. As soon as I heard them say, "ok, we're done" I felt a little bit better. They gave me some water and I limped over to the MRI machine. I had never been so glad to be in an MRI machine - no needles in there! Just a terrible radio station and some thumps. Last time I had an MRI, I started getting a little freaky about the space by the end, but this time I had no problem. I could have stayed there all day. Nobody was poking me.

It took me hours to recover, really. I went to a nearby cafe afterwards to get some caffeine and food in my system, and slowly made my way home. I was so tired when I got home - I guess the emotional energy I had expended sucked it out of me. I ended up in bed most of the afternoon - totally wiped out. And when I woke up, the hip still hurts and feels all weird (cuz its filled with weird dye fluid crap) and I'm all dehydrated and stupid. Its like the painkiller they injected went all over my body and affected my brain. I am definitely affected.

But you all knew that already.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Prof in the House

So much has been going on in my life, I'm having a hard time keeping up, and I know I'm having a hard time keeping up with the blog. But, I'm apparently doing a pretty piss poor job of keeping my real live friends posted too.

At dinner with the girls on Friday, I casually mentioned clearing out space in my townhouse so Prof could fit his stuff in. The blank stares and confused faces let me know that I had neglected letting anyone know this sort of important piece of info.

So, yup. Prof is moving in with me. To my tiny town house. After our failed house purchase attempt, we were both exhausted and tired of it. The purchase had felt rushed in the first place and when it fell through I think it gave both of us a chance to reassess the situation and do what made the most financial sense: split expenses in my ridiculously cheap house and wait to pounce on a house when we have a little more cash.

Its going to take some serious getting used to. I already feel ill when I think about him being here every. single. day. Every. Single. Night. But then I try to counter that with being happy that he will be here every. single. day. And I am happy that he will be here. And I'm ill at the same time. You all understand, right?

Its not happening until November, but its creeping up on us fast. I have a lot of crap to organize and throw away before he moves in. And he's got a lot of crap to organize and throw away too. And then we have to combine our crap in some way that is going to make him feel at home, and me not feel like he's squatting on my property.

And then I have to try to not go insane.

Monday, September 6, 2010


I hit 35 today. And I don't feel traumatized, or old, or unsuccessful or sad like a people do when they hit 35. But I do feel bloated from the massive lunch/dinner we had at this very tiny, extremely delicious, nothing out of a giant can, Mexican restaurant at the beach.

Prof and I headed to the beach on Saturday morning, car packed full of instruments, paddles, kayaks and all sorts of other stuff we didn't end up needing or using. I had invited another couple to join us for Saturday night. Not really uncharacteristic of me, except that I also invited their toddler.

I've finally come to grips with the fact that if I want to see my friends, I'm going to have to readjust my schedule and expectations. And the expectation that diapers and drool shouldn't be part of my birthday celebrations had to get tossed this weekend. Also, the expectation that I can leave a beer bottle on the table and walk away... yeah, that one got tossed too.

I've never had to adjust my schedule to a toddler's. Dinner is at 8 on a Saturday night, right? Nope. Baby cranky meltdown is at 8, so dinner better damn well be wrapping up by then. The first place we went had a 2 hour wait. Two hours! The second place we went was totally empty, but the host told me they were completed booked with reservations in 30 minutes. I wondered if that was true, or if he saw the toddler and lied his ass off to avoid us being in his restaurant. Then I wondered if the first girl had lied to us about the wait. Then I started to feel totally discriminated against. And I don't even have a kid!

We finally made our way to a place with a deck on the water. And high chairs on the deck. Thank god, because we were counting down to meltdown. Baby's, not mine. But mine wasn't far behind. Trust me.

We had a lovely dinner, with an occasional ear piercing shriek from baby. She would be totally happy one second, then lose it, then get attention and be fine. She moved through emotions so quickly I could hardly keep up. I couldn't believe how much it took to keep her happy and quiet enough to be in a public place. How completely exhausting for the parents.

I could see some of the surrounding tables shooting glances our way every once in a while. Particularly after the little shrieking events. And prior to this experience, that would have been me. Looking over at the parents, tsking them in my mind for bringing their kid to an adult restaurant. Tsking them for having a badly behaved child. Saying mean things in my head about breeders.

But not anymore man. One night with that kid (and she's a good one, I can't imagine doing that with a cranky one), and I have become sympathetic. No longer are those parents just selfishly ruining my dinner. They are exhausted and overwhelmed, struggling to retain some tiny sense of pre-infant normalcy while catering to this little human that threatens to ruin it with one poopy diaper.

And, if that's not enough... I did it the very next day with a different toddler. Different parents, different restaurant, same meltdown time.

Thirty-five years old, and I can finally deal with babies at the dinner table. But definitely don't ask me to babysit.