Thursday, December 01, 2011
What I do not like about this time of year is the dry winter air and the even drier inside air. My sinuses, alas, are pathetically wimpy. The minute the central heating gets kicked on, the nosebleeds begin.
I’ve had nosebleeds all my life. When I was a kid, they could be really bad. Once I reached my teens, they became a lot less severe and more infrequent. Now, thanks to the wonders of saline nasal spray, I hardly ever get blood running out of my nose. But I do, however, spend most of the winter with blood in my nose. Sneezing? Blood in the tissue. Using the neti pot? Blood clots in the sink. It’s gross. It’s annoying. And the inside of my nose always feels raw and irritated. That makes me irritable.
It also makes everyone around me irritable because I insist that the heater be run as little as possible. If I’m in the car, I hope you have heated seats, because that’s all the warmth you’re gonna get. In my townhouse? My poor sister freezes because I set the heater high enough to keep the pipes from freezing and not much above that. At the office? My office has the thermostat that controls my office and the ones around me. It’s mostly guys, so they haven't complained, but my friend in the office next door? She freezes. The other day she asked me, “Does it seem cold in here to you? I’m freezing?” I feigned ignorance. “Not me, I’m hot,” I said. I was hot, but only because I’d just sneezed several times in a row. I didn’t tell her that I’d spent the previous 5 minutes sitting on my hands because they were too cold for me to type.
It’s only going to get worse at the end of the month because, like hundreds of thousands of people do every year, I’m having surgery on my sinuses to get rid of a chronic infection. Is this surgery common the world over, or just here in the U.S.? I don’t know if we have defective sinuses over here or just bad environmental factors that make us prone to infections, or if maybe it’s a design flaw in the human body generally. But in any case, I’m having my problem taking care of.
Getting information from my ENT about this procedure has been like pulling teeth. When the nurse called to tell me that a CT scan had shown that, yep, despite round after round of antibiotics, that infection was still hanging on, so the doc wanted me to have surgery, she didn’t ask if I wanted to talk to the doctor about it. She just asked, “When do you want to schedule it?” I asked her, “Um, are there any, like, downsides, or anything?” (Ok, yes, I sounded like a teenager, but I was so taken aback at the “YouneedtohaveananteriorethmoidectomyandabilateralmaxillaryantrostomyWhendoyouwantoscheduleit?” that I couldn’t form a coherent thought.) Her response? “Um, not that I know of.”
Anyway, according to the Internet, you are at risk of nosebleeds for about a week or so after the surgery, and you need to keep your sinuses from drying out. Considering that they are already in a constant state of dried-out-ness, I’m not sure how to accomplish this, but I’m pretty sure I’m now required to buy the Hello Kitty humidifier I’ve been eying for a few years. It also means that everyone around me is about to get a little bit colder. Sorry, RR. Sorry, coworkers. You’re just going to have to suffer for a bit. The Internet said so.
Monday, November 07, 2011
And everything about John Forsythe's character. And Shirley Maclaine, charming the socks off of everyone. And the adorable Edmund Gween and Mildred Natwick.
And of course, Jerry Mathers in his pre-"Leave It To Beaver" days. Here he is trying to explain to Sam Marlowe (Forsythe's character) about days of the week (see about a minute in).
And last but not least, the score by Bernard Herrmann is absulutely perfect for the movie. I defy anyone to listen to it and not feel the urge to get into mild mischief. (You can listen to it online if you have Spotify.)
Saturday, November 05, 2011
Friday, October 28, 2011
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Friday, October 21, 2011
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Unfortunately, although the kind of skills I have make my life a little easier, they aren't exactly marketable. For example:
(2) Changing into comfortable clothes.
(3) Getting out of the vehicle as soon as it's come to a stop.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Sunday, September 25, 2011
I would say it was a symptom of mental deterioration related to old age, but she has always been, as my dad said in a moment of understatement, "suspicious." Her motto in life might just be "Trust No One." Nobody knows more than her about anything, and the fact that the doctors were not letting her go home, and were giving her treatment that she did not agree with, that could only mean one thing: they wanted to kill her.
My mom was not having it. "What information do you have that they need to kill you to keep you quiet?" she asked. My grandmother did not have an answer. She also did not have an answer to my statement that yes, she's right just because people are doctors does not mean they know what they are doing, but "they know more than you do." I am quite certain that she is still, days later, thinking up a response to that, which I will hear about later.
She was so indignant the other night about the fact that on the day she was admitted, the medical staff had referred to her as "uncooperative." Apparently, at some point they had to strap her down just to treat her. She referred to this as "putting [her] in handcuffs." She's a little free with the hyperbole.
"Can you imagine?" she asked me the next day, shaking her head. "Calling an 85-year-old woman 'uncooperative?'" Y'all, she was so offended. I mean, the very idea.
Oh, but I can believe it, alright. That's basically what we've been saying about her my whole life, only we don't say "she's uncooperative." We say "That's How She Is."
But I resisted saying anything. I'm just glad that my mother had warned us that our grandmother was being a tad difficult. She doesn't think of herself as difficult, of course. She thinks it's everyone else.
I know I shouldn't make jokes about the subject, especially since my grandmother is not in the best of shape right now. But that's the family way--do whatever grandmother wants, but gather in groups behind her back and complain about how she is not inhabiting the same plane of existence as the rest of us.
She really is being ridiculous, y'all. As far as I know, her sisters (the eldest of which, in traditional Southern style, she has always referred to as "Sister") do not even know that she is in the hospital. I don't know why, I didn't ask, I just obeyed my mother's frantic early-morning text (waking me up while I was on vacation, I might add) telling me not to say anything on Facebook. Oh yes, my great-aunts, who are all over 80, use Facebook more than I do. So, yeah, we have to protect the news like some secret family shame.
Of course, this is the same grandmother who, only a few years ago, asked my mother if my sister and I, since we were then over 30, were old enough to be told that one of my relatives had been divorced. So what would be shameful to my grandmother really doesn't have to be that shocking to anyone else in the country.
On the upside, this whole thing has provided an opportunity to see my uncle who lives out of state. He flew in to be here from my grandmother's surgery, and it was nice to see him again. He asked at one point if we were Facebook friends with his daughter, my cousin. He's a nice man, so I said only that I rarely go anywhere near that site. I also thought but did not say, "dude, we are not any kind of friends with her as she does not see fit to associate with this side of the family, and we only ever mention her in connection with that time she got attacked by the alligator and how we were glad she wasn't permanently injured because that way we can say how she kinda had it coming after skipping out on our grandparents' fiftieth wedding anniversary just so she could have a slumber party, and yeah that probably makes us terrible people, but she hasn't visited in at least 12 years, even though during that time period when she apparently had the time resources to fly around the country exhibiting pugs in dog shows. The End."
Spending time with my family can be very stressful because I never know when one of them, particularly my grandmother, will say something that I disagree with, or even something that I find horrifying, which will put me in the awkward position of choosing between being rude by contradicting an older family member, or not saying anything, thereby indicating apparent agreement, which kills me. Thus the reason I have the reputation in my family for having "a little bit of a mouth on me."
At one point yesterday, my grandmother proudly told her nurse, who is Vietnamese, that my sister and I were learning Korean. My sister, the nurse, and I all just looked at each other, the nurse with a look that said "How do we get out of this conversation because I am not sure how to react to this" and us with looks that said "We know that Korean and Vietnamese are not the same so please don't hate us." I gave a slight shrug and shook my head a little bit.
In her defense, I know that my grandmother was just searching for safe small talk topics and that she knows that they are not the same language. But I don't think she knows that Korean and Vietnamese are so different that identifying her nurse as Vietnamese and then following up with a remark about Korean was a total non sequitur. And I don't think that she realizes that assuming that a person from Vietnam would give a damn about someone learning Korean, when the only thing those two languages have in common is that they are spoken on the same continent, is a teeny bit racist.
The nurse just said, "I . . . don't speak Korean. [pause] But learning another language is hard."
She's a really tactful woman, that nurse.
Then my grandmother helped a bit by saying that we also spoke French, which allowed us to move the conversation to learning languages generally, a topic that I'm always happy to talk about, seeing as I would like to learn every language ever spoken. And it enabled us all to pretend that she was only bragging about her grandchildren's language learning abilities and not implying that all Asian languages are the same.
But that brief awkward moment? That's what hanging out with my family, and in particular my grandmother is like, all the time.
I guess I should just be relieved that that's all she said. It really could have been anything. I mean, it could be anything. My grandmother is what is sometimes referred to as a "loose canon."* Going out with her in public has always been an adventure because her sense of humor and her sense of propriety, though generally proper to the extreme, has a tendency to go off at the most inconvenient moments. This is not because she's old. She's just like that.
Oh, she also asked the nurse if she was a Christian. That was a tense moment. I wanted to quickly divert the conversation to something else, or shout out, "You don't have to answer that!" but I was frozen in horror at what might come next. The nurse said that no, she was a Buddhist, but she would pray for my grandmother (that's what started the conversation--my grandmother asking us if we'd pray for her). My grandmother thankfully waited until the nurse's back was turned to roll her eyes.
I'm from the South, and we respect our elders, but I was fully prepared to either walk out of the room or apologize for my grandmother right in front of her if she had started trying to convert that poor, patient nurse. But for once, my grandmother let the awkward conversation drop.
I bet the nurse is totally used to that kind of thing if she works around old people a lot, so I guess I shouldn't worry about her being offended. But it was exhausting trying to stay one step ahead of my grandmother. Grandmothers! You can't live with them, and you can't go out in public with them, but they sure do make life interesting, n'est-ce pas?
할머니 사랑해! But please spend the rest of your time in the hospital in quiet reflection.
So, anyway, that's what's going on with me. Next post: my recent trip to Portland. It was fun!
*EDIT: My grandmother is sometimes referred to as a "loose cannon," not a "loose canon." We never refer to her as a clergyman or an authoritative set of written works, loose or otherwise. Nor do we refer to her as a body of principles, although she kind of is, but in that way she is more rigid than loose, if sometimes somewhat contradictory. Sorry if that caused confusion.
Saturday, August 27, 2011
This is at least the 3rd time this has happened.
I think I'm going to stop hanging out with her.
Monday, August 15, 2011
I guess I didn’t really storm out of That Place so much as just say “never mind” to the cashier and leave, but it felt like storming out.
See, I had a little disagreement with the saleswoman about whether I would or would not be buying a Tracfone. She seemed to think that this was something I should not do. I explained that I was buying it for a friend that would be returning to the States next month from overseas and who would need a phone for the first few days until she had a chance to sign up for a cell phone plan.
[She is totally fine with being stranded in a new city with no way to contact anyone in case of an emergency, but I am paranoid and am not fine with it, so I'm sending the phone to her in Korea]
That's a decent reason to buy a disposable phone, no?
Well, no, apparently. We had to go a few rounds over whether in fact the best idea regarding cell service would be for my friend to spend 14 hours on a plane, and then 2 hours on a train, and then, when she arrived at 8 o’clock at night in the city that she had never been to before and in which she knew no one, with all her luggage, without a car, to march herself immediately and directly to a Radio Shack and get herself a phone plan. Yes, that sounds like a great idea, I will pass that along to her. Now will you please sell me this $10 phone in case my friend does not want to do something that insane?
My favorite part of that conversation:
Her: She can just call when she lands to get her account activated.
Me: Uh huh. And how would she do that without a phone?
Her: [pause] She doesn't need a phone. She can come by any Radio Shack. We don't close until 9:30.
I was about 20 seconds away from asking her point blank if she was refusing to sell me the phone when she finally relented and allowed me to proceed to the register. But by that point, oh, was I annoyed. I thought that there couldn't be anything left in the transaction to annoy me, but I had forgotten about Radio Shack’s ridiculous policy about not selling you anything without you providing your name, phone number, address, and a blood sample. Ok, not a blood sample, but you know that's coming. Anyway, I was annoyed enough when she asked for my name and number, but when she got to my address, I snapped and said, “You know what, never mind. I’m not going to buy it.” And then I left.
Yeah, that’s my version of storming out. You do not want to mess with this. I am clearly a force to be reckoned with.
But I was pretty proud of myself. Then I had to call my sister and tell her that I had to find somewhere else to buy the phone on account of me losing my temper at Radio Shack. Fortunately, there’s a Target in the same shopping center, and they sold the exact same phone, advice-free. I’m now in possession of a pretty craptastic (crap-plastic?) cell phone that I think will serve its purpose.
Needless to say, I will not be programming the number for Radio Shack into my friend's new phone before giving it to her.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
RR and I do not know what to do about that cat sometimes. We spend a lot of time asking him "Whhhhhhhyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?" WHY does he refuse to eat his food when we know he's hungry? WHY does he stand on my neck in the morning to wake me up to feed him because he's hungry from not eating his dinner the night before? WHY does he insist on trying to get in the cabinet door that he can't quite manage to pry open more than a few inches before losing his grip, thereby slamming the cabinet shut again, producing a constant "kuhTHUNKuhTHUNKkuhTHUNK."
He never gives us an answer, though. He just looks at us blankly and goes back to eating the carpet on the stairs. And that's why we love him. We do not, however, love the vet bills.
So, yeah. Got sung at during lunch at a barbecue joint. And my boss ended a three hour lunch week before last by making me and one of my coworkers go to a store that sells supplies to magicians. I hate that store. I've said so, repeatedly. She said it would be a reward for our hard work. I said, "it wouldn't be a reward for me." She still made us go. And then she made us pick out a deck of cards for doing card tricks, which she bought for us (after having the poor employee demonstrate the tricks for us). I'd say it was nice of her and it's the thought that counts, except she knew I didn't want it, so I'm not really sure how I feel about it. I seriously almost cried in the middle of the store. That's kind of what my whole job has been like lately, which is why I haven't posted much. I've way behind, and my boss seems to be engaging in some kind of psychological warfare against me. Boss, if you're testing me, let me save you the trouble and just tell you: yes, I will give up company secrets if I'm locked in the magic store.
One month until vacation. One month until vacation.
Monday, August 01, 2011
(By "ginger" I mean the plant and not, say, Damian Lewis or Julian Rhind-Tutt, although don't I wish this was an option at my local Whole Foods.)
(I think "by ginger!" should be a new exclamation of surprise. "By ginger, we've been hornswoggled!")
(And by "hornswoggled," I mean bamboozled, not smacked down by the WWE wrestler, about whom I knew nothing until spell-checking the word hornswoggle, and about whom I wish that I still knew nothing.)
(And by "bamboozled," I mean taken for a ride, not beaten with bamboo sticks.)
(And by "taken for a ride," I meant a nice drive through the country, of course.)
This post appears to have gone out of control, so I'm getting back to work now.
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Here's what happened. Every day when someone makes the first pot of coffee in the morning, that person takes a paper towel, writes the date on it, and sticks it in front of the coffee carafe. This is a wasteful practice paper-wise, but it does help prevent those moments when you take a big swig of your first cup of coffee in the morning only to discover you're drinking yesterday's coffee. Anyway, I was the first person in the break room this morning, so I started the coffee maker going and went ahead and wrote the note and stuck it in front of the carafe. I was about to leave to go check my mailbox while the coffee brewed when McPettypants walked in.
She was startled enough to see me that she let out a "good morning." She seemed to regret it immediately. And then she ignored me.
I left to go check my mail. While I was gone, the coffee must have finished brewing because when I came back, McPettypants was gone, but before leaving she had poured the coffee into the carafe.
And she had replaced my note with one of her own.
And her note had a smiley face on it.
That's stupid, right? I mean, that's really stupid. You're feeling a little let down in the story, right? This seems like such a small thing, not something to get worked up about. Why am I even telling this story?
But that's my point. Why did she do it? What is her motivation? What went through head that made her throw out my note and write a new one?
Is this really her idea of sticking it to me? Because that's pretty weak. Or does she just hate me so much that she can't stand to get coffee from a carafe next to a note with my writing on it? Or does she need to take credit for making the coffee? Is the smiley face her way of flipping me off, or does she actually think if she pretends like she cares about cheering up any of the people we work with, they will start liking her even though she blames her screw ups on them?
I stood there for a good 30 seconds, coffee cup in hand, staring at that note and that stupid smiley face, trying to convince myself that it was my note and I just wasn't recognizing my handwriting, and she'd just drawn a smiley face on it for some reason. My brain could not accept the idea that someone would actually use the time and physical effort to do something so completely pointless. I was baffled. I still am. So I guess if her goal was to waste my time, then, well done, McPettypants. Touché. You got me.
If this is the best she can do, if this is the kind of thing she's got lined up for me in her quest to . . . whatever she's trying to do, I look forward to seeing what comes my way.
Oh, and by the way, she's now parking one space over from where she had been parking, in a spot that is still not her assigned parking spot. And that's all I'm going to say about that.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
I won't go into the whole story, I'll just give you these four facts:
(1) I was assigned a new parking space at work.
(2) A coworker started parking in the spot next to my new space, even though that was not her assigned space, because she liked it better than her assigned space, and the person who is assigned to park there apparently never uses the space.
(3) Because of the size of the parking spaces and her vehicle, it is impossible for me to get into my space if she's parked there.
(4) I asked her to not park in that spot that was not her space because if she parked there, I cannot get into my assigned space.
And because of this, she became very, very angry. Because of a parking space, she hates my guts. Because of a parking space, she has started telling random coworkers how much she doesn't like me. Because of a parking space. BECAUSE OF A PARKING SPACE. Because I asked her not to park in the spot that wasn't hers, because her parking there meant I could not get into the spot that is mine. This is apparently worth of a blood feud.
I think what really set her off was when she came up with what I guess she thought was a winning point--she asked me, "well, what are you going to do if the person whose spot that is starts parking there"--and instead of getting flustered, saying "you win, keep parking there," or arguing with her, I just said I'd deal with it when it happened, "and anyway you said no one ever parks there, so it shouldn't be a problem." At that point, if she could have turned me into dust with her laser eyes, she totally would have.
I just can't, y'all. I just can't understand it. People who so badly need drama that they have to create it over stupid stuff, I just can't . . . I just . . . I JUST CAN'T. I really want to laugh, but also I am afraid that she will show up at my house one day with her crazy eyes and a knife.
Despite my fear, I seriously cannot wait to go to work tomorrow.