Monthly Archives: December 2010

In which I am down for the count

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Christmas came and went in all its glory and at the end of it I stood, bloodied but unbowed, ready to forge straight on through the New Year and get this mess over with.

Sadly, it was not to be.

Christmas night I went off to work an oncall shift in which a bitchy, entitled patient insisted I hand over oxycodone as she left for the ED, which I did not, which apparently makes me a monster; she “cannot wait until you guys are on this end of this situation” which I find highly unlikely as I have zero desire to abuse substances, unless they are office products or craft supplies.  Hey, to each his or her particular drug.  Don’t judge!

Anyway on the tail end of that shift (which by the way flew by like the wind what with all the drama, thank you bitchy entitled patient!) I began to suffer some Distressing Symptoms, which worsened considerably through the morning (it was a night shift) and by the afternoon on Sunday I was huddled on the couch miserably detailing individual sources of agony: the air.  The temperature of the air.  The oxygen content of the air.  The dog.  The other dog.  The hairs on the dogs.  The smelliness of the hairs on the dogs.  The tongues on the smelly hair covered dogs, the tongues with which they insist on attempting to lick my face.  The television with forty seven hundred channels but they are all broadcasting garbage.  The hunger in my broken stomach, the other Digestive Complaints that I will not now detail for you, the unfairness of it all, the rampant horrible Republicanism, poverty, disease, famine WHY IS THERE NOTHING ON TELEVISION.

This went on for two solid days and the only reason my belongings are not in cardboard boxes in the driveway is because Rhonda is also under the weather and hasn’t the energy to put them there.  God is truly merciful, friends; it is indeed a Christmas miracle that I still have a place to live.

At any rate this morning the clouds parted, food was eaten and stayed where it belonged for a more respectable period of time than previously, and I possess sufficient energy to perform basic household tasks once more.  I even, after more sleep in the past two days than in the weeks prior, have found that I am unable to nap any further.

But there is still nothing on television.

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How I spent my Christmas vacation

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So, many of you may have noticed that today is in fact Christmas.

Typically our Christmas involves the usual traditional pastimes of standing in cashier lines, self-inflicting holiday wrap paper cuts, and finding new and delicious ways to introduce yet more sugar, salt, fat and cholesterol (the four food groups) into our bodies.  Also we engage in lumberjackery, interior desecration, and (this is by far my favorite) spending time doing things we don’t want to do with people we can’t stand.

Okay, okay.  We shop for gifts, we wrap gifts, we make and consume holiday goodies, we saw down a perfectly good tree and festoon our home in holiday-themed decor, and we spend time doing things we don’t want to do with people we can’t stand.

We also spend time with people we love, which makes that last bit bearable.

We had our Christmas yesterday morning.  Santa knows all and understands how the mamas would be sad not to have Christmas with the children, so he comes early.  What can I say, he rolls with the times.  The stockings were hung, in the absence of chimney, on the hutch with care, and the cookies and milk and reindeer carrots were set out for Santa et al, but carefully out of reach of the dogs.

By the way, if you allow your spouse to boost her holiday spirit (pun intended) by drinking an entire bottle of wine, she will hunker down over a plate of cookies and carrots and chew up the carrots and slobber carrot bits onto the plate like a real reindeer, and you will create a Cherished Christmas Memory all your own.  Er, so I am told, of course.

Santa was generous up to a certain point.  This is a lean year for the North Pole crowd, what with various skyrocketing expenditures, elf insurance, reindeer polish and whatnot, and Mrs. Claus is really cracking that frugality whip.  Scientifically speaking, though, no net changes in levels of delight, joy or magical goodness were observed at lower levels of spending.  Another little something to take note of, friends.

The kids were happy with their goodies, the grown-ups were happy, the dogs and cats were happy.

Later in the day we drove off to my mother’s, there to consume a delicious meal (prime rib in the Traeger, and the angels carnivorously rejoiced) and exchange gifts with my brother’s family as well as Mom and her husband.  We then engaged in yet more family traditions, including the annual exchange of Cabin Boy.  Last year we made my brother and his entire family custom-made Cabin Boy t-shirts.  The year before, he and his wife  placed the vacuum-sealed DVD in the bottom of a tin and poured fudge over the top of it and gave it to us.

This year we received a scrapbook.  As my sister-in-law tells it, they had gotten no further away than the bottom of Mom’s driveway last Christmas Eve day when she announced the plan for the next Christmas: Cabin Boy would spend the year attending important events, holidays, etc. with them, and being photographed doing same.  Then she would craft us a scrapbook of its adventures.  Which we unwrapped and read, laughing hysterically, yesterday afternoon.  There it was, at graduations and going camping, at the tree-lighting in their town, playing hide and seek in the park.  And of course the DVD was tucked inside.

We shall need suggestions, O ye crafty blog friends and FB pals.  How to top this next year?!

(For a little backstory, read this old post from a closed blog I used to keep:

I should elaborate on the “Cabin Boy” tradition mentioned in my last post.

Long, long ago, when I was still in the bloom of my misspent youth, my friend Katie McNoLastNameToProtectHerPrivacy (for reasons which will shortly become clear) recommended a movie to me, saying she and her now-ex-husband had been to see it and it was really, really funny.

Shortly thereafter I and a group of friends, including my brother and I believe possibly even his future wife, ventured forth to the movies, and at my behest the one we chose was “Cabin Boy.” Because Katie! Said it was funny!

Of course, it sucked. It was not funny. It did have a few funny moments, but they merely puncuated the unmitigated and unrelenting non-funny-ness of the rest of the movie in the way that frosting might punctuate the non-frostingness of a turd.

At the end of the movie I looked down the row to see each and every person in the group boring into me accusingly with their eyes: You did this to us!

Naturally in my own defense I placed the blame squarely where it belonged, firmly on Katie. My brother and I have, whenever given the opportunity, ribbed her unceasingly about this over the years, and she has staunchly defended her position, maintaining that it was a funny movie despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

At any rate, it finally came out on DVD a few years ago and I was given a copy for my birthday which is in September. Naturally I passed the same copy back to my brother at Christmas time, and it has been in circulation ever since. I am in possession of it at this time and am gleefully planning its return to his household, probably concealed inside another gift or smuggled into his coat at the family get-together on Christmas Eve. If we were going to his house I would probably find a way to put it under his pillow or prop it up on his toilet seat, but we’ll be at my Mom’s this year.

And as for Katie, well, our friendship remains intact, based firmly on our opposing views regarding “Cabin Boy.”)

Don’t judge me!

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So, I’m going up to a friend’s house this afternoon and we will while away the day and part of tomorrow engaging in this one pastime that I don’t talk about much, because of the stigma attached to it:  we’re going to (whispering behind hand while looking away) scrapbook.

Why don’t I like to talk about this?  Well, it’s kind of like saying I LIKE BINGO, or I DRIVE A PT CRUISER WITH CUSTOM PLATES THAT TALK ABOUT GOING TO GARAGE SALES, or PLEASE GIVE ME SWEATSHIRTS WITH EMBROIDERED HOLIDAY THEMES ON THEM AND DON’T SKIMP ON THE SEQUINS. Not that there is anything wrong with those things, they just aren’t particularly ME.

I had a similarly hard time talking about going to church, and when I do talk about being a Christian I tend to get flustered and qualify it with BUT I’M NOT THAT KIND OF CHRISTIAN.  Ironically, it was much easier to come out as a lesbian than as either a Christian or a scrapbooker.  I’m fairly sure that as a scrapbooking Christian lesbian I may qualify for some kind of federal aid program.

The reasons why I got into scrapbooking are many:  firstly, I have a deep abiding love of paper, glue, tape, scissors, and suchlike.  It’s like a sickness.  Scrapbooking is tailor-made for diseased persons such as myself.  Secondly, when Delia was a baby I wanted to make her a baby book but I could not find one I liked, partly because I possess a deep-seated hatred for pastel teddy-bear festooned smarm and partly because of that whole “two moms” issue.  Plus, they are often filled with pages about crap I don’t do and I hate wasted space.  Also, the ones that I could stand were hideously expensive.  Screw this, I said, and then when I happened upon a smallish scrapbook that I thought was cute, a portentous idea  surfaced in my hormonally crazed brain.  I can scrapbook her a baby book!

So like a junkie to the dealer did I sidle unobtrusively into the nearest Massive Craft Store and thus the hoarding began.  Soon I found myself with two large rolling totes full of paper, tools, gizmos, and thingers related to committing ones’ precious memories to book form for all eternity.  I even have this thing which you feed pictures into and they come out the other side made into stickers.  (Allow me to clarify that I did receive it as a gift and did not purchase it for myself.  And you’ll never get me to admit that I secretly wanted one but wouldn’t spend the money on it.)

Stop laughing!  I SAID STOP IT!  *cry*

I still have the rolling totes although I have vastly reduced the amount of crap stuffed into them.  The baby book is pretty cute and Elder Spawn loves looking through it.  She is six now.  And every so often I furtively cram my rolling totes of scrapbooking justice into the car and drive them up to an old friend’s house so we can scrap the night away like the two wild and crazy women that we are.  Sometimes we even drink a diet soda and have some crackers with cheese!  Or maybe a cookie!  Stop me before I go plumb crazy!

 

Cold and hungry

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Today at work an old guy came to our door.  He lives across the street and he was cold and hungry.

From what I gather, he is 88, lives alone, hasn’t really got any family, and nobody is looking out for him on a regular basis.  He came over because his furnace isn’t working and Meals on Wheels didn’t show up.  I’m a bit skeptical about his story because from what I’m told he changed it a bit when I spoke with him — he knew I was a nurse.  Maybe he was afraid that I would put him in the hospital.  He told me that Meals on Wheels had come that day and he had eaten the meal, but that was not what he told the other staff.

He was wearing a zippered track-suit type jacket with a bathrobe over it.  Both were grimy.  He had on socks and slippers but no pants, and he was cold, so the staff brought him in and parked him in front of a space heater.  He drank several cups of coffee and cocoa and devoured some peanut butter toast we made for him. He was lucid and polite and charming and had great dignity.  He told me that he is always hungry.

Our hearts all broke slowly over the hour that he sat there.  I had to leave work early that day but as I left a police officer showed up who was acquainted with our visitor.  He was working on making some calls and I got his contact information.

I told the man that we were there 24 hours a day, he can come anytime he needs help and we will help him.

We won’t let him be cold or hungry any more.

For once they are amusing.

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So we have all these children.  Many, many children, so many more than just the three that we officially have.  For when there is Behavior they become as a pack of ravenous wild child-beasts.  And we must not kill them, for it is Forbidden in most states.

Once in a while, inexplicably and with no known cause, they become charming and say cute things.  There are various laws and statutes requiring us to bore our friends and relations to death with the details, but since I do keep a handy blog I can limit much of this to an arena in which participation is largely voluntary.  Ye have been warned.

This evening Elder Spawn presented bearing a Fisher-Price doctor kit and proceeded to give me a checkup, first arming me with a stuffed animal for when the shot hurts.  My blood pressure was taken (“It’s at 99 degrees!”), my heart was listened to (“It went fump, fump, fump fump, FUMP”), and then my temperature was taken.  Thankfully this was taken via the oral route, although it is completely unknowable where that toy thermometer has spent its time in the recent past.  Ironically if I get sick anytime soon I think we all know who the culprit was.

At last it was pronounced that I was sick and also had a broken arm.  Who knew!  So after squeezing my arm into her kindergarten-sized brace (from when she broke her own arm last spring) and giving me a pretend injection, and a pretend lollipop, she moved on to Rhonda.  Whose blood pressure turned out to be “right in between 4 and 5.”

At this point Middle Spawn came out wearing  a veil and carrying a metallic pink vinyl Dora the Explorer purse.  “I’m getting wed!” she announced, and so I asked how that works.  What happens when you get married?  “Well,” she said, “you go to the place where you are gonna get married.  And the boy you’re going to married meets you there.  And then in a matter of weeks you get a baby in your tummy.”   (She was very specific about this: in a matter of weeks.)  And then what happens?  “And then it hatches!”