Monthly Archives: March 2012



So last Monday I went to the urgent care attached to my primary care provider, because there were no appointments available unless I wanted to wait another day AND drive over a couple of towns.  There I coughed very impressively and reported my tale of woe about how I’d been sick for two weeks and now I have this cough, and for this the codeine cough syrup was awarded to me.  Also a q-tip was twirled in the back of my right nostril.  Good times!

Over the past week the crappy cold has turned into a real peach of an upper respiratory infection.  Such is my racking cough that when we were at the Breast Health Center on Wednesday, three different people peeked into the waiting room where I sat and asked if that was me with that awful cough, and did I need a drink of water or something?  And one of them gave me a Werther’s.  Also, a brittle old lady got up and moved to sit at the other end of the lobby when we were waiting to be seen.  Well, The Lovely Rhonda’s boobs were the ones waiting but TLR and I went along for (moral) support.

The point is, I looked and sounded like death warmed over.  And that was Wednesday.  Today is Saturday.

Today I got up and hacked up what remained of one of my lungs — probably the right one — and TLR  more or less forced me to go to ZoomCare, which is like a mini-clinic where you can be seen for minor stuff like owies and boo-boos.  Oh, and according to the sign in the lobby, sinus infections and abscess lancing  and vaginal discharge.  And I sat there and tried not to cough too much, and pretty soon here came another customer — a guy on tour with his band, experiencing some kind of minor malady that he kept to himself.  He wasn’t coughing, hacking, limping, bleeding from any obvious source, or vomiting that I could see, so my money’s on an abscess from shooting up or a venereal disease.  But, thanks to stupid old HIPPA, I’ll never know.

(Just kidding, I’m a staunch supporter of HIPPA, this is just humor and should not be taken seriously except the part where I conjecture that he’s got VD because that’s totally amusing.)

I met with a very nice PA who listened sympathetically to my whining, examined me and said, “Yep, you’ve got a pretty decent upper respiratory thing, I’m going to put you on antibiotics because you’ve suffered enough and we don’t want you to get walking pneumonia which is making the rounds.”  She is my new hero because between the fever, the coughing, the headache, and the raspy voice from all the complaining, I’m not feeling so great.  Also TLR is about to pack my stuff and find me a new place to live.

So I picked up my prescriptions and took my antibiotic and all that other stuff, and I should feel better in a few days.



Paint me like one of your French bosoms


So today The Lovely Rhonda was compelled to visit the local “Breast Health Center,” or as I like to think of it, that place where they feel you up and get paid for it.  She had been having an Undisclosed Symptom that scared the bejeebers out of her medical provider and, by extension, us.  I was so disquieted by the whole thing that I could not find the words to talk about it to anyone.

Spoiler alert: everything turns out okay, but we’ll never get the four days of trying not to think about the worst case scenario back.

As you might expect, dear reader(s), tensions were high and we were both totally rocking the puffy-eyed hollow look of the frightened-beyond-our-wits.

They led her off to the dungeons to squash her bosoms flat and drag them into the next room to shoot some pictures of them, and then to some kind of foul antechamber where they further violated her frontal regions with an ultrasound.  I was then summoned to witness the sentencing.

The doctor came striding in and sat down and in the friendliest, most relaxed way said, “You know, I just don’t see anything at all that points to cancerous growth of any kind.  There is just nothing here at all that concerns me in the slightest.”

After the relieved shouting and confetti-tossing died down, we repaired to the dressing room with the nurse who could not have been nicer and insisted on giving TLR a warm, heartfelt hug once she was properly dressed and not in danger of goobering the nurse’s scrubs up with ultrasound medium.

Later over a late breakfast TLR described the process as being rather like taking part in a very bizarre photo shoot.  “They drape your arm around the machine.  Okay now drop your left hip.  More.  Try arching your back a little.  Closer, closer… turn… a little more… Okay now throw your head back, toss your hair, purse your lips.  WORK IT, WORK IT, MAKE ME BELIEVE IT, I AM THE CAMERA!  Make love to the machine!  Be a part of it!  … And I’m spent.  Lunch break, there’s bottled water and cigarettes in the green room.”

Just some evil hormones at play here folks, nothing to see, move along.

Instead of trolling


So somebody posted a link on FB of shop signs from The Simpsons tv show.  You know, like “Eye Caramba” for an optical shop, etc.

The first posted comment from a reader goes like so:

“almost all of these are old simpsons. 1. season 9 lisa’s sax 2. season 11 EIEI (where homer challenges everyone to a duel, then has to run and ends up growing tomacco 3.season 7 king size homer 4. season 11 the last tap dance in springfield 5. season 9 girly edition 6. season 9 das bus 7. season 12 I’m going to praise land 12. season 9 simpson tide and the third to last and second to last are from the same episode, cartridge family season 9. the new simpsons just are not as good because they are original. they took the family guy and south park way out where they just go off of current events and pure randomness. so don’t try to defend them its just an old program that ran out of ideas, still good for a couple laughs because the characters are so beloved.”

I was so tempted, internets.  So tempted.  Because the guy who posted this, from what I can tell by his tiny photo, appeared to be a middle-aged nerd posing with a ventriloquist’s dummy crafted in his own image.  Between that and his encyclopedic knowledge of this tv show, or his willingness to google each sign and collect the answers in his comment?  SO. TEMPTED. To leave some kind of comment speculating as to his probable virginity and almost certain residence in the basement of his parents’ home.

Not that there’s anything wrong with virginity or your mom’s basement, but dude.  Have you stopped trying?

Because I’m not really mean, and certainly not because I couldn’t figure out a way to post my snarky comment anonymously without investing actual time and effort, I am instead blogging about it.

Blogging: the coward’s way out since the late 1990’s (so sayeth Wikipedia).

Spring, and cleaning. Sort of.


So I have this stupid broken foot which necessitates the use of a big Velcro boot.  So attractive, and the very pinnacle of comfort.

I’m at loose ends today in that The Lovely Rhonda is at work and the children are all off at their other homes.  There’s been a lot going on lately that is not the sort of thing one blogs about, at least in my particular case, and a lot of it has been very stressful, so I’m restless.

Let’s review: hobbled by broken foot, and restless.  Oh, and it’s the nicest, warmest, breeziest, most perfect day so far this year.  The two days ago it snowed and school was two hours late, and now it’s a mild, hopeful sixty degrees out.

I was tempted to embark on some craft related tangent because I am exposed to Pinterest against my will via Facebook, but I felt that this was not really  justified in light of the fact that the house was a little messy and decided instead that perhaps I should direct my attentions to something a bit closer to home.

(Read this in an Andy Rooney voice:)  Did ya ever notice how when you clean your house, you clean everybody’s room but yours?  You’re so busy scrubbing the toilet and cracking the whip over the recalcitrant children to pick up their fifty bajillion toys that your own room remains untidy and cluttered behind the closed door.

Soooo, our bedroom, possibly the nicest room in the house next to the kitchen, is in need of some pretty comprehensive swilling-out, so I decided to start there.  And so I found the box of Christmas things laying around neglected in the corner under the comforter that disintegrated when we washed it after one of the kids threw up on it.  And there were some winter gloves and scarves and things and a few stray ornaments and such, and we keep that in boxes in the garage, and so I was forced to open the garage up.

Oh, the garage.  The last time we had any business to conduct in the garage was during the Great Kitchen Makeover when we had to paint a lot of cabinet doors in it because it was so rainy the paint wouldn’t dry on the back patio.  It’s been butt-cold since then, so it has remained disheveled with painting and sanding things strewn around.   I cracked the door open, and there was a whoooosh of that dusty, horrible tomb air that escapes this kind of sealed environment when you’ve neglected it for a while.  Once the bats and moths had cleared out and the eerie screaming died down, I knew that this was the real project for me today.

So I spent a delightful couple of hours removing things from the garage, loading certain of them into the van to be donated to charity or returned to their original owners.  There was sweeping, there was shifting of things from one place to another, there was organization.  The winter things and the ornaments were put in their respective boxes and the painting and sanding things were put back into their box, and it was all just so satisfyingly tidy when I was done.

But the side effect of having your one foot in a big stupid Velcro boot is that your other foot gets tired, so although I could have spent all day out there, my left foot now dictates that I stop.  Maybe later, if I’m feeling ambitious, I might consider putting a garbage bag over the boot and mowing the front lawn.

Or not.

I do what I want!



So we recently bought a new toaster oven.  It has a little dial you turn and it ticks while it’s toasting, and then when it’s done it goes DING!

Today The Lovely Rhonda was making some toast and I happened to be standing by when it went DING!  This caused me to sing out, involuntarily, “Toh-oast!” in a sort of high-pitched, quavery voice.

There’s a lovely movie called Billy Elliot, about a British boy growing up in the 80’s whose mother has died, his father and brother are striking coal miners, and his old gran lives with them all.  And he wants to be a dancer.  It’s a great movie, there’s certainly more to it than this, but the reason why I mention is a scene where Billy is making Nan some breakfast.  The toaster launches the finished toast into the air, and Nan sings out, “Toh-oast!” while Billy deftly snatches it out of midair.

Okay, so I haven’t thought of that movie in ages, and here I am singing TOH-OAST!  to the DING! of the new toaster oven.

This evening I sat down and started rummaging around in things on the interwebs and suddenly thought of a site I used to look at called Found.  It’s a site where people submit little notes and pictures and things like that that they’ve found.  I looked it up and the fourth or fifth thing to come up was a tiny scrap of paper that said, “Nor Dad!  I don’t like Borx’in!  I want to be a darn-sa!”

Which of course is a line from Billy Elliott.

It was a dark and stormy night. Also, I somehow broke a bone in my foot.


So I’m sitting here listening to the wind and the rain.  It’s blustering out there with all its might, and I look forward in the morning to the sight of tufty little evergreen branches all over the roads.

A couple of weeks ago I spent yet another delightful hour or two at the urgent care.  I’m thinking of having my magazines forwarded there.  Okay, magazine.  Maybe then I’d get a chance to look at my beloved Smithsonian before it’s Alphabet Share Day Featuring the Letter L! at the preschool and suddenly all the Lips! are cut out of anything with a mouth.

Anyway, I was there for this stupid pain in my foot that came out of nowhere, wouldn’t go away, and about which The Lovely Rhonda had wearied of my complaints.  They x-rayed it and didn’t see anything too obviously awry.  Based on this and several other urgent care experiences, I am fairly certain that there would have to be bones jutting out of something before anyone felt it might warrant medical intervention.   “But,” said the urgent care doctor, who had a name like an Italian Formula One driver but was disappointingly ordinary in real life, “since your feet are… well… since you’ve got, um… —  Well, anyway, I’m sending you to podiatry.”

I can’t blame the poor dear.  When the podiatrist remarks, “Wow, they really are flat!” you know you’re working with something a little special from the ankles down.  I try not to gloat but is it my fault such greatness is thrust upon me?

Finally I got in to see the podiatrist — the same one who made the remark, in fact — he pressed and prodded and wiggled things around with pretty unremarkable results, and then repaired to the control room or wherever the mysterious place is where they look at x-rays, to review my urgent care images.  Then he practically bounded back into the room, seized my foot, rather excitedly asked what did it feel like when he did THIS to it, and sank his thumb into a spot that had previously escaped his notice.

After I apologized for involuntarily kicking him in the beard, I asked that he kindly refrain from touching that particular spot ever again.

He then retrieved a model of the skeleton of the foot, which piqued the 7-year-old’s interest to no end, and spread the thing apart to point at a bone.  Don’t ask me which one, I’m a psychiatric nurse, not some kind of anatomy dork.  But he said, “You’ve got a fracture!  Right there!”

Really, it warmed my heart to bring such joy to the man.  I have a feeling he doesn’t get out much.

It Ends Here


Dear The Lovely Rhonda,

Please.  The paella pan?  The large round deep non-stick pan with the stubby metal handles?  The one we use a lot?

It’s non-stick.  It does not need to soak.  Nothing sticks to it.  Hence the term, “non-stick.”

And when you place it across the sink, balancing on its two stubby handles, it is as a pendulum.  And when you fill it with water and allow the detritus within to congeal into an unappetizing sludge overnight, you are essentially setting a trap for the unsuspecting Helpful Spousal Unit.  For when the HSU attempts to tip the horrible pan so that the sludge pours off into the sink, the merest touch sends it into a mad flip, dumping its contents rapidly into the sink and cascading over onto the floor, the aptly-named backsplash, and the HSU.

After the initial shock and the ensuing lengthy swear-fest, the HSU will bend down next to the sink and re-wipe the floor with a soapier sponge than the first try, thereby dragging her hair through some standing sludge-water remaining on the lip of the sink.

So I say it again:  IT ENDS HERE.

Kindly leave the pan down in the sink.

Yes, I know it sits at an angle and can’t soak that way.

And again I say, it does not need to soak.

In fact — and forgive me if I’m getting ahead of myself here — I daresay you could actually scrub the pan, rinse it, and leave it to dry on the stove, and the experience would leave you none the poorer.

In fact, your HSU might stop plotting ways to get back at you and start leaving you little love notes in your lunchbox.

Just another Saturday morning, yes


Thus far today:

The 7-year-old has her BFF over for a sleepover, so they have been cloistered in her room doing whatever mysterious things they have longed to do since the last time they were able to play together.  Without a doubt this involves Pokemon in some way.

The 6-year-old is still asleep.  Words alone cannot express how grateful we should all be about this, for this is a child who requires sleep and plenty of it.  I fully expect a flash mob to show up at any time to perform a silent dance of jubilation.  If I have any say there will be an homage to Thriller somewhere in it, but nobody ever consults me about these things.

The 4-year-old, nose thoroughly out of joint regarding the cloistering of the older girls, sits on the sofa watching something called Meet The Fairies.  I have tried not to pay any attention to it  because my brain is fully developed and will turn to wobbly mush if exposed to such things, but it sounds Australian.  In fact it sounds like the Wiggles were given an extravagant unicorns-farting-glitter fairyland ensemble and told to run with it.  Run, and run far.

Oh and Grandpa?  Grandpa just came skulking in emitting that strangled meow that signifies death and destruction.  Thus has a black-headed grosbeak met its maker.  RIP, little feathered friend.

Silly Symphony


So last night I had the opportunity to take the resident 7-year-old to see the symphony.

Have either of you taken a 7-year-old to the symphony?

We parked a block or two from the venue and walked over to get our tickets.  The symphony was having a special deal for those of us who had attended the show the night before.  Bring back a ticket stub and five bucks and see it again the next day!  The Lovely Rhonda and I had seen it the night before, and since she was at work and couldn’t go again last night, I thought I’d take my kid.  My kid enjoys classical music.  What the heck.

Once we had our tickets we moved on to dinner at a restaurant.  Followed by dessert.  They had this “build your own sundae” for kids.  They bring out a plate with 2 scoops of ice cream, a little dish of sprinkles, a dish of whipped cream, a dish of chocolate sauce, etc.  Oh, and look.  A cone.  A cone which your spastic kid will put the ice cream onto.  With her hands.  After she’d already put chocolate sauce and sprinkles on the ice cream, and now it’s a little melty.

What fun!  I’m just not sure why we don’t do this every day.

The waiter dropped by and had a look.  He then sped away and returned with a fistful of moist towelettes.  I used them up in a blaze of futile glory.  They were moderately useful in that they removed enough dessert from the outside of the child (to include shirt and coat sleeves, which reminds me it’s time to fire up the washing machine, again) such that we were able to leave the table and journey to the bathroom without sticking to nearby diners, much.

Once she could move freely again and there were no obvious clumps of sprinkles adhered to any of her extremities, we returned to the concert hall.  We did this via the light rail train, which is always educational in the extreme.  Last night we learned about the many interesting odors that it is possible to enjoy in an enclosed space, thanks to Homeless Guy and his sidekick Drunken Transient.  My final surviving nose-hair made a break for it as we passed Axe Teen and his dad, Overcompensating Middle Aged Cologne Guy,  in the doorway.

I’m worried now that they (my future nose-hairs) will grow back in all bushy.  Is this how it happens to old guys?  Overexposure to bad smells?  Must I now order a battery-driven “personal groomer/trimmer” and accept my eventual fate?

How was the symphony, you ask?  Well, it turns out that if you take a 7-year-old out at night after a full day at school, her excitement will be able to overcome fatigue for forty-four minutes of Mozart and Saint-Saens, and not one minute more.  She will bury her face in your bosom and slump over the armrest like a sack of cornmeal, once she has abandoned the energetic nose-picking that you will, in abject horror, put a stop to the instant you realize is taking place.  Sadly, this will mean you must head for home during intermission and miss Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances, arguably the best part of the show, but so it goes.  The kid has seen her first symphony.

This is about as political as I get.


So a while back, Rep. Maureen Walsh (Rep., Walla Walla, WA) spoke very eloquently about why she supports gay marriage.  I watched the video and was moved to drop her a quick note, as I am sure that she would be getting plenty of unpleasant correspondence from certain members of her constituency.  And others.

I neither required nor expected a reply.  I just wanted to let her know how much I appreciated what she said, and the courage it took to say it.

Here’s what I said:

SUBJECT:  Thank you so much

Dear Rep. Walsh,

I just wanted to drop you a line about your statements at the gay marriage vote yesterday.  Don’t worry, this isn’t hate mail.

I’m a lesbian, I’ve been out for twenty years (so I guess it’s not a phase).  I live in (the city I live in).  I have a partner who I want very much to make my wife.  We’ve been together for going on four years, and I cannot imagine my life without her.  She is my best friend and the Alpha to my Omega.  We understand each other in ways that I never imagined possible.  We’re ridiculously happy.

We signed up for the “Merry Maids franchise” a couple of years ago, and it was less than satisfying.  We found that we could register by mail or in person.  So much for separate but equal.  Can straight folk get married by filing out a form and mailing it with a check?  Sure it’s convenient, but it doesn’t exactly feel like a momentous, life-changing event to drop an envelope into a mailbox.

We drove to the office in Olympia where it could be done in person.  While we were there, I found, we could also renew a business license.  This isn’t exactly the soul of romance, is it?

Moving on to the other benefits of marriage…  the domestic partnership affords a few of these, but to gain others we have to engage a lawyer and shell out thousands of dollars, and frankly some just cannot be had, for instance on the federal level, survivor benefits and so forth.  We are both nurses, and I would love to get a federal job, but too many benefits cannot be extended to my family (we have three young children between us) for me to consider this.

But to me it’s not about those issues.  It’s about the fact that because one of us lacks a certain anatomical feature, we are told that our relationship is less than normal and not on par with that of a heterosexual couple.  Any two straight folk can get married for any reason they like, financial, sexual, just for kicks.  But we can’t get married for the noblest of reasons.

I know that you know all this, I’m just venting.  All this railing against the system can be a bit wearying.

I wanted to let you know that I found your comments to be touching, very much addressing the heart of the issue, and despite your disclaimer, so eloquent.  I thank you for your support and I want you to know that for every hater who makes hurtful comments to you about your vote and your statement, there are a thousand grateful gays and lesbians who thank God for you today.


Today, I got a reply.  It was brief, but I still appreciated it.  Here it is:

Thank you Debra – You vent beautifully!  Maureen

I don’t want to post a link that might break, but I’m sure that the video will be around for a long while.  You can reach it by googling Rep. Maureen Walsh.

Oh, and the “Merry Maids franchise” refers to a comment she made in her statement, about how much she dislikes the term “domestic partner.”  She said it sounded like a Merry Maids franchise.  For this I love her.