Let me first set the record straight, and say right out, I am not a cutter. I do not find pain (mine or anyone else’s*) enjoyable. However, I tend to be just a wee clumsy, and especially when I’m depressed.
Many years ago this tendency was spotted by a boyfriend, who commented that I didn’t just hurt myself, I hurt myself in complicated and very torturous ways, like some kind of exotic, oriental pain. That immediately became my club name: Oriental Payne.
So. Last week, after a brilliant morning (I found the very first spot in the parking garage open, and I met a new person on the train—an Apple-carrying, clog-wearing film person) and an ok work day, I trotted out of the building, aware, as always since last year’s Valentine’s Day tumble down the stairs, of where my feet were as I went down those steps. The light on Biscayne Boulevard turned red as I reached the curb, and so I took off across the street without breaking stride.
I saw the red car in the first lane. I saw the blonde boy with light eyes and no helmet on a yellow sport motorcycle in the second lane. I don’t know who or what was in the next lane, because I stepped out of my very high, very fabulous brown mule and went ass over tea kettle and did a magnificent face-plant in the middle of the third lane.
Thankfully, nobody ran the red light.
My glasses went flying. My book bag went flying. My titanium Mac in its chic little Vera Bradley bag went flying. My shoes, ditto.
I have a road rash on my left leg that extends from mid-calf to knee. The knee is completely skinned - flayed, even. The bruises are impressive and keep traveling around (yesterday a new one appeared below my ankle and wrapping around under my instep).
The right knee turned purple immediately and swelled to the size of a pie pumpkin. It is now green, with interesting purple undertones, and the right leg is also host to travelling bruises.
The only person to even acknowlege me sprawled across two lanes of traffic was a man on the far curb, who called out as I was gathering up my possessions and my wits “You OK there?” He did not, nor did anyone else, offer to help me.
*OK, I admit, there are a couple of people in whose pain I would take pleasure. My ex, for one. My ex-bosses, for two, three and four. And, you know, a few Neo-cons and a POTUS or two. But really and for the most part, no.
OK. First of all, I am in considerable pain, and not at all comfortable, and in reality, the only numb parts are the fingertips of my right thumb and forefinger, with a minimal amount of numby-ness in my middle finger.
There is a searing, shooting, radiating pain coming from somewhere between my shoulder blade and my spine, and I can’t turn my head. I appear to have a pinched (very pinched) nerve located between C5-6 and another or a consequential, sympathy something or other at T5.
This is my schedule today: hot shower, bed, ice pack. Rinse. Repeat. I shouldn’t even be here on my computer, and I sure as hell haven’t been able to go to work.
The Percoset did nothing, the two Aleve barely made a hint of a dent in the pain. I have a newly acquired chiropractor, and I’m in love with him.
There are many stories to tell from the SoBe Wine & Food, and photos to upload, but I’m afraid they are going to have to wait until I can sit up without pain, or at least until I can stand up without the weight of my arm causing me to writhe in agony.
Until tonight, when I camp out in front of the TeeVee to watch the return of the Bitches and the Hos on ANTM, I am back to the shower/bed/ice pack regimen.
And so, as a very great journaler once said, to bed.
Day two. The pump guy finally showed up around 2:30 yesterday afternoon, took one look at the milky water in the koi pond and pronounced this conclusion: it ain’t the pump that’s your problem, it’s your well.” I called the well digger (again) and now, this morning, I’m waiting on that serviceman.
The RLA and I linked together four or five garden hoses and semi-flushed the pond with water from our neighbor’s well. And yes, they gave us permission. We weren’t sneaking around the neighborhood at dusk looking for unattended pumps.
The problem is finding well water. Even here on the wrong side of Dixie Highway, most folks have city water and a lot of people even use that for their sprinkler systems. City water is not usable for fish, since fish don’t like the flouride, the chlorine, the benzene and assorted other -ides and -ines that modern tap water provides.
Fortunately, my boss understands the demands placed on a two-career family when the children are sick, and so here I am, waiting for the man while the RLA goes off to mold young minds. Today, he says, he is going to teach them the difference between looking and seeing. I always say that that was the single most important lesson I learned in college. Well, that and how to roll a decent joint with only one paper, and not one of those sissy, double sized papers, either.
Last night, after we gave the fish some fresh well water, we trotted off to Books and Books (the finest independent book store in the south, as far as I’m concerned) to hear Christopher Moore speak. In a moment of lame-ass fandom, I gave him the scarf off my neck. I’d just knitted it, too, with some really yummy hand-spun from the Yarn Wench. It was a natural grey wool, with some odds and ends of color and sparkly stuff, but mostly manly. OK, maybe a leeetle metrosexual. But Moore had a runny nose, which he’d had since Denver, and was on the road for New York and Toronto and I felt bad for him. And I’m a total fan geek, all right?
I managed to take way more time than was polite, got my copy of A Dirty Job signed and made an impression by telling him that I think he’s the modern Thorne Smith. That got a huge smile from him and the book store owner, and Moore said that yes, he thinks that he’s channeling Thorne Smith.
For those readers who have no familiarity with either Christopher Moore or Thorne Smith, Smith wrote the original Topper books (among others) and Moore is the author of such great modern novels as The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove, The Island of the Sequined Love Nun, and Lamb, The Gospel According to Biff, Jesus’ Childhood Friend. Most of these (with the exception of Lamb) deal with regular folks, whose lives get turned inside out when the old gods, or minor gods, decide to take an active interest in them. Wonderful stuff.
I was at the laptop on Saturday, gearing up to scan in another dozen or so vintage knitting patterns, and maybe a few vintage sewing patterns to populate the old Etsy shop, when, much to my surprise and chagrin, my laptop put itself into deep sleep. And it Wouldn’t Wake Up. I shook it, gently: “Wakey, wakey, computer.” I pressed the reset key. I held the power key down. I struck any number of key combinations. I plugged and unplugged various peripherals. I inserted a cd…or at least attempted to. I pulled the power. I shut the power on and off, attempting to pulse the laptop back to life in an electronic version of electroshock therapy. All of which accomplished exactly nil.
In despair, I did the only thing left to me: I took my precious in to the Genius Bar at the local Apple store. And the geniuses concluded that my laptop was asleep and wouldn’t wake up and they had no clue why, either. All of which is to say that my laptop is still down the street and I am going through major computer/blog/gossip/e-mail withdrawal.
So. On another topic, entirely, I offered a couple of old programming books on the local Freecycle group. They were a couple of years old, but ColdFusion hasn’t changed much. A data base slurper is a data base slurper and PHP is PHP. Right?
I got an e-mail response from another freecycler that went like this:
I can’t believe you have text books for a subject which all reasonable and respectable scientists have dismissed as impossible. Are they really teaching this somewhere?
It took a while, but I responded: HA! Good one. You had me going there for a minute. ColdFusion is a programming language, as I’m sure you know.
But only on my tongue. In my steadfast belief that one should always get back on the horse that threw you, I spent last night drinking tangerine martinis with the PDB. I think I got up to five, but who's counting?
I did not get sick, despite the fact that dinner consisted of Shorty's BBQ (ribs, vinegar sauce, cole slaw and an ear of Very Greasy corn). I did not even get to the point of laying on the floor.
We drank and paid homage to our fathers and got weepy. We talked about the difference between art and craft. We looked at vintage magazines and analysed the styles, layouts and illustrations. We had fun, in a way that only art-school refuges can have fun.
Tomorrow night, RJ is having a birthday par-tay for herself. I've promised to make a cake. I have no idea what cake that might turn out to be, but she's turning 50 and there seems to be a flamingo theme coming on.
I'm thinking that whatever I make, it will have pink icing. And probably be pink inside as well. This is the perfect time for me to find the ultimate marischino/red velvet cake recipe, but I'm not counting on the universe unfolding in quite such perfect synchronicity.
And for the rest of the three-day weekend, I will be sequestered with my code-writing books and I WILL (she says, shaking her fist at the sky) get this damn blog flipped to Expression Engine, because I am back to about 100 spam messages a day, and that, gentle readers, has gotten fucking old.
What the fuck is wrong with me? I had two and a half martinis last night at Star's house, along with some yummy latkes and apple pie and I went from loquacious drunk to laying on the bathroom floor to puking out the car window all the way home... in five minutes flat.
On two and a half martinis?!
What is wrong with me? Is it age? Is it her brand of vodka? Is it my liver, finally saying enough is enough?
The last time I tried to keep up with Star, much less Star and her sister, I ended up in a 16-hour power nap. I blamed it on drinking margaritas in the blistering sun on Sarasota beach, but I may have to rethink the drinking with Star.
I just wish I knew what happened. Oh, I mean, I know what happened. I drank too much and had to answer for my bad judgement. But how it happened? How did I go from jolly buzz to sick como un perro in a (literal) heartbeat? If I'd been in a bar, I would have sworn I was dosed. But since I was among family and friends, I just have to sack up and admit that I simply couldn't hold my martinis.
Woof. I remember telling the RLA on the drive home "you've never seen me like this." He was worried that I was going to make a habit out of it. To tell you the truth, the last time I was sick like that was 30 years ago, before I learned that gin and I are not friends. In fact, gin and I don't even like to be at the same parties.
Long-time readers of this blog know the great disdain I hold for the great southwest, a measured response to the dog-years I spent living there. But now another of my friends has decided to move to the tiny little blue dab of jelly in the huge red doughnut of Texas: P-Roo and her husband have packed the dogs and the car and headed out today to Austin.
P-Roo (a new nickname for my girlfriendgirl) and I have been friends for a million years, since the dark days when we were married to earlier, evil husbands. Those two men were as close to being friends as sociopathic lawyers can be, and every time we'd run into each other at some lame-ass law school function, she and I would be delighted to see one another and we'd beg our husbands to make plans for the four of us to go out. They'd agree, and then we wouldn't meet, and my ex, the Antichrist, would conveniently forget to give me their phone number or he wouldn't know it, or something.
We divorced at about the same time, she and I and immediately became the best of friends. Nothing like losing 160 pounds of inconvenient buzz-kill to lighten up a relationship.
P-Roo is an artist, too. She was a jeweler until health reasons forced her to give up metal working (and red meat, and alcohol and wheat and nuts and bananas and strawberries and pretty much everything that makes life liveable. Except coffee. She can still drink coffee. And smoke cigarettes, and what the fuck is it to you if we do?)
Now she is a quilter, and in fact, it is she who does all my machine quilting for me. She designs all of her own quilting patterns and they are pretty amazing. I particularly love the ones she based on a book of Gothic stonework (that I bought for her at a used book store in Sarasota a couple of summers ago). Synergy, people, synergy.
But today she left for Texas, and the only bright spot I can find in this is that the bitch will finally start reading my blog, just to keep up with me.
Any of you out there in Austin, or quilters looking for an amazing long-arm quilter to do your tops for you, drop me an e-mail and I'll tell you where to find her. Austin may be one of the hippest cities in America, but it still can be cold and lonely if you don't know anyone there.
By the time I got home, the head cold from hell was manifesting as a real flu. I have been in bed since, drinking hot toddies (Thanks Gigi and RJ), sleeping and groaning in pain. The flu makes your joints hurt, you know. But did you know that you have joints in your skull? Yep. They hurt, too.
I took the strongest OTC decongestant there is: something that you can only take once every 24 hours. Hasn't made a dent in the quanity of liquid oozing from my head.
Warning: TMI coming in the next sentence. That which isn't dripping from the front of my nose is making its way down into my lungs, gearing up for a lovely episode of bronchitis.
On the other hand, I'm so out of it that I was able to play my favorite stupid computer game and reach a new high score. OK, that exhausted me. Time to go horizontal again. I promise an ANTM recap when I wake up.
You know, I had a flu shot just a couple of weeks ago. So why did I wake up with a dripping and sore sinus this morning, which, by the time of this writing (4:30 EST) is now a raging head cold. I'm sneezing, dripping, mouth-breathing and cranky. I'm also out of sick leave and I'm not sure how many packages of Thera-Flu are in the kitchen pantry.
I just want to go home to the fuzzy bathrobe, flopsy puppy and bunny slippers and pass out on the sofa.
Groan, moan, bitch, whine and complain.
The closet rehab is a real-life example of Murphy's Law in action. It started out so easily, and quickly descended into a domino fall of small annoyances, work stoppages and but firsts.
The demolition went smoothly, with lots and lots of bang hammering and prybar work. FUN! But the DYIers who owned this house before always did things the easy way, so when I pulled the shelves out, great gobs of concrete wall came out too. They used nails into concrete rather than drilling and using concrete mollys.
So. Off to Home Depot for spackle, and new paint (gotta paint over the big gaps where previously there hung wooden shelves and shelf supports) (also: the big patches of spackle), and a concrete drill bit, and a level, and what girl doesn't want a plumb line? and then there in the back of the tool corral was a 100-piece accessory kit for my Dremel, and maybe a little light for the closet? Yes. That was the HD run.
Did you know that at Home Depot, in the paint section, there are usually cans of rejected colors or extra cans of stuff that people brought back and it's all marked at $5 a gallon? I've bought Ralph Lauren there, in the exact color I would have had mixed, had it not been sitting in the reject pile for cheap. This weekend, I found what looked like an exact match for the shallow-end-of-the-swimming-pool aqua that is my bedroom. Once it dried, however, it's more of a robin's egg blue. A little more grayish/blueish/lavenderish color. Who cares, it's in the closet. And feel free to make your own jokes about that.
Back home, where I spackle and sand, rinse and repeat, wait for the spackle to dry and then paint the closet. It is now 10:30 at night and the end of day 2 of the closet project.
On Monday, the RLA hunts and gathers dinner for us, and after we eat, the RLA puts on the safety glasses and filter mask and has at the rear wall with the concrete drill. It is slow and painful, only partly because he is attempting to drill into 53-year old concrete, and he finally sucks it up and uses the old, 1950's drill with a cord, as opposed to the sleek, battery-powered model he loves. Whaddaya know? The old drill with a cord has way more torque and the rest of the job goes smoothly. On to the side wall, where we discover that: at the height we need to drill, it is NOT concrete, but drywall. The only thing we can figure is that the walls are concrete up to the level of the eaves, and the sloping part of the wall, where it goes to the roof peak, is drywall. Why? Ask the guy who built this
dump house in 1954.
It's now 10:30 on Monday night, and we are done in. Back to the trundle bed in the living room, which is getting more comfortable every night.
On Tuesday, after his morning class, the RLA heads off to the Home Depot/Container Store for the correct anchors for drywall and the correct drill bit for same. No extra Dremel toys, boohoo. Once I get home from work, the next phase of the operation begins. We measure, level and drill. It's going well, too well. Sure enough, we hit another snag: there is a block of Dade County Pine behind the wall on the RLA's side of the closet. NOTHING drills through Dade County Pine. NOTHING. Nada. Zip. Forget it, it's only one screw, and it's not on the end of the rail. I manage to break not one, but two lamps in the closet during this portion of the evening.
Finally, I break out the wet vac and a mop, and I clean, clean, and re-clean all the plaster dust and random dog fur and regular dust from all surfaces in the closet. We wait for it to dry. We go back in. We begin to hang the vertical supports, and. There is a 4x4 cross beam that extends from side wall to side wall. We don't know why. We think it may be a weight-bearing structure, sort of like a flying buttress, but we're not sure, and we sure as hell are not going to take it down. It's in the middle of the closet, depth-wise. It, of course, interferes with installing the vertical supports.
Out comes the Dremel (I LOVE that tool) and the RLA carves out another set of notches. We hang the vertical supports. All that's left is to hang the actual shelves and clothes rods, and build and install the drawers. But, you know what? It's now 10:30pm and the RLA and I don't even have enough energy left to argue about whether or not we should continue. I'm asleep on the trundle, dog at my side (or head. or feet.) by the time he finishes brushing his teeth.
Tonight is the final push, and if my clothes aren't hung up in the closet by the time Project Runway starts, I'm just going to give up, call the trundle my bedroom and accept the fact that when I say closet, what I really mean is the pile of clothes on what used to be my bed.
So Ernesto slogged across the straights, ran aground down in the Florida City/End of the Line/Tippy Top of the Keys, and proceded to do not much.
And, just as I tried (and failed) not to make the obvious jokes about illegal immigrants, the Florida Straights and the name Ernesto, I am not going to be able to keep my fingers off the keyboard about this: Just like all the other latino men who float across from Cuba, Ernesto was full of sound and fury, and when push came to shove, did absolutely nothing.
Eso es muy típico.
1. power surge on Saturday blew my internet connection at home and I haven't been able to fix it, yet. DItto on the answering machine
2. took the RLA to the ER at 2:30 AM (Sunday-Monday)
3. surgeon took the RLA's ruptured appendix out at 8AM Monday
4. I'm on dog/hospital/house/work duty until further notice
I haven't eaten, but I have had 2 martinis. All bets are off until further notice.
Just so you know, this morning I stood in front of my bathroom sink, Valium in one hand, coffee cup in the other. I took a swig of coffee, and put the emergency Valium back in its bottle.
But I am about two minutes away from a nervous breakdown.
My list of things I MUST do is about 20 items long, the list of things I would LIKE to do (such as get a haircut) is twice that.
I have a raging sinus infection. Is it moldy air-conditioning vents? Is is brush fires? Is it something else?
Don't know, don't particularly care.
Want teeth to stop throbing. Want head to stop hurting. Want sinuses to stop bleeding into the back of my throat.
Yeah. Way too much information. On the other hand: I'm wearing the cutest little drag queen shoes today. For them, I even forego my usual rule about white shoes.
And here's a close up of the bling and matching toenail polish. Hey! I practice what I preach, people.
Every time I fill my prescriptions, the pharmacist asks me if I have any questions about my medications, and every time I reply "Yes. Why don't we put Prozac in the water like Flouride?"
I'm thinking that it might be time to double up on the meds, though, at least today, when Microsoft Word and I are having a major battle of wills about formatting and how auto-format prints. I don't think it needs to be highlighted, and Word does. This is new on Word's part, since it has never highlighted things like printer's quotes and elipses before.
I've done all the usual things: closed and reopened my program, rebooted my computer, deleted and recreated text, turn auto-formatting off (in any number of locations and permutations) and still... three periods converts to an elipsis and the elipsis prints with a highlight.
All of this is on a POS Dell running POS Windoze. Of course. This shit never happens on a Mac.
This is on top of any number of other aggrevations I am dealing with today: I have had to tell the IT/Web Guy for at least the fifth time that he needs to unlock AND unprotect all the files I send him in order to copy and paste text. But, no. He gets a file and rather than type in the password (7 letters), he sends me an e-mail to complain that even though he put in the password, he still is locked out. DUDE!
Open with password. Unprotect file with password. Done and fucking done. Or, open with password. Open e-mail. Type a whiny complaint to me. Wait for me to respond (same way I always do, "No. I am not going to unlock the file for you and resend it, unlock it your own lazy-ass self.). Rinse and repeat.
Next aggrevation: searching for all the zip codes for every county in every state where the company does business. I can only do 50 searches a day before the server kicks me off and asks me to pay big money for the use of the search engine. Then, I have to cross reference the zip codes because zip codes can cross county lines. Then I have to cross reference the zip codes to the individual offices because catchment areas can overlap. Then I have to go home and drink.
As my people are known to ask: Why is this night different?