Thursday, January 25, 2007

I've got skills, just ask me

Before I get to the reason for my lethargic depression, I thought I’d make an attempt at pushing myself out the relentless need to stay in bed and read trashy novels by pinpointing the things I normally would have written about. Things that take normal people three sentences to accomplish but in my overly-verbose case, take forty-five paragraphs. I think I’ll start with the mysterious case of my magical healing powers:

Saturday morning I was awakened by Kimberly peeping her blonde head inside my bedroom and pitifully calling my name. We’d made an attempt at killing our mutual depression by walking downtown and tossing back glass after glass of cranberry juice and vodka. Then we ate an entire pizza, after which we deemed ourselves properly refueled and continued with the vodka concoctions. It was all in good fun until the next morning, when the effects of throwing down like a college student were clearly and painfully felt in our non-college student bodies. Kimberly slept in the guest bedroom until the early morning sun refused to abate, deciding the recovery process was best completed in the confines of her king-size bed and ample cereal selection.

I sleepily followed her to the door and locked it behind her. I was already up, so I decided that at least fifteen minutes of productiveness was in order. I focused my attention on the dishes from the 2am eggroll snack scattered across the kitchen.

When I was finished rinsing the last of the dishes, I reached across the sink to turn off the hot water. Only it didn’t turn off, not all the way. I was left with a steamy stream that was far greater than a trickle but less than a gush. I pounded and pushed and pleaded, all to no avail. The water continued to flow and I had a sudden image of next month’s electric bill, my ensuing bankruptcy and swirling demise into Crazy Destitute Cat Lady status.

All day long the water poured straight down the drain. It continued on through Sunday, paying no attention to the wealth of tools I half-heartedly waived in its direction. By Monday I was frustrated with my landlord’s lack of activity and his obvious disregard for my hot showers, showers that had become lukewarm at best. And so I did what any woman would do. I stared down the ornery faucet, stomped my foot and screamed in frustration.

That’s when it stopped. It slowed to a gentle stream, then to a trickle, coming to a complete and utter halt within seconds of my hissy fit. I cautiously approached the sink, reaching over to turn the hot water back on. Hot water gushed forth. Then I held my breath and turned the knob to the off position. Hot water stopped. No drip. No trickle.


Moving along…

On Tuesday I got up in what has, of late, become my normal routine. I hit snooze for forty-five minutes before finally rolling out of bed and stumbling into the bathroom. I appraised the hair situation. Definitely in need of a wash. Full shower, conditioning and shaving was in order.

About a year ago I purchased one of those new-fangled vibrating razors. I’m a sucker for new shaving devices simply because my skin can sense a razor when I’m twenty feet away. It can sense it and it’s not happy. The skin expresses it’s unhappiness by screaming in pain and erupting into red fire. Therefore, I’m highly choosy with said razors.

The vibrating one seemed like an excellent idea. I mean, hello, it vibrates the hairs right up into the razor’s path. Surely this will be wicked awesome. Unfortunately, it was no different from a regular three-blade razor. I kept it anyway and used it on the no-way-no-how-vibrate setting because the little moisturizing strips were kind of nifty.

I wish I could somehow make this the enticing part of the post, the part where you visualize me in the shower, but in truth I’m as far from appealing in the shower as watching Donald Trump masturbate. Okay, obviously I’m more appealing than the Trump bit, but you get the point. I’m normally sleepy and cranky and unhappy that I have to rush through my routine because of my ancient water-heater. I have nine minutes to accomplish what should take normal women with ass loads of hair and body parts at least fifteen. Sort of like speed-dating, only naked and alone in your shower with shampoo, conditioner, exfoliator and razors to choose from.

After I finished shaving I placed the razor back in the shower caddy and rinsed the conditioner from my hair. I turned off the water and stepped out of the shower. But something was amiss. There was a strange noise coming from the bathtub. A noise that screams angry gremlins jumping around or, for the less imaginatively inclined, what could very easily be air in the pipes. It was loud and obnoxious but I was already late for work, so I made a mental note to call the landlord if the situation had not resolved itself by evening.

When I came home that night, I could hear the crazy noise from the hallway. Concerned that something had seriously malfunctioned in my absence, I warily walked into the bathroom expecting to see shattered tile and sewage. Instead, it was clean and white, just as I’d left it. I resigned myself to calling my landlord and began removing all the pretty bottles from the edge of tub, thinking that I could never be so lucky to get a hot, manly plumber that would appreciate my display. With my luck, I’d get a tubby, gelatinous mass of a plumber with low-rise dickies and a thin t-shirt. (All the better to showcase the man titties, m’dear.)

As I got to the shower caddy, I struggled a bit trying to lift it up and over the shower head. I finally succeeded and placed it in the sink. It was then that I noticed that the abrasive noise had mysteriously subsided to a dull hum.

Strange, I thought.

I stepped into the bathtub and placed my ear against the tile wall. Nothing. I leaned up and listened carefully to the showerhead. Nothing.

I stepped back out of the tub, my eyes going to the shower caddy resting in the sink. The noise, it had moved.

You know what’s coming so I won’t even try to deny it. I’d somehow managed to inadvertently turn on the vibrating razor, which succeeded in sending vibrations straight through the metal caddy, right into the metal pipes within the wall.


And finally…

There’s nothing like spending money when you know you don’t have it. I purchased an electric blanket on Tuesday night and I can liken the sensation of sliding into a pre-warmed and deliciously cozy bed to having someone handing you a check for a million dollars. No shit.

Now, to the real story….

My lethargic depression, which has manifested itself in many delightful ways, was caused by a rumor, a confirmation of a rumor with no additional information, and finally the Rumor herself appearing in person to deliver the news.

The company I work for is part of another company, which is, in turn, part of another company. It’s all a bunch of strategery, as George W. would say. The fun part begins when the big company has lots of big-minded and big-idea-ed individuals who make a decision and decide that come hell or high water, their decision will be carried out.

I’m being laid off.

This is oh so cliché, but it was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

Dead cats, bleeding esophageal lesions, compulsive vomiting, alien transmitters, nose catheters, poking and prodding and needle-happy nurses had only primed me for the news. Before I could emit my stomach contacts, I grabbed my first cigarette in two years, pulled the smoke in my lungs and waited for the blessed relief of nicotine to hit my bloodstream.

The thing is, and please feel free to groan, I quite like my job. I won’t say I love it, because that seems to invite all kinds of eye-rolling. But in truth, I kind of do. I appreciate that my bosses know more than I do. I love that everyone stopped by to hug me after Llama died. I like that I have never been micromanaged. I love that some of these people have turned into my best friends. I enjoy the work I do, the products I work with, the random bits of knowledge I add to the pile everyday.

In one fell swoop, my five-year plan was crushed all to hell. And that pisses me off. More than anything, it pisses me off that I finally find the place I like to be, the place where getting up in the morning doesn’t make me want to stab myself in the eye with a dull spoon, and some ill-educated loony-toon had to go and fuck it up.

I don’t want another job. I want this one, dammit.
On the somewhat-of-a-plus side, I will have a job for around ten months. And then I will get a severance package. And then I’m going to take one very long vacation. So no need to start sending me your canned goods quite yet. If a food drive is ever in order, rest assured I’ll let you know.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Insert Applicable Title Here

Hi, My name is Melodramatic. What’s yours?

I’m a little annoyed with my Whiny Self, not only because I’m a terrible whiner but because it takes a lot of effort to be this depressing. And if there’s one thing I don’t have at this particular moment, it’s the desire to expend any effort whatsoever.

So in lieu of bitching about my current situation (due to that pesky unlubed legal fist and all), I’m going to talk about cute boys.

Here is one:

Dear Jeremy Piven:

First, you should know that your hairline in the movie PCU circa 1994 is very different from your current hairline. Normally men continue to lose hair, but you have mastered the male hair loss gene and actually REGROWN hair on your head. I commend you for this, I really do. Just know that I love you in spite of your current strange, artificial mop. Though in the above picture you look wicked hot and I would totally make out with you.

Here is another one:

Dear Robert Downey, Jr:

You have a bit of a drug problem. For whatever reason, I find this attractive. Possibly because it causes your normal rapid-fire wit to explode into unknown territory. Also, I bet you’re a hell of a compulsive cleaner and there’s nothing more appealing than a man who will assist me in all-night cleaning fests. I would bear your children if I was into that whole caring for another being for the rest of your natural born life thing.

All my lust,

Friday, January 12, 2007

It's Friday, I'm (Not) In Love

If there is an opposite of an adrenaline junkie, I am most definitely it. I’m anti-adrenaline, anti-rush, anti-jitter. I don’t watch scary movies because the stress involved in viewing people being chased by aliens, chainsawed into skin lamps or eaten by overgrown predators is just too much for me. I will never jump out of a plane or bungee off a bridge or strap on an oxygen tank and swim 150 feet below the surface. Why? Because genetics and evolution saw fit to leave me with arms and legs, not wings or gills. I do everything in my power to engineer my surroundings into the antithesis of drama and stress. Should you, as a person, be involved in creating drama or stress in my life, I will undoubtedly cut you out, just as I have cut out alien movies and scuba diving.

This isn’t to say that I’m not a good handler, because I am. I can handle just about anything. And when I say ‘anything’, I’m still talking about middle class employed white girl ‘anything.’ Like spending two-hundred dollars on shoes and realizing DAMN this pair is wicked uncomfortable! Or, OH NO! I appear to have torn my nail! Whatever am I to do? I can handle the stress of not finding earrings to match my outfit or the button mysteriously disappearing from my jeans. I deal well with deadlines and projects, simply because it gives me something to do. I do not handle boredom well, and it’s just pure luck that I never set the house on fire as a kid. I could go through a box of matches in less than an hour, scratching each red-tipped stick against the side and watching it burst into flames, only to flicker out forty-five seconds later.

But the past three days- sweet baby jesus. The stress, the anxiety, the all consuming fear, is about to kill me. I find myself alternating between a desire to buy a carton of cigarettes and hoping that a bottle of valium will just magically appear in my cupboard. What’s funny, and not, is that I used to make fun of people with valium. “I could use a valium dispenser,” they’d say. And mentally I would berate them for needing a crutch, a pathetic drug, to ease the pain. “Try breathing exercises!” I’d say. “Maybe a yoga class!” And then I’d put a sympathetic smile on face while inside I said poor, poor schmuck. Can’t even manage their stress levels.

I am here to tell you I am sorry. I should never have made fun of you. Perhaps your commute to work really was that bad. Maybe your child really is the devil. I judged, and I’m sorry.

Last night I laid on my couch for three hours, willing my legs to stop their nervous, uncontrollable twitching. Praying my heart would slow it’s frantic pace for just one godamn minute, just to give me some peace. Stomach and I had several chats about how keeping food below the Mason-Dixon line was non-negotiable. And then I pulled out that (prescription) bottle of valium and thought, maybe, please, yes, this will help. I took four.

I am notoriously hard to sedate and didn’t have much hope, but two hours later it finally kicked in. Oh, the peace. The blessed, blessed peace.

I know, trust me, I know, that I’m being very vague. I haven’t elaborated on my three days (and what will probably be many more stress-filled ones) and that’s a little unfair. It’s only because I seem to have forgotten my KY and I imagine that an un-lubed legal fist up my ass quite would be quite uncomfortable.

Just know that I realize I asked for it. I had to go and tempt Fate. I had to complain about my luck and my shitty, shitty month of sickness and dead cats and strange, invasive tests. I accept it, and that is fine. I am a grown ass woman. It would just be nice to have a permanent IV full of heavy sedatives.

Monday, January 08, 2007

I Don't Care If Monday's Blue

You could probably say I’ve had a spell of bad luck. Naturally I’m talking about middle-class employed white girl bad luck, not poverty-stricken Somalian bad luck. That kind of bad luck would involve my last goat being eaten by neighboring dogs and contracting a flesh-eating virus while trying to squeeze the last drop of milk out of my shriveled breast for my crying baby, who’s covered in flies and clinging to the legs of Sally Struthers. So forgive me my self-centered drivel today, because I’d like to start at the beginning and just work my way forward. Maybe I’ll find a pattern. And then I can kill the pattern, preferably by breaking the pattern’s knees.

It started with a combination of bronchitis, sinusitis and laryngitis. Not so bad, really. I mean, I was just choking runny snot down my throat and coughing it back up again for shits and giggles. Breathing is very highly overrated. But then the running snot made a trail of inflamed tissue down my throat, which made a lovely home for my acid reflux. I ended up with actual bleeding lesions on my esophagus that didn’t go away for a week and a half.

The first morning I woke up without a crusty nose and an aching throat, I felt like throwing myself a party. I was healed! I met Kasi for dinner at a small Italian place downtown and ordered the special, the pan-seared salmon. Food was finally tasting like food and I couldn’t have been happier, as sinus infections convert normal food into peanut butter. Cheerios? Tastes like peanut butter. Chicken? Tastes like peanut butter. I might have mentioned on here that I can’t stand peanut butter. Hence, an eleven day stretch of peanut butter flavored everything was about as amusing as rubbing battery acid on my arm. But oh, the delicious salmon! Flaky and seasoned, it was! I especially enjoyed that seasoning when I contracted the stomach flu at 3am and vomited up fish, spinach, bread and diet coke until 5am, when I switched to straight stomach bile for another ten hours. I would have tried to drown myself in the bathtub but I didn’t have a stopper.

Four days later I took The Demonspawn to the vet for some routine shots and a little declawing action, because my sofa is new and I happen to quite like the arms covered in intact, rather than shredded, fabric. But the vet killed Llama (undeniably my favorite) with an overdose of Valium. I was sad.

The next day I went in for a procedure involving a radio transmitter being implanted in my esophagus (by the aliens) and a catheter through my nose. Unfortunately I was one of the .2% of people who react badly to the implantation. When I say badly I mean that stabbing myself in the chest with a fork was a viable option for over five days. Christmas was a blast. Also, I have an insanely high tolerance for Valium.

The day after Christmas my mother drug me to the animal shelter because she needed to adopt a friend for her current cat, Dr. Watson. Dr. Watson used to have a friend named Sherlock but Sherlock got runned over by a reindeer. There was another cat in the house named Cleo who maintained his superior cat-distance for over eight years, refusing to give in to Dr. Watson’s friendly gestures. Then Cleo died of some strange ear-slash-eye-slash-mouth infection but he was eighteen so it’s not like we were surprised. Very long lead in to the fact that my mother was looking for a new kitty friend for Watson and the animal shelter seemed like a good place to start. Save the animals from Certain Death!

She narrowed it down to two sweet ones, one orange and fat and another one small and gray. With Certain Death looming over their heads I decided to take the small gray one, naming her Josephine. She went immediately to the vet for declawing and spaying because I thought if someone was going to kill another one of my cats, they might as well do it before I got all attached. But two days later she started sneezing. Then strange liquid coughs that made her tiny chest heave with effort. I took her to the emergency vet and was told to squirt antibiotics down her throat twice a day. No need to worry, they say. Cats get this all the time.

The Sunday of New Year’s Eve was a no-go. I misread a new bottle of pills, assuming when it said Take With Food it meant that any food was acceptable. What it meant to say was Take With Five Course Meal Or Severe Nausea And Vomiting Will Occur. Also, Attempting To Operate Machinery While Vomiting Can Lead To Messiness. I rang in the new year with re-runs of CSI and a bottle of Pepto.

By Thursday I was kissing Josephine on the nose and tearing up in front of my Kervorkian vet as she sent her off to kitty cat heaven. No need to worry, indeed.

That afternoon I took myself out for a late lunch and early beer. My boss works with a lot of women and recognizes mental instability when it’s crying in front of him. During lunch my right arm started to feel weird, kind of like it was asleep but without the tingle. As the day progressed I became more and more jittery and everything from my eyeballs to my toenails felt like they were stuck in limbo. I wanted my finger to press Channel Up on the remote, but my finger was cranky and slow to respond.

By lunchtime the next day I was miserable. I hadn’t slept a single minute and I was feeling like Michael J. Fox but without Rush Limbaugh to make fun of me. I called my specialist doctor and talked to his nurse, who told me to turn the car around and head to the nearest pharmacy for some Benadryl. Apparently if you don’t act fast these side effects can last for a very long time, as in weeks or months. Fearing the worst I took three times the normal dose and waited for relief. Three hours later I was still wide-eyed and crazy. It took many more Benadryls and many more hours before I felt human again. It was a wicked fun experience, one I’d pay people to never experience again.

I think it would be kind of dryly amusing to end this with a “And I stubbed my fucking toe this morning” but I’m not about to encourage anything else, plus I’d be lying. I want no more dead pets, no more strange pains, no more exhausting stomach viruses and no more alien transmitters in my esophagus. Which is why I spent all day Saturday inside apartment, refusing to even unlock the front door. My big accomplishment for the day was taking a shower and watching John Grisham movies on TNT.

**After rereading this I see no pattern. Obviously I have just pissed somebody off.

I’m not a resolution maker because January 1st is exactly the same as any other day of the year. It just happens to be when some yo-yo way back in the day decided to restart the 12-month calendar. It could be the month of Gilgamesh for all I care; I just like to put on a pretty dress now and then. Make kiss a boy at midnight. Toss back some overly-sweet champagne.

But this year I’ve decided that I’m done. Bad luck is supposed to come in threes, and this shit is getting old. I’d better be getting something really nice for my birthday. Like a hot, gainfully employed man with the ability to form grammatically correct sentences. Or I could win the lottery. I’d be fine with that, too.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Around We Go

Right this very second there’s an abominably fat red-breasted Robin sitting on a dismally gray tree branch directly outside my window. She or he or it, whatever you’d like to call it, has been there for a good ten minutes. We’ve been having a staring contest of sorts, all while I figure out exactly how pathetic and melodramatic I’d like to sound. And I think, or I hope, that we’ve come to the conclusion that there’s really no cover up for my patheticness, but there’s a distinct possibility I could tone down the melodramatic blathering. Our agreement was sealed with a flutter of his tail feathers and the drop of his multicolored poop on my neighbor’s lawn furniture.

Two mornings ago I took my new cat Josephine to the vet for the third time. She’d been coughing and wheezing and these are just not things that cats should do. They should sleep in the sun and curl gently on your lap. Eat tasty morsels of lunch meat that get “accidentally” dropped on the kitchen floor. Shed ridiculous amounts of fur so the cat-mom has a reason to run the vacuum every Saturday. And sometimes on Wednesday, if she’s feeling productive.

But this time was serious. Even I, with a lack a stethoscope, could hear the fluid rattling gently in her lungs with each labored breath. My stomach was in knots during the drive over because this cat had already become my favorite. She liked to cuddle and roll on her back for a nice tummy rub. She liked to crawl on my side while I watched late night television, turning in circles until she found just the right combination of soft belly and hip to make a bed.

You see where this is going, I’m sure. I wouldn't have this dramatic of a lead-in without some terribly sad ending.

The vet drew blood, took x-rays, ran tests. When she called me back to the examination room, she had the kind of look you see on the faces of actors during weekly viewings of ER or Grey’s Anatomy. The look that says I have bad news, but I’m going to take twenty minutes of your time to get to it, not counting commercials.

She explained the blood work, snapped x-ray films up on the wall and flicked off the lights. “See here?” she said. “Nothing but fluid.” My options, Josephine’s options, rather, were slim. She would never get better, not permanently. So it was drugs to combat the pain, or the option for which Dr. Kervorkian is sitting in a jail cell.

“It’s very quick, no pain, only sleep,” she said.

Josephine was brought back into the exam room wrapped in a towel. They’d already sedated her. I gave her a final kiss on the nose and told her I was sorry and I hoped she forgave me. I had no right to play God, but here I was, signing away the life of a living, breathing thing. I told her she’d been the perfect cat, the perfect companion and I was so very, very sorry. So unbelievably sorry.

I cried when they shaved her arm, I cried when they found a vein for the needle, I cried when the hand I’d left resting on her belly no longer rose with her breath.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Calgon Done Took Me Away

Theoretically, my New Years could have been very exciting. I’d purchased a dress, a stunning one actually. New shoes. Pretty jewelry. And then Kasi called me at 8:15am to tell me she’d contracted the dreaded Stomach Death which, as I personally know, involves at least 15 hours of compulsive vomiting and many hours of delicate conversation with your stomach. It’s very easy to misread Stomach. Sometimes he may say that he’d like some jell-o when in fact he wants nothing at all to do with jell-o. Stomach just meant that at some future point in time he’d like jell-o, but definitely not NOW, what the hell were you thinking putting that down your gullet?

And then I went and misread the portion on the back of my new medicine bottle that says, in stern block letters, Take With Food. In my defense, I did take it with food. A small can of mandarin oranges. Because this, my friends, is definitely food. Tasty and delicious food. Not so tasty on the way back up, because they kind of form one giant gloopy mandarin orange that threatens to clog your nasal cavity. Do not pretend you don’t have nose vomit because I know you do. Just accept it and move on.

As such, I was in no mood for an evening of festivities and neither was Kasi. So I spent the Eve watching reruns of CSI (the original Las Vegas one, not the one with the abominably creepy David Caruso) until 4am because they kept showing these To Be Continued episodes. Naturally, I had to make sure that Nick made it out of the glass box alive and that Grissom would somehow incorporate his expansive bug knowledge into the plotline.

In other news, I have named my new kitty Josephine. Not Gidget or Sugar Monkey or even Bobo, as suggested by the Arabian Dumbass. Josephine is sweetness personified. Like pancakes in a cuddly furry form. However, she and her upper respiratory infection are also money personified. Two emergency vet visits = depleted checking account.

If anyone has any money making schemes they’d like to suggest, I’m totally game.

And I’d like to move here. Should anyone know of a way to make money while writing mindless drivel on the internet without the following of dooce, please let me know. I could use a cottage lifestyle in Spain.