Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry The-Day-Before-Christmas... we should create a word for that...

Hello from work! Where I am! Where I am working! Much to the shock and awe of pretty much everybody that I know, apparently, judging by the shocked and horrified tones of their voices when I call them from work to ask a question.

“This caller ID says you’re at work!”

Yes, I am

“But WHY????”

Because it’s not yet Christmas. It’s very, very close, I grant you. But today is actually Christmas EVE. EVE. As in “the day before, but not actually the day of.” As in "the day where you keep thinking how cool that it's so close, but you're not actually celebrating the day really." As in "the day where, if the holiday in question were New Years, it would be very strange for you to already have a hangover." Not that I’d be against being home right now, because I enjoy being home (just as general rule) but I am officially done defending my being at work today as though I’m working on a holiday. I’m working on a holiday EVE.

But enough of that grumbly tone, because today is a lovely day of cheer and the like! It’s almost Christmas! All of the shopping and wrapping and shipping and planning is finished and now we’re just about to reap the rewards! In my case that comes in the form of me sitting in my pajamas in my ‘rent’s living room, watching them open up stuff and looking for that “wowsers!!” reaction. My parents are the ones for whom I finished shopping last. Not because they’re necessarily hard to shop for, but more because I COMPLETELY overthink them. I load on tons of pressure around finding exactly the most excellent and perfect of perfect gifts for them. After all, seeing as they gave me that pesky little gift of life it’s gonna be really tricky to find the thing that is a proper “thank you.” But I’m gonna keep trying.

It’s the super-ironic part of this holiday for me: my favorite part is the giving, not the receiving, and yet I make myself CRAZY trying to make sure that my people are happy with what I give them. And by “happy” I really mean “overjoyed.” Or more like “ecstatic.” Or most accurately like “This is the best gift that ever have I received, oh friend/family member of mine, and I will cherish it for ever and for always and will write in my diary today about the wonderful gift you gave to me and if I don’t keep a diary I will start today because lo, this is a gift well worthy of documenting in a diary!!” Which is asking a lot from a pair of fuzzy socks or a stud finder.

I finished my shopping on Saturday, but spent a chunk of today phone-shopping for my sister and her husband, looking for gifts that they want to give each other. They’re the ones who have been chewing through a super-ambitious house remodel since mid-year and are only just getting back into the house. Like yesterday we were helping them find the hardware for the shelves which will hold dishes. So that they can have dishes. They’re all fancy like that. Anyway, the point is that they’ve really not had the time to do all the shopping they want or need to do, so I was all over the online phonebook and the phones and letting my fingers do all kinds of walking so that we could find the perfect things from them to them as well.

I just feel like everyone should be as happy as we can make them this time of year, you know? I know that we can’t make everyone perfect and we can’t solve all the problems and we can’t abolish hunger and poverty and stuff overnight, but if at least one day a year we could all work towards making everyone else happier wouldn’t that be cool? Couldn’t we at least afford one day of 100% generosity? Hmmm? Anyone? Anyone?

Well, that’s my wish for all of you lovely readers. Thanks for taking an interest in my lunacy, and no matter what you celebrate I hope you celebrate (or celebrated) it up good!

Happy Merry Bon ho-dreidel-stuff!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Drugs and Parties, but not together.

First, the update: officially I survived the dentist. That is if you define “survived” as “I didn’t come out the other end all dead.” I’m not dead, but I’m not what you would call “happy”

I took the valiumy-pill. And then I waited. And at first I was sure I felt a difference right away. But no, that’s crazy. So then I was sure that I felt nothing. But THEN I sat down to meet with my boss (she’s a brave soul) and as I sat there another co-worked walked in to ask a question, standing beside me in my chair. And from where I was sitting the co-worker was roughly sixteen feet tall.

And then I knew something was happening.

I had another 30 minutes or so at work, with a floor who refused to stay flat and wheeled chairs with a mind of their own and can I also say that when the “possible side effects” included “clumsiness” on their list they were really, REALLY not kidding? Like that poinsettias don’t so much bounce? See what I’m saying? Right.

But you may ask here “were you at least more relaxed?” And I would reply with one of those “HA!” thingies, but with a side-order of wanting to puke. Dizzy? Yes. Clumsy? Yes. A little slow to react (as in “oh hey, that’s my thumb stuck between the desk and the chair. Surely that should hurt? Oh, there it is…”)? Yes. Relaxed? Good golly no.

Finally my Mom (who I so much love because she drove me all over town just so that I could jam my thumb between a chair and a desk without noticing it!) picked me up and took me to my dentist. I got out my dentist kit (which is really just my walkman and good tunes, and trimmed fingernails so that I don’t gouge my palms accidentally) and we were about to roll, I was ready, I was freakin' prepared... and at that moment the masked man (pretty sure it was my dentist) got that “I just realized something not so good” look in his eyes, asked to check my chart, and dropped the bomb. The “oh yeah, I just now remembered that you were supposed to get a root canal before we finish this crown.” Bomb.


So there I am with this dilemma: I really do like my dentist, and I know this was just a mistake, and even I, EVEN I, have been known to make those once in a while. Yet right at that moment I was filled with the overwhelming desire to grab the nearest super-sharp instrument (which in a dentist’s office are both plentiful and FREAKY looking!) and plunge it deep into his un-masked forehead. What to do, what to do…

We still did the crown prep, but instead of going to an office holiday party with food and presents and stuff this afternoon I got to go have a second dental procedure. For those of you keeping score that would be two trips to dentists in two days. And that would also be so WRONG!!!!! I got to spend my lunch getting a last-minute root canal.

Also? The temporary crown that Dentist the first gave me yesterday was too tall. I couldn’t tell when he asked me in the office because of course it felt wrong. All my teeth felt wrong! The whole right side of my mouth was full of teeth that I’d never met before, so how could I possibly tell that one of them actually WAS wrong? They fine tuned it and fine tuned it and I thought we were there. But hours later I tried eating. At that point the wrongness of my tooth was pretty danged obvious. So I gummed my way through a bowl of mac and cheese and that was the last solid food I’ve had to eat since then. Because now I can't eat due to the brain-melting pain in my jaw from two days of poking and gouging and other assorted dental evil.

(however here's a pony I found: I was given permission to have a milkshake as my dinner. aaawesoooome...!)

So, to recap: I’m hungry. I’m sore. I’m exhausted. I’m really hating all dentists right now. But at least I’m done for the time being. Merry ho-ho-kill me.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Dentists, drugs and what were we talking about again?

Hello from basket-case central, a dark and swirly land of badness. How are things in the land of lightness and goodness and “I don’t have to go to the dentist today”-ness? I wish I were there. I hope I live to visit you there tomorrow.

(translation: OhGodOhGodOhGodOhGod OhGodOhGodOhGodOhGod OhGodOhGodOhGodOhGod OhGodOhGodOhGodOhGod OhGodOhGodOhGodOhGod-I have to go to the dentist today and I don’t want to SO MUCH - OhGodOhGodOhGodOhGod OhGodOhGodOhGodOhGod OhGodOhGodOhGod!)

Yeah, I’m going to the dentist today. I have a tooth that broke over a year ago, and which has been suffering through with a temporary filling on it. (I know, I had the same reaction when the dentist told me how long ago we’d put that on. “Temporary filling? Lasting over a year? Are we sure we’re using that word “temporary” correctly?”) But now I have the Good Job again, with the Really Good Benefits, and so it’s time to start repairing the things that are broke. And my mouth is thing one.

So remember how I’m a great, big dentist-phobe? How I’d rather spend a couple of days with my mouth tasting like the inside of a soda can then visit my dds? How I’d rather spend a couple of days ON FIRE then visit my dds? Right, that’s me. However today I’m going to conquer my fears (or at least beat them into temporary submission) and get my butt into chair. And all I have to do in the meantime is try not to crawl entirely out of my skin and leave it a hollow (albeit smartly dressed) husk in my desk chair as the rest of me curls up in a ball under the desk. Piece of cake!

I know other people who are as enthusiastic about dental visits as I am and several have suggested pre-medicating myself. I explained that while I’m not crazy about dentists in general I really like my personal Dentist (protecting the innocent we’ll call him Guy Smiley) and therefore I don’t feel good about greeting him with a terrible case of tequila-breath. Not to mention the eventual vomiting. Turns out, though, that these people were talking ACTUAL medication. So now I’ve got this prescription for Valium. (well, actually it’s Valium’s poorer, less-famous cousin Diazepam. But I’ll bet she’s just as bright and shiny once sucked on down!)

A normal person would see this as some kind of solution or otherwise good thing. “I am ever so glad” they would say “that this small, blue pill will help me to be less stressed and make this trip to the dentist a less scary thing. Oh joy and for goodness, little blue pill.” Yes they would.

Yes they would.

I’m pretty sure they would.

Whatever! The point is this: not me! I woudn’t/couldn’t/can’t say this. Instead I say this: “Crap and crap, now I’m stressed out about going to the dentist AND I’m stressed out about taking drugs! Drugs that I’ve never taken before. AND I have to take the blue pill here at work. And wait for an hour. AND now I have to get rides all over the place because apparently they aren’t kidding about the “don’t operate 2-ton vehicles while all loopy and stupid” warning. And did I mention that I’m probably going to be stupid at work? A place where I generally try to keep my stupidity to a minimum? Crap. And also crap.” That's what I say.

And by the way, I read the possible side effects (which is something that I always, always, ALWAYS do, ever since this one time where I ended up going blind in the shower. But that’s a story for another time…) and now I’m sure I’m having them all. (please note: I have not actually taken the pill. No pill has crossed my lips. But still I’m clumsy and drowsy and headachy and stuff.) And I’m supposed to let the doctor know if I have any memory loss, but I haven’t yet. I don’t think. Unless I have, but I’ve forgotten about it. Have I mentioned crap and crap yet? Crap.

So wish me luck and tomorrow I’ll try to post even if just so you’ll know that I survived. But for now I’m busy stressing and filling-up my tummy with poisonous asps and tapping my toes constantly, to the great enjoyment of the folks sitting around me. (and if you’re very lucky I’ll be just foolish enough to write a blog post while stupid-loopy on poor, ordinary lady Diazepam.)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Because I wanted to make sure you guys knew I was still alive…

Oh I cannot tell you how busy things have been, and it’s all because of Christmas. And I LOVE Christmas, so I can’t complain or feel bad about it. But still, it’s busy and I’ve spent some time every day for the last week going “and dang-dang-dang, I STILL haven’t written a blog post!!!”

One of the things that I did do in the last week was my monthly responsibility with our work kitchen. In other words, I am on kitchen duty this month. This has benefits and drawbacks. For instance, there has been a fairly constant stream of treats and goodies and num-nums and such, given that we’re all holidayish, and so I can go in and say “oh gosh and golly, look at this terrible mess in the form of a huge plate of sugar cookies or a tray of sloppy, juicy holiday pears – I shall be noble and clean them!” (and by “clean them” I mean “eat them”. And by “noble” I mean “greedy, greedy, oh so greedy…”) On the other hand, I kept hearing people complaining about the lack of space in the fridge due to stacks of abandoned food and such, and at last I could avoid it no more, so I decided that I’d clean out the fridge.

So as to get some official credit for my creativity building up to the fridge chore, I present to you “Cleaning the Fridge: an email drama in three parts. Plus one.” Enjoy!


Sent: Monday, December 10, 2007 11:50 AM
From: Femtastic
Subject: Fridge cleaning on Friday


Looks like it’s time again to take a blowtorch to the fridge in our kitchen. I’ll be “disposing” of anything toxic or semi-toxic at the midpoint of the day on Friday, so please take a minute or two in the meantime to see if there’s anything in there to which you have a sentimental attachment. Thanks!

Sent: Wednesday, December 12, 2007 8:10 AM
From: Femtastic
Subject: Fridge Reminder – the Second Coming


OK, just another reminder that everything in the fridge currently learning to speak and reason will be hitting the trash come midday on Friday. If you’ve not yet achieved “sentient tuna salad” by then and you want your science experiment to go a little longer you’ll want to move it to your home laboratory. Thanks all!

Sent: Friday, December 14, 2007 9:18 AM
From: Femtastic
Subject: Fridge Reminder -- the Final Chapter!!!


OK, so I will be attacking our fridge with the standard tools (gloves, garbage bag, blowtorch, wooden stake, etc.) right after lunch today (1-ish). So this is your very last, bar none, no exceptions, hasta-la-vista and adios muchachos chance to find new homes for anything you’ve been cultivating in there. I will show no mercy, I will take no prisoners and I will suffer no whining if your pet chicken burrito is sacrificed to the sanitation gods.

Consider yourself warned. (cue dramatic movie music here.)

Sent: Monday, December 17, 2007 11:18 AM
From: Femtastic
Subject: The Fridge Cleaning - epilogue

So the deed is done, and I’ve scheduled my three follow-up doctor visits for the required inoculation shots and 20-minute long hugs. And in case anyone thinks that this was not a valuable and informative use of my time, I present you this:

Things I learned about my new place of employment while excavating the cold box in the kitchen:
  • Folks around here buy yogurt, so to look health-conscious and fit and spry. But they don’t actually eat yogurt.
  • 20 oz. of soda is just way too much soda for one serving – better to make your Mountain Dew or Diet Pepsi stretch over several days. Months. Years. Whatever.
  • Hummus sweats when it’s nervous.
  • As it turns out, this fridge DOES have a freezer! It’s cleverly disguised as “the back wall of the fridge”, as anything that actually touches the back of the fridge will freeze solid. (Just like at my house.)
  • If left alone in a dark space Lean Cuisine frozen meals will reproduce much like rabbits. Really cold rabbits.
  • The only dessert that gets forgotten in a fridge is sugar-free dessert.
  • There was a potluck in the office sometime around March of 2006. Someone brought salad. And dressing.
  • The fridge hasn’t had a serious cleaning since sometime around March of 2006.
  • Mold will grow on mustard after all. Fierce, hearty mold which could probably also be used to strip paint or remove a wart.
  • If you warn people that you’re going to clean the fridge, most will honestly believe that they have nothing in that fridge to worry about.
  • Most of those people will be wrong.
  • It takes about four hours for an empty fridge to fill right back up.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Vocabulary builder...

The definition of irony:

Being super-annoyed when the blogs I check daily haven't been updated recently, while personally being unable to make/find/get/have/steal/beg for the time to update my own.

stupid irony.

(watch this space for soon goodness!)

Friday, December 07, 2007


My mother worked for a very, very long time. Worked in various offices and other places of order and civility, like a Museum or a University or (even more so) a university’s law school. The places where she worked came to think of my mother as a miracle worker of making order and keeping everything just so and ALWAYS knowing where things should go and would be found. All my mother’s co-workers openly wept and cursed the gods of retirement every time she went on to the next thing.

This reality was (and probably still is) very frustrating to my father, for whom my mother keeps losing the rubberband from the checkbook.

It’s their own system (and by “their system” I of course mean that it’s mostly his system) to keep things together in the land of check-bookery and it works pretty well, but it all hinges on this big, fat, purple broccoli rubberband that goes around the checkbook and holds it all compact. So when Mom goes out to do a pile of things, at least one of which required writing a check, and comes home with a rubberbandless checkbook Dad sometimes has a hard time not losing it. And a crucial part of his frustration goes like this:

“Why are you so super-organized and on top of absolutely everything at work, but you can’t be like that at home????”

(Side note of importance about my Dad: he’s mostly been self-employed my whole life. There was some time where he worked for others, but he’s way happier and better and less “want to chew a hole in my own cheek and set fire to someone’s desk”-ey when he’s his own boss. However that means his experience out in job-world is different than most.)

The reason that my Mom can’t be super-organized and on top of absolutely everything both at a job and at home is this: nobody can be super-organized and on top of absolutely everything all the time. You just can’t. If you were to really be that methodical you’d last for 20 years and then you’d be super-organized about loading the rifle and picking just the right clock-tower and… you see where I’m going with this, right? So if you can only be super-organized part of the time you’re gonna chose the time when you’re at work! The time where someone is paying you good money to BE super-organized, as opposed to the time where you’re home with your sweet baboo who probably didn’t marry you because of your organizational skills. I totally get this.

I get this because I INHERITED this. At my work everyone thinks I’m ever so efficient and organized and I don’t lose things and I’m good at remembering things and it’s excellent. Especially because hopefully they’ll love me and promote me and pay me enough money so that I can hire a personal assistant to come to my home and help me find ANYTHING! Socks! Library Books! Checks for actual money! You name it, people, and I can lose it. Not at work, but at home. At home I’m a loser. (so to speak.)

For instance, right now I’m supposed to be sending this big, important paper to this big, important company in a big, important city for what will eventually provide me some big, important MONEY to help me pay for big, important CHRISTMAS. Except for that I went to get the big, important paper in the place I was sure would be it’s home last night. And I know that right now I don’t even have to tell you how lacking in big, important papers that place was.

I. Am. Freaking. OUT.

If I had no systems in place for this I’d probably be less frustrated, but I really thought that I’d totally managed this. I was sure that the paper would be right there when I went for it, looking all smug and “I knew you’d come for me eventually.” But then I got there and nothing. No matter how many times I went to the same place it was still never there. I spent hours going through every single pile that couldn’t possibly have it because HELLO, I had a FLOOD 2 years ago and so everything in that room has already been SORTED once and this thing was received LONG BEFORE THAT so it could not be in the piles. It has to be in that place where it just isn’t.

So my list of things to do this weekend just got one new item added to it: FIND THE PAPER. Open every drawer and box and slot that I haven’t opened in the last 4 years and look through it to find that damned paper. Open the ones I’ve already opened. Don’t dare throw ANYTHING away. And, of course, lots and lots of good, healthy cursing.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

My Santa Claus can beat up your Santa Claus

It’s that time of year when all the stations are doling out my childhood in sweet little 60-minute, claymationesque lumps. Mmmm, “Santa Clause is Coming to Town.”, Mmmm “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.”… After watching a few of these I started thinking about one of the more consistent ideas from all of those stories: Santa makes the toys. He makes them, the elves make them, whatever: they’re wood and paint and nails and MADE. By HAND.

I don’t know how any current kids can believe in Santa Claus now, since everything you can give a kid is plastic and molded and chock full of lead paint and mercury from our good friends in the North Pole China. But I know that I believed in Santa in my day. (technically I still do, although that belief is dependent on a careful combination of not thinking about it too hard and selectively forgetting facts of life the second I learn them. And egg nog.) I even remember that my Granny knew Santa – they were pals. That was why she could sleep on the couch on Christmas Eve when she stayed at our house. So that she and the Big Man could catch up, compare photos (Granny: “That’s my granddaughter Femtastic – she’s a little hellion, but please bring her stuff anyway.” Santa: “That’s Dasher’s latest fawn – we call him Skipper and he keeps eating my slippers.”) It was with this level of detail that for always and for true I believed, believed in Santa.

Still, how could I believe if I was getting these toys and things that were obviously made by things other than hands? Here’s how: my Santa gifts (when I was wee) were often hand made! By hands! Actual people hands!!

There was the year of the complete kitchen set – fridge, sink, stove; all wood and white paint and perfectly wee-sized. I had that set for a really long time, and then eventually passed it on to the next youngest kids in the family. From Santa I bequeath you this kitcheny goodness, kids! Also I remember a microphone stand that elevated my dancing around the living room, singing with the Bee Gees, Shawn Cassidy or Olivia Newton John to almost professional levels. It was wood on the base, then a series of interlocking metal tubes and topped off with a microphone from a tape recorder (ask your parents about what that was, kids – it’s the thing that cave men used in order to rock out to tunes. They were normally steam-powered.) with just enough cord for me to do that cool Roger Daltry spinny thing. And I’m pretty sure that Santa was responsible for the blanket that was pink/green/blue plaid on one side and lined with hot-pink fake fur on the other. Because Santa knew how to rock the hot pink like that.

OK, so I don’t remember how I reconciled these treasures with the slot car track or the bean bag chair or the Casio keyboard. I think once the faith in Santa was there it was unshakable! Show me your plastic, mass-made toys that I have MYSELF seen advertised on TV and I will show you my smooth, polished wood or hand-sewn lovelies that probably took so long to make SO wonderful that the elves were forced to stop at K-Mart to pick up the last few things, ‘kay?

Also I know that one of the reasons for many of the hand-made treasures from my parents (via Santa) was to keep costs down, because we weren’t what folks would call “overwhelmed with massive piles of money” when I was a kid. But that was never how it felt; it was just so cool that Santa’s own elves had taken the time to paint the little black knobs on my pint-sized stove! For ME! And that nobody else I knew had what I had because I had the only ones anywhere. Limited Edition. Special Reserve. One Night Only. Be the only kid on your block.

Best of all: I could watch my Rankin/Bass holiday treats with 100% belief, because of course Santa and his crew were making everything by hand. Allow me to direct you to the fur/plaid blanket wrapped around the wood/steel microphone stand in that corner where, later on, I will be doing a command performance of Andy Gibb’s “Shadow Dancing”! Get your tickets now.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Where are my hatches, and how do I batten them?

We are having a storm, people. My little town of near-constantly temperate weather dares to have a full-on, news-worthy, brow-furrowing storm! I’m a little shocked, and totally without any method to prevent it, as is the unique thing about weather. (that unique thing being that weather, for the most part, makes all human beings it’s bitch. Go weather!)

Mostly what we’re talking about is a) rain and b) wind. But it’s the amounts and/or the velocity of these things that is taking the weather from storm to STORM!!! Things started early Sunday morning (so early that most of us would really have called it late Saturday night) and have been cooking ever since. Highlights, according to those who have the technology to track it, have included almost 2 inches of rain in about a day and supposedly winds over 50 mph over at the coast.

But that doesn’t impress me.

What impressed me was the tree that had ditched the traditional vertical stance of it’s tree brethren to give a try to the more edgy horizontal position about three blocks from my house. And this tree didn’t convince ALL of it’s parts to do this – the roots were holding true to the traditional “in the ground” position. This thing (a big thing!) snapped about a foot from the ground. Woof!! By the time I came home for lunch it was a tidy little pile of firewood, still reminiscing about it’s former tree life.

Also impressive was the freight-train-like sounds that the wind kept making all day yesterday. I couldn’t help but think of all of the Midwest people who compared the sound of a tornado to a train, and all the times I thought “well that’s just plain crazy talk from people who think it makes sense to keep building houses in areas that mother nature is obviously trying to clear for future open space!” But then there I was, washing dishes and hearing the train coming down the street, regardless of the track-free space there. And no matter of peering down the road helped me figure out what the heck the wind was doing that made that sound. (turned out to be the sound of my storm windows on my great, big front windows which, as it turns out, will shake and rattle when properly inspired.)

Impressed was I by the visual of my neighbors great, big recycling bin scooting down the street in front of the house (and happy was I that I don’t park on the street because my headlights would have been helpless to defend themselves from recycling bin attack!) Also impressed was I by sitting in the bathroom here at work and hearing, and FEELING, the breeze of the outside work on my less-than-all-dressed body. Here’s the thing you should know, if you want to share how impressed I was: there are no walls in the bathroom that lead to outsideness. All of the walls lead to other walled-in space. Halls and offices and kitchens and closets… All places where there should be no wind. And yet I was windblown!

But of all of our storm excitement the thing that was MOST impressive to me was that all afternoon my hummingbirds kept coming to the feeders. HUMMINGBIRDS! TO THE FEEDERS! Defying the tree-shredding, bathroom-rocking, bin-propelling winds to come and get a drinky-poo. Little critters who weigh probably about negative an ounce and who are not traditionally known as icons of super-strength, but they were undeterred by all this storm foolishness. They’re just SO cool! The next time I hear someone on the news vexed by how terrible the storms and how vicious the winds are I will think “hey, if Mr. and Mrs. Hummingbird can come out for a bite you can just shut it!”