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The other day my son was texting me, gushing on and on about how I’ve helped him recently.
He’s been unemployed for 345 years, and I’ve helped with food, gas, and some minor bills along the way.
He kept telling me what a blessing I was.
It really was sweet.
Then he said he wanted to get in a position to “pay you back…” some day.
Honestly, if he’s been out of work for 345 years already what do you think the chances are that he’ll get a job between now and the revival of “Firefly”? (are you even listening Netflix??)
Yeah, me too.
Anyway, I quickly responded to his text whilst simultaneously doing some work-related task…probably curing cancer, just kidding, when I sent him what I thought was this:
“Don’t worry about it, I want you to just pay it forward some day.”
But actually was this, because Siri knows me all too well:
“Don’t worry about it, I want you to just pay for war some day.”
Because we are all about letting slip the dogs all up in hee-uhh, he didn’t miss a beat when he responded with:
“You bet I will, if the opportunity ever presents itself. BANZAI!”
Boom. (and no, we aren’t Japanese, at least I don’t think we are, but who says only the Japanese warriors can shout “BANZAI”?)
I love music.
No, I mean I really, really love music.
I have two genres that are tops on my list.
#1 – Blues and Swing; from Billie Holiday to Voodoo Daddy
#2 – Celtic; from the Celtic Women to..well, everyone else, it’s not a large pool here in the States
Numbers three through elebenty-hunnert include gospel, classic rock, Rat Pack, and country.
The other day, as I was shopping, I was listening to Pandora radio on my headset. I have one station called “Thumbprint”. It’s fairly new (to me), but I’m sure you kids have seen it. It takes music you’ve “thumbed up” and lumps it all together in one station.
(An aside, you young’uns don’t remember but back in the day radio stations were mostly AM and most of them played a wide variety of music. It wasn’t until electricity came along, and FM was born, that specific stations with specific music were created.)
I was getting my groceries to the crooning voices of Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra, and tapping my feet to the huge sounds of Voodoo Daddy and Brian Setzer.
I was in the produce aisle when a beautiful hymn called “Down To The River to Pray”, sung by the incomparable Alison Krauss, came on and I stopped and closed my eyes for a second.
Then I started to sing.
You know how when you have headphones on you think you’re being really quiet when, in fact, you’re being exceedingly loud and everyone around you notices only you don’t because you’re so caught up in the moment and sure at any second someone from a major label is going to spring up from the fruit display and offer you a million dollar contract on the spot because you’re the most amazing singer since singing was invented and angels weep every time you use those pipes?
Well, let me tell you, it’s every bit as interesting as finding out you left the house without pants again. Except with fewer recording contracts.
Totally busted while belting out a song in the middle of the produce aisle? Can check that one off my bucket list.
.…uh, Ceasar, this is Imperator Gaius Doofus and I’m lost…
I know the battle is in three days, that’s why I’m calling now!
Yes, yes, I did ask Sirius to find “Germania” , but apparently she doesn’t speak Latin.
Wait, let me get a stilus and tablet to write this down.
Okay, go north from Rome…turn right at…..
I have a
connudd, a conand, uh…I have a problem.
There’s this super-annoying coirker of mine that’s super. annoying.all.the.time.
She’s actually at a site miles from here, but in the power industry we’re all just one big dysfunctional family.
Anyway, she sent out a mass e-mail and from what I can gather she wants all the other secretaries, excuse me, “administrative support professionals” in the region to join her in a hand-holding session when things get “too stressful” for us.
A little background here – I work at a power plant. We make electricity here – not nuclear generated or coal fueled; we use natural gas, so y’all just simmer down out there – and yes, there are times of high stress…like mainly Monday-Friday, but only during work hours.
The rest of the time is an alcohol-induced haze, so it may be stressful, or it may not. Hard to tell. I’m kidding. Maybe.
So, Miss Annoying McAnnoyerson thinks we should “reach out” to one another, via e-mail, for stress relief.
She wants us to share “a funny picture” or an “inspirational quote” with each other as a means of support.
My gag reflex is on overload right now, guys.
I am a girl, no doubt about it, but I’m not a guurrrllll. Apparently, I did not get that gene.
I loathe shopping, mani-pedis, lunching with the ladies, girls nights out, talking on the phone, and inspirational quotes/cutesy picture e-mails.
Which brings me to my original problem.
How do I tell her that not only do I NOT want to be part of her all-girl band, I don’t want to see anyone else’s “inspiration”, nor be a part of the stress-relief program?
No, really, how do I do that without coming off as a total beeyotch, which let’s face it I really am and she should know that by now?
*clears throat, considers what to put out there on the Internets, decides she’s way too boring/paranoid to say anything other than what’s already here*
Well, that got awkward in a hurry.
Here’s a picture of a cute puppy to make up for it.
My family is not normal. Nothing we do is normal. No event is normal. Hell, if we had a “normal” day, that’d be abnormal, so right in line. Even our normal is weird.
Easter egg hunts are not normal at my house. The grandchildren generally get along, the bigger kids help the little ones find eggs, and there is much rejoicing.
The parents, however, are another story. It’s Hunger Games, Easter Egg Hunt at our house. There’s tripping, shoving, misdirection (“Holy shit, you just stepped in pile of dog poo!”), and general foolishness as each parent tries to gain an advantage for their offspring.
In short, they’re a bunch of miscreants. I couldn’t be more proud.
This past Easter’s egg hunt was the same as all the others. The only differences, for me, were 1) for once the yard wasn’t a mudpit as it had been pretty dry all week and 2) I had to watch from afar having smashed the ever-lovin’ shit out of my big toe that morning when I opened the back door to let the dog out and shoved the bottom of the door over the top of my toe. It still hurts like a sonofa….
And then, the Outbreak Monkey arrived.
C’mon, tell me you have seen the scary movie “Outbreak” starring Dustin Hoffman and Renee Russo. If not, get thee to a Red Box or Netflix, or something and watch it.
*builds storage shed*
*cures world hunger*
You back already? Good, now I can finish the story.
So, in my family the first person to get sick with whatever is the one we call the Outbreak Monkey. This time, it was my 8-yr. old granddaughter and our first clue was the text her mother sent as they were driving home:
“Aaaand…we have pukage in the van!! AWESOME!”
At 1:00 a.m. the next morning, the poor baby was still puking in her sleep, no less. My daughter called me asking for the magical potion I keep to stop pukages, so instead of sleeping at 1:00 a.m. I was dispensing wizardry in the hopes my sweet granddaughter would stop the pukies. She did, and there was much rejoicing in the land…
….until this morning, when my daughter texted me again and said her other daughter has it now…
We had FIFTEEN people at our house on Easter Sunday. Two are sick, that makes thirteen more to go…except I think I had it already. I think it’s the nasty new norovirus that has been going around and which I got right after Christmas.
At least I hope that’s what this is.
Or, if my daughter is right – as she said in a follow-up text this morning – it only affects kids 8 and under, or as she put it “the very geriatric, like you Mom”.
Age has its advantages.
I’m big into nostalgia.
Only, not my nostalgia.
I’m big into the nostalgia of times I never encountered, and times when the things that make you go SQUEE! with delight were past me and thoroughly engulfed my children. The latter nostalgic times are embraced, loved, fondled, and homaged by a terrifically gifted writer (and very young man..okay, I added the “very” part because old) by the name of Matt at his blog Dinosaur Dracula.
Matt’s take on everything from movies to food is a reminder that oftentimes things are much sweeter looking back.
For the things that take me back back, to a time I never encountered but wished I had, I read a Reader’s Digest publication called “Reminisce”. It’s full of warm and wonderful recollections of times long gone, often told by the people who lived them. I have always said I was born of the wrong time, and when I read the magazine I feel it’s true.
But, not for the nostalgic way things were when women stayed home and baked bread, or washed clothes in a tub.
No, I’m too lazy to go back to those times.
What I miss is the simplicity of everyday life. The lines between right and wrong were clear and definite. Home, family, children, marriage..these were sacred trusts.
Anymore, I don’t know what’s sacred except maybe the love of self. With twitter pics of a naked Kardashian-West, and the glorifying of things I believe to be so wrong – like Caitlin Jenner – I long for a time when I wasn’t affronted on all fronts by the out in fronts.
Don’t misread…I am not totally judging, okay maybe I am judging a little bit, but mostly I’m saying I don’t care that Kim has “..nothing to wear..” or that Caitlin used to be Bruce.
I DON’T CARE, and I don’t want to celebrate that shit or any of the other piles of shit I’m constantly forced to see. I also don’t want to be confronted with it every time I turn on the television, radio, open up Facebook (and thank the gods I don’t use Twitter other than to auto-send a new post, because I do not understand that at all..not one bit), or simply exist in this world.
Walked into my office this morning and..
The ancient building I work in had sprung a leak and the entire hallway was flooded. Apparently, the roof drains clogged during last night’s monsoon (the first rain since 1947 I think), and with nowhere to go the water came inside. An entire closet filled with paper products – letterhead, envelopes, notebooks, etc – was ruined. And the floor and carpet were at least ten feet deep in cold water. Good thing I wore my waterproof workboots this morning, and brought my life jacket. Some guys from maintenance came with a mini wet-vac and cleaned up the water, then turned the a/c on and down to 20 degrees to dry the carpets.
It’s 40 degrees outside, and the wind is howling at a sustained 140 mph, making the wind chill minus Kelvin. So, of course turning on the air conditioner was the logical thing to do.
My hands were numb from the cold in a matter of minutes, and I believe I accidentally bit off a finger while eating my sammich at lunchtime. I won’t know for sure until later when my eyeballs thaw and I can see properly again.
Later my phone rang and the following conversation ensued:
ME: HolyWattageBatmanCompany, this is ME
Irate Female Caller: Yeah, somebody called me from that number just now and cussed at me and called me a bitch, and I just wanted to know who it was.
ME: From here?
IFC: Yes, from this number. It’s on my caller I.D.
ME: Ma’am, this is a power company, no one…
IFC: YES..SOMEONE CALLED ME FROM THERE, SAID SOMETHING ABOUT A PAY DAY LOAN CONSOLIDATION, TOLD ME I WAS A BITCH AND HUNG UP ON ME.
ME: Ma’am, this is a power company. We make electricity. I think you have the wrong number.
IFC: Oh, okay *click*
It’s been a weird day.
There are a few blogs I read all the time. They range from the silly to the stupid, the ridiculous to the sweet.
And then there’s Dr. Grumpy.
He claims to be either a neurologist or a Yak herder. Some days, I can’t tell which is true.
Other days, he rants about hilarious patients, formidable hospital administrations, stupid insurance companies, and his teenage children.
Mostly, he seems slightly out of touch with the Average Joe.
Which leads me to believe he really is a Yak herder, and lives in Nepal. Or a neurologist with little comprehension of what people not making six-figure incomes have to deal with when it comes to health care.
Honestly, I can’t tell.
In general, though, I like him. Not that it matters to the doc, but there it is.
The comments on his blog are often enlightening, too.
Other doctors, PAs, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals chime in and it’s those people I take issue with the most.
I have lamented, ad nauseum, about the “invisible diseases”, the pain-centered illnesses like fibromyalgia, CFS, arachnoiditis, and CRPS and the treatment sufferers get at the hands of callous health care people.
I get that one can become jaded at the constant barrage of people looking for the pharmacological quick fix. I. Get. That.
What I don’t get is how a doctor, or any other healthcare professional, can look me in the eye and dare to tell me I’m not sick, I’m not hurting, I’m making it all up.
Don’t get me wrong, Dr. Grumpy never goes there. But his followers, the ones who comment, they do. Often.
I always try to point out their ignorance, and am sometimes met with hostility. Sometimes with disdain, and sometimes with arrogance.
I’m rarely treated with compassion.
And that’s what’s wrong. We, the people suffering from the silent illnesses, we deserve the same compassion as the cancer patient, the anxiety patient, hell the “every” patient.
I’ve given up trying to get that compassion from the cold, hard, world-at-large. I’m very lucky my pain doctor is understanding, and that my pharmacist is someone I’ve known for over 20 years. I rarely, if ever, have to deal with the sideways glances and raised eyebrows at my monthly ‘scripts that keep me upright, productive, mobile and happy.
I’m one of the lucky ones, and that too, is so wrong.
Just yesterday, a single sentence from a Facebook friend led me to ponder something I take for granted.
I am a chronic pain patient, most doctors’ worst nightmare, and I am tired of being treated like a second-class citizen.
Among the litany of ailments, which I won’t list here, I have fibromyalgia.
I can see the virtual eye rolls from those who think that fibro is a “garbage can” diagnosis meant to shut up the patient who presents with debilitating pain, exhaustion, and memory issues. And, it was just that. Until some dedicated scientists and doctors began to really study the disease.
All of this has little to do with this post, but I use the first few paragraphs to set the stage for the real reason I’m writing.
It’s the shame, the guilt, the overwhelming feelings of inadequacy that so many chronic pain patients experience.
We feel it every time we have to explain to a doctor that yes, we hurt, and yes, we understand your lab work doesn’t give any indication why.
We feel it every time we encounter a pharmacist, skeptical as to why we need yet another month’s supply of an opioid medication.
We feel it every time a family member or friend – always well-meaning, of course – tells us about the latest breakthrough in treating chronic pain with home remedies like beet enemas and anecdotal evidence that it worked for someone’s brother’s wife’s mother.
Or worse, when friends and family tell us we just need to get up and do more…everything. Walk, exercise, go vegan, deny gluten, and drink lots of water. I mean, if we did all that we’d be fine, right?
We look normal.
We (usually) act normal.
We desperately want to be normal.
We don’t want to wake up every morning more tired than when we went to bed.
We don’t want to hurt from the top of our heads to the tips of our toes.
We don’t want to feel like we’re slogging through molasses that gets thicker as the day wears on.
And so many of us don’t want to have to rely on a pill to get us through the next day, the next few hours, until we can take another to dampen the pain to the point of making it possible to function for a while.
Mental health gets a bright spotlight, and almost everyone is understanding and caring. Take a pill to elevate your mood, or keep you from going all stabbity? That’s considered a good thing.
Chronic pain patients don’t always get that same TLC.
And we need it.