Monday, July 31, 2006

Just When I Thought Things Couldn't Get Any Worse...

I get pink eye.

Went to Medac today; home of sickly broke people with no insurance. I follow the cardinal rule of going to Medac--I walk in, announce what is wrong and what they should do about it, as I have long since found that this is the only way to achieve any kind of medical care in these places.

Them: What seems to be the trouble?
Me: My eye is red and gummy. I think I have pink eye.
Them: Hmm... seems like you might have pink eye.

The doctor puts gross orange stuff in my eye and shines a black light in it, he says to rule out any corneal scratches or foreign crap in my eye. Nope, nothing found. He gives me a prescription for an antibiotic, tells me not to rub my eye and sends me to the front desk to pay.

Woman at Front Desk: That will be 400 dollars.
Me: What the fucking fuck???

They refuse to back down. I say, "Seriously. The doctor looked in my eye and told me I have pink eye. That costs 400 dollars?" Yes, they say. I demand an itemized bill. They offer me "credit options." I cry. I send the girl back twice to find out if this can possibly be correct. She explains that yes, it is correct, because of the "procedure" the doctor perfomed on my eye. I say, "you mean when he shined a light on it? Because if I had known that would be 400 dollars, I would have never let him do it." I point out that there is no way that I will even be able to fill the prescription he has given me now that I am giving them everything I own. They graciously offer to check the "generic okay" box on my prescription. I send the girl back again (they still haven't produced an itemized bill). She comes back and says that because they had to remove foreign objects from my eye, it will be 400 dollars. I point out that they did not fucking remove any fucking foreign objects from my fucking eye.

Woman at Counter: "Oh, really? I must have typed the wrong code. Oh, well then, that will be 132 dollars."

What a damned racket. I don't know how many people just let them get away with that, but I think it's nothing but extortion. They knew I was desperate and had no insurance. I'd already talked to the nurse AND the doctor about that. Leeches.

And I have pink eye.

Sunday, July 30, 2006


Up til recently, I had a very definite sense of style. And that style included many, many black articles of clothing. I can't remember when I started wearing black, but I do recall that until I was 14 years old I was not allowed to wear all black. I'm not sure why that was...if my parents thought I'd instantly become a wiccan or that I might fall in with some dastardly all-black wearing group of 13 year olds or what. (Though they did show a distinct dislike, also, for floral dresses).
Also, I can recall Mr. Secrist, my high school psychology teacher and object of my only teacher-crush, saying in class that black made things appear tall and slim (two things which I generally do not appear). And so I began buying predominantly black clothing.
I should note here, as well, that apart from liking black things, I also had an enormous number of tee shirts. Not the kind that boys wear, but the simple, v-necked, unadorned ones that you get at Old Navy for 6.99. This appeared to be the sum total of my ability to dress myself.

Recently, I took a strange job that requires me to dress like my co-workers.
I am totally serious, and this is the proof.
Suddenly, I had to fill my closet with clothes of various colors. AAAH!

I ran straight to Good will and bought v-necked tee shirts in 5 colors and hoped for the best. But no! I looked like a frumpy old woman compared to the other girls--and I'm the second youngest.

So I went out and bought clothes this weekend. Honest to goodness, real live, girls wear them, clothes. I bought things in peach and yellow and lavender and pink. I bought things with keyhole necklines and lace trim and layers. I bought a new handbag for the first time since 1999 (don't you know by now I'm not kidding?)

I would have bought shoes, too, but I dropped one on my big toe and it hurt so bad that I swore off shoes for today. But I think that's ok, because I think I had decent taste in shoes all along.

I'm a brand new girl.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Strange Childhood Fears

Today I cut open my finger with a pair of scissors, accidentally. I was peering into my finger in the morbid way one has of wanting to see how deep it is and what the hell all is going on in there when I remembered this from my childhood:

When I was little, I heard somewhere that we have 7 layers of skin. This made sense to me, as sometimes you could scrape yourself but it wouldn't bleed. But I thought that we had 7 layers of skin total, as in, we only got 7 layers for our whole life. If you fell down and scraped your knee, well then, too bad for you, there would just be a hole in your knee forever.

My dad, for some reason, when he was little, thought that if you got a cut in the web of skin between your thumb and your first finger, you would die.

My mom thought that if a dog bit you, you would automatically get rabies. Once her childhood dog bit her and she just lay down on her bed and waited to die.

I wonder if all kids think of death in this way, as if it's always around the corner, brought on by papercuts and skinned knees and nips by family pets.

Or if it's just my crazy ass family.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Further Ramblings About Why Work Sucks

I'm such a slack ass.

This has just been the kind of week where you wish you could ask for a do-over. I'm still struggling with the job thing. I had my 30 day review on Wednesday which went well, but I still feel as if I'm just not relating. Even if I'm making my boss happy, if the people who I'm actually working with are unhapy, than I guess it isn't working. I'm pretty seriously confused about what I want to be doing. On drunken Friday night at 2:30, I felt sure that I would go back to teaching, and use the extra time (when teaching I got off at 3 instead of 6) to pursue other things (more on those later). But today I just don't know. I know that teaching is familiar, that I won't be frightened, that I relate well to my co-workers, that I like getting off at 3...but. But where I work, I have to pay for everything: paper, pencils, workbooks, art supplies, reading books, the damned electric pencil sharpener...and I think in my haste to get out of something unfamiliar and unwelcome, I'm forgetting the incredible hassle of teaching someplace that never tells you anything, just expects you to figure it out for yourself and keep plugging along. And once I'm in, I'm stuck for a year. I've seen teachers leave mid-year, but I don't think I could do it. It's too hard on the kids.

I just miss doing something that I consider to be worthwhile. No matter how hard, how frustrating, how tiring my job was while teaching, at the end of the day--or, more importantly, at the beginning of the day, I knew why I was doing it and I felt good about it. That's the Quaker influence in me. I didn't dread work when I woke up in the morning, and when people asked me what I did, I was proud. It's hard to feel that way about filing charts in a dentist's office, particularly when your day is punctuated by people pointing out your myriad mistakes in a tone that implies that you are a total moron.

So last week I tried to brainstorm with Thomas about what I might actually like to do. Like if we threw out the last six years: forget the MFA, the teaching, parent's expectations, my own expectations, the need for health insurance, everything. Forget all that. What am I good at? What would I like to be doing? It scares me that it's so hard to answer that question. And the answers there are aren't particularly good ones. But here's the one I'm really focused on: I'm an ordained minister (as most people are in the internet age) and beyond that I have a degree in creative writing. I love weddings and I love planning and decorating and crafts and trying to help people achieve dreams on a budget. So, ok. What if I advertised myself as a minister who does custom ceremonies--catering to those who want non denominational weddings, or interfaith weddings, or gay weddings. I could write and perform them. And then maybe get into a little wedding planning.

I know this is a pipe dream; that really my choices are just to suck it up teaching or suck it up filing charts. But I really feel like I just need some hope right now. I always council people with unsatisfactory houses or roommates or whatever that you must be happy at home. You spend too much time there for it not to be a safe, good place. But why shouldn't I feel that way at work. Hell, if I'm going to spend 40 hours of my week doing something, can't I dare to hope that it would be something I like?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Imperfect Haikus for an Imperfect World

Eternal Question:
Which came first, the ketchup
or the hot dog?

Young, blue-eyed hot dog
Why do you defile yourself
with vile condiments?

Tasty, tan and long
Get your mind out of the gutter!
Not that kind of hot dog!

I don't like to eat
Things that can taste me back
or lick their own chops

It puts the mustard
On its skin or else it gets
the hose again.

Who knew a hot dog
had fingernails? Or eyebrows
for that matter.

Ketchup and mustard...
Hot dog becomes quite tasty.
Is it a death wish?

I make myself
more delicious in your eyes.
Ah, self destruction.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

New Additions

So it was car buying day in my family on Friday.

I got this Daewoo (it's so fun to say Daewoo. Dae WOO!)

And Thomas got this here Dodge Caravan. I told him that if he needs to man up his car, he can get our friend Tom Fleming to paint nudie girls on the side of it.

These are our two strays: Orange Julius and Harriet. I will stop now. I will not become the crazy cat lady.

We didn't end up trading in our current cars, so there are now four cars belonging to us outside of our house. Anyone want to buy a Saturn for cheap?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

I am a Slack-Ass Blogger

C'est moi!

Nothing much has been going on. I've been catching up sporadically with an old friend who recently pointed out to me that 1. I went with him to prom when I was a freshman in college and 2. His mom once accidentally got lit on fire during a party at my parents house. Good times.

Wow. I think that's the first time I've ever uttered that particular phrase.

Something tore my garden to bits, so I've been quietly mourning it; and it looks like we may have taken a fancy to, not one, but two of the neighborhood stray cats.

Work is hard, but is getting to be bearable. Some days are better than others. I'm looking forward to my one-month checkup with Daisy. I am hoping that we will both feel better by then.

I'm considering posting the entire contents of our jukebox, seeing as it took 6 hours for us to choose songs and reload it. I only like to do it once a year because it's so damn hard. But I'm pretty happy with it right now. Some of my favorite selections are Prince "Cream" and Big Country "In a Big Country."

That's all for now. I have to make time to drink my wine.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Fanboy Comics--That's How We Roll

This is my friend Jennifer dressed as Wonder Woman for Thomas's charity auction to benefit the Christopher Reeve foundation.

She looks hot.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Just for Fun

My mom in a Burger King mask.

International House of Kumquats

Everyone posting about myspace lately has made me wonder what the attraction for me is. I'm not making new friends or looking for someone to date. I don't read the bizarre novel chapters sent to me by one of my "friends" every single day. Because my connection is so slow, I can't even see the funny clip of the burger king that's on my page.

But I think we all crave some sense of connection from the internet. Since 1994 or so we've been told that it's bringing people together, making the world smaller, the internet superhighway!! We want to map out our own space and use that space to proclaim ourselves and connect with others. I really do think that we think of the internet in terms of connections. I think that's why myspace and friendster are so popular; the way in which you get to collect your own connections.

My first internet connection was in 1994. It was a bbs (remember those?) in the DC area called IHOK (int'l house of kumquats) run by an awesome guy named Geoffrey Claussen. His handle was Pickle. Because of the beauty of google, I looked up it's old address in the (then mysterious cyber world):
International House of Kumquats, Intl House of Kumquats
(1993-1996) Geoffrey Claussen WWIV

You had to dial into it with your modem (my friend Kim called in on an actual 300bps modem. Posts came onto the screen letter by letter. I'm not even kidding). It was incredible. I have no memory at all of how I found it or learned to use it, but it defintely changed my life. I met this group of amazing, intelligent, artistic, thoughtful kids from all around the DC area, people I would otherwise have never met. So much of my taste developed during that time, just being exposed to what these people were into and getting to post about it, endlessly, on IHOK. I mean, like all groups of teenagers, we had sex and gossip and all that, but I still remember it as something purer, something I felt I needed.

I have to give my parents credit for even letting me do it. People were a lot more afraid of strangers then, I think. There was no real internet yet; we weren't accustomed to the idea of meeting people that way. The first time all the ihokians got together (these events were called 'kumquasia') I was actually allowed to go to DC by myself and meet a bunch of strangers. Once, on the 4th of July, I was allowed to host kumquasia at my house, a big co-ed sleepover in the basement. Yeah, my parents were cool.

I miss those guys. Some I've been able to track down over the years, but others, honestly, I can't remember their real names. Or sometimes I'll remember parts, but not enough.

Old ihok members, come and find me! I was Tig and I miss you all!


I posted a huge birthday post for Thomas yesterday, complete with 6 pictures and blogger ate it. I shake my fist at blogger!

Now I will try again.

Preparing for the drinking

Lasagna Festival! (Count all 4)

Thomas's favorite jukebox


Tom Fleming did not sneak into this picture.

We sincerely hope that everyone had a very good time.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Plagued with Self Doubt

I'm sorry that this is not funny pictures of drunk people eating lasagna. I'll post some pictures from Thomas's birthday later on today or tomorrow.

I'm kind of freaking out about my job, which I know makes no sense, but there it is. I feel like I'm just not catching on fast enough, or like this period of burdenhood isn't ending as quickly as I would have hoped. I'm still bumbling and confused; I still forget things; I still make mistakes. I don't even know what all the rooms are called, yet! If someone says into my earpiece, "I need help with charting in OP-2," I might know how to chart, but I don't know where OP-2 is. I'm past the point where I feel like I can ask that.

When I was 14, my mom went back to work after being an at-home mom for my whole life. She jumped straight into being someone's personal assistant and she did that job until my family was financially stable enough for her to come back home (about 5 years). I wish I could call her now and ask her if it was hard, if she made mistakes, if she sometimes felt like there were things she should just know.
I mean, I'm starting to feel like something's wrong with me, like why am I not good at ANYTHING? I don't automatically understand copiers, I have trouble with my weird headset, I seem lately to have difficulty even just being bubbly.

I really do feel like I've never done anything that I was truly a natural at. I'm sure that's not true, but that's how I feel right now.

I know what my mom will say if I ask her. She'll say of course it's hard and she'll say that I'm probably smarter than any of those people and that I'll catch on in no time and I know that she means that, but in my heart, I know it isn't true. Those girls are just as smart as I am, if not more so. And I'm never going to be able to cram into the next few weeks what they've learned and developed in the last 6 years.

I just don't want to be a dissapointment to people. I don't want to feel like a walking apology. I don't want to be shown any more of my mistakes.

Damn, I don't want to go to work today.


Monday, July 03, 2006

Happy Birthday Thomas!!

Happy Birthday to my lovely husband who is 32 today.

It's a lasagna festival!!

I'll post pictures of tonight's craziness tomorrow. But for now, our redone jukebox: