Thursday, September 3, 2015

The World Has Gone Mad

So tell me, my lovely imaginary friends in the Internet, does this look like the breakfast of a celebrity? Of course it does!

I mean, Crispix with fresh raspberries. A swirly-foam-topped cappuccino. Someone else's empty drinking glass, the water out of which may or may not have dumped itself onto my laptop.

This was my breakfast on Saturday, and it was so colorful that I had to document it, prompting eye-rolling from everyone else around the table. (Hi, Boys!) I didn't even care, because so, so pretty. And I didn't cheat my readers by color-correcting the photo, which I understand is a thing even though I have no idea how to do it.

But I will admit that this picture sums up a world gone mad, a world in which the same shopping trip had me paying $1 for a box of fresh raspberries and $3.55 for a dozen eggs.


Next thing you know Donald Trump will be a serious candidate for president.

Mad, I tell you.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

I Love the Rumble

Panda sticker added to protect the innocent
Most of the Boys were home for the weekend, and except that they are exponentially bigger and I'm now the first one to go to bed, it was much like having three pre-teens in the house again. I had to remember to cook meals, for one thing. (Who does that? Did I cook real meals for TWENTY YEARS? WHY?)

But it also meant every sentence, phrase, word, and unspoken sigh was subject to interpretation and possible argumentation. Take, for example, the note I found taped to my laptop when I got up Sunday morning. I will transcribe it for persons who are reading this on mobile devices:
"A glass of water was partially dropped on this last night," it begins. "It got wet but I don't think water ran into the inside. You may want to be careful when first using it, though. Sorry--"
I peeked under the lid of my laptop, found exactly one drop of water and wiped that off, then started it with no incident. Incident ended, right?

Well, no.

First there had to be the discussion of who had left the half-full glass of water on the side table overnight. Three 'fessed up to that.

"But where else was I supposed to put my glass? It was on a coaster."

Then Two got into the specifics of the note's phrasing.

"What is this? 'A glass of water was partially dropped?' What are we, some kind of no-fault society where the water DROPS ITSELF onto the laptop? Have you ever heard of personal pronouns? Personal responsibility?"

So Four had to go on the defensive.

"Well, I was just reaching over to turn off the light, which was being a responsible citizen of the earth, and maybe there shouldn't have been a laptop on the floor anyway."

And voila! My fault! Just as it was when the mashed potatoes were touching the green beans on their plates, thereby ruining their lives.

I sighed happily. They're exponentially bigger but they're still my Boys, and this I can handle.

Friday, August 28, 2015

What's Amusing Me Today? Amazon.

My life is so much better because I am easily amused. This morning Amazon's marketing department was the source of my amusement. 

A disclaimer here: I am a big fan of Amazon Prime. I love it not only because of the free streaming video (since Netflix inexplicably has not kept up with my demand for more Doc Martin) but also because it caters to some of my most irritating character traits--inattention to detail, lack of organization, complete inability to plan ahead. 

By that explanation I mean that last week I ran out of dental floss picks. In a less perfect world, I would have had to sigh deeply, put on clothes, drive to the store, and spend many minutes wandering around the aisles trying to remember why I had put on clothes and come to the store. I would then buy $200 worth of everything else and arrive home to realize that I had forgotten to buy dental floss picks. 

Instead, I picked up my iPad, searched Amazon for dental floss picks, hit "Buy With One-Click," and knew that I would only miss one floss before the picks would be delivered to my doorstep the next day. No fuss, no muss, no shipping charges. 

That order apparently set off an alarm in Amazon central, though, because this morning my email had some special offers designed to preserve my dental hygiene. Toothbrushes, mini-toothbrushes, and a product that made me laugh and laugh.

Apparently my purveyor of dental picks thinks my teeth are so in need of care that they would benefit from the ministrations of a black long-sleeved button-down shirt. 

Thanks, Amazon, but I think I'll pass on this deal.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Useful Phrases

Boy#2 snapped this picture yesterday, and I'm considering having an enlargement of it framed for hanging over where the fireplace would be if we had a fireplace. It may not be a priceless work of art, but its symbol value is significant: The moving truck is loaded, ready to hit the road, and Husband and I are two states away.

Yes. Instead of jumping into Pearl and flurrying off to help Boy#4 move, we waited for occasional updates as Two flew into Texas to provide muscle and moral support for his younger brother's transition to Oklahoma.

Frankly, I wasn't sure they could do it without me. Oh, not for the muscle. (A perk of having four sons? You carry a ton of groceries into the house over the years, but when it comes to moving furniture there are many manly men to say "I'll get that, Mom.") My job has always been carrying the emotional baggage so I prepped Two by text with phrases that would be useful during a day that was sure to be long, hot, and irritating,
We're doing fine.
That's not a problem. 
Okay, that's a problem but we can figure it out. 
Really, we're doing fine. 
I'm sorry. 
Man, that stinks. 
That'll work. 
Good job. 
Seriously--it's fine. 

They texted from the hotel last night, after they had checked out of the apartment, locked the truck, and cleared urban traffic. I don't know if  any of my helpful phrases had to be used, but they were still speaking to each other and even seemed to be enjoying the experience.

I may have been made superfluous, and that's fine.

Seriously--it's fine.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

After a Tiny Bit of Pain

Fact: When I don't have appropriate art for a post, I choose a flower
Last week's adventure with tooth-hurty put me in a reflective mood, which is to say it led me to think about pain, specifically my own pain.

My conclusion? I am not a fan of pain.

I have been extraordinarily blessed to reach the age of semi-maturity without having suffered much pain. Oh, I've had my share of migraines but those have a predictable course and as I huddle in a darkened room and try to be unconscious I know as soon as I vomit and fall asleep I will feel better and this has never taken more than one day. I've also given birth four times, which is not exactly pleasant at the moment but childbirth amnesia (and epidural drugs) clear the air once the process is completed.

Last week, though, the pain in my face was something different. I didn't know what it was, so I didn't know how long it would last. It was not predictable, and between the five-minute flares that left my teeth throbbing and my cheek and lips numb, I was functional if exhausted. Externally I didn't look any different. And it was the first week of classes at Small College, a week when I could not in good conscience completely abandon my staff so I continued to work every day.

The result, I discovered, was that I was mean.

All my pretense of being a serene ship that floats through adversity, all the Queen Victoria calm, all the this-isn't-a-problem pioneer spirit? All gone, in a blue haze of self-pity and snappishness.

Poor Husband took the brunt. At one point in our "discussion" over whether Winston Churchill or Jim Valvano gave the "Never give up, never ever give up" commencement speech (neither of them, as it turns out) I snapped "I thought that you might not be this irritating when I'm feeling this bad."

Yeah, I was charming. But it made me think about people who have chronic pain, pain that doesn't keep them from functioning, but can't be controlled with a couple of ibuprofen. Chronic bad knees, maybe. Or headaches, or (as in Husband's case) a stiff lower back that has resisted every therapy.

Maybe the big box store cashier has feet that are already hurting and she has another two hours in her shift. The guy in the old pick-up who ran the yellow light in front of me? Might have his own teeth issues that are making his entire head throb.

What I'm saying is that a couple of days of retrospectively minor pain have made me realize that not everyone who acts like a jerk is an actual jerk. I'm not, but I certainly acted like one.

Pain can do that.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday Orts and a Blurb

We haven't done a Friday Orts and a Blurb for a while, so let's have a couple updates:

Update the First: My Face. You notice from the artist's rendering that I am once again smiling. An unsmiling me was diagnosed with a case of neuritis after I wrote yesterday's post, and after one dose of a super-antinflammatory Bruce the Nerve Shark's gnawing on my face seems to already be decreasing. Or maybe it's just my imagination, because the good doctor did warn that the next course of treatment would be a drug of which the LESS SERIOUS side effects include (no, I'm not making this up) dizziness, drowsiness, weakness, tired feeling, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, blurred vision, headache, breast swelling, dry mouth, and loss of balance or coordination. No thanks, please.

I have a whole post swirling around in my head about pain, and how I deal with it. (Spoiler: Not well.)

Update the Second: Shoes. One of my lovely Facebook commenters mentioned that I had completely neglected to include one of the most important factors in choosing shoes, along with comfort and durability--the price. N. was absolutely correct in saying that paying $200 for a pair of shoes is insane. In fact, if I pay triple digits it had better be for footwear that pays for itself. I'm thinking of my trusty Danskos, which finally gave up the ghost after five years of being worn day after day, year after year. (Again, not kidding.) My opinion on how much one should pay for shoes is stuck in the 1970s, when $35 was a good number.

Amazon image
My blurb this week is for my most recent Netflix addiction. When I completed all of the Midsomer Murder episodes I was having some withdrawal symptoms from my British television habit and looked around for lighter fare to get me through the pink elephant stage.

Enter Doc Martin.

This BBC (of course) series is one I had tried for a couple of episodes before, but I didn't really get into it while I still had Midsomer murderousness waiting in the wings. Now, after a binge that included three anti-inflammatory-enhanced episodes yesterday, I can't believe I didn't love it from the first.

This show has everything--quaint accents, gorgeous scenery, catchy background music, quirky characters, and the most misanthropic main character since House. In fact, Husband sat down to watch an episode with me and as I was trying to explain the plot he asked if Doc Martin wasn't really House Across the Pond. The difference, I told him, was that House was deep-down awful even when I wanted him to be good. Doc Martin is deep-down good.

Husband is now as hooked as I am (he says it's a good replacement for Corner Gas, the loss of which we are still mourning years later).

Thumbs way up and waggling for Doc Martin.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

What Time Do You Go to the Dentist?

I was thinking about the answer to my favorite riddle yesterday. The answer, of course, is that you go to the dentist at 2:30. (Tooth-hurty, get it?) It was only 1 o'clock, but in my mouth it was definitely tooth-hurty.

This is unusual for me. I have been blessed with good teeth, and except for one astounding check-up when I was a junior in high school and had mumblety-mumble cavities (I'm too embarrassed to even say how many it was, but the repair of those cavities required two appointments) I've managed to avoid much time in the dentist chair. No braces, no crowns (knock wood), minimal problems.

Until this year.

Several months ago I noticed that one of my upper molars seemed to be sensitive to cold. I've always been an popsicle biter, and suddenly biting down on that frozen deliciousness made me want to claw the side of my face off.

Huh. That does not seem normal, but nothing showed up on dental x-rays and my friendly tooth guy said it probably was the stress of having a husband who is chair of the school board during these wack-a-doodle days of local education. (I did not point out to him that he could have stopped after "stress of having a husband," because the tooth guy knows Husband and would have laughed heartily.)

So yesterday, when the tooth was still hurting, I went back. This time I was emphatic.

IT HURTS, I told the lovely hygienist. (Do you know how much I love my dental hygienist? So, so much. Do you know why? Because she is gentle and efficient and only talks to me when she does not have her hands or sharp tools in my mouth. She is perfection.)

So more x-rays were taken, and still my teeth's innards are pristine. The friendly tooth guy said I definitely was doing some clenching and did I have any stress in my life these days? When I stopped laughing he did some drilling around, just enough to make me remember the smell (oooh, that horrible smell) and then sent me home with instructions to relax.

In an hour I have an appointment to see my non-tooth doctor, the body guy who I'm assuming will tell me I have leprosy or dengue fever or something else that would refer pain to unlucky tooth number 13. But if he doesn't, and he tells me I just need to relax, I'll see you in a month because I am booking a cruise to Tahiti.

That's the prescription when it's tooth-hurty, right?