Chuck E. Cheese.
Oh, did I mention my...VERTIGO.
I must really love my kid.
Okay, I'm in. I can't resist these things, so when Unmitigated posted hers I thought "Why the hell not?" It's Saturday, it's raining, and this is really low-effort. And it's all about me, me, ME!
99 Things I Ought to Have Done
Here's the Deal:
Copy the list, bold the ones you've done (with explanations if you care to), share with friends. Here I go...
Okay, that's the 99. I don't know about you, but I found this a little depressing. So many things I haven't done. Even some of the kind of lame ones are things I probably should have done. Actually, one good tour of Europe would take care of about half of these. I'll have to work on that... In the meantime I think I'll just go play Plants Vs. Zombies.
The alarm woke me up this morning at 6:45 as usual. OW! Damn. I must have slept funny, as I couldn't turn my head to the left. I stood up. WHOA! Yep, still had vertigo. I meandered into the kitchen and happened to glance at the clock on the stove. 7:52. Strange. I turned on the computer 7:52. WWAAAAHHH??!!! The alarm clock was screwed. I had 8 minutes to get Jude to school. I hauled the child out of bed, and started to get him breakfasted and ready, when I realized that the night before I had washed all his school uniforms, but had failed to put them in the dryer. I threw up my hands and resigned myself to a tardy slip.
As soon as I got home from dropping Jude at school 30 minutes late, a truck pulled into the driveway behind me. It was Pete, the house painter. Everyone that we ever have doing any work around our house is an out of work actor, working their side job. Tom the electrician, Dave the handyman, Pete the painter. All actors, all willing to work cheap, as long as you understand that they might have to leave something half finished if they get an audition. Pete was in the middle of painting Jude's bathroom. "Did you get the paint?" he asked. Uh, no, I had not. Damn. I ran to the hardware store, and made an incredibly quick paint decision. Which is insanely out of character for me, I usually deliberate and fret about paint color for months, obsessively painting little swatches from samples. But maybe this is good? Going from the gut, going on instinct. I grabbed the paint that "spoke to me" and rushed it home to Pete. OW! Neck. WHOA! Vertigo.
When I got home, and was lugging the paint into the house, my neighbor Natalie ran over from next door. Natalie is an eccentric old Russian woman, who is the Alice Kravitz of the neighborhood. She's eagle-eyed and eager to point out every transgression you make. Everything is a disaster with Natalie. High drama reigns. She always speaks in a loud, breathless whisper. "Greeeeettchen! Greeeeeettchen!" "Oh hey, Natalie." I always find myself reacting to Natalie's melodrama by becoming overly laid back. "Greeeeetchen, you have to look on side of house! Is drain! Is water comes out of it!" "A drain?" I say casually. "On side of your house! Water comes from drain! And puppy dog will get sick to drink it!" "Hmm. I wonder what that could be. I'll take a look." "Is poopy! On side of house!' "Yes, Natalie, I know, I need to scoop up Fancy's poop. Thank you so much for reminding me this." (you nosy, old bitch...)
I went in, got showered and dressed and ready for my day, which was to involve driving all over LA, going to two auditions and a doctors appointment. While unable to turn my neck to the left, and with the road spinning under me from my vertigo.
As I was about to head to the car, I remembered Natalie's mysterious mention of a "drain", and decided to walk around to the side of the house. Strange. The side of the yard seemed to have become a swamp. I started to pick my way through it when I saw what looked like...toilet paper. And..."poopy". EEWWW. There was the house's overflow pipe, with the top off of it. And what appeared to be raw sewage all around it. Hunks of "poopy" floated by. I managed to get the top and screw it back on the pipe. Wait, did I say EWWWW? Now granted, it was the "poopy" of my child and husband and...you know, me, but still. EEWWW. I have no idea how it came off. I chose to ignore it, and ran to my audition, hoping it would all heal itself while I was gone.
The first audition was uneventful. But the second one proved trying. First I drove around the block for 20 minutes looking for a parking spot. Then, I had to change into a nice dress and high heels to play a woman whose psoriasis was at long last cured. Apparently, when one is finally relieved from the pain and suffering of a lingering skin disorder, one smiles and laughs merrily, while walking along in a carefree, leisurely way, delighting in the fact that now one can reveal her once embarrassing skin for all the world to see. As I was leaving the building after this embarrassment, my vertigo kicked in, I fell off my high heels, down the front steps of the casting office, and skinned my knee.
I got to my doctors appointment in plenty of time, and was eager to maybe, finally, please God, find out what the hell this vertigo is, and how to get rid of it. The only parking available within a three mile radius is the valet parking in the building. Oh well. The ear/nose/throat doctor is a tiny, cheery man, who gets my jokes. So I immediately like him. He puts me through a litany of peculiar little tests - put your arms out to your sides. Now touch your nose with your right forefinger. Your left forefinger. Stand on your left foot. Your right foot. You get the idea. He looked into every orifice in my head. He then sent me in to get a hearing test. The results? He thinks I have a viral infection of the inner ear. For which you can do? Not much. He has given me a steroid medicine, which is supposed to take down the inflammation of my inner ear. Hopefully, it won't blow me up into a sausage. The visit to the doctor cost me $5, which was my co-pay. The fee to get my car out of it's valet parking jail? $12.
On the way home, I stopped at the store to get my prescriptions filled and pick up some vodka, because, really, I deserved it. The medication costs $115. Because it's the beginning of the year, and there's this pesky deductible thing. When I got back to the car, I couldn't find my keys. Which never happens to me. Jimmy loses his keys daily, but I really, truly, probably lose my keys once every 10 years. I searched my purse, I headed back into the store. I retraced my steps. I got the employees looking. I searched my purse again. Heh. Oh look, here they are. I hid in shame, and left quickly.
I got home, and found that Jude's bathroom is now painted the most startling and nausea-inducing shade of green known to man. Jimmy loves it!
And then, the most pathetic thing of all. I finally collapsed in my favorite chair, little drinky-poo in hand. I waved off Jimmy and Jude - Mama's too tired. She's had a bad day. I opened up my little laptop and checked my blog...
Yesterday's post about my neck wattle and the catalog? The one I thought was pretty funny? Got TWO comments. TWO. No, I lie. I am telling you a lie. That second comment? The one from someone named Caroline? That's from me! I decided to post a fake comment to make sure that the commenter wasn't broken or something. I used my middle name and deliberately wrote just the lamest comment I could imagine. So that means I actually got ONE comment. And it's from Samantha, who's my NIECE. Isn't this just the saddest thing? I'm stunned. I don't think I've ever gotten just one comment, since I started this blog. This is very disturbing. And while my traffic wasn't that low, I didn't get one single visit through the Google Reader. Does that mean that my post somehow didn't get linked through the Reader? I sincerely hope that's the problem, and not that I have scared everyone off my revealing myself, and talking about my neck wattle.
I still haven't ventured to the side of the house to see if the swamp of sewage has abated.
And I still can't turn my neck to the left.
It's been a bad day.
It must be kismet.
Just yesterday, I revealed myself to you and whined on and on about my recently developed neck wattle. And today? We received a new catalogue in the mail. The Harriet Carter catalogue, which is much like the good old Lillian Vernon catalogue, but even more like something my old great-aunt Lula Mae from Caldwell, Texas would have eagerly poured over. And there, right there, on the cover of the Harriet Carter Catalogue is this...
the Neck Genie! As seen on TV!
According to Harriet Carter, the Neck Genie will "Take years off your appearance! Neck Genie helps you firm and tone your neck and chin for a more youthful look. Incredible 2-minute-a-day exerciser uses progressive resistance to gently lift the muscles that cause sagging of the chin, neck and jaw as you age. No costly surgery, no needles, no pain! Safe, easy-to-use device comes with 3 power coils, storage case and instructions.
3 power coils, wow, that's a lot.
So I've ordered it. 7 to 10 days, and this wattle is history, baby. Wish me luck!
And you should check out the Harriet Carter website. Other amazing gadgets which you can buy for a song:
I just keep thinking about this guy, just starting out as a model, who thinks this is gonna be his big break. He's been eagerly waiting for the release of this catalogue, so he can cut out this picture to put in his modelling "book". His mama must be so proud.
This is my very first effort at vlogging. I apologize in advance for my rambling, and excessive use of the words "anyway" and "so". I will endeavor to do better with this in the future. Please visit the Spin Cycle at Sprite's Keeper for more confessional moments.
It's Tuesday once again. Which not only means that it's random thoughts time, but also that it's been a whole week that I've had this hideous vertigo. I'm so sick of it I can not express how sick I am. I keep running into people (not literally, but I have, in fact, been running into things) who either have had this (including Jan, over at the Sushi Bar, who has it right now - small world, right?), or know someone who has, and everybody said about the same thing, that it takes about 2 weeks to get over it. I have an appointment with an acupuncturist on Wednesday, and an ENT guy on Thursday. I'll let you know how those go. Sigh.
But because I feel like I'm on a boat all the time (ironically, I had an audition last week in which I had to play a woman on a boat, and I didn't even get a callback!), I've been spending a tremendous amount of time sitting on the sofa watching television, and luckily the Winter Olympics have offered plenty of entertainment. So, here's my two cents...
I was thrilled that Ice Dancing started this week, I've been a fan since back in the days of Torvill and Dean, and their Bolero dance (okay, I may have just dated myself a wee bit). We'd been hearing all week about the "big controversy" over the Aboriginal dance that the top Russian pair, Domnina and Shabalin, had planned. I kept thinking that it must surely be much ado about nothing, yet another example of political correctness run amok. But you know what? It WAS offensive. And what's more, it was stupid. They kept mugging and smiling ridiculously. They managed to offend pretty much all indigenous people on the planet - their costumes made them look like those actors in black-face in movies from the '30's playing "natives from Africa", but then they also did that hand over the mouth "wah-wah-wah-wah" thing people used to do when they played cowboys and Indians. I can't imagine what the hell they were thinking.
And this was the updated, less-offensive version of their costumes, originally, he actually WAS in black face. The theme for all the dances in the program was folk dancing, and they were meant to embody the "flavor" of the country of their choosing. How they could possibly have interpretted all that hair-dragging and eye-rolling as an Australian Aboriginal "folk dance", I can't imagine. I'm guessing that they had decided they thought it would be fun to do a "cave man" dance, and when they heard the theme for the Olympics was folk dancing, they tried to make it mesh. Just dumb. You can watch here to see for yourself.
And while I'm on the subject of skating costumes... take a look at these on Canadian pairs skating couple Dube and Davison...
Simple, attractive, stylish, functional, tasteful. And now on the other end of the tacky spectrum we have the Ukranians...
Jimmy and I were sitting together watching the women's skiing. During Julia Mancuso's run, the commentator, in regard to the snow conditions of the course, said, and I quote, "She likes it bumpy and rough." At which time, Jimmy, murmured, apparently forgetting I was in the room, "Yeah, I bet she does." Followed by a lecherous "heh, heh, heh." laugh. That's my hubby!
Shut up Evgeni Plushenko! What a big, snotty, whiny sore loser you are! Evan Lysacek won fair and square, and anybody who watched those two performances knows it. Plushenko did the jumps, and did the quad "woooooo" (said in sarcastic fake awe), but none of his jumps had the quality of Lysacek's, and all of his moves between the jumps were dull and uninspired. It pisses me off that Plushyehko's sour grapes has taken away some of Lysacek's thunder. Not cool.
And from Scotty Lago, we have hopefully learned this lesson - No matter how drunk you are, never ever let anyone take a picture of a snowboarder groupie chick "go down" on your newly won bronze medal.
Did y'all see Bode Miller on the medal stand when he got his gold? What a lovely moment. It's interesting to watch the way different people handle that gold medal moment when they're standing there listening to their national anthem and watching the flag of their nation raised in their honor. Some cry, some look nervous. But Bode Miller took the whole thing in with such dignity and humility, no doubt because of his past failings, and years of struggling. Lovely moment.
And finally, I offer my deepest sympathies to all Canadians after the USA beat the pants off them in hockey. I have quite a few Canadian friends, and I know that Hockey is to Canada as Football is to Texas. So, sorry. Please take comfort in the fact that you whipped us in that totally incomprehensible, yet strangely fascinating sport, curling. So you have that.
For more randomness, head to Keely's place.
Forget Dooce. We mommy bloggers owe our very existence to a housewife from Ohio named Erma Bombeck.
Were she alive, Erma would have turned 83 today. Though she wasn't the first "housewife humorist", she was certainly the most popular, and pioneered the wry, honest, eloquent style that we all aspire to, finding humor in the mundane. She wrote the newspaper column "At Wits End" from 1965 until her death in 1996 from complications from a kidney transplant, and numerous books with excellent titles: "I Lost Everything in the Post-Natal Depression", "The Grass is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank", "Motherhood: The Second Oldest Profession" and "Family - the Ties That Bind...and Gag!" Brilliant!
Imagine what Erma could have done with the internet!
Erma raised three kids, and battled cancer and kidney failure, but never failed to find the humor in life's trials and tragedies. And while I aspire to write just ONE sentence that people would want to quote, Erma was endlessly quotable. Here are some of my personal faves, and it's amazing how well her stuff has held up to the test of time:
"When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me.'"
"Seize the moment. Think of all those women on the 'Titanic' who waved off the dessert cart."
"My second favorite household chore is ironing. My first one being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint." "
"God created man, but I could do better."
"In general, my children refused to eat anything that hadn't danced on TV."
"A child needs your love more when he deserves it least."
"Children make your life important."
"I come from a family where gravy is considered a beverage."
"I was too old for a paper route, too young for Social Security and too tired for an affair."
"My theory on housework is, if the item doesn't multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one else cares. Why should you?"
I will leave you with a piece that Erma wrote in 1979, at age 52. A version of it that was kind of boogered with circulated over the internet a few years ago, but here is the original text...
IF I HAD MY LIFE TO LIVE OVER
Someone asked me the other day if I had my life to live over, would I change anything.
My answer was no, but then I thought about it and changed my mind.
If I had my life to live over again, I would have waxed less and listened more.
Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy and complaining about the shadow over my feet, I'd have cherished every minute of it and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was to be my only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.
I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.
I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.
I would have eaten popcorn in the "good" living room and worried less about the dirt when you lit the fireplace.
I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble wbout his youth.
I would have burnt the pink candle that was sculptured like a rose before it melted while being stored.
I would have sat cross-legged on the lawn with my children and never worried about grass stains.
I would have cried and laughed less while watching television...and more while watching real life.
I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband which I took for granted.
I would have eaten less cottage cheese, and more ice cream.
I would have gone to bed when I was sick, instead of pretending the Earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for a day.
I would never have bought ANYTHING just because it was practical/wouldn't show soil/guaranteed to last a lifetime.
When my child kissed me inpetuously, I would never have said, "Later. Now, go get washed up for dinner."
There would have been more I love yous...more I'm sorrys...more I'm listenings...but mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute of it...look at it and really see it...try it on...live it...exhaust it...and never give that minute back until there was nothing left of it.
We watch a lot of Olympics around our house. I've always identified myself as something of an Olympophile (or would it be Olympiphile? Questionable spelling makes me nervous.), and I'm elated that Jude has inherited my love. But watching the games with him has become something of...a drag. I blame this on his total obsession with all things Shaun White. In fact, Shaun White has almost eclipsed Super Mario Brothers as the main subject of Jude's endless chatter. Which is really saying something.
It started during the opening ceremony. Our conversation went something like this -
Look, baby, the Opening Ceremony is starting!
Where's Shaun White? Is that Shaun White? When's the snowboarding? When's Shaun White? Where's Shaun White? Shaun White's the best. Isn't he the best, Mama? He's a Merican. Where are the Mericans? Are the Mericans next? Is Shaun White next? Why are they not showing the snowboarding? When's the snowboarding? Where's Shaun White?
This continued for two hours.
So when the snowboarding FINALLY started up the other night, I was much relieved. Being the good Mama that I am, I didn't even watch it that night, but saved it for Jude to watch the next day after school. The ability to TiVo is sort of a blessing and a curse. Because while we could tape it and watch it the next day, this also meant that the 6-year old was able to snatch the remote control, and he has rather selective tastes in his Olympics viewing. Namely, all he wants to see is...Shaun White.
I tried to get him interested in the figure skating. His reaction? "Mama...it's like ballet. It's for girls." "No it's NOT" I answered, "Look at the strength and athleticism! The artistry!" He sighed. "Mama. It's for girls." Then I saw this...
and, you know...what could I say?
I did manage to wrestle the remote away from the kid and forced him to watch the other snowboarders, not just Mr. White. He rooted for the other "Mericans", but when another rider from Finland or Japan was up, he would start to fidget and whine.
Finally, Shaun White made his most excellent gold medal winning run. Jude's reaction?
Yep. The child actually ran up and threw his arms around the television.
Well, I guess Shaun is a pretty cool guy. Did you catch his Jimi Hendrix bit during the national anthem on the medal stand? While I know that my old Texan daddy is rolling in his grave, I must admit he's pretty fun. There are worse people Jude could look up to.
As long as he doesn't try a Double McTwist 1260 off the back stoop.
VERTIGO UPDATE: Still have vertigo.
Holy Shit. This is one of the weirdest feelings I've ever felt.
About midday yesterday, I started feeling kind of strange. Light-headed. Unfocused. By the end of the day, I was full-on dizzy, and started having trouble walking straight. You know that feeling when you're really, really drunk and when you lie down in the bed you get the spins, like the whole bed is twirling around? That's what I'm feeling ALL the time.
I woke up this morning, and it wasn't any better. I got Jude to his school's Ash Wednesday mass, managed to stagger up the aisle and get myself ashed, then drove straight to the doctors. I'm sure that everybody at the church thought that Jude's mom had treated herself to a couple of toddies for breakfast.
The prognosis? Benign Positional Paroxysmal Vertigo or BPPV for short. That's a link to the Wiki page that explains it. But truly? It's pretty boring, so don't bother. Basically, calcium has built up into tiny "ear rocks" that have lodged themselves in tricky parts of my inner ear. The result is that I feel like I've had about 3 martinis, but without the fun.
My very funny, wry doctor gave me her diagnosis, there was a beat of silence.
So...what do we do for it?
I'm going to perform a maneuver on you.
But it's not going to work.
So...why are you going to do it?
Because sometimes it works.
But it usually doesn't.
And I'm going to give you a prescription for some medication.
Okay. That's good.
But it's not going to work.
So why are you giving it to me?
Well, it might work.
So...what can you do to make it go away?
You just have to rest and wait it out.
It turns out that nothing really works for BPPV. Dr. W performed the Epley Maneuver on me. She's very smart. It didn't work. She then gave me a prescription for the medicine. I've been taking it dutifully. She's very smart. It didn't work either.
But I just happen to have a source of knowledge about vertigo. My mother-in-law, Mommy. She's been getting it periodically for the past 50 years. I called her and told her my diagnosis.
Did the doctor give you some medicine?
I give her the name of the medicine.
Oh, that's what I take when I get it!
Does it work?
So what do you do to get better?
You just gotta sit there.
So there you have it. Dr. Watson, confirmed by Mommy. You just gotta sit there.
So here I sit. I can't read, because I can't look down. And the book I'm reading it the new Stephen King, "Under the Dome", which weighs about 60 pounds, so I'm unable to hold it straight out in front of me. And I can watch the television. Thank God for TiVo. I love that Dr. Drew's Celebrity Rehab.
I can use the laptop if I prop it up. But I'm so spacy and out of it, that I don't seem to be able to focus on anything like blog reading. Or comment writing. Or comment answering. So please, no one be offended. I tried to write some comments, but somehow the vertigo has taken away my ability to be funny. I just stare at the little blank comment screen, and have absolutely nothing to contribute. Sad.
But the worst is yet to come. I've been told that I can't lie down flat to sleep, I have to stay propped up at a 45 degree angle. God help me. I think I'm going to make myself a little spot on the sofa. We'll see if I can sleep at all. Maybe if I dope myself with NyQuil and arrange pillows all around me?
And the very worst thing? I just gave up EVERYTHING for lent starting TODAY. So I'm dizzy and deprived. And I can't even drink, because it just makes it worse. Damn.
I consider myself a reasonably "good" Catholic. I mean, I go to church every Sunday. I'm raising my kid Catholic. I pray. But I must confess that I'm a little fast and loose with many of the details. I'm afraid I consider some of the dogma and rules a little silly. I mean, I feel like if I miss mass every now and then because I'm, say...hungover...the Lord will understand and cut me a break.
So Lent always causes me stress. It seems like the one time of the year I should be a little more serious. But I always fret over the whole "what are you giving up for Lent?" question. I don't feel like I ever do it right. And I don't think I really understand the whole concept very accurately. I mean, I understand the idea of making a symbolic sacrifice, but what does God care if I eat chocolate?
A while back, I heard a wonderful homily (for all you non-Catholics - homily = sermon) that suggested that instead of "giving up" something for Lent, you should "do" something for lent. Which appeals to me. It is positive and active.
So what do I go with? Give up? Do? Some combination of the two? And if I give up, how much should I give up? Something HUGE? How big of a sacrifice is enough? In the past, I've had years when I gave up a behavior, such as "judgmentalism" or "impatience". Which is damned difficult, believe me.
According to the great font of knowledge Wikipedia, "the traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer — through prayer, penitence, alms giving and self-denial — for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus". Okay. I think that one problem for me may be that the whole penitential/self-denial thing is one aspect of Catholicism that I find kind of creepy. I prefer to focus on the positive, loving aspects. Just using the word "self-denial" makes me picture hair shirts and self-flagellation or some such thing. So...let's move on.
According to Beliefnet, Lent "is a time of fasting and repentance--a somber and reflective season that precedes the celebrations of Easter. Christians who observe a Lenten fast are both honoring and reenacting Jesus' forty-day fast in the desert." Okay. I like "repentance" better than "self-denial". It seems more specific and purposeful. I've done something I'm not proud of, so I "repent". And I like the idea of "honoring" Jesus' own 40 day fast. But what do I deny myself? And is it really doing anybody any good?
I decided to talk to my wise and wonderful friend Gwen. Gwen is a smart Catholic woman, who is extremely thoughtful about all matters spiritual. She said that when she chooses something to "give up", she chooses something that she feels is keeping her from "walking closely with Christ". So for example, she may give up "being fearful", because fear gets in the way of faith and trust. Or she might give up "being on the computer all night", and then spend that time with her husband, or in meditation and prayer. And while giving up meat might not mean that much to her, in the past she has given up eating out, something which she loves. And in giving up eating out, she saved money, which she then gave to the poor, and she spent much more time at home with her family. Isn't she smart?
So after much thought and soul searching (okay, not really that much, but some), I have settled on the following three resolutions. I hereby declare that for the next 40 days, I will...
1) Give up all crap food for Jesus. This includes all processed foods, as well as all refined sugar. Does this mean that I am essentially going on a diet for Lent? Well, yes. And maybe if I make a VOW TO GOD, I will actually stick with it too (I'm pretty good at sticking to VOWS TO GOD - witness, 15 years of marriage to Jimmy)! But it is also making a serious sacrifice, and it will also have the following benefits -
a) I estimate that I will save about $20 a week, which I will then donate to the Social Services office at my church, to help the poor.
b) By not eating crap, I will become a healthier woman. Which will help me to live a longer, more active life, and be there for my son and husband. Which, I value very highly.
c) In not eating crap, I will also not feed my husband and child any crap, which will help them to have longer, more active lives. Which I value even more highly.
In addition to this...
2) I hereby give up being a nasty bitch to my husband. Difficult, yes. But I think extremely positive.
3) I will get off the computer and play at least one game with my son every day.
Okay, Lent. I'm ready. Bring it on. I'll try to let y'all know how my self-flagellation is going.
Is anybody else giving anything up for Lent? Do the rest of you think we're crazy?