Presently Tense

My dad got the results of the MRI and so now we have answers!  Yay!  We wanted answers.

Side note: Apparently I get my crippling clautrophobia from my dad.  He pretty much lost his shit while in the machine but obviously had to tough it out.  I am so proud of him and impressed; I would have flipped the fuck out and crawled out if necessary. 

Anyway, it appears that the source of his pain and limited function has to do with his original injury from 28 years ago.  (Holy shit, how do I remember something that happened almost 30 years ago?  Because I am old, apparently.)  There appears to be a mass at the site, and there’s some fluid and pressure on a nerve, hence the intense pain and now semi-paralysis.

My dad kept stressing that it’s good news because it’s not an injury, there’s no tumor or scary life-threatening situation, he has access to a specialist, etc.  But the bad news is that this is likely not something that can be managed with some physical therapy and time.  Although he has yet to speak directly with the specialist his doctor recommended, the word “surgery” has been tossed around quite a bit.  It sounded to me that this diagnosis was actually more serious than what we originally thought.  My dad more or less confirmed that.

“But don’t worry.  This is not going to affect your wedding,” he assured me.

*************** 

I spent much of the day running errands and had my hair and makeup trial run for the wedding.  Distracted, I made a wrong turn and showed up a few minutes late; I secretly hoped my mom would be running late too so I wouldn’t be The Bad One.  No such luck.

I remembered all the things including photos of hairstyles I liked.  But I forgot to bring a picture of my dress, and misunderstood and failed to bring something else.  She wanted me to bring some magazine with a photo of a hairstyle my mom swore she liked, but I thought I had brought something just like it, but apparently it wasn’t right and gaaaahhh NO ONE IS DYING BECAUSE OF THIS WHY DOES IT MATTER?  Her disappointment and annoyance was obvious.  I wasn’t being The Responsible Daughter she deserves and was ruining this lovely wedding-planning moment with my negligence.

I tried to make up for it by agreeing with my mom that the makeup looked great, even though it looked like I had two black eyes.

So I was physically with one parent while my mind was elsewhere.  Not exactly the model of being in the moment fully.  Present.  And when my mind tries to reconcile how I can be present for both in every way I can’t find a reasonable, logical solution given so many other factors.  Add Ed and the life we are trying to build into the mix and I have all my luggage packed for a big fat guilt trip.

It’s a shame hurting and disappointing people is a bad thing.  I am so very good at it.

Out of the Closet

This is probably the lamest reason ever to get excited about something, but I just dropped off a shit-ton of clothes and some random housewares at a local Youth and Family Services office.  Aside from doing something good for a local organization, we get a fat tax write-off.  But that’s not even the biggest reason I am so giddy.

I love cleaning out stuff and getting rid of clutter and seeing clean, organzied closets.  Hi, I am the most fascinating person ever.

And yet?  I am a pretty sentimental person.  I have hung on to quite a few things that I no longer wear and have no intention of wearing again.  I had heard somewhere that if you are having a hard time parting with something based soley on memories, you should take pictures and then LET GO.  So guess what I did?  (I’m sure it wasn’t creepy at all for Ed to find me taking pictures of stuff hung up in the closet.  Nope, not weird in the slightest!)

My mom bought me this dress at the end of my freshman year of college. It's from Laura Ashley and, as you can see, quite...floral. I liked it but really had little occasion for it. I think I wore it once to a friend's wedding and it sat mostly unused for the last 13 years. It was always a bit too sweet for me, but I loved that my mom was so excited about this pretty dress she found for me to wear. Ah, moms.

 

Ah yes: my custom-made bridesmaid dress from Dad and Judy's wedding. Judy sent me the material with a pattern for a dress exactly like this, but tea-length. I decided that I was 19! No one was going to tell me how long my dress had to be! I have great legs! And so I had the dress made shorter and Judy never batted an eye. God, I was such an asshole then. Anyway, it wasn't cheap to have the dress made, simple as it was; my mom enlisted the help of a great seamstress, but she charged quite a bit, which did not please my father or my new stepmother. Sorry, guys. I always had big plans to wear this again for...dinners out? Or something? But I never did. And so away it goes!

 

Oh, Baby's First LBD...I thought I was such hot stuff in this. Anyway, I bought it at a thrift store for, like, $5 when I was 17 or so and my mom took me to get it fixed up. It needed to be shortened and the back needed some sort of closure. My mom came up with the brilliant idea to use clip-on bow ties like guys wear. It worked great. I had planned to wear this to my junior prom, but my date was grounded the week of the dance and so I spent my prom night babysitting. Seriously, my life was a John Hughes movie. Anyway, I got quite a bit of use from this but have graduated on to different pieces. So we say goodbye.

 

Back view of one of the bow-ties.

 

My first forray into Clasy Grown-up Clothes: Baby's First Ann Taylor Purchase. I bought this for myself when I was in high school and wore it to my 18th birthday dinner with my family. I busted it out periodically with black pants or a black skirt (I know, what a risk-taker), despite the fact that it was always a bit big and the color wasn't the most flattering, but it was so nice! And pretty! I felt like a Pretty Lady and it was one of the few things I could wear that didn't elicit sighs or a fight from my mom. Twas a sartorial miracle!

 

Oh man. This? Is one of my favorite things ever. My senior prom dress, courtesy of my high school's theater department. I saw it on a rack of costumes to be discarded and quickly absconded with it. You can't see it, but it comes with a cute capelet-type thing that has sort of discolored over the years. I was so happy to wear this dress at my prom, mostly because I was happy simply to BE at the prom. I had my hair styled in sort of a Jackie O.-ish flip (my obsession with her goes waaaayyyy back) and loved my retro look. This number has been trotted out several times over the years as part of my go-to easy costume of Prom Queen. Throw on a tiara, lots of makeup and BOOM! Instant costume. I wore it as recently as last Fall to a formal dinner and got a ton of compliments on it. And a lot of jealous looks when I mentioned it was my prom dress. Yeah, that's right: I can still rock it!

So, there you have it: a few key pieces from CKD, the High School and College Years.  As much as I try not to be a hoarder (and encourage Ed to purge, too) sometimes it’s hard to part with things.  The irony is that now that I have, they have a chance of being worn and enjoyed, instead of sitting in my closet.  I thought it would be hard to let go of these things, but it feels great to let go and make room in our home for both of our belongings.  We still have some areas to tackle, but we made great progress this weekend and I’m inspired to continue passing things on to people who have use for them.

What Was That Thing About Knowing Being Half the Battle?

Oh, hey there.  It’s…been awhile.  I always feel so awkward when I take a long time to update between posts.  It’s like running into that guy after that one date where it wasn’t glaringly obvious to him that it was awful and you sort of left things up in the air and now you need to make small talk.

Not that YOU are a bad date.  Oh no.  You’re lovely. 

Anyway, life has been busy and crazy and full of fun and a weekend in Reno for a wedding.  Wherein I left the reception with an open wine bottle shoved into my dress, as a friend of mine was able to shove two into her pockets.  But it’s cool: the bride’s mom blessed this idea since she had already paid for the open, full bottles.  Really, it would have been shittyof us to leave them.  Don’t bother consulting Emily Post on this, OK?

But somewhere mixed in all the summer fun, my dear dad managed to hurt his left shoulder to the point where he couldn’t feed himself, drink anything, drive or perform basic daily tasks.  This has been, well, upsetting to say the least.  Concerning.  Scary.  He had an MRI today and it will be a few days before he gets any definitive results.  The initial diagnosis is “something with the rotator cuff.”  But the MRI will rule out anything more serious and narrow down what exactly is going on.  This is where I thank heaven that Judy is a physical therapist and can at least help my dad come up with some ways to alleviate pain and get through the day.  But still.  This just blows. 

My overreactions to my dad’s health issues are well-known and often somewhat unfounded.  I mean, yes, the guy has had some scary shit go down (aside from the whole becoming-a-quadriplegic-due-to-a-diving-accident-thing) and he always bounces back, but it means I get a little worried that he’s run out of miracles and this is the beginning of…I don’t even know.  Not The End, as his injuries are not life-threatening.  My ability to articulate what scares me and why, and how seeing my dad hurt and scared escapes me.  This, uh, might be why I’ve shied away from writing about this. 

I know all we can do is wait and see, and deal with the situation in front of us and a million other things people say to someone who is anxious over the unknown.  I wish we could skip the part where we at least know what is going on.

Motivation to Bring Back the “Natural” Look. And By “Natural” I Mean “Like a Yeti.”

So, remember when I went in for my waxing and ended up with a red goatee?  It gets better!

I went back to my usual spot and was told that no estheticians were available, but they had plenty of cosmetologists.  Frankly, I’m not entirely sure what the difference is, but I know I’ve had a cosmetologist wax my face before, so I was all, “Hey, whatever man.” 

And then Rhonda showed up, looking very nervous and twitchy about the whole thing.  In retrospect, I should have asked the lady at the front desk for someone who didn’t act like she had to amputate her own arm.  Oh, silly, naive, hopeful me of two hours ago.

It took Rhonda a loooonnngggg time to get set up and locate tools and basically form a coherent thought.  I asked her to take care of the ladystache upper lip area first, so of course she went straight for the eyebrows.  With barely warm wax that she was having trouble spreading.  As I feared, they were a bit thinner than I like, but hey!  When you’re a Wookie all you have to do is wait five minutes and it’s back.

I pointed out my problem areas on my upper lip, which she ignored.  But considering that she had to yank twice and muttered, “Wow, I need to work on my grip” as I felt tears welling up in my eyes I wasn’t going to ask her to keep going.  She also claimed she couldn’t see very well, which seems sort of problematic in her line of work.

Five minutes later I was at CVS buying some Sally Hansen hair removal pod things to fix the situation and take care of business.

And now looking at my bright red face I can remember why I stick with waxing.  I think “hair removal cream” is code for “this shit will burn your fucking face off and possibly leave you disfigured and weeping.” 

It’s official: I’ll never be the well-groomed pretty girl.  But I am here for your amusement so don’t say I never did anything nice for you.

And Shove It

A couple of regular working  joes have become Internet celebs this week due to leaving shitty jobs in spectacularly “fuck off” fashion.  Steven Slater’s situation has been covered by the Wall Street Journal, Today Show and numerous Facebook and Twitter commenters who are calling him a hero.  Jenny’s story is quite possibly a hoax or staged simply to gain some publicity.  If it’s true, I feel you, Sister.  If not, it’s still not too far from the thoughts I had after my two-year stint in the world of finance.

I worked for a brokerage firm in the Bay Area with the hopes of gaining some experience in a new field and possibly breaking into a career that would bring me some satisfaction.  I was hired to work with/for a young broker who was a rising star in the company.  Driven, smart and accomplished, I felt that “Shelly” would be a great mentor. 

Oh, I was so wrong.  So delightfully, adorably dead fucking wrong.

Rather than learn about the industry, I was treated to a host of indignities and abuse.  Shelly decided to get a puppy about the time that I started.  And two weeks later, discovered that she was pregnant.  How did this affect MY life, you ask?

  • Shelly started bringing her dog to work in order to socialize him.  She would take him outside to go to the bathroom, scoop up his poop like a good dog owner and – instead of disposing of the shit in the dumpsters outside – would bring it to my desk, where she would fling the bag in my wastebasket.  “It looks like you need to empty your trash soon!” she cluelessly stated as she deposited dog shit where I sat and worked.
  • Pregnancy was not kind to her hormones.  She was exhausted.  She frequently freaked out, apologized for not feeling well, and blamed it on the pregnancy.  This went on for, oh, about nine months.
  • Shelly had her kid, went on leave for eight weeks, and returned to work.  WITH THE NEWBORN.  As in, she started bringing her baby to work with her as she made calls, placed trades, and attended client meetings.  She believed that clients who were unsupportive of her lifestyle choices were not clients she wanted anyways.  Oh, did I mention that profitability (ie having clients who invested money with us) played a huge role in my bonuses?
  • After awhile she hired a nanny…to watch the baby at the office.  Our two-room office.  Which meant that the nanny basically parked her ridiculous self next to my desk and asked inane personal questions (Did I have a boyfriend?  Where did he live?), which she then reported back to Shelly.  I started telling Mary Poppins weirdly specific, innocuous stuff to see if Shelly would later bring it up.  She always did.
  • Shelly was determined to have the stay-at-home mom experience without giving up her career OR relying on someone else to “raise my child” and so she would be off at various Mommy and Me, Music Together and Gymboree classes with her baby.  Her baby who couldn’t hold his head up or talk or actually participate in these things.  If anyone from our company or a client inquired about her whereabouts while she was off at one of these awesome uses of her time, I was to report that she was “at a meeting.”  Basically, I was supposed to lie for her.  These activities always took place between 8am and 5pm, Monday-Friday.  Those were also our regular office hours.

But I can’t simply blame Shelly’s crazy on having a kid or even a new dog.  Oh no.  I firmly believe that she was batshit crazy pre-breeding and that it just brought out a new set of cuckoo’s nest behavior.  Motherhood did not seem to instill a newfound sense of human compassion though.

  • One day I had to use the restroom shortly after arriving to work.  Apparently the fact that I was not at my desk for 60 seconds was upsetting, because Shelly asked me to “please use the restroom at home before work so that the schedule would not be interrupted.”  I shit you not (no pun intended).
  • I soon developed a UTI (sorry for the overshare) as a result of “holding it” and had to take myself to the ER.  Shelly told me that I “could not take the whole day off for a doctor’s appointment” even though I worked almost an entire day before taking myself to the motherfucking hospital.  Because I was, you know, urinating blood.
  • Months later a cold turned into a horrible lung infection that over-the-counter meds could not help.  I was coughing so hard that I was throwing up daily.  When I finally had enough and went to seek medical help, Shelly once again expressed displeasure when I had to take my meds with food because it meant I was actually slowing down enough to eat a bit of lunch, rather than working straight through.  She didn’t realize that the reason I had been skipping lunch in the first place was because I was tired of throwing up each afternoon.
  • When I gave her two MONTHS notice that I would be leaving my job in order to relocate for personal reasons she a.) tried to talk me out of it* and b.) asked me to stick around longer since my last day would be right before she was supposed to go to Fiji on vacation.  Did I mention that this trip to Fiji was something she was able to earn through the company with my help, but that I was not eligible for the trip itself?  Yeah. 
  • On my last day she left a horribly bitter, shrill, flat-out mean voice mail message on our office phone, berating me for not being around so that she could say goodbye to me properly.  It was the single weirdest message ever and my replacement looked horrified as I played it on the speakerphone.

So, why did I stay at this awful place?  I mean, the pay wasn’t great, the benefits were so-so, and the while the actual work itself was fine and could be interesting, I spent much of my day taking care of HER rather than our clients.  Oh, and I was also hit on by clients and harassed by a client/referral partner who worked in the same building.  But…I wasn’t a quitter.  I didn’t want to leave because someone was “mean” to me.  And I kept thinking maybe there had to be some great payoff for all of my slaving.  There never was.  No glowing recommendation (company policy is that HR will only verify employment and whether the employee was in “good standing” when he/she left and brokers are not to write personal letters), and the work experience itself was only useful in that specific field.

I did, however, get a lot of good stories out of it, as well as the satisfaction of knowing that I behaved with integrity and treated her with respect even when she couldn’t be bothered to do the same.  So there’s that.

*In retrospect it wasn’t the most brilliant move of my life, but that’s neither here nor there.  Also, none of her damn business.

Because Everyone Has the Right to Fight About the Guest List and Menu

OK, I try to keep this space apolitical* but you know what?  I can’t hide my unbridled glee over this glorious bit of news.

I am a firm believer in marriage equality, and – despite my snotty attitude toward the wedding planning process – am keenly aware that I am lucky that I get to marry the love of my life without having to go to court or move to another state or jump through fiery hoops.  We haven’t had to face any great obstacles or rely on the government to determine if it’s going to happen. 

Oh, and today is my mom and Dave’s anniversary.  Auspiscious day indeed!

Hooray for love and marriage and equality and common fucking sense and civil rights prevailing!

*Not entirely sure that’s a word.  But whatever.

This is What I Do for Entertainment When It’s Too Early to Start Drinking

BIEBER Fever has gripped our family!  See?  I wasn’t lying:

 

“Bitch, please.”

 

You can’t see my dad, but rest assured he was pitching a fit about this activity.  Please note Ed in the background, oblivious to the shenanigans.  His best defense mechanism is ignoring me.  This may seem obnoxious but dude.  I’ve waited a long ass time for a younger sibling to torment, and it’s not like I’m poking him with a stick.  I figure I have a year – two tops – before he starts fighting back.  In the meantime, I’m having some harmless fun and teaching the lad about alternate styles for his current cut.  Yes, that’s it.