Friday, November 17, 2006

Rules of life

Rules of life. Not to be confused with inevitable laws of the universe, which are unchanging and...well...inevitable. Rules of life are things you learn as you go about your daily lives. Some are quick and easy, others take more time. But rest assured, there are many many more rules than we have time in our short lives to learn. In the interest of trying to help you pack as much learning as possible into your life, I will point a few out. Maybe I can save you some time to use for other things. Or not. The quick and easy are of the same ilk. It only takes one experience to figure them out and they are easily remembered. Things like not brushing your teeth then drinking a glass of orange juice. Or drinking orange juice with a brownie or slice of cake. One "BLEAH!" is about all it takes there. Some may take a little longer to learn simply because one must reach a stage of life before they can be experienced, but once you get there the lesson sticks hard and fast after the first event. Like don't feed the baby then shake her up, and expect to escape with a clean shirt. Or don't feed the dog pitted prunes even if she begs for them. In those cases, you have to wait until you are a parent, or have a dog. A cat person with no access to canines may NEVER learn the prune rule, but that is okay because they get to learn the "it is best to wear slippers in the dark to avoid stepping in a warm hairball with bare feet" rule. It sort of evens out. Nevertheless, you wouldn't hold that shaken baby up over your head even one more time, and would never again ask the dog to "sit pretty" for a pitted prune. Some take a while to learn, not because we have to develop enough to reach a stage, but rather because humans are stupid creatures and aren't always reliable when matching a cause with an effect. Like no matter how many celery sticks you eat, it is the chocolate cake that attaches itself to your rear for the world to see. But we keep on with the celery during the day, and sneak in that cake at night when nobody is looking. There is a reason Sara Lee is on the stock exchange, and it ain't because she makes celery! It is the same reason Weight Watchers makes millions. One of my favourites, is if you have a chance to put gas in your tank, do it. Because guaranteed the night you decide to "get gas tomorrow" you are going to be running late and in dire danger of running out of gas on the way to that important appointment with the specialist you have been waiting months for. Or you will have to pump it yourself in the wee hours of the morning, in whipping rain while wearing business clothes. You know, a black pencil skirt and a thin white blouse. It takes making a few presentations looking like the love-union between a drowned rat and the loser of a wet t-shirt contest before learning that one. And still, I have been known to pass by a perfectly convenient gas pump to "get gas tomorrow". There are apartment rules - that "friendly" neighbour will soon become TOO friendly and spend more time at your place than theirs. Home owner rules - 10 year shingles sound like a good deal, that is, until you have been living in the house for 10 years and still have a mortage and now you need to replace the roof. Usually this happens days after finally paying off the appliances you bought when you bought the house. Light carpet is not your friend, ever. I don't care what they are showing in the design magazines. Dark carpet is not your friend, ever. I don't care what they are showing in the design magazines. Hardwood and ceramic are only "easy to clean" if you have OCD or a maid. Car rules - if you wash it, it will rain. If you have it detailed, kids or animals will become carsick on the upholstery and passengers will grind cheesies into the floor mats. If you have the chance, fill the tank (see above). Office rules - if you dress too nice your boss thinks you are overpaid. If you dress too shabby you will be passed over for promotions because you don't seem motivated. The promotion and the raise always go to the person you think least deserves it. The more incompetent the new employee, the better the chances you will be reporting to that person within weeks. If you get something new, write your name all over it and chain it to your desk or it will disappear. Writing your name all over office supplies and chaining them to your desk makes people whisper about you, even if they are doing it while holding a pen with your name around the barrel and a length of cut chain attached to the end. Grabbing said pen out of their hand with an "ah-HA!" and accusatory finger gesture will not help your case, and will spur stuff-stealing pranks for weeks and weeks and weeks. You'll be lucky if your desk doesn't disappear. Marriage rules - DH's are more likely to surprise you with tickets for crap you don't want to see, than events you are interested in. He comes bounding in, holding passes high in the air and exclaims "Guess where we are going?!?!?" - it is never the symphony or a presentation of "The Vagina Monologues" by the local feminist theater. No, it is more likely to be a sporting event. Or in my case, Iron Maiden tickets. There is an unwritten yet known rule that states whoever notices a smell/mess/problem first must fix it. So no, your husband is not blind, deaf, nor hard of smelling. He DID see that spill, smell that diaper, and hear that crash. But if they acknowledge those things, they have to take care of those things so it is best to feign surprise when that dog poop they have stepped over eight times is pointed out to their attention. This rule eventually applies to kids as well, by the way. Grocery shopping rules. You will most likely forget the thing you originally came for, and leave with 10 things you will probably never use. I can go to the store for milk, eggs, and bread and come home with truffle oil, fancy olives, several magazines, tofu nuggets, spring salad mix, oranges, and organic yogurt. I normally remember the milk, eggs, and bread when I get home, most likely after the grocery store is closed. So then we run to the variety store, where we pay four times as much for stuff we don't normally buy - like whole milk instead of skim, small eggs instead of large, and squishy white bread because that is all they have and we are in no position to be picky when there are lunches to be made and it is almost midnight. The cereal the kids beg for the entire shopping trip is rejected outright once it hits the bowl and said child realizes no cartoon character is going to pop out of the box. Usually this cereal costs more than your car so you can't just throw it out, and end up eating it yourself. Meetings don't go well when you are wearing a wet, see-through white blouse and are stuffed full of day-glo marhsmallows and whole milk. Wait, that was an office rule. So many rules, so many categories, so many ways to learn. The person who decides the child can have two glasses of chocolate milk, a cookie, ice cream, and brownies right before bed is never the person who spends most of the night sitting next to the child's bed, rubbing their tummyache so they can sleep. Always keep 2 pairs of shoes so you always have a dry pair. Putting on cold wet shoes is just gross and should be avoided at all costs. Always check your boots for hairballs, dog treats, bugs, and other stuff before putting them on if you have kids and/or animals in the house. Being a parent means you at any given time will have a plastic dinosaur, crayons, a half eaten sucker, underwear, or "pretty" gravel in your purse or pocket. Being a parent means you at any given time will have a half chewed cracker, drool, snot, vomit, poop, or pee in your hand or on your clothes. This part also applies to having pets. No matter how long a blog entry can be, it can never be long enough to list ALL the rules. So tell me. What rules do YOU have to share?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Dratted rechargeable batteries

I use a wireless keyboard connected to a laptop. I used to use a wireless mouse as well, but it weighed like three pounds and I like my little USB travel mouse, but that is neither here nor there. Anyway. A while ago when the keyboard batteries died I decided to be environmentally friendly and use RECHARGEABLE batteries in it. I am hard on keyboards and change the batteries way more often than a typical user, and I felt pretty good about keeping a big ole carton of crap out of landfill. But here's the thing. Certain items just don't work well with rechargeables. I used to get about three months use out of a single change. Now I am lucky to get a month. And the batteries never die at a CONVENIENT time. Of course not! Seeing as I am typing this using that odd little keyboard on the laptop itself, arms suspended in air at the worst angle (if I bring the laptop down I can't see the display because of an eye ailment we will not discuss because I haven't accepted it yet) - this is one of those inconvenient times. I just got a work assignment that is absolutely huge, due like NOW, and pretty impossible to complete without a regular keyboard. So this is more of a request for prayer than a blog, really. Keep your fingers crossed, and give me all the luck you can spare, because I need it today! I promise a GOOD blog tomorrow. 'Kay?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


I go for blood tests often. Once per month, often. Sometimes I post about it, and sometimes I don't because really, there isn't always much to say. I starve myself for a day, go in, wait forever, get poked, bleed for half an hour from the pin-hole, then spend the better part of the next few days nursing the bruise and trying to extricate the tape that has melded with my skin. The last time I was surprised at having to leave a urine sample, but remembered that I started a new dose of medication and figured it had something to do with that, because I always just had bloodwork before. Now, even if I had been dancing around the waiting room with my legs crossed, the minute I know somebody is WAITING for me to pee, I dry up like the sahara desert. There is no way I can just GIVE a urine sample like that. Even with advance notice. I just cannot do it. I can do the vulcan handshake, I can tie a cherry stem with my tongue, and I can pick a tune out on just about any instrument by ear and feel. But pee on command? Sorry darlings, can't be done. The experience was shaping up badly already, and I knew I was on a sinking ship the minute they handed me that stupid little bottle. I said I would bring the bottle back next week. And usually when I have to bring the specimen back later, they don't argue much. After all, it isn't a government drug test or anything. This time, the receptionist shouted over the printer "Why not later today?". Because I am busy. "Then tomorrow morning!". I quietly repeated that it would have to be next week. "Why???". I lowered my voice a bit more, and gave her what I thought was a good reason, but one that I didn't feel a whole waiting room full of people needed to hear. "What?". I said it a bit louder. "I CAN'T HEAR YOU". You know, I believe that bodily functions are just that. Nothing to be ashamed about. We all pee, we all poo, we all pass gas. Some people are more vocal about it than others, and there are surely times when it is better to just discuss things plainly than try to use veiled concepts and euphamisms. I mean, if it stings when you pee and you might have an infection, there is no point in telling the doctor that you have a "yoo-hoo problem when I winkle". When it comes time to purchase feminine hygeine products, I don't hide them in the cart or ask for a double bag at the check out. So I bought tampons, if that is an issue for you than your problems are deeper than mine. And yet, at the same time, I don't feel the need to announce to the world that I cannot possibly give a urine sample right now because I am on my period and it would really be better if I brought it back NEXT WEEK. But there was nothing for it, and that is what I did. And I expected maybe shocked silence, or sudden understanding, something of that nature from the receptionist. But what did I get? A lecture. That is right, a lecture. "Why did you schedule to come in today if you were on your period? You are wasting our time and yours because now I will have to check you in twice and send out two packages and blah blah blah blah". Sigh. This form was filled out months ago. I had no idea I would be in this condition at this moment, and since I thought it was for blood tests only I had no idea it would matter. Since the form was DATED for today, I could not come in last week or the next because they would not accept the form. And to get a new form made up would take two weeks and cost 45.00 because they treat it like a lost document. All this, both of us trying to talk over the dot matrix printer that was whining back and forth like an angry mosquito on steroids. If my prescriptions did not depend on me getting these tests, I would have walked out. But they do, and I need them to live (or so they tell me), I finally just sighed and said "What do you want me to do. I didn't know the urine test was on there. Now I know for next time. Do you want me to leave, or what?". She grudgingly said no, don't leave. Get the blood tests now and bring the specimen as soon as I can next week. Sheesh. Wasn't that what I already said??? I don't know if it was the stress of that, or the fact that the tech made me sit at a left handed station then asked me to balance some mangey smelly slippery pillow thing on my lap to put my right arm on (after he dug around in my left arm for a few minutes then decided maybe I was serious when I said his better bet is my right), but when the needle went in this time that freaker HURT. And it hurt the entire time, and burned like fire coming out. There was a big spurt too, as the needle exited. Left a nice line of red dots down his lab coat and across my jeans. He gave me a huffy look, I guess he doesn't like laundry. Like I did it on purpose. Sometimes I don't stop bleeding right away, other times I don't have a problem. Yesterday was one of those days. It is amazing that a little pinhole can let out enough blood to soak through several cotton balls and drip down ones arm. They usually make sit in the waiting room and hold a gauze pad hard against my arm until the bleeding stops, but this time the tech himself held the bandage on. "Wow, it is really bleeding". He sounded a little nervous, and asked one of the other techs to come take a look. "No, it's okay. Sometimes she does that. Just let her sit until it stops". So he disappeared, maybe to look for a fresh lab coat as I sat and bled onto the floor. One of the next people to come in was a big guy, looked like a line backer. Took one look at me, and almost turned around and left again LOL. "What did they do to you!?". He looked pretty nervous. I assured him it would be fine, just DO WHAT THEY SAY. Then I laughed, but even to my ears it sounded a little hysterical LOL. His test went smoothly though, and the other tech bundled him out quickly before I could scare him more, darn it. By then the bleeding had slowed, so I asked for something to clean up with and I would be on my way. Only to have an argument about whether or not I needed a cotton ball taped to my arm. "The tape eats my skin". He insisted this is the tape for sensitive skin. "That is even worse, because it is thin". To prove his point, he slapped a piece onto the back of my hand and attempted to pull it off right away. "Yee-owch!" I yelled, as my skin started to peel off with the tape. "Wow. That stuck FAST". Ya think, you arse? So now I have a gigantic bruise on my arm where the needle went in, an angry red patch on the back of my hand from the tape (the removal took almost an hour when I got home and involved alcohol, baby oil, scissors, and a lot of swearing and hot tears of anger), several stabs and bruises on my left arm (why must they move the needle tip INSIDE the skin? Yucko), and a pee bottle waiting to be filled. Where is the best place to put said bottle? I understand it is sterile, but it is associated with urine. And to my mind, that makes it fithy dirty by association and I want to toss out anything that comes in contact with it. I had it on the kitchen chair, and DH moved it to the counter which prompted a screaming fit and a scrubbing marathon with bleach. Then I caught DD carrying it around, which prompted tossing her in the bath (although, not with bleach even though I was tempted). At the moment it sits in the cupboard upstairs, in a small box, next to the stack of toilet paper rolls. I had trouble sleeping last night knowing it was in there. Don't say it. I know I have issues. That's what makes me ME.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Birthday Madness

So we survived another birthday. It is no longer a birth DAY really, it always turns into a days- long debaucle. First, there is the "class" party, or the friend party. This is the party where she gets to invite little kids and we do little kid party things and eat off party theme paper plates and wear little cone hats and smears of bright coloured icing. This year, it was bowling. The THEME was not bowling, but it was a bowling party. An hour of five pin bowling, then hotdogs and cake and ice cream. What more could a kid want? Well, a lot, actually but we won't get into that LOL. The girls enjoyed themselves, DD got some nice presents, and a fun time was had by all. Except DH and I who almost needed resuscitation after having 12 girls run amok in a bowling alley. I have nightmares of the bathroom trips alone. Then the next day was the "family" party. If I can, I combine these things. But it is getting harder and harder to do so because our house isn't getting any bigger, but half the guests are LOL. We just don't have room at home for everybody, and there wasn't room to have everybody at the bowling alley. So we had family for pizza and salad and home-made chicken soup, and cake and ice cream. It went okay. Everybody seemed to have a good time, but I get frustrated with how small our house is. I never thought about family gatherings when we bought it, which is quite stupid because just my immediate family alone is too much for our tiny house. As the party was winding down, my brother said "Hey, you know, the only thing is I am still hungry. Maybe some veggies and dip or a fruit tray would have been good". I thought he was teasing me because I had put out a bowl of clementines. I was hoping to foist them off on unsuspecting people, because they are hard to peel and quite sour and I'm too cheap to just throw them away. He said no, no, I mean like melon and fruit dip. "It would really have hit the spot". Then I got it. MY TRAYS! I forgot to put out my trays! He got some water out of the fridge and saw the trays in there and told DH, and DH put him up to asking me for fruit. So they are both in trouble, and I told them not to worry because I would get them back SOMEHOW. But the bigger issue is, how on earth do I always manage to forget something? It's not like I wasn't in and out of that fridge a hundred times, and for goodness sake they took up the whole fridge. Not easy to miss, for a normal person. I had a list too, and still missed them. Sheesh. As for the food, DH and I almost had an argument about how much pizza and whether or not to put out the soup. I made it specifically for that day, but "Soup is stupid. Who ever heard of soup with pizza?". He didn't want me to make two salads either, nor did he want me to order three pizza's. His cousin's wife alone eats ten pieces, and most of the guests were big guys and big eaters. We had 22 people, including 4 children. We had a ceasar salad made with 4 heads of romaine, a garden salad with 1 head of iceburg and 10 cups of mache mix, a gigantic slow cooker full of soup, and 96 pieces of pizza. We had 6 pieces of pizza left, and I didn't eat any. The soup was drained dry, the salad was gone. People had seconds and thirds, so I know they all ate enough. But gracious! That is a lot of food. Maybe if I had remembered the trays......nah. Not that I wanted leftovers, but maybe next time DH won't argue with me about what to have. She got even more lovely presents, and not a single duplicate. And it wasn't a towering pile, either, which is refreshing because usually we get burried. I kind of wish her b-day was in the summer. Between her birthday and Christmas, the "stuff" gets kind of overwhelming. There is only so much you can clear out every year. Then add the b-day and Christmas stuff for DH and I and we need a bigger house LOL. I wonder if I could ask for donations for my fridge this year, in lieu of gifts. Hmmmm. Yesterday was DD's actual birthday, so she got to choose where we went for dinner. Burger King. All the places in the city, and she chooses Burger. King. What is the world coming to. I had blood tests today so I couldn't eat (it was too late, we had to bring MIL to vote then we needed to vote, and by then it was past my deadline) but DD got to eat and play and if that makes her happy, then we are happy LOL. She was thrilled to get a small gift from the animals (a necklace and bangle bracelets), and books from DH and I. It did my heart proud to see she was as excited about her new "chapter" books as she was about the Baby Alive. Maybe I am teaching her a thing or two after all. Yes, the cake is a tree. I only have two shaped pans, and DD insisted she wanted the tree. And what the birthday girl wants, she gets. I used very bright colours, the kind that it is hard to look directly at LOL. It turned out very well in person, sort of looked like a pinata. For the "home" cake I baked one chocolate and one vanilla in 9x12 pyrex and left them in there, just decorated the tops. Same bright colours. The pictures of those are on the other camera and we haven't downloaed them yet. Last night, she had candles yet again in a piece of pie sent by MIL. Must be nice, to get three candle-blowings and three wishes for a single birthday!