The Accidental “Natural” Movement

It was a Saturday afternoon. Yesterday to be exact. I was sitting on my couch writing while listening to classical music. The classical music is good for me while I write so I don’t get distracted and break out into song. It’s kind of hard to put words to Mozart. Besides, I don’t think he’d appreciate it much. Dead or not.

I was just sitting there being productive and feeling good about myself when the dog started to lose it. It wasn’t his usual dispassionate bark at a passing squirrel. It was the “DANGER WILL ROBINSON!” type of bark that he does when someone is in our driveway.

After I peeled myself off the ceiling because I will never grow accustomed to the bark of a pissed-off German Shepherd, I looked toward the door and saw a man talking to Wolfgang (our dog, not Mozart) through the window.

It was a good friend who we haven’t been in close contact with in, dare I say, months. I was exceptionally excited. Aside from the hubs and strangers at the grocery store who may not be strangers because who the heck knows who anyone is these days, I haven’t seen people.

I am a social creature by nature and this pandemic is slowly killing my mojo. Any sign of life gives me a shot of adrenaline that could get me through another week.

What is important to note is that it was 2 o’clock in the afternoon. I was in the same leggings and sweatshirt I wore on my walk that morning. I hadn’t showered, let alone refreshed my armpits with deodorant. My head hadn’t seen the working side of a brush in three days, and I’m not even confident my teeth had either.

Thank God for the small miracle called a mask, of which our friend respectfully donned.

Typically, I would have ninja’ed myself behind the couch — a move I execute when there is a Jehovah’s Witness sighting — where I would have stayed until either DH answered the door or our friend just gave up and went away. But these days I don’t care.

I did chase our mailman halfway down the driveway in a robe and not much else last year to give him his Christmas card. But he’s the mailman. Like my doctor, if he’s seen one crazed middle-aged woman, he’s seen them all.

These days when I try to apply make-up I come away looking more like John Wayne Gacy in full costume instead of, well, me. I neglect to brush my teeth every now and then, and I’m not even sure I recall how to use a hairbrush anymore. Forget about shaving my legs. I may as well move to a hippie commune. I would probably fit in quite well.

It is what it is. This is me now. Although, I was never one to be defined by beauty — or lack thereof — I at least had the decency to do one or all of the above before I went out in public.

Let’s just say that was how I gave back to my community. No need to thank me.

Our friend didn’t flinch. I don’t know if it was out of courtesy, or he just has gotten so used to this new world, he didn’t notice. I think we’re all so conditioned to the continued foul “smell” of 2020, it doesn’t even register on the radar anymore. It’s like being nose blind, but for the eyes.

I know I’m not alone. It may take some time, but hopefully we can all put our hippie days behind us at some point and go about our business as usual, and not like a deranged serial killer who dresses like a clown.

Although hippies are on to something, don’t you think?

A Purse Through the Decades

Purse. Pocketbook. Handbag. Satchel. Trash bag. There are many names for it. I guess it’s all in what you prefer. And perhaps your mood.

Men don’t feel the need to carry around items they most likely will not use during their time away from home. Does that mean they are smarter than us?

No.

We’re just more prepared. Even though there’s a pretty fat chance I will not need that pair of earrings from the last wedding I attended in 2012.

I don’t even wear earrings so that one’s just as much a mystery to me as it is to you.

It’s not like we’re going camping. I don’t even like camping. So, why carry on with my day as if that’s exactly what I’m going to be doing? All it does is cause frustration and a bad neck.

Anyway, the contents of my purse have morphed over the years.

When I was a teenager in the 80’s this included a black eyeliner pencil, a BIC lighter to melt the black eyeliner pencil with, and the occasional maxi pad. Back then I was always caught off guard. Knowing when you would get your period came with the wisdom that age brings. And a certain number of ruined Jordache jeans.

There would be a roach clip, but don’t tell my parents. The buckle that fell off my beloved Chinese Slippers, a glass roller ball tube of Bonne Bell lipgloss — bubble gum flavored, of course. And a pack of Hubba Bubba.

I had the keys to my beat up Chevy Nova among the rubble, and a handwritten note that a friend passed to me during History class. Oh, and dimes in case I had to make a phone call from one of the many pay phones that hung in the lobby of my high school.

In my twenties, I graduated to tampons and finally learned to permanently leave them in my bag. My lip gloss was replaced by brown Revlon lipstick. A box of fruity Chiclet gum, quarters, a spare pair of L’eggs that came in a plastic egg would be in there. And keys to the Geo Storm that remarkably behaved like a lemon.

My thirties brought on Pampers, used breast pads, a rattle, and loose Cheerios. A flip phone, chapstick, my checkbook, and six month old receipts. Maxi pads as well as tampons (I don’t want to talk about it), and keys to both my house and my ever reliable and roomy Nissan Pathfinder.

Although you would no longer find Pampers or maxi pads in my bag when I was in my forties, you may have found a random Poise pad thrown in there. Girlfriends and wine suddenly had that effect on me. My flip phone was replaced by an iPhone. Water bottles, bobbie pins, sock glue, and the like for all the irish dance competitions The Kid was fond of dancing in.

A tin of Altoids, and stale gum that inevitably fell out of its wrappers and stuck to anything it came in contact with. Ruining perfectly good leather wallets and…ahem, Chapstick.

These days you will find Lysol wipes, masks, and hand sanitizer thanks to a little thing called a Pandemic. A wallet that is stuffed with more crap than I care to discuss. Yes, that includes an expired gift card from Chuck E. Cheese and my AARP card.

Tums, Advil, and Preparation H have replaced all beauty items. A bottle of Poo-Pourri, a notebook, chocolate kisses, toothpaste, and a pen can also be found. I keep the pen for when I need to jot down an idea I have. Also, to leave behind a note in case someone kidnaps me.

I can sit and wonder what I’ll carry in my next decade, but I’m going to take a quick guess and say it will probably be hard candy and Bingo cards.

I’ll get back to you on that in about six years. Whoa. Did I just say that out loud?

229 Minutes

That’s how long I was sitting in line to get tested for Covid-19 this past Saturday. 229 minutes. For those of you who don’t feel like doing the calculation, or if you’re like me and are not good at third grade math or just don’t have the ability to run numbers in your head as quickly as Sir Isaac Newton, that computes to three hours and forty-nine minutes.

Nearly four hours to receive a covid test. It takes less time to run the Boston marathon. Or to take a round trip flight to Wisconsin from New York. But don’t take a trip because we are in a pandemic. You probably shouldn’t do any marathons either. This pandemic is a killjoy.

I could have saved myself four hours

Long story short, I wanted to be tested because Friday night I felt like I was coming down with a cold and woke up Saturday morning congested and headachy and exhausted. The kind of exhaustion that renders you incapable of doing anything outside of rolling over.

I also had a dream that a friend’s cat was talking to me.

I know many people who came down with the dreaded ‘rona and it started out the exact same way…cold-like symptoms and weird dreams.

Unfortunately, there was not one single appointment at a local walk-in clinic or pharmacy inside of 72 hours and my PCP doesn’t have weekend hours. My only option was one of those places you see on the news where the cars snake around for what seems like miles.

Every time I see this madness on the evening news I am astounded. It always reminds me of one of those apocalyptic movies where people are trying to get out of dodge en masse. I swore that would never be me. But there I was. Stuck in a line of cars, but without an apocalypse or zombie to be had.

What does one do for four hours while deliberately waiting for someone to shove a ten-inch Q-tip up your nostrils?

In my case, I spent an hour talking on the phone with my parents, did a little Facebook scrolling, texted some friends complaining about the injustice of it all, and enjoyed a little people watching.

In 229 minutes I saw a car overheat and get towed away, I saw a man walk up the long line of cars with a red gas can. Not sure if he was selling gas or if he just simply ran out. But darn. That’s not a bad side gig.

I myself only had a quarter of a tank of gas leftover from when I filled my car in September, so it could happen. There are stranger things. I mean, I was willingly waiting in line for 229 minutes to have my brain tickled. Saturdays sure aren’t what they used to be.

Where was I? Oh yeah, people watching.

I watched the teenager in the car in front of me get out of the vehicle, walk down the hill, and come back with food an hour later.

I saw a man get food delivered to his car. I’m not sure why I didn’t think of that. I was so hungry by the end of this, I was close to exiting my vehicle and start grazing on the fir tree to my right.

I did panic a bit when I realized that if I had to go to the bathroom, I wouldn’t be able to. Turns out there was a bathroom at the three hour mark, but it also turns out there was a note on the door. Not sure what it said because I couldn’t see from my vantage point, but my guess is it wasn’t, “Welcome all who could potentially be infected with the Covid-19 virus, please come on in and sit a spell so you can continue to spread your germs all over the universe.”

After three hours, one of the nice volunteers came up to my car to scan my online registration, thanked me profusely for doing so, and stuck a Post-It note on my windshield with my test number. She told me I was almost there with “only” about another hour to go.

When I got close enough to see the front of the line, I started timing how long it took for one vehicle to get through the actual testing area — anywhere from a minute and a half to two minutes. When I pulled up, I was done in well under a minute.

In other words, register online for these things if you can, people. It will save a lot of time for everyone.

The lady who administers the test and looks as if she is going to do a mold remediation on you instead of a simple nose swab, greeted me with what I could gather was a smile on her face even though she was working her butt off in the wind and cold all alone to test 400 people. I appreciate her.

But I wouldn’t blame her one bit if she lost her mind and ended up shoving that Q-tip all the way to the temporal lobe and killed us all. Wow. That took a turn. I’ve been watching too much Netflix. Maybe Disney Channel would be a better choice.

The Verdict: The specimen that was collected from the deep recesses of my face on the end of that ten inch Q-tip has determined I am Covid-19 negative. Should have done the cover test (see meme above).

We’re Lost In a MASK-uerade

If you told me this would one day be our reality, I would have believed you about as much as I believe there are martians. It still blows my mind every time I leave my house. It’s like an apocalyptical mask event (I don’t even know if that makes sense, but I feel like this year is a free-for-all for nonsense).

I think we all remember our very first mask. Mine was sent to me in a panic by a friend back on the 112th day of March. It is practical, pinches at the nose, fits perfectly, and alleviated some of my anxiety those first few weeks.

My second mask was made by a friend and features…what else? Photos of ladies drinking wine. I enjoy that when I’m eating at a restaurant al fresco with the hubs or meeting a friend for…umm, wine. Of course. Well, I don’t drink or eat with it actually on. My secret talent is coloring inside the lines, not figuring out how to eat sushi through cloth.

During these past ten months that really feels like ten years, I have collected nine masks. Of those nine masks, only the two above-mentioned fit. The others just flop around on my face like a mackeral that was washed ashore. If I were to rob a bank in any of them, my identity would quickly be revealed.

I actually did go into the bank recently and had to bite my tongue to keep from joking with the teller about how I felt like a bank robber. She probably would have done one of two things: pushed the panic button under her desk or told me to come up with something original.

Anyway, before I digress into places I can’t return let me continue.

I am amazed by how many people have really nice fitting masks. I usually come home from running errands with a touch of mask envy. “Mask Envy.” How is this even an emotion?

So, it has been determined by me that I have some ill fitting masks. That poses the next question, “how effective are they?” Do I need to have them tailored? I mean, that can’t sound any crazier than the whole of 2020, now can it?

Aside from the obvious, there are some advantages to this mask wearing thing. The obvious being it’s said to lessen the spread of disease. Or does it? I don’t think anyone really knows. But I’m not taking any chances.

Another thing I like about wearing a mask is I don’t have to smile at anyone if I don’t want to. I’m not saying I don’t like to smile at people, I’m just saying after being a smiler for over fifty-three years, it’s nice to get a break.

I’ve tried smiling with my eyes, but I usually just end up looking like a certain fictional novelist who loses his mind and terrorizes his family.

photo credit goes to slate.com

My resting bitch face is quite happy and that’s all that really matters. What else do I like about wearing a mask? Well, this is terrible and I probably shouldn’t say it out loud but seeing someone you might know out in public and pretending to not see them.

I know, I know. I realize I just bought myself a seat in Hell.

So, I have discovered during the writing of this pointless essay that I don’t really like smiling, may or may not have robbed a bank, could be deranged, and that I like hot places. Talk about discovering yourself.

Also, could there be martians? We’re matching our face masks to our pocketbooks, so anything is possible. This is the year 2020 after all.


Random Is What Random Does

As I sit here on this 130th 145th 158th 182nd 221st day of hiding out from Covid-19, I have had a lot of time to think. Actually it’s not “thinking” per se. It’s more just weird and useless crap that worms its way into my brain and settles there until I get it out of my system.

Besides work and Netflix specials, there isn’t much else to do. I mean, I guess I could clean out a closet or two, but you know…Netflix.

Here I go:

  1. The way 2020 is going, I wouldn’t be surprised if it killed Santa.
  2. You know you’re lazy when you don’t want to take the time to flip over when laying out in the sun. This past summer my body looked like a reversed mullet — party in the front, business in the back. I even have the lingering handprint just below my left knee to prove it.
  3. Is it true the powers that be are adding “irregardless” to the dictionary? I don’t know anyone who is happy about this. Except my hubby. He likes that word and is quite pleased with himself to be part of “the movement.”
  4. Even though I am a self-proclaimed extravert, I do not like people in my personal space. Thank you, Coronavirus for making this possible.
  5. The pen I was using when I started working from home on March 12 is finally running out of ink. Two thumbs up to the Hilton Garden Inn’s writing utensils.
  6. Paying over $500 for a pair of sneakers that have zip ties attached to them is about as dumb as spending $200,000 to go to Mars.
  7. I seem to be spending more time on Google looking for cool masks to match my yoga pants than I do actually doing yoga.
  8. I’ve noticed when I don’t shave my legs, my legs stay crossed. It’s like natural velcro.
  9. Why can’t I look as good as my Snapchat filter?
  10. I decided I’m going to throw all the mirrors in my house away. Except the one in my bedroom. That one makes me look like my Snapchat filter. Disregard random thought #10.
  11. Remember when we had the threat of murder hornets?
  12. What murder hornets? I don’t remember any murder hornets.
  13. First it was toilet paper. Now it’s paper towels. What will be the next unattainable thing? If it’s Netflix, I may have to reconsider that trip to Mars.
  14. When you resort to wearing your retainer all day to stop yourself from snacking, you probably should seek help.
  15. My dog can’t wait for me to go back into the office so he can continue to lick all his private parts in peace.
  16. I never thought I’d be as excited as I am these days to go down the cleaning aisle at the grocery store. Finding Lysol wipes is as exhilarating for me as reaching that ever elusive itch in the middle of my back.
  17. I don’t care what side of the fence you are on, you have to admit these fly memes are kinda funny. Come on, they are.
I don’t know where this originated from but thanks to “People I Want to Punch in the Throat” I now know it exists.

There really is so much more where that came from, but I have run out of time. I have to go do something productive. Like look for paper towels. Or at least figure out how to make them.

Don’t Call Me, I’ll Call You

When I was in the throes of teenage-dom, you couldn’t pull the phone out of my hand without the assistance of a grizzly bear with a crowbar. This was during the hormone-induced-boy-crazed stage of my life where every ring of the telephone meant the difference between life and death. I’m sure I burned more calories running for that 1982 telephone than I do during HIIT class.

The rotary phone wasn’t easy to talk on either. Ours was stuck to a wall which was a challenge all on its own. The dial was what nightmares are made of, and the handset was attached to the base by a curly cord that would twist up into itself. Unless you took the time to unfurl it, the basic act of moving was a near impossibility.

But that curly, twisted-up, wired cord was my lifeline. And I was dead without it.

I got that cord so stretched out, I could practically talk in any room of our modest little home. My favorite was stretching it from the kitchen to across the hallway and into the only bathroom we had. I would lock myself in there and talk until a member of our five-person household was banging the door down.

I would talk for hours upon hours on that phone. So much so that my ear would sweat itself into hives. More often than not I would be interrupted by the sound of an operator coming onto the line with the news that my mother was trying to get through. Anything short of a natural disaster did not an emergency make.

I nearly died and went to heaven when the push button was invented. Then the party line became a thing where you could have three people on the phone at once. That right there was just short of orgasmic. To make things even better, the cordless came along and changed everything.

Of course, that was followed by the digital phone where you could actually see who was calling. I think they call it “Caller ID.” That was almost better than the invention of bread.

Obviously, the telephone has evolved over the years. Enough to want to make Alexander Graham Bell roll over in his grave.

What we didn’t see coming was the invention of the car phone. Everyone remembers their first. Mine was no lighter than a baby seal and came in an attractive case that resembled an oversized toiletry bag.

Now we have cell phones that are so small they fit in our back pocket, and are smarter than most people I know. They have the capability to contact someone without actually calling them, order dinner, book a vacation, count calories, teach CPR, and take better pictures than a Nikon camera.

These days you don’t even need a landline. The cellular phone has taken over.

Poor Alex.

Like the telephone, I too, have evolved.

I am no longer a fan of talking on the phone, unless it’s to my daughter, parents, or a friend I haven’t spoken to in a long time. And even then it’s questionable.

I’m not really sure what happened. Perhaps it’s due to my overuse of the thing when I was fifteen and the novelty just wore off. Or it could just simply be because I’m sick of talking.

It sounds like an oxymoron of sorts allowing those words, “sick of talking” to pass my lips. If there is one thing I have a gift for, it’s the gab. Although, mostly that gift is put to use during a movie, long car rides, and inopportune times that have forced people to ask me to close my trap. Can you imagine?

Anyway, these days I prefer texting to calling. It’s more convenient, faster, and not such a time suck. Sure, I run the risk of misspelling a word or using the incorrect use of “your,” but that’s a chance I’m willing to take. Even if it is blasphemy.

I guess my point is don’t call, text.

Just kidding. You can call. 

Just text first.

COVID-19 Random Thoughts – Self-Quarantine Day 7

I thought I was done talking about this, but I’m not. I’m never done talking about anything. Just ask my family and friends. I bet it takes all the energy they have to not throw tomatoes at me during a movie. I feel the need to give commentary even when not wanted. Or needed. Is that the same thing?

Today my day started with making a smoothie and putting a wooden spoon into the running blender. A friend suggested I strain the wood-splintered smoothie, which I proceeded to do…right into the sink. How was your day?

So, here goes my Coronavirus Random Brain Dump:

  • Most restaurants and bars are shutting down across the entire country. Think about the enormity of that. People aren’t gathering anywhere (except Florida beaches but I don’t want to talk about it). It probably hasn’t been this quiet since Columbus didn’t discover America.
  • Less cars on the road equals better air quality. Less pollution. Less gas being used. Less mileage. Longer car life. Has anyone seen the pictures from Venice? Soon enough the Hudson River will be safe enough to drink from. I mean, I know Venice doesn’t have cars. Potato Potawto.
  • Toilet paper is something I will never again take for granted as long as I live. At least until September, anyway. If I run out of it, I don’t know what I’ll do. Wiping my backside with moss really doesn’t do it for me. Growing mushrooms out of there isn’t a trend I would be too keen on participating in. Mushrooms may be hard to find right now, but I’ll take my chances.
  • This event is an extrovert’s worst nightmare. I have been feeling squirrelly since day two. Please send help. Just send it in a hazmat suit.
  • I’m getting so conditioned at practicing social distancing that when I see characters on television hugging or standing close in a group, I scream at the screen, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING? SIX FEET, PEOPLE! SIX FEET!!!”
  • I haven’t seen this many kids outside playing and riding their bikes since I was twelve.
  • I think I have tennis elbow by repetitively looking at Coronavirus memes on my smartphone.
  • I really hope the virus outbreaks shrink as much as my pores have from not having an opportunity to wear makeup.
  • If I don’t start shaving my legs soon, there WILL be mushrooms growing. Moss not needed.

That’s about it for today. Stay safe out there, and please don’t do what they are doing on TV. Or in Fort Lauderdale. For the love of God, practice social distancing. Thank you and have a nice day.

Is that a Monkey On Your Back? Or Just Facebook?

The first thing you open in the morning after your eyes is Facebook. Because let’s be honest with each other, unless you are elderly or below the age of ten, it’s an addiction we can’t seem to kick. It doesn’t matter how many promises you make to yourself.

“I’m going to put down my phone and start reading an actual book,” is something I’ve been saying to myself for, well, who’s counting? Let’s just say I’ve broken that promise and said, “I’ll start next Monday,” so many times I’m fairly certain enough Mondays have passed that I could make a decade out of them.

Or how about this: “I’ll just scroll through for five more minutes.” But 7AM comes and goes and you’re stuck there like if you put down the phone you will combust into thin air. You know you need to get in the shower or else you’ll be late for work. But you lie there in that position for another quarter of an hour without a care in the world, bleary-eyed as if you just got off the red eye to China.

I don’t really know what all the hullaballoo is about anyway. It’s not like Facebook is giving away a free trip to Fuji. Or even a free timeshare in my own town which I would gladly take because I’m cheap and love anything with the word FREE attached to it. It could be a pet rock, or an entire set of new teeth. If it’s free, I want it.

In my ten, thirty, oh heck, sixty minutes of scrolling I’ve discovered that half of my “friends” had a high school aged kid graduate yesterday. That another fifty people have posted something political that I don’t care to engage in. And another god knows how many have shared an article or meme that I mostly just go right on by unless I think it may actually illicit some real emotions out of me or change my life. You know, something compelling.

And then there’s the one who has yet ONCE again posted a pic of herself with the “friend du jour” at another gosh-damned restaurant or bar. Or whatever. For the eighteenth time that week.

Look, I like to see my friend’s stuff. But when it turns into your own show, then it’s annoying. I don’t care to know your every move. And anyway,

Who.

Cares.

The Facebook content really needs to step up its game. But yet. There I am. Scrolling like I drank the damn Kool-Aid.

The cherry kind.

And then there’s that little two-headed icon that shows a red number when you have a friend request. You get all excited wondering who it could be.

Was it that kid I befriended during eighth grade Outdoor Ed in 1981? I believe she was the one who took the picture of that raccoon eating uneaten Cheese Puffs on my back while I was passed out asleep on my cot in our tent.

Or maybe it’s an old friend that I haven’t heard from in years. Or an ex-coworker. Or maybe even a long lost cousin.

But no. Most likely it’s a friend of a friend of a friend and I typically decline those requests. If we didn’t have some kind of connection somewhere in life, then I don’t really need you knowing about me or my family. Especially when you are an Amway representative and clearly just want to make a sale.

But sometimes I do accept the friend request from perhaps someone I went to high school with. Not because I remember them but because a little quick stalking tells me we both graduated from the same class.

Except it turns out this person tries to get you to join a singles group. If you took one look at my profile pic you would see I am clearly married. No, he’s not my brother, uncle, or that long lost cousin. I don’t usually hold hands with family members in that manner.

He’s my HUSBAND and I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t appreciate your invitation. We aren’t swingers last time I checked.

Delete.

And let’s talk about stalking since I brought it up. I do it. You do it. We all do it. We’re all curious about that gorgeous woman at work who wears the best clothes and oozes confidence from her earlobes. Her husband must be HOT. Stalk.

Or the Anna Black of our lives. She was a childhood friend from my Army brat days who actually performed a hazing on potential friends in order to become her friend. Stalk.

Unfortunately, that search produced way too many “Anna Blacks” so there is no way of telling if she turned out to be a cult leader or, well, an Amway rep.

And you KNOW you have stalked an ex-boyfiend or girlfriend. Let’s not deny that you aren’t just a little bit giddy that said ex is fat or bald or is just now entering the toddler phase when you are an empty nester.

So, yeah. Facebook is an addiction that I need to quit. Or at the very least do much less of. So, how about I start next Monday?

Smoke by Egg

“911 what’s your emergency?”

“Actually this isn’t an emergency really. The smoke detector which is also a CO detector went off in the basement a couple of times and I was wondering if you could send someone over to test the air?”

“Yes, I’ll send someone right over. In the meantime, do not open any doors or windows and get everyone out of the house.”

Me running through the house: OMG EVERYONE GET OUT OF THE HOUSE NOOOOOOWWWWWWW!!!

Yes, that’s me. In full-on panic mode because I run on two emotions: “Panic” and “Over-reaction.”

The Kid wasn’t home at the time, so DH, me, and the dog went outside to step to the curb. It was hot and I had to put on a bra so I was a little less than happy. I’m not sure if I brushed my teeth, but I was certain that I hadn’t brushed my hair. The nest that was met by a run through with my fingers told me I hadn’t.

I had taken the day off so my offspring and I could spend some time together gallivanting in the city that never sleeps. I was unshowered and had stuff to do to get ready.

This wasn’t in the schedule and there was no time for it. When my over-reaction emotion kicked in, I was certain our plans would have to change.

You know, because a fire/CO detector went off in the basement. The world was coming to an end as I knew it. We would be forced to vacate our property while the good team of First Responders would traipse through our home to eradicate the carbon monoxide that would surely have killed us had I not called “911” when I did.

I clearly saved our lives.

When I saw a utility pick-up truck-type vehicle pull up to the front of the house, I was relieved to see they didn’t send out the calvary to embarrass us in front of the entire neighborhood.

But I was a little too premature in my relief. Within minutes, there was a large fire truck, several more utility pick-up truck-type vehicles, and a couple of cars lining the street in front of our house. The scene was looking like Firehouse Family Safety Day hosted by Yours Truly.

Donned with full-on Bunker Gear, our wonderful local First Responders entered our home with carbon monoxide detectors ablaze. After about three minutes, the man who seemed to be in charge approached me.

Man In Charge: Ma’am, did you burn anything this morning?

Me: Well, yes, actually, I did. I made an egg and it dripped on the stovetop and caused quite a mess. How did you know?

Man In Charge: Ma’am, that is what caused the smoke detector to go off in the basement. Not carbon monoxide. I could smell it when I walked in the house.

Me: But how can that be? That’s all the way in the basement! Also, this happened a couple weeks ago, too! I swear the culprit can’t be just an egg!

I don’t remember his reply except for a “shake my head” type of response and a hint that perhaps we need to replace the alarms in our home. But yes, I was trying to argue away my embarrassment with a highly qualified member of the local fire department.

As nuts as it sounds, I was hoping for a little more drama so that I could report back to all my friends, family, and co-workers about how we almost died.

Thank you, First Responders. You really are truly amazing.

Also, you’re welcome. Surely, I must have been the laughing stock back at the firehouse.

A Bloody Apocalypse

Did you ever have a nose bleed that was so intense you were sure you were going to bleed to death?

Last week I had nine such nose bleeds. This whole bloody nose thing started around the beginning of the year. It started out slow and steady, but was getting worse. It seemed to be a growing trend in my life. One that was very unwelcome.

Last Wednesday I was taking an exercise class during my lunch break. I felt a little something running down my nose, but I thought it was, you know, snot. Because that happens when I exercise a little too hard sometimes.

It was not snot. And before I knew it I painted my little section of floor with the red stuff. It’s amazing how bright it looks under those fluorescent lights.

It was gross. Not to mention embarrassing. The nurse’s office happens to be in the same area as the gym, so I decided to take a walk over. My thinking was she could give me some tips on how to stop it.

She reached into her drawer, pulled out two tampons, and shoved them up my nostrils. Just like that. I remember making a comment that I hadn’t used a tampon in years, and then I laughed and laughed at the absurdity of it.

It took forty-five minutes for the flow to stop. Apparently, the old-fashioned way of tilting your head back is a no-no. Something about giving you an upset stomach.

The nurse also mentioned something about drowning. That certainly would be an interesting obituary.

I find the old-fashioned way to be much more controllable and less time-consuming. If I were to tilt my head back, that bad boy would have ended in a short few minutes.

Credit goes to The Kid for making this picture a little less disgusting for your viewing pleasure.

But who am I to go against modern medicine? And besides, drowning is one of my biggest fears.

The problem was the dear nurse wanted to call an ambulance. Visions of me laying on a gurney with two bloody tampons sticking out of my nose, being wheeled through the corridors of my place of employment in front of all my colleagues put a fear in me so deep I had to revert to begging.

She must have felt bad for me because she eventually backed off with the ambulance threat. But she did make me call my physician, who was none too happy to be pulled away from a patient so she could tell me to call an ENT.

Duh. Ears, Nose, Throat. “Nose” being the operative word here.

I finally made it back to my desk and called the ENT, but was forced to leave a message. Eh. That’s ok. Maybe it wouldn’t happen again. Dumb thought, seeing that this is a growing trend, not a descending one.

Except it did happen again. The following night. That time it took over an hour for the flow to stop. After I spit out a blood clot the size of a newborn puppy, I decided it was time to do something about it. I mean, I’m pretty sure I lost enough blood that week alone to save a small army of really big men.

I was able to get in to see the Nose doctor from the ENT establishment. One quick look up my left nostril confirmed what I never even thought of — I had a broken blood vessel. I’ll be honest with you, visions of something dark danced through my head. Because that’s just how I roll. Yet another instance of when I started to plan out my funeral prematurely.

Interesting fact: Only 6% of the 60% of people who experience nosebleeds, suffer from a broken blood vessel. I’m not sure if I should play the lotto or lock myself in a padded closet.

I am not ashamed to admit I was a tad nervous about the procedure. I felt my blood pressure start to rise. I told myself that I gave birth naturally, so this would be a walk in the park. But the good doctor put some numbing solution up my nose, and carefully got to work with repairing the broken vessel, making it as painless and comfortable as possible.

Ten minutes and $900 something later, I was good as new. You know, if it took. Because sometimes “it doesn’t always take.” Perfect.

Before I left, he told me not to blow my nose, exercise, or really exert myself in any way for a few days. He also explained what to do in the case of another bloody nose.

You know, in case that $900 procedure didn’t take.

“Pinch the nostrils and lean forward.” Which prompted this conversation:

Me: What about tampons? That’s what I’ve been using.

Doc: Sure. You can put cotton up there. That’ll work.

Me: No, I mean tampons.

Doc:

Me:

Doc: You mean, as in vaginal?

Me: Uhh, yeah.

Doc: Oh, ok. So, you split them in half first. Sure, that does the job.

Me: No, actually. The entire thing. I put the entire thing in my nostril.

Doc: (jaw on floor)

And that is how I taught my doctor a new trick. I don’t know what you’re thinking, but I’m thinking I should get at least some of my money back. I mean, that was a pretty good tip. Even if it really came from the work nurse. But I won’t tell her, if you don’t.