Thursday, July 23, 2009

Chop Chop

Turns out I misunderstood my boss on Monday when I thought he said people would be notified by the end of the week if they were being layed-off (or is it laid-off?). They were notified by the end of the DAY. Everything makes a lot more sense now. Really.

One guy on my team was "impacted" and another from my second-line area was also "impacted." In this context, "impacted" means kicked out on your butt after 15 years with the company. Oh, and all the work is still there to do. I assume all the extra work will be out-sourced to a group of eager gnomes and fairies who will come in the dark of night and take care of everything. Gotta remember to give my fairy godmother a call too. Maybe she and her wand can pitch in.

In other news, my officemate of seven years cleaned out his desk yesterday. We don't work in the same division anymore, so he was "impacted" three weeks ago. Friday is his last official day on the payroll. See, when you get notice that you've been "impacted," you have four more weeks on the payroll. You're supposed to spend that time transferring your knowledge to someone else who doesn't have time to think about it, and also looking for another job within the company. Of which there are none, so looking is pointless. Officemate actually has been showing the ropes to the guy who is taking over his work. I think that's really nice of him. He's definitely nicer than me.

And of course there's a cherry on top of this magnificent sundae. Two weeks ago today, another guy on my team was hit and killed by a drunk driver while riding his motorcycle. A bunch of us went to a memorial for him last Saturday. There was a huge crowd. He was a very friendly and well-liked guy. Ironically, at the event I also got to catch up with a few former coworkers who had been layed-off in recent months.

Plus...I know it's a really inappropriate thought and I would never say it to anyone except all of you out on the internets...I wondered if his accident would mean that someone else on the team would get to keep their job. Don't know if it did or not, and didn't ask.

Needless to say, it's been a very uplifting few weeks here at Mega-Corporation. Everything is so freaking quiet. Everyone is cranky and irritable (including self). We survivors are numbly slogging through the drifts of work that have continued to accumulate during all the drama, with no hope of getting it all under control anyway, so why bother. Sigh.

Now it's back to our regularly scheduled programming: chipping away at the rocks in the salt mine and doing our best to keep the crazy at bay.

P.S. Is it "laid-off or "layed-off." I really need to know.

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Little Shot of Adrenalin on a Monday Morning

My boss (who resides in another city), called me this morning to tell me that Mega-Corporation is planning some "work force reductions" in our group which will be announced later this week..............but that I am not affected.

I proceeded to curse and physically threaten him for scaring the crap out me so early in the morning. Am such a lady.

Oh, and would I please not discuss this call with anyone? Apparently, someone higher up asked the first-line managers to reassure those who don't need to worry, probably so we'll keep working like busy little bees, and not updating our resumes and linking to each other on and standing around in the hallways speculating.

There may not be a good way to do this, but I'm not convinced that this is the least worse way. Technically, all we should have to do now is figure out who didn't get a "safe" call. But who has the nerve to ask someone else if they got a call? Not me.

I feel bad for my boss. He's a decent guy, stuck with a really crappy task. Sometimes being a manager sucks.

Of course, I feel really bad for those who are going to be unemployed by the end of the week, but don't know it yet. And I feel relieved and grateful and guilty that it's not going to be me this time. But I keep in mind that six months from now it may be me.

So now we wait to see where the axe falls.....

Saturday, July 04, 2009


I discovered this new thing recently. You may have heard of it. Facebook. Oh. My. Gawd. The thing is either a highly addictive drug or a time portal to another dimension. I log into it and the next thing I know it’s three hours later. I click on friends of friends of friends and before you know it, I’ve found the girl who lived down the street when I was a kid, who I haven’t seen since 1973.

I’ve got some questions though. Maybe someone out there can be of assistance. Firstly, I’m getting friend requests from people with whom I went to high school and college. <-- (Note the correct use of “whom” in a sentence. I’m feeling sooo clever today.) Some of the requestors I know (or knew) well enough to call friends. Other people, well, I can’t actually say that. Yeah, I hauled out the old annuals and, sure enough, there they are. But I didn’t actually know them then, you know, when we lived in the same town and went to the same school. Being my friend wasn’t a priority then. Why do they want to be my friends now that we live in different states? Is there some sort of competition that I’m not aware of? He who dies with the most friend connections on Facebook wins?

I got one friend request from a guy whose name I vaguely remember, but nothing else. He currently has over 1700 “friends.” Is it even possible to be friends with 1700 people? Has the word “friend” been redefined by Facebook to mean “someone I might have met once”? I’m confused. I’m not up on Facebook etiquette. I don’t want to be rude, but I have no desire to say I’m friends with a complete stranger. Maybe Miss Manners should write an article or something. It would really help.

Secondly, I want to know who all these old, chubby, wrinkled, bald, gray people are and why are they using the names of my classmates on Facebook? I’m shocked, just SHOCKED, at the way some of these people have let themselves go. Because obviously I still look 19, so it can’t be that hard to do a little moisturizing now and then. Ahem. Moving right along....

Thirdly, does everyone put as much effort into their profile picture as I did? Or, is anyone else willing to admit it? I swear I must have taken 30 or 40 pictures of myself. Almost all of them were rejected.

No, too blurry.
No, the lighting sucks and I don’t do Photoshop well enough to fix it.
No, my eyes look bugged out.
No, the jowls I inherited from my grandma are too obvious.
No, I look depressed.
No, you can sorta see the pile of laundry in the background.
No, my double chin is accented by that shadow.
No, my hair looks funny.

I finally settled on three candidates and asked for Slag’s advice. There was one that I thought looked the best, but Slag picked this one, saying it looked the most like me. That’s fine. I don’t want it to look like I’m trying too hard or anything. Heh.

P.S. Don't know if I'll ever get a picture of Slag's goatee posted. I casually mentioned it to him a couple of days ago and got "We'll talk about it." Definitely not promising.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Direct Hit

OK, so I have not yet acquired a photo of Slag’s new goatee. But I’m working on it. I’m holding off because he got a REALLY bad (i.e. too short) haircut a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been waiting for it to grow out a little first. He currently looks like he has a hair piece sitting on top of a military buzz cut. Very unflattering. Definitely does not agree with his bone structure. Turns out that Slag has a cowlick that starts at his left temple and curves around to the back of his head, completely circumnavigating the left side of his skull. How could I have spent the last twelve years with the man and not know that?? I am so uninformed.

What else has been going on? Nothing worth writing at length about, so here are a few short vignettes.

- Slag’s back continues to improve. He’s doing physical therapy, tending his tomato plants. He even successfully performed the duties of groomsman in a recent wedding. The best thing is that he starting cooking again. We don’t have to live on Chinese take-out or scrambled eggs with a side of microwaved canned peas anymore. Hooray for us!

- It is so fricking HOT here, I want to die. It’s not even officially summer yet and we’re already hitting 100 degrees on a daily basis! I sustained 2nd degree burns just from touching the steering wheel in my car yesterday. I don’t have the genetics for this. I’m so tired of sweating.

- I’m STILL driving around with hail dents in my car. Since March. I was scheduled for body work around the end of May, but the shop called and asked if they could put me off until the end of June because they’re so busy with all the other hail-damaged cars. OK, fine. The car’s driveable. I’m not too good to drive around in a dented car for a little while. But then, last week, we got yet another hail storm. This time the hail wasn’t big enough to dent anything at our house, but at the body shop, it was big enough to dent all the cars on their lot. So now they have to fix all those cars again and could they please reschedule me for the last Monday in July? Agh. I know it’s not their fault, but crap. CRAP! I like their work enough to wait though, so it’s another month of waiting. At least.

- Pre-surgery, Slag and I were snugglers. (Or I should say, we liked to snuggle on the couch for a few minutes until I got too hot and demanded that he GET AWAY FROM ME before I died of heat stroke.) For the first month or so after surgery we didn’t even try. Everything was way too fragile. Since then, we’ve done a little test-snuggling. I try to be very careful manuvering around him. Can’t put too much weight there. No twisting. No sudden moves. That sort of thing. All was going well until last week, when I tried to snuggle him after ingesting a very large strawberry margarita. Somehow, and I’m not sure exactly how it happened so we can’t be sure it was totally my fault,…I knee’d him squarely in the nuts. It was a direct hit. Couldn’t have done any better if I were defending myself from a mugger/rapist.


He went fetal on me, and I started freaking out a little, because the fetal position is not good for his back right now. “Omigod! What happened? Are you OK?? What can I do??” After about 5 minutes he started trying to talk through his clenched teeth, saying things like “It’s OK” and “Don’t worry. It’s not that bad” in between gasping breaths. And I wanted to believe him, but the fact remained that I could actually SEE him, and it was obvious he was fibbing when he said it wasn’t that bad. I sat and watched him for another ten minutes or so, hoping that he wouldn’t go into cardiac arrest or break a vertebra loose. He finally got up and hobbled to the bathroom, which I took as a good sign, but it turns out he only got up because he thought he was going to barf on the living room floor. I’d say it took another couple of hours before all the muscles in his face relaxed. He ultimately survived, but I was banished to the other side of the sofa for the rest of the evening. Totally unfair. It’s not like I did it on purpose or anything.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Slag and I went to a restaurant yesterday and actually sat at a table and ate! We did not order take-out. I did not shovel down the second half of my meal as fast as possible while Slag waited out in the car with the seat fully reclined. Slag did not end the dining experience contorted into a bizarre-looking, semi-yoga-ish position on his side of the booth.

I'm really really trying not to count my chickens too soon. Slag is still heavily medicated. But things are looking pretty good over here. We may actually return to normal life some day. It could happen. Eating in restaurants, flying on planes, going to movies. Omigod, MOVIES! Seeing movies BEFORE they come out on video. The mind reels.

On a completely different subject, Slag has a very nice-looking, salt-and-pepper goatee going right now. I like it. It started after surgery with him not shaving for a week because he could barely stand up long enough to take a real shower. Shaving required vertical time that he just didn't have. Then he decided to let it grow a bit, to see how it would look. At that point I insisted that he at least shave his neck to keep it looking well-groomed and not like he suddenly became homeless and had no access to shaving toiletries.

But as the beard started to fill in, I started noticing something weird. Everytime I saw his face from a certain angle, he looked a lot like my ex. Or I should say, The Ex.

So yeah, let's be realistic. Any normal, average-ishly-attractive woman who starts dating at 17 and doesn't marry until 37 can be expected to have a certain number of exes. But this was the ex with the big "E". The one who dumped me after 5 years for someone else. The one who initiated the big Ugly Breakup with the big "U" and the big "B." Which led to the Humiliation with the big "H" and the Therapy with the the big "T." That one.

Oh, don't worry. I dealt with everything and moved on with my life long ago, before I even met Slag. I'm not bitter. Really. Nonetheless, it's still not a memory that I need shoved in my face every time I look at my husband.

So what was my point? Oh yeah, so every time I saw Slag from this certain angle, D. popped into my head. It was only fair to clue Slag in. I told him he could keep the whole beard if he wanted to, but I just felt that I had to at least let him know what was going on.

He decided it would be appropriate to modify the facial hair. I think he made the right decision.

The goatee is awesome. It gives him just a hint of that bad-boy look. Once he's completely recovered from the surgery, I'm thinking it will go really well with his hard hat and tool belt left over from his iron working years. Heh.

I'll do my best to get a decent picture of it. I'm hindered by the fact that he hates having his picture taken and also that he has a rule against his face appearing on the internets. So, if I do acquire and post a picture, I will be in trouble. But it's OK. If I slip him an extra pain pill, he may not even remember it. Plus I'm pretty sure I could take him down in his current state of decrepitude. I am not afraid.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Back Update (Finally)

I know, I know. I should have updated everybody by now. Because I'm not feeling very energetic, here's the email play-by-play I sent out to friends and family. Not that all you fine people out in the internet aren't friends and just as interested as everyone else, but I don't know all your email addresses, and, well, that's all the excuses I can come up with. Note that there are plenty of excuses in the email below as well. (Apparently I'm good at excuses.) On to the details.....

Wednesday, 4/22, 4:27pm:

We just got back from the pre-surgery consultation with Slag's surgeon. We watched some patient education videos and gave them some money and signed some forms saying it's OK if the surgeon accidently amputates an ear or a leg. Everything is on for tomorrow morning. Slag is looking forward to the whole thing. I'm a little nervous, especially after hearing about all the possible, though "rare," complications, but it's OK because I'm really good at denial.

Slag is the first patient on the surgeon's agenda for tomorrow, which is probably a good thing. We want him to start the cutting before the fatigue sets in. (I am a little annoyed that we have to be at the hospital at 6am. I REALLY dislike getting up early. Is no one considering my needs??)

Thursday, April 23, 10:50 pm:

Just a note to let everyone know that the surgery went really well. The surgeon said it went exactly as planned and he was very pleased. Slag is in some pain, of course, but he has a morphine pump that keeps it under control. The morphine makes him a bit groggy, but he has been awake enough to crack jokes with the nurses, so I think the worst is behind him.

This afternoon a physical therapist came by and got him started with some exercises he can do while still in bed. In the morning they plan to get him up and walking. I'll send out more info as soon as we have specifics. Right now, the plan is to release him on Saturday if all goes well, which would mean we'd be coming back to Austin on Sunday or Monday, depending on how Slag is feeling. But of course, all this could change.

Sorry, I haven't had a chance to read or respond to all the notes you've been sending, but I'll try to tomorrow. I'm pooped and I'm going to get some shut-eye. Also feel free to forward this to anyone else who might be interested. There were several people I couldn't find email addresses for at the last minute.

Thanks everyone! Jill

Sunday, April 26, 5:56pm:

Hey everybody,

I got into the email list on Slag's laptop and snagged a bunch more email addresses. If you haven't heard from me before, it's because I didn't know your email address off the top of my head.

The update: Slag was released from the hospital this morning. It's a day later than he had hoped, but he was in too much pain after the morphine pump was removed on Friday to consider leaving yesterday. The pain has subsided enough now that the pain pills he has are controlling the pain enough for him to handle it. He's been up and walking short distances since Friday. Friday was definitely the worst.

Things have improved every day since then. While he's having pain from the incisions and from having the nerves in his spine stretched back into place where the disk was collapsed (which is causing some leg pain), he's said that the original pain in his back is much improved. Yay!

We're going to spend tonight here in Plano and plan to head for Austin late morning-ish tomorrow (Monday). The drive will take longer than usual because we'll need to stop every 45-60 minutes so he can get out of the car and walk a bit. I expect him to be really tired by the time we get home. Hopefully he'll have the energy to send out the next update, but if not, I'll try to keep you posted.

Toodles, Jill

P.S. I know I've missed some phone calls from various folks. My phone got really crappy reception at the hospital and it's not much better here at the hotel. Sorry.

Monday, April 27, 5:01pm:

Hi again! The latest news....

Slag had a small setback yesterday evening and was readmitted to the hospital overnight. I'll let him tell the whole story later if he wants to, but let's just say that large doses of narcotics can cause vital bodily functions to shut down completely, and leave it at that for now.

Anywho, he was released again this afternoon and is currently crashed on the couch in the hotel room. He appears to be healing well so far, and he still says that he feels very little of the original back pain. We're going to head for Austin tomorrow (Tuesday) morning.

Later, Jill

Tuesday, April 28, 7:45pm:

We're home. We're pooped, but everything is fine. Slag is getting around the house, slowly, but doesn't need a walker or crutches. Thanks for all the calls and emails. I'm sorry I haven't responded to anything. Things are just too frantic (for me) at the moment. :)

I'm sure Slag would love to share the story of his travails, because he's going to be pretty bored in the next few days.

We go back for his two week follow-up appointment on May 6.

OK, that's all I can think of now.

See ya, Jill

OK, that's it. You're all caught up. Slag continues to improve every day. Yesterday evening was bad, because he decided he was feeling better and both increased his physical activity and decreased his pain medication on the same day. Note to self: do not let him do that again. He's back on track today.

Nothing else very interesting to tell. I'll keep you posted....

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Back Watch 2009 - It's On!

First of all, Slag does indeed have osteoporosis in his back. I guess being sedentary for a couple of years will do that to a person. But all is not lost. According to his surgeon, brittle bones mean he's not a good candidate for disc replacement, and six months of bone-enhancing medication may or not improve the condition of his bones enough to make him a candidate later. But he is a candidate for 360 degree disc fusion RIGHT NOW. So that's what he's getting. They'll be taking out the offending disc completely and fusing the two adjoining vertebrae together, and voila, no more pain (fingers crossed).

He's giddy with anticipation. I know, who gets giddy at the thought of major surgery? Someone who's been in pain for two solid years, that's who. I was sitting in the examination room with him when he actually said, to the premier spinal surgeon in this part of the country,

"Man, it's OK with me if you come at me with a pair of post hole diggers."

The surgeon laughed. I'm taking it as a good sign that he at least has a sense of humor. And also that he doesn't actually use post hole diggers in the operating room.

Surgery is on 4/23. We're leaving for Plano on 4/21. Stay tuned....

Monday, April 13, 2009

Good and Bad


Today is the day after Easter. And what does that mean?? All the Easter candy is half-price! Woo hoo!

On the way to work this morning I scored a bag of miniature peanut butter cups and a half pound bag of M&Ms for $2.44.


At some unknown point during ensuing feeding frenzy, I managed to smear chocolate on the front of my cream-colored shirt. It looks like poo.

I have eaten almost the entire bag of peanut butter cups in the couple of hours I've been at work. My ass is getting bigger even as we speak. And I don't care.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Waiting Sucks and Why Does God Hate My Car? (A Post in Two Parts)

First, an Update on Slag's back:

Last week we got him to Plano to the Texas Back Institute. These people are supposed to be the shit and we saw nothing that made us disagree with that rumor. They know what they are doing. They weren't surprised or perplexed or frightened by anything we told them or brought with us. They even have comfortable, ergonomic, "back friendly" chairs in their waiting room, which you don't see nearly as often as you would expect from doctors who treat back pain.

Unfortunately, by the time we got to the office at 3pm, Slag had spent 4 hours riding in a car and he was in too much pain to try out one of the ergonomic chairs (I enjoyed one though). Instead he asked the checkin lady if it would be OK if he laid down on the floor in the corner of the waiting room (which he has done before in waiting rooms with less-back-friendly chairs). She responded by finding a free examination room. Very considerate.

The good news is that the head honcho surgeon agreed to replace the offending disc in Slag's back. But there's always a catch, isn't there? Yes, there is.

The surgeon sent him for a bone density scan, to make sure the bones in his back are dense enough to handle the surgery. He got the scan late last week and, to our untrained eyes, the results sort of look like his bones aren't very dense. We're still waiting to hear from the surgeon after he reviews the scan results, but Slag won't be surprised if he has to go on this bone-strengthening medication for a few months before his spine is sturdy enough.

So we're waiting to hear if we have to wait some more. I'm sick of waiting. Slag is REALLY sick of waiting. The thought of Slag living for several more months in his current condition actually makes me a little nauseated. And so I'm not going to think about it anymore today.

Second, my car versus the Almighty:

Last week, just before our trip to Plano, I stood on the front porch and watched a hail storm pummel the crap out of my car. For the second time in three years. This time was worse because the front and back windows were also smashed, filling the passenger compartment with glass and rendering the car undriveable. Sigh.

I don't understand what I have done to deserve this. I love this car. I'm going to drive it until it dies, but the universe seems to be trying to kill it off before its time. I got it new in 2003. In the 6 six years since then, it's been rear-ended TWICE, beat all to hell with hail TWICE, and had a cantaloupe-sized rock gouge a trench out of its hood when said rock was thrown up in the air by the truck driving in front of me. So let's just say they know me at the body shop.

If somebody knows what I need to do to stop the carnage, please let me know. I'm thinking of sacrificing a goat.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Back Watch 2009 Update - Complete System Failure

Total spinal failure has finally arrived. Slag can no longer stand or walk. Records are being gathered even as we speak. It's likely that we'll be heading off to the top spinal surgery center in Texas very soon. It's about a 3.5 hour drive from here, so getting him there is going to be a challenge.

Hell, getting him in the car is going to be a challenge, but in the car he will go, even if I have to strap him onto a dollie, a la Hannibal Lector, and roll him out to the driveway.

He's remarkably calm and good-tempered, even as he keeps his life in running order from a horizontal position on the couch in the living room, with only the occasional Vicodin to keep the pain to a tolerable level. He's got all three phones within easy reach and has been fielding work calls all morning. Not sure what he's telling his clients. I am hoping he's telling them something like "I can't walk right now, so no, I won't be able to inspect that house this afternoon. "

Thank Zeus I can do my job completely from home, as long as the internet connection stays functional, so I don't have to leave him stranded.

And I am calm because I have a valid prescription for the good pills.

"Drugs are bad, but the good pills are good, m'kay?"

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Back Watch 2009, Episode 1

I just brought Slag home from his most recent “procedure.” He got another needle shoved into his spine, but this one was in a slightly different place than the last one. They gave him a copy of the fluoroscope image, but looks just like the last one to me.

I wish I didn’t always come home from visits to the spine doctors feeling stupider than I was when I left. I just don’t get it. I don’t think I’m stupid, not when I’m really trying not to be. And I know the doctors are busy and don’t have time to cover Anatomy 101 with all their patients during every visit, but I wish someone could just point me to a web page or something. I would read it. I swear.

I never intended to be one of those wives who follows her husband to all his doctor’s appointments and keeps track of all his symptoms in a little notebook and generally hovers. Slag is a grownup. I don’t want to be his mother. He doesn’t want me to be his mother. But things are different with the spine and those who treat it. It’s complicated. Slag takes me along so there are at least two sets of ears listening and trying to remember, but the two of us together still have a hard time understanding what exactly is going on. We always debrief during the drive home while everything is fresh in our minds.

“OK, he said x. Is that what you heard?”

“Well, sort of. He implied x, but I don’t think he actually said those words. I wonder if he really meant y?”

“Hmm, yeah, I can see that. Maybe he meant first x, then y if x doesn’t work?”

“Is it possible to do y after you’ve tried x and it failed? Didn’t he say something about y being impossible after x because of scar tissue?”

And so on.

I started to ask a couple of questions during the consult today, and the doctor stopped me and handed me a pamphlet. “This is what we’re going to do today.” And then he handed me another pamphlet. “This is what we’ll do in a couple of weeks if today’s procedure results in a and b.” And then a third pamphlet. “This is what we’ll do later if the results of the two previous procedures indicate that he is a good candidate.” And then he disappeared.

OK, sounds good. We’ve got something in writing to work with. I can do that. Only I screwed up and didn’t number the pamphlets. By the time I got the book and the water bottle and Slag’s wallet and phone and all our copies of the consent forms shoved into my purse and made it back to the waiting room, I got the order of the pamphlets mixed up and I don’t remember which is which.

And even if I did get the pamphlet order correct, I still don’t understand. Two of the pamphlets essentially say the same thing. They even have the same diagram of cartoon needle poking a cartoon spine, only in one the point of the needle is about a millimeter away from the point of the needle in the other. I honestly can’t see any substantial difference, certainly nothing that would warrant a whole separate pamphlet.

And, to top it all off, all three of them basically say “We’re going to lay you out on a table, sedate you, and stick a needle into your spine. We’ll put medicine through the needle that will hopefully make your back stop hurting. You will need someone to drive you home.”

This is not helpful information. I think he gave them to me so I would shut up. And I wasn’t even being obnoxious or anything!

OK, enough whining for now. It’s time for the nagging part of my day to begin. I’ll work on filling in the background of the story later. Now I’ve gotta go make sure Slag doesn’t do anything he isn’t supposed to do. Toodles.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Spring Planting

You might think that February would be too early to plant your tomatoes, but no. Turns out, if you live in a place where you have a 50/50 shot at running your air conditioner on Christmas Day, you can plant in February.

Slag's back is, of course, very delicate, so Skiver and I were drafted to serve as his crew. I had snuck out of work an hour early and thought I was going to spend the hour goofing off, but no. I was promptly snared. Skiver, being the smart one and also not the one who lives with Slag, was tardy and arrived after work started. The work started at 4:15pm. Which also happens to be the exact minute that I arrived at home from work today.

I tried the tilling before Skiver arrived, but....I suck at tilling. Skiver is surprisingly good at tilling. He said it was more fun than vacuuming.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Happy V-Day

Yesterday was my and Slag’s 13th Valentine’s Day together as a couple. We’ve finally settled into a place where nothing is required. There are no more worries about someone’s feelings getting hurt because they weren’t gifted or flowered or acknowledged properly. Most of the anxiety has been Slag’s. He was clearly traumatized sometime earlier in his life for not doing “the right thing” on Valentine’s Day. I don’t know what happened to him, but I’ve spent the years trying to undo it.

Don’t get me wrong, the first few years of our relationship, I was delighted by the bouquets of roses that appeared at home or at work on that special day. The ones delivered to work were the best, because then EVERYBODY got to see how much I was adored.

But it kept escalating. I finally put a stop to it the day I arrived home to find three dozen long stem red roses in multiple vases throughout the living room. Because they wouldn’t even fit into one vase. Do you know how much three dozen roses costs on Valentine’s Day?? Me neither, but I know it’s a lot. Too much. We could have used that money to add on to the house like we’ve talking about for a couple of years. Instead, because he so much wanted me to know how much he loves me and wanted me to be happy on Valentine’s Day, he invested huge quantities of cash in something that would be dead in a week, ten days tops. He was essentially burning money in my honor. And I love him for it. But it’s just not needed anymore. I know he loves me and I know I love him and we don’t need to “do” Valentine’s Day anymore to prove it to each other. And this is a very comfortable place to be. I like it.

This year we had an extremely fun V-Day hanging out with our bestest friend Skiver. Skiver and Slag got take-out wings from Hooter’s and I had take-out from my favorite Italian restaurant and then we watched Evil Dead II on DVD. And then we participated in the Valentine’s Day tradition that I still fully support: the over-the-top chocolate dessert. I found a recipe on the web and tweeked it to suit my preferences. (The recipe I saw suggested boxed mixes. Ha, as if. I’m not snobby about much of anything, but I do not “do” brownie and cookie mixes. And that’s all I have to say about that.)

Phase 1: Make the brownie batter of your choice (enough for a 13x9 inch pan) and spread it in a buttered baking dish.

Phase 2: Make the chocolate chip cookie dough of your choice and drop little spoonfuls of it into the brownie batter, mashing the dough flat with a spoon if needed.

Phase 3: Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Phase 4: Make a ganache with by melting together 12oz of your favorite chocolate chips, 6 tablespoons of butter and ¾ cup of cream. Spread over the cooled brownie/cookie thing.

Phase 5: Gormandize.

Phase 6: The next morning, eat more for breakfast. Then throw the rest in the trash so you don’t finish off the entire pan and subsequently grow out of all your jeans over the course of a single weekend.

Yes, I have posted a picture of the inside of my trash can on the internet, the content of which looks remarkably like poo. My mother must be so proud right now.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

A Little Something

Slag bought me a present last week. Right out of the blue. There was no special occasion or anything. Just a little something, because he was thinking of me.

How cool is that? Every girl likes to be surprised with gifts from her man every now and then. It’s especially romantic when he presents the gift and then makes a sudden retreat to the other side of the room, where he cowers defensively with a pleading look in his eyes that silently begs “Please don’t hurt me or any of my stuff.”

He got me one of these:


What might be the appropriate response from moi, given that I need to keep my man respectful, but I also want to at least give the appearance of being sane?

On the one hand, this is really, really close to responding “yes” to the famous question: “Honey, do these pants make me look fat?” Which would naturally result in a nuclear-holocaust-type situation. For him.

On the other hand, the man is clearly desperate. He’s so frantic to escape my raspy, middle-aged, half-assed-runner’s calluses that he’s willing to risk my woman-wrath. I have been shoving my cold, callused feet up against the delicate skin behind his knees a lot recently…..OK, truthfully, I’m not that picky and I’ll stick my cold, callused feet any place that’s warm. Slag has lots of attractive warm spots. So I can see where he might be justified in suggesting a different grooming strategy for my feet.

What to do, what to do….

I’m shooting for sane this week, so I’ve decided to forgive him. The egg thing actually works pretty well. Plus he’s really adorable when he cowers.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


This afternoon I headed to the ladies room for my normal, 3pm-ish, pee break, and found my favorite stall unoccupied. It’s the one furthest from the door. I don’t know why I always feel drawn to that one, but I do. And since the men outnumber the women 10 to 1 on my floor, that stall is usually available because there’s never anybody else even in the restroom. Long story short, I got my favorite stall. But today that stall had a different look. No, nothing alarming or disgusting, just weird. Today there was a bunch of glitter all over the floor. It wasn’t anywhere else in the restroom, just in that stall.


I’ve been imagining possible scenarios in my head since then. How many ways could that happen? Glitter. On the floor. In the restroom. At work.

I think these are the best of what I came up with (keeping in mind that I am, right now, as I write, extremely drunk (I use lots of sentence fragments when I’m drunk. Probably drives Jocelyn crazy (She’s an English composition teacher))). They are:

1. They started making Barbie™ panties in adult sizes.

2. All the cool, hip people now decorate their hoo-hoo’s with glitter and I’m not hip enough to know about it.

3. MegaCorporation has out-sourced custodial duties to a group of fairies, and one of them, say, sneezed while she was cleaning that stall.

Anybody have a better idea?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

He's gone!

One of our friends hosted a little post-inauguration celebration last night. There was plenty of food and drinks and lively conversation. Skiver even brought a bottle of some very tasty champagne for toasting. Once all our glasses were filled, we stood around for a second, trying to decide what to toast to. I suggested “He’s gone!” Everyone agreed enthusiastically. Then we clinked glasses and downed the bubbly and continued on with the critiquing of the inaugural fashion, which is really the best part of the whole thing.

I was a bit disappointed when we first arrived at the festivities, because I forgot to bring the George Bush action figure that I got Slag for Christmas two or three years ago. I figured George would be a fun party toy, especially after a few bottles of wine.

The action figure normally resides on our mantel, bent over, with its pants pulled down, thusly:

For a long time the lady who cleans our house would pull up his pants and sit him upright as part of her “tidying of the living room” routine, but lately she’s taken to joining in the fun and doing something amusing with him. Most recently she’s been sitting him in the lap of my Princess Lea sock monkey. But that’s a story for another post.

Anywho, on election day Slag and I decided that we would retire George on inauguration day. The joke has run its course. Oh, we’ll keep him around for the sake of posterity, but the sight of Ken-doll-smooth flesh-colored plastic buttocks has grown a little tiresome. Also, we don't want to appear to be rabidly psychotic, like the people who still haven't recovered from Clinton's presidency. Plus George's butt doesn’t really go with the rest of the décor.

So long, George!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I've Gone Red(dish)

Don’t worry, Bill O’Reilly! I swear I’m not a godless commie! I think I’m just having a mid-life crisis. And no, I haven’t traded Slag in for a couple of 25-year-olds. I still have a job. There are no sports cars in the driveway. No, none of that. Instead I’ve gone completely WILD and dyed my hair “medium auburn blond” (with a few blond highlights). How’s that for thrills and drama? Woohoo!!!!!

Somebody better shoot me with a tranquilizer dart before I go nuts and call in sick to work when I’m not really sick.

Photo courtesy of Slag

Saturday, January 10, 2009


While I am now a pretty dedicated flosser, it wasn’t always so. In my teens and twenties, my teeth saw floss only on the rare occasion that I got a piece of popcorn stuck between a couple of molars, and even then I only flossed the spot necessary to remove the offending bit of corn-hull. All the other teeth were ignored. I didn’t hear them complaining, so I assumed everything was fine. I had better things to do with my time.

So, as you might imagine, whenever I went to the dentist during those years and the dental hygienist asked me if I flossed, I’d squirm a little and mumble something about “every now and then” or “once in a while” or some other vague expression that really meant “No. No, I definitely do not floss, but I’m not going to admit it to you. Stop judging me!” Does anybody ever answer that question truthfully? Anyone? Ever? No, they don’t.

I don’t recall exactly what made me start thinking about flossing, and then actually doing it once in a while. I’m going to guess it was something like the memory of my grandmother sticking out her false teeth and making her eyes all crazy-looking and causing me and my cousins to shriek in terror and hide under furniture. I came to realize that no, I am not immortal and my body parts are going to start breaking down just like everyone else’s if I don’t take care of them. In short, I decided that I didn’t want to be the old lady with the freaky teeth who scared small children.

It was hard at first. It was just one more thing that was standing between me and vegging on the couch at the end of the day. I became an intermittent flosser, maybe averaging every other day or so. Still not on the straight and narrow according to The American Dental Association™ I’m sure, but definitely better than never. That slowly morphed into regular, every day, no-matter-what, can’t-relax-and-go-to-sleep-unless-I-have-flossed flossing Now if I don’t floss, I feel like I may as well go to bed with a mouth full of candy and invite the gingivitis to come and have a party in my mouth. I could wake up a toothless old hag! Instead of the toothed apprentice hag that I am now.

So, what was my point?

Oh yeah, well, now that I floss every day, I always expect the dental hygienist to ask me if I floss, so I can sanctimoniously declare “Yes! I floss every day! Aren’t my gums magnificent??” Only she never does. What is up with that? I always leave feeling cheated. I floss every day and I want some recognition for the effort, dammit. Is that too much to expect? She has her hands in my mouth for a good 20 minutes. Would it kill her to ask me one little question? It’s not like it would take any extra time. She could ask me while she’s putting the little drool towel around my neck or when she’s reloading the spinning rubber tool with nasty-tasting tooth polish or any number of other times when there’s a lull in the conversation.

So this week I decided to take matters into my own hands and ask why she doesn’t ask me the floss question, now that I actually do floss. And you know what she said? She said she could tell whether or not someone flosses just by looking, so she didn’t need to ask.

Excuse me….what? WHAT?? She can tell by looking?? Really? So all those times that she asked me about flossing, she ALREADY KNEW the answer? What kind of crap is that?? What, did she just want to listen to me lie, so she could feel superior? Is that how she amuses herself? By secretly mocking non-flossers?

Of course, this revelation has caused me to reevaluate our entire relationship. I thought it was based on trust and mutual respect and now I know that I was just being naïve. It’s true, I am just too trusting. I had no idea what was really going on. I feel so used, so manipulated. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to let my guard down and be vulnerable with another hygienist ever again. She stole my innocence and I can never forgive her for that.

And her? Well, she clearly has issues. I mean, you really have to wonder about someone who spends her entire day passive-aggressively manipulating non-flossers for her own amusement. The more I think about it, the more I’m really starting to worry a bit about the woman’s mental stability. She obviously needs a therapist and possibly medication. And it wouldn’t surprise me if someone organized an intervention in the near future. Otherwise things could get out of hand.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

I Am Ready

I go back to work tomorrow after being off for two solid weeks. Mega-Corporation closed down operations for two weeks around the holidays this year, instead of the usual one week. MC wants me to spend extra time with my family, to rest and rejuvenate. I know that because I got a little note from HR telling me so. Down at the very bottom of the note there was also some vague comment about “leveraging downtime to confine costs” or some such. Which costs being confined was never fully explained, but I can guess. cough*gettingallthatvacationtimeoffthebooks*cough. Whatever.

I don’t have a lot to show for all this time off. Instead, I have taken care of a million little things that no one would actually notice. I’ve replaced the water filter in the refrigerator and the air filter in the AC system. I replaced the bag in the vacuum cleaner and repotted all the plants in the house. The car is full of gas and its registration is up-to-date and its tires are fully inflated to the recommended pressure. The house is stocked with paper towels and toilet paper and laundry soap and all the other essentials. We aren’t almost out of anything. I have mopped and filed and ironed and organized. I made 2008 contributions to our IRAs. I have a new toothbrush. I even blogged.

So. Let it be known that right now my life is officially under control. It may never happen again, but for just these few hours, I am on top of everything. Bring it on, 2009! I am ready for you. (Here is where I deliver a couple of karate chops to the air around my head, Chuck Norris style, and everybody is really impressed.)

P.S. I expect everything will be back to the normal insanity by tomorrow around this time. Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

I Am Not Dead (and Neither Is Slag)

No really, it’s true. We are still here. Barely. The blogging suffered and there wasn’t a week that went by that I didn’t feel a little pang of guilt about it, but I just didn’t have the mental energy to do it. I hope the blogging gods will forgive me.

It’s been a stressful year for us. Last night Slag and I kissed at midnight, exchanged I-love-you’s, and pronounced a hearty “Good Riddance and Don’t Let the Door Hit You on the Ass on the Way Out” to 2008. 2009, you had better watch yourself, because I have had enough crap. Really.

Some things that happened this year:

1. Slag’s back has become nearly non-functional. I mean, it’s still there, connecting his shoulders to his legs, but the number of positions it allows Slag to take without causing extreme pain has decreased to around two. Those would be (a) Lying horizontally on the left side of the body and (b) Lying horizontally on the right side of the body. This makes it difficult for him to work (see number 2) and make pottery, the two things that keep him sane and agreeable, though I will say he has done a much better job of staying sane and agreeable than I would have.
He’s been through some horrendous tests, one culminating in an ambulance ride back to the hospital after the test. The test was called a discogram, and it wasn’t nearly as fun as the name might imply.

There’s a 95% chance that someone will be cutting him open in 2009. We haven’t yet decided who will be doing the cutting or what they will do once they have gained access to his spine. Stay tuned.

2. I know the mortgage industry meltdown affected lots of people out there. It particularly affected Slag because, well, he works in the mortgage industry. So his business has seen somewhat of a slow down. Plus, new, knee-jerk-reaction regulations created by those who don't really understand his job are making it almost impossible for him to do his job effectively. Which is nearly a moot point anyway (see number 1).

3. Wicked Step-Mother™ was diagnosed with breast cancer last spring. It was caught in the very earliest of stages. She went through surgery and radiation treatment and is now clear of cancer, and we’re hoping she stays that way. (2009, do not mess with me on this. I will kick your ass. I mean it.)

4. My Dad’s Parkinsons continues to progress. I don’t see him that often, so when I do see him, the changes are marked. Nothing else to say here, except a hearty, sarcastic Thanks! to The Decider for blocking stem cell research at every opportunity. Someday, I hope he or someone he loves comes down with Parkinsons or Alzheimers or diabetes or something else that would be eight years closer to a cure if he hadn’t been installed in office. Yes, I know that’s mean-spirited, and I don’t care.

5. My net worth has decreased by about 33% in the last 3 months. Not that we’re talking about an extreme amount of money anyway, but it’s very disheartening to see it all evaporate overnight.

6. Last spring the Mega-Corporation that I work for announced it was selling the building where my co-workers and I reside. MC was planning on cramming us all into a data center building out by the airport. A building that doesn’t even have enough restrooms to support the number people who were going to occupy it, let alone any amenities like a cafeteria. The closest restaurant is a titty bar called “The Landing Strip.” (<--I am not making that up.) There were rumors of a Subway in a nearby gas station, but I never saw it. And my commute would have tripled. MC offered move packages to anyone willing to move to another city about 3 hours from here. My boss and four of the people I work most closely with took the package. And then, after houses had been sold and moving trucks had departed, and those of us remaining had resigned ourselves to a work space more appropriate for veal calves, MC cancelled the whole thing. Yes, I’m still in my same office, as if it never even happened. Except all the people I work with now live in another city and that can make work a bit more difficult. It’s not so easy to find a wandering boss when you can’t just roam around the building until you hear his distinctive laugh. And just so you don’t think I’m a completely negative person, here are some good things that happened this year:

1. Slag still loves me and I still love him and we still make each other laugh every day in spite of the year we’ve had. We still have jobs and a house and some savings and don’t owe for anything and I know that’s a lot more than many people have right now.

2. MC did, in fact, cancel plans to move me to a part of town where a titty bar called The Landing Strip is the primary public dining facility.

3. MC still provides pretty decent health insurance and we are going to need it this year.

4. All my parents are relatively healthy and still enjoying life and I’m grateful for that.

5. My brother and sister and their families are healthy and growing like weeds.

6. We have wonderful friends who care and are there when we need them.

7. Obama was elected. I know some people voted for Obama because he is African-American, and I know others didn’t vote for him because he is African-American, but I believe that most people don’t give a rat’s ass what color he is. They just think he’s the best guy for the job, and that makes me so much more optimistic about the mentality and future of this country. The past eight years have been so destructive in so many ways and now it’s time to start rebuilding. I’m worried about the enormous mess he is inheriting from the previous administration and hope he won’t be blamed for things beyond his control, but someone has to try to fix it. Godspeed, Barak. Now, to end on a positive note, here are the quilts I made this year:

The only baby quilt I made this year. This one is for Blaine, the new son of friends Becky and Dave.

This is one I made for my Dad.

This is a quilt I made for my sister. It was my first attempt at a king-sized quilt.

A quilt I made for Slag. His color selection, my design.

This is the first baby quilt I made, for my nephew Levi, who will be 7 in April. I found it while going through my pictures. The quilt itself is simpler than those I make now, but it is hand-quilted. I haven’t hand-quilted one since, because it takes FOREVER.