Friday, July 31, 2009

In Which I Lend A Hand

This summer is quickly proving itself to be the summer of guest posting. Since June I have guest posted four different times, once each for Tony, MIT Mommy, Aunt Becky, and Mad Woman Meg. The latest in my flurry of guest posting is the one I have going up on Moonspun's blog today, as she embarks on vacation.

Head on over there to see what I had to say. Happy Friday, folks.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

In Which I Point And Laugh

Over the past 17 months, thanks to the magic that is Google Analytics, I have encountered some pretty weird and wacky search terms that brought visitors to my humble blog. I've had a few good laughs at their expense, but after a while, I thought I had seen them all.

When I checked my Google Analytics earlier today, though, I was shocked. It seemed as if all the real weirdos were finally crawling out of the woodwork and headed straight to Google to fill their (albeit small) brains with knowledge. Unfortunately for them, though, Google sent them here.

Here's just a sampling:
"ex was much bigger" - Kinda makes you regret dumping him, doesn't it? Apparently, the motion of the ocean doesn't matter if you're trying to get to England in a rowboat.

"toenails growing, werewolf" - Hate to break it to you, but that doesn't make you a werewolf. Unless you find yourself suddenly sprouting lots of hair and bigger teeth when the full moon comes around, I think you'll just have to get used to the idea of being a regular old human.

"badass pillow case sets" - I weep for the person who searched for this. I weep.

"badass things to learn" - I'm pretty sure that turning to an Internet search engine to help you become more badass automatically disqualifies you from ever achieving that status. Being badass often isn't something you can learn how to be. You either are, or you aren't. Keep trying, though.

"I am certain that I love you" - I'm flattered; truly I am. I'm married, though, and I don't think that The Boss would be welcome to adding a third party to our relationship. I appreciate the courage it took to say that, though. You've got guts.

"I think I might be pregnant with the cab drivers baby" - Again? Seriously? How does that even happen? Considering the types of people that I have seen driving cabs, you either are just really easy, didn't have money to pay for your fare, or had your beer goggles on. This brings a whole new meaning to the term "cab ride".

"should I try something new in high school or the same thing" - I'd stick with the same thing. High school isn't the time for personal growth and for trying new things. That whole "spread your wings" speech? Pure crap. It's much better to wait until you are older, when you have less time and freedom to try new things, but wish desperately that you could. Makes you really appreciate what could have been.

"that feeling when you realize something" - Did you feel that? That's called Intelligence. A fleeting emotion, yes, but it's nice while it lasts.

"we are both so inebriated" - I highly doubt that an actual drunk person searched for this. For starters, its not the easiest word to spell. Your ability to speak clearly, much less spell, is considerably reduced when intoxicated. Secondly, no actual drunk person would use that word while presently being drunk, unless you are Sheldon from that show, Big Bang Theory.

"what 'vomit in my mouth' means" - I always thought this phrase was pretty straightforward, but apparently some people need an explanation. I guess I just assumed that people would know that vomiting (generally an unpleasant event) and retaining it in one's mouth (hard to do if there is a large quantity of said vomit, but also unpleasant) would indicate general disgust. But that's just me.
Those are definitely some of the strangest search hits I've had since I started this blog. Weirdness is relative, though. Think you can top it? Tell me your strangest one.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

In Which I Avert My Eyes

An Open Letter To The Scarily Large Woman In Front Of Me At The Grocery Store Checkout:

Before I get down to the point of this letter, I feel the need to preface it a bit by saying that I do not have much of a fashion sense, if any at all. I know that it is frowned upon to wear socks with sandals, that horizontal stripes don't mix with vertical stripes, and something about wearing white only after Labor Day. Or is it not wearing white after Labor Day? It doesn't matter. The long and short of it is that when it comes to clothing, I wear more of what is comfortable as opposed to what is in style (not that I'd know what truly is considered to be "in style" anyways).

With that said, I don't normally make comments about what people choose to wear. I don't judge a book by it's cover (okay, so I did that once, but it was merited), so why should I, of all people, tear someone apart based upon their attire? As a man who once wore a brown shirt over brown shorts and thereby resembled a giant walking turd, I know there is more to someone than the clothes they wear. And even then, so long as you are comfortable, who cares?

However.

When it is 90 degrees outside with 85% humidity and you are sweating like you just hand-split a cord of firewood while standing in line in front of me at the grocery store, I have every right to judge your stupidity and say that your choice of short shorts and a ribbed white cotton t-shirt was ill-advised.

Let us discuss a few things, starting with the shorts, shall we?

As a person of... larger dimensions, you should know the benefit of dressing to fit your body type. Regardless of how comfortable those short shorts may have been (and forgive me if I am being rude here), it looked like your ass had swallowed up most of your shorts as you meandered through the store. When it comes time to change out of those later, you're probably going to need some backup, so have a few friends come by to help. Just remember to stretch adequately first.

Moving on to your shirt. Any woman should know that a thin white t-shirt is not really appropriate to wear in public (without anything underneath it). Due to the humidity and your aforementioned heavy sweating, your shirt was thinner and more transparent than any of the lies you hear tossed around on that lame TV show, Divorce Court. All transparentness aside, though, my more pressing concern was that your bazoongas looked like they were fighting for their freedom from under that shirt harder than detainees at a POW camp. Strap those yahbos down before someone gets hurt.

Those really are the only complaints that I have. You weren't wearing anything else that caught my attention, so I am out of things to chastise you for. I guess that is all that I have to say.... no, wait. Come to think of it, I do have something else. Something to thank you for, actually. While staring at the back of your legs like one does an accident on the highway, the pattern of the veins behind your knee reminded me of a road map, which brought to mind a shortcut that saved me three minutes on my drive home. Score!

Signed,

The Man In Line Behind You

Monday, July 27, 2009

In Which I Have Clouded Judgement

Last week, during the drive down to Boston for my appointment, The Boss and I decided to stop for a stretch break. We had been driving for a what felt like a couple hours, had amassed 100 miles on the odometer, and both of our legs were feeling cramped. Besides that, I was starting to feel like my bladder was organizing some other organs together to form a mutiny.

We discussed briefly the need to stop for a little while. We were quite a bit ahead of schedule, so stopping for an hour or so wouldn't be a problem. At this point we were headed southbound on Route 129 in Lynnfield, Massachusetts, so our choices were plentiful.

"Where would you like to stop?" I asked.

"Oh, I don't care. Just some place where I stretch my legs and walk around a bit," The Boss replied.

"Okay, well, do you just want to take a stretch break, or would you like to find a place to poke around for a little bit? Maybe get something to snack on?"

"Umm... I don't know."

The Boss has a habit, as I'm sure most women do, of not always expressing what she truly wants, even when asked directly. I'll admit to getting frustrated by it, but I find that if I ask some follow-up clarification questions, I can better judge what she wants. And when The Boss is happy, I'm happy (if you catch my drift).

So we continue driving down the road, and I'm calling out suggestions as I see them. She declines each one, but I'm starting to pick up something in the tone of her voice. I don't have enough time to think about it before we slam heavily through a pothole the size of Europa and my bladder sends me a message.

Hey. This is your Bladder. Remember that time you held your piss for too long in the second grade, and you made an ass of yourself by tinkling in your pants? Yeah. That's going to happen again if you don't get yourself to a fucking urinal... pronto.

Just then, The Boss' face lights up. "Look! Right there!" She points. "A Christmas Tree Shop!"

She turns to look at me, excited. "Can we go?"

"Sure," I said, in a decision powered solely by my now-painful need to urinate. We were hurtling down the road at 60mph, so the entrance for the store came up quickly. I hit the brakes and pulled into the parking lot.

I feel the need to mention, at least for the sake of rescuing my masculinity, that under normal circumstances, I would never so readily agree to enter the haven for cheaply made products where just about everything has "Made In China" stickers emblazoned on it. I mean, I love a bargain just as much as the next person, but I have to the draw the line somewhere. Besides, like the title of this post says, my judgement was clouded.

So, we park the car and enter the store. The Boss grabs a basket and I make a beeline for the restroom. As Murphy's Law would have it, it's on the opposite side of the store from the entrance. Also? It's right in the middle of the cosmetics department, which for a guy, is awesome. And if you must know, the business of expressing my bladder went as expected, and I used the "two-shake clean-up" technique before zipping back up. I washed my hands (with soap!) and left to see what items The Boss had found that she just could not live without.

Throughout our wanderings in the store, we encountered a blind woman who was looking at the framed art. Yes, you read me correctly. A blind woman. Looking at the art. Well, to be honest, she kept asking her companion what each piece looked like.

"Well, Bertha, it's a rose. Roses are red."

"Ah, okay. Mmm hmm."

They were kind of hogging the aisle, so we left for a different part of the store. There really wasn't anything else that happened during the rest of our time in the store that is worth mentioning.

Oh, except that someone decided it was a good idea to drop trou and take a big steaming shit in the middle of the store. As in, on the tile floor. In the middle of the displays of canvas storage cartons and summertime water toys.

Just in case you missed that, someone TOOK A SHIT. ON THE FLOOR. It smelled absolutely HORRIBLE. I mean, all shit smells bad, but this was like the epitome of stink. If there was ever an Olympic competition for the smelliest poo, this would have won the gold, silver, AND bronze medals.

It should go without saying that we left as soon as possible. Like, we smelled the shit, heard what happened (someone said it looked like an elephant had passed through), and POOF! we were done shopping and headed for the checkout.

And I thought we'd see stuff like that in Boston. I guess the real weirdos live in Lynnfield*.

*My apologies to any of my readers who live in Lynnfield, MA.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

In Which I Go Slightly Mad

I'm going slightly mad, but only in a figurative sense.

I've got a guest post going up at Mind Of A Mad Woman's place today, while she's away completing her move to a different region of the world. Head on over there to see what I have to say.

I hope everyone has had a good weekend.

Friday, July 24, 2009

In Which I Am Beat

I've written and consequently deleted a couple different drafts of this post. I'm frustrated with the project of writing this because I don't want to come off as being too whiney, too depressing, or too much like I am seeking out your pity. You, my readers, have been amazingly supportive of me during this time, even when I haven't given you any details about the more recent developments with my medical situation. And still, as difficult as it is to write about a negative situation pertaining to oneself without sounding like you're throwing yourself a pity party, I am going to try my damnedest to. Because I want to write about it, because I need to write about it, and because I don't want to feel like I'm taking advantage of your kindness and support.

Now, to finally get this damn thing started...

The reason for all of my concern and stress about this appointment is because there is speculation that I may have Multiple Sclerosis. There are a couple of different reasons why this is now on my radar, the first being the diagnosis of an involuntary movement disorder (of the legs and arms, not bowels) that I received in January.

To explain the other reasons, you'll first need to take look at the list of symptoms laid out on the National MS Society website. If you'd prefer not to click away, here's the rundown of the symptoms, pretty much verbatim, from the NMSS site.
Most Common Symptoms of MS:
  • Fatigue
  • Numbness
  • Walking (gait), balance and coordination problems
  • Bladder dysfunction
  • Bowel dysfunction
  • Vision problems
  • Dizziness and vertigo
  • Pain
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Cognitive changes
  • Emotional changes
  • Depression
  • Spasticity (referring to involuntary movements)
Less Common Symptoms of MS:
  • Speech disorders
  • Swallowing problems
  • Headaches
  • Hearing loss
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Respiration/Breathing problems
  • Itching
As you can see, there are a broad range of symptoms involving many different parts and aspects of the body. I think this goes without saying that you can have a majority of these symptoms and still not have MS. There are other things that one must have and certain criteria one must meet to go about getting a diagnosis of MS. In regards to myself, though, I can say without any hesitation that I have 12 out of the 13 most common symptoms, and 4 out of the 8 least common symptoms. I am not being a hypochondriac by thinking that I may have MS because I also have another one of the key indicators for it.

A major part of being diagnosed with MS is having lesions in the brain, which are visible with an MRI scan. Most of you will remember that I do have lesions in my brain, and that is something we've known about since pretty much the start of all of this. (If you are new or have forgotten about the lesions I am referring to, and you can read about here).

You can imagine how bleak this looked to me, knowing all that I have going on and what it all seems to point to. I know that having MS is not a death sentence, but it definitely is not something (obviously) that I want to have. The possibility of losing the ability to speak, or to walk, or losing my vision or hearing... it scared me. Thinking about it was the cause of many sleepless nights.

So with all of that said, here we are now, at my appointment yesterday. For the past couple of months I have been doing research about this, compiling notes and tracking the onset and progression of all my symptoms so I can present my case to my neurologist. My mindset going into the appointment was simple:
Regardless if I do or do not end up having Multiple Sclerosis, I want to know, and I want my neurologist to prove it to me. MRIs, spinal taps, whatever tests he wants to run, I'll do them. I just need to know.
After waiting an hour past my appointment time to actually see my doctor, I finally am sitting face to face with him. He listens attentively as I run down the shopping list of symptoms that I have, and waits for me to finish. He hesitates for a second after I'm done speaking and tells me, definitively, that I do not have MS.

You'd think I would be relieved, but I was exactly the opposite. I was upset. He brushed it off so quickly, like it was an absurdity, especially after I practically spelled it out for him. I know that he is the one with the medical degree, but how could I present all these symptoms that have all gotten progressively worse in ways that exactly fit the pattern for MS, and not have it?

It took him to explain it in a way that I understood, but eventually I saw his point.

He reminded me that I was informally diagnosed with sleep apnea back in January. Despite the fact that I barely slept during the sleep study I endured in September last year, they were able to get enough data to lean towards that diagnosis. He theorized that because I have been getting such poor sleep over the past two years, as attributed both to the suspected sleep apnea and the leg/arm movements I have while asleep, that a majority of the other symptoms I have may be caused and/or magnified by sheer sleep deprivation.

He also said that there is no way that we can look into a condition as serious as MS (which isn't still out of the picture entirely) without first trying to fix the sleep problem, thus clearing up any symptoms that are masking the true problem(s), and then see what remains.

When the topic of sleep apnea came up at my last appointment in January, I was pretty hesitant to get fitted for a CPAP machine right away because I wasn't entirely sure that I did indeed have sleep apnea. I am still apprehensive about the diagnosis and all, and I have my reasons as to why exactly, but this post is long enough already so I'm not going to go into any detail about it. However, if this is the next step I have to take, I trust my doctors judgement and I'll go along with it.

So, that is the next step in this on-going saga. I'm still concerned about the possibility of MS, but I'm comforted in the fact that for now, it's not in the foreground of the investigation. As far as getting fitted for the CPAP machine, I'll be contacting my PCP on Monday to see about getting that ball rolling up here in Maine.

We'll see what happens from there.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

In Which I Plead The 5th

Today is the official start of BlogHer, as I'm sure most of you all know. A lot of people that I follow in the blogosphere are going to be there, but unfortunately, I will not be. As much fun as it would be to go, I just couldn't afford it. Well, that, and I'm not a Her. But I digress.

By the time you read this, I will most likely be en route to my neurologist appointment in Boston. I don't have a real post for you all today, because I am guest posting for one of my favorite people, Aunt Becky. I'm sharing the story about the time my sister found a condom in a hotel room we were staying at. You'll have to head over to Becky's place to read it!

---

I'll be sending updates via Twitter throughout the day today. If you'd like to drop me a line, send a direct message to me. If you're not on Twitter, send me a (brief) e-mail to badassgeek{at}vtext{dot}com. I'll do my best to reply promptly.

As promised, I'll have a full update for everyone tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

In Which I Get Locked Out

On Monday, The Boss and I visited one of my favorite places in the state of Maine, Reid State Park. My family and I frequented the park as a kid, but The Boss had never been. It was a beautiful day to spend some time at the ocean, and although we applied sunscreen, by the time we left we both sported matching sunburns.

Visiting the park again after a number of years brought back a lot of memories, both good and not so good. Like the time I went swimming and didn't rinse off the salt and sand before we left, resulting in a very uncomfortable 2-hour drive home. Or the time I dug in the sand near the beach grass and found an old tourmaline ring that someone had lost long ago. My most unpleasant memory of this beach was the time I got 2nd-degree sunburns on my legs and feet and broke one of my toes by stubbing it against a piece of driftwood.

One of the last times I remember going to Reid State Park with my family was the time my younger sister locked my dads keys in the car. This was before the age of cell phones, and to walk to the nearest payphone would have involved a 13 mile hike. Fortunately, with the use of my dads belt, a leg from our portable grill, a borrowed coat hanger, and the unbelievably fortunate chance that my mother had left her window down a crack, we were able to unlock one of the doors. We left shortly after as the sun was setting, which was just as well. No one was really in the mood to explore nature any further after that stressful ordeal.

I remember when I was pretty young, whenever my parents would pack up the cooler, load us into the car, and tell us we were going to the ocean, I would always ask them which ocean we were going to. Until I was old enough to know better, I thought that each state park we went to was a different ocean. A child's logic only goes so far, I guess.


I brought my camera along, but this was the only picture I took worth sharing, and this one I took with my cell phone. It was very bright that day, and I forgot to compensate for the fact that I was wearing sunglasses when I adjusted the aperture setting. Everything either was washed out or too dark. I'll have to remember that the next time we go.

---

I'm going to Boston again tomorrow for yet another appointment with my neurologist. This is just a routine follow-up visit, but I do have some concerns I want to bring up while I am paying to have his attention. I've tried conversing with him via e-mail since my last appointment in January, but as a research professor at Harvard and a neurologist as Massachusetts General, he understandably is limited on his time to return e-mails to his patients.

And of course, I'll fill you all in on the details about my appointment when I get back.

Monday, July 20, 2009

In Which I Am A Fountain Of Crap

My brain is a fountain of crap today; Everything that I try to write just stinks. Instead of subjecting you to a post that I've tried to make work out of sheer determination, I'm going to put up a picture of my niece from this past weekend.

Enjoy the cuteness:


Clara, at six weeks old. Happy Monday, folks.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

In Which I Forget

Earlier this morning, as my alarm was going off at the ungodly hour of 5:30, I asked myself why in the hell I would want to get up two full hours before I had to log on for work. I violently hit the snooze button and went back to sleep.

A little bit later, when my alarm went off again at 5:45, I asked myself why I hadn't changed my alarm to a later time so I could just effing sleep. I reset the alarm for later in the morning, repositioned my pillow, and again, went back to sleep.

An hour later, I woke up in a panic.

What time is it? I thought to myself. I scrambled for the clock and focused my bleary eyes on the screen.

6:45?!?

"Fuck. Fuck. FUCK!" I muttered under my breath. I launched myself out of bed and pulled on some clothes.

"Fuck. Shit. Shit! Fucking SHIT."

I had forgotten that I was asked to start work early this morning. Not just to work, but to be the on-duty supervisor. I was supposed to start at 6:00, instead of my normal start time of 7:30. Thus the alarms set for 5:30 and 5:45. And now I, the supposed supervisor-du-jour, was logging in forty-five minutes late.

Why is it that whenever you wake up late, you always wake up late to the point where you're not really, REALLY late just yet (say, by an hour or more), but still too late for it to be excused?

I'll be kissing some major ass to get out of this one.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

In Which I Make An Offer

Earlier this week, I was talking with Aunt Becky via IM about inappropriate nicknames for the up-coming BlogHer conference.
Me: you that you can use the term "Vagina Camp" at BlogHer without having to pay royalties to me
Aunt Becky: hahahaaha
AB: vagina stock?
Me: Cooter Camp
AB: hahahaha
AB: beaver fest is my fav
Me: it is quite a good name
AB: i should make a shirt
And with that, an idea was born.

It is with great pride that I introduce to you the official Beaver Fest 2009 commemorative t-shirt design:


With the conference coming up in the next week, there wasn't enough time to get actual t-shirts made up with this design. However, if you'd like to be one of the few cool cats at BlogHer with a special satirical t-shirt that pokes fun at a common nickname for female genitalia, you are welcome to download the image you'd need to make yourself a shirt by clicking here.

You will, of course, need to have a good working printer, printable iron-on transfer sheets, an iron, and a light-colored t-shirt. I trust that you'd be able to figure it out from there. (Note: You'll notice that the image you've downloaded is mirror-imaged, and it's supposed to be. Trust me, when you print it up on the transfer paper, it will make sense.)

This doesn't apply only to those going to BlogHer. Even if you're not going, feel free to make one up. I only ask that if you do make yourself a shirt, whether you're going to BlogHer or not, snap a quick picture and send it to me. Candid shots from BlogHer would be great, too!

Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

In Which I Have To Wonder

I have to wonder just exactly what the graphic designer was thinking of when he or she designed this automotive window decal:


Sure, I know that it's supposed to be a picture of a lily, but the fleshy-pink color for it was a rather unfortunate choice. Am I the only (possibly immature) one here who immediately thought of something exceedingly non-botanical upon first seeing this?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

In Which I Didn't Expect Anything Less

Last night, while at Denny's satisfying an unhealthy craving for a greasy cheeseburger, The Boss and I were treated to a rather amusing show by some of the local crackheads. It was clear that he was strung out on something, as his pupils were swimming in a sea of bloodshot white. He was there with his girlfriend, who was equally as fucked up.

They staggered into the restaurant just after The Boss and I. As we waited to be seated, with the performers-du-jour standing right behind us, the show began.

"I love you," the male junkie (I'll call him Junkhead) said loudly. His voice was high-pitched and wobbly.

"I love you, too," replied the girlfriend (Junkette). Her voice was laced heavily with annoyance. She sounded like she was just minutes away from whipping out the letter opener in her purse and viciously stabbing him. (I imagined that she had a letter opener instead of a knife because aren't all white-trash murder weapons something surprisingly unconventional?)

"But hunn-neee!" Junkead whined. "I love you!" He sounded more like a spoiled, whiny kid in a toy store trying to wear down his parents resolve than a man in his mid-thirties.

"I love you, too!" Junkette snapped angrily. "Now shut the fuck up! You're embarrassing me!"

It warmed my heart to see such affection.

We were eventually seated at one end of the restaurant, with the amorous pair seated at the other. Junkhead continued to talk loudly, pondering aloud about what he should order. With everything he said, Junkette told him to shut the fuck up. It was like a verbal game of Tug-Of-War.
"Mebee I'll get thuh 'Moons Over My Hammie'. Dat sounds tasty."
"Okay, fine, then. Would you shut the fuck up?"
"Naw, I'm gunna get the Chicken Skillet." (He sounded pleased with himself)
"Okay," Junkette sighed. "Now shut the fuck up!"
During their exchange before the waitress took their order, the two kids sitting behind us with their father were enjoying themselves. They giggled quietly each time Junkette sparked blue.

"Dad!" one of them whispered. "She said a bad word!"

"I know, son. Just finish your dinner." I can only imagine the questions he'd face from their mother if the kids repeated anything they heard at home.

The Boss and I sat silently, pretending not to listen but listening intently so as to not miss a word that was said. During a brief moment of silence in the restaurant, I spoke.

"I totally got dibs on blogging about this."

The cook prepared Junkhead and Junkette's meal blessedly fast. Our meal was served shortly after, and for a while things were quiet. Our waitress came over to check on us when we were halfway through. As she left our table, Junkhead got up from his seat and approached her.

"Ken I git some more-ah deez... tings?" he asked, gesturing with something pinched between his fingers.

"More tomatoes? Sure," the waitress said. This seemed like it was old hat to her. Considering the part of town we were in, I imagined it was.

Junkhead turned back towards his seat, muttering to himself. "Tomatoes. Toe-may-toes. Tommy-toes. Toe-maye-ters. Toms. Toe-ma-toe. Tommys."

From there on out it was the same old song and dance. He'd speak, she'd tell him to shut the fuck up. The father and his kids left after a little while, the two boys giggling all the way out the door. The Boss and I conversed lightly in between proclamations of love and annoyance from the table furthest down.

As we were finishing up our meal, Junkhead and Junkette got up from their table to use the bathroom. Feeling playful, Junkhead slapped Junkette's ass, and hard. She whipped around and jabbed a finger in his face.

"Will you cut that shit out?" she yelled. "You're annoying me!"

"I'm sorree!" Junkhead whined, and stomped into the Mens Room. Junkette stomped equally as hard on her way into the Ladies Room.

Our waitress brought the check over while they were in the bathroom. The Boss placed her debit card on the check, and shortly after the server came back to run the card through. While she was at the register putting the receipts in the check folder, Junkhead emerged from the bathroom, his hands dripping wet.

"She an' I, yeah, we've been together fer 15 months," he said to no one in particular. "Yeah, we've been a cupple for almos' a yeer an' a haff. We's gunna get married soon, but weer takin' it slow.

Our server nodded politely, and brought back the check to sign. The Boss filled out the merchant copy quickly and put her card back into her purse. I heard a door squeak open and turned to see Junkette exiting the bathroom, urgently rubbing her nose lengthwise with her index finger.

Hearing the bathroom door open, too, Junkhead spun around. He raised his hands and tucked his elbows back, and ran towards Junkette.

"RAWR! Rawr! Imma T-Rex!" he yelled. Water flung from his fingertips as he grappled for her.

Junkette screamed and punched him in the stomach.

In unison, The Boss and I got up from the table and high-tailed it for the door.

"Come back soon!" our waitress called after us. I looked back to see her nonchalantly organizing her slips behind the counter. Junkhead had Junkette wrapped in a bear hug and was smothering her with kisses. Junkette was screaming at him to let go.

Out in the parking lot, The Boss and I started laughing.

"I love you!" I said, imitating Junkhead.

"I love you, too! Now just the fuck up!"

Terms of endearment, I tell you.

Monday, July 13, 2009

In Which I Get In Over My Head

I'm guest posting over at my friend Tonys place today, who is out having a blast at a two-week-long family reunion. If you've never been by Tonys blog before, I'd suggest it. He's always good for a laugh.

Head on over there to read about the time I jumped into a lake, while fully clothed, on a dare.

Happy Monday, folks!

Friday, July 10, 2009

In Which I Write

If this story doesn't seem familiar, please read this post, and then this post, for context. If you've already read those, enjoy the next part of the story.

---

I had to make myself familiar with this woman, this person who in truth was as much of a stranger as the hundreds of empty faces I saw every day. Even though she was vital to my sanity, being around her reduced me to a jumble of revolving thoughts and tense nerves. I had centered my life on her, but I did not know if my existence had any impact on her. For all I knew, to her I was just a friendly face along her morning commute.

The next morning, I waited for her again. I didn’t wait for her in my usual spot, instead I chose to wait where I could see her without her being able to see me. I had to know if my absence would affect her like her absence had affected me. I waited impatiently this time, my nerves buzzing. I silently prepared what I would say to her, hoping fiercely that I would have the courage to actually speak.

A car horn blared behind me, pulling me from my thoughts. I turned around, but it was nothing but typical morning traffic. When I turned back around, I saw her. The people around her seemed to part to the sides to let her through. I was far enough up the street to see that she would soon approach the front of the office building where I normally waited.

She was walking at her normal brisk speed, but slowed down when she saw I was not there. A flash of sadness crept over her face. It hurt to see such an expression, especially to know that I had caused it, but it made my heart leap at the same time. She stopped completely and turned back the way she had come, peering through the crowd.

I walked down the sidewalk to her, ignoring the complaints of the passersby as I bumped shoulders with them. I focused only on her, and for a moment it was only her and I on the street. The noise from the traffic faded away, and all I could hear was my footfalls on the concrete walk.

I was soon behind her. I ran a hand through my hair, and found myself suddenly out of breath. The words I had prepared disappeared from my mind, and the sound of my heavy beating heart thudded in my ears. I swallowed hard and took a few deep breaths. It was now or never.

“Looking for someone?” I asked.

At the sound of my voice, she spun around, startled. The motion of her hair sent up a rush of her dazzling smell. I held my breath for a moment, not wanting to be rendered speechless yet again.

Her eyes, glistening, widened with surprise. Her lips moved, forming words but not speaking them. She looked around again, as if she wasn’t sure she really saw me. Her cheeks blushed rapidly, and she looked down at the ground for a moment to compose herself. She stayed this way for enough time where I was tempted to reach out and touch her shoulder to see if she was alright. I was about to do so, but she at last looked up.

“Yes… I mean, no. I mean…” her voice trailed off. She gestured absently behind her with the hand that held her coffee cup. She reached up with her other hand to brush away a few wisps of hair from her forehead.

I smiled at her, hoping that my nervousness wasn't as transparent as it felt. It was clear I had caught her off guard, but I was far from calm myself.

The color deepened in her cheeks. “Well,” she continued, “to be honest, yes. I was looking for someone.”

“Have you found him, then?”

“I believe that I have,” she said.

“And now that you have found him, what do you plan to do?” I stepped in closer.

“I plan to introduce myself.” She took a step towards me, and offered her free hand. “My name is Sarah.”

I clasped her hand, soft and cold from the morning chill, and shook it gently. I wasn’t prepared for how touching her would make me feel. It was like everything I had touched before in my life had been behind rough burlap, and the act of touching her made it fall away.

I hesitated, forgetting for the moment what exactly my name was. A quizzical glance from those bottomless blue eyes reminded me.

“Shane,” I said with a start. “My name is Shane.” Her hand felt fragile within mine despite her strong grip. I held it like ancient china, afraid to even breathe for fear that she would shatter in my grasp. I felt her grip let up, and I released her hand reluctantly. Our hands slid apart, our fingertips grazing against each other in a way that lit up my nerves electric.

“Hi, Shane,” Sarah said. Her smile had faded briefly while I stumbled about with the business of saying my name.

“Hello, Sarah.”

To say her name aloud then was almost too much. I wrestled with the urge to tell her that I loved her, right there on our stretch of sidewalk (yes, to me it had become ours). I realized that I was standing close enough to feel the warmth radiating from her, and anything I could have thought to say other than laying bare what my heart knew to be the truth now eluded me. With words failing me, I settled for a smile.

The sun burned through the clouds, brightening, and her smile returned in full, yet wider and deeper than ever before.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

In Which I Figure It Out For Myself

When I was a kid, probably at ten or eleven years old, I figured out what sex was.

It wasn't because my Dad sat me down and told me about the birds and the bees. It wasn't because I accidentally walked in on my parents in the throes of passion (which? THANK GOD). It wasn't because I found a stash of skin mags or because I stumbled upon a porno.

No. I learned how sex worked by helping my father wire up one of our televisions with cable.

Allow me to explain.

My Dad came home from work at the cable company one day with a bundle of cable wire and a handful of connectors. He said something to my mother about finally getting around to wiring up the television in their bedroom, and then turned to me and asked if I wanted to help. I readily agreed, despite knowing that when you're a ten-year-old kid there isn't much you can do to help with such a task other than hand him the tool he's requesting or hold the flashlight aimed at the project in question.

To cut out the boring play-by-play, let us fast forward a bit. The hole in the wall has been drilled, the cable line measured and cut, and there is not much else left to do other than clamp on the connectors and thread them together. My Dad picks up the crimping tool.

"Mike, hand me one of those female connectors, would'ya?" he asks.

I look at the pile of brass connectors, confused. "Which one?"

He points. "That one."


I pick up one of the connectors and hand it over. He crimps it onto the cable, grimacing as he pulls the pliers as tightly closed as he can.

"And now, can I have one of the male connectors?"

There was only one other type left in the pile, so I didn't have to ask for clarification.


And suddenly, it sort of clicked in my head.

Male connectors... Female connectors. The male connector goes inside of the female connector. It all makes so much SENSE now!

I had, of course, learned what body parts boys have and what body parts girls have, but this experience of wiring up a television made all the puzzle pieces fall into place. It's a good thing I figured it out for myself, too, because my Dad never did sit me down for the "birds and bees" talk.

Come to think of it, maybe that was his way of subtly hinting at it.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

In Which I Fill My Pockets

I had to take The Boss to the Emergency Room yesterday. She was having some severe lower abdominal pain while at work, so I rushed over to pick her up and bring her to the hospital. The doctor diagnosed the pain as just unusually strong cramping associated with her being on The Rag, and to make a long story short, he cut her a prescription for Vicodin and told her to follow up with her OB/GYN. Obviously, with the Vicodin, she is feeling fine now.

We were there for almost five and a half hours by the time we finally got her discharge papers. The Boss plans on writing a post about the experience itself and the amazing ignorance displayed by the staff in the ER, doctors included, so I'm not going to write about that here. Instead, I'm going to talk about the exam room they placed us in, and the things I stole from it.

After an hour and a half in the waiting room after being triaged, a nurse finally came and brought The Boss to an exam room. It was at the end of the hallway near where the ambulances pull up and wheel in patients on stretchers. The room looked more like a large storage closet than an exam room. Upon further examination, I found this sign just to the side of the door:


Great. They didn't put us into an exam room. They put us into an overflow room normally used for the little kids who shove things up their nose, or those who otherwise have problems with their (you guessed it) eyes, ears, nose, or throat.

Awesome. A quick look around the room offered up some interesting pieces of equipment:


There also was a couple of things you wouldn't normally expect to see in an ER exam room, like these things:


Okay, so the Infectious Waste bin isn't that out of place, but they aren't normally in the exam room itself. In the hospitals I've been in, they are often outside the room in the hallways.

Here are a couple other views of the room:


There was also this creepy picture that described, in detail, the common afflictions of the middle ear. Check out the Damien-esque child on the upper right corner:


As I mentioned earlier, The Boss and I were in the ER for five and a half hours. Out of the entire time we were there, we were in contact with either a nurse or a doctor for about 30 minutes. That left a span of five hours where we were just sitting around waiting... and waiting. As time passed, I got curious as to what was in the cabinets with the intriguing labels. Curiosity eventually got the better of me, so I dug around in them.

I didn't get a chance to take pictures of the bayonet forceps or the nasal suction tips, as each time I tried to someone would walk by the door. I did, however, start to fill my pockets with some of the things I found. The longer we waited for someone to come by the room and talk to us, the more items I took. By the end of our stay, I had amassed a small bounty of things:


And the crown jewel:


(Culture swabs, Q-Tips, Tongue Depressors, Nasal Clips, Tissues, Medical Tape, and a Suture Removal Kit)

Between the twenty pills of Vicodin that The Boss got, and all the First Aid supplies that I managed to swipe, I think we made out pretty good.

For five hours in the ER for severe pain and NOT ONE OFFER for even Tylenol to make her more comfortable, that seems to me like a pretty fair trade, right?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

In Which I Am Free

Today is July 4th. There is no need to reinforce that fact, but even if you had forgotten what day it is, the crowds of people milling about and the sudden increase in traffic on the roads probably prompted you to check your calendar. It also could have been the influx of all things red, white, and blue that tipped you off, but I digress.

We all know what today is about, so I'm not going to wax patriotic or anything. I don't have any big plans to tell you about, and I've already used up my one good Fourth Of July story in last years post. I wasn't able to get the day off from work, but at least I'm back in my home office again. It will be much easier to power through a 12-hour shift in the comfort of my own home. And for those who are curious, yes. I am wearing pants today.

I guess that, other than publicly admitting that I'm wearing pants, I don't have much else to say. I suppose I felt like I had been neglecting my blog, and wanted to write something new. Maybe I just like the sound of my own voice. At any rate, I hope everyone has a fun and safe holiday weekend.

Don't blow your hands off with firecrackers or anything.

Friday, July 3, 2009

In Which I Recycle

I'm away from my desk again today, but I thought I'd recycle an older post that I had a good time writing. I'll be home again this weekend, so I'll have time to get caught up on all your posts and comments soon.

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The apartment that The Boss and I live in shares common walls with our landlords. Our portion of the house is technically the in-law apartment of the house, divided by a wall of less-than-standard thickness. It took us less than one week to learn that even a normal-volume conversation could be overheard, be it our conversation or theirs.

Having only a few inches between our sides of the house has made for interesting moments in the past couple months. Like the time where they had sex (yes, that one time). Or when they fought while having dinner:

Him: I'M YELLING AT YOU ABOUT SOMETHING INCONSEQUENTIAL.
Her: I'M YELLING EVEN LOUDER THAN YOU TO PROVE MY POINT.
Him: Can you pass the salt?
Her: Sure, darling.
Him: I STILL THINK YOU ARE WRONG, THUS MY CONTINUED RAISED VOICE.
Her: WHATEVER YOU SAY, DEAR. YOU'RE STILL SLEEPING ON THE COUCH.
Or my personal favorite, when they run their diesel-engine powered dishwasher at 10pm at night. Nothing like the roar of high-pressure water and a 16-horsepower drain pump that needs new bearings to lull you to a peaceful night's sleep.

There have been a variety of things I have overheard, but lately something new has come up that just takes the cake.

A couple of times a week, one of my landlords (I can never tell if it is the He or the She) will draw up a bath. Their upstairs bathroom is partly above our living room, and with the thin walls and flooring we can clearly hear the tub filling up. Once the water shuts off, you can hear them testing the temperature of the water and then setting into the tub. There is a period of loud, watery sloshing sounds, but then all is still.

And then, whoever is in the tub will fart.

It is unlike anything I have ever heard. These particular farts aren't the petite little one-cheek-sneak farts. These are marathon farts, the I-just-ate-chili farts, the I-didn't-know-I-had-a-tuba-up-my-butt kind of farts. It's a bare-ass, cheek-slapping fart against a hard surface. There is a squeak or a squeal almost, and of course, the bubbles. And oh, the bubbles! The escaping ass-air has to go somewhere, right? The sound of the bubbles is like someone switched on a jacuzzi for about 3.7 seconds.

This always happens in the evening, most often when both The Boss and I are sitting in the living room. After the butt-trumpet goes off over our heads, we have to stifle our rapturous laughter to keep from being overheard next door. I know that if we can hear them, they can hear us when we burp and fart, but I don't want to make it any more embarrassing than it needs to be.

I think I'm going to leave a bottle of Bean-O with our rent check next month.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

In Which I Am Forced To Be Polite

I was asked to travel into the corporate office this week and help train a couple of new hires. Well, I shouldn't say I was asked. My presence was more or less demanded, but in the form of a question. And since my balls shrivel up each time the corporate office even glances in my direction, I agreed.

I've been working from home for the past two years, away from interactions with the general public and from the watchful eye of my superiors. While I've maintained a good standing within the company, having the freedom of working from home has allowed me to develop a couple of bad habits. Here is just a partial list of things I have to keep in mind while spending the next two days at the corporate office:
  • SHOWER before leaving.
  • Put on pants.
  • Keep the burping and farting to a minimum.
  • Refrain from scratching/adjusting the crotchular region.
  • REMEMBER TO APPLY DEODORANT.
I'm off to the office now.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

In Which I Learn A Few Things

When I was a kid, I was scared of the lady who worked the drive-through at the bank because her voice was robotic and metallic-sounding. I thought it was her normal voice, but as I got older I realized that the intercom system changed the sound of her voice.

When I was a kid, I assumed that the school bus that I rode every day to school had accordion-style hinges in the middle, to help it go around sharp corners more easily. I always wondered where they were hidden, because I never saw them.

When I was a kid, I thought that cordless phones weren't truly cordless, that they had really long invisible cords that attached to the base. I thought that this invisible cord was so thin that I couldn't feel it if I tried to hold onto it.

When I was a kid, I thought that construction crews painted the yellow lines on the road with paintbrushes. When the road I lived on got re-paved one summer, I was sorely disappointed to find out that the lines are spray-painted.

When I was a kid, I thought that the automatic doors at the grocery store were controlled by someone pushing and pulling different levers to make them open and close. I always saw people waving at the top of the doors whenever they wouldn't open, and then finally they would.

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What things did you learn as you got older that disproved your thoughts as a child?