Sunday, November 23, 2014

Twas Early One Sunday

Dear Princeton P. Kitty,

Please understand, it's not that I don't know how entertaining and emotionally satisfying it is to knock things off counters. I get that watching them fall and hearing the clatter they make when they hit the floor (especially LOUD things like the hair dryer) is nothing short of true bliss.

I also can get behind the idea that you are unable to resist sneak attacking the drawstring pants of the person who has come to investigate the aforementioned loud clatter (though your panic when your tooth got tangled in the frayed threads was a touch overdone).

And I know it's your mission in life to keep the dogs in line and that can only be accomplished through wrestling and other acts of physical domination.

I understand and appreciate all of your efforts to keep this household on its toes but here's the thing:

But in honor of the season and your ceaseless attempts to spread your version of sunshine through our lives (and since I'm up anyway) I have composed this little poem for you:

Twas Early One Sunday

Twas early one Sunday and all through the house
My kitty was prowling but not after a mouse.
Things had been scattered on the counters—who’d dare?
In hopes that they might get knocked into the air.
The dogs were asleep at the foot of the bed
While visions of milkbones danc’d in their heads.
Opie was snoring but I could still sleep
Until into the bathroom our cat he did creep.
In the next instant there arose such a clatter
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Into the hallway I flew like a flash,
Tripped on a dog toy and stepped on spilled trash.
The light from my iPhone glowed onto the floor
And the ridiculous cat who peered round the door.
And what did my wondering eyes then see?
The craziest of cats lunging for me.
He swatted at my bare toes, caught his teeth on my pants
And didn’t give a hoot about my threats and my rants.
He showed me the mess that he’d made with such joy
As if I should say “Great cat!” and “Good boy!”
He’d knocked the hair dryer clear cross the room
(Which was, I knew then, the source of the boom).
He’d knocked over hair spray, had a brush on the floor
“I’m not even done!” He said as he ran out the door.
Down to the living room to wrestle the dog
I stumbled after them both, still in a fog.
The flick of two tails, loud meows and shrill barks
Helped me to find them down in the dark.
They spoke not a word, just kept at their work
Convincing me I’d spoiled these creatures like a big jerk
Then laying my hands on the side of each head
Said “You better shut up or I swear you’re both dead!”
They sprang to the couch, and got all cuddled up
My ridiculous cat and rotten young pup.
 And I had to exclaim, as I witnessed this sight
“Is it too much to ask, that I sleep one whole night?!”

At this point, the only gift these ridiculous animals are going to get from me this Christmas is life.

What do you mean you're trying to sleep?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Turkey Cupcakes and Other Fun Treats

So Opie told me he needed a dessert for his Thanksgiving carry-in today. I'm not going to lie, I may have gone a little overboard:

Here's a close up (forgot to take a picture of the cake balls but they're not that exciting):

Candy acorns

Turkey cupcakes
Now, I know this might cause some people to draw the conclusion that I have waaaayyyy too much time on my hands. But that's only because you don't realize how many household responsibilities I had to shirk to get these done.

The house is a mess, we're probably going to have turkey cupcakes for dinner, and I haven't even had a chance to comb out Sassy's Throwback Thursday 80's style side pony.

She's rockin' that 1985 look, isn't she?

It's not easy being me, make no mistake!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Making Your Own Frame Doors

This is not a DIY blog.

Not because I don’t do a lot of DIY projects; I’ve actually remodeled a lot of our house in the last three years. But I usually don’t write about these things because I tend to do them in a circular fashion…I start a project, get bored with it, move on to another project, get bored with that, go back to the original project and so on.

Thus making it a little hard to document.

The other thing that makes it hard to document is the fact that a lot of my DIY projects are interrupted by scenes like this one:

However, not to toot my own horn, but I’m too excited about my latest remodeling venture to keep it to myself. 

It all began when I started to paint the upstairs hall. I painted the walls, started to paint the trim, then decided I really, really hated all of our upstairs doors. They're not awful, they're just these boring, typical wooden doors.

I began looking for nice, painted frame doors—and WOW are they more expensive than I thought. The one I really liked was $315!!! And that doesn’t even include the $125 installation fee—which is PER DOOR.

We have 5 doors upstairs…which means I’d have to spend over $2,200 just to get some aesthetically pleasing doors!

Which I thought was a little pricey, and Opie...well, If you know Opie at all, you know he is very frugal. This is not a complaint--his money management is the reason I can work part time and the reason I've been able to jump between about 18 different jobs since moving here. But it's also the reason I was pretty sure spending over $2000 to replace perfectly functional doors would be enough to make his head pop off.

Seriously, it might actually have killed him.

Which didn't stop me from obsessing over the doors, hating the doors, and imagining ways to change the doors. So I finally decided to create my own faux frame doors.

I bought these wainscot frames at Lowes:

And began figuring out how to place them on the doors.

"Aren't you going to measure so you know they’re even?” Opie asked as I held the frames against the surface.

"It hurts that you know so little about me." I said. "Of course I'm not going to measure it. I'm just going to, you know, eyeball it."

"No!" He said, genuinely horrified. "You need to find the mid point of the door and match that with the midpoint of the frame ." And then he started talking about using a level and using terms like "equidistant" and "perpendicular" and I started to get a headache.

When I told him that this would be impossible because our tape measure tells lies, he decided he should hang the frames for me.

And then began the battle of the wills. Opie was more than willing to hang the frames. 
However, he is under the delusion that it would be better to finish one entire project before taking on another.  So he suggested that I finish the trim AND put the finishing touches on the guestroom (that I started redoing about 2 months ago) first.

“I can’t do that,” I said. “I can’t think about anything except the doors. They’re driving me crazy.”

Then he seemed to think that if he just waited long enough, I would get tired of waiting and finish one of the other projects first.

Again, it’s like he doesn’t know me at all.

Finally, I had to pull out the big guns.

I waited until a Friday evening and announced “If you don’t put the frames on the door this weekend, I’m just going to do it myself on Monday.”

“You know they won’t be even if you do it,” he countered.

“Yes,” I agreed. “But that also won’t bother me nearly as much as it bothers you.”

He held out until late Sunday then, muttering under his breath, got them on the door and I put primer on both:

Then I painted them to match the trim:

Then I spent most of one afternoon cleaning paint off the cat's paws, the floor, and a portion of one wall (when up on the ladder and thus slightly vulnerable, it is important to make sure the lid is on the paint can and/or the cat is confined...apparently few things are more entertaining than seeing how far you can get the paint to splash).

Then I put new handles on and voila!

     BEFORE                                                                                 And AFTER!


5 new frame doors--for less than it would cost to replace 1!

Now maybe I can get that last coat of paint on the guestroom closet…..

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Tell Me Lies

Well, I had my stomach procedure this week and I have to say, it went MUCH better than the endoscopy. I think that’s due to the following 3 things:

1.       I took a pregnancy test that morning.

2.       Opie took charge. When we arrived (20 minutes early again!), he confronted the receptionist immediately and said “Her appointment’s at 11:00, right? That’s what you have down? 11:00?”

Although it is interesting to note that as we were waiting, this other patient demanded to know what the hold up was, she was supposed to have her procedure at 10:30 and the receptionist said “We had you down  for 11:30.” 

Since it is difficult to believe that anyone could constantly make the same mistake and still be employed, I have decided that this is some bizarre tactic she uses when the doctors start to get behind.

In any case, the final reason that this experience was so much better than the endoscopy was:

3.       The nurse I had was an excellent liar. It wasn’t the same nurse I had last time and she listened when I said no one could get an IV in my arm. It did take her 2 tries to get it in my hand but that didn’t really irritate me because A. It always takes at least 2 tries to get an IV anywhere in my body and (more importantly) B. As she was trying to get it into my hand she kept saying things like “It’s hard because you’re so tiny. You need more meat on your bones. You’re just so little.”

Which is a big fat lie.

But here’s the thing, call me skinny and you can jab needles in my arm with reckless abandon.

It’s embarrassing but apparently true.

However, please don’t think that this means the entire experience was without typical Kimbo drama. And there were 2 big reasons for that.

1.       Opie is a TERRIBLE liar. When we got home and I was slowly working my way out of the anesthesia fog, he reported everything the doctor told him after the procedure…that one of my bile ducts was really constricted, that they had performed a sphincterotomy (which, when you’re slowly working your way out of an anesthesia fog, is a hilarious word and must be repeated in different voices, different tones and with different syllables emphasized a least 5 times) to widen the duct, and that this might have been the source of the problem.

“Might have been?” I asked. “It MIGHT have been the source of the problem?”

“He couldn’t say for sure,” Opie reported honestly. “There’s about a fifty-fifty chance. He hopes that it is, though, because if it’s not we’re basically back to square one.” 

“He did NOT say that!” I yelled. “Tell me that he did not say that there is a fifty percent chance that he still has no idea what’s wrong with me?!”

“No…well, kind of… I mean he thinks it could be…it probably is.”

I know honesty is one of the most important elements in a marriage but there’s something to be said for a convincing white lie now and then.

2.       God has a sense of humor. I woke up Wednesday morning with a terribly sore throat, which is understandable since I had spent an hour with a tube shoved down my esophagus on Tuesday. The fever, however, was a little harder to explain. Until I opened my school email and read a message from a student (who I had been working with on Monday) letting me know that he would be out on Wednesday due to a nasty case of strep throat.

I’ll leave my reaction to that news to your imagination (hint: there was swearing involved) but I will mention that I’ve been in bed swilling down antibiotics all week.

And maybe it’s still the anesthesia talking but sometimes I think I can hear God giggling and saying “Here’s some blog material for you!”

 I just hope He cured my stomach issues at the same time.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Bad Medicine

Tomorrow I go in for another (and hopefully final) procedure in the quest to figure out what’s going on with my stomach (you can read about the start of all that here and here).

And I’m pretty nervous about it. Not because I think something will go wrong but because I know that every time I have a medical procedure something goes wrong.
Take, for example, the first procedure in the stomach quest: my endoscopy. It was an unmitigated disaster.

And since I'm, apparently, turning into the kind of person who broadcasts her medical issues, I'll just give the full rundown of what happened:
The endoscopy was scheduled for 12:30 but we were supposed to arrive at 12:00 for check in, prep work etc. Left to my own devices, I would have flown into the building at top speed at 11:59 and used my last minute to cling to the reception desk in exhaustion and catch my breath—proud that I still made it on time.

Opie, on the other hand, has the insane belief that it’s less stressful to arrive early for things and my argument that no one is ever around to appreciate punctuality did nothing to sway him from his intended course.
Since he was driving, we got to the office at 11:40.

We filled out the paperwork, got all checked in and started to wait. And wait. And wait. And then, just to be different, we waited some more
I should probably mention here that in order to prepare for this test, I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything after midnight. But since we don’t usually have dinner at midnight, I actually hadn’t eaten or drunk anything since 8:00 the night before. And 16 hours with no food has a slightly discordant affect on my usually sunny nature.

At 12:15 I leaned over and snapped, “This is EXACTLY why I don’t like to get anywhere early…this is all your fault.”
“Of course it is,” Opie agreed, patting my hand. “But it will be ok.”

Unfortunately,  that’s when they started calling for people who had arrived well after we had….and I started to lose my grip on what was left of my temper. At 12:45 I leaned over to Opie again and hissed, “If I don’t get called next, I’m going to go over there and KILL the receptionist.”
Which means that, when the receptionist called another woman’s name, Opie jumped from his chair like he’d been shot from a gun and was at the desk before I could even move.

“You’re scheduled for 1:30.” She said, then blanched when Opie showed her the sheet with 12:30 emblazoned across the top. “I’m so sorry.” She called over to me. “I must have written it down wrong.”
“That’s ok,” I lied. “Mistakes happen. Could have happened to anyone.” But then I got a scrap of paper out of my purse and began surreptitiously drawing a stick figure labeled “receptionist” and stabbing its eyes out.

When they finally did call me back, things degenerated even more.
“Is your right or left arm usually better for an IV?” The nurse asked.

“Neither,” I told her. “No one can ever get it in my arm. You’ll probably have to put it in my hand.”

Most nurses appreciate this information, take a quick look at my arms and immediately switch to my hand. This nurse was in the 1% who take this comment as a professional insult—like I’m saying YOU won’t be able to do it because YOU look like the worst vein-puncturing, IV-placing excuse for a nurse I’ve ever seen.

I honestly don’t understand this reaction. How is that a personal affront? When people tell me they’ve never liked Shakespeare, I'm not insulted. And I certainly don’t fling them into a chair and start screaming Macbeth quotes at them.
In any case, after a cursory check, she said “Let’s try the left.”

“It won’t work,” I assured her.
And maybe she was the worst vein-puncturing, IV-placing excuse for a nurse I’ve ever seen because FIVE TRIES LATER she said, “I guess we’ll have to use your hand.”

I didn’t answer because in times of turmoil I like to close my eyes and visualize myself in a peaceful place, slowly throttling the person who has upset me.
Then the real trouble began. She started reading through her preliminary list of questions “Have you eaten anything today? Are you allergic to any medicine? Are you pregnant?”

And that’s when I made my fatal error.

I was honest. "No, I'm pretty sure I'm not pregnant."

“Pretty sure?” She asked “You’re not positive?”

“Well, I didn’t take a pregnancy test today or anything.” I said.

And she stared at me like I was Hester Prynne. “Have you had unprotected sex?” She asked in a horrified whisper.

“I’m married,” I told her. “So, yah, probably like a thousand times and I’ve never gotten pregnant.”

“We have to be sure,” she said. “We’ll need to do a test. We'll need a urine sample."

“I haven’t had anything to eat or drink for EIGHTEEN HOURS,” I said.

“Let’s give it a shot,” she said. “We only need a few drops.”

For the sake of decency, I won’t even attempt to describe the gymnastic efforts that providing this sample involved but I will mention that I was in the smallest bathroom in the free world, wearing a hospital gown that was at least two sizes to big with an IV in my right hand and an IV roller stand doing its best to knock me down.
“Good news!” The nurse announced twenty minutes later. “You’re not pregnant!”

“I was pretty sure I wasn’t,” I agreed. “Not unless you happened to look out the window and saw a really bright star and 3 wise men lurking in the parking lot.”
Which, in light of our previous conversation, was actually a terrible analogy. But keep in mind I was delirious from hunger. Plus, it always irritates me when people assume Opie and I are happy not to have children.

At this point the nurse patted my hand and said “Thanks for being such a good sport” with absolutely NO sarcasm (which means I’m either eligible for an Academy Award or she was completely clueless or most of her patients actually snap and physically assault her) and wheeled me into the exam room.
This should have been enough drama for one little endoscopy.

But it wasn’t.
Because the first thing the nurse in the exam room asked me was “Ok, you’re here for (insert some long medical procedure name I’d never heard of and certainly can’t spell).?”

“No,” I said. “I’m here for an endoscopy because the doctor thinks I have ulcers.”
“Really?” She asked skeptically.

Unfortunately for her, I had used up all my nice on the receptionist and first nurse. “What possible motivation would I have to make that up?” I demanded.  “So I can get a test I don’t need? Because I enjoy being in the hospital? Because I have Munchausen’s syndrome or some other mental illness? I’M HERE FOR AN ENDOSCOPY.”
The doctor came in, they consulted, pulled out a different chart and he said, “An endoscopy it is!"

And the nurse laughed. “Sorry about that," she said. “You know how Fridays go!”

“That might be the least comforting thing anyone has ever said to me before a medical procedure,” I told her with what she could have taken as a smile or (probably more accurately) a feral, teeth-baring grimace.

Though, to be fair, my statement wasn’t completely true. The least comforting thing anyone has ever said to me before a medical procedure was about 10 years ago. I had skin cancer and this woman I worked with who had had the same surgery came to my classroom-ostensibly to make me feel better—and launched into this long, horrifying monologue about how she woke up during the procedure, it was the most painful thing she’s ever experienced, and she still can’t believe how deep her scars are.

“Why are you telling me this?” I demanded. “Are you actually trying to make me cry?”

“Oh, no,” she said. “It’s just that, you know, it probably won’t happen to you.”


So, while the nurse’s insinuation that mistakes are to be expected on Friday afternoons wasn’t as bad as that, it was a close second.

“I think we’ll just go ahead and give you the anesthesia,” the nurse said.

From there, things went pretty smoothly.

Largely because I was unconscious and really don’t remember anything else from the rest of the day—although Opie says I was a constant joy to be around, randomly screaming nonsensical things at him.

I should probably tell myself that things couldn't get any worse but experience has taught me things can always get worse. 

So, say a prayer that everything goes well tomorrow and that I finally find out what's wrong.
And maybe a little prayer that Opie has the strength to go through it all again.