Saturday, December 13, 2008

Z is for zoloft

I originally intended for today's lead picture to illustrate the fact that we have not stopped moving for the last 3 days, but when I look at it all I can see are the ZZZ's, and it makes me sleepy... so sleepy...

No matter what I try to do ahead of time, the last 2-3 days before moving are always a whirlwind of crap shoveling. Trash, recycling, goodwill, peddling wares to friends, it all takes a certain amount of scrambling and energy, but it's worth it to keep from being those people that leave mounds of perfectly good shit next to (but never in) the dumpster.

The cats are not very happy right now. We stayed up so late that they didn't even muster for their usual 4:30 am feed-me-now-or-i'll-scratch-this-mattress-until-my-claws-come-out ritual. Either that or I'm so tired that I slept through the whole thing.

So in about 5 hours we will having a loading party (which will involve neither poo nor hard drugs) and then we will go out for beer and pizza.

After which, the world will look like so:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

cardboard Tetris

I love boxes. I love them so much that I like to keep a few around every time I move to a new apartment. Sometimes I even leave them packed full of stuff. For months. With the exception of my baseball card collection, I emptied the contents of every last box I had when I moved to Atlanta. It's harder to avoid unpacking when you're living with someone, but there's no rule about getting rid of the boxes (see picture above for example of a first generation box*). Charrow put up some resistance to my acquisitional tendencies, so I finally gave in and toned down the prowling.

About two months ago, I had a legitimate reason to hoard them once again. The keys to packing are box size and item nesting. Too big, and you'll never get your arms around it OR if you're a poor packer, you or the unfortunate victims you enlist to help you move will never be able to lift it. Too small, and you'll end up with 4 items per box, and a lot of wasted packing tape. The copy paper box is the obvious utilitarian receptacle, although it's a little small for kitchen stuff. My second favorite box is now the wine box. If you get them from the liquor store, they still have the cardboard separators. I had way too much fun packing glasses yesterday because of those little inserts. No more wrapping mugs in newsprint and getting ink all over my fingers. I don't know what what took me so long to realize their usefulness. Last in my packing arsenal is the tall kitchen bag. Towels, bedding, jackets, lumpy cats, blankets. They all take up way too much cubic space unless you shove them in a trash bag and throw them in the truck to fill in the cracks.

Charrow has been extremely patient with my "ways" as she likes to tell everyone. In other words, she stays in the other room and periodically asks me for assignments. I blame my systemic rigidity on too many moves as a military brat and too many games of Tetris. I was conditioned to be a packing machine.

On Sunday, the cardboard fruits of our labor will be loaded and ready to transport up to Chevy Chase, MD where they will sit in a moving truck until we get the nod from the co-op board. Our interview is (finally) scheduled for Tuesday (12/16). Instead of flying up to NY for the interview and returning to the waiting area known as our apartment, we are setting up camp at Charrow's parents. If all goes well and they agree to let us in to their elite fold, we hope to move in by the 19th. If they inform us that we are unworthy of caressing their belly button lint, much less taking up residence in their building, we will be forced to get a storage unit and start a second round of apartment hunting (i.e. Plan B).

I'll take bodily fuzz worship over Plan B any day.
first generation box = box that item was originally packaged in upon purchase or receipt

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

brown tuesday




At approximately 8:15 this morning, Exhibit C sat down on the futon. Exhibit B was frightened by the sudden blockage of the space heater and proceeded to jump out from behind Exhibit C, thus knocking Exhibit A into my leg, causing a great slosh of coffee to land on my jeans and the arrow keys of my already pathetic keyboard. At first, I thought just the arrows keys were toast, but it has become apparent that the entire keyboard was compromised. For the better part of the day the Enter key, the space key, all of the arrow keys have been unresponsive. They are now working, but I fear that it is all a big lie.

In other electronic news, we purchased 2 additional space heaters today. 20 seconds after plugging in space heater number 2, the circuit breaker spazzed out. One trip down to the dusty basement and we were back in business for approximately 2 minutes. Yes, I tried it again, but with the space heater on low this time. My trickery was unsuccessful. Another trip to the under belly of our building and we now have one space heater plugged into the kitchen socket (different breaker) with one of those industrial orange extension cords and the other one plugged into the living room wall. I feel bad for the landlord every time he comes to show someone our apartment. Between all the boxes and the space heaters, I'm not sure how he's going to convince someone to move into this place in December.

I'm off to do a little creative cord taping so we don't break our necks walking back and forth to the kitchen for tea (or in my case, plain hot water).

Monday, November 17, 2008

OCD dream come true

Rachel Getting Married has a dishwasher loading throwdown. Count me in, even if a wedding is one of the main plot lines.

mayday, mayday!

Reason #327 to Get. Out. of. Georgia: the ignorant high school students, also known as the next generation of adults to vote and enter the work force.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

oh how we wait

Phil Collins song title for today: We Wait and We Wonder.

The apartment saga continues. Our original lease date was set for November 15th (i.e. three days from now). The owner of the apartment (or 'shareholder' if you want to be technical about it) has recognized the sloth like tendencies of her co-op board and moved our lease date to December 1st, regardless of whether we actually get to move in before that date. We have been informed that an in-person interview is most likely required (no skyping allowed), and that we both have to be present for said interview. The best part: we have no idea when it will take place because they haven't scheduled it yet.

If the owner of the apartment has met us and is planning to send us the keys to her beloved share in the co-op, why do we have to play this interview game? I know the board wants to make sure we won't be image tarnishing tenants, but can't they put some stock in the judgement of their members?

The trickledown effect of this stallout is that we have no way of planning for any aspect of the move or the Thanksgiving holiday. Can't book movers in NYC. Can't buy plane tickets. Can't recruit friends for manpower in GA. Can't book a rental truck. Can't tell our management company when we'll be out so they can rent our apartment. Can't tell my dogwalking client when she'll have to find a replacement. Can't decide whether to pack up everything or wait because it will be awhile. Can't focus on anything but the inability to plan everything.

You fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pantsers may not be sympathetic to my cause, but for the planners out there, you understand the Kryptonitic nature of the situation. My world revolves around spreadsheets and mental forecasting. I can make all the timetables I want, but they're about as useful as an umbrella at the bottom of the ocean.

The silver lining? More time for physical therapy!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

instructions for the day

This is a repeat image, but it's basically all I have to say right now. Vote for the man so we can stop hearing the words "my friends" every two seconds.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

blue peaches for you

Yesterday I cast my vote for the next Top Gun flight school candidate. I sure hope he's a maverick. (Wait, does that mean Sarah Palin is Goose? because she's about as intelligent as one. I wish she would go back to Alaska and sit on a rotten egg)

Just to be clear, I voted for Obama. How could I not pick the candidate whose name rhymes with llama?

We went to the government center downtown and stood in line for about 2 hours. Apparently, there are a lot of other Georgians trying to avoid election day lines. Judging from the gasps and horrified looks on people's faces when they passed through the security line, everyone thought they were being rather crafty. That is, until they looked up to see the line of voters snaking all the way around the gymnasium sized atrium.

Overall, it was a pretty innocuous process thanks to Murakami's The Wind-up Bird Chronicle and my neck gator (it was drafty in there). They had volunteers passing out clipboards with early voter applications, and there were 4 different paperwork checks to make sure we weren't trying to vote in the wrong county. To top it off, there were electronic voting machines, which surprised me considering the archaic nature of most bureaucratic processes around here. But here's something to make you shiver: several of the sample application forms posted on pillars around the line were filled out incorrectly.

Now I'm not one to follow polls (unlike some people I know), partly because there is major potential for addiction (i.e. intravenous anxiety) and the situation will unfold with or without them, but I have to admit, I did try to take a visual poll while we stood in line. It was completely invalid and based purely on what I hope to be true (that metropolitan Georgia is lousy with Obama supporters). I have such a hard time imagining someone voluntarily choosing McCain that I could only pick out a few likely suspects.

I thought my dad would be among the riff-raff, but when I spoke to him the other day he informed me that he had not one but two Obama signs in his yard. Keep in mind this is coming from a Persian Gulf War veteran and two time Bush supporter. My confidence in the tractability of Republicans waned a bit last night when my grandmother said, "well I didn't vote for Obama!" She's a pretty good example of the small town southern voting pool that is afraid of Obama's inexperience and his talk of socialism, which my grandmother says she "just can't have."

Let's hope most of America (at least the fake part) doesn't mind Obama's crazy talk.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

over the hill and under the platform

Last Wednesday we set out on an 8 day, 7 night extended stay in NYC. Our trip was originally intended for two objectives: charrow's portfolio review and an apartment hunting marathon. Objective number two was abandoned because we have one foot in the door of a great sublet in Park Slope. We're just waiting for the co-op board to finish letting their dogs chew on our application and welcome us with their all-powerful arms so we can nail down at least one of the many unknowns in this move.

Here's a compilation of our activities in the land of diesel jeans traveling at breakneck speeds and labyrinthine train stations:

1 incredible brunch at the farm (chicken apple sausage, home fries, and greens)
2 missed train stops
12 overpriced diet cokes
1 chaperoned trip to the Park Slope Food Co-op
19 poll updates per hour, care of a very dedicated Barry supporter
1 early breakfast at egg (runny scrambled eggs, best toast I've ever had, and hash browns in the shape of an ice cream scoop that were crispy and peppery)
1 walk to Prospect Park
1 trip to the Guggenheim
1 disgruntled charrow after her 8 hour day of schmoozing and portfolio pony show
5 additional bank/credit card/stock statements sent to the co-op board to back up the notarized financial statement in our original submission
2 very patient hosts
1 compost barrel obtained by Ben (and several compost lessons)
3 tablespoons of fresh sage hand picked for Ester's tasty mushroom soup
1 borrowed vest, hat, and scarf that kept me from freezing in the "fall" weather
1 skillfully pulled espresso shot at Joe the Art of Coffee on WaverlyPlace
2 tarot card readings from Madame Bloom
1 hilarious improv show at the UBC
12 minutes whispering in the lobby of Trump tower
1 extremely attentive cat-sitter
2 hours gorging ourselves on spanish tapas and Estrella beer (wine & almond drinks for other parties)
1 trip to Beacon's closet
1 cappuccino from Gorilla Coffee and at least an hour of bench warming out front
1 creaky but surprisingly comfortable air mattress
1 harried scramble to the airport to catch an earlier flight because our original flight was cancelled

(Clearly we were there for too long because the list goes on)

While charrow didn't get hired on the spot and we came no closer to discovering the fate of our living situation, I'm going to label the trip a success. This is not to say there weren't bouts of anxiety. New York is a huge shock to the system after spending 2 sluggish years in the south, and I'm still floundering on the job front, but I'll save that discussion for another post. For now, I'll say I'm 85% excited, 13% fiscally anxious, and 2% in dire need of a shower.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

going off the deep end (of the bed)

Anyone who's ever claimed to want the life of a cat has never had to lay around for a week. I'm here to tell you, it's boring. No matter how many great books, magazines, blogs, twitters (I usually boycott twitter, but I've started reading ester's because it's hilarious) there are to read, and no matter how many NPR podcasts there are to listen to, it all gets old. "Boo hoo," you say? Sad for me to be so inundated with free time? Don't make me sideswipe you with my good arm.

Yesterday the caginess and discomfort reached disastrous proportions. After a few meltdowns (wasting precious NPR and New Yorker time), I sat down in my orange chair and stared out at the beautiful October weather like a sanatorium patient. My thoughts ranged from appreciation for the light breeze to an intense desire for a torrential downpour. I figured if it was stormy, I wouldn't feel like a complete waste of space.

Wrong. It's rained for most of the day, and I still came close to throwing myself down the stairs this morning. But the Sauce kept me company this afternoon and things are looking up. She made me the best omelet ever for lunch, we read a few debate commentaries, watched some Friends, and now we're about to make an Indian curry for dinner.

So, my friends, if you're ever laid up for more than a few days, you can expect to have at least one short-circuit and a very, very sore butt.

Monday, October 6, 2008

same day, different napping position

You know those berries that splooge tarry skid marks all over the sidewalk when they start to decay and/or get stepped on? Prune juice tastes like that skid mark in liquid form, but I'll drink it every hour on the hour if it keeps this from happening again.

As I said in an email to a friend, "if I stand up for more than 15 or 20 minutes, my fingers turn into even bigger sausages and my arm feels like that crazy make-up lady from drew carey is sitting on it. " (is her name Mimi? sorry, I somehow missed the drew carey train) Sometimes I don't even have to get up to make my hand explode. Like right now; I can't tell what position my fingers are in unless I look over at the stubby impostors.

Not much changes when you spend all day on the bed with your arm above your heart (when will it stop being so swollen??). The cats sleep, Ira Glass lulls me to sleep, and I take pictures of the same 3 things (4 if you count meals).

Sunday, October 5, 2008

a hairy introduction

Jo and her new rescued cinnamon husky "Masa" came over last night for dinner and a movie. We watched "Shower," which is a great Chinese comedy if you're in the mood for subtitles. The cats were less than enthused.

Sorry, the pics are a little dark, but you get the idea. And yes, that is a shaved husky. The geniuses at Petco did it without asking because they were too lazy to spot-shave his mats.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

taking matters into my own hands

CONTENT WARNING: What you are about to read is embarrassing and contains graphic imagery pertaining to the subject of poo. You may not be able to look me in the eye when you're done reading this, but hey, if Oprah can have a show about it, I can write about it.

There's one important thing the battery of nurses failed to mention about general anasthesthia: it can cause constipation. Do you know what else makes you constipated? Codeine. It also makes you itchy, which is why I was reading the side effects pamphlet Thursday night, and when I came across the word constipation, I thought to myself, huh, I guess I haven't done that in awhile.

Friday (henceforth known as the longest day of my life), as I ate my breakfast, I felt the familiar churning of a movement, as I shall call it. I finished my cliff bar and went in to the bathroom. An hour later, I was sweating from the effort and saying things like "I don't know what to do; it just won't come out" as the Sauce periodically checked on me from the other side of the door. I finally came out of the bathroom drenched and trembling. Charrow called the orthopedic number and they took a message. We called my mom and she told me I was having a panic attack and that I just needed to relax (the first of many times I would hear that throughout the day). Pacified by her assessment, I went back to the bathroom while Charrow tried phoning my orthopedist again. They routed her to my doctor's assistant who said we should try getting laxatives.

So I sat in the bathroom until Charrow came back with 2 different kinds of laxatives. The dignity seal was tampered with when she had to open the door to hand me the goods. She instructed me to take the "stool softener" and wait. If that didn't work, I was supposed to drink half a bottle of lemon flavored magnesium citrate. An hour later, I'd finished the entire bottle and still, nothing.

Our next instruction was to get an enema. This is where it starts to get dicey. Remember what I said about the dignity seal? I'll spare you the details, but I will say that it will take us both awhile to get over that one.

Sadly our story doesn't end there. Next up: suppositories! The assistant said that the instructions on the box won't say to, but it's important to hold the suppository in place so that your muscles don't push it back out before it has time to dissolve. So I was instructed to lay on the floor, insert, and relax. I was only slightly consoled by my ability to field this one solo.

Three failed suppositories later (recommended daily dose =1), I really started to freak out. My next action can only be attributed to chemical imbalance, abdominal distress, 5 hours in the bathroom, and shear panic.

I don't know how to describe what I did (well I do, but I just can't bring myself to do it), but I can let you figure it out using the old adage, "If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself."

I will be scarred for a very, very long time.

If for some reason you need surgery the requires not one but two contributors to constipation, I strongly recommend taking a proactive approach to your movements. Get some Metamucil and never give in if they tell you to try an enema.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

a soggy day

What's worse than soggy Life cereal? Bank managers that don't call you back.

Charrow and I have been trying to pull together the many forms and letters needed for the sublet application for our prospective apartment. Things were moving along nicely (glowing reference letters poured in) until Monday when we stalled out at Bank of America. The branch manager put in a request for my reference letter last Thursday. As of Monday, it still hadn't been processed. We left the bank Monday afternoon disgruntled and stressed out about our dwindling timeline.

Today I called the bank and the manager just happened to answer the regular customer service line (her direct office phone must be routed to some financial dungeon below the bank's safe). She told me she had to check the fax machine and that she would call me back. A word to the wise: never agree to a call back for a task that can be accomplished in 45 seconds.

About 30 minutes before the bank closed, I made Charrow take me there to wave my ace bandaged arm in someone's face until a reference letter materialized. The manager swooped over when we walked in and she said, "Oh I haven't forgotten about you! See, here's my note to call you right here! We don't have the letter, but we're going to call and check on it right now!"

Tell me, how was I supposed to know she hadn't forgotten about me when she never called me back?? I 'm horrible at following through on my bark, so there was no arm waving, but we did leave with a freshly faxed 4 sentence letter stating that I do indeed have 2 accounts with Bank of America. I hope the co-op board frames it when they're done reviewing our application.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Day 2 = Twice the pain

Today started out with breakfast in bed. I tried to drink my usual cup of coffee, but nausea set in about halfway through the mug. Percoset and caffeine may not go so well together.

However, I think the big P will be well suited for any one of the 17 cookies that came in my cookie gift basket (care of my dad and his wife).
The only other excitement thus far today was the arrival of the Sauce's long coveted book about Swedish designer Olle Eksell.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

that's dope yo

This is how 2 percoset make me feel. Ive texted like 19 people, and I have an irresistible urge to buy DVDs from

Here's my wrist at 6:15am (after searching frantically for my license and credit cards that I eventually found in the garbage).

And here I am all chopped up with nothing to do but eat peanut butter crackers, drink water through a straw, and listen to old episodes of This American Life.

Pictures care of charrow

Monday, September 29, 2008

the duc procedure

Today is the day a man named Duc will make an incision in my left arm and saw through my ulnar bone.

Was that dramatic enough?

After talking about this surgery with family members ad nauseam, I've developed a theory that makes it slightly more palatable: this situation is not really any different than having a compound fracture that requires surgery. My procedure ("ulnar shortening") is actually better than a compound fracture because there's no messy shattering or bone piercing my skin. At least that's what I'm telling myself (and my grandmother).

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

waving from the chopping block

For those of you unfamiliar with motorcycle protocol, there's a wave system used to greet fellow riders. You may have witnessed this dropping of the left arm, palm faced forward with the thumb and first 2 fingers splayed out, and thought to yourself, "Is that biker dude stretching his arm? Wait, is that one stretching too?? Do all bikers stretch and count to three when they pass another motorcycle?" I used to think it was like the boat wave, where anybody zipping along the water would give a friendly flail of the hand, but I've since learned that there are degrees of motorcycle wave coolness.

Under no circumstances are you supposed to wave at scooters or mopeds. Please don't tell your biker friends that I returned the wave of a scooter yesterday. It could ruin my fledgling reputation. And by fledgling I mean zygotic.

I don't see why we're supposed to snub scooters and other lowly 2-stroke vehicles. Sure, their equipment is inferior (says the owner of a japanese bike), but they're putting their lives on the line just as much as I am. They're enjoying the breeze too, albeit to the soundtrack of a weedwacker, but still, they're out there. So I've decided that I won't give them an imposter harley wave, but I will probably still lift a finger or two as a show of covert camaraderie.

Thus far the gesture has not been returned (it doesn't appear that scooter riders have a wave protocol), and I'm afraid my attempt to bridge the waving gap is coming to a long pause. I finally received a diagnosis for the chronic wrist pain that I've been experiencing for many (many) months. The fancy name is ulnar impaction syndrome. In layman's terms, my ulnar bones (the ones that make up the knobby parts of your wrists) are too long, which is impinging on other parts of my wrist and hand (tendons, cartilage, nerves, all possible sources of pain, etc).

The solution? Make it shorter! In other words, cut out a portion of the bone, attach a plate with 6-7 screws and wait for it to fuse back together. After much hemming and hawing (mostly hawing like a recalcitrant mule), I've decided to get the first wrist done next week. That's right, I said "first wrist" because it turns out both of them are structural rejects. I won't get into the number of doctors that have missed this tidbit of information that's plainly obvious on a regular x-ray.

So, the only motorcycle wave I'll be doing for awhile will be from the discomfort of my apartment. Stay tuned for gory pictures and what I hope will be a continuous stream of short posts.

The motorcycle pictured today is most definitely not mine. I saw this beefy custom job off of Melrose Place in Los Angeles.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

just a taste

I feed her and still, she covets my salmon.

canine cavorting

This weekend has been overrun with 4-legged romping. First it was an evening walk and a pizza picnic with Dixie. Then we went hiking in the East Palisades park where the dogs took over the beach area near the main trailhead. And now I'm being screeched at by a very unhappy cat that does not understand why I bother with such frivolities as posting when I could be feeding her. Please excuse me while I take care of that before she gnaws my elbow off.

In review:

Monday, September 8, 2008

a tasty brunch for all

This is the kind of spider that nightmares are made of. There were not one, but three, such spiders at our brunch date on the homestead yesterday morning (don't worry dear neighbor, it was far, far away from our dusty building).

We ate breakfast on the other side of the screened in porch from the venom trifecta. Jo tried to convince me that they were completely harmless, but really, when they're that large, boldly marked (poison!), and have a web that's at least 2 feet tall, it doesn't matter how many factoids you throw at me.

The other brunch-goers decided to lure an insect into the web of the largest spider (pictured everywhere in this post) while I went to the bathroom. I opened the porch door to find Jo standing in the yard holding a glass and waving a piece of cardboard around. There was cheering (by all but me) when she succeeded in whisking a honeybee into the web. The spider immediately swooped over and wrapped the bee in a thick husk of silk and returned to its perch in the middle of the web.

The peanut gallery was sufficiently repulsed, but they were sad that the show ended so quickly. What about the blood sucking?? We didn't have to wait very long before the she-dracula retrieved its victim and took it back to the middle of the net for a nice long drink (larger version here).

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

eat 2 cupcakes and call me in the morning

I went to see my orthopedist, Dr. Payne, this morning (the irony just flew up your nose didn't it) because the wrist pain I've experienced for many months has been more intense than usual. My stance on doctor's visits for pain that I consider chronic is to just avoid them at all cost. Do I really need to pay $30 to have someone tell me to rest and wait it out? No thanks. I'd rather spend that money on other priorities:

But I felt like I should at least warrant all of my complaining that the Sauce has been putting up with by getting checked out. I ask you, why (why) does a doctor specializing in hand pain think that I want to shake his hand when he walks into the exam room? If I felt like walking around shaking people's hands (i.e. using my gripping muscles), I probably wouldn't be in his office.

Now there are two words that I'm never especially eager to hear from an orthopedist: PHYSICAL THERAPY. I've spent countless hours in physical therapy for one reason or another. What all those hours (and dollars) taught me is that my body is naturally immune to physical therapy. I've even gone into physical therapy for one injury (ITB syndrome) and come out with another (generalized inner knee pain that turned out to be infected tissue). I've cried in physical therapy. I've been burnt by the analgesic they put on a certain kind of E-Stem pad. I've put my hand into a machine that whirls around corn husk (which was pretty damn nice).

What it boils down to is I view physical therapy as a purgatory for my injuries, and I don't mean that in the positive "soul purification before running off to heaven" sense. I'm referring to the more modern definition of "suffering short of everlasting damnation." But I have to give it a chance because it was basically all that blue-eyed Dr. Payne had to offer besides his handshake.

I'm also going to see an acupuncturist and potentially a rheumatologist, but it could take months to get that kind of appointment. For now, I'm hoping a little Eastern medicine will do me some good. It's been too long since I meditated about cupcakes for an hour with needles dotting my limbs.

In an attempt to reduce computer time to a bare minimum, I may strip down to a photoblog style. We'll see if I can resist the urge to purge (blog vomit is so much easier to clean up than cat puke).