Tuesday, April 28, 2009

hazmat suit required

Our apartment has become an unofficial Hot Zone. No, I don't mean we're baking because of the spike in temperature (yay for sprummer! or springer? or maybe springummer? sprimmer?) I'm talking about a virus shedding, wheezing, squeaking hot bed of sickness. Poor Charrow has been coughing and miserable for 5 days straight. She sounds like a combination of a plastic t-bone with an overextended squeaker and a Disney cartoon truck sputtering its last gasp of exhaust before collapsing in a heap. It's not pretty. Although it is comical when she manages to eek out a mangled version of her voice that sounds more like Sloth than Charrow. I mock her because I have yet to come down with the whatever variety of flu she's hosting. Let's hope it's not as swinelike in nature as some of her vein popping coughs.

Now would be a good time to own an ice cream machine.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

won't you be my umbrella?

It's another soggy day in the neighborhood. The fledgling leaves on the currently unidentified tree outside the window are a vibrant green against the muddled brownstones. The workmen across the street have moved on from swiping at the remnants of an old piano (producing a dissonant sound that made me feel like I was in a Hitchcock movie) to making an incessant racket with some sort of jackhammer/stone grinding tool. The noise is reminiscent of the cacophonous MRI experience last week. I had no idea MRI machines were so loud. It was like being stuck in a washing machine strapped to the hood of an 18-wheeler while someone took a jackhammer to the toploading door during the spin cycle.

At any rate, it's raining again, which is doing absolutely nothing for my already tenuous mood. My foot is a light shade of purple, and my brain is in serious need of a kick-start. I don't know if it was the hours I lost to this blog* (rabbit hole induced dysphoria?) or the time spent painting in the confines of the bathroom at the 13th street Joe the Art of Coffee (toxin induced depression?), but for the past 48 hours I've been hazy at best and as soggy as the weather at worst.

I'm guessing the root of my problem is three fold:

1. I have yet to join the Y, which means I have't exercised in over 4 weeks, unless you count crouching with a paintbrush in a bathroom or using power tools in the kitchen. This is akin to leaving my hippocampus in the sun to shrivel up like a raisin. I hate raisins.

2. I am having serious Path oriented anxiety and indecision.

3. Upon further reflection, there is no third fold. All other issues stem from the first two folds in one way or another.

So, where to go from here? Nowhere for the moment. My bulbous foot needs a break from all the non-exercise activity I've been putting it through. But I can't stay in this dank brain space for much longer or you will be subjected to more blathering posts, and I will continue to inflict misery upon myself and the closest victim (i.e. the needy one and poor, overworked Charrow).

The Wise and All Knowing InterWeb says that it takes 21 days to create or break a habit. I don't feel like searching for the best link to convey this wisdom, so google it for yourself and see how many different Paths to Freedom you can find under the 21 day umbrella. I mock only the worst of examples because, ultimately, I believe there's some credence to the idea.

So for the next 21 days I'm going to make it a point to do at least one thing each day to combat this habit of self pity and avoidance that I've been nurturing lately. I won't bore you with a daily edition of my woo woo endeavors, but I will let you know if something interesting comes out of the woodwork during my attempt to identify what's Next.

* highly recommend this blog, but beware if you're weak in the ways of moderation and/or need to be productive

Friday, April 17, 2009

warming the bench

The diagnosis from my GQ podiatrist (relationship status: unknown), is that I do not have any sign of a fracture, old or new (old or new!), non-union, or otherwise. I do, however, have two torn ligaments in my sesamoid complex (i.e. the ligaments that make up the joint of your first toe), and a hearty case of sesamoiditis.

Both GQ man and I were confused as to how I could have torn ligaments when such an injury is usually caused by on obvious precipitating event. Perhaps it was an overzealous game of Settlers? Maybe I got too excited jumping down from the ladder while I was painting? Could it have happened while ferrying my dead motorcycle back and forth across the street?

It remains a mystery. A very painful mystery.

My plan of action is to hobble over to the Court Street YMCA, sign up for a family membership and resign myself to another summer of swimming. Sound familiar? I'm more enthused about swimming this year, but I still secretly want to throttle all you cheerful people in your matching running gear.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

attach item Q with fastener 3R

What's the best thing you can do when you're stuck in your apartment with a busted foot and 2 exceptionally needy cats*? Go into home improvement overdrive! The exhaustion from working all day will prevent your throbbing foot from keeping you awake at night and the loud noises will force the cats to retreat, thus providing you with a safer pathway from project to project.

Okay, so I may be spending too much time on my foot, but I managed to take a break every hour or so to sit down and read my overdue library book. Today's accomplishments include finishing the kitchen walls (which included an undesirable foray into the roach corner), hanging many (many) Ikea organizing gizmos, and when I finish writing this post I'm going to make a stir fry.



(The waffle iron looking contraption is a collapsible dish rack)

Has my domesticity put you to sleep yet? Too bad. My parents used to watch This Old House** every weekend, so I've been conditioned to get a kick out of drilling holes and leveling shelves. It was either listen to Bob Vila (or his successor Steve Thomas) talk about laying bathroom tile or watch Greg Norman agonize over a putt for nine and a half hours. I'll take grout work over the PGA any day. Hell, I'd watch Norm use a router before I'd watch golf.

*the squinting hairball pictured today is not one of the aforementioned co-dependent wretches
**currently working on a brownstone in Prospect Heights, which I found out from my grandmother who was very excited to tell me that the streets of Brooklyn have trees.

Friday, April 10, 2009

podiatrists are the new black

Have you ever had a cortisone shot? As of today, I've had two, and I'd like to keep it that way for, oh, the rest of my days on this asphyxiating planet. If for some reason there are retirement communities on the moon by the time I reach the age of necessity, I don't want one there either.

I came back early from our Passover stay in Jewville (Chevy Chase, MD) to see a podiatrist on the upper west side. The first half of my day was spent mouth breathing on an 8am Vamoose bus and botching the subway trip from Penn station up to 86th St. Normally, I'm not pushy about squeezing into a seat on the subway, but for the past week I've been experiencing some serious foot pain. The walking boot that I've been wearing feels like a free pass to shimmy into what would be normal sized seats were it not for men sitting with their legs agape. The worst moment of my backtracking trip was when a 40-something couple dawdled their way in to the seats that had emptied out right in front of me. If you're going to steal seats from the temporarily handicapped, do it quickly.

I made it to the appointment with enough time to fill out the paperwork and absorb the wisdom of whatever Vanity Fair issue was at the top of the magazine stack. And then, for the first time that I can remember, the doctor walked into the waiting room reading the intake form. I was thankful that I hadn't followed through on my burning desire to write "pain in my ***" in the chief complaint section. When I imagined the scenario playing out, I figured the doc probably wouldn't bother giving it a glance. Good thing I'm a chicken.

Or rather, good thing I found a doctor who reads. He's also a compact GQ poster boy. I'm not sure what alternate universe I found on W. 85th Street, but the doctor was attentive, attractive (not that this has anything to do with effective medical treatment, but when you think podiatry, do the words metrosexual come to mind? didn't think so), empathetic, and prompt.

The short version of what he said is that I may have an old fracture (from last year) that didn't heal properly, and there's a chance that it's a "non-union", a word you don't want to hear in the same sentence as fracture. Or it's just a bad case of sesamoiditis. Or maybe there's a new stress fracture.

Whatever the case may be, GQ man wooed me into agreeing to a cortisone shot. After the chair grabbing, eye squeezing, ow-ow-ow-ing was over, he told me that when you insert a needle it either feels like it's going through butter or tinfoil. Guess which one my joint felt like? I thought the water balloon feeling* was going to be the worst part, but it was actually the sensation of being a human kebab for about 25 seconds.

Here's a wry twist of fate for you: GQ man's office is right across the street from Central Park, so I got to watch people running through the park as I squelched my way back to the train station.

Excuse me while I ice my reynolds wrap and curse the birds announcing Spring outside my window.

*balloon feeling = the cortisone fluid whoosing into your joint making it feel like a water filled sac, or balloon.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

fool or ghoul?

(glasses: charrow's. attempt at a funny face: my mom's.
for more of both: go here)

I've never constructed an elaborate April Fool's Day caper. I prefer to go for short-lived shockers, like scaring my mom by hiding in the laundry room wearing a ghoulish mask, or environmentally annoying pranks, such as filling a co-worker's office with balloons**.

This year I decided to prey on the reputation of my new city.

The text to charrow read "I went to move my moto and ITS GONE."

Her reply said "Oh no!"

Shocked at the brevity of her response and unsatisfied with the climax of my plan, I cut the joke short and wrote "that's all you have to say?? good thing it's april fool's day." Her subsequent texts revealed a lack of amusement ("I hate u. Good luck finding a new gf").

As I chopped basil for my omelet, I considered another victim. Someone who would be more apt to react with horror and dismay at the misfortune I'd experienced in this predatory city.

The text to my mother said "Give me a call when you have a chance. Someone stole my moto and I don't know what to do!"

I put my phone down feeling sure that she would see through my ruse. Or worse yet, she would leave an important meeting to call me immediately, thus securing both my success and remorse for having duped her.

Two minutes later, the phone rang as I was coaxing an egg yolk from one half-shell to the other trying to keep my fingers out of the runny stream of egg white. Potential lines raced through my head as I rinsed my hands and picked up the phone.

"Hi," I said, closing my throat so the words came out strained.

"I'm so sorry." I searched her voice for a stifled smile, still not convinced that she believed me.

"I went to outside to move the bike and it wasn't there."

"Did you call the police? Do you think it was towed?"

"I don't know. There aren't any signs with phone numbers for towing companies. I knocked on the super's door, but he didn't answer." [pause] "Mommy..."

I admit. The whining was a low point. I'm not proud of it, but for a minute I actually believed that my motorcycle was gone. As I was saying the words, I could picture myself knocking on Norman's door and being crestfallen at the lack of response.

"What am I supposed to do? It's not even registered in NYC."

"Well that's okay. You tell them that you just moved there," which is mom speak for you tell them that you're new to that godforsaken city and that someone stole her baby's property!

"But what about my insurance? I haven't switched it over to NYC yet."

"It doesn't matter, you're still covered. That's why you have insurance."

"And that's why it's April Fool's Day."

There was a sharp intake of breath and what followed was a string of profanity that included such choice phrases as "[insert full name], I can't believe you, you can just kiss my ass!" She repeated it over and over like a mantra for abused mothers everywhere. Never have I heard her utter those words with such contempt.

"But mom," I said, "wasn't that better than jumping out at you with a mask??"

She didn't agree with me, but at least she laughed in the middle of a work day.

** I'm especially proud of this prank because it involved stealing the master key from a secretary's desk and coming back to work after hours with garbage bags full of balloons to infiltrate my co-worker's perpetually locked office.