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Is there a doctor in the house?

25 Jan
Image Source: https://www.recruiter.com/i/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/CURIOUS-INTERESTED-CAT-DOCTOR.jpg

“What seems to be the purroblem?”

 

I’m sick. I think there’s a chance it might be the flu, but I get irritated by people who self-diagnose incorrectly, so I’ll just tell you my symptoms and let you decide what I have:

  • Fever ranging from 102 – 103.5 for 24 hours, then in the 101 range for a day, now back to normalish.
  • Achy, like someone worked me over with a ball-pein hammer while I was sleeping, including in my ears, across my temples, in the back of my neck, in my hips, and in my ribs.
  • Sneezy, snotty nose and nagging, hacking cough
  • Splitting headache, exhaustion, fatigue, lack of appetite

Oh, and it seems that everything I read/watch/listen to makes me cry. (Don’t even try to tell me it’s PMS. It’s not.)

Now that we have that covered, here are a few snippets that capture the last few days of ceiling-staring:

Musings of the Ill…

ONE: Nurse or Saber-Toothed Death Watch Attendant? 

Miss Moneypenny makes a good nurse… I think. At least, she’s made a point of staying within arm’s reach (either on my lap if I’m upright or snuggled next to me if I’m lying down)  since I started feeling crappy. This could be seen as sweet, but because I’ve heard one too many stories about cats who live in nursing homes and have an uncanny habit of sitting watch for people who are close to death, I’m not entirely sure what to think when I wake up and find her gazing at me. Some part of me does wonder if she’s silently willing me to die.

TWO: Call and Answer

The acoustics in my apartment building are a bit challenging. Built in the early 20th century, I’m convinced the walls and floors are only one fiber more solid than paper. As a result, I can stand in my kitchen and hear my neighbors end-of-day debrief while they cook dinner. (Lately it has included a lot of f-bombs and the word “idiots” when the guy describes his co-workers, so I suspect he’s not long for that job.) And the two year-old below me? I know when nap-time is just not going to happen based on the tantrum that wafts through my floorboards.

This week I’ve been on the other side of it, broadcasting coughs and sneezes for the masses. I hadn’t realized how out of control it had gotten until – after a particularly gripping hacking jag – the silence that followed was met with a neighbor yelling, “Thank God!” No idea which neighbor, but since there wasn’t a key sporting event on TV, I’m pretty sure his words were for me. Upside? If I get into trouble, I know I can summon a neighbor if I shout loud enough.

THREE: Ethics Exam

We are forecast for a major storm this week. I have not left my house since Wednesday. I am down to one roll of toilet paper. Do I:

  1. Try to persuade Alan (who is also sick with the same symptoms) to come to my house and bring a package of toilet paper.
  2. Use InstaCart and pay $8 for what should be a $4 purchase – assuming stores even still have any in stock, given the forecast.
  3. Muster enough energy to go next door to Starbucks, purchase a tea, use their bathroom and take a roll of toilet paper to get me over the hump.
  4. Stop eating solids.

FOUR: Things I Have Actually Googled

  1. How do I know if I have the flu
  2. Dangerously high fever range
  3. Death watch cat
  4. Shows like Downton Abbey
  5. How much Tylenol in 24 hours
  6. Can pets get the flu from humans (answer: yes, apparently)

FIVE: It’s called “Zoonosis”  

On that last point… while Miss Moneypenny has been a great nurse, zoonosis (transmission of human diseases to animals) might explain why I’ve woken up to the not-so-calming sound of her barfing every morning since I got sick. I like to think of her as an overly committed professional, kind of like Marie Curie. “It’s not worth it,” I tell her when I hear her starting to rumble in the mornings, “You’ll never win a Nobel Prize.”

In other news, anyone who owns a vicious dog might want to consider naming it Zoonosis so you can trickily both accept and deflect blame if it ever kills another animal. Imagine how it would play out:

“Your dog killed my chinchilla”

“ZOONOSIS killed your chinchilla.” 

“No, your DOG killed my chinchilla.”

And repeat.

 

Back to bed for this girl. Here’s hoping you don’t get what I’ve got. If you do, blame your pet.

PS: I don’t have the energy to proofread or spellcheck this, so if there are errors: you’re welcome.

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Apparently, I should be an Econ professor. Or the condo board president.

11 Mar

Image Source: Someecards.com

I’ve purchased two homes in my life. In both cases, they were condos, and that was a deliberate decision. I find no joy in my weekend being consumed by landscaping and home maintenance projects. Oh, I’ve done it (and I’m pretty sure it accelerated my break-up with my ex) but I don’t like it.

I like my responsibilities to stop at decorating and cleaning. Let someone else worry about the other bits. And by “someone else,” I don’t mean Alan. I’d rather spend my weekend hanging out with him than watching him execute home improvement projects.

My home-owning friends wag their fingers at me. “For the amount of your condo fee, you could pay someone to handle the maintenance on your home.” Perhaps, but I’d rather cut a monthly check and leave the planning and worrying to someone else.

Imagine, then, how annoyed I was to receive a certified letter from our building’s management association, informing me that each unit owner is responsible for having the exterior of his or her windows painted every five years. (Did I mention that my building is five stories tall? And historic?)

That’s right. Rather than bid out the entire building as a project and divide the bill among owners, the Board decided it would be best if each owner went to the city and requested a permit for exterior work, then found a company with the proper insurance and equipment, to paint his or her windows.

YOU. MUST. BE. SHITTING. ME.

Image Source: The Daily ShowI’m sorry. I thought I lived in DC, where 53% of the adult population had a college degree. Apparently, my building’s condo board is made up of either the 47% who didn’t go to college. Or if they went, then they clearly skipped ECON-101 and the lesson on “economies of scale.”

So I read my certified letter, in which I was told that I must have my windows painted by July 1 or I would face a fine of $500 and an additional charge of $5 for each day beyond that until I got my windows painted. And I fumed.

Then I did what any OCD person would do: I bit the bullet and added it to my “to do” spreadsheet, calling the recommended painters listed in the letter first thing Monday morning.

The challenge was that each painter responded the same way. “Sorry, we only bid out a job like that for the entire building. There’s no way we’ll come out and erect scaffolding just to do your unit’s windows.” Um…

By the time I exhausted the list, I was ready to deliver some kidney punches to the board. Instead, I dashed off an email to my upstairs neighbor, who is on the board. “Have you figured out how you’re going to get your windows painted?” I wrote, “Because I’ve hit a wall.”

Image Source: http://mediashower.com/img/213/slipping%20man%20off%20ladder.jpgNote that I kept it productive, stating, “I’ve hit a wall,” instead of, “I’m going to hit your abdominal wall. Until you pee blood.”

He wrote back a few days later, saying, “Hey – that letter was poorly worded. That only applies to the people on the front of the building, whose frames are wood. Ours are metal, so we don’t need to do this.”

HUGE SIGH OF RELIEF.

I’m sorry, I didn’t mean I wanted to punch YOU. That was a figure of speech. We’re good.

But I’m still left with a few questions:

  • How are the people on the front of the building going to get their windows painted?
  • Why did the Board spend $6 per owner, sending certified letters to ALL units in the building rather than simply those requiring action?
  • What percentage of my building’s residents have college degrees?
  • Why don’t more people put me in charge of things?

Sigh. I guess I’ll just rejoice that I don’t need to hire a cherry picker to paint my own windows next weekend. Because that would suck.

Even the pig would like more direction.

14 May

Image Source: icanhascheezburger.com

The Recipe:

Perfect No-Mess Bacon: Place bacon slices on cookie sheet. Put cookie sheet in cold oven and set temp to 400. Walk away. Come back in 17-20 minutes to perfectly cooked bacon.

My Comment On This Recipe:

Hey Chef! Is your name Hannibal Lector? Have you seen what a cold oven does with bacon in 17-20 minutes? I’ll tell you: JACK. SHIT. 

That’s right: Nothing. 

Sorry if I seem irrationally upset. That’s probably because when the timer went off, I jumped from my chair – which is not easy because it is a RECLINER – chanting, “Who has no-mess bacon? I do! I do!” as if I were a cheerleader for the Lakers. (A Laker Girl, if you will.)

Imagine my disappointment at opening the oven door to find what looked a pile of cellulite limply staring back at me – puckered, greasy, white and raw. (Actually, now that I write that, it reminds me of my last bike ride. I couldn’t walk for days. And neither, sir, can that bacon. And it hasn’t even SEEN a bike seat.)

I’d hate to see your recipe for french fries: Put lard in the fryer. Drop whole potato in. Turn on skillet. Go take a nap. It will chop itself. 

Seriously. How did this even come up as the TOP result for “oven-cooked bacon?”

You suck more than the suckling pig that is sliced and raw in my oven. That is all.

Update:

Because I may or may not be the love-child of Anthony Boudain + Rachel Ray, I ended up extending the cooking time and dialing down the heat until the bacon was cooked properly. Turned out great – no thanks to the recipe.

Second Update:

That “no mess” part? Also needs to be revisited.

Thanks to a small hole in the tin foil lining the cookie sheet, I managed to drizzle a solid stream of bacon grease from my oven to the trash can. Have you ever buffed your floor with bacon grease? I don’t recommend it.

On the plus-side, my floors are now very shiny and my home smells like bacon.

Maybe I should start a cooking show.

The Nutcracker: Bah Humbug!

7 Dec
Image Source: http://b5media_b4.s3.amazonaws.com/28/files/2006/11/nutcracker-girl.jpg

Boring. Sigh. Zzzz….

I’m just going to put it out there, even though I realize this isn’t going to be a popular statement: I’m not a fan of the Nutcracker.

I’ll add this to the list of things I don’t like – such as pumpkin pie and babies – that make people regard me with some combination of horror and disgust. Get over it. More for you. (Note: My friends’ babies are exceptions. Their pies are not.)

Anyway… I had a vague recollection of being bored stiff when seeing the Nutcracker as a kid, so I was curious to see if I’d enjoy it as an adult. Alan’s daughter is dancing in it for the first time, so we went to watch her performance last week.

Five Reasons I’m Not a Fan:

  1. I have no tolerance for mimes. I know, the thing is a ballet, so they’re primarily dancing, but a lot of the first act relies on people acting without talking. Also known as miming. I find it physically painful to watch a family of characters cross the stage pretending to have an animated conversation, moving their mouths like they’re chewing on the largest hunk of bubble gum known to man in an attempt to show us they’re talking.
  2. The story is lacking.  In case you’re not familiar: a rich family throws a Christmas party, their daughter receives a Nutcracker that she loves, her brother breaks it, a magician mends it, the Christmas tree grows like it’s on steroids, and then she dreams that a bunch of people are dancing for her. Someone needs a lesson on plot development. And less LSD.
  3. The Sugar Plum Fairy is full of herself. The one thing the Nutcracker does pretty well is provide an opportunity to showcase a LOT of dancers. The scenes can accommodate a seemingly limitless number of dancers, so it’s the perfect show for making sure everyone has a role. Until the Sugar Plum Fairy takes the stage. Once she arrives, it turns into her show and you realize that all the other parts were just humoring the parents in an attempt to sell more seats. She single-handedly undermines the adage that, “There are no small roles, only small actors.”
  4. Really, a NUTCRACKER? When is the last time you saw a child get excited by a nutcracker? Probably NEVER, because they are inherently boring and hardly qualify as a toy. I know this story was developed long before American Girl Dolls were on the scene, so I’m not proposing they replace the title character with a modern toy. But SURELY there’s something more compelling from those days. I mean, even a corn husk doll (circa Little House of the Prairie) would be more exciting. Which says a lot.
  5. The Magician is creepy. I find it interesting that a holiday/children’s classic includes a character who is clearly a pedophile. His arrival with a trunk full of tricks would’ve been only marginally creepier if he’d pulled up in an ice cream truck. And has no one ever asked why he’s hiding behind a clock watching little Clara sleep?

So I might revise my opinion of The Nutcracker if someone would stage a version where Chris Hansen (from Dateline’s ” To Catch a Predator” series) made a cameo and busted the magician, and Kristen Wiig repeatedly photo-bombed the Sugar Plum Fairy’s scenes. Until that production is available, I’ll stay home.

Unless, of course, Alan’s daughter remains a ballerina. In which case, I’ll dutifully attend and clap during her scenes… and secretly try to enlist her in my battle against the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Now *this* I would pay to see.

Now *this* I would pay to see. (Image: courtesy of my sister, Alicia.)

Your house is as crazy as you are.

26 Nov

…yeah, shit that works.

Flying back from Boston last week, a couple with his-and-hers corderoy pants were seated next to me. As if that didn’t effectively convey the “crunchy vibe” they were going for, when they shuffled into their seats, I was practically forced to claw my nose off my face as I surmised that the guy used one of those “natural crystals” in lieu of deoderant.

Unless you grow jasmine in your armpits, please don’t use natural anything when it comes to combatting body odor.

I tell you this to explain that I may have been prematurely soured on them. I spent the next hour staring straight ahead, watching them out of the corner of my eye, trying to figure out what their deal was.

As soon as they took their seats, they both began sketching on pads. From their conversation, I gathered they were designing a house. It struck me as odd, because the guy appeared to be in his 40s, and the woman looked like someone recently out of college. Father/daughter? Professor/student? Husband/wife?

How I felt.

I didn’t need to wait long to eliminate at least two of those options. As soon as they were told to put their tray tables away, they held hands. But to say they held hands would be to underrepresent what was occurring. It was a non-stop flurry of hand-holding. If it were an Olympic event, they might’ve medaled for effort, but not for style. It made me want to reach over and kneel on their collective arm and put a seatbelt on it.

Even with the handicap of each only having one arm to work with, they managed to continue sketching. From their dialogue, I couldn’t tell if they actually had a plot of land they were designing a home for, or if this was an inflight-activity designed to keep their minds off crashing, or if they were just bat-shit crazy. Their sentences would range from rational and intelligent, to plain stupid.

Example:

Him: So if we orient the house toward the stream, we should get great natural light on the porch in the evening and strong morning light in the kitchen. Is that what you’re thinking?

Her: That’s perfect. I’m going to make this entire wall cabinets. And then the sink will go here, under the window.

Him: Looks good. Where are you putting the stairs to the upper level?

Her: I thought we could do a rope ladder.

(Me, silently: A rope ladder? What is this, a TREE house?)

Him: That would be cool. 

Her: Right here. It will save space and be fun.

(Me, silently: Wait? He didn’t even call you on that bullshit?)

Him: I don’t see any closets. Where are you going to put clothes?

Her: Hooks and shelves.

Him: Hooks and shelves? What about your shoes?

Her: They’ll go in the mud room. Can I have a mud room?

(Me, silently: She has to ask permission for things? I want to smack them both.)

Him: Sure. So shoes will go in the mud room? Where – on the floor?

Her: Hooks and shelves. Hooks and shelves.

(Me, silently: What is this, kindergarten? No closets? Again, not practical.)

Him:  Got it. What about the fridge? You don’t have a place for it.

Her: Hmm. Maybe the basement? Can I have a basement?

(Me, silently: Again with the permission! And seriously? Was the kitchen too obvious for the fridge?)

Him: Sure. You can have a basement. You’ll probably want to put the water heater, furnace and other things down there though, so don’t use it all for living space.

Her: Great. I’ll put the fridge in the kitchen. (Thank God!) It’ll go under the counter. (What?) With the freezer next to it. (Huh?) And a dishwasher next to that. Can I put a fireplace in?

Him: Sure. You can have two flues off the same chimney, so you can add one without a problem.

(Me, silently: Wait. This place already HAS a fireplace? Does that mean it exists?) 

Do you understand now? They were crazy! I wanted to reach over and snap their pencils in half and tell them to do something useful. Fortunately, I was able to redirect my ire because at this point (ten minutes in the air) the woman unbuckled her seatbelt and announced she needed to use the restroom.

SERIOUSLY. We JUST took off and we will be on the ground in 50 minutes. You can’t hold it?

Wait. So you like rope ladders? Then let me show you how to get to the bathroom…