Tag Archives: stress

Turns out, it DOES flow downhill.

24 Mar

pithypants toilet

My week started with a 9am call informing me that my toilet had overflowed and flooded the unit below mine with smelly poo water.

Before the sentence was even out of the property manager’s mouth Monday morning, I’d packed up my desk, donned my jacket and was out the door, sprinting (more like fast walking while gasping) home to see how messed up my bathroom was.

As it turns out, in an interesting twist, my neighbors are both dramatic and lazy. I say that because when I arrived home (fearing a flood of epic proportions) my bathroom looked totally normal – as in, just as I’d left it, right down to the hand-scrubbed floor tiles.

When I called the property manager back, confused, he said, “False alarm. While their bathroom DID get drenched with poo water today, apparently they’ve had a stain growing on their ceiling for the last few months, so it’s not a flood situation.”

Let’s pause for a quick poll. If you noticed a growing stain on your ceiling would you:

  1. Call the property manager ASAP?
  2. Run upstairs and let your neighbor know?
  3. Do nothing for months, until poo flooded your bathroom?


So here I was, learning that I had a plumbing (and drywalling) issue on my hands just as I’m about to head out of town for vacation. I may or may not have mildly lost my shit (both figuratively and literally, given the circumstances) for a few minutes.

Once I regrouped, I hopped into action, calling a plumber, alerting my insurance company, and tracking down contact information for someone below me who had a key to the unit and could coordinate with contractors for repairs.

So the plumber came out and quickly diagnosed the problem as a worn down wax seal. He repaired it quickly (if not inexpensively) and asked if I’d had any other issues with the toilet.

“Um, no…” I responded, somewhat confused. “What other kind of issues?”

“Ever have to use the plunger?” he asked. “That’s an American Standard toilet and those things are known for being problematic. They usually require a lot of plunging, especially in buildings where the water pressure might not be so good.”

Ah. “Actually, no,” I told him. “In the five years I’ve lived here, I’ve never used a plunger.”

And then – because I don’t know when to stop – I said, “Which is kind of ironic because growing up I needed a plunger so often that my parents bought one just for me and wrote my name on the handle.”

He paused, then laughed, then said, “Good for you.”


I think the only way that exchange could’ve ended more awkwardly is if he’d offered a high-five.

Also? In hindsight, how did my Crohn’s go 37 years without being diagnosed? I’m pretty sure I’m the only person I know who had her own plunger before hitting high school.

And yes, you don’t have to say it… Alan is a lucky, lucky man.


What to expect when you’re launching.

17 Jun
One difference between birthing a BABY vs. a WEBSITE.

One difference between birthing a BABY vs. a WEBSITE.

Holy smokes! I don’t think I’ve ever gone this long without posting SOMETHING.

It’s not that I’m tired of blogging. And it’s not that I’m tired of you, kind readers. It’s just that I’ve been fairly consumed by my day job lately. I’m leading a project with a lot of moving parts, one of which is the development of a fairly complex website that is slated to launch this week.

To give you some sense of how it’s going: In more than one meeting lately, I’ve found myself unintentionally substituting the word “birth” for launch. As in – when someone asked if I’m excited about the launch – I said, “Can’t wait to birth it and burp it!”

After using that word for a third or fourth time, I paused to figure out where it was coming from. I’m not a maternal person. I have no personal experience with pregnancy and hopefully never will. I’m not hanging out with a slew of pregnant friends where vocabulary creep could be to blame.

But I realized that although it’s an odd analogy, it’s not a completely inappropriate one. There is more than one parallel to pregnancy stemming from this project:

  • I’ve been working on it for about nine months.
  • I’ve gained weight from stress eating (although thankfully I haven’t had to give up wine).
  • I can’t sleep through the night so I’m generally walking around exhausted.
  • I often feel barfy and have sharp pains in my stomach (that’s the Crohn’s, but still…).
  • There’s been epic debate over the name.

Also? I suspect this week is going to play out much like a real delivery. There will be a lot of yelling, maybe even swearing. At some point I’ll probably beg someone to “just get it out.” And although none of us will talk about what they see when I push, no one will ever be able to consider me a lady again.

I swear, I’ll get back to more regular (and more comic) posting after I squeeze this thing out.

Relax: easier said than done

27 Apr

Image Source: http://gifsoup.com/view/1228906/cat-massage.html#prettyPhoto

It’s been a stressful week. By Tuesday evening, I’d already clocked 30 hours of work… and if you count Sunday, which is theoretically a day off, the tally was closer to 36 hours.

By the time Thursday afternoon rolled around, I was spent. On a whim, I picked up the phone and called to see if my massage place had any cancellations that evening – they did. So an hour later I found myself stripping down for a massage.

Normally I get massages on the weekend, walking the five miles to the studio in yoga clothes. Thursday, however, my routine was totally thrown off since I was coming straight from work.

When my masseur – a big, burly guy named Errol who contagiously giggled like a girl – left the room so I could change, I panicked. My outfit was COMPLICATED to remove, and I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to strip down before he came back to knock.

For starters, I was wearing a collared button down shirt with half-pearl buttons, which are slippery and tough to work back through the holes. Knowing I was up against the clock only made me fumble more. Then came my socks. In and of themselves, they weren’t that tricky. But I’ve started wearing fluorescent orange compression sleeves over them (don’t ask) which are a feat to remove.

I felt like I was in a race. I tried to reassure myself, knowing he’d knock to make sure I was ready before re-entering the room. But I’ve always found that exchange to be a bit like a conversation with an adult from Peanuts: I hear the knock and a muffled question, and I’m not sure if I’m supposed to say, “OK” or nothing. Whatever I choose, they seem to come in regardless, so I decided the knocking wasn’t much of an insurance policy.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m actually not modest and wouldn’t actually care if someone walked in on me naked. But it’s awkward. Like when I was at the gynecologist a few weeks back and the nurse whipped in the room to see if I’d been given a gown – only to find me already bare-assed in the middle of the room, stepping out of my underwear.

“Oh geez!” she said, clearly startled. “I’m so sorry!”

See what I mean? She was going to see me naked only a few minutes later, so it wasn’t my nudity that bothered her – it was that I wasn’t where she expected me to be. It was as awkward as if she’d walked in and found me crouching on top of a filing cabinet. So that’s what was going through my head as I changed for my massage. Must. Get. Under. The. Sheet.

Fortunately, I made it. But in the process, I forgot to run my fingers between my toes. I always do that to make sure there’s no random sock lint, because I think if I were a masseuse, I’d puke if I had to rub someone’s feet and I encountered toe jam. Before I could remedy the situation, Errol reappeared. Crap. Whatever.

Errol was awesome, and I’m not just saying that because he complimented me on having well-developed lats. Which, now that I think of it, might actually NOT have been a compliment.

In any case, we’d established a chatty rapport, so when he got to my feet I said, “Hey, I’m sorry – I totally forgot to check for lint.”

He had only my right leg and foot exposed at that point, and he responded, “Please. Your feet are in great shape. You should see some of the dogs I have to walk. I just close my eyes and jump right in.”

“Careful,” I cautioned, “You haven’t seen the left one yet.” And because this is how my brain works, I continued, “How awesome would it be if it was all snarled and I was missing toenails? You’d feel horrible.”

Apparently, Errol didn’t share my sense of humor, because he was pretty quiet after that. Lesson learned: Never relax so much that you think strangers will appreciate your warped mind. It will just make them sit in silent judgment. Which – if you’re getting a massage – actually turns out to be OK.

Or maybe he’d seen this clip and thought he was on a hidden camera:

Cheaper than therapy.

30 Nov

Last night I was fairly stressed out about work when I went to bed. The result?

Nope. You weren't there. Whew.

A never-ending dream that I was one of the finalists on American Idol. We had thirty minutes to choose a song (from a selection of ten options), practice it, then perform it live on television. Unfortunately, I didn’t know ANY of the song options. I’d heard a few of them before, but not well enough to even guess at the lyrics convincingly. And also? All the songs were originally performed by men in falsetto, which put them out of range for my limited voice.

I sat bolt upright in bed at 2am, heart racing and sweating.

Know how I calmed myself down? By replaying the dream in my head and realizing the Simon Cowell had been no where to be found, so it couldn’t possibly have been THE American Idol. Oddly, that put me at ease – at least enough to fall back asleep.

Two hours later – I sat up in bed again. Because Simon wasn’t on the last season of Idol. 

But rather than panicked, for some odd reason, this realization caused me to feel like I’d solved an Encyclopedia Brown mystery. (Remember those? A squirrel can’t BACK down a tree! Ah ha!)

And yes, I realize this post violates two rules of interesting writing: 1) It makes no sense; 2) It bores you with a dream.

Sorry. What can I say? I didn’t sleep well.

I never claimed I could sing the phonebook.

Random Thought: Do Cry Babies Win?

27 May

It doesn't look quite so precious when you're pushing 40.

At the airport Monday, I was struck by the number of crying children who were old enough to speak and communicate their needs, but instead wailed.

Instead of getting irritated and leveling the parents with a deadly gaze, I instead wondered: Is crying a natural human reaction that we simply are conditioned away from by societal pressure?

Recently I’ve been under a lot of stress and while I’m not typically a crier, the thought of just sobbing when I hit my limit seems like it would be very cathartic. I am considering field-testing this with difficult clients, demanding colleagues, exhausting friends, slow-moving strangers, and anyone who happens to cross my path when I need to pee.

Discuss amongst yourselves.