Saturday, March 31, 2007

In which I am completely self-absorbed.

So, here at Cha Cha World Headquarters, we're wrapping up week four of The Neverending Kitchen Remodel. A few highlights:
  • Coming home to find that my darling contractor (and I do mean that - I adore this man) had skimmed some more drywall. Again. Filling my entire house with drywall dust. Again. And causing me to have to repaint portions of the kitchen. Again.
  • Having the cabinet dude grovel and apologize repeatedly for taking two weeks to get my countertop installed.
  • Taking a shower, hearing Foxie Doxie throw the biggest of big fits and realizing that the cabinet guy's helper let himself into my house. An hour early. I wrapped a towel around myself, walked into the living room and requested that he "Give me about 10 minutes." His response as he sprinted out of my house? "Uh, the traffic wasn't as bad as I thought it would be." This scene was a nice follow up to the day I had to answer my door in my bathrobe.
  • Washing my dishes in the tub. Again. And dropping one. The pink one. The dish around which my entire kitchen color scheme is based. The discontinued one. It broke. And with it, my spirit. My dogs started freaking out as I completely lost my mind. "I am so over this! Get these people out of my house! ARGH!!!" I hope the neighbors didn't hear.
So, the countertops are lovely. The wall color is perfect. The appliances are in boxes in my laundry room. The contractor has promised that next week, all of the pieces will come together. And the discontinued dish is available online.
I'm taking deep breaths.
And I spent $24 today on vintage-looking pink dishtowels, because they gave me hope for the future. Someday, I will have a kitchen that will require dishtowels. Someday, my dishes won't be piled alongside the bathroom sink.
It's like the end of Shawshank Redemption. I hope the kitchen is as beautiful as in my dreams. I hope ...

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Just in case I didn't get it the first time

I'm stubborn. I know this. I'm a taurus. It's who we are. It typically takes me a couple of months of talking about something before I really actually do it. Annoying, yes. But when I finally take any sort of action, hot damn, I do not look back. I stand by allllll of my decisions ... and I damn well better, since they take me long enough.

So. After the recent health scare, you'd think that I would be all over getting my shit together. Let's talk nutrition. Let's talk exercise. Let's talk not devoting my entire life to Corporate Behemoth.

Ok. I'm on it. But I was tired, and I had a reaction to the tape from my aspirations (I aspire to not have an itchy rash on my boob. Dare to dream!). I was gathering my mental troops. It had only been three days, ok?

And then? Then I received further confirmation that the warranty on this body has officially expired.

I had some blood work of the "oh, let's just get a baseline" variety done.

I have high LDL cholesterol. And I have an underactive thyroid.

I am flippin' falling apart.

Actually, with the thyroid, part of me is relieved. Maybe there's a real, physical reason why I'm tired and out of sorts all the damn time. And if there's a concrete way to fix that, well, hallelujah.

I'm having a complete nutritional workup done in the morning. And the last two mornings, I've walked for half an hour. This is going to be my new MO.

I'm not overweight by any stretch - which is why my body falling apart is sort of hard to wrap my arms around. But I think the bottom line is that I've been working so much that I've accepted all this stress into my life ... and all I have to show for it is a body that is literally revolting. I'm like those guys who eat fried food three meals a day for 50 years and then have a heart attack. Except I'm 31 and I weigh 120 pounds.

I guess I'm just a delicate little flower.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Spring rolls and teething toddlers

I just got home from an evening at the home of my friends who have two small chillens. I was invited over for Chinese food and Ugly Betty (aka The Best Show Evah!). During dinner, the 3-year-old ate two green beans and then proceeded to wrap himself in the dining room curtains, which greatly entertained the 13-month-old. They are darling children.

Really. I mean it.

But ... this household is in a state of constant disarray. I really admire my friend's ability to be a very calm, very balanced mama. She doesn't sweat her kids eating food off the floor. Her only qualm about the curtains was that her son didn't actually pull the curtain rod off the wall. I want to take her calm and rub it into my skin like salve.

But ... I can't imagine living with two needy little people and a third who just sort of doesn't get it. Tonight, the grown-ups got into a fight in front of me, which was a little weird. I could see both sides. And mostly I could see the side of "OMG, I LOVE living alone!"

So, I'm back home, geriatric poodle fussing in my lap, never-ending kitchen remodel calling to me softly, foxie doxie running around with a roll of toilet paper. It's so quiet here. I love it!

Scary admission: I actually looked at my friends' crying, overtired daughter and thought, "Uh, yeah, I don't think I really want one of those." Because I am dead inside. Or just honest. Or just haven't gotten laid in 29 months.

Not that I'm counting.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Take your pink ribbon and shove it.

So, for the last 10 days, I have been convinced that I have breast cancer.

It's not that far-fetched. My grandmother died of the disease. My mother is a nine-year survivor. I had a lumpectomy at the ripe ol' age of 23. I'm the patient the gyn is always asking, "Do you do self exams? Is this lump normal?"

Except this time, the lump wasn't normal. It wasn't there. And then it was. And it was roughly the size of a bowling ball.

Or, 3 centimeters in diameter. Same dif.

I waited to see if it diminished or disappeared with my cycle. Nope. Instead, it seemed to get bigger, like it was feeding off of my growing alarm and neurosis.

I had agreed to get a baseline mammogram at my last gyn appointment, so I made the appointment. And then had to call my gyn's nurse back and fess up that according to the mammogram center, I needed a different work order because there was, umm, a problem.

The nurse and the receptionist at the mammogram center were the only two human beings I told about any of it.

Meanwhile, I planned.

I planned to e-mail my friends and tell them they'd better not give me pink shit, because it's not like you need further branding once a disease has disfigured your most visible womanly feature. I planned to ask for entertainment during chemo. I planned to host a head-shaving party.

It sounds a little alarmist, but I have seen first-hand what this disease does. I've given my mom a bath. I've seen her open wounds when her body rejected the tissue transplanted during her reconstruction. I needed a plan.

And when I made the appointment for the mammogram and the receptionist told me, "Good luck," I totally lost it, holed up in a conference room at Corporate Behemoth.

Today was the day. I even remembered to forgo the deodorant today, even though I was sweating like a freak out of nervousness. The mammogram was uncomfortable, but totally doable. And they saw the lump - actually, it was so big, you could see it just by looking at my breast. It's not just a lump - it's a lump on steroids. The Lump-O-Rator. The LumpMaster.

I had an ultrasound with the sweetest, nicest girl. Turns out, my left breast is chock full o' cysts. I'm cyst-o-riffic. I'm cyst-tacular.

Have I mentioned that I'm 31? And I have friends contemplating boob jobs, friends who have no fucking clue how lucky they are to just have healthy breasts?

Caffeine is the only known factor in breast cysts, and seeing as how I cut that nastiness out of my diet nine years ago, I am, in fact, a freak of nature and a medical mystery. But I scheduled an aspiration for this afternoon, and I went to work.

And walking to my car, I was overcome. I didn't have cancer. I had a bowling ball that could be drained with a needle.

I started sobbing in the parking lot. I'm sure anyone who saw me guessed that I had just received the worst news, not the best news.

I was so relieved. I'm not going to lose my hair. I'm not going to add a giant scar to my collection. I don't have to tell my mother that I have cancer.

I talked to her last night and she could tell I was totally out of sorts. I blamed it on the never-ending kitchen remodel, but I don't know that she was buying it. But I literally thought, "She'll know soon enough tomorrow."

I know I have a complex - if I'm just good enough, if I'm just the best daughter in the whole wide world, she won't get sick again. Because I'm powerful like that. I can keep cancer from coming back.

I've never been so helpless in my entire life.

But I have this game going in my head, and while I've identified it, I don't know how to untangle myself. And anyway, getting cancer myself is definitely not part of the "best daughter ever" plan. Because my mom would feel guilty. Because even though she hasn't had genetic testing, all data indicates that her cancer had the markings of a genetic predisposition.

So I cried in the parking lot. And then I went to work for three hours. And then I went and got my aspiration on.

Turns out they aspirated not one, not two, but THREE cysts in my left breast, filling three 8-cc syringes. Because I am an overachiever and don't do anything half-assed. The darling girl was there again. I love her and want to have her baby.

And then I went home, wrapped in an ace bandage. Turns out that cysts can refill almost immediately without pressure. Who knew?

I was going to work from home this afternoon, but that didn't quite work out. I was exhausted. My body tends to be of the "trauma! must sleep!" school of reaction, plus, really, I haven't relaxed in 10 days, so hell, no wonder I was tired. I never, ever nap, and I slept hard-core for two hours. Work can wait. I'm cyst-tastic.

So, there was worry, and then there was none, and now I can live happily ever after. Except, here's one of the reasons why I couldn't stop crying: now I don't have an excuse. I don't have a reason to not be the person I want to be and do all those things that I'm putting off. You totally have a reason not to date when you're in a relationship with chemo, or your hair is falling out. And all those mental promises to god about nutrition and exercise and really taking care of this booby-trapped body if I could just get a hall pass just this once? It's time to pay the piper.

I think it's sort of unfair that I know these things at a relatively young age. I already eat healthily. I go to the freakin' doctor every other day, practically. It's like I'm an old lady. I should be concerned about American Idol and wearing slutty clothes, not getting a baseline mammogram.

One great thing: I know, deep, deep in my soul, that I am going to live to be a very old woman - in real age, not in the American Idol/slutty clothes way. And so the prospect of fighting cancer now, while shitty, wasn't a life or death situation. I have faith.

Friday, March 16, 2007

The sweet sound of crap

I'm camped out at the Honda dealership, waiting for them to charge me a gazillion dollars for routine maintenance. And there's a group of people discussing, in graphic detail, one man's ongoing to issues with breaking his foot.

Dude, you are a complete stranger and I am squeamish. I don't want to hear about the bone of your second toe recessing into your foot and the surgery to pull it back out. It's too damn early for me to barf on the carpet of a car dealership.

And who asks a complete stranger about his cast, how he got it, the surgery required, and all the medical details? And who answers these questions for a complete stranger?

It's like the world has become one giant reality TV show. Of course we want and deserve to hear all the gory details of stuff that's really none of our damn business. And if you allow the world to see your dirty laundry, you'll be a star!

I Love New York, I'm looking at you.

I would, however, like to see a reality show about people involved in making Muzak. Do they sit around and say, "This is an earth-shattering R&B song featuring one of the most amazing voices ever recorded. How can we dumb it down for people in Honda dealerships the world over?"

Is there some Muzak-sponsored research that supports the idea that people are more likely to a) buy cars and b) take the dealer's first offer just so they can escape hideous renditions of Midnight Train to Georgia?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Statistically speaking, I rock

I just got home from a happy hour/birthday party for a friend. Of the 10 people there, I was the only straight one. I love my friend and I love her other friends and a good time was had by all. But it made me think that this is what it must be like to be gay in most situations. Statistically speaking, in a group of 10 people, you're probably the only gay.

And the best dressed.

Anyway ...

On the car ride home, it occurred to me that all of my friends are either married or gay. So does this mean that I am literally the only single, straight girl in her early 30s in the entire world?

All sources point to yes. Yes, I am the only single woman over the age of 30 in the entire world, possibly the entire universe.

Yet another reason to do online dating. I should be really, really popular.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

More than a feeling

On my 15th birthday, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Jim Henson died.

The whole Sammy thing was really, really sad - still is. But Jim? Well, that was like a member of my family dying. I locked myself in the bathroom and cried and cried before my family went to Pizza Hut. ONE two three four fiiiive, six seven eight NINE ten, eleven TWELLLLLVE!

Beyond the man who taught me the alphabet, my love of pop culture makes me feel dirty. Case in point: poor Anna Nicole. I must admit that upon hearing that she had died, my gut reaction was, "Oh, well, this outta be good."

I'm not proud of that reaction. But that's what it was.

And I actually thought that people who felt the need to send CNN their photos and memories of Anna Nicole were beyond lame. If you're trying to associate yourself with a dead celebrity, well, there's something ugly and black inside of you. I love Stephen King's take on the whole sad mess.

So, it's with a teensy bit of trepidation that I write about a recent celebrity death.

Yes. I'm talking about Boston's Brad Delp.

Ok, so, I'm from Iowa, right? Our airwaves are populated with the likes of Journey and REO Speedwagon, even in 2007. Except for a few weak college radio stations, the choices during my formative years were oldies or what is now labeled classic rock.

So, needless to say, Mr. Delp and I go waaaay back.

I love his voice. I love the way his band's music made me feel like there was something beyond my small town. I love how when I finally saw them in concert in college there was a Harley t-shirt-clad couple in front of us on the lawn ... and how the guy basically had his hand up his woman's ass for the duration of the concert, their romantic night out. Boston's music makes people feel good.

Also, you have to admit, Boston's is a damn good story. Delp was working at a Mr. Coffee plant when he met Tom Scholz. They recorded most of the first album in Scholz's basement - and went on to superstardom.

But the best part? There are countless tales of how Delp was literally The Nicest Guy.

I don't have a lot of energy for assholes. But I have a lot of respect for successful people who are decent and down to earth. And when one of them dies suddenly, well, that's just no damn good.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

It works every time!

I'm high on paint fumes.

I'm not trying to be cool. Kids, really, don't try this at home. But in the last 36 hours, I've painted FOUR layers on my kitchen walls and two layers on the ceiling.

So. Tired. Never. Painting. Ever. Again.

While waiting for paint to dry - literally! - I managed to watch bits and pieces of several fine films. And, I've learned a lot from these films. See? Because you CAN learn from home improvement.

Return of the Jedi
Ok, so I've seen this movie approximately 974 times. It's been a while, but I was thrilled to find that yes, Harrison Ford really was worthy of my fourth-grade crush ... a crush that has definitely lived on into adulthood. Harrison, you know, I'm a woman now ...

Anyway, this film reminded me of how funny the original three Star Wars films are. R2 being utilized as a bar cart on Jabba's party barge? C'mon! That's hysterical! And also a reminder of why the new three films sort of suck - they took themselves too seriously. Where is the fun?

Also, where is the fashion? I had never realized this before, but Admiral Ackbar totally stole his wardrobe from Ralph Furley from Three's Company.

So, umm? I really enjoyed this "Black Buster" on BET. I don't want to like Miss Ross, but I totally do. And poor Anthony Perkins really did get typecast after Psycho. And, umm, Billy Dee Williams?

Billy Dee?

Let's just say that after a Billy Dee doubleheader, Mahogany and Return of the Jedi, I would totally buy malt liquor or whatever else he happened to be selling.

Sadly, Billy Dee didn't appear in my third movie, The Princess Diaries.

Needless to say, The Princess Diaries totally sucked. It didn't involve any malt liquor, wookies or Miss Ross wearing 37 pounds of mascara at once. A total disappointment. Or maybe that's just the paint fumes talking.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Relaxation is an art

I've been traveling for work this week. It's been my first travel for Corporate Behemoth, and Oh. My. God. Let's talk about decadent. Cabs. Gigantic meals. Gigantic meals before receptions where I would normally be filling up on appetizers because I am From The Midwest. It's been an adjustment.

Now, I'm hanging out, taking a long weekend and meeting up with My Gay Eighth Grade Boyfriend, a true gem and kindred spirit. He's meeting me tomorrow, leaving me free to flit about the city today. I conquered my fear of public transportation and took the train around to a couple of museums.

Usually, I love art. But today, I was just out of sorts. Part of it is the exhaustion that accompanies three days of stressful meetings - including one where I was basically demoted. And part of it is that I am uncomfortable with free time. I know this.

So, I wandered about and decided that none of the art was really bringing me joy. So, I went shopping. As you do.

I spent $14.90.

And then I went back to the hotel.

It's Friday night and I'm in an amazing city, free to do whatever I want.

And what I want is to eat take-out and watch the NAACP Image Awards in my pajamas. Because sometimes you're just fucking tired, you know?