Thursday, October 24, 2013

When vanity and OCD collide.

I kind of hate drying my hair.

At shoulder length, my hair is the longest it's been in 20 years. I'm just not accustomed to this kind of Crystal Gayle-esque maintenance.

Sometimes, I let my luscious locks air dry. I love how soft they feel when almost but not quite dry.

This is what I imagine I must look like when I let my hair air dry.
This is what I really look like.
It's such a disappointment.

So, in an effort to make myself more Farrah and less Kathy Geiss, I examined my hair dryer. It was pretty gunky. So, I spent 20 minutes picking lint out of the vents.

Now, when I dry my hair, it takes about half as long. Instead of being a teeny bit fried, my hair is a teeny bit more shiny-like. I wouldn't go so far as to call it luxurious, but it's still an improvement.

That's cool.

But pulling the lint out of all the little vents on the side and the back of the hairdryer?

Dude. That was so, so satisfying.

Images courtesy of Wikipedia and youtube.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Step away from the pink coffee cup. Step away!

This morning, my sweet husband defaced my refrigerator magnet with this sticky note.

I laughed and laughed. People, I married well. The man has a sense of humor, and reminds me daily not to take things so seriously.

I'm not saying that I'm all Zen and nothing ruffles my feathers. But now, it's just the big stuff.

Big stuff, like Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Oh, for the love of boobies! Stop it with the pink! Quit trying to get women to go braless in "support" of breast cancer awareness. Take your pink sports equipment and "I love her rack" hunting gear and shove it. Quit buying toxic nail polish and pink plastic coffee mugs that promise a part of the proceeds fund cancer research. Stop trying to fool yourself that you're doing "your part" to stop breast cancer by buying more crap.

Let me explain.

My grandma died of breast cancer. My mama was diagnosed at 49 and survived chemo and what we can now acknowledge was a nightmare of a mastectomy. I had my first lumpectomy at 23 and am a champ at producing questionable lumps, bumps, and cysts. As you might imagine, I, uh, have a bit of an opinion on the subject of pink ribbon industry. I have a couple horses in this race.

I've done fundraising for the Susan G. Komen Foundation in the past. I've walked the walks, and wrote my 1 and only ever sponsored post about a ridiculous promotion tying KFC and Komen together. (I saw it as a way to tell my story and maybe throw some cash at what I still thought was a reputable organization.) However, Komen's politics and spending can now politely be called "questionable." I will not fundraise for them in the future.

Even if you ignore Komen, we are still bombarded with pink ribbons year-round. If you didn't feel crummy already, the pink ribbon overdose will surely make you feel nauseous.

Call me a cynic, but if you spend $10 on a coffee cup because part of the proceeds benefit breast cancer research, you are insane if you think more than 2 cents are going to any kind of research-related entity. When I see beribboned items for sale, I think, "sucka."

I sound angry - and I guess I am.

I'm beyond pleased that we can talk about mammograms and breast cancer in public instead of just whispering about them to our closest girlfriends. Lifting the taboo from the term "breast" has done so much for women's health.

However, we are lulling ourselves into a sleepy complacency. Buying the pink coffee cup doesn't mean you've done your part. Trusting huge charities to take on what is now the industry of breast cancer is ridiculous - especially when the charities are part of the industry.

Most breast cancer isn't genetic. So, what's causing the rest of it? We have to look at our food supply, at the chemicals in our personal-care items (which our government doesn't govern), at the substances in our environments.

If you want to do something, I beg of you: don't buy the damned pink coffee cup.

Get screened.

Write your congressperson about the lack of oversight in cosmetics and personal-care items.

Make a donation to an organization that meets your goals and fits your morals. Charity Navigator has taken some of the guesswork out of it.

Talk about breast health with your friends. Share information, not stupid boob-related pictures on Facebook that just add noise, not value.

Pay attention to the questionable substances in your environment - whether it's the plastic in your home or the stuff in your community's air.

Just don't buy any more pink crap - literally and figuratively.

And thank you for letting me get that off my lumpy, scarred chest.


Wanna hear more about my boobtacular boobie adventures? Evidently, I write about my rack a lot. But the more we talk about it, the less alone we are.
  • Here's a nice overview. Please forgive the aforementioned, regrettable Komen tie-in.
  • What's it like to be 31 and think you have cancer? It's like this.
  • What's it like to be getting married and have to have boob surgery? It's like this, and this.
  • What's it like when your boobs require seemingly constant medical supervision? It's like this.
  • What's it like when you have yet another freakin' cyst right as you're starting a new job? It's like this and this

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Like a boss.

Yesterday was Boss's Day. Did you get your boss person a card?

I happened to visit My Guy's workplace yesterday. As he was showing me his cube, he kept mentioning loudly that oh, by the way, no one had gotten him a GIFT for BOSS'S DAY.

I thought it was hilarious. I hope his employees did, too. It's such a dumb "holiday."

Since my bosses are of the canine variety, I didn't get anyone a card to commemorate the day. The dogs don't pay a lot of attention to Hallmark holidays. Even if they did, they don't read. So, in a pinch, I could hand a dachshund a piece of junk mail and act like it was a card.

Not that I would do that, but ... well, you know. There were some times during my tenure in Corporate America that it seemed a grocery circular would be more heartfelt than a sappy card. I was pretty lucky to have mostly good supervisors. But there were days ... and my friends had days and some questionable managers.

There should be a line of painfully honest cards for Boss's Day. Here are my suggestions.

Front: When I see you coming, I hide in the restroom.
Inside: Yeah, you're worse than poop. But Happy Boss's Day, or whatever.

Front: Your photo is in the dictionary next to "irrational."
Inside: I don't know why. I didn't write the dictionary. I'm just reporting the facts. Me working overtime is not going to change anything. No, I don't think Dave from accounting is responsible for the dictionary, even if you think he's out to get you. I don't know! I don't know! Just never mind!

Front: Happy Boss's Day to a great boss.
Inside: No, I don't buy it, either. I'm just telling you what you want to hear, like every other day.

Front: When we call you "The Fossil," it's a term of endearment.
Inside: It has nothing to do with you being dead inside. Happy Boss's Day.

What would you love to say to the worst boss you ever had?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Marital first: the ER.

I was excited about our first Christmas as a married couple. And every time I introduce My Guy as "my husband" is still a trip, even after 2 and a half years.

I never had the same giddiness about the first time I'd drive my bleeding husband to the emergency room.

When it came right down to it, though, I did have butterflies in my stomach. When I saw all the blood, I had to sit down because I thought I might pass out.

Yeah. So. Saturday, we finally finished sandblasting the stone walls of our porch and proceeded to demolish the rotted walls of said porch. The problem with wood rot, though, is that that shit is totally unpredictable. It might look OK-ish, but a little tap and you discover that, oh, the entire front of your porch is actually hollow. Oh, and there never were any actual posts holding it up, anyway - just those rotted 2 x 6s. 

Ha! Ha ha!

This also means that when your sweet husband goes to remove a window, the tiniest movement makes the glass shatter. And that glass is old-school, non-tempered glass. Danger glass.

Ohhhh. You guys. I saw it happen. And I knew it was bad because he didn't cuss. He just calmly pulled the sandwich-sized chunk of glass out of his forearm.

I ran in the house and sacrificed two dish towels to use as bandages. He still didn't say anything. So, we just stood in the front yard and he bled all over the place ... and then I realized that freakin' Creepy Chuck was headed our way. That's when Calm Emergency Cha Cha took over.

I looked my husband in the eyes. "We are walking to the garage now. We have to go now, because Creepy Chuck is coming over."

My Guy didn't say anything. We walked to the garage, effectively avoiding our weird neighbor.

Then, I got to really look at the gash.

Then, I sat down on the floor and tried not to barf.

Then, Calm Emergency Cha Cha showed up again and informed her husband that they were going to the emergency room because he needed stitches.

We had never considered which ER is closest to our house. Friends, listen to me now and hear me later: figure that shit out before you need the information. Because when your husband is bleeding out all over your garage is not the time to research it, even if your garage is easily hosed out.

We got in the car. Calm Emergency Cha Cha even remembered My Guy's wallet. We drove to the ER, which took super long because we hit every light. Calm Emergency Cha Cha evidently still abides the rules of the road.

And then the people at the ER were really nice and were probably just excited that we weren't using their facility as our primary care and our emergency didn't involve something stuck up an orifice. My Guy was worried because he was covered in dirt and dust, but every staffer he apologized to laughed and assured him that he wasn't even close to the dirtiest patient.

While it seemed to me that he was in danger of losing his arm, My Guy reported his pain as being a 1 on a scale of 1 to 10. It wasn't even my arm, and my pain level was at least a 7.

He only got 3 stitches. But I'm here to tell you: I didn't like it. I prefer my loved ones to stay gash-free.

My Guy convalesced on the couch for a few hours - just long enough to watch the Mizzou football team beat fifth-ranked Georgia - and then he was done being an invalid. He was back working on the porch. Because he's a dude.

I can tell his arm hurts because he openly talks about "Wound" in the saddest little voice. Like, "Have you seen Wound? I am so woundy!" But the porch demo was completed in time for Sunday's NFL games, and he's not too pumped about me being all smother-lovey about it.

I can't help the smother love. I feel like he defied death. And dammit, I love my husband.

If he and Wound could avoid further injury, that would be cool.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

How to break a microwave.

At the news of the sad, sad loss of my microwave, reader Leesa asked, "What's your secret for breaking a microwave? I've been trying to break ours for years in order to get a new one."

Now, reader Sharon chimed in with a truly helpful hint: "Invite some hulking teenage boys over. They are excellent at breaking microwaves."

Uh, if you're looking to bust up a microwave, I think Sharon's got the right idea.

My answer?

1. Buy a repo house. Be naïve and foolish, believing that you and your beloved can clean it up, paint every surface, and make it good as new in just a few weeks.

2. Realize only when it comes time to clean the filthy kitchen that the microwave has no handle. Fantasize that the handle was ripped clean off the door during the feats of strength portion of Festivus. Try to believe that this explains why the only handle remnant is cut bolts that are impossible to remove.

3. Discover that you can jimmy the door open by lifting up and pulling. Make peace with the fact that this not only opens the door, but also occasionally causes the exhaust grill to fly across the kitchen. Go on with your life.

4. Live with said jerry-rigged microwave for almost 3 years. Always be a bit dumbfounded when visitors ask how to open the microwave. Be reminded of your trashiness. Swallow the shame with your tasty, microwaved meals.

5. Wake one cool autumn morning to find that the microwave stopped working in the middle of the night. Test the outlet. Call the time of death. Attempt to ignore your husband's muffled sobs. Hold him as he cradles his cold Healthy Choice entrée.

6. Order a new microwave online. Try to have faith in your husband's assertion that the 2 of you can install it yourselves. Consider starting to drink now in preparation.

And that, friends, is how I break a microwave.

I'll keep you posted on the new microwave installation efforts. Pray for us.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Two bad things and one awesome thing.

1. I'm turning into my mother: I backed into my husband's car.


Back in the day, my dad had a brand-new 1984 Buick Park Avenue. That car was The Shit. We named it Fred.

When Fred was new and still rocking his new-car smell, my mom kind of backed into him in the driveway. She was gone for a very long time, and by the time she came back in the house to 'fess up, we thought she'd left and come back. Really, she'd been sitting the driveway, trying to figure out if she could blame the big dent on the paperboy. But she ultimately came inside and asked, "Do you love me?" My dad just looked at her and said, "You hit the car." Then, he began his mantra of "It's just a car" - kinda to my mom, mostly to himself.

Now, when it was my turn to back into my husband's truckasaurus? I came back into the house immediately and was all, "Your CAR is in the FUCKING DRIVEWAY! I HIT your FUCKING CAR."

Yes, my anger was somewhat misdirected. I have never been in the running for Miss Congeniality, and that's OK.

But my sweet husband surveyed the damage, hugged me, and wasn't mad. Basically, it'll buff right out. Except for the hole in back quarter panel of my trusty Honda. That, we're just gonna live with, like a signal to the rest of the world that I cannot be trusted to back my vehicle.

2. Our microwave died.

I see this as a minor inconvenience. My Guy is devastated. To him, the microwave dying is on par with our entire house burning to the ground.

He wanted to reheat a pork chop for lunch today. He earnestly turned to me and said, "I guess I'll put it in the oven. I figured 350 or 400 for 20 minutes. Does that sound about right?"

Oh, sweet friend.

3. My brother and his awesome bride became parents today.

By all accounts, their daughter is the most beautiful and perfect baby ever in the history of babies. Huzzah!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Thirteen things I learned at my 20-year reunion.

1. I am old.
I've been home for 4 days and I'm still exhausted. A delicate 38-year-old simply can't bounce back from football games, picnics, bonfires, and general debauchery with the same aplomb she had at 18.

2. As God as my witness, I'll never plan another reunion again.
I don't live in town. I haven't lived in my hometown for, oh, 20 years. And yet, BFF and I have had a hand in planning each of the last 3 class reunions. This time around, BFF was in the process of moving back to the states from freakin' Latvia. Oh, and we had a classmate/committee member who wouldn't respond to any messages or help do any work, but would perkily pop up as soon as it was time to take credit or tell us what we could have done better.

3. It's good to have backup.
BFF's dad offered to drive the getaway car, should we murder said perky classmate. He's a skilled driver - I've seen him back a camper. I knew that worst-case scenario, I would be in good hands. It helped me sleep better.

4. Reunions are no place for plotting murder.
No. Reunions are for appreciating the good, good people who shared your childhood. It just takes a little while to get to this realization.

5. Reunions have a few phases.
Phase 1: Who the hell are these old people?
Phase 2: I used to know someone who looked kind of like that, but thinner.
Phase 3: So that's who that is!
Phase 4: I'm old and fat, too!
Phase 5: Let's be old and fat together, and talk about when we were kids!

I may be oversimplifying somewhat.

6. I grew up with good, kind, decent folks.
Truly. I'm humbled, and so, so thankful.

7. If you need someone to organize your reunion picnic, call my mom.
Seriously. She made the sign, the pasta salad, the brownies, and the iced tea. Also, she's the one who made sure I had name tags and extra serving spoons - because you know folks will remember a potluck dish but often forget a spoon. She was right. Also, her on-the-ball-ness further showcased just how inept (or, perhaps completely over it) I am when it comes to planning reunions. I much prefer to just show up.

8. By the time you've been out of school for 20 years, you can be authentic.
This means conversations about mistakes and regrets with no judgment. I openly admitted that the idea of planning another reunion made me want to flip the bird. And when 1 woman sheepishly admitted that her sister was a welfare mooch, another offered that her brother was living in a shelter with no desire to find a job. We're all just people.

9. Stop trying to impress people. It isn't working, anyway.
If you're trying to look all suave in front of people who remember when you peed your pants in 2nd grade? You're dumb. We don't give a shit about your 4-carat diamond. We remember your wet pants. And if you'd joke about it and own it, we'd love you.

10. Childhood memories are products of child brains.
I learned this weekend that a classmate who terrified me in junior high came from the worst of bad home situations. Junior-high me couldn't understand why she was so mean; adult me wants to go back in time and help the smart, scared girl who was mean because it was her only line of defense.

11. It's a privilege to see how people grow.
That mean, scared girl is now 1 of the most positive, empowered women I've ever met. I wouldn't have missed catching up with her for anything.

12. Some friendships go on hiatus, and that's OK.
In the last year, I've reconnected with a handful of good school pals. Sure, we've been out of touch. But the timing for reconnecting is perfect - they've come back into my life just when I needed them.

13. You are a part of every place and every person you encounter.
One of my best friends moved away after 8th grade. She attended this reunion, expecting that no one would remember her. Boy, was she wrong! She was flabbergasted that most folks remembered her, even without a name tag. Not only that, but they remembered her with love. She was still with them as the funny, kind girl from school. We never know who we impact.

Go to your reunion. Listen. Pay attention. It's a great place to learn about yourself and where you come from.

Also? Call my mom. She'll get you organized.