Thursday, November 30, 2006

The F Word

I've never had a tremendous immune system - I get sick at the drop of a hat. Things have been a lot better since they took my tonsils, but I still seem to develop pneumonia every time some one around me gets the sniffles. M calls me a walking pre-existing condition - not a very flattering pet name, but it's unfortunately reasonably close to accurate. For the past eight months or so I've been down more often than usual. I'm having all sorts of strange symptoms: numb limbs, strange aches and pains not related to injury, fatique. It's been nearly impossible to carry on a normal life - I constantly feel like I have the flu.

After a forth bout of missing three consecutive days of work, feeling lousy every day for a month straight, and not having the energy to even visit the grocer, I finally broke down and made an apponintment with another doctor's office - an internist. It was my third appointment for the same problem - the previous two doctors had sort of patted me on the head, prescribed ibuprofen for the discomfort, and told me to take it easy for a few days. I didn't think he'd take me seriously. In all honesty, I thought I was buying a one-way ticket to the looney bin. One thirty-minute consultation and seven vials of blood later, the doc called me at work.

"I don't know what's wrong with you, but I can tell you what isn't." We ruled out some of the major illnesses that have symptoms similar to mine. It was a big releif.

"Okay. So we know what it isn't," I said. "Any idea what it is?"

"Well, given your family history, your symptoms, the duration of your complaint and the bloodwork, I believe you have fibromyalgia. I'd like for you to go see a specialist. I'll perscribe some medication to help treat the symptoms in the meantime."

So now I'm loaded up on pills - for pain, for sleep, for fatigue - and I have an appointment with another doctor on February 5th. Both my aunt and my grandmother have it. I called my aunt, so I'd know what to expect when I got to the specialist's office. "Incurable" she'd said, "but managable."

I'll have it for the rest of my life. It's regulated by diet, stretching exercises done twice daily to keep the muscles from breaking down, medication, and careful, constant inspection for things not quite right with the body.

Incurable, but managable. I hope she's right.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tryptophan... mmmm!

You'd better watch out! You'd better not cry! You'd better not pout! I'm tellin you why - Mister M is comin' to town.... along with 20 or so of my family and their friends.

As we gathered around the table(s) to celebrate a few thousand buckle-shoed pilgrims living in wood huts way back when, I smiled at M over a deliciously fattening plateful of everyone's favorite holiday foods. he flew up to spend the weekend with my family and me, and what a brave soul he was! He handled my psychotic sister deftly, withstood my abrasive aunt's sarcasm, and made my mother melt with his culinary skills. Who could ask for a more perfect introduction to the family? I knew he was in like flint when mother asked him to make the gravy - she won't even let me in her kitchen.

The kicker, though, was when they giggled conspiritorily together around the stove.

Mother: "You know, you're welcome back any time."

M: "Madam, don't you think we ought to, at the very least, invite Mo out for dinner during my visit? It's really the least we could do."

Mother: "What for?"

Are mothers allowed to like the people we bring home with us more than they like their own children? Isn't there a law against that somewhere?

Monday, November 27, 2006

20 Questions

I recently applied for a promotion in Cubby-Gopher Land, which may seem a bit ambitious to some, given that I've only been there since April. No sense wasting time about it - I'm more than qualified for the supervisory position I put in for, and there's really no good reason I couldn't feasibly be bumped up.

No good reason, of course, except that I interviewed with Corporate Barbie herself. Daphne sat across the table from me, fresh out of anorexia rehab (quite literally), fidgeting with her pen and nervously asking generic, straight-off-the-page questions.

"How do you deal with conflict?"
"What do you say to an employee who you believe is calling in sick, but who you feel is lying."
"How will you handle a situation that could arise if your co-workers believe they should have been promoted instead of you."

I nearly fell asleep in my chair, it was so dry.

She just sat there, batting her Maybeline lashes and twittering prettily, as if it'd have some effect on me. She tried to read the page seamlessly, which I'm sure she was coached in during some corporate training program. Unfortunately, it made her look more like a stammering idiot. She did, however, get the cutest little wrinkle between her brows - practiced, I'm sure. It was all I could do not to reach over to pat her on the head, and coo, "There, there, sweetheart. Don't you worry your pretty little head about it. Mouth's gonna make it all better." Ugh.

I'm supposed to find out by the end of November whether I got the position. Wish me luck?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Next Generation

Court and I went shopping for holiday foodstuffs straight after work a few weeks back. It was late, we were both beat, and thank God we only had a few armfulls of junk to buy, cuz I think blood would have run from my ears if I'd have had to wait in line. We hit the Express Lane behind a hottie Latino. Shaved head, high cheekbones, big, gorgeous brown eyes. Definitely the type you don't mind seeing naked in your bedroom with the lights low.

As he's turning to leave the register, he runs smack into the empty shopping cart parked behind him, nudges it out of the way, and keeps on walking.

"Um, excuse me," I say, hands on the cart, moving it towards him. The implied message, of course: Aren't you forgetting something?

He spins around, flashes a million-dollar smile, puts his hands up on the classic I-didn't-touch-it move, and says,"Oh, that ain't mine," then spins again and keeps on walking walkin. He didn't even break his stride.

I sigh, shake my head, and continue on behind the guy out the sliding glass doors. He watches me walk over and put the cart away, then flashes that smile again. I curled my lip and snorted at him, thinking, "Sure, it's easy enough to look at, but I bet it leaves its underwear in the floor."

Don Juan sort of raises his brows - surprised, I guess, that I don't turn into a puddle of girl-goo right there in the shopping mart entrancyway.

When I got back in, Court was laughing. "So, what did he say?"

"Nothin'." I shrugged. "Not a damn thing." As we walked out to the car, we both laughed about it. "And you wonder why I date older men? They don't do things like that."

"Yeah, but most of 'em are old enough to be your dad!"

"True," I concede, "but at least they're not completely unconscious."

Court stopped dead in her tracks, grocery bags dangling at her sides. "You're gonna blog about this, aren't you?"

Yup. I sure am.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Dangling Chads

The true greatness of a nation depends upon
the character of its ethical ideal
and the energy with which it pursues it.

(Jacob Gould Shurman)

"I need to leave work by ten to 6 tonight." I stood next to my boss's cubicle, peering over the squat gray wall into her little box of self-expression in our cookie-cutter cubbies.


"I need to drive out to the 'burbs to vote. The ballots close at 7, and it's a 45 minute drive."

She smiled at me. "We plan to let every one out by five so they can go vote."

And let us out at five they did. Awfully surprising, given the overtime we've been pulling lately. It's good to see that the bosses haven't completely lost sight of supporting grunts like me.

Some of the girls and I walked around the corner and dropped into our Happy Hour bar for a cold one before we headed to the polls. I had, by far, the longest drive of the four of us. We toasted a birthday, hassled a waitress (she deserved it - more on that later) and generally laughed off the day. The clock struck 5:45 (yeah, I know - it's an odd hour. What do you think this is, Cinderella?) and I upended my glass, waved good-bye to my fellow cubby-gophers, and started the walk home.

The old gals at the polls seemed deliriously happy to see me. It didn't occur to me that I'm probably a rare sight. I hate the fact that people actually thanked me profusely for voting, because so few people in my age group actually do it.

I signed the book, showed my ID and registration card, and waited for instruction. The last time I voted (which happened to be the presidential election), the county was still using #2 pencils and bubble forms. I remember feeling like I was retaking the SAT.

This time, they'd brought in some new-fangled machines, where you had to push in this cassette to activate it, and walk through the auto-prompts for all the different provided selections. Half the elections on the ballot were positions I didn't even know existed, much less recognizing the names listed. Some of the slots only had one name, and then a section where you could enter the name of your choice that wasn't already listed.

I contemplated voting for myself as Secretary of Treasury for Paperwork and Filing, but decided against it. I didn't have an acceptance speech prepared.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Letters to God

I saw this on the news popup when I went to check my email this morning.

News Story: Unanswered Prayers

Letters to God, tossed into the ocean in a garbage sack. Person who did it had the best of intentions, no doubt, but sad, all the same.

Apparently addressed to some priest who died a few years back. I'm no Catholic, but I'm pretty sure he was supposed to actually do something with them, rather than just let 'em sit around and pile up. Didn't even open 'em. Maybe he got too busy.

Then again, we're all too busy any more, aren't we?

Story says the guy plans to sell 'em on Ebay. Seems a shame. You shouldn't sell things like that. Just isn't right.

So I wrote to Frank, the guy who runs Post Secret (if you haven't been, stop reading this and go now).


... maybe you could contact the guy, get him to let you have the letters? Maybe you could post them (or some of them, anyway) one of these Sundays. Maybe you could put them in one of your books.

I don't know. Just seems like, with what you do and all, you'd be able to help.

Maybe Frank's too busy, too.

Damn shame.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


"You goin' to the boss's Halloween party?" a co-worker asked me.


"Why not?"

There are all kinds of office stories about
Halloweens past, where so-and-so got too drunk to walk, then fell down a flight of stairs, and this and that person snuck into the toilet together and locked every one out for two hours. There's no telling which stories are true and which ones are just passed around for ease of boredom, but I certainly didn't want my name inserted into any of them.

"Mister M's flying me down for the weekend. You'll all be getting sick on Jell-o shots, and I'll be walking on the beach, watching the sun set." I smiled. I was looking very forward to the weekend.

And it was lovely. We had breakfast with a friend of his, dinner with some family, and spent the rest of the time loafing around and relaxing. I suppose the introduction to family and friends is a major milestone in a relationship. The last time he was in KC, he met my parents for a few brief moments. Then again, we've been seeing each other, at least casually, for around eleven months. Time flies, I guess. It seems a long time, when you put a number on it. I haven't noticed.

I spent Halloween evening at my parents', just like I do every year. It isn't really a family thing; it's mostly just dad and me. He loves to see the little ghosts and goblins parading up and down the street, giggling and running and having a good time. This year, thought, my folks are in an apartment. They didn't close on their farm til the day after Halloween. Unfortunately, that meant my dad spent the majority of the evening sitting in front of the open door with a bowl of candy in his lap, looking forlornly out at the parking lot, waiting for even one child to scamper by.

None did.

When 8 o'clock struck, I asked if he wanted to pack up and drive to his church, and pass out candy there. He sighed, saying no, he'd rather wait here, just in case. His porch light was the only one on in the entire complex. No children were going to stop by, and we all knew it, but none of us had the heart to discourage him.

Mom got the brilliant idea that we should drive out to the farm so I could see it. I hadn't yet been out, what with the family feud and all. We tried to get dad to go, but he was determined to stick it out by the door. When we got back about an hour later, he'd gone to bed.

He never did get any trick-or-treaters.