Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wherein Things Go Downhill Pretty Darn Fast

Well, looks like the last time I was here, I was complaining life was kicking my butt.  Whereupon life took the dare and showed me what buttkicking really means.  I'm sitting here now, surrounded by bottles of narcotics, stunned - demoralized, really - by how quickly a person can become incapacitated by something stupid.

In short, my back hurts. Not typical low-back, I-must-have-wrenched-something hurts - no, just a feeling since Friday that someone cruel is knuckling me right next to my shoulder blade.  Sounds minor, right? But it has brought me to my knees.  When the advice nurse asked me to rate the pain, I said, "Well, if childbirth is a 10, this is 9 1/2."  And it just won't go away.

The house is a mess, thanks for asking.

As I said, this started Friday, so I dosed myself with lots of Motrin and managed to go on our mini-camping trip to the beach anyway.  I held it together until Monday evening, at which point Larry had the fun job of packing up the camper in the dark so we could get me home to some medical care. (Major marriage points for Larry, right?) By that point, the Motrin had ripped my stomach apart to the point that I thought I was having a gall bladder attack.  That is, when my hypochondriacal self wasn't considering the possibility of liver cancer or massive heart attack.  So, you see, gall bladder was the GOOD option.

It's none of those.  It's not a pulmonary embolism, either, or lung cancer.  They checked for all that in the 2 doctor visits I have had since Monday.  It's just some sort of screwed-up muscle which has me popping narcotics all night just to be able to sleep and leaves me whining all day on the couch until it's time for me to take the narcotics again.  ALL DAY.

My new BFF's - Flexeril, Percocet, and Mobic.  We're inseparable.

Last I checked, the kids were eating ice cream for meals.  I'm okay with that, because drugs.

And, because why not kick a gal when she's down, my metal allergy - which has been dormant for years - seems to be flaring up and making me react to the fabric-covered underwire in my bra.  As anyone who has read this particular post knows, I NEED MY UNDERWIRE.  

So, yeah, that was my week.  How was yours?

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Toothpaste Chronicles

This week is kicking my butt - I'm sick, the girls' band camp concert is today, we actually have tickets to the taping of "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" this evening, David gets his wisdom teeth removed tomorrow, and we are supposed to head out on a short jaunt to a campground near the beach on Sunday.

Whew - I need to lie down just from typing that.

So I leave you with the handy reminder that the more things change, the more they remain the same. As long-time readers know, Larry - born with frugal New Englander blood in his veins - has a penchant for getting the most out of a toothpaste tube.  Not once in our almost quarter-century-long marriage has he ever had to be the one to procure a fresh tube from the linen closet.  This past week was no different:

The tube on the bottom? Mine.  Larry's still using the other one. And I still can't decide whether that is cute or irritating...

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Who Knew?

My ticket to modernity
Okay, so a few months ago I got tired of mooching off everyone else's GPS and took the plunge. That's right - this tech dinosaur bought an inexpensive smartphone, hooked herself up with an inexpensive prepay plan, and thus launched herself into the 21st century. And she hasn't looked back.

Look, the flip phone was becoming embarrassing.  And, unlike Larry, I do not labor under the delusion that printing directions from MapQuest is the latest thing on the technological front. The day when some carpool plans changed abruptly and, miles from home and anything resembling a computer, I was expected to know how to drive to a city in a bordering state? That was the last straw.

So, since this watershed purchase, life has been good: the girls have been fascinated by my cheap-o LG model, I can take a picture whenever I like, and I have not once gone over the 1GB of data allotted me per month by Verizon.  And now that he is leaving for college, we offered to buy David an inexpensive smartphone, with him being responsible for the monthly expense of actually being able to use it.  So David did some research and figured out the best (read, cheapest) phone/plan and off we went to Best Buy to procure for his 18-year-old self what all the other kids in our town receive by the age of 16, at the latest.

On a related note, David just got his driver's permit the other day.  So, yeah, we're about 2 years behind on everything.

Where was I?  Oh, yes, David's new phone.  Later that day, Susie noticed him using the phone.  "Did you get a smartphone like Mommy's?" she asked, surprised.

"Yes," I told her. "He's paying for the service, though.  He needs one like that at college."

"So now he has a phone JUST LIKE yours?" she repeated.

"Yes, he does, sweetie," I said.

"Well!" she said, "We're starting to look like a real FAMILY here!"

So there you have it, folks: forget the regular meals eaten together, or the camping vacations, or the shared holiday traditions.  If what you want is to engender a sense of family, that feeling of belonging and clan identity, all you need to do - according to my 10-year-old - is buy everyone his very own smartphone.

Who knew it could be so simple?

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Trend Setter

I ordered something from Amazon the other day, and David was around when it arrived and I unpacked the box.

"What are those?" he asked.

I'm stylin'...
"My new orange glasses," I said, putting them on. "Aren't they awesome?"

"But what are they for?" he said, dodging my question.

"They cut out the blue light from my IPad screen and my phone, so looking at them doesn't mess with my circadian rhythms."

David looked at me, tilting his head to one side in a manner reminiscent of that dog in the Victrola logo.

"Where did you hear that?" he asked.

"I read it on the Internet," I said, proudly, "and ordered them right away."

You know how something makes sense inside your head, but then you say it out loud?  Yeah, that.  And it sounded even less believable when I explained it to Larry, our resident skeptic, that evening.

"How much did you pay for those?" was all he wanted to know.

"Only 10 dollars! Isn't that great?"

"Well, it could have been worse," he said.

I think he's just jealous I didn't get him a pair, also. Hey, we can't all be early adopters, can we?

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Everything Is Awesome

I am spending my Saturday surrounded by grown men who wear Lego Movie T-shirts un-ironically. And you?

These people take their interlocking-bricks habit very seriously, I must say. Someone just showed me photos of the Lego crown molding that he created and installed in his house. I don't know what amazes me more - the fact that someone even thought of creating crown molding out of Legos or the thought that this man is married to someone saintly enough to allow him to do this to their home.

Adding to the fun was the fact that we had a guest at our monthly Adult Fans Of Lego meeting today - a muggle, as it were, who is writing some sort of book about the learning process and wanted to talk to Lego aficionados about learning and Legos. It is hard to describe the reaction of muggles when they stumble into the den of Lego wizards that is an AFOL club - essentially, you see it slowly dawning on them that things are, shall we say, just a little bit weird.

As concerns this particular interlocutor, it would be hard to pinpoint the exact moment he realized he wasn't in Kansas anymore. I'd say it was somewhere between my explaining to him what an impaired speed build is and his stumbling into a complicated discussion on the merits of aftermarket Lego alterations and whether or not they can be considered authentic Lego.

Or wait, maybe it was when he saw a photo of the crown-molding guy's Lego room (picture the Pick-A-Brick wall in a Lego store. Now multiply that by a factor of 10. Yeah, that).

So that was fun.

On another note, tomorrow is when I shut down the Facebook page associated with my pseudonym, because I never go there. There are only so many online identities that I can handle, you know, without becoming thoroughly confused. If you want to be alerted to new posts via Facebook, please Like the The More, The Messier Facebook page.  That's where all the fun is.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Failure To Communicate

As you know, we have raspberries.  Lots of raspberries.  And what goes best with raspberries is freshly whipped cream - a small bowl full of berries topped with a dollop (or 2 or 3) of whipped cream has got to be the perfect summer dessert. So off I went yesterday to Harris Teeter to pick up a quart of whipping cream.  Unfortunately, the shelf in the refrigerated case was empty.

None of this...
"Oh, darn," I told Susie. "They're out of whipping cream. We'll have to go somewhere else." Whereupon a woman who was removing a spray can of ReddiWhip from the shelf below looked up and said, "Oh, no, they have it right here!"

"No, I mean whipping cream," I told her.  She gave me a puzzled look that seemed to imply that I was soft in the head. I tried again. "I know that stuff in the can is whipped cream, but I am looking for the stuff it is made from."

...but lots of this
"Made from?" she asked. That whipped cream had a provenance other than a can with a nozzle was clearly news to her.

"Yes," I said. "We have fresh berries at home, and the freshly whipped cream tastes better with them."

My new dairy aisle buddy looked confused for a minute, but then her face cleared and she said, "Oh, then you want THIS can" and pointed to the "extra creamy" ReddiWhip.  I took a breath and tried to elaborate, politely.

"Yes, we really like that on ice cream.  But there is regular cream that you can whip and it turns into whipped cream that tastes better on berries."

Look, I know I was using the same words over and over again, but you try to explain this concept to someone who has never heard of it, okay? Apparently, I did not do a good enough job, because this woman still did not believe me - I could tell by the way she sort of backed to her cart and fled up the paper goods aisle.  And I spent the rest of the day frustrated by the fact that I couldn't get my point across.

Cream.  That you whip. That turns into whipped cream.  Sheesh. And I call myself a wordsmith...

[Whipping cream image: Calorie Count]
[Reddiwip image: Living Rich With Coupons]

Into The Woods

Raspberries, as you may know, are a super expensive fruit that we have never really had the budget to buy.  Oh, it's not as though we don't HAVE 5 dollars to spend on a teeny-weeny amount of berries, but by the time we get through dividing them among all the mouths here, we never feel as if we've gotten our money's worth.  So generally we leave them for those who can afford the finer things in life.

Rich folk fruit

BUT we have neighbors who happen to own a piece of undeveloped land that is covered in raspberry bushes. COVERED.  So today, Rachel and Susie and I decided to accompany our neighbor on the one-hour trip west to pick raspberries.  Because you can't beat free, right?

Obviously, where we were going was not the well manicured, pick-your-own orchards that we are used to, with their gift shops and playgrounds and orderly fields. We were headed for the woods, where there are bugs, Lord help us, and a definite lack of lavatories.  So we girded ourselves in long-sleeved shirts and long pants, socks and boots, and brought along a bottle of OFF, in a pathetic attempt to beat Mother Nature.  Larry was shaking his head as we departed and saying, "I don't have a good feeling about this."

I think he means I'm not the outdoorsy type. Or maybe he didn't like the jeans-tucked-into-the-socks look.  I don't know.

It turned out that, due to the surfeit of rain we've had lately, the road (if you can use that term to describe 2 mud ruts with a bank of grass between them) leading up to the raspberry groves was well nigh impassable - and believe me, we tried, with my neighbor pushing the minivan from behind while the girls cowered in the back seat and I steered and prayed that I wouldn't kill anyone.  We ended up having to hike over 1/4 mile up the hill, in the mud, stinking of DEET and dying of the heat in our bug-proof regalia.

No, I don't know how I got the girls to do this, either.  Maybe they really like raspberries.  Maybe they were just in shock.  Or maybe they thought we had been taken hostage by our formerly friendly neighbor and there was no way out.

So many of these...SO MANY
Once there, we got to work, impaling ourselves on thorns and dodging the most godawful-looking spiders the entire time.  When, at last, we made our way back to the car with our (really impressive) haul, we collapsed in the seats with a relief comparable to what Captain Phillips must have felt when his rescuers hauled him aboard that Navy destroyer.  After we checked each other for (BLOOD-SUCKING, LYME-INFESTED) ticks, the girls reached for the snacks I had so lovingly packed for them, hours ago and far away in the suburbs, when raspberry picking still seemed like a good idea.

"You know what these are?" Rachel said, suddenly coming to life and waving a snack-sized bag of Veggie Straws in my face. "These are CIVILIZATION."

That's my girl, all right...

[Raspberry image: Wikipedia]