Sunday, November 21, 2010

Holiday Joy

My husband is in Boston this week. I am home, starting to prepare for the 25 or 26 people who will be dining at our house on Thanksgiving.

Oddly, I have realized that the stress level maxes out when you hit about 15. After that it's, "Great! What's one more?"

Just sent my husband the following email:

Wading through Mt. Paper today. I have filled the shredder bucket twice. No kidding. (Decided I really don't need to keep all the account statements from the last X years when it's all available online.)

Am also bleaching mold out of the bathtub grout. Do I know how to have a fun weekend or what?

Oh, and the funny part? Last year when your mom was here she pointed out a darkened area in the corner of the shower ceiling and saidthat we needed to watch for mold, because there might be a leak in the pipes up there. There is no leak, so I of course let it go all year -- but decided to attack it yesterday in advance of the visit. Filled a sponge with bleach, balanced myself on the tub, knocked the shower curtain rod down on my head, and then realized quite quickly that gravity + holding a bleach-filled sponge over your head is a really, really bad idea.

One ruined shirt later, (oh, and also, can straight bleach change your hair color?) I discovered that the "mold" was, in fact, paint -- in the color that the bathroom was before we had it repainted. Last person to paint apparently overshot the wall and got a bit on the ceiling. Forgot we didn't have Jason repaint the ceiling when he did the walls. Oops.

So...yeah. That was MY weekend. :-) Oddly, though, I am not hating this and am actually looking forward to our table for 26. Methinks the SAD light was money well spent.



Friday, November 19, 2010

Didn't Bambi Assimilate Well Into the Skunk-Rabbit Community?

There is a set of "media prizes" in Germany known as The Bambi Awards. Yes, that Bambi. Apparently the guy who wrote the original, pre-Disney version was German? Who knew?

But anyhoo. The awards appear to be kind of random, in an "Okay, we want to give an award to THIS guy! What did he do so we can create one for him?" kind of way. So this year you have one guy getting a Bambi for his charity work, another getting one for his work in German reunification (wait, what year is it again?) and the entire German National Football Team getting an award

Yeah. About that World Cup. Who says a bronze medal only matters to your mom?

But the one I found most interesting went to Turkish-born German footballer Mesut Özil for "successful integration into German society."

Yes, that's gold. Quick, hide it from Glenn Beck!

Quick background: A soccer player can choose to play for the country of his birth or his adopted country. (The rules are a lot more complicated, but not in this situation.) Özil could have played for Turkey but chose Germany and was an integral part of their World Cup team. Also, Germany has a huge problem with Turkish immigrants who don't assimilate. Hence, the award.

I think it's great that Özil got an award. He seems like a good kid. May he be a role model for immigrants everywhere.

But this award puzzles me. Because if you're going to give an award for integration/assimilation, it means that somewhere, someone is keeping score. ("Ooh! You! YOU'RE assimilated enough for a trophy! The rest of you, eat more bratwurst! See you next year!")

Imagining the scoresheet if we did that here in America.

100 point for learning the language!
500 points for giving up your unAmerican religion!
Oh, and 50 bonus points for naming your firstborn "Bubba."

Thursday, November 18, 2010

In My Life, FFF is "French Football Federation"

(What he was REALLY looking for.)

A friend and I had a Skype conversation recently about the France national soccer team's switch from Adidas jerseys to Nike. He decided to search out a federation photo.

Friend: I just google imaged FFF, hoping for the logo.

That is NOT what I got.

I didn't even know cup sizes went that high.
Oops.  Hate when that happens.  (I think Google needs a mind-reading function.  For those times when there are multiple things answering to the same name.) 

Reminds me of the time I was writing about a cocktail recipe and inadvertently image-searched "Sex on the Beach." If you need a photo as I did? I would highly recommend adding the word "cocktail."

P.S. I'm really sorry I put these things in your head. Truly, you do not need to do the search yourself to see what I'm talking about. Remember: Curiosity killed the cat.

Or maybe it was Mr. Cat's wife who did it, after he forgot to clear his browser history.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hospital Musings, Part II

(This is part 2 of my hospital thoughts. Too lazy to reiterate why we were at the hospital, so Part 1 is here.)

A couple more thoughts that have occurred to me since I wrote last night's post.

1) My son is a university student, so he went to the University Hospital. What does this mean? It means all of the doctors are REALLY, REALLY YOUNG! I wasn't sure whether to shake their hands or burp them.

(I kid, doctors. I kid. In truth, I am grateful for the freshness of your knowledge.)

My upper-end guesstimate for the anesthesiologist is about thirty. And that guess is an outlier. He was a very nice, personable young man whose eyelashes were wasted on someone of the XY persuasion.

As he was talking to my son about the procedure, I noticed a book in the hip pocket of his scrubs. And not a little book, either. We're talking 5" x 7" and probably two inches thick.

I asked him what it was, and with mild embarrassment he pulls out a well-thumbed anesthesiology manual that contained all of the different cases and scenarios he might run into when anesthesia was needed. Just in case.

I was glad he had it, of course. When you're dealing with something as important as breathing, you don't want somebody guessing.

But in the twenty-first century? I'm kind of surprised there's not an App for that.

2) So there's a new Representative from Maryland, name of Andy Harris. He ran on the platform of repealing "Obamacare," or, in other words, he ran on
wanting to take away healthcare from people like my cancer survivor son.

He just went through House freshman orientation. Want to know his biggest beef? The fact that he has to wait 28 whole days for his government-provided healthcare to kick in!! How, he wants to know, will he survive without health insurance?

Good question, Andy. The thirty million people you want to steal healthcare from would like to know the same thing.

But of course, it's all about you.

(For a good anaylsis on the hypocrisy and ignorance of Andy Harris as regards our healthcare system, go here. This is all the more appalling given that the guy is an anesthesiologist who makes his living from the US healthcare system.)

P.S. The version of "healthcare reform" that will take away healthcare from these thirty million is now officially to be known as "Boehnercare."

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hospital Musings

When is appendicitis good news?

When it's prefaced by, "The abdominal pain has nothing to do with any return of the cancer." So, yeah. There's that to be grateful for.

As you have probably gathered, my college senior son ended up in the ER on Friday with appendicitis. At the hospital at 10:30 a.m., no official diagnosis till 4:00, no room available till 8:30, surgery at 9:30, done by midnight. (My husband and I did shifts, but his wonderful girlfriend was there the entire time.) He was home before 10:00 the Saturday, after which he slept pretty much the rest of the day. Back to his own apartment on campus on Sunday afternoon, and life continues on.

So that was our weekend. How was yours?

Did you know that hospitals at night are CREEPY? They are. Seriously, Stephen King should set a novel in one. You can wander and wander and wander, and the only people you run across in the hallways are the rare janitorial staffpeople.

About 10:30, while my son was in the middle of surgery, I decided to try to find the vending machines, which I knew were near the (closed for the evening) cafeteria in the other wing. I walked through hallway after hallway after hallway, past one closed, deserted area after another, knowing that there were hundreds of people around me, somewhere, but... Everywhere I went was empty. (If I were writing the Stephen King novel, the main character would keep turning corners and almost-but-not-quite seeing people up ahead as they ducked into rooms or down random hallways. Not that I myself imagined anything that delusional. Or anything.)


And then I got completely lost going back, even though I thought the directions were straightforward... Turns out they were straightforward, but somebody had put up a "this section closed" sign at one of the turns I was supposed to take. They must have assumed that nobody could possibly be waiting for their loved one's surgery to conclude at 11:00 at night.

I thought it was kind of funny that on the bulletin board outside of the OR, they have a sign up that says, "Days Without Retained Foreign Bodies." Which means, of course, the number of days where they haven't left things in a surgery patient that didn't belong there. Like, say, 13-inch-long retractors. When we went in, the number was 204.

I sincerely hope that when Michael checked out it read 205.

Mike's girlfriend and I left the hospital at 12:30. One of the security services they offer, for which we were quite grateful, is an escort to the parking garage. They literally drive you across the street to your car and wait while you get inside. And if you're there that late at night at this particular hospital, you're in luck. Because they've apparently decided it is not cost-effective to staff the parking booth after hours, so the gates are up and your parking is free.

Almost makes up for the creepy deserted Stephen King experience. Almost.

When I arrived at the hospital, it was the Thanksgiving season. When I left, it was apparently Christmas. Two of my favorite radio stations had switched at midnight to an all-Christmas-music format.

This time shift kind of added to the surreality of the hospital experience.

I am grateful for hospitals, and hope I don't need to see the inside of one again for a long, long time.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

There Are Not Words for How Disgustingly Uncool I Am

So last night, before handbell rehearsal...

(Yes, handbell rehearsal, okay? Handbells. Glorious yet utterly un-hip musical instruments played by glorious yet utterly unhip people.)

(Also, you see what I'm doing here? I am setting the stage. Because it's really important that you know just how completely and totally uncool I am before we get started.)

So. Before handbell rehearsal, my husband and I decide to head to the utterly uncool no-frills (no pool! no Pilates! no spinning classes! not even any showers!) gym for a quick workout.

(Wait. Are Pilates and spinning classes still cool? Because if not I've totally ruined my narrative.)

But anyhoo. Se we go to the uncool gym, and I get on one of the ellipticals, and I realize that there is a woman next to me who is Much Cooler Than Me. (Not that this is hard.) And she somehow manages to be cooler than me despite the fact that she is doing Sudoku.

(Which I love. But I'm pretty sure that loving Sudoku does not make me cool.)

But the reason she is So Much Cooler than me has nothing do do with Sudoku. The reason she cooler than me is that she has Sudoku on a little screen in front of her, on this little 9 x 7 tech thingy in an truly cool black leather zip-up case. And it's thin enough that it fits easily on the teensy little 2"-wide plexiglass stand on the elliptical.

I think it looks like a little handheld video game one of my boys used to play, back in the dday. So I say, "Wow! That's interesting! Is that just for Sudoku?"

She raises her eyebrows and gives me a look of disgust. "No," she says, her voice dripping with contempt. "No. It's an iPad."

"Oh!" I say cheerfully. "Never seen one of those before!" Oh, and also? Excuse the frick out of me for not being an iGeek.

For some reason, I think I enjoyed this exchange a whole lot more than she did.

Oh, and plus? Afterwards, I got to go play handbells.

There's something to be said for being uncool.