Sunday, March 29, 2009

One of life's little victories, gone

Ah, I recall fondly the day that I finished radiation treatment, which I recall as being full of triumph, glory, a testament to the human will, etc. But now, when I went downtown to see my oncologist on Friday, I realized this: I got cancer at just the right time. Because you see, if I were diagnosed now, that glory and sense of victory would be gone.

The reason for my happiness was the fact that for those 6 weeks straight that I was schlepping downtown for radiation treatment, I somehow, someway, managed to always find street parking. Yep, every day. Oh sure, sometimes I had to circle around the block a few times, and a few times it looked rather dicey, but I always prevailed and found a spot, and could then walk into radiation treatment with a jaunt in my step. No matter how cold, dark, and soggy the radiation tube, no matter how loud the horrible Huey Lewis and the News music they played.......I had the memory of my parking prowess to keep me going and give me strength on even the darkest of days.

But, no more. When I pulled off the inner Drive onto the street where I usually park, I was greeted by a vast acreage of empty spots, with a few lone tumbleweeds kicking around. Clearly I’m not the only one who thinks it’s ridiculous to suddenly have to pay ridiculous prices to park on the street by the HOSPITAL. Which begs the question – if meters are meant to increase turnover of parking spots in congested business areas, what’s the rationale for having them in a hospital district? Without them, would people think “oh, I’ve got a good parking spot, I’ll just see if they have any extra tests they can run, since I have all the time in the world”? No, I don’t think so.

Anyway, I of course park in the garage, with the only indignity being that I had to park on the Barbra Streisand floor. And you know how each floor plays music to help you remember where you parked? Seriously people.....”Memory”? In a hospital garage? “Life was beautiful then, I remember the time I knew what happiness was”?? Yeah, thanks. Very uplifting.

So I go to see Dr. Von Roenn, and I start telling her about my Theory of Fativity, that in the absence of estrogen (which is what FatSurly suppresses), the fat cells which normally cozy up with estrogen get all pissed off, and start multiplying willy-nilly, growing bigger, gathering any errant fat cells around, etc., all as they gird for battle to go out and figure out what the hell someone has done with their little estrogen buddies. Kind of like preparing for a siege, or a quest, though without the wandering minstrels.

As I’m talking, I see something that I’ve never noticed before, that Dr. VR goes into these fugue states or something, where her eyes glaze over and she develops a weird tic in her eye. Gee, I hope it’s nothing serious - she really should get that looked at.

While I sense that Dr. VR thinks I sit around and eat bonbons all day, she does send me off for a thyroid test, and also asks me if I want to partake in a study where they’ll draw some blood and use it for research to determine if there are particular cells or markers or genes that cause cancer. I of course am all about the studies, so I leap at the chance – and my feelings are borne out later as I’m waiting for the blood draw and idly reading the consent form, which notes that we won’t be paid for this, but will be doing this “for the lasting benefit of mankind.” Hmm, I like that.

And here I’d like to add a note to anyone who may be trying to research Tamoxifen and weight gain and stumbles on this blog: We are NOT crazy. Really. This is what I think the problem is:

1) Tamoxifen works by limiting the amount of estrogen your body produces. So basically it mimics a state of menopause.
2) One common issue women have with menopause is weight gain. Most sites about menopause explain it thusly: “During female menopause, your estrogen levels decline rapidly, causing your body to stop ovulating. However, estrogen also plays a big role in menopausal weight gain. As your ovaries produce less estrogen, your body looks for other places to get needed estrogen from. Fat cells in your body can produce estrogen, so your body works harder to convert calories into fat to increase estrogen levels.”
3) So basically your body turns into a fat-creating machine.

This makes sense to me, and helps explain what’s going on. The problem is – what the hell do you do about it? Fat is fat, and it looks the same whether or not you’re eating copious amounts of Cheez Doodles to get there. Though I am happy to report progress of a sort: yesterday I had 2 cups of coffee with skim milk, some pickles, about half a cup of cottage cheese, and lo and behold, I did NOT gain weight! Yay me!

In the meantime, while I’m trying to figure this out, I think I’ll have a shirt made up for the times I dare to venture out in public that’ll say the following: “Yes, I’m fat. It’s the cancer drugs. Bite me.”

I think that kind of says it all. Not that I’m bitter or anything.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Lance the wanna-be, and the vagaries of fame.....

You know, sometimes even I don’t realize the extent to which my rabid fans will go in order to be just like me or to make their adulation known. For example, for some time now I’ve known about (or rather intuited) Lance Armstrong’s obsession with All Things Tasha, i.e my training, my nutrition, the steps I’m willing to take to get in peak physical form, and so on. This adoration has manifested itself in pretty obvious ways: I get cancer, Lance gets cancer. I form Team in Bacon to raise awareness of bacon, HE forms Team Livestrong to raise awareness of yellow bracelets. I break my collarbone, oh look, Lance breaks his collarbone! What a surprise! The right one, no less. Why do people not’s just not that simple?

I also was somewhat embarrassed for Lance after his accident, where he was clutching his shoulder area in obvious pain, and even talking about how much pain he was in. Tsk, tsk. Now, when MY collarbone was crushed, I continued to gesticulate wildly with THAT arm, fling off the sling they put on me, and was prepared to hop back on the bike with not a word about any so-called pain. An example to all.

Okay, so the fact that I had bleeding on the brain and was probably completely out of my head – I say probably because I have absolutely zero recollection of any of it – might have had something to do with it. But I really don’t think so.

I will also note that Lance’s collarbone was repaired with a slab of stainless steel, not the cool, sleek mega-aero titanium that mine was. Know it and weep, Lance. Poor guy. Sometimes I almost feel bad for him....

Of course, this type of problem that I’ve had with Lance is only going to get much, much worse now that I’m (ahem) famous. Yes, in addition to the article in the paper, little ol’ me was on the news last night talking to news goddess Carol Marin. Truly, it was like the Make-a-Wish people had bestowed on me my greatest desire (well, one of the top ones, along with being on my favorite tv show, Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood. Hey, a girl can dream....) – and yes, Carol (I can call her Carol, since now we’re practically like BFFs), is as nice and smart and wonderful in person as one would think. Swoon.

I know, one would think I would be talking about my triathlon prowess, but this time at least it was still about the whole parking meter fiasco in this city. And the quotes they picked out were most excellent, including the “Screw you Mayor Daley” one and my noting that I’d have to go to the BANK to get the rolls of quarters I’d need for the meters, and life is too short for that. Ain’t that the truth. My gardening friends, the Tomatoettes, immediately started referring to me as the Parking Curmudgeon, to add to my nickname of the Grammar Curmudgeon, both titles I wear with pride. Though Tomatoette Ann did comment “but I guess you won’t be getting your invitation to the Daley family picnic now.” What a pessimist! And everyone else is happy that I was sticking up for the little people – as is my way, as my readers here know.

They also spoke to the guy who does the website, who interestingly enough refused to let them reveal his actual name, so they just kept referring to him as The Parking Geek. No fool he. Me, I like to live dangerously, though I wonder now if I could have just had them refer to me as The Triathlon Goddess. Hmm......

On another note, I can report that my new diet is going spectacularly well. The other evening we had a Tri Club leadership meeting, and we provided a dinner of pizza and Cadbury mini-eggs. Food of champions. Having already had my token two tbs. of cottage cheese for dinner, I declined to partake. Now, according to The Rules, this should have netted me an immediate and drastic weight loss, since Axiom 1.2 clearly states that the greater the sacrifice made in terms of food, the greater the resultant weight loss the next day. So I step on the scale the next day, and the result is? I gained two pounds. No, really. I now seem to be absorbing fat from the air. Note to self: Tomorrow, breathe less.

By the way, for any city workers who might be moseying around my house, trying to figure out how to “accidentally” shut off my gas or flood my basement.....have I mentioned lately what a BIG MEAN DOG I have? Yep, a big ol’ vicious 80-pound Doberman. Named.......Killer. Yeah, that’s it. Killer. Make a note of it please.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Fame and fortune, as is my due

It should come as no surprise to anyone here that I’m a news junkie. Always have been, always will be. This is why I know everything that there is to know, of course, and why I am known for bringing you the facts and nothing but the facts on a regular basis.

So believe me when I tell you that just as I am known far and wide as the triathlon goddess, Carol Marin is THE news goddess in and around Chicagoland. This woman, well, she is probably the most well-respected journalist around here, and like myself, she does things based on principle, like when she quit her job of being on the channel 5 news because they had signed on Jerry Springer to do guest spots. Umm, yeah. That clearly didn’t work out too well, so she’s back on channel 5. I worship this woman.

Anyway. The other day, Carol wrote an article in the Chicago Sun-Times about a potential parking meter rebellion brewing in Chicago. You see, our Mayor, in all his wisdom, decided that the parking meters were yet another yoke around the neck of the city that could be put to better use by selling them off for a piddly sum, but a piddly sum of cash-in-hand. In HIS hand, that is. As usual, the lives of the citizens of this city have been drastically inconvenienced, yet we see zero benefit in that our taxes, fees, etc., are still going up. Plus Chicago still has one of the highest property tax rates in the country.

But I digress. So she wrote about this injustice foisted on ordinary Chicagoans, whereby meter rates have doubled, in some cases quadrupled, and you now need to tote around a bucket of quarters to park anywhere. And it’s now 24 hrs/day in many cases, as well as on Sundays. So basically, no rest for the weary. And me, I’ve had much experience with the city’s parking meters, particularly downtown. You’ll recall my excitement (yes, I admit, it doesn’t take much) when I managed the coup of finding metered parking for the ENTIRE 6 weeks that I had to go downtown for radiation treatment. And even before that, when I was going to Northwestern to see one doctor after another, for either the cancer, the broken collarbone, or the brain injury, I’d find street parking. Sure, the validated parking at Northwestern for $10 is nice, but when you’re going down there that often, it adds up.

So the parking meters were turned over on January 1st – and I will note that our esteemed aldermen discussed the topic of selling the meters for all of about 30 minutes before deciding it was an excellent idea – and I’ve been downtown since then, but the meters were either broken or still at the old rates. Then came that Friday...but wait, let’s let Carol tell the story, because immediately after I read her first article, I trotted over to my computer to shoot her an email with my own tale of woe, and behold, her follow-up article:

'Boycott' may not be too strong a word after all. I'm talking about Chicago parking meters and the fury out there right now about what the mayor and the City Council have done by selling off our meters to a private company for $1.2 billion. And the rage over what that company, formed by Morgan Stanley, and its subcontractor, LAZ Parking, have done by meteorically raising rates, blanketing cars with tickets and eliminating free Sunday parking. Adding insult to injury, these private contractors have done a rotten job of posting new rates and times on meters.

As a result, drivers stick their quarter in only to discover it now buys a measly seven minutes and can require 28 quarters to park for two hours.

Your raging e-mails came roaring in after my Sunday column, in which I noted what you apparently noticed, too. That suddenly there are scads of empty metered parking s-p-a-c-e-s downtown where cars just a month ago were bumper to bumper. Could this, I asked, signal a citizen boycott, or was boycott too strong a word?

"Personally, I'm in full boycott mode," replied a computer consultant who does business in the city. "I'll stand on my head to . . . spare myself an onsite visit if street parking is involved."

He added this: "Because of the outrageous 10.25 percent Cook County sales tax, I go out of my way to make my purchases outside the county . . . To hell with Chicago."

A teacher who lives in the South Loop along Printer's Row wrote, "Now I have to wake up at 7:30 on Sunday so that I can move my car. Many of the businesses in my area are not even open on Sundays. My street is like a ghost town. It's lost its vibrancy. . . . I have some friends that live in areas where meters are 24 hours a day 7 days a week. I don't know how they're coping."

But the most compelling letter came from a young woman named Tasha Huebner, who is being treated for breast cancer at Northwestern Memorial Hospital just off the Inner Drive. In the fall, before the meters went private, Huebner might have to circle awhile but could usually find a meter, put an extra quarter or two in it to avoid being ticketed, and go in for her radiation. "Fast forward to last Friday," she e-mailed, "when I had 2 follow-up appointments with doctors . . . I'd been stockpiling quarters . . . since I knew I'd need quite a few. I find a spot, no problem (there are actually a lot of spots open, hmmm). Put in a quarter . . . and see that it only got me 7 minutes. 7. I start thinking -- I'm there early, and I'll be there for a while . . . they might run late so I need to build some cushion time in. So I calculate all that, realize that I don't have 8 pounds of quarters with me, and also realize that I could either pay $7-8 for street parking (and I'd have to dash back in between appointments to put more money in), OR I could just park at Northwestern's garage and get up to 7 hours of validated parking for $10. I drove off to park in the garage. Thinking, 'Screw you, Daley.' "

Mayor Daley was quoted in the Tribune a couple of days ago as saying, "Let's not blame this new company. There will be complaints, but like anything else, they will get to those complaints."

They don't seem to be in much of a hurry, mayor.

Oh, and you know those un-elected private contractors you've allowed to operate our parking meters for the next 75 years? They do an abysmal job of answering questions and, in the case of subcontractor LAZ Parking, an arrogant job of not calling back.

In 1979, lousy snow removal sparked a voter rebellion and booted a mayor.

Could parking meters be the new snow?

I will add that I also had uncharitable thoughts as to what Mayor Daley could DO with those meters, and apparently I’m not the only one having these thoughts – in fact, there seems to be a movement afoot, or rather several movements: the Glue Movement, the Penny Brigade, the Beat-the-Crap-Out-of-the-Meter Effort, and so on. See for more fun details. Proletariats of the world, unite!

And I especially love the “snow” comment – because you see, as noted, we’ve already had one mayor run out of office on a rail for his ineffectual efforts to clear snow after a blizzard. So since then – at least until this year – snow removal has been the “third rail” of Chicago politics, i.e. mess with it at your own peril. I hope the meters do the trick this time.

Of course, Chicago being what it is, I should make a note here: if you suddenly don’t hear from me for a while, there’s a good chance the city has “accidentally” shut off my gas, my electricity, my water, etc. In the meantime, I have an appointment with my oncologist this Friday, downtown, so gee, maybe I’ll make a trip to the bank to get some rolls of quarters, so I can park on the street. Yeah. Right. Maybe not.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The gods' version of humor

A post about last week’s most excellent Team in Bacon event will be forthcoming.....but first, because I know how so many people (Swimfan) like to emulate me and my every move, I feel compelled to impart some information on dieting.

So in a quest to get down to fighting weight, or a weight that doesn’t require a muumuu, I recently embarked on a VLCD, or Very Low Calorie Diet. Meaning that for about a week and a half or so, I ate on average oh, about 300 calories or less a day. Just fish and vegetables. No, not the healthiest methodology, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Because not only do I have the metabolism of a sedated slug, but the drugs I’m on (FatSurly, aka Tamoxifen) are known to put on weight and make it impossible to lose. So I was determined. And can we guess, gentle reader (s), how much weight I lost in this time frame? Anyone? Okay, enough guessing. The answer is:

Not. One. Fucking. Pound.

Yes, it’s true. It’s a small miracle the scale did NOT wind up being heaved out the window, but then I wouldn’t have had anything to kick around the room. I’m expecting a call from the military at any moment, as I believe they want to study me to see how a person can subsist on essentially NO food and have NO weight loss. As an aside, I’d like to note that anyone who dares to tell me anything at all along the lines of “losing weight is easy – it’s all about calories in, calories out” – will be beaten (to death, mind you) with a frozen ham. No exceptions.

And to add insult to injury – there I was procrastinating, envisioning a lifetime of muumuu garb, so I decided to check out the young survivors’ website and discussion board. Be among my people, so to speak. There, the VERY FIRST POST I saw had the heading of “Tamoxibelly?”, where someone was wondering if she was the only who, no matter how much she weighed, had a stomach that made her look 6 months pregnant. And there was an entire chorus of “me toos.” WTH? So you’re saying that no matter if I lose weight, I’ll still look like crap? Who the hell comes up with this stuff??

I have to admit, I did have one brief moment where I thought, fuck it, I’ll just stop taking my medicine. But there are heights of stupidity that even I cannot scale, so I discarded that idea. So it’s on to Plan B: the BLD, or Biggest Loser Diet. I have done some research, and discovered that the people who go on this show work out 4-6 hours each day and eat nothing but twigs. Or something very close to it. Onward then. I will be sure to report back on my progress.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Turning over a new leaf

It has come to my attention that Deanna does NOT like the fame and attention that has come her way due to being written about in my blog and thus developing a fan base to rival my own. To accede to her wishes to sink back into the grey world of anonymity, therefore, I will no longer be writing about her here. At all. So there will be no telling Deanna and all the world what a great friend she is, as she organizes Team in Bacon events, is totally supportive, and in general puts up with my shit on a regular basis – no publicly congratulating her on how great her training is going and giving her a virtual high-five for her amazing half-marathon time with an average of 8:30/minute miles – no speaking of her brilliance in coining the word “baconnoisseur” – and of course no helping her in her quest for undying love by drawing attention to her obsessive devotion to Drew Peterson. Nope, none of that. This I resolve here and now, from this day forth.

Much as with the trials that faced Job, however, I am tested on this resolve almost immediately, as I meet up with Deanna at a birthday party for Jillian.

I make my way through the party meeting my fans, though oddly some people seem a bit unaware of the kind of celebrity they have in their midst. Case in point, Mark, Jillian’s boyfriend.

Mark: Hey Tasha, come meet my sister Esther! Esther, this is Tasha.
Esther: Hey, nice to meet you.
Me: You too. And in case it wasn’t immediately obvious from my finely honed physique, I’m one of Jillian’s triathlon friends.

Just at that moment, both Mark and Esther seem to suffer an attack that manifests itself in what sounds like really loud laughter, but is clearly more of a fit of some sort. Odd. As Mark and Esther are still bent over by paroxysms of this strange guffawing, I wander back to where Deanna is sitting and chatting with Kimberly, to join in the conversation while holding to my goal of not letting Deanna give me material to work with. I am determined.

Deanna: then after my 50-mile race in April, I have to think about what I want to conquer next. Jillian’s now in my age group, so in order to beat her I might have to give up my vow to never do races that other Tri-Clubbers do. That whole competition thing, you know.
Kim: You’re doing IMMOO again this year, aren’t you?
Deanna: Yes, and that’s the hardest bike course there is, but now that I don’t have that heart thing to deal with I’m sure that my tiny and wee self will power up those hills as usual. Tasha, what are you mumbling about?
Me, muttering under my breath: strong, be strong, be strong, oh fuck wait a minute, hardest course? I thought IM Canada and Spud were the hardest? Don’t they have something like multiple 20% grades?
Deanna: Canada and Spud have climbs that go on for an hour or two, which would be perfect for my tiny self, but MOO has all those rollers, which are clearly a LOT harder since you can’t really get into a rhythm even though you can basically coast your way up them.
Me: So because MOO is the one you’re doing that means it’s harder?
Deanna: Well, yes. But I’m sure you’ll be fine on your little Spud course. Even though you’re not doing any training. But who needs training with a course that easy?
Me, gritting my teeth, speaking patiently as if to a very small child: I DO train – I’m just not working out at the moment. But that’s only because I’m closely following my very stringent 13 weeks to a 13-hour Ironman training plan.
Deanna: That makes no sense – I think you’ve spent too much time talking to BCBS.
Me: It makes perfect sense. I’m strictly training, but just holding myself back right now so that I follow the 13-week plan to the letter. God forbid I should deviate from the plan – I’m much too disciplined for that. And I have another week to go until it’s 13 weeks to my Ironman.
Kimberly, wisely: That makes perfect sense to me.
Deanna: But...but......what about swimming? Have you even been NEAR a pool lately?
Me: I refuse to stuff my lumpen, deformed self into a bathing suit. Though I’m thinking of showing up wearing my wetsuit – that might work.
Deanna: Oh, just suck it up. Wear a t-shirt.
Me, whipping my head in Kimberly’s direction: You SEE how it is? She taunts me by handing me such great material! Is that even fair??!
Kimberly, shaking her head sadly: For some people, it’s all about picking on the person with cancer.
Me: That’s right, pick on CancerChick everyone, go ahead.
Deanna: I am not picking on her! She doesn’t have cancer!
Me: Yes I do. Just because they removed the lump doesn’t mean I don’t have cancer cells teeming through my bloodstream.
Deanna: Fine then – I have a heart condition!
Me: No you don’t. They fixed that.
Deanna: I have a heart condition like you have cancer!
Me: You have a bad heart teeming through your bloodstream?
Deanna: Yes! I mean, no! I mean, my heart could explode at any moment!
Me: You have an exploding heart in your bloodstream?
Deanna: ....muttermuttermuttermuttermumblemutter......
Me, to Kimberly: Have you noticed how....tense, Deanna seems lately? Perhaps she needs to relax more? Maybe go for a run once in a while, burn off some frustration.
Kimberly, nodding sagely: I so agree.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Beer, bacon and boobs

I haven’t posted anything specific about this week’s raffle here because, well, basically....I don’t know. I suppose I wanted to keep my blog focused on what it’s known for – i.e. serious training tips, all the time. Injecting something about the “real world” – the world that includes tons of medical bills and more surgeries and asshat insurance companies – it seemed too distracting. Because again, I’m known for my ability to stay on topic and I didn’t want anything to take away from that.

But, since people have asked about the raffle and what that’s all about, it’s this: Team in Bacon is having an event THIS Tuesday here in Chicago, with a bacon cook-off, beer, and a raffle, whereby we’ll be raffling off entries that have been donated by the very generous race directors for the following races:

2 North Shore 1/2 Marathon (13.1 Miles) June 14, 2009

2 BigFoot Triathlon (Sprint/Oly) June 28, 2009

2 Bangs Lake Triathlon (tri/du/aqua) August 9, 2009

2 Bucktown 5k run October 4, 2009

2 Hot Chocolate 15k run (15k or 5k) November 1, 2009

3 TriShark Triathlon (Sprint) June 6, 2009

3 Evergreen Lake Triathlon (Sprint/Oly) July 18, 2009

2 Dairyland Dare Bike (100K 200K or 300K) August 15, 2009
2 Raffles for out-of-towners:
- pair of Newtons
- bag o’cool stuff from Ericka at

Raffle tickets are $10 each, and I think the odds are still pretty good, so if you’re interested in getting in, just use the link below and specify which raffle(s) you’re interested in. And if you’re in Chicago, stop on by the par-tay! There will be much bacon (I myself am bringing a recipe from the bacon goddess herself, Paula Deen) and beer on hand, and really, if that doesn’t scream “party time!” then I don’t know what does. Oh, and some folks have pegged this event as the “Raffle for Tasha’s Boobs!” – which come to think of it, is pretty accurate. So there you have it.

Edited to add: Deirdre has pointed out in her usual helpful Canadian way that the money and surgery will actually be for my NEW boobs, to fix what they so callously took away. Yep, not just for the ol' garden-variety boobage, no sirree. We're talking the RACK. So maybe we should just refer to this as the "Raffle for the New Rack!"? Just a thought......

Friday, March 13, 2009

Me and Norm, like twins

So I traipse in to Starbucks yesterday, and I’m greeted by Diane right away.

Diane: Hey, there you are! I was just thinking about you!
Me: Good thoughts, I hope.
Diane: Oh, always. Hey Ellen, look who’s here!
Ellen: Tasha, there you are! I was wondering when you’d come in.

At this point it’s pretty clear that I’ve become the Norm of this particular Starbucks. Not that I mind – being greeted like a rockstar is something I’m accustomed to, naturally, but it’s also something I never get tired of.

And at least it’s better than being the hated customer, like the one they had earlier. Who threw a fit because they only had Sumatra and not Verona coffee (gasp!). So she started fussing, and then made one of the Starbucks crew CALL all the nearby stores to see if they had Verona. At which point me, personally, I would have told that lady that she needs to have some truly shitty things happen in her life, so that she has something real to bitch about. Not this coffee crap. Sumatra, Verona, WHO CARES?? Sheesh.

Anyway, speaking of bitching, today I had my follow-up appointments with Dr. Jeruss, the Most Amazing Breast Surgeon ever, and then a mammogram. Oh yay. My conclusions from today were as follows:

1) Mammograms indeed suck after you’ve had surgery on that side. Holy crap, that was painful.
2) No wonder everyone wants to have theirs done at the Prentice – that place is the very definition of hoity toity. My silly little robe actually came out of a WARMING OVEN, so it’d be nice and cozy when I put it on. Seriously.
3) Attempting to play doctor and interpret your own results is a BAD idea. Because the mind wonders and frets when you see words like “suspicious but probably benign.” I mean, you figure the results just look weird because of the surgery, but there’s no sense driving yourself nuts in the meantime, until your doctor confirms that yep, everything is indeed okay.
4) Dr. Jeruss thinks I’ll have smokin’ new boobage. No, really. Okay, so she didn’t use those words exactly - more like stuff about “perfect symmetry” and “great healing” and blah blah blah, but I knew what she meant: the killer rack. Sa-wheet! Because as I’ve said before, if you can’t come out of all of this with AT LEAST a great rack to show for it….then what’s the point? Why bother?

And to continue on an atypically chipper note.....I was just looking at our Team in Bacon page on Facebook (slogan: “Because there is meat in team!”), and noticed that there were pictures from the Cupcake Caper event. So I was looking through those, at all the people who showed up to ride and eat cupcakes on a beautiful sunny day along the lakefront in Chicago, all in support of, well, me....and I feel so unworthy. But grateful, that these are my friends, these amazing people who’ve been so wonderfully supportive, even when I’ve been a raving bitch lunatic, which has happened more often than I care to admit. I honestly can’t thank them enough – Deanna, Annette, Jillian, Bridget and Colleen, Kristen, all my other Tri Club friends, MLSFBF Kat, Motria, Laura, Susan, my brother Andrew, Keith aka "Fred", the great folks from Slowtwitch including my Team Xantusia buds, my Canadian friends Deirdre and George who are so quick with the entertaining emails, Stacey, YCBG Matt, Debbie, all the people who donated race entries for our TiB raffle, including Colleen Klein of Tri-Shark and Evergreen Lake fame, Paul from Running Away who donated about a billion entries to the many races he puts on, Stewart Schilling and his DAIRYLAND DARE (!) – you are all the best. I don’t deserve such great friends, but I’m glad to have them.

Speaking of the much vaunted Dairyland Dare, rumor has it that this year they're changing the slogan from “Saddle up for one rough ride! Yeehaw!” to “Gentle as a baby’s bottom, come lull yourself to tranquility! Nope, no ambulances here, no sirree!” or something along those lines. And I think they're even changing the name from the Dairyland Dare to the Dairyland Mosey-Along. But that could just be vicious rumor, so don’t quote me on that.

Friday, March 6, 2009

A vast right-wing conspiracy

I knew the day would come when my little bout with good luck (for a change) would come crashing down around me, and the universe would re-align in its usual pattern of “let’s heap more crap into Tasha’s life.”

Apparently, Wednesday was that day.

So in addition to the work (non-paying) that I’ve been doing for Schizle, I’ve also been doing some work (paying) for a Large Consulting Firm (LCF) on a part-time contract basis. This LCF (which shall remain unnamed, but the name means “Accent on the future!” No, seriously, that’s how they came up with it) happens to be the one that I worked for immediately after my graduation from Wharton, so it was kind of cool being back downtown in the same building, on the same floors, talking the same lingo.....though it was very Twilight Zone-esque as well. In any case, it was money, and things seemed to be going well, with me cranking out deliverables, working with people I liked who seemed to like me, etc. BUT, and this is a big but, I forgot the MOST important thing in consulting, the same thing that foiled me lo those many years ago: the criticality of Sucking Up to The Man. Yes, I know, HOW could I forget that? Duh! It’s just that it doesn’t come naturally, so I keep falling into the trap of thinking that if I do a good job at something, that’ll be enough. Ha, more fool I.

So this was supposed to be a long-term thing, and of course I was happy because that meant that perhaps I could actually pay off some of my ridiculous medical bills that I keep getting badgered about – not to mention stay ahead of the new ones I’ll be getting since it’s a new year, the deductibles and all that resets, and I have all these follow-up appointments with my various doctors. But then Monday I find out that there have been “cuts in the budget” and my role has been......eliminated. Damn. But I’ll still be on for a couple of weeks. Okay then. But then Wednesday I find out that oops, THAT’S my last day. And to add insult to injury, they’re getting rid of me, but keeping the other contractor whose only contribution to the whole project was in her continually adding a “Destination X” column to every goddamn spreadsheet I put together. Which I would then remove, because what the hell does that MEAN, anyway? Finally on Tuesday I decided to google it, to see if perhaps this was the latest and greatest consulting term that I had somehow missed. But, the only thing I found was about porn wrestling: “Don’t miss the humongous DESTINATION X expo in Las Vegas!! Wrestling porn like you’ve never seen before!” So, so much for that. Yet Miss Destination X had an “in” with The Man, or in this case The Woman, as her right-hand person so to speak, so she was kept on and I....was not.

Faithful Reader Natalie has also suggested that perhaps this was some kind of conspiracy by LCF, since this year they gave up their sponsorship of a major triathlon in Chicago, and now they unceremoniously boot me, the original Triathlon Goddess! Hmph. My other theory is that they discriminate against people with cancer, so I should probably sue them for all they’re worth. Hey, it’s a theory.

Needless to say, this had me kind of bummed out. What also had me bummed out was the prospect of my house blowing up. You see, a couple of weeks ago I got home from a concert with my mom, and discovered the Peoples Gas guys investigating a gas leak that a couple of neighbors had called in. They poked around outside, I let them into my basement to check things out, and they assured me that my house wouldn’t blow up, so I was mildly reassured. Then Wednesday the Peoples Gas guys are back, drilling holes in the street, so clearly the odor of gas was still around and they were trying to figure it out. Of course, I could have told them that it was probably that when the idiot contractors from the gut rehab next door dug up the street and redid the pipes and cables, they screwed something up, using pipes from Stan’s House of Shoddy Cut-Rate Piping.

Anyway, after hours of drilling, all was quiet. Until that evening, when Kona started barking like crazy and wouldn’t stop. I of course was Not In The Mood for this, so I bustled up to the front of the house ready to go postal on whatever miscreant was loitering in front of the house, upsetting the Kone. Then I see the flashing lights. Of 2 fire trucks. And there are about 15 firefighters milling about in front of the house. Hullo! Eye candy central! Except they’re standing on my front lawn and gesticulating downward, then making what looks to my untrained eye like sweeping, “this could all blow at any moment” gestures. I hustle out there, point out where the Gas people were working earlier, then go back inside to start packing up the Hummels and watch as they all leave....and Peoples Gas shows up about half an hour later. At about 10PM. To start drilling again. For hours.

And I’ve saved the most tragic part of this day for last. I went to the grocery store to buy dog food, and while I was there, figured I’d see what this whole “Cadbury Egg” craze was about. Oh, okay, I know what they are, but it sounds better to say that I just wanted to sample them. Except for one problem: THEY DIDN’T HAVE ANY! I know! Oh sure, they had the mini ones, which to me is just not worth it, all that foil peeling for so little payoff....and they had some orange crème ones which sounded beyond disgusting, but none of the originals. I know you’re thinking the same thing as I am - does it EVER end???

Note: An update on the gas leak – Peoples Gas left a gaping hole in the street, covered by a flimsy sheet of plywood and surrounded by cones, with a huge mound of dirt/concrete directly in front of my house. Not a soul came by to work on it yesterday......until 11 PM. Whereupon they brought out the backhoe to dig into the concrete, more jackhammers, and some kind of generator machine that they left on all night. From 11PM on. Do we want to take bets on what time they’ll show up tonight?