Thursday, October 29, 2009

Okay, now THIS is ridiculous

Kona and I are at the dog park this morning, as usual, as my boy likes to “see and be seen” as they say, and as I like to get my lumpen self out of the house and among my adoring populace at least once a day. Suddenly I heart a street cleaner whirring down the street, and I look up idly only to be greeted What...the......

A street cleaner?? I yell at Ron to look up, to confirm that this is real and I’m not hallucinating, especially since it was going by so fast. Hell, if I pulled the “pink street cleaner duty” that day, I’d be zipping along mighty fast as well.

I just want to know, whose brilliant idea was this, and more importantly, who PAID for it? Me, as a taxpayer who funds the Chicago Streets and Sanitation Department? And what’s the point of it exactly? Is someone (the taxpayers?) donating a penny to “breast cancer research” for every 10 feet of street cleaned? Or is it for the ubiquitous “awareness”? Because really, nothing says mammogram like a piece of heavy machinery.

Complacent Chicago Resident #1: Hey Mabel, lookie there at that pink street cleaner! What’dya think that’s all about?
Mabel: Dunno, I hear tell people mumbling that this is cancer month or something.
CCR#1: Cancer month? Like they all want us to get cancers or like that?
Mabel: Dunno – awful lot of pink stuff in the stores though, wonder what that’s all about. Is that pink ribbon for the girls over in Iraq? Shouldn’t be over there no how.
CCR#1: Yeah, and speaking of the stores, why you keep buying everything made by that Koomen company now? Lookie, my Ho-Hos, made by these Koomen people who keep trying to cure something. What’re you tryin’ to tell me there, woman? I finished that round of antibiotics a long time ago!

Seriously, if it takes a pink street cleaner to get you to pull your head out of your ass and be “aware”, just do us all a favor and stay home. Permanently. Help us in whittling down the gene pool and all that.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The foobage awaits!

Note: for those not hep with all the BC lingo, foobs = fake boobs

So I had put off going to see the PS, I think because I was subconsciously afraid of hearing what he’d have to say. My skin is fucked up and weird after radiation treatment – which is typical – and that tends to screw up reconstruction or make it tough to do well. Plus I tend to be kind of shy, so I wasn’t sure how to broach the fact that not only did I need the reconstruction bit, but I was also hoping for a bit of....augmentation, shall we say.

I go to see Dr. Fine, and as I’m looking through their book of photos of his past work, he comes in. Looks at the chest. Starts talking.

Dr. Fine: Okay, so what we can do is....

This just won’t do, I think.

Me, interrupting, but determined: I was hoping for an upgrade.

To his extreme credit, Dr. F. just rolls with that, switches gears without hesitation, and we start talking implants. Now, not that I want to get crazy or anything, but a C cup would be nice. I mean, I never would have chosen to have a boob job, but since I need to have surgery anyway, what the hell? That’s basically what I tell him.

Me: I figure after going through all this crap, I might as well get perky, bigger boobs out of it.

He’s totally with me on that. Whew! All that worry for nothing. And we’ll take care of that whole nipple (fipple?) thing while we’re at it. The only bad thing is that he doesn’t have any surgery openings until....January! Argh! At first I’m a bit horrified at this, that I’ll have to wait that long, but then I realize that it’ll still be the dead of winter, so what difference does it make if I have the surgery then? I briefly thought of the fact that my deductible would reset in January, but then laughed – what does it matter these days, when I hit that within the first couple months of the year anyway?

So, January it is.

And, for those who want more information on what exactly the new foobage entails, continue reading. For some people, this may be TMI.

Okay, so, first we talk implants. Dr. F tells me I should fill up a plastic bag with a measured amount of flour and then see how much it takes to fill up a C cup so that we know what size implants to use. Be sure to look for future updates on the merry adventures of Me and My Foob as we go bra shopping at, say, Nordstrom’s together.

Then it’s time to cut to the chase. The nipple thing, or lack thereof.

Dr. F: Well, if you want the best shape, then we’d have to do a lat flap, where we take skin and some muscle from the back. And you’d have a scar there.
Me: And if we didn’t do that?
Dr. F: Then I’d just create the nipple from the skin you have now, and it would still be the shape it is now.
Me: So you mean like an Appalachian mountain that’s had the top sheared off.
Dr. F: Exactly.
Me: That won’t do.
Dr. F: The scar is a deterrent for a lot of people...
Me: I’m not too concerned about my back, as long as the front looks good. And a perky but flat boob won’t do it.

So yes, between Appalachian Mountain Boob and Scar on Back, I’ve chosen to go with option 2 on the menu, where they’ll use some of that muscle to fluff up the boob, and the skin to create the fipple. That requires a night or two in the hospital and something like a 6-hour surgery, and yes, I’m not too excited about the fact that I’ll have more scars. And will need tattooing for the nipple area, which is all purely for aesthetic reasons since I probably won’t have any feeling in that boob anyway. But hey, at least I’ll have the Rack, so that’s something, right? Sigh. Suckage.

Monday, October 26, 2009

News flash: men like boobs!

Last year it was while I was in my ramping up phase of training for Ironman Wisconsin – in other words, the few weeks before – that I crashed my bike and wound up with half a brain and a broken collarbone. And as we all know, NAS or WTC or whoever the hell is in charge of Ironman races now, they do NOT do rollovers. Never, no how. They have no way of handling that kind of tricky maneuver in their system, I’m sure, so don’t even think about it. No rollovers for you! They don’t do them.

Oh wait, except when they do:


“I was very fortunate. I signed up for CDA 08 via a Community Fund slot... then 10 days before the race I broke my collarbone. I called NA Sports and left tearful messages where I begged to get my registration moved... I think started randomly sending emails... my coach new a lady that worked at NA Sports and I totally guessed at her email... and turns out I guessed correctly... anyhow, they were nice enough to let me move my registration to WI 08.”

I guess in spite of The Cancer AND the broken collarbone/brain injury, I should have just focused on whining enough. Who knew?

Anyway – that was why for this year’s IMWI, I was on the sidelines, volunteering where the tri club usually does, at the Cross Plains aid station on the bike course. I had organized our troops, and I have to say we did a pretty damn fine job of going with the Las Vegas theme, costumes and all. My one tactical error was in the costume I chose, namely Liberace rather than a showgirl. Needless to say, for all the hours I was out there, it was like I was invisible, in spite of looking like I had narrowly escaped an explosion at a clown factory. That simply paled in comparison to Caroline, who, god bless her little boob-displaying soul, was working the cleavage in a dress that left little to the imagination, and in fact had more cleavage bursting forth for the second loop of the bike.

Now, I had no problem with this AT ALL, no sirree. I was MORE than happy spending weeks hunting down decorations, picking up supplies, then decorating, lugging things around, toting around a big pink bunny head, posting signs, making sure our volunteers were taken care of, and oh yeah, cheering for the racers for hours on end while dying of heat in a wool jacket with fringe. No problem!

What got me was later on, when Caroline, Lynn and I were walking around downtown, to various spots on the run course. I was still in my costume, while Caroline had changed into jeans and was just wearing her showgirl headdress. Headdress, clown outfit, headdress, clown outfit. And WHO was noticed and thanked profusely ALL FRICKING EVENING LONG for their “hard work” out at Cross Plains? Umm yeah, let’s just say it wasn’t me, even though eventually I believe (it’s all kind of fuzzy now) I started jumping up and down and yelling at people something along the lines of “Are you BLIND? Hello?! I’m wearing red-white-and-blue argyle socks, for god’s sake, and still lugging around this huge cutout of Liberace, and all you notice are some freaking feathers??” This was before Liberace was tucked in for the night.

So yeah, totally fine with it. Right. But all this talk of boobs brings me to my main point, which is that I finally met with my plastic surgeon last week, he who’ll be doing the Rackotomy. And the verdict is.......

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Even though – as we all know – Kona is as close to perfection as one can find in a dog, he does have his, well, quirks. By “quirks” I mean “pain-in-the-ass things he does that would make me want to kill him if he weren’t so winsomely adorable and otherwise perfect.” So essentially the traditional sense of the word.

One of those quirks is this: he hates the rain. Hates. It. Will NOT go out in it – if I let him out in back if it’s raining, as soon as he feels that first drop on his head, he plasters himself against the back door, jumps on it, cries, etc. until I let him back in. He then proceeds to shake the evil rain droplets off of him, acting for all the world as if it’s acid rain.

This is of course not good when we’re having a rainy spell. Which is why the other night, I wound up standing in the backyard IN THE RAIN trying to coax Kona to go to the bathroom. Nothin’ doing. We go back in, and he’s running back and forth so I know he still has to go. We try going out the front door – sometimes the excitement of this makes him temporarily forget about the rain. Nope. Again, I’m out there getting wet, he pulls my arm off getting back inside. We keep repeating this tableau, as he runs eagerly outside, apparently thinking we’ll be going to a DIFFERENT outside, one where it’s not raining. In and out, in and out. Finally he goes in the house, I yell at him, then feel so guilty that I dote on him the rest of the evening, bringing him his little biscuits on a doily and all that. So not a banner day overall.

The next day, I get this brilliant idea: I know, I’ll get him a raincoat! Thinking, maybe it’s the feel of the rain falling on his fur that he hates, so the raincoat will prevent that. Hey, it’s a theory. Off I go to Petsmart, where the only raincoat they have for big dogs is bright yellow. With duckies on it.

You can see for yourself what the outcome was when I actually put it on the Kone. Suffice it to say that I believe the thought bubble over his head was saying “Okay, I’m going for the jugular unless you get this thing off me NOW, missy.”

Back to square one.....

In other news, the Hawks are still valiantly fighting against cancer awareness:

"In conjunction with the National Hockey League’s month-long initiative, the Chicago Blackhawks will host “Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness Night” at the United Center on Saturday, October 24 when the team takes on the Nashville Predators."

So this game was last night, and what do you think the Hawks did to acknowledge me, their #1 Fan With The Cancer? Nada. Zip. Zilch. Hell, I never even got the courtesy of a reply email from any of the MANY Hawks' front office people I emailed, trying to find out when their Fuck Cancer game was going to be. Hmm, I wonder what the hated Redwings came up with for this year - might be tough to top last year, where they hosted BC survivors in a suite, gave prizes to people wearing pink, etc.

Chicago Blackhawks, you're dead to me. At least until......let's see.....November 11th, which is when Deanna and I have our next set of tickets for a game. Yep, so totally dead to me.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Umm, hello....where's the support, people??

Friday night I wound up babysitting for my godchild Tess, a brilliant, delightful child who is, unfortunately, overly coddled and pampered by her doting parents. I mean come on, she’s 22 months old, she should certainly be earning her keep by now. So I went over there determined to set things right and with the appropriate supplies in hand: the AbPlex machine to start hardening that mushy little tummy of hers, raw eggs and wheat germ to blend up a healthy shake, and of course some inspiring Soviet music that we could march along to briskly, getting at the heart of my training regimen. They're never too young to start these habits for excellence.

Thusly prepared, I had no idea that I would be confronted with the situation I was, a child marching only to the beat of her own selfish needs. Yes, it’s true. After striding briskly around the house several times, breathing deeply, I decide it’s time for Tessie’s dinner. We march into the kitchen and I sit her down, exhorting her to pull in that stomach to work on her core strength. Honestly, the girl is like a marshmallow, no core discipline whatsoever. Sigh. I then look in the frig to see what productive, useful foods await.

Me: Hmm, pomegranate pulp of some sort. What do you think, Tess?
Tess, shaking her head: No!
Me: Aha, yogurt! You want yogurt, don’t you Tess?
Tess, again shaking her head: No!
Me: Oh, I forgot to mention – it’s yogurt For The Cure. Yoplait and all that.
Tessie: No!
Me, stunned: Well. Well. I guess you don’t support finding the cure for breast cancer then, huh?
Tessie: No!
Me: Oh sure, it’s not like I wanted to live a long, healthy life anyway. But that’s okay! Yes, what YOU and your little pre-toddler self want for dinner is obviously more important than The Cancer. Even though the cure could be right in this little lid here.
Tessie: No!

Thus rebuffed, we finally settle on some oaties cereal and a Pop-Tart (“with fiber!”), neither of which contribute anything at ALL to the cure for cancer. Now, Tessie knows that her adored godmother is battling a life-threatening disease. (As an aside, many thanks to Tessie’s mom Motya for the gift in honor of Breast Cancer Month!) And I thought that by her ripe old age (22 months, mind you) she’d have a strong moral compass, be able to think about someone other than herself, to look at the big picture and put aside her selfish needs and wants for the good of others. Apparently not. I weep for the future of our country....

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Is it just me?

I can't be the ONLY one grossed out by the whole Yoplait send-in-your-lids campaign. Oh sure, there are others who are offended by it all since Yoplait donates something like 2 cents for each lid you send in - with a stamp more expensive than that, mind you - and then there's the fact that Yoplait yogurt has been chock full of bovine growth hormones for years, which certainly isn't a good thing in CancerWorld and all.

Me? My sentiments aren't quite so lofty. I just find the whole idea of people sending in those sticky, crumpled, nasty little lids in to Yoplait rather.....skeevy. And in their commercials, they show these women licking the lids clean, so add some spit in there as well. Yuck! Aren't there, say, sanitation laws or something that prohibit people from sending these germ-laden bombs through the U.S. postal service? Shouldn't there be?

And their ad trying to guilt us all into sending in the damn lids - that's just pathetic. You people can count, and I'm quite sure you have some kind of supply chain mechanisms in place whereby you know exactly how much yogurt has been sold down to the last damn lid. So count them. Or hire some grads from Wharton to set up that system for you, in case it's a bit too complicated for you all. Actually, this just occurred to me - maybe this IS your supply chain/accounting system. Holy crap!

Yoplait Accounting Dude #1: "Hey Yosh, how much of that there Go-Gurt have we sold this quarter? Boss wants to know if the new ad campaign is working to drive up sales."
YAD #2: "Not sure yet there Sven. I'm still waiting for the empty yogurt tubes to come in the mail," he adds, drumming his fingers impatiently. "Don't know why it takes people so gol-darn long. Don't they realize we need these numbers?"
YAD #1: "Yep, people are pretty self-centered. You'd think the enticement of knowing that we're donating a penny to the Goiter Foundation for every sticky tube sent in would motivate these lazy bastards to get on the ball," Sven notes, shaking his head sadly. "What is this world coming to, the selfishness....."

I am SO sorry, Yoplait - I had no idea that this was how you did things. Mea culpa.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A quiz, or PSA

Let’s say you know someone with cancer. Someone charming, witty, winsome, funny (ha-ha, not strange), with a wicked sense of humor, perhaps a dry wit with a heavy touch of smartassery. All hypothetical here of course. And let’s say this person has a bunch of hockey-playing-and-watching friends, one of whom posts on Facebook that he’s going to have tickets that he’ll need to give away, since it turns out he has games that he’s playing in on those nights. This of course starts a slew of commentary, along the lines of “me, me, meeeee, I want the tickets” and so on. Then I – I mean the hypothetical person – pipes in with a comment to the effect of “Helloooo, what about CancerGirl here, doesn’t that get me anywhere, me with my Sad Cancer Face?”

Now. Your response to this should be:

a) Nothing. Crickets.

b) An indignant nothing, fraught with disapproval. There’s nothing funny about The Cancer.

c) An uplifting homily or favorite quote: “You’re strong! You’ll be fine! Keep fighting!”

d) Nothing. Obviously this person is drawing from a deep, deep well of pain, and far be it from you to stem that tide of emotions. She’s so brave.

e) A smartass comment in return: “Cancer, hmph. Get a stem-cell transplant and maybe we’ll talk.”

The correct answer is (drum roll please):.......e. Shocking, I know! Or at least I surmise it must be based on how many people in such situations go for a-d. Now, I’m not suggesting that when a friend tells you he or she has cancer, that you go running out to get the “101 Best Knock-Knock Cancer Jokes for the New Millenium!” book. And I’m also not saying that when you see your friend, the first words out of your mouth should be “Hey, so what free shit are you getting these days, you ol’ cancer faker you?!” Because if they’re having a bad day, then that’s not such a good idea.

But if your friend makes the first joke and goes on from there, then by all means, pick up that cancer hilarity ball and run with it. Because otherwise your friend will be forced to do what I had to do in the situation above – the classic “Hello? Bueller? What, like a person gets cancer and suddenly no one laughs at their jokes anymore?” And then the other people feel obligated to tell you how hilarious you are, and, well, it’s all just a big mess as you see people tiptoeing around you and you feel like a big freak and you resolve to never attempt to joke about anything ever again.

Unlike, say, the Tomatoettes, aka my group of gardening friends that I do the tomato thing with, for years now. Last year I missed our annual tomato tasting since it was the same weekend as my surgeries, so we decided to have another gathering that winter, to theoretically swap seeds but basically to hang out, eat, and drink cocktails. And that was the first time I had seen most of the girls since the whole cancer shit started. Of course, the first few seconds were filled with the typical comments – “How ARE you? How are you feeling these days?” – interspersed with awkward silence. Which just wouldn’t do. Luckily, at that moment a typical smartass comment chose to go flying out of my mouth – what it was exactly, I don’t recall, but it might have been something about how I was taking up smoking and drinking, since being healthy hadn’t gotten me anywhere. And after a split-second of shocked silence, everything was back to normal, as they deftly started giving me suggestions on what else I could do to fuel my new cancer-laden lifestyle.

And that, THAT is how it should be done.

And no, cancer isn’t funny – it’s a mean, hateful, slime-sucking bastard with no humor to it whatsoever. But those of us who have it? Yeah, we’d like to think that we’re still kind of amusing. So humor us – and don’t act weird and different. Because if you do, well, I for one will have no compunction about taking advantage of the situation: “Boy, it sure would be nice if someone bought the Person with Cancer a drink. (Heavy sigh.) Who knows how many drinks I have left in my future?”

Okay, I’ll probably try that anyway – but it would be a hell of a lot more entertaining if you called me on it – but then bought me a drink anyway…..

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The unbearable pinkness of being

I have to admit I’m kind of torn about the whole Pinktober thing. On the one hand, it’s all a bit much, and it often seems like half the companies out there slapping a pink ribbon on stuff are donating pennies to god knows who or what. And the whole “awareness” thing – yeah, we get it, we’re plenty aware, okay? And all the money that DOES go to some of the bigger organizations – what the fuck all do they do with it, and why are we still doing the slash-and-burn treatment of, say, 20 years ago? Not quite getting that. Plus it’s annoying as hell that all this awareness bullcrap leads to people unawaredly and mistakenly thinking that breast cancer is no big deal, that there’s actually a cure, etc. and so on. Or BC is referred to as the “trendy” cancer, as if it somehow can’t still kill us. And we all know how I feel about Komen and their asinine “We are the cure” slogan.

On the other hand, if they were ignoring BC, we’d probably all be screaming about THAT, about being ignored, wondering why all this attention is being paid to mandibular cancer or something. And even if companies are chintzy about what they actually donate, isn’t that better than nothing?

On the third hand, there are some efforts put forth out there that, quite frankly, just leave one speechless:

While that is clearly ridiculous, it is also at the same time most excellent. After all, as I like to say, if having cancer doesn’t get you some perks, then what’s the point of having it? They seemed to be going on the honor system – no checkpoint looking for telltale scars or unusually perky boobs – and that seemed to be working, because even though the lots were kind of full close in, no one was parking in the pink spots. Well, until me, that is. Hell yes – if I were spending money these days, I’d shop at the Huntley Outlet Mall every damn day, just so I could park there. Brilliant, just brilliant.

On another note, it’s now cold enough such that I’ve pulled out my Fuck Cancer hat, and was wearing it today when I stopped by Tom’s Nursery out near Huntley. I was wandering around trying to decide between apples and donuts (eventually going with the compromise, i.e. the uber-healthy cider donuts) when an older woman stopped me so that she could see what my hat said. Now, for some reason I stereotypically think that the older generation will be offended by the hat. Nope.

Older woman: “Oh, absolutely, I couldn’t agree more. So true.”

I guess by the time you get to a certain age, you’ve seen so many friends and family members deal with the bastard that saying a fuck you to cancer seems perfectly appropriate.

And on a final note, I think I have PTSD, or Post Treatment Stress Disorder. Some of my peers don’t like October for that reason- all the pink reminds them instantly of all sorts of bad shit. Me, I don’t even have to leave the house - all I have to do is look at the mail. Today, I pick it up and what do I see but a letter from the IRS. Great. My heart starts pounding, eyes well up, I feel instantly ill. Open the letter – and it’s just saying that they’re “looking into” the events of last week, will get back to me, and in the meantime, they “apologize for any inconvenience” they may have caused. Gee, thanks. Your taking ten years off my life wasn’t inconvenient AT ALL.

Then, the Dufecta of Crapitude, as I see I have a letter from BCBS as well. Again, heart rate skyrockets, I feel shaky and ill. While I hate BCBS, the thought of losing my insurance scares me more. Is this the day that one of their beancounters FINALLY found the smoking gun, so to speak? The hangnail I had when I was 13 that qualifies as a pre-existing condition of such magnitude that I’m unworthy of insurance? (Note to BCBS: the previous point was made purely for illustrative purposes. I do not now nor have ever had a hangnail or anything resembling a hangnail thereof.) But this too is just a letter welcoming me to their online system – since I had to sign up to pay my October premium, being that the IRS froze my account and screwed things up. Whew, dodged a bullet for another day.

I seriously, seriously need to start drinking.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Small victories

1. Kona and I went to the dog park this morning, and he did NOT get attacked. Yay.

Of course, yesterday to help him get over the trauma of the day, we stopped at the cute pet store on Roscoe (Zane & Zara's) owned by these nice guys who named the place after their dogs. Kona knows this place and makes himself right at home - so he went nosing into drawers, picking out the toys he wanted, then proceeded to start chewing on one particular stuffie that I had decided to buy him. As I'm paying, the guys mention the shopping promotion Roscoe Village shops are having, where you shop on certain days and can donate money that'll go to local schools - whereby I mention that I thought my property taxes to the tune of $8K a year for my dumpy 2-flat were enough. And in the meantime, Kona has torn the head off the toy and there's stuffing all over the place. So we basically walk out leaving the place a shambles.

Yep, that's me and the Kone, making friends everywhere we go.

2. Successfully got coffee and a petite scone at Starbucks. No incidents to report. Yay.

Well, except then when I went to my car, I got in a slight altercation (verbal only, just barely) with some assclown who started yelling at me because I parked in front of a bakery. You see, Chicago has gotten very militant with the stupid parking meters, so you can no longer just run into a place and dash out again in a couple of minutes without risking a ticket. And you can also no longer just pop a quarter into a meter - you have to deal with their stupid fare box, get the slip of paper, etc. and so on. Fuck that. So when I go to SB, if I don't park on a side street, I park across the street where there's a sign for 15-minute parking with flashers on. And it's by a bakery - but the sign doesn't say "Bakery Parking" or anything like that, just the 15-minute thing. So I'll park there for the 2 minutes it takes me to get my coffee, and leave. I've bought plenty of stuff at this bakery, so it's not like they don't get my business at other times.

So Assclown started yelling and swearing at me for parking there, and I basically told him to fuck off, at which point he started yelling something about "you overprivileged kids going running home to mommy and daddy" blah blah blah - which, quite frankly, I'm kind of flattered that he thinks I look that young. Then he threw something at my car as I was driving off. Nice. The weird and crazy thing is that I KNOW this guy! He didn't seem to recognize or remember me, but I thought he looked familiar, and then his hat tipped me off - he works at the hockey store at Johnny's Icehouse. Go figure. So, asshole, go ahead and mess with me again - I'll tell the cops exactly where you work and slap a harassment charge against you. Shithead. Not. In. The. Mood.

3. Computer went through its rebuild yesterday and did NOT explode. Yay.

Of course, it turned a whole slew of emails into pure gobbledygook. But not the majority of them, for which I'm eternally grateful.

Yes, this is what passes for a "good day" around here.

Of course, now I'm scared to leave the house, since trouble seems to follow me like white on rice (and what the hell does that MEAN exactly??). Just call me Calamity Tasha. Sigh.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The universe responds

Well, that was quick! Yes folks, in response to my plea to the universe that it stop handing me a pile of shit to deal with on a daily basis -

1) Kona got attacked this morning at the dog park. He's fine other then a cut on his flank, but *I'm* completely traumatized for not doing a better job of protecting my baby.
2) Entourage - that's the e-mail program on my Mac - has totally and completely crashed. You know, where I have every single one of my work and personal emails. Won't open, can't access it, nada. So now I'm attempting a "rebuild database" maneuver, which hopefully will NOT erase everything, but at this rate, who the hell knows?

So in reading between the lines here a bit, I'm thinking this is all kind of a big ol' Fuck You from the universe, eh?

I give up.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Darkness has a hunger that's insatiable

I was going to write a rant about/to BCBS and Bumblebee tuna, since both are almost equally deceptive in my mind: BCBS making up shit as they go along, and Bumblebee surreptitiously changing the size of their tuna cans, keeping the price just as high, and thinking we won’t notice the 17% reduction. Nice try, thieving tuna barons.

But I’ll have to rail against those injustices another day, so that I can impart more life lessons to help you, my tens of readers, avoid these pitfalls. Today’s lesson: never assume a monolithic government institution has any clue what they’re doing.

You see, I made the mistake some years ago of not filing my taxes on time. Okay, this was stupid, but it was a bad time in my life, my dad having just died unexpectedly and a bunch of other stupid shit going on. I was also starting my own business, so I didn’t even have much in terms of income, so I didn’t owe any money. Eventually I filed, but in the meantime, the IRS had decided I owed some decidedly larger sum – suffice it to say we’ve been going back and forth on this, I finally got an accountant to deal with it all, who talked to them and it was supposedly being looked into. I then got a letter early this summer about a small sum I had to pay as a fine for being late in filing. Fine. Done. My stupidity fine.

Enter last week, when my bank calls me to tell me.......they’re freezing my accounts. All of them. Because of a letter from the IRS claiming I’ve never responded to them and hence owe them thousands of dollars. I call my accountant, in tears, and she determines that somehow this levy came from a totally different department than the one that I’ve sent ALL THE CORRESPONDENCE TO, and those fucktards have no idea what’s going on. But they’ve agreed to unfreeze my accounts – but this hadn’t happened yet, so in the meantime, I’m racking up late fees, and my automatic deductions aren’t going through. Like, oh, say, my health insurance??

So I know what some of you are thinking: “But Tasha, you have to admit that you bring some of this stuff upon yourself. ‘Cause you know, you are kind of a dumbass.” And this is indeed true. The IRS thing was stupidity on my part, at least the first part of it all. But then how about the fact that, say, my property taxes are going to increase wildly in the next go-round? Yes, in spite of the steepest decline in property values in decades, I recently got a letter saying that my assessed value had gone.....up. By quite a bit. Say what?? My decrepit old house that I haven’t been able to do anything to in terms of fixing it up? My friend Stan pointed out that maybe it’s my neighborhood in general, a shining beacon of light amidst the housing gloom. Hmm, maybe. Except that the yuppies who live next door in the gut rehabbed place that they’ve made all sorts of improvements to in the last couple of years – THEY got a reduction. By a lot. So now they’re assessed at a lower value than me, even though their place is worth at least twice what mine is.

Not to mention my friends who live in Lakeview, i.e. an area where property in general is way more expensive than mine, who bought a gut rehabbed place a few years ago for about a million, then immediately started doing more rehab work, and then recently had MORE work done: knocking down walls, putting in bathrooms, adding closets, etc. All in all, probably a couple hundred thousand of work done. Their place? You guessed it. Was assessed lower than mine, AND they just got a reduction, so it’s EVEN LOWER. What the hell, Chicago, do you have monkeys with dartboards figuring this stuff out??

So it’s been a bad week. And sometimes I just wonder, what’s the fucking point of it all anyway?

Then I think, maybe I’m just here as a lesson to others, so that when they think their lives are crappy, they can look at my life and say: “Umm, you know what? Never mind. Forget I said anything.”

And maybe my bad mood isn’t being helped by the drugs I’m on, FatSurly, which – oh, didn’t they mention this to me? No, they didn’t – can also cause depression. Tamoxifunk, as some call it.

And the worst part of all this, the true tragedy here, is this: my blog has become unfunny. Instead of amusing, wry anecdotes, now it’s just this “blah blah blah, woe is me, po’ po’ pitiful Tasha” shit. And who the hell wants to read that? I know what some of you are thinking: “But Tasha, you’re never THAT funny, not like that Dr. Grumpy guy and his blog, who’s more funny-strange rather than funny-haha, and who seems to have every whack job in the continental United States showing up at his office, but nope not like him.” To which I say, bite me. Okay, not really, but it’s not nice to kick a person when they’re down.

I’m just a little tired of the whole shitpile of bad luck. Okay, universe? Enough. I’m done. I am weary. I’d like something good and happy in my life for a change, if you don’t mind. Something other than “Well, I’m not dead yet, so there IS that!” That’s great and all, but it’s not enough.

Addendum: So yesterday I tried calling the IRS myself to straighten this stuff out. Ha, as if. Their computers were down FOR HOURS. The guy that I talked to the 5th time I called, after my 5th hour on hold, did tell me that “the computers should be back up in an hour – I’ve worked here for many years, and they’ve NEVER been down all day.” At which point I laughed, a little manically.

But the 6th time I called, 6th hour on hold, I finally did talk to a nice woman who could look up the info on her computer, tell me that the bank should have gotten the info to unfreeze my accounts, and when told they hadn’t, was willing to send them a fax instructing them to do so. So that at least was something. But I have to ask – THIS is the organization and its decrepit technology that we trust to manage these vast sums of money and, commensurately, people’s lives? Are we sure about that??

Friday, October 2, 2009

Chicago loses, yet wins

Wins in MY book, at least, which is kind of sad. Sad that I'm one of many many people who did NOT want the Olympics in Chicago. And it's not about the pedestrian stuff that people pull out to make us look like rubes, i.e. the increased traffic, the construction, the tourists.

No, it's about the fact that we're all sick and tired of the same little upper echelon of politicians - and their friends and family - in Chicago getting richer and richer, while we the taxpayers, and the city in general, go broke. Chicago has one of the highest property taxes in the country....yet we have so little money that the mayor sold off all the parking meters, in what's been a total fiasco of mismanagement. Our streets are horrible. Last winter the city decided to hold off on de-icing side streets, with the result that cars went sliding through intersections on sheets of ice. Brilliant.

Those of us against the Olympics know how truly corrupt this city is, know that the cost overruns would have been huge, know that the pals of Daley were already salivating at the thought of all the money THEY'D make, while the city went broke.

My one regret - I was really looking forward to seeing Chicago's version of the Opening Ceremonies, after Beijing set the bar so high. Though I'm sure the Jesse White Tumblers would have done a fine job, yes a damn fine job, of showcasing Chicago, very similar to Beijing.