Sunday, February 28, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
And in case I didn't mention it often enough, yes, I have adjustable boobages. In theory, that is. Where there's a port underneath, and they can add saline to that to make the girls bigger or smaller. Theoretically.
I meet with Dr. Fine first, who pronounces me bustalicious (okay, at least that was my interpretation), and then he sends in Michelle, his doctorial assistant. What is she, a nurse? Medical technician? I don't want to refer to her as the wrong thing, but basically she's his right-hand woman. She comes in, finds the port, inserts the needle.......moves it around....pokes around some more.....removes the needle.
Michelle: Okay, sorry about this, I'm going to try it from another angle.
Me: No problem! Do what you need to do.
She tries two more times, nada. Apparently the port has turned itself around, the sneaky bastard, so she keeps hitting the back part instead. She sends in the big gun, Dr. Fine. Great. I guess this solidifies my reputation as the Problem Patient. Just what I've always dreamed of - having my plastic surgeon hate me.
So Dr. Fine gives it a shot. Inserts needle, pokes around, nothing. Gives me a shot of local anesthesia, so that he can poke around in there again with the needle and try to pry the port up along its edge. Dig dig dig. Dig. I start laughing.
Me: Sorry I'm laughing, but really, this is just par for the course for me. If anything can go wrong, it will.
Dr. Fine: This usually doesn't happen.
Me: Of course it doesn't! Unless it's me. Really, I'm used to it.
Dr. Fine: Really, this doesn't happen. Very rarely.
Me: Well, I just look at it all as something to write about. My fans expect it of me.
Dr. Fine: That's a good point. It's like singers - what would they have to sing about if their lives were perfect and rosy?
Me: Exactly! That would be my dilemma as well. But nope, not a problem for me AT ALL.
I'm guessing I'm the only patient they've had who's been poked, prodded, etc. and who has basically come in for nothing because there's no adjustments to be made, who's laughed about the whole thing. At least quite that heartily. I'm still snickering when I leave.
And have no fear, my legion of Rack-Unveiling-Awaiting friends. This only means they can't do any adjusting now, but when I go back in April to have the fipple done, they'll remove the ports and then, yes then, adjustments will be mine. And after going to all this trouble? Yeah, I might be going REALLY big.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
I think the pictures, detailing as they do the lion's journey from jaunty traveler to disembodied parts, tell the tale better than I could:
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Shockingly enough, I did NOT get stuck in the Denver Airport for the duration, and so even though I missed the stellar US-Canada hockey game, I also didn’t get stuck with a bunch of guys drooling over women’s curling. Yes, apparently curling is a big draw for the male contingent, something about the “girl next door” appeal of the curlers. So many people living in Russian mining camps – who knew?
Anyway, one of the reasons I needed to get back on Monday was so that I could file an appeal of my new HIGHER assessment for my property taxes. Because of course, in the Alterna-Universe that is Chicago, property values here have gone up, according to our government, even though they’ve tanked, oh, everywhere else in the country.
Of course, Monday was the last day I could file. Now, surely you’re thinking “Miss Tasha, is this another example of you being a total dumbass?” To which I would say, only in part. Because this was actually the third time I’d be filing an appeal – the first one was denied, the second one got me a slight decrease, and so this’ll be my third one, where I get to go to court to state my case. The hardest part of which will be maintaining civil language when I ask why the hell my yuppie neighbors, with their $1.3M dollar home, are assessed at a lower value than me and my falling-apart abode.
So, third appeal. And we all know how things work in Chicago, i.e. that the people who get reductions are those who hire lawyers to file their appeals – the same lawyers that contribute mightily to the Assessor’s campaign funds. Shocking, I know. Because of that, I debated as to whether or not I should bother. The idea of going downtown, trying to find parking, then paying $12 or whatever for the privilege of parking on the street for 2 hours wasn’t too appealing. Not to mention going to the Court Building and getting into another shouting match and tussle with the assclown security guy over my so-called “illegal” keychain. You know, the one with the can opener on it.
So I dithered. Mulled. Dithered some more. Then after figuring out that instead of going downtown I could just head over to the Skokie Courthouse, I leapt into action. Let’s see – hassle of downtown and ridiculous parking meters vs. easy drive to Skokie and a parking garage. Hmm.
I get to the Skokie Courthouse about 1:20, and am prepared for the mad crush of people all filing appeals on the last day. Elbows out, I look for a long line, irate security, an angry mob of people with pitchforks yelling “let us in! let us in!” Nothing. Odd. Am I at the right place? I go in anyway, past the perfectly pleasant security people, then wander down the basically empty hallway to room 155. Where again, I expect to see mass confusion, a lone “Office”-type person barking at people, no clear directions as to where one should go, etc. In other words, the usual scene downtown.
Again, confusion, because as soon as I get to Room 155, there’s a big sign that says “Board of Appeals” in front, and then as soon as I walk into the outer lobby part, which is under construction, there’s a series of signs taped to the wall that say “Board of Appeals” with an arrow. Sign after sign after sign. Then I step into the office, and I brace myself for the typical conversation:
Office Guy: Why are you here??!
OG: YES or NO?!
But that too is not what happens. Instead….
Office Guy: Can I help you? Are you looking for Board of Appeals or Property Transfers?
Me: Board of Appeals.
OG: Right that way, following the signs.
The signs continue, one after the other, with their cheerful little arrows like beacons lighting the way.
Now, here is where the Skokie Courthouse begins to recall the good ol’ days in Soviet Union. Because I get to the right counter…but the lone woman there is on her lunch break from 1-2. And it’s only about 1:30 now. And of course I can’t piss her off by grumbling about this, because who knows whose sister or relative she might be? Sigh.
So I wait, thinking aha, maybe that’s it, maybe the hordes of people coming in today know that they need to wait until 2PM. Tick. Tock. Finally, 2 PM! Umm, I’m still the only person. I go in, get my form and am filling it out, when – aha! – 2 women come in, also to fill out the forms. But they have no clue what they’re doing, as I hear them asking each other how to fill it out in something resembling Russian/Polish, and so I proceed to “help” them fill it out totally wrong, because I figure – every other homeowner’s reduction equals less of a chance that I’ll get one, you know? This city has just so much money to spread around.
Okay, I don’t really do that. I help them fill it out, and then Lunchbreak Woman and I wind up giving them tips on how to make their case for an appeal, because they really have no idea.
Woman 1: Een my country, houses are not so much money! This ees my case!
Woman 2: When I buy house 20 year ago, I pay $2,000 in taxes. And look now for how much! This ees what I tell them!
At least now they have a tiny bit more of a clue – and at least they have a lot of time. Because the appeal deadline for their township isn’t for….another month. Welcome to the Life of Tasha, dumbass party of one.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Okay, so ice dancing is an easy target. Quite frankly, I didn’t understand why all the comments from friends on FB were so negative towards ice dancing….until I realized that the Olympics people were torturing us on a Friday night with the compulsory part. Where you have the couples skating in circles to the same damn music, which stops halfway through the song. This is supposed to be entertaining….how, exactly? And I happen to like skating.
Though with the men’s skating, guys – I get that you’re kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place as far as what to wear is concerned. Given that you’ll be mocked regardless, you might as well go with the Johnny Weir style of getup, with the pink tassels and glitter – it’s like he’s skating For the Cure or something, and he’s so over the top that it’s most excellent. But the guy from Italy wearing the overalls? Or the Overalls of Doom, as noted in one article? No. Just....no.
So where was I....oh yeah, things I don’t understand. And mind you, there aren’t many. But here I am watching the Olympics, and I have to wonder – don’t the commentators ever hear themselves speak, hear the words coming out of their mouth and how completely inane they are? As faithful reader Molly noted, it’s bad enough when you’re at a hockey game and some nimrod sitting behind you is yelling “Shoot the puck!!” when there are 4 people in front of the net and no way in hell the shot would go in.
But the ice skating. And the commentators who, again, should know better. Regaling us with such scintillating “insider” info such as:
- “Well, if he wants to win a medal, it’s really critical that he land his jumps.”
- “A clean program is key here! With solid landings! And no falls!”
I mean seriously, what are we all, retarded? Even the most neophyte of observers could figure that stuff out. Honestly, one of these days I want one of the commentators to “go rogue,” as it were, and say something like the following: “Okay, so if he can really nail the hip swivels, work that sparkle on his costume, and blow a few kisses at the end, I really think that’s what the judges are looking for, especially with the men’s long program.”
Would that really be THAT difficult??
And can I say, curling is NOT A SPORT!!! Anything that uses fricking squeegees as part of the activity is NOT a sport!
And on one final note, Deanna and I are getting ready to leave for the airport, with a big storm supposedly moving into Chicago just when we would be hitting town. And the ice dancing finals are on tv tonight. Hmm. Potentially stuck at airport, ice dancing on tv. This seems like a converging of apocalyptic events. Stay tuned.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
We get in, late, and like any concerned mother, I’m immediately fretting about how Kona is doing in his new environment, i.e. Gary’s house. Yes, he knows Gary from the dog beach and from having him at our house, but still. So like the crazy person that I am, I email Kristi to see how Kona is coping – and get a very illustrative picture in return. To which I can only say – rough life…..
Speaking of email and computers, I have to say that I don’t really understand why people mock the fact that there’s a Gideon’s bible in every hotel room across the U.S. In the first place, that’s pretty damn impressive, that the Gideons have managed to talk every single hotel proprietor, from the 4 Seasons to Jeb’s Restful Log Cabinettes, into putting one of these into each and every room. Marketing geniuses, those Gideons.
And in the second place, that bible is pretty useful, if I do say so myself. Because there I was, tired, weary, stressed, looking for a source of comfort that would make my life just that little bit easier.......and I turn to the nightstand and pull out Gideon’s bible. And indeed, it does offer exactly what I need at that moment.
Because you know, it makes a damn fine mousepad, so my cursor no longer skitters and jumps all over the place as I’m trying to type. This is a beautiful thing. Many thanks to the Gideons.
Friday, February 19, 2010
Let’s say you have an acquaintance on FB – someone you were peripherally friends with a long time ago (friend of a friend) – and you have them as a friend because it’s a way of keeping up with someone from your past, who you probably will try to get together with at some point. Even though they post odd things about their horoscopes, and what God said to them today, and so on. Note: I think god’s too busy to be talking to all of his children directly, m’kay? And even if he were chatting up a storm – it probably wouldn’t be via a Facebook app. I’m just sayin’.
So this morning she posts the following: “Susie Silly*” keeps seeing 11:17 & although I know some numerology I'm no expert... anyone have any insight or suggestions?
My question - would it be wrong if I went with my first instinct and responded simply but helpfully with “Umm, yes, it means that you’re batshit crazy?” Or would that somehow be considered a bit rude?
You see my dilemma.
As an aside, I’m realizing how useful Facebook is in some respects, particularly with regard to separating the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. In the olden days, it might take months if not years to discover that people you considered your friends were insane or unstable or flaky or ignorant or bigoted. People can be amazingly good at hiding things. But on Facebook, between the games and links and posts and groups and fanpages and extremely religious right-wing rantings, it’s pretty easy to figure out where people stand. And then hide them. Quickly.
*Name changed so I don’t look like a total meanie.
After checking in my bag – and the Southwest woman did NOT try to make my bag heavier my holding it down like the woman from Crazy Bitch Air (aka AirTran) did – I head off to security, expired passport and crumpled paper in hand. Sometimes they notice it’s expired, sometimes they don’t, and just when I think I’m home free….
Security Guy: Did you know your passport is expired?
Me: Yeah, I kno….
SG: Not that it matters, you can still use it for up to a year afterwards.
Me: Oh, I didn’t kno…
SG: Unless you have a driver’s license or state ID…
Me: No, you se…
SG: Don’t worry about it then – go ahead, enjoy your trip!
Honestly, I’m glad to see there’s SOME logic in the system, i.e. I have a passport that’s clearly mine even though it’s technically expired. So they use their brains, figure I’m not some crazy terrorist, and let me through. Would that everything made that much sense.
The car rental counter
We finally make it to the Advantage Rent-o-Car building, after waiting endlessly for the shuttle at the airport, and planning an uprising of some sorts with our fellow Advantage travelers, as it had started to look like our shuttle operated under a “one shuttle per night” rule. Deanna of course was the voice of positivity as usual: “There were about 2000 user reviews for Advantage that I read. All bad.” Great.
But after bonding with Ravi and Bill, and agreeing with Ravi that if there were one car left, we’d carpool since we were going to the same place, we get to the very Soviet-esque building, and wait in line. And wait. And wait.
Me: What the hell are they doing that’s taking so long?
Deanna: They’re trying to upsell people on everything. That’s what they do. Did I tell you there were thousands of bad reviews?
Me: They look like they're exchanging recipes or something. “Now, I have a recipe for tikki marsala that’s to DIE for!”
Ravi: I promise that when I get up there, we won’t exchange recipes. Or at least not many.
Me, solemnly: And I appreciate that.
Finally Ravi gets his car and gives us a hopeful thumbs up, while Bill (who looked a bit doped up anyway) forgets about us poor paeans still waiting and makes his counter person go outside to show him where his car is. Then it’s our turn. We approach, warily, Deanna still mumbling about those thousands of people. And as we’re talking to our counter guy, the miraculous happens.
Rent-o-Car Dude: Hey, so you guys are from Illinois!
ROC: You know what I hate about Illinois? They refuse to give you your license back! They take it away and give you this piece of paper and….
Me, interrupting, so happy to have found someone who understands the anguish I’ve gone through: YES! Exactly! Look here, see! This damn crumpled piece of paper I’ve been dragging around for FOUR MONTHS now!!
We beam at each other, in solidarity, and he tells us that I can actually use Crumpled Paper to rent a car, even in the absence of my license. Apparently they’ve had to deal with this enough that they found this out. All goes smoothly after that – ROC upgrades our car, shows us pictures of his baby girl, tells us how grateful he is to have a healthy family because his wife had problems with the pregnancy, “and people say we don’t need health care reform!”
I guess it’s safe to say there won’t be thousands and ONE bad reviews of Advantage. This guy rocks.
I now understand why IL gives out these asinine speeding tickets with such frequency, and it’s not just for revenue generation. It’s because they’re trying to kill us. Really.
As evidence, look at the driver’s ed class that I took so that the ticket would stay off my record. In the first place, I suppose I was expecting something more like the driver’s ed classes of yore, where they drilled the minutiae of the rules into you until you wound up doing a fine imitation of a befevered crazy person. Which was fine. That’s what you want on the roads, people who understand the rules. The crazy part is incidental.
But what do I get instead? A whole section on what teenagers need to know in order to drive, as well as how to install car seats. Another one on the difference between “road rage” and “aggressive driving.” Car maintenance. Seriously, car maintenance. WTH? For THIS they’ve kept my license for 4 months now?
It’s tough to say what my favorite parts were – it’s a tossup, quite frankly, among so much helpful advice. Like the part about 4-way stop signs, where they note that if two cars stop at the same time, the one to your right has the right-of-way. I’m listening to this and thinking, there’s a universe where cars actually stop at stop signs? Wow. Just….wow. In my little corner of the world, I stop, others stop after I do but then careen on through – or they don’t even stop at all, and barely slow down. Which leads to much swearing and “gesturing” on my part.
Speaking of which, they also have a section on what frame of mind you should be in when you drive. And their advice on avoiding the road rage trap is thus:
· “Leave earlier.”
· “Avoid driving when angry or upset.”
Umm, hello! If I did that, I’d never get behind the wheel of a car!
Truly though, the most useful part involved the few snippets of actual rules that they offered up. First, let me note that when I took their test before the course, as instructed, I scored a 94%. Couldn’t figure out what I got wrong, but then when I was taking the course, I realized something: they’ve changed the rules, so as to maximize potential harm to the citizens of this fine state. Is there perhaps a new death tax or something that Chicago is collecting that would spur them to go to such lengths?
Because how else do you explain their new approach to the left turn at a stoplight? The rule has always been that if you’re waiting at a light, you pull forward into the intersection to wait, and then turn when you’re sure it’s safe. Standard stuff. Except now, you’re supposed to wait behind the white line, and THEN turn, eventually, at some point. The problem being that at many intersections in Chicago, you’ll literally never be able to make that turn, because so many cars go through red lights. So you’ll sit there, and then you’ll die, because the increasingly long line of drivers waiting behind you will all get out of their cars and beat you to a pulp. And even if you do try to follow this new rule, you’ll get a succession of red-light tickets that’ll be automatically generated, because the only left turns you’ll be able to make will be when the light is red.
So consider yourselves warned, should you hew to these new directives. Me, I’d rather take my chances with getting fined for being in the middle of the intersection than face the wrath of Chicago drivers.
Happily, I did complete the course, scored a 100%, and then a few days later received in the mail…….a certificate? That’s it?? Where the hell is my license?? Perhaps I can frame the certificate and take that to the airport as my ID, instead of (in addition to?) my now very shabby and crumpled piece of paper?
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Oh, not the hockey – that was great as usual, even though in my mind I’m still protesting the Blackhawks and their refusal to even respond to my email asking if I could be the designated water girl or something for their big “Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness” game in October. Really, if *I’m* not the perfect Sympathetic Face of Cancer, then who is??
Anyway, we trudge through the snow to get to the UC, and it starts as soon as we go through the ticket line. First the purse-checking guy is all jocular, asking me why I didn’t bring him any treats (maybe my brownie-making reputation precedes me?), and then the ticket guy tells me that – brace yourselves – he knows the cure for cancer.
Guy: Wait, what’s your hat….oh, I see, that’s awesome!
Guy: There’s a cure for cancer you know.
Me: Not my kind there isn’t.
Guy: There’s an herb that people use in treatment…
At this point I chuckle knowingly, assuming he’s talking about pot. Used solely for medicinal purposes, of course.
Me: Ah, of course….
Guy: It’s from South Africa, an herb called sutherlandia. Cures cancer.
Me: Umm…..ah! I see!
Guy: Look it up! It’s also called Cancer Bush…
Me: Okay, I will, thanks!
Contrary to my cultivation of a curmudgeonly mien, I find it hard to be rude to people who are so earnest as they’re trying to be helpful. Now, if someone were persistent in telling me to try such-and-such to cure The Cancer, that I should stop traditional treatment, blah blah blah, I might not be quite as charitable. But this guy was harmless. Bizarrely wrong, pushing some herb that sounds like a movie by the Coen brothers, but harmless nevertheless.
Then we go to our seats. Where I sit down next to a guy reading a book, some kind of weighty hardcover novel with an intellectual-sounding name, Where the Gray Owl and the Twain Shall Meet, or something. Then another guy goes clumping through our row to get past us, stepping on my feet, so that he can sit down – and then put sunglasses on and start spitting out his chewing tobacco. Okay then!
The guy in front of us is reading a book on his Kindle, and has an autographed postcard from one of the ice bimbos that he seems to be guarding rather fiercely. Guy behind us, his vocabulary consists of the phrase “That’s what I’m talkin’ about!” yelled over and over, except when the ice bimbos come on the ice, and he yells “Yeah, baby, I’ll give you somethin’ to talk about!” I turn around to take a look at him, and he’s the very definition of a pencil-necked geek. Yeah, good luck kid.
Then to complete this tableau, we have the beer-selling guy, who keeps saying loudly in a monotone voice “Beer – beer – beer – beer – beer – beer” as he’s walking along. No variation. No “get your ice cold beer!” or “Who needs some beer?” – just “beer – beer – beer – beer – beer.” It’s enough to drive a person mad.
And the final touch – the kids sitting in front of us. One of whom Deanna notices first because he’s got his iPhone out, and his background picture is of some red bikini’d woman, and the kid is all of about 9 or 10, tops. Then we notice that he’s rapid-fire texting on his other electronic gadget not one, not two, but THREE different girls: Meg, Michelle, and The Girl I Will Always Love. Seriously. Good lord, this bunch makes ME almost look normal.
For some reason, it’s the texting kid that bugs me the most. Because he’s not paying attention to the game at all, just texting texting texting.
Me: Do you think anything would happen if I grabbed all of that kid’s electronic gadgets and flung them somewhere in the stands? Other than wild applause?
Deanna: You should try it.
Me: I could pass it off as my Tourette’s kicking in, where the arm just flails out uncontrollably, grabs stuff, then spastically tosses it.
Deanna: I like this kid.
Me: You would, Miss Texting-Fiend-Even-When-Driving. Me, if he were mine, I’d take him off into the deep dark woods and leave him there, texting merrily away until the wolves eat him. That’d teach him.
By the 2nd period, the kid has pulled out his iPod and starts listening to music, Beer Guy continues to monotone away, and Sunglass Guy still has his sunglasses on. Mai tai anyone??
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
We pull over, and I swoop out of the car like an avenging angel, ready to unleash my wrath. The girl in the car that hit me is apologizing before she even gets out of the car. Taking full blame – which makes sense, but you never know when some assclown is going to come along and tell you that you were “stopped wrong” or some such crap. Praises my F*ck Awareness, Find a Cure bumper sticker. Apologizes some more, profusely. Says her foot slipped off the brake, there's no excuse for that, she's so sorry. Shit. She’s so nice and remorseful that yelling at her would be like kicking a puppy.
I look at my own car, tug at the spare wheel, and other than a few scratches on the wheel cover, it looks fine. Her car’s hood is completely crumpled in, however, having sacrificed itself to save mine apparently. And she’s so distressed that as she’s writing down her contact info for me, I tell her the story about the assclown on I-55 who totaled my car, and that compared to that, this is nothing, that at least she wasn’t going too fast. I know, just call me Chainsaw Tasha here.
On the other hand, isn’t it the American Way to sue people? And nothing says “whiplash” and “big bucks” like getting rear-ended, especially when you're innocently sitting in your car, and you have The Cancer. And sure, my back is killing me, though some would say that’s still from surgery 3 weeks ago – to which I say, as if. Talk about a lack of cutting edge thinking there.
Therefore, I think I can sum up today’s activities in one word: ka-ching! Helloooo, Easy Street!
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Friday was the Big Day – yes, the day Kona was coming home. Finally! I missed my pain-in-the-ass little boy, even though I knew he was having a great time at Chez Jennifer and Bo, or Bootcamp as Jennifer referred to it, what with the (relatively) tight ship they run over there. Sure, I’m the very definition of strictness here, but they go even further than me. No petite scones, for example. I know, can you imagine?
So I get there, and of course all the dogs including Kone go nuts – basically because I had a bunch of new toys for them so they immediately started pulling them out of the bag. And Kona? Forget bootcamp – he looked like he’s been at a spa for the last few weeks. Sleek, trim, bouncy, his fur with a super-glossy sheen – he even got his nails trimmed! He looks like a different dog, in a good way. Though I have to chuckle when I think of the well-meaning people who’ve asked me if I’ve gone to visit him while he’s been gone, and I’ve just looked at them incredulously. Because first he goes nuts, leaping around like a salmon swimming upstream, then whenever I head towards the front of the house where the door is, he blocks my way to make sure I won’t leave without him. And even when I go to the bathroom, he stretches along the outside of the door, to make sure this isn’t some sneaky way I’m trying to escape. Visit him? Umm, yeah. There would be a death – mine – if I even attempted to leave without him.
So now he’s home and we’re back in our usual routine – dog park, hanging out on the couch, etc. But I’m determined to keep him on the diet, so we’ve cut out any people food (except occasional fruits and vegetables, which he loves) and the marrow bones. So far he doesn’t seem to mind – but it’s early days yet…..
Saturday, February 6, 2010
I know, what a surprise, huh? To recap for those not from this fair state of ours (hello, Portugal!), we had our primary elections this past Tuesday, the first state to do so this year, and thus attracting enough attention to show the rest of the country just what kind of fools we are here. Yes, it’s not enough that people elect Mayor Richie “Napoleon” Daley time after time, or Rod “What’s in it for me” Blagojevich as governor, but this time our astute populace elected some guy named Scott Lee Cohen as Lieutenant Governor. Which is essentially a do-nothing, ceremonial position – unless your governor gets kicked out, and the lieutenant has to step in. Oh, like what happened here last year.
Anyway. So this Cohen guy gets elected, and now the Democratic party is all up in arms about it, because it turns out this guy was once charged with threatening/assaulting his girlfriend (charges later dropped) – the same girlfriend who was arrested for prostitution, though Cohen thought she just “worked as a masseuse.” Right. Oh, but his ex-wife explains all that away as ‘roid rage, since he was on several different kinds of steroids at the time. This is the same ex-wife to whom he supposedly owns $54K in back child support payments.
In other words, a real winner. Oh, and did I mention his profession? Pawnbroker.
You may be wondering why the people of IL voted for this guy, to which I say – who the hell knows. Maybe because he was first on the ballot? Because he had an “American-sounding” last name? That’s how we once wound up with a couple of Lyndon Larouche followers on the ticket, because of the name thing. I’d like to say I had a good reason for voting against him, but I have to confess, I just hated his commercials. They’d have the usual blather, then end with a close up shot of a young guy who looked like a meth addict saying “I….will…..vote…..for….ScottLeeCohen…. so…you….should….too.” They were so bizarre and irritating, that I vowed to not vote for this shmoe. But that’s about all the info you get to go on, since again, no one pays attention to this race.
So now that this guy has won, the Democrats are using pretty harsh and rude language to tell him he should resign, that he’ll drag the ticket down, that he doesn’t have the kind of values of someone who belongs on the ticket, Quinn (the guy who won the primary for governor) won’t call him to talk to him directly, blah blah blah. And in part they’re right – this buffoon probably will drag the ticket down, since the governor and lieutenant governor run as a pair in the regular election, instead of separately as they do in the primary. The thing is – they should have thought of that sooner. Cohen spent about $2M of his own money on this race apparently, and he won fair and square. And he was upfront about the battery charge before the election, talking about it to a reporter who did write about it in his column, but no one paid attention. So now the Dems are making a big stink about it? Yes, this guy is a clown, but he won. The people, stupid as they are, elected him. Does anyone else see the rather dangerous precedent this might be setting? “Well, the people elected this NRA freak who moonlights as a pimp as the Comptroller, but since his name is Brad Putt, they were obviously confused so we need this guy off the ticket.” I mean really, what the hell?
If the Dems do succeed in pushing Cohen out, there had better be a lot in it for the guy – like his $2M plus, maybe some random government position, some nicer language perhaps and a few apologies. Because otherwise you’re going to really tempt me to vote Republican or Green Party in the fall just based on the principle of the thing – and that’s saying a lot.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
I had another follow-up appointment with Dr. Fine today, and I have to say, I was giddy with excitement about it. I’ve never been THAT happy to be going to the doctor’s office as I was today. Happy happy joy joy! Why, you ask? The prospect of the removal of TFD, or Those Fucking Drains, which have been making my life miserable – making it painful to walk, stand, move, pretty much the entire gamut of activity one generally likes to undertake in any given day. Yes, yes, I know I referred to the drains as our “little helpers” – clearly I was on an uptick in the Vicodin count when I wrote that. Actually, as with all things in life, there’s a fine line between usefulness and suckage, and the drains had definitely tumbled over into the realm of suckage, moving from benevolent little helpers to TFD. Such is life.
So this afternoon, my mom picks me up to take me to my appointment, and I’m pleased to note that with my helpful instruction – “Okay, so now you want to lurch maniacally over to the right” and “We’re entering the parking garage now – do you want to switch places and let me drive?” – we manage to make our way downtown unscathed. Amazingly enough, my mom even does a stellar job of just pulling into a parking spot, and……not needing to repark! I know, I’m thinking the same thing as everyone else here: do you believe in miracles??!
I practically skip to my appointment, and Barb proclaims that she’ll have a cocktail tonight too in solidarity with me after I mention my plan to drink heavily to celebrate my new drain-free existence. Dr. Fine then inspects the boobages and proclaims them perfect (or close to it), Michelle takes out the drains, and I’m free at last, free at last!! As I go out to the waiting room, I’m making the V for Victory sign, hands overhead, which, amazingly enough, doesn’t hurt! The difference is like night and day. And as I’m flinging my arms hither and yon, just because I can, the lone other woman waiting interrupts.
Nice woman: You just got your drains out?
Me: Yes!! I’m so happy! Life is awesome! Are you getting yours out too?
NW: I hope so! They’re so horrible, aren’t they?
Me: Oh that’s for sure – I had mine in for 2 ½ weeks, and they were driving me crazy!
NW: Wow, that’s a long time, mine have just been in for 8 days.
Me: Well, I got one out last week, then one of the two remaining became the New Slacker, and then there was the one Overachiever Drain. There’s one in every crowd I suppose. But now I’m free, free!
And so, there in Dr. Fine’s waiting room, we bond over the horribleness of the drains and their fickleness, as they turn on you after pretending to be your friends. So sad.
Of course, I’m so giddy and happy in leaving the office that I don’t remember until I’m in the elevator that I totally forgot to get my parking ticket validated. Oops. No matter. And tomorrow morning I’m picking up my chublet Kona, so my crazy little world will be righted on its axis once again. Life is beautiful.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
So finally - finally! – we get to today. Where I somehow naively and foolishly think that the madness will end. I think wrong, of course. By 9AM today, I had already received 4 calls. I’m tempted to see if anyone will show up at my door so that I can ask for a ride to the polling place, as this is the Chicago way. But finally I decide I can handle walking the 4 or so blocks, even with that daunting inch of snow which has apparently sent voting levels sinking to heretofore unseen depths, so I start trudging over to my polling place.
As I get near my polling place, I see three people standing on the sidewalk holding some kind of flyers. You’ve got to be kidding, I think to myself. More crap being foisted on me??
Me, to the merry trio: Oh come on, you’re NOT going to try to foist more paper on me, are you?
Woman: We’re just handing out flyers with Alderman Schulter’s suggestions on who to vote for.
Man: Are you voting?
Me: Hey, you’re the guy who showed up at my door last week! On Bell – I’m the one who told you that of course I’ll vote, I always vote, even in the primary elections where there’s one guy running, unopposed.
Man: So you’re voting today?
Me, sighing: Yes.
I take the sheet of paper, even though I know full well that Schulter’s picks are all the Democratic Machine candidates, and I’ve done my own homework, but otherwise I can sense I’ll be out here much longer than I want to be.
I walk in after battling the crowds – okay, after moving past 3 people standing in front of the door chatting and creating a bottleneck – and give my name to the first guy. Then I see Holly from Starbucks, working at the polling place.
Me: Holly! How’s it going?
I go over and chat for a while, holding up the democratic process for the 2 people who come in after me. But hey, if voting is important to them, they can wait.
Finally I make it back over to the name-taking guy, where I jokingly ask if I’m one of tens of voters. Sadly, I am – about #60 today. Then we’re discussing the craziness of this election, with the phone calls and so on, when…..my phone rings.
Me, to name-taking guy: I’m answering this only because I’ll bet you it’s a political call. Hello? Hello?
Person on phone: Hello, I’m calling from Ed Mullen’s campaign.
Me: I’m actually at the polling station right now, getting ready to vote.
POP: Oh, okay then, thank you.
I vote. The only real toss-up is the governor’s race. Pat Quinn is a buffoon, but I was so annoyed by the irrelevance of Dan Hynes dusting off 30-year-old video of Mayor Harold Washington saying mean things about Quinn that I can’t in good conscience vote for him either. Though it’s easy to vote against Todd Stroger, with glee. My back hurts. I sit down and chat with Holly some more, and as we’re talking, the woman from outside comes into the polling place.
Woman: That woman who asked to use the bathroom, she didn’t have any credentials. You shouldn’t have let her in.
Hapless older polling place woman: I…but……she just wanted to use the bathroom.
Woman: She’s not allowed.
HOPPW: Maybe she was a voter?
Woman: She wasn’t a voter, she had Ann Williams stickers all up and down her coat.
(Ann Williams is running against Dan Farley, Schulter’s guy.)
Me, wondering what the big deal is: Did she leave campaign literature in the bathroom or something?
Woman: No, but no one without credentials is allowed in a polling place, except for voters. And certainly not people with Ann Williams stickers plastered on them.
HOPPW: I didn’t know, I….
Woman, sternly and paranoidly: It’s okay. Just ask for ID from everyone from now on.
I leave, and walk slowly over to SB for a well-deserved latte. On my way, across the street I see another polling place, and Teamster-looking guys standing in front of it. Interesting. I’m willing to bet they’re more of Schulter’s guys: the Democratic Machine in full force.
After getting my latte and talking to Diane for a while, I head home, this time walking on the side of the street with the Teamsters. First I pass two guys who look like hoodlums – turns out they’re from the Williams campaign. Then I get to the Teamsters – yep, Schulter’s people.
Teamster #1: You votin' today?
Me: Already voted, thanks!
Teamster #2: Because we got a form here with Alderman Schulter’s suggestions.
Since these guys look like they’d be happy to snap me like a twig if I look at them crossways, I take another flyer. This is getting a bit ridiculous. No, wait, the Ridiculous Train left the station a long time ago.
I make it home, and see from the footsteps in the snow that someone’s been by. Kind of early for mail – but they couldn’t still be leaving flyers…..could they?
They could. Yet another one for Dan Farley. I think I’ve now received the equivalent of at least one Amazonian rain forest in campaign mail.
12:32 – 3PM
4 more calls.
The doorbell rings. It can’t possibly be a campaign person….can it?
It can. A pleasant woman from Ann Williams’ campaign, asking me if I’ve voted yet. Sigh.
3:15 – 5PM
3 more campaign flyers shoved in my door. I start watching the clock, counting down to 7PM when the polls close.
Whee! Party time!
Watching LOST, and now it’s REALLY time to drink, as they start showing the preliminary results – though of course they keep reassuring us that “we will not, we repeat not cut into LOST viewing at any time this evening.”. Whew! The most relevant one, for Cook County Board President: Toni Preckwinkle, the uber-candidate, is running away with it by a more than 2-1 margin. Todd Stroger? Dead last. Finally, cause for celebration!!
And for all you people who didn’t vote today for one lame-ass reason or another, do the rest of us a favor and never bitch and moan about our elected representatives, about corruption or politics or high taxes or any of that stuff, okay? Because if you don’t care enough to vote, then you pretty much forfeit your right to do any bitching, in my book.
For some crazy reason I signed up to get updates from BCBS (aka the Emissaries of Satan) online, so that I would know immediately just how much they’re trying to screw me over. That way it’s not quite as heart-stopping when I get the stacks of bills in the mail.
So today I got their typical email that they send when something has happened, a claim processed or denied, or on rare occasions, paid. (Hallelujah chorus!) I figured what the hell, I’ll take a look, I’m sure the fun is beginning for the bills for the Rackotomy, might as well get used to it now. I look and see the charge for $2,232, for the 18th (Surgery Day), and think wow, have boob job prices really gone down that much? That seems pretty low, especially for the work of Dr. Neil Fine, PS to the Stars and all. So I click on the button that says “more information.” And gasp.
Because that’s just the cost of the anesthesia. Holy crap.
My next thought is – hmm, my anesthesiologist was kind of cute. And he did play hockey. Single? Hmm......
Well, after that foray into the world of imparting useful information for the greater good, I’m pleased to report that I am returning back to my roots, to that for which I’m known and renowned the world over (hello, alert reader in Saudi Arabia!). Yes, the hard-hitting triathlon and general fitness wisdom that people have come to expect from me. Not just expect, but anticipate with fervor, and wait for impatiently. I feel confident in saying that with today’s blog post, you will not be disappointed.
So I contacted Dougger, the captain of my erstwhile hockey team The Chiefs, and told him that I had been struck with the most brilliant of ideas: that I wanted to change the name on one of my jerseys to THE RACK. The question was, should I change WHO OWNS, or BNCRUSHER? WHO OWNS I liked because it prompted a lot of confusion and puzzlement, and separated the wheat from the chaff, in that I could judge intelligence and hockey knowledge by seeing who’d figure out the whole “Who OWNS the Chiefs?” schtick from the movie Slapshot…..and who didn’t. Call it my own more relevant version of those eHarmony quizzes that try to determine who you’re compatible with.
But BNCRUSHER, well, that speaks for itself, and has been great for striking fear into the hearts of the guys I play against. Sure, they’d look at the lipstick and the ponytail and think puh, what the hell is this? But then they’d see the name and suddenly everything would be different and….okay, that’s a lie. I mean, it’s true they’d underestimate me, but it wasn’t the name but rather the fact that I’d take my stick and cross-check them without hesitation, or there were the couple of times I threatened guys with bodily harm – deservedly so! – that might have sealed my reputation. So the name was kind of redundant. Plus, Doug *did* point out that to go with the new look, I might as well embrace a new persona too – so, goodbye BNCRUSHER, hello THE RACK. I can hardly wait. Am I the only one who sees a hell of a lot of opportunity for fun with this? Sure, my team and a lot of the guys I know at Johnny’s will get the inside joke, but woe to those who assume I’m just some fake-boobaged bimbo trying to snare guys with a provocative name. I mean really, bimbo indeed.
Monday, February 1, 2010
We all know that my raison d'etre for this little blog, for life in general, is to give people sound and yet critical advice on how to train, such that they too can become a triathlon goddess like me. Well, or at least dream about it. Hey, I can only do so much. And while I have a vast expanse of knowledge in a number of different areas, naturally, I try to keep that useful advice and pearls of wisdom limited to the world of triathloning, what with the cogent thoughts on running, swimming, the serious core workouts, etc. By maintaining this constant laser focus on these areas, I feel I’m giving “the little people” the best shot at success, as I simultaneously encourage their hopes and dreams. “If you can dream it, you can achieve it!” I always say.
Okay, I don’t really say that, because quite frankly, most of you should stick to your day jobs, but still, the thought is there. Somewhere.
But I’m deciding to branch out a bit here, as a public service to those who are thinking about getting the lat flap as their breast reconstruction operation-of-choice. Because really, you’d think there’d be tons of information on there about these kinds of things, but there isn’t. At least not the really useful stuff other than the basics on the procedure and what it is. Nothing on how you can expect to feel (like crap), how long you might be under the weather (a long time), what you can and can’t do (nothing/everything), what you should watch out for (all of the above), etc. Not even on blogs did I find this kind of info. I suspect this is because everyone is in a drug-induced haze for weeks, and then tries to forget about the whole thing.
So here is that info – which will be very boring for most of my twelves of readers, but might provide a modicum of usefulness for those looking for info on the lat flap and what it entails. Sorry, Twelves, I promise we’ll get back to the critical training information you’ve come to expect from me in the next blog post, or thereabouts.
• Okay, starting with the surgery. You know what this involves – it’ll probably take 4-5 hours, as there’s a lot going on here. You’ll probably feel great immediately after the surgery, but don’t be fooled. It’s the drugs talking. Insist on “the patch.” Everyone was extolling the virtues of the anti-nausea patch to me, which I of course didn’t get. Hence, extreme nausea that first night. Yay.
• In addition to the IV (fluid and pain meds), you might have these electric compression thingies around your legs that keep puffing up then deflating. That’s to prevent blood clots, which you’re at increased risk for if you’re on FatSurly, aka Tamoxifen. They’re weird but harmless. The compression thingies, that is, not blood clots.
• Even though they’ve probably told you to expect to be in the hospital 2-3 days, they might be ready to kick you out the next day. That was the case with Cori and me. Well, once I managed to pee, that is. Yes, peeing might be a problem, thanks to the anesthesia. It’s annoying, but don’t sweat it. It happens. It doesn’t mean that you’ll never pee again and will be relegated to the ranks of the elderly cathetered crowd for the rest of your life, stuck in bingo halls and Denny’s with “your people.” You’ll think this, but it’s only temporary.
• Don’t let them kick you out if you’re going home to madness and lots of activity. Seriously. I was fine because I went to my mom’s cushy abode, where I basically had to do nothing but sit on my ass and putter away on my computer, while my mom cooked and basically did everything for me, practically bringing me bonbons on a silver platter. Yeah, I know, rough life. Cori went home to kids, a dog, and asshole hubby who wondered why she wasn’t more “grateful” for everything she had. Fuck off, pal, now is not the time. As a result, she pulled something in her chest and has been in serious pain, unable to sleep. That sucks.
• Speaking of pain, if Vicodin makes you queasy (and first of all, always take it with food – now is not the time for a wacky diet), get something else before you leave the hospital, or you’ll be in a world of hurt. And for the meds, don’t miss taking them – stay ahead of the pain by just taking them on a regular schedule, whether or not things hurt. They don’t hurt because you’re taking the meds, trust me.
• For what to bring to the hospital, keep it simple. Basic toiletries, button down shirts, comfy pants. They’ll give you socks to shuffle around in, but slip-on slippers would be good too because you won’t want to be bending over to deal with things like socks too often. Don’t bother with books – you’ll be too tired to read, and your eyes will probably be goofy after surgery, making reading impossible. Pretty pictures in trashy magazines work to kill some time though.
• Your nurses will love you if you shower them with cookies and cake. Not necessary, but it definitely makes for a more festive atmosphere. Nurses rock. It's not their fault they have to give you shots of stuff that stings, like Heparin - they're just the hapless messengers. Be nice to the residents too – they’re trying to learn so that they can help other people down the road. Plus you might get lucky and have a totally hot group of residents like I did, which provides some nice eye candy on an otherwise dreary day in the hospital.
• You’ll leave the hospital with drains; this is normal. They’re annoying in a way, but think of them as your little helpers, getting rid of the fluid that would be stuck in you anyway and needing to be drained. I had this after my last surgery, no drains and fluid buildup, which was very painful, so I had to go in to get drained. The drains are goofy but better. Plus, when combined with the Sad Cancer Face, they give you a lot of leverage to get other people to do shit for you. Use that to your advantage.
• My drains have been in for 2 weeks so far, which seems normal. I’m hoping I get the last 2 out this week, which should happen, though one is right at the edge of the 30ml you need to be at to get them taken out. Drain 3 was taken out last week. Cori had all hers taken out last week –but then she needed to get fluid drained from her back today, so it’s kind of a crapshoot.
• Don’t forget to try shopping at Target or Wal-Mart when you still have the drains in – or the Village Discount, where they’re REALLY paranoid about shoplifters. Because that’s what you’ll look like, with the drains providing a lot of bulk under your shirt. I haven’t done this yet, but boy, talk about entertainment! “Excuse me ma’am, what’s that under your shirt?” “Oh, you mean these DRAINS? That I have because I just had surgery related to my CANCER? This is an outrage - where’s John Stossel??!”
• As for movement – you won’t be able to do a lot of it. Forget lifting things. Opening doors. Cutting apples. Even getting up from a sitting position will hurt because it uses muscles and strains everything. You’re basically kind of helpless – and don’t attempt to do any of that stuff, because you don’t want problems or more pain. Sleeping will be tough. I could only sleep on my left side, since the right side has the scar on the back, the drains going in under the arm, and of course all the surgery. By comparison, the left side with just the implant? Piece of cake. Be warned that you might wind up feeling like a turtle, stuck on your back unable to move. This was the case with both me and Cori. You can’t turn to your lat flap side, and you can’t use the lat flap side to turn in the other direction, because of the surgery and muscle impairment. So you’re kind of stuck. I always managed to turn eventually due to my finely honed athletic physique, but be prepared to have someone else help you.
• Speaking of physique, please, for the love of god, try to get into some semblance of a shape before your surgery. Because otherwise you’ll be in a world of hurt. Cori is super-skinny, and I consider myself to be in decent shape though not skinny, and both of us had a host of problems in getting around. I can’t imagine what this would be like for the not-in-shape or seriously overweight. If you’re not in shape it’ll be tougher to be mobile, and if you’re large, well, you’ll have a bigger incision area, more stitches – in general a lot more crap to deal with and a lot more potential for complications. I personally don’t care what anyone looks like – I’m just saying that as far as surgery is concerned, the better shape you’re in going in, the easier time you’ll have out of it.
• Friends will want to do stuff for you – let them.
• You'll think the doctors and nurses are obsessed with bowel movements the way they keep yammering on about Colace and things of that ilk, and how the pain meds will basically make everything come to a halt. Listen to them. Promise me that you'll listen to them. Take a Colace every time you take a Vicodin, and you'll be okay. Brilliant person that I am, I pooh-poohed this (no pun intended) when I had my cancer/collarbone surgery, and even though I was in a brain injury haze for pretty much the whole month after that surgery, I remember VERY well the day I was basically hallucinating, half from stomach pain, half from meds, half from the brain injury. Colace is your friend.
• As far as recovery is concerned, you might be surprised at how long you feel like crap. I know I’ve been. I thought I would feel worse the week after the surgery than I actually did, and was surprised that I wasn’t totally incapacitated – well, other than just sitting around like a lump all day. But now it’s been 2 weeks, and I’m surprised at how crappy I still feel. Shuffling around, things still hurting, especially when I first get up or try to do anything revolutionary like, say, move. I’m still getting stabbing pains in my back on occasion, and when I try to walk more than 2 blocks, like I did on Saturday when Deanna and I walked to lunch, my back kills. I don’t know how much time people take off of work for this stuff normally, but unless you work from home and can just sit at your computer (which I can – that doesn’t bother me), then plan for at least 4 weeks if possible. This is major surgery, kids, be aware of that.
• And as far as the lat flap is concerned, it’s supposed to be the “easier” one compared to the TRAM or DIEP – I always get confused as to the difference between those two, but they both involve taking skin from your abdomen. I think one involves the muscle and the other doesn’t. But those are supposedly a lot more complicated, so keep that in mind.
• It’s normal for the skin to look bruised or darker around your stitches even 2 weeks later – Cori found this out this morning at the doctor’s office, as she was worried about it. If the skin looks grey? That’s bad.
• Did I mention that you’ll still feel like shit after a couple of weeks? Yeah, I thought I did. Just reiterating that.
• There’s other stuff I don’t know yet – how will this affect my cycling? My wicked slap shot? – so I’ll report on that as the weeks go by. I didn’t find a whole hell of a lot of info on that either.
There you go folks, boring but useful for some people, I hope. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming, i.e. the truly important stuff……
Addendum (added 2/4/10)
I've decided that I'm going to try to add any new information that might be useful to this post, so that all the info is in one place, even as I write about it elsewhere on the blog. So with that said:
• The stuff I said above about the drains being your little helpers? Yeah, that's true - until it's not. There's a fine balance between getting the drains yanked out early and winding up with seromas (which you don't want, because the fluid apparently provides a good breeding ground for bacteria to grow), and waiting to get them yanked out until they've really become a pain, literally. They've been keeping me up at night, making it hard to walk, move, etc. I think they were growing into my skin, as any movement of the tubes just plain hurt. A lot. So if/when they get to that point, even if you're not *quite* at the 30ml per day (okay, I confess, I wasn't), just get them yanked. At that point it's better to go in and get drained than be that miserable.
• And related to that, do not freak out in the first few weeks if you're feeling like crap, you're feeling this weird muscle-type pulling pain when you do something simple like raise your hand, etc. I felt that, and thought, shit, what have I done, I'll never be able to ride a bike again or play hockey, what the hell have I done??! Then I got my drains out today. And feel a million times better. The pain is gone, I can move my arms, swing them around, stretch, reach, lift, you name it. I still have to work on it and build up the strength on that side, and my back still hurts when I walk or stand around too much, but man, I am SO relieved. So be patient, and wait to assess things until TFD (Those Fucking Drains) come out!
- So I was wondering how not having a lat would affect my bike riding, which I do a lot of. As in hours and hours of cycling out in the boondocks. I'm happy to report that thus far - all is well. The lack of a lat bothers me not at all. Soreness? Nope. No pain, no stiffness, nada. I'll be doing a hell of a lot more riding this summer, thanks to that crazy trip to the Alps that my friend Stacey talked me into - so I'll add more info as I slog on. But for now? I'm relieved!