Sunday, April 27, 2008

The warrior and his wife

Matthew and I embarked on some home green campaigns starting a few years ago. High efficiency washer and drier, unplug cell phone chargers when not charging, unplug laptop when not laptoping—stuff like that. But Matthew has a new one I just can’t get my head around.

Our desktop computer and all its peripherals are plugged into three different power strips. One of the power strips runs my wireless router, so it’s supposed to stay on all the time. But to keep the CPU, external hard drive, printer, and etc. from continuing to draw power when not in use, Matthew has devised a plan to turn off two of the power strips.

I’m easily confused. Two power strips are gray. One is beige. Two power strips, but not both gray, are under the desk. One power strip is on the desk. So which two is it that I’m supposed to turn on to make it go and to turn it all off? I call Matthew at his office all the time. “Which are the two I need to turn on?”

He generally points out the obvious, “The two that are turned off.”

I generally point out the obvious, “But I can’t tell which two are turned off.”

Then there’s the explanation that one under the desk and one on top of the desk but not the one for the wireless router and one beige and one gray but not both gray. I stand there on the phone, still perplexed. Seems like it should be pretty easy, hm?

I have finally mastered the art of turning the computer on, but when it comes time to shut down, I’m lost again. I used to try.

Phone call: “Matthew, which two power strips do I turn off?”

“One under the desk and one on top of the desk but not the one for the wireless router and one beige and one gray but not both gray.”

Me: crickets chirping.

Matthew: “I’ll do it when I get home.”

“Thanks sweetie!”

I feel a little guilty that I’m not green enough, but I think I’m dumber than I am guilty. If I were to do all the things those new global warming commercials say—unplug the coffee maker, unplug the toaster—I’d never know what to do when it was time to make coffee and toast and nothing was happening. I’d stand there in the kitchen, staring at the appliances blankly.

Phone call: “Matthew, which one do I plug in to make the coffee?”

Matthew: crickets.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Use the bathtub

"Quit spitting in it! You're only making it nastier!"

"Honey, I don't think it can get much more nasty than this."

"New rule. No more expectorate."

Friday, April 25, 2008

"19 inches" is the only part I remember

I’m getting a new baby nephew today. His name will be Ian, and he’s expected to be on his way out any minute based on the latest report.

My sister is inducing, and it’s for what I think is the funniest reason ever, so I’m going to share.

Sarah and her husband bounced around through a few obstetricians with their first child before they found the one they really clicked with. The new doctor, Dr. Her because I know she’s a woman and know nothing else about Her, promised to be with Sarah and Bill through their new baby. They knew the due date, had the birth plan, Dr. Her promised there were no vacations coming up and she would absolutely be on call—but no one thought about the Kentucky Derby.

In Louisville, Derby time is huge, obviously. It’s the one week a year my home town gets to be a world class city. Little Ian was due during Derby week. No one was too worried because of Dr. Her’s assurances that she wouldn’t be at the Derby, so everything seemed OK. I even thought it would be cool if Ian were born in the first week of May so that every once in a while his birthday would be Derby Day (Derby Day is the first Saturday in May). I was rootin for Derby Ian.

Then the family called. And called. Sarah and Bill’s family called for constant updates, but Dr. Her’s family called because 30 of them had decided to come stay with Her for Derby week. So much for baby Ian’s Derby dreams with the new obstetrician.

Back-up plan was initiated. Instead of waiting for Ian, they decided to make Ian come to us. Dr. Her scheduled to induce Sarah on the last day before Derby vacation—today—to make sure baby Ian came out into the world with Dr. Her as his good shepherd.

I just heard the word. Baby Ian will be ushered into this world pre-Derby within a few hours. It’s kind of funny to know what day you’re going to be an aunt in advance. I’ve been counting down to the 25th, waiting to see his first pictures. Soon. I’ll see you soon baby Ian. I’ll be your aunt that lives too far away but loves you as if she were just down the street.

I got paranoid/superstitious after I wrote this and couldn't post it until I knew the result, officially. Ian is here! I got the call at 3:45 pm. Everyone is safe, healthy, happy, and doing very well. I got all the baby stats, but I can only remember that he is 19 inches long. Something about 6 lbs maybe? Congratulations family! I love you!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I actually can't juggle at all

I keep telling my friends (and myself) that I am trying *really* hard to find the silver lining in this crazy life of mine. I keep finding little ones, like my friend Monya is happy, and that rules. And Monya reminded me that no matter how effed up my life gets this summer, Matthew will (probably) still pay the rent.

Not following on the “effed up life this summer” thing? I don’t know how clear I’ve been. I know I’ve been whining about wanting to find a new job, but have I ever actually told you why? I’m being forced down to part-time this summer. Now I’m being negotiated in a way I’m not comfortable with.

OK, life, lemons, lemonade. I went and applied for a part-time gig at a bookstore to supplement my summer. They thought it would be great to have me work Saturdays and Sundays at the bookstore. So did I! I like paychecks!

I suspect the weekend part-time job news worked through the library grapevine and got back to my boss. He said, “I’ll give you eight extra hours a week if you agree to work those hours on Sundays.” Can’t really say no. Even if I’m gettin’ played like a fiddle, this is my career (and pays way better than the book store), so now I have to go into the bookstore—where I haven’t even started working yet—and say, “You know, I totally lied about the Saturday Sunday thing. It’s actually Saturday plus whichever other day than Sunday that you choose. Take your pick. But I’m already reneging on the ace I played to talk you into giving me this bookstore job. My bad!”

I try to remind myself that my life could be SO much crappier, but I’m not prone to being a positive thinking person. I never have been. My entire life I’ve been “glass half empty.” I believe it’s a hereditary disease I caught from my father’s side of the family, cause, lemme tell ya, mom’s side ain’t like that. I’ve never known a more positive person in my life than my mother’s mother, The Rock-Star of God.

Last night I was trying to give the universe a talking to (yes, I was literally talking to the universe in my pajamas at 1:30 in the morning). “I’m juggling all these lemons, universe, but you just keep throwing me more. I need a spare hand to grab the pitcher and the juicer and the long handled wooden spoon and the sugar. If I have to keep juggling all the lemons you keep tossing in, I just can’t keep up. I’m no Vegas act, universe. If you’re serious about the lemonade thing, I need some kind of break.”

Does the universe have a kitchen counter? Can I set down all the lemons while I work on this?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

And gosh darn it, people like me

After going through a bananas time in my life right now with the "change the destiny you can control" stuff, I am posting here to give myself some fortune cookie advice:

"People love you and want you to succeed."

I want that to be the little nugget that sustains me through the grueling job interviews and the rejection letters and the jobs that I nearly got but the organization decided not to fill because of budget cuts.

I just went through a week of job search high drama. The internets doesn't need the details (really I'm too tired to recount the tale), but I gave a phone interview Tuesday and was expected to give a face-to-face Friday. I may not want it, but I still have a regular job, so it took a lot of juggling and extra-curricular homework to prepare for the sudden interview.

I'm tired. I'm mentally and physically sapped for this week, but, like I said, regular job goes on. Microfilm needs to be inventoried, name authority records need to be created, and lousy campus lunches need to be eaten.

But, please fortune cookie, remind me that my journey of a thousand steps is not alone. Remind me of all the people who are there for the venting, the crying, and even sometimes the excitement. I think I say it enough, but I love you friends and family. This is just a diary entry to remind me of all the prayers and good thoughts and fingers crossed I am receiving. I don't take the encouragement for granted, but sometimes I feel alone because I forget the army of loved ones who are propelling me forward.

"People love you and want you to succeed." I will make that enough to sustain me right now.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The fire (within? without?)

I have many medical ailments. I'm like an old lady trapped inside a thirty-year-old's body. I don't know why. I read an amazingly insulting article about how people with one of my ailments are the whiniest asinine people ever and that cancer patients are better off mentally. Written by a Ph.D Psychologist, I could only think, “ Dude, if you hate sick people that much, please get a new job.”

I have bad nasal allergies. Chronic rhinitoid sinusitis. Isn’t that the most amazing name for sneezing ever? I used to always get my allergist write the scariest letters in the world to teachers and administrators about the limitations on my actions because of my “chronic rhinitoid sinusitis.” It ruled. In grade school, I never had to participate in “clean the classroom” day. Or clean chalkboard erasers. It probably added to how much my classmates hated me and tortured me, but it made me feel special, smiling, sitting at my desk while my classmates wiped down bookshelves. I have outgrown my nasal allergies to some extent—I’m NOTHING like I was as a child and young-adult--but I’m still a nose-dripper and sneezer pretty often.

I never really had skin allergies though. Amazingly, my little sister is allergic to Vaseline. Vaseline is in so many skin care products, whether you realize it or not, so she’s limited to bizarre prescription skin treatment potions. When I visit her house, I use them in secret because they really do feel better. Adds to my evil, right?

But where have I developed skin allergies as an adult? My armpits. They’re on fire lately, and I have no idea what’s triggering it. I want to scratch and claw at my armpits but I know it will only make the symptoms worse, so I sit and try to think about something other than my armpits. It’s hard. Have you had athlete’s foot or something? How do you keep from thinking about burning toes? That’s how I feel about my armpits. They’re there, gnawing at me. “Christine, we sting and hurt! Don’t think about us! Just imagine that you’re fine.”

Net result? I stink. I’m so allergic that I can’t use deodorant. There are two deodorants that I can use intermittently, but not consistently. Winter, I’m so proud of myself that I don’t smell like a barn animal. Summer? I don’t raise my arms around people. It’s humiliating. And painful. I feel stink rays radiating off of me, especially today. I don’t know why today is so bad—like I said I don’t know what triggered this particular reaction—but I feel deadly odor laser beams striking out from my underarms every time I have to gesture.

I try to just imagine I’m European.

Sunday, April 06, 2008


How did I just waste that much time on Myspace? I don't even like Myspace. Like, Wikipedia, I'll throw away hours clickin on links til my little heart's content. Myspace? I did learn that someone who I like a lot but am not good friends with is moving from Boston to Seattle. So it wasn't a total loss.

It's OK, I still *heart* you internets. I just need a little break is all. Like 15 minutes should do it.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Precious decisions

my neighbor has a new/old roommate that matthew and i can't stand. i've blogged her before as "precious."

i'm in my work bathroom wednesday. i look over out of the corner of my eye at the woman washing her hands next to me. she has more tattoos than the normal college student here, so i'm kind of checking her out. then she surprises me.

"oh hey, i didn't recognize you."

my brain flashed through cue cards of people i know, and i couldn't place her at first. precious. it was precious.

"i didn't know you go to school here?" actually, i know for a fact that she doesn't, and that all of campus is restricted access. now i go through cue cards of what to do in this situation.

"no, i was just using the computer lab to scan my artwork for my portfolio."

major red flag. our art equipment is the most expensive technology investment on campus, but i still can't decide what to do since she's my neighbor and i have to live with her bedroom next to me and all.

me: "oh." god i'm a chicken shit.

"you know i'm going to school in denver in june."

"really, i didn't know that?" this actually hurts my feelings because i know how much the neighbor i'm friends with enjoys living with precious as a roommate. "what are you studying?"

"journalism. i'm going to be a writer."

she's dumb as shit. i'm not kidding. i do know people who are stupider than her, but, really, she's unemployable except in the service industry. i try to take the high road, again, her being my neighbor and all.

"you know my last job was at a newspaper for three years, right?"

"no, i didn't."

"they're literally laying off people by the hundreds. i'm not kidding. it would be really hard to get into journalism right now."

her, blankly: "oh, wow."

since i know she's been illegally trespassing to scan her artwork, i say, "you should consider graphic design. newspapers still like graphic designers because they're less expensive than photographers."

"oh really?"

"also, interactive media," i suddenly realize she doesn't know what that means. "web journalism is still a place where you might get a job."

still, spacey, dumb, like i said. "oh yeah, i was thinking about something with the web."

"something with the web," i think. like i said, she's incredibly stupid. that's like saying "i was thinking about throwing a dart in a map and going wherever it lands, like, you know, the pacific ocean." i know the numbers are hard to quantify, but how many web pages are there? billions? how broad are their scopes? millions?

i'm still trying really hard to be nice to her in this increasingly frustrating bathroom experience. "yeah, web journalism might be right for you if that's what you want to do." wrong. i bet she can barely write a paragraph. here's what matthew and i have imagined precious writing:

“the goverment is bad! there taking away resources for a army campaign in iraq! we dont need guns! we need food for the homeles!”

she might be sort of right, but that would be the total of her argument, and, face it, it's not journalism. at best it's a bad letter to the editor to a free newspaper printed on four pages.

she's none of my concern. i really don't care about her life. i'm not responsible for her actions in any way, but in a decent, human compassion sort of way, i want to help her charitably. telling her that newspapers are hemorrhaging is going to do nothing to stop her from doing something foolish, though.

precious, please listen to me. i know you won't, but please listen--i want you to.

Just what I asked for

Matthew is laying beside me, snoring. Not Deathstar power plant snoring, just “I’m asleep” snoring. It’s what I’ve wanted, and now I can’t help but laugh at myself.

Matthew’s been reading a book by Elmore Leonard, and he has been bringing it to bed with him so he can enjoy a good nighttime read. After many months (years?) of always going to bed before Matthew, it feels so strange to have him there. I toss and I turn and I whimper. But he just keeps reading at me. That night light is like a spotlight on my sleep trauma, and him—him!—just reading there happily like nothing is wrong. I can’t sleep!

I can’t sleep with him in the room, sitting up in bed, with his reading lamp on. I’ve tried, lord knows I’ve tried, but I just can’t do it. I am so tired of this Elmore Leonard kick, and I hope our public library runs out of his books soon. In order to torment him into going to bed early, I poke him over and over in his arm like a seven-year-old. He ignores me. I wave my hands in front of the page. He reads on. I thrash around and whine a lot. Silence. I kick at him (gently (sort of)), and I tell him, “I need to sleep! Go read on the couch!”

Guess what he reminded me last night?

“Back when we were first married, you begged that I would turn the TV off and we could go lay in bed together and read side-by-side. Now we’re doing it.”

“I said that?” perfectly incredulous.

“Yes,” he smiled.

I laughed hysterically. “Well you’ve corrupted me! I care more about TV now, and I don’t want you in the bed!”

He laughed at me.

“Turn off the damn light!”

“Let me finish this chapter, and then I’ll go to sleep.”

Tonight, I told him, “I’m tired. If you want to read, stay on the couch.” After I got ready for bed, I came in to find him snuggled with his pillow, fast asleep, snoring. Me? I’m blogging. Maybe it wasn’t his wild nightlife keeping me up after all.