WTF Wednesday: Don’t Kids Walk Anymore?

I have decided to establish what will likely be a completely inconsistent series, WTF Wednesdays. Today’s question: why must all kids be driven to school and picked up every day?

I live next to a junior high school. In one of the richest counties in the country, last time I checked. Lord knows we pay plenty of taxes. So there should be money available for, oh, I don’t know, things like school buses and wide, safe paved sidewalks. And yet…

There is a full on traffic jam in my neighborhood every morning that school is in session. I mean there are times I cannot get out of my own driveway. The buses are bad enough, but WTF with all the parents driving their kids to school? And picking them up? Getting out of our neighborhood to the main road, a total of about 6 blocks, can take up to 15 minutes. If there’s rain or snow or any complication whatsoever, it’s longer. And there’s not just a short peak time window either. The rush-to-school-rush lasts 30 minutes or more. So WTF time does school actually start? I suspect those in the early rush are poor harangued parents who need to get to work so drop their kid off early.

traffic

The ones who are late come driving through like a bat out of hell. I mean, these people have kids of their own, you’d think they would know not to race through a neighborhood. But I have new intel from my friend who is a teacher in this county…apparently, if a child is late for middle school the parent must park, bring the kid into school and sign them in, so they don’t have an unexcused tardy or some such crap. Can’t send the kid in with a note or whatever. So naturally the ones who couldn’t find their briefcase in the morning and then waited in line at Starbucks too long are now zooming down my street at 40mph. The good news is they didn’t sacrifice the ventihalfcafdoublelattenofoam, they simply sped up a little. We have a drive through Starbucks up the street, so believe me, the parents have stopped for their $5 coffee on the way to school.

The buses are a nightmare all day, coming and going, not really sure why or where. And it’s not just our school. Out in my travels I see cars lined up for blocks and blocks everywhere there is a school, public or private. Afternoon is of course the reverse, only cars are a bit more spread out and don’t cause a jam. It seems to me that a lot more kids walk home from school than walk to school. Maybe because their parents are at work in the afternoon and the little petunias have to wend their own way home.

So I ask again, WTF? What happened to piling kids on a bus on top of one another? What happened to kids actually walking to school (gasp!)?

schoolbus

But then again, be careful what you wish for; maybe strolling kids aren’t the best thing either. Recently my neighbor caught some kids stealing my mail. And a few months ago someone stole a package that had been delivered to our porch. The best part of this is that the package contained…two sets of sheets. Yes, linens. Bet that was disappointing. Dan found the box, which had been pried open and then abandoned in the woods, and recovered the sheets. We’ve lived here 19 years and this is the first time we’ve ever had problems, so I suspect there are a couple of problem children who just entered junior high.

When I am home in the afternoon, I watch the little darlings walking home, past my house. Some put trash in my mailbox, candy wrappers and such, a minor infraction. But let one of these brats try anything major again. Let them!

And this is how I realize I could easily become the mean, scary crazy lady of the neighborhood.

meanlady

That house that everyone would run past. The myths of children who were gobbled up by wolves just past the gate. That might be my house soon. OK technically I don’t have a gate, and we have foxes not wolves, but let’s not lose sight of the bigger mission here.

scaryhouse

In conclusion, WTF do I want? I realize I am annoyed with buses, and with cars, and with the kids who walk past my house. The only solution is for all kids to walk to school, but take the long way around, or at least walk on the other side of the street, and not near my house. That’s what works for me. So, yeah, that.

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Over All, It’s Just A Bad Idea

I caught a segment on Spring Fashion on the Today show. I am horrified but must repeat their report that overalls are “back” in style. I don’t set these trends folks, I just report them.

First of all, in my mind overalls have never been a good option for anyone over the age of 8. If you are old enough to pay attention to fashion trends, you are too old to wear them. Don’t get sucked in to the myth that someone named Osh Kosh B’Gosh is a hot new designer. In general, and I know there are exceptions, but as a rule of thumb, if something would look adorable on your 4 year old, you probably shouldn’t be wearing it, and vice versa.

I don’t claim to be a fashion maven although I am certainly someone who has spent a sizeable portion of disposable income on beautiful clothes and adorable shoes. Sizeable portion, trust me on that. And I’m not even saying I never got caught up in the overall trend, last time it came around. Also painter’s pants. In a rainbow of colors. What, you think I’m proud of that? No! But I’m keeping it real. It was the 70s and that’s just how we rolled.

I had these in every color of the rainbow. Yet the only thing I've ever in my life painted was my nails.

I had these in every color of the rainbow. Yet the only thing I’ve ever in my life painted was my nails.

Look, you don’t have to be Anna Wintour to understand that no adult looks good in overalls. If you have a great body, you’re just covering it all up. Conversely, if you have areas that could use a little camouflage, or a lot; overalls won’t work for that either. So let’s pretend we never heard that overalls were a thing. Again.

Completely and utterly adorable

Completely and utterly adorable

Not adorable, especially with red high heels

Not adorable, especially with red high heels

Not adorable

Not adorable

OK, I'll give you this one. But how many people look like that?

OK, I’ll give you this one. But how many people look like that?

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I May Be Sick But Damn I Look Good

Yesterday was Inova Clinic Day. That’s the day every three months when I get to:

  1. Walk 6 minutes up and down a hallway while a nurse monitors my heart rate, oxygen saturation, and unofficially, my disposition. Plus counts how long I stop and lean up against a wall and pant. But tries not to be too judgy. Depending on the nurse.
  2. They alternate options so I do one of each every six months. Either have an echocardiogram or blow into a bunch of tubes for a long, long time, better known as pulmonary function tests. In the biz we refer to these as PFTs.
  3. Wait. And wait some more, followed by waiting.
  4. Wait some more and wonder why I didn’t bring a snack.
  5. Eavesdrop on other waiting patients and try to glean blog material. Also see what kind of snack they brought. Wonder why people aren’t friendlier and can’t be bothered to offer me half of their sandwich.
  6. Spend 15 minutes with a nurse going over everything they already know, like what meds I take, while she busily types away into the computer system. For all I know she is typing “I am so freakin’ bored right now,” but it certainly looks official.
  7. See the doctor for approximately 12 minutes.
  8. Wait at front desk approximately 22 minutes to make my next appointment.
  9. Go to the Heart Healthy Café for lunch in the hopes they have something delicious. Settle for a salad and small cup of ice water.
  10. Leave hungry and grumpy.

caduceus medical clipart

But yesterday set an all time record for waiting. Even for them. My walk and PFT were scheduled for 8:30. I arrived at 8:05 and was finally taken back at 8:50. We finished up at 9:45, perfect for my 10:00 appointment. I checked in upstairs at 9:50. On a “normal” day, I would be taken back to the exam room at 10:30ish, seen by the nurse at 10:45ish, and seen by the doctor at 11:15ish.

Yesterday, the clock just kept ticking away. I watched all the tributes to Prince on the big TV in the waiting area. Then I watched more tributes. Then I eavesdropped on people having really boring conversations about their own medical conditions, which are way less captivating than my own. Finally at 11:15, I asked the front desk if something was wrong. The woman called to the back, said “Uh huh. Right. Uh huh. Yes. I will tell her” then looked at me and said they were running behind. At least that mystery was solved.

Finally, at 11:45, they called me back. The nurse apologized profusely and I smiled and said it was no problem because, trust me, you want to stay in the good graces of the staff.

Then I sat and looked around the room, in which sadly, there is nothing to look at.

One exciting view while waiting for doc

One exciting view while waiting for doc

Another wall in exam room with clock permanently stopped at 7:45. Nice trick, but I have a watch.

Another wall in exam room with clock permanently stopped at 7:45. Nice trick, but I have a watch.

Least exciting exam room view

Least exciting exam room view

The doctor came in around 12:15 and said she couldn’t believe I had been waiting more than two hours. I told her that made two of us! Then I told her she is worth the wait, because she is. And because I want to be her most favoritest patient ever, because I’m insecure in her true love for me. We chatted for a few minutes about the results of my PFTs, my meds, and my recent overdose, which she found impressive. She listened to my heart and lungs and checked my legs for edema. She shocked me by telling me for now we are not changing anything. No titrating up, down or sideways. No changes. Epic.

changemeds

Then she complimented me on my hair. A lot. She even asked me how I get it looking like that, etc. I preened and silently congratulated myself on my excellent hair finishing. I flipped my hair dramatically a couple of times.

And that was that. I waited forever at the front desk to schedule my next appointment, but managed to snag one on a decent day at a decent hour. I went up to the lame salad bar and had a crappy salad and promised myself that next time I will bring a really good snack. And I will eat it in the waiting room and not offer anyone so much as a sniff of it. And I will wait quietly for hours, or even days if necessary, to see the doctor again.

And although it will be August, and an uphill battle at best, I will spend lots and lots of time on my hair that morning. Because I’ve already won the award for Best Hair, and I finally have my big shot at being Most Beloved Patient. It’s good to have goals.

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I’m So Glad We Had This Time Together…

In my family, we laugh a lot, and cry when we need to. We’ve been doing a lot of both over the last several days, because my stepfather Eddie passed away last Friday. Eddie came into our lives over 40 years ago when my mom was a way-too-young widow with three shell shocked children; at 11 years old I was the youngest. Eddie willingly, knowingly, walked into a family that had been turned upside down, and helped to right it again. While the loss of our father left a permanent hole in our hearts, Eddie made us a family again when he married my mom in 1976. He took on all three of us as if we were his own, adding to the two children he already loved. He called us his instant kids.

Eddie provided for all of us, saw us through difficult teen years (well, some of us, because CJ was already away at college and a Mr. Goody Two Shoes in any event), college, grad school, weddings; all milestones big and small. He walked me down the aisle and into the best decision I’ve ever made, marrying Dan. When my niece was born he eagerly took on the mantle of grandfather-hood, and was dubbed Poppy. He adored and doted on my niece and nephews, and more recently my niece’s fiancée and his son, with whom he had a mutual admiration society (and frequently a case of the giggles!).

Perhaps most importantly, he made my mom happy. He absolutely worshipped her, and even after 39 years of marriage, would tell anyone who would listen that he was helplessly and hopelessly in love with his wife.

Eddie endured a chronic illness for many years, without complaint. I could say all the cliché things about how he is no longer suffering, and indeed I’ve said all those things, but we all know that there is once again a hole in our family and in our hearts. Poppy will be greatly missed, and always remembered.

If there is one thing you need to be a full-fledged member of our family, it is a large funny bone. Eddie particularly appreciated, and participated in, our brand of irreverent humor. So I have to share that Eddie is now buried 40 feet from my dad, and one day, hopefully many many (many!) years from now, my mom will rest snugly between the two. Cause that’s just how we roll.

And now, our family will continue to do what we do best. Laugh a lot, and cry when we need to.

Mom and Eddie, 2009

Mom and Eddie, 2009

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WTF: Maybe Next Time I’ll Check The Label

Don’t say I didn’t warn you. When I resumed blogging in January I cautioned that I might post incessantly about my health woes. And I do not plan to disappoint!

So recently I explained how I am titrating on a new drug, Uptravi. And I had also told you that my meds come from a specialty pharmacy, sent via overnight delivery. Both of these pieces of information will be important to understanding this week’s debacle. The good news is that I am finally at the full dose of 1600 mcg, twice a day. The bad news is that the side effects have been difficult. Nausea, sure, that’s a given, but for whatever reason this medication also causes muscle pain. Like from the bottom of my feet to the top of my head. [Note: this is a good time to take a moment and feel sorry for me. Possibly send me a gift. Just a suggestion.] But the doctor thinks this is a temporary thing and if I power through it my body will adjust to the full dosage. So in addition to the anti-nausea med, she prescribed pain killers, upping the ante on my ratio of meds that control the side effects of the PH meds to the actual PH meds.

Because I’ve been titrating, the pharmacy had sent me different denominations of Uptravi; most recently some 800 mcg tablets and some 200 mcg tablets so I could add more each week. The 800 mcg tablets looked to me like purple and the 200 tablets are yellow. When I reordered, I let them know I was up to the full dosage and didn’t need the 200 mcg tablets anymore. Let me be completely clear that I was completely unclear about the fact that they also make little purple (or another color that looks like purple) tablets that are 1600 mcgs. Clueless.

I guess green and brown both look like purple to me.

I guess green and brown both look like purple to me.

I bet you see where we’re headed with this. My order of Uptravi came in the nick of time Tuesday, as I needed that bottle to take my evening dose. So I popped two of those suckers before ever looking at the bottle other than to note it was the right drug. I mean, it looked exactly like what I’d been taking. This kicked off a chain of events. First I started to feel funny (not to be confused with humorous, which is how I frequently feel, even if others disagree). Then I looked at the bottle more carefully and saw the 1600. At that point I let loose a whole string of curse words. Really good ones.

I tracked down the on-call pharmacist. He put me on hold for several minutes before telling me there was nothing they could do. He warned me I would probably have a rough night, with more pronounced side effects than normal. Great. Did I mention I was already taking two drugs to counteract the side effects of a regular dose?

Rough night indeed. Followed by a rough day and another rough night. But today, like the phoenix rising from the ashes, I lifted my head off my pillow before saying “F*ck I still feel like sh*t.” Progress people, remember I said this with my head not even touching the pillow. And I managed to lumber downstairs like a bear coming out of hibernation, in the sense that I was clumsy, hungry and grumpy.

Is it safe to come out yet?

Is it safe to come out yet?

I had a little breakfast, watched a little TV and the fog is slowly lifting. I am at this very moment sitting upright in a chair, typing away on my laptop. And to think my high school guidance counselor said I would never amount to anything. In your face! I have amounted to something, my friend. A blogger with fresh material, that’s what.

I’m going to try not to be a complete dumb ass for a while. But stay tuned.

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To Chew Or Not To Chew: That Is The Question

Kitty dental drama. I mentioned before that Helen lost a tooth somewhere along the way, all on her own. Then it turns out that poor Chrissy’s teeth are rotting out of her head, and she has to have major oral surgery.

So last Friday Chrissy had any number of teeth pulled, as the vet recommended that was the best course of action to avoid continually putting her under general anesthesia to try to keep them clean and avoid infection. Sadness for my baby but it had to be done.

Chrissy pre-surgery

Chrissy pre-surgery

Naturally, Chrissy couldn’t have anything to eat after midnight the evening before her surgery. That means none of the cats gets anything to eat, because we can’t put food out and tell Chrissy she’s not supposed to eat it; but as soon as she was gone in the morning, I put food out again for the others. After 7 long hours with no chow, Helen, Janet and Jack were just barely able to summon the strength to drag themselves to the food bowl.

When Chrissy came home she was still disoriented and just running from room to room meowing. It broke my heart. And of course, Chrissy still can’t have dry food because her mouth is healing. So once again, nobody gets dry food. This is a big change because they are used to “open feeding” where dry food is always out, and they get a small amount of wet food each evening.

Now we’re giving them wet food three times a day but they are pining away for their crunchies. We even put out bowls of soft treats but they’re not having it. Jack and Janet keep circling restlessly around the kitchen. I know how they feel, I get like that at times too. And I still have open feeding. Way open. Wide open. Too open.

I put out more soft treats this afternoon but they turned their little noses up at it. As I was standing in the kitchen bemoaning the situation, Jack went over to the pantry and dragged out the bin of dry food. Then he sat and meowed. I mean, really? Still, I’m a sucker for that kind of thing…

The food bin Jack dragged out

The food bin Jack dragged out

I don’t think I’m being at all dramatic when I say I am now facing a Sophie’s Choice type decision. I could put out some dry food for a short time, and not let Chrissy get at it, which is mean to Chrissy. Or I can let the other three tough it out until they can all have dry food. I called the vet for insight; she says I can put dry food out tomorrow. So I think we’re all just going to have to tough it out for one more day.

The good news, and most important thing, is that Chrissy is finally feeling like herself again. Now we just have to hope that the cats can make it through another day with only wet food, soft treats, lots of toys and warm beds.

A sunny windowsill is nice, but I still want my dry chow!

A sunny windowsill is nice, but I still want my dry chow!

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Awesome Jewish Gifts

Check out what popped up on my Facebook feed.

history1

The first thing I noticed was “Jewish action figures.” They had me right there. I mean, action figures? What kind of action? Kvetching*?

*Yiddish for whining. In other words, my blog

The set of four is shown below. Now no one is disputing these leaders’ contributions to the State of Israel, and their role in history. No one. But action figures? I thought that was just a euphemism for dolls made for boys. Somehow a little Moshe Dayan figurine never came to mind.

history2

A great holiday or birthday gift for all ages? Seriously? Ooops! Cat’s out of the bag. Now everyone in my family knows what I’m getting them for Hanukkah!

But wait! There’s more! I came across this gem:

history3

None of us is immune to the longing we get for items we see on TV. And Mount Sinai. You can’t deny this is the perfect gift for the revisionist historian in your family. And it is a great way to indoctrinate friends and family with all your enlightened beliefs. Thou shalt not marry someone of the same sex! Thou shalt not allow Muslims into your country! Thou shalt build a huuuuuuuge wall. Umm, never mind, political tangent.

Perhaps this a problem these three guys can resolve…

history4

Passover starts soon; why bring a box of matzo and a bottle of Manischewitz like all the other schmucks? Bring your hosts something unique, something that says “I understand our history and I’m here to make fun of it.”

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A Magical Kingdom Of Chocolate And The Devastating Loss Of Fightin’ Farrell

Were you breathing easy, thinking I was done with stories from our February cruise? Oh no, think again! Our cruise offered us one day in Port Canaveral, Florida. We have both already been to Kennedy Space Center, twice, and everywhere else that area has to offer;  Cocoa Beach and I Dream of Jeannie Way and Ron Jon’s Surf Shop, so we weren’t sure what to do with the day. Orlando is just an hour’s ride away but we’ve been to Disney, Epcot, etc., and a theme park was way more than we could manage, especially with just one day.

Dan did a little research and found a magical place that heretofore had only existed in my mind, The Chocolate Kingdom Factory Adventure Tour. I will admit that it was mostly designed for little kids, and featured an animated dragon and prince as our tour guides, but I’m not above that kind of thing when it is a chocolate factory and many samples are offered throughout the tour.

Our whimsical hosts

Our whimsical hosts

For the record, I did not elbow that little kid to get to the free samples. She was clumsy and surely tripped over something, like my foot. Bygones.

Anyway, it was a pretty cool tour and at the end we got to design our very own candy bar and watch it being made in front of our very own eyes! Then I ate it with my very own mouth!

My custom candy bar, and yes, it was as delicious as it sounds

My custom candy bar, and yes, it was as delicious as it sounds

I still had a little chocolate around my mouth but no time to waste, it was on to dinner. Hey, remember that amazing waiter I once had, Farrell? No? Geez, here’s a reminder. While Dan and I were in Orlando we decided to have dinner at the same restaurant in the hopes that Farrell would still be working there. Our hopes were dashed-he was gone. But the manager and our new server, who was lovely but not nearly as charismatic as Farrell, assured us that he was doing well. They also intimated that many people asked about Farrell all the time. They agreed with us that he was very, very special. A once-in-a-lifetime type experience.

The former home of Farrell

The former home of good old Farrell

Dinner wasn’t nearly as fun without Farrell scolding us for our menu choices. And although I had been to the Chocolate Kingdom mere hours earlier, I ordered that chocolate dessert again, in a to go box, because when I see “fudge brownie covered in hot fudge lovingly placed in a box made of chocolate” on a menu, you can bet your ass I order it. Dan had the key lime pie in Farrell’s honor, but of course it was too late for Farrell to appreciate that we finally understood his wisdom.

There’s a lesson here folks. Let your beloved waiters know how much you care. Tell them you love them, before it’s too late. Farrell, if you’re out there somewhere…I heart you.

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Summer Lovin’

I don’t think I told you guys yet, but my niece Aubrey is getting married! We are thrilled that she has chosen an awesome groom with a bonus, his son, who happens to be the sweetest little boy ever. I am thrilled about another thing too; being a smart young woman, Aubrey has also chosen a fall wedding date. I myself chose a fall wedding date because that is the best season for my hair. Some people have spirit animals…I have a hair season. I also happen to think it’s the prettiest time of the year.

Some people really love spring. Many people. Not me though. Because spring means one thing: summer is coming. Sticky, icky, hot sweaty summer. Yuck. Summer is definitely not my hair season. And I’m not saying everything revolves around my hair, I’m just saying; OK I guess that is exactly what I’m saying. So, fall.

Dog days of summer are never this cute

Dog days of summer are never this cute

My sister-in-law Lisa just found a dress for the wedding. Actually she found two dresses. She’s contemplating keeping both of them and holding one in reserve for when one of my nephews gets married. I pointed out that the dress is for a formal, evening wedding. What if Craig or Sean end up having a wedding that’s…OMG. That’s when it hit me. At any point in time one of the boys could decide to have a wedding outside, in the summer. I mean, Aubrey has made an excellent choice but we are nowhere near out of the woods yet here people.

CJ and Lisa did exactly that, like 30 years ago, and I’m still pouting about it. They got married in the middle of the day, at the end of July, outside. It really doesn’t get any worse than that. I know that day wasn’t about me, specifically, but the fact is my hair was the size of a watermelon. It was a full on Hair Situation. My make-up was melting off my face. I was sweating in places I didn’t know one could sweat. I could barely focus on welcoming Lisa into the family as I was sitting there wondering what kind of horrific woman does this to people she supposedly loves?

Ugh

Ugh

My wish for Craig and Sean is this: I hope you fall in love. I hope you each find the woman of your dreams, and seal the deal by marrying her. But under no circumstances should this woman have a hankering for an outdoor wedding, in the summer. If she does, she can’t possibly be right for you. Because I have hair to think about, and your mother has a dress ready to go, for a formal evening wedding.

So boys, fall in love with a sensible girl who knows the right way to get married. Someone who isn’t going to yammer on about flowers being in bloom and wearing daisies in her hair and all that crap. We’re counting on you.

Just don't. Don't do it.

Just don’t. Don’t do it.

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WTF WordPress?

I am just certain that many of you, thousands and thousands, have been trying desperately to subscribe to my blog. I get it, you wouldn’t want to miss a single word that slides off my golden keyboard. Or…maybe my mom is making you subscribe. Whatever.

wordpress-logo-hoz-rgb

WordPress is a pretty awesome free platform on which many, many bloggers rely. It is 98% good, but when it is bad, it is very, very bad. Sometimes it doesn’t let me follow other blogs or like other blogger’s posts or leave comments, and that makes me feel bad. Sometimes it doesn’t allow others to follow, like and comment on my blog. That makes me feel really bad (never forgetting for a moment that I am the center of the universe).

After some digging around today, turns out that a big part of the problem, possibly the whole problem, is Google Chrome. Everything works fine with Explorer. But Chrome is a mess. However when I use Explorer, WordPress isn’t recognizing my administrator password or letting me recover it. So, as a blogee I have to use Explorer, but as a blogger, I have to use Chrome. This confuses my already addled brain.

So to the Grand Pooh-Bah of WordPress, wherever in cyberspace you might be, please please make it so my blog works with Chrome.

Love always,

Me, your favorite blogger

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