Monthly Archives: November 2012

I’m All Moved Out, or In, or…

August 25, 2012

Remember my litany of reasons I need to move? It’s gotten better since I turned in my notice. And I don’t mean that in a literal way. I mean it in that my landlord was, indeed, surprised that I was moving and he wished I’d told him sooner. And then he asked when I was moving out. And I told him that the plan was that I’d move my furniture on the 25th. A few evenings later I heard scratching sounds on my steps, like maybe someone was timidly knocking on the door. When I went to see who it was, I found the handyman scrubbing the steps. He was surprised to see me. My landlord had told him I wouldn’t be there, so it was okay to repaint the steps. I told him I was moving my furniture out on the 25th, so he might want to wait until after that. He asked where I was moving to and agreed that I’d probably be happy there, especially since he bet it would get plowed regularly in the winter. (Scary when the handyman recognizes this as a deficit of your current living arrangement!) He said he wouldn’t paint until after I moved but the he’d finish cleaning the steps, so I should be careful because they might still be wet when I went outside. Saw my landlord about a week later and he asked when I was moving out because he wanted to start showing the apartment. I reiterated that I’d be out by noon on the 25th. Yesterday when my mom and I went to start loading out some boxes, there was a note on the door from the handyman stating that my landlord wanted to know when I was going to move out so that he could paint the steps. I didn’t respond to that one. I figured he’d get the message when he found my keys in his box today.

Because, that’s right, I don’t live there anymore!

I paid my first month’s rent and the rest of my security deposit and picked up my keys on Wednesday. On Thursday, my parents and I loaded up the trailer and my dad’s pickup and my car and moved vast quantities of boxes. (Of course, if you pack everything in small U-Haul boxes, it takes a lot more boxes. On the other hand, it also means that they are small enough to be carried pretty easily.) We repeated the process on Friday. And today my heroes came to move my few pieces of furniture. Josh and Andy are the best cousins in the world. Shawn has done an awesome job raising her boys, the proof being seen in Drew coming with his Uncle Josh to help move my furniture. (Teenage boys can be so useful!) Ryan may have spent most of his time in dad mode, but I still made excellent use of his height. Someone had to get my wind chime taken down.

I cannot thank my Uncle Phil, Josh, Andy, Drew, Issa, and my dad enough. You have helped me move multiple times. (Or most of you have. Drew was still in elementary school the last time I moved. And Issa wasn’t needed.) Andy, I’m serious. If you need me to help you move next weekend, you know where I live. Literally. You just moved my mattress and box springs into my apartment. There is no way I could have done this without all of you. I doubt you realize just how lame my mom and I were after moving so many boxes out of my old flat. My mom will happily do the math to tell you how many steps we climbed. I prefer not to think about it.

And now I’m surrounded by boxes. But I have my kitchen mostly unpacked. And I have my bed made. (By my mom. It’s a tradition for her to make our beds the first time in our new places. She did it each time my brother and I moved into the dorms in the fall and each time I’ve moved into a new apartment. It’s her little house-warming gift.)

And now, I think I’m going to go for a swim. Because I can. I can see the pool from my balcony, and no one else is using it, so no one will mind if I move the rope dividing the shallow end from the deep end so that I can easily swim laps. Life is good.

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Bye-bye, Yarn Budget

August 17, 2012

It’s Fiber Fest time! Okay, so the official name is Michigan Fiber Festival these days, but those of us who remember it from when it used to be held in Kalamazoo still call it Fiber Fest. Not that the Allegan County Fairgrounds are a bad location.

It’s always a toss-up. Do you go on Friday when admission is free but the animals haven’t arrived yet? Or do you go on Saturday, spend $5 that could go towards yarn, but get to see sheep and goats and alpaca and angora rabbits? We usually opt to have five extra dollars for yarn. And then this year, they changed on us! Admission on Friday turned out to be $3. My mom and I concurred that next year, we’ll pay two more dollars to go on Saturday and see the sheep. And goats. (I love goats! I had a friend who had goats and I used to goat-sit when she went on vacation. I’ve had a soft spot for goats ever since.)

This was Issa’s first Fiber Fest. I think she enjoyed it, but I think she might have been a little overwhelmed, too. Fiber Fest does that to a person. There’s just so much lovely yarn that you really need to hit all the vendors twice, once to scope it out and again to actually buy. I recommend bringing cash and leaving your credit cards at home. Much easier to stay on budget that way! (I still went a little over. It was only about $10, but still I had to dip into my purse for non-Fiber Fest cash.)

It’s only once a year, which is good because all of my yarn money gets spent here. But I always bring home such wonderful treasures. Beautiful sock yarn. Magnificent gossamer lace yarn. The perfect sweater lot. Just about everything I knit for myself comes from my Fiber Fest yarn. Expect for socks. I have a tendency to knit them a little too long. My mom likes this fact. It usually means they wind up fitting her. But that’s okay. She has a tendency to knit hers too short. It all works out in the end.

Happy knitting, everyone!

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Am I on Scrubs?

August 7, 2012

Something I forgot to mention yesterday. This nurse? The one I’d put on my independently wealthy person’s short list of phlebotomists to keep on retainer? Her name is Carla. I have my very own Carla! Now if only she were a sassy Dominican… (I can remember that thanks to “Scrubs: The Musical”. “For the last time, Turk, I’m Dominican!” Probably makes more sense if you’ve seen it. It is one of my favorite episodes.)

That will keep me smiling. When in doubt, I just need to remind myself that I have a Carla. I have a Carla who listens to what I have to say. I have a Carla who will intercede on my behalf. And I have a Carla who’s a damned good phlebotomist!

I’ve long said that Scrubs was the best television representation of a residency program. And now life is imitating art.

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This is Helpful How?

August 6, 2012

He felt the need to sing to me today. He told me it was a Natalie Cole song, but that most people get the lyrics wrong. They actually go “uncooperative, that’s what you are.” I thought he would stop there. But no, he didn’t. He kept singing. While he was doing the ultrasound, he proceeded to sing about how I’m the most uncooperative patient there is. I know that he was referring to my ovaries and not me as a person, but that didn’t make it any less hurtful. Because, and I know this is a shock, those ovaries happen to be connected to the rest of me!

Not to mention the fact that Natalie Cole will be the first person to tell you that “Unforgettable” is actually one of her father’s songs. Credit goes to Nat King Cole for giving us that gem and to Natalie Cole for making us cry when she sings a duet with the film of her father. I was insulted on so many levels. As a lover of Nat King Cole. As a patient. As a human being.

And you know what we found on the ultrasound? That I’ve already ovulated. Maybe. He’s not sure. That’s what it looks like. (I think he can’t imagine that my body possesses the ability to ovulate, so it must be something else.) Go have a blood test so that we can figure it out.

Have I mentioned that I don’t like needles? Really? I have? Just wanted to make sure you haven’t forgotten. I was livid by the time the nurse drew my blood. My mom could see that I was seething and said some platitude or another (that it was also pretty clear she didn’t believe either). I responded that I thought I had the right to be livid right now. She agreed. I cry when I’m angry, and I tend to cry when I have to get poked, so there was no way I was making it through that blood draw without bawling. The nurse is great. She’s taken my blood before. She knows I hate needles. She tapes that cotton ball down tight to make sure I don’t get a bruise. (Yeah, maybe not from the needle, but I might from the tape!) If I were independently wealthy and could keep a phlebotomist on retainer, she’d be on my short list.

And then we retired to her office where my mother stepped in for me. (I don’t know if I could have gotten the words out. I was still crying.) She explained that I just want to try this first. That I’m okay with failure because at least that means I’ve tried. And it’s not that I’m being uncooperative. It’s that I have to try this first before I can consider something else.

So we missed this month. But the plan is to try again. Same drugs, earlier ultrasound. And on the plus side, one of the side effects of these drugs is nausea. At least I’m losing weight!

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When Did The Henry Ford Get to Be So Awesome?

August 1, 2012

I’m taking a mini-vacation. I’ve taken Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday off this week. Tomorrow and Friday, I’ll be packing, sorting, and cleaning. (Yes, I’m counting down the days until I move. I turned in my 30-days’ notice with my rent check this morning. Pretty sure that will come as a surprise. The letter, of course, not the rent check.)

Today, however, my parents and I took a road trip to The Henry Ford Museum to see the touring Titanic artifacts exhibit. On the drive over, we were all trying to remember the last time we’d been. I know the last time I went to The Henry Ford was when I was in the fifth grade. (And, yes, The Henry Ford isn’t a typo. Just check their website. <eyeroll>) I’m not sure if Parchment still does this, but they used to send all of the fifth grade classes to Greenfield Village and The Henry Ford Museum for an overnight trip at the end of the school year. It was a way for the elementary schools to start to mix before being thrown together in middle school. The last time my dad went to The Henry Ford was when he chaperoned my brother’s field trip. My mom is pretty sure she was still living with her parents, so maybe when she was in high school. (Grandpa worked for Ford. Yes, the museum has been around that long. Not that my mom is old.) We discussed the things we wanted to see before our tour through the Titanic exhibit. We all remembered the place the same way. Dark. With row after row of, well, stuff.

I wanted to see the Lincoln chair again. And we all wanted to see the Douglas Drive-In sign because it used to be down the street from where I grew up and my parents still live. We all also wanted to see the Wright flyer. But the reason we were going was to see the Titanic exhibit.

But you know what? The Henry Ford has changed since I was ten. It’s not this big dark room with row after row of stuff. You can get eye level with the Wright flyer these days. You can make paper airplanes and test their aerodynamics in a wind tunnel. Everything is well lit. And there were things I didn’t remember, or perhaps didn’t care about, from when I was ten. Honestly, one of the coolest things about it was going through the agricultural equipment with my dad. He was pointing out the types of machines they had on the farm when he was growing up, including these hand tools that they used for husking corn when clearing the fields at the change of seasons. These primitive, dangerous looking things, and my dad and my grandpa were still using them in the late ’50s!

And they’ve acknowledged the existence of foreign cars. They even point out that in the ’80s, Japanese makes got better mileage and started to take over the market from American models. Now that’s something that would never have happened when Ford was still around! They acknowledge Ford’s flops, too. I got a picture of my mom posing in front of the Edsel. (My grandma drove one of those.)

I remember the Lincoln chair being in a rather dark corner, but now it’s part of this massive exhibit on the expansion of civil rights starting from the beginning of American history (or at least English-American history). I was in heaven. An original copy of “Common Sense”! An original copy of the 14th Amendment! And Lincoln’s chair, lit well enough that you can see the blood stains. It is an amazing exhibit. It is heart-wrenching. It is uplifting. It is worth every penny of admission. In the section on women’s rights, there were cards that women proudly carried to show that they were not for women’s suffrage. In the section on the Civil Rights Movement, there’s a KKK outfit looming at you.

As for the Titanic exhibit? I’m not sure I can find the words to properly describe it. I do know that I did not expect to cry as much as I did while walking through it. There are quotes on the walls from passengers and crew. “For the love of God, go now!” It makes me cry just remembering it. It’s so easy to think of the Titanic on a, well titanic scale. To think of it simply in terms of numbers. This exhibit breaks that wall. It puts names to every single one of those people. At the end, it lists everyone who survived and everyone who died. In between, it tells their stories. Many of them are stories of very ordinary people who simply wanted to come to America and start a new life. One of the most chilling was one who was supposed to travel on a later vessel, but due to a coal strike, he wound up on the Titanic. This meant he missed seeing a friend from out of the country by a week. In a letter he wrote that he would be happier of the Titanic were lying on the sand at the bottom of the sea. He was one of those who did not survive.

If you see this exhibit is coming to a museum anywhere near you (we went 150 miles to see it), do yourself a favor. Go. And if you’ve already seen it? You know what I’m talking about.

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Good Training for that Pharmacy Student

July 25, 2012

I could tell the office was a little frustrated with me when I called. After all, my period started on Sunday and it’s now Wednesday. But I did what Heather told me to do. I told the nurse that I did not want to try drugs until I’d had the chance to try to get pregnant without them. Isn’t there a compromise that we can reach? And I didn’t cry, at least not much. I know I teared up, but I held it together while I was on the phone. (Thank you, WMed, for giving me an old dorm room for an office so that I can have a door to close when I really need to be alone!) And she listened. And I felt like she understood where I was coming from. And she said she would talk to the doctor and call me back.

And she did call back with a compromise. Drugs, yes. FSH, no. And more importantly, no needles. We’ll try Femara this month. (The doc keeps calling this drug “femora” which drives me nuts because it has nothing to do with femurs! That and I had to Google it when I got the prescription home because I was afraid they’d given me the wrong thing.) I totally wasn’t thinking when I told her which Walgreens to call it in at. I said the one in Parchment because that’s where all of my records got transferred to when Suburban Drug, our beloved small town pharmacy, closed. (My entire family went there. I once was rung up for $100+ because I said “Beth” and my great-aunt Elizabeth had a prescription that hadn’t been picked up yet and they thought I meant her. We got that straightened out pretty quickly.) I completely forgot that there was a closer Walgreens I could have stopped at on my way home.

But I’m glad I gave the Walgreens that was not as directly on my way home. I probably wouldn’t have a charming story about picking up my prescription otherwise. I was helped by a student from the University of Chicago School of Pharmacy. I know this because that’s what his nametag said. He checked the label on the prescription and said that he just needed to check with the pharmacist before I left. I really should have taken the time to ask how he wound up at this particular Walgreens for his internship. Did he get to choose? Or maybe I should have asked him what his preferred pizza was. Was he a Giordano’s man? It probably wasn’t that long of a wait, but it sure felt that way. And when the pharmacist was finally free, he asked, “Are you pregnant?”

“No,” I laughed, “that’s what that is for!” I pointed at the prescription bag. There was an older woman, in her 50s or 60s (so by older I mean “older than me”) at the next register. She chortled, too.

“It’s very important that you do not get pregnant while on this,” the pharmacist persisted.

“I won’t,” I confirmed. I only have to take it for five days. I won’t be on it by the time of my next ultrasound and (fingers crossed) insemination.

And that poor pharmacy student… Bless his heart… I wonder if he was just too embarrassed to ask me that himself…

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A Farewell to Options

July 24, 2012

I met with the midwife today. And by “met with the midwife” I mean “blubbered while she listened and made appropriate noises in response.” I’m not a pretty crier. If you look up blubber in Merriam-Webster, you’ll find my picture next to the definitions for using the word as a verb. I go through vast quantities of tissues blowing my nose. The entire time I was waiting for her, I was trying to hold myself together. Focus on what you’re reading. Take a deep breath. Don’t cry. Blow your nose. (Yeah, I’d started crying when talking to the nurse during my intake. She did make me happy when she said, “You’ve lost a lot of weight, that’s good!” It didn’t make it easier to stop crying, but I smiled a little as I told her that I don’t eat when I’m stressed.) Just read. And breathe. And blow your nose again.

Needless to say, I lost it just about as soon as Heather walked into the exam room. And that was before she told me that she couldn’t help me. But she listened. She let me vent just how frustrated I am with the fact that the man she referred me to doesn’t want to hear anything I have to say. And she did her best to commiserate. And I could tell that it hurt her, too, to know that things were going so… well, not, I guess. Things weren’t going at all. And she said that she’d send a letter explaining that I had met with her and that we’d discussed options and that I was making an informed choice. And she said she wished she could do more but that she couldn’t get me pregnant. She also gave me my lines. She told me what I should tell the nurse when I called Grand Rapids next. I’m an actor. Having lines puts me in my comfort zone.

And I pulled myself back together before going to pay my copay. And remember how I said the people at this office care? They really do. The assistant who handled my payment looked at me and asked if I was okay and that was just too much and I lost it again. And she had that box of tissues up on the desk so fast… And I don’t really remember what she said after that. Something about how she was sorry and knew that it was a really emotional thing and would I be all right. I said I was taking myself to Food Dance for dinner, and she agreed that Food Dance always makes things better.

As I walked to my car, I texted my mom that I was heading to Food Dance. I sat in the parking lot at the hospital and tried to pull myself together again. I drove to Food Dance. I sat in the parking lot at Food Dance and eventually did manage to pull myself together. Although, after talking to my mom, I did have to go back to the car for more tissues. And Food Dance really does make things better. The waitress asked if we wanted cocktails, looked at me, and said she knew I definitely did. And since I’m definitely not pregnant, hell, yeah, I wanted a martini!

So, yeah, pretty crappy way to end the day. Pretty sure I’ll cry myself to sleep. And tomorrow? Back to the grind, I guess.

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