Escape of the Inner Monologue

World, inside of my head. Inside of my head, world.

A Remedial Course in Uterus Management

As I climbed into the trunk of my car, one foot dangling behind me like Hansel and Gretel’s breadcrumbs, I thought to myself, shouldn’t I have been better prepared?

To my knowledge, I have been in possession of my uterus for my entire life. Even during the nine months where I was renting it out to fetus L, I still held the deed.

I imagine most women have a story or at least a memory of their first period. Try as I might I can’t remember mine, which I’m sure is due to either the fact that I was well prepared and confident enough to deal with it when it arrived, or, I have suppressed the entirety of a seminal and horrific event. Definitely one of the two.

I do remember that from the very beginning, my period felt like a punishment. It was grueling – I’d wear a tampon and a pad and bleed through both in under 45 minutes. I had cramps that were crippling. I remember crying in the bathroom between classes in high school from the pain, dripping snotty tears onto the fresh pad and tampon I inevitably needed. But since everyone always joked about how awful periods were, I figured that was just life with an organ that hated me.

In college, the campus doctor offered to put me on birth control. No idea if this was just the standard procedure for this doc or if he was responding to my symptoms, but I walked out with a prescription that changed my life. Birth control made my periods dramatically better.

Until it didn’t. In my late 20s things started getting awful again. My doctor suggested I go on the quarterly plan – do nine straight weeks of the pill, with one week off. And that’s how it’s been for the past 15 years or so. And with each passing period, the flow got lighter and lighter.

With less blood surging from my body, I no longer needed to double up on my period products. And last year I was able to switch to Thinx, which are magical period underpants. You wash them and reuse them. It’s better for my skin, better for the environment, and better for the people Thinx donates their product to when you purchase. Only problem: it’s not easy to carry a spare pair of underpants around with you. They’re pricey, so I need all my pairs in rotation, not riding around in my purse just in case. Plus I didn’t need to be dumping my emergency preparedness drawers on the table each time I needed my credit card or some lip balm.

And this is how I found myself digging around in my spare tire well looking for a pad. I’d totally spaced out on the fact that today was the start of my infrequent period week, and had therefore put on one of my usual pairs of Wonder Woman undies. The customary icepick stab to my abdomen that heralds the arrival of my period was the exact moment I realized I was without my magic underpants. (That sentence may cause this post to show up in a lot of weird porn searches.) Luckily, because I have a long history of being paranoid about leaks and also of not cleaning out my car, I found an Always square tucked away next to my first aid kit.

As I took my treasure back inside, I shook my head at myself. I turned 40 about a month ago. Shouldn’t I be past the point of stranding myself in public without period resources?

And then I tripped on the sidewalk and nearly fell on my face.

So, the lesson is, don’t criticize yourself while you’re walking, and never clean out your car.

Hypochondria Says Goodnight: A Play in One Act

Brain: Wasn’t that a lovely meditation? I’m ready to get in bed and read.

Shoulders: But we’re cranky. We don’t like relaxing. It’s unfamiliar and weird feeling.

Brain: Just settle down and I’ll start reading Harry Potter. We all like Harry Potter.

Shoulders: Oh yes we do.

Elbows: Oh very much!

Feet: We like the bit about the socks!

Brain: There you go. Ok, all settled in. “Yer a wizard, Harry!”

Jaw: Ahem.

Brain: Yes?

Jaw: I hurt.

Brain: What? Why?

Jaw: No clue. But I really fucking hurt. Like I’m thinking we got stabbed in the face? Did that happen?

Brain: No, I would have noticed that.

Boobs: No one’s been dripping blood on us. We think you’re good.

Jaw: Nope, pretty sure we got punched with a rock covered in razor blades. Right here on the right side. It’s so painful! Like, so painful, you can’t concentrate on that book.

Brain: Aw c’mon. Quit it. There’s no reason for you to be in pain. I just want to read!

Jaw: No, sorry. OW OW OW OW OW OW OW.

Brain: Fine. It’s nearly time to take our trazadone anyway. That should help.

Trazadone: Hi again folks, good to see you. I’ll be whisking us all to dreamland here shortly.

Jaw: OH MY LORD I’M GONNA IMPLODE WITH PAIN.

Brain: Didn’t I read once that jaw pain was a symptom of a cardiac event in women?

Heart: What now?

Brain: Yeah, totally a symptom. Are you acting normally?

Heart: Well, I’m beating at a regular rate. Or I was until you accused me of trying to kill us just now.

Brain: Well, I’m not the one having an event!

Heart: You’re the one having an event of stupidity.

Jaw: GAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH I AM INVENTING NEW LEVELS OF PAIN

Reproductive System: Doubt it.

Trazadone: Ok, if we’re gonna fall asleep I’m gonna need you to simmer down, Jaw. Here.

Jaw: Oh that is better thanks.

Brain: Except we’re DYING NOW. We are CLEARLY having a heart attack and we are CLEARLY going to die!

Heart: Dude, I’m cool. Really.

Brain: NO YOU’RE A MURDERER

Jaw: I feel good. Let’s chew gum.

Trazadone: Hey hey hey there, Brain. Don’t your hands feel fluffy? Isn’t the bed so warm and snuggly? Don’t you just want to close your eyes and drift off?

Hands: Did he call us fluffy?

Brain: SHUT UP TRAZADONE NO I’M BUSY SHUFFLING OFF THIS MORTAL COIL

Trazadone: For fuck’s sake. You’re going to sleep now, mother fucker.

Brain: THE LAST WORDS I WILL EVER HEAR IN THIS LIFE ARE MOTHER FUCKER.

Heart: Apropos.

—-The Next Day—-

Brain: So um, hey everyone. We called the doctor and she said that all that pain was probably from stress. We do grind our teeth, and she said it’s probably what’s causing the pain, since we don’t have any other cardiac symptoms. So, nothing to worry about after all!

Heart: You were the only one who was worried.

Brain: No, I’m certain we were all quite concerned! It’s only logical to worry in such a situation. Totally normal.

Heart: You’re an idiot.

Brain: You’re a craphat.

Heart: You’re a pickle fucker.

Brain: You’re a clown anus.

Jaw: I hurt again!

 

El Fin

 

Penny Dreadful and Unemployment

In July, I had the unique experience of being able to enjoy two weeks of unemployment. I could enjoy them rather than fear that the tax man was comething because I had received a job offer prior to the conclusion of my previous job. I chronicled each day on Facebook. This is the compilation of those Facebook posts.

June 27

Unemployment log, day 1: After dropping daughter off at school, came home and formed cocoon of blankets around self and watched three hours of Penny Dreadful. Felt guilty, got up and sorted out box of old papers. Took shower, made lunch, returned to couch cocoon for three more hours of Penny Dreadful. Good thing I’m already almost done with the second of three seasons. Otherwise I’ll never get anything done.

June 28

Unemployment log, day 2: Decided it was probably best to watch the last three episodes of season 2 of Penny Dreadful while the story was fresh in my mind, thus making the decision to resume residence inside my blanket cocoon seem logical and expedient. Took a shower and ran some errands. Brought lunch home and watched season 3, episode 1 while I ate. At this point the cable box decided it would no longer comply with my demands and threw an error, refusing to continue its complicity in my transition into half person, half blanket. Forced into productivity, I cleaned out my dresser and the mud room closet. Picked up daughter and went to fun dinner with friends in the world’s coldest restaurant. Sent thoughts toward cable box referencing vague but menacing consequences if today’s error is repeated in the morning.

June 29

Unemployment log, day 3: Husband decided to work from home today, so was able to ascribe blame to him for my lack of achievement on household projects. Very convenient. Decided to keep things spicy and unpredictable in my relationship with the cable box, so today watched one episode of Penny Dreadful, took a shower, and then in a surprise twist, watched two episodes of Gilmore Girls. Ran some errands, ate lunch, returned home, wandered listlessly around house trying to convince self to be productive. Instead answered siren call of two more episodes of Penny Dreadful. Blanket was delighted for our reunion.

June 30

Unemployment log, day 4: During a spate of 3am wakefulness, and therefore idle googling, discover that the season of Penny Dreadful I am currently enjoying is in fact the series finale. Realize that the remaining episodes must be carefully rationed throughout the rest of my unemployment, like an orange on an 18th century ocean voyage. Decide to spend the day far from temptation, nestled in the bosom of commerce that is the Mall of America. Enter mall with goal of acquiring a wardrobe that is more business casual and less pajama-centric. Leave mall with t-shirt and bathing suit. Declare visit a partial success, and go to local farmer’s market. Woman next to me at strawberry stand is explaining to companion that “that is how you end up with inferior rhubarb.” Ask if the rain was what hurt it. Am shunned. Decide to watch Penny Dreadful, drink champagne, and eat strawberries after child is in bed.

July 1

Unemployment log, day 5: Awoke with sense of ennui, partly because unemployment period has reached its halfway point, and partly because of the toddler leg crushing my larynx. Watched one Penny Dreadful. Ran errands, all the while trying to perfect impression of lead actress on Penny Dreadful. Discovered throaty Victorian narration makes everything more enjoyable but greatly confuses Target employees. Suspended use of English accent during phone call with brother and visit with neighbor, such that neither would advise me to stop watching Penny Dreadful. Obeyed maternal instincts and took daughter to pediatrician, who confirmed my suspicion of an infection and sent us home with roughly one gallon of pink antibiotics. Felt very successful in avoiding urgent care visit for offspring over holiday weekend. Celebrated excellent parenting achievement by purchasing takeaway dinner consisting mostly of nachos. Revived use of throaty Victorian accent while scrubbing toilet. Resisted making any Potty Dreadful jokes aloud.

July 2

Unemployment log, day 6: Usual itinerary centered on TV consumption and perfection of slug impression proves unsuitable with presence of husband and daughter. Spend day instead playing, doing chores, and taking first midday nap of unemployment period. Wonder why napping has not been included on daily agenda thus far. Ended evening with night out of highest caliber, meaning it included bubbly alcohol, much laughter, and one episode Gilmore Girls. Now viewing Paddington as a family while I resist urge to go outside and shake fist at people setting off fireworks, thus removing all doubt that I am 85 year old lady on the inside.

July 3

Unemployment log, day 7: Husband and daughter home again today, indicating continuation of weekend to my otherwise schedule-free existence. Deemed strawberry shortcake to contain enough food groups to qualify as nutritious meal for family if made with addition of ice cream. Also patriotic because of red and white ingredients. Add single blueberry to bowl to complete theme. Decide this makes up for failure to generate adorable Pinterest craft for national holiday. Glow with pride at persistence of genes when toddler emits exasperated sigh at firework enthusiast neighbors and moans aloud that we can’t sleep with all that noise.

July 4

Unemployment log, day 8: Spent first 25 minutes of day explaining concept of a holiday to daughter, who was sitting on toilet while interrogating me as to why she was not at school. Acceptance of concept rated dubious, at best. Despite buckets of pink antibiotics applied to daughter, her fever spiked, causing day to consist of wild swings between staring at cartoons and bursts of random activity that would make Hunter S. Thomson proud. Did sneak one Gilmore Girls during lunch. Chose not to try to also sneak Penny Dreadful, as am responsible parent. Achieved hanging of artwork throughout home with help of husband, in attempt to finish moving in within one year of taking possession of house. Am certain will awake during night and get frightened by unfamiliar shapes on walls. Likely will ask television show to come investigate infestation of rectangle shaped ghosts in home.

July 5

Unemployment log, day 9: Toddler was home again today, resulting in pleasant day playing with toys and taking a nap. Cable box made pitiful whining noises to protest rampant neglect. Promised cable box new set of batteries for remote to earn its forgiveness. Planning to present them in jewelry box which I will snap shut when it reaches for them, as feel certain cable box is a fan of Pretty Woman given how often it’s on. Finally decided to leave house to run errands. Result was imprisonment in Target during violent storm. Calculated that it had been roughly 19 years since last imprisonment in a Target due to severe weather. Reflect on likelihood of unique ownership of a Target storm anniversary. Decide this classifies money spent during storm as gifts for purposes of household budget. Google result for 19th anniversary gift is “bronze.” Purchase of metallic Command picture hangers is fully justified.

July 6

Unemployment log, day 10: Waited an eternity of six minutes after getting home from dropping off daughter before starting next episode of Penny Dreadful. Blanket was forgiving of my extended absence. Despite unexpected plot twist, chose to shower instead of start another episode. Dropped car off for detailing service, and spent two hours on foot in retail district. Found lack of auto to be excellent deterrent to purchasing, due to extreme disinterest in carrying as recreational activity. Did try on clothing, and while redressing broke zipper on shorts. Had to choose between being unable to unzip and remove shorts in case of restroom utilization, or stroll town with fly agape. As is my wont, dignity was sacrificed in the interest of comfort. Ate lunch at Mexican restaurant, indulgently double dipping nachos in salsa as perk of eating alone. Immediately dripped salsa down front of shirt and into open fly of shorts.

July 8

Unemployment log, final entry: Sought refuge from horrors of reality by settling into couch, cuddling up to blanket, and ceremoniously watching final two episodes of Penny Dreadful. Felt disproportionately satisfied with ability to watch entire series within two week span. Imagined this was exactly how marathon runners feel, minus emergency roadside poops and bleeding nipples. Bid farewell to husband, who is traveling to opposite side of globe for business, and to escape further discussion of Penny Dreadful obsession. Wrapped up some tasks around house, contacted representatives in government, and then felt as if a meditation on my unemployment period, and its effects on my mental and emotional state, was appropriate. Instead took hot bath with favorite soaking salts, and used daughter’s tub crayons to draw mural of a unicorn and a dragon water skiing on side of tub.

July 10

Realization that I have to look like a professional grown up tomorrow setting in. Hair has already made it clear it will not be cooperating. Cannot remember what to pack to take to an office. Have required documentation, water cup, and post it note that says “no you should not talk in your Penny Dreadful voice.” Have discussed acceptable places in house to have accident, if necessary, with dog. Did not see her taking any notes, however.

X’d Out

There’s a trendy Facebook post going around right now called the Bucket List. It’s a list of lots of somewhat exotic activities, and you are to put an X next to the ones you’ve done and post it as your status. I imagine that there is the obligatory request to tag a billion of your friends in the original post, but like the geniuses they are my friends have skipped this part.

I decided, in a what the hell kind of moment, to do the list, but as I worked my way through it I realized some of the items needed some annotation from me. So here is my Not Actually My Bucket List But A List of Things Some People Do During Their Lives, with notes.

X Shot a gun. I have done this on two occasions. The first was the day of my mom’s funeral, when my cousin thought taking my brother and me to a shooting range would be cathartic. The second was at our next door neighbor’s birthday party.

Gone on a blind date. I have done very little dating in my life, let alone anything as exotic as blind dating. I think I would have passed out from nerves.

X Skipped school. My mom would sometimes let us take “mental health days” while we were growing up, and I extended this policy to myself during college and grad school. Although they were sometimes more accurately called “super fucking hungover days” at that point.

X Watched someone die. I was with my mom when she took her last breath, although I was too panicked and scared to hold her hand for it.

X Visited Canada. High school choir field trip y’all! My family also went to Niagara Falls where my favorite things were riding the Maid of the Mist and going to the Ripley’s Believe It or not Museum because I love hokey shit like that.

Visited Hawaii. Visited Alaska. Putting these two together because although I haven’t been, I fully intend on visiting both at some point.

Visited Cuba. Keeping this separate because I don’t have a strong interest in visiting. As someone with limited funds and vacation time, I have a travel prioritization list, and sadly Cuba, you haven’t cracked the Top 10 yet. No offense.

X Visited Europe. I wish there was a half an X I could make with a keyboard. I would put it next to this one. I have been to a handful of cities around the Mediterranean as part of my honeymoon after my first marriage. They were all gorgeous and amazing and I would love to go back. And I have a lot of places in Europe I want to visit – which is why you aren’t in my Top 10 list, Cuba. Sorry again.

Visited South America. Visited Asia. Visited Africa. Nope. And there’s no point in going to Africa now that Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard made the video I wanted to make about visiting there.

X Visited Las Vegas. I miss these annual trips! We used to go with a great group of people in the summers. R and I got married there!

X Visited Central America. This one is again a half X technicality. I’ve been on a cruise ship that stopped in Belize but I didn’t even get my ass off the boat. It looked pretty though.

X Visited Florida. My dad took us for the first time when I was in 8th grade. We went to Disney World and that trip remains one of the most magical trips of my life. Later, my brother was living there for a while, so Christmas was going to Disney and one of the many many restaurants that were open on Christmas Day. For someone who grew up in a place where the world shut down on Christmas Eve at 5pm, this was so weird. We’ve also sailed out of Port Canaveral and Miami on a couple of cruises. And I had a memorable Spring Break trip in Panama City my senior year of college. Although some truly bizarre, scary, weird shit happens in Florida, it is a nice place to visit.

Seen the Grand Canyon in person. There is a very dirty joke to be made here.

X Flown in a plane. In fact I fly so much I think I’ll volunteer to run the drink cart next time. Mostly because of the number of tiny booze bottles I could hide in my bra.

Served on a jury. I was called but the case ended before the jury was required. Sigh. I’d love to do this.

X Been lost. Not sure if this means physically, spiritually, or just in regards to what chore to do next, but yes, all of the above.

X Traveled to the opposite side of the country. Not precisely sure how this would be calculated from my current location, but as I’ve been to all the edges of the country, I’m gonna say yes.

X Visited Washington, DC. I love DC. The museums, the culture, even the Metro. DC is a city I could see myself living near. Not in, as I do not have the necessary personal wealth, but near. The first time I went to DC was on my first airplane ride around the age of 8 when I accompanied my mom to her stepdad’s funeral. His wife had to be sedated to stop her from throwing herself on the casket and screaming about how science had taken his eyes. My subsequent trips have been heavier on the fun and lighter on the funeral dramatics I am happy to say.

X Swam in the ocean. I did not see any ocean until the Panama City spring break trip I mentioned. Our first night there we went dashing out to the beach to walk around in the surf, by which I mean we started stripping off clothes and wandering around in the waves. Even though there was a tide warning because there had been storms in the area. Ah, college!

Played cops and robbers. Played cowboys and Indians. I do not remember ever playing either of these games. Although I did have my own game where I picked these weeds in our yard that looked a bit like wheat and collected them and added water and pretended to make bread like a settler. And yes I did so have friends.

X Recently colored with crayons. And you should too!

X Sang karaoke. In general, I do not do karaoke. But sometimes you are drunk on a cruise ship or at your bachelorette party or at a creative thinking retreat in a small New England town and a firefighter picks you up and puts you on a pool table and tells you to sing Shania Twain.

Sang a solo or duet in church. Where now? I actually probably would have done this during grade school, but since I wasn’t Catholic, but attended a Catholic grade school, I wasn’t allowed to join the group that performed at church.

Paid for a meal with coins only. This would require me to be organized enough with my pocket change to have it with me and counted and ready to pay.

X Made prank phone calls. At a slumber party at my best grade school friend’s house we were exchanging prank calls with boys and somehow talked my dad into calling them and pretending to be a police officer and telling them to leave us alone.

X Laughed until some beverage came out of your nose. This happens to me regularly. My life is blessed with laughter. Least painful to most painful: water, Diet Coke, milkshake, champagne, Four Horsemen.

X Caught a snowflake on your tongue. Only monsters haven’t done this. Not that I have an opinion.

X Had children. And I tell her every day how lucky I am to be her mommy.

X Had a pet. I actually don’t think there has ever been a time in my life when I haven’t had a pet, which is awesome.

Been skinny-dipping. Not the full monty.

X Been fishing. We used to fish with my Grandpa on Kentucky Lake. I caught a cat fish once and cried until they put it in a bucket and let it swim around. We also fished a bit when I was a teen, and during one of those trips my mom caught a snapping turtle. I recommend not doing that.

X Been boating. On one of our summer trips to Kentucky we were out on a pontoon boat in the middle of the lake when the boat broke down. My brother was wearing a tremendously fluorescent baseball cap that we used to attract the attention of a nearby boat. Bad fashion saves the day!

X Been downhill skiing. I went down a bunny hill twice, and the next most challenging hill once. I did this only because the guy I was dating at the time was a ski instructor, and we had only been on a couple of dates so I was still trying to impress him with how interesting I was instead of admitting that the idea of skiing terrifies me and I’d much rather be sitting in the lodge drinking alcoholic hot chocolate.

Been water skiing. I think this is even more terrifying than downhill skiing.

Been camping in a trailer/RV. Been camping in a tent. My one and only camping experience was with my Girl Scout troop in grade school, and it was more Camp Beverly Hills than camping.

Driven a motorcycle. Never driven, but I love being a passenger!

Been bungee jumping. No. No no no. Nope. Nope. No.

X Gone to a drive-in movie. This is, in my opinion, the best way to see a movie.

X Done something that could have killed you. For me, this includes walking, so yes.

X Rode an elephant. Rode a camel. At the zoo. Don’t go thinking I’m some awesome world traveler now, guys.

X Eaten just cookies, cake, or ice cream for dinner. See: college.

Been on TV. Not to my knowledge. If I have been, please let me know.

Stolen any traffic signs. No – not only is this a crime, it’s a lame crime.

X Donated blood. I try to do this whenever I can, and you should too!

X Gotten a piercing. Do ears count? Then yes.

X Gotten a tattoo. I have three so far.

Gone off road 4 wheeling. Ever owned your dream car. No, and owning a chauffeured limo with a champagne bar will not help me go 4 wheeling.

X Been married. Took me two tries to get it right.

X Fell in love. And I’ve been so grateful.

Paid for a stranger’s meal. The only time it occurred to me to do this I heard the person in front of me in line (my intended target) placing an order for his entire office. I’m generous, but not rich, and subsidizing donuts for an accounting firm isn’t exactly the point of paying for a stranger’s meal.

X Driven over 100 mph. When my grandma moved in with my dad, my then boyfriend and then best friend rented a car to drive down to her place to pick up her car for me to use. The rental car was this huge boat of a sedan, and I accidentally got it up to 120 without even noticing.

Been scuba diving. This is R’s department. They tend to want you to know how to swim in order to do this.

X Written a published book/story/poem. YOU’RE READING IT, SUCKERS. HAHAHHAHAHHA.

X Eaten snails. And it was a one time thing.

X Ridden in a Hot Air Balloon. R took me on a hot air balloon ride in Vegas as a Valentine’s Day gift one year. We got to help prep the balloon, help launch it, and help throw golf balls onto a putting green from the basket. The golfers did not appreciate that.

Rode in a helicopter. Perhaps I can take one to look at the Grand Canyon in person, and finally think of the right dirty joke to be made about that.

X Met a celebrity. I have walked straight into both Fiona Apple and Busta Rhymes. And I was in a play with Corky from Life Goes On.

 

So that’s me – 37 out of 64. I can’t see that number climbing drastically, as except for some of the travel things I don’t plan on adding many of these experiences. But it was a fun list just because of all the stories it reminded me of from my life. So thanks, Not My Bucket List for a fun walk down memory lane. Now off to spend the rest of my day thinking about the best dirty joke about seeing the Grand Canyon.

IUDon’t

So several weeks ago I posted a chipper little piece on how I was enjoying my new uterine accessory, the Mirena IUD.

Oh 20/20 hindsight, aren’t you a peach.

Several days after posting that piece I began to acknowledge that I hadn’t taken a deep breath in several days. I thought, well, I am super stressed out about the upcoming relocation, move away from all my friends and familiar places, etc. But as the days passed it got worse and worse. I actually had a couple full on anxiety attacks, which I haven’t had in years. But I kept shaking my head and saying, wow whee! I sure am stressed out by life!

In addition to the lack of breathing and anxiety attacks, I was also having memory problems, trouble sleeping, and a constant case of the sweats. Day by day, my existence was getting less and less enjoyable, mostly due to my mental state. It was all I could do to act normal around other people most of the time, although I was primarily concerned with not losing my crap in front of L. No 2 year old dealing with all the upheaval that was going on in our lives at that time needs her mom to suddenly start clutching at her throat and crying because she can’t breathe. I have always excelled at keeping myself together for the benefit of other people so that made the day to day a bit better. But even as I felt worse and worse and more and more anxious, I just kept thinking, well hopefully after the move is over I will feel better! I mean, even though I feel worse now than I felt about either of my parents dying, I’m sure I’ll perk up once we’re all settled in at the new place! (Insert crazed laughter here.)

And although I am certain that there was a lot of stress going on because of the move, it wasn’t until R was reading an article about potential side effects of IUDs that scared him a bit that it dawned on me that all of the insanity going on in my body might not be naturally occurring. It hadn’t even crossed my mind that the overwhelming emotional crisis I was having might be artificially induced, or heightened. Amazing what you can not see about your own situation, isn’t it? So I made an appointment to have the IUD removed.

And within 24 hours of the removal I was feeling almost like my old self again. It was amazing. There was still stress, sure, but I was handling it as well as I normally do, instead of having chest pains and shallow breathing and the absolute certainty that I was going to drop dead. I returned to my normal amount of sweaty, and no longer had to pretend like I was keeping it together – I (mostly) actually was.

So the moral of the story is don’t forget that you have a hormone laced plastic insert in your uterus when you start feeling terrible 24/7. This may not be the most universally applicable moral, but my name isn’t Aesop so you’ll just have to take it or leave it. I’m too busy enjoying the sensation of being able to take a deep breath to care.

So That Happened

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, and the reason is that I’ve been caught up in a sea change – my family relocated from my lifelong hometown to Minneapolis. My husband was offered a fantastic job, and we decided to go for it. And we’ve been packing, moving, working logistics, and reorienting for the last month or so.

I’m still feeling so greatly overwhelmed by this whole thing that I still can’t truly put it into words. I’m in a new city for the first time in my life. It’s exciting and scary, and stressful and energizing. I have no idea why I’m shying away from writing about it however – it’s like my brain is standing there, staring at the sausage machine (not a euphemism for a body part), with its little brain hands full of words and thoughts and feelings and emotions, and saying, nah, I really can’t bring myself to cram all this into the porous intestinal casing of the English language right now.

It’s unusual to me to feel so stymied about a topic. So I’m going to divide and conquer – fingers crossed. I’ll start trying to write little posts about small aspects of this huge event, and see if that makes it any more approachable. And then we’ll take it from there, my devoted eyeballs. All two of you. 🙂

But please forgive my absence, and know that if it were not for the fact that my emotions have been doing their best impression of Houdini’s water escapes recently, I would have been faithfully posting.

Camp Throwback

About a week ago, one of my closest friends and I got in the car with approximately 3,451 pounds of stuff and drove to that BFE place I’ve heard about so much over the years. We were on adventure decidedly outside the boundaries of my comfort zone – camping with about 100 strangers.

I had first heard about Camp Throwback from its founder, Brittany Gibbons. She’s an extremely engaging author, advocate, and fun-haver who writes a blog called Brittany Herself. You should go and read that blog immediately, and also buy her book Fat Girl Walking, which just came out. You should not miss the words coming out of this woman, seriously. Anyway, she had designed an event where adults could go and spend the weekend sleeping in bunk beds, doing camp things, and drinking alcohol. The response was amazing, and I thought to myself, maybe one day I’ll go.

Fast forward to May 2015 and our arrival at camp. Before we had even officially arrived we got welcomed – several cars were pulled over by the entrance sign for camp. We thought this was the line or something, so we pulled over as well. We were immediately hugged and warmly welcomed by strangers, and we all took turns taking pictures with the camp sign. We headed down the road and went to actually sign in, where I made an ass of myself by fangirling at Brittany as she sat innocently behind the registration table. Then we went off to find our cabin.

If college had done as good a job pairing me with roommates, I never would have moved off campus. I was extremely nervous about being in a cabin with 6 strangers, but they turned out to be the nicest, funniest, and funnest group I could have dreamed up for us.

Despite my loud mouth, I am at my core a shy person, who torments herself in her spare time by guessing how others might be judging her. But I had been told so many times that Camp Throwback was a place to be yourself, I discovered that I wasn’t worried about it. I didn’t worry about my hair, I didn’t worry about whether people would think I was a quitter if I didn’t Slip N’ Flip, I didn’t worry that people would roll their eyes at me if I said hi. I just was. And it was fantastic.

Camp has lots of fun activities – trivia contests (which my cabin won!), decorating shirts for field day, making friendship bracelets, napping. Getting dressed up and dancing to 80s songs. Three legged races involving SoCo shots. Cards Against Humanity. Napping. But the true richness of the event was in the environment and the people. I’ve seen a lot of campers commenting that they now have 100 best friends. I can’t say that, because I don’t think I even managed to learn the names of 25 people. But I can say that there are 100 people in this world who are allies, who believe that fun can be had with anyone as long as you be yourself, who won’t think you’re weird or awkward and not cool. There are 100 people who, if they saw me in my camp t-shirt at a store, would walk up and likely hug me and ask if the camp bruises were gone yet or if I’d been menaced by a raccoon lately. There are 100 people who I genuinely hope to see next year because I want to get to know more of them.

And that makes every spider sighting worth it.

On a Roll

It’s been one of those times around our house. You know, the times that cause other people to wonder which deity you managed to piss off so badly. I even got sent pity flowers by my stepmom. That kind of time.

Two weeks ago on a Saturday, I came down with strep throat. I had a fever so high my doctor later chided me for not going to the ER. Tuesday afternoon, my daughter had a playground accident. She and another kid were evidently doing their best impressions of freight trains and ran full speed into each other. She bounced and landed on her elbow, fracturing it. We spent the evening in the ER (at least someone got to go). On Wednesday she developed a fever. I took her to the pediatrician who said she either had strep or a sinus infection and regardless here are some antibiotics. We went to the orthopedist on Thursday and got her cast put on. Then on Saturday, my husband started to come down with the strep throat.

And then on Sunday, the dog got into the act. And by the act I mean her ass exploded. And not in the traditional way asses explode, but rather in the way specific to dog asses, where their anal glands become infected and then rupture. I had noticed on Saturday that things were looking a little harassed in Buttland, and made a mental note to call the vet on Monday. And then BOOM went the poop and puss filled dynamite. All. Over. The. House.

Happy Mother’s Day indeed.

So she got a trip to the ER. (I was starting to feel left out.) We followed up with our vet later in the week, who recommended a laser treatment for the dog’s butt. Yes, my dog is now just like a Kardashian, having fancy laser treatments on her butthole.

At least I had the entertainment of watching my 2 year old repeatedly get her cast stuck inside the dog’s cone of shame. Together they formed a hilarious, awkward, and adorably conjoined mess.

Here’s hoping we’re all healthy and happy soon!