Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I'm Not Spinning Because I'm Drunk

Ohmygod, you guys! This week has sucked!!

As part of my Summer of Firsts, I got to experience my first case of vertigo. Yes, vertigo. It's not as cool as that Hitchcock movie and I didn't just climb up a ladder and get a little freaked out. This is some serious shit, ya'll Serious. Like I could have lived my whole life without experiencing it and been blissfully, ignorantly, joyfully happy.

The doctor wasn't much help. Apparently it's an "inner ear irritation" that will go away on its own. Apparently in its own fucking sweet time.

Here's what else I learned:

1. Vertigo is stupid. Awful. Extremely uncomfortable. It's like being drunk without the benefit of being able to pass out. I couldn't trust myself to walk to the bathroom. Let alone pee.

2. Vertigo is kind of like the stomach flu. You throw up lots. Water, half a pancake, Sprite, whatever small amount is in your stomach. And then you dry-heave. Repeat.

3. I couldn't see with both eyes because nothing would stay still. One eye at least made things only double or triple and not like a hundred.

4. Reading is a privilege. Watching a movie is a privilege. Showering is a privilege. Driving is a privilege.

5. Also a privilege? Getting up at six in the morning to go run. I never thought I'd say that, but it's true. Not that I won't still complain about it and want to sleep in, but I will appreciate it more now.

6. Laying in bed for two days is fucking boring.

7. Being chronically ill or in chronic pain has to be intensely, unimaginably awful and I totally feel for those people. Seriously. All those privileges I have? Those people don't. If you know someone who is chronically ill, do something nice for them today. Right now.

8. I already knew this, but I'll say it again. I have the best friends in the world. The Wife drove me around, got me food and watched me puke (not for the first time, either). JW withstood the People of Walmart to get me a prescription to make the room stop spinning. I'm not even kidding. If you don't have friends like mine, your life is empty.

I'll be back when the ride stops and I can get off.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Embracing It

I decided to embrace my Bendness this summer and I have done it successfully and then some. I have hiked, camped, "run" a 5K, drank beer, gone to Brewfest (twice, even!) and biked around town. So when my friend Jan from Book Club suggested we go rafting as a group, how could I say no? Especially when she and her husband had all of the equipment and are actual guides. And super especially since Jan said we could do a Princess Cruise-type trip that wouldn't involve any paddling. Bonus!!!

We started setting up at our point on the McKenzie river. While the raft was being inflated, Michele asked to have a little pow wow with Jan. A little talk on where and how to fit her special chair into the raft. True, she has real back problems and needs to protect herself, but this wasn't good news for me. My Princess Cruise went right out the door. She stole it right out from under me! I had to paddle. And if you know me at all, you know I punished her at least twice a mile for the whole trip.

I halfway forgave her for bringing a delicious Asian noodle salad. Our chief guide, Greg, was obviously impressed with how well we eat. Yeah, it's a picnic but that's no reason to lower ourselves to potato chips and peanut butter sandwiches. As if.

And then I unforgave her for suggesting that our winter adventure consist of cross-country skiing to the spot where her husband proposed. Oh, sure. Two reasons to kill myself. Sign me up.

Overall, rafting was awesome and super fun and I can't wait to do it again. Really. I totally get why people do it.

And the best part? Ya'll, get this. On my way home I was speeding. Which is like, whatever. What's new? And then I saw a cop turn around to follow me. Shit. I waited for him to turn his damn lights on, which he did, and I pulled over. As I'm sitting there waiting for him to get it over with already, he pulled up next to me with his window rolled down and said, "I gotta go. You're free to go." What? I got away without the ticket that I always-always-no-matter-what get?

This Bend lifestyle might not be so bad after all.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Last night D's friend came for a sleepover. M hadn't been over before, it's sort of a new friendship. We introduced her to the glorious trash that is The Bachelor Pad. I hoped it wasn't corrupting her too badly.

At 3:30 in the morning D came in my room and woke me up. "Mom? I need to talk to you." She sounded panicked and laid down on my bed with me. She started crying so I curled her into me.

"We had shots of vodka."
Why would you do that?
"M wanted to. I'm sorry. Are you mad?"
I'm disappointed. And concerned. But not mad.
"She got drunk and started saying crazy things. I hate it when people get drunk."
That's why alcohol is for adults.
"It scared me. I'm sorry. Will I throw up?"
How do you feel?
You won't throw up.
"Don't tell my dad."
"Don't tell her dad. Please."
Everyone gets one hall pass.
"I'm sorry. I don't ever want to do it again. I love you."
I love you too.

She slept in my bed with me. I checked on M to make sure she didn't need any sort of medical attention. And then I lay there. Trying to decide the Right Thing To Do.

D asked me not to tell. Trust between us is Paramount. I need for her to feel safe. To tell me things. But I like M's dad and I respect him and I think he should know what his daughter is doing. Everyone can make a mistake but I get the feeling this isn't her first time.

Being the adult isn't fun. Being a parent is hard. I think the jury is still out on this one.

Right now the only thing I Know is how much I Love My Kid. I fail as a parent on a daily basis but at least I'm doing one thing right. It might be just one, but it's a big one.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

My First Race

I'd been using the excuse of having bad shoes to run much less this summer, so last weekend the wife and I went out and bought ourselves some new shoes. We were feeling all sporty and sassy and our friend K was there encouraging us to try a race. The Twilight 5K was described as a run/walk so we, in a moment of over-achievement, signed ourselves and our new shoes up for our first race. The fact that it was a mere four days away didn't even deter us.

Continuing our temporary insanity, we tried a new six-mile trail that evening. It was beautiful, the weather was perfect, the damn mosquitoes were out in full force spurring us on. I felt great, minus the mosquito attacks, until I got to the pavement. My perfect new shoes are trail shoes and they felt much different on pavement. I got a blister to prove it.

On the day of the race I perused the map and found that the whole race was on pavement. Not wanting to ruin it with blisters, I decided to wear my old gross shoes. Yeah, the ones that kept me from running all summer because they were hurting so much.

Wife and I got our numbers (I was 7) and cute new shorts for her and a (running) skirt for me. We felt sassy again. We drank water. We stretched. We were ready. At least as ready as we were going to be.

Those stupid old shoes I wore? Yeah. I got a serious shin splint in the first three minutes. I was whiny. It hurt. I walked. I jogged a little. Wife made me sprint a couple of times, which informed me of muscles I didn't know I had. On top of it all and at the risk of TMI, I had... well, let's just say female problems. I never run well on those days.

My original goal was just not to finish last and I didn't. But afterward I was so disappointed with myself and my time (40:25, even though it was reported incorrectly in the results). I felt like I could have done so much better. I guess I had more to prove to myself than I thought.

There's another 5K in a month and I'm considering it. I'm considering killing myself to get ready for it. At the very least, I have a time to beat now.

And something to prove to myself.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I Never Know....

Waiter: What are you girls up to tonight?
Us: Um. This is it. Eating.
Waiter: Girls' night out, huh?
Us: Um. Yeah. Sure. (Dude, it's Red Robin. It's food, not a wild night out.)

Waiter: Can I get you anything else? Maybe roll you out the door?
Us: ha ha ha....
Waiter: I'm off in a few minutes.
Us: ha ha ha.... (Wait. Did he just call us fat or hit on us?)

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The First Date

Right now, as I speak, D is getting ready for her first date. She's going to an afternoon movie with a boy she's known since elementary school. To her, this is a long time ago. To me, it is yesterday. Her friend C is here helping her pick out her outfit and what perfume to wear. I'm sure she shaved her legs, but I'm not going to ask.

It's an odd feeling for me. I'm excited for her, but I'm not excited that it's happening. Already. So soon. I'm not ready and I know she thinks she is, but she's 15. She doesn't know how to turn the washing machine on, what does she know about boys? Ideally, I would lock her in her room until she's 30 but I don't suppose that's realistic. Even if every judge in the country with a teenage daughter would understand and be on my side.

Yesterday we went to the lake for the afternoon, friend C in tow. C and I wanted only to lie in the sun, soaking up all the warmth that our limited summer offers us. D wanted to be in the water, on her float. I could see her little five-year-old self, full of enthusiasm and childish wonder. I was grateful that it's still there.

She finally convinced C to go out with her; she was just bursting to talk to her friend about the upcoming date, with all of the cringe-inducing details that I don't want to hear. They floated to the other side of the cove and sat there, legs dangling in the water, for a couple of hours. (Which made my day much more peaceful than the woman's next to me. The one with the three and five-year-old boys who were constantly bickering and whining.)

They came back for a snack and we discussed whether or not this is a real date. Being the mom (and the woman) that I am, I told her it's not a real date unless he pays for her. I don't care what the cost, even a token $7 for an afternoon movie shows that he is interested and wants to make a good impression. A real gentleman always pays for the first date.

On the way home, we were stopped for road construction. We were the first car in the line and the road crew guy got the biggest kick out of it. Windows rolled down, music turned up, all of us singing. The girls were in the back seat were bouncing up and down, rocking the car. I think it made his day, he laughed several times and waved as we drove by. Silly teenagers have a way of doing that.

Halfway home, both girls started screaming something incomprehensible. I turned the music down, afraid I had hit a small animal or one of the girls had gotten stung by a bee. They finally calmed down enough that I could make out, "HE'S PAYING!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Ah. So it's a real date after all.

I'm suddenly nervous for her. I want to tell her a hundred things about boys and how they can't be trusted (after all, this is a teenage boy we're talking about) and start counting down to the first time this boy breaks her heart. But I can't do that to her. She'll find all that out soon enough but right now she's excited and giddy and those are good feelings to have. We should all feel like that more often. This is her moment and I'm just lucky that I get to share it with her.

I've promised myself that I won't embarrass her when I drop her off. I won't stare lovingly at her or glare at the boy. Really. But I can't promise that a tear or two won't escape as I drive off.

Ready or not, my little girl is growing up.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Princess Puppy Goes Camping

Last week I went camping. Don't ask me why. I hate camping. Truly. But I thought the dogs would enjoy it. Remy had the chance to be Sailor Dog the week before and he was so cute, I suppose my fantasy extended to camping. I'm a very, very foolish girl.

As I said in my previous post, there were hordes of mosquitoes. Fucking hordes. We sprayed the dogs the best we could, but these were Evil Mosquitoes. There were still clouds of them around all of the dogs.

We built a fire and then went on the search for more firewood. Remy and Ruby were in dog heaven. The smells!! The places to pee!! The lack of a leash!!! Oh, heavenly day!!

I turned around to see Ruby several feet away with her face in the dirt. "What disgusting shit are you eating now?" Because this is what my Ruby Tuesday does. She eats shit, for Pete's sake! I called her, but she just looked at me and stuck her face back in the ground. I walked over to scold her, only to find that she had vomited and her face had blown up to grotesque proportions. Bumps all over her head. Her eyes were nearly swollen shut. Feeling her throat, I found bumps all along her neck. She looked like the Elephant Man in canine form. I was first horrified and then terrified.

Boston Terriers are brachycephalic dogs, which means that their airways are much shorter than other dogs. Their palates are softer and they are much more susceptible to breathing problems on a normal day. Add in a bad reaction from insect bites and it's a recipe for disaster. I called for Wife, trying to hide the panic in my voice.

Wife is an animal trainer and has worked in veterinarian's offices. I trust her judgment and asked what I should do, all the while cradling my Princess Puppy in my arms and begging God, the Universe, Whoever not to take her from me. I had brought ibuprofen for us, anticipating headaches from our night of drinking. She suggested I give her one to help with the swelling. I wrapped it in cheese, pushing the other dogs away. They hadn't properly earned a treat, being far from death.

We put Ruby in the car, to keep her from any more bites while we went to the three camp sites close to us to see if they had any Benadryl. Me with tears in my eyes, trying not to completely lose my shit. "We have Advil. " "We have ibuprofen." That is not what I asked for. Benadryl is not Ibuprofen. If I ask you for meth, are you going to offer me marijuana? Of course not.

I checked on her obsessively. At first, she laid on the car seat. Two minutes later, she was in the back seat. She perked up her ears when she saw me peering at her through the tinted window. I figured if she were alert enough to be curious about me, she'd be okay.

I left her in the car until we went to bed. She'd never been camping and had no idea what to do in a tent. She looked at me with her swollen face and an expectant look. Finally, she figured it out. She spooned into me. With her ass towards my face. And farted. I didn't care. I breathed that fart in like it was air freshener. It meant that my puppy was with me. Alive. I didn't sleep that night. I kept waking up to make sure she was breathing. If I couldn't feel her breath, I'd shake her until she stirred or snorted. She didn't get much sleep either.

In the morning, her swelling was reduced to one odd eye and a goiter on her neck. We had to leave our campsite for one without zombie mosquitoes and ended up at Sparks Lake. When she fought Candy for food, I was pissed. Bitches always fight over the dumbest stuff. And they got dirt in my macaroni salad. But I also breathed a sigh of relief.

I think my Princess Puppy has more in common with me than I thought. She's a city girl. She likes hotels and pillows. Ice water and fresh vegetables.

And, apparently, Benadryl.

Friday, August 05, 2011

The Only Reason I'll Ever Need To Hate Camping

I don't know what's gotten into me lately, but I'm turning into Nature Girl. I think it's because I'm Unemployed Girl and nature is mostly free. Shoes and cocktails are not. So I suggested to the wife the other day that I'd like to go camping, which she jumped on immediately. I love Wife, but she's not the most motivated person that she or I know. Say the word "camping", though, and she immediately texted back that she had just bought a tent and when did I want to go?

We chose (Where's) Waldo Lake for the name and because the guide book touted it as having the Bluest Water In the World or something like that. We packed the good camping food, the dogs and the booze and headed out with the slogan "chips and dips and s'mores and whores."

It was beautiful. The trees were beautiful. The sun setting over the lake was heartbreakingly beautiful. The camping spots were charming and we found one near the water. The dogs finally realized they had been taken somewhere Fun and got excited. I opened the car door to get out and look at something and that's when the nightmare began.

Hoards of mosquitoes were awaiting our arrival. They must have followed the car or our scent through the car because they were right outside the door flying in as soon as it was opened. I closed it immediately so we could plan our next move. We had bug spray. We were confident. First, we'd spray ourselves and then let the dogs out one by one to spray them. Done and done. We walked down to pay for our spot, clouds of mosquitoes following us. The poor dogs were walking in their own little clouds of buzzing. A mosquito flew into my mouth and stuck to the back of my throat. Ew. I coughed so hard I almost threw up.

We hurried back to start our campfire, thinking that would help diminish them. No. It didn't. These were like zombie mosquitoes, they just kept coming. Nothing stopped them. They turned into tiny little flying honey badgers. "We don't give a shit you're wearing a shirt, we'll bite you through it. Bug spray? Honey badger mosquitoes don't care. We don't give a fuck. We'll bite your head through your hair and fly down into your shirt." They were relentless and they fucking hurt when they bit. It was like being stabbed with syringes.

I've heard there is something that you can eat or drink to make the blood less appealing to them. I don't remember what it is right now, but I would have drank my own pee to get them to leave me alone. It was miserable.

By the time we gave up and went to our tent to sleep, they had died down quite a bit. Probably because they were just full from their evening buffet, not because they decided to leave us alone. We were sure that we could enjoy our breakfast next to the beautiful lake and float out to the Bluest Water In the World the next day.

When I woke up in the morning to go to the bathroom, the little fuckers were already out there. Waiting. At 8:00 in the morning! The cloud followed me to the bathroom and back. They flew into the tent so that we had to zip back up as fast as we could and spent the next couple of minutes killing the ones that had made it in.

We lay there trying not to panic. It was starting to get quite warm in the tent. We saw mosquitoes sitting on the screens of the tent, just waiting to get at us. Just. Waiting. Patiently.

We started to imagine we were stuck in an insect horror film. That our bodies would be found days later, completely drained of blood. The coroner would be completely baffled as to why two women and three dogs all died of the same cause.

Breakfast by the lake was obviously not an option. Staying for five more minutes was out of the question. We threw everything into the car as quickly as we could, frantically, shoving the dogs in first. As we were driving back through the campground, we saw a couple of people wearing mosquito net hats. That is not something I should see during my leisure time. Driving away, we were swatting at mosquitoes on the windows, the windshield, our bodies, the dogs, the dashboard. The inside of the car looked like a crime scene with blood smears and carcasses scattered everywhere.

Since my return home I have found bites on my legs, ankle, the arch of my foot, near my eyebrow, along my hairline, in my hair, on my back, stomach, chest, side, basically any skin surface on my body. Motherfuckers!!!

Obviously this does not bode well for future camping trips. As if there will be another one. I'm not good at being Nature Girl.

Shoes and cocktails are just so much easier to enjoy.
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