Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The One In Which I Didn't Cry

D has been bugging me for months to let her get her permit. Months. Months. Endlessly. It wasn't annoying at all. Not a bit.

Anyhoo, I gave her one condition. Just one. No permit until she had a semester of straight A's. Simple, right? Not so much I guess. And then this year she got sick and missed two months of school. What to do, what to do....

She'll be 16 in two months and summer is a better time to learn to drive than winter so I did it. I caved. It's not that simple, but that pretty much sums it up.

Secretly, I was hoping she wouldn't pass the test. What's wrong with delaying it a little longer? Then it's her fault and not mine. That is called Brilliant Parenting. I even helped her study last night. Point scored!

Well, guess what? She passed. Barely, but passing is passing. Passing meant she got a little piece of paper that allows her to legally get behind the wheel of a car. She hates her picture so that means they did it right.

She couldn't contain her excitement. She texted everyone she knew, put it on Facebook, and walked on air for the rest of the day.

She convinced me to let her try driving. Sigh..... Fine....

I took her to a pretty empty neighborhood. Lots of unsold houses. She got behind the wheel, put on her seat belt and I started to tell her how to adjust her seat, only it got caught in my throat. I had my sunglasses on, but they didn't hide the fact that there was a single tear. Just one, but she caught it. She'll never let me live it down.

And then the street wasn't long enough. And there were too many stop signs. I didn't expect her to actually get the car in motion the first day. We soon ran out of road.

Next I took her to an empty road on the side of town with very little traffic and even fewer stop signs. And my kid? Sure, she hit a few potholes. She swerved a lot going straight. She stalled the car, lurched forward, hit the brakes too hard. She brushed against a couple of bushes. But she drove. Probably eight miles each way. It felt longer because she only got up to 40 mph once and stayed around 25 the rest of the time. A car passed us. But she drove around and passed a bicycler without panicking. She stayed calm.

She even had the wherewithal to come up with the quote of the day. "That was my first four-way!"

God, I love that kid.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

I'm Not Asking for That Much

A couple of months ago I shared the struggle I have with depression and what my feelings are surrounding it. I know that it’s real and if I could, I’d choose a life without it. I also know I’m not alone and I know there are people with more severe forms and their suffering is greater and also real. So when the following incident happened to me, I was more than a little bit upset and it’s taken me a while to form the right words to describe it and how I felt. There are certain things that shouldn’t happen or shouldn’t be said and this is one of them.

I went to my regular pharmacy which happens to be at Walmart. I know plenty of people who refuse to shop there for varying reasons. For me, it’s close to my house and my prescriptions there are inexpensive, which is a good enough reason these days. I was picking up two prescriptions that I’ve had for the last two years. One was my antidepressant and the other a medication to help lower my cholesterol. Since I’ve been on both for so long, I typically don’t have to see the pharmacist but on this occasion, for some odd, unknown reason, I was required to check with him before being given my prescriptions.

He was an older gentleman, rather grandfatherly-looking. He first picked up my cholesterol medication, noted what it was for, and then looked at me skeptically, asking, “Is this for you?” I was a bit taken aback, but I’m fortunate enough to appear younger than I actually am (even if I don’t feel it) so I just answered yes. He asked again, “Do you have high cholesterol?” Um, yes. I’m not taking it for the fun of it. He next picked up the packet of antidepressants. “And these are for your moods?” I stammered yes, took my bag, turned, and walked away.

The whole way out the store, to my car, and on the way home I thought of a hundred responses that I wish I’d thought of in that moment. My “moods”? Like I’m some weak little woman that needs a pill for mere moodiness? That man reduced what thousands of people suffer from, what is a real disease, what I’d be overjoyed to never have to deal with again, to a minor little moody episode. I suspect he really believes that it’s all about my period and my inability as a woman to succeed in the world without men like him.

It was insulting. It was demeaning. It was absolutely inexcusable. I expect better behavior from a professional. I expect non-judgment. I expect and deserve to be treated with respect. I would say something about how, especially in today’s economy, businesses should be doing their absolute best to keep the customers they have. Only it’s simpler than that because it’s only about respect and being educated enough to know better. Frankly, I expect a pharmacist to know better and to be better informed about the medications they dispense.

I’ve been thinking about how to address this issue with Walmart because I think they need to know about the kind of people they employ. Because of this man’s condescending attitude towards me, and by extension, others like me, I’m seriously considering switching pharmacies. I’m seriously considering taking all of the shopping I do elsewhere. I like Target better anyway, but it happens to be on the other end of town. However, I’ll give up convenience if it means being treated fairly and with respect. If it means interacting with knowledgeable, professional people without judgment, I’ll gladly go out of my way.

Depression is hard enough.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

A Birthday Love Letter

The wife, as I like to call her because she’s my bff but that term is really overused plus she does things only a spouse should have to do like go to my kid’s choir and ballet performances, is celebrating her birthday today. I’m glad that it’s sunny because the weather can really suck ass this time of year but also because she deserves a really sunny day. She also deserves more than the stupid gift I got her but what gift can you buy that says “I love you more than you’ll ever know for a billion million reasons because you’re like Christmas and summer and chocolate cupcakes all rolled into one”?

We met three and a half years ago. I was freshly heartbroken after the end of a long-term relationship and trying to make the most of it by throwing myself a housewarming party. A new acquaintance brought The Wife along because she was also freshly dumped as well as newly unemployed and needed some cheering up. I would have expected someone in that position to be a puddle on the floor, especially knowing that in my state the only thing holding me together most days was copious amounts of vodka. She, however, seemed to be doing well. Not that she was resentment-free, but she was still funny in a dry and sarcastic way. My favorite kind. I liked her immediately.

Our friendship built slowly. I liked her more every time we got together. She, on the other hand, recently told me that she didn’t see us becoming close at the beginning. Not because she didn’t like me, because, well, duh. But because she thought we were so different.

In some ways we are different. She likes to snowboard and I hate anything having to do with snow or getting hurt. I am definitely the girlier, wimpier one. She owns a lizard which kinda freaks me out. She is teenager-free. I’m usually the organized one, the plan-maker. I own more shoes than she does and I’m afraid to admit that I’m the fussy one. None of these differences matter. If anything, they work to compliment the ways in which we’re alike.

We both like pajamas more than jeans, animals more than most people, and cheese more than other so-called food. Like most women, we constantly complain about our bodies and alternate between motivating and sabotaging each other. We’re separately stronger than we think but together probably unstoppable. Each of has so much distance in our families, of varying kinds, that we’ve chosen the other as family. And yet I’d never call her my sister because she’s less and more and something completely different.

What kind of friend is she? She’s the kind of friend that just does, no questions asked. She’s taken care of my sick dog when I was out of town and crying on the phone. As far as crying goes, she’s listened to and seen me cry more times than I care to tell you. She’s watched me make the same mistakes over and over with guidance and love, never making me feel like more of an idiot than I already knew I was. She’s showered me off after I’ve had the misfortune of puking on myself and taken me to the doctor when I had vertigo so badly I couldn’t dress myself. When someone says that a friend is there for them, her friendship is the standard by which I measure that effort.

I think the nicest compliment I ever received about us was from a friend who said that The Wife and I take better care of each other than anyone she’s ever known. I know she takes exemplary care of me and I only hope that I come close to that for her. She is a major reason I made it through the last year relatively unscathed.

So, here’s to my wifey on her birthday. My friend, I love you more than I can tell you. I don’t know how to form the words that would describe what your friendship means to me or how deeply I treasure the laughter, our utter zaniness, your generosity, acceptance, and understanding. I cherish your friendship as no other and I look forward to our future adventures, mishaps, and shared memories.

I simply adore you and love you. Thank you for being my friend.
Happy Birthday.
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