Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentimes!

Hope you had a swell day full of candy and flowers.

My day started off well enough but alas, I was foiled by Bart yet again. Not that the train didn't come or didn't go where it should. It came, and shortly after stepping on board, I was gagged by a toxic cloud of cigarette smoke, heavy perfume and some sort of hair product.

The front car is often the least crowded, as was the case this morning, but least crowded at 8:30 a.m. means you're still standing, just not on top of each other. There was no where else to stand as I tried to breathe through my book. She was next to me and I had no where to go but off the train.

But if I got off the train, I'd be late, so I decided to find a spot near the other side of the train when we hit the next stop. I thought, How bad could it really be?

I tried to focus on my book and take short, shallow breaths for the last 10 minutes of the ride. When I got back above ground I breathed deeply all the way to my office. I'd made it and now I could clear out my lungs.

Upstairs, I sat down in front of my computer and I could still smell that heavy, oily, tar pit of stench - WTF? I smelled the skin on the back of my hand - it was on my skin. ON MY SKIN.

I ran to the bathroom and washed every exposed inch of skin, but I could still smell it. It was in my nose, like when you've been sitting around a campfire then later you blow your nose and you smell the smoke.

But this was no campfire. I'd have loved a campfire. Or some dirt. Lighter fluid. Maybe a block of stinky cheese. But not this. This was nasty. Naaaaaaaaaasty. Unfortunately, my meeting was about to start and I had to go.

After my meeting I ran to Walgreen's for Febreeze. I sprayed my shirt, my coat and my hair. Short of taking another shower, there was nothing else I could do.

I think I washed my hands 38 times. I tried to wash out my nose twice (not easy), and thought about washing my hair with hand soap. I couldn't wait to get home for a Silkwood shower.

On the news tonight a woman actually said "valentimes" and wasn't trying to be funny. When exactly is Valentimes again?

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Left for Cream Cheese

This post is all about the importance of communication and keeping one's imagination in check. Or taking a pill. But mostly it's about communication.

Rooty might remember a similar story about David and his trip to Monterey. We're still working on "checking in" and "using your words."

The other day we got outta bed and David said he was going to run to the store to pick up cream cheese. It was just before 9 a.m. when he took off to the store. I pushed the button on the magic box and had some toast.

I later curled up on the couch with the crossword and as it got closer to 10 a.m. thought it must be stupid busy at the store and he'll be pissed, caught up in the crowds just for cream cheese.

I'm not really a worrier, but when you know your husband's trip to the store should only take a half hour, you start to wonder - did someone crash into him? Did he drive into a tree? Did he slip on a pickle & hit his head and not remember who he is? Is he wandering the streets eating pickles?

The thought of the car wreck came into my head when I heard screeching tires down the street. He was probably fine - but then again, it *could* happen. People have accidents every day. Maybe he was in the ER and soon I'd get the call... if he remembered who he is...

Soon after 10 I thought I'd try him on his cell phone & see what was up. As I dialed the number I walked back toward his office with a hunch. Yup - there it was, ringing on his desk. No reaching him that way.

I got ready to run some errands and around 10:30 went out to the porch for some air. At this point I was worried. On one hand, I was sure everything was probably fine, but on the other hand, you never know. Stuff happens. No one's immune to accidents or UFO abductions in the dairy aisle.

While on the porch I saw Crazy Neighbor Bob puttering around his yard and was reminded of a conversation we'd had a couple of weeks earlier. We were next door at a neighbor's open house when Bob told us about trying to get women in the neighborhood to go out with him. No matter what he tried, no one would go on a date with him.

At that moment I thought, Christ, if anything happens to David, that guy is gonna be over here trying to get me to go out with him.

Now I'm not distraught, but I can't begin to figure out what's happened. Where could he be? Has he left me using the pretense of going out to get cream cheese? I won't be able to tell anyone that - I'll have to say I caught him with an XBox robot and that was it.

When I came back inside I heard him talking on the answering machine and ran to the phone to pick it up. He finished his message just before I could press the Talk button. Now I had to call him back. I scrolled to the number in the phone and jammed down the Talk button.

He answered, chipper as ever. My frazzled state was obvious as I asked what the hell had happened to him. Then he was annoyed, not understanding why I could be so frustrated and worried. What's up with me? I, I, I, but, where, what, WHERE ARE YOU?

He was at work, of course. How could I not know he was at work? He *said* "I'm going to the store to grab some cream cheese." How did I not understand that also meant, "While I'm out, I'm going to stop by work to grab a file I couldn't access last night and while I'm there, I'll get caught up helping the IT guy with a server problem and after that I'll pick up the cream cheese."

Much later that same day, as we enjoyed a tasty dinner, he apologized for his loner, latchkey kid ways and I reminded him of the conversation we'd had with Bob. He promised to never let anything happen to him, ever.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Neo, Program Director

Neo in his favorite chair, San Mateo, 2001

We live with gifted creatures. Intelligent beyond our understanding, we're lucky they tolerate us and our Neanderthal ways.

The oldest, Ninja, enjoys accosting expensive gabardine trench coats and sleeping smack in the middle of the floor in a high-traffic area. Some of his favorite toys are air, lint, plastic bags and socks.

His younger sister, Nikita, likes to enforce strict bedtimes by standing on your chest, obstructing your view of the book you were trying to read. She'll do this until you give in and turn off the light, then she'll leave.

Then there's Neo. Neo isn't so much a cat as he is a muppet, a bear cub, and a bulldog in the shape and form of a cat. He runs the house and there's no way he's not getting what he wants when he wants it the way he wants it.

The other morning at 4:30 a.m. he paid us a visit in bed demanding attention. He doesn't just jump up on the bed and meow. He jumps up onto the foot of the bed and walks up David's side, meowing all the way up to the headboard where he stands on top of the books, meowing and rubbing his cheeks on the bindings as they slide this way and that off the headboard.

He'll stay there until I can get my hand up to pull him down onto the bed, where he'll sometimes settle on the fleecey blanket near my feet, but oftentimes he'll make several more laps around the bed, meowing, rubbing, and walking on your hair.

He made another lap and as I tried to get him down, he stepped onto my clock radio, which has several buttons on top of it. One turns on the radio, one turns it off, one is the snooze and one turns on the CD player.

I heard the buttons clicking and started to get annoyed. I was struggling to get my hand around his shoulder to pull him toward me and called his name loud enough to rouse David. Now we were both awake at 4:30 a.m. and annoyed at Neo for being a giant needy baby.

As I tried to wrangle him off the radio he stepped onto the CD Play button and a second later we heard the soothing Sounds of Nature's ocean waves. As he jumped onto the bed, David and I simultaneously said, "Hey, that sounds nice..." and put our heads right back down on the pillows and back to sleep.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Holy Plastic Zippers, Batman!

We're saved!

Where is S.C. Johnson's Nobel Prize? Do they realize they've single-handedly saved the world from terrorism with their little one quart zip lock bags?

I felt so secure on my flight knowing no one on board had more than a quart bag's worth of liquids, gels, or pastes - except those with less-than-perfect eyesight traveling with contact lens fluids and mothers with infants traveling with formula.

At one airport the agent never checked my rollaboard and instead gave my backpack the equivalent of a strip search.

At another airport they went through both bags and explained the contact lens solution didn't have to be in the one-quart bag, but it still had to be taken out so they could "see it." Um, Betty, I have something you can see if you want to see something.

So here's my new policy. If you're traveling by plane, fuck the luggage and don't worry about getting dressed. Wear your robe and slippers and throw all your shit into a clear plastic trash bag. You're wasting your time neatly packing your things into a tidy suitcase.

And those nice clothes you like to travel in? Don't bother. You'll have to take off your belt, your watch, your hair clips, your shoes, and possibly your bra if it's providing weapons-grade support. Why waste all that time? Robe & flip flops.

You'll get through security in a flash and won't have to worry about getting dressed all over again or repacking your shit in a frenzied rush to get out of the way and off to your gate.