Sunday, November 30, 2008

I whistle a happy tune

I worked today, then came home to The Brat's retelling of the Great Camping Adventure, which was a great success. Dan's not home yet from Cleveland, so I plopped on the couch, with full intention of listing some patterns on the website. Several hours later, I've still not listed one.
Why, you ask? It's because Jill had The Two Towers on the TV.

I have seen this movie at least 20 times. No joke, except for the fact that saying I've "seen" it may be a stretch. We bought the DVD shortly before Dan went on his first mission trip to Mexico. That was the week I opened my ebay store, which entailed a lot of sitting around figuring out HTML code, IM'ing a friend of Thomas' when I got stuck, counting pattern pieces, taking pictures (yeah, we didn't have a scanner yet). When one is spending so much concentrated time on the computer, one needs something on either the radio or the TV, so I chose The Two Towers. The kids think it's because of my fascination with Legolas (not Orlando Bloom. Legolas), but it was really because the music in that movie is simply so beautiful that you can listen to it over and over again. I've never bought the soundtrack, but I listened to the movie at least ten times in that week alone. So when Jill had it on today, I couldn't resist, and sat and listened while catching up on email and editing the website.

Jill got irritated when I mentioned, for probably the bazillionth time, how much I love the music in the Lord of the Rings series. Oh well. It was no more irritating to her, than the fact that when Titanic came out, I purchased the soundtrack, but never once was able to listen to it in its entirety with Jill around. Jill, who had never seen the movie, would begin freaking out midway through, running through the house, hands over her ears, screaming "they're in the water, they're all dying! Turn it OOOOOOOOOOOOFFFFFFFFFFFF!" And I'll be double dipped, but she always did it in the part of the soundtrack where the people really WERE in the water, dying. She had some kind of Music Whisperer gene that told her when the life jackets were donned.

One time, Thomas, who loved Titanic, said to me "Mom, she's in the tub. She won't hear it. Can we please listen to it now?" I figured he was right, and put it on pretty softly on the CD player. I'll be darned, right about the time that things went south in the movie, The Brat jumped outta the tub, grabbed a towel, and came outta the bathroom screaming about the carnage and that we HAD to turn it off.

To this day, she has never seen that movie, and she's never heard the whole soundtrack.

So if you want some more uplifting music, listen to one of these: any of the Lord of the Rings movies, The Wedding Singer (his song to Linda is hilarious, and the song at the end requires a hankie, it's so precious), Moulin Rouge (listen to the soundtrack unless you want your heart ripped out by the movie), The Sound of Music (the hills are alive........), Gladiator (gruesome, but GREAT music), White Christmas (watched it last night, for the second time in my life -- yeah, I don't understand how that happened either), O Brother Where Art Though (nothing short of hysterically funny, now matter how many times you see it), Walk the Line (I love Joaquin Phoenix, and the clothes are just plain eye candy), The King and I, et cetera, et cetera......

I just love music, which was a seed planted early on by our parents in all of the Mitchell kids. Same goes for the movies. And yeah, I can't resist great fashion either, which is what this little velvet number from Fuzzie Lizzie is. It's yours, for a song.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Bowling for cab fare

Since everyone (aka Dan, Jill, and Thomas) are all gone tonight, I took Seth out to dinner, just the two of us. Being Saturday night, the parking lot was pretty full, and after I parked, Seth told me that the car next to us had a keypad on it like Dan's baby, the 1990 Towncar he bought from a customer of his. Keypad entry. Yep.

We had a van with keyless entry once. It was, as I remember, a red Mercury Villager, I think, and was really pretty. (We all know how I love red.) One night, we went up to the northside to do an American Heart Association Bowl-a-thon -- nerdy, but for a good cause and, being run by one of Dan's charge nurses, it was kind of a must-do. We picked up some good friends of ours and went up for a leisurely night of us against the pins.

When we got in there, we found out that they had a 50/50 pot going, as well as some door prizes. I, of course, never ever carry cash, so I looked at Dan for the bucks. He took off to the car, because he'd left his wallet there. Not the smartest move, but YOU try telling him not to do it. He came back in, we bought tickets, and I ended up winning a healthy heart cookbook. I love winning things. W

We had a nice evening of bowling, and when we went to go home later, Dan went out to warm up the car. It was probably 20 below -- one of the coldest nights in memory, so warming the car up was a great idea. He ended up coming back in, announcing that he couldn't get in the car. What in the world? How can you not get in the car, when the car has keyless entry?

Only in the land of Utter chaos could events unfold like this: he had left his wallet and keys in the car. Left the keys in the ignition. Left the ignition on, in the accessory position, so when he went out there to warm the car up, the battery was dead, rendering the keyless entry useless, while the only set of keys we had were in the car. In the ignition. Worst part was, when I asked him, he said he'd left them in the ignition on purpose, because he'd know where they were, wouldn't lose them, and "I knew I could use the keyless entry to get in."

That's the fireworks started.

Suffice it to say that 24 hour locksmiths lie -- they work banker's hours. We ended up having to call a cab to take us home which, by now, was probably 1 or 2 in the morning. Next thing you know, Dan was talking to his buddy about splitting the fare, since we had to all ride to their house to drop them off first, before going to our house which, of course, added to our fare. I made no bones about the fact that no way was Biggie gonna pay half for a cab that he hadn't needed till Dan left the keys in the car with the car still on. When it finally arrived, we piled into the cab, and when Dan mentioned that someone would have to sit up front with the driver, the looks he got from us were enough to tell him that that person would happen to be him.

He sat there, repeating the night's events to the driver, who I'm not even sure spoke English. Dan said "you don't think it's my fault, right" and was met with a rather blank stare that either said "stupid American," or "I'm gonna keep my mouth shut, cause the wife is obviously the one paying the tip." Dan looked at Biggie for help. Biggie just looked at him as only a best friend can, and said "face it, Dan, you f***** up."

Silence for the entire rest of the ride home.

Next day, Dan had to get a ride up to the bowling alley, as the van was our only car at the time. He waited for the locksmith, apparently telling the whole sordid story to him, in search of someone to back him up. When I asked him what the locksmith said about the whole thing, he shot me a furtive look and skulked out of the room.

We've never had keyless entry since. Never done a bowl-a-thon since, either. And I don't think Biggie and his wife have rode anywhere with us since -- they meet us on location. Me, I just make sure that a) I drive whenever we go out and b) I carry the keys, hopefully while wearing this fabulous poodle vintage bowling shirt, available now from Fast Eddie's Retro Rags. Sure, the name says Lillian, but one more incident of craziness like that and I'm going into Witness Protection anyway, so this will give me head start.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Turkey Day!

We're having Thanksgiving today, two days ahead of the curve. The Brat is going camping this week with the crew from her place of employ, so we're having the turkey dinner whilst we're all together, and before she freezes to death in the great outdoors.

I'm not the best grocery shopper in the world. Personally, I hate grocery shopping, so sent Daniel out with a list. Twice, because of course a) I forgot a few things the first time, b) The Brat added a few of her own choices, and c) I was working, and one of my co-workers felt she might die without Diet Pepsi. Off to Meijer he went -- against his better judgement, but it was close to where he'd dropped Seth at drumming, and amongs the Stepford Wives of Carmel. I don't think he'll be going there again any time soon.

This morning, I got up and got the turkey in the oven, after stuffing it with yummy sage dressing. Getting that crazy bird ready reminded me of a Thanksgiving, about ten years ago, when Jill had just become a vegetarian. She walked in as I was pulling the baggies of innards out of the bird. Her eyes were wide when she asked me what the heck I was doing. "What the heck is that," she said. "The neck," I said. She gasped. "You chopped its head off," she said. "No, honey, it was already cut off before I got it at the store." "Oh." That seemed to give her some sense of relief, because she relaxed a little. "Well, what's that? she said, pointing to the other little baggie in my hand. "This? Oh, it's the heart and the liver," I said.

You ripped its HEART out, she said, then tore out of the room. Oh good heavens, can't a woman even fix a turkey in peace around here? She showed back up shortly, looking as pale as a ghost. "did you get sick," I asked her. "No," she said. "What're the dogs eating?"

I didn't answer.

So today, when I opened up the baggies and pulled out that liver and heart, with three dogs standing around me just waiting for a treat, they went away hungry. No meaty treats for them as long as Jill's around. Poor babies! So when I went checking around, looking for a dog treat, I found this cute dog print shirt, from Lynn's Rags, on ebay.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Give it to Mikey

The Heir to the Throne works with me, doing data entry. He likes it, because it's the perfect job: get paid to have essential no human interaction. It's perfect for him.

He enters all of our pages into our software, so the nurses can stay busy doing nursey stuff. Put your aces in their places, as McDonald's teaches. Essentially, he gets to see all the topics of the pages as they come in, but never really hears too much about the end result. He looked forward to starting there, because he knows about all of the weird things people call us for. Sadly, it's been pretty quiet there since he started, but I think yesterday took the proverbial cake.

I was over checking out the situation with another nurse. The boss had shown up on a weekend, which is unusual, but we were trying to solve a software issue someone was having, so she dropped in to play tech support and see some staff who normally don't see her. I walked over to see if they'd resolved the software issue that had plagued my co-worker for weeks, when over walked Thomas.

"I want to know how this call ends," he said. "Why," I asked, because he rarely expresses much interest in the calls. "You'll have to read it yourself," he said, so I headed over to read the incoming email, which read

"thinks the babey ait the cat"

Granted, this particular answering service is not known for its accuracy. They do give us some amusements, like paging a name as Yoda instead of Yoder. They drive us nuts with the misspellings and, when we call to have the doctor paged, they page the nurse sitting in the next cubicle instead. One of my co-workers calls them The River People, because she's sure that they are a by-product of some Deliverance-like environment. Either way, I'd never seen anything like this, and we all started arguing over who was going to take this call.

I had a trainee who was asking how they wouldn't know if the baby ate the cat, but how would the baby do that anywhere, when the call disappeared from the screen. Suddenly everyone started pointing fingers at each other, griping that they never get the good stuff. When I looked it up, I realized that my friend Ann had snagged it from home, where she works, complete with lap dog and bunny slippers. Man, the home agents are not supposed to get these calls, because we miss all the fun discussion afterward if no one in the office gets it.

I watched for a while, wondering how a mom wouldn't know if a kid had swallowed the cat. Wouldn't the tail be hanging out? Would he yack up a hairball? Ann hung up the phone, and I promptly called her to get the scoop, and read her the riot act for taking the most interesting call of the day. She answered with her typically angelic voice that meant that she hadn't looked at the caller id to see that it was me, which always then turns into giggles when she realizes it's me.

Turned out the cat was safe when mom found the kid sitting in the litter box, and thought that he might've eaten cat POOP. This, for those who are less informed, is not a big deal, and you just need to watch the kiddo for any GI signs like vomiting and diarrhea, which rarely show up. But, jaded as we are, we got some leverage from this discussion, which meant that Ann had to go into a description of where the cat poop was smeared on the child's body (basically head to toe), what kind of cat it was, the consistency of the poo, etc. At this point, my trainee probably started reconsidering her new career, but we had fun with it for the rest of the day. Amongst all the vomiting that seems to be taking over our city, the labor patients who all were delivering yesterday, and the stray "I have to go on a job interview, does alcohol/marijuana/insert drug of choice show up on a urine test", you gotta admit, the possibility of a baby eating a cat seems fodder for some pretty interesting discussions.

Discussions which, of course, made me think of Mikey, the Life Cereal kid back in the day, whose cat disappeared shortly after his brothers agreed "give it to Mikey, he'll eat anything." Click to see the video.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Elizabeth Taylor Calling

The craziest thing happened at work tonight. I was sitting there, plugged into my phone like a good little triage nurse, waiting for the next crazy person to call, accompanied by my obedient little trainee, when my private line rang. Now, I use the word "private" line loosely, because it's recorded too, which means that my reviewer can hear me griping at the hubby and kids every time they call me, but oh well. Everyone needs a little drama in their life.

First thing I notice is that I don't recognize the area code on the caller id, so I go to the all-knowing Google, and find that it's in Kentucky, whilst I am picking up the line. I'm met with a female voice who informs me of a very personal problem that happened while, shall I say, she was doing Number Two. It sounded like my friend Steph, who is insane, but definitely doesn't live in Kentucky -- though Greenfield, Indiana it does have its similarities. Trying to figure out who it is, I asked "how did you get our number tonight" and was promptly told, "from your husband."

She gave me a few clues, but the definite Kentuckiness of her accent threw me, till she confessed that it was Mel, a friend who was a bridesmaid in our wedding. Mel, who I had misplaced the contact info for after her third wedding, back when Jill was a baby. She said she's on hubby #4 now - "just call me Elizabeth Taylor" she said -- so I think I will.

It was Mel who drug me out on that fateful night that I met Dan -- something that I can alternately thank her for, and curse her for, depending upon the day. Mel, who was working with me in ICU on the night that someone -- maybe her -- found the "kiss me" tattoo in a very intimate part of a comatose motorcycle accident victim's anatomy. OUCH! And speaking of accidents, Mel was the one who got a concussion in my car accident, the day before our wedding. She walked down the aisle with ammonia capsules tucked into her flowers. Yeah, there's a few memories there.

It was always Mel who Dan always worried about, because of his weird idea that all divorced women are nymphomaniacs -- who on the rare night that we both got off from work at the same time, went to dinner with me at the Kapok Tree Inn in Clearwater, and helped me devise the plan that probably embedded in Dan's head forever that divorced women will lead the innocent down the path of unrighteousness, if you turn your back on them for even a second.

Mel and I went out to dinner that night, then came back to Bradenton and drove out to Anna Maria Island. Sat in the bar at, I believe, The Sandbar restaurant -- might've been somewhere else -- and had one single strawberry daiquiri, while we sat and talked. For a long, long time. I don't remember what else we did, but I know that we got home around 11:30 or so, stone cold sober from a night of Cokes and yacking about work and all that rot. I got home to a note on the table saying "call me when you get in. I can't find my keys."

Now, the man was working nights at the time, but how does one get to work without car keys, when work is several miles away, and there is no bus? Now, Mama didn't raise no dumbie. I knew that he just wanted to know 1) what time I got in and 2) what shape I was in when I got there. I found his keys, of course, in the first place I looked. So, me being me, knowing Dan and his lack of subtlety, and with some help from Mel, we devised a plan. We sat and talked till about 3:30a.m., when I called Dan to announce that yes, I was home. Did my best drunken voice. "HONEY! You're drunk" he said. "What did you have to drink?" "Six Singapore Slings," said I, whilst Mel is stifling a chortle from the couch. Dan's response was nothing but an asthmatic wheeze, because he knew that one or two of these was well enough to knock my sorry butt into lala land.

Now remember, I had had only one strawberry daiquiri, almost 8 hours earlier. Nothing else but Coke after that.

Dan was appalled, and a wee bit unforgiving. He said "well, you're going to have to come pick me up at 7, when I get off, cause I got a ride here, but I don't have a ride home." I mumbled back that he had to find his own ride home, cause I was drunk, slammed the phone down, and died laughing with Mel. We trashed the apartment, leaving a lamp by the door askew, clothes lying on the floor in the living room, and generally just making a mess. Mel went home, and I went to bed. Woke up the next morning -- over twelve hours now since my single daiquiri the night before -- to Dan climbing into bed. I rolled over and gave him a big "Hi," with emphasis on the H. "Oh my God, Lisa," he said. "You smell like a distillery."

Apparently, a wild imagination negates any sign of morning breath.

It took several years for Mel and me to tell him the truth about that night, and to this day, I'm sure he still thinks that we were sleazing around, like divorced nymphomaniacs do. It still makes me laugh, just remembering how appalled he was at his floozy wife and her nympho friend, out for a night on the town. And so in memory of that wonderful night out with Elizabeth Taylor, I went looking for the bridesmaid's dress that Mel wore in our wedding, which seems to pop up at every thrift store I visit. Alas, tonight, it eludes me, so I found a reasonable facsimile on ebay, offered by Rainydaycloset. Ammonia capsules not included.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Post election relaxation disorder

We had a party at our house last night, so we could watch the election returns together. Conservative food, liberal drinks, as they say, and a bunch of steadfast Obama supporters. Oh, and one wise guy who said that IF he could vote, he'd vote for Gordon Brown. Yeah, he's a Scotsman in Indiana, and sometimes you just have to roll with that British humor thing, and pour him another drink.

It's hard, living in a red state, when you have a blue vote. It makes one wonder, how does my vote count? But last night, we, and the teenagers amongst us who had voted for the very first time, found out just how important that one vote can be. One of the kids joked about how, when the polling place workers found out that it was his first vote, they shouted "First time voter!" and all applauded him. And so, of course, every time they talked about the first time voters on CNN, or mentioned the youth vote, we too applauded them. Loudly.

And so it was that when some of the adults got bored with the holographic Capitol and the magic wall (sans bouncing Michigan), we found ourself watching Indecision 2008, a wonderful humorfest that was basically nothing but Stephen Colbert, my hero, trying successfully, multiple times, to crack up Jon Stewart. And that is where we were when the announcement was made that Barack Obama was projected to be the winner of the election. Now, imagine this: watching a program where Colbert has had a bird on his shoulder, has screamed his anger into a large plastic bottle, and where Jon Stewart just tried his loyal best to keep from totally losing it. When you're watching something like that, do you really BELIEVE it, when at the end of the show, they announce that your candidate has won?

So, we flipped to CNN and found that yes, it was true. All those months of spreading the word, hoping for the best, standing in line to listen to Obama speak downtown, and getting out the vote worked. My blue vote finally counted. And the most refreshing, and touching, moments came after everyone was gone, and I sat in the living room alone, just taking it all in, and breathing a huge sigh of relief. It was when my oldest, also a first time voter, emailed and told me "wow. I never thought that my one vote would mean anything. It really does, doesn't it?" For him to learn that lesson, this young, is an incredible thing, and hopefully one that he'll never forget.

Though I do believe that there are may be some teenagers whose most vivid memory, before the champagne flowed, is that on this night, in this room, Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart reported history. Which means, of course, that as we all suspected, in America, ANYTHING is possible.