Camping Trips As Spousal Screenings

Mr. Grouch and I met in 1997, my freshman year of college, his sophomore year.  It didn’t take long for me to fall head over heels.  At 18 years old, I knew he’d probably be the one I married, but we were young and foolish and we used to drive each other batshit crazy.  We broke up a few times and after 4 years of mostly-together-but-a-little-apart, we thought we might have broken up for good.  We were separated for  3 1/2 years before getting back together for ever-ever.

Within The Hiatus, we each dated other people.  I briefly kept company with a guy we’ll call Featherweight.  Featherweight and I decided to go camping for a weekend, and visit my friend Nic, who was in the middle of a months long hiking adventure on the Appalachian Trail.  I called Nic the day before we left so we would know his exact location on the trail.

Before hanging up, I asked him, “Have you seen any bears?”  I was expecting him to say no.

Nic is a tall, lanky blonde, who was dirty and smelly and scruffy from months of hiking along the trail.  He also pilfered 3 rolls of toilet paper – by unrolling them by hand – from the stalls at Applebees when we took him there at the end of the trip. The look on his mangy bearded face was priceless when we pointed out that we could have just given him several rolls we brought. But, that is completely irrelevant to the story.  Back to the phone call.

Apparently only one day earlier, he had been walking briskly, arms swinging, with his 40 lb. pack on his back.  He was listening to music and was so comfortable on the trail that he was paying more attention to his thoughts than the scenery, until he noticed a dark image out of the corner of his eye.  He turned his head to the left, threw his arms up and let out an “Ahhhh!” when he realized there was a large brown bear standing at close proximity.  He discovered that bears take loud yelling, accompanied with raised arms, to be an aggressive posture.  He told me, “Everything you learn about what to do when you come across a bear goes out the window.  I just started running”.

Nic started trotting down the trail and the bear started galloping after him.  A couple of trail runners were jogging in the opposite direction, and when they saw this chase, they turned around and started running the other way.  Three people in a row, sprinting as a brown bear followed.  Eventually the bear swiped at Nic’s pack and then stopped the chase.

Brown Bear in Spring

Brown Bear in Spring (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Remember, this was the day before we were going to meet him on the trail.  My panicking-about-bears problem was born.

So Featherweight and I start hiking on the “trail”.  You can’t follow the Appalachian Trail by looking down at your feet because there aren’t clear paths worn away by walkers.  In order to make sure you stay on the trail, you have to look for white swipes of paint, called blazes, on the trees.  You scan to the left and to the right and when you see a blaze, you know to walk in that direction.  Then you scan again and search for the next blaze.  This is what they look like:

English: A typical white AT blaze along the tr...

A typical white AT blaze along the trail (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After 3 miles of walking, Featherweight and I realize we had been walking in the wrong direction.  Crap.  We turned around and after 6 miles of hiking, we were back at the beginning.  The beginning of the end.  We were now going to arrive later than we thought, and later in the day meant closer to darkness and I now knew that darkness was full of bears.

I started walking faster.  It started getting darker.  I started walking FASTER.  Featherweight started lagging behind.  Featherweight started whining about his pack being too heavy.  Featherweight started whining about night-blindness and was all “I can’t see any of the blazes”.  Featherweight started whining about me going to fast.

I stared at him incredulously.  Darkness.  Blindness.  Bears.  This is when I knew for sure he wasn’t the one.  The proverbial straw on the camel’s back, if you will.  I will not be slowed down and potentially end up lost in the woods, in the dark, with bears.  I. Will. Not. Be. Slowed. Down. Even though Mr. Grouch and I never went camping, I knew if I needed him to keep up, he would.  He wouldn’t let me get eaten by a bear.  Even if he was tired, and hungry and couldn’t see, he’d at least protect me by making sure to keep up, you see?

Needless to say the camping experience with Featherweight was tense and awkward and we were so clearly OVER.  I advise all couples to put themselves in a few stressful situations before picking a mate, otherwise you might not realize you’re dating a Featherweight until it’s too late.

Mr. Grouch and I are now older and we still drive each other batshit crazy.  But, he can keep up with me, which makes him a keeper.

If you liked this post you may also enjoy An Open Valentine To Mr. Grouch

An Open Valentine to Mr. Grouch

I thought I had already completed my obligatory Valentine’s Day post, when I wrote a love letter to my nasal irrigation system.  But, then I thought there was no reason to disregard my OTHER lovey-dovey.  No need to mention which or whom I love more.

Mr. Grouch, you are a man apart,
You wake me with your Good Morning fart.

We met in the year Nineteen Ninety Seven,
According to you, we’re a match made in Heaven.

It is true that sometimes I want to give your head a punch,
And hear the bones in your nose go crunch.

But I am often reminded of your positive traits,
Your brains, your balls, your beautiful face.

You'll call customer service and be firm, yet nice,
You can get anyone selling to come down to your price.

You're a man! A strong man! You demand lots of power,
(yet I find it endearing, how bats and mice make you cower).

Your handyman projects save us so much dough,
That it’s okay the bathroom trim looks only so-so.

You're an incredible father, at parenting you're top rate,
Good luck with your plan though, to never let her date.

You rub my back and pull out my chair,
And do not care that I need vats of Nair.

You put up with me during my times of despair,
And my panic while camping - of attack by black bear.

If I asked, you’d make me coffee in the morning,
Except I no longer trust you, you made decaf once, without warning.

You are a manly man, a work of art,
And I love everything about you, for the most part.
Early 20th century Valentine's Day card, showi...

Early 20th century Valentine’s Day card, showing woman holding heart shaped decoration and flowers, scanned from period card from ca. 1910 with no notice of copyright. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Dream #14 : To Burn Or Not To Burn

DREAM:

My parents, sisters and husband are running through the city.  There are “bad guys” dressed in military style garb scattered all about – on street corners, in buildings, driving tanks.  It is noisy and chaotic, people are yelling and screaming.  We get captured and are taken to sit around an outdoor fire pit.  There is an enclosure around the benches we are sitting on and the fire keeps swelling, getting larger and larger.  We have been instructed to sit there and not move, but if we don’t move, we will all burn.  (Apparently this is what the bad guys want – for us to burn).  My gut instinct tells me to RUN! ESCAPE!

Somehow I know that if we stay put, we will not all burn at the same time, one of us would go first, then the next, etc… and the idea of being the only one burning while the rest watched or being the last one to burn and watching the rest burn before me are equally revolting.  If I went first, would I try to suppress a scream, to make it less torturous to the rest of my family?  Would that even be possible?  How could one just sit there, watching your own skin bubble up and blacken?  I think we should run.  My mom thinks we need to just stay and burn, because what awaits us if we escape, and are caught, is much worse than being scorched alive.

ANALYSIS:

FIRE:  Dream Forth tells me that to dream of being burned by fire suggests that I need to reign in my emotions. They tell me, and I quote, “Your temper is volatile”.  HA!  This is the most dead-on dream interpretation I’ve found yet.  Um, hello?  I’m Irish AND Italian.  Which basically means my innards are comprised primarily of volatile emotions. Volatile emotions sprinkled with a boatload of garlic and a healthy dollop of whiskey, and that’s about it.

Dream Moods counters with the argument that dreaming that I, or someone else, is being burned alive suggests that I am being consumed by my own ambition. I’m not even sure if being consumed by one’s own ambitions is a good or a bad thing.  On one hand, I have days where I am ambitiously (and sometimes manically) working on one of my several projects that I have going on, while at other times my greatest ambition is sitting my ass on the couch with my feet up,  consuming entire half-gallons of Chocolate Moose Tracks entirely independently.  Per usual, I’m an all-or-nothing kind of gal.  No real gray area with me.

ALTERNATIVE ANALYSIS:  Preggo me has turned into a raging inferno that is emitting absurd amounts of body heat – so much, in fact, that my own body-generated temperature may cause me to have a dream about being burnt to death.

FUN FACTS:

1)  My husband is a human furnace.  I occasionally call him “Furnaki” an English-Greek hybrid of a word that I made up in college, which means “cute little furnace”.   Since his internal thermostat is so high, and  his manly-Greek-pelt is so thick, he cranks up the air conditioning to blast-o-matic levels in order to cool himself down to a temperature that will not allow his brain to cook.

2)  The old me used to sleep in long pants, tank top and hooded sweatshirt, snuggled underneath two blankets or comforters.  Yes, even in the summer (see air-conditioning above).  I’ve always been a “cold hands, warm heart” kind of person.  But now?  Now, I sleep with my shirt pulled up to my boobs, a cold-pack resting on my side, with no blankets touching me whatsoever.  Since I am usually awake between the hours of 2.30a.m. – 4.30a.m. anyway, I swap out the warmed cold pack with a fresh one.  The cold hands are a thing of the past, and some would say maybe I didn’t really have a warm heart to begin with…so there probably hasn’t been much of a shift there.

3)  I guess we can add this to the ever-growing list of how pregnancy is turning me into my husband.  But no, in case you are wondering, he does NOT sleep with his shirt pushed up to his boobs.

My friend Rob tells me my blog is really “girly”. I imagine this post is no different.  Sorry, Rob!  Maybe there will be more bloodshed and porn in the next one.

How Pregnancy Is Turning Me Into My Husband

Here is a list of my pregnancy transformations so far:

1.  I’M A SASQUATCH:  Okay, disclaimer:  I have always been a hairy girl – with hairy arms and hairy eyebrows.  Have you seen my 7th grade picture yet?  HAIRrendous.  So, naturally I married a beautiful Greek man, who has big brown eyes, a strong jaw, and very healthy hair follicles.  In other words, a true man.  Hair growth occurs in cycles, and falls out in cycles.  This balance of growing in and falling out results in you ending up with a relatively constant amount of hair.  BUT.  Fun pregnancy fact:  Hormone changes result in less of the falling out phase.  Which means….SASQUATCH hairiness ensues.  All I can say is I am glad I had a tad bit of laser hair removal in the past – and I can totally see mommy-daughter hair removal sessions in my future.

2.  I’M SLEEPING WELL:  Ok, that’s sort of a lie.  BUT,  I’m sleeping better. Even though I’m still waking up constantly throughout the night, to pee, to guzzle my liter of water I keep on my night stand, to move my restless legs, or just …. because….I still have felt more rested, and I have noticed a significant reduction in the number of dreams I’ve had.  My husband has zero issues sleeping or feeling rested (even though I am quite sure he has sleep apnea – he has broken his nose several times and not corrected the break, so he cannot breathe through his nose – and I can hear him snoring, and his breathing stop and then re-start all night long).

3.  MY BLOOD PRESSURE IS WHERE IT SHOULD BE:  Even though I work out regularly, maintain a relatively healthy diet and am within the normal range for body weight, my blood pressure has been pretty damn high for about 5 years.  So, I’ve been on blood pressure meds for that time (which, I will point out, coincidentally matches up with about the same length of time I’ve been married.  Coincidence?  Hah).  Even with the meds, my blood pressure has still been a little higher than the standard metric of 120/80 – more along the lines of 135/85.  My husband, however, who works out some, who eats healthy sometimes, has always had incredibly good numbers in the diastolic and systolic department – usually around 117/70.  Now that I’m pregnant, my blood pressure has been matching his.  Maybe it’s the new pregnancy-friendly meds, maybe it’s lowered stress, or maybe it’s the 2nd trimester honeymoon period, where blood pressure tends to drop a bit anyway.  Since I’m considered high risk due to the blood pressure history, let’s hope that keeps up!

4.  I’M A COUCH POTATO:  During my first trimester I was instructed by my doctor to not work out and to sit on the couch.  At first this was due to several large ovarian cysts on my left ovary, a side-effect of the fertility drugs.  The cysts were so big that when the doctor first saw them in the ultrasound, he thought they were on my right ovary – but in reality the weight of the cysts had dragged my left ovary to that side.  Later in the trimester I had some significant bleeding (scary!) and was put on “couch rest”.  Which my husband LOVED since his favorite hobby is watching t.v. and movies.  Now I am working out, but not nearly as much as before, and am resting more than ever.

5.  I GAG WHEN I BRUSH MY TEETH:  My husband can only use one type of toothpaste.  Most toothpastes make him gag, which I always thought was really odd.  Even the one that he can tolerate will occasionally make him gag; I have heard him at the sink and it kind of creeps me out.  We have our own separate toothpastes in our own drawers.  But now, I can only use HIS toothpaste – all of the other toothpastes make ME gag.  Even his does, sometimes.  I really can’t complain though, as this is the closest I have gotten to morning sickness throughout my pregnancy.

6.  I HAVE A BELLY:  It’s not a huge round basketball belly yet, but my goodness is it bigger than before.  MUCH BIGGER.  Crap, it might be as big as his….

7.  HOSTESS DONETTES:  What?!  Who eats those things?  I mean, besides my husband?  Fake, processed, bite-sized packaged donuts with a hard, waxy chocolate coating, that could probably last for decades without molding.  Typically if I am going to go for a processed goody, I’ll choose something like Cool Ranch Doritos, or Pretzel and Cheddar Combos or cheddar popcorn.  Something salty.  Apparently this baby has my husband’s taste buds.

8.  I’M GASSY:  I’m pretty sure all husbands are gassy.  But I never understood how guys could just fart.  All. Day. Long.  And special ones in the morning.  Until now.  Now, I get it.  It just can’t be stopped.

Ghosts of Blogging Past

I’m linking up with Mommy Two Cents and Chosen Chaos for Ghosts of Blogging Past, posting a link to a blog entry from my first week of blogging.  Click on the image to read some of the other blogs who are joining up for this one.

I haven’t been blogging very long, so this post, about my husband, is from the summer.  This is the post that made him ask, after getting multiple texts from his friends about the content of my blog, WHAT ARE YOU WRITING ABOUT ME?  I’m not sure he’s actually read it himself, yet.  Here it is!

A Special Fart. One I View Lovingly.

This blog is not about farts. If you are a fart-lover, I regret to inform you that this isn’t going to be chock full of anecdotes regarding gaseous emissions.  However.  There is one special fart that does belong here, as it ties in nicely with the topics of sleeping and waking.

While we were dating, I do not recall my husband being much of a farter.  Nothing note-worthy, anyway.  Once we got married, though, it was like someone turned that lever parallel to the pipe and let the natural gas flow. Usually after an emission, especially a nice loud one, my husband will look at me with an impish grin, and I will look back, repulsed, roll my eyes and say, “That’s gross”.  This is our routine.  In fact, sometimes my husband will just say, “That’s gross” for me, in a mocking, high-pitched voice.  At least he knows how I feel.  However, early in the morning, while I am still buried under my piles of blankets, I hear a different kind of fart.  It has a different timbre.  It is longer in duration.  Much longer.  It sounds slightly forced, but nothing painful. It’s like the equivalent of a loud yawn.  And this is the indication that my husband is going to get out of bed.  There is usually about a 5-10 minute window where he checks the news or Facebook on his phone, and then he arises.

I’m not even sure he knows that I know he does this.  Keep in mind, while he bounds out of bed, full of enthusiasm for the day, I am curled up in a fetal position, blankets tucked around me tightly, head buried in my pillow.  I may or may not be groaning a bit, in despair.  Each night, the sheets on my side of the bed become twisted and ripped from the mattress, so I am  laying directly on it (sidebar: this means that my cat, who sleeps at my feet, is also laying directly on the mattress and then my husband gets mad that there will be cat hair on it. Sigh.  I can’t help what I do in my sleep!)  My hand is poised to hit the snooze button so I can avoid the inevitable torture of placing my feet on the floor.  I am so exhausted at this point, that I don’t believe I have ever had the energy to respond to his vaporous alarm clock, I’ve never told him that I named this special little guy.  And I certainly have never told him that even though my face has a scowl, my eyes are squeezed shut, and my garbled response to anything he asks me is completely incomprehensible, that, for some reason, that sound makes me smile.  Well, at least on the inside.  That sound reminds me that he is such a better morning person than I am and I know that it makes him happy to greet the day with his flatulence.  And that makes my heart happy, too.  That’s true love, right there.

Sleep Deprivation Can Make You Do Stupid Things. Or, Maybe I Have ADD.

For our 4th anniversary, my husband and I decided to go on a road trip.  We bought a new (used) pop-up camper, hopped in the Jeep and headed West, towards South Dakota.  He had the idea for me to “blog” about our trip (which meant a facebook note, since I didn’t have a blog yet.  He didn’t realize at the time the blogging-monster he would soon create) so I documented as we drove, and it was really quite a jolly time.

Except for the day and a half that it sort of sucked. The first day of suckage, is pretty much unrelated to the second day of suckage, they just happened to be connected within the time-space continuum.  In my original post, I blogged a lot about the wind turbines and the buffalo and beautiful geology at the Badlands.  Included here is just the blurb about the day and a half that weren’t so fun.  Enjoy.

July 8th:

OH. MY. GOD.  We just got to our campsite for the night.  OH. MY.  GOD.  Ok, so we didn’t decide until 10pm the night before we left that we would drive for several hours, instead of stopping in St. Joe and staying with my sister on Thursday night, thus, we didn’t book any campgrounds ahead of time – as would be my preference.

So today, at lunch, we stopped somewhere with wireless so we could find a place to camp for the night.  We ate at a diner and we agreed we should drive for 5 or so more hours.  Ends up we would be near Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  Ok, perfect.  So I Google campgrounds near Sioux Falls and Tower Campgrounds pops up.  It is close.  I call the number and they have ONLY ONE spot left.  So I think, well if it is full, it must be decent.  Didn’t check the reviews, honestly just wanted t o get something booked and done with.  I feel flustered and anxious when having to do things on short notice, or when I don’t want to do them (i.e. I wanted to do it ahead, but didn’t, so now just rush and don’t do a good job searching).  EFFING HORRIBLE IDEA.

So, it is right in town.  As in, I can see a gas station from our camp site.  Which, ok, not great.  But, could be dealt with on it’s own.  But then, each camper/tent is literally 5-10 feet from the next.  And I clearly understand now why this one spot was empty.  The lady in the camper next to us appears to live here.  She has a couple of dogs, and several cats, along with many young kittens living in the camper.  There are dozens of flies buzzing around the windows inside and outside the camper.  Husband went to the shower (we decided it wasn’t very safe here and should go one at a time).  And I hear her talking – I’m assuming to the animals in there, or perhaps to no one… yelling things about leaving her alone and “get out of there!” etc..  I hear a flicking noise which I believe can only be a lighter for which she is lighting her crack pipe, as she shoes her crack-addict pets away from her.  WE ARE NEXT DOOR TO THE CRAZY CRACK HEAD CAMPER CAT LADY….UGH!

I tried to convince Husband to pack up and leave, told him I could drive for 4-5 hours and stay at a rest stop.  He said this was my punishment for not checking the reviews.  I go to shower, come back and Husband noticed a bunch of dog shit near the table we had set up.  I again asked him if he wanted to leave.  After eating, I immediately retreated to the camper and thanked Husband in my head for bringing the TV (I normally hate the TV).  I just hope we can turn it up loud enough to drown out the din of traffic surrounding the site.

Ok, let me shout this loud and clear:  I WAS WRONG.  I WAS IMPATIENT.  I SHOULD HAVE CHECKED.  I’M GLAD MY HUSBAND BROUGHT A TV AND DVDS (I hate tv, and we had to negotiate him being able to bring this) !  GAH!!!!!  But having to stay at this shithole is certainly cruel and unusual punishment enough.  I have learned my lesson.

July 9th:

Um.  Ok.  So, I sort of understand why Texas has edited their history books – they don’t want to look like jackasses.  I was going to edit the history of this trip but the Husband won’t let me.  Penance.  So I’ll start by saying that maybe I have ADD.  And, I have sleep deprivation which makes me forgetful.   And, stupid.  I got distracted..by this crazy little devil girl at the campground…she was talking to me while I was supposed to take out the braces, that support the mechanical arms that hold the pop-up “up”.  I took them both off and then since I was talking to her (about why we were leaving and how we were ready to leave the shit-hole site) for some reason I put one of the braces back ON.  This didn’t work out so well when the Husband was turning the crank which was lowering the pop-up.  The one corner with the brace stayed up, popped some cable and we ended up having to call a maintenance guy to come lower the arm for us and then take it to an RV repair shop.

If my dad is reading this, I know he is slowly shaking his head, and thinking to himself how glad he is that I am off his hands and Husband now has to deal with me.  So….we ended up having to stay in hotels for the entirety of our trip, and we dragged our broken pop up behind us, like a bum leg, the entire 22 hours home.  (It ended up costing us $600 to fix the arm; plus we had the added costs of hotel rooms and going out to eat each night).

I asked the maintenance guy if he would still love his spouse if she did this, and he just said he didn’t have a wife.  I told him if he ever decided to spend his life with a special someone this sort of thing may happen and he would still have to love her.

Thank goodness this happened when we were celebrating our anniversary, since it forced my husband to at least partially focus on how lucky we are to have each other.  It appears the Husband still loves me and that is the only thing I care about.

Dream # 10: Greek Dancing on the Moon and Mononucleosis

DREAM:

The Greek Dance group is practicing at my house.  Apparently they decided to use my house since I have enough space, and I have many rooms in the shape of circles.  This is convenient, since most Greek dances are circular in nature.  It is a particularly important dance practice because the group has been invited to travel and dance ON THE MOON.  Exciting.  There is one girl in the dance group that everyone hates and who is constantly doing things contrary to the Greek Dance Group Code of Conduct.  She has already been kicked out of the group once.  She is late and so the dance group is discussing whether they should kick her out again.  In order to travel into space, to dance on the moon, there is a lot of teamwork and trust involved, and they are worried that she poses a safety threat.  People in the group are afraid of confrontation and don’t know if they will follow through on kicking her out, even though they know they should.  They ultimately decide they will indeed kick her out, but say they need one more person for the Kalamatiano (something about needing enough bodies and gravitational pull, since you don’t really need a certain number for this dance on Earth).  I offer to fill in, but I am worried that I am a little bit sick.  The girl everyone hates comes very late, after it has been decided that I will dance.  She says no one is stopping her from going to the moon.  The dance group calls a scientist/doctor who is an expert in traveling through space.  He confirms the idea that a team-based approach is needed and this girl won’t work.  He is concerned about our safety.  She continues to practice with us anyway.  He then turns to me and asks if I am experiencing a lot of tension, because he notices my foot and leg are constantly moving.  I tell him they are always moving, this is nothing new.  We then start talking about my illness and he looks in my throat, asks me some questions.  He says he is worried I might have mono.  I gasp, and tell him I’ve had mono in the past.  He nods solemnly, as to confirm this diagnosis, since mono can reemerge after lying dormant.

ANALYSIS: 

Ok, this is a dream with some attachment to reality!  My husband and his family have participated in traditional Greek dancing since they were young, and his cousins and sisters still perform.  I do know how to dance the kalamatiano.  I constantly move my leg/bounce my knee.  I have had mono (and it can come back).  And, there must be a kernel of truth to the idea that dancing on the moon’s cratered surface without the correct configuration/velocity/whatnot would result in people flinging off into the abyss.  I don’t know if I have ever had another dream with so many ties to my waking life.

SPACE:  Dream Forth tells me that to see or dream that I am in space indicates that I am a very inquisitive person who enjoys seeking the truth and that I form my own opinions and beliefs rather than adopting those of others.  I would like to believe this is true, even if the only evidence I have is my disagreement with my husband about how often the bathroom needs to be cleaned (Truth:  Not as often as he thinks) or my own opinion about how often the lawn and bushes need to be manicured (Truth:  Never.  Lawns and shrubbery are not important).  I refuse to blindly adopt the believe of my husband snooty neighbors in this matter!  I’m such a obstinate wife truth-seeker.

DANCING:    Dream Moods informs me that dreaming about attending or going to a dance indicates a celebration and your attempts to achieve happiness.  Hooray!  Celebrations are good (unless they are fake celebrations, like the kind we have at the beginning of staff meetings).  Let’s celebrate scrapbooking! And samosas! And bacon!  And fuzzy kitties that snuggle!  And coffee – oh glorious coffee!  And yoga! And Girls Weekends! And wine!  Oh yes, lots and lots of cheers for wine!  All things I indulge in for the sake of sanity.  And all synonyms for happiness.

MONONUCLEOSIS:  Dream Forth says that to dream of an illness signifies despair, objectionable adjustment, and an emotional collapse. The illness may be a way out of my incompetence in coping with a situation.  In this case does that mean my incompetence in coping with the weak gravitational pull of the moon whilst kicking up my heels?  In reality does it mean constantly being crouched in the shadow of the black dog?  Wait, wait, wait. Celebrate happiness, remember?!  That merriment seemed incredibly short lived.  Hm.  Maybe my attempts are futile.  Ah, to hell with it.  Let’s still celebrate a crack at happiness with some wine, shall we?  Or, should we just drown our sorrows in it?  Either way, cheers.

 

This post is a part of Love Links – if you like what you read, vote for me on Thursday!

 

 

An Un-Sexy Sleeper

In the 7th grade, I was skinny and slightly gangly.  I had large rimmed, tortoiseshell glasses, and shiny silver braces (always with gray rubber bands).  For some reason, I cut my hair cut to slightly above shoulder length, which was a poor choice, for me.  It curled under in an unattractive fashion.  My hairdo often involved putting half of my strands up into a ponytail at the crown of my head and then pushing the entire thing forward, creating an odd, offensive little bump of hair above my forehead.

Yep.

I hadn’t yet realized that waxing was so easy, so accessible…so important. Consequently, I had substantial, Groucho Marxish eyebrows. We’re talking thick, thick fuckers (or shall I say fuckER, since there was a bridge of hair above my nose, connecting the two furry beasts.  Look closely).

Image from www.happyplace.com

I was also quite mustached.  YIKES.  After having braces for a few months, my orthodontist gave me headgear.  It was an old school metal contraption in which long, curved metal pieces were pushed through tiny holes on the brackets attached to your teeth, and a cloth strap held the metal piece in place, as it pulled your upper jaw back, leaving your teeth achey in the morning.  Half of the time I would fall asleep with the headgear on, and then wake up in the middle of the night finding myself being stabbed in the neck by the metal pokey pieces; I would often rip out the headgear in my sleep.  Looking back, that seems rather dangerous.

Can you imagine those metal tines poking you in the neck? Ouchie. Image via Wikipedia

20 years later, I’m not too much less of a dork (I do, however, have a LOT less facial hair).  I’m starting to think I may be turning into an Un-Sexy Sleeper.  Much like in 7th grade, I am starting to accumulate horrible sleeping contraptions.

Un-Sexy Contraption # 1:  Bite Guard.  I clench my teeth, which likely accounts for the headaches I frequently wake up with.  As a result, sometimes I will wear a bite guard.  They really do help to lessen the headaches; I hate wearing them though, so avoid it unless absolutely necessary.  What tends to happen is my jaw will be normal/relaxed, and over the course of a few weeks it will tighten up a little bit every day, until it gets to the point where just touching the joint that connects my mandible to my skull results in excruciating pain.  (Today is one of those days, so I highly recommend that you don’t talk to me today.)  Then, I’ll wear the bite guard for a week or two, until it is relaxed again.  The cycle repeats.   Why not just wear it every night?  Issue #1 is that the thing is just effing annoying.  I try asking my husband a question and a series of mumbles comes out. I have to suck up the spit before pulling it out from my mouth, and then hold it in my hand while talking to him.   Not attractive.   Issue #2: is that when I sleep on my side, many of the bite guards tend to create a pool of saliva that builds up and then spills out of my mouth.  Wet.  Gross.  Issue #3 is that I eventually bite through the bite guard and have to buy a new one.  I haven’t gotten one from the actual dentist yet – maybe those would last longer.  Downside = they’re crazy expensive.

Un-Sexy Contraption # 2:  Wrist Guards. We moved into our house a little over a year ago.  The house had been a foreclosure, and the people who moved out left it completely begrimed.  The carpets were soiled.  There were tiny black handprints located 3 feet above the ground, around the perimeter of every room in the house.  There were pieces of cut up straws scattered around (I wonder why they lost the house…)  There were chocolate chips EVERYWHERE.  After the slobs family moved out, the house was vacant for over a year and a half, so a colony of spiders took over and created webs that had to be cut through with a machete every time you entered a room.  After buying the house, I scrubbed the walls for a week straight, until the rags no longer came away black.  We replaced all of the windows, the carpet, much of the plumbing, stripped off roomfuls of flowered wallpaper, removed mold, repaired holes in drywall, gutted and renovated bathrooms, and repainted every wall in the house.

Who the hell puts picket fence wallpaper in their kitchen?! Gah.

The prep for painting included sanding all of the trim.  I sanded trim for hours and hours.  And hours.  It killed me.

Sanding trim = worst job ever.

A result of this torturous act was that the muscles in my forearms turned into burning, feeble, mush.  Finally, I refused to sand anymore, since I was literally injuring myself.  (We ended up just painting over the unsanded trim and it turned out fine.  That really pissed me off.)  Ever since then, my forearms seem to become exhausted very easily.  Recently, it got to the point that they were constantly hurting, and I had trouble typing or doing anything that required repetitive motion.  I couldn’t even practice yoga as much as I wanted, and that totally freaked me out.  I NEED YOGA.  So I went to my OMM doctor and mentioned that I thought I might be getting carpal tunnel.  Dr. Golden (yes, that is his real name) asked me what my symptoms were and checked my arms out.  He said he didn’t think I had carpal tunnel, but he knew what the problem might be.  He thought that when I slept, I was keeping my wrists bent very tightly, so my palm was next to my forearm, and the strain on my tendons was causing the pain.  As soon as he said this I pictured myself settling in at night, (or when I woke up in the middle of the night), and I saw my wrists tucked tightly into my arms. Sometimes my wrist was tucked under my chin, sometimes under my shoulder.  But yes, I was definitely doing this.  I tried keeping my wrists straight, but found this to be incredibly difficult, so I started wearing wrist guards to bed.  I felt immediate relief when I woke up, and even got a satisfying pop when I cracked my carpals in the morning.

Un-Sexy Contraption (?) # 3:  Mismatched, Non-Pajama, Pajamas.  This week is Homecoming week – and thus, Spirit Week, at the high school I work at.  Each day students and staff can dress up in a ridiculous pointless enthusiastic way to show their school spirit. (I dress up solely so I can wear jeans and tennis shoes).  But, Tuesday of this week was Pajama Day.  I thought about dressing up, but…my pajamas?  To school?  No freaking way.  I wear scrubby blue sweatpants that have some mysterious stain on the right thigh (salsa? I do love my nachos…).  They are too big, so I have to cinch them really tightly around the waist.  If they come even a tad bit loose, they start to slide off and my bum crack may or may not emerge.  On the top I wear a mismatched t-shirt from 1999, or, on a good day, maybe a mismatched tank top.  Not school appropriate.  As I eyed the students and teachers in their pajama wear, I realized that maybe I should make at least a tiny bit of effort in terms of looking a little less like a schlump when I sleep.  I mean, I’m not striving to be a snoozing fashionista, but maybe I could…match.  Or, maybe I could wear pajamas that fit properly.  A new pair of pjs, combined with the occasional non-usage of Un-Sexy Contraptions 1 and 2, could go a long way in ensuring I don’t turn into the Un-Sexy Sleeper.  Even though my husband loves me as I am, he might appreciate this gesture.

Headache-O-Meter

So, I’m 32 years old, and have been on blood pressure medication for the past 4 years.  (I have also been married for four years…coincidence? (Just kidding, love you honey!) I actually can’t extol the magnificence of this blood pressure medication enough, because as an added bonus to reducing my systolic and diastolic, it has also cleared up my skin.

Growing up, I was lucky enough to clear, unmarred skin.  But, starting in my mid-twenties my skin became my nemesis.  I began to get acne so badly that I would not want to leave the house.  I’m not exaggerating, it was BAD.  Red.  Inflamed.  Uncomfortable.  Monstrous. Distressing.  One time I was on a return trip home, from Italy, and the woman at customs who was checking my passport said my picture didn’t look like me, and was laughing, The only difference between Passport Me and Current Me, was that Passport Me had clear skin and Current Me had about 25 zits on my face.  Yes, 25.  While I’m on the subject, if you are one of those jackasses who asserts that the reason you have such clear skin is the 60 ounces of water you drink per day, or the carrots and tofu you consume regularly, just an FYI – you are being pretty insulting, implying that the reason your friend has a bumpy pod is because they must NOT be doing these things.  I can’t tell you how many times I heard people proclaim that ingesting water, fruits and veggies or limiting sweets was their remedy, which really irked me, since I am also a healthy person who drinks a lot of water, eats many fruits and veggies, and doesn’t eat a lot of fried foods, chocolate, etc…

Turns out this medication blocks androgens, and my acne was actually caused by a hormonal imbalance (PCOS).  This could also be why I have ungodly amounts of facial hair.  Or maybe I can blame that one on my Sicilian and Black Irish ancestry.  Either way, THANK GOD FOR WAX AND LASER HAIR REMOVAL.

Anyway.  Back to the blood pressure meds.  When I first started the medication, my doctor regularly asked me if I had been experiencing any headaches. Headaches could indicate high potassium levels, a signal that the kidneys are starting to fail – a possible nasty side effect.  I realized after a few visits, that I couldn’t tell if I had been experiencing headaches as a result of the medication, because I woke up with a headache almost every day, anyway.  How could I not realize I had a headache every day?  I am not sure, but I didn’t, or I didn’t think anything of it, until I was asked to let him know if I started getting headaches.  Weird, eh?

What causes daily headaches?  Clenching or grinding teeth?  Sinus pressure?  Husband complaining that I left the lights on, and cupboards open, again?  Nothing life-threatening like a brain tumor, I’m sure, just enough of an annoyance so that I couldn’t accurately answer a doctor’s question, and perhaps accounts for about 2% of my daily bitchiness.  I am not even sure why the doctor felt the need to ask me about the headaches, in the first place, since I get blood drawn at the lab every 6 months, checking on those K+ levels.  Clearly a much more accurate measure than the headache-o-meter.

A Special Fart. One I View Lovingly.

This blog is not about farts. If you are a fart-lover, I regret to inform you that this isn’t going to be chock full of anecdotes regarding gaseous emissions.  However.  There is one special fart that does belong here, as it ties in nicely with the topics of sleeping and waking.

While we were dating, I do not recall my husband being much of a farter.  Nothing note-worthy, anyway.  Once we got married, though, it was like someone turned that lever parallel to the pipe and let the natural gas flow. Usually after an emission, especially a nice loud one, my husband will look at me with an impish grin, and I will look back, repulsed, roll my eyes and say, “That’s gross”.  This is our routine.  In fact, sometimes my husband will just say, “That’s gross” for me, in a mocking, high-pitched voice.  At least he knows how I feel.  However, early in the morning, while I am still buried under my piles of blankets, I hear a different kind of fart.  It has a different timbre.  It is longer in duration.  Much longer.  It sounds slightly forced, but nothing painful. It’s like the equivalent of a loud yawn.  And this is the indication that my husband is going to get out of bed.  There is usually about a 5-10 minute window where he checks the news or Facebook on his phone, and then he arises.

I’m not even sure he knows that I know he does this.  Keep in mind, while he bounds out of bed, full of enthusiasm for the day, I am curled up in a fetal position, blankets tucked around me tightly, head buried in my pillow.  I may or may not be groaning a bit, in despair.  Each night, the sheets on my side of the bed become twisted and ripped from the mattress, so I am  laying directly on it (sidebar: this means that my cat, who sleeps at my feet, is also laying directly on the mattress and then my husband gets mad that there will be cat hair on it. Sigh.  I can’t help what I do in my sleep!)  My hand is poised to hit the snooze button so I can avoid the inevitable torture of placing my feet on the floor.  I am so exhausted at this point, that I don’t believe I have ever had the energy to respond to his vaporous alarm clock, I’ve never told him that I named this special little guy.  And I certainly have never told him that even though my face has a scowl, my eyes are squeezed shut, and my garbled response to anything he asks me is completely incomprehensible, that, for some reason, that sound makes me smile.  Well, at least on the inside.  That sound reminds me that he is such a better morning person than I am and I know that it makes him happy to greet the day with his flatulence.  And that makes my heart happy, too.  That’s true love, right there.