Monday, August 15, 2016

Potpourri

A friend of mine is pregnant and her baby shower next weekend. I can’t make it to the shower. BUT I put together a lovely package and mailed it to the shower hostess. So, my friend will have a nice gift from me to open at her shower. Which basically mean that I get, like, partial shower credit. BAM.
Maybe you’re already aware of this as an option but I only recognized it as a thing when it happened at my bridal shower. I had a friend who was unsure if she could make it to the shower, so she sent a gift to the hostess. She ended up not being able to make it, but I opened her gift at the shower and it gave me an “aww, how thoughtful” feeling toward my friend. It’s the kind of thing that has the EFFECT of seeming “above and beyond” in terms of effort, when it in fact is way EASIER.
[I swear I WOULD go to my friend’s baby shower if I could, but it is too far away and I have a prior commitment. This is not a suggestion that in any way should imply that I am a person who avoids baby/bridal showers on a regular basis, disclaimer disclaimer disclaimer.]

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I seem to have reached the point in my pregnancy at which putting on work clothes is a difficult task. Usually my work uniform consists of a dress, leggings, and boots.
I had to start wearing compression socks to work because my legs were getting swollen and a little painful. Putting them on is a bit of a pain but I think I’ve got a system now. I sit on the bed sideways in my underclothes and put one foot on the bed at a time and wrassle the socks onto my feet. Then, I’m usually tired and a little sweaty, so I don’t want to put on leggings. So I put on a pair of pants.
“You should buy the size you were before getting pregnant” said the lady at Motherhood Maternity. Bullshit. These pants are XL and are starting to feel a little tight. These pants are the pants I will be wearing for the next two months at work.
I also bought some new shoes. They are slip-ons and very comfortable and very boring.
They’re even more boring than the ones from this link because the ones I bought don’t even have the hot pink insoles, just plain black. But WHATEVER, I’m wearing clothes at work, gold star for me.

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I’ve been going to a different gym than usual. The one closest by my house is like a big warehouse. One huge room with a high ceiling containing all the equipment (plus a couple of adjacent rooms for individual classes and whatnot). The locker rooms are spacious and usually fairly well kept. I’ve been going to a slightly farther away gym because this one has a pool and a hot tub. Sitting in the hot tub after working out is very nice and relaxing.
However, this new gym is unfortunately more gross than the old one. The locker rooms are teensy with weird small hallways between apparently added-on spaces. The whole thing is just more stinky, possibly because of the smaller more enclosed spaces. And the people there seem to be more prone to be gross in this gross place. There are clumps of hair in the shower drains. There’s always some woman using the (ONLY) hand dryer to dry her whole body or someone else exfoliating her feet or deeply Q-tipping her ears on one of the locker room benches. And more than once I’ve run into this lady in the hot tub who drinks this POTION that makes my stomach turn. It looks like maybe iced tea with, like, whole baby carrots and garlic cloves in it? I honestly have no idea what’s in it. There are little orange oblong bits and round white bits and some of them sink to the bottom of her water bottle and some of them float. She sits in the hot tub and takes big gulps of it and drinks/CHEWS it noisily and I just cannot even.
And the design is weird. To enter the gym, you walk up a flight of stairs. You sign in at the front desk. Then you walk DOWN a flight of stairs to go to the locker rooms. Then it’s back up the damn stairs again if you’d like to use any of the workout equipment.
Despite its grossness, I’ve been going to this gym really solely because of the hot tub. I try not to think about the (high) possibility that people are also gross IN the hot tub when they’re gross everywhere else.

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I passed my glucose tolerance test. I had heard a lot about it being HORRIBLE, but it wasn't so bad. I downed the syrupy beverage and really the only issue was some icky burps during the hour I had to wait before the blood test. So that test was fine.
But, unfortunately, I’m mildly anemic so my doctor said I should start an iron supplement. I’m going to start with changing my diet first, though, and see if that makes a difference. I have definitely not been eating iron rich foods.
There was the week when I could only eat Spaghetti-Os. Then there was the week when I could only eat Cheerios. Buttered noodles have also been a staple in my diet. Since I’m not feeling as sick anymore, I’ve definitely been able to eat more different types of things but iron-rich foods haven’t so much been on my radar. I basically eat unintentionally vegetarian during the week and then splash out a bit on the weekends.
Anyhow, I’ve been snacking on crackers with goat cheese and spinach leaves at work. And over the weekend Niall made tacos so I have leftover taco meat that I’ll be eating all week.
And I have a cast iron skillet that I’m going to cook in more, once I figure out how to “season” it properly so food doesn’t just stick to it.
And I also bought this Lucky Iron Fish. I’m planning to make the iron-citrus water and, y’know, drink it.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Cat update

Bowie’s behavior continues to mystify.

He hasn’t peed anywhere inappropriate recently (*knocks furiously on desk and own head*), but he seems to still be more… anxious? restless? annoying? Than usual.
 
Like, in the evenings at our old place he used to just hang out in the living room or wherever we were. He would lie down on the back of the couch or curl up in a chair and take a snooze. Now usually starting at about 8PM he just won’t settle down. He’ll stalk around the room and go over to the bookshelves and knock the contents to the floor. He’ll knock papers off the desk and shred them into tiny pieces. He’ll stand at the front door and meow. He’s 12 years old, so I sort of thought he would get LESS active and crazy over the years, but it doesn’t seem like it. And it seems like it coincides with all the big changes in his life, but I don’t know how to fix it.

About, oh, a year ago I want to say (?), the vet (old vet, not new vet) told me that Bowie was too heavy at 26lbs and needed to go on a diet or else he would get diabetes. The vet recommended Fancy Feast Tender Beef because it’s high in protein and doesn’t have fillers or grains. So now he gets one can of Fancy Feast Tender Beef in the morning and one in the evening, plus a tiny scoop of dry food when we put him in the garage at bedtime.
As a semi-related side note, have I told you about my former cat sitter who shamed me about Bowie’s food? He texted me while I was out of town to tell me that Bowie had eaten HIS ENTIRE BOWL OF FOOD from the previous day and maybe I should consider an automatic cat feeder. I was like 1. Call me when the cat DOESN’T eat his entire bowl of food. Then I’ll be worried. And 2. Are you trying to talk yourself out of a job?
Anyhow, I digress, but it was just an interested incident of someone worrying about my 26 pound cat being UNDERfed.

On his new diet, Bowie went from 26 pounds to 17 pounds. HE LOST NINE POUNDS. That’s like, a whole normal sized cat. His bones started to stick out more. And now he's all jittery and anxious. So maybe he DOES need to eat more now? About a month ago I decided that if it would make him HAPPIER, I would just give him more food. So I bought this automatic cat feeder to give him little snackies while I was at work. I had it for a week and a half before Bowie managed to break it so that the lids won’t close anymore. So then I started leaving him a little extra food in the morning before I left for work and he started puking on a daily basis. Because apparently he will just EAT ALL THE FOOD if you just leave it out.

I’ve started trying to give him more attention when I first get home from work and later in the evenings.
I’ve tried distracting him with the laser pointer when he starts throwing papers on the floor.
I’ve tried squirting him with water when he does his annoying habits.
I’ve tried opening the balcony door and letting him wander out there in the evenings.
I’ve tried sprinkling catnip on his scratch pad.
I’ve tried giving him an extra little snack in the evenings and a bigger one at bedtime.

Nothing has changed.
I think my next step will be one of those anti-anxiety cat collars or diffusers. Anyone have experience with that?

Monday, July 25, 2016

Catastrophe

As you may recall, my car was stolen (and miraculously returned!) and at that point Niall and I decided that it was high time to skedaddle out of our current apartment and live somewhere else. I happened to find our new place the very day my car was stolen, in early November. We signed our new lease and gave notice at our old place in mid-November and started frantically packing.
We moved everything and were out of our old place by December 12 and do not get me started on how crappy our former landlords turned out to be. I can’t even revisit it because it made me RAGE CRY and I just cannot.
Anyhow, so we were fully moved into our new place on December 12 and then we left for Ireland on December 23 for two weeks. We returned in early January and then Niall had to go to Phoenix for work for a few days and things were hectic with both of us going back to work after vacation. On January 30 I got my first shadow line on a pregnancy test. So that week I was on pins and needles, peeing on a stick least twice a day (since my period wasn’t even due until February 5). We had decided to have a Super Bowl party on Feb 7 (we had sort of halfheartedly done one the previous year and it was really fun, so we decided to make it an annual event), which meant that on Feb 6 and 7 there was frantic cleaning and prepping our house for guests.

Also in the evening of Feb 6, the cat, Bowie,  started acting weird. The first thing I noticed was that he peed NEXT TO his litter box. I was pretty annoyed by that, but then I realized he was walking kind of gingerly. And then as I was paying more attention to him that night I realized he was sitting kind of funny and he kept getting up. He wouldn’t just settle down for a snooze like he usually does. He was clearly uncomfortable, so I decided that I would take him to the vet in the morning (it didn’t occur to me to just take him to the emergency vet right THEN, which I now realize I should have done).

We usually put Bowie in the garage when we go to bed, but we let him stay in the house that night. The reason we put him in the garage is that he’ll usually start being a pest in the wee hours- walking around, jumping on things, meowing loudly, scritching at doors, generally being a cathole. That night? Nothing. He didn’t make a peep. But then in the morning I walked into the kitchen and he was fine! Normal energy level, acting normal, didn’t seem to be in pain, peeing in the litter box. So… okay then. I decided not to take him to the vet, and I couldn’t get an appointment that day anyhow.
(We had the Super Bowl party, it was fun!)

The next day later Bowie peed in the closet.

Two days after that I caught him right before he was about to pee in the closet AGAIN. I called the vet. They didn’t have any appointments. I ended up taking him to the emergency vet. For $400 they took a urine sample, determined that he might have a UTI, and gave me 2 weeks’ worth of antibiotics for him. He seemed to do better. Then they called a few days later to say guess what! The urine grew nothing, so he does NOT have a UTI. So, I’m a nurse, you guys. And I did EXACTLY the thing I tell my patients not to do. I kept giving Bowie the antibiotics for the rest of the week. So he ended up taking a weeks’ worth. And I dunno, he seemed better! He didn’t pee anywhere.

And then a couple weeks later I found a puddle of pee in the closet again. So I finally made an appointment with a regular vet. Since we had moved, I wanted to establish care at a local vet office. So we went to the new vet. And I think he either is or is related to Dr. Dolittle because wow. This guy. At first I was like oh who is this weird hippie doctor with a ponytail? He breezed into the room “Hi I’m Jerry. Don’t get up, I’m pretty casual. The first thing to know here is that at every appointment I’d like to start with a very open and honest conversation just to make sure we are all on the same page and that we’re having good communication.” WOAH. Okay then. I told him what had been going on with Bowie. He enthusiastically explained that the peeing in the closet could have been physical (UTI) or behavioral (cathole).

I had explained to the vet that the emergency vets said Bowie’s urine test had come back negative. And he explained that it Bowie still MIGHT have had a UTI.
See, as I mentioned, I’m a nurse. The way we get urine samples from people is we either have them pee (most convenient!) or if they cannot pee, we stick a tube up through the peehole and into their bladder and collect the urine (least convenient!). I was unaware that for a CAT, they do not stick the tub up through their business, they use a needle through their belly and collect urine directly from the bladder. SO, if Bowie did have a UTI that was somewhere OTHER than the bladder, the test would not detect it. So MAYBE that medicine did in fact help clear up a lower down infection. Huh.

The vet asked if we could think of anything else that could be affecting Bowie, emotionally or behaviorally speaking. And, well, yeah: We moved rather quickly and frantically, and then Niall and I went out of the country and left Bowie with my parents for 2 weeks soon after moving, and then we were suddenly in the new house, and then Niall went away for awhile and came back, and then I got pregnant (COULD THE CAT SENSE IT?). And then there was the frantic cleaning before our Super Bowl party. Oh, and Niall and I also remembered that our new landlord saying that she replaced all the floors in our house, because the previous tenants had 2 large dogs. So perhaps there are some lingering dog smells in the house?

The vet was like. Uh. Yeah that’s a lot of stuff.

So we came up with a plan: I would buy a blacklight and search the WHOLE house for cat pee. I would also buy special cat-pee removal cleaning product because other cleaning products don’t actually break up the enzymes and cats can still SMELL the pee, so they’ll still want to pee there. And then clean up all the cat pee I found, to make sure there aren’t any traces anywhere there shouldn’t be. And the vet would do a blood test to see if something was wrong, some physical reason Bowie wasn’t feeling good that was making him act out.

We didn’t find any more cat pee in the house (yay!), and the blood tests all came back fine (also yay!). The vet had also mentioned that indoor cats sometimes tend to go a bit stir crazy since normally cats roam about 5 miles per day and indoor cats have that taken away from them. He asked if we have a cat tree. Uh. No. I do not have a cat tree. I don’t have room in my life for a cat tree. But then I realized that our house DOES have kind of an odd nook. It’s like a miniature loft over the stairs that you can’t access without precariously balancing a ladder on the staircase. So I got the idea in my head that it could be Bowie’s area. We went to out and bought some shelves and got a new cat bed and scratcher thing and now Bowie has his own little loft!
It took a bit of convincing to get him to learn to jump up the shelves into the area. We used food.
Once he got the hang of it he can bound up there in no time.
He seems to like it!

The next day Niall went to the gym. He was walking to his car outside our house and exchanged a few pleasantries with our nextdoor neighbor lady. Then he noticed a LARGE SNAKE on the ground in the neighbor’s driveway. As Niall got into his car, the neighbor PICKED UP THE SNAKE and took it into her garage.
So… apparently our neighbors have a large pet snake? I’m thinking THAT might be causing Bowie (and now me) some anxiety.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Undignified

And now I shall discuss some of the less dignified side effects of pregnancy. As a sidenote, I hope this post doesn’t sound too complainey. I’m SO thrilled to be pregnant and I haven’t forgotten how lucky I am. Just want to make that clear before I dive in.

Pretty much from the moment I got a positive pregnancy test I started feeling a low-grade queasiness throughout the day. It came and went, but was mostly there all the time. An undercurrent of nausea peppered here and there with instances of feeling okay and bouts of puking.
Maybe I should have kept a better timeline of my symptoms because when I describe them I find myself using a lot of wishy washy language, but alas. From around week 6 to week 14 I was puking nearly every day. Which, I didn’t think was a huge amount since I’ve heard so many stories of pregnant ladies puking, like, every HOUR or something. I would usually just feel kind of mildly queasy all day and then have one big session of puking in the evening after dinner. It was, on the whole, a rather frustrating existence. I would battle against the nausea to eat something and then either throw it back up or not, but either way I would be hungry again in like an hour and a half. Second verse, same as the first.

Once in awhile I would puke at work. Like this one day I felt like I really wanted to eat a cucumber, so I walked to the fruits & veggies stand down the road and bought one. Then I brought it back, sliced it, and ate it at my desk with a side of ranch. I was so smug and proud of myself like Look at me and my healthy snack! Gold star for feeding my baby VEGETABLES! And then as soon as I finished it I had to run to the bathroom (AT WORK) to throw it all up.
I’ve found that puking at work is especially miserable. Afterwards I usually do feel better, but I also kind of want to lie down and feel sorry for myself for a little while, which is difficult/impossible to do at work. Plus, it’s just grosser to get sick in a public bathroom rather than in my own at home. PLUS, sometimes I would be puking so hard that the toilet water would SPLASH ME IN THE FACE.

At weeks 14 to 18 ish the puking dwindled down to maybe two or three times a week. And at about that time I also started having, erm, accidents while I was puking. I would throw up and sometimes ALSO PEE MY PANTS, which just feels like a new level of undignified. This is my first baby! I thought incontinence issues weren't supposed to start until one has already given birth!
I brought an extra pair of undies and leggings to keep in my desk drawer at work, just in case.

Plus, there was the exhaustion. The entire first trimester I was JUST. SO. TIRED. So tired! How do women do this with other children? I don’t understand. It was literally all I could do to make it through the workday, get home, battle with my stomach for dinner, and lie down for the rest of the evening. AND the first trimester is traditionally the time of pregnancy when most people try to keep things quiet for one reason or another. So I was miserable and tired and pukey at work and I didn’t even feel like I could tell my coworkers. Of course, knowing I was pregnant since week THREE made the first trimester go particularly slowly and I ended up telling my coworkers I was pregnant when I was at week nine + change. Some of them had already guessed after seeing me run to the bathroom wearing my anti-nausea wristbands and looking all ghostly white and sickly.

Things that are especially wretched to throw up, an incomplete list:
-          Cucumbers
-          Sushi (hold your fire! It was just and avocado/rice roll) & soy sauce
-          Tuna sandwich
-          Fries & ketchup
-          Ramen noodles
-          Tomato soup
-          Potato soup
-          Caprese salad
-          Popcorn

Things that actually aren’t so bad to throw up:
-          Waffles
-          Ice cream sandwiches
-          Chicken tikka masala (surprisingly!)

At this point (21 weeks) I’m feeling a bit better. Within the past few weeks I haven’t puked nearly as much and I haven’t had that continuous undercurrent of nausea [*knocks on wood*]. I hope I didn’t just jinx that. I did recently vomit popcorn in the Target parking lot and the chicken tikka masala episode was last night, but really it hasn’t been so bad. I feel better overall. I am also starting to feel a big squished. And in the afternoons I’ve started getting heartburn pain in my stomach which later turns into feeling the hot stomach acid in my THROAT.

Oh, and I’ve been waking up for the past week all gross and soaking WET because apparently pregnancy NIGHT SWEATS are a thing. I don’t feel overheated, I just wake up in a puddle and it’s so gross and undignified. I just ordered a waterproof mattress pad from Amazon and I’m regretting getting rid of all my flat sheets because having an extra sheet or two would be useful right about now. I'm basically a hot mess. Well no, not a hot mess. Just a sweaty one.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

nesting and resting

The nesting instinct is strong right now. I want to get baby Clover's room ready for him! I want to start folding and putting away baby clothes and organizing all of our adorable baby things (which is like four things at this point, but STILL the need is strong).

Here's the deal: Clover's room is our spare bedroom, which used to have a desk and some miscellaneous shelves and a bed in it. A friend was getting rid of her really nice gently used crib so we took it off her hands for practically a song. We got rid of the desk (and by that I mean we put it in the garage) so now the room has a bed, the crib, and some miscellaneous shelves.

I went into Clover's room full of purpose today, armed with trash bags. I was going to donate, toss, and recycle as much stuff from those shelves as I could!
But then I got in there and I sat down on the bed and I realized there really isn't that much stuff on those shelves. I have some little file boxes (not just regular cardboard boxes, the decorative looking ones) and those should go in my bedroom. And nearly everything else is office supplies, which need to be consolidated and also probably put in the bedroom, but right now there isn't room in the bedroom.

So I went into our bedroom to clear some space for the file boxes. But then I realized that the tall skinny bookshelf next to my side of the bed is kind of the perfect size for this weird tall skinny closet we have in the hall that has no clothes bar (we've been awkwardly piling things in the closet but that doesn't really make the best use of the space). So really I should move the tall skinny bookshelf into the hall closet and move then one of the littler shelves from Clover's room into my room to hold the file boxes and whatnot. And Niall is out of town for a few days for work and I probably shouldn't be moving furniture by myself (because (a) my arm muscles are purely decorative, and (b) all of my innards seem to be getting rather squished and I think my lung capacity is suffering from it (I got out of breath just from hurrying around the grocery store the other day)). So, okay. When Niall gets back, we (he) will move the shelves around and THEN I'll really do some organizing and move things from Clover's room into our bedroom.

But I really wanted to do SOMETHING, since I had been so full of purpose earlier. So I ended up cleaning out my nightstand. I cleared everything out of it, tossed a few things, moved a few things to other places, and put things away properly and neatly in the drawers. And after that I was exhausted and had to have a little lie down.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Precious Cargo

One of the reasons that Niall and I decided that now was the time for me to get a new car was this:
That right there is a BABY BUMP.
CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? ME NEITHER.

Baby Clover (nickname) is due October 16. And if I know anything about babies and due dates, I’m sure that baby Clover will arrive PRECISELY on that date. Har har.
So that makes me 20 weeks pregnant right now. This ish is getting real.

I’ve known I was pregnant since the first moment it was possible to know. I took a couple of those discount peestick tests from Amazon a solid 6 days before my period was due and got the faintest shadow line possible.
Do you see it?
So then I drove to Target and got an actual pregnancy test with, like, a plastic holder part and everything and the tiny line appeared.
How about now? Do you see it?
And it kept appearing and getting darker all week! Niall may have gotten a little weary of me waving peesticks in his face LOOK AT THIS DO YOU SEE A LINE I THINK I SEE A LINE.
HOW ABOUT NOW?
Anyway. We’ve been to the doctor, I’ve had blood tests and ultrasounds and whatnot and it looks like there’s a real actual BABY in there.
And we just found out last week that it's a baby BOY.
Baby Clover
I get to have a baby.
I get to have a baby with somebody who loves me and wants a baby, too. I got married last year and now I’m having a baby.
How on EARTH did I get this lucky?

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Pour one out for Jamboree

I got a new car. But before we get too excited, let’s take a minute to appreciate my old car. I feel like I need to pay her the respect she deserves.
Here she is, fresh from the car wash.
The car I’ve had for the past 13+ years was a 1997 black Honda CR-V. We (*my parents) bought it gently used when I was a senior in college.


I named the car Jamboree. She served me well all these years. I’ve driven up and down and up and down and up and down and up the length of California. I’ve driven to Tahoe and Big Bear and Mammoth in the snow. I’ve packed it full of all my stuff on multiple occasions and moved.
LA to SF move, 2008
I taught one of my nieces to drive in it. I’ve gotten into several accidents (both at fault and non at fault) and walked away uninjured each time. I could fit into tiny parking spaces but also fit large pieces of furniture in the back.

And, as Jamboree and I both got older, I could park obnoxiously close to douchebags who felt entitled to take up more than their fair share of the parking lot with their douchebag fancy cars. I didn’t care if my door got dinged or whatever, Oh? You’re going to park IN THE MIDDLE OF two clearly marked parking spaces, here’s my shitty old car RIGHT UP IN YOUR BIDNESS. YOU DON’T GET TO PARK LIKE AN ASSHOLE ON MY WATCH.

Over time, Jamboree gained a lot of, ah, shall we say, character. One by one, all of the “creature comforts,” as my mother calls them, started failing. The clicker stopped opening the back hatch and then it stopped locking or unlocking the car. The passenger side mirror was shattered. The windshield was cracked. If it rained outside, it also rained on the passenger side floor. The air conditioner would only work if I was on the highway. The CD player would get stuck and refuse to play either the CD or the radio until I jammed an old hotel key card into it to jiggle things loose. I decided to embrace the quirkiness and covered Jamboree with USC bumper stickers and got a vanity license plate.
Fight On!
When Niall and I moved in together, we moved into a nice apartment in a nice area, or so we thought. We did not realize that the “nice” area was actually right on the cusp of a not so nice area. Which is fine, whatever. Except that we have two cars. Both of us need cars for work (I could go on a long tangent here about public transportation in SF and why the two of us specifically need our cars, but can you just take my word for it?). Our new apartment had a 1 car garage, which was GREAT. Niall tried to pull his car into it and ended up scraping the passenger side mirror and the driver’s side door because the garage is NARROW. So I started parking my car in there.
And then… Niall’s car got broken into 3 times over the course of 2 months. So we swapped. Niall learned how to squeeze his wider-than-the-garage-door car into the garage, presumably by some wizardry, and I started parking my car on the street. I decided to just leave the doors unlocked, but then I got to my car one morning to find it full of garbage and reeking of cigarette smoke, so okay fine I’ll lock it. And then it was broken into twice.
And a good morning to you as well.

And then the battery was stolen once. And THEN, one fateful November morning, I walked up to the spot where I had parked my car and it was just… gone.

Uhhh.

Huh.

Dude, where’s my car?

I called Niall on the off chance that he had moved my car in the middle of the night for some reason. Nope. I walked up and down the little street to make sure I hadn’t left it in a different spot and forgotten. Nope. I called the city to make sure it hadn’t been towed. Nope. ALL SIGNS POINTED TO STOLEN. Somebody stole my 1997 Honda with 255,000 miles on it.

I took a Lyft to the police station and reported the car as stolen. And then I went home and found us a new apartment on Craigslist.
I reported the thievery to my insurance company and picked up a rental car. And then I was stuck in limbo for some unidentified amount of time until the insurance company would declare my car a “Total Loss.”

After three or four days I was CERTAIN my car was in pieces spread far and wide, but I kept waiting. AND THEN. One morning I was on my way to work when my friend Daniel called me. I figured it was a butt dial, but no! HE FOUND MY CAR. He was cycling to work and noticed a junky old Hondy CR-V plastered with USC stickers. HE FOUND MY CAR.
JUST SITTING THERE
The car was totally fine! It was still in San Francisco, parked in a neighborhood, WITH A FULL TANK OF GAS. I looked like somebody was using my car like it was THEIR car. I don’t know what they were using to start the car, but apparently you can start an old Honda with, like, a screwdriver. ANYWAY, I called the police and told them I had found the car. They sent a cop over and released the car back into my custody. I gotta say, I wasn’t too impressed with the SFPD. I had reported my car as stolen and it turned up still in San Francisco. They obviously weren’t looking very HARD for it. And the cop basically glanced at my car and gave me a piece of paper. Call me na├»ve, but I thought he might go knocking on some nearby doors or dust the car for fingerprints or… ANYTHING AT ALL.
(Here is the part in my story where people like to point out that car theft is SO common that the police just don’t even have the time or resources to deal with it and I reject this because, come on. I feel like doing NOTHING AT ALL to isn’t going to stop many car thieves. But whatever [sarcastic jazz hands].)

Anyhow, I had my Jamboree back! It had a few new bumps and bruises, but nothing too serious.
I got a club.
WHAT NOW MOTHER FUCKERS.
For a few months everything was great!

And then Jamboree started making a sound like an old fashioned automobile. Chugga chugga chugga AWOOGA. I took it into my regular car place and they told me it was the muffler, but that I should take it to a muffler shop since they could only replace the whole [something] that would cost a lot more than just replacing whatever part of the muffler was malfunctioning. So I took Jamboree to the muffler shop where the mechanic seemed to take personal offense at the suggestion that it might be the muffler, “Who told you that? Did they actually DRIVE the car and hear the noise? Did they just ASSUME it was the muffler? Where’s their evidence.” After a few minutes of deer-in-the-headlights stammering, I sweetly offered to give Mr. Muffler the phone number for Mr. Auto Shop so they could hash things out, but muffler man declined. After a thorough exam, he concluded that he didn’t know where the sound was coming from but it was Definitely Not the Muffler.

Okay, fine.

So I just ignored it. And it went away!

Only to be replaced with THIS noise:
video

I promise you, I was not transporting a sea lion.

So Niall and I discussed it and we decided that it was time for me to get a new car. While Niall would have been happy to see Jamboree sold for parts, I was wringing my hands and having an emotional crisis. My carrrrrr. My Jamboreeeeee. She had been such a good carrrrrrr. I loved that car and nobody would appreciate it like me, would they?

As you may or may not know, I have a slew of nieces and nephews, several of whom are teenagers right now. I decided to give Jamboree to my next niece in line who is turning 16. She is pretty thrilled.

And fortunately, my dad seems to have the same sentimental streak as I do (or is it the other way around?). He took the car to his mechanic where they fixed, wait for it, the BRAKES AND STEERING. When I asked what I owed him, my dad said “Nothing! We have to keep Jamboree in the family!” So, to recap, I have a new car, my niece has a new old car, and my dad is the most generous man in the world.
Goodbye Jamboree, you've been an excellent car. Be good to my niece.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

38. do a race of some kind

Niall and I went to San Diego for Thanksgiving (Thanksgiving! This should give you a good idea of how behind on blogging I am) to visit my family. Being in Ireland, his family doesn't tend to do anything for Thanksgiving.

A few weeks before we went, Niall told me he thought he wanted to do the Turkey Trot. And I briefly lost my mind enough to decide that I wanted to do it too! After all, I did start going to the gym. And I thought I could do a 5k. That's what metric people call like a mile or so, right? Pshh no problem! (NOPE.)

Thanksgiving day rolled around and I rolled out of bed at the arse crack of dawn. We had to get there super early, you see, because in order to run a 5k with me, Niall had to FIRST run a 10k, because otherwise he would have been too antsy and left me in the dust. So he tired himself out with the 10k first and then ran the 5k with me. Just look at us go!
Full disclosure: I saw the camera guy and put on a nice big smile for him.
I started off pretty strong. I ran the first mile at a decent clip, but then I faded pretty quickly. I had to alternate running and walking quite a bit of the second and probably into the third mile. The course went along the street and then down onto a beach path. Once we got to the beach path I could SEE the big inflatable archway thing that was the finish line and I started running my little heart out. I didn't realize how FAR away the archway actually was so by the time I reached it my lungs were burning and my legs were jelly.















Woo hoo!
I think this photo is the most accurate representation of how I felt during and directly after the race:
"I'm dying." (Niall wasn't even out of breath. JUST LOOK AT HIM.)
But I did it! I ran (and walked) the 5k!

And then we went out for burgers.
And then we had Thanksgiving.
And I felt like I earned every bite of my delicious meals because I RAN (and walked) A 5K THAT MORNING.
In conclusion, Thanksgiving is an excellent day to run a 5k if that's something you're into. Maybe by the time Thanksgiving rolls around again I'll have forgotten how miserable I was and want to do it again.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Dishes

Niall pretty much let me take the reins when it came to our wedding registry. Registries aren't common in Ireland, so he was pretty unfamiliar with the concept. I decided that our china pattern was Wedgwood Butterfly Bloom because it was pretty with just the right amount of whimsy. Niall shrugged and said that was fine.

I ended up putting a lot of fancy dishes on the registry, because they were nice and also the kind of things we would not buy for ourselves but that other people seemed to enjoy buying for us. (I hate the way that sounds, like I'm deigning to LET people buy nice, expensive things for us. But I had initially put only this set of 4 plates on the registry and at my bridal shower my mom's friend told me flat out that I needed to add more fancy things to the registry because I didn't have enough nice stuff on there. So I added a lot more of the fancy china pieces (i.e. sandwich plate, teacups, teapot).)

Anyhow, this is the pattern:
Image from Amazon.com
Pretty, right?
We received several of the above sets of plates and when we got the first one I opened the box and started loading the dishes into our kitchen cabinets.
Niall, horrified, asked what the hell I was doing.
"I'm... putting these in the cabinet? So we can use them?" My thinking was that we had the dishes and I liked looking at them, so we should use and enjoy them. Niall's thinking was that they were very expensive dishes and that's not what his mom one does with fancy dishes-- one is supposed to put them away and save them for a special occasion.
So we compromised and put the dishes away for a special occasion, but also got a china hutch to display some of my our favorites.
You may also spy some Belleek items. It's possible that I... got a little carried away with the registry.
We've been using my mismatched Goodwill dishes for everyday use, until I got the following BRILLIANT IDEA.
I ordered this plate making kit and these markers and brought them to Thanksgiving weekend with my family. The kit just consists of circles of paper that you color your design on and it turned out to be the perfect activity for kids aged 3 through 16. They all loved it! And it was a good activity for them while dinner wasn't ready yet. And they even liked the idea that the plates were for me.
After the kids finished their designs, I sent the paper circles along with my payment and the order form back to the company. The finished plates arrived last week!

Here are some of my faves:
I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. They're melamine, which means you can't put them in the microwave, but they go in the dishwasher just fine. And they're very sturdy. And I just. LOVE THEM SO MUCH.

Oh, you don't want to use the fancy plates on a daily basis, Niall? Challenge accepted.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Mixed Feelings

Severalmany years ago I wrote a post about a darling little mixer that I bought from a thrift store. It really was adorable and quirky and fit right into my retro kitchen that I was struggling to have, despite the modern, new construction apartment I was inhabiting.

I tried to tell myself that I didn’t really need one of those KitchenAid mixers. They’re so highfalutin and expensive and PROBABLY FULL OF NARGLES. I’m too cool for that thing everybody else likes because I’m a unique human person snowflake.

But, uh. Then I was getting married and I made a gift registry (because *I* always appreciate when someone has a registry. Let’s not get dragged down that tangent, she says, deleting three paragraphs about registries). Anyhow, I made a gift registry and I included a KitchenAid mixer because, well, it wouldn’t be something I would want to buy for myself and a wedding is an excellent excuse to get the sorts of things one wouldn’t buy for oneself (see also: fancy china, nice towels, expensive waffle iron).

So we got the new KitchenAid mixer as a wedding present from some of my relatives and, yep, I’m totally that person who needs a KitchenAid mixer.

Look at this beauty. LOOK RIGHT AT HER.


Sweet little retro mixer has gone off to a new owner, hopefully one that will love it as much as I did.

And a few weeks ago the fancy new mixer and I made Irish brown bread, like some kind of MAGICIAN.




Sunday, October 18, 2015

contact high

When I was a kid, I was lucky enough to go skiing pretty much every winter with my family. I had a child’s fearlessness and boundless energy, so it was pretty much the most fun evarrrr. Whooshing down the mountain at breakneck speed (no helmet, of course), only stopping for a lunch of chicken tenders and fries? Yes please. Skiing was amazing!

In high school I got a snowboard, so I learned how to snowboard. At first I scoffed at the idea of taking a lesson. I was a SURFER, so obviously I could snowboard no problem. But then it turned out that (for me at least) the skill(s) did not transfer from one board sport to the other, so I spent a day careening down the hills and falling violently ass-over-teakettle many MANY times. It’s a miracle that I didn’t break anything. It’s possible that I did sustain an untreated concussion.

Anyhow, the next time I went I took a lesson! And it was easier. And from then on I’ve been a snowboarder. I mean “a snowboarder” in the most literal way possible—a person who snowboards. Not, like a person EXCELS at snowboarding in any way. I’ve never felt completely comfortable on a snowboard. There’s always the possibility that I very well could break every bone in my body. I  mean, it’s fun, but interspersed with moments of panic: getting off the ski lift, getting on the ski lift, looking down while on the ski lift (though this is not limited to snowboarding- can we agree that ski lifts are terrifying?), going too fast, going on too steep a hill, too much ice, too many trees and/or rocks, that moment when you catch your edge and you’re about to fall, falling, trying to get up after falling with people careening around you.

Last year, Niall and I went to Tahoe for his birthday weekend. We stayed in a little hotel by the lake and went out to fancy dinners like real adult humans. On his actual birthday we planned to go up to Heavenly for some fun on the slopes. Niall had said he was going to rent a pair of skis from the local sports shop, and I got the brilliant idea to also rent a pair of skis. Skiing! Hey, I used to be REALLY good at skiing! I probably still am! It’s one of those skills that you retain forever, I’m sure!  I totally should rent a pair of skis and show Niall just how awesome I am at skiing!

As I learned in Tahoe, if there is one thing that can make me feel like an ace on a snowboard it is SKIING.

Holey shirts and pants, you guys. It was so awful. I hyperventilated every time my skis were pointed down the mountain and parallel. Also, I couldn’t keep them parallel. Also,  I didn’t know how to balance facing forward. I didn’t know how to be on my edges  or to lift up a ski to make turns. I spent the entire time with my skis in “pizza” position, body hunched over, and ski poles dragging on the ground, using them like sad little brakes.

On top of all of this, I also couldn’t wear my prescription sunglasses because they were made more for looks than for sportiness. They wouldn’t have stayed on my face, so I just wore regular, non-prescription sunglasses. Not being able to see very well added a nice extra layer of difficulty, so the whole endeavor was frustrating, to say the least.
I managed to take out my frustrations pretty singularly on Niall (on his birthday!). He would shoot off ahead of me and then stop and wait, but the problem with that was that I got mad at him if he waited for me and also if he didn’t. And then he kept POINTING at stuff with his SKI POLE, even though I kept helpfully REMINDING him that the ski pole was the SAME COLOR AS THE TREES AND I CAN’T SEE WHICH WAY YOU ARE POINTING AND ALSO YOUR JACKET IS TOO WHY DID YOU WEAR THAT COLOR JACKET THAT MATCHES THE BACKGROUND I CAN'T SEE YOU WHERE ARE HAPPY BIRTHDAY BY THE WAY.

So.

Eventually I just took the gondola back down to the lodge, hiked out to the parking lot, and switched over to my snowboard. It took me about an hour to accomplish that task (and it was probably the best hour of skiing for Niall).

As you may recall, I recently got married (Hurrah!). Because I’m vain, I decided that I didn’t want to wear glasses on my wedding day.
Sidebar: I still don’t fully consider myself as somebody “who wears glasses,” even though I wear glasses pretty consistently. Maybe that’s because it came upon me gradually. At first I just needed my glasses once in awhile, if I were sitting particularly far back in a college lecture hall. Then I started needing them in all of my lectures. And then all of my classes and at the movies. And then while driving at night. And then a few years ago I went in to get my license renewed and the lady told me to take off my glasses and read the eye chart, so I took off my glasses and the eye chart disappeared. So. Now I wear glasses.

Anyhow, I didn’t want to wear my glasses on my wedding day which mean my choices were either (a) get contacts or (b) possibly not recognize my betrothed as I walked down the aisle. Niall, apparently traumatized by our skiing incident, encouraged me to get contacts.

So I got contacts! I went to the eye doctor and he had me put my head in an assortment of odd devices while he…. I dunno… took some measurements and assessments of my eyes or whatever. And then he gave me a starter set of contact lenses and showed me how to put them in. I spent THIRTY DUCKING MINUTES (literally ducking) trying to put in the first one before I finally got it. And the doctor, while very patient, had to wrap up our appointment. I went home and FINALLY got the damn things both in. They felt like tiny pieces of sandpaper.

People told me I would get used to them and I smiled and nodded, slightly teary-eyed and headachedy. Despite the initial hiccups, I have indeed gotten more used to them over time and have been able to enjoy a whole new world of non-prescription sunglasses, including this baller pair that I wore on my wedding day:

Niall still hasn’t said whether or not he’ll ever go skiing with me again, however.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

proposed break room rules

1. No fish. This includes, but is not limited to: no bringing cooked fish for lunch. No bringing cooked fish and leaving it in the break room refrigerator. No bringing cooked fish to work and warming it up in the microwave. No bringing cooked fish to work, warming it up in the microwave, and leaving it out on the break room table all afternoon. No buying fresh fish at the market on your lunch break and leaving it in the break room refrigerator for the rest of the work day. No bringing in fresh fish to share amongst your coworkers. No bringing in fresh shrimp to share amongst your coworkers. No bringing in a large bag of fresh squid parts in to share amongst your coworkers. No dividing up said bag of squid parts into small biohazard bags over the break room sink. No getting squid ink all over the break room sink and counter. No storing biohazard bags of squid parts in the break room refrigerator for the rest of the work day. No squid in the office full stop. I can’t believe we have to have this conversation.
2. That’s it. That’s all I care about.
3. Oh wait, also: throw out your old food. Maybe do a sweep of the fridge once a week or so and see if there’s anything in there that’s yours that you forgot about? Please don’t leave your pasta alfredo with broccoli in there for two months. We live in a society.
4. Label your stuff. If it’s something that will be in there for a while that you don’t mind sharing, like a bottle of ranch dressing, maybe include your name, the date it was opened, and something like “help yourself.”
5. If something is rotten, throw it out. Even if it wasn’t yours to begin with! Nobody will miss that shriveled plum, I promise.
6. Seriously, you brought fish again? NO FISH. Just. No.

Friday, August 14, 2015

gym class hero

I joined a gym. Wait! Where are you going? Come back!

Let me start over. I’ve never been one of those people who is, like, addicted to working out. One might even say that I hate it, or at least strongly dislike it.

I remember when a friend of mine came into town and asked if I wanted to get together. I was all ready to suggest lunch and then pedicures, but she said that she was going to a barre class and did I want to meet her? No thanks, I said. I’d catch her afterward at the sandwich place nextdoor. If we’re spending quality friend time together I’d like to ENJOY it.

I never want to go on a hike, so don’t bother asking. I’ll go on a WALK. Even an outdoor walk, through nature. But call it a hike and no. No thank you. I’ll sit here and read while YOU hike and we can hang out once you’ve gotten that nonsense out of your system.

Running (jogging) seems to be the only thing I can stand to do consistently-ish. When I lived in LA I would go running (jogging) around my neighborhood. Then, when I moved to San Francisco, my building had a little workout room so I would run (jog) on the treadmill. The machines in that workout room all had TVs with cable and DVD players attached. My apartment never had cable while I lived there, so it was a good way to get my Teen Mom fix.

When Niall and I moved in together, we moved into a building without a workout room. Niall seems to actually be one of those people who truly enjoys exercising, so he has been dutifully going to the gym the entire time I’ve known him (not to mention running, cycling, playing assorted sports, and generally making me feel like a sloth by comparison).

I tried a few things here and there.

I took an adult beginner ballet class. Not to brag or anything but I did ballet for several years in middle school and college, so I felt like it would only be a matter of time before the other adult beginners would be eyeing me and whispering “Shouldn’t she be in the ADVANCED class?” Instead, what happened was that everybody expected me to be really good since my shoes were so worn (see also: from college (see also: never get rid of anything!)), but I pranced around like one of the hippos from Fantasia. I quit after a few months because It was TOO HARD and not fun and I was not nearly as fairy-like as I had expected.

I thought about getting a fitbit, but they’re really expensive, so instead I bought the Jane Fonda workout and Richard Simmons Sweatin to the Oldies videos. I had fun doing these a few times. They’re not terribly intense workouts and they are also somewhat hilarious (see also: Richard Simmons's shorts). But for some reason there are too many steps for working out at home. I have to change into something I don’t mind getting sweaty and then switch the TV to the right mode and then scoot the coffee table over and ugh, maybe I’ll just sit down.

A couple weeks before the wedding I decided I wanted to work out a little. Not to lose weight or tone up, but just to help my endurance a little and ensure I wouldn’t collapse and die from dancing the night away at our wedding reception.
So I asked Niall if I could go with him to his gym to check it out, super casual like. We went, and they were having some ‘friends and family’ dealie so I signed up for a (basic, totally chill, I-can-quit-anytime-I-wanna) membership.

The gym guidelines, as I explained to Niall* are:
- He can’t ever shame me for not going or not wanting to go to the gym
- If I ever bring up that I’m thinking about going to the gym, he should enthusiastically encourage me
- He can invite me to go to the gym with me, but he can’t ever suggest that I should go to the gym
- He can’t criticize what I do at the gym

Now it’s August, and that means I’ve been a gym member for a little over 2 months. For some reason I have been able to go to the gym, despite the fact that, yes, I do understand that this involves FAR more steps than working out at home does. But I guess I don’t mind the steps as much? Maybe it’s easier because it’s more of a routine. My living room is where I hang out, eat, relax, but the gym is only where I do gym things. There’s no possibility I’m going to go all the way to the gym and then sit down on the floor of the locker room and read a book instead.

So far I have spent my time at the gym running (jogging) on the treadmill, with very occasional uses of the cross trainer peppered in here and there. HOWEVER, I reserve the right to go to the gym, do a couple stretches, and then sit in the hot tub if that’s what I’m up for on that particular day. And that will still COUNT as going to the gym. I need motivation and a reward system that is beyond “staying healthy” because clearly that’s not enough or else I would be joining Niall as he bounds out of bed every morning for his run like a goddamn kangaroo. The other good thing about the gym is that it is located in a little plaza that also has a Ross and sandwich place and a grocery store. So sometimes after a run (jog), I’ll take a little stroll through ross or treat myself to something yummy for lunch. Running: not its own reward.

I had to add a new one over the weekend which is:
- He can’t make fun of my gym outfits/accessories.

I’ve said this before, but I’m a person who likes to have all the accessories that go along with a thing. I like having my little gym bag and a purple lock for using the lockers at the gym. I have my sunglasses and my headphones that are specifically gym-only. I also have my gym clothes. Niall was chuckling the other day because I was trying on various new gym clothes and preening in front of the mirror, while he is perfectly happy to work out in old crappy shorts and tee shirts. I explained to him that I know I COULD wear regular old clothes at the gym, but having my cute little shoes

and outfits

are much more enjoyable and THEREFORE make me much more likely to actually GO. This is my Gym Outfit that I wear to the gym, GOLD STAR FOR ME.

Really, the whole point of this post was to show you my new purple gym outfit.
 


*Niall hasn't ever body shamed me and I'm not worried that he would, I just wanted to be explicit with my gym-interaction-expectations.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

alarming

Last weekend Niall decided to make meatloaf. The concept had previously not appealed to him, which makes sense given its name. Meat... loaf. However, he realized that he likes all the ingredients that typically go into a meatloaf, so he thought he’d give it a go. I found him the Pioneer Woman’s recipe online and he modified it in an apparent effort to include as many animals as possible (ground beef, ground lamb, bacon strips over the top).

The baconey drippings from the meatloaf got a bit scorched in the oven while it was baking, which meant that our fire alarm went off and we subsequently learned that our fire alarm is the least alarmed sounding alarm in the world. It makes a pitiful little meep noise and also says the words “Fire. Fire.” I don’t feel like our fire alarm takes its job very seriously. In fact, I wouldn’t even call it a fire alarm. It’s more of a fire calmly announce.

By contrast, my old building’s fire alarm system was absolutely MILITANT about its job. Whenever I cooked pretty much anything it would start shrieking at me and I’d have to open the window and fan the alarm unit with a towel until it shut the hell up. If there was fire detected or an alarm pulled in any of the common areas of the building, there was a speaker inside every apartment that would make siren noises and ALSO shout at you:
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.
YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE.
AN ALARM HAS BEEN ACTIVATED.
WE ARE INVESTIGATING THE CAUSE.
PLEASE REMAIN CALM AND STANDBY NEAR THE SPEAKER FOR FURTHER INSTRUCTION.
[short pause]
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.
YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE…. Etc.

This would repeat on a loop over and over until whatever happened was figured out, at which point we would usually get an announcement like “Thank you for your attention, this has been a false alarm” or whatever. The longest it ever went on while I lived there was probably only about 15 minutes, but that FEELS LIKE ETERNITY when, say, you’re woken up from a sound sleep in the middle of the night.

Last night I made brownies and I went to bed right after I took them out of the oven. I woke up this morning feeling unusually warm. The whole apartment felt unusually warm. And then I found out that I had accidentally LEFT THE OVEN ON ALL NIGHT.

I think I may have mentioned this previously, my cousin once used her blow dryer and then put it away under the sink in her bathroom and then left for work. When she came home that afternoon she found that HER HOUSE HAD BURNED DOWN. (She’s fine, her family is all fine, but house = gone.)

Burning the house down is one of my nightmares. And I left the oven on! All night! What if something had caught fire? What if the house had burned down? If I left the oven on, what if this means I might leave OTHER things on and forget about them also? OHMYGOD I’m going to burn our house down, or not put the emergency brake on my car when I park it on a hill and have it roll down and hit someone, or turn on the garbage disposal when somebody is fishing out a spoon, or leave a vulnerable person or animal in a hot car, or SOMETHING TERRIBLE IS OBVIOUSLY GOING TO HAPPEN AND IT WILL BE ALL MY FAULLLLLLLLLT.

My fire calmly announce may not be very alarmed, but I certainly am.