Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Aleah and the Doctor

A post-pregnancy, pre-Korea tale.  This is the story of my ill-fated trip to the Walmart eye doctor.  Whom I hope never to see again.

Here's how my day started:
First, I had no sleep. Why? Because I was arguing with Husband. The worst part? I was definitely the wrong party this time. I won't go into detail; suffice it to say he got a well-deserved apology and will be getting extra head when I see him again.

Next, after having had no sleep, I had to schlep the kiddos to the sitter so I could get my eyes re-checked for the contacts I'd recently been fitted for. Let me tell you people, exhaustion aside, I took a little time getting ready for my appointment...'cause Dr. McPretty is kinda cute. Not as hot as Husband; more of a preppy "I'm-a-sexy-opthamologist-and-probably-like-it-missionary-style-only" kind of way, but still. I'm not gonna just wear scrub pants and a tank top for my appointment. So I put on some makeup, my cute jeans, did the hair, and went to my appointment. While I'm sitting in the chair, shoulders back, breath fresh, and hair clean, he puts his opthalmoscope up to his eye, and put his face thisclosetomine while shining that irritatingly bright light into my eye.

Well, you know how usually, if you have to sneeze, you get a few second's warning? You know, at least a tingle in the nose, a slight watering of the eye, your breath catches, you're like "Oh my god, back the fuck up, need some space," SOMETHING???

Today, I got no such warning.

No sooner did the light hit my eye than my head jerked back slightly and I basically ejaculated out of my nose at the man.


I honestly can't tell you who was more horrified, me or McPretty. I have never had such a look of disgust directed at me in my life. He seriously looked like he wanted to peel his own face off and throw it in the sink. In fact, he looked as if he'd been on his way to church and accidentally stumbled upon a Mexican donkey show in the middle of Main street.

The best part? His office is in Walmart, so now I can only do my grocery shopping between the hours of 9pm and 5am, in order to ensure that I never run into him again.

However, I don't have an astigmatism. Which is awesome.

Green Earth Mama, M.D.

As a nurse, I get occasional emails, phone calls, etc from family and friends asking for input on medical issues.  To be clear: I enjoy this.  If I don't know an answer, I love finding out the answer.  I also have no problem if the asker disregards what I'm saying; they're asking for a little input, not a hard-line I AM RIGHT AND YOU MUST OBEY MY COMMANDS ELSE I WILL SMITE THEE.


I do have one old acquaintance who regularly emails me, asks my opinion (totally fine), googles what I tell her (again, totally fine), questions how I know what I've told her (um, I went to nursing school), tells me she has "a friend who that happened to and she ended up being paralyzed for a month" (that sucks), consults her psychic on the matter (wtf?), and then either follows my suggestion (which is usually based on standard practices) or she, her husband, her children, and/or her neighbor gets better and there's nothing more to worry about.
This time was a little different.  After asking me about her 6-month old's fever (104F not responding to ibuprofen) and after I'd explained that no, it was probably not because he was teething, he might have a bacterial infection and should be seen by a doctor, she then wrote back "Well I don't like the idea of giving him unnecessary antibiotics."  When I replied that when your child has a bacterial infection, antibiotics tend to be a very good thing, her response was "Well, this one lady says too many antibiotics will make him sicker and I need to just trust his body to do its job."

Which brings me to Green Earth Mama (who had a little blog going; it's since been taken down, for some reason).  My friend decided to share my email address with Green Earth Mama.  Our communication from a few days ago has been copied and pasted below for your enjoyment.

-----Original Message-----
From:   "ALYSSA HARMON" <greenearth_mama2008>
Sent:   Sunday, December 5, 2010  08:15 AM
To:   "Aleah Steiner" <a.leah>
Subject:  WELL HI THERE!!!!!!!


Subject:  Re: WELL HI THERE!!!!!!!
From:  "Aleah Steiner"
Sent:   Sunday, December 5, 2010  11:14 AM

Hi Alyssa.  I'm certainly glad you were clear about "not trying to start anything"; for a moment there I thought perhaps you were angry.  To answer your question, I was making an educated guess on her son's condition due to two factors: first, his 104 temp - most of the time, viral infections or other inflammatory processes won't raise a body temp that high; bacterial infection is the more likely culprit; and second, his fever is non-reducible (meaning the ibuprofen isn't working).

You are correct that I am not a doctor.  I do have a stethoscope though.  That makes me smart.

As for your comment that "maybe she should not go 2 the doc for every sniffle"... alas, he doesn't have a sniffle.  He has a fever.  A rather high one.

Subject:  Re: Re: WELL HI THERE!!!!!!!
Sent:   Sunday, December 5, 2010  11:28 AM
To:  "Aleah Steiner"


Subject:  Re: Re: Re: WELL HI THERE!!!!!!!
From:  "Aleah Steiner"
Sent:   Sunday, December 5, 2010  11:33 AM


Subject:  Re: Re: Re: Re: WELL HI THERE!!!!!!!
Sent:   Sunday, December 5, 2010  11:40 AM
To:  "Aleah Steiner"


Subject:  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: WELL HI THERE!!!!!!!
From:  "Aleah Steiner"
Sent:   Sunday, December 5, 2010  11:58 AM

Ah, I see.  I sOmEtiMes LiKe tO bE cReATiVe WhEn I cOmMUniCaTe aS wELL, bUt It'S UsUaLly DoNe iN a SaTiRiCal CoNtExT.  Christ, that's time-consuming.

As for your assertion that Earth Mamas such as myself should listen to our gut... well, my gut is telling me K needs to take her son to the doctor :).  It's just a hunch; call me crazy.  Furthermore, while I do think that when non-medical personnel are making medical decisions for people they haven't met, they are probably looking at the financial bottom line and not at a human -I also think that that most - in fact, the majority - of physicians make their medical decisions based on the needs of that individual patient.

Finally, while I respect your opinion, I will respectfully submit that vaccines are not, as you claim, "loaded with autistic disease."  Hats off to your fervent adherence to that particular myth; your tenacity, were it applied to other issues, would be admirable.  You might research your opinions a bit more though; and reading Jenny McCarthy's "Mother Warrior" does not, alas, constitute research.  Additionally, may I point out that "poison pills loaded with poison" is a bit of a redundancy?  But props on your proper spelling of "poison;" that's a tough one for some people.

Subject:  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: WELL HI THERE!!!!!!!
Sent:  Sunday, December 5, 2010  12:35 PM
To:  "Aleah Steiner"


Subject:  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: WELL HI THERE!!!!!!!
From:   "Aleah Steiner"
Sent:  Sunday, December 5, 2010  12:49 PM

Now, you see?  I bet you would like to be shouting now, but since you're already typing in all caps, you really have no where else to go.  You should become acquainted with the bold and italics function on your computer; I bet it'd open up a whole new world for you!  Also - may I be picky? - I am not, as you wrote, "talking" to you.  I am writing.  You are not listening, you are reading (at what level, I dare not ask).

As it's quite late here, I do need to sign off, but I would like to address one more tiny thing with you - your remark on the immune system's relation to fever and disease.  I believe your statement reflects a rather poor understanding of pathophysiology and how fevers and disease processes work.  May I suggest taking a basic anatomy and physiology class, along with perhaps a general biology, in order to facilitate your understanding of these things?  While this would entail your obtaining a G.E.D., I believe that you might find the information helpful, albeit in direct contradiction to advice you've previously posted in your blog.

My best to you, Alyssa Green Earth Mama Harmon.  I need to go take a poisonous aspirin after our little convo.  You take care.

A Tale of Intestinal Woe

...or, more aptly titled "No Shit."  Yes, this is another story from my last pregnancy.  You can laugh at me.  I don't mind.

So. First pregnancy, I never had a single issue with not being able to go. In fact, I've always been an A.M. type of girl, rain or shine, business done in less time than it takes to read a quick article in US Weekly magazine that I keep handy in the bathroom just for those times.

Apparently I've been lucky.

I first noticed something was amiss when my usual A.M. ritual sort of passed by without anything, really..."happening." I blew it off, thinking things would move along (as it were) by evening.

Not so much.

The next few mornings, I started to get a little concerned, but again, even with a little extra time and effort, I'd gaze into the bowl thinking a rabbit had been utilizing the facilities.

On Day Four of No Poo, I started to panic. I've already got a 1 1/2 lb guest chilling out in my peritoneal cavity, and being not quite 5 feet tall, I probably don't need to tell you that there isn't much space between my lower ribs and pelvis to cram extra gear. In fact, I definitely was feeling like things were exceeding maximum capacity. So I broke out the Pregnancy Yoga dvd (I really need some more opaque-y curtains for my living room), contorted my pregnant self into a few downward dogs and hefty pigeons, upped my H2O consumption, and waited.

And waited.

On Day Five of No Poo, I was at work, feeling irritable, full of rather uncomfortable pressure, peeing every 5 minutes due to my increased water consumption, and getting a little frantic. I decided to try a gentle stool softener, which purported to produce an "event" in about 12 hours...which leads us to Saturday morning (Day Six). After getting off the phone with my husband, I suddenly sat up -- I felt an interesting rumble I hadn't gotten in a few days!! Excited, I literally skipped into the bathroom! This was about 9 A.M.

An hour and a half later I was still in the bathroom...NOT because I was in the middle of the Epic Event I'd been desperately hoping for, but because I had been in the borderland -- the point of no return -- the entire time!!! I tried everything, every contortion imaginable, trying to "give birth" to what literally felt like a third baby. I was covered in sweat, pupils dilated, Lamaze breathing, praying, stretching, twisting: at one point I remembered that the Japanese squat to go to the bathroom...if I could've gotten my ankles behind my neck I would've tried that too. I literally felt like I'd turned myself inside out. The worst part was, I couldn't even turn back -- I'm telling you, it was right there, and was getting no further. I couldn't even try a stimulant (not that it's recommended during pregnancy, but I was literally so desperate I would've hooked a vacuum hose to my butt if it would've worked) because I had to be at work later and was afraid I might poo all over the truck by the time it started working.
Finally, desperate, I called a girlfriend who lived nearby (thank God I had my blackberry in the bathroom with me). Nearly weeping I explained to her what was going on, and God bless her, she threw her clothes on and went to the pharmacy to get me a suppository. She was at the door to my bathroom in less than 10 minutes and proceeded to hand to me the Keys of Heaven.

Now, on the box, it says to try to "hold everything in" for 10 minutes to allow it to work.

Well That Didn't Happen. I tried to stand up straight, even made it halfway into the livingroom, huddled in a blanket, when sweet lord, I felt like I'd been kicked in the abdomen. I crab-walked back into the bathroom, sat down, and proceeded to have what I felt was akin to a religious experience...I felt cleansed, drained, euphoric!!! I collapsed back against the toilet tank, heart pounding, hair pasted to my forehead, ears ringing, feeling as though I'd just given birth at 25,000 feet. I was literally floating, people. Finally, I peeled myself off the toilet, wrapped myself in a blanket like a disaster survivor, and spent the next few hours recovering on my sofa.

The Chicken Whisperer

I was very nearly attacked by a freakishly large Korean Death Bird.
It may have been a chicken.
Here's what happened.

Husband was in Vegas, leaving his wife and two young children under the age of 5 to fend for themselves in the wilds of South Korea.  Yes, I say wilds, because I have no Walmart, no BedHead products for my hair, and they have strange animals like barking fanged deer lurking in the shadows.

 I walked out to my car to get the Sprite that I'd left in the back seat.  As I rounded the corner to unlock the passenger door, a freakishly large Korean Death Bird stepped into my path.  Since I have issues with big birds, various other animals, fish, and wildlife in general, I paused and took stock of the situation:

I am alone.  
This chicken-like animal is at least 10 to 15 pounds.  
It appears to be having respiratory issues.  
It looks angry.

Now as many of you know, I am a nurse.  I also have an unfortunate habit of immediately thinking of the deadliest, skin-sloughing, most virulent and contagious diseases known to man and animal.  And since I really like microbiology, I know a lot of them.

As I stood there, trying to decide if a crisp, tasty, caffeine-free lemony-lime beverage was worth possible death and dismemberment, it croaked at me.  It did not cluck, it did not caw or crow - it croaked. Like a frog.  A reptilian crocodile frog.  Dear god.  It eats frogs.

I realize you might be laughing at me.  You're thinking it was probably just a pleasantly plump white Colonel Sanders candidate with a strange squawk.  I assure you, it was not.  It had beady bloodshot eyes.  It was grayish black, with strange feathers in a corona around its overly large head.  And there was some strange substance (is that blood?!?!?  Was it walking in BLOOD?!?!?!?) on its razor-sharp chicken feet.  This was no cute little Cornish game hen.  I was looking at the direct descendant of a carrier of the 1918 Spanish Flu; a.k.a. La Grippe... The Spanish Death.

Locking eyes with the Korean Death Bird (shit! you're not supposed to look them directly in the eye!) I tried to remember what to do when confronted with a very large and aggressive patient. Keep your voice at a conversational level.  Turn to the side, but do not step back. Do not raise your hands.  Say "Sir, if you will calm down, I will be happy to assist you." So I turned to the side and did not step back.  I did not raise my hands.  I said in a conversational tone, "Sir, if you calm down, I will be happy to assist you."

It growled at me.

At this point, my sympathetic nervous system launched itself into the fight-or-flight response.  My eyes dilated, my blood vessels constricted, heart rate and respirations skyrocketed, and I desperately needed to pee.  Since I had two young children under the age of 5 to take care of in the wilds of South Korea, I decided to run.  As I felt for the first step behind me while continuing to keep a non-confrontational eye on the Death Bird, a very tiny and wrinkled old Korean man came up the walk to my right.  Dammit. Now there are civilian lives at stake.
Me: "Sir, you may want to keep back. This bird might be dangerous."
Old Korean Man: "안녕하세요?"
 Me: "I have no idea what you just said. Have you ever heard of H1N1?"
Old Korean Man: "심각한 건가요?"
Me: "Dude, No comprende.  El dangerouso bird. El deadly."  (because like many monolingual Americans, when flustered and speaking with someone of another nationality, I lapse into very poor and grammatically incorrect Americanized Spanglish).

Old Korean Man then rolled his eyes at me, clucked something in a strange animal language at the Korean Death Bird, and proceeded to cajole it into a state of bliss-like subservient pet-hood.  If the thing would have had a tongue to loll out of its mouth, it would have.  Instead it puttered up to the old man's feet and leaned against his leg, gazing at him adoringly with its beady bloodshot little eyes.

Yeah, my jaw was on the ground.

With a final disdainful snort in my direction, the Chicken Whisperer collected his pet and walked into our building.

So now I have added chickens to the List of Things I Am Scared Of.

A McDonald's Adventure

Here lies another tale from my last pregnancy. I'm too tired right now to write about what happened last night when I called Husband's hotel room. Until then, I'll entertain you with a post from my facebook page. Stay tuned...

(December 2009)
SO. This morning I had to get up at the ass-crack of dawn; literally oh-my-god-thirty, so that I could drive my ill-behaved son all the way to my sister's before driving another hour to a nursing workshop (the ill behavior is another story; I'm tempted to post the video I took of him in Wal-mart). But I digress...
After not sleeping all night because GI Joe Junior decided he was totally comfortable rockin' out with his head in my diaphragm, his butt on my bladder, and my ribs and other sensitive areas within easy kicking and punching range, I got up, tucked Damien the Omen child into the truck, and headed out of town. He started drinking down what I thought was his usual morning beverage. It wasn't until a few minutes later that I took a big gulp of what I thought would be hot, delicious cinnamon hazelnut coffee with vanilla creamer, and instead got a mouthful of chocolate peppermint milk. Yep. I put his milk in my travel cup and my coffee in his travel cup. Totally awesome.

 I get Baby Einstein to my sister's, wired as hell (he'd managed to down easily half the coffee before I could wrench it away from him), and decide as I'm driving past Happy Donald's that a McHashbrown would really hit the spot. So I pull in, drive around to the drive through, when out of fucking nowhere this tiny piece of shit car comes careening through the parking lot AND TOTALLY TRIES TO CUT ME OFF!!!!!!

Now, those of you who have been pregnant before know: once your stomach lets your brain know that it is hungry, you need to eat. Now. Immediately. The welfare of your husband, your other children, and any pedestrians who happen to cross your path depends on it.  I decided that since I was in a monster truck, I was going to go ahead and keep going, and if the little shit wanted to tangle with me, I was pretty sure I could run over his POS car without too much trouble. However, at the last minute, he decides to whip over and pull into a parking space. Good for him.
Then he decides to walk RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY TRUCK and flip me off. I smiled and waved. So he just stood there, right in front of the little order-taker box, and wouldn't move. At this point, I'm fucking starving. I would have eaten him if it hadn't looked like he bathed maybe once every other month and still hadn't gotten around to that lice treatment he desperately needed. So I laid on the horn. AND HE FUCKING MOONED ME. Then turned around, pants down, and gave me the "Now, what, Bitch?" gesture. At that point, my vision tunneled. I decided that I would tell the police I meant to step on the brake and accidentally hit the gas instead. And I would get away with it, since my dad's an attorney.

So I floored it.

At the last second he must've realized I wasn't stopping, so he turned really fast and tried to run...but since he was standing there with his pants around his knees, he fell over the curb, bare ass in the air, right as I roared past. So I slammed on the brakes and grabbed my cell phone, with every intention of taking a picture of his hairy arse and posting it on facebook for all to see. He managed to scramble behind a bush, though, and like I said, I was hungry, so I just ordered my Mchashbrown and went on my way.

The moral? Never stand between a pregnant woman and her breakfast.

A Confession

I'm going to go ahead and out myself before Husband decides he can't keep his mouth shut any longer: I failed my Korean driver's test.
Here's how that happened:

First, as many of you can attest, there occasionally exists a comfortable competition within a marriage. When I mentioned to Husband that a friend had sent me a link to study for the Korean DL exam, he scoffed and replied "It's too easy, babe. I took it without studying anything. Just use common sense and you'll be fine!"  The gauntlet was thrown down: if I study, whether I pass or not - Husband wins.

Second, when I arrived in-country, I noticed a few things: people park wherever the hell they want. Stopping at red lights is an option, not a mandate. Speed limits are merely suggestions. Pedestrians in Korea are either the bravest or most idiotic people I've ever met. My conclusion: No one follows any sort of traffic rules.  I totally don't need to study. Plus, if I do study, Husband wins.

So I didn't.

Test day: I looked good. The hair was shiny, no spit-up on my jeans, and I'd found the perfect sweater to show off my sparkly new anniversary present from Husband: a diamond pendant necklace.  In fact, as we walked over to the building where I was to take my test, I cheerfully remarked to Husband that everyone was noticing my pretty necklace. He then pointed out that "everyone" was really a bunch of male soldiers, and that perhaps it was not the diamonds I was sporting that was catching their eye.Touché, Husband. This still doesn't mean you win.

Then I sat down to take my written test. The young lady who handed me the booklet informed me that I could only miss four questions on the first section, and five questions on the second.  Not that I was concerned. It's just common sense. You'll be fine.

The first section consisted of general rules related to driving in Korea. "When pedestrians are in the crosswalk, who has the right of way - motorcyclists, pedestrians, or motorists?" Motorists, of course. Everyone else just leaps out of the way. "When is it unacceptable to pass another motorist on the road - when you are near the top of an incline, when it is night and it is a country road, or when you are approaching a pedestrian?" there an option D? I still don't think it's the pedestrians. "When no speed limit is otherwise posted, what is the legal maximum speed - 30 kph, 50 kph, or 80 kph?" Eighty. It's definitely eighty. What is that in miles per hour?
The second section consisted of road signs. Some were easily discernible: Stop, Do Not Enter, Falling Rocks. The rest...well. It was hard to tell whether pedestrians were allowed to cross, whether they were being advised not to cross, or whether there was a limit on the number of pedestrians you could legally hit without having to report yourself to the local authorities. To be safe, I marked "No pedestrians" on every sign that had people. Definitely common sense.

When I stepped back into the reception area, I handed my test paper to the Korean gentleman waiting at his desk and walked outside to await my results with Husband. Not one minute later, the man came outside, slowly shaking his head.What the hell? No way he could've graded the whole test; there was like fifty questions!! "You, miss, very bad. No pass. No license."  Husband: "Hey, is there like a study guide she could use?" A pause, taking in my glare. "Could you just email that to me?"

Whatever. I still won.

A Letter to Husband

While scrolling through my emails from the past year (because I have an apartment to clean, dinner to fix, two kids to bathe, and a husband I need to primp for before he gets home from work [*cough* golfing *cough]), I came across this little missive I wrote to him.  Mind you, I was 7 months pregnant, possibly a touch hormonal, and sleep deprived.  It was probably moments like this that made him very glad that we had 5,600 miles separating us.  Most people would not want to be within arm's reach of me when I'm riding the progesterone/estrogen wave.

♫ Goood morning, Husband!! ♪ ♫
Or afternoon, whenever you'll get this.

I'd like to start off by saying that my morning started off pretty damn good. After my shower, I had perfect fucking hair. Herbal Essences should be beating down my door. In fact, I was so pleased with my shiny flippy hair and glossy lips today, I was actually singing a little tune as I herded a remarkably well-behaved Vlad out the door.

So my first stop was the atm I usually go to, so I could extricate some more of your hard-earned casharoonie and pay the rest of the bills. I'd totaled it to just over $300, so I decided to take out $310 -- a sum that should easily be handled by any respectable atm, right? Well, after hanging halfway out the truck window so I could complete my transaction (this usually entails me holding my breath every time I have to punch the buttons 'cause my belly's jammed against the door), the screen reads "transaction cannot be processed at this time" and shoots the card back out at me. Naturally, I thought to myself "What the fuck?" So, this time getting up on my knees to hang out the window ('cause Little V was protesting the invasion on his kicking space), I put the card back in and asked for an inquiry (thinking maybe there was a hold, maybe Korea had exploded in a rain of Communist fire and the bank was a bit behind on transactions as a result)...and once again, it said "transaction cannot be processed" and practically SPAT my card back at me.

At this point, I stopped singing my happy tune and got a little concerned. I drove Big V to the sitter's and paid her out of the rent money, which hadn't yet been converted into a money order (I thought I'd save that for my lunch break, thank goodness) and decided to see if the card would work at CVS (because I admit, I have been thinking about honey roasted whole cashews for the past few days). So I go in, pausing to admire my still-shiny flippy hair in my reflection in the glass door, and get my cashews and a Sprite (because, like any drug addiction, I tend to want my pseudo-caffeine when I'm becoming a bit stressed). At any rate, CVS was happy to complete my transaction, so I thought I'd try another atm. So I get in the truck and rip open my delicious honey roasted whole cashews. Which proceeded to fucking FLY out of the can and explode all over the front seat. All of them. There was like ONE left in the can. At this point, I started to get a little pissed. Not even looking in the mirror at my pretty hair was making me feel better. However, I was not yet in tears.

So I scoop up all my cashews, put them back in the Miraculously Exploding Can-o-Fun, and start out of the parking lot to Main Street in search of another atm. I glanced at the clock, saw I still had 20 minutes til class, and figured all would be well. In fact, just to try to ease myself back into my original happy mode, I decided to have a sip of my Sprite. After judiciously using my turn signal to turn onto main, I twisted the cap on my Sprite. And it wouldn't turn. So, I'm thinking "I'll use my other hand." Still nothing. At this point, I started to get that tingly feeling in my nose that usually foretells a ridiculously out-of-proportion bout of hormonal weeping. So I pulled to the side and went to work on the stupid Sprite cap. I twisted, yanked, put the top in my mouth and tried twisting, banged it on the console, and burned the first layer of skin off of BOTH palms trying to get that goddamn bottle open. Seven minutes later, I'm sweaty, teary, my nose is running, and yes, my hair is starting to get disheveled, and the Sprite cap hasn't even budged. So I threw it into the floorboard and drove to Main street to find out whether all our funds had magically disappeared overnight or there was just a stupid glitch in that original atm that was fucking up my day.

Well, OF COURSE, I happened to get behind grandma Ethel, who only drives her car to church on Sunday and the market on Monday, and apparently, due to her Alzheimer's, can't remember which goddamned street she wants to turn down, so she keeps her goddamned blinker on and comes to a COMPLETE FUCKING STOP at every single side street so she can read the goddamned signs. However, husband, I resisted laying on the horn, because she probably would've thought she was near a goddamned train track with a goddamned train coming and sat there til a goddamned train actually appeared in front of her. So, an excruciating eight minutes later, I finally got to TrustBank, which, true to its name, was able to dispense the cash I required with no trouble. So after checking both ways before making my left out of the drive, I pulled out and started to make my way down Butler and head to school. After eyeing the clock once again, I figured if I didn't get behind any ri-tards, I could maybe make it to class on time.

Well, wouldn't you know who had finally figured out which goddamned street she wanted to turn down, made a left, got to Butler, and just before I passed the street she was idling on, decided to stomp on her gas and PULL RIGHT OUT IN FRONT OF ME!!!!!!!!!! Yep, it was Fucking Ethel, swear to Baby Jesus. So instead of hauling ass down Butler at a respectable 35, once again she kept her pace near what I imagine an arthritic turtle would consider slow, turned on HER OTHER BLINKER, and proceeded to once again stop and peer at every goddamned cross road between there and the highway. So, since I could do nothing else, I screamed at the absolute top of my lungs, I was so frustrated. My nose was running, my eyes were tearing, and at this point, Little V decided to practice his calisthenics right on my bladder. And by the way, what was Fucking Ethel looking for all this time, you may be wondering? The goddamned chiropracter she could've easily driven to by ANY NUMBER of side streets this side of Whittle.

So now, Husband, here I sit. I hope you have a lovely day.

Baby Food Selections for Gerber

Dear Gerber Chefs:

This evening, as I spooned pureed carrots into Little V's mouth while my meatloaf baked away in the oven, I started wondering why certain foods never made it into the Gerber Hall of Fame. I mean, the idea is to get them to eat what you eat, right? Do you honestly eat room-temp squash, or concoctions mysteriously named Mixed Vegetables? And I admit, I like both apples and chicken, but having them blended into a jar together just doesn't sound appetizing. And so, I have compiled the following list of
suggestions for your perusal. In return, perhaps you could put a picture of Little V on one of your jars.

1. Meat Loaf: now this just plain delicious. And you could probably achieve this flavor by mixing some jars of Beef w/ Beef Gravy, maybe some Carrots, some Green Beans, mash a few Gerber Crackers in there, and toss in some ketchup for that homemade flavor. I predict this will be a big seller.

2. Blueberries: I noticed in your 2nd Foods, you add this to apples for your Apple Blueberry flavor, but why not just Blueberry? I bet parents will buy this one just to see what comes out of their kid's diaper.

3. Corn: how come this one isn't on your list? Again, I noticed it's mixed with other foods in your 2nd Foods line, but why not just put it by itself? If it's due to the poop factor, trust me, babies poop a lot. A little corn isn't going to make much difference.

4. Baked Tilapia: I blame you, Gerber, for my older son not enjoying this as much as I do. Had this tasty fish been offered in little 4oz jars when he was an infant, perhaps he would have grown to appreciate it as a preschooler.

5. General Tso's Chicken: another popular Americanized food that has long been overlooked by you, Gerber. I really think this would open up your Asian market.

6. Popcorn: picture it. It's movie night in the household. Daddy, Mommy, and Big Brother are all cuddled on the sofa about to share a ridiculously delicious and warm bowl of buttered popcorn...and here is Poor Four-to-Six-Month Old Baby, banished to his bouncy seat in the corner, gumming to death a boring Zwieback Cracker. He's already alienated enough by not being able to wipe his own butt, as Big Brother has been able to do some time now. Let Little Brother share in the moment, Gerber.

7. Pickle or Lemon: you may want to sell this Limited-Edition flavor in mini jars. Parents will buy this little gold mine just for the entertainment value of feeding it to Junior.

8. Pumpkin: well, it sells candles, doesn't it? This could be a seasonal item, available in the fall in a cute little Limited-Edition jar shaped like a pumpkin (which can also be a Gerber Keepsake).

9. Deer Meat w/ Gravy: I predict this will sell like hotcakes in the midwest. Put it in a jar with a Camo print on the lid; you'll have shortages on your hands with this particular gem.

10. Pina Colada: trust me, this will be a vacation must-have!! While Big Brother is frolicking in the waves, and Mommy and Daddy are sucking down exotic beverages with little umbrellas in them, Little Brother can enjoy his own little Taste of the Islands with the rest of the family! Again, this could be another Limited-Edition bestseller if you put it in little jars shaped like coconuts.

11. Leftovers: a Thursday night staple in many American households. This also teaches good habits early on. "Meatloaf AGAIN, ma?!?" "Yes, Junior. There are Starving Children in Africa." Just combine whatever flavors you have 'left over' that are still clinging to the inside of the baby-pureeing vats and mix them into an economical plain BPA-free plastic jar. A recession-proof flavor is born!

Think it over, Gerber. You can put my royalties toward that Gerber Life Insurance you're always insisting I need.

Learning to Let Go

I've come to realize something as I get older...trying to be Barbie is fucking hard. A couple of things should have clued me in early on:

First, according to varying accounts, Barbie's height is somewhere between 5'9 1/2 and 7'2.  My height, according to varying accounts (or depending on which convenience store I'm racing out of), is somewhere between 4'11 5/8 and 5'2. Second, as I realized for the first time at age 27, and for the second time at, around seven months ago - Barbie doesn't have kids: which is not surprising, considering she doesn't have a vagina, and a c-section scar would have marred that nauseatingly taut abdomen.

It's not that I didn't try.  I purchased the tatas in 2001, spent the better part of a decade streaking, highlighting, and flat-ironing the requisite blonde tresses, wore stilettos in varying heights, bronzed myself in increasingly high-tech beds, and (for a few years) resided in a gulf coast town.   I dated Nerdy Good Guy Ken, Rocker Ken, Rich Ken, and of course, a few Asshole Kens (which is amazing, considering the dolls I had growing up didn't have assholes OR weiners).

Then one night a couple years ago, my (then) two-year old was sitting on the toilet seat, watching me in awe as I put in colored contacts, applied false eyelashes, shaped my brows, and carefully prepped my lips with lip plumper in preparation for a date with (future husband) GI Joe.  As I spritzed on perfume and smoothed my hair, I asked my round-eyed little boy how I looked.  With a child's inevitable honesty, he replied "Just like Mrs. Potato Head!"
Sexy, huh.

Now (a few years, a marriage, and another child later), I've decided I'll have to let some things go.  For one thing, I've realized that unless I also intend to invest in Botox and chemical peels, the tanning is either going to have to come out of a bottle or I'm just gonna have to rock the pale skin (which is "ethereal" when it's a good day, and "wow, you look like you just got punched under both your eyes" when it isn't).  My four-year old wears my stilettos more often than I do (and come to think of it, his toes are painted more often as well).  I'm not enough of a Houdini to keep my 7-month old from pulling my false eyelashes off and eating them, so those are gathering dust as well.

I'm keeping the blonde and the boobs though.