Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Walmart and Sleep-Deprivation

So I have flesh-eating bacteria in my throat: Streptococcus pyogenes.

Y'know, strep throat :) Although I would love to launch into a captivating discussion on Group A beta-hemolytic bacteria and other opportunistic pathogens, I have a feeling that many of those who read my Blonde blog aren't coming here for lectures on M proteins and lipoteichoic acids (in fact, according to Google Analytics I get a significant amount of hits from people googling "blonde no clothes" and such); thus I will move on.  I had to mention the strep, though, in order to explain why I did what I did next.

I have a somewhat "different" sense of humor; things that others may not find funny, I will find highly amusing, and yes, at times, my humor is kinda sophomoric.  However, when I am tired (I'd just come off a 6p to 6a shift) and sick (flesh-eating throat bacteria), my sense of humor gets a bit more, um, lethal :)

So, I went to the doctor, got a prescription for antibiotics, and went to the Walmart pharmacy, because everyone knows I love Walmart.  Now, when the NP had written my prescription, she'd asked if I was on birth control, and I told her not right now, because my husband's stationed overseas.  She merely remarked "Okay, you don't have anything to worry about then."

Cut to the pharmaceutical tech at Walmart.  When I went to the window to collect my medication, she asked me to sign for it, and then asked, "Are you still on birth control pills?"  Once again, I patiently said that I wasn't, right now, because my husband's overseas.  She casually remarked, "Well, either way, just be sure to use a backup method for a week after you stop taking your antibiotics."

I admit, I could have just nodded and left.  However (remember, sick, sleep dep, sense of humor?) I did not.  I set my little white prescription bag back down on the counter and leaned forward on my elbows.  "Are you insinuating that I might have an extramarital affair?"

She blinked.  "Um."

I continued: "Or, maybe you actually can get pregnant off a toilet seat? Or, I might accidentally stab myself with a penis? Like a needlestick, only with more consequences?"

At this point, the Walmart pharmaceutical technician was looking around her, possibly hoping the pharmacist would wander over, or another tech would appear.  I smiled.  "I get it; the divorce rate is close to fifty percent, I'm cute and have big boobs, and maybe the nose ring makes me look like I'm the type who might get freaky when my husband's out of town.  However," I pulled out my iPhone and clicked open my screensaver to show her the picture of Husband that graces the front of my phone:

"since I am married to someone who looks kinda smexy, and is intellectual to boot, I can probably contain my freaktastic urges until he returns from saving Korea from the horrors of a possible invasion of North Korean Communist Hordes."  and with that I collected my antibiotics and skipped toward the exit.

I'm horrible, I know.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

The Horrible Awful No Good Very Bad Week (Pt. 3)

The Second-to-Last Chapter.

If this is your first visit to LBB, you might want to read parts one and two first.  Part two found us at LAX, having just been placed on "priority standby" for the first flight out the next morning by Kirkster the Friendly AA agent, and given directions to the Bob Hope USO, which was in Terminal 3, and also directions to the Southwest desk, in Terminal 4, so Husband could fly out at relatively the same time as the Vs and I.  Thus, with Vincent stuffed tucked into his rear-facing-but-free carseat, Husband's two checked bags, his backpack, my backpack, Vincent's diaper bag, and Vlad's backpack, we herded our brood out to the pick-up and drop-off area in order to get our bearings.  We walked to the right for a while, until Husband decided the trip might be quicker by shuttle, so we loaded our bags and children onto the shuttle that was supposedly going to Terminal 3 and settled down for a bit of a ride.  For a second.  Then Husband decided to ask the driver if we were on the right shuttle, and lo and behold: we were not.  The other passengers watched amusedly as we unloaded Vincent, Vlad, the two checked bags of Husband's, his backpack, my backpack, Vlad's backpack, and Vincent's diaper bag, off the shuttle; again walking aimlessly to the right.

After a bit we spied a luggage cart that looked as though we might be able to maneuver some of our bags onto it.  We stacked the two checked bags (one rather oddly shaped like a golf bag) and the diaper bag onto the cart, took Vincent out of the carseat and placed it on the cart as well, and I pushed the cart and wore one backpack while Husband carried Vincent, Vlad's backpack, and his backpack (Vlad all the while begging to be carried too).

This lasted long enough for us to cross one road and look for the first parking garage, which Kirkster assured us would be an easy trek across a parking lot and an intersection.  A rather busy intersection.  With no sidewalks or otherwise designated pedestrian walking areas.  We scuttled up to the corner, looked both ways, and dashed as fast as we possibly could while each wearing a backpack; Husband carrying Vincent and dragging Vlad who was finally wearing his backpack, and me pushing the cart with the two checked bags, the diaper bag, and the carseat, which promptly tumbled off the cart as soon as we hit the other curb.

Once we were in the parking garage, we decided to ditch the luggage cart and redistribute the children and bags.  Husband wore both backpacks (one on front and one on back), carried the diaper bag, and pulled one checked bag; I pulled the other checked bag, wore Vlad's backpack, carried Vincent on one hip, and dragged Vlad along with the other arm.  After trekking to the other side, I put Vlad's backpack on him (to much objection on his part), wore my backpack, handed Vincent to Husband, took the diaper bag, and hauled one checked bag along with one hand and Vlad with the other.  Husband wore his backpack, carried Little V (who was much amused at the entire process), and pulled the other checked bag.  Thusly arranged, we managed to make it most of the way across another terminal and down a road almost to The Radisson, until Husband stopped in his tracks and remarked "Babe? I think we're going the wrong way."

Son of a bitch.  I dropped my backpack off my shoulders and looked behind me, where Vlad was hanging onto a chainlink fence, dragging his feet, begging piteously to be carried.  "You cannot be serious.  HOW are we going the wrong way?"

Husband handed me my backpack.  "We just are.  We need to walk back across this other parking lot."  I scowled at Husband and The Emperor, who was gaily yanking Husband's hat off and waving it around.  "Are you sure, Magellan?  Because I'm about to keel over and Vlad's probably going to take the first ride offered by a strange man."  Husband started off in the other direction.  "Positive, Wife.  Let's march!"

At long (very long!) last, we finally made it to the Bob Hope USO, where we signed in, each got a shower (which was amazing; I'd been in the same clothes since Wednesday [it was now Sunday] and had bathed at the sink in Vincent's hospital room, but still felt pretty grody), and got sandwiches and fresh fruit served to us by the volunteers at the USO.  We settled into the sofa in the family room, which we had to ourselves, Vincent dozed off in the playpen, and Vlad nodded off over his cookies while watching Power Rangers.  Husband had a ticket out of Southwest leaving a half hour after our stand-by flight via American Airlines early the next morning, so we caught a few hours' sleep, certain that the next morning we'd be on our way to St. Louis and having dinner with the family by early evening.

Which, of course, didn't happen.  Stay tuned.

Friday, 8 April 2011

In Case You Haven't Noticed, I'm a Bit of a Liberal

In light of the impending shutdown (we're getting down to the nth degree here) I thought I'd forgo my next Very Bad Week installment to write about what's a-happenin'.

On one side, I have quite a few military-wife girlfriends whose families are going to be hurting.  Not getting paid means their bills don't get paid, their credit reports can be affected, and for some, groceries don't get bought.  I've been reading a lot of "well, you should be saving; don't live beyond your means; that's what we do and we'll be fine!" ... which can get a little petty.  We don't need to get judgmental about how people are spending their paychecks, especially when they're supporting a family on E-3 pay, and a single income at that, because Wife hasn't been able to work due to not having a portable career or the present job market.  This affects everyone differently, and getting snipey about other peoples spend vs. save habits kind of puts you in the "kick 'em while they're down" category.

As for my family, we'll be okay for a while; I'm working, and even though we had to go through a significant portion of our savings because of our unexpected stay in Los Angeles,  we won't be in the same financial straits as I'm worried about for some of my friends.


Even though I like my husband getting paid, I'm taking a step back and looking at the issue here.  What exactly is Congress getting stuck on?  Naturally, both sides, Dems and Repubs, are pointing fingers; Dems are saying the GOP is still trying to stick it to Planned Parenthood (cutting all their federal funding); Boehner denies this is the case.


Louie Gohmert, a Republican from Texas, introduced HR 1297, a bill that, according to Mother Jones "has no amendments, no riders, no pork: It simply mandates that troop pay continue as it normally would, through the end of the year, even if the federal government faces a funding gap and shutdown."  

So why hasn't this been brought to vote? It's right there... the ability to pay troops until the end of the fiscal year, whether Congress reaches an agreement by midnight tonight or not, yet Republicans are sitting on this and blaming Democrats for our troops not getting paid.

Well, the House did pass HR 1363, the so-called "Troop Funding Bill" which did essentially the same thing, right? Except, they added a few things to it; namely anti-abortion and anti-environmental riders (cutting funds to the EPA and Planned Parenthood).

Nice to know that military pay is such a valuable bargaining tool, especially for men and women who hardly have to worry about what it means to not be getting a paycheck.  We're trading troop pay for women's reproductive rights now.  God bless the U.S. S. A.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

The Horrible Awful No Good Very Bad Week (Pt. 2)

If you're just now joining us, first go here

After getting settled in at Miller Children's, I gave a history to Vincent's nurse, confirmed what antibiotics they'd be continuing, and was told that the pediatric specialist would be in to examine Little V in about an hour.  I took Vlad (who'd really been acting like a champ, considering he was jet lagged, being hauled from airport to hospital to another hospital, and had slept through dinner on the flight from Tokyo) down to the cafeteria for some ice cream.  When we got back to the room, Vincent's pediatrician was already in there... and he was... different.

I have a theory that some of the most highly specialized and intelligent physicians have to have some form of Asperger's or something... because while they're excellent in their particular specialty, when it comes to normal forms of human communication and interaction, some of them are a wee bit lacking.  Little V's doc was no exception; he spoke to an area just above and to the left of my forehead, and he kept smacking his hand on his thigh as he spoke.

And speaking of speaking... remember Sloth, from the Goonies?  If you can imagine Sloth's voice with a bit of an Indian accent and a lisp, you're on the right page.  I was absolutely dying to ask him if he wanted a Baby Ruth.

Nevertheless, he was an excellent doctor; he adjusted The Emperor's antibiotic dosage, ordered cultures of his blood and urine, and told me he'd be back in 24 hours to evaluate Vincent's progress.  The short version: lungs cleared up, no growth in the cultures, and the next day Little V was cleared to fly.

Which brings us to LAX, and now we meet Ajeeira the Evil American Airlines Agent.  At this point, Husband had arrived from Korea, we'd each snatched a couple hours of sleep on those cozy hospital armchairs, and we approached the AA desk with all of our carry-on luggage, Husband's two checked bags, Vincent wedged in a carseat that was gifted to us at the hospital, and Vladimir sagging under the weight of his backpack, which contained essentials such as Spiderman, T Rex, Big Show, a Viking Shield, and one sock.  There were two agents there, a perky goatee'd gentleman named Kirk and a Satan-disguised-as-an-AA-agent-wearing-red-glasses named Ajeeira.  Naturally, Ajeeira was the first one available, so we approached her desk to ask about my and the V's checked bags, and how to get on a flight from LA to St. Louis.

Well, first she wanted to know why we'd missed our previous flight; after I'd explained where we had been, she said she needed to look up our information.  While she was typing, I asked if she could tell us where we could pick up our checked bags that had been on the flight from Tokyo to LA.  She told us that they would have gone ahead to St. Louis, even though we hadn't gotten on the flight.  As I thought that was rather odd, considering we hadn't cleared customs or anything, I pointed out that it made more sense that our bags were there at LAX - which is when she started to get shitty.  I asked her to simply LOOK UP the number on my claim ticket, and she interrupted to tell me that "there is a process we follow here; a procedure" to which I replied "it will take you two fucking seconds to look up my claim."   At this point, the conversation proceeded to go a bit downhill; my voice was raised, which didn't please the TSA peeps cruising around the area, Husband was still trying to diplomatically explain to her that since we didn't get on the flight, especially after having been overseas, there is no way our bags should have continued on to St. Louis, and Ajeeira (who was sounding more and more like the outsourced "customer service" reps you get when you're trying to call your insurance company) kept saying over and over that there was a PROCEDURE, and by-fucking-Allah she was going to follow it whether it made sense or not.

At one point, Husband put me in time-out over by the bags we did have, and went over to Kirkster, who was not only quite kind and helpful, but managed to silence his coworker by giving her something else to look up.  He put the Vs and I on priority standby on the first flight the next morning, directed Husband to Southwest, and then gave us directions on how to get to the USO at LAX so we could shower, eat, and rest.

And no, the tale STILL isn't finished.  I'll continue in another day or so, but in the meantime, take ONE guess as to where my checked bags were.