Thursday, February 06, 2014
Today was a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG day.
I got a call from my husband at 8:30 this morning. I was about to go out and scrape the inch of SNOW off the car before heading to a client visit in a neighboring city. It seems that black ice had accumulated in a frighteningly short amount of time, and his wheels locked up when he took a turn off the freeway. He plowed into the curb and it bent the passenger side front wheel into the wheel well and the car was no longer drivable. It was 16 degrees outside, with a windchill factor of 4, and the snow was getting worse. I told him to find shelter immediately, and to hell with the car. He told me that there was a hotel about a half mile away, and he said to meet him there and he would make for that.
Lord have mercy what a drive. He managed to drive the car to the hotel (nearly running off the road in the process) while I was throwing on sweaters and socks and forgetting to eat breakfast in my haste, and I headed out into the snow to start the car. In the process, I broke the knob that controls the heater, so all that would work was the air conditioning. So off I went, slipping and sliding. It took a half hour to get to the freeway (normally it takes maybe eight minutes), then another half hour to get to the exit where the hotel was. The snow was so bad that I couldn't see to get over into the proper lane, and since the very polite and courteous drivers of Dallas would not let me over anyway, I had to turn around and try to find a back way. All the back roads were frozen. The intersections were iced over. And I was lost. Another half hour later, I eventually found the hotel, and my husband.
Who hadn't called a tow truck.
I think this is the moment when I bit my tongue off. He was pretty shook up, and cold, and bewildered. So, I gave him the number of roadside assistance through our insurance company (that he had on his keychain and didn't have the presence of mind to look for, poor guy) and let him handle it. I was reminded of similar incidents in childhood, where some crisis would occur, and my mom would have to go bail my dad out, or vice versa, and that's when the fireworks would start. They would start screaming at each other and calling names, which would terrify my sister and me (and passersby), and make the situation a thousand times worse than it had to be. Fortunately, I have learned from their mistakes, and from other old married ladies. It is disrespectful and unhelpful to berate a man when he's shook up, especially when he's your husband. So instead, I gave him a big hug and a kiss and let him take care of business. Meanwhile, I sat watching early morning trashy television and drinking bad hotel coffee and thinking "look on the bright side, kiddo: at least you didn't have to go visit that plague-ridden middle school this morning! And nobody got hurt. And our car has full coverage."
About fifteen minutes later, another man came in. He had the exact same thing happen to him at the exact same spot where my husband had his accident. He called AAA. We had called All-State. Forty-five minutes later, his tow truck arrived, and he left. Meanwhile, our truck was not scheduled to arrive until three hours later. So we waited. I was not pleased, but I didn't want to exacerbate the situation or upset my husband (whose hands finally stopped shaking by about 11:00). We watched some daytime talk show and marveled at how mean and catty women can be. We watched Divorce Court and marveled at a great many things. We watched TMZ Live and were convinced as to why the rest of the world hates America. And our pickup time came and went.
I was ready to go home. I had tons of work to do, but my dear husband wanted to be patient. So I bit my tongue (again), and sweetly asked him to call the insurance company and see what the deal was. So he eventually got through, and they said they'd text him back when they got the truck rescheduled. So we watched Judge Judy and an hour of local news, and another round of Divorce Court and no text.
Mrs. Karlsson decided that enough was enough. I could feel my blood starting to boil. I could also feel my blood sugar hit rock bottom. Let me tell you, the world does NOT want to deal with me after four cups of coffee and no food. I make Ivan the Terrible look like a saint. No joke. So I excused myself to the ladies' room to give myself a moment to come up with a logical argument as to why my dear sweet husband should stand up for his rights as a paying customer and call to demand an answer. This, I concluded, would be much more constructive than what I had witnessed in my youth when my parents would deal with a crisis by insulting each other and raising their voices so they could be heard three counties over (it always amazes me that nobody ever called the cops on them). So saying, I emerged from the ladies' room, smiled, and gave my husband a well-reasoned and calmly delivered argument as to why he should call again. So he did. "Oh! We forgot to reschedule!" said the agent. 'I'm going to need stitches,' I thought. I was very tempted to take the phone away from my husband and give the agent what-for, but I didn't. So my husband patiently explained that we had been waiting for several hours and no truck had arrived. They said they'd get back to him.
By this time, it was getting late, and I hadn't brought my husband's evening dose of anti-rejection medication for his transplanted liver, foolishly assuming that our insurance company was competent and we wouldn't have to wait ALL EFFING DAY FOR AN EFFING TOW TRUCK. *ahem* Excuse me. It was two hours before he was scheduled for his next dose when the insurance company finally got back to him and told him it would be another two hours before the tow truck would arrive. My dear, sweet husband agreed to wait.
At this point, Mrs. Karlsson had had Quite Enough. She quietly informed her husband through gritted teeth that we would leave the vehicle and deal with it in the morning, and that his medicine schedule was more important. He protested, but eventually conceded the point when I pointed out the likelihood of the truck actually arriving on time, the fact that the roads were getting worse, it was getting dark outside, and rush hour was about to start. I told him we'd be lucky if we made it home in time to take his medicine (it's really not a good idea to skip or be late with doses of anti-rejection medication: you could lose the transplanted organ and wind up dead). He argued that the hotel wouldn't let us park overnight. I said "ask and ye shall receive." So he went to ask. And they graciously agreed to let us leave the car (especially since two different shifts of employees had watched us wait in the lobby all day). That being done, we left for home.
After six hours of waiting for a truck that never came, we finally made it home, tired and hungry enough to douse the cats in pizza sauce and have at it. I decided that I would schedule a tow truck on my own for the morning and my husband could handle it on his way to work. And viola, it was done, easy-peasey. Ironically, an hour later, the tow truck that our insurance company provided called from the hotel parking lot to say they were ready to pick us up. My husband told them they were too late, that we had gone home after waiting for six hours and had hired someone else. Then he hung up.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I put it to you that even though me being patient with my husband and letting him handle things was a respectful and empowering thing to do, it was not productive and I feel we were taken advantage of by our lousy insurance company. I also lost a full day of work, which I can't afford since I've already been out sick for two weeks. When you're self-employed, if you don't work, you don't get paid. Also, I don't think there's enough thread in the world to stitch up all these bite marks on my tongue. I think I need skin grafts.
My patience sorely tried (albeit with a relieved hubby, which makes it worth it somehow), I bid you all good night. And I pity the fool who tries to cross me tomorrow.
Thursday, January 30, 2014
I stared at the scale for a long time this morning. I weighed myself five times just to make sure I wasn't tripping on antibiotics. But sure enough, it said what it said in spite of any logical explanation I could come up with, and it puzzled me, because I feel heavy, like lead. It wears me out to walk across the house. I went to the grocery store to pick up some milk, and it was all I could do to get out of the store without sitting down on the bench outside to take a nap in the sunshine.
What did the scale say, I hear you ask.
It said I was down a total of 20 pounds from May 1. I have apparently lost 20 pounds. I have absolutely no idea what to think about this, other than to just keep going. I am fully expecting to bounce back up into the 280s with a vengeance, but it hasn't happened, even though I'm doing my best to stay hydrated and eat something healthy.
I mean, I haven't had junk food in weeks. I haven't eaten over 2000 calories in two weeks. I also haven't moved in two weeks. None of this math is adding up very well, and it's kind of freaking me out. I mean, twenty pounds? Where did they go? Are they lying in wait somewhere in a closet or in the attic, ready to attack when I least expect it? Should I claim victory? Is this even real? I haven't seen the 270s since 2010. I'd forgotton what they looked like. Should I reward myself? It seems so odd, since what triggered this sudden drop in weight is illness.
I just don't know. I DO know, however, that I'm about to go stir crazy being cooped up in the house and not able to move for more than five minutes at a time. I'm going to make an attempt to work a little in the shop. Surely beating a clarinet into submission doesn't take TOO much energy.
Sunday, January 26, 2014
So here I sit, staring another four to five days of low activity in the face. How do I know? Well, I'll tell you.
See, I actually got a bit of sleep last night. HOWEVER, when I woke up this morning, I was panting. It hurt to take deep breaths. This was a new, yet not unfamiliar development. I decided to drag my fanny out of bed and get myself down to the local urgent care facility. Just as I suspected, I was diagnosed with bronchitis and given some heavy duty cough meds and some antibiotics. So, no cardio, and no operating heavy machinery.
I was going to wait until tomorrow to see if things improved, but then I thought, why wait? If it's nothing serious, they'll tell me. When the doctor asked me to breathe deeply so she could listen, all I could do was cough. It took me five tries before she could hear what she wanted. So I got a steroid shot (I HATE shots), a course of antibiotics, and a course of non-narcotic based cough suppressants. The doctor wanted to give me codeine based medicine, but I told her that codeine makes me climb the walls like an inmate in the monkey house. I also told her I had been taking Mucinex, but it had no effect whatsoever, other than the fact that it made me dream of filming meerkats in Namibia.
That is completely true, by the way. The past few nights I took it, I'd dream that I was filming the meerkats and they'd come and stick their little noses in my camera lense and it will be all cute, and then I'll have a coughing fit and I'll watch them scamper away into the corners of the Namib outback which is fading into my bedroom and next thing I know I'm sitting up in bed saying "Come back, meerkats!" and my husband is looking at me like I'm some kind of nut.
So, there's never a dull moment around here. I am so DONE with being sick, but it looks like I'll just have to chill for another week and get further behind. And to add insult to injury, (TMI WARNING, GENTLEMEN!) my body has declared *ahem* the egg has been hard-cooked and has decided to start the party 10 days early. Just LOVELY. [shakes head in annoyance but not disbelief]
Oh, well. Onward and upward. Or downward. Or where ever.
Saturday, January 25, 2014
Well, I'm still waiting for this dumb cough to go away and whatever is in my lungs to clear out already. However, I'm feeling well enough to be absolutely appalled by the state of my house, and I'm slowly going around throwing out all the mountains of kleenex, as well as other, less savory things.
You may or may not remember me mentioning in a previous blog that I had left pizza sitting out on the counter, ostensibly to let the mold have a field day with it. I got around to checking on it today to see how it was progressing and to finally throw it out. The pizza was ordered on January 17. Today is January 25. I was hoping for something pretty impressive, and fully expecting to have to notify a HAZ-MAT crew. So saying, I got the kitchen tongs and cautiously opened the pizza box...
THAT PIZZA WAS PRISTINE. There was not a speck of mold growing anywhere on that pizza. I mean, yeah, it was a little dried out, but it looked like all you'd have to do is nuke it and you'd be good to go. No green, no fuzz, no nothin'.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I am highly suspicious of anything that can sit out for THAT long and not grow mold. I mean, it's carbohydrate based, for Pete's sake!!! It has CHEESE on it, and CHEESE is MOLDY MILK!!! I can't keep fresh bread in this house because after a day or two, it molds! If I left a plate of beans on the counter for that long, the mold would have evolved into a colony of sentient life forms by now. It would have elected its own form of representative government. There would have been wars fought, novels written, love lifes lived, and epic deeds of microbial greatness on that plate of beans in the space of eight days. But on my pizza? A wasteland. Nothing that a discerning fungus would want to eat.
Maybe I should be more like my household fungi and be more of a food snob.
Thursday, January 23, 2014
So it turns out that the "little bug" I had contracted turned into a much bigger one. I had a 102 degree fever for two days and alternated between sweating like a racehorse and chills where there were not enough blankets in the house to get me warm. I'm still not taking appointments, even though I suppose I could, but I just don't feel like being a hero any more. There was a time when I would have powered through and worked, but you know what? One of the advantages of being your own boss and having no employees other than your cats is that you can call in sick and everyone else can just deal with it. I mean, yeah, I get some grief, but I'm at the point now where I just don't care.
"But!!! Success!!!! Competition!!!! Money!!!! Responsibility!!!" I hear you shout from the wings.
Well, if someone else was calling my shots, or, like my husband, if I worked in a place where I had not accumulated enough paid time off, then, yes, I would have been back to work yesterday, snot factory and all, hopped up on cough meds and trailing a case of kleenex around behind me and being absolutely no use at all and infecting others like a good little cog in the corporate machinery. But I am the boss, and without me, there is no business, and it really does take me a lot longer than the average bear to recuperate from a respiratory ailment. It's a fact of life for me.
My main goal at the moment is to rehydrate, because as you probably saw by my weight tracker, I dropped to 277.5 in a matter of days. Saturday I weighed 285.5. Yeah. Eight pounds in five days is not what I'd call healthy, at least for me. I imagine I'll plump back up from being a raisin by the weekend. I'm hoping that will shift all this congestion so I can get it out of my lungs and actually sleep at night.
Okay, enough with this kvetching.
This has given me pause, though. I was just getting over a cold when I went to Beijing that last time. I thought it wasn't a big deal, and we know how THAT turned out. I think I'm going to have to tell my colleague no, that I'm not going to Shanghai with him. "Oh, you'll regret it!" I hear you say. "You'll be like the girl who didn't go to Paris!" Yeah, the difference there is that the young lady who did not go to Paris chose not to go so her boyfriend wouldn't break up with her. I'm choosing not to go to Shanghai because I don't want to die from air pollution. Little bit of a difference there. I will not regret it. I've given it thought, and it is just not worth it. Am I disappointed? Yeah, a little. It would be exciting to see, and I'm sure I'd meet lots of new contacts (and terrorize some old ones, heh heh), but the risks outweigh the benefits. So, I must respectfully decline for health reasons.
And since I'm rambling on and avoiding doing anything constructive in my house, here's an interesting thing Mr. Karlsson and I have learned. So, the first 18 days of the new year, we ate restaurant food only once. The rest of the time, I have cooked and planned healthy food. Upon the 19th day, I was just too tired to cook, and my husband was getting his appetite back, so I ordered a pizza.
We just couldn't finish it. It made us both queasy. My husband announced that it (TMI ALERT) "cleared him out." He attributed it to having a cold, but I told him it was because his body had gone into shock from eating such bad food. He said that was surprising, but that he really didn't want a repeat performance, so I could have the rest of the pizza. Which is why it is currently molding in its box on the counter, because I didn't want it either. (We're quite behind on household chores at the moment!) He also said that maybe we should just make our own pizzas from now on if the ingredients are so bad that they cause mass evacuations after eating healthier for a couple of weeks. I'm inclined to agree with him. I mean, the convenience is great and all, but... it was just so... GROSS.
In other news, the healthier eating is making a difference for him (and so did the fever, poor guy). He sat down next to me last night and gave this sideways look. "Why are my pants fitting a little looser?" he asked. You know, like I'm in charge of how his pants fit or something. "How loose are we talking about?" I asked. "Welllll.... not down to a 34 loose, but MAYBE back almost to a 36. I mean, my 38s aren't falling off, but they fit a little looser," he said, still giving me the sideways look. "Part of it might be dehydration from your fever, but that was a week ago. Maybe it's all the non processed foods I'm forcing you to eat," I said. "Hmmm," he said. "So maybe we should keep that up, huh?" I said. "Maybe," he said, and stuck out his tongue.
Let's see, what else can I ramble about. Actually, I'm worn out from coughing. I wish I had some horehound. It just randomly came to me while I was trying to sleep the other night. Horehound candy was something my grandmother used to give me when I had a bad cough. That stuff was amazing! It was thick and dark mahogany colored and as it melted it coated your throat. I haven't seen any of that since I was seven or eight years old. And she'd get it in big sticks or these tiny pitiful "honey horehound" bits. The honey horehound was nasty. I preferred the straight up molassesy goodness of plain horehound. I distinctly remember somebody handing me a brown paper bag, and when I opened it, there was a great big bundle of those big sticks and I thought "BWA HA HA HAAAA! THEY'RE MINE!!!!! ALL MINE!!!!!" I didn't even have to share them with my sister or my cousins, because nobody liked it except me. In retrospect, this is pretty odd, because I was a VERY picky eater. There was just something about it, I guess, and now I really want some. Nuts!!!
Did any of you ever have horehound when you were kids, or is this just a Tennessee hillbilly thing?
Oh, wow... one more thing: too much medical grade peppermint tea will improve your digestion so much that your food will want to exit the way it entered. Just now discovered that. Cleanup on Aisle 7!
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