Friday, March 30, 2012

I need a new blanket.

I'm often intrigued by the number of Dr. Scholl's Arch Support Testing machines that have popped up around town. Similar to the "in the grocery store, while you wait" blood pressure machines, the Dr. Scholl's Arch Support Testing machines allow you, the grocery shopper, to remove your shoes right there in the store and allow the machine to test the bottom of your feet for arch issues.  This brings to mind two things:

A.)  There are always exceptions to the "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service" rule, and
B.)  We are a nation of "do-it-yourselfers."

The whole concept is great.  Remove your shoes, step on the foamy pad, the machine counts down, and--wah-lah!--in thirty seconds or less, you can purchase your new insoles with confidence, because the machine told you exactly what to purchase.

I need one of these machines that helps with blankets.

When Richard moved in, he brought with him his king-sized bed.  Being a bachelor, however, he also brought with him ONE set of sheets, and no blanket.  Not to worry, as those of you who know me also know that bedding sets happen to be one of my vices weaknesses.  Thomas O'Brian for Target?  Sure.  Ralph Lauren bedding?  Check, please.  We were really in no danger of sleeping in the cold.  Of that, I can assure you.

Although I'd slept the majority of my nights away on a queen-sized bed, I had plenty of king-sized sheet sets.  The main reason for this was the fact that I fell for so many of those memory foam topper commercials.  At one point, I had a four-inch memory foam topper underneath a feathered mattress pad.  Clearly my bed became one of the tallest places in Florida.  GPS locators had to suspend disbelief when I used my phone on my bed.  Many an app lost their minds trying to figure out how I could be hovering 75 feet in the air while checking Facebook, dozing coins, or sling-shooting a bunch of pissed-off birds.

True story.

But, as is always the case in good writing, there was a problem.  My comforter, my duvet covers, the works:  everything was queen-sized.  The top of the bed didn't matter, you see.  I only purchased big sheets to get around the additional shit on top of the bed.  Houston, we have a problem.

In our early days, the short comforter was a blessing.  Remember in the beginning, before you held your partner's snoring against them, when going to bed for the night meant waking up in the morning looking like you'd both fallen asleep in the middle of a game of Twister?  Spooning all night long, sleeping with your head on his chest (or, gentlemen, if you prefer), holding your partner in the crook of your arm as if to protect him or her from all things rotten and evil lurking just outside the safe confines of the bed?  The days you could have shared a twin blanket and been none the wiser?  Ahhh.  Budding romance.

Then come the children.  The reality of the fact that you have a scant five hours of YOU TIME in the period of each 24-hour day suddenly takes its toll, and you and your partner gladly begin sleeping for comfort, not style.  Waking up in the mornings becomes reaching fifteen meters over dogs and pillows and the e-reader from last night's pre-sleep marathon book-reading session in order to shove your beloved out of bed before the alarm clock wakes the snoring scavengers on the other side of the house.

Your feet are hanging out of the covers, and now you realize the time has come for a bigger blanket.

I often shop at Target.  (If you need proof, follow me on Foursquare.)  While browsing the bedding section a few weeks ago, I had the sudden feeling that now was the time to purchase a king-sized comforter.  I voyeured my way toward the aptly-titled "Home" section, marveling at the landscape.  Plush mountains of comforters lined the aisle.  Minus a walking stick, I felt like a sherpa navigating the deep and fluffy terrain.

I settled on a king-sized, moderately-priced, thin down comforter.  I started fantasizing about having my own portion of a blanket.  I imagined how good it would feel, its thin weight settling over me to blanket my body away from the intruding night.

Then I got home.

Then I went to sleep.

You know how this blanket should've been marketed?  As a weight-loss blanket, that's how.  Sometimes, I hear a Willy Mays voice-over disturb my restful slumber.  I roll my sweat-soaked body over to a dry part of the mattress and attempt to block him from my mind.

"And you, yes you, can lose inches while you sleep!  You've heard other products make a similar claim, but NO ONE backs it up like we do!  Ten pounds, twenty pounds, THIRTY POUNDS of sweat in one week!  But wait!  That's not all!  Watch this time-lapse demonstration and you can actually SEE the unwanted fat and water weight SOAKING RIGHT INTO THE MATTRESS!  WHILE SHE SLEEPS!"

This is the worst blanket I've ever owned.

I'd like to see a machine like the Dr. Scholl's Arch Reader, but for blankets.  I want to take my shoes off and stand on a foamy platform while computer programs, thermometers, and scales weigh and measure every last inch of me.  At the end, I want the machine to spit out a tiny slip of paper, directing me to the aisles where the good blankets are.  No more lunatic fringe.  No more down or down alternatives.  Get me to a blanket that comforts me, not this pseudo-piece of Saran Wrap that treats me like a Thanksgiving leftover.

Where is the machine that does all of that for me?  Where is the "try it before you buy it" blanket store?    Where is the heat-rating?  Who uses this in Florida, for Frith's sake?

I need a nap.

Cherstin, the New Goddess of Night-Sweats.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Typhoid Mary.

As many of you well-know, I've been plagued of late with a toothache.  It all started with the stupid anti-anti-depressants, as bruxism happens to be a common side effect.  After the first few days, I was pretty certain that by the end of this six-month-trip, my jaw muscles were going to rival Schwarzenegger's biceps.

(Not his old-man governor biceps, but the 25-years-ago biceps we all once knew.)

One night, I asked Richard if he could stop at CVS or Walgreens and grab me one of those night guards that just need to be boiled in water and then fit to the new owner's mouth.  My jaw and teeth were killing me.  Shopping by phone (as in, one clueless person is in the store while the other clueless person is at home) is a lot like playing that old game "Operator."  Remember the one that involves sitting in a circle and whispering what is supposed to be the same sentence to your neighbor and seeing how the message actually compares when it makes it all the way around the circle?  Yeah, it's like that.

I'm looking online to see what they've got, Richard is in the store staring at the small selection.

"Okay, Richard, do they have the one in the BLUE BOX with the WHITE STRIPE ACROSS THE TOP and the BLACK LETTERING?"

"No, I don't see that one.  They do have one in a PURPLE BOX with a YELLOW STRIPE ACROSS THE BOTTOM with WHITE LETTERING.  Do you see that one online?  It looks good, it's $44."

"Richard, I don't see that one online.  What about the SMALL ONE in the CLEAR BOX?"

"Uhmmm, let me see,...SMALL ONE, CLEAR BOX, SMALL ONE, CLEAR BOX.  No, babe, I don't see that one."

We may as well have ended each of those volleys with "GO FISH."  Maybe someone would've won something.

Fast-forward now to my sexy self sleeping next to my husband every night with this stupid mouthguard in.  It kind of defeats the whole "Afternoon Delight" idea, doesn't it?  Mouth wide open, blue mouthguard showing, snoring.  I shouldn't even bother with lingerie at this point.  The best part is that sometimes, when I put my head on the pillow and Richard is already laying down next to me, I hear him softly say, "BLUE, 32!  BLUE, 32!  HIKE!"  It never fails to crack me up though.   ;-)

But this damn nightguard ... it HURTS.  My theory is that ordinary jaw-clenching doesn't put pressure on ALL of my teeth; I only clench at the points where my teeth actually connect.  With the mouthguard in, however, when I clench, each individual tooth is biting down on that plastic mold.  Although I'm saving my teeth, I'm killing my mouth in the process.

I know I have a fractured root on one of my teeth.  It wouldn't be a big deal, except it's a tooth that happens to be holding a bridge in place.  (Yes, I have a bridge.  I broke a tooth eating a bagel when I worked at the coffee shop.  Overtoasted, anyone?)  To fix this problem, I need to see an Endodontist.  Do you want me to tell you what this Endodontist (with a capital E) is going to charge to do a root canal on this tooth?  Eight-hundred dollars.



That is two car payments.  I tell myself, like Gloria Gaynor, "I Will Survive."

When I do a lot of clenching, however, it gets all sore and usually some pocket of infection begins to form.  Pocket of infection?  How about a pocket of money, huh?  Wouldn't that be a lot more beneficial?

Now I've got this "pocket of" whatever, but no dentist.  No Endodontist, either, since I shirked my $800 appointment a few months ago because the day before, a Sunday, the well pump happened to go out on us, costing roughly one-and-a-half Endodontist root canals, so I no longer felt like blowing another $800 for an hour's worth of work.

Yesterday I had the most brilliant idea:  I'll just take the dog's antibiotics.

I'm fairly certain, if this works, it will go into one of the Top Ten Greatest Alternative Ideas I've Ever Had.

When I looked up the antibiotic to see how many milligrams I'd need (being human, not dog), I found a great list of ailments that this medicine is prescribed to cure.  I'd like to take a moment to share them with you, if that's okay.

I'm going to be honest:  some of these, I've only heard of on "House."

I don't see anything about toothache, but I'm not about to let that stop me.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Starts at Point A, Ends at Point Something Else.

My big guy is sick.   :(

Remember when staying home sick from school used to be the coolest thing ever?  I'm pretty sure one of the best times from my childhood occurred when I had chicken pox in 8th grade.  I can't believe I waited until 8th grade to get them, but I did.  The thing that made it so awesome was that 1.)  I was actually old enough to stay home by myself, and 2.)  I was actually old enough to enjoy it.

Friends from the neighborhood would come by after school, bringing me homework (blah) and all sorts of other amazing things.  At the time, we were getting ready to move out of our house, so we had let our above-ground pool in the backyard turn sort of green.  A couple of the guys who lived behind me went cast-netting off one of the bridges and brought me a ton of fish to put in the pool.  The next day, they delivered me a bunch of canal turtles.  I would take bread outside during the day and sit on the diving board, feeding the fish and turtles.  I'd write fabulous notes and love letters, full of 8th grade angst and hearts in red marker and leave them outside for my friends.  I'd watch tv all day, eat macaroni and cheese, play Ms. Pac Man.  It was seriously awesome.

Aidan is home from school today with a fever.  He just finished a plate of waffles and is now relaxing in bed on the internet with the Military channel on his flat screen tv.  Despite the 15'x33' backyard aquarium and the red markered love letters, I'm fairly certain he's got it better than I did.

Yesterday marked the 2-year anniversary of "Poker Night," aka the night I met Richard.  We both can't help but get all sappy and sentimental as we reminisce about what might have been, or if we'd ever met if it wasn't for that fateful night.  I'm so happy to say that I've truly married my best friend.  People say that, but they don't really mean it.  I've seen friends of mine, the "compulsive break-up artists," I'll call them, who change their relationship statuses on Facebook once a week, and the next thing you know, they're "engaged."  What the blank, people?

I've heard my friends say that "not-fighting" is unhealthy in a relationship.  People can't believe that Richard and I don't fight.  When you have a totally open line of communication, what is there to fight about?  Because we know each other so well, we each know what the other will do in a given situation.  I don't worry that he's going to be out "doing me wrong."  If I did, I wouldn't be with him.  We don't fight about money, because everything is out in the open.  We don't fight about child-rearing, because we're both completely compatible in that aspect.  If I am disappointed in him or he in me, we immediately talk about it and get it worked out, as it can only be chalked up to a miscommunication or an error in judgment on either of our parts, but these things are completely minute.

For me, it could be something like, "Ohhh, I had a rough day with the kids and I thought you were going to call me before you came home so I'd know to put dinner on."  And he might reply with, "Oh babe, I'm sorry, I totally spaced it and then my dad called and then I called my brother and my last call was only 15 minutes from home, I'm sorry!"  And then I might say, "Well, please try to remember next time because I really wanted you to stop at the store and grab formula."  And he'll say, "Okay, babe.  I'm sorry.  Do you want me to go get it now or do you want to take a break from the kids and go to the store?"  And that's that.  Maybe it sounds boring to some people, but at this age, do you really still "fight" with your best friends?  You don't, because you realize that they have their lives and you have yours, and it's no different in a marriage.

Ugh, look what I went and did?  Someone call "Posts Gone Wild," because this one is out of control.

You've lucked out:  it's just about time for me to head to school where I'll be discussing "The Short, Happy Life of Francis Macomber."

Getting the funk out,

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

My Anti-Anti-Depressants.

According to recent polls, roughly 85% of statistics are made up on the spot, and this one is no different.  If I had to guess, I'd surmise that roughly 60% of my friends are on some sort of anti-depressant, myself included.  Why, you might ask?  Well, I'm glad you brought that up.

I'm not sure if this has been some sort of "postpartum" thing, but that's how my Doctor (with a capital D) diagnosed it after Aidan was born, and I found myself going through the same feelings this time around.  Not the super-depressed, cry my eyes out, why is this happening to me type of depression, but rather the feeling of looking around one's self and realizing it's been roughly 4 days since my last shower, my leg hairs could be shaved off and sold as a fake beard (Halloween?), I can't find the floor of the laundry room, my youngest child is only happy when playing the "up/down" game (or maybe its cruel cousin, the "Mommy, Fetch!" game), and I have no idea what day of the week it is, much less the actual date.

I travel the roughly 5 miles to the Big D Doctor's office and complain about my woes, so he says he's got the perfect pharmaceutical dream for me.  Generic Celexa.  Citalopram.  At the time, I told him, "Whoa, Doc.  I thought Celexa was for people with joint pain."  He kindly informed me the joint pain one was Celebrex.  "Dammit!" I thought.  "Curse those stupid television commercials!"  How do the Doctors keep this shit straight?  I looked around the office for his crib sheet, but couldn't see one readily available.  Damn him.  In hindsight, I'm betting it's all encoded in the fancy calligraphy of his wall-hanging-diplomas.  How many diplomas does one even need, anyway?  Three exam rooms times three or four diplomas hanging in each room, glass picture frames for each...I'm beginning to think this guy is either a sham or a brilliant sham.  I decide to take his handy-dandy prescription and give it a shot.

Now that I'm taking this stuff, shit just doesn't bother me anymore.  AT ALL.  As in, "Homework deadline?  Fuck it!  I'm rereading the 'Dark Tower' series and CAN'T BE BOTHERED RIGHT NOW."  Doesn't that sound much better than being all Type-A and constantly worried about homework and bills and cleaning and diapers and grocery store lists?  Hell yes.  Yes it does.

Except this one part.  There's this small little thing that bothers me.  Minute, really.  Actually, it's quite minuscule when you really think about it.  It's just...okay.  Sometimes, I forget where I put the baby.

Listen, it's nothing to be ashamed about.  I'm sure a LOT of people have forgotten where they've placed their child.  I'm sure it happens ALL THE TIME.  I mean, one minute I'm sitting there enjoying myself, reading, the next minute I stand at attention with my arms out at my sides, drop down into a middle stance like a WBA basketball player, and I think, "Holy shit!  Where is Caleb?"  I try to go through the past few minutes in my mind, but I draw an absolute blank.  Then I start looking.  Nine times out of ten, he's in his high chair eating lunch, and I smile and think, "Oh, Cherstin.  You're so silly.  Don't lose the baby again."  And then I usually won't lose him for the rest of that day.

Another thing about my anti-depressant?  Sometimes, when I'm in the car driving to school, I think, "Man, now would be a good time for a nap."  I don't TAKE a nap, I follow that initial thought up with, "That's a stupid idea!" but I still do think I could just take a nap right then and there.  Going to school equals NO KIDS.  The car becomes my personal bedroom.  Plus the car is usually nice and toasty from sitting in the driveway.  Is there a more sleep-conducive location than that long stretch of Ponce de Leon Blvd.?  I think NOT.  Anyway, I'm sure plenty of people feel like napping in the car.  Why else did they invent cruise control?  Just to let you know, I have never napped in the car, and I will continue to not nap in the car, but how bizarre is that?  I don't even feel like I need a blanket when I'm in the car, and who naps without a blanket?

Time to run.  I'm fairly certain I forgot to eat breakfast this morning.  Also, did I take my pill?

Hasta la vista,

Monday, March 5, 2012

Back in the Saddle.

I've successfully reached Day Two with my blog. Wait, maybe I should wait until I actually hit "Publish" before I start celebrating.

The unthinkable happened last night:  I went to Pet Supermarket to get some dog food and I came home with a canary.  I'm not sure why anyone even allows me to go to a pet store by myself.  They should totally know better, but I caught Richard at a good time:  He and Aidan were playing Call of Duty, so they were only paying me less than 1% of their combined attention.

So I'm at Pet Supermarket and I've got a cart.  I've got puppy food and dog food in the cart, which is what I'd gone to get, so now I'm in perusing mode.  I peruse the fish tanks, I peruse the cats, I peruse the rabbits, guinea pigs, and ferrets.  I peruse the parakeets, the finches, and...hark, a canary.  I'm thinking it's the coolest shade of pale yellow I've ever seen.

I walk back to re-peruse the fish tanks, knowing myself too well.  I had to get away from that bird.

I peruse the beta fish.  I peruse the fake aquatic plants.  Then, once again, hark.  The song of a male canary.

I'm pretty sure I left rubber on the floor of the fish area while I peeled out toward the front of the store.  The added 80 pounds of combined dog and puppy food really helped out in that regard.  I grabbed a white cage, some colorful canary food with little bits of candy-looking pieces mixed among the boring seed (wow, at $7.99 a half-pound, this stuff better be good), some songbird food (because, hey, why not?), and then went to the front.

"I NEED THAT CANARY," I wanted to say.  I realized that sounded creepy, so I toned it down a bit.

"I'd like to buy that canary," I mumbled in the sort of way that sounded really casual and cool.

I bring the canary home, and I was pretty sure Richard was going to toss me to the curb.  After a few minutes of the silent treatment, during which time I was trying to do homework, I broke down and went inside.

"Richard," I said.  "Are you mad at me?"

He gave me an answer, but he had the tell-tale signs of "I'm just saying I'm not mad at you but I'm still mad at you."  I had to pull out the big guns.  Who can do homework when they're in the middle of being madded at? To be the recipient of someone's silent treatment really sucks.

"Richard," I said.  "What about the time you and Aidan came home with a rabbit and a big screen tv?"

He claimed he remembered none of that, but I knew better.  I know tv's are pretty much his weak spot, so I stuck the knife in and twisted.

"Look, Richard.  I brought home a bird.  A canary bird, mind you.  Its song is going to melt your heart.  This also means that I owe you one, see?  You're on the one-up list now."

He gave me that blank stare, bowl of cereal balanced in his lap, spoon halfway to his mouth.

I cleared my throat.  "What I'm trying to say, babe," (he can't resist when I call him 'babe') "is that, well, you know that 70-inch tv you've had your eye on?"  Ahhh, now he realizes where I'm headed with this.  "Now you can come home with that, and we're even."

(PS:  We would totally not be even, but it did get me out of the dog house.)

I'm naming my bird "Eggman."

I guess the tv will be called "Large Boy."


Til next time,

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Starting Small.

I'm fairly certain that, along with quitting smoking, updating my blog on a nearly-every-day basis was one of my New Year's Resolutions for 2012.

I'll begin by wishing you all a happy March 4th! Okay, so it's not a real holiday, but it will be Day One of my New and Improved New Year's Resolutions 2012, which is when I just happened to realize that I haven't done shit that I resolved to do this year, and the year is already 25% over.

So far in 2012:

Caleb turned a year old, and successfully uttered "mama" the very next day. That was a good day.

I tried to quit smoking a few times. Those were pretty bad days.

I still can't quite decide what grade level I'd like to teach. Those have been fun days, observing and trying to nail it down.

Aidan is being tested for the gifted program. That is great news.

We found out our dog, Lena, has lymphoma. That was shitty news.

Let me take a break right there and tell you what we did.

Being a parent to a seven-year-old and a one-year-old isn't always an easy task, particularly where pets are concerned. Many a dog have we brought home and fallen in love with, only to find children knocked over, toys torn apart, asteroid-sized craters dug into the backyard, so off they go again to find their next perfect home, we, the people, left behind to always remember them fondly, happy that we gave them a second chance at life.

Then came Lena.

We brought Lena into our home almost 5 years ago and we've never looked back. Did this "free dog" come with some bad habits? Sure. I can't tell you how many bags of trash she managed to find her way into. I can't recall the weight of the cinder blocks I crushed with a sledge hammer in order to line the perimeter of the fence so she would no longer squeeze under it to run the neighborhood. I can't even count the dollar amount spent on our "free dog," from her initial spay and shots and microchip and having two baby teeth removed that never fell out, her dental a few years later, two trips to the emergency vet. If I could pay one hundred times that amount to keep her here with us for another 10 years, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

Lena started acting "off" two weeks ago. Nothing major that would stop another pet owner in their tracks, but just things that seemed peculiar. There were two nights in a row that my son thought Lena had a fever when she was up in bed with him, and each of the following mornings, we woke up to find Lena asleep on a blanket on Aidan's floor rather than tucked in his bed, which is where she'd slept for the past year. I gave her a good pat-down and noticed she had a swollen gland, which is where it all began.

Anyway, long story short, we decided to throw Lena a "going-away" party, of sorts. Yesterday, we had friends, family, and neighbors come over for a cookout, and their fee to join the festivities was to bring a drawing or a letter about a special memory they had of Lena. At the end of the day, we had notes, drawings, photos, dog picture frames, dog biscuits, cards, even a "Seeds of Life" tree, all from Lena's special friends. When Lena's time here is up, we'll always have this special scrapbook to remember her and her special day.

I'm hoping that day never comes. Sorry to be selfish, but that's my dog. That's all I can say.

Anyway, it's been a good year, it's been a shitty year. We take the good with the bad and we roll on. I hope to see you more often, sooner rather than later. Life is just too short.