Monday, March 31, 2008

Can You See It Now?

So, today it was off to the eye doctor. I'd been putting it off for some time now, and the deciding factor was that someone must have flushed my and all. One night it was there in the bathroom cupboard, and the next day, it was gone. I had a back up pair, but I wasn't even totally sure I had them in the right eyes, or if they were a matching set and not two left lenses or something.

The receptionist talked me into seeing the new dr. who is working there. I agreed, but made sure he would cater to my extreme dislike of going to the eye dr. The main eye dr. there saw me when I was nine years old and getting my first pair of glasses. Then I saw his partner, who I loved a lot, but she decided to move to Missouri. It'd almost be worth driving there to see her.

The new guy had to get the downlow on me, though.

First off, I'm one of those people prone to vasovagal syncope. When my vagus nerve is stimulated, I drop like a fly. I learned this the hard way the first time I was fitted with contact lenses when I was 18. The dr. fumbled around with the lens, and suddenly, I didn't feel so great. I barely got out, "I don't feel so..." and the next thing I know, I'm slumped in my eye dr's arms and he's holding smelling salts under my nose.

I always have to make it clear that if you touch my eyeball, I will pass out. I can touch my own eyeball, at least a few times, or long enough to get a contact in and out. I've experimented a few times, and if I touch my eyeball with my finger about five times, I do start getting lightheaded and that "going to pass out soon" feeling.

It was truly one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. If it weren't for the fact that I love wearing contacts, I would gladly forgo the yearly eye exam. But for other reasons, I cannot.

There's something called Stickler Syndrome that runs in our family. It's a genetic condition that effects the collagen in one's body. The connective tissue in joints, ears, eyes, and hearts are targeted by this condition. It can cause glaucoma, detached retinas, arthritis, heart valve problems, cleft pallate, severe myopia, and all sorts of fun things.

My great-grandma went blind in her early 30s from glaucoma. My grandfather had the cataracts, heart problems, hearing problems, as well as many of the marked facial features of the syndrome. If a parent has it, there's a 50% chance of passing it on to a child. I'm convinced that my grandpa did have it, and it remains to be seen about my mom.

I had to explain both my ability to pass out from my eyeball being touched and the genetic condition. After a good look at my optic nerve, I didn't exactly get the best news. Apparently, there's something not quite normal about the positioning of my optic nerve. And because of my family history and the weirdness of my optic nerves, add in my nearsightedness, I must be watched closely.

Hearing, "Well, you aren't likely going to go blind in your 30s, but we do need to keep an eye (ha, pun intended?) on you," wasn't so comforting when I had to point out I'm barely in my 30s.

I think he tried to make me feel better by asking if I read a lot when I was a kid. Yes, I had to admit, I've had my nose in a book since first grade and I was reading those "I Can Read" books. He said it was common to see my level of nearsightedness in an avid reader.

"In a few years," he said, "We'll probably need to get you fitted with progressive lenses when you're having trouble seeing your column to write it."

You know, I hadn't even given any thought to bi-focals.

It's back again next week because they discontinued the contacts that I loved. I also have to get the glaucoma check done as well. I'm so not looking forward to it.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Mankind Cannot Bear Very Much Reality...hah

So, here's to making really poor choices. By 7 p.m. last night, I was exhausted. When the oldest child called at 7:30 to ask if I needed anything from the store before he came home from work, I thought hmm, a mocha frap from Starbucks sounded delicious.

I wasn't the least bit deterred by the fact that it contained 500 calories, according to their website. I looked it up to be sure I was telling him to get me the right thing. But yes, 500 calories in a drink. Nevermind the fact that it contains a bazillion grams of caffeine, I wanted one.

Physically, I was drained when I headed to bed around 9:30. Mentally, the caffeine was kicking in, and what was there left to do but watch some TV? I love, love, love "Don't Forget the Lyrics." I've been a Wayne Brady fan since he was on "Whose Line" with Drew Carey.

I faced a dilemma after that. Would I watch that dingdog class reunion show on TVland or the even crazier "I Know My Kid's a Star" on VH-1. I would have never admitted it in my youth, but I thought Danny Partridge was cute. Danny won. I flipped over to VH-1.

I don't know what it is about reality TV, but I've been hooked since "The Real World" on MTV in the 90s. I did eventually outgrow watching that show, mainly because I became an old married woman, and it seemed like the youngins' got younger and younger and I no longer had a bit in common with them.

I'm an avid reality TV watcher. American Idol, Big Brother, High School Reunion, Flavor of Love, Rock of Love. I was hardly fazed by the writers' strike.

T.S. Eliot might have once said, "Mankind cannot bear very much reality," but I beg to differ.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Spring Break-the-Monotony

So, I had plans for this week. With the husband and youngest child, who turned 15 yesterday, away for the week, I thought maybe I'd get up off my behind and get a little something accomplished this week.

I stocked up on Future floor polish, Murphy's Oil Soap, and some great smelling Mr. Clean something or the other with Febreeze freshness. (Even though Mr. Clean scared the holy hell out of me when I was a child, this stuff does smell quite good.) I'm a sucker for new cleaning products. Promise me that it'll take the paint off an old Buick, and I'll buy it thinking if it sets there on the counter, the cleaning fairies might show up overnight and put all these products to good use.

That hasn't happened, and it's Thursday already, and I've accomplished nothing, essentially. Well, I did start this new blog.

I'm dressed to clean. Skull do-rag, check. Shirt that I don't care if it gets funked up from cleaning products and other unknown substances, check. Rhapsody blasting a house cleaning mix, check. Garbage bag at my feet to collect useless crap, check.

I decided I was hungry. I cooked one of those Hungry Man TV dinners. Hey, they were on sale, and when my oldest son saw them, he thought it sounded good. I opted for the fried chicken one. There's something about a TV dinner that takes me back to my youth, and in a good way, and not a Mr. Clean scaring the crap outta me way.

My grandma thrived on TV dinners. "I've got some TV dinners in the freezer and some real fresh bread," she'd tell me. I never understood the fresh bread thing until well into my adulthood. Stale bread does suck hind teat.

The thing is, you almost need a degree just to cook the damn things. "Remove the plastic sheeting from the meal, but don't take it off the corn. Corn must be cooked until it reaches the melting point. Same goes for the brownie that will take the form of molten lava and burn the roof of your mouth off. When the grease begins pooling under the chicken, then and only then should you poke five precise holes in the plastic over the corn. If done correctly, you'll experience steam burns on all five fingers and on your forehead. Consume immediately to burn top three layers off your tongue."

But yeah, TV dinners remind me of my grandma. That and Eckrich smorgas packs of cold meat. In her later years, she started saving the TV dinner trays and the packaging. She would reuse the trays for plates, even though she had a box on dinnerware she'd never opened and used. The packaging was saved so she could cut the boxes apart and sketch on the plain sides. Didn't matter she had sketch pads that had never been used. She was way ahead of her time when it came to recycling. The bad part was that you could hardly manuever through her house because of the things she saved to reuse. It's safe to assume there was some mental illness/hoarding going on.

I sat down with my Hungry Man, and it wasn't too bad. A few of my minions (my cats) sat waiting patiently for a hand-out. Really, there's nothing like TV dinner mashed potatoes. I'm being serious. I don't mind the taste of them at all. And since the molten lava, err, I mean brownie needed to cool, I saved it for last. About two bites into it, I discovered a piece of corn in my brownie. Not under it. Not beside it. But cooked right in the middle of it. I don't even want to know how that happened.

I know the average person would say, "Well, so what? It all goes to the same place."

Except I'm not that kind of average person. I really prefer that my food doesn't touch each other. I know it all goes to the same place, but it most definitely does not go at the same time. Call it discerning tastebuds or something, but I don't want a taste of corn and chocolate at the same time. I fed the rest of the brownie to the dog.

I'm not a food mixer, that's for sure. I went to dinner a few weeks ago with a friend of mine and her two kids. We went to the Mexican place where the waiters flirt and sometimes give me free drinks and fried ice cream. Her daughter, 11, got her plate and proceeded to stir it all together. She cut up her enchilada, and then started tossing the beans, fried rice, and lettuce all in one big pile. I don't even want to surmise what it looked like, but suffice to say, something that had been partially or previously digested.

I don't believe that I've ever witnessed anything like it. I've seen my husband mix his mashed potatoes and gravy with whatever vegetable he had on his plate. It's not something I'd do, however. But this whole Mexican mess on her plate. It was just wrong. I think if it had been my child, I would have stopped her dead in her tracks and not permitted it. Different strokes for different folks, but for the love of god, don't let your child make slop at the table in a restaurant.

I sort of looked around hoping no one thought it was my kid since she was sitting beside me.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Something to Bitch About

So, after years and years...18 of them...I finally got tired of picking up dirty clothes from the bathroom floor. Well, not so much just dirty clothes, but wet clothes. I don't think there's anyone but myself in this household who can take a shower without creating a small lake on the floor.

I bought a small laundry hamper. The one thing that kept me doing it before now is that the bathroom is tiny. I only had a certain area where one would fit, and I never really saw anything that would work. I finally found a hamper, which by the way, looks nothing like a hamper should look. I always think about the vintage looking hampers that I saw growing up in my grandparents' homes when I think clothes hamper. This is basically a tall plastic glorified laundry basket. None too attractive, but functional.

At least I thought it was functional. On the first day, I led my husband into the bathroom. "Look at this," I said. "There are no dirty, wet clothes on the bathroom floor."

This pleased me. It pleased me immensely. But as usual, the pleasure was short-lived. This week, the husband and youngest son are out-of-town for work. I don't know what the challenge is, but the oldest son seemingly can't lift the lid off the hamper and deposit his clothes into it. I don't get it.

The child weighs something like 240 lbs, constantly brags about how much he can bench press and squat, and can knock other linebackers onto their asses on the football field. Yet...he can't bend over and pick up his freakin' dirty clothes.

What brought a bit of delight, however temporary, makes me grit my teeth when I walk into the bathroom and see sweat pants and boxer shorts, naturally soaked with a wet towel lying on top of them on the floor.

Come on, now. What is the freakin' challenge? How hard is it? How much time does it take? Ahh, well. It gives me something to bitch about.