Monthly Archives: December 2013

FENG SHUI…OY VEY

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As per my morning routine, I was perusing the latest issue of Real Simple magazine, when I came upon an article on the age-old Chinese practice of Feng Shui.   For those of you who live under a rock, feng shui is the art of arranging things for the best possible life (of you, not the thing).  Since I am always looking for easy ways to enrich my life, I decided to read the aforementioned article.

I should have stopped at the description and called it a day.

“Tips for making every room in your house feel calm and happy.”

Oh great, not only do I have to worry about making my family/friends/clients/strangers happy, now I have to make my rooms happy.  I can feel the tension starting to give me a stomach ache.  But as they say, “In for a penny, in for a pound” so I read on.

“Meaningful items in a neat, uncluttered display are the hallmark of good feng shui.”

Dang, I decorate in Early Clutter, Antique Clutter, Retro Clutter, Primitive Clutter and What the Heck is That? Clutter.  It’s not that I try to stick to my clutter decor but clutter clings to me like my clothes without Static Guard.  No matter how hard I try, I am a clutter magnet.

“Feng shui is a practice based on the idea that our homes are a mirror of what’s happening inside us.”

image This is a panorama photo of what my house looks like today.  It’s like Feng shui had the flu and clutter puked all thru the house.  I am drowning in crap.  The ONLY room in my whole, entire house that has some semblance of order is the room where “crap” is acceptable!

So if my house is a mirror of my life, I am screwed.

“The purpose of feng shui is to get your environment in alignment with who you are and where you want to go-to harmonize your energy with your home’s energy.”

I have no energy.  So my house has no energy.  OR do I have no energy BECAUSE my house is sucking my energy out of me?  Well that puts a whole new spin on things.  The article says that everything has energy, even inanimate objects.  So all this clutter crap has been stealing my energy all these years and growing bigger all on it’s own.  And here I was, believing I was sick when really my house clutter is a energy vampire….sucking, sucking, sucking my energy and causing me to order more clutter crap from ebay to keep the cycle going.  Hah!  I am on to you, Vampire House Clutter.

So how do I kill the VHC?   Should I fling garlic all thru the house?  Order some silver bullets and place them in the heart of the clutter piles?  Call  Buffy the Professional House Organizer?   I know I am not strong enough to conquer it on my own, for heaven knows I have tried.

But what will happen if I get the house decluttered?  Will my mind and life just automatically declutter itself?  Is this a trick question?

I think a clutter vampire just bit me as I can feel my miniscule energy leaving me and my unmade bed beckoning me….but at least my bed is in a feng shui position.  It’s foot is not facing the door which is called the “coffin position” (because it’s how the dead are removed in China….um, aren’t all dead people taken out thru the door no matter where you live?  Do some countries chuck their deceased out the windows?  Up the chimneys?  Down garbage shutes? ).

I think I’ll feng shui another day…..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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FROM FINE TO FLOOR IN UNDER 3 MINUTES

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I have been carefully watching the years go by with the knowledge that  catastrophic illnesses  have  taken out the members of my dad’s family starting at the ripe old age of 57.   So as I approach each year that someone has died, I find myself  wondering if I ought not to get my life in order, just in case.

This year is a biggie.  My dad died nine days short of his 59th birthday.  As my 59th birthday got closer and closer, I was feeling pretty confident I would make it.  A few chest pains here and there, some wild, spastic heartbeats…just your regular stuff.  All I had to do was live past 4:20pm on Friday, the 13.  Then I would have lived longer than he and I could look forward to maybe out-living my Grandmother who died at 59.

Drove very carefully to work Wednesday night, thought about stopping for a burger but decided against it…could get food poisoning or choke on a delicious chunk of *&^%$$# hamburger.  Nooo, I’m not takin’ no chances…I’ve only got 16 hours and 20 minutes to go.

I took the elevator up to my client’s apartment…wasn’t going to chance falling on the stairs (you’ve read my posts on my falls haven’t you??).   Yup, this is gonna be another one under the old XXXL belt.

The second I walked thru that door, I knew all bets were off and the clock was ticking.  My client was slumped over on the couch moaning in pain while the putrid smell of vomit and diarrhea was so thick that I had to take a pair of scissors and cut openings in the air just to breathe.  Now most of you are wondering why I would find this death-inducing?   A huge pain in the arse, yes, but deadly?   Seriously?

I happen to have a sever case of Emetophobia.  A life-long, disabling, medication-popping, life altering, can’t even think of anything else,  case.

I have had it for as long as I can remember and it has affected my life in a way that nothing else has.  Weird thing is, I haven’t actually thrown up since I was nine or ten.  But I remember those handful of times VIVIDLY.  The sounds, the smell, the taste, the warmth as it splashes in your lap, the burning at the back of your throat, the gush of water right before it comes gushing out, pushing it’s self out any hole it encounters and all the while your heart is racing and pounding out of your chest and you think you can’t breathe.  And it just keeps coming, wave after wave.   Oh ya, 50 years later and I still remember it like it was minutes ago.

I won’t go into how this phobia crippled me as a normal, functional human being, I’ll leave that for another time but suffice it to say that walking into that apartment knowing I had to be there for a minimum of 12 hours with the distinct possibility of getting it myself, was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.  My first reaction is to run from it, practically bathe in bleach and hide at home and let no one in until flu season is over.  But given the fact that I am a somewhat responsible adult all I could do was keep praying, “God PLEASE don’t let me get this” over and over and over.

I tried the best I could to disinfect everything I could think of that we both would touch but when you are handling body fluids, I kinda think all bets are off.  Had I been able to open the sliding glass door for some fresh air that might have helped but my client was freezing as it was from losing so much body fluid.  So there I was, stuck in a tiny apartment, with the heat cranked way over 80 degrees,  emptying puke buckets and helping with the changing of extremely soiled adult diapers….all the while breathing in the mixture of aromas.

Morning comes and I can leave and I head home, tired but not too worse for wear.  Still feeling OK.   Get home, do my thing, go lay down for a couple of hours and get back up to go back to work.  While thinking of what to have for supper, in the back of my mind I’m saying ,”You know, Roxie (my mind calls me Roxie), whatever goes down, very well may come back up, so you might want to pass up those Spaghettio’s, and that burrito with all the veggies and exnay on the pizza”. Once again Roxie was right.

Back at work that night, the smell had subsided a bit and the bodily fluids from the North End had ended but were coming fast and furious from the South.  A doctor had been consulted and his advice, “Just gotta let it run it’s course”.  Obviously this man had not seen the vast volume of liquid that can come out of an elderly person!  I could give you my opinion of this “diagnosis” but for legal reasons, I shall refrain.   Anyway, this night was better, I sat up shopping on Ebay (whenever I need to escape, I head to Ebay) until after 4am and then laid down on a piece of foam on the floor instead of my blow up bed cause I knew I would be up in just an hour or so.

My alarm went off at 6am and I woke and I felt pretty good.  Just a little touch of “gas” which I thought I could discretely pass.  OOOOPPPSSS….not gas.  As I was getting up off the floor, I could feel an intense pressure building in my gut and my fear was that I would have to battle my client for use of the throne.  Thankfully they were still asleep.

I won’t gross you out with what occurred in that tiny room with NO FAN, but I can tell you that it was a totally new experience.  I knew I was in for even more “chills and spills” as an icy coldness enveloped my body starting from my feet and by the time it hit my head, I knew either I made a run for my foam on the floor or I was going to hit the bathroom tile and it was gonna hurt.  As I was lurching for the floor a new sensation hit me.  My stomach attempted to push out it’s contents.  (OK, kids, it’s quiz time….what do I suffer from so severly that I avoid using words that even begin with a “V”?)   I had no warning, no dry mouth, no salivating, no pre-burp, nothing.  Just my stomach punching itself.  Now, since it has been decades since anything has come up that way, it must have been pretty atrophied as nothing came up.  But…something came out somewhere else.

I had about five seconds to comprehend what just had happened when my body decided to try it again, only a bit harder this time.  Same results….drought in the north and a flood in the south.  By now, I am terrified,  I have NO control over my body, I am soiling myself at an alarming rate and my body is attempting to destroy years of therapy by doing that which I have obsessed over for my whole life!  Plus, I only have 10 more hours to break my dad’s life record and I will be so eternally pissed if I aspirate on some vomit and die just hours away from out-living him.  Twice more I was emptied of my lower contents while the stomach punches became harder but still the gates held.  I was frantically grabbing for my anti-anxiety pills which also have a anti-emetic effect all the while trying to stay on my stomach and on the foam while holding onto my puke bucket.  I was shaking so bad I could barely get my pill container open (thank God I leave my stuff on the floor as there was no way I could have gotten up).  I chewed up a couple of those babies not caring about OD’ing on them…just trying to get my terror under some kind of control.  I dug out my cell phone and called my husband to come and get me and as luck would have it, he was out of town.  I tried my daughter, eventho she has three babies, I was hoping maybe her husband was home so he could watch them but no answer…I was getting hysterical.  Here I am,  totally unable to get up off the floor, with my pants full of poopie,  probably going to be filling the bucket with delicacies from the past few days and any moment my client will be getting up and I have no idea how they are going to be feeling and heaven help them if they need me!   It dawned on me that maybe my almost 82 year old mom could come and get me!!!

I quickly dialed her number and as expected she answered her phone. (This young generation could take some lessons about answering phone calls that come from family at odd hours….do you really think we are calling you to “chat” at 6am????)  “Momma, I’m so sick, can you come and get me”?   Now, if my kid called me and asked me that, I would ask two questions, “Where are you?” and “Do you need anything” and I would be grabbing my keys as I spoke, not even bothering to change out of whatever I was wearing, etc.  My mom, on the other hand, decides to play 20 questions.  “Isn’t Scott home”?   “Did you try Jodi”  “Does O know?”  “I don’t know if I can find it”  “How will I get in?”    I think she was trying to get in some conversation time since I don’t always call her back when she calls to chit chat.

Mom, I’m laying on someone’s floor, with crap seeping out of my pants clutching a puke bucket like my purse on the elevator ride up the Effel Tower, do we really need to talk about this now?  Just come and get me!   And bring me some sweats and a pair of undies and what ever else you can find to stuff in my back side for the ride home….and lots of towels….

By now my client is up and is horrified to find me on their floor when I should have been up making breakfast.  I must have been a pretty sight….ashen face, shaking, big brown stain growing across the back of my black and white abstract print cotton leggings….now that I think of it, I probably looked like that zebra from Madagascar when he is in some awkward position.

Somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I remembered I had my pajamas in my suitcase which as Providence would have it, I had taken out of my client’s room eventho I knew I wouldn’t be using my blow-up bed or changing.  I crawled over to my suitcase and got them out and my client offered a pair of adult diapers (those of us that have used them prefer the term, “disposable panties”!).  I was in no position to go down that mental road of what this could possibly mean to my street cred, so I gratefully accepted them and crawled into the bathroom.  Yup, I am seriously wondering if I will indeed make it to 4:21pm and my record- breaking.  This is some nasty shit (pun intended) and I have no reason to believe I have seen the worst of it.

On a pleasant side note…those adult diapers were very comfortable and not at all diapery-feeling…you actually forgot you had them on until you needed them and then you were damn grateful!!!

About an hour later, my mom calls from the lobby to my cell phone and wants me to let her in….from my cell phone…..I try to explain to her that she has to dial the apt. number so she tells me to stay on my cell phone while she does it and while she finds the elevator and on the ride up and as she walks down the hall and as she knocks at the door.   All I want is to collapse in her backseat with my adult diapers and puke bucket and a mess of towels and die.  Do I really need a play-by-play of her adventures in the hallway?

So in she comes, and after a minute or two she introduces herself “seeing as I forgot to”.  Seriously?   I am at death’s door and I should remember my manners?

Normally when I leave for the day, no one comes until after dinner to be with my client but since they had been so ill, they wanted someone to be with them at least until they had their breakfast and could see if they could manage for the day on their own.  I had called the company as soon as I knew I had to leave and so they were sending someone over and she would be there in 30 minutes or less.  When my mom found that out, she asked my client if she wanted us to stay until the girl arrived!  ARE YOU FLIPPIN’ KIDDING ME, MA?   Thankfully my client felt they would be just fine until my replacement came and so we left.

I do not remember much about the 35 minute ride home except my darling momma talked the whole way and drove like she had uncontrollable spasms in her braking foot.  Once I almost flew off the back seat onto the floor.  (There was more than one reason I chose to lay in the back seat where I could not see anything!)

Finally I am home!  My mom wants to know if I want her to come in with me and stay for awhile.  No thank you.  I like to be sick all by myself.  I do not want an audience.  Especially an audience with a propensity to give old-wives-tales advice.   If I let her stay, heaven only knows what she will try to make me take. We decide she will stay until the Mall opens up so she can go and do some last minute Xmas shopping.  As long as she is up and out, might as well kill two birds with one stone.  Interestingly enough, somehow she has managed to be in full make-up.  The woman could never be a first-responder….”wait until I brush my teeth and put on some eye-make up and a spray or two of perfume and fix my hair”.  “Who do you think they want to show up? Someone that looks good or someone that looks like they just rolled out of bed?”

Finally it’s just me, my bed, my puke bucket, and the drug-induced sleep that chewing a few Xanax will give me….oh ya, and my ever so comfy “fancy lady pants” *

*taken from an episode of Hot In Cleveland where Victoria gets a chance to do a commercial in Japan and it turns out to be for adult diapers which translates to “fancy lady pants” in English

p.s…this is day four and I still am not eating much and feeling weak and nauseated but on the positive side…there has been some weight loss as my thighs are no longer setting themselves on fire from the constant friction!

Keeping you informed of all that is news worthy,

Your Mad Queen (who loves her momma just they way she is and is thankful for everything she does for her and I would not trade her for any other momma!)

MINNESOTA NOT-SO-NICE

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I like to think most of us Minnesotan’s are a nice bunch of folks.  Always willing to help one another and all that but today I found out that maybe, there are some of us that lack the Minnesota Nice gene.

Last night I debated what vehicle to drive to work.  Did I want to take Big Bertha which I had never driven and wasn’t too sure how I was even going to get up into her as she is a very tall truck and I have a very heavy butt which makes hoisting myself up precarious at best.  I have worked two winters already at the place where I was going and I had never gotten stuck in the parking lot so I took a chance and took the Matrix.

My first inkling that it was going to be a whole different ballgame came as I was trying to get up the hill by Starbucks.  That hill has given me a few heart-stopping moments before but last night was a real joy.  I got half-way up and my tires started spinning and I was going nowhere fast.  I am not the best backer-downer in daylight on a flat surface so the thought of having to back down a slippery hill with the possibility of sliding right onto Hwy 53 was making me clench certain unmentionable parts in fear.  So I did what any fear-crazed person does in that situation….gunned it and burned rubber and sllllloooowwwllyyyyy  burned my way up the hill.  (If my husband is reading this….I am just making this part up for literary excitement….honest….really….).

The parking lot was looking quite snowy and I debated where to park.  I must have lost some brain cells in my death-defying ride up the hill cause I parked in a stupid place so I would have to back out instead of backing in so I could just pull out in the morning.

I watched it snow all night from my window at work and about 2am the plow guy comes and starts his weird way of plowing and with each spastic pass, I could see the snow building up behind my car.  I shoulda taken Big Bertha.

When my 12 hour shift was done, the plow guy was STILL plowing (never have I seen anyone take as long to plow a smallish parking lot as this guy….he must get paid by the hour and I swear he plows with his eyes closed) and I went out hoping for the best.

The plow guy was sitting in his truck by the entrance.  Waiting for more snow to fall?  Napping?   As I walked by, I had an idea that if I went over to my car and in a theatrical way looked at it all snowed in, he might take pity on me and come and help.  Either he is dense or my acting skills suck as no matter how much I gestured and threw up my hands, he still sat in his truck.

So now what?  The snow is up to my knees and I have no shovel.  I do have a sturdy piece of Tupperware that I could use to scoop the snow but since I am a heart-attack waiting to happen, I figured it would be my last resort.  So I started pushing the snow with my feet.  I got a perverse thrill pushing the snow onto the freshly plowed spots.  I was secretly hoping he would come over and yell at me for messing up his work but he was probably happy to have more hourly work to milk.

Thankfully the snow was pretty light and it moved easily but I am not used to using my legs like that and soon I was huffing and puffing like the Big Bad Wolf and my heart was pounding.  I know that by looking at me you would think I was the Poster Child for Healthy Living (not!) so I figured either I would croak or I am in better shape than I look so I did the best I could while gasping for breath.  I even took my scarf off my semi-bald head thinking that maybe he might think I had had some chemical treatments and feel guilted into helping me but nooooo.

Once I had kicked a path for my back tires, I got in and tried to back out.  Ya, sure. Tried to rock it.  No go as I had not thought to move snow from the front of the car.  So it’s back out to kick away more snow.

As I am a vision in my black cape, black pants, black gloves and huge multicolored scarf (all I needed was a scythe to complete the look of Death), I glance over my shoulder and see a young man in a car and guess who is pushing him out of his parking spot?  Mr. Plow Truck man.  I am dumbstruck.  How can he be helping a young man who wasn’t even in an inch of snow and he watches a fat, bald, old woman up to her knees in snow feebly attempting to kick the snow away from her car?

Now those of you that know me, know that I rarely display the famous VanWave temper (my sister, on the other hand, has reduced grown men to babbling babies by unleashing it….love you sis 🙂 ) but this was just too much for me.  I stood at the back of my car with my hands on my mega Kardashian hips and gave them a look that said, “Are you freakin’ kidding me?”  Unlike Auntie Em, I was going to tell him what I thought of him in no uncertain terms and I was getting my VanWave on  (for you that don’t know, my maiden name is Van Wave and the family has a legendary temper) when he saunters over.  In the few seconds it took him to come over, I had an inner battle rage…..do I rip him a new one or do I do the “helpless” woman shtick?   My evil twin, Roxie, wanted to rip but my “I am too tired and just want to go home” side prevailed and I sweetly/but secretly sarcastically  asked him in he had any suggestions.  To his credit and much to my relief, he said he would try to move the snow behind the car and with two swipes of his plow he had removed most of the snow (he couldn’t have done that 20 minutes and four years off my life ago?).  I got in and tried to just back out but the snow around the rest of my car was still too deep and so I just spun my tires.  He very kindly went to the front of the car and pushed me until I was able to get out.

I thanked him profusely as any Minnesota Nice person would have done all the while thinking, “Didn’t your momma teach you better than to let a woman do what I had to do and then have to give you the old “hands on the hip” move before you felt it necessary to help me?

What has happened to old-fashion manners?   My husband would never allow a woman to dig herself out if he could help her.  And may God strike him blind if he ever sat and WATCHED a woman struggle.

Have we as women made the last two generations of men this way by our shouts of EQUALITY?   Have we “equalified” ourselves out of  acts of kindness by men?  Have we “thrown out the baby with the bath-water”?

I am all for equal pay for equal work.  I believe that MOST jobs can be done equally as well by either sex.  But I feel men 50 and under no longer view women as the physically weaker sex and because of that don’t readily come to the aid of a damsel in distress.  I know some of you younger women are stroking out over my opinion but think about it.  Women have less respect now than we did back before we were liberated.   It sickens me to see how the entertainment industry has prostituted women.  For the price of “Fame”, women are degrading themselves in droves.   Where is Gloria Steinem now?  Why is there no outcry from feminists over the sexual exploitation of our young girls.    Violence against women is only escalating.  And why not?  Just listen to the lyrics of most songs.  Just look at the performances of women singers.  The message being sent is that women are just chattel and of no real worth except for sex.

WAKE UP YOUNG PEOPLE.  Someday soon you too will be parents and what kind of society do you think you will have to bring your little girls up in?

WAKE UP WOMEN.  We worked so hard back in the 70s for respect and we have less of it today than we did back then.  We need to take back our dignity and our worth.

WAKE UP PARENTS.  Teach your sons that women are worthy of respect and protection.  Teach your sons that women are not just sex objects to be used, abused and discarded.  Teach your daughters positive self-worth.  Teach them that acting like sex kittens will get them nothing worthwhile and could get them hurt.

WAKE UP SOCIETY!   Do you see what kind of young people we are molding?  We have kids punching and killing people for sport.   (Want to see where we are headed??   Watch  the movie, “A Clockwork Orange”)

I started this post about Minnesota Nice and ended up on a soap box…..sorry.

As Denny Anderson used to say at the end of his newscast, “Be Nice”.