Warrior Princess

April 30, 2007

Phil Spector Blues

Filed under: Office Hell, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 6:13 pm

Great. My only interest in being here today is that I get Phil Spector, all day with no commercial interruptions. However, one of the attorneys is sick today and court won’t be re-convened until Wednesday. Now what? Jesus. Don’t they know I’m bored?

I May Be Better, But Don’t Hold Me To That

It’s Monday and I haven’t ventured out of my office. I’ve sent one email to Owner and spoken with Crazy Employee over the intercom. Oh wait. Crazy Employee just spent twenty minutes in my office, telling me about Rat Cleanup Day. Just send me a memo, okay? Do not make me talk to you. It’s Monday. I’m in my office. Isn’t that enough?

I think my new antidepressants are finally kicking in and I have to say, last night the thought actually arose, “I’m back. Is that right? Am I really back?” I’m more animated (like I used to be). I’m funny and quick-witted (Only about funny things, though; not important things like where I put my keys.).

Last night around 7;00 p.m., I started dreading having to come to Crazy Land today. Surely that’s a sign of improved mental health. For a while, I actually wanted to be here. But that was during chemo. Then there was a bout of it right after that last surgery, when I wanted to be anywhere but sitting on a sofa, being despondent. I can be despondent so much better here.

I actually wrote something with paper and pen last night. I haven’t done that since my beloved friend Becky died. It was something intellectual. Oh my God. The end must surely be near. I need to check that supermarket tabloid that warned me the end is imminent and find out if my name is listed under the “Who’s Going to Live?” part of the article.

It could be that I’m just a tad manic today. It looks like rain outside my windows and I haven’t started drifting downward into weather-induced melancholy. Yes, that’s definitely a sign of tad-ish mania. So is making up words like “tad-ish.”

My mom just called me to tell me she got one of those spaghetti cookers you see on tv. It’s like a clear cylinder and you pour hot water over the spaghetti in it and–voila–fully, but not over, cooked pasta. It was a short conversation because, as she rightly notes, she has to hurry over to my house so she can be there when Phil Spector gets going. I urged her to hang up immediately and get on the road. Trial is due to start in about 13 minutes. See? Maybe I’m just a tiny bit manic.

There are important things I need to share with you, but I’ll be damned if I can remember what they are. I’ve been having serious memory problems lately (that’s probably the real reason I’m so chipper–has nothing to do with meds). Maybe I’m just not remembering I’m unhappy. I’m blaming the Tamoxifen. I don’t always think as clearly as I once did. I have to hang onto the thought that the memory and thought processes will improve as time goes on.

Now I remember. I spent some time over the weekend thinking about breast cancer, long term. I have an appointment with my oncologist later this month. We’ll do the blood test that confirms there are no cancer cells. This is always an anxiety provoking event. There went that mania thing. Not feeling so frisky suddenly. It’s good to face reality, but it’s sobering to remember this is a disease for which we have no cure. Many things in my life will never ever be the same. I’m now severely lacking in pep.
I had “Take care of warrior princess” day on Saturday and Sunday. I’ve never done that before (unless I was forced). I read, did some yoga (very gentle), took a bubble bath, laid down to rest for a couple of hours and just generally focused on things that would be soothing. I should probably mark my calendar because I think this is the first time I’ve ever devoted two days to making myself feel better. Do I feel better now? Well, no. It’s Monday now, but that’s not really the point.

I finished the Primo Levi biography and thought about the puzzle of why people choose to commit suicide. Thoughts on that will be available at my book site sometime soon. I started Wild Ivy, by Hakuin Ekaku. I’m taking a hiatus from depressing, intellectually demanding, concentration camp reading. Hakuin is intellectually demanding, but he also lifts my spirits and reminds me of the precious gift of this very moment.

More notes from Crazy Land tomorrow. Or maybe that tale I keep meaning to tell of the peculiar behavior by an old friend of mine. Either way, you win.

April 26, 2007

Loathsome: Medical Warrior Tales

Filed under: Office Hell, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 4:43 pm

In the process of answering an email, I was reminded of yet another fun Loathsome story. There are a million of them. I’ve known him for a couple of decades now, so I’ve had a lot of time to accumulate them.

When Loathsome was in the Army (drafted during Vietnam), he was assigned to the mental health unit (or whatever it’s called). I can only imagine that they thought one crazy person would just naturally recognize any others he happened upon. (Turns out, that’s not necessarily true. My dad never recognized any other insane people. Or rather, he just thought everybody was crazy except him.) Loathsome mainly had to go collect military guys after they’d gone over the deep end.* I don’t exactly know what he did with them then, but suffice it to say Loathsome believes he did a damn good job at a very difficult assignment.

I digress. After the Army, Loathsome capitalized on that experience by getting hired as an orderly in a state-run psychiatric institution in California during the late sixties. Orderly. Excellent career move. He likes to tell me (and probably anyone else he can force to listen) that he made a great contribution to the psychiatrically challenged population housed there. I, of course, wondered what Loathsome could possibly offer anyone in the way of functional living skills. Our original conversation was revelatory and entertaining, as always.

“I showed them how to dress,” he told me with enormous pride. You could just see his chest puffing out as he said it.

“You showed them how to dress?” I smiled as if I was already impressed. You’ve probably noticed by now that pretty much any statement from Loathsome immediately requires some explanation.

“Yeah. I brought my own clothes in and showed them how to match things. Like plaids and colors.” Big, big Loathsome smile here. He was very impressed with himself.

I can only imagine the huge positive impact the ability to mix and match outfits was for people with, say, schizophrenia. I’ve always wondered where exactly he thought they might put this powerful new knowledge to work. As far as I know, back in the sixties in state-run psychiatric hospitals, there weren’t a whole lot of wardrobe options. Let’s see now. Hospital clothing–green or white. Not Dior by a long shot. I don’t think they had plaid, either.

I also wonder how the hell he got his clothes in there. Do orderlies regularly get to take their personal wardrobes into the hospital and, like “What Not to Wear,” analyze the various outfit possibilities the patients could apply in their own lives? If so, I could definitely take that on as a part time gig. Very fashion savvy here, especially when we’re talking about people who are currently hallucinating or who have their own running conversation about the style tips with people who exist solely in their heads.

Several years ago, Owner fell out of a deer blind and broke his back on a hunting trip. He was incredibly lucky that he wasn’t paralyzed. He managed to break just the right vertebrae to survive relatively unscathed. He did have to have surgery and was in the hospital for a while, though.

When the accident first occurred, Loathsome was on it immediately. He wanted to know which hospital Owner was in so he could head on over there to get some answers. We were understandably (once again) puzzled.

“I need to go over there and make sure they’re given him the right treatment. I have a medical background, you know.”

Maybe that was a long way to go to get to a disappointing end. Personally, I find the “medical background” statement breathtakingly hilarious. My husband and I still, years later, say that to each other when one of us is having a small medical crisis. Like a paper cut.

Sometimes I just love my job.

*Please be assured that I mean no disrespect to the men and women who served in Vietnam. As a person with post traumatic stress disorder, I know how bad that can be. The things they saw were unimaginable, as in all wars, I suppose. I’ve known some men who served there and they deserve enormous compassion and respect.

I also mean no disrespect to people with mental illness. God knows I’ve got enough of it in my father’s family. And let’s face it, ptsd and chronic depression are the definitions of mental illness. I just happen to have a sense of humor about it.

April 25, 2007

IBS in Crazyland

Filed under: Breast Cancer, Office Hell — ggirl @ 6:10 pm

The pest control guys get it. The problem isn’t my cats. It’s not my cats’ food. It’s that they’re digging up that field across the road. It’s that the city is replacing all of the sewer lines all down this street (even I didn’t remember that). It’s that the building is old and the neighbors are derelict in their responsibilities. Of course, none of that means people won’t still decide to be miffed at me. That’s fine. You know how I like being right, though. And I am right.

You know, I could just go on and on about the silent treatment and the rats and the fleas. I have a tendency to get a little obsessive. It’s possible I may be a little defensive. (Oh surely not!) I’ll spare you the gory details and try to move on. I hear the Chief Shunner downstairs talking to the pest control guys. What an idiot. Okay, I’m moving on now.

I found out why Loathsome isn’t in the office this week. It’s because Owner told him not to come here. He has to stay at the client’s site. All of the time. I wouldn’t be surprised if Owner didn’t try to make him sleep over there. I guess the client’s security people would have a problem with that, though. I’m glad to know he’s not still on vacation. That was really annoying me in a big way.

You’d think that after being diagnosed with breast cancer, nothing else could really rattle my cage. I guess everyone’s unhappiness with me has taken a toll, as much as I hate to admit it. I have IBS and the stress has made that kick in, even though I never had it during the most stressful months of cancer treatment. So I’ve been in pain for several days now.

On the grand scale of needles in the breast, chemotherapy sores in the mouth or reconstruction agony, this pain is small. However, it is constant pain. It really makes me angry that I’ve allowed Crazy Land to get inside my head this way. I’m trying not to be annoyed with myself, because that makes it worse (of course). So today I feel whiny, obsessive and a little vindictive.

The good news is that last night was my first night alone. My mom has been staying over ever since I had reconstruction surgery. I love my Mom and I’m infinitely grateful for her help. I don’t know how I would have gotten through this without her. Having said that, I’m a person who needs a lot of alone time and I haven’t had any for a couple of months now.

Andy the Demon Dog seems to be much better behaved when it’s just the two of us. Or rather, three if you count the Sheba Woo. What a relief to not be fending off his arm-gnawing. It’s a miracle I have all of my limbs intact.

I spent my evening reading the mammoth biography I’ve been working on for about a month or so. I still didn’t finish it, but we’re heading into Levi’s final days. I’m saddened by his struggles.

However, I’m looking forward to my next book, which I already have picked out. It’s a biography of Zen spiritual master Hakuin Ekaku, who lived from 1685-1768. It’s been quite some time since I read any new Buddhist books. They used to keep me from moving into the dark moods that sometimes overtake me. I stopped reading them about the time I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was just too hard to concentrate on anything other than enduring.

I reread The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying at some point in my treatment. My memory of those days is a little fuzzy, though.

It’s time for lunch now. We’re having a going-away luncheon for a co-worker of mine. Not going. The food will be inhospitable. I’m not feeling particularly charitable towards any of the other Crazy Land denizens. I have officially sentenced them to the harsh punishment of dealing with each other. Plus, this will give them all extra time to talk to each other about how mad they are at me. I’m happy to oblige. My colon and I are signing off now.

April 24, 2007

The Silent Treatment

Filed under: Uncategorized — ggirl @ 6:15 pm

At least one of my co-workers is still miffed about the kitty issue and isn’t speaking to me. Oh no. Not that. The problem is that they contend our rat problem (they are plentiful lately) and a flea problem are solely due to the kitties. Despite the fact that the field across the street from us is being dug up for a shopping mall or something. Anyone ever hear of “field rats”? Anyone know why they’re called that? They’ve got to go somewhere and we’re convenient. I bet they’ve completely taken over the empty building across from the other side of the excavation site.

The woman who lives in the house right next door to us has two dogs and never does anything about fleas. I don’t think fleas recognize property lines and refuse to cross them. But, you know, don’t confuse us with the facts. And no one has stepped up to talk about it directly to me or the owner. I’m being given the silent treatment because they’re all terrified and this is what five-year olds do (or maybe I’m insulting five-year olds).

Everyone is afraid to talk to me about it because

1. I can be scary when angry. I’m so calm and icy, the windows frost up.

2. My boss is on my side. I believe I’ve covered the “Official Torture List” in several other posts.

So some of them just aren’t speaking to me. I wonder if they think that bothers me. The reality is that it’s all a big drama here every single damn day. I’m just temporarily the focus of the general office-wide hate fest that constitutes my working life. Please. Don’t talk to me.

In other news, Loathsome is still on the owner’s shit list. I dropped by to ask Owner where I should direct a phone inquiry about a quote for a job. I asked if Loathsome should get the call. Owner replied, “You should never call Loathsome about anything.” Hmm. Doesn’t sound good. Still no sight of him anywhere. If he were here, everyone would be not speaking to him. Or the Useless One. (I’ll get to him later. ) See? My “professional” (and I used that term advisedly) life is a rollicking adventure every day.

The Money Man is having a really good week. He loves it when there’s conflict. Especially when he has a part in it. He may have gotten the kitty ball rolling when he announced to everyone that he had 50 fleas on him when he entered the small building where kitty food is stored. Oddly enough, my mom, the Foot Lady and I have never had a flea problem over there. But far be it from me to challenge that assessment. I certainly am not interested in counting the fleas on his khakis; I’ll just have to take his word for it.

Tomorrow, maybe we’ll cover the Useless One. Or the bizarre behavior of an old friend of mine. I seem to attract bizarre. I’m a beacon shining a light into the Land of Crazy. They flock to me like (you guessed it) rats after the Pied Piper.

April 23, 2007

News From the Office Front. Foot Lady, Loathsome and Why I Wasn’t Sardonic

I work with a woman who is obsessed with her feet. Foot Lady has managed to work her feet into every conversation she’s had for the past decade. She stopped me last week to ask how the plastic surgery visit went and was able to parlay that into more foot commentary.

This has driven co-workers absolutely mad. It’s not even merely a reaction to the tedious subject matter; it’s because she randomly plops one or both of her feet on her desk to get specific about the latest problem. Yes, we are forced to look. And yes, many times she’s wearing a dress. I don’t think you wish to hear the details of how that happens. You just never know when she’s feeling inspired, so it’s hard to prepare yourself emotionally for a foot encounter.

She had surgery on both feet last year. Before surgery, she made me look at this icky sore on the bottom of one of her feet. I guess I deserved it. I’d managed to remain unscathed for years. Some people have been forced to gaze upon their majesty many times. Having seen them once, you most definitely wouldn’t want to see either one of them again.

We’ve all been required to acknowledge the foot surgery by listening to a blow-by-blow recounting of how long the surgery took, how long she had to wear funny shoes, how painful it was. You can see where I’m going with this.

I’d hoped that, after the surgeries and rehab, her feet would cease to be a major focal point of conversation with her. Obviously, I was wrong. After Foot Lady launched into a full-blown recitation of her ongoing problems and hiked one foot up on the desk, I was edging toward the door, trying to make my escape.

“Gotta go. Really, really tired,” I kept saying whenever she took a breath. I’m polite to a fault. It’s partly due to growing up in the South, where we’re always polite no matter how much we hate you. It’s partly due to my father’s insistence on (some types of) manners. It’s partly due to my own obsessiveness. God forbid that I should forget the basic rules of etiquette.

It’s especially hard for me to walk away when someone has been kind enough to inquire as to how the whole cancer thing is going. It just seems rude to give them an abbreviated version of my current state of being and then waltz away, leaving the inquirer to curb their need to work in a little bit about themselves. Hey, I’m hip to that. We all like to talk about ourselves. Well, except for the pathologically independent ggirl (according to my therapist).

So there you are. I count myself lucky that Foot Lady didn’t make me touch it. She was comparing the numbness on part of her foot to some numbness I experience as a result of multiple surgeries. Trust me, I do not make people look at the places where I’m numb. I most certainly do not make people touch them.

I saw her briefly this morning, but our discussion centered on rats. Hey, better than feet.

On the Loathsome front, he still hasn’t put in an appearance in the office. I’m amazed and nonplussed. I’ve started to feel stupid for making myself show up at the office when it’s been physically difficult for me. I was so looking forward to running into him and asking a seemingly polite question about the tool accident. Fortunately, I have mastered the art of looking innocent while I politely and surreptitiously cause untold amounts of discomfort. Yet another benefit of that Southern thing. That’s okay. I’ll see him at some point. I have a very long memory.

I sent out an email to everyone about the cat situation. Coworkers have been very unhappy about my kitties for a very long time. They (unfortunately, I do not mean my colleagues) have been disappearing at an alarming rate. We’re down to 2.5. One of them is only here part-time, so he really gets to be counted as half a cat.

Yes, I admit to being a little angry and bitter about their collective attitudes. Nonetheless, I sent out a brief and factual email to everyone in the office about the dwindling kitty population. Later, I stopped in to say hello to the owner of the company and we discussed the (as yet) unread email.

“Who did you send it to?” he asked.

“Everyone in the office.”

“Was it sardonically worded?” he smiled conspiratorially. Owner is aggravated by coworkers’ kitty irritation.

“No.” I said.

“Why not?” I could tell he really, really wanted me to take verbal gloves off and come out swinging.

“I edited myself on the way back from lunch. You know, it’s usually better that way,” I smiled at his appreciation for my rapier tongue and my unerring instinct for finding the soft underbelly of everyone I meet.

“Were people giving you shit about the cats?” He narrowed his eyes as he looked at me. I could tell that would have added more people to the torture list or just upped the ante on those folks who are already on it.

“No. I just know how happy that would make them. Just wanted to say ‘congrats,'” I gave him that half smile I get when retribution is definitely in the offing.

Yes, I’m angry and a trifle bitter about their constant whining about the cats. If you work here and that’s the biggest source of your unhappiness, you are one very lucky (and possibly stupid) human being. But you know, whatever makes the assholes happy.

I don’t have to be friendly and solicitous to anyone except the guy who always sees eye to eye with me over the kitty issue, the owner of the company. Grown men have been known to almost lose control of their bladders when faced with my icy, but infinitely polite gaze. I have my ways. You know, I’m a Southerner.

April 20, 2007

Thanks for the Memories, Alec Baldwin

Filed under: Destroying My Childhood, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 4:37 pm

I had planned to write today about one of my other co-workers, The Foot Lady, and about the strange behavior of an old friend of mine.  Then I heard the Alec Baldwin tape.  (http://www.tmz.com) I heard it early this morning on television and haven’t been the same since.  It triggered a major bout of post traumatic stress disorder.  My hands are still shaking from fear.

My father had a temper like that.  It was unpredictable.  I would be sitting at the dinner table and suddenly he’d knock the shit out of me.  I’d start to cry, which would give him an excuse to do it again.  Crying always made things worse.  Or better.  My dad liked to make people cry.  I learned to withhold tears.  At some point, I just wouldn’t give him the pleasure of seeing me cry anymore.
Long, drawn-out dramas where there would be multiple opportunities to hit and yell were his specialty.  If he could make something go on all day, he was a happy guy.  Since I had no place else to go, he had a lot of fun with me.  It was an extra treat to beat up my mom while threatening me.  I got the point.

The point tended to revolve around Dad.  How was he feeling?  Had someone made him feel like shit at work?  Was he psychotic?  Was I looking at him in a way he could tolerate?  How should I look at him?  Was I performing intellectually up to his standards?  What was the correct response to the question he asked? Would it be better to try to stay out of the house or would he think I was trying to hide from him?  (No hiding.)
Much like Mr. Baldwin, his abusiveness was firmly rooted in his own self pity.  He’d been working his ass off, he’d given up his only son (because of me), he had a terrible childhood.  The list goes on and on.  There were always plenty of reasons why I should be punished.  Even though they really had nothing to do with me.  It was all about him.

My mom and dad (but she didn’t count) gave me a ring when I was around nine.  I lost it the same year.  You can not imagine the firestorm that set off.  I’m not sure I’d even noticed it was gone.  They never had it sized, so they’d just wrapped tons of cellophane tape around the band to make it stay on.  In retrospect, it wasn’t all that surprising that I lost it.

My father noticed.  He always noticed things like that and took them as a personal affront.  If one of my mom’s hubcaps fell off, he acted like she’d gotten out of the car on the way home, removed the hubcap, thrown it into a field and come home without it just to spit in his face.  It was that way with the ring.

He demanded to know where it was.  Oh shit, I had no idea.  I tried to think back.  Quickly.  That was hard to do when my father was raging.  I couldn’t think of where I was when I last felt it on my finger.  I started crying.  Uh oh.  He slapped me and knocked my glasses against the side of my nose.  That really hurt.  He told me not to cry or he’d give me something to cry about.  He wanted me to sit there and think about what I’d done with the ring.  He left.  He probably went to the bathroom.  There was just something about getting angry that made the bathroom call out to him.  I was punished many times in the bathroom.  But that’s another story.

After he left, I was in a panic.  I knew there was no way I was going to come up with the answer and that, even if I did, there was most definitely going to be hell to pay. Just like Alec Baldwin, my father didn’t care that I was nine; he would not tolerate being treated so ungratefully.  There would be adult punishment coming; it was just a matter of time.

He told me to go out in the yard and look for it and not to come back until I found it.  I walked around in the sun, peering at the grass under my feet.  I prayed the yellow topaz stone would miraculously glitter and catch my eye.  I made bargains with God.  God never held up his end of those bargains, though, and after a while, my father called me back inside.

As I walked over to the door, I seized upon the idea of blaming it on someone else.  I blamed a girl I used to play with from the neighborhood.

“I think maybe Sheila took it.”

That did not completely resolve my problem.  I was going to have to come up with a means by which she took it.  I couldn’t say she’d thrown me to the ground and wrestled it off of me.  That would have created more problems for me.  My father expected that when someone was violent towards me, I would hit them back.  He asked me how in the hell she got it? I had no answer.

He told me to go out in the yard again  and find something he could whip me with.  I got to cry a little bit after I got outside.  I found the smallest branch I could and took it back to him after I had composed myself.  Couldn’t take long with that self-composure thing; he was waiting.  The longer he waited, the worse it would be.

I took the switch into the house and handed it to him.  He told me that it wasn’t big enough and that I should go back out and find a larger one.  I did.  I had stopped being afraid by that time.  I just wanted  to get it over with and get out of my father’s line of vision, if possible. The most reliable form of rescue was dissociation.  I just got numb.  I’ve been a little bit numb ever since I learned in my childhood what a great strategy that was.
I received my punishment.  He’d learned when I was 7 that he couldn’t hit me around my arms and legs.  My mom saw the bruises he left on me and told him that someone at school might notice.  They might wonder.  They might be inclined to call people.
After all the rage subsided, he made me leave the room. Later on in the afternoon, he called me in from the front yard.  The law was laid down.  I would never, ever have any contact with that little girl again.  He was still considering calling her trashy parents to make her give it back.  I promised, I swore, I’d never exchange another word with Sheila.  That seemed to work.

When I got much older, I wondered if the Sheila story didn’t just play right into his hands.  He’d had my mom outside numerous times, beating her up.  One night, he held a knife to her throat while I screamed at him to stop.  Surely Sheila’s family must have heard some of that.  As I write this, I’m not sure what that would have mattered.  It’s amazing the power that violence holds on me still.

I felt awful about my behavior for years. I lied about a friend to save my own ass, which I knew couldn’t be saved anyway.  That was not the path to self-esteem.  Of course, I’ve forgiven myself for that and the many other ways I attempted to shift the burden of blame off of my shoulders. It was a long time coming, though. It came at great expense.

Even so, I’m still consumed with terror from time to time.  My hands still shake when I’m reminded of the past.  I’m easily startled.  Without medication, I don’t sleep well.  Sometimes, like today, I have flashbacks.   Suddenly I’m in that time and space when panic struck, fueled by my father’s rage.

I’d really like to thank Alec Baldwin for the flashback.  I haven’t had one for a long time.  Mostly, though, I hope his little girl is able to sleep at night.  I hope she feels loved.  I hope she isn’t terrified of her dad.  Terror gets its hooks into your soul and won’t let go.  It’s awful when that terror arrives courtesy of your parent, the one and only dad (or mom) you’ll ever have.

April 19, 2007

Tub Calamity and Marital Wonkiness

Filed under: Breast Cancer, Marriage, Office Hell — ggirl @ 4:32 pm

I’ll just start by talking about myself. (I think this is a big emotional breakthrough, because you know how I hate to do that.) First of all, no one told me that the steroid injections I received on Tuesday would continue to hurt. No truth in advertising in the surgeon’s office, it appears. I’ve definitely felt worse lots of times, so that’s not so much a complaint as it is a surprising statement of fact.

I had a little accident last night. It was just before bedtime and I was in the bathroom when (somehow) my foot slipped and I fell backwards into the bathtub. My back ended up on the bottom of the tub and my head landed on the soap dish with a resounding thump. I took a quick inventory and didn’t feel like I had a concussion or anything; I was just concerned about how the hell I was going to get out of there. My feet didn’t touch any surface at all; my knees were dangling over the top of the tub where there’s no foothold to be found. How humiliating. My mom heard the loud thud and came rushing to the door, asking me if I was okay. I had to break the news to her that Humpty Dumpty seemed to be unable to get upright. She helped me get out of the tub and started to get worried about potential physical damage until I reassured her that inventory had been taken and all parts were working just as well as ever.

They’re still working just fine. I have a little soreness along the entire right side of my body and my head’s a bit tender if I touch it. So I just don’t touch it. No vomiting or any other symptoms of concussion. The upshot? You just can not kill me. That’s great news because I’ve been known since my childhood as a huge klutz. I was the kid who wasn’t coordinated enough to play kickball with the other kids during that period of physical torture, known as “Physical Education” class or recess, take your pick. (The ball would be coming at me and I’d kick at it, then I’d realize it was still a couple of feet away from me. Try to imagine the hilarity that created for all the other children.) I’ve been known to walk directly into walls. (I get a little lost in my own thoughts sometimes.) I stumble over grass. Turns out that my history has served me well; I’ve developed an uncanny ability to both continue to injure myself and still be (relatively) fine if I just take some ibuprofen.

Now on to the fun stuff. Office antics. Loathsome is going to remain with the company, despite his egregiously bad behavior after the accident. I’d like to collect on that bet now. Wonder who I could see about that? I’m fairly certain I put $100 dollars on staying.

Not only does he still have a job at the same rate of pay as always, he’s on vacation right now. Vacation. Is there any way in hell that, having screwed up so mightily, I would have the (figuratively speaking) balls to go on vacation? I don’t think so.

I told you Owner was going to think keeping Loathsome on would be a much worse punishment than firing him. I see hours and hours of Loathsome’s time being spent in Owner’s office, listening to Owner read things to him. (Owner likes to write clever emails and fake news stories he then sends to everyone on his email contact list.) Everybody hates it when he isn’t satisfied with having us all read the written version and has to call us up and read it to us. He won’t have to now; he’ll have Loathsome. I believe it’s the win-win solution for everyone.

Money Man, or Bible Thumping Hypocrite (as one of my co-workers refers to him) seems to be having some issues on the marital home front. Money Man has “taken a personal stand against homosexuality.” That kind of speaks for itself, doesn’t it? I mean, how does that work? When gay guys approach him, I guess he plants his feet firmly and intones, “No! I will not have homosexual intercourse with you!” Oh god, if only the marital discord was caused by an affair with a guy he met in his prayer group. It would be so entertaining.

The real issue is that he’s not a very good husband, according to his wife. I can only imagine.  One of my co-workers and I are constantly amazed anybody would live with him. He watches too much television, for one thing. They never do anything together; that reason is always a crowd pleaser. He said he wasn’t surprised. Money Man’s wife and he don’t have anything in common anymore, he stated, except for the kids. The problem there is that each side picked a fave kid years ago and have stuck with their original choices. Each always seizes upon any infraction of the rules by the other’s favorite as an opportunity to rail against that spouse about child-rearing techniques (which encompass just about everything that could possibly go awry in the marriage). Even though the “kids” are in their mid to late twenties now, it’s a hard habit to break, a veritable marital war by proxy.

Money Man says he “saw it coming.” It’s that ominous phrase that makes me think things have really gotten waspish between the two of them. It doesn’t bode well, does it? A friend of Money Man’s wife died this week in a different city. He’s lobbying for her to go to the funeral so he can get her the hell out of the house and watch the NBA playoffs in peace. I’m with him on the playoff thing. I’d try to get her out of town, too. Nothing like your spouse wanting to do things with you when Phoenix is getting ready to play L.A. in 5 minutes. In the playoffs.

On the other hand, if I were the wife, I’d use absolutely any excuse to be anywhere other than with him.  Maybe that’s just me, though.  It’s entirely possible that she’s become so inured to his general nasty temperament and rampant negativity that she doesn’t even recognize it anymore.  And she did say they should spend more time together.  Maybe she should see a doctor about this.

There’s so much more office entertainment to catch you up on, but I remember reading that blog posts are supposed to be short so people will read them. So I guess I should get around to the other stuff later. And who knows? Maybe I’ll have a close encounter with some other immovable object in my house. (Oh wait…I have to knock on the oak-like particle board I call my desk.)

Now who do I need to talk to about that $100 bet?

April 18, 2007

Those Tiny Little Rooms

Filed under: Bless the Beasts, Breast Cancer, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 3:26 pm

I’m worn down to a nub today. I ended up sitting in one of those little examination rooms for over an hour. Surgeons’ schedules are like that, I know, but I start to feel a little claustrophobic after 30 minutes or so.

Everything is progressing nicely, except for some thickened scar tissue. I had a series of steroid injections along the incision site across my lower stomach. I had two at my belly button and two or three right around the New Girl. Everyone (the nurse, 2 physician’s assistants, the surgeon who were all crowded into the exam room) was concerned about the pain involved. I’m still numb in several places. The other sites hurt, but I now laugh at pain. Hahaha. A few steroid injections doesn’t even really show up on my radar screen.

I’ll have another surgical event in four or five months (whenever he can fit me into his very, very busy schedule). We’re going to do some liposuction and other work on both the new and old girls. I’ll have to be in the hospital overnight and more drainage tubes. (Oh no!!! Anything but that!) Those really hurt. Maybe they won’t extend so far into my body this time. Nothing like having sensitive inner body contact with plastic.

Still waiting for the day when I’ll be able to wear normal clothes and/or everybody stops hurting me. My psychiatrist tells me I shouldn’t think of it that way. It’s not very “empowering,” you know. She can get back with me on that when she’s gone through the same things I have. I have not, for the past year and a half, chosen to be hurt.

Aside from all of that, the skies are blue, the trees outside my windows are lush again and waving in the breeze. Nesting continues and the squirrels are feeling energized. They run along the branches and make daring leaps from one to the other. Out of my other window, I have a bit of a crepe myrtle tree visible and the roof of a church. The crepe myrtle isn’t in bloom yet; it’s too early still.

There’s plenty of action on the church roof, though. The courting going on over there is lively. There are a lot of pigeons in the neighborhood and they like to hang out on that church roof. Since it’s mating time, there are constantly three or four male pigeons chasing after (usually) one female at a time. She keeps moving away and here come the gang of boys right after her. Generally, when the females get exasperated and leave, all the boys stand there, looking at her as she flies away, collectively baffled. That’s usually about all they’re willing to put into the chase, so they mill around until some other hapless female arrives.

It’s so good to be back. I have another M.D. Anderson visit with my oncologist coming up next month. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

April 13, 2007

The Fun Never Ends

Filed under: Office Hell — ggirl @ 4:07 pm

I forgot to mention the Office Fiasco. I saw Loathsome wandering around yesterday. He did not look up from the paper he was carrying and mumbled hello when I cheerfully said good morning. That makes me smile.

Today, I was told that Money Man sent a very snotty and inappropriate email to The Owner. Uh oh. Owner will add another bad mark against Money Man in his “List of People Who’ve Irritated Me That I Will Torture Forever.” He’s a creative tormenter . With a very, very long memory. Here again, big smile. Money Man apparently felt free to elucidate  how much he absolutely hates Loathsome. As if that makes him any different than the rest of us.

I almost hate to be gone on Monday and Tuesday. Heaven only knows what new drama will erupt by the time I get back.

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