Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Proof that I am not the ONLY crazy person around here

A couple weeks ago, the husband went to the store to buy copier ink and index cards. And that’s how all of this came into my life.

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You may be wondering what the heck all that even is. “Tama!” you may be asking. “Did you guys dismantle the Golden Gate Bridge and bring it home or something?!”

No. No we did not.

What the husband stumbled across while he was getting index cards and copier ink was a warehouse liquidation sale. Those big orange doohickeys are dismantled warehouse shelving – the kind you can store refrigerators and transmissions and other really heavy things on.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, First of all, I think I need more coffee or something because I seriously can’t keep up with this. And secondly, what the ever-lastin’ Jelly Belly do you think you’re going to DO with refrigerator-storage-enabling SHELVING?!

Well. The husband – all by himself, this was not, REPEAT, NOT!, my idea! – has decided that he is building a 16’ x 12’ greenhouse for me. He spent quite a few hours fiddling around with dimensions and other engineer-y stuff in this AutoCAD-ish program he has, figuring out how he’d run water to it, and how to handle humidity / light / blah blah blah, and what gauge beams he wants for the roof, and what grade plastic he needs for the jacket…and sorry, ladies, but this particular geek is SO taken.

Tired Daddy
Actual sexiness may be higher than it appears in this picture

I’m excited by the possibilities something like this would open up...and a little scared of them, too. Kind of along the lines of, “Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it,” I suppose.

I’ve frequently wished I could do more “bulk” planting – instead of smaller 10x10 or 10x12 boxes of just this one thing, I’d love to do half the yard in corn, the other half in tomatoes. Plant nothing but peas in early February! An entire yard of green beans in May! Stuff the freezer with bags, pack the pantry with Mason jars! Ring the whole thing with a thousand onion sets!

Buuuuuuuut, of course, this isn’t just some ‘back to the land’ thing. It’s also about minimizing our basic financial needs – the less we “have” to spend on this-n-that-n-the-other, the more we have available for other things.

So when I’m looking at a situation where I could either break the area up into several smaller boxes, grow lots of different things in “just a few meals worth” quantity and save $200-300 at the supermarket, or dedicate the whole entire area to growing enough wheat to replace one, MAYBE two at the outside of those $12 sacks of flour at Costco…welllllll, there’s what might be called an economic inequality between those two choices.

And I end up with tiny patches of spinach, pak choi, three kinds of lettuce, and one lonely little eggplant…

BUT…if I’m moving those into a greenhouse and taking them vertically up ten feet worth of shelves, thus freeing up a good 75% of the growing area currently taken up by Such Things…wellllll, now, I have options that might make sense.

I love the idea of it. And I know I’ll enjoy the part where I’m putting my hands on things and actually doing the individual tasks. Taken one at a time, I enjoy weeding, hoeing, planting, harvesting, and preserving.

Where it starts to get to me a bit is when I step back and look at the whole thing. THAT’S when I start to get a case of nerves, and wonder if I’m woman enough for All That.

Suppose I’ll have to see when we get there. It’ll be a while before the husband can get this thing going, so I have at least the rest of this season and possibly the entire fall and winter too before I’ll have to actually worry about it.

Which leaves me free to ponder more important questions, such as, What on earth do you DO with a busted up babysitter swing that should probably go to the dump except that it’s too CUTE – even busted up like that – to just throw away?

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Four words: Butternut Squash Jungle Gym!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Can I please have a do-over?

Dudes. Today was one of those days where I started looking for the hidden cameras. There just HAD to be one.

I woke up for no reason on my own, looked at the clock, and went, “Ack! 5:45, what the heck?!” Then I kicked the husband and hissed, “DID. YOU. TURN. OFF. MY. ALARM. LAST. NIGHT?!?!” at him.

“Murfle mutter whaza larm? Sor-rah, zzzzzz…” he replied. So I kicked him again, got up, and squinted more closely at the alarm – because it wasn’t light enough outside for 5:45 to be an accurate measure of time, so, something was wrong.

My alarm was off. But it was not 5:45 a.m.

It was 1:19 a.m. And the alarm clock was sitting with the husband’s setting displayed. So I pushed all the buttons until they were doing the right thing again, got back into bed, gave him one last kick out of pure spite (nobody hates a sleeper like an insomniac, let-me-tell-you) (and no, I didn’t really kick him repeatedly…but I THOUGHT about doing it!), and tried to go back to sleep.

And failed.

And then had to give myself a serious pep-talk to get my carcass out of bed when the alarm finally ticked around to the buzzing-spot.

There was vigorous and whining opposition to the idea. I don’t WAAAAAANA…I’m tiiiiiired…and also my STOMACH hurts, plus my HEAD hurts, and also I think I’ve got CRAAAAAAMPS again…

But when I told myself that after all, it wasn’t like rabid alligators had chewed my feet off in the night, which pretty much meant I could, in fact, still walk…well. I couldn’t really argue with me, there. The lack of rabid alligators in one’s life makes such things as being tired and/or crampy and/or headachy seem somewhat less important.

You know, comparatively-speaking.

BUT STILL. I mean, see, thing is, I already wasn’t exactly sleeping soundly before the initial wake-for-no-reason-other-than-serendipity thing at 1:19. And then I was irritatingly aware that I didn’t get back to sleep afterward, but was just kind of dozing or dayNOT-dreaming until the alarm went off.

So I’m not just tired. I’m like, stupid tired.

But undaunted by such things, I talk myself into getting on the road.


I cannot begin to describe the chaos of this scene. Here we all are, allegedly adults, most of us with our car keys jingling away in our pockets, still warm from the ignition switch. And we’re staring at her blankly like we’ve never even heard of these horseless carriages. Heads cocked to one side like the RCA Victor dog. None of us can comprehend what the noises she is making mean. Our lives are being thrown into utter disarray by this. We cannot process what is going on, here.

“Arrrrrrugh? Wha? Wha she say? Me no understand, why she say ‘drive’ word? Drive San Fran? Can DO this? Streets make with go-there for drive-drive, San Fran? Whaaaaaaaa she say?”

I came within a hair of actually asking the poor woman, AND I QUOTE, “But, where am I supposed to park if I’m driving to Montgomery Street station?”


I literally caught it by the barest edges of my teeth before it just fired on off into the air, exposing the degree of my bumble-brain-ed-ness to the whole world.

I’m so glad I did, though. The poor woman had enough to contend with this morning, having to say the same thing over and over and over again to people who wanted to fight with her about it – like she was going to say, “Just kidding! There actually wasn’t a three-alarm blaze that licked over our rails, possibly rendering them completely unsafe! What the heck! All aboard, folks, let’s charge the transbay tunnel and see what happens! WOOT WOOT!!”

Or possibly, “Wow, that is such a compelling argument there! I’ll call Operations immediately and let them know that you, Mr. Joe Guy Who Thinks This is Bull-Spit And Who Pays Taxes And Who Really Just Needs To Get To F@^&@ing Work, says it’s totally OK for us to just go ahead and use the f@^&@ing track. I’m sure they’ll restart service immediately when they hear this brilliant reasoning!”

So I got back into the car and drove home.

And then I had a meeting during which the thing I was most focused on was my headache. And how much effort it took not to take out my bad mood on this poor project manager, who was just trying to get something that more or less resembled an actual plan together.

I suspect howling, “How the @*^&@ should I know how long Task #76 is going to take in hours?! I just @^*&@ing got here, I haven’t even seen how long a NORMAL load takes!!” at him would have been slightly less than helpful.

Or professional.

Then I worked for a while.

Until the tired jumped out from under the desk and bit me on the arse; I became aware that I wasn’t really working, I was just sort of poking around at the same itty-bitty detail like maybe this time it would return a different result.

So I closed the laptop and just walked away from it for a while. I went and got my nails repaired, and pretty much fell asleep at the salon.

Then I fumbled my way into Starbucks and asked for a mocha frap with extra coffee. EXTRA coffee. By which I meant an extra hit from the caffeine-pipe.

I did not say eight coffee.

Guess which one THEY heard?!

They put EIGHT hits of coffee-stuff in that frap. And even though I heard them talking about it, even though the guy who actually made the drink even commented, with that disbelieving laugh people use at Such Times, that “that was kind of a lot,” what they were actually saying with that ‘eight coffee’ thing didn’t register with me.

Until the taste of this thing hit my tongue. Wowzah. The instant the flavor hit, my eyeballs shot open and I was almost like a new woman. But with a preexisting headache.

In related news, I think if I were to have my blood pressure and pulse taken right about then? They’d have been all like, Damn, girl! What have YOU been up to?!

And then I came home and went back to work. Sort of. Except that mostly, I was dreaming up interesting reports that could theoretically be designed out of the new data warehouse…most of them falling into the category of “interesting but ultimately worthless information.” Which is not what we’re going to be after.

So I gave up.

And would rather like a do-over for today.

Or failing that, at least an early bedtime tonight.

Preferably with no rabid alligators, toe-nibblers or otherwise.

Monday, June 11, 2012

If I were to be completely honest…

…I’m kind of…um…well, not exactly avoiding y’all, but…it’s more like…welllllllll…

OK. Fine. I did something so astonishingly stupid weekend before last that I have no idea how to even begin describing it. Then hard on the heels of that, right when I was feeling almost human enough to talk to other humans again, well, I got to the end of the first cycle and all hell broke loose.

I swear, my life lately has been a kind of gore-fest. And while it is kind of funny, it’s also kind of not.

It’s kind of gross.

And I don’t want to deal with any of it, or talk about it, really…but since it has been Center Stage for the last two weeks, it’s also kind of like the only thing I have to talk about right now.

I know. My dilemmas, they are epic.

So, what did I do a couple weekends ago?

Well. I knifed myself in the thigh.


With a knife.


SO, I was making a sort of watering system for some of the container garden plants. I wanted to end up with something that would seep not pour, and do it in a fairly wide patch. The tool that got me this result from the thick plastic I was using for the project was an 8” kitchen knife. So I’m standing there cheerfully whacking away at the plastic with this thing…and then one of the girls erupted around the corner into the kitchen. RUNNING. In the kitchen. In spite of many lectures about running + kitchen = DON’T.

I took my eyeballs off what I was doing (but did not stop my hand and arm from moving, this is an important point!), opened my mouth to yell at her about running in the kitchen, and…thwhack.

You know that split second between doing something, and the pain hitting you? Yeah. Like something out of a movie, that split second sort of stretched out. The husband was nattering on about something not five feet from me. The kids were bouncing all over the place. And there I stood, frozen in time, ever-so-slowly coming to grips with the information being fed to me through my assorted sensory input channels. Did I just do what I think I did? Are you sure it isn’t just hung up on your jeans or something? Oh. Blood. Bleeding. Oh! Yikes! Fair bit of bleeding there, really soaking that denim pretty good and, oh hey. Pain. Pain! Yeah, there it is, pain part coming through now…yeah. Um. I’m going to have to say that, given the evidence here…yes. Yes I DID just slam that @^*@ing knife straight on into my thigh there…

Now, some people are yellers. The husband, in fact, is one of those types. He will bellow like a bee-stung calf over a stubbed toe. He has sent me into heart-pounding panic because of his shouts of horrible, life-altering pain over something like…a splinter. A finger pinched in a cupboard door. And so forth.

Some people are weepers. “Ohmygah ohmygah ohmygah! Sob! Sob! Sob!

Some people are cussers. “Oh fer @^*@&'s sake! ^*@&! @^*&@(^*&@! Argh, ^&*@^&@!!!!!”

And then there are people like me, people I herewith dub The Hiders.

Here is the sum total of my outward expression of pain and disbelief at the time of injury: “…ooof…”

And then, well, I calmly and without making the slightest hint of fuss, poinked the knife out of my thigh and – with remarkable speed for somebody with a hole in their leg – made for the upstairs (!!!!) bathroom so that I could assess the damage without any meddling busybodies undo emotion entering into Things.

I’m afraid I’m not kidding. Every time I do this, afterward I say, “OK, that is so stupid, and I am never going to do that again!” – and then, the next time something like this happens, where am I? Hiding somewhere, while I frantically get myself cleaned up and self-assessed as to Need To See A Doctor Quickly lest somebody else try to get a vote before I have made up my mind on the subject.

I’ve done this since I was a child. When I was somewhere around four years old, I fell on the sliding glass door runners at my grandmother’s house, and slashed my knees open. She suddenly realized I wasn’t making a horrific racket anymore and went looking for me…eventually, she found me hiding in her water heater closet with a bunch of Kleenex, trying to clean up my knees without getting caught.

I have no idea why I did it then, and I really don’t have a good reason now either. Maybe I’m more of a ‘lurking on the sidelines making smart-assed remarks out of the corner of my mouth’ sort of clown, not the ‘lookit me! I’m juggling eggs and your best crystal wine glasses with wine in them in the middle of your white carpet! WHOOPEE!” type. I despise being fussed over, and I don’t want to be “helped” when I don’t feel well.

I stop just short of resenting the people who bring me food and fluff my pillows. I’m that patient in the hospital who is always deciding they’re going to just get up and go to the bathroom their damned self, without waiting for the nurse to respond to the call button. Or even using the call button.

So what if I have a 7” hole in my abdomen and am missing a bunch of organs now?! Pfffffft!!! I can get out of this bed by myself, and I will get out of this bed by myself! I’ve been using the bathroom without help since I was two-frickin-years-old, and I will be damned if I need help now

…and then I will follow this up by returning to bed, turning a sickly gray color, covered in sweat, but nevertheless gritting my teeth and refusing to admit that it was a really, really bad idea, and that maybe, just maybe, a little hit of morphine might be a good idea right about now…I’M FINE, DAMMIT, I’M JUST A LITTLE TIRED, YEAH, THAT’S WHAT IT IS, A LITTLE TIRED, I DON’T NEED YOUR DARN DRUGS, IT’S JUST A LITTLE PINCH!!!!!

(I know. I’m going to make such an awesome old woman someday. Get in line, Young People Of The World, being my in-home caregiver is going to be the most popular job in the world someday!)

After a near fight with the husband over it (on a related note, he really needs to learn to knock before he unlocks doors and barges into rooms while somebody inside is yelling, “DON’T COME IN HERE, I MEAN IT! I’M FINE!!”), we ended up sidetracked into a bizarre “who has had more holes in their flesh, with and without stitches” contest. (Need you even ask? I so win that one.)

Starting to argue was stupid and the “oh yeah? Well, this one time I fell off a skateboard and slid about four feet on my knees…!” thing was even dumber, but! It served a very important purpose, which was that by the time I had trumped his last major-enough-to-actually-remember injury…the bleeding had stopped and it was obvious that I was, in fact, right.
Sucker did not require a trip to the ER for stitches. It may have been a bit on the marginal side, but a little over a week later I’ve got a thin little almost-nothing of a future scar forming and as long as I don’t get too enthusiastic about things like stairs it hardly even hurts anymore.

Just enough to keep me humble, really.

Eh, well. There are certain perils involved in Being Me, and I guess this is one of them: I’m going to do things that don’t exactly end well for me, and then I’m going to more or less shrug them off, fretting a little bit that maybe I shouldn’t, but, well, at the same time, in all likelihood it’s going to end up a no big deal sort of thing…and a few sidetracks into what exactly causes tetanus, and horrifying myself with research around things like detecting wound infections and how the wounds from my alien abduction turned gangrenous.

(Stupid aliens. You’d think they would have figured out Neosporin by now, what with all that Advanced Technology and some junk.)

(It really is fine. Well on its way to becoming an awesome story to traumatize the girls in front of their boyfriends. Ya, just don’t expect her to be safe in the kitchen, not with MY genes…seriously, this one time…?!)