27 December 2005


Tomorrow's the day for my current job prospect for new full-time work. I'm actually not that nervous because I feel like I have other potential opportunites (although I don't really know where) and I feel like I'm going to be interviewing them as much as they are interviewing me to decide whether it is a good match. Maybe I should be more nervous, but I feel pretty good.

K and I are also putting in an offer on a new house tomorrow, so I'm crossing my fingers that the sellers are willing to barter with us because their asking price is a little high. Apparently they had this house on the market over the summer at a much higher price and couldn't sell it, so maybe they'll be ready to negotiate. K thinks I'm not a great negotiator because I always want to offer an amount I think is fair, instead of something that is too low and assume they're going to barter upward. I guess we all have our theories, but I never assume that I know what the true value really is so I usually don't feel to bad about where I end up.

Also, I get to hold little Z tomorrow and give NSP a big hug, so tomorrow should be a good day...if I can just get some sleep tonight, I'll be all set!

24 December 2005


Yesterday was a long, long day of searching for somewhere to live at the new place. We were late to everything all day adding to the stress and driving me completely batty. Two rental places and four houses later, we did find a place we're interested in, but since the contract for our house hasn't been signed yet, I'm not ready to put our financial future on the line right now.

After running around all day, K and I made the mistake of heading to the largest mall in the area in the hopes of being able to finish my last minute shopping (yes, K was already done). I think it took us longer to get in and out of the parking lot than the shopping actually took, and we got out as it was raining, so when we got home of course it was snowing.

We were able to finally get the pick-up back yesterday, but it didn't make it up the driveway either since it doesn't have snow tires yet and something funky is going on with the 4WD. Thankfully our spectacular mechanic neighbor is putting the snow tires on for us today, so hopefully we'll get the whole situation straightened out. I'm just glad that I don't have anywhere to go until the 28th and I'm leaning towards the option of just not leaving the house until then.

So from the snowy north, I hope that everyone has a great holiday season!

20 December 2005

I am the tortise

Slow and steady wins the race, right? I shouldn't be too concerned that I don't have a new job and I don't have a place to live yet, right? We are going Friday to check out places to live, and I have an interview next week for a job that sounds so-so, on the day that little Z and Not-So-Pregnant are coming to visit. The woman buying our house came by Sunday with a list of questions, and I realized just how filthy the whole place is with the rolling balls of dog hair and the scuzzy kitchen tile and the dirty bathroom. And how I can not possibly have my nephew here in such a mess, so I'm adding that to the list of things to accomplish. Maybe once I'm off work I'll be able to get all these things done (hahaha!!!).

Our kitchen was chest high in holiday baking yesterday and K is finishing it up today so that I might be able to actually give gifts to people tomorrow. I'm usually a stress-eater, so I thought that having all the holiday goodies was going to be bad for my waistline, but I'm actually too stressed to eat. I don't feel like I have time to enjoy any of it, and I usually feel kinda nauseous anyway. There are still people I have no idea what to buy for Xmas and they are people I have to send presents in the mail, although at least I've been keeping up with the wrapping for the presents I do have. Better late than never, hopefully.

We don't even have a tree and there is no foreseeable time in the days between now and Xmas that K and I will both be together with enough time to find and decorate one. No wonder it doesn't feel like the holidays yet. Just because we don't have a tree until the day after Xmas doesn't make it any less festive I guess. We'll just pick one up after the neighbors throw it out. Reduce, re-use, recycle indeed.

17 December 2005

Cold feet

Last night I found myself freaking out about the whole quitting my job and moving away deal. I think it was primarily because we've been looking at houses, townhomes, and various rentals to try and figure out where we are going to live, and it is going to be at least $1200/mo. for a two-bedroom place with no storage that will let us take Watson. Houses seem to go for a minimum of $210k, when we're leaving a house that is $150k, so that is a big jump too.

So what the heck am I going to do if we get down there and the deposits and withdrawals just aren't meeting up? I suppose we could go on a diet, crank down the heat, walk as much as possible, and only shower every few days, but there are only so many places like that to cut. K tells me I'm over-reacting and we'll figure it out. And then proceeds to tell me that if I'm worried about it now, how are we going to make it if I go back to school and don't work much if it all? Aaack! Not comforting. Sometimes it would be nice if I had someone who could look at me and be confident that "everything's going to be all right". I've even told K straight up that he just needs to say those words (unprompted), no luck yet.

Just wanted to share my paranoia fit with the rest of you since you aren't lucky enough to experience it in person...

In other news, we finally picked up our new Civic today so now I can leave the house whenever I like! I can't always get home as the plow-guy is a lazy [edit cursing] who only comes to plow whenever he likes. The pickup is currently scheduled to be back on Tuesday or Wednesday.

15 December 2005

Quick updates

Surgery went well for Watson, but he is now the face of frustration:
He's never had the cone-head before and he spent most of last night standing in one place waiting for someone to show him how to get where he wanted to go. At one point he was laying in front of the recliner, stood up and bumped the cone into it, and just stood there with the cone touching the recliner for at least 5 minutes. K finds this hilarious, I find it sad, so Watson will probably gain his Xmas weight early this year.

K decided on the local job, so we'll be moving, but only a couple of hours away. I'm still poking around to find a job there, so hopefully that can happen soon.

No action on the new wheels yet, the salesweasel confidently proclaimed on Monday that our car would be in Monday night or Tuesday, and they currently have no idea where it is. He also left 8(!) voicemails while we were out of town despite having been told we were out of town. Now he seems annoyed that I call him at least once a day to inquire about my car, but I figure it is only fair that I leave him a minimum of 8 voicemails before we're finished. He's going to earn his money this time.

One of the women from the ambulance expressed interest in buying our house many months ago, and jumped on the opening that we're moving. She's coming by this weekend to do paperwork, so if all goes through we won't even have to pay a real estate agent. This has me doing a little happy dance.

12 December 2005

Snow is a four-letter word

In further explanation of my stress, today was the wrong day for the flaky white stuff. Ole' Clunk & Bang had a windshield wiper issue before we left on our trip, and surprisingly enough, sitting in the airport parking lot for a week didn't fix it. Not a problem Saturday or Sunday when the weather was nice, but today it snowed. All day. Not a lot of snow, but enough that every plow was out salting the road. Enough that there was massive spray when you followed or passed another car. Enough that you needed windshield wipers, which we did not have.

Since we are still at 1 working vehicle, I rode with K to work (90 minutes each way, see earlier post on waking time) so that I could bring the car back and do the approximately eight thousand errands that needed done, and eventually go to work. It was reasonably frightening to drive up there with no wipers, even though I was just a passenger. When we got to his work, I decided I was going to go the local dealer (because OF COURSE we found out Sunday that the part we need is a dealer-only part) and get it fixed. Basically, at this point, I was in a money-is-no-object state of mind. Just fix the stupid car so I can get where I need to go. K strongly disapproved, but he was at work and I was in the car, so he lost. In case you're wondering, the shop labor rate was $75/hr and it took them an hour and a half, plus parts, plus tax, and now I can see what is going on more than 2 feet in front of the bumper.

After this came the joys of auto financing as I sat in the credit union and waited for the loan guy to actually find the loan application we sent in before our trip. I would have thought a week and a half would've been enough to get it in the system, but somehow, he couldn't find it. Eventually he tracked down someone who knew what was going on, and all is pre-approved for when our new car actually arrives from wherever it is coming from (Timbuktu, or outer Mongolia, or whatever).

I have never actually done business with this credit union before, and K had mentioned their bizarre teller system, but he took it in stride. I find it is something that must be experienced or at least have some further explanation. They do not have teller windows at any branch. They have teller screens and video cameras. You have to talk to the TV in order to get them to deposit or withdraw money - or if the sound is broken like today, you have to pick up a phone to talk to them. You have to send your paperwork through the tube like at the drive-thru. I suppose if I were a teller, I would like the system because it would be impossible for someone to shoot you - the customers don't even know where you are. I'm betting they aren't even on the same floor as we are. If it wasn't for me being able to see her pull my paperwork out of the tube less than 5 seconds after I put it in, I wouldn't have even thought she was in the same building. All very surreal. I'm a huge fan of ATMs because I don't like to wait in line at the bank, or even drive to one actually, but when I do bother to show up, I'd like to see a real person. And what the heck are they doing back there when the cameras aren't on? Maybe I don't want to know.

Then 5 more errands, including picking up a week's worth of pre-Xmas holiday catalogs from the post office, before I got home for a brief rest and a quick turnaround back to work. After work, I got the joy of grocery shopping for the list of things K wants so we can start the holiday baking. I'm hoping "we" really means mostly he this year (as it was two years ago) because I'm neither in the spirit nor feeling as though I have the time.

There is also a long list of things I was supposed to do today that I never quite got around to. Including calling/emailing people who had expressed an interest in buying our house and looking for a new job. Minor details. Also, I'm almost-subconsciously worried about taking Watson in for surgery on Wednesday for this eye-lid-duct-tumor thing because it got bigger and nastier looking while we were gone and I still haven't figured out the transportation issues for that. So if I look like I might spit nails at you, now you know why.

(Loud teeth grinding sound)

I can't even come up with a title or two thoughts to rub together today, so I'll leave you with the visual of me being completely tense and stressed - which nearly always involves grinding my teeth and everyone enjoying watching those small muscles on the edge of my jaw contract and twitch. I'll try to post when I calm down, 4:30am does not agree with me for a wake-up time, and I have to do it tomorrow too. Thankfully for K, he's at work tonight so he might get some sleep instead of having to listen to me either grinding or the stuffed-nose-open-mouth snoring of hell.

08 December 2005


We arrived in Colorado late Tuesday night to below zero temperatures. I assumed that because they are in the mountains, people would be used to cold temperatures, but apparently the temperatures are unreasonably and unseasonably cold for this area. Between waiting on the luggage and waiting for a rental car, we didn't get out of the airport until almost 11p local time. We had to be up early the next day because Wednesday was our only chance to ride some powder.

Loveland was my pick for snowboarding because it was a less expensive and less famous area, so I hoped it would be less crowded and that I wouldn't feel so bad if I had to quit early. The altitude change is a killer, just walking from the parking lot to the lodge (up 3 flights of stairs) had me panting. The ski report included 7" of fresh powder in the last 48h and a morning temperature of -20 at the base lodge. My plan succeeded - there was us and only a few other crazy people out on the hill. We made fresh tracks on our first several runs, and even throughout the day we were able to find some untouched areas.

I've never snowboarded in powder before, so I took some good spills early in the day, but the powder is definitely more forgiving than the extremely compacted snow and ice I usually see in VT/NH. K even took a good tumble on one run where he went head over heels twice before coming to a stop. I missed it, but looked down in time to see the giant poof of powder that was probably 5-6' high where he fell.

We're off to interviews this morning and ride-alongs tomorrow.

05 December 2005

Travel update

Saturday, we each got to ride with the ambulance service here to try and get a feeling for what working here would really be like, and to get the chance to talk with actually employees outside the office when they're more likely to give you the real scoop. K and I both had the same slightly disappointed feel, we were hoping this would be an easier decision where somewhere would be soooo wonderful. But that isn't here. It isn't bad, and it does have a good location on its side, but no immediate love.

When I got back to the hotel, I went over to see K's family because they were going to pick him up. I talked to them for a while and it finally occurred to me that they thought I brought him back and I thought they had picked him up. Oops. I went back to the ambulance HQ and there he was, talking to the guys I had been riding with and wondering what the heck happened to me. I hadn't gone inside when we got back because I didn't have any reason to, or so I thought. Luckily the hotel is only a mile or so from the HQ, so he didn't have to wait too long for me to remember him.

Sunday, we went to the zoo with the family, then they all headed home. K took some lovely zoo pictures, so enjoy! We didn't get to see everything in the zoo, but it was pretty cold, so I think most of our group was ready to go after 2 hours anyway.

We also hit the movie theater Sunday evening, and I just have to tell you how wonderful it is to see a movie in a real movie theater again. Where the screen is bigger than my television at home. With stadium seating so I'm not staring at the back of someone's head and I can actually cross my legs. And we saw a great movie! Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. I'd never heard of it before we decided to go, but I would highly recommend it.

We're off today to visit Forest Grove and then out to Astoria for interviews tomorrow, so I'll catch up when I can.

03 December 2005


We made it to Oregon yesterday, and were only an hour late for interviews, but at least we remembered the cell phone so we could call when we landed and let them know. It seemed like talking with everyone went pretty well and we both "passed" the written interview exam (which included medical questions and such gems as "why are manhole covers round" with space for 3 separate answers). K is already out on the streets this morning with the ambulance, and I'm headed out shortly, so we should get a pretty good feel for what things are like here.

The trip yesterday was a pain. We brought our snowboards for the Colorado part of the trip, and I completely forgot that I had my ski tool in my coat pocket. Despite what the news says about TSA relaxing the regulations, apparently that news hasn't made it to the local airport, so they're still enforcing the "no tools of any type" rule. The ski tool I had was smaller than a deck of cards and has 4 interchangeable screwdriver bits of less than 1" each for making adjustments to your bindings and such on the slopes. This is still a dangerous weapon on an airplane. I could do equal damage with a ball point pen, but rules are rules and my checked baggage was long gone, so I spent $6 to buy and envelope and postage to send home my $12 ski tool.

During all this, I forgot the carry-on suitcase at the checkpoint, so they paged and K came back to get it because I'd sent him on to the gate when they started going through every pocket (of two coats, my computer bag, and my purse) and when I wasn't there, he asked what happened and the TSA people had no idea. They all claimed none of them had "escorted anyone out" (which they did), and so K began to wonder whether they'd decided to lock me up or something. I was just hiking the 1/2 mile to the mailbox to send the tool, but I was definitely nowhere to be found. Grrr.

More details on K's local job offer...instead of having to work 24h and having 48h off, this one would be 24h and 72h off, so it only pays 42 hours a week instead of 56, but weekly take-home would be about the same as his current job. The health insurance for both of us would be completely paid for. The retirement package is different with both pros and cons compared to his current set-up. K also said that everyone seemed friendly and welcoming when he was hanging out in the station before his second interview, and that it was great to actually feel wanted as he is the #1 pick. I think we're both coming around to the idea of staying local, but it is far from a done deal right now.

01 December 2005

Up, up and away

We're headed into the great blue yonder for an interview trip to the west extremely early in the morning. I'll try and update/check email when I can...but we are going snowboarding, so I may not have too much spare time. And with our track record lately, we may come back in more pieces than we departed in.

Interesting news on the home front is that K was offered the local job he interviewed for today, so now he has all week to ponder the pros and cons of the jobs we're checking out and the one he already has in hand. We each have a hard time leaving an offer on the table to wait for something better, but at least now he has enough time to decide.

30 November 2005

Battle royale (with cheese)

Anyone who has ever had to share a bed with someone understands the unwritten rules in this battle. The object is to be comfortable and asleep for the maximum possible time. It really doesn't have anything to do with the other person in the bed, except that their comfort and sleep will frequently prevent or postpone yours. Two people in the same bed will never have the same preferences, and someone will always be snoring, guaranteed.

Not-So-Pregnant (my sister) was one of the more challenging people I've ever tried to share sleeping space with when we were kids (and yes, things have improved slightly). In addition to the usual temperature battles involving the covers, she would steal my pillow and sleep diagonally across the bed. Being the older sister, I would occassionally dump her onto the floor to reclaim my space. Seemed fair, we'll call that one a tie.

Even sharing a room can be a challenge as my first college roommate demonstrated. She slept in flannel pajamas, under flannel sheets, with a down comforter, and assorted other blankets, in a dorm room where the temperature was generally set to "broil". Still, if I had the audacity to open the window even a crack because my bed was more like a water bed from the sweat, she would wake from a sound sleep less than 5 minutes later and close it again and gripe at me in the morning. Really, I timed her - less than 5 minutes. How the air could even get to her that quickly through all those layers is still a mystery to me. This one is definitely a loss for me as I could never stay awake long enough to open the window every time she closed it over the course of a year.

I guess my subconcious has decided to win a battle for once, because last night, I rolled over and impacted K with something equivalent to a knee drop from the top ropes. Yes, he was quite soundly asleep and didn't do anything to deserve it. No, I didn't do it on purpose but actually just forgot he was there. Between working and traveling lately, I haven't had to share the bed in quite a while. And I actually was somewhat awake enough to think about it before I rolled over, and honestly thought he wasn't there.

So say hello to the new reigning champion, at least for a little while...

29 November 2005

0430 wake up call

K and I went out this morning for a girl having a seizure who was reported to be unresponsive but breathing at the time of the 911 call. Nothing gets me out of bed for this sort of thing like the thought of a kid in trouble. Running through my mind on the way out the door are all the things I hope I remember when I get there, and a checklist of clothes to be sure I'm actually fully dressed. K being with me takes a lot of the pressure off because his experience and higher level of training means he can take charge, but I feel like I'm not going to improve my skills if I don't at least think through what is going on.

Travel at this time of morning was less than easy as there was thick fog and once off the main route the roads are slick with melting snow and ice compacted to the road. After the first couple of minutes, I was able to relax a little because K was driving slowly and promised me he wouldn't crash us because then we wouldn't be able to help anybody. En route, we hear the update that the patient is now awake and responding, although still dazed.

We're first to arrive (barely) and we work on getting all the important info out of girl and mother and then eventually K starts to explain what is going to happen when the ambulance arrives, what might happen on the way to the hospital, and what might happen when they get there (including the long wait while the hospital locates the on-call neurologist). We work under the assumption that the patient is going by ambulance, mostly because it would generally be a bad situation to have a parent driving to the hospital and have another seizure happen. It wouldn't necessarily be bad for the patient, but it tends to panic the driver and cause accidents especially when the mother is already agitated.

Although one of the other staff that K knows and likes is on the ambulance when it arrives 10-15 minutes later, she mentions to the mother that they don't have to go by ambulance if the mother feels comfortable driving the girl. K is visibly biting his tongue at this point, and eventually that is exactly what they decide to do. The whole way home I get an earful about what might happen to these people, how there isn't even cell phone coverage so the mother could call for help if she needed it, and how disappointed K is with the "sign her off and clear the scene" attitude.

I'm not sure where I fall on the issue because I know that they wouldn't have actually done anything for the girl in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, so essentially it would be a really expensive taxi ride, but I agree that if she had another seizure while the mother was driving, that would be bad news. I do know that if anything ever happens to me or anyone I know, I definitely want K right there because he's the best patient advocate I know. He even made a call to the emergency department to let them know the patient was coming so that they might actually start locating the doctor before they arrived.

28 November 2005

Family visitation

Holidays are always weird to me. It seems lonely if I'm not with my family (more than just K) and generally stressful if I am. This one was different. Maybe because my immediate family was all sick with a nasty cold so they spent most of the time sleeping and much less time being annoyed with one another, maybe because my nephew is the most adorable baby ever so everyone was focused on him, maybe we just finally hit the right alignment of the stars and planets, I don't know. It was odd to have a real holiday without K, who worked 120+ hours last week, it has been years since I've done it.

It was great to see the PA relatives since it has been at least 4 years since I made it back there. My cousins are now seniors in high school, driving themselves, and much more social than before - although it would be challenging to be less social with relatives than 14 year old boys. It was nice to be able to talk with them and start to get to know them as adults, they seem like very nice young men with great things ahead of them.

Seeing my grandmother in the nursing home was harder than I expected even though she was in about the condition I anticipated. It is always the little details - the incontinence pads on the bed, the need for assistance with everything - that make real what her daily life is like and how frustrated she is with not being on her own. Also interesting to see the shift in the burden of care. My uncle who had lived with her previously seemed much happier and well rested, more like a man in his 40s than the man in his 60s he seemed before. My aunt who lives closest to her now seemed a bit strung out (although I'm sure all of us camping out at her house contributed to that) and acknowledged the burden of visiting every day, trying to stay on top of the staff, and the guilt of knowing her mother had to be there even though she didn't want to be. I have to say that the whole thing worries me a bit because I'm not sure how I'd hold up in a similar situation, so I'm just going to stay on top of the parents to take care of themselves so I can avoid the whole thing as long as possible.

27 November 2005

No place like home

Made it home from PA this afternoon in time to head to basketball and help us lose by 20+ points. Strangely, I didn't think we played that poorly, but we got thumped anyway. I'll try and put some thoughts together about the weekend and update tomorrow...but tonight I'll be enjoying the silence of my house and the softness of my bed, ohhh yeaaahhh!

20 November 2005

No news is good news

Thankfully, we've had a quiet two days. K had a class Sat and Sun, so he's been riding around the rental car. Both of us are still a bit sore and achy, especially in the neck, but some extra sleep and ibuprofen have been taking care of it, so I think we're on the way to recovery.

We went to hockey Saturday night and it was a blow-out for the home team. Kind of disappointing because it is fun to watch a good game, but at least they finally got their second win.

I played basketball today, and we finally won also, 47-48 against one of the teams that is traditionally pretty good. I feel like I actually had a pretty good game, and I won the tip-off. At the rate I'm going, they might actually let me keep jumping - which is odd because I don't usually start. We even had some team bonding after the game and every one left me alone about not drinking with them when I commented that after the week I've had, I'm not taking any unnecessary chances.

19 November 2005

Week in Review, part 2

Okay, so where was I...Friday, tow truck on it's way, state police roused from bed, hanging out with strangers. This is when K turns to me and says, "If I came up on this call in the ambulance, there is NO WAY I would let those people leave without going to the hospital." And here we were, planning to drive ourselves in later. Looking out the window, we see yellow flashers down by our car and assume the tow truck has arrived, but when I got out there, it was actually another wreck - in the same spot. The woman was able to drive away with some damage to her front bumper, but she simply slid straight into the concrete part of the guardrail.

Finally, we finish the police report and ride back with the mechanic, who sends us in the car with his wife on her way to work so we can get a rental car. Then we finally go to the hospital. K gets x-rays for both his hand and his shoulder which are each extremely tender and swollen (which equals possibly broken), but ultimately no broken bones, just muscle pain, cuts and scrapes. Thankfully, only one day off work for each of us, but unfortunately K still can't go to turkey day which we were thinking he could if he had actually broken anything because he certainly wouldn't be working.

We start making all the appropriate phone calls back at the house, and eventually, it gets to the point where we can't even put the phone down because every time we hang up from a call, it rings again.

Good news for Friday, the electric meter-reader came for his monthly rounds, and then comes to the door and asks if we actually have electricity because the meter is broken. Yes, we do, and no, we didn't know it was broken. Score! Free electricity for maybe close to a month! He quickly replaced the meter.

Okay, I'm pooped from yesterday and heading out to save the world today, so everyone else take care and be safe!!

Week in review

Sunday - Basketball team lost by 9 to a not-so great team. I was puffing and wheezing and had to resort to the inhaler to breathe. But I did get to do the tip-off and that was pretty cool.

Monday - Worked all day, felt too sick for yoga. K gets invited to interview next week for one of the local jobs.

Tuesday - I don't remember it, so it probably wasn't too bad. Took Clunk & Bang to the mechanic because it was making another noise.

Wednesday - I had the pickup because Clunk & Bang was in the shop and the Civic was getting new snow tires. Hit a deer with the pickup. No human injuries, one dead deer, one undriveable pickup on it's way to the body shop until mid-December.

Thursday - I took K to the ambulance to work, then drove myself the 1/2 hour to work. Worked all day and then some. Picked up dinner and K from work. K and I went to basketball practice and ran around a little.

Friday - I was supposed to be working at the ambulance rescuing people and K was supposed to be working 1 1/2 h away from the house, but we had a minor transportation problem since C&B is still in the shop, and the pickup is undriveable. K was going to drop me off at the ungodly hour of 5 a.m. and then head to work. When we head out, there is snow and ice on the roads.

About halfway to the ambulance, K hits a patch of black ice causing us to slide toward the guard rail over a small creek. He manages to steer us away from that one, and now we are headed toward the one on the other side which has a lovely section of concrete in the middle. He makes a last over-correction and sends us into a spin and directly into a telephone pole. We impact at the driver's side door and come quickly to a stop from approximately 35 mph. We're both covered in shattered glass and K is bleeding, but amazingly, we seem to be okay. No cell phone coverage here, so we head up the road to find someone to let us use their phone at 4:50 a.m. I don't know about you, but if someone knocked on my door at that time of the morning, I probably wouldn't answer, I'd just call the police. These kind folks let us in, offered us coffee, and made coherent conversation for that time of morning. Ahh, the joys of small town living.

State police are not on-duty at that time of morning, so we have to wait until they can rouse one from bed and send him our way. We call the mechanic where C&B is, who still has our pickup on the flatbed tow truck in his yard, and ask if he'd like to come tow our next car. He asks if we're kidding. K says not at 5 a.m.

Hate to do it, but I've got to head out to the ambulance right now, so this will have to be...
To Be Continued...

17 November 2005

Put the hubby on hold

See, this is the problem with medical research. One group tells you to do something and the next day someone else tells you not to do it. Oral sex can lead to mouth cancer. So, fellatio reduces negative pregnancy outcomes but increases your risk of cancer (due to HPV infection similar to cervical cancer).

I wouldn't normally think of oral sex as a dental problem, but apparently I would be wrong.

16 November 2005

Venison anyone?

Hunting season started last weekend and I think the deer decided to take revenge. Stupid animal ran out in the middle of the freeway this evening, and I committed venison vehicular homicide. I was in the right lane of two northbound lanes and I saw the deer when it was in the median and slammed on the brakes. If I hadn't seen it, I probably would've either missed it or had it hit the rear of the pickup. But, I saw it and tried to stop, so I hit it with the front corner of the truck instead. K was impressed with the damage when he got there, and was actually surprised the airbag didn't deploy, but I think that was mostly because the majority of the breaking happened before I hit the critter.

Thankfully, across the street from our house is a fabulous mechanic with a tow truck and I wrecked in a cell phone coverage area (very rare around here), so I was able to call the insurance company, the state police, the tow truck, and have someone run across the street and get K off the computer which was tying up the telephone line. If I believed in miracles, all those things happening in one evening would probably qualify.

No injuries. No other vehicles involved. One very nice gentleman who stopped to make sure I was okay and had access to a phone. I was going to exercise this evening, but I think I've used up my allotted adrenaline today.

15 November 2005


Apparently the honest answer was good enough. After K's interview yesterday, we got a phone call saying they would like to offer both of us jobs. K's even comes with a $5k signing bonus, if he stays 3 years (and we all know how likely that is for a man whose current record is 14 months). But. We found the downside. I asked about pay. You know, the how the heck are we going to shelter and feed ourselves kind of question.

Maybe we can just live at the station, because we certainly aren't going to be able to afford anyplace else. Or maybe they have the take your work vehicle home with you set-up like some of the cops, I think we could live in an ambulance - at least there'd be a place to sleep. After six months I could make just over $9/hr. Plus incentives which might amount to another $1/hr. K could make just over $11/hr. The two of us together will make less monthly than I currently make alone. And then if I go back to school, we'll have to live on half that (plus financial aid which equals student loans).

I think I managed to stay pleasant and sound interested with the human resources person on the phone. Really though, I wanted to cry (actually, I still do). Maybe one of K's local job opportunities will pan out, because we aren't moving across the country for that kind of $$. I think I might call Oregon just to feel better, but I'm afraid her answer won't be any better and then I will have to cry.

14 November 2005

Flip, Pick, and Riff

Thanks to Land of Beans for today's creative exercise.

1.FLIP open a dictionary, and point to a word.
2.Type the word into Google images.
3. PICK an image that strikes you.
4.Write a 10-line RIFF on the image.
5. Use the word or meaning of the word at least once in the first five lines of the riff.
6. Tag 3 other bloggers on your list. (I'm just going to tag the one I think will respond)

Word: freeloader

Sitting at the next table was an attractive man working on a laptop, with whom I had exchanged glances on several occasions. Today was the day. I slid my chair over and asked how he felt about freeloaders on his system. He laughed and replied that it was the price of business. Thinking that was a rather liberal attitude, I immediately confessed to having penetrated his system several times when I needed local access.

His reaction was not what I expected. He picked up his laptop and hurried at a near-run out the exit. Seconds later, my screen blinked. A message from him. He didn't think that we should be seen together; after all, there was a price on our heads. And I still didn't know his name.

Tag: Not-so Pregnant.

12 November 2005

UnAmerican research

UnAmerican only in the sense that I think it would be extremely unlikely for this research to be accomplished here. All medical research has to be approved by an IRB (Institutional Review Board) which scrutinizes every aspect of the study, including every survey question, before being performed on humans or animals. And a lot of medical research is funded through federal government grants. Can you imagine the current administration ever funding this: Correlation between oral sex and a low incidence of preeclampsia: a role for soluble HLA in seminal fluid?

Even if you don't read the whole abstract, I think you get the idea from the title. Women should perform fellatio (and swallow) to perhaps avoid preeclampsia when pregnant. Very important biochemically, see honey, the doctor even said so. I can't even imagine attending a research meeting with this group. Somebody would probably break out in Beavis & Butthead chuckles every few minutes. Huh, huh, huh, we said oral sex, huh, huh.

I never said medical research couldn't be fun.

11 November 2005


Just got done with a telephone interview and I'm strung out. I spent all day worrying about it and being completely distracted and now that it is over, I'm still kind of twitchy. I was worried about what kinds of questions you could possibly ask during an interview for a patient-care job. Maybe, do you find patients annoying? If someone does something stupid, are you willing to smack them around a little? Are you willing to talk about people behind their backs?

It hadn't occurred to me how much harder it was going to be to interview over the phone where you can't see the reaction from interviewers or have any sense whether you're giving a good answer. The whole time I'm just envisioning them making faces at one another like "ewww, why would we hire her?", or pushing mute and laughing at my stupid answers. Hard to sound confident when you have thoughts like this going through your head.

I've never felt so nervous about hypothetical questions either. What would you do if...your head fell off in the middle of a shift? your partner turned out to be a raving lunatic? your patient runs off while you turned around? Jeez, I don't know, is scream for help the right answer to all three? How about... 1) keep working, company very important. 2) sock him or her in the nose and see if that fixes it. 3) my patients never run off, I always tie them down securely.

One guarantee about interviews, you're always going get the "why do you want to work here" question. Sometimes I want to tell them, "I don't! I hate you all and think you suck, I just sent you an application to amuse myself at your expense." Then cackle madly. Don't think that would work to get hired though. I don't know if my honest answer today was really any better though, I guess we'll see.

10 November 2005

Release the beast, part 2

This is actually a different sort of beast than part 1. As part of any application process, you always have to have references. The difficult part is when the people who know you and/or your work the best are those you currently work for and who may not need to know that you're considering leaving.

I asked a woman in such a position whether she'd be willing to be a reference. We'd had conversations in the past about the fact that my ambitions may not lie with this job, or even this line of work, and she seemed supportive. I did not go around making a broad announcement I'm leaving, because I'm not leaving yet and I don't know when that day will be. If it isn't for six months, I don't want to feel awkward everytime I go to work. Or find out that I don't really have a job to go to anymore because everyone took their grant money to support someone who was going to be available long-term. I knew she was close with one of the other women I work with, but I thought I'd made it pretty clear that I wasn't really ready to have conversations with everyone.

I guess I didn't make it clear enough. She told another woman, who also supports part of my salary. The second woman then came to me with "Do we need to have a conversation about your future?" I answered, no. She pressed on with, "Well, I hear you're leaving, can we talk about that?" And a long, awkward conversation followed. Then she wanted to know whether another person who supports my salary knew, and whether she was allowed to tell him. Ugh! I told her that I prefered to tell people on my own schedule when I knew more about the timeline of what was going on and what I was going to be able to offer in terms of helping their transition.

This week, I felt guilty that this man didn't know and worried that he'd hear from someone else, so I had a awkward conversation with him too. I'm leaving, but I don't know when, and I don't want to find myself out of a job before I'm ready to leave. At least he was reasonably flattering in the sense that he asked what it would take to get me to stay, or at least keep working with his group. Including wondering if he could double my salary if I joined on with a group he works with elsewhere.

Everyone has been supportive of me on a personal level. They recommend that if I want to make a change, I should charge in, but nobody wants to see me leave behind all the work I'm doing for them personally. But, word is out. I worked from home today to accomplish a few million things and, just a little bit, to hide out from more awkward conversations with people. Hopefully everyone took the opportunity while I was out to talk about everything so they can act like grownups when I get back.

Release the beast

I was considering trying to do HNT, but I think I'm too chicken to show the world parts of myself, and I don't know anyone else who will hold still for a camera. This week is just photo Thursday and maybe I'll keep trying for HNT, but until then, enjoy the beast!

08 November 2005

Subtle knocking

Opportunity never knocks on my door. It generally kicks down the door with four or five friends and bashes me in the head until I make a decision. Go or stay? Near or far? More money or more freedom? Gives me quite a headache at times. I recognize that I am blessed by having an abundance of choices, but isn't it easier when there is an obvious answer?

Just as K and I have set our sights to leaving, some possibilities for staying arise. If we stay, I could probably keep some of the financial security of my current job on a part-time basis, should be able to find a full-time job heading the new direction, and might be able to start school 8 months earlier since the programs here start in January instead of August. But, we would still be "here" in a general sense (because we'd still have to move), which feels like a let-down at this point. "Here" is also not where I want to stay for the rest of my life, but places have a way of sucking you in when you're not looking.

Based on a process he put into motion a year and a half ago, K is suddenly getting invited to apply for good jobs in this area. 3! In less than two weeks! No guarantee on getting hired, or even interviewed, but these are the kinds of opportunities he's been striving to get for the last seven years. If we move away, he will definitely have to wait at least six months and probably longer to get into hiring pools at the new place, and then hope to get hired sooner or later. There's a chance he might never hired as a FF again, but that might not be a bad thing.

And, how can I resist the lure of the hiring officer in Oregon who was excited to talk to us? She really made my whole weekend when I spoke with her Friday, and K on Saturday. We were both left wondering why we hadn't jumped on a plane immediately and signed up. Yes, that is her job. But that is also the job of several other people we've talked to, and I've never hung up the phone feeling this way. Any suggestions?

Off topic: I've heard that you're unable to dream in a foreign language until you've reached a comfortable fluency level where your brain can think through the language even on auto-pilot. What does it say if I'm dreaming about helping and rescuing everyone? All night, every night? And I sometimes wake up panicked because there must be people out there, right now, who need my help and I'm just laying around in bed?

07 November 2005


New door was installed in less than 3 hours with the fabulous assistance of a carpenter friend who only took pizza for payment. Amazing how smoothly things go when you have someone who knows what they are doing. K and I still have to stain and finish the door, and then a little more help on the trim work and we should be all set. Company sent us the wrong stupid plastic plugs for the trim, which we discovered after more than an hour of trying to cram them in tiny holes, new ones to arrive in 10 days.

Drinking and driving is a bad idea. 65 mph into the back end of a farm tractor (5 mph) leaves a mark on you and the car, even at 5:30 pm on a work day. Don't tell me you aren't hurt if you've had more than a six-pack in the last hour. Believe me, you are and you just can't feel it.

Hot air ballooning is more dangerous than it appears. Especially when your "pilot" gets you stuck in a tree for over 6 hours and you're 80 years old and can't get out of the basket even when it is on the ground.

Ways to annoy me: after calling for expert assistance on something, stand there and criticize, or offer "suggestions", that the people actually doing the work don't need. Continue even after being told to stop. Repeat for at least two hours.

Basketball season started yesterday, I missed the game, but the team opened with a nine-point loss to one of the good teams. Hockey season tickets start this Friday, oh yeah!

03 November 2005

Saving the world

I was an athletic trainer in high school; interested in being a physical therapist when I went to college; ended up a long ways from either one. I finally figured out what these original desires had in common - I want to help people. Not particularly because I'm selfless and desire to further humankind or anything really sappy like that. The desire is more along the lines of being able to fix things. Broken leg? You get a splint. Short of breath? You get oxygen. Surgery on your leg? A routine of strengthening and stretching for you. All better, buh bye.

My current job has some aspects of this fix-it mentality, but ultimately is too far upstream from helping people. I can help with research, and maybe some of it will eventually change medical diagnosis, treatment, or policy. But the day-to-day aspect is that I'm furthering the research careers of individuals who frequently express their motivation more in terms of publications and their relative position to other researchers than in terms of making a difference. Everything is tentative, needs additional follow-up studies, and will never be the final word. Otherwise, there wouldn't be anything to ask for more grant money to do, or write more papers about.

I consider my position almost strictly service-oriented. People bring projects and I produce results. It is both the secret to my success and the torment of my days. I'm ready to try a more direct method of helping people. One of my long-held fears about this sort of thing is that I don't want to listen to people complain, and complain, and complain. What if I don't want to help them because they're too annoying? Maybe I'm mellowing with age, but I finally feel like that won't be a problem, or at least not too big of a problem. I've been trying out this new field in a limited way and even "teenage girl syndrome" wasn't as bad as I feared and most people don't want to be a bother, even if they need help. I've spent a lot more time trying to convince people they need help than vice versa.

01 November 2005

Oh! Oh, Canada!

Just back from our anniversary trip to Montreal and I am reminded of how absolutely FANTASTIC Canada is. I love Canada. What is not to love about a country that has a national hockey night?! I know that Montreal has a bad reputation for being unfriendly to non-French speakers, but I've found that they are just as kind and helpful as other parts of Canada. Even when you get into a situation where the people literally do not speak English, they still do whatever they can to help you out. Maybe they curse me in French when I walk away, but I don't know the difference anyway, so as long as they are smiling and nice, good enough for me.

Above is the restaurant where we ate dinner Saturday night. I had the best French dip sandwich ever, followed by an orgasmic piece of turtle cheesecake. Yes, you read it, I said it. K had a great reuben sandwich and super tasty chocolate layer cake. I don't think I've ever waited to be seated at a restaurant and been so very glad that I did. Usually by the time you make me wait for a table, you've ruined the whole experience, but the food absolutely erased any irritation due to the wait. We almost went back for a second dessert after the hockey game, but we're both trying to return to our girlish figures so we managed to resist the lure.

Sunday was very laid back with a nice slow walk through town and a beautiful bouquet of roses. We found a hole-in-the-wall restaurant at the north end of town that also specializes in smoked meat, and there was a rather long line outside, so thank goodness the weather was nice. Delicious, cheap, huge sandwiches were the feast of the night, and we ate at the counter, so we had a great view of all the meats. A reminder of why I like Canada - we were parked on the street and were trying our best to interpret the sign on the parking meter as to whether or not they charge parking on Sundays, when the gentleman who parked behind us politely told us that you don't have to pay on Sunday, unless you're from New York. I laughed throughout our wait at that.

K's casino experience was not quite everything he hoped for, as he did get to play craps but did not come home any richer. We always have time for Tim Horton's when we visit, and I am amazed that TimBits taste as good as I remember they do. I'm not sure how the Canadians manage to be not as fat as Americans, if I lived there I would probably weigh twice as much.

All in all, a delightful celebration of six years of married life and a reminder of why I'm lucky every day to be with K, even if he sometimes drives me insane and I return the favor for him.

28 October 2005

Not dead. Yet.

I think I may have coughed up an important internal part yesterday in the front yard, any volunteers to come look for it? I'm not sure what part it was, but I think you'll recognize it if you find it. K promises me I'm not dead and in h-e-double hockey sticks because there wouldn't be flannel sheets and cuddling there, even if there is likely to be gut-wrenching coughing.

Everyone stares at me if I cough when I leave the house. Evidently, they all think I'm contagious. I actually had one woman this week get right on my case from the minute she walked into work. "Whatever you have isn't dangerous for pregnant ladies, is it?" How the heck am I supposed to know? I don't even know what it is, except that it must not be too contagious since I've had it for weeks and nobody else I know has it. "Well, you make sure to stay away from M because I don't want you to get her sick, we need her around here." Gee, thanks for the compassion and the ability to make me feel valued all at the same time! A+ for you!

Yesterday evening was another adventure in being a spectacle. K and I have to replace the door between the house and the mudroom, and two weeks after the promised delivery date, it finally arrived at Home Dump, so we picked it up. Despite being barely able to sit upright, I had to go because K was not willing to take any chances with picking out stain or door knobs without my okay. We took the pickup and knew the dimensions of the door, so it didn't seem like this was going to be a challenge. But, they had it packed in a large wooden structure and it wasn't clear that the glass would make it home all in one piece if we took it out. Since it was on a pallet jack, we assumed they would probably just send one of the forklift guys out to hoist it into the truck for us. Nope. They sent us the "lot attendant" (read: man who collects carts from the parking lot) who was approximately 9000 years old and didn't sound any more likely to make it across the parking lot than I was.

The three of us wrestled the door and wooden frame into the truck. Standing straight up. So, the 8' door is sitting in the bed of the pickup, for a total profile of maybe 11 or 12'. We had to go on another errand before we went home, and the man at that store immediately laughed when we walked in, and said "I followed that door on X street, were you guys just over there?", and of course, we were. When we went through intersections, the drivers of the waiting cars turned their heads and followed us all the way across. At least one pedestrian appeared frightened for his life as we went around the corner he was standing on.

I expect we'll hear about other people who saw us and how entirely insane they think we are. We hear that about one thing or another that we've done at least twice a year since we've been here. The joys of small town living.

25 October 2005

Not Amused

A view of my afternoon, and there is supposed to be another 24 hours of rain changing to snow changing to rain and back again. Forecasted accumulation: 3-6". K may be in it up to his knees before he leaves work tomorrow morning. None of our vehicles have snow tires on yet. The new car doesn't even have a windshield scraper. Who could ask for anything more!


Last night was my return to yoga class after being sick for so long. The class I attend has been called "American" yoga in a negative way from someone who has practiced other places. I find it to be exactly what I need, maybe because I'm a stereotypical American, or maybe just because I enjoy a more cardiovascular workout.

The instructor encourages flow (the smooth connection of one movement to the next) and we hold each pose long enough for her to make suggestions and corrections, but not so long that you're exhausted from a single pose. By the end of class, I'm generally dripping with sweat (and this is not hot yoga), every muscle both tired and stretched, but I feel energized and just plain better than when I started.

I felt reasonably well all day and I was very disappointed to miss class last week, so I thought I would give it a try. My muscles were both weak and tight, but at least responding to my direction. Until the coughing started again. It started during a standing pose, which was tolerable because I could cough and balance at the same time. The difficult one was trying to cough and breathe during standing split. I'm sure you can google it and find a better description, but for what it's worth standing split involves balancing on one straight leg while pointing your other straight leg towards the ceiling with hands on the calf and chest on the thigh of the down leg. So, more or less, upside-down and balancing on one leg.

Not a good time to cough in close quarters where teetering over generally involves knocking over one or more of your classmates. Thankfully, most of the people near me are used to my clumsiness at this point and are getting pretty good at dodging out of the way and last night they had the advance notice of the hacking and coughing so I didn't injure any innocent bystanders.

24 October 2005


Why is this a bad time to try and move out of the NE? Because all the leaves on the trees are falling (actually most are already gone since they started in August), and we had our first snow Saturday night. My driveway involves a VERY LARGE hill with several curves. It is not especially long for this area, but it is far from your standard suburban driveway. There are many evenings when the little car doesn't make it up the hill in the snow (even though the driveway has been plowed and we have sand barrels all the way up), and the key to last year's partial success was chains. I have to use snow chains to get up my own driveway.

When K and I closed on this house in late March a few years ago, we drove 14 hours as a two vehicle caravan and arrived here to snow. It was just a little snow, and the majority of the winter pack had melted off the driveway since it had recently been plowed. Our second day, it warmed up and the snow in town disappeared. The third day, our moving day, was cold and windy. We showed up at the lawyer's office to sign all the paperwork, and while we sat there signing 4000+ pieces of paper, it began to snow again. I've never been so devastated to see those flakes. By the time we finished up and drove to the house, there was probably 1 1/2" on the driveway. K, having learned to drive in a snow-prone environment, felt that this should not be a problem. So he tries to get the large rental truck up the driveway. No go. He tries to back the truck up the driveway. No go.

After much cursing and yelling and sociable differences of opinion, we decide that the available solution is to put the pickup in 4WD and get at least some things up to the house since we have nowhere else to stay. We use a state pull-off to park the gigantic truck towing our car (probably not legal since the plows are running), and head back in the pickup to unload some things. Success! Then we try to leave, and the pickup gets stuck. In the snow. Just off the driveway. We have no shovel, no sand, no means of moving the pickup. And the car is full of junk, still hooked to the big truck, a little over a mile up the road.

The story goes on, but I'll leave it at us unloading the big truck just barely in our driveway, one pickup load at a time and ferrying everything (including appliances) up the hill and then into the house. This was not a pleasant experience and one I've sworn to myself I wouldn't repeat. But. It is starting to snow. And we're still here. I do not want to be here until May next year.

21 October 2005

That warm feeling in your shoes

Gas prices are ridiculous. I believe that statement is obvious to anyone who has experienced the recent doubling in the price of gasoline recently. But along with gas, these inflated prices affect important things - like heat. I almost performed a spit-take on the computer today after reading a statement from a self-centered NYC resident about how the "extra $29 a month" (calculated somehow from an average of $350 extra this winter) for heating this winter was nothing to be wasting precious news coverage on.

Sorry, but if you live anywhere that your thermometer is not required to have a -30 F line, then you should shut the hell up about heating prices. I am reasonably well-off financially for the area I live in and I certainly don't complain about the cost of heating my house in the winter since I have insulation, double-pane windows, and electronic thermostat that keeps everything just the way I like it (including hypothermia-inducing cold when I'm at work). Still, the three years I've lived here, I've never failed to gasp when opening the monthly winter propane bill.

Some of my neighbors on the other hand, have been installing wood furnaces and cutting every remotely flammable item off their property to prepare for winter heating costs they won't be able to afford. These are the kind of houses that are insulated with newspaper, or not at all. The windows are "historic", which means that you can feel the draft from several feet away. These people do not have a "daily latte" to give up; they don't have cable TV; they already make their own lunches. They will not get government assistance with their heating. They may (if their pride allows them) rely on the generosity of others who contribute to a shared heating fund at the electric or gas company. Or they may just go without when they get too far behind on their bills and pile on as many clothes and blankets as they can.

In other words, make sure you stay in your crazy world where $350 over the winter isn't almost $100 extra a month, and be aware that the warm feeling in your shoes might just be where you stepped in a pile of the crap you're spewing.

19 October 2005


Any time I have an extended stretch of time at home, I start to wonder what it would be like to be a non-working wife. I don't have any kids, so there's no reason for me to stay at home while my husband brings home the bacon. But what would it have been like if I grew up in a time where that is what I would've been expected to do from the day we got married? How would I have learned to fill all the hours? Would I have known all the neighbors? Would I have been willing to ever move to a new place and start again with an empty house and no one to talk to?

As it is, work brings a comfortable sense of belonging and of place. Even if we don't know anybody, K and I can each go to work, meet people, ask around about local services, and most importantly, "belong". I've hypothetically wondered what I would do if we ever had kids. Could I leave them every day to go to work if I didn't financially have to? Could I stand the isolation of being home in a rural location where there are very few other adults during the day? But with the potential move staring me in the face, I have to say that I think staying home (with or without kids) would put a major damper on my willingness to relocate. Once you've fully immersed yourself in a community and in the day-to-day lives of the people around you, I can see where it might be hard to leave.

Okay, maybe I'm just delusional from coughing. Most of four days laying around the house coughing, sleeping, and trying to do some work from home so I'm not hopelessly behind when I go back has probably overloaded my ability to think rationally or express coherent thoughts. But these are the kinds of moments that give me that wide-open feeling, to notice that I have actually made a choice when it comes to how I run my life, and that I could change my mind.

18 October 2005

The sun will come up sooner or later

Gather job history, references, other assorted paperwork. Check.
Complete application. Check.
Send application to prospective employer. Check. Gulp!

The first application is out the door. A baby step on the way to something different, but a huge emotional commitment to moving on. A few indecisive days, and some nights of troubled sleep and I'm on my way.

I've also discovered that it is sort of a weird position to be the weak link. My husband is more qualified, more experienced, and more highly trained than I am in this new field. Thus, if we are going to get job offers in the same location, it is likely that they will want him and give me a job just to make sure he comes. He's never been in quite the same position because usually we just move where I can get a job and I support us until he finds something he wants to do. But now, I feel like I'm going to have to prove myself qualified to anyone who knows (or assumes) how I got my job. I know that connections are always the secret to getting where you want to go, so I'm certainly not concerned about that, but it is always good to feel you've earned something by your own qualifications. Oh well, maybe they'll at least interview me and pretend they care.

13 October 2005

Begin here

I feel as though I have a lot to say lately and I'm heading into a "transitional" period in my life, so maybe some random passer-by or close confidante will have helpful or insightful advice or commentary to give me. In return, I will attempt to entertain you with episodes from my past and present to keep you reading and helping me.

What transition am I referring to? Well, I've described it to people as my very first mid-life crisis, and I reserve the rights to have additional crises as I see the need. Although I hope I'm not really at mid-life yet, I have achieved a point where my life is stable and utterly unfulfilled, and I waver back and forth between wanting to "DO SOMETHING" with my life, and just wanting to chuck it all, run away, live under a bridge, or do something else equally irresponsible. If you actually know me, you know that I'm generally perfectly predictable and I've traveled through life as though AAA gave me a strip of road map to some destination. Lately though, it is more like someone gave me an entire atlas - full of exciting destinations and uncountable routes to arrive there! But, where do I want to go? What if I don't like it there? Can I really leave this narrow map and face the possibility that I will never actually arrive anywhere? Or that I might have to give up and come back?