Sun Rises and Clean Slates

I really, really don’t like working on weekends.

Oh sure, I knew that when I became a nurse, I should expect to work holidays and weekends. Expect I am going to miss out on stuff because of what I do. That being said, I really, really hate working weekends. I hate getting up early, I hate being away from my husband, and I hate being away from my daughter. There’s one thing I don’t hate, however, is the drive to work.

We live in a rural area. Not podunk country, we’re 15 minutes away from all the creature conveniences of city life. No, we’re rural enough that we have a big-assed propane tank by our house, and a septic tank buried somewhere in front of it. Our place is nestled in the slow rolling hills of our county, the beauty of the nature surrounding us only matched with the crappiness of the cellular signal. Driving out of our “neighborhood”, you climb a big hill, and upon cresting, you can see for miles. You can see the city in the far off distance, the activity of the airport, the little McMansions dotted across the countryside, the trees, the fields waiting for their crops to be planted.

On those Sunday mornings I am driving to work, I also get to see the sun rise when I crest that hill, painting the land with its oranges and pinks while it waits for the rest of the world to wake up. It takes my breath away every single time.

I love going on cruises. Logtar, not so much. He asks my why I love it, and I really don’t have one singular answer. There’s a lot of things I don’t like about it: the crowds, the seemingly inflexible schedule, the crowds, the rude passengers. But probably one of my most favorite things is pulling into port.

Usually, ships arrive at their port early, early in the morning, while everyone is sleeping. So, when you wake up, boom, you’re there! Excitement builds as everyone gets ready for their island adventure.

For me, I tend to wake up right about the time the ship nears the port. I wake up on my own, I don’t know why. I step out onto the balcony and watch as we drift slowly towards our stop. The island coming closer and closer. The only sounds you hear is the splashing of the water as the ship navigates its position towards the dock, you may hear the squeal of a seagull or two. The air is fresh and salty. The temperature is just right. You feel a slight breeze on your face. Meanwhile, you’re a little closer to the island, and from your elevated vantage point, you can take a better look. The dark of night ebbing slowly, like a wave good-bye to an old friend. No people milling around. No cars. Virtually no activity. The sun makes its sleepy debut, and your pupils begin to dilate in delight of the beautiful pastels of the sun rise. You are witnessing the world, still asleep, on the cusp of waking up. You are witness to a brand new day, full of endless possibility. Your day is a blank slate, and you have the ability to make your own adventure in this new place. Small worries melt away as you realize just how awesome your life is. You lean over the balcony rail, and look up and down the side of the ship, seeing a few others doing the same thing you are doing, with the same look of peace and contentment on their face.

I get this exact same feeling on those Sunday mornings when I am driving to work.

It’s so easy to get caught up in worldly events. It’s even easier to fall into despair because it seems hope is a luxury that few can afford. I’ve fallen prey to it just as easily. In my early morning commute, I wondered why I just don’t feel this way all the time. The answer is easy…you just simply forget to.

How hard would it be to wake up every day with a sense of wonder? Instead of worrying about what may or may not happen at work, instead be excited that you have another day to be master of your life. To spend with family and friends. To finally make plans to do something you have been putting off. To make a difference. To have an adventure, no matter how big or how small. How difficult would it be to get out of bed thinking about all the cool stuff you have in your life, versus what is missing? What a challenge would it be to wake up with the singular thought, “MY LIFE IS AWESOME!” Instead of waking up and just going through the same motions you do everyday, and not take notice because you think what you do is unremarkable.

Attitude is everything, and you can have one everyday. Everyone has the choice: will it be a good one or a  bad one? Why wait until an early morning sunset on vacation or just driving in your car to have an epiphany on how great your life is? Appreciate ALL THE THINGS. Your hot (or iced) cup of coffee. That your husband gets out of bed, and makes a beeline for your side to give you a kiss good morning. That your baby always smiles when she sees you. That your husband is always excited to see you.

When you start thinking of all the good things, and start approaching each day like a blank slate, more and more you feel that amazing lift that comes when you crest a hill and see the whole world laying before you. Before too long, you will agree…that your life is awesome.

Now, go out there and have your adventure!

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My Breakup Letter to CNN

I’m breaking up with you, CNN. It’s not me. I’m fine. Actually,  better than fine. It’s that feeling you get when you realize that you don’t have to swim while carrying a dead rhino on your back. You just let it go, letting it sink to the bottom of the river, where the bottom feeders reside. Where you will fit right in.

As I sit here, the day after the shit show of the elections, my emotions still roll like a slow boil. Heartbreak. Disgust. Disbelief. Shame. Embarrassment. Fear. Anger. So much anger. We were supposed to be an advanced society. An accepting society. A society where my daughter would grow up in and everyone belonged. Turns out, we were wrong on all counts.

What does this have to do with you? Well, I will tell you.

There’s a lot of blame going around. CNN, and you deserve the lion’s share. You and your friends at Fox. And MSNBC. But this isn’t about those other networks. I haven’t been in a committed relationship with them. It was you. Always on in the mornings when we got ready for work. Always on in the evenings when we got home and were unwinding before switching over to Netflix. You were our constant. Always there for us. Sure, it got weird when you started obsessing over missing airplanes, but eventually we moved past it.

Then, the campaigns began, and everything was all about Trump. In the mornings, we would see Chris Cuomo practically orgasm on live t.v. because he got to talk to Trump every day. Just like buddies having morning coffee. A friend of the show! The small-fisted orange one would make outrageous claims, and no one would call him on it. At some point, you fell out of favor with Orange Hitler, and fewer calls came, but that didn’t stop you from talking about him. All Trump. All the Time. You would marvel that he was spending very little on his campaign, while ignoring the obvious truth: he didn’t have to when all the major networks were climbing all over themselves for the chance to be his preferred network.

Oh, sure, you would mention other candidates sometimes. Sometimes, you would even interview them. But you never got over your first love.

I once got so sick of hearing about him, I turned onto the local channel. They were talking about a car being on fire, but I remember feeling so relieved because for once, no one was talking about him.

Now, I am not a journalist.My experience only extends to being the editor of my high school newspaper (which has been well over 20 years ago), but even I remember that a few basic tenets of journalism were to be honest, unbiased, and fearless.

I don’t know what your play was. Did you have a meeting and decide you were going to see if you could sway the election to whichever candidate you thought brought in better ratings? Is this what the owner of your network wanted? Do you even know that what your anchors do barely passes for journalism? Did they know they gave up the mantle for being our truth bearers so they could be entertainers instead?

At the end of the day, what’s done is done. We, as a country, will live with the fallout for the next four years. Maybe more. I can only apologize to my daughter for the mess that is left for her, and hope her generation has the tools to clean it up. But that is for another blog post.

So, this is adieu, CNN. I’m sure you understand. While we don’t have someone else we’re going to start seeing right away, we’ve decided to date around. You know, to see what’s out there. Today, you can find a news site that caters to whatever news fits your narrative, so it may take us a while to weed through it all to find that diamond in the rough. That source that reminds us of all the good things journalism used to be, and gives us hope that it can be again. Meanwhile, we’ve replaced your coveted saved space on our t.v. remote with the local news channel. Sure, it may be about car fires and chili cook-offs, but after a couple of years of lost airplanes and fear mongers, it will be a nice break.

The Corgi Game

So, it was no big secret that Log disliked the old house. Well, not so much as the house itself, but rather where it was located. We were kinda removed from everyone else we knew, babysitting would have been a huge hassle once Lil G arrived, and the commute to and from work that Log made everyday was slowing sucking out his soul.

And one more thing: rascals. Too many damn rascals roaming about. You know them, those little scooters that old people take to using when their children take away the car keys? But in our neck of the woods, it wasn’t just old, carless people on the scooters. It was everything else that would fit, or just barely fit, on the damn things. Log had it.

“If I see 10 rascals, we’re moving!”

So began the Corgi Game.

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As with any game, ground rules have to be established before you play.

  1. People on rascals could not be counted if you saw them in close proximity to Walmart. The same goes for nursing homes, assisted living places, and retirement communities. Those places are rascal magnets.
  2.  For it to be counted, the rascal driver (theoretically) would have to be able to make it from their sighted location, to our house, on the existing charge of their battery.
  3. American flags mounted on the back of sighted rascal did not add an extra point. (I had to fight hard for this rule.)
  4. Rascals being towed didn’t count (see rule #2)

What does a Corgi have to do with this? Plenty. You see, for every Corgi sighting, you could deduct one point from the tally. A Corgi sighting meant there was a high probability that there was a hipster nearby. A hipster has the ability to cancel out senior citizens and rednecks.

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It’s called Gentrification.

We finally got to ten, but by then we were already planning to move anyway. We have since retired the game because there is virtually no chance of any rascal making it out to our house. We haven’t seen many Corgis either. But they are kinda small, and we do have predatory birds in the area, namely one large, very beautiful, bald eagle.

A bald eagle pretty much trumps anything else.

At the Center: Riding the Short Bus

Life working at The Center has been great. Other than a few minor hiccups, I’m really coming to know what it is to actually like being a nurse and enjoy my work. For the first time, my likes far outnumber my dislikes.

One of which, being the bus situation.

At ACME Hospital, I got to enjoy covered parking. Which was great when the weather was horrible, and it probably extended the life of my car. At The Clinic, I have to park in an uncovered community lot, and take a shuttle the rest of the way. During my little bus rides, I’ve observed the subtle nuances of the drivers.

The Panty Melter: His bus smells like the aftershave he puts on every morning. Boarding his bus, you notice the manly smell, then you notice the smooth R&B playing over the speakers. Luther, Barry, Al, Marvin…all crooning their “make sweet, sweet love to you” tunes. The next thing you notice that the estrogen level is higher. The women are shifting in their seats, glassy-eyed, quiet, and breathing heavily, almost panting. By the time the shuttle reaches The Clinic, the temperature on the bus has risen exponentially. The windows might be steamed up. Any man who rides this bus looks bewildered and confused. The Panty Melter smiles knowingly from the driver’s seat. It’s okay. He’ll get you there one way or another.

Excited to Be Here: He LOVES driving the bus. He LOVES driving the bus over curbs, sidewalks, and almost into other cars. Getting you to your destination is the most important thing, everyone else can piss off. Everyone likes Excited, his excitement is contagious. When you get to your final destination, you are excited, too (not Panty Melter excited). Excited loves to talk to his passengers, and his passengers have collectively decided they want to take Excited home to meet their families.

The Bus Nazi: He scowls at you when you get on his bus. How dare you not be at the bus stop when he gets there! Instead, you made him wait. Except for that one time he kept driving even though he saw you walking towards the bus stop. You 15 minutes late for work because you had to wait for the next bus. Hah hah! That was a great morning!! He seldom smiles, even when you wish him good morning, good day, thank you. Passengers goose step on and off the bus, paying homage to Bus Nazi so he doesn’t drive them to the bad part of town and leave them there. I don’t know why Bus Nazi is so mad. Maybe he’s jealous of the Panty Melter.

The Flash: This guy drives so fast that you time travel. Who knew those buses could go that fast! However, you are still 10 minutes late to clock in.

Irie Man: This guy runs on island time. Everything is okay! Everyone is smiling. Happy steel drum music is coming from the speakers. It’s like the drink and drown tour from your vacation, all that is missing is your rum punch! You’ll get to work eventually, but peace be the journey!

 

American Dreams…One Manicure at a Time

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I used to get my nails done every two weeks. It took me a long time to get comfortable with that habit because of my own guilt for splurging on something so non-practical. Eventually, it was something that I did for myself, and nothing to beashamed of. But I digress…

I used to go to one of those nail salons that have a very basic name like Fancy Nail or Shiny Nail or Glamour Nail. You know the kind of place. Owned and operated by a group of Asian people. They have big thrones for pedicures, rows of tables of people wearing masks while putting on fake nails, day in and day out. Chattering to each other in their native tongue, leaving you to wonder if they aren’t talking about how gross your feet are. At any rate, I liked the place I went to. The people were friendly. The place was clean. And I liked their work.

I never had a regular person I saw there. I usually would just end up with whoever was next on the list to take a client. For the most part, everyone there was young-ish. Casually dressed. But there was this one man, I’d guess in his late 40’s early 50’s. He was always dressed a little more formally than his coworkers. Nice slacks, dress shirt, shiny loafers. He looked like he should have been in an office somewhere, not scrubbing the dead skin off my feet. I never could remember his name, because I am shitty with names in the way the Brad Pitt is shitty with faces.

One Sunday, he gets to working on my manicure, and he starts talking to me. Ugh. I’m not a fan of idle conversation. I stink at communicating. It’s easier for me to be silent than talk to people (and I am working on that). He asks me what I do, and I tell him. Where do I work? I tell him that too. He becomes animated and starts telling me about his son, who is in medical school.

“That’s quite a commitment.” I say

“Yes! Long time! Many years! So expensive!”

The man goes on to talk about cost of books. Cost of school. How hard his son works. Then I realize that this man, this business-dressed man, does manicures and pedicures every day, so his son can be a doctor. Think about that. He came to this country, and he touches some nasty-assed feet, so his son can go to college. What the hell did you do today??

Sometimes, it seems like that sense of sacrifice is lost on Americans today. Everyone is entitled. Everyone gets a trophy for just showing up and converting oxygen into CO2. For every person out there who turns their nose up at a job because it is “beneath them”, there’s a parent out there that take shit jobs so their kids won’t ever have to. Now, we have people who bleat about how immigrants come and “take their jerbs!”only to turn their own noses up at a tomato picking job that pays minimum wage because the work is too hard. For these immigrants, both legal and illegal, no job is too hard if it means their kid gets the chance at a better life.

I still think about that man, who was brave enough to file the dead skin off my feet. I hope that his son succeeds. If his dad’s work ethic is any indication, that boy is going to be an awesome doctor. Maybe even a podiatrist!

And How Are You Doing Today?

Here I am, at the 33 week mark. In what people refer to as the “home stretch”. Second trimester passed ok. I didn’t feel “the best ever”, but I didn’t feel lousy. I guess it was as close to normal as I had felt since those two little lines showed up on the pregnancy test. However, the third trimester has been a different story entirely.

I did the glucose challenge, right around week 25 or so, and just barely failed with one number being over the mark. But with glucose challenges, there is no barely passing. The parameters are there, it’s yes or no only. So, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

Now, I used to work with diabetics on a regular basis. For at least 10 years inpatient. You could say that I knew a lot about juvenile and type 2 diabetes. Gestational, however, is a completely different animal, and my knowledge certainly never covered this ground. I was admitted inpatient for a couple of days for insulin management. I was pissed. I knew how to given injections, I certainly could give them to myself. The hospitalization derailed a plan for Log and I go visit family for the weekend. So, with the insulin, the hospitalization, the missed trip, and the hormones…I was devastated.

For three days, I sat in a hospital room, eating crappy hospital food while pumping myself with what I thought was too much insulin. There, I found out why they admit all the baby beedus moms for insulin management. The high risk program I am in demands their patients to have chronically low blood sugar. So, I would sit in the bed, diaphoretic, shaky, hypoglycemic, and everyone would be happy about it. My internal nurse brain screamed. Everything defied logic of 10+ years of diabetes management. Numerous conversations with a coordinator did help somewhat as they explained the physiology behind it. My age, my history of PCOS were the main contributing factors, and no amount of good eating would have prevented it. It will go away once the placenta (the acting cock-blocker of my pancreas) leaves my body. I’ve only got a short time left, so I can deal with the shots and finger sticks. It still pisses me off though, but it helps knowing that a lot of women go through it.

I’ve been insanely tired. Almost narcoleptic. I also have to pee a lot, day and night, which might explain partly of why I am so tired. Oh, and heaven help me if I have to sneeze.

And my hands? I haven’t been able to feel them for about a month now. The extra volume of fluid I am carrying around is compressing nerves, which causes numbness in my hands. I tried to put in an IV the other day, and failed miserably. So, I have had to hang up my tourniquet until after the baby comes.

Overall, I feel like my body is less mine, and more just a vessel for the tiny human to marinate in until she is ready to come out. I admit, I am excited to meet her. I get weekly ultrasounds now, so I get to see her each week. Last week, she yawned a lot. She even smiled once. So yeah, she can use my body for as long as she needs it, which shouldn’t be too much longer.

2014: The High Points

2015 entered in with the sound of small pops and the smell of gunpowder. I happened to have a bag of poppers that bought on clearance somewhere. So, Log and I rang in the new year blowing off a couple before going to bed. We did not do any parties, big or small. 2014 wore us out.

Log and I capped off the year with our wedding. We had originally planned on the nuptials being in May of 2015, but we got some unexpected news which made us move the date up. It turns out that our wedding date conflicted with my due date.

Yes, I am pregnant.

I have been seeing a fertility/endocrine specialist to try to figure out why my plumbing didn’t work, and apparently hadn’t worked correctly since I was a teenager. We didn’t go balls-out with out quest to get pregnant, which is to say we didn’t go IVF or anything that extreme (or expensive). “Let’s take it up to that point and see how it goes,” we told our doctor. So, she lined up some medicines, we kept track of stuff (I peed on a stick twice a day), and we planned romance! Truth be told, we didn’t expect things to work the first time out of the gate, but it did. I started feeling crappy, tired, and boobs hurt as much as they did when I grew them the first time around.

We both strongly suspected I was pregnant, but wanted a test to confirm. When that morning came, and I showed Log the positive test, he did a little nervous shuffle in the hallway, exclaiming in disbelief, “I’ve never gotten anyone pregnant before!”

Here we are, at the halfway mark, and are eagerly awaiting the arrival of our daughter. This one isn’t even out yet, and people are already asking about a second baby. Sheesh, people! We need to see if we even like this one first!

At any rate, we decided to move up the wedding date, and proceeded to put together a kick-ass wedding in a matter of 6 weeks.  The final product was the wedding we wanted. The food was delicious. The music butt-shaking. Everyone still talks about how awesome the whole thing was.

On a sad note, we had to put my cat, George, down. I will blog more of that later. I was looking over this blog, and realized that most of my posts are about pets and people dying. What a depressing blog. I need to work on that.

One a high note, we got new windows and a roof on the house! Now, when the wind blows, it doesn’t sound like the entire place is going to blow in. The day after we found out about our tentative bundle, Log called and got an estimate for the windows. I told him that nesting doesn’t usually occur until later in the pregnancy, but there’s nothing wrong with getting a head start.

Now, we are into 2015. So far, the year is off to a great start. I still like my job, at the clinic. Log has a new job. We traded in the PT Cruiser for a more sound, and less likely to break down every other week, Subaru. I’m a couple pairs of yoga pants and a Starbucks cup away from being a beady-eyed soccer mom. I’m sure a move to Johnson County would expedite the transformation, but a move to Kansas is unlikely as I predict that state will become the armpit of the Midwest. The Mississippi of Flyover Country, if you will. I’m sure I will rant about it later.

New year, new outlook. All sort of newy newness. I can’t wait to bitch about all of it.

Time to go fishing.