Monday, June 22, 2015

And then I'm going to go to the bakery and get me some fish

We won a weekend at a river house in Jordan's school auction, so we went out to Front Royal, VA, for Father's Day.

I have to say, the people of Front Royal were super friendly. Also, they make really good ice cream.

And hey! Now we know who won the tiny-drawer dresser!
Nick had meetings till late evening Friday, and we stopped for dinner on the way (at Wegmans, which really is a magical place). Jordan was bound and determined to ride in the shopping cart, comfort be damned.
So it was late and pitch dark by the time we were turning down the increasingly small, unlit roads to get to the house. Dark and winding tree-lined roads of my slumber party stories, where a couple goes out for a drive and they learn there's an escaped convict in the woods but the car runs out of gas...and ultimately the boyfriend winds up dead and hanging from a tree above the car, scritch scritch scritching on the roof.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep. And filled with murdery types.

Nick had to walk around back to get the key, and when he left the car he jokingly said, "Lock the doors!"

And then fell on the ground laughing when my eyes bugged out and I shrieked, "Really?!"

It took him a while to come through the front door and by that time I was ready to dial 911 but hadn't quite decided if it would be better to: 1. lock the car doors and stay to wait for the police; 2. sneak out of the car and find a large stick while my mom stay locked in with kids; or 3. drive down the road and wait for police, possibly leaving Nick for dead but definitely saving the children.

Fortunately, none of the above needed to happen.

When the sun came up through the giant and abundant windows, you could see the river across the lawn. It was really a gorgeous place. So lovely in the daylight.
As it turned out, our main nemesis was not escaped convicts but sulfur water.

They'd mentioned this and that there was a filtration system, and the water was potable. But we couldn't drink it. I couldn't rinse off in it either. I mean, yes, in the yard where it was freezing and open-air, but not in the shower.

Because I don't know if you've ever showered in sulfur water, but basically it is like standing in a box of super moist farts.

I tried for one hot second, and then decided I was likely to throw up, and it would all just be the worst combination.

What I'm saying is, I came home from the weekend unbathed. I was washed in river water.

Anyway, they had bottled water in the fridge and then the next day Nick dropped me at the grocery while the rest of them went to get gas. I got a bunch of gallons of water.  I wanted to get the huge plastic water jug things with a tap that you set on the counter, but there'd been a recall.

I asked if they knew why, but they didn't.

We'd been drinking from those big jug things out of the fridge, so I was really hoping it wasn't recalled because it was fracking water or something. Hopefully the taps were just a choking hazard or some such.


The woman at the checkout rang up all the gallons, and then said one of them rang up as $3.00 more than it should've been, and she was going to get customer service.

I'd already swiped my card, and there was nobody else in line, so I said, "OK, then, I'm going to run  get some wine!"

And I did run. One guy said, "Emergency?" And then saw the wine and gave me a thumbs-up.

When I got back to the register, bottle in hand, there were a couple people in line.

The woman at the front pointed to the cashier and said, "She says you're exchanging your water for wine!"

"I'm, uh? Yes!"

Friday, June 19, 2015

And when she shines she really shows you all she can...

My song recognition skills are pretty poor. And I often get song lyrics wrong. Very wrong. Even though I give them actual thought and they make sense in my mind.

You all know this about me. Big Ole Chedo Lino, don't carry me too far away. Oh, Big Ole Chedo Lino, cause it's here that I've got to stay...

There are many songs to which I do not know the lyrics, correct ones or no. But there is this narrow swath of 80s songs that I know by heart. Or anyway, I believe I know. I can even recognize most of them in the beginning, not just when they get to the chorus.

Now, I ardently embraced Duran Duran in the 1980s, and I still love the entire Rio album. I have been singing along to it for all these years.

If you came of age in the 80s you yourself may know and love the song Rio? "Her name is Rio and she dances on the sand..."

Yah. So, there's this one line that it turns out I've had dead wrong this whole time.

The song came on in the car the other day, and since I do unabashedly croon off-tune in front of my family, I was singing along all, 

"Like a bird of prey or a pretty view
But then I'm sure that you know it's just for you..."

Nick said, "What did you just say?"

"Like a bird of prey or a pretty view. But then I'm sure that you know it's just for you..."

"It's birthday. Like a birthday or a pretty view."

"Birthday makes no sense."

"It does. Birthday. Something nice. How'd you come up with bird of prey, anyway?"

"You know, bird's-eye view. Up really high...I don't know. It's what it sounds like. Are you sure?"

He was sure.

Happy bird of prey to you, is all I'm saying.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Just a wee little caulk problem

So now, after six years, we're finally installing a backsplash in our kitchen.

It's going to be amazing and I will absolutely take pictures and blog about it because we're going to have a bunch of dragons sprinkled throughout the kitchen and I'm seriously in love with them.

And speaking of dragons, Game of Thrones has killed me. Killed me dead. But that's a whole nother topic.

Because the issue at hand is caulk. (I mean, isn't it always?)

This morning we got a pallet delivered from the tile store with all the field tiles and necessary supplies. The very nice delivery guy opened the plastic to go through all the items with me before having me sign the paperwork.

So all the boxes of tile were there. The unsanded grout in the proper color. The side pieces. The...

"Hey, wait a second. Let me take a look at the caulk. It looks a little bent."

"Oh?" I said this with a straight face.

He took it out of the plastic wrap, shaking his head.  He inspected it and said, "This is no good. You'll need a new one. See this?"

The way it had been wrapped had left the top vulnerable, it seems, and so the squeezy-outy part was broken. He added, though I asked for no explanation, "I used to work with caulk."
I nodded solemnly.

He said he'd call it in once he got back in the truck and have them send me a new one. About five minutes later he called to apologize and say I'd have to report it to customer service myself. He's new to this tile delivery company.

This led me to assume the caulk company, uh, handled things differently.

He said, "Just call and tell them your caulk was broken. They'll send you one immediately."

I thanked him for his diligence and help and called the tile company. I explained my problem with the tip of my caulk and how the delivery guy said it would be unusable. I got put on hold and transferred.

The next customer service person got on the line and said, "Hi! Are you the one with the broken caulk?"

(Breathe, Lisa, breathe.)

"Yes. Everything else was perfect. Just, you know, this little caulk problem."

Couldn't resist.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Well, that’s one way to lose these walking blues

For me, searching for comfort sandals has been like Internet dating.

Perhaps you have never really had to search for comfort sandals. Maybe you found your comfort sandals in college or grad school, or in your neighborhood, and stuck with them and they still work for you.

Me, not so much. I had some and eventually got tired of them and moved on and now sometimes I look back fondly.

It didn't used to be this hard. When I was younger I bought all kinds of adorable shoes with pointy toes and spiky heels and what-have-you and tromped all over cities around the globe. I tried shoes on and purchased them with nary a thought of compatibility.

No longer. Now my feet are particular. One friend suggested that my expectations are too high. I cannot expect to do the kind of walking that I do in sandals.

But I figured, eventually I met Nick on I could find myself some sandals.

I've ordered and returned a ridiculous number of shoes. And these comfort sandals? They are not cheap. At some point Nick got a call from our credit card company saying that there had just been an uncharacteristically big charge at Zappos, and was he aware of this?


He now gets an alert every time our card is used in a not-in-person transaction.

I ended up sending them all back. I thanked them and I boxed them up, and then I stuck them back in their boxes and that was that.

Nick is sick of talking about this. The other day I was all, yes, OK, I will have some sexytime with you. But only if we can talk about shoes afterwards.

The romance, it flourishes.

Anyway, because some of you like to talk shoes and aren't asking for sex, here's the story.

I loved these gladiators, but they were not my shoe. Perhaps they are yours?
The gladiators are made by Naot, and I love how they look. The soles feel magical. They are soft leather and inviting and delightful. But the front is too wide for me, and as such, rubbed the sides of my toes.

The ugly-cute fuchsia shoes are made by Wolky, a Dutch company. I love the look of these shoes, and they have a really thick sole and this comfortable liner.

Shockingly, the fuchsia didn't feel like it would go with enough things. I know, I know.

But I found a turquoise pair on super sale at Sierra Trading, so I ordered them. They felt good all around, so I boldly/foolishly wore them on a Kindergarten field trip, and they rubbed the top of my big toe and the side of my little toe. I was surprised because you can adjust them in three places.

Betty decided she wanted them. So they are now hers.

I also ordered another pair of Naots (also too loose) and these Born shoes, which I loved but which also had way too much room around the front of my foot.
It was getting demoralizing, you know, because I was thinking that I was just too picky. I was asking for too much. Other people could find their pair, and walk around totally happy.

What was my problem? Just like in dating, friends had begun to suggest that my standards were too high.

I really was starting to wonder what was wrong with me and my princess and the pea feet.

And then I went to Comfort One. And they measured my feet on this infrared scanner thing. Here's what turns out to be my problem: I have very high arches. I have very small feet. There are specific and actual reasons this is difficult! (Also, I have this weirdly small little toe, which makes it hard to buy strappy sandals because it likes to poke out all, hello! Which is uncomfortable.)

So even if Nick and I get divorced and I desperately need money, clearly I cannot count on foot prostitution as my fallback career.

Anyway, here's what it's come to. I got these Dansko sandals, and I love how they look and they feel great, although they do bug a little if I walk a lot. I will have to put moleskin in them.
But the soles are soft and squishy and the  bottoms are light. I think someone (Laura?) recommended this exact pair! I didn't really like this year's colors but found these from last year (and much cheaper!) at They also have a lovely blue. So it all worked out!

I may also have gotten a little carried away with Tevas. I got two pairs.

Shockingly, the higher ones, which I think you need to see with an outfit to get the fabulousness, are more comfortable.They have leather straps that don't rub.
So many inches taller! So great!
Really, it's so nice to know it's not me. I mean, it is me.

But it's also them.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Don't take drugs!

Growing up, my dad made sure I was terrified of drugs like cocaine and LSD.

Sometime in the 70s we were watching a detective show (maybe it was Kojak?) and this woman got a terrible nosebleed and died. And my dad said that the problem was that she'd been snorting cocaine, and cocaine erodes your nasal bone and so if you do it your nose can collapse. And you can die.

Do you know how many years I walked around worried that there might be cocaine in the air at a party and I'd accidentally breathe some in and then my nose would collapse? And then I'd die?

My dad also said if you took LSD you could have flashbacks out of nowhere years later. He personally knew some people who did.

I didn't even know what this meant but it sounded terrible.

And then in college a friend told me that she'd tried acid and her refrigerator had sung to her. I was all, my head is already a weird place. The last thing I'd ever need was my fridge singing to me.

Also, I when I want something to be done with, I want it done. I am not someone who just sits back and relaxes. This is my problem with altered states, even just drinking too much. You want it to be over, and it's not, and you just have to waaaaaiiit it out.

Is it over? No. Is it over now? No. How about now? No.


So I've been thinking about medication and why I was fretting about upping my thyroid medication when the fact is that I took a sleeping pill from a complete stranger on an airplane.

Actually, we weren't absolute strangers, as we'd been sitting next to each other for at least a good 25 minutes before he proffered it. And it was prompted by my complaint that I'd forgotten mine and as such, would be up all night and hoped that the movie selection was good. And he took one as well!

I wouldn't have thought about it again except that my friend Kristin made such a big deal about it when I mentioned it in passing.

"Some man on a plane gave you an Ambien? You took drugs from a stranger?"

I was raised better, really. I've not repeated the mistake.

(Also, it's good I'm married. I used to have lots of odd things happen when I traveled. Plus now I could blame a terrible fart on Nick or one of the kids.)

So I'm not really sure what the distinction is for me. Maybe it's that I'm not interested in party drugs, but I am a big fan of sleep? And also I dislike pain.

I wasn't, however, a fan of the Oxycodone that they gave me after my C-section, so after the first couple days, when I was no longer in horrendous pain, I stopped taking it. I hated feeling that out of it. I couldn't imagine taking it recreationally.

On a side bar, I always thought I had a low pain threshhold, but maybe I don't. Because after that C-section the nurses forgot to connect the pain medication to my IV. So I kept telling them that it hurt and they kept telling me to push the button.

It wasn't until I was at the point where I was like, "I HAVE PUSHED THE BUTTON A MILLION TIMES AND IT REALLY FUCKING HURTS LIKE MORE THAN 10!" that they were all, oh. This should be plugged in to that. Yes, you probably are in 10 pain. Sorry!

Sometime in that period I was informed that my medication had great per-pill street value, and if I wanted to sell them, I had at least one friend of a friend who'd be interested.

I added up the pills and was all, that would totally least a new pair of shoes! So I told Nick the happy news about how I might dispose of my pills and purchase new footwear all in one fell swoop.

And he was all, "Yes, that's a terrific idea! If you want to be a drug dealer! And go to jail!"

"I wouldn't actually be a drug dealer. I'd just..."

"You'd just be, what? Selling them?"

Oh. Not so much.

Turns out giving them away was also a bad idea. In the end we flushed them. Although the FDA recommended it, I still felt bad about it.

I mean, I was thinking about how the alligators in the everglades have smaller penises than their forebears because of all the estrogen in the water, and Oxycodone can't be helpful.

Friday, June 05, 2015

You put your right foot in. You take your right foot out...

Can we talk thyroid and general health and well-being?

When I was pregnant with India, they told me that I was at the high end of normal in one of their thyroid blood tests and as such, at an increased risk of miscarriage. (Yikes!) And so might I be open to thyroid meds?

Why yes, yes I would rightnowplease, and could you just hand me some with a glass of water? 

I started seeing a doctor I loved who only treats pregnant women with thyroid issues. It's narrow, what he does, and much as he might like you, no, he doesn't want to keep seeing you once you graduate from being all pregnant and recently postpartum. So.

Postpartum he said I was borderline normal (ha! That'll be my album cover if I ever record one. Which clearly I will not because as you know I would rather be naked onstage than sing in public.). Anyway, with my borderline normalcy I had the option to continue on medication or to stop.

I tried both and felt better with. And then he sent me on my merry way.

On a side bar, I have this GP who is thorough in terms of tests and medication and physicals, but who really doesn't seem to remember me ever. He doesn't even pretend to. He's been Nick's doctor for years and he seems to know Nick. Me? Never.

Also, I'd prefer someone who's a little more cavalier about medication instead of always referring me to a specialist. But personally, I'd love it if doctors just left a bowl at the door with a spoon and you could help yourself, like those butter mints at restaurants.


A year or so ago, my GP upped my medication. I go in every six months, and went in last week. Yesterday he called to stay we needed to bump it up again. He gave me the numbers and the reasoning; I'm on the high end of normal, but very close to the edge. Why not tweak it a little and see?

The truth is, I get very close to the edge in so many ways so many times, but I never know why.So, yes, why not?

I've said before that there are so many little pieces that need to fit together and move just right for me to be sunshiney. And when something's off, I usually know it is...but I don't know what it is.

Sometimes it's just ME.

But I've been exhausted for days.

Even when I've gotten nine hours of actual sleep (which I did the other night!), I'm still tired. When this happens I ask myself if maybe I don't want to get out of bed because of darkness in my head. When it's not that, I look at my alcohol and sugar intake (lately basically zero). When it's not that, I blame lack of sun, because the grey will suck the life out of me.

After the doctor called, I asked a couple friends who I know are low thyroid as well. Because it's relatively new for me.

Is this normal to keep increasing? Yes, yes, apparently it is. And it's a moving target. So you have to be vigilant. Because sleep, weight gain or loss, stress, what you're eating...all of these and more seem to affect it.

In other words, just like always, everything affects everything.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

A perfect fit for a girl in need of a tourniquet

I am always shocked when people I know mention they've seen me out for a run or walking down the street.

It's not that I think I'm invisible when I'm in public; it's more that I live so in my head that I don't really consider those around me. Except when they're walking really slowly and I can't pass, or standing on the left on the Metro escalator.

But whether I am alone or with someone, I'm often not thinking about the reactions of others. Until I notice them reacting.

So I have this terrific new friend. We're just getting to know each other.

We have a number of things in common. We went to the same college, we're both writers, we both love to read, and we both love soup. But the first thing, and really the reason we met, is mental illness.

It is a weird and yet oddly comforting thing to have in common.

I mean, we all want to be seen as unique, right? And yet we need to have commonalities and connections, particularly for the difficult things we trudge through in life.

And so, when you can talk about getting someone into the psych ward in the same way that you might discuss the merits and drawbacks of a particular grocery store, there's something wonderful in it. Because while it's fucked up that it's normal, it's been your normal.

So then you can say things like, "Well, the outpatient program used to be on the locked floor, which was so much better..." and the other person can nod in understanding. "Right, because then they can't disappear!"

I know I sometimes make people uncomfortable by talking so candidly about the crazy in my life. Plus there's my gallows humor.

But not this new friend. She is hilarious and clever, and she's quick with the humor of a grim situation.

So we went to have lunch and the place was packed, with only two seats out of four open at this little board attached to the wall to put your food on. There were four stools, and we squinched in.

By then we'd covered the psych ward and were on to medication and manipulation of psychiatrists, which I said my dad excelled at.

We were all almost on each other's laps, so I had a good view of the man next to her, who had so kindly offered to move over to give us two seats together. He was eating, but sitting very still in a way that suggested to me that our conversation was of interest.

I wondered if he identified. There was no indication.

I asked how she and a mutual friend had met. She said at a book signing. The mutual friend said something about writing a memoir about living with bipolar disorder. And she said, "I had to meet her."

I said, "Did you say, 'Awesome! Let's stay up for three days straight and talk about it!'?"

We laughed really hard. He stared straight ahead. And then he put the last bite in his mouth and got up and left.

So I'm guessing it was a no?

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

And we'd better not ask him if he wants to go back to the marsh, because he will say NO

Jordan came home from surgery late Tuesday afternoon. He threw up, took off all his clothes, and crawled in bed.

So clearly ready for freshman year of college.

The doctor wound up operating on both eyes (with Nick's consent). Apparently when he put Jordan under, both eyes turned straight inward, indicating tight muscles in both. So my poor boy came home with two very red eyes.

We had to take a picture to send to the doctor on Friday to show how Jordan was progressing. You can see the red eyes if you embiggen. And you can't tell by this photo, but by this point he was actually doing quite well.

I kept him home from school all week. We had a very lot of Mama-Jordan time. 

By the end of the week his doctor said he could go back to school. I said I thought he wasn't supposed to roughhouse for a week (I read the instructions! I am a first-born rule follower!) and he said, "Is he at a rough school? He just needs to make sure he doesn't get an elbow or a bump to the eye."

And I was all, does he know how often this kid face plants? A month ago he skinned his nose--the front and sides--really badly, because he was pushing a small toy truck and it got out of control. His glasses are severely scratched.

Have you ever skinned your nose like that? Me neither. And I trip a lot.

I just said I'd feel better with him home till the following week. I had no faith that he wouldn't somehow mash at least one eye. Or he'd be on the jungle gym and plow his face into some kid's shoe. He does this kind of thing.

Plus what was he going to miss in four days of Kindergarten? The "th" sound?

He couldn't go swimming or to splash parks, and it was hot. Bright sunlight hurt his eyes and made him cry. I was worried about him getting sand in his eye in the sandbox, which happens on the regular.

(Me? Imagine the worst? Fret about everything? Me?)

So we stayed in a lot. This worked out, because on the whole he prefers not to leave the house.

We played a great deal of cards. He is the douchiest Old Maid player you've ever met. This is not new.

On Tuesday, while waiting hours in the hospital, Nick and Jordan discovered Angry Birds. I know, we're years behind the rest of you. We all now find it very compelling. So there was a lot of Angry Bird playing as well.

On Friday Betty and I took him to the 3D dinosaur IMAX at Natural History. We took the bus downtown! We bought popcorn! We put on 3D glasses! We at at Shake Shack!

He thought the movie was the greatest thing he'd ever seen. He kept reaching his little hand forward to try to touch them, and saying, "I'm so GLAD you brought me to see this!"

We learned that the largest dinosaur was 110 feet long and weight about 100 tons, which is something I cannot wrap my little brain around. Also that Indiana Jones was based on Roy Chapman Andrews, the first Natural History scientist to head to Mongolia to find dinosaur bones. And finally, 3D makes me dizzy.

It was really cool.

On Saturday there was a school carnival we'd been planning to go to...but then I realized that he couldn't jump in the moonbounce. You can't take a kid to a carnival and be all, sorry, you can't do your favorite thing. And no, you can't play on the playground equipment either.

And stay away from kids with elbows!

So we took the kids to a marsh. (No climbing, no kids.)

It was beautiful. And hot as balls. Hotter, really, at 91 degrees. And there was a lot of walking on a path to get to the end to look out at the marsh. We took little detours on small beaches and found shells and dragged pieces of wood.

But mainly we walked a lot.

I'm not famous for seeking out the nature, except that one time that I trekked for a month in Nepal, which Nick always likes to bring up when I am not so enthused about the out-of-doors. And so, when the kids were complaining, I said, "It really is a lot of walking to get there."

Nick said, "Right, because it would be so much better if you could just drive up to it and then you're  there."

Jordan and I both said, "Yes!"

Nick said, "I think that the walking and enjoying nature is the point."


I had to carry India most of the way out, and cajole Jordan, who insisted on carrying a branch almost his size, which really hampered his progress, the bulk of the way.

We lured them with ice cream and air conditioning.

On the way home, Jordan declared the marsh the worst place he'd ever been. He is never, ever going back to a marsh for as long as he lives. Ever.

We had pizza and movie night. We watched Star Wars.

Obi-Wan Kenobi wasn't our only hope, but he sure made things better.