When you pay a lot of money for something, you should get good service

•January 22, 2013 • 5 Comments

So, if you read my post a few days ago, you’ll know that I’m anxiously awaiting getting a permanent crown for one of my two front teeth. After a pneumonia-induced catastrophe and an emergency root canal, I shelled out over $600 out of pocket (and that was only half!) to have my front teeth fixed. Ultimately, I didn’t want to look like I had been in a really bad bar fight. 

In the meantime, the dentist molded a little plastic sculpture and stuck it in my mouth; he said, “This is a temporary crown.” I asked if there were any restrictions. He laughed and said, “Be careful. Oh and if it falls out, let me know right away.” 

Um, excuse me, what? Falls out? No, buddy, you just ground my tooth into a little nub and put this over it. Nothing better fall out. 

Well, it’s two weeks today and I still have this temp. I had an appointment to go in after work on Thursday to get the permanent crown and get on with my life. 

BUT THEN!!!!!!!!!

I got a call around noon, which I let go to voicemail (because I don’t pick up unknown numbers. If you’re not in my phone, you can leave me a message). So I listened to the voicemail and a frantic receptionist explained that my crown wouldn’t be back from the lab by Thursday, so I would have to call and reschedule.

WAIT, WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT? 

I’m so beyond believably mad…I could probably punch five walls right now and leave a hole in each. 

So I called and actually got the dentist on the phone (he answered – um what?), and he said that I couldn’t even SCHEDULE an appointment, and that THEY would call ME early NEXT WEEK to set something up. 

(Sorry for the shouty capitals.) 

So wait, I gave you $600 two weeks ago and I have…nothing? I can’t even eat properly (no biting into things) because I’m afraid this fucker will fall out. Because everyone I’ve talked to said that those temps fall out super easily. I was already nervous about an additional two days – now I have the possibility of an additional two weeks. 

I give up. I wanted all this done before D’s birthday – do you know how ridiculous it is to worry about EVERYTHING you do with your mouth? (OK, dirty minds, you went there…and it’s true!) Even a *ever so slightly* aggressive kiss sends my brain into panic mode, screaming BE CAREFUL to myself. 

 

Seriously. I can’t bring myself to see this in a positive light. All that money for a month of waiting…well shit. 

Why do the smart ideas happen after the fact?

•January 21, 2013 • 6 Comments

Do you ever think about thinking? I mean, do you ever think about how you think? Did you know there’s a word for that? (I didn’t a few  years ago, and now I do! 4 years and a university degree later, and this is one of the things I can say I honestly “learned” in college). The word is this: metacognition. 

So this (hopefully brief, ha) post is going to be about metacognition. My question is this: why do I always have brilliant ideas on how to solve things AFTER I do it the hard way? 

Picture this: 

For those of you that know me, you’ll know that my “9 to 5” job became an “830 to 530” job when I started taking 45-60 minute breaks in the middle of the day to go take care of Tucker the Dog. I live just under a mile from where I work, so 4 trips (two “to work” and two “from work”) means that I walk about four miles every day, so that my dog can pee and eat lunch in the middle of the day. 

Now, THAT’S GREAT, I LOVE the exercise (sarcasm) but it’s been a little difficult with the 8 degree weather (c’mon Chicago). Anyways, I still make it home every day to feed Tucker the Dog. 

(In case you’re wondering, Tucker the Dog is a six, soon to be seven month old Boston Terrier. Have a picture of him in a bathrobe after his bath yesterday:) 

Image

So he’s a super cutie, and worth the four miles-ish a day. 

Anyways, today we’re standing outside, and I’m doing my usual lunchtime chant. That goes something like this: “Please poop! C’mon Tucker, let’s poop. You can do it Tucker! Poop! Poo poos! It’s time to poop so Mom can go back to work!” 

So today, because it feels like negative fifty gajillion, he pooped quickly and then he did WHAT I’VE FEARED FOR MONTHS. He ran BETWEEN my legs. 

While on a leash. 

Now, I have one of those (dumb, but useful) retractable leashes. In this way, I can give Tucker the Dog up to 15 feet of lead if I want, but I can also lock it at 1ft if there another dog passing (and being that I live in Dog Central, America, there’s always another dog passing). So I had the leash locked at about 4-5 feet, because I was picking up the poop and didn’t want to let him get too far, and LO AND BEHOLD. He runs between my legs. 

And then realizes he can’t go any farther. 

Damned locked leash, I bet he thought. 

So, instead of being polite, and running back through my legs the way he came, he CONTINUED to pull – so essentially he’s pulling me backwards and I have a leash in my crotch. 

You wouldn’t think that a <20 lb (though probably about 20lb) dog would be able to pull, but my dog is YOUNG AND STRONG. And felt the need to prove it. So I’m standing there with a leash between my legs, and a semi-sprained ankle, and a bad, knee, with my leash in one hand and a bag of shit in the other, thinking, Oh, great! How am I gonna get out of this one? 

After about three to ten attempts to “swing” one leg over the leash (they all failed, by the way), I finally decided to hold the leash AND poop in one hand and pass it through my legs, thereby untangling us. As you dog owners know, it takes two hands to do that unless you want your dog in the street. 

So I get untangled and throw the poop away, put Tucker the Dog back in his crate, and start my 1 mile journey back to work. 

Sometimes I do my best thinking while walking. 

WHY DIDN’T I JUST DROP THE POOP ON THE SIDEWALK?!

That would have alleviated the two handed problem and have prevented me from feeling as though I were going to break the poop bag and have poop everywhere. 

WHY do all the smart ideas happen after the fact? 

Oh well, at least I’ll remember this for next time. Maybe. (Probably not.) 

Happy Monday, y’all. 

The most chaotic day of all time, and its repercussions.

•January 18, 2013 • 4 Comments

So, it’s officially been two weeks now since I experienced what I named “The Most Chaotic Day of All Time,” and I think I’d finally like to write about it. I spent quite a few days being butt-hurt and angry, and although those feelings still exist, I can tame them enough and (hopefully) present this without bursting into flames. 

I think I can, I think I can. 

Two weeks ago, January 4, 2013, marked D’s and my 6 month anniversary. Only six months? Yes, I know. It seems like it’s been longer, but I think that’s because, after about two months, we moved in together. That makes it seem like we’ve been together for a long time… you see where I’m going with this. Anyway, we were going to celebrate our anniversary, right AFTER I got home from the tattoo parlor. 

I had this awesome tattoo in mind, and had emailed extensively with an artist who was willing to do it for me. It’s greyscale, a branch with blooming flowers, starting at my hip and traveling up to my shoulder. I also asked him to incorporate a little ladybug. Because ALL of my ink means something, this one too has a story. This is my “you graduated college and got a real job! You’re in full bloom!” tattoo. I even proclaimed that NOW, I am a “real person.” I am finally grown, not dependent on my family anymore, and so on. So, I had an appointment at 11 to go get this tattoo, and vowed to spend the REST of the day with D.

Why didn’t he go along, you ask? Interesting point! He was home sick with EITHER the worst cold of all time, or a mild form of pneumonia. Probably just the worst cold of all time. He took off two days from work that week, because he felt like crap. Remember this, it plays into the story!

So I get to the tattoo parlor and I’m super excited, because this will be my BIGGEST tattoo yet, and I love ink, and all that. So my wonderful artist gets all set up and calls me back. We had an awkward talk about how I’d have to be topless, but could hold a towel in front of me. Here comes the GREAT part: I’d have to stand while he drew it (no stencils!) and then I could lay down while he actually did the tattooing. 

Alright, no big deal. 

So I’m standing for 20, maybe 30 minutes, and ALL OF A SUDDEN….

It’s dark. 

I’m on the floor. 

I’m cold and on the floor. 

There’s something in my mouth. 

Is it my tongue ring? 

No, it’s something else.

It’s still dark. 

I’m trying to spit the thing out of my mouth. From a ways away, I hear a voice go, “Oh shit, she broke her tooth,” and I feel someone remove something from my mouth. I try to move, and I can’t. I try to open my eyes. I finally succeed. Someone puts cool water on my forehead and lifts my head a little. They ask if I’m ok…repeatedly. Until I can respond. 

I think my first words were “oh, shit.” 

They told me I had passed out. They asked me if I had felt it coming on. No, no, no. What the hell happened? Is my tattoo done? It’s not even STARTED? Oh, no. 

They put me in the chair and allow me to recover. I feel better. I ask my artist if he’ll keep going. He agrees. I feel hot and like I’m going to pass out. My vision starts to leave me. I ask to sit down again. 

My artist sends me home in a cab. With my tooth. My mouth hurts so, so, so, bad. And I look like I’ve been in a really bad bar fight. 

I message my boyfriend to let him know. He’s in shock. He can’t believe it. 

Thoughts of anger and guilt are coursing through me. I ruined our day.

I get home and immediately begin making calls. My dentist is closed. Call another. Call another. Finally, I get ahold of someone. They ask how fast I can be there. Six minutes. Okay, see you in six minutes, they reply. 

This time, D goes with me. I’m pretty sure he’s worried. Hell, I’m worried. One question keeps going through my head: “Have you been sick? Has anyone around you been sick?” 

I was so excited about this appointment, about actually having enough money to go get this thing done… I think my adrenaline kept the illness away, but not long enough. 

I made it to the dentist, and found out that the reason my tooth hurt so bad is because the nerve was exposed. He showed me this on a picture, which was…disgusting. He then proceeded to perform an emergency root canal. 

Everyone seems to think that hurts. Trust me, the pain I was in BEFORE he started was so much worse. I couldn’t even feel the root canal. He finished and told me to come back on Tuesday.

That weekend, I was the sickest I’ve ever been. I couldn’t breathe. My nose was chapped from all the nose-blowing I was doing. My lungs were filled with fluid. I appointed myself “Mucus Central.” 

It was horrible. 

I made it back to the dentist on Tuesday, loaded up on Sudafed, Tylenol cold, and the like. They finished up the root canal and then put something in my mouth. It felt like a tooth. Okay, good, I’m all set to go. 

No.

Wrong. That’s a temporary crown, they said. We’ll have the “real” crown in two weeks, they said. “Be careful eating!” they said. The temporary crown is ugly. It’s crooked at the top AND bottom. No one else can tell, or they’re just being really nice, but I can tell. 

I look ugly.

And, this little endeavor cost me… ALL the money I had saved for the tattoo. 

And then some. 

I had been saving for this tattoo since I graduated college in May of 2012. Saving money is hard for me, because I have a TON of bills. It takes months for me to make it to $500. 

Now, I have no tattoo money. I have no any money. It’s all been sucked up by paying for this little endeavor. 

[And, to make matters worse, now I have to get my dog neutered, which will cost me between $300 and $550, depending on how much they have to do (he needs teeth pulled, too). That, however, doesn’t have to do with the most chaotic day of all time.] 

I feel like that day, 1/4/13, needs to be recorded in history as the most chaotic day of all time, and I can’t help but blame myself. I SORT OF felt sick before going in, but I took the attitude of “I’m gonna power through this!” Then, I landed myself in a situation where I had to spend all my money, against my will. 

But I couldn’t just leave one of my two front teeth broken in half, right? 

I still am not happy about this day, but I’m learning to get over it. My boyfriend didn’t leave me (I was worried he might not want a toothless girlfriend…even though that’s lame and vain and he’d never really do that), and somehow, I did manage to pay all my bills. Okay, so the tattoo gets put on hold. Probably not the end of the world (maybe just the world as I know it?) 

Well, two weeks later, I’m glad to say I’m trying to put this all behind me. The negative feelings still aren’t all gone, but they’re starting to go away. 

Little by little. 

As time goes on. 

2012 in review

•January 2, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Top 10 worst things about 2012 (from least worst to most worst – ha!)

10. The most chaotic Thanksgiving traveling of all time (November). 
9. Having to say goodbye to friends/coworkers/employers at Loyola (May). 
8. Turning 22 – cause all the “fun” birthdays are over now (August). 
7. Having my wisdom teeth out. Pretty damn painful (December). 
6. Finding out I caught an untreatable disease, likely from someone I trusted. 
5. Packing up my apartment in the middle of summer with little/no air conditioning (July). 
4. Financial issues, still being in debt, and people owing me money who probably aren’t going to give it back (all year long!). 
3. Having to pay back student loans/the student loan crisis (November). 
2. The “break-up” process (June). 
1. Almost making the biggest mistake (October). 

Top ten best things about 2012: 

10. Moving from Rogers Park to Bucktown (July 31). 
9. Seeing Nightwish LIVE again! (September) 
8. Having time to cook near-nightly dinners and keep the house clean (since August)!!!
7. Cutting all my hair off. Cause I needed a change! (Hmm, August/September?)
6. Turning 22. Cause now I’m old enough for people to take me seriously. (August)
5. Christmas. (December)
4. Graduating from college. (May)
3. Getting my ‘big-girl’ job! (June)
2. Getting my doggie! (September)
1. Starting to date the love of my life, and falling deeper in love every day. (July 4)

In review, I definitely had WAY more awesome “good” things, and my bad things were few and far between! I hope 2013 kicks as much ass as 2012 did. Here’s to a good start to a fantastic year! 

The creature stirring was me…

•December 27, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Well, by now you’re aware that the holiday where either the baby who saved the world or the big fat man who gives gifts has come and gone. 

For the first time in a long time, I was really excited about Christmas this year; I have my lovely boyfriend to thank for that fact. In November, we started talking about what/how/when to celebrate Christmas. We set a gift spending limit, and anxiously awaited his schedule from work to decide who to visit, and when. We ordered our gifts online (because seriously, who wants to go to a store? ha ha ha) and wrapped them upon their arrival. We set up a tree, complete with lights, ornaments, and candy canes. We inherited some candles and other decorations from his family, and put those up as well. 

My lovely’s work schedule popped up a week or two before the date – and that lucky man had BOTH Christmas Eve AND Christmas Day off. We were excited. We decided to go see my family on Christmas Eve, since his family was only celebrating on the Day (mine celebrate on both, ha!). 

Last Friday, 12/21, I had my wisdom teeth pulled. Despite from being extremely sore (I still am, a bit), I was mostly fine for the holiday. No swelling or funny speech. Just lots of ibuprofen. Lots and lots of it! 

On Christmas Eve, we loaded up the car with home made Christmas cookies, presents for my family, our dog, and ourselves, and drove down to the suburbs. I know my lovely doesn’t really enjoy driving to my parents’ house (the first time we went, we got lost… oops), but he did it without complaint. We were early (!!) and had lots of time to socialize, eat, and open gifts. I got some pretty cool new pots and pans (as well as lots of stocking stuff!) from my parents, and of course, some cold hard cash from my uncle. My family incorporated my lovely as well; he had gifts from my parents, uncle, and (if I remember) maybe even my brother. That evening, we repacked the car and drove back home – relatively smooth sailing (except for idiot drivers), and no accidents or anything. 

When we got home, we decided to put our presents under the tree. Now, my lovely had seen what I had for him (once it was wrapped), because I didn’t have enough space to “hide” it. However, he kept all of my gifts in a HUGE rubbermaid container – I hadn’t seen a thing. On Christmas Eve I finally convinced him that, since the gifts were wrapped, he could put them under the tree. He agreed. 😉 

I must say – there were SO MANY gifts under our tree! There were probably enough gifts for a family of 4 – but that was all just for the two of us (and Tucker). We definitely went all out. Finally, it was bedtime, and we put Tucker down for the night. We climbed into bed, and I was instantly anxious-excited. I couldn’t wait to wake up to open gifts!  And, my teeth still hurt. So, after going to bed around midnight, I woke up at…

3 AM: too early for presents

4:30 AM: still too early

5:15 AM: getting closer, but probably still too early.

6:45 AM: PRESENT TIME? I told my lovely I wanted to open presents; he said “soon,” and fell back asleep. I felt like such a kid! 

Finally, around 7:50 (I think) I made everyone get up so we could open presents. I couldn’t wait for my lovely and Tucker the Dog to see what awaited them! And, I’m not going to lie – I wanted to see what was under the tree for me, too. 

THERE WERE SO MANY GIFTS! Tucker had quite a few, I had quite a bit for D, but NOTHING topped what he did to me. I sat down on the floor, and saw something red behind the tree. It looked like a curtain. I peeked around the tree and saw that it was a HUGE stocking. And it was full! Hnnnnng! Everything from super comfy socks to candy to coffee to a coffee scoop (I threw our last one away by accident!!) to … I don’t even remember it all, but it was a LOT. a lot a lot. I figured that was like, half of my gift. Nope. Not at all. 

There were many presents all under the tree, and I have to say, D did a great job of mixing it up between things I “needed” and things I “wanted.” He got me some AWESOME tattoo-wear/paraphernalia, which I absolutely adore. He also got me practical things, like an electric mixer (after about a bajillion times of me mixing things by hand). He got me pretty much everything I’ve wanted/needed in the past six months. 

Alright so this probably sounds like I’m just gushing over the gifts (okay I am, a little, but he did such a great job!), but there are two things more important than a detailed list of “shit I now own,” and here they are: 

1. D pays attention to a lot more than I realized. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone pay enough attention to me to be that spot on with what I needed/wanted. Some of the things were things that I had posted on Facebook way back in our tumultuous month of October, some were things that I had literally said aloud once or twice “oh, this would be easier if I had X,” and hey, now I have them! So, I don’t mean to say I didn’t know he paid attention to me – he does, and I know that. (It’s hard not to. I’m always talking about something.) But, to care enough to know, down to a COFFEE SCOOP, what someone needs? Now, that’s impressive. 

2. Christmas only really felt like Christmas with D this year. It was nice seeing my family, and (unfortunately) we didn’t get to see D’s – yet(!), but sitting on our tile floor with our dog on Christmas morning – it felt right. It felt amazing. I could feel the great amounts of care and love that went into planning and executing that day – we truly tried our hardest to make it special. I hesitate to say this, because I don’t want to get ahead of myself here, but it felt…like some semblance of a family. Two people in love, with that love extended to their (now spoiled) pet…it was a sight.

Six months ago I wouldn’t have imagined myself here. I wouldn’t have imagined I could have been so lucky to find something this strong, and be able to work hard enough (and find someone willing to work hard enough) to stabilize, maintain, and care for it. Six months ago, we started out under the not-best circumstances, and the odds were likely stacked against us. We both went into the relationship, I believe, with several reservations, some of which negatively impacted us for a little bit. I don’t know how it happened, but somehow…it changed. We worked on it. We worked on it, and we wanted it to work; with the nurturing care we provided our relationship, we established something lasting for ourselves. That’s not to say it’s always perfect – we still fuck up, get mad, and so on. But  you know what? We now realize it’s worth it to work through issues.

He’s worth it. We’re worth it.
So, so, so, so worth it.  

So, the creature stirring was me, but not (only) because I was excited for presents… I was excited at the opportunity to express my love to him one more day. 

It’s almost Christmas

•December 11, 2012 • Leave a Comment

After spending the weekend at the lovely’s grandparents and chasing my dog all around a house on not one, not two, but THREE LEVELS, I cannot help but to mention that…it’s almost Christmas.

Seriously. Their house was ferociously decorated, and I became reminiscent of when my family used to decorate the house for Christmas. I say “used to” because the last several years, they either haven’t, or I haven’t been a part of it. Christmas for me just wasn’t Christmas anymore. I don’t believe in any sort of god, so religion doesn’t have anything to do with Christmas for me. However, I always considered it a good time to reflect on what I have, and to spend extra time with my family, friends, and loved ones.

This year, it’s different.

My lovely and I bought a tree (okay, just a cheap artificial tree, but hey! We both work really hard and neither of us have the extra money right now), and we decorated it the day after Thanksgiving. It was transcendent. I’ve never taken part in decorating a tree with anyone beside my family, and I really valued the experience. It felt just right. A young couple, in love, tossing lights and ornaments back and forth to each other, while a little puppy dog sits quietly awaiting. (Hahaha, oh okay, so he didn’t EXACTLY sit quietly, but it was close!)

My lovely and I also decided to celebrate Christmas. You know, to really celebrate it. So we set a spending limit and devised our plans. We now have each others’ gifts wrapped, and are currently very anxious to exchange them. This is the first time in a long time I’m actually spending and celebrating Christmas with someone I’m actually dating, and head over heels for. (Oh, forgive me that one preposition… it just doesn’t sound that great to say “with someone I’m actually dating and for whom I’m head over heels!”) We’re making plans as to whose family we’re going to see which day, Christmas eve and Christmas day.

But honestly, it’s not even the decorations or nicely wrapped gifts under the tree that really make this holiday season. It’s being with someone I love completely, and who I know loves me back. It’s hearing “you’re my number one,” and “you’re not just my girlfriend, you’re a part of my heart.” After we got home from his grandparents, he stated that, although it’s nice to go visit and remember where he comes from, he loves coming home even better – seeing the contrast, and where he is now in his life…and being completely happy with it. For someone who claims not to express himself very well, he certainly does a good job of it.

The holiday season is enhanced by knowing that you love and are loved.

Ten days after Christmas, my lovely and I will celebrate being together for six months. It feels like I’ve known him forever, and it feels like we still have forever to go. It’s good to not see an end in sight for once. For once, I don’t have to question my relationship on a daily basis, and wonder how he’ll feel about me in an hour, a day, or a week. It’s good to know our feelings are stronger than that, that we can work on our issues but at the heart of the matter, the important things are the mutual care, respect, and love we have for each other.

And that, my friends, is a beautiful thing.

Letting yourself go

•November 16, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Letting yourself go (click it, it’s a link!)

For those of you that are going to tl;dr this article, here it is in one sentence. A frumpy looking woman’s physically fit and attractive husband cheated on her with a 40 year old bombshell.

The article goes on to say that, even though women are now “making it” in the workplace, they still aren’t taken seriously unless they “keep up with their appearances.” To society at large, this means that: their hair is always cut stylishly and, you know, styled. They weigh an appropriate amount relative to their height (or less. Weighing less is okay. More is not). They dress in flattering clothes, and their accessories match their clothing choices. And so on.

Now, picture your mom. I’d say there’s a 90% chance that she does not fit this bill. Mine doesn’t even fit this bill. But you know what? My mom raised two kids. For a while now, she has been the sole supporter of the family. She weighs a little more than she should. She doesn’t color her hair all the time, so there are some grays in there. She isn’t perfect looking. She doesn’t always match, and yes, sometimes she does leave the house in (gasp) sweatpants!

And my mom is one of the most intelligent, most capable people I know.

What happened to the old saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover?” Eh? Eh? We teach kids not to judge based on appearance (skin color, ability, and so on), and then we judge females based on their personal choices as to how to care for their body?

I sometimes worry about “letting myself go.” People say that it happens in relationships, but I think I do this regardless of whom I’m dating. I don’t shave my legs on a daily basis. I’m lucky to get in a once or twice a week touch up in the shower. I’ve cut my own hair for the past three or four years, and I don’t do as much with it as I should. I don’t work out very regularly anymore, and I’m not entirely careful about what I eat. My only food limitations are “what can I afford?”, not “what’s healthy for me?” I don’t wear makeup in general, except when I really feel like it – maybe once a month or so. At work, I often dress in jeans and a tshirt, and during the winter I’m wearing my uggs – because they keep my feet warm enough.

By some standards, I’ve “let myself go.” And, like many women, I worry that my boyfriend will find someone more attractive, or at least more willing to take care of herself regularly, and leave me for her. I hope that wouldn’t happen, but it does cross the back of my mind occasionally. However, I never thought that this “letting go of the self” may come into play in the workplace. Sometimes I don’t have time/energy to wash my hair when it needs to be. Greasy ponytail it is! I don’t buy designer clothes, I don’t buy dress pants or heels – jeans and sneakers are my everyday attire. As far as I know, this hasn’t impacted anyone’s judgment of my abilities. And it shouldn’t!

What I’m saying is likely the same thing people have been saying for generations: look at the inside. Look at the capabilities, the benefits, etc. – not the package it’s coming in. Sometimes, the best things in life appear to also be the ugliest.