Losing My Marbles

For those of you who are teachers, you know that having your prep during first period is pretty much the worst thing.  For those of you who aren’t teachers, just understand that during the day, you look forward to two things: lunch and prep.  Prep is a period that teachers get to prepare necessary things for the day, whether it is paperwork, grading, lesson planning, etc.  As a substitute I have to prepare…nothing.  So basically, prep is a sweet 50 minute period where I get to do nothing and chill out.  Awesome, I know.  However, if you have first period prep, then you pretty much have nothing to look forward to during the day and no break from teaching except lunch.

Today was one of those unfortunate days when I was sitting in the teacher’s lounge during first period because I had prep.  As I was sitting there I ate a breakfast cookie from a package that somebody had left on the table (just one, so chill with the judgment), and then went looking around in my bag for my bottle of water.  I quickly discovered that it was nowhere to be found.  I was perplexed because I had specifically remembered filling it up this morning and then wondered if I had left it on the counter in the kitchen or something.  I looked at the clock, realized I had 10 minutes left before I had to pick up my students, and left to go across the street to the little convenience store at the end of the block.

I picked out a water bottle and a diet Snapple (I like to have options) and brought them to the counter.  I said good morning and the guy behind the counter rang me up.

“$3.50,” he said.

I reached into my large tote bag and began digging around for my wallet…which was…nowhere to be found.  Awesome.

“Umm…sorry, I don’t have my wallet.  Sorry.  No wallet.”  Apparently, in addition to my water bottle and my wallet, I had also lost the ability to formulate sentences.

I turned around and started walking to the door and the guy called out and asked me if I wanted to take it anyway.  I said no, because I wouldn’t be back for a couple of days and I knew I would have a panic attack late at night because I owed this guy three bucks and he wouldn’t get it until Friday.

As I crossed the street I had a mini panic attack, wondering if I would be incredibly parched for the rest of the day and having dramatic visions of me slurping water from the sink in the school bathroom because I was so dehydrated.  Trying to rein in my anxiety, I forced myself to think very hard about what I could have possibly done with my water bottle.  After a few seconds of intense thought, the most I’ve had in a few weeks, I finally remembered that I had it in the car with me because I had taken a couple of sips from it after my breakfast had left a weird taste in my mouth.  Success!!  However, looking at my watch I realized that I had only 5 minutes left and my car was over two city blocks away.  I’d have to go during lunch time.

However, at lunch time I was so hungry that I wanted to eat IMMEDIATELY.  I started searching my bag for the third time in hopes of finding a few quarters to buy a can of soda and call it a day.  Then, a miracle happened.  I found a coin purse that I haven’t used since my days working at the pottery store.  I opened it and, riches upon riches, there were quarters and dimes!  I ran across the street to the Chinese place, grabbed a bottle of soda, paid for it entirely in change, and headed back to eat my sandwich and share my story with the other people eating in the teacher’s lounge.  My misfortune amused them, so I figured it was worth it.

Anyway, the day ended and I made the two block walk back to my car.  There, on my passenger seat, was my completely full bottle of water.  I drove home, ran up to my room, and found my wallet in my other bag.  Still missing however, is my brain, which I apparently misplaced this morning and have not seen since, as evidenced by the fact that I just went to get my bottle of water from my bag and realized that I left it in the car.  Again.

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Bathroom Karaoke

Today, during my lunch break I went to use the bathroom.  It is a tiny 2 stall bathroom.  I went in and it appeared to be empty.  As I was going about my business, an extremely unusual song popped into my head: The Barney theme song.  And as I was going over it I remembered the alternative version that we used to sing as little kids about how we would kill Barney and I started thinking about how if kids sang that now it would probably be interpreted as a threat and the child would be sent to speak to the social worker.

As all of these very intelligent thoughts were going through my mind I was buttoning up my pants when I heard something from the stall next to me and realized that I was not in fact alone; there was somebody in the stall next to me.

Immediately I felt a slight sense of panic – I couldn’t remember if I had been singing out loud or in my head.  The only obvious choice I had was to wait for them to wash their hands and leave before I came out of the stall.

Which is what I did.  So that was my day.

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Sunday Morning Conversations

Sunday morning I woke up to a quiet house.  My sister was sleeping, and my mom and dad had gone out to have Sunday morning breakfast with my aunt and uncle.  My sister and I are no longer invited on a regular basis to Sunday breakfast, after an incident on Father’s Day several years ago, so instead I had a solo breakfast of a homemade egg and cheese sandwich on a toasted everything bagel which was AWESOME.  No joke here, it was seriously just that good.

Later, my sister woke up and we were sitting together in the living room.  I realized that I needed to pick up a babka since the next day I was having lunch with some old co-workers and the bakery was closed on Mondays, and if I showed up without the babka (which I’m pretty sure they are more excited to see than me) they would kick me out and have lunch by themselves.  However, I was lounging around the house and did not want to get dressed and drive over to the bakery.  I figured my parents could pick one up on their way home and so I proceeded to call my mom’s cell phone.  Three times.  With no answer.  I then called my dad’s phone only to hear it ringing upstairs in his bedroom.  My sister rolled her eyes.  Awesome, I thought to myself.  Just awesome.

Later, after I got home from running a couple of errands, including going to the bakery, I was having a dance party with my sister in the living room to this song:

“Dance party” is not an exaggeration, by the way.  We were playing this song on my phone and full on dancing in the living room.  And yes, all girls do this.  Even if they say they don’t, they are lying.  We love a good dance party.

Anyway, my phone rang interrupting the song: Mom calling.

Me: Mom.

Mom: Hi Dana, what’s up?

Me: This is why you aren’t allowed to get an iPhone.  I called you three times and you didn’t answer any time.  And dad’s cell phone is upstairs in your room.  This is unacceptable.

Mom: My phone is in my bag and I didn’t hear it.

Me: Excuses are the building blocks to nothing, Mom.

Mom: Well, it’s the truth.

Me: Well, it’s unacceptable.

Mom: It has nothing to do with getting an iPhone.

Me: Yes, it does.

Mom: Well, what’s the matter?

Me: Nothing.  I don’t need you anymore.

My sister, casually listening in on the conversation: Every parent’s worst nightmare.

Mom: What did you need?

Me: I needed you to go to the bakery but you didn’t answer so I had to go myself because I wasn’t sure what time the bakery closed on Sundays and it was urgent.  I had to put on a bra, Mom.

My dad in the background: What does a bra have to do with anything?

Mom: Why did you need to go to the bakery?

Me: I needed to get a babka and I wanted Dad to go in because they always slice it for him but I went in myself since you didn’t answer your phone and I got the nice guy and he sliced it for me.

Mom: Oh, well that’s good.

Me: Yeah, so I don’t need you anymore.

Mom: That’s the meanest thing you’ve said to me in a while.

Me: Well, I’m sorry.  I needed you this morning but you didn’t answer any of my three phone calls.  I’m sure I’ll need you another day.

Mom: Alright.  We’ll be home soon.

Me: K. Bye.

I hung up.  The music immediately came back on.   Dance party continued.

And that’s Sunday.

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This is the first Word Document I have opened in about 4 months that is not a cover letter or a resume revision.  I have not had the time or inspiration for blog posts because I have been busy trying to be a real person, working, looking for jobs, and doing other stuff that I suspect grown-ups do. 

However, this week really kicked my ass in so many ways.  I’ve been substitute teaching for about 3 months now.  For those of you who are interested (so about 3 of you, the rest can skip this part) I do not want to be a teacher.  My master’s is in school counseling, so ideally that is the field in which I would get a job.  However, those jobs are slim, so I became certified to be a per diem sub (that’s Greek for “per day” for those of you who aren’t in the know).  Anyway, one school calls me on a fairly regular basis, and for that I am super grateful, otherwise my bank account and self-esteem would be really low.

This week I subbed 4 days.  Three of them were for a class that I find to be incredibly irritating.  It’s not the teacher’s fault, because she is awesome, it’s just the unfortunate mix of children.  On top of that, the vice principal asked me to sit with a suspended student during my lunch break two days in a row.  I know some of you are going to yell that I didn’t have to say yes, union rights, blah blah blah.  You can just shove it.  It’s the VICE PRINCIPAL.  How am I supposed to say no to that??  Also, the cherry on top of that shit sundae was that Thursday morning I totally wiped out, fell backwards out of the front door, hit my butt hard, and landed completely on my back on the front porch, while still clutching my water bottle in one hand and my breakfast sandwich in the other.  This was all before 7 in the morning.  I knew then that I was going to have an awesome day. 

I immediately texted my friend about my craptastic week and she responded that she was having an equally awful week.  We decided that dinner and drinks on Friday night were a necessity. 

Friday came and I couldn’t wait because I had so much venting to do.  My friend and I met up at a restaurant where we discovered that it was restaurant week and we had a half hour wait for a table.  That half hour wait turned into 50 minutes, but who’s counting?  In a moment of pure fate, two bar chairs opened up and we swooped down on them like hungry vultures.  We both ordered glasses of wine and when I opened my wallet the bartender just looked at us and said, “I’ll just start a tab for you ladies.”  He could sense that we would need more than one.  Anyway, 2 glasses of wine and a quesadilla appetizer later, we finally were able to sit.  My friend, the lightweight, was feeling a little buzzed. 

We immediately charmed our waitress by explaining that we had already started drinking, were extremely hungry, liked our bacon super crispy, and hated the 6 girls at the table in the front of the restaurant who were done eating for the past 25 minutes and were all sitting at the table texting.  She also happened to walk past our table as we were mid-high-five.  She loved it.  Ten minutes later she brought us an extra bread basket because she saw me gaze sadly at a waiter who was bringing out food that wasn’t ours. 

During our meal I was explaining to Katie that the class I was subbing for was incredibly chatty.  In the morning our door was open, and I was teaching them a lesson.  The vice principal walked by and very nicely asked me to keep the door closed because testing was going on in the other classrooms.  I felt incredibly dumb, since the state test was all anybody had been talking about for the past 2 weeks.  I rushed to the door in a state of urgency and said “Oh, of course!  I’m so sorry!” as I kicked the door stop up.  “It’s ok! Don’t worry about it.” the vice principal replied.  As she continued off down the hall I heard her add quietly, “Relax, Dana.”

“Relax? RELAX?!” I shouted at Katie as I retold the story.  “I’m 25 and I don’t have a full time job.  I don’t know how to relax!”

Katie nodded in complete agreement.  “I’m trying to make an impression!” I shouted again. 

“What would you do if somebody told you to relax?” I asked Katie. 

“I’d stress,” she replied immediately.  “I would tense right up.” 

Glad that she understood me, we finished our meal, intermittently chatting with the waitress.  Later, our waitress brought us our check and told us that we were the best table of the night, which according to her, meant a lot as the night was almost over and she was having a terrible shift up until that point.  We were excited to be her favorite table, especially Katie who is extremely competitive and likes to be the best at everything.  Apparently we had made the right impression on her, if not my vice principal. 

As we were walking back to the car I said, “I’m so excited we were her favorite table of the night.  That’s awesome.”  After a few more seconds I turned to Katie and said, “Maybe I can put that on my resume.” 

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City Faux Pas

So here’s a little back story on me: I was in a sorority in college.  Save all of your jokes about how I paid for my friends.  It was awesome and if you think otherwise then you are clearly just a hater or you weren’t cool enough to get into one and you know it.  Not that I am in any way cool, so lord knows how I got into one but hey, I’m not going to look a gift horse in the face.

Anyway, the purpose of me telling you this is because the other night I had dinner with my littles.  For those of you who don’t speak fluent Sorority, littles means “little sister”.  When you pledge, you get a Big (aka Big Sister).  After you’ve been in the sorority for a while, you get a Little, and then she gets a little, and then she gets a little, and so on and so forth.  In my sorority, we called this line of bigs and littles a lineage, and I guess it’s kind of a big deal.

I graduated from undergrad 2.5 years ago, but there is always a fresh crop of littles.  For many, many months now the newer littles have been trying to get all of us together for a lineage dinner.  There were about 7 people they were trying to get together, and if you’ve ever tried to find common time within 7 girls’ schedules, then you can understand how futile this task was.  However, the little 8lb 7oz baby Jesus smiled down on us and we all discovered that January 6th was the night.  And so dinner was planned.

I took the train in with my little and while on the train she ran into somebody she knew.  “This is my big,” she said, by way of introducing me.  I internally cringed, as I always do when the word “big” is used to refer to me.  “Hi.  I’m not that big,” I said.  Everyone laughed, respectfully.  (On a side note, this reminds me of this one time when I was in a bar and I was wearing a necklace with an elephant on it and I was talking to this weird girl and I made some joke about the necklace and personal size in general and she clearly did not think I was funny and walked away from me.  I’ll spare you the details, but just so you know I’ve relayed this story to my friends and they always laugh when I get to the joke part, so it really is funny.  Stick that in your juice box and suck it, weird girl.)

Anyway, let me now go on a personal rant.  My little (who shall now be referred to as Allie) and I got to Penn Station with a lot of time to spare before we had to be at our planned upon meeting place with the other girls.  We were also going to meet Stefanie (litte2) before we all headed over there together to meet littles 3 and 4 (5 and 6 canceled last minute – bummer, I know).  We decided the best course of action would be to get a drink while we waited, so we headed over to the Friday’s in Penn Station and enjoyed a glass of wine and waited for Stefanie to join us and have a glass herself.  I had a really nice time catching up with these girls for a little bit before we decided it was time to head over to the restaurant.  The restaurant we chose was a well known, family style Italian place in Times Square.  This is where my rant starts.  Now, before you start with me, I understand that Times Square is super touristy.  I GET IT.  And I understand that Friday’s is a chain restaurant and that there are thousands of bars in the midtown area that we could have gone too.  Once again, I GET IT.  However, grabbing a drink at Friday’s while we waited for our friend to join us, and then meeting at a very central and well known restaurant was just super convenient.  Working with 5-7 people who have different schedules, incomes, eating habits, and knowledge of the city is a very difficult process, and this just helped simplify it.  Plus, the restaurant was great, the waitress was excellent, and the food was good.  However, while telling this story to someone I work for, I mentioned that we grabbed a drink in the Penn Station Friday’s and then had dinner at Tony’s Dinapoli.  This prompted her to look at me like I was a silly, stupid girl, and then question me incessantly about why I would choose to “go all the way into the city to have a drink at a chain restaurant and eat imitation Italian food”.  Then, she continued naming bars and restaurants in the city that I could have gone to and then compared me to the time her husband went to Hawaii and ate dinner at The Outback.  So, I have created a term that explains people like her and the syndrome that they suffer from: City Superiority.  YOU ALL KNOW PEOPLE WHO HAVE IT.  They make you feel guilty for not knowing which subway to take, which restaurant to eat at, getting lost below 14th street, etc.  Anyway, I had to suffer through an extremely irritating case of City Superiority.  You are cooler than me, I get it.  Can we move on now?  Rant over.  Sort of.  I’m almost over it.

So we had dinner which was very enjoyable, and it was so fun to catch up with everyone and meet some new people (Hi Katie (Little4) and Katie’s twin bro!).  At the end of the meal, we had a bunch of leftovers.  As Allie, Stefanie, Emily (Little3) and I were walking back to Penn, Allie had the great idea to give our food to a homeless person.  We all agreed that this was a nice idea.  Finding a homeless person proved to be a little difficult because we weren’t sure who was actually homeless and who wasn’t.

“Do you think he’s homeless?” asked Allie.

“I don’t know…I think he’s just waiting to cross the street,” responded Emily.

“What about him?” asked Allie.

“I don’t know.  They’re so well dressed these days,” I answered.

While looking for a homeless person Allie was worried for various reasons.  She didn’t want to offend anyone, especially if she accidentally went up to a non-homeless person.  Also, she was super concerned because we didn’t have a fork to go along with the leftovers.  The fork thing was genuinely distressing to her.  “How will they eat it?” she asked.  Emily and Stefanie said that they could get a fork anywhere, even Starbucks.

We were approaching Penn Station and still had the food on us.  “There will definitely be homeless people in Jersey,” she said.  Just to clarify, she didn’t mean the actual state of Jersey.  She meant the part of Penn Station that people go to get trains to New Jersey, as opposed to the Long Island part.  The Jersey part is just more mellow, so I guess people feel like they can chill there.  Anyway, luckily right outside there was a man that was definitely homeless because he was holding his hat out for money.  We gave him our leftovers and he was very appreciative.  Mitzvah done.

We said our goodbyes and I went home.  The next day at lunch I was telling my mom about my night.  Then I told her about our good deed.  “We gave our leftovers to a homeless man,” I said proudly.

“You did?” said my mom.  “That’s so nice!”  Then: “Did you give him a fork?”

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The Christmas Poinsettia

As the holiday season grows closer, I have been given many opportunities to share one of my favorite stories.  Although the story does relate to the holidays, it is less “good will towards men” and more “let’s have a laugh at someone else’s expense.”  And while I know that might not be the sentiment of the season, isn’t that really the more fun type of story?  I agree.  Let’s begin:

Two Christmases ago I was working at a paint your own pottery store.  People would come in to paint a mug, or a vase, or a little figurine and we would fire it in the kiln, do a lot of other stuff that only people in the pottery business would understand the importance of, and then two weeks later you could come pick up your custom made piece.

Sounds fun right?  Well, it would have been, except there are always people who manage to suck the fun out of everything.  For my co-workers and I, this person was my manager.  She was horrible, and made our lives miserable.  She was really mean, but lucky for us, she was also dumb as rocks, which provided endless material for us to make fun of her.

Just so you can have a visual, she was a combination of Hagrid from Harry Potter, and Trunchbull from Matilda.  In fact, one of my co-workers nicknamed her Trunchbull, and from that day on that was all we referred to her as.  I don’t want you to just think I’m exaggerating because I’m bitter, so please allow me to provide you with some real life examples of her stupidity:

From a note she left my co-workers and me:

–          “Restock the paint in isle 4.”  Isle.  As in a Caribbean isle.

–          “Put out more wizzard figurines.”  Apparently wizard is spelled like blizzard.

During a conversation about a co-worker’s ill child:
– “I can’t even famish how that must feel.”  Really?  You can’t famish it?  Well I can famish how you don’t know the correct word is “fathom”, so I guess we’re even.

So now that you understand exactly who I was dealing with, let’s move on to the real point of this story.

The holiday season was a very busy time for the store.  People would come in to paint ornaments, holiday plates, Santa figurines, etc.  One of our best selling items was a large pottery Christmas tree and stand.  Customers would come in and paint the tree, and we would fire it in the kiln.  When it was done we would put little lights on it and a light bulb could be placed inside to light the whole thing up.  It was actually really beautiful, and my little Jewish girl heart was always envious.

Before the holidays began, my manager decided that she was going to paint a sample tree for customers to use as inspiration when they were going to make theirs.  She painted the tree and then began on the stand.  She decided she wanted to paint poinsettias on the stand, but wanted a picture to use as a reference.

She came behind the counter where I was sorting through paperwork and went on the computer.  I assumed she was looking up pictures of poinsettias, but I wasn’t really paying attention, as I tried to avoid conversations with her as often as possible.  After a minute or two she looked over at me and said, “I don’t understand why I can’t find pictures.  I need a picture of a poinsettia.”

I looked over at the computer screen and was immediately confused.  On the Google Image search were pictures of dogs and Christmas trees.  How could this be?  I looked up at the search engine and immediately understood what the problem was.

No wonder why there were pictures of dogs on the screen!  I sighed and said, “It’s not Christmas Point Setter.  It’s Poinsettia.  P – O – I – N…”  And as I sat there spelling out poinsettia for her, I couldn’t believe that this woman was in charge of me.

However, thanks to Trunchbull I now have a great holiday anecdote to share with everyone.  I guess that was her gift to me.  And so, as the holiday season approaches and you are all surrounded by family that you are inevitably going to want to strangle, think of this story instead and know that you could be surrounded by far worse people.

Happy Holidays!

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The Housewarming Gift

Due to a very busy semester for all of us, I didn’t get to see much of my grad school friends.  Finally, we all decided that today would be the day we would see each other.

Christine and I were going to drive out to Gillian and Ryan, our friends who recently got engaged and moved into an apartment together.  Christine had a great idea to buy them a housewarming gift, and so we agreed to meet at Home Goods before we met them at their apartment.

The problem was that we had never seen their apartment before, and so we were only guessing at what we should buy them.  The pretty orange, swirly bowl?  Maybe.  The slightly worn looking blue pitcher?  Possibly.

The fun thing about Home Goods is that they have completely ridiculous statues and pieces that people use to decorate their homes.  For example, I was super excited about the 18 inch long standing cricket with glasses and an umbrella that could be used as a lantern.  I also tried to convince Christine that what we really needed to get Gillian and Ryan was a silver elephant that also doubled as a gong.  She was not buying it.

So anyway, on we went, perusing the aisles, looking at this and that, until we came to a display with some vases.  Among them was a very tall, oblong, turquoise vase.  It was kind of done in a mosaic style, and was a very pretty color.  We both agreed that we liked it.

“But what if it doesn’t match their stuff?” Christine asked.

“Well, it could be a pop of color,” I reasoned.

Christine agreed.  Who doesn’t love a pop of color?

“They can’t really put flowers in it though.  What would they use it for?”

“They could definitely put some peacock feathers in it.”

“We should tell them that.”

And so, after some debating, we decided to go with it.  We got on line and then when the next available cashier yelled, “Next”, we walked over and I deposited the pretty weighty vase onto the counter and looked up at the cashier.

The cashier laughed.  “I hope that’s a gift,” she said.

“It is,” replied Christine.  “Why?”

“Because,” said the cashier, still laughing, “It’s UGLY”.

Christine and I looked at each other and laughed, but in an “OMG can you believe what she just said to us” kind of way.  “We really like it,” we argued.  The cashier couldn’t be swayed.

I started to get nervous.  “Can we have a gift receipt?”  Just in case.  I mean, this is a gift for people we actually LIKE.  We didn’t want to intentionally buy them something ugly.

“You’re going to need it,” the cashier replied, sure of herself.

Christine and I drove to Gillian and Ryan, fretting the whole way.

When we got there we told them that we bought them a gift.  “But,” I said, “Christine has to tell you what happened first.”  So Christine launched into the story, leaving the couple to crack up at our misfortune.

“So,” I added, “we have a gift receipt for you.  So if you really hate it please feel free to exchange it for something else.  We won’t be upset.”

Gillian, laughing, opened up the vase, and started laughing even harder.  “I LOVE IT,” she exclaimed.  Ryan agreed.  “I don’t believe you,” I said, looking at Ryan.  “No,” Gillian insisted, “He really likes this sort of thing.”

Gillian ran into the living room with the vase and insisted that it matched her Tiffany lamp to perfection.  Which it didn’t, but it was still nice of her to say.  They immediately gave it a place of honor on the desk near it.

“Dana said that you could put peacock feathers in it,” Christine supplied helpfully.

After much insistence that they really liked it, I said, “Well I am going to just leave the gift receipt RIGHT HERE, on the table.  Just so you know.”

And FYI, for all of you non-believers, Gillian just texted me saying that she really loves the vase and thinks my idea for peacock feathers is great.  So take that, Home Goods cashier.

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Of Tonsils, Quakes, and Hurricanes

This is going to be the understatement of the year but it seems to me that this has been the week of crazy weather phenomena.

Let’s start with Tuesday.  Tuesday was already an important day at the Greenberg casa.  First, it was my parent’s wedding anniversary.  Let’s hear it for 31 years people!  Second, my sister was getting her tonsils out.  Nothing says “Mom and Dad, I would like to celebrate your successful marriage by getting a non-vital appendage removed.”

So, in preparation for this day, while my mom, dad, and sister were out getting body parts removed, I was driving around town running very important errands such as buying anniversary cards and picking up “Get Well Soon” balloons.  I also bought an avocado and three granola bars, but that is neither here nor there.  While we were all doing that, my brother was very busy sleeping until noon.  We all have our strengths.

Anyway, several hours later I got the text that my sister was on her way home.  My brother and I were sitting in the living room on two different couches watching tv and waiting to shower my sister with attention.  Suddenly, my couch started shaking.  I looked over at my brother, who is 6’3″ and really lanky and fully capable of shaking my couch if he was being obnoxious.  Except he was just sitting there.

“DO YOU FEEL THAT??”, I exclaimed.

“Yeah.  What is that?”

The couch still shaking slightly, I got up.  The whole house was shaking.  The two overhead lamps were shaking, and all of the leaves on the plants were shaking.  However, on a scale of 1-10 when comparing this to what people who live on actual fault lines experience (California, I’m talking to you) this was probably about a 1.  When it stopped I looked at my brother and said, “I think we just had an earthquake.”  My brother insisted on checking facebook immediately to make sure that it was official, and of course, not 30 seconds after we survived our first earthquake, there were already 7 statuses with other people declaring the same thing.

Soon after, my mom and sister came home.  I wanted to know if they enjoyed their first earthquake.  THEY DIDN’T EVEN FEEL IT.  Apparently, being in your car is not the best place to feel the earth move.  My mom told us that they felt nothing and then she stopped at the Dunkin Donuts drive thru to get an iced coffee and the girl working there asked her about it and my mom thought she was pulling her leg.  She then repeated this story multiple times to everyone that was calling to check in on my sister.  My brother and I quickly agreed that we had the better earthquake story.  Hands down.

Anyway, my parents went out for their anniversary dinner and I stayed home with my sister while she ate ice pops and apple sauce and soup.  Oh, and my parent’s anniversary gift?  We got them a new garbage can.  Don’t ask.  It was necessary.

Then, earthquake still fresh in our minds, we had to start preparing for Hurricane Irene.  Both of these things, earthquakes and hurricanes, don’t usually happen on Long Island.  Long Island is famous for many things: bagels, pizza, Ugg boots, jappy girls, beaches, etc.  But extreme weather?  No.

The MTA and LIRR shut down.  Airports closed.  Mandatory evacuations.  My dad made us bring everything into the garage and shed.  We taped windows up. The generator was plugged in.  The shop-vac was at the ready in case of basement flooding.

My brother went back to school the day before Irene was supposed to strike, and he was sad that while we had survived our first earthquake together, we would not be able to survive this together.  I told him that we were already bonded for life due to the earthquake nonsense so it wasn’t a big deal.

My sister and I went to get manicures prior to the hurricane.  Clearly, we have our priorities in order.  And in case you were wondering, I got a color called Smooth Sailing.  In honor or Irene, of course.

Fortunately for us, Irene was more trouble than she was worth.  Yes, other areas were flooded with lots of damage, but in my little neck of the woods we were fine.  No basement flooding!!  No loss of power!  We didn’t even need to pull out Scrabble to entertain ourselves.  Now I call that a victory.

And now, the day after, it is a beautiful, sunny, and slightly cooler day, leaving the earthquake and Irene distant memories.  But I’m not complaining, I will take this day over tonsils, quakes, and hurricanes any day of the week.

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Getting Poked: Acupuncture, Not Facebook

Well, it is no secret that I have not written a post in a very long time.  Without going into detail, I have not been feeling well and I have been dealing with a chronic illness I have called Ulcerative Colitis.  I am not going to write about it because it is not fun, nor is it funny, but it is necessary for me to tell you so that I can tell you about my most current adventure into the world of acupuncture.

Now before we begin, I must tell you that I don’t believe in a lot of things.  I don’t believe in Santa, or elves, or unicorns.  I don’t believe in astrology, or horoscopes, or a lot of organized religion, or spirituality.  I don’t believe in the healing power of yoga and meditation.  I sort of believe in karma, but that’s only because I can’t stand to think that crappy people aren’t going to get what they deserve in this world.  And I really, really, don’t have much faith in holistic or alternative medicine.  I believe in pharmaceutical drugs.  I was a psych major in college, and I prefer cold, hard facts, and carefully conducted research, and statistics and results and data as proof that things are actually working.

However, after weeks and weeks of not feeling well, I was willing to punch the last unicorn in the face if it meant that I would feel better.  The woman I babysit for goes weekly to acupuncture, and swears that it has changed her life.  Aside from the fact that she believes it helped her have her amazing son, she also said that it helped her immensely with joint pain and more.

I seriously began to wonder if acupuncture could help me.  What did I have to lose?  If it worked, AWESOME.  If not, at least I gave it a try.  I made my first appointment and was READY TO BELIEVE.  Seriously, I was committed to the idea.  If I was going to shell out money to be poked with little needles you best believe I was going in there with an open mind.

I went to my first appointment and I have to say, this guy was legit.  He was extremely knowledgeable on the subject and spent a great deal of time with me asking me numerous questions about every aspect of my health, mentally and physically.  He checked out my tongue, which is very important to acupuncturists, and declared that my spleen was out of balance.  And wouldn’t you know, the spleen just happens to be related to digestive health.  Beautiful how that all works out.

LET THE HEALING BEGIN.  I laid down on the table and he began placing the teeny tiny needles in certain places all over.  A couple in my feet, a few in my legs, a few in my stomach, one in my chest, one in each hand, one in my forehead, and one in each ear.  I was pretty relieved that 99% of them didn’t hurt.  Yes, I felt a few of the needles going in, but it wasn’t a painful feeling, more like a little flick.  The only one that hurt like a BIOTCH was the one in my left hand.  “OUCH”, I said.  He then explained that that particular point in my left hand happened to be my large intestine.  “Really?” I thought to myself.  “Because I’m pretty sure that’s my hand”.  Whatever, I am believing in the healing power of acupuncture.  He also seemed pretty pleased with himself that because I was having stomach issues it made sense that it would hurt in the large intestine spot.  I didn’t have the heart to tell him that UC affects the small intestine.

Anyway, he left me on the table for 30 minutes with the lights dimmed, calming music on, and a heat lamp over me.  It definitely wasn’t the worst 30 minutes of my life.  When he came back I was calm and sleepy.  He checked my pulse, which was significantly lower than when he had left me.  “IT MUST BE WORKING,” I thought.  We wrapped up, he put tiny little sticker magnet things in my ears to ease stress, and I made my next appointment.

A week later I was back in his office ready for my next treatment.  We spoke for a few minutes about how I was feeling and I let him know that I wasn’t much different from the week prior.  Plus I had a raging headache that day, could we please work on that?  Yes, we could.  He took my pulse, placed needles in different places (hello, needles in my head and in my forearms) and again left me for 30 minutes to chill out.  When he came back he took my pulse, which was lower.  As he did this, I had a flashback to Mr. Stuber’s 9th grade gym class when he had the class take their pulse upon entering the gymnasium, then again after we had laid quietly on the gym floor for 10 minutes.  And then it hit me.  HELLO, RESTING HEART RATE.  Obviously my pulse was going to be lower after I had just laid down and almost fell asleep for 30 minutes.  Ughhh.

Hours later my sister and I were eating dinner and I was telling her about my appointment.  I mentioned that he had put needles in my forearms and when I looked at my right one I saw a huge bruise near my wrist.  Because I am the calmest person ever I grabbed my wrist and yelled, “OMG I’M BLEEDING OUT.”  No, no I wasn’t.  It was just a bruise.  But still, gross.

Anyway, I made an appointment again for next week.  BECAUSE I AM COMMITTED TO THIS.  At least for a few more sessions.  Then it’s time to assess if acupuncture is akin to Santa Clause.

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