Thursday, December 13, 2012

Block Party!

I'm not sure who coined the phrase 'when life gives you lemons, make lemonade', but said person was misinformed. Jameson's Amazing Med School Adventure, as I'd taken to calling our time on the island, was taking it's toll on the family. The only interest I had in lemonade was the kind mixed with vodka in a tall glass of ice... and possibly delivered poolside by a steamy Cuban. 

I was off alcohol because of pain medication for my foot. It was still draped in a moon boot and now smelled like a middle school boys locker room because island temps never dropped below 80 degrees. I'd convinced myself the moon boot time was like a detox. I couldn't drink chardonnay and there was no Krispy Kreme on the island. Maybe if I did the Hollywood Cleanse once I got the boot off I'd be Team Aniston thin (Team Jolie was a tad much).

Jameson was studying for his Block Exams which meant Grey and I would be lucky to even SEE him before exams were over. I always used this time to clean our pint-sized condo and catch up on work, usually in that order since clutter-free living was my mantra. This time, however, Grey asked me to get souvenir t-shirts for his friends who'd be on the island the next day on a cruise ship. I reasoned since I shouldn't be on my foot to clean, the least I could  do was drive into Maho to hit the souvenir shop across from the pharmacy.

I locked the apartment door, the outer door and hobbled down 2 flights of stairs to our island hooptie.  I stalled before getting in the car.  3 weeks before a coconut had fallen from a tree and cracked our windshield. We'd been to the Nissan dealership, a garage, a windshield shop, the junkyard and even called some woman named "Sara the Car Chic" to see about a replacement. Not happening anytime soon.  Lemonade?  I think not.  I made sure the Gorilla tape was secure on the spiderwebs before getting in.

The drive into Maho was uneventful. When I drove through the intersection where Grey and I had seen the dead guy in the middle of the road, I didn't shudder. Not at all.  I parked my car in the covered parking and hobbled through the shaded entrance out on to the tiled walk.  This stretch of the island was specially designed with vacuums that sucked money right out of your wallet. 

Hobbling into the Lord & Hunter shop, I did a double-take. In front of me was a woman, probably close to my mom's age, wearing a boot just  like mine and carrying the Coach Legacy Tote in citrus. I barely noticed the tote. Barely.  She smiled at me and said, "We must have the same designer." 

I laughed with her and asked how much longer she had in the boot.  2 weeks.  I asked if she was vacationing. No. She had, along with her best friend, brought her son (and 3 of his "closest" friends) to the island to tour AUC and look for housing.  With the little footing I had, I tackled her, stowed the tote and started beating her head with the polished conch shell with SXM in gold calligraphy. Well, in my mind I tackled her and beat some sense into her. Instead I said, "Wow! My husband is a student. Small world."

"He's a student?"

"I  know, we're old. I get it. I get that look a lot."

"No, sweetie, I wasn't thinking you were old. I was thinking I wanted to pick your brain. We're staying at the Sonesta. You should come over for drinks by the pool."

Annnnnnnnd.... cue thoughts of the hottie Cuban delivering me vodka lemonades. Gawd. Block week couldn't end soon enough.

Before thoughts about my mysterious Cuban went 50 Shades, I heard the distinct sounds of early-20's guys walking into the shop. Just as I was  about to turn, one of the future Nobel Prize winners shouted at my back, "Yo, Cam! Your mom's in here."

I looked at the door just as Cam and his other friend walked through the entrance to Lord & Hunter.

"Douche. That's not my mom," Cam said while shoving his friend and walking around me.  He looked right at his mom, the woman in the matching moon boot, and spit back, "This is my mom. You're tossed!"

The guys laughed, Cam's mom smiled and gave me a small shrug and then Cam's "tossed" friend continued to dig his grave, "Oh shit, man. She looks just like your mom. Sorry, ma'am."  I have been called a lot of things, but "ma'am" is by far the worst.

I hobbled out of Lord & Hunter empty handed, made it back to my hooptie and proceeded to hit my head against the steering wheel over and over and over.  I had a hole in my windshield, couldn't go to the pool because of  my foot, couldn't run because of my foot and couldn't drink alcohol because of my foot.  Who was I kidding with the running stuff? Well, I could 'run' to the store to buy some Chardonnay.  That seemed like a reality I could get on board with. I drove out of the covered parking and cruised on home.  Lemonade? Bah!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Isopropyl Alcohol with Lime

Sitting in the waiting room of the emergency department at Toronto General is a lot getting your license renewed at the DMV.  You sign-in, take a number from the red machine and wait for your turn with people who smell like stale smoke and gym socks.  My number flashed on the screen above the registration window and I shuffled up.
I’d gone almost 3 weeks on my “sprained” foot hobbling around in a flip flop and loosely tied Nike's.  Today I’d powered through 6 hours of meetings while visiting my client. One physician had taken pity on me and suggested I head down to E-merg.  I was so excited to be out of the grime and slime of the waiting area I even smiled at the clerk when she told me I was “lucky” to be going straight back to “Fast Track”.  Once Security (read as guy wearing a gun behind bullet proof glass) opened the doors to let me in, I just needed to follow the blue arrows back to the pink room marked “Fast Track” and wait for my name to be called.  Simple.
Security dude opened the doors and I shuffled in making sure I stopped at the Purell station. I had no idea what was  wrong with the guy sitting next to me in the waiting room, but if it was possible to prevent bacterial meningitis with hand sanitizer, I’d win that battle before going another 4 feet.
I rounded the corner to enter the epicenter of Toronto General Emergency Department. Pausing to search for the blue arrows, I wished Jameson was with me.  And that I’d been outfitted in a HazMat suit.  I Purell’d again and saw the arrows on the floor to the left on the main nurse’s station. I could also see a Karen Carpenter look-alike on a gurney in the hallway beside the arrows with arms flying around and blood smeared on her face and gown. I’d just entered the Twilight Zone.
Shuffling along past Karen, I followed the arrows to the “Fast Track” section. This room was filled with the same yahoo’s I’d just been surrounded by in the main waiting area. Fast Track my ass!  Purell.
Mental checklist: before going to emergency again, review signs of congestive heart failure for faster service.
I made it to the back of the room, the only available seat, and sat down.  Checking out my surroundings and doing a mental inventory of the grossness in the 10 by 12 I realized I should have taken a Xanax.  Rather than fester on what I could be coming down with by breathing the same air, I took my Kindle out of my purse and started reading my latest Laurie London.
2 minutes passed before noticing Dorothy’s mom from ‘The Golden Girls’ was reading over my shoulder.  She smelled like vomit. Turning my head to the right, I saw puke on her shirt and in her hair. She smiled. How do you smile while wearing vomit like a fashion accessory? I was so worried about offending the ED physician I’d changed my socks before coming.  I closed the cover of my Kindle and shifted in my seat to turn away from Sophia Petrillo. Bad move. Neighbor to my left was oblivious to the green snot sliding down the front of his face. I immediately realized time spent in this “Fast Track” room meant I’d have to burn my clothes.
After suffering through 3 odoriferous hours, a man screaming about a stolen cat, some hipster chiclet crying that she needed a wheel chair because she was too weak from the X-rays, a dude in green boxers & handcuffs (which he boasted were recreational) and at least 5 cases of the stomach flu, my name was called and I headed back to a room.  Purell.
A tech had me walk to X-ray and then immediately told me my foot was broken. He then explained he was going on break as soon as I was done, but he just wanted me to know in case somebody “loses” me. WHAT? Are people lost in the ED often at Toronto General? Dammit. I needed to leave so I could throwback a chardonnay and a Xannie.  I walked back to my room alone because X-ray tech guy had someone bringing him a Subway.  Purell.  After plopping my ass up on the gurney and elevating my foot, I Skpyed Jameson.

 ItsKelz:            ja, broken foot, xray tech = asshat with sub
Ja.Me.Son      WIFE! What? Your foot is broken? I told you not to walk on it. Didn’t I tell you not to walk on it? Asshat???? Explain.
ItsKelz:             waiting 4 doc, i’m on my  fon, xray dude chose jared n sub sandies instead of helping me
Ja.Me.Son:        ASSHAT! Call me after you speak to the MD.

The physician made it in to see me, politely explained that I had a fractured 5th metatarsal and slapped a temporary cast on my foot while schooling me on the importance of using crutches and not putting any weight on my foot until I’d  seen an Ortho. I grabbed my crutches, Purell'd and raced for the EXIT sign.  Karen Carpenter was still on the gurney - only now the blood was dry. Eww.  I called Jameson while riding in the cab back to the Marriott and, after explaining in finite detail what was done and said, I asked if he understood the patient population of an urban emergency department. He did. Hmm… can you install a DeCon shower in a home?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

In for a Penny, In for a Pound

Some days being around the 20-something crowd made me feel like a million bucks. I had more energy because I was trying to keep up and I could stay up past 10PM. Other days it was  like Barbarella interrupting the State of the Union. Full of intolerance and looks that I gave my grandma during high school. Today was the latter.

Just before leaving on our 10-day holiday in England, we'd moved to a new condo. That's wrong. WE didn't move. I moved us. Mitch had flown home, Grey wasn't back on the island yet and Jameson was in school. After I'd purged our belongings down to the necessities, I'd overstuffed our island hooptie several times a day to move.  Across the street.  Our new space was considerably smaller, had only one bathroom, lacked the modern appliances of  life at RBC and had no shortage of ants. I found it disappointing.  To emphasize my disappointment, I often used the word "rubbish" (which I'd picked up in the UK).  However, I found the 1500 dollars I was saving monthly uplifting.  Brilliant!

It was during one of my "brilliant" moments in our new condo that  I decided to walk over to RBC, our old haunt, to talk with my friend, Michelle. She wanted to hear about our trip to England and what the clinical sites were like.  I wanted to talk about the pubs, the food and the shopping.

Since our move, and since the crime rate was on the rise due to it being the tail end of low season, RBC had started using the gate on a regular basis. I parked it on the edge of the large planter outside the gates and waited  for Michelle to come down so the guards would give me the green light. Seated immediately to my right were two AUC students weighted down with backpacks larger than hobbits and circles under their eyes signifying late night studies (or just a night past 10PM).  I'd plopped down in the middle of a conversation about Disney movies.

"No, no. We should totally do something, like, I don't know. Like one of the classics. You know. Like,  an old movie," dirty bun, sunglasses girl said. 

"Cinderella?" Tie-dye shirt asks while popping gum. How does one pop gum AND talk at the same time? I remember Mrs. Tundidge doing this in middle school. I'd tried over the years and hadn't perfected it.

"No. I hate Drew Barrymore."

"Snow White?"

"Gawd, no! Bella Swan - hell no!"

"Wait. Toy Story - easy to watch and study."

Dirty bun and tie-dye nodded in agreement while continuing their discussion of Disney movies, white noise and pathology (or  some other -ology, they sounded alike to me). Had I really just overheard a discussion of classic Disney movies and they'd selected 'Toy Story' as the winner?  Growing up my mother had read Cinderella to me while I'd lain on top of my yellow hand-knit afghan in my floor length nightgown staring at Crayola drawings taped to the yellow wallpaper. Shit. Would these two even know what wallpaper was? That fad died a slow and painful death in the 80's.

I started chewing my bottom lip and knocking my heels on the wall of the planter to stop my overactive pity party. Oh, bollocks.  "To infinity and beyond."

Mental Checklist: where did the saying "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" originate? 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The High Cost of Healthcare

I'd been laying on the couch with my foot elevated, wrapped and iced (on and off) for the past 7 hours when I heard Holly knocking on the front door.  "Got it," hollered Jameson.  Right. Thanks for clearing that up. I was totally going to jump up and run to the door.

I scooted up on the couch so I was sort of leaning against the arm and pulled the pillows closer so I could keep my foot up.  This morning at 1:30 when Jameson had come to bed after studying I'd gotten up to pee. On my way back to bed I'd wiped out bruising both my knees, my head, my elbows, my right foot and severely sprained my left.  At least I hoped it was a sprain. I hadn't let Jameson touch it enough to be sure. 

Mental Checklist:  opportunity is knocking. Your ass is big and you pee every night from too much chardonnay. Take the hint.

Holly and Jameson made their way into the room and Holly dropped  her bag on the kitchen island while giving me the once over.  "How do you feel?" she asked.  "You don't look that bad."

"Holl, your bedside is bullshit. I can read right through it. I haven't slept and I can't move  my toes."  Holly raised her eyebrows in response.

"I told you she was pissy," Ja nodded at Holly.

"Alright, what do we know?" Holly asked while she and Jameson both shuffled to stand over my foot. I felt like a zoo animal.

"Did a cursory exam at the time of the accident. Patient says foot hurts 'everywhere', difficult to determine exact location of injury. Based on that exam and what patient describes as areas of pain, I'd get an x-ray to determine breaks. I didn't feel any significant or obvious breaks at the time of the exam. But then, it's hard to be thorough when the patient slaps you in the face and vomits at your feet," Jameson finished and then laughed.

"Hey! It HURT! I can't help if I puked. I did warn you. And my name is Kelly, not 'patient'."

"OK, let's unwrap it and take a look" Holly said and began unwrapping my foot. At this point I was feeling more embarrassment than pain.  I needed a pedicure and to shave my legs. I apologized to Holly who assured me I was far better than 90% of the patients she and Jameson would come into contact with.

"Wife, we're going to have to touch your foot to determine if there are breaks. What do you need?"

Shit. I needed a solid week of drinking vodka to prepare myself for what I knew was going to be worse than labor.  "Just tell me when and where you're going to touch my foot. Oh, and can you grab the trashcan in case  I need to throw up again?"

Jameson pulled the trashcan from under the kitchen sink and sat it next to me. He and Holly exchanged looks and she said, "Can you point to where it hurts the most?"

I did some more adjusting on the couch and leaned forward to lightly touch just below my fourth toe and down to almost the middle of my foot. Damn. If it hurt to hover on it like that, I couldn't imagine what it would feel like when they were done. "And, it hurts in that same spot on the bottom," I sighed and then leaned back on the arm of the couch.

Jameson began, "It's localized. That's good. Last night you said the side of your foot hurt to the touch which is the sign of a break."

"If you didn't feel any obvious breaks last night, it's probably a severe sprain. We won't know how bad without a CT or MRI - which you're not getting on this floating trash heap," Holly replied then turned to me.  "OK, Jameson is going to pick up your foot with both of his hands and gently squeeze all three regions to determine if anything is really broken.  He'll start with your heel.  You ready?"

What I was ready for was a Catherine Tate marathon and some Krispy Kreme doughnuts, but that wasn't happening anytime soon.  I grabbed one of the pillows behind my back, bit down and nodded my head.

As soon as Jameson lifted my foot, the tears started. He prodded and kneaded and then put my foot back down on the pillows. What was probably a 60-second exam felt like 60 minutes.  I took the pillow out of my mouth and gulped in oxygen. I was still crying, but there was no puking.  Winning.

"Wife, I don't think it's broken. I do think it's a severe sprain judging by swelling in the mid foot and the areas of pain. You need to keep the foot elevated, wrapped and iced on and off for the next 3 days.  You should keep it wrapped for a solid week.  No shoes. No walking, which shouldn't be an issue since you can't put weight on it, and try to stay on the couch for the next week so it has time  to rest."

Holly agreed with Ja's diagnosis and they both set off to find me some crutches, an ice pack (my Ziploc of ice cubes was getting annoying) and a proper wrap.  I realized that the cost of this medical advice was about 150 grand since both Holly and Ja had  taken out loans. One. Hundred. Fifty. Thousand. Dollars.  My mouth started to water, my back ached and I promptly turned to hurl in the trashcan. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Cheeseburger in Paradise

Subject:  Beezy, stop sending me pics of shoes!

Taff -

Got your e-mail with the photos of A) your new Ferragamo shoes B) the before and after of your bathroom remodel and C) you and Lisa with your matching LV bags during happy hour drinking margarita's.  Call me crazy, but I do not feel bad the summer weather in Seattle "just isn't what you'd hoped". Need I remind you that you get to GO to happy hour wearing cute clothes and accessories that you wore INTO the office. The office - a magical place with a dress code which means you get ready in your NEW bathroom with granite counter tops and a dual head shower with floor to ceiling custom tile work.  Another reminder: I have one year left on this island and only 8 more client visits. This dramatically limits my wardrobe options and makes me seethe with jealousy of your day-to-day.  Because of said jealousy, I purchased the Legacy Weekend Tote from Coach. Right now I just carry it around this apartment wishing I could weekend in the States. It might be a crutch. Annnnnnndddd...  just because Max won't fly doesn't mean you can't. Come visit! Now! Miss you, bish-a-lish!


PS - included photos that I thought you'd enjoy!  XO!

1. Bathroom remodel island style. Love - or should we think of doing something more muted?

2.  My collection of shoes AKA my shoe tree. Lawdie, I miss my walk-in closet!  And wedges, and peep-toe pumps, and kitten heels... Intervention much? 

3.  No, this is not the future site of a Starbucks. Cupecoy Plaza is rumored to house a Dunkin' Donuts (the closest thing to a Krispy Kreme we'll get) when it opens. When is it opening? Long after I've succumbed to your nagging about botox and a boob lift.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Yo Momma!

With one week left of "summer vacation", I was walking over to C.I.A. to drop off the receipt for Grey's tuition.  It took me three hours to pay the 2 grand deposit due to crappy traffic and because the line I waited in - for an hour - at the Winward Islands Bank was for island business owners, not mom's depositing kids tuition in the business account.  Even though I explained to the teller the school itself was a business, I wasn't the owner or an employee of said business. I resigned the conversation at that point and had moved over to the "Personal Transactions" line to wait. An hour. Again.

I'd had another call with Doc.Ginny, so I was trying to see things from a different perspective during the short walk from Rainbow to C.I.A. In blistering heat.  With blood-thirsty mosquitoes. OK, so my perspective was still a bit skewed but I recognized it as such. Wasn't that part of the process?

Stopping in front of the soon-to-be Cupecoy Plaza I looked over the concrete, re bar, chickens and littered trash wondering when this shopping depot would open. Probably not during my stay on the island, meaning there was no Dunkin' Donuts in my immediate future. Hmm, new perspective wasn't so hard. I accepted there would be no convenience to be had in this area and moved along on my walk.  My next stop was in front of B.B.'s, the local watering hole and home to AUC masses immediately following Block Exams.  Shaded in palm trees it looked welcoming and the 2 buck beers proved as much. But, I knew that if you spent $20 you'd be blitzed enough to order food in turn leaving B.B.'s with E.coli, salmonella and/or a pinch of botulism. 

I kept walking past B.B.'s, Fat Tony's open air eatery and stopped in the Campus Village parking lot because I'd lost my flip flop. After reading about hepatitis and suffering through my imagination induced anxiety, I wasn't walking any place sans shoes.  I hopped back toward my lost flopper and overheard a conversation between a group of students at the entrance to Sunset Village.

"No. Seriously. What do I get my mom? Like," girl in the AUC sweatshirt was asking, "what can I order? My mom's 45th is this Friday."  Her girlfriends eyes bugged out and mouth dropped open, but she didn't have an answer.

"45?!?" Shouted scrub wearing, water bottle swinging dude next to her.  "No clue.  Want me to call my mom and ask?"

My first thought: why the hell is this chic wearing a sweatshirt? It's over 85 outside and I'd been covered in a sheen of sweat as soon as I'd closed my front door.  Second thought: can I punch this asshat right now for shouting the number 45 like it was a death sentence?  Of course, I'd  probably break all of the bones in my hand if I punched him because of my age-induced osteoporosis.

I stood rooted in shock and scrutinized these kids. Was it possible Jameson and I were only a couple of years from 45? Was I actually old enough to have birthed a child who was in Basic Sciences? I realized that the discussion had stopped, largely due to me staring in utter disbelief.  I nodded politely, adjusted my flip flop and continued my walk to C.I.A.

Mental Checklist: once 4th semester starts, and after our vacation to England and all of it's pubs, Jameson and I needed to start working out and fighting age 'like a boss'.  That's right kiddies, SNL was popular in our generation first.  Oh, and research how to restore elasticity to skin. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Doctor is In

Following a suggestion from Taffi (and maybe a bit from Jameson, though I'd never admit it), I'd scheduled a Skype appointment with her therapist friend, Ginny.  We'd met at Taff's party in June just before I headed back to the island.  At the time I thought Ginny was a great listener.  Now, while sitting at my desk tapping  my heel and waiting for my appointment, I realized her listening was a covert operation to gain more patients.  Hmm... maybe my anxiety about the island, my workload and husband was getting to me. Shit. I needed this appointment. 

With a sigh, I fired up Skype and settled back into the chair to get as comfy as possible.  Jameson was at school, I had 2 hours free of meetings and Mitch was working at the dive shop.  This was as open as my schedule got.  As my Skype chirped with an incoming video call  from Doc.Ginny, I accepted the call and put on my game face.  We exchanged pleasantries, made sure the video  feed worked on both sides (while I thanked the gods for the lack of construction at Rainbow) and we got down to business.

"So, before we start, can I ask a quick question?"

"Kelly, you can ask me whatever you'd like. I want you to be comfortable," Ginny replied while setting down her pen and writing pad and crossing her hands on her lap.  I could see the corner of her home office and wondered how she'd set up her video feed since my video only showed  me from the shoulders up and windows behind me.

"Where is your camera? I feel like I'm in your office right now,"  I asked, not able to help myself.

"Oh. I've actually got a couple of feeds. My husband set it up so I can treat clients virtually while making them feel like there with me in the office.  Was that what you wanted to ask?"

"No, I actually wanted to know where you got the name Ginny."

"My parents, of course."

Quick witted and sassy - I  liked her already.

"Alright, Ginny, let's roll."

"Kelly, why don't you tell  me what you'd like to talk about.  I read through your e-mail and you mentioned stress with your job, the island, missing out on family functions, your husband's school.  Do any of these sound like a good place to start?"

I crossed my arms and looked  up wondering where to start. I only had 50 minutes, probably more like 40 at this point.  My immediate thought was to ask if Ginny had been to the new Starbucks in Redmond Town Center, but I figured that would go over like a lead balloon.

"Tell you what, why don't you talk to me about what you miss most about living in Washington?  Normally I'd limit an answer to one item, literally, but I'll give you some leeway."

"Easy. Convenience and reliability."

"You do know those things are not always synonymous?"

"Totally. But, I also know that at home if I want to run to Krispy Kreme to grab an old-fashioned, I'd take a left at the end of my block to hit the main road and I could be there in 6 minutes.Whereas here, depending on the time of day, I'd  take one of 3 different routes to get to the same place because A) there is no easy way to do anything on this island (I said while using my fingers to count and making sure she could see them in the camera) and B) if I'm going to sit in traffic to go pay a bill I may as well waste my entire afternoon by hitting the grocery store, Prime and the drugstore.  So yeah, I totally miss convenience and reliability."

"Are you familiar with the chaos theory?"

"Is that like Nordstrom on Black Friday? Because, yes, I am painfully familiar with that"

Laughing Ginny answered, "I guess in a round about way, yes it is. It's really how one choice, one action can have a larger impact than you'd expect. When you take route 1 on the island, that choice impacts the rest of your day as well as anyone else you come into contact with and people they see or interact with after the fact. So, even though nothing on the island is easy, as you say, what you do with your time on the island is important in the larger scheme of things."

"What? Like Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon?" 

We talked for the next 20 minutes about my choices and putting a different spin on them, trying to look at my life from a different vantage point and ways to reduce stress. In turn, I told her my story of how I'd e-mailed Starbucks no less than 8 times to suggest they open a store on the Dutch side of St. Maarten. This, to me, would be the fastest and easiest way to alleviate a lot of my stress.  Ginny disagreed and suggested I drink less coffee.

Wrapping up my Skype appointment, Ginny asked, "Kelly, this is the point in which I ask clients if they'd like to talk with me again.  I'm not going to ask you because I've gleaned you don't do anything you don't want to do.  However, I am going to suggest you think about it and then let me know."

"Soooo, are you telling me you'd see right through an answer of 'I'm not bovvered'?"

"Should I start calling you Lauren?"

"Got it. Look at my schedule and mail you back. Consider it done," I signed off to Doc.Ginny.

Mental checklist: apparently 8 years of med school and residency, combined with details provided by Taffi, were going to make these therapy sessions legit. Must tell Ginny to address me as M.C. Hammer during next session.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

It's Got Electrolytes

"Kel?" Mitch asked while shutting the door to the freezer. "There's like, no more burritos or corn dogs. And, I think we're out of Coke's."

Mitch was staying with us for 6 weeks over his summer break - the break immediately preceding his senior year in high school. He'd been on the island for 10 days and so far had played XBox with Jameson at night and spent his days sleeping in and telling me how lame it was on the island. News flash.  Been there, bought the t-shirt.

I was sitting at the kitchen table which doubled as my desk during business hours.  I continued typing my work e-mail, "Totally fine. We'll run down to the marche in about an hour when my client is on lunch break."

Silence from Mitch, but I could see him out of my peripheral vision. Standing. Not moving.  I stopped typing and turned to give him my full attention.

"Child. You okay or is there something you need to tell  me?  And before you answer, is this something you'd rather tell your dad?" The only kind of teen-boy convo I was interested in having involved a reminder to wash his clothes.  "And seriously, those shorts are going to walk around on their own if you don't wash them soon.  The ewwww factor is over 10."

Standing in front of the refrigerator Mitch cocked one eyebrow, crossed his arms then shook his head. Ohmuhgawd! Mini-Jameson, sans tan.  This, I realized, must drive Sesame crazy on the daily.

"No, woman."

"Really? You're gonna go there?" I interrupted.  This actually elicited a laugh from the teen-monster.

Mental Checklist: talking to Mitch is just like talking to Jameson without responses with drawn out scientific data. Dammit.  Advantage = lost.

Mitch shuffled over to the breakfast bar and parked it.  "Woman, what  I'm trying to tell you is there's no food here. What am I supposed to eat for breakfast?"

"Last time I checked we had milk, cereal, eggs, bacon, sausage, juice -"

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. But, none of that is corn dogs." The face on this kid - serious as a heart attack.

"Couldn't be grosser, child. Just putting it out there."

"What?" Mitch asked while practically laying on the breakfast bar. Hmm, must be from lack of energy due to staying up late to XBox and eating food with little to no nutritional value. "No, seriously. There's like, corn - which is a vegetable and the dog, which is like... a protein?"

All I could think of was Sara Rue spitting out, "It's got electrolytes. It's what plants crave." in the movie 'Idiocracy'.  If Mitch got a tan, he could totally pass for the CEO of Brawndo.  He was a step ahead with his like of Mountain Dew.

"So, when you're at home, Sesame force feeds you burritos before you leave for school? Are they gluten free?"

Crickets.  Still splayed out across the breakfast bar.

"You're going to have to wait. Your dad is going to be home in two shakes and then we've got to head out for the jet ski tour. I guess you'll have to make due." I turned back around to finish working all the while tapping my heel on the floor. Must finish work. Must finish work.

I'd just wrapped up my workflow summary and had closed the lid of my laptop when Ja raced through the door. We had about 3 minutes before we needed to leave if we wanted to be "island on time", which really meant 20 minutes late.  After tossing his backpack like a dead body in the hall, he threw open the freezer only to exclaim, "Wife!  What the hell? Where are the corn dogs?"

Awesome. I was married to Frito Pendejo.

Monday, October 22, 2012

My Life in Numbers

49, 62, 17, 33, 2,555.

These numbers kept floating through my brain while I sat yoga style on Taff's couch finishing off my chardonnay. Second bottle.  I picked lint off of my new yoga pants (thank you, Lulu Lemon), prayed to Shaun T. the purchase of said pants would motivate me to exercise once I got back to the MFI and listened to Max explain the bouquet to "dude who always mooches their wine".  Taffi rolled her eyes and then continued conversation with the rest of us. 

I'd dropped Grey with my mother-in-law for his summer break and was camped at Max and Taffi's house for my final evening back in civilization. I'd spent 17 days here while Jameson remained on the island studying. Grey and I had shopped, visited the family lake house in Cheney and been to our storage unit so many times I'd lost count. 

"Real question. Channing Tatum or Christian Grey?" Taff's friend Angela asked, her eyes brightening at the potential discussion.

Which earned the following from her husband, "Are we really doing this?  Here? If we are, I'm going outside to light up my Jocko." To prove a point, he uncrossed his legs and adjusted himself in front of God and everyone.

"Babe, when you tell people you're going to 'light up your Jocko' (fingers with quotes), it doesn't give the best impression," Angela fired back.

"Such dirty minds, ladies," Jeff replied while bobbing his eyebrows up and down.

Groans from all the women had the guys single filing out the sliding glass door to smoke cigars at the fire pit.

"What's your deal, beezy?" Taff asked me.  "You've been quiet all night. Depressed about leaving your new Lou's behind?"

Oh yeah.  I'd been so distraught about leaving the cushy convenience of home I'd splurged on some Louboutin black patent slingbacks. Where did I think I was going to wear those on the MFI? To the marche to buy wilted lettuce and "fresh" pesto that was 24 hours from expiring?  Not my best choice.

Mental Checklist:  allow Taffi to "store" my Lou's while back on the MFI. Consider getting a remote alarm to notify me if the box opens.

I set my wine glass on the table, twisted my hair up in a dirty bun and began my breakdown (not to be confused with beat boxing).

"Do you know that I haven't had a night alone with my Ja for months?  Let me make this clear. It's been 49 days since we've gone on a date."

Crickets.  Then, glass clinking while my knitting bee filled up on more wine. Angela looked especially horrified and I knew she was thinking of her Christian Grey fetish.  Who was I kidding? I'd spent more time with Christian in the past few months than I had with my husband.  Taff nodded so I continued.

"So. Anyway.  Uh, it's been forever since we've gone on a date. Since Mother's Day actually."

"Oooh, what did you get for Mom's Day? You and McHotness in scrubs doing the nasty?" Kim, Taffi's neighbor who was obsessed with 'Grey's Anatomy', asked. Looking at her I wondered why we hadn't dubbed her "chic who talks porn about Patrick Dempsey".

"Kindle Fire. Love it. Not discussing my sex life with you boneheads. Should I go on?"

Everyone nodded so I continued my breakdown. 49 days since we'd gone on a date, 62 days on the island this last time, back in the States for 17 days of glorious convenience, 33 more days would be spent in lukewarm bath water weather battling mosquitoes and horrid traffic before returning to the States and the icing on the cake: 2, 555 days until the short sale of the house dropped off my credit report.

"Daaaamn, beezy! I had no idea you were so blue. I know what can make this better. Ladies - road trip."

With that, Taffi set down her wine glass, collected her new Coach hobo bag (read as me being extremely jealous) and we all made way to the SUV for a trip to Krispy Kreme.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Louie Louie

As the wife of a med student I’d learned more in 10 months about the human body, bacteria, disease, anatomy and parasites than I had in 10 years in healthcare. Of course, I sat safely in my software glass tower in healthcare, but still. Tonight while I was making dinner, Jameson sat at the kitchen table with his classmate, Holly, discussing the latest and greatest Medical Microbiology class.  Third semester was shaping up well.
“On slide 10 where she put cartoons of the bookworm and apple with the worm sticking out,” Holly started, “it totally ruined apples for me. I shit you not!  I can’t even look at an apple now without thinking of self-induced vomiting.”
“I know, right?” Jameson agreed and then started laughing.
“What are you guys talking about? Some grossness for school?”  My curiosity got the best of me. What’s the old adage? Curiosity killed the cat. Yeah, I just don’t know when to stop.
“Wife, I can promise that you do not want to know.”
“What? How bad can it be?”
Jameson leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms. I recognized that pose and look combo – a lecture was about to spill.
“Kel, remember when we talked about tinea versicolor in warm climates because you thought people on the island had leprosy?”
“Hey,” I said while waving a head of lettuce and trying my best to look stern, “Anybody could have made that mistake. They’re like, almost the same thing.”
Loud sigh from Jameson, head shaking, arms up in the air and he scoots back in to his Mac. Um, does he think I’m giving up that easy?
“Oh for God’s sake, this is the best bug we’ve learned about so far,” Holly laughed and then turned her chair around so she could give me her full attention. Just to be safe, I put down the lettuce and knife to lean against the island. This was going to blow leprosy out of the water. I could tell.
“So, check this out,” Holly begins while pointing to her right eye, “There are these worms called Loa Loa that can literally swim from one eye to the other.”
“What? Worms called Louie Louie?!?”
“No, Wife,” Jameson’s head pops up.  “This isn’t ‘Animal House’.” Another sigh. I’m not even talking to him - why is he so annoyed?
“Ohmuhgawd, no,” Holly begins again and I can tell she’s excited. She’s leaning forward to use her hands to describe the movement of the worm while giving me the description. “These worms can get under your skin and they basically travel through your fat to get to your eye. Then,” and she pauses for effect, “they can go to your other eye through your nose. I shit you not.”
I stared at Holly, blinked twice and then opened up the frig to grab the chardonnay.  Wagon? Yep, I was back on it.
“Wife, I told you that you didn’t want to know,” Jameson challenged.
“What, you’re not seriously bothered by that are you?” Holly asked. “I mean, unless you’re travelling to Africa anytime soon you have nothing to worry about.”
“I’m good,” I answered while pouring my first coffee mug of chardonnay in a week. “I’m just going to finish this and then make dinner.”
Jameson and Holly looked at each other and then continued their discussions of Med Micro. I knocked back my chardonnay and began chopping lettuce.
Mental checklist: the less you know about bacteria and parasites the happier you’ll be. And, the more you exercise the more wine you can drink. I think they cancel each other out – like drinking a Diet Coke while eating a Tollhouse cookie.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Back in Black

Sandwiched between Grey at the window and Ja on the aisle, I decided to start using my miles to upgrade the group to First Class the next time we fly. Tired of not getting an arm rest and being the tray table for their drinks, computers, iPads and whatever layer of clothing each decided to remove at any given time during the flight, I let out a loud sigh.  Squeezing my butt cheeks to get some blood flowing and shifting in my seat, I checked my watch. We had a little less than an hour left on the flight until we were back in St. Maarten. 
Mental checklist: do not use Xanax for annoyance, only for anxiety. And never mix with alcohol.  Call doctor and ask if/when these cross over.
To keep my sanity and continue my good mood from our April break, I decided to read through my “Glinda List”.  Last night at the prompting of Taffi (after we’d polished off 3 bottles of chardonnay and 2 classic Krispy Kreme doughnuts, each), I’d made a list of good versus bad things about moving to the island.  Digging the crumpled Krispy Kreme bag from my backpack, I unfolded it and began reading the notes written in purple highlighter.

GOOD WITCH                            BAD     SUPER SUCKY
sunshine                                        hurricanes (Irene, anyone??)
beach                                          sweeping sand, sand in clothes
scuba                                           had to short sale the house (MFB)
rum                                            miss holidays, birthdays, everything
goats on the side of the road                  no hockey
Yoda Guy                                      never see husband
                                                med school is hard/stressful for Ja
                                                worry about Ja’s health
                                                weight gain
                                                centipedes aka dangerous beasts

Really? I wrote down that goats were a good thing?  The Star Wars marathon I suffered through with the guys must have prompted my “Yoda Guy” reference. Even if Darth Vader was on the island, it was still too remote.  Case and point my intake of chardonnay had to change – starting tomorrow.   I shoved the scribbles in my backpack, downed my 4 ounces of chardonnay and climbed over Ja plastic cup in hand to make my way to the lavatory. 
Leaning forward in the aisle to look out the window at darkness, the captain announced we’d begun our descent to St. Maarten.  The announcement startled the guy in the seat I was leaning over causing him to jerk, fling his arm and throw coffee all over my shorts.  Strange. I didn’t remember puking in Karma’s Cheerios this morning.
So this was my welcome back to St. Maarten for Jameson’s 3rd semester? Seriously?!? Only two months until I was back in the States to take Grey back for a summer of fun. I can do it. But, can I do it without chardonnay…

Saturday, July 14, 2012

And I ran, I ran so far away...

With less than 24 hours left on the island before heading to the States for the April semester break I should have been packing. Instead I was parked in front of my laptop on iTunes searching for music to create the ultimate work-out playlist. After spending the afternoon at Mullet with the guys and Jameson’s classmates, I felt like a highly functioning walking/talking panic disorder.  Every time I was around a group of students I got blasted with some comment about my age, my flabby arms, my breast size (really, why do we even need to go there).  Today it was my belly and I’d reached my limit.
“Wife,” Jameson cooed while walking up to me. He seemed scared. I wasn’t sure if he was pitying me or questioning if I’d come unhinged. “What’s up?”
“What’s up?” I asked back and peeled my eyes off of the monitor. “Welllll… I’m just searching for songs so I can make a work-out playlist. You know a playlist for me and the baby.”
There it was. The elephant just stepped out of the shadows and was standing in the middle of the room. 
“Kel, that girl was an idiot. Seriously.  Why are you getting worked up about this? Ignore her. Everyone thinks she’s a moron. Shit, I heard her asking one of the other students if MCB2 was a ‘do-over’ for MCB.”
I pushed my chair back from the kitchen table, also my makeshift desk during the week, and got up to go pour myself another chardonnay. Huh. Was this part of the reason the Trixie thought I was preggs?  I held the refrigerator door open and thought while Jameson crossed his arms and let out a huge sigh. Nah, not finishing off the wine wasn’t an option. I can’t leave it for 12 days and expect to drink it when we’re back. I grabbed the bottle and shut the door.
“Babe, thank you for your support, “ I said over my shoulder.  “And, before you say anything else, I KNOW you can tell I’ve gained weight since our move. No, don’t interrupt to try and make me feel better.  I guess I didn’t realize the 6 pounds I put on were centered on my belly and this,” I said while grabbing my midsection, “could be mistaken for carrying a child.”  Who was I kidding? I wasn’t planning on packing  my COH or 7’s because I had a muffin top.  I was the new chairperson for Ewww, Gross.  To hell with my coffee mug, I just drank straight from the bottle.
Jameson’s mouth dropped open, but he closed it quickly when he realized there were only 2 swallows left in the bottle. Better to not poke the bear at this point.
“Wife, you do what you need to do.”
“I am. I’m making a playlist.”
“Okaaaayyy…  want me to look at what  you’ve got  so far?”
I raised an eyebrow and crossed my arms in return. “Sure, but no digs about my musical selection. Too much stress isn’t good for the baby.”
Jameson laughed, sat down facing my laptop and added, “Well, you haven’t lost your wit.”
Pulling up my ‘Curbcheck the Trixie’ playlist, he started muttering songs and artists out loud, “Run DMC, Eminem, Hot and Cold, Aha, Sandstorm, Save the World. Wife, I get the impression your playlist has a personality disorder. What is this? Oh my gawd! You have Flock of Seagulls on here?”
Mental checklist: husband doesn’t appreciate the one hit wonders. I find this maddening.
“Um, yeah.  I love that song. Besides, I was just kind of putting whatever on there for now until I can figure out what I’m going to do for my workouts and then I’ll cater the songs at that point.”
Jameson pulled me down so I was sitting on his lap. He wrapped his arms around me and kissed me on the forehead. Damn. This was the international symbol for pending pep talk. I must look even worse than I think I do - I’ve turned into  Eddy from ‘Absolutely Fabulous’.
“Wife, living on this island is hard for all of us. I know you miss your friends, your life, the gym…”  He just let that one hang.  “I get it. I appreciate the sacrifices you and Grey are making. So, do what you need to do. Make your playlist, plan your workouts and then after the break focus on YOU.  But, let’s go home and have fun!”
With that he gave me a squeeze, stood me up and then headed off to the bedroom. No doubt to finish packing.  I shut down my laptop and decided I needed to pack if I was going to go home and see my family.  I needed to end this little pity party and start getting my ass in gear. Third semester I was turning over a new leaf. The thought of my soon-to-be break up with Robert Mondavi motivated me out of my chair and toward the bedroom. 
Mental checklist:  while home taste test for diet wines that don’t suck. Oh, and by some yoga pants. But, do NOT taste test while lounging comfortably in the yoga pants. Recipe for disaster.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Devil in a Blue Dress

With my laptop to my right I sat on the couch, my feet on the coffee table and sipped my champagne. I was going for mimosa’s, but figured I was fat and sassy enough so I’d just stick to the alcohol. Don’t need those extra sugar calories.  As it was, my batwing complex was increasing each time I raised my coffee cup and checked my triceps before drinking.
It was Saturday morning and I had the condo to myself. Jameson was on campus studying for his final Block and Grey was over at Tommy’s house. I’d had the worst morning on the island to date and was anxiously waiting for Taffi to call me.  While reminiscing about the past year, I longed for the day that traffic near the Home Depot in Redmond was my biggest annoyance. At this point I’d give my right leg to put the car in park by the Brown Bear Carwash while reading my Kindle and waiting for rush hour to end.
I’d just polished off my third mug of champagne when my Skype chirped. I dropped my feet from the table, put my computer on my lap and answered the call.
“Thank gawd!  I’ve been drinking coffee cups of champagne and spinning out of control while you were working out. I’m in a panic.”
“In a panic and what, you’ve moved to a trailer park? Why are you drinking champagne out of a mug?  Its 11AM there – what is going on that’s got you in a twitter?”
I sighed and began telling Taffi my story. I’d worked out in the AUC Gym that morning and on the way back to the condo I stopped in the coffee shop just off campus to get a soy latte. After placing my order, a girl walked in with her mother and I could hear them talking about how the girl was starting at AUC the upcoming semester.
“So, I try to be nice and say hello and tell them that my husband is a student – non-traditional of course - and explain that I’d be happy to answer any questions they may have about island life.  The mother looks me up and down and, I guess, decides to speak even though I look like a dish towel and probably smell like a swap meet.”
“True. Anyway, they get drinks, we sit down on the couch and chairs and I ask where they’re from. Oh, by the way, the mom was wearing that cute navy blue dress from Ann Taylor.  The one we were chatting about the other day.”
“Sleeveless with the square neckline?”
“Yep. And, the cutest mother trucking Louboutin’s. Ever.”
“Damn. Did you knock her out and make a break for it with the Lou’s?”
“No, unfortunately this story doesn’t end well. So, we talk for a few minutes and I answer some questions about the drug store in Simpson Bay, the Gourmet Marche down the hill and politely explain that there is no shopping on the island when I get hit with this question.  ‘What is it that you do, Kelly?’  Excited that I get to talk about ME and not some science crap that Jameson’s classmates always ramble about, I say I’m a software architect.”
“I’m waiting for the apocalypse that drove you to e-mail me four times during Rami’s spin class.”
“Taff, she quizzed me some more and then asked when I was quitting my job and why I would want to work if my husband was going to be a physician. What the frak! I have a career, too! I’m not going to drop everything to stay home and attend functions for Jameson’s hospital.”
“Did you tell her that you’re entirely too neurotic and Type A to NOT work?  I mean, realistically you can work, clean your house, read about ‘Fifty’ and still have free time. You’re like a well-oiled machine.”
“FYI, read the ‘Fifty’ series. Again. Third time. Jameson thinks I need an intervention. What do you think?”
“I am not the person to ask. Max and I’ve gone through three silver neck ties in as many weeks.”
“Shut. Up.”
“I know. Anyway - are you more worried about an intervention for ‘Shades’ or about the beezy with the Lou’s?”
I just sighed.
“OK,” Taffi began, “Here’s the deal. A, Jameson won’t be working at ‘General Hospital’ so I think worrying about black tie functions is a waste. And B, nobody ever said you shouldn’t work. Well, not until this morning. We ALL know that you’re going to keep working. It’s non-negotiable. I think you’re freaking out over nothing. Seriously. My phone kept buzzing. It was embarrassing.”
After Taff talked me off a ledge, we wrapped up our call with discussion about the Red Room of Pain. Seriously. An intervention may be required.
Mental Checklist: politely explain to husband that the Red Room of Pain is NOT a surgery suite and look on Amazon for a silver neck tie. Oh, and buy more champagne. You can knock that stuff back when drinking out of a pint sized mug.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Doctor. Doctor.

In addition to my lingering insecurities and self-ridicule, Jameson’s second semester in medical school introduced a course called Introduction to Clinical Medicine or ICM.  This course taught students how to interview patients and figure out why they were being seen.  Grey and I were home practice patients for Jameson. Though, we seemed to be a practice in his restraint rather than clinical skills.

“Wife, stop moving! I’m trying to do this exam,” Jameson said and then let out another sigh. This was the third such outburst during this go round.

“I can’t help it. How long are you going to shine that light in my eye? Cripes! It’s killing me. What are you doing anyway?”

Ja answered, “I’m doing a lot of things. One of them is to see how your pupils react to light.”

“Why don’t you tell me how they react after I’ve had a glass of wine?” and I got up to open the refrigerator. Frowning, I noticed there was less than a glass of chardonnay left. Still, I pulled the bottle out and grabbed a glass from the cupboard.

“Kel, you told me you’d let me practice on you and instead all you’ve done is ask me questions and not let me finish a single examination point.”

Mental Checklist: Wiki search the meaning for blood pressure numbers. Husband is not in the mood for more questions.

I took a quick swallow to finish off my chardonnay. I knew what was going on my grocery list for the Monday afternoon shopping bonanza known as Cost-U-Less.  Looking at my husband I could see he was frustrated. I thought I was helping by quizzing him on everything - not the case.

“Sorry,” I said to Jameson.  “I just want to know what you’re doing. We literally see you like two hours a day during the week and only for a few hours on the weekend. I’d like to figure out what it is that you do during all that time. In my mind you’re letting Bob Hope play through and getting ready to cut open some dude in a tent.”

“Spies Like Us?”


“Loved that movie. Dan Akroyd at his finest. And no, we’re not cutting people open in a sand trap,” Jameson said while making quotes with his fingers to mock me on the cut open comment.

  “Fine, I’ll suck it up and be a more patient patient.”

I belly laughed at Jameson’s response, “Wife, like I’ve never heard that one before.”

Grey walked in the room at that moment to see that his dad’s instruments were still out on the kitchen table.

“Dad, still doing the doctor thing?” Grey asked.

Jameson nodded cautiously and asked, “Yes, why?”

“Wanna practice? ‘Slap Shot’ is over and I’m bored.”

“Yep, give me a sec to get reorganized and then I’ll start the exam,” Jameson said excitedly.

“A’ight. Let me know when we get to the questions about bowel movements. Sweet logs to talk about.”

With that comment, my sweet husband’s mouth dropped open and he shook his head. Maybe I was the better patient.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

“Have I taught you nothing?” Taffi lectured me over Skype. “No, you can’t wear a cardigan to the White Coat dinner tonight. Are you trying to look like a blue-hair? Turn the computer around so I can see the options again.”

We were leaving in a few minutes for the 1st Semester White Coat dinner over at Bliss. My wounds, still fresh from the flabby arm comment the week before, were making it hard to decide what to wear. I’d called Taff and now wasn’t sure I’d be done listening to her school me on trendy clothes in time to go through the buffet line.

“OK, wear the black sundress and some cute sandals. Call me the minute you get home. I want to hear all about it.”

I ended our call and I put on the black sundress with spaghetti straps. One look in the mirror and my panic began. Memories of Jameson’s White Coat Ceremony flooded my mind while I pondered, To Cardigan or Not To Cardigan.

Last semester while sitting in the back row of LH1 and watching the youth gone wild while waiting for the ceremony to start, Grey and I overheard a group of girls talking about whether or not you could actually see their ass cheeks because they were wearing such short skirts. While they were talking I was wracking my brain to remember if A) I’d ever been in shape enough to wear something that short and B) if so, did I?  Grey thoroughly checked and determined that yes he could see cheeks and wanted to “help” the girls by sharing this information.  I politely explained that if he ever dated a girl who thought it was acceptable to wear a dress the size of a washcloth, we’d exchange words.  This flashback didn’t stop my batwing anxiety. On went the cardigan and flip-flops.

We arrived at Bliss just before the mad rush of buses from the AUC Campus. This was great news to me because we’d hit the buffet line early and hopefully get back home in time for me to wrap up some work. I was living up to my blue-hair image alright. Jameson and I stood in the line for the left of the buffet and Grey in the right. 

While slowly moving closer to the buffet tables and food, Jameson began talking to the 3rd semester in front of us. I completely tuned him out and began scanning the students and their dates.

“Are you having fun?”

I glanced behind me and 2 guys were standing in line to go through the buffet. I asked, “Are you talking to me?”

“Uh, yeah,” the kid in the purple shirt and gold necklace said.

“I guess. Are you having fun?”

Purple shirt kid looked at his buddy, shrugged and replied, “Yeah.” We scooted forward in the line and he asked, “Are you like, here with your kid or something?”

I told him that I was here with my husband and son. Purple shirt kid visibly relaxed and we moved forward enough to grab plates and silverware.

“Do you know if any of your family could see the live stream of the ceremony? I told my mom to watch but I don’t know if it worked.”

“Oh,” I answered, “I have no idea. We didn’t go to the ceremony; we just came straight to the dinner. And, I didn’t even check out the site to see what the address was for streaming. Sorry.”

Using tongs to grab some chicken I noticed the guys looking at each other after that statement.

Kid in the white shirt and brown tie asked me, “Why would you come to your son’s White Coat and not even go? You here on vacation?”

My spine straightened, my jaw dropped open, I turned to the infants and said, “I’m going to assume you’re joking before I go Joan Crawford on your ass.”  Both boys stopped grabbing food and stared.  I added, “My husband is a 2nd semester student and my son and I are here with him while he goes to school. I am not your mother’s age unless she gave birth at 14.”

My comment left a slight pause in conversation so I turned back to the buffet and kept walking.

“Dr. Crawford? Is she a professor?” White shirt kid asked.

“Yo. Fail,” Grey said to the kid. It was the first I’d even noticed he was listening to the conversation.

Over a 7 day stretch I’d been told that my arms were flabby and now I parented a child who had just walked in White Coat. I couldn’t hit the bar fast enough. Thank gawd for the free drinks. I went straight for a chardonnay, leaving my food on the buffet.  

Jameson had missed the entire conversation because he was trying to get some notes from the guy in front of him. Though, after hearing my story he wasn’t surprised to learn I’d be drinking my dinner.

Monday, May 7, 2012

To the Bat Cave

Jameson had successfully passed his first round of exams in Semester 2 and I was visibly calmer. I had no idea I’d stress out more than my husband about the possibility of failing an exam and staying on this rock longer than planned. Quick reality check. Yep, still no Target here.
“Wife, what are you doing?” my husband calls through the bedroom door.  “It’s a beach party.  We’re not meeting the Queen.”
Oddly enough we could meet a queen. Beatrix, the Queen of the Netherlands, was here during the first semester. I remember it fondly because we had water, electricity and internet service the entire week. That glorious trifecta of convenience was well worth the bad traffic.
While yanking the door open and wearing my stern face, I snip back, “I was having trouble deciding what to wear, okay. Happy now?”
This statement puzzles Ja while he backs away from the bedroom door.  He looks me up and down, shakes his head and hollers for Grey to hurry up. Why am I the only one in this house worried about going to a beach party with a bunch of toned, tanned 20-something chippies in bikinis? Grey can’t get out of the house fast enough and here I am trying to figure out which swimsuit offers the most coverage. Oxymoron with a side of apathy, coming right up.
Walking down the hill toward Mullet Beach I quickly recite my story about the dog poop and the naked guy. Grey rolls his eyes and requests, “Mom, please don’t talk about dogs dropping a log or some grandpa and his junk while we’re at the beach.  It’s embarrassing. “
“Embarrassing? You just turned thirteen and you’re crushing on one of your dad’s classmates and my story about dog poop is embarrassing?”
“Agh! Seriously, I’m running ahead. Just act like you don’t know me,” Grey adds while jogging off to the beach.
“What did I say?”
“Wife,” Jameson starts, “Just try to make it through the next couple of hours. I want to see how people did on exams. Plus, it’s free food so we get off easy feeding Grey.”  Jameson pats me on the shoulder and dismisses me to head over to the crowd.
My husband was mingling with students from all semesters and Grey was hanging with some boys from his school so I set up my beach bum station.
Mental Checklist: the black hat I bought to shade my face not only attracts the sun but doubles as a portable heater.  Purchase new hat and maybe some Toms while browsing online later.
I was 2% into my book on my Kindle when the back of my arm lit up in pain. I shouted, jumped up and began shaking my right arm while trying to swat at my shoulder and back with my left. What the heck?!?  I don’t know what bit me, but I wanted it squashed under my heel immediately.
“Ohmuhgawd! Are you okay?”
I turned to see two tiny girls in bikinis with concerned looks and Heineken’s. Oh, they were talking to me. My dance of life must have spooked them.
“Yeah, I’m fine. Something bit me and I just, I just freaked out I guess. Thank you for asking,” I answer while trying to smile and not worry about my roots. I knew I should have colored my hair this morning. I knew it!
“No, I totally would have done the same thing. Bugs freak me out,” explains yellow and black bikini girl.  I decide she reminds me of a bumble bee.
Her friend in the pink suit adds, “And how awesome that you have like almost no fat on your triceps. My friends’ mom moves her arms and it’s like she’s got wings or something.” They both giggle at that and continue down the beach sipping beer.
What. The. Frak.
Not only am I being grouped into what I consider to be a Grandma-like branding, I’ve been reduced to comparison to a mom with flabby arms who can fly.  No amount of chardonnay can make me forget that shit.  I settle back on my beach towel and plan my personal attack.
Mental Checklist:  Can I get a trainer here? How well do the Turbo Fire DVD’s really work if you use them “as directed”?   Has Jameson noticed my bat wings and just not said anything? If I Google flabby arms will I find a support group in my area?  Should I ask Grey about this and risk personal ridicule or just drink my way through this hitch in my giddy-up?
I decide on the latter and head over to the beer tent. Flabby arms or not, I can throw back the beers with the kids.