Saturday, May 26, 2007

Goodbye Cousin It

It's so funny when I first sit down in the stylist's chair and whip out the picture of what I want my hair to look like. They (and there have been many) always give me a very doubtful look, a look that questions whether or not I'm ready for such a drastic change. At first impression it's almost like they don't believe me, that I must be pulling their leg. They treat me like my world is about to end, as if with that first cut I'm going to fall out of my chair and curl up in a fetal position crying like a little girl who just can't grasp the fact that hair really does grow back. At first the stylist will very carefully comb through the hair I have let grow down to my elbows, then she'll cup the first chunk in her hand, and with scissors in position she'll say, "I'm about to make the first cut. There is no turning back now." Snip.

I find this amusing because she doesn't understand that, by this point, I have waited so long for a haircut I so desperately needed I really don't care if she just shaves my head. I want it gone, and I want it gone now. Anyone who knows me knows that I will talk about needing a haircut up to one year before I actually get the guts to go in to a salon and chop it off. And within that year I grow so disgusted with my hair and the monotony of the daily ponytail that I eventually just crack and decide that today will be the day. At that moment I'm able to let go of the warped opinion that I have never been happy with a single cut in my life, and I will bite the bullet.

Today wasn't any different. I woke up thinking that I had to let go of the style that made me look 15 years old again. So I printed a photo from the internet of what I thought might work and marched into the salon. Today's stylist, Emily, looked none to happy when she realized she was stuck with Cousin It, but she quickly put on her most welcoming face and invited me into her chair. And when I pulled out the photo her eyes got really big and she said, "Wow. That's pretty short. Are you ready for this?" I smiled and nodded my head, "Yep." She offered to keep it a little longer than the example to absorb some of the shock, but I thought that if I'm going to do this then I'd better do it right, because who knows when I'll be able to drag myself in for a cut again. Besides, the shorter I go, the longer I have before it reaches this length again.

Overall I'm very happy. I walked in there with hair down to my elbows, and I walked out with hair that rests loosely on my collar bone. I couldn't stop running my fingers through it on the drive home and I'm looking forward to washing it for the first time, experiencing the shock of having nothing there compared to before. Today I walked out of there very pleased and excited as compared to the many times before when I've climbed into the car and asked myself, "What have I done?" Today I walked out of there thinking that Emily was my girl.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

O Brother

I'm beginning to think there's a conspiracy. Maybe the boards of the local hospitals got together for a lunch meeting a few months ago and in an attempt to find more profit they decided to put something in the city water tanks, forcing more of us to be admitted to the hospital than usual. Yeah, I know it's a long shot.

In any case last night Jon's little brother was rushed to the emergency room after a few hours of what seemed to be a very violent flu. Once at the hospital it was determined to be appendicitis and his appendix had to be removed quickly before it ruptured. The surgery was minor and he's doing just fine, thankfully, but I'm not sure how many more trips to the hospital my husband can stand before he finally breaks down into a big ball of stress and tears. Let's just say he is hanging on by a thread at this point. But regardless of Jon's state we made the trip down to the hospital after we knew his brother had been moved into his own room where we spent a few hours talking with his dad and his brother's girlfriend. We were sure to thank his girlfriend for getting him to the hospital so quickly before things could get any worse, and being the sweet girl that she is, she wouldn't take much credit for it.

His brother was only awake for a minute or two the entire time we were there, and when he first opened his eyes Jon exclaimed, "Hey! What's up, man?"

"Sup." His brother managed to reply in a very sleepy, groggy voice.

"How are you feeling?"

"Like I've been hit by a bus."

Then he went right back to sleep.

Jon is a burly guy and unfortunately he doesn't have a graceful bone in his body, so when he went to give his brother a small, affectionate rub on the shoulder before leaving, it was more like a congratulatory pat on the back, usually accompanied by a very manly handshake. His brother didn't show any signs of discomfort in his sleep, but we all sort of cringed, and then smiled at the care he was trying to give his little brother even though Jon is known for not being very emotional.

As of right now the festivities for his brother's 21st birthday are still planned for Friday, and the doctors said that he could be out playing golf within a week if he wanted to which I think is just absolutely amazing. We'll see how he is feeling in a few days, but mostly I'm just so thankful to have had two very important people to me go through surgery with flying colors, all in the matter of two months. Although I wouldn't complain if I could manage a month away from the hospital... just one.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Once a Tomboy, Always a Tomboy

This time of year always takes me back to twelve years ago, during my tomboy days, when a good friend of mine stopped me in the middle of the produce section at the local grocery store, and in a very serious tone said, "Katie, we need to talk. Now that we're older you really shouldn't wear sandals without painting your toes. I mean that's just not attractive. If you aren't a fan of bold colors you can at least wear a pale pink or something."

Part of me has always taken the comment to heart but, to this day, I still don't always heed the advice.

Jumping Rope

It's kind of scary how well I called the "poker party" last night. I was wrong in that we actually did play various card games, but it wasn't before our hostess openly admitted to not expecting to play at all, as her husband dealt the first round of cards. She said it was more an excuse to have Jon and I over than to actually play poker. To which Jon and I promptly replied that we would have come over for anything, so it didn't have to be for a game both her and our third female player didn't quite understand and therefore despised. But we switched it up a bit, playing a dealers choice version, and I think that everyone had a good time in the end. I took it all with a lucky game of Screw Your Neighbor. With no money involved it was all in good fun, anyway.

It was also nice to get together with other married couples for once. Of course, this didn't change the fact that I'm still a very quiet, mousy person who, at first, comes off very snobby just because I don't have much to say. I do my best to exaggerate my interest in a conversation, by smiling and nodding, and widening my eyes at times that it seems called for, and I really do listen intently to what they are saying, but I have trouble finding the right time to put my two cents in. A conversation is like jumping rope to me. I have to find the other person's rhythm, the right time for me to step in and join, before I am comfortable saying anything. And this could take days, or it could take minutes, but it usually happens just at the point where I realize that if I don't start saying something now I am never going to be invited back because who wants a boring, unsociable person around? I spend so much time freaking out about what to say that I inevitably end up not saying much at all. I can only hope that my company recognizes a shy, but sweet girl is sitting in front of them. Give me the time and I open up completely. I just have to find your rhythm and meld it with mine, and it's all good.

Oddly enough, last night I decided to take a different approach and just put all of my idiosyncrasies out on the table, and it actually worked. By admitting to being a head case I actually started a whole new conversation in which I was able find my footing. Who knew?

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Hidden Messages

Tonight we're going to a "couples poker party," which seemed like a not so obvious excuse to get six of us together who have all been wanting to get together, but haven't found the right time or reason to ask. I highly doubt poker will be involved, but I don't mind.

We girls are weird.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

My Childish Side Revealed

I'm terrible about remembering to have film developed. At latest count I had 6 rolls of film in my desk drawer and I couldn't even begin to tell you when they were taken or what the pictures could be. That's why the world of digital photography removed a very large, invisible weight from my shoulders. Film, filling out forms, and waiting an hour for development became history when I was able to pop a little card out of my camera and into my printer for viola! photos.

Unfortunately, our digital camera, a Nikon Coolpix 5700, has been on the fritz for almost a year now. In August of last year it began taking pictures of the demonic variety with extremely blurry objects and a psychedelic rainbow of colors. And after enough fiddling in an attempt to figure out what was wrong it decided to just take the full plunge and go black, with absolutely no picture at all. Now, the smart thing to do would probably have been to call Nikon for a trouble-shooting session, or at the very least to search the internet for similar problems or a possible fix, but in my devastation I chose to call the local camera repair shop. And when they told me it would be $40 just to look at it I became skittish, and decided that I was not going to pay them to tell me a repair would cost some ghastly amount of money that I could use to a buy a new, not-so-outdated camera instead. Jon and I had entertained the idea of buying something smaller anyway, more of a point and shoot camera that would be more convenient to grab and go, but we never acted on it.

My patience in living a picture-less life grew thin last night as I nearly morphed into a 2-year-old on the verge of a tantrum in the middle of a store when Jon still wouldn't let me buy a new one. I knew it was immature, and I knew that it was enough money to put a little more research into rather than buy the first little piece of equipment that I thought would make a nice fashion accessory, but I wanted a dang camera! Not only could we not agree on the fact that we actually needed to have one, but we couldn't agree on a size, or the various doodads embedded in some and not others. I handle the financial aspect of our life, and so when the guy who could spend hours trying to find a way to afford a 50" plasma television to no avail was telling me that I couldn't have a measly little camera, I decided to stomp out of the store with him on my tail, shaking his head at my silent fit.

I apologized soon after when I was able to emerge from this very childish state of mind and my blood stopped boiling. I'm hanging on to the fact that my admitting to being immature saves me from being labeled as psychotic.

However, this little debacle created a new drive in me. I finally did the smart thing and googled my broken camera. It turns out it's a very common problem with this model, and a few others to boot. The darn thing was actually recalled back in 2005! I called Nikon to explain our problem, just to verify that this would be under the recall, and after giving them not much information at all, they said to send it in. The repairs would be free. Now don't I feel silly about sulking over a damaged camera for 9 months when it could have been fixed in 2 weeks?

I also decided to check with our cellphone carrier to see what kind of deals they would give me on two new phones in the hopes that I could have that always-there-point-and-shoot-camera as well. Our contract is up in just a couple of months, so of course they had a whole slew of enticing deals for me to extend our contract, one of which being $225 dollars off the phone of my choice. My fingers began to tingle with excitement. I'm not used to having anything go my way, and so to have my cake and eat it too, was just about the best thing to happen to me since being told that my dad was released from the hospital.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Macy May

Our newest dog, Macy, has been sick since Sunday morning. Jon and I had been keeping a close eye on her to determine just how serious it was, but we had ourselves convinced that it was something she ate, like when she decided to knock over the kitchen trash can for a splatter of tomato sauce and found many other wonderful surprises to munch on. We weren't too worried because she was still acting like herself as she rolled around on the area rugs to kick her legs in the air, or kept bringing her cruddy teddy bear to me to throw across the room for a game of fetch. Overall she was obviously sick, the details of which I will spare you, but it wasn't effecting her physically, and so we figured it would just pass through her system in a couple of days.

Last night it only got worse, though, as she woke us up almost every 45 minutes to take care of business outside. The night was filled with rain and thunder, and there we were, standing out in the backyard, wearing our pajamas and watching our normally indignant, and feisty little dog not care that she was being pummeled with rain as she bravely ran out into the middle of the yard. She returned to us with tired eyes, but a face that clearly expressed her gratitude of how quickly we had gotten her outside. A look that said, "Wow. I could not have made it without you!" And at 6:00 this morning Jon called in to work to explain that our little rescued dog had to be taken to the vet immediately.

Two hundred dollars and some odd tests later we still aren't sure what is wrong, but the veterinarian is leaning towards two options--either a virus, or a problem with her kidneys. While there they gave her a few different shots of antibiotics, and sent us home with more in pill form, and a new diet for her. And while I thought her current diet of Iams was expensive, her new diet of hamburger and rice (yuck!) tops the charts. They wanted to keep her overnight to run more tests on her kidneys, but she was so afraid during the car ride there, and when this stranger began poking her with really sharp objects, we just couldn't bare to leave her behind. We opted to give the antibiotics a go, believing that it was only a virus, and if things don't clear up we will surrender her to the clinic.

I'm not extremely worried about this. More than anything I feel bad that we didn't get it taken care of sooner, since she has been catching a lot of grief from Jon and I for a few accidents she had around the house. And of course I'm worried about the possibility of it being something more than a little virus, something in the kidneys, and more damaging. All we can do is take it one day at a time and hope for the best. And as always, pet health insurance looks like a pretty good idea in hindsight.

Monday, May 14, 2007


There is just something about sandals and tank tops that make me happy.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Haphazard Update

Mother's Day Brunch 2007 went off without a hitch. My dad couldn't make it because he was feeling too worn out, but we still had six of us seated around the dining room table with good food and good conversation. Jon and I have turned it into an annual get-together for which our parents only have to hop into the car and drive to our place where a delicious meal, cards, and gifts await our mothers. I feel it is a very small way of showing my mom how much I love her and appreciate everything that she has done for me, and for the large role that she had to play in making me who I am today. Not to mention all of the wonderful memories I have of Sunday brunch at my parent's house, and it makes me feel all grown up to be able to do the same thing for her, even it's just once a year.

In other news my dad is doing well, taking advantage of all of the babying that my mom and all of us kids are giving him. He is understandably tired, sore, and disinterested, but we're having a hard time getting him to understand that the only way to fight the sleepiness and aches is to keep moving, exert energy to create more and build muscle to help treat the sore ones. He doesn't really want to have anything to do with it. He is conveniently asleep at the time of each of his scheduled walks and exercises, or he'll give the excuse that he is just too tired to do anything, and because we love him so much we just shrug our shoulders and say, "It's okay dad, we'll just do it later," and later never comes. Hence the reason a warning was given to us by his physical therapist about being too easy on him.

The month of May has brought along with it some interesting events, like the beginning stages of planning my little sister's baby shower which I elected myself for and volunteered my home as a hall. She and I spent Wednesday evening traipsing through Target with a scanner getting her registered for the multitudes of baby care items she so desperately needs. She came armed with a very long list and after nearly two hours of trying to locate each item, I became bored, and told her to just walk down each aisle and scan everything she thought she could possibly need or want. All of it was baby stuff, of course. I figured, why not? That's what I did for our wedding and we made out pretty well.

In addition to the strange being my sister has turned into during her pregnancy, this month gave us my brother-in-law's 21st birthday and with each phone call we receive a new drunken conversation. I'm not too worried about it, yet, because he's out partying with his fraternity brothers by night, and making his university classes look easy by day.

We've been busy, obviously, as the very sporadic entries in this poor journal depict. Jon and I have been doing our best to help my parents out as much as possible while still trying to maintain a shred of normalcy in our personal lives. But we're okay, in fact, we're really good.

Friday, May 4, 2007

While people are starving in third world countries

I was walking into the office this morning and through my reflection in the glass I noticed the threading on my right shoe was just beginning to come undone. And as I walked through the door the receptionist immediately asked me, "Are you okay?"

"Yeah." I said, "I just noticed that my shoe is falling apart, which sucks, because these are my favorite shoes!"

"No," she said, "I meant, I heard that your husband's aunt passed away the other day and I wanted to make sure you were okay."

"Oh! Yeah, I'm doing alright. Thanks for asking," I muttered, and scurried away to hide in my cubicle by my insensitive self.