a body at rest…

Two days back in the office… ok… technically one and a half days. 

i appeared for only 4 hours on Monday, returning home to nap extensively late afternoon.  After spending three glorious days perfecting “horizontal”, i’ve been annoyed with “vertical”.  During the course of my forced convalescence for knee surgery, i’ve gotten in touch with my inner sluggard.  In fact, she’s a bit of all right…

In perfect Trailer Park form, i’ve rediscovered some bad habits as well.  Friday night, while drinking gin and tonic, eating girl scout cookies – feet propped up on pillows?  i called The Boy, who was making a beer run, and said “what time ya coming back?  Bring yer Momma some smokes, ‘k?”

i mean, if you’re going to be fucking off, watching tv and napping aggressively, a pack of Marlboro’s is a fundamental right, isn’t it?  Proving – as if there was ever any doubt – that i would be quite comfortable as a welfare mother*.  In fact, i think i would be so good at it, i could teach classes, if that didn’t require effort.  Or being vertical.  Trailer Park roots run deep.

After my first full day in the office today, waging never-ending war against technological dinosaurs, i was pretty damn tired.  All i wanted to do was walk the dog, smoke that last cigarette**, and get my ass horizontal.  Working to optimize the most efficient “lazy” strategy on the drive home, i came up with a plan!  i decided that i might be able to handle having the smoke, while walking the dog – knowing that i’d look quite fetching with the dog leash in one hand, cigarette dangling from my thin Appalachian-American lips while i bent over to pick up dog turds in a plastic bag. 

As i drove up to my garage, it seemed that every neighbor was out and about… including the ‘man-about-condo’ guy who likes to chat, and the sweet, lonely elder-widow who is fixated on my dog.  Hmmm… a quick walk (me & dog)/dump (dog) seemed unlikely.  By the time i’d unloaded my backpack and keys, harnessed up the mutt-nugget, and headed outside, the neighborhood discussion group had expanded – and was congealed right outside my open garage door.  No turning back and no way to avoid conversation.

Even more fun?  The young girl across the street with her 2 lb puppy had joined the pack…  Mr. Pickles the Wonder Dog apparently forgot that i’m 5 days post-op for knee surgery, and decided to bolt after Yappy McHairball. 

(sigh)

Disaster averted – i managed to get my good leg planted before 100 pounds of slobber-dog hit the end of the leash.  Turds dropped and retrieved.  Cigarette smoked from my back deck – empty pack disposed of without a second thought of buying another.  Off for a nap…

~~~~~~~~~~~

* meant in the spirit of the “Neil Young” usage of the term… “Di-vor-CEEEEEEEEE”

** i quit smoking “full time” in 1985 (having smoked my first cig at 7 years old or so).  i’m one of those “social” smokers – if there’s a beer and a friend with a pack?  i’ll have one.  if i’m doing a show with the theatre posse?  generally i’ll even buy a pack – quitting afterwards without a second thought… hate the smell, and hate the way it makes me feel after a pack, so before you start with the good-natured ‘nagging’, don’t worry about it… this will be it until the next show.  Or surgery.

Advertisements

Tending the garden…

April come she will.  And with it?  Memories of Dad.  He died in April, 2002. 

In the final month, when it became increasingly apparent that Dad’s body was rigging the white flag, Mom and i would gently sideswipe the subject of funeral arrangements.  One particularly difficult issue was “pall bearers”.  Traditionally, this is a gruesome task assigned to sons-in-law, close friends, strapping grandsons.  And as we did the math?  Not likely to be easy given our family demographics.

We had EJ and JK, my husband and my sister, S’s husband.  There was my niece, DQ’s first husband, LC, as well – Dad often said he considered him as a son.  So that cleaned out the “son-in-law” repository.  Digging deep, we tapped a guy from DQ’s extended family – who always spent time bullshitting with Dad at large family gatherings.  Four.  A start.

Granted, this wasn’t the most pressing issue at hand, but more of a subject that was chugging about in our brains in the background, only to pop up when primary processing power was momentarily freed up from the bigger issues.  It was through one of these random moments that someone had the clever idea of asking a neighbor – who had been a friend of Dad’s – when the time came.  Although he’d broken his back in a fall several years before, he seemed healthy enough for the job.  Five.

Making this process a little harder was the matter of physics.  Now, we are not a family of “wasting away” people.  Even after three and a half years of chemotherapy?  Dad still weighed 260 pounds.  Big Sicilian bones…  We needed some muscle, which ruled out dragging my son or his cousin – then about 13 years old – off the bench.  Want to traumatize a kid for life?  Put him in a position of dropping his grandfather’s casket… 

At the time, my sister, T, had been seeing her partner, MLG, for about 3 years.  MLG was a smokin’ hot hardbodied blonde from Paris, working on her PhD in English Literature.  In one of our late night, alcohol-fueled family conferences, T mentioned MLG…

And so it went.  Dad was planted in the earth by two sons-in-law, a grandson-in-law, two friends, and a five foot tall French lesbian.  Without a doubt, i’m thinking he would have been pretty cool with that…

Rest and recovery – nuggets…

Damn.  i could get used to this.  What have i been thinking all these years?  Work?  Screw that…

– Watched 4 episodes of “Weeds”.  oh, yeah.  The rest of Season 4 will be happening when i wake up from my next nap.  Naps.  Oh, yeah…

– Woke up from my morning nap yesterday to visit with a friend from work.  RJak brought my work laptop to me from the repair shop so i could, in theory, stay connected to the office drama.  Whatever…  RJak was slightly surprised to find me in a tank top and underwear.  This is just what i do when home…  i had arranged to have a couple techs stop by to tweak bugs in my home audio system.  When the doorbell rang, announcing the arrival of the techs, i stood up to get the door – she said:  “i’ll get the door.  You get pants.”  Whatever…  Took another nap after they left.  Sweet…

– My ‘to do’ list for yesterday?  Phone orthopedic surgeons office to make follow up appointment.  Nap.  Shower.

– Last night for dinner?  RJak stopped by again, bearing the most perfect gift:  A box of Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies.  Mix that with a little gin and tonic, plus a delivered pizza – not to mention tons of ‘girl talk’ with RJak and The Girl?  Perfect evening…

– The dog is getting his ‘out’ time, but not really getting his usual morning/evening walks.  Once i’m driving again?  There is a solution at hand…

i-dont-wanna-work

Knee-dful things…

Another excursion into the medical slaughterhouse today for ol’ daisyfae…  i love narcotics.  for pain. seriously –  just. for. pain.

i had very minor knee surgery this afternoon.  roto-rooter of cartilege shredded while attempting to shred a snow an ice covered mountain molehill on skis earlier this winter…  a few days of mandatory R&R, which includes a stack of books, magazines, catching up on season 4 of “Weeds”, and unlimited time to surf the internet.  while jacked to the stratosphere on the “V”.  stand by for even MORE annoying commentary in the blogosphere…

seeing as i’m once again* sailing on pain meds, here are a few ‘scores and highlights’ from my day…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Knee surgery requires me to be flat on my back for 3 days, “toes above nose” to prevent swelling.  My kids are in town, and are at the helm regarding my care and feeding**.  As we went through the minimal requirements they need to cover through the weekend, this exchange occurred:

daisyfae:  yeah, i can see you tormenting me as i’m pinned to the bed…”‘want a cookie?  huh?  huh?” while holding it out of reach…

The Boy:  More like “want a pain killer?  huh?  huh?  ooops!  that one was for me…. here’s another one? do you want it?  huh?”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Had a friend drive me to the surgery – he’s “paying it forward” so i can drive him to his next colonoscopy.  This is what single people do.  Barter spousal-esque favors with other pathetic and unwanted single friends… 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Before leaving, i wrote the kids phone numbers on a post-it note for my friend, and left his phone number on the table.  The kids were in the kitchen, farting around with food. From the living room,  i loudly said “i’m leaving his phone number for you on the table, if you want to check in, or have questions about anything…”. 

They collectively said “what?  huh?” from the kitchen.  Poking my head around the corner, packed up and ready to leave, they assaulted me “How to you get this microwave to cook something on half power?”.  Thoughtful little fuckers, ain’t they?  This then turned into “So, what time are you getting home?  Can you stop for some burritos at “Casa AssFire” on the way back?”  They were kidding.  i think…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Surgery was scheduled for 2:oo pm, so i worked showed up at the office this morning.  Since i was not allowed to eat solids after midnight, and only had a nutrition drink/diet coke for breakfast at 7:00 am, i was hungry.  And not caffeinated.  As the fates would have it, it was an unofficial “aromatic junk food day” at work.  The candy jars on the admin desks had been freshly stocked with the good stuff – not the leftover, gummified, formerly-hard christmas candy.  Tasty sugar-encrusted bagels – with yummy raspberry cream cheese – abandoned on a table in the hallway where the vultures gather. 

And the worst?  While hanging out with the computer geeks support folks to get my office laptop repaired so i can stay wired while horizontal, they took delivery of a metric ton of hot wings, bleu cheese dressing and other things that made me salivate.  i exacted revenge by leaving dribble spots on the ancient carpet squares…  Bastards.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Since i wouldn’t be driving myself home, i had to write down the name of the “responsible person” with me.  After writing his name on the form, there was a question of “relationship to patient”.  i gleefully used the opportunity to write “statistically significant other“.  After i was prepped for surgery – which included ANOTHER pregnancy check, looking for little Houdini – the nurse went to retrieve my friend so he could keep me company backstage in pre-op.   He was giggling pretty hard, because the nurse had gone to the waiting room and asked for “daisyfae’s statistically significant other…”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Not as much fun with the anaesthesiologist today.  He sure was purty, though.  Went through the drill… checked my teeth… all that crap.  When he asked “Do you have any questions?” i replied with my stock “What’s the capitol of North Dakota?”.  Without missing a beat, he said “Bismark”.  Woo hoo!  The man knows his state capitols.  Gave me confidence that he wouldn’t accidently gas me to Neptune while watching the NCAA basketball games on the monitors…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Girl is handling kitchen duty tonight.  Made her bring me a cinnamon bagel before she went on the magazine run.  After that?  Turkey and Swiss on Wheat, with a beer.  Beer and Vicodan.  It’s whutz fer supper…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Goofin’ in the pre-op room with my friend.  He took a couple pictures of me, wired up to the IV pole, eyes crossed, and tongue lolling sideways towards my ear.  He sent these via text message to the kids, and a few friends.  The replies? 

The Boy:  That’s good.  (later found out that they had no idea who had sent the pic… thought it could have been from the hospital)

The Girl:  Thanks!  That picture is totally going on the fridge.

RJAK:  She looks awesome!  Just sent that out on the global distribution e-mail list at work…

 bring-me-drugs

* worth revisiting the post on my last surgery – only for the comments!  y’all are a funny bunch of people…

** i can get up for potty breaks.  which is a good thing.  they’ve made it clear that they would have nothing to do with THAT task… i’ll need to be at least 30-40 years older, and have a much higher net worth – making myself much more valuable dead – for that to happen…

Spring Butt Sniffing

Sometimes words aren’t necessary.  Took Mr. Pickles out to the local dog park last sunday to burn off some winter lard… For both of us…

Stripped the top off the Jeep.  Threw the Dawg in.  He had no idea where we were going... He didn't care.

Stripped the top off the Jeep. Threw the Dawg in. He had no idea where we were going... He didn't care.

First 15 minutes in the park.  Always looks pretty much the same...

First 15 minutes in the park. Always looks pretty much the same...

 

Mr. P makes friends easily.  And makes a fine wing-mutt, giving me ample opportunity to check out the man-goods at the park.

Mr. P makes friends easily. And makes a fine wing-mutt, giving me ample opportunity to check out the man-goods at the park.

Happy puppy.  As was the driver on the ride home... loves me my dawg.  loves me my jeep.

Happy puppy. As was the driver on the ride home... loves me my dawg. loves me my jeep.

The making of a crusty pelican…

Despite my current status as “crusty pelican”*, i can’t say i’ve always been incapable of normal girl dreams.  Those pesky Disney Delusions  run deep.  For me?  It was Cinderella.  The Rogers and Hammerstein version – starring Lesley Ann Warren and a cast of unmemorable rabble**.  

Despite being a fat and dumpy special kid, i identified with her – the youngest, treated like pond scum by her family.  Now, we didn’t have a fireplace, and god knows they’d never let me in the kitchen to cook.  More along the ‘teasing’ route, for being fat and dumpy.  Hoping that there would be some bit of magic in my future that would transform me from ‘troll’ to ‘treasure’.  Singing along to the album – “In my own little corner, in my own little chair, I can be whatever I want to be…”  Even then, what i really wanted to be was “adopted”.

Looking back on life?  Not exactly how it all went down.  Let’s take a look at my marriage proposals, shall we?  There have been two.  

The first was when i just turned 19, starting my sophomore year in college.  I’d been seeing TJH for about two years – one of several guys i “hung out” with.  TJH was perhaps the most special – well, i seemed to shed more tears on his behalf, so that means he was “Number One”.  Two years older, he’d enlisted in the Army and had already been through basic training and was moving up through the enlisted progression that year. 

Apparently overcome by a cresting wave of romantic intoxication, he popped the question:  “If I get married, I get an increase in my ‘basic housing allowance’.  We could get married, and then I’d split it with you.  We’d still be able to go out with other people, though…”.  The most surprising part of this story?  i thought about it for a couple weeks before saying “ummm…. i don’t think so…”.  i was worried that it would screw up my educational plans….

In hindsight?  My life might have followed a slightly different path.  If he’d sprung it on me at a different point in the ol’ PMS cycle?  Or if he hadn’t just started screwing one of my former roommates?  It’s within the realm of the plausible that i could have spent the last 30 years living in a trailer, near Ft. Campbell, Kentucky.  In classic “Vagina as Clown Car” style, i’d have probably dropped a bunch of little critters along the way… 

The second proposal is the one i accepted.  At the advanced age of 21.  i’d been living with my now ex-husband, EJR, since i was 19***, and spent my 21st birthday dealing with an early miscarriage.  Oops.  A bit unexpected, for sure, but at only about 7-8 weeks, it wasn’t physically difficult.  Once he was sure i was ok, he said “Guess we ought to think about getting married in case that happens again…”.

Hard to argue with that sort of logic. 

We were seriously committed to each other by then – having purchased major appliances.  When his family would visit, we’d  gather both sets of parents for a pleasant, but uncomfortable, dinner.  His parents spent the entire time apologizing to my parents because he wouldn’t make me an ‘honest woman’.  My parents sort of shrugged it off, mostly amazed that i had a steady man – with all of his teeth –  in my life****. 

After a particularly awkward parental visit, i gently suggested to EJR that perhaps his parents would chill out a little if i at least had an engagement ring.  He agreed, but we were poor students, so we didn’t have a lot of cash to burn.  A friend of mine came to the rescue.  Her dad “dealt” in gemstones, and she was pretty sure he could find me something cheap.

i went to visit her when her dad was in town.  He was staying in his camping trailer in her side yard.  i picked out a cute 1/4 carat diamond, mounted in gold, for $225.00 – cut the check myself.  It was beautiful.  At least to me. 

Whew.  That will appease the parents.  Problem solved…

The Dirty Disney Secret:  i wanted it.  i wanted something.  Not romance, not being swept off my feet, not being courted and cajoled.  Just a fucking ring.  Taking summer classes, i’ll never forget how good it felt to flash that thing during my Thermodynamics class.  “See, guys?  i’m not totally defective!  SOMEONE WANTS ME!”  

Well, at least for a little while…

"yeah, you gotta clean up the ashes, but they're gonna EAT my ass.. quit whining!"

"yeah, you gotta clean up the ashes, but they're gonna EAT my ass.. quit whining, and grow up!"

* a moniker recently bestowed by my drinking buddy, Pickles.  it will also be the name of my waterfront bar when i retire…

** i was a kid.  i didn’t know that Ginger Rogers played the Queen, Walter Pidgeon portrayed the King and Celeste Holm was the magical fairy godmother… i just thought Lesley Ann Warren was the shit…

*** Shortly after the failed marriage proposal, i split with TJH.  Met my now ex-husband in the laser test cells at work – geek love at its finest – and moved in with him after dating for a week.  He was 26, working full time and taking grad school classes at night.  Impulsive little thing, wasn’t i?

**** As far as my folks knew, i never dated until i met TJH.  And Mom loved him, because he had a pretty smile and was polite.  Dad tagged him as a shitheel, but didn’t say anything until after we split.

Girls gone wild*…

For those of you playing along at home, you’ll remember that daisyfae is awful at decorating.  i moved into my new place in late August, but waited until January to even buy furniture for the living room – because i was counting on The Girl to help pick things out, and she was off in Beirut for fall term.

Vacuum Chamber

Vacuum Chamber

After she’d helped procure seating/tables, she offered to have a friend – trained in visual arts – put together a color palette so i could buy pillows.  And actual shit for the walls!  Woo hoo!  a Color Palette!  Prepared by another professional!  Feeling my ovaries, for sure!

This week, i bravely started to deploy Phase II of my Certified Color Strategy.  With a bottle of wine propelling me forward, i put a glaze/paint on the wall above the fireplace!  Much to my complete and total amazement, it looks ok.  This isn’t that hard… just develop a plan, and stick to it.  Better yet, have the plan developed for you…

The Girl and her friend apparently had taken some time over the weekend to work up my design suggestions.  Unbeknownst to me, she had taken a ‘boring’ shot of my living room on her last visit to town for a dental appointment.

Early American Asylum

Early American Asylum

Rather than just provide suggested colors, they worked up a collection of colors and decorative items that makes me anxious to get on with it all!  And i’m thinkin’ that Mr. Pickles the Wonder Dog is pretty happy as well…  Although why he’s not upset that Gollum has taken up residence on the deck is of some concern…

Come on 'a my house, come on a come on...

Come on 'a my house, come on a come on...

They’ve cleverly taken a page from my favorite source of decorating and entertaining advice, Ms. Amy Sedaris’ I Like You: Hospitality Under The Influence.  Brilliant…

~~~~~~~~~~~~

* Sorry.  You ‘soft porn’ pervs looking for college-aged boobies are out of luck… Go back to surfing for “girl scout porn”.  You people are messed up.  Because of this post, i get at least 3-5 hits a week from some sock-stuffer looking for “girl scouts fucking”, “girl scouts naked” or worse… yeah, i know.  i’m the one who defiled the uniform.  glass houses and all that…

girl friends…

– celebrating the final exam.  even in our 40’s-ish state… is still pretty sweet.  she went back in her 30’s, a few courses at a time, while breeding.   that’s hardcore.  done is done.  even sweeter when you’re the elder-chick in class…

– three empty bottles later.  nothing edible in the house – except for some yogurt, organic milk, low-fat granola bars.  doping the orville redenbachers low fat popcorn with a half stick of high test butter because you need to crunch through something decadent…

– life, the universe and everything.  people, friendship, relationships and being responsible for providing the foundation of life for those little genetic products.  it’s just easier with a bottle of good pinot grigio, a leftover bottle of champagne and a bottle of decent riesling hastily thrown in the freezer to make it drinkable.

– work stress?  who cares… we’re celebrating, goddamnit.

– managed to get an accent wall painted.  ladder, paint and something called “glaze” applied with an ancient washcloth.  i’ve only been here 8 months.  time to start making the place look like something other than an asylum by getting shit hung on the walls.  after the first bottle, it seemed like a really good idea.  guess i’ll know for sure in the morning…

– i’m a lucky, lucky puppy…

life. is. good.

life. is. good.

Awww…. isn’t that precious?

Last week was my first week in two months with no business travel.  i was genuinely looking forward to a week in the office – no airports, no hotel rooms next to the ice machine, no endless meetings, no dorkboys accosting me poolside for advice on widget-du-jour.  And no screaming babies.  Up through Wednesday, life was pretty good.

On Thursday, we began a two day internal program review.  This is where program managers are forced to ‘drop trou’ for management, covering technical goals, progress, performance and ‘issues’, as well as financial execution.  This is just part of doing business – and shouldn’t be a big deal.  The program managers are being paid handsomely in a tough economy, and reporting up the chain is part of their job…

It always amuses* me when the same people who complain loudly that “management doesn’t care about my program” will whine like abandoned puppies when management asks for an update.  Often the same crybabies who bitch because they never know what is going on, yet act as though the world has ended when you call a one-hour monthly staff meeting to run through “what is going on”.

One of our programs is in serious trouble.  Failure to deliver product, but more importantly, a two year failure to identify “what’s next”.  This is after several years of me – and several others – personally investing a lot of time to help them figure that out.  During the program review, this was all quite obvious.  The team leadership is going to be getting an assload of “help” figuring it out from now on. 

ST is the senior scientist in charge of providing tech guidance to the program.  He and i have worked together almost 25 years – at first, i was essentially his lab technician, but over time we worked well as near peers – me on the “outside” hauling down the research funding, him on the “inside” leading research teams.  He’s extremely smart, but a little quirky**.  Over the years, i’ve become somewhat immune to his loud and unpredictable outbursts when he doesn’t get his way understand the big picture.

Things apparently weren’t going the way he’d hoped on Thursday morning, as his stink bomb program was evaluated….  In one of the finer moments for an esteemed, 60 year old scientist, he violently threw his pen across the conference room to make a point.  A pen.  It made a sort of “tinkly” sound as it hit the cinder block wall. Our organization does not buy nice pens, but cheap plastic ones to save money.  Even worse?  He threw it sort of “overhand”.  Dare i say it?  Like a girl…

Semi-rhetorical question:  At what age is throwing a temper tantrum no longer cute?

grow-the-fuck-up

* “amuse” in this context means “pissed-the-fuck-off”.

** “quirky” in this context means “socially and functionally retarded, having no table manners and an annoying tendency to walk into my office 5 seconds after sending an e-mail and saying ‘I sent you an e-mail’ – then proceeding to tell me what was in it for the next 15 minutes”.

Nurture or Nature

For Christmas this year, Mom bought my children Chia Pets.  My children and i have always held cheap and crappy gifts in rather high regard, so these were met with genuine glee!  This week, amidst frantic preparations for final exams and her unexpected graduation*, The Girl called to let me know that the two presents had sprouted fine plumage…
Donkey, with nose goblins, and Scooby Doo

Donkey, with nose goblins, and Scooby Doo

Chia Mullets
Chia Mullets

And with unexpected delight, she shared that these fine works of botanical art both sprouted mullets.  Proving once and for all that you can take the redneck clay pot out of the Trailer Park, but can never truly shed Trailer Park roots… 

My life.  Modeled in clay and bean sprouts…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

* Given her international studies, The Girl fully expected that some of her credits earned abroad wouldn’t transfer, and that she’d be slaving away for another term.  Meeting with a guidance counselor, she was a bit surprised to learn that not only will she have enough credits to graduate this term, but she’ll have earned DUAL DEGREES in Arabic and International Studies (rather than the dual major she expected).  And with an Honors grade point average.  Her mother is bustin’ with pride!  As if i actually had anything to do with it…