mama kumquat

A blog from someone who has little of importance to say

Monday, February 18, 2008

Valtrex isn't Just for Your STD

On Saturday, i was in the shower scrubbing down and wow, something on my leg is super itchy! I look further and i have a rash on my thigh, lower, near my knee but on the back of my leg. It's all red and has little blisters. What the FUCK!

I go to the Dr.'s today, just to make sure i am not infecting my son with some fleshing eating virus and sweet, he thinks i have Shingles. Like, David Letterman made this famous. I have David Letterman's Disease. It's a grown up form of the chicken pox, both of which are a herpes virus but NOT related to herpes as we know it. Shit, i've never even had a cold sore.

He tells me i need an anti-viral medication and he writes this down: Valtrex. And the name triggers a memory. A memory of two people on my TV screen talking about how one person who has herpes, doesn't necessarily have to give it to their loved one, who is depicted with their afflicted partner riding bikes on the beach.

I can't wait to see the pharmacist's face flood with sympathy when i go to fill this. And now my husband has even more teasing rights. Me, Letterman, Shingles and Herpes medicine. The fun never stops here.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

My Bitter Little Valentine

So as many of you know, i am now managing a transitional housing program. So, there is a young woman who lives at the complex i manage who has quite the reputation. When i arrived, i was told, "Do not speak to Amy because she is crazy, is suing us and will bite your head off." My boss forwarded me these amazing, lengthy emails detailing the "oppression" and "victimization" that she experienced at the hands of our agency. These emails were articulate and would be convincing to an undiscerning person. But upon reading these emails more, she uses the same language, the same phrases in each, as if she learned a few big SAT words and then recyled them, or even potentially cut and pasted sections from somewhere else.

I've only ever heard stories about her for the three months i've been there. She is apparently pretty. Thin, dark haired, slight, ballerina-ish. She has periodically removed her child from school to be able to "teach" her how to advocate for herself and how the real world really works. She was recently investigated by our local Department of Human Services for welfare fraud. She has burned through several lawyers. I recently got a call from a service provider who recently obtained her file, where it was written "Handle With Care." This woman is on a one way track to CrazyTown and i am completely mesmerized by her. Especially because she is this enigma--something of an urban myth. There have been infrequent sightings, many stories. Sometimes, i come in to work and i hear that just minutes before, she had chewed out a colleague for walking by her without smiling. Damn. I want to meet her. When can it be MY turn?

I thought my time was upon me this past week when we put 24 hour notices of entry onto people's doors so we could do apartment inspections. Because of this woman's litigious nature, we cannot put one on her door, so my boss, who is the only person allowed to contact her, was supposed to email it to her. So i am at her doorstep, knocking on the door. I hear the radio on and my co-worker had the thought that we had better check with my boss that she indeed sent the email, otherwise i would be unable to enter with my wonderful master key. Nope, boss did not send the email. I nearly went in without notice. Talk about being sued...and another chance to meet this venomous yet absolutely intriguing creature gone. Because she is being evicted for various reasons (most recently, non-payment of rent), i have been wondering if i would ever see her.

And then last night happened. I had a been at a meeting and was pretty ticked off that on Valentine's Day, i still had to go back to the office at 6pm and sign off on timesheets, make a few phone calls. So i pull up in front of the apartment complex and i see her light on and yes, even a silhouette. Awesome! This is more than i have ever ever seen before. I get out of my car and since it's dark out, i start fumbling for my keys but out of the corner of my eye, i see her carrying her laundry down the hallway above and i glance at her but she is not looking at me so i don't say anything and continue to finger through my keys to find the right one. She disappears out of eyesight as she heads down the stairwell. Just as i am opening the door, i hear, "Excuse me. EXCUSE ME." I look up and there she is, on the other side of the fence, holding her laundry basket. "Do you work here?" Yes, i do. And then it happens, she starts in on me.

For some reason i am surprised and taken slightly off guard. And there is not even a moment for me to interject. She is pissed that i did not greet her. She starts saying that i and the other staff feel as though we are better than the tenants and "There are many of us who are sick of it." Ummm, are you talking about the "we" inside your head? A few weeks ago i was talking with some clients who saw that i was outside Amy's door. They started laughing that i had better not say anything even close to the door or i would get chewed out. The other tenants think she's crazy and stay away from her. She has alientated everyone.
At one point in this two minute long tirade, she mentions something about the way i dress and flaunting my wealth. I was wearing a pair of brown pants and a sweater that i got at Old Navy about 4 years ago. My shoes were at least 6 years old. Sensible shoes. No jewelry. Then i was told that i was oppressing her and the other tenants because i think i am too good to greet them. Words like "victimized" and "repressed" were tossed about. Finally, the best part of all came. She called me "bourgeois." That was just sweet icing on the verbal lashing i was receiving. I remembered i smiled at her and the only thing i said to her was, "I believe you are making assumptions about me." This commenced further words about how i used my elevated status to repress the women in the buidling. She slowed down and i started moving inside and then i did say something else, not sure if she was hearing me, "Honestly, i didn't even see you."

I was exhilarated. I got chewed out by her. I met Amy. Of course, i thought of all the things i could have said to her had i not been so mesmerized and even taken aback. But of all the things i ran through my head, i really just wish i had ended the conversation with, "Happy Valentine's Day, Amy!"

So, Happy Valentine's Day to you, Amy, who in some masochistic/voyeuristic/perverted way made me love your craziness, your aloofness, your irrational behavior, your misused vocabulary, your vitriol. Your fascade is normal but your insides--the messiness of a volatile and literally nutty person. I could spend a lifetime analyzing you. You are a mystery, a hungry tiger rarely seen but when it emerges will tear your fucking head off. You can chew me out any old time, Amy. Happy Fucking Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Barfest and other thoughts

So, we are ringing in the new year here with a household pandemic of the stomach flu. It started with Charlie about ten days ago; i got gunned down on Friday night. I am going to be disgustingly honest with you about one detail. I had it coming out both ends and i can say it is quite the humbling experience to be sitting on the toilet one minute and the next be facing it. Seriously, AWESOME! Husband was hit by the barf bus on Sunday night, in the middle of the night. So no sleep then.
But here's the weirdness of this. Hubby and i got over it pretty quickly---one four or five hour chunk, a sensitive stomach the next day but generally it's done. Charlie is a whole different ball of wax. He only has been throwing up once every other, or every three days. In between those days, he's only eating a bit and today, has kinda been resisting fluids. We're watching for dehydration. But just as we think he's over the hump, like he hasn't thrown up for a couple of days, boom, a total upchuck. The kid is definitely fighting something.

So we went through something similar last year but last year he wasn't eating because he had hand, foot mouth disease, which sounds worse than it is but essentially, he had open sores all the way down his throat. His lack of eating or drinking caused us to have to take him to the hospital, where we had the worst medical experience of my life. But what i am realizing about this kid is that generally, he stays pretty healthy, but when he gets hit with something, he gets hit pretty darn hard--harder than most of his peers. So as his mom, i am trying to be patient and understanding as he wails for me the second i leave his sight but curse me down for this, my patience is wearing thin.

Tonight, i came home from a kinda crappy day at work (just realizing that i really have my work cut out for me there) and charlie is cranky. He is so much like his daddy it's nuts because when he doesn't eat, he is a real bear to deal with. So of course, since he is not eating, he is beside himself--a real fucking pill. He says a few words of things he wants to eat. I provide them all. To each, he says, "No." Unbeknownst to me, the kid is about to throw up everything that he had eaten in the last five hours or so. And it goes shoes. My SHOES! And i am fine with all of this because hell, i feel bad for him, i hate seeing him so sad and sick and it's all part of motherhood. But i couldn't console him--not with holding, singing, bouncing, nothing. Then i thought of one thing that always works, something i don't use too often but i most definitely use: TV. And damn if that didn't console him.

So, you know, i'm the counselor type and i know my motivations and the feelings behind my feelings. So i know that i was impatient with him because i feel powerless to comfort him. And then of course, i feel usurped by Sesame Street and Elmo. And of course, the fear that i have that we would have to go back to the hospital is palpable at this point. So there's my own self-pychoanalysis.

I really don't have much more to say except that aside from this, things are going pretty well. I like my job, Hubby and i are cool, i am seeing a counselor (which is awesome) and charlie, up until lately, has been a sweetie. So, i'm sorry about being a kinda debbie downer but i guess i post entries when the shit hits the fan. On a good note, i am really working with counselor to be less of an anxious person and find more joy in life. So kudos to me ;)

Signing off--Survivor of Barfest 08

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Discontented, for sure.

In a funk. Starting to despair about not finding a job. Despairing about money. Really jammed about money.

I am finding that for one of the few times in my life, i can call myself irritable. Is it me or is my husband super annoying? Is it me or has he put me on the tighted budget ever? Is it me or am i just being a total negative nelly? I have recently been realizing that despite being an optimist, i also look at things half-empty. I know that seems contradictory but here's a summary: Generally, things suck (1/2 empty) but i believe most things work out well in the end (optimism). So. Yeah, things kinda suck right now but it will turn out ok, i guess.

I am going to stop writing because i am distracted. B is out with a friend, i told him to go out and have fun. I am watching a movie that i got from In-demand. It's one of Ang Lee's early movies called the wedding banquet. Am liking it. Am thinking about it as i write but felt i should write a little something since i haven't for awhile. Molly, you ok? Have been missing your posts.
Mr. Lady, i'm not sure i know where your posts are. New link? Site?

Wish i could write kick ass haiku.
Won't try.
Don't like sentences right now.

Sorry for lame post. Posted for sake of posting, really.

Monday, July 30, 2007

On things i like and did not like

Things i liked/Loved: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I hear you Molly. I, who so often check out the last page of a book, dedicated myself to keeping the ending a mystery. Amen to a little self-control as i finished the book last wednesday, holed up in my room reading while my childcare provider had Charlie. I obviously can't say too much until i know that those three of you who read this blog and who plan to read The Book, have completed it. But i think it is my favorite book of the seven. Tied with the 4th--Goblet of Fire. I reread what i just wrote and i sound like such a dork, but i don't care. This series was indeed a children's series. I didn't have to use my dictionary at all. But, Rowling understands the wistfulness for adventure, for fantasy that adults have as they become adults. The other thing that i appreciate about these books is that it clear she understands death and what it means for those left behind. This book made me cry a few times. That's all i'll say. Except, oh wait. If you all haven't read the Philip Pullman trilogy, then honestly, you better run out and get it now. Those books, i dare say, and i might catch some guff for this, are better than Harry.
I liked being back in Pittsburgh. We went to my hometown for a week and got back last weekend. Molla, sorry i didn't text you back. We WERE at church, the one my grandfather was a minister at, and Charlie was playing with my phone. He wanted to say hi to you!!!! Sorry i did respond but it was a busy trip! I am back and just getting a handle on job searching again. But as for pittsburgh, one of the most surreal and wonderful moments was just driving around town as if i had never left. I never even drove much out there as we moved when i was 15 but for some reason, i knew all the routes, remembered street names, never got turned around. It was as if i had dreamed about it so many times in my head that it just felt so familiar when i was there. We had a blast. It was hard in many ways, due to Charlie and jet lag but really, upon reflection it was a great trip. I got to be with other bibliophiles who were also jazzed about Harry P. (before the book came out) and we spent hours discussing our hypotheses on what would happen, who would die, etc. Charlie met his great grandma, which was so very special. Sister and i got to spend some good time together. I got to spend some time with Carrie and it turned into being one of the best days i had there....we talked about things that are deep and dear into late at night (for us mommies, which was only 1:30am!) A really meaningful visit.
I also liked berry picking yesterday with my hubby and baby. We got raspberries and blueberries and i, the domestic diva, made jam with the raspberries. That was really cool.

Ok, now to what i didn't like: Ok, i am wondering if i have really lost my edge because i swear everyone else liked this movie. The other night we checked out Pan's Labrynth. Ok, i can admit that there were some amazing scenes, that it was inventive, creative, well done, mystical. But sweet lord, that movie had to have been one of the bleakest, darkest, depressing movie i may have ever seen. There was not one element that added levity or hope or inspiration. I really did enjoy the mystical scenes with Pan but really, it was a war movie with these scenes interspersed, not vice versa. I checked out Netflix to see what people were writing about it, like, maybe i missed a profound theme or something but from what i could gather, people really dug it despite its hopelessness. Ok, you all know me. I like dark humor, i like clever and bleak wit. I even have enjoyed some depressing movies (though overall, pretty tough to handle). So i guess, i am saying that i'm not a complete Barbie in that everything must be cheery but this movie brought me down in a serious way. Anyone? Thoughts on this? I am open to different opinions/thoughts/perspectives on why this movie was the best ever.

That's it for now. I have to eat. Still no job, BTW.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Dude, i've not written in about three months. I could talk about how busy life has been and how stressful things are but the reality is that for the last few months, i have been a useless homebody, a lost planet revolving around two moons--work and home. Friends, reading, emailing, cooking....sacrificed for sanity and space. April was hellish as my son barfed up blood and was not gaining weight.We got to spend a completely freaking useless afternoon and evening in the hospital where inept nurses could not start an IV line in my 11 month old as he is being pinned down on a table by his father and a nurse. This happened twice. We demanded that we be discharged since they were doing nothing to replace his fluids anyway. Several months later, we get a bill for $600 for treatment at the ER and hosp.. For what, i can't fucking tell you since all we did was sit there and had a few labs done. His vomiting continued on and off for another six weeks or so. He is finally gaining weight and seeming healthy. They think it is acid reflux for which he still takes baby zantac. There is some discomfort prescribing meds for a baby that really have not been tested on kids.....i know you feel my pain, molly.

Then i got laid off. Restructuring at my agency. If anyone has ever worked at a nonprofit, you might have an idea that a bunch of social service providers deciding to restructure and making a reasonable and well thought out plan for it is like the equivalent of us getting out of Iraq. I could spend literal days deconstructing what happened and how but it was just a complete disaster from start to finish--well, my finish happened yesterday. Last day of work. It ended up being a humbling, humiliating, pride-choking experience for which i am enormously grateful is over. Fortunately for my future (though unfortunately for my rage which wanted to go postal), i remained professional through it all. I was not the only one completely bent over on this either but i was the only one who chose to leave over it because other people decided to stay on and take other positions which would require pay cuts. My whole position was slashed. I opted for unemployment benefits.

So here i am with the summer off, living off the dole. Everyone at work kind of envies me but i never wanted to be a stay at home mom. I love my baby desperately but hell, being with a 1 year old all the time can be a little dull. But i can be a glass half empty person anyway.

here are the answers to molly's movie post---don't know if i can answer it all very well, but here goes:
Name your (current) top 5 movies of all time.
The Wonderboys, Monsoon Wedding, The Usual Suspects, Singing in the Rain (i love it too molly), Secretary
What is your favorite movie line ever?
"Did we give up when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?"
Who is your favorite movie character?
Maybe Han Solo? So cocky, with the twisted smile. I heart him.
What movie do you love that most people hate?
I am so easy to please that there are many, many movies that i find pleasing enough (ie, don't loathe it) that alot of people hate. I think a lot of romantic comedies are like that.
What movie do you hate that most people love?
I wouldn't say i hated this movie (see above--pretty easy to please, i like most things) but i really didn't guffaw or howl at Meet the Parents or Meet the Fockers. I just found the comedy to be really painful to watch, which isn't really my type of comedy. I mean, it's the same reason why i get frustrated with Shakespeare's tragedies. I am far too practical and i want to scream at the characters, "Just TALK to them! Tell them the truth and all this confusion and misunderstanding would be gone!). I thought of another! I had to walk out of Cape Fear because i was so freaked out. M, you remember that in high school?
What is the last movie you saw in the theatre?
Knocked up. It was surprisingly good.
What was the last movie you watched on DVD or via Video OnDemand?
The Queen. We finally rented it. It was really good and Helen Mirren was truly fantastic.
Can you remember what the first DVD that you purchased was? What was it?
I can hardly remember, but it may have been Star Wars.
(For us old fogies ... ) Can you remember the first VHS movie you purchased? What was it?
I remember recording movies from TV. Like, i had When Harry Met Sally and the Adventures of Natty Gan and Anne of Green Gables. But as to what i bought? I know i was just sifting through VHS tapes to get rid of them and i saw Mystic Pizza. That may have been the first one purchased.
What movie have you seen that you never want to see again?
The Accused. Also, the Deer Hunter. Do you really want to see a rape scene again? Cause it's not a short scene. It's long, and detailed. Not something you'd just pop in on a saturday night. Same goes for the Russian Roulette scene in the Deer Hunter. Can't do it.
What is your least favorite movie ever?
Seriously, molly, Crash? I can think of so many more! Hmmm, Shoot, i can't remember what it was but brendan and i rented a movie and stopped it short because it sucked so bad. I wish i could remember!
What song or soundtrack would you choose as your life's theme?
That's a really great question. I know it's in a car commercial but i really am enjoying the song "Orange Sky" by Alexi Murdoch right now and i think it's got good lyrics.
Which actor or actress would you like to look like?
Hand down, i can answer this question in less than a New York second. Salma Hayek. A close second would be Kate Winslet.
What classic movie are you embarassed to admit you've never seen?
Bonnie and Clyde. Faye Dunaway looks really hot in that movie!
What is your favorite movie genre?
Hmmmm, i really like comedies these days or intelligent comedies, like Rushmore or something. I like dramas but am finding that as i get older and have baby, i just don't want to be stressed out or depressed after work. I sound like such an average american. i hate sounding like that but it's an honest response.
What is your least-favorite movie genre?
I can't stand horror movies. I just don't think that it's at all funny or cool to see how many ways a human body can be tortured, dismembered, killed. Also, again, as i get older, i hate this genre even more. I just can't find humor or entertainment in serial killers stalking women and mutilating their bodies.
Is there an actor/actress/director whose movies you refuse to see?
I can't stand Pauly Shore
What is your favorite movie concession stand snack?
No question: Dots
Front row, back row, center seats, aisle seats - where do you prefer to sit in a theater?
I like being in the middle section but on the aisle for easy exit.

Friday, April 06, 2007

This might just be the raddest thing to happen to us since Charlie's birth.

This morning at about 6:20am, both my husband and i awoke to loud booming noises, sounding like gunshots, that were coming from very close to our house. It would not be completely out of the ordinary that we might hear gunshots, as we live in a previously ghetto-ized neighborhood and there are still shootings in our area, but not normally so close in proximity. We heard shouting. My husband leaned towards the open window and said, "it sounds like a cop yelling, 'get down, get down.''' Ahha. The house that we had been speculating was a drug house was under siege.
This said house is on the street perpendicular to ours but we share a fence in the back. Their house faces the main road and we are one house in on the cross street. Our house's property line actually is shared with the backs of three homes, with this druggie house being the one that sits most towards the back. Does that make sense? Anyway, for a few months, we had had some suspicions that there were some bad things going on there, what with a tweaky girl leaving their house and walking past ours, all the while checking over her shoulder as if someone was followng her. My husband saw another woman crawling out of the house onto the roof a few weeks back and then, just some loitering, public pissing on a fence near our house, cars left running on our street while someone went into the house and came out ten minutes later. You know. Drugs. I watch Law and Order. I know what the hell i'm talking about. Moreover, i have to admit that i have a remarkable ability to spot a tweaker from blocks away. There was some bad shit going down at this house. Fo' sho'.

We get out of bed and we look down our street. An EMT truck was blocking the road. We spy out the window that faces the busy street that the house is on. That road has been blocked by a serious amount of law enforcement vehicles. My husband says something like, "holy shit, let's stay away from the windows, get the baby, let's go back to our bedroom. They have assault weapons with them." We were in disbelieve that this was so close to us. I felt a cross of like, "wow, what a cool scene for us to check out and retell later" but also, "what if there's a shootout or the perp. runs or something?"
I went back to bed and started nursing the baby and brendan went downstairs to hit the bathroom. He comes back about 30 seconds later with another expletive like, "Holy shit, there are three guys in our back yard with assault rifles and a K-9 dog. I think there's another along the house that we can't see. " I look out the window and sure enough there are three guys in camoflage type uniforms with helmets and shields and big ole guns and a dog in our back yard along the fence. Holy Hell.
My husband had apparently waved at them to let them know we were awake and alive and not to shoot at us if they saw movement in our house. We didn't want any twitchy trigger fingers. We waited upstairs for a few more minutes. Is it a stand-off, we wondered. I felt safer with the armored guys in the back yard so now this started being kind of cool. Our neighbor's house was under siege. My husband went back downstairs and asked if there was a standoff. No, just a search warrant. That must have been quite the search warrant. They weren't messing around. Shut off three or more streets with i don't know how many units and essentially an armed militia in my backyard. This could not be the result of just a few neighbor complaints.

We heard some more yelling, some more booms. Apparently, they were throwing smoke grenades into the house. A few minutes longer and it was over. They started clearing out. I don't know what they found but when my husband left for work about an hour later, he said that he walked around the block to scope things out. Every window in the house had been broken with those smoke grenades. We can see their broken back windows from our back yard. I guess the front is more jacked up. Brendan said that there was a police lab parked in front of the house and there were still police officers bringing things out of the house. I checked the news and so far, nothing has been reported. I guess this stuff happens everyday. I suppose just because it was on a busier street doesn't mean it will warrant more attention. But damn, was that just wild this morning! Ah, what something like that can do for a boring old mama these days!