Wednesday, November 29, 2006


After Thanksgiving spent in the 'ville (where I learned that Casey has an affinity for large piles of leaves) my family made the trek to Indianapolis on Sunday for the Colts/Eagles game at the Dome. We were unable to all sit together, so there were two seats together in nosebleed, four seats together in nosebleed, and two seats together in the really really good section. The boyfriend and I spent the first half of the game in the nosebleeds, and the second half in the really really good seats. Honestly? The nosebleeds were more fun. That's where the rowdy, drunk, true Colts fans are. Rich people are too refined to cheer.....

Since the game was moved to Sunday night under the NFL flexible scheduling, (and coming home to a sick puppy and a mess in her crate) I got very little sleep Sunday night. This led to crankypants Emily on Monday and Tuesday. I'm just now recovering and mending fences. I couldn't even indulge in comfort food like one friend suggested since we're going on a cruise on Saturday and I would like to look decent in a bathing suit....

By the way, if you were EVER considering taking two, week long vacations in two months, don't.

Since Casey was sick, she came to work with me on Monday and Tuesday. She was a pain in my rear both days. Even though she's over a year old now, she still has that puppy energy, and got into everything she could get into. I finally got peace when I gave her a cardboard box which she then proceeded to destroy with relish.

Last night was the breaking point, though....which made me re-examine my cohabitation situation, and to provide an update to my blog readers. (Side note: I got an interesting comment from a friend the other day. She said, "I have to say I enjoy your blogs because it reminds me how your mind works. It's pretty funny sometimes, other times it's down right hilarious (usually because it's you and not me)" So I thought an update on the situation in my apartment was due.)

Tyson sucks. The end.

Okay, so there's more than that, but that's the main idea. The boyfriend complains that Tyson and Casey are treated differently, and that's not fair. I say that all dogs are not created equal. I mean, it's like how one child might get a balcony room with a view, while another child gets a padded cell with no windows. It's not because anyone is treating them unfairly, it's just that circumstances demand that one child be protected from themself and others. That child is Tyson.

I haven't had a meal in peace since the boyfriend and I moved in together, unless you count meals outside the apartment, or when the boyfriend generously decides to leave and take Tyson with him. That's six months of non-peaceful meals. Usually, my meals are accompanied with a background music made up of whines, howls, and general squealing. It's moved beyond pathetic to obnoxious at this point. I mean, when I have guests over....Oh wait! I CAN'T have guests over. That's right. Tyson screams like a banshee and the guests would think I'm torturing the dog while we're eating dinner. My bad.

The problem is that I can't leave the dogs free while we're eating. Casey is an active begger (shoving her nose in your face or as close to your plate as possible) and Tyson, well, while we're eating, I can't really watch Tyson 100% of the time, and if he smells Laney...well....

The animal behaviorist? Yeah, her suggestions to turn on the TV, put a t-shirt that smells like the boyfriend in the room, and reward good behavior, were all used. They all failed. Now, Tyson gets to watch TV all day and run up my electric bill. All the while, the bottom half of the door gets narrower and narrower as I find more and more wood chips on the floor from his digging. There goes the boyfriend's deposit :-)

The thing is, I don't think Tyson's behavior is caused by anxiety any longer. I mean, it's been 6 months. At this point, he's GOT to know that he sometimes gets out of the room, sometimes he's in the room, and he's always going to get to be with Nathan... I mean, he no longer cries in the mornings. At least there was progress there. I get up in the morning, get ready for work, walk the dogs, put them away with treats, and then go to work. Not a peep from Tyson. So he KNOWS what's going on. In the evenings, he's just being an asshole. I think he's trying to drive me insane so that I'M the one in a padded cell, and he can have the boyfriend all to himself again. I actually had the following discussion with my boss's wife the other day. I was completely serious.

"So, my brother got Casey a huge rawhide for Christmas. The thing must be three feet long and a foot high on the ends. I don't know what we're going to do with it. She can't get her mouth around it to chew. Maybe I'll just saw it in half and give half to Tyson and the other half to Casey."
"Does Tyson really deserve a Christmas gift?"
"Actually, I was hoping he would choke on it."

Not that Laney has gotten much better.... The peeing on the boyfriend's clothing has ceased, basically because now the boyfriend piles his dirty clothing on his dresser, my dresser, the bathroom counter...anywhere but the hamper. However, she has designated the boyfriend's chair (in our bedroom) as her second litter box and peed on it at least 5 times.

That 'Nature's Miracle' stuff that is made especially for cat urine and eliminates all odors and costs about $12 per little spray bottle? Yeah, it's a crap. I may as well have purchased a very expensive spray bottle and filled it with water. The boyfriend and I moved the chair to the dumpster in our apartment complex, under the cover of darkness. The chair is officially dead. We have increased the "changing of the litter" to once every two days. Even with that change, she seems angry. Last night she pooped in her litter box and didn't cover it. When the smell hit me, it literally made my eyes water. I think that was a big "F you" from the cat for thowing away "her" chair.

She HAS gotten better around Tyson, however. It seems she has learned that Tyson's vision, much like the T-Rex, is based on motion. If she holds perfectly still, Tyson smells her, and can tell that there's something weird in the air, but can't find her. However, if her courage gives, and she bolts, he's after her like a shot. Last time he chased her, we finally caught up to them in Laney's bathroom. Both were in the bathtub, Laney was puffed up to about three times her usual size and growling, while Tyson was just staring at her in confusion...probably thinking, "Whoa, little deformed dog....why are you so angry?"

Otherwise, things are fabulous. I mean, apart from the basic differences between males and females. (which include putting dirty dishes in the sink, dirty clothes in the hamper, spending less than 45 minutes on the toilet [did you know this about men? What do they DO in the bathroom for all that time?], and making plans in advance.)

We're leaving on Saturday for a cruise. Casey's boarding reservation has been made for weeks now, after I compared costing on a couple of different options. I asked the boyfriend yesterday what was going on with Tyson. "I don't know." was my response. I have this nightmare vision of having to take Tyson on the cruise....

Well, at least then he could "accidentally" fall overboard.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Love to eat Turkey....

So, in honor of the upcoming holiday, I thought I would post a list of what I'm thankful for. Why not? The list is pretty extensive, so consider this just a snapshot :-)

1) Coca-Cola. Who drinks Diet? And those people who say they prefer Diet to regular are lying to you and themselves. You should not associated with those people. Who knows what else they're lying about?

2) Stretch Jeans. Carrie posted that on my site, but it's true. If it weren't for stretch denim...well, let's just say I would be a lot less comfortable.

3) Sunglasses. Not only do they protect your eyes from the glare (which could give you wrinkles, and this is apparently something I should worry about in my advanced age), but if you buy really big ones, you have no problem appearing sober.

4) Botox. If it weren't for women who were originally really pretty using Botox to mess up their looks, well, what would we 'normal' women have to be catty about?

5) Monthly flea medication. An airtight alibi when friends and neighbors point fingers at you and your pet for the fleas in their homes.

6) MySpace. I mean, if it weren't for MySpace, how on earth would we be able to spy on people we hate? (or have the unique pleasure of saying, "I have a tracker on my site, and someone I've never met in my life is checking my site frequently...stalker.")

7) Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. For making me aware that Bull Sharks can swim in fresh water and thus ensuring that I will never get into another fresh water river with murky water.

8) Shoelaces. Because without them, we would all have to wear the velcro tennis shoes that my dad wears....and then I wouldn't be able to make fun of him for wearing said velcro shoes.

9) Younger siblings. Without them, there would be no possibility of a direct relation who's younger than yourself getting engaged and thus increasing the pressure from your parents to get engaged yourself by about a thousandfold.

10) Younger siblings. Without my little brother getting married soon, I'm sure the pressure on me to have children would be unbelievable. As it stands, they're willing to leave me alone since he offers hope of both grandchildren, and a future to our unique last name.

11) Credit Cards. Without these trusting souls giving me access to more money than I have at the moment, I would not be able to feed my travel addiction. Of course, I would also be able to afford food....but that's beside the point.

12) Meter Maids. Without them, I wouldn't have 5 unpaid parking tickets against me.

13) The Feminine Mystique. Without it, I wouldn't have 12 warnings for speeding.

14) Puppies. Without my puppy (whom I refer to as my parents' "grand-dog-ter" [ba-dum ching]) they would be more likely to disregard my whole "I'm not having kids" stance. As it stands, my mother has already refered to Casey has her grandchild once....(point for me!!!)

15) Being 50% Hispanic. I mean, without that Peruvian influence from my mother, I wouldn't have found my wonderful therapist

16) Being 50% Italian. Without this heritage, I would be able to eat anything I want and not have to worry about my weight. I mean, who doesn't love a slow metabolism?

17) Driving an aging car. Will it make it to my next destination? What's that new rattling sound? Low tire pressure again? The constant excitement is invigorating.

Seriously, I'm most grateful for my family (even if you're far away and I never get to see you) and friends (both new and old). I hope you all have a fabulous Thanksgiving and that you get to spend it with people that you love.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

High School Flashbacks

After some random, and some might consider fortuitous, events, I found myself in my hometown at a high school football game this past weekend. It was my high school (Central High) against our rival (Reitz.) When my mom told me that they were planning to go, my first thought was "Wait, Central has a rival?" closely followed by, "Wait, Central cares about football??"

This is quite a change from when I was in high school. For reasons I won't go into here, I was required to attend every home football game in high school. I didn't know diddly squat about football at the time, but I do remember losing all the time, so I think we pretty much ranked right above the middle school in terms of talent. Maybe below the middle school...what do I know?

That has apparently changed, so since I got home early enough, I went to the game with my parents.

My first thought as I walked into the stadium, was to wonder why there were little elementary and middle school children at a high school game. The two girls I saw were painted in Reitz colors, and running around with extreme enthusiasm - they may as well have been chasing their tails in circles....they had that much energy as they ran around. As I proceeded through the crowd to my seat, I realized that those little girls were high school students. Seriously. When did they get so small??? I mean, obviously they were freshmen, and there were some students who actually looked like they were in high school (juniors and seniors, I guess) but the others were tiny!! I immediately felt old. Old and removed from the younger generation. I had to remember that it's been 10 years since I've been in high school. That's a long time, right?
At this point, the joke I had made to my dad earlier, "I was going to wear a t-shirt that said 'Central Alumni – guess the year'" didn't seem as funny. I'm old. I accept it.

As we waited for the game to start, I was floored at the number of really pretty, really skinny girls walking around in very little clothing. They were all painted school colors, of course, but wearing the equivalent of what I would wear to a club if I was hoping to get lucky that night. Seriously. Since when has body paint been considered an acceptable body covering? Then I started to wonder, where were the other girls. You know, the ones who probably aren't as beautiful and skinny?? I mean, the entire school can't be made up of cheerleader type girls, can it? That opened the floodgates to memories of exactly how ruthless high school is, and how high school football games are probably avoided like the plague by girls who don't feel like they fit in.
I said a quick prayer of thanks that I am no longer in high school.

Then, not two minutes into the game, I turned to my dad and said, "Methinks there are some in Evansville who take high school football a tad too seriously."

I mean, when all you hear is "YEEEEEEAAAAAH BABY!!!" or "MAKE HIM FEEL IT!!! IF YOU HIT HIM, MAKE HIM FEEL IT!" and "REF ARE YOU BLIND? THAT WASN'T AN INTERCEPTION! HE DROPPED THE BALL!!!! and "YEEEEEEAAAAAH BABY" the game loses something. When he starts stomping on the bleacher that you're sitting on to make MORE noise (not the foot-rail, mind you – he was standing on the actual bleacher and stomping on it) well, you start to get a little angry. I mean, it's hard to be cheerful when your teeth are vibrating from the force of his "enthusiasm."

It's not that I wasn't enthusiastic - I was cheering. I mean, I was supporting my team as much as I could, but, you know…it's not like they can hear me. I wasn't shouting advice to particular players…nor to refs… Nor was I trying to be the loudest person present. I mean, did this man think he was in Texas or what? It's high school football for goodness' sake. High school football in Indiana. Maybe he thought it was a basketball game by mistake?
As the game progressed, between shooting dirty glances at the loud man behind me, I noticed other things that made me laugh.

I may have already mentioned that my family is NOT a sports family. In fact, I didn't really know that professional sports existed until after college. That said, have you seen the movie Anchorman? You know the part where all the guys are yelling and angry that Christina Applegate has been named to their staff? Steve Carrel, who's slightly mentally retarded, starts yelling things like, "LOUD NOISES!" and "I DON'T KNOW WHY WE'RE YELLING." just to join in. This is what I was reminded of when my mother would randomly break out in "PUSH THEM ALL THE WAY BACK!" and "GUARD THE RIGHT!" I wasn't sure if she really knew what she was saying or just imitating the loud man behind me. She was very enthusiastic, though, and it was fun entertainment.

The obnoxiousness of the Obnoxious Man became more and more apparent as the rest of the fans got quieter and had to try harder to rally when the first half looked like this:
First possession Reitz - field goal
First possession Central - interception run back to the 5 yard line
Second possession Reitz - touchdown
Second possession Central - first down, then fumble resulting in turnover
Third possession Reitz - touchdown
Third possession Central - touchdown/two point conversion (yay!!)
Fourth possession Reitz - touchdown

And we went into halftime at a score of Reitz 24, Central 8, things looked bleak.

During halftime, the marching band took the field. Why did I care? Well...let's just say that perhaps I have some personal experience with the marching band. In my unbiased opinion, the marching band for Reitz was HORRIBLE. I mean, they were really bad. And I DO remember that the Reitz marching band used to kill the Central marching band all throughout my high school experience.

I turned to my dad when the band was coming out and said, "They used to kill us when I was in school." Then I watched their god-awful performance and turned to my dad and said, "They were really bad. I mean, really bad. And they used to KILL us." I think he expected me to say, "Man, they must have gotten a LOT worse." Instead I said, "Wow. We must have REALLY sucked." He laughed. Then there was an awkward pause while neither of us spoke, and one of my high school illusions was shattered.

Apparently my high school marching band was terrible. I am crushed. Moving on...

The second half began, and with it, the blissful silence of halftime ended. The Obnoxious Man returned from wherever he had been. But apparently, during halftime, someone lit a fire under the asses of the Central Bears. (Maybe it was the Obnoxious Man?? Or maybe my mom??) Reitz did not score again and Central won the game 27-24. It was fabulous. The announcer for the "Mighty Panthers" got more and more quiet. The home team fans were stunned into silence, and after the game was over the scoreboard was on for approximately 30 seconds before it was shut off and the evidence erased. Even with the Obnoxious Man behind me, it was fabulous.

Go Bears!!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

My Experience at the Jerry Springer show

Please note the use of "at" instead of "on."

Yes, yesterday, September 12th, instead of spending 8 hours in the office, my boss and I spent over 15 hours together on a trek up to Chicago to sit in the audience of the Jerry Springer show.
We didn't just go on a whim. As per the excellent level of customer service we offer here at my company, when one of our customers from Barbados was on vacation in Canada, stopped to visit a vendor in Chicago, and mentioned that they've always wanted to visit the Jerry Springer show...well, we just had to oblige.

(I'll admit. My boss was a bit.....hesitant. But my chants of "Jer-ry! Jer-ry!" helped to convince him.)

We had lunch at the ESPNZone first (sweet!!) and then headed over to the NBC Tower in Chicago. Our instructions were to arrive by 1:15pm at the latest. It was raining, so we arrived at about 12:30pm, and walked right to the front of the line. Not 2 minutes later, there were approximately 50 people in line behind us. We spent a good 45 minutes trying to figure out which women were going to show their boobs. Fun for everyone involved.

Once we got through the line, showed our ID to prove we were over 18, went through a metal detector (no joke....they also took away all cigarettes, umbrellas, heavy purses....anything that could be used for a weapon), we sat in a holding room for approximately one hour looking in eager anticipation at anyone in a uniform that came into our room. The guy in front of us made the following observation that wasn't too far off the mark, "Now I know how dogs at the pound feel, looking at people who come in and trying to communicate with their eyes how much they want to be taken someplace else."

During this time, we got to know the people around us (one family was from Boston, and had flown into Chicago that morning, were leaving that night, and came ONLY for the Jerry Springer show) and continued to observe the people filing in. People watching was almost the best part. Money was wagered on women who were "sure things" to show their boobs.

We were finally taken into the studio and we sat in the second row - not 7 feet from the guests, and about 2 feet from the edge of the stage. We were psyched!!! If there was a fight, we were going to be right there!!! A group of 4 girls who were sure things to strip were seated in the front row as expected. They were ready and willing to bare it all. The bouncers had to convince them to keep their clothing on while the cameras weren't rolling.

Steve was actually the host as Jerry is currently busy with "Dancing with the Stars." That was a bit of disappointment, but we were not deterred....until the first guest came out. She was a mom who talked about her daughter and how she was a wonderful little girl, until her father had an accident and lost a leg. She started to cry as she remembered the early days and how "giving" she "thoughtful" and "caring" and how the accident changed her. You could feel the audience anticipation for what was to come.

Then the mom started to cry. She talked about how her daughter was addicted to heroin, and had begun prostituting herself to support her habit. She said that she had come on the Jerry Springer show because she had researched them on the internet and was convinced that they could help.

(there were a few snickers at this)

The daughter came out separately to talk to Steve, and it gradually dawned on the audience that Steve was playing the cop/counselor role. He was actually trying to be Maury...or Oprah... He wanted to help these people!! He actually made the girl look at her high school graduation photo and say, "I want to be that person again" before she broke down in sobs. (!!!)
There would be no fighting. There would be no name calling. There would be no baring of breasts.

We were collectively stunned. When the guests were taken off the stage, the audience began to speculate as to what could happen. The pimp would be brought out? The dad with one leg would come out on stage? Maybe THEY would fight? The dad could beat the pimp with....well.... We absolutely could not believe what we had just seen. After all, who comes to the Jerry Springer show to see counseling?

When the second set of guests were brought out, the audience was rowdy. It turned out to be a love triangle with a lot of potential. The guy who was on stage first described himself as very close to his cousin. He was a gay male, and he had become close to both his cousin and his cousin's girlfriend. However, his cousin didn't treat his girlfriend right, you know? He called her names, he didn't love her....etc. One night, the girlfriend was devastated to find out that her boyfriend had cheated on her. She called the cousin, they went out to a bar together, got drunk, and slept together (scandal!) A month later, she found out she was pregnant. Who was the father???

It had all the good makings of a typical Jerry Springer show. However, when the boyfriend came out, he decided to take the high road, not beat up the gay man, and merely whip him with his quick wit. Luckily, he actually WAS quick witted (and funny) or else the audience may have revolted. Unfortunately, we were still disappointed because, really, who takes the high road on Jerry Springer? The audience chanted for the gay man to tell them how many he had pleasured, chanted for him to strip, chanted for him to start a fight..... The comments from the audience were fabulous. The gay man almost came into the audience to fight.

Unfortunately for my boss, the girls who were a sure thing to show their boobs didn't get the chance. In fact, the only lady who bared anything was about 900 years old - and sitting right next to my boss. It was fabulous.

One of the bouncers (one of the hot bouncers) ended up mooning the audience. That wasn't so bad....

All in all, it was a disappointment, but I could see how the experience had potential. I want to go back. I want to see a good fight. I mean, I hate to perpetuate the Jerry Springer cycle....but these people go on there voluntarily...I'm not twisting their arms....I just want to be there to see the carnage...

I do have beads though. And a fabulous picture of me on the Jerry Springer pole. And of course, the group photo with Steve. Next time, I want one with Jerry.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Friendship cycles

I've noted this more and more often as I get older. If you let them, friends will come in and out of your life and play many different roles as you find your way through the world. If they're good friends, they give you the space to grow as well.

My little brother ended his friendship to his oldest friend a couple of years ago. Surprisingly, my father actually commented on that when I was home once. He noted that we sometimes lose our closest childhood friends for the most ridiculous reasons, and that sometimes those friends are the ones who know us best. If not best, then in a way that no one else ever will.

My brother's response was that he didn't miss the friendship, so he feels that they both just outgrew it.

I have to side with my little brother on this one.

I, too, recently had an old friendship end. It's sad when it happens, but sometimes, you just outgrow each other. Sometimes, the person you're becoming just isn't going to fit with the person you used to be.

And sometimes, you're so used to seeing how you want a friend to be, that you miss who they really are.

I take full responsibility for the way my friendship ended. My friend and I were so close for so long, that I just assumed that my definition of friendship was hers as well, when I never bothered to ask.

My philosophy on friendship is that friends are the family that you choose. It's not just genetics. As you grow, you know who you are, you know what you need, you recognize familiar traits in others, and you choose to bring them into your circle. You depend on them, and in return, they can depend on you. If a friend needs you, you say "yes" and then ask questions later.

I definitely saw her for who she was. When you're so close to someone, attending the same high school, the same college, roomates after graduation, you can't help but have a really good understanding of their personality. But for all of her stubbornness, her inherent selfishness, her insecurities, and her avoidance of responsibility, I loved her to death. She saw all of my temper tantrums, my outrageous antics, my over-emotional reactions, my unreasonable requests, and my controlling personality. We were best friends forever.

But the problem was that while I understood her, I thought that if it ever came to me, things would be different. We were best friends!! Surely what she wouldn't do for others, she would do for me. I had always been there for her, whenever she needed me, whether I agreed with the situation or not. This was not for any gain on my part, but simply because I loved her and that's what I thought a best friend should do.

And then came a day when I needed help. Granted, it was an extremely difficult situation to be put in - tough for even the most stalwart of friends. When I shared with others, I had offers of support and assistance, even from afar. But when I needed someone by my side, I turned to my best friend - and she declined.

I was deeply hurt - betrayed even, and that moment put a rift in our friendship from which it never recovered. She returned my call within minutes, apologetic and wanting to help out any way she could, but the damage had already been done. For a long time, I blamed her. I was angry and upset that she couldn't find it in her to help someone she claimed to be so close to. She couldn't put forth enough effort to support me the way I thought a best friend should. But the more I considered that perhaps she couldn't help me. Perhaps it was my fault for not seeing that, and putting her in a position to fail?

It's true that your old friends know you best, in a way that no one else that you'll meet later in life ever will, but the best old friends give you room to grow. They accept that despite any changes, you will remain fundamentally the person that they became friends with. They don't love you because you're a vegetarian, or because you're a democrat. Those things will change as you go through life phases, and good friends accept and embrace those changes. In fact, they might even get to laugh about those phases with you after they've passed. Old friends will support you unconditionally because you are their friend, because they love you (whether you're stubborn, opinionated, meek or retiring), they understand what you need from them, and what they are willing to give. You need more than love for a friendship to endure. You have to have that basic understanding of your responsibility in the friendship, and then you can maintain some semblance of friendship as the years pass.

It's difficult to accept, and it's always sad when a friendship ends, but I believe it's always better to be honest with yourself about how you're feeling than to try to force the friendship to endure.

I'm big on being honest with yourself. I don't miss her, but I sure do wish that things had turned out differently.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Age Difference

My little brother got engaged a couple of weeks ago.

Let me say that again.

My brother, who happens to be 5 years my junior, got engaged. To be married. To his high school sweetheart nonetheless.

And you know what? I thought I would be upset about this.

I thought it would be emotionally traumatizing to see my younger brother go through this rite of passage before me. I thought it would make me fall to pieces and question everything about my life and what I've accomplished thus far.

Instead, I find myself really happy for him and his fianceƩ.

(whew. I'm glad to find out that deep inside, I actually AM a good person.)

I mean, I'm a cynical person. I can't help but make jokes about the "perfectness" of it all. He's adorable, his fianceƩ is beautiful, they're high school sweethearts, they were originally going to get married on a beach in Hawaii... it's enough to make someone, well...sick. My first thought was that something that perfect couldn't actually be real. My second thought was to take comfort in the fact that you don't truly appreciate love until you've been devastated by it.

Then I thought, "You know what? That's crap."

My path through life has been drastically different than my little brother's, but that's what makes me me, and makes him him. Instead of catalouging the various ways that my scars make me superior...

I find myself rooting for him. You go little brother. This will work out for you. This will be wonderful and perfect and fun and true. I have faith that your path will be everything you want it to be, and I wish you every happiness. I'm glad I'm here to watch you go through it.

Now I get to sit back and watch the wedding plans commence. THAT should be fun :-)

Monday, August 07, 2006

Cohabitation - Part IV

Note: There was a delay in posting this blog because I had to get permission.

I try not to blog about "real" things in my life. I dislike when people tell me that they feel they've caught up on my life by reading my blogs... I blog to be entertaining, silly, and have fun. If you really want to know what's going on with me, shoot me an e-mail.

That said, there is definitely a fourth part to cohabitating...I just couldn't write about it without permission. I now have permission - sort of. So here is a list of things that I do NOT understand about men in general. Things that I've heard other women mention, and I've found to be true. This should in no way make you think that the man I live with participates in these actions - this is just a general blog aimed at no one in particular.*

1) Dirty Clothes = Hamper. How hard is that? Seriously, if they don't go in the hamper, where DO they go? I mean, they can't go on the floor (as discussed previously), they can't go in the closet (may send females into a violent rage) and they can't go back in the drawers to be worn again (eventually someone will catch on to this strategy.) This issue has actually come a long way since the cohabitation began. The dirty clothes used to be nowhere near the hamper. Then (with a little help from Laney) they began to appear close to the hamper - maybe on top of the hamper. Now, every so often, there will be one sock in the hamper and one on the floor, or the hamper will be empty on Sunday, and then overflowing on Monday morning. It's mind-boggling really. Which brings me to...

2) ...the number of outfits that men will wear in any given day. When I lived alone, I did one load of laundry maybe once every other week. Now? I find I have to do laundry two or three times per week! When I'm folding these loads, I'll find one shirt that's mine - maybe one outfit that I wore to workout the day before. EVERYTHING else belongs to the boy. Seriously. It's unbelievable! Since I only see him for any amount of time in the evenings, and he doesn't change then, I am forced to assume that he comes home from work roughly every three hours to change clothing for fun. I KNOW he doesn't workout I have no idea what's going on. I'll ask him, and he just laughs. I don't think I WANT to know.

3) The remote control. Now, I've heard this is an issue for many couples, but I didn't understand. I thought you just decided (together) what to watch that evening, and then gave him the remote to avoid arguments. He can hold it, control know - that sort of thing. I have now found that this issue is far more complex. We will be watching a show that we're both interested in (ie Shark Week last week on the Discovery Channel - woot for Shark Week!!!) and the moment a commercial comes on, the channel is being changed. WTF? I mean, I KNOW he's interested in what we're watching, and wants to see the rest of it...does he have ADD? It's like he wants to see as many other channels in two and a half minutes as humanly possible. I don't think he even stays on any one channel long enough to see what's on. I'll see a flash of Paris Hilton's face, the Geiko gecko, a flash of the score for the Cubs game (we might actually pause here long enough for me to start complaining about missing Sharks), a dog, the Pasta Express, a tree, and then we'll we'll flash back to the channel we were originally on. It's the weirdest male ritual ever. I have found no rhyme, reason or cure for this phenomenon.

4) The refrigerator. (I actually had a discussion with him to better understand this over the weekend. All I did was laugh. I don't understand anything at all.) Here's the best way to explain.

I had a friend spend Sunday evening with me last week. We ordered deep dish pizza, and between the three of us, there was only one piece left at the end of the evening. I was cleaning up the kitchen, and I was going to pitch it, but decided at the last minute that one piece would be enough for lunch on Monday. I wrapped it in aluminum foil, and put it in a drawer in the refrigerator - where I promptly forgot it on Monday morning.

On Tuesday, I looked for my lunch in vain. Finally, I woke the boyfriend up and asked him if he had eaten the piece of pizza yesterday. He sheepishly said yes. No big deal - it was only pizza.

But then I started wondering. How did he know the pizza was in there? How did he know where to look? We do the grocery shopping together, so he has to know what's in the fridge. If he had no reason to suspect that there was pizza, how did he find it? I asked him, and here's the explanation I received.

"You know, it's funny. I'll look in the refrigerator, then the pantry, then the cupboards for food, and then I'll repeat the process if I don't see anything I like. I know every single thing that we have in that apartment to eat, but if I don't feel like fixing any of them, I'll keep looking for something else. Even if we haven't gone to the store lately. It's almost like I expect the Food Fairy to visit and drop me something to eat. Sometimes, I'll just get lucky. When I saw the pizza I didn't know what it was, but I knew immediately that it was something I hadn't seen before, so it was fresh, and from the shape, I assumed it was a leftover that you had rescued. I opened it, and it was my lucky day. You hadn't said you wanted it, so I ate it."

Does anyone else find this weird? I mean maybe it's just me.... I mean, you've got to admire his optimism, right? But I can almost picture him looking hopefully into the refrigerator three times in 10 minutes at the exact same items....hoping against hope he'll find something different.

There's more, but I'll get to those later. When I have permission :-)

*If you believe that, I've got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you - cheap!!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Cohabitation - Part III


Tyson Tyson Tyson.

Tyson is a great dog. He just doesn't have much going on upstairs. He LOVES the boyfriend with an obsession that's only been equaled when I watch Orlando Bloom onscreen. Tyson is a rescue - the boyfriend took him in when he was about 2 years old. We don't know what happened to him, but we DO know that he was found in Lake County near Chicago, and was probably bred for fighting. If you met Tyson, you would know his personality is super non-aggressive, which is probably why he was found wandering the streets. He's a fighting reject. In all probability his severe case of separation anxiety is due to being abandoned.

The important thing to get out of that description was the "severe case of separation anxiety" part.

To put it in layman's terms, when he's not with the boyfriend, he's FREAKING OUT. When we go out with Tyson, and the boyfriend has to go somewhere alone (convenience store, bathroom) Tyson will stand rigid and stare in the direction that the boyfriend has gone until he returns. Seriously. It's disturbing. In the boyfriend's apartment, Tyson was allowed to roam free while the boyfriend was gone and he was apparently okay with that - I guess he understood that the boyfriend would eventually return. In OUR apartment, he is confined to one room (the dog room/guest room was the plan) when we are gone. When we're home, both dogs are free. Apparently, Tyson doesn't like this arrangment.

So, let's talk about how I had beautiful, perfect, wonderful, white carpet in my new apartment for all of 48 hours. Then we brought Tyson in. The first day, when Tyson realized that he was confined in one room he began the freak out. To put it mildly, it sounded like we were pulling his legs off. One by one. Slowly. Casey (who doesn't make a sound in her crate) was freaked out by Tyson's freaking out, so she added her barking to the melee. It was fabulous. Did I mention that we're still in an apartment? Did I mention that Tyson can apparently freak out for 4 hours or more before he falls into an exhausted stupor? Did I mention that he started frantically digging at my perfect carpet in an effort to get out of the room, dug THROUGH the carpet, scratched all the paint off the bottom of the door, pulled out one of his nails in the process (!!!) and KEPT DIGGING!

This has been going on every day for a month now. The background music to my life is comprised of howling, scratching, frantic whining, and crying. It never ends. A couple of times, Tyson thought it would also be fun to pee all over the carpet to show us how incredibly freaked out he was. (I'm pretty certain we got the idea from the crying.) We have found a temporary solution to the carpet (otherwise, I'm convinced that Tyson would be in China by now) and we had an animal behaviorist come to see him (yes, Tyson needs a doggie shrink. I wish I were kidding) who had some interesting suggestions, but nothing has yielded the peace that I'm seeking in my apartment. Nothing. If Tyson's not free, it sounds like he's dying a horrible, painful, LONG death.

Why doesn't he get to roam free? Because I am A) not a fan of dog hair and slobber all over my furniture B) not going to let a dog dictate the rules, and C) fearing for my cat's life. What Tyson needs is to be crate-trained. Unfortunately, he is 85lbs of muscle, and he pretty much doesn't stay in a plastic or wire crate if he doesn't want to. When the boyfriend's not around, he doesn't want to. Tyson's just a great dog all around.

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I have dreams of accidentally losing Tyson. You know, opening the door and having him slip by and run away? I dream, "Would the guilt be too much to bear if I could have a peaceful household?" Somehow, I don't think so.

To be fair, the boyfriend loves his dog. His dog loves him. Tyson is a great dog. He loves people, he's gentle, he's patient, he's laid back. When he's not confined, he's actually a better dog than Casey (who's still a puppy, mind you.) But that's as long as he's not confined. In the confined cases, he starts to sound like I'm slowly boiling him in oil. I wish I knew what happened to him in his past.

So we had to move Casey to another room. So much for my dog room/guest room idea. Now its Tyson's room. Until he's crate trained, I can use that room for nothing more than housing a dog who's practically foaming at the mouth, hyperventilating, and chewing bones faster than we can give them to him. Great.

This cohabitation thing is working out wonderfully. Seriously. I'm so glad I did it.

Oh yes, and my mother called yesterday to tell me that they're planning some remodeling in their house. First up, removing the carpet in their formal living room. Can I make certain to bring Tyson with me the next time I visit? She hears that he can help with that. Hardy har har har.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Cohabitation - Part II

Casey is used to being spoiled. I'll admit it. She's spoiled. She was an adorable puppy, and she's turning into a beautiful dog. My FIRST puppy. How could I not spoil her? Have you SEEN her sleeping baby picture? No?? Well here it is...

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However, now she's living with another dog and seems to feel like she has to compete for mom's attention. There has been some acting out (to put it mildly.) And since everything makes my puppy sick (she was the runt, and that makes her "special" as Alisa puts it), she is ill yet again. Dealing with living with Tyson, getting in trouble more often than usual (due to acting out) and the new changes in routine have stressed Casey out. Not a lot, just enough to give her a cough and sore throat. So she went to the vet.


And Again. (the first round of antibiotics didn't work)

That dog has cost me more in 7 months than my cat has in 6 years. She's special. She was put on antibiotics and steroid medication (anti-inflammatory). When the medication started, I noticed that she looked and acted weird, so I called the vet. No problem, he says the steroids "contribute to an overall feeling of well-being."

Its official. My puppy is stoned.

Her pupils are HUGE. She walks around looking at everything like its fascinating, and barking at NOTHING. She'll stare out the window and bark. I look - there's nothing there. She'll stand facing the corner and bark. Nothing there. It's starting to freak me out. What do I know? Maybe she sees dead people.

The warning on the steroids mentions that I may notice increased drinking by my pet, and also an increased need to urinate. Um, yeah. When I let Casey out of her crate, I have to immediately take her outside. This is a lesson I learned through trial and error during the first couple of days of medication. Before I understood that she literally couldn't hold it, and she peed inside, I would yell at her. She would literally jump, look at me with her freaky dilated pupils, and seem to be thinking "Whoa man...No need to yell. When you gotta go, you gotta go, man, you know? It's all good." She's so high. This is funny now (when the peeing thing is under control). Before, it wasn't quite so funny. The only lingering issue is that she seems to have forgotten where the front door is. Sometimes I'll see her standing at the window, looking at me. When I don't react, she pees inside. I now understand that in her altered state, ANYTHING could be the front door. If she's standing in front of it, looking at me, that means she has to go.

When she's, ummm...less high :-) and she doesn't get her way, she's pretty demanding. This is obviously my fault and comes from the spoiling. She gets frustrated easily and barks if you're not doing what she wants. Loosely translated, I believe her barking means, "Hey, idiot! I couldn't be any more clear about what I want. Why on earth are you ignoring me?" This is where Tyson has her beat. He's as dumb as a box of rocks, but he will wait patiently until he gets what he wants. Unfortunately for him, when it becomes clear that Casey will NOT be getting what she wants, she will literally turn, look at Tyson (as though realizing that he's STILL there) and take all of her frustration out on him.

Poor, patient, stupid Tyson, who is twice the size of Casey, is not the alpha dog of the apartment. He clearly defers to the puppy. When she launches herself at Tyson and chews on his ears, legs, tail, neck, etc. his efforts to extricate himself are always comical. There have been times that he will limp towards the boyfriend with Casey's jaws firmly attached to his rear leg, while she follows along behind. If he's got a toy that Casey wants, she will march right up to him and literally take the toy out of his mouth. He'll just turn and look at the boyfriend and I as though saying, "Why me?"

Twice now we have seen him turn and bark at her when his patience is finally gone. Both of those times, Casey will jump as though she's been electrocuted, and scurry to the other side of the room, leaving Tyson to contentedly chew on the bone/toy/biscuit that she was originally trying to take. Fifteen minutes later, she's harassing him again. When he's not around, she'll try to play with Laney. More than once, she's come up to me from another room with a cat claw sticking out of her nose. Doesn't seem to bother her much. I think she thinks it's a sign of love from the little funny looking dog she lives with.

When I'm alone with Casey, this is where the acting out comes into play. There is no more understanding of the words "come" "sit" or "down." It's like I've begun speaking a foreign language to my dog. Like she's angry that I changed her entire life, so she's going to make me pay. I used to be able to let her outside off leash, and she would stay right by me. If she did wander off, a simple "Casey" would bring her back. No longer. Now, she seems intent on embarrassing the HELL out of me in public. She will act completely normal and angelic, and then take off towards strangers and launch herself onto them. (This happened twice before the leash came back out.) I mean, seriously, how horrible is this? What do YOU think people are thinking when they see a 40lb pit bull running full speed towards them? My cries of "She's friendly!" "She's just a puppy!" and "Casey get back here!!" rarely make a difference. Luckily, the two people she jumped on and licked were dog lovers and completely understanding. She's now confined to a leash at all times - we had to upgrade to a pinch collar to keep her under control.

(I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to my mother for my "acting out" during my teenage years. I'm sure it was more frustrating than what I'm going through, and she couldn't use a pinch collar, nor could she put me in a 4'x6' crate when I was being a pain.)

The boyfriend doesn't play favorites (like I do) and he loves Casey as much as I do. But he also loves Tyson. I can't say that. I' up to Tyson. It's the constant whining that I can't take. Tyson will be part III of the cohabitation story, and by FAR the worst part.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Cohabitation - Part I

Let's talk about dysfunctional cohabitation. I wasn't going to blog about this, but after hearing my friend Kat(i)e in tears of laughter over my situation, I thought it might bring some entertainment to others. Unfortunately, there's so much to tell, that it will have to be done in stages.

I would just like to start by saying that I did not take the decision to move in with a boy lightly. I pondered it, mulled it over, worried about it incessantly, and considered what I thought was every issue that we could face. I then tried to determine whether or not we could handle the issues I conjured. Finally, after a subtle shove from a very diplomatic cousin, I took the plunge - confident that I had considered every angle.

I hadn't.

Let's start with Laney, shall we? Laney is my 6 year old cat. To be fair to her, Laney's world has been turned upside down in the span of 6 months. She was an only cat for the last three years (except for a brief stint when Maggie stayed with us. Poor Maggie. Let's all take a moment of silence for Maggie At least she's in a better place now). This is Laney. She looks evil, no?

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Being an only cat is just the way Laney likes it. She's the queen of the apartment. The only child that I could lavish attention upon - when she feels like having attention lavished upon her, that is. See, my cat loves me, but she's a complete b*tch to everyone else. This is including the boyfriend, and believe me, he's tried to get in her good graces. This is the same cat that took a dump right next to my brother's head when he stayed with me one night because he spent the majority of the evening harassing the cat (by harassing I mean "trying to pet her when Laney was not in the mood.") She's not the forgive and forget type. But I always said, "Love me, love my cat," and the boyfriend has gamely tried to win her favor.

Which brings us to our issue.

Until 6 months ago, Laney thought she was living the perfect cat life. Then I brought home this little puppy. No problem in the beginning - Laney was twice her size and beat the hell out of her. But then the puppy grew. And then Laney had to accept that the puppy appeared to be around for good. She slowly adjusted. They became, if not friends, at least roommates who were civil to each other.

Then I moved Laney into an entirely new apartment with a huge cat-eating monster who's made up entirely of teeth and tongue. (otherwise known as Tyson. I've posted a picture so you can see who he is.) This appears to be more than Laney can handle.

Now, we don't actually know if Tyson is a cat-eating monster. We just know that he shows an inordinate amount of interest in Laney whenever he sees her. The type of interest that causes him to lunge after her, chase her around, and be completely unfazed if she manages to slice open his cheek with her claws, hiss, growl, and puff into a cat twice her size. When we had Tyson/Laney round one, it was in a darkened room, so we're not entirely certain what happened before they were separated. We just know that in the aftermath, Laney was huddled in a ball with HUGE pupils, and she appeared to have been licked in several places (the HORROR!) Can you imagine what this does to a cat's dignity?

So, who does Laney blame for this horrendous living situation? She blames the boyfriend, of course. Entirely. He is now the bane of her existence. He is dead to her.

Except when he leaves clothing on the floor.

The first night in the new apartment, when we were getting ready for bed, the boyfriend threw his clothes on the floor. I picked them up and put them in the hamper. He said, "That's right. You have a hamper. I'll have to get used to that." At that time, it was just something for me to sigh and shake my head about. Boys are gross.

Now, it's a lesson that the boyfriend has had to learn perfectly and quickly. No mistakes. Because if he leaves ANY article of clothing on the floor, Laney has herself a pee party. Seriously. I think she saves her pee for just such occasions. It can be a sock, a shirt, or a duffle bag full of clothing that hasn't been unpacked. If it's on the floor, Laney will pee on it.

I can leave any type of clothing out, and its not touched.

We found this out about a week after moving in to the apartment. There were piles of the boyfriend's clothing in our bedroom that he hadn't yet put away. I came into the room to see him throwing them viciously into the hamper.


"That GODD**N cat pissed all over my clothes. They all smell like CAT PISS!"

(I tried so hard not to laugh.)

"I'm sorry. We'll wash them now and see if we can get the smell out." (I was trying to be optimistic for his sake. If anyone knows of a way to get the smell of cat pee out of fabric, please share suggestions)

A couple of days later, I happened to see Laney pawing at a duffle bag full of the boyfriend's clothes (on the floor of our closet.) I shooed her away - too late. After THAT incident, the boyfriend laid down the law. Cat is no longer allowed in the bedroom.

Laney continues to sleep with us every night.

Okay new law. Cat is only allowed in the bedroom when we're home. Whoever leaves last is responsible for getting the cat out of the bedroom.

This law was in place until the boyfriend was the last to leave the next day. When I came home that evening, Laney strolled out of the bedroom to greet me, and when the boyfriend got home, he showed me the battle scars all over his hands. One of the scratches was even in an L shape, just to remind the boyfriend not to try again.

Because she knows that Tyson is let out every morning, Laney disappears when the alarm goes off. I think she's lying in wait. If the boyfriend puts anything down on the ground, she appears within 5 seconds. It's like magic. He keeps yelling at her and telling her no. She just flattens her ears, and looks at him with narrowed eyes. I'm waiting for her to poop on his pillow one of these nights. She already pooped on the bathmat in our bathroom. While the boyfriend was in the shower. I told him to look at the bright side - at least he didn't step in it.
Yes, these are the issues we are facing with Laney. But she's not the worst one. There's more to come...

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

A woman my age.

It's a funny story how I ended up at the Lancome counter at Macy's.

Back story - My mother and I went on a "girls trip" to Chicago last August. One thing I've learned in my years of existence is that if my mother and I hope to survive more than 3 hours at a time together, I just have to let go and let Cami have her way. Once I accepted this, life became much easier for my mom and I. Thus, I found myself at the Lancome counter at Saks, getting a makeover (sigh.) Now, I am not a makeup girl. I'm a lip gloss and mascara girl - on good days, I'm also a moisturizer girl. I ended up with too much eye makeup on (of course) and way too much lipstick. (My mom even took photos. Fabulous. Here's me.)

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But there is a silver lining. I did find the best mascara in the world. (Seriously girls, if you don't believe me, you haven't tried Lancome mascara. It's probably not the best value, but if you're looking for good mascara, you can't find any better.)

So when they started running the "free gift if you spend XX amount" ads for Lancome, I decided that I needed some new mascara. I hate the mall, and I avoid it like the plague, but I bravely headed into Macy's to get my mascara (and free gift.) I walked up to the first Lancome associate I saw (really cute, really made up, and really young - I was immediately amused. They let girls who can't drink sell makeup? That struck me as funny.) and asked for the mascara. So we start talking,

"How long have you worked here?"
"About 6 months now. But Lancome has the best makeup, so I definitely wanted to work here."
"I know, they have great mascara. That's what I came here for." We started heading over to the mascara.
"They do have good mascara. But I really like their moisturizers too. Have you tried them?"
"Not really. Just the small samples you get sometimes as free gifts."
"Really? Women your age should be using moisturizer daily, especially around your eyes."

Hold up. "Women my age?" Surely she means "women who can legally drive a vehicle", because Barbie looks like mom drove her into work today.

"I'm sorry?"
"Oh, I just mean women who are approaching thirty."

Hold up. I am so not.....well, it's not like.....well....I only graduated from college

My brain, not finding any way to defend itself from such horrendous accusations, immediately reverts to the petulant mode. I am SO not buying the moisturizer.

Meanwhile, there's this lecture about skin, and aging and sun going on from the teenager who can't buy beer. I'm attempting to listen while not fainting from the realization that I've gone from young (which is what I feel) to "approaching thirty." At least she didn't say "over thirty." Then she might not have any hair left.

She pulls me over to a magnifying mirror and shows me lines (DEAR GOD!) that can be avoided or removed by using this miraculous moisturizer. She points out bags and discoloration....she puts moisturizer on me and shows how it will help slow the aging process.... I am being manhandled by a girl who is probably more than a decade younger than me, and there's absolutely nothing I can do to defend myself. The confident woman who's planning on celebrating her 30th birthday in the Andes is gone, and this wrinkled, discolored woman who's approaching thirty with bags under her eyes remains.

When the lecture ends, and the child is using the closing line, "I'll go ahead and ring up your moisturizer and mascara." My will reasserts itself.

"No thanks. I just need the mascara."
"Are you sure?" (her voice suggests that I'm making a horrible mistake re-entering the world with wrinkles, discoloration and bags)I steel myself - remembering that I wouldn't go back to being her age for all the money in the world. "Yes, I don't think I'm at the age where I need to worry about wrinkles quite yet," (kind smile) "and early prevention has never been my strong suit."

As I left with my mascara, I felt empowered, confident, fabulous. I don't care about age - in fact, I think I look better than I did 5 years ago. I don't need the approval of a teenager who can't imagine being my age. I wanted to tell her that it sneaks up on you, but that attitude is everything. Being able to resist magazines, billboards, and Lacome counter girls who tell you that you're old is key.

But I totally went to Target and bought some moisturizer. I'm not entirely immune.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Stupid is as Stupid does...

I have to go to the doctor.

There. I've said it. (or at least written it)

I have to go to the doctor.

I did it again.

See, I have this problem with doctors. I'm not scared of them, it's just that they want to prescribe medicine, and I'm just not a medicine taker. Oh, I'm not entirely crazy.....I've been known to partake in a little NyQuil from time to time (aka the miracle drug) but that's only when the sickness is so bad that I only have a choice between NyQuil and suffocating myself with a pillow.

The fact that society as a whole is overmedicated is a factor in my reluctance to visit said doctors, but I also have this whole belief of a mind, body, spirit balance (which is an entirely different blog) which makes me think that the body can take care of itself. You just have to listen to what it says.

But I digress. In this situation, I have to go to the doctor to have them look at my knee. Which sucks.

See, I was in a car accident in August of 2004. By Car Accident, I mean there was a car, and there was Emily on rollerblades. The car won. My left knee lost. I have since learned that you should *not* rollerblade at 5:00am - even through Fishers, which is a fairly safe, well to do community. Apparently there are some well to do men who just have to make their tee times, and don't have time to look for pedestrians on their way to the very exclusive golf course. I did go to a doctor then, but this was only two days later when I couldn't bend my knee or walk. The doctor (very young and cute by the way) x-rayed my knee, said he didn't see any tears or fractures, and determined that I should just let it heal on its own. No joke. He then charged me about $150.00. Fabulous.

My problem now, in March of 2006, is that I am training to run in the Indianapolis Mini-Marathon. I'm doing pretty well, actually, but the further I run, the more I feel something is not completely okay with my knee. It's not that it hurts, exactly, just that the joint a sinister sort of way. I've been wearing various knee braces depending on my activity for the evening (one for running, another for Pilates, another for volleyball, etc.) But it's gotten to the point where the knee aches for days now.

So if I was not stubborn, and I was following my own advice, I would say that my knee is telling me that it can't handle the amount of running that I'm making it do, and I need to slow down a bit. Maybe entirely. It might be telling me that the elliptical machine is my new best friend.

And I know this. And I know I'm ignoring my body's advice, and I'm relying on knee braces to help me through this. I can ignore unspoken advice. But I really really really don't want the doctor to tell me I can't run the mini. Seriously. This is the 8th week of training. I'm up to running 8 miles. That's HUGE. When I started, I could only run 3 miles - on a good day - with an oxygen tank.

So I'm bummed. And postponing the inevitable.

But I have to go to the doctor. :-(