Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Aging gracefully a la chin hair

I'm turning 34 on Saturday. At the precise moment of my birth, 7:43 p.m., I'll be ushering in my 35th year by enjoying a Prairie Home Companion live from the Koussivetsky Music Shed at Tanglewood in Lenox. PHC is at Tanglewood every year on my birthday weekend, but I'm usually too busy throwing myself a party to go. This year, the party is going to be later in the summer (invitations forthcoming) and I, finding that I had nothing planned for my birthday evening, went and planned something for myself. If you listen to the broadcast, imagine me crying in the audience, because I will surely be crying. Uh oh, I'm getting choked up right now just thinking of it.

You may become jealous when you learn that Martin Sheen and Steve Martin are both on the show Saturday. I'm just saying.

About a year ago or so ago, I noticed that I had a small, black chin hair. I thought it was an errant eyebrow hair, but it didn't brush away. I plucked it instantly. It grew back a few months later. I plucked it again and began a vigilant search for it. Basically, I rub the area of my chin with my thumb in a sweeping motion a couple times a day looking for it. I've been finding it a little more regularly than I was initially, and I'm not all that pleased about it.

About a month ago, I plucked it and it was back in a week. I freaked out a little bit.

One thing about me that I may never have made clear here is that sometimes when I think about shaving my face, I get the anxiety. My great-grandmother shaved with an electric razor every day, and the thought of such a fate fills me with the dread and the full-on anxiety so much so that I have to force myself not to think of it.

The thing is, I realized that it wasn't the same hair. Now I have two chin hairs! Sweet god! The humanity!

On Sunday, I was rubbing my chin, felt a chin hair, moved posthaste to the bathroom mirror, brandished the tweezers and basically stared at my chin. I couldn't see anything. I moved to another mirror and different light. I still couldn't see anything, but damn it if I couldn't feel a wiry little hair. Finally, I trained the tweezers upon it and pulled.

Friends, what I pulled out of my chin was a white chin hair. Oh. My. Fucking. God. It was white. And just a tiny smidgen of the end was black. So my former black chin hair is now white.

This is great, because now it's way harder to see and there's little risk of anyone observing my chin hair with their own eyes. But I'm not sure white chin hair is what I'm ready for at this juncture.

Luckily, I don't have a choice. It's just an extra-special birthday present from my waning hormones to my face.


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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Can it be three whole weeks since my last post?

That's it. I'm fired!

Okay, not really.

So much has been going on, most of which is not blog fodder, so I must abstain. But here are a few things that are worth sharing.

First, I did several hours of yard work today and if I didn't know I did it, I wouldn't notice I did it. There are many parts of home ownership that suck. This is one of them.

While I was working on the yard, I applied some sunscreen so I could try to avoid premature death. I bought some sunscreen at the Greenfields Market that is all-natural, so it's not as bad for the environment or anything (because some of them are pretty bad). It was made with zinc oxide, so it made me sort of white and pasty (or should I say, "whiter and pastier"?) than normal. When I was finally done being outside, I went into the shower to return to my normal human state, and I could not wash that stuff off. It took a ton of soap and water and actual, factual scrubbing and carrying on, and the water was still beading up on my skin like I had been freshly waxed. It was like tar.

(Aside: Remember Actual Factual Bear?)

Part of what I did was clean up some leaves that were leftover from fall. I found a whole bunch of them in my brassierre when I took a shower. Awesome!

This week was the best week I've ever had at work, ever. I got nominated by my peers for an important and prestigious award - and then I won it. And all of this happened without anyone spilling the beans to me, so that when they announced it in front of everyone in my division (100 or so people), I was so surprsed that I instantly started weeping and walking around in a daze like Miss America.

Now, I know what some of you are thinking: Jennifer always cries. And it's partially true, but I really try to keep the out-loud-and-in-public weeping to the minimalest minimum at work. They don't smile kindly on ladies in career separates getting their weep on in earnest 'round about my corporatey-corporate workplace. But I did it. And it was on a teleconference too! I was pretty embarrassed. But afterwards, everyone was coming up and hugging me and congratulating me and it basically didn't matter at all. In fact, my old bossidy-boss came up to me later to tell me how touched he was that I was so surprised and happy about the award.

My crying brought people together! Even so, I'm going to try not to do that again.

In the bastard plantar fasciitis news, it went away for about a week, then came back again, but I'm confident I can get it to go away again. It's so frustrating. But I've been taking short walks and basically giving it a giant middle finger, so that helps. In a related story, I bought another pair of shoes in an effort to fit my foot and my orthotic into a shoe at the same time. Upon wearing the shoe for one work day, I discovered it doesn't actually fit me. Fucking yeah!

I had a membership to Planet Fitness. A few weeks ago, Scott helped me face the reality that I never go. Not just seldom. Never. So he drove me over there and I cancelled my membership easy-peasy. It was nothing. But I wouldn't have gone over there without his urging. And because he was there, I didn't get caught up in feeling like a loser for quitting the gym. Honestly, I couldn't stand it in there. It was a lowest-common-denominator playground, as far as I could tell. When I was going regularly for a while there, there was a series of nutso people basically parading around me the whole time. This one insane mother in particular screaming at her son for about a thousand hours while I was just trying to exercise for about 30 minutes set me into a bit of, oh, I don't know. If it weren't so goddamned funny, I might have had the panic. When did mothers start screaming at their kids like dogs in public? My mother always had the courtesy to whisper-shout at us through gritted teeth. If you weren't right next to her feeling the anger radiate off her like thermo-nuclear waves and experiencing her death grip sear your arm fat while her growly whisper-shout singed the extra-fine cilia in your inner ear, you might not even know she was angry. (I'm not sure I've adequately thanked her for keeping the public mortification to a minimum.) In any case, the number of people working out in their pajamas was basically stunning. Also, teenagers getting their pose on in earnest. It was madness is all I'm saying.

You might be thinking, "Jennifer, the common denominator in all this is you." And indeed you may be right. But no self-respecting establishment purporting to be a health and fitness gymnasium should have a weekly all-you-can-eat pizza night. Just sayin'.

This morning, my mother called my very popular radio program to put on Grandpa No-legs's Bass Boat. It was sold within a very short time, which gratified me to no end. In any event, there was a glorious moment while we were on the air when I asked my mother what the boat was made of, aluminum or fiberglass. She approximately replied, "Whatever Bass Boats are made of." I approximately said, "They can be made of either." I only know this because of the show that I host. We talk about these things. She approximately said, "People who know Bass Boats know what they're made of," like she was some kind of person who knew Bass Boats, which she couldn't be because she didn't know what it was made of. I approximately said, "Yes, of course, ma, either aluminum or fiberglass." I added "approximately" in there because I didn't record it. I only wish I had so I could get those quotes exactly and so I could listen to it in perpetuity and laugh and laugh. We raised the curtain on our relationship to the listening public. When it was over, my bossman at the station popped into the studio and said, "You've gotta have your mother call in more often." I said, "I wasn't sure if that was funny to outside people or not." He said, "Oh, it was."

It is a radio program on public air waves, so my mother can certainly call in whenever she wishes to do so.

I think we're all caught up now.

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Monday, April 6, 2009

Audition in review

Tonight I had an audition for a big comedy festival and now I remember very keenly why I stopped doing these kinds of things a number of years ago.

The person I auditioned for is also a scout for a network late-night television show. There were 14 of us auditioning tonight. Everyone totally rocked. I was so pleased with my performance. I felt strong and really there.

After the show was over, I went to gladhand the man I auditioned for. He told me that he thinks my comedy is too much here (pointing to head) and not enough here (pointing to stomach). Too much poise and not enough gut, he said. I need to bring more of myself to the stage. I'm funny, he said, and he thinks he'll be seeing more of me, just not right now.

I asked him if he had specific advice about what I can do to improve. He said I just have to keep working. And he kept saying that I have to bring more of myself to the stage.

I am open to constructive criticism. I really and truly am. But I wasn't prepared to be told that I wasn't bringing myself to the stage because I feel that I am all I bring to the stage. In fact, I was once challenged by someone to bring less of myself to the stage and to be funny without being personal and I couldn't. I don't know how to do that. Whatever.

So afterwards, everyone went down to the second floor to chat and hang around, but I found I was unable to stay. I tried, but I ended up crying in front of a couple people, which was embarrassing since everyone else seemed like they were totally fine.

I pulled myself together and went to talk to Rick, told him what I had been told, etc., and he said, "I love you. You're great. I believe in you." So I had to cry and rush out. Which was lame, but I really preferred to cry in the relative privacy of my car and not in a bar where there was karaoke and general barroom insanity.

So I did. And then we hit the road.

Of course, now it's a few hours later and I've got a little distance and I know that one guy doesn't get to decide that I don't bring myself to the stage. I think he's full of it. And I have to remember how happy I was with my set after it was over. I realy felt good about it. Also I'm happy I have some shows coming up so that I don't have an opportunity to feel mopey and sad about it. I just have to get back on the horse.

And I also think I have to do more of these types of auditions so that the rejection doesn't feel so personal. I don't know how to make it feel less personal since I lay my personal life right out there on the stage. I guess I'm just going to have to learn.

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Here, take this barf bag

Scott went to a party tonight without me. I could have gone; I opted not to. I was just feeling tired and not in the mood. I'm a human.

The party was in Cambridge. That means that Scott is driving alone. Fine. I guess.

It's funny, I never got this nervous or worried about anyone driving anywhere before I met Scott. I just don't want to lose him. I can't imagine my life without him in it. The idea that he is hurtling down a highway alone makes me worry.

When his parents were moving, he was delivering some stuff from his parents in NY to his sister in VT and was driving around quite a bit for a few days. I basically had to take to the bed I was so out of my mind. Right now, I'm just in a mild state of worry. It's not even worry so much as a strong desire for him to be home already.

Okay, maybe saying I never got this worried before meeting him is a slight exaggeration. One time a long time ago - I think I might have been in college - I was dropping my parents off at the airport because they were going to Florida to visit my grandparents. I became convinced that they were going to die on a plane. I cried in the car all the way back home. Then when it was time for their return trip, I cried about it in a booth at Bickford's of all places (it is breakfast anytime, after all) and an old lady turned around in her booth to tell me that I shouldn't worry and that it is all in God's hands.

She said God like Gaud. Like the vowel sound in gauze. In case you want to imagine it. I should mention that I was wearing pajama pants in public at the time. I went through a bit of a phase with that.

I guess what this is proving is that I sometimes get worried. And my state of worry about Scott driving home is no where near crying out loud in a Bickford's. That said, I will be hella relieved when he gets his honkey ass home.

I will now turn my eyes upon the TeeVee to distract myself with the SNL.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

For real? Plus an explanation

The person I claim to have overheard on the way out to the car last month allegedly read my post and left a comment. Read the post and the comment, if you want.


I've gotta call bullshit on it though. I do not believe the actual person I overheard's girlfriend was all, "Hey, this lady on the Internet overheard a generic 30-something fellow in the parking lot at work disparaging his old lady and I think it might have been you! Come read this; it's hilarious!"

And I am briefly filled with the fury and the sadness once again.

Also, I guess those guys, with their swirling vortexes of commitment-phobia, rather deserve a bit of my thanks. I was so angry and sad about the whole scene I observed. I was set afoul by it and had to cry and beg Scott never to talk about me in such a disrespectful way (I'm a catch!). As a result, we had Important Conversations That We Probably Should Have Already Had and Didn't, which means now we're both on the same page about many things. This is good.

I suppose I should mention that my fury is not new, is born of fear, and that I spent quite a bit of time on those fears in therapy some years ago, which is how I can have a proper adult relationship now. It really is a miracle. My therapist is quite good.

I don't think it's fair to place blame anywhere, but I can say that a trusted adult spent a good deal of time warning me about the way "men are" when I was too young of a child for such talk. It left a nearly indelible mark upon me. To say I've had issues is to put it lightly.

It was mostly of a men-think-with-their-dicks, why-buy-the-cow order, which I think is pretty regular stuff adults may say to teenagers to scare them away from having sex. My trusted adult took it quite a bit farther and started on me quite a bit younger and basically gave me a gift that kept on giving: an irrational fear of men and, in particular, of how men treat women once they've had sex with them and no longer need them.

When I was working on it all in therapy, my therapist had me think about good men I knew and use them (in my head, not in real life) to try to break the beliefs I'd accidentally formed. There were mixed results, of course, because the fellows I chose still were piggy humans, said totally inappropriate things with regularity and seemed sometimes to prove that what my trusted adult said was true.


Even so, over time and with much work I have been able to turn in to a mostly normal adult human, which is lucky and not by accident.

Sometimes though, my historic fears rear their heads, sometimes even in workplace parking lots. Given my history, my crying and furious reaction to that conversation may seem a little more reasonable, even if it wasn't reasonable at all.

I'm really lucky to have Scott, who seems to get me and - this is a bonus - is not at all freaked out by me (even though he'd be well within his rights to be completely and totally freaked out with some regularity).

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Saving the day

I was just reading Catherine Newman's Dalai Mama blog. I love Catherine's writing, and how well she captures, well, everything.

This latest blog is about dreams. Read until the end, the part about Birdy's dreams about her dad. I'm weeping openly now.

Have you read the Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood? It's really badly written - I was rewriting it in my head the whole time I was reading it - but it's a good story. There's this part where the main character whose name I can't remember (I would go get the book, but it's in a box somewhere in the basement; I would look it up on the Internet, but I guess I don't care that much.) talks about having one childhood moment she could look back on and say, "In that moment, I knew my mother loved me." It was really powerful.

My parents were very affectionate and told us they loved us all the time, so it's not like I have to go back and find a moment where I knew my parents loved me or anything.


Shortly after I learned how to ride a bike, I was riding my bike on Dorothy Lane in Terryville, Connecticut. We lived on Town Line Road in Bristol, which was, indeed, on the town line. Dorothy Lane ran perpendicular to our street. Our house faced it. We were on the top of Fall Mountain, so it was pretty hilly.

I wasn't allowed to ride on Town Line Road because people drove like assholes on it, so I rode up and down Dorothy Lane, which had a little bit of a hill.

I had one of those bikes that you have to pedal backwards to stop. As I was riding down the hill, I started going so fast that my feet came off the pedals. I started yelping. Just that fast, my father was there. He caught me and my bike just before I crossed onto Town Line Road.

I asked him a year or so ago if he remembered that moment. Of course, he did. I asked him how he got over to me that fast. He had been working on some project in the driveway, heard me yelp, dropped what he was doing and ran over and caught me. He said there was no time to stop and think.

I asked him if he got hurt. Turns out he was sore for days. He basically got hit by a hurtling bike and an accompanying child. It was a giant, metal punch in the entire body.

In the moment, I didn't think this was remarkable at all. Dads swoop in to save the day. That's what dads do. I certainly didn't feel like it was a demonstration of love.

But now, looking back, it's all I can think of. It was a powerful moment I'll remember my whole life.

I love my dad.

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Monday, June 30, 2008

We're fine! We're fine!

One afternoon a few years ago, Ann and I were driving to the Studio in Cambridge. I was at the helm of her car, which is how we roll. Right near where I-84 spills into the Pike, a vehicle came to a dead stop right in the middle of the fast lane, which is where we were. Since all the lanes were nearly bumper-to-bumper, I could do nothing but slam on the brakes.

It was really scary. But the scariest part is the part where I started shouting, "We're fine! We're fine!" over and over again, at a point where it was not clear that we were nor would be fine.

Perhaps it was the power of my positive thinking that helped us narrowly escape a giant highway pileup. I would like to think that it helped in some way.

We drove a distance in silence. We were a bit shaken (not stirred) by the whole experience. Suddenly, it blew over when Ann began openly mocking me by shouting, "We're fine! We're fine!"

She asked with a laugh, "What was that, 'We're fine! We're fine!' thing all about?"

Hell if I knew. But it's become a thing we shout when things are more stressful than we'd like. We've even shared it with some colleagues. Every now and again, you'll hear cries of, "We're fine! We're fine!" coming from our area of cubicles followed closely by laughter and hard work.

We're basically in a constant state of, "We're fine! We're fine!" in the house right now. Things are just starting to shape up and seem almost like it's a place where people can safely live.

Scott's doing much better than I am. I have a hard time with chaos, and have been falling apart regularly due to same.

I've been trying to keep it together so I can get things done, but sometimes I find it pretty paralyzing. Also, I have been having the racing thoughts about everything we need to do. A couple nights ago, I came undone reciting lists of things we had to do. I kept listing all the things and talking in circles and making just about no sense. When I had worked myself up into crying out loud, Scott handed me a clipboard and some paper and advised me to make a list.

So I did, and it really helped. Now we have the clip board and a dry-erase board with the stuff we need to do and want to do ranked by when we want to do it and how big the job is. This is progress.

Moving is so hard. I don't know how people do it. I know people who move every couple years and I, frankly, don't know how they maintain any level of sanity. I really don't intend to move ever again. It may happen; since I am not a seer, I can't know what the future holds. As far as I'm concerned, however, I'm here for the long haul.

We made some real progress over the weekend. My dad and I hooked up the stove and lit all the pilots (scary) on Saturday. When I say, "my dad and I", what that really means is my dad did it while I stood by and handed him things (and worried just a little bit about blowing up). On Sunday, Margaret came over for most of the day and helped me set up the pantry and unpack all the kitchen stuff. All of these things mean I can cook up proper meals again and we can stop eating take-out and mooching off our friends.

Also on Sunday, the Comcast man came and fixed the internet connection in the house, so now we're online. I can't seem to get the wireless to work properly, but at least we can plug in and have a connection.

So, in sum, we're fine! We're fine.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Jennifer Myszkowski, home owner

Everyone told me there would be a bunch of signing, that my hand was going to hurt, that it was going to go on and on. Turns out it wasn't so bad. Maybe it's because everyone prepared me so well that it was like a breeze.

Now the real work begins.

You may be interested to know that I didn't cry at all at the closing. I did cry a little bit at the walk-through, but that's because I'm a human. On our way to the walk-through, I had to rush to a nearby Dunkin Donuts to avoid soiling myself from the nerves.

All in all, though, we made it through with flying colors over here. Now we just have to wait for the deed to be filed this afternoon, then we can go pick up our keys (the seller's lawyer is crazy old-school and wouldn't let us have the keys until the filing).

If anyone wants any recommendations for such things as mortgage broker or real estate lawyer, please e-mail me. I'll be glad to pass some names on to you.

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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Compassion where I least expected it

Scott and I watched American Experience: George H.W. Bush last night and tonight.

To be more precise, Scott watched last night's program while I slept through about ¾ of it. We watched the second and final episode tonight.

I always welcome an opportunity to develop compassion for someone, particularly when it's a person I don't like. I don't often turn up liking them, but I enjoy understanding their point of view a little better.

This program was so well done that I wrote an e-mail to the producers telling them so the moment it was over (about 10 minutes ago) and I'd like to encourage you to see it if you haven't already. Check your local PBS listing for a rebroadcast date.

Of course they glossed over some serious problems with the Bush 41 presidency, and that's to be expected in a piece like this, but they showed him in a very human light -- a light I don't think he ever showed himself in. It was a refreshing change of scenery.

Also, in my head, I've lumped the George Bushes together, but George H.W. was no moron. I have a decidedly different world view, by and large, from him, but he made every move with deep thought and he acted with the courage of his convictions.

Old Dubya acts with the courage of his convictions too, but I don't think he's had a deep thought in his life. They actually showed a photo of Dubya and H.W. together in the oval office and Dubya was smirking and acting a fool and H.W. was super classy.

I suppose this will be no surprise to you, but I was weeping openly at the end of this program, so much so that the Count had to do a little mocking. I can't say I blame him.

Anyway, I recommend you watch this program if you can catch it.

Thank you and good night.

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Saturday, May 3, 2008

I have to develop a callous (first I have to grow some skin!)

I went to my bank this afternoon to have money taken from my savings account and turned into a bank check in the amount of my down payment.

I was at the radio station this morning getting ready to leave and do that very thing and I started feeling shaky just thinking about it. I was having a bit of anxiety and ended up talking about it with my buddy Jeff. We talk every Saturday after my radio show for a little bit. He's on the air right after me at our sister station. It's funny how we've made friends just from talking casually for about 10 minutes every Saturday.

Anyway, I was saying to Jeff that I knew I'd be a little anxious about all the house-buying bullshit because I'm an anxious person in general, but I was surprised to be freaking out just giving a person a check. It's just that it's so much money. And it's not that much money in the grand scheme of things. But it took me SO LONG to save - I've been saving for damned near forever - and even though I have been saving for this very purpose, handing a sizable check to someone is a big deal.

He totally agreed with me, which was helpful.

I went to the bank and asked for a bank check. I told the teller that I was buying my first house and I was freaking out a little. Turns out she's buying her first house too, so she had the empathy. I had to fill out a form with all the information about the bank check, and as I was signing the paper, I thought, "Jesus Christ, I'm going to start crying."

She started entering everything in to the computer to get the check going. She double-checked spelling and made sure everything was right. The longer I stood there, the more my eyes filled up. I was in a total state of panic.

I was thinking about thousands of things about the house, but mostly I was thinking about how much money it is.

Of all the things I worry about, money is probably number one. I'm wired to worry about money. I cannot escape worrying about money to matter how hard I try - even when I have plenty of money. You can imagine my state of mind getting this check cut.

Up until this point, I kept my tears in my eyes, but when the teller walked over to get the check off the printer, it was basically over. I was crying; tears flowed in earnest.

She put the check in an envelope and handed it to me and I could hardly thank her for the tears. She smiled at me and said, "Good luck, Jen."

(Aside: I go to one of those banks that insists on calling you by name, but they want it to seem familiar and friendly, so they shorten your name into a nickname no one calls you.)

I gurgled something back to her and ran out to the car and cried out loud for a few minutes. Then I drove over to Margaret and Jeremy's and cried at their kitchen table.

Margaret said that from now on everything is going to cost a thousand dollars or some multiple of a thousand dollars and I'll need to develop a callous to it or I'm going to lose my mind. I know she's right. I just don't know how I'll afford anything ever again.

How am I going to make it through the closing without panicking and crying out loud?

I'm just not going to. I've met myself a few times and I know myself well enough to know that I'm going to panic and weep through every part of this process.

Here's the balm for my weary soul: I'm not just spending this down payment money. It's an investment. This house is a great bargain. I'm in an excellent position. I'm doing the right thing.

As Jeff said to me while I was coming undone at the station, "Deep cleansing breaths, Jennifer. Deep cleansing breaths."

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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

When you're buying a house, everyone wants to give you advice

People dressed as clowns are pouring out of miniature cars to line up at our door and give us advice about buying a house and home ownership in general.

Mostly, people are giving us good advice. But there a coupla people who clearly think I'm a moron.

Yes, we're getting the house inspected. Yes! Of course! I almost want to hire a sky writer so I don't have to say it ever again. First of all, it's practically the law. Second, every single publication aimed towards first-time home buyers contains a large-print, boldfaced section that screams, "Get a home inpsection, you moron!"

I know people give advice because they care, but - man! - it's a hard pill to swallow, the one where you realize people think you're a moron.

Speaking of our home inspection, we scheduled ours for next Friday, but the sellers are asking us to move it up and I'm not sure we can. After some research, I picked a seriously awesome inspector who I think is top notch. So do other people, it turns out, which is why he's booked up until next Friday. They gave me first available. Anyway, I hope it works out.

I started to freak out a little bit this afternoon about it, but then I went for a bike ride instead. Did I tell you my podiatrist gave me the a-okay for riding the actual bike? Well, he did. In any event, there was proper exercise and no throwing up or crying.

(Kelsey, we will never lose out-loud and in-public weeping to maturity. I mean, really. It's me!)

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Giant lady feet strike again

I guess this will be both a plantar fasciitis update and a post about my giant lady feet.

As you know, I have giant lady feet. I also have been recovering for about a year and a half from plantar fasciitis. I found that I was having strange pains on the tops of my feet, particularly my left foot, when I wore my work shoes.

People with giant lady feet who are not wealthy have only a few pairs of shoes because shoes cost so goddamned much money. For example, my work shoes, which are very basic mary janes, cost upwards of $150. I've been wearing them since I got the go-ahead from the doctor to wear shoes again last summer sometime.

I realized that the new pain I was having in the tops of my feet was related to my work shoes. I only wear my work shoes three times a week (I work from home two days a week now), but the were still affecting me quite a bit. I decided I needed to buy a new pair of shoes.

I went down to Footprints in Newington, CT., because they actually keep giant lady shoes in stock. I often order giant lady shoes from a catalogue, but when I do, I have to send at least half of what I order back - sometimes more!

I tried on close to 25 pairs of shoes. Most didn't fit me. About a half-dozen shoes sort of did. The sales guy working with me brought out such gems as the taupe orthopedic old-lady shoe that is always number one on the hit parade. I actually said, "You're kidding, right? I'm only 32! I will not even try that shoe on."

Anyway, none fit so well as this one hideous pair that I ended up buying. Price tag: $130. I would never have bought the shoes if my mary janes weren't hurting me so badly. I just wanted a pair of shoes for work.

(Aside: I cried out loud on my way out of the store, so mortified was I at my shoe prospects. I had to weep for a while in the car before I could get it together to drive home.)

I have worn sneakers to work before. I have a note from my doctor so that I can. Thing is, I hate wearing sneakers to work. In a world where nearly everyone wears suits and high heals, I really felt like I stuck out in my sneakers. I hated wearing them!

So I got these new shoes. I work them three days last week. Guess what? They don't actually fit me! They made my feet hurt in new and different ways!

Guess what else? I can't take them back. Once worn, Footprints doesn't accept returns.

Mother fucker!

Now I'm back on sneakers at work, which is what I should have just done from the beginning. My pride got in the way of that.

I also need to make a new appointment with the podiatrist to find out why the top of my feet are hurting now. Free with my visit through the podiatry office comes a rousing lecture on how I need to lose some weight, so you can imagine how much I'm looking forward to this.

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Thar she blows!

I had a situation last weekend that was pretty terrible.

We went to see Juno at Pleasant Street. If you haven't seen it, I recommend it. It's a fine piece of cinema. Anyway, we were in the little theater. There were these college students in front of us who seemed nice enough, I suppose. They were acting a little like college students, but seemed mostly benign.

After the show was over, we were getting up to leave. We were looking around to be sure we got all our crap. We noticed that the college students left a mess of candy wrappers and a half-full bag of popcorn all over the ledge. I cleaned it up.

I expect this kind of behavior at Showcase (which doesn't make it right), but I don't expect it at Pleasant Street, which is a small non-profit movie house. The little theater probably fits 30 people in it, at most. If you mess the place up, the person who is going to clean up after your lousy ass is also the person who's taking your ticket at the counter, and perhaps even running the projector. It's not okay to leave your trash around. It's just not.

Had the young people been there, I would have told them that very thing. Alas, they were gone.

I hadn't eaten a proper meal just yet. We were planning to eat after the movie. And maybe not eating played a role in what happened. I don't know. All I know is that we were outside trying to figure out where we were going to eat, when Germy said, "Hey, there are the litter bugs now."

I turned around and it was them. And that's when I shouted, "Oh, it's you!"

And they were looking at me with eyebrows that said, "It's us, what?"

"You left your trash in the theater. That's just not acceptable behavior. This is not what we do when we go to the theater."

First they denied it. Then when I gave specifics, they said it was an accident. I said, "Right. An accident."

Then they said something about wondering how acceptable it is to speak to strangers the way I was speaking to them. Then there was shouting coming out of other people's mouths (Scott vs. college students) and I started to realize what I had done. So I turned around and walked away.

When we got to Siam Square, I was weeping out loud. Marge had to escort me to the lavatory because I was coming undone. Thankfully, they serve food at Siam Square, and soon I turned back into a normal person.

The thing that's weird about this is that I was disgusted by they're behavior when I was cleaning up after them, but if you had asked me if I thought I would blow up at them if I saw them, I would definitely have said, "No way." But then, moments later, I was so filled with righteous indignation that I was not able to stop myself from letting them know how we behave in a society, while not behaving in a fashion fit for society.

I'm an animal. And a human. I'm a Huminal.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Unfortunate announcement

We're not buying the house. It turns out that it has an underground oil tank. It's still in use and the seller says it's never given her any trouble, so she sees no reason to take it out of the ground. Which is great.

Hmm. Okay. But that's the thing about contamination - you don't know about it until you have to call in the EPA. Seriously, unless a person is constantly monitoring their oil consumption and tank, they would have no idea - NO IDEA - if they had a little leak.

My research indicates that it's $1,500-$2,500 to take a tank out of the ground if it's not leaking. Certainly not pocket change, but doable over time, sure. But here's the rub: if it's leaking, it's $50,000-$100,000 to abate.

Wanna know how to test it? You dig it up and test all the dirt around it. It costs $1,500-ish. The seller says I'm welcome to test it, but that she's not doing anything about it.

So to sum up: I'd have to spend $1,500 to test the tank - in addition to all the other inspections, etc. - to figure out if I want to buy a property, and if it turns out there's contamination, I'm out a whole bunch of money because I'm not buying it.

According to a source, if you're going to dig it up to test it, you may as well take it out of the ground and get rid of it, since it's only a little bit more to do so.

Argh. Whatever.

My lawyer called me with the news just before lunchtime. At lunch, B, D and I had a frank talk about it. D got her Rumsfeld on in earnest and said something to the effect of, "When you buy a house, there are already a number of unknown unknowns. Why would you walk into something with such a giant known unknown?"

She's right! I had to cry a little bit, right there in the cafeteria.

I've taken her advice and the advice of a number of other people who have been giving it to me (solicited and unsolicited). I'm walking away.

I can't lie. I'm sad. But what can a person do? Something else will come along.

(Aside: my lawyer told me that the seller's lawyer told her that this is the second sale they've lost because of the underground oil tank.)

(Aside: my father had a pal who had a leaking underground oil tank. You know when he found out? When his neighbor found fuel oil in his yard. It's a silent contaminent. They had to take all the dirt out of his yard and his neighbors yard to abate it. Back then, home owner's insurance would cover that kind of thing. Now you have to have a separate policy just for the tank.)

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I'm officially out of my goddamned mind

Tonight I was crying out loud about my mortgage. Sweet God, I'm a human.

I got a bunch of paperwork in the mail and I didn't understand it. It looked, to my untrained eye, like I was going to have to come up with an additional $2,000 at closing time, which took me by surprise because I went over all of it about a thousand times with the nice lady from the bank because I didn't want surprises.

"I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation," I told myself. It was after business hours, so I decided to call my nice mortgage lady in the morning.

But then I started feeling really anxious, so I called her right away and left a half-frantic message.

Then I started crying out loud, the cry of a panicking person. Then the phone rang. Thank God.

This stuff is so complicated. And I'm a human who is sometimes a moron. It turns out I didn't realized that so-called closing costs include downpayments made in advance of the closing and a few other things, and I didn't understand why line F was being subtracted by line J.

And then I understood it, so we could proceed to the laundromat to wash, dry and fold.

Soon we will be washing, drying and folding in the comfort of our own home.


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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

This just in

We got a counter-offer from the seller today. We don't like it. Now we're going to make a counter-offer.

This stuff is really maddening and complicated and it's making me anxious. Last weekend when I was overtired and anxious at the same time, I nearly came undone. In fact, if you count Saturday afternoon when I was prepping for our games night with Scott's work nerds, I actually came undone. I cried and cried about what a terrible person I am.

When I told Bex at lunch on Monday about how I spent Saturday afternoon crying about being a terrible person, she actually laughed out loud. "You're a terrible person?!" she exclaimed. "That's so funny, Jennifer Myszkowski!"

Well, it wasn't funny when I was crying out loud about it, but I guess it's funny in retrospect.

We've recently made new friends with a couple. Being in a couple means you make friends with people in couples. Couples culture is really weird. That's a story for another day.

Anyway, one member of the couple is a mortgage specialist, so I consulted with her about the mortgage I got approved for, and her bank has a mortgage "product" that I qualify for that has a WAY lower interest rate.

I don't think in math. At all. And now I'm having conversations with various people that are basically all about the math of making the money I have stretch into a bunch of different things. It actually makes my brain hurt.

The beauty part is that I have no qualms about saying, "I have no idea what you just said to me." When I was younger, I had a hard time admitting total incomprehension. Now I just don't care if people think I'm a moron. Sometimes when the people are talking to me in math, I have to actually cover my eyes and listen just to the words to try to make myself understand.

I regret how things have gone with math and me. I was so good at it in junior high. I was so full of promise. God damn you, honors algebra 2! See! That's how good I was. My teacher recommended me for honors algebra 2. Alas, it was my math downfall, despite staying after school two and three times a week for extra help. I just couldn't recover.

We're consulting tomorrow morning with our realtor about our counter-offer. We'll see what happens. I'll keep you posted. Obviously.

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Saturday, March 8, 2008

'I'm sorry it's so hard for you right now'

That's what I kept saying to my Grandmother today. Over and over. I spent the afternoon with her. She's got the Alzheimer's.

She kept saying, "I'm so confused. I'm so confused!" She cried about being confused for a while and I turned my head so she didn't know I was crying too. She spent our entire time together trying to order her world.

"Did we just see Grandpa?"


"Did I kiss him goodbye?"

Yes. And you held his hand and he told you he loves you and you told him you love him.

"Oh. Okay. I saw Grandpa yesterday."

No, you just saw him today.

"When is he coming home?"

He's coming home on Wednesday.

"Your parents are in Florida, right?"


"Did they drive there?"

No, they flew.

"When are they coming home? Wednesday?"

Yes, Wednesday.

"Aren't they going to be tired from driving."

No, they're flying.

"Oh, that's right. When's Grandpa coming home?"


"Where's my purse?"

You didn't bring it with you.

"Did I bring my purse?"

No, it's at home.

"Where's my coat?"

I hung up your coat on the coat rack.

"Did I hang my coat up?"

No, I hung it up for you.

"Where's my purse?"

It's at home. You don't have your purse today.

"I thought I had my purse here. How am I going to pay?"

I'm paying. You don't have to worry about it.

"Thanks for helping me, Jenny. I really appreciate it. I have to pay you back."

No you don't. Everything is fine. Don't worry about it.

"Don't go getting old, Jenny. It's hard to get old. You just keep forgetting."

I'll try to avoid it if I can.

"Do you have my purse?"

Your purse is at home.

"How did I get here?"

Tesia drove you.

"Where's my car?"

You haven't driven it in a few years and you gave it to Kaelyn.

"Oh, that's right. I miss Grandpa."

I know. It's hard.

"We've been married more than 60 years!"

Yes. That's a long time.

"I was born in 1926. It's two thousand and..."

Eight. It's 2008.

"Am I 62?"

No, you're 82.

"82?! Hm."


"Have I met your friend?"


"Is that his name? Have I met him?"

Yes. Here's a picture of him.

"Oh, Scott! I've met Scott!"


"I was born in 1926. It's two thousand and..."

Eight. It's 2008.

"Gosh, I guess I must be...82?"

Yup, you're 82.

"Does your sister know I'm with you? Does she know to pick me up here?"


"How did I get here?"

Tesia dropped you off to visit Grandpa and I picked you up to take you to lunch.

"Oh, that's right. How am I getting home?"

Tesia knows you're here. Remember we just talked to her on the phone to be sure she knew?

"Did I kiss Grandpa goodbye?"

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Alzheimer's is a terrible disease.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Where are the humans?

It's sometimes really hard to be a human in corporate America. Actually being a human isn't hard necessarily. From the looks of it, it must be hard staying a human since so few people are successful at it.

The robots are really getting me down. I would love to tell you about what fresh heck they brought upon me today, but I can't. I'll just say this:

When someone says something that presupposes something completely ridiculous and they take an adversarial tone with you from the beginning, you should not say, "I'm not trying to challenge you, but I would like to present a question," and then present a question that reveals the presupposition to be total bullshit.

If you try to show a robot humanity, they will turn their head away and refuse to see. It's like humanity is kryptonite to the corporate robots.

It took all my strength not to excuse myself to the lavatory for a good cry. Of course, the lavatory is about as good a place for a good cry as a Broadway stage what with all the people. Anyway, as it was, I teared up a little at my desk.

I've sort of cracked the code about how people turn into robots: it's all fear. There is so much fear you can feel it. People are afraid of their peers, their bosses, their underlings, customers, vendors, you name it. No one can be trusted. And that includes you.

I haven't cracked the code about how to turn them back into humans. I think there's a closet somewhere just full of souls desperate to get back into the bodies of their people.

Typing that just made me start crying. It's just the saddest thing.

I talked to a colleague who's been in corporate America for a really long time and, for reasons that I cannot ascertain, has remained fairly human. I asked him, "How do you steel yourself from the inhumanity in here and stay human." He didn't really have an answer. I told him that if he had any tips that he should stop by my cubicle.

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Monday, February 4, 2008


This Super Bowl commercial for Coca-Cola made me cry.

Crying over a commercial is no reason to purchase a poisonous product.

This commercial for Bud Light made Scott and me laugh out loud. Let's face it: we can't get enough Will Ferrell.

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