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I had to warn my mother that I was entitling this “My Rash”

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

Yesterday, I did a Google Image search for “shingles” – and trust me, Internet, that is not something that you want to do.

I am not a hypochondriac, I promise. But I think I might have shingles. Yes, shingles: a form of HERPES. Julie, the soon-to-be nurse, checked out the small patch of – I don’t know, what should I call them? blisters? scabs? rash bumps? – and consulted a physiology textbook for reference. No conclusive evidence was found…

But I am calling it shingles.

Maybe it’s eczema. Maybe it’s psoriasis. Maybe it’s just… random shaving nicks that landed far from anywhere I use a razor? But I think it’s shingles. It might be an allergic reaction to high heels and elevator Muzak. It could be stress related – or punishment for an unconfessed sin – or perhaps my body’s way of saying, “Stop eating brie for dinner every single night.” But I think it’s shingles.

(Oddly enough, this is not the first time that shingles have been mentioned on this blog.)

As one without health insurance, I am combating this ailment with an old cure-all: baking soda. Seriously, is there anything that baking soda doesn’t do? It takes the stench out of a fridge. It cleans teeth. It erupts 5th grade science project volcanoes. And yes, it mixes with water to form a healing paste.

I sound like such a hippy. Who needs Mary Kay when you have castor oil? Who needs shampoo when you have egg whites? Who needs antibiotics when you have Arm & Hammer?

But… (ready for the segue?)… I spend enough money on my jeans to make up for my thrifty health and beauty habits. And yesterday on my lunch break, having a gift card from Christmas and a big need for some new fancy pants, I went shopping.

So, there I was in the dressing room, pulling on what seemed to be the perfect pair: long enough, dark enough, fit in all the right places. From the front, they seemed to get the job done, if you know what I’m saying. But then I did that awkward twisty-turn in the mirror to see my backside, and y’all:

They were smooth butt jeans.

You know the type – no back pockets whatsoever.

I’m sorry, but I don’t do smooth butt jeans. I am not in a rodeo. I need back pockets. Where else would I put my Benjamins when I club-hop? Where else would I stash all of the phone numbers on cocktail napkins? Where else would a boyfriend put his hands as we slowly and awkwardly waddle through the mall?

That is, if I haven’t completely blown my dating life by mentioning the fact that I HAVE SHINGLES.*

– – – – – – – –

*It’s probably not shingles.

Bug, bug, fox

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

Last night, I was flipping through a hymnal (trust me: if you had no cable or internet, you’d be doing it, too) and paused at “There Is a Fountain.” Twenty-six years in the church, and I had never heard this song? Outrageous! So I started singing it, all quiet and peaceful and lovely (belying my actual persona), sitting there on the red couch.

When. From out of nowhere.

A hybrid spider-cricket (spicket?), unlike anything I have ever seen, crawled into plain sight, right in the middle of the living room floor. I screeeeeeeeeeamed, and threw the book at it. The hymnal book. It turns out that the words of life are also capable of bringing about death, and for this, I am grateful.

In other news, I am sick. My windpipe is a straw. My sinuses are packed like sausages, like thighs into pantyhose. I am doped up on cold medicine, which gave me a satisfying night’s sleep last night, but is resulting in a vacant stare and a gaping mouth sitting at the ol’ desk job today. I called a health clinic for the uninsured, but they are not accepting new patients until November. Looks like I’ll be riding this one out on a wave of Contac and tomato soup (Progresso makes a fantastic tomato soup – so much cheaper and healthier than Whole Foods cream-based option, but a million times more delicious than Campbell’s – it even has real tomato chunkage!).

And should this buggy blog leave you unfulfilled (which I suspect it might), be sure to read this fantastic example of poor redneck judgment. But who could blame him, really? I mean, his last name was Fox.

The backwoods of Music Row

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

Things I have seen on my porch in the past week:
A spider
A cicada
A cockroach
A lizard
A possum

A possum. A POSSUM. On my front step, I kid you not. I was approaching my door after dark, and there it was, in the glow of the porch light, just sitting there waiting for me – at which point I said, “Aw, hell no,” and performed an about-face back out to the street. I thought that cockroaches were bad, but they do not hold a candle to the extreme revulsion I hold for possums. God should have destroyed those demons in the flood.

Are you shuddering? I am. Still. Anything with RED EYES gets the middle finger from AP.

Since when did my front porch become a scene from “Deliverance”? Next thing you know, I’ll be blogging about moonshine and inbred albinos.

This Annie’s getting a gun.

Killing flies

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

I don’t want to grow up.

I don’t want to think about insurance, and a 401k, and heart disease, and my future. I don’t want to get creaky knees. I don’t want to learn how to cook a turkey. I don’t want to make hard decisions, and be the responsible one, and do my own taxes.

I really don’t want to buy a fly-swatter.

For some reason, buying a fly-swatter feels like this very adult thing to do. I’ve never bought a fly-swatter before, because my parents (the GROWN UPS) always had one. True, I have not lived with my parents for almost 8 years now, but somehow I have escaped ever needing one while not having access to one.

I currently have three monstrous, enormous flies in my apartment. They’re huge, and they’re like needy little kids, or puppies, in that when I’m home, they ALWAYS WANT TO HANG OUT WITH ME. They buzz and fly and land on my lotioned legs. My lotion must smell good – either that, or I smell like a pile of excrement. I suppose that flies aren’t too picky.

Last night, while reading in bed, the flies hummed around my head. I took my Paulo Coelho paperback and swatted at them a few times, but they couldn’t take the hint. Flies can be so rude.

I have waited a few days, thinking that they might just die in my apartment. But there are enough coffee grounds and banana peels in my trash can for them to live a long and satisfying life. It’s time that I take action.

It’s time to be a big girl. It’s time to buy a fly-swatter, and go on an insect-killing spree. It’s time to defend my house and home.

Everyone has to grow up some time. Unfortunately for the flies, the embracing of my adulthood is going to result in their rather violent demise. They will see my murderous form duplicated over and over in their multi-faceted eyes, and that will be the last thing that they see… and see… and see… before being flattened.

I’m pretty sure that I’ll let out a “HA-CHAH!” too. Because I am a grown up.

Forecast: things will get much, much worse

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

Recently, I strongly considered moving back to Seattle. I was presented with a really great opportunity – one that was incredibly tempting. A job, a chance to be with my old friends, a wide open road straight back to my Emerald City.

But I said no. I’m going to stick around Nashville, at least through the end of 2008. I just have to see. I don’t know what I’m hoping for or looking for or waiting for, but I just have to see what might present itself during this time. I’ve been loving the city more and more, and making friends, and settling into a routine – I can’t pack it all up and leave now.

Still, it was a really big deal for me to say no to Seattle. It was so enticing – I could almost smell the ocean. It would have been so easy to say yes – to pick up right where I left off, and re-enter my beautiful life of comfort and, in many ways, what I now see as luxury. But I chose Nashville.

And so as a result, you want to know what I chose?

Humidity so ubiquitous that the toilet paper separates on the roll. Heat so oppressively constant that I lie in bed at night thinking, “This must be what it feels like to die.” A steady coat of sweat, making makeup senseless. More cockroaches in the kitchen. A waning opportunity to spend any time outside, for fear of a heat stroke. An astronomical utility bill from running my mediocre AC window unit. Towels that never fully dry. Relentless sticky discomfort.

And I hear that this is just the beginning. So far, June has made me think, “I am so hot and cranky, I cannot go on.” But the locals tell me that July turns Nashville into an absolute sauna, and just when you think it cannot get any worse, August descends downright demonically.

Lord help me. Literally. GOD, SAVE ME FROM THIS HEAT.

But I chose this. Over salt water and bright blue sky and clear, glorious Seattle days, I chose to walk outside every morning straight into the hot, smelly breath of Satan. So I should stop complaining. I should.

But you know I won’t. It’s just not my style.

A very fragile ecosystem

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

It is truly embarrassing to hear the words, “Annie, please don’t blow your nose on our embossed napkins.” But today, this was my reality. A co-worker caught me with my face buried in a company napkin, and then politely requested that I use something other than their expensive serviette as a depository for my snot.

Allergies are alive and well here in Nashville, and I am fighting the good fight. I partake of imitation Zyrtec or Claritin, and occasionally the miracle drug Singulair. However, since Singulair has been linked to suicide, and I can be depressed enough on my own thankyouverymuch, I try to keep my usage down only to when I wheeze.

Yes. I do wheeze. It’s incredibly sexy.

I am allergic to the down comforter on my bed, but I desperately need its warmth at night. As the girl with the self-diagnosed and self-named CHAT (Cold Hands All the Time), my extremities would freeze and fall off if I didn’t sleep under the insulation of goose-down. The trade-off: I wake up with puffy eyes and a scratchy throat.

My apartment is freakishly cold, though. I’m sure that I will be grateful for this come the sweltering southern summer – a seasonal experience that I am dreading with every cell in my body – but for now, I wake up and it’s 50 degrees in my bedroom. I refuse to turn on the heat, since a) it’s getting up to the high 70’s in the afternoons these days and therefore, the use of heat seems so wrong, and b) I’m a cheapskate.

Maybe I’m having an allergic reaction to the humidity in the air. I could solve this by turning on the AC, but again, see letter b above. I have told you of my obsession with washcloths; in my apartment, it takes 5 days for a washcloth to dry. I suppose that the possibility exists that there is mildew flying around in my air, and slowly rotting my lungs.

And attracting COCKROACHES.

This morning, I saw the second cockroach of my life. The first was about 2 months ago, crawling across my kitchen floor. I had never seen anything like it, and reacted in the only way I knew how: with a piercing shriek that rattled the windows and surely woke the neighbors. This time, I was more prepared. I karate-chopped that roach with a sturdy flip-flop, and killed it until it was extremely dead. Take that, HAB.

All of this is to say that I cannot find balance for my body, for my home, for my health. And my reality now includes cockroaches. And I just wanted you all to know.

Confessions of a lazy dog walker

Monday, November 19th, 2007

Anyone who knows me can tell you that I am a responsible soul. I show up when I say I will. I get things done. I check things off a to-do list like no one else. I do more than my fair-share of the class project. I help with the dishes, I pay my bills, I always restock the toilet paper.

But nobody’s perfect.

There are a few instances in which my diligence and responsibility are lacking. When my paper coffee cup is empty, I’ll sometimes leave it on the grocery store shelf, as I am too lazy to find a trash can (and hello – I have shopping to do). I have been known to throw my gum out of the car window – which is risky if you believe in “gum karma,” as I do. I am a firm believer that if one disposes of their gum in an irresponsible way, they will step in something sticky within 6 months. Don’t believe me? I dare you to try it.

However, the most audacious and careless thing that I do involves taking dogs on walks. Friends, I cannot bring myself to clean up dog poop. The conscientious dog-walker comes prepared with grocery sacks, ready to swoop down and scoop up whatever mess has been left in the neighbor’s flower garden. But I? Stand there, feigning ignorance, looking around casually until the dog is done doing his business. And then we swiftly walk away.

This is awful – I know it. It is disrespectful and rash. But the thought of cleaning it up is just so gross. I cannot handle the act of handling crap. Short of lugging an actual shovel with me, cleaning up after the dog would require me to actually feel the still-warm poop through the plastic bag. And that, my friends, is something that I am just unwilling to do.

However, I am beginning to believe that the same principle that comes into play with “gum karma” is true in this case, as well. Let’s call it “crap karma.”

This morning, I took Rowdy, the largest of my parent’s dogs, on a long walk. As usual, he did his business – in several carefully manicured lawns – and we quickly moved on. As we continued along the bike path, we came to a stretch of asphalt that falls underneath some power lines. And this is what I saw:

I should have known. But similar to Daniel in the Lion’s Den, or Natalie Maines at a concert in Dallas, I marched boldly into the line of fire. And you guys, quite literally, a shit storm ensued.

It was a Hiroshima of excrement. Droppings dropping all around me, I squealed and ran, Rowdy oblivious to the absolute HORROR that we were experiencing. It was as if the sky opened up and God boomed, “REPENT, ye woman of unclean morals… and unclean shirt, haha!”

Luckily, my hair remained untouched. But my shirt is most definitely splattered. And sadly, I STILL don’t know if this experience will be enough for me to start cleaning up after the dogs. I mean, I have my standards.

The end of ignorance

Friday, August 24th, 2007

I recently purchased a small wedge of Parmesan Reggiano cheese from Trader Joe’s – just enough to put a little taste onto my salads. And then eat the rest by the crumbly handfuls.

Last night, I looked at the ingredients on this particular variety of cheese, and they were quite simple: part skimmed raw milk, cheese cultures, salt, animal rennet.

Rennet? thought I. What on earth could that be?

A little internet action later, and I learned the truth:
rennet: curdled milk from the stomach of an unweaned calf

I… I’m sorry, come again?

Yes. CURDLED MILK FROM THE STOMACH OF AN UNWEANED CALF. This is so much worse than the day that I learned that the addictive taste of Dr. Pepper came from prune juice. My world has been shattered. I have absolutely no desire to know how one would go about actually procuring, um, rennet. I am thoroughly horrified.

But sadly, not enough to stop me from consuming it like a ravenous wolverine. That loves cheese.