How to Dress for a Trip to Urgent Care…

I’m getting old a helluva lot faster than I thought I would.

Remember the old commercials for the Life Alert? Help! I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up?

Yeah. That was me almost two months ago. Minus the falling part.

Life alert - Help I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up

We all know my lumbar spine hasn’t exactly been the envy of all 29-year-old backs. First there was the velociraptor back jonesin’ for some queso. Then the show-offy yoga back that drank too much. And most recently, the panty-dropper back that decided I should have gone commando (and a whole bunch of other back injuries from my youth…).

So when I was nursing my L5 back to health, my doctor tried putting me back on the crazy meds…other than being the only time I’ve cried about the anxiety of wedding planning, they didn’t do shit this time around. So, I got an X-ray and referral for a chiropractor. While I was waiting for the referral to come through (this is maybe the only time an HMO sounds like a bad health insurance plan), I had a hot date to meet up with Andra Watkins, Lea Grover, and Christine Organ while Andra was visiting the Chi. I was initially planning to attend a magical-sounding literary festival in the far west ‘burbs, but woke up feeling a little pain, and even though it was definitely on the mend, I decided to take care of myself. Not to worry, I’d planned to stretch a little and rest a lot, and be ready to meet up with them for cocktails in the evening.

So I reached for a summer frock (I like to wear summer dresses in the winter as my “house clothes” because comfort, ease, and no pants) in the closet, and squealed in pain. Apparently the reaching part was a baaaaad idea. All of a sudden, the going out at all was becoming less and less a possibility. But I thought I’d wait it out a little longer.

While binge-watching Gilmore Girls, I couldn’t seem to find a single comfortable spot on the couch, and I could barely move…so I took to the only place I thought I might find comfort: The floor.

The first relief I’d had all day, I was able to have a lovely nap on the carpeted floor of our front room, while the Gilmores played on. But when I decided it was time to try getting ready for drinks with some writer friends, I realized with no uncertainty that getting off the floor was a near-impossibility. And so I texted Andra and told her to throw back an extra drink for me while I cried a little bit inside (partially because of the pain, and partially because of Andra, who is amazing and doesn’t live here like the other two ladies).

Brian heard me writhing on the floor trying to get up and came running (he doesn’t do this often because he’s so accustomed to my screams of pain). He attempted to help pull me up, but I was afraid I was either too big for him to pick me up or that he would break me. Mostly the second one, honestly. I take back everything I ever said about the previous pains I’ve experienced because this one topped the cake in an entirely different way.

Much like the past pain, I felt as if I had no control over the center of my body. The core is an integral part of functioning, people. If you lose that, you lose the ability to move. In addition to this inability to move, the muscle spasms were throbbing and nearly trying to kill me. It took 25 minutes and a LOT of effort on my end, plus help from Brian, to get myself off the floor.

As soon as I stood as best I could, I looked at Brian and said, “I need to go to urgent care.”

This from the girl who puts off going to the doctor until she really thinks she’s dying, because hypochondria makes her fear the results from the doctor. The decision was swift and immediate. Brian helped me put socks and slippers on, grabbed my purse and handed me my fleece. I was ready to do this thing. Dressed like a Polish war bride…again. I had no bra on, a summer dress, winter slippers, Brian’s man socks, and a fleece-oh and had super greasy hair. Obviously, it was perfectly appropriate for the middle of January.

I got into the car slowly, aiming to produce as little pain as possible (which was near impossible) and found a position that was only mildly debilitating. It took about 15 minutes to get to our destination, and the whole time, I was whining on the phone to my mom. My nearest urgent care clinic is on a busy road, two blocks from the downtown area of the town in which I grew up. With the speed in which I was walking, holding my back as if I were eight months pregnant, at least 40 cars whizzed past us, and I had Brian take a few candid snapshots because I was going to think it was ridiculous one day instead of painful.

How to dress when you're on your way to urgent care

It was…special.

They took me in right away, and Brian had to help me change into the gown they made me wear. I was pouting the entire time. Brian took pictures this time without my asking.

Urgent care is not fun for anyone...

Finally, the doctor came in, gave me a shit load of drugs, injected something into my thigh, and even laughed at my joke about how the last time I let a doctor give me a shot there, I gained 30 pounds and decided I was never taking a hormonal birth control again. (I actually love this part of going to the doctor. It’s like I have a captive audience to practice my own personal stand-up show.) And then she sent me on my merry way. It was just as painful to get back into the car, but at least, there was supposedly some relief coming soon.

A few days later, I was finally feeling better. And physical therapy was just around the corner (by a couple of weeks, because it takes fucking forever to get an appointment). And now, several weeks later, I’m able to laugh at my little visit to urgent care.

 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

You Pray And You Pray And You Don’t Realize Your Prayer Was Already Answered…

This post was recognized at BlogU as Term Paper of the Year in Women’s Studies. My BlogU roommate was kind enough to capture the video of my reading. Enjoy.

When you’re nine years old, the Grade School Powers That Be separate the girls and boys into different classrooms and begin an annual ritual of education that continues for several years. Girls learn all about getting their first periods, weird hair growth, and unusual body odor. Boys, I can only assume based on my experience, learn about making fun of girls, making fun of each other, and how to change a tire. I think.

After watching an embarrassingly long video about a girl who played Little Orphan Annie on Broadway and her first period, we were given all sorts of pamphlets to bring home to our mothers, including an order form for a giant box o’ lady things…you know, like a period sampler pack. Obviously, I shoved these papers into the depths of my cluttered locker, never to be seen again (until locker clean out day).

Of course, the mom-network message arrived via telephone a few days later, when my mother called me down to lecture me and cry about how I didn’t talk to her about this very important day at school. “You never tell me anything,” she complained.

In my head, all I could think of was my dad’s favorite line, Telephone, telegraph, tell-a-Nudd. Nudd being the collective whole of my mother, her sisters and her mother. As soon as one of them knew something, the world knew. Mass communication that ran faster than I could possibly imagine—probably faster than the internet. I knew that the minute I told my mom anything, the world would know. And this whole period nonsense? Totally embarrassing. I wanted nothing to do with it…until I was in middle school.


For months, I prayed to get my first period. I begged God to let me be like the other girls. This is the crazy thing that happened when he answered my prayer.

When I was eleven, I was already among the very unpopular, invisible kids in middle school, but my best friend in the whole world was a cool kid. And I wanted to be just like her. I distinctly remember when all of my childhood friends started to get their periods. They talked about it like it was a special club that only girls who had been visited by Aunt Flo could be a part of.

And so I prayed. Like the good little Catholic girl that I was, I said my prayers every night. And I prayed to God, begging and pleading with everything I had to bargain, to get my period and be just like the other girls. Every night a relatively similar prayer would follow the common prayers I learned as a toddler. God, I know you’re a pretty busy guy and all, but if you could please let me get my period, I would really, really be thankful. Also send my love to Grandma and Grandpa…Thanks. Of course, this is reminiscent of a strikingly similar prayer that I would eventually repeat several times throughout the course of college and some time afterward…but that’s another story for another day.

I had, in fact shat myself overnight

Even though we ran in different social circles at school, my friend and I still spent lots of summers together hanging out. Of course, on the nights when I slept at my friend’s house unexpectedly, I found myself sleeping in an old t-shirt, without an extra pair of clothes for the next day. On one particular morning, I woke up and went to the bathroom to discover that I had, in fact, shat myself overnight. I had felt stomach pains the night before, but still I was painfully ashamed of my little mishap. I checked the fold out bed and was thankful that nothing had stained that. What baffled me, of course was how my poop managed to make it to the front of my underwear and hardly touched the ass-end of my panties…I worried for the cleanliness of my lady bits, so I wet some toilet paper and wiped them clean.

Embarrassed and afraid to say anything to my friend or anyone in her family, I wiped my underwear with toilet paper, rinsed them as best as I could, dried them with more toilet paper, and put them on backwards. My thought process? The poop needs to stay on the poop side.

I put the rest of my clothes on and feigned illness to get my mom to pick me up and take me home. For the next few days, I continued to discover that somehow I was crapping my pants with some frequency, without even realizing it. Being the quiet and shy, embarrassed little girl that I was, I did everything I could to hide the evidence. I threw at least 3 pairs of underwear away, spent a lot of time in the bathroom wiping myself and wondering what the fuck was going on with my body.

Eventually, the problem resolved itself, and I went back to life as a pre-teen. We weren’t called tweens back then. I continued to pray to God that I would get my period like the other girls and wonder what it would be like when I finally did get my first period.

A few weeks later, though…it happened again. I crapped my pants. Again. And somehow it kept sliding to the front of my underwear. I couldn’t understand it. Was I sleeping on my stomach? This has got to be really bad for me, right? Of course, a normal kid may have gone to their parents for help…but me? I just kept throwing away underwear and spending a ridiculous amount of time in the bathroom.

The third time it happened, the brown spots were less brown…and more red. And all of a sudden, I knew what the problem was. Apparently, God had already answered my prayers three months prior, and I was cursed with Aunt Flo for all eternity. It was awful.

First, I had to tell my mom. I dreaded this. I dreaded this more than anything in the world. Not because my mom isn’t wonderful…but more so because I was incredibly embarrassed. And ashamed to talk about anything personal. Everything embarrassed me. I didn’t want to talk about things, I didn’t want to know about things…I just wanted to exist, hidden.

When I finally got out of the bathroom to tell my mom that I think I got my period…I failed to mention the last two months of pant-crapping horror. Seriously. She didn’t even know until she read this story.

I mean…No one TELLS you that it might come out brown the first few times. They just say you’re going to bleed from your lady bits. And that’s that. I saw the movie, Carrie. I knew what I was supposed to expect. This was not that.

You Pray

So of course, when I whispered to her, “I think I got my period…” she practically jumped for joy. Of course, for someone who was anxiously awaiting my period the way some moms await their daughter’s first dance recital…you’d think she would have been prepared. I mean sure, I didn’t ask her to order the period sampler pack when I was nine, but maybe a box of pads under the sink just in case? Yes. Pads. I know. Gross. Don’t even get me started on that. But whatever. I was eleven, and quite frankly, the thought of shoving something up my lady bits frightened the crap out of me. Just not the period crap. That was different.

My mom hadn’t had a period in years, so she didn’t have to deal with pads or tampons or bleeding like a stuck pig sixty fucking days of the year. So she had to run out to the store to get the things I would need. Before she left, I begged her not to tell anyone. I begged her especially not to tell my dad. Within hours, the entire family network knew that I had become a woman. Including my father.

Eventually, I came to accept the horrors of this monthly curse that I had prayed so hard for. I wanted to be a part of the club, but I realized that the other girls just wanted everyone else to be as miserable as they were once a month. These days, I’m not praying to get my period. Instead, I find myself asking, how long until menopause?

Was your first period even remotely as embarrassing as mine? On a scale of one to awkward, where does this fall? Tell me something painfully embarrassing about your childhood, my friends.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

That One Time I Dressed up Like a Backstreet Boy

I don’t mess around.

When I lose a bet, make a deal, make a promise, I. Don’t. Mess. Around.

So let me give you the back story. In 2010, I was the President of the Lombard Jaycees. You may remember my previous tale of whoops, I screwed up and didn’t read the fine print when I was president. (BTW, I finally figured out how to acquire the video, so I’ve updated that post as well if you’re interested in more videos of me making an ass out of myself.)  This story is kind of like that. But not at all.

So, I was a cocky son of a bitch when I was president. I had a plan. A plan to be the best in the land. And I made a bet with the National Treasurer. He bet me that I couldn’t increase the membership in my chapter by some random number. And my best friend, Ally and I said, “Screw you, we can TOTALLY do that. When we win. And we will. You will owe us the best cheese party in all the land.”

And so Treasurer said, “Ha! Silly proud ladies! You will not win. When you do not win you shall dress in drag (well, the girl version of drag. So you will dress like boys. And dance. And it will be hilarious.)”

You see, Treasurer had previously lost a bet in which he had to dress like a lady.

I’ve actually experienced this several times in my life. I’m really good at hanging out with people who do really crazy shit when they lose a bet. Note to self: Must find video of different guy singing to Chicago soundtrack in ladies clothing.

Of course, I didn’t really realize how much of a toll student teaching would take on the last 4 months of my presidency or my life for that matter. And we lost the bet.

But Ally and I are good sports if nothing else. And if you haven’t figured out my love for the limelight yet, you’re not keeping up.

So we scavenged Goodwill stores across Chicago land on the hunt for: puffy vests, rip away pants, and muscle shirts. Then we got some giant temporary tattoos from a vending machine, and taught ourselves how to dance.

As we made our way to the year end conference, we were made aware of one thing. The social/mixer where we would be showing off our moves? Was definitely now open to the public. In years past, it was just conference attendees–Jaycees only. But they hired a fancy band to play and were letting the public come on in. So there were going to be a few extra sets of eyes on us.

We weren’t worried.

So that night, after a formal banquet we ran to our hotel room to change.

From this...

From this…

...to this.

…to this.

Backstreet Boys 2 Backstreet Boys 3

Yes. We dressed up like “Backstreet Boys.”

And then we danced our little hearts out. To a crowded room full of people. Some strangers. Some friends. And we rocked the SHIT out of that place. And I FINALLY got a hold of video proof that it happened. And that we were sort of awesome.

Afterwards, Ally and I had our own cheese party in our hotel room. Because life is just plain better with cheese.

Blog Friends, have you ever lost a bet? Did you ever have to publicly embarrass yourself for funsies? What did you have to do? Am I alone in this one?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

How I Embarrassed Myself in Front of The Bloggess for a Good Cause (In 500 Words or Less) (with photos)

I’ll get to the point fast. The good cause? Katie’s impending 30th birthday. But the how I embarrassed myself part in 500 words or less? Here goes:

(Note: I’m speaking really fast in my mind, so I highly recommend that you read it equally as fast in your mind.)

So I was excited to meet Jenny Lawson, and I had a plan to get her to sign a book for Katie, my butter-churning sister from a past life who also happens to WRITE a BOOK blog. And through her book blog (which she began after I gave her a guest post on my blog when she was going by the pseudonym Penny, for like 5 minutes) I discovered Jenny’s book, Let’s Pretend this Never Happened, which I read and laughed hysterically at. Katie also was the instigator in directing me to The Bloggess’ Blog. And insisting that I comment and follow through to the other blogs from other people who comment. And thus began my whirlwind trip into a blogging community.

And so I practiced telling Jenny all about how Katie was my best friend ever. And how she wanted to be there. And how I was surprising her with the book. And basically rambled everything that I just wrote in the previous paragraph to poor Jenny. And of course, I said “hi” like 15 times. And I told her she was “fantastic” like 15 times. And apologized for being such a freak, because I was so nervous. And then I forgot to say anything witty. Or clever. Or adorable. Or intelligent, really. I didn’t even tell her about my best friend Ally, who was RIGHT THERE, pulling the camera/phone away from my shaking hand so that she could take pictures of me and Jenny.

The Bloggess Book Tour

Ally and I waiting for the arrival of The Bloggess

The Bloggess Book Tour

While we were waiting, Katie sent me this gem of a photo with the text: So sad that I’m not there! (She had NO IDEA I had a book to be signed for her!

The Bloggess Book Tour

Check out the sweet metal chicken reading a mini book!

The Bloggess Book Tour

She’s like, the most awesome person ever. I love her more now than I did before.

The Bloggess Book Tour

While waiting for my number (when Jenny would sign the books) I met the coolest people ever! I want that hair sooo bad! And the skirt. Apparently she wore the skirt the last time they met Jenny. How fun are they?

The Bloggess Book Tour

After I rambled about Katie for 5 minutes, AND showed the sad face text picture…she wrote this!

The Bloggess Book Tour

And then, just to show you how awesome Jenny is…she was all, “let’s pretend she’s here!” and put her arm around invisible Katie.

That Jenny Lawson is one cool chick. I’ve got more Adventures with The Bloggess posts to come.

So Blog Friends, have you ever been embarrassed in front of someone you admire?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Confession Friday: The Poop Story

WARNING: This post contains a poop story. It is highly inappropriate. It is (a little) graphic. It is poop. If you are squeamish (or eating), stop right now and come back on Monday. 

Disclaimer: My boyfriend would probably rather I did not post this story. But I couldn’t help myself. Also, if you know my boyfriend’s dad…never tell him this story. Ever. 

Dear Twitter followers, You’re welcome.

Last winter, Brian and I escaped the unusually-less-than-frigid Chicago weather with a long weekend away to Florida. Had we known that I would be losing my job a few weeks prior to the trip and take 8 months to find another one, we probably would have gone for a whole week. Regardless. Florida. Trip. Warm. Beach. Sun. Yay!

Brian’s dad lives on the coast of southern Florida. I spent most of my days barefoot on a beach. Brian spent most of his days sleeping until 2. It was the perfect trip. One of our days, though, Brian’s Dad took us out on a boat trip. This was very exciting for me. One of the perks of living on an island full of canals is DOLPHINS. If anyone didn’t know, I love love love dolphins. Love them. They are amazing creatures. (No, I’m not giving away free dolphins. If I had dolphins, I would keep them all to myself.)

Dolphin love

Yes, Brian puts up with me…even when I do things in public that embarrass him

So we took a boat from his Dad’s backyard through the canals out to sea. In the canals, as promised, I got to see dolphins playing! It was the most amazing experience ever. One day, I will swim with the dolphins, and that will trump this.

Dolphin in the Canal

This dolphin was not only 20 feet away in the canal…he also swam up to us and did wild dolphin tricks–stood up on his flukes to see what was going on inside the boat. It was the most exciting thing ever. Ever!

So we took a nice long boat ride in the Gulf of Mexico around the southern tip of Florida to a little island, which I will not name. The ride was a good hour from door to island. It was beautiful. We shelled along the beach, and had packed a picnic lunch. I was walking along, looking for sweet shells…when all of a sudden I felt a rumbly in my tummy. I tried to let it pass, but within two minutes I knew… I really had to poo.

Now in all actuality, I’ve got some sick digestive issues (that would be probably be diagnosed as something if I had health insurance and a doctor…), and there are times that I will go far too long without releasing the toxins. So when I gotta go–I go. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.)There’s no such thing as holding it. In fact, I don’t understand people who go and spend 20 minutes on a toilet waiting for it to happen. But that’s another story entirely.

So I walked over to Brian…

“Babe, I’ve got…a problem.”

Now, Brian is the best boyfriend ever, and he puts up with me talking about poop on a somewhat regular basis. That’s love right there.

“What?” He said to me, all innocent-like. He really had no clue.

“I have to go. Like bad.”

“Pee?” He looked hopeful. Squatting to pee on an island is not difficult.

I shook my head…

“Can you hold it?”

I shook my head again…

“Well, we’re about an hour away…even if we left right now.”

So I thought. And I thought. I didn’t want to embarrass Brian. Or his dad. Or make a scene. I wanted to enjoy the day. And I thought some more. And when I couldn’t take the stomach pains anymore, I said, “I’m going to go dig a hole. I’m going to need toilet paper. or napkins. or paper towels.”

So Brian and I casually walked back to the boat, as his dad was shelling. He acquired paper towels for me and waited by the boat. I walked deep into the not-very-sheltered island, where I found a semi-secluded spot. I dug a fairly deep hole. Took off my bathing suit (while keeping my skirt and shirt on–like MAGIC). Squatted. And birthed a small child out my rear end. I cleaned my person. Re-dressed. Covered the hole. Hand sanitized. and called it a day. I was proud of myself.

I would so survive on LOST. Or Survivor. Or even The Amazing Race. I am a winner.

I walked back to Brian, who didn’t want to know details…

…but I told him anyways.

We proceeded to picnic on the island…As we started walking in the direction of my man-made bathroom, I was fearful that we would end up dining a little too close for comfort. Luckily, we were still pretty far…ish away.

picnic on the beach

Cute picnic, right?

Funny Face Because I just pooped

The Best Boyfriend Ever

Plus I made him that sandwich (before the, um, incident).

When we got back on the boat, I texted Lily, as she is my go-to poop story friend. She was thoroughly impressed.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Drunken Laundry at the Laundromat

In the spring of 2008, my parents’ washing machine was on the fritz…and being a grown woman still living at her parents’ house…I needed to do my own laundry. Of course, I waited until I had practically nothing left…(yes, I would occasionally buy underwear and socks, and even go without one or both because I didn’t want to do laundry…) and my wardrobe options were getting pretty scarce.

drunk laundry escapades

So, one night, after a huge Easter feast, a surprise homecoming from my best friend, Mark, and a lazy evening watching Enchanted for the second of three times in a week, I packed up my car and drove to the nearest laundromat (Actually I packed it up twice–once to move out of Mark’s apartment, where I was living/apartment-sitting while he was on a long-ass business trip, and once with laundry).

I cannot claim whether this was truly nearest my house…But it was nearest my 2nd home–Flaherty’s AKA The Bar. I found out that the laundromat was open on Easter (Woot!)…until 9:30 (which I discovered at 8:40-another resounding Woot Woot!). As I was loading up my arms with Tide and Bounce and laundry and money and keys, I banged my head, not once but, twice on the car door. Keep in mind this was in addition to the neck and shoulder bangs from unloading my stuff from Mark’s apartment. The evening was not necessarily going the way I had hoped.

I walked into the laundromat and there was one guy doing his laundry. Keep in mind, this was a big production for me, since I’ve never used a laundromat. The closest experience was in the college dorms, and that was designed to be easy (and more often then not, I took my clothes home to wash them). So I put soap in three of the nearest washers, which weren’t going to fit ANYTHING. Apparently these were commercial washers. Although I’m still not entirely sure what their purpose was…I knew I messed up and wasted money. So I tried stuffing clothes in anyways, and I soon realized…maybe not. I looked around and realized that there were normal-people washers in the back of the ‘mat. Ahhh… that makes sense-put the real stuff in the backRight? Fits more clothes. Less money. Bingo! I finally got everything sorted, in, and spinning.

At this point, I decided I wasn’t going to sit around and watch laundry spin…so I left. Ok, I went to  the bar and ordered a very necessary drink. And a pizza. Mmmm…pizza was one of my lenten offerings that year, and I was thrilled the sacrifice was over. I started chatting with my pal Liz and telling her about my most recent adventures in Chrissy-land, and we were laughing up a storm.

About 20 minutes later, I ran back to the laundromat with Liz to check on my clothes. And it was locked.

Shit. The guy came out of the office and let us in. He told us that he was leaving and we could prop the door open if we need to leave for anything. Oh dear.

I was about to transfer my clothes, and again, I wasn’t quite sure how this worked because there were also two different dryer types–a bigger one and a smaller one. The guy put money into the big one for me(score!) and said it was the better one. So I stuffed all of my clothes in there–all three loads of laundry–and vowed to return in a bit. (That vodka soda and frozen pizza was calling my name).

Liz and I propped the door open with my Bounce box and walked back to our drinks and the pizza. We hung out for a bit and when it was time to grab my clothes, we invited another girl to join us for round three of laundry-mania. We got over to the laundromat and my clothes were still not dry, so I put more money in and planned to come back after another drinky…you can see where this is going.

After our final return, the clothes were dry, folded (poorly) and put into my basket. As we were walking out, we double checked: Money, keys, clothes, Tide, Bounce. Closed the door.

And oh FUCK! Immediately, I knew that I had left some stuff hanging to dry inside!

3 hours of laundry: $6.75

Tip at Bar: $5.00

Juke Box Money: $5.00

Calling your dad the next morning to retrieve your bras from the laundromat:

Priceless.

Never Again.

Blog Friends, have you ever had to ask one of your parents to remedy your flakiness? Tell me one of your embarrassing stories so I don’t feel quite so bad!

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!