Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Diagnose, This!



A couple of weeks ago I went into the walk-in clinic for some drugs. I'd had a slight touch of the Bubonic Plague for about three weeks and the chronic headache seemed to suggest that I might have developed a sinus infection along the way too. The doctor prescribed a Z-pack and I was good to go.

Until the next morning, when I woke up covered in hives all over my chest and stomach.

Apparently your body can turn on you at any point, people. Your body is a betrayer. One day it's all "Hey, I'm cool with antibiotics" and the next day it's "Fuck you, Cure!" So the days of azithromycin are over for me. Enjoy your youth while you have it, Millennials. Behold. I am Ozmandifish and I am here to tell my tale.

I called the doctor again because I figured hives aren't good. I'm pretty medically savvy that way. I was put on amoxicillin and steroids and I was supposed to get better. Strangely enough, the hives did not go away. I was beginning to worry that they were a permanent feature now, perhaps karmic retribution for the fact that I never got stretch marks with either of my two kids.

I KNOW. I'M SORRY. I DIDN'T EVEN USE COCOA BUTTER OR PUT LOTION ON MY SKIN. YOUR GOD IS NOT A JUST GOD. WHAT CAN I TELL YOU?

Then I woke up this morning.

The ugly red welts were redder, angrier and spreading even further. They were all over my back and all the way down to the tops of my thighs. My breasts and abdomen were covered in angry red welts. It scared me.

I ran to show my husband, who was still in bed.

"WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? OH MY GOD THIS DOES NOT SEEM LIKE AN OPTIMAL STATE OF HEALTH. DO YOU THINK I HAVE SOME MUTANT STRAIN OF LETHAL MEASLES?" I asked, calmly.

"I think I can diagnose you," he said.

"Really? You can?" I started to calm down.

"I think you have an acute case of HOTNESS! YEAH BABY!" he waggled his eyebrows at me.

"Oh my god. What is wrong with you?" I said. "I'm clearly in a health crisis and you're horny?"

"All I see is a hot naked woman in my bedroom. Oh yeah!" He narrowed his eyes and pursed his lips.

"I'm calling the doctor. You should be ashamed of yourself," I went to find my clothes and the number for the doctor. I did not collapse due to some imminent state of allergic asphyxiation, no thanks to my husband.

You'll be relieved to know I'm on even more steroids now and I've been taken off the amoxicillin. Apparently I'm allergic to that too. And you can also rest assured that my horribly disfigured body will apparently not effect my relationship with my husband. So I've got that going for me.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Masters of Sex: It's For Science.

My husband and I have been watching the new television series on Showtime, "Masters of Sex." The show is about the ground-breaking work on human sexuality conducted by Dr. William Masters and his research assistant and partner Mrs. Virginia Johnson. The show, which takes place in the 1950s, portrays Mrs. Johnson as a young, attractive divorcee who is sexually comfortable with herself.

"Sexually comfortable" does her little justice, actually. Early on in the show, she's attracted to a handsome, young doctor whom she proceeds to have sex with in multiple positions, in multiple ways, in multiple orifices. She's perfectly happy to have mind-blowing sex with this young man and then ask him to leave right after. No spending the night. No meeting her children. No dinners or roses. She leaves him crawling after her, begging her to be his girlfriend. 


"No thanks," she says. And so she has sex with someone else.


Then there's Dr. Masters. A real cold fish. A bow-tied dweeb. A brisk, selfish ass lacking in any social skills. He's all about the science and conveys zero interest in fucking anything, including his attractive young wife, who's practically begging him to shove it to her.


Before long it's clear that he has something for Mrs. Johnson. He mentions Jonas Salk, who took one for the Polio Cause by injecting himself with his own experimental vaccine. 


"Perhaps we should do the same," he says to his ambitious young research assistant. "For science."


And she, after overcoming significant misgivings, eventually decides to relent … for the good of humanity, her career or her own strange chemistry for the odd doctor. I can't say I'm quite sure which it is or if it's all three. But they begin having sex and taking down their data as a part of the study.


By the time Dr. Masters and Mrs. Johnson finally strip down, paste some electrodes to their bodies, and do the nasty "for science," we're pretty amused with the good doctor's lackluster performance. After their rather quick research session in which the doctor has an orgasm (after announcing his various stages of arousal in a monotone voice, "Arousal," "Plateau," "Orgasm," etc.) the two scientists check the results from the data they've collected on their heart rates and physical responses.

As they try to impassively survey their own sexual responses,  it is then that Dr. Masters realizes that while he had an orgasm, Mrs. Johnson had none. This is definitely not a situation where you can fake it, my friends. And it can't be easy (even for a scientist!) for a man to survey the raw data that he failed to get his partner off. Although Dr. Masters is indeed a scientist, he is also a man with an ego.


The next research session is more successful and we discover that not only did he have an orgasm, she had two. And one of them was simultaneous to his! My god! He's some kind of sexual prodigy as well!


(Good for her, really. But wow. Synchronized orgasms? That was fast. Do they have any female writers on this show?)


But again, even during this session, Dr. Master's robotically intones, "Plateau" while he is humping away on poor Mrs. Johnson and then repeats the same monotone announcement of "Orgasm" while he orgasms.


It's the most unintentionally hilarious thing ever. I told my husband that he has to start announcing what stage he's at during our lovemaking sessions. But the key is, he can't shout it out. He's got to say it in a totally bored and monotone "I'm doing this for science" voice.


It's given my husband a whole new way to seduce me too.


"Hey baby. You wanna have sex? It's for science."


"It's for science" is now our rallying cry for anything perverted.


"You wanna wear giant bear costumes and act like furries? It's for science."


"You wanna drill this sex swing into our ceiling and give it a swing? It's for science."


"How about I wear a strap-on tonight, dear? It's for science."


I can tell you right now, this will never get old for me. Thank you, Masters and Johnson. For all you did for science. And for my amusement.





P.S. I'd like to thank my own research assistant and partner, my husband Frederick, who helped write and edit this piece.

Friday, November 8, 2013

I Think I Might Have Broke Me & My Husband Wants Me Dead.

True love.
I'm sure I've groused about the same crick in my neck and right shoulder before. I carry all my stress in my shoulders, you see. When I drive, my shoulders hunch up around my ears. I clench my jaw. I'm a very stiff person and not in a good way, if you know what I mean. Wait that doesn't even make sense, I'm a girl.

At any rate, I'm real uptight.

And because of that, I walk around like the Hunchback of Notre Dame half the time. I cripple myself with my own neurosis and up-tightedness. I'm very tense. I like to pretend like I'm this real easy-going, Devil-May-Care, Buddhist type, but really, you could bounce a metaphorical quarter off my psyche.

I've been going through this whole rigmarole of getting massages constantly until my neck and shoulder are unclenched from their death grip of stress. It takes four or five weeks of consecutive massages until I'm not in constant pain.

And then I stop going.

A few weeks later and I'm back in my state of crippled paralysis.

It amuses my husband to no end. Not that he isn't sympathetic, of course. I mean, he's the one that has to rub my shoulders and neck every night while I wince, whimper and flinch.

"You really are a delicate flower, aren't you?" he asks, unwisely, because he is straddling my back and has left his unmentionables vulnerable to a stray elbow of retaliation.

"Very funny. OUCH!" My voice is mostly muffled into a pillow while he inflicts pain on my wrecky body.

"How are you going to outlive me if you're so fragile?" I can hear him snicker and it enrages me.

"I'm not going to die of neck pain, you ass."

"I dunno. You might," he says this in a mock regretful tone, as though he is really sorry that I might die before him.

My husband and I are both competitive types. We might be overachievers. We might even be obnoxious about it. Our entire house is a battlefield of who can be the most OCD neat freak of the land. We each think the other one is losing that battle because we each have separate definitions of what constitutes neatness. I like to scrub and Windex things. He likes to move things off the counter and hide them in nonsensical places like drawers and cupboards. It's not a satisfying battle because we each think we are the victor and we are each frustrated that the other won't admit defeat.

It is in this environment of two competitive freaks of nature that we fight over who is going to die first. Normal couples wouldn't discuss this, I don't think. Or at least they wouldn't be vying to be the one who outlived the other. I think you're supposed to feel like you couldn't live without your spouse and hence would never want to experience the pain of losing the other one? Or something like that.

But no. Not us. Because it's a competition over who's healthier, fitter or may I point out, YOUNGER.

I'm 9 years younger than my husband. And women are supposed to outlive men by 7 years on average. That puts me at outliving him by a good 16 years. I've pointed this out to him and it makes him furious.

"There's no way that is happening," he says. "The sheer rage of even the slightest suggestion that you would beat me will keep me alive."

"That's a fine attitude. I'll have that engraved on your headstone."

"I'll have my ass bending over mooning everyone engraved on your headstone."

"Nice. I'll be sure and bring that comment up when you're dead and I am living with my sister and our 17 cats."

"That's fine. Just never remarry. Dedicate your life to your children and family."

"Don't be ridiculous. I've told you that you could remarry once I've been dead a year and no sooner. You should at least give me that courtesy."

"A whole year?"

"Yes. One year. You need to learn how to live alone and not marry the first woman who lets you touch her boob."

"So no dating whatsoever for one year?"

"Yes. We've had this conversation before and I was very clear."

"But what if someone just let me touch their boob without buying dinner. Would that count?"

"Yes! No dating for one year means no dating for one year! And no sex whatsoever. Dating or not."

"Not even a hand job?"

"NO!"

"Can I 'accidentally' touch some lady's butt in the elevator?"

"God no!"

"Maybe I don't' want to outlive you after all."

"Exactly. Just get some more cats to keep you company."

"Can I touch their butts?"

Clearly, the man can't live without me. And yes I totally realize he's not going to an entire year without the comfort of a woman if I were to pass away. But I've told him I'm going to haunt him and whisper criticisms of his sexual performance in his ear just to ruin the fun for him. Now that's true love, when someone goes Poltergeist on your ass.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Merci. I Have No Idea What You Just Said.

Once a week I've been taking the kids to a French bakery around the corner from my house. It's almost impossible to find an old school bakery anymore. Everything's a chain or it's crap. But the French bakery is the real deal. The owner is French. Like French-French. She closes the shop for the month of August so she can return to France. Like that French.

Hohh hohh hohh.

(That's my French laugh.)

Anyway, I take the kids to the bakery and they each get to pick out one thing. A cookie shaped like a cat. An éclair au chocolat. A tiny sweet shaped like a frog. Pain au chocolat. Whatever they want. I also get a loaf of bread (pain de mie).

I like ordering things in the French bakery because I studied French for 10 years in school, including college. I also spent a summer there during high school as an exchange student of sorts. I lived with a family who had a home in the Haute-Alpes, but they also had a summer home right on the sea in St. Tropez. (I know. Rough life, n'est-ce pas?). And an apartment in Paris. And a home in Nantes. I got to see a lot of France and spoke nothing but French the whole time I was there. I've returned to France once, about 15 years ago, and at that time I spent two weeks there with the same family. Other than that, I haven't practiced my French much.

But hot damn, I can order a pain au chocolat and a pain de mie like a Parisian, I swear.

Bien sur.

Though I order everything correctly, I've never spoken French with the owner and she has never spoken it with me. So last week, I said, "Merci" after she rang me up.

Now in my fantasy life, I have imaginary conversations with French people in which my French flows smoothly and expertly. I say many charming and hilarious things. My accent is perfect. My command, excellent. Unfortunately I have only participated in fantasy French conversations  for the last 15 years, so my memory of how good I was back then is how I assume my French skills still remain.

What happened in the French bakery last week was not the same as what happens in my imaginary conversations with French people. What followed my simple "Merci" was a litany of French words flown at me so fast my little Francophile brain spun around in le cranium.

I think I heard something about my children ("Les enfants") and I don't know what else happened after that. I sort of blacked out. I know that I smiled and nodded and said "Merci" again, as though she was complimenting my children. She may have been saying they were spoiled brats. Wait. That's not true. I know how to say that in French. But you get my point.

I'm assuming I say "Merci" like a fluent person. I mean, this lady was off and running with me on a high-speed highway of the French language. I'm sure she was disappointed when my eyes glazed over and I mumbled sorry little phrases like, "Merci. De rien. Au revoir et bon soir!"

SIGH.

After we left the French bakery and my French shame, we walked next door and got Maman a bottle of vin. No one spoke French at the liquor store. Tant pis. We got two bottles of chocolate milk and a bottle of red wine. I felt a little guilty. Like, here's this lady with two nice kids and their wholesome bottles of chocolate milk ... and here's mommy's booze to help drown her French sorrows. Though I suppose if I can't speak the language anymore, at least I can drink the wine.

A votre santé!

Friday, November 1, 2013

I Think My Professor Is Trying to Kill Me and You Might Not Blame Her.


Eight papers in one semester. 


Eight papers in one semester.


EIGHT PAPERS IN ONE SEMESTER!


Have I mentioned that I have eight papers due this semester? For one grad class? I know I'm being a big whiny baby about this whole going to school at night thing while I still have a full-time job and am writing an epic book that will move America to tears of laughter and sorrow and will poetically speak to the beautiful human struggle that is adolescence and will spectacularly conclude with all of us joining hands like that Coca Cola "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" commercial only we'll sing "Kum Bah Yah, Motherfuckers" and we will be even more joyous and raucous and super fun than those people in the Coca Cola commercial, only with less 70s armpit hair because nothing crashes a party like too much armpit hair and not enough modern deodorant. Not that there's anything wrong with the crystal rock you rub on your pits so you don't get cancer, of course. Did I mention I was up until midnight every night this week working on my third paper? Wait. What was the point of this?

Hey, even I don't even know anymore.

Oh, yeah. My point was my therapist mentioned that maybe I don't have to work quite so hard on these papers. Maybe I don't have to get a 100% OMG A+++++++++ in this class. And honestly, I had every intention of dialing it in this semester and doing as little work as possible to just coast by and maybe get a B in the class because who really cares, it's just grad school for teachers and I just need the credits, I'm not trying to impress anybody.

And then I started actually taking the class and writing the papers and remembered, oh yeah, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, I'm super-competitive and I need my pats on the head and my gold star on my forehead. I can't stop. You can't stop this kind of brainiac nerd magic. You just can't. So if I'm going to write a paper, I'm going to write the shizz out of it. I'm going to sparkle and shine.

Some of us just shine. We can't help it.

I would like to now add a note for all of my Facebook friends and let them know that they should be thanking me for the restraint I've had while NOT reporting every grade I've received in the class thus far. When I was in college I used to tape my report cards on the refrigerator for my first husband to see. He was an engineering major so he wasn't getting the 3.9s that I was getting as an English major and I think he pretty much wanted to kill me for plastering our refrigerator with my A's and my letters from the Dean. So what I'm saying is that Facebook is now my refrigerator and all of my friends are like a bunch of first husband engineers who would hate me for crowing about my good grades. So like I was saying, I'm really proud of my self-restraint and how much I've matured since I was in my twenties.

Either that, or it's just that now there are things such as blogs and I can inflict my ego on the internets and leave my poor family alone. Okay. I'm not really leaving my poor family alone because I may have run up to my bedroom and pumped my fist and did a little dance of victory for my husband after I finished my paper. And then I told him how awesome I was.

Feel free to send him sympathy cards.

Anyway, I think this blog post is a good representation of my state of mind right now. I'm sort of hyper and I don't know how I'm supposed to go through this emotional rollercoaster five more times before December. Anyway, I'm thinking about writing a book about the Stages of Grief of an Academic. Here's the outline for the first chapter:

Emotional Stages of Writing a Paper

1. Dread
2. Despair
3. Avoidance
4. Resignation
5. Panic
6. Fatigue
7. Hope
8. Mania


Clearly, I'm on Stage 8 right now. I apologize for this post. But it's better than buzzing around my office and talking like a spaz to my co-workers. Oh who are we kidding, we all know I'm going to do that as soon as I'm done typing this.

Does anyone have any left over Halloween candy? I think I need a sugar buzz. Whoo!