Category Archives: baltimore

part one: my big fat jersey high school reunion

i invented post-its, bee-otch!

ok so i posted a million years ago that we were about to embark on weddingpalooza 2011 (three weddings! three states! one day! click here for background) and now that we’re back in town, post-honeymoon, post-holiday, i’m ready to break it down for you, despite the fact that i’m tempted to divorce holly’s ass in multiple states for many reasons including but not limited to:

1. her inability to throw used tissues from her side of the bed into the trash when she has a cold–which she does now, which she continues to remind me of by saying, “baaaaabe. i’m sick. make me tea.”

2. the fact that she continues to butt-dial every single contact in her phone, since she refuses to carry it anywhere but her pocket, like a five-year-old. or my purse. and hello, i don’t want to carry her phone all the time, esp bc it’s always dinging with email notifications from kohl’s, bed, bath & beyond, bath & body works, every single deal-of-the-day and who the hell knows what else bc she signs up for everything while i’m grumpy and sign up for nothing and mark everything as spam.

anyway, there were many stops and much adventure on our wedding blitz. in the interest of time, space & procrastination (yours, not mine; i’ve heard from more than a few of you that lunch at 11:30 is a top workday procrastination station and you know i live to make you happy) i’ll be breaking it down into a few parts, starting with:

1. my high school reunion, i.e. we’re gonna party like it’s 1996.

saturday, november 12th, late afternoon

my high school reunion is in a few hours. while copywriting is a perfectly respectable career, i’ve decided i’m telling everyone i invented post-its.

when we get to the hotel in Livingston, NJ (hometown of my longtime fave chelsea handler WHADDUP CHELSEA! love ya! call me!), the lobby looks like a wanna-be jersey housewives convention. it’s noisy, crowded and smells like a variety of overbearing perfumes–like the mall. or a synagogue function. or perfumania. i wonder what the commotion is all about. is there a hairspray-and-mousse giveaway? eyeliner rally?

holly joins me in the check-in line and i discreetly point out a couple women in leather pants and hooker heels pushing baby carriages. i assure her that yes, this  really is where i come from. this is the land, these are the people, that nurtured my first 17 years on earth. so, really, the daily jeggings, frosty lipstick and occasional chico’s holiday sweater isn’t all that bad considering what i was up against.

a couple hours later we come back to the lobby area for the reunion. luckily the mascara convention is over, and i suddenly see a bunch of people that i think i recognize that i think recognize me. thanks to facebook, i get some names right. this one nice girl, i don’t even know how i remember her name. when i get it right, i feel an immediate sense of pride. i see her again later and get her name wrong bc it’s not actually her, it’s her identical twin. shit! twins! i think.

we walk into Ballroom B or whatever, and it’s pretty fancy. candles, centerpieces, real silver. the whole nine yards. we immediately realize we’re severely underdressed since we’re in jeans & sweaters while all the girls are pretty much in, uh, gowns.

“did we miss the memo?” holly asks me.

i told her there was no memo. just a facebook event page. someone inquired about “dress code,” and i enthusiastically wrote on the wall “jean chic!” since i suggested it, i figured that’s what we ought to go with. brilliant, i know.

“whatever,” i say, suddenly aware just how snug my jeggings really are. and that maybe my boobs look too big in my sweater. “we’re gay. everyone probably expected us to show up in bad pleated chinos, brown boat shoes–the kind with the white stitching and the two-tone laces–and unfortunate plaid flannels. tucked in. oh, and brown belts, also with white stitching. so i actually think we look great. plus i’m wearing my nine west reptile high heels. and jeggings plus high heels equals fancy. so we’re good.”

“well i’m not wearing jeggings. or heels,” holly says quietly.

“you’re fine,” i tell her. “you’re wearing black boots. that have small heels. plus your sweater is black. plus your jeans are dark. plus this is my high school reunion and i don’t even care.”

holly was definitely the hit of the evening, as many of my old classmates already felt like they knew her from this blog. on my way back from the ladies room, i made eye contact with this one guy and figured it’d be rude not to stop and say hello even tho i really wasn’t all too sure who he was.

“hi!” i say. “dave, right?”

“no, rob,” he says. “dave’s my brother,” and he points to the guy sitting next to him. his twin. shit! another pair of identical twins?! what class of approx 144 has two friggin sets of identical twins??

lovely gals that i wish i’d spent more time with in high school tell me stories of fun things we did or funny things i said or did and i realize holy crap, i don’t remember anything about high school. it’s kind of frightening how much of a blank i’m drawing. later on, i realize that, while other people had no idea, high school as a closeted teen was so horrifically painful for me that i think i just left and never looked back.

i tell people about our “wedding blitz” plans for that tuesday, and everyone is so excited. i get hoarse from catching up with people, answering everyone’s questions about our weddings and our life in baltimore. i love that i can finally stand proud with my partner of 10+ years by my side. i love that all my self-doubt is so far in the past. i love that i finally learned how to put a damn arch in my eyebrows b/c dang! i needed a makeover! HOLLA!

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“did you really just call me a b—jerk?”

where's my chapstick? my lips are totally killing me! gawd!

ladies know: there are fightin’ words and then there are fightin’ words.

if you have a spouse/partner/girlfriend/significant other that is a woman, you know calling her something along the lines of, oh, i don’t know, a bitch is pretty much the wrong thing to do in all cases, no exceptions. even if she trash talks your mom, turns off the tv when you’re watching it, steals the covers or drinks the last of the milk when you’ve been craving a bowl of cereal since you went to bed the night before, or tells you that yes, your butt really does look big in those jeans. (who would do that is beyond me. basically a death wish.)

however, sometimes it’s tempting. that temptation is times two when there are two women in a relationship. (if you’d like to read more woman-woman annoyances i suggest you click here.) because, inevitably, one of you is usually acting like a bitch. or being bitchy. but you never, ever call the other one an actual bitch because you’re likely to get elbowed in the mouth, kicked behind the knee or have something thrown at you, like your car keys, which signals that you’d better get the hell outta this house and drive far, far away, perhaps to your family’s in western pee-ay, before i start throwing dishes like we’re at a big fat greek wedding except for i’ll be throwing them at your head and there will be no dancing.

in the 10+ years we’ve been together, holly and i have pretty much avoided calling each other “the B Word” by generally sidestepping the actual word and instead opting for you’re acting like a bitch.

QUIT ACTING LIKE SUCH A BITCH, BABE! i have yelled, loudly, on more than one occasion.

I CANNOT BELIEVE YOU JUST CALLED ME A BITCH! she usually yells back.

I DIDN’T CALL YOU A BITCH! i yell back. I SAID YOU WERE ACTING LIKE A BITCH. THERE’S A DIFFERENCE. (truly, there is no difference. you and i both know that and so does holly and so does everyone else.)

so yeah, on saturday morning i was kind of acting like a bitch. i’ll admit it. i had worked til like 10pm the night before. and worked, like, 10-hour days at my computer every single day before since sunday. i was tired. and didn’t want to friggin clean the house.

i especially didn’t want to flip the bed or whatever the hell holly wanted me to help her with at 9am in the morning. it irritated me so i acted out and then we got in a fight and didn’t talk to each other for the next three hours. holly stayed upstairs watching, most likely, bad reality tv or whatever was on bravo, and i stayed downstairs doing laundry and watching napoleon dynamite on comedy central trying to forget about how bitchy she was acting as well as raise my serotonin level bc i was starting to feel downright depressed, not to mention hungry.

we eventually started talking to each other again, and i immediately began trying to convince her to take me to chipotle for lunch. she eventually agreed–score!–and we went down to the can company to get some tacos (me) and a burrito bowl (her) and perhaps heal our wounded relationship.

why did you have to act that way? holly asked me, dipping a chip in guacamole. why were you being that way? you ruined the day.

despite my urge to throw black beans at her, i couldn’t help but think she looked cute. dammit. why do you have to be so cute?  i thought, stuffing my face with vegetarian tacos, trying my best to avoid the question and distract her by talking about the weather and pointing at dogs walking by.

babe, stop ignoring me.

i am not ignoring you. i’m talking to you, aren’t i? look at that dog out there! look it’s so cute!

babe. answer the question.

BECAUSE I DIDN’T WANT TO HELP YOU FLIP THE DAMN BED OR SHIFT THE DAMN BOXSPRING OR WHATEVER THE HELL ANNOYING THING YOU WANTED ME TO DO AT 9AM. i whisper-yelled.

well why did you have to be such a b…jerk about it?!

a WHAT?! i stopped dead in my tracks. suddenly i wasn’t the bad one anymore.

did you just call me a b-jerk?!! i whisper-shreaked

what? no! 

she knew her mistake. her mouth had betrayed her brain. the secret was out. she basically called me a bitch.

did you really just call me a “b-jerk”???

no. yes. wait, what? no, i said you were acting like a jerk!

no, you said i was being a B-JERK! you starting calling me a bitch but covered it up!

then she started laughing with her mouth full of burrito bowl and almost choked bc she was laughing so damn hard. then i started laughing, too. then we hugged. psych! we didn’t hug in chipotle! 

then some big scary dude with a long white beard in a red-and-black lumber-jack type shirt at another table saw the steelers emblem on my t-shirt peeking out of my jean jacket and yelled YOU’RE IN RAVENS COUNTRY!

instead of shouting something really memorable back i just stared at him, slack-jawed, and shouted “NO!” nice.

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i stepped in great dane poop & lived to tell about it

*this post is dedicated to my sister-in-law heather who hasn’t been feeling well lately and could sure as hell use a good laugh.

my sister-in-law heather–the very same one i’m writing this post for–lives on a friggin hillside in washington, PA. don’t ask me why but she does. i swear every time we drive up her driveway i almost have a heart attack. it’s that steep. after we park, i ask holly if we have the emergency brake on so many times she gets this close to elbowing me in the mouth. yeah every trip to heather’s starts off really well.

washington, PA is a unique place in that every single person in western pennsylvania actually calls it “washington, pee-ay” as not to confuse it with our nation’s capitol–what, with all the cows grazing all over the place, i can see how that’d be really confusing–or washington state, which is about 4,000 miles away on the west coast practically in canada.

over the weekend, on sunday, holly and i drove to washington, pee-ay to meet her family at a mud pit and deep-fried food festival disguised as a christmas arts & crafts fair. after eating a late lunch at the washington, pee-ay reb robin (reeeeeed robin. yuuummmmm. sorry, every time i think about red robin i have to sing their jingle), holly went with her mom, twin sister, niece and nephew to some outlets. since i kind of hate shopping (that’s my gay gene rearing its boat-shoe-and-chino-wearing head), i said i’d rather go to heather’s to hang with holly’s gram, who was going back to heather’s, too, and who is fabulous.

holly politely asked me to drive our car back to heather’s. i snapped at her that i didn’t want to b/c the country roads are too damn windy and i’d get lost and maybe even have a panic attack following her sister to the house and i didn’t know where my xanax was. (total lie. i’ve kept it in my bag ever since i flew to san fran for nicole‘s wedding. i know exactly where the hell it is.)

c’mon, babe, she said, her impatience growing. it’s only like five minutes away. that way i can go in the car with my mom.

i said no until holly was good and pissed and then i said yes. i do that a lot even tho i shouldn’t.

i managed to follow heather and her gram back to the house on the windy roads without having a panic attack. we got up to the house and i was like oh beejesus, the driveway. i had totally forgotten about the damn driveway.

well here we go, i thought as i gunned our pearlescent white rav-4 up the hill. (yes it really is pearlescent white.) tho it kind of looked like a rolling turd considering how much craft fair mud was on it.

there were all these damn cars in the driveway so i had to park on the grass. i chose a bad place to park. at that moment i didn’t realize just how bad it was, but from the outset i knew it wasn’t a good idea but i didn’t know what else to do. i felt like the car was going to roll over and tumble down the hill. i rolled down the window and asked her husband if it was an ok place to park. he told me to watch out for the dog shit, which i assumed meant the car wouldn’t flip.

whatevs, i thought. i can a handle a little dog poop. hell, i live in southeast baltimore. home of loose pit bulls that crap in the middle of the sidewalk.

i got out of the car, careful not to let the gravity of the hillside slam the car door on me. (note: this has happened before. it’s not pretty.) i got out to look at the car and see about this dog poop.

i should note that they have a great dane. her name is lena and she is enormous. i love her deeply but she scares the hell out of me. we’re basically scared of each other. i walk in the house and she runs from me. and when she comes near me i run from her. it’s like a game except we’re both scared for our lives.

anyway, her poop was so big it literally took my breath away. i’d never seen dog poop that big in my life. kind of hard to miss, i thought. not gonna step in that. no way no how. i am totally in the clear. you’d have to be a major idiot not to see that.

i walked back around to the other side of the car to help gram up the hill. and then it happened. i put my left foot down and slipped. it happened so damn quickly it was like i stepped on a banana peel. it was like a cartoon.

whoooaaaaaaaa, i said, feeling like it was happening in slow motion. i had to grab heather’s arm to stop myself from tumbling down the hill and in the process almost took down heather, her baby and her grandma.

“that is some serious mu-,” i said, turning around to look at the mud i surely had stepped in.

it wasn’t mud.

i had stepped in the world’s largest pile of dog poop. in my new boots.

there was massive streak of great dane poop about two feet long leading from where i was standing at that moment straight back to the car. and it was deep.

a shiver went down my spine and then i got goosebumps. i was trying very hard a) not to gag and b) not to curse as there was an impressionable baby in front of me, not to mention holly’s 82-year-old grandma who doesn’t know what a cursing sicko i am.

instead of bursting into a tourette’s-like stream of swearing, i shook off my nausea and let out a very unsatisfying  “oh man.”  it was very hard to hold in all that cursing and i think i injured myself in the process.

i wiped my shoe off in the grass but i don’t even know if i got it all off. nearly a week later, there’s still something on my left boot. it could be craft fair mud, i’m not even sure.

i’m trying to figure out how to end this story. i feel like there should be a moral. i guess the moral of the damn story is that it’s easy to step in dog poop, even when it’s so big it’s basically visible from space. don’t think it won’t happen to you.

heather, i hope you enjoyed this story and that it made you feel better. i’d put in a smile “emoticon” here but the damn blogging software i’m using will turn it into a cartoon smiley and then this looks like a ‘tween blog. i love you and i still love lena even tho she’s the size of a small horse and her poop is huge and i stepped in it and almost fell down a hill and when i see her i want to suck my thumb while rocking back and forth in the corner.

important sidenote!

i’ve been nominated as “Best Lifestyle Blog” AND “Best Personal Blog” in the Baltimore Sun’s annual blog competition!

for Lunch at 11:30 to win, you have to VOTE for it! every day! (yes, you really can vote everyday!) so click on the icon below, register (it takes like 10 seconds to register) and then choose Lunch at 11:30 for both “Best Lifestyle Blog” and “Best Personal Blog.” then write it in for “Best Overall Blog.” xxo!

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well apparently i’m 60 because i started shopping at chico’s

before nicole’s wedding, i went to chico’s looking for a dress. i went to chico’s b/c they make “dressy” clothes specially designed for ladies with curves. sometimes, but not all the time, these “curves” are actually rolls. (not dinner rolls, folks; the other kind) other times, they are actual curves. the kind that used to be revered, but are now frowned upon b/c ppl think they represent a poor diet and lack of exercise–even if your diet is actually pretty much fine and you occasionally drop-kick bathroom locks in the ladies room at under armour–when you’re actually just of eastern european descent and hello, hispanic guys totally love you.

chico’s gets a bad rap amongst the younger set, and it really doesn’t deserve it. here’s why:

first of all, chico’s makes clothes you can roll up in a ball and they won’t wrinkle. it pretty much blows my mind. (see “travelers collection.”)

they also have fives sizes: 0, 1, 2, 3 and 4. size 4 is actually, like, a size 22. for example: i wear a size 2 and i’m basically like hell’s yeah bitches! i’m a size 2, kiss it! kind of like going to a weight watchers meeting in suburban baltimore (like i did before our big fat gay wedding) and you look around and think: damn i’m fine! which prompts you to leave early to buy an 8,000-calorie celebration frappacchino no whip (hello, whipped cream probably adds like two points!).

chico’s also has the best damn salesladies on earth. they are so friggin attentive i can’t even deal with it. i want to be like YES! yes i’ll take The Big Lady Belt–in black and silver! b/c i love you. b/c you are not judging me like those skinny bitches at Express. and you remind me of my mom. and i want to hug you, let’s hug right now, i don’t even care that i don’t know you, let’s just hug.

so i go to chico’s looking for a dress–this is, yeah, like a week before the wedding. and they don’t have anything for me. i wind up finding a dress at macy’s. oh but what did i find at chico’s? i zero in on this silver sparkly tunic sweater that i decide i really need to have. hello, it’s a TRAVELERS piece, which means i can take it to san francisco without it wrinkling to wear for…something!

oh it’s so sparkly, i say to Judy the Attentive Saleslady.

oh i know, isn’t it *fabulous*? she says back. and it looks wonderful on you. just wonderful.

ohmygoshthanks, i say breathlessly. but it’s too expensive, i continue. i…i couldn’t. 

i’ll give you $25 off, she says.

how could i possibly say no?

ring it up, judy! i say. ring it up before i change my mind!

so i bought the damn sparkly tunic, much to holly’s dismay. and i bring it to california, and of course need to wear it to the pre-wedding party at nicole’s parents’ house in sebastopol. as soon as we arrived i knew it was a mistake.

you know how, at every party, there’s that girl who’s overdressed? you try not to look at her but you have to? i was…that girl.

that’s because it’s a *holiday sweater*, holly told me when i got back to baltimore.

what, because it’s sparkly? i said.

holly: yes because it’s sparkly! it has sequins in it! 

me: so you mean to tell me that i wore a chico’s holiday sweater to nicole’s parents’ party–in october. in california. because i felt really overdressed. 

holly: yes, honey, you wore a chico’s holiday sweater to the party.

me: why didn’t you tell me i was buying a holiday sweater at chico’s?!

holly: i tried but you didn’t listen to me! it looks good but it’s for the holidays!

me: so you mean to tell me i spent $75 on a sweater i can only wear one month a year?

holly: yup. i tried to stop you. you didn’t listen.

ladies, this is the magic of chico’s. while everything else there fits like mom jeans, there will be that one item that absolutely dazzles you. you will be blinded by its beauty. an attentive saleslady will bring it to your dressing room, pump you up with compliments and then give you a coupon. bolstered by a false sense of self-esteem from the fact that it’s a fake size 2, you purchase it and then wear what turns out to actually be a sequined holiday sweater to san francisco in early fall.

so yeah, i play bingo. and i stare out our windows at our neighbors. i shop at chico’s. i’m a senior and i don’t even care. and so help me i’m going to rock that damn sweater the entire month of december. so if you’re here in baltimore and you’re blinded by a silvery tunic’ed figure, it’s actually me. and shut the hell up b/c i’m still from jersey and i’ll kick your ass or hire someone else to do it for me.

a jersey girl goes to under armour

aside from my early tomboyish years (before my muscles had been warped by absorbing years of frosty lipstick & elizabeth arden green tea perfume), i would have to classify myself as a fairly unathletic person.

i mean, i can catch a ball. and i’m a damn good walker. and sometimes i run when we’re walking back to our house after 10pm and we hear footsteps behind us. but honestly? aside from the occasional yoga session—which usually annoy me b/c of poses called “corpse,” “cat,” “cow,” oh and let’s not forget my favorite, “happy baby,” which is just another way of saying “unhappy adult”—i’m not so into sports. which is why it’s so incredibly, fantastically ironic that i wound up contracting (as an SEO web copywriter) at under armour for august/sept./part of october.

yes, folks, that’s where i was. i know you thought i was, hell, i don’t know where the hell you thought i was. but you probably wouldn’t have guessed in a million years that i was at under armour.

i had a lot of fun there. in fact, after a few weeks of writing about staying cool, dry & light on and off the field, i felt inspired to be athletic. so i started climbing the stairs in my jeggings to the e-commerce floor. then one day when i was feeling exceptionally inspired, i drop-kicked the lock closed in one of the ladies bathroom stalls.

(have you ever thought about all the germs on those locks?? ppl touch them after they use the toilet but before they wash their hands. whatever, if you touch them, it’s your business, but don’t try to high-five me or use my computer afterwards)

anyway, as soon as i kicked it, i heard a rip. not just a baby rip. i’m talkin big-poppa/granddaddy rip. rrrrrrrrrrip.

it was…my pants. the entire crotch of my american eagle black jeggings split down the middle–like, up to my butt. like a cartoon. this is what i get for karate kicking the lock closed, i thought as i stood dumbfounded in the stall.

looking in the mirror proved it was every bit as bad as i thought i was.

i felt helpless. like the time i was listening to phonics records in my elementary school library and peed my pants (probably bc i didn’t know where the bathroom was–hello this is important  information for a newbie 5-year-old library-goer. it was my first time alone down there!). i didn’t even know i peed my pants until this really nice second-grade teacher lady asked me if i had to go to the bathroom and did i want to go to the nurse so she could call my mom to drop off another pair of pants for me. i was like, why do i need another pair of pants?

what i’m trying to say is that i felt pretty ridiculous, at under armour w/my black jeggings split down the middle. i was about to miss my boat [yes, i took a boat (a water taxi) to work–i’ll need to tell you about that next time] home so i thought fast and called my project manager, who was off-site at the time.

“renee,” i whispered. “i have a…a problem. a girl problem.”

“what, what is it?” she asked. tampon emergency, she probably thought.

“i…i split my pants. down the middle. can i tie the jacket hanging over your chair around my waist and give it to you tomorrow?”

“oh my gosh, totally,” she breathed out. “i didn’t know what you were gonna say, but yes, sure!”

yeah, luckily she didn’t ask how i ripped them down the middle. but she was incredibly cool to let me borrow her jacket even tho she’s like a size zero and the jacket arms barely tied around my jewish birthing hips. so i caught my boat and then holly picked me up on the other side of the water and wanted to go out for pizza.

“but babe,” i said. “my pants are split down the middle.”

“it’s ok, honey. the jacket covers it up. let’s get pizza.”

honestly, the pizza wasn’t worth me worrying that my butt was two to three inches of microfleece away from being exposed to all of fells point but “marriage is about compromise” so we got the darn pizza and then ate it on our roof while we listened to the sweet sounds of baltimore, like helicopters flying three feet above our heads and hookers fighting at jerry’s house.

so that was me at under armour. i have to say that the past 2.5 months have been some of the most ridiculous yet. there was an earthquake. my mom learned how to text. holly began using my health & beauty aids (HBAs) as household tools. i got high on xanax and took a flight to san francisco for nicole‘s wedding. and one time i almost fainted.

to top things off, we now have rogue, psycho mice, so we called shumakers animal control b/c i saw the owner (dave) standing in the middle of the woods in his tv commercial and figured, hell, if this dude can catch raccoons and coyotes, he can sure as hell deal with these crafty sonsofbitches mice.

i’m starting to feel like this is karma is for giving my hamster “baths” in middle school and then drying her with a hair dryer. in my defense, she looked really cute with her fur puffing out and hello, i kept the blow dryer on cool–what do you think i am, some kind of monster?

talk to you soon! aren’t you so happy i’m back? xxo!

this is me, at the hospital, on drugs

one week ago today, i made a mix for my ipod designed specifically to calm me down before outpatient surgery at john hopkins. the most logical thing to name it was, of course, “surgery mix,” (or “don’t bolt out the door mix,” “don’t barf mix,” “don’t look at the IV needle mix,” or, my personal favorite, “don’t think about the fact that strangers are putting you to sleep in order to probe your ladyparts and remove things from you mix”) but just the thought of “surgery mix” made me want to faint so i named it something  mysterious and vague only i could recognize: “new mix.”

“new mix” was a choice selection of what some in the “lite hits” radio industry might call the best of the 70s, 80s, 90s and today. artist & song highlights included but were not limited to:

barry manilow (“daybreak” “it’s a miracle”)
billy joel (“say goodbye to hollywood” “new york state of mind”)
madonna (“true blue”)
fleetwood mac (“gypsy,” the appropriately titled “hold me” & more)
john mayer (“half of my heart”)
michael jackson (“human nature” “pretty young thing”)
roxette (“(i could never) give you up”)
dave matthews, steve miller band, prince, the b-52s, the list goes on & kind of ruins my street cred [b/c unbeknownst to most, i’m actually huge in the baltimore hip-hop/rap scene, so, you know, i need to keep my street cred and not tell you that go west’s “king of wishful thinking” was on there, too. (c’mon, i’m sure there are at least a few rappers that dig the pretty woman soundtrack)]

i’m telling you about my mix to drive home the point that i was a sweating, shivering, shaking nervous wreck last tuesday that did not want surgery and needed a mix so i wouldn’t bolt out the building in my gown and tan hospital socks (the kind with the rubber tread on them) and run home. (yes, technically i could run home from the hopkins campus, and, yes, holly and i once saw a guy in a hospital gown on baltimore street tho he asked us for a prescription for pain meds so i don’t think he was actually coming from the hospital.)

i was there to have a polyp removed from my uterus. nothing too serious, but serious enough that they had to put me under. despite the fact that they were going to put a camera and a vacuum and who knows what else inside me, it wasn’t the procedure per se that i was nervous about. it wasn’t even the forms i had to sign at a pre-op appt signing off on the fact that, you know, i could die while unconscious. it was the mere notion that they were putting me under with drugs.

i was confident that i’d be safe and come out, you know, alive. it just freaks me the hell out to be put to sleep. i suppose this is because  i’m a neurotic, jersey-born, overthinking jew that has to know exactly what’s going on all the time and can’t let go even for one minute. (G-d bless holly. i am living proof that even the most neurotic among us can find a mate and be happily married.)

i’ve been lucky enough to have surgery only one other time in my life. it was sinus surgery (oh man, won’t even go there) and i was so nervous about it that i actually gave myself a fever beforehand. once again, it wasn’t the fact that they were going up my nostrils with drills and whatnot. no. it was b/c i was scared shitless they were knocking my ass out.

as i lay there feverish and shaking (with holly and my parents looking on like three deer in headlights), the anesthesiologist noticed my fear (i think my fear that morning was visible from outer space), smiled and said he was going to give me “a morning cocktail.” i had no idea what he was talking about, but it sounded oddly comforting. (probably b/c i had absolutely no idea what he was talking about.)

before i knew it, he shot up my IV with who know what and, folks, lemme tell you, after an initial bout of dizziness (and my “initial bout” i mean i bolted upright in my wheely hospital bed shouting at holly, “HONEY I’M SO DIZZY”), i was FLYING. i don’t remember much but i do remember waving with my entire right arm–like i was at an 80s stadium concert (or doing the nkotb “hangin tough” dance)–back and forth, back and forth, shouting “BYYYEEEE! LOVE YOU GUYS!” as they wheeled me out the door.

while zooming (in my mind i was indeed “zooming”) down the hospital hallway, i had myself completely convinced that i was on “ER” and i was the star of the show. i felt so cool, you have no idea. (holly tells me she and my parents heard me laughing down the entire hallway.)

 i vaguely recall the OR team asking me if i could get on some kind of metal operating table (my body felt soooo heavy), then i saw an MRI on the wall and thought heeeeey, coooooool, that’s my skull. i woke up hours later holding this really pretty nurse’s hand (that’s how you know you’re really, truly gay–you have the hots for some random nurse while you’re coming out of anesthesia) with my nose and sinuses packed full of cotton.

yes, everything worked out just fine. but that was september 2004. i’ve developed a lot more neuroses since then, not to mention am much more aware of my mortality, and thus was much more nervous about being put under. and having an IV put in. and basically being at the hospital altogether.

things started to suck when i found out holly couldn’t come back and be with me while they put in my IV. yes, i am that much of a baby. then these two resident doctor-in-training dudes come by to introduce themselves and tell me that they’d be “observing” my surgery. they were nice enough, but what i really wanted to do with kick them in the teeth with my tan rubber-soled socks and tell them i didn’t want them there staring at my ladyparts while i was unconscious. before i had a chance to let my true colors shine, the nurse came by to give me an IV, at which point i plugged in my earphones, pumped up my “new mix” and pretended to be on a beach while the nurse punctured my vein (thump–oops sorry i actually just fainted while i wrote that).

shortly thereafter, holly and my mom came back to keep me company, which i was grateful for, but unfortunately didn’t help that much b/c i was pretty much inconsolable by that point. then another resident came by to tell me she was coming to watch the surgery, too. GREAT! HOW BOUT YOU INVITE YOUR MOM AND GRANDMA ALSO! INVITE THE WHOLE FAMILY. WHAT THE HELL DO I CARE, I’M GOING TO BE UNCONSCIOUS! then another resident came by, this time an anesthesiologist in training, introduced herself (tiffany–i remember her ID card) and, since she would be one of the ppl knocking my ass out, i proceeded to babble on and on to her about how nervous i was about being put under until i proved that i was certifiably nuts. or at least needed anti-anxiety medication.

she smiled and inquired if i wanted something to help calm me down before surgery. a normal person would say, “you know what, tiffany? that sounds like a mighty fine idea. yes, please. thank you for asking, that would be lovely!”

instead i said something about being anxious about taking anti-anxiety medication and maybe i shouldn’t take it but then again maybe i should. then the lead anesthesiologist and the OR nurse came by to introduce themselves (total count in the OR, including the doctor doing the surgery, was up to seven at this point) at which point i announced i had to pee.

a nurse helped me up and gave me instructions on how to hang up the IV bag on the back of the door. while i birdnested the toilet (hello, it’s a hospital but i’m still not sitting directly on the toiletseat) while simultaneously trying to both talk myself out of a panic attack and not see the blood collecting in the IV tube (what the?!), a young doctor-looking guy wearing a scrub-thing on his head and mask opened the door.

“oops! sorry!”

“no problem,” i told him.

hell, it wasn’t a problem. my modesty had gone to hell in a handbasket anyway, what with the entire staff of johns hopkins about to see the inside of my uterus and who knows what else while i was “sleeping.”

so i get back to my little pre-op area and tiffany wants to know what i decided about the anti-anxiety meds. she tells me she’ll just give me just half a dose.

“honey, it’s ok. you should get it. it’ll help,” holly said, holding my hand.

“no, it’ll just make me dizzy,” i said, more panic setting in.

before i knew it, i had agreed (tiffany was very convincing–she told me it would feel like i drank a cocktail) and she was dosing me up. it didn’t hit me til i got in the operating room.

“wooah, it’s BRIGHT in here,” i said covering my eyes as tiffany wheeled me in. “WOW I’M REALLY DIZZY.”

and i was–really really really dizzy. but instead of making me really really nervous, it seemed really really funny. everything just seemed so funny.

“it feels like i drank a wholelottacocktails,” i slurred.

“it’s supposed to feel like that,” she told me.

i remember looking at the big operating table under the bright lights, thinking, gee, the looks of this insanely large operating table under all these bright lights with alllll of these doctors and residents and nurses around should be making me nervous but instead it seems funny! this is all so funny!

then i saw the gynecologist that was doing the surgery. she had her hair back in a net-scrub-thingy and i remember thinking oh my gosh i know you! you’re the doctor! i recognize you even with your hair back!!!!! this, of course, seemed even funnier. i also felt very, very proud of the fact that i recognized her. i was high as a kite.

i got up on the table somehow and they told me to put my head in this head-holder thing, which, of course, seemed really funny. they asked me to “scoot down a little” (when you’re a woman and you regularly go to the gynecologist, they’re always friggin telling you to “scoot down a little) and i think i was trash talking the scheduler who arranged the surgery for me? (i think i slurred something along the lines of that mary, shhhhhhe’s reaaallly nice but she has noooo idea whaaaaat the hellllll she’s doing. (drugs = truth serum) and i think i remember the doctor laughing and saying she’d be sure to tell her that.)

someone told me they were going to cover me up with warm blankets. oooooh, those are so warm, i thought. they felt like the best friggin things in the world. i think i remember tiffany hovering above me saying…something. except i couldn’t hear her. your lips are moving but you’re not making any sound, i wanted to say.

then the head anesthesiologist told me they were just giving me some oxygen and put this clear plastic mouth/breathing thingy over my mouth or nose or both and told me to take a deep breath. i remember the air coming thru the plastic thing smelling bad. oooh that smells really bad, i garbled. then he held it above my mouth and told me to take some deeeeep breaths. that’s so nice he’s giving me oxygen before my surgery, that’s so nice i remember thinking. then i woke up two hours later in recovery. oxygen my ass.

i was in and out of sleep and so comfortable in recovery. and everything still seemed so amusing. things that would normally bother me (the guy across from me with a bowl over one eye; the guy next to me saying he was nauseous) didn’t. a nurse came by and asked me if i wanted some ginger ale and brought me graham crackers. this delighted me.

mmmmm these are delicious, i thought, still clearly under the influence. mmmmm this ginger ale is so nice and cold

the same nurse came by and asked me on a scale of one to 10, how much pain was i in? i said eight, which, honestly? i don’t know why i said that. i don’t think it was really an eight. then she gave me painkillers and came back some time later asking the same question. i told her three. then she asked me if i wanted some oxy-something or other and i was like, “no, that’s ok.” (thank goodness. i don’t want to ever take anything beginning with “oxy”)

i kept telling her i felt like i was bleeding and when could i see my family. then she put some weird hospital boy-shorts underwear on me and walked me into the next recovery station. another nurse came by and gave me more ginger ale and shortbread cookies (lorna doones!), which, yes, absolutely delighted me. the doctor came by and told holly and my mom–who had arrived by then–about my uterus and how they found two polyps and everything looked good and etc. but i don’t remember that. all i remember thinking is: man these cookies are soooooo good. num num num.

holly told me i looked pretty darn good (drugs) and i felt sooooooo proud i had made it thru the ordeal (again: drugs). when we were leaving she told me to take the remaining packet of cookies with me (we don’t keep fun things like cookies in our house) and when we got home i realized i had taken the empty packet with me. drugs, people. drugs.

i slept a lot when i came home and throughout the next day. as i came to, i told holly about everything. pretty much exactly what i just told you guys.

“maybe you didn’t think all those things,” holly said. “maybe you said them.”

“holy crap. maybe i did.”

i gave tiffany my card before she drugged me up, telling her that i’m not actually this crazy, i’m actually an established writer that’s really not nuts (beware of people that tell you they’re not crazy; they usually are. also beware of those that claim to be “spiritual” as they’re usually satan’s children) and that i’d be blogging about this. she pledged to check back and comment. so we’ll just have to wait and see.

i would like to thank the staff of the johns hopkins outpatient surgery center for doing such a great job. if i ever have to go under again, you guys are the crew i’d choose. and if i said something offensive to you while i was high on drugs, i apologize. i’m sure i didn’t actually mean it and you can blame it on tiffany for overmedicated me.

more bad decisions: i watched “the mummy” last night and now i’m totally freaked out.

"you look just like my ex-girlfriend who's been dead for 3,000 years and whom i miss terribly! kiss me!" "no! i don't! eww! get the hell away from me!"

you have your good decisions (vegetables) and your bad decisions (doughnuts/fried vegetables/french fries). i pride myself on good decision making (many vegetables, very few doughnuts, moderate-to-low fries) but last night i really tanked when i decided to watch “the mummy.”

we all know my ability to tolerate horror movies, even when they’re really faux-horror-pseudo-lesbo horror movies. (i.e. i have absolutely no tolerance and scream like a little girl). i’m sure holly would have stepped in and told me to change the channel, you’re going to scare yourself, especially at night, etc. etc. but she was on the phone. game on, i thought. i live to be unsupervised.

i kind of always wanted to see it. besides being a closet sinatra fan and “today” show Superfan (i’ll get to that later this week), i am also a lifelong ancient egypt nerd. as in: my very first book report (4th grade) was on mummification. (i wonder what my teacher thought when i explained what canopy jars are for? hint: storage for mummy guts for use in the afterlife. she never liked me. had her for 5th grade, too. i’m sure she was thrilled.)

so when it was on while i was doing dishes last night, i was like, what the hell, let’s see what this mummy movie is all about.

i missed the beginning but i think what happened was that these egyptologists found an ancient book of spells or something, read one out loud and awakened the beast, who was basically an angry-ass mummy that really missed his old girlfriend who was used as a human sacrifice at some point. i have no idea. but that’s what it seemed like.

he goes around killing everyone, awakening the ancient dead and sucking the life force out of the other egyptologists so he can get stronger. he also opens his mouth reaaaalllly wide, screams and creates sandstorms. oh and he brings these ancient cockroaches back to life that eat and kill people. nice!

i mean, it was pretty cheesy, but also pretty freaky and of course i couldn’t stop watching it. during the last 10 minutes holly got control of the remote and kept switching to “army wives” during the commercials and i was like BABE! WHAT THE HELL! I WANT TO FINISH WATCHING THE MOVIE!

she kept insisting that “she knew when the commercials would end and she would turn it back.” but i was like, “YOU HAVEN’T EVEN BEEN WATCHING THIS EPISODE OF ‘ARMY WIVES.’ WHY IN THE HELL WOULD YOU WANT TO WATCH THE LAST FIVE MINUTES OF IT?!”

to which she responded: “I DON’T KNOW! I JUST DO!”

(and yes, we have turned into the costanzas and now shout all of our conversations.)

she eventually relented and we watched, in awed silence, perhaps the worst commercial known to man (thanks, next day floors! note: this is low-budget baltimore at its finest, folks. welcome to our world), at which point holly turned to me and started complaining that you see? we didn’t have to change it yet. at which point i elbowed her in the mouth (in my mind) and told her to hush up, i needed to get ready for the final minutes of the movie.

so yeah, the end is how you’d expect: they kill the zombie mummies, save the girl, say another spell and grumpypants gets sucked into the ancient egyptian underworld. then the antiquity-filled tomb collapses, they get out in the nick of time, etc.

then i went to bed scared of my own shadow, holly said “you see? i told you you shouldn’t have watched it” and i had to sit thru a special encore of “army wives” anyway, during which i sighed heavily and kept bugging holly to turn it down. her response was, of course, that she watched my dumbbutt mummy movie and now i was going to have to deal with “army wives.”

there is no moral to this story. just that a) the lady in the mummy is really pretty b) mummies probably have really bad breath and c) i’m totally going to have to see “the mummy returns.”