Taxation (with extreme monetary representation)

Saturday, January 31, 2009

I know it's impolitic to talk about money, but guess what, as it turns out, Impolitic is pretty much my middle name. So is Danger. And Uncoordinated.

So I filed taxes today, which is something that I actually enjoy because, as a result of my measly salary and expensive educational costs, the government always ends up giving me money back. Which is always awesome. And with Valentine's Day and Slappy's birthday approaching, almost always needed too.

I started to file married with an "exemption" because Slappy is hopelessly poor without income, but they wouldn't let me claim my educational deduction stuff. So then I tried to file married but filing separate, and again, no education relief.

It occurs to me that I'm probably not actually married since Slappy and Kathnyn continue to survive in wedded bliss, however, I didn't go that route. I feel like tax auditors aren't big fans of "technicalities" like typos on marriage licenses.

Eventually I decided to file jointly with him, and in the end I got my educational refund and Slappy got himself a nice rebate for being an unemployed money-sucker a full-time student and we continued with the deductions sections. (No, I won't tell you how much we got back, THAT would be impolitic and you know, even I have boundaries)

This was all fine and good, and when we got to the "health" section, I thought I was golden. I had been saving all my medical bills from 2008 (including the brain surgery bills since they weren't billed until 2008) for this very day, for this very experience and we started adding the costs. Oh, the costs. I imagined that after adding up and inputting these costs, the IRS fairy would simply fly down and give me back all my money.

You can probably figure out that that didn't happen. But instead, I figured out how I managed to get into such deep credit card debt.

For the year 2008, I paid $3532.29 in hospital fees.

For the year 2008, I paid $860.65 in doctor's fees.

For the year 2008, I paid $697.97 in GLASSES (for crying out loud)

For the year 2008, I had $6152.00 of items stolen from me. SIX THOUSAND, ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY TWO DOLLARS. And that's not including any of the gift cards.

And do you know how much money the IRS gave me back for these fees? That would be none. None dollars.

So basically I just calculated these horrendous costs which helped to lower me into a deep depression, one which will inevitably require kajillions more in copays and prescription antidepressants.

Oh IRS, you're so funny.

Whales

Thursday, January 29, 2009

So today I was talking to one of my classes about Joan of Arc (it should be noted that these are not young students. Most of them are old enough to operate a car on their own...) and after I finished a little lecture about Joan, a student raised her hand.

Her: "Um, wasn't she the one that lived in the whale?"
Me: "What?"
Her: "You know, Joan and the whale?"
Me: "No, that would be Jonah. As in, from the bible. As in 1400 years before Joan of Arc."
Her: "Right. Wasn't Pinocchio also in the whale?"
Me: "Yes. Yes in fact he was. Not at the same time as Jonah"
Her: "And that fish from Finding Nemo?"
Me: "You mean, Nemo?"
Her: "Right. Wait, who built the big ark."
Me: "That would be Noah."
Her: "Huh, I kinda thought Joan was involved."

So um, you can send my teacher of the year award right to this blog.

Phone Cajones

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

So you might have heard that I'm in the process of applying to graduate school. It is a long process, but I'm thrilled to say that so far, it's going very well. I got into the #1 program in the country, I got into another smaller program and I got conditional acceptances at 2 other institutions (one of them is the Very Prestigious University I was visiting last weekend). Conditional because of one effing obnoxious thing: GREs.

I had my GRE scores sent in November to all the programs I was applying to. I ended up sending more than I needed to since Slappy pared down his interview/residency location list, but I lived and sucked up the TWENTY DOLLAR a piece price tag. No, I don't want to talk about the debt I've incurred just to apply to programs which will drag me MUCH farther into debt.

So as time goes on, I start hearing from several programs that still need my GRE scores. Now, I sent my GRE scores out AGES before my applications were due, and thankfully so far no one has turned me down for not having them in on time (though I did get an official rejection today because I took statistics more than 5 years ago...), but it's creating quite a hassle. Several programs, as mentioned, are waiting for those scores before accepting me.

Knowing this, I called ETS (they do all the GRE stuff) to see what was happening.

The man I spoke with told me that he has the receipts that they were sent out, so they should've gotten there, but that they would resend 2 of the 3 I needed resent for free. The 3rd is one I'd already had resent (because they didn't receive it earlier and asked me about it in December) and ETS won't send it a 3rd time for free. I would have to pay 20 dollars for a service I paid 20 dollars for before, without actually receiving said service. Um, I think not.

I (figuratively) put my foot down. We reviewed who the information was being sent to (the correct person/place), we reviewed what I wanted sent and they had the correct information and therefore, they decided I should pay.

Right. Because somehow when I clicked "send" on the online system, I am the one who screwed up the dispersal of all my GRE scores. RIGHT.

So we argued. I told him that I wasn't going to pay for it, but that it did need to be resent. He would not budge. So I asked for his supervisor.

She and I did the same dance. I got the "I'm sorry ma'am, we only send them out once" and "it's probably the schools' mistake." I'm sorry, this is an extremely well run, prestigious university, I doubt they have a lot of trouble sorting out GRE scores. SERIOUSLY. And really? 5 programs somehow all screwed up and didn't get my scores. Yea, that seems likely.

After about 10 more minutes of her telling me I'd have to pay and me saying that I would not pay, she relented. She said she'd make a "one time exception" (which is what she said last time she had to resend to this location...) and resend them for free.

I said, damn right you will thank you.

Phone cajones, I has them.

Chicago Redux

Monday, January 26, 2009

So, you may or may not have known that I spent the past weekend at my new best friend, Daisy's house.

She and I had both worried about the awkwardness of meeting in real life after our very limited interactions of texting each other 10,000,000 a lot of times and emailing pretty much constantly a lot of times. But, dude, it was so not awkward. It was fantastic (okay, maybe the first few minutes were a little clouded by having just found out that my cat was lost and then having sobbed through O'Hare to such an extent that a woman gave me a full bag of tissues. Um, yes, I am a sexy crier- why do you ask?).

On Saturday, I did not go to my interview. It wasn't laziness or the fact that there's like almost zero chance we'll end up moving in Chicago, but rather that we both learned that, hey, guess what? "North Chicago" and the "north side of Chicago" are not the same place. And also? That it's too effing cold to get up to catch a 6:30 train to get to the interview 2 hours early because the next train wouldn't leave early enough to get me there on time.

So I didn't go. Instead, we went window shopping and building admiring and then came home, I watched while she made dinner (pork tenderloin with goat cheese mashed potatoes and steamed fresh green beans), we made cinnamon rolls from scratch (which required both of us to roll up and involved serious hemorrhaging of cinnamon butteriness. But holy hell are we good bakers!) and then we waited for the Chicago blog (Chicog? Blocago?) crew to show up.

And they did. Included in this group was The Alleged Lady, Law with Grace, The Namby Pamby, The Artful Blogger (who I did not mention when I initially posted this because I am a huge jerk. It should be noted that the Artful Blogger brought a HUGE 3 layer red velvet cake, which was superb and taught me a little about the history of DNA. And that I feel super bad for not listing him earlier) and several other of Daisy's good friends (including Melissa, who comments here and who is bloglessly awesome). If I had to guess, I'd say that about 8 bottles of wine were imbibed by the 8 of us, and the next morning Daisy asked me if she'd broken a wine glass (she had) because she couldn't quite remember. And I had/have a goose-egg the size of, well, a goose egg on the back of my head from slamming it into her wall. Both signs of a rocking good time.

Oh, and Grace? Totally called me a whore. (Did you hear that? That was the sound of a whole crap load of google searchers finding my blog with the newly introduced swear word. By the way, also, this no-swearing resolution is going crapfully awesome.)

Sunday morning, Daisy and I sat on the couch until noon, then we did more awesome window shopping (okay, we bought some chocolate, but otherwise no money flew out of our collectively barren wallets) and then had like the GREATEST LUNCH OF ALL TIME. Seriously. It was amazing.

And all too soon after getting back to Daisy's (and meeting BISMOW), I had to get to the airport. Where I had my bag searched because Daisy gave me "Bath Bombs" from Lush, which, when I was asked about them at airport security I called "Bath Balls" because puns involving bombs are just not really appreciated at the airport.

And now I'm home. And in case this update was boring, no worries. Because I have an entirely fresh rant coming tomorrow. That New Year's Resolution is also going swimmingly, obviously.

In short, Chicago rocked and I can't wait to (hopefully) go back in July. Where I will not be called a whore and not slam my head into a wall. But I might bring Bath Bombs Balls with me. Just to freak out airport security.

Found

Sunday, January 25, 2009

While I have been having massive quantities of awesome wine fun with Daisy (still not a serial killer), Slappy has spent about 30 emotionally draining hours holding vigil for Karma.

He placed fliers around our neighborhood, he spoke with a local restaurant that feeds strays, he slept on the couch downstairs with both the front and the back doors open waiting for Karma to come home. He walked around the neighborhood whistling (because Karma cannot help but come to you when you whistle. She's not part dog, but the way she looks, she might have eaten one once) and all to no avail.

And then tonight, as it was getting cold out, he stepped into the back yard to see if any of the catfood outside had been eaten, he whistled and she responded.

She was under the house.

She's found.

She's home.

She's fine.

And tomorrow, when I get home? I'm kicking her ass. And maybe telling you about the wild antics of the blog meet up in Chicago, wherein like 32 bottles of wine were consumed and I'm pretty sure I almost got my first concussion.

Things are SO looking up. You know, minus the big-ass lump on the back of my head.

Help

Friday, January 23, 2009

I am safely at Daisy's (she's not a serial killer...yet) which is all things lovely and wonderful.

But, and this is a big but, my cat is missing.

Karma, my kitten that I got when she was 1 and 3/4 pounds and 6 weeks old, is missing.

She's been missing for almost 12 hours.

I know this is ridiculous, but if you have a minute, say a prayer for my cat. And for Slappy and I, because we might not have children, but Karma is pretty much our everything.

We need her to come home.

Ready for a wild weekend

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hi, remember me? I used to blog here.

This week has been the most horrendously busy 3 day week ever. It was like a normal week on crack. Not that I have any idea what crack does, but it seems like the correct expression.

First, this is my 600th post. I'm not sure what to say besides, wow, it's amazing how much free time I've had on my hands in the past almost 2 years. Really.

Second, Slappy got a residency in California. More on this next week because a few bits of information are trickling in still and I want to give this exciting moment it's proper celebration, rather than a small note embedded in a different blog.

Third, what I'm really writing about, is that I'm in the airport as I type this, getting ready to board a flight (which is leaving early- are they even allowed to do that?) to New York, for my final grad school interviews. Tomorrow night I'll be hopping a flight to Chicago to meet up with Daisy (and maybe for another interview. But mostly for Daisy.) Who hopefully isn't a serial killer. If you don't hear from me by like, say, Monday night, assume the worst and send search parties to Chicago.

(I'm only slightly kidding).

And now my early flight is boarding, so once again, I'm cutting the blog short. I just hope to God that no one (myself included) vomits on this flight. Because seriously, of the past 4 flights I've been on, twice there has been vomit (one of which required paramedics), and once an ADULT peed her pants. All 3 situations smelled really good, in case you wondered.

I will try to post from Chicago to verify my status of living. And to report all the sordid details of the blog fun-ness (bloguness? funlogness?) that I am completely sure we'll be having!

Celebrate good times, come on!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

So, we are supposed to find out tomorrow if Slappy matched for his 2011 Pediatric Neurology residency, a match that is much more selective than the basic match that happens in March. MUCH more selective.

Which is why it was really surprising tonight that he got an email informing him that he matched.

He did it.

We don't know where yet. That is a MINOR detail we'll find out tomorrow.


And now, blog and real friends, it's time to commence the proud comments for Slappy. He has earned them.

Alive

So I'm alive, just busy with any and everything. So busy I don't have time to tell you the horrific story of the plane-vomit-paramedic incident (wasn't me). So busy I don't have time to finish this mini-update.

Out of the Mouth of (someone else's) Babes

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I went to visit my new baby cousin last night, who by the way is just the sweetest, squishiest little boy ever. He dropped down to 9lb 1oz with a nasty case of jaundice, so he isn't quite as big as I expected. In fact, he's just freaking perfect (okay, maybe a little yellow, but I like yellow) and I'm trying hard to not steal him. Or eat him. Because seriously with the freaking perfect chubby cheeks baby.

While I was there I got the privilege of putting his older two siblings to bed as well. This is a rarity, usually they only want their parents to do this, so I jumped at the opportunity.

I had to practically wrangle the 5 year old into bed, and then I tucked her in with all 1200 of her dolls. And then she looked up at me with this sweet little quizzical look.

Her: Katie, I went to your wedding, right?

Me: Yes, you did.

Her: So you're married to Slappy, right?

Me: Right.

Her: And you've been married to him for a while, right?

Me: Right.

Her: So why don't you have a baby in your tummy?

Me: Um, Because I'm not ready for a baby.

Her: Oh. Well, maybe tomorrow.

Miin Spirited

Friday, January 16, 2009

Now that I'm SLOWLY (imagine molasses pouring onto ice, that's about the pace we're talking) weaning my foot out of the effing boot, I've gotten to do some of the fun things that I've been missing out on. Like, you know, video games.

Okay, so technically I've played all the games I've wanted aside from one, Wii Fit.

I got it last year for my birthday and was really good at getting on it and setting reasonable health goals, for like the first month. And then we went to California to get married. And then we honeymooned (and got robbed). And then I got a job and then quit the job and started my old one. And, to stop my second year in review post short, the Wii fell by the wayside.

So this week one of my housemate's boyfriend ex-boyfriend "it's complicated" was in town and wanted to see how the Wii Fit worked. So I offered to show him.

When you step on the Wii Fit, it'll do a "Body Test" which is to say, it will weigh you and then show you how fat *ahem* out of shape you are.

Of course, having not been on it since before wedding, I have gained some weight, where some means like 10 pounds. And since I was getting on it in front of other people, when it came time to choose the weight of my clothing, I picked the highest weight (4 pounds) so that it wouldn't be as embarrassing. If they'd let me choose 15, I would've, but the Wii Fit is too smart for that.

So I weighed myself in front of several people, and took the beating when Wii Fit pointed out that I didn't achieve my goal of maintaining my pre-wedding weight for 6 months. (Not embarrassing, by the way...). I only did a few things and then handed it over and let others play.

I got on it again the next morning to play it more seriously. This time, I chose 2 pounds for my clothes, and shock of shocks, I gained half a pound from the night before. And the Wii Fit was disappointed in me. Like when I was a kid and my parents didn't want to yell or berate, so they just gave me the quiet disappointment talk. That's what the wii fit did.

And then it took it one step too far.

The Wii gave me a choice of like 10 different reasons of why I gained weight and it would not let me move onto the rest of the "body test" or any games until I told them why I thought I had gained a half a pound. Oddly, "Because I cheated last night" was not one of the choices. I don't remember what I picked, but I got another short lecture on healthy eating before my body test (eff you Wii Fit).

This body test was two balance games, one I rocked, and one I apparently did not, because this is what showed up on the screen...

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

And then I threw the Wii Fit board out the window. I figure that effort was worth at least one minute of exercise.

Dee Em Vee

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

So, when I had my wallet stolen, my driver's license went with it. Obviously. And since I'm renting a car when I go to California this weekend (for number one grad school's open house!), I needed one, like now.

Attempt #1 involved getting to the DMV at 3:58 pm on Friday and finding the doors already locked because no one at the DMV works a second longer than they have to (I'd say no offense to anyone who works at the DMV, but I totally mean the offense implied). So even though I got there on time, they absolutely would not let me in. Which is obnoxious because the DMV is at the end of the universe and I didn't know if I could ever get there before 4.

So on Tuesday I left work a few minutes early and get to the God-forsaken hell hole DMV at 3:49 and I was the LAST person they let in.

I brought a ton of work with me because I've never gotten out of this DMV in under an hour. So you can understand my surprise when they called my number before my butt even hit the chair. I was called over to cubicle #11 (which by the way, is the one with the big #11 on it. So if you walk around trying to figure out where to go, you look like a moron...) and she asked for every form of identification possible, including birth certificate, insurance, registration, passport and a sample of my blood (okay, not really, but I wouldn't have been surprised) and she typed it all in the computer.

And then she asked me if I wore contacts or glasses, which I do, and then she had me look into the monitor next to me at the tiniest line of numbers anyone has ever written.

Her: "Read line 1"
Me: "Wha?"
Her: "The top line"
Me: "I can't see it"
Her: "You have to"
Me: "Okay, um, E...R"
Her: "They're all numbers ma'am"
Me: "I mean, 3...um R"
Her: "That's fine"

And then she gave me a driver's license. With BLATANT failure of the vision test (I mean, blatant, there were supposedly 12 numbers on line one alone...), I was granted a license. I don't know about you, but I'm REALLY feeling safe in my car these days. Especially knowing that I can't see a damned thing and apparently no one cares if anyone can.

The only other flaw was that I accidentally wore a sweater the exact same color as the background, so my photo looks like the creepiest floating head picture ever.

Or it might, if I could see it.

The Chronicles of Irony, Chapter 10,003: Crime Reporting

Monday, January 12, 2009

So when my wallet was first stolen by my friend Alexis, (and by the way, Anonymous, I pink puffy heart you for finding that information), I called the Bakersfield Police Department and was told that since the crime was non-violent and not worth much monetarily (it's just my identity, you know), I would have the file the report online.

So I go to the website to set up the claim. First you list all your pertinent information and then you choose what has been stolen from you. You are given a drop down alphabetized list of the items you can list as stolen. The very first thing that appears on the list is "AIRCRAFT"

I so wanted to claim it.

I can just see the scenario unfolding before my eyes. Some pilot comes out and finds his airplane missing, nay, STOLEN. So he runs as fast as he can, past the 10 trillion police that work at an airport to his COMPUTER to file an online crime report. How is that NOT the smartest idea of all time?

And, also? I'm not allowed to do my identity theft report over the phone, because apparently they cannot validate my identity that way. So instead they're having me do it over email.

Naturally.

An Open Letter to my Identity Thief

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Dear Jerkface (who lives at: address removed so my blog wasn't the first thing that came up on google when entered...),

Now, I understand that God was pretty vague in the 10 Commandments when he said, "thou shalt not steal" and I'm pretty sure that the state of California was pretty iffy when they said that "every person who shall feloniously steal, take, carry, lead, or drive away the personal property of another...is guilty of theft." But listen here so I can interpret: taking my shit was wrong, taking my identity is hopefully going to take you straight to jail and then later to hell.

Since December 26th when you STOLE my wallet, you've used my credit card seven times. Now, fortunately for you, my credit card company didn't actually get the card cancelled until sometime after 10:30 that night, so two of those seven times, you succeeded. You lucky bastard.

On January 1st, you tried to take out a Walmart credit card in my name. Really? Walmart? You've got my social security number and driver's license, why not go for something classy?

But you were declined.

Ironically, not because I had yet gotten a stop on my social security number, but, because I am over-extended, economically speaking. This will be the one and only time I am thrilled to be in debt over my head. However, it doesn't change the fact that you tried to take out a credit card in my name. This is NOT acceptable.

And then on January 5th, as I was finally getting the stop on my social security number, you decided to get yourself some AT&T phone/internet service. It was apparently a business account for an office in town. You successfully got that account established just under the wire, yet again.

But then, last night, in your overconfidence, you decided to get a home phone/internet package installed. And this time, I got a call, WHILE YOU WERE STILL ON THE PHONE. Tom the fraud guy from AT&T called and asked if I was Kathryn (Last name) and if I was requesting service to be installed. Then he let me know that someone was on the other line trying to get service and that it would be declined. He even gave me your address. By the time he got back to your line you had, shockingly, hung up.

It's almost like you knew you were doing something wrong.

But, small victory of small victories, your business account wasn't due to be set up until January 14th, so guess what? Surprise! It's not going to be set up. Suck on that. Oh, and Tom my man at AT&T? He gave me that address too.

And soon (in 3 to 5 business days, because identity theft is a HIGH priority) the police will have those addresses too. Yep. Soon the Bakersfield Police Department will know where your home and businesses are, they will have the ability to track you down and hopefully beat the ever living crap out of you arrest you.

If I believed in the idea of "an eye for an eye" I would wish that if someone else does this to you so you can realize how spectacularly stupid and used I feel. But instead, I believe in the concept of police actually doing their jobs (foolish though that belief might be) and I believe in karma.

I believe that someone, somewhere, is keeping track of every illegal, immoral, abusive move you make and that at some point in your life, it will come back to you. And I only hope that in that moment when all the bad karma comes rushing into your life that you realize what you've done to mine. What you've done to my credit history. What you've done to my faith in other human beings.

You robbed me of much more than my wallet, my left over Christmas bonus and my Christmas giftcards. You have stolen my identity, the very thing that makes me me, and you have robbed me of my belief that people can do the right thing.

And for that, I wish you a lifetime of consequences. Excruciatingly painful and life-altering ones.

Bitterly Yours,
Katie, but then, you already knew my name, didn't you?

Shredded, thankyouverymuch

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I just wanted to follow up on the ATM card portion of the last shrieky rant blog.

I called the bank as soon as they opened this morning, because I realized the card was there after they had closed for the night last night. The very nice woman told me she'd call and ask about my card (I left it at a drive through ATM which is a block from the main branch) and call me back.

As it turns out, I did leave my ATM card in the ATM. And the woman at the drive through location SHREDDED IT last night.

So less than 24 hours after it was left AND without calling me, as the nice voice on the phone informed me was the standard protocol, someone destroyed my SIX DAY OLD DEBIT CARD.

I was given the option to rush my new card, but it would cost me 15 dollars and I'd have to be at home on Tuesday to sign for it, so, that was a no. Which meant my card would arrive in 5 to 10 business days.

So I went into the bank a short while later and growled explained what stupid shit they had done and after the poor young banker apologized 800 times, I was given a temporary ATM card. And hey, guess what? They CAN expedite my card without charging me and they can even have it delivered to the branch so I can just come pick it up at my convenience.

Amazing, huh?

I just hope they don't freaking shred it before I get there.

The Chronicles of Irony, Chapter 10,002: Cars

Friday, January 9, 2009

So I came downstairs tonight with the intention of a) getting out of the bed I've been lying in for a week b) blogging and c) playing mindless video games.

And the blog I had planned to write involved giving myself a big ole pat on the back for a great feat I was just about to accomplish:

Paying off the remaining balance on my car.

After 4 years of car payments, which I made, faithfully, on time, every month, even when unemployed, I was finally ready to own this car. The car was literally going to be mine.

And then, when I logged on to pay the car payment, I realized that I would have to update my debit card number since I had the card stolen/replaced. So I grabbed my wallet and then stared open mouthed at the obvious lack of my debit card in my almost completely empty wallet.

And after a moment of sheer panic, I realized that I had gone to the ATM this morning and withdrawn cash and that I LEFT MY BRAND NEW ATM CARD IN THE EFFING MACHINE. IN. THE. MACHINE. So my car is totally not paid off. And now I have to call the bank first thing tomorrow morning to see if I can get a new card. And I'm pretty sure the bank is going to be like, no, because obviously I'm not responsible enough to have a freaking debit card.

And what's REALLY great, is that that was not even the irony I was getting ready to blog about.

Because just before I started writing this blog and just before I realized I left my card in the ATM, I checked the mail and found a letter from my mom's insurance company which reads:

"For the accident of December 31, 2008, we have accessed your percentage of fault at 100% and the percentage of fault of any other driver or cause at 0%."

Yes, I know I sort of asked for that, but seriously? Seeing it in writing? OUCH.

So, I'm pretty sure that leftover money from not having a car payment is not going to go towards my credit card debt after all. Instead, it's going to go towards paying for SOMEONE ELSE'S CAR.

Oh the irony. Oh, the mother freaking irony.

Oh Headache, Oh Headache

Thursday, January 8, 2009

(to the tune of Oh Christmas Tree)

Oh headache, oh headache
Why do you hurt so effing much?
I take 12 pills each freaking day
Whose job is to keep you away.
Oh Headache, oh headache,
Why do you hurt so effing much?

Oh headache, oh headache,
Why do you have to suck so much?
It seems like every time I fly
I spend three days hoping to die.
Oh headache, oh headache,
Why do you have to suck so much?

Oh headache, oh headache,
Why do you torture me so much?
Sleep and drugs haven't helped one bit.
I'm starting to lose my shit.
Oh headache, oh headache
Why do you torture me so much?

For Your Information

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

There seems to be a great deal of confusion over something and I cannot hold my tongue any longer. I must educate the masses, or kill them, and this seems less messy.

Now, a quick disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nor do I pretend to be (okay, sometimes I do), however, I am well educated in this area, and trust me, I have some idea of what I'm talking about.

Now that that is out of the way...

There is a vaccine available to the masses that many people get each year, in fact, my own work provided it to employees: the "Flu" vaccine.

The Flu, which is an abbreviation for the full name, Influenza, is a miserable virus that makes its way through the country every year in the winter time (usually because people are spending more time indoors with others). It's primary symptoms are: fever, headache, sore throat, cough, body aches and a general feeling that death is surely more comfortable than this disease (that last symptom is courtesy of my own personal experience, by the way).

What you don't see on that list of flu symptoms is vomiting, diarrhea, or feeling like you'd rather rip your entire gastric tract out of your body than suffer another hour of misery (again, that last one is all me). Because that type of virus is NOT the flu. People sometimes call it the stomach flu, but it's not the same thing that the vaccine protects. It's not technically the "flu" at all.

What it is is usually rotovirus or norovirus, both of which are highly contagious. You can infect someone one day before you have any symptoms and for three full days after symptoms subside. It is disgusting, and it is spreading around my work like wildfire.

I cannot tell you how many times I hear people say, "oh, well, I'm sure glad I got the flu vaccine!" Or, "next year she'll get vaccinated!" Or my favorite, "that vaccine doesn't work at all. I was vaccinated and I still got it."

Seriously. People, the flu and the stomach viruses (that I fear more than rats, snakes and tornadoes put together), are not the same thing.

As someone who a) cannot get the flu vaccine due to an allergy and b) would like to avoid a stomach virus like the plague, I beg that you please do not feel confident in your immunity and WASH YOUR HANDS. And stay home if you are sick. PLEASE. I am begging you.

I had to substitute for another teacher today who came to work sick yesterday and went home throwing up. She came to work again today and went home throwing up again. And then I had to touch her desk and her stuff and I wanted to saw my hand off on the spot. Instead, I came home and showered because two days worth of germs exist in that room and I don't need a single one of them.

She was unable to complete a full day, but had the ability to infect some 40-odd students in the morning before she left. And now I will have to deal with the ramifications of this. Because these stomach viruses don't stop until they've knocked down everyone in their path.

I DON'T WANT TO BE IN THEIR PATH.

So this concludes today's lesson. Go out and share the good news.

Seriously. Spread the word, not the germs.

You're welcome.

A Welcome Addition

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

First, I want to thank everyone for the comments and emails about yesterday's post. I can't tell you how much it means to me. But we're going to put aside my weight issues today and talk about someone else's.

I have many things on my mind, many things I considered blogging about, but none were as big (snicker, you'll get that pun in a second) as this: I have a new cousin.

Evan Robert was born at around 8 this morning and weighed in at 10 pounds 12 ounces.

And did I mention it was a c-section? And that they're going to enroll him in preschool next week?

He has an older brother (7) and sister (5) who are waiting anxiously to see him. My aunt is doing fantastically.

We couldn't be happier. And my God, he couldn't be cuter, or chubbier or more squeezable. I spoke on the phone with my aunt and got to hear some of the baby squeaks and seriously, my uterus skipped a beat, because, dude, it's the cutest sound in the world.

Without further ado, I present (a grainy cell phone picture of) Evan:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Welcome to the world kid. See, 2009 is already looking up.

Mirror, Mirror

Monday, January 5, 2009

I have a list of about 20 topics in my head that I've filed under the I-will-never-write-about category. I won't tell you what they are because then you'll just want to know more about them, and since I'm not going to write about them, there's no reason to tease you. But recent events in my life have forced me to come face to face with one of those topics and it's occupying so much of my mind that today, I need to let it occupy my cyber-space as well

When I was very young I was a normal child. By about 3rd grade I was overweight. Not obese, not horribly heavier than what I should've been, but I was larger than my peers and I was tormented for it. For literally 2 years, I left school in tears each day because of the things that people said to me, because I was called things like "tub of lard" and "heifer." Because kids on the school bus would dramatically lean to the side when I stood up to get off the bus, as if the weight of my little 4th grade body was actually shifting the bus to the side.

In 5th grade, I switched schools and the teasing stopped. I continued to be overweight until around 9th grade when I went on a diet with my family. I succeeded in losing a lot of weight, but I was never thin. When I moved away to college I weighed somewhere in the neighborhood of 140 pounds (I'm very nearly 5'5"). I was average sized and healthy.

And then I started college, and hated it with a deep, burning passion. I hated every moment of my first few months, I fell into a disastrously deep pit of despair that I could not find a way out of. I cried constantly, I called and drove home all the time and I wanted nothing more than to withdraw and move back into my safety zone.

When my emotional state didn't improve, my mom forced me to go see a doctor, who prescribed Zoloft. Initially it made me horribly ill. I remember the first night I took it, I passed out in the hallway of my dorm after several horrendous bouts of diarrhea and dry heaving. It was awful. But somehow, in comparison with the rest of the misery of my life, the side effects were tolerable and a few weeks later, I was a new-ish person. I cried less often, I called home less often and I actually enjoyed college some.

My mom had suggested early on that I exercise at school because endorphins were a natural mood enhancer, and I did. I began going to the gym in the mornings and I grew to enjoy it. I grew to be obsessed with it.

In the moment that I began the Zoloft, something within my mind shut down or shut off or something. I could not stand the fact that I couldn't control my own emotions and I bottled up all the energy I had set aside for my emotions and put it towards controlling my weight.

I ran multiple miles around a track every single day, rain or shine. I lifted weights and did a routine in the exercise room every afternoon/evening. I stopped eating all the things that my dining hall had to offer and instead restricted myself to salads and bagels. Some days my calorie total for the day would be just slightly more than 100. And I knew it, because I kept track. Recording every bite of every meal that went past my lips.

And the weight melted off. Before I even realized it, I was down below 125 pounds. Then down below 120 pounds. I don't know what my exact lowest weight was. I know it was below 105 pounds, but I somehow erased that from my memory, which is probably for the best. I can tell you that it was about 25 pounds too thin for my body.

As a result of my weight dropping rapidly and to such a low number, I stopped having a period, I lost big clumps of hair and all my friends. I wouldn't buy new clothes so my tiny body swam in my old ones. And I was firmly in a state of denial about my problems. I told everyone, and believed truly, that I was just trying to eat more healthily. I was just exercising to be healthier. In reality, I was just killing myself.

I starved myself for almost a full year.

Since 2002 when I finally acknowledged and sought treatment for my anorexia, I have battled with it on a very small scale. But the reason this is in the forefront of my mind is because since October, I have gained nearly 10 pounds. I'm not going to tell you how much I weigh, because it's not important and because what I weigh now is a perfectly acceptable weight.

But, I'm miserable. I feel horrible about myself. I can't stand to look in the mirror. I don't like the way my body has swelled and how my once small stomach has become bloated and full.

I hate that none of my work pants fit loosely, that some of them barely button. I hate that I did this to myself. And I hate that all I can seem to do is think about my weight and how I can possibly lose it the fastest. I hate that I'd gladly stop eating again this very second, if I could go back to what I weighed in September.

I know that it is unhealthy, I know it is unwise, but anorexia doesn't have a handbook. There's no chapter on how to deal with gaining weight. There's no manual for how to deal with feeling disgusting when you're what other people consider a normal weight.

I don't know what happens next. I don't know how to mediate the two sides of my mind, the side that wants to lose this weight quickly and at all costs, and the side that knows better.

All I know is that right now, I really really hate the figure staring back at me in the mirror and would give anything to undo it.

Interview Season

Sunday, January 4, 2009

I had my first official interview for a graduate program Friday (in case you were wondering, yes, I am always going to be this vague about what type of program it is. It’s a personal safety measure. All I need is for one of these schools to find this blog during the admissions process. I’m sure they’d just love to know that I swear like a sailor and write about my boobs about 10 out of every 15 posts).

I had realized the night before that I was wearing a brown shirt and had no brown shoe (yes singular shoe, frickin’ boot of neverending obnoxiousity) and while I tried and successfully managed to drag Slappy to DSW (shoe Mecca) at 8:50pm (they close at 9), they were sadly closed already because it was New Year’s Day, and even shoe Mecca takes a holiday. So that was a great start.

I also stopped by Ralph’s (it's a grocery store for non-west coasters) to pick up a pair of panty hose because I like to be as uncomfortable as possible during interviews. You can imagine my horror when I found that the exact same brand I buy in New Orleans for 4 dollars, were SEVEN dollars. I choked to death and then ponied up the dough for them because, well, what choice did I have?

The next morning, I showered, beautified (it takes a lot of time) and got dressed and then the very first thing I did was accidentally velco my boot to my SEVEN dollar panty hose, rendering them barely wearable for my interview but completely unwearable any other time. That was seven dollars directly thrown down the drain. I also ended up wearing a black shoe because the shoe that Slappy’s mother graciously (I’m being serious) loaned me was just too small. I couldn’t walk at all, so black shoe with brown suit. NICE.

Then I got to the interview and parked and nervously waited because I was like 20 minutes early. I was in the midst of a text messaging conversation with Daisy when a security guard came up.

Him: Ma’am, are you going to park here?
Me: Um, yes, if I can (I couldn't tell if it was public parking or reserved parking)
Him: Well, you can, but only if you park within the lines of one of the spaces you’re in.
Me: Oh. Right.

I looked and realized that I was literally parked in the middle of two spaces. Like not just slightly over a line, I was right in the middle. Again, NICE. And all the more shocking that I'd backed into a car just a few short days earlier. Driving skills, I has them.

Eventually I went in and had a lovely interview. That one is an extremely small program, but the woman I interviewed with said that she believed that they would be offering me a spot, which will be interesting since I’ll now have to make a choice instead of having a single option here (should we be moving there, obviously).

I have another interview Tuesday, another in 10 days after that and two more the following weekend. So the way I figure that’s about 4 pairs of panty hose and probably all my dignity, right down the drain. Kind of like the yeast infection treatment ovule I shot down the toilet the same night of the interview. I should've just thrown a twenty dollar bill in and flushed it. Seriously.

I’m getting really good at this throwing money away thing. I mean, realistically, I have a lifetime to continue practicing, but I seem to be perfecting the art already.

But anyway, let the interview season begin. And, um, improve please.

Guilt(y)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

On Tuesday while I was out with my family the mailman delivered a slip letting me know that my passport had arrived in town and I could pick it up the next morning. I had been anxiously awaiting it's arrival since I have absolutely zero identification right now and was relieved to hear it had finally arrived. As Slappy and I were headed out of town Wednesday early-afternoon, we swung by the post office to pick it up.

Amazingly, the pick-up was easy. They didn't ask for any identification (which, admittedly is a little scary, but since I didn't have any until I picked up the passport, I am grateful for this lapse in security) and we didn't have to wait in any lines at all. It was easy.

Way too easy.

We hopped back in the car and started to back out. And suddenly, we collided with something.

I had been looking out the rear view mirror the entire time and even at the moment of impact (and for the 5 seconds I didn't move the car afterwards), I still couldn't see anything behind me. I had no idea what I had hit, and it wasn't until I got out of my car I discovered that it was, in fact, a Ford Mustang. (Of course it was).

And while my (mom's) car had virtually no damage (that was distinguishable from the damage she had created by running into my car TWICE), the other car, of course, did. No, it was not serious damage, no it is not totaled, but there is a patch about eight inches long and 4 inches wide of scratches and denting, just above the wheel well of her back driver's side tire.

I gave the other driver what little information I had (considering I have no driver's license, no proof of insurance, etc.), and got hers. I promptly called my insurance to report it like a good citizen and they promptly informed me that though I am insured with them and they appreciated the heads-up, that the insurance follows the car, not the driver. Which makes a great deal of sense. You know, in case my car ever decides to go joy-riding without me. That way it's insured and everything.

Seriously, stupidest rule ever.

So I contacted my mom's insurance and gave them the information. And while I explained that it was my fault, they would not accept my admission of guilt fault. They said that it was their job to assess fault and they would let me know their decision after they had someone review all the information.

And then we waited.

I got a call today from my mom letting me know that her insurance called and indicated that they found the other driver and I equally at fault in the accident. And since we're not claiming damages on our car, we'd just be responsible for half of her repairs.

From the moment I heard the decision I was sick about it. I know it's ridiculous, I know that since I have no money I shouldn't be wanting to pay more, but I hit her car. I didn't see her, I didn't stop driving until I hit her, it was my fault. No, I don't have a witness to verify. No, I didn't see her and slam on the gas to hit her, but my car was moving and hers was not. It was my fault.

And thankfully, I was given an opportunity to explain this. The insurance company called to get a little more information and I told the truth, because it was absolutely the right thing to do. I hate that I have to pay for the repairs to her car, but I hate myself infinitely less for not trying to escape the punishment I deserve for my negligence.

And now, having done the right thing, I'm going to try to erase this whole event from my memory. Especially the part about having to pay money. It'll be like a backwards surprise. You know, the crappy kind that involve credit card debt and two more years of interest laden payments.

Doing the right thing is seriously such a bitch a pain in the ass the most non-2009 New Year's resolution word ever.

Resolutions Revisited

Thursday, January 1, 2009

So it's January 1st, 2009. The time to make resolutions. To start anew, to improve upon the past 365 days.

Before I started writing this, I sat down and read last year's resolutions and um, guess what? FAIL. After reading, I'm just in awe of how cute and naive I was to the year that sat ahead of me.

For example:

"In 2008 I resolve to try more things, to step outside my shell and accept that failure is an option but not the end of the world. In 2008 I will start a new job, one that is completely foreign to me. I have no idea if I'll like it or if I'll be good at it, but it's something that I have to try or I'll regret it the rest of my life. I will voluntarily leave the comfort zone of a job that I'm good at and embark on something different and new."

Let's review how that worked out. So I had a new job for a day, and then quit and went back to doing exactly what I had done before. Yea, firmly entrenched in my comfort zone, thankyouverymuch.


"In 2008 I resolve to procrastinate less, though I'm not starting that one until tomorrow."

That's a work in progress an epic fail. For the love of God, just don't mention the gravy boat that I was supposed to pick up a month ago. Or the fact that I tried to drag my husband shoe shopping at 8:55pm because I don't have any shoe(s) to wear with my suit for my interview tomorrow. As it turns out, procrastination is also prone to bugging the shit out of your spouse.


"In 2008 I resolve to be more tolerant. Not necessarily of rude and crass crazy people who swerve in front of my car or of the people who let their kids walk around in nothing but a diaper in a nasty store in December, but I resolve to let the small things go. To stop nagging, to stop being so picky, to stop being so unnecessarily grumpy about stupid things. I resolve to try and let the people in my life be who they are and act how they want to."

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Hahaha. Ha. I'm sorry. That was hilarious. If there was something beyond an epic fail, that is what I would label that. Super-Gigantic-Horrifically-Epic Fail.


"In 2008 I resolve to be me again. I think through the course of the chronic headache pain, full time jobs and part time grad school I lost bits of myself. I want to be the happy person that I know I am. I want to smile more, laugh more and just enjoy the things I used to enjoy."

So, I worked on this. And then had a headache for 10 weeks and took a medication that made me batshit CRAZY. But I think this one we can file in the "nearly successful" file. I said nearly.


Now for 2009. I think part of the reason I failed so miserably in following my resolutions in 2008 is because I bit off more than I could chew. I tried these broad overarching themes that practically required a life coach, who I would've fired because, um, I don't like to try new things. So I'm going to be REALLY specific in 2009. Small steps.

In 2009, I will lose the 10 pounds that I have taken up residency on my ass since mid-October. I will do this in a healthy, non-eating disorder fashion. I will not let my weight drop too low and I will not be too obsessive. Probably.

In 2009, I will eat fruit. And maybe vegetables. I will strive for 2 servings a day. And maybe even throw in some exercise.

In 2009, I will roll with the punches better. We all know that I'm going to have 8 trillion doctor's appointments and 42 different new diagnoses this year, so in 2009 I will accept that fate and try to embrace it. I am learning to cope through adversity. And cope I will, or at least laugh at myself more.

In 2009, I will rant less and swear less. I'll still do both, but I will try to write more positives with less profanity because, well, things are a little Debby Downer-y here, and I wouldn't mind changing that.

In 2009, I will enjoy the small things and the big things. I will try to find the upside and not dwell on the downside. I'll try to spend less time complaining and more time enjoying the things that aren't bothering me.

In 2009, even if I succeed at no other resolutions, I will work my hardest laugh more, love more and live more. Because I owe that much to myself, my husband and my friends.

May 2009 be the answer to prayers and hopes. The year of change and growth. And the year of not having my stuff stolen.