Saturday, September 29, 2007

Only me

It's been a while since I went to the emergency room. I'm about to break that streak.

A couple of years ago, I had a fairly mild bout with kidney stones. Not fun, but frankly, not the worst pain I've ever experienced (yes, I've had an injury/weird illness filled life). I thought all that was behind me. But then...

Woke up this morning (7 AM on a Saturday!!!) in incredible pain. Of course, by the time I had hobbled around the room finding clothes (yelling, "ow, ow, ow, ow," the whole time) the pain had subsided. And that's a good thing since I have a flipping PROJECT due today for my free-lance job. So now I'm feverishly (quite literally...last time I had kidney stones, I ran a fever for three days) working to get that done and once it's done and it's a reasonable hour, I suppose I'll call a friend and get myself to the ER for some treatment.

I swear - why can't I do something normal like come down with the flu? I NEVER get the flu! Kidney stones, shingles, strep tongue (yes, you read that right) THOSE I get. Sigh.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


Can I brag on myself here? Is that allowed?

I don't think of myself as overly modest, or as having particularly low self esteem. I think I'm a realist. I know my faults but I also know that I have some strengths. However, every once in a while I'm knocked for a real loop when someone complements me unexpectedly. Actually, this is probably the second time in my life I've been this surprised and pleased.

When I entered graduate school, I had taken a year "off" after college. Part of the reason for that time off was the incredible stress I'd incurred working with my college advisor. Perhaps I chose unwisely, but I had selected a professor whom I got along with personally very well; we often went out for drinks, I'd baby-sit for him and his wife, etc. Professionally, however, the man was a nightmare. Nothing I did was ever good enough for him and after four years of working with and for him, I really had become quite neurotic about turning in anything at all. When I showed up for grad school and met with my appointed advisor to choose classes, it turned out that the best option for fitting in the required credits would be to do an independent study with her. She sent me out after that first day with instructions to "look up a few topics" and prepare a proposal. This sent me into a frenzy of activity. I spent the *entire* next day in the library, put together a proposal, got very little sleep after writing all night, and turned it in the next day knowing that it would be ripped to shreds. And it would have been, had my college professor looked at it. My graduate school professor, however, read it over and told me how well written and insightful it was and that she'd seldom seen anything so well done by a first year graduate student. Well. It suddenly occurred to me that all the stress I'd been through in the last four years had a) taught me to write really well and b) been caused mostly by my *advisor's* faults and not my own. A huge weight lifted off my shoulders then, and I started to enjoy school again.

Now let's jump ahead to yesterday. I have a free-lance job working for a company that writes correlations for math textbooks. Simply put, I document that a given textbook meets a given state's requirements. It sounds straightforward, but somehow when state boards of education come up with requirements for a class, they manage to invent the most esoteric, repetitive standards which are often hard to decipher. I just finished my second project for this company, which was aligning a text for New York - probably one of the weirdest states in the country when it comes to these requirements. I was under a tight deadline, the standards were hard to understand, the textbook was about the size of the OED, and I just wasn't pleased with what I turned in. I thought I'd skimped too much, was outright wrong in some places, etc. But yesterday I received an email from my supervisor telling me that my work was "refreshingly wonderful". Happy sigh. I guess I'm more of a perfectionist than I ever suspected.

So that's my bragging story of the day. Hope all of you get some unexpected complements as well.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Exciting Event

Exciting doesn't mean good.

I came home tonight from a friend's house around 11 PM. I actually paused for a couple of minutes on the front porch, picking dead-heads off the hanging mini-petunias in front of my door. Then, I turned, unlocked and opened the door and hear a loud BANG from the front office. Louder than my crazy cat could possibly make. I peeked around the door and saw the side window open wide. Um, I thought. This is Not Good.

At that point, I was stuck...the person who had (I was pretty sure) gone out the window could easily have been standing 6 feet from me, at the end of the porch. Or they could be inside the house. Or they could be running through the back yard. I grabbed my cell phone and dialed 911 - and the damn thing wouldn't connect. Seriously, wouldn't connect. I dialed 911 at least 4 times and each time, it would be silent for a minute and then hang up. So, with shaking hands, I cautiously entered the house, walked into the office where the phone was, picked it up and called 911 on it. Now, there is something about the walls in my house. My cell phone doesn't work inside and my cordless phone doesn't work *outside*. So I had to call 911 standing just outside the front door, poised to bolt either way should someone creepy appear.

Here's how the conversation went:
Dimwit Operator: 911, what's your emergency?
Shaky Me: I need to report a break-in at [my address].
Dimwit Operator: When did this break-in occur?
Shaky Me: Right NOW. I think the person might be around here, so I need someone here immediately!
Dimwit Operator: I have them on their way. I can barely hear you.
Shaky Me: That's because I don't want to go INTO my house in case they're still there.
Dimwit Operator: But I can barely hear you. An officer is on his way.
Shaky Me: That's great, but can I stay on the phone with y-
Dimwit Operator: click

I swear. So I talked nonsensically on the phone, pretending 911 was still on the phone with me while I frantically called friends on my cell (which WOULD connect with non-emergency numbers, apparently) until one answered, at which point I could close my front door and sit in my car with the doors locked for the few more minutes until an officer arrived.

As it turns out, nothing is missing. Nothing. They literally must have been prying the window open as I pulled in the driveway. You think they would notice something like that, but... The officer looked around the whole house, checked the other windows, and helped me make damn sure that this (apparently the only window that wasn't secure) will NEVER open again. I didn't even file a report - no point to it.

I love my house, I even love the small-city-enclosed-in-a-big-city that I live in, but oy. Enough with the crack heads/juvenile delinquents/idiot thieves who keep breaking in, taking nothing, but giving me heart attacks!

Post Script: They apparently got exactly ONE thing. My g**-d***, m-fing camera. The LAST time my house was broken into, that's one of the only things they got. Am I just not meant to have a camera? Really? And damn it, I LOVE my camera, take it everywhere, annoy everyone by how many pictures I take and I CAN"T AFFORD A NEW ONE now. Sigh. Insurance wouldn't be any good - making a claim on a silly $150 camera would jack up rates and not even pay for a new one.