Tag Archives: Humor

A Royal Pain – Part II

 

Please join me for the continuing saga of last week’s story (A Royal Pain – Part I) a kind of a mashup of Dentist the Menace and the Molar Crown Affair.

Warning, some images may be disturbing to the dentally or aesthetically sensitive…

Ahhhhhhh
No teeth were harmed in the making of this product…except for the one that deserved it. You know who you are! Bad tooth. Bad, bad tooth!

I invite you to follow along on my magical, anesthesia-induced adventure.

With a Bippity

Boppity

Boo Hoo Hoo!

*

There is a hole in my life.

I just don’t understand it fully until the dentist says he has a plan to fill the emptiness I’ve been feeling.

He probes the moist recesses of my gaping maw, as he talks.*

“We could do a core build-up for about $270, maybe.” He suggests, with great reluctance. “Or we could do this…”

Tooth Holder
Lacking a proper image, please admire the toothbrush holder I snapped in the clinic bathroom.

With a motion reminiscent of floor models revealing the latest, greatest innovation, the television screen, which previously showed highlights of a kitchen remodel, now glows with the recommended option to increase my dental family by one.

The dentist gushes, “…you could have this beautiful baby installed.”

If there is a Ferrari of teeth it has to be the Onlay-Porcelain/Ceramic Crown he unveils with unsettling prestidigitation. Then he adds,

“All it will cost you is your soul.”

Or at least, that’s what I heard.

“Beg pardon? How much did you say?”

“Approximately eleven hundred dollars, plus X-rays.” Dr. Smith says…as if he isn’t joking at all. “My lovely assistant will prepare you. I’ll be right back.”

Tools of Trade
Not torture devices. Honest!

In a puff of smoke, the white-coated magician disappears behind the curtain, where he bangs pots and pans together to create the illusion of great works or something.

The lovely assistant plonks an array of deadly-looking implements before me.

Yeah, that doesn’t look scary at all. I think.

I ask the dental assistant, as she belts me in for the ride,

“Can’t we do the cheaper option?” Me, hopeful.

“I don’t know. I’ll ask the doctor…” She says, doubtful.

Then she gives me some happy-happy gas and I am feeling a heck of a lot less anxious about anything.

 

 

 

As she places the funky nose trough on, the assistance tells me, “The gas will work faster the less you talk.” She laughs as she says this, so I’m pretty sure she doesn’t mean it the way it sounds…I think.

(You’ll note, my ability to take selfies is seriously diminished, along with my cognitive reasoning, as the shots and nitrous oxide take effect.)***

The dentist returns and with little fuss or muss, he drills down until he finds un-decayed pay dirt.

Dentist: “Let’s see what the damage is underneath the repair job you did.”

Fake fill Tooth
The ‘BEFORE DRILLING’ IMAGE with DenTek emergency spackle in place

 

You know you’re in a bad place when you hear the doctor making the following sounds over the drill:

Dentist: “Hmm…” 

Me: “Ah ah.. hunh ah?” (What is it? What’s wrong?)

Dentist: “Oh. Well this goes a lot deeper than I expected…” 

Dental assistant probably wipes dentist’s damp, furrowed brow in an encouraging manner.

Drilling noises resume…accompanied with what sounds like boulders being crushed in my mouth.  Then sounds stops.

The dentist turns and comes back with a weird wand of some sort and a ring tone like an alien landing throbs as he probes my open orifice (and not in a sexy way).

NOTE: The drugs have really kicked in at this point…the next bits might be total hallucinations on my part:

DA (Dental Assistant): “Doctor…is that…TOOTH DECAY??”

Dentist: “I’m afraid so. We’d better keep going…”

DA: “But, is it safe to continue, doctor?”

Dentist: “Safe or not, I’m going in…”

WHIIIIiiiiiiiirrrrrrrrrrrRRRRRRRRRR

KA-CHUNK…cReaaaaaaaKKKK

UNHOLY SHRIEKING COMMENCES. 

A CHOIR BEGINS CHANTING A GREGORIAN DESCANT…IN LATIN!

Dentist: “Oh, dear god, what is that thing?”

DA: “Aaahhhhh. Hit. Hit it with mallet. Kill it. Kill it dead!”

Something heavy slithers away. Crashing dental implements hit the floor. The room is filled with weeping and the gnashing of teeth—not necessarily human.

Dentist: “What have we done? What nightmare have we unleashed? Oh the humanity…”

—INTERMISSION FOR A BRIEF REALITY CHECK—

What actually happened:

Dentist: “I had to take a bit more than expected. This is what’s left of your tooth.”

Half-tooth Cutaway
Yep–that’s the Grand Canyon of Craters.

Me: “So, that’s not going to be the cheap option is it?”

Dentist: “I think we’d better go with the crown. I couldn’t guarantee the work would last otherwise.”

AD: “If you want, you can follow me; you can watch me make your tooth.”

Cerac Machine
If I remember correctly, this fancy system costs the dental office over $200,000. That’s a lot of moolah for molars!

So, I got to see the birth of my new tooth. It’s a step above watching a B-grade horror film and I recorded it for posterity. If you squint, you can hear me slurring questions about the process.

WARNING, this video is a lot more interesting under the influence of dental anesthesia.

The dental assistant chats very nicely as the two tiny drills carve away at the cube of purple stuff that looks like so much plastic explosive to me.

 

 

DA: “It only takes about ten minutes to make the tooth.”

Me: *clicks photo of screen* “Cool…”

And it is. Despite the hassle of it all, watching the Star Trek-level technology carve a new tooth out of ceramic is pretty fascinating. Again, I am still kinda drugged…though the gas is starting to wear off when it comes time to actually install the new tooth.

F.Y.I—This is NOT the fun part.

DA: “It starts off purple, but then we heat it in the kiln and it strengthens the new ceramic piece and the color turns to a more natural shade to match your existing teeth.”

 

 

They test the tiny wedge of ceramic to make sure it fits the space before firing it. You can see the before image left of the after one above.

The dentist returns and, with grim determination, fits the formerly-purple, puzzle piece into my mouth.

First, he rinses the existing tooth with an acid wash. (And I thought I hated the 80’s jeans by that name.)  If I had to describe the taste—think rancid nuclear waste mixed with tinfoil.

Then he sands the new tooth to make sure my bite is good—with me chomping colored paper between takes.

Dentist: “How’s that feel?”

Me: “It’s kind of high in the back.”

Dentist: “We’ll keep grinding until it fits. Don’t worry.”

I swear this part takes the longest…or maybe it is because all the nitrous has worn off and I’m starting to feel things again. Like panic over the impending bill.

The dentist shows me the final work. And it’s pretty impressive.

Final crown
The tooth, the whole tooth, and nothing but the tooth—so help me blog.

He positions this R2D2 type cart with a rollerball joystick to spin through the pictures he took of my mouth.

Cerac AC
The mapping device that sounded like an alien ship landing shows the damaged area. (In blue above.)

While I might whinge about the expense, I can’t deny, the work looks good.

“Now the rest of my teeth look terrible.” I cry with no little dismay as a thought occurs to me. “Are they all going to fall apart like this one did?”

“We don’t know. We look for signs of stress.” Dr. Smith rolls the ball and a new image appears. “Like here, where you can see a crack going right through the tooth.”

“Ack. Are those my teeth?” I say. (Showing signs of stress.)

“No, no! I’m just showing you these as an example. All in all, your teeth are in pretty good condition.” Before I can relax, he adds, “We just can’t tell from an x-ray what might be happening underneath the fillings.”

“Good to know.” I say. Then another alarming thought occurs to me. “What if this pops out and I swallow it?”

“It won’t.” Dr. Smith assures me.

“They never come out?” I say, pushing for some reassurances.

“If it does, we’ll make you a new one.” He says, probably tired of me but hiding it politely.

“For an additional $1100?” I say with a squeak.

“For nothing.” He says, moving to leave. “I guarantee my work!”

And that’s all one can really hope for. I thank him and pay up and skedaddle out of there.

So, like a disturbingly dark fairytale or an old-fashioned monster movie, you leave the experience relieved that it’s over…but not entirely certain you’ve left the horror behind for good.

Only the teeth know for sure…and they’re not talking.

Asterisk Bedazzled Footnotes:

*Any resemblance to the start of a raunchy, seventies-style porno is totally unintentional, I assure you.

**He did not say this. I exaggerate for effect. I do that a lot while under anesthesia.

***I had to wait several days before writing this just so I could piece together everything that happened. I’m pretty sure there weren’t any pixies involved in the procedure…at least none that showed up in the photos I took.

 

————————————-LEGAL DISCLAIMER——————————————

Tooth Image

This is a humor blog. I embellish. I stretch the truth. I invent. This was a very routine dental procedure done by a competent professional with courteous and friendly staff. It is no way an endorsement of getting one procedure done over another. Though, I would recommend D.D.S. Joshua Smith of Northway Family Dentistry in Grandville, MI, if you can afford the work. If you can’t, you’d better be diligent about flossing, because plaque waits for no man. Let’s also hope the doctor has a sense of humor about the above portrayal.

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A Royal Pain – Part I

Last week in a post entitled Reflections of an Autism Mom, I made a case that I deserve a tiara.

The universe listened.

The universe is perverse.

…and has a twisted sense of humor.

The bastard.

*

After receiving many kind and wonderful remarks on my autism parenting skills, the very next day, I decide to take my son to the nearby Kroc Center to swim…DURING SPRING BREAK.

The gasp you just heard was all autism parents everywhere, inhaling in shock. Wait for a minute; the planetary vacuum pressure should return to normal momentarily.

For those of you who DON’T have autistic children, picture taking any child anywhere at times of peak attendance…and then hand that child a rabid mongoose and suggest he or she juggle the beast, while running barefoot across broken glass, and let’s throw in some flaming darts to dodge for a little excitement. The reaction would probably be somewhat similar*

My son managed one turn on the swirly slide into the pool before he informed me in his inimical fashion, that he was “All Done.”**

After the aggression and tears subsided, I slunk home depressed and discouraged and kicking myself for trying when I knew it was not likely a good idea.

So, I decide a night like this calls for take out pizza.

What could go wrong with pizza?

Alexei scarpers away from the table with his half of thin and crispy—like Gollum hoarding his precious. I’m just calming down from the painfully upsetting events of the day. I take a few bites of food and have to admit, pizza is a nice consolation prize…and then, something goes unexpectedly…

CrUNNncH

OH NO. 

I feel around with my tongue–excavating the new, sharp dental landscape. I’m no expert or anything, but even I recognize when a sizable portion of a tooth is missing.

DenTek
Over-the-counter repair kit–surprisingly cheap and easy to use. Sadly, not a permanent option.

I head to the store for some emergency tooth spackle, lightning and thunder are crashing down around me…mixing with April snow showers…and HAIL. I kid you not.

I stare up at the greying dusk looking for the frogs that are obviously next as a harbinger of the apocalypse. I’m reminded of the scene from Forest Gump in which Lieutenant Dan climbs the mast of a small shrimping boat and curses God during a hurricane:

Unfortunately for me, the world doesn’t end…because I am just not that lucky. The next day dawns bright and crisp and I find a nearby DDS with an opening.

“You’re probably gonna need a crown.” Dr. Smith is peering into my mouth and poking around with sharp implements—because that’s what sadists…I mean dentists…do to fill the time. “We won’t know for sure until we remove your emergency filling and see what kind of damage there is. How’s next week look for you?”

Me, glumly, “Expensive. Next week looks expensive.”

All I wanted was a tiara. To feel like royalty.***

The universe answered my request, but it did so in the way Grimm’s fairytales warn us about. Be careful what you wish for…it may just come true.

Asterisk Bedazzled Footnotes:

*Not good. This just goes to show, despite many years of experience, we autism parents can have fatally blind optimism about outcomes.

**He bit me.

***I felt royally screwed, if that counts. On the upside, while Googling terminology, I discovered a secondary definition of Dental Dams. A whole new understanding of crass humor is now mine.

Becoming Super: Reflections of an Autism Mom

I grew up expecting to be somebody special…someday. This is both wonderful and terrible, hopeful and sad. Mostly, it just gets in the way of being somebody now. Looking for the arrival of an idealized self, you can’t see the greatness in everyday heroics because there is no spangled outfit or magic amulet to show you how great you are. I blame my childhood.

Wonder Woman in Picasso Girl Before a Mirror
Thanks to Nick-Perks of Deviant Art for permission for this absolutely perfect expression of my inner self.

*

As an overly imaginative little girl, I envisioned all sorts of futures. I was the conduit for every character I read or saw on television. I would adopt a persona and play dramatic roles for an audience of one. I was Laura Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie long before Elizabeth Gilbert stole the role I was destined to play. (I wanted the blue hair ribbons, darn it.) Life is rarely kind to such dreamers.*

I had a giant, wall-sized mirror in my childhood bedroom—it covered a massive hole in the brickwork. After dark, mice would crawl up behind the giant glass pane and scratch at the edges trying to get into my room.** I was both terrified and mesmerized by that mirror; it held all my hopes and fears.

Super Girl Mirror Image
Thanks to J. Hilla for this depiction of my inner child.

Unlike the magic mirror in Snow White—my looking glass never made dire predictions. It was more like the Mirror of Erised from Harry Potter lore. It was a stage for my heart’s desire: a place where I could be the hero of my own epic adventures. What you don’t realize as a child? Most superheroes have a tragic back story that propels them to become super in the first place.***

I marched back and forth in front of that mirror transforming into whatever television character I was enchanted with at the time. One of my earliest superhero flashbacks is wanting to be Wonder Woman. Maybe it was because, as Diana Prince, she had dark hair and glasses, like me. I made tinfoil bracelets to ward off bullets—making “pi-too pi-too” noises as I deflected imaginary attacks. I would spin in circles until I fell over dizzy and giggling.

Wonder woman Crop - Fan Fest
Liberated from http://www.soapchat.net – so yeah, totally legal use…

Linda Carter marched onto the tv screen as Wonder Woman from 1975-1979—finally representing everything the 1970’s said a woman could be. Wonder Woman was strong and sexy—a woman who had all the power and could whip men until they cowered at her shiny red boots. An excellent role model for a prepubescent girl. Um…uh…yeah. Anyway...

WONDER WOMAN
Liberated from http://www.soapchat.net. I’m hoping they don’t: a. notice, b. mind, c. have legal rights and the energy to sue…

At the time, I didn’t question wearing a skimpy outfit and go-go boots as the appropriate wardrobe for a crime fighter. In my defense, I was eight at the time. I desperately wanted to be the heroine who saves the day. Honestly, I’ve never really outgrown those early impulses.

As television programming changed, so did the sophistication of my dreams. Since I couldn’t be reborn as an Amazon, perhaps I could become super via technology? From 1976 to 1978, Lindsey Wagner followed on the celebrity that was the Six Million Dollar Man—who, in today’s currency, would barely register as any level of super being.

The Bionic Woman was my first taste of a regular person who became super-human through the advancement of cybernetics. Looking back, the sound effects and ‘action’ sequences of speeded up film look laughable, but back then, I ran everywhere emitting “da…da…da…da…da…” for high-speed sound effects or making “SprooooooIIiiiing” noises while jumping off the couch. (My brother and I owe my mother apologies for what we did to her furniture.) My hero complex would not be complete if I did not include a certain spectacular trio who entered our homes as black silhouettes surrounded by flames.

Charlie’s Angels dominated the airwaves from 1976-1981 finally exhibiting *cough, cough* attainable qualities of superhero-dom: athleticism, skill, and wit. That they looked good in a bikini and frequently wore one to fight crime is only more impressive now when I know how hard it is to find a swimsuit you can swim in none less run and tackle bad guys wearing one! (The heroine is wearing the bikini in the preceding analogy…but now that I think of it…it would be much funnier the other way around.)

I asked the internet to find “Bad Guys in Heels” but it gave this instead:

Sorry, got distracted there for a minute. What were we talking about? Right. Becoming super.

Wonder Woman, the Bionic Woman, and Charlie’s Angels were the quintessence of female power and prominent pulchritude—women I so badly wanted to grow up to be. There is just one, tiny problem with this, as it turns out.

Being a superhero in the 70’s required that a woman be multi-talented, super intelligent or powerful, and it helped that you were *ahem* well-endowed with superspeed, a lasso of truth, surgical enhancements or have an invisible billionaire backer with a voice to melt butter. No biggie. One thing all of these super women have in common though is only obvious by its absence. None of them are mothers.

Apparently, one can either be a superhero—strong, confident, and kicking ass in man-devouring footwear—or you can be a mom. I tried, but I couldn’t think of a single superhero of my generation where that was possible. This is a big problem when it comes to finding your inner super qualities.

Being any kind of mother is incredibly hard work. It is mostly filled with endless, thankless, and unrewarding tasks and—unless you are some kind of Stepford Saint-of-the-Year with built-in lack of aspirations—parenting kind of sucks. Anyone who has ever changed a diarrhea diaper will tell you how un-fun it can be! But, it is particularly hard to feel that you are living up your super-mom potential when the son or daughter you are raising has autism. Don’t get me wrong, autism is not the bad guy here. It’s the character-building plot twist that makes you want to be a super mom in the first place!

No, the evil villain in this story is the irrational effing voice in your head telling you that every action or inaction has the power to make the difference for your changeling child. I call my villain ‘The Heckler’ and its voice is particularly shrill and nasal. (Think Fran Drescher on helium wielding a chain saw.) You search for therapies, solutions, answers to meet your child in a maelstrom of unknown and unseen terrors. No matter how far you come, you can only see how far you have yet to go, or worse, how far you’ve fallen short of your ideal. It’s Sisyphean motherhood at best.

I don’t want to whine about the challenges of parenting on the spectrum. What I am talking about is being able to look at my actions through a kinder mirror. One where I see that, though my accomplishments may not be as death-defying as stopping bullets with a bracelet, they are equally amazing and wonder-worthy. But how?

One of my favorite Curly Girl designs by the artist Leigh Standley, says this so much better than I can:

Cape and a Nice Tiara
I have the honest authorization to use this artwork. I know! Squee! I just about fainted with glee when I got the okay! Go Leigh Standley!

 

Seriously, Autism parenting would be so much easier if I had super powers!

This got me to thinking.

What if?

What if…I drew my character on paper? Give her magical gadgets and abilities…and a cool catch phrase? That’s it! What I need to do is…become super! But what super powers would I give her to make me believe in her heroism? What would make the perfect Autism Mom?

Super Autism Mom Checklist

Autism Mom needs…

Emo Vaulting—the ability to leap toward compassion in a single bound. (Or maybe a lasso of empathy to throttle idiots who lack any?)

Psychic Powers to know why in the world her kid is doing ‘X’ repeatedly so she can stop going crazy and let him be. (I’m looking at you Exit 59.)

HyperSonicSensitive Precognition—the ability to detect and avoid sensory overload meltdowns!

Rx Defensive Measures—an emergency bandolier of psychiatric medication on hand at all times—for herself or her kid, as needed. These prescriptions would magically fill themselves before running out and would be totally covered by insurance.

Supercomputer Implants that would remember all the I.E.P. goals, meetings, and doctors’ appointments. Now before you can say ‘iPhone’…it is also a time machine to be able to go back and attend anything accidentally scheduled for the same day. Plus it survives a bath in the toilet and a trip down the laundry chute!

Guards Against Humanity Cloaking Device—an invisible shield of imperviousness so narrowed-eyed onlookers and snide remarks would slip right past her when she takes her child out in public.

A Cone of Silence would descend so that screaming fits would calm to a dull roar and wrap the sufferer in a soothing cocoon of sensory deprivation so outbursts would subside in half the time. This will work for the child too.

What else? Oh, I know, let’s add:

Telekinetic Magic Belt that would dispense a flare gun, a fire extinguisher, a tourniquet, you know—the usual ‘whatever’—needed on a given day in Autism Parenting. It would miraculously produce whatever special item your autism adventure demands—like Dora’s backpack, but less creepy.

Our super heroine is almost complete. Almost fully armed for the battle of her life. All she needs is one…more…thing…

The Unbreakable Mirror of Truth.

Autism Mom would carry a magic mirror so that, whenever the evil inner demons start chanting her failures, she can hold it up and it will reveal the super mom she truly is. Instead of unwashed hair and sweatpants camouflage, she will shine for all the world to see.

[Note: The Mirror of Truth will also show her as several pounds lighter because, come on, don’t we all really want that super power!?]

Head Shot
Looking super silly!

 

Anyway, she is the me I want to see when I look in the mirror.

And…

Oh, yeah. I almost forgot.

Every Autism Mom deserves a nice tiara.

Just because.

I recently re-watched the pilot episode of Wonder Woman and was struck by the advice Queen Hippolyta gives Diana before sending her out into the world. Words we autism moms should all live by:

“Go in peace, my daughter. And remember, that, in the world of ordinary mortals, you are a wonder woman!”

We truly are.

Asterisk Bedazzled Footnotes:

*Dreams, by their nature, only exist if one suspends all disbelief and evidence to the contrary. This is why they rarely survive waking.

**Mirror, Mirror, on the wall. What the [bleep] doth creep and crawl?

***Again with the blessing and the curse analogies. Man, am I heavy-handed today. My bucket of overwrought symbolism overfloweth.

 

Que sera, sera cerebellum…

Spring still isn’t here. Do you know how I know this? Two words: Slug Brain.

*

I have an uninvited guest who invades my corpus callosum during cold weather.  Let’s call him Sluggo–assuming the copyright statutes on the Popeye franchise has lapsed. Apparently, Sluggo has decided to turn my brain into a collective.*

He has invited friends and they are slowly taking over the only unused space available–the squishy crevices in my cerebellum. He and his cohort hog the remote–watching the home shopping network at top volume. And for some reasons, their fearless leader keeps insisting that cheese is a fruit.  Sluggo is one pushy mollusk.

There’s popcorn everywhere and somebody drank the last of the orange juice, and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t me. I forget to look on the way to the bathroom and, invariably, there is a slippery trail threatening to break my neck. (The less said about this, the better.) Someone is going to get hurt.**

Anyway, if anyone wonders when the blog will finally start generating a buzz with it’s cutting-edge content and thought-provoking insights, ask yourself this: When will the gastropod extravaganza end and things can get back to normal?

Only Sluggo knows and he’s not talking.***

Asterisk Bedazzled Footnote:

*Resistance is futile…and leaves a slimy trail.

**I hurt my brain trying to understand the difference between a gastropod with a shell (snail) and one without (slug). And since that is the major difference between the two, that is saying something. I’m just not sure what…

***Send salt.

 

Things To Do On Valentine’s Day When You Are Single…

For some, February 14th might as well be called “Sorry-You-Are-Unlovable Day.

It is the annual event loners celebrate by default when Valentine’s Day rolls around like the hemorrhoid of holidays it is.  Honestly, I’m surprised there isn’t a bleak, dark corner of the Hallmark aisle already dedicated to us.

I'd Rather Die Alone
More gems like this available at https://jezebel.com

I could be petty and jealous and secretly hate everyone in a relationship on this one particular day of the year.* But it would take energy I totally lack to lift my middle finger and wave it about.

So, instead of moping about being unlucky in love, I am coming up with my sure-fire Emergency Preparedness List of getting through the Cupid-Vomit-Thong-Up-The-Butt-Overpriced-Hormone-Drenched Extravaganza that is February 14th. Feel free to add suggestions.

THE SINGLE PERSON’S ANTI-VALENTINE’S DAY VACCINATION SCHEDULE:

  1. Shower and put on the good underwear. You know the ones–breathable, big enough to cover your dignity and not low crawl up your ass when you walk. **
  2. Drink something fizzy and pink with an umbrella. Now, the only umbrellas I own are the collapsible kind that are half-broken, so one side droops down to guide the water down your collar. If this means I’m going to look like a mad woman with a Shirley Temple addiction, too bad.
  3. Buy those raspberries. I never buy fruit out of season as it is an unjustified expense. Screw that. I deserve me some fuzzy, deliciousness.***
  4. If you want flowers or candy–buy them. But I highly encourage you do it on February 15th when it all goes miraculously on sale.
  5. Massage chairs at the mall take credit cards. Ten dollars will make you forget about all your troubles–at least for a little while. Wear a mask if you are a moaner.
  6. Indulge. Read a book. Actually focus on the words and ignore that weird noise in the other room. I’m sure whatever it was can be replaced…or will heal.
  7. Heat blankets in the dryer (or stove, whatever) and then curl up with them just before you open that book. It’s totally worth the fire hazards if you lose track of the time. Trust me. I know. Some books are worth dying for.
  8. Plan an escape from dull reality with friends and keep it. It doesn’t have to be this day. Just knowing you are going out with people you like is a joy. It gives you something to look forward to outside of yourself. Speaking of self…
  9. Love the one you’re with. Take that however you want. Just don’t post any incriminating pictures on Facebook.
  10. Be kind to yourself. Take back the day. It’s not just for lovers any more.

You know that ideal world where everyone is nice and caring and thinks about what you need? (No? Me neither.) Make sure you take time be that person for yourself for this one day. Be your own valentine.

(And if anyone snickers at you when they catch you hugging yourself–punch them, hard, and tell them it was a love tap from me.)

IMG_3929
Nothing screams “You is special!” like a nice tiara.

And if you have your own recommendations for surviving this un-celebration, please leave a note below. It’s a cold, cruel world for single people on February 14th. It’s good to know we’re not alone.

Asterisk Bedazzled Footnotes:

*Why limit myself to just one day? I prefer to spread my loathing out in a nice, even layer throughout the year. Like a bitter chocolate frosting that burns upon contact.

**I may have to go shopping…I’m not sure I still own any good underwear.

***Please do not take this as an invitation to insinuate a smutty association between raspberries and men’s genitalia. I’d like to eat them again one day. What? No! Of course I mean the fruit!! What did you think I meant? It’s people like you who are ruining the internet.

————————–You Read This Far Bonus_______________________

Please check out Jezebel.com and all the less safe Anti-Valentine’s cards I didn’t choose from. You’re welcome.

Or, if you want to walk on the wicked side, I found this little number on Disturbed Stranger: I Killed Cupid

Warning, this isn’t the kind of gentle humor you are used to on my playground. This is dark-side-of-the-moon, do you [expletive deleted] your mother with that mouth? kind of dark. In fact, NEVER google Dead Cupid. It was a disturbing journey all around.

I need another bath now.

On Grey Days…Beware Bedeviling Baked Goods

February is the grayest month of the year and I can prove it;  even my cooking is suffering a major depressive disorder.

***

I love to throw things into a pot and see what happens. Sometimes I end up with a miraculous, delicious invention that could hold it’s own in a modest kitchen stadium.

Sometimes…

And then, there are those unfortunate choices we live to regret.*

Dinner started out as basic boiled root vegetables. I had carrots, potatoes, onions, a red cabbage. I figured, “Ah heck, who cares if everything is vaguely pink?”

…then I remembered I had the makings of a nice green curry. So, I just kept tossing things in: peas, peppers, coriander, lemon grass, fish sauce, chicken, coconut milk…

Red Cabbage Swamp
Unintentional Red Cabbage Massacre

 

Red cabbage is so good in many things, but not as a visual aid in Green Curry Recipes. And purple curry is just WRONG!

Every time I made the mistake of looking at my meal, I felt like an institutional stew from a psych ward was staring back at me.

At least it tasted okay…as long as you closed your eyes.

Dessert was not so lucky.

It’s been a long week. My son has had more snow days, half-days and doctor’s visits than usual. I’m starting to twitch trying to keep him occupied.

So, I decided to make some cupcakes…from a box mix.

I think to myself, “You can’t go wrong with a box mix.”**

Then I remembered I wanted to try mixing in a box of pudding…so I go to the internet.

I whip everything together. Plunk some festive papers in the cupcake tray and pop those bad boys in the oven for forty-five minutes at 350 degrees, just like the cobbled-together recipe online says.

I’m watching reruns of Supernatural. The Winchesters battle God’s sister for the sake of the universe and the loving scent of vanilla wafts through the house. The oven is so warm that I can feel my toes thawing.

All is well with the world.

Supernatural Cupcakes
I searched for images of ‘Supernatural Cupcakes’ thinking I’d find Sam and Dean draped in suggestive poses covered in pastry. Alas, I did not. But the internet did not disappoint. Admire these hexed treats. I’m in awe of you, Justina Kropp/Pinterest.

Time passes. I’m distracted by a noise, pause my show, and I get up to check it out when I  realize there is still about fifteen minutes left on the oven timer…

And that’s when it hits me.

Cupcakes are not cakes. Not really. They are precocious infants that might someday grow up to be real desserts.

And they don’t take 45 minutes to bake.

Surprisingly, what I took out of the oven wasn’t entirely inedible.***

“I’ll just make a fantastic frosting and hide my crimes.” I say, with desperate bravado, the hallmark of self delusion.

Back to the internet I go…because I am a slow learner.

I wanted to make a ganache…a rich, chocolatey, mouth-gasm of a frosting.

Ganache, for those of you who don’t know, is fecking awesome when done correctly.

That last part is important.

This is what I made instead:

Crappy Cupcake 1
This really needs the sound track to the shower scene from Psycho. That’s how big a tragedy this was.

 

“How bad were these cupcakes?” You ask.

I’ll show you.

Exhibit A:

Cupcake vs Mango
I gave my teenage son a choice…cupcake or mango.

 

I myself was curious to learn whether there was any kind of sugary confection my son would turn down.

This was his answer….

Cupcake vs Mango 2
Yeah. That’s pretty damning.

 

So, I did the only thing a sad baker can do.

(Besides eat two anyway because. Denial!)

Garbage Cakes
Good Bye, nasty garbage cakes!

They clung to the tray as if saying, “We’re not that bad…give us a chance.”

But no. Sometimes, it’s better, healthier, to let go of the things we cannot change.

And that includes damaged baked goods.

Asterisk Bedazzled Footnotes:

*Recipes, like horses, should never be changed mid-stream.

**I was wrong. Horribly, disastrously wrong. This was the monstrous amalgamation of inattention paired with random recipe Googling–creating a cake-tastrophy.

***But they were totally indelible.

Calendar Mom Drops the Holiday Ball

Crass Consumerism Lite Show
IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE LIGHT POLLUTION….

 

 

 

Dear All,

I am spending Christmas Day writing cards to friends because, apparently, I am living the holidays backward. And it started off so promising too…

The cookies were baked and frosted in early December…ready to be handed out to teachers and neighbors instead of requiring exhausting shopping jaunts and wrapping to accomplish. Ta dah!

*She gloated and lo’ the gods of irony did take notice.* 

So, of course, the minute I added the last dragée sprinkle, I came down with the worst bubonic nasal funk, like, EVER. I didn’t dare hand out the frosted ones out to anyone…I liked.

We’ve been eating them all in lieu of chicken soup. (Note: I make something like 100 cookies each season.)

 

Cookies 2017
Over-sprinkle much?

 

As a result of the plague, all shopping was done last minute. Like on Saturday, or as I was calling itthe Eve of Christmas.

I gritted my teeth and plowed through the tinsel strewn madness in a frantic bid not to throttle my fellow man–just so I’d have presents to hand out at the family gathering.*

I stayed up all night Saturday wrapping the last-minute what-nots decorated with frills and furbelows and wondering why BBC America wasn’t showing the much-awaited Dr. Who Christmas special.

*A clue, she has not.*

Dizzy with a stuffy head, thrown by the fact I work from home and days are marked by whether I have to shove my kid on a bus or not, things are spectacularly wonky. Festivities happen in spastic fits and starts if they happen at all. To be perfectly blunt, I’m off! In fact, I am so off in my order of traditional holiday crapola, that we celebrated early.

LIKE…a DAY early.

I woke Sunday thinking that it was Monday because I saw a mail van delivering to the house next door. So, Santa came early. I made the traditional pop-n-fresh, cinnamon rolls from a Pillsbury can baked into the shape of a lumpy Christmas tree the way my mom always made for us when we were kids. My son happily opened his giant tube of popcorn and his Orville Redenbacher fun-fun air popper.

It is only after the morning is gone and all the presents are opened that I realize…oh, wait. It’s only the 24th.

Christmas Comes Early - Cinnamon Roll Tree
No…his shirt says “PUCK”…though I understand why you might be confused.

 

So, here we are, December 25th with nothing to celebrate. The snowy day precludes the emergency ‘road trip’ that I blankly promised my son yesterday with the caveat “If the weather is good.”**

And we woke to this…

Old Man Winter
Neon depiction of actual weather event – The Old Man Winter Blow-Out White Sale!

 

This wouldn’t be so all-fired tragic if it weren’t for the irony of it all.

My kid, the Calendar King, said NOT ONE WORD about the fact mommy was off by a day.***  I guess all kids dreams of Christmas coming early. This does explain the kind of puzzled looks he kept giving me when I told him to keep opening his presents though…

So, Happy Holidays to everyone… and I might as well wish you Happy New Year. I’ll be with you in spirit/s next Saturday as we toast farewell to 2017!  Because who in their right mind would put New Years on a Sunday of all things! Am I right?

Asterisk Bedazzled Footnotes:

*I was shocked to find other people shopping and leaving me with no place to park but the butt-end of the parking lot. Seriously, why weren’t they all home with their families and snug in their beds?

**Note: all weather is good weather for travel according to my son. The roads could be melting with lava, hail could be denting the roof and Pteradactyls might be making a bid to return from the primordial ooze from which they sprung and he’d still say, “Car ride?”

***Yeah yeah. I know. Non-verbal autistic. But he could have pointed to a calendar or something!

Storm Warning: Falling Hammers Predicted

My son is going through puberty, either that, or its some kind of neuro-toxic brain frenzy that can only be communicated via decimating household fixtures. He is a raging tempest of mass destruction. Not to mock anyone in Texas or Puerto Rico going through their own recovery efforts, but, I swear my son is a force 5 hurricane leaving ruin in his wake. I am suffering my own tropical depression as a result.

In the past few weeks, my son ripped the hand towel loop from the wall, broke the stairwell banister rail by kicking it senseless and lastly, this weekend, tore the shower curtain rod from the bathroom.

My hulking teen has declared war and there is no Geneva Convention to protect me from his intermittent rages. The house is the ultimate casualty. Due to financial constraints, I can no longer throw good money away hiring someone to undo the damage on the home front. So, instead, I try to tackle repairs myself.

Cue Maniacal Laughter…

As a result, I swear, my house is laughing at me. It’s a soundtrack that erupts in evil snickering whenever I hunt for elusive tools.*

I managed to get through reinstalling the towel rack—placing it just far enough away from the patch to expose my inept sanding job—I have blindingly bright towels to keep people from noticing.**

Well-Hung Towel
It is hoped that the next homeowner will never look under the bracket cap to discover the third hole…

The bannister was actually the easiest fix of all. Though, dragging a reluctant teenager on a Dora Explorer hunt for the replacement part wasn’t fun. We wandered the lonely, orange-bedecked Home Depot aisles hunting the rare and mysterious hook thingy that connects the bannister to the wall. I really wished a talking map would pop out of nowhere to sing me some directions.

 

Handrail Bracket and Flanges
This is called a handrail bracket, in case you ever need to find one. I’d advise you hire an experienced sherpa to guide you.

 

Wisely, I took the broken parts with me when I went to replace it. My ability to identify obscure fixtures by name is not a key skill set. Hell, I can’t even remember most people’s names, none less the crazy vernacular home repair people give to their doohickies and whatnots!

Me at a hardware store: “I need a thingamajiggy for the whosie-whatsit that holds the toilet floaty ball rooster in place!”

After tackling these minor household projects, I had unrealistic expectations that I could fix whatever came next.

Hanging Brackets - Take Two
Note: these can be installed in several directions…but only one of them is correct!

 

When the shower curtain came crashing down, leaving the bent remains of the bracket drunkenly stuck to the side of the wall, I was given an opportunity—to fail. It was a most ego-mashing, hubris-drenched experience. I would like to point out, my ultimate goal in this project was to do the replacement as easily as possible—to reduce my stress.

If you would like to take a moment and let that sink in…my goal was “Easy” and “No Stress.”

Okay, you may continue reading…

The War of the Shower Curtain Reenacted In Agonizing Detail.

I highly recommend you turn this into a drinking game and do shots whenever I do something boneheaded or death-defying that makes you laugh snot bubbles.

Dear Diary: It’s been five days I haven’t had a shower; things are beginning to smell.

I have purchased no less than four…COUNT THEM…FOUR shower curtain rods—two on the same day. Goldilocks wasn’t this frickin indecisive.

First Curtain Rod--Some Assembling Incomprehensible
Warning: Comes With Steep Learning Curve.

 

The first one had the wrong holes—they wouldn’t line up with the ones originally drilled into the wall. The second one (see above) had the right holes…but to hang it, they had to be drilled vertically, not horizontally. Did not figure this out until I got it home though. Back to the store I went.

On my third trip to Home Depot, I found the exact same pole as the original one my son wrecked. Brace yourself for the victory song of the misguided:

“Ah ha.” I said to myself, “This will be easy. This will take seconds and it costs next to nothing compared to the more elaborate options. Bingo, Bango, Bongo. Kiri for the Win!”

Then I got it home and this happened:

Third Curtain Rod
No, this is not a tension rod. I’m a moron, not an idiot.

I could have tackled this using my hack saw. I could have measured and asked the store to cut it down. I could have listened to several wise friends who point-blank told me, “Get a tension sprung rod and stop b*tching about this.”

I could have saved myself…but I didn’t.

Faced with the unconquered space of drilling and hanging something that absolutely required precise measurement—on opposite walls, no less—with an uncertain hand-and-myopic-eye coordination, I feared installing a curtain rod the way some untrained people might have qualms about performing open-heart surgery or tackling Mount Everest in a blizzard.

But I was on a suicide mission and no amount of reason or serendipity was going to save me. I was going to tackle this monster project if it killed me. It almost did.

I gave myself a home improvement pep talk:

“You are a curtain coward. You have hated that poorly hung rod for over a year. That awkward draping fabric that clings, molding to your naked torso in a taunting embrace, whenever you shower. F*ck that clammy liner sideways! You can drill that bastard a new one! You will level that line. Your plumbs will hang straight down!”

[I have mentioned I don’t have a clue what I am doing in this arena, right?]

So, unwarranted optimism in tow, I purchase a fourth curtain rod in three days and drag it home, like a dead, brushed-nickel deer, an impending trophy to be hung.

FOUR HOURS LATER…

Of my talents as a home project installer, the less said, probably the better. However, I shall impart some things I learned from my major effort of that fateful Tuesday:

    1. Before leaving the parking lot, check to make sure you already own all the tools you will need to install said product. When in doubt, buy that 3/16th drill bit just in case.
    2. After a second run to Home Depot to buy the missing bit, you will then discover that the reason your previous curtain rod hung funny is because it was installed crookedly. One of your shower walls is ½ an inch shallower than the other. It will take you 2 hours of repeat measuring to figure this out however.
    3. No online video will warn you of the ‘exceptions’ to installation. I at least did not attempt to videotape myself while drilling the walls. I’m not a complete moron. (I.E.–There is no proof that can be held against me in a lawsuit—or to undermine one if I decided to seek damages.)
    4. However, I was dumb enough to balance a hammer on a towel rack, set a tape measure, dry erase marker, and several other miscellaneous items on various soap-covered surfaces in the tub while I danced drunkenly along the ceramic balance beam twirling this way and that trying to find the center point where I would start drilling. I’m lucky I didn’t break my neck. No, I am not exaggerating
    5. If you get the bright idea to:

a.) use left-over window cling film to try and create a drilling template, be warned that,

b.) the blue hairspray you were saving for your Halloween Costume will bleed through said holes, leaving an indistinct mess on the film, and it will strip the color from the hardware that it touches, so, please, for the love of all that is holy. DON’T!

c.) don’t try this because it will turn out that, while ‘fake frosted window film’ does cling to surfaces, no amount of static electricity will keep that rubber disk from spinning out of alignment when the drill bit whirrs to life. (I am totally not making this up. This was my genius solution to the problems of installing level holes.)

6. If you leave the extension cord draped from the wall socket over to the bathtub and back, you will trip over the orange rip cord and bring the drill crashing down perilously close to impaling your foot and/or knocking a chunk of ceramic out of said tub. Flailing to avoid said impalement, you will knock the hammer off the precarious perch as homage to your Rube Goldberg reasoning skills.

7. If, against all odds, you do manage to get the mother-fracking $&@*! holes drilled correctly, you will discover upon mashing the screw anchors, and taking yet another trip to Home Depot, that they don’t sell the exact same size, frickin, anchors.

 

8. Once the entire ensemble is installed, and you are crowing that you managed to defy expectations and get it done right, you will find the last step—the simplest step–of snapping the mount cover in place does this instead:

 

I wonder what the recycling guy will make of the empty vodka and wine bottles in the trash?

Oh well…I can always buy more wine when I take the THRESHOLD 2-WAY MOUNT CURVED SHOWER ROD BRUSHED NICKEL FINISH back to the bedamned store where I bought it.***

Asterisk Bedazzled Footnotes:

*Let the Great Phillips Head Snipe Hunt commence! Is there some rule of home repair that says whatever drill bit you need, that’s the one that is missing? ‘Cause sure as shinola stinks, even if you do own one, it won’t be in your tool box when you need it.

**Leading people to say, “That is one well-hung towel!”

***I’m thinking the ‘Bull’s Eye’ logo on the building is a clue that someone is about to get hurt shopping there.

It Is With Sadness…

 

What would you do if you had one week left…?

*

It is done. My time is up and I’m moving on…but to what? That is the bajillion dollar question.

If you are like me, you crave continuity, reliability, and a steady, if somewhat monotonous, source of income. I like knowing there is going to be a paycheck at the end of two weeks.*

Those days are over.

This summer, before a tree derailed my free time, my only daycare option—aka Grandma—indicated she’d actually like to enjoy retirement before my son drove her to drink or broke her into kindling. (Or words to that effect.) The countdown ticking off the hours I could still work outside the home finally clanged its leaden clapper.

“Ask not for whom the bell tolls…”

So, I did what any sane individual would do. I panicked.

I spent a few hours…well, days really…maybe weeks…okay, I spent a lot of time devolving into a gibbering hot mess of indecision and fatal thinking:

How will I make rent?

How will I feed the mammoth I gave birth to?

How will I give up diet cherry Coke?**

This is what I do before I am capable of rational thought and planning. I engage all my worst coping mechanisms: I late night binge-watch television; I avoid responsibility; and, above all, I deny that anything is wrong.

I apparently can’t skip this step, as much as I want to, or as healthy as making sane, grown-up decisions would be, I need to stew.

But the time has come to pull on my big girl britches.*** It is time to get serious.

But first…

It occurred to me that I could have a little fun before I left my job. What were they going to do? Fire me?

MondayI declared it official Scarf Day.

Scarf Day
Alternate Title: Bad Hair Day Monday

 

Tuesday was my Fifties Throwback Tuesday

Kiri at Conference
I’m a throw-back rebel–I didn’t put it on a Thursday.

 

Wednesday was a hastily pulled together Patriotic Send-Off because I couldn’t find the costume I wanted to wear.

Patriotic Kiri
This is my go-to Fourth of July outfit–which I misplaced this year. There is a sense of closure from this OCD moment.

 

Thursday was my pride and joy—I wore my Harry Potter-Themed costume.

Kiri as Witch
Bring on the sock fetishists!

 

 

Do you know who I am? Bonus points if you get the in-joke with the locket. Hint: my last name is a clue.

And finally,

Fridaywords do not do this justice, I think…

Blue Kiri 3
I’m feeling a little blue today…

 

It is With Sadness that I depart my place of work. May I be remembered kindly…if a bit weirdly…by those I leave behind. And hopefully the blue hair spray will eventually come out.

Asterisk Bedazzled Footnote:

*I’m funny that way.

**The original title of this blog was going to beSupport My Coke Habit–GoFundMebut I decided this might not translate well if people didn’t read past the introduction.

***Big girls do not wear panties—it cramps their crack style.