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spring-like cold

Leah says I write about the weather all the time. That may be true. It's because it's a subject of endless interest to me, it really is.

Anyways, the past couple days it's been much warmer than we've become accustomed to, at least during the day. At night it still goes down to zero or below, but in the afternoons it's been getting all the way up to thirty, or even above freezing for a little while! Enough warmth, in any case, that I feel it necessary to open my car window about halfway for all driving not on highways. Sometimes I have the heat on simultaneously, but so much the better: it is a very pleasant sensation, having the windows open and the heat on, and I recommend it highly. What I find is that all thaws, regardless of the particular temperature that sets the high end of the thaw, smell similarly, and they smell like spring.

food and shelter

A note of warning to all you young men and women out there: beware, when you're preparing pasta, that no matter how hungry you may be, the uncooked pasta is not the thing. It may be tempting, when you're stuffing the strands into the water, to maybe snack on one or two of the fallen bits, as you'd do with any other food; but the effect is really not the same, I'm afraid I have to report. Not quite as bad as raw rice, true, but not something I'd reccomend in any case. Although I recall liking raw spaghetti as a young lad. So there's no telling, I suppose. They made Leah work late this evening, so I didn't have any incentive to make dinner in a timely fashion. So I ate late. But well, once the pasta was cooked.

There has been some development on the buying-a-house front, and it has not been positive. The advantages of the place we looked at is it's very nice on the inside: beatiful even. The disadvantages which are now coming to light include somewhat less square-footage revealed on the actual plans than what was claimed in the advertising material, and a murkey (to say the least) condo association fee structure. Perhaps these issues will be resolved and we'll get to move into the condo of our dreams, or perhaps they will not and we will wait for a house of our dreams at a somewhat later date. In the meantime about a million people are coming to visit our house here, I'm told, although neither Leah nor I has yet to actually see one inside (I saw a set of them waiting at the curb in their Mercedes for the realtor to show up, but I hoofed it out of their site before I got too upset).

To all Arlington or Lexington Residents:

We are a nice young couple, very responsible, and we don't make a lot of noise except for a few hymn harmonies from time to time, and Dan with his trumpet but never at ungodly hours, and really I've never heard him practice in the house but he must once in a while because he plays so well at church, You see we go to church regularly because we're good folk like that and we are never awake past 9:30pm, or if we are we're lying in bed quietly watching the Nick and Jessica show, and never anything inappropriate, and we don't broadcast our amourous encounters through the walls of neighboring units, like some downstairs occupents, and we'll be married in September, well really at the beginning of september, so if you're worried about us living in sin it won't be for too much longer and anyways we're comitted for the long run and we like babysitting for neighborhood kids and Dan bakes cookies and Leah likes cookies and altogether we're very nice and friendly so in conclusion PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE invite us to move into your neighborhood! All we want is a roof over our heads and a place to raise our way eventual way unborn children. I know there's a good little house in your area for under 340 that we'd be perfect for! Please let us know, preferably soon, and God Bless America.

celery + gravity = art

I'm sleepy after a dinner with the families A-------d and Bernstein so I won't actually write anything this evening, only point you to a wonderfully amusing site that you may not have seen before. celery + gravity = art is a collection of pin-up images from (mostly) the 1950s, which feature a rather strange fetish: women whose underwear falls down around their ankles while they stand helplessly with their arms full of packages. Words can not do it justice. Go look for yourself.
The site is done by a gentleman, James Lileks we presume, who takes cultural artifacts like these odd odd pinups and presents them together with hilarious commentary, to great effect. Other examples (besides the porn) include '70s decorating magazines (Interior Desecrations) and comic books from the '40s. Most notable, and what brought Mr. Lileks to the attention of the world some years ago, is his work on ancient, disgusting food. It should not be missed.

startling new perspective

I had an interesting experience today.

It was a beautiful day, clear and hot (the exact sort of day that prompted me to write this poem a couple years ago; today's sentiments were identical) so I went for a walk, and I walked up the hill. Now, this is not my usual practice--Leah and I have occasionally walked up Park Ave to Skyline Park (which, we find, is not its real name) but for the most part I go down toward Mass Ave and the familiar territory around that way. But I had been looking at the map and had seen that there was another park, even nearer to our house, of which I had not been aware; so I thought maybe I'd go see what it was like. I didn't look at the map again for the specifics, though, so this was in the nature of an exploration of the unknown.

So I wandered through some unknown for a little while--note that in Arlington the streets are on a sort of bizarre twisted grid system, like a grid that's suffered some sort of massive geological disruption, and the effect is rather disorienting--and eventually came upon the park, which much to my suprise was entirely wooded. So I walked through it, and then wandered back down the hill, taking turnings somewhat at random but secure in the knowledge that as long as I went downwards I would have to eventually come to Mass Ave, whence I could find my way home. Imagine my suprise when I didcome to Mass Ave, and found that I was only a block from the house and had even been walking on familiar Appleton St. for a small while without even recognizing it! And not only that, but the shock of discovering where I was made me aware of buildings within a block of home, some of them quite interesting, that I had managed to never notice ever before.

Yes, simply coming from another direction was enough to confuse me entirely. Contributing to the odd effect was the fact that I was looking around much more than usual, especially at houses--both to find my way, and because now that we're in the house-hunting business I'm suddenly more interested in how other people live. Also, the melting snow and the spring-like clarity of the air gave everything a different aspect. All told, it was a very strange experience, but not at all unenjoyable. A sort of epiphany, though I'd be hard pressed to say of what. But that's why I've written about it here at such great length.


goooo Pats! mk II

You know, a town could get used to this championship business! Commenting on this Superbowl I feel like echoing my comments from last year: the Patriots didn't play their best, but they were clearly the better team. There was very little doubt in my mind the whole game that they would end up winning it in the end, and in fact the last half of the fourth quarter was downright anticlimactic! I think it's clear now that the Eagles were in fact only the fourth best team in football, after the Patriots, Colts and Steelers, but they did pretty well for representatives of the junior league over there in the NFC.

At least this time, unlike last year, the defence did a nice job almost the whole game: except for that fourth-quarter touchdown the defensive performance was a pleasure to watch. Also the food was better than last years, since we watched over at my parents' house and my mother made fixins for delicious delicious fajitas. All in all, it was a very pleasant and entertaining experience, and it feels good to be reigning champion in both the two sports that people actually care about. Yes, I feel that I have a part in this victory.

In unrelated news, we looked at a house today, an actual house. There is some rumor that we might be buying it; we will see what develops in that direction.

simple pleasures

When you think about the great joys of human existance, what comes to mind first might be lofty ideals like true love and martial victory and, oh, I don't know, winning the lottery or something. I am here to tell you, however, that under the right circumstances such things pale, absolutely pale in comparison to a warm bed in the morning, and a hot shower. At least, I enjoyed both of those very much this morning, and was all the sadder to have to leave them so quickly (I have no doubt that their very transience added to their appeal). It was also lovely to hear birds outside this morning--to hear them at all! The first one was on Saturday, if I recall correctly. I don't know what they do the rest of the time, all winter; and I don't know what they'll do Thursday when it's supposed to snow all day. Six to twelve inches was the last I heard. Phew!

Kung Hey Fat Choi!

They celebrate Chinese New Year in schools these days, and what a good idea that is. In kindergarten we made dragon masks and fireworks and paper lanters and red envelopes, and did Chinese handwriting worksheets and painted caligraphy in watercolors and gold paint... all kinds of fun stuff! It made me remember getting to see all those things for real in Hong Kong, which I hadn't thought about for years. I even brought out the lion dance head that I got when I was ten or so, and showed it off to the class to great acclaim. All the Chinese was quite a hit with a certain portion of the class; a few of them did alot better with handwriting in Chinese than they do in English!

it coulda been a co... snowstorm

We were supposed to get six to twelve inches of snow today. The snow was supposed to start falling last night. Well, some form of precipitation started falling from the sky last night, and it kept falling all day, but only after 4:00 did it conform to my hopes and expectations and turn to snow. And after all that we didn't even get twelve inches of rain! though as I understand it rain is measured somewhat differently. Judging by the amount of heavy wet snow that's already accumulated, though, I can say that if the temperature had been anywhere lower than the 40 degrees farenheit recorded this morning, this storm would have been easily able to live up to its potential. Thus my title here.

We do not get to live in the house in Bedford that we looked at the other day and subsequently put in a bid on (in this and all other mentions herein of us buying a house it must be understood that we, which is to say Leah and I, have no part in the financial negotiations at all, except to be informed after the fact when a bid has been made on a particular property; which is not something I'm complaining about). Someone else wanted it more than we did, so it was not to be. In the abstract I can't say I mind terribly, since when we saw the house I wasn't immediately smitten with it, but in the interem I got kinda used to the idea of owning it--comfortable with the notion, you might say--so it was a bit of a shock to have it snatched away from me in such a fashion.

So the search continues apace, only now, facing the fact that we might have rushed into an unwise purchase (the house, though nice, was not what we had imagined as our perfect dwelling) I obtained from the library a book on buying your first house. I've already read the chapter on picking the property for you, which is as much as I intend to use the book for; the remainder is all about financing and credit scores and whatnot, which, again thankfully, is nothing we have to think about at this point. I also got a book about the architecture and design of houses on the waterfront. For inspiration. We will find a house eventually, and perhaps we will be able to relax again.


Leah's body is, like, over it.

All this stress over our future living situation seems to be detrimental to my health! All sorts of weird things are going on. Like, what's up with you, innards? I'm having my laser eye surgury on Monday, and then i'm taking advantage of Tuesday my recoup day to see other doctors! I hope everything turns out okay. I hope i can see well enough to drive to my other appointments! I hope i'm not just slowly breaking down from the inside like a particular German car that i own.

Our house is still being seen by a million people. Anouther open house this weekend. I can't wait to get all of this over with!

hair story

I had hair once, but a misunderstanding with the barber has led to most of it being removed. I can understand why kings were nervous about being shaved, historically; what power a simple barber has over you, when you're stuck in that chair with a tablecloth around your neck! At least I don't have any riches or power worth envying, so I remain alive, albeit with rather less hair than before. I was quite unhappy with the end product, even going so far as to call Leah at work and compare my new appearance unfavorably with that of a monkey. She was very nice to me though, and even before she saw me she said she was sure it looked good. She even maintained that line when she came home, and as far as I could tell she didn't start noticably when she saw me for the first time. I'm sure I'll get used to the new look, but it may be years before I summon the courage to enter a barber shop again.

U.N.*: Winter can end now, because I've successfully walked on the ice across the largest local body of water, the Arlington Res. I started off walking around it, but I got a little tired and thought I'd take a short cut. Walking across lakes and ponds is something I've always enjoyed, in any case. I could tell it was safe (well: this provided additional reassurance above and beyond my natural keen eye for ice conditions) because someone was icefishing out there, the first person I've ever seen icefishing in real life I think. It's a biggish pond, the Res, and the view was rather nice out there in the middle. I took some pictures. The walk was quite pleasant all around, except my head now gets a little cold.

[*Unrelated Note]

I got Leah flowers for Valentines day

And also a candy apple, and I made her a card too. We both have Valentines Day off tomorrow, because she is having her laser eye surgery, and I'm staying home to drive her to the procedure and then to take care of her. It'll be hard to top last year, when we went out to breakfast in Malibu and then walked on the beaches and cliffs of that fine location. But we'll do our best!


Leah took one step closer to superherohood today, getting surgery to give her laser eyes. Oh wait, that's not what laser eye surgery does? In all seriousness, though: Leah went under if not the knife than at least the laser this morning, in a procedure to correct her eyes and remove the necessity for her to ever wear glasses or contacts again. Since everyone we told about the surgery over the past couple weeks looked shocked, and perhaps said something like, 'laser eye surgery? Isn't that so dangerous?!' we were not what you would call calm and quietly confident about the procedure. But in the end it all seems to have gone well, though Leah still can't properly see; at least she doesn't feel like scratching her eyes out with the pain any more. The valium they gave her also, as I understand it, contributed to her malaise.

I'm sure she'll want to write all the gripping details herself, so I'll leave that for her. And besides that wonderful story to look forward to, you have something else as well: for Valentines Day Leah wrote an alphabet book for me, and it's about the best thing ever. It (or at least its text) will make it's appearance in these pages shortly, shortly.

people are listening?!

It has come to my attention that people are actually reading this blog from time to time. Oh my. You realize that this of course imposes added pressure on us, the writers, to not only come up with new content on a regular basis but to make sure that said content is funny and interesting. It isn't enough, then, to say that Leah can't excercise because she's not supposed to get sweat in her eyes so instead we went for a couple very nice walks this afternoon (and she went for another this morning with my mother), or that we watched a fine film, Garden State, this evening. Nevertheless, those are the true facts.

It was another one of those beautiful thaw days, and that's one reason the walks were very nice (the delightful company was of course the other). There was a whole lot of water all over the place at school, so of course you can imagine the first thing the kids did when they went outside and saw a gigantic puddle under the climbing structure. Most of them actually managed to stay tolerably dry, except in the feet areas, for the whole recess period; sadly, one girl stayed dry the whole time and then fell into the puddle entirely when running to line up to go back inside. She took it remarkably well though: a real trooper.

Leah is wearing dark glasses all the time, including inside the house and at night (not to sleep, though; she has different shields for that, to keep her from disturbing her delicate healing eyes). We had some people come over to look at the house this evening, and you could tell they were wondering but they didn't want to say anything. She took pity on them eventually, and told them what was up. Her eyesight is now 20/20, the doctor told her this morning. It sure is exciting!



The snow continues to melt at Mason Rice Elementary. (Of course, to be entirely accurate it continues to melt all across New England; but I intend to write about the effect of its melting on the students at Mason Rice.) There are veritable rivers* running down from the fields and across the area where the climbing structure is located, and many of the small children had a wonderful time today damming and diverting those rivers. Some of them even did so without soaking themselves to the skin. So excited were they that one boy (not from my class) was driven to breathlessly exclaim to a classmate, 'this should be on tv! This should be on the news!' Now, it's easy to make fun, but really, I see his point.

*veritable rivers of water, for the folks who have read The Last Samurai

the homeland?

I knew, everybody knew, that we have a 'Department of Homeland Security' around here; and when I think back, I did find that kind of an odd name when the Department was still a new thing. Now, of course, we hardly think about it, hearing the name just about every day. On the radio this morning, though, I heard someone refer to things we need to do to 'defend the homeland,' and let me tell you it sounded very strange.

If were to be entirely honest, I'd have to say that my 'homeland' is eastern Massachusetts, or at best New England. The United States is my country, sure, but when you start talking about national identification with folks from Georgia and Montana and Hawaii, well, I'm not sure. And I wonder how anyone else can have that sort of identifiation, too: it's one thing to rejoice in our democratic freedoms, which really do set us apart from most of the countries in the world, but as a nation of immigrants we don't need to worry about things like sacred soil and all that nonsense. Now, it could very well be that they called it the Dept of H. Security because 'National Security' was already taken by another department (they've got a few of them over there in Washington, I understand it), but the fact that some people are starting to take the term seriously makes me a little nervous.

The Truth about my Laser Eye Power

I have been meaning to poke my eyes out from under my dark sunglasses and write a bit about what it was like to have laser eye surgery, for all those who i know are rather curious. It seems that everyone is curious about the procedure, and everyone asks me how it went and how it felt, and if it hurt, and if it's worth it. Well, it's fine to be curious, but it seems that when i actually get to telling about it how it was and what it felt like, i notice a common response which involves a hunch of the shoulders and a scrunch of the eyebrows and a signiture sucking-in-air noise, like a snake recoiling, all of which is to say, "Yeah but No. Keep it to yourself."

But now that i can vaguely see the computer, i am determined to tell all. So be warned. If you want to know the real truth about my laser eye surgury and what it felt like, read on. This entry may include grafic details and some ickiness....

To prepare for the Laser Eye Surgury procedure, i needed to discontinue wearing my contacs for at least 2 weeks prior. I upped the anti by wearing my glasses for THREE weeks, one because i'm hard core like that and two because i was out of disposable contacs and didn't want to purchase more. About the procedure, i was told that it would be rather quick, about 25 seconds of lasering for each eye, but that i would need to be at the clinic for two and a half hours total. I was told that most people do not experience any pain, but a mild discomfort afterwards like that of having sand in your eye. The day of the surgury i would rest and then the next day i could go back to work after my follow-up appointment.

From an instructional video and from my doctor, i learned that This is what happens in the surgury:

The eye is held open by a speculum, so that the patient cannot blink. The eye is surrounded by a round mechanism that suctions the eye ball to keep it in place while an incision is being made in a circle around the top of the eye. In the past decade this incision was habitually made using a metal rasor device, but now thanks to developing technology many doctors use a special laser technique to create an incision that is less like a circle and more like a man-hole-cover, increasing precision and decreasing healing time. After the flap is created, the suction is removed, and the doctor used a metal tool to lift back the flap above the eye, exposing the cornea. The eye is placed under a laser machine which burns down specific areas of the cornea, based on the patient's vision perscription. The foundation of the laser procedure is that the misshape of the cornea creates nearsitedness. Therefore shaping the cornea to more idealy refract light will improve distance vision. As the cornea is being lasered, it is imperative that the patient continue to focus on a specific red light. If the patient moves the eye or loses focus, the laser will have to be stopped and restarted, which could adversely affect the results of the procedure. After the lasering, the flap is replaced, and the procedure is completed.

Then, according to the video, everyone is free to walk on the beach and go windsurfing, free from the burden of glasses and contacs. Hooray! This all sounds easy enough. Side effects may include slight discomfort, eye dryness, and light sensitivity for up to two weeks after the procedure. Sounds like a piece of cake, right? I thought so. And Windsurfing! Well you bet i went for it. How hard could it be? Here's what you really want to know folks... Here's what it FELT like...

Dan and i arrived at the laser eye surgical center at 7:30am. We were the first people there, and the receptionist offered us coffee. I was a little (read: A FREAKIN LOT) nervous, so i declined. The office was very poshly decorated, in dark soothing shades of blue and green. After a few minutes the receptionist took me into a small room to explain my post-op directions. Oh, and she also gave me 5 millagrams of Valium. She explained: you will wear these protective eye guards all day after your procedure and every night for the next two weeks. In addition, wear these heavy UV sunglasses all the time until light sensitivity goes away. Do not touch your eyes, under any circumstances never ever, for the next two weeks. Do not swim, hot tub, or sauna. Do not exercise if sweat might get in your eye and you might wipe it. When you shower, stand with your back to the spray and don't let any soap get in your eye and even better, wear your sunglasses in the shower. Antibiotic and Antiinflamitory drops every two hours for the first day and four times a day after that. Tear drops every hour our more often if you like. And of all this, the most important single piece of information is that if you touch your eye at all if you are awake or asleep or in the shower or working out, there is significant danger that you will move or wrinkle the flap that has been cut and is protecting your cornea, and this will require further surgury to repair, and that will significantly suck, so freakin don't touch your eye, okay?

Two weeks? that's a lot longer than i bargained for! I had my windsurfing all set up for this afternoon. Oh well...

...5mg of Valium is a LOT of Valium for a lady my size.

I went back to my seat, where Dan seemed to have gotten nervous there all by himself, although anouther couple had come in so now the nervousness was a shared quality in the room. I told Dan about what i would have to do and gave him the written instructions for the drugs for the rest of the day, just in case i was a little incapacitated. We sat for about ten minutes, and then i had to get up to go to the bathroom. I stood up... and almost fell down. My feet weighed about a million pounds. When i moved at all it felt like my head was filled with water. Dan said, "Do you need help getting to the bathroom?"

Again, 5mg of Valium is a LOT of Valium.

I managed to get to the bathroom but while in there i knocked over the soap dish and upset the box of tissues. I came back to my seat and Dan said, "Do you know you're walking funny?" I repeated about the Valium. I said "I can't believe anyone would use this as a recreational drug," but it came out like "I caaaaannnt belieeeeeeve any-waaaaaaaaaan....." Finally, after about a half an hour, the nurse came into the room and called my name. It was my turn! This was the moment i'd been waiting for and dreading for two weeks. This was the moment of truth. The machines were ready. I was drugged up and ready. I turned to Dan, my most beloved, potentially the last face i would see on this planet if anything went wrong, and i said:
"Will you watch my purse?"
"Good Luck" he said.
I said: "...And my iPod?"

The nurse led me into the surgury antchamber where i found my Doctor (huray!). He explained to me (again) exactly what would happen in the procedure, and how important it was for me to stare at the red light. I was glad he was only repeating information we had talked about earlier because i was having a hard time paying attention. i got the important thing: stare at the red light, stare at the red light. The doctor put numbing drops in each of my eyes. The nurse covered up my shoes with paper boots and my head with a paper cap. They led me into the surgury room.
Dun Dun Dun.

There were two very very large white machines at the head of a white table. The surgical room was obviously very clean, and there was my doctor and three nurses all in surgical scrubs. The nurse had me lie down on the table, and they gave me a little teady bear dressed up like a doctor to hold onto. Incidentally, this bear is a great touch, not only because it makes the patient feel a bit more comforted, since we have to be awake through the whole thing, but if i had not been clutching that bear the whole time i would have bored holes with my fingernails straight through my palms, i am sure.

I lay down on the table. This was all happening so fast! The doctor moved my head into position, and covered my left eye. He placed the speculum in my right eye to hold it open. I was surprised that this felt like nothing, and was not at all uncomfortable. Then they placed something around my eye, which also felt like nothing, and the doctor said "Suction On." My vision all of a sudden went black, although there was no discomfort, and i said "Is it okay that i can't see anything?" The doctor said this is completely normal and also please don't talk just now. They moved the first laser machine inplace and told me that they would begin. I could see nothing, and apart from the light feel of suction on my eye, i could feel only a slight pressure moving in a stop-sign shape around the top of my eye. It was about the same intensity of feeling as if you took a blade of grass and lightly brushed it against your skin. I could hardly feel it. The doctor said good, that's done, and Suction Off. My vision became not black but blurry. I said, "my vision is blurry" and he said "that's normal" and i thought: all in all he's being very patient with me, considering he probobly told me just recently that all this would happen and would be normal. The doctor took a pointy metal object and peeled the top flap away from the top of my eye, and as he did this i could see the metal object and the flap as it was being pulled away. That was kind of cool.

Okay, the doctor said, after the second laser was moved into place, now i'm going to show you that red light. The red light came into my view and i stared at it with all my might. He said good, and told me that they would begin the laser. I heard a buzzing, and a nurse counting down "20 seconds left.... 15 seconds." The doctor continued to say good, and i continued to stare as hard as i could at the red light, and the nurse said "5-4-3-2-1." And then it was done! The doctor said perfect and that i had done a great job. My heart was beating at about a million beats per minute, but all in all i was proud of myself and soothed that I had not felt any pain or discomfort.
Way to go Leah! I knew you could stare at a light! All that intense focus inhearant in your personality has finally paid off!

The doctor let that eye sit with the flap open for about a minute, and washed it out with a lot of watery solution. Then he used the metal instrament to replace the flap, at which point i saw complete blur. He removed the speculum and my eye closed. When my lid snapped shut i felt the top lid move over the cuts at the top and bottom of my eye and this was strikingly painful. My heart raced a bit. The doctor covered the right eye and moved over to my left side.

Wait, we have to do this again! But we just finished the first one! And i just realized that this kind of hurts!

On the left side the speculum again felt fine, but as he turned on the suction i winced. I felt an intense pressure on my eyeball, like i was getting punched in the eye continuously, and although i was trying to be brave and hard core and all that i wimpered audibly and said "this really hurts." The doctor said to the nurse, "I don't like this suction, i'm going to do it again" and to my relief it let go and it felt like my eye ball dropped with a thud back into my head. But only for a brief moment because the suction was on again and even more painfull than the first time and the doctor was saying good, keep still, we're making the flap.

I said "this hurts a lot more than the first eye" and he said "everyone says that."
Any hopes i had held of being brave and hardcore were out the window, because i was shaking and crying and gripping that bear with all my might. I realized then why they had given me so much valium, so that i would not actually be convulsing there on the table. Though i imagined myself screaming and crying, i'm sure that to the doctors i was actually quite still. I could feel each and every sharp cut go into my eye in the shape of a stop sign, and it felt like eight sharp cuts going into my eye in the shape of a stop sign, and it felt like a knife that was very sharp and very tiny and very very very slow.

Then the suction was finally off, but i was not at all calm and i could not see a single thing. All was a total white blur, and when he turned on the red light i said "where?" and when he said, "Can you focus on the red light?" i said, "uh... sort of." I was very worked up, because my eye hurt a freakin lot, and most of all i was scared that i was f-ing up the whole procedure. My vision was very blurry, and the truth was that i was trying and trying, but that red light kept slipping out of focus. It was such a blur to begin with, and i just couldn't keep it in the middle. The doctor had to stop the laser three times and tell me to refocus. Each time he stopped i felt myself hyperventilate a little bit, and when the nurse finally counted down from five i thought for sure that i was going to faint. I was sure that i was a complete failure at eye surgury, and i would never see again, and the doctor would call my parents and tell on me, and worse: the whole thing would go on my permanent record.

Well, moments after the doctor sealed up my left eye it became very painfull. I could feel the bottom portion of the cut stinging, and the bottom ridge of my left eye was in throbbing pain. The doctor told me that despite the choppy lasering on the left eye, everything had gone beautifully, and he would see me in anouther half hour after i rest. The nurse taped protective shields over my eyey, and she sat me up. She asked if i could walk and i told her i might throw up. She said "Take your time."

My eyes felt glued shut, and beyond that they were covered with the bug eyes and lots of medical tape, so i couldn't see anything. The nurse led me through a door at the end of the operating room and sat me down in a big arm chair. She told me to wait here and that she'd be right back. I realized that i was around the corner from the waiting area, so i called out for Dan. He came running, and sat by my side, and took my hands in his, and asked me so lovingly how i was feeling. I said:
"Where's my purse?"
He said it was on the couch in the other room with his jacket and all our stuff. I said:
"Well bring it in here. You can't just leave the iPod out in a room full of people."

My Dan is so good to me. I'm going to marry him some day.

Dan lovingly brought our things and we sat and sat and sat for about a half an hour, in this room and then in anouther. The pain in my eyes continued to intensify. My left eye hurt more than my right; both hurt with a stinging sensation on the bottom cut and also over the whole bottom edge of the socket. Also i felt very heavy and nausious from the Valium and the stress. I had an overwhelming urge to lie down, but this was impossible. I kept thinking i can't wait to get home and lie down.

Finally the doctor came in and did the most irritating thing possible: made me open my eyes and shined a bright light into them. Of course, this was necessary, but opening my eyes felt like peeling a bandaid off my jagged eyeball. He said the procedure went perfectly and everything looked wonderful. Which i was relieved to hear but almost didn't believe. I told him that the left eye hurt a lot more. He said that's normal. I told him that it all hurts a lot. He said, "Well, you just had eye surgury."

The doctor told me to go home and lie down, and after i have a nap i'll feel like a new person. So Dan took my things (purse, iPod and all) and led me through the waiting room. To the poor couples who were waiting there monday morning: i'm sorry that i seriously scared you by looking like a zombie in my bug-eyes taped to my face, stomping like my legs were 90lb weights, blind and groaning. In that atrium of the hospital, the light was so bright it felt like the sun was a centimeter from my face and it was burning two holes through to my skull. And this was with the bug-eyes and dark glasses and my eyes closed. Dan somehow managed to get me out the door and into the car, purse iPod and all. On the ride home, I imagined i was crying and screaming and carrying on about the pain, Oh the sun, the bumps, the stinging and the throbbing... but Dan tells me that all i said was very calmly: "This actually hurts... a lot." Ah the Valium.

When we got home i went straight to bed, and it's true the pain did subside a bit once i woke up. But while i no longer wanted to end my life because of the pain, i still was in a fair amount of discomfort. Every hour while i was awake i needed to rip the medical tape from my face to put drops in, which stung the entire surface of my eye, and especially around the bottom of the cut. I could hardly open my eyes to 50% until about 3:00 in the afternoon, and then i could see only blurry. I was so sensitive to the light that i could only rest when i had the bug-eyes, the sunglasses, and a towel over my face; and in addition to having the shades drawn, i made Dan hold a blanket over the windows to block out the light when i needed to put the drops in.

This is what you should know about laser eye surgury: It is elective surgury. Compaired to other surguries, the procedure is quick the recovery period relatively swift. But beware: it IS surgury. It is painfull. You don't just recover in an hour, and then like start windsurfing right away. Check me out! I don't need contacs anymore! Woohoo, i'm windsurfing; look at me Go!!!

Monday night i woke up many times, sometimes because my eyes hurt, and sometimes because my eyes were so itchy that i would have scratched them completely from my head had it not been for the shields. Tuesday i woke up with my vision and pain-level much improved. In fact, i was quite exuberant from being able to see and finally feeling free of the effects of the Valium. But i am still quite sensitive to light, and need to wear my sunglasses all day, even in the house at night, even with the lights off. My eyes get very tired at times during the day, and my vision gets blurry at around 6pm. It is day three since the surgury, and my eyes hurt mildly throughout the day, and more stingingly when i put in the drops. I have tested with 20/20 vision, but during this recovery period which will last about two weeks it is very tiring to read or watch TV and i have trouble tracking objects that move through my field of vision.

And all this because my contacs were mildly iritating to wear during Yoga. I warn you all! In the days to come i will write about other developments that arrise in my recovery. I know others have said that laser eye surgury is no big deal, a few hours and then you're done, but beware. They freakin cut into your eye! They Cut Into Your Eye! With a laser! And it hurts. It really really hurts.


hunger failure

I'm on vacation now, thank goodness, so I celebrated by sitting around all day and working on a new look for my design site (it's not quite finished, though, so you can't see it yet). It was just like the old days: hours and hours straight of sitting in front of the computer. I should do it more often. I did notice, however, that the combination of sitting still and concentrating intently did something peculiar to my appetite--to wit, killed it off entire. And it's not just that I was working hard I forgot to eat, though that was a factor; when I finally did get up to get myself some nourishment, my eating was more in the nature of a necessary preventative measure than a reaction to actual hunger. Compare that to a typical day at the kindergarten, when I'm starving by ten oclock (thank goodness for snack time) and then manage to eat a substantial lunch at 12:30, on top of who knows how much food for snack.

So, in other words: despite what The Simpsons may say about 'constant sitting and snacking,' I could never get fat on a programming job. For more reasons than one, now that I think about it.

a tale of two houses

Evidence that the real-estate hunt is not dead, we looked at two houses today, and they both were very nice indeed. Now the only problem is... deciding between them! (Actually, that's not really the only problem, since it seems that both properties have already in fact been bid on. But it's the only problem we have any control over.) Anyways, the first house that we saw is a real house, a little cape, that's very much like the one we saw in Bedford except nicer. When we walked away from visiting it we were all, 'let's just buy this one right now.'

Only, then we went to another place, a condo right around the corner from where we live now. It's the uppermost unit of a largish two-family house, and it is both beautiful and large indeed. It has two floors, and the lower has brand-new-waxed floors, tons of light, and very attractive glass-panneled doors between the rooms; add to that a small but very nice kitchen and a huge master bedroom sort of setup on the second (third) floor, and what could be nicer?! Except... the house has kind of a weird setup, with all the rooms leading into other rooms, and it's really more space than we entirely need. Also it has no year (unlike the other place which sits on a respectable portion of land) and, worst of all, is another you-don't-quite-own-this-house setup. Because of those factors I started out arguing strongly for the other house, the cape, but now I am what you might call incredibly conflicted.

Oh well, I can't say I'd be anything but delighted with either place; and maybe after all that we won't even be able to get either of them. We shall see in the next couple days. It's a good thing I'm on vacation, because there's no way I'd be able to handle the stress else. You see how it's keeping me up at night...


baseball time!

Who cares about the snow that fell in blizzards yesterday and today in flurries? Today was the first day of spring in one vital area, which is baseball. Admittedly, I can hardly think about it when the ground is still white, but the preview version of the 2005 Red Sox are now assembled in one place for the first time, and they look like they're having fun. It's nice to be world champs. I'll get in on the real baseball fever, the organic sort rather than this more intellectual--or you might say liturgical--version, in a little bit; it comes with the mud, I find. I actually had one or two baseball-feeling days already, when we had that warm spell a couple weeks ago, but this official business means spring is really coming now.

Yesterday Leah and I went out to Chili's for dinner, which we had been meaning to do for some time. Let me tell you, if Americans really are fatter than other folks, and fatter than they used to be, it may be because they eat at places like Chili's a little too often. We're kind of hippies when it comes to food, Leah and I (though she hates the very mention of the long-haired tribe), so it was something of a shock for me to bite into my burger and get a virtual explosion of fat and salt. Seriously, it was the fattiest- and saltiest-tasting thing I've eaten in well over a year, just about as long as I can remember. Leah of course had a veggieburger so she didn't have the same overwhelming impression of the meal, but she still couldn't finish the mound of fries on her plate (neither could I finish mine). It was all very delicious, though, and I'm sure we'll be ready for another dinner there in three years or so.

a house of our own

Well, it looks like we got that house. Yay! We're going to do the full inspection on Friday, but absent the walls falling down or termites devouring the foundation, it's ours; we have the full right of refusal at this point, as I understand it. It sure is a weight lifted off me, or at least part of a weight, because we still have to move in and figure out where we're going to put everything and what rooms are going to be for what, and so on. I guess there are worse problems to have to worry about.

Our current house here also sold, and today we chatted with the new owners for a while. They were over because they were doing their inspection here; they came at 3:30 and they were still here at 8. And after all that they didn't even get to see the downstairs unit, because the tenent there wouldn't let them in. He's kind of, well, anti-social. They described their brief interaction with him as 'ugly'; it wasn't their first run-in, because he also didn't let them, or anyone else, into his appartment at all during the second open house. So I guess his house wasn't really open, just ours. In comparison we are marvels of polite civilization, so I think the buyers--who seem like quite nice people--were glad to sit and talk with us for a while, to reassure themselves that the usual models of human interaction still applied.

Then we went to bring a cake and presents over to my parents' house for the second half of my mother's birthday celebration. The first half we went out for Mexican food. It was very nice. Happy birthday mom!

Happy Birthday to Judy!

Well, this title is one day late because Judy's birthday was yesterday, but it's the thought that counts or so they say. To celebrate the birthday girl, Dan and i got tooken out to dinner by his parents. I hope one day when we're older and financially solvent we'll actually be able to take people out to dinner for their birthdays, and like pay for it an all, and it won't be quite so embarassing getting taken out on the birthday-girl's bank account. But it all works out because Dan made an INCREDIBLE chocolate cake, and i even broke me Lentin fast to have a piece. (I told Dan earlier that day: "It's been useless giving up chocolate this month, and i may as well quit, because it's been over two weeks so far and my skin hasn't at all improved." He informed me that this is not what Lent is about.)

The Mexican restaurant we went to was very small and authentic. They even had a chef pounding out the salsa right in view of our table! I ordered a Burrito, which was the best burrito i ate since our trip to REI in California (not counting the one this summer in P-town made from tofu/peanut-sauce, because that's just not fair.) Anyway, last night i broke my Dad's most important rule to live by which is:
Never eat anything bigger than your head.
This was the biggest burrito i ever saw, but it was soooooooooooo good it managed to miraculously all fit in my belly.

Dan's stomach hurt him this morning when we woke up, but he had nachos in addition so he wins. I ran this morning, so my metabolism is feeling better, and i just called dan who say's he's sledding, so i guess everything is back to normal in our bodies.

But getting back to the subject of this post:
Happy Birthday Mom!
We love you!
Thank You for being the best mom ever to Dan and Tom and also to me, your Johney-come-lately of a daughter.

a setback

There's been a setback or two in our homebuying plans. The inspection revealed the presence of termite damage in a few critical places, and also I noticed that the house, in addition to not having a clothes dryer (which we knew about and which is easily remedied) also does not have a dishwasher. One or both of those issues may be an impediment to our eventually acquiring this property; or perhaps not. Time will tell.

be vewy quiet... I'm hunting houses

More news from the house-hunting front, if anyone cares; it's all I can really think about right now I confess. We had dinner with Leah's parents and in the course of the conversation they expressed their opinion that we had no cause to be stressed out, since after all we weren't going to end up on the street! Which is very true, and which we sure appreciate. But our stress doesn't come from being afraid we won't have a place to live, it comes from not having a place that's our proper home. We don't have one now, really, because we no we have to move out of this place at a certain point, so we have a small and shrinking emotional investment here. And every time we find a new house that we might want, especially when we go so far as to bid on it, we start the process of investing emotionally in that particular house. And when we end up not getting it we have to start all over again.

Anyways, the search today led to a brick tudor dwelling up the hill where the latest cape is, only not so far up. It's kind of little and small, and also it's brick, which is something I'm not a fan of. All told, my response was a solid 'meh.' I'd survive living there, but I'm not hugely enthusiastic. Other properties will be pursued. There was one we just found online this evening that purported to be in Lexington, 1459 square feet on 0.16 acres, for only $429,000.00. Impossible? Yes: the listing was in error, and the house is actually in Waltham, where four twenty nine is a more usual price. In Lexington you might be able to get something for that price, but it would be a tent. And there's another place that looks good but it has a graveyard in the backyard, and there's one that's just perfect but it's five thirty nine, and... you get the picture. The search goes on. We'll see at least one more place tomorrow, hopefully more.

What happened to the other place, you ask? The cape, that we actually bought? Well, they're working to ascertain the breadth of the termite damage, and then fixing it, and after that we'll take another look. Personally, I hope we get another place before then, because the thought of washing all our dishes by hand for five years makes my skin just all prune up right here at the keyboard. Yeah, the work would be good for me, I'm sure. Maybe we could get paper plates.

On an unrelated note, I have to go back to work on Monday. If I continue staying up this late, I will not survive. I may not anyways. If you don't hear from me, send for the search and rescue.



House has bought. Much money spent.

the House.

So we really have a house now; really, that is, pending the inspection, which as we all know now can turn out to be a real deal-breaker. But this house isn't like the others, in that it's not built in the early '50s and ignored by its owners, maintenence-wise, since approximately the same era. On the contrary, it was built solidly in 1910 and upgraded in a beautiful modern idiom in 1993. And it costed us five hundred thirty-five thousand dollars in US currency. Thus my yikes of last night (which I actually just posted a few minutes ago; I back-dated it to last night since that's when I said it).

It is, however, a very nice house indeed. It's in Bedford, near the end of the bike path and within walking distance of Bedford center. It has a wrap-around porch around two sides of the house, and great light inside and two french doors, and beautiful floors, and... in fact, for a little while anyways you can see it at the Carlson Real Estate site [edit: and that while has ceased]. It also has more land than any of the other places we looked at: four tenths of an acre, which may be a postage-stamp to folks from more rural parts of the world but is a spread indeed compared with the 5000 sqare-foot lots we were looking at in Arlington.

It's all very exciting, especially now since we've committed to paying for the rest of our lives anyways; we might as well enjoy it at this point! We can't wait to move in, so we're REALLY hoping that this one doesn't fall through for any reason.

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