tick talk

Lately every time we take the dogs for a walk into the woods we come back with like seven ticks between us. And they're not just between us neither, they're crawling all over us and occasionally biting. At least, they're biting me and the dogs; Leah and Asley seem to have escaped getting bitten so far. Let me tell you, those ticks are terrible little things: it doesn't hurt at all when they're biting you, but when you go to pull em out it's a different story! I don't know how Rascal bears it with such equanimity. Luckily, it's getting cold again: tonight it's supposed to get down to 25 degrees or so, the forecasters tell us. I have long argued that the principal purpose of winter is to keep the bug population down, so we'll see if it can do the job here. Maybe it'll do something about our plague of stinkbugs, too.

drowning in the swamp of work

I'm swamped with work. I'm drowning in it. And at least I get to fight with all the work I have to do at home: Leah spends so much time at her job that she doesn't even have time to get swamped with work at home, poor thing. What we need here is a patron; is there anyone out there in our readership who is prepared to sponsor a young couple? You would be rewarded with the joy of seeing them be able to relax and enjoy themselves, and of course you would also be able to read more frequent blog entries about their delightful adventures.

Actually, when I consider it all impartially, the work about which I complain so piteously should all be fairly do-able. And indeed, I'm getting it done, just at the cost of a regular sleeping schedule. At this point I can see the end of the semester on the horizon, which is giving me some hope: there will be even more to do over the last five weeks of the period, but beyond that is the blessed vision of Christmas break. And it is some consolation that all of my classmates are going through the same thing, even those who are taking fewer classes: it seems we each signed up for the maximum course load we could possible manage without cracking entirely. Or rather, those who mis-estimated their cracking point are now gone, dropped from sight, contributing to the considerable attrition in the program that is noteworthy even to the professors. (Here is where I offer a prayer of thanks for my advisor, who discouraged me from taking a fifth course.) We survivors can all comiserate together, and curse our professors as we walk out of class every day, and look forward to the moment when it will all be over.

At least everything we're learning is really interesting!

My race is nearly run

Usually around this time of year i regale our readership with stories of triumph in my yearly 10-K, which i ran last sunday, November 6th. Yes, I did go fast, to the delight of spectator Dan, but i experienced an unfortunate biproduct of the hard run this year, a surprising stress-fracture in my right foot. Having never had a stress fracture before, i took the signs of discomfort in my foot on Monday to be only normal soreness. Little did i know that i would awake on Tuesday practically unable to locamote myself to the restroom! A few steps felt fine, but over more distance the pain would build and build like a hot burning coal traveling deeper into my mid-lateral facia.

After a discussion of whether the pain was worth a $75 emergency room visit, i followed my democratic heritage and chose the middle road, phoning my doctor who only costs $20 per visit. Luckily, my doctor did have an x-ray machine in her building, but unluckily she didn't have the ability to read the x-ray until wednesday or thursday, and that leaves me with no course of action until i hear for sure how bad it is. Although the doctor was not very forthcoming with contingency-like information, it seems to me that if the stress-fracture is minimal my treatment is of the "suck-it-up" variety, but if the injury is truly bad i will need to go to a house of casting, like the aforementioned house of $75 treatments.

The title comes from a song we sang recently in church. "My race is nearly run / my longest trials now are past"..... i wicked wish.

not your average gluttony

A restaurant near Leah's store is going to be opening soon, and right now the cooks and waiters are all in training. This has its advantages to those working at the near-by shops, apparently. Leah called me this evening and told me to rush right over, because someone from the restaurant had stopped by to tell her that the cooks needed some orders to practice on. She was thus forced--forced!--to order a full meal, with appetizer, salad, main dish, and dessert, for her and her two co-workers. It came to five big bags of food in total, plus a pizza box: pretty intense. I may eat again, someday.

Me too.

Dan's right, we did eat like a ton of food last night, on account of chef training at Not Your Average Joes, as these are the perks that you get working at a strip mall during evenings. My co-workers were two slim high-school girls, and you would be amazed at how much food they put away, and this after eating full pints of icecream free from Coldstone Creamery. One girl ordered a full pizza in addition to appetizers and dessert. As she prepared her order, she exclaimed with true un-ironic high-school relish:
"I am like soooo glad that i'm not annorexic!!!"

You fail NPR

There's a new show on NPR for the young and hip... apparently the young and hip stay home on Friday nights with their ears tuned to the radio at 9pm. I managed to catch the inaugural program while driving home from work, wherein the "animateur" used both the words "awesome" and "sucks" in the first ten minutes. Not that i had a problem with that sort or language, i'm no high-falutin acadamemenic. It's just that it smacks of effort. In her intro, the narrator said quote, "We're the new NPR show at your middleschool, and we want to sit at your lunch table and be your friend, and we promise we won't start to dress like you or date your brother." Common guys. In middle school you get beat up for trying so hard.

Quote of the show:
"At first I drank the Republican coolaid, but when the rubber hit the road in Iraq, I realized it was coolaid."
Rubber was coolaid? What? I am lost in your sea of your metaphors. Throw me a life-jacket Carl Kasell!!!

Rat Race

Since I haven't written in a while (due to circumstances that will be revealed herein) it is necessary to give an update on my condition. Two weeks ago I ran a 10K (not a particularly long distance for me, but long enough) in which over-training plus insufficient sprint training plus heavier shoes lead to a stress fracture in my 5th metatarsal, or M5, the spy organization of my foot.

Over the next two weeks either the pain got worse and worse or my tolerance to it did; I turned overnight into a very crabby person with severe fed-up-ness and absolutely no sense of humor. I experienced constant pain, and I know people throw around that phrase a lot, constant pain, but when you're really in constant pain it's like cooooooonnnnnnssssstttttaaaaannnnnnntttttttt paaaaaaaain. Like, it f-ing hurts all the time people. Constant means all the time. Also, my job made the pain considerably worse, since my job consists entirely of standing and walking, which were precisely the two states of weight-bearing contraindicated by my doctor. I wondered each moment whether keeping my job was doing irrevocable damage to my foot, whether I would never be able to run again, whether I should quit my job and starve with no health insurance for the sake of my future foot health and not being in coooooonnnnnnnnnnnnssssssstttttttaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnntttttt pain. It is the kind of decision that you imagine poor people have to make: my health versus a very small source of income. You never know how poverty really sucks until you have to choose between your health and your health insurance plan. While I knew I was poor, I never imagined I was THAT poor. Until last week. Last week I realized that we're wicked poor.

Anyhoo, I was working, in excruciating pain, and while my stress level shot up like the Dow I was not able to exercise, the one thing in the universe that makes me feel not like a worthless bag of human waste. Whenever anyone tried to help by saying something like, ìWhy donít you try swimming?î I would yell something like, ìBecause I donít belong to a gym with a pool because that costs like EIGHTY FUCKING DOLLARS A MONTH, THATíS WHY!!!!î Even though youíre in cooonstant pain, if you start yelling at people you will be surprised how soon they stop giving a shit.

Today someone in the medical profession actually spoke to me (as opposed to the week I spent yelling at secretaries and answering services), and contrary to my first Doctorís opinion (ìJust keep of itÖ youíll be fine!î), this doctor told me that my foot would never heal with my current level of activity and gave me an air-cast. I should note that this doctor is not a doctor with whom I effectively MADE AN APPOINTMENT, because all doctors cannot see newly injured people me until after THEY COMPLETELY HEAL OR DIE FROM LACK OF ADEQUATE PAINKILLERS. All the referrals I called were booking into the New Year. No, this doctor was a gentleman I know through my professional pursuits, and he traded me his advice and an air-cast only after I buttered him up with free product. Just so you guys know, the Hippocratic Oath currently only functions as a game in which purple African animals race for small white marbles.

So the air cast has actually taken some of the pain out of walking, and this evening I was able to actually have a nice outing with my husband without attempting to claw his eyes out of their sockets. Itís either the benefit of the air-cast, or the fact that I mixed my pain medication with alcohol when it specifically says DO NOT MIX WITH ALCOHOL on the label.

Hopefully my foot will start to get better from now on. In the meantime, I have learned something I thought I knew before but I guess my naiveté prevented me from believing: As a poor young person I am very very insignificant in this world. My bosses donít care if Iím doubled over with foot spasms; they canít even muster the breath to ask if Iím okay. My doctorís only desire is that I stop calling her office. Even my friends and family are a little fed up if the complaint doesnít involve plentiful punchlines. Lotís of people work through pain; thatís why the Catholics say that life is suffering. I had thought that before, that life was suffering, but I didnít really have an idea what they MEANT by suffering. I know that many people suffer much worse, but when standing on your foot pushes cracks deeper into the bone because you have to work a scheduled twelve hours and if you donít then you canít pay the five thousand dollars it will cost when you go to the hospital and you no longer have insuranceÖ that should pretty much put me on the suffering scale somewhere between Mexican and Jewish.

Hopefully this story will have a happy ending in which the air cast will help my foot heal faster and I wonít get too tremendously fat in the interim. Also hopefully I will get to quit my job soon and finish school full time and start a different job where if they donít care if I live or die, at least theyíll pay me over 50K. Either way I hope that my complete lack of faith in humanity will be replaced with some reclamation of dignity coupled with mild disdain for other people. But working in retail isnít really the best place for that.