Because why wouldnt a kid need to know how to do a tracheotomy?

My Opa passed away when I was about 15 or so. My family lived really far away, and we didn’t see each other often. In fact, I only have a very few memories of him.

Those memories…whew. See, when most people remember a departed grandparent, the memories bring up an emotion. Whether its of PB&J sandwiches with the crusts lovingly cut off or drunken holiday arguments, it all brings up some kind of feeling,

In my case, the feeling is that of complete and utter confusion.

My Opa was an incredibly intelligent man, and was quite skilled in his chosen field of medicine. That isn’t the confusing part, nor is it a strong memory. It is quite simply fact, and to a little kid, all jobs from mailman to neurosurgeon are pretty impressive and grown up.

I get the feeling that he had–probably quite rightly, as that level of education and ability is something to be proud of– a teensy bit of arrogance, or maybe ego, or maybe just enthusiasm about his knowledge. That isn’t confusing either. When people study hard and master something difficult, it is totally understandable. I was going through my own struggles and triumphs with cursive writing at the time, so I totally understood.

The confusing part is that my strongest memories are of him drawing on napkins on our yearly dinners out. Paper, linen, didn’t matter. If it was suitable for wiping one’s fingers, it was also clearly suitable for some learnin’!  He’d get all excited about something, and whoops, out came the ballpoint pen from his shirt pocket, and we were all set to get a lesson, complete with diagrams.

Had I, with recent cursive victories on the dastardly letters “m” and “z”, been allowed to draw on napkins to show everyone, I would’ve done it in a heartbeat. My mom was not having any of that though, and while she couldn’t give my Opa a spanking, she could easy give me one, so I sat there, both attentive and envious.

I remember two of these impromptu lectures.

One was vague, and for some reason, it was about showing my sister and I how to properly draw a bird. It’s a shame that this memory is so vague. Drawing birds comes up surprisingly often in my life, because of course it does.

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This is a bird. You can tell by the label saying “bird”.

The second lecture is something I will keep with me forever. It was a diagram and instructions on how to perform an emergency tracheotomy with a penknife and Bic pen casing. I don’t know why I would do this, like, ever. I remember it being about if someone has something caught in their throat and the normal methods of using your finger to sweep the mouth or doing the Heimlich Maneuver (Heimlich Remover, to a seven year old) just won’t work. He drew it, then said “like so.”, because apparently, this napkin diagram was pretty much self explanatory.

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Like so. If you don’t get it, you’re obviously not trying hard enough.

I think he was showing my dad this, but I took it very seriously. You just never know, right? I felt like I was pretty much ready for anything.

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Relax. I’m almost 12% sure that I know what I’m doing with these.

Our meals came then, and no one ever spoke of it again, but that’s pretty much the one and only thing I remember about him. Kids, the lesson here is twofold:

1)when you have grandchildren, make sure you give them interesting life skills to remember you by.

And 2) if you and I ever go out for dinner, make sure you chew very well. You really, really don’t want to choke around me.

Daily shirt sites, boobs, and bellies…or, can someone please take my money?

This is going to bore 90 % of you. My apologies. Still, if something needs saying, it needs saying.

If you know me in real life, perhaps you know that Johnny Rotten designs tees in his off time. In fact, lots of people I know design, and I love their work. Buzatron, Grrlmarvel, Fishbiscuit Designs, Cubik Designs, Inkone? They’re all excellent, and you really ought to stalk them on Facebook because they have the ninevoltcandy seal of approval stamped on their creative little noggins.

Unfortunately, I can’t do much more than yell congratulations, mazel tov and mabrook at them when they get a print on a daily tee site. As much pride as I would take in wearing something that an awesome friend of mine made, I can’t, because I refuse to wear clothes that make me look really terrible.

It’s not the graphic they’ve made, not at all. The problem is with sizing and flattering cut. To put it as bluntly as possible, I am tall, I am broad shouldered, and I am stacked. As well you know, I am definitely all of these things, but Im not freakishly built. A person wouldnt look at me and automatically think that I am an adult entertainer specializing in big boob fetishes, nor would they see my height and assume that I was once a star player in the NBA. I’m actually fairly average. Like, I could never make it in a sideshow based on my physical characteristics, and would have to rely on skill alone. This makes me kind of sad, because I feel like a dream that I didn’t even know I had was just ripped away from me, but such is life for us average folk.

For you Numberspeople, Im 5’9, 165 lbs, and have a normal BMI. My bust measures 40 inches, my ribcage 33, and my waist 31.

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See, thats me, drinking beer at a hockey game like a boss, or at least like a typical Canadian. My figure is….yes, it’s there. Nothing to write home about, unless you habitually write home about subjects that are duller than plastic butter knives.

So yeah, anyway, the size and design options from nearly every daily site do not work for me. I need a ladies cut to flatter my bust, as mens/unisex shirts are cut differently, and hang off of my broader points in a way that makes me look 30 lbs heavier.

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This is me, again. My actual weight and shape between the first picture and this one is the same. So where’d those extra inches and pounds come from? Not cool, shirt.

That unisex shirt obviously won’t work for me, because ewww. Shall I try a ladies shirt then?

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Oh dear. Thats definitely slimmer fitting, but is unflattering in whole new, trashy, saggy boobed, pot bellied ways. Again, ewww.

The ladies cut is just too tight across my bust with most foundation garments (bras), even in an xl. Sometimes I wear them anyway, but I will assure you that having fabric puckering and gaping lines across my breasts from the shirt makes me quite uncomfortable. Not only is it physically uncomfortable  but the amount of guys blatantly staring at my chest is rather unpleasant.

As a bit of a side note here, there seems to be a school of thought that if women have big breasts, they enjoy showing them off at all opportunities. That school of thought supposes that big breasted women enjoy being valued for two chunks of fatty and glandular tissue, and that their purpose is to decorate the world of complete strangers. That school of thought is bullshit. When I go grocery shopping in a daily site shirt, I am trying to get food, not titillate (ha!) some guy in the toothpaste aisle. More often than not though, thats exactly what happens when I wear a shirt with fabric straining across my bust. If you’re a guy who does this, please please please knock it the hell off. Being eyemolested is not flattering, it’s revolting.

Anyway.

Im sure Im not alone in this. As I said, Im on the bigger side, but Im pretty normal looking. If Im average, there are smaller ladies, and also bigger ones. If I can barely fit into the largest size tee, how many ladies would have no hope of fitting at all? They won’t buy because theres nothing for them *to* buy. Their dollars spend just as well as a smaller persons dollars, so why arent there as many opportunities to spend them?

Alongside that size issue, there is also the issue of flattering necklines. A v neck makes me look my height and well proportioned, particularly if its a bit of a deeper v. It makes me look good, it makes me feel good, and that in turn makes the shirt look good. Having a great looking product that is loved and worn often is quite a decent advertisement, dont you think? Unfortunately, the crewnecks have the opposite effect. They make me look shorter, wider, saggy and because of the straining fabric, trashy. It makes the shirt look poorly constructed and ill fitting, which is (when I wear it, which isnt often) actually going to work against the company. If a friend asks me where I got a shirt that looks crappy on me, and I tell them, its not likely that they will want to shop there. How many women in the history of ever run out to buy clothes that make them look dumpy, lumpy and matronly? The answer is zero, excepting schoolmarms and nuns.

Look at the grey shirt above, then compare to this:

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My bust looks higher, and its just so much more flattering, right? These are the shirt styles I want. These are the shirt styles that I can’t get. The v doesn’t even need to be that deep. Any v is better than a crewneck.

So, yeah, theres that. And fatter people have similar issues. There are so many roly poly folk out there who actually really like gaming and pop culture. A lot of them would buy if there was something in their size, but there isnt, so they dont. Seriously, no guy that wears a 4x will say “gee, they dont have that, so ill just get an xl and hope for the best.” Again, the dollars of a fat person spend just the same as the dollars of a thinner person, but many daily sites seem to be ignoring those dollars.

Why is this happening? Daily tee sites are not exclusive boutiques and their target demographic is not the Rachel Zoes of the world. Or maybe that is the target demographic….but that would be a very foolish business choice, especially considering that more Americans are overweight or obese than ever before.

Before anyone whines about the vastly increased costs of clothing us bigger folk, I am fully and completely aware that a 4x costs more than a sm. You know, people who wear the 4x are aware of that too…and they are aware that plus sizing is usually managed by adding an additional $2 or so dollars, which is still a very good deal considering the total will be $12 instead of the normal $10.

TL;DR on that one. If a shirt site wants a bigger piece of the pie, they’d do well to include people who like bigger pieces of pie. Mmmmmmm, pie.

So yeah. Im not sure where Im going with this, but Im annoyed.  Johnny Rotten has a print tonight that I love, and but I would look like crap, so, instead of spending 10 or 12, I spend 0 and am sad. There has to be a better way, doesnt there?

It’s a three on the pain scale. It is ALWAYS a three.

I hurt my foot yesterday tripping over Olddog. I’m not quite sure what happened to it, but its pretty uncomfy. I’d put the pain at a three on the hospital one to ten pain scale.

I always put pain at three.

Gallstones? That’s a three.

Ripped ligaments in my thumb? Also a three.

Dislocated shoulder? Three. Maybe three and a quarter.

A rusty nail through my foot, which broke inside when I pulled it out, because there is simply no way that I can walk around with a 2×4 attached? Three.

The first time I ever encountered this scale, I was in an emergency room here. I forget what I was there for, but it was probably something to do with tripping over a particularly dense chunk of air and needing to make sure I wasn’t legitimately broken. I know me, y’all, and I have complete confidence in my abilities as a tanglefoot.

Anyway, the nurse showed me the scale and told me to tell her what number my pain was at.

I asked her to define the numbers. She looked annoyed.

“One is no pain. Ten is the worst pain you can imagine.”

Of course my pain level was not a one. One is the level of nothing wrong, and no one shows up to the hospital when nothing’s wrong. I had no trouble with this concept. One equals fine. One equals a good day to maybe work in the garden and have a beer with friends. No one should ever be in a hospital feeling one about things.

Ten though? Wow. The worst pain….I can imagine. That’s a challenge that I accepted, and I got to imagining right away.

I asked the nurse if getting one’s hand caught in a paper shredder would be a ten. She said it might and asked if that was the worst thing I could imagine.

Nope. Not even close. What if you got your hand caught in a paper shredder, then forgot somehow, and used that hand to reach into a gallon jar of pickles to reach the very last one at the bottom? See? That’s way worse and I didn’t even need to think that hard about it.

She looked bored. She asked if that was a ten. I shrugged and said while it would definitely hurt a lot, there’s worse out there. There must be.

I realized that she was just looking for a number to write on my chart, and spared her all of the other scenarios of my “how much would this hurt and could it possibly be worse?” train of thought.

This is not a scale for pain level. This is a test of imagination, people. This is a test to see exactly how dark those little corners of your mind really are. Mine are dark, as it turns out. Really dark.

In the end, I learned three things.

One, the current system of sad faces and numbers cannot possibly be useful.

Two, no matter what happens physically and no matter how badly I hurt, it could always be so much worse because apparently, I am a twisted individual.

And three, the very act of thinking about how much worse it can be can actually make your pain seem less. You can drop at least a half point by imaging that in addition to whatever happened to you, that you also had to walk barefoot in the dark across a floor full of stray lego to get to the hospital.

On that note, my foot? Why, it feels better already. I may even call it a 2.98 today.

The bell

This is not funny. If you’re here for the funny, please feel free to check out the ridiculousness in the archives.

I have had a rough time with the Christmas season for my entire adult life. Sure, there were sometimes deployments scheduled for just after Christmas, or I had to work, or I was six months pregnant with complications and morning sickness that didn’t know it was supposed to vanish after the first trimester or a million other things, but it was always both more and less than that.

Christmas, with all the joy that is supposed to happen, is stressful. There is more cleaning, more food to prepare, more food to eat, more social obligations, more decorating, more shopping, more more more. And of course, more more more also refers to the smiling that is required through the entire thing.

By mid-December, I have usually become a fruitcake scented, festively striped powderkeg, because of how short I fall of the impossible expectations of perfection that I place on myself.

Several years ago, I was trying once again to outdo Martha Stewart, and once again, I was failing miserably. I guess Munchkin was in first grade around then, or maybe she was even a little younger. I was trying so hard to be Merry! And Festive! And Perfect! but I think it was pretty obvious that I was one burnt cookie away from a week long crying jag.

She scurried over to the tree, and pulled out a little tiny box that she had proudly gotten me from Santa Store at school, and insisted I open it.

Guys, no one in the history of any holiday ever wanted to open a present less than I did right then. There was work to do and joy to be forced. Still, she hounded me. Five year olds who insist on things are rather…..tenacious. I opened the clumsily wrapped little box.

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In it was a little keychain, blue with a simple yellow butterfly on it. It jingled softly as I rolled it in my hand.

“It’s like Polar Express”, she said. “Only people who hear the bell can like Christmas. You hear it, right?”

I did hear it.  She beamed. She hugged me.

And things were all better.

Today, I am sick. I had a million things to accomplish before I even get started on my regular tasks.

I was walking to the market by my house to pick up a few stocking stuffers, tripped in a pothole in the road, dropped my purse and rolled my ankle. I wanted to call the whole thing off. Yes, again. Just like I do every year.

I picked up my purse from the middle of the street. Somewhere, between a grocery list and a lipgloss with dog hair stuck to the cap and a half eaten bag of Skittles, the bell on on the keychain jingled just loud enough for me to hear. 

And again, things are all better.

FIrst Date: Well, at least I didn’t do *that*.

Where were we?  Ah yes. I was meeting Johnny Rotten for the Very! First! Time! My Munchkin had fallen off the bed, I was overcome with a fit of I-am-a-terrible-mother-and-person, I cried my eyes out, he knocked on the door, and the hot mess that was me was revealed like the worst episode of Extreme Makeover ever.

He hugged me, told me it was great to meet me, and then–AND THEN!– offered to hold the baby so that I could wipe my face off and put real pants on.

Before I get massive internet screaming about how I was a horrible mom who let her kid fall off the bed and then let a stranger– an Internet Person– hold her darling child, let me just say that he has two kids. I knew that he knew that babies have to be held the right side up, even though there is no little label with an arrow to tell him so. I was in the house, only a few feet away. The door wouldn’t be closed, except to put pants on (which, dudes? I am totally good at that. If I were a superhero, I’d probably be FastGarmentPuttingOnGirl or something) and my sister and her boyfriend were about eight seconds away, as they were coming to eyeball the new guy babysit.

It went smashingly well. I got out of the bathroom to find that Munchkin was cooing at Johnny Rotten and Johnny Rotten was cooing right back at Munchkin. D’awwww.  You know when you meet someone and they’re really good at everything, and it kind of makes you feel bad and like you can’t be friends with them because you have your own blooper reel from every single day and you coast from one embarrassment to another? Yeah. That.

Folks, I really liked him.  I mean, really liked him. Reallyreallyreally liked him. I chalked it up as a ‘sucks to be me’ situation, because it wasn’t a date-date, it was hanging out. A relationship wouldn’t have worked anyway, because we were not only from different countries which kind of makes dating a little tough, but we both had just ended long term relationships and rebound relationships never work, right? Right. Still, doing something on a Saturday night is better than doing nothing on a Saturday night, and if the person I’m doing things with is cute and smells good, all the better.

He easily dealt with The Sister’s interrogation polite conversation and small talk, and we headed out for dinner. All good. I wasn’t trainwrecky, and he loosened up a little. We were getting along great, and even if this didn’t work out into anything meaningful– which it wouldn’t, of course!– we both had fun. We were having such a good time, in fact, that we decided to spend some more time together and went out for a drink at the local pub.

Maybe he was finally getting comfortable around me, or maybe it was just the wine with dinner, but he had gone from ‘loosening up’ to a little flirty. I had figured that he was not into me like that, but I guess he was just shy and really polite. He seemed to like me. Like, like-like me. Yes, like THAT. I was stoked, and I figured that he’d make his move any second.

Two things happened at that very moment.

One: my jacket dropped from my chair onto the floor.

Two: he made the move he had been contemplating all evening.

I bent down to get my jacket, and he tried to execute some kind of suave contortion to put his arm around my shoulders. Had he swept his arm up around the back like a normal person, and not an Internet Person, everything would have gone according to plan and I wouldn’t be telling you this, because it would be boring.

Happily for the sake of stories told to strangers, he did not. He swept his arm up in front of me, like he was going to put it over my head, and then have it land on my shoulders. At that exact moment, i bent forward to grab my jacket. We collided.  Smooth.

For the second time that day, my mascara was ruined because of tears, but these weren’t anything emotional. It seems to be a pretty normal body response to being elbowed full force in the  face, you know? It wasn’t a little tap. My eyes watered. I tasted blood. I could feel my lip puffing up. I swore.

For him, the phrase ‘died a thousand deaths’ didn’t even begin to cover it. He apologized. He asked if I was okay.  He apologized more.

Johnny Rotten was so very, very upset by this. I started to laugh. Of course, most people don’t laugh right after they get hit in the teeth, and he mistook it for sobbing, which I found even funnier. He was ready to accept that this had been a complete failure, and started gathering my things so that he could take me home.  Once I caught my breath, I convinced him that I really didn’t hate him. I knew it was an accident, I wasn’t badly hurt, and I wanted to continue the evening.

It was more than that though, for me. Yes, I absolutely did want to continue the evening, but you know what? Him bashing me in the teeth took all the pressure off. Yeah, maybe I did end up answering the door in pj pants, with a yelling infant and a leaking face…. but at least I didn’t turn tentative affection into outright battery.

The pressure was off. We were now even-steven, and I knew I wanted to see him again.

Election Predictions, and you KNOW it’s not over tomorrow, right?

I’m pretty vocal about being tired of this election nonsense, which makes me pretty awesome and also pretty unpopular. I really feel that with the lies and treachery and confrontations, I have been held hostage in front of a 24 hour Dynasty marathon for the last two years, only without the fancy hats, the exclamations of “you BITCH!” and slapfests.
All of these would have made it better. Seriously, think about it. There is nothing in the world that cannot be made more interesting by approaching it a Joan Collins kind of way.
A friend tried to cheer me up by telling me it’s almost over, and it’s true. This phase of it is. Unfortunately, we’re set to move into the next phase at 7 o’clock tomorrow evening.  Are you all ready for more analysis than you ever thought possible? I am not, but I know it’s coming, as is the “I knew it all along! I told you… remember? When I said this thing might happen? I AM AN EXPERT.” thing. Brace yourselves.

Just so I’m not poking you in the ribs tomorrow night with my “I told you so”s, here are my predictions:

1) Someone will win.

2) Millions of people will be thrilled.

3) Someone else will lose.

4)Millions of people (probably different millions than the first batch I mentioned) will be terribly upset. Some will even go so far as to threaten to move to different countries to protest this.

5) No one will be moving anywhere, because it’s a lot easier to say than do.

6) The words ‘fraud’ and ‘recount’ will be said so many times that they will stop sounding like words and start sounding like verbal typos and/or fungal infections that one catches from the tile floor at the local public pool.

7) There will be snark. Oh Lord, there will be snark. It won’t even be good, funny snark, unless MST3K is hosting election coverage and no one bothered to tell me.

8)I will realize that there are lots of things no one bothered to tell me. Not just about the elections, but probably about school forms that need signing and dog food that needs to be purchased too.

9) At some point, I will see a voter on tv who has so much bluster about his team winning that I will wonder if  he has confused this with a football game. I will say something about this, and Johnny Rotten will remind me that it’s a weird comment for me to make because I don’t actually know anything about football. He will then try to explain the rules to me, again. They wont sink in, again.

10) Manchild will vote for the very first time. He will be very excited and will chatter our ears off about it, which is awesome because hooray democracy! And hooray becoming an adult!

So. What are YOUR predictions? Lay ’em on me.