September 30, 2010 § 6 Comments
Today marks my two week Lasik anniversary- and what a ride it’s been. I wore corrective lenses for over twenty years, but two things finally tipped me over to the Lasik side: utter jealousy over my boyfriend’s Lasik results, and the fact that I have not been able to wear contacts for the past two years. The glasses didn’t bother me from a vanity perspective (although I am happy I don’t need to wear them at my wedding now), but just annoyed the crap out of me. Not being able to wear normal sunglasses, having to constantly clean lenses, always worrying about them breaking… no more! But Lasik isn’t the “walk in blind, walk out happy” procedure it’s advertised as sometimes. I will elaborate.
First of all, it is true (at least from my experience) that the procedure is entirely painless. But that doesn’t mean it’s not scary. It didn’t help that a few days before my procedure, my boyfriend showed me the clip from Fire in the Sky in which the aliens prop a guy’s eye open and a needle comes down from the ceiling, telling me that’s what the procedure would be like. (He did that in retaliation for me showing him this episode of Home Movies the morning of his procedure, but I don’t think his was a proportional response.)
After a few preliminary eye appointments to diagnose my candidacy and get my eye information, I was ready for the surgery. Once I got to the clinic, everything happened really fast; it seemed like I was almost immediately being given drops to numb my eyes and the surgeon was drawing on my eyeballs. (Yes- he drew ON my eyeballs!) I couldn’t feel it happening, which is pretty much true for the surgery itself as well- the scary part isn’t the pain, but the knowledge of what is happening to your eyes (and the faint smell of burning which, fortunately, Ethan had warned me would happen). The nurse handed me two squeezie balls to hold if I got nervous so I wouldn’t shake my head around, which turned out to be very useful. The procedure was fast, but the lights, noises and smell were very off-putting. When it was all over the nurse asked me to hand her the balls back- apparently I wasn’t ready to, because she had to pry them out of my little hands.
After that is when the pain kicked in. You’re supposed to fall asleep as fast as possible after the surgery so you can sleep off the worst of the pain, but I just couldn’t fall asleep. I just lay there in my stupid goggles (yes, you have to sleep in goggles afterward. Like the mittens babies wear to keep them from scratching themselves, they keep you from pawing at your face in your sleep. And they look awesome.), tears streaming down my face. But that only lasted about an hour- I then slept for six hours and woke up to discover that Ethan had baked a 10 lb. ham while I was out. I ate a delicious ham sandwich, drank two cans of pop and went back to sleep.
Now, two weeks later, I would say it was completely worth it. Here are the pros and cons:
- Constant dry eye. For the first week and a half, I woke up three times a night with dry eye. I did not know that eyes could get so dry they could wake you up.
- Sleeping in goggles. At first it’s exciting, like you’re about to go skiing in your bed or something, but my ears are too big and kept folding over- very uncomfortable.
- Bloody eyes. Not painful, just awful to look at. I mean, people wouldn’t look me in the eye because I looked crazy.
- Glare and fuzziness, especially in fluorescent lighting.
- Cost (I will be paying $140 a month for two years, although that comes with free check-ups and touch-ups).
Fortunately, all those cons are temporary. Here are the pros:
- I can wear real sunglasses and then put them on top of my head like the cool people do.
- I can open the dishwasher or drain pasta fog-free.
- I can get caught in the rain and still see where I’m going.
- I can see better than I did in glasses, so no more using the GPS because I can’t read street signs. Now I can just use the GPS because I have no sense of direction.
- I can apply make-up and see what I’m doing.
- If I get stranded on an island a la Lord of the Flies, my glasses will not be stolen and used for fire.
- Did I mention the sunglasses? I am going to look so cool.
So anyway, the cons are temporary but the pros are forever (or at least until I need reading glasses). Still, I’m excited for the redness to go away- I spend every day looking like I just got off a three-day bender. But I guess I can hide that with the sunglasses.
For further reading, see my one month update.
September 29, 2010 § 4 Comments
Growing up normal in our family is no easy feat. Which is probably why none of us did. One of my earliest memories is being three years old looking behind me to see my brother on a ride on tractor chasing me. My little chubby three year old legs pumping wildly propelling me across the length of our acre backyard. To this day, he’ll say I exaggerate that story, but one does not forget their first near death experience.
As said in the introduction, I am in my last year of undergrad. To say I made it this far in life without any serious, permanent injury is a small miracle. In second grade, I had a best friend named Ashley. Ashley, Colleen, and I would often hang out together, because Ashley was in between Colleen and I’s age. On cold December, Michigan evenings we often had to get creative in making up games. Classic hide and seek seemed less than an exciting prospect for three energetic girls. So why not turn off the lights? The seeker won’t be able to tell where they are and they will have to feel their way around the room in order to find the other two.
I guess I should preface this story with a short description of the room. Pat, Colleen and I shared one room. Pat had her own bed, and own side of the room, while Colleen and I shared bunk beds, on the other side. Earlier in the evening before she left the house, we were under strict instruction not to go anywhere near Pat’s things.
So as we played hide and seek throughout the entire bedroom, I scouted out my hiding place. Closet? Too easy. Under the bed? Been there done that. Under the covers? What am I five? All of a sudden Pat’s TV stand came into view. Genius, I’ll shove my little body into the TV stand which held Pat’s cement block of a TV. Sensing my idea, Colleen made a rule: “No hiding under Pat’s TV stand.” Hearing that rule, what second grader wouldn’t think the TV stand was the best place to hide? She won’t be looking there because it’s off limits! Ashley hid under the blankets, Colleen was waiting outside, so I ran, turned off the lights, and squirmed into the TV stand, and called Colleen to come into the room.
Now Colleen is a different kind of sister. She had a mother’s instincts by the time she was eight. She knew by telling me I couldn’t hide under the TV, I would hide under the TV. Pitch black, she felt her way around the room till she could feel the glass screen of the television. Feeling her way down to the wooden stand, she got on the ground, put her hand inside and tagged me. I was out. Not only was I out but I was the first one out! Defeated, I began climbing out of the TV stand. Arms first, I crab-walked out of it putting my hands on the ground, then my butt. The dark concealed the slow tipping of the giant TV. So when it fell on my head I didn’t know what had hit me. I slammed to the ground, and Colleen with one hand threw it off my head in one fell swoop. Before I know it, the lights are on, I’m staring at the ceiling, unable to move, and my mom is running to my side. In what felt like less than three minutes, fire trucks and ambulances filled our driveway. Countless paramedics and firefighters crowded our room, putting me on a stretcher. Throughout this madness Colleen (the whiner) started complaining about her arm. I can’t get one ounce of attention without Colleen trying to steal my spotlight. “Mom my arm really hurts!”
“Colleen, your sister is really hurt, not now!”
“But mom, my arm really hurts!”
“Damn it Colleen!” and then to a fire fighter “Can you get her an ice pack or something?!”
Meanwhile, my mental state was being tested.
“Meagan do you know what month it is?”
“Meagan, can you tell me who Santa is?”
“Uhh… Kris Kringle… duh…”
An ambulance ride is very exciting for a 7-year-old girl. You’re on your back, racing through the streets. Dad’s in the front seat of the ambulance asking question after question while I’m having the time of my life in the back. At the hospital the doctor told mom, they were taking me for x-rays, and that one of two things would happen. Either I would walk out of the x-ray room on my own, or something would be seriously wrong, I’d be wheeled back out, and more tests would have to be done. An hour later, when I walked down the hallway, my mom’s face immediately relaxed. Uncle Jerry, mom, and dad, all gave me a big hug (because I had earned it!) Now you may be asking where did Uncle Jerry come from in this story? Well it should be known that when a member of our family get’s hurt or sick, the entire family knows within 5 minutes, and no less than three people will volunteer to go to the hospital. Aunts and Uncles accompanied my parents on many a trip to the ER, from strep throat to scalp stitches to TVs falling on heads.
I walked back into my house late that night and headed straight for my room to show Colleen that Uncle Jerry bought me a Slurpee! Colleen is on the top bunk cradling her arm, which had grown to double its original size. She had torn tissue in her arm when she threw the TV off my head. She was none too pleased when I sauntered into the room completely fine with a Slurpee for my troubles. The next morning mom took her to the doctors, where they wrapped her arm (which I think was unnecessary, again with the attention stealing), and took her to 7-11 to get Colleen her well-earned Slurpee.
September 28, 2010 § 4 Comments
I would like to preface this dialogue by saying that my brother Marcus is smart. I mean, really smart. He’s also nuts.
Marc: Not mu-
Me: What pressure should my tires be at?
Marc: Oh, that’s nice. I’m fine Patty, to answer your question.
Me: I’m sorry. How are you?
Marc: I’m fine, just working. Hey, have you figured out a way to get us famous yet?
Me: Yeah, we just have to write something.
Marc: Okay, I was thinking about it last night, and I have an idea.
Me: What’s that?
Marc: We’re going to write a book of short stories. I think a collection of short stories written by twins would be really marketable.
Me: Well, usually you get the short stories published in a magazine or something. Then you make an anthology.
Marc: Well, what magazine publishes zombie stories?
Me: I don’t know- a science fiction mag, maybe? You have to look it up.
Marc: Okay, here’s the plan. I’m setting a deadline for us, so that we really write.
Me: What’s the deadline?
Marc: Together we’ll write six short stories by the end of the month.
Me: That’s crazy! Six by the end of the month?!
Marc: No, it’s only three each!
Me: Do you know how long it takes to write a good short story? It can take months.
Marc: A month to write two to four pages?
Me: Two to four pages? Short stories can be over twenty pages!
Marc: What magazine is going to publish a twenty page story?
Me: Any magazine that publishes short stories!
Marc: Really? I guess I want to write “super short stories.”
Me: You’re talking about doing flash fiction.
Marc: What’s flash fiction?
Me: Super short stories.
Marc: Okay. That, then.
Me: You might be able to publish flash fiction online. You should look it up.
Marc: I’m totally on it.
Me: So are you going to revise my deadline?
Marc: Yeah. Have one good, super short story by the end of the month.
Me: Okay, but you’re going to have to give me a plot. I’m pretty drained.
Marc: Your plot is zombies.
Me: No, “zombies” is a topic.
Marc: Zombies are coming, and you have to survive.
Me: What’s the plot twist?
Marc: Okay, here’s your story. You and the family, including Maureen, Jeff and the kids, are all in Mom and Dad’s basement, hiding from the zombies.
Me: That’s not a plot, that’s a setting.
Marc: You’re all in a Michigan basement, crowded together, trying to be silent. It’s like Anne Frank, but with zombies.
Me: Like Anne Frank but with zombies? Marcus, do you listen to what you say?
Marc: Ooh, I just came up with something good! Because the basement has to be silent, you turn the sump pump off. So sometimes the basement floods with water.
Me: Like, up to your knees?
Marc: Yeah, when it rains.
Me: So we’re sometimes up to our knees in sewage.
Marc: No, it’s just rain water. Although it’s close to a sewage line, so the sump pump could have backed-up human waste come in. That’s entirely up to you.
Me: And how does it end?
Marc: At the end, you’re about to make a break for it.
Me: It ends with us trying to escape?
Marc: Yeah. Then people will want to read part two.
Me: Part two? I thought we were writing a short story.
Marc: Yeah… maybe that should be chapter one. We’ll write a book instead.
Me: A book?
Marc: How much money would a bestseller earn us?
Me: Well, first books take a long time to publish and aren’t usually that successful.
Marc: But there’s a chance we’d be rich?
Me: There’s a chance, but it’s pretty remote. Plus I think a book is too much right now. We need to think of all our ideas for publishing something, then choose one and make goals. Otherwise this is going to be Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star* all over again.
Marc: Yeah, I forgot how to play that song.
Me: I figured.
Marc: All I know is that I picture us sitting on David Letterman’s couch, explaining our madness to the audience.
Me: That would be awesome.
Marc: Yeah. [hears a horn honking] Hey, where are you?
Me: I’m in the parking lot at my apartment. I was going to call you about tire pressure before I took my doughnut upstairs and ate breakfast.
Marc: Oh yeah. 35 psi.
Marc: Yeah, that’s optimum.
Me: Okay. I went to the gas station and overfilled my tires. I figured I would come back and just release the excess pressure if I needed to.
Marc: Why didn’t you just gauge the tires correctly while you were there?
Me: Because they never give you enough time to fill all your tires plus check their pressures. I always have to go ask them to turn the air back on. It makes me panic while I’m filling them up.
Marc: So you overfilled them.
Me: I mean, I can just release the excess pressure.
Marc: Yeah. Just make sure the tires are even.
Me: Cool. Okay, I’m going to go do that. You have an awesome day at work.
Marc: Okay. And don’t forget about the deadline and Zombie Anne Frank.
Me: Got it.
*Marcus once heard Billy Joel play the piano and decided he wanted to learn to play just like him. With no prior music experience of any kind, he bought an expensive keyboard and a how-to book. The first song he learned was Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star. It was also the last song he learned.
September 27, 2010 § Leave a comment
As I said earlier, I have a habit of recording funny conversations. Colleen called me laughing one day, dying to share this story so that we could record it for posterity. This took place several years ago, when Maureen’s oldest daughter, Abby, was about four and Maureen’s son, Nick, was about a year old. The conversation began with what I hope was Maureen’s joke that Colleen should quit school and become a full-time mother. The following is a transcript of what Colleen heard through the phone.
Maureen: Colleen, you don’t need to go to college! Why don’t you drop everything, have kids, and be a stay at home mom, right now… Oh, Abby, no! Stop it! Damn. Oops… Abby just locked me in the pantry. Abby, seriously, I gotta get out… God Colleen, she’s stronger than I thought!
[Maureen pushes and pushes at the door. She finally gets the door open and, when there is a little space, puts a dirty diaper through the crack, yelling “Aaah! A dirty diaper!” At this point, Abby screams and runs away. Maureen exits the pantry.]
Maureen: Uh-oh! Nicholas is in the freezer. Abby, stop it! Abby, stop it! Abby is trying to close the freezer door on Nicholas. [It should be said that by “in the freezer,” Maureen meant that he had gotten the freezer door open and was taking things out.]
[The sound of the ice cream man is heard in the background.]
Abby: Ice cream! Ice cream!
Maureen: No. You just locked me in the pantry. [Under her breath, into the phone: “No she’s not going to have ice cream! She locked me in the pantry!”]
[Abby whines and moans, and Maureen goes back to the kitchen, continuing her conversation about motherhood.]
Maureen: No, seriously, it really is a very rewarding experience… Abby, take that rubber band off your head! [laughs] Abby was defiant, but it helped keep the hair out of her eyes.
September 27, 2010 § Leave a comment
I thought for our first post, I would explain who we are and what we want to do. Basically, we are a family, and we want to share our thoughts and stories. For years, the five of us siblings have been laughing over memories, posting on facebooks, writing in journals, sending emails, etc. This blog is a place for us to finally get all of that wonderful mishmash into one place- and if others would like to read all of that craziness well, that’s all right, too. So here are the brief introductions, in order of age:
Maureen: The Leonardo to our Ninja Turtles, Maureen is the oldest of the siblings and the undoubted leader. An untiring worker, she does medical billing out of her home while at the same time raising three children. Every week I see her on facebook, apologizing to Mom for all the insanity she put her through that her children are now putting her through. It’s funny because I don’t have kids.
Marcus: Technically he goes next because he was born before me, but I only let that happen because I wanted him to test the air out before I made my attempt. We are twins, as different as two fraternals can get, and he really doesn’t need an introduction. This picture will do:
Patty (that’s me!): I’m the wanderer of the group, the only one to live out of state. I moved to Connecticut to teach high school English for three years (I lived right outside Lyme and, yes, I did get Lyme disease). After meeting a wonderful but eccentric scientist at a party in New York (think Egon Spengler with an addiction to horror movies), I followed him to New Jersey where we live just outside Philadelphia. I’m taking a break from teaching while I am tutoring and earning my masters degree. A lot of the posts on this blog will be from me, as I have a hobby of recording dialogue and sharing it with people. I am also planning my July wedding, so I have plenty to vent about.
Colleen: Colleen gets the most abuse from the family (mostly because we think it’s funny), but she is an amazing young woman. She is short and slight, so it surprises a lot of people to learn that she is a nurse in downtown Detroit, regularly treating gunshot victims who are handcuffed to police officers. Her work stories are more interesting than mine, but HIPAA laws will keep us from hearing the juicy stuff.
Meagan: Oh, Meagan. Her nickname is Moo Moo (“Moo” for short) because Maureen’s husband, Jeff, thought it would be funny if his first daughter grew up calling her that. She did, and it stuck. Meagan is in her last year of undergrad and is a strange combination of shy and wild. In other words, she does incredibly crazy things and then becomes mortified that she did them. I won’t share those stories here because they will make a great blog entry.
That’s it for introductions. Let’s see if this works!