December 26, 2008

1. What is the best gift you received this year?

I did get things that I asked for and/or needed. But, ironically, the one that makes me smile every time I see it is my State Quarters display frame. I get all geeked out when I see all the quarters I’ve collected so far.

2. What is the best gift you gave this year?

It was either I’m a Lebowski, You’re a Lebowski for The Boy, or the “Obscure Band You’ve Never Heard Of” t-shirt for Radio Edit.

3. When did you do most of your shopping/creating?

The first weekend of December, and I did it all on Amazon.

4. Did you go shopping the day after Thanksgiving?

No, I was too busy having my wisdom teeth pulled out of my head. Which, if you think about it, I chose over going out on Black Friday.

5. What stands out already about Christmas 2008?

– My brother being away for Christmas. I know that it hit my mother really hard in that she didn’t decorate for the holidays. I opened my presents in front of the computer while we were on Skype, so he could watch.

– That I couldn’t really get into the holiday season. I’m taking notes to see how I can improve upon this next year.

– How nice and mellow Christmas day was. No pressure to get a ton of food on the table to feed a thousand cranky relatives, just making dinner with a fancier cut of meat and fancier table linens for the immediate family and The Boy.

I would say that despite me not feeling festive, it was a nice Christmas.

Deck the Halls

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was having trouble getting into the Christmas spirit.  I don’t know that it has gotten any better: my mother’s effort at a Christmas tree is a lit topiary in the foyer.  But I don’t blame her – since my grandmother’s and uncle’s deaths, this has been her most dreaded time of year;  and with my brother away in Japan, it’s hard to be festive when you’re sad.

I talked to The Boy, and he really tries to help me get into the holiday spirit.  He tells me that sometimes, if you fake festive, you feel festive. In an effort for me to fake festive, instead of wrecking another 101 in 1001 goal, I am actually going to do Christmas cards this year.  I picked them up while I was wandering through Sam’s.

I’ll sing Christmas carols while I fill out my cards.  Maybe that will get me out of my Grinchy mood.  That, and the big bottle of Bombay Sapphire that The Boy picked up for me to mix with my favorite drink ever that comes out only at Christmas – Diet Canada Dry Cranberry Ginger Ale.

Actually, the thought of a Cranberry Gin and Ginger does warm the cockles of my heart.  Maybe I can turn my poor Christmas attitude around.

The “I Love Jesus” Effect

Sometimes, I like to indulge in something I have dubbed The “I Love Jesus” Effect, in which, I – a normally non-retaliating person – has no choice but to react in the exact manner requested.

The “I Love Jesus” Effect is so named because of a bumper sticker, “Honk if You Love Jesus”.  One day, when I was still working long hours at the department store, I was about five cars deep at a light at a busy intersection at the busiest time of day.  At that point, I’d been cut off about four times, had three customers give me shit that day and was generally cranky.  Sitting idly at the stop light, I read the bumper sticker ahead of me: “Honk if You Love Jesus.”  I read that bumper sticker, and a wicked Grinch-like grin crossed my lips, and I though, “Hmm, I love Jesus. . . .”

Five-deep in line at a stoplight, I mashed the horn for a few seconds, and wickedly giggled at the thought that the bumper-sticker-lover was going to have to have his car detailed.

I very rarely use the I “Love Jesus” Effect, simply because it’s a douche-y thing to do, but there are just some times where it is completely appropriate.  The Boy used it yesterday on me.

We stopped at Circle K so that he could buy cigarettes and I asked if he would buy me a “Polar Pop”, which is Circle K’s gimmicky drink that you can buy a soft drink up to 32oz for only 59 cents – and stays colder longer because the cups are made out of the most Earth-unfriendly Styrofoam.  The Boy, both humored and annoyed that I’d called it buy it’s stupid name, stood in front of the soda fountain, though to himself, “Well, it is cost effective to buy the biggest one. . . .”

He came out with the biggest friggin’ soda I’ve ever seen.  The base was as big around as a small salad plate.  It wouldn’t even fit in my cup holder, I had to squeeze it in there, and hope that I didn’t produce a stress fracture and explode all over the center console of my car.

The worst part is he grinned like an ass every time I had to wrestle it out of the cup holder to take a sip.

Personal Accountability

The Boy, in preparation for his annual Christmas party, spend the majority of the week decorating the apartment, including setting up the tree.  My last year in Ashland, I bought him and I little snowmen ornaments with our names on them, and every year, they get hung in the tree.  While he was unpacking the ornaments, he called me.

“Oh dammit, now I’m going to have to open an entire box of ornament hooks.”


“Because, I took our snowmen out, and only yours still has its hook.  …My snowman was irresponsible.”

Alveolar Osteitis

I’ve only been in tears in pain twice.  The first time was when the local anesthetic was wearing off of my foot after my surgery.  That time, I was bent over the ottoman, weeping, with my mother yelling, “For God’s sake, take the damn Vicodin!”

The second time was this morning, when the oral surgeon had to pack my dry socket.

Since I was still experiencing radiating pain along my jaw, I Googled “wisdom teeth aftercare” and learned that I probably had a dry socket.  I called my oral surgeon’s office, and explained to the nurse my symptoms, she recommended that I come in right away.

Turns out, sometimes, no matter what you try to do to prevent them, dry sockets just happen.  The course of treatment was packing the wound and a round of antibiotics.  I’m just really glad I had no idea that was the treatment before I went in, otherwise I don’t know what I would have done.  (I probably would have thrown up on myself during the procedure, actually.)

God bless the nurse and the assistant learning the procedure – they were both doing their jobs and helping to treat my condition.  But, as she started packing the strip of medicine-soaked paper into my jaw, I started to crawl backwards up and over the chair, and tears sprang to my eyes.  She kept saying, “I’m sorry, I know it hurts, I’m sorry.”  I wiped the tears out of my eyes, and said, “I know: you’re just doing your job, I understand.”  I really, really tried to keep my shit together.

I started hiccupping in the elevator ride down to my car, and had to suck up my sniveling as I ran into someone at the door on my way out.  As soon as I got in the car, I started sobbing big, body-wracking sobs from the pain and the frustration.  I put my head on the steering wheel and cried and cried until I had wept the the eyeliner and mascara off – I was still pretty messed up from all the Vicodin I’d been taking, compounded with the dry socket treatment and  the aching of my jaw since Friday, and because I was tired and frustrated from all the other ridiculous baggage I’m always carrying around.

I finally regained some composure and drove the long ride in to work, fighting a fresh batch of tears the whole way.  While waiting for my prescription to be filled, I carefully re-applied my eye makeup and covered the blotchy red marks on my face.  After a while, I felt better – better than I had felt in days with the packing in my jaw.  I finally felt like laughing and talking, rather than sleeping and doing nothing.  The only downside (other than of course, the horrifying pain of having it packed) is that everything today tastes like I’d licked a hospital: like Betadine and cleanser.

Tomorrow, I’m supposed to go back and have this dressing removed and something else put in.  You might hear again how I cried like a sissy from tomorrow’s procedure, too.