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About a year ago, we found out that our friends were getting divorced.  This friend was a good friend of DB’s in college, and it was the first couple we’d known socially to be getting divorced.  That was a little bit sad.

Then, we found out that he had moved away to LA to pursue an acting career.  And the acting/modeling pictures were…well, they did not leave a lot to the imagination.  (He definitely has a good body, we’ll put it that way.)  (And I’m sure DB just turned purple thinking about that.)  (He is the least likely person I know to discuss sexual-anything…with anyone.) (Except me, obviously.)

So anyway, we don’t really look him up because it gives DB PTSD, but the other day, we decided to check out his happenings because we were in DB’s hometown in October, and had dinner with another college friend…etc.

And guess what was on his profile?  The one with all of the naked picures?

This tradewinds quote!!!!  The one that I had below my title on this blog!! The one that is CHEESY, but still – that quote!

OK, so I cannot have the same quote on my BLOG as my husband’s strip-tease college roommate has on his!!  Even if it is a famous Mark Twain quote!  No!!!!!

So I changed it, just now, but it is totally stupid.  Help?  Some of you have been reading this blog for a long time and realize how random and cheesy it is.  Please help.  I need a new subtitle.  Preferably a new look, but I am not going to hire someone because I don’t have the traffic to justify it and I don’t really have much time.

Actually, I am contemplating changing the whole thing (title, everything) but I am at a loss.  Help?  I still like “the buoyancy of hope” (a la MLK) (which DB told me made me sound like an Obama wannabe, but hey!  he won!  So maybe that’s not so socially unacceptable after all?) but I need help.

And yes, here is my blog entry for the day.  I guess I am not going to take a break anyway.

And we are going to bail on the daily Thankfulness things and make a joint list, which I’ll post sometime in the nearish future.  I list things I’m thankful for often in this blog, even in July, but hey! why not, right?  Plus, I usually make lists of things I’m thankful for because I’m depressed, like when DB left for I*&q.  (I am tired of putting “left for a war zone”.) (But shh – Liz, if you see him tonight, do not mention this – because he does not read this blog and MAYBE he’ll write a post unknowingly while I’m in class tonight!  That would be fun.)

Random much?

OK, help:  commence!  Thank you hugely!!

While I am on this mission to be all honest on this blog (and really, the only person who benefits from that is me, so I am not sure why I am so committed to honesty), let’s take it for a spin.

I am green with envy.

Everyone – and seriously, people, I mean everyone – that I know is pregnant right now (or just gave birth like, last week).  We have stacks of baby gifts in our closet and we just kind of throw them out like we’re at a parade throwing favors.  EV-ERY-ONE.  Which makes a girl who wants to be pregnant, or adopting, or anything that would result in a small child residing in our closet*, feel pretty awful.

The latest addition to the pregnancy files is my downstairs neighbors (yes, those neighbors).  Before that, my cousin; before that, like every single dog owner we know, before that, another cousin, before that, any other dog owners…you get the picture.  All of our friends at church have multiple small children.  We are having to find younger and younger friends so that we can feel normal.  OK, that might be a slight exaggeration, but…

I actually was being okay with it until we FINALLY made a decision about whether to TTC or find an adoption program we felt comfortable with, when we found out – the same day!!! – that some new medical issues erupted that would both prevent us from conceiving AND from succeeding at a home study.  Last week, however, we found out that I am healthy.  I’m cleared!  Bring on the fellow social workers!  Bring on the prenatal pills!  We are ready to roll!

Except that, you know, there is the whole waiting thing.  And the whole not-snapping-fingers-and-having-child-appear thing.  Oh, and money!  Yes, money thing.

So I am having a tough time.  I think part of it, too, is that we have been waiting SO LONG.  Like this month marks the 1-year point where we decided to adopt from Vietnam, starting doing a lot of research on the ethical situation in the program, and balked (thank GOD we did).  And waited to see where it was going.  I know a lot of families have been waiting a lot longer than that – with a lot more cash outlay – but I am just saying where we’ve been.  We are risking a lot to have a biological child, but if it means that we can be sure we know that child was meant to be with us – there is no question.

Anyway, so my point was not to wax about the ethics of kids.  My point was that I am going to start making a list:

Things I am so happy to be able to do in the absence of kids

(to be clear:  these are things I would gladly throw away if someone offered us a child today – but this is me being positive here.)

1a.  SLEEP!  I LOVE SLEEP!  I don’t know why I forgot this one initially – but I am giving it its own number ahead of #1!

1.  Watch a whole TV program uninterrupted

2.  Shower/pee in privacy

3.  Go out to see a movie/get dinner spontaneously

4.  Eat crap.  (Yes, people, sometimes we – gasp – eat cookie dough for dinner.  Still.  Or we’ll eat pasta 5 days in a row.  I know that is gross, but hey – it’s very very cheap.)

5.  Be minorly inconvenienced when the electricity goes out like it did last week, versus being majorly freaked out with a screaming child.

OK, I’m out.  Anyone?  Most of you are either pregnant or have multiple children and I will admit:  I am a teeny tiny hugely bit jealous.

OK, honesty time is over, now that you know I am bigoted about Republicans and jealous of people who have kids!

*Our closet is a very large room converted to a closet, painted a nursery color, which can be converted back to a half-nursery half-closet.  We have a guest room, but it’s way more convenient to have our kid live in our closet.  I think it sounds funnier if we talk about the closet.

So…our adventures with Mighty and Mickey are long from over.

Last week, I saw that mouse, right? It just careened in from the kitchen into the hallway, in front of me, spun around, and hauled its little butt out of here.

Or so I thought.

That night, I woke up to screeching. In the walls. In our bedroom.

The next day, I went ballistic with Peppermint Extract (*Note: this is not the correct type of peppermint to spread, but I was desperate), and we replaced the dishwasher, which conveniently also broke the same day. (Basically, this weekend was devoted to dishwasher replacement and rodent fighting.) Upon removing the old dishwasher, we realized hat we forgot a hole back there, so we closed that up.

That night, I heard something eating the cat’s food, only the cat was sleeping where she always sleeps: on my head. I got up, looked, nothing there. (Then I started to seriously think that I was going insane.) I placed 5 kibbles in the middle of the floor as a test, went back to bed, and when I woke up – kibbles were gone. HOWEVER, my test was stupid, because I also dumped out the cat’s food at the same time, so she was hungry and meowing, and *she* might have been the one to eat the test kibbles…so I wasn’t sure what to do.

(However: there was wetness about the cat’s food. EWWWWWWWW mouse urine ewwwwwww!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Yesterday, I looked down at the wall in our room, and realized that there was a hole the size of a quarter in the floorboard, and it led directly under the wall to another hole next to the closet (a hole that DB said could not possibly go anywhere…when do women get the “always right” intelligence? Pre- or post-motherhood? I think mine is already fully developed). So I took steel wool, stuffed it into both holes, and listened as the mice scratched and tried to get out of there.

Oh, you think I’m kidding, but I am not.

The final straw was yesterday, right as I was getting ready to leave to take an exam – I decided just to *check* behind my shoes (which are in the closet, which is a rather large room we will convert into a nursery when appropriate, which also currently houses the cat’s food). I don’t know why I decided to do that -but oh my goodness.

I found the nest.

IN! MY! SHOES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

These damn mice were living like Club Med in our closet!

So last night, it was Operation Shock and Awe.

I bought 30 traps: one electric shocker one, 26 snap traps of varying quality, and 2 massive glue traps for rats.

We threw out almost all of my shoes, which were tainted with mouse excrement and who knows what else. (No worries – I hadn’t worn most of them in about 4 years, and they were mostly Target specials that were on clearance that I never liked, but attempted to like because they were so cheap.)

We cleared out anything else on the floor.

We put the cat’s food on the kitchen table – a feeding method I am disgusted by, but consider the lesser of two evils. Oh, and she is no longer allowed to eat when we’re not home. Poor kitty.

And we. set. traps.

We opened up the holes I stuffed with steel wool, and surrounded the holes with traps.

DB made a little bowl of aluminum foil, and we filled it with cat kibble, honey, and a trap. We dipped cat kibbles in honey and placed them on each of the snap traps, and surrounded the Old Country Buffet with snap traps and glue traps. Then we lowered the baby gates so the animals couldn’t get in, moved out of our room into the guest room (mostly because I could not bear to hear the snapping at night – I was so convinced we’d wake up to at least 30 mice this morning) and shut the door to kill them all.

Guess how many mice we caught?

ZERO!

ZERO!?!?

So now we are flummoxed. Just how many mice do we have here, anyway? We’ve closed out every. single. crack in this place now! We’ve checked our previously closed holes! We’ve set baited traps!

Any ideas? I am wondering if maybe the Peppermint Extract did a better job than I realized and drove them away, but I am just now finding the evidence of their stay? Except that I could hear them in the walls yesterday, and rustling in the food bowl the other night.

How often do they eat, anyway?

And I am so petrified that those squeals I heard the other night were from a mommy mouse making a family.

Did I mention how freaked out I am by mice?

Do they not like to eat where they poop? Because we put the Old Country Buffet right where they poop, but now I’m thinking that we should just put snap traps where they poop and OCB where the cat’s food was.

The cat, BTW, is furious. She’s been kind of ornery for the last few weeks (probably because she is sharing her food with mice, and they have been peeing in her food – I couldn’t figure out why she wouldn’t touch this small area of her food bowl!) but now she is downright livid – we kicked her out of her food, she has to climb up on the table, and she has to share her water with the dog (we are now living in half of our living space, and there is no other way to do it. Plus, she doesn’t seem to really care that much). When we first got the dog, she ripped all of her hair out in an anxious protest – I am very concerned that she is going to resort to that now, too.

Except I’d rather have a bald cat than one with a snap trap stuck to its leg.

So everyone who wrote me about mice: what am I missing? Why didn’t we get any? Don’t they like honey and cat food? And peanut butter? And in any event – we have so many traps that it would take a VERY observant mouse to get across the closet floor without hitting one! (I set one off accidentally last night and screamed. It is really hard to avoid them.)

Also, we seem to have a difference of opinion between DB and I: I bought Peppermint Oil today (the real kind) and I am conflicted about whether to put it down now. He thinks that we should wait until we catch one. I think that we should put it everywhere we live (kitchen, living room, guest room) and leave the bedroom as the Valley of Death filled with Kibble and Honey. Any thoughts?

Help! Again! Help help!

P.S. Yes, I called an exterminator.

SHOOT!

She moved all the furniture and took away all of my hiding spots – even the ones behind the washing machine!

He got some Great Stuff and steel wool and plugged up all of the holes!

He FINALLY CLOSED THE HUGE HOLE IN THE DOOR!

Help!  help!  help! I’m stuck!

And they have…a CAT!  And a DOG!

I’m doomed.

P.S.  Keiko – great suggestion about the peppermint – I’m going to get some tonight and sprinkle VERY LIBERALLY.  I hadn’t heard that before – that’s great!

Since I have classes every night of the week until late, DB and I rarely see each other for more than 15 minutes a day before we go to bed. Although this is very sad for both of us, it also means that we communicate by phone and text messages to let the other person know what to do in our absence – like, “don’t give Little a bone tonight – he already had one this morning!” or “I already fed him 2x today – don’t let him fool you!” or “He pooped twice today” (OK, most of these things are about our dog-child, Little. Just imagine the tidbits of amazing communication that will ensue when we have a *real* child…somehow I do not think they’ll be all that different. Well, I don’t plan on feeding my child cow bones, but…anyway. What I DO think will happen is that in the transition of moving from Little to Baby as the sole object of our affection, Little will be victoriously chomping on 5 bones a day, spewing diarrhea, and we will be totally flummoxed as to how THAT happened).

OK, moving on.

The other day, I asked him to take out the A/C, because the birds are seriously. setting. up. camp!!!

Well, when DB came home that day, it was dark outside, and he was a little worried about getting his eyes poked out by an infuriated bird family, so he left it.

…and left it.

…and left it.

(The A/C is still. in. the. window. Although in fairness to DB, he is fighting a disgusting sinus infection and feels like crap.)

I actually can’t *see* the birds through the A/C, but now the cat is obsessed with sitting on the coffee table next to the window and hunting them through the opaque screen. She spends hours doing this. It’s like our new neighbors have incited some sort of primal kitty-instincts in her. (She is the most indoor cat of all indoor cats…no claws, no hunting instinct, no sense of impending doom when the dog gets close…yeah. She is not exactly evolved from a cat standpoint. She definitely would not be DB’s secret self-defense weapon if the birds swarmed in.)

In case you are wondering, yes, this is what my life is these days. Trust me. You’d rather hear this than my explanation of my coursework (undergrad bio and undergrad physics) or what I do all day other than homework (I am the nation’s most informed voter at this point. Sometimes, to get really excited, I watch *Fox* and howl at the TV with Little).

I still have my super part-time home-based job, and I have applied for a few other more stable jobs, but I have to take one more class to get a master’s out of my abandoned doctorate (I call it my “accidental master’s”) and THAT class (from October – December) meets for THREE days a week, up to THREE hours PER DAY, rendering actual full-time (or part-time, frankly) employment very challenging (from a logistical standpoint). However, because I feel like a complete waste of air, I am thinking of getting a short-term retail job (for the sanity and the discount). I’m thinking Ann Taylor (need cute clothes), Pottery Barn (yes! replace couch! PLUS options at PB Kids and West Elm!), or Crate and Barrel (yes! augment home goods!). Or JCrew (yay cute clothes, but pants never fit). Votes? I promise you, my lovely readers, if you know me IRL or talk to me enough – YOU might get to take advantage of my discount.

K, bye.

So I am totally going to overshare here. I thought about it last night, and I actually know most of you IRL, so I don’t really care. Plus I REALLY don’t care if some random person reads this, because HI RANDOM PERSON 🙂 feel free to delurk.

Let’s talk about babies.

Actually, I was going to publish this other talk about babies – the accidental kind – and how we go about processing these accidents in our society, and how I think that this conversation is totally inappropriate and that really, if the conservatives in our country wanted to fix the abortion rate in our country, they could at least start to deal with the very Real and Pressing issues of things like, oh, I don’t know, FEEDING the hungry kids in our country (because did you know? Poor women disproportionately seek abortions in this country – and there is evidence to indicate that this is due to a lack of instrumental support), or the very real double standard that exists between manipulation of life that we intentionally create (IVF) and the manipulation of life we didn’t intend to create (abortion).

I really hate double standards. I feel like this is the King Double Standard.

And…here is the kicker…I believe that God probably agrees with me. (Do I sound like George Bush yet? Hee hee.)

All of this to say that I am ardently pro-choice, but if we get pregnant, we aren’t even going to have a test for Trisomy 21 (Down’s syndrome), because WHY. Our kid is pretty screwed anyway. We are only testing (and oh, boy, are we testing) for the things we can fix with surgery or medication. But termination, as they say? Not an option.

For us.

But no, I wanted to overshare about our situation. (I’ll get back to that other argument in a coming post. It’s partially written. I just wanted to say something relevant to what I’ve been mentioning recently, but now I’m MOVING ON!)

HERE IS A NOTE: IF YOU ARE MY FAMILY OR YOU ARE UNCOMFORTABLE DISCUSSING OUR SEX LIFE, STOP HERE!

(The adoption stuff is at the bottom.)

If any of you have read my blog, you might remember the crazy story that I overshared (here) where I had a severe anaphylactic reaction to intravenous iron. It was very scary, blah blah blah, and I started this campaign to improve my apparently intransigent anemia by eating red meat. For a vegetarian, I will say, it was a LOT of red meat. And because I am really, really, really sensitive to food textures, it was only the pre-digested (ground) version, only very pretentious quality (because I cannot STAND having fat or grizzle or whatever those hard things are in my soft meat…eww eww ewwwwww) and because I am a little bit obsessed with exposures that haven’t been evaluated in the study of what causes autism, meat with no hormones or antibiotics added. And every time I got a bite of meat with fat in it, I would gag (as quietly as possible) and then stop eating.

(And then it would take me a few weeks to get back on the wagon.)

This last year or so of meat-eating has been quite a challenge, we’ll say. Although DB thinks it’s funny that we eat bar food as a nutritious meal.

Oh, and also, I don’t interact with it. DB has to handle all meat (mostly because I am scary. Fifteen years of vegetarianism leaves one rather stupid about meat safety – although now I am smarter, but just repulsed). So this whole meat thing is not the most awesome lifestyle, except…

TODAY…

FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER IN MY ENTIRE LIFE…

I…AM…NOT…ANEMIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In fact, my IRON STORES ARE HIGH!!!!!!!!! (HIGH! Like higher than expected! This is unheard-of for me!)

I can’t quite emphasize the amount of joy here enough.

You know how a lot of women are anemic?

OK, I was not that kind of anemic. I was need-blood-transfusion, schedule-iron-infusion-even-though-we-know-you’re-deathly-allergic-to-it, anemic. Totally idiopathic-although-maybe-it’s-related-to-your-extraordinary-ability-to-manufacture
-autoantibodies anemic.

So I. am. PSYCHED.

My rheumatologist, who also demonstrated an uncharacteristic amount of happiness when we met (she was absolutely thrilled, and I must say, she is not the most emotive person in the world), said that if there is ever a time for us to consider conceiving, now would be it. So we have a fairly short window of time that my body will be in a position to support a pregnancy (my iron stores will plummet shortly…although I will keep on my bar-food-diet to hopefully prevent that). So now…we have some decisions to make!!

YIPPEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now some of you are my male friends (and my brothers! and father!) and if you are horrified by this post, all I can say is..the heading is “oversharing”.

Enough said. 🙂

Some of you are undoubtedly wondering about adoption, and even though this post is totally long, I want to say…we are still adopting. Adoption has always been our Plan A, and attempting to conceive a biological child was our Plan B. However, I am obsessed with ethics, and there is a lot of tumult occurring in the international adoption world. We really wanted to adopt from Vietnam, which is obviously not going to happen, and it was quite an adjustment to mourn the loss of that opportunity. We moved on to Kyrgyzstan, and I have to say, so much about the Kyrgyzstan program made me so incredibly excited to adopt from there. The program was small (when we started looking at it) with only four agencies working there (now I think there are 12 or so). The community of adopting parents is unbelievably supportive, which is, frankly, a breath of fresh air compared with the Vietnam group. We could see ourselves supporting/being very involved with the country in the long term, which was important to us. But with China tightening up, Vietnam closing, and Guatemala closing, families searching for a program found Kyrgyzstan, and there are now waitlists a mile long (for some agencies, the waitlist to APPLY is 1 year!). The one agency that does not have a waitlist has another program that DB and I feel uncomfortable supporting (because our adoption fees do go to support all of the programs in the agency), so we refuse to use that agency.

All of that to say: although IA is always a gamble, and we know that, we are going to wait a few months (more) to see how things shake out with Vietnam closing, because there are a lot of families who lost a lot in this process scrambling for ways to recoup their losses and locate their children.

And…we are still adopting. Stay tuned as to where. We’re exploring a lot of possibilities, all of which we’re really excited about.

This. book. rocks.

My love for this book borders on the obscene (OK, not really). Sometimes, when I am not nearly so swamped, I watch Boston Legal (the TV show), and one of the attorneys on the show is/was dating (on the show – or maybe they broke up – I don’t know. Ok, I don’t follow the show super closely) a woman who had objectophilia. At one point in the show, I believe she may have dumped him for an iPhone or a fire hydrant or something.

This book puts me one step closer to her.

Study, study, study, study!!!! I think that even if the world collapsed, I wouldn’t have any idea unless a piece fell on my head.

3 more weeks of this class…

Little here. I am taking over the computer. It is way too distracting for my mom, who truly believes she has lost her mind now.  She says this post is solid evidence that she and my dad need a human child.

Although the rest of the dogs in our neighborhood are out partying this weekend, I am stuck inside with her. She’s studying. And studying. And studying blog stalking people who have adopted babies from Kyrgyzstan. And studying some more. I need to stop her. I mean, seriously. Who wants to spend an entire holiday weekend drawing little molecules all over the place? I. must. stop. her.

So first I laid down on the papers. Who could deny this face, right?

Apparently, my human mom.

So when the paper-obstruction techniques failed to get her attention, I decided more drastic measures needed to be taken. I found a cool pink pig to chew on that wasn’t mine, so I figured it would be a good thing to bring to my bed.

She squashed that plan. Buzzkill!

So I took a short nap to recharge my batteries and brainstorm new diversion techniques.

It appeared to be way too productive for her, so I woke up pretty quickly.

I needed reinforcements. She was beginning to get on a roll, and I needed new diversions.

I found another toy and dragged it over to my mom so she could play with me (thanks, Grandma! I really love it)(No, this is not an ad, although the toy is pretty neat):

(I am laughing like a hyena here.)
(It did not work.)

So I laid my head in her lap. The least she could do is pet me, right? I mean, I’ve been a perfect gentleman waiting for her to get done with the studying already!

(yes, she is wearing pants, but they are totally flesh-colored. And the Cambodian beer t-shirt is Dad’s. I know you were wondering.)

Then we FINALLY went to play.

(And DB doesn’t understand why I am not more productive when he is gone!)

Well, folks, I am here to report that today, something happened that I am considering just short of a miracle.

(That is a little bit melodramatic. Just a touch.)

Remember (before I became very excitedly pseudofamous for 24 hours with my most recent adoption ethics post) how I was mourning my dismal performance on my third and final chemistry exam?

I mean, I will be totally honest…I got pretty much every. single. answer. wrong. For the first time in my entire life on a school assignment, I was counting UP from zero to get my score (when comparing my memory of my answers to the answer key provided on the way out the door), rather than counting DOWN from 100, and praying that somehow, God would perform a miracle. (Also realizing that this is SCHOOL, and I am a big dork for being so emotionally involved with it, and keeping it in perspective. Honestly, I was. Seriously.)

(And don’t get me wrong. If I flunked the test, I would most certainly have still praised God, for I am quite certain He would have shown me some other door [probably the revolving one to public health]. But I was really hoping that maybe, just maybe, He would see things from my perspective, because I surely didn’t help my own cause. That exam was the most confusing thing I’ve ever tried to complete.)

And….

I PASSED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I mean, I passed compared with the class average, which is all that matters, since the class is graded on a curve. The class average was 50 (yes, %. Out of 100). I was 2 (YAY!!!!!) points below it!! (What has my life come to that I am psyched about a score of 48 – yes, 48%. Out of 100. In an undergrad chem class where I am roughly 10 years older than my classmates.  NERD NERD NERD NERD NERD.)

And yes, there really was a miracle. I can’t quite figure it out except that there were several questions that required only 1 significant figure. So I rounded my answers to the single sig fig, as requested, and even though my entire approach was wrong, my answer was wrong, and my philosophy on the topic was wrong, I managed to put the right answer. It magically rounded to the right number.

And, folks, on a test where it is only the number that matters, and there is no partial credit, I. AM. A ROCKSTAR!!!!! (Said with sincere humility, of course, and praising God for this total gift.)

So on to the final (Thursday). It was an exhilarating morning! 🙂

**Hey – side note 10/1/08.  I “see” in my blog stats a lot of you coming to this post from searches for “phi” or “phi symbol”.  I don’t get it – I can’t find myself that way!  Could you leave me a comment with how you got here with those search terms?  Thanks so much!

_____________________________

OK, this is going to sound a little funny coming off the last post, but I need to say it.

Today, general chem. The guy is trying to talk about light. He does not like to use technical terms so he uses terms like “jiggle” and “wiggles like Jello” to describe the behavior of electron clouds. Whatever. I have sent him at least one previous email to respectfully request that, in addition to whatever weird analogies he wants to use, he also add the technical terms so I can look it up on (insert appropriate source here…I mean, it’s general chemistry. Wikipedia suffices, for Pete’s sake). That worked for the last section (whereupon I produced a…terrible grade). He’s back at his crazy magic again.

(Example: Talking about a building with an antenna on it. He draws a picture of the building, and says, “It has these…err…whiskers on it. Anyone know what these whiskers are called?” I sit there, trying to figure out WTF he’s talking about. ANTENNA. I mean, are we 5 years old? Just say ANTENNA! SHEESH!)

So today. Hot off the heels of Antenna v. Whiskers, we have…the crazy discussion of wave frequency and…I’m gonna screw this one up…Planck’s constant (which he never actually named but thankfully I have taken a little bit of chem before…a VERY little bit) and…something that is denoted by the greek letter, phi. Here is a picture of phi for those of you who don’t know or haven’t thought about this in 18 years:

Now, until I actually looked this up on Wikipedia, I did not know that the little symbol on the right in this picture was ALSO PHI. So I am going to sound stupid here, and then figure it all out in a minute. Let’s just go with the picture on the left (the circle with the line through it). Professor has been drawing randomly shaped Os with lines of various angles (from 45* to 90*) going through them, all ostensibly referring to this character.

(As a side note, I use the circle with a 45* line through it to indicate “no” or “not” in my shorthand notes, but I know this is my own darn problem. It has the potential to be confusing but I am coping with it Just Fine, thankyouverymuch.)

Girl in class: Is the line supposed to be going up and down?

Professor: What line?

GIC: The line going through the circle.

P: Oh, you mean the line for phi? I guess that could be confusing. Maybe I should change that. [Erases the symbols in the equation.] I’ll use f instead.

(Draws some very lazy cursive fs. The fs lack a curly head. They also lack a curly foot, so – I swear – the friggin’ fs look exactly. like. ts. And little t, time, is *also* firmly embedded in this equation.

Me: Those fs look like ts. Since it’s PHI, what about using P instead? [side note to readers: does this not make sense to you?]

Professor, in complete and total exasperation and disgust, proceeds to subtly berate me, comparing me to the person who drove the plane into the Everglades because he was too distracted by the light on the dashboard, and changes the phis back to circles with random lines through it.

Whatever.

*************

Round 2:

Background:

1) I flunked exam. Average was not flunking. Ergo, I suck. I know it.
2) There is no partial credit for any answer. Ergo, perfection is expected, or else you will flunk. I own my total laziness and realize that is why I flunked. Okey doke.
3) Last question on the exam, which I will type out for you:

The rate law for the reaction A + B –> C + D is

delta C/delta t = kexpt (A)(B)/(E)

A suggested mechanism is:

Step 1: (blah blah blah) + H20 –> blah blah blah; rapid equilibrium, noted Keq

Step 2: blah blah blah blah –> blah blah blah; slow step; k

Step 3: blah blah –> blah blah + H20; rapid equilibrium

(Without getting technical, because it’s not all that super relevant, the rule is that you ignore all steps below the slow step.)

Question: Show that the mechanism reproduces the observed rate law. Do this by obtaining the expression for kexpt in terms of the quantities in the mechanism. Be sure to keep the concentration of water, H20, in your analysis.

Keq = _____________________________

It is probably not super evident, but notice that the INSTRUCTIONS ask for kexpt, the little blank spot states that “Keq” is the outcome, and BOTH FRIGGIN rate constants are GIVEN IN THE PROBLEM.

Moreover, the ANSWER HE WANTED was kexp = k*Keq*[H2o]

(Notice anything wrong? Maybe that the answer CONTAINS THE OUTCOME GIVEN IN THE PROBLEM?!?!?

In the middle of the exam, I asked the TA what the heck he wanted. The TA said, “I have no idea. We don’t know. Just answer it for the first sentence and ignore the rest.”

Now, this turns out to be the problem I did best on, but it’s only because it is the only problem they waived the partial credit rule for. At the same time, I spent a good chunk of my life on this problem trying to figure out what on Earth he was talking about.

So, today:

Me: I did very poorly on that exam. Most of it was due to stupid mistakes. [commentary: please note that I am owning my own laziness/stupidity/pride/etc. I am not asking for very much in this conversation.]

Him: Well make sure you understand everything.

Me: Yes, that’s my plan. One thing, the next time you have a typo in your exam, could you maybe make an announcement?

Him, getting flushed: It doesn’t matter. It was Very Clear from the test.

Me: No it wasn’t.

Him: Yes it was! [Getting really pissed.] Look. How could you POSSIBLY think that this could be asking for ANYthing OTHER than kexpt?!?!

Me: I don’t know, maybe because it SAYS Keq and BOTH rate constants are present in the problem?

Him: No, you are just making excuses. [Shakes head. Pissed.] It was VERY clear. VERY clear. YOU had the problem.

Me: All I am asking about is just making an announcement. I wasted a lot of time on this.

Him: That’s YOUR problem.

No, it’s not, mister. Perhaps as an undergrad, I would have just shut up and respected him as an authority on this subject. Authority he may be, but if he’s going to expect perfection in his answers, he needs to have perfection (or at least admit to mistakes) in his question writing.

Am I right or wrong to be so ticked?

This is very random, but I find this funny.

My mom is coming up to visit tonight and we’re going to a wedding tomorrow (daughter of an old family friend. I haven’t seen her in about…15? years? and she’s about my younger brother’s age, so it will be interesting!). Anyway, so I have some dresses that I could wear, but then this dress went on sale and I have a thing for silk taffeta (I LOVE this fabric – it hides every almost every lumpy body attribute) tea-length a-line dresses (I make that sound like I have a lot of those. In actuality, I only have one, and I ended up getting the zipper caught in some fabric so it is out of commission at the moment…actually, it’s probably out of commission permanently) and I really loved it AND I had a gift card AND a coupon to make it even cheaper, so…I bought it. Here’s the cute picture from the store:

Cute, right? (At least I thought so.)

So I got it last week and was too busy to try it on, plus once I saw it I decided that maybe it was too formal anyway. It has little buttons on the back, which adds to its cuteness, but also amps its formality. Anyway, I waited until today to try it on. Man, is it a complicated piece of apparel. It has little (functional!) buttons, as previously noted, as well as a back zipper, but that’s not all. The top half of the dress folds down inside, and it’s held together by a fake boob strap at the bottom (par for the course) as well as a series of little hook-and-eye closures all the way up from the boob-strap to the top of the zipper (on the inside of the dress).

For the life of me, I do not know how a single/helpful roommateless person would be able to pull this sucker off. However, I am always in pursuit of empathy, and I’m single myself these days, so it’s more than empathy, so I started at it. Surely it is possible, right?

The zipper gets caught on all of the button holes, so that was a pain (more than you would think). I finally get the zipper down, pull the dress up, and swing it around so that the whole hook-and-eye contraption was at my bellybutton. I started at the bottom, hooked, hooked, hooked my way up, flipped it up, twisted it around, and pulled it over my boobs. Easy. Then I pulled up the zipper, which, in my 20/20 hindsight, I realize was my fatal mistake. The zipper went up smoothly, and voila! – while the buttons will never be finished, they really are just there for show (although someone would have to close them if I were going out like this), so the dress is secure.

And the boob part is too big. After ALL OF THAT. (Those of you that know me realize that this happens once every…never. My boobs are NEVER too small. I am cursed with massive boobs. I am not saying this as something to brag about. They totally suck. Just once, I’d like to walk into a department store or Victoria*s Secret and buy a darn bra off the shelf. So the fact that this dress, after all of this work, is too big in the boobs is beyond me.)

Upon realizing that the boob part isn’t gonna work, I decided to shed the dress.

Except: wait. Remember how I mentioned that that zipper got stuck on all of the little button holes? (Shouldn’t that have set off alarm bells in my head?) Yeah…

Stuck in the dress now. Seriously. The zipper won’t go down, the dress won’t slide around, and despite the boobage hugeness, the waist fits juuuuuuust fine, so no sidling out the bottom for me.

So now I’m in my slipper flip flops…

(they are so awesome that they also got a shoutout)

…cleaning for my mom, and stuck in my cute black dress (that my boobs are falling out of, not in the way that busty women normally are, but in the way that they MIGHT pull a Janet Jackson slipout maneuver if I’m not careful.)

I thought I’d take a picture so you all can see and share in my stuckedness:

(Me showing my slipper to the computer camera)

(Me trying to show the slipper in a suave way and almost falling over)

OK…I guess I need to go figure out a game plan now. Do I wait until my neighbor comes home at 6, for my mom to come to the airport at 10:30 pm, or try to wiggle my way out of it now? (If ONLY it didn’t fit so snugly on my waist…or if ONLY I had lots of friends who didn’t work…or…)

UPDATE:  I’m unstuck.  I called my neighbor, Jen (no kidding…seriously, EVERYONE I KNOW is named Jen!) who is home with a new baby.  Thankfully she wasn’t napping or feeding and thankfully she was willing to free me.  Thanks, Jen!

Back to cleaning! 🙂

***UPDATE*** Last night, yours truly found out that oil is not the *only* car repair needed on said crappy car – the TAIL LIGHT is out, too!!! Go head, roll your eyes, but this is completely traumatic to me. The person who reported the busted tail light to me offered to help out with the project, which is good, because honestly, I was just not going to drive at night any more. For three months. It’s not that much of a hardship, since Daylight Saving Time (not a typo, it’s actually supposed to be singular saving) ended.
I guess that’s not necessary now. But SERiously. Seriously?!? Tail light, too? I haven’t evolved THAT much!!

I mentioned I’d blogged a lot in my head this past week. One of my funniest head-posts was about our car, a crappy 2002 VW Golf that is outfitted in cloth that closely resembles lint-roller material and causes me to have an OCD breakdown once every few months (where I take a real lint roller and feverishly try to expunge all of the hair from the seats, which stays hair-free for, oh, say, 32.2 seconds), currently smells like stale coffee and wet dog (that’s just today’s smells – I forgot my coffee in there – tomorrow it might be better) and burns oil like it’s going out of style. I wish I had a better analogy for that one, but I just wrote that long Vietnam adoption post and I’m a little spent.

So anyway, our car. It burns oil.

I should preface this with a funny story. When DB and I were dating, we lived in a cold, snowy place. Previously as a car owner, I’d lived in a medium-cold, not-snowy place. The difference between a cold-snowy place and a cold-not-snowy place is that in the cold-snowy place, one squanders a heck of a lot of windshield washer fluid. There’s all this dirt, and salt, and nastiness that flies in the windshield, not to mention that a very liberal use of windshield-washer fluid will actually melt away ice. Did you know that? Yes! So you can sit in your nice, warm, car, squirt squirt squirt, run the blades, and away you go. No need for that pesky scraper.

(I learned quickly that that practice is frowned upon by those who actually care about the wiper blades. OOPS.)

Anyway, so you go through a lot of washer fluid, either legitimately or through sheer laziness.

So my first winter in this cold, snowy place, DB and I were driving along (he was visiting me, so I was driving my car, the very same 2002 VW Golf with the maddening seat cloth, only it hadn’t driven me mad yet), and the little indicator light for a low windshield-washer fluid level illuminated. I exclaimed, “Oh, NO! Now I need ANOTHER OIL CHANGE, and I just got one a month ago!!”

That should tell you about my skills in automotive repair.

I am proud to say that I’m no longer of that ilk. When I get that little light now, I am proud to say that not only do I know that you can buy windshield washer fluid for mere pennies at almost any roadside convenience store, I know where said washer fluid goes. It is, like, total liberty.

OK, scroll forward to last Thursday.

We know my car devours oil. When he’s around, DB takes control of this need, frequently checking the oil level and adding oil as necessary. No problem. Unfortunately, DB is not around, and unfortunately, although he informed me I needed to get an oil change because he’d forgotten to before he’d left, *I* was busy, and *I* forgot to get one.

Thursday afternoon, the oil light flashes (it is a scary red color), makes a totally trauma-inducing noise, and I freak out. DB happened to be on the phone. I shriek, “DB, the OIL LIGHT IS ON!” He replies, “ok, go get some.”

(Doesn’t he remember the field trip to Wal*Greens where we learned how to fill the windshield washer fluid? Doesn’t he remember that he married the girl who procured an oil change to top off basic convenience fluids for her car?!?)

So, the hearty little car owner I am, I go to procure some 5W30 oil. Guess what. That type of oil is impossible to find. So I am crying, cursing him and his lack of foresight to either a) fill up the oil, b) change the oil, c) leave extra oil in the car with a little fireproof sign on the engine that says “pour here”, d) not go away for a 90-day extravaganza in the first place.

Not so pretty.

The happy part of the day was that I befriended a car mechanic who took pity on my 5W30-filled car and loaded it up with his fancy-schmancy oil fountain hose.

The more salient part of my day was that I thought a lot about communication in marriage. You know, I started thinking “What. does. it. matter. if. I. COMMUNICATE?!? He. doesn’t. LISTEN!”

(I really love my husband beyond words; read this as real evidence. This is just a progression of sorts. Plus, he’s not around to verbally process this with me, so blogging is my new marriage. Oh, that was sad.)

Anyway, so I started thinking.

First, he felt terrible about not filling up the car with oil before he left, he told me so, and I told him (happily and graciously at that time, I will admit) that “I’d just take care of it”. Yeah, right.

Second, no one asked him to take care of the oil in the first place. Granted, he does it, and granted, I am thrilled about it, but it *is* our shared car, and I *am* perfectly capable of doing it. So it’s not really a communication breakdown.

Third, well, I probably shouldn’t haven’t blamed him for forgetting how inept I am at car care. (But seriously. Seriously?)

So all in all, after I got to this point, it was a better day. And after the dude put 2.5 quarts of oil into my engine (yup. It’s a small engine. Car freaks out there, be impressed. The oil didn’t even register on the dipstick, which I *did* check myself), the car was happier, too.

The end. (OK, granted, that was not that funny. But the part about the thinking I needed an oil change was funny, wasn’t it?)

P.S. In case you are wondering, cause I realize how this sounds after a night of thinking about it:
a) Contrary to what this sounds like, my dad is handy, my mom is a role model for independence and not-whinyness, and my brother (the one old enough to deal with cars) is also handy. *I* just decided that cars were not my thing.
b) I could decide that cars were not my thing because I grew up mostly in urban areas where there was public transportation. When I went to college, I did have a car, but I just took it in for oil changes and apparently nothing bad ever happened (it wasn’t a particularly luxurious car, but it got the job done with minimal drama).
c) The current car, although it’s not that old, has been a PITA. The starter blew up last year. The windows fell in the doors during a blizzard two years ago. The catalytic converter is busted, and it’s actually under recall, but every.single.time. we manage to go back to the dealer to get it replaced, the stupid engine light turns off, and unless the engine light is *on*, we can’t get it fixed.
d) I’m very self-sufficient in other ways. I swear.

FYI

This blog represents my personal views of a wide variety of topics. Aside from my connection through marriage, I am absolutely in no way affiliated with, informed by, or directed by the FBI, and, as such, the FBI bears no responsibility or affiliation with this blog.

Because I am not affiliated with the FBI, all information in this blog is second-hand information, and is therefore subject to inaccuracies. (Of course, I would never publish something that I believed to be a lie; however, there is always a chance that I will inadvertently misrepresent something.)

Finally, despite what you might expect given my husband's occupation, I am what most people would call a "(flaming, or insert other word) liberal". I gleefully mock the policies and practices of the USG that I consider worthy of mocking. In doing so, I am exercising a fundamental Constitutional freedom. Of course, you are always welcome to disagree (and exercise your Constitutional rights).

I welcome comments and emails.

Thanks!

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