Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Conversations with my Brain.

Me: This is easy, it’s basic algebra. I get this.

Brain: Lets not learn this, it’s boring.

Me: Ok, solve the following equation using the Quadratic Formula...

Brain: But there’s so many numbers here.

Me: It only looks complicated. Pay attention: x is equal to negative b, plus or minus the square root of b squared minus 4ac divided by 2a. Make sense?

Brain: I like purple.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

College is fun! (She said only half sarcastically and not without a significant amount or irony considering her current track record with the world of Academia)

   Classes have started back up again and everyone knows what that means- I get to spend every other day on campus, immersed with other inquisitive minds as we all support each other in our mission of the glorious pursuit of knowledge to better ourselves and others in an all encompassing effort to eventually change our world!
      Just kidding. It means I get to spend every other day shoved into poorly ventilated classrooms trying to stay awake while half the class frantically scratches notes and the other half plays Angry Birds.

   The good news is it's only been two days and I already have enough blog material to last a few months. Since I still have to work enough hours to pay my bills and still have enough free time to sleep, eat, and occasionally do homework, I'm only a part time student this semester.*  But I'm taking a math class that after two hours is already a comedy goldmine.

            *And probably every semester until the end of time since I just don't see my financial situation/academic motivation changing in the near future.
      I'm also taking yet another Art History class....... I have nothing funny to say about Art History because it's awesome. Seriously, I think I have a Cathedral Fetish. Is that a thing? All I know is every time I look at Gothic Architecture my heart rate skyrockets and I get all sweaty in the palms.

Check out them flying buttresses... 
Hey Beautiful, what I wouldn't give to see your blueprints..
Is that a fleche on your trancept or are you just happy to see me?
I can do this all day folks...

   anyway, even though I have to beg, plead and bargain just to keep my 20 hours a week at work, I still have to work 5 days a week. I may suck at math, but I know for a fact that it's possible to work 20 hours in four days but whatever I'm not telling anyone how to do their job.....
     The point is, as of last week my schedule looks like this:
          Monday: work
          Tuesday: classes
          Wednesday: work
          Thursday: classes
          Friday: work
          Saturday: work
          Sunday: work
          Monday: work.........and so on until the world ends or Christmas break occurs*. Don't worry, I'll still blog, God knows I've got enough material just from the obnoxious girl sitting in the front left corner of Math 120. Just be understanding of the fact that, while I'm generally good at handling stress, I tend to have at least one nervous breakdown per semester.
   They usually occur about two thirds of the way through and last about a week in which I will not leave my house, call my mother in tears at least once a day, develop cancer and/or a gluten allergy and convince myself that God is telling me that I was meant to sit on the couch and watch SVU reruns while eating peanut butter straight from the jar until the day I die.

         *I really like Christmas so I'm rooting for it, but some people seem pretty convinced Earth isn't going to make it to Halloween. This sucks because I was promised a trip to a haunted corn maze this year.

    So there may be a short period of time in late October/ early November where I will either go off grid completely or this blog will suddenly become a discussion forum for Law and Order episodes originally aired in 2003. Just thought I would warn you so it doesn't take you by surprise.

    But until that time, look forward to a smattering of anecdotes on college life mixed in with the usual ramblings.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

How I Might Be a Little Bit of a Cry Baby- An observation of the events leading up to and recovering from a non-lethal injury.

    Yesterday as I was walking up the stairs to my bedroom, as I do at least five times a day, (mostly because I like naps) I smashed my hand into the railing. The railing that has been there as long as I have lived here ( so about a year since there are lease papers currently sitting on the kitchen counter with instructions to sign them).
   This sort of thing is just part of my daily life and most people's lives, (Right? Right you guys?) so I have learned to use the first few seconds of numbness that you have before your nerve endings are able to communicate to your brain just exactly how much pain you are in, to assess the immediate damage.
    It is important to point out at this time that because your brain is trying to decode frantic shrieking from your nerve endings, it makes slightly less urgent messages from your retinas it's last priority, which tends to affect the aforementioned assessment of carnage.
    As I attempted to prevent blood from staining the carpet and/or my top, I finally ascertained that a portion of my thumbnail* had been completely ripped off, exposing that sensitive area underneath that, once exposed, reacts to open air much more like your insides than your outsides. What I mean is, it hurts like hell.
            *closer inspection several hours later revealed that it's a much smaller portion than originally thought, or than my hypochondria-tic Facebook posts led my friends to believe.**

            **That doesn't mean it doesn't hurt, only that there was a lot of blood and I am a total drama queen. 

    Since I am ironically lacking in proper first-aid materials, I had to settle for the ever popular "poor man's band-aid" of Kleenex and tape that my father was so adept at (I don't think it's because we were poor but rather because when you have four kids and one of them scrapes a knee you don't really feel like hauling them all to Wal-Mart just for a Little Mermaid band-aide). 
    If you have ever ripped off a fingernail you are one of the unfortunate few who know just exactly how dis-proportionally painful it can be considering the surface area. It hurts to even bump things with it, even the opposite side, no matter how much padding you add. In order for the rest of this post to really work, you have to be able to visualize the current state of my thumb.
    I am not quite as talented my friend and fellow Blogger who can produce great sketches in just a few minutes, but I present to you a two minute sharpie-sketch entitled The Current State of My Thumb.

P.S. That nail polish is purple, not blue. Blue is so tacky.

   Hopefully this has helped you understand how gross my thumb is and why I can't even use it without experiencing a (I might be exaggerating this a little) horrible searing shooting pain up my forearm.
   I don't even know how people who actually lose a whole thumb make it through a day. I applaud all the thumb-less humans in the world (I don't count people who were only born with one thumb, their bodies just naturally adapt). I could mention all the people missing serious appendages such as an arm or legs, but that puts my personal issues into perspective and not only ruins this whole post but exposes me for the giant Cry-Baby I really am.
   Anyway, here is my list so far of Everyday Activities Made Practically Impossible Without the Use of Your Left Thumb.*

              *I don't even want to think about how much longer this list would be if it was my right thumb in the bandage.

     1. Putting in Contacts
                 - it's fine until the contact flips inside out. It takes two thumbs to correct that problem.
    2. Shaving right arm-pit.
                 - just don't shave. Trust me. it's nearly impossible to safely hold a razor with no thumb.

    3. Putting on a bra.
                  - That clasp is tiny. I recommend sports bras.

    4. Buttoning jeans.
                  - "I hurt my thumb" is not a viable excuse for wearing sweatpants to work, but it totally should be.

    5. Cracking an egg.
                  - what started out as poached eggs ended up as crunchy scrambled eggs, and not before a few casualties occurred on the counter. My dad can crack eggs with one hand, but he possesses both larger hands and more dexterity.

   6. Texting.
           - I have a full keyboard on my phone that requires two thumbs to use. This discourages texting and driving, and in today's case, texting altogether.

   7. Putting earring in right ear.
              -Not impossible, but more difficult.

   8. Putting backing on earring in left ear.
              - See: above.

    9. Carrying 6 bags of groceries in each hand.
              - had to make two trips. Not from the store.. just from my car to the front door. Which means I'm lazy, but you're all right there with me.

   Thankfully I hold a fork with my right hand or this list would be so much longer. I made it through today (barring any complications during dinner, also I anticipate removing my contacts will also be an issue) but it has left me pondering how long the healing process of a simple fingernail could possibly be. I don't think it's that long and here's why: 
     I have a very clear memory of my little sister losing her toenails when she was three or four. We were holding on to opposite ends of a rope and swinging each other around the living room (centrifugal force is, and always will be, one of the easiest and most delightful forms of human entertainment). Her foot scraped against our rock fireplace, removing four toenails. I remember clearly that is was disgusting and she screamed for hours. She screamed especially hard when our mom applied the band-aides to each one of her tiny toes- a pain I can now understand.
      To this day it is one of my most vivid childhood memories. But it stops there. I have absolutely no memory whatsoever of the following recovery period. Did it hurt to walk? Did her nails grow back quickly, or did the skin just become accustomed to air and stop hurting? It must not have taken long to heal or I would have memories of her crying while the band-aides were changed, wouldn't I?
     Either that or at three years old my sister was already less of a baby about this sort of thing than I am now. That's probably it.  


How this week got better.

Remember how I wrote that post about inspiration in regards to winning the internet? Behold..

That's right. The Sassy Curmudgeon knows I exist. That's all anyone needs really.
If you don't believe me the proof is right here.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

An artistic interpretation of my current emotional/mental state in regards to everything from my employer to the fact that I haven't had a chance to go grocery shopping in over two weeks and have nothing in my pantry but some sliced almonds and a can of spaghetti sauce.

Is he yawning or screaming? I'll give you a hint: it's quite possibly a little of both. Hopefully next week will leave me feeling a bit more like the comfortably happy pig.

P.S. A real post is totally on it's way and I'm going to have to come up with a better stalling technique since I'm running out of animals I could successfully cartoonize.

Monday, August 15, 2011

We Apologize for the Convenience- The variety dilemma.

    Choices are bad. Variety is almost never a good thing for humans and yet America thrives on it. Our entire economy is centered around the idea of variety as a means to individuality.
      "Oh, you bought a Ford Escort too? Well, mine is Mint Green is your's Mint Green? No? Well then that makes mine different because I'm an individual." *
           *This conversation has just made the owner of a new blue Ford Escort tickled by a tiny feeling of regret for not selecting a more individualistic shade at the dealership.

     People now spend hours every day making choices that weren't even an option twenty years ago. When you finally do decide on something there is always this nagging feeling in the back of your mind that you have made the wrong choice and will soon regret it. Variety does nothing but breed malcontent and competition. Which in a capitalist country serves us just fine because it turns out there are enough idiots around to fall for it every time.
    At work we used to carry two toasters: one that did two slices and one that did four. They were both stainless steel, the same brand, and did the one thing toasters are meant to do: Toast things. I had this conversation about five times a day:
   Me: "Hi what can I help you find?"
   Customer: "A toaster please."
   Me: "Here are the toasters, do you need a two slice or a four slice?"
   Customer: "Oh a two slice will do nicely thanks!"
   Me: "No problem, have a nice day!"
End of conversation, everyone is happy. Occasionally there is some hum-hawing over the two/four slice issue, but they are always comforted by the assurance they can exchange it for the other one if they change their mind.

  Yesterday I had an entirely different experience. I was stocking coffee and heard someone shuffling around in Kitchen Appliances. She sighed dramatically about four times before I finally discovered her standing in front of our Wall-O'-Toasters with a discontent expression on her face.
      I could tell she was going to have a problem with anything I said, (sometimes they just have that look) so I took a few seconds to give myself a tiny silent pep-talk that usually goes something like this: You can totally handle this without stabbing someone in the eye. It doesn't matter what happens next, you are younger, smarter and have a moderate internet following. She cannot take your soul if you don't make eye-contact for too long....

    Me: "Hi! What can I help you find today?"
   Customer: "I'm looking for a toaster."
    Me: "All of our toasters are on display right behind you. Are you looking for a two slice or a four slice? Black, white, silver, red, pink, green, self-timer, auto shut-off, bagel settings, french bread settings, defrost settings, or safety settings.?"
    Customer: *sigh* "Is this all you have?"
    Me: *twitch* "Of course not! We have a much larger selection online that I would be happy to pull up! You can pick something out and we can ship it directly to your house. Are you looking for  something in a cute pattern? Maybe one that looks like an animal? Would you like it to toast a design onto your bread? The Yankees logo perhaps? Or our very own Colorado Rockies logo?" "
   Customer: "Well I don't want to wait for it to get here,(they never do) I need a toaster NOW you see...."
    Me: " Hahaha I totally understand, I mean, you have to have your toast in the morning right? Well would any of the ones you see here work? Look this one comes with toast tongs!"
   Customer: "It's just *sigh* I don't really like any of these. They aren't really my style you know?"
   Me: "Well Mam, I think it's going to come down to whether you want a toaster that really screams "you", or if you want toast in the morning." *Nervous giggle as I hope she thinks I'm funny. She does not.*

  She left disappointed, off to yet another retailer in hopes they would have a toaster that was more her style, available for purchase that very moment.

      Capitalism can be wonderful (we definitely wouldn't have so many different kinds of chocolate without it), but it's also quickly ruining the human race.
    Sure it would be cool to own this toaster, but not at the expense of my sanity. Also it doesn't have all the right settings.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Fluffy Tragedies: How my parents let my pets teach me about life.

     The other day at work I overheard a woman telling her friend that her son's  hamster had just passed away.
      "It was horrible!" she whined, "I have never seen a dead animal up close before. He wanted me to bury it but I just threw it in the trash because I didn't want to look at it."
     While pets are great for teaching children responsibility, they also teach another very important lesson: Acceptance of death. Every parent should know not to buy their child a small furry animal unless they are prepared to perform a backyard funeral in the not too distant future. The smaller and cuter the mammal is, the quicker and more tragic it's inevitable death will be (dead snakes are rarely mourned to the extent of a dwarf rabbit). Keep this in mind at the pet store.
      While small fluffy death is a horrible thing to experience firsthand, I also believe it is a great way to teach kids about the circle of life so as to prepare them for it in the future. Animals are a great way to have several different big talks with your children. My earliest memory is the death of my dad's golden retriever/fishing buddy Joshua, and I believe that experiencing something that powerful at such an early age helped mold me for the better.
      My parents jumped onto the "life-lessons through pets" train right from the start and I have to admit that while sometimes the experience was not pleasant, between my three siblings and I our family has performed countless funerals and learned some very valuable lessons.

    Example: Our first rabbits were named Flopsey and Mopsey despite them being males. When six year old me brought Mopsey home he was sweet and cuddly, but he turned violent and bitter not long after I named him. He became hell-bent on escape and eventually succeeded. Since he was so nasty to me I eventually gave up catching him and he lived out a short life in the alleys of Silt, Colorado.
        Flopsey on the other hand retained his sweet nature but never really got the hang of being a boy. He never defended himself and was never sure what to do when put in front of a sexy girl bunny.
   Life Lesson: Boys with girl names rarely end up as well adjusted adults.

    Example: Flopsey had a tenuous friendship with our beagle/basset mix. They spent hours in the backyard playing chase, trading off and on who was doing the actual chasing. We always assumed they enjoyed it until one day Flopsey suffered a heart attack as a result of all the excitement and passed away mid-bound.
    Life Lesson: There is such a thing as too much fun.

   Example: After Flopsey passed away our parents decided the miracle of life would be better expressed through female rabbits. My sister and I ,then 11 and 7, were gifted with two more bunnies. They were sisters and had the relationship to show it. They shared the same hutch and spent their time alternately grooming each other and trying to rip each others ears off until we finally had to separate them.
   Life Lesson: The relationship between sisters is always the same regardless of species.
  Example: One night a wild rabbit broke into the hutches and had some sexy time with our precious pets. The resulting pregnancies were stressful for everyone. We considered taking them to the vet to get tested for diseases, and finally resolved that we would love those babies no matter who their daddy was.
          Half of them died soon after birth for unknown reasons and Clover and Molly became sullen and resentful of each other and their unwanted off-spring.
  Life Lesson: One night stands are unhealthy and rarely end well. 
                     STD's are no joke.
                     Never choose misters before sisters.

  Example: We had a male rabbit named Nibbles who was sweet and kind and never hurt a fly until one night we forgot to return him to his hutch and he spent an entire unsupervised night in our backyard. The next morning Nibbles began to show signs of unrest. He fought his return to domestic life and began to bite. By the end of the week he was in a full on rabies rage. He ripped through his wire cage into the backyard and began attacking every living thing he saw. My mother tried beating him over his tiny fluffy head with a broom handle but only succeeded in ruining her broom.
              Nibbles was eventually transported to a wooded area on the edge of the Colorado River and set free with a cardboard box and pile of food, to survive as long he he could in the wilderness he longed for. We are pretty sure he made it at least 24 hours before being devoured by a fox.
   Life Lesson: Be careful what you wish for.

  Example: We bred rabbits several times and while Molly always had a small number of healthy babies that were impeccably cared for, Clover had several large litters of small sickly animals. She never seemed to take to motherhood and often kicked her children our of the nest until we had to foster them all with Molly who nursed them back to health and cared for them as her own.
   Life Lesson: Some bunnies just shouldn't be parents
                       Only have as many kids as you're prepared to feed.
   Example: My sister obtained an over-sized gerbil that had a knack for escape and a tendency to bite. She was dubbed Houdini and everyone eventually became too afraid to touch her. At first she seemed perfectly happy with this lack of attention and spent her days chewing on toilet paper rolls and running purposefully on her little wheel. Then one day Houdini snapped, chewed her own tail off and bashed her brains out on the wall of her cage.
   Life Lesson: Everyone needs human contact or, some bitches be crazy. (interpret how you wish)

  Example: In middle school I had a sweet little hamster ironically named "The Beast". She developed a brain tumor soon after I brought her home and began suffering from seizures. They got so bad that I would spend sleepless nights listening for telltale signs of tiny, fluffy spasms, and I would often have to recover her limp body from her water dish. Every seizure ended with apparent death. She would stiffen up, tongue hanging out, eyes rolled back, and every time I though this was truly the end. But eventually she would recover, often nursed back to life with an eyedropper full of warm milk, only to relapse days later. I spent every waking minute in constant stress and worry.
    Then one day she stiffened up and her body cooled to what my parents agreed was a temperature finally safe for burial. I interred her as quickly as possibly to avoid any horror in the event she suddenly gasped back to life.
  Life Lesson: Sometimes bad things happen to good hamsters for no reason.

   These are but a few of the many examples I have from my childhood. There were many, many more tragic deaths before, during, and after each of these stories. My parents will never be able to do any serious landscaping in the backyard without accidentally exhuming at least a few beloved pets.
    Regardless of the pain, tragedy, and thousands of tears cried over the bodies of creatures of varying sizes and species, I will always be grateful to my parents for letting me experience life and death at such a young age. I know people who never had pets and I believe they are the worse for it. Everything I know about life I learned from my parents, and the countless fluffy tragedies they allowed to take place right in front of me.