One of those days

ONE ADAM TWELVE, ONE ADAM TWELVE, we've had a Wine-One-One emergency dispatch at 1800 hours. Caller self-identifies as a caucasian female, approximate age 30-35 (heh!), suburban-dweller. She commutes to the city, and shows evidence of foul mood, short patience, agitation and a sense that the universe has conspired against her today.

ROGER THAT, Wine-One-One response is en route with emergency reinforcements, OVER.

That's how my day has been, and I don't mean to bitch but – well, yes- yes, I do. It's my party blog and I'll cry bitch if I want to!

This was the second morning of the new school year and in the interest of fair and balanced reporting, I will say that the day started out fine. The a.m. routine went smoothly today. Peezer was in an unusually good mood. Nobody missed a bus or forgot a lunch. I was even able to catch Metro a little bit early, which was good, because I would have to leave my client early to hustle back to the 'burbs for a follow-up doctor's appointment. (More on this.)

Metro Of course an earlier train means a more-crowded train, and I could see every single eyball in my car roll up into each individual socket when two women – nannies, apparently – each rolled an oversized stroller into the center doors of an older-model car. This detail matters if you know Metro – the older cars have vertical stripper poles grab-bars placed in such a way as to make maneuvering a wheeled bag or suitcase difficult, if not nearly impossible. Never mind a large-wheeled, jogging-style stroller!

The ladies positioned themselves so as to completely prevent anyone from accessing the center of the car to stand. But the real fun began when we got to the busy downtown stops, where most of us were trying to exit. It is not a stretch to say that it was a veritable game of Twister (only with shoes), all of us trying to jostle around Twister the apparently oblivious unconcerned nannies, over strollers full of innocent toddlers (it's not their fault), while keeping our giant briefcases from colliding with heads, knees, or kidneys and avoiding stepping on any toes.

Did I mention, I reeeeeeally had to pee at this point?

I finally Houdini-ed out of the car and made it to work where I crammed as much as I possibly could into a small, four-hour window, accomplishing far less than I'd intended to, owing to meetings that were held to discuss all the work I needed to accomplish and whether my schedule would allow me to spend even more time on work.

At the appointed hour, I grabbed a sandwich, dashed for Metro and had a blissfully uncrowded ride home. I gobbled my lunch while walking from the train station back to my car. Because? No eating on Metro!

Fortunately, I was prompt to my doctor's appointment – a whole five minutes before my 2:30 appointment. And that's why I was so surprised when the office manager said, "Mrs. McCormick? We had you down at 2:00, I'm afraid you'll have to reschedule…" with this tut-tut look in her eyes.

"Um, noooo, I wrote it down for 2:30, I'm sure it's 2:30," I said, at which point I experienced a PTSD-style flashback to the time 15 years ago when I drove 40 miles with a screaming infant Seth to a dental appointment, only to be scolded for being 10 minutes late and told I would have to reschedule, upon which I promptly burst into tears and blubbered about crying babies and bad Beltway traffic. Amazingly, they managed to "squeeze me in" for my routine exam. And that was the last time I ever went to THAT dentist.

But I stood my ground as she pecked at the computer. "Oh, wait, let me check… AHA, yes, I do see it, your appointment IS for 2:30! So sorry!"

Of course you are.

They took my copay and escorted me back and I stripped from the waist down and underwent a diagnostic sonogram to rule out certain things that might cause heavy menstrual bleeding. Oh I know, I'm oversharing. But I just want to say this: Sonograms are infinitely more fun when you can see pictures of a wee, thriving embryo up in there.

When the violation procedure was over, I was told to dress and return to the waiting room, where I would be called back to see the doctor. That took about 10 minutes, but the wait in the exam room took close to 30. I finally poked my head out to see what was going on, when the doctor came 'round the corner, ready to see me. And the thing about her is, although she has run late both times I've visited, she makes me feel like I'm the only patient she has when I'm there. And so I will probably go back for that reason alone.

I just wish I understood why, if they thought I was 25 minutes late they were going to send me away, but they have no qualms parking me in an exam room for that long and then some. Because I get paid by the hour, PEOPLE. I don't work for a trade association accrue oodles of paid sick time to squander on routine examinations or "mental health days." If I don't work, NOBODY PAYS ME. Time is money, and I can pretty much count the money I did not earn while I was wasting time in the exam room. 

Work-life balance MY ASS.

Anyway. I hurried home, hoping to salvage the last two hours of the workday to catch up on all the work I didn't get done earlier. Only when I flipped open my laptop, it wouldn't connect to the DSL. (!) Further troubleshooting revealed that our router didn't need to be reset – it was actually a problem beyond that. This time, anyway; we often have to reset it but that usually does the trick.

THAT would explain the Verizon service tech at the top of our road with his head buried in the gray box-thingy up there!

Because I live near Civilization, I packed my bag and headed out to find me some free WiFi. On the way out the door, I explained to Seth where I was heading.

"MOM. YOU NEED TO GET RID OF DSL! IT'S ALWAYS NOT WORKING!" said Captain Obvious.

OH, thanks, Son. I AM VERY AWARE. WTH do you think I'm leaving for Panera now?

I immediately called Soup Husband Curt and implored that, if at all possible, could he please pick up the Peezer (say what?) (bonus points if you got that reference) by 6:30. No problem, says he. And I proceeded to workworkwork and feel rather guilty that I didn't buy anything at Panera in exchange for their reliable, superfast wifi because their shortbread cookies are truly effin' awesome. And that was all good until Curt called me at 6:08 pm, apologizing profusely but he wasn't going to make it after all and could I please go get Eli? Stupid Beltway.

Oh, sure, he offered to cover so I could go back out later to do more work, but now I'm home and the spaghetti is cooking and WINE ONE ONE is here, first glass of Malbec down, because you know, it's been that kind of a day. And I'm hoping I can catch up on the rest of my work tomorrow because frankly, the wind has completely left my sails and now that I've vomited all of this onto this screen I think Ima going to pour another glass of Malbec because IF A LITTLE IS GOOD, MORE MUST BE BETTER. And don't you even try to argue that point with me because I might have to cut you.

But hey – thanks for reading!

 

Mommy’s Magic Powers

I BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW THAT I HAVE MAGICAL POWERS. It's true. It's not something I like to brag about because if too many people find out, then I'll get all these requests for assistance and really, where would it even STOP? 

There are probably lots of other moms who share my secret skill. And because I like you, I'm going to share with you this little secret. But you have to promise not to tell anyone else, mkay?

Shhhhhh… lean in here, just a little bit closer… that's it…

OK. Now. You see this picture?

Whats really there
That's where my dog goes to eat and drink. The bowl on the left is his food bowl, empty because I took this photo just after he'd eaten. And the one on the right, is his water bowl. Now, if you look closely, you can see there's a small amount of water in there, and if you look really closely, you can infer that it's been there for a while. It's a little slimy, it has stuff floating in it. It's nasty. You wouldn't drink that, would you? Of course not. And neither would your dog. Because even if your dog likes to go outside and roll around in sh*t, he's not gonna drink that.

YUK.

But here's the thing. I am the only one in my whole household who can see that. That's the only explanation for it. There are four other humans in my household, ranging in age from 6 1/2 to 46 1/2, all of whom walk by that area in a corner of our kitchen multiple times per day. But you know what they must see?

Wheres the water bowl

I can only assume they can't even see the water bowl, because I have never known any of them to refill the dog's water bowl without prompting. And even if they are prompted and respond, they usually just fill a big plastic cup with water and dump it on top of the slimy water, which just dilutes the slime and doesn't improve its drinkability.

Sometimes it's just easier to do something yourself than to ask someone else to do it, and that's what I've decided with the dog's water dish. Because who doesn't love a fresh, cold bowl of water?

Full water bowl

Yes, this has rankled for years, but now that it occurs to me that I'm the only one who can actually see the water dish, it doesn't bother me anymore. In fact, I feel rather fortunate to have been blessed with this extra-sensory perception, if you will. It's a gift; I understand that now. And I forgive my family for their puzzled looks when asked to fill the dog's water bowl. They simply can't see it. 

Our little secret, k?

 

I feel the earth move under my feet

WE HAD AN EARTHQUAKE TODAY! In Maryland!! It was reported to have measured 5.9 on the Richter Scale, although it was later downgraded to 5.8. Which is good, because that's exactly what I was thinking as I spazzed the hell out:  No WAY is that a 5.9. Not nearly seizmic enough.

Fortunately, I had decided to work from home instead of going to my client in DC. I'd like to claim I'm prescient, but that would be a lie stretch. I rearranged my schedule so I could sleep in be here when the air conditioner repair man came to my house to conduct the funeral for our 18 year old sell me a new condenser unit. Because we were wondering what to do with that extra FOUR LARGE that was rotting in the coffee can, buried in the back yard.

Last Saturday, we heard a strange rumbling and noticed our lights dimming intermittently. Dumb luck Expert troubleshooting skills enabled us to pinpoint the source: Our air conditioner unit, outside. We turned it off, after which I immediately ran to K-Mart to buy four window fans. 

About an hour after the Nice Man pronounced my air conditioning dead and left me with a quote for a new unit, things started rumbling again. My first thought was: "Dammit! He didn't turn off the unit!" Followed closely by, "WHAT'S GOING TO EXPLODE??"  I ran out into the foyer and spun in circles. I opened the front door, then closed it. By then, Seth, who – amazingly! – was awake, had run into the foyer, too, and told me it felt just like last year's earthquake! Which I had missed because I was in Virginia, visiting Cheaspeake Bay Woman and my other Blogfest pals. But that one was only a 3.6. THIS ONE? Was a 5.9 5.8!

So Seth says, "Quick! Turn on the TV! Check the news!" To which I replied, "You do it – I'm going to Facebook!" And sure enough, friends started posting. I learned that friends in DC/MD/VA had felt it, but also friends in Pennsylvania, Maine, Toronto, Connecticut, New York, Tennessee and South Carolina!

IT'S THE BIG ONE, ELIZABETH!

I carefully ventured out to inspect the damage to my home.  I can report that we are all safe and sound, though we did experience some minor damage:

Askew1 

THAT'S IT. Some things on the wall were slightly askew.

(Please; give me a moment. I'm still…processing.)

If you live in DC, you know the subsequent inevitable mayhem. Office buildings downtown evacuated. Employees were left with no choice but to head home, so they all poured onto the outbound 14th Street Bridge at once, causing major gridlock, THE END. No! I kid! Some of them boarded Metro, which was running at half-speed, just in case there was a buckled rail or something, which means it's taking, like, a whole HOUR to get from downtown out to the 'burbs, and that's if you don't have to transfer.

You know what I'd have done? Found the nearest bar and settled in for an earthquake happy hour!  In fact, after the calamity Event, my nerves were all a-jangle, so I poured myself a mid-afternoon glass of wine. But, ever mindful of the predicted after-shocks, I was careful to select a plastic tumbler. Because I don't feel like cleaning up broken glass.

And that was it; my afternoon was shot. I settled in to drink wine watch the Breaking News. There was DRAMA! MAYHEM! People stopped emailing me. My clients had all closed their offices. Everyone was trying to get home. The afternoon fell somewhere on the scale of a weekday Halloween, which always prompts an unusually early rush hour here, and – God forbid – September 11, 2001, when we all were sent home, struggling to process the morning's events, frantic to collect our children from daycare so we could hug the daylights out of them, even as the late-summer weather was more perfect than perfect. Just like today's.

So there you have it. My first-hand account of our region's biggest earthquake in a century.  It feels a little silly to say it was a big deal, but it was. (Shut up, California people. I'd like to see how you handle a blizzard! Oh wait – we don't do those well, either.)

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go hunker in my bunker pour some more wine and brace for aftershocks HURRICANE IRENE. Because it isn't a month unless we have at least TWO natural disasters.