Hospital Visit — The Stupid Thing I Did Tuesday

For reasons I’ll never fully understand, but most likely related to a habit of sleep-snacking on crack and tequila, I woke up Tuesday morning and had the brilliant idea to take my kids to visit their grandpa in the hospital.

It’s possible Virginia Slims Man suggested it subliminally by whispering it to me when I was sleeping.  He sometimes forgets how horrible The Beast can be in new situations and it causes him to suggest really stupid things.

Anyway, I woke up Tuesday morning and said delusionally (is that a word?), “Why don’t I bring the boys up to the hospital this afternoon to see your dad?”

And because VSM isn’t with The Beast all day every day and is not reminded hourly that there’s a very good reason that The Beast is called The Beast, he said, “Yeah.  That would be great.  I’m sure Dad would love to see the boys.”

In retrospect, maybe VSM and I both sleep-snack on crack because how could we think that a man who just had a heart attack would find joy in hysteria and mayhem and choas?  It’s not like The Beast is actually a calm, relaxed, obedient child with a really ironic nickname.

Regardless, at breakfast I said to the boys, “We’re going to the hospital to visit Grandpa this afternoon after school!”  The Good One responded happily but calmly as he tends to be very laid back.

The Beast responded by using his cars to replay the entire episode of Bubble Guppies where the Guppies go to the hospital to visit their friend who has a boo-boo.  I like to think this is a sign of genius, but most likely it’s just a sign that he can’t tell the difference between fish and cars.

The Good One headed off to school with VSM.  On the way to dropping The Beast off at preschool, I figured I’d prepare him for the hospital visit and I told him that he’d have to be quiet and he wouldn’t be able to jump on Grandpa and that he’d have to hold our hands and he couldn’t run and he couldn’t touch things and he couldn’t go exploring.

So basically I was telling him he had to suspend every genetic aspect of his personality, and for a brief period of time he had to become a completely different child.

It’s possible I was expecting too much.

At the end of the day, I picked The Beast up from school and the first thing he said was, “We go visit Grandpa at the hospital?”  I said, “Yes, after we pick up The Good One.”  The Beast then said, “I give Grandpa a hug and make his boo-boo go away.”

I admit it.  That was incredibly sweet.  It was adorable.  It was beautiful.  It was not at all beast-like.

It does not change the fact that an hour later he was traumatizing an entire ICU full of patients.  And their visitors.  And the nurses.  And the birds in the trees outside the hospital window.

I feel certain the blood pressures of all the people went up during our brief visit.

So we picked The Good One up from school and headed to the hospital.  Fortunately VSM was able to meet me there so I didn’t have to attempt to control The Beast alone.  We made our way through the maze that is the hospital and found my father-in-law’s room.  (Honestly, if there were a fire in that hospital absolutely no one would make it out alive.  There appeared to be 6,000 wings and only one exit.)

Anyway, we made it back to the ICU with a death grip on The Beast’s hands.  He’d periodically scream, “No, I walk myself!” and then we’d remind him that he had to use a quiet voice.  And really, that just made him want to scream more.

He’s cute like that.

Once we got into my father-in-law’s room, we let go of The Beast’s hands and the child instantly started crawling on the floor.  I have no idea what could have possessed him to do this.  The child hasn’t crawled in ages, yet somehow he instinctively knew the absolute worst thing he could possibly do and he did it.

At that moment I could actually see the MRSA and Ebola entering into The Beast’s body and I reacted with the expected level of horror and fear.  I’m sure my scream made my father-in-law feel very relaxed and happy to see us.

I then screamed at VSM to grab The Beast and disinfect him immediately.  It’s possible that I’m a bit of a demanding bitch.  You’ll have to ask VSM.

After The Beast was properly sanitized and I calmed down and stopped acting like a psych ward patient, we all said our hellos to Grandpa and attempted to visit with him.

The Beast does not visit.

I tried to make him sit on my lap and Grandpa’s lap and VSM’s lap, but he considers that to be a form of restraint and reacts with the appropriate level of anger.  So he’d scream and squirm off of whichever lap he happened to be on and he’d immediately get back on his hands and knees on the hospital floor.

Then I’d demand again that he be dipped in some sort of germ-destroying disinfectant.  Had there been bleach in the room, I would have bathed him in it.  I wanted to pick up the phone and call a 2319 to have the haz-mat team come in and obliterate every germ on The Beast’s body, but I’m not sure that’s actually a thing outside of Monsters, Inc.

This cycle went on for the next 10 minutes.  I asked Grandpa if he had any drugs he’d like to share with me, but the man refused.  He also had no liquor.

Who goes to the hospital without liquor?

There was a couch with a large window sill behind it and The Beast thought it would be fun to stand on the window sill and yell at the birds that were in the courtyard and bang on the window.  We again told him that there were sick people there who needed to rest, but he really doesn’t care if you just had a heart attack and need sleep.  He is going to make the noise he wants to make and if it bothers you, you’re welcome to up your morphine drip and put yourself out of your misery.

I think my father-in-law could see my exhaustion, so he wasn’t that sad when we had to leave after only a 20-minute visit.  It’s also possible he wanted his eye to stop twitching and wanted the throbbing pain in his temples to go away.

I know the feeling.

So we disinfected The Beast one last time and left.  We made our way to the front of the hospital and VSM took The Beast into the bathroom to wash his hands and disinfect him again.  (Have I mentioned I have a thing about germs?)

And from the women’s restroom I could hear VSM yell at The Beast, “Do not touch anything!”

The Beast obviously saw that as a dare and chose to touch something else and VSM lost it. “WHEN I SAY NOT TO TOUCH SOMETHING, YOU DON’T TOUCH IT!!”

This made me smile.  For once I wasn’t the one flipping out.

The Beast never does well in new situations.  He wants to explore and touch things and figure things out, and when he can’t do that, he explodes.  I don’t know why I thought a little lecture about being quiet was going to change that.

I do know that that I need to stop sleep-snacking on crack.


Fear — An Unfunny Post

As I already mentioned, my father-in-law is in the hospital.  He had a heart attack.

Fortunately, he’s doing very well and is expected to make a full recovery.  He has to have a small procedure on Thursday and should be home by the end of the week.

Thank you all for your well-wishes and prayers.

His heart attack has got me thinking about death, even more than usual.  And if it’s okay with God, I’d like to put forth a formal request to avoid death if at all possible.  If that’s not possible, I’d humbly request to go out in a completely unexpected blaze of pain-free glory at the age of 85.

I’d also request that my husband be with me when I die.  Not that I want him to die, mind you.  But I’m pretty sure that he wouldn’t be able to go on without me.

I’m THAT awesome at the whole wife thing — if you discount my sucky homemaking skills, my utter disregard for Virginia Slims Man’s feelings and my complete lack of libido.

I don’t know if you can tell from my posts, but I’m incredibly neurotic.  I’ve mentioned that I’ve been in therapy for OCD before, but I’m also a hypochondriac and I really just worry a lot.  I worry about things that you probably haven’t ever even thought of before.

I’ve already mentioned my fear of getting rabies from the dust of decomposing animals (You thought I was kidding, didn’t you?) and my fear of aluminum cans, but I’m also afraid of brain-eating amoeba and will not allow my children to swim in a lake.  My sons will probably never go away to summer camp because I’ll worry about the amoeba. I’m not too fond of the boys swimming in swimming pools, either.

Can I be honest with you?  I don’t even like it when they bathe.  A while back, a couple of people got the brain-eating amoeba from using their Neti-Pots without first boiling their water, so now I’m convinced my kids are going to snort bathwater up their noses and get the amoeba.

Can I be even more honest with you?  Since I read that story about the Neti-Pot, I haven’t put my face under the shower without first holding my nose.  I’ve been holding my nose in the shower for three months.

Sweet Peter Paul and Mary, I might be crazy.

I worry that one day I’m going to eat a peanut and have an allergic reaction even though I’ve been eating peanuts my entire life without any sort of problem.

When I order food at a restaurant, I always try to pick the items that I think are the least likely to poison me.

I worry about getting hantavirus from rodents and often tell The Good One that Satan will be shoveling snow in Hell before I let him have a rodent for a pet.

I worry about simple bumps on the head being fatal.  I worry that when my kids grow up and go off to college, they’ll drink so much alcohol that they’ll die from alcohol poisoning.  I plan to scare the actual crap out of them by showing them stories of young adults who die from drugs and alcohol.

Me:  This is what will happen if you drink too much alcohol.  Your brain will drown and you will die.

The Good One:  I think I just pooped my pants.

Me:  My job is done.

I worry that The Good One is going to have a cardiac event while playing soccer.  I worry that every pain I feel in my legs is from a blood clot.  I worry that The Beast is going to choke at school and I won’t be there to save him.  I worry that I’m going to have an aneurysm when I’m at home alone with The Beast and that he’ll be by himself and won’t know what to do.

I worry about getting breast cancer.  I worry that people are lurking in the grocery stores and poisoning the food.

I worry about carbon monoxide poisoning and I travel with a detector.  If I forget to bring my detector with me, I make Virginia Slims Man stop at a store on the road so I can buy one.  I currently own 7 carbon monoxide detectors.

VSM is a saint for staying married to me.

I worry about getting MRSA from the equipment at the gym.  I like to think that the guys at the gym are watching me because I’m hot, but really they’re just watching me soak the treadmill with antibacterial wipes to the point that it’s nearly short-circuiting from the wetness.

I hate to fly.  I haven’t flown in years.  I’d like to go to Europe but I’d have to catch a ride on a shipping barge to get there.

I really don’t know what the point of this post is.  And I almost hate sharing this, because in addition to this far-from-complete list of things that I’m afraid of, I’m also afraid of becoming a victim of irony.

I don’t know when I became so borderline nuts. (You’re thinking, The borderline ship sailed long ago.) I think it was after we adopted The Good One, but I’m honestly not sure.  My family would probably tell you that I’ve always been nuts, but I don’t remember being so consumed with fears when I was younger.

I’ve been given medication but I’m afraid to take it.  (Surprise!)

I spend a good portion of my life trying to avoid death.  But considering my father-in-law is an incredibly healthy, active 75-year-old man who had a heart attack, I’m thinking we’re all going to die anyway.

So maybe I’ll try to let go of some of my fears.  Maybe I’ll eat out of a can that has a small dent.  Maybe I’ll eat peanuts without having Benadryl ready to go just in case my throat swells shut. Maybe I’ll stick my head fully under the shower water again.

If I get the amoeba, I’m going to be so peeved.

Stupid Math

Disclaimer:  If you are a teacher/educator of any kind, this post is not meant to offend you.  If you are an education Nazi who is somehow involved in the ridiculous crap I discuss in this post, then I’m actively seeking to offend you.  And your mama. 

Believe it or not, I wasn’t always the genius I am today.

Hard to believe, I know.

When I was in the third grade, my teacher called me up to her desk and told me that I was doing so poorly on the multiplication tests that we took each Friday that if I didn’t bring my grade up on the next test, I was going to fail math.

I was (and am) a nerd and immediately went home and made my mother take me to the store to buy flashcards so that I could memorize my times tables, as they were called then.

Today they probably call them “graphical illustrations of multiplicatory mathematics” or some other name that demonstrates that in the effort to make the children in our country smarter, we’ve really just added a bunch of smart-sounding but meaningless words and a butt-load of unnecessary steps that serve no purpose.

(I’m a little bitter right now.  Bear with me.  Or don’t.)

Anyway, I got my flashcards and sat in bible study with my family and memorized the hell out of some times tables.  Even back then I knew I was memorizing the hell out of them and felt a little guilty for thinking hell-ish words in a bible study.  Regardless, there was some multiplication ass-kicking going on and I was a freaking memorization ninja.

I went to school on Friday and scored a perfect 100 on my math test and never had a problem with multiplication for the rest of my school career.  Told you I was a genius.

I struggled a bit more with Trig (can’t remember how to spell the whole word and too lazy to look it up) and once had a meltdown the morning of a test because my calculator kept getting all of my sine, cosine, and tangent calculations wrong.  So I went to my teacher and told her that my calculator was messing up and she told me that I was just a stupid moron and wasn’t using the calculator properly.

Let me just say that since that class in the 11th grade, I have never needed to know the sine, cosine nor tangent of anything.  I actually don’t even remember what sine, cosine and tangent are.  And I honestly don’t even know what Trig is the study of.

So, really, who’s the moron?  Me, a highly unsuccessful, unpaid blogger who is read by literally tens of people every day, or a woman who made her living teaching people antiquated skills they will never need again?

Let me get to my point now that I’ve gone off on this tangent.  (Nope, not the same tangent.  At least I don’t think it is.)

The Good One is now in the third grade, and they are working on multiplication of double digits, but I swear to you on The Pioneer Woman’s dog’s life, they have never worked on their single-digit multiplication.  He has never brought home a single homework sheet or quiz that had anything to do with multiplication.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday The Good One brought home this “Multiplication Circuit” that they worked on in class.

Have a look-see.

What in the name of Mary Queen of Scots is this?

What the jack is going on with the lines and the dots?  Are these the units and rods mentioned on the right?  Does a simple question really require so much flipping artwork?  And are our children really so stupid that multiplication questions have to be dumbed down to the addition of dots and lines?

After The Good One showed this to me I said, “This is the stupidest way of doing math that I’ve ever seen.”

He said, “I’m telling my teacher you said that.”

He’s such a narc.

The old-fashioned multiplication problem on the left is my handwriting.  I wrote that on the paper and asked The Good One if he’s ever seen multiplication problems written like that, and he said, “Never.”

Now, if this ridiculously long-handed way of doing multiplication actually helped The Good One get an answer correct, then I’d be all for it.  But watch what happens when he’s asked the same question in a different order.

He got the flipping thing wrong!  Hella lot of good those stupid rods and units are now.

I realize that The Good One made the mistake, but is all of this really better than making the kids learn the single-digit multiplication factors and then teaching them to carry the one?

I said “carry the one” to The Good One and he looked at me like I was speaking Hebrew.

The Good One said that to solve math problems they have to use their “strategies.”  I have no idea what a strategy is.  I also have no idea why a simple math problem would require a strategy.  It’s not like it’s war.

General:  What’s 12 x 8, Soldier?

Soldier:  Well, Sir, I’m going to employ my strategies and figure that out for you.

General:  Be quick, Soldier.

Soldier:  It’s going to take me a few minutes because I have some rods and units to draw and then I’m going to have to add them together because I never learned how to multiply.  Then I’m probably going to have to double-check my addition because if I don’t draw the correct number of rods and units, I sometimes get the answer wrong.

I wonder if my frustration with the way kids are being taught today has to do with the fact that I waited longer to have kids and the gap between the learning styles has just gotten so wide that I can’t make up the difference.

How can I help The Good One with his homework if I don’t understand what’s expected?

I often wonder if my mom and dad felt the same way when they looked at my homework when I was a kid.

Mom: [To Dad] Would you look at this?  She’s expected to memorize all of these “times tables.”  What the hell is a “times table”?

Dad:  What?  She can’t use an abacus? How are we supposed to help her if she can’t use an abacus?

I guess I’m going to have to break down and teach The Good One his times tables myself. I should have put him in private school the minute I realized our school district’s literacy coaches were a bunch of illiterate Nimrods.

I certainly don’t blame The Good One’s teacher for my issues because I know she’s doing what she’s required to do.  And if you’re a teacher, you may be able to tell me that there’s a perfectly logical reason that kids are taught to do multiplication this stupid stupid stupid way.

However, if you were in any way involved with the determination that it takes four steps and half a page of hieroglyphics to do a simple math problem, then you’d better hope I don’t ever meet you in a dark alley because you and I will throw down and I will take a “rod” and stab you in your “unit.”

You’ve been warned.

March Madness, or The Period Each Year When All The Men In America Are Celibate

Does your boyfriend, husband, significant other get involved in March Madness?  Of course he does.  He has testicles.

I’m pretty sure that men make some sort of promise to God that if they don’t watch March Madness, regardless of their previous disinterest in college basketball, they will forfeit their testicles.

I don’t know how the forfeiture of the testicles would occur.  Maybe a horrible shaving accident where the razor slips out of their hand, falls into their underwear and severs their testicles in one fell swoop. Or maybe it’s a horrible lawn mower accident where they trip over a running mower and it just eviscerates their testicles.  Or maybe there’s some sort of supernatural castration that occurs.  Like instead of the Death Angel, there’s a Castration Angel that enters the homes of everyone that doesn’t have a March Madness bracket printed out and posted on the front door.

Regardless of how the actual testicle-ectomy happens, the potential loss of one of their favorite body parts is the only reason I can imagine for why men would become so consumed with a sport that normally wouldn’t interest them to such a severe degree.

Virginia Slims Man is actually a pretty good guy to be married to when it comes to sports-watching.  He loves football, which I also love.  (Go Steelers!)  He likes basketball (professional and college if it involves Texas) and tolerates baseball and whatever that one is that they play on ice.

Kidding.  It’s ice dancing.  He tolerates ice dancing.

One of my brothers-in-law is a rabid sports fan.  I mean foaming at the mouth, feral maniac about sports.  He watches every sport that is televised.  Doesn’t even have to be televised in America.  If it’s a foreign sport but he can get an internet feed, he watches it. If it involves a ball or a disc or a stick or men wearing similar clothing, he watches it.  And he doesn’t just watch it, he knows everything about it.

He’s the idiot-savant of sports. The man can rattle off every fact from every sport from every country since the beginning of time.

He knows about how Neanderthal Man used to play football in a cave, only back then it was called [Grunt] and the ball was just a giant stone, and if Neanderthal Man scored a touchdown, he would clunk a woman over the head with the stone ball and take her back to his cave and make her his wife.  This is the origin of the modern-day touchdown celebration, only, fortunately, it is now frowned upon to clunk a woman over the head with a stone and force her to be your wife.

He can tell you how many hits Jesus had when he was playing stick ball with the Apostles on the dirt roads of Jerusalem in 29 A.D.  (Jesus had a perfect batting average.  He was Jesus.)

He can tell you which sports the San Bushmen play and he can translate their calls into English even though the San Bushmen speak entirely in clicks.

San Bushmen referee:  Click-click-clickety-click.

Brother-in-law:  See, that ref just said that Click-clock was over the line of demastication and he has to tether the ball to his right foot using a cow’s tail and run a mile backwards as a penalty.

But in every other aspect of his life, my brother-in-law is a moron.

Kidding.  Kind of.  He’s got some moronic tendencies.  He can tell you who won the World Series in 1963 and who they played and who batted last and which teams that person played for throughout the history of his career, but he once thought the blood he saw in his urine was just Kool-Aid because he had been drinking a lot of Kool-Aid.

You know, because your pee changes color with the beverages you consume.

Not even kidding.

Virginia Slims Man is not that bad in comparison.  So it always throws me when at the beginning of March he starts panicking because, as he says, “I need to do my brackets.”

“Doing my brackets” sounds like a very important architecture-y thing, or maybe orthodontic thing, but it’s really just looking at the teams that he hasn’t followed all year and guessing who’s going to win.  What he needs to say is, “I need to go pay $20 to make some completely uneducated guesses.”

Then when he finally gets his brackets done, he prints them off and carries them around with him everywhere he goes.  He takes them to work.  He watches T.V. with them.  He takes them to the bathroom.

He starts carrying my laptop around with him so he can check the status of his brackets on a moment’s notice.

And he starts talking about colleges that I’ve never heard of before and whose existence I actually doubt.  I’m pretty sure Gonzaga is a Muppet.

Then he starts talking to me about things that I care less about than how bunions are formed or what bile is made of or why paper factories smell so bad.

The other night I walked out of the bedroom into the living room where he was sitting on the couch with his brackets and my computer, watching three basketball games at one time.  How he doesn’t have ADD is a mystery to me.

Then we had this conversation:

VSM:  Man, did you see that?  That guy has had nine three’s tonight.

Me:  I’m sorry.  I realize that all of the words you just said to me are in English, but the question is nonsensical.  First, you assume that I am able to look at the T.V. and absorb information when you’re switching the channels at a speed that I would characterize as violent.  Then you assume that I care that this player for a school that I’m certain is imaginary made nine three’s tonight.  Seems to me that if he’s that good, he should make every shot he takes.  Now excuse me.  I’m going to research what causes bunions.

I’m pretty sure I could enter the living room wearing only strategically placed bandaids and VSM would ignore me during March Madness.

I’m going to try it tonight.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Just to be on the safe side, I’ll probably keep the razors and lawn mowers away from him for a while.

There’s not a damn thing I can do if there’s a Castration Angel.

Sleep Differences, or Why I’m Probably Going to Kill Virginia Slims Man.

I think I’m probably going to have to kill my husband. (You should already know that from the title of this post.  If you didn’t figure that out from the title, you need to go read something else because I’m going to use big words today and you might not be able to keep up.)

(God, I apologize for the bitch-factor. One paragraph in and I’m already being insulting. It’s really just due to exhaustion and I’m unable to control it.)

Back to Ginny Slims…I’m either going to kill him or make him sleep in another bedroom, because our sleep habits have become completely polar-ly diametrically totally absolutely opposite and it’s making me a raging psychotic bitch.

Right now my husband is reading this and thinking, “You were already a raging psychotic bitch,” which is true, only now I’m ragier and pscyhotic-ier.

VSM and I used to be pretty in sync when it came to sleeping.  But as we get older and his sleep habits become more stupid, I’m having a harder and harder time dealing with it and I dream of driving a stake through his heart.

Is that awful?  Normal?

In ages past, we would actually go to bed at the same time.  He’d watch T.V. for a bit while I read, then the sleep timer would turn the T.V. off and we’d both go to sleep.  Normal.

More recently, I started to go to bed a little bit before him to read, then he’d come to bed right about the time I’d be about to go to sleep.  He’d turn on the T.V. and set the sleep timer for 30 minutes, but because he’s a raging narcoleptic, he’d fall asleep in 27 seconds, so I’d have to search the bed for the remote or listen to and be annoyed by the glow of the T.V. for the next 29 minutes and 33 seconds.  The sound of the T.V. was usually accompanied by the sound of his snoring.  And on those nights that I’d reach for the remote, he’d wake up and say, “I’m watching that.”  And I’d say, “Unless you snore when you’re awake and have evolved into a being with see-through eyelids, you are not watching that.  You’re sleeping.”

This change bothered me to a degree, but we still managed to sleep together without me dreaming of ending his life.

But last night VSM switched to a whole new M.O. and this is why I think his end is drawing nigh.  [Doesn’t sound so bad when I put it in Bible terms.  I think that’s Bible terms.  Might be Shakespeare.  Or maybe it’s Twilight.  I don’t know.]

After we put the kids to bed at about 8:15, we sat on the couch to watch T.V.  At approximately 8:30 p.m. VSM was asleep and snoring.  I decided that I’d rather leave the room than listen to him snore, so I went to the bedroom to read.

At about 10:00 I decided to go to sleep.  At about midnight, VSM woke from his narcoleptic slumber and came to bed.  Now, it would seem logical to me that since he left the living room where he was sleeping on the couch and walked to the bedroom, that his intent would be to go to sleep in the bed.

But that is not how it works.  He is incapable of falling asleep without the T.V., so at midnight, apparently rejuvenated by his 3-hour nap, he turned on the T.V. and began watching a show that I can only assume was actually seeking to induce photosensitive epilepsy because our bedroom lit up with flashing blue lights and I felt like I had just woken up in a disco in Hell.

So since my husband decided to wake me up with convulsive T.V., I had to go to the bathroom, because regardless of the amount of urine in my bladder, if I’m awakened in the middle of the night I have to pee or I won’t be able to go back to sleep.  This is one of the great mysteries of aging.  This and why the hair on my face grows at a rate that is visible to the naked eye but the hair on my head falls out in clumps.

As I was walking to the bathroom, I believe the words “What fresh hell is this?” and “dumbass” and “kill you” might have escaped my lips.  I think VSM could sense that I was upset, so he turned the channel (did not turn the T.V. off), but I was already awake and angry and couldn’t fall back to sleep.

So this morning I informed VSM that if he can’t figure out a way to fall asleep without the T.V., he’s moving to the other bedroom or I’m shanking him.  And “shanking” is not a euphemism for bow-chicka-bow-wow.  I’m actually going to forge a knife out of some blunt object and drive it through his body.

And all the women who agreed said, “Hell, yeah!”