Thursday, March 19, 2015

Label Me

I have the best husband.

Now, hold on, I'm not getting gushy. I mean, not really. I'll spare you. You're welcome.

Our first Christmas together we were on a pretty slim budget- newly married, he's in school, I'm working two part-time jobs...there just wasn't a lot to spend. I asked for a blanket- a beautifully soft gray woven blanket (with fringe) that I had found at Target. Every time we passed the home furnishing aisle I would reach out and pet it and sigh.

Why must things I want at Target be $35? I feel like this is $20 too many than I want to spend on things.

I spent the rest of Christmas day wrapped up in this blanket- with my generous husband, of course- basking in its comfiness. And when people asked politely what I got for Christmas I don't think they were ready for my response. "Mr. E got me a BLANKET! No, really. I wanted it."
My friends were getting snazzy electronics and designer watches or tickets to that thing they loved and I was happy as a clam wrapped in my blanket. Now I'm not saying these gifts weren't wanted just as much my fuzzy present, and I'll spare you the less is more analogy.

But the real gift was a husband who listens. I probably gave him any number of suggestions or hints for the holidays but his watchful eyes picked up how many times I went out of my way to steer my cart to aisle F17.

This year one of my favorite gifts has been a label maker. Yep. Label. Maker. In my spice cupboard my paprika finally says PAPRIKA, my MESQUITE SEASONING will never be mistaken for BURGER SEASONING again and the ROSEMARY is sitting pretty. Not that that one's hard to mistake...

When Mr. E hopped in the shower I printed a label just for him. A little love note taped to the side of his lamp, right at eye level when he sits down to read with me before bed. All he has to do is turn his head.
AND MY GOODNESS IT TOOK THAT MAN A WEEK TO SEE IT- even with my not-so-subtle hints every night, like, "I have the BEST Husband" (GRINGRINGRIN)

I guess his eyes are just selectively watchful.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

This Time.

I have a habit of doing things too hard. I brush my teeth to the point where my toothbrush frays in submission. I've given myself blisters from mopping and sweeping and most recently from creating crumbs from the crust of old bread. I heft boxes at work all day, slamming them (usually by accident) onto metal carts and groaning counter tops. I trudge through errands in my steel-toed boots after work and I drive with my foot heavy on the gas pedal.

I've come to accept these things about myself and very rarely do I give it a second thought until I'm suddenly confronted by my own surprising softness. Softness at the point of the day when I knew I needed to be the hardest I'd been for the last 24 hours.

We've visited the hospital a lot in the last few weeks- mostly for knee-related issues that are routine and very non-scary. But then came the start of last weekend when I opened the door and was met with a husband-turned-stomach-migraine and we hit the floor running. ER, he needs fluids, he needs anti-nausea medicine, yes, we've been here before, yes we know it sounds awful, isn't there a room? oh, a hallway's fine, he doesn't like bags please give us back our bowl, here, let me interpret his sign language for you, more blankets please?

12 long hours in the hallway by the elevator.

4 IV bags of fluids.

An endless cycle.
And I'm hard throughout all of it- I know how this works, I know how this sounds, I know what to ask for and what to demand and when to tell the Dr how he's feeling and what he needs next and so on and so on. But when we hadn't seen a nurse for two hours despite being right next to the nurses' station and the Dr had left us with a vague admission promise and still I know how this works, that these things don't happen immediately because there is a procedure to follow but communication, ladies, to this tired wife who has kept vigil over her husband in case he should need another tissue or a hand to squeeze. Communication to a woman whose plan this weekend was to rest up because this week was long and hard and there's still a dog at home who's only been out twice today but we're weighing evils and he is so much more important but that doesn't make the guilt any easier. And when a nurse begrudgingly drags herself over here to the corner where we've sat patiently and quietly all I can do is cry because I don't want to leave but I haven't slept in 23 hours and I know I need to go home but she's confused as to why I'm such a wreck when he's pretending to sleep peacefully and I just wish she could have seen me four hours ago when I could have looked her in the eye and shamed her for ignoring us.

Soft when I should have been hard.

Blisters from crumbling breadcrumbs but tears when there should have been words.

Monday, March 9, 2015


It's been a run-ragged type of week. Habit can quickly turn into monotony if I'm not careful and there's just too much on my plate to make that distinction. Then there's life that throws you a curveball, or many curveballs at once and all I can do is sit and blink in a dazed is-this-really-happening kind of way.
So forgive me, sweet Thai waitress, for tearing up as you try so hard to present me with my receipt, perfectly folded in a mason jar with  a toothy grin and a many bows of thanks. Your customer service was a welcome relief after the day I just had.

Forgive me, mighty nurses's assistant, for doubting the influence you wield with the tiny petty people in your way. Worker's Comp representatives who avoid picking up their phones and pharmacists too busy to notice that customers are human and often in serious need of pain meds. Or antibiotics. Or anti-inflammatories. Or all of the above, thanks.

Forgive me, inadvertent couch potato of a husband, for walking back and forth in front of your TV screen more often than I strictly needed. When the going gets tough I clean or I boil myself in the bath for fire cannot kill a dragon.

Forgive me, giant family group text, for not responding quickly or comedically. I prefer to bask in the 168 unread text messages in the morning and know that I am loved- not because of numbers but because of inclusion.

Forgive me, the least sneaky of all my coworkers, for secretly grinning from ear to ear when the FDA entered the room and singled you out instead of me. You answered their questions perfectly and provided me with a great example of how to deal with audit pressure.

Forgive me, friends and family who are expecting cross-state or cross-country visits. Mr. E made the decision to bow out of this round of the Burbank PD application (though he made it to the top 10 out of 800+ starting applicants!) because they needed physical fitness much too quickly for a bum knee. So we're not sure when we can visit- because we could actually be the cause of the shortage of clean water in the world with all the ice we're making.

And to the pharmacists I've dealt with in the last three weeks? I hope your chip bags are always filled with crumbs. I hope your pens run out whenever you need them most. I hope street parking is always full so you have to pay for the garage. I hope someone spoils the ending to all your favorite shows, that you miss all the good previews in movies and that your cup is always filled with too much ice and not enough drink.