Category Archives: Hypochondriac-ism

My doctor wouldn’t know a brain tumor if it was growing right out of my skull

Luckily I don’t have a lot of time. Because if I did, I would probably spend a good 4-5 days a week at the doctor’s office because God knows that I am a very sick person who just doesn’t have proof of it yet.  My company gave us a week off between Christmas and New Year’s so I seized the opportunity to make an appointment with my doctor.

I told them I wanted to come in so that the doctor would give me something for my skin so that I wouldn’t have zits all the time.  I think it’s a cruel, cruel world when a 35 year old woman has to endure big ass zits on her chin and jaw line all the time even while on the Pill that is supposed to help acne.  I’ve already written about all my major issues around this before, but it bears repeating that my hormones are fucked up and because of it my face is a hot mess.  And I’m SO done with it.  So I’m willing to try whatever it is he can give me to make this all stop. And stop now. And soon.

But between the time that I made that appointment and the time it actually took place, I have had multiple reasons to believe that I have a brain tumor in its earliest form.  Here is the evidence, and you tell me if this doesn’t SCREAM brain tumor:

1) I love Pitbull.

2) I was on a plane and all of a sudden my vision got all blurry and sparkly and I couldn’t read my Kindle because my eyes couldn’t focus right. After about 20 minutes it went away, but isn’t that totally, “WTF?” material?

3) When I exercise (I know! I have begun exercising for the first time since 2002 because I paid mas dinero for a Disney cruise in February and I will be forced to spend significant time in a bathing suit) my left ear feels all stuffed up and it feels like there is water in there. I hear buzzing and beeping in there too.

4) Sometimes I wake up with a headache. It usually goes away after a few minutes, but I’m not a headache type of person even if I did polish off 3 or 4 glasses of wine the night before, so it seems unusual.

5) I have started to spell things wrong. I’m just typing emails and I’ll spell words completely wrong that I would never do otherwise. So I mean, Whoa! That sucker must be getting large  if it is enough to impair my generally impeccable spelling. (Although I will admit I never spell knowlege right – I forget the damn ‘d’ in there all the time.)

So as you can see, when taken all together, those symptoms show irrefutable evidence of a stage IV brain tumor.

I decided that if I actually came out and told the doctor I wanted a brain MRI, he would probably resist me,  so I thought I would give him the incontrovertible evidence of the brain tumor that I have carefully cataloged above and it would be so obvious that the next step was to do a brain MRI just for the physical evidence of the tumor.  You know, people like ideas better when they think it is their idea, so I figured I could easily get him to this conclusion on his own.  I mean, it’s quite obvious to me and I don’t even have medical training.

So the day arrives and I have carefully rehearsed my whole list of symptoms so that the doctor will see the gravity of my current health situation.  This is how it went:

Doctor: So you’re here about your acne?

Love: Yes. Well, originally, I was and we need to discuss that, but I have other concerns now that I think I should talk to you about.

Doctor: Like?

Love: Well, I have begun to work out and when I do jumping jacks, my left ear feels like its all plugged up…

Doctore: Well, let’s have a look-see… *comes at me quickly with that light-up teepee instrument and puts it my ear* Everything looks clear.  Are you having trouble hearing?

Love: Well, sometimes my kids say stuff when we’re in the car and I can’t really hear them over the music I’m singing along to.  I just nod and pretend I do. But I have no idea what they’re saying.  I just hope I’m not agreeing to be a room parent or something scary like that.

Doctor: Hmm. Well, I can give you a referral to an audiologist if you would like. He can give you a hearing test.

Love: Well, there is some other stuff.

Doctor: Like?

Love: Well, I was on a plane the other day and my vision got blurry and when I closed my eyes it was all sparkly instead of black.

Doctor: Hmm. How long did that last?

Love: Like, 15 or 20 minutes. But it made me very uneasy and I couldn’t really read my Kindle during that time, so it was very weird.

Doctor: And have you had anything like that since?

Love: Well, no….but that was two weeks ago. It could happen again any time.

Doctor: Hmm. Well, maybe go see your ophthalmologist about that.

Love: Well, and I’m not spelling as great as I used to.

Doctor: What?

Love: Well, I tried spelling ‘disintegrate’ the other day and I just totally fucked it up.

*doctor’s eyebrow goes up*. FINALLY! He is starting to grasp the gravity of the situation.

Doctor: You feel you aren’t spelling well?

Love: Yes. That is exactly what I’m saying.

Doctor: Hmm.  So about this acne? Your face looks a little dry. But I can see some of the cysts.

Love: I’m sure I’m hormonally imbalanced. I don’t want to be on the Pill but if I get off of it my face will erupt in the angriest *air quotes* cysts *end air quotes* you’ve ever seen.  It is crappy.

Doctor: Well, sometimes that happens. Nothing topical can really help the hormone induced acne, but I could give you some topical antibiotics and a referral to a dermatologist.

(Does this fuck know anything? He has mentioned every kind of specialist except the one I need, which is the McDreamy neurosurgeon.  I’m starting to lose patience).

Love: Okay, but maybe we should do blood tests or — I don’t know — maybe some sort of procedure just to be safe about what might be happening.

Doctor: Hmm. *he types furiously on his computer* So I’m going to write you a script for the antibiotics and some Flonase for the ear thing.  I’ll also give you the number for an audiologist, dermatologist, gynecologist for the hormones and I’m sure you have an ophthalmologist?

Love: Well, don’t all of these things I’m telling you…you know, when taken together…suggest something? I mean, I’m no doctor but they all seem like maybe something in my brain could be wrong?

*Doctor chuckles condescendingly*

Doctor: I don’t think what you’ve told me suggests that at all.  Your ear is plugged, you have acne, once your vision was blurry and sometimes you spell a word wrong.

Love: *desperation is setting in* WAIT! I forgot to tell you I have headaches some mornings. And I never have headaches.

Doctor: Some mornings? How often? How long do they last?

Love: I don’t know. Maybe three times a week? They last about 10 minutes.

Doctor: What is your pain level and where is the pain?

Love: Well, its kind of hurty. And its in my head, like I said.

Doctor: Do you take Advil for it?

Love: No, because it usually goes away before I have time to take one.

Doctor: Hmm. My nurse will be in to give you your scripts.  See those specialists and we’ll work through these issues.  Have a great New Year!

Love: Wait! But wait! I mean, you don’t seem concerned that I may have a…..a…..BRAIN TUMOR.  (It was time to spell it out for this ass clown.)

*doctor LOLs and backs away toward the door*

Doctor: You’re funny. Have a nice day.  See you in six months? Hope the antibiotics work on the acne…

Love: (mutters under my breath) Dude, I may not be alive in six months. Thanks for nothing.

Maybe I should’ve told him about Pitbull too. Maybe that is where this all went wrong but I just couldn’t trust that he would understand the significance of that data.

So here I am. MRI-less. With a brain tumor (probably) and all I can do is write this blog and then when my brain collapses in a couple of months I’ll have this entry to show everyone “I told you so!”. But then I’ll die and I won’t really have time to tell my doctor about how terrible he is for missing such obvious signs.  I bet if Oprah was his patient he wouldn’t have taken this so lightly.

But I do have a Plan B.  I’m going back to my psychic in February and although it is her policy not to tell you that you have cancer if you do, I think I can get it out of her if the dead people are corroborating my suspicions.  Dead ancestors don’t lie.

And by the way, my zits are still here and my ear is still plugged. So much for modern medicine.

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Tater tots nearly killed my family – don’t let them kill yours

Seriously – my husband, my children, my dog and I narrowly escaped death two days ago, and all because I was trying to cook up some nutrient-rich vegetables, namely tater tots,  for my children. But actually that is only the middle part of the story, so let me try to rehash what happened with my remaining brain cells which have not been altered forever by this unfortunate mishap.

Okay, so we’re planning to paint the kitchen this weekend, and by “we”, I mean BD.  BD is very methodical person, so he has been readying the kitchen walls by fixing any holes and spackling and sanding and cleaning and other stuff to get ready for the big painting day. But BD is incapable of doing anything without first removing all items from a room before he begins his work.  He and I could not be more different on this point. I say, leave everything as it is and throw a tarp over it and do whatever you have to do.  He says, take out EVERYTHING in the damn kitchen, including shelves, rugs, the 800 random papers magneted to the refrigerator, and anything necessary to cook anything.  He gets his way since he is doing all the work.  We’ve been married long enough that I no longer ridicule his methods, because at the end of the day everything gets done just so and he does a good job. Oh, and because it gets me nowhere.

While it’s a pain in the ass to have all the kitchen clutter now cluttering the dining room,  I was secretly overjoyed he didn’t remove the microwave. Seriously, it made my day. I’m not sure why that appliance was spared, but THANK GOD. But now he’ll probably read this and be like, “Why didn’t I remove the microwave?! Perhaps I should”. And then I’m S.O.L. But actually I’m pretty confident I’m safe because he has a reason for everything so I’m sure that he weighed the pros and cons carefully and there must be some reason it remains. Maybe because 50% of his diet consists of Hot Pockets and he might starve to death without the microwave.  I digress.

Okay, so my kitchen has been all fucked up for the week, which I’m actually pretty okay with because then I have so many more excuses to just order in.  I loathe cooking, so it’s working out really well for me.  But Wednesday I felt guilty because I hadn’t made anything in a while, so I wanted to do something really fancy.  So out came the frozen chicken nuggets and nutritious tater tots.  The nuggets are supposed to be cooked at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  The tater tots, on the other hand, require a temperature of 450 and must cook for 16-18 minutes.  I’m not trying to brag or anything, but it takes a very experienced cook to bake both of these foodstuffs on the same cookie sheet in a single oven at the same time and have them turn out awesome, like I can.  So it was a really fancy dinner, like I said.

Okay, so I decide to preheat the oven to 425, the average of the nuggets and tater tot recommended heating temperatures.  Oh SNAP! See, how that just happened? Now I’m giving you all of my closely guarded culinary secrets. And this isn’t even a foodie blog, but look at all the super tips you can learn!  But seriously, this isn’t for the novice. It may take you a few tries to get it just right. Just be careful.  Because you might wind up killing your whole family, as I almost did.

So when I turned on the oven it wasn’t but 20 seconds or so when I smelled something a little funny. I couldn’t really figure out what it was, but I know that BD put a new drywall patch in behind the stove, so I thought maybe it was kind of heating up for the first time and giving off an odor.  Instead of checking out my hypothesis, I just shrugged my shoulders and took my place on the couch to watch the Polar Express with my kids for the 573rd time since December 15.  Looking back on this, I don’t think just shrugging my shoulders was the appropriate response.  However, I cannot change the past, so…my bad.

Okay, so then about 10 minutes go by and my dog starts running around in circles and kind of being annoying and just as I begin to chastise her for this weird behavior, two alarms go off.  One is the oven alerting me that the oven is preheated.  The other is the carbon monoxide/fire detector.  My first thought is:  “We have a fire detector in the kitchen? That’s awesome. How safe are we? I must give BD a fist bang for his thoroughness”. Yes, though all objects used to cook or serve food with were missing from the kitchen, he did not remove the fire detector.

I quickly snapped out of the blissful mood caused by this discovery because the fire detector going off isn’t usually a sign of good things.  I run into the kitchen and there is a weird fog in there and it smells pretty gnarly.  I hadn’t even put the damn food in yet, so what could be causing this craziness?  I throw open the oven and – Holy. Shit.

You know those plastic tub things with a matching pitcher to put beverages in that they give you at the hospital? I don’t know if we’re the only ones who took ours home after each of the boys was born, but they make really good vomit bins (I’m pretty sure that is their sole purpose in the hospital?) or soaking tubs for other stuff. Well, one we use for the first purpose, the other one we use for pre-soaking our dishes.  Apparently it must have been in BD’s way, because he decided a good place to put it would be the oven.  Not the dining room with the rest of the shit. In the oven, on the top rack.

And now. Now it was melting all over the racks and dripping plastic into the bottom of the oven.  “HOLY SHIT!” I screamed, not only for the sight in the oven, but from the toxic cloud that came out of it when I opened the door.  BD ran in at that moment and he too exclaimed “HOLY SHIT” (though it would have been more original of him to drop an F-bomb. Just saying.) and it quickly became clear his mission was to save our oven from being ruined with melted yellow plastic all over the bottom.

Okay, so to recap, I try to make tater tots but in the process I cook a 13″ by 9″ by 5″ plastic bin at 425 degrees instead. And then my kitchen kind of resembled what I can only guess Chernobyl looked like minutes before it spewed radioactive waste all over Russia. The smell!! Oh my God. My eyes were watering and my throat became raspy.  Luckily, even a fire alarm and two swearing parents did not seem like a good enough reason for my sons to avert their eyes from The Polar Express and they didn’t come running in to inhale the nastiness that used to be the oxygen in my home.

BD immediately got down on his hands and knees and started scraping the oven while the plastic was still hot.  I stood there swearing and repeating several times that I didn’t think this was good. Nope. Not good at all.  I managed to open all the doors and windows to let the snow and 23 degree air in to ventilate the house.  Then I did the most important thing of all – I Googled “burned plastic fumes danger” to see if I might get a hit or two.  I read the first few things that came up and everyone was pretty much in agreement that either cyanide or deadly dioxins or carbon monoxide was being released into the air and that me and my family were about to die.  If not immediately from asphyxiation, then later from cancer.

Fuck. So then I told BD that we had to evacuate the kids and the dog and ourselves. “You go! I’ll stay! Save yourself. Get the kids!” He yelled, valiantly.  He’d be damned if he’s going to leave and let that plastic harden on the bottom of the oven.  “No seriously, YOU are getting cancer right now!  You may already have it. The Internet said.” That didn’t move him. “You are about to die of carbon monoxide poisoning! By the time you feel it, it will be too late. We’re all going to die if we don’t leave soon!” That is about the time when he decided to finally abandon the oven, but it was more because he had already pretty much cleaned the whole thing up — it just happened to coincide with my promise that we were all about to die.  After we pried the children away from the TV and quickly put on their boots, coats, mittens and hats (so like, 20 minutes later) and were sheparding them out of the house, I had a great idea for dinner.

Oooh! It’s free pie Wednesday at Baker’s Square! “Honey, can you go back in there and get our gift certificate? We should just bring the kids there for dinner and by the time we come home, maybe the carcinogens will have left our home and traveled into the atmosphere and then we won’t have to worry about them any more!”  He went back in the cancer fog and got it. And we went to Baker’s Square and got our free pie. And thankfully, nobody died. But we probably will all have cancer in a few weeks. I’ll let you know, but I am being responsible and taking out more life insurance on BD stat.

When we got home, it still smelled terrible, but the chemical smoke/fog was no longer there. I think most of the dangerous chemicals probably just adhered to most of the surfaces in the kitchen and were no longer in the air anymore, so I figured we were safe.  Except there on the counter were the lonely, forgotten tater tots. On the cookie sheet, looking forlorn, just waiting to be cooked.  And I thought to myself: “I could save these, right? Just put them back in the bag and freeze them up? I’d hate to waste nutritious vegetables…”, but then I remembered they almost just killed my whole family.  And there were more in the freezer. So I threw them away. But not without some regret.

The time in Australia when I almost got murdered by drunk wild boar hunters – The Finale.

In this final episode, I eventually get to the part about my almost-murder by the drunk Australian wild boar hunters. Let’s recap:

I am too drunk to know to say “no” to participating in the “Outback Rainforest Adventure” during my visit to the Great Barrier Reef in Part I, then the tour guide rips off his clothes and goes swimming in a rainforest waterfall pool in an Australian flag Speedo and I get all hot and bothered by it in Part II, and that was just the first day of this whole unfortunate trip.

I really want to remember every last activity we did the whole three days because they all sucked in their own way and because I revel in complaining, and it would be fun to tell you all about them in detail. But I only remember the very worst moments.  So I’ll just have to stick to those for the finale of my Outback adventure tale.

Okay, so the second day starts and Dundee herds all of our hungover asses into the Outbackmobile (this is the new name for our vehicle – since I can’t really describe what it was) and he tells us that we’ll be leaving the rainforest and entering the Outback. I was delighted to be leaving the rainforest behind, because I thought my chances of survival were significantly greater the further we got from all of the poisonous small things that wanted to kill me in the rainforest. But I wasn’t sure about the whole Outback thing. The closest I had been to the Outback prior to this was the Steakhouse, which, let me tell you is as beautiful to me as Oprah herself. I mean, you can order thick, fat steaks and pick them up in a drive thru after 20 minutes? Fucking genius.

So I had high hopes for this thing they called the Outback. Perhaps there would be cute kangaroos throwing colorful boomerangs around that happy Aboriginals dot-painted especially for them. Oh, and an old Aboriginal dude playing the didgeridoo while the koalas sat in a tree unobtrusively eating leaves or sleeping. That would captivate me for about 5 minutes, which is a very long time for me, so it looked like a ray of sunshine was in my future.

That is not what the Outback is like.  The Outback is possibly the most boring landscape in the entire universe. I’m a Midwestern girl, so I thought soybean fields were about as boring as a landscape could get, but no. The Australian Outback is the worst. Even the desert beats the Outback, because it’s all mystical and stuff and there are cliffs and canyons for you to fall off of, so it packs in some drama too.

Not the Steakhouse

See what I mean?

So anyway, Dundee drives us into a landscape much like this one above and stopped the Outbackmobile in all of this nonsense and we had to go have a “look-see”. This is what Dundee called it when we were about to get out of the vehicle and wander around aimlessly. I hated look-sees. You would just walk around and get sweaty and look at dirt and a bush here and there and be like “wow. a fucking bush. awesome. where the fuck are the koalas I was led to believe Australia was rife with?” Dundee was animated. To him, this was all fucking awesome. Again, he was so like the Croc Hunter. He was jumping around with his machete bouncing up and down on his hip pointing out these huge ant hills and animatedly explaining how exactly the ants make them. He’d get down on his hands and knees and ogle the ants’ handiwork. I mean these things were about a foot or two off the ground, which is hella bigger than the ones you find on suburban sidewalks so I guess they were impressive compared to that, but they weren’t the fucking pyramids or anything. Dundee seemed to think they were the work of the gods.  Really? I mean, it’s a fucking two foot hill in the middle of nowhere. And plus, there aren’t any ants or termites or whatever crawling all over them, which was good, but creates too little drama to make me care.  I never got the five minutes of captivation I was so looking forward to.

So we had a day long look-see in the Outback and all we saw were these ant hills all over the place. And there was a little rocky hill thing we climbed too. And by “we”, I mean everybody else. It looked pointless to me. And maybe like it would cause me to sweat more than I was comfortable with. So I just sat at the bottom rolling my eyes and being annoying and scanning the horizon for killer koalas or at least some boxing kangaroos. No luck.

Okay, so then it starts getting dark and Dundee brings us back to the Outbackmobile and he declares that this is where we’ll camp tonight! Ummm – surely you jest? There aren’t any tents in the back of the mobile! How are we going to camp? Dundee informs me happily that we’re “sleeping under the stars – didn’t you read it in the brochure, Love?” No I didn’t fucking read it in the brochure.  I think we established if I had, I would be at a club chugging a Strongbow instead of in the middle of BFE with a Speedo-clad, machete-carrying, Steve Irwinesque tour guide.

And, even if I had read the brochure, aren’t there supposed to be tents? No. We were going to sleep in “swags”, which are kind of like sleeping bags, except instead of being soft and snuggly, they are made of heavy duty canvas and they are kind of shaped like coffins and you’re supposed to zip up your damn head inside them. And that is where I am supposed to fucking sleep. I mean, he didn’t even put a tarp down under the swag. It was like, unroll the swag and just put it on any dirty dusty spot and get in. Oh, and by the way, they don’t breathe at all, so get naked or you’ll probably sweat to death. The FUCK? Dundee was all about getting naked. And in places where a multitude of insects could claim any of your orifices as their own swag. Um. No thanks.

So this is where I have a little mental breakdown. There is no toilet. No shower. No bed. No alcohol. No McDonalds. Nobody, for miles, except us and Dundee. And I’m completely freaked out because I am sure that something or someone is going to attack me as I sleep. I mean, everybody knows that dingoes eat babies in Australia. So whats to stop them from trying to eat my arm? And how unnatural is it for people to just sleep outside under the stars? Are you kidding me? That’s the whole reason we fucking evolved – so that we could live in cool urban lofts with central air and skylights so we could see the stars in our temperature controlled, insect and psycho-free abodes. Why do so many people have such a huge problem with the great indoors?!  Who was going to keep me safe?!

Dundee’s machete. Thats who.  At least that was what he was telling me while I was on my knees screaming to God and tearing at my greasy hair. His machete was pretty big. And by now I was convinced he wasn’t going to kill me, though I was sure that he wanted to. Many times. He told me that he had some chocolate if I would just come back to the fire he built so we could have dinner and tell stories. It was blantantly clear I wasn’t the first hysterical woman he had talked off the ledge.  I was hungry. And I needed chocolate. So in tears, I returned to my friends and the British couple and we sat around a fire as Dundee cooked our dinner. I was still ruminating about how maybe I should spend more time sober so I wouldn’t agree to these insane “adventures” ever again, when suddenly from very far away, we saw headlights.  In the middle of the Outback. We were nowhere near a road. I thought that perhaps God had heard my prayer and sent Ed McMahon with an oversized check to deliver me from this hell. I started jumping up and down, elated. I was sure that I was being saved. It was the only logical explanation of what could be happening.

Dundee looked very concerned. That bastard wants to see me suffer, I told myself. He’s pissed Ed McMahon found me all the way out here. The tenacity of the Prize Patrol in this case was impressive. Those guys just wouldn’t be deterred once they found their winner, even though she is sitting in the middle of the fucking Outback. It was really very moving.  But, then again… We were kind of far away from civilization. And I didn’t know if satellite would reliably work that far away from civilization and it wasn’t really prime time in the US yet, so if they did it now most Americans would miss my glorious moment.  Plus, it would be really expensive to bring Ed’s makeup person all the way into the Outback. Maybe it wasn’t Ed.

The headlights were making zig zags all over the place, but seemed generally headed in our direction.  Now is a good time to remind you that at that time, cell phones came packed in briefcases and were used by about .8% of the population. We had no communication channels to civilization, so whatever was going to happen was going to happen without the benefit of 911. Dundee got up and started pacing. He told us to be quiet and not to talk to whoever it was and he then turned on the Outbackmobile and shined the headlights in the direction of the speeding vehicle that was barreling toward us, presumably so they wouldn’t run us over.

We started to panic a little. Our normally jovial Dundee broke out in a sweat. Apparently this part wasn’t in the brochure. Who the hell was in that car, and what the hell were they doing driving around in the Outback at night?  The headlights keep coming closer and we kind of all huddle together having no idea what to expect, but my hopes of it being the Prize Patrol were diminishing every second the lights came closer. No way Ed McMahon would drive that fast and erratically. Only somebody completely tanked could be driving.

Let me say it again. Only somebody completely tanked could be driving. Aw fuck. Lindsay Lohan was only 10 then. So who the hell was this?  The truck was upon us and our campfire within two minutes. Probably less. Dundee continued to pace nervously, and he took his machete off his belt in anticipation.  We did not have to wait long to find out who was driving. Two men, who I can only describe as extremely hillbilly-esque (they had no teeth – I swear to God), half rolled, half fell out of their jeep. But their messy dismount from the jeep did not affect their ability to hold their rifles.  At first they appeared to be very happy drunks.  They were laughing and wheezing and wanted to know who we were and what we were doing.  Dundee said we were having a look-see and camping.  He inquired about what they were doing.  I couldn’t understand a damn word they said, but I found out later they were looking for wild boars. They were wild boar hunters. Wild. Boar. Hunters.

Ummm….whaaat? Nobody said anything about the possibility of wild boar, let alone their hunters. They wanted to know if we had beer.  Believe me, fellas – if there were any beer, you would find it all coursing through my veins. Instead, I had more than my share of adrenaline flowing through them at that point.  Drunk hillbillies with guns scare me.

Two of my friends on the trip were from New York and LA, and they are whispering that we’re all going to die.  They were pretty sure that these guys were going to open fire at any moment.  I found it pretty ironic that the whole time we were in Australia, the Aussies would ask my friend from LA whether it was safe to go out on the streets in LA because of all of the drive by shootings. Hollywood makes LA look like the killing fields.  They thought Chicago was probably safe because the mob only killed everybody back during prohibition. We thought it was hysterical. But now the tables were turned and three chicks from LA, NYC and Chicago respectively were never more frightened than when faced with random drunk wild boar hunters.

You know how they say you get a “fight or flight” reflex in a situation like this? Now I know I’m a flight person. My goal was to get shot dead running away because there was no way in hell I was going to get myself raped by those two mother fuckers and then killed. Nope. I decided that I much preferred to get killed right away. I told my friends I’d take the first bullet. You know, for the team.

A heated argument seemed to erupt between Dundee and the hunters. They wanted to sit with us and be friends, but Dundee told them they weren’t really invited. Their initial joviality faded and then they seemed to be telling Dundee something along the lines of “Well see, we have guns and you only have a machete”. A pretty solid argument for how sloshed they were. But Dundee kept them talking and at a semi-safe distance from us.  Then one of my friends declared “They’ll kill Dundee first. And then they’ll rape us all and kill us. We’re so dead.” We looked at the guys we came with and asked them if they were going to stand for this. Like maybe they should back Dundee up or something. You know, act like men. They said the hell if they were going to get into the fray. Those guys were big, dumb, drunk and armed. I think their plan for escape was to run while we were getting raped. Pussies.

As Dundee and the hunters argued I was able to reframe the whole situation and kept thinking about whether it would be worse to be shot dead by these guys or to sleep under the stars in that coffin/swag thing. I was leaning toward the former (I seriously was) when suddenly the guys got back in their truck and peeled off into the night.  Wait. What? I was still alive and unraped? Whoa. That was heavy. Dundee came back and told us who they were and what they wanted. He wound up having to buy them off with some of our food. Good thing for me that Dundee was such a skilled negotiator, because if they had asked for one of the women,  I would’ve been the first one Dundee gave away.

I asked if maybe it would be best for us to drive to a hotel. Dundee said we’d be fine. Those guys weren’t coming back. Yeah, right. With all these naked coeds in swags? They’re totally coming back to rape us. I lobbied for us to forfeit our adventure and hightail it to Cairns. Dundee wouldn’t hear of it. He was back to his old self. Gleeful in my misery.

Eventually I had to get into the swag. But first I had a few questions for Dundee:

What if it rains? It won’t rain.

It doesn’t rain here? What if a pack of wild boar comes? No worries.

What about all those ants that built those big pyramid things? There won’t be many insects. Just get in. And take your clothes off or you’ll die of heat.

The hell if I was going to get naked. I had never had crabs and hell if I was going to get them from a “night under the stars” in a cheap swag in the Australian Outback.  I zipped myself in and the gross BO smell was overwhelming, and as promised, it was hot as hell, so I opened it just a little for some air. And I fell asleep.

Only to be awakened in the early hours of the next day by a very large drop of water which fell on my forehead. The fuck? And then another one.

“DO. NOT. TELL ME IT IS. RAINING. ON MY HEAD.” I said this as loudly as humanly possible, without having it turn into a shriek.  Oh yes. It was raining. My declaration woke the rest of the group.  I quickly unzipped the swag to sit up and start bitching more, when my eyes focused on two, no three, no FOOURRR!!! ant-like things that were bigger than a baby’s arm crawling on top of my swag. “HO-LY-SHIIIIIT!”

“I hate it here! I hate Australia! I hate you, Dundee! This is ridiculous. Get me the fuck out of here! You said it didn’t rain? What the fuck is it doing right now? We almost get shot last night and now there is some sort of fucking flash flood in the Outback and these fucking ants want to eat me. I HATE YOOOOUUUU! I hate this! ALL of this! I have never been more miserable in my entire life!” (If this story ever gets made into a movie, only Meryl could handle this complex character. Only she has the power to accurately convey the powerful rawness and the depth of my soul at that poignant moment.)

Dundee shrugged and smiled and said that we should fold our swags up and get in the Outbackmobile.  He was going to take us to a horse farm, then an Aboriginal village and then we were going to a pub. And then we were going back to Cairns. You know when you are fighting for your life, like you fall into any icy river, and your body conserves all the blood and gives it to your heart and lungs and brain and you have this intense focus to stay alive? Thankfully that is what happened to me in that very moment! My survival instincts finally kicked in and my brain focused on the word “pub” and I lived. Thank God Almighty. I lived.

It rained all morning.

The horse farm? Smelled like shit. Like I suppose most horse farms do.

The aboriginal village? Um, it was like going to the projects. We got to hang out with people who hate white people for ruining everything for them and then making them paint boomerangs and didgeridoos so that they could get some money from us so they could use the money to go back to being drunk again.  Awesome.

The pub? Glorious. And I kicked Dundee’s ass at darts. It felt good to be back in my element.

And then we got on with the rest of our vacation. And I lived to tell the tale.

SO…now you know what not to do in Australia.

You’re welcome.

The time in Australia when I almost got murdered by drunk wild boar hunters, Part Deux

If you’re just joining me, I highly suggest reading Part I, because its important to grasp how fucking clueless I am before you go any further AND how I got myself into this awful mess in the first place.

Okay, so I left off where we were just leaving on our “Rainforest Outback Adventure” for three days, with a guide who was a 30 year old Crocodile Dundee/Steve Irwin type.  A true caricature of every Australian stereotype one could imagine, which is why we insisted on calling him Dundee the whole time.

After driving an hour or so, Dundee pulls off the road and we wind up in a field of sugar cane. Just a random field. And he takes out his machete and gives us some sugar cane to suck on. Don’t get me wrong. I fucking LOVE sugar and all sugar substitutes, and even high fructose corn syrup please don’t mention this to Dr. Oz or Oprah.  But eating sugar cane straight off the stalk was not the same as a blow pop.  Blow pops are way better.  It was kind of disappointing to eat sugar in its raw form, which is why I guess I’m such a big fan of highly processed food.

Anyway, we didn’t stay long, I assume because Dundee was stealing sugar cane for us and he wasn’t sure if the owner of the plantation was going to shoot us or not, so he told us to finish chewing our sugar cane and get back in the vehicle and mentally prepare for our upcoming hike into the rainforest. Fuck. Seriously? So soon into the trip? Shouldn’t we have lunch or something first? I have a way of telegraphing exactly what I’m feeling by my facial expression and Dundee saw the “how the hell did I get here and how do I get out of it” expression and laughed heartily. “I kin tail thays ah gyohweeng tuh bay thray lohng dayees fah yeh, Lowv.” (translation: I can tell these are going to be three long days for you, Love).  Okay, if I keep trying to write it phonetically it will take me 7 days, so I’ll leave it that.  But suffice to say, Dundee had my number from the beginning, and he didn’t like weak Americans with bad attitudes. Which is a shame since I can’t think of a sentence that describes me any better than that.

Anyway, so this guy goes off-roading with us into the rainforest and seems to pick an arbitrary place to park. And we get out in the midst of all these vines and plants and….nature….and I’m beside myself because all this stuff is touching me and there are bugs and it is kind of steamy and I just brought a pair of running shoes because I’m a just an exchange student who never planned to hike the rainforest. I was mostly planning on hanging out at bars since I could drink legally there. But Dundee didn’t want to hear excuses. He told us to take all our stuff and follow him in a single file line and not to go off the path because there was a lot of poisonous plants and animals that he was going to avoid for us. I raised my hand. “Um….where are we going and how long is this hike going to be and what are we having for lunch?” These seemed like solid questions.  He smiled and said “No worries, mates!” and just started hiking. Which didn’t answer any of my questions. I readied my inhaler and prepared for the worst.

After about 15 or 20 minutes of brisk hiking and being completely unable to see more than 10 or 15 feet ahead, I began to think that Dundee might be insane. And he was leading us all to our deaths. And nobody would even know we were kidnapped and dead until we didn’t come back to school in 10 days.  I wondered if he would just let us die by letting dingoes eat us or if he would hack us to pieces with his machete and feed us to his pet wallabies. As I pondered these deep thoughts about my own demise, suddenly there is a clearing and a huge waterfall flowing into this magical pond came into view. In the middle of the fucking rain forest. Like in a Jurassic Park movie, which is the only frame of reference I have for this sort of thing.  It was really stunning. Just absolutely beautiful.  I checked my bag for my camera and when I finally found it and got it out to take a picture, I noticed something moving in the lower right hand corner of the viewfinder.  It was Dundee.  In a Speedo. With an Australian flag design. Oh Christ.  Yes. Our tour guide. In nothing but a patriotic Speedo, diving into a waterfall. Ummm?!  The man was able to strip down and dive in within 3 minutes of getting there. I’m feeling rather awkward. First, because men in Speedos are ALWAYS WRONG. But secondly and most disturbing, he rocked it. I mean, he looked pretty fine in it.  I had a flutter. Or a few. God, that is so wrong……. But I digress.  Does he expect us to just watch him swim there? Because I totally will. Did we bring water? I’m suddenly thirsty…

He suggests we join him.  I look around for the dressing room, but we are in the middle of a rainforest with weird animals and deadly vegetation and no other humans or vehicles anywhere nearby.  Surely, he doesn’t mean that we are to strip down on these rocks in front of everybody and just jump in, naked? YEEEESSSS. Yes, he does.  Perhaps a group orgy would be a great ice breaker.  Okay, so I’m pretty sure getting naked with the tour guide was not included in the brochure. If it had been, I would have paid more attention to the pictures and I sure as hell wouldn’t have gone with the guys I went with.

But anyway,  I’m pretty sure the guys and girls I did go with are not the types who are just going to rip their clothes off in front of everybody and just jum—–the guys we came with cannon-balled into the pond.  The old British couple were totally on board as well.  Um…what the fuck?  They’re like 65ish and just going in naked. Bullocks!! Who knew those Brits were so crazy? Okay, so part of me is saying, “Well, if those old people are doing it When in Cairns….” and the other part of me is saying, “The water is probably freezing cold and there are probably big fucking poisonous snakes or crocs in there and anyway all those pints haven’t done much for your thighs, and if you aren’t wearing a Wonderbra, then they may think you’re  guy trying to pretend you’re a girl like the opposite of that “Boys Don’t Cry” movie and they might get all weirded out and try to kill you and things are going to get totally “Lord of the Flies” in a big fucking hurry.”

I really, really didn’t want to get in, but I think my friends were talking me into it and I decided I’d change into my bikini, just to be social. No way I was going in there without a bottle of wine and my Wonderbra bikini by my side. So I did it.  I was proud of myself. Because as a general rule, I don’t swim. I don’t put my head underwater, EVER. I mean, I know how to do that stuff, but I prefer not to ever since Ricky G. held me underwater at the community pool until I almost drowned. Yep. And swimming is a form of moderate exercise, which as I said before, I’m not that into.  Me exerting myself, especially me exerting myself ensconced in water, is unheard of.  But peer pressure can be a good thing and I wound up taking a dip in the most glorious little place on earth. It was actually really pretty cool….But I’d be lying if I told you that blissful feeling lasted longer than 6.1 minutes.  Thats all it took for me to realize I might be in paradise, but paradise was cold. And I couldn’t feel nor touch the bottom, so for all I knew, there were 8 foot piranhas lurking or something even worse. And even though Dundee was hotness, I wasn’t going to let some fucking Loch Ness eat me or some huge mutant leech affix itself to my tasty ass. That’s also when Dundee mentioned something about some sort of insect we should try to avoid. Yup. Thanks. I’m gone.  So I got out, put on my clothes over my soaking we bikini and prepared to keep trudging along for the day.

It was really awesome. To be all steamy and wet with waterfall scum and my shorts chafing the skin on my thighs as I traipsed through dangerous trails and avoided poisonous things everywhere and stopping every five minutes or so Dundee could make sure there were no wild animals tracking us. Really awesome.  So awesome that I don’t remember what happened until we finally made it back to the vehicle and Dundee announced we were going to a hostel to spend the night. Well, thank God we weren’t pitching a tent and sleeping outside.  I felt so grateful at least there was a bed and a shower and even alcoholic beverages in the near future.  That night we sat in the big living room and told stories and drank. Dundee fondled his machete throughout.  When we were ready to turn in, Dundee told us to make sure to shower, because that was the last time we’d have the chance before he brought us back to Cairns TWO DAYS FROM NOW. He took special care right then to look at me right in my terrified, deer-in-the-headlight eyes and smile with pure glee.  Ah, FUCK. Really???! How on earth did I get here?

…I need another glass of wine now.  Next post, I swear I’ll get to the hunters trying to kill us part. Promise.

Click here for the finale

Leadership school dropout

Over my 30-odd years on this planet, I have amassed a wondrous pile of stories that I love to retell over and over. And I have a whole arsenal that is waiting in the wings for me to spit out on to this blog.  However, the old stories will have to wait as I record for you a brand-spanking-new story delivered to me on a platter yesterday, courtesy of the HR geniuses at my esteemed company and the crazy-ass woman they hired to help mold me into the next top model corporate leader of the future.

GAH! That is the only logical place to start.

Okay, so I wouldn’t consider myself the best employee in the world. I’m kind of a smart ass and I checked out mentally months ago, but if I learned anything from Office Space, it is that as soon as you just don’t care anymore, your career will take off in ways you never knew possible.

So I get an email on Monday from my manager that says that the powers that be had identified me as a woman with high management potential and, as a reward, they wanted to send me to a “professional development seminar series for business women”.  I was kind of shocked and surprised by the distinction since I thought that I had pissed enough people off that they would not want to give me any kind of reward for what they would call my bad attitude and general disregard for the B.S. they hand out in large, inedible chunks each day.

However, on paper I am a wet dream for the The Man because I went to top schools, earned top grades and impressive degrees and I sell a lot of shit, which is my official job. Somehow I manage to help my clients spend millions on the company’s crap stuff — and not just because I’m their walking, talking “hot librarian” fantasy. (I’m actually not lying about this – you wouldn’t believe how much my glasses, coupled with a quick and dirty wit,  turn old dudes on. I mean, its enough to make them completely not notice I don’t have boobs).

But day-to-day, I’m the antithesis of a corporate citizen, since I generally make it my other job to counsel coworkers I like to leave the company. I send them job postings all the time.  Because I think they could do better. We all could.  This recession has brought out the worst in corporate America, or at least in my corporate ghetto, and most days I just want to puke that I’m part of it. They kind of treat their employees like beaten dogs, but I don’t quit because I like going to Banana Republic and having Leonardo, my gay BR sales associate, dress me up in today’s latest fashions. Because I can’t dress myself and if I were unemployed, I’d be a big hot mess. I make a pretty good living for someone who mostly just sarcastically mocks all of the corporate drone bullshit while protecting my customers from my company and making my coworkers laugh.

So anyway, I should have surmised that this “opportunity” to go to this “professional development” seminar for “high potential” women was a boondoggle when I got invited on a Monday and it took place on a Thursday. I mean, shouldn’t high potential leaders have stuff on their calendars a few days out that would stop them from spending the morning at this thing? Well, I didn’t. Not really, because I was able to use my powers of persuasion to extricate myself from yet another fruitless corporate exercise scheduled for that day so I was free to learn how to develop my leadership potential.

I’m not really sure how to explain what happened when I showed up to this thing.  It was SO. BAD. that it will be hard to convince anyone on the planet that this actually happened. I am physically wracked with convulsions as I recall this Thursday.  I can usually laugh at anything, but this one was so totally fucking unbelievable that the fetal position is really the only safe, appropriate response. But – I have a blog, and for my own sake — my own truth — I must tell the story of what happened to me and the other inmates high potential talent held captive in a room for four hours while some random woman gave us her take on what “leadership” is.  Please have patience as take off the straight jacket and collect my thoughts.

Okay, so the only information I had on this seminar was that we have to meet four times a year for four hours each time. We have to read books and network and do all kinds of stuff that corporate people value.  And we’re going to meet all these other beaten dogs women from other big corporate goliaths that we can get to know and just network the hell out of each other and steal away talent when necessary. I guess. I’m an introvert, so I’m not really into meeting random people and talking about meaningless subjects, and you already know I don’t like other women that much either, but for all I knew, one of Oprah’s producers may be at one of these things and then I could give her my “elevator pitch” – another darling of corporate training programs – about how Oprah and I are soul mates and she could hook me up.   And I don’t hate all women – I love the smart sarcastic ones, so I was thinking maybe some of them may have been included in this thing too? I would be able to figure out who they were because when they inevitably play those stupid “ice breaker” games, we would probably collide in our desperate dash for the door and we could hide in the bathroom together swapping 30 Rock quotes.

So I show up and find myself in a smallish conference room with a very big table, that apparently we’re all going to sit around.  There was seating for 15, but barely enough room to walk since the table filled the room. There was a woman at the head of the table that kind of looked like Cruella DeVille. Except she wasn’t wearing a Dalmatian stole, thank god. I think it was fox. And she wasn’t smoking a cigarette through one of those long plastic things either. Probably because it was a no smoking zone,  but I was sure she’d bust one out at break time.  I guessed she was our “facilitator” and the founder of this company that was going to be professionally developing me for the next year.  AWESOME.

Okay, so we were told to show up at 8am. It’s about 8:15 and most people seem to be there, because it STARTED AT 8, and then she says “the seminar actually starts at 8:30, but you can’t tell people who or else they’ll be late. So I always tell people to come a half hour earlier than they are needed – and look! It worked!” Oh! So I busted my ass to get there on time and didn’t feed my children that morning because I had to be somewhere so damn early when really, I wasn’t “needed” for an extra half hour. Thanks, bitch.  I started wondering if I could take her in a cage match (and I totally could). She proceeded to say that as leaders we have to anticipate that people can’t follow directions and work around it, just as she had just done. So in other words, we’re fucking idiots that can’t follow directions. Hmm.

Okay, so 8:25 rolls around and she wants everyone to introduce themselves.  Say our name and who we work for and what our job is.  Easy enough. But then she tells us that many women have trouble with this.  We need to speak slowly and clearly and loudly enough so everyone can hear us.  Really? Because as top talent at our companies, this never would have occurred to us and we’ve never done such a unique and bizarre activity before, like introducing ourselves.

With that hurdle behind us, she starts to rattle off the “rules” about our seminar. We are expected to listen to others. To participate. We have to do our homework. We must conduct ourselves professionally. We have to go to these networking events her company does. No exceptions. She gave us a book, but we don’t have to read it.  She wants us to read another one she wants us to buy for the next class. She will hold phone calls every month from 8 to 8:30 where we will “talk about whatever is relevant”. They may last 5 minutes or 30. It just depends on what people want to share.  Whaaaat?! It kind of sounds like I just got brought to the orphanage with a locket around my neck from my company and Miss Hannigan was laying down the law. I did not see an impromptu performance of Hard-Knock Life coming, but I thought I would begin humming it, just to see if I had any comrades in the room.  Not so much.

Okay, so then she gets to the heart of the matter – women as leaders:

“As women, its very hard for us to be leaders in business because we are so much more emotional than men.  One thing you absolutely cannot do – that I do not recommend – is crying at work.  We’ve ALL been there. We’ve ALL cried at work before. Raise your hands if you’ve cried at work.” None of the ashen faces of women around the room raise their hands. “Well, I know its embarrassing to admit, but if you want to get ahead, you have to stop crying at work.” Ummmmm…. “Have any of you ever seen a MAN cry at work? If you have, raise your hand. Exactly.  His career would be over. But you can get away with it because you’re female, but people will stop taking you seriously.”  Ummm….Whaaaaat?!  Okay. There has been a mistake. This woman was supposed to be heading up the red table in my son’s kindergarten class. Yeah, I’m pretty sure there is a mix-up. But nobody gets up to leave. And neither do I. Maybe this will get better…?

“You know why we as women are disadvantaged? It was because as little girls we were raised to be in the home with our mothers — cooking, sewing, taking care of our siblings — while the boys were doing things outside the home like playing sports and making decisions on their own.  So when women get to work outside the home, it’s often hard for us to speak up and make our own decisions and realize that the corporate world is a game that we need to play because we just never learned that when we were little. Only the boys did, so they know more than we do and we have to work harder to learn that stuff.”  GAH! Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? I think Cruella may be a little two-thousand-and-late. 1572 called and they want their school marm back.

“Along these lines, you have to learn to stay neutral at all times at work. Don’t be one of those women who is always happy. And don’t be someone who is always crying. Don’t let your emotion show. Because you know what? People don’t care about all of your drama. They care about themselves. And if you’re always talking about yourself and your problems, nobody wants to hear it.  But the people who get ahead in this world –and as women, we’re good at this — are people who ask other people questions about themselves. If you do that, people will think you care about them. And nobody at work does this. You can really stand out if you do.  I mean, think about it. When is the last time someone at work asked you a question about yourself?”

One participant looks around baffled and says, “Yesterday…?” and everyone murmurs and nods. Cruella isn’t convinced. She says, “Well, that is very rare. You must have some very nice working conditions with companies that are ahead of the times. Most people don’t care about you and don’t want to know what is happening in your life.  But that’s really what people want, so you have to be the one person in your company who does that.  I know we have some sales people here. They are probably much farther along at doing this than the rest of you. But we’re going to practice now.  We’re going to go around in a circle and you’re going to turn to the person on your right, shake her hand, introduce yourself and ask her a question.  The other person isn’t going to answer, because the answer doesn’t really matter.  We’re just trying to get you used to knowing how to ask another person a question.”  Someone asks if we all have to come up with a different question and if the question has to be business related.  “No. You can use the same question as someone else. I just want to teach you how to ask a question about someone when you meet them.   After this, we’re going to go around again and then the person can answer with a short answer and then that person has to ask a question back.”  By golly! This kind of strenuous mental activity was really wearing me and the other ladies down. I mean, however could I think of a question so quickly to ask the person next to me? And then answer a question and ask one too? All together!?  Gee, was she asking us to start a conversation with another person? Isn’t this more Level 2 training? I mean, it’s only our first day of training.

Even though I was sweating bullets along with all of the other MBAs and lawyers and executives in the class, we all somehow managed to ask the person next to us a question without anyone bursting into tears. Amazingly. Cruella was delighted and so pleased. She sees why we were hand selected for her seminar and she decided we could move on to the next exercise.

She asked us to name leaders we admire and she was going to write them on the board. I was first. And you know who I said. Cruella:  “Oprah… Yes… Some think she is a leader.” Some, mother fucker?! I almost jumped across the table and strangled her wrinkly throat. SOME?! More like EVERYONE. Don’t talk smack about Oprah or you’re going to get jacked. So she writes Oprah on the board, correctly, and then says “Did I spell that right?”  Yes. “Oh, because it looks so funny written down like that.” For fuck’s sake.  “Anybody else?” Someone asks if they have to be famous. “No. They can be people at your company if you want”. So somebody is like, “Debbie Smith.” and then someone says “Eric Johnson” or whatever the hell and nobody else in the room knows these people, but I’m sure they are probably the people who hired this demented woman from 1572 to teach us about leadership.  So then somebody suggests the mayor of Chicago. (This took place the day before the IOC bitch slapped Chicago for the 2016 games). Cruella writes, “Mayer Daily” on the board. Ummm….

Okay, I need to just put this out there – I cannot tolerate when people misspell stuff. It’s a mammoth pet peeve. I’m a nerd and I expect that if you’re going to get up to a board in front of people and write something, it sure as hell better be spelled right.  I mean, maybe she is dyslexic or something, but then don’t fucking write on the board. Delegate, bitch. Seriously.  But I digress.

MAYER DAILY?

If this seminar took place in Alabama, I might be able to let this slide. But we live in fucking Chicago. He has been mayor for 21 years. He and his shenanigans are detailed in the paper every. single. day. I had to hold myself back from running up to the board, punching her in the teeth and spelling it right. I don’t know if she spelled all the other people’s names right since I don’t have any clue who the fuck they are, but I guess it was really a miracle she got Oprah right, so I just started my deep breathing exercises, so I didn’t lose my shit in front of my new band of brothers sisters.

So then she says, “now that we have our list of leaders, lets talk about the traits that we admire in them.” People suggested traits, and she recorded them on the white board. Here is a partial list of what she wrote:

  • influncial
  • motavated
  • intigrity
  • smart
  • compasion
  • power
  • love to what do

You get the gist. I feel a panic attack coming on. How did I get here? When is Ashton going to come in and tell me I’ve been Punk’d? Because if it isn’t soon, I’m going to have a fucking heart attack.  And if this thing has the power to kill our company’s burgeoning woman leaders, preventing us from becoming the future Commander and Chief, you can bet HR, OSHA  and the ACLU are going to hear about it from me. I take workplace safety and discrimination very seriously.

It is at this point in the seminar that I blacked out. I really can’t remember anything except floating above my body and kind of watching the horror show unfold. I saw lips moving, but I couldn’t make out the words. I think I may have split into several different personalities at that point as a coping mechanism.  But the young 5 year old girl personality named Cassie that was born told me later that Cruella asked if anyone in the room ever read the New York Times because she thought it was a really “neat” paper because it had stories from all over the world in it!  She said we might want to look into it one day so we would have more to talk about with our male colleagues, because chances are that they read it, and it would make us sound very smart. Apparently you can read it even on the Internet.

At some point, I saw my body walk out of the room. And go into the bathroom and light myself on fire wet my face. And get in my car. And drive away. On auto-pilot. I woke up at McDonalds. Only an Extra Value Meal #2 could begin to bring me back into my own body again. And then I went back to my office and told my boss what took place, trying not to hyperventilate.  She thought I was shitting her. No. I am dead serious. Serious as cancer, something both she and I probably have and don’t even know it right now.  Louise Hay (one of Oprah’s esteemed guests, of course) says that if you get cancer it’s because you have some resentment you haven’t let go of, which is why I probably only have a few months to live.  But the bright side is that if I die next month then I wouldn’t have to go back there again. I told her I couldn’t live another minute if I have to complete the program and that I quit.  NO WAY I was going back there.  I was already recognizing the signs of PTSD.

And, God love my manager, she got me out of it. She made me tell HR about the whole ordeal. It was at that point they revealed that we got this leadership series “free” with our corporate sponsorship of Cruella’s company. So I was fucking Punk’d.

HR – 1. Love – 0.

I am a leadership school dropout.  But now I need a fifth of vodka and some major therapy.

Cruella has her own damn business and is the biggest fucking idiot on the planet. And I’m a “high potential” corporate drone working for The Man and getting Punk’d by HR. I’m the fucking idiot. FUCK.

So now I’m ADD. What was I talking about again?

The Internet has me convinced that I’m ADD, and since this is a serious problem that affects millions of Americans, I want to use this popular blog as a platform to diagnose others.  You probably have ADD too, or cancer. Probably cancer.  It happens to the best of us.  But I started trying to figure out if I was ADD because I totally get distracted easily, especially when I’m on the phone making dinner and my kids are fighting and small kitchen fires are popping up everywhere.  So I found this list of symptoms (that I’ve conveniently cut and pasted below) out there so that we can take this test together and we can see who is more ADD -me or you. I bet me in most cases, because if you’re more ADD than me, no WAY you get through this list without checking Facebook.

Here it is:  Do you:

  • get distracted easily?    I THINK I ALSO HAVE AN INTERNET ADDICTION.


  • have difficulty concentrating on one thing at a time?     YEP, ESPECIALLY DURING SEX.


  • tend to be disorganized?     WHERE THE FUCK IS MY MOUSE?


  • have a hard time focusing or paying attention during conversations, listening to others, or while reading?   I SO LACK FOCUS DURING CONVERSATIONS WHEN I’M NOT THE ONE TALKING.


  • often forget things like appointments or obligations? YEAH, NOW THAT I THINK OF IT, WHENEVER MY FRIENDS MOVE AND LAMELY OFFER PIZZA AS SOME SORT OF PAYMENT I ALWAYS FORGET I SAID I’D HELP.


  • have trouble following directions that have multiple steps?   I DON’T KNOW. WHENEVER I COME ACROSS DIRECTIONS , I THROW THEM AWAY AND MAKE UP MY OWN.  WHO HAS TIME TO READ WHEN YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING SOMETHING INVOLVING MULTIPLE STEPS?


  • have difficulty starting and finishing projects? YES. BUT I HAVE SUCH EASE IN THE MIDDLE OF THEM.
  • tend to procrastinate?   AT TAX TIME ESPECIALLY.


  • have trouble prioritizing information?   NOT WHEN ITS ABOUT ME.


  • get impatient easily? WHEN MY KIDS TRY TO TELL ME STORIES ABOUT THEIR DAY, IF IT DOESN’T INVOLVE ME I ASK THEM TO NET IT OUT FOR ME.  I’M READYING THEM FOR MANAGEMENT IN THE CORPORATE WORLD.


  • often feel restless and antsy? ONLY WHEN I’M AT WORK, IN THE STIRRUPS AT THE OB-GYN, SOCIALIZING AT MY KID’S SCHOOL, OR WATCHING SCOOBY-DOO.


  • lose track of time and have trouble with time management? YEP, ESPECIALLY DURING SEX.


  • often misplace or have difficulty finding things at home or at work?    SERIOUSLY, WHERE THE FUCK IS MY MOUSE?


  • act before thinking through consequences?     THIS WOULD EXPLAIN THE MAJORITY OF MY EX-BOYFRIENDS.


  • speak or blurt out before thinking about the impact your words will have on others?    OH YEAH, LIKE WHEN I TELL PEOPLE WHO ARE GETTING TESTS AT THE HOSPITAL THAT THEY PROBABLY HAVE CANCER.  THAT PROBABLY COUNTS.


  • tend to have lots of racing thoughts?    I SERIOUSLY HATE NASCAR. AND TRACK TOO. NO.


  • get bored easily?    DO THESE QUESTIONS EVER FUCKING END?


  • tend to make careless mistakes when you have to work on a tedious or difficult project?   IF BY ‘MISTAKES’ THEY MEAN “CUT YOURSELF” THEN YES.


  • take risks frequently?   WHY DO ALL THESE QUESTIONS CENTER AROUND MY SEX LIFE?

If you answered “yes” to the majority of these questions and the behaviors are severe enough that they interfere with your daily activities, it is possible that you have ADD. An accurate diagnosis can only be made by a trained professional. Depression, bipolar disorder, substance addictions, anxiety, phobias – all may share some similar symptoms to ADD, so it is important that your doctor rule out other conditions that require different treatment.

I don’t know about you, but I think Anna Paquin and Renee Zellweger are fugly, and that really bothers me, because the whole point of being an actress is to be hot. Unless you’re Meryl Streep. I don’t know what her point is. She is just masochistic. She gets nominated for Academy Awards just for showing up on set,  but then she never wins because people vote for someone hotter in the end.  Anne Hathaway is so much hotter than Meryl, thats all there is to it.  If I were a betting woman, Renee Zellweger could only win an Oscar when all the other chicks in the category were uglier, but that scenario seems statistically impossible.  And its good I’m not a betting woman, because I think she won one.  Pity votes. Or maybe some sexual favors were involved.  Probably a lot of both.

I shouldn’t be so mean  – its just that I’m agitated and restless because I can’t find my fucking mouse. I’m having trouble finishing this thing.  I’ll come back after Facebook.

This is the part where I try to be positive

I promised myself that my blog wouldn’t be a cesspool of all of my sarcasm and judginess. Hence, this blog is not called Hate Mail To Self.

My issue is that I’m one of these people who is all about trying to find true meaning in life.  So I read self-help books.  Yes. I am a junkie. I like the books that are all about the Law of Attraction and a bunch of other Laws they make up. But these books are all about positive thinking and attracting what you want and all this stuff. I get all lathered up about it when I’m reading thinking ,”I will never have a bad thought again! Oh crap! I said “bad thought” when I really need to say “I will never not have a positive thought”” because you know, the Universe in its infinite wisdom will bring you whatever you think about, but it doesn’t understand the word “not”.  Thats kind of weird. Because my two year old understands “not”, but the Universe doesn’t.   So if I keep thinking “I SO do not want wine right now”, I will only attract wine.  I SO do not want a glass of wine right now.  Ah, I think I’ll let it breathe for a few minutes.

The other books I read are all about being “present”.  Of course I had to read “A New Earth” because Oprah said to and that book was all about just don’t think anything really except about whether you can hear birds singing in the trees and focus on that.  So I’m not sure whether I”m supposed to think all these good thoughts to attract good things or if I’m supposed to think about nothing so I can just live in the moment. But I’m sorry, most moments in my life are pretty damn boring — they aren’t really moments I want to live in. Not that I don’t want to live in them! Either way, I’m attracting “life” right now – do you see?

The Law of Attraction people have all these caveats. They tell you that everything in your life is directly brought to you because of your thoughts, so then naturally people are like, “I’ve been thinking about making as much money as God FOREVER, and I’m not rich”. And then these guys say, “Well, you really have to believe it”.  And then you’re like “I BELIEVE it!” and they’re like “No you don’t. If you did you’d be rich. Like me.” Hm.  Oh, and then there is the whole sickness argument. They say that if you get sick, if you get cancer, you actually attracted it to yourself. I thought if you smoked 2 packs a day or went tanning everyday that you attracted cancer.

But I can’t help but be the skeptic when they say stuff like when kids get cancer, it means their parents attracted it through their thoughts. Umm…that is crazy talk.  I had cancer as a kid and I’m pretty sure my parents didn’t do it. But you know, I was young, so maybe they did and I just don’t remember.  I sure hope they aren’t attracting cancer to me now. I really don’t have the time or the patience to kick its ass again. Besides,  I have to save my energy for wading through bogus jobs on TheLadders.

Crap. Maybe just by saying that I’ve now attracted cancer to my kids. I’m the meanest mom ever.  I think this glass of wine has done enough breathing.  If you’ll excuse me…I have to start my healthy heart wellness program with my glass of shiraz.