The Fun Continues: His ’n Her Heart Attacks!

This has been an interesting six weeks, folks. You may remember that at the end of September my dad had a heart attack. Not to be outdone, a few weeks later my mom had her own heart attack. Because in case you haven’t heard, society, women can do anything men can do.

We_Can_Do_It!
“Um… this isn’t what I had in mind.”

Yes, both my parents had heart attacks within a few weeks of each other. After approximately 150 years of marriage, my parents do everything together and that includes His ’n Her heart attacks. Now that’s romance.

The medicine-pushers (or “doctors,” if you’re a non-believer in conspiracy theories) think her heart attack was brought on by stress. A lot of women don’t have pain with heart attacks and she probably would have never known she even had one. But she was in the hospital for bronchitis when it happened, which was… lucky, I guess?

"Thanks, bronchitis!"
“Thanks, bronchitis!”

After I heard the news, I rushed in to see Mom only to find her sitting up in the hospital bed eating lunch and lecturing Dad to take his cough medicine. (Dad had bronchitis at the same time, because of course he did.)

Let me tell you, people do not have heart attacks in real life like they do on TV. There was no dramatic chest-clutching or yelling at dead relatives in the sky.  But there was Jell-O, so that’s something. What is it with hospitals and Jell-O, anyway? Are they being blackmailed by Bill Cosby?

640px-BillCosby
“There’s always room for Jell-O. Or else.”

The doctors declared Mom good to go and released her the next day. And, just this morning, Dad had the second stent put in to fix his other blocked artery and was sitting up and eating (Jell-O obviously, eh, Bill?) a couple hours later.

So the Heart Attack Twins are doing well. Hopefully they will follow doctor’s orders and take it easy. Next time, let’s try doing less heart attacky activities. Flying over the Bermuda Triangle, perhaps?  Or how about standing in the front row of a black cat parade?

"Yeah. Like you could get us to participate in a parade."
“That doesn’t even make sense. Cats HATE parades.”

Cooking Without Salt Is Apparently A Thing

For those who don’t personally know me, a couple weeks ago my dad had a heart attack. Well, actually THREE heart attacks, because my dad is nothing if not thorough. He’ll do whatever it takes to get the job done. It’s called work ethic, guys.

"Only one heart attack? That's not the kind of ethic we look for at THIS company."
“Only one heart attack? That kind of half-assery has no place in THIS company.”

Hopefully you can tell by my jocular tone that he is fine. Or maybe you just think I’m an awful person. Well, either way you’re in luck because both those things are true: My dad is doing fine and yes, I can be pretty awful. Not like, Internet awful. Just normal awful.

Like one time I made a joke to my mom on the phone about drowning in paperwork by saying, “I’m like Natalie Wood over here!” She was not amused.

What was I talking about? Oh, my dad! Yes, he’s good but getting really tired of grilled chicken.

Because, you see, after a heart attack you have to change your diet, if your diet is the thing that caused your heart attack. And he’s 100% German, which means it’s not a meal if there’s no red meat and potatoes. And salt. Lots of salt.

"Is this all the salt we have?"
“Is this all the salt we have?”

Because I am awful yet also a wonderful daughter, I’m trying to think of meals I can make him that are German-approved and heart-healthy. To the Googles!

*cue hold music*
*cue hold music*

Okay, I found “7 Festive German Recipes” on a website called LifeScript. Not only German but festive German? Things are about to get wild, y’all.

Fotothek_df_roe-neg_0002478_002_Jugendliche_beim_Musizieren
If it’s not a German party with accordions, then it’s not a party AT ALL.

Now all I need to do is go to the store, buy all the stuff, find time to cook… Huh. These recipes call for a LOT of ingredients.

“Reduced-sodium chicken broth?” Is that even a thing? “No-salt-added tomato sauce?” That sounds gro… I mean delicious, Dad! It sounds delicious.  What does salt even do, really? Clogs arteries, that’s what. And, you know, adds flavor. But I’m sure it will be fi… chicken sausage? Now they’re just screwing with me, right?

And fennel? What’s a fennel? It sounds like a Dr. Suess character. I’m not feeding my father a beloved cartoon creation, no matter how delicious, Mr. LifeScript! What kind of monster do you think I… wait. Oh. Apparently a fennel is in the celery family. I didn’t know celery HAD a family.

Why did I volunteer for this again?

IMG_1302

Oh, yeah. I love my dad. Guten tag, everyone.

Ends, beginnings & throat-punching

Well, you guys, a lot has happened since I last posted. The first and most important (to me, anyway) is my decision to discontinue grad school.

I feel many things as a result of this decision: disappointment, guilt, anger, frustration… but the overarching emotion is relief. When I say I had no free time between work and grad school, I literally mean I had literally zero minutes free to myself. Literally.

SAY LITERALLY AGAIN.
SAY LITERALLY AGAIN.

It was awful, stressful and—ultimately—not worth it.

As much as I enjoyed the classes and material, the work involved was just too much with my already stressful job. Although writing about bras and panties may seem like a cakewalk  (I assume this is a sidewalk made of cake, yes?) think of it this way: I work in the marketing department for one of the biggest brands in the world. For those who don’t know/care what marketing is, let me sum it up in one sentence. My department is responsible for making sure ladies keep buying the aforementioned bras and panties. Millions of dollars are spent enticing ladies to spend their dollars on our sexy wares.

"I suddenly feel the desire to buy ALL THE LINGERIE."
My job. Don’t mock my man-hands.

In short, it’s stressful as hell.

So. Yeah. Grad school had to go bye-bye.

But, as someone who always has to be doing something (ADD, anyone?) I had to figure out what my next goal should be. So I’ve decided to focus on my freelance writing career. Again.

skeptical_dog1-180hprn
NO ONE ASKED YOU, DOG.

This means (for me) pitching ideas to magazines and online publications, as well as finallyyyyyy finishing my book.

The problem with this plan is that while grad school was super-stressful, at least it had established deadlines. Because, believe it or not, I am not the best at self-motivation.

shocked-baby-face

I apologize for your broken jaw, as I’m sure the velocity at which your jaw hit the floor after reading that statement was quite jarring.

So I need y’all to motivate me. Just constantly be like, “How’s your book coming?” and “So, have you been published yet?” or “I’ve been looking for your book on Kindle. What do you do all day, anyway?”

I’m not going to sugarcoat it:  you may get punched in the throat. But you will motivate me to stop watching reruns of The Simpsons and write. So really, everyone wins.

"Get ready to win!"
“Get ready to win!”

Needed: Functioning Adult for Tax Season

Ah, tax time. It’s the time of year that never fails to remind me I have the organizational skills of a 3-month old golden retriever. You know how most normal, functioning adults have some kind of filing system (I assume)? Probably something involving drawers and files and tabs and labels and other things I don’t own. You want to know what my system is? “Throw Everything In a Box and Promptly Forget About It.”

As you can see, I have extensive box experience.
As you can see, I have extensive box experience.

This usually works for me… except once a year, when the dreaded envelope arrives in the mail, bold type ominously proclaiming, “Federal tax information enclosed.”

Noooooooo! Not my W-2’s! That means I have to drag out The Box and sift through a year’s worth of receipts, bills and other paper miscellanea. It might as well be called Box O’Ambien.

This is a different box. GET OUT OF MY STUFF.
This is a different box. GET OUT OF MY STUFF.

Since my husband handles the tax appointment, a horrifying expedition that literally takes half a work day, the responsibility of getting all those nasty papers together falls to me. As awful as it is, it’s a way lesser evil than sitting in Tax Lady’s house for hours, listening to her conspiracy theories and slowly suffocating from cigarette fumes and dog fur. While doing taxes. That’s what hell is, you know that, right? Okay, maybe not the dog fur part. Because all dogs go to heaven, duh. Everyone knows that.

So I was filling out my 2014-2015 FASFA for grad school (my life is full of fun right now) and realized I needed my 2012 taxes as a reference. To The Box! No taxes. A pile of birthday cards? Check. Grocery receipt from an ice cream run? Check. Empty container with no clues to what it formerly contained (possibly ice cream)? Check plus! This is what I’m talking about, folks. How am I allowed to function in society if this is how I run my life? I’m like a kid who constantly spins around in circles, runs into a wall, then gets up and start spinning again.  My entire financial history can be summed up in one word: Derp!

"Where should I file these super-important papers? Derp!"
Me doing taxes. Weeee!

And my husband is worse at this stuff than me, if that’s even possible. How we found each other and what cosmic joke brought our dysfunctional brains together in marriage is something humankind may never know. Instead of balancing each other out, we’re knocking each other down, like a never-ending game of chicken.

Marriage!
Marriage!

My new plan is to place an ad on LinkedIn for a self-loathing, down-on-their-luck and (preferably) desperate accountant-type person to transform our finances into a mecca of organization.  I don’t know what that would look like. A really fancy box?

Or a VINTAGE PICNIC BASKET.
Or a VINTAGE PICNIC BASKET.

Make this happen, someone.

Writing about writing

You guys, I’m starting grad school in two weeks. Two weeks. Where has this summer gone? I should have my book finished by now… it was on my summer checklist and everything. Well, less a checklist and more a note to myself that read, “Finish your book, idiot.”

Also, the entire point of birthing this website was so I would have a full-grown freelance career. But what did I end up with? A blog that spends the entire day picking its nose, taking up Internet space and contributing nothing to the household.

Get a job, blog.
Get a job, blog.

Maybe if I actually, you know, looked for freelance work, this blog would get up off the couch and do something for me. I have a couple articles I began writing that I could pitch… but have I completed those either? I think we all know the answer to that.

SIGH. Will I have time to keep up this blog? I hope so. The thing is, my “writing brain” is always on. I basically have a whirring disco ball full of bumbling characters that have no idea how to function in this imaginary world I’ve stuck them in. Ideas from my blog run into magazine article ideas and later meet up for drinks with movie ideas and then maybe hook up later with book ideas. It’s like an orgy in my head, man. And it never shuts off. It’s like the all-orgy channel.

Okay, that metaphor just went to a weird place. The point I’m laboring to make is if I don’t get those ideas out, they stay stuck in my brain. That’s how people go crazy, probably.

Wait, what am I doing? Dammit, I’m a writer, not a doctor!
Wait, what am I doing? Dammit, I’m a writer, not a doctor!

So for my own safety, I should probably keep writing. That’s a tagline for writers, right?

Writing: It gets the crazy out.

Screen shot 2013-08-08 at 10.26.27 PM

Well… mostly.