Friday, July 9, 2010

Did Someone Lose an Appendage?

When I was 14-years old I woke up and found an arm laying on the bed next to me.

It was an uneventful evening, I'm sure, mostly  because I was a dorky 14-year old who wore purple plastic framed glasses à la Sally Jessy Raphael. I didn't do much of anything. Ever. Except sit all angsty and moody in my room, wondering why I resembled more of a zoo animal and nothing at all like the girls on the cover of Seventeen. And also I hadn't started boozing it up at that stage in my life, so really I'm pretty certain I had spent the evening watching the Cosby Show and picking fights with my siblings. Then I went to bed. Completely sober.

My eyes fluttered awake, my bedroom washed in the soft pinks of an early sunrise. *sigh* Another ordinary, uneventful day I thought, turning my head to the left to see what time was displayed on my alarm clock.

And that's when I saw it. Holy shit! What the hell is that?! IT'S A FREAKING HAND!! (Sorry for cussing in my thoughts, Mom. I didn't swear at that stage in my life, I swear. I saved that for when I started boozing many years later.)

On my pillow, right next to my head, right where my eyeballs were staring, was a hand. Palm face up. Fingers slightly curled. Almost touching my head.


I wanted to scream. But what if the psychopath that put the  hand there was still in my bedroom? What if he had a knife? Or an axe? ohmygod! What do I do?

Ok. Stay calm.



Turn your head slowly and look around the room.

Do you see anyone else?

Does anything look out of place?


Ok. That's a good sign.

What if the whole family was murdered?

Stop thinking like that! 

Ok. You're going to have to get out of the bed and call 911.

Turn to the left again. Is the hand still there?


Calm down, dammit! You're not going to be any help like that.

Ok. Slowly now - quiet - we don't want to alert the murderers that you're awake. You have to move the hand.


You have to. We have to get out of this room.

Now, take your right hand and slowly pick up the hand...

My right arm felt like concrete inching across by body to get to the lifeless hand sitting on my pillow.


It's okay.


You're doing fine... move the hand and we can slide out of bed.


You're doing fine... we have to call 911....


You idiot. That's your arm. You fell asleep on it.

For the next 45 seconds I had fun lifting up my numb arm and watching it plop onto the surface of the bed, completely unfeeling. Then the sensation of feeling crept back in, which felt like someone was pumping a thousand nails in my arm with a power nailer. That wasn't as cool.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Could he be hungry?

Does this make my butt look big?

A while ago the family and I went to get our pictures taken. This was somewhat of a big deal in and of itself because we've never had our photos professionally taken before. I'm not a big fan of the posed. Or trying to figure out coordinated outfits. Or the anxiety-ridden drive filled with "don't touch your hair - we're going to have to brush it again" and "stop licking your lips - they're going to look chapped" and "why did you make your sister cry? Now she's got puffy eyes and snot running down to her chin." Also, my only experience with Family Portraits was at one of those - you know - mall stores, where thirteen different families wait in what looks to be a closet at the rear of the store. Not fun.

But we went... why? Because the pictures were FREE! And I never pass up free stuff. And they were done by a real professional photographer. The kind that had his own studio (which included a kitchen set because he was currently working on some chef project).

Now, you might be wondering why I got so lucky as to get FREE family photos by a real professional photographer. Or you might not be wondering that at all. You might actually be wondering what you're having for dinner tonight. Or how the heck you're going to put up with your crazy mother-in-law at the next family function since she suddenly stopped taking her meds, convinced fresh air alone will suddenly make her sane. Or you might be wondering how you've managed to spend the last 36 years spelling Colombia wrong (not realizing you were spelling it "Columbia" like it's a coat, not a country).

Just in case you are wondering though, I'll continue.

A couple months ago I got a call from someone at the hospital where I recently gave birth to Cletus the Used to be Fetus. Immediately I went through a mental list of anything we may have damaged, destroyed or stolen while we were there. I swear I made sure Big V put those blankets and pillows back...

After I was assured I would not need legal representation and the child we took home was, in fact, ours, she got down to business, explaining staff "remembered" us from our stay. Oh. That can't be good. Staff thought we'd be good candidates for a marketing campaign they were starting... and well, would we like to be a part of it? What do we have to do? Oh, you know, take some pictures, make a statement about what you thought of your hospital care and the creative souls in the marketing department would do the rest.

So here I am, in all my glory, ready to be set on a billboard.

Yep. On a BILLBOARD. You know, a really large - painfully large - humongous - wooden canvas for all the world to see.

Pictures were taken (FREE of charge) of the entire family, and then some of just me and the boy and some of just Big V and the boy. They picked the best one to put on billboards all across southeastern Wisconsin. Honestly, if this is the best picture that was taken I don't really care to see the rest. My hair looks plastered against my head. (Bean was right, I should've worn it down.) And I guess I have a really thick neck now. (Thanks baby weight that refuses to leave, even though I've asked you nicely.)  I can't imagine what it's going to look like blown up to 14'x48'.

I also spent an afternoon where they video taped an interview that will be edited and posted to their website. I haven't seen that, but I can only imagine what that looks like - with my out of control facial expressions, rolling eyes and gravelly voice, it should be a real treat!

To be honest, I loved everyone at the hospital when we were there. I'm not sure if I ever wrote about it because it was less funny and more scary and serious. One minute V and I were laughing over his pizza and the next minute I was being swarmed by a medical team rushing me to surgery trying to get to the baby. Scariest moment of my life. But everyone was wonderful.

It was more than just the professional medical care. They truly did make us feel special. They made us feel like we were the only ones in that entire hospital. They made us feel like no matter what was about to happen they were seeing this through to the end with us and they weren't about to leave us stranded wondering what was going on.

Plus, they all "got" our sense of humor. We tend to deflect with sarcasm and wit - which can be confused with flippancy and uncaring... but these nurses and doctors were a hoot! And I'd go back there in a heartbeat.