Monday, February 27, 2012

Oh, Monday

Dear Readers,

A little over a week ago, I dropped off my sports watch at a local jewelers to have the battery replaced. Though the place offers battery replacement while you wait, he was busy with another customer, so I offered to come back the next day. This, of course, has turned into something like 10 days.

Today I was determined to go pick it up, so even though I'm a bit behind on work, I walked the 20-25 minutes down to the jewelry store. Five feet before I got to the door, I realized the place was closed on Mondays.

Go figure.

I guess it's good that I needed the walk.

Your pal,

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Short People Like Donuts Too

Dear Dunkin' Donuts,

I realize you're all about the coffee now, but do you have to line your countertops with coffee machines and coffee displays? Do you realize that they block the view of the donuts, the product that's actually a part of your name?

I don't drink coffee. When I go to Dunkin' Donuts (which is surprisingly a lot, given that before I moved to Massachusetts, I didn't have much of a Dunkin' habit. Now I go at least a few times a month), I'm going for a donut or a bagel. Problem is, because I'm 5'4", if I'm standing in line, all the coffee-related stuff blocks my view of the donuts and bagels. I often can't make a selection until I'm actually at the register, and at that point, the cashiers are hurrying me along because they want to get the line moving as fast as possible.

On Monday, I was in a store where the donut sightlines were so bad, I had to ask, "Do you have crullers?" because I couldn't see them at all. For the record, this was an outlet with crullers, which was a great bonus, but the customer experience was so frustrating and so unsatisfying that I don't know if I want to go back there.

In fact, I often will think that a donut would be a good snack. However, I'll opt against it because if I don't know what donut I want, I don't want to deal with the stress that ordering entails. Isn't there a way you can showcase the donuts, yet still have enough counter space for all the coffee makers? It'd certainly make me want to run to Dunkin' more often.

Thanks for listening.
Your pal,

Friday, February 17, 2012

Postcard from the Ether Dome

The "Mass" in "Mass. General Hospital" stands for "Massachusetts," though it could stand for "Massively confusing," since it's one of those really old hospitals that has a bunch of additions, with none of them really labelled well, making it really hard to find anything and necessitating a well-staffed information desk.

Recently, the Boy took the day off for a doctor's appointment, so we decided to head to the Ether Dome, where anesthesia was first successfully used in an operation. The dome is the operating theater where it happened, and the hospital now has it set up as a museum that you can visit. During business hours. When there aren't any meetings in there. Not that they'd tell you the schedule or anything.

This is, of course, what happened when we visited. Once we actually found the right entrance that would eventually lead us to the right building and got to the Ether Dome, there was a meeting going on (that I sort of walked into, since the door was open, and it certainly felt a little bit "tour guidey" to me). Dome off-limits to the general public.

One would think the visit was a failure, but not really. We did get to poke through the random tiny museum behind the operating room that you entered through a Jill-sized door, which meant the Boy had to pretty much double in half to get through it. This, of course, is a phenomenon I haven't experienced since we went to Japan, so I was pleased.

The museum contained random examining chairs and tables, none of which were labelled, so you didn't know what the heck you were even looking at--it kind of felt like they cleaned out old Dr. Morton's office in the 1980s and decided just to shove the contents back there. It also contained the wedding clothes of J. Masson Warren, who got married on April 30, 1839. Warren, I learned as I was writing this, since the few faded information panels along one wall were too boring to read and I don't have extensive knowledge of medical history, performed the first nose job and also developed surgeries for closing cleft palates. How his wedding clothes ended up framed and tucked behind an old operating theater in a hospital is a mystery.

Even though the museum took all of five minutes to look at, I was strangely transfixed. "This is a bizarre little museum," I said to the Boy.

"I know. And it's probably full of germs! Germs from a thousand years ago that they don't know how to cure anymore!"

I opened up a drawer on an examining table. The Boy got disgusted. "Don't touch anything! You're like a little kid!"

For the record, the drawer contained a used rubber glove.

To make it feel like we totally didn't waste the afternoon, we looked at all the (unlabeled) pictures lining the stairwells and flipped through the guest books. Although we'll have to go back to see the main attraction, the whole experience felt like this entry:

3 cheers for the either [sic] !!! :-) :-) :-) 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

What, Who Me? Yes, You!

Dear Doctor-Waiting-Room Jerk who's complaining about the long wait,

Thanks for letting us all know you're really important because it's 9:40 and you have a 10:00 call and are upset because haven't gotten in to see the doctor yet.

I know you're dealing with a he-said, she-said kind of thing. The nurse says you were 25 minutes late for your 8:45 appointment; you claim you got here before 9:00. The point is though that you were late.

Haven't you tuned in to any of the problems in health care over the past decade (or more) that talks about how little time doctors have for individual appointments? If you're even 10 minutes late, you've pretty much missed your time slot. You want a same day appointment? Wait it out, buddy. Since you've wasted their time (and their dime), you're now at their mercy. Suck it up.

I realize your call was probably earth-shattering, but since you screwed up their schedule, you can wait until 9:36 to get fit in. If it's important to you to see the doctor, your call can wait.

Oh, and since you're scheduling your follow-up appointment for first thing in the morning, how about setting your alarm now so that you can get there on time and not mess up the day. Again.

Please and thank you.

Your pal,

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Most Unwelcome Trend

Dear Readers,

Yesterday the Boy went to Miami for a work conference (seeing as how it got really cold here in Massachusetts yesterday, I don't pity him). Normally I don't mind him being gone for a few days--I get to watch bad TV and eat pizza and stay up way too late (actually, that last part is not such a good thing....I'd prefer to get more sleep, to be honest).

However, we seem to have a trend of "when one goes away, shit goes south" at the old apartment, and frankly, this is one trend I do not want to keep up with.

The first time was last year--I went away, and when I came back, we discovered we had mice. Then he went away right after that, and we really had a mouse problem that I was stuck dealing with (listening to mousetraps go off all night isn't pleasant).

Then this fall, I went away a lot, and the mice came back, and the Boy had to deal with some pretty disgusting stuff. You could say the Boy was lonely, and the mice wanted to play and keep him company, but he would beg to differ.

Now the Boy's gone again, and our water heater broke. Just when I tried to take a shower. Great. Plus I have a stack of dishes to wash.

The only good thing about this that because we rent, the several hundred dollars it will take to replace the water heater won't be coming out of our pockets.

Well, it's time to get out the stock pots (or at least the clean one) and start warming water the old-fashioned way. I can't sit around and wait for the plumber to show up. Gotta keep moving on.

Your pal,

Friday, February 10, 2012

What Happens When the Tortoise Goes Broke?

Dear USPS,

I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I didn't get around to sending out my Christmas cards this year. True, my contribution is only a drop in the bucket compared to your overall mail volume, but I'm sure there were plenty of other people like me, who just said, "Screw it. Not going to spend the time writing out cards this year."

Of course, that didn't help your bottom line, which is driven in part by first-class mail. If the category of people who decide to stop sending regular mail grows, then you're going to continue to be in real trouble.

Hopefully what will help you is the growing movement to send snail mail, and a bunch of writers are getting in on the act too. I'd read about Mary Robinette Kowal's challenge for February at the beginning of the month (basically, send a piece of first class correspondence every day of the month that the post office delivers), and I thought it was a great idea. So great, that I've only managed to send out two letters.

Yes, two. And it's February 10th. That means I owe seven letters/postcards. Hopefully for your sake, others are doing better than I am in this endeavor, but I promise to send out a few more pieces of mail this month.

What's great about this project is that I'm starting to remember the joys of letter writing. One of my friends who I wrote called me up, and we had a really nice conversation that otherwise wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for the letter. He told me how cool it was to receive an actual letter in the mail. Hear that? Snail mail is still hip and cool, even if it's one of the slowest forms of communication!

I'm working on it, USPS. I don't want you to keep hemorrhaging money, and one of the ways to stop that is for me to keep buying stamps and sending mail. And set the trend for others to do so--and we all know how I'm a massive trendsetter in the world at large. Still, I'm putting it out there, and hopefully more people will pick it up and run with it.

Your pal,

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Don't Take Dieting Advice at the Blood Bank

Dear Readers,

Yesterday, I donated platelets for the first time. It's something I've been meaning to do for a while--several months ago, I got a letter from the Red Cross basically saying that after doing scans of the blood I've donated (I try to donate blood regularly), my platelets were pretty freaking awesome, and it'd be helpful if I donated some.

I put the letter aside, always meaning to get back to them. You know how that goes. A few weeks ago, they called, and that's when I signed up.

Donating platelets is a two-hour process, during which blood gets drawn, the platelets are separated out, and the blood's put back into you, along with some saline. Honestly, part of the appeal of doing it was being forced to sit for two hours and not be on a computer. Yes, I still had screen time because I watched a movie ("Away We Go"), but it was a nice forced break. And, you know, I'm helping people.

However, donating platelets and blood doesn't necessarily do a diet good. I'm still plodding along in my quest to shed pounds, and it doesn't help me mentally to have the technician tell me, "You don't look like you weigh x!" Thanks. I do hide the weight well, but that's part of the problem I have--I feel like I look thinner than the scale says.

Later in the donation process, the technician asked if I wanted any water. "Sure, I'll have some water," I replied.

"We've got water, juice, and ginger ale," she said.

I hesitated. Well, if you're going to offer juice.....I ended up asking for cranberry juice.

She brought me two little cans of juice, along with two cookie bars. Then she brought the basket of salty snacks. "You can have whatever you want!"

I can have whatever I want? Platelet donation lets me? Right on! Being a person with a weight problem who thinks that donating platelets will also instantly suck the fat right out of you, I asked for some pretzels. The technician tried to push bags of popcorn and Cheez-Its on me too, but I had to draw the line somewhere.

After donating, I had a hankering for a bagel with cream cheese, so I wandered around downtown Boston until I found a Bruegger's. Had my bagel. Had my cream cheese. Had some hot chocolate. Hey, I'm thinking, at this point I need to listen to my body and feed it what it's asking for. Besides, no strenuous exercise or heavy lifting after donation!

Unfortunately, after the bagel, I felt the need for some kind of iron replenishment, and I seriously thought I was going to have to get a McDonald's cheeseburger, which would essentially have been a first dinner at that point. Granted, I wouldn't eat a second dinner until after that night's roller derby scrimmage, but the idea of putting so much food in my body didn't thrill me.

Luckily, I found a fruit stand and got a banana, which tided me over until I was able to finish the night with a huge bowl of chili smothered with cheese, or as I like to think, "protein and calcium."

Net weight loss on the day: + 2 pounds.

Oh well. Today's a new day. I can revel in the warm fuzzies that I helped some people with my platelets and get back on track.

Your pal,

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Straw that Might Break Me

Dear Readers,

There are few things that would cause me to divorce the Boy, but I think I have found the one that could be most threatening to our marriage: Doomsday Preppers.

This is a new show on the National Geographic channel that "explores the lives of otherwise ordinary Americans who are preparing for the end of the world as we know it." After watching glimpses of this show--to which the Boy eagerly watched--I wouldn't really call them "ordinary." No, these people all have a little bit of crazy in them.

Now, I love all sorts of reality TV, but the combo of Hoarders + Extreme Couponers + Doomsday Fanatics is a little too much for me to bear. Especially since the Boy has some survivalist tendencies to begin with. Sure, I can understand preparing for things--having a car emergency kit, having canned goods on hand in case it storms/snows and you can't get out of the house for a little while, having some water in case of a hurricane--but I draw the line at stockpiling 50,000 lbs. of food and acquiring an old school bus so you have an additional "house" in which to live. That's a totally different kind of preparedness--one that's prepping you for a lot of mental health treatments.

Luckily, we're not all that outdoorsy. It's really hard to find ice for your cocktails in the middle of the woods, so we tend to stay close to civilization. However, that doesn't stop the Boy from talking about getting a compound in the middle of nowhere and going off the grid after he's had a bad day at work. With a show that exposes other people who feel like this and are doing something about it, I worry that he thinks we should start preparing for a oil crisis or financial collapse or massive earthquake too.

Besides, he doesn't need "Doomsday Preppers" to teach him methods of getting through a disaster. He should just watch "Survivor" for that.

Your pal,

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

DVR Update

Dear Readers,

I'm cleaning off the DVR tonight. I vaguely remember a New Year's resolution about getting the DVR emptied. How am I doing?

Well, I'm at something like 56% empty. Not bad, not great. I'm making progress, though seriously, that's only helped by the fact that somehow the DVR erased a bunch of movies I'd taped and had never been in the mood to watch.

Finding out that I'd lost "Donnie Brasco" and "Zoolander" and "Up," was a little disappointing, so I've been on a bit of a crusade to work on the backlog that's still on the DVR. Unfortunately, I've got several episodes of "Glee" and "30 Rock" to burn through, and it's up against "Top Chef" and "Project Runway" and new seasons of "Survivor" and "The Amazing Race."

And I've got a stack of books to read.

Perhaps I should be a little more judicious with the delete button.

Your pal,

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Stuff I'm Saying to The Boy

Dateline: Super Bowl Sunday, 2012

Me: I think after every time NBC shows Eli Manning, they should cut to Peyton Manning.

The Boy: Are you kidding?! Peyton Manning's not there! He's at home sitting on his couch, watching it on his big screen TV.

Me: At least Peyton Manning has a couch and a big screen TV. (beat) Why can't you be more like Peyton Manning?!