Sunday, March 22, 2009


Like I mentioned in the last post, it's been a busy month. Not fun. My personal epiphany was that no matter how good you are at managing stress or multitasking, or meeting every deadine and managing every personality, sooner or later, it's going to overwhelm you. I like to think I'm really good at managing my life. But there's always ONE LAST THING that sneaks up on you and all of a sudden everything you thought you were handling well is too much.

Example: a few posts ago I begged for advice on dealing with someone who was being a royal pain in my ass. Pete realized this was bugging me more than usual and went through my email history with Doofus. Pete recognized on the spot that this guy has some mental issues (possibly diagnosible) and I was WAY over my head in dealing with him. So Pete dealt with it. Let's just say he has the education and job experience for the task. I don't know what Pete said to him, but I haven't heard a peep from that house since. Problem solved.

I just needed help solving a problem I didn't know how to solve myself. It doesn't seem like a huge deal, but it was - admitting that I had to have someone else take the reins with a guy who's not "all there".

The past couple of weeks had me a nervous wreck. When you have a baby at 40, no one with an M.D. after their name will let you do things the easy way. Lots of extra blood tests - not cut-and-dried either. All interpreted through mathematical algorithms. And compared with some chart of medians that you can't actually find anywhere.

One blood test told me that the baby had an "increased risk" of Down's syndrome.

It makes my heart stop now just thinking about it.

Talk about being out of control of your life. There was literally nothing I could do but wait a week for the scheduled amniocentesis. And after that, there's nothing to do but wait anywhere between 1 and 3 WEEKS to get the results. (The lab literally spreads out the chromosomes from the sample on a microscope slide for a technician to count and read the stripes to see if they're normal.)

I've seen all kinds of medical procedures and cutting-edge surgeries in my old research career. Nothing shocks me. There's very little I can't look at. Even autopsies are business as usual. But when I went into that ultrasound room knowing there would be a very very fine, yet very very long biopsy needle plugged into me, I was a neurotic mess. I was running my mouth without a filter trying to calm myself down. It didn't work.

I wasn't fooling anyone. I just admitted I was scared to death and all of my medical experience was worthless.

And it was OK! She knew I was scared and that I couldn't detach enough to manage the stress professionally and it was OK!

The doctor comes in to perform the test.
"So, how are you feeling?"
"I'm completely neurotic." (No kidding, that's what I really said!)
"That's normal." Another one who's seen this a million times. He gets his prep tray out and sterilizes everything but my eyelids and right big toe.
"Look, doc? Is there...something I can...ya know...hold on to?"
"Something or someone?"
"Barb, go get Julie, willya?" He didn't even flutter an eyelash or roll his eyes at that request.

Julie was a secretary in the department who had a talent for handling scared patients. Again, without looking at me like I had two heads, she just took my hand as I turned my head away and held deathly still. She told me everything that was going on with the tone of voice that I would have used had I been doing the hand-holding.

Five very strange and uncomfortable minutes later, it was over. Not as bad as I thought. But the test itself was only the first half - waiting was the second half, and knowing that there's not thing-frickin'-one you can do. When you're a control freak like me, that is a unique circle of hell.

So here's the sermon for the day kids:
It's OK if the final straw hits you and something has to give. Let it. Decide what someone else needs to handle and let them handle it. It actually helps you keep more control of the situation, by focusing on what you can handle, rather than what you can't. But you have to be honest with yourself.
It's OK to admit you're scared or uncomfortable. In fact, things go much better - for you and everyone else around you - if you just let that go. You're not fooling anyone anyway, everyone can see it whether they say something or not.
It's OK to ask for support. If someone doesn't respond the way you need them to, blow them off, leave them in the ditch, and move on to the next one until you find the one that gives you what you need without judging you for it.

Here endeth the lesson. =D

(PS - the baby is fine - genetically she's completely normal! Pete is going to give my ob/gyn a wedgie for the torture of that false-positive blood test!)

You tell your friends you're fine again, you love the life you got
But the more you say that you're ok, the more they know you're not.

Catching Up - Spring in North GA

Life has been busy here the last month. Before I get into my own ramblings, check out the Best Platinum Story Ever Published on My Manilow Network. This one belongs in the hall of fame.

UPDATE 5/25/2009: Regrettably, the above story is gone. TPTB removed the author from the Network for some very petty reasons. Petty, as in the kind of rationale I use when I make a rash decision while having my period. The author seemed to be a nice person, who did not get into the usual conflicts online, who had an INCREDIBLE encounter with Barry at a Platinum meeting. I usually take a laissez-faire approach to TPTB and their decisions because I'm not in their shoes and I don't see what they say. But removing this member and all of her contributions was just plain fucking wrong.

Back to the present.....
I'm composing this from the back deck. Trees are in bloom, the azaleas are coming out, there's a few daffodils left, everything is green and growing and the spring breezes are warm.
Below are pics from exactly three weeks ago. Snow showers across the deep south. Chunks of snowflakes as big as your head were pouring down, with more accumulation than any of the meteorologists predicted.

ABOVE: Our street and the neighbors' homes.

ABOVE: Crocuses blooming in the snow. The most beautiful thing on God's green earth. Never thought I would see this again after moving south.

ABOVE: TLF hugs her first snowman.

ABOVE: TLF and one of her little neighborhood friends work on a bigger snowman. Off camera, their dads are throwing snowballs at each other and anything that doesn't move.

The next day, the roads were completely clear, even though the snowmen remained another week or so and there was ice in the yards.

The kids got a snow day anyway. No kidding!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Oh Fer Cryin' Out Loud, Not Again....

Stupid is as stupid does, New Zealand.

This isn't going to work. Too many people of all ages love Barry's music, whether they admit it or not.

Now, if they want to use a type of music to drive some kids away, try something effective: like Puccini or any other Italian opera composer. Or maybe Wayne Newton.