Summer sniffles and the zombie apocalypse. That escalated quickly.

If you have ever watched the History Channel or stayed awake long enough in History class you have heard about the worst plagues ever to be recorded.

The Black Death 1340 – 1771

Smallpox  430 BC ‘ish- 1979

Influenza Pandemic / Spanish Flu 1918-1919

The Common Cold Summer Edition 2016

That’s right. I just put a summer cold in with the worst things ever to happen to humans.

Am  I stretching? Maybe.

Am I being a little insensitive? Probably.

It could be the cold meds or it could be that I don’t really care about being politically correct among friends. We are friends after all aren’t we?

It feels a lot like something terrible is happening here, my throat is on fire and my nose is producing an awful lot of mucus. 

I have tissues stuck in my nostrils and I feel like I may need another box of Kleenex soon.

 I can’t seem to swallow and my head feels like it is in a vice.

I have a sneaky little cough that creeps up only when I need to talk.

 

I spared you the picture of the tissue in my nose. You’re welcome.

 

Which is what I do. I talk. All the time.

Right now when I speak it sounds like a small animals plea for help.Kinda squeaking, sorta whispered and definitely muffled.

It feels like giving a speech under water. 

Distorted face and all. 

Just blubbering and desperate attempts at cohesive words. A comical attempt to breathe and speak without the aid of my nose. 

All this open mouth gasping makes delivering oxygen to the lungs I have not yet coughed up very, very difficult.

Then there are the coworkers who don’t dare to cross my doorway. Like there is an unseen germ barrier they are safe from. If they hover just a couple of inches from the safety of the hallway they might not need to be decontaminated.

This can both good and bad.

Sure there are some co-workers I don’t really mind to not see for days but we do have to accomplish things here in the office. Put on your hospital mask and let’s get this meeting over with. We have flow charts and spreadsheets to look at. Let me just wipe off that drool.

I think I may actually have heard the sound of an aerosol can behind me when I left the common room. 

The faint smell of Lysol wafting behind me.

The good news is I am almost oblivious to the uncharacteristic avoidance of my work team as I am the general disgust on friends faces as I shove another tissue into my nostril.

My trashcan is overflowing with snotty little ghosts and the bags under my eyes make me look like a zombie.

Sounding more and more like a frightening history lesson in human suffering isn’t it?

I am barely awake having taken so much OTC cold remedy and barely getting any sleep. 

Sleep is such a generous word. 

I really mean something more like trying to rest in an upright position while ranging from ice-cold shivers to blanket throwing sweats.

 All the while sniffling and coughing and generally annoying my wife all night. She loves it when I wake her all night fighting to fluff the pillows and adjust myself for optimum mucus flow.

I could easily snag the lead role in a horror movie featuring the undead.

While I wait patiently for my chance to be a zombie movie star I will be over here all alone in my office. Half asleep and surrounded by a fog of disinfectant. 

 Whimpering, sniffling and coughing the song of my people. 

The song of the common cold. 

The song of the flu-pocalypse.

 

 

 

 

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Real marriage advice – life, love and not speaking to each other

It has taken me awhile but I think I have learned a little about relationships, marriages in particular. It can be such a beautiful thing, hand in hand with the intention of growing old together, raising your children and retiring to rocking chairs on the front porch. Then there are days where you can barely stand the sound your phone makes when they send you yet another text message, to which you will also be ignoring.

I have put together 7 age old ridiculous tips and some alternative real life advice from an actual married person.  Actual advice for us long term ball and chain type couples; the gay, the straight, the somewhere in between  … because we all at some point need to step back and just laugh at ourselves.

Never go to bed angry.  Seriously? Who is this helping if you stay up way past your working adult bedtime?

SHUT THE HELL UP AND GO TO BED. Your co-workers will thank me for this tip in the morning. You can hash out whose turn it is to clean the bathroom another time.

Always compliment your lover. I only agree with half of this. Do not throw around over used, thoughtless words you think she wants to hear.  She doesn’t. She will stop buying into your lip service pretty quick. That is no good for her self esteem. All you are doing is encouraging your partner to not believe anything you say. Ever.

Always be sincere. If she is looking hella hot in that dress, by all means tell her so.

**I use the pronoun “she” here but this applies to everyone. Keeping in mind this is  written by a woman who is married to a woman … I use the feminine for everything. This advice could easily be just as good for that gorgeous hunk of a man in your life.

Be reasonable in your expectations. I don’t even know what this means. What exactly is a reasonable expectation? This varies wildly. If you were raised outside of the jungle you know how to behave in society and with other people. Don’t stress about what you are expected to do as long as you aren’t being an asshole.

Real advice: No really. Just don’t be an asshole. The only expectation should be that you are kind to one another and expect that no day is ever the exact same as the one before. Roll with it together.

Trust each other. This is a hard one for me personally. Do I trust she won’t leave one day with our dogs in the passenger seat and a trail of dust behind her? Sure. Do I trust she won’t drink the last of the wine or eat all the fancy ice cream? No.

Real advice: Don’t cheat on her or eat all her ice cream. Done.

Figure out your finances before you tie the knot. Uhh, we have been married awhile and we still havn’t figured this out.

Real advice: You are on your own here. I have no advice. We make the money, we spend the money.

Be affectionate as much as possible. For the sake of everyone around you, please, we beg of you do not do this. It is rude and we will tell you to get a damn room.

Real advice: In the confines of your home or around a private corner in public places by all means grab a quick feel or smooch like teenagers. All is well and good until you are holding up the line at Target looking deeply into each others eyes.

Handle your disagreements in a healthy way. We all know that couple that breaks up and makes up all the freakin’ time. Stop it. Don’t break dishes, don’t drive off squealing tires, don’t call names and never, ever tell them you don’t love them. There is no glue to mend that kind of thing and spray paint and ribbons are not a fancy fix all. No matter what you read on Pinterest.

Real advice: Be honest, take time if you need it before you respond, use your best inside voice. We learned about not throwing tantrums and using inside voices in preschool yet sometimes we forget as grown adults.

The very best advice I have ever been given was to learn from successful couples who have amazing, healthy, happy marriages. Learn from those who know they are not perfect but they keep working on it anyway, those people are the successful ones.

Most of all be willing to laugh at yourself. It’s a lot better than being laughed at.

Leave me your best marriage advice in the comments below, I would love to hear your best “real” advice!

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Corporate ink stains – a tattood journey

Professionally speaking I must consider every action, my words are carefully calculated and my decisions are timed in general accordance with boosting the bottom line.

Personally however I live life on the edge. I make most of my decisions on the fly. I tornado into situations I probably shouldn’t, trapeze over pending doom without a blink and stumble into society with enough sarcasm sprinkled swear words to start a whole new language. That may be a slight exaggeration but you get the point.

While I look like a successfully employed woman, under my corporate skin is a delicately flawed masterpiece.

I love tattoos, I love the statement and sentiment and the art. I love how personal each is, how much goes into each and the emotion behind each story.

I love everything about them. Except the stigma in today’s professional environment.

This is an art form, in most cases well considered and powerfully meaningful.

Capture452

Historically people from all walks of life have been adorned with permanent ink. Royalty, warriors, sportsmen and poets. Ancestors of all nationalities, ages, and trades.

I am working on some new large pieces right now which speak to my soul. I also have several smaller works on my body, all of which I can easily cover. I am ready to cover for any situation which it is socially expected for me to do so. However, the temptation is great to get “just a little one” where it is easily visible in daily life. More visible than the ones already outside of the confines of my basic wardrobe. Just a little larger than the tiny open heart behind my ear, a little more obvious than the roman numerals of my wedding date across my foot.

Something a little more daring, a little more bold.

A bit more of a middle finger to the corporate world. A little declaration of my independence, a tiny flag flying in the face of conformity.

The love of my life for instance made a choice, much earlier than the choice to love me, to get a tattoo in a highly visible area. An ink stain handicap if you will – which is all society cares to see. It sits there defiantly on her hand just waiting to tell her truth, her unique story.

She is kind and smart and strong. She is a hard worker and a team player. She is articulate and personable.

Regardless of all of these things – in a corporate world she is simply a highly visible tattoo.

A closed door.

A rejection notice.

A “no” for any career with appearance requirements.

My desire to be unique, to express myself as an individual is stifled. Should I chose to follow my urge to expand my tattoo canvas I am a rebel. Not in such a way to be recognized as an individual but lumped together with real hardened societal taboos. The kind of harmful, dark and immoral sort of rejects you are kepttumblr_mg5rxmDtZW1rbraxfo1_500 safe from in your daily life.

Regardless of my offerings, talents and contributions, to be permanently inked in visible space is to reduce my chances of professional growth. Reduced chances by immeasurable calculations over the lifetime of my career. Considering I am forever  from retirement and have a half life yet to live I must tread a little more carefully.

I have to be very mindful not to make one of my impromptu life decisions which can not be easily reversed. My brain barely wraps around this rationalization and I must continually remind myself I would like to someday afford to retire to a beach. Painted toes in the sand and faded tattoos telling tales of my youth, the arrogance that comes with it and the love that compelled me to get them in the first place.

Until then I will wrap my art, continue on with my 9-5 and dream of the day when I can be free. I will display my inked skin without fear or rejection.

I will still be a rebel when I’m finished here, just on slightly different adventure with a few more tattoos and a way better tan.

 

 

Making changes. Hopping trains and hoping for the best.

There are days like any other, predictable and comfortable. Like waking on your own on a Saturday morning, with no hangover despite copious amounts of consumed wine the night before. Eyelids slowly opening to see a breakfast tray beside you, adorned with a single rose and a neatly folded napkin,  your lover waiting patiently to spoon feed you bits of syrup soaked pancake.

Then there are days so miserable and pathetic that you want to cut off all your hair, throw your phone in a nearby body of water (a toilet works), flip your wife the bird and hope all those days at the treadmill afford you the strength to chase down a moving train and hop aboard … bound for wherever hobos go in old movies.

I’m not saying I’m having a really, really bad day but there might be scissors and some pink  Nike shoes in my backpack.

Unfortunately for me I don’t own a breakfast tray, I don’t remember buying napkins at the grocery last time I went and I haven’t had pancakes since the last time Denny’s served them to me while I was wearing sunglasses.

Inside. At 10 am.

Because if you drink that much wine you will have a hang over … just like the last time. Dummy.

So here I sit, on  a Monday, procrastinating. Contemplating returning that text that will undoubtedly start a fight.

Considering dumping my phone in the ladies room but will undoubtedly regret it later.

Scanning Pinterest for ideas about how to make a hobo hanky on a stick that will match my escape outfit.

*FYI that stick is called a “bindle” … thanks eHow for clearing that up for me. http://www.ehow.com/how_8193614_make-hobo-bag-stick.html

A girl has to be stylish even when fleeing from reality. I think I will pass on the hair cutting but I do need a change. Sleep and pancakes would probably be a good start. If that doesn’t work my next blog may just be from the train.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Psychic readings and a guy named David

Last weekend I visited a local metaphysical shop, which I love, for a million and one reasons.

There happened to be a fair of some sort happening for the Halloween celebration. Super talented folks were waiting to tell fortunes, communicate with the dead, braid your hair, offer chair massages, and among other things, read your tarot cards.

All kinds of healers and spiritually blessed, talented folks.  Just a list of people willing to assist you with whatever you need for a meager cash fee.

I opted for the tarot card reading, hoping for fun but not expecting too much.

I was not disappointed.

Well I was maybe a little. I was hoping for winning lottery numbers or the reader to go into a trance so my deceased loved ones could send me a message. Didn’t happen. Maybe next time.

I asked about my career for the theme of my reading. Seemed harmless enough.

He shuffled the cards and before putting them down asked me who “David” was. I don’t know any Dave or David or Davie or anything of the sort.

I started to get nervous. Maybe this guy is crazy.

Probably was crazy.

He spread the cards in a traditional pattern and pretty much told me exactly what I already knew. This was great, life is good. career good.

So that was quick.

He then asked if I had other questions.
I did.
We talked about my wife.
We talked about money.
We talked about how my wife spends all our money.
We laughed. (she didn’t laugh when I told her about it)

We talked about how I have a creative thing I should be doing in life that I don’t devote enough time to.

To be fair we all have a thing … but I really do have something I am aware that I put aside when I get busy and I wish I had more time to devote to.
You guessed it. This blog.
I do enjoy writing for fun but have zero time for it.
He said that eventually I would do this “thing I create” for a living. That it would make me more money and give me more success than my real job.

We shall see.

It was nearing the end of my time and he asked if I had any other questions.
I did.
I asked who this David was. He said I didn’t yet know him but in time this gentleman would be the bridge to making what I create my actual job. That I should be making this “creative thing” with my hands now and building the blocks to bridge later.

Interesting.

Maybe he meant something else entirely. Considering I am not an artist, musician or afghan knitter, this is all I have.

So … David.
Or Dave.
Or whatever you prefer I call you, if you are reading and think you can make my worthless talent an actual thing … give me a call.
Or email.
Or Facebook me.
Or whatever successful creative bridge builder types do.

In the meantime I will be over here writing for fun.

When I can.  Cause I still need a real job.
Hoping for my big break.
A big paycheck.
Or something like that.

Call me, Dave. I will be waiting.

Legally wed (almost) a year. Here is the recap …

It was this time last year that our home state made our marriage legal. We were so excited, it was like a second wedding day. Sorta like that … but without rain, stress, arguments or blisters. Good times.

So in the spirit of a (sort of) one year wedding anniversary I compiled the top 10 best of best things that happened this last year, our first full year of being legally married in our home state.

  1. We survived new car envy. She bought I convertible, I got jealous. We now share our vehicles. Whats mine is mine. What is yours is now mine too. I’m pretty sure it was in the vows.96a9c5c0cecad209aedb00bb45a2dffa
  2. The kids went away for the summer and we managed to focus a little time on us. Every relationship needs a little space alone to develop. Ours developed into missing the kids after a couple month extended honeymoon. Whatever works.Summer-of-Love
  3. We went to the beach, several times. There is nothing like feeling the sand between your toes. Or the sand hitting you in the face as it swirls around the car, coming off your beach gear. That’s what happens when you shove the sandy gear into the back of that super cute, top down convertible you HAD to take for the trip.  11137193_1011165278894072_8677361988249007150_n
  4. We watched fireworks for the 4th, from our mountain spot, all by ourselves. It was kinda romantic and super beautiful. The other fireworks throughout the year on the mountain, likely scaring the neighbors into calling for backup, maybe not so much romantic as horrifying. We are trying to keep our arguments to ourselves now. Sorry y’all. 11403087_1036972702979996_7696834849185982622_n
  5. We learned to budget. Just kidding, no we didn’t. We bought a new car and went to the beach a few times. We can’t seem to save any money. I have no idea why. Saving Money
  6. She learned to cook. Well, not really cook, but she can grill like nobody’s business. Thinking about our 1 year anniversary steak dinner she magically produced is making me hungry, 3 months later. sunset-2
  7. I changed my last time to hers. Finally. She ran out and changed the name on the mailbox … I am still learning to sign it. Or to recolonize it when called. fa38b4ca80e150dc2a1e9445abc452b4
  8. We made new friends. Together. Couple friends. That isn’t easy considering we are so different. It is almost like getting a raise, the one you don’t think it will ever happen. All of a sudden you are eating more than soup from a can, in your one room apartment, while talking to your cat before bedtime at 8pm. It’s a big wide world out there when you have couple friends to go explore it with. friends_cast_004a
  9. We found new things to explore together. Places to go, things to do, food to eat and fancy new beer to try. Again, a big deal because when we first met we didn’t have much more in common than mutual lust. No shame. None. 3190410_13213875_lz
  10. Last but certainly most important: Nobody was seriously injured or died. I’m not kidding, it was a close call a few times. Marriage is hard, apparently so is smothering your beloved with a pillow. wpid-wp-1432838209051.jpeg

Hormones (no, not the pimple face adolescent kind)

It’s been nearly 6 weeks or so since my doc requested an alarming amount of body fluid for testing. Normally I would be apprehensive about it – but hey, he seems to know what he is doing. He did assure me that “yes, it is absolutely required to take that much blood” … I wasn’t really in any place to argue at that point and agreed.

This is how the hormo-pocolypse, as I am affectionately calling it, of 2015 started.

I thought maybe it was my stupid malfunctioning thyroid again. I gained 30 pounds in 2 years, subsequently around the time I divorced the ex and met the (now) wife. I noticed my ass got saggier, my belly tubbier and my arm fat floppier.

Whatever. It happens sometimes.

So I started hitting the gym. I was eating salads and working out nearly every day after work for weeks straight. Still no budging on the scale. Sure my ass lifted, my belly got a wee bit smaller and my arms flapped a tad less.

but still.

I was not budging on the scale.
Not at all.
It was depressing.

It was to the point of “screw the gym, I will eat Burger King if I want to”, cause what’s the point. It was literally depressing.

I made an appointment with a new doctor who boasted about being a miracle worker for thyroid troubles. The doc asked me a bunch of weird questions, and I answered the best I could.

It went mostly like this:

Him: Are you depressed?

Me: Well, maybe, I can’t lose any weight (I look like a cow in a dress) and that makes me sad.

Him: Are you having trouble sleeping?

Me: No. Yes. I don’t know. I want a nap right now. I want to sleep as much as possible? It stops me from crying and eating.

Him: How about sex? Desire? Do you find you orgasm easily?

*Long pause*

Me: Yeah, no problem there, still a newlywed and all. So … yeah. I’m good besides the possible depression and desire to hide my body under the cover of total darkness and long underwear layered with flannel PJs

Doc asks me a few more odd questions and writes the answers furiously on my symptom sheet. He may as well be drawing a stick figure or writing his lunch choices.

I don’t know what he was doing but it was an uncomfortably long period of time listening to him scribble.

After what seems like a year to take all those investigative symptom probes and turn a possible diagnosis, he finishes.

Finally he looks at me with a tilted head and eyes over his glasses, in a very matter of fact way, and advises we will discuss my test results at my next appointment.

I was feeling skeptical.

No prescription except some supplements. No diagnosis. No feel better miracle. No nothing but more questions to float around in my head and pants that still don’t fit. and may never at this rate. What the hell did I just pay for?

Then came my lab results sheet in the mail. I was eager to see what they said. Kind of like a report card in a sealed envelope for an elementary student. Could be good could be bad. Could be real bad. I couldn’t wait the few hours to see them and I made the wife open the mail and take a photo to text me. Technology is pretty awesome sometimes.

I was slightly alarmed by what I could see and I hit up Google faster than you can say Web MD. It was worse than I thought. I was clearly going to die, and probably soon, based on what I was reading.

I didn’t know how I would make it to my follow-up appointment to see what I should do now. What I needed, what kind of medication I would need and how my life might change.

Finally my appointment day came around and I waited nervously in waiting room. I was called back and sat patiently waiting to see the man with all the answers. I considered grabbing my chart from the door and reading it myself but I wasn’t sure that would lead me any more near the answers I was seeking.

He came in, sat down and gave it to me straight. No frills. No hand holding.

He told me my pregnenolone was almost non-existent.

If you aren’t familiar, pregnenolone is a major building block for other hormone production. It is like the granny in a family of hormones. It doesn’t give hugs and bake cookies but it’s a big deal. This stuff helps with memory, fights the effects of aging, fights depressive moods and assists in what seems like every other important function in the body. Seriously important, mental health, stress and depression kind of important.

I had almost none. Probably just enough so that I knew my name everyday but that is about it. I really don’t know how I was getting along at all. This explained everything.

The really frightening part of all of this is that had I not received a diagnosis I may have been suffering from “irreversible diminished mental capacity by age 60”.

Yeah.
Whoa. 

The rest of the doctors words were more harsh than I will share here, but they are my reality.

I cried when I left the doctor’s office, I didn’t even make it to the car before the tears started to flow.

I cried when I told my wife.

I cried quietly in my office later that day.

I cried when I thought about talking about it to anyone else at all. It has taken me some time on medication and a new sense of self-awareness to decide to write about my diagnosis at all.

It’s not been easy, it wasn’t all funny and it’s not always going to feel like something I can share.

I will share this with you, I knew something was clearly wrong with me and I should have seen a doctor much earlier.

Even if my diagnosis wasn’t what I expected.

Even if it proves I’m not perfect. Lets me honest, that’s the worst part. I thought I was invincible. I’m not hanging up my cape but I got a bit of a reality check.

My goal here is to encourage everyone to trust their instinct. If something doesn’t seem right with you or your spouse, your kid, your parent or even a friend, tell them to see a doctor about some blood work.

Tell them to get off their ass and go see their doctor for help – it will all be worth it.

Life is way too short to not live it … and laugh about it whenever possible.

I would love to hear from others with the same or a similar diagnosis – if your body is showing you who is boss and refuses to produce necessary hormones lets talk. or trash talk, whatever makes you feel better.