Category Archives: Time
When your nine year old daughter is invited to a birthday party in the middle of the afternoon, and it is located 45 minutes from your house, and the hostess of the party says, “You two should go on a date while she’s here – go see a movie or something – and you can pick her up whenever you want,” you and your husband do not say No.
And you probably don’t go on a date.
You drive around for awhile, and end up at a mattress store. Well, maybe that’s not what you would do. But that is where Cap’n Firepants and I ended up yesterday afternoon. We’ve been married 12 years. We know how to keep a marriage going strong, and it is not by arguing over which movie we should see and where we should see it and why should we pay this stupid amount of money just so we can listen to babies crying and men coughing up a lung right behind us.
When you think about it, the mattress store is really the ideal destination for a two hour break from your kid. Especially when you and your husband have been sleeping in separate rooms for the last two weeks because the mattress in your bedroom has been turning him into Quasimodo.
And the last time you took your daughter mattress shopping with you, she made you wonder why the Queen in the fairytale stuck a pea under all of those mattresses instead of piling the pallets on top of the princess so the Queen could have some peace and quiet.
Testing out mattresses with Cap’n Firepants can be quite amusing because he has a certain sense of decorum which cannot really be maintained when you are trying to determine if it is actually possible to jump onto a mattress without spilling a glass of wine. And when they don’t provide you with the glass of wine to test this theory, this just makes things more challenging.
“Go ahead, do a cannonball,” the salesperson told Cap’n Firepants.
“Yes, go ahead, do a cannonball,” I said, quite certain that it would take at least 5 glasses of wine (in his bloodstream, not perched on the mattress) to motivate the Cap’n to accept this challenge. He surprised me, though, by leaping onto the mattress – not at cannonball strength, but certainly with a bit less inhibition than Cap’n Firepants generally likes to show in public.
“O.K. I don’t want this mattress,” I declared, as the Richter scale pointer hit 9.8, and my head glanced off of the ceiling.
After dizzying lectures about foam density, breathable fabrics, and factory warranties, the salesman had me convinced that the only mattress that I should ever sleep on for the rest of my life – the one that would not only alleviate any back problems, but would prevent cancer and cure the uncommon cold – was the $10,000 one in the middle of the store.
“You could buy a car for that,” Cap’n Firepants noted.
“Who needs a car?” I asked, as I stared up at the ceiling from my bed on a cloud, and realized that, if someone paid me to write, I could not only work from home, but I could work from my bed until retirement. Heck, I might even decide not to retire.
The Cap’n, however, did not want me to give up my car for a mattress. And, for some reason yet to be explained, was not willing to give up his car, either.
This kind of put a glitch in this whole two-hour alternative to marriage counseling.
We ended up purchasing a “reasonable” mattress that, I’m pretty sure, will not balance a glass of wine, much less cure cancer.
And when we get a hole in our ceiling because I did a cannonball into bed, I am so going to blame him for not shelling out that $10,000.
You know how They say that you can’t change someone? They are So Wrong. Maybe They just meant you can’t change men. Or that you can’t make someone change for the better. I don’t know. All I’m saying is that I am changing, and it is not intentional or voluntary on my part.
I have included this graph as a visual aid.
Note that before I got married, I was a very timely person. In fact, I was often way more than 15 minutes early for any event. I do not like to be late. There is a scientific reason for this. Apparently I was born with a Dorfenbergerthalamus, a minute but powerful portion of my brain that regulates my timeliness. The closer I get to the expected time of lift-off for any event, the more I sweat and nervously move my right leg up and down. You don’t want to be around me during the + or – 5 minute range, trust me. After -5 minutes, you’ll be fine – because I’ll be dead.
Now, Cap’n Firepants was not born with a Dorfenbergerthalamus, so he does not feel any sense of urgency to be on time for any event, no matter how important. It is only because my Dorfenbergerthalamus went into overdrive on the day of our wedding and my bridesmaids thought it prudent to kidnap him and haul him to the church an hour before the service that he was on time for that momentous occasion.
Note that, after the wedding, my cushion of time went down. This did not happen voluntarily. It is a result of something you young ‘uns and stubborn politicians need to learn about called COMPROMISE. Actually, in the teaching profession we call it ACCOMMODATION. This is what we do for people who are lacking in certain areas – such as Cap’n Firepants missing his Dorfenbergerthalamus. To accommodate for his handicap, I learned to deal with squealing up to the event just in the nick of time – just as Cap’n Firepants learned to deal with me snapping at him nervously during the entire interminable car ride.
Once we had Dimples, things changed even more. I don’t know if it was hormones, or what, but my Dorfenbergerthalamus went a little haywire. Added to its abhorrence of being late was a new fear of being too early. Because when you have a one-year old, you don’t want to have to spend any more time than you need to ANYWHERE. So, the calculations got a little more complicated, but I still got to places on time – barely.
And then we got Wonderbutt. Apparently, my Dorfenbergerthalamus is eroding with age or just cannot factor one more responsibility into my life; it now consistently miscalculates the time necessary to prepare to leave. It could figure in me, then Cap’n Firepants, then Dimples, getting ready. But Wonderbutt has overloaded my Dorfenbergerthalamus. So, although I am ready at the supposedly target moment, I then realize that I must make sure the appropriate gates are up to guarantee no border crossings occur while we are gone, and that Wonderbutt has adequate chewing materials so that he does not feel the need to resort to our furniture or other unpredictable objects – like the markers Dimples absentmindedly leaves around in case she needs to do spontaneous art projects.
Now it’s Cap’n Firepants who is in the car, claiming he is going to enforce the AIS (Ass in Seat) Law one of these days (see “Everybody Loves Raymond” for more specific information) as I scramble around the house at the last minute trying to determine why my Dorfenbergerthalamus has misfired once again.
So, don’t let anyone tell you that people don’t change. Once, I was a nervous wreck who was ridiculously early for any occasion. Now, I’m a nervous wreck who is regularly late and may or may not be wearing matching shoes with teethmarks in them.
Not too long ago, I published a post ranting about my frustrations with some of the doctors I’ve encountered. Telling people in my blog what I really wish I’d said to them in person is what this site is all about. But not every missed opportunity to speak up is a complaint. Today’s post is dedicated to a compliment I wish I’d given.
When I don’t feel well, I call Dr. Jimmy’s office. A Real Person answers, not an automated voice with a confusing menu of choices, none of which actually apply to your situation, advising you to listen to all of the options because they have changed, then tricking you by making zero, the former talk-to-a-person option, into a non-choice so you have to listen to the blasted menu all over again.
The Real Person at Dr. Jimmy’s calmly listens, and finds a time to fit me in. Not in a month. That day. At a time that is convenient for me. There is a millisecond of a moment that I’m on hold while she looks up my chart, but there is no irritating scratchy music or ads for new treatments I didn’t know I needed. And no accidental hangups.
I arrive early for my appointment and the Real Live Person gives me a three-inch sheet of paper with about five things for me to fill out. I don’t have to fill out three pages of questions that I’ve already answered ten times before about my entire medical history and all of my allergies. Just check off that nothing has changed since the last time I was here, which for your information, People Who Think I’m a Hypochondriac, was two years ago.
I turn in my little paper stub and my copayment. I sit down and pull out my iPad. Two minutes later, I am called back to the exam room. Yep, you got that right, folks. Before. My. Appointment. Time.
Weight and blood pressure taken, I wait in the reasonably temperate room. I am not freezing my butt off in a transparent napkin that covers nothing because I am actually still wearing all of my clothes. No paper gown dress code for Dr. Jimmy’s office.
As I contemplate taking my iPad out again, in strides Dr. Jimmy. Casually dressed in jeans and a button down shirt, he shakes my hand and greets me like an I’m an old friend from college he happened to bump into at the grocery store. In a manner of minutes, he has helped me to identify my physical ailment, empathized with me because he’s suffered through the same symptoms, offered over-the-counter treatment, and asked me to call the office back if this reasonable prescription doesn’t help within a day.
No over-dramatic orders to go see five specialists, get blood tests and x-rays, and to stop eating anything if I ever want to feel better.
I am back in my car within 25 minutes of my arrival. I could actually go back to work if I want to.
But I don’t.
Thanks, Dr. Jimmy. I haven’t taken my medicine yet, but I feel better already.
I got fired. Dimples and Cap’n Firepants don’t know yet. Actually, I don’t think Cap’n Firepants will really care. It was only a part-time job anyway. He’ll be happy that I have more free time. Well, until he learns the free time is for my blog.
Dimples, on the other hand, is going to be disappointed. She’s the one who got me the job in the first place, and pretty much taught me everything I know about it. She’s pretty savvy, that kid.
It’s not that I didn’t like the job. It was kind of fun. Only slightly demanding mentally, and really not physically demanding at all. But it was 24/7, and I was getting a little tired of my alarm going off at all hours of the day.
O.K. Confession time. I was a store manager. A virtual store manager, I should clarify. Of a fashion store. On my iPad.
Do not dismiss the stress such a job can cause. It is quite wearying to constantly have merchandise coming in that you need to hang on the racks and out on tables. Then you have to order again. If you don’t take receipt of your merchandise in time, then your orders expire. If you let too many orders expire, then your racks and tables are empty, which, of course, means you can’t earn any money. Not that you’re earning money anyway.
And then you have to make sure your store is outfitted with all of the necessary furniture, dressing rooms, cashiers, etc…
Not to mention the constant P.R. I have to go out and visit all of these other people’s stores to get them to come visit mine. The marketing alone was killing me.
I couldn’t keep my iPad in the bedroom at night, because it would keep ringing with notifications from my store about items that had arrived and people who had liked me or sent me gifts.
Over the Labor Day holiday I was at The Dictator’s Ranch with Spotty Internet Access. The only way I could hitch onto the 3G was to wave the iPad above my head while I sat in the swivel armchair, stuck my tongue to my nose, and held my breath. I realized I was willing to do this to update my blog, but not for my fashion store.
So, just like that, I stopped. I checked my empty store one more time when I returned home, saw all of my expired orders and the new available outfit that I didn’t even like, and walked away.
I don’t know what happens in situations like these. Will my neighbors loot my store? Will my virtual cashier sue me for nonpayment of her virtual salary? Will virtual kids in India lose their jobs because I’m not ordering their cheaply made clothes anymore?
And just for the record, I GOT FIRED.
Alright, I fired myself.
Unemployment doesn’t have to know that, right?
I figured out the main difference between my husband and myself. I am a go-in-a- straight-line-or-as-close-as-possible-even-if-I-have-to-keep-stopping person, and he is a go-the-opposite-direction-if-it-looks-better-even-if-it-takes-longer person.
I don’t know if I started out this way, but I have definitely refined the ability to measure any situation and find the most direct route through it or to it. It bothers me to meander. I don’t mean it is just slightly annoying. I mean that I get a rising sense of panic as we wander farther and farther from our direct path. I have to remind myself that it would not be socially or matrimonially acceptable for me to start yelling that we need to turn around and follow the route that I have mentally mapped. Ironically, I don’t actually have a sense of direction, yet my whole body screams if it even suspects I might be headed the wrong way.
When I say, “Honey, are you sure want to go this way?” that isn’t what I really mean.
My husband, however, would much rather take the scenic route. If there are less billboards, semis, and lanes on the road, he’s there. Time is never a factor.
I’m not just talking about driving. Apparently these philosophies metaphorically extend themselves to the other aspects of our lives. Whenever we need to make a major decision about a purchase, for example, I mentally identify the key factors involved, research them, and make a decision. My husband, however, thinks of details that have never occurred to me, and thoroughly weighs them, often for an agonizingly long time.
Case in point – our recent refrigerator purchase. I researched reviews of how noisy, economical, and spacious each one might be. Armed with my computer printouts and my iPad (just in case I needed to do research on the fly), I led my husband to the floor model I had chosen. The Yin to my Yang took one look at the door handles of the “perfect one”, and reflected doubtfully on how well they matched those of our other recently acquired appliance, the ice maker. “Matching door handles” not being one of the categories I could actually research on Consumer Reports, you see.
We got a different refrigerator.
Despite my frustration at moments like this, I have to admit that this personality mismatch seems to work. Sometimes, I bluster my way through things much too quickly. And sometimes, he gets distracted by minor details for much too long.
But, most of the time, I help him to focus on what’s important – our final goal. And he helps me to remember to live in the moment.
Now I can look upon our new refrigerator and be grateful that it doesn’t clash with the ice maker. Thank God he saved me from that disaster.
“The big hand points to the minutes, and the little hand points to the hour.”
You might think that this statement was addressed to my eight-year-old or one of my elementary school students, but it is actually something that I would really like to say to several of the doctors I know. Apparently, Handwriting was not the only subject they missed in their vast education.
“The doctor will be with you in 5 minutes” quite often should be translated into, “The doctor will join you in the freezing exam room where you are sitting and looking forlornly at your drained cell phone battery icon as soon as the big hand has traveled all of the way around the clock.”
It’s good they take my blood pressure reading way before the doctor actually enters the room, because I’m pretty sure they would check me into the hospital right away if they took a reading at the time of his appearance.
The thing is, the doctors appear to be wearing watches. Digital ones, even. So they don’t even have the complication of those confusing hands . Yet, the concept of wandering into the room at the actual time of an appointment seems completely foreign to many of them.
I have plenty of time to rehearse my speech about the fact that my time is just as important as theirs. And how would they feel if I meandered in an hour after my appointment time and demanded immediate treatment?
But, inexplicably, as soon as I catch a glimpse of the white coat, I am so eager to get the whole thing over and done, that I can barely remember what brought me there in the first place.
The opening some doctors give when they innocently ask, “Do you have any questions?” temptingly invites the response, “Yes, do you mind donating your Rolex to my medical expenses since you obviously never use it anyway?”
But I just mutely shake my head as I longingly reminisce about the 105 degree reading on my car thermometer as I arrived for my appointment. I mentally push the doctor out the door so I can put on my clothes and leave.
And thus I bypass another teachable moment and another opportunity to stand up for the rights of busy patients everywhere.