Author Archive: aliceatwonderland

Top Board Games for Xmas!

Yay, Christmas!  That special time of year when parents go out of their minds trying to find the latest usually electronic toy while screaming into their own electronic toys. Well, I think it’s time we forgot about this new-fangled stuff and tried some good old-fashioned family values gifts.  Like board games!  Remember those?  Monopoly, Sorry, Clue – all games that inspired fun and delight and usually only one or two fistfights.

*Psst fingerlings spotted at Target!  Just kidding.

There are some new games come to the table now, though, and all revolving around a specific bodily function.  Every one of these was found in the Toys R Us catalog, and on the same page, by my astute blog assistants and children, Thing One and Thing Two.

  1. Pull My Finger Hilarious Game

I’m still thinking of a caption for this . . .

Hilarious game, alright!  I’m not just saying that, it’s listed as part of the title on the Toys R Us website.  What used to be a gross grandpa game for unlucky kids is now a game you can buy for any impressionable children for just $19.99!  Because we all know they need to be encouraged to do things like fart.

It’s good that they give clear instructions.  Pull finger, butt inflates.  I wanted to know how the butt inflates (naturally), so I investigated further.

There is a video on the earlier link with overexcited kids (really, one kid’s eyes cartoonishly pop out of his sockets, but only for a split second, so you’re not sure you just saw that or not).  I also included this one, though, because the acting from the adult creators (yes adults) from Jakks Pacific (a respectable toy company!) is just that stellar.

Here’s a quick transcript . . .

Woman 1: (sees man and woman alone in room together with a monkey toy) What are you two doing?

Man: Have you seen this game yet? Ha ha. This is my life, guys.

(Woman 2 proceeds to show her what to do.  Spin spinner.  Pull finger.)

Woman 1: Like what is this gonna do?

Woman 2: Like, its butt is in your face and filling up with air.  Guess!

Woman 1: This is so hilarious. I could not be more deadpan.

(After way too many pulls, and a small fart noise,the butt deflates a disappointing amount. Woman 1 squeals.  All ask for checks.)

Clearly the first ad from Toys R Us overstated the amount of inflation and explosion.  I’d love to see one where the monkey literally explodes.  That would be entertainment.

2. Goliath The Original Doggie Doo Game

Hey, I already got this on my porch yesterday.

A game about dog crap?  About time!  I love that the website notes that this is no fake Doggie Doo, no, for just $22.99 you get the Goliath Original Doggie Doo game.  That goodness, I do hate knockoffs when it comes to my poop.

If you look at the actual toy, it turns out Goliath here is a dachshund, a fairly disturbed one due to his owners maliciously pushing play-dough into his mouth, pumping it through his doggie digestive system, then taking said poop and putting it back in again, all according to the whims of the SPINNER.  Someone call PETA.

This is one twisted science experiment, kids. Also what’s the yellow thing do?

After watching the ad on Toys R Us, I realize the game is by the company Goliath, it’s not the dog’s name.  This dog is named Experiment 666.  Also – these people need to get out more if they get that thrilled watching poop fall out. Just hang around any dog’s butt for a while and you can see this happen in real time.  You don’t even need a pump.

3. Don’t Step In It! Game

The flies swarming around the poo are a nice touch.

Blindfolded, poop-dodging fun?  Count me in!  For another $19.99, you can try to avoid the poop Goliath left during earlier experiments.  But what is game play like?  There was no ad for this game on the website, so I had to go with the instructions on the page.

The Don’t Step In It! Game Features:

    • Blindfolded, poop-dodging fun
    • Mold the included compound to look like piles of poop
    • Step in the fewest poops to win
    • Play with friends or dodge the poop solo

I see so many more options for this game.  For one thing, if you have your friends blindfolded, why just use some compound with unknown chemicals?  Get the real thing, available in parks everywhere!  Or for added excitement, up the ante with tacks or pieces of broken glass.  Nothing says “popular game” like one that destines kids for the ER!  Unless you have no friends, then dodge the poop solo and commiserate with Goliath and the farting monkey.  They will never leave you!

4. Gas Out

Try me! Thanks, I’ll pass. . . the game. 

I just know there are more poop games out there – they were all in the catalog together!  Yet when I searched for poop games (not recommended) I found stuff like Chutes and Ladders.  That is a crap game, true, but not quite what I was wanting.

So I had to settle for this gem.  Gas Out is not a monkey farting, but an actual gas cloud.  So in analogy, instead of playing with a dog that poops, we’re playing with the anthropomorphic  poop.  Yuck, I mean who would do that . . .

Nevermind.

Back to the gas!  The first picture they show you when clicking on the game on the website (again not recommended), is this one.  Right away I’m seeing a very concerned looking fart and Math flash cards.  No good could come of this.

Multiplying? What kind of horror game is this?

If you click on the ad in the link, you’ll see kids dancing to ballet music while squeezing their farts.  They really should have played “The Star Spangled Banner” for perfect background music.  But exactly what is this green thing?  What is its name?  What’s its background story?  Toys R Us lets us know.

Kids won’t be able to stop giggling with the Gas Out Game! Guster the Gas Cloud is full of intestinal discomfort and he’s ready to rip! 

You know when “intestinal discomfort” is mentioned, the game has got to be good.  I’m also impressed that the gas cloud, out of all the others,  has an actual name.  Guster.  I will know now when I go to the doctor for – my friend’s issues, exactly what to call it.  Maybe it will be on the 2018 list of most popular names!

Oddly enough, the ad did not explain the mechanics of this complicated game.  Luckily, I found some.

features

  • Be the last player to pass Guster the Gas Cloud without him farting and win!
  • Players take turns playing Gas Out Number cards in their hand and pressing Guster as many times as shown.
  • If Guster farts during your turn – you’re out!
  • Special game-changing Gas Out cards like Skip and Reverse keep the play tooting along.
  • Includes electronic Guster the Gas Cloud and one deck of Gas Out cards.

Wait, is the X just a skip card, or is that a hidden feature?  I’m still scared of multiplication, especially with farts.  No word on whether the game developer added smell.  Just feed the children beans and they can supply it themselves.

Well, that was a real pantload of joy right there.  I had planned on showing off one other item – a fat unicorn who poops out supposed ice cream the kids EAT.  No, I’m not kidding.  It’s not really a game, unless you count gambling over whether your kid gets Guster discomfort from the ice cream.  Personally, I’m not eating anything that comes from a game about poo or gas; I don’t care if it is from a bloody unicorn’s butt.  And I was definitely not tempted to buy it (supplies are limited!) For more on this sparkly creature, see ES’s blog for that and even more frightening toys for the Christmas season.

Be sure to tell me what you think of these toys, or any suggestions for more fabulous Christmas songs, toys, traditions, or whatever else you’d like me to cover.  Hopefully I’ll get to it before that sneaky squirrel steals it.

~Alice

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Stupid Christmas Traditions: Ugly Sweaters

Hi, all, it’s holiday time again and I sort of missed Thanksgiving back there, just like American retailers and British people.  I did find out from a loyal UK viewer that they have started having Black Friday sales, even though there is no Thanksgiving, so it’s good to know we are still having a positive influence on the world.  In years past, I have done posts on Thanksgiving or Black Friday, (Happy Link Drops!) or a combination of the two, which is actually more accurate to the relationships of Pilgrims and Native Americans at that time.

Pilgrims and Indians share Black Friday deals.

But Thanksgiving is dead and gone, just like the turkey you shamelessly murdered, so time to move on to Christmas.  That’s right, it’s Christmas, not Chaka Khan or one of those fake holidays.  Christmas with baby Jesus and Santa Claus and maniacal parents looking for stupid toys at inflated prices, and in-laws and dead trees and Starbucks cups, Hallelujah.  In the past, I have provided my readers with helpful lists of Top Ten Christmas gifts, real meanings of scary Christmas songs, details of Olaf the snowman on a killing spree, etc., and I will get to those, but first let’s talk about a Christmas tradition.

Tradition 1: Ugly Christmas Sweaters

Once upon a time, people got ugly knitted sweaters (or jumpers if you’re a UK foreigner) from Grandma, and they had to wear them or else Grandma’s feelings would be hurt.  I like to think this was done on purpose by some Grandmas as an act of revenge for that nursing home, but generally they were supposed to be gifts they for some reason genuinely thought family members would love.

Some believe it was the Beatles who started the ugly sweater tradition.

Now, though, many Grandmas don’t sit around knitting sweaters all day.  They’re off in Vegas.  But people still haven’t forgotten about movies like “Christmas Vacation” and think they can be super cute by wearing “ugly” sweaters.  They even have contests for the most ugly sweater.  They had one at my former workplace, and the secretary asked the assistant director if she was in the contest.  She said “No.”  Awk-ward.

Your biggest question, I’m sure, is where people are getting these sweaters since Grandma flew the coop.  Well look no further, retailers have solved this for you!  They have purposely created lines of “ugly sweaters”.  Just – wait.  The whole point of the ugly sweater thing was that this was not done on purpose.  You wore it out of good old fashioned Christmas guilt.  You didn’t purposely buy it under a tag saying ugly.  If you purposely buy something ugly while realizing it’s ugly, you’re just dumb.  Also, these ugly sweaters aren’t even always ugly.  Some looked fine to me.  Who doesn’t like a cute penguin on their shirt?  Heathens, that’s who.

Anyone who doesn’t like Penguins is a commie.

Welp, that’s all I have time for today.  Please feel free to give any suggestions below for other stupid traditions, songs, or gifts, or whatever else your annoyed about this Christmas and my Things and I will try to cover it.

Merry CHRISTMAS so sayeth the Lord,

Alice

HONK!!!

ALICE’S TRAFFIC REPORT

Happy little cars . .

You know what’s fun about driving?  Hahaha.  It’s horrible.  People are assholes.  And they own cars, and possibly machine guns, and they are all over the roads like fruit flies on dishes that maybe someone didn’t wash the last three nights.  I would stop this whole driving thing, especially at the witching hour of 7 to 8 AM, but I have these Things I have to take to school.  Some people call them children.

I also have something called anxiety, so things like say screaming, crying, and loud noises tend to make my nervous system short out, and it so happened that all of this happened this morning.  It started around 6 AM when I woke up to my husband screaming through the bathroom door at my thirteen-year-old, who also has anxiety.  And hormones.

So she totally responded to him, since she could hear clearly with both the radio and the shower on full blast.  Once she finally started getting the idea that Mr. Alice was soon to go nuclear, she got out, put on clothes, and unlocked the door.  Haha, I’m just kidding.  She freaked out and cried.  Now my husband needed to get to work at a specific time, which was fast approaching, and his clothes were in the bathroom because of course he keeps his clean socks and underwear in that bathroom, even though we have our own bathroom in our bedroom, as well as things like a closet and drawers.

Somehow the door got opened and husband got clothes and out the door, whereas my teen stayed in the bathroom, with the door still locked, and the shower and radio still running, as she scream cried.

GOOD DAY, SUNSHINE!

I tried to get her out as well, to no avail, at which point I did the right thing and beat down the door with a two-by-four.  Actually I laid under my weighted blanket as my heart rate attempted to go down to somewhat normal.  Finally, she got out, and asked me to dry her hair.  So the hair drying calm down only took like twenty minutes or so, during which time I tried stupid stuff like reason.  Example: Hey maybe you should tell Dad when you’re taking a shower so he can get his crap out and not blow his top?  Thing One also tried to help by telling moronic jokes as Thing Two twitched like a ticking time bomb.  Anyway, the morning was going great considering I now at least didn’t have to get to work at the same time as my kids.  It didn’t change the traffic so much though, which was what I was getting to, right?

I came up with the master plan of dropping Thing One off at the high school and then offering to get Thing Two a biscuit from McDonald’s which used to be a very easy, and cheap, fix.  We got to McD’s and oh crap, they decided to block off the second lane most of the way so I couldn’t just bypass the other cars in a line and cut in front of them.  This sounds like I’m just being an asshole, but it also keeps the line of cars from drifting out onto the highway, so technically I was helping.  Not this time.  Thing Two saw that we had only 10 minutes and decided I should just take her to school before time ran out and the teachers got together to sacrifice her to the administrative gods for being late which is really not much of an exaggeration because school is like some other universe.

Warning: 100% chance of foul language and caps lock

So we get close to the junior high and I forget for a second that I have the yield and the other guy has the stop, which was why she wasn’t moving, so naturally the person behind me HONKS THEIR FUCKING HORN.  HOOOOOOOOONK goes the horn, and BAMMMM goes my heart which had just gotten into a normal goddamn rhythm thanks so much.  I yelped in surprise, and hit my gas, and we got out of there so that the freak behind me could get to wherever she was going, which I’m hoping was straight to Hell.

Extreme?  Yeah, try having anxiety and hearing a loud, sudden noise while operating large machinery.  I will say that road rage is a very bad no-no and you certainly should not get out of your car and shoot a missile launcher (Second Amendment!) at the other car and laugh ecstatically as the car bursts into an enormous ball of flame.  That would be wrong.

Did someone just honk?

Still, it seems to me that the horn is mostly for use in an emergency, such as another car is about to hit you, or someone has a missile launcher aimed at you.  It is really not for use because someone made you wait a half second at a stop.  So fucking CUT IT OUT cause you don’t know what is going on in in the life of the person whose car you honk at, or what weapons said person might be carrying because this is Texas, and even dentists carry guns.

I did get Thing Two dropped off at school, and I even got a hug, cause I know how to drop her the proper distance away from the building.  I decided I’d go back to McDs cause I DID deserve a break today and they DO have sausage biscuits and a hash brown for $1.50 which even I can afford.  So all was well until, guess what you will never guess!  Another car honked.  This time it wasn’t at me, I’m fairly sure, it was one of the cars that was blocking the way.  Not sure who honked at who, but they got moving away from me, and I was finally able to get home.

I can’t wait for tomorrow!

 

~ Alice

National Boss’s Day!

And a Merry Mole Day!

Guess what?  I was dropping my kids off at school this morning and heard on the radio that today is a holiday!  One you have all surely been looking forward to to with bated breath.  I know I have been, especially after I heard it existed just this morning.  If you read the title of this post, then you know it’s “National Boss’s Day!”

I don’t hear cheering, guys!  Okay, look, I no longer have a boss (look at me, I’m self-employed!) but for all of you who do have bosses, I figured I’d help you out with this one.  “National Boss’s Day” was created by a sad little boss, probably Donald Trump, who wanted people to honor him for all the work he makes you do!  Since no one was volunteering in spite of the constant emails of encouragement, the next best thing was to make it a national holiday.  It’s a great one too, because you the employee get no time off or appreciation, which is exactly what most bosses want out of a holiday!

So what do you do on “National Boss’s Day?”  The radio D.J.s were helpful, especially since their boss could hear them talking right that moment.  They suggested that you could, well, at least thank the boss for signing the check.  Now if that is not enthusiasm, I don’t know what is.  If you really wanted to suck up, you could buy them a mug that says “Best Boss Ever” on the front, and on the back says “No really, this is not just because I want a raise I swear”.  They will be sure to love it!

Just as much as you love your job!

So while your boss considers whether she should hand out the pink slips on this special day, I thought we’d think a bit on all these national holidays.  I’ve been hearing a lot of these crop up lately.  Last time I believe it was “National Coffee Day”.  That one wasn’t bad, because some places gave free coffee.  I am one of the few who doesn’t like coffee, though, so I’d have preferred something like “National Health Destroying Drink of Your Choice Day” just to be more inclusive.

What other national holidays are there that you don’t know about?  Lucky you, I did some research.  I bet you thought October only had Halloween, the great tradition of terrifying strangers into giving you candy, but no, there’s so much more.  Some days have more than one holiday, like October 2nd when you can either appreciate custodial workers or name your car.  There is “Mad Hatter Day” on the 6th, which happens to fall right after “World Teacher’s Day” on the 5th.  I don’t think this is coincidental.  “American Touch Tag Day” is on the 8th, though it is celebrated most days of the year.

Halloween is not the only controversial day of the month – now we have Columbus Day too.  Some cities and states have decided to adopt Indigenous Peoples Day in favor of Columbus Day in hopes of making up for years of genocide!  If neither of these work, you can always celebrate “Moldy Cheese Day”, also on the 2nd Monday of October.  If all these random, bizarre days – often different depending on the website you visit – annoy you, you can wait for “Moment of Frustration Day” on the 12th.

Native Americans
You’re welcome – Christopher Columbus

My only problem with these holidays is that they do not come with days off from work or school, which we can all agree is the true meaning of holiday.  It will all be worth it, though, if Starbucks starts pumping out Happy Holidays cups for these days too, so that we can have Republicans complaining all year long.

Merry Holidays!

 

~Alice

Nights of the Living Dead Hair Demons

Last July my children and I got the HAIR DEMONS (otherwise known as lice).  Guess what, you’ll never guess!!  I brushed my hair a couple weeks ago, and out came hair demons!  I had really missed those guys, and apparently they’d missed me too.  But that’s not all!  My eldest, Thing One, also had the parasites from Hades, only she forgot to tell me about them, so just went to school that day, treatment free.

We’re Back!!!   Hi!!!

That’s okay, though, because you know what?  Now many schools no longer check kids routinely for our buggy friends.  Not only that, they don’t warn you when there’s a case of them going around, nor do they send your kid home from school, nor do they require that the kid have been treated before coming back.  Isn’t that awesome?  Their reasoning is that hair demons aren’t gonna kill you that much, so no biggie.  Also some higher ups were afraid of hurting a child’s feelings, should another child find out they had the demons.

. . .

Yeah, here’s the thing school administrators, who I dearly hope get a case of these “not that bad” parasites.  You know what is worse than annoyed parents who have to keep their kids home cause of bugs, or the school nurse who is annoyed having to check for bugs when she could be gossiping in the office (maybe just my nurse?), or a kid being teased for having bugs?  Worse is giving the bugs to every single one of their classmates AND their parents, and if you aren’t looking, maybe YOU administrators.  I’m planning on sending lots of infected children to your fancy offices and having them give you BIG HUGS with lots of head touching!  That’s how much I appreciate your decisions!

You can’t stand in the way of immigration! I’m calling my Congressman!

Because while lice do not kill you (unless you take a sledgehammer to your own head), they end up costing lots of money AND time AND stomach acid because I’m sorry but they make me want to hurl.  Let’s say you get lucky and you buy a kit of over-the-counter demon treatment, or you get creative and try salad dressing or oil from a tree or you put your child’s head inside a sealed bag for what is it – two weeks?  And this treatment (usually a fun shampoo with an eu de rotten eggs that you scrub and rinse out) actually kills the buggers!  You still aren’t done.  Next you have to comb their hair with a very fine toothed comb to get out what you killed.  Don’t even think about using the plastic piece of crap they give you in the kits.  Get the Lice Terminator comb from Amazon.  It will pull out anything, including hair, but not as much as the other combs.  Over the eternity that you comb (because if you miss even one it might still hatch and make a new gang of buddies!) you will find stuff Stephen King wishes he could make up.

If I got clowns in my hair, that would surely be a sign of End Times.

Then you get to wash the sheets or whatever else you’ve touched lately in HOT AS HADES water to kill ’em all.  I recommend doing this six or seven times to make sure.  I did need to wash my sheets as it had been . . . I needed to wash my sheets anyway.  But still.  Then you wait a week, combing each day (you’ll see why later), and shampoo the head one more time just in case and comb and wallah the infestation is gone!  Until a few weeks later, when inevitably your kid gets it again from some other kid who has tons of bugs but hey, positive self-esteem.

Believe it or not, that’s the good scenario.  The bad one happened to me, which is why I’m writing this slightly psychotic post.  Thing One and I treated ourselves (ice cream is better) and a day later I combed on her hair.  And . . .

Forget kitties, Animal Planet has this!

My eldest has beautiful, thick hair that curls on its own and predicts humidity (Is it a white girl fro?  Expect rain!).  Unfortunately, the bugs like this also because they get a multi-level condominium.  Every time I brought the comb back, it was full of friends.  Every. Time.  It’s okay, I told myself because I was being all grown-up.  We’ll handle it!  It will be better tomorrow!

 

It wasn’t.

I kept finding the creatures, and way too many of them were still alive.  Even Thing Two helped me comb, cause that kid has a stomach of steel.  After about a week, I snapped.  What was going on here?  I’d dealt with this before, but this time we were looking at a spot on that show Infested.  (Yes, it’s a show, or it was.  Even with my fear of bugs, I watched it just in case I got a new bug, so I could get really paranoid it was deadly).  So we went to the doctor for the bug nukes and the girls and I received prescriptions.  My husband went to the pharmacist and discovered that bug nukes cost 50 dollars a bottle.  That’s right!  For little 8 oz bottles that would supposedly be enough for two treatments.

It’ll work! For sure!

But I’m still not finished!  For one thing, at the doctor we discovered that Thing One hadn’t had the demons for one week.  She’d been tolerating them for a solid month because she didn’t want to add any more stress to a slightly imploding family.  Or like, deal with bugs.  That explained some things.  I think I’ve found the most tolerant kid in existence.  Anyway, we now had the good stuff, one bottle of which took care of ONE treatment of the new civilization we’d found in her hair.  Thing Two’s hair is lovely too but thinner and finer which at that point made it the best hair in the universe.

A week (and six years) later and the Things and I have been washed and combed again.  No bugs spotted – so far.  The Things totally didn’t go back and use the same hairbrushes, I’m sure of it.  I found shampoo with mint (the smell not the actual mints I think) that lice supposedly don’t like, as well as another that smells like grass that I don’t like any more than the bugs.  Also tea tree oil.  It better work cause it smells too.  I might have warned my beloved Things that if they didn’t listen to Mommy and do their part in preventing future invasions, there would be much wailing and gnashing of teeth as my psyche would completely dissolve.  Also: buzzcuts.

The End!

~Alice

The Terminated

I Won’t Be Back.

When I started my ECT treatments, I was prepared to document my journey.  I wanted others to see that it wasn’t barbaric, so that they too could have a chance at putting a lid on their depression, at least for a little while.  I thought I would get a dozen treatments or so, and I’d be done.  All better.  That didn’t quite happen.  Oh, I am better, much better than I was, but my new normal is nothing like what I expected it to be.  ECT wasn’t bad or good but a little of both, and the aftereffects are even more mixed.

First of all, those 12 treatments turned into 3 months of constant travel to a city six hours away, at times all the way there and back in two days, other times with a week in a hotel room.  They gave us a hospital rate, but that hotel wasn’t free.  We never unpacked our suitcases.  We hardly bought groceries.  Our kids got really sick of staying with grandparents.  My husband and I both missed work, since I had to have someone with me for the treatments. I was long past any sick or vacation leave, so I got no pay.  He got pay, but I worried they would fire him.

They didn’t.  Thank goodness.  No, they fired me.  Or as the university likes to call it, they “terminated” me.

They aren’t specific with that terminology.  Anyone who leaves the university is “terminated.”  After student workers quit, my coworker would say “Madison has been terrrrrrminated.” in a threatening voice.  And these were people who chose to leave.  In fact, I do not recall in my seven years at that workplace anyone ever being fired no matter the gross misconduct.  Just me.

Technically I was terrrrminated for, as the letter called it, “excessive absenteeism.”  Oh, yeah, it was a letter.  No in person meeting.  No phone call.  No warning.  After getting two degrees from that place.  After working two different jobs at that place.  After struggling just to get up in the morning for so many years, after keeping a job when anyone sane would have quit to rest, after using all my energy for said job with hardly any left to spare, after spending so much time worrying about that job that I couldn’t let myself heal, I opened my mailbox to find a letter.

I’ll simplify what it said.  “Hello Alice. I realize that after seven years of a family work atmosphere with people you called “friends”, you thought maybe you might survive your latest bout of illness.  But this time you went over your FMLA, that stuff that the government amazingly still offers that lets you have twelve weeks of unpaid time off for pesky things like illness.  It’s almost like we were just waiting for you to go over that block of time, and throwing down the hatchet right when you did it.  Sure we could have warned you, or heck, called you even ONCE while you were out on leave to check on you, but that would acknowledge you had a real illness, not to mention take time from our schedules. Nevermind that your brain has been shocked into seizure over twenty times, you really shouldn’t have abandoned your job.  But you did, so give us your keys and your ID card, and clean out your desk.”

I have been through many emotions after losing my job on August 24, well technically the 22nd, as it took two days for the letter to arrive.  (For two days I was fired, and didn’t even know it!)  Yet the first thing I felt when I read that I no longer worked at that place was relief.  For the first time in a very long time I could breathe.  When you have a chronic illness, it becomes another job.  Add in parent, spouse, maid, cook, etc – each one a job in itself.  No one can do that much, so you start dropping jobs.  I stopped cooking.  I stopped cleaning.  Self-care also fell by the wayside.  Depression isn’t big on letting you shower anyway, and add in a severe time crunch, and you can forget it.  And this was all before I decided to try ECT as a last ditch effort to help me cope with a disease that has plagued me sense I was a teenager.

Yet the relief was short-lived as I now face a very uncertain financial future.  I had wanted to quit, but I felt like I could not.  We needed the money, especially after months of no pay AND high medical bills that had gathered up on my kitchen counter.  We needed the very good insurance to pay for all my medical woes.  I spend thousands each year just for daily medications I get from the pharmacy.  My mother pointed out that this might be a reason for them wanting me out of there.  Insurance companies aren’t happy when they actually have to pay back some of those premiums.

I feel guilt because of the financial losses my family has taken due to my illness.  It isn’t my fault, but that really doesn’t make me feel better.  I am far from the only one.  It’s all over this supposedly great country: families who work hard but live on the brink, one medical disaster away from total bankruptcy.  I know so many this has affected.  A hairdresser and family friend who was denied insurance because getting Colon Cancer was a “pre-existing condition”.  She’d already had Breast Cancer, no fairsies getting it again. I have a friend deep in debt for trying to keep her chronically ill kids alive.  I have a friend with Fibromyalgia and Depression.  She had to quit her job because constant debilitating pain forced her to do so, pain many doctors don’t even believe is real.  A blogger friend just sold her house to help with her massive medical debt.  As she said, all because she got sick.

My brother has struggled with Type 1 Diabetes and Bi-Polar disorder since he was a child.  My parents have struggled with being his caretakers.  Bipolar disorder and Diabetes are a double whammy.  Not wanting to take care of yourself is one thing when you don’t need insulin and a healthy diet to survive.  He has already lost part of a toe.  Yet my parents spend money they worked hard for all their lives to help him survive, because he cannot stay in a job.

I was supposed to be the Golden Child.  In spite of 3 degrees, I have failed.  Over and over.  I was forced to resign from one job, and forced to quit another due to intolerable working conditions.  And these were just my “professional” jobs.  Those jobs, and the latest one, were all at libraries.  Maybe I shouldn’t like to read so much.

I am lucky, because I have had the help and support of so many people.  There is no safety net here for most people. They stop or ignore needed medical treatment every day because they can’t afford it.  They can’t afford tests that could not only make their treatment less expensive in the long run, but save their lives.  It’s all about money here.  God forbid anyone raise taxes.

Let them eat cake.

We need a change.  Maybe we don’t have the power to stop these diseases ourselves, but we have power to lessen willful ignorance.  We have the power to decrease selfishness and cruelty.  Do not doubt your ability to help someone feel better with a simple word, a kindness, an embrace, or a novel length blog post.

And don’t forget to vote.  Vote for those who would choose kindness and mercy over greed.  Who would help people who are too sick to help themselves.  Who would pass laws enforcing humanity in workplaces, in insurance companies, in hospitals.  Who would let sick people think only of getting well.  If we don’t find those candidates, we can create them.  Surely the “greatest nation” could do something as simple as take care of its own.

~ Alice

 

Back to School, Therapy, and Dueling Shrinks

I’ve been in therapy many years, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s this: the best way to determine your sanity is by how well you tolerate your doctors.  I saw the Dallas doctors, and insisted repeatedly and to several people – including the nurses, the nurse practitioner, and finally the psychiatrist – about wanting to have a definite time for treatment to end.  By the way, you get to talk to the psychiatrist on the hospital bed while they are preparing to hook you up to a machine – not distracting at all!  Don’t worry, I was prepared to leap off the table and do karate-like chops had they decided to go ahead and treat me.  I might have ended up in the looney bin, but their looney bin is kinda like a hotel as compared to the one in my hometown where people are stacked like cord wood- I saw pictures.  Also my friend is a lawyer. So you know, I was prepared.

How could it possibly be awkward for you to talk to me this way?

As expected, he got “oh-no-doctor-frowny-face” and rambled on about how studies show something- something.  I said I want to know how many more treatments cause I’m ready to stop.  Again.  So he finally came around with spacing out two more treatments.  One two weeks away, and the next another couple weeks.  Well, he said two to three which to me means TWO.  So I got knocked out, and they did whatever they do while I’m asleep – supposedly the treatment but you know they could be animating me like in that movie Weekend at Bernie’s, I don’t know.  Then we did the long, long drive home but this time I was more sleepy than usual, so I don’t remember as much.

After getting home, life moved on.  My Things started school again – weeeee!  Thing Two is in 8th grade this year – one more year of dreaded junior high – and Thing One is . … . a junior in high school.  Because I am kinda old.  I was helping them fill out paperwork and remembering when I first filled out paperwork for Thing One at the pediatrician’s office.  Under “Mother’s Name” I wrote my mom’s name.  Now she’s 17 years old, and next year she can vote.  Thank God!  She and Thing Two should have been voting in elementary school.  I believe in something called “mental age voting” which means that younger people who use their brains can vote, but older people who don’t use brains can’t.  As I signed, Thing Two told me her teacher said most of us parents could be signing up for almost anything because we don’t look at what we’re signing.  I protest – had that been a PTA form, you can bet I would have avoided it.

That’s a watermark there, but I like to think of it as a black hole.

Later that day, I went to see my local shrink.  He wanted to know about my 10 to 12 treatments.  Funny.  When I told him it was slightly more than that, I got “confused-face”.  Lovely.  I explained how I got better, but then I didn’t, but then I DID,  but then kinda not and so many treatments later here I was.  Then I started to get rather angry.  Just how many treatments was I supposed to have?  This is rather important stuff here when you’re dealing with a human’s brain.  I happen to have one of the few remaining working ones, so I’d rather not change that, thanks.  This is why we have to be in charge of our own health care, cause you can bet they are not going to have a clue.  Their heads are filled with stuff they learned in school, which does not include interacting with people.  People like patients, or their own medical freaking colleagues, for instance.  I guess I should have checked back, but when during all the travel and such?  Got me!

My husband was there to hold me down.

On the plus side, everyone else thinks I am better.  And I am, I guess, now that I have time to sit and think a little.  It’s taking a bit to get back in the grove of things, but thank God for Google, which will look up anything I need.  Like when I couldn’t remember where the italics were for just a second only to find them again on the toolbar above the text box in WordPress.  I’m sure if I had actual Microsoft Word on here (my former computer guy used to get me bootleg Microsoft Word before he went to jail shhhh) I would know where that toolbar is as well.  I also finally figured out how to get into a program where I can talk to a counselor over the computer!  I think!

I should warn her there’s an article that says some patients were flashing doctors.  Because of course they were.

I haven’t made it back to work yet.  After this summer of FUN, not sure I’m ready for that yet.

 

~Alice

 

 

 

Maintenance

I think they’re trying to tell us something.

In case anyone was wondering why I haven’t been here in a month (I know I have), here’s an update.  Still having ECT.  Right now they say I am in maintenance treatments which is much like actual maintenance on highways and such- uncomfortable and lasts forever.  I have been at this since June 5th or in my estimate, the beginning of time.

Earlier I promised to give a review of this controversial mental health treatment.  Turns out it’s not really as cut and dry as medications.  With those you can say “Well I took the Zufrika but it made me gain 15 pounds in my elbows and start watching Fox News so I stopped.” or “Scaramouchi gave me diarrhea but really got rid of my depression and I hope they get it back in stock soon.”  It’s not either definitely successful or definitely a waste.  I might be able to make a better determination after it finally ends, but it’s almost mid-August, and they haven’t given me a hint about when this stops for good.

When you start treatments, you generally do three a week, then you start spacing out once you feel better.  I did feel better, enough that going back to work sounded good, but then as I mentioned I went back down again so I tried part-time, and then I tried no time.  I have been on no time for a while, and though this has been good for my relaxation it hasn’t been so hot on my pocketbook.  And it’s hard to tell just how much better you’ve gotten when you are still frequently driving six hours to a big city to spend the night, get shocked, and travel another six hours home again.  The people at the hospital are nice, but that is wearing thin.

I should also note it’s not just depression but anxiety chumming around with me.  And since the treatment meant stopping a medicine for that, I am Squirrel as often as Sad Pony.  Vroooooom.  Beep beep.  Oh, if only I could feel better as easily as little boys, or our President, with a big red truck.

Twice I have felt much, much better.  But each time I’ve gone back to – not so great.  While yes I am better than I was before any treatments, I can’t really tell you exactly how I’m feeling now, because therapy requires way too much naval gazing.  How are you now?  How about now?  Or now?  Or now – compared to yesterday?  Or last week?  Or before you started?  Here, fill out this sheet of questions about whether you are definitely sad, or kind of sad, or slightly less sad than that, or happy!  What do you mean you’re confused?

I’m starting to wonder if I have to start lying on the “happy sheet” in order to make them stop.  Tapering down on treatments is the best way to go – but this taper is not just slow it’s a crawl.  I went from three times a week, to two times a week, to once a week.  We might go back two weeks after my treatment tomorrow.  And then – I don’t know.  Three weeks apart?  A month? How about a never?  My brain may not be scrambled (completely – you have to remember the condition before) but I’m tired.  Each treatment, besides being away from my Things and requiring a trip to Dallas, requires fasting the night before, having anesthesia, getting disgusting goop stuck in my hair, and then the fun waking up where I stumble around and hope someone catches me.  It gets old.

I have many ideas for posts that I would like to write.  I’ve not been good about sitting down to do it.  Or at doing much else useful.  It has been nice to just breathe.  But I don’t quite know what’s next.  I do want to get back to it, though, because a lot is happening right now!  Maybe I will finish my treatment before North Korea blows up Guam!  Or us!  I definitely want to be there should justice actually happen and our dear presidente get taken to his next vacation home behind bars.

If I figure anything out, I’ll let you know!  Probably.  If you read this, feel free to leave me links to anything you wrote so I can have something to read.  It’s good to get out of my head.

~Alice

 

Could Don Trump Jr. cure my Depression?

I was feeling a lot better, but then I started feeling not as good.  I’m not sure why.  It might have been going back to work and trying to get used to regular life again.  Or maybe that’s just part of treatment.  At any rate, I am going back for another extra treatment today.  Hopefully that will help.

There’s one other thing that might help, though.  I’m not sure if you’ve watched the news (or the comedy shows that do as good a job only more amusing) but it seems little Donny is a moron.  Remember how Hillary Clinton lost the election mostly because of her stupid emails?  Yeah?  Well, guess what?!  She’s not the only one with dumb emails.  It seems Don Jr met with a Russian lawyer who gave him confidential info on Hillary which they then used to influence the 2016 election.  We’ve been suspecting there was collusion between the Trumps and the Russians for a while, but no one thought that a Trump would actually flat out give written proof of it.   I told my thirteen-year-old about this and she frowned and asked, “Isn’t that treason?”  Yes, Thing Two, yes it is, good job.  Now if only adults on Fox News would figure it out, it’d be great.  Till then, we can watch them squirm.

Hey, Donnie, cleanin’ out a space for you in my can.

Now I have clips from Stephen Colbert of the Late Show and Trever Noah of the Daily Show.  Sure I could have found a bunch of official news clips, but you can do that.  This is much less boring.  Anyway, my point here is that this has the potential to cheer me up quite a bit.  I know it did last night when Thing One and I were watching and laughing so hard we nearly fell out of our chairs.  Of course, I could be wrong.  They are rich jerks and often they tend to get away with anything but – if nothing else they are not going to shake this for a while.  It should keep them busy.  Too busy – I hope – to keep working on that healthcare bill that will leave 23 million more uninsured.  Yes, Fox News is trying to defend the Trumps and sounding almost as ridiculous as Don Jr. did when he tweeted out the entire email chain containing information that directly links him to the scandal.  I did you the favor of linking clips from the Daily Show and the Late Show right here!

And not to forget Stephen’s report – view them both to get all the goodies, if you haven’t already . . .

Weee!  Who says you can’t have Christmas in July?  Stayed tuned.

Your raving reporter,

Alice

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Come baaaaaaaaaack!

I was reading this article about President Obama taking a selfie with an Alaskan woman and her baby.  It was super weird, see, cause he held this baby, took the picture, and never once told either her mother or her that they were too fat or had bad plastic surgery jobs.  And all I could think was of how sweet it was and how jealous I was of that baby.

That might have come out wrong.  Anyway, while I was reading my husband walked by and said, “Reading about Obama?”  I said yes and that I was sad that some people called him a “monkey” online.  He said, “I know you and the girls make fun of Trump.  But he should be given respect as the president.”  This surprised me, as he rarely talks about politics.  I said, “I wouldn’t be racist about him.”  Which is true – that is one thing I wouldn’t do.  Even orange people should have rights.

Now my husband is a good man.  If I’d known he was going to end up voting Republican, I highly doubt we’d have gotten past the second date.  He said he wasn’t into politics when I asked him about his.  My translation: I can convert him.  Young single people – don’t ever think this.  He votes Republican primarily because of gun rights.  He was raised in the country, where he was taught to respect guns and use them properly.  So he thinks other people do.  I don’t try to argue about this with him anymore.  In fact, we usually do not discuss politics with each other.  This is a good thing because we balance each others’ strengths quite well.  With politics he doesn’t care and I care way too much.  But his statement got me thinking.

Think like the POTUS!

Do we need to have respect for the president because of his office alone?  When Obama was president, I can remember being deeply bothered that people said such horrible things about him.  My Thing One was just eight when he was elected the first time, and it bothered her that people did not show respect for the president since she was taught to respect her elders.  I felt the same way.  Even if they didn’t care for his positions on issues, there was no reason to be so nasty about him as a person.  Then came Trump.

I tried to have basic respect for him at first, honestly I did.  But it wasn’t long, definitely by the time he somehow, inexplicably, became the Republican nominee for POTUS that I lost even a semblance of respect.  Was I biased about Obama?  Well, yes, of course I was.  I am a very passionate Democrat.  I stand with the views of that party.  But that wasn’t the only reason I liked Obama.  He also, in my opinion, earned respect.  He wasn’t perfect, no one is, but he made an effort.  You looked at him and you saw a decent human being.  At least I did.  I never could understand why some people had so much hatred for him.  The Democrat before him, Clinton, was a successful president, even if he had issues with keeping a basic item of clothing on around interns.  Obama, as far as anyone knows, had no issues with this.  I think it was the whole “Michelle was awesome and he was a good guy” bit.  But girl had muscle and could probably bench press him, so ultimately it was in his best interest.

The episode where Michelle put Elmo in a headlock was the best one EVER.

Moving onto Donald Trump.  What can I say?  I have not cared for the last few Republican presidents, especially George W. Bush, for very good reasons.  Yes, I have bias toward my party of choice.  I believe the government should take care of ALL people, not just the wealthy.  Everyone should have healthcare.  Everyone should be able to make choices about their own lives.  And so on.  Still, I would never have advocated for wild hyenas to chase after either Bush, or Reagan, or any of the other Republicans before them.  But Trump?  Oh, yes, yes I would.

I don’t dislike him.  I loathe him.  And I have reasons, so many reasons, all of which can be backed up with written, audio, or video proof.  Almost every time he opens his mouth, something hateful, offensive, sexist, racist, or just idiotic comes out. Or any time he types on a keyboard, which he does way too often for any office holder.  We need a new law barring people holding office from Twitter.  Unless you are a under 18 years old you really do not need to be spending that much time on a form of social media that spits out idiocy 140 characters at a time.  Good grief, my children do not spend that much time on Twitter.  They are smarter and have more important things to do with their time.

Even I write more intelligent tweets.

I do expect my kids to show basic respect for authority, even if they don’t like them.  But this is unlike anything I have ever experienced when it comes to authority.  George W. Bush was not the brightest light on the porch, but he did know how to listen to his advisors.  Trump is so arrogant he won’t even listen to his own staff.  And he needs to, because he knows nothing about his job.  You should understand your job and if you don’t, you darn sure better lean on someone who does get it.  This is true at a KFC, and it is certainly true in the highest office in the U.S.A.  Have your own views on the issues, views I detest, but at least do some basic things like:

A: Live in the White House – full time – with your wife.  Or

B: Prepare for meetings with presidents of other countries, especially if those presidents are extremely dangerous. Or

C: If you can’t say something nice, shut up.

Crazy ideas, I know, but come on!  It’s not just me, some crazy “libtard” as Internet Trump supporters like to say.  Other world leaders dislike him too.  Watch the Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel roll her eyes and imagine getting to spend the day sandwiched between Putin and Trump.

Or check out the former president of Mexico, Vicente Fox.

He is now one of my new heroes.

Unlike my president.  Yes, though I hate it, he is the president, but he is a lousy president and a pretty lousy human being.  He could change, but I highly doubt he will.  As Vicente says, he would be much happier back in his old life as jerk CEO.  There’s no pressure there, and best of all, no tempting buttons to push.  There was a time, back when he was first elected, when I thought people were going overboard with worry.  Surely he wasn’t going to be that bad.

I was wrong.  So wrong.  There are scary things happening out there.  Other countries with weapons that could destroy what is left of the promise of this great nation.  The United States and her people deserve more than this.  The world, of which the United States is one of the wealthiest, most influential nations, deserves more than this.

It deserves respect.

~Alice