Sunday, November 13, 2011

Oh Sure, I Can Laugh NOW

So I took a vote - very unofficial, and involving pretty much just my mom and two sisters - and we decided that the following post is one of our favorites.  Mainly because enough time has passed that we can all laugh about it now. 

At the time, not so much... 

But I wrote it very early on in my blogging "career" (a term I use very, VERY loosely), and the girls and I thought that some of you newer readers might get a kick out of the story.  And hey, if it makes you laugh, do me a favor and leave a comment letting me know!

Just Say No (7/15/08)

Sometimes I think I must look one of those characters on Bugs Bunny. I suppose I'm addressing a specific audience here, but if you're a Loony Tunes fan, you'll know what I'm talking about. I think salespeople look at me and see a giant "Sucker" where my head should be. That, or they see me hauling my four kids from one place to the next and think, "Here is a woman who needs my product! Look at that dull skin!" Or, "Look at her rough and uneven nails!" Or "She looks like a candidate for the latest in-home water filtration system!"

OK, maybe I'm not a sucker. I've only purchased one skin care system, three nail care sets (they were made out of products from the Dead Sea!), and - hooray for me - I do not currently own a $6,000 water filtration system (although now I drink my tap water with a certain level of informed concern). I do, however, possess what those in the home sales business call a "yes face." I can say this with confidence, since I have made two forays into the home sales business myself - once as a beauty consultant and once as a jeweler. (By the way, please call me if you are interested in purchasing a ten-year old make-up kit or $300 worth of discontinued jewelry.)

A "yes face" is that one person in the crowd who makes eye contact with, and smiles at a sales person - which is apparently something I do when I'm walking by the Dead Sea kiosk on my way to the Food Court. I also do this when I answer my front door, because I just can't say no to the earnest appeals of small children selling wrapping paper for choir, or high school kids selling magazines to pay for football camp. Or to the vacuum guy who is trying to win a week-long, all-expense paid trip for himself and one guest to New Orleans.

This latest seller showed up on my doorstep recently to offer a free carpet cleaning of any room in the house. It was 6:00 in the evening, Tyler had just walked in the door, the baby was still in his carseat, and the kids were starving. "Perfect," I said, as two of the girls wrestled over a toy behind me. "One of the twins took her diaper off during nap time and got poop on the floor. Won't you please come in?" Somehow he got a glimpse of my yes face, because he wasted no time lugging his enormous vacuum cleaner and a box of cleaning supplies into my living room.

As the girls battled over which episode of Clifford they wanted to watch, and Tyler tried to figure out how to boil a pot of water for spaghetti, Joe* set up his machine and jumped right into his spiel. Five minutes in, I could tell it was going to be a long spiel. This vacuum doesn't just suck dirt out of the carpet; it inflates pool floats, cleans lampshades, mattresses, and walls, shampoos carpet, and details your car. I asked Joe if it could fold laundry and babysit, but he was staring at Evie sitting on the chair behind me.

"Um, I think she just had an accident."

Sure enough, there was Evie, sitting in a puddle on my upholstered chair.

I tried to be nonchalant, but it took an effort to mask my horror. "Why don't we test out how good that machine really is, Joe?"

While he went to work on the puddle, I took Evie to the bathroom and changed her clothes. Being that we're in the midst of her potty training, I slipped her into a fresh set of panties and shorts and reminded her that "Pee-pee goes in the potty, not in your pants." Meanwhile, Joe had decided that his vacuum cleaner probably wasn't as effective as a good old-fashioned washing machine, so I came back, stripped the cover off the chair, and plopped Evie down. "Where were we?" I asked.

Just then, Emily strolled into the room sans panties and shorts. It seems that Evie had inspired a demonstration. But Emily, having properly completed her toilet duties, couldn't figure out how to put her pants back on. Not to be left out, Ella then pulled her pants off and ran into the bathroom.

"Um, I'll be right back," I said. "I think the girls need a little help getting their clothes back on."

While I was standing in the bathroom, trying my best to explain inappropriate nudity to my daughters, I heard Joe call from the living room. "Ma'am, I think she just had another accident!"

Sure enough, Evie - whose bladder can apparently more liquid than a small horse - had once again gone pee-pee on the chair. And on the ottoman. And on the hardwood floor. At this point, unable to hide my horror, I actually screamed. Not words - just one really loud, frustrated scream. Unfortunately, the noise woke up Ty, who had been dozing in the Pack 'n Play during the chaos of Joe's increasingly lengthy presentation. I sent Evie with Tyler to get cleaned up (again), and picked up Ty to comfort him. Of course, he was not to be outdone by his sisters, and immediately unloaded a better portion of his dinner bottle onto the rug.

"Do you think we can get that spot out, too?" I asked Joe, as two naked children streaked by.

"I can try," he replied.

While he went to work on the spots and Tyler and the kids ate dinner, I tried to push this now excruciatingly slow demonstration along. But Joe was not about to lose a sale. (And really, who could blame him at this point? He was still stuck with cleaning the girls' poop-stained floor.) He pulled out all the stops and did a side-by-side comparison of his vacuum to my newly-acquired (and very expensive) machine. Tyler just gave me "the look", and headed out for his tennis workout. Since we've been married for eight years, I recognized "the look" to mean: DO NOT SPEND ANY MONEY. I knew I was now set on a collision course with Joe's hard sell.

I have to give the man credit. He asked all the right questions, pushed all the right emotional buttons, and wheeled and dealed with his "non-negotiable" - but really negotiable - price. He kept reminding me of how much easier his machine would make my life. (Had he really been in my house for the last 2 hours???) I could hear my "no, thank you" getting fainter as he pushed harder. I knew that I was a desperate woman when I considered compromising my marriage, and handing him $1600 to leave. But once again, we were interrupted by my children.

The sound of breaking glass shattered any prospect Joe had of selling me a vacuum cleaner. As I shot up the stairs, I knew exactly what had happened - the heavy mirror over the girls' dresser had fallen off the wall and crashed to the floor. Even as I ran my sub-par vacuum cleaner over the mess of wood and glass, Joe packed up his box and headed for the door. (But not before he graciously helped me move the broken frame to the garage.) Call it gratitude, but I told him that my neighbor was in the market for a vacuum and sent him next door with renewed hope for a profitable night.

When Tyler came home from tennis, we had a brief chat about inviting sales people into our home. We've probably had this conversation before, but I'm pretty sure that this time it's going to stick. The next time someone shows up on my front porch with something to sell, my face is going to have "no" written all over it. Unless of course they have a machine that folds laundry and babysits.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Oh, the Pain

A few weeks ago, I was at the doctor's office getting my blood drawn for some lab work.  After draining two or three pints of my blood, the nurse slapped some tape over the wound.

Then she stabbed me in the arm.

"OW.  That hurt!  I mean, that really, REALLY hurt."

The nurse withdrew the ice pick she'd plunged into my arm.  "Sorry."

I don't think she was all that sorry, but I didn't say anything.  I'm not a sissy when it comes to needles.  Anyone who knows me knows of my extensive history with the medical community.  I walked back to the waiting room, contemplating my new found sympathy for our well-immunized children and trying not to swing my throbbing arm.

The shot was part of a test to examine my body's response to stress.  Ironic, to say the least.  But I had to wait 30 minutes for another blood draw, so I made myself comfortable and texted my husband something to the effect of "OMG - PAIN."

The next thing I remember is seeing shoes out of the corner of my eye as I lay face-down on the floor.

The shoes informed me that paramedics were on their way and not to move in case my neck was broken.

"Does your neck hurt?"

"No, but my face does.  Can I roll over?"

They carefully rolled me on my back, and put my legs in the air.  Ten minutes later, the paramedics still weren't there and my feet were numb from the lack of circulation.

"I can't feel my feet."

There was a flurry of activity as doctors and nurses rushed to carry out the CYA emergency plan.  "DON'T MOVE.  We're getting you a neck brace and the paramedics are bringing a board."

"Could we maybe just put my feet down?"

The paramedics finally arrived and taped my head down to a board, then heaved me on to a stretcher.

"Are you in any pain?"

"Just my face.  Do I really need to go to the ER?"

Evidently, I shouldn't have questioned procedure.  I also shouldn't have asked why they were loading me into an ambulance when the ER was directly across the parking lot.  After a lengthy .3 mile drive (which included turning the ambulance around), I was wheeled into the ER.  The paramedics signed me over to a nurse and left.  As did the nurse, who left my head taped securely to the stretcher.

"Hello?  Hello?  Is anyone there?  I think I need a bathroom."

Eventually, a doctor appeared.  "Does your neck hurt?"

"No, just my face."

"Oh good.  Your neck's not broken."  He took off the tape and rolled me onto a bed.

"What about my face?"

I guess he didn't hear me, because after glancing at my chart, he informed me that I'd passed out due to my fear of needles.

"But I'm not afraid of needles."

"Well, it seems you are.  Next time you get blood drawn, make sure you lay down."

He signed my discharge papers and headed off to impart more brilliant medical advice to the pregnant lady down the hall.  Two hours later, I was released to go home.  Tyler handed me my keys and some money for the parking garage.

"My face is killing me."

"Maybe you should take some Advil when you get home."

I was kind of bummed.  You'd think with all of the hoopla, I'd get something more than discharge papers and an Advil.  I thought I deserved something big after all the fuss.

So did the paramedics.

I got an ambulance bill for $772 today.