Saturday, May 23, 2009

Too Much TV

Except for the six weeks Lexie was in the NICU, I have been watching a LOT of TV starting back when I entered hospital in November. To pass the time, I took to watching a soap opera or two here and there. The first thing I noticed, being in a hospital myself at the time, was the large percentage of characters being treated in the hospital at any given time. Then I noticed several more things that are out of proportion in soap opera world. My running list:

  • Hospitalizations
  • Fake pregnancies
  • Babies switched at birth
  • Evil twins
  • Characters missing and presumed dead (leaving the door open for a return)
  • Cases of mistaken identity
  • Number of cops
  • Number of doctors
  • Car accidents
  • Multiple marriages by the same person
  • Divorces/reconciliations
  • Whodunits
  • Amnesia

There must be more. What soap opera plot cliches can you think of?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

More Neighborhood Intrigue

I've previously mentioned my neighbor with the three constantly yapping dogs, fried hair, and drinking problem. The dogs have gotten worse lately, and my husband has been tossing around the option of calling the cops and making a noise complaint. For a while I urged against it, because the neighbor doesn't seem to have a lot of good things in her life other than the dogs, and she clearly is unhappy, but it's gotten so bad lately that I started to feel fewer qualms about it.

Thursday night, I went to take a shower around 7 p.m., and when I came back downstairs my husband informed me that he had finally had enough and had called the cops to make an anonymous noise complaint. I was all, "no way." He told me that a police officer had showed up in an unmarked car, and Steve had crept up to the kitchen window and lowered it slightly so he could hear the conversation (we live in a townhouse). Apparently the officer told her that this was the first complaint, and at the next complaint she'd get a fine, and the third would put her in jail. She freaked out and got combative, which, needless to say, did not endear her to the police officer.

We laughed about it (although I still felt a little bad for her) and I went upstairs to catch some sleep. (I try to go to bed around 8pm nowadays to ensure I get at least three hours of sleep before Steve heads to bed and I'm back on Lexie Watch.) A half hour later, there was a pounding on our door. I had been drifting off to sleep, but at this point my eyes popped open. I knew who it was.

I tried to listen but couldn't hear much. She hung around for a looong time, and as soon as she left Steve came trotting upstairs, with Lexie in his arms, to report on the confrontation. Apparently, my husband had answered the door to find our neighbor, reeking of booze. "Didyoooocall thecopson my dogs?" she slurred. "Nah," my husband lied. "We're so busy with the new baby we aren't even worried about anything like that."

So then she proceeded to unburden herself on my husband for a half hour about her sad life. She admitted that the dogs have been louder lately, ever since she adopted a homeless cat; her dogs bark constantly at the cat. She began to ask Steve repeatedly who he thought may have called the cops, and he just kept saying he didn't know. She became convinced (her idea) that it must have been the neighbors on the other side, because she'd complained to the HOA about their failure to rake their leaves. She kept drunkenly asking Steve, "do you think I should go over there?"

Finally Steve ushered her out the door saying, "If I were you, I'd definitely go over there right now." And she toddled off.

We haven't heard the dogs since.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

After several Mother's Days that brought only sadness, I am thankful for little Lexie today. But I still feel sad for my friends who hope to become moms, and for my friends who have lost their babies. I wish I could have brought you all with me to the other side.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Small Town in an Untamed Land

I got a call this morning from the UPS man in my in-laws' town in Mississippi. He didn't recognize the address on our Mother's Day gift to Steve's mom because the in-laws live on an unnamed dirt road "outside of town." Another funny thing about the call was that he seemed to know the last name, but was shocked that people with that last name lived "out there" and he didn't know about them. (My in-laws keep a low profile. My mother-in-law doesn't like people knowing her business.)

So I had to give him some directions.

Now, their corner of Mississippi, is, in my Yankee eyes, an untamed land. Example: Several years back, Steve and I spent an afternoon creeping around an abandoned mobile home that had belonged to his grandma's late cousin, Amy Katherine. Someone had clearly been squatting in the trailer after Amy Katherine's passing, as it was strewn with Rolling Rock ponies. And Amy Katherine was not the type. Also, the TV was gone, but most of her other belongings were tossed around the trailer. We found her address book -- it contained three addresses: her sister's, her son's, and her own. In the forest behind the trailer was ... the trailer she'd lived in before this one (completely collapsed) and several broken appliances. Behind the older trailer was ... a giant pile of bricks that was the house she'd grown up in. And in front of the newer trailer sat two broken down cars, one of which was full of garbage.

This was perhaps three years after Amy Katherine's demise. And now, about five years later, ALL of it has been overgrown by the forest, completely. You can't even tell that anyone ever lived there.

It's a wild, wild place.

So my directions went something like this:

"If you drive out of town past the Sugar Creek Quick Stop, you know that cell tower on the left?" He did. "Take a left just before the cell tower, and then drive down the dirt road for a mile or two. Pass the beaver dam on your right, and at the fork in the road, it's the white house with the red brick porch. It will probably have a lot of cats and a little black and white dog running around out front."

The best part was that from that description, he knew exactly the place I was talking about.

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Run-In in the Hospital Garage

One of the things I hate about the DC area is the apparently excessive number of people who have an entitlement complex. As in, I'm better than you, so I deserve X.

I had a run-in with a couple of these people back in February in the Inova Fairfax blue garage, and I've only recently calmed down enough about it to write the story.

The Inova Fairfax blue garage is a complete disaster, with dozens of spaces reserved for visiting doctors, physical therapy patients, cancer patients, radiology patients, etc. On a busy day, there's a lot of jockeying for the few remaining unmarked spaces. One cold day in February, I was headed in to the hospital to visit Lexie in the NICU when the line of cars in the garage came to a complete stop. Far ahead, I saw a giant black SUV backing down the ramp from the roof. I sat and waited. Normally this kind of thing might have annoyed me, but I was too tired and worried to expend any energy on being annoyed at that point. I waited, and waited, and waited, more than five minutes, and the line didn't move.

The black SUV still sat at the bottom of the ramp ahead of us, blocking everyone's forward escape from our row. Cars had pulled in behind me in line, so I couldn't back up, either. Finally, I started to notice a few people coming out of the elevator bay and getting in their cars, and I figured this would unclog the bottleneck. The first two cars left, and the two cars in front of me took the spaces. Now only one car remained in front of me. And what do you know -- a space just in front of that car opened up. I waited patiently for the car in front of me to take the space, but it just sat there. After a minute or so, I figured, hey, I guess I'm next. I drove around that car and pulled into the space.

Suddenly I heard someone leaning on the horn. And I mean leaning. I decided to ignore it as I pulled together my bag and my cooler of milk for Lexie. As I was walking away from my car, Mr. Black SUV pulls up and yells, "THANKS FOR STEALING OUR SPACE." I continued to ignore him. "I JUST DROPPED OFF MY PREGNANT WIFE!" Oooooh, wrong thing to say to me.

"OH YEAH?" I yelled back. "WELL I'M GOING TO VISIT MY PREEMIE IN THE NICU." He sped off like the witless coward he was. He probably gave me the finger or something, but I didn't look back. I was a little thrown -- it had been a long while since I'd had to fight with someone like that, but I tried to calm down and headed into the elevator bay.

Standing inside the door was a young-ish pregnant woman. She looked expensive. She watched me walk by, probably saw that I looked exhausted and frazzled -- like a weak, easy target -- and she made a big mistake.

"Thanks for stealing our space," she tossed at my back, maneuvering to show off her pregnant belly as I turned my head.

I stopped.

I turned around.

I engaged.

"I had no idea it was 'your' space. I'd been waiting forever without moving and a space finally opened up. I had just as much right to that space as you did." My voice rose and she began to shrink away, muttering a few "never minds" -- ha, too late, idiot. "And this is a hospital. We've ALL got problems. I'M GOING IN RIGHT NOW TO VISIT MY PREEMIE. I HOPE *YOUR* PREGNANCY IS A SUCCESSFUL ONE."

I spun on my heel and strode into the hospital. It really pissed me off that she thought a pregnant woman at the hospital should get special treatment over all the people there who may be DYING on any given day.

I do hope she felt sorely ashamed of herself, at least for a moment, before she went back to her rich little bubble of a life with her jerk of a husband.