assorted rants, gratuitous self pity, historical interest, misanthropy

Things to be Thankful For, Tempus Fugit, Taxidermy and Coffee Tables

murphy's

It has been a difficult past week for me.  I am thankful I don’t live in Boston.  I’ve been struggling with anxiety and panic attacks again and I’m sure that if we had random bombings going on in Columbus on top of the events (which were not related and had nothing to do with the Marathon bombing)  that got me back in the scared rabbit mode, that would send me bat shit crazy over the edge.

Of course, when the shit hits the fan it comes at one from all directions.  I really don’t feel like getting into the particular details, because I’m just now starting to settle back down enough to stop hyperventilating and for the PVCs to let up some.   For those who aren’t acquainted with medical lingo, PVC stands for premature ventricular contractions.  It means the bottom half of your heart goes off before it should.  It’s a sort of catch in my heart rhythm that I usually don’t notice, and is likely a (supposedly harmless) side-effect of rheumatic fever, but it’s aggravated by stress.  This week has been nothing but continual stress on a stick.

When the PVCs get going bad, the runaway train feeling and constant catching and pounding keeps me awake and I’ve actually gone to the hospital for it once (won’t do that again)  because they were happening so often I’d freak out and couldn’t catch my breath.

freaked

One thing I will say about that last hospital trip is that I’ll die first before I call the squad from home again.  They kept me overnight- next to a poor old woman with dementia who screamed like a howler monkey all night- and did the whole cardiac workup.  This was back in July.

Supposedly the whole PVC thing is perfectly “innocuous,” but this assessment came from the same hospital where I was mistaken for a 95 year old woman with a flaming case of Montezuma’s revenge.  I know for being 44 I’ve been rode hard and put away wet, but I don’t think I look 95 just yet.  I don’t know if I should trust them or not.  Eventually I will end up needing a pacemaker or other correction for the abnormal rhythm, according to the cardiologist who ran all the tests, but not quite yet.

That’s not terribly reassuring.  The question is how do you know when the rhythm gets so out of whack that it’s time for the pacemaker?  Do you have to fall over or pass out or almost die?

“Yeah, Mildred, just take some Imodium and your screaming shits should be gone in no time.”

“But I’m not Mildred, and I don’t have the shits.”

Hopefully if and when the Big One hits, I will be in close proximity to any other hospital but that one. Unfortunately it’s only a five mile trip down I-270 to that particular hospital from my house.  The better hospitals are on the other side of town.

Either that or the Lord will take me quickly so I’ll not have to endure the indignity.

fred sanford

To add insult to injury, a guy I used to work with died on Wednesday.  He was an Army vet and a very cool individual.  Unfortunately he had been severely ill for several years before he died.  Even worse his wife had him in an open casket (I loathe the whole open casket thing to begin with) and he looked really bad.  The calling hours were last night.  Even though I had a horrible week and just wanted to go home and go to bed, I thought it best to go and to pay respects and offer condolences to his wife- she is a lovely person, and I really felt for her after going through so many years of his illness.

I did offer some words of condolence to his wife, but I had to beat feet quickly.  Nobody likes funeral homes, and it really sucks when it’s someone who was cool and died too young from nasty diseases (emphysema and heart disease.)   But after being stressed out and freaked all week I couldn’t handle being in a funeral home for more than a few minutes.  The PVCs kicked in with a vengeance and I couldn’t catch my breath.  That was my cue to get in the car and take off.

grill coffin

You might as well do something funny if you are going to do those horrible open casket displays.

coffee table

Steve-o will probably have me taxidermied and installed in a glass topped coffee table.  He is a sick puppy- but creative!

One thing I will say about untimely death is that it is an ever present reminder : tempus fugit- time flies.  Even when it seems to be standing still.

Slowly I’m calming back down, and I am trying to look around and be thankful for the moment, and remember that life is short.

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assorted rants, cougardom, gratuitous self pity, historical interest, misanthropy, political commentary

2012 Pretty Much Sucked, Here’s Hoping 2013 Sucks Less

obama economy responseIf we could have unloaded this asshat, it would have been a far better year.  But even in spite of Obama, the apocalypse is still pending, so that counts for something.

Then again, if a frog had wings, he wouldn’t bump his ass when he lands. I should try to be a bit more serene about things I can’t change, but I’m still outraged that anyone as anti-American and incompetent as Obama can hold steal the office of president.  I’m more outraged that he cheated to get there and no one will do anything about all the voter fraud that went on.  May 2013 bring Dick Nixon part deux. Congress needs to grow a pair and impeach Obama with the quickness, but Obama is too pompous and narcissistic and delusional to just resign and leave peacefully.  I know, I can’t stand this guy and the more I see of the damage he’s doing to this country with his Marxist agenda, the more I positively loathe him.

In fairness, this past year was sort of a mixed bag.  The weather was mercurial as it always is in Central Ohio.  I will mention that I’ve never seen as much snow on the ground at one time here in Columbus than what I’m seeing right now.  I’ve seen lots more snow at one time up north in the hinterlands, but I’ve personally not seen more than 6 inches of snow on the ground at one time here.

The White Death arrives- just in time for Target to put out the bathing suits and summer fashions.  Yippee yahoo.  Last year, by January 15, there was a delightful selection of swimwear, shorts, halter tops and other seasonally inappropriate attire throughout the women’s clothing section of Target.  Not a pair of long johns or a parka to be found when it’s 5° outside, but there’s loads of tankini bottoms to be had.  I just think that’s funny.

tankinisHappy New Year!  It’s 5°!  Let’s get our tans started early!

January is, statistically, the coldest month of the year here in beautiful Central Ohio.  Temperatures here are not swimsuit appropriate until at least the middle of May or the beginning of June.  I don’t buy clothes six months in advance.  It makes me wonder just how many people are buying swimsuits in the middle of January.  I can understand if you have an indoor pool or a membership to an indoor pool, or if you vacation in fairer climes during the winter, but aside from that, we poor folks have no reason for swimsuits in January.  That also begs the question: how many people who have indoor pools, or can afford pool memberships or expensive vacations, shop for clothing at Target?   Rich people do go to Target, but only because they need toilet paper and Glade products too.  You can’t buy Angel Soft at Macy’s, or refills for your Glade plug-ins at Nordstrom’s.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love Target.  It’s cleaner, and there are more English-speaking people than in WalMart.   The WalMart closest to me is a real life Zombie Apocalypse that I refuse to patronize since spending 20 minutes early one morning trying to find a cashier when I was trying to buy a jug of Pennzoil.

zombie_warnThis place is too scary for pictures, and I am not easily distressed.

Action1

I also hope and pray not to have to visit the ER anytime soon.  That was the worst hospital stay I’d had since the Murphy’s Law Childbirth Experience from Hell.   Even when I was strapped to the bed and damned near made my Final Exit I don’t think anyone called me Mildred or asked about my diarrhea.  And I didn’t have to be bunkmates with a howler monkey either.  The only bright light in that hospital excursion was the two young, hot paramedics and the one nice looking male nurse in the ER, even if he did call me Mildred and ask about my diarrhea.

echocardiogram_2

Contrary to popular opinion, once the hospital staff learned I was NOT Mildred, tests revealed I actually do have a heart, though like the rest of me, it’s not quite normal.

On the bright side, nobody important to me (i.e. personal friends or relatives) died this year which is always a plus.  I actually got a really cool birthday present this year, which means even more considering that people generally forget my birthday.  My granddaughter was born at 11:50 PM on February 25- ten minutes before my birthday.  That was really cool.

sophia pink

Kids do grow fast.  Now she’s 10 months old and running- and into everything.

As far as my own personal household, the only “kids” living at home have four legs and fur.  Against my better judgment (but I couldn’t resist…) we have four cats again.  Jezebel is one of the (formerly) feral cats Jerry trapped behind the body shop.  There were a total of four.  The two grey ones and the black and white one ended up going to the body shop owner’s horse barn to help keep the rodent life in check.  We kept Jezebel because she is all black. Black cats do not fare well in feral settings and they’re not really safe as barn cats either.  They are much safer (as is any cat, truth be told) as strictly indoor cats.  Jezebel is now very much a strictly indoor cat.  Like Isabel, she shows no interest regarding what’s beyond the door.  The week before Halloween when she was trapped, she had to be handled with welding gloves.  Jerry found this out the hard way when she got her mouth on the webbing between his thumb and forefinger and latched on for dear life.

366Whachoo lookin’ at, Willis?

In eight weeks Miss Jezebel has made a dramatic change.  She is shamelessly attention and food-seeking.  She is just as bold as her mentor, Isabel (who is 14 years old and also all black) in her dealings with the dogs.  Jezebel has become a perfect, prissy indoor cat.  I just hope she doesn’t get in heat before her spay appointment March 5.

I hope the coming year is better- personally, nationally, financially, health-wise, etc.  My expectations aren’t that high, so I shouldn’t be too disappointed.

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assorted rants, gratuitous self pity, misanthropy

Domestic Insanity and Drunk-n-Stupid Meet Passive-Aggressive Revenge

I know better.  I really do.

I’ve been somewhat ambivalent about taking Mom and Dad down to NC this Saturday.  I really doubt if Dad should be travelling this far this soon after open heart surgery, and I am freaky about taking him down in places where medical assistance is either not available or, if it is, it is, shall we say, primitive.  My sister lives in the middle of nowhere, and you have to drive through 12 hours of mostly nowhere to get there.  On the positive side Dad goes to his Dr. again tomorrow, and I will know for sure then if he will be OK to go, at least on a medical evaluation.

Another thing about this potential road trip that kind of freaks me is that I’m still having exactly the same issues I ended up in the ER for back in June.  Still have the heart palpitations and chest pain and all that mess, but according to the Dr.s I’ve seen including my family Dr., it’s nothing that’s going to kill me.  Yet.  I am still a wee bit apprehensive about driving continuously for 12 hours- Dad is allowed to drive, and probably will at least part of the way down, (Mom won’t be driving at all because she can’t drive manual shift,) but I’m coming back by myself since they’re staying all week. My sister or my nephew will be bringing them back.

I can’t die yet, because I don’t want to vote Democrat.  Ever.

Maybe I’m already on Obama’s death list and I just don’t know it yet.  Maybe there’s a little note in my medical records that says, “let this one die, so we can have more money to buy more pecker pumps for geezers and pay for birth control for people who should be keeping their legs together to begin with.”  I don’t think having heart palpitations constantly and up to the point of barely being able to catch one’s breath is “normal.”  But what the hell do I know?

Or maybe not?  Who knows?

I do know that I don’t want to go back to the same hospital where they called me Mildred and asked about my (non-existent) diarrhea,  put me in the same room with a howler monkey, and then told me that the reason why I have heart palpitations is because I don’t get enough sleep.  Then I go for the sleep study, get told I have sleep apnea, but not to the point where I need to be on a machine…I’m frustrated on that point.  I still don’t sleep for shit, haven’t for years.  I have to sleep at about a 45° angle to keep from drowning on the snot that drains down the back of my throat.   I don’t think I’ve had a really good night’s sleep since before I was pregnant with Steve-o- and he’s 21.  It doesn’t help that I have Tipsy McNumbNuts, who smokes like a chimney, screams like a banchee after a 12 pack or so, and has a taste for bad country music in the middle of the night, conspiring against my nightly repose.

Drunks should come with warning labels.

Jerry was on a roll last night even for a Monday.  I hope the boys at the shop are enjoying Tuesday Hangover Jerry today, ’cause it’s going to be a good one.  I hope they’re at least as loud and obnoxious as he was last night.

His TV, cable box, DVD player and stereo have been carefully configured (by me, he can’t figure out electronic anything) to be very simple to operate.  There is one button on the remote that turns the TV and cable box on and off.  It’s very simple.  Push the power button, TV and cable box turn on simultaneously.  Push the power button again and the TV and cable box turn off.  It’s not rocket science.  It is, however awkward at best to plug all this stuff in so that it works correctly.  I know what plugs in where, but I’m not particularly fond of the gymnastic feats I have to attempt to get the right things plugged into the right places.

It’s too hard for some people.

For some reason only known to God and maybe another drunk, finding the power button on the remote was too difficult for Jerry last night.  He wanted the TV off. So he unplugged everything- even unscrewed the freaking coax off the back of the TV and unplugged the AV leads from the DVD player for some bizarre reason.  Hey, kids, alcohol kills brain cells, just so you know!

Then to make it all the more entertaining, after prattling on all night last night on various rants and assorted nonsense, he’s sitting in the bed whining this morning that “the TV won’t turn on.”  Well, no shit, Sherlock, you unplugged every single wire you could unplug from every single AV device you have…

“Well, I need to watch the news,” he pouts, (insert Eric Cartman voice here) “and if I can’t watch it in here I’ll just use your TV.”

Oh, no you won’t.

Suffice to say as Jerry is a smoker with essential tremor, the world is Jerry’s ashtray.  To top that off, not only do I not want my bed to be full of stale beer farts and cigarette ashes, he doesn’t know how to operate my TV either, and I don’t need that screwed up too.  If he wants his little hole to be a fetid filth den, fine by me, but I like clean, fresh-smelling, burn-hole free sheets and a TV that works.

So at 6:30 this morning I’m back in the filth hole smoking lounge that is his room, behind the dresser, untangling wiring, plugging everything back in and moving the various electronics back to their proper places.  20 minutes later he was watching the stinking news on his own TV.  I could have wrung his neck.  Maybe it wasn’t nice of me to keep on muttering “dumb ass,” but it’s not as if Jerry being a dumb ass is a secret or anything.

I call ’em as I see ’em.  Then again, I’m fully aware he was raised by wolves.

I know he’s pissed at me for volunteering to take Mom and Dad to NC this weekend instead of frying my patoot off at the campground (I like going down there, but not when it’s supposed to be 95° and hotter all weekend.)  He’s pissed because he will have to remain sober so he can go back home Saturday night to take care of the dogs.  So all week long it will be passive-aggressive revenge (and as much drunk-n-stupid hijinks as he can stand to perpetrate) just so I know how much he will be “suffering” in his weekend sobriety.

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assorted rants, creative writing, gratuitous self pity, historical interest, misanthropy

Stygian Heat (Hope and Pray the Power Stays On) and Odds and Ends

Might as well eliminate the middleman. Or at least find a reason for Americans to have bidets.  This porcelain fixture looks similar, but actually isn’t a toilet.

Power outages in the summer are both more frequent and more devastating than winter outages, at least in my world.  In winter, one can move the contents of the fridge and freezer out in the garage.  Problem solved.  In summer, if the power’s out for more than an hour or two you’re screwed- all the food you had in the fridge and freezer is no longer safe to eat, and you have a nasty ass mess to clean up.  In winter, one can always light a fire in the fireplace (yes, I actually know how to do this correctly, without using gasoline or other accelerants) and gain both heat and light.  In winter one can always put on more clothes, and even grab a nice warm dog.  In summer, you’re screwed again.  No A/C, no fans, and who in the hell wants to light a fire to get some light when it’s already 120° in the house?  One can only remove so many clothing items, and it is possible to be stark raving naked and still in the throes of heat stroke.

It can and occasionally does get extremely hot here in beautiful Central Ohio.  The humidity is the worst part of it.  Today it’s difficult to even draw a breath outside.  I’ve got the dogs on a strict outside time table of five minutes when it’s hotter than 85°.   The last thing I need is for one of the girls to get heat stroke, because dogs can die of it even more quickly than humans.  Dogs have no sweat glands, and panting isn’t a terribly efficient cooling method.  Add to the mix that my girls are large (therefore at higher risk for heat stroke due to body mass) and two of them have thick coats.  They have access to cool water at all times and are in the A/C almost constantly when the temperature is over 85°.  It’s not easy for them either, because they would rather be outside in the daytime.  Their excursions into the great outdoors right now are limited to potty breaks and an hour or so in the yard in the relative cool of the morning.  They don’t like it.

I hope and pray our power stays on.  Usually when we have had power outages they have been corrected rather quickly.  Being on the same grid as the airport has its advantages in some ways.  We did have about a day and a half of no power back in 2004 when there was a really bad ice storm on Christmas Eve and the transformer outside the house burned up, but at least we were able to use the fireplace and keep the perishables out in the garage, so it wasn’t terribly tragic.  It is tragic right now for people whose power has been out for the past week.  I don’t want to imagine how miserable they are.  The Red Cross set up a cooling shelter at my church so some people can at least come to get cooled down in the heat of the day.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be so paranoid, but I’ve gotten to go to the ER twice in my life for heat stroke.  I don’t wish for a third.  The first was when I was 7 years old and attempting to play softball in 100° weather while also sporting flaming blistering sunburn (second degree burns) on my face, neck and arms.  I don’t remember much about the ER visit other than after getting the obligatory IV bag of fluids in the hospital.  When I got home the “cure” for the wicked burns was that I was forced to take Aveeno baths three times a day, and then get slathered with zinc oxide in an attempt to dry up the oozing blisters from the sunburn for about two weeks.  This rather unpleasant treatment did prevent scarring.   Sunscreen was not commonly known or used back in the summer of 1976.

There are people in this world who Do Not Tan.  I am one of them.  I do freckle, blister and splotch though.

The second time I had heat stroke it was a lot worse, but I’d been out in the heat longer too.  The nurse found it necessary to actually cut into the veins in my wrist in order to start an IV line as I was badly dehydrated.  I’d come back from working a temporary job- outside all day in the hot sun holding up signs of all things- (the things a college kid will do for $8.50/hr, but in 1987 that was a small fortune) and then ended up stranded on a freeway bridge in my old ’77 Rabbit that had no A/C to begin with, then it stalled out with vaporlock.  Vaporlock was extremely common in VW’s with the old CIS injection systems, especially on the very early ones (’77 was the first year for that system) that had most inadequate fuel pressure accumulators.  I knew what it was, but the car wasn’t going to move under its own power until the fuel lines cooled down enough to allow the fuel to return to a liquid state.   It was 98° and 100% humidity, so all you do is sweat and drip and the water just pours out of your body to no avail. There is no evaporation and no cooling going on, just your blood boiling and the fluids escaping one’s body, so you stew and stink in a hot sticky paste of your own sweat.  By the time the cops got to me and convinced me to get out of the car, I had the most intense, blinding headache one can dare to imagine, and I was too weak to stand.  One thing interesting about heat stroke.  Right before you black out you get this sense that you’re going to die- and you’re cool with it- because then the headache will go away.

No one thinks about his/her fuel pump.  Until it stops working.

By the time Dad’s buddy had retrieved my car, the vaporlock in the fuel line had resolved itself.  The car fired up and ran perfectly after its 40 mile tow, which infuriated Dad even more- after driving 40 miles to retrieve me from the hospital (of course I was out of town) and then having to pay his buddy $75 to tow the car. Dad was pissed to the point that the top of his head was a hot tomato red.  (Dad has been pretty much bald except for a slight fringe on the sides and back of his head since he was about 30.)  I don’t know if he was more pissed at me for going out of town on such a hot day even though I had gone to do some temporary work to try to earn some extra money (I got a check for a whole $80- see how that backfired) or because he knew about the problem with the fuel accumulators on those cars and he hadn’t bothered to replace mine.  Why VW never got the idea to put the fuel pumps in the fuel tank like every other vehicle manufacturer is beyond me- it keeps the fuel cooler than an inline pump and avoids the hot fuel condition that leads to vaporlock in the first place- but VW has always been a bit weird.

Sometimes I wonder why I live in Ohio, but then I remember I can’t afford to leave.  Even so, the grass is always blacker somewhere else.  I can take some small comfort in my geographical location today. At least I don’t live in Detroit.

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assorted rants, cougardom, creative writing, gratuitous self pity, misanthropy

2001 Redux, Things I Do Not Wish to Repeat, the Good, the Bad and the Indifferent

I finally decided (Thursday) to call my Dr.s office about my heart palpitations and other funkiness and I got the answer that I pretty much assumed I would get.

Hang up, call 911 and let the squad take you to the ER.

Yay.  But I did follow instructions, mostly because I knew they weren’t just going to set me up to see a cardiologist in a week or two.  They wanted me to get that cardiac workup one way or another that I’d been denying I needed to get and that I’d put off for a few years.

The plus side of the fun 5 mile ride in the squad was the view.  Hate to admit it, but the one paramedic was maybe early 30s or so, and very easy on the eyes.  Shame on me for noticing, but I’m not dead yet.  Maybe I should have just told them that since I could still ascertain that the one guy was rather hot even while he’s putting electrodes all over me and getting an IV started in my arm, that it would be cool to just let me out.  However, I don’t think they would be allowed to just drop me off somewhere along I270, no matter how awkward it was that I was thinking some rather randy thoughts.

Yes, I watched the Emergency! TV reruns all through the 80s.  They were hot, except for the 80’s hair, which was considered hot then too.

When I get to the hospital (which was the one hospital where I really didn’t want to go, but they have to take you to the closest one that has room) then I get put in one of those exam rooms and get questioned as to what’s been going on and how long, etc.  Another interesting aside- in the ER all the nurses and techs I encountered were young men.  How distracting, but I’m not complaining.  I feel sorry for them for being forced to have to view my old saggy chest to wire me up.  I’m sure they’ve seen worse and they’re not there for the view, but still.

What was really scary (and why I wanted to go to a different hospital, because this one is notorious for its poor record keeping) was that as I was being put in the ER bay one of the techs looks at the computer and says, “Hi, Mildred, how’s your diarrhea?”

Dahlink, I thought you would never ask!

Mildred, apparently was the woman who was just being released from that room before I was assigned to it.  I heard the physician assistant almost screaming at this poor lady who must have been at least 95, to drink lots of water and have her son stop at the CVS to get her some Imodium, before they wheeled her out.  I looked over and asked the guy if I looked like a “Mildred,” to which I got a sort of puzzled look, then he asked me my name and what they brought me in for.  I didn’t bother to tell him that “Mildred” was old enough to be my grandmother, and I know full well what to do about the shits without going to the ER, but when you’re as old as that lady was even a good case of the shits can kill you.

So I sit and stew for about half an hour, when Jerry finally showed up (doing God knows what with my car) and, after a few phone calls and not a little bit of under the breath profanity, the nurses were finally able to find my information in the computer.  They were fortunate enough to catch some of the palpitation incidents on the monitor, which was enough for the physician assistant (who was the only woman I saw working in the ER) to decide to confer with her boss about admitting me for the night.   Just don’t call me Mildred or ask me about my diarrhea and we will get along OK.

In the meanwhile I’m just lying back on the cot while they wait to put me in a room.  Then another squad brings a lady in from a nursing home who won’t stop screaming.  After awhile they wheel her off and it gets a bit quiet.  Then the transport guy shows up to take me upstairs.  I’d been under the impression I’d end up in one of the cardiac observation rooms which are private, but all those rooms were full, so I end up sharing a room with the howler monkey from the ER.   Wonderful.  To make it worse from the time the squad brought me in- 3:30- until I landed in the room- 10:30- I’d had absolutely nothing to eat.  One of the aides was kind enough to dig me up a sandwich, and the nurse was finally able to find and give me my evening meds so I thought I could go to sleep.

Then Howler Monkey Woman’s sedation must have worn off because she kept setting off the bed alarm, and crapping the bed, so that the nurses and aides were over there hosing her down half the night.  The plus side of this is at least I had the toilet all to myself.  I might have slept an hour or two but I doubt it.

Yesterday morning (Friday) I finally got to talk to the cardiologist, who decided to do both a stress test and an echocardiogram to rule out any really serious stuff since I’d not had a heart attack but I wasn’t exactly “normal” either.  Suffice to say that the chemical stress test is not a pleasant experience and neither is the sort of reverse rotisserie machine they take pictures of you with. I was so glad to get out of there last night I immediately took a shower and went to bed.  It’s better to be home.

The conclusion so far?  I got referred to a pulmonologist for a sleep study as the cardiologist seems to think that my irregular heart rhythm and palpitations are caused by sleep apnea.

To me it sounds like 2001 all over again.  At least I’m not dead yet.  But I already know I don’t sleep for shit.  What I didn’t know is that not sleeping for shit can eventually kill you, which is sort of sad in a way.

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assorted rants, creative writing, gratuitous self pity

The Shitty Service Discount (A Walmart Critique) and No Way to Spend a Weekend

I admit I’ve never been a Walmart fan.  While I am cheap and I like saving money, I don’t like standing in line for hours (or trying to find a cashier when all the checkout lanes are closed) and I don’t like surly help.  I see their side of the issue- either you want it cheap or you want it with a smile, but you can’t have both.

I don’t blame the Team Members at Walmart.  Minimum wage with no benefits really sucks and is only one step up from being homeless and living under the bridge.  That I do understand, and it bites.  My only counter to that predicament would be that one will never get out of the minimum wage, part-time no benefits hole unless you do what’s completely counterintuitive.  Smile and be the best freaking Walmart stockboy you can be.  Or at least, learn English.

In a way it was a bit fortuitous that on my last visit to Walmart- the 6AM Quest for Pennzoil- my receipt included a survey/ sweepstakes entry.  I don’t think I will win their $1000 gift card, especially if they toss out all of the unfavorable surveys.  However, I don’t see that Walmart location ever getting a favorable survey.   I simply told the truth.  The place wasn’t clean.  The Team Members I encountered were downright surly. I don’t care if it’s 6AM, if you’re a 24 hour joint you at least have to have one or two people at the register, preferably somewhat motivated English speaking people.  The only ones who would remotely consider rating it favorably likely can’t understand enough English to complete the survey.  Maybe they would have liked it better if I had scribbled it out in crayon on a page from a Hello Kitty coloring book instead of submitting it online.  I know I would never give me the option to fill in the blank and comment on a survey.  That’s just asking for me to give it to you with both barrels.  Case in point- here is my commentary I gave on the Walmart survey when asked, “How may we serve you better?”

I have to say my visit to Walmart was highly disappointing.  I made the mistake of thinking I could avoid the rush by shopping at 6AM since you are a 24 hour establishment.  I understand that 6AM is not the busiest time of the day, but it might help if some of your team members on duty actually spoke the English language- that is, the ones that I can find who aren’t actively ignoring me.  It would be nice if I could buy a jug of Pennzoil in less than 45 minutes, 40 of which were spent trying to find a cashier available and willing to check me out so I could finally pay you and leave. 

On a brighter note, while Martha Stewart might not have approved of the general squalor in your establishment, I am glad that I didn’t discover any feces or corpses on the floor, which was a plus. Then again, I didn’t look very hard for those either.  Perhaps the dead bodies and dookie are back in the grocery section or something.

 Given my usual irreverence, I thought, for my own amusement, that I’d conduct a little non-scientific Walmart survey of my own.

 

Usually when I get surveys of any sort I try to be honest and I try to be complimentary if the compliments are due.  I remember all too well how seriously Toyota takes their dealer surveys.  If a Toyota dealer gets even a neutral survey, the district rep will be in the dealership and on the “offending” department like white on rice wondering what you did to make so-and-so’s experience anything less than “completely satisfying.”  If Walmart takes their surveys as seriously as Toyota does, (which I have to doubt,) someone there is in serious shit, and in my humble opinion the whole damned place should be.  It’s one thing to offer discounts on virtually everything, (I understand there’s a big difference between Nordstrom’s and Walmart,) but there’s no excuse for a complete lack of customer service to the point of not having one available cashier during business hours.

Now I should be reprimanding myself for being so derisive.  I have to admit not all Walmarts are this dismal, and I should know better than to think anyone has anything but illiterate and comatose help at 6AM.  I am grateful that my weekend didn’t end as badly as it started. 

I have spent more time than most people in hospitals and Dr.s offices.  While I don’t enjoy it , I do have a certain comfort level in medical facilities that most people don’t have.  I understand a good bit of the terminology.  I know a good bit about common procedures- how they’re done and why.  I have to remember that poor Steve-o is not nearly as acclimated to such things and he freaks easily.  So when they had to take the baby to Children’s last Wednesday he was climbing the walls.

I have to admit that it was most unsettling to me Wednesday night to hear that my month-old granddaughter was barely responding, was dehydrated, had a high fever and had just been transferred to Children’s.  What Steve-o in his distress didn’t understand was that her mother and other grandmother took exactly the correct steps and got her immediate treatment.  If not for their quick thinking and fast action I shudder to think of the consequences.  Because she got treatment immediately – the cultures revealed that somehow she had gotten salmonella poisoning- she will recover completely and be quite fine.  Even so she was in the hospital from Wednesday night until Saturday afternoon.  Very few things are more distressing than such a tiny little one having to undergo IVs, blood draws, and worst of all, a spinal tap.  I never went through anything this serious with Steve-o.  He had a bad ear infection when he was 6 months old, chicken pox when he was a year old, and strep throat when he was 7, and that was about the worst of his infectious diseases.

Apparently salmonella is fairly common in the general environment and most adults have some immunity to it, but infants and small children don’t.  Even a very tiny bit of contamination would have been enough.  They threw out all her bottles and nipples and whatever formula and bought all new.  I hope that was sufficient to keep this from coming back.  I don’t like doing the hospital thing with adults,but there are few things more pathetic than a nine pound newborn strapped to an IV.   The good thing is she won’t remember a thing.  The bad thing is that I will.  I’m one of those people who does what needs to be done and for good or ill deals with the attending emotions later.  I stayed with her through the blood draw and helped keep her still and distracted enough to let the nurses do their job.  I never knew that the only way to find a newborn’s veins is with a bright red light shined under the arm.  Weird.

Yesterday I pretty much came home from church and the grocery and slept the rest of the day.  I hope next weekend that everyone is well -and that I can stay out of Walmart.

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