Sunday, November 15, 2009


I think my dentist has made a pact with the devil. Okay, maybe not the dentist himself, but certainly his hygienist. She's got that syrupy- sweet, chatty personality that you know has to be demon-related and she loves her sonic tooth cleaner, which sounds like a drill and makes me wicked uncomfortable- to no avail. I want very much to keep my visits as short as possible, which means that I brush and floss and gargle like my life (or at least my immortal soul) depend up on it. 'Cause it does.

So last night, I'm bending over to drop the floss in the trash (a skill my children have yet to gain, but that's another story for another day) and suddenly someone jabs an ice pick into my forehead. No, not an ice pick-

The corner of the glass medicine cabinet.

Here's where the badass comes in. As I grab my head and start cursing (that's not new, it's what I would have done anyway), my first thought isn't "that hurts like a mo-fo," (though that came later, trust me) it's "crap. Head wounds bleed like a son of a bitch." Which it proceeds to do.

I have a husband who has a lot of wonderful qualities. Calm in the face of crisis? Not one of them. He's a panicker- which I was surprised to discover 'cause he doesn't seem the type. Trust me, he is. He hears the bang and the cursing and comes running in all prepared for me to need stitches or to have some kind of H1N1 infection in my brain (which isn't totally nuts- baby girl has it right now). In the past, I would have just shut up and let his panic lead me into my own panic. This time? I told him flat out that he's awful in a crisis and that he should calm the helll down and let me deal with it. No, I didn't need to go to the ER. Yes, I was sure. I was also sure that head wounds bleed like an SOB and that he should get out of the bathroom before he passed out (another charming and surprising quality of his). He didn't, but at least he put a sock in the panic and was vaguely of helpful. We decided that we could close it up with butterflies so, while I kept pressure and made sarcastic remarks about his cutting skills, he tried to turn half a band-aid into a butterfly. Cutting the bandaid was easy- getting the paper backing off, not so much. In fact, by the time he got the first one peeled, the bleeding had pretty much stopped- though it threatened to start again any moment.

By the end, we were snorting with ironic glee over the situation- neither of us had slept more than an hour at a time in nearly 48 hours (H1N1 apparently keeps kids from sleeping without a parent standing by- who knew?). We ended up strapping a gauze pad to my head with an ace bandage and some altheletic tape to keep me from bleeding all over my pillowcase- I looked like the mummy. But at least we were laughing. Laughing at a gushing headwound? So badass.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Time to Man Up

Not literally. I have no plans to undergo gender re-assignment surgery anytime soon. I like my chick-hood. I like dresses, when I can find them. I like my red toenails. We've been through all that, though.

Seriously, though, it's time for me to "man up" in the metaphorical sense.

I'm pretty sure that in the next few weeks- months at the outside- things in my work are going to come to a head. Without going into boring details (because really, when you get down to it, the details of anyone's work but your own are deathly dull), I'll sum it up this way:

There is confusion about where I stand, officially, and where people like me stand, unofficially, in the institution. Perhaps I should say Institution, because it's a freakin' nuthouse. In the past, I've been able to depend on those above me to step in and take care of things. It's no coincidence, I think, that those who did so successfully were White Guys of a Certain Age, but I don't think that's all of it. Right now, the WGCA in the role is just not going to step up for me. He's a good guy, a nice guy, but I don't merit the outlay of political capital it would take to defend me. And I'm a little ashamed to discover that I expect him to.

Which is to say, I need to stop being a freakin' damsel in distress, pull up my big girl panties, and stand up for myself.

It's a bit embarrassing to be nearly 40 and just now recognizing this in myself. I like to be defended. I like to stand back while someone else puts his (or her) ass on the line for me, while I sit back and watch- gratefully. Always gratefully. I'm not sure if this is some latent girly tendency or laziness or an old habit from back in the day when a swish of my skirt could get me all the free drinks I wanted, but it needs to stop.

Enough with that. No one is going to save me now- and they shouldn't have to. Help me? Fine. Support me? Absolutely. Stand behind me when the time comes for the showdown? You betcha. But stand in front of me? No more. Because when someone saves your life, you owe them. No thanks.

Don't mess with the dress.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


My powerful desire to wring every last minute of fun out of my trip to the Big Easy has left me exhausted, mute, and bedridden. I'm going to blame at least 50% of my current condition on a wicked virus that waylaid me on the plane. (By the way, thanks so much person sitting in front of me, for refusing to cover your freaking mouth while you hacked from Baltimore to New Orleans. Really. Thanks.) I'll own the other 50% though. I should have gone to bed early, avoided beer, and eaten my Wheaties. I should have taken it easy, gone only to the meetings I had to go to, and not roamed the city.

But I was in New Freakin Orleans. I wasn't going to miss this. Want to know what I did instead? I walked to
Cafe DuMonde for Coffee and Beignets not once, but twice (and looked like I'd been snowed on after eating that powdered sugar slice of heaven). I listened to Cuban Jazz here and danced up and down the Frenchman's Quarter (not to be confused with the French Quarter, which is more "drunk college student.") I bought pralines from Southern Candy Makers and discovered that pralines are freaking gross. And expensive. So not only do they make you gag, but you pay 18.97 a pound for the privilege.

By Saturday morning, I had no voice. I couldn't do my presentation and I was miserable all the way home. Three days after my return I'm still in bed.

And I'm still smiling. Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez!

Sometimes a good time is more important than being responsible.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Leaving on a Jetplane...

I'm going away this week. I wish I could say I was going away for a long, relaxing vacation with my honey or that I were taking my kids to Disney. The reality is, though, that I'm going to New Orleans for a meeting I've gone to every year since 1994. (I think I may have missed one in there somewhere, but I'm not really sure.) It's usually a good time and I get to see people that I rarely see otherwise, but it's felt...difficult...since the kids were born. I feel tugged between a powerful need to be close to them, to support and take care of my family, to be here, and my equally powerful need to get the hell out of Dodge, to be a professional, to sit at the grown-ups be there. This usually translates into my being neither place very well. I long for home when I'm away and I end up traveling in the dark (leaving home at 3 am instead of going the night before, getting home at 1 instead of staying an extra night) which results in exhaustion both during and after the trip. Not to mention that I rarely enjoy the trip or the city- and sometimes this meeting is in some really cool places.

But that was before. I'm determined that this year- which may be the last year of this specific gathering- this year I won't waste it. I've always wanted to go to New Orleans and I'm going to enjoy the music, the food- all of it. I'm going to let go of this deep belief that my family can't function without me, that enjoying my hotel room (and it's a really good hotel room, right in the French Quarter) makes me somehow unfaithful to my husband and my kids. I'm going to take a deep breath as I step off the plane and I'm going to put down my "wife/ mom" bag and pick up my "professional who knows how to have a good time" bag.

I may update. Or I may not. Depends on my mood.

The Badass is willing to shed her responsibilities and, occasionally, laissez les bon temps roulez!