tiaras optional

"My only argument is with those who do not view the world as cynically as I do." Michael Korda

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Does This Make Me Look Fat?

I had a doctor’s appointment today, and they weighed me. I can’t say I enjoy stepping on the scale, but it’s not that big a deal. My weight is always pretty much the same, give or take two pounds. Sure, I’d like to lose 5 or 10 pounds, but I’m still in a single-digit size, so I’m not worrying too much about it (and I’m really lazy, I hate exercising, and I love drink and food—yes, in that order). So, the nurse’s aid tells me to hop on the scale, and I do. And the scale reads 224. 224!

The nurse’s aid doesn’t say anything or act like this is unusual, and I notice that the scale can register weight in pounds or kilograms, so I figure that is my weight in kilograms. I know what you’re thinking right now, but please remember that I was educated in the United States of America, and we don’t do the metric system. The metric system is a tool of the Communists or the devil or something like that. The nurse’s aid enters my info into the fancy new computerized patient chart system and leaves me to wait for my doctor.

The next person to arrive on the scene is a physician’s assistant student, who is studying with my doctor. She takes a brief history. She asks me if I use any illegal street drugs. (Does anyone actually answer “yes” to this question at the doctor’s office?) As she is typing into my chart, she says, “Well, that can’t be right.”

Me: “What?”

Student: “You don’t weigh 224 pounds.”

Me: “Oh, I think that is my weight in kilograms.”

She gives me a pitying look. “No, you see, your weight in kilograms would be less than your weight in pounds.”

Me: “Oh.” I am truly bewildered by the thought that the nurse’s aid actually thinks I weigh 224 pounds. I know weight is hard to guess, but she added about 100 pounds. Damn it, I knew this shirt makes me look fat.

Student: “Hmmh, I can’t figure out how to change this. I’ll have the doctor fix it.”

Well, predictably, the doctor doesn’t know how to fix it either. Apparently, there is no provision in the system for correcting mistakes. What happens if they type in the wrong diagnosis? (Oh, did I type cancer? I meant canker.) So my weight is now 224 pounds. Which means I have a BMI of 36. Anything over 30 is considered obese. Anyway, they should be pretty impressed at my next appointment by my amazing weight loss.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Road Trippin’

This weekend, Lord Kissington and I took our only trip of the summer, an overnighter to Scranton, PA. Yes, I know, how depressing is it that my only time away this summer was to a place I had zero interest in? But we did have that fabulous vacation in England in the spring, so I really shouldn’t complain. The object of this trip was to attend a Kissingon family get-together, a party to celebrate the upcoming wedding of a cousin (the wedding is going to be very small and far far away, so this was basically the reception). The party was pretty nice. It was held in the former Scranton family estate on the grounds of the University of Scranton. I met about 800 Kissington relatives and had basically the same conversation with all of them.

Relative: So, you’re getting married.
Me: Yes. Yes, we are.
Relative: Well, that’s great.
Me: Yes. Yes, it is.

About midway through the party, I came to an interesting realization: Everyone at this party was really short. You see, I am a mere 5’3. I rarely go out in public without at least a small heel, and that day, I was wearing 2 inch ones, so I was standing 5’5. Not an impressive height by any means, but I was actually taller than many people in the room. This never happens to me. Even children these days are taller than I am (what are they putting in those school lunches?). I was surprised because Lord Kissington’s immediate family are all above average height. Apparently, the height comes from the other side of the family.

After the party, we checked into the perfectly adequate Comfort Inn and then headed out to a relative’s house for more festivities. Lord Kissington’s immediate family were all staying on the same floor, and they all (mom, dad, two brothers, sister, brother-in-law, niece, and nephew) came out of their rooms at the same time and headed for the elevator. Here’s where we ran into a little problem. You see, I am severely elevator-phobic. This is no mere irrational anxiety. I have been trapped in elevators twice, and both times were pretty bad and the doors had to pried open. The last time, the elevator dropped a floor and started to shake. I am also really claustrophobic, so put that together with the elevator phobia, and I end up taking the stairs a lot. The whole family goes to get on the elevator, and I realize there will be 10 of us in the small, rather creaky elevator. Everyone else gets on and I start frantically signally to Lord Kisssington. I ask him, pathetically, if we can take the stairs. I say, “I’m, ummh, afraid of elevators” and scurry off to find the stairs. The adults are too polite to say anything, but as the door shuts, I hear one of the kids ask why we’re not riding the elevator with them. I can picture Mommy saying, “Well, sweetie, your future aunt is what we call ‘the crazy.’”

On our way back to the hotel that night, the car made a horrible noise and we pulled off into a parking lot, where we discovered a flat tire. While Lord Kissington was setting up the jack, a man pulled in and shined his lights so we could see. He got out of his car and ended up changing the tire for us in about two minutes. When he first pulled up, I was afraid he was a serial killer, because I am paranoid, but he turned out to be just a good samaritan, and we were extremely grateful.

Unfortunately, the flat tire meant that we had to spend Sunday morning getting it fixed, although it turned out to be a good thing in the end. A couple of years back, I wore my favorite tiara on New Year’s Eve. The night pretty much sucked, and by the time we were heading home, I took the tiara off and put it in my pocket. When I got home, it was gone. I was very bummed because I loved this tiara, and I haven’t been able to find another one like it. While we were waiting for the car, we wandered around the mail. Lord Kissington spied a videogame store, and I amused myself at Claire’s Accessories. To my delight, they had my tiara. It was exactly the same, so I snatched it right up. So that flat tire was totally worth it.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Meeting the Parents Redux

I think perhaps that I was freaked out about the whole meet the parents thing (see below) because of previous experiences. I was in a pretty long relationship with a guy we’ll call Mr. Ex. During the approximately 5 years we lived together, our parents met maybe three times. The first time they met my mother, we went out to dinner, and they mostly talked about us kids, so it wasn’t so bad. The second time was pretty painful. Mr. Ex’s mother invited my mother to have dinner at their house. Mr. Ex’s mother was the casserole/crock pot/Good Housekeeping recipe type. She even had little recipe cards printed that said “From the kitchen of [name].” My mother can make maybe five recipes. None of them involve casseroles. When I was growing up, we ate out at least a couple of nights a week. The rest of the time, well, let’s just say I am intimately acquainted with the gastronomic delights of Stouffer’s.

Mrs. Ex spent most of dinner telling my mother about the wonders of casseroles, and how, since she had become a vegetarian, she had learned to make them all without meat. She tried to pawn off a couple of recipes. My mother just smiled and nodded politely. There were lots of awkward silences. Luckily, she got along much better with the father, as they had the common bond of having lousy employees that they couldn’t fire for one reason or another.

They only met my father once. A bit of background. Because I was young and bad at communication, I hadn’t exactly told my father I was moving in with Mr. Ex. I had just danced around the subject, figuring that he would figure it out. When it came time to move, my father hadn’t offered to help. (To be fair, I had never asked him for help, and I didn’t tell him the exact day I was moving.) Moving was a disaster. My mother wanted to pay for movers, but the Ex family didn’t believe in hiring someone to do something you could do yourself, even if it was August and 100 degrees and all you had was a small truck and you had to make about eight trips from Northern Virginia (self-sufficiency is such a drag, no?). Mrs. Ex apparently couldn’t believe that I had such an awful father. When she finally got a chance to meet him, she told her son that she was looking forward to “meeting the man who wouldn’t help his daughter move.” So, as you can imagine, that meeting went really well. Luckily, it happened at a crowded gallery opening, and it was too brief to be horribly awkward.

I suppose the eventual demise of that relationship shouldn’t really have come as a surprise.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Meeting the parents

One of the treasured (and by treasured, I mean “panic-inducing”) pre-wedding rituals is the inevitable meeting of the parents. Lord Kissington’s parents have met my mother a couple of times, but had not yet made the acquaintance of my father and stepmother. We all made plans to have dinner at my father and stepmother’s house. I was a bit anxious going into this. The Kissingtons are extremely normal (so normal it’s a little scary), and the Tiara clan… well, we’re not anyone’s definition of normal. For example, the Tiara homestead is a city row house that has become something of a shrine to Sir John Soane, the French Revolution, and Dante (if you are not familiar with Soane, see here). The soon to be former Kissington boyhood home is a very normal suburban home that isn’t a shrine to anything, although it does contain quite a bit of golf-related paraphernalia. The evening got off to a slightly shaky start. The Kissingtons were going to pick us up, but they arrived a half-hour early and came up to out apartment. This wouldn’t have been too bad, except that I had torn the place apart during my identity crisis just a few hours earlier (see previous post). We had about two minutes warning they were coming, so I did the fastest straightening-up job ever, and the place didn’t look all that bad (of course, I just threw everything into the bedroom). Dinner itself actually went quite well. Everyone seemed to get along really well, conversation never lagged, and they found enough things in common to get through the evening. All I can say is, phew. One more anxiety-provoking life episode over and done with.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Identity Crisis

Lord Kissington’s parents are selling his boyhood home and moving to the wilds to live out their golden years. This has meant the frequent arrival of mysterious boxes at our apartment, and a lot of whining on part along the lines of “but do you really need these comic books/videogames/junior high yearbooks/Encyclopedia Brown books, etc.?” One of the boxes contained his birth certificate, and since we’ll need that to get the marriage license eventually, I suggested that he put it in a safe place, i.e., where I keep my birth certificate and Social Security card. I whip out the ancient expandable file folder that contains these treasures and discover that they are not there. Huh? I can’t remember the last time I had to use them for anything, and I don’t know why I would have moved them from the "safe" place I’ve kept them for the last 8 years or so. I spend the next two hours tearing the apartment to pieces looking for them, in the throes of an existential crisis. Do I exist without my papers? If the papers have disappeared, will I follow? Has someone stolen my papers and with them my identity? Pretty heavy stuff for a Saturday afternoon. Eventually, I have gone through every file, every box, every pile of paper in the apartment with no results. Finally, I decide to check the linen closet because there are a few random things that got thrown in there when we moved. I find some random grocery receipts, and old GQ with Guy Pearce on the cover (yum), and my documents. What kind of lunatic keeps her very important papers in the linen closet with her secret stash of Guy Pearce pictures? First, I doubt my identity, now I have to doubt my sanity? I really wonder where my mind is these days.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Neither social nor antisocial

Last night, I made a brief appearance at the latest blogger happy hour, but I wasn’t feeling my most social. Our blogging social director Kathryn was there, and I met the bloggers behind Circle V, DC Pussycat Doll, and DC Sports. I can’t say I was lighting the place on fire. I am kind of shy (no one believes me when I say that, but really, I am), and I have to be in the right frame of mind to be social. I met my friends bryc3 and Charlotte Sometimes there. I spent most of the time talking to them, because, well, because I know them already, and I don’t have to be “on.” I’m not completely antisocial, because if I were, I would have skipped the event completely. I wish I had made more of an effort, but it had been a lousy day and I had a pounding headache that not even a couple of V&T’s could cure. I made an early exit and apparently missed many other bloggers and things getting a little crazy. Next time I will have to stick around for a little longer.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Happy Birthday to Me

It’s my birthday today. I am now an age that dare not speak its name. This will the first year in recent memory that I have not had a big party (I am going out to dinner with a few friends tonight, so I will be doing something). Those parties were great, I always had a fabulous time, and I loved it, but I just don’t have the energy this year. We’ve thrown many parties, get-togethers, events, and shindigs in our current place, and I’m just feeling lazy about it. Also, it about 7 months, I will be throwing what is probably the biggest party of my life, so I suppose I’m conserving my energy for that.

The passage of another year is perhaps a time to take stock. At the risk of being overly introspective, I have been thinking about where I am and where I am going. On the plus side, I have a career I enjoy and a job I also enjoy most of the time. I’m not sure that I will do this forever, but I imagine I will stay at least connected with my field. I am getting married to an amazing man, which is a very good thing. I can’t say that I was ever obsessed with getting married, but at least now I can stop having disturbing thoughts about dying alone and being found three weeks later half eaten by an Alsatian (thank you, Bridget Jones, for that image). I still don’t know if I want to have children, and my rapidly aging ovaries are probably begging me to make up my mind already. I have great family and friends around me. I have prolonged my adolescence for as many years as possible and enjoyed almost all of it. Maybe growing up isn’t so bad after all?

Friday, August 05, 2005

Dodging a bullet

Earlier this week, my mother called me because she had seen an ad in the Post for a big wedding dress sale at Filene’s Basement, one of those events where they truck in loads of dresses. She thought I should go. I tried to convince her that this was a really bad idea because these things are totally nuts, and women tear each other’s hair out just to get that "perfect" dress. She refused to believe that it could really be that bad. “After all,” she said, “It’s August. Everyone is out of town.” Hmmh, maybe she’s right, I thought. Maybe I should just go and check it out, and if it’s really awful I can leave.

So this morning, I considered telling my boss I needed to take a long lunch, but I was feeling really unmotivated. It's about 100 degrees out, and the last thing I want to do is try on clothes. Around 10:30, I got a call from a friend, who wanted to let me know that the event had been mentioned on the news: they had already had to call the police to break up fights. I think I have my answer: run as fast as I can in the opposite direction. Seriously, no dress is worth that. I will gladly pay retail rather than have to do anything like this. As I type this, I am having visions of heaps of white dresses and women gouging each other’s eyes out. I’m shuddering.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Cry-y-y-ing over you

Kathryn had an interesting post about crying and how one occasionally has the urge to just let loose with the tears. I was thinking that my life has been relatively tear-free in recent months, but then this morning when I was walking to work, I felt like bursting into tears, for no apparent reason. Perhaps some background is necessary. I’ve been pretty busy and stressed this week, and I was really tired last night, so I went to bed at a relatively early hour. I woke up at 3 a.m. feeling the beginnings of a migraine. Oh joy. So I dragged myself out to the kitchen, consumed some caffeine and advil, and held the headache at bay. Unfortunately, the caffeine meant that I didn’t get much more sleep, so this morning I was operating on not enough sleep, it was really hot already, and I was listening to the Cowboy Junkies first album, which is extra-depressing (it’s slow and moody and has cheery songs about miners dying of silicosis, burying your love down by the river, and a cover of Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”). Maybe all these things were just a bad combination? I didn’t actually cry, just felt like I wanted to. It passed and I am feeling relatively normal, if a bit bedraggled.