The lost July


I’ve not been well since July 2. I don’t know what specifically is ailing me but it’s a little like the mystery bug that got me in 2009 that no one ever could diagnose. (Sans hives. So far.) I’m on a second round of antibiotics and I’m still prone to coughing fits. And headaches. It took Holden down too, and his teacher and some classmates. Whatever it is is no joke and has been hanging around for a long time. I heard that we had unseasonably lovely weather, though, while I was quarantined. Neat.

I nearly missed the crape myrtles at their prettiest. Nearly.

This year, I did Mother’s Day wrong

I was settling in for a long-overdue nap when I got a text from a second team member calling out. I was unable to coax anyone into coming in for an OT shift so I got in the shower and went into the office myself. Then I got some news about the house in Memphis needing a major repair, for which I do not have the funds, so I contacted my mom to ask to borrow money.

So, in conclusion:

Next Mother’s Day, my goal is to not abandon my child to go to the office and to not call my mom and ask for money.

Two weeks: The complaints!

There is this little mercurial creature hanging around my house and we don’t speak each other’s language but we’re learning. My emotions twist and turn with every involuntary grimace on his face. I am his huckleberry. The hardwiring is intense. I get caught up in the brutal cycle of wondering if I’m doing an OK job and asking myself, “Is my baby happy?” The latter is a crazy question. What does that even mean — a happy two-week-old? This kid is pure id and I am trying to define him with psychobabble and read thoughts into his searching blue-brown eyes. It’s exhausting.

We have moments where everything clicks into place and feels natural, and other moments when I am overtaken by sheer terror. Terror that I won’t be able to comfort him this time, terror that I am not giving him everything he needs and deserves, terror that I am never going to feel normal again, terror that my nipples are going to spit rivers of blood if I have to put his mouth on them one more time. I posit that breastfeeding a newborn every two hours is, cumulatively, more difficult than giving birth naturally. But maybe I’m being dramatic.

The hormone roller coaster is brutal and sometimes lays me so low that I just sit there and rock him, sobbing, wiping tears off my face so they don’t drip onto his. Two minutes later it will be as if nothing happened at all, the storm clouds far on the horizon. Chump storm clouds. It’s bizarre and irrational and I try to take my lumps in stride because I know it’s normal.

Everything is so different now, wonderfully and terribly, and no amount of preparation would haves sufficed for the degree of difference. I am waddling around in a body that I don’t even recognize as mine anymore, one whose extra folds of skin are tattooed with these angry swatch marks that are supposedly going to fade, but I have my doubts. I can’t fit into my old clothes so I just lounge around in sweat pants and nightgowns. That’s a recipe for depression right there, hormones be damned. I got so sick of sitting around yesterday that I did some mild exercises, only to realize later that I shouldn’t have because I’m still rife with relaxin and I apparently hurt myself. So today I am hobbling around because my pelvis aches like a sumbitch. I want to go for walks but the weather is shit and we’re still not quite ready to get out and about, especially around people. If it sounds like I’m a complaint factory, it’s because I am.

Ups and downs are the name of the game. You get kicked off the horse and get right back on is all. I anticipated this phase would be tough to handle and sure enough, it is. But you just get through it, every parent tells me. You just survive until the kid begins to resemble a little human more than a demanding little floppy lump of flesh. Of course, I love my demanding little floppy lump of flesh beyond words. I hope that goes without saying. I’m just venting. I need to be able to do that sometimes.

Another thing that is making me grumpy

Google Reader is basically worthless now. They’ve removed all the share functions and the “add to reader” bookmarlet doesn’t work anymore, so my prime method of bookmarking and sharing interesting stuff on the web has evaporated. I can still read through the feeds I’m subscribed to, yes, but now all those neat, weird little tidbits that would cross my radar thanks to the smart, funny people I pal around with on Reader will no longer find their way to me. And I can’t share the neat, weird little bits of the internet I find, unless I want to flood my Facebook feed with shit most people I am “friends” with would not appreciate. I feel cut off from the portion of the internet that I haven’t already discovered. And the portion of the internet that I haven’t already discovered is EFFING VAST.

Oh, and making me scroll alllll the way up to click the “home” button every time I need it is infuriating. You should never ever ever have to scroll to click a “home” button.

Anyway, I need an RSS reader to use other than Reader, I guess. Something with some of the social functions (sharing, specifically) but something not as painfully stupid as Facebook or Google+. I used Bloglines a loooong time ago but Reader blew it out of the water at the time. Fellow broken-hearted Reader enthusiasts, where have you gone and what have you found to use? I would like to be reunited with you.

The neighbor’s dogs are ruining our lives


This is what they do at 6:30 or 7 a.m. every morning … for hours and hours:

neighbor dogs who won’t let us sleep from Lindsey Turner on Vimeo.

And then again a few hours later. Or whenever they’re bored. Which is a lot since they are just hanging out in the courtyard, which is mere feet from our bedroom window, all day and night, seemingly every day and night for the past week or so.

The other night they were at it at midnight and then again at 2:30 or 3 in the morning. Then again at 7. I marched my sleepy-eyed preggo self over there and rang the doorbell twice, then walked around to the back to see if the neighbor’s car was there. It wasn’t. I haven’t seen it there for days. Is she out of town? Did she leave her dogs out in the yard while she’s out of town? Is something wrong? Lesley suggested she might be dead in there, which honestly never crossed my mind (and usually I love to imagine the gruesomest scenario) but could be true. We haven’t called the cops yet because I’m trying to be diplomatic and talk to her about this before trying to get others to intervene, but I can never catch her home. So what’s my recourse? A note on the door? Don’t worry, it won’t be anonymous. I just found her phone number online. Am I going to have to call her? God, I need a shot of whiskey first.

I work nights so 7 a.m. is like my 3 a.m. It’s an unreasonable time to fuck with me. But, you know, it would be an unreasonable time to fuck with someone with a day job too.

It’s already tough to sleep through the night but around 7 a.m. is when I am actually getting a couple or three hours of consecutive, pee-free sleep. Having bored dogs howling at rustling leaves and passing joggers jolts me out of the one REM cycle I get every night and makes it incredibly difficult to function for the rest of the day. I can deal with it occasionally — dogs are dogs and they bark, I get it — but it has been every day, all day, for many days and I am feeling myself start to crack from the exhaustion.

Okay, yes. I am going to have to call her. And I will make sure to scream at the top of my lungs outside her windows when I am giving birth.

That was dumb

I just drove all the way downtown to a stretch I have been wanting to photograph for two weeks, only to drive right past it, scowl at how the setting sun was backlighting it, and then come back home, grumbling about how I sure hope my child is talented because I am a hack who will never make art again, blah blah blaaaah.

And now I’m in my underwear eating cereal and confessing this to the internet. (Because.)

I will probably round out my evening by attempting to clean up the living/dining room, scowling at how the AC smells terrible when it kicks on, and watching HGTV until I am sick of hearing the phrase “open concept.”

This is pregnancy. What a country.

No, really. About these headaches.

Maybe I should just call it “the headache.” Because it never actually goes away. I go to bed with it, I wake up with it. Sometimes it goes away for a little while but it always comes back. For the longest time I didn’t even allow myself Tylenol but I’ve relented some this past week because I cannot function with a constant throbbing ache inside my skull. You say something to me, I might smile. But chances are I am looking at you through a pulsing sheet of blood vessels and it sucks and I’m sick of it.

What sucks even more is that it seems that Tylenol isn’t touching this bastard now.

Oh yeah, this happened

When I unlocked my car to go to work last week, this is what I saw. I wondered if Ray had gotten into the car in desperate, paper-thrashing need of finding, uh, a stick of gum or something, so I went back inside and asked him if he’d been rifling through my car. And of course the answer was no, so I asked him to come look at the inside of my car, which was covered not only in rummaged-through papers, but also had half the back seat turned down with my coffee cup sitting on top. I don’t keep what you would call a clean car, but I certainly didn’t leave my car in that horrible shape the night before. I swear to you, I thought a raccoon had gotten in there or something. I am a naive, sheltered little country girl.

That’s when he noticed that my rear passenger stationary window was busted out and there was shattered glass inside and outside the car.

I dropped a few F-bombs and inspected the damage, and started to realize, slowly, what had happened. Six and a half years in Memphis and this is the first time I’ve been hit, so it took me a minute to get my head around it. Ray went inside to get the non-emergency police number while I tried to get a good idea of what, if anything, had been taken. Turns out my huge book of CDs and my iPhone charger had made an exit. Such coveted prizes, I guess. That should net the thief maybe $30. Half those CDs were scratched as shit and a good deal of them were homemade mixed CDs from friends. Those are the ones I’m most sore about, really, because I hadn’t ripped many of them since my iTunes refused to fetch the song names for me.

Fun fact: The thief left my galoshes and rain coat in the hatch. I paid more than $60 for the boots and the coat is easily worth $30. Dumbass. But thanks, dumbass, for leaving my rain gear. I suppose it’s good I left the BSMF mud on both as a deterrent.

We waited several minutes but a squad car finally showed up, and I was impressed that they dusted for prints. We had speculated about how the thief busted the window, and noticed a notch taken out of the metal surrounding the window, like he’d used a tool and needed leverage (thanks, CSI: Sunglasses City!). Sure enough, the officer said the thief had most likely used a screwdriver used to pop the window out. Then he unlocked the door and trawled around inside the car for a good while. I really hope he took a swig out of that coffee cup. It had been in there through three seasons.

I had gotten home at midnight the night before, and we were awake and staring at the TV until 3ish, so it surely must have happened after that. Or we didn’t hear it, despite the fact that it happened 20 feet from the front window. And our neighbor’s idiot dogs, who generally howl and raise hell any time I step outside to water my plants or walk across the yard, deigned to stay silent during an actual property violation.

The officer said he got some good prints but there was no telling whose they were or if they’d get a reliable hit on them. We asked if this sort of thing happened in the area very often, and he said that this was the first in a long time. My neighbor Peter came over and said my neighbor Lauren had a Jeep get broken into in her driveway (the one adjacent to mine) several years ago. Then, after the police left, another neighbor whose name I don’t know came by and said that on his walk, he’d seen a couple of cars around the corner with busted-out windows. I guess that means they hadn’t reported them yet?

Ray taped a bag over the busted window to keep out the rain that was forecasted that night, and we went about our business, daydreaming of ways to build a sniper tower in the tree and pick off hot-handed creeps intent on taking my shit again.

And now, I will move on to two PSAs.

1. Contact MLGW if you see any streetlights that are out. The streetlight closest to my house had been out for a few weeks and it was mildly annoying because it created a black spot on the street that was pretty creepy, but I lazily did nothing about it because I am an apathetic American who has cable. And then, bam. My super dark driveway became a crime hotspot and I became a statistic. So if you know of a street light that is out, the best thing to do is take a gander up close at it and write down the numbers embossed on the little metal plates. And then click here and file those numbers with MLGW. Your and your neighbors’ crappy CD collections could be at stake.

2. Jack Morris Auto Glass did an awesome job on my window. They had a one-day turnaround time, and the window plus labor was only $170. I’m sure someone out there will see that number and think I got ripped off, but they were so super nice to me AND they cleaned up all the broken glass in my car, which I was absolutely not expecting them to do. I am very happy I went there and will certainly go there again should some deviant jackbag decide to rifle through my car again without first asking my permission.

Day 46/365: Dear AT&T


Dear AT&T:

You have been a part of my life for a very long time. My entire adult telecommuncations life has been spent making out checks to you, or clicking “make payment now” links on your website. I have given you thousands and thousands of dollars and tons and tons of my attention over the years. You have both enabled me to connect with the world and then made it maddeningly difficult to do so. So it is with complete sincerity and utmost seriousness that I say the following:

May your entire company and everyone associated with it jump straight up my butt.

Go on. All of you. No, more. Keep going. I can take it.

What’s wrong? You’re suddenly afraid of hurting me? That’s odd.

Because you have been a pain in my ass for as long as I can remember.

I am woozy with AT&T fatigue. I have dealt with your constant barrage of stupid letters in the mail, your sickeningly cheerful salespeople who will kill a person’s spirit with a smile on their face, your dishonest marketing, your bait and switch attempts, your bills that creep up in cost and have to be monitored, your inability to honor my request to have a PLAIN FUCKING PHONE LINE, your constant telemarking attempts to sell me shit I have repeatedly refused. I have stuck with you over the years in part out of some sick sense of battered customer loyalty and, let’s be frank, laziness and ennui. Because what was I to do? You were the only game in town for a long time. You like it that way.

When I moved into the house and asked to have my service transferred here from my apartment, your salesman smiled widely and helped me do just that. Except not so much, because the service I had transferred wasn’t even available in my new neighborhood. Isn’t that something you guys should know and tell a gal before signing her up for something she can’t technically even get? Your company was more than happy to not tell me the details (and how could I have known otherwise?), and then to charge me for service I was never going to be able to get. I sucked it up and held out for a variety of reasons I will not get into here. For more than a year, I endured dismally slow internet speeds. I’m talking speeds that made it impossible to do more than one internet-related task at once. Uploading a photo? Great. You will be doing so for a very long time and if you are planning on watching a YouTube video at the same time, you are just going to have to fucking wait. Want to watch Netflix streaming through the Wii? Okay, but you better CLOSE EVERY BROWSER WINDOW IN EXISTENCE.

Finally. Finally!!! in late 2010, I got an e-mail from AT&T saying that U-Verse was being rolled out in my neighborhood. Oh, happy day. I was super excited. So excited that the whole reason why I got that e-mail is because I had signed up to be notified once it became available. In late December, a regional manager came to my house twice (once when I was walking out the door to make an appointment and another time when I was at work) to talk to me about U-Verse and all it offered. I never quite understood why this young man did not leave a card with me, because I really wanted to talk to him about getting set up. But I suppose that’s neither here nor there.

I decided to go ahead and sign up online. I meticulously crafted the bundle that would work best for my household. I spent lots of time researching options and finally came up with something I thought would be perfect. I added services to my cart and went to the checkout. The site told me sorry, but my order could not be processed online, and that I’d have to call and talk to a human. Boo. So that’s what I did a few weeks later. In the interval, I got who knows how many e-mails and letters in the mail from AT&T, pleading with me to sign up for U-Verse. All the letters talked about the bundles of cash AT&T was dying to give me to sign up for the service. Honestly, I wasn’t even interested in that. I just wanted faster internet that wasn’t reminiscent of dialup speeds.

A very helpful saleswoman got on the horn when I called and helped me pick out the bundle I wanted. She was so super nice. That’s why when we got ready to check out and she came back from my “credit check”* and told me my installation fee, due immediately right there on the phone, was $449, I was taken completely aback. Did that include the first month’s bill? No. She was super excited, however, to tell me that I would get an $80 rebate after four weeks. I kept trying to get her to explain what charges added up to nearly $500 for a simple installation, but she could not make any sense to me, despite how nice she was being. She kept putting me on hold to “talk to her manager.” Huh. After balking again and again (and asking Twitter how much THEY had paid for their U-Verse install; the average response was “they paid ME!”), I realized that I was being taken for a ride.

Imagine that: A longtime customer comes to you to ask to pay you more money every month than she is paying now, and you respond by trying to bilk her out of half a mortgage payment up front.

And then! When she tells you she would like to see the offer in writing so that she can think about it, you refuse to send that to her.

And then!! When she tells you she needs to consult with her boyfriend to make sure they can cover the cost, you tell her that she needs to call her boyfriend while you are on the line, otherwise no deal.

I realize those things are probably in the sales handbook, which is why I again want to reiterate my overarching thesis: AT&T, PLEASE JUMP STRAIGHT UP MY ASS. ALL THE WAY UP THERE. DON’T BE SHY.

Adding supreme insult to injury are the (wasteful, spammy) letters pictured above, which just will not stop fucking showing up in my mailbox, even after I have tried TWICE and failed to get your precious U-Verse service. I get at least one a week. You want to give me $300 to sign up for U-Verse, huh? Is that AFTER I donate my kidney to your CEO? Is that in the fine print?

I am writing this letter so that perhaps someone with a soul in your company might see it and pause long enough to realize that treating your longtime customers like this is, oh, I don’t know, FUCKING ATROCIOUS? And should probably stop?

Anyway, I am canceling all my AT&T services as a result of this incident, not to mention your cumulative history of dicking me around. It’s something I should have done a long time ago. Sadly, I still have cell service with your company because I have an iPhone. But now that Verizon has entered the iPhone market, it shouldn’t be too long before you can scratch my name from your roll of huckleberries for good.

Your trampoline + my ass,
Lindsey Turner

*Before you go thinking this is something related to my credit, rest assured that my credit is good. Better than good. Great.

[Project 365]