On Bringing Couples Closer

So, we’re on the couch, toggling between Monday Night Football and Dr. 90210&#8212the latter to which I am hopelessly addicted. Any makeover shows hook me, be it the the new lime green toilet they installed on HGTV or that lady’s new set of…well, anyway…

So tonight’s episode featured a couple, each having a cosmetic procedure done. A genital cosmetic procedure. Not like they can show anything anyway, and not like you’d want to watch, but I swear my face was good and squished in empathetic discomfort as I clamped my legs together as though my inner knees held earth magnets. The woman of the duo said in interview, “I really think that us having these procedures together will bring us closer together.”

Nick snorted from behind me on the couch where I lie sprawled on my back. “Try having your mother die!”




I know from murmurs the bane of the left-hander’s existence. I know the arguments for equality remain moot in the righty’s world—and I feel for them. Having been born plagued with a dominant right hand, I cannot know their strife. Yes, I fully agree that you deserve a left-handed computer mouse.

However, it has come to my attention in recent years, growing ever more obvious, that I am left-legged. Socially, I feel it has set me apart from the crowd—and not in a good way—and for all my appearances-based empathy for the lefty’s movement (the empathy has a limit—there are college scholarships for the left-handed for Pete’s sake!), I cannot help but think with disgust when my dissimilarity emerges, “I’m NOT one of them!”

How do you cross your legs? Right over left, I’ll wager. I can’t do that. I feel like that Visa debit card commercial that airs so often…this big choreographic show, synchronized to a jaunty tune …and then there’s me disturbing the chorus line. I try to cross my right over my left and continue the lower-body wave down the row of my social party, the domino effect (if you will)…and I wobble unsteadily over my left cheek (you know the one) who is seeped in anxiety over my reassignment of weight. I paste a smile on my face and fight for balance…but it never comes and I make a play for nebulosity as I uncross my legs with practiced calm.

But uncrossed leaves me feeling ever the savage in civilized society, and instinctively, I cross my legs, left over right, kicking my right-side companion and smiling crookedly, eyes laden with unshed tears begging, not to be outed. I hang my head low, and as though I were the pitiable face of a Basset Hound, even my ears seem to droop. It’s so hard being different.

The Day Before Thanksgiving

It was my half-day at work, my aunts’ as well, and we made plans for lunch. My morning was efficient and as the latest Five for Fighting album crooned from my headphones and the sun poured in, I put all thoughts of holidays from my mind and enjoyed the moment.

After lunch, I went back to my aunts’ home where I “helped” Debbie by making a salad and Brenda by cleaning a small area in the kitchen. I joked with Brenda during the drive to our lunchtime stop that this truly was a Paske holiday—I was driving Brenda because Debbie was picking up painkillers, and she was hopeful Debbie would be delayed so we could have a few beers while we waited. That’s the way we do it in our family—we screw with our minds and then sharpen knives. They didn’t task me out too much, and I’m sure to a serious chef such as my dear Debbie, I seem fairly inefficient—the neat freak shall lie down with the cook?—but I didn’t leave a mess to be cleaned.

I was feeling sluggish, but guilty they didn’t give me more to do…and as a sweet gesture of unnecessary thanks (what is family for?) Brenda took me to get my nails done. Jack, the man who did my nails spoke in a heavy—well, I can’t 100% place the accent…a sort of Asian-Latin hybrid—and I could barely understand a word he said.

At first he thought I was my aunt’s daughter, which she vehemently denied. Then he thought I was a kid, asking which high school I attend. After he learned I was older than all that, he asked if I had a baby. I shook my head firmly. “You look tire. Like you have baby.” Meanwhile, Brenda got a pedicure and Jack complimented my looks. I think. Heavy accent, remember? Being a smart ass, I replied to him that that’s why I look tired…that it isn’t easy looking so good all of the time.

Brenda yelled from across the salon, “You’ve got that right!” and expelled a breath through pursed lips as if nothing causes greater weariness than her comely face. I leaned closer to Jack, even though I wasn’t certain he could understand what I was saying, and told him that it was a family trait—the attitude. I have the best time with Brenda!

I drove home, stopping for a car wash in De Forest on my way out of town…the new car will be seen by my brother today for the first time, and I want it to look all shiny and flirtatious, just as it was the day it gave me that come hither stare at the lot. Got home, looked in the mirror, and thought, “I really do look tired.” Opened the mail, decided I’m sick of getting correspondence from both Dean Care and UW Hospital and Clinics.

All pretty humdrum. Then, I started getting this itch, this desire to be anywhere but here. I decided to go out and buy the new album from Chris Daughtry, It’s Not Over, with my Border’s Rewards© points. I picked up dinner for Nick who had a not so great day and headed home, instinctively turning my radio on as I left the parking lot.

Shortly after, I turned it off…the music didn’t feel right. And as I passed the first display of Christmas lights, the tears fell, and I spoke aloud to my empty car wishing her back, wished myself gone, wished it all different…wished the holidays could just not come this year. It was such an ordinary day…I don’t understand where it all came from…perhaps I stayed just busy enough to not notice the heaviness of my heart.

Employee Resources

At work, we have a vehicle (one prone to traffic jams, I might add) known as the eForm. The majority of the eForms I come across in my lowly position concern homeowner policy changes…but I’ve heard such lore as the eForm that outputs local happy hour locales, brown nosing compliments, and even the occasional bag of Cool Ranch Doritos©—like a digital vending machine.

The other day, I had class—one of the final two I must attend within a year of employment at my current job. Titled, “Respect in the Workplace”, we were educated on company policy, to whom we should report offenses, and the level of safety and comfort we should expect while working.

The touchy subject of inter-office romance was addressed, along with the silly nuances—you can date within your department but you cannot marry within your department—and we differentiated between sexual attraction and sexual discrimination. After an exhaustive discussion that had me pondering the possibility that a writing utensil inserted into my right nostril might just be less painful, our instructor posed the question, “So how do you ask a coworker out on a date?”

Dead silence. I can’t be certain if the entire room was single-mindedly focused on nose-jamming, or if they were all dancing on that line between wakefulness and slumber, but it was so still that Sprint’s pin even refused to drop! Taking pity on us and vying for a little comic relief, the instructor answered her own question:

“You submit an eForm.”

Never Far

I’ve been off. My humor always seems to be on deck, which has saved me…but the strain has grown great. I’m sick again, there’s no denying it…and it’s drained me of my energy. Workout? No, the couch and a comfy blanket are calling. I hate the lazy Laura. I had a CT Scan a week and a half ago and the first opportunity I have to speak with my Surgeon is December 1st. I’ve decided to take the entire day off…whatever she tells me will be rotten news.

I know what the report reads—I had my loving regular care providers read the notes to me over the phone. DUMB HMOs! Not my fault I was born with a disorder that this other hospital wants to write another paper on, to sequel my mother’s can better handle. So, either my surgeon will say that I need more surgery to remove the intruder in my body, or she will say that it isn’t a threat and that I need no more treatment. I don’t want to go back into the hospital…it was the most painful week of my life. Bad memories. And that nurse was very bull-in-a-china-shop-ish with that catheter. *shudders* Hello! Delicate down there!

Yet, I don’t want to be back in the boat I was in earlier this year…the constant, “I feel like crap but they can’t find anything wrong with me.” Eventually you start doubting yourself and how you feel. “Maybe I’m not rejecting almost everything I eat. Maybe it’s in my head. Oh well.” And then your backside explodes and they drain a liter and a half of infected substance during emergency surgery before treating you for a massive infection they decide has been building for months, if not years. (I now know why we’re not typically allowed to read medical notes…I read those from my surgery when arguing for coverage with my insurance…the words “WE PLACED HER IN A PRONE JACKNIFE POSITION” still gets under my skin!)

So there’s that, there’s the approaching of the holiday season that I just don’t want to arrive. I’m not in a holiday mood. I don’t want to celebrate anything without her. Steeped in tradition and memories, I’d rather everything warm and bright just went on hiatus this year. The clouds have cloaked our days this week, and I’m just plain down. I’m not feeling well, I’m sad, and new to this year—I’m a scrooge.

I rolled over at 2:23 this morning…I remember the time exactly. My ears were filled with the sweetest sound. I haven’t dared think of it since last January when I sang the song to her. It was her voice, loving and kind, singing to me…and the sweetness made me cry. There have been many supernatural links to Mom this year…the first night I was home from the hospital and off pain killers, unable to sleep. I closed my eyes and saw a warm, pulsating light…and I can’t explain what it was, only that it somehow brought comfort and then, peace. Private conversations my aunt Brenda had with Mom on her deathbed that I somehow remember in detail, as though she passed it onto me so I would know how much I was loved.

I’m humbled.

Turn around and you’re a young girl going out of the door. Keep singing to me, Momma.