The Old Lady With the Retainer

Like many people I was not blessed with straight teeth.  Fortunately my father’s 20 years of military service did provide me with dental insurance which helped to fix that problem.  Sort of.

One of the problems I had was that my upper row of teeth (there is not an actual anatomical upper jaw) sort of caved in at the back.  So before I got braces I had a device called an e-arch installed that was spring loaded to widen the top of my mouth in the back.  This worked fairly well and eventually when things were where they were supposed to be they took the spring off but left the rest of the device in until I had my braces put in.  (I can’t remember why we were waiting—might have been for the rest of my adult teeth to come in).  Well while we waited my teeth went back to their original position.  Apparently this happens in less than 10% of cases.  Whoo hoo for being special.  Not.

Well they finally got things back in alignment and slapped the braces on quick enough to prevent things moving again.  Things worked just fine as long as the braces were on.  After a couple years the braces came off and I got a retainer.  They put a permanent retainer on my bottom teeth and gave me this clear plastic sheath to put on my upper teeth (it looked kind of like the invisalign thingies).  I only had to wear it at night, so I was spared the grossness of having to take my retainer out at lunch.

Then my sister’s dog ate it. (have I mentioned I dislike dogs?)

In the time it took for me to get to the orthodontist to get fitted for a new one my upper teeth had collapsed in the back again.  So I got a retainer with a little key I had to turn on a weekly basis to spread out my palette again.  Fun times.

Here’s the thing:  That was over fifteen years ago.  And I’m still wearing the damn retainer every night.  And if I don’t wear it for a week or so (I can’t wear it when I have a cough.  I found out the hard way that coughing sends it flying across the room.) my damn teeth still move!  And I have to start the turny key process all over again.

And it’s just occurred to me recently:  How long do I keep at this?  At what point do I just give up and say, “You know know?  I’m just going to deal with a weird bite issue?”  But after several years and several thousand dollars spent straightening out my teeth, I feel like an idiot to just let it all go down the drain.

So what’s the solution here?  Thoughts?

Coffee With The Fallen

The Management has taken this Memorial Day to buy coffee, beer or whatever other beverages of choice for all those who’ve died in military service.   It’s not exactly what’s called out in 35 U.S.C §116, but it works for us.

Grab a poppy at the door, pull up a chair or a stool in the Spacial Anomaly Coffee Bar and Refueling Station (Pub adjacent), and have a listen as we let our honorable guests do all the talking want.  We’re sure more than a few of them have stories worth hearing.

Please, Don’t Help

My brother has three kids.  When they were younger if he or his wife was scolding one of the kids and another one of the kids chimed in the parent would say, “Don’t help.”  It’s a good mantra sometimes.  Because as much as being helpful is great, sometimes being helpful is… well not helpful.

I’m currently staying at my parents’ house.  Whenever I come home my mother insists on doing my laundry.  She’s insisted on this since we were kids because she was convinced that left to our own devices we would do too small loads of laundry and waste water.  Now I suppose it’s just habit.  And I know, I know, I shouldn’t complain about free laundry service, but here’s the thing:  Every time I come home she ruins at least one item of clothing.  I have to hide my tights because no matter how many times I explain they have to be hand washed she insists that washing them in a lingerie bag will be just fine.  And then I have snags all over my tights from the zipper of said lingerie bag.  She has an infuriating habit of taking things I haven’t even put in the laundry and washing them because she decides they need to be washed.  She’s done this several times with items I didn’t put in the laundry because they were dry clean only.  Most recently she shrunk a camisole of mine by putting it in the dryer.  Now in the grand scheme of things, said camisole was purchased on sale for $5.  And while it’s definitely smaller than I would buy, because it’s a camisole it’s not completely unusable.  I can still use it in situations where I just need to hide a tiny bit of cleavage, I just can’t wear it when any significant portion of it will show if I don’t want to look like a stuffed sausage.  What bothered me most about it was my mother’s blasé attitude about it.  She just sort of shrugged her shoulders and told me that if I spritzed it with water I could stretch it back out (please note:  this doesn’t work like she thinks it does.  If she gets satisfactory results it’s because she buys all her clothes too big to start with.)

Other places I should not be accepting help:  Work.

I’m an acrobat.  But out of sheer laziness I use really simple equipment rather than fancy specialized rigs.  Generally I just use a couple of trees and some rope.  Only problem with this is that there are a lot of guys (it’s always guys) who want to tell me how I can better tie my ropes.  You know, cause… it’s not like I do this for a living.  Last week I was so worn out I finally let one of said guys rig for me.  He didn’t actually ask, but I didn’t actually refuse either.  Problem being that he didn’t really understand what I need my ropes to do.  So he rigged them wrong.  And it ruined the grand finale of my show.  (Note:  I received no sympathy from fellow performers who made it clear I should never trust something that important to anyone but myself.)  Suffice it to say:  Lesson learned.

For reasons I won’t go into I perform with a bandage on my upper arms.  There’s one woman who bandages me every morning.  But Saturday she was busy and I let someone else wrap me.  She got the bandage on the left side a little tight, but I didn’t think it was a big deal.  Because I’m an idiot.  Think about this:  over exertion and something tied too tightly on your brachial artery.  Yeah… So after a near heart attack (literally) following my second show of the day I learned that I should always stick with the usual.

It’s sweet that people want to do things for me, but I guess the lesson is I need to know when it’s better to just say, “No thank you.”

Pram Problem

My deepest apologies to those friends of mine with children because I’m pretty sure I’m going to offend at least a few of you.

But you deserve it.

You and your damn prams from hell.

Pram.  Stroller.  Baby buggy.  Whatever the hell you want to call it, these monstrosities are pissing me off.  And, in some cases, causing severe bruising.  There are SUVs smaller than these damned things.  Honestly, I get that you have your kid’s safety in mind, but do you really need a Sherman tank to wheel him around in?  Scores of children have managed to survive to adulthood and procreate additional spawn after having only been pushed around in those flimsy little strollers that look like a hammock chair on wheels and umbrella handles to push with.  Or with no stroller at all.  So I’m pretty sure you could spare the all-wheel drive monstrosity for just one day.

Especially in close spaces.  I was in a museum today, touring a special exhibit.  Now, setting aside the depth of “NOT WISE” involved in toting anyone from the under-2 set through a special exhibit on Princess Diana, let’s talk about the pram issue.  You know there’s going to be a lot of people–that’s why the tickets had time slots for entry–you know there’s going to be all kinds of display cases and things to maneuver around–that’s what exhibits are kinda known for–so why do you insist on crowding an already crowded space with your kid-wheeler?!?!?  Leave it in the car and tote the kid.  And don’t you DARE tell me that it’s too hard to carry the kid because NONE of the 5 strollers that managed to hit me today actually had a kid in it.  In all cases the kid was being carried by one parent/aunt/grandparent while another person was pushing that massive cart around, generally containing a baby-bag.  The bag that person could have carried on his/her shoulder, thus sparing us all from the Pram Problem.

And it’s not just museums.  Crowded restaurants and cafe’s.  WHY wouldn’t you leave it in the car? You’re not going to walk that far, and you’re going to be sitting down to eat anyhow.  There’s no room in the aisle and you know it, yet you park the beast right there by the table to everyone else–server and patron alike–is stuck trying to find a way to get around it.

It comes down to this, oh proud mama’s and papa’s of today’s era:  You’ve got a misplaced sense of entitlement.  You have a kid and you believe this means  “stuff” and you need a way to move said “stuff” and it needs to be convenient for you.  Because it’s all for your kid.  And parenthood is sooooo important.

Yes, you have a kid.  Yes, that’s inconvenient for you and it means you have to have all this “stuff” to tote around with said kid.


You chose to have them.  I don’t owe you any space in the aisles for that, so quit taking it from me.  I want kids myself, but when that day comes, I’ll go into it with the understanding that I’m gonna have to build up some muscles because the entire public shouldn’t have to give-way so that I can be comfortable and lazy.

I’ve already accepted that your kids are going to scream and cry and raise hell and kinda ruin a lot of other parts of my experiences in museums and restaurants and shops.  The least you could do is leave the damn Pram in the car.  Or at least watch where you’re driving the sonofabitch so I don’t come home with big bruises on my hips and back.


*Please note:  If you are in the extreme minority of today’s parents and actually leave the stroller in the car, or use one of the old-hammock style, or in some other ways attempt to minimize the impact on the rest of us, I applaud you and you are exempt from all beratement herein.

MTVMPB Designs Hell: Can’t Cancel This

Due to our hiatus, writing about other things, and complete oversight on my part, very little construction has taken place on our particular version of Hell. 

Tonight we are adding:  People who cancel television shows prematurely/for stupid reasons/at stupid times.

Before you think this is nothing but a veiled reference to the cancelation of One Life to Live while it was the only soap opera whose ratings had been steadily climbing over the past year let me explain:  This is absolutely a veiled reference to the cancelation of One Life to Live while it was the only soap opera whose ratings had been steadily climbing over the past year.  But it’s about more than that.  It’s about the people who put Firefly in a craptastic time slot and canceled it after half a season¹.  It’s about those who canceled Farscape when it was the highest rated show on its channel.  It’s about the assholes who canceled Veronica Mars (which I will admit had gone downhill) on a cliffhanger in order to bring us whatever crap it is that the CW brings us.  It’s about asshats who canceled Remember WENN because even though it had viewers it didn’t have the viewers they wanted it to have².

Oh yes, Brian Frons will have company in this layer of Hell. 

For their heinous acts against fandom I place these sinners in the seventh layer of Hell, where I am devising very fitting punishments for them.  They shall be strapped to uncomfortable chairs and forced to watch episodes of Two and a Half Men, Corner Gas, episodes of The X-Files featuring Agent Reyes, and the one bad episode of Battlestar Galactica (Yes, there was one though I think most of us choose to pretend it never happened) while Taylor Swift music plays and someone reads aloud the last chapter of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  And if they keep putting crap on my television I will simply add it to their eternal torments³.  Because I feel it would be wrong to wish actual physical harm to any of these people, but for some reason I find no conflict in wishing an eternity of suffering upon them in the afterlife of my own little universe.

¹Cammy Footnote:  What happened to Firefly is one of the most heinous travesties of TV programming history.
²Cammy Footnote: SCREW YOU AMC!  No resolution to the Victor vs. Scubby debate.  Total cliffhanger.  AND NOT EVEN THE DECENCY TO RELEASE THE SHOW ON DVD.  FUCK YOU, FUCK YOUR CHANNEL and I AM STILL BOYCOTTING YOU MORE THAN 10 YEARS LATER!
³Cammy Footnote:  I’m thinking heads on pikes as a warning to the next 10 generations that some actions come at too high a price, or perhaps turning their bones into flutes for little children to play… apologies to JMS for bastardizing B5 there.  At least THAT didn’t get totally shit-canned.

Time Vampire Truncating My Posts

Okay, so the real time vamp for this week–actually, for this month–is my job.  Yes, I know it’s already been a time vamp and I know that no one wants to hear it, so rather than dwell on the vamp, I’ll leave you the twitter-esque left-overs that I would have been expanding upon for lengthy and insightful posts (insert snorts of derision here) if I were not being held captive by that time vampire of presentations and spreadsheets and stupid bean-counting assholes.

-There is something worse than being accused of riding the short bus: it’s being accused of being the kid riding in the back of the shortbus and licking the windows.

-If you could buy most MBAs for what they’re worth and sell them for what they think they’re worth, a lot of people would be in a much higher tax bracket and the whole debt crises would be easily solved.

-Cat vs. Me in the when-should-the-human-get-out-of-bed battle?  Cat 10.  Me 2.

-Did you know you can impress male colleagues by drinking whiskey straight?  Yeah.  Neither did I.  But I inadvertently grew cooler in their eyes, so, go me.

-Never, ever let yourself forget how awesome ol-skool Madonna songs are.

-Irrational fear of tornadoes further rationalized when Wednesday afternoon involved 45 minutes in the hallway at work on lock-down for a tornado warning.

Let me Suck in Peace!

A couple weeks ago I went bowling with some friends.  Bowling’s really not my favorite pastime and I was miffed because the night was supposed to be a Buffy the Vampire Slayer marathon until it got colonized by some of my more extroverted affiliates.  I honestly would have just stayed home, and probably had a better time, but it was one of said extrovert’s birthdays and also my last chance to see several colleagues before they left the country for research.  And while I don’t like bowling, I do, from time to time, enjoy good company.  So I went.

Let’s be clear about something:  I am a terrible bowler.  I know a lot of people say that they’re terrible bowlers, but I have yet to meet anyone quite as bad as I am.  I have multiple total game scores in the single digits.  If I break 40 in a single game, I’m positively excited.  On the other hand, I really don’t care.  First of all, if I’m gonna suck at something I’d rather suck epically than just be mediocre.  Second of all, of all the things in life I care about having skill at, bowling isn’t one of them.  My several years long inability to make hashbrowns upset me.  Being the worst bowler on the planet?  Meh.  Who cares?  Tell me I’m the worst writer or worst scholar or worst acrobat on earth and I would be devastated.  I really don’t care about my bowling stats.

Ordinarily I can still have a good time bowling because I can be social for a limited period of time, laugh at my lack of skills, laugh at people who care about bowling, etc, etc.  The only thing that really spoils it for me is when other people start caring about my suckatude.  For whatever reason, my dearth of bowling skills is much more offensive to those around me than to me.  So on this most recent venture several of my friends decided they needed to help me with my game.  Every frame meant more pointers, more analysis of how I was doing things, more tips and techniques.

And I have to say, it’s one of the least fun experiences I’ve had bowling in a long time.  Ordinarily if I roll a gutter ball, I shrug and dance my way back to the seats (got to love the bad music bowling alleys almost always provide).  Instead, every gutter ball prompted several people clustered around me analyzing exactly what went wrong and telling me what I needed to do different next time.  And my game didn’t get any better.  In fact, it got worse.  And for the first time in ages it bothered me that my game was that bad.  And bowling wasn’t a fun social activity anymore, it was a place where I was inferior to everyone.

So anyway, it will be a long time before I go bowling with that crowd again.  But public service announcement if we have any of those “helpful” types out there:  if your friend seems okay with not being good at something, sometimes the best thing you can do is buy her a beer and dance along with her.  Your “helpful” tips can be a mood killer.

Tornado Respect

On Saturday night, for some inexplicable reason, I felt an overwhelming sense of dread at an impending thunderstorm.  Enough that I opted to move immediately down to my parent’s room where I would be sure I’d hear the weather radio go off.  I’ve done this before.  Outside of my stint in Virginia, I’ve spent my entire life in tornado alley.  My elementary school had more tornado drills than fire drills.  I have a very, very healthy respect for mother nature during the spring.

The difference this time was that it wasn’t just respect.  I was really scared.  The paralyzing, irrationally stupid kind of scared like I haven’t been since I was 7 and would bring blankets and pillows and dolls and curl up in our hallway, pleading with the rest of the family to join me lest we all be ripped to shreds by a tornado.  This used to happen every time a thunderstorm came up, and batten down the hatches if that little cartoon tornado showed up in the lower part of the TV screen to indicated a “Tornado Watch.”  Complete Cammy melt down.  My fear of tornadoes was matched only by my fear of snakes, and that “bad guys” were destined to break into our home at night and use my bedroom window as the primary point of entry (honestly, it was the best option–accessible, yet not easily visible).

Some how, some way, after a lot of nights spent awake and terrified, I got a grip.  I still fear tornadoes, but all of those school drills and the visits from the local meteorologist  eventually paid off, and I feel I know how to handle it.  And moving back to this particularly active part of tornado alley has only improved things because, unlike in Texas, we have a basement (which we were all taught was the BEST place to be….but which didn’t exist anywhere in our Texas town except that half-basement under the Lutheran church).  I also have the most impressive meteorologists of any place I’ve ever lived before (Dallas/Ft. Worth might be a larger media market, but their weather forecasts are a total joke) who are not afraid to interrupt anything in prime time to show me that hook-echo on the map.

All this is to say, that while I’m still the first one in my family to heed the weather forecaster when she’s on TV berating anyone who is not taking cover in a tornado warning (yes, ladies and gentlemen, our weather forecasters scold us on live TV), I don’t melt down anymore.  And I don’t waste time worrying.

So it was doubly horrifying to have that feeling again, especially when there was nothing on the weather radio to justify it.

Of course, the next day, Joplin, Mo. got whacked.  A place I drove through repeatedly going to and from Dallas has been blitzed beyond recognition.

My irrational fear is feeling rationalized, and that’s not good.

I’m still maintaining some sense of logic.  I know that this tornado season seems scarier than usual since things are hitting population centers.  It’s not really any more tornadoes than usual, it’s just that they’re hitting the wrong places–towns instead of open corn fields, houses instead of empty hay-sheds.  I also know that while I use those fabulous weather casters as my safety net, some people have grown complacent.  With so much weather warning, they go numb and stop listening, so that when it’s really game-time, they’re not paying attention.

I also know that I have that basement, and that I’m not going to take those great warning systems for granted, and I sleep with shoes nearby (why shoes?  Do you want to be barefoot in the kind of debris you see post-tornado?).  I still have the kind of respect you need to have for this kind of weather.

But that’s not stopping me from two nights of fitful sleep interrupted by panic at the sound of thunder and heart-pounding at the thought of sleeping through the sirens, or not being able to find the cat in time to run downstairs.  I’ve found myself lying awake in bed, tense and waiting for the weather alarm to sound, and contemplating just picking up my pillows and blankets and the cat and going to sleep in the basement.

I’m all for reliving parts of my childhood, but this is not the part I wanted.

Coffee with a Sea Dog

Would we drink coffee with Sir Walter Raleigh?

Kristy: Before I go further I should probably note for context that I had coffee with Sir Walter Raleigh yesterday.  Or at least with a man who has played him for many years.  It’s a little difficult for me to dissociate the real Raleigh from the one I know, but I will try.

Emm… sure.  True I have enjoyed from time to time calling him by various nicknames including but not limited to “Sir Walter Rather-a-Wimp Raleigh” and “Sir Walter Oh-now-where-did-I-put-that-Colony Raleigh”, but I still think it would be interesting to meet him.  He’s another one of those historical figures who I’d really like to be able to pin down in terms of personality.  By modern standards he seems a bit of a contradiction with the poetry writing and the deflowering innocent maidens, and the privateering.  But in his days that was more or less what made one a well rounded gentleman.  He’s so well-rounded, in fact, that it always came off a little fake to me.   But how on earth do I know it was fake?  It seems undeniable that he truly loved his wife (which is good considering they could have both been killed for marrying without authorization).  So yeah, I’d like to meet him and share a cup of coffee to find out what he was really like.  I’m honestly not sure at all whether we’ll get along.

Cammy: If I can get Kristy to call him “Sir-Walter-Rather-A-Wimp-Raleigh” just once, to his face, I’m sooooo there.  Honestly, other than his seriously bi-polar relationship with Queen Liz and his ability to lose an entire colony in the New World, I’m less familiar with this historic figure than I ought to be.  Kristy’s clearly got more to quiz him on, but if I can ask  “Dude, WTF was up with this pissing off of the Queen…repeatedly?” and get a little clarify there?  I’ll be happy.  Anything else I get from listening to Kristy grill him is just additional education.

Kristy: Owing to my underdeveloped shame gland, I think I can accommodate you.

Summer Gardening – Year Two

For those of you who were not interested in my patio gardening exploits last summer, well, you should have said something when you had the chance.  Since you didn’t….

My plants are in the ground, slightly earlier than last year, I believe.  This year’s line up features a reprise of the rosa bianca egg plant after last year’s success.  Also representing the egg plant family is the satin beauty.  With no volunteer tomatoes in sight (and given the oddness of the ones last year), I went with a single Roma and a patio cherry.  And I triple checked that the cherry really is patio sized after last year’s cherry-tomato-that-devoured-the-Midwest debacle (unless, as was apparently the case last year, “patio” is defined as “taller than Cammy”).  The Hungarian wax pepper is also making a return–hello cheese-stuffed goodness!  And, of course, I couldn’t get rid of the chives if I tried (and in some spots I have…they’re insidious).

On a more advanced level, we’re stepping up to seeds this year.  I wanted squash, so, Mom suggested I just try from seeds.  So far there are little yellow-patty-pan seedlings coming up nicely.  Here’s hoping we can buck Mom’s trend of winding up with a powdery mildew that destroys them.  And I thought I’d give beans a shot–so I tossed a few pintos into the ground, and I think I saw signs of sprouting today.

All this ties in to my second attempt to be outdoors more this summer.  Last year wasn’t quite as successful as I’d have liked, but at least the gardening gave me something to force me out for at least a short time every evening.  I’m a bit concerned the real-life job thing might be more invasive this year than last, so it’s up to the squash, tomatoes and egg plant to ensure my fresh-air in take is not confined to the time spent walking between the door of a building and the door of my car.