Tuesday, June 29, 2010

You stored your blood and malaria in my house, next to my yogurt. Thanks for the memories.

Do you ever fail to process something fully until days or weeks later?

About 2 weeks ago, my best friend surprised us with a visit as she was passing through Boston on her way elsewhere. My best friend, it should be noted, is a scientist. She can tell you more about cyanobacteria, herpes, and now malaria than you will ever need or want to know. When she stopped by 2 weeks ago, she was on her way to TA for a parasitic biology course and she was carrying with her some materials for her lab. Some of these materials included not-yet-tainted blood and little vials of the malaria parasite. I'm not going to lie to you, I was worried that we would all catch malaria and die. Jess warned that it sounded much like the beginnings of a doomsday film, where a seemingly harmless and minuscule event leads to the mass extinction of the human race. Even the dogs were concerned when she brought her bags into our guest room/office/room full of stray crap: They sniffed the bag and snarfled loudly as they tried to nose their way closer to the blood and parasites, presumably to get a better idea for these new, fine-smelling house guests.

Of course, nothing happened. The malaria slept nicely through the night in the guest room with my best friend. They even had a nice "meal" at one point, when my friend fed them to keep them at their healthiest. The blood slept the night away in the fridge, next to our yogurt. All was well.

And then this morning, I was somehow reminded of these events (I don't know or remember how), and I thought: Wow. Now THAT was bizarre. I thought of sending a text message to my friend saying: "Thanks for storing your blood next to my yogurt. Glad the malaria slept well." But, it being 2 weeks later, I refrained.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day! Love, your Recliner

My father's relationship with his recliner has always been intimate. For as far back as I can remember, we always had a recliner and it was never occupied by anyone but my father. Well, I shouldn't say never: When I had my wisdom teeth out and was woozy from the anesthesia, when I was sick and he wasn't home, and on other such joyous occasions for me, I was allowed to sit in the recliner. For me, the association between sitting in the recliner and feeling like absolute death was so potent that even when I felt fine and snuck a seating session, I started to feel mildly crappy within 5 minutes of sitting down.

My father, however, slept in that thing. Every night around 9pm, we would be gathered in the family room watching TV and I would notice a light snoring. Post-popcorn & soda snack and fully reclined, he would drift into a light sleep that lasted until he had to get up just to go to bed around 11:30pm. The recliner really had a hold on him, and sometimes he was very difficult to wake up. At first, my mother was in charge of this, but as it grew increasingly difficult, she gave up and appointed Sparki. Sparki, however, was easily influenced by The Popcorn Man, as I'm certain he must have thought of my dad. The two of them would sleep in the recliner until about 3am when Sparki could contain his urge to go outside no longer. My father, awakened by the Sparki shuffle, grumbled, took him out, and went to bed. This was their habit for a good eight years while I was in high school and college.

I keep referring to The Recliner as if it's a singular recliner, but I witnessed a string of about 4 recliners over the past 27 years of my life. Recliners, of course, have a finite lifespan, and in human years, my father's recliners were quite old by the time he dumped them. His last recliner (now he has multiple reclining sections in their new leather couch), was passed on to Jess and me.

Naturally, for the past 3 years with this thing, the time when it saw the most action were when my mom and dad would visit. My dad would resume his rightful position in the chair and ask us if we wanted him to make some popcorn (which usually meant "can you make me some popcorn?"). Then we'd put on a movie, usually a lively action movie at top volume, and he would promptly fall asleep. When my parents weren't visiting and it was just us newlyweds, Jess and I sat on the couch as the recliner stared back at us, unfulfilled. Jess avoided it because she wanted to sit with me. I wanted to sit with her too, but it was really out of habit and fear of impending nausea that I avoided it.

And so, after over a year of feeling uncomfortable sharing the living room with the recliner and intensely disliking the way it jutted out into the middle of the room the way it did, I decided to sell it on Craigslist. Perhaps this wasn't the best way to honor my father (and his relationship with The Recliner) on father's day. It felt akin to visiting Canada for Independence Day. So, as the buyer and her muscular friend took it out of our apartment (awkwardly and with much grunting), I played a mental taps for its final send off. I only hope it brings its new owner as much popcorn-related joy and good sleep as it did my father. Of course, with less nausea for anyone else in the house.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Big News

Big news: I have my own garbage can and recycle bin at my part time office job! These receptacles came with a bigger desk, too! Score! Wow, and it only took over 3 months. Maybe at this rate, in another 3 months I'll have my own key to get into the building. And then 3 months after that, maybe I'll have taxes taken out of my paycheck. Another 3 months after that, maybe I'll have paid sick days and health insurance tied to the old jobberoonie. 3 months after that, maybe I'll even have full time status and a 401k! Ok, that last part was pretty funny, as that's not likely to happen any time soon, but a girl can dream. Ok, end b*tching here.

I really am grateful for my garbage can and bigger desk. I'm in the same room (the suite preceding the executive offices), but now I have a totally different view. My back is no longer to the door (and my only remaining in-suite coworker), I can see when people enter, and my computer screen is not on display for the whole world to see. My new view really ties the room together; as much as something abstract like a vantage point can, anyway. I just hope a Chinaman* doesn't pee on it, but I suppose that goes without saying. Oh, and an added bonus to my new view: The floor where I sit is slanted and I have one of those mats that makes it easy for my chair to roll, so when I pick up my feet, I can travel to the left side of my desk with no effort whatsoever. That, and I feel drunk just sitting still. The potential minus, however, is that I feel like I'm developing spontaneous scoliosis the longer I sit there and try to resist the pull of the slant. But, despite the slant, I want you to know I'm trying to make lemonade out of my scoliosis-laden lemon that some Chinaman probably peed on when I wasn't looking. It's going swimmingly.

*The Chinaman isn't an issue - i.e. I'm not racist. It's from The Big Lebowski.