Stuck in the '70s

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Sneak Preview

Thank you for your comments! Things are plodding away here at the '70s house. I'm not going to write tonight because I need to hit the hay, but more stuff is developing, and I'll fill you in over the weekend.

Meanwhile, the countertops have arrived and are now in the house. Don's bringing the base cabinets back in and will refinish them in my chosen "moss" color where they stand. The color you see on the wall is just the orange primer, and the final color will be the same as the countertops. It's awesome! He's working that second job, so time is a precious commodity, but he's hard worker, so it's getting done, and it's getting done right. I'll post more soon!
Julie

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Of Feet and Florida

These are some exciting times.

I guess I've always been one of those people resistant to change -- which would explain why I claim to be "stuck in the '70s." However, I have always liked the latest electronic gadgets such as any computer evolution, digital cameras, digital voice recorders, PDAs, etc. I dunno. I guess when it comes to life changes I'm reluctant.

Anyhoo. ... I went and saw the bone doctor Wednesday. That was a bummer. I waited 2 1/2 hours for the bastard. His time is obviously worth more than mine. He came into the room for 2 seconds (I literally counted "one one-thousand, two one-thousand" in my head - and he was gone). He asked what was wrong with my foot. I said I thought that was up to him to determine. He poked at my heel with his forefinger and thumb & muttered something about me needing an "injection," then he scurried out the door and told the nurse waiting there to give me the injection. When she appeared with a huge needle, attached to a gallon jug of some clear liquid, I said, "Wait just a minute ... I have some questions about this." Then, I started to cry. It was out of frustration, and perhaps a bit of wimpiness. I'm not a sissy at all when it comes to pain, and so, I'd mostly like to think it's out of frustration. I want a doctor to at least take a couple minutes to explain some things and answer some questions. She said she'd get the doc and I could ask my questions. Finally, after another half hour or so, he came back in and immediately started slatherin' my foot up with some iodine or some such crap, preparing to shoot that thing into my heel. I asked my questions and barely got them out before he was pounding that gallon jug of cortezone stuff into my foot. In answer to my "how long is this going to help?" question, he said "three or four months." In answer to my "when will it feel better?" question, he said "a day or two."

Well, doc, it's been three days, and my foot still hurts like hell. That didn't apparently do. As I've talked to several others at "work" about this situation, those in similar categories said these are miraculous shots that bring instant relief. Hello! Didn't happen. Guess I shall see by getting in touch with said doctor's office Monday and seeing how much longer I'll have to wait to see what the next step might be. But, I would indeed like to begin walking again and not hurt.

Last Saturday night, my brother Mike and I went to Powhatan, Ark., on a ghost hunt with my ghost-huntin' group. The courthouse and jail were really cool; built in the 1880s. I hadn't been on a ghost hunt since last August. I was rarin' to go, but my bladder and foot were not. We made a couple of map errors (and by "we," I mean "I"), so it took us 2 hours to make a 43-mile trip. It was cold, dark and misty by the time we got there, and my heel was achin'. We had brought cots and planned to camp out in the courthouse. However, there were no bathroom facilities inside the courthouse. We would've had to venture outside in the middle of the night (and I knew I'd have to more than once) to use the facilities. So, we cut out before midnight, but had an enjoyable time, and I think the group may have captured some good evidence among us.

Don and I went to Harrisburg Thursday night to meet the boys' dad halfway between here and Memphis. They'd spent the first part of spring break there with their dad. It was a quiet several days around here, but it sure did go quickly, and major life changes are taking place. During the week, number one son turned 17 on Wednesday. Unbelievable. At that age, I had my '73 Monte Carlo and was cruising to the mall to meet my mates at every opportunity. So, I feel for the teen when he wants to get out of the house and do something. I can't afford to help him get a car or insurance. And, he can't get a job if he doesn't have transportation. It's a viscious catch 22.

The sweet baboo has taken a second job to help defray the costs of living around here, bless his heart. He's helping to paint the new mansion of an un-named NASCAR driver who hails from this town and has decided to take over a Ford dealership and retire back here to his hometown which he denied ever being from for a few decades. I don't get into NASCAR and couldn't possibly care less about any of that rubbish, plus I know someone who was in the same class at the local high school and says he was always a jerk. But, at any rate ... the sweet baboo is working during the hours he's not at his "real" job with this paint company contracted to paint this mansion, so the kitchen remodel is on slow motion. However, I know the sweetie is anxious to get it done also, so he has been working the regular job, working the extra job and then coming home to work in our kitchen. The initial coat of orange paint for the walls is there, and the "pumpkin" colored countertops are supposed to come in Monday or Tuesday. So, he is working to get the walls done (ceramic tile flooring is all done) so he can move in the base cabinets and install the countertops and new sink and appliances. I'll post some pictures here as that develops further. Anyone I mention it to makes fun of me (except, of course, those of you who are also stuck in the '70s), but I will show them because this is gonna be the coolest-lookin' kitchen ever!

Most life-changing of all has been my contact with a Florida newspaper about a job opportunity. I had a phone interview with the newspaper for a copy editor's job last Sunday. I thought it went pretty well. The copy desk boss who interviewed me told me they didn't have it in their budget to fly me down there to complete the interview with the managing editor or editor-in-chief. But, a few days later, I got an e-mail saying they have decided to fly me there for the rest of the interview. I don't want to jinx anything, but this sounds really good. I'd not mentioned anything about job-hunting in another state to my dad because I didn't want to bring on un-warranted fretting. However, when I got the e-mail about the interview flight, I called Dad and told him the whole thing. He, of course, said he would miss me but says he doesn't want anything to stop me from "doing what (I'm) built to do." I told him we could be in constant touch via cell phones and e-mail, and of course, I would drop everything and come back here if he needed me at all. So, the flight is being arranged, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed. The sweet baboo and I are trying to work through all the details a major life-changing move like this would introduce, and I know we can deal with it. I've found a real keeper this time.

I was looking at his face during a discussion about this life change the other night, and I had this weird feeling of "he's always been here" come into my head. Only rarely do I have weird shite like that come into my head, and it's usually involving my mom or another family member or loved one. But, this time, it was a feeling as though Don had always been with me and would always be there. I feel that he's always been a part of me, and this whole thing is just falling into place as it should. We need to get out of our current situations, and God is just opening the doors. I pray daily that I make the proper decisions to benefit everyone involved. I don't want to screw anything up for anyone, and I only want to make things better for the rest of our lives. Sounds hokey, yes. But sincere ... yes.

Well, that's enough for this novel tonight. I'll write more as it develops. Please continue to drop me a line at julie@stuckinthe70s.com, or leave your comments here on the blog.

Julie

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Overweight & middle-aged?

Hey, what's happenin'?

Well, no comments on that last entry, 'eh? Sorry 'bout that. Another bummer, I reckon. I've just gotten lots of questions about some of my diary stuff and wanted to provide some background. It's cool.

I went back to the doc's yesterday & he poked around on my heel (the first visit, he just looked at it from afar). This time, when he actually felt it, he said, "Oh -- bless your heart." He said right off it felt like a bone spur & sent me for Xrays. I got a call today from his office, and the nurse there said I have a spur on the calcaneus. Hmmmmm .... as I figured, that's a fancy medical word for heel. He's made an appointment for me with an orthopedic surgeon and told me at the time of my visit that the surgeon would probably "whack the thing off." Well, all's I know is it hurts like crazy now.

I skipped work yesterday afternoon after the Xrays because I was in the middle of an 8-day gig at the local home improvement warehouse and my foot was hurting worse than ever. When I returned today, there were at least 24 boxes all lined up in the aisle by appliances, waiting to be cracked into and displayed -- refrigerators, ranges, washers & dryers. I spent 8 hours there on the cement doing nothing but opening those damn boxes with my wimpy-ass box cutter, busting the appliances out of the boxes, dragging them to empty spots and setting them up, along with carting off other appliances that were already on display that weren't supposed to be, to make room for the new ones I'd ordered for the display. It was a nightmare, and by far, the worst day I've spent at that wretched place in the 9 months I've been there. My foot was killin' me by the time my shift was over at 7, and I wasn't far from tears (have I mentioned I'm a wimp?).

Meanwhile, I'd told my dad about the calcaneal spur. As Dad is want to do, he researched it on the 'Net. The link he sent me was very informative and described my problem to a tee. However, the one part that sticks in my craw is this: "Most sufferers are people who are overweight and middle-aged. This is due to the shock-absorbing fat pillow under the foot shrinking over the years and becoming less effective." SAY WHAT?!! Now, THAT was uncalled for.

I'm not fat, but I do realize I'm overweight. Even more so since I've become happy in a relationship and don't have two grown men without jobs sucking me dry, in addition to two teen-age sons for whom I work to provide sustenance. Now, with the sweet baboo here, who is actually working and helping with bringin' home the bacon and such, I've been able to do some serious grocery shopping, and we're all putting on weight. However, these three scrawny guys can stand to put on the weight, and I can't! Diggin' for those Weight Watchers books tomorrow.

I talked to a chick at work who says she has a bone spur on one foot &, rather than surgery, she gets a cortezone (sp) shot every six months. When I asked her if it hurts, she replied, "Worse than having a baby." But she does it because she's too "chicken" to have an operation. I remember natural childbirth quite clearly. I told her, "I don't wanna have a baby every six months. I'd rather have the surgery." In fact, I'm dreaming about the chance to spend a day or two in the hospital and actually get off my feet and REST (and have people wait on me). This 9 hours a day on the concrete, never being allowed to sit down, is for the birds -- and the peons. I don't like being treated as a peon, and even worse, I hate having to work as one.

Got a couple things cooking, jobwise, though. Keep your fingers crossed for me please. Also, I've heard from a friend in Pennslyvania whose paper shut down, and she's out of job, so she can identify with being an "out of place" journalist. Sucks. Children -- don't choose journalism as your career field. Every time I run across a kid who asks me about it, honestly interested in it, I tell them, "You won't make any money. Pursue something else." Rocket science, perhaps.

Anywho ... Just one more day to go, and then I've got three days straight off in a row. I'm wanting to go on a serious ghost hunt overnight Saturday. Haven't been on one since last August when we went to the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs. This one is at a courthouse where there were lots of hangings. I'm still kicking it around because of my foot, but I think I'll probably go. Then, on Monday, I was gonna go shopping in Little Rock and bring my Dad because he likes to get out and do that like Mom and I did. Now, he's saying he doesn't want to; but I know that's for my own good. He wants me to stay off my foot. I say ... I'd like to do it now because I may be down for a bit after some surgery. Might as well limp around in pain now and enjoy going to the stores. A true shopper at heart, 'eh?

Well, I'm gonna sign off here. The search for the 1980-81 diaries continues .....

Julie

Monday, March 13, 2006

Birthday, kitchen blues, etc.



It's past my bedtime on a Sunday night, but sometimes I get hyped and just have to "write things down." My friend, Cathy Sondag, and I used to write what we called "stream of consciousness" stuff. We'd have a "slumber party" just the two of us, and write, longhand with a Bic Banana and a piece of notebook paper, just what we were thinking as we thought it. We got to where we could write almost as fast as we were thinking and then we'd read back what we wrote. Great stuff. I think that's where my "style" comes from now.

Anyhoo ... Thank you to those of you who wished me a happy birthday and even gave some insight to my pysche. I appreciate that. Really made me think. I like to think. Right now I'm still in an "I don't know what I want to do with my life" mode, and any different angles are appreciated. It's all good, as the kids say now. My feet are killing me, and I went to the doctor about my left heel in particular this week. All day long, all week long at your home improvement center on concrete is taking its toll. I'm used to sitting on my arse and typing all day, and this is about to do me in. He gave me some medicine, not a painkiller, mind you, but an anti-inflammatory, and it's not doing squat, so I'll probably go back for an Xray next week.

One of you asked about my diary entries and wanted to know what "the story" was when I said, "I watched my story" or "the story." It was "Days of Our Lives," of course. I have watched it as long as I can remember. My earliest memories, other than those of being in the crib and watching/hearing Dad play his sax, were of watching "Days of Our Lives" with Mom. So, I continued to watch it into adulthood and still do when I can. My friend Josh Taylor went from playing Chris Kositchek to playing Roman Brady on there, and Lord knows, I must keep up.

As for the 1980-81 diaries, they have yet to be found. My sweet baboo cleaned out much of the wooden shed this past week before the Oscar party, but I forgot to tell him to be on the look out for the 1976 denim-style suitcase which contains the "lost episodes." I've now informed him, and he's gonna help me search. As far as I'm concerned, that senior year is some of the funniest, most angst-ridden stuff yet. It includes times when my parents left me alone for a week at a time and went down to Arkansas to work on the house and I went to school and carried on at the house on my own.

Another writer alluded to the fact that I "skipped school" a lot. I didn't skip school at all. I was sick. I had thyroid disease. I missed a lot of school due to the complications of that. The only time I really "skipped school" was on my birthday when my mom would take me shopping. The other times, I would really be sick and was wasting away. I've been 5'9" since fifth grade, but during that time, I went down to about 89 pounds because I was so sick. The doctors tried lots of different medications, including radioactive iodine, which was a nightmare to swallow. It depleted the bone marrow and they said I may never be able to have children, but when they got the medicine regulated, I began to gain weight and was soon dubbed "Sasquatch" by the mean boys in junior high. I didn't write any of that stuff in my diary because it hurt so badly and still does when I really think about it. My parents took me to L.A. and Hollywood in the summer of 1976 when I was 13 after I was diagnosed with thyroid disease because the doctors told them I might not make it. I was sick and throwing up the whole time, but gosh, we had fun.

Hope that answers some of your questions about my diary, and I'll go on to other things. I really don't mind answering any of them now. It was just a painful experience at the time that made me a bit of a freak; and my senior year was the most difficult because I had the surgery to remove my thyroid on Groundhog's Day 1981 and missed the entire second semester of my senior year. When I tried to go back to class, I had this tremendous incision on my throat and looked like F*!#in' Frankenstein and everyone gave me hell at school. I wrote about it in my diary up until the moment they wheeled me away for surgery, and then I didn't write again for a month or so until my 18th birthday. I will gladly share it when I find those diaries.

Back to 2006 --- the kitchen renovation proceeds slowly but surely. The baboo is only able to work on it a day or two a week. And it was a bigger undertaking than either of us imagined. I've got a picture of the current situation above. I've also included a picture of the beautiful roses he sent me at work on my birthday last week. What a guy.

Well, it's getting very late. We're gonna watch an episode of "Family Guy," then better turn in to get back to work tomorrow and do more damage to my foot. I've got a job interview coming next week at one newspaper and my resume in at several others, so keep your fingers crossed!

Julie

Friday, March 03, 2006

Happy Birthday to me!

Hey!

Well, I got up at 5:30 this morning so I could accomplish something -- like more cleaning before tomorrow's Oscar party, but I've spent my time on the 'Net, updating the site (poor Jack Wild) and answering e-mail. Oh well -- that's more fun anyway! :)

Sorry my last post or two was such a bummer. Thanks for the encouraging correspondence from those of you who read the blog! I've really got nothing to be bummed about at all. Guess I was PMSing and pre-birthdaying. Ha, ha. Things are getting whipped into shape for the party. My sweet baboo spent all day yesterday putting down ceramic tile in the kitchen and doing some tidying for me. He has today off work too and is gonna continue, bless his heart. He was so worn out when I got off work last night. He's something else.

I'm gonna make this a short one. Just wanted to say, I have lots of stuff to be happy and excited about, and I'm gonna enjoy turning 43 today, dammit!

Julie

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Party in the ghetto


I'm preparing for my 12th annual Oscar party at the moment. The house is a mess. I still have the same concerns as when I entered the last post a few nights back. Some of them are weighing heavier on me than others. The job hate thing can be dealt with, but I don't know how much longer. The clutter around me, however, is almost more than I can bear.

This party started in 1995 as a "divorce party". When the ex caught wind of it, I thought I'd better call it something else. I have always been into movies. In college (liberal arts college, I might add), I studied film. I can't watch a movie to this day without looking at the angles and lighting and analyzing. So, I've been following films ever since. Some friends recommended "Wedding Crashers" as the funniest thing they've ever seen so I recently put that in my Netflix queue and wasted a couple hours on it the other night. Rubbish.

Anyway, the house is torn up, and even though I live in the ghetto and have for the past 16 years, I've always been able to make my house presentable for my Oscar party. This year, I'll have a number of guests here and my house is destroyed. I ain't complainin'. I'm gonna have a totally new kitchen. You wouldn't believe the squalor (hey, that's a good word) we've been living in.

So, this year is a great challenge. I keep reminding myself that the people I've invited are my friends, and they will work around it. However, I have to work around not having a kitchen sink or stove or, in fact a f**in' kitchen.

Today, the temp got up to 75 here in northcentral Arkansas, and I went topless at lunch. Don & I had the same hours, so we chose to cruise in Connie the Convertible Cruiser for the lunch hour. That was sweet. But, then I came home to the house and the kitchen and the yard mess and the "ghetto." True midlife crisis. I could've probably gone till the boys went off to college, and had the mini van and lived with the leaks and damaged floor, etc. But, we'd be miserable. So, this year's tax money went to fixing the leaks and the kitchen. However, I couldn't live with selling appliances that are damaged and don't work. Every day I get calls from people who I've sold stuff to, and they say their stuff is failing. I tell them, "I'm just a peon." I can't fix their stuff. I just sold them the stuff. This sucks.

I talked with my friend Sarah tonight. We are sorority sisters. She's in Florida and working at a paper, doing what I do. I'm sending my resume. I dunno where I'll end up, and by age almost 43 (I'll be 43 Friday) I oughtta have something figured out.

At any rate ... I have no right to complain. I've been the "single mom" for 11 years now and have found someone to share my life with who understands me. We can talk about all of this stuff and not hide anything. That's what I was longing for and have written about in this dang blog since the time I created it. So, why am I writing?

Therapy, I guess. No one has to read this stuff. And, I don't expect you to. I'm grateful for those of you who actually tune in and read. That's cool. And, I don't mean to bring you down, man. I guess I'm writing for selfish reasons because I have to get it out of my system. I'm happier than I've been in 17 plus years.

I'm just confused about what to do next. I'm a-fixin' to turn 43 in a few days, and I can't imagine where I thought I'd be at that moment when I wrote the diaries I've published on my Web site. I didn't even fathom living that long. I remember in one of my diaries doing the math to figure that I'd graduate high school in 1981, and now, I should have a 25-year reunion this summer. Well, the class president was a pothead and didn't arrange any of them like he was supposed to, so who knows? Hell ... our class motto, even published in the yearbook, was "We party hearty and have lots of fun 'cause we're the class of '81." I didn't party hearty. I was a nerd. So I guess I missed out on the fun. Kim Browder, Darcy Fisher, Sherry Colwell, Caren Meyers, Lori Closen, Kathy Krog, Stacey Dunkelberger ... I'd like to meet up with you and I'm comin' to Illinois this summer. But, these are my friends who I'm sure won't be at the reunion. If you're reading this, please get hold of me ... julie@stuckinthe70s.com. I'd rather visit with you than go to an ol' reunion any ol' day!!!

OK ... it's after 1 a.m., and tomorrow is the only day off I have before my big party, so I'd better sign off. I've put up a "before" picture of the kitchen and will sure put up an "after" one when the time comes. So, thank you for staying tuned!

Julie