Friday, February 22, 2008

The Opposite of Helping

Our office has an e-mail notification thingie so that when someone needs assistance, has something to sell, or just wants to say something but remove it from the context of the official office business - they use it. Here is one of them:


From: Zoom Co-Worker
Sent: Monday, XXXXX XX, 2008

Cc: person who's life I will inadvertently ruin
Subject: Family Law Attorney

Good morning all.....hope everyone had a great weekend.....

Can anyone recommend a family law attorney who would like to help out a person I know - to help her fill out some paper work as her ex-husband is taking her back to court for custody of their XX year old - she thinks it should be pretty cut and dry - but she needs an attorney to look over her paper work...

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

***You can email this person directly at xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


As luck would have it, I know a very very good family law attorney. So I responded:


From: Zoom
Sent: Monday, XXXX XX, 2008
To: person who's life I will inadvertently ruin
Cc: zoom co-worker who sent out original request
Subject: FW: Family Law Attorney

My friend xxxxxxxxxxx is an outstanding family law attorney.

here is the website: xxxxxxx


And this was the response:


From: person who's life I will inadvertently ruin
To: Zoom
Date: Mon, xxxxxxx 2008
Subject: Re: FW: Family Law Attorney

Thanks so much for this referral....but this is the fantastic attorney that represented my ex 5 years ago! She reamed me good...XXXXXXXX.....I had to file BK, had a nervous break down, and lost custody of XXXXXXXX! She doesn't represent him now.....but I highly doubt she would want to help me now!


WHO ELSE BUT ME ENDS UP AN E-MAIL URBAN LEGEND? All I needed was for this person to have a second break down thanks to me. I did quickly respond with all kinds of "I'm so sorry, I obviously had no idea..." And even though that's probably enough - it doesn't quite feel like enough.

There are many things I've had to apologize for in my life. Some apologies never made it to the person's ears, but among them are gems like:

* I'm sorry I yelled at your retarded kid, but he started it by pushing me.
* I'm sorry I just called your special kid retarded.
* I'm sorry I only hear what I want to hear (Mr. Zoom gets this one more than he should).
* I'm sorry I ate the dinner you made for me so fast that I got some of it caught in my lungs and spent most of the night on your lawn coughing like an asthma victim.
* I'm sorry I threw rice at you and it got stuck on your arm like that. I swear it was an accident.
* I'm sorry I asked you when you were due, but you weren't even pregnant (I did this when I was pretty young, and it STILL haunts me.)
* I'm sorry I distributed a picture of you with your pants on your head, to your co-workers, with an LOL caption on it.
* I'm sorry I cussed in front of your kid(s).
* I'm sorry I laughed at your child's bad behavior and now it is "a game" YOU are forced to play.

I bet my mom could really make this list sing.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

"The Politically Active 5 Year Old"

Mr. Zoom spied this crayon propaganda scotch taped to the back window of a Volvo in our work parking garage. Awesome.

And because I'm paranoid, and I always think something is legit when it is a mass produced, hoax/urban legend - even when seen with my own eyes - I googled "president stink head" and there were NO RESULTS!!

Double Awesome!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Prudish Swinger?

"I thought you a prude when I first started working here. You are actually funny. It is always the quiet ones."

This was an e-mail response to me from one of my younger co-workers. And by younger I mean decades. He forwarded an e-mail joke and I just happened to respond to it. As often occurs with e-mail and me - a false sense of comfort with my audience led me to pepper my response with words such as "rack" "hoot" "your momma" and "boomshakalakka". Not necessarily in that order, either.

And what do I care that I give off the prude vibe to people I don't know? Because according to my own mother, the girls are usually bursting out of my shirts so much that I can only be considered a trollop by strangers. Although I have to consider that Mom's POV is shot through Formerly Amish Lenses. While she's lightened up a bit over the years, women's boobs, especially mine, seem to remain as classified in 1950s as an unspeakable evil while the toaster oven and microwave are now perfectly ok to use and have out in the open.

And then I remembered that at our last law firm, Mr. Zoom and I were actually accused of being swingers due to our no holds barred ability to give each other a heaping pile of sh*t and/or laugh at things most immature. Swingers we are not. Easily amused, we are.

I'll take prude over swinger, I guess.

A couple of weeks ago I decided to ditch my acrylic nails. I have had them for almost 10 years, and I'm totally over it. I don't like getting up every other Saturday and having an appointment I have to keep. I hate working around weekend travel/parties/weddings, etc. And quite honestly, the pink and white French manicure thing I had going on was starting to look a lot more bad porny than I thought they should. There's good porny - cheesy and fun, and bad porny - outdated and sad.

Everyone's heard of butt dialing, right? Cell phones have a lock now to prevent that. You know who else needs to make a protective lock? T.V. remote control companies. Mr. Zoom tries to watch t.v. and innocently sets the remote down. Predictably, I sit on the remote, roll onto it, or it magically attaches to my bum and then the channel surfing really begins. It is such a regular occurrence that last night when the hockey game flickered out I jumped up and shouted "WHAT?? AM I SITTING ON THE REMOTE AGAIN??!!" Then my eyes searched out and rested on the remote. Safely stored on the arm of the couch next to Mr. Zoom. Far away from my butt. The cable had hiccupped. And Mr. Zoom was now wearing the wide eyed terror face that he breaks out whenever I've launched an accusatory question/statement/rhetorical gem at him without warning. Sort of like having someone run into the room behind you, crashing cymbals over your head and then running away.

This is a day early, but - HAPPY VDAY MR. ZOOM! I'll try and keep my ass-cheeks off the remote for like, a whole day. Starting tomorrow.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I Haven't Wanted A Diet Cherry Coke for Probably a Decade

Life is very much back to normal for me. As much as normal can be applied here, anyway.

Back in January Mr. Zoom and I took a trip with my parents to an outlet mall. This meant getting up before dawn - as my parents insist that getting there early is key. The place is a few hours drive away. And if you don't get there early, a chasm opens and swallows the entire mall. Or something.

Actually, it's the parking they are after. They have a nifty theory about where they park. It borders on Feng Shui and urban legend - and I've given up fighting it.

There is only one thing that makes this trip worth while, and it is the restaurant in Banning that we always stop at for breakfast. Grammas.

This place will kick your ass. It's got the best French Toast I've ever had. I would have taken more pictures to show you how it feels like the Republican Party and the Bible Belt, Dress and Handbag of America vomited in a room after a hard night of partying and subsequently abandoned the mess out in the California desert - but I was literally afraid that someone would have gotten up and forced me out of the place at double barrelled shotgunpoint. Yee Haw.

Apparently during this trip with my parents I made the mistake of discussing t-shirts. My mother was wondering what to do with a lot of t-shirts she had that were so beat up, she couldn't have even given them away. I told her that I use things like that as rags around the house - or when I'm putting something breakable in storage, I'll wrap it in an old t-shirt.

In typical Mom fashion, she took this to mean that I was in need of household rags. To her credit, she didn't buy a bunch at the outlet mall. Instead, she silently waited until a future visit and handed Mr. Zoom a full grocery bag full of "tea" towels she didn't need anymore. And my parents never do anything in moderation. She handed the bag to Mr. Zoom saying "HERE, Zoom said she needed - ney - wanted these. Here you go." Mr. Zoom, having been schooled in the ways of Mom took the bag and didn't even look inside until he got home.

The bag was too heavy to have just old towels in it. Inside, under the explosion of towels that escaped the bag, was a Costco size, giant tub of Shout. That stain remover add on for laundry. which we don't have a need for. And won't in the next 100 years. The amount of time it would take to use this size of Shout.


Just last visit I got, without warning, a half of box of hershey dark chocolate bars, a half of box of individual packets of nuts, a bag of peanut butter filled pretzles and two 12 packs of diet Cherry Coke. Anyone else remember those "grab bags" from Farrell's Ice Cream Parlors? Because it feels like every visit I have with my parents is sponsored by Tim Burton and the parting gift is a grab bag of the most random crap EVER.

I think I drank diet cherry coke for about a day once in 1997, and my Mom hasn't forgotten it since. But she has forgotten the fact that I am allergic to nuts.

Don't get me wrong. I love my parents and very much appreciate what they are trying to do. And so do the people at my office who find these treasures in the office kitchen.

Thursday, February 07, 2008


"I'm sorry to do this honey, but I'm having an attack."

I got those words out before the light I had slammed on even illuminated the room. It was about 5 am on a Wednesday morning a few weeks back, and I was having a panick attack. I haven't struggled with these on a regular basis for YEARS. I've had one or two in those years, but this one was different.

Mr. Zoom, dead asleep and shaken awake by sudden bright light and a sweaty, crazed wife was understandably barely realizing what was going on before I sternly ordered him to "OPEN YOUR EYES AND LOOK AT ME." As we discussed the situation later, a lot later, I was marveling at how I had gotten so insistent and issued him an order like that. He said next time he's going to respond with "SIR YES SIR!" which made us both giggle.

It is so hard to describe what happens when an attack strikes. Mr. Zoom, for not ever having had one himself, is amazingly patient and will do anything to help bring my raving ass back down to Earth. Even when I've Bam Margera'd him in the wee hours of the morning. And without a lot of practice. The man is a saint.

He finally talked me down and then the humiliation of the situation sent me the other direction with a lump in my gut for good measure. Mr. Zoom contends that "falling apart" [my words] in front of him is not a cry worthy event. I completely disagree. He says he understands, that he knows what I'm dealing with, and he's not going anywhere. That these things are not a chore to him, that "we are a team". I can't get beyond the fact that physical things happen to me that I can't control, and that I sometimes need the help of someone else at a time I perceive as incredibly inconvenient for that person.

Oh, and lets not forget that at the time I'm asking for help? I'm pretty much ignoring everything offered to me AS help. I am a cartoon character when I'm having an attack.

To me, these panic attacks are and have been the only real threat to my being able to exist as a "normal" person. If I were to make a post secret card, it would say "I live in constant fear that my meds will stop working some day." One half would have a perfectly together image with friends and family facing me. The other half would have a disheveled lunatic with friends and family facing away from me. A line right down the middle with a tablet in the center. And the friends and family as turned away from me is not a statement about the people in my life. What it is - it is the fact that I know that if it ever got to that point that I'd likely chase everyone away from me because I know what this condition can do to the people around the affected.

Just ask my parents. They pretty much had to babysit their 19-22 year old daughter through some very rough times. Though they love me, they did not hide the fact that I was very much a constant, unfortunate consideration they had to work around in their daily lives.

So that is why I fear more than almost anythig, falling apart in front of Mr. Zoom. Losing him or inadvertently chasing him away from me would be something I could not bear.

And this recent attack and general feeling of - weirdness - was different because instead of a generic panic attack, it came with a bunch of hallucinatory elements. The kinds of things that happen when people like me miss a dose of medication. Which I had not, which caused even more alarm on my part, which in turn sent me raving at my husband. Telling your husband that you aren't only panicking, but that your head is providing an unwanted podcast from is probably one of the scariest things I will ever have to do. Events like those tend to lead to mental hospitals, not a heretofore happy existence as a normal person doing normal things and facing normal ups and downs.

High levels of sadness, anger, humiliation and doubt accompanied me to the gym, to the office, at home and finally to the Dr. yesterday. I've been seeing this Dr. since 1997 or 1998. He is the one who brought me out of the fog the first time. We went over the attacks, the fact that I'm having withdrawal symptoms without missing any meds or without any significant changes in life/food/existence otherwise. Then he asked me "are any of your prescriptons filled with generic tablets?" As a matter of fact, yes. One was.

He said [and I'm paraphrasing although it is in quotes] "That might be the answer. The makers of generic medicines are legally permitted to dial down their products - well, at least it's not worded that way. In other words, generics are permitted a range of between 80 and 120% of the actual active ingredient - when tested, the dose just has to have a result within 80 and 120% of the name brand. So sometimes, to save money, some generic brands will dial down a batch. They often hit the market at 100%, but slowly bring it down while no one notices. Plus, there are things thant can be done, additives that can cause the sample to metabolize at a good rate in a test, but not so effectively in a human body."

So now I have prescriptions for name brand only meds. If this fixes things, I will be very grateful. Because having an attack from withdrawals - but not knowing that is/was the isue, was very much enough for me to start arranging for my last days of sanity. It's hard for me to write that and realize it sounds very very drama queenish. All I can tell you is that these recent attacks were that strong, that disturbing, and that unusual. And unlike regular panic attacks, even after I came down I was plagued by a sense of vertigo, disconnection, racing head, teeny audio disturbances, and the fun kind of stomach issues that withdrawal will give you. And the SWEATING! I can rival any menopausal co-worker with my hotflashes. These are not good times.

I have no idea if what he says is true. I did a quickie search on google, but didn't find anything directly laying out the 80/120% rule. However, if it IS true I'd like to offer a heartfelt Fuck You to the genetic drug industry.