Friday, June 22, 2012

It's Just A Number...Right?

My birthday is next week. Can you guess how old I will be?

Go on, take a guess. Even Raelynn looks like she's trying to figure it out. Both photos are recent though in the top one with Raelynn, I'm not wearing any make-up. In the bottom, full-on make-up mode.

Ok, now I'll tell you. I'm turning 36. So for any of you that guessed 37 and over, I totally fucking hate you now. If you guessed 36 on the dot, I'm giving you the side-eye. And if you guessed under 36, I totally fucking love you.

Anyway, I've been kind of panicking on this birthday, which will cause my older brother to give ME the side-eye but I can't help the way I feel right now. It's compounded by the fact that we lost a very dear friend of ours, Jong Oh Kim, to a heart attack a couple weeks ago. It was sudden and he left behind a pregnant wife. On top of grieving for the loss, it shook me to the core because it made me wonder about my own mortality. I mean, none of us knows when we're going to go. Or how. Death is always something I have been terrified of. Maybe it's from losing my own mother at the age of 9 plus the bunches of other relatives and friends who have gone over the years. It must sound silly. I have my whole life (hopefully!) still ahead of me. I so want to live to be really old so I can harass young people and pretend I'm senile. Oh God. What if I truly go senile? You see? I keep panicking about shit I have no idea if it will happen or not. And even if it does, there is nothing I can do to stop it.

I become afraid of death when I think of all I want to accomplish still and worry it will stop me cold in my tracks. Jong Oh was excited to be a dad. I'm sure he didn't wake up and think he was going to die that day. I want to live to see Raelynn have children and grandchildren. I want to move our family to Hawaii and for us to finish our careers there and then retire there. I intensely grip the seat cushions in the taxi and pray for my life every time I go somewhere here. I don't want to go out like that. Or burn in a fire. Or fall to my death. Or have a medical situation, especially a long illness. Ack! I'm doing it AGAIN.

What really freaks me out is when I look at myself when I was younger. I just can't believe I'm getting closer to 40. It seems like I'm still in my late 20s/early 30s. I certainly FEEL like I'm still in that age bracket anyway. Somedays, I think I look as young as I feel still. Other days, I'm not so sure. You be the judge, won't you?

First, for comparison, here is me in my very early 20s:
If I remember correctly, I am 22 in this photo. That was my best friend, Tara, sitting on the stool. Looking at her makes me freak about untimely death too, since about 5 years ago, I (along with some mutual friends of ours) found out she'd passed away just 2 weeks before we'd begun looking to reconnect with her. Tara was wild, but she was a blast. Man, I miss her.

In the next 3 photos, I am between 28 and 31 in each of them. Do I look much older than I did when I was 22?
Ok, if you guessed I'm not sober in this photo, you're right on. Hey, I wasn't driving. I'd gone out for dinner and drinks with a group of friends. It was SO fun!
Here I am (far right) for my best friend Lauren's (she's in the cream dress next to me) wedding reception. She'd gotten married in Italy and then had a small little reception back in Florida. She got me hooked on mojitos. Damn you! I miss you Lauren! Man, I was so skinny then. I so have to lay off the chocolate and ice cream. And the chocolate ice cream. I have not gained any weight back that I've lost but I could look much better. I could look like THIS. I miss my pre-prego body. Sigh.

Can you believe I made that gorgeous box? Yup. I sure did. With my craft circle, which, before you think is about witches, let me just explain that it was a group of us gals who would get together monthly to drink wine, eat some snacks and make some crafts. I loved this so much I actually brought it with me when I left the states.

So there you have it. Photos from my past. Look at the top ones. I swear, I think I have less wrinkles now. I've been using this awesome stuff my husband got me that totally erases wrinkles. Do you think I look older now, younger now or like time has stood still?

Maybe I should take a page from my dad's book. He just turned 70 and looks awesome. He can't believe he's that age because he doesn't act like it. He takes care of himself and lives life to the fullest at the same time. I know what I have to do now. I have to enjoy my life and not be afraid every second that I could die because what kind of life is that?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Let There Be...Tape?

Whoever did the electric in our apartment (and likely this whole building) is the world's laziest and stupidest person. Seriously. China has such a reputation for shit falling apart and it is easy to see why. This building is only 10 years old but it looks more like it's 30 years old. You've seen my father-in-law's handiwork, so just imagine a country full of people who do a totally half-assed job when they fix things. I think of The Simpsons in that Mary Poppins parody episode. You know, the one where they sing, "If there's a task that must be done, don't turn your tail and run. Don't pout. Don't sob. Just do a half-assed job." (I tried looking for a clip to link up from Youtube but was sadly unsuccessful.)

Anyway, we've been having this problem for a while now. When the light in the kitchen gets burnt out, changing it results in it blowing the circuits. Yes, that's right. Poor Jeremy has gotten shocked trying to fix it. Of course, he refused to pay a professional to come in. At the time, I just thought him crazy and a glutton for punishment (he blew the circuit about 8 times trying to fix it that day). But then I realized that we would just be paying another idiotic person who would do a craptacular job. Why not do a shitty job for free?

Anytime my husband tried to screw the light and fixture back to the ceiling, the damn thing tried to screw him. So, he instead taped it back up. Which actually worked. For the light fixture itself, he used a clear adhesive tape which you couldn't see. I would have preferred not to have a light taped to my kitchen ceiling, but even worse would be a barbecued husband. So tape it was.

Last night, I heard a noise while feeding Raelynn in the middle of the night. I couldn't figure out what it was but knew we were in no impending danger so back to sleep I went. In the morning, I had completely forgotten about the noise until I saw our plastic light fixture on the floor and the wiring and bulb dangling from the ceiling. I groaned at the sight of it. That damn thing again. If someone with half a brain had actually wired this place like a real electrician, then this kind of shit wouldn't be happening. Here, things seem to be held together with tape and spit. Quite literally.

When I returned home from work today, the light had been repaired. No, not by a so-called professional half-wit. Not even by my half-wit father-in-law. No, no, no. My husband saw fit to fix the light before going to work this morning. Only he channeled the half-assed spirit and this is what he came up with:
He used package tape! Dear Lord, he used package tape! I am still beside myself that Jeremy himself did this. He usually takes care not to make things look crappy which is why I had initially suspected my father-in-law. This totally looks like something the FIL would have done, especially after that whole thing with the cabinet door that he taped over the satellite cable so Raelynn wouldn't rip it off the wall (that's in this post, which I linked earlier, in case you were too lazy to go look). 

Here's a closer look at the sketchiness that is our kitchen light, now adorned with package tape. I am so envious of my friends with real light fixtures. On the plus side, my husband didn't sustain any injuries (I think my eye incident was enough for one week). Another bonus to having a slapdash light fixture like this is that if it does fall off the ceiling again (as it is known to do every so often), it will not shatter into a zillion pieces that our sweet daughter will attempt to eat. Maybe a compromise is in order. Perhaps a prettier plastic fixture bejeweled with clear tape. Hey, I can dream, can't I?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Ow! My Eye!

I truly feel like Kelso from "That 70s Show" when he was always hurting his eye. "Ow! My eye!" I couldn't find any screen grabs of that so I went with this one instead, which kind of sums it up just as effectively.

Last night, I was the victim of a freak accident. Never before did I ever imagine that I (or anyone really) could possibly be injured while doing laundry. Until yesterday of course.

It started off mundanely enough. I loaded the clothes into the washer and added a cap full of liquid detergent. And then, things went horribly wrong. I stood in the middle of our bathroom (where our washer is located) holding the jug of detergent and the cap. As I began to twist the cap back on, the jug slipped from my grasp and before I could even react it slammed to the floor with such force, an eruption of liquid detergent shot up, managing to not only soak me from head to toe but also to get directly into my right eye.

The burning was horrendous though I can tell you no pain is greater than that of when you go into labor. Still, it fucking sucked to have an eye that felt as though it were aflame. Despite my initial thought of "Oh shit," I managed to prove myself efficient in an emergency situation and without hesitating, began flushing my eye out with water. I heard myself chirp, "Help! Help! Help!" That did no good over the wooshing, whirring sounds of the washing machine. I kept rinsing and let out one big, loud "HELP!"

Jeremy was suddenly in the doorway of the bathroom asking 1,000 questions. And I tried my best to give him 1,000 answers as I desperately washed my eye out. I had laundry detergent in my hair and the jug had tipped over in the whole melee, leaving a pool of slippery goo on our bathroom floor. I could still see but not very well and my eye hurt, though the more I rinsed it, the less painful it was. After a while, I stopped and took a look. If I didn't already know I'd exposed my eye to harsh chemicals, I would have totally thought it was pink eye. It was hideous. The eyelid of my right eye hung at half mast like a sad flag in mourning over the backdrop of my bright red eye. God, please don't let me look like this forever, I thought.

As the night wore on, it showed signs of improvement. It became less red and my sight was back to normal. But it was definitely still irritated. This morning, it was better than last night, but still had lots more recovery to do. When I got to school, I went to the nurse. She said it looked like it would be okay but that it was very inflamed. She plopped some drops into my eye and told me she thought I should go to the hospital to have it checked out.

I should point out here to all of you in other places that here in China (as was the case in Korea too), you don't go to the doctor. You go to the hospital. Hospitals here are specialized. So the hospital I had Raelynn at only dealt with pre-natal and delivery. There are some that just deal with heart problems. And some for respiratory problems. You get the idea.

Anyway, the nurse and I go tell my boss, Lesley, who decides, what the hell? She might as well take both me and the other English teacher, who apparently has some truly awful illness and was in desperate need of medication to wipe it out of her, to the hospital together. I was grateful for Lesley's help. It would have been very difficult to hail a cab during that time and make our way to this particular hospital, which was specifically an outpatient facility.

I was pleasantly surprised at how nice it was. Hospitals here are really gross. The hospital I had Raelynn in was the rare exception. Apparently, this one is too. It was clean and neat. Lesley took us up to the fourth floor where they had an international clinic. The nurses at the counter there spoke excellent English. We explained our maladies to them. "I accidentally got laundry soap in my eye while doing the laundry last night," I tell her. I said "soap" instead of "detergent" because the word "detergent" tends to confuse people here. It is just easier to say soap.

"Ahhhh," says one of the nurses knowingly, and I wonder if this is a common occurrence. But before I can open my mouth to ask her, she is guiding me with her to the third floor where the eye doctor is. The eye doctor doesn't speak any English but that was okay since the nurse accompanied me there. I repeated my story to the doctor and then she had a look at my eye. To be sure nothing was damaged, she would have to put dye in my eye in order to see my cornea well. I, being the chickenshit I am when it comes to these sorts of things, recoil in terror as she approaches me with a cotton swab. Oh GOD! Please don't stick that thing in my eye! But the nurse reassured me the swab was not going into my eye. See, in China, I fear healthcare a little more. They do things very differently here. I was a little worried they would poke my eye out or something odd like that. The swab, as it turns out, was to wipe away the tears that had come from my poor watery eye.

The doctor and the nurse assured me that putting the dye into my eye wouldn't hurt a bit. And even if it did, I knew I needed to have them check my cornea for damage. Thankfully, it didn't hurt at all. Even more thankfully, there was no damage to my eye. She prescribed some special eye drops and said not to worry as the swelling in my eye would go down and my eye would go back to normal in a few days. I am beyond relieved. Of course, now I am beyond afraid of laundry detergent, but can you blame me? From now on, I'm doing the laundry with my sunglasses on.