Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It Would be More Funny if it Weren't True

The Setting: My day off; celebrating St. Patrick's Day a day early because I have to close tomorrow.

The Soundtrack: Glee: The Music. Volume 1

On the Stove-top and Steaming up the Oven: Home-brined corned beef with cabbage, carrots, celery and onions; Scalloped potatoes with green onions, baby portabellas, and Kilaree Irish cheddar; homemade brioche made with Kerrygold Irish butter.

The Scenario: "I am allergic to work," I joke, holding up my red-speckled forearms.

My husband shakes his head in his hands and sighs a half-laugh, half-whimper sort of sigh.

He says it would be more funny if it weren't true.

For months we hoped and prayed I would find a job. Then, one week into working, I wake up with embossed and emblazoned forearms. The bumps soon spread to my hands. The doctor says it looks like contact dermatitis, and it sounds like I got it on the job.

A few weeks later, the steroid cream the doctor prescribes seems to be working, and at the end of a four-day vacation from work, my skin looks almost normal.

But a day back on the job, the rash comes back, like that cat that "just wouldn't go away."

I try to avoid touching the sanitizing solution in the three-compartment sink as much as possible, as I assume my reaction is derived either from contact with the chemicals it contains or from contact with cheese...and if cheese is the issue...well, let's just hope it's not.

It is challenging to isolate the variables associated with my skin irruption because I have to touch cheese and sanitizers basically every day. I wear gloves of course (non-latex, hypoallergenic), but they are forearm-exposing and puny. I request full-length, heavy-duty rubber gloves, but they have not arrived as of yet.

The doctor advises me not to use the steroid cream for more than a couple of weeks and not to slather it on any more of my skin than absolutely necessary. Apparently, continual use of this product causes skin atrophy and permanent discoloration. However...I am instructed to keep using it until the rash surrenders.

I ask the doctor what I should do if the rash refuses to retreat.

He says I should find a new job.

Ah, the thought of re-entering the job market....

Perhaps skin atrophy won't be so bad.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mildew and Monkey Bars

The Setting: The threat of hurricanes haunts the horizon.

The Soundtrack: Constant sniffles, my own. Could be a cold, could be allergies.

On the Stovetop: Nada. But there's a steaming pot of coffee, which is good enough.

The Scenario: Last weekend we drove a few hours north to meet my husband's family at their Spring Break destination.

Cloaking ourselves in a false sense of wealth at the welcoming wonders of resort life, and in ample sweatshirts and blankets (someone forgot to tell Mother Nature it was Spring Break), we breathed mildew-free air, drank mango mojitos before noon, and lounged, frivolous reading material in tow, by the pool.

When it came time to point the car south, our limbs were heavy and our feet diffident. Knowing the rest of the family would continue their festivities for days after we departed made leaving that much less appealing.

Luckily, Mold and Mildew, our gracious apartment-sitters, rushed to welcome us as we heaved our bags over the threshold upon our return.

The pair have been our steadfast companions since they moved into our complex over Christmas, and now it's like they're family...which is nice, since our real family is so far away and, having just been teased by their presence, we are now going through a bit of withdrawal.

Sometimes M&M throw parties without our permission, and they have to be reprimanded. It wouldn't be a big deal, but their friend Ambiguous Fishy Odor sneaks into our bedroom and plays in the air vent, where he sometimes gets trapped for hours at a time, and...well, we like to keep the bedroom private.

We love our apartment. It may play host to the aforementioned parties and be a bit (a good bit) too small for all our stuff, but it is beautifully landscaped and in a pleasant neighborhood.

I would like the kitchen sink better if it had a hose attachment at the faucet.

The balcony would be better if there were room for both my husband and I to sit.

The bathroom light-switch automatically turns on a vent so loud that if I want to hear anything else while putting on make-up, cleaning the bathroom, etc., I must do so with the lights off. I would like the bathroom better if this were not the case.

But I figure that if these are my primary complaints, I should really be rejoicing.

My husband and I spend a lot of time dreaming. What kind of kitchen will we have when we can custom-build our own home? How many horses will we have at our ranch? Can we have a smoke-house for making our own bacon? How many cows will we need to operate a small cheese-making dairy? Will we ever be able to afford a mildew-free abode or resort vacations or starting a family?

The answers to these questions are like rungs spaced a little too far apart for a toddler on the monkey bars--just out of reach. As we grip the first rung tightly, we can feel gravity tugging and our palms sweating, and we wonder:

If we can just get enough momentum going, are our arms long enough to make it to that next rung? Or will we find ourselves grass-stained and scraped at the knee?

We are confident our arms will strengthen and grow. In the mean time: practice, patience, and lots of Band-Aids.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Gentle Bribe

The Setting: A sunny Florida morning

The Soundtrack: Create! on PBS

On the Stovetop: Jared's breakfast tacos

The Scenario: This will be quick: I have written a little article on my thoughts about country music. Check it out, leave me a comment, share your favorite Nashville memory, and win a Spirit of Nashville print from Vintage Art Studios!

A winner will be picked each week in March, assuming there are entries! So enter now, and tell your friends.

Happy reading, writing, listening, and loving!