Monday, November 9, 2009

Chicago Trip

This is an email I sent regarding a trip to Chicago I took a couple of years ago. It bears repeating...

I just want you all to know that I don't seek out experiences just so I can write entertaining emails. I also want you to know that I don't think mental illness is funny. Sometimes though you just need to find the humor in a situation so you don't cry or start suffering some sort of mental illness yourself.

I went to Chicago with a colleague yesterday, we shall call him Jack. I've been working rather closely with Jack over the last couple of weeks because he needs to learn a product on which I was recently trained so he can train that product. He seemed a little quirky, but fairly sane. I should have known to be concerned when I ran into him in the airport before we flew to Chicago and he mentioned something about his Licensed Clinical Social Worker. To me LCSW= Mental Health Provider. The flight to Chicago was uneventful. When we arrived he seems very focussed on buying some water and then he told me he needed to transfer some money to his sister's bank account. After he got his water and an airport hot dog (probably not the best meal choice) I gave him suggestions as to how he might go about transferring funds and he proceeded to go through that process right there in the airport on his cell phone. Needless to say, by the time we made it down to the baggage claim our luggage was on its way to wherever they take unwanted luggage. We claimed our stuff and grabbed a taxi. Jack continued trying to do that funds transfer while Mohammed the taxi driver seemed to be trying to get us killed.

We arrived at our destination and I got checked in. Jack's check in process took quite a bit longer than mine, but I didn't think too much about it. I finally told him I was going to my room and I'd meet him right by the check in counter at a certain time. The certain time came and went and Jack wasn't where we were supposed to meet. I finally found him wandering in another area of the hotel with his airport hotdog and his bottle of water. It may have been at this point that he mentioned I needed to make sure he took his pill before he went to bed, that I should call him in the morning to make sure he was awake and could I also remind him to buy tickets to the Bjork concert in Las Vegas . I did have to admit I wasn't much of a Bjork fan. I thought to myself that I wasn't his keeper and that I was pretty sure this wasn't part of my job description.

I had a coupon for a free appetizer at the hotel restaurant and told him we might as well use that since we were going to be walking kind of far to do some shopping. We were seated in the restaurant and there were people at 3 other tables nearby. Jack started on his airport hotdog and then asked me if I knew the guy at the next table over. I glanced over and said I didn't know him. Jack said he did and then went over and introduced himself to the guy who happened to be a former Chicago Bulls player. I've been with other people who have done similar things so I still wasn't thinking anything too out of the ordinary had happened. Then Jack proceeded to introduce himself to the people at the remaining two tables. I did think that was odd, but then again I thought maybe Jack was just a friendly guy. We made it through our appetizer and discussed some job openings in our department. He mentioned some people that he thought should apply for the jobs, including his girlfriend and I think he asked me if he should tell those people that they could have the jobs. Honestly, I thought he was kidding and said that of course they'd have to apply and everything. He seemed to think that made sense. We finished up and headed out to do a little shopping.

Along the route to our shopping destination we stopped at a couple of stores and Jack bought a few things including a couple of snow globes. We found my all time favorite popcorn store and I bought a bag of caramel and cheese popcorn (so good!) and gave Jack most of the bag. We then went to the huge Macy's that used to be Marshall Fields. Jack had to use the restroom and I had to do some shopping so I told him to meet me in a certain area when he was done. I did my shopping and hung out in our designated meeting spot. I waited and waited and then realized I'd lost Jack in Macy's. If you haven't been there, just know this store is huge. I finally found him waiting by a fountain and asked him what he was doing there. A store worker told him that was where people met. Like I said, this store is huge-- I figured he just couldn't remember where he left me. I wanted to look at some shoes, so we went to the shoe department. Along the way we saw all of these huge FAO Schwarz stuffed animals. They had a life size moose for $1200. Jack mentioned that he'd bought his girlfriend a life size stuffed ostrich at the FAO Schwarz in Las Vegas . I said maybe he should buy her a moose to go with the ostrich. He seemed to think it was a good idea, but wasn't sure how he'd get it back to Utah . Again, I thought he was kidding and told him it might be better to get it online. I looked at shoes and then we headed back downstairs. Along the way we saw a big stuffed dragon and I said maybe Jack should get that instead of the moose because dragons are cooler. I guess he texted his girlfriend to tell her that he was going to buy her a big dragon, but she said she'd rather he didn't because she was scared of dragons. I'm still thinking he's kidding and now his girlfriend is in on the joke. Ha ha.

We made it back to the hotel after Jack took a brief detour to chat with a guy trying to sell some sort of newspaper, decided upon a time to meet for breakfast and then I went to my room. I took a leisurely bath with a nice smelling fizzy bath bomb. I was very happy that it was still early so I could relax and get to bed at a decent time. I was in my nightgown watching Kitchen Nightmares when the hotel phone rang. It was Jack's mom. What a surprise since I don't know Jack's mom and I'm pretty sure she doesn't know me. She asked me how Jack was doing and then asked me to keep an eye him and not let him spend too much money. I'm thinking to myself that it's a bit late for that since we'd already gone shopping. I said that Jack seemed to be fine and she asked me to make sure he took his pill. Right. Now I'm starting to wonder what this pill is and what it might be for. I told her I'd do what I could and got back to watching TV. The phone rang again a few minutes later. Jack's mom called back, this time because Jack couldn't find his pills and she asked if I could go help him find them. Mentally I'm going through my job descpription and I know for sure this is a bit above and beyond. I tell her I'll go see if I can find them. I get dressed and head off to Jack's room. He was on the phone with his girlfriend and I got to look through all of his belongings to see if I could find the lost pills. There were no pills anywhere in that room. I suggested to Jack that he see if the pharmacy where he got his pills could transfer the prescription some way to a pharmacy in Chicago . I told him to call the hotel front desk to get the name of a nearby 24 hour pharmacy and I said if the pharmacy couldn't transfer the prescription he'd have to call the doctor on call for his doctor at home and have that dr. call in the prescription. Jack relayed this information to his girlfriend and told her to tell the pharmacy to transfer his prescription and also to send him a car charger for his cell phone. When he got off the phone I explained that I didn't think the pharmacy could send him a car charger and that we didn't actually have access to a car. I also told him again what to do if the pharmacy couldn't just transfer the prescription. Jack seemed to know what needed to be done, so I went back to my hotel room. Kitchen Nightmares was over by then, but I was still optimistic that I might get an adequate amount of sleep until my phone rang the 3rd time. Yeah, it was Jack's mom again calling to let me know that Jack called the hotel manager and asked him to take Jack to the hospital. The hotel manager decided to call an ambulance instead. I didn't recall hospital or ambulance being listed as available options when I last spoke with Jack. I finally asked Jack's mom what exactly was wrong with him. She replied that he's bipolar and that he really needs his medication. Off I went, back to Jack's room where I met the hotel manager and two very nice paramedics. I explained that he really just needed his medication. His mom had given me the name of the medication and the dosage. Jack was talking to the doctor on call for his doctor who said he'd call in a prescription. We got the number and address of a 24 hour pharmacy and I got to walk with Jack to the pharmacy several blocks away. By this time it's after 10 pm and I just know there's no way I'm going to get any sleep. Along the way the dr. calls and says he called in the presription to Walgreens, however the pharmacy we were heading to was Osco. The doctor says to just have the pharmacy call him when we get there. I must mention here that Jack acts as though there's nothing out of the ordinary about having his mom call me several times and doesn't seem phased by the idea of us making a late night trek to the pharmacy in downtown Chicago . He does mention that he forgot to bring his water. I assure him that we can probably get him more water at the grocery store. We get to the pharmacy, give the pharmacist the doctor's phone number, get some water and then sit around and wait. The grocery store with the Osco pharmacy is a pretty happening place to be late on a week night in Chicago . I check my blood pressure a couple of times since there's not much else to do and discover that my blood pressure is at an all time high. Hmmm... Finally, the pharmacist calls Jack over to ask him a couple of questions and then steps away leaving Jack standing by the counter. The pharmacy phone rings and Jack asks me if he should answer it. I tell him that he doesn't need to. I realize that Rainman was autistic-- not bipolar, but I'm kind of feeling like I'm traveling with the Rainman. Jack prescription is filled by now and we get to make the chilly trek back to the hotel. Right before we left I watched him take his pill like the good little colleague keeper that I am. On our route back to the hotel Jack asks me if tomorrow we can go back the way we went tonight so he can buy a paper from the guy he saw earlier. I told him I didn't think we were going to make it back that way. Now originally I was going to have Jack do a little ice breaker for our training class. I'd decided right in the midst of everything that was going on that it might not be a good idea to let him do anything in front of the client. Jack mentioned that when he got back to his room he was going to buy his Bjork tickets online, buy the dragon for his girlfriend and he was going to finish up the ice breaker for our training. I suggested that maybe he better not buy the dragon after all and didn't worry too much about the icebreaker. I get back to my room and start trying to wind down wishing I'd bought some sort of sleeping medication while I was at the pharmacy. Just as I start to relax the phone rings. It's Jack letting me that he finished the ice breaker. I told him that maybe we shouldn't do that ice breaker after all until his boss approved it. Then I reminded him what time we were meeting for breakfast.

The next morning (which came much too quickly), I called Jack to make sure he was up and then I got myself ready. I packed up, grabbed my luggage and headed off to the restaurant wondering if Jack was going to be normal and apologetic about everything he put me through. Nope, he wasn't really back to normal. He somehow got lost trying to find the restaurant and ended up going through the kitchen to get to where I was. He arrived without his luggage although the plan was to take our luggage to the client site. He asked me how he should get to Las Vegas for his concert and he asked me if his boss had approved the ice breaker. I'm not sure how I was supposed to have gotten that approved between 11:30 pm and 7:30 am. I told him to just not worry about it and that he could just sit back and observe the training. We made it through breakfast and then I sent him back to get his luggage. I called my boss and asked if she'd known Jack was bipolar before she sent him on a trip with me. I explained some of what had happened and apparently he'd told his boss that he had some problems over the weekend, but that he was fine. What can we learn from this? If a mentally ill person says they're okay you may want a second opinion. Anyway, my boss felt bad and apologized for putting me through this.

Jack finally made it back downstairs with his luggage. We caught a cab and when we arrived at the client site he asked if we were going to leave the luggage in the cab. **sigh** The training was fine. I did allow Jack to introduce himself and he did say a couple of odd things, but hopefully the client just figured it was because he was young or new to the company or from Utah . After the training we caught a cab to the airport and Jack was a little upset that he'd left his water behind. I assured him he could get more water at the airport.

Upon arriving at the airport I discovered there was an earlier flight to Salt Lake City . I got myself booked right on that flight and helped Jack get booked on the same flight. The ticket agent kept trying to get us seats by each other and I kept trying to politely decline until we ended up with seats across the aisle from each other. I would have loved to have left Jack behind, but I felt responsible for him. I did go through the shorter security line and told him I'd see him on the other side. Somehow I lost him again. I waited around and didn't see him, so I went to the gate and he wasn't there. Since I just happened to be at the gate, I asked if I'd been upgraded to First Class hoping I was being blessed for all I'd gone through, but the lady just said she'd put me in a seat closer to the front. I figured if it wasn't by Jack I'd feel like it was First Class. I finally had to go back and look in each gate area for him. I found him in another gate area. I asked him what he was doing there and he thought he was where he was supposed to be. You see why why I felt like I was traveling with Rainman? We made it on the plane where I discovered Jack was sitting right behind me. I put in my earplugs, read my magazine and wished I was home. I could tell Jack was keeping the flight attendants busy and I was happy that someone else was helping him out.

We made it back to Salt Lake and Jack's girlfriend was there to meet him. She seemed somewhat sane, but maybe a little frazzled. Again though, no apology from her or even a thank you. I had to give Jack his snow globes that I'd carefully packed in my suitcase after I realized he was going to either try to take through security or leave in his duffle bag without anything to protect them from baggage handler abuse. Jack assured me he'd see me tomorrow at work. I don't know that I'm looking forward to that, but I am curious to see if he'll seem normal in a setting that's comfortable to him. I keep thinking back to the few months that I've known Jack and I didn't see anything that would indicate he wasn't quite right. I know for sure that I don't want to go on another trip with him and I wouldn't wish that on any of my colleagues. Then again, I'm pretty sure he shouldn't be traveling by himself either. Well, this isn't really my problem now. I do need to talk some more to my boss and his boss and let them figure it out. Sometimes it's really nice not to be the boss of any body. Thanks for reading my lengthy story.

P.S. Unfortunately I did not see Jack at work the next day because he had to check himself into a psych ward. I’m not kidding. I have traveled with him since that fateful trip, oh so long ago, and he was perfectly fine. In fact, he’s now a good travel buddy.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Spanx you very much

I bought some Spanx (a Spanx?) a while ago and wore them once. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Spanx, they come in various forms and mine just happen to go down to the knees and up to my bra strap. The idea is that they will help you look slimmer and trimmer while smoothing the squishy parts. This only seems to work for people who are already fairly slim and trip and free of squishy parts. When I wore them earlier this week I felt like a bratwurst (probably looked like one too if you can imagine a bratwurst in a dress with snazzy red shoes) and spent the whole day fearing the Spanx would roll down, setting my squishy parts free. If feeling stifled and in fear wasn't enough, it also took twice as much time to use the restroom. Getting the Spanx off wasn't too time-consuming, but pulling them back up and making sure no squishiness was exposed, was not an easy task. Was looking decent worth the discomfort of wearing Spanx? I'm going to have to say "no" to that. Am I going to diet and exercise so I have no need of Spanx? Um, probably not. I'm just going to wait for Mrs. Roper-style kaftans to come back in style or maybe mumus. I think we're almost there really-- have you seen the maxi dress?
Thought for the day-- why does Yahoo! mail get my hopes up by telling me I have new email when I really don't?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It's my blog and I can be snide if I want to...

Several months ago I went out with a guy I met on who just happens to work where I work. After one date and a text message sent to me, but meant for someone else (in which he gushed about the great date he went on with someone who was not me), I never heard from him again. This week I ran into him twice at work (thankfully, I looked decent), I ignored him yesterday because my feet walked me away from him while my mind was telling me I knew him. Today I said "Wow, twice in one week." when I saw him. He just nodded. I really wish I'd kept his phone number in my phone because then I could have "accidentally" texted him as though I'd meant to text someone else and say "Yeah, you know that guy I went out with that works at Ingenix? I saw him and he was waaay shorter, balder and pudgier than I remember."
On an unrelated note, I will once again beg, no, plead, that if people are unable to drive and talk on the cell phone that they STOP talking on the cell phone while driving. Either they just drive erratically or they slow down (of course they're in the passing lane while this happens). It truly seems that men are more guilty of this than women. This must stop.
Thought for the day-- would "carniverous shoes" be a good band name?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Guess the old-looking people in the reunion photos weren't teachers

I did not go to any of my high school reunions. I graduated from high school in 1989 (we are great we are fine, we're the class of 89). So, this would be my 20th reunion if I actually attended. I have no desire to see any of the people I graduated with from the school I went to in Texas. I'd probably only know a few people and I'm pretty sure no one would have any idea who I am. That's certainly okay-- I don't mind missing out on all of the "fun". One of my Facebook friends did go to her 20th reunion and I actually went to elementary school with her, so I figured I'd take a peek at the reunion photos posted on Facebook to see if I saw anyone I knew. The very first thing I noticed were that the people in the photos couldn't possibly be my peers. They must be the teachers. Right? Please, oh please, let them be the teachers. I read some of the names posted under the photos and, um, they weren't the teachers. I guess it's time to face the fact that I am 38 (which is very nearly 40) and unless I decide to get Botox (oooh- let's inject poison in our wrinkles and become expressionless!) and/or some plastic surgery, I'm probably going to look my age. **sigh**
Thoughts for the day: 40 is the new 30! Age is just a number! You're only as old as you feel! I wonder if Botox really hurts that bad...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Back to work...

My day began at the ungodly hour of 4 am when I woke up with some sort of allergy attack-- sneezy, sniffly, miserable, etc. It was way too early to actually get up, but a bit too close to my wake-up time to take Benadryl. Eventually I went back to sleep and got in an extra 12 minutes of sleep before my alarm went off. I somehow made it to work in a daze and thought it might be a good idea to water my plants since I hadn't been to work in a few days. I realized after watering both the orchid and the African Violet that I'd watered them with leftover Diet Mountain Dew. For a brief moment I wondered if that might perk them up a bit or just kill them really dead. So, I dumped the soft drink out of both plant containers and watered them correctly. I was on the look-out all day for their little leaves to start twitching, but they seemed fine. The rest of my day was rather uneventful until a coworker made the mistake of leaving the office with his computer logged on and not locked. Well! How could I resist messing with his computer? I could not. I recalled a time when my mom changed her coworker's log in to "Poophead", so that when he returned his computer greeted him warmly with "Hello, Poophead!" I wasn't quite sure how to accomplish such a thing, so instead I sent an Instant Message from his computer to my coworker Shauna that said "I've always had a man-crush on Rob Geslison (another coworker)". I did give Shauna a heads up so she wasn't too concerned about the IM. When Joe returned he was very surprised to see what he had sent to Shauna. He then went about questioning 3 other coworkers, including Rob Geslison. Although he was very confused about why Rob would send that IM unless he was secretly hoping that Joe had a man-crush on him. Anywho... Joe never suspected that I would do such a thing. I can't wait until he leaves his computer unattended again!
Thought for the day-- For the love of all that is holy, if you are going to just go the speed limit or slower, stay out of the passing lane unless you are passing someone which may be difficult to do if you are going so slow!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Random ramblings...

So, as you may know I'm taking a break from online dating. However, I still check out my Yahoo! Personals account to see if the man of my dreams might just happen to send me a message. I went into Yahoo! Personals today and noticed 4 guys had viewed my profile. I know you're on the edge of your seat just waiting to discover who took the time to view my profile. Two of the gentlemen were in their late 50's, one did not speak English as a first language and the 49-year old guy with his profile in all caps who was looking for someone to spend "a quite night" with. I think he meant "quiet", but then again he could be hoping to have a quite a night. Needless to say, the online dating break continues.
This evening I decided that, in spite of the 50 mile-an-hour winds, I should do my recycling. Currently I only recycle newspapers, phone books, magazines, etc., so I put them in my vehicle and went to a school down the road to throw them in the bin. I pulled up to the bin, got out of my car and noticed a decent looking guy in a very new and fancy black truck pull up as though he, too, was about to recycle. I wondered if he might be single and wouldn't it be so nice to meet someone who also recycled (not a quality currently on my "love list", but maybe it should be). Right about then a bunch of my papers blew away. I tried to catch them, gracefully I'm sure, as truck-guy then drove to the other end of the parking lot to watch from a safe distance. I'm sure I was a sight to behold, running around, grabbing papers as the wind scattered them. I caught the papers that I could reach all the while thinking that littering was probably worse than not recycling. I was pretty humiliated at that point thanks to my audience who didn't even try to help me collect my papers. I just drove off, stopping to pick up a few more papers along the way and then decided to finish my recycling without any witnesses. Somehow I doubt I'll see anything in City Weekly's "I saw you..." section from truck-guy.
Thought for the day-- hover is not the same as Hoover and anyone who says Hoover when they mean hover is really kind of a dummy head. Yes, I said dummy head. I apologize for my potty mouth.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Too lazy to write something new

Yes, you may have already seen this, but hopefully it's been a while...
Let This be a Warning

I sent this out to friends and family, it nicely summarizes the laser hair ordeal I went through:
I had my first laser hair removal ordeal yesterday. Yes, it was an ordeal. I'm tempted to use the phrase "laser hair removal attack", but I don't want to frighten anyone. It was not pleasant. I should have known that when you are offered valium prior to a procedure, there's a reason. I was also given a topical numbing lotion to put on some of the areas to be lasered. I should have asked for an epidural and maybe some whiskey.
The first area to be lasered were my underarms. I was zapped and when I didn't flinch, they upped the voltage. Now, I was told that it would feel like I was being snapped with a rubberband. It does not feel like that at all-- it felt like my hair follicles were being electrocuted, probably because they were. I squirmed and whimpered, but figured the worst was over when they were done.
And then, the few stray hairs on my face were zapped. I know areas were zapped that didn't even sprout hair. Those areas certainly won't be producing any hair now. I have never felt so much pain in my entire life. I have not gone through labor, but I did have a kidney stone. I would honestly prefer to have my kidney stone back vs. having laser hair removal on my face. I must confess I yelled an expletive (rhymes with spit) and burst into tears. I cried some more and was able to walk it off. Not only was I thinking how much pain was being inflicted upon me, but I was actually paying to be put through this. If Al Quaeda had their facial hair lasered, they would tell us where Bin Laden is and anything else we might need to know. That might be cruel and unusual punishment though.
I then had to return to the torture room to have the hair follicles in my bikini area and lower legs electrocuted. The bikini area was not nearly as bad as the underarms and face and there were no more tears or expletives yelled. I did practice some lamaze breathing and asked if they'd consider hiring a doolah (or whatever those labor coaches are called) for my next visit. Oh yes, I have to go back five more times. I was assured that the second visit would be about as painful as the first, but that the remaining visits wouldn't hurt that bad. Right. I figured the legs wouldn't hurt too much. I figured wrong. To be honest, there were areas of the legs that smarted, but having hair removed from the shins, knee and ankle area was extremely unpleasant.
Next time I will find someone to take me to my appointment so I can have a double dose of valium. I wonder if I could get some morphine too. Hmmmmm....