Monday, March 26, 2012

This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs.

So, last week I got my wisdom teeth removed, and I almost died – and not because of the drugs... but because I'm an idiot. You see, after the surgery, I went home, took a nap, woke up starving, and made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Turns out, my tongue was too numb to let me swallow and my jaw was too sore to open wide enough to let me scrape the food from the roof of my mouth. So I stood at our kitchen sink wondering if this was how it would end, if this was how I'd meet my Maker (or at least the paramedics) – unshowered, slightly stoned, and wearing a Clash t-shirt with drool all over it… a fear that I honestly have not had since college.

And that made me think of whippits.

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, you’ve probably never been to a Grateful Dead show… and you could not only pass a drug test… you probably never actively studied for one… unlike some of the people I knew when I was a sophomore at Penn State, but I digress. The point is that a whippit is when someone sucks nitrous oxide out of a can of whipped cream to get high. They call it hippie crack, but you probably know it as laughing gas, which is what oral surgeons give to patients to relax them before and while their wisdom teeth are being removed. Having had it last week for the first time, I honestly don’t understand how people become addicted to it. Really. It may not have ruined my life, but it damn sure ruined one of my favorite albums for me, Appetite for Destruction.

However, in order to tell you that part of the story, I have to tell you this part first.

Before my appointment, everyone said, “mkromd, you’re a coward. Take your iPod and listen to music. The drugs will stop you from feeling the pain, but the music will stop you from hearing the dentist’s drill.” So, I not only listened to them… I listened to Guns N' Roses… at full volume… before, during, and after the procedure. Now, if you've never had your wisdom teeth removed, it goes something like this: they put the nitrous oxide mask on your nose, they put numbing sticks in your mouth, they inject four shots into your gums (one by each tooth) and another shot into the roof of your mouth, then – after fifteen minutes or so - once you’re completely numb, they start the extractions. So there I was, insanely stoned, with very little jaw control and absolutely no self control, singing Welcome to the Jungle at the top of my lungs, while I waited for the doctor to get started. No. Really. Imagine a talentless Axl Rose, totally baked, with a horrible lisp, screaming, "you're a very thexy girl thath's very hard to pleath..." It was like MTV Unplugged meets Kafka, the Home Edition.

Honestly, the whole experience was utterly horrid… for everyone. I can only imagine small children in the waiting room, crying, and begging their parents to take them home and creepy sadomasochist patients like Bill Murray in Little Shop of Horrors saying, “I’ll have what she’s having.”

At any rate, it was awful but at least it's done. And, with that, talk to you later (even though it hurts to do it).

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Powder to the People

I once read that if more people skied, there’d be less war. And, as crazy as that sounds, I believe it. In fact, just last week alone, we went to Steamboat and broke into someone’s condo, and no one was even mad about it let alone hostile. However… before I can tell you that part of the story, I have to tell you this part first.

You see, even though I lived out West and have been fortunate enough to ski most of the major resorts in North America, I’d never done Steamboat, which was definitely a mistake on my part. Now, I love it - and not just for the elevation or the powder, but because of the culture. Sure, Aspen gets the X Games, but Steamboat is becoming the new Mecca for winter biathletes, people who participate in a sport that combines cross-country skiing with target shooting. To quote the guy in the gear shop, “folks trudge through the snow, stop, shoot a gun, and keep going.” It’s like Chicago… with mountains. 

That said, please don’t get me wrong. I do NOT cross country ski. I wouldn’t even do it if I lived in a smaller country. I downhill, period… but I also digress. The point is that the locals there love their mountains, and I cannot blame them. I would move tomorrow if the stars aligned. As for breaking and entering, this time it wasn’t my fault. 

Unlike previous years, DB and I took the kids and met his mom, his sister, and her family at the resort. And, because they aren’t cheap, the four of them flew directly into Hayden and arrived at 3:00 PM as scheduled. However, because I am, we flew into Denver, got into the rental car, and hit a blizzard on the way to Steamboat. After a six hour drive… through the mountains… in a white out... we made it to the main lodging office, checked in, got the keys, and headed to the condo. Sadly, it wasn’t ours. No really. They gave us the keys to someone else’s condominium. 

Luckily, they weren’t home. We know because we walked through each and every room trying to figure out why we were given a dirty condo that was filled with Jesus art… until finally, after fifteen minutes, I called the concierge who profusely apologized and told me, “Whoa, you’re not in unit 32. You’re in unit 23. Sorry man, my bad.” 

You know, ever since that night, I’ve caught myself wondering what those poor people thought when they got back to their condo. Did they think that someone gently broke in and took something, and did they spend the rest of their vacation trying to figure out what it was? Honestly, I almost took a six pack of beer just to give them some peace of mind. That way it wouldn’t have been so… random. That way they could’ve opened their fridge and screamed, “What asshole steals someone’s beer?” And it would have been over for them. But I didn’t give them that closure, and now they just have to wonder… forever. On the up note, I didn’t break in and leave anything on the counter just to fuck with them either, so they should thank me! 

At any rate, after all of that, we went back to the front desk, got new keys, went to our own condo, then met up with DB’s family. I’m pleased to announce that a fabulous time was had by all. The white out was worth it because the powder was to die for, and trust me about Steamboat. It’s amazing.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

There's no accounting for taste...

First, the good news… last month, mkromd crossed the five thousand reader mark. It’s taken me two years and fifty-four posts, but I’ve done it. No, I mean that literally - over half of those hits were probably me visiting my own site. Sure, I selected Blogger’s, “Don’t track your own page views,” but I once put black electrical tape over the 12:00 that kept flashing on my VCR because it was the only way I could make the fucking thing stop blinking at me. So who knows?

Now for the bad news… which, interestingly enough, is connected to the good news AND last month’s post. One of those five thousand readers is one of my three closest friends in the world… and she had absolutely no idea that I was blogging… or that my karma ran over my dogma existed… even though I have written about her… ad nauseam. Yes. Really. Seriously though, in my defense, what the HELL are the odds of that happening?

Turns out they’re about 1 in 5248… give or take a few.

At any rate, before I can tell you why, I have to tell you this part of the story first... I’ve not always had the best of luck writing. In fact, in a previous life, I had another blog. It was also anonymous, but it wasn’t always kind, and people got hurt. Very hurt. As a result, I immediately killed the site, made three deeply sincere apologies in an attempt to make amends, and did some serious soul searching. Unfortunately, the damage was done, and it was irrevocable.

Afterwards, people encouraged me to blog, but I couldn’t. I honestly had nothing to say. Days turned into weeks which turned into months, and - no matter how much I wanted to write, nothing would come out but tears. Don’t get me wrong, I deserved it. I knew better. My father used to say, “A joke isn’t funny unless everyone in the room laughs.” Well, at some point, I forgot that, and getting even was more important than getting better… which was the whole reason that I started writing to begin with. It was therapy for me.

Then, one day, I had to get new tires, and it was a complete disaster, but it was funny. And, what started out as an e-mail to friends, rapidly devolved into the first post that I ever published on this blog. Too bad I failed to mention some of the people who got me from there to here:
DB, who encouraged me to write but reminded me to, “First do no harm."
My mother, who (even though I'm forty) said, “I don’t care if we debate, so long as you do what you’re told.”
My oldest friend, who told me, “No one can take your voice unless you give it to them willingly.”
A reader who once candidly posted, “My mom is dying of cancer. And, in a world of unfunny things, you made you made us laugh until we cried… the good kind of tears. Thank you.”
And Zoey, who wrote a million e-mails, sent a billion texts, did a zillion lunches, and drove a trillion miles – all the while saying, “Write!” To which I would simply reply, “Wrong.”

So what the hell does all of that have to do with the post, “Forty, it's not the new thirty they promised you. Thank God!” Well, everything. In the spirit of full disclosure, what I didn't tell you is that, after my divorce, I was so angry… and so lost… and so bitter… that I refused to do anything which required me to leave my couch let alone take the highroad. In fact, I’d probably still be hiding at home today, except that Zo staged an intervention. No really, it’s true. She e-mailed our other friends and bullied me into the very dinner that I wrote about last month. And, when I finally got to the restaurant, I had a panic attack that was so awful that she had to come to my car to get me, which wasn’t easy considering that I was lost and refusing to answer my phone. I’m not proud, but there you have it - the truth.

This is a woman stuck by me and not only propped me up but cheered me on... through everything, and a thousand times I wanted to say, “I’m blogging!” Instead, I always simply replied, “Wrong” when she said, “Write.” Well, Zo - though this post wasn't funny at all, it is sincere, and I am sorry. I’m glad you found it. I’m glad you read it. I hope you know how dearly I love you and – more than that - how deeply I appreciate you. With that, I'm heading to out West to ski. As always, the flights are ghetto but the fare was simply too good to pass up. I mean really... how bad could it be?