Fin

Seven years ago from today, I started Velvet in Dupont. At that time, the focus was on being newly single and dating again while living in a nice gay neighborhood like Dupont Circle.

I wish I knew then…blah blah blah.

After a couple years of sheer misery, I finally connected with X, who I had known for years, and we packed it in for the long haul.  What I learned about living a life publicly is that it’s fine when it’s just you, but when you have other people to consider, revealing what’s going on in your life is tough for them. They didn’t sign up for it, but are just being taken along for the ride. Lucky for me, X has thick skin and he’s a good sport.

Coming out about our infertility struggle was especially difficult. It was over a year before enough had happened that I just had to talk about it. I like to think that our years of dealing with DC area fertility clinics, some of which are clearly very incompetent, was beneficial to at least one person who read about it here.

X and I are coming up on our 2nd anniversary but we will experience a milestone more important before that day.

We are days away from welcoming our first child into the world.

I know, I know, how could I keep this from everyone. Well, I kept waiting for something to go wrong. I suddenly felt like shielding this part of my life from the public - just in case. We’re about to be responsible for another life and I have a few thoughts about that. First, we have to protect that life to the ends of the earth. Second, we have to use whatever means necessary to do so.

I had to reevaluate some relationships in my life and really give them a thorough once-over. I had to have some conversations like, “I know we’re friends but if this behavior continues, I’ll have to move on.” And I had to really look at some family relationships to determine - is it even worth it anymore? Some of those relationships sadly didn’t survive either. It was my version of nesting I suppose.

It’s been a wonderful seven years, but we’re pleased to begin the next chapter in more privacy. You can always get me by email at velvetindupont@yahoo.com.

xoxo

Hit Me Baby One More Time

I had lunch with a friend the other day who is enduring the same baby-making road that I am. In the email exchange where we were setting up our plan to meet and eat, she said something to the effect of how it’s nice to just talk to someone who doesn’t say the wrong things.

Oh, the wrong thing. There are so many things on the list of “wrong” when you are enduring something as difficult as the struggle to have a baby. I’m not even sure why I say things like this out loud anymore because it will surely prompt some allegedly well-meaning person to email or call me after having read this, to make some idiotic statement that will make me seriously consider ripping off their nipples. With. My. Teeth.

After I posted something along these lines the last time, someone actually emailed me to say, “Oh, I know someone who did IVF and she miscarried twins at 5 months.” FIVE MONTHS! So you mean, getting pregnant isn’t even the real hurdle? Apparently I have to STAY pregnant? And walk on eggshells the whole time? Yeesh. Thanks for your kind words.

Someone tried to say, “She didn’t mean it maliciously.”

Um, okay, how did she mean it? Why would she say this? Why would anyone say this?

What about when a friend knows you are going through pretty intense fertility treatments and knows it didn’t work responds by saying, “You’ll try again.” You know, I can see how you may think that’s helpful, but I’m not sure that you realize that your simple solution of “trying again” isn’t as easy as supersizing my meal. “Trying again” means 2 more months of downtime and ramping up, of 40 more shots in the stomach, of countless appointments for blood, sonograms, of veins collapsing, of another $15,000,  of my vagina developing acid reflux because there are so many meds in me that they are rebelling. Suddenly “You’ll try again” doesn’t seem so quick of a fix, does it?

What about the old “just relax.” People love to tell you that if you “just relax” that you’ll end up pregnant. That their friends, and friends of their friends, and their babysitter’s next door neighbor’s kid’s teacher’s cousin all just quit trying and bim bam boom. Pregnant. Because that will work for you. That diagnosis, which was free! Yes, Free! It will work for you, even though the speaker has absolutely no idea of your personal situation.

A variation of “just relax” is the “why don’t you just adopt.” Well, shit. If you were at the store and you were looking for a watermelon for something specific you were making and someone said to you, “why not get the sausage instead?” Would that make sense? No? Well then why would you tell me to adopt when the goal is to have a child with my husband? (Yes, I get that the comparison of sausage and watermelon to adopting kids is weird and possibly insensitive, but I’m trying to illustrate a point to people who seem to have no fucking concept of what they are saying. I had to dumb it down with food.)

It’s a tough road that those on the Infertility Roller Coaster have to ride. There’s nothing you can say that’s right to us other than to just smile,  nod, and say that you are sorry. Or not. Act totally uninterested and we’ll get it that you don’t want to hear it. But we don’t want quick fixes, we don’t want to hear what your friend did, we don’t want to hear that we should relax, or adopt, or get a surrogate, sperm donor, do acupuncture. We also don’t want to hear what your kid did that was so stinking cute you just had to tell the whole damn world. It’s not cute to us. It’s tear-inducing.

But people don’t get it. So we suffer in silence because it somehow seems wrong to say that what is being said to us is not helpful or downright hurtful. Does it make me a bitch? Most likely. But no one else is riding in my shoes right now, so they don’t get to judge.

Hilarity on the Job Front

I’m sorry to interrupt my regularly scheduled programming of infertility bitching, but something hilarious just came to my attention.

Hilarious.

Apparently, because I don’t really try to hide it really anyway, this blog is making its way around my former employer of 7 days. So one by one everyone is reading it, which I guess makes my decision to jet out even more validated and it brings me back to my original question:

Does anyone do any fucking work at that company??? Or do they just wait for new people to arrive so they can dump all the work on them? Client service people, that’s where it’s at. Returning phone calls and answering emails, that’s how it’s done. Not by sitting there passing this url around the company and not doing your jobs.

Smooches!!

Fertility Clinics Are Big Business - Part Two

4 IVF Cycles
105 Shots
$65,000
2.5 years
Zero babies

X and I spent all night debating all the finer points of IVF and everything we’ve learned. While I love Shady Grove, and will continue to recommend them to anyone who asks, I have found their downside. It’s not just theirs, but that of many other clinics, and why all this really is just a big business. No matter what a doctor says about how he/she wants to help you “get your baby,” they won’t do so at a cost. I’ll get to that in a minute.

X had the foresight to pay for a multi-cycle discount which gave us the 2nd IVF at half price. His theory was that if we paid for the 2nd one, they had more incentive to make the first one work. He said it was sort of like insurance. (Remember, X gets hot down there for insurance products.) The first IVF didn’t work. No surprise there, I just expect the bad news now. When we started up the next round it was almost surreal. I literally could not believe I was getting the shots again.

Shady Grove changed the meds because I didn’t respond well the prior time. This time, as I went in for daily blood tests and sonograms, it sounded like we were hitting home runs all over the place.  But, this is the lottery where you win, then they start taking money away from you and leave you with nothing.

1st IVF: 15 eggs retrieved, 13 fertilized, 7 started dividing and only 4 were barely alive at day 3.
2nd IVF: Natural, no meds. 1 egg retrieved. Reached 5 day blastocyst, i.e. “the best it gets.”
3rd IVF: 7 eggs retrieved, 2 fertilized and started dividing and were put back in at day 3.
4th IVF: 10 eggs retrieved, 6 fertilized and started dividing and all 6 continued through to day 4. By day 5, 2 died and we were down to 4 eggs, a few of which were slowing in growth.

See how those numbers sound so good at first, but then every day after the egg retrieval, you keep losing?

They choose the strongest 2 embryos to put back in, and will freeze what is left as long it is a blastocyst. This means that if you have 6 embryos that are growing and 2 become blastocysts, they will put those two in. And guess what happens to the other 4? They aren’t good enough for their Kenmore’s apparently, so they throw them out.

This is exactly what happened to us. We asked if I could have just one of those other embryos put in with the two good quality ones, and they said no - two is their max. Their position is if it is not a blastocyst at day 5, then it would “most likely” not survive a freeze/thaw. Well, how does that explain my friend who has a 6 year old right now who was one of these “bad quality undesirable” embryos? How does it explain all the other women on message boards who had frozen, low quality, highly fragmented embryos put back in that resulted in a child?

You may be asking, why won’t the clinics just let you have your embryos and give them a chance? Because every failed embryo transfer, whether fresh or frozen, goes against a clinic’s stats. So they rely on statistics while we leverage our assets preparing for the next step and wonder if our child just got flushed into the Potomac.

So all this bodes the question that we’ve been debating all night. Most women get few, if any blastocysts. Is it worth it to spend all this money and go through the financial, physical and emotional drain to get the 2 embryos they’ll allow you on transfer day, knowing that the other ones will be thrown away?

I never expected this reaction but I cried as I told X tonight, I feel like someone actually took a baby away from us.

No more IVF for me. It’s one thing if the embryos are put inside you and don’t result in a pregnancy, but it’s a whole other ballgame if they never even allow them the chance to try.

People Really Suck - The Conclusion: Take This Job and Shove It

Well, after my last drama where I was on deck for a job, then the potential boss was told of my fertility quest, they still hired me. They never said a peep about the baby stuff, and just called me to confirm that they resolved the issue(s) with my friend and would I want to start relatively quickly. I agreed and got all my other issues up to date so that I could start a job.

My first day I went into software training as they were completing this long-discussed software conversion for the entire company. I was introduced to everyone, all of whom seemed to do a lot of standing around and not a lot of working. From what I had heard about the company, I was told that this was sort of the norm - the support staff really didn’t do a lot of work. They didn’t answer emails, they didn’t do their job, and in October, they were 3 months behind on producing financial statements for the clients. In fact, one such Einstein was at her desk surfing facebook when they brought me to meet her. She had her ear plugs in, so she didn’t even hear us standing next to her, and just continued to chat with her facebook friends.

My second day, still without email or a phone, my personal inbox was filling up with all sorts of emails. People had somehow nabbed my yahoo email and were sending me every single outstanding issue for which they needed help. I was begging the people at the company to stop using my personal email and for some reason, no one listened. Late in the day, I received a forwarded email asking me to go to court at 8 a.m. the next morning to be a witness for a lien that was to be filed on a homeowner in one of our communities. Really? I’ve been here less than 2 days and you want me to go to court? No.

My third and fourth day I continued to amass emails and phone calls from pissed off people who had been ignored for, in some cases, months. Everything was a priority. The fourth day they finally issued me a cell phone. That fucking thing never stopped buzzing. I’d put it down and come back 20 minutes later and have 15 emails and voicemail. Is this a joke?

My fifth day I was issued a computer. The screen looked like someone threw a baseball bat at it. I emailed the computer guy and said, “Didn’t you notice before you left my desk that this monitor was cracked and I can only see the top left inch of what’s on the screen?” He replied and said, “You need to file a work ticket for that.” I do? Really? You fucking moron, you set up my computer when I wasn’t here, left me with broken equipment and I NEED TO SEND IN A GOD DAMNED TICKET??? At lunch that day the people in the office began discussing golden showers. Then they grilled me about my personal life and why I went to work there. I was starting to wonder.

The fifth day was also when I received an email from some beast in our office who told me that I would need to be “on call” next week and the week of Christmas. I said, “Are you serious? I just started, cannot grasp my own job and you want me to do everyone else’s job too?” She said, “Every manager has to do it.” I said, “I started almost at year end - didn’t you all have this figured out before I got here?” She said it was “company policy.” You can stick your company policy up your ass you fat bitch, I’m not doing it. I forwarded this whole exchange to my boss and said, “I am NOT doing this. It is totally disrespectful for her to even ask me.”

My sixth day I was told I would have meetings that night, and every single night the following week with clients. Every. Single. Night. And because we are salary - you guessed it. There is no such thing as comp time. Shit, even if there were, at this point, 6 days in, I have over 150 emails that need attention. That night I went to a meeting and practically got a standing ovation at my announcement as the new manager. After the meeting I was accosted by all the clients saying that they never received calls back, that they were in the middle of elections and ballots needed to be mailed, that their annual meeting was soon and their budgets were late. It was totally obvious I was 6 days in and 6 months behind.

And on the seventh day, God rested.

I went to the office, got bombarded with several dozen more email stating that I needed to do this “right away” and a few dozen more emails that started out with “Velvet is the new point of contact” which I could add to my collection of 100’s of emails that all needed attention and I just flipped out. I emailed my boss with a “where are you / we need to talk.” No answer. I went to my car, got all my keys, fobs, and access cards, brought them to my desk, put them next to my cell phone, laptop and chargers, and sent an email that said, in a nutshell, the following:

I’m leaving. It’s one thing to start a job and be a few weeks behind, but this is insane. Every single thing I touch hasn’t been touched or worked on in weeks, sometimes months. Everything is a priority, and now I find out that I have to get budgets mailed out, ballots sent, annual meeting notices, the accounting department has been blaming on a software change for their incompetence for 3 months, everyone is angry and they all bombarded me by email or in person with lists of not a few, but dozens upon dozens of things that need to be done. I need to just learn the job, and I can’t do that when I’m flooded with emails and work that hasn’t been done in months, as well as things going forward I don’t even know how to do. I can’t dig out of this. I left my keys, etc on the desk. Sorry.

And with that, I left.

They called and asked me to come back, promised to help, and I said absolutely not.

People Really Suck

It just doesn’t pay to be a nice person.

An old co-worker, Steve, called me earlier this year and asked if I would be interested in a 3 month contract job working for him at a property. I agreed and was able to fit it into my life as a Realtor. It ended up being a decent stint and I met some interesting people I’m still in touch with. At the end of my time doing the work, the company who employs Steve expressed an interest in hiring me full time.

We had been discussing various positions for the past few months, but it quieted down in late August. A week and a half ago, I heard from the company again, and met with Charlie for an informal interview. He told me that part of my responsibility would include lifting some work off Steve who was overloaded.  Nothing seemed amiss.

The next day Charlie asked me via email if I was available immediately. I said if they could be flexible with my existing clients and time demands, I could start in the near term.

The day after that, X and I were at his mother’s house and when I went to check my phone and saw that both Charlie and Steve had called within a few minutes of each other. I called Steve back first. He said that they gave him “the talk” and that they were either demoting him or getting rid of him, but that they were giving me his job. I thought this was mega-uncool.  Then I called Charlie back and got essentially the same story - there had been “a talk” and they were unhappy with Steve and planned to have me replace him. They wanted to tell me since he was my friend who basically introduced us and to see if it would be uncomfortable for me.

In this conversation I really went to bat for Steve. I set forth two points: First, I worked with Steve at another company and knew him to be diligent and attentive. If he wasn’t able to do a satisfactory job, I wasn’t sure what I would be able to do differently. Second, it just didn’t feel right for me to be the catalyst for them letting someone go, much less someone who had brought me into the company and they needed to resolve this first before bringing me on. X was sitting there listening and he said he was so proud of how I handled them and myself, and that Steve really was lucky to have me be so loyal that I’d forego a job for him.

Charlie recommended I talk to Steve and get his side. I had already done this, but we did talk again the next day. He confirmed that he was told to “get his resume together” and because he was one of the few who I was honest with about the IVF process, he said that the condition the company was in was so bad, that if I wanted to get pregnant I should really reconsider taking the job regardless. I did tell him that we felt like time was running out for us, and while no one knew of the IVF, I didn’t want to get pregnant and then lose a baby because of a stressful working environment or something else like that. In all, he was appreciative of the things I had said about him to his boss.

A couple days went by and Charlie emailed me to ask me if I had made a decision. I told him that I would rather that they resolve the issue with Steve, that if I took the job and they let him go that I would feel like the catalyst for it. I ended by saying we could talk at some point down the road. I didn’t hear back from him. I didn’t hear back from Steve either, for 5 days.

Steve finally called me to tell me that “nothing had happened.” He wasn’t fired last Friday as he had been led to believe, he wasn’t sure what was going on, and said that Charlie had told him to convey to me that the situation was resolved with Steve. Steve then said to Charlie, “Well, with them trying to have a baby and going through IVF, I seriously doubt she would want to get involved in this company.”

Um. Okay…I had said several times that Steve was the only one who knew about this, and that I certainly did NOT tell the company where I’m interviewing that I’m trying to get pregnant. First of all, I’m not actually pregnant so what does it matter, and second, it’s none of a company’s business and was totally inappropriate to say and now probably removed me from all consideration for getting a job there.

I’m just so pissed off because from what the company had told me, they were really unhappy with Steve and even went through specific performance related shortcomings about him. The fact that I didn’t take the job enabled Steve to keep his, and he sold me out. For no reason.

People really suck.

I Had to Put Her Six Feet Under and I Can Still Hear Her Complain

I’ve been very remiss in posting. Sorry.

A friend of mine asked me the other night about how I went from daily writing to basically a once a month deal. It’s not that life is dull, it’s that. Wait. Shit. Life is dull. Damn it. We’re just plugging away over here trying to figure out how to have the life we want,  the life we always thought we would have and now aren’t sure it’s a reality. We’re mired in all sorts of various endeavors to determine if we can have this life or not, and truthfully, I watch it slip further away as the days pass. At least that’s how it feels. Which brings me to my next point.

The last IVF didn’t work. So that’s #3. I’m starting to realize this is more of an art than a science. I find myself resenting every swelled stomach I pass on the street and frankly it’s not a great place to be. But what can you do?

I guess you can find little ways to make yourself feel better, right? Which brings me to my next point. (Yeah, I know, I used that on the last transition, I told you I was getting dull.)

For some reason that no one can explain to me, Mr. X’s ex, the witch we can’t stand, is somehow receiving mail. At. My. House. Mr. X just moved in with me this past year, and she most definitely has never lived here. We can’t seem to find the source of the mailing list which has connected her name with MY ADDRESS. I swear, there is nothing like opening your mailbox to find that she has infiltrated yet another part of our lives. It really is a slap in the face.

When yet another junk mail company couldn’t tell us where they got her name for our address, I hopped online. There is nothing google can’t tell you. After a few searches and clicks, I got to the junk mail website and found several ways that you can get someone to stop receiving mail at your house, but they all involve forwarding, going to post offices, filing complaints, waiting, etc. Until I scrolled to the FAQ and found out that you can actually report someone as “dead” and they get removed from all mailing lists. Just report them dead, give a date of death and bam - they get removed from all junk mail lists.

I guess I don’t have to tell you what I did next, do I?

Washington Fertility Center vs. Shady Grove Fertility

Warning: This post is incredibly detailed with medical jargon you may find coma-inducing.You don’t have to read it all…I bolded the important parts. Mostly I want to solidify its place in the event I can help some poor woman in the future.

In most cases, I love it when something I didn’t understand finally makes itself clear to me. I also love it when I’m right. Not this time.

We just finished the IVF with Shady Grove. We don’t know much yet but I’ll report in when we do. I’m not hopeful since I’ve endured this before, only to have it fail.  Having gone through the whole process at Shady Grove and finding it 1000 times better, more professional and easier than the other stimulated IVF we did, I have learned a ton.

My Ob/Gyn, who I love, recommended two years ago we see Dr. Asmar at Washington Fertility.  We liked him and felt like he could help us, so we began the IVF process. From the 2nd or 3rd day of the shots I was sick. I could not understand how friends of mine did this 5 and 6 times. When I reached the point where I was homicidal and knew my body could take no more, Dr. Asmar said I needed to do one more day of shots. I was beside myself. I couldn’t believe it. I knew something was wrong with my body, we had already lost faith in them when they lost X’s sperm, when they overcharged us, when they routinely made us wait an hour even though the office was empty, when their two receptionists treated us like crap, but I just knew something was wrong. From what I know now, it appears that I was overstimulated.

When your follicles are overstimulated, you will get tons of eggs, but few of them are viable. There were 15 eggs retrieved from me on Friday, February 5, 2010 at 8:30 a.m. I went home to bed. X came in around mid-afternoon and said, “Good news, 13 of the 15 eggs fertilized!” We were so happy. What we know now from our experience with Shady Grove is that the eggs take about 24 hours to “fertilize.” So a phone call 6 hours later from Washington Fertility stating 13 fertilized eggs was clearly a lie.

That evening, as it started snowing the Great Snowstorm that gave the DC area 3 feet of snow, X and I discussed how wonderful it would be to have enough embryos frozen that we could have a few kids off this one IVF cycle. We lost power that evening, as did most of the metro area. X said to me at 11:00 Friday night, “I hope they didn’t lose power at the lab.” Suddenly our minds went to our 13 little embryos, the little Velvet/X combos and my heart sank. They had told us at Washington Fertility that they planned to stay at the lab all weekend in anticipation of the storm, but as the snow pounded the city, we didn’t hear anything all weekend long. What we know now from our experience with Shady Grove is that you should get a daily phone call after egg retrieval. The day after retrieval they call with a fertilization report. The second day they call to tell you when to expect the embryos will be transferred. For a variety of reasons they determine at this point whether you should transfer the embryos on day 3 or 5 post retrieval. We received no such call from Dr. Asmar’s office at Washington Fertility.

Monday morning, February 8, 2010, the medicine cocktail I was still taking had burned through my esophagus so badly I hadn’t been able to eat all weekend without throwing it back up. Dr. Asmar’s office called to say that “only 7 eggs survived the weekend and only 3 were dividing normally.” Because they weren’t even decent quality, they recommended an immediate transfer. We asked for a delay because of my vomiting issue (I seriously just wanted my fucking body to be normal again) and he said no, this was important to do today as the embryos typically do better inside the mother. What we know now from our experience with Shady Grove is that this transfer should be scheduled the day prior, and you shouldn’t receive a panicky phone call from your allegedly competent doctor telling you to come right away.

When we got to Washington Fertility they showed us a picture of 6 embryos and said that a 4th had “started to divide.” We never did find out why they said 7 embryos on the phone but only showed us 6. What we know now from our experience with Shady Grove is that an egg doesn’t just suddenly start dividing 3 days later. If they are going to arrest development it’s early in the process, and then they don’t keep going. Because we got no phone calls from Friday afternoon with our “fake” fertilization report, until Monday morning’s panicked “you have to come right away,” it’s obvious that these people lied. They were NOT in the lab at all, because if they were, we would have received calls, and not all of those eggs would have died. The lab needs to wash, change fluids, etc, and this probably wasn’t done. It appears they left the embryos to fend for themselves and went home to shovel their driveways.

When you reach the end of your hormone shots, the clinic calls you and tells you to take a “trigger” shot that tells your follicles to release the eggs. Exactly 36 hours later, they have you go in for an egg retrieval. I had 12 follicles this time but some were sluggish. Based on the sizes, I had thought they would have me go another day on shots, and X and I were prepared for a last minute trip to the pharmacy to pick up more. When Shady Grove called with my directive to take the trigger shot I was sort of stunned. Last IVF I was begging for that shot, but this time, I could have easily gone another day. I asked the nurse why. What we know now from our experience with Shady Grove can be summed up by her response: “Well, we watch for the estrogen jump, and as long as it jumps as much the following day, we keep going. When it levels off, your body is going to stop maturing the eggs and you could risk losing the bigger follicles as they will be too old now.”  I went back to look at my records from good old Dr. Asmar.

Before I compare estrogen levels, here’s a tidbit of useful information on Estrogen and proper numbers during IVF:

Exact figures are not possible. As a rough guide, however, a level in the range of 150 to 500 pg/ml is generally considered reasonable for the eighth day of a stimulated cycle. An approximate doubling of this level every 48 hours is considered promising, as a sign of continued good follicle development.

Let’s compare Estrogen Levels for both cycles.

Washington Fertility
Day 5    149
Day 7    489
Day 10  1323
Day 11  3312
Day 12  3458

I didn’t have an appointment on Day 8, but let’s assume I was around 500 just for fun since I was at 489 on Day 7.  Following with the guide above, day 10 I should have been 1000; I was 1323. Day 12, had I been 1000, I should have been 2000; I was 3458. That’s 73% higher than I should have been. Those eggs weren’t over-easy, they were scorched.  While they don’t provide targets of estrogen because every woman is different, it appears from that example above that if you stimulate for 12 days with shots, the max your estrogen should reach is 2000.

Shady Grove
Day 6     189
Day 7     302
Day 9     481
Day 11   1106
Day 12   1380
Day 13   1599

My day 8 estrogen was clearly in the range of 150 - 500 since days 7 and 9 are in that range. It’s safe to assume though that they did it right. I was responding to the meds more slowly, but when the jump from day 9 to 11 was 625 points, then from 11 to 13 it went 493 points, it was time to trigger.

See what happened at Washington Fertility with Dr. Asmar? I was right. I was totally overstimulated, could go no further physically and they should have given me the trigger shot when I asked for it. The jump in estrogen from 1323 to 3312 was the big one, but then the fact it went only another 140 points? Dr. Asmar totally missed the entire window of opportunity and all that pain, torture and money was for nothing because my eggs weren’t viable. Couple that with the fact they weren’t at that lab that weekend, and those embryos didn’t stand a chance. I love being right, but this time it’s heartbreaking.

After my experience at Washington Fertility, I left some reviews on various doctor review sites. Like clockwork, their stupid nurses would come in right after me and leave positive reviews. Except they are soooo stupid because you can tell it’s them writing the reviews based on what they say. On one of the sites they even wrote “Velvet we know who you are and we’ll call your job and tell them you’re crazy.”  Um….nice. Except that their English isn’t that proper.  Washington Fertility has been on a massive PR parade. They also since redesigned their website and put up testimonials that are clearly fake…just as fake as their fertility reports.

Here Comes the Sun

Uggh. I can’t believe I’ve neglected the poor Velvet blog for this long. Actually, I’ve neglected all my writing endeavors, save a few cryptic notes on my feelings about a long standing family drama that’s come to a head.

X and I have had a very busy summer. There have been work and vacations. We wrote an offer (that wasn’t accepted) on a house in the Keys. We’re still planning on buying our next home there though. Sammy and Thora had a summertime brush with fame when they endeared themselves to one of my favorite actors - Sean Hayes. Actually, it was less a “brush” and more of an intended bump-into. Let’s see…my ex, Sammy and Thora’s original daddy, had texted this spring that he’d like to try to see the dogs. They are almost 12 now, and he said he would rather see them now than when there’s an eleventh hour phone call. Shudder. I don’t like to think about that day. Anyway, he is in the movie business, and we went to see him on our way home from Florida. By “we” I mean, Mr. X and I.

I know what you are thinking, but it wasn’t awkward at all. In fact, to me, it was like just getting two of my closest friends in one place. See, when you have long term relationships with people who aren’t psychos, they can manage to function in the presence of each other without wanting to kick each other’s asses. And so there I sat at some high school cafeteria in Cartersville, Georgia, eating lunch with my husband and the man who was almost my husband, with Sammy and Thora and with Sean Hayes behind us. It was mega-cool. My ex brought us to meet Sean and he got down and started playing with Sammy and Thora. Sammy gave him his resume, but Sean wasn’t interested in employing a bacon-eating, bark-a-tron corgi from Washington, DC.

Our 1 year anniversary was July 23rd - yay! We came home from our vacation of bliss and started IVF again. Happy Anniversary to us!  Actually, it isn’t that bad at all. We’re with Shady Grove - where we probably should have stayed from the beginning. I’m in the middle of the shots and other than being sleepy all the time, I feel pretty good. We have a couple days to go, then egg retrieval and the rest of the fun stuff.  The only other time we did the fully stimulated IVF was the mega-disaster with the worst of the worst - Washington Fertility. That was 18 months ago. That round was during the big February snowstorms. When the area lost power, and all my eggs died, we had to wonder if the lab lost power as well. It was somewhat calculated that this time we would do this in the summer so there were no weather complications. Except I miscalculated for the time that X had to go get his vials of frozen sperm and have to run them from storage in Virginia to the lab in Maryland when it was 110 degrees. It’s actually comical.

I’m not going to get into boring scientific specifics, but comparing that cycle to this one where my ovaries are responding a bit slower, I will say that time means everything after 35. And this is coming from a woman with zero reproductive issues. Zero. So if you are on the fence and you’re mid-thirties, get cracking. Don’t wait because now instead of just facing Mr. X’s snippy snippy issue, we have my apparent Indy-500 race into menopause.

It was just yesterday I was doing keg stands. Now I’m looking for retirement homes in Florida and counting my eggs and hoping they hatch. But it’s been a great summer thus far. Hopefully it will get better.

You Can Call Me Call Me Anytime Call Me

Nothing makes me cackle like a good prank call. Well, unless it’s someone falling.

Okay, so prank calls rank a close second. In college we had a shared phone between 2 dorm rooms and we would all sit on the extensions and prank various places. Sometimes we would go through the classifieds and just call people which never proved very fruitful. In Miami, 110% of the people selling crap in the Penny Saver don’t speak English. We decided to bring it a little closer to home and prank the Fraternity Houses on campus.

There was one such house with a rather large population of frat boys from Long Island and New Jersey who really hit the jackpot in the “body hair” department. Normally I would order 10 pizzas for them with pepperoni but asked that they “not slice the pepperoni” but to “just lay the stick across the pizza.” Then I would call to the frat house and let them know in my signature psycho voice. Every time I would call with the voice you could hear them all saying, “oh no…this again?”

Pepperoni aside, my best call, according to my roommates, was this one:

Poor Schlub: ZBT House!
Me: Hi, it’s Jill.
Poor Schlub: Yeah???
Me: Someone called me from there.
Poor Schlub, to room: Did anyone call a “Jill?”
Room: No JILL NO ONE CALLED YOU!!!
Me: Are you sure? This number came up on my caller id.
Poor Schlub: We said NO ONE called you from here, okay?
Me, cueing psycho voice: Are you sure? No one called Jill? The big Gillette Razor? I’m coming over to shave your back!!!

The advent of caller id and popularity of cell phones really put a damper on my prank calling career. It’s all well and good anyway since I’ve managed to do a massive amount of growing up since 1992. However, there is occasionally an opportunity that makes me giddy with glee.

It’s no secret that X’s ex, the Beast, is usually unleashing some sort of drama on all our lives. Her most recent stunt involved moving away, taking the kids, not telling anyone, and then threatening to take X to court when he didn’t fork over her money so she could sign up for Yoga 10 states away. She wasn’t bothered by that minor detail of kidnapping, but such is life.  When she couldn’t squeeze money out of X (he was waiting for her comments on the aforementioned kidnapping and certainly was not going to pay her to continue to commit a crime against him and their children,) she called X’s mother. (The Beast has a British accent.)

Poor X’s mother, she’s 83 years old and she really hates The Beast.  X’s mother called X in a fury and said that The Beast called her and said, “Is this a werkin numbah? I need it ta file papuhs ageenst X.” X said his mom was so upset. So I decided to have a little fun.

I called X’s mom. When she picked up, I put on my fanciest British accent and chirped, “oh helllllowh! D’ya want ta have tea and biskits with me??”

Click.

She hung up on me.

X and I were laughing so hard. Never mind that The Beast has a working class accent and the only British accent I can pull off be the fancy kind, X’s mom missed that detail. But I thought she would have known there is NO WAY The Beast would call and offer to break bread with her. I tried to call right back but she didn’t answer. I had to beg and plead into the answering machine that it was me. When she picked up she said, “You’re never going to believe who just called me!”

Oh, I’ll believe it all right. It actually took a while to convince her that it was me. I had to do the voice again to prove it. X’s mom has a great sense of humor, and anything at the expense of The Beast is hilarious to her. And me, apparently.

The Hopeful Beginning of Sweet Sweet Justice

X and I had a fight of epic proportions with Dominion Fertility and Dr. Dimattina as a result of Catheter-gate. It seems that they take no responsibility or show no remorse for forcing a catheter in me against my will for something that was not a life or death matter. As a patient in America, I believe we still have the right to refuse certain treatments if it isn’t life or death or if our refusal of treatment doesn’t impact the health of others around us.

Dr. Dimattina’s response to X was “We find that when the bladder is punctured that women are more comfortable to pee pee with a catheter in.” (yes, he said “pee pee.”) X said, “But she didn’t want a catheter, she told you she didn’t want one, and if you thought she was too drugged up, I was in the next room and no one came and asked me either.”

No response from Dr. Dimattina. Now I know why the message boards I’ve found are filled with notes calling him Dr. Dimadouchebag. It goes without saying that we have parted ways with the fucking losers at Dominion Fertility because, well, the last time I checked, my body belongs to me.  I wasn’t making demands about the science part, about what to do in the lab or how to retrieve the egg. I am happy to leave that stuff to the experts. I was merely saying that I didn’t want a catheter, would rather take my chances without one, or that I would rather see a urologist than have an ob/gyn do this to me. Shit, do you ask your dentist to check an ingrown toenail? No. That’s because it’s not his area of expertise. Same here, Dr. Dimattina. You are not a urologist. You were over your head on this. In fact, when I went to see a urologist to ensure there was no damage, he said that it’s not really customary to catheter someone for a puncture, you can check with a sonogram to see what happened.

There was also no response for why he employs a nurse who is so stupid that she doesn’t know that a catheter has an inflated ball inside the bladder, so when she was pulling and pulling, she was causing me excrutiating pain. I hope anyone who plans to go to Dominion knows that not only do they NOT CARE about what your wishes are, they don’t have trained nurses there either.

Many many many of you recommended we contact a lawyer. But here’s the tricky part with lawyers: They want damages. They want you to have permanent disabling damage so they can sue for millions and so that they get their 30% or 40% cut. Thank the heavens I don’t have bladder damage because honestly, that’s about the one thing I probably wouldn’t be able to live with. I prefer peeing and pooping without pain, and I prefer doing those things into toilets (occasionally the side of the road when I have too many Big Gulps) and I definitely don’t want to do those things in bags.

When X and I were in the car the other day, we were talking about how ridiculous Dimattina’s reaction was, X said, “It’s like he’s running scared from something. He was wrong. Why doesn’t he just admit it and we could all move on?”

Ding ding ding. No more calls, I think we have a winner. Headed off to Google.

Here it is ladies and gents. The lawsuit that was keeping Dr. Dimattina busy at the time I was enduring IVF at his practice, and at his hands. I had to dig into Google, but I found the court records, and he was out of the practice for the two weeks after my procedure so he could participate in his jury trial.

I’m not sure what he did to that patient, but I can only surmise that it was a direct result of his approach to care, which is, “I’ll do what I want and you have to take it.”

We have switched doctors (again) since it seems finding competency is nearly impossible. In an interesting twist of fate, after we had the consultation with the doctor he put us in a conference room and told us to wait for the coordinator to come explain everything to us. He shut the door and called her on the phone from his office, but for some reason, we could hear everything through the wall. I mean, everything, down to what she was saying on the other end of the phone. When our new doctor got to the part about “Then they went to Dominion and did a Natural Cycle IVF” you could hear the nurse laughing LOUDLY. Maybe we dodged a bullet?

When the nurse/coordinator came in to meet with us, we couldn’t resist asking her. She apologized that we heard her laugh but we said that we actually wanted to hear more. From what I can surmise from message boards, Dominion sells people on the Natural Cycle IVF through price and not using meds, and it doesn’t work. Woman after woman was posting to various fertility message boards saying they did 3 or 4 cycles and it didn’t work and they went back to fully stimulated IVF. The nurse basically said that is their exact position. It works for some people, but the odds aren’t good enough to be selling it as a solution. And they said that is what Dominon does, they play on the fears of people have of meds and costs and steer them to something that may or may not work.

Maybe we just saved ourselves another $10,000. Though I would much rather it wasn’t at the cost of the trauma I endured.

Fertility Clinics are Big Business

Dominion called me on Friday. I saw the number on my phone and wondered wtf could they want. Insurance info. I don’t know why as most insurance has no coverage for IVF, mine included. She said she wanted to check as they may cover the pregnancy test next week and blah blah. I’m on an HMO so I told her I doubted it because of the whole referral nonsense. So 2 minutes later calls back to say I was right, and there’s no coverage, and did we want to “self-pay” for the remaining visits. I was like, “What remaining visits?” She goes on to explain that if I get a positive pregnancy test, they will have me come in for “monitoring” every few days for 8 FUCKING WEEKS. I was like, “Are you joking???” I mean, come the fuck on, I cannot get up and drive in the opposite direction from work every other day at 7 a.m. for you to add me to your statistics pile.

I said “I don’t understand. If I were to get pregnant by normal customs, I’d pee on a stick and show up at my ob/gyn within a few weeks. Why do I need 8 weeks of monitoring if it isn’t included and doesn’t have any ob/gyn care? I can go to my ob/gyn and get it covered by insurance.”  Ah ha. Caught you. She said if I wanted to go to my ob I could (yeah? thanks, but I didn’t need your permission) and that I didn’t have to do the monitoring. I said, “That’s good because after what you guys did to me the other day I’m not committing to anything until we get resolution from the doctors.” That shut her up.

X said, “this is like when you get a cruise for cheap and they make you buy the excursions because that’s where they make all their money, or when you buy a house and then get all the upgrades, which they mark up like 100%.” Yup. How the hell they can charge $5000 for a natural cycle and then have the nerve to call and try to trick you into this added 8 weeks of bullshit is beyond me.

I was texting with my friend this morning about stupid things people say when you’re in a crisis. The roots of this conversation of course were based on our mutual fertility struggles. I’m making the disclaimer that if anyone commented with any of these, I’m sorry, but this is my list of shit NOT to say to someone with fertility issues until you know exactly what the problems are. (And even then, they probably considered all these choices and opted not to do them for one reason or another.)

* Why don’t you adopt? (It’s not about “a kid,” it’s about “our kid.”)
* How about donor sperm? (X’s sperm work. There’s just a roadblock.)
* How about donor eggs? (My eggs are perfectly fine. In fact, I am “reproductively younger” than my chronological age, whatever the fuck that means.)
* How about a surrogate? (Okay, this is by far the stupidest thing to say to someone. It is not carrying the child that is the problem. It’s getting X’s stuff to my stuff to make el bebe. Hiring a surrogate would help our problem as much as taking a vitamin when you have a headache.)
* I’m sure there’s more but I can’t think of it right now.

I had a friend who was slowly experiencing the loss of her husband. She told me that people would say the stupidest things to her, and I always believed her but I felt like giving people the benefit of the doubt was necessary. They meant well, and I know people in this case mean well, but still, it’s not helpful and then it forces me into explaining that all the parts work, the roads are just closed. And then I get so discouraged that I start trolling the fertility message boards and let me tell you - those are scary places. They all talk in code and I don’t get what the hell they are saying. I have to google almost everything they write. Then I realized that these women all live for and are defined by their ability to conceive. It consumes them.

I’ve peed on my fair share of sticks (all negative,) but thankfully, it’s not the only thing propping up my whole world.

Having a Baby is Impossible - Part 2

I really appreciate everyone’s thoughts, comments and well wishes. Because the blog reposts to my Facebook, I had the chance to catch up with people who I haven’t chatted with in years, when the post was plastered on my wall.

What is amazing is how many people I know have been touched by fertility issues. It makes me wonder what is so different now from 40, 100, 1000 years ago when there were no assisted reproductive techniques. What did people do? Because damn if that waiting room at Dominion wasn’t filled every time we went there. It makes me wonder if the stresses of life are just too much for people to provide the right environment for conception, or if this is just a medical scam.

This is clearly big business. In hindsight, perhaps we should have stuck with Shady Grove. One of my friends commented as much, and I wanted to actually address this with a proper answer. Shady Grove was our first stop. My brain could not get around the idea that we would have to do IVF when there was only a vasectomy in the way. It’s like driving down the road, seeing a pothole, and instead of driving around it you stop the car and get in an airplane to fly over it. It just seemed extreme, and that there were a bunch of stops along the way to full blown IVF.

What I also hated about Shady Grove was before X and I got our asses to touch the visitor’s chairs in their office, they were pulling out this laminated card with their 60% success rate statistics. It felt like an infomercial.  What I also don’t like about them is that they don’t do Natural Cycle IVF, but if you google natural cycle, Shady Grove is most often first, with a link to the page where they discuss why they don’t think Natural Cycle IVF is worth shit. Yeah, well, obviously that article was written by someone with a penis because any woman who takes all those hormones in the stomach for 3 weeks would never write something so ridiculous.

Washington Fertility was no different. They also reported about a 60% success rate, but I don’t believe them. If he retrieved 15 eggs from me and got a big fat zero, then he’s not doing so well. Especially considering another clinic proved I have healthy, viable eggs with no issues. But back to hindsight being 20/20, I’m willing to bet dollars to donuts that if I went through the cycle with Shady Grove and they got 15 eggs, there would have been a baby by now.

I saw three separate doctors after the latest IVF. This wasn’t my choice, but what happened in the procedure necessitated it. I truly do not wish this misery on my worst enemy. I cannot find any evidence online of people having their bladder punctured during an IVF cycle, but of course, if you told me that there would be a million procedures this year and during retrieval one patient would get struck by lightening through the window - that person would be me.

Someone pointed out either here or on Facebook something which X and I have already beaten ourselves up over. We wasted 2 years with these doctors. Two years. Doctors are not Gods. They don’t know it all. Some of them don’t know shit. You have to take hold of your own healthcare and make your own decisions, and you have to question everything. It seems like they recently lowered the bar for graduating from med school because I never remember doctors being this inept when I was growing up. Or maybe I was just seeing the world through different eyes.

Having a Baby Is Impossible

X made me promise not to talk about this, but unfortunately, I’ve reached the end of the line and I need to get it out.

Those of you who can get pregnant the normal way should thank your lucky stars. X had a vasectomy when he was married to the beast and two years ago we decided we might like to have a baby. My ob/gyn said that all they would do is have a urologist extract sperm from X and put it into a turkey baster into me, and voila. Since the only thing standing in our way was the snip, we researched the best urologists for this, found one was in DC and met with him. We also discussed reversing the vasectomy. He said, “No problem, but just go to Shady Grove and get the tests to make sure Velvet doesn’t have any issues on her side. You don’t want to reverse a vasectomy only to find out she has a blockage or something.” Fair enough.

Here’s my Review of Shady Grove Fertility:
April, 2009. We met with some doc there and began the battery of tests. Everything came back better than normal, and we went back to Shady Grove and said, “Okay, when can we do the artificial insemination?” They said, “you won’t get enough sperm so you have to do full IVF.” I’m really cutting to the chase on this, but this was over about a month of time because these tests are all on certain days of your cycle. I felt cheated, like, why did I bother going through these tests if they were just going to send me to the last stop of IVF anyway? I felt like they were just giving us the hard-sell into their most profitable procedure and we never went back.

My ob/gyn recommended we go to Washington Fertility. I love my ob/gyn and I thought that her recommendation would be the right one.

Here’s my Review of Washington Fertility:
June, 2009: X and I instantly liked the one doctor at Washington Fertility. He seemed like a nice guy and very interested in helping us. He said, “If you only want one child, why reverse a vasectomy? Just do IVF. I had a hard time wrapping my mind around this, but finally in the Fall of 2009 we agreed we would go this route. It seemed so unbelievable that something as simple as a vasectomy was causing all this trouble. When we agreed to start the process in January, 2010, the trouble started. Despite the nurse’s orders that I needed to absolutely call on Day 1 of my period, the witches at the front desk treated me like crap and said to “call back next week,” making me miss an entire month. When they started charging X’s credit card, they double charged a bunch of things and we couldn’t even decipher what they had done. When we questioned what they charged, they got nasty and belligerent and for the rest of the weeks we went there, they wouldn’t even look at us or speak to us. We addressed this with the doctor and he assured us he would review our charges.

During the process, I got very sick. It’s not easy to take 3 hormone shots a night in the stomach and get progressively sicker each day. I gained 20 lbs and was completely miserable. Just the idea of clothes touching my body was painful. I was sick to my stomach, couldn’t eat, couldn’t drink and couldn’t go to the bathroom. Despite the fact that I developed 18 follicles - totally unheard of for a 36 year old - they kept wanting to do “one more day” of meds. I had to put my foot down and say that I couldn’t take anymore. X tried to call their emergency line and paged the doctor several times. He never called back. When they looked at X’s sperm, they said it was all dead, and we would need to arrange for another extraction. X called his doc who was totally shocked and said, “I just left there and there were 3 vials of live sperm.” For 2 hours we were on the phone between docs and labs trying to figure out the truth and whose sperm they were speaking about. We still don’t know.

They retrieved 15 eggs from me (not all follicles have an egg inside) and 13 fertilized. Again, these are insane numbers for a 36, almost 37 year old. That weekend we had a big old snowstorm and the entire metro area lost power. They claim to have generators but I’m not sure. All the eggs died except 4 very weak ones. They recommended we get all 4 implanted. Needless to say, I didn’t get pregnant. During the transfer of the 4 embryos Dr. Asmar literally kept asking the lab assistant, “Here? How about here?” If you believe the gods of google, the transfer is the most important part of the process, for one wrong move and the embryos won’t stick. And Dr. Asmar had no clue where to put them. The lab tech had to tell him.

The way Dr. Asmar and his staff treated us was a disaster, but it got worse. I put reviews online attesting to my experience and the staff put reviews right behind me saying “We know who you are and we’re going to tell your office how crazy you are so you lose all your clients.” I screen capped it all. One may wonder how I know it was them. Because the time stamp was pretty close to the time stamp on my site stats and on our company site stats and on this blog, with a big old “WASHINGTON FERTILITY” in the referrer line. When you’re a stupid receptionist at an incompetent doctor’s office, I wouldn’t expect you to understand how stats work, but you get a big FAIL for that you dumb bitch.

We were told to go to Dominion Fertility and so we requested our records from Washington Fertility. It took 4 very painful attempts to get ALL the records. They kept playing games and we ended up filing complaints on Washington Fertility for HIPAA violations and with the medical board for the doctor’s lack of care.

Then the reality sunk in. It’s not the money. It’s not the incompetence. It’s not the lack of a baby. It’s that nagging feeling about the “lost” sperm, the 15 eggs and the question of their status, and the fear that my egg or X’s sperm went into someone else’s body. When you conceive a child through sex, these are things that never cross your mind.

A year later, we continue to get bills from the for “sperm storage” despite the fact that they have said several times there was none left. We continue to send letters asking Dr. Asmar why he still charges us for sperm and he refuses to answer. This, along with withholding records, is also a HIPAA violation. We filed another complaint this week.

We decided to go to Dominion Fertility and do the Natural Cycle IVF. (No meds, they just wait on your one egg to pop, then grab it.) I’m not sure I can do a review of this facility at this point as I just had my one lone egg retrieved this morning. However, I can tell you this much. I will never do IVF again.

While retrieving the egg, they poked a hole through my bladder and blood came out where pee should be, and they had to give me a catheter for 2 hours while the urine cleared. If it didn’t clear, I would have had to wear a pee bag for 2 days. They agreed to remove the bag and I have never felt such pain in my life. The nurse ran out of the room and came back in with another nurse who said, “Didn’t you deflate the balloon in her bladder first?” It was like trying to get a golf ball out my pee hole.  At this point I was in tears, and completely hysterical. I’m squeamish with medical procedures but nothing grosses me out more than the urinary tract. I had kidney stones once and it was a pretty miserable experience getting a catheter but this was 100 times worse.

I practically ran out of there in tears and it’s hard to believe that anyone in this fertility game really knows what they are doing. There’s just a fucking vasectomy standing in our way (that has since been reversed and it didn’t work) and no one can help us without putting me through physical and emotional pain I just never thought I would know in my life.

So for all of you women who can have a baby the normal way, please, thank God, Gucci, or whoever you thank, and be so happy you don’t have to endure this.

And there you have it. The reason that for the last year I’ve been basically MIA. This has occupied a lot of my time and I’ve been pretty depressed from it.

Help I’m Stepping Into the Twilight Zone

Has something ever happened to you that is just so weird that you can’t believe it happened even though you were there for the whole thing?

Yeah. That.

In 1998, I was working at this company in Connecticut that designed labels for private label foods. So if you bought “Safeway brand canned Green Beans” then we would have made that label. I was in the Procurement Department, so people would fax or call in their orders (shut. up. it was 1998) and I would place the order and ship the labels. It was a snooze-festival, but one thing stands out from all those years ago. One of the distributors (a vegetable cannery) was cited for unsanitary conditions and we were under orders to not send them any labels. The girl from the cannery, Michelle, kept calling and I kept saying “We can’t ship you any labels.” It turned into a rather large problem as she took to faxing everyone in our company and made it look like I wasn’t doing my job. Bitch neglected to tell people she was 2 inches from being shut down.

Now here we are in 2011. In 2008 I bought that little house in Delaware near the beach. We have all this drama with our Developer, and that sort of had me doing a tag team of google searches. I actually talked to the Mayor of our town on the phone the other day, and it got me wondering what his deal was. I mean, who gets to talk to a Mayor? His cell phone number is on the damn town website which is so funny to me. So google took me on a tour of places, until I landed on minutes for a meeting held in 2000, about the very piece of land on which my house sits. Well, my house sits there with 150 other houses, but, still. And the report is filled with information about how the land was formerly a cannery that was shut down, blah blah blah, and I’m sure you see where this is going. I literally almost shit myself when they named the cannery. I now own a house on the very land where poor Michelle kept calling from, begging for labels and trying to get me in trouble with my boss.

Man that shit freaks me out. It’s like “The Celestine Prophecy” where they say there are no coincidences.

Now That I’m Starting to Learn I Feel I’m Growing Old

Damn It’s busy. The nature of my work seems to come in waves and I’m in the middle of one now. Then of course all the other crap that comes with life slaps me around and I have to delegate half of my “to-do” list to X, which doesn’t exactly thrill him. I don’t believe this will let up until mid-June, at which point, X and I are going on an early 1 year anniversary trip. More on that in a second.

Let’s see. Other updates. About a month ago I had a fight with Gloom, she hung up on me, and that was that. We haven’t talked since. I didn’t deserve that treatment and until someone can grow up and act like an adult, I have nothing to say.

I flew down to Florida for a couple days to see my dad and drive with him back up the coast to the gates of hell to my parent’s house and I saw the infamous White House crashing Salahi’s in the airport. Yeah, I know. Boring. Worse was that I called my gay friend and he was like, “OH MY GOD I LOVE HER GO GET A PICTURE” so I stalked them through the terminal. Yeah, I know. Loser. I finally found them sitting in an empty gate waiting to board a flight going to New York. The weird thing was they were sitting in a row of seats, with 2 empties between them. My gay friend dared me to go sit between them. And of course my Real Housewives message board friends reported that the Salahi’s were doing Celebrity Rehab and something with TMZ which maybe explained their trip. Yeah. I know. I need a life.

I started a contract job for a friend of mine, managing a community in Maryland. It’s good to be back on a schedule because working for myself and trying to stick to a clock, well, I am the sucks. I don’t hold myself to any sort of goal structure and I’m really easy on myself. It’s better for me to actually have to report to someone else. X says I can report to him but those days are over. He’s my bitch now!

Speaking of not being on a schedule, in my other life as the Real Estate Agent, I had a transaction with unbelievable dreams for clients - just the sweetest, funniest, smart-about-real estate people you would want. The problem would be the agent on the other side of the transaction. I used to take the comments about Real Estate Agents personally, but this person made me realize why people HATE Real Estate Agents. I’m embarrassed to share a profession with this person, much less walk the same earth.

The plan to move to NY is on hold, I’m not sure for how long. See aforementioned phone call hang up and somehow my idea to move back there doesn’t seem as good. Maybe I’ll change my mind again but for right now, the money is here, the jobs are here, and so it makes the most sense to stay put. I can’t believe it either. It’s certainly not my first choice, but that’s where we are.

Okay, so the anniversary trip. I believe I have hatched my most brilliant idea since, well, ever. We all know real estate in Florida has taken one of the worst dives in the country…so…I was thinking. Wouldn’t now be a good time to snap up a condo in Florida, plan to pay it off, then retire there in 20 years? The benefit of marrying someone older is they’ll have to retire when you’re still young and spry and you’ll be the hottest trophy wife in Del Boca Vista. Hopefully.

Retirement homes. These are the things that make me happy now. I know. It’s totally different than the old days of Velvet where I used to start out with “So this guy pulled out his cock at a bar.”

Concrete Jungle Where Dreams Are Made

It’s been a busy few weeks.

Anyone who knows a Greek family knows they are incapable of living more than 11 feet from their parent’s front door. Greeks just don’t like it when they can’t throw Baklava at you. And as Gloom proved to me today, she doesn’t like it when she can’t slam the phone down on me. I didn’t even do anything this time.

Never mind that fact, I have wanted to move back to NY/CT since about 4 minutes after I left, in November, 1998.  Not to say that living in Atlanta for 3 years, Baltimore for 2 and DC for 7 hasn’t been eye-opening, but I’d like to get back to the place where the pizza is good, the F word runs rampant and the Yankees are a baseball team instead of the Civil War “losers.” I’ll also tell you a secret. People are nicer in NY. Don’t ask me why because I don’t know either. I find the people in DC to be the rudest I’ve ever encountered. I love playing Sidewalk Chicken - who will move out of whose way first. I always lose. People see fit to push you into a tree box here, yet in NY, the sidewalk traffic somehow moves harmoniously in all directions. New Yorkers are just smarter I guess.

Operation “Claw My Way Back to the Big Apple” has been in full force and after months years of job hunting, I received a job offer. X was painting the ceiling (he’s my Agador Spartacus now) when I walked into the living room holding my phone, reading from the email. He got down off the ladder and sat on the couch. I felt my legs give out and sat on the chair.

X: Why are you crying?
Velvet: Because I can’t believe it’s finally over.
X: The job search?
Velvet: No, living here. I can’t believe that it’s finally over.

I never thought I would have such an emotional reaction to the idea of moving back home.

That night I had a dream as vivid as I have ever had. It involved me going to work at the company, and bringing Sammy and Thora with me, then trying to sneak them around so no one would see them. I went out for lunch and got locked out of the office and had to climb through the window but I was unable to get Sammy and Thora back inside and I had to leave them in the yard outside the office building. I had to go back to work, and I wasn’t able to watch them to make sure they didn’t run off somewhere.

When I woke up, X was at a meeting. I was alone. Within an hour, I was almost hyperventilating. Stupid dream. Something was going on in my brain about this job and Sammy and Thora and I just couldn’t figure it out.  X and I went up to NY and looked for places to live. We spent a day buzzing around and figured out we’re actually better off buying than renting. Yes. Even now.

Then I don’t really know what to say, but something wasn’t right. The job wasn’t right, the feel of moving back home didn’t feel right, it just felt like I either missed the bus, or the next one was coming, but this isn’t the bus I’m supposed to board. It pained me tremendously, but I turned the job down. Life resumed in D.C. as though this little blip never occurred.

In Real Estate, every time the phone rings your world gets shuffled all over again. It only took a few days before things that were “on hold” materialized, stuff changed, and suddenly I’m busy. I’m very much a believer in fate and that there really are no coincidences - things happen the way they are supposed to. Why is one career in one city working out so well when another in the city where I want to be doesn’t feel right?

The other night, just as I was falling asleep, I said out loud, “Ohhhh…..so that’s why…..”

X said, “What are you talking about? Are you sleeping?”

I said, “That’s why I wasn’t supposed to take that job. DC isn’t done with me yet. There’s something else here. That’s why I just got the client that I did.”

Kourtney and Kim Fake New York, Episode 2

“Kourtney and Kim Take New York” aired the next installment of scripted reality. Khloe comes to visit and just in time too, because we didn’t have enough black eyeliner or fake lashes on set. Kim and Kourt think they are so cute by hiding behind a wall when Khloe arrives. One of them says, “We’ll hear her walking!” I think they mean they’ll hear her talking - like a baby. And she didn’t disappoint. Goo goo ga ga, here she is! Then they all climb on her and go back to the hotel.

We learn that Kim has done a fashion shoot. She stripped, naturally, however, she says it’s supposed to be very artsy and tasteful. Naturally. While Kim is describing the photographic vision, you can’t help but feel you already know how this story is going to end. Spread eagle, she shows us how skyscrapers are going to cover her ass crack and vagina.

Khloe comes by with a life-sized blow up giraffe Lamar sent to her. Yeah. I don’t know either. Moving right along.

The proofs arrive and the magazine allegedly didn’t do what they promised. I have a hard time believing neither she nor her Momager considered this could be a possibility.

She cries to the other K sisters about how far she’s come, only to end up back at this place. Sigh. You know Kim…it’s not like you’ve been matriculating through med school since the sex tape scandal. You put this body on display and people just work with what you give them.

Scott looks at the pictures and I swear I saw a smirk on his face.

Khloe and Kourtney remained expressionless at her plight. I’m not sure if this is genetics or botox. Kim then does what all little girls do when their world caves in – she calls mommy. Before we visit what “no press is bad press” Momager said, let’s get a frame of reference by comparing this to what my own mother, Gloom, would say:

“I’m watching Chris, can this wait?”
Thinking she’s babysitting some kid named Chris, I say, “Chris who?”
“Chris Matthews.”
“So you’re on a first name basis now?” Oh. She already hung up.

Ok, so my mother wasn’t the best example.

Momager Kris says the pictures are gorgeous. In the name of the all mighty dollar, nothing fazes that woman. She would put Kim’s fallopian tubes on ebay if she were getting her Momager commission.

The K sisters take Kim out for some drinks to get her mind off this drama. Some guy at the bar asks Kim for a picture. She jumps on that faster than Suze Orman does someone with less than a million dollars in the “Can I Afford It” segment. The guy’s girlfriend starts yelling at Kim. Scott steps in to defend the family meal ticket and it turns into the much-hyped brawl you may have seen on the commercial. Kourtney returns from the bathroom to find Scott mid-punch. Despite his innocence, she goes into psycho meltdown, with the flat affect dialed up to 10. We needed this for drama, otherwise all we would have would be the boring storyline of Kim’s nudie pix that’s been on loop for four years already.

Everyone gets home, Kourtney goes to her panic room/safe place, refusing to talk to anyone. The next day, Kourtney dresses like a tulip which makes it even harder to take her fakety fake anger remotely seriously.

Momager calls Kim back and says they can’t stop the pictures from being published because they are already on newsstands. Uh, thanks mom? Kim says “I think I ate like Carl’s Junior on the way there.” Way to cross promote your brands Kim, but you’re a big fat liar. All of this is happening in NY, and guess where Carls Jr is? Nowhere near NY.

With only a couple minutes to go, solving the Kartrashian drama is like playing “Name That Tune.” I bet they solve this in 3 minutes. I think they can solve it in 2. I can solve that drama in 1 minute!” Kourtney forgives Scott. When Kim sees big glossy naked pictures of herself she gets misty-eyed, falls in love all over again and says to her moneymakers, “Please, let’s never fight again!

Kourtney and Kim Fake New York

I hate to go back to the Kartrashians so soon, but I continue to be amazed at the fact that these talentless bores have a television show. Several shows, in fact. There is yet another spinoff, “Kourtney and Kim Take New York.” The Amtrak crashed into the station and I cannot look away. In fact, I had to watch it twice because X and I could have sworn we heard the following statement from giant douchebag Scott:

“Kim saw me at the lowest point of my life in Miami. But I’m going to do everything I can to prove to her that I’ve changed so we can rekindle our relationship.”

Needle. Off. The. Fucking. Record. What????? Kim? You know that’s not the sister you’re dating, right cardigan boy? Wow. Wonder if people are going to catch on to that. It’s hard to know because the slow boring style of speaking from both Kim and Kourtney may have lulled many of you into a trance. Without Khloe’s baby talk to distract us, we’re all in danger.

Then Kim’s friend arrived. Is it me or do all their friends look like them? Dripping in black hair dye, black eyeliner and black mascara. Oh. Wait. Not surprised that Kris Jenner is one of the Producers. Clearly she’s had some words with wardrobe and makeup. “Make them all look like us!”

Then they showed the store. I was just in New York last week and popped in to see what the girls had been up to. When they said on the show that they hired a designer, X and I laughed so hard milk came out of his nose. Last week the store looked just like the empty shell they showed tonight on TV - except it had racks of ugly clothes, guys walking around with headsets and zero customers.

Anyway, the designer hung some drapes and took a wrecking ball to the door because when Kanye West showed up, his ego couldn’t fit.

Kim and the gum. Kim please. Where is your stylist? Chewing gum like that reminds me of Jessica Simpson and we all saw what happened to her career. You should stop. Kthanks.

It’s not a Kartrashian show unless we have drama. That comes in with some guy Kim once knew, now she doesn’t, but she saw him, and her doppelganger friend got his number, so Kourtney dials his number from Kim’s phone and Kim hangs up and he calls back and she sends him to voicemail. But not before Scott tried to role play the conversation with Kim and she gives up in disgust. He reminds us how Klassy he is by saying, “I got into your sisters panties didn’t I?” Yes. Keep reminding everyone that the only way you could get into the family was to leave your seed behind the fence.  Then he makes some comment about his junk to Kourtney and we’re all supposed to find this very titillating I’m sure.

Kim learns from Kourtney that Scott is moving into their suite. Now Kim’s NYC experience has become Miami Part Deux. This is exactly the reason Khloe kept screaming, “I left my husband. You made me leave my husband. I want to be with my husband. I miss my husband.” (Did you get that she’s married now? Yes! She has a husband!) Kim has date with the guy, talks baby talk to him, and then chastely rebuffs his advance at a kiss. Come on Kim. We’ve seen you have sex, we know you can do better. She cries to Kourtney and Scott who console konsole her and then Kim slaps Kourtney’s ass, manhandles her like Khloe usually does (insert Khloe-man-joke here) and it’s over.

Coming attractions show us Kim is going to record a song and Scott is going to get into drunken brawls. It’s the same formula for all other reality shows with talentless wonders. Dear God please help us all.

Money Money Money, Must Be Funny, In a Rich Man’s World

The last few weeks have been an exercise in testing how much money we can save. I’m at the driver’s seat and X is (unwillingly at times) along for the ride. I usually make very constructive New Year’s Resolutions and I slacked off in 2009 and 2010. For our New Year’s resolutions this year, we I decided and forced X to agree that we have to cut our restaurant spending.  All the eating out (heh, I said eat out) is admittedly mostly my fault. The irony here is that I don’t even think DC has many good restaurants. I can count the places on one hand which we frequent.

Our weekly limit of out-of-house eating is now $20. We’re off to a good start. I made a spreadsheet with each week of the year and hung it on the refrigerator. The week starts over on Saturdays and we have to log everything we eat out of the house. This is painful, but an incredible solution for us as it has forced us to really think about things we want to buy. I would own stock in Big Gulps if I could, but knowing that buying one will take 10% of my budget, I’ve passed up many 7-11’s since January 1st.

Saving money has become more contagious for me than that stupid flu that’s going around. I have amassed the McDonald’s coupon books which have a free 32 ounce beverage coupon in them. I’m all over those Restaurant.com deals like a Kardashian on an endorsement deal.  The other night, I found this website and started clicking links and downloading coupons. I seriously cannot figure out how some women can go to the grocery store, get $600 of groceries and walk out paying $5. The coupon thing only really works if you have space to stockpile food because you have to buy it when it goes on sale and with a coupon. We of course, don’t have any storage space so we can’t do this. But I’m one home-out-in-the-suburbs away from being a full blown coupon addict with a garage that looks like Food Lion.

Yesterday I had my first major score with the Velvet Family Favorite:

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We are all obsessed with the Seasonal cookies Pillsbury puts out every holiday. Sammy especially loves these cookies. Since he was a puppy, he knew when I would pull the dough out of the refrigerator and would stalk the kitchen and demand he get his fair share dozen.

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There is a coupon online for $1.00 (page 3) off two of these packs of cookies, and Safeway just marked the Christmas cookies from $3.00 down to 75 cents. So you can get two for $1.50 and then use the $1.00 coupon and pay 25 cents each! That’s a 92% savings! Cha-ching!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know you are just squealing in delight at this secret revelation.

OhmygodIamsuchafuckingloser.

Keeping Up With the Kar-Trashians

Today’s Post Brought to You by the Letter K

So. Now that the Kardashian sisters have a lawsuit on their head for $75 million for their association with that ridiculous Kardashian Kard, they are currently looking into new business ventures. Options abound for girls who never met a product they wouldn’t endorse. Here are some of the new ideas the girls are slapping their fame name on and a couple of the ones that miserably failed.

Kardashian Kollege - Curriculum Kurriculum includes Public Speaking (not to be confused with Pubic Speaking offered at the lower kampus) where you learn to talk reallllllly realllllly slowwwwwwwly and overuse the words “amazing” and “like” while finger combing your hair.

Kardashian Kar - Think “Kitt” on Knight Rider, but the voice is slow-talking like the sisters. Developers are currently working on voice automation speed. A driver died when the Kar voice fell asleep during a very important warning. “There……like……. appears……..to…like…… be………….. a………. cliff………. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.”

Kardashian Kamera - First customers to buy were a couple kouple who put them on the tables at their wedding. Despite the non-stop photo snapping, all the pictures that developed were images of Kim having sex. Kamera has obvious flaws and went back for redesign and software upgrade for further analysis.

Kardashian Kards - Images of the sisters on one side and the 52 card deck on the other, unveiled at Vegas Table games. Kards were big loss for the casinos because the numbers didn’t go higher than 4. That was as high as the sisters could count kould kount. Kards are back in product development until the girls learn what comes after 7. Everyone is very worried about the face cards. “Waaaaaaait…you….. mean like……the next…..number….like …..afffffterrrrr……tennnnn……. is jaaaaaack? That’s amaaaaaazing…..”

Kardashian Kondoms - Currently undergoing third round of testing as rounds 1 and 2 were colossal failures. Several thousand teenage girls got pregnant by guys who wear cardigan sweaters tied around their neck. The Kardashian sisters said, “Ohhhh…we didn’t knowwwww they would like get hollllllles in them after we like walked over them in our Louboutinnnnnnnns.”

Kardashian Koffin - Sexy images of the sisters branded all over the koffin. Makes funerals fun for all ages.

Kardashian Kremation - After the girls bore you to death with their “antics” and monotone voices, they promise to light you on fire with their smoking hot asses.

Kardashian Kandy Korn - Mom-a-ger Kris sent the Kandy Korns throughout Georgia, the Carolinas, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana with a note, “May KKK bring you into the spirit of the Halloween season.”

Kardashian Kocaine - speeds talking to at least 5 words a minute.

Kardashian Kamp - Millions of little girls on an elementary school field near you, learning how to manufacture talent where there is none. Graduates move on to Kardashian Kareers.

Kardashian Kareers - Employment service training women to make money without any talent or education. I think I know some women who can be advisors for the agency.

Kardashian Kalculator - Because 2 plus 2 really is 5.

Kardashian Kalculus - Are you fucking kidding me? You really expected a business venture here? You saw what the Kalculator and deck of kards was like! Kome on!

Diskontinued:

Kardashian Kolonoscopy Klinic - Currently under investigation as several patients reported colon cancer after their screening. Upon visits to other reputable Colonoscopy Clinics (differentiated by the use of the letter “C”) it was discovered the Kardashian Kolonoscopy Klinic really just inserted butt plugs and never actually performed the testing. Klinic is now Klosed.

Kardashian Kabernet - Wine pulled off the market after each sister reported doing something stupid they didn’t remember after imbibing. Kim ended up with a sex tape with the world’s most disgusting sleazebag Ray J, Kourtney practiced the rhythm method with world’s most disgusting douchebag Scott Disick and Khloe tried and failed to wax the world’s hairiest vagina.

Chelsea Handler: Style Fail

Chelsea Handler’s entire wardrobe is an exercise in malfunction.

Oh please let 2011 be the year Chelsea Handler hires a stylist. Wait. She probably has one. Okay, let 2011 be the year she hires a better stylist.

I should probably make a disclaimer here in that I like Chelsea. Her cutting, sarcastic humor is much needed on the comedic front, and she surely passes my celebrity litmus test question: “I’ll take famous people I would be friends with for $800 please Alex.”

Chelsea dresses like that drunk friend you inevitably had to scrape off the club’s dance floor because she spent the night doing body shots off a barback with more hair product than the entire cast of Jerseylicious. Chelsea dresses like she just fell out of a Camaro with neon lights underneath it when it stopped at the Jersey City tollbooth at 14B. Chelsea dresses like that girl you see, the morning after, trying to hail a cab with mascara streaked down her face and her underwear in her purse.

The first time Chelsea’s choice in attire assaulted my eyes was when her nightly show was in its infancy. She wore white jeans and a camisole style top which was a little too short. You could see everything through those jeans. Everything. I was sure once the powers that be saw her panty lines on camera, her wardrobe would surely endure a more rigorous editing process. Sadly, no.

Her standard lingerie top/skinny jean uniform screams trashy 19 year old who shops the clearance pages of the Victoria’s Secret Catalog.

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Another disclaimer: I never got on board the skinny jean bandwagon. They don’t look good on a lot of women who wear them, and frankly, tight skinny jeans are a conduit to a nasty yeast infection. Billy Ocean may have liked his Caribbean Queen dashing by him in painted on jeans, but I’ll take my jeans boot cut please.

Maybe one in 10 times I turn on Chelsea Lately to find her wearing something decent and tasteful. The other nine times? It’s 1984 again and a Simplicity Pattern threw up inside a Units Clothing Store.

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Someone call the police, she hijacked the wardrobe trailer for Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam’s “Lost in Emotion” video.

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Here’s Chelsea at a live show in Vegas last summer.

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(Photo: © Erik Kabik/ RETNA/ www.erikkabik.com)

The shirt makes me sing a little tune in my head. A “Thank you for being a friend, traveled down the road and back again” sort of tune. Shirts aren’t supposed to talk, but I’m pretty sure this one is asking “Am I in time for the early bird special?”As my eyes scrolled down, I crossed my fingers, toes and tits and thought “Please don’t let there be camel toe please don’t let there be camel toe.”

Worse. Sausages. With whiskers. Damn it Chelsea. What the fuck are you thinking?

And this. What exactly is this? I wish I had the full shot but this was enough. Was this the audition outfit for Schneider’s stand-in on “One Day at a Time?”

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The other night, she wore this and it really made me weep.

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It looks like she just came from the pool and that’s her bikini top underneath a towel. Or a tent. Or a tablecloth one of the moms brought to our childhood birthday parties at the Ground Round so they could dress the place up a little.

She is capable of tasteful, age appropriate dressing. I know she is. There is rare evidence of it. Come Chelsea. In 2011, let’s have a little more of this:

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And a lot less of this:

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Take Out Some Insurance on Me

X is having a love affair of epic proportions with his bachelor pad apartment. I swear to Gucci it’s taking him forever to get the hell out of there. He keeps saying he threw out and/or donated a lot of stuff, and that “there’s not that much left.” But then I go over there and his version of “not that much” is my version of “ohmygod we need a Hoarders style intervention.” He’ll be in good company though since my family should be there too. In fact, gotta love them, we dumped a ton of X’s stuff off on them. They don’t even ask questions. They just opened the garage and took it all in, right in the middle of Sunday’s blizzard.

To be fair, X says I have a problem not with hoarding, but with saying no to my mother. She has dumped more sheets and towels off on me over the years, most of which are obsolete because today’s deep mattresses just don’t accommodate sheets from 1954. I’m learning, though. Before we left their house this time my mom tried to pawn her wares off on us.

Gloom: Do you want the king size sheets I have upstairs?
Me: We don’t even have a king size bed.
Gloom: Well, in case you get one.
Me: We’re not getting one until we move, and at this rate, it will be forever. Besides, all the sheets you give me don’t fit the bed. Then we go sliding off the mattresses I wake up with fitted sheet in the crack of my ass.
Gloom: Okay. I’ll keep them upstairs for you. Let me know when you want them.
Me: No more linens. We’re drowning in linens!
Gloom: They’ll be here when you’re ready.

Okay, Okay, I know. I didn’t exactly ward that off, just postponed it until a later date. Baby steps.

When X went to pick up the rental truck at Budget, they asked if he wanted insurance. He said that our insurance covered him, and the truck rental guy said it probably didn’t. X called the insurance company to find out it would cover liability but not damage, so he opted for that insurance. I grew up with a dad who laughed at all those add-ons, sniffing them out as a profit center. He always took his chances and I never saw it backfire. Because the Baklava doesn’t fall far from the tree Box from Swiss Colony, I never added any type of insurance to any car rental. The one time I bought that Circuit City extended warranty for my Sony Walkman in 1994 I was almost disowned. But when it comes to insurance, my husband is a different story.

X loves insurance. If X could manage this, he would cheat on me with insurance. He would have a three way with his car insurance and life insurance. When his health insurance showed up, it would be a disgusting, no holes spared, orgy. They do not make insurance the man doesn’t have. He would buy insurance insurance if there were such a product. I have cheated the insurance thing left and right in his eyes - most notably when we rented a car in Napa and they took two hours to process us and we had been first in line (also Budget rental by the way.) I was so hungry that when they asked if I wanted insurance I practically gouged their eyes out. “GIVE ME THE CAR AND NO I DON’T WANT YOUR FUCKING INSURANCE!!” X told me I would regret this. I didn’t. However what I did regret was not upgrading to a luxury car because the morons forgot to charge my credit card. For any of it. Score!

Anyway, back to the truck rental. We went outside to inspect the truck, noted the existing damage, and X said he would meet me back at his place. The truck rental guy said, “Do you want me to pull it out for you?” X said he could do it. I heard the guy say “Are you sure” and X again declined his offer. As I was walking across the parking lot to my car (which is currently idling like it’s driving through the Sub-Sahara!?!) and started the engine. I went out a different exit and was waiting and waiting and waiting, and no X. I gave up and headed toward home when he called me.

Me: Where are you?
X: Just got out of the parking lot. Did you see what happened?
Me: No. I totally lost track of you.
X: When I was pulling out of the parking lot I hit the trailer next to me.

Great. I just got home and found a sock on the doorknob.

Merry Christmas!!!

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Merry Christmas from Sammy, Thora and I. If they would have just sat up like I asked…you wouldn’t be able to see that I have paint cans stored in my fireplace, and that my sideboard is in front of the fireplace. We had to do some rearranging to fit the chinchillas, who, by the way, don’t say Merry Christmas. They are too busy in their dust bath, where they have been for the past hour.

X (my husband) asked me yesterday what the title of my previous post meant and I think I was shocked. It’s a line from “Do They Know It’s Christmas.” All my titles come from song lyrics.  I thought the last post was obvious given the time of year and how often that song is being played. Oh well.

Anyway, my implication in the choice of title is not that we need to spread all our money all over the place and take care of everyone, but the recession and bank bailouts are still pretty fresh in everyone’s mind. Sympathy runs low for people who (may or may not) have thousands of dollars to spend on a purse when other people are suffering tremendously. Is it unfair to tell someone what they should or shouldn’t do with their money? Sure, in theory. But many of these people came by their wealth in not so honest ways. We found out a lot of people lied about a lot of things where other’s livelihoods were at stake and their own personal ones only stood to gain wealth because of it.

Remember how after September 11th, people were just nicer for a while? Eventually people returned to their former ways because you can’t grieve forever. But the recession is still happening. And it’s not going anywhere just yet - at least not for most of us. Most of us are still under water. Hopefully 2011 is better for everyone, and maybe next year if we find the same Christmas List on the Metro North, it won’t be as much of a shock.

Well Tonight Thank God It’s Them Instead of You

My brother and I have decided not to exchange Christmas presents this year.  Instead, we are going to help someone in need. You know how they have those Christmas Lists that kids write and they get printed in the paper? Well, we got way lucky.  My brother found someone’s Christmas List on the Metro North, while commuting from NYC back to Connecticut! Actually, the guy who was sitting next to him forgot it when he was collecting the rest of his fancy Wall Street Investment Reports and got off the train in Mamaroneck.

I would like to propose that we all band together and get this poor girl the items from her “dream wish list.” I think this girl has really and truly embraced the spirit of Christmas. Her boyfriend already put notes next to everything so some of the legwork is even done for us!

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Let’s pause for some commentary. I like how her poor, obviously long-suffering boyfriend, put a question mark next to bicycle and “whatever the newest Chanel makeup is (as long as I don’t already have it.)” What is this guy supposed to do? Look through your makeup bag, take notes, and then go to the counter and say “Give me everything newer than this?” I also love that she misspelled Kerastase and he inserted the “S.” He seems detail oriented. (I have a theory that there are two types of people in the world: Detail Oriented and Big Picture. Detail oriented are the ones who crunch the numbers, dot the I’s, cross the T’s, and make sure the bills are paid on time. They are your Assistants, Associates, Analysts, etc, and they do not typically make a lot of money. The Big Picture people are the geniuses who see the path to success, the ones who can make it all happen, the movers and shakers. A Big Picture person would dispense this nonsense list to his assistant to handle so he could go off to make more money.) I think “Ivana More Stuff” set her sights on someone who may not be able to pay for her lofty ambitions.

She also wants Louis Vuitton City Guides, which you can clearly get on the cheap by another publisher. Has she heard of Fodors? Frommers? Phonies? Okay, maybe not that last one. But, she wants classic literature cheap. In fact, that’s the only thing she is price sensitive to. Poor Dickens is rolling over in his grave right now.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way- in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

How…fitting.

Oh, and speaking of things that fit, on to the shoes!

I would love to post a picture of the Louboutins, however, those fuckers defied all previous fashion norms and managed to copyright that stupid red sole they have. I worked in Fashion for a few years and this is unprecedented! Designers just had to live with being knocked off. So, anyone who posts a picture of their shoes gets slammed with a copyright infringement notice. I will, however, give you this link.

Let’s keep going.

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The purses. This bitch is so into purses. Men, please listen up. Any girl who obsesses this much over purses at this price level is wasting your time. There will always be some new, fancier, more expensive purse she needs to have - and don’t think it ends there. If $1000 purses don’t keep her appeased, she’ll be trading you like yesterday’s Louis in no time.  And if she’s spending all her time making lists for you with links to all the places you can find such purses, guess what she’s not doing? Yeah that’s right big guy. You’ll have to figure out how to make that thing throw up all by yourself.

I had to check the price on the Cartier Love Bracelet. While Cartier won’t give you prices, it does appear it is $6200 according to other websites. Yowsers. Honey, I know you’re living in a bubble…a purse and Cartier filled bubble with your noise canceling ear phones on, but we’re in a recession. R E C E S S I O N. Do you know how many people will claim less than $6200 in income this year on their taxes? Probably one for each perfectly coiffed hair on your head.

Last part of the list.

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My dog and I are currently sharing a chenille blankie that set me back $29. I’m warm though. I wonder how much warmer I would be if I were under the fancy Hermes Orange blanket. Would I be $1096 warmer? I dunno.

All right. So we have a plan laid out in front of us. If 150 of us can each contribute a dollar to this poor thing, we can buy her the Smythson Passport Cover.

Who’s with me?

Don’t Go Away Mad, Just Go Away

I don’t even know where to start with this one.

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I had to collect my jaw off the floor after laying my eyes on this atrocity. I left it alone when they got nailed last week for that ridiculous Kardashian Kredit Kard they had which charged all sorts of terrible fees and all they did was stroke their hair and feign Valley of the Dolls like stupidity. “We had noooooooooooooooooooooooo ideeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeea”

I’m shocked as hell they didn’t re-spell the word Christmas to be “Kardashian Kristmas! because omg, we’re like, omg, soooooooooooo klever…..zzzzzzzzzzzzz”

Let’s start on the left. Which stupid sister is that? Kendall? Kylie? Whatever her name is, she looks like Morticia and worse, I can see the outline of her pubic triangle. This might be worse than Elaine with the Nipple, because it’s giving all the Pedophiles exactly what they want for Christmas.

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Next up, Kim. Of course, OF COURSE you are in a white dress. You can’t waste time blending in with everyone else, you have to pick something to show off your spray tan. The most annoying thing to me about Kim is the way she is constantly stroking and fingering her own hair. Today I picked up an US Weekly at my doctors office and there she is, with Halle Barry’s Ex, stroking her hair.

Then there’s the brother who cheated on the Pussycat Doll. I looked at this picture 3 times before I even saw him sitting in the Boob, Hair, Fake and Bake and Fur Eyelash Jungle.

Bruce looks like a corpse. Speaking of corpses, I’m totally shocked these attention whores didn’t dig up their namesake father, slap some makeup on him so he would look like the rest of them, and prop him up there on the stairs.

I think they staged Scott all the way to the right so that when he finally gets Kourtney’s Louboutin Boot up his ass they can just crop him out.

I’m so over these people. When are they going to go away?

Home Sweet Home

X and I have too many places to live and not enough jobs so we had to jettison his place in the burbs. He is supposed to be moving in with me this weekend. Supposed to be.

I know what you are thinking: What is this unconventional bullshit marriage where he lives in one state and she in another? Yes yes, I know. But for reasons that make sense only to us, (kids/schools/commuting issues) we decided to split our time in this fashion. My place is pretty small so I can’t exactly say I’ve been aching to have him move in with me. I was hoping that one of a few things would happen.

1) I would get a job in NY and we would move.
2) I would get a job in NY and we would move.
3) I would get a job in NY and we would move.

Kids, not only is getting a job in NY a damn near impossible feat when you’ve spent your career in real estate, but I think that the market up there has officially gone into hibernation for winter. Any lead I had for a job was “put on hold.” And I don’t want to take a job that is tenuous, I want something that is going to last, because I am not trying to break any records for having qualified for unemployment in the most states.  But, because there are kids, and schools to think of, we may have to go this summer no matter what. Of course I know what will happen. I’ll have a bunch of clients here and I won’t be able to leave. X and the kids will move up there and wait for my visits.

See. Everyone fucking gets to move to NY except me. I’ve been saying this for years. It’s really starting to piss me off.

Anyway, back to this move. We had everything scheduled for this weekend, and today the god damned elevator finally said “enough.” It’s officially sleeping for at least 10 days. I can’t say I blame it to be honest. I live in a building with a few dentists, and that elevator brings their lazy asses from 1 to 2 from 2 to 1 all. day. long. oh. my. god. take. the. fucking. stairs.

Normally the elevator thing wouldn’t bother us. In fact, we already got a bunch of boxes down to the car so we can get them out to Delaware. But we have to get my sleigh bed out, plus mattress and boxspring, and get his platform bed up here. I still didn’t draw the line here. I was willing to do this up and down the stairs. It’s at this point where the straw broke the camel’s back.

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Oh? Have I not mentioned the chinchillas?

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Arrgh. I cannot bring those monsters up the stairs in their cage. If we don’t keep the cage upright their poop will fly out and frankly, with the way I expect to be bitching, there’s a chance I’ll get rodent poop in my mouth. Then there’s the possibility that someone won’t have a good grip and they’ll go flying back down the stairs. So, no, they must be moved in the elevator.

They are so freaking cute but 2 people, 2 dogs and 2 chinchillas.

In 600 square feet.

I actually figured out we can just barely fit them in, but it involves storing furniture in the fireplace. I wish I were kidding.

Hey. Does anyone want 2 chinchillas? I don’t want to give them away but X is making me.

It’s Not Over Tonight, Just Give Me One More Chance to Make it Right

I’m in a reading frenzy. I finally attacked the pile of books that I’ve had stacked up that I keep adding to but never make a dent in reading. I put a few choice selections at the top of the pile to rejuvenate my interest in reading and just finished the Pattie Boyd autobiography. Who is Pattie Boyd? Well. Without her, we allegedly would not know a world with the Eric Clapton songs “Layla,” “Wonderful Tonight,” and “Something” by the Beatles.

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The book mostly covers her relationship with George Harrison (from 1964 - 1977) and with Eric Clapton (from 1977 - 1989.) Those years are a major approximate, because the lines were so blurry. George was never faithful. Neither was Eric. Eric was so blatantly UNFAITHFUL that he impregnated a couple other women while married to Pattie. You feel bad for her, but then you don’t, mostly because of comments like, “When I found out Eric got ___(insert name here) pregnant, I left and moved in with my mother. This was very difficult for me because I was in the middle of in vitro treatments and I needed to continue.”

Um. What?

In Vitro is so fucking unbelievably painful and ridiculous that I continue to be stunned at the stupidity of this woman, whose life I formerly envied, to continue with the commitment to endure such a horrible process with a man who doesn’t care enough for his wife to keep his cock in his pants. She moved out, and yet, still saw fit to try to bring a child into the world in the middle of a dysfunctional relationship where she was living with her mother and he was living with the latest trash he picked up on his tour.

Funny how appearances are deceiving and a book can change your whole opinion of Rockstar Wives and music muses.

In the spirit of being the best wife possible, last night X went to bed early and I stayed up surfing the net as I usually do. One thing led to another and I found myself on a website, recommended by my compadres on my Real Housewives Message Boards, called Redtube. That link is NOT safe for work. It’s not safe for most places actually. It won’t start playing any audio, but your eyes will suffer a visual assault and there may be movement down below that you won’t be able to hide at your desk.

Anyway, I found something I thought X would be rather fond of, so I went upstairs, put the laptop onto my pillow facing him, hit play and let the light coming off the screen and sound coming from the speakers wake him up. Then I went into the bathroom to take off my makeup and get ready for bed.

You know…there really is nothing in the world like outsourcing your foreplay. Too bad Pattie Boyd didn’t have internet and couldn’t do that to keep things interesting. Maybe more songs would have been written about her.

Still the Same

Look how smashingly versatile I am!

In November, 2001, I went up to Connecticut for what is, up there, notoriously the best night to go out of the year: The night before Thanksgiving. Everyone is back in town, excited about being home, excited about the holiday, and excited about whatever. I went out with a bunch of friends, among the group being my lunatic ex-boyfriend, TheCop. This would be our last outing together as he proved, yet again, that being alone with me and keeping his cock inside his pants (despite the fact that his wife was lingering around,) was an impossible task.

In November, 2004, my friend Pitstop and I went to Italy for 10 days over Thanksgiving. She just said the other day, as she tried to pull her 2 year old out of a planter in front of her house, “That was the best Thanksgiving ever.” We saw the Pope, someone masturbated on me on a bus in Rome, and I found out that Popeye in Italian was the funniest thing ever. I also bought a CD from which I snagged my bridal march song 6 years later. That was one of the best trips ever.

In November, 2005, I went to my friend’s house for Thanksgiving, where I acted as his beard. His mother was very upset to find out I married someone else this past summer. I said, “Maybe it’s time to tell your mom you like to take it in the ass?”

In November, 2006, I dragged Sherlock to have Thanksgiving with my Uncles in New Jersey. Sadly, both of my Uncles have since passed away, but it’s a Thanksgiving I’m, well, thankful I had.

This past November has been the final installment in the way of the Holiday wind-down. Where my holidays were once filled with carousing around the town, or the world, now, I’m just a homebody.

X and I spent last weekend spoiling #2, as for a variety of reasons, he has somewhat fallen into the cracks. We joked at dinner about playing Scattergories, and when we got home he was pulling out the game. That kid makes me laugh so hard. When the letter was “C” and the category was “things you clean” I started laughing and said I had a great answer for that one. #2 said, “I’m going to put it too so you don’t get points for it!” I wrote “clock” because as we all know, it’s a statement to say, “I’m going to clean your clock,” which has a drastically different meaning from “cleaning one’s cock.” Well, he was totally embarrassed when he realized I changed my answer and he would have to now read the word in front of us. He opted to forego the point, despite the fact that X and I tackled him to see what he really wrote. Awesome.

Later when the category was “things you do on a rainy day” and the letter was “M” and I said “masturbate,” X told me I’m not a good influence on the kids. Oops.

It must have been the theme of the night because when the letter was “W” and the category was “things you play with,” he said, “Willy.” We just looked at him. X said, “What’s Willy?” He said, “You know, Dad, when I was little?” I said, “I’ve never heard of a friend named Willy.” He said, “No, that’s what little kids call it. The willy. You know…” I started to laugh so hard, I was willing to grant 10 points for that answer. These are not where his talents end, by the way. X and I love that Megatouch game at the bars. We play the photo hunt game where you have to find the five mistakes in the picture. That kid can spot them 20 feet away - which is helpful because he’s underage and they don’t let teenagers within 20 feet of the bars.

Then, that night we had to help him with his paper for school. My parents were pretty hands-on with school because they wanted us to get through it with the best grades possible. If we asked for help, they really dove in and helped us, they didn’t just answer from another room.  So, I dove into that paper and we did it. He had to do a presentation, but talking it out with him for a few hours while we wrote the paper really helped him deliver the speech as well. But he also had to do a commercial, damn these kids are smart. I still wouldn’t know how to do a commercial. Shit, I wanted to make a mini video of our wedding to music and I am going to have to ask the 14 year old to help me. Stupid full circle coming around to hit me in the face.

Anyway lovers, Happy Thanksgiving. We’re going to our little bungalow at the beach and we’re going to cook up a storm. Damn. Homework? Cooking? Who is this woman and what has she done with the former, slutty Velvet in Dupont? I’m like, domestic now and stuff.

Will You Still Love Me Tomorrrrrrrrrrrr-oh!

Celebrity relationship news is always comical to me.  I’ve never been able to view celebrities as real, because the things they do are things that no one in real life would ever imagine doing. Here’s the most “interesting” of recent celebrity relationship news with my flip, one-liner, stock response.

Eva Longoria Parker and Tony Parker are getting divorced.

I never really got on board that Eva lovetrain. I don’t think she’s remotely attractive, and I think she looks well beyond her alleged 30-some-odd years. Anyway, to this breakup I say:

Show me the hottest woman in the world and I’ll show you a guy who is sick of fucking her.

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Nick Lachey announced his engagement to Milli Vanilli. Wait. Minnie Mouse. Nope. Still wrong. Vanessa Minnillo. When I look at Vanessa Minnillo I think “Hawaiian Tropic Girl, 1987.” But, I am happy for Nick. Sort of. He’s a celebrity, so he’s not really real, but still, anyone who witnessed that ridiculousness that was the marriage  to Jessica Simpleton absolutely HAS to be happy for Nick. The poor guy marries a virgin who comes with a dowry - Papa Joe Simpson. As if being in a boy band wasn’t enough torture and humiliation!  Then he had his mega-bad-decision to marry her paraded on television as we painfully watched the where do buffalo wings come from/is it chicken or is it tuna insanity. We just want him to be happy, right? So he announced his engagement November 4th to Vanessa, after 4 respectable years of dating.

Then, November 14th, a mere 10 days later, stupid Jessica Simpson announces her engagement. To a guy she barely knows! Well, she just met him 5 months ago, but still. That’s weird. Weirder that she’s trying to steal Nick’s hard earned thunder by being an attention whore. “Oh, well, I’m engaged too, to this roast beef sandwich! See! I bought myself a ring, I mean, the sandwich bought me a ring!” He and Milli Vanilli have got to be shaking their heads.  Anyway, the snap judgment here is this:

The quickest way to get over someone is to get under someone else.

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On to the union of two of the most annoying people in the world: Katy Perry and Russell Brand. There really are no words. I have no idea how long this will last. It’s possible they filed for divorce already. I’m guessing the only thing they have in common, besides wretched ugliness, is their penchant for showing their boobs to anyone who can look without vomiting.

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Ugh. Those bangs. I just want to put a curtain rod behind them. And cut her vocal cords while I’m at it. That song “Teenage Dream” sounds like Adam Sandler in the Wedding Singer.

Well, snap judgment.  There is a lid for every pot.

Bonus Extra: If you too think Katy Perry is the least talented squawk box to hit the scene since, well, ever, then you’ll enjoy this:

Stupid Katy Perry

Last one, Taylor Swift. GOD is there any way we can get her, Russell and Katy in a hot air balloon, and send it over the White House so it gets shot down by a sniper? I can’t stand listening to Taylor Swift’s whiny bullshit about how she walked to the mailbox and she got a letter and the letter was from Bob and Bob said he loved her, and yadda yadda yadda, and no, I did not yadda yadda over the best part because with Taylor Swift, there IS no best part. She could write a song about her dirty tampon and we’re just supposed to take it. There’s nothing we can do about her assault on our senses besides getting Sirius and leaving it permanently on Hair Nation so there’s no chance in hell that stupid trailer park nitwit ends up in our lives.

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Jake? Run. Seriously. This girl will write a song about any minutia with any of her past flames, she will write something stupid about you too.

She who did it to them, she’ll do it to you too.

Okay, I think that covers the “famous people who annoy me” category. For now…

Mr. X, if I find out you are texting one of your “fans” I’ll kick your ass. Just sayin.

Love and Other Drugs

It’s been an interesting and busy week and month for X and I. We’re finally consolidating households, we’re making plans for the hellidays, we’re dealing with two teenagers who are totally opposite of not only each other but of either X or I when we were teenagers and we’re still working on career and NY plans.

But, we were offered a nice treat to go check out a movie before it is released the day before Thanksgiving. We saw a commercial for Love and Other Drugs with Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal. On a normal day, I really can’t stand Anne Hathaway and doubly can’t stand a romantic comedy, but the commercial looked funny enough that I considered going to see it. I wasn’t sure I would go see it with X, but he was a good sport when we got the opportunity.  I was pretty surprised to see the plot turn where it did, only because we expected a Romantic Comedy and what we really got was a testament on the evils of the pharmaceutical industry disguised as a love story. There’s nothing I love more than information on the pharmaceutical giants.

Time for a Peter Griffin Flashback. Twelve years ago I was living in Atlanta. I was having trouble sleeping and went to a doctor I found in my handy dandy insurance list. I sat in the waiting room with a bunch of good looking men and women, in suits and with suitcases. I was sort of wondering WTF was going on, did everyone in Atlanta dress up for the doctor and bring their luggage? I was whisked back to the room, explained my case, and handed a palette of Paxil. I went home, dialed up to our slow-as-molasses-at-32- degrees internet and found out it was for depression. Huh? The pills were free so I started taking them. They made me manic and nutty, like I wanted to go out and party. My then boyfriend, Atlanta Boy, and I became interested in this business of drugs and the hows and whys and all that stuff.

Then some of my friends started to fall victim to the lure and became pharmaceutical reps. I heard bits and pieces of stories of traveling a lot, hotel rooms, free pens and such, but I never knew how bad it was. And you know what? They never really wanted to talk that much about it. I think I know why now.

Love and Other Drugs hits this industry hard. It takes no prisoners as it puts on display one of the most well known drug giants and slams them from one end to the other.  I think my jaw was on the floor at some of the crap I saw. And it only reinforced some personal issues for X and I: Never ever let a doctor make any life altering decisions for you. Wow.

I can’t post a ton about the plot and such, but I will say the love story part, while it competes for center stage, pales in comparison to the Pharmaceutical story. It’s also pretty cliche, with one scene almost mirroring a scene in “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” but with a bit of a twist.

Each One is Different But They’re Always the Same

I called Zippy and his wife tonight to see how they were doing. Zippy was putting the kids to sleep, but his wife CornHusk and I got to catch up. Why CornHusk? She’s from Iowa. Duh.

When Zippy came out of the room there was some mumbling in the background. Then, the following.

CornHusk: You spent 3 hours with Zippy’s Mom yesterday?
Me: Well, yeah. He was like our Dad too. I feel awful for her.
Zippy: Your stock went up with her today. She’s been talking about you all day.
Me: Aww. Well, I found her some support groups. I’m sending Gloom and Doom over with that info tomorrow because I’m heading back to the shithole.
CornHusk: Are you really moving back here? When I saw your face at the viewing I just realized how much I miss you.
Me: Yeah, that is the plan. I hate it there. X is on board too, so we’re working hard on coming back. Just need a job. Well, one of us does.
CornHusk: You know what job I thought of for you? You should be a blogger! You would do a great job making fun of all these bitchy snotty Connecticut women.
Me: Yeah, I don’t know. I’ve been writing that stupid dating / relationship blog for over 5 years now…
Zippy: [inaudible in the background]
CornHusk: OH YEAH! We were playing the “who hooked up with the most people at the viewing” game the other night! I forgot about you and TheCop! That might put you in the lead.
Me: That’s the game you were playing at your Father’s Viewing? Damn.  This is why I had to move out of here to begin with. I hooked up with too many guys. Ran low on inventory.
CornHusk: Would you live with your mom and dad while you looked for a place?
Me: Oh. My. God. No. Do you want me to get divorced? No way. Besides, this entire house is worthy of a whole season of Hoarders. This morning I picked up a stack of papers that was sitting on the last available space of furniture and said, ‘What is this crap? It looks like garbage.’ They all denied it was theirs and I started looking at it. Tickets to the Louvre from 1999, labels off wine bottles I guess they liked, maps of Paris from 1995. I started ripping it all up. When no one claimed it, I shredded it and threw it out. You have to shred it or it gets rescued from the trash.
CornHusk: Good for you! We’re OCD over here, so that doesn’t happen!
Me: Yeah, I keep a pretty lean inventory of junk, but even this visit makes me want to go back home and throw out 10 more bags of stuff!

The short answer is, yes, they are back to Gloom and Doom. In fact, as I sit here writing this, I can hear them bickering in their room as they prepare for bed. Damn. It’s always something.

CornHusk: Don’t you hope that we never get like that?
Me: I do, and I hope it’s not so ingrained in my genes that it manifests itself down the road.

Shudder. Does anyone have the number to the producers for Hoarders?

I’ve Lived in This Place and I Know All the Faces

The Velvet Family (the one I was born into, not the one I married) lost a very good friend of 40+ years last week.  As neighbors, our family was intertwined with theirs. Their youngest son Zippy and my brother are best friends. Zippy’s wife is one of my best friends. Our parents were longstanding friends, doing favors for each other that signify a genuine friendship that is so rare these days.  Our dear friends lost their father and husband.

The viewing and funeral resulted in my brother driving 800 miles and me driving 250, both like maniacs, to get to the viewing in time. What is typically a sad event was actually enjoyable because of all the old friends and old faces who got to see each other again. As X says, they only convene for weddings and funerals.

My parents and brothers went to the viewing as I was still stuck in the Bronx, trying to make it in time. We decided I would meet them there. When I arrived, I was instantly thrown into a hazy fog of recognizing people but not being able to remember their names. The funny thing about small towns is if you live there your whole life, you don’t forget anyone. I’ve lived in so many places that my brain is diluted. I know so many people that names just don’t come to me as fast as I want. The other funny thing about small towns, as I told Zippy when he rattled off a list of who had been there is, when you realize you dated everyone in town, it’s time to leave.

Goombah #1: I was just looking at the pictures of your mom and dad. Your mom was hot back in the day!
Zippy: Yeah, she’s available now, you want to ask her out?
Goombah #1: You’re not right. How’s your brother taking all this.

We looked over at Zippy’s older brother, pacing near the casket holding their father, and Zippy said, “We haven’t told him yet.”

At least he hasn’t lost his sense of humor.

My parents left earlier than I did. I stayed behind talking with a few people until I looked up and realized, yes, the balance of power tipped out of my favor. I said my goodbyes and went back to my parent’s house, where our childhood neighbor and my brother’s other bestie, Potato, was planted at our dinner table. What ensued between my parents, brothers, Potato and myself was probably the funniest and yet most comforting of conversations I’ve had in months. I went in and sat at the table.

Mom: Oh, you’re home.
Me: Yeah. After you guys left the last hour became a parade of my ex-boyfriends so I knew it was time to leave.
Potato: Who? I forgot some of these people!
Brother #2: We bumped into half her portfolio on the way out. [To me:] Hey. Get out of my chair.
I moved down a seat. He comes to dinner once a decade and it’s still his seat?
Potato: Hey, was that Tony Castinatta?
Me: THAT’S who that was. I couldn’t remember his name!
Potato: Okay, good, I thought I called him by the wrong name. After I said ‘Hi Tony’ I questioned myself and felt really bad for not remembering his name.
Me: That wouldn’t be the worst thing that’s happened to Tony Cas. The worst thing to happen to Tony Cas was when his wife started sleeping with her twin sister’s husband.
Potato: WHAT?
Me: How did you miss this? This was the scandal that rocked the entire eastern seaboard.
Brother #1: They’re twins?
Me: Yeah, identical. Weird, right.
Mom: I can’t believe you were one of the only ones who knew this all these years.
Me: Me either.
Potato: What ever happened to Jenny Simpson? She was so hot.
Brother #2: Time wasn’t so good to her. She peaked at 17 years old.
Mom: Her mother got a DUI, I read.
Potato: Yeah, she was leaving a country club, right? One of the ones in the back country. Oh, what’s the name…

At this point my father, mother, both brothers and I had a totally blank look on our faces as he tried to remember the name of said country club.

Me: Look around you. Who do you think you’re talking to? We’re not ‘in the know’ on country clubs. If you want to know where the nearest dumpster is, there’s your man [points at Dad] but naming a country club? Who do you think we are?
Dad: Good one Velv. [To Potato:] How’s your mother doing?
Potato: She’s broke again.
Dad: When she sold her house in the 90’s, your father told me to try to talk to her about her spending when I gave her the check for the proceeds.
Brother #1: Is that check still in your pocket?
Everyone laughed.
Potato: That didn’t work. Though she does work for a consumer debt restructuring outfit, she still has no money and $40 grand in credit card debt.
Brother #1: Is she dating anyone?
Potato: Not since that guy who wrote me a letter telling me I was a loser.
Dad: I remember reading that letter!
Brother #1: Didn’t you have a fist fight with him?
Potato: Almost!

Potato had to get back home to Jersey. But, he stood in our driveway for 20 minutes. He didn’t want to go. He kept looking over at his old house, directly across the street from my parent’s house, and wondering aloud what was going on in there.

When he left we went back inside and I said, “Tonight all five of us are sleeping in the house. Wow. It’s been a long time since it was all five of us, and just the five of us.”

Brother #1: At least 15 years.
Mom: At the rate the economy is going, all of you guys are going to be living back here. I’ll have to line you up on the living room floor.
Me: You would love that.
Mom: I would. It would be great to have all my babies back home.

And it would be great to be back. There’s no place like home.

Standing Here Waiting As I’m Breaking in Two

When the plane hit the first tower and people in the other tower attempted to evacuate, 10 dollar an hour security guards directed, demanded by some reports, that everyone return to their desks. In hindsight, this of course seems to be the most asinine thing to happen. Someone with no knowledge of anything gave people information that led them to believe there was no imminent danger and it was safe to continue working. It cost many people their lives. Those security guards - they cost many people their lives because they didn’t know. I was part of a class in my graduate program which analyzed this situation. Ultimately the lesson learned was we are each responsible for our own fate and must operate at all times as if the information given to us is not fact, but rather something that may not have any basis in truth whatsoever.

The art of timing has managed to really fuck X and I. We’ve been operating on several assumptions presented to us by “people who were supposed to know.” People don’t always know, even when they say they do. I’m mad at myself, mostly because I studied the September 11th lesson. I should have known that even when it’s presented as fact, it isn’t always, and everything has to be questioned. We are trying to take control of the situation but are finding that we are losing control rather quickly and even though we did the best we could because “the people” told us so, it didn’t make it fact.

What is perhaps worse than losing control is that we’ve lost time. Being somewhere you didn’t expect to be and not being where you thought you would is really a mindfuck. And that is a reality we have to face every day.

Taking Me, To the Point of No Return

Dear Mom:

X went off on a business trip for five days and left me here to watch the roost. I am charged with keeping my eye on #1 since his mother decided to have a nervous breakdown and skip town go on a vacation for a couple days. Last night, when X and I and the two boys went to bed, the plan was for me to sleep in until a blissful 9:00. X was to shuttle #2 the 20 miles up the highway to his school while #1 took the bus, at which point X would drive directly to the airport. I heard something about the three of them planning to wake up at 5:45, but since my brain doesn’t register hours pre-sunrise, I wasn’t entirely sure.

When I woke up at 6:30 this morning, X was sleeping soundly next to me. I said, “Hey. Shouldn’t you be up?” He didn’t budge. I said louder, “Baby, aren’t you supposed to be up? You need to go.” He picked his head up and said, “Go where?” I said, “You’re going to Omaha today.”  I sort of felt responsible for this sleepy lapse in his memory because I demanded that we stay up until 2:30 fucking each other’s brains out talking. X flew out of bed and we stood there in a daze saying, “Did the kids leave for school?” (Considering #2’s school is 20 miles away, this was an extremely remote possibility.)

No such luck. They were sleeping too. X shuttled #1 to school, and I got to take #2 up to his school. Poor kid didn’t even get breakfast because we were so late. This should have been a clue of what these 5 days were going to be like.

X and I managed to sneak in a goodbye to each other on the side of the road; he left for his plane, I left for my meeting. I went about my day, noticing that the hours to the end of school and thus, #1’s imminent return were near. I got a text.

“I’m staying after with some friends. I’ll be home later.”

Um. Okay. In your house that would have had to be tremendously re-phrased to “Can I stay after with friends and come home at 5:00?” We always had to ask permission but I know X is a free-wheeling Dad of the new century, so I shrugged it off. After X’s plane landed, he called to tell me how he got hard on the plane thinking about everything we did last night that he landed safe. While we were talking, #1 beeped in.

“That’s your son. Hold on.”

At this point, I’m not sure which series of the Twilight Zone my life entered, but #1, X’s soon-to-be 16 year old son, asked the following.

“My girlfriend doesn’t have a ride home. Can she sleep over?”

Oh. MY. GOD! WHAT?? Mother!!! You in NO WAY prepared me for this. Let’s review.

The year is 1989. KFrat and I think we’re cool by smoking cigarettes. You found them in my coat pocket and grounded me for several months. You said, “When you have a child you’ll understand.” Listen to me you fucking liar. A cigarette would have been a god damned cakewalk compared to what I have had to deal with today. My brain is spinning. SPINNING. You had it way too easy!

I’m down one day, four to go. Tomorrow I have to be out of the house all day and #1 is off from school. There is no telling what kind of orgy this house will be witness to, but I’m otherwise committed and cannot get out of my appointments. I guess we’ll all just have to pray that I don’t become a step-grandmother before I become a mother.

Four days to go,

V

Here I Come But I Ain’t The Same, Mama I’m Coming Home

X and I journeyed to Connecticut this weekend. We went to see my parents and also make the rounds with some friends who we didn’t get a chance to really catch up with at the wedding. In an effort to continue my path of post-marriage change and in the spirit of “growing up,” I am continuing my focus on an area of my life which needed scrubbing. The Friends. I’ve continued to make unfortunate but necessary decisions in the way of some relationships and I had to really shakedown what I consider friendship to be. And instead of allowing Gloom and Doom to guilt my every single visit into being an audience for their sparring, I’m going to focus on getting X and I out in the world of Connecticut so we can hang out with my friends up there.

Nothing changes at la Casa Gloom and Doom. Every time I go up there my mother has pulled out “a box” I need to go through. Usually this task waits until I’m about to get in the car on Sunday, and she says, “Oh, you forgot to go through your stuff!”  This time though, I remembered early and asked her what and where these boxes were.

Kiddie books. Great.

Considering that X and I just got married, and that we’re no spring chickens, I would think maybe she would wait a year or so just to see if there’s a Baby-Velvet to become the owner of the books. Right now, I have absolutely no idea if I want these books or not.

I started pulling the books out, one by one. Then my mom came over and started pulling books out too, and making piles, and then I had absolutely no clue what I’d gone through already and what still needed attention. I made my focus the “give to nieces” pile, as I would ideally like to put most of the books there. The reason being, it gets them out of her house so I’ll stop hearing about them, and there is a remote chance a would-be Baby-Velvet might get the books back if/when she/he/it arrives. But is it this easy? Oh, nooooo. She has to pull every. single. book. out. And inspect it. And, she has to ask questions. OMFG!!!

Gloom: You don’t want this?
Me:
No. I don’t even remember that book.
Gloom:
Well, you should take 2 books with you every time you go see the girls and spread it out.
(I ignored her because I only see my nieces twice a year.)
Gloom:
Oh, I remember this book! THIS is a “donate?” I paid good money for this book!
(The sticker from Caldors, which closed over 20 years ago, indicates someone spent $1.34.)
Me:
JESUS MOM! What are all these piles? STOP taking books out of the boxes!!!
Gloom:
Well, I want to see these books!
Me:
Seriously, stop. You want me to go through them, I’m going through them.  Another for the nieces pile.
Gloom:
When you see the girls, just bring them two books.
Doom:
Are you two getting anywhere?
Me:
No, because she’s a pain in the ass! She keeps pulling the books out that I am trying to donate and trying to save them, and she is making 10 piles of books I haven’t gone through. You can’t throw anything away in this house because you guys rescue it from the garbage and make me go through it again next time I come up here!
Doom:
That’s your mother. I don’t do that.
Gloom:
I just like looking at the books.
Me: You live here and you have all the time in the world to look at these books. Now that I’m here, you need to let me do this.
Gloom: This box is heavy. Are you bringing all these to the girls? Just bring them two.
X: The kids will be 40 by the time she gets all the books to them.
Me: Yeah, seriously, stop saying that. I’m dumping this whole box there the next time I see them.

Ding dong!

Me: Who is at the door?
Doom: I’ll get it.

After a few minutes, my dad came back in the room with two t-shirts. He said their neighbor won them at a golf game and doesn’t want them so he gave them to my dad. He probably bought them at the mall because he’s sick of having to watch my dad mow the lawn shirtless. My mom got totally distracted and starts touching the shirts and asking if they are cotton and the two of them are cooing over the shirts. You cannot cure them of their packus-rattis-itis. Their motto is “more stuff is better than less stuff, and free stuff is the best kind of stuff to have.” I took this opportunity to quickly plow through the books without her TSA-like security inspection.

Then I looked at X and tried to telepathically say “Do you see the irony of them making me throw out this crap and someone shows up at their front door to give them more crap?” and X looked at me and tried to telepathically say “If you fucking turn in to your mother this marriage is over.”

I swear to Gucci, those two shirts will be in my next box of shit to go through.

Don’t Be No Fool, Don’t Advertise Your Man

The two big questions everyone seems to ask me now are “So are you selling your place?” (OMG STFU NO I AM NOT, GET YOUR GOD DAMNED MITTS OFF!) and “So is it different being married?”

Huh. Well, no. It’s not.

At least, not for X and I. Our relationship remains exactly the same, with a bit of a twist. I think I’m exactly the same. Granted, we’re only a month in, but yes, this is what I thought it would feel like. X keeps saying he’s on Cloud 9. I had to rationalize to him that he has something to compare this marriage to - another marriage. I have nothing to compare it to. I have lived my life knowing I wouldn’t get married unless I felt the way I feel about X. So when that happened, there you go. Married. No change. Just as I expected.

X married someone who was close but no cigar. Right time, wrong person, wrong decision I guess. When that went horribly wrong, he thought he would never get married again. Now that he’s entrenched in our marriage, he says he has such a different feeling. So okay, it’s different for him, but no, nothing has changed for me.

What is a surprise is that the marriage between X and I has changed some outside forces. I had a very extended conversation with an engaged bloggie friend, Carrie, and she mentioned that her single friends were acting weird, and she felt like a sellout. Girl. I felt your pain. Totally. I had some interesting reactions from single friends. I never was the rub-it-in-your-face-oh-my-god-look-at-my-ring type person. I was also the never I’ve-been-dreaming-about-my-wedding-since-I-was-five girl either. So when I got engaged, I didn’t exactly announce it to people. I just sort of let them figure it out.

Work was the funniest. Someone I barely see came up to me after a meeting and cooed, “I see something sparrrrrkly on your hand that wasn’t there the other dayyyy!!!” (He’s gay, obviously.) But people I see all the time, like my partner at work? Hilarious. I waved that thing in his face day after day and he never noticed.

So when I had some people over to celebrate Sammy turning 10 this past winter, one of my girlfriends who got there first saw the ring. Then as other people arrived, she asked, “Did you know about X and V got engaged?” Someone actually looked over at me, grabbed my hand to look at the ring, and said -wait for it - in front of X and his kids, “Why do I only hear the negative stuff?” Our other girlfriend hit the person on the arm as if to say “inappropriate” and instead of saying sorry and shutting the hell up, nope, she repeated it louder.

Not sure why this would be someone’s reaction. And if X were any different of a man, and had a different reaction, or a low self-esteem, this could have been detrimental for our relationship. I was pretty hurt by this comment, and therefore cut the communication until it became totally obvious by the “you’ve been ignoring me” email, so I presented my case. An apology was made, an apology was accepted, and life moved on.

I need to stop having a soft heart.

Six months later, in the throes of wedding planning, I began a systematic freak out, Velvet style. Amidst the pills, crying, and the “I should go to the Gulf and help clean the Pelicans” meltdown, I made the colossal mistake of mentioning my anxiety to the above person. While X and I were on our pre-wedding honeymoon where I was sans internet connection, I had to find out that something sat on my Facebook Wall, for all to see, for the better part of a fucking week. I believe it said something along the lines of, “So are you going to get married or not?”

Does anyone besides me see how hurtful this is?

So has anything changed at the one month and one day mark past our wedding date? Yeah. I’ve gotten smarter. I made my list of priorities and my husband is first. Friends for me are no longer half-assed. It’s all or nothing. If you can’t keep my confidences, if you’ve proven to not be a good friend to me or to someone else who I know of, if I couldn’t trust you alone with X despite the fact that he only has eyes for V, if you create unrelenting drama way beyond the garden variety nuttiness? I’m out.

I’m guessing the priority realignment happens again once there are kids. Maybe we’ll be lucky enough to find out. For now, I just know that I can no longer get sucked into drama, and I will no longer allow people to make drama for me, especially when it comes to X, who routinely asked me through the years, “Do you have any normal friends?” I kept telling him to just wait until he saw who made the very exclusive cut at the wedding. Four high school girlfriends, one girlfriend I met when I was 22 who coincidentally married my brothers best friend and his parents are best friends with my parents, and my friend from my crazy days in Atlanta. Shoot, one of my high school girlfriends witnessed our freaking marriage license for god’s sake.

X said, “I finally get it now. You’ve got an inner circle. I just hadn’t seen it before.” I like to think my credibility is restored in his eyes, once again.

An Open Letter to the Washington D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue

Dear Washington DC OTR:

God damned you guys are sooooo smart. SO SMART! I am so impressed at your the braniac idea you had to send everyone in the District a letter for the Tax Amnesty saying that if they paid everything that was past due for their income or property taxes that all fees and penalties would be waived.

Call me crazy, but I always thought that the reason people paid their taxes or responsibly made deals to pay on a schedule was to avoid the exorbitant penalties that state and the federal government(s) levy. But this? This idea of telling everyone that not only can they pay their utilities late, and their credit cards late, and now their mortgages can be late, but the one be-all end-all behemoth of a mofo that you couldn’t avoid - Taxes, yes, those can be paid late too! And there’s no fee! So forgive me, but what incentive do I have to EVER pay my property or income taxes on time again? Looks like I have none. Neither do my neighbors. For, paying on time all these years, even in my times of joblessness, has managed to make me the moron. And everyone else gets out free. Again.

You gotta love this. The same assholes complaining about the economy going to shit are the same ones not paying their bills and making good on the tax amnesty.

Signed,
Kiss My Ass

An Open Letter to Guardian Security:

Up yours. I am no longer paying you $32 a month for my alarm security system that I don’t use because I refuse to get a landline. Money is tight, and mama don’t feel like paying. So there. What are ya gonna do? Send me to collections? Please. Even the government isn’t sending people there, what makes YOU so special?

Smooch,

The 2010 Scofflaw
“Because Paying Bills is Optional!”

My Heart Will Always Be Yours, Honestly

I’ve come up with an ingenious idea for not having video at the wedding. The Photographer’s pictures are back, and while they are just now only online, I’m waiting for the CD so I can work on my next project: One of those videos set to music with pictures that are in a slideshow format! With the song I walked down the aisle to! Eee!

There hasn’t been a lot going on over here, that’s for sure. Everything quieted down quite a bit after the wedding and now I can focus on the other neglected areas of my life. Such as…the plan that X and I are going to move to New York. I don’t know how long this will take, but we have the wheels in motion on this. I cannot tell you what will make me happier - finally, FINALLY going back home after 12 years, or that X will be with me and can enjoy the New York I know and love.

In any case, here are my favorites from the wedding. And in case you ask where X is, I have a favorite of us, but I think I will spare X of having his face plastered up here along with mine. It might be “for better for worse”  but I don’t think I should try to make good on that so soon after being married. After all, it is just three weeks today.

mj0148

“C’mon Mommy! Let’s go get married already!”

mj0201

If Sammy didn’t overshoot the aisle, this wouldn’t have taken so long.

mj0222

Looking back on 5 years of blog…I never thought I would see this day either.

mj0288

The jury is still out as to whose hand this is. I had originally blamed the King of the Dog Park, however, I believe that that might be X’s thumb. They both fessed up right away, which means, both of them were feeding Sammy a bevy of treats from the hors d’oeuvres.

mj0421

Once I introduced my sweet little niece to the dance floor, we couldn’t stop her. The funniest part is that we had an evening wedding and my brother was convinced this child would be sleeping by 7:30. Yeah. No way.

X and I are ready to go do this all over again. It was so much fun. I’m glad we didn’t elope.

Happy Weekend Everyone!

Searching Everywhere, You Turn and Swear, It’s Always Been There

I wish I could give you a blow by blow detail of the wedding, but sadly, it all blew by so quickly that I barely remember anything. And I only had a couple beers.

When we caravaned to my parent’s house on Thursday, X’s mom was so pleased to meet my mom - a fellow Greek. X’s mom is just beside herself that this wife (cough, ME) is Greek. They had a grand old time those two. But because Number 1 and Number 2 went to bed at 5:15 a.m. Wednesday night, and we woke up at 5:30, they needed naps upon our Connecticut arrival. They went back to the hotel, and my mom went into mom-mode.

“So, you promised you would take that thing out of your tongue when you got married.” (I’m not exactly sure why I promised this to my mom, maybe because it represented the last vestige of my crazy single life.) I reached inside my mouth, unscrewed my tongue ring, and handed it to her. She laughed and said, “GREAT!” and threw it across the kitchen. Who knew that bothered her so much?

What was bothering me was a sudden appearance of two bruises on my right arm that looked like Lyme Disease. The entire family gathered around my arm trying to decide wtf was going on. Then I said, “Oh, can we also discuss this?” At this point I showed them the zit/goiter/new planet that seemed to take hold on my jawline. Ugh. My mom thought I was breaking out in hives. No amount of makeup would cover this.

X and I had a plan. The hotel/restaurant where we were having the wedding cost a fortune, so we blocked rooms at a Hilton in the next town. Thursday night he stayed with Number 1 and Number 2 at the hotel, and I slept my last night in la Casa Mommy and Daddy with my brother, the Elitist, slathering zit medicine on my goiter-zit, every hour on the hour. The next morning he and I inspected the zit and thought we did pretty well. I figured the rest of the roadkill could be covered with makeup. Then I went downstairs and my dad said, “WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED TO YOUR NECK?” Great! It metastasized! And the oldest guy in the room saw it first. Not. Good.

Back to the plan. X was going to dress at the Hilton, I would dress at our wedding location, and we would meet on the deck to get hitched. No. Such. Luck. My half hour makeup appointment went in excess of 90 minutes as the entire staff at the MAC store attempted to cover my lyme disease and the puberty-redux happening on my neck. When I got back to my parents house, my dad had hijacked my friends from Atlanta after picking them up at LaGuardia and had them at the kitchen table eating sandwiches. At 4:00!!! When the wedding was at 6:00!!! And all the vendors were at the hotel!!! And X isn’t. And neither was I! Where the hell did the day go? Then just as I got to the wedding location, X calls and says he was almost there, and realized he forgot his suit. He had to turn around and go back to the other hotel to get it. When my mom showed up she was like, “Oh my God can anything go right right now?”

I went downstairs in my bathrobe and put out the placecards and the table identifers. We used Greek Islands instead of numbers. But because each table had a different number of guests, I had to sit there and count. “Okay, this table has 10 places set…this is the Rhodes table….okay lay out cards for people who I put at a 10-top…” and so on. The waiters thought I was the Wedding Coordinator, the Event Manager thought I was the bride’s sister and I was thinking about finding some narcotics, crushing them and rolling around in them on the floor I was so freaked out.

The photographer and I had a few nice moments in the room before the melee. First Mommy. Then Daddy. Then my brothers…friends…nieces…dogs….X. We literally got dressed in front of 10 people, with cameras snapping all over the place.  There is clearly nipple (mine) on the video. But I wouldn’t trade that part for the world, because here occurred what will no doubt lead as one of my most cherished moments in my life. Once I got my skin tight dress on, I realized I couldn’t bend to put on my shoes. Without prompting, each of my nieces took it upon themselves to grab a shoe, and put it on one of my feet. I should mention my nieces are 3 & 1/2 and almost 5 years old. And I should also mention that my shoes tied around the ankle and had a belt-like strap that had to be poked through a hole.

A lot of you have read this blog for 5+ years and know that I have never posted a picture of myself. I’m changing that rule because this picture absolutely must be shared.

img_3055

Here’s where I’d like to say that the rest of the night was fantastic, however, that would be a lie. Let’s see…how shall I put this?

I fucking fell down the stairs when I was going down to get married. In front of everyone - my mom, dad, brothers, sister-in-law, nieces, X, X’s mom, X’s two kids, the photographer, they all saw. And we all laughed. It’s on video. When I watched it I was like, “Damn, I went DOWN!” In my mind I had only slipped a bit. Nope. I really ate it.

Friday was a complete blur. Seriously. There are definitely regrets and things I would do different, but honestly - I would hire a freaking videographer if I had this to do again. X and I felt like with a wedding of 30 people, that having a video camera in people’s faces all the time would be a hassle. They wouldn’t have a lot to film if they only had 30 people to rotate through. Plus it was around $2000 for the night and that just seemed like money wasted. Now? I really screwed that up. I would hire 20 videographers if I knew that the entire night would zip by me without me even realizing it. Barely ate, barely drank, and barely feel like I talked to anyone. I even forgot to dance with my dad. Please. I know. Don’t get me started. I cried the whole drive back to D.C. over this yesterday. My nieces were just loving the wedding, and my focus suddenly became on them, to the exclusion of almost everyone and everything else. Kids are really a time vortex.

Anyway, my photographer is working on the pictures, but she sent me her favorite.

She’s really good.

irina-wedding-pic-1

We Are Married!

X is officially Mr. Velvet. Or, I am Mrs. X.

Woo Hoo!!!

To Love Somebody, Naturally

It’s happening on Friday. I can’t believe it’s 2 days away.

Here’s the song we’ll play when the moms and my nieces-as-flowergirls enter:

I’d like Sammy and Thora to go down the aisle too during this time, but I’m thinking they won’t be able to figure that part out. There’s a left turn involved, and frankly, to be screaming “GO TO DADDY!” during the processional just seems ghetto. And ghetto and Connecticut don’t really belong in the same place. Though I would like to be the one who does bring the ghetto to the establishment, I’ll spare my mom. It’s bad enough she’s going to see all my tattoos when she’s getting me into my dress. I have to remember to bring her some valium. She’s so much more fun that way.

This is the song I’ll be walking down the aisle to:

If that version isn’t working well, try this one:

Love it. Really love it. I’m so pleased with my music selection so don’t make fun!

There’s still a lot to do. I am amazed at how much work goes into planning a wedding. I should have hired a coordinator, but we were trying to make this a small, easy event. No such luck. We’re dealing with a crappy situation. It seems that despite the fact that X and I have made decisions and given instructions, nothing seems to go right with the venue. It’s incredibly frustrating. I love the place we picked. I don’t love the person we are stuck working with. I guess when one’s husband buys them a restaurant to run, they can pretty much do whatever they want. Or don’t want. They can ignore emails for weeks on end, they can ignore voicemails, and when they fax things to clients, they can put them in the fax machine backward so all the client gets are blank pages on their end. They can also tell clients that instead of having tables of 10 or tables of 8, they should have tables of 9. Are you a fucking idiot? Tables of 9? So you want me to split up husbands from wives, gays from partners, and moms from kids? I get that there aren’t that many people coming to this shindig, but damn.

Mommy is ready to go into mega-bitch mode. She’s starting every other sentence with “Do your father and I need to go down there?” OMG! NO!!!! We’ll be BANNED! I’m sure she’ll rip someone’s head off by the time this is over. Hopefully not a family member. Yikes. If I had to place bets, I still vote for my sister-in-law and mom are going to get into it. Let’s be clear though - Mommy is on my side right now. When she’s not, she’s Gloom. But for now, she’s on my side so she’s Mommy. I’m sure she and my dad will be back to Gloom and Doom soon enough.

The photographer (who I love to pieces) wants to take family pictures during the cocktail hour. I’ll have to break it to her that my dad will not take any time away from the Clam Chowder cups that will be passed during that hour, so she can pretty much stick that idea up her ass. I think she thinks she’s dealing with the Kennedy’s when she’s really getting the Simpsons.

Well lovers, I’m off. I have music to mix, dogs to bathe, gray hairs to spot-dye, mani’s and pedi’s to get, and I have to drive to Connecticut where the work of assembling the favors, writing out the place cards and drinking myself into a stupor must take place.

Then, sometime after all that is done, I get to kiss my husband.

A Sense of Expectation Hanging in the Air

I have new advice that anyone getting married (Shannon, Carrie, Carla - who already did this) should pay attention to:

Get. Two. Dresses.

No, I’m not kidding. Actually, my journey to ending up with two dresses was a weird one. To recap something I posted 2 months back, I ordered #1 too late, so got #2, an adequate but much less expensive substitute “just in case.” Well, #2 ended up coming in a few weeks ago, needed no alterations, and was shuttled to my parent’s house this past weekend where it has taken up current residence in my childhood bedroom closet.

While X and I were in the land of Gloom and Doom, I got a call from the sellers of dress #1 that it was ready to be picked up. X and I went over there because he had already seen #2, so I just figured let him see the first one and he can pick. We got there, they located my dress and put me in it. It’s 1 size larger than their sample size - which now fits by the way, like a glove and feels like a nightgown.

I put on the dress that was custom made for me, knowing it would be too big and would need alterations, however, I was unprepared for what happened next. Itch. Scratch. Itch. EEK! The level of lining closest to my body was forcing my thighs into some sort of tourniquet situation, they were begging for release, and everything below mid thigh broke out into full blown itchy madness.The nightgown feeling of the sample is in direct contrast to feeling like I’m rolling around in a sausage casing lined with sandpaper. Get. This. Off. My. Body. NOW.

????

I have no idea either. X and I sat there for 4 hours while they took the dress away, pressed all the layers, came back, tried it on, still itched, looked at the sample, figured out that the sample had thicker lining between my body and the tulle, then had to exit because the fire alarms went off, went back to the store, smelled burning rubber, hoped it was my dress so I could just get my money back and be done with it all, tried it on again, got stuck in it when the zipper jammed, had to slide out of it so they could fix the zipper, went out and sat with X who started planning how I should get my money back, then tried the dress on again, then it was itchier in the back of my thighs, then everyone said they didn’t know and I would have to come back tomorrow to talk to the manager. I’m making the manager try on the sample, then try on the dress that was made for me. And did I mention when you pick up the layers they are all shredded and tattered at the seams? THIS is a custom gown? Yikes.

As X and I sat there waiting for this to be figured out, I looked at him and said, “Considering this wedding is in 2 1/2 weeks, can you imagine how much I would be jumping off a ledge right now if I didn’t have a backup dress, safely nestled at my parents house?” It resulted in our having a conversation on how everyone should have a backup dress. Instead of blowing your whole budget on one dress, get a second one. It really helped me not lose my shit today.

X said, “Yeah, and we haven’t even discussed that black grease stain down the front of it.” Um. Yes.

Tomorrow I’m going to request that they keep the stained itch-factory,  clean and press the sample instead and give that to me.

And it makes me wonder - all these bridal salons try to convince you to not buy them from the ebay $100 sweat shops, but you know, considering the condition my dress was in, I’m not sure that I didn’t just overpay for something out of one of those very same factories.

What did we learn here today? Two. Dresses. You can always sell one.

Couldn’t Get It Right

Well, my mom has kicked into Mother-of-the-Bride mode. Woo hoo. Finally. Among other things, she told me that she was thinking to ask my brothers to make a toast at the wedding. I said, “You and Dad don’t want to do it?” She doesn’t want to speak in public. And my dad? Well, let’s just say that as children, we were so confused how the man who words failed on the regular could actually be a lawyer and argue, and win a case, that my brother went to watch him in court. He came home after and said, “Daddy is a totally different person in court. He’s not the Dad we know, who says ‘Velvet, it’s uh, time, uh, what’s this over here? Who left this here. Hey. Time for uh, dinner. Did anyone see my glasses?”

When my mom bestowed this news on my brother and added in that he needs to say something simple and nice, my brother responded with the following:

“I was thinking of doing a slideshow of all her ex-boyfriends and saying ‘Well, thank God THIS is over’ then slapping her on the ass and giving her a big wedgie in her dress.”

My mom was hilariously laughing. Camera pans to my dad.

With a totally straight face because the joke eluded him, he said, “Uh, I wouldn’t do that if I uh, were you. She uh, might get mad.”

Sammy & Thora are Mega Famous

YAY! I’m so proud of my muffins!

It won’t be long before we are fielding calls from Oprah and Chelsea!

That Frozen Concoction That Helps Me Hang On

X and I decided on a whim to leave town. We started discussing wedding, plans, and going away and realized that we weren’t going to be able to fit it in after the wedding. So we took the dogs and went to the Keys.

When I finished grad school several years ago, I found this place in the middle of nowhere in the Keys that allowed dogs and they could be off leash. I went down there and had the time of my life doing absolutely nothing. So X and I made arrangements to go back and while I was worried because there’s not a lot to do there and X needs constant entertainment, it was paradise. He loved it, I loved it, the dogs loved it. As we always do, we started talking about buying a place in the Keys and how nice it would be to live there. We always talk about that, wherever we go. Aah, if only money weren’t in the way.

The owner of the place came outside one night and we asked him to have a drink with us. He said he only drinks scotch. So X told him to go grab his scotch. He goes inside and comes back out, not with a little highball glass of scotch. No, that drunk comes back with a 16 ounce glass of scotch, filled to the top. No wonder he passed out on the patio every night and his wife had to drag him to bed! What a way to live.

I’ve had a lot of anxiety about getting married. It’s funny to get to a place where you finally feel ready and then, you get scared. I always said no one should get married before 35, but now, as I’m on the other side of that by 2 years, I think I’m revising my former sentiment. I think younger than 30 is still too young. But if you get married after 35, you’re set in your ways. It’s a difficult adjustment to think about consolidating households and merging lives. Not impossible - just an adjustment. Now I think that perfect window is somewhere between 30 and 35. At least for me I suppose.

We spent 2 days driving home and Sammy almost got himself molested at a rest stop. Some creepy guy got out of his car, had no shirt on, and had pants that were just hovering above his pubes on the front, and exposing full butt crack in the back. X said when I was walking the dogs the molester saw me and was just watching me with the dogs, and didn’t realize X was in the car behind him and that we were together. When we started walking back toward the car, the molester tried to get Sammy’s attention and I just knew that nosy little dog was going to go over and get all of us kidnapped and thrown in a basement somewhere. But that X. He saw it all unfolding, and jumped out of the car and shuffled me and the dogs in real quick. When we were driving off, we saw the molester had a security uniform in his car. Ugh. No telling what he’s up to.

X wanted to drive straight through to home, but I wanted to stop. Of course we picked the worst place to stop because there were like 3 family reunions in that town that weekend, so the hotels were all booked. We finally got a room in the far corner of a hotel, in the woods under a broken down billboard. It was scary. Of course, I have a low bar for what I find acceptable accommodations. This is honed from years of experience in the Velvet Family, where my dad made us stay at the most disgusting places you could ever imagine. I remember we stayed at this Thunderbird Motor Lodge once and my brother, the family elitist, was comatose for 3 days. This of course is the same brother who won’t eat at Denny’s, IHop, Waffle House, Huddle House or anything along those lines because they are dirty, gross, and have sticky syrup everywhere. He makes me laugh my ass off.

Because it was a bit scary, I slept with that “one-eye-open” thing. I felt like I couldn’t really relax, and questioned whether X was right and we should have just pushed onward to home. We woke up at 6 a.m to all this banging, and the stupid New Yorkers next door to us were leaving. We got to hear their entire conversation, as well as their door slamming over and over as they went in and out, packing the car. Just when it was almost over, and they were about to drive off, one of them had to take a shit, which he announced so loud they probably heard it up at the next exit. Shoot me. Really.

Anyway, here they are, my little muffins, doing what they do best. Lounging.

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And, on the way home…

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We Need Your Vote!

Well, not me, but Kelly does.  She’s a longtime reader/commenter here at Dysfunction in Dupont, and is trying out for Oprah. All you have to do is click the link and click the vote! Thanks!!!

I Spent a Lifetime Looking for You

I actually went out last night and had a drink with the Hostess and the Photographer. I haven’t done that in, um, years. We went up to Marvin for a Dupont Underground event. Because I love all things Dupont, I am obsessed with seeing the space below the circle. There’s a growing movement of artists trying to get the space opened for the exhibition of area artists. I can’t think of a better idea of what to do with that space in all honesty. I understand that the former trolley station was made into an underground mall in the 90’s with various shops and places to eat, but that it was such a crime magnet that they shut it down. Maybe the time is right to reopen that puppy and show the world.

Anyway, you can read more here about the Underground, more about last night’s event here and more about sponsor and friend of the Hostess and the Photographer, Phillipa Hughes and Pinkline Project here.

Damn. It felt good to actually know about something going on in Dupont, I’ve been so far removed from D.C. and Dupont and so wrapped up in my own little life lately.

But that couldn’t last for long. I do have an interesting wedding  update for anyone who cares.

When I went in early April to buy my wedding dress, the sample size they had didn’t exactly zip up. In fact, it was about 2 inches away from zipping closed. Embarrassing. But then when they tell you the sample size is totally off from normal sizes, I felt better. A little. They recommended I buy two sizes higher. I said, “No. One size.” They were trying to tell me that “every bride promises to lose weight” and better safe than sorry. My stance was, “No way. If I’m going to drop these annoying 5 10 15 lbs, now is the time.”

I busted my ass in gear. I am totally not kidding. I stopped running since that was getting me nowhere but to injury fast, and started walking. Then when the Hostess found out I was walking 4 miles a day like a maniac all over Dupont, Georgetown and up those stupid Exorcist Stairs, she started coming with me. I think I logged 80 miles in each month - March, April and May. Then the Hostess and I started doing the stairs multiple times. My doctor said to cut to 1200 calories. I don’t really count calories, but I can pretty much bet I’m not going over that since I’m hungry all the time.

I had a meeting today in a building adjacent to where I bought my original #1 wedding dress choice. I have been considering what to do if the dress comes in and doesn’t fit and they have to take it out. So I ran in there to try on the sample size again to see how I’m progressing. I saw the lady who helped me was there by herself when I walked in, but her back was to me. I snuck over, found the dress and ran into the dressing room. If this thing wasn’t going to fit, and I was going to have a breakdown, I really wanted to do it alone.

I unzipped the dress, put it over my head and everything was all stuck. There were parts and layers in places they shouldn’t be and I was concerned that the dress didn’t feel any looser. Then I realized I had an entire layer bunched up in there, so I pulled that out and started zipping. That zipper went all the way to the top, AND, it was loose. Holy effing crap. How on earth did I do this? I got on the scale last week and knew I was down 8 lbs, but in what world is 8 lbs enough to drop you 2 dress sizes? I guess the bridal world. Now it seems like the dress I ordered will be too big. Huh.

I came out of the dressing room and ran over to the lady and called her name. She turned around and said, “VELVET!!! I WAS JUST THINKING ABOUT YOU LAST WEEK!” Couldn’t believe she remembered my name, I haven’t seen her except for that one day two months ago. She remembered everything about me. She’s good! I told her I lost 8 lbs and showed her the dress and she was shocked. She said everyone promises to lose weight and most brides can’t pull it off in time.

Please. I’m not “most brides!”

And that dress is downright gorgeous. I really made the right choice the first time.

Anyway, since I have room to spare, does anyone have a bag of Chips Ahoy or 30 cannolis they can lend me? Thanks.

I Can See Your Expression When the Phone Rings

Maybe it was a bad idea to let my parents pick the Justice of the Peace. It’s no secret that the Velvet family likes to shop for price.

This past weekend, X and I went to Connecticut to work on some more details. I’m not sure why I thought a “small” wedding of just family and a few friends would be any easier. Damn. You still have to do all the same crap, you just mail less invitations and make less place cards. Yes. Sigh. Place cards. X thought that since it’s such a small group we could let people decide where to sit. Um. No. Have you met my family? We need to make a very strategic plan on who sits where. If we can keep my sister-in-law in a different city from my mom, we’ll be in good shape. When I was first making phone calls for a venue, every Venue Manager said the same thing at first: Describe your perfect wedding.

“Oh, that’s easy. One where my mom doesn’t punch my sister-in-law and one where my dogs can be a part of it.”

This did make everyone laugh. I think they thought I was joking. I wasn’t.

We went to the town hall to apply for the marriage license. Lucky for me, my BFF from high school works there and did the whole thing for us on the spot. No waiting! No blood tests! No proof of X’s divorce! No charge! Thanks Divorcee!!!! (Funny, I know. Even funnier she changed her status on Facebook to “engaged” this morning.)

As she was filling out the license, her co-worker, sitting at a desk behind her, said, “Is Larry marrying you?” I said, “Um, yeah, I think that’s it.” She said, “You’re not getting married at the Motel 6* are you?” I said, “Uh, yes.” She starts shaking her head. “He called here the other day to see if you had applied for your license yet. He said someone called him and said his daughter was getting married and asked if he would perform the ceremony and he couldn’t remember your names, the location, the date or the time.”

X and I looked at each other and started laughing. Divorcee said this was sort of par for the course with this guy and suggested we keep calling him to remind him. Then she said we should plan to send someone to pick him up. Jesus. Christ. She told me stories about people we went to high school with who never picked up their marriage licenses and she had to run them over to their wedding. Fuck DC, I love small towns.

When we went back to my parents house we told them what happened with the JP. My dad called him right then and gave him the info all over again. He said that the JP lost the paper where he wrote everything down. Wow. Just, wow. I was like, “Um, Dad? We sort of need him.” He kept saying “Don’t worry, don’t worry.”

Yeah. I think we need a Plan B. I told X since we have zero connection to this JP and he might not even show up, maybe we should consider just finding a Greek Orthodox priest to marry us. X is working on that today. Yikes. The only problem is that Greek Orthodox weddings last like three days.

We did get a cake last week. Devils food with cannoli cream. Devils food cakes and cannolis are my two favorite desserts in the whole world, and whoever thought of putting them together is a god damned genius.  As opposed to us picking a JP name out of a hat, at least getting the cake at this bakery felt right. It’s from the same bakery where my mom got my cake for my baptism.

We’re down to 8 weeks people.

*I’m not really getting married at the Motel 6. I promise.**

**It’s Super 8.

Til What Do Us Part?

It is totally unintentional that my last post title deviated from my usual song lyric clip to part of the traditional marital vows, and that this one is another vow. But why “Til Death?” Are you no longer married after a death? Aren’t you always married in your heart?

My dear friend Lily, whose husband has been battling cancer for several years, passed away this morning. I am so very heartbroken and sorry for my friend.

In the last few weeks, she has sent me various texts or emails with thoughts and concerns she has about living a life solo, without her husband and sidekick of the last 20 years.  I hope if and when she ever reads this that she’s not upset that I am sharing the content of something she texted to me late one night.

She said, “I wish I could go back and do the last 19 years over, and cherish every moment.”  I responded and told her that just isn’t possible in reality. We always wish we could go back and do something over again, but the truth is that life sometimes gets crazy and busy and we forget to cherish the time we have. Or we don’t have time to. We have to leave our loved ones to work. We argue with our loved ones. We spend time apart for one reason or another. It’s just how it goes. We do our best to outweigh that with the positive and the moments we do cherish.

Perhaps this makes me less of an atheist than I think I am and more agnostic, but I prefer to believe that Lily’s husband is with his mommy right now, and that it’s way better there than it could ever be here.

Kisses to you Nick. Your impact on my friend’s life and the incredible, compassionate, loving husband you were to her and father to Nicholas will leave an imprint on their lives and hearts forever.

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