Category Archives: Stupid

Why I Should Work With Children

Going on two years of unemployment had me looking for an alternate job opportunity while I waited out this rut in education. I’d been scraping by with a little freelance proofreading and private tutoring, but I needed something a bit more stable so that I could reclaim my self-worth, as well as bring home some decent money to contribute to the life I’m building with Greg. I was beginning to seek out hourly filing jobs in our nearby hospital, when I was called to substitute for a week as a teacher in a child development center (CDC) summer program. One week turned into five weeks, and those weeks turned into landing me an interview for a permanent teaching position within the CDC during the school year. I aced the interview and was offered the position. While it’s only part-time, I figure, it’s better than no-time, and it has a high possibility of becoming a stepping stone to landing a full-time teaching position next Fall. Plus, I’m meant to work with kids; not standing in a back room filing charts.

The moment I knew I had to give up looking into menial part-time jobs and continue to pursue my quest to work in the education field, happened a week ago while subbing at the CDC. Working at a school located a few blocks from the Pacific Ocean, we would frequently walk the kids to the beach for a free field trip.  I was doing caboose duty on one of the walks back from the beach. This happens to be one of the most tiring positions, as you have to continually encourage the tired, slower children to “use their quick feet” and “take big, dinosaur steps” in order to keep up with the rest of the group.

When we were within sight of the school, I heard a soft shuffling behind me. I didn’t think much of it until I heard it again.  The thought of a person walking right behind us sent chills up and down my back, so I quickly turned around to face the perpetrator and dare him/her to try and steal one of our children. ‘Cause that’s totally what any person walking in a public neighborhood is planning to do.  In any case, when I turned around, no one was there. Instead, I noticed the sound came from dry leaves sliding across the sidewalk due to the gentle ocean breeze.

This caused my mind to rationally think, “What would I do if zombies were behind us?” The thought made me physically scared, and as I glanced behind me one more time to make sure there really weren’t zombies, I initially decided that I’d push past the kids and get to the safety of the school. I was at the end of the line with the most fatigued kids, so the zombies would be content with them, giving the larger group, and myself, a chance to get inside the school and set up a barricade.

However, as I calmed down, I realized I couldn’t do that. I took a good look at the tired kiddos around me, and just knew that I couldn’t let them die. I imagined myself grabbing the tiny 2nd grader, who was dragging his feet next to me, like a sack of potatoes and running him to safety, all the while shuffling the other kids along.  I recognized that I would rather sacrifice myself than let them get eaten.

I’m not saying all this for praises, or to brag that I’m a saint.  I’m not.  It’s just that this was a moment of clarity for me.  I realized how sincerely I actually care for kids that are of no relation to myself. I love those innocent, albeit sometimes tiresome, little humans. Zombies scare the living crap out of me, and if I would allow myself to get caught by a zombie hoard just to save their little lives, then I need to be working with kids. If I were to be answering phones in an air-conditioned cubicle, who would save the children?

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Why Free Clinics Are Free

I should have known I was in for a ride when the medical assistant standing in front of me mumbled incoherently, and the only reasonable response that I could come up with was a scrunching of my nose and a quizzical, “Huh?”

She seemed very unsure of herself, but I answered her questions confidently, and did as I was told. I was made to stand way too long on the digital scale for her to record my weight, but being pleasantly surprised that I had lost some pounds, I wasn’t as embarrassed nor feeling as impatient to step off as I usually am. I didn’t become fully concerned until it came time for the testing of my blood pressure.

She delicately wrapped the black band around my arm, making sure all the pressure tubes were lying parallel and not crossing over each other. As she put on her stethoscope, she seemed to have trouble placing in her ear buds, as if she was discovering her ears for the first time. She placed the cool round end of the stethoscope on my inner elbow, adjusting it into the perfect position, and listened for a good ten seconds without pumping the cuff. Eventually, she realized she would need to pump it, and boy did she pump it! Every now and again, I’ll get an attendant who pumps the band way too much, to the point of almost crying, but within seconds, they give a twist of the valve and save me from unbearable discomfort.  Not this time.

She pumped it the fullest I’ve EVER had it, and kept on trying to listen without releasing any of the pressure. She finally decided that maybe she should change the position of the stethoscope. Of course, that didn’t work.  By this time, my tingling fingers began going numb. She adjusted her ear buds, and placed the scope down again.  My arm, now having lost all feeling to it, remained perfectly still. The crushing pain in my bicep was the only way I knew that I still had an arm. That, and I could see my lifeless fingers dangling out in front of me. I willed them to move, but to no avail. Just when I thought I might pass out from the mix of pain and numbness, she released the valve the teensiest of bits. I thought, “Finally! My blood is sure to come rushing back in, and she’ll surely hear a pulse!” But no, she merely wanted to reposition the scope, and within nanoseconds, it was pumped to the brim once again.

At this point, my entire arm hurt and tingled, as it was briefly given life, and then cruelly taken away. Fortunately (unfortunately?) it took her forever and a half this second time, and my arm soon returned to a numb state. After, at least, a minute and a half from when she began, she released the valve for good, and gently removed the armband. I immediately clutched my hand to my chest, massaging and moving my fingers. I looked down at my upper arm: It was so red that it looked like a horrific sunburn, not to mention that the indentations of the cuff remained on my arm for the rest of my visit.

She then wrote my name on a sterile urination cup, handed it over to me, and informed me that she needed to take my weight before I went and did my business. I questioned, “Again?” “Oh, I mean, your height,” she responded.  I followed her to the height rod affixed to the wall. I stood straight and felt the soft pressure of the bar resting against my head. She started uttering, “uhhs” and “umms,” so assuming she was trying to find a polite way to tell me to take off my sandals, I offered, “Should I take off my chanclas?” She said yes, and we resumed with the measuring. Again, I heard “uhhs” and “umms” emanating from her lips.  Then she asked me, “How tall are you?  This is saying 65.”  She lifted the bar from my measured position, and I stepped out from under it. She pointed to the 65 and said, “This is where I think you measured. I don’t get it. It says 65, and the other side says 165.  How tall are you?”  This was when I went into teacher mode, pointing out the inches side and the centimeters side, and letting her know that I usually measure 5’4 3/4″, and that the 65 she is looking at is part of the inches, which is the equivalent to 5’5″, which is essentially my height.  I even took the time to show her that 60″ is five feet, so she could just count up from there for future height measurements.  I guess all that went over her head, ’cause instead of acknowledging that she understood any part of what I said, she mentioned, “This is a new measuring tool, so I’m not used to it. I don’t understand the 165. So how tall are you? Five-five?” To that, I just nodded and conceded, “Yes, five-five.”

I can see how this could be so confusing…NOT!

Still clutching my empty, sterile urination cup, she led me to a line to take a vision test. As I began, a nurse walked by, and politely placed me on the correct line, about ten feet further back. The medical assistant resumed my test by telling me to start on the chart wherever I wanted. So, I chose a line, covered one eye, and began reading, with no guidance from her at all. I got to a line where I knew I was screwing up horribly, and missed more than the allotted amount, so I removed my hand and told her it was too fuzzy. Instead of moving on to the next eye, she urged me to continue squinting and guessing for the remainder of that line and the following line. I just went with it. After each individual eye was done, she started to walk away, and I inquired, “Don’t you want me to read them with both eyes now?” To which she responded with a shake of her head, and a leading of me to a nearby restroom to give them a urine sample.

As I walked into the bathroom and looked down at the cup, this is what I saw:

“Schatz” is easy. It’s the “Erica” that throws people off.

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Hate to Phone

Finding a venue for my wedding is proving to be frustrating and stressful. At one point last week, I truly thought it was going to be impossible; however, I’ve recently been able to shorten the list and highlight places I’d like to visit based on information I’ve received…information I’ve received solely through email. One thing many people don’t know about me is that I do not like talking on the phone. And I don’t mean that in a personal preference sort of way. I mean it in a I get mild anxiety over the thought of making a phone call sort of way.

I’ve been like this for as long as I can remember. Though I was a shy and quiet child, I did not have a problem picking up the phone to call my friend Sarah to inquire as to whether or not she could walk down the street to come over and play. I did, however, have a problem calling her if it was just to chat. We actually used to talk on the phone quite frequently, and though I can’t physically remember, I’m almost certain that those phone conversations started because Sarah called me, not vice versa. It’s not as though I didn’t want to talk to her; I did. It was the build-up in my mind prior to the phone call that would prevent me from calling in the first place. What if she doesn’t want to talk right now? What if her family is eating dinner? What if she wants to come over, but she can’t because my brother’s friends are already here? In the end, I usually just didn’t call.

As an adult, I’m wrought with the same worries and anxieties; the difference being that I actually have to make certain phone calls—like to doctors. Before I make the call, I dialogue in my head exactly what I’d like to say to the person I’m calling. Once I figure out my phrasing, I grab a piece of paper to write out verbatim opening statements, along with bulleted points or questions I would like to bring up during the conversation. I guess my worry is that I will forget what I want to ask, or come across as a bumbling moron. Even when I have my “script” written out, I will put off an important call for days until I work up my nerve and find just the right moment in my day to phone them (aka I need to be completely alone with the windows and doors shut tight). Yeah, the thought of anyone overhearing an important call scares the crap out of me because I feel as though they will be thinking that they could have made that same call a lot better and with more finesse than me. And that’s not even because I think that I’m surrounded by “judgy” people; it’s simply a self-confidence issue within myself.

Making a phone call to a friend is a whole other story. For those…well, those just usually don’t happen. It bums me out that I can’t just pick up the phone and call a friend, but unless I have some major news to share, I get all my old hang-ups over calling. It’s been months since I last called…what if they give me a hard time about that? What if she’s busy and she’s only talking to me to be nice? What if I run out of things to say?

So because of this quirky aspect of mine, I’m dependent on the wedding venues to actually email me back their details, which is not necessarily the preferred avenue of contact for some of the smaller places. Many have been great in sending me information in a timely manner, while others that I’d really like to know more about, sit overlooked on my list because I’m too scared to call. I know I’m going to have to suck it up and create my listed dialogue eventually, but what’s a few more days gonna hurt?

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8 Glasses of Water

As some of you are well aware, I hate drinking water. The last time I attempted to drink large quantities of water, I gave myself hypothermia, so I’ve been wary ever since. However, I do realize that there are benefits that come with hydrating properly. A week before Christmas, in an attempt to be healthy, I decided to drink eight glasses of water a day. Let me backtrack a little:

While at Target with Greg to get water filter replacements for our sink (because one of us actually drinks water on a regular basis), I was drawn to the purple Brita water pitchers on the shelf. I casually mentioned to Greg, “ I think I might actually drink water if I had this. I mean, I only like water when it’s cold, and though I can achieve that effect through ice, the cubes just get in the way of my drinking, and it’s too much of an effort.” At which point, I’m sure he rolled his eyes, but also grabbed one off the shelf to bring home. We filled it that night and stuck it in the fridge to chill overnight.

The next day, I began my morning with a small 8oz cup of water. I totally busted out a measuring cup too. I wasn’t about to drink more than needed. To my surprise, it wasn’t half bad. And? It didn’t burn my throat! Every hour or so, I chugged down another cup. And I mean that literally. I would take a deep breath, and finish each cup as if I just lost in a drinking game. The way I saw it, the longer I left the cup out in the open air, the warmer the water would become. It was better for me to drink it while it was still cool and refreshing. Kinda like the way it was with vegetables as a kid. If I stacked all five zucchini slices on my fork and shoved them in my mouth in one bite while they were still hot, it’d be over and done with, as opposed to pushing them around my plate all dinner, then gagging down cold zucchini. If I have to do it, I might as well make it as pleasurable as possible.

In any case, I drank 8-10 glasses of water for nine consecutive days! I was extremely proud of myself, and probably would have kept going, but Christmas day was the tenth day, and I was out of my home for almost the whole day. It didn’t help that at every other house I visited on Christmas, I was tempted with juice, hot apple cider, soda, and wine. With all those choices, there was no way I’d prefer water! Once I got off schedule, my motivation waned. Plus, my brother’s girlfriend is in med school right now, and when I was telling her about it, she said eight glasses isn’t necessary. The guideline is to drink when you’re thirsty. Which totally threw me for a loop, ‘cause Ryan Gosling said on Ellen that, “When you’re thirsty, it’s too late.” And we all know actors are always right. However, I’m going to go with the future doctor’s advice.

And, well, I’m never thirsty…for water.

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Kinda Smelling a Fart

Partly because I can’t smell, but mostly because I’m gross and find farts humorous, Greg and I let the gas fly freely in our household. While folding laundry together the other night, Greg let a particularly stinky one rip. With each disgusted face he made, I laughed harder and harder. It’s always awesome for me to watch others suffer through horrid smells, and this time was especially funny because Greg did it to himself. He took a few steps toward me in anticipation for tickling revenge, and as he did, I inhaled and suddenly choked on a burning sensation in the back of my throat. I let out a soft cough, thinking I must have had a weird tickle or spur of allergies over some dust microbe. That’s when Greg went back to his side of the bed to fold and said something to the effect of, “Oh god it burns.” I paused over the wonder and realization of me actually experiencing a fart, so I promptly asked him, “Do farts really burn? Like, can you actually feel a burning sensation in the back of your throat?” To which he responded with a this-is-common-sense-tone, “Yeah. It’s methane gas.”

I must have asked him three times to clarify exactly how it feels, because I couldn’t believe that I may have actually experienced a real fart, but it’s true. I was ecstatic! I quickly walked into his fart zone in the hopes of feeling the burning sensation again, but a few deep breaths later, I knew it wasn’t going to happen. Smells are fleeting with me, and usually entail less smelling and more tingling in my nose, tastes on my tongue, or currently, a burn in my throat. However, that didn’t dampen the initial joy of actually semi-smelling a fart.

As grossed out as I’m sure most of you are by this point (if any of you are still reading), I’ve been trying to smell farts my whole life! In high school, my cousin would let a good one out on her mattress while we sat on her bed doing homework, and I’d immediately rush up, plant my nose firmly into the bed, and hope that I’d smell her alleged rose scented farts. For all I know, her farts really did smell like a beautiful rose garden, so I totally back her on that claim.

I am so intrigued with smells, and it’s so incredibly difficult for those around me to explain what they’re like. So please, those of you that read and are good with words, I beg of you to attempt to explain to me the smell of farts. Or just share a good fart story if you want. Your grossness is accepted here.

My idol, Jenny, The Bloggess, attempted to explain to me what blood smells like. Do you think she nailed it?

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Future Zombie

~Trigger warning for talking about mild self-harm. The meat of this entry is meant to be entertaining; I just want to be sensitive to others.~

Confession: When I get nervous or anxious, I eat myself. Literally. I pick at the skin around my nails and tear it away with my teeth. And when I’m trying to give the open wounds on my hands a chance to heal, I start gnawing on my bottom lip. For the most part, I don’t even realize that I’m doing it until I’ve drawn blood. I’ve been doing this for as long as I can remember, and because of it, I have callused thumbs and a permanent crater on my bottom lip. I can’t seem to shake this anxiety trigger no matter how mindful I try to be. I’m starting to think that this gross habit of mine predisposes me to becoming a great zombie.

Greg and I have had countless discussions about what would happen to us during the zombie apocalypse. Though I’ve instructed him to shoot me in the case of our apartment getting overrun, there’s a big small chance I’ll be bitten too quickly for him to help. The reality of it is that I would be eaten immediately (my hopes being that enough of me survived to become a walking dead). Greg would likely survive, and he may or may not come back to collect me and lock me up in a cage waiting for a cure.

We’ve thought about the different options for me as a zombie. Because of my passive personality and love for everything, it wouldn’t be so far fetched to see me sitting in someone’s front lawn eating daisies as opposed to the helpless child wandering the streets. Greg and I have laughed over the humorous prospect of me trying to convert my zombie friends to vegetarianism.

However, with relation to my skin biting, it’s likely that I may find brains delicious. My worry is over the execution of retrieving said brains. I’m a pacifist by nature, and I just can’t see myself hunting down an innocent human, no matter how black my brain becomes. It’d probably be more likely that I would just be softly growling from a distance and gnashing my teeth together ever so lightly in the hopes that the living would approach me.

Or, maybe I’ll just end up resorting to this:

Zombie Erica eating a chicken nugget.

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