Natalie Zed: Defying Gravity

Friday, April 28, 2006

Not Dead!

Thank you to the incredible Andrea, who drove Ed and I to triage and stayed all calm and fun even when I had just about stopped breathing ( and then, THEN, sat with us in triage for close to TWO HOURS until it was fairly clear I was not going to hack up a whole lung. You're amazing.) Thank you everyone who has called, sent email, offered consolation, and in the case of the amazing Neil, drove me around to get my prescrtiption for Antibiotics of DOOM and then sat with me while I was miserable. I have the best friends in the universe.

So, Wednesday. I was feeling so much better. It was so sunny and my poor infected chest felt so much better, with only the slightest rattle. I took a walk! Hand lunch with a.rawlings and JPF and derek and Jill and Paul and Paul's Moustache (hey 'stache!) and Sophie! Tiny shrimp and mentos and massagers were involved! and the waxing strips! I went home and got all prettied for the reading at Beat Niq, turned down their repulsively expensive drinks, and settled in for an amazing performance to lauch three of the most awesome new books ever (Jason Christie's Canada Post, a.rawlings' Wide Slumber for Lepidopterists, and JPF's Theory of the Loser Class).

I was sucking on some ice cubes to try and keep my cough as quite as possible, enjoying the hell out of myself through Jason's and into Angela's performance, when it felt like two fists closed around my lungs. I could not get a breath. I started to cough. I immediately got up a left the room, because I did not want to become That Person Who Coughs During Readings and Does Not Stop With The Coughing. I made it to the bathroom. I collapsed in the bathroom and could not breathe.

Andrea, who took a first aid class, had read that choking people leave rooms and that's why they die. She is a very smart person, she, the Laurie, came to find me, and it was ugly. Ed came by, and through the tears and the mucous and LACK OF OXYGEN I could see that he sounded calm but that his eyes were very, very big. Andrea got her car and we went to the emergency centre on 8th and 8th.

They immediately took my blood pressure and checked my oxugen levels, and I was not, indeed, going to die. Not just yet. I sat with a bucket in the waiting room with Ed and Andrea and they talked to me while I spit up...things. The fit lasted close to an hour before I could take a breath, and then only very shallow ones. Andrea stayed a very long time, because she is awesome and deserves pie, and finally went to join everyone the rest of the reading party. We eventually got called in to a treatment room and I got to lay down, get braceleted, and wear one of those gows that open in the back. Stylin.

The doctor who saw me was very tired but very nice. The chest x-rays they'd taken earlier came up normal, but with "striations." She could hear crackling in my chest (Ed and Andrea ssaid they could hear is clear across the room). What it meant was that I have Pertussis -- the adult version of whooping cough. Yay. She gave me a percription for antibiotics and told me to go home and not be a moron.

So I am not deathly ill, just moderately so -- enough to put one hell of a dent in my plans. I was homebound last night -- I hope the reading was fantastic. I hope everyone can frogive me for being so lame and sick. I miss you and miss all the cool stuff going on right now. I promise to get better as soon as I can so I'll be less lame. Gah. You're all awesome.
Natalie Zed updated @ 11:49 AM!! 7 comments

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

No, I am not pregnant.

I thought I would attach that caveat, because otherwise this post is going to look a little suspicious.

Ed and I have been talking about baby names recently. While I don't hear the 'pata of any kind of feet (little or letter or otherwise) just yet, we're soon to be neighbours to a set of newborn twins, newborn twins with some *brilliant* potential names. Also, I have been reading a lot of Dooce, who has the most excellent mom stories ever, and had a great deal of fun coming up with her daughter Lyta's most excellent name (I really liked her suggestion during the delivery that they call the baby Epidural Armstrong). Since I've been dying of a lung infection, to hel myself convalesce I've been thinking about what Ed and U might name out baby (should I live that long).

We, you see, have a unique problem. Well, two. Problem #1, by far the most dire, is that my husband's last name is Schmutz. Yeah. Schmutz. Any babies we have are alsready doomed to at least part of a surname involving that single-syllable explosion of a word. It is actually used as a mild insult in some European countries. I am not kidding.

The second problem is that Ed has a slightly difficult time naming things. He agonizes over the startup screen in video games when he needs to name his character; ditto for D&D characters. We still haven't completely settled on the name of our large orange cat, whome we've had for over a year (I call him George, and Ed calls him Ghandi. The cat doesn't seem to mind, as long as he still gets treats).


Here, for you to ponder over, are a few of the more spectacular baby names I have come up with for one of our (very, very) future offspring:

My all time favourite name for a girl: Tallulah. Best. Name. Ever. You could call the baby Lulu when she was very small, and Tulip is also a great nickname. It also happens that Lala means 'tulip' in slavic, another fabulous extension.

My favourite name for a boy: Will. I really, really like the simplicity and strength of it, but I know that at some point someone would start calling the kid Bill and I would get homicidal.

Name we may actually use for a girl: Eleanor Erika. I like to idea of naming a baby girl after a warrior queen, however froofy (Eleanor of Acquitaine), and the diminutive El or Ella is a favourite of mine. Erika is Ed's older sister's name, which I really like, and I think the two balance each other.

ditto for a boy: Samuel John. Can't go wring with John, and Ed's family is full of them. Samuel is also the anglicized version of my maternal grandfather's first name (Vsevalod). Having a baby called Sam is just plain neat. Kind of like a baby called Larry or Percival. Heh.

Other girl's names I really like: Margarita/Daisy, Annika, Marika, Perdita, Phillipa, Nicola, Katinka, Penelope, Sally, and Susan/Suzanne.

Boys names I am becoming attached to: Calvin (which does seem like asking for trouble though), Daniel, Galen (for the 2nd C doctor), Gilbert, Simon, Sebastian, Westley, or Winston.

Heh. Winston Schmutz. Maybe I shouldn't be allowed to have kids. =)
Natalie Zed updated @ 10:31 AM!! 4 comments

Monday, April 17, 2006

flushing some dignity

First, a short update before we get to the main event of today's entry:

SWEET JESUS MY HOUSE IS SO CLEAN.

I celebrated Good Friday by going to Ikea with Tara and Neil. In addition to a 50 cent hot dog (mmm...intestinally good), I bought us a great deal of shelving, a tv stand and...a real, honest-to-goodness bedframe. Made of wood. Not on wheels. With a super-secret compartment for "books." Our place now looks like real adult people live in it. The shelving ended up he;ping with the spring cleaning initiative a great deal, ensuring that all our possessions actually have a place to be out away to. I can really tidy, instead of just trying to piler things up as neatly as possible. The housewife with OCD who shares my body is deeply satisfied.

Last Saturday,we built furniture. And Ed and I are still married. That's love. Sunday, after Bacon, we celebrated International Chocolate Bunny Day by playing poker for candy. I had a few neat hands, but had 2nd best way too often and ended up being out quite early. Amy and Craig ended up winning the Grand Prize: a box of Bernard Callebaut choclates. I'd be jealous if its twin wasn't sitting on my nightstand. Fiddy came in late, played for a bit, then settled in with me to watch every single minute of The Ten Commandments. The perfect Easter: bacon, gambling, enough chocolate to kill a bull elephant, and Charleton Heston.

* * * *

Anyway, time to get a bit more personal. Before I begin this particular little journey, I will warn you all that one of the great traits I have inherited from my father, other than my blond hair and a streak of crazy, is a healthy appreciation for toilet humour. Farts, in particular, are comedy GOLD. I am related to a man who is a MUSICIAN of farts. His ass is a musical instrument, and HE IS A VIRTUOSO.

Ready?

Yesterday, I coughed so hard that something bearing a striking resemblance to slightly bloodied ravioli came out of my lungs. On 3 separate occaisions.

I cannot believe how sick I am. I am generally a healthy person. I get migraines, and my eyes suck, but I have a lot of energy an (in addition to a gross sense of humour) have inherited a pretty big case of 'suck it the hell up' from my dad that lets me muscle through most minor physical inconveniences.

I have been coughing -- the dry, rattly cough of a consumptive in a sanatorium -- for a good two months. I am almost embarassed to tell you it took me that long to think about going to the walk-in clinic. I went, and a very nice doctor gave me a puffer. I began puffing.

Since starting on the puffer, by body has gone APESHIT. The cough has progressed from dry to "sweet jesus I think I just coughed up some real, actual alveoli just there." the sheer amount o mucous my body is producing is not even reasonable. I am weak and shaky and everything is so damn hard, and my throat hurts bad enough that swallowing is a rather unpleasant proposition. I am not eating. That alone is enough to sned anyone who knows me into Natalie Terror Alert Level: Red alarm.

I am going back to tha doctor soon to ask if she accidentally gave me the Ebola Virus puffer instead of the Let's Clear Up This Cough Puffer, and to see if the chest x-ray turned up anything particularly interesting. I can only hope that I can drug myself up enough to at least make an appearance at some of the events I HELPED PLAN this week.

Off to fill some kleenex.

...sweet jesus, that loks like uni sushi. I am going to sit down on the floor and weep snotty, snotty tears.
Natalie Zed updated @ 4:26 PM!! 2 comments

Thursday, April 13, 2006

I am conducting a series of experiments.

I don't get hit on very often. Once upon a time, in the far off days of ANGST, I thought it was because I was ugly and a sure sign no one would ever love me. Now, several long-term relationships, lots of romping, and one happy marriage to the good, I am far less convinced that I am Swamp Thing. I am, however, a young woman who does not get hit on very often at all, and have set out to analyze this.

Firstly, I do not look like most girls do, and by this I mean do not dress/primp/spritz/shallack/mutilate myself to look like the folks on the tv box and the movin' pictures. I am clean and tidy, occaisionally I'll wear a little makeup and do my hair, but in general I don't do the whole young-female-mating-ritual getup, like doing my hair in a bouffant or wearing half a bottle of perfume or one of those sweaters that tie off under your boobs (and make everyone over 90 lbs look pregnant) or faux-yoga pants with PRINCESS written across the ass cheeks. I also have two basic Life Uniforms: 1) Plausible Grad Student, which is all glasses and button down shirt and sandals and stack of books, which is the antithesis of Come Hither; and Empress of Nerds, my casual apparel, which means wering stuff like a green t-shirt with Laterverian Ambassador printed on it an a skirt that is made out of the same material sweatpants are, and therefore the coolest skirt on earth. Neither of these images really send out a Sex Kitten vibe, and I think contribute heavily to the lack of attenion from assy men.

For nearly a year now, I've been going to the gym at the U about 3 times a week. It's a fine gym and free. It is also a meat market. The combination of sweat, lycra, and insecurity seems to be the perfect environment for pick-up lines and coquettish fluttering. I. however, am usually left entirely alone. I pick up a crappy women's magazine to numb my brain and am left to do my cardio in peace. Not a terrible fate, but one I wondered at.

Eventually, I was so tired with the crappy Chatelaine and Cosmo selection at the gym, I remembered to bring magazines of my own. I happened to have grabbed a Wired. I remember a really good article of digital cameras.

And two men tried to pick me up.

Curious, I tried again. Wired seemed to work consistently, 2 pickups per hour; Discover and Scientific American each earned one an hour.

Nintendo Power? 5 men approached me in less than an hour. Single Ladies, take heed: that shit is gold.

[Side note: Damn you Nintendo for how cool the games for the DS is, and how smashingly sexy the DS lite looks, and how I am so going to have to buy it, along with the new orgasmically awesome-look New Super Mario Brothers. DAMN YOU.]

I am taking requests: what other magazines should I bring to bamboozle the gym guys?
Natalie Zed updated @ 2:47 PM!! 4 comments

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Space! Blessed, blessed space!

I may have had my first legitimate panic attack yesterday. My chest got tight and my vision went wonky, I was having a hard time making sense, and I wanted to cry and hyperventilate all at once. The reason? Could it have been that I am deep in the middle of work on my thesis, at the precarious point when I can both see ligth at the end of the tunnel yet am painfully aware of how much work is directly in my path? Perhaps the stresses of being one of a pair of inodinately busy people in the first year of marriage? New housemates? Existential angst?

Nope. It was because my house was messy.

I am so lame.

I've never had very much stuff. My parents have tons, heaps, bins of stuff -- very nice, antique, fashionable stuff, but stuff nonetheless. Ed's mother has one of the most impressive collections of stuff I have ever seen amassed in one place -- ans she's gotten rid of a lot of it recently. Despite beign surrounded by people with lots of stuff, I've never been one to relish accumulating things for myself. Things I don't wear or use or care for anymore get left behind or given away or quickly donated, or even sold.

Ed and I have been in our apartment a while now -- it'll be two years as of this July. Over that period of time, things have...accumulated. I didn't realize quite how bad things had gotten until I tried to clean a closet as a break from Roland Barthes, and my lungs decided to completely deflate in terror.

I am a gypsy. I need to pick up and move at a moments notice. There is no way I can do that if I am keeping the BOX that belongs to a KETTLE I bought WHEN I FIRST MOVED. Gah.

When all was said and done, we got rid of about 5-6 boxes of pure garbage, set aside three more boxes and a grbage bag full of clothing to donate, and identified a coffee table and three chairs that can all go off to meet their maker. Soon, we are going to Ikea to get some more shelving, so all the stuff we decided to keep can get OFF THE FLOOR and be stacked NEATLY ON SHELVES rather than IN INFURIATING LITTLE PILES THAT MAKE ME *STABBITY.*

In the mean time, however, the place is looking much better already. I have sprung-cleaned. I feel much freer and more portable, and it's juat warm enough that I can open up the apartment for airing. Things are improving.

On another hateful note, has anyone else heard of Body Mints? It's a full -body deodorizer that you take orally. I ran into this product in London Drugs while seeking out a spool of Cat-5 cable. Basically, it is a high dose of chlorophyll, so your very pores exude a minty aroma. Congratulations. Rather than smelling like a human being, you can take a pill. you know what else makes you smell nice? SHOWERING. and BRUSHING YOUR TEETH. god.

that is all.
Natalie Zed updated @ 2:53 PM!! 1 comments

Thursday, April 06, 2006

I'm an addict, it's cool, I feel alive...

First, updates: The stove apparently works! Also, after some schedule flummery, the plumber has fixed the shower! Glorious, glorious shower.

Anyway.

Usually, I get up when Ed does. The alarm has gone off, there's shuffling going on, and the cats are curious as to why I am still burrowed under the covers when some OTHER humans are already up and about. This morning, however, a thermal detonator could have gone off in the neighbourhood and I would have continued sleeping. I was dreaming -- sadly enough, I was dreaming that I had been writing my thesis, but it was going well, so it was definitely a good dream. Ed tried to be quiet for a while, but then, just before he had to leave, the little germ of PURE EVIL that nestles somewhere is his cortex suddenly sprung to life. He decided to conduct an experiment.

He made me a cup of tea. How sweet. And I suppose he didn't want the tea to get cold before I woke up to drink it. So he brought the tea into the bedroom and held it a few inches from my face, where the sweet sweet sweet sweet sweet sweet tea aroma begam to caress my olfactory nerve.

In my dream...the most delicious scent. Calling me to waking. I walked towards the light --

To confront my grinning husband, a mug of blessed tea, and the fact that I think I have a caffeine addiction. Sigh.
Natalie Zed updated @ 11:06 AM!! 2 comments

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Stove Saga: Part 2. Also, Natalie Showers!

So on Saturday, thousands of years after the original visit by Stove-dick, I get a mysterious and rambling phone message. Ed and I both listen to it repeatedly and end up deducing that Stove-Dick is calling to say that the part he needed to make my oven work again has come in. We make an appointment for him to come by on Monday.

He arrived, whistling and carrying a big red drill, and began removing the backing from the stove. I had noticed something that gave his theory about the control panel being the defective part a little more credence: the cook timer had stopped working. I told him so, and he literally puffed up, loudly citing it as proof that this must be what was wrong. He installed the clock. We turned it on. The broil worked. On bake...the lower element did not come on.

Me: "It's still not coming on."

Him: "What?"

Me: "The lower element is still not working." I touched it.

Him: "Um. Well, on some stoves the upper element won't come on during bake --"

Me: "Yes, but this one did. You looked at the circuit, remember?"

He looked at the circuit again. He also started looking very nervous. He borrowed our phone and called the manufacturer.

Him: "They're saying that they've changed the clo- the control panels, and that now when you put this oven on bake it will only use the bottom element."

Me: "So what has been fixed?"

Him: "...the cook timer is working now."

I would LIVE WITHOUT THE COOK TIMER. I would not have CALLED him about a cook timer. I am CONCERNED about being able to BAKE EVER AGAIN.

Ed and I both express a great deal of worry about the viability of the stove as it is, as fixed looks an awful lot like broken to us. We call his supervisor, who tells me that it is entirely possible that Kenmore changed the way the control panels work for this stove, or that Stove-Dick read the circuit wrong. Both of them convince us to try and bake something in the stove, and if it is still broken, they'll both return to fix it, as the work is guaranteed. We reluctantly agree.

One final bit of annoyance: while he was here, Stove-dick was going to fix the drawer at the bottom of the oven, which had fallen off the track, and the bearing needed to be replaced. He ntoed, when he first saw it, the hole for the bearing was stripped. He came over today with new skid, a new bearing, began to fix it --

Him: "The bearing won't fit."

Me: "What?"

Him: "You've been fiddling with it since it broke, see, so the hole is stripped --"

Me: "We know. You saw this last time. You said you were going to order a larger bearing to compensate."

Him: "...What?"

Me: "You knew that and were going to fix it."

Him: "Oh. Well, I could order the part again --"

It was around then that Ed and I gave up and politely kicked him out of the apartment.

There is a happy little epilogue to this saga. After Stove-dick's departure, I tried to bake some cookies. They came out beautifully. It seems that, despite his best efforts, Stove-dick may have fixed the problem. We're keeping an eye on it (translation: I am going to do a lot of baking in the next little while) and we'll see what happens.

In other news, there is no hot water in the shower. The hot water tap, which had been leaking a bit, finally gave up the ghost on Sunday. It's wobbly, loose, leaky, and won't turn on. All the water we have available to us the the shower is the gelid, just-above-freezing temperature of the showers in prison or hell.

So, yesterday, I loaded a little tote up with a towel, shampoo and conditioner, shower gel, and a bath puff, and went to the girl's locker room in the fitness centre. Their showers are...very open concept, which is a little nerve-wracking, but the water works. It required rigging up an elaborate towel-and-tote throw and sidewaysing myself into a disturbingly open stall, then getting my sadals wet because I couldn't bear to touch the dubouis tile with skin, but I bathed and felt human again. It was a harrowing experience but well worth the price to be clean, soft, and smelling of ginger and lime again.

There is a very nice plumber currently in his shirtsleeves, poking at the faucets and hopefully returning the blessed gift of hot water to our household. If not, I have my mobile-shower-tote at the ready.
Natalie Zed updated @ 10:29 AM!! 2 comments