Bus People Chronicles Continued…

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I’m trying to make myself ride the bus more. My regular route with my regular bus people. I was familiar with my regular people. I knew who smelled bad on a hot day, who had the best snacks, who fell asleep and didn’t interrupt my audiobook, and who sat squished up against you given a chance. I had my seat, I had my routine, I knew exactly what would happen and when it would happen.

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Except for the guy peeing on my truck. That I didn’t anticipate.

But, for the most part, my bus route was fairly routine. And now they’re doing away with it. So, new route, new bus, new people, new experiences. Part of my fear with writing is the fact I have no stories to tell that don’t actually happen to me. Or to someone I know. But still, I have no fictional story or characters to develop. I just write what happens. Because it’s generally healthier to laugh at life than to complain. So today, despite the fact it was above 90, we were in the sun the entire ride, crammed in like sardines, and I’m pretty sure the heat was running instead of the AC…I shall tell you the funny. Because there was plenty of funny.

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Side note: this isn’t enough to actually tell much about but is worth noting. A lady in front of me was scrolling through facebook and if I see a meme I have to look. It’s how I’m wired. She had post after post after post talking crap about Jamaican men. I didn’t know that was a thing? But, apparently, it is! It was hysterical. Mostly because I didn’t get it, but still.

My fave people to watch today:

Chapstick Man: A young (20ish) man got on the bus on our ride home. He was dressed in pants and a long sleeve shirt and wasn’t sweating. Which made me envious and suspicious. He was also one of those folks that make too much eye contact and moves in slow motion. A mix of sloth and reptile. You may not know what I’m talking about now but when you see someone it will click. He sat down upfront, so I had a great view, and applied ointment from a little tub. I’m assuming lip balm. Or grease. Either way, he had a routine of drinking water from his water bottle, recapping it slowly while staring at someone and not blinking. Then he’d carefully set his water bottle down, take out his little tub of slime, and while continuing to stare and not blink, he’d smear greasy stuff over the bottom half of his face. The little tub would be capped and carefully placed back in his pocket. He would pick up his water bottle, uncap it, drink water, and the process would repeat until he ran out of water. He became more interesting because of the next individual. I found the perfect representation of his blink:

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Spandex Hides no Sins: An older lady (I’d guess 60s to 70s) got on the bus and sat across from Chapstick boy. He nodded at her while smearing his face for the umpteenth time. That was all the introduction she needed. She started ranting and raving about how people would rather steal than earn an honest living. Thieves were taking over the world. Conmen were buying plots of land in 500-acre increments. Etc. I was beginning to tune her out and get back into my audiobook when she yanked her shirt up over her round belly. I do not have a problem with round belly’s, mine is hardly flat. But I try to cover it. As I was getting over the shock from seeing a lot of very white belly and old lady underboob I glanced over at Chapstick to see the only reaction he had to the new events was one long, slow blink. I glanced back over to Spandex and she was now hauling the top of her strained spandex workout pants (which had seen workouts the way my yoga pants have seen yoga) down over the bottom portion of her gut. And out popped two sequined clutch-type bags.  I had not seen that coming. I did my own long slow blink. She caught them both, quick as a whip, and started rifling through them while still ranting about the sins of the lazy man. She didn’t find what she wanted so she clasped the sparkly bags back against her lower gut, hauled on the spandex until it gave up and covered her girth, and then hauled her shirt back down. Chapstick gave another blink. She continued to rant. He would nod occasionally but never spoke. Just kept drinking water and slathering more grease on. After a while, still ranting, the shirt flipped back up, pants happily rolled down, and out the sparkly bags came again. She dug through for a while, Chapstick nodding and greasing, announced she wasn’t a fool to just hand money away, and packed her bags up. She stood up, yelled at the driver to stop, and barreled over someone trying who had the audacity to try to get on the bus when it stopped. Chapstick waited until she got off the bus to yell “BYE!”. She turned around, glared at him, muttered to herself, and stomped off. He shrugged, got very still, and didn’t move until the next stop where he got off the bus. I assumed that was the end of the oddity. I was so wrong. All examples of her outfit made my head hurt so I’ll spare you those meme’s and gifs. You’re welcome.

Irish: A very sweaty older gentleman (50s to 60s would be my best guess) with a wirey build ran onto the bus after Chapstick left. He had a ton of duffel and grocery bags and it took him a while to get sorted out. I noticed he was talking and assumed he was talking to the driver or had a Bluetooth type device in the ear I couldn’t see. The next time I glanced up he was sitting facing the other direction, there was no device in either ear, and he was still talking. Now, a LOT of people on the bus talk to themselves. But something about the way he was so quiet I couldn’t hear him but gesturing and making adamant facial gestures caught my attention. He began a slow but steady increase in voice. I still couldn’t figure out what he was saying but I could hear the tone of his voice now. He seemed to be arguing with himself. He grabbed a deflated potato chip bag (one of the small sizes like you’d get in a meal from Subway) and unfolded it. He seemed to be gesturing inside it and having an intense, but quiet, debate about the bag and/or it’s contents. He angrily folded up the bag, stuffed it in his pocket, adjusted the sunglasses that he was wearing in front of his eyeglasses (they kept falling off to his increased agitation). Then he raised his fists in a classic put up your dukes pose and started the circling that you see in cartoons. Like this:

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I was scared and fascinated with the idea this guy was going to fight himself. How can you even do that? But his fist circles slowed and he seemed to be calming himself down. He’d start to rile himself up, making animated faces and gestures, then he would start to calm himself down again. He kept up his continuous conversation with himself for the next 40 minutes. When I got off the bus he was still angering himself and then calming himself. It was incredibly bizarre.

I’m going to ride again tomorrow and we shall see what adventures await!

Swollen Face Holes

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Summer lasts much too long. I’ve always thought that. But now that I’m randomly started to break down in my thirties, I’m sure of it. After a random conversation with my mother (who is the only person on the planet patient enough to listen to my whining about this for well over a year now) about my randomly swollen and super freaking itchy bottom lip (everyone likes to look like they’ve been punched) and left ring finger (just…why!?) I figured I should share all my lessons with the world.

Random Things I’ve learned:

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  1. Certain body parts are hard to itch. I’m not one of those people that can ignore an itch. And there is no itch quite like eczema. I routinely tear my skin to shreds. It’s my superpower. However, just because you’ve never had an itch to end all itches on your eyelid or lower lip or fingertip, doesn’t mean they can’t itch. They can. With the power of all the fire ants in the world. And there is literally NO good way to itch these places. When they aren’t itching I know you probably shouldn’t itch them anyway, but when things get really bad I don’t care about should and shouldn’t. I care about tearing off the itchy parts so I can sleep. Go ahead and think of all the really sensitive or oddly shaped parts of your body. Imagine all the mosquitos and fire ants had a convention on that part. And try to figure out how you’d scratch it. Then teach me.

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  1. Doctors get brutal. I have a lovely endocrinologist, sincerely. She’s wicked smart and funny. She’s an exercise nut and looks great. She has been instrumental in helping me feel like I’m finally getting on the right track with my health. I’ve been on several medications that have made me feel SO much better. However, part of what I want, and what she wants, is weight loss. This last appointment she walked in, looked at my chart, and asked how things were. I went on about how much better I felt, that my symptoms were starting to ease off a bit, that I felt like I had some control for the first time in a very long time. She nodded. Looked me dead in the eyes after I just professed my thanks to her for helping me so much. And said, “Yeah, but you haven’t lost any weight at all.” First off, rude. Second off, I was thanking you! I was right in the middle of “you’re the best!” Now, what am I supposed to do? Take that back? “You were the best until you said that, now you’re a butthole.”
  2. No one wants to hear you whine. I mean, no one wanted to when you were a kid either. But you were too stupid to notice your parents were just tuning you out. I want to whine constantly. I want someone to put a cool washcloth on my forehead and “there there” me sometimes. Instead, now that I’m an adult, everyone wants me to use coconut oil or essential oils to cure everything. Foot hurts? Oil up that bad boy! Hair falling out? Essential oils mixed in coconut oil and left on the scalp for 352.3 hours every night will fix you right up! Entire body itching like a demon-possessed mange victim? Peppermint and eucalyptus essential oil mixed into extra virgin NON PRESSED coconut oil, mixed in a quartz bowl that has been charged by a full moon, waller around in your tub until you’re slicked up like a porpoise and frolic around without a care in the world. 1. Coconut oil doesn’t cure much of anything. At all. Sorry. 2. Essential oils stink. Again, I’m sorry, but it needed to be said. 3. Applying stinky oil to my skin does nothing but make me angry, stinky, and itchy. And also prone to slipping and breaking. I’m falling apart. The hips are going next. I just want to whine about the fact it’s impossible to adequately scratch yourself without people on the bus thinking you have a disease. Which you do. But still. You know what I’m saying here.

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Now what does any of this have to do with summer? Which was my first whine of this thing? Summer = sweat and sun. I sweat like a man. It’s super attractive I’m sure, but I break a sweat real freaking quick. And fun fact, sun exposure and sweat make an itchy soul itch that much worse. I’m basically hiding inside trying to avoid sweating at all costs. In Nashville. In August. It’s impossible! Here’s to aging. It’s a blast so far.

The Mondayest Monday to ever Monday. And a Toilet Squirrel.

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I am having one of those days that absolutely everything pisses me off. And I do mean everything. There’s a spider over the sink. I was pissed that he decided to occupy a spot in my house. Then I wondered if I could catch him before Mancandy or Mini candy decided to kill him. Instantaneously I was livid that they would consider killing Fred (he was now named and had a back story without any actual thought on my part). Fun fact, I could not catch Fred as he hasn’t realized I’m a friend. Which, yes, just made me angrier.

The little owl soap dispenser in my bathroom (clearance find at Walmart) keeps oozing soap onto the owls head and turning into greenish-yellow sappy goop. This caused great angst. As did the spots on the mirror I forgot to clean yesterday.

My dog slurping up food, neighbors mowing, people at work existing, the bus driver being snarky, traffic (this one is a legit gripe), student loan debt, being fat, everyone who’s skinny, the fuzzy bathmats I forgot in the dryer, the lamps we have on the tables beside our bed (they’re little lantern style lamps but the glass top instead of shade means they burn your eyes out), the desire to write when I’m angry, being angry, other people for not being angry, anyone else who’s angry, people who want primates as pets, plastic straws in turtle noses, pansies for not lasting all summer, etc.

This day was full of misinformation, sassy people, sweat, and anger. So much anger. I dislike these moods, anger is not my default setting. But, after writing and erasing a bunch, I think it’s my self-defense mechanism. I’ve been easing back into using facebook because I want to ease back into being more involved with rescue. Not on anything near the level I was, I’m not ready for that, but something. I’m excited about a potential opportunity to give back more. I’m excited about programs at work that encourage volunteering and giving back. I was gearing myself up to the uphill battle for progress at work and the fruition of all the plans and patience. I’m ready to try and do more than just exist.

But, being on facebook means the onslaught of suffering and sadness that made me leave. It means the ugliness surrounding the gun debate. All the hate and nastiness people dump into the internet. Along with the pictures of what people can do to animals and each other and pleas for help I can’t give. That old hopeless, dull ache came right back. I don’t think I’m actually angry. I think I’m sad. And it took years to stop being sad all the time. I don’t want to go back to it.

So I’m not sure how to do it. Being sad isn’t funny. The anger is ridiculous and can be amusing, but the sad, hopeless undercurrent isn’t. That’s just where I’m at. But, I’ll borrow some funny from my boss (his antics are the things of legend and we’ve talked about doing a podcast before and I so wish he would because the world needs to know of his ridiculousness.)

He recently moved into a home that has areas needing renovation. One area is the bathroom that was added onto the master suite. The room needs major work on the roof and is basically barricaded off until they have a chance to deal with it.

One day Boss and Lady Boss are in their room. They notice noises coming from the bathroom. The bathroom that is sealed. So. Being the type of guy who investigates weird and or creepy noises, Boss slowly opens the bathroom door. At first, nothing seems amiss. And then, from the toilet, there’s movement. A squirrel slowly pokes his head up over the rim of the toilet and looks at Boss. Boss blinks and looks back. Boss slowly closes the door and tells Lady Boss they have a toilet squirrel.

It was decided that the toilet squirrel couldn’t remain a guest in their bathroom. The Kid Bosses, Lady Boss, and Boss all geared up with gloves, a fishing net, (I’m imagining little kids running around with tennis rackets yelling about toilet squirrels), etc. However, squirrels are fast and humans are less so. It was an enclosed space with little room to maneuver. Unless you are a squirrel. It took a long while with a lot of effort (and bruising I imagine) from the humans. The squirrel was caught. And placed outside. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that it likely ran right back into the house and cowered in its toilet. But imagining him with a net in a small space trying to avoid the germ-carrying toilet squirrel brings me much joy. I hope it does the same for you.

Next episode of stories I stole from my boss: the poop snake.

Swamp Monster Sunday

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As a certified swamp monster, I have funky skin and features and…well….I’m just an odd duck. So, the fact I have – in my mid-thirties mind you – fallen in love with makeup (especially colorful eyeshadow) is just the weirdest damn thing ever and mildly embarrassing.

I work for the state of TN and as such, I’m supposed to look like a professional human. Swamp monsters with colorful sparkly glitter smeared all over their faces are not encouraged. So, I bought a few really bright, really fun palettes with all these dazzling awesome colors…and have absolutely no reason to smear them all over my face. It’s been bugging me. I’m too old for this; I don’t even know what I’m doing or how to apply makeup, but I am right this moment resisting the urge to buy a palette of nothing but yellow eye shadow. Do I EVER wear that color? No. Would it likely make me look jaundiced and even less attractive? Likely. But my brain has never been a fan of logic, so I just want it. Here’s a picture of it (That I stole from ColourPop’s website. Not sure if I’m allowed to do that, blogging rules are not well explained, but it’s free advertising and I own nothing of value….so let’s just cross our fingers and hope).

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As part of the swamp monster package, I am also the owner of a weird body. It’s overly large, pale, ungainly, and uncoordinated.  I have been telling myself I’d lose weight (and become hot in the process….which is COMPLETELY different from losing weight….but I digress) since around the first time I heard someone refer to someone else as fat. My earliest memories are disliking how much bigger I was than the other kids, I towered over them and outweighed them and had to wear a training bra at like…6. Since my weird body decided to malfunction regularly and I go to various specialists quite often, my endocrinologist is extremely interested in things like…my BMI, my proportions, my insulin levels, my exercise routine (I lied and said I had one of those), etc. I really do want to be healthy. So, I actually have to get an exercise routine (ick). And maintain it. And not eat my feelings. And other people’s feelings.

So. I tell you all of that to tell you that I woke up intending to do none of the things I have done today. I woke up and just wanted coffee. That’s it. But, once I got up and got moving, I wanted to puzzle. Mancandy and I are working on a puzzle because we’re old and that’s what old, boring, antisocial people do. We puzzle and we drink coffee (our version of drinking and knowing things).

Mancandy was not in a puzzling mood. I found that annoying, but it’s hard to motivate someone to puzzle.

“Please come sit with me and be as frustrated and annoyed with 87616814 pieces of cardboard that have various portions of leaves that are all the same color.”

Though he did not want to puzzle at that exact moment, he claimed he would want to puzzle soon. That statement made zero sense to me, but I shrugged and tried to figure out what I wanted to do with my beautiful precious time off. I thought of all my pretty, shiny, colorful eye shadows just sitting here while I slather myself in boring colors day in and day out. I decided to play.

The Blue Moon palette was the first thing I saw, so it’s what I decided to smear upon my face hole flaps.

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I meant to take a picture to show you how unskilled I am at this. But, I didn’t. I’m going to insert a picture from Pinterest showing what this might look like were I talented. It’s not at all what it looked like, but whatever. It’s my story. Enjoy this much better representation of blue eyeshadow. This is not me (so obviously not me that it’s funny to write it, but please don’t sue me if this IS you, because I’m super jealous and also I don’t have anything worth suing to take).

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Instead, I went downstairs and announced extremely loudly, “I’m blue and bold, bitches, lets puzzle!”

I found this to be a funny statement. I usually crack myself up. Unfortunately, I had not looked to be sure Mancandy was awake. He was not. But he jolted awake at my declaration and restrained what looked like a fairly strong urge to throttle me. He also looked at my face, which was 1/3 bright blue, and just said: “oh my”. I felt like I should probably be offended by this, but chose not to be. Mostly because he says stuff that could be insulting all the time and I don’t have the time it would take to be offended.

We puzzled for a while. I got 5 pieces into the puzzle and felt remarkably accomplished. Set low goals and you’ll never be disappointed, my friends. We decided we should move the elliptical machine my boss gave us (yay boss!) into the air-conditioned part of the house. As obviously that was the only thing holding me back. So we did. And then he announced he was going to mow.

I hate that moment. I feel like I should do something equally horrible, but I don’t want to do any horrible things. So I declared I would work out. While he mowed. And then I realized I’d said it out loud, the elliptical was inside, and I actually had to do it now. Dread set in.

So I worked out. Put on a sports bra and athletic shoes and everything. I don’t understand these people that say, oh yes, the endorphins, it is a rush, working out is fun, blah blah. I apparently don’t possess endorphins. I spent every single minute of the time I spent on the elliptical screaming internally that I was not allowed to stop yet.

Fun fact, the elliptical is third hand and I am grateful to have it, but it squeaks like you’re skinning something alive. So the longer I worked out, the louder and more aggressive the skinning of the thing became. The cats were horrified. They may be scarred for life. The dog equated skinning alive with thunderstorms and fireworks and started panting and stress whining as if to duet the shrieking machine. So the entire time I’m on the damn thing the dog is singing along to this really annoying shriek squeak, and the cats are running around trying to escape the demonic noise but unable to find a place to do so.

Within 4 seconds I was drenched in sweat. Not just a little glisten, no ma’am and/or sir! I take sweating seriously. So my shirt is stuck to me and my sparkly blue face now has rivulets of blue running down it and on down my neck. It looked like I was painting some sort of river scene across my face, but in my typical “enthusiasm makes up for lack of talent” way. I stopped when I was pretty sure I’d just have to fall sideways off of the machine because I had jelly for legs and was gasping so hard I thought I might pass out. Probably 4 minutes in. No, it was more than that, but not as long as it should have been.

I sat down on the tile floor (likely leaving an impressive butt outline in sweat) to cool my rumpus and contemplated puking. When that didn’t sound like fun anymore I got up and started up the stairs. That was a mistake as I likely can’t go back down now. I’ll just live up here. Please fling food up occasionally. This will be my new diet plan.

I shambled my sweaty, miserable, gasping, slightly nauseous self into the bathroom. Stripped down. Turned on the shower. Turned around to set my hair tie down by the sink and accidentally looked into the mirror.

I looked like I’d eaten a smurf alive…aggressively….in a very messy fashion. My hair was plastered to my sweaty skull and there was blue smeared all over my face. I don’t even know how it was possible to be that gross, but I managed.

A shower has never been so lovely. And now I have to look forward to doing that same thing over and over and over until I’m less horrible at it. Dying young is kind of looking mildly appealing. But that doctor will get to hear all about the “exercise routine” I’m working on.

Just need some W-D 40. Or the cats may not survive it any better than I do.

 

Medications and Plagues sent by God.

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Dramatic title, I know, but I’m feeling dramatic today.

This won’t apply or resonate with everyone, but in case you are struggling with Atopic Dermatitis, Eczema, Eucresa, steroids, or Dupixent, I figured I’d throw my personal experience into the mix and maybe give someone a heads up or a “you’re totes normal” for moral support.

Eczema (atopic dermatitis) is something a lot of people struggle with, but for the most severe cases it often starts in childhood. I am lucky that that was not the case for me. I had a severe flare up in high school that was treated and went into remission for years. It wasn’t even diagnosed as eczema. Many years later I worked in a lab setting and had to wear latex gloves. My hands started to react and I was diagnosed with eczema, told to avoid latex, and given steroids that took care of the issue. Lately, I had a couple small spots that wouldn’t heal and those small spots suddenly led to a large flare up.  So I went back to the doctor (under the impression this was not a big deal and the fix would be simple and quick). I was put on prednisone and Eucrisa. Due to the history they suggested Dupixent. I still had no idea how bad it could be. There was a mix up with the Dupixent prescription and I went off the prednisone. The flare-up was like a literal fire that has been given a strong wind to stoke it. My entire body flared, the only portion of me that didn’t have some sort of lesion was my feet. There was no sleeping, showers were a misery, I wore black to hide the fact most of my body was raw and bloody and it soaked through my clothes regularly, and I battled what I’m guessing was situational depression. I was absolutely miserable and had no relief, it was a constant horrible sensation.

Since that time I’ve done quite a bit of research and have fought multiple battles with the doctor’s office. I don’t know why my experience with atopic dermatitis has been atypical, and I still have no idea what my triggers are (aside from gloves which I do not come into contact with anymore). I have been giving myself injections of Dupixent for about 2 months now and while I’m by no means in full remission, I was able to wean myself off of the steroids and use Eucrisa only in my worst problem areas.

I do have side effects with Dupixent and have been blundering through trying to find ways to cope. Today I’m actually home instead of at work because my side effects are too severe to go in. Hopefully, tomorrow will be better. Now, as with any medication, not everyone will have side effects, and if you do they may not be the same as mine. But if you do have side effects, and you’re looking for relief, hopefully, some of these tips will help.

  • Eye irritation (conjunctivitis, pink eye, etc.). Some people have this to a severe degree but mine has been limited to a couple days after the injection thus far. The optometrist recommended Refresh Advance eye drops and gel drops. Eye drops at least 4 times a day and gel drops before bed as they make your vision fuzzy. Both are otc. They’re magic.
  • Skin irritation around the eyes (especially eyelids and under eye areas). This area is never going to go back to normal, I’m pretty sure. The skin stays extremely swollen and looks kind of like elephant skin. The crease in my eyelids breaks open occasionally and that’s always a good look. The skin goes from weepy and oozy to dry and crusty. It does not look attractive. I have come to love Vanicream. Walgreens has a pound tub of it with a pump. I smear that on until I can’t open my eyes and let it soak in. I stopped using Eucrisa in that area because the burning had become so severe I just can’t deal with it anymore. And I’m not a wimp, I don’t mind a little stinging, but this would take my breath away and make me want to vomit. So I’m sticking with Vanicream.
  • Headaches behind the eyes. These aren’t migraine strength but have the tendency to turn into migraines if I don’t deal with them quickly. I’m an Excedrin migraine girl, even with normal headaches, but any sort of pain med would probably work.
  • Irritation of my lips. The corners of my mouth split open, kind of like the joker. While this would happen with eczema it seems the Dupixent makes it impossible to clear it up completely.
  • General blah feeling. It goes away within a few days and isn’t a deal breaker. Honestly, despite not enjoying these side effects, none of them are deal breakers. Things were so bad before I’ll take whatever.

 

Other useful items: Cetaphil facial soaps, creams, etc. These aren’t quite thick enough for the irritation I have going right now but they’re lovely under makeup and as a maintenance item. Masks you can stick in the fridge or microwave feel fantastic. The optometrist recommended the heated one to increase oil production into the tears you naturally produce, and the cooling feeling is delightful on the angry tissue around my eyes. Despite Youtube recommendations, most dermatologists don’t recommend elimination diets as it is rarely a food reaction causing the flare-ups.

It’s scary that there are so few options to deal with severe flare-ups, especially when I don’t know why it happened. I don’t want this to be my new normal, but I’m trying to roll with the punches and not let it affect my mood/outlook. If you have experienced any of this feel free to weigh in. It helps to know you aren’t alone.