Monday, March 31, 2008

By the way

I'm still thinking very seriously about donating a kidney. There's a website that matches people who need kidneys with people who have them. =-) I have two very important things: a) healthy kidneys and b) time off in the summer to allow me to recover. Is it kind of scary? Hell yeah. Do I wonder what would happen if I give away a kidney to someone now, only to have MY remaining kidney go bad down the road? Of course. But damn, right now I'm walking around with something, technically unused, that could SAVE A LIFE. As some of you know, I can be a bit impulsive =-) so I've been sitting on this for almost exactly a year, to really think about it, and I truly think it's something I want to do. Plus, the recipient's insurance pays all cost, this organization pays air fare (although usually they would come to me). I select someone based first on blood type and then we go through further tests to see if we're compatible. If it turns out we're not, then I go back to square one and find another possible candidate--sadly, there are a lot out there.

I don't know. Like I said, I'm still a little scared but the part of me that wants to help is weighing in more strongly. And I just have to have faith that I won't need one myself someday. Let's face it, most people don't. And if I do, one of you bitches can just give up one of yours. =-)

What do we think?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Dramatic? ME?!

Shawn (oh yeah. He's back) affectionately called me "dramatic" last night. And all I did was refer to last week's flu as "my recent near-death experience." ;) (I MAY have added that it was "touch and go there for a while," LOL.)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I got hacked

I received a call from the fraud department of my bank, Fifth Third, earlier this week. They were calling to verify some "suspicious charges" on my checking account using my card number. These charges were all in New York at various gas stations, etc. "Was that you?" she asked.

Uh, NO.

"We didn't think so," she said.

First, mad props to Fifth Third, who had already flagged my account and closed my card before they even got a hold of me, to stop any more charges from going through. They were on top of things and stopped it before it got worse. Granted, my account will probably be overdrawn with all of these charges, since it happened less than a week before payday, but she said those charges--and the resulting fees--would be applied back to my account, although it may take a couple of weeks and some paperwork. A new card is also on its way to me. However, the question remains:


I may have the answer.

A major supermarket chain, SweetBay, had millions of customers' credit card numbers stolen in the last couple of months. I remember, vaguely, reading about it at the time, but it didn't really click. I do, however, shop at SB--hell, there's one right next door to my school. So when a coworker asked if I thought it was a result of THAT, it was kind of awakening. I'm going to call the hotline tomorrow; apparently they can tell me if my card was one of the ones affected.

(However, I buy a LOT of stuff online, so anything is possible.)

Anyway: it CAN happen to you. Be careful.

And bank at Fifth Third.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The spell of success

Tonight was our annual spelling bee. I was the chair again this year (but this time, I didn't have a co-, so I had to take care of everything). However, unlike last year, firetrucks and ambulances were NOT involved (see March 14 2007 for the full rundown), so as far as I'm concerned, the night was a success.

Monday, March 24, 2008


I'm trying to write a paper on language theorists. I've been rereading the same page, trying to summarize it and put it into my own words, for the last hour and I swear to God, it's like I'm reading a foreign language. It's not sinking in at all.

Maybe that's because I'm watching The Bachelor at the same time.

"...from the order of muscles that are required in terms of your articulatory mechanisms for making the sounds of language, to the orders of phoning sounds, order of morphemes, the particular units of ....OH NO SHE DIDN'T just have a meltdown in the middle of a Vegas casino!....the way in which they get combined and the constraints that work on how they can and cannot be combined, is abstract, and that it is, and by virtue of the abstractist argument for learning....why the HELL is she singing opera to him?!"

And yes, those are actual excerpts from the page I'm reading. You see my problem?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Another holiday is approaching...

...which means that it's time for Jen to get sick. And I mean the big, throw-down kind of sick.

It started at school on Thursday (it came on fast) with a dry, hacking, burning cough. By the end of the school day, I was feeling miserable. I walked down to the nurse's office at dismissal and dramatically threw myself on a cot, begging for a temp check. (Now mind you, my normal temp is freakishly low, usually in the 96s--seriously.) She looked at the readout: 96.4. "Well no wonder you feel like shit," she said. "You're DEAD." She kind of looked at her thermometer. "Don't worry," I said on my out the door. "It's right."

Okay, so my temp hadn't started to rise yet. I came home and went to bed. I woke up around 9:30 WRACKED with coughs (not the dainty little coughs from earlier in the day). I didn't have any meds on hand (shocking, huh?) but Brad has some 'tussin for coughs. I took some and went back to bed.

I woke up at 3:00 am absolutely freezing. I jumped into the shower and turned it on full heat--for about half an hour. Then I lay in bed and shivered some more--until I started sweating. (I still had the cough, too.) Finally, I was like, Fuck it--and I headed out to my nearest 24 hour CVS. Yes, at 4 am.

At this point, for those of you keeping score, I had the cough, the chills, aches and the sweats. About halfway to CVS, I was hit by something else--and I had to pull over to throw up. Yup, the nausea had arrived.

I got back in the car, drove about 5 feet and almost killed myself slamming on my brakes to avoid a stupid oppossum. (Hey, I just saw something moving. It could have been a small child, a dog or a truck for all I knew--my instincts just said STOP! So I did, and whacked my head on the steering wheel. Yes, my belt was on. But it was a REALLY sudden stop.

So I get to the store (they looked surprised that they had a customer, LOL) and stocked up on Nyquil, a thermometer, Jello, Icy Hot, ice cream--shit like that. One of the kids working asked me if I needed help (he looked a little scared, frankly). My voice hoarse, I croaked out the item I was looking for. I sounded like f*ckin Phyllis Diller. (She's the one with the really throaty voice right?) When I left, he told me to "have a great night." I was too tired and sick to even muster up a sarcastic retort to his idiotic comment, considering the state I was in and the items I had just bought. ("Yeah, jackass, it's gonna be an AWESOME night. Never better!! Whoot!!"--oh, look, THERE'S the sarcasm. The Nyquil must be working.)

As I was checking out, another woman working pointed down at my pants and said "I think you have a thread coming loose, hon." At this point, I'm thinking, "LOOK AT ME. Do you think I give two shits about loose thread right now?" But I look down and see that a "thread coming loose" is apparently the new euphemism for "the entire front seam of your crotch has come apart." But even though I was, at this point, basically walking around the store flashing my panties (at least they were good ones), I just looked down, said "Huh" in a disassociated way and then added, "Frankly, the way I feel, it's amazing I remembered to put on pants at all" and they laughed.

I take my temperature in the car (the same kid came out to get my cart and laughed at me--he really was a nice guy--and it's funny that I keep saying "kid" because he was like 23). My temp was 99.5!!!!!!!! Considering my normal temp, that equates to roughly 109. ;)

Thank goodness we have Friday AND Monday off. I think I'm gonna need it.

(I'm not surprised I have this, FYI. Two of my kids have been sick in the last week alone with temps over 102.)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Jen's Book Club

I am currently reading The Other Bolen Girl and I have to say, it's already my new favorite book. I don't normally like historical works; I generally find them boring and prefer more modern works. However, this book is written is a very contemporary style--incredibly entertaining and funny. It's lengthy--661 pages (and the print is very small, at that)--but worth it.

It basically tells the story of Mary, Anne's sister. Although Anne went on to marry the King, her younger sister Mary fell in love with him first. Mary was "pimped out" to the King by her own family when she was 14; they figured that if she got knocked up by the King, her family would hold a much higher place in the kingdom. This whole thing was planned out in a very cold, calculating way and poor Mary was caught in the middle. She had to go along with what her family said and then seduce and sleep with the King. The whole family was in on it, from her dad (ewwwwwwww) and uncles to her sister. Along the way, though, she fell in love with him and it wasn't just a "game" to her imagine how she felt when her family decided that her sister Anne was to have a crack at him next.

Anyway. It's SO GOOD. I know it's now a movie but I'm not going to watch it until I'm done with the book (so I may be watching it on DVD, LOL).

Go get it!

Dancing with the Stars. Mario (R & B singer, not Lopez) is the hottest f'in dancer I've ever seen in my life. I feel like a dirty old lady because he's only like 20 but DAMN I was thinking some dirty-ass things while watching him dance. He moves even sexier than the "other" Mario. Seriously. Watching him is like watching sex in motion.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Burn in hell

As you know, McDonald's has Shamrock shakes every year at this time--and they are one of life's little miracles. So tonight I got one and was raving about them to the drivethru guy (I need to get out more). The kid (about college-age, maybe early 20s) said he's only had them once (!!!!) and that they were "a'ight."

I told him that I've been getting them every year "since I was a little kid."

And he replies, perfectly pleasantly, "Oh yeah? I didn't know they've been around THAT long."

That little #*#&&#* better thank his lucky stars that I'm medicated or I would have ripped his face off.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

On an unrelated note

In the middle of our novel study this afternoon, I stopped to make a point. As I was speaking, a particular word--I can't remember which one--came out with a Southern twang. And not my sarcastic, mock-hillbilly accent, either. This was a genuine Southern inflection. I stopped, surprised, and the kids looked at me just as quizzically. "Wow," I said. "I don't know where THAT came from, but I'm pretty excited. I've always wanted an accent!" The kids laughed and one boy said, "You DO have one, Miss K. A Michigan one." (See, down here, "Michigan" is an accent. Those of us FROM Michigan would never pick up on it, of course, but people have commented on it several times. It has to do with how we say our vowels, or something.)
Surprise, surprise

Just when I think things are on an upswing in the romance department....they drastically head south. What else is new?

Yes, folks, it's true. Shawn is no longer in the picture. Let's just say that I found some raunchy texts on his phone that were neither to nor from me.

(I should stop here to say that I truly had a non-psycho reason for playing with his phone. See, his phone was originally MINE. I had ordered a new phone through T-Mobile but then put it aside because it's so much work to switch over phones. Then Shawn's phone died and since he also had T-Mobile, I said he could just take mine. When I was over there last night, I was playing with it after he went to bed (I'm usually up later)--checking out the features it had, the layout, the ease of use; basically comparing it to mine to see how good of a phone it was, since I hadn't so much as turned it on before giving it away. I went into the message section, just as I had explored every other section in the menu--truly innocently, not thinking I would find anything--and I was sorely mistaken. I saw these messages and my first thought was "WTF?!" (Literally, I thought the letters "W-T-F." And then, in the midst of all this, I laughed at myself, thinking that I clearly needed to cut down on my emailing and texting.)

Anyway. After he called me his girlfriend, referred to this thing as a "relationship," called me "all his," told his parents about me, and started calling, texting and hanging out more frequently, I--silly me--assumed I was his girlfriend and that this was, in fact, a relationship. Not a SERIOUS one, mind you, but that we were at the least not dating other people. Well, I found these texts and called him on it--and man, you guys would have been so proud. I never once raised my voice, threw a plate, called him names, etc--I was calm and SANE. I just explained what *I* thought we were and that it seems he had a different point of view. He said yes, we were dating, and things were going great. He loved hanging out with me. However, he continued, he never meant to imply that it was exclusive. "I don't know why you thought I was looking for a serious relationship," he defended himself.

I don't know, jackass. Maybe because the headline on your profile is "Looking for a serious relationship"????????

And THEN, he said he didn't want to be exclusive because he "wasn't ready to go ring shopping yet."

(I shit you not.)


First and foremost, I pointed out that he was a bit mixed up. ("Fucked up" would have been more accurate, but I digress.) "Exclusive" and "serious" were in no way synonymous. We could date only each other but still have it be the way it HAS been--casual, fun and light-hearted. Nothing would change. I told him (quite honestly) that "ring shopping" was not on MY agenda, either. (Frankly, I was thrown off balance to even have that thrown into the mix. WTF?) I then told him, calmly, that if he wanted to date around, he certainly had every right; however, I could not--STOP READING HERE, MOM--have a relationship of our particular nature knowing that he was "naturing" with other people, too. I'm done dating around and I'm looking for something more. I know myself, and knowing he was out on dates with other people and doing who knows what else would just hurt to much. It would, almost literally, drive me crazy. So I opted out.

I left a note for him this morning (this all went down at 3 am--long story), again very calmly reiterating my point of view. He seems to think I want this big, heavy, serious thing and I don't. I told him I want exactly what we've had the last couple of months but have it be just the two of us. That's all. No more, no less. I said I thought we had a good thing going and I was perfectly content just hanging out with him and seeing what happened--and if he didn't feel that way about me, it's better we found out now. I told him I truly hoped, if nothing else, that we could be still friends (shut up, guys--you know how I am). Really, everything went down as civil-y as they could have, considering the situation. Can I say again how proud of myself I am? =-)

So yes, I'm disappointed. I'm pretty damned bummed, actually. But, hey. It was two months. Shit happens. If he still feels the need to "look elsewhere," fuck him. Somewhere, there's a guy who won't.

(Thank God I never told him about the bipolar. Good call, Anna.)

Monday, March 10, 2008


Many times, I've sung the praises of Carolicious (her blog is linked to the right). Her brother, however, is just as funny as she is. He has stepped in to help with the blogging while she recovers from hand surgery, and his most recent post had tears rolling down my face. It's a lengthy post but worth it. Once he gets to describing his son's brilliance--oh, it's just too funny.
The Nykamps visit Ft. Myers

I had the opportunity yesterday to show Mom and Steve around my 'hood (they were in Florida for my grandpa's 80th bday party, which was about 2.5 hours away).

First they received the grand tour of the condo. Mom fell in love with my roommate, Brad. Then we headed out to fullfill Mom's lifelong dream, the #1 thing she wanted to do here in Ft. Myers, before anything else. Dolphins, you ask? The beach? No.

She wanted to go to Sonic.

Yes, the fast-food drive-through place. (They don't have them in Michigan, at least not their part of it.)

After spending a ridiculous amount of time there (mostly because we couldn't figure out how to order, LOL), we headed to Ft. Myers beach, where we spent the rest of our day together. It was actually a ton of fun. I got to see it through the eyes of a tourist again and I have to say, my city if freakin' awesome!! Why people would live anywhere else is beyond me. (No offense.) The beach itself is beautiful, with the white sand and the sparking Gulf. We went out on the pier and actually SAW DOLPHINS. Oh my God, I was so excited. We saw quite a few of them, actually. They were quite active yesterday, which was cool. We could see their fins, tails and backs when they come up for water.

Then we went to the OTHER part of Ft Myers beach--the shops, bars and resturaunts. It's like a city-in-a-city that you can walk around. It's also college spring break time, so needless to say, the place was pretty happening. (Renee--dorky phrase of the day.) Mom and I had a rumrunner at a particular bar and, needless to say, we were both pretty buzzed about a third of the way through our drinks. (Well, one of us was buzzed and one of us was outright drunk--I'll let you figure out who was who.) ;) We wandered in and out of the different stores so Mom and Steve could get some gifts to bring home. The whole time, Mom kept saying how much she liked it down here and how this was the most fun she's ever had (or at least I THINK that's what she said--she was slurring her words so much that it was hard to tell). ;)

Anyway, all in all, I think they had a pretty good time on their last full day in Ft Myers. We finished off our trip with dinner at Hooters (again, a place Mom had never been). They finally got back on the road around 8:30 (past their "curfew" from Grandma and Grandpa, ha ha).

It was nice to have them in MY town and let them see the life I've made for myself here in the last almost-2-years. I think now they can understand why, as great as it is to visit friends and family in Michigan, I'm always excited to get back to Ft. Myers. =-)

Monday, March 03, 2008

You wanna hear something weird?

I'm reading a book by Allison DuBois, the psychic that the show Medium is based on. The title of the book is--I think this is so cool--"We Are Their Heaven." Isn't that a really nice, comforting thought? Anyway, the book just discusses various ways that those who have passed reach out to show their loved ones that they're still here, both through readings with her and through other signs.

So I decided to test it out. I felt like a complete dork but I said out loud, "Grandma and Grandpa, I'm here. I'm listening. I'm open and receptive. Can you give me a sign sometime tonight that you guys are out there, and that you're together? Thanks." (That's what she says to do--to let them know you're listening. Kind of like Frasier Crane.)

Then I closed my eyes to go to sleep. (See, usually they come to you in dreams.) But then, all of a sudden--I heard a chime. That's the best way to explain it. Kind of like getting an instant message, except my sound was muted on my laptop and my notifications don't sound like that anyway. None of our neighbors have windchimes or anything. Nor do we. There's nothing in my room that would have caused this chime/ringing sound. I haven't heard it before, or since.

I lay back down in my bed. I stared at the ceiling. "Um....was that you guys?" I asked. "If so, can you do it again? So I know I wasn't imagining it?" Nothing happened. (I can just hear Grandpa: "Jesus, once ain't enough for ya?")

But I knew it was them. See, I've only tried this once before, with Grimm, my soldier. I told a lot of you about this. It was after reading either John Edward or Sylvia Browne, and I followed kind of the same procedure. It was a night that I was missing him a whole lot. I was bawling. I told him I missed him and asked for a sign. As I lay in bed, I suddenly felt kind of a whooosing by my ear and a guy's voice say my name. It happened really fast, like it was flying by my ear. And now I'm hearing chimes? was really, really cool. Hi, Grandma and Grandpa!!! I miss you and I'm really sorry I couldn't see you again before you died. I'll feel badly about that the rest of my life. I got your message and I'm really glad you're together. I hope you're happy and healthy. I'm here and listening any time you want to say hi. *

(*Because, you know, I'm sure they all read blogs in heaven.) ;)

Sunday, March 02, 2008

To tell or not to tell

Okay, now that things with Shawn are slowly shifting into more of "relationship" thing (not serious but definitely becoming more than just casually dating)--when do I tell him about the bipolar? To refresh, the two schools of thought on this are:

1) Tell them right away; if it's something that they can't handle, it's better to find that out sooner rather than later. Plus, they'll be less likely to feel that you were "hiding" something from them

2) Wait till....I don't know. It's definitely serious, I guess. Maybe even until the L word is introduced. At that point, you know they're in it and they're less likely to leave because of it. Plus, by then, they're already more invested in you. If you tell them sooner, it would be easier for them to leave. If you wait, they're more likely to care about you unconditionally. Then again, they may be resentful that it took you so long to tell them. Plus, if they DO leave, it will hurt that much more.

For the record, Dave says tell him now. =-) (We still talk every couple of weeks. We don't hang out, though.) He says, as you remember, that part of the reason he reacted so badly is because I never told him. Of course, I wasn't medicated so obviously it's totally different, but he still says that if I HAD come to him sooner, maybe things would have gone a different way.

I really don't know, guys. I want to handle this whole thing the "right" way. It hasn't escaped my notice that my first post-med relationship is going very well, very slowly, very normally and very healthily. (Is that a word?) And I don't want to mess it up by saying too much too soon--OR by waiting too long and having it somehow blow up in my face.

I need help, guys.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Operation: Birthday a rip-roaring * success!

(*Renee: the "rip-roaring was for you, to continue our new tradition of using old and utterly gay phrases.)

But no, seriously, it was. Here are the highlights:

The Cake. After a mini-episode and panicked phone call to Renee, who assured me that it WAS okay to buy rather than bake a cake, especially since I was cooking dinner, I scouted out an amazing double-chocolate cake with raspberry filling and almonds, chocolate wafers and chocolate-covered strawberries on top. I knew I had done well when I literally had people from the next checkout lane coming over to admire it, but HIS reaction was even better. He was genuinely touched and actually took pictures of it. He said it was the best cake he had ever gotten. And yes, it tasted just as good as it looked.

Dinner. Thanks to Renee for the lasagna recipe. It turned out fantastic. (If anyone needs a good, pretty easy recipe, ask Renee.) He watched me, fascinated, as I made it (he's a good cook but had never attempted lasagna before) and even started to "backseat cook" ("That layer could use some more sauce, maybe"). It was fun. At one point I caught him gazing--yes, gazing--at me almost adoringly. It was so cute. But that doesn't even COMPARE to his reaction to...

The Present. (See previous posts for conversation regarding the actual present.) It wasn't delivered until yesterday afternoon around 4, so I was getting a bit nervous. I wrapped it and headed out. I was just GIDDY all evening, since I couldn't wait to give it to him. We agreed he'd open it while the lasagna was cooking. It was finally time, and I started to worry--maybe I had over-estimated the awesomeness of this present. Maybe he didn't like this artist as much as I thought he did. He started to open it and saw the back of the book first, which had one of his paintings on it--but he still didn't get what it was. He finished tearing off the paper, flipped it over....and oh my gosh, I wish you could have seen the reaction. His mouth dropped open, he kind of gasped, and he looked from the book, to me, to the book, to me a few times. Then he kind of said, "What did you DO? How did you...?" Then he came over and just gave me the longest hug. You could tell that he was genuinely touched and happy. It was truly one of the coolest moments of my life, watching that kind of reaction. It was so genuine and pure and just...HAPPY. When he was able to speak again (truly, it was a while--he sat down, looked through the pages, periodically looking up to say, "Jen, thank you so much. This is just awesome/amazing/sweet/wonderful"), he asked how in the world I thought of this. I just kind of shrugged and explained how I came about finding it.

Anyway, the rest of the night was great. We ate dinner on the balcony again with jazz playing. He had 2 bottles of champagne for the occasion, which we went through pretty quickly, LOL. We had the cake. We watched TV until midnight (officially his birthday). Then we went to bed, because hey, he ain't gettin' any younger. ;)

This morning, he made fruit salad and we had breakfast outside. He kind of poked around his fruit and said, sadly, "I'm old." "No you aren't, babe," I said supportively. "These days, 37 is nothing. Especially for guys." "Yeah, you know what they say," he replied. "37 is the new 4."

Oh my god, I laughed so hard.

So yes, this post in lengthy but seriously, that moment of him opening that present will stay with me forever. The look on his face--how truly touched and just shocked he was--was priceless. When he looked up at me, we had kind of a moment. A big one, actually.

Oh--and his parents DO know about me now. ;) Whoo hoo!