Monday 31 March 2014

Mirena: The Cadillac of IUDs (Because It Costs Almost As Much As a Cadillac)

I think my favourite part about my husband's new job is their amazing drug and dental plan.  It covers just about anything, which is great because it's looking like Frick is going to need braces.

With his last job we had to be more careful about our drug and dental spending because we could only spend X amount of dollars each year.  Also they made you pay upfront and would reimburse you after they got the prescription receipt.  Which means that the last time I was in the market for birth control I had to pick something that wouldn't break the bank.  I really wanted the Mirena IUD, which is a wonderful, magical IUD that gives you little or no period and makes your uterus smell like a spring meadow (not really).  But the Mirena costs something like $800.  

On the other hand there was the Nova-T, which is not magical, makes your period last longer (mine was 8 days long.  8 DAYS!!!), makes you bleed more heavily and makes your cramps worse. The Nova-T is a lot more like the one your mother probably used before people found out they were dangerous and gave IUDs a bad rep for a couple of decades.  But they're better designed now, they WILL prevent pregnancy and back then they only cost about $80.

And hey, I don't want to knock the Nova-T too much.  Because according to my Nurse Practitioner I should have got mine replaced about two years ago (oops!) and yet I'm still baby free.  So that's something.

When I went to go pick up my fancy new Mirena, they gave it to me like this:

They had to double bag it!

I laughed and told the pharmacist, "That's not going to fit!"

She said, "Oh, we just wrap it up like that to keep it discreet."

Discreet?  Then why is it packaged in such a huge motherfucking box?

Seriously.  Here's a picture for scale.

They crayon is for scale.  The lego is to cover my name.  The upside down is just because.

As you can see the actual IUD is smaller than the crayon.

I remember when I picked up my Nova-T that it came in a little plastic Ziploc bag.  That was plenty discreet.  When I told my husband that he laughed and called it "ghetto".  I guess this giant box is what you get when you are paying $800 for birth control.  Deluxe packaging.  I wondered what else might be inside this enormous box.  Reams of complicated instructions?  Some weird kind of applicator?  A swag bag?  I couldn't wait to find out!

Finally the day of my appointment arrived.  It had been five years since I had to worry about getting pregnant and I did not like having to worry about it again between IUDs.  Also I was looking forward to the possibility that I might be amongst the 33% of women who stop getting periods with this thing.  (Fingers crossed!)  So I wrestled my enormous Mirena box into my purse and headed to my doctor's office.

As usual the nurse handed me a giant paper towel, told me to strip from the waist down and then made me wait, half naked, for waaaaaay to long.  I started playing one of my waiting games.  I have many.  If I'm waiting for the bus I play "Hipster or Homeless?" because sometimes it's hard to tell the difference.  When I'm on the bus I play "Who's Holding the Weed?" because the buses in Anytown smell like a Cypress Hill concert and because it's always fun to pretend it's the elderly lady wearing a sock monkey hat or something.

And in waiting rooms/doctor's offices I play "See If You Can Find Dust."  Spoiler alert:  you can't.  But it's super impressive once you start really looking for it.  In this particular office there were these hanging butterflies made out of coloured nylon stretched over wire wings.  They had little fluffy pom-pom antennae.  These things should be impossible to keep perfectly dust-free....and yet they were perfectly dust-free.  Amazing!

Right when I was starting to wish she would hurry up already because it's chilly in here, dammit!  I heard the radio start playing Rick James' "Superfreak" and then all I could do was pray that she would at least not come back until the song was over because I couldn't guarantee that I would be able to refrain from laughing my ass off.  This is a delicate procedure requiring steady hands and a patient without the maturity of a 12 year old.  Since she wasn't going to get the latter I could at least try to help with the former.

My prayers were answered and just as the song was ending the nurse knocked on the door and asked to come in.  Once she got to work it turned out that my fears about the music distracting me were baseless since she kept up a steady stream of small talk, which I'm not entirely sure was better.  I hate small talk in general.  I am terrible at it.  It just provides me with an opportunity to say stupid things to a complete stranger.  It's even worse if I feel awkward or nervous as one is likely to feel when one's feet are in the stirrups.

We talked about mundane stuff like shoes and kids and then she told me to cough because I would "feel a pinch" which turned out to be a total lie because I didn't cough so much as have the wind forced out of me involuntarily.


"Are you okay?"

"That was slightly more than a pinch!"

"Was it?  I'm sorry.  Well, I guess we're not friends anymore."

When she was finished she went to great lengths to reassure me that everything went well.

"That went in sooooo easy!  Just right in there with no problems at all.  The opening was nice and wide."

Um....thank you?  It's nice to know I have such a huge cervical opening?

Aw, who am I kidding?  I bet she says that to all the girls.

As for the contents of the giant box?  Nothing but a small consumer information pamphlet.  Not even a lousy coupon book.  What a let down.

Friday 7 March 2014

Baby's First Forgery

A couple of nights ago after I got home from work, my husband called me from his job to tell me he got a message from Frick's science teacher.  He was confused as to why she would be calling him.  The school knows to contact me first as I am the parent that handles the school stuff.  The only time they call him is usually because they tried me first and I wasn't available.

He told me she was wondering about an overdue science assignment that one of us had apparently signed a note acknowledging that we knew it was overdue about a week ago.  It was still not handed in and she was wondering what was going on.  He wasn't clear on any more details than that because his work voice mail sounded like crap.

I have to admit that for a second this information worried me.  Not because there was an overdue project unaccounted for, but because I couldn't remember anything about signing a note and for one second, one teeny-tiny second, I began to wonder if it were possible that I could have signed something without realizing what it was.

This didn't sound like something I would do.  Usually when Frick hands me something from the school to sign I scrutinize it carefully to find out a) whether or not I am agreeing to something I shouldn't, like I would when signing any document, and b) what kind of trouble/problems with schoolwork Frick might have caused/experienced so that I can get into problem solving mode.

I will admit that during that teeny-tiny second of doubt I didn't want to admit that it was possible that Frick had somehow managed to take advantage of a moment of distraction to get the better of me.  Just as I was mentally preparing myself to have to admit I probably dropped the ball somewhere my Mommy-senses kicked in.

Maybe the reason I didn't remember signing anything is because I'm not the parent who signed it.  That would definitely explain why the teacher called my husband instead of me.  I asked him if he signed anything recently and he told me he has never signed anything from the school ever because that's kind of my jurisdiction.  This is when we figured out that the most reasonable explanation was that Frick had forged his signature.

We confronted Frick about all this and he caved and readily admitted to the forgery.  Later on my husband admitted to being reluctantly proud of Frick.  After all, haven't we all tried forging our parent's signature at one point or the other?  Even I have memories of painstakingly copying my parents' loopy scrawls and flourishes so that not even Sherlock Holmes would know the difference, and I was a model student.  Oh, the nostalgia!

He told me it was a shame Frick hadn't taken advantage of the forgery to hand in his assignment, otherwise we might never have found out.  I laughed and then smacked him on the arm and told him to shut up.

The next day, as per our request, Frick's teacher sent home a photocopy of the forged signature.  When Frick handed it over he was probably baffled by the fact that I started giggling.

This forgery was terrible.  Calling it a 'forgery" is a misnomer and an insult to all other forgeries.

First of all the signature was in printing, not cursive.  The writing was so obviously Frick's that is was clear he hadn't even bothered trying to disguise it.  And he hadn't even included the entire last name.  I wish so hard I could show you guys a picture of it but it has my husband's real name.  Imagine something along the lines of an extremely childish scrawl reading "Daddy R".

When I tried to imagine my husband signing cheques to pay our bills with a childishly printed "Daddy R" my giggles turned into guffaws.  Frick wanted to know what was so funny.  Wiping the tears out of my eyes I told him, "Honey, I love you but I think you just ought to stick to being honest because you really do suck at being devious. (Snert.)"

"Does this mean I'm not in trouble anymore?"  he asked, hopefully.

"Oh God, no.  You are so totally grounded, Darling Boy."

I think it is a testimony to the compassion and understanding of Frick's science teacher that she initially accepted this signature, despite some pretty serious suspicions.  She clearly considered the possibility that my husband never mastered cursive, or perhaps suffered some kind of injury that made handwriting difficult for him.

It's nice to know my kid has such great teachers.

Monday 3 March 2014

The Super-Nice, Friendly, Outgoing Lady Who Works In The Produce Section

There is this super-nice, friendly, outgoing lady who works in the produce section at the grocery store where I shop.  She is so friendly and full of energy and bubbly and happy and sweet.......and I am terrified of her.

I seem to be a natural target for her attention because I am in that grocery store almost every other day with my kids.  One of the things that super-nice, friendly, outgoing people seem to have in common is that they love kids.  And my kids love her.  So when she first started talking to me it was usually because she was talking to them.

But now that she knows me she goes out of her way to be super-nice, friendly and outgoing at me even when I don't have the kids and I can't staaaaaaand it.

It's not that I hate her or anything.  I can appreciate her super-nice, friendly, outgoing-ness as being the antithesis of assholery.  More people should be like that.

It's just that for me, having any kind of conversation with anyone is an ordeal that requires a great deal of effort and energy on my part.  While I may appear to be a smiling, friendly, talkative person I am actually desperately trying to avoid saying anything foolish.  I am desperately hoping that I won't be unable to sleep later because I can't stop replaying some stupid remark I made about someone's hair or something equally unimportant.  It's weird, I know, but it's an anxiety thang.

And unfortunately, Ms. Super-Nice, Friendly, Outgoing Produce Lady's super power seems to be having the ability to trap someone into a conversation that easily lasts a minimum of fifteen minutes.  Seriously.  I have not yet been able to politely extricate myself from her attention in under that time.  I'm pretty sure you don't have to have a mental disorder to find that annoying.

So the other night I needed to go out and buy some garlic.  I didn't have enough for a recipe I was trying and I figured I would just quickly run to the store and back.  But of course when I got there I spied Ms. Super-Nice, Friendly, Outgoing Produce Lady cheerfully stacking apples.


She wasn't looking in my direction so I quickly ducked into one of the aisles before she could see me.  I figured I could bide my time checking out next week's specials and head to the produce section when she inevitably has to bring her empty apple cart to the back of the store.

Every couple of minutes I would surreptitiously peek into her section from behind a display of potato chips to see if she had moved yet.  But damn!  She was taking forever!  How long does it take someone to stack some lousy apples???

Apparently, pretty long if that someone is trapping random passersby into conversation.

I had been in the store for twenty minutes and she was still stacking those apples, chatting away to anyone that walked by.  And it's not like she had a hell of a lot of apples.  Did she manage to sneak back and get some more when I wasn't looking?  She must have!  I had officially spent more time avoiding this woman than I would have spent talking to her.  

And it didn't seem like she was going to leave at all.   How was I going to get my garlic?   I just want to make some soup, dammit!!!

Finally I saw that she had cornered a couple of college girls and decided to take my chance.  Keeping myself out of her line of vision I crept up, snatched the garlic and hightailed it out of there.  

I'm sure it must have looked very odd on the security cameras to see a customer case out the produce section for twenty minutes, sneak in there, seize a head of garlic, race out and then promptly pay for the garlic.

Would I go through all this again just to avoid having a conversation with this woman?  Yes.  Yes, I would.  Judging by the looks on the faces of other people she talked to, I made the right decision.  Besides, I prefer to save the ordeal of human conversation for my friends and family who are already aware of how weird I am.