Miracle medical journey… or how I feel like I was kicked in the balls

One of the items about my wife and I’s relationship change is the possibility of children with another partner (from me, not her). I do not want children at all. I am turning 41 soon and I don’t want to be 60 or older going to my child’s graduation. My wife’s health and family pressures right now wouldn’t handle a child to the mix. Since this is an actual worry if I hooked up with someone else I felt I have a responsibility to ensure there are no accidents. So after talking for awhile I decided my most logical option is to get fixed.

So about two months ago I set up an appointment with Group Health to get fixed. It would require an initial appointment with the surgeon, then the actual date of the surgery. Of course, contrary to what people say about American healthcare, I had to wait almost two months to see someone. Eventually I was able to see my doctor, for sake of this journal let’s call her Doctor S.

The wife and I both went to this appointment (her feedback for this and opinion matter just as much as mine). We sat with Doctor S for about twenty minutes. Doctor S seemed unsure about giving me the procedure, especially since I don’t have kids. She kept pushing the fact that I might want children later. I in turn pushed back that I am almost 41 years old and I am happy not having kids. I haven’t felt any regret about children at all. Finally the wife convinced the Doctor to stop pushing for no-vasectomy. She did this by explaining to the doctor that the wife couldn’t afford to get accidently pregnant due to her medical condition. It is partially true, a hormone fluctuation like that could be devastating to the wife, of course she left out the part that she has been fixed since she was 22.

Once the doctor agreed to do the procedure, they set me up for the actual operation. It was three and a half weeks later (which was last Thursday). I have been a little stressed about this for several reasons, mostly the idea of a knife and my testicles doesn’t go well for me.

The day of the procedure I found I had put the wrong time of the appointment down. The wife and I ended up at the Group Health facility at 9am only to discover my appointment was at 2:30pm. I had already taken the valium (and was a little loopy). The office was nice, prescribed me a second valium for when I came back in and we went home. I should note here the wife was awesome. She drove me there and back and she hates driving. I felt so bad that she had done that.

We got the script, and waited around until Torie showed up (she was going to come over after the original procedure to be there for us). She ended up being here before the actual procedure and she agreed to take us down (the wife hates driving and after taking a second valium I was way too loopy).

We drove down and I was brought in fairly quickly. There was a medical assistant that I will name J. J took me back into my room. She was probably the most unfriendly of all MA’s I have met before. She really didn’t have much small talk and sort of ignored me. She had me climb on the table while Doc S came in the room. J disappeared for most of the procedure.

Now, they said there would be just mild discomfort. You know what…. THEY LIED!!!!. S gave me the lidocaine and I suspect she didn’t wait long enough. There wasn’t any actual pain as if she was cutting me open, but she ranked my balls harder then I have never had happen before. I thought I was going to cry. I could feel her cauterizing the tubes (it was a bizarre pressure, not actual pain, but the longer she kept the cauterizing on the more it was uncomfortable).

By the time she ended the procedure on my left testicle, I was really wondering if this was a mistake. She began on the right testicle, and there was very very little discomfort. This is why I suspect she didn’t wait long enough on the first testicle. The second one was mildly uncomfortable, but nothing bad.

S wrapped up. I watched as she took the tubing from inside my testicle and put it in sample jars. I hadn’t realized that the vas deferens (see wiki link here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vas_deferens) looks like rice a roni. It was strange, and just underlines how our bodies are machinery. I guess they keep the vas deferens to prove that they actually did it. I suppose its to protect them against lawsuits if they grow back.

S smiled at me (she had been warmer during the procedure then during our first visit) and said that J would be in to help clean me up. Mainly all of the iodine that had been used had coated my crotch (there was actually very little blood). So S left and J came in. All J did was toss some towels at me and drop off my script. She then rushed me out of the procedure room (I only had about a minute to try and wipe myself down).

I then limped my way out the procedure room, by myself to my waiting wife and Torie. The wife was wondering why the hell the nurse/MA hadn’t escorted me out as I was having trouble walking.

They then got me home (after a quick Dairy Queen stop) and I have spent the rest of the weekend moving around slowly. I am feeling fairly good and I have no regret for this procedure. I just wish that the medical group was more compassionate.

At least within the next couple of months, if something unexpected happens, I won’t have to worry about pregnancy (just STI’s).

Rough Morning

Well this is it, I am getting ready to go get snipped and am a little nervous. I have had a ton of people give me good advice so I am not worried about the future. The morning has also been rough though because I can’t get my old LJ to export correctly, so I am now going to go back through my entire 10 years of LJ, selectively pick posts and move them manually over. I am not sure if the new LJ/Dreamwidth codes broke the older exporters or not, but not a big deal either way. I guess this way I can get rid of all the stupid quiz crap 🙂

We also got our first bill from Verizon, of course there is $100 extra in connection fees and they didn’t yet give me the discount for my employer yet (and they wont back credit me when it does go through). So the bill was close to $300. Then of course this morning I get a bill from Sprint for $800, for the ETF and for almost $150 in local charges/taxes/ and misc fees. I really fucking hate Sprint.

Even though this makes me cry, the new phone service is 100 times better and now I am not worried that if my mother goes to the hospital, or my wife has an emergency, that they wont be able to get through to me.

Crap, better get ready to go to Bellevue now 🙂

Relocation

I realize it has been a few since I last posted. I have submitted multiple Let’s Plays, but those aren’t my blogs :). I have had a lot of things pop up.

The job for the accounting manager at the city of Mukilteo didn’t work out. I don’t feel too badly about that though. There was two CFO’s, an interim accounting manager already working there and two CPA’s that were applying as well. I was pretty happy that I even got called for an interview.

I don’t feel bad because I have a steady job. If the interview doesn’t work out, I am still making the money I was before, I still have the healthcare and most importantly I have an awesome wife. Also, I found on Friday that the City of Seattle now wants to interview me as well as a senior accountant in their Department of Retirement Services. It actually pays about the same as the accounting manager for Mukilteo and Seattle’s benefits are very good (way better than state benefits). I have the interview next Friday, and I have two other entity members who have agreed to give me a professional reference (so its not just other auditors).

The next two weeks are going to be a whirlwind. This week I work Monday and Tuesday, Wednesday is a staff meeting, and Thursday and Friday I am out of action due to having my little boys snipped :). Then the week after I have to take the 24th off to take the wife to CWU’s orientation, and the 27th I am off in order to go to the interview in Seattle.

In other news, yesterday we decided to move. The wife has health issues as I have probably posted on several occaisions. This has made her have difficulty traveling 45 minutes or more in each direction for school. She gets sick and I never want her to undergo that kind of pain to go to school. So we decided to find a place near her school. I don’t mind driving an extra 15 minutes each way for her. Its easier with me and the car, and I don’t get sick. Also, it helps because in the future I will probably end up working in Seattle with some future employer. That means I would be 30 minutes closer to my jobs down there then I would be here (its only a total of 45 minutes to catch a bus from the college which is one block away to the city of Seattle and King County’s main offices (and most federal offices in Seattle as well). Especially since parking in Seattle is so horrible.

The apartment we found is smaller, and cheaper as well. Its in a poorer neighborhood, but less meth heads then we see here. Its within six blocks of multiple grocery stores, Trader Joes, Hobby Lobby, Joann’s Fabrics and a ton of other places. There is a transit center one block away and a host of other things within a short bus ride from there. Plus, if I get my masters in evening courses I would only be one block away from school.

So there is a bit of insomnia and anxiety I am experiencing. We will be moving in a couple of weeks if nothing pops up. I may have a new job within a month if the interview goes well, and even if it doesn’t I can start taking evening classes within 3 months or so. Although strangely enough I am always nervous about new apartments. I worry there will be problems that pop up, cockroaches, crime, and the wors thing ever… that the wife wont like it.

 

 

Work

Well it has been a week off from work and I am feeling much better. I am still off on Monday and Tuesday so there is no complaints. However I have determined some sad facts about my job.

1. Our office is becoming more political, we are told to play nice far more often now with other entities then when I first started. I had one audit finding opinion changed on me in Olympia to something not quite so bad. However, the error was so bad that I had to do a write up in my audit workpapers saying that I didn’t agree with Olympia and why. I think I covered that a little.

2. I have always worked a lot of overtime, I work extra on the weekends, evenings, whatever it takes to get my job done. I don’t get paid overtime (whereas if I worked somewhere non-governmental I would either get OT, bonuses, or a raise).Hands down I am the hardest worker out of all the auditors on my team (and the other team members will say it).

However, I needed to take the wife to several doctors appointments and I asked for the hour off for each appointment (however, I would make it up same day, I was actually working more than 8 hours a day, I was just asking to take an hour off in the middle to take her). They had a cow because of the deadlines. They didn’t force me to do anything but there were intimations that I wasn’t working hard enough.

Funny enough, the temporary manager (our normal manager is out on maternity leave for the next 5 months) kept going on how my supervisor was implying I was slacking off. I asked him if he had looked at my schedule and noticed I was working triple the amount of overtime as any two other auditors. He said no, he hadn’t the time to look at that and he had to just trust my supervisor. Yet the very next words out of his mouth were “But don’t have a knee jerk reaction and maliciously work only 40 hours a week”. WTF!!!???!?!?!

I kept my words to myself, and moved on.

3. We just got informed that for the fourth year in a row we won’t get a Cost of Living increase, plus we will maintain the 5% paycut. In addition we just found out that the state is raising my rates for medical this month (not at the end of the year when we can select a different plan). I am now making what I was making in 2008 when I got hired…. A bit of frustration.

I do like the variety of my job though, although that is starting to fade with the politics.

4. Two of my coworkers are getting hired away for a lot more money, and the last two audits I have done the people who receipt payments for water bills make 15% more than I do (and they only receipt a few customers a day).

I just thought I would bitch and moan, but I do have some possibilities.

I just got a call from the City of Mukilteo, I applied for the Accounting Manager position and they just called asking if I wanted an interview on Wednesday. I am stoked. The payrange at the very minimum is 15% more than I get now, plus better benefits and will max out at 50% more than I get. I could focus on getting my CPA and CFE as well. The other cool thing is they have the same retirement system as the state so my retirement won’t be effected.

Honestly the biggest deal would be better pay for no travel. Right now I average about 45 minutes to an hour and a half travel each way (unless I luck out and get an Everett audit). Its not a big deal, but it eats up my time and four years later I make the same now that I did before.

I am not expecting the job, I know several people who currently do that job at other cities are also applying, but I am crossing my fingers. If this doesn’t pan out I will probably settle down for the rest of the year and at the beginning of the year I will start applying for federal auditing jobs (maybe even IRS Revenue Agent if I can swing it). It would still take six months to a year to get hired (if I got hired) and that would let me vest my 10% of retirement from the state.

I am feeling better though, this week off has been incredible (and I still have 3 days of furlough time and 6 weeks of vacation still available). So this summer I am going to take another week off in August.

Endings

Endings always suck, and I have been trying to avoid this ending. Although we all know you can’t avoid death and taxes. Unfortunately its the reaper who is showing up, I wouldn’t mind paying the tax man for some extra time for the cat.

Our cat Orpheus has finally hit the stage where the renal failure is final. We have known for two years, and he has kept himself going really well for those two years. However, about a month ago he started getting thick around the abdomen. As of last Saturday he has finally started to lose his appetite and he has become skin and bones. Although he is still bright eyed.

In fact, not more than 10 minutes ago the cat noticed that I was laying on  and the problem with that is he thinks that is unacceptable. So twice tonight although he has been huddled on his electric blanket, he has gotten up when he saw me paying attention to the wife. He then both times walked over and started howling at me to pick him up. So he got his way yet again, he always thinks the wife is a whore who I shouldn’t touch when he is crabby like that. It was funny enough that I think we both almost cried.

We got a hold of a vet, Dr. Kaftanski. She was awesome on the phone and was incredibly reassuring. In addition she uses an anesthetic before actually euthanizing, so Orph won’t be freaked out, except for a possible pinch.

So the deed will happen at 2pm tomorrow (Tuesday). I realize its stupid to think this way, but I have always hoped there i something else after this life. If there is, I hope at least the animals get to go there (or come back). Of course that goes for everyone else as well, but since Orph is the one leaving next, animals are my focus.

I have always been weird that way, if I could buy my friends and family an afterlife with my own destruction/damnation I would do it and not even blink in the decision.Ok, that was a  weird side tangent, probably because I just took all my meds and I only slept about 3 or 4 hours last night.

 

Horses!

We went horseback riding!

We got back from our horseback riding today. While I didn’t particularly like the person who owned the stables, riding a horse was damn awesome. I have only been up that close to a horse once before. This time I rode around in some trails (definitely not safe trails), got to comb him out and just be around horses. The funny part is both and[livejournal.com profile] finnegwyn both had huge allergy attacks, I didn’t. There was no itching, no hay fever, nothing.

The day started early, I was up by 5am, while the wife was up by 7. We got ready and were out of the house at 8am. We took one of the back ways to and arrived there a bit after 8:40. She was ready to go and we headed to Safeway to pick up something to nibble on, batteries and liquids for the ride. When we got there we got some baked goods, some liquids but forgot the batteries. Meanwhile the wife went to use the bathroom there and when she opened the unisex bathroom door she found someone had puked all across the floor. We found it hilarious, but she ended up having to use the McDonald’s bathroom instead.

We got to the stable around 10:15am, about 45 minutes too early. We realized we had forgotten the batteries and went down to the corner store to pay a huge chunk for batteries there. Once we got them, we headed back to the ranch and waited for 20 minutes until it was time to go in. We walked into the back yard area and I was a bit disappointed. There were literally dozens of chickens everywhere, the entire horse saddling area was dirty. No, I don’t mean messy in the course of working with horses, rather that hasn’t been cleaned in a long time feel.

I saw the horses and went up and stood next to them. They were really cool, and no matter how much bitching I might do in this post, I very much enjoyed being around them. This is when the wife and F both discovered they had allergies and I didn’t. We volunteered to help brush them. Evidently they haven’t had baths in a long long time, but it was fun nonetheless. Eventually we saddled up and she took us into the arena area so she could “give us a short lesson”. In the end she showed us nothing, just yelled to not let the horses get too close to each other (I am not joking, she didn’t show us anything, and I explained to her I had never been on the horse). I had discovered that they didn’t have stirrups long enough for me. I ended up on a large horse with my knees bent at a weird angle just so the tips of my toes could be in the stirrups. I certainly didn’t feel secure in the saddle.

By the time everything was settled down we engaged in a relatively fun trail ride. There were a couple of problems. The first is the owner for whatever reason was walking the horses. This resulted in all 7 of us (there were two other groups as well) with horses that kept wanting to go a little bit faster and running into each other. This is when she announced the horse I was on would kick other horses (and he got a little push with the other horses, another area I didn’t feel secure in, since I have never ridden a horse without a person holding the reins and leading me in a circle).

We traversed a path that had overgrowth that would hit me in the face, had very steep hills (and I sort of had to troubleshoot myself riding down and up a hill, surprisingly I dislike riding down hills more than up hills). Then at the end of the ride my horse’s rein came undone from his harness and I then spent a couple of minutes trying to get the horse to stop with just my legs (that was awkward) and all they owner could do was roll her eyes at me while her daughter reattached it. Also, the owner never mentioned that we should not let the horses eat the grass, until mine started to eat the grass (and I wasn’t sure if it was ok), when I asked, she yelled that it was a group like us that gave them these bad habits and not to let them do it.

We got back in the pen after over an hour of riding and she held the horse while I tried to get off. I discovered something, my left ankle (the one I had surgery on last year) doesn’t pivot. I literally couldn’t turn my ankle so I could pull my right foot out and dismount on the left side. Once again she was annoyed (even after I explained I don’t have sideways pivoting in that ankle due to surgery). Eventually she let me get off on the right side. I petted the horse and helped take the saddle off, then the lady sort of just ignored us so we left.

Overall I LOVED riding a horse. I never realized how cool it was to just be around large creatures like this (I also liked the cow that was there as well). I talked to E and we are going to look for a horse stables closer who will give lessons (after we take a ride and find out if we like them). I did however really dislike the owner. Not only was she condescending with everything to new riders, she wouldn’t show me anything (I seriously wanted to not do anything that might endanger the horse or make him uncomfortable), she also was just plain rude to everyone. In addition all the horses had sores where the saddles were. I thought it was strange, and it didn’t seem right, but after the ride when I talked to E and F they both confirmed it should never be like that.

The end result, I am definitely doing horseback riding again, if we find the right person I will blow my monthly allowance money in order to take lessons. That was an awesome experience, even if the owner sucked. Oh, and my hips hurt, I think partially the normal hurt from riding a horse the first time and partially due to my stirrups each being at least 3 inches too short.

 

Meatloaf Experience Part 1

This is an abbreviated version, with how annoyed I am, I am sure I will post more on each detail in the future. I am going to break it up into readable parts though.

Background: First, as a bit of background I have grown up to the tunes of Meat Loaf. Yes, I like him, yes he does cause anxiety when I hear his music on occasion. He is a favorite singer my parents listened to, especially when they were on a full drunk binge. So while I like his music (a lot), it does give me a bit of hesitation to consider going to see him. However, I really do like his music.
Prologue: About a month ago my brother asked me to go see Meat Loaf. I explained I wasn’t too sure due to money and the fact it was the weekend before Dying Light (combined with J and T’s wedding and them coming up the weekend before that and the DL before that I wont have a full weekend off in a month). So I declined. I then get a call a week later from my parents. They were on a binge (its a lot rarer these days but it does still happen, at least my dad doesn’t go beat the crap out of cops anymore).  I got a full night of calls from them pleading with me to go with my Brother and my Sister to see Meat Loaf, to do it “for them” since they aren’t able to go due to health reasons. I eventually said fine. Now, I am fine with seeing Meat Loaf, but I knew then this wouldn’t end pretty and due to family guilt I was trapped. However, hubby avoided the situation and said no, however poor [livejournal.com profile] finnegwyn decided to come as moral support for me.

Event 1: About two weeks ago we discover its more than the siblings and one friend/significant other. Another friend of my brother decides to come. We all hesitate, but fine, my brother’s friend has been around my family for 15 years and we know him so its good. Then about a week ago my brother’s friend’s girlfriend decides to come. Even more uncomfortable but fine. Then 4 days ago we find out that my brother’s GF has decided to ship all six of them from Bellingham (the concert is in Snoqualmie, 120 miles from Bellingham, 50 miles from Everett). The plan is to meet at my house, go to IHOP then head out.

THE DAY OF:

Event 2: I am waiting with hubby for my family to arrive. Of course my wife isn’t going, but we are hanging. [livejournal.com profile] talkswithwind shows up to start working on boffer weapons (YAY!!). Finally [livejournal.com profile] finnegwyn shows up. I find out my family is running late and so I am a bit anxious. I get a call at 2pm (the time they are supposed to be here) from my sister. Evidently my brother’s girlfriend had rear-ended a suburban. No one was hurt, but the Taurus wasn’t drivable. I go and ferry all six people to my house (it happened at exit 198, about 8 miles from my house) in two loads. 

I should have stopped the whole situation here. There are nine people going, and only my car. I shouldn’t have even allowed discussion on options. If I have learned something vital from this situation, its to not keep quiet. For the next two hours there is a weird on again/off again discussion of if we are going to drive them back to Bellingham or try to keep going to the concert. This included the idea that my brother’s friend’s girlfriend would go up to Bellingham, get her car, drive down and help haul everyone to the concert. When the concert was over we would both transport everyone to my house and then she would make two trips to Bellingham to drop everyone off. Something sounded off about this and more talk continued. 

I do set up my brother and his girlfriend with my Triple AAA so they can tow the car back. The plan (after considering rentals, even of renting an U-Haul passenger van) was that two people would ride back with the Tow Truck driver, 1 would ride back with [livejournal.com profile] talkswithwind and the rest with me.This seems to be the decision and from what I can see probably the best decision. Maybe we would go see “The Expendables” when we got up there. 

Yet…. as can be seen by the title, that was not the final bit (will continue on another post, so I don’t kill you with too much text).

Dying Light Episode 2

Gallery: Dying Light Season 0 (test season)
Date: August – October 2009
Location: Fort Ebey State Park, Washington

Just got back from Dying Light. It was even better then the first game. Unfortunately some of our players were not able to make it, however we had several new players (and we are keeping at least three, a fourth that will play when they aren’t in UT and have time and the fifth, well you never know maybe he will become a gamer) and even though it was a couple of players less the game was incredibly fun (a lot more fun then the first, and I loved the first).

There was undead, pirate merchants, Cyborg commanders, Beastmen shamans, Vampire merchants, Marketday, swarms of more undead, a skull that was a magical key, more undead, a Death Shrine starting to open, defense building by the town, sacrifice of people to the portal, more undead, a beautifully executed ritual that slowed the portal and finally more death.

Oh, and lets not forget a bitter Banshee that keeps coming back.

There are of course more interactions, and I am sure these I just listed don’t make sense. I just thought I would give a incredibly quick briefing of the event before I got some tea and food. Be prepared for a more detailed update. All I have left to say is I love the game, I think we are building an incredibly strong core and by the time we are done with the BETA season (October 16-18) I think we will be well on our way to an established game, that may be smaller for awhile, but beats out the competition 😉

First day in Seattle

Today was another super busy day. It feels like I have gotten no rest since the week before finals. I am ready to just fall over unconscious. I woke up at 0500, only having about 4.5 hours of sleep, the constant waking to check for roaches (yes I am neurotic). I got up, hung out with the cat and waited for the counter top people.

They arrived about 0945 and we had o take orpheus with us for six hours. We went to the truck and sat there for twenty minutes. We wanted to verify the exterminators were coming before we took off. When the manager got there, we went in and she confirmed they were coming. She also offered her apartment to store the orpheus. That was awesome so the wife and I headed out.

First we went to the Madison Co-op, then over to Trader Joe’s. Both places seemed nice and we ordered a 25lb bag of rice flour (baking season is upon us). We then just decided to drive downtown. We eventually ended up parking at a parking garage on 2nd Avenue. We wandered over to the Pike Place Market, that was damn cool. We wandered for about an hour then went to the “Athenian” and had food. Heresyoftruth had salad and I had a burger. We enjoyed the meal and then headed back over to 2nd Avenue. This is because that is where I am going to work.

We wandered down 2nd Avenue, about 3/4 of a mile and then headed back the way we came (stopped by the office building I work in, but didn’t go up). When we got to Seneca street we decided to go up to 3rd Avenue. This was so we could check where I was catching a bus and where I would be getting off for work. We then walked down 3rd avenue, the same distance we did on 2nd. After having been walking for 2 hours we decided to go back to the truck. There we sat and ate a gluten free bar each. We then headed back home, but stopped by Pacific Fabric (unfortunately it didn’t look like there was anything we could look at).

We got home about 1500 or so, rescued the cat, found a roach on the living room door (inside). We found the counter-top rather stinky (even now the fumes are making me pretty loopy). The manager confirmed that the exterminators will be using a special gel to get rid of the roaches and they will be doing the entire apartment building. Last few hours have been me, exhausted trying to pass the time til I can go to sleep.

I really do like our apartment, we realized we are very close to Sears, Office Max, Downtown, and a ton of other places. The neighborhood is quiet, the apartment is huge (and very game worthy). It just has the one bad part. We figure we will give them to late February to solve this problem (sometimes roaches take two or three exterminator visits). If its not done we will move, if it is done we will stay.

Oh, we wont game this weekend, but we will the Saturday after Xmas. We will be playing GURPS converted Shadowrun. To find those rules go to http://www.talesofagun.com and read up. If you are a new player I need the character made by Xmas Day if you want to play the following Saturday.

 

Long Update

I woke up this morning incredibly angry. I don’t mean “in a bad mood”, I am talking a rip-roaring I would like to crush someone’s nose under my fist anger. I do feel much better now, the wife and I went to the mall and got her some shirts, she then got me fed.

I am sure some of my anger comes from no time, finals decompression, and the fact we just got our electricity bill (double what it normally was), it just adds up. Actually I was angry enough that I called up work and cancelled coming in today (and no, I don’t want to run a game or have visitors today either, just not in the head-space to share my world paradigm with anyone but W, I love the rest of you, but we had already planned not to play today so this wont change anything except it will give me a breather from all my responsibilities, game still on 23rd). Mostly I cancelled today with work because there is no way I could handle my manager.

There is a lot of ranting, to save your friends page and to avoid making you have to read my inane ramblings I will cut most of it. I will post about school after I get my grades finalized (and that is another stress factor, how the fuck long does it take to grade a multiple choice test)

I will start with the Xmas Party. The wife and I have both been a little tense about this. Anyone who knows me, knows I don’t really fit in with the upper class. I like my coworkers, but there is not very many of them I have any similarities with.

The wife and I started Saturday looking for presents. We are supposed to buy $10 presents each for a blind gift exchange. This was annoying because when I signed up for the Xmas party, I was told there were no gifts required. I don’t have a problem spending $20 total, but honestly we are still pulling ourselves out of the hole, and I hate the consumerish pressure that gets given out at Christmas.

We end up going to the “Lucky Monkey”. It’s downtown, and its a very neat little import/kitchey type of shop. After several minutes of looking for two $10 gifts  we end up getting two identical presents, they were little wooden gift boxes with different types of tops (different designs). In each one we bought a “lucky kitty” statue and a Guatemala Worry Doll to fill up the box.

We leave the house at 5:30pm, the dinner is at some restaurant named “Grammy’s”. We get there at 5:45 (party starts at 6pm). There we met Dr. C and his wife. Dr. C is an awesome older man, his wife is very nice, but I think very aware of her station. We stood around looking scared (wife and I) as more and more people arrived. Soon it was packed with 26+ people, I knew half, the other half were of course the first half’s significant others. The wife and I both still kind of stood around, not really fitting in we were talked to by a few of the workers, and my manager, but not for very long. 

The wait/cook staff actually talked to us quite a bit more, we all discussed the world and how things were going and in short I was pleased with the mingling we did with the staff.Dr. C’s wife seemed a bit put off by the fact that wifey and I did not drink, we asked for non-alcoholic drinks (which the staff happily gave us).

Dinner came (an hour after the party officially started, we were starving). We sat next to P and her husband G (names hidden for their privacy). They are both pretty nice (P is the one who works my M-Th shifts now that I am in class). Her husband works as an engineer for a security firm and they both seem very down to earth. L (a dental assistant), El and her Husband (also a dental assistant sat with us along with Dr. C and his wife).

Dinner was awesome, I take my hat of to Grammy’s. True, Gabe cooks better, it by no means diminishes how well they did. I had a vegetarian alfredo dish with Portabello Mushrooms. It was good (but would have later effects I may or may not go into). Dinner at the table went by relatively smoothly, the wait staff kept checking up specifically on me and W and I think it annoyed Dr. C’s wife that they didn’t ask her nearly as much if things were going ok. Its sad, even though I know in my future as a CPA I will have to go to shindigs like that, I would rather be on the other side of the register (working as part of the staff), I am just not comfortable with the official dinner like proceedings.

Oh I forgot to mention the wife and I never approached the appetizer bar before the dinner, it was surrounded by coworkers/significant others and they wouldn’t let the work staff in to refill the appetizers, it was like they didn’t even notice the work staff. I always wondered if thats how it was (you hear it sometimes in movies and books that the help are “invisible”).

After dinner Dr. C’s wife announced that three of the plates (one at each table) had a note under it saying “Merry Christmas” it meant whoever had it won the christmas center piece at each table (really was looking to me like a Kmart center piece of red and green, although I am sure it came from a upper income store). For some reason at our table no one had a note, so Dr. C’s wife had us all pick numbers.

I ended up winning it, however just as I won it, someone at another table had a second note (the notes were not evenly distributed). I told Dr. C’s wife by all means give the center piece to that person, they won it fair and square. Later El commented how gracious I was, I neglected to tell her I thought the center piece was horrible looking and I didn’t want it to begin with, she didn’t need to know that.

After the meal we were informed that we were to go back to Dr. C’s house. The wifey and I got outside and found it incredibly funny to see all these new cars (Lexus SUV, Mercedes Sedan, brand new Ford Ranger pickup) and then there was our rusted out 1989 GMC pickup. We were amused because we knew out of 13 cars, we had the only one paid outright. Sometimes I just look at the money people spend on “high end” products, I just don’t even understand.

We got to Dr. C’s house and it was huge. It was wired for outdoor music, and literally couldn’t have been smaller then 5,000 square feet (and I am sure it was quite a bit bigger then that). It was on prime beach front property and the inside everything was “Neiman Marcus” style. The only really funny thing was there were pictures of their dog “Buster” everywhere.

Now, during this whole time Dr. C would go out of his way to entertain everyone. Please do not confuse my amazement at the height of consumerism going on to imply that Dr. C was nothing but a very genial host who made sure to talk to us repeatedly and to try and make us feel welcome (Dr. W and his wife also were very very nice, Dr W’s wife was a very down home kind of feeling to her, I like her alot).

Dr. C went out of his way several times during the night to offer me and W something first (refreshment, pie, etc). This was going fine and there were numerous tiny conversations we had with others that will probably get talked about over time. Eventually there was the “gift giving” phase. It consisted of us setting all of the gifts in the middle then drawing random numbers. The idea was, when it was your turn you could select a gift and open it. There were two additional gifts (given by Dr. C’s wife), one was a “very good gift” the other was a “gag” gift. Those gifts could not be opened. A person would select a gift they wanted. The next person in line could then either take the first person (or any previous person’s) gift or take a new one. There were lots of funny moments (the digital tire air pressure gauge was very popular and even though it was taken from W by Dr C’s wife (who didn’t even really want it, she just did it to stir things up) I was able to get it back for her and secure the REI card.

It was a cut throat game though, I didn’t think anyone would really push to get those two “unopened” but I saw no holds barred greed as people kept grabbing for those two gifts. Actually it kind of made me sick, it seemed inappropriate for a “Christmas” party, somehow I think Jesus would not approve.

As the party wound down I talked with Dr. W about what I was doing next week. He mentioned that we were very short on time and things had to be done in 10 work days. I looked at him confused and mentioned that the manager had said it would take much longer. Dr. W’s wife looked unhappy for a brief second that my manager thinks that. I then reassured Dr. W that I would take care of it. for him

This means I may be working a lot of hours next two weeks (although part of me wonders if it wont be that bad).

The wife and I then left, came home whereupon I spent most of the night with my stomach/reflux killing me.

So here I am exhausted, in a bad mood from lack of sleep and unable to do anything but nap.