Sob Story

[This may be more for me than for you. Or maybe I just want pity.]

I’m down to my last pair of contacts. I’ve been wearing my glasses. I need a new eye doctor. My old one retired and the one who took over basically told me I’m old and listed a bunch of things that were about to go wrong with my eyes. I already have terrible vision so this information was not doing any good. Also, they offered a test that insurance didn’t cover but they said would replace a dilation. I did it and paid for it. Then they told me I needed to come in for a dilation. I explained how I did the other test. They said it wasn’t the same. This is not a way to be a medical professional.

The check engine light came on in my car. I brought it to the mechanic who says it’s a faulty sensor. He suggested I take it to the dealership because I might get them to fix it for free because of a recall several years back.

I call the dealership. They tell me my car has a current recall. I say I got it completed. They say, no, there’s a second part to the current recall. I say, okay I work from home on Fridays so I can bring it in then. They say, we don’t do recalls on Fridays. Then they go to check to see if they can make an exception. Then they say they don’t have the part for the recall and they will call me.

Then I drive around with the check engine light still on. I feel like Penny.

Then I can’t get into my house. The door is locked. I have the key. The key won’t open the lock. I can open the screen door with the key. The inside door won’t open. All the other screen doors lock from the inside only. I call the locksmith. I sit on my side step and cry. The locksmith says he’ll be there in 25 minutes. An hour passes. I call the locksmith. He says his GPS says he’ll be there in 15 minutes.

In a half hour, the locksmith arrives. I show him the door and the key. He tries the key. It doesn’t work. He asks to see the other doors. I show him the doors. He says that he will try the front door. It will cost $600 in the end if he needs to drill through the lock and then replace it. I say, what about breaking into the side screen door? He looks at me puzzled. I say, this key will open the inside door if I can get by the screen door. He says he will try.

He uses a rudimentary system of inflatable balloons and tubes. It looks like a blood pressure checker for doors. The door pops open. If it hadn’t, I was ready to slash open some screens and unscrew some hinges. Screen doors be gone.

The key works on the inside door. He tells me I can check the front door and asks if he can come in. I tell him to come in as I grab the door knob of the front door that’s jammed. It simply opens. I look at him. He looks at me. I’m like, You know it was jammed. He’s like, yes it was.

Because otherwise, why are we here?

Then we play around with the lock. We try to replicate the problem. We can’t. I say that I’m getting new screen doors that can unlock from the outside in case this happens again.

Then I pay him much less than $600. While we wait for my credit card to go through, he becomes mesmerized by the poster in my kitchen. It’s a play, I say. He asks, Shakespeare? I say, yes it’s a full play on a poster. He says it’s cool. Then he leaves. In the mailbox is a postcard from the car dealership about the current recall. Again.

A red light on the dashboard in my car pops on along with the words CHECK MANUAL and a loud dinging sound. The red of this light compliments the orange glow of the check engine light that’s still on. The manual tells me that the engine is too cold. That can’t be right. Then it says not to drive too quickly or carry a heavy load. I realize that I need an oil change, so I hope that’s what it is. The rain is teeming and I go back to the mechanic and ask for an oil change and tell him about the new light. He doesn’t seem concerned about the light and doesn’t ask follow up questions about possible noises, and that makes me feel better about it. I remind him that the engine light is still on and he says he’ll ignore it.

The rain is still teeming when he calls me and says that the car is ready to go. I go get the car. My plan to get into my jammies early and watch movies has been spoiled but now only one light glows on my dashboard again.

In a few mornings when it’s no longer raining, I decide I really want to walk outside even if it’s cold. I bundle up. I walk outside. It’s sunny and cold but by the end I’m a little sweaty. Things are feeling good. After my walk, I come inside. My glasses fall on the floor and snap in half. I sob. Literally sob. I cannot see without them and I have just the one pair of contacts left and I can’t wear contacts every waking moment. I call in sick to work. I cry some more.

I go to the eye doctor. Everyone there is so very nice. The doctor talks about how he loved an English class he took one summer and how he hosts a sci-fi radio show. This is refreshing since most people who first learn I teach writing tell me about that one essay-writing course they had that they hated. Instead, as we check out my eyes, we talk about Stan Lee and new kinds of contact lenses. He says my eye sight has gotten a little better. He doesn’t tell me what might go wrong with my eyes and doesn’t insinuate that I am old and falling apart.

I find new frames that are almost an exact match to my now broken frames. I shell out a pretty penny for the exam and the contacts, but the contacts have a huge rebate and insurance is paying for my new glasses. I give the doc my card with the astronaut to tell him about my sci-fi poetry, and he gives me a CD of his show plus a website where I can listen to the archives. I’m going back later this week to check out how the new contacts fit my eyeballs.

Then in my night table, I find an old pair of glasses. They seem to be my current prescription. They can tide me over. I can see.

Happy ending.

My Last Mug Cake

Some people bake in their free time. I’m not talking about a career (here’s to you, Southpaw Sweets–keep on doing what you’re doing). I’m talking about a hobby. Like they’ll find themselves in a moment of “what should I do now?” and they decide, “I should go to the kitchen, mix and measure things, put the mixture into a hot oven, and create something edible.” It doesn’t even have to be for a reason. If you haven’t guessed, I’m not one of those people.

I don’t mind cooking. I’ve always tried recipes that are on the simple side if  they seem healthy and yummy. I’ve even created mt own dishes a time or two. Twice, I made stuffed shells–once for a dinner party and once for a family holiday. I don’t hate the kitchen, but I don’t find myself in there when I’m thinking about how to spend some fun time.

Twice I’ve used a deep fryer. Once was during Christmas time when I volunteered to make the frittamiste, and it took all day, and I’ll never do it again. The other time was when I attempted to make fried Oreos, and they came out okay, but never again because no one needs to make fried Oreos. That’s what fairgrounds are for.

I surprised myself when I decided to find a recipe that would be kind of like a dessert but also kind of healthy. I’ve been doing a modified Whole 30 because my body is too acidic/pitta/inflamed since the Physical Therapy Tore My Labrum incident (by the way, I’m 100% sure both are torn. One is diagnosed, but both have the same symptoms, so thanks Bob who couldn’t remember which knee he was working on. I’m really enjoying the limp). Plus, since I haven’t been able to work out the past two months the way I’m used to working out — high impact aerobics and kickboxing balanced with weight toning and yoga / yogalates / PiYo–I have to seriously curb my eating. The Great Cellulite Invasion 2017 has already begun, accompanied by The Incredibly Stretching Stretch Marks. I like to eat healthy, and the Whole 30 recipes I have are delicious and filling. Still, I like to have a snack every now and then, and a handful of nuts goes only so far.

Onto the interwebs! I found an easy recipe for a mug cake that uses coconut flour and vanilla extract. It’s paleo but not exactly Whole 30 because of the extract. Still, close enough. It’s not like I’m going to eat a mug cake every hour on the hour. I had most of the ingredients. I knew it might be a bit dry because I didn’t have coconut milk, but I had all the other wet ingredients, so I went into baking mode.

The best thing about mug cake is that it bakes in the microwave. I got a large mug, mixed the dry ingredients, whisked in the wet ingredients, and put it in the microwave. It smelled good as it baked. The microwave beeped. I took it out. It was cake like but also crumbly.

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No raw egg in sight means it’s edible. So I started eating it. As expected, it was dry. It was also kind of bland but sometimes also a hint of salty. And sometimes a hint of coconut but grainy coconut.

Then my mouth started burning. I’m not talking about temperature. I’m talking about, like, you know when you scrape the top of your mouth with scratchy toast and then drink orange juice? Or, like, when you rinse your mouth with peroxide and you feel that chemical sensation? Yeah, so that, but only like also almost dying and for the rest of the day on the sides of my tongue, all around my gums, the roof of my mouth, and into my throat. Basically, I thought I’d poisoned myself. I threw out the cake.

This lasted until bedtime. The next morning, the ordeal had subsided. Also having subsided is my thinking that a handful of nuts will go only so far.