Revenge of the Pack Rats

Following in my mother's footsteps, I am a fiend for collecting, keeping, and hoarding stuff. Pretty and sturdy boxes, old letters and postcards, bits of twine. Organized on good days, FEMA-labeled disaster area on bad days, I am loath to throw stuff away and so my stuff gathers and multiplies and takes over. On the few occasions I have culled through my stuff and thrown stuff out (when I got married and moved out of the apartment; when we moved into this house before ZP was born; when TP held me at gunpoint to clean up), it has been with a heavy heart and careful deliberation akin to a judge deciding the fate of a death row inmate. This weekend, however, my accumlator tendencies saved the day.

We were heading home for my cousin's wedding (see below) and I had everything and everyone packed, fed, and ready to go. We arrived at the airport, were directed to a "special" (read "snail's pace slow") lane, and approached the check-in desk.

Clerk: "How many passengers?"
Me: "Four but one is a lap child."
Clerk: "Do you have proof of age?"
Me: ---------
Clerk: "Do you have a copy of her birth certificate?"
Me: "No."
Clerk: "Do you have a copy of her immunization shots that would show her age?"
Me: "No."
Clerk: "Do you have anything at all that shows she is under two years old?"
Me: [rummaging through the diaper bag in hopes of finding some evidence, some shred of proof, some saving grace that would allow us to board without having to resort to TP's clever but complicated plan of purchasing an extra ticket and then getting reimbursed upon sending proof of age later] "AHA!" [pulling out a strip of plastic that was hidden in a side zippered pocket that had not been opened for over a year] "THIS is the medical bracelet I wore at the hospital when AP was born! See! It has her date of birth on it!"
Clerk: "Works for me."
Me: "SUCCESS! Pack rats of the world UNITE!"


Shaadi Time

We are heading home to participate in, celebrate, and create new inside jokes at my cousin's wedding this week. I remember when that branch of the family came to live with ours having freshly and recently emigrated from the U.K., my cousins had the fiercest English accents. My memory not being what it used to be, I have come to recall that they had the thickest Cockney accents ever. They were regular Maurice Micklewhites, they were! I saw them grow up, test out various 80s hairstyles (my cousin was the first and only guy I knew who had a design shaved into his hair), and absorb the Southern Indiana cadence that they sport today. I can't believe that this guy (the one pictured below ... in the dungarees ... and his chest hair covered) is, in a matter of days, getting married. We wish him and his lovely fiancee happiness, health, peace, and wealth (in any order they choose). Mabrook, mubarak, and congrats!


Happy Birthday, LB!

Happy Birthday, Lil Baji!

I know we have had our ups and downs, faced off with our respective weapons of choice (tattle telling/giant wax crayon candles), and listed each other as enemy combatants before we became best friends. But I'm so glad that we have been and have remained close for so many years now and that we get to see each other on such a regular basis. I can't imagine what my life would be like without you so involved in it. Thank you for being my sounding board, my advice-giver, my fellow bellowing karoke singer, my inside-joke-getter, my go-to-babysitter, my baby sister. I love you so much.


CYA (or as LB likes to call it, "CAY")

I'm reading this book called "Intern" by Dr. [aside, whenever I write "Dr." I always hear "It's Dr. Evil, I didn't spend six years in Evil Medical School to be called "mister," thank you very much." in my head] Sandeep Jauhar. It focuses on the traumas and tribulations he faced on his medical career path and features the inner workings of the process and procedures of hospital life. Some parts are stomach-clenching, like when his forgetfulness led to a tube of HIV-infected fluids to spray everywhere and on everything in the room. Some parts are secret-revealing, like when he explains that when he checks the blood pressure of a patient, he counts the pulses in the wrist and then keeps pretending to do so while he counts the breaths so as not to make the patient self-concious and thus change breathing patterns. Some parts are disheartening and particular to the medical field but this part struck me as fitting for just about every job, including mine:

"There were set times on call when you could expect a flurry of pages, like when the nurses checked vital signs at 4:00 a.m. That was when they called about fevers. Your response was always the same: blood and urine cultures and a portable chest X-ray to rule out pneumonia—but sometimes you discovered that a patient was already on antibiotics or that blood cultures had been drawn every night for the past week, every single one negative, and then you had to decide whether you really needed to stick him again, but most of the time you did so anyway, not for the patient’s sake but for your own, lest someone fault you in the morning for not doing it. That was the sad reality of residency: much of the time you were ordering tests to protect yourself. “The endgame of life is so depressing,” I wrote in my diary. “Look at Mr. Fisher. Successful lawyer, Goldberg patient. Now look at him? Sick, febrile, dying of who-knows-what: cancer, TB, sarcoidosis? If you think about it, it could make all of life seem unworthwhile if, in the end, we end up dying in the hospital, awakened at 4:00 a.m. by a stupid intern trying to draw another set of blood cultures.”

Can you relate? Does your job have a CYA culture too?


I'm the Ugliest Guy On the Lower East Side

For the first time in three years, TP and I are planning a weekend getaway consisting of just the two of us and no kids. We are looking for a cheap place to stay around the Lower East Side of NYC and would think that the dead of summer would be tourist repellent. "Cheap" for TP means $75 a night but for me is less than $125. No luck thus far. Any suggestions, recommendations, etc.?