Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Throw Your Back Into It, Stupid

Smart me. Today I must've moved the wrong way or turned a funny direction or something. Around mid-afternoon the muscles in the right side of my back went haywire and since then it's been torturous to move in certain ways. I just stepped out of a hot shower, hoping the water would loosen up the muscles that seem tighter than a drum. I have trouble sitting, getting back up, twisting to one side, reaching over and down with my right arm, and a whole host of other otherwise mundane 'ings.' I'm sitting in the chair now dreading getting up.

The obvious answer is that I shouldn't have dragged that five-shelf bookcase up a flight of stairs to the second floor this morning. But, really, I didn't do anything extraordinary. I just slowly eased the thing up onto each next step, one at a time. I don't recall pulling anything then, and the pain didn't come till hours later, after I'd been sitting on the couch for a few hours doing work on the laptop. Still, the mind wants to make connections, and this is the easiest explanation that accounts for the data.

It could also have happened while I was vacuuming the entryway. (That'll teach me to clean the house! Last time I try that! [snort]) At one point the belt slipped off the upright and I had to, well, UN-upright it and take the plastic bottom off, holding it between my knees at a weird angle and cleaning out the gunk and hair while putting the belt back on properly. Perhaps I held something at an odd angle for too long and yanked something then.

Doesn't matter. What does matter is that I'd love to go sink into the waterbed right now and let the warm water in the mattress (and the relaxation) help the muscles unknot. But I'm afraid I won't be able to get back out. Plus, the TV that was in our bedroom had to be sent back to AT&T (we got it free as part of their cable rewards program but the picture was all goofed up), so we're TV-less in there for the next few weeks. Normally, that's no big deal since until a few months ago I'd never had a TV in my bedroom, ever. But at times like this it would be nice to go in there and relax and watch some TV.

It'd be a perfect situation in which to read a book (currently I'm reading Anne Rice's Queen of the Damned), but I've never mastered the art of reading a book in that sloshy waterbed. Severe motion sickness comes to mind. Literally.

Oh dear. I feel the right side tensing up again. The hot shower had loosened things up a bit (enough to move around without searing pain, but just bad soreness), but the effects seem to be wearing off. I can't even turn to the right at all now. Figures.

As a last resort I may climb into Wayne's La-Z-Boy recliner with the book and the TV remote. Sounds like nirvana for a lot of people, but to me it's tough to get comfy in that thing. It's made for people well over six feet tall, not wee thangs topping out at five feet, two inches. (I always feel like Edith Ann in her rocking chair in that thing.)

But it would give me the support I'd need for my back and the creature comforts I'm not ready to do without right now. I may also get out the hot water bottle. That is, as long as I don't have to turn to the right to get to it.


I hate feeling old before my time. (Then again, ask my kids. To them, I am old--no question about it.)

Off I go.

Linda The Pained

Sunday, August 03, 2003

A Field Trip to the Drive-In (And Other Impossible Situations)

Oh, the sick, perverse irony of life. Yesterday I blathered on and on in here about how my Corsica ended up giving me the silent treatment, losing its radio/tape deck/CD player. A real whine session.

Last night we had the brilliant idea to go the drive-in to see a double-header of Finding Nemo and Tomb Raider 2. We spent the early evening scrambling around getting ready. I popped some popcorn, the girls helped pack up the car with a blanket, four camping chairs, and a cooler (with grapes, cauliflower--Grace's favorite munchie on the Atkins diet--and some Ranch dressing to dip the cauliflower in). We scurried out of here a few minutes later than I would have liked, but we didn't forget to bring anything.

Or so we thought.

We stopped at a local beverage place to get cans of soda ("pop" in western Pennsylvania, but I refuse to call it "pop," ever) and were finally off. Made it through the construction on Route 60 and were quickly outside the drive-in waiting in line to turn in off the street and get into the driveway of the theaters. A worker was doing a walk-through telling us all that American Wedding was sold out, which didn't bother us, of course. In fact, all the cars turning around and leaving ahead of us got us off the street that much faster. We paid our cheap fees to get in and the ticket window worker told us to make sure to tune our radios to 97.5 FM to get the sound for our movie. (Each screen has its own radio frequency.)

I'm sure you all know where this is going by now.

Apparently the Dependable Drive-In folks [www.dependabledrivein.com] like to cram cars into their screen lots. We ended up making our own spot, way down front (front row), way off to the right (almost up against the guard rail over the road below). I made sure all the windows were down before turning off the car. And, I instinctively reached for the radio dial to turn it to 97.5 ... F ... M ...

Rats. There was only a hole and some loose wires where my RADIO USED TO BE.

Somehow, the obvious fact that we'd have to bring a boombox with batteries in it had totally escaped me (and the girls) while I was popping popcorn and buying cans of soda, etc. etc.

After a collective smacking of foreheads, we decided to steal everyone else's radio noise by setting up our camping chairs by the car with the loudest radio. Worked quite well for Finding Nemo. Had no trouble hearing anything. That was the good side of having the place full of cars.

But, as usually happens with drive-ins playing two flicks, a nice handful of people (the ones with little kids who came mainly for Nemo) left at the intermission. Once Tomb Raider came on we had trouble finding a spot nearby to hear someone else's radio. Once Addie ended up in the back seat of the car half-asleep, we called it a night and came home -- about a half-hour into Tomb Raider.

For those of you not familiar with drive-ins and drive-in etiquette: Don't get the impression that we just chummed up to strangers. Most everyone brings camping chairs, mosquito candles, coolers, and blankets and sits outside their cars. I just love the atmosphere of the drive-in.

But I also love HEARING a movie I've paid to see, so it was best to leave early and learn our lesson.

(Note to self: Beg husband to reinstall tape deck in car ... ASAP.)

(sigh) It's been a long weekend. But fun.


Saturday, August 02, 2003

Paper or Plastic ... And Stuff in My Car That Doesn't Work

(singing) Saturday, in the park, I think it was the fourth of July. Or maybe the second of August. Whatever. Okay, so it's really Saturday, in the house. So sue me. I have no idea if this blog site is really popular (my guess is yes, if judging by sheer numbers) or if anyone reads these things except the family members you beg to go to your blog site and read your daily whinings. I guess I'll see soon enough. Or not.

It's been another of those muggy weeks here in western Pennsylvania where I become a hermit in my house, enjoying the constant 74 degrees and low humidity of our central air. I turn into a wuss unable to leave the house to do anything unnecessary. Doesn't help that the A/C in my car doesn't really do much more than cool off my knees and my right elbow because the only cold air you feel seeps out of the vents and only the body parts in a three-inch radius from a vent get cooled off. And frankly, driving with my face hunched down in front of a side vent really wouldn't do much for my driving record.

Not really.

Where was I? Oh yeah.

We're moving a big bookcase into the house from our storage facility, so finally I may get the rest of my books in here (some of which are also still in the storage facility), and also the rest of my vinyl record albums. Yes, kids, you don't remember such things, but some of us old fogeys used to play vinyl record albums instead of CDs. It's a weird thought that none of my children (the oldest of which is going to be 19 in a few days) knows how to operate a turntable. I'm not saying I miss vinyl, despite the many things I've read about how compromised CD sound is compared to vinyl (?). I certainly don't miss having to put songs on in a different order by lifting up the needle at the end of one song and physically placing it on the beginning of the song you wanted to hear next (which may have entailed flipping over the album first and holding in that little metal thingy at the top of the spindle so the album would fall all the way down and sit flat on the turntable). And I certainly don't miss hearing that scraping sound of a needle scrrratching its way across the album, leaving a nice scratch in its wake that usually meant hearing a skip at that point in the song every time you played it from then on.

And none of us would have been able to take vinyl albums into our cars with us like we can with CDs. (Can you picture trying to shove a big ol' 12" album into a huge slot in your dashboard...which would have taken up the entire width of the dashboard?) We'd all still be stuck playing cassettes in the car, hitting FF or REW in a vain attempt to skip songs on albums that we hate.

Then again, in my case, even that would be a step up. Over a year ago my husband got me a CD player for my car. (I drive a '92 Corsica, made before technology was invented.) I was thrilled, and except for the fact that it apparently had no skip protection whatsoever, especially for burned CDs ("Don't breathe, Jeremy, or it'll skip over every three seconds of your favorite Good Charlotte song"), I was thrilled to have this technology available in my car.

For six months or so.

Then the thing woke up one morning and decided to forget what a CD looked like. And it hasn't recognized a CD since. We've tried every type of CD in the book. We tried every type of cleaner known to mankind (except peanut butter, which every preschooler seems to think belongs in CD and DVD players). Nothing worked. Certainly not the CDs. So then I was down to using it as a very bad radio. Which was worse than the radio that had been in my tape deck.

Then the thing started to slip out of the slot it was in in the dashboard and when I'd go up a hill, the whole CD player (or should I say "very expensive yet CHEAP radio") would come sliding out the rectangular hole and whack the gear shift. I had to drive with one hand holding the thing in place, which got dangerous after a while. (I'm the one who hates when people can't afford a cheapie hands-free device for their cell phones while in the car.)

So I had my husband disconnect the CD player entirely and all I had left staring at me from the hole in the dash were about two dozen wires of different colors. Someday I hope to get him to put the tape deck back in. I'm actually looking forward to the day when I'll be able to play a TAPE in my CAR again. My standards have gotten really low in the past six months.

Till then I have no CD player, no tape deck, no radio, and no clock in my car. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Total silence when I drive. Well, except for when my kids are in the car. It's never total silence then, of course.

But, it'll be months till I see another radio or tape deck in my car. Why? Because it would mean my husband would have to sit in my cramped, hot car jiggling wires around for hours on end. And, it's hot and muggy outside, of course.

Oh well. Maybe for Christmas....Oh wait, it'll be snowing then. Never mind.