Category Archives: family

Happy Blogiversary To Me (or How My Cousin Saved My Nose Piercing)

Exactly one year ago today I wrote my first post on this blog.  For those of you with nothing better to do than watch reruns, I will point you to that post here.

Since that time one year ago, I have written 125 posts; kind readers have left me 798 comments; and this blog has been viewed a whopping 16,478 times. 

But that’s not the point of today’s post.  The point of today’s post is to tell you about how my cousin (Hi Cousin!) saved my nostril piercing from early retirement.  Something I’m sure you all have a great interest in, no?  No?  Really?  Huh…  Then here, go read this instead.  It might make you laugh.

But for the rest of you, the story goes like this…

I was sitting on my front porch last Monday, Memorial Day actually, and I stood up to go take a look at something that my son wanted to show me in the yard.  And at the moment that I stood up it felt like someone had hit me in the back of my head with an axe.  A sharp axe.  And the pain, it took my breath away.  When I sat down, the pain disappeared. As long as I was sitting down, life was all flowers and sunshine and twittering birds with hearts overhead.   When I stood up however, the pain was back again, with a vengeance.  Think Michael Myers in Halloween.

Tylenol didn’t touch it.  Motrin barely made a dent in the pain.  And neither pill did a thing for the fear, for the anxiety, the knowledge, like nails dragged across chalkboard, screaming, THIS IS NOT RIGHT!

So early Tuesday morning I called the doctor and went to see her.  She felt the headache was probably the start of migraines, even though the pattern didn’t match any Google Migraine searches I had done.  Still, she gave me some headache pills and sent me on my way with an order to get an MRI, just to prove to me that this was nothing.  Not a tumor.  Not a stroke.  Just an invisible axe in the back of my head when I stood up and walked around.  Proof that life is best enjoyed napping or sitting quietly in the shade with a book and a cool glass of lemonade.

I scheduled the MRI as directed and read the instructions on how to prepare for the test.  My biggest hurdle would be removing my nostril piercing, because THOU SHALT NOT HAVE METAL NEAR THE MRI MACHINE, lest its powerful magnet suck you into some kind of break in the time-space continuum and fling you and your nostril piercing into outer space.

But my nostril piercing, I’d never changed it myself.  I’d read a lot about it, I visited the tattoo parlor where I had it done to ask for advice, and I shopped around and bought $25 dollars worth of clear plastic retainers, things that you can put in a piercing in place of your normal jewelry to keep the hole open.  Because according to all I’d read, these little holes from a piercing, especially the ones in your nose, can close in a jiffy.  Ten seconds flat, read one website.  And then, if that happened, I’d never be able to get my little diamond stud back in my nose.

Thursday night I took out my jewelry and after a bit of a struggle, managed to finally get one of the many different plastic retainers stuck in my nose in its place.

Friday morning I went for an uneventful MRI where they didn’t even care that my bra had metal underwires in it.  Hello?  Boobs surrounded by metal…giant magnet…fling into outer space?  Apparently, not a problem when they are merely scanning your brain.  Who knew?

But then came the tricky part.  After the MRI I came home and removed the retainer and tried to re-inset my nostril screw.  Without.Luck. I tried again.  And again.  And again.  And again. Eventually I gave up and put the retainer back in.  I drove to a local piercing place where they were “too busy” to help me. 

So I went home and tried again.  And again.  And again.  Think of it like the very first time you tried to change your earrings.  How the earring would go in, but you couldn’t get it to come out the other side.  Or if you were one of those lucky girls who changed her earrings without any problems on the very first try, then imagine trying to pierce your ear with a dull backed earring.  When you’re sober.  Ouch, right?

I tried numerous times throughout the day.  I emailed my cousin no less than six times with my Tales of Nose Woes.  And then, on Saturday morning, I gave up.  I took out the retainer and emailed my cousin to tell her I’d given up.  I was done.  Finished.  My nose, the nostril piercing, it was already closing up, healing, the hole was gone.

And I was more or less okay with it.  The hassle was too much, and how, I wondered, could I have my nose pierced if I was unable to take care of it, unable to change the jewelry by myself.  I emailed my cousin to tell her so.

She sent me an email back. She knew I couldn’t even manage to get the plastic retainer back in.  She makes jewelry for a living , and her nose is pierced too.  She said: For your nose…do you have a tiny regular earring you could put in there for the weekend?  I did, but I didn’t even want to try.  I was done. 

Except, apparently I wasn’t, because that one little question got me thinking.  And suddenly, I HAD TO KNOW whether the hole in my nose was really closed. Or not.  The same way I sometimes try to stick an earring in the 3rd piercing in my left ear, expecting the hole to be closed because I never wear anything in it but being pleasantly surprised that here, 20 years after I first got that hole, it is still open and I can still put an earring in it if I want.

So one more time I grabbed the nose screw and my tube of KY Jelly.  Oh stop!  I’ll have you know that the KY Jelly was purchased specifically for the purposes of changing out my nose screw because all the advice I had read on the subject said to lubricate the jewelry to make insertion easier.  And the tub of Vaseline I had was so old I was afraid to use it.  I bought the KY Jelly at the grocery store when I had a bunch of other things to buy because I was afraid if that was all I bought, I’d end up in the checkout lane run by the only male teenage cashier in the store.  And you and I both know he would barely be able to contain his giggles as he assumed the stuff was for something else, like the commercials suggest.

Anyway, so this was my last attempt.  I had no expectations because I had tried so many other times to change the jewelry and it didn’t work, and my nose was sore, and like I said, I had officially given up.  But what do you?  This time, it worked!  The jewelry went in!  And there it stays for fear of never being able to repeat this miraculous feat.

It may be that leaving the piercing empty for a day let the swelling and irritation of my previous attempts go down and that is why it worked.  Or maybe it was because this attempt was out of sheer curiosity and I wasn’t even really trying.  But I actually attribute it all to my cousin, who with that one little sentence, got me curious enough to try it one last time.

Thanks, cousin! And Happy Blogiversary to me!

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Filed under blogging, family, grocery shopping, Halloween, life, nose piercing, thanks

The Literal Side of Things

Webster’s defines the word “literal” as “in accordance with, conforming to, or upholding the primary or exact meaning of a word or words”.

There are some people who take everything literally.  Like Greg.  Remember Greg from the Brady Bunch?  Remember the episode where he wanted to use “exact words” and it back fired on him?  What?  You don’t remember that episode?  Tell me then, just what were you watching after school back in the 70s and 80s?  The Brady Bunch was in syndication and it ran on nearly every television channel there was, so I don’t know how you could have missed that.  But anyway…

There are those people who take things literally, and there are those who just…. don’t.

I’d say I tend to fall into the latter category but my son, at age 5, he falls into the former, like Greg.  Or, at least he does some of the time.  It might depend on the situation or on who’s doing the talking.  I’m still trying to figure out the pattern.

He doesn’t seem to take ME literally when I tell him that it’s time for bed or that he needs to clean up his toys.  At those times, he apparently thinks I’m joking.  Half the time he doesn’t even acknowledge that I’ve spoken.  Certainly moms aren’t serious about bedtime or toys, right?  However… 

Last November as we prepared to visit Disney World, I told my son all about the Haunted Mansion ride.  I told him how, when I was a kid I used to like to go through the haunted mansion and how, at one point on the ride, the car rolls past a mirror and a green ghost sits in your lap.  I told him you had to be sitting in the middle seat for this to happen.

So when we got to Disney my son was all HURRYUPHURRYUPLETSRIDETHEHAUNTEDMANSIONNOW!  and so we rode the Haunted Mansion and when we came upon the mirror, the one where the green ghost was to appear, my son would not look up, he would not raise his eyes.  I wondered if he was scared.  Up until that point I’d been busy looking all around and thinking about how this or that aspect of the ride had changed since I last rode it.  I hadn’t noticed my son as much.  Had he been staring downward the whole ride?  I didn’t think so.  He wasn’t crying.  But still, he wouldn’t look in the mirror.

That was the first time we rode it.  He did the same thing the second time, and the third time, and the forth time.  I couldn’t figure it out because he assured me he wasn’t frightened.   So if he wasn’t scared, then why wouldn’t he look in the mirror? 

Eventually, he complained.   “I sat in the middle seat like you said!” he grumped.  And I’ve looked in my lap EVERY. TIME. But I never saw the ghost!  Why won’t it sit on my lap?”

That’s when it hit me.  Snags had told the truth.  He wasn’t scared of the ghost, he was looking for it in his lap, when in reality, the image is projected onto the mirror and he needed to look there if he was going to see the green ghost sitting with him.

I explained again how the ride worked but made it clear that the only way he was going to see the ghost was to look in the mirror, not at his lap.  At the end of our trip, on our final ride through the Haunted Mansion, he looked in the mirror and smiled with awe and relief: the ghost was there!  On his lap!

Most recently we spent a day in Philadelphia.  We saw many things and did many things, including taking a tour with Ride the Ducks.  The ducks, if you aren’t familiar with them, are vehicles that look like a boat on wheels, which is, actually, what they are.  They tour the city on land, driving up and down streets and then they stop, the driver moves aside to let a Captain on, and they drive the duck down a boat ramp into the Delaware River for a short water tour.  It’s at that point the bus turns into a boat.

The tour includes Wacky Quackers; they are plastic duck bills that you can blow into and generate a quacking sound.  Each person is issued their own Wacky Quacker as they board the duck at the start of the tour.  Snags was happily quacking away as the driver boarded and he stopped to ask my son if he would like to be his helper on this tour.  I wondered if maybe there were going to be rules about quacking and perhaps Snags was going to be the example of what not to do.  Maybe Rule Number 1 was going to be:  No over-exuberant quacking! 

Instead, the driver called my son to the front of the bus and asked him, “When we go in the river, if you see water coming up through the floor of the boat here, what do you think that means?”

And my son, little smarty that he his, replied, “It means we have a leak.” 

“Right!”   The driver said.  Then he pointed to the floor again and pointed out all these little handles along the floor that seemed to open hatches every so often.  Trapdoors, if you will.  The driver told my son that his job would be that of “Cork Boy” and he was to watch for water seeping through the floor and if he saw any he’d have to open the hatches and go underneath, find the leak, and plug it with a cork.  He handed my son a large cork to do this with, then sent him back down the aisle to us.

The tour started.  We drove past Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.  We saw the Betsy Ross House and a firehouse museum.  We rode down South Street and saw the famous (yuck) gum trees, and other tourists, and a tattoo shop, and Condom Kingdom!  We headed back to the historic district and rode along Society Hill and saw famous churches and other spectacular Philadelphia sites. 

Then we splashed down into the river.  After a few minutes I started to worry that my son might be sick.  He wasn’t looking around at the sites.  He didn’t see the Penn Arch landing which is famous only for the fact that it’s builder went bankrupt.  He didn’t see Camden, NJ across the river.  He didn’t see the Navy ships or the historic boat with three large masts.  He didn’t look at the building where Will Smith lives when he’s in town.  He wasn’t even sitting up.  Rather, he was very nearly strewn across the seat, his head near my husband’s lap.  Concerned, I asked my husband if Snags was okay.  He assured me he was.  Snags was only looking down, at the floor.  The entire time we were on the river he stared at that floor.  He was looking for leaks.

Thankfully, the boat was sound.  There were no leaks and we returned to dry land and the end of the tour without incident.  Before we disembarked, the driver called Snags to the front and thanked him for his steadfast watchfulness.  “You saved our lives,” he told Snags.  “Or, you would have if we’d had a leak.”  Snags turned over the cork and the driver gave him a parting gift.  A little rubber duck wearing a life vest.  And Snags, he beamed!  And by that I mean he smiled broadly.  You know, just in case you are one of those people who take everything literally and thought I meant he was emitting light. Although… I have to say his smile was pretty bright!

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Filed under boat, Delaware River, Disney World, family, ghosts, Haunted Mansion, Liberty Bell, life, literal, Philadelphia, Ride the Ducks, The Brady Bunch, Wacky Quacker