I’ve noticed that medium-size life disappointments have a tendency to be mercifully bitter sweet, but this one… it’s just bitter. I am too sick to go see Heather Armstrong, one of my idols, as she kicks off her book tour in Manhattan tonight. Also, this morning, I had to cancel a Hey Brooklyn interview with a husband and wife duo who own a bakery and make, among other things, butterscotch brownies. BUTTERSCOTCH! BROWNIES! I’m missing out on butterscotch brownies and Heather Armstrong. This is officially the worst day in the world. Ever. Total. Infinity.
photo from dooce.com
“Good company and good discourse are the very sinews of virtue.” – Izaak Walton
Ok, so this is long overdue. Presenting (Ta-da!) my blog commenting policies.
To start, there is THE blog commenting rule that just about everyone has: don’t be an asshole.
Personal attacks on me or a commenter will get your comment deleted, but respectful disagreement of ideas is a ok (and encouraged if you’re keen!)
I won’t edit comments; I don’t believe in it. They either stand as-is or I delete them entirely.
Swearing is fine. I don’t even care about really bad swearing! Racial slurs, though? Ugh! No. Never. They’ll be gone SO fast.
A valid email is required to comment and will not be shared. (Unless you’re an asshole.) I might use it myself to contact you.
If you harass me via comments, I reserve the right to publish your email address and IP address. Then I will sic the internet on you. This will suck.
Spam is gross. But! If you are a legit business and what you sell is relevant to the blog post, mention it! I think that’s so cool.
Any comment with more than two links is automatically held up for moderation. (Actually, my spam filter has been known to snag a comment with only one link sometimes.)
Any comment that is deleted gets emailed the word “deleted” automatically. If you want to know why, you can hit reply to that email. If you think it’s a mistake, let me know.
All comments within this blog are the responsibility of the you, the commenter, not me the blogger. By submitting a comment on this blog, you agree that the comment content is your own, and that you hold me and The Amber Show, (and all subsidiaries and representatives thereof) harmless from any and all repercussions, damages, or liability. (Yikes!)
The bottom line: I like the commonly-used analogy that a blog is like the blogger’s virtual living room. You want everyone to feel comfy there, and you’re not going to let anyone come in and trash it either. So in the end, my blog, my rules. I’ll change these if I need to, but for now, that’s that.
“don’t you wish your girlfriend was hot like me?”
There is something that happens to me when I’m really sick that I’m calling the “puke-awesome” effect. I feel terrible, and then I throw up, and suddenly there is this miraculous window of time, about ten minutes, where I feel just fine. It fades away quickly and I’m back to the misery I was in before, but those ten minutes are awesome. I can’t explain why it happens. Does this happen to other people, or is it one of those weird “Only Amber” things that makes everyone think I’m from another planet?
It totally is, isn’t it? Aw man. Now I’m embarrassed.
Anyway, Saturday I took my first antibiotic pill, which said “Can be taken on an empty stomach”, but it was lying. I ended up on my knees with my arms wrapped around the can, and when I sat up I realized I suddenly felt ok. I knew it wouldn’t last, so I started slamming around the bathroom trying to clean up before the rotten feeling came back. I flipped on the shower and hopped in with my toothbrush in one hand and a razor in the other. I hadn’t shaved my legs at this point in about a week, and it was making me about as miserable as the illness itself. I knew I probably wouldn’t have time to comb out my hair even though it needed it, but I got it wet anyway, which felt nice.
Since my hair hasn’t been properly combed in ages, and I went back to bed with it wet, this is what I’m rocking. Rob can’t look at me with a straight face. I’d put on a hat, but none fit over the fro.
It’ll be hell to comb out when the time comes, but in the meantime, it’s a good source of amusement.
You may laugh.
I have a saying I mumble to myself in the most trying of times, “Ever onward. Ever upward.” I think I got it from church when I was little, but I’m not sure. It’s been an integral part of the fabric of my thought process for so long, I’ve forgotten.
Also, I have a “thing” for hot air balloons.
I kind of had to buy this.
Available at SeeSaw Designs, $10
“Noooooo! I don’t want to!”
“You dragged me out of an event to come home. You claim you’ve never been sicker. You loose all rights to say ‘I don’t want to go to the doctor’ when you inconvenience me like this. Get dressed.” He throws me a handful of clothes, and I pull them on, pouting.
At the doctor’s office, I’m handed a thermometer. I place it so I have a good view of the reading as it goes up. 98.6 comes and goes quickly. It ends at 101.4: a fever. He gives me the world’s largest ibuprofen. “Oh,” I say, “I haven’t eaten.” He says it’s fine. “Really?!” I say. I was raised to believe that if so much as consider taking a single Advil without food it will eat through my stomach lining and give me horrible ulcers for life. He promises it will be ok. I take it and feel daring.
My ears are both infected. Rob looks triumphant; justification for him dragging me to the doctor is achieved! “Quit smiling!” I snip at him. He smiles bigger.
“Did your friend have mono?” the doc asks. Rob calls Tracy to see if that’s what she has. She is tickled by our random phone call, and reports negative on the mono. He draws blood for it anyway. Negative.
He pokes at my abdomen. Everything is fine until he gets to my spleen, which hurts so badly when it’s pressed I instinctively grab his arm and fling it off of me. Getting hit a lot as a kid makes me really quick to react rather violently if I’m hurt, even in a doctor’s office. I say I’m sorry, and so does he. Then pokes it half a dozen more times while apologizing, and I choke back tears.
He shakes his head. “I can’t explain it. You should go to the ER for a CAT scan. Better safe than sorry.” He looks truly concerned, and a lot like a handsome version of Andy Milder. These two things have always charmed me about this doctor, which, irrational as it may be, makes me more prone to listen to him, so I agree to go. (Not that the illness drill sergeant I married would have given me a choice.)
Rob worries about me, I worry about the waiting around I know we’re going to have to do, and we both worry about what this is going to cost us.
The girl who checks me in at the ER has a very inappropriate shirt on. Her belly and boobs are barely contained, and it’s distracting and unclassy. She asks me a variety of questions while I try not to stare and judge.
“Religion?” she asks and I’m caught totally off guard. “Um… none?” Then I think: Is this a good enough answer? I know why she’s asking: if I’m on the brink of death they’ll need to know which kind of religious leader to call to usher me into the great beyond. Later, I thought of so many other cool answers I could have given. When I started listing them to Rob he pointed out that the ER was not the time to start fucking with people, because he was playing Sensible Spouse that day. (We take turns.)
The triage nurse is cute and freckled. She asks me if I smoke or drink. I say no, and then go, “Oh, well! I mean, I drink, but not really, but I mean, a beer or two…” She nods and laughs. “I always catch people with that one!” I like her and start to think, “Ok, this is not so bad.”
The beds are set up in groups of two, and I’m lead to one with a sleeping woman in the other one. “Take off your clothes and put this on,” I’m told. Ugh. A hospital gown? I take off my shirt only and pull it on. Rob ties me up in the back, and I make him promise nothing is showing.
The nurse who comes to draw my blood either has one HELL of a hangover or the general personality of Velcro. I try to make her cheer up, because, for the love, if you’re going to shove something three inches into a major vein in my arm, you can at least crack a half-assed smile. Right?
Rob squeezes my foot and I talk to him about the dogs as she draws about four gallons of blood.
I look down after she leaves and am horrified to discover that she left the IV in my arm in case they needed more blood, or to start me on a drip. This is protocol for the hospital, but I was not expecting this, and it scared me half-crazy. I begged every doctor that came by after that to take it out, (they wouldn’t) and refused to bend my arm for the entire stay.
Rob distracts me from the IV with funny stories and corny jokes, and we giggle together. I move my arm and feel it, and I wince. He pats my shoulder. “This is that, ‘In sickness’ part!” I quip. He smiles. I smile. We both love when he is being husbandly and I am being wifely, even if the current situation is not exactly a trip to Disney World.
All non-patients are kicked out the ER so the doctors can do rounds. We tried to bargain with everyone to let Rob stay, but no luck. I start to sob, loudly, while three ER workers talked to me in soothing, condescending tones. Eventually he leaves, and I feel so scared and alone. We are like this, and having him there made me feel safe. Now I feel vulnerable. This has gone from not so bad to sucking the big one.
Three different doctors poked my abdomen (which stopped hurting so badly, even when I tried to make it hurt), and we decided on a few different things: a CAT scan for my spleen was too drastic. An ultrasound was better, less radiation. Then: No ultrasound, a chest xray was needed to make sure I didn’t have pneumonia spreading pain to my lower left abdomen. Eventually: an ultrasound AND an xray. I was wheeled (because I could not walk?!) to another room where the xray was, and left to wait, which I did glumly, with tears pouring down my face. Rob would be back, and not know where I went. When it was my turn, I told the tech I needed to talk to my husband and the doctor before the xray.
“What for?” he asked, in a really heavy Dominican accent, and in a tone that was really condensing and made me hate him instantly.
“I need to figure out if I can afford all of this stuff. Now I have to have two major tests done, and I want to find out how much they are first, and see if I can do one now and one later, or if I can skip one all together and if I can, which one should it be. So I will need to speak to my HUSBAND and THE DOCTOR before my xray.” I said all this while choking on my own tears, which made me feel like a weenie, but I was being as firm as possible. I don’t let myself get pushed into things, ever, even if I have to sob through standing my ground.
“Lady,” he started, and I saw red. Lady?! For real? Oh hell no you didn’t!
“Lady, this is the ER! Medicade will pay for it!”
“I. Don’t. Have. Insurance.” I said, and rolled my eyes.
“Well, someone is going to pay for it! This is New York! Just do what you need and figure it out later.” he said, chuckling. My inner conservative went batshit.
“I DON’T OPERATE ON THAT LEVEL! IF I HAVE A BILL I’M PAYING IT!” I would have gone on and on about how it’s that very attitude that is destroying the medical system in the United States, but I was fevered, and weepy and too freaked out about the stupid thing still stuck in my arm. And he was dumb anyway. I doubt he would have understood.
He slammed out of the xray room and went to the front desk where Rob heard him bitching about me. Asshole.
The cute Asian doctor heard me out and decided I could skip both tests and if something were to start bothering me, I should come back.
“One thing, though” he said “did we get a urine sample?”
Do you know how hard it is to pee, neatly, into a tiny cup while refusing to bend one arm?! I’ll spare you the logistics, but I did it. One word: Keagles. That sounds like a breakfast food, but it’s not.
He gave me a huge cup of water to drink to get my heart rate down before he would let me leave. When I came in it was 120, and the water took it to 74.
He took the IV out of my arm (FINALLY!) and we went home.
I’ve learned my lesson: don’t tell Rob to come home if I’m sick.
“I think I’m dying.”
“You’re not dying, you’re just really sick.”
“My throat hurts. I can’t breathe. My head hurts. I’m actually going to die.”
He sighs, and says “Amber, you’re just really sick. You’ll be fine.”
I’m not sure I believe him.
Regular posting will be back when I feel better, unless, of course, I’m right and I do die, in which case, farewell.
1. Biggest complaint – there needs to be a way to search sessions via the people who are speaking in them. I don’t know if I’m alone in this, but I care way more about hearing people speak than what they’re speaking on. I mean, if Stephanie Klein and Heather Armstrong decided to host a session on dog poop, I’d be in the front row.
2. The online schedule is way hard to read. It took me ages to find things, and figure out where I was going. It’s a little overwhelming, but I think that’s just me.
3. I got sick, and so did a lot of people. We’re calling it the South by Plague. Next year I’m popping herbs and shit a week before and all during, so I don’t have to go crawling into bed at eight o’clock and miss all the after-hours fun.
4. The badge design is whack, as the kids say. For such a huge convention, the badges should have been better designed. Swiss Miss has the same complaint.
My friends! I love them. It was such a great birthday.
We launched Blattcave podcasting. Check out Blattcave.com!
I got to meet Will Brierly. He was Rob’s roommate in college, and made a lot of music in their dorm. When I first met Rob, he put it all on my iPod, and so Will Brierly and the Rollerhosters became my soundtrack of falling in love with Rob. Meeting him was so big for me.
The handful of people who came up to me and said, “Amber?! Hi! I read your blog!” and introduced themselves (hi guys!) I’d say something sassy here like, “That’s right, you better RECOGNIZE!”, but really, I am so humbled by this.
Maggie Mason, just standing there. (!!!) I was too shy to say hello; she was talking to someone and I didn’t want to interrupt. Three possible opening lines I thought of as I walked away: “OMG I READ YOUR BOOK AND IT WAS SUPER INSPIRING AND I THINK YOU ARE SO COOL HI I’M AMBER!”, “Momversation! Woooo!” with fist pumps, and “It is MIGHTY GOOD to see you!” I don’t think any of those would have been appropriate.
Free beer. Everywhere. Every day. Thrown at me. I eventually had to say enough is enough. Free food, too.
Annie telling me she was really glad I named my blog The Amber Show. I’ve never been super comfy with my name, and she managed to convince me it’s a good thing. Love her!
Chatting with Elisa, one of the founders of BlogHer.
Getting interviewed by RocketBoom (mostly because it made Rob jealous), getting interviewed by The Motherhood, getting interviewed by my buddy Derek, for 100Interviews and getting interviewed by someone else that I can’t remember. I must look interview-worthy.
The UR Blog Sux and Print is Dead panel. It’ll be available to hear on podcast, and I recommend that you do. If you listen, I’m the first one to ask an audience question to the panel.
Jeff Dowd bumped into me, and then laughed when I bounced off of his belly.
Meeting Sukhjit! Finally! We had a conversation where we kind of geeked out of the amazement of this being our life; the internet bringing us all together. She’s pretty rad.
The weather. It was cold for a while, and then it was wonderful. Flip-flops FTW!
Tracy went headfirst into my boobs for a snuggle. I’m pretty sure this is what got me sick, as she was miserably ill for most of the trip. If this is the case, it was so fucking worth it.
Geek Mommy yelled at Rob for not telling her he had “an awesome wife”.
Hotel sex, complete with jokes about things being “bigger in Texas”.
I’m still here at SxSW and will be back in New York on Wednesday, when I will resume regular blogging.
This place is kicking my ass. I’m learning so much, and meeting so many new people that I’ve been eager to connect with, but it’s exhausting! I’m going to go home and sleep for a week. Not only am I tired, I’m getting sick, which is the height of suckage if not for anything else than DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I PAID TO BE HERE?! I want to rock this conference for all it’s worth, but the endless sessions, followed by endless parties have had me crawling into bed whenever I have a spare second, even midday. When did I get so old, yo?!
In other news, I have a pretty cute Adobe tee shirt that I won in a drawing, but it’s a size medium, and my boo-bays do not fit in it. If you’re here, and you want it, come find me. If you know someone who would like it, let them know to come find me, and I’ll give it to them. If I don’t give it away here I’ll give it to the first person on this blog who comments that they want me to ship it.
Yahoo! It’s up! Go listen! Most exciting birthday ever! This might even beat my 9th birthday, when the weather was so freakishly warm that my parents took me and Gus out for hot dogs on the beach to celebrate AND my 11th, better known as the blizzard of ’93, which I spent watching TV all day combined.
edit: err… um… guess I should have posted a link. HeyBrooklyn.com
When our first flight landed, I Twittered that we were about to board our second flight in Atlanta to go on to Austin. My friend Krissi Twittered back, “I’m here too! Maybe we’re on the same flight!” It turns out we were, and when we compared seat numbers, she was in the seat next to me. Score! Rob was one seat behind. She offered to switch, but I refused. I love Rob, but he has a tendency on flights to zonk out and turn me into his human pillow. This includes occasionally reaching over in his sleep to “fluff” me. It’s kind of endearing, really, but it gets old, and I was running on two hours of crummy-quality sleep. I was not in the mood to be kneaded and smushed around for three hours, no matter how charming the smusher. Krissi was a much more un-evasive seat companion.
On another note, this is my last post as a twenty-six year old. And, (again), tomorrow, my podcast launches. Woo hoo!