Saturday, January 3, 2015

Today's Question is About Pain. And Pills. Mostly Pills.

Should I be weirded out to be turned away from the Urgent Care down the street after mentioning I had a regular physician, but just couldn't raise him on a Saturday? This happened after waiting a literal, honest to god, ten minutes for someone to come to the desk to even note that someone had entered their facility. I do believe this nice neighborhood of mine is hosting an insurance-exploiting pill mill, isn't it? Especially after, and not to profile but I'm totally profiling here, they were ready to welcome three ladies who came in right after me. Each lacked a full set of chompers and were pretty much the dictionary definitions of "hard bitten," "blowsy," and "guest of the Jerry Springer show," respectively.

The reason I'd even gone was that at some point last night my back decided to lock up. Even having given two weeks to my job, (perhaps because of it) they still want a doctor's note if I'm taking the time off... and I don't want to rock the boat when I have over two weeks of vacation to have paid out on my last check. I first developed back problems 15 years ago, and know how to treat it at home, but couldn't be left to my own devices. Long story short, after several phone calls, jolting car rides, and stops to three different care clinics before I could actually see a doctor; my last, biggest question might be, should I be offended I seem too... something... to be lavished with pain meds by the aforementioned pill mill?

I guess I should be flattered. I haven't shaven in weeks, and with my scruffy cheeks and heavily grown-in neck, seem to have developed a face mullet. I'm overdue for a haircut. My jeans need a wash and my jacket smells of campfire.

Yet still I exude "class."

Or "narc."

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Washing With Money

We don't have much in the way of traditions in my family. Few long standing, hand-me-down superstitions on either side. We do have three that I can think of and I embrace them. They all center around the holidays.

The first is our Christmas Eve dinner. When I was much younger, my parents would throw an annual Christmas party right before the holiday, and then we'd finish off all the snacks and cheeses on the Eve proper. Eventually, they stopped with the parties, but we still whip up Swedish Meatballs, shrimp, cocktail weenies in BBQ sauce. We assemble cheese and relish trays, then make a living room floor picnic out of it all. My parents passed through town, so I got to do that this year a full week before the holiday, though we sat at the kitchen table in deference to age and aching knees. It's not when you do it, or where you do it, just that you do it, right?

The other two are New Years' Day traditions. First, I have pork chops and sauerkraut in the slow cooker. I didn't like the kraut as a child, but am glad I matured into appreciation. (I love the stuff now.) This year, they're crazily thick chops, because Chris picked them out, and the store was out of caraway seeds, but it counts, and I can smell them from here.

Finally, there's "Washing with Money." My grandmother (who I would call that,  not "Grandma" but "Grandmother,"in some bemused-slash-aggravated tone that I like to think she always appreciated) would make sure we washed our faces with silver coins to ensure a prosperous year. If we weren't at her home, she'd call to check that we had.

My mother just texted me to inquire if I'd done it yet today. I had, and this year I dug out a pair of Silver Dollars from my Grandmother. I don't always think to, but Chris reminded me of them. 1922 Liberty Dollars, and they weren't a gift, but from a tiny box I got along with a few of her cloisonne pieces when mementos were divided after her death. There were a few wheat pennies folded paper bills in that little box as well. A quick google search implies they're worth about $20 each if I could find a buyer. For me, though, I'll keep them. They're her Silver Dollars, for washing with on New Years Day. They live in a drawer the rest of the year, just to fulfill this one purpose.  Whoever gets them someday, when my own mementos are divvied up, can decide what to do with them then.