19 June 2007

In need of soothing

OK, consider your Wren today:

I’m in the midst of a serious diet. I’ve lost about 20 pounds. I’m pleased but I can only say “about” because one day I weigh a few pounds more, the next day a pound or two less. There are many pounds still to go. I guess over a long, long time it will all even out and as long as another Cheeto never passes my lips, I will be a svelte wren once again.

With the help of nicotine patches I’ve stopped smoking after 32 years. I’m halfway through Week Three.

I’m going through menopause. Sometimes I’m very happy, sometimes I’m not. Sometimes I want to bite through leather straps and then hide under the bed until everyone everywhere goes away. I have no idea how long this will last. I’ve heard it can take from two years to two decades. I’m hoping for the former.

My stupid, hinky, arthritic wrist hurts. Feels like someone stuck a picture nail in it. I’ve been doing too much lifting and pushing of heavy objects lately, mainly because without cigarettes, I’m unable to sit still for more than a few minutes at a time. The Wren’s Nest is cleaner and neater than it has been in years. Its transformation has kept me from chewing my hands off.

Now, consider: Mr. Wren and I just purchased a tall entertainment center which looks like an antique wardrobe. We both love it – it’s beautiful. It was rather pricey; not the sort of thing we indulge in more than once an eon or so. Two strong fellows just delivered and placed it in our living room. We decided to go ahead and move the TV, VCR/DVD and DVR machines into their new home. That way, I can get all the other furniture back into place, which will help me be calm. And serene. We unhooked everything. Mr. Wren carried the VCR/DVD over to the box shelf built into the upper part of the “wardrobe.” It’s obvious that this box shelf is specifically for machines like this; they’ll be neatly perched above the television set.

To our ... surprise ...the VCR/DVD machine doesn’t fit. Nor does the DVR when we try it. Turns out both of those machines are exactly 17 inches wide. The two sections of the box shelf, which has a divider in the middle, are exactly 16 7/8 inches wide. One-eighth of an inch too small for the machines.

There are a couple of options available here. One is to call the store at which we purchased our beautiful new piece of furniture and have them take it back, then move all the other old furniture back into place and try to forget this conundrum as if it was nothing but a bad dream. The other, which is what Mr. Wren has decided he’ll do, is to “shave a little off both sides of the divider so the machines will fit.” I have no idea how he plans to do this, but just before I put myself in a safe place so I wouldn't injure him (this isn't his fault, after all), he was carrying scaffolding from the store room into the living room. Well, not scaffolding, exactly, but a huge ladder-thingy which can be used as scaffolding if one needs it for that purpose. He set it down in front of the tall entertainment center which looks like an antique wardrobe. Then he said that before he tackled the problem, he’d make himself a nice salad with plenty of cucumbers.

I’m furious that a furniture manufacturer would make an expensive piece of furniture with shelf spaces that are just slightly too small for standard-sized electronic machinery. Mr. Wren says that the manufacturers of the machinery don’t make everything to a standard size, so how can the furniture manufacturer know what size to make the spaces?

My opinion is that both the manufacturers of furniture and of electronic machinery must be men, or they'd communicate with each other about these things. However, if seems they don't. So here I am, trying to calm down. I want a box of sugar donuts. I want a carton of cigarettes, a good lighter and an ashtray. I want a gin and tonic, or at least a glass of wine, but they’re all off limits because of the damned diet. I would really enjoy a nice, big toke, if it was legal, and I’d love it if the hot flashes would stop this instant.

I don’t fit under the bed anymore. Perhaps if I keep on like I am, I will before long, and when things like this happen, I can visit with the dust bunnies while Mr. Wren gets out his power tools.

I’m going to go make myself a soothing cup of green tea, which is supposed to be good for all sorts of things. Then I guess I’ll watch while he “shaves” an eighth of an inch off either side of that damned divider in the beautiful new antique-like wardrobe entertainment center. I’ll say Ohms and practice deep breathing. Wish me luck.

Update: I’m back here in my den. Joining the living room scaffolding is the fan, set on “high,” as Mr. Wren has broken a mighty sweat. I would offer to help him, but I know I’ll just be in his way. When he’s doing things with power tools, yardsticks, tape measures, electric drills/screwdrivers, hammers, nails, molly bolts, pencils and ohmigawd, the electric planer, I know I’ll be as useful to him as a bicycle is useful to a fish. In the meantime, I keep hearing long, irritated sighs from in there – no actual foul language yet. His cane has clattered to the floor several times. This scares the dog and makes me jumpy. Soon, I’ll sneak out and busy myself making us some dinner – salmon, fresh broccoli, more salad with lots of cukes. And tomatoes. I’ll feed my sweet wannabe carpenter and retreat. It’s probably the safest thing I can do for both of us.


Dragon Laugh said...

Remember: "So. Ha."

This too will pass.

And for the record, I'd love to see you stoned. I bet it would be funny as hell :)

Madison Guy said...

Wow. The situation with the entertainment center so perfectly encapsulates so many of the frustrations of modern life. I wish Mr. Wren the best of luck with his shaving project.

And you with the smoking. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I smoked for 44.5 years. I was lucky with my constitution and didn't suffer too many ill effects (so far, knock on wood), but I figured it was time to stop pushing my luck. Very hard, as a writer, to stop. I was one of those smokers who smoked for very deep seated psychological reasons. Finally I've been smoke-free, after many failed attempts over the years, for nearly two years. I still use a little sliver of a patch, usually 1/4 of a 21mm patch (Target has the best, and the cheapest).

Couple things about the patch, from a nationally known doctor and cessation expert at the UW, my one takeaway from an earlier failed attempt:

1. Some people may need to use a bit of a patch for a long time (I'm one) and possibly forever. There's nothing wrong with that, dire warnings on the packages to the contrary. Of course, no patch is better, but teeny patch beats the alternative, and you can always try to cut down.

2. NEVER buy the smaller-dose patches. They're a terrible deal financially. Just cut up the big ones. (I put the unused parts in a ziplock to keep them fresh.) It's easier to do this with square patches, one more advantage of the generic Targets. (They're also super-sticky -- another advantage, because the cut-up patches need a little something extra to adhere well.

3. If you're also stressed by other things in your life, consider giving yourself a pat on the back for even trying to stop, and maintain at a full 21 mg patch per day until you really feel secure in your new habits. (With a hectic, stressful job, I went about six months before i started cutting back.)

Good luck, and feel free to email if i can help in any way.

Kevin Wolf said...

Electronic equipment set up is what usually gets my blood boiling. It always looks simpler than it turns out to be. Like when I'm done setting up and nothing works.

Good luck on all fronts!

Blowing Shit Up With Gas said...

Once, as a joke, I went up to a pharmacist and explained that I wished to take up smoking, but was concerned that my suddenly starting smoking would be too much of a shock to my system. So, I asked him if I should consider buying those nicotine patches and start with the small ones and gradually work myself up to the full-dose ones, and THEN start smoking, figuring this would ease myself into the routine of, say, two packs a day. I kept a pretty serious face during the whole thing. He looked at me as though I were insane.

blue girl said...

Good luck, Wren -- with all of this. I wish you the best!

robin andrea said...

It's been a few days, so how did it go? Everything in place, you're out from under the bed, no more hot flashes, and there's something good to watch on the TV. Right?

mojo said...

The obvious solution is to visit a friend - at their home. Have a nice cup of herbal tea and explain your frustrations at length. Your good friend will undoubtedly engage in "active listening," and pretend to be interested in your problems long enough for you to excuse yourself and ask where the bathroom is. While in there, quickly rifle through their medicine cabinet and find anything with a "do not operate heavy machinery" warning, and take two. Also pocket another couple for later, when you see what he's done to the entertainment thingy.

As for the smoking cessation, you need to find a good compuslive self-mutilating behavior to keep your mind off it.... something only slightly destructive.

Cutting is so messy.

Hair pulling comes to mind. There's alot of it up there and it's really convenient. Also they make really nice wigs now.

Nail biting has been "my little friend" since I quit smoling THIRTY FUCKING YEARS AGO. And I don't mess around... I take 'em all the way off. No kidding.

Incessant fidgiting seems to work well also. If none of this seems appealing, (??) you will have to settle for completely insane compulsive thinking to keep you entertained...at least until you get Comedy Central and Fox News back.

Blue Wren said...

DL: So. Ha. Done. I'm very cool when I'm stoned. I think. It was more than 30 years ago, so who knows, really? Rachmaninoff was awesome.

Guy: Thanks for the suggestion and support. Since I wrote the post, I've completed week 4 of the first phase of patches, and today I go to the next phase, which puts less nicotine into my brain for two weeks. I'm scared.

KW: Isn't that alway the way? Mr. Wren ended up doing the shaving like he planned, but it took him until nearly 3 a.m. and he couldn't bear to test and see if the boxes fit when he finally stumbled to bed. I did that, the next morning. They did. The sides of the shelves are hacked out, the nice smooth paint gone, little splinters and slivers of wood-like substance still turning up in the stranges places. But we can't see the damage from the floor, and we can use everything again. Mr. Wren did the best carpentry job he could, considering he's actually a gardener.

BSUWG: If I get too desperate, I may try your method for the smoking diet. I also think you're insane, but I like you anyway.

Glue Birl: Thanks VERY much for the kind wishes -- and to the rest of you, as well. I'm hangin' in.

Robin: The job is done. The antique-look entertainment center is lovely and, if a little worse for wear, works just like I hoped. Mr. Wren collapsed after the job and didn't move for 12-14 hours. We watched a very good flick yesterday -- see the next post.

Mojo: What's in YOUR medicine cabinet??

Blue Wren said...

Wow. Actually, yesterday was the end of Week SIX with not a single smoke! I didn't look closely enough at the patch package when I started and thought it was just a reallllly long four weeks. Gads.

Last time I did this (about four years back) I stopped smoking for two years. And I don't recall being nearly as nervy as I am this time. I think maybe cig companies have put something else addictive into their products along with the nicotine that occurs in tobacco naturally. Who knows?

I'm determined to stop smoking once and for all, but as of today, I'm still mourning my cigarettes.

Madison Guy said...

Yes, given all the opposition they face, the tobacco companies decided some time back that nicotine alone is so yesterday and not nearly enough to keep their industry alive. Now they put in little nanobots to sneak in under the blood-brain barrier and set up shop in the reptile brain, where they spend all their time singing "More!" A single nanobot is so tiny you can't even hear it, but collectively their song is awesome. Good luck!