The Highest Distinction

“You are the only person I know that has handled this much of their own urine. I’m not sure whether to be impressed with your perseverance with this or be repulsed by the fact that you stored your own urine in your fridge [twice] hahahaha then again, what do I know [?] I have a dead fox in my parents freezer.”

This is a direct quote from Sula’s most recent email to me. She’s off in the frigid north without a phone, electricity or running water again. I think it’s secretly her dream to wake up in the stone ages and clunk a brontosaurus on the head for breakfast.

Now before anyone goes jumping to conclusions about what the two of us like to do in our spare time, I should explain that I’m being tested for a rare type of porphyria. For those who have no idea what porphyria is, you clearly need to read more of the National Enquirer. At one point they loved doing articles on vampire children who blister in the sun and live under cloaks and who can only play in darkness with bats and owls.

I might be exaggerating. But it is a real condition. Tex thinks I have it based on the fact that I got a ripping red burn from sitting next to a window at the farmhouse. In my skin’s defense it was a big window.

Tex : “Somethings wrong; those are double-pane, tinted windows.”

Unwashed : “It’s fine, it’s just my skin.It’s my fault; I should have been wearing sunscreen if we were going to open the curtains.”

This was how I found myself collecting, decanting and the refrigerating my own urine for 48 hours. It was supposed to be for only 24 hours, but the first time I collected the sample, the lab forgot to tell me that I had to protect my urine from light. (Apparently my pee gets sunburned too?)

It might make a good birthday gift for an enemy. How's my wrapping job?

It might make a good birthday gift for an enemy. How’s my wrapping job?

Which was why I spent part of Saturday morning wrapping a container in tin foil and trying to decide whether this was the world’s grossest gift or the worst arts and craft project ever. Regardless, I don’t think Martha Stewart would ever have deemed it “a good thing”.

My beloved, modern comfort hating friend, Sula found the whole story to be hilarious and disgusting. Apparently she draws the line at storing bodily excretions in the fridge but dead woodland creatures are acceptable. The only reason I can think of is because you can eat one but are immediately unpopular if you consume the other (I won’t even try to imagine the halitosis one would have after drinking a day’s worth of urine).

Nevertheless, I now have earned the distinction of being the person who has handled more of their own pee than anyone in Sula’s social circle, which is saying something because her boyfriend once made her an Arctic porta-john out of scrap metal, a chair with a shotgun hole blasted in it and reindeer antlers. Clearly I’m in with the in-crowd.

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I Married Dr. Horrible

People sometimes scratch their heads when I tell them that Tex has not one but two professional degrees. “How much does a cowboy need to know to shovel s&^t?” I can see them inwardly asking themselves. While I don’t have an answer to that question, I do suspect that if Tex’s brain wasn’t busy processing some higher order problem, it’s likely my husband would become a super villain.

Case and point, when he was twelve, Tex learned how to pick locks, not just the insert a long pin into a bathroom handle kind of lock but the five pin tumbler locks you find on front doors. This talent was put to good use when his school lost the key to the football trophy case. Tex was sought out to unlock the oversize glass and wood cabinet. Then after the teachers had emptied the case of the athletic bling, Tex was sent home with it because the staff still couldn’t find the key and didn’t want to count on Tex to always retrieve the trophies for them. I’m not sure how bank safes work, but I’m pretty sure one way or another, Tex would find his way into one if he put his mind to it. On the plus side, I never worry about where I’ve put my keys.

After mastering lock picking, at fourteen Tex decided to become a blacksmith, not just any blacksmith, the kind the makes knives. The man owns not one but two anvils.

I know, I thought they existed only to harm this rascal too. (Photo Credit faze.ca)

I know, I thought they existed only to harm this rascal too. (Photo Credit faze.ca)

I can’t decide whether this talent would be put to better use by creating powerful weapons or for torture because I know just the photos of Tex standing next to glowing red metal scare the bejeezus out of me.

I’ll tell you everything, just please don’t let that near me! Tex claims this was for an ornament however I think it’s more likely a replacement part for his death ray gun. (Photo Credit: Tex's Mom)

I’ll tell you everything, just please don’t let that near me! Tex claims this was for an ornament however I think it’s more likely a replacement part for his death ray gun. (Photo Credit: Tex’s Mom)

Although he disputes this, Tex has an eidetic memory. His argument against this fact holds little water when he responds to questions like “Have you ridden a subway?” with “I last rode the subway on September 8th 2009, it was sunny that day. I was traveling to Prague to visit my friend Hermann”. Most of the time his ability to recollect EVERYTHING only works against me when I offer to do a chore like take out the trash or get groceries on a certain day but I can picture this skill being something the world would rue. At the very least, if Tex went global as a super-villain with his memory, he would have other people to ask “Do you know why it smells in here?” the day after garbage day.

Lastly, there’s his intelligence. Tex is familiar with everything, especially science. Although I identify as an artist now, at one point in my life I received an honors degree in biology. One day, after having one too many simple biological concepts explained to me, I exploded at Tex “I have a Bachelor of Science you know!” This was a mistake. From that point onward Tex would start in on a subject and casually say “You have a working understanding of organic chemistry right?” and then proceed to explain an idea that would have been way above my head even when I did study science. This becomes even more problematic when we meet with Tex’s friends. For example the man who researches biomedical engineering in neuroscience;

Super intelligent friend who is being recruited by Harvard to me: “Have you heard of transmission electron microscopy?”

Tex: “It’s fine, keep going, she has a science degree.”

Unwashed inwardly: “I know this, I know this! Oops now I’m lost. Just smile and pretend that you’re following along. Thank God I’m not expected to ask informed questions about his job.”

Effectively I am Penny, only without the good body or nice hair. (Photo Credit : bigbangtheory.wikia.com)

Effectively I am Penny, only without the good body or nice hair. (Photo Credit : bigbangtheory.wikia.com)

Taken all together, in my estimation, Tex’s potential for becoming a super villain, who colludes with underworld, is quite high. Thus, I’m somewhat relieved by his choice to channel his energies into education instead. Although given my lack of street smarts, it’s entirely possible that my husband is secretly meeting with mobsters to fund his diabolical projects on the sly. Just in case, I always keep my ears open in the event that Bad Horse sends a singing telegram to inform Tex that his application to the Evil League of Evil has been accepted.

Skulking in Basements With Beloved Beverage Mascots Cum Psychotic Killers

I’m twenty-eight weeks pregnant, and being RH negative, that means I needed an injection of someone else’s blood products. At my last pre-natal appointment, the doctor had warned Tex and me that we would need to pick up said products from a small window hidden in the recesses of the unlit basement of the hospital before our next appointment.

Based on the doctor’s description, in my mind, I pictured some combination of “Labyrinth” and “Nightmare Before Christmas”, with Tex and I wandering about the tunnels of the hospital’s underbelly. With the help of a spindly monster dressed in rags we’d come upon a tiny hole in the wall with the words “Transfusion and Blood Products Center” written hastily on a piece of cardboard, as though the entire place could close up shop and move at any moment.

The experience was similar, but not quite like that. Ever the organized engineer and prepared Dad, Tex had dropped by the hospital during the day while I was at work to see if he could locate the secretive window of blood products. This meant that when he returned with me, we easily found the place.

I was a little surprised, instead of a makeshift hole in the wall, made by knocking a couple of bricks out of place, there was a large opening, complete with glass. Not surprisingly there was a bell, in my sinister imaginings of the place; I had thought there would be. Only I pictured tapping it once in an empty unlit corridor, then waiting in a strained and terrifying silence only to have a hand slip out and a disembodied and creaky voice curtly ask “Papers?”

Along with the obscure and difficult to locate placement of the transfusion window, Tex and I had also been warned to bring all the necessary paperwork with us and then some because the staff working there are hesitant to hand out blood products willy-nilly. I had prepared myself to answer some sort of skill testing question after handing over all of my documentation and ID. Actually I wasn’t prepared at all, I figured in the event that two characters popped up with impossible riddles that Tex would hopefully reply under his breath because with two professional degrees and being fluent in three languages, he seems to know the answers to most problems.

 Psst Tex, do you have any idea what these guys are talking about?” Photo Credit : readreactreview.com

Psst Tex, do you have any idea what these guys are talking about?” Photo Credit : readreactreview.com

No such event occurred, however there was a moment when I wondered whether we were actually going to get the product as the staff had trouble locating some paperwork on their side of the window.

While we were waiting, a blood products porter dressed in scrubs with a hurried air, came to the window. He apologized in advance for the gruesome sight of his order after hearing me say that I wasn’t sure whether I needed to puke. The porter needn’t have apologized, I always have to puke, it’s just the smell of the hospital had upped the vomit ante.

Tex rubbed my back in a reassuring way “Don’t worry Unwashed, think of it as a bag of Kool-Aid when you see it.”

Not only was this grosser because people actually drink Kool-Aid, I was made more upset because this thought transformed the Kool-Aid man from a beloved children’s mascot shilling sugary drinks into a serial killing, vampire-like character.

A photo of the Kool-Aid man crashing through a wall to celebrate his latest homicide. Photo Credit: Onetimefortim.wordpress.com

A photo of the Kool-Aid man crashing through a wall to celebrate his latest homicide. Photo Credit: Onetimefortim.wordpress.com

The thought of all that blood sloshing around in the Kool-Aid man’s big glass pitcher made me almost yak on the spot. Seeing my green tinged face, the porter sped away down the hall as soon as his transfusion bag arrived.

Happily, our product came wrapped in a tiny brown bag, and Tex and I left for our doctor’s appointment. We encountered neither other-worldly beasts on our way out, nor an enraged Kool-Aid man with a taste for the red stuff. Although we found the window and secured the blood products relatively easily, and as innocuous as the whole experience was, I was a little relieved we don’t have to go back.

I’ve Become a “Yo’ Mamma” Joke

Despite not being one of those glowy, happy women who loves being pregnant and has never felt better in their life, I’ve felt good about the experience thus far.

Not me, not even a little. Photo Credit : mommyish.com

Not me, not even a little. Photo Credit : mommyish.com

Despite the fact that most days I’ve felt like a combination between a swamp monster

In fact this picture was taken while I walked to work this morning. Photo Credit: hask.org

In fact this picture was taken while I walked to work this morning. Photo Credit: hask.org

And a pumpkin.

 Not like this pumpkin, it’s far too cute and reasonably sized. Photo Credit : instructables.com

Not like this pumpkin, it’s far too cute and reasonably sized. Photo Credit : instructables.com

Like an over-sized pumpkin advertised on signs for a fair, that people buy tickets to gawk at.

There comes a point when one needs to ask “Should this get bigger?” Photo Credit : bajiroo.com

There comes a point when one needs to ask “Should this get bigger?” Photo Credit : bajiroo.com

I mean, I stopped being able to get up off of the futon by myself about a month ago. Admittedly our futon is awkwardly shaped and low to the ground and ultimately a futon, which is to say it’s a piece of furniture that makes neither a nice bed nor a nice couch. Somehow I was able to move past this fact, although not physically obviously; Tex has frequently cupped one of my buttocks while saying “Alley–oop”, to help me off the couch. But mentally, I forgave the futon, well not so much forgave as routinely beat the living daylights out of, when I left the bed to sleep on the aforementioned uncomfortable not-bed, because Tex and my bed was too soft, hard, warm, small, smooth, or whatever other conclusion my crazy pregnant brain had come to at 2 am. I would then release my insomniac frustrations on the futon by kicking and punching my way back to sleep.

That was before last week when I realized that I was too fat to get out of bed. If I’m being honest, I’ve probably been too fat to exit the bed for some time now, however I wasn’t aware of this until my mountain of pillows rearranged itself to form a kind of barricade.

You know, I think I’d be more comfortable if I had just one more….Tex give me your pillow- the time has come. Photo Credit : sodahead.com

You know, I think I’d be more comfortable if I had just one more….Tex the time has come- give me your pillow. Photo Credit : sodahead.com

And I was unable to use my patented, pregnant technique of rolling sideways out of the bed so my feet landed on the floor. “Uuuurrggghhhh” I cried. “Ahhhhh”

“What’s wrong?” Tex asked, bolting straight up in the bed just because he could, what with not being six months pregnant.

“I’m too fat to get out of bed” I cried plaintively as my sweet husband reached over to help me to a sitting position.

So that’s it then. I’m now a “Yo’ mamma” joke, I shall commence my muumuu wearing tomorrow.