Friday, October 24, 2008

A girl needs good family and friends

So I've had a pretty crappy week this week. Yes it involved my fair share of crying and stress.

I've had the week off from the hospital because the lady I work with has been on vacation. So, I decided it was a great time to work on the paper I have to do for my program. Yes this is the same paper I've mentioned in previous posts. I think I've referred to it as the ugly black cloud that hangs over my head. This isn't your average, everyday paper - it is supposed to be a publishable article (publishable in a scholarly journal). It's my programs version of a masters thesis. It is due the first week of November and I've been working diligently on it this week, and I'm happy to say I'm almost done with it. But if you want to know how much stress it's caused - I'll tell you. When I get really stressed out my muscles start twitching - arms, legs, eyes, really wherever. It's not some grotesque twitch that deforms me or anything like that. It's just a slight twitch that I feel and you can sometimes see and feel if you put your hand on it. I don't know why, but this is my indication of my stress level. If I'm twitching I'm on overload. Well the muscles in both of my legs are twitching. It makes me crazy. Try going to sleep with your legs twitching. They twitch until the stress is gone. Crazy I know, but true nonetheless. So there has been that this week among other things.

So my mom called the other day to talk and see how my paper was going, and I was venting about my stress over my paper. I wasn't in a very good mood to say the least. But I appreciate her listening to me and trying to understand. Then she asked about a fellow I've told her about and that's when I lost it and started crying. It's really not a big deal but with everything else it sent me over the edge to tears. Again my patient mom who listens and tries to understand and make things better. See what I mean about "a girl needs good family and friends"? So I told her that I just needed to get out of town and be with friends and relax a little. I told her I needed to go visit Shelly.

Shelly is my very best friend who happens to live in Connecticut. We were companions on our missions and then roommates. and that's been about 16 years now. We live very different lives - she's a wife and mom of 4 and I'm a single woman making the most of my life. She listens to me lament the life of a single woman and the annoyances involved with men and dating, and I listen to her lament the life of a mom of 4 and the challenges of getting her daughter to remember the states and their capitols. We both envy each other's lives at times. I think we help each other appreciate the lives we both live. Anyway her family has been my family since I moved to New York. Rick, her husband, makes sure I'm safe and sound and makes time for her and I to do things together. He's a good man. Her kids are the kids I need to be around when I need a kid fix and my nieces and nephews are 2000 miles away. Something just feels really good when you have a kid who is excited to talk to you on the phone or excited when you come to visit or wants to play something on the violin for you. And then Shelly just helps make things better. I always - and I mean always - laugh when I'm on the phone with Shelly. I hope she knows how much I've appreciated the support of her and her family since I've been here. Shoot she's the reason I'm here and doing what I'm doing. I owe her an awful lot. Again see what I mean about needing good family and friends?

And then today I had the pleasure of going to visit teach Mildred. When I first moved to New York and didn't really know a soul, I decided that visiting teaching was going to be the way I'd get to know people. I can actually say that was the first time I've really been excited to visit teach. I had the best companion and the two ladies we were assigned to visit were such a pleasure. My companion moved a couple years ago (I think it's been that long), and the ladies I visit have been changed except for Mildred. She's a 67 year old African American woman that I really don't have much in common with but I love visiting her. She's got such faith that Heavenly Father will take care of her. She's a convert to the church and just has a strong testimony. She's a good, good woman that really tries to do her best. It's inspiring. And to be able to go visit her just makes me feel better. Plus she tells me "Jodi you've got it going on". She's got some serious requirements for whatever fellow decides he wants to marry me. Now who wouldn't like that.

Anyway so with all the crappyness this week I've also had a good week and it's made me realize just how blessed I am. It's that whole opposition in all things. I truly am blessed to be here doing what I'm doing - even with the stress it causes me (I'll have to post a blog about how this all came to be cause it's a great story). And, I have the best family and friends this girl could ask for. And really I'm a happy, happy girl. Next week is a whole new week with whole new adventures in store for me to make the most of.

Now I better get back to my paper!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The fate of the peanut butter sandwich

So the other day I was on my way home from the E.R. I was sitting on the subway trying to snooze a bit. There is a section of my ride where we skip a bunch of stops, so there is about 10 minutes of no stopping. It is usually during this time that the people who ask for money do their little spiel where they ask for food or money.

Well, the guy on our train decided to stop right in front of me and he, like most of them, asked for food or money. I sort of ignored him because I was trying to sleep. But, as usually happens I started thinking. I remembered that I had a peanut butter and jam sandwich that I hadn't eaten at the hospital and I considered giving it to him. My thinking went something like this - I'm going to go home and throw this sandwich away and if I don't attempt to give it to this guy then I'll feel bad. I have to tell you about this sandwich. I usually only have a half a sandwich (not much for a man to eat). And then I wrap it in a paper towel (my brain thinks this helps keep the bread from drying out), but the jam usually leaks out onto it so it looks like my sandwich is bleeding whatever color jam I use (this particular time it was boysenberry purple). So, then I considered not giving it to him. But, remember I said I had started thinking. So I pulled out my sandwich and held it out for this guy. Actually I have to say I also offered him my 100 calorie package of Lorna Doone cookies (that was the sacrifice because I quite like those cookies). Just guess what he did.

If you're like me you just guessed wrong. I figured the guy would tell me no, because even though he asked for food or money, what he really wanted was money. What happened is that the guy initally said no thanks, but then I think he realized that a lot of the people on the train were looking at him. So, first he rejected my cookies. What kind of crazy passes up Lorna Doone cookies? But, he walked over and took my sandwich that looked like it was bleeding purple. And then of course I kept thinking. This time my thinking went something like this - "I wonder what this guy is going to do with my sandwich?"

He walked back over to the doorway where he had been standing. I kept slyly eyeing him because, of course, I was quite curious if he would actually eat the sandwich. After a couple minutes he opened up the sandwich, unwrapped the paper towel and pulled the whole wheat bread apart and smelled the sandwich. He then put the sandwich back together and wrapped it up in the paper towel and put it back into the baggie. I thought "hmm if you were really hungry I'd think you'd dig right in with that toothless mouth of yours". Maybe it was the wheat bread, maybe it was the kind of jam, or maybe I used the wrong kind of peanut butter - whatever it was he didn't seem terribly interested in my sandwich. But my entertainment and curiosity continued.

We finally got the the 125th St and this fellow had made another pass through the train car, so he was at the other end of the car when we stopped. I thought "dang it! now I won't know what he does with the sandwich", and I even considered getting off the train just so I could watch him (but it had already been a 14 hour day for me and I was tired). Imagine my surprise when I saw this fellow bounding down the train platform in my direction. There just happened to be a garbage can right in front of me where the train door had opened. This fellow bounding along the platform happily tossed my peanut butter sandwich into the garbage can. So what was my thought then? Well, it went something like this - "At least he threw it in the garbage can and not on the ground." And then I thought about the fact that I could sleep well tonight knowing I had tried to help someone and didn't just toss the sandwich into my own garbage. And really I was sort of glad to know what the fellow had actually done with the sandwich.

Disclaimer:
I never claimed to be saintly, so if you're disappointed at my lack of saintly thoughts - I'm sorry. I'll try harder next time.

And just for your information, there are signs in the subway that tell riders to not give people money. There are also programs for homeless and there are even social workers that purely work the subways (I have a social worker friend who explained that to me).

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Mickey Mouse

We've lived in our apartment for almost 3 years now. And over those 3 years I think we've caught 3 or 4 mice. Mice are just something you deal with in the city and to only have 3 or 4 in 3 years is pretty good. Well that was until just recently. There was an old guy downstairs that died. He had lived there for probably 40 or 50 years, so as you can imagine there were a lot of creatures displaced when they started renovating his apartment. For some reason his displaced creatures decided that "up" was a good way to go, so they headed to the 4th floor.


One morning I was getting my backpack ready to head out to school. I went to pick it up off the floor by my bed and what do I see - a chewed up granola bar. Just shreaded the wrapper and went to town on the granola. Nice to know that the mice in New York enjoy granolad and not only that it was a Fiber One bar so that little mouse had some serious fiber intake for the night. Anyway, I cleaned up the granola all the while annoyed that the little creature had found his way into my bag and attacked a wrapped granola bar (I made the bad assumption that wrapper would deter).

Well a couple days later I was thinking about my little mouse experience and I thought to myself "I wonder if that little creature has found my chocolate stash in my dresser drawer." As my family is aware, and regularly makes fun of me for, I sometimes have a stash of chocolate in my drawer. This particular stash was some chocolate my dad had given me in January and it was in a ziplock bag. Well imagine my dismay when I opened the drawer to find that the dang little creature had indeed found his was into my stash. Now not only am I mad that it touched my clothes, but he ate MY CHOCOLATE!!!

So it's time to set some traps and get rid of the little creature. I bought some of those handy little snap traps and spent a Sunday evening setting them with my beloved chocolate (mice like chocolate - I know). I had lots of difficulty setting the traps. Everytime I'd get everything all set and I'd gently place the chocolate on it's little perch and SNAP! the thing would go off on my finger. Or I'd have the chocolate in place and set the snap thing and then as I was setting it down the chocolate would roll off the SNAP - on my fingers!! I had bruises on my finger and thumb the next day. Those things hurt!!

So after some pain and a long time I got the traps set. I decided two was good - I'd get him from either direction he came from.

The next morning I woke and moved my drawer so I could check the traps. What do I see? The dang little creature had stolen my chocolate and he didn't set off the trap. Don't ask me how I couldn't set the trap without snapping my fingers but the mouse could take my chocolate and it didn't snap him.

So I left the other trap which was primed and ready to snap (or so I thought) for the next night. In the middle of the night I was awakened by the snapping of the trap. Just in case you've never experienced this before, let me tell you it's a little difficult to sleep after you've awoken to the snap. You lie there wondering if the little creature is really caught and if it's icky or not and I certainly didn't want to jump right up and check the trap. I finally fell back to sleep and then next morning I woke to check my trap. What did I see? The dang little creature had stolen my chocolate, set off the trap and evaded capture (or death) by the trap.

Okay so now I'm mad. First the little creature steals my chocolate and completely escapes uncaptured, then he steals my chocolate and sets off the trap but again escapes capture. Mostly maybe I'm mad because he keeps stealing my chocolate!

So night three I was a determined woman. The dang creature had outwitted me twice already. So I put peanut butter on the trap and then chocolate on the peanut butter. That way when he was stealing the chocolate, my chocolate, he'd have to pull it off of the peanut butter and set off the trap. Presto!! Again I was awakened in the middle of the night by the sound of snapping. It worked! But just by a nose - that's what got caught in the trap.
So that's what I saw in the morning when I moved my drawer to check the trap. Dang little creature! Now I had to clean him up which I have to say is just icky. This is my roommate Marin and you can see she's not too happy about her early morning greeting.


Marin and I usually do this type of thing together to give moral support (not that it happens a lot or anything). But when there have been little creatures to take care of, Marin and I have done it together (except the first time when Jared took care of it for us). Can't tell it from this pic but I really did need moral support.



While that may appear to be a normal smile (kinda), it's more a smile of fear and disgust, and the look of a woman who really doesn't want to clean up the mouse. Where is a man when I need one? So I decided it was less gross to pick up the trap then it was to scoot the dust pan under it's dead little body. I finally got him all scooped up and kept him at arms length while I took him out to the garbage closet in the hallway.

So that was in the morning and I got ready and left for work at the clinic. On my way home 10 hours later, I got a message from my roommate that another trap we had set snapped a mouse. Only this time he was messy and she called our home teacher to clean him up. We have a good home teacher. THEN a few days later another trap I had set snapped in the middle of the night and we caught another of Mickey's relatives.

Is that just gross or what!! I'm so tired of mice.

And so there you go... another New York City adventure.