Korea’s Cold

Andrew’s sniffle got worse. Now I have one too. But we had a train to catch at noon and, of course, I was up with the birds (6:15 – it’s a small victory over 5:30).

I made some eggs for us because it was too early for the hostel community breakfast and we went for a walk along the water. As built up as this city is, there is some amazing architecture. Then there is also Trump World towers. They were pretty pedantic despite their illustrious name, undoubtedly emblematic.

We walked about 4 miles and returned during American breakfast time. I am really glad I’d made us our own version of breakfast and really regret failing to take a picture of the hot dogs, french fries and sliced up muffins the hostel was serving up.

As we checked out the attendant asked us where we were headed. I said “Seoul” and he looked at me as though he’d never heard of the place. Now I have been attempting to learn Hangul and the letters basically spell out S-schwa-uh-l/r (or SUH-ool). So I tried again with this pronunciation instead of the Americanized “soul” and got the facial equivalent of the blue screen of death. At this point I think he was just fucking with me so I just shrugged and smiled and handed him back the key.

The return trip to the KTX train station took us twice as long because we were both exhausted from our colds. Once at the train station we had about 40 minutes to kill and grabbed some soup and sushi to share. Andrew loved the sushi, so I am going to refrain from telling him that there was a bit of crab meat in it – if he doesn’t know in advance that it’s “ookie”, he really enjoys seafood. We napped a lot on the train and I worked a little more on my Hangul. My name in Korean (by my spelling- 하다수) means “enjoy a long life.” Thanks, Korean, I will – if I get over this cold.

Our new apartment is in a quieter part of town than the first one was. It is also right off the airport line of the subway. The airport line is deep underground. We had to take 4 escalators and 2 flights of stairs and check in with Beelzebub to get on the train. Climbing back out was also exhausting. I feel like we did as much walking down and up as we would have done just walking directly from Seoul (SUH-ool) Station.

Most of the rest of the day we spent juggling some games of Words With Friends, napping, checking in with each other about our colds, and Facebooking. Being sick in a foreign country is pretty much the same as being sick at home in that way. But it feels different. I think part of it is the pressure I am putting on myself to do things touristy and partially it’s that I don’t have my own sofa. Or kitchen. Or cats.

It’s possible I’m Korea sick and homesick.



I Make Myself Sick

Have you ever eaten such a shitty day’s worth of food that you woke up in the middle of the night with acid reflux (also known as, “I threw up a little in my mouth”) which you then aspirated? This causing you to have a touch of pneumonia with fever for the next three days, making you worry about making it to your class the next week in Seattle.

Only you ended up getting slightly better with just a pneumonia-lung hangover, making you simultaneously short of breath and not question all the difficulty you are having breathing. Difficulty that is so extreme you have trouble sleeping because you are dreaming of having to wake up your FANTASTIC hosts – who put you up in Seattle for a week for free merely because you all belong to the same performance cult (we are not a cult! ComedySportz, but we kind of are) – and having to explain to them that they need to drive you to the emergency room at the VA because you don’t have insurance but are covered by the VA and that yes that’s a half hour away (or more) but you really need a breathing treatment. But, thank god that even though you didn’t really get much sleep you at least didn’t have to wake them up and go through that awful scenario.

Then you finally finish your week of rigorous study, get home half a day earlier than you’d expected only to wind up sleeping (sitting up because the breathing thing is so complicated) for most of a day and a half until you finally decide to go to ZoomCare (which, the fact you are seeking any treatment, in and of itself, shows how sick you are) and get diagnosed with a severe sinus infection which explains why every time you were coughing up what was left of your lungs your brain felt like it was trying to escape from your cranium?

But, you started on antibiotics and eventually felt well enough to go for a walk which was a good thing because your back muscles had atrophied from your inability to do anything but stay on a couch for three days. Oh, and thank goodness that company you had an interview with was willing to reschedule, because that wouldn’t have gone well?

Or is it just me?

Killing Me With Kindness

I should have probably been more cautious when my friend, upon hearing of my job loss, offered to pull me out of my misery with a visit to Chicago. But, timing was right and, after all, she is a “friend”.

Don’t get me wrong, Chicago was fantastic. I saw some good improv and got to perform as well. I really enjoy big cities and as soon as I got there I longed to stay for good. There is something comforting to me about the pace of the city and the coziness of the skyscrapers.

Next time I go, I will just have to be more cautious in my lodgings so as to prevent choosing accommodations where the host is actively trying to kill me.

It started relatively innocuously, an offer of bagels in the morning with a cheery, “Oh, I totally forgot that you are gluten intolerant! What does that do to you again? Oh, anaphylaxis! Mmmm, sorry.” But, after the 5th day of being offered wheat products (at almost every meal – followed by giggling), I had to reconsider whether this was a mistake or a mission. There was also the morning cup of coffee retrieved from the building lobby. Sure, at first blush, this seems a lovely gesture until I open it and see the cream inside – though, to be fair, me having milk is as bad to those around me, as it is on me.

Then there was the consistent feeling of pending asthma attacks as I slept. It wasn’t until the 4th day there it was divulged I was wrapping myself in, and resting my head upon, down. How could I possibly complain about going gently into that good night – it was a cozy burrito of death.

Finally, I came down with some massive cold on Sunday. I am certain my drinks were laced with rhinovirus and that this cold had nothing to do with the man sneezing on me on my flight in.

Alas, her dastardly plan to do me in was thwarted by an impenetrable shield of ladybug luck. On my walk to the grocery store to get fixin’s for reparative soup on Monday, I came under attack – the cutest attack ever – by swarms of ladybugs. It was like the Pixar version of a Hitchcock movie. And, thank goodness! With all those ladybug luck-juices (that sounds dirty when I say it) all over me, I made it through the rest of my trip without any further incidents.

Although, I do still have that cold. And, if I am being truthful, a little schadenfreude at being the one on the plane ride home spreading the germs instead of receiving them.

Love Sick

Andrew and I have been dating for close to five years. We were discussing this a few nights ago and the fact that we don’t really have an anniversary.

Andrew: Well whatever it’s about five years, happy anniversary, or non-anniversary

Me: ooh naan anniversary is that five years of dating?

Andrew: I suppose it could be any flat bread

Me: Happy pita

Andrew: or Matzoh

Me: Here’s a Ritz cracker

We’ve really got our schtick together. Andrew and I are still going strong and what I have noticed is that our relationship has changed over the years (not unexpectedly). We’ve moved in together, grown accustomed to each other’s quirks, can practically finish each other’s jokes but most importantly (and likely most frequently) he has grown accustomed to my levels of distress.

The first time he saw me truly hurting was in a bicycle accident four or five years ago or so – back when our relationship was still new. I injured myself pretty badly and writhed around on the ground howling for a bit for good measure. Andrew’s first question back then was a panicked, “Are you okay?” his second, “Should I call 911?” My respective responses to him were, “I am fine, stop pressing on my hip.” and “If you dare, we are breaking up.” or something similar.

Now the years have gone by and last night as I lay writhing on the hardwood floor naked from the waist up trying to cool myself off and convince my seemingly semi-monthly food poisoning to subside, Andrew just left me to be and only came by when I called him to see that my cat Widget, alarmed by my mewling, had laid on top of me and started flopping her tail in my face. Not to make Andrew sound like a monster. This is the care I prefer. Take note I am dying, then leave me to doing it.

After what seemed like an hour, I got up and did my best Linda Blair impression into the kitchen sink (I figured the disposal would be beneficial in clean-up) and it really was a close variant of Linda in that the last thing I’d eaten was spinach salad, so the verdant color was close, if not a perfect match. Andrew steadfastly stood within a rooms length and cooed poor baby-s at me now and again.

When I finished I cleaned up and went directly into couch-fetal position. Andrew came by, sat next to me, patted me on the head and asked the first question, “Are you going to be okay while I go play hockey?” See, he really gets me!

This was followed closely with, “I feel like I should post this on Facebook because our friends like to be kept up to date on your health and well being.”

Well, I guess Andrew still has a little more to learn about me; because, as I told him last night, he is absolutely, not even a little bit, allowed to spoiler my blog.

Runners Paradox

You’ve heard the joke: The reason I run is because it feels so good when I stop.

It’s true. But, for me it also feels so good when I am doing it. Today, I can confidently say that I am absolutely 100% healthy (+/- 27%). I know this because I went on an 8k (+/- 3K) run.

The Hazel Dell Half Marathon and 8K run is sponsored by Max Muscle and raises money for a local charity called Panda Paws that helps rescue, rehabilitate and hospice local animals (you know… like pandas). It starts at the Max Muscle in Hazel Dell which is part of a kind-of mall (kind-of because it is anchored by a Kohls and defunct Best Buy). The first part of the run took us around the parking lot of the kind-of mall. When we finished the loop and were almost at the starting point again I feared we were going to end up running around the kind-of mall 200 times. Just as that fear seemed to be coming to fruition the course veered left into a quiet neighborhood.

The course grade was somewhere between the gentle roll of my neighborhood jogs and the treacherous climbs of downtown Seattle. It was challenging but not impossible.

Until today I hadn’t realized just how much I rely on Andrew for runs. Yes, he always knows where packet pick-up is and where the run starts and the top seven optimal ways to get to the run from the house based on traffic patterns and wind variations. But, more importantly, I realized today that I gauge the proper amount of layers for my run by subtracting 25% from what Andrew is wearing. Without my gauge today I was overburdened with jackets and shirts. As I got too warm I would take a layer off and tie it around my waist. By the time I finished the race I looked like I was wearing laundry day* on my hips.

During a race I like to use Runmeter. Aside from functioning as a pacer (it bleeps and gives me stats at intervals I set), it posts to my Facebook and then reads the comments my friends make as I am running. I was awfully surprised when it bleeped a mile in to give me my stats and I was still about a quarter mile away from the first mile marker on the race. As it turns out the race I ran was a 9.3K not an 8K, but what’s an extra K or so between friends of pandas?

In the end I felt really good about the run. My average pace was 8:46 with my fastest mile at 8:08 and my slowest mile 10:29 (can you tell which was downhill and which was up?). Now I am off to switch loads from my right hip to my left.

*no, I uh, I love the air

The Rumors of My Demise Have Been Mostly Accurate

What I learned from my trip to Jacksonville, Florida is that when you take a vacation in the winter, when you come home you might die.

It all started on my flight back to Portland. My sister Tamar and me had stayed up all night and she drove me to the airport early. I slept (read: napped with waking up every ten minutes to make sure no one was stealing my bags that I had wrapped my body around) in a rocking chair for an hour and a half waiting for the security gate to open. When it did open I noticed that there were mini-couches right next to the rocking chairs that would have been more comfortable.

I went through security and dug into the bag of snacks Tamar had packed for me. After eating a couple of eggs I went back to the napatory position until the gate opened. While staying up all night was probably not the best idea in the world, when I realized I was on a little puddle jumper into Houston I was so glad that I was too tired to be upset by the turbulence. Once in Houston, I ate some tuna-egg salad Tamar had made with homemade mayo and found a corner to nap in.

That was the end.

From the moment I boarded the plane all I could do was pray to get to Portland without vomiting.

Apparently, homemade mayo has to remain refrigerated in order to not poison you. Luckily, the prayer worked, but only just. As soon as we got to Portland I found the bathroom and without getting too graphic, I was turned inside out.

I got home and lay down on the floor for the next 36 hours getting up only to use the bathroom. I thought I would die and at some points wished it.

My stomach settled, I settled into the weekend and my amazingly doubled-in-size boobs. That’s right, I was getting close to my semi-annual period. I can tell you that while my weekend was voluptuous it was also mildly cranky (you take the good you take the bad you take them both…).

Monday night I went to improv rehearsal and after a resounding samurai warmup, I never quite gained back my voice. At work the next day I kept getting a scratchy throat. That night on my way home from The Moth I realized that yes. I was sick. Again. For the ninth time. Since September.

Wednesday morning I woke up, drove to work, grabbed my laptop and went home to die.I made it to my meetings and slept the rest of the day through fevers that ranged from 101 – 103. Mind you, I normally run at 96.8 – 97.2 (whereas 98.6 is considered normal). So, these were some pretty high fevers for me. Andrew, who has had a surprising amount of practice at it this year, nursed me well. Although I was sick as a dog (read: watching HGTV) I had an insatiable appetite. They say, “feed a cold, starve a fever.” For me it was feed a flu and a fever and hope that death will soon appear.

Normally, when I am sick I require a little bit of medicine and not much else. I will go for runs to prove I am not actually sick and do a bunch of other things that drive Andrew crazy. This time, however, I didn’t even have the energy to fight Andrew about how sick I “wasn’t” and, every time I tried I broke into fever tears. I was able to parlay those into forcing Andrew to watch the movie Clue with me. It was his first time watching it (ridiculous, I know – when I found out I was so upset, flames, flames on the side of my face…)

Also normally, when I am sick Andrew is soon to follow. But this time it was the flu. Andrew had a flu shot in December. He did not get sick. As such, his attention and pity towards me would have almost been sweet if it wasn’t tinged with smugness once he realized he would not get sick.

It is now Sunday. I have been sick since Tuesday evening. I am finally feeling like I can do a 10k (though I shouldn’t), but first – I need an intervention. I don’t know how I am going to manage to pull myself away from Canadians doing home improvement on HGTV.

Why is EVERYTHING Broken?

Over the past week or two my work computer has started becoming glitchy. While I was working on it, it would suddenly stop working. Of course, if you asked the computer, that is when it was working its hardest. But from my perspective nothing was happening except that my cube would suddenly sound like a 747 was getting ready to taxi.

Yesterday, after 3 reboots, I had enough. I called tech support and was on the phone with them for half an hour – 25 minutes was being on hold; but, it wasn’t like I could hang up and work, because my computer was not working.

Tech support could not remote into my computer. This, apparently is the one way to get up in the queue – if they can’t monitor you they will replace your machine. And, that is precisely what they did. Within an hour. At first I was excited that maybe I could get a machine that worked. Then I realized that I had to load all of the “Advertised Programs”. I don’t mean “Do No Harm” or “Go On” – two shows  on Much Flee TV for which I predict a short life. No, I mean every single application that I need to be able to do a task that had a hard deadline of the next morning. The thing about these programs is that almost every one requires a reboot of the computer. It took until 5PM for me to get my machine to a point where I could actually start in on my job. I didn’t leave work until just past 6:30 PM.

I got into Andrew’s car and headed to sketch writing class. That’s right, Andrew’s car and not my motorcycle. Why? Because, two weeks ago I brought my bike into the shop for regular maintenance, front brakes and adding heated grips. When Chris, my mechanic at Cycle Tune (awesome motorcycle place – teh place to go in Portland) took the grips off he realized that the Grip-Assy Throttle needed replacing. Ordering the part would take a while and I haven’t yet heard back. I just hope the Flabby-Cock Bar doesn’t break.

Aside: On my way to drop off my bike I almost was run down by an SUV driver who was not paying attention to the road. The vehicle ended up about 6 feet from me on a perpendicular. This was one of the scariest moments of my life. Look twice for motorbikes!

So, I have been driving Andrew’s car, which, up until this week, had no heat in it. Apparently, part of the reason that the car was idling poorly, after the starter died and was replaced, was that there was some sort of thermometer that needed replacing (I am very precise about mechanical whatnots). The garage replaced it and got the idle to work, but then the blower motor didn’t work. So, in theory there was heat, but it wasn’t being blown into the car. This condition was super welcome during the past couple of weeks where we have been hovering around freezing. That might not have been as bad had I not also broken the ice scraper – which was really just a matter of badly designed product.

The garage resolved the blower motor issue. When I had gotten the car back from the garage, I realized that one of the dashboard lights on the air duct panel was dim where it had once – prior to having been in the garage – not been dim. I was a little frustrated (read: ready to lose my shit). I had scheduled to bring the car back Thursday morning (today). Then, as I was driving to class last night, Pink came on the radio with her new song that sounds just like her last goddamned song. I am so over Pink. I reached over and pushed “6” on my presets on the radio. Nothing. Happened. Nothing happened because when they were working on the heat and making the lights dim on the control panel, they accidentally broke the button – not all of the buttons, no, just the “6”.

I took the car into the garage at 7 AM. Cole, who is really quite lovely, took the car’s vitals and had me drive myself to work with one of his garage guys who then returned the car to the shop. I got into work and prepared for my marathon of meetings. Sitting at my desk during the meetings I started sneezing and sniffling. It soon became apparent that I am now having my EIGHTH cold since September.

I am now at home snuggled up on the couch with a Rav4 sitting in the driveway (courtesy of the garage and Dollar-Rent-a-Car) sniffling my brains out.

And, the two things that piss me off most about it all is that I ended up watching 12 minutes of “Go On” just to make sure it sucked (I will never get those 12 minutes back – it sucked even worse than I had thought it would), and that I now have that goddamned Pink song in my head.

You got to get up and try and try and try…