Thursday, June 2, 2016

Guess Who's the Worldwide MS Fashion Icon? (Yep, ME!)

Sound the trumpets: I have glorious news to share!!! I've recently been named named myself an the MS FASHION ICON, thanks to a brand-new cooling vest.

I know what you're thinking: the word "VEST" belongs nowhere near a sentence also containing the words "fashion" and "icon" (unless that sentence is "Former self-proclaimed and widely disputed fashion icon Ms. CrankyPants was found in a drunken, disheveled state, covered in her own feces and, tragically, wearing a soiled plaid vest.").

Clearly, I need to explain. As probably all of you with MS know, summertime heat is a bitch. It can make us sluggish, cranky, and weak. Oh, wait -- that's me on a normal day! No, seriously, folks, the heat is terrible when you have MS. Everyone's experiences are different, but I have:

  • nearly passed out (actual MEDICS were called; super embarrassing)
  • had ringing in my ears
  • felt weak to the point of having trouble walking
  • experienced double vision

All of these symptoms are temporary, thank god, but any one of them can make going outside when it's hot suck. ENTER THE COOL VEST! Yes, such a garment exists. And it's literally a vest that provides cooling relief from the crappy sun! How does this little miracle occur? It depends on the vest, as I learned. In an completely unbiased fashion (see what I did there?), I will share the high- and low-lights of two varieties so you can decide if a cool vest is for you!

First, some questions:

  1. Are you comfortable being the center of attention?
  2. Are you a fan of Steve Irwin (RIP)?
  3. Do you love the "Safari Look"?
  4. Would you be okay with being detained for wearing what appears to be suicide-bomber attire?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, have I got a cool vest for you!

Ta-da! Let's go to a swanky outdoor party! 
I am not naming brands, because I don't know if I could get in trouble, but this is what I refer to as THE MOST HIDEOUS THING I EVER WORE ON PURPOSE (TMHTIEWOP). Those red and blue checked pants my mom forced me into when I was four don't count. TMHTIEWOP requires one to freeze roughly 83 packs of ice and cram them into the many, many glam pockets. 
It's fun to wrestle with twisted, frozen blocks of ice!
Not ENTIRELY the ice blocks' fault that I have a minuscule freezer, but I blame them anyway. 
TMHTIEWOP with packs (can't account for the gray blobby thing, which I must have tucked into one of the pockets in a fugue state brought on by extreme heat or embarrassment).

The main drawback of this vest (apart from the obvious) is that the ice melts, quickly, when it's hot enough for you to you say "f*** it, I don't CARE what I look like as long as I'm not broiling hot!" And once that ice melts, you are -- as I was at a festival last summer -- left wearing a heavy, soggy, chocolate-ice-cream-drip spotted vest that security guards and, oh, every other festival-goer look at askance.

Summer is rolling around again, and I was displeased at the idea of relying on TMHTIEWOP to get me through outdoor events. Then! A revelation! I used this thing called "google" to look up alternatives. Guess what? There is more than one variety of cooling vest on the planet! I must have known this at one point (like, when I bought the first one), but perhaps I was unsure that I'd use it, so I opted for one of the more budget-friendly vests. Whatever. The point is -- there's actually an ATTRACTIVE cooling vest you can find using "google."
This is the back side (hahahaha). Seriously, if you have to wear one, how cute is that? 
Look at it! LOOK AT IT!!!!
The front is pretty utilitarian, but the belt thingy gives one a shape that actually resembles a human body.
The Coolture vest (I swear I'm not getting paid) also uses packs to keep it, uh, cool, but they are small and easy to manipulate into the well-concealed pockets.

They look like large-ish ravioli, but their official name is CoolPak.
I'm too lazy to try to rewrite the details, but according to the Coolture website, the CoolPaks are "similar to dry ice...freeze colder than ice or gel, and remain colder than ice or gel." 

Oh! And the Cooling Vest With Graphic variety (the hummingbird is one of several designs) comes with a free cooling headband!
This looks...inappropriate (oh, it's just me?!). But here's the CoolPak being inserted into the headband.
You're going to have to trust me: the headband is pretty cute. And it feels freaking FAB! The cooling part rests at the back of your head. I've been outside for an hour or so with just the headband (OKAY, and clothes, pervs) without dissolving into a whiny, cranky heap.

I read here about programs that help people afford vests. This might apply to U.S. residents only, but hopefully there are similar programs in other countries. The ActiveMSers' reviews of cooling vests helped me choose the CoolTure vest. 

Here's hoping you all stay cool. And, most importantly, cool

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Cat Superhighway to HELL

In our ever-hopeful effort to keep the goddamn cats happy, my husband and I just shelled out a rather large amount of money for some wooden shelves. WAIT. These aren't ordinary shelves; no, sir. They are, in aggregate, a Mother-F***ing CAT SUPERHIGHWAY (MFCSH). So, obviously, they are worth the cost, no matter how exorbitant. That's what I keep telling myself (and my continually-about-to-divorce-me husband).

I saw a setup like these on Jackson Galaxy's show (which is totally not to say what I've done here is at all endorsed by him, so please don't sue me, Mr. Galaxy). The cats on the show -- formerly implacable enemies -- were alternately lounging and cavorting on the shelves. The idea is that the MFCSH gives cats a whole new area to explore and get the hell away from each other if/when needed. Or, better yet, the MFCSH offers a new level on which the cats can race around and chase each other PLAYFULLY. At least, that was my hope. Here are a couple of the shelves after my husband spent hours painstakingly arranging them.

The colorful string is my addition -- a LURE, if you will, to get the cats up and cavorting. 

The detritus on this one is ANOTHER LURE: catnip! Who could resist? 
Okay, empty shelves aren't as good as shelves with lounging/gallivanting cats, so I'll show you the amazing MFCSH in action:

Here come the cats! The arrows show you where they SHOULD be.

Yay! There's Squeaky! She loves the string! 

And, look -- it's Capt. Nap! "MMMMM! Is this catnip?"

Awwww, little Peeper loves to lounge on this MFCSH shelf! 
So there you have it -- our MFCSH is a roaring success. Oh, wait -- what's this?

Why, it's Chewbacca! He's a toy I bought years ago that no one played with. He sits at the launching pad/cat tree, just under the MFCSH. What a rude comment! 
In case it isn't ABUNDANTLY clear, the cats scorn the MFCSH. In fact, here's Squeaky lazing on the couch directly opposite the MFCSH. Yes, she's yawning in my face. Jerk.

Monday, December 28, 2015

I'm Bringing Cranky Back (Yeah!)

In case the semi-relevant pop culture reference escaped you, I'm alluding to the song "I'm Bringing Sexy Back" by Justin Timberlake in my title.

Oh, dear. That's embarrassing. I just looked up the title, and it's actually "SexyBack." There goes my attempt to be hip. HAHAHAHA, little has changed, old friends! I'm as awkward as ever. (Note to self: Stop trying to be cool. Word.)

So the holidays have made me think about:

  1. Being cranky
  2. Jesus

I thought I'd have more items on that list, but that about sums it up. Being cranky is self-explanatory. The second item refers not to Jesus in the traditional, nice sense. It refers to the number of times I've said or thought, "JESUS H. CHRIST, this sucks."

"This" could refer to:
  1. Receiving a crappy present
  2. Remembering I forgot to was too lazy to send Christmas cards (again)
  3. Getting a Warm and Fuzzy holiday letter
  4. Cleaning Capt. Nap's butt 

Remember this guy?
"Hey! I'm rubbing my butt on your clean clothes! LOL!"
In 2015 (this would have been a Notable Achievement in my Warm and Fuzzy holiday letter), Captain Nap gained 4 freaking pounds. That's right! Now he's too fat to reach his butt! So I have the distinct (get it? Stink?) pleasure of using minuscule wipes (like, slightly larger than a half-dollar) to wash it for him. Oh, and to add to the fun, Squeaky finds his dirty anus repellent, and she lets everyone know by hissing and lunging at him constantly.

"You just stay up in your drawer, you nauseating creature."
So many good times. Captain Nap is on a diet; fear not, animal-loving friends. I want to get my enormous pal healthy STAT (and not just because I don't want to be on butt detail for any longer than is absolutely necessary) (I swear).

I'm going to keep this post short and sweet. I'm out of practice. And I don't know if anyone still reads it. Plus, now that I've covered POO, I'm all out of topics. Told you little has changed.

Ms. CrankyPants

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Communal Food Is Gross

As some of you know, I work in an office. Specifically, in a dinky CUBE in an office. I've detailed the glories of toiling in a cube here: Working in a Cube Is HELL.

Anyone who's ever worked with others knows the delights of SHARING: sharing cramped quarters, sharing a fridge, and sharing a bathroom. Let's not forget sharing food. And I'm not talking about the "sharing" that happens when you bring in yummy leftovers and store them in the fridge, and a rude coworker decides he wants to "share" them. (For the record, Sir HelpsHimselfALot, that's "stealing," not "sharing.") No, I'm talking about communal food. I suspect that almost every office has The Bowl of Rejected Candy in the kitchen. You know, a giant vessel with a grimy coating of crumbs and wrappers at the bottom, partially filled with anything that's not chocolate. So, the Runts, the Gummi-anythings, the lollipops...yeah, the shitty candy.

This has been sitting in a pathetic pile at my workplace for roughly 152 years.
Another office staple? The Canister of Crappy Snacks.

Yep, that's a plastic container with the remnants of some pretzels (in the kitchen for approx. 36 yrs.). Who the hell likes pretzels? And who the hell likes pretzels that 47 other people have sifted through? Okay, you know what? To this I say, NO! I've just been in the bathroom with you, and I know that you barely used soap and you for sure didn't wash for the 20 seconds that hygiene rules dictate. So, madam, please don't plunge your filthy hand in that bowl of pretzels, swish it around vigorously to find the verybestone, and expect me to follow suit. I'll be in my cube, muttering and slathering on antibacterial gel.

As you gazed hungrily at those pretzels, your eyes surely were drawn to the Toblerone candy bar to the left. I know what you're wondering. Did someone leave that in the kitchen by mistake? Why, no! Apparently, that's a candy bar for everyone in the office to share!

Mmmmm, I hope you used your mouth to break off that section.
Yes, indeed. The communal candy bar! Who in their right MIND would want to snap off a piece of that after dozens of filthy fingers have groped all over it? I admit, when I first saw the candy bar (and it was sealed), I had an urge to whisk it straight into my purse to enjoy later. Then I decided to not be a pig and let someone ELSE have it. But I expected someone to take the whole bar, not just nibble/pry off bits [shudder].

In the kitchen where all this food sits around, there are bound to be roaches rats hobos dirty dishes and crumbs. Fortunately, there also are cleaning supplies! Like this sponge!
Yeah, the dishes were cleaner BEFORE you used that sponge.
  And this dish drainer!
This exact collection of dishes has been here for at least a year. I'm thinking of painting a still life.
I spy with my little eye...something unpleasant lurking beneath the dish drainer! Let's take a closer look, shall we?

Dorito, circa 1987.
There's no mistaking that neon-orange glow! Who the hell brought in Doritos? And why don't we have THOSE out rather than the f***ing pretzels??

When discussing office sharing, it's impossible to avoid the topic of the beloved potluck luncheon! You know the drill: signup sheet in the kitchen; Jill with her famous meatballs that everyone secretly hates; me uhhhh, Amber, who always brings something with cat hair in it; Andy and his purchased-5-minutes-before-the-lunch bag of cookies...

The thing about potlucks, apart from the crappy food and stilted conversation, is that one can't help but think about just HOW that food was prepared. Here's a handy tip that the germaphobes in your office will surely appreciate you following: when making food for the office potluck, please, for the LOVE OF GOD, do not enlist the aid of your children. While I'm totally sure your son is the most adorable and sweet child on the entire freaking planet, I suspect he's also picking his nose and licking his fingers nonstop.

You know who DOES make a fantastic kitchen helper? Capt. Nap!!!

He totally washed his paws after this picture.
My frequently shedding, counter-lurking fur-baby is as clean as a whistle! That's why we let him lounge around on our clean clothes!

"Can a cat get some PRIVACY? I'm trying to pee!"
So if you see a cat hair or 20 in the food I bring it to the next potluck, not to worry! My cats are the cleanest, sweetest, most adorable kitties on the entire freaking planet!

Monday, October 6, 2014

My Cat Has No Teeth

Poor Captain Nap. You remember--this guy:

"Why you gotta treat me so bad?"
Capt. Nap is the unfortunate victim of the feline herpes virus. (My gyno SWORE he couldn't catch it from me.) (I'm TOTALLY joking. I didn't ask my gyno.)

Okay, okay. All kidding aside, it was this little minx who gave it to him. Remember the adorable Pepper Anne?
"I'm winking at you because you think I'm healthy, but I have a hilarious secret!"
Yes, the missing-an-eye (so, not winking) Pepper Anne, who we adopted in a moment of weakness, because, you know, she's so damn cute. Anyway, we've had her for nearly a year now, and she's been the cause of:

  1. Marital discord
  2. Horrific sores in Squeaky's mouth
  3. Capt. Nap's full-mouth extraction
  4. Plenty o' good times!

Without going into too  much detail (because it involves science and medical terminology I don't really understand), Pepper Anne, who we renamed "Peeper" (get it? One eye?), has this herpes virus, which is what caused her to lose her eye before we adopted her. The other cats, not being all that particular about where/what they eat, snuffled around in the same food bowls and caught the virus from Peeper.

Squeaky was the first victim.
Squeaky guarding her favorite toy from Peeper.
Because she's black, I didn't notice at first that she'd developed a sore under her nose. By the time I saw it, it was bleeding. I raced her to the vet (after a mighty struggle to get her in the carrier), who looked in her mouth and found a bunch of ulcers. We had lots of fun medicating Squeaky! She was quarantined in our bedroom for two weeks, which she seemed to like. A lot. In fact, she still goes in there every day. It's her Peeper-free sanctuary. We finally got her outbreak under control.

That's when I noticed Capt. Nap's breath. It had gone from regular-cat gross to atrocious. As in, he'd open his mouth a crack and I'd want to flee to another house.
The captain is embarrassed that I'm detailing his bad breath.
I raced HIM to the vet. She looked in his mouth and gasped. I'm not joking. She then called in a vet tech, who looked in his mouth and also gasped. She showed me what they were gasping about (surprisingly, not his breath). His gums were an inflamed mess; bright red and sore looking. The herpes virus had manifested itself as something called stomatitis. I nodded somberly, not realizing fully the magnitude of this condition until I got home and googled it. One of the cheering articles was titled, "Cats and Stomatitis: A Condition You Wouldn't Wish on Your Worst Enemy."

So the bottom line was his immune system was rejecting his teeth. Or something like that. The best way to treat a case of stomatitis that was as bad as Capt. Nap's was to remove the worst of his teeth. We started with a dental cleaning and extraction of several teeth, in the hopes that those measures would do the trick. They didn't. Last week, I bundled Capt. Nap into his carrier for the 4,786th time this year and dropped him off at the vet so they could take out ALL of his remaining teeth. It sounds extreme, I know. But I did a lot of reading about it, and talked at length to my vet, and it seems that a full-mouth extraction is often the best way to relieve a cat's suffering. Goodness knows, I didn't want my old friend to suffer.

He's back home now and gobbling his food as if he's in a race. Even dry food! Twice a day I put out canned and dry; usually he makes a beeline for the dry. Go figure.

He's still recovering, but I can tell he feels better. He's grooming himself (something he abandoned before because it was too painful) and even seems more playful. Hooray! It's been a long and challenging year getting Peeper integrated into our household. With the help of Prozac, Squeaky is coming around (although she does get annoyed with Peeper fairly frequently). Also with the help of Prozac,* my husband no longer seems in favor of divorcing me. He did say, however, that three is the ABSOLUTE MAXIMUM.

Also, I was wondering if anyone could lend give me $38,971.95? That's my rough estimate of what I've spent on vet bills this year.
The end. (Get it?)
*J/K about my husband and Prozac. Not j/k about Squeaky and Prozac, though.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I Was Abducted By Aliens, Which Sucked

I know, I know, it sounds RIDICULOUS, but it's totally true. And despite all the sci-fi movies about aliens being all super smart and possessing amazing technology, there was no way for me to work on my blog. From the, ah, spaceship. So! That's where I've been. (In space.)

Gotcha! I wasn't REALLY abducted. Hahahahhaha, bet you've really missed that razor-sharp wit. No, what happened was in May I went to the pool. First I got drunk, because when you're over 40 (BARELY), going to the pool is a bit frightening. Oh, that's just me? Hmmmm. Anyway, I got a bit drunk, donned my swim shirt and shorts...hang on, I think I have a picture...

Weird how that "Frankie Wetjacket" text appeared at the top of the pic. Will have to get my camera looked at.
So, yeah, I was perched on a table, poolside, when... OKAY, FINE, that's not me. Here's the real photo:

Clearly, I needed a shave. And boobs. And a psychiatric evaluation, STAT.
All right, you got me. That's not me either. But my actual attire vaguely resembled the second photo and looked absolutely nothing like the first (although my hair and makeup were super stunning). So I sauntered into the pool, wings fluttering, and proceeded to hop in, whereupon I was immediately ejected for failing to take a shower before entering the pool in which 27 people had just urinated.

DAMMIT, I'll just tell you all the truth. Nothing happened. I got really busy with work and felt more fatigued than usual. Might have been the summer heat, exacerbating my ever-present MS-related tiredness. Whatever it was, the blog became The Blog I Had Been Neglecting Horribly. I felt as though I'd also neglected the friends I'd made via the blog, which made me feel like an ass. When I thought of all the work I'd have to do to worm my way back into everyone's good graces, I felt even MORE tired. So I continued to neglect my blog and others' blogs, and staved off most of my guilty feelings by telling myself you're all big jerks anyway.

Hahahahhaha! Of course I didn't do that. Some of you kindly contacted me to make sure I was okay. So, thanks; really. For those of you who are still reading me, I will be easing (worming) into the blog and popping over to see what you've been up to. I've missed all of you big jerks. A lot.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Working in a Cube Is HELL

When you're a Certified CrankyPants (CCP), working in a cube can be nightmarish. As I type this, someone is rustling around with a candy bar wrapper, making an ungodly racket in this otherwise quiet office. This person shouldn't be hungry. Want to know how I know? BECAUSE HE JUST FINISHED ROOTING/RUSTLING/CHOMPING through what must have been a family-sized bag of the noisiest chips ever made! That's how I know. It took him *24* minutes to make his way loudly through the contents of that bag. I was gritting my teeth and watching the little clock on the bottom right-hand side of my computer the entire time.
  • 1:50  Bag makes its first appearance [crinkle crinkle]
  • 1:50 Cube dweller (CD) wrestles the bag open [CRINKLE CRACKLE RUSTLE]
  • 1:50 CD opens bag and plunges entire fist into the opening to seize a chip [ROOT ROOT CRINKLE CRINKLE]
  • 1:51 - 2:10 CD jams chip after chip into his mouth [CHEW CHEW SMACK ROOT RUSTLE CRINKLE]
  • 2:11 Is he done? [SILENCE]
  • 2:12 - 2:13 CD upends bag into his mouth to dislodge the crumbs at the bottom [TAPTAPTAP SMACK SHAKE RUSTLE]
  • 2:14 CD disposes of bag, noisily [CRUMPLE CRUMPLE CRINKLE]
Lord, by now I need a tranquilizer, but the hell that is CubeLand has just begun.

Return to Cubicles
This is a Shutterstock photo of a really annoying and nosy CD (caption dedicated to my blogger friend Birdie!)
Okay, seriously, WTF is that guy doing peeping over the wall of my cube? Oh, yeah. There's ZERO privacy here. Want to have a private phone conversation or talk shit about someone in the office? Good luck, because about 12 people will hear every word you're saying (best to just blog about it so your complaints can be read over and over, as well as shared with coworkers who weren't in earshot).

"Were you just talking about me, Ms. CrankyPants?"

In addition to chewing noises, there are many, MANY other irritating sounds that emanate from the cubes. How about these gems to make your day just that much more annoying?

  • Clipping nails (yes, really)
  • Receiving text alerts (cute tones OR vibrating)
  • Cracking knuckles
  • Scratching
  • Sighing
  • Yawning
  • Breathing loudly
  • Sniffling (repeatedly)
  • Clearing throat (repeatedly)
  • Chomping on gum 
  • Scraping out the verylastbit of yogurt from a container
  • Listening to music (YES, I can hear the tinny noises escaping from your headphones)
  • Shifting constantly in a squeaky office chair (for the love of GOD, please get some WD40)
  • Snickering at a hilarious cat video on YouTube*

*Have you seen the one where the cats play patty cake? It really is funny and I'd snicker right now if I were watching it.

**I just watched it. I kept the volume low but still loud enough so the fellow in the neighboring cube probably could hear it. And I couldn't help it, I snickered. But I will not clip my nails. Promise.