Saturday, November 18, 2006

A Man's Guide to Nurses

Author: Rick Williams
Ah, such mysterious, wondrous creatures are nurses. What treasures lurk beneath those crisp white uniforms and what young man doesn't have fantasies of discovering those secrets for himself.

SCREEEEEECH. Reality Check!

I've been married to a nurse for going on a quarter of a century and let me tell you nurses are not what you expect and I don't even care what you expect because you are wrong! Let's begin by tearing down some of the more famous assumptions about nurses right off the top.

The Nurse as Sex Kitten:

Anyone who lived through the early seventies or has made it a point to rent such famous videos as "Night Duty Nurses" or "Student Nurses" or "Night Duty Student Nurses" or any one of several dozen nurse-centric skin flicks will be immediately struck by the fact that all nurses have heaving bosoms, just millimeters away from popping out of skin tight white uniforms. You will also learn that nurses always wear white garters and hose and high heels. This of course is a handy dress code because movie nurses spend a lot of time hopping in and out of patient's beds.
The reality is that most nurses wear scrubs, shapeless draping hunks of cotton that could cause you to breeze past Pamela Anderson without a second look. Shoes are white clunky nursing shoes or sneakers with blobs of things on them better left un-described. Socks replace white hose and garters and when is the last time anyone saw a nursing cap? Graduation perhaps?

Now as far as a nurse hopping into your bed to relieve your "problem." Get a life Bub! If you aren't sick they don't have time to mess with you and if you are sick, you probably look, feel and smell sick not to mention, they have seen better. I don't care how good looking you are, they have seen better and it was probably a doctor making lots of money or at least someone who didn't smell bad.

The Nurse as an Angel:

If you want to hear the latest gross jokes, just find a nurse. Some uninformed males seem to think of nurses as angelic creatures, demure and loving... a cross between a nun and their Mom. Well, hate to bust your bubble, guy, but as a group nurses are some of the rawest gals you will run into. I don't care how sweet and demure they may look on the outside, inside is someone who has seen things that would gag a maggot, break your heart or drive a normal person nuts, so most nurses get a very wicked sense of humor squarely lodged in the black to sick side of the scale.

As I said above, nurses have almost always seen better and that includes personal anatomy. Any male foolish enough to think that he ranks among the Gods when it comes to endowments will be quickly dismayed to learn that his sweet little dear has seen MUCH better!

Just bring the subject up and you will most likely hear about the head injury case she saw in nursing school while holding up her arm and grabbing her elbow with her hand to put things into scale. If you think your little Willie was king, well you're wrong! In fact I've never met a nurse that didn't have a BIG WILLIE story, so be forewarned.

Also, in case you are looking for sympathy for the little boo-boo you had in the shop, forget it! Lets say as a typical male klutz you manage to saw your finger off. You go running to your nurse wife or girlfriend who is on the phone with a nurse friend of hers. As she continues to talk to her friend, she slaps a towel on your finger after giving the stub a good eyeballing, takes out a baggy to put the severed digit in, tells you to get some ice while she is explaining to her friend that her dummy S/O just sawed his finger off. As you stand there for 15 minutes she calmly finishes her conversation as though nothing is going on until finally she says, "Well I guess I better get Fred to the hospital." She hangs up the phone, looks at you, sighs and says, "Let's go."

You have just learned an important lesson. On the nurse scale of emergencies, yours is like a minus 9! As my wife has told me, "when you are on a ventilator, with six meds running and 10 minute vitals, then you're sick. Anything less than that isn't worth getting excited over!"

The Nurses Mutual Benefit Network:

As a male either dating or married to a nurse you should realize one important thing. There are nurses everywhere. That in itself is no big deal, but the fact is that every nurse knows other nurses who know more nurses so that by the time you are finished, a nurse on the Island nation of Chuuk who observes you doing something you shouldn't has the immediate capability of getting word to your wife or girlfriend.

This system is way more reliable and efficient than the Internet and has existed for a much longer time. Take it for granted that your nurse S/O will know about anything you have done, good or bad, before you get home!

Your Social Life with Nurses:

Nurses hang out with other nurses and soon you may find that all your friends are married to nurses. The reason this happens is because in situations where nurses mingle with nonmedical folks things can get ugly. For example, you are out to dinner with your nurse S/O another nurse couple and two civilian couples. The nurses sit and chat, discussing fun things like bleeding bowels, open sores, how much fat was sucked out of some patient, projectile vomiting, traumatic amputations all over a nice pasta dinner. The nurses carry on talking as the civilian couples turn funny colors, make faces and suppress their gag reflex and this is if the nurses don't have any really gross things to share like the homeless guy with maggots in his bleeding sores!
After several dinners and gatherings like this you will soon find your circle of friends has shrunk significantly. The key to avoiding this is to do the following: Never go out in mixed groups with more than one nurse. A lone nurse is OK, the trouble starts when you have more than one and when that happens, keep the regular folks away. Also, if you are going to be around a group of nurses in a social gathering, be sure to sit with the non nurses. You might as well because the nurses will be so busy talking among themselves about work that you and any other non nurse will be totally ignored. Also get used to the idea that some friends and neighbors will take advantage of your S/O being a nurse by calling at all hours of the day and night for advice. This may include male friends dropping trousers to show your sweetie his rash. Best advice I can give is to just deal with it and hope it isn't contagious.

The Health Ramifications of being with a Nurse:

Most nurses have the constitution of a horse, which isn't true because I've been around horses and they get sick more often. The reason for this is pretty simple. After about 3-5 years on the job, nurses have been exposed to so many bugs that
they either end up dead or full of every antibody known to mankind. If you want the ultimate booster shot, just get a blood transfusion from a nurse who's worked in a hospital for 20 years! That said though, you don't have all these antibodies so when she comes home with the sniffles, a week later you're flat on your back with the worse case of the flu in your life! Oh and if you are the least bit squeamish, don't even think about the bugs she brings home on her clothes. It will mess with your mind as she talks about her Resistant TB patient!


Ah such mysterious, wondrous creatures are nurses. You know, they really are and I thank God every day for my nurse!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

New York, Days Three and Four (incomplete)

Day 3, Sunday

I made a bad shoe choice. I went for fashion instead of comfort and set aside my sneakers and put on my brown boots. We were, after all, going to be taking a boat tour in the morning, then lunch, then a bus tour, with a little shopping thrown in. I thought I could hang!

Of course, we stopped at Starbucks and Ess A Bagel on our way to the subway, sustenance for the morning. We took the subway to Times Square where we hopped on the double-decker buses Uptown Loop. The Uptown Loop would take up within 6 blocks of the dock for our New York Harbor tour. This is where the shoe choice started to rear it's ugly head. As we walked, the balls of my feet started to burn.

We finally arrive at the Circle Line dock and get ready to board. Ahead of us in line are yet another group of Brits (I think Virgin or British Airways must have had some deal, NY was crawling with 'em). We get on the boat and pick our seats. It is a foggy and chilly morning for sight-seeing. Dave, our tour guide starts to give us his schpeel and we are off. He announces that we are on the "Trust Me Tour", as in, "To your left is the Empire State Building, trust me, it is there, you just can't see it right now." I now hate the Empire State Building and could really give a shit if I see it ever again. We go cruising through the harbor and I learn way more about New Jersey than I have planned. We finally get close to Ellis Island and learn it's history. We see the Statue of Liberty and like most celebrities, she is much shorter when you see her in person. She is beautiful and her symbolism is not lost to me. We then cruise back to the dock and our tour is over.

Deb and I are now ready for lunch. Since my feet are hurting, we decided to take a taxi. What we end up doing is hiring a car (it is a nuance thing that I do not fully comprehend- taxis are yellow, cars are black?) The guy who is driving our "car" is named Howie, he is an ex-cop for NY's finest. He does the usual, "Where are you gals from?" We do out usual "Napa". He then goes into the predictable responsorial of "Oh wine country, I like wine, etc..." I am very curious about how one learns to drive in NYC, so I make the mistake of asking Howie if he has ever had an accident involving a pedestrian. (We have had several near misses with pedestrians each time we have boarded a vehicle, no matter what size) BIG MISTAKE! He tells me I should never ask that question and gives me a 5 minute lecture on pedestrians. He takes us to Resturant Row.

Joshua Tree

Uptown Loop in the rain



Serendipity 3

Let's just watch a little of this game

Day 4, Monday

Saturday, November 11, 2006

New York, Day Two

Day 2, Saturday

(Written by Misha with guest contributor, Deb)

Well, we slept in. Each of us woke up on the hour, every hour starting at 7 am; however, we neither of us could manage to muster the energy to get up before 10:00. Through the night,
I made continual attempts to spoon Deb and squish her out of the bed- as I do to Mr. Misha, but Deb was totally unaware due to the combo of a cocktail, jetlag and Ambien.

OK, back to the day.

By noon, we were out of the hotel and ready to face the day. We were definitely groggy and somewhat puffy due to lack of H2O.

***Note, I had bought a liter of water yesterday, but did not drink a drop until 9:00 pm last night***. However, lugging the frickin' bottle around was a great way to fit in a workout for the day!

We bought bagels with schmears, coffee and water (hopefully to be consumed throughout the day) and were off to Times Square. We were heading back to Times Square to be total tourists; we bought the all-inclusive sightseeing package of double-decker bus rides around NYC. With cameras on and maps in hand, we boarded the bus anxiously awaited the tour to begin. We were off! Our tour guide was a redheaded, New York accented woman named Claire. She had a plethora of advice for us and threatened to kick us off the bus if we did not follow it. We were told not to eat in Times Square (Oh crap, we had already screwed up)

The Downtown Loop is just what it sounds like, a loop taken around the downtown area of New York City. It was a beautiful bright and sunny day and Deb and I were perched atop a red double-decker bus, Tourist Style. As we went through Times Square we were told about it's past. How it used to be filled with crime, strip clubs and porn shops. (The garish commercial space that now resides there cannot be less vulgar than it's previous inhabitants) The lights are really pretty at night, but it does make one a little nauseous during the day. We then crossed over Broadway and saw the Veteran's Day Parade. My favorite parade marchers were the All-Male, Purple-clad, Marching-Band with Rainbow Flags! So much for "Don't Ask, Don't Tell!" We then continued through the Theatre District, Madison Square Garden and onto the foot of The Empire State Building.

This is where I began to feel stupid. Claire, the tour guide, kept saying there is the building and for the life of me, I could not see it. She went on and on about why they change the colors of the lights that illuminate the top of the Empire State building, what colors for which occasion, etc. I still had no idea which building she was talking about, so I asked Deb. She pointed out the HUGE, but non-descript building directly in front of me. Then I realized my mistake, I had thought the beautiful Art Deco Style building I had seen in a million movies and pictures of NYC was the Empire State Building, it is not. It is The Chrysler Building. The Empire State Building sucks, it is just tall with colored lights on occasion. I was both embarrassed and disappointed at the same time.

The bus then took us to The Flatiron Building, now that is a cool building! I took some pictures of it and we were on our way again. Through Union Square and into Greenwich Village, then to SoHo. We stopped in Chinatown and bought did some shopping. I did a little bargaining for our stuff and it helped rebuild my self-esteem that the Lame-ass Empire State Building had left in a shambles.

A quick pee and we were back on our bus. Off to City Hall and Brooklyn Bridge. I saw where a lot of the exterior shots of all of the Law and Order episodes are shot. I took more pictures. No sightings of Jack, Elliot or Munch!

The next stop was St. Paul's Church and World Trade Center. We de-bused and headed toward the church. First, let me say that it is a really pretty church. It is also were a lot of the 9/11 rescuers went for a nap, a meal or moral support when they were looking for bodies at ground zero. I didn't realize how much it would get to me. Within the first 2 minutes of being in the church, I was tearing up. The church has been turned into a museum/memorial and the exhibits were tasteful and touching. There was a photographer/firefighter from the FDNY and he was talking with people as they left the church. I felt like a dork, all teary eyed, so I just headed out of the church after taking one quick picture of the church's altar.

We walked through the church's courtyard and then on to the WTC site. The site itself is just a big construction zone, but the exhibits, pictures and memorials were moving. Especially since in the background a man was playing a flute (first vagrant sighting). He played Amazing Grace, God Bless America and the national Anthem as hundreds of people read the names of those killed that day.

Given the current political state of our country, I had not been feeling very "Gung Ho America", but at that moment, I forgot that our president is an retard, we are slowly losing all of our civil liberties and that judgmental, hypocritical, bible thumpers are trying to brainwash the entire nation (being led by a pudgy little troll named, Karl) into drinking their particularly putrid flavor of Kool-Aid. I felt patriotic and sad, all at the same time.

Well, we got back on the bus. But this time, instead of our New York accented tour guide, we had this indiscernible Chinese woman on the loud speaker. Deb and I were in the back of the bus with a bunch of rowdy Welshmen. All of my work in high school at Robert's China Garden was finally about to pay off! I became the Chinese ESL to English translator for our area of the bus. It was hysterical. She would say something and I would then translate it. Deb was about to pee herself. The Welshmen were thrilled; they had been on the bus for over an hour and had no idea what the hell the lady was talking about. We went through Battery Park, South Street Seaport, and then the Lower East Side, all the time I espoused the history of the particular area.

We left the ESL tour guide and took off for Katz's Deli. It is well known for the fake orgasm scene in "When Harry Met Sally" and it is also famous for it's PASTRAMI. I am not particularly a pastrami fan. But this stuff kicked ass! It melted in your mouth. They hand-slice the meat, no slicing machine to be found in this joint. Our "slicer", Eddie, was an aspiring actor (surprise!). He wanted Deb and I to take him back to California with us. He even gave us his card, yikes!

Thoroughly sated, we got back on the bus in the Lower East Side. Much to our elation.......It was Claire! We were so excited to tell her where we had been. (It had been one of the commandments of Claire, ..Thou shalt eat a pastrami sandwich from Katz's Deli..). She made Deb and I part of her tour and had us speak, on the loudspeaker (like we needed one), about the culinary delights we had just partook of at Katz's.

Still on the bus, we toured the East Village. We went past the United Nations, the Waldorf Astoria and Rockefeller Center. The Christmas tree had arrived that day, but was not lit up. The skating rink was filled with ice skaters and the surrounding ginkgo trees were covered in white lights. We passed Central Park but couldn't see anything because it was now DARK. Finally, back to Times Square and off the bus.

WE HAD TO PEE! This is a nearly impossible task in Times Square. We also decided that we needed some coffee to keep us alert for the Nighttime Loop. "Why not kill two birds with one stone and pee @ Starbucks?" We thought we were so smart, but the Times Square Starbucks has no bathroom. After obtaining our lifeblood (Coffee), the Barista kindly pointed out a few places we could find a bathroom, but upon arrival to those locales, we found them to be out of order or a line as long as the Prime Meridian.

***Light bulb***
I bust out with my "Irreverent Guide to Manhattan" book and went to the section titled "Where to Pee" (No Kidding). The guidebook tells us to just pop into the lobby of a hotel and use their facilities. We stroll in to the Marriott Suites Times Square and cool as cucumbers make a beeline for the potty.

***The light bulb dims***
My first thought is to hold Deb's stuff, including her coffee, while she goes and then have her reciprocate. My bladder gets the best of me and I just get into the stall next to her. I hang my bags on the hook and place my brand-new-completely-full Starbucks coffee on the convenient little shelf (BIG MISTAKE). I do what I came there for and as I reach to gather my things, CRASH! Down goes my coffee and EXPLODES onto the floor. (This is almost as bad as the loss of my TIDE pen, see: day one) I wash my hands; lay some paper towels on the floor and out comes Deb. She starts to create this big lie to tell the hotel staff. I, on the other hand, decide to go the Mea Culpa route. I go out to the desk, smile, and say, "I have a confession" to the desk clerk. She thinks I am about to tell her where Jimmy Hoffa is buried, but instead I calmly say, "I dropped my coffee in the bathroom, I am really sorry." The desk clerk says no problem and calls housekeeping. Deb and I casually stroll back out to Times Square. I felt so frickin' smooth! Deb was impressed. I have almost recovered from the Empire State Building moment.

Back to Starbucks for a replacement coffee and onto the bus, AGAIN. This time for the Nighttime Loop. Our tour guide is a furry, cute little guy named Dave. Dave has an endearing charm and very dry sense of humor, but for a tour guide, not too chatty. For approximately 2 1/2 hours, we FREEZE OUR ASSES OFF as we travel, in the dark, past my nemesis, the Empire State Building and through Greenwich Village, SoHo, Chinatown and Rockefeller Center, ONE MORE TIME. It does look different at night and you get a different perspective with Dave. Then, we go over the Manhattan Bridge to Brooklyn. Why? I am still not sure. What I do know is that the residents of Brooklyn wave to the bus. This struck me as odd, but then, it is Brooklyn. After a few minutes, I start to get nervous. Dave has taken us to some sort of industrial park. I am pretty sure we are about to get WHACKED. Why in the hell would someone want to see a Brooklyn industrial park in the dark? Then the bus comes to a slow rolling stop and I am trying to figure out if the untouched litre of water in my purse will deflect the bullets. After all, I have a husband and cocker spaniel to go home to. I contemplate saying the rosary, just then, Dave comes on the loud speaker and says; "This is the best nighttime view of the Manhattan skyline." Ahhhhhh, a photo op! I stop looking for rosary beads (not) and bring out the camera. Up until this point, I have chalked up my blurry, somewhat Avant Garde night photography to the movement of the bus. It is at this point that I realize....... I do not know how to take a flipping picture with my camera. I feel like I am back at the Empire State Building all over again.

We get back to Times Square, get off the bus and head for the Subway. The plan is to go back to the hotel, drop off our stuff, freshen up and head to this late night noodle place for some Udon.

When we get off at our subway stop, a man has taken refuge in our exit way. He is all curled up in his green sleeping bag in front of Credit Suisse. We take the other exit and note that this in only the 2nd vagrant we have seen in over 24 hours.

Upon arrival to the hotel, we realize it is after midnight and the noodle house is closed. We go down to the front desk and ask where we can eat close by. He sends us three doors down to the "East Side Diner". It is empty, save for 2 drunk, pimply face guys making assess of themselves. Deb and I take a seat at the counter and order food. The two drunks provide the dinner entertainment. Deb and I get our food and that is when I realize...THIS IS THE BEST GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH I HAVE EVER EATEN!

We go back to the hotel; bellies full and hit the hay!

Friday, November 10, 2006

New York, Day One

Day One, Friday

Well, it all started off just dandy at the Sacramento airport. I was random bag check girl, so I had to step aside and have my personal space violated and my TIDE detergent pen confiscated. This was the beginning of the end! You see......I must, at all times be in the possession of either SHOUT wipes or TIDE pen. It is never a question of IF I will spill something on my shirt; it is merely a matter of WHEN. Traveling without my spot removers could throw off my carefully thought out travel wardrobe. This was not a good sign. But I digress........

Because I was delayed by security, I was one of the last people on the plane. Everyone was waiting impatiently for the last few stragglers to get seated. All of the overhead compartments near me were full, so my carry on bag had to go almost 20 rows away from me. Goodbye buckwheat pillow and Ambien!

So I get in my seat, a middle seat and try to get is not happening. We take off and everything is cool. I am not comfortable, I miss my pillow and I want my Ambien! I finally fall asleep about three hours into the flight only to be awakened with crazy turbulence. No sleeping on the plane.

We get off the plane in NY and go outside to get the super shuttle to our hotel. We wait for almost an hour! We drive around in the shuttle with this crazy driver named Al. He was driving like a maniac, but he takes us and our fellow travelers (another story for another post) all over Queens and Manhattan. We got off our plane around 7:30 but didn't get to our hotel until almost noon. Boy, did we have to pee and we were in desperate need of a Starbucks!

We checked into our hotel. The room and bathroom are TINY, but nice. We freshen up and head directly to STARBUCKS. Coffee in hand, it is now time for my first ride on the New York Subway. Not bad, a little easier and cleaner than Boston's "T".

We when to a store called "Intimacy" for bra fittings. This stores' owner has been on Oprah, The Today Show and What Not To Wear. It is fabulous! I was fitted without Marille even using a tape measure. (Picture this, you are standing there, naked from the waist up and this woman you don..t know is staring at your boobs, UNCOMFORTABLE!) Marille looks at me and makes this HUGE sigh and says, in a French accent; "I am going to have to go to the basement for you.." and off she goes with me topless in the dressing room. She is gone for what seems like and eternity then she is back and hands me a few bras. I start to put one of the bras on and she says; "I like the way you bend over to get the girls in there!" I am trying to not bust out (pardon the pun) into a fit of giggles, but I did not expect the color commentary whilst I put the bra on! When I get the bra on, this tiny woman grabs onto the front of the bra and starts shaking so hard that I almost fall over! She then says, "You have to shake the girls to make sure they are in there correctly!" This scenario is replayed over and over for about an hour. So, I try about a zillion bras on and find 5, plus a sports bra that fit. And just as Marille predicted, I was a three cup sizes bigger than I thought I was.

Deb and I each bought some Bras and off we were to 34th Street(as in Miracle on) to see Macy's. It looks just like the one in SF, but was HOT as an oven. While in Macy's we took a time out to go pee. There in the Macy's women's bathroom waiting room, we started to talk with this classic New York City woman; lots of make-up, nails, hat, dressed to a "T" and full on accent. She proceeded to tell us of all the bargain places to shop and how she has lost so much of her hair over the past year. She moved on and we cracked up.

We took off to Times Square, visited some stores and had dinner. On the way home, we stopped at Grand Central Station and Deb showed me how they restored the whole place. We bought a slice of cheesecake to share later on. We stumbled on the subway and headed back to the hotel. We stopped at Starbucks, again, and got some decaf....came back to the room, ate our cheesecake and Deb is currently asleep on the bed.

Tomorrow will be busier, but more organized!