Diagnosis: Murder Veins

This summer, Andy and I will be celebrating 15 years of togetherness with a Jamaican vacation. Also this summer, we’ll lose Andy’s good, employer-sponsored health insurance. Armed with these two pieces of information, I booked myself for a consultation at a vein clinic. You know, one of those places that will laser away your unsightly leg veins and maybe make insurance pay for it. Motivation: Look good in a swimsuit. And maybe stop ruining wedding photos with my my renegade legs.

I’ve long wondered what’s to be done about the state of my veins. They’re pretty impressive, and there’s a family history of women getting their veins “stripped” in Ye Olde Olden Days. I don’t know what that entails and I refuse to Google it, because ew. I haven’t worn shorts since 9th grade, and even then it was with opaque, mustard-yellow tights, because I know what looks good. Mini skirts have been out of the question, mostly because the last time I could get away with wearing them, I probably thought they were sinful. (I might still think they’re sinful.)

Neither my puritanical upbringing nor my feminist conversion give much allowance for vanity. Blow-dryers? I don’t understand them. Eyelash curler? Forbidden. Exercise? Never touch the stuff. Teeth-whitening strips? Fuck you. I classified fixing varicose veins the same way I think about getting a breast lift: Maybe a good tax write-off if I decide to go into professional stripping, but otherwise not easily justifiable. They still bothered me, but not enough for me to take any particular action. For years, my doctors would say things to the tune of, “Holy shit! Look at your fucking legs!” And I’d say, “Yes, doctor, what’s to be done?” Responses were as follows:

  1. “Insurance won’t cover it until you’re out of your childbearing years, because the veins will just come right back when you get pregnant.”
  2. “I can write you a referral to a specialist once you’ve decided not to have any [/more] children and/or gotten an IUD.”
  3. “Now that you’re done having kids and you got this IUD, lose some weight. That might help.”
  4. “Good job on losing that weight! Tough luck on those veins, though. This is just what happens when you have a baby.”
  5. “Have you tried compression tights? They’re fun for summer!”

Advice I support, in theory. In practice, let’s go see a doctor.

But recently, the vanity kicked in, and damnit, I want to wear a sinful miniskirt on a Jamaican beach without feeling like my legs are ruining everyone else’s vacation. Off to the vein specialist!

My doctor, a man with 30 years of experience as a cardiac surgeon and, most recently, 10 years specializing in vein repair, looked at my legs and whispered to himself, “Wow.”

“If you’re saying ‘wow,’ I feel pretty special.”

He assured me that I am special. And more pressingly, so are my monstrous veins. Insurance will cover it immediately. If my insurance company resists, he says, all he would have to do is send them a picture of my legs to prove that “this is no joke.” If I don’t get the valves in my veins repaired, a blood clot is imminent. Because of where the failed valves are located, that clot will be very dangerous, likely moving into the heart. Oh, and P.S., you’re supposed to take care of your veins before you get pregnant, you silly goose.

I … see.

Of all the health shit I’ve dealt with up to this point, my goddamn varicose veins — that like four doctors told me to cover with self-tanner and stop whining about —  were going to be the thing that orphaned my child? Are you fucking kidding me?

I go in for four surgeries (outpatient, minor, using lasers) next week, with a phlebotomy (gross-sounding, not going to Google it) likely to follow two weeks later.

Good thing I’ve gotten to a point in my life where I want to look good in a goddamn swimsuit.

Potty Training with President Carter


Charlie showed early promise as a potty-training prodigy. At maybe 18 months, he used the potty twice in one weekend, of his own volition, with precise aim and everything. I was so excited that I think it freaked him out, and he refused to pee pee in the potty for months to come.

At Charlie’s parent-teacher conference (a thing they do for 2-year-olds! Who knew?) his teacher stated that he didn’t seem that interested in potty training. She recommended bribery. With candy.

Somehow, we’ve so far managed to convince Charlie that candy isn’t something that exists in the world. For a while, this could be said of sugar generally, but the kid wants to eat Nutri-Grain bars for breakfast. Who am I to stand in the way of his dreams? More importantly, once he knew a sweet morning meal was a possibility that life afforded him, I couldn’t unring that bell.

I got Charlie a snowman Pez dispenser for Christmas, because I’m not a monster. At first, it was one Pez for a solid pee-pee attempt, but Miss Ann said that won’t do it. No participation awards in potty training. Pez is for closers. Now we’re at two Pezzes per pee-based victory.

When the snowman dispenser ran out of Pez, we obviously needed to purchase a set of four presidential Pez dispensers (for the candy).

Now, when Charlie needs to pee, he’ll usually just pee in his diaper so he can keep playing with his trains uninterrupted. But he sometimes asks if we can go find President Carter and have some Pez. I’ll tell him that yes, he can have Pez the next time he goes pee-pee in the potty. A moment of reflection. Then:

He’ll pee-pee in the potty, fight me about how many thousands of times he can flush the toilet, stand on his stool to wash his hands at the sink, start to freak out that he just wants bigger soap, refuse to dry his hands, have feelings about putting his diaper and/or pants back on, receive two Pez candies, and conclude the transaction with an appreciative “Thank you, President Carter.”

While he may not be the potty-training prodigy I’d initially hoped for, he can tell the difference between a Jimmy Carter Pez dispenser and a Gerald Ford Pez dispenser, so I’m calling this a win.

The Anthopodgedy Catalogue, as Read by a 2-Year-Old

March 2016, Dresses

(and Spring Shoe Preview)


“She wants a boat.”


“What’s he doing?”

“She wants a sweater.”

“She’s going to jump in the water.”

“Woah! Look at those ones!”

“I’m reading it, Mom!”

“I’m all done reading it.”

This has been your March 2016 Anthopodgedy Catalogue.

In Love and Barf

Charlie hasn’t yet for sure and explicitly said “I love you” to me yet. Though he shows affection and I totally know he loves me, I’m looking forward to hearing him say it. I thought in the wee hours of this morning, the time had come.
Charlie barfed seven times between 1:30 AM and 8:30 AM. It was a rough night for both of us. As I was comforting Charlie in between rounds 6 and 7, he looks up at me and says,
“Mom? I wuv y–
Mom… I wuv your pants.”
Even when covered in vom, they’re pretty good pajama pants. Grey cotton. Setting the world on fire.
I love your pants too, bud.


We are at our finest today.

Blizzard Prep: Toddler Edition

Charlie’s getting some telework in before the blizzard hits. Just wants to be safe in case we lose power. His supervisor reminded him that, while all employees are encouraged to stay safe during this historic weather event, these Central European train videos aren’t going to watch themselves.  

Upon waking this morning, Charlie looked out the window and said, “Look, Mom, the grass is made of snow!” Followed up by, “Shit, I’ve got to yell ‘toot toot!’ at like three hours of steam train footage before my clients get on the road. Better put a pot of coffee on.”

The Joy of Deadlines

Turns out I don’t do well without a pressing deadline. Just came off of winter break this morning– the two week stretch I’ve been gleefully planning since I began grad school– and by yesterday afternoon, my final day off, I was legit thinking about killing myself. Is my life insurance policy in order? Are certain kinds of deaths (i.e. those performed at one’s own hand) ineligible for payout? Should I make a phone call to see if my aunt will watch Charlie for a couple weeks while I check myself into Sibley? What’s the deductible for checking myself into Sibley? What’s the Uber ride going to cost to this non-Metro-accessible facility? OH WAIT! I owe a client 1.5 hours of work. I’ll do that and see if I still feel like getting my affairs in order after. 

2 hours later, I felt 99.5% better. I was productive and even earned some money for it. Then Charlie and I took a long nap, and I felt 10000% better. 

The holidays have been slow and anxiety-inducing; I transitioned into freelance work this fall, and some work I expected to have in place by now got pushed back into the new year. I still have not signed on the lines that are dotted in these cases, and while I’m cautiously optimistic that things will be fabulous soon, I’m currently out of money and filled to the brim with existential dread and more-plentiful-than-usual self-loathing. I had every intention of using this time, which I knew would be very light on paid work, as an opportunity to enjoy time off with Charlie and take him to the zoo. 

We did not make it to the zoo.

I am currently fine and not fixin’ to do myself in. Yesterday sucked, and in fact things have been dark since I filed for unemployment on January 1. It wasn’t an activity that inspired me with plentiful feelings of awesomeness, and 2016 is not off to my favorite start. But I relate this feeling of kinda wanting to kill myself to how I sometimes kinda want to eat a whole sleeve of Oreos or I kinda want to try heroin or I kinda want to have sex with strangers. Even eating a whole sleeve of Oreos, which I’ve never done but may yet do some day, seems daunting. 

I might like to eat a whole sleeve of Oreos. Maybe I’ll make that happen today. I don’t have any Oreos, nor do I have the car today. I could either walk with Charlie to the Giant, or see if his Grandad will watch him while I go by myself. Do I really want to walk all the way to Giant for cookies? How long will this errand take? Is this the thing that will make me leave the house today when there’s so much other crap to do? How much do Oreos cost these days? How many calories are in a sleeve or Oreos? Will the walk cancel out the non-nutritive sludge? Does health work that way? How will I feel after I eat a whole sleeve of Oreos? Will it give me the energy I need to be a productive member of society, or will it make me feel gross? Probably the latter. Does it turn out that I’m just really tired and need a nap, thereby invalidating all feelings? Yes.

Replace “seek and eat unhealthy number of cookies” with “commit suicide,” and that’s the gist. 

I applied for unemployment once before, coinciding with the Major Depressive Episode of 2005. It was not a good scene. 

Things to note: A) I’ve got mental health professionals and their fabulous anti-depressents working for me and B) School started back up today and I won’t have time to circle the drain. And C) I took a nap and was legit fine after that.

I’m putting this low point on the Internet because I’m aware that a lot of us feel this way a lot of the time, particularly when there are newish children in our lives (who don’t let us sleep as much as we need to), and it’s not something we generally care to discuss. This started as a journal entry on my phone (on my way to therapy, but turns out that appointment isn’t until next week). Then I concluded that not publishing this felt like hiding for the sake of pretending like my shit is more together than it is. 

My shit is together-ish. For today, that’s good enough.