I’m worth it

I’m worth it 9

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This past December, I found myself in my general practitioner’s office begging for Ambien so I might make it through an upcoming flight to Australia. I’d also inquired about getting my annual pap smear out of the way–December is typically the month I deal with that. (Nothing says ‘Merry Christmas’ like putting your feet in cold metal stirrups while trying to force small talk with a middle-aged man holding forceps, right?)

The Doctor informed me we’d have to postpone that delightful experience until February, due to my insurance. I nodded in agreement while entering a reminder alarm on my phone.

“I think I’d also like to get the genetic breast cancer test done.” I informed him.

Both of my grandmothers faced (and beat) breast cancer at a relatively young age. While the chance I’m a carrier of the BRCA genes is probably minuscule, I’d rather be safe than sorry. I’ve been considering the test for quite some time, and figured the sooner I had it done, the better.

My doctor looked surprised, given I didn’t have an extremely strong family history. He warned me the test was quite expensive, and most likely wouldn’t be covered by insurance.

“That’s okay,” I remarked, “I’d still like to have it done when I’m in next.”

“You realize even if you don’t carry the gene, you can still get breast cancer.” he explained to me before once again detailing how very expensive such a procedure could be.

“Like, how expensive?” I inquired, still fairly certain it would be worth a significant investment.

While he wasn’t quite sure of the exact cost, he assured me he would get in touch with the lab and let me know what type of bill I would be looking at. I thanked him, uttering an awkwardly cheerful “See you in February!” before heading out to pick up my Ambien.

****

A few days later, I mentioned the above conversation to Scott.

“So you would get a double mastectomy if the test came back positive?” he asked.

“Absolutely,” I said with certainty. “Keeping them wouldn’t be worth the risk. Plus, the surgeons would probably be able to equip me better boobs than I started out with in the first place!” I joked.

“You should definitely get it done.” Scott urged. “If you die on me, I want it to be sudden and painless. Not long and drawn out like with cancer.”

“You and me both.” I agreed. “I looked it up online and it is pretty expensive, though. The testing can run up to five-thousand dollars.”

“I think it can actually be even more than that.” Scott added.

“Really? I don’t know…” I wabbled, “Maybe it isn’t worth it then.”

“Get serious, Katrina. You’re worth way more than five thousand dollars. I want you to get the test done.”

“Wow.” I remarked with surprise. Scott typically isn’t the sentimental type. “That was really sweet, Scott. Thank you.”

“I was strictly referring to your annual salary.” he muttered dryly.

Of course he was.

Still, I’m scheduled to get the test done next week. I’ve got a cynical husband who depends on my breadwinning abilities, after all.

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HOT Wings

HOT Wings 11

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Last night, the Taylor house was full of excitement.

And not because my beloved hometown football team won the Super Bowl.

I’d invited two of my girlfriends over to watch the game with Scott and I. “We’re going to keep things simple,” Chef Scott instructed, “Chili, hot wings and guacamole.”

I nodded my head in agreement. Scott and I have been known to overdo the food aspect of hosting from time to time, and sticking with the basics sounded like a solid plan. Yet when we hit up the supermarket for supplies, Scott insisted on making the guacamole and bleu cheese dressing for the wings completely from scratch. “What happened to keeping it simple?” I challenged. Eventually I gave in, allowing him to peruse the aisles for homemade mayonnaise accoutrements while I picked up ingredients for my famous chili. It’s one of the few dishes I hit out of the park every single time.

*****

Yesterday afternoon, I came downstairs to the sound of sizzling meat. Low and behold, there stood Scott, browning the spicy italian sausage that was reserved for my chili.

“What are you doing?!” I screeched. “That’s for the chili!”

“I know,” Scott responded calmly, “I have a new chili recipe I wanted to try out.”

Excuse me?

Scott does ninety percent of the cooking in our house, which I truly appreciate. He has some serious culinary skills, and I’m often treated to gourmet meals without having to lift a finger. (Until cleanup time rolls around, that is.)

Unfortunately, he’s also been known to hijack my recipes.

“Scott…this was my thing! I was really looking forward to making it today.”

“No,” he insisted, “You use the store-bought chili mix. That’s unacceptable. I’m making the entire pot from scratch. Here…watch this YouTube video about it.”

“NOT EVERYTHING HA S TO BE MADE FROM SCRATCH ALL THE TIME!!!” I screamed.

I spent about ten minutes trying to kick Scott out of the kitchen so I might reclaim my chili. Eventually, I realized my attempts were futile. He had seized control of my one-pot wonder, and there was no getting it back. I let out a sigh of frustration, grabbed my purse, and did what I always do when I’m angry.

Drove to Target and bought a ridiculous amount of throw pillows.

pillows

Told you.

I returned home just in time to help Scott put the finishing touches on all of the food. As my friends arrived we turned the chili to simmer, set out the chips and guacamole, and poured ourselves some red beers.

“I just have to fry up the chicken wings.” Scott informed us.

And that’s when it happened.

Scott dropped four frozen wings into the fryer, immediately creating a louder than normal bubbling sound that continued to crescendo to a sickening hiss. Just when I didn’t think it could get any louder, the fryer burst into flames. Six-foot tall flames that hit the top of our kitchen ceiling and quickly began to spread.

One of our guests screamed while running to the other room. The other grabbed her cellphone, prepared to dart out the backdoor and call 911 if necessary. Penny let out a terrified screech, bolting upstairs to the safety of her crate. Jolie, sound asleep under all those new throw pillows, was completely unaware of the drama unfolding below her.

Scott had the presence of mind to dash over to the utility room and grab the fire extinguisher we’d purchased for such a catastrophe as this. All the while, the flames grew brighter, hotter and larger.

And then there was me. I calmly took a few steps back from the stove top, and just stood in the corner laughing hysterically at the entire thing. I briefly remember thinking, “These $%(@* chicken wings better not burn my house down”, but mostly it was just laughing.

(Apparently I’m not the most helpful in moments of crisis.)

Just as Scott was prepared to spray the extinguisher, the flames disappeared. In what can only be described as an act of God, the grease fire had subsided on its own.

While relieved Scott hadn’t turned our house to ashes, the after math was still disheartening. Hot grease was everywhere. Our new jute kitchen rug was totally ruined, and every single surface in a five-foot radius was saturated with peanut oil.

And then there was the ceiling.

Whoops.

Whoops.

“I’m just glad you did this instead of me,” I remarked wryly, “You would never let me live something like this down.”

Scott quietly agreed, instructing us to go into the other room and watch the game. “Kickoff is in two minutes.” he urged. While I felt bad not helping with cleanup, a giant bowl of guacamole was far more appealing than the aftermath of a grease fire. Over the next three hours my friends and I ate, drank and pretended to know a few things about football. All the while, Scott cleaned. He even managed to salvage those godforsaken chicken wings.

“You sure you don’t want to watch the game?” I kept calling over from the TV room.

“Not as badly as I want to clean this up!” he yelled back. I felt guilty that Scott was missing the broadcast…but when he gets into cleaning mode, it’s best to just keep your distance and let him do his thing.

cleaning

Four hours, and one completely deconstructed oven later, the kitchen looked like new. (Aside from a ceiling that appears to have been tie-dyed with charcoal, but that’s a project for another weekend.)

“Wow…I can’t even tell there was a fire in here.” I commented.

“I’m never cooking chicken wings again.” Scott muttered.

“Sorry you missed the game. If it makes you feel any better it wasn’t very exciting.”

“It’s okay,” he shrugged, “I can watch the highlights. I’m just glad I didn’t burn the house down.”

You and me both, I thought, trying to hide my smirk.

While I felt sorry Scott had spent the better part of Super Bowl Sunday soaking up grease with paper towels, I couldn’t help but think that this is the sort of thing fate throws at you when you insist on commandeering  your wife’s chili.

Just saying.

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Retail Rehab

Retail Rehab 14

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Scott and I recently made the decision to put a ban on all online shopping for the next three weeks. This is primarily for two reasons:

  • We just went on an awesome Hawaiian vacation and are flat broke as a result.
  • Taxes are just around the corner. Fun fact about that — I’m employed by an organization in Washington, the land of no state income tax. Because I reside in ‘Sota, I have to pay in all of my Minnesota taxes at the end of the year. I also owe the IRS for the income I collected while doing side web design projects for friends, and let’s not forget the taxes I’ll need to pay for the trip I won to Australia.

(I know, I know…that last one is a total first world complaint. But still.)

Long story short, it’s time to make a brief cutback on our spending in order to beef up our bank account. For those of you who don’t think taking a break from online shopping would make that much of an impact on the piggy bank, you clearly haven’t met me. I’m the Queen of Amazon, Zappos, Overstock and HauteLook–several packages are delivered to our house each week. Don’t believe me? Just ask our friends who dog sat while we were on vacation, and were forced to step over a mountain of snow-covered FedEx boxes to make it to our front door.

I’m five days in to my internet shopping cleanse, and have somehow managed to stick to my promise. It hasn’t been easy, nor enjoyable, but I’ve stayed strong. Need proof? Behold, a list of all the magical items I’ve somehow found the strength to resist.

 

1. Tartan outfit from GoJane – $52.60 saved

tartan

Would this not be the perfect thing to wear to the Justin Timberlake concert next month? It’s totally channeling Gwen Stefani, and the long sleeves make it semi-appropriate for February in the Midwest.

But if I’m being honest with myself, I’d probably never wear it again. And let’s face it…I have about two more months of diet and exercise before my midriff is ready to be paraded in public. (Especially in front of Mr. JT.)

 

2. Suja Juice 3-Day Cleanse – $159.09 saved

suja

 

 

I thought completing a 72-hour organic juice cleanse would be an effective way to get back on track after a week of vacation indulgences. But one hundred and sixty bucks to feel “hangry” for three days? That just seems like overpriced masochism.

 

3. Viviscal Hair Nutrition Program – $47.59 saved

viviscal

This seemed like a legitimate way to help my weave grow a little faster. Ultimately, I found the will to say “no”. (If only because the reviews claimed this stuff was causing liver failure.)

 

4. Asics Gel NoosaFAST Running Shoes – $69.00 saved

asics

 

Aren’t they great? I feel like the obnoxiously bright, semi-distasteful color scheme totally matches my personality.

But alas, I’ve already purchased two pairs (yes…two pairs) of workout shoes this month. As much as I’d like to believe good things come in threes, I had to say no to these beauties. (Plus, my size was sold out.)

 

5.  IKEA Bekkestua Headboard – $250 saved

headboard2

I’ve been swooning over this queen-sized headboard for ages. In fact, I’m not sure how much longer our guest room can hold out without it. If in the history of tufted linen  headboards there was ever a tufted linen headboard emergency, this would be it.

*****

I’m counting down the final sixteen days of our internet retail hiatus with all the excitement of a 12-year-old boy at Christmas. The day I’m reunited with my precious Amazon Prime account can’t come soon enough.

Speaking of that…if acquired my glorious headboard at an actual IKEA store instead of purchasing it online, I’d still be well within the rules of the e-commerce fast, right? Right?

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Hurricane Katrina storms Hawaii: Part 2

Hurricane Katrina storms Hawaii: Part 2 8

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Missed part one? You know…the part where I was super mature and rational? (Heh.) You can catch up here.

*******

My bronzer caked on, false eyelashes in place and maxi dress pinched around my quickly expanding vacation waistline, I was ready to crash Scott’s conference welcome dinner. I say “crash” as he hadn’t paid the additional $250 fee required to bring one’s spouse to meals, but who actually checks that list anyway? I grabbed my clutch, reapplied my lip gloss, and picked up the car keys.

“Alright, Scott…time to go!” I called.

“Not so fast,” he sneered, “Were’s the Tiffany’s bag?”

I was hoping he had forgotten about that.

“I hid it,” I confessed quietly, “but because I love you, I’m willing to compromise on this one.” I fetched the tiny blue bag from its secret location and piled into the car. We had just pulled out of our resort’s parking lot when Scott asked the follow-up question I had been dreading.

“Can I see the bag?”

“Uh…sure,” I hesitated. “It’s right here!” I dangled the box in front of him to prove I had followed through on my promise.

“Let me see it.”

“But…but…you’re driving!” I argued.

He snatched the bag from my clutches, peering inside to discover it was in fact, empty.

“You just brought the empty bag!” he exclaimed.

“Uh…I did?” I cooed unconvincingly. “Whoops.

And just like that, Scott turned the car around and drove back to the condo. I refused to recover the box (which I had hidden in a separate location from the bag) which meant my poor husband was forced to tear our rental apart until he found it himself. Naturally, I waited in the car, rocking back and forth while eating massive amounts of macadamia nuts. It was a coping mechanism.

Ten minutes later, he emerged with my precious blue box in hand. Unwilling to admit my dreams of a rose gold arrow necklace were crashing down  around me, I began throwing a tantrum. I won’t detail the fifteen minute drive to the shopping center other than to say that Scott remained perfectly calm while I went Real Housewives of New Jersey on him. If there had been a table in that Honda Fit, I would have flipped it at least three times. It certainly wasn’t my proudest moment.

Upon our arrival at the Shops of Wailea, I refused to return the necklace myself. I believe I may have said something along the lines of “I want you to have to go in there and look like the jerk who’s making his wife take her jewelry back.” Again…not my finest behavior.

Scott shrugged casually, indicating he was okay with public humiliation so long as we got our $350 back.  I scowled with all my might. Foiled again.

And then, something strange happened. As he stepped out the vehicle, I noticed he was lugging every single one of my shopping bags out of the car…not just the Tiffany’s one.

“I need to take the tank tops you got me back for a different size, and I wasn’t sure what bag they were in,” he explained. “Wait here and don’t eat any more of the macadamia nuts, okay?”

As soon as he was out of sight, I reached for those sweet nuts of consolation and went to town. After thirty minutes had passed, I began to grow optimistic. Perhaps there was some sort of issue and he couldn’t take the necklace back? Setting the macadamia nuts aside, I focused all of my inner-chi on that small glimmer of hope.

Moments later, he returned to the vehicle.

“Did they take it back?” I managed between big, fat crocodile tears.

“Yes.”

At this point, I let out a sound that can only be described as a wolf howl combined with a poor impression of Mariah Carey’s high notes.

“Did they give you dirty looks?” I continued after somewhat regaining my composure.

Oh yeah.” he answered while rolling his eyes.

“Hey…wait a second…what happened to all of the other bags?” I asked slowly.

“I took back everything you bought today.”

Insert a second wolf howl/Mariah Carey shriek, followed by yours truly yelling so fast, it almost sounded like I was performing a profanity-laden gangster rap. (Almost.)

At this point, Scott (who was still cool as a cucumber) explained he was going to take me home and go to the dinner by himself. Somehow, in between violent nose blowing and over dramatic hyperventilation, I convinced him I would be on my best behavior. Ten minutes later, we were walking through the resort’s gardens, entering a beautifully catered ocean-side meal. Thankfully, we breezed right through without questioning.

“See?” I coaxed, “I told you they wouldn’t check if my name was on the list.” We strutted over to the bar, where I ordered a glass of wine. After the night I’d had, some vino was clearly in order. My plastic cup of Cabernet in hand, we nabbed seats at an open table. The instant we turned back towards the buffet, a stern woman in a navy skirt suit appeared.

“Excuse me, do you have your badges?” she inquired politely.

“Badges?” I asked innocently.

“Yeah,” Scott replied, “Mine’s right here.” He pulled his conference name tag out of his pocket, proving we were legitimate.

“And how about you, ma’am?” she asked me.

“I’m sorry…I wasn’t sent a badge, but I’m his wife. We’ve already paid for the conference, which I thought included meals….?”

“Did you pay the $250 spouse fee?” she asked.

“No,” Scott answered, “Is there a way to pay it now?”

“Absolutely,” she chirped in an overly energetic tone. “The cost for tonight’s dinner is one-hundred dollars. If you give me your room number I can have it charged directly to your account.”

Scott and I exchanged hesitant glances. While the spread of food looked beautiful, hotel banquet food is still…well…hotel banquet food. Plus, I was kind of full from all those mac nuts.

“Honestly, I don’t think I’m going to eat a hundred dollars worth of food,” I remarked. “Can I just sit here while he eats?”

“No ma’am, I’m sorry. You’re not allowed to be at these tables if you haven’t paid.”

“But I’m not going to eat anything.” I argued.

“I’m sorry,” she snipped, “You can’t be here.”

“You eat. I’ll go sit in the grass and wait.” I instructed Scott before shooting the woman my angriest sneer and stomping away. I grabbed my wine on the way out, purely out of spite.

I’d been sitting in the grass, sobbing quietly into my Cabernet for no more than two minutes when Scott approached.

“Let’s get out of here. I don’t want to eat crappy banquet food anyway.”

He took my hand and pulled me up. As soon we were out of sight, I began bawling uncontrollably.

“What’s wrong?” he asked with legitimate concern.

“I just got all dressed up and even put fake eyelashes on to go TAKE ALL OF MY STUFF BACK AND THEN GET KICKED OUT OF A DINNER!” I screamed. In a colorful expression of my inner-angst, I forcefully thrust the contents of my wine glass into the bushes, while unleashing one final Mariah wolf howl.

And just like that, I felt better.

By the time we returned to our condo, I had realized the error in my ways. I had acted like a toddler. Carelessly spent money without any regard for Scott’s wishes. Turned into a blonde version of Teresa Giudice and eaten 4,000 calories of nuts. Thrown perfectly good wine into perfectly good shrubbery. But perhaps most shameful was the way in which I had placed more value on a silly (albeit totally fabulous) material possession than I had on my marriage. Shame on you, Mariah Carey She-wolf.

“I’m sorry for the way I acted,” I confessed while crawling into bed. “You were right in wanting to take the necklace back–I shouldn’t have been so crazy.”

“It’s okay,” Scott yawned, “I’ve come to expect it from time to time.”

“Well,” I continued, “That doesn’t make it okay. I feel like I just ruined the vacation.”

Please. That type of stuff doesn’t even phase me,” he remarked casually. “And I’m sorry I took all your stuff back. I was just frustrated, I guess. You can go back and buy it again if you want….but no Tiffany’s this time, okay?”

“Okay,” I smiled. “Thank you. Oh…and sorry for eating the entire bag of macadamia nuts.”

“It’s alright,” he snickered, “I’ve come to expect that from time to time, too.”

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