Category Archives: stress

On blood pressure and cell phones.

water damaged iPhone

Not exactly how my screen looks, but you get the idea.

On Monday night, I dropped my iPhone in water. I wasn’t doing the dishes or brushing my teeth, but I was trying to balance the phone (while I was talking on it) on the top of a glass of water so I could carry both the glass of water in one hand and a beer in the other (priorities, people). Well my brilliant multitasking plan quickly became brilliantly stupid — or rather, it was already brilliantly stupid, but it demonstrated how it was brilliantly stupid.  As you might guess, my phone slipped into the glass of water. (I know, I KNOW. It’s still painful for me to think about, much less confess to via the internet.)

I managed to spill my beer in the process, too, so things went like this —
((phone slips into water))
me: “(expletive!)”
((beer spills onto my bed))
me: “Double (expletive!)”

Needless to say, I’ve had better evenings. I yanked my phone out of the water and desperately tried to power it down.  It didn’t want to and the screen wouldn’t respond to my touch.

me: “(expletive!)”

I had to let it die on it’s own (of battery drainage . . . I didn’t know if it would totally die from the water exposure, but I wanted to hold onto some hope). I shoved it in a bag of uncooked rice and resolved to let it dry for a few days before I did anything drastic (like turn it on). A couple of days of alternating between pulling it out of the rice to turn on the hair dryer (on cool) and try to blow into the phone to get any remaining water out and letting it sit undisturbed for many hours, I decided it had to be dry enough. Yesterday, I pulled my phone out of the rice and (gulp!) plugged it into the charger.

It cheerfully chirped in that iPhone way to let me know that the battery was charging. (Awesome!) But the screen was really dim and when I turned it on, it didn’t respond to my touch. (Not awesome!) Somehow, though, over the next several hours, it began becoming more responsive and as of this morning, I could call, text and fiddle with apps. The only problem? The visibly messed up screen. It almost looked as if someone had sneezed on the screen and then tried to wipe it away. Pretty!

I decided to take it into the Apple store this morning, thinking maybe they could repair the screen. As you might guess, they couldn’t, but they could replace the phone. I had purchased a 3G model for $99 last summer and, of course, not only was my extended warranty up, but it didn’t cover water damage. Awesome. Unfortunately for me, they couldn’t replace the 3G, they could only sell me a 3GS (at $199) with a 1 year contract.

After some tinkering with the phone, I learned that I was eligible to upgrade to an iPhone 4 on January 28th for $199. Hot dog! That’s great! Except . . . that’s a month away. This is when I started to get a little frustrated . . . and when I took the nice Apple girl’s advice on calling AT&T and borderline-begged them to move up my upgrade date. Three calls later (my phone dropped the first two — water damage or their famously-sketchy service, I’ll leave that for you to decide), I was rejected, Soup Nazi style. (No upgrade for you!)

With a crushed spirit and near-tears in my eyes, I walked around the shopping center reviewing my options:
– beg AT&T for an earlier upgrade at the cost I’d get on the 28th (didn’t work).
– buy a 3GS to replace my 3G at twice the cost of the phone and lock myself into another contract w/out eligibility to upgrade for over a year (ugh)
– upgrade to the iPhone 4 early, which would cost over $400 (no way, Jose)
– buy a go-phone to use to avoid using the damaged phone until I was able to upgrade (would mean I’d have to train everyone to a different cell number… but only for a month)
– or bite the bullet, wait to buy the iPhone 4 for $200 on the 28th, and use my damaged phone for the next four weeks and pray that it doesn’t crap out on me in an emergency or during the days that I’m on-call (spoiler alert: this one won)

I’m not someone who makes a habit of asking for special treatment. I’m a good customer — I pay my bill on time, in full every month and haven’t once complained to the company about anything — so I won’t lie… I was really disappointed that they wouldn’t let me upgrade just a few weeks early. As my blood pressure came down (I promise, I didn’t yell — I just get pretty tense, even if I’m being a nice as can be with customer service folks… they hold the key to you getting what you want, remember?), I gave into the tears and cried a bit on the way home. Babyish? Maybe, but I was really steamed.

Let this be a lesson, folks. Be smart with your smart phones, people, because AT&T and Apple are both unyielding… You will lose. And fair warning, if on January 29th you hear of some lady in the Bay area who loses her mind and goes postal in an Apple store when they try to charge her more than the $199 fee for upgrading that they’d originally quoted, it’s probably me.

Energy and holiday resolutions

holiday lights

Fond holiday memories usually involve being cozy and quiet indoors with loved ones and soft twinkling lights.

With the holidays in full swing, I’ve only just finished my Christmas shopping and everything’s wrapped and ready to go and all I want to do after the day’s done is sleep and sleep and sleep . . . It’s a rambling way of saying – I’m spent.

I recently talked about how restorative it is to take a break from wiring into technology, but where do you draw the energy to get back on the horse? How do I muster the mental drive to put something worth reading up here? (Not that I manage that on good days all of the time, but bear with me . . .)

I sit in a frenzied, mentally-draining, my-goodness-where-did-my-money-go daze of too much sugar, too much caffeine, too little sleep and too much singsong holiday music (Frosty can kiss my butt) and all I want to do is crawl into bed for a week.

But I know I shouldn’t gripe — I’m very fortunate to be where I am, have a roof over my head and a job that keeps food in my fridge and caffeine in my bloodstream. I’d wager a lot of money that during the holidays especially, self-neglect runs more rampant than any cold or flu. It’s contagious, has a longer incubation period and is terribly difficult to self-diagnose sometimes. But enough is enough — in the interest of boundaries and accountability, I’m posting my pre-New Year’s resolutions which, with any luck, well help me get through that blessed occasion.

1. Be thankful every day. Lately, I’ve been reminding myself to tell Alex that I’m thankful for him. I really am — it’s not a good-gift-insurance plan — but by verbally telling him, “I’m really thankful I get to talk to you today” or something similar, it’s an audible reminder to me to keep my focus on the important things.

2. Remember that it’s not about the money. Really, it isn’t. I really stretched my budget this year to buy my family and boyfriend things I felt they’d really love . . . but I could have done it differently. I could have done it a little less expensively. I’m not overdrawn, my bills are paid and I’ve got money for gas and groceries, but I really had to remind myself yesterday when finishing up a Christmas present that the person receiving it would love the nice (yet less expensive and not-quite-so-swanky) model of something similar I’d been thinking of getting them. In the end, it saved me enough money to cover gas to and from Sacramento, which is a pretty sweet difference — and those ‘just in case’ funds are so useful around the holidays.

3. Get back to what I care about. Some self-reflection this holiday season has reminded me of what’s important to me, what I’m working towards, where my heart is and even why I started this blog. Expect to see some very different, mindcasting-type posts in the new year.

4. Sleep as much as I can. This is going to be an epic, sisyphean task, but I’m going to try to get 9 hours of sleep each night. Yes, you read that correctly. Will keep you posted on how that goes . . .

5. Do something self-soothing every day. Sounds a little basic and prosaic, but I have to make a checklist each day . . . and from here on my checklist will include one item/task to shoot for that will help me relax — knitting (yes, I’m an 80-year-old disguised in a not-quite-24-year-old body), reading something that doesn’t require much thinking to enjoy (hellooooo, guilty-pleasure-chick-lit), or a bath.

These are hardly groundbreaking resolutions, but I think they’ll really help me enjoy the remaining 10 days of the year — because that’s what really should be happening, right?

P.S. My current favorite song just came on my AccuRadio station . . . Instantly brighter, more energized mood. 🙂

On Hairdo’s and Spider-Slaying

Two weeks ago, I decided I needed a change — something fresh and new. Usually when this feeling starts, I get itchy and antsy to do something to my hair. The justification is always that it grows back or could be dyed over. So I called a new salon that I’d seen amazing reviews of on Yelp and made an appointment for Friday night.

Armed with photos of adorable short and shaggy cuts and the color I wanted, I showed up after work that Friday, sat in chair and in a few hours, my new stylist took my long, curly brown locks from this:

The designated 'before' photo.

To this:

After!

I was overjoyed — despite the fact that my hair was a bit, erm, ‘fluffy’ from all the washing in the appointment, I was still very pleased with the cut and the color. (I’ll also try to get another ‘after’ picture — this one seems like it’s even shorter than it is, but it is short.) I haven’t had hair this short since I was a kid . . . when it was growing out from nothing, so that was a pretty big change, but so far, I’m in love with it — it’s easy to style, I don’t wash it every day, and I’ve developed an intense love affair with dry shampoo.

Unfortunately, my joy soon turned to terror when I arrived home, and discovered an intruder was there. A giant, hairy, icky intruder perched on my wall.

Heart attack-inducing.

I spotted him on my living room wall from in my kitchen. I moved closer, inching little by little to assess what I had been asking, “OH MY GOD! WHAT IS THAT?!” to no one, of course, because I live by myself. Realizing that not only would nobody answer me, there would be no one to rescue me either — and that’s when horror began to sink in . . .

I stepped back and assessed the situation — that was a big effing spider. So big, in fact, I could see its EYES!!! I could see HAIR!!!! HAIR people!!!!! Knowing it was me against the beast, I knew I would have to find some way to document the size of this giant, obviously man-eating spider in case he got the better of me and all that anyone would find left of me was the tiny, prickly little just-cut hairs that were still sloughing off or the photo on my phone.

So I grabbed my wallet, whipped out my AAA card, took some tape from the kitchen and slowly moved closer to the leering, manacing spider so I could do this:

Yes, I am aware the size-comparison photos of a spider makes me a pretty big nerd.

Huge, right?? It dawned on me that I didn’t have any bug spray or even napalm with which to fight the beast. Thinking quickly, I knew it would try to run . . . and I knew I would have to freeze it in its tracks. I flung the doors of the bathroom cabinet open and scanned its contents — Hairspray? Maybe. Victoria’s Secret Divine perfume? No. Scrubbing Bubbles foaming bathroom cleaner? Ding, ding! We have a winner!

Armed with the Bubbles, their cartoon mascots smiling up at me confidantly, I tiptoed back into my living room. The spider still hadn’t moved. “Maybe it’s dead?” I thought. No, I’m never that lucky. I climbed up on the couch, aimed my spray and quickly sprayed the bug with a healthy dose of Fresh Scent foam. To my everlasting horror, it moved . . . and worse still, it fell. Down the wall, onto the carpet next to my couch, where it began to move towards the back of the couch. I screamed and aimed and fired again onto the carpet to no avail.

IT WAS STILL TRYING TO RUN AWAY! The beast scurried to the back wall, and over, hiding itself behind my couch. With a superhuman strength I didn’t know I had, I grabbed the couch, flung it out and jumped around it to have one more go with the Bubbles that were doing minimal damage. It was coming down to the wire . . . And it was me, or the spider.

At the end of my couch, I keep my resistance bands (innocent bystanders in this foam spraying). But I also have a couple of handweights and an 8-lb. medicine ball. As I watched the spider struggle through the foam, reaching it’s creepy hairy legs through to crawl its way out as if it were in some war movie, I knew this was my last chance. Who knew how resilient this thing would be?

I knew what I had to do.

I picked up the medicine ball, hoisted it over my head, and with the same adrenaline-fueled strength that helped me fling my heavy couch, I hurled the ball at the spider. It was David versus Goliath, folks, but at last, the spider had stopped moving.

Even in death, the spider still scaled nearly matchbook size.

The spider was not squished by the medicine ball, which of course, is freaky. My boyfriend came to visit that night, and his remarks about the spider — which of course I’d scootched into a tightly-lidded jar to show him as evidence of my Spider Slayer status — were this:

“Wow, honey. I really wish I’d been there to see this. It has ‘YouTube’ written all over it.”

Thank you, Alex. Thank you.

For the record, before this event, I was never really afraid of spiders. I kinda thought they were cool. But getting up close and personal with the largest spider I have ever seen that wasn’t behind glass? Not okay. And I will never, ever, EVER tease any of my friends about their spider fears again. (Because clearly, what goes around, comes around.)

In case you are wondering, and if you are NOT skeeved out by articles and photos of creepy, crawly things, some Google detective work showed me that this was the culprit.

Are you afraid of spiders? Do they give you the heebie-jeebies?

On my bad days . . .

After a rough day, I like to come home, slip into something comfortable and pour myself a glass of wine. (If I’m celebrating, it’s two, but since we’re talking about bad days, here I’ll get back to the topic at hand . . . )

I cook some dinner, though my hunger level usually dictates what’s being cooked. If I’m not super hungry (stress, surprisingly, doesn’t usually trigger “Oh-man-I’ve-gotta-eat-everything-in-sight”), I’ll linger over something more process oriented. For me, cooking is therapeutic. There’s nothing that makes me feel better than cooking — my shoulders relax, my neck de-tenses and I’m breathing slower, deeper (mostly because my face is hovering over a pot of yummy trying to savor the smells and fragrances of food).

After dinner, I climb into bed, burying myself further and further below my down comforter. (Seriously – if you have never owned a down comforter, you don’t know what you’re missing. I splurged on mine at Target after I graduated college (because I’d always wanted one) and I must confess . . . I will *never* own anything else again.)

My stress is melting away as I wrap my cloud around me and I turn on . . . something ridiculously funny. I hate going to bed upset, which is why my go-to on bad days is something that will lift me out of the funk. Here are some clips from favorite comedians.

Megan Mooney:

Jokes.com
Megan Mooney – Drinking Race
comedians.comedycentral.com
http://media.mtvnservices.com/mgid:cms:item:comedycentral.com:193893
Funny Jokes Funny Videos Daniel Tosh Stand-Up

Eddie Izzard:

Laughter is my ultimate stress relief. I honestly try to laugh every single day.