Tuesday, May 4, 2010

In the last week there have been so things I've wanted to write about:

1. My trip to the Community Care clinic to get some freaking health care. Getting instead a (friendly) lecture from the doctor about how bad the health care situation is in Austin, where there are 250,000 uninsured people trying to use the Community Care network. Nobody wants to work at this type of "social services" clinic because the pay's bad, and with just one doctor per clinic the care is--believe me--very bare-bones: I asked to have some moles checked, and the doctor told me I could maybe get an appointment with the network's dermatologist in three months.

Wanting to hear more of his thoughts on US health care, I asked him if he thought we were heading for a crisis; he didn't even hesitate before replying, "We're in a crisis." This wasn't news to me, but hearing it confirmed so emphatically by someone "in the know" drove it home even more. When the appointment was over (he didn't even bother to look in my ears) the doctor said: "Don't get sick, and don't get in an accident," and it was clear he wasn't trying to be funny.

2. Our trip to Wimberley, a tiny town west of here, this weekend. Pre-departure, while Joedy shuttled the kids, the dogs, and a small suitcase into the car, I cleaned the house, maniacally throwing toys in bins and lining shoes up just so, organizing dirty dishes in the sink and piling clean clothes on top of the growing mound in the closet because...because if we didn't make it back--if we got in an accident--I didn't want people to think we were slobs. I didn't want them to come in the house and see cat barf on the rug, shoes in the sink, or a bike in the stairway, so I cleaned and organized frantically before we left. Later, when we came home safe and sound--thank god!--the house was so nice and neat that I wondered if it's maybe a good thing to think depressing, morbid thoughts.

3. My recent hair turbulence: thinking I looked haggard, tired, and drained a few weeks ago, I bought some do-it-yourself hair dye. The picture on the box showed my color, light brown, as a nice golden shade post-dye, but instead it came out orange! Bright! Brassy! Orange! Looking for a cheap, natural way to tone down the hideous hue, I learned that blueberries can correct brassiness in hair, so I boiled a couple of bags and put the resulting soup on my head. It was kind of fun doing that, but the feeling of the boiled blueberries as they escaped the towel and trickled down my neck wasn't nice, and after two more blueberry sessions (neither worked) I decided to go for some real chemicals, in the form of blue shampoo. I went to a hair supply store, found a blue shampoo, and asked how long I should leave it on; the salesgirl responded, "Well, normally, it's left on for five minutes, but your hair's so--" and then she stopped and put her hand in front of her mouth because, I don't know, she was laughing? At my Bright! Orange! Hair?

The blue shampoo (it was actually purple) helped a little, but not much, so the other day I went to a salon to get some professional "correction." It was fun getting my hair done--I love having to sit STILL, listening to other people's conversations, and being fussed over--and in some ways my hair is better now, but it's also kind of too blond, and now that's bothering me. I guess I don't want to look like I dye my hair. Or do I? Do I care? Do I care about my hair? Do you care if I care about my hair?

4. Lula's school. We thought it was great when we first visited, and in lots of ways it still seems really good, but a few things have come up that have made Joedy and me wonder whether she should continue there in the fall. Our biggest concern is that the student population seems for the most part underprivileged, if not outright poor, coming from a low-income housing development nearby. With two kids on Medicaid, we'd be in an uncomfortable position saying bad things about the poor, but that's not the point anyway--the point is, poor people are generally less able to afford quality care, help, or support, and that often means more problems and instability. When families have problems and instability, the kids are more likely to be troubled, I think, and it's this--the possibility that there might be more troubled kids, and therefore a riskier environment at the school--that nags at me, especially when I see the "No Guns Allowed" signs posted on the sidewalk. Will we have to move Lula to another, more affluent school to feel safer? What would that mean to her, and what would we be losing?

5. Our inbox: we have an inbox! It's actually just a cardboard box that held exercise gear, but the magnitude of the fact that we have an inbox should not be belittled, because it means I--not just Joedy--play a part in our administrative affairs. Unlike a time not too long ago, when my self-prescribed mail duties involved ignoring the mail, I now open mail, sort mail, place stamps on mail, and send mail, and I even file stuff now and then too. Becoming organized in this way has been hugely wonderful, and the best part is knowing that I'll never go back to my weird mail-phobic ways. Being an inbox person is VERY empowering!

There are other things I wanted to write about--like Malko climbing over the gate at the top of the stairs, Malko launching himself headfirst into a bathtub full of water--but the main thing, the most important thing I wanted to say is how, while frantically cleaning the house pre-Wimberley, imagining the worst possible scenario, I thought, "Well, at least I'd die happy." And it's true: driving together in the car, making up new verses to the diarrhea song, just being together--nothing makes me happier. Of course, as we all know, when one claims to be happy everything immediately starts going wrong, so I better start complaining--about my hair, I guess...

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