Monday, October 8, 2007

I'll Just Pretend I'm Not Here

Every year one of our local TV stations sponsors a Health Fair in my town, a two week statewide event. It offers free and low-cost exams to anyone 18 and older. I go every year because we only carry what I call catastrophic insurance, with deductibles so high that I never go to a medical doctor for routine maintenance since the entire fee would come out of my pocket. So while I'm waiting to get my blood drawn, the gal next to me mentions that she picked this site because they are offering pap smears. They are? That is new to my city's health fair this year...maybe I should get one. I cannot remember the year I last had one...must have been 10 years ago or so. So as soon as the vampire lady, strike that, the phlebotomist, draws my blood, I go see about the breast exam and pap smear. Turns out it's free. Okay, I'll get one. Well, the fair is open for another 90 minutes and they already have all the alotted time slots filled, but I am able to get my name on a waiting list in case some people decide not to wait around. I go have a couple other exams, checking back intermittently. Five minutes before the closing of the health fair, the sign-up lady says that the three or four of us left will be seen before the hospital crew comes to take down the tables and load them up. I am the next to the last person. By now, all the other stations are cleaning up and the firemen that sit on call in the large room where all the blood is drawn (in case anyone faints from the sight of their own blood I guess) are taking pictures of the volunteer phlebotomists.

Oh, and did I mention that the site for the health fair this day is a church, ... but not my church.

The breast exam/pap smear is held in what must be the kindergarten Sunday school room. How I know this is because there is a wipe-off board low on the wall where kids have signed their name when they've lost their first tooth. There is a privacy screen off to a side of the room for changing and the exam table is almost directly in front of the doorway. Great position. Right outside the room there is a large portable chalkboard that blocks the view in case the door is opened by an idiot during an exam. So I undress. I cannot believe I am stripping naked in a kid's Sunday school room, for crying out loud. When I woke up this morning this was not in The Plan. I put on my paper vest (open at the front), wrap the paper sheet around my lower half and climb up on the exam table. The midwife does breast the exam and starts the pap smear exam.
And she can't find my c-e-r-v-i-x! How long have you been doing this lady? What do you mean you can't find my c-e-r-v-i-x? It's hiding she says. Yes, she really said that. That's probably because we are in a CHURCH, in a little kid's Sunday school room, for heavens sake. It knows this is like a sin or something. I feel like God and all the saints are watching. This goes on for several minutes and she keeps's an equipment problem she says ( the cheap little disposable clear plastic thingies they shove inside you keeps slipping). So she has her assistant elevate my one thigh a little higher by putting her arm underneath and supporting the weight. "Just relax, hon, I'm strong enough to hold the weight of your leg." Relax? Are you kidding..this is the weirdest pap smear I have ever had in my life. How can I relax? This maneuver doesn't work and she still can't find the dang c-e-r-v-i-x. I am thinking at this rate I'm still going to be naked on this table when the little kids come marching in here on Sunday morning, so I ask, "Should I maybe elevate my other leg?" "Yes, go ahead", she answers. So I stick my other leg up and now both feet are aimed at the ceiling, like week old roadkill. And then ...the unthinkable happens...
A man just opens the door and starts to walk in. HEY! WE ARE TRYING TO HAVE A GYNO-CO-LOGICAL EXAM HERE, MISTER. DO YOU MIND? Apparently, the clean up crew has not been notified that this room is still being used. At least I do not hear anything like "My eyes! My eyes!" I never actually saw the guy, which is a good thing, because if I had, I would have been too embarrased to walk out of the room, knowing which guy saw me bare-butt naked, and maybe recognizing each other. I can only hope it wasn't the fireman photographer.
Anyhow, the man is shoo-ed out and the mid-wife finds the missing c-e-r-v-i-x and finally completes the exam. And I live to tell about it. When the DH gets home he asks me how it went at the health fair. And when I tell him, he shakes his head, saying "I am so embarrassed, I am so embarrassed, I am never going to the health fair again." And I'm saying, "what are you talking about, YOU'LL never have to get a pap smear." Men!

Monday, October 1, 2007

I Am Married to "Tim the Toolman"

When will I ever learn? If it doesn't involve cars (with which he is a mechanical Genius) or cooking, make sure my husband, Mr Fix-it, has explicit instructions and knows he must follow them. Our roof is only five years old, but we had some shingles curling around one of the vents on the roof. Fixing the shingles is on the weekend's agenda. So Mr Fix-it drives to the hobby store for some paint and also stops at the hardware store to pick up some roofing tar to repair the roof. He comes home with a CAN of roofing tar.

Before I know it, he is knocking on the back door for me to come hold the ladder while he climbs up on the roof. Now this is the six foot wooden step ladder I bought for $2 at a garage sale fifteen or so years ago. Somehow we have just never had a spare $100 or so dollars lying around that begged to go buy a nice 24 foot ladder. Middle Son is already on the roof, having climbed up the wobbley ladder the way he always does, then using the heavy trellis work over the patio to brace himself and climb onto the roof.

Mr Fix-it tries to do this, but after several tries, gives up. I remind him that he is over fifty years old, to Middle Son's nineteen, and tell him to go borrow a ladder from the next door neighbors. Thankfully, he does. He and Middle Son get busy repairing the roof and I go to the back fence to pick raspberries. They are done in just a few minutes and Mr Fix-it asks me to take a look.

I do and I can't believe it. Our previously beautiful roof, that had nothing but a few shingles with curled edges, now has an area that could serve for military target practice. He put BLACK tar under and ON TOP of the CREAM COLORED shingles, so there's not a chance a single raindrop will ever make it's way into the attic. That two foot area is sealed as tight as Noah's Ark.

"How does it look?", he asks. He masked off the area he tarred, so it is a neat square, and he is proud of it... but I cannot tell a lie. And I have to use the "C" word. "It looks like crap!" He is greatly offended. I have insulted his male pride, (for which I have apologized), but for the love of pete, how unsightly does this look? He clearly did not think this through. I ask him what he would have done if there were many problem areas on the roof. Put squares of black tar all over our roof? Like a giant checkerboard? I don't know where he got this repair idea, but it couldn't have been from asking someone at the Helpful Ace Hardware store where he shopped. I found instructions on the Internet afterwards. It says to buy a CAULKING tube of roofing tar, and apply to the under edge of the shingle, as I logically assumed Mr. Fix-it would do, and weight the shingle down with a brick while it dries. But could he just look up instructions for something he knew nothing about? Noooooooooo, he had to wing it. And speaking of wings, I'm going to pray that birds use the Big Black Spot for target practice when they fly over...camoflauge the Spot, so to speak.

I want it fixed correctly!
But I am fighting an uphill battle, people...Mr Fix-it thinks it looks fine and both sons say, "Who looks at the roof?"

How about you? Do have any stories of repair jobs gone awry? Tell me I'm not alone.

Welcome to my blog

My name is DeniseClaire. A little about me...I have an artistic nature and many interests. Photography, quilting, gardening, reading and writing are my main pursuits. Someday I will break out all the scrapbooking supplies I have purchased and put them to use also. I have a husband and three sons who keep me from spending too much time with those activities. They are also artists.

I hope you'll stop by often to see what we are up to.