I loved photographing this beautiful barn. I didn’t dare go inside – fear of rats, nails, and sudden collapse.
My husband has, er, a strong opinion about the correct consumption of food. It overwhelms any sense of shame he might have (he hasn’t). He has embarrassed me so many times in so many food venues. And his food rules are many and complex.
He once demanded to see a manager in a McDonald’s.
On a date, in a 5 star restaurant in Atlanta, he waved over the maître d’ to inform him that the baked potatoes had been sitting under the warmer for far too long and they were unacceptably dry. I wanted to crawl under the table and yet… I married him.
Every time we go to Ruth’s Chris, he sends his steak back to be put back on the grill and done right, and he lectures the wait staff on the nuances of steak preparation. He informs them that he wants no pepper on the steak rub, and he doesn’t want it to come with sizzling butter on the plate. What possible food would NOT be improved by the presence of sizzling butter?
I am Harry. He is Sally.
He always demands his dressing on the side, because “they put too much on”. He requests no croutons. And when the croutons come anyway, he piles them reproachfully on the side of his plate.
We were out to eat with my parents, and my mom leaned over and whispered, “Why does he DO that?” She was referring to his highly odd practice of ordering a salad with chicken, and carefully removing the chicken and placing it on a separate plate. I had already asked him. “Why in the hell would you order a salad with chicken, and then take it off?” He looked at me as if I were dimwitted. “The hot chicken wilts the lettuce.” Seriously?
We have yet to buy food through a drive-through. He refuses to drive his food home, because it will be “too cold to eat”. Alternately, he also refuses to get Blizzards in the drive-through, because they will be too MELTED when we get home. He can’t eat melted ice cream. I’m not sure what he think happens when it gets into his stomach.
When we were first married, he was obsessed with expiration dates on food. He read everything in the pantry, and no matter what it was, he refused to eat it if it was one day past the expiration date. The first time I brought him home to meet my parents, he informed my mom that the can she had just opened was past its due date. My mother, who buys food and stocks her fridge and pantry as if she were preparing for Armageddon, clipping coupons and buying in massive bulk, looked at him like he had cabbages growing out of his ears. Actually, she looked at him like she wanted to whack him with a spatula. I know that look.
He has always been obsessed with sodium. His dad was probably the last human being who was ever placed on a low sodium diet. He scrutinizes everything he picks up in the supermarket and scowls. “I can’t believe how much SODIUM they put in this! It’s like the silent epidemic!” I have told him innumerable times that no one really worries about sodium any more. But I’m only a doctor, so what do I know?
Then there’s the fat thing. To say that he eschews fat would indeed be putting it mildly. He peels and scrapes and carves every bit of his meat which seems to be remotely white in color. Even a very lean pork chop – he carefully minces off scarcely visible edges of fat and piles them on his plate, testament to his lack of confidence in the buyer’s ability to purchase a decent piece of meat. He won’t eat a bite until the surgery is adequately performed. I’m not sure what he would do if he ever accidentally put a morsel of fat into his mouth. It would probably immediately induce vomiting.
And, there are the popsicles. He consumes sugar-free popsicles, packs at a time. He likes to bring them to TV time, so that the dialogue sounds like CRUNCH CRUNCH CRUNCH rip, shred, rip, shred (him opening more popsicles). He used to do the crunching and the rip-shredding in bed too, until I made him stop. He leaves the wrappers everywhere, despite having a garbage can within arm’s reach.
He’s convinced that he has mercury poisoning, so he now rejects the “sulfur-forming” foods: cruciate vegetables, eggs, basically everything that is good for you. And he has another Bee in His Bonnet – after consulting multiple forums on mercury toxicity (but not a doctor), he now takes a chelating regimen of literally dozens of vitamins a day, to exorcise the evil toxin from his body. I don’t want to know how much they cost, but unfortunately I have a pretty good idea. We even have vitamin packages arriving from South Africa. He looks like an HIV patient – he has timers set on his phone, for these miracle workers must be taken at precise times. I don’t know what will happen if he messes up a dose, but I am sure it is dire. We have timers going off every four hours throughout the night.
Also, he refuses anything he had to eat in childhood. His family was fairly poor, and he had to live with his grandparents a while. They did a lot of living off the land; they had a garden and fished and hunted. So to this day, he will eat NOTHING that they had in abundance when he was a kid. No okra. No spinach. Only iceberg lettuce. And no freshwater fish, because they caught and ate them. They taste “too fishy”. I have no idea what the heck else a fish is supposed to taste like. He only eats top-of the-food-chain ocean fish, although he now rejects them as well because they contain mercury.
He goes on Atkins a lot, mainly when his 32’s get too tight. He refuses to buy up a size in the face of his increasing age. You would think, given his food obsessions, that he would eat a healthy diet. Oh, no. I think he would eat Mexican food every day if he could. He eats like a pig: ice cream, Blizzards, tangy Sweet Tarts, popcorn, until the 32’s get tight, then he slams on the brakes and eats only lunch meat and cheese. Cooking for my family is impossible. If you combine the fat-eschewing with the loathing of most domestic vegetables and fish and the fear of sodium, mercury and sulfur, and the no-carbs rule – big fun at meals in OUR house!
Just a little food OCD. I will not, however, mention the fact that I eat six cartons of yogurt a day. There’s NOTHING weird about that! Nope. Good times.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “A Moment in Time.”
I am a traveling doctor and I have a new job for a few months, in Fargo, North Dakota. Brr. Everyone is really nice here, and the facilities are awesome. In the center of the hospital is an atrium that goes all the way up to the top floor, which is where I work. The first time I leaned over to look, I got dizzy. My next thought: I gotta get a picture of that! Then I thought: I will probably drop my phone over the edge! It took me two days to work up the nerve to take the pic, clutching the phone with both shaking hands, visions of the phone falling six stories and smashing into a patient at the bottom. Good thing the phone had vision stabilization.
There is so much that your doctors don’t tell you about being pregnant, because they consider the information trivial and they just don’t have time in a busy clinic to go over little, normal stuff with you.
There are many things that your friends, family, and complete strangers WILL tell you. A great deal of it is wrong.
The national hobby is scaring pregnant women. As soon as someone finds out you are pregnant, they will immediately start telling you their worst horror stories, most of which are greatly exaggerated. I find this strange, because if they found out you had, say, diabetes, they wouldn’t tell you horrible stories about having toes cut off, heart attacks, blindness, and arterial bypass grafts. So why is it OK to say these things to pregnant women? Actually it’s NOT. But everyone will do it anyway.
People, usually other women, will tell you the stupidest, most ridiculous folktales about pregnancy. You may, say, be reaching up to pull a book off a higher shelf, and a random person may walk up to you and say, “If you reach above your head, your baby will strangle.” WTF? That makes no sense at all. And yet, I have gotten calls (usually at 3 AM) from sobbing mothers who have been convinced that getting soup out of the pantry has killed their baby.
If it sounds ridiculous, or impossible, it probably is. Check with your doc if you’re concerned. Just not at 3 AM, please.
They will also tell you that if you get in a swimming pool, the baby will drown. Really? Because that kid’s floating in a bag full of fluid right now.
They will tell you that if you eat pears, the baby will be affected somehow.
They will tell you if you have heartburn, the baby will have lots of hair. How the hell can those be related? Hint: they aren’t.
They will tell you that the heart rate can tell you the sex of the baby. Bullshit. The heart rate changes throughout the pregnancy. Does that mean the sex of the baby keeps changing? Uh, no.
They will tell you that whether you are “carrying the baby high or low ” determines the sex of the baby. Not.
They will tell you about their horrible 72 hour labors. They will tell you about how they felt everything in their C-section. They will tell you about how they had surprise twins at the last minute. They will tell you about a “dry birth”, whatever the hell that is. Ignore these people. They are not helping. They are just trying to show off and make themselves look more important and special, that they survived these “horrific “situations.
Strangers will touch your belly. Strangers will tell you they know the sex of the baby. Strangers will tell you that you don’t look pregnant enough, that there is something wrong with the baby. They will tell you that you look too big, and that you will have the baby early, or that there are secret twins in there.
News flash. These people did not go to medical school. They did not do a 4 year specialized residency. They mostly just go to Walmart. Apparently they bought their medical license there.
Do yourself a favor. Do me a favor. Ignore this crap. Tell them to leave you alone. They are NOT trying to help. They are trying to scare you. And it’s working. Stop the madness. Tell the back seat drivers to go bother someone else. Or better yet, bother no one at all.
When I was an infant, I had an aquarium. It wasn’t exactly traditional, and probably today it would not be sold, and the PETA people would come after it, not to mention all the shrieking there would be about the risks of infant strangulation. Plastic bags, and all that, you know.
My “aquarium” was a long, transparent bag, about 6 inches deep, and exactly long enough for its straps to tie across the rails of a crib.
I had a goldfish in my aquarium. I don’t remember if he had a name, but I am this minute resolving to ask my mom if he did.
The bag was tied low enough (I wasn’t yet sitting or walking) that I could whap (this is a family word – I think it is a good one) on that bag with my hands, and watch that fish scoot around above me.
I kind of doubt the fish was happy, what with all the whapping and all. However, apparently he did live for a good long time. Goldfish are pretty hardy, and easy to care for.
His demise was brought about by my grandmother. We apparently had to travel somewhere for some days, and she forgot to feed him.
I do not remember my fish. I don’t think. However, I am pretty sure my subconscious remembers my fish.
I dream a lot. About fish.
You know how there’s that one recurrent dream that everybody has, that they can’t explain why, and that they have various versions of it?
I dream about fish. And aquariums. Quite a bit. Not every day, or week, or month, but I have dreamt about them a LOT.
I am very happy in my dream, because I have many aquariums, which contain a multitude of exotic (and implausible) fish.
I am happy but concerned, because I walk into a room full of tanks of fish, and someone has neglected or forgotten them, but I can see there are some live fish, and I set about cleaning them up and rescuing them.
I am VERY happy, because I am in a shop, and I am there to buy (some) fish. These fish are WILDLY impossible creatures. I remember once there was a miniature underwater giraffe.
Occasionally, I am horrified because I have many aquariums, and somehow I forget I have fish, and now they look miserable and sick, and it is all my fault, and I have to make amends, and clean them up, and make them better again.
In all my dreams, the fish make me VERY happy. Except for the early on part where I find the forgotten ones, because they look sad.
In real life, I have owned goldfish, bettas, neon tetras, guppies, plecostomas (I may have spelled the name very wrong, but they are the little depressed looking bloopy ones who keep the tank clean), angelfish, fresh water sharks, and cichlids.
I love the goldfish the most.
Especially the fancy ones: the Black Moors, the Lionhead Orandas, the Pearl Scales, and those black Telescope ones who have the bulging eyes.
I have had some of all of these goldfish. I want to buy one right now. Alas, we travel too much.
So what does this mean? I have a feeling that I have a visual memory, or a stored feeling of happiness if I see a fish, from my infancy. I’m pretty sure.
Is this true? I don’t know, but I sure love fish. I really love them. And that makes me happy. Very happy.
I realized that my OB/Gyn self should make a post for the teens, since you are new at this stuff.
1. Yes, oral sex counts as sex.
2. By law, your doctor can’t give any information about you to your parents, or anyone else, unless you sign a form saying it’s OK.
3. No, I will not be the one who tells your mom you’re pregnant. You gotta tell her. I don’t want to be around any flying bullets.
4. Yes, you can get pregnant the first time. And the second, and the third…
5. You can catch diseases having sex that can kill you.
6. There are some sexually transmitted diseases that can keep you from ever becoming a mom if they don’t get treated.
7. There is a safe vaccine that prevents cervical cancer and genital warts. It’s almost 100% effective. You can get it between ages 9-26. Ask for it. Ignore people who try to talk you out of it.
8. There is nothing shameful about giving up your baby for adoption. If you are strong and smart enough to do it, you’re a hero.
9. Some states still require that we notify your parents if you are seeking an abortion. Google your state laws.
10. I don’t do abortions, but I won’t hate you, judge you, or stop seeing you if you have one.
11. Ask questions when you are talking to us. We won’t think you’re silly, or slutty, or dumb. We don’t judge and we will tell you the truth.
12. If your friend told you something about sex that sounds crazy, it’s probably crazy. Ask one of us.
13. Guys are dogs. Especially guys your age. They will screw anything that holds still long enough. They will say anything to get laid. Just sayin’.
14. If you are under 18, and the guy is over 18, they can be arrested for rape. Even if you are OK with this, if your parents find out and call the cops, your guy will be arrested and will be a registered sex offender for life. That is a life wrecker.
15. Do not lie about your age.
16. If you are in high school, any college-aged guy who wants to sleep with you is immature and shallow and will screw you over and dump you. And if the guy is over thirty and he tries it, he is a FREAK. And a pedophile. He is not in love with you. He might want to kill you and bury you in his basement.
17. I am totally not kidding about #16.
18. If it sounds like a bad idea, it probably is.
19. Parents are a pain in the butt sometimes, but they actually know about more than you think. If they warn you about something, they are not trying to ruin your fun, they are trying to save your ass from horrible shit. Same from us doctors.
20. 1 in 3 women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. That’s a LOT. Be smart. Don’t be one of them. Watch your drug and alcohol intake around guys, especially ones you don’t know.
21. Never accept a drink from someone you don’t know, and never walk away from a drink without one of your friends watching it. Date rape drugs are out there. A lot.
22. Travel in packs. Predators are more likely to go after you if you are alone.
23. IF YOU ARE RAPED, go to the hospital ER immediately. Do not shower, bathe, wash your hands, clean your nails, douche, or change your clothes. There is evidence against your attacker in all of those.
24. You can be raped by an acquaintance, a date, a friend, a boyfriend, or even a husband. If you said no, and they made you, it’s rape. The law supports you 100% on that.
25. Use condoms. Carry them with you. I know, blah blah blah, they’re no fun, guys don’t like them, whatever. USE THEM. They will protect you from getting pregnant, and from some really nasty diseases, some of which we can’t treat.
26. A guy who brings his own condoms is a SMART, COOL, and CONFIDENT guy.
27. If we tell you not to have sex while we’re treating you, don’t. You’ll catch whatever it is back again. Make sure the guy got treated for the infection too. Don’t have sex with him if he didn’t.
28. If you feel like you don’t trust the guy, you probably shouldn’t.
29. Don’t jump into having sex. Once you start, it is very hard to stop. Make sure your partner is someone you care for and trust if you’ve gotta do it. If you start out having sex with someone you don’t care about, it will mess up your love life forever.
30. Anyone who threatens to dump you if you won’t have sex sucks. Dump them.
31. Sexting will screw up your life. Once you send a naked picture out, it belongs to the whole world. EVERYONE can find it and see it. Like your parents. Your minister. Every guy in your school. Once you put that pic out there, you can NEVER get it back.
32. I am totally also serious about #31.
33. Never EVER tell a stranger online your real life name or address, and no pictures. His avatar may look like a hot high school guy, but if you don’t know him, he really might be some forty year-old guy with yellow teeth, or a baby raper who wants to tie you up in some building.
34. Never use sex to pay for drugs. If you start that, you will totally be screwed, in more ways than one. When you were a kid, did you really wanna grow up to be a crack ho?
35. Ask your doc about what to expect if this is your first visit. Ask to see things and find out what we will do and why.
36. Using birth control does NOT mean you are a slut. It means you’re smart as hell.
37. There are a million ways to get birth control that are free or very cheap. Ask your doc; we really don’t want you to be pregnant at a young age and we will do ANYTHING to make sure you can afford and get birth control.
38. If you have unprotected sex and are worried about getting pregnant, call us within 72 hours of having sex and we can get you a pill to help keep you from getting pregnant. And no, the medicine does NOT cause abortions.
39. Don’t be scared of your OB/Gyn. We can help you with LOTS of stuff. We’re not looking to bust you. Believe it or not, we’re mostly pretty cool people. You can tell because it doesn’t freak us out to talk about random sex stuff. We get paid to talk about it.
40. Telling ANYONE anything about you in our office is against the law unless you sign a form giving us permission. They can fine us up to 10,000 dollars if we do tell anyone. We really don’t want to throw away that kind of money.
41. Some sexually transmitted diseases must be reported to the health department, so they can find and treat your partners. They do NOT call your parents.
42. Having sex with lots of people is a terrible idea. Your chances of catching diseases, getting pregnant, and other bad things go way up. You are considered high risk if you do.
43. If you are wondering if you might be gay, or you feel confused about that, we are happy to answer ANY questions you have. 3% of the population is gay. We take care of GLBT people all the time. We don’t judge. And we won’t try to “talk you out of it.”. If one of us does try to, find a new doctor.
44. If anyone, even a doctor or a coach or a teacher or someone you babysit for, says things about sex that make you nervous, or asks questions about your sex life that are creepy and none of their business, stay away from them. If they continue, tell a parent or some other adult you trust.
45. If someone in your life is hurting you, abusing you, or having sex with you against your will, your OB/Gyn office has phone numbers on little pieces of paper that you can hide in your clothes. Call the number, and someone will come pick you up right away, no questions asked, and put you in a secret safe place.
46. If you are pregnant and hiding it from everyone, DON’T. If you have the baby in secret, DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT KILLING OR HIDING THE BABY. Almost every state has a law that you can drop a baby off at a hospital without being arrested. Don’t be a baby killer. They’ll catch you, arrest you, put your picture in the paper, and put you in jail.
47. If you are pregnant, the earlier you find out and make plans, the better. Don’t wait until it’s too late to make any decisions.
48. If you plan to stay pregnant, find an OB doctor right away. Most pregnant teens can get health care. We will make sure you and the baby are growing safely. You or the baby are more likely to die or get sick if you aren’t seeing a doctor.
49. Be honest with your doctor about drugs you are taking, even if they are illegal. We are not your parents. We are not the cops. We’re not going to bust you. We just want to help you get off the drugs if you need help. If you are pregnant, there are special things to do for you and the baby that will help keep you from dying because of the drugs.
50. We are here for you to use, for information, help, birth control, advice, and laws dealing with the things you are dealing with. Use us! We are like Google for female stuff.
51. Ask your friends about an OB/Gyn that they like. Your mom should almost certainly be seeing one of us. Chances are, she would rather take you than let something bad happen to you.