Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Attention single women! Does your prospective pass The Toilet Bowl Test?

I bet when you saw the title of this post you were hoping against hope you had found the holy grail of housekeeping: How to get your man to improve his aim or, at least, not drip on the floor. Alas, nothing can help that. But I do offer The Toilet Bowl Test.

When I was single, I heard countless stories from female friends about husbands who don't do housework. I decided then the make or break point in household cooperation was bathroom cleaning. So I created The Toilet Bowl Test. To pass it, the person in question has to clean the toilet without being asked, and without comment or complaint. I vowed to never marry a man who could not pass it.

I started dating a guy from Sweden. Since he lived there and I lived in the United States, we didn’t spend a lot of time together and communicated through letters and phone calls. (No internet in those days!) One time, he came to visit over Christmas.

We had been busy all week and had not spent much time at home. It was now New Year’s Eve and I had friends coming for dinner. There was a lot to do, including cooking and cleaning. I didn’t have time to do it all.

This posed a problem. He was my guest, and I don’t usually ask guests to help with housework! On the other hand, since we didn’t see each other often, everything in our relationship was accelerated. My dilemma: Do I treat him like a guest to show good manners, or do I treat him like family and ask for help?

I mustered my courage and explained the situation. I gave him a choice of starting dinner or cleaning the bathroom. He chose the bathroom. I showed him the cleaning supplies and, without a word, he set to work.

A few minutes later I checked on him and found him kneeling in front of the toilet wiping its base. I asked if everything was okay. He said “Fine” and continued working – no wise cracks, no smart remarks, no complaining. That’s when I decided “This one’s a keeper!”

Twenty years and two children later, he still cleans the bathrooms.

I once told a friend about The Toilet Bowl Test and bragged about my good fortune. She listened, then smiled, “But does he polish the chrome?”

She does know men!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Don’t call us, and you can be sure we won’t call you!

Regular readers of this blog are by now used to my rants against Bleak House (aka Centrallasarettet Västerås / Västmanland County Hospital, Västerås), with which I have a love-hate relationship: I love to hate the place. That’s why I can’t resist sharing the outcome – or lack thereof – my final conversation with the hospital’s urology unit.

As faithful readers may remember, I had an x-ray (or something like it) of my kidney and bladder on June 3. Two weeks and several phone calls later, I finally had contact with the doctor who ordered the test. He gave me a terse, “The x-ray is normal,” and refused to answer any questions about my concerns, promising me, “I’ll explain everything in September.” (See post “Who are you?”) I subsequently called back, requested a new doctor, and asked that the new doctor call me, presumably during the summer.

You, being the observant reader that you are, have undoubtedly noticed the date of this post. And knowing that you are waiting with bated breath for the outcome of this story, I will tell you now: I have not heard a word from the urology department. (Did I just hear you gasp in shock or are you laughing yourself silly?)

Do I even care? Not any more. I simply don’t have the energy. (I have found partial answers to my questions elsewhere.)

Mostly, I am just sad and discouraged about the way patients are left hanging by Bleak House.

(See also posts Bleak House: Service at Västmanland County Hospital and And so it goes.)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Power surges and sage tea

A friend recently shared a story about her son. He is twelve years old and had a friend staying overnight. Her son's friend is a couple months older than her son, about an inch taller, and has armpit hair whereas her son doesn’t. Her son, angered that his friend is “ahead” of him developmentally, exclaimed in disgust, “Hormones suck!”

My friend, who heard this from another room, yelled back, “I AGREE!”

She’s 52, and dealing with fickle relatives like Aunt Flo.

I myself have entered the spiritual realm: sweat lodges minus the lodge but heavy on the sweat!

We commiserate on the “change of life” and share ideas about how to cope. Most recently, I’ve been chowing flaxseed and soy, and gulping sage tea. Is it helping? Doubtful.

“Here’s a way to deal with things you're experiencing,” she suggests. “Use different words to describe them!”

Mind over matter? Worth a try.

“Instead of a ‘hot flash’, you’ve just had a ‘power surge.’

“Instead of being ‘old,’ you're a ‘seasoned professional.’

“And, as the French used to say, you're a woman ‘of a certain age.’”

Hmmm...I’m alluring, wise…and about to short-circuit?

Nah, count me in, too.

Hormones suck!