Adventures In Bathing: A Sequel

Okay, so this is sort of a part 2 to my last blog post, so if you didn’t read that, click here to do so, because this won’t make that much sense if you don’t. Or maybe it will be more interesting that way. It’s up to you.



I received MANY offers to come and bathe in people’s homes over the past two weeks, which is weirdly lovely because I’m choosing to believe that these offers were politely humorous and not at all creepy. Life is better that way.

But one of my favorite reactions came from a girl we’ll call Bertrude (because she wanted a pseudonym that is “old and makes you think of hand knit scarves and fresh baked cookies”) who I met recently and am now mildly obsessed with for reasons that I feel should already be obvious.

Anyway, I was at work when I heard someone come in and say that she needed to speak with me.

Disembodied voice from behind me: Emelie…

Me: ….yyyyeees?

Bertrude: Hi! So… I’ve had it on my to-do list to come in a talk to you all week because I’ve been mildly stalking your blog since we friended each other on Facebook, and now I need to make sure you know about THIS:

FRIENDS. THEY MAKE INFLATABLE BATH TUBS.

Do you realize what this means???

  1. I clearly need more friends like Bertrude.

  2. I COULD BATHE ANYWHERE.

  3. LIKE OUTSIDE

  4. IN THE MEADOW

  5. ON HILLSIDES

  6. AT THE PARK

  7. ON THE ROOF

JUST THINK OF ALL THE POSSIBILITIES!!!!

The Mr, surprisingly, was not as thrilled by this discovery. He was all “This feels like a bad investment and also if you try to bathe in an inflatable bathtub you’ll probably get arrested, but also where would you get the water?”

So… I think we’re at a stalemate. Unless… we could convince him that this is actually a GREAT IDEA.

What do you think? Leave a comment down below with your vote. Unfortunately the bathtub pictured above is out of stock, but I’m sure we could find others. In fact, if you know of one, please drop the link in a comment when you vote!

BATHS FOR ALL!!!!!

P.S. I also just realized that there is a narwhal on that bathtub and now I need it even more.

P.P.S. Bertrude’s boyfriend has entered the scene and apparently while he was in Sweden this summer he found THIS bucket posing as a bathtub and now I don’t know what to do.

Hooray! I have a disease! (Probably)

No, really, this is a good thing. I'm not being sarcastic or just trying to smile in the face of something scary. I am ecstatic about this news. This possible news. I guess I shouldn't be too excited because nothing is official yet, but the thing is that I'm one step closer to being sure about something and there are actual steps that I can take now. Hopefully. 

Twelve years a frustratingly long time to have a problem without finding any real cause or solution. 

As many of you know, I've had recurring migraines for over a decade now. For a while, we always thought that these were caused by my spina bifida (I have an extra vertebrae in my spine and it's caused quite a few weird issues, if I'm being honest), and I have tried so many things, friends. I've been to acupuncturists, chiropractors, good ol' fashioned general practitioners and one by one they've all shrugged and said various forms of "That sucks," or "it's probably linked to your cycle."

Me: But... the migraines don't consistently happen during my period."

Doctor: Yeah, but they usually do?

Me: I mean... this past one was on the last day of my period, but -

Doctor: Yup! The uterus, man. It can be a real B. 

Or this other conversation I had during which the doctor told me that she couldn't really do anything to help me unless I was having migraines for 15 days out every month, so she suggested that I just start taking ibuprofen every six hours three days before each migraine hits... which could be at any time. 

I shouldn't mislead you. They've all tried to help in some way shape or form, but the reality is that none of them have been able to figure out how to keep these migraines from coming back. 

And I will say that my current chiropractor has actually been amazing so far. He's taken the time to understand the skeletal structure of my screwed up body and how it moves. He's listened to me when I explain that it's not just hip or back pain, and then random isolated migraines. 

You see, the thing is that these migraines aren't just really bad headaches. By the time the headache actually hits, the pain will be almost rippling out from my right hip until the pressure builds up in my head, behind my right eye. My right sinuses will get clogged, my right ear will feel plugged, even the right side of my jaw gets sore and tender. Then that pain will continue down the right side of my neck, into my right shoulder, down the right side of my back, through my right hip, into my right hamstring, all the way down into my right foot. 

I have full-body mother-effing migraines, y'all, and it sucks. 

So when this chiropractor sat down and actually heard me describe all of this, for the first time in twelve years, I heard someone say something other than a dismissive comment:

"I'd like to send you in for some tests." 

Cut to a week later, I sat in a lab while they drew seven vials of blood from my body and sent them away to get analyzed. I was tested for various things, including two different types of Lyme and Rheumatoid Arthritis, which is what seemed to be the most likely diagnosis. Weirdly, however, when I got the results, it wasn't either of those things. 

The results said I was all good for almost everything except for two odd results: I'm severely lacking in Vitamin D (but I'm also a pale redhead who loves the rain, so... this felt a little obvious), and that my blood work came back positive for the gene HLA-B27. 

After some quick googling, I found out that this gene is linked to all sorts of autoimmune diseases, including Ankylosing Spondylitis

Not only does it sound fancy, but it's also LIKE WORD FOR WORD WHAT I HAVE. Seriously, friends, when I was reading the article about this disease it felt like I was reading my body's memoir. In a nutshell, AS is essentially arthritis that attacks the spine and large joints. Like hips. Or shoulders. People with AS will experience flare-ups that cause a lot of pain throughout the body and then go into short periods of remission in between flare-ups. 

There is a huge amount of potential relief that I'm feeling right now. I still need to go see a rheumatologist (I have an appointment on October 15th) to know for sure, and while this might not be my diagnosis, I feel so much closer to having an answer, and it's because someone finally took me seriously. Someone finally listened

Twelve years is a really long time to be in pain without ever having any idea why or how to fix it. 

And I've never been happier to potentially have a lifelong disease. 

Oh, and if any of you know anyone who has experienced these symptoms or who has AS or has anything to offer, I am all ears. Tell me everything!! 

 

Geography Makes Me Angry

Last weekend, The Mr ABANDONED ME and went to visit his family in Almost-Canada-Northern New York for the weekend and a lot of weird stuff went down while he was gone, but I'm still working on getting all of the words down, so instead I'm going to tell you about a ridiculously traumatic series of conversations we had. 

While he was on his way to visit his family:

Me: Hey, have you arrived yet? Call me when you get there safely please! 

The Mr (hours later): We're still on the road. Service here is really spotty. We're in Lake Placid. 

Me: Uh oh. Don't get eaten by a giant alligator. 

The Mr: Wrong lake. 

Me: What? No! That movie was totally called Lake Placid and a giant alligator lived in the lake... it was like a knock-off of the Loch Ness Monster and it was hilarious. Plus Betty White is in it and she's amazing even though she does some serioulsy insane things in this film.

The Mr: I know, but that's based on a different Lake Placid. The Lake Placid in that movie is in Maine. 

Me: WHAT. THERE ARE TWO LAKE PLACIDS??

The Mr: Maybe more.

Me: NO. THAT IS RIDICULOUS. 

The Mr: It's basically like high street. Also, I'm losing service again. 

Me: NO. It is NOT like High Street. Every town has a High Street and kids always go around stealing the street signs so that they can hang them in their basements where they smoke weed. LAKE PLACID IS NOT LIKE HIGH STREET. Lake Placid is too iconic! There cannot be two Lake Placids! 

And then APPARENTLY The Mr lost service because he stopped responding, but he called me when he got to his parent's house and I was already basically asleep, so I don't even remember the conversation. 

The next day during my lunch break at work: 

Me: I'm still upset about Lake Placid.

The Mr: What do you mean? 

Me: What do you mean? There should not be two!! 

The Mr: Well... I don't know what to say... maybe get a petition going to change it?

Me: The damage is already done...

And then later that night, we FaceTimed... 

Me: I feel like you're not taking this seriously.

The Mr: What?

Me: This Lake Placid issue! Why are there two lakes called Lake Placid? 

The Mr: I mean.... I'm pretty sure Lake Placid isn't even a lake in New York...

Me: WHAT?!?! 

The Mr: Yeah... I think it's just the name of the town.

Me: But your brother swam in the lake there!

The Mr: That lake is called "Lake Flower"

Me: I HATE GEOGRAPHY. 

But here's the thing... I googled it and it turns out that Lake Placid, NY is actually near a lake of the same name, so there is some justice in the world, BUT the movie Lake Placid? The lake in that movie is actually just called Black Lake, so.... WHY WOULD THEY CALL THE MOVIE THAT? 

Clearly this issue is still not over for me.... But am I alone here? Please comment down below.


Things I loved on the Internet this week:

This Seth Meyers interview with Beth Ditto because she is just delightful and we should all aspire to have her joy. 

Man Breaks Guinness World Record for Slicing Watermelons on His Stomach -- WHY IS THIS A THING?? 

All Bloggess posts are fabulous, but her cross-stitch project in this one is fantastic. 

Speaking of The Bloggess, she's featured on this list of hilarious female writers

 

Mind Over Bladder.

Customers often come into the bookshop asking to order a book they just heard about on NPR or on TV, and because our job is to sell stories, we often end up in long conversations with these customers about the things we've read or learned. 

And sometimes I walk away from these conversations unable to stop thinking about them.

Or really having to pee. 

Yesterday a woman came in after having heard about a study that a group from a prestigious university about the differences between European brains and American brains and apparently they found that European brains are way healthier and way less likely to develop alzheimers or dementia. 

I feel like at this point I should tell you two things:

  1. I was not actually a participant in this conversation. I just eavesdropped on it from my desk about 25 feet away. 
  2. I did absolutely ZERO research to find out if what this woman was saying was correct, but she was mega confident, friends, so... I went with it. 

Okay, so now that that's been covered, here's the rest of the story...

The other customer that my co-worker was chatting with asked if this study mentioned what they thought the cause was.

Study Lady: Well, yeah, diet. Mainly their water intake. 

Lady 2 + Co-worker: Mmmm yessss of course.

Study Lady: They actually drink the amount of water that we're supposed to be drinking and most Americans barely drink any water in comparison. When you think about it, you don't just need to hydrate your body, but you need to hydrate your brain, too... and most people don't realize that caffeine actually dehydrates you, so tea or coffee doesn't count.

Lady 2 + Co-worker: Well, of course. 

Me: 

Y'all. I drink almost exclusively COFFEE. 

And before you freak out, I'm not an idiot. I knew before this moment that wasn't the best health choice in the world, but I was always defending it because it helped me be me. It kept my energy up and made me all sunshiny and happy. In other words, IT WAS GOOD FOR MY BRAIN. 

And if there's one thing that terrifies me, it's losing control of my mind. 

So, without hesitating, I went into the back room, grabbed the water bottle that I bring with me to work to pretend I'm a healthy person, but never actually used, and STARTED CHUGGING. 

And I continued to drink water (in addition to coffee - I'm not a monster) all day. 

Which means that I had to pee. 


ALL.

DAY.

At this point, my memory will be amazing, but it will ONLY CONSIST OF BATHROOMS. 

But still, I'm determined to better myself based on this anecdotal evidence that water will keep me from scrambling my brain. 

I'm not giving up coffee - as I said, I'm not a monster - but I am going to legitimately try and consume at least 64oz of water a day. 

And who knows? Maybe this means I'll have a strong mind... and an even stronger bladder? 

Plus, this could turn into a whole travel blog series: Bathrooms Critiques by Emelie. After all, I'll be spending most of my time in them now. 

What about you? Do you feel like you drink enough water? Do you make major life changes based on information you overheard someone who probably has no qualifications or scientific background say? 

Tell me in the comments below, because I really have to pee, so I need to stop writing this blog post! 

My precious revelation

If you've been following my Instagram story, you know that I, at the ripe old age of 27, threw my back out on Monday night and have been hobbling around ever since, not unlike the evil witch from Snow White. Not when she's all "Mirror mirror, tell me how pretty I am," but when she's all old and haggard and obsessed with apples. 

All I did was pick up a book, which hardly seems fair, as books have always been my dearest friends. Although now that I'm thinking of it, I've always been pretty sure that those who I counted as close friends were also people who were most likely to be responsible for my death, so I suppose the books were just fulfilling their true purpose and keeping my life interesting, but still... not cool, books. Not cool.

So I went to go see a chiropractor. A lot happened there that I think I have to save for another blog post or perhaps for my memoir because I'm still processing some of the ridiculousness. That being said, the chiropractor was awesome and my back is feeling somewhat human again, but he basically told me that my spina bifida occulta (which I love because it totally makes it sound like I'm part of a group that worships spines, doesn't it? The Spinosaurus would be our god. JOIN US...) or even just my body in general is a genetic minefield of weirdness. Yay! So I left and I was all "THANKS, MOM, FOR TEACHING ALL THOSE JAZZERCISE CLASSES WHILE YOU WERE PREGGO WITH ME" (true story) but then the angel on my shoulder was like "Hey, she was just trying to stay healthy. Besides, her birthday is coming up. Be nice." 

So I texted her to update her on the situation and to humbly tell her how nice I had decided to be:

 

Cold feet.

So yesterday my friend texted me a picture of a book that we have both been really excited about reading and it finally just came out and THE EXCITEMENT LEVEL IS HIGH, FRIENDS.

But, because it's me, there is an issue.

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So APPARENTLY The Mr is annoyed because he buys really nice socks and I have always opted for really cute socks.

His are warm. Mine have narwhals on them.

His are fancy moisture-repelling socks. Mine all have holes in them. 

And when we got married I was all "Yay! Free socks!" 

He did not agree. 

Which brings us to our next marital dispute... 

I have a lot of books. 

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IN MY DEFENSE many of these are free because I am a bookseller and I get a lot of Advanced Reader Copies from publishers, BUT I also buy a lot of these books too. Especially if I read the ARC and then really loved it, so I want the author the get dollars and I'll buy it just to be a good fan. 

Which brings us to today.

My sock drawer is full of holey socks (insert divine joke here) and my hold shelf at the bookstore is overflowing. 

But what am I supposed to do? None of the fancy socks have narwhals on them... But my narwhal socks are no longer providing any level of warmth. 

If only I could convince the two sock companies to join forces! 

Dear Fancy Sock Makers,

I have been forced to buy your socks in order to continue my love of buying books. Normally, this would not be a problem. Your socks are fantastic in all ways but one: THERE ARE NO NARWHALS ON THEM. 

While I appreciate your ability to include a wide array of colors and stripes - even polka dots! Go you! - I am saddened by the lack of cute animal patterns. 

Must I really sacrifice my love of the Sea Unicorn in order to have warm feet? 

Of course, it's not just narwhals that I enjoy on my socks. Puppies, sloths, and giraffes are also always welcome, just in case someone on staff has an aversion to narwhals. Although, why would you hire such a monster? 

Wishing you all the best,

Emelie

UPDATE: THEY RESPONDED

Hi Emelie,

Thank you so much for reaching out! I too love Narwhals, what an awesome idea :) I did share your feedback with our product team, we always appreciate customer feedback! I also want to make sure you've seen our Woodland Creature socks, they do have cute animals represented on them :) https://darntough.com/collections/womens-lifestyle/products/woodland-creatures-crew-light?variant=36489076295

Thanks for being on board with us and I hope you have an awesome weekend!

Thank you for choosing Darn Tough!

And for the record, I did NOT see those woodland socks before, but it's a good thing that they exist because now I can buy books again. 

Plus, I think we can all agree that if they do in fact add narwhals to their designs, I will be heralded as a True American Hero. 

You're welcome.

I am a golden bowl of weird.

It's not a secret that I don't always make the best of choices. 

I set off fire alarms just by boiling water.

I trip over my own feet. 

I say ridiculous things when the situation gets awkward and uncomfortable, which inevitably just makes the situation even more awkward and uncomfortable.

My body is all messed up due to a birth defect.

I'm smart about some things, but not most things. 

I don't know how cars work and driving gives me anxiety. 

Most things give me anxiety. 

I'm basically just constantly making a fool of myself. 

And so one would think that I'd be super down for fixing all of these things.

But the truth is, I'm not so much interested in fixing these things as I am in finding a way to balance them. 

Because I like me and I don't want to become one of those people who is constantly at peace with myself.

World peace? Yes, please.

Inner peace? 

Don't get me wrong: I want to fix some things. The physical stuff can be a real drag. I hate having monthly migraines and the fact that my hips always hurt, so I try to do yoga every day - I even like the meditation part of it a lot, so I'm not dragging on that at all. 

But I also think that part of that whole narrative of self-care which has become so buzzy these past few years is not so much about learning to "be better" and more at peace and all "ommy" all the time, but to just love your dang self - not in a "look at me I'm so awesome" kind of way, but in a "I ENJOY BEING AROUND MYSELF EVEN THOUGH I'M WEIRD BECAUSE WEIRD IS FUN" kind of way. 

And it's not that I'm not constantly trying to be a better person or version of myself. I'm constantly improving. 

I just don't think that I need fixing. 

Maybe instead we should treat ourselves like one of those Japanese Kintsugi bowls where when it breaks, people just put the pieces back together by filling in the fractured bits with a special gold lacquer, thus making the bowl even prettier than it was before. All because it was broken.

I'm weird and anxious and I use cartoon-like voices to express myself.

I talk to my dogs (and I believe they talk back through me).

I have irrational fears of sharks in pools.

I know that my toilet is haunted, which is a thing that excites me rather than scares me although it probably should because ghosts possessing you through your toilet bits is VERY concerning.

My body is screwed up and I'm working on that.

I often go down rabbit holes of trying to live a zero waste life only to end up accumulating a bunch of trash. 

This is who I am. 

And if I wasn't that, then what the heck would I write about?

Homemade yogurt recipes that you can freeze in your old toilet paper rolls to make your own push-pops probably... but doesn't the internet have enough of those? 

Oh what a week it has been...

So if you are fiercely dedicated to this blog (and why wouldn't you be? It's basically the best thing on the Internet. ...right?) then you noticed that I didn't post a single thing last week. 

And none of you panicked.

Which I assume means that you all were following my Instagram story very closely and you knew how insanely busy I was at a work conference. 

But you have no idea...

Let me take you through my week of absolute insanity: 

Monday: Woke up at 2am to drive to the airport for my 5:40am flight. Luckily the whole WHO AM I debacle got solved in the nick of time, so I ended up making it through security no problem. 

At 11am, I checked in at my hotel in Memphis and promptly NAPPED MY BUTT OFF. It was glorious.

Monday Night-Thursday Night was spent LEARNING ALL THE THINGS AND MEETING ALL THE OTHER BOOKSELLERS AND AUTHORS IN THE LAND AND IT WAS GLORIOUS AND THE MR REALIZED MY EXTREME AWESOMENESS: 

The Mr reacted appropriately when he found out I met @hankgreen. #wi13

A post shared by Emelie Samuelson (@awkwardlyaliveblog) on

It was amazing. And exhausting. But mostly amazing.

Friday: Flew home. Read three books. Very happy.

Saturday: Back to work at the bookshop all day and then immediately after work I went up the street to the church where The Mr and I run the youth group. Saturday night was, of course, our annual overnight lock-in. We "slept" for maybe 5 hours. Maybe. Once again, things were amazing and exhausting.

Sunday: Up at 7am to make breakfast for 15 teenagers before church - skipped out of church early to head to the bookshop where I was hosting a dinosaur themed birthday party for a dozen toddlers. This is when things REALLY get crazy.

The birthday party was scheduled for 12-2pm. So imagine my surprise when all of the guests show up at 11am. 

Me: Hi!

Birthday boy's grandmother: Hi!

Me:  So... I had noon?

Her:  Oh no. I sent out invitations that said 11-1...

Me: Great!

So... cut to a dozen phone calls to reschedule the pizza delivery and also to get the birthday boy here on time, which was harder than one would think, since his mother wrote down that the party started at 1. 

YEAH. 

Did I mention how little I had slept at that point? VERY LITTLE. 

But somehow, it happened. It happened in a blur, but it happened. The pizza showed up at noon instead of 1pm, the birthday boy got there by 11:20, and I went to bed at 3pm and I think I might still be sleeping now as I type this. 

All I know is that it's good to be done with it all and back to blogging with you wonderful people. 

Good night. 

I literally don't know who I am right now.

So, if you're new here, I got married this past June (yay!), but I have been slow on the whole name-change process because, well, time is a lie and I say yes to too many things (not counting the wedding) and stuff. This hasn't really been a big deal. 

Until now. 

I'm travelling on Monday for work and everything got booked under my married name, which at the time of booking wasn't legally my name at all, so I was all "Whoa. Okay, there's the motivation to go to the Social Security Office and the DMV and make this thing official because I have a feeling I can't just show up and be like 'Yeah, I know my I.D. says SAMUELSON, but I married The Mr and so people call me by the name that you have on the ticket. Cool? Cool.'" and then just stroll onto the plane like it's no big deal. 

Apparently security has gotten tighter over the past few years so they might have some questions. 

SO. I was like "no biggie, I'll fix this." and drove to the social security office and I was all "Hey, look at my marriage certificate! GIVE ME A NEW NAME!" and they were all "Okay, sure! We'll mail your new card to you," which I thought was weird because I was there and they were there and I feel like when choosing between handing it to me or mailing me my new Social Security Card, they were picking the less secure option. 

But who am I to judge? 

So I waited until I got the new card and then last week I went to the DMV. It was great - I didn't really have to wait long and I got to take a new picture and the lady was all "Yay for weddings! Go you!" and it was all dandy, until she handed me an 8.5x11 sheet of paper with a scanned copy of my new license on it. 

Me: I don't get the real one?

Her: We'll mail it to you. 

Me:  Oh... So I just use this very skeptical looking ID now? 

Her: Yup! 

And then she sort of gave me a "why are you still standing here?" look and because I'm weird and have very little authority in life, I crumbled into dust and blew away. 

CUT TO YESTERDAY

I still haven't received the new ID and I leave on Monday.  

And then I looked at my photocopied fake looking ID and read that THIS IS NOT VALID UNLESS ACCOMPANIED BY YOUR EXPIRED OR CANCELLED ID. 

WHICH THEY KEPT. 

So I called Southwest Airlines and I was all "Okay, here's the situation..." 

And now I will be heading to the airport at 3am on Monday morning for a 5:40 flight with my temporary photocopied ID, my passport with the maiden name, a copy of BOTH OF MY SOCIAL SECURITY CARDS (one with old name and one with new name) and my marriage license and I feel like I should also throw in my last two pay stubs and a note from my mom? 

So basically, watch my Instastory on Monday, because I cannot imagine this will go smoothly. 

UPDATE!  

My ID arrived in the mail today! Which is fantastically good news, but I’m still sure I’ll manage to screw something up. I mean, my flight is at 5:40am. How on earth does anyone expect me to function properly at 5:40am? I don’t even function properly at 5:40pm... 

Mama's got a brand new blog.

Oh hello there! Notice anything... different? 

THIS BLOG GOT A MAKEOVER, FRIENDS!! 

The Mr and I have been hard at work over the past few weeks trying to revamp this baby, and I am so happy with how it turned out. We decided to move to Squarespace for a few different reasons, and man, oh man... LOOK HOW PRETTY IT IS. 

The Awkward Ambassadors have really made this possible. With a little bit of money coming in toward this blog now, investing in it (more than emotionally) has been at the front of my mind, so I asked The Mr if he would use his digital skills to help make this happen and BOOM: We have a fresh new look. 

So what do you think? Take a poke around and see what's different. Tell me what you like and what you don't like. I'd love to get your feedback! 

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