YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH

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So, I promised Erin. So, I’m writing, today, on the first of November. I am participating.

But…but…

 I don’t exactly know where to start. I don’t know what to say. I have this weirdly staid, relaxed, comfortably normal life right now. I’m 26-almost-27, I have a gorgeous baby-almost-1-year-old, I’m happily married. Except when I want to kill him and bury him behind our apartment, a la 13 minutes ago. We’re back in a holding pattern, waiting for W to get some acceptance letters to graduate school so we (I) can start furiously planning the next big move.

Which is so, TOTALLY going to be Pittsburgh.

I’ve settled a bit in my job, to the point where my DUDE I MUST TELL SOMEONE THIS CRAZY STORY moments have become infrequent. In the beginning, I spent days just muttering “I cannot believe this shit” under my breath. Now? I can mostly believe this shit. Also, I’ve gotten to a very happy level of notfallingapartness that allows me to poke my head up and enjoy things around my workplace. It’s less exciting from day-to-day, but I also don’t go home and sit up all night worrying about medication errors.

Oh, and I’ve made one now. It sucked.

I blame pharmacy.

So what to write about? What to write the first post about, much less the next 29? I thought long and hard, and here is what I’ve come up with:

NaPoBloMo: A Month of Inanities

All the things you never knew about Beanypuss! Pictures! Video! My way-ahead-of-myself Pittsburgh real estate search! Boring and semi-boring work stories! The what-do-I-want-to-do-with-my-life list! My weight-loss saga! Thanksgiving menu planning (completely unrelated to the previous topic, of course)!

It’s gonna be great, you guys.

 

 

 

Moved!

Check your phone! If I didn’t send you a text, lemme know and I will. Erin, I’m sending your notice to your FB account. Love to everyone!

Cooking With Emily: The “Dammit, What the Hell?” Edition

First, your cooking music. You’re welcome.

 

Alright, now let’s get down to business. W and I have been making candy, mostly fudge, for the last week. As of this morning, we’ve made 5 batches of said fudge and 1 batch of English Toffee with chopped pecans. Why so much fudge?

A little back story.

As a graduation present, my grandparents bought me a  very nice stethoscope. This one. The Littman 3200 stethoscope, as you can see from the specs, is demonstrably The Shit. I haven’t spent the requisite 500 hours holed up with my manual to figure out how to use all the features (read: any of the features except the bell/diaphragm options and volume controls), but dudes, even without the bells and whistles this thing is the coolest. I can HEAR stuff. Of course, since everyone gets a chest x-ray and CT anyway, the stuff I hear often doesn’t count for much, but I could not love my stethoscope more. Gadget-gasm, for reals ya’ll.

So, what do I do with my excellent stethoscope? Well, for one thing, I never take it off my neck…until I do. Last week I was eating lunch at a little table off the side of the ED, and my stethoscope kept bumping into my food. This is because my belly prevents me from leaning over the table to avoid spilling food all over myself, forcing me to hold my bowl up to my chin like a doofus. Yeah, you see where I’m going with this, and I’m totally blaming my unborn child.

I take my stethoscope off and hang it off the side of a cardboard box that is sitting on the table before me. Then I eat, and chat, and get a new patient in one of my rooms, and jump up and run off. Leaving my stethoscope in the box. The box that, on the side facing the rest of the ED, had a large sign reading…

…wait for it…

“FREE TO A GOOD HOME.”

Oh, yes. Yes I did.

Needless to say, when I returned an hour later going ohholycrapIleftmystethoscope, it had been extracted from the donation box of 10 cent novels and taken home by somebody. A somebody who no doubt was incredibly impressed with their luck, because damn, that was a kickass stethoscope.

I put up a couple of notes near the box, and asked around, but nobody had seen anything. I figured that the stethoscope was long gone, and I resolved never to tell my mother, EVER. Nobody can handle that kind of heat, you feel me? It drives me batshit to lose things in the first place, but to lose something special and expensive and awesome, engraved with “Emily Rousse, RN,” just killed me. But oh well, I guess. I’m a moron: I put it in the donation box. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, I PUT IT IN THE DONATION BOX.

As a last ditch effort, I sent a little email to my orientation supervisor/nurse educator Michelle, explaining that I am a huge idiot, and asking if she could maybe send out a department-wide email, just in case someone picked it up or knew who did.

The next day when I showed up at work, I found out that Michelle, the head of the security department, and various other staff members had spent 4 HOURS going all CSI on the security tapes and had tracked down and contacted the person who snagged the stethoscope. It was returned a few hours later (by James from Radiology, who mentioned that he was a little freaked out to receive a call from the head of security informing him that he had been seen with a stethoscope belonging to me. I was like, dude, MY BAD. I PUT IT IN THE BOX. If I’d seen it in there, I would have been like “hey, cool stethoscope!” and grabbed it too). They went far, far out of their way to help me get it back. It was one of the nicest things that anyone has ever done for me, and I wanted to find a way to say thanks. I really love my job at SGMC, and this is part of the reason why–I cannot count the number of people there who have gone out of their way to help me, to answer my 100,000 questions, check on me when I’m falling behind, and to make me feel like a part of the team.

Hence, the candy idea. The plan was to make a box, half fudge and half toffee, for Michelle and another box for the head of security, and then a separate box of fudge for the rest of the ED.

My candy-making experience, up until this adventure, had been entirely under my mother’s protective, cheerfully bossy wing. Venturing out on my own, I decided to use the recipe that she’d written down for me.

A bit more music, to tide you over.

 

Yep, that should do it. Moving on.

“Ada Johnson Hale’s Miles City Montana Fudge”

Butter the sides of a heavy, 3-quart sauce pan

4 c. sugar

2- 5.5oz cans evaporated milk

1 c. butter

Cook and stir over medium heat to 236 F (soft ball stage–drop a 1/4 tsp of mixture into 1/2 c. room temperature water: if mixture makes a soft ball you can pick up, it’s ready). This takes about 12 minutes.

Remove from heat, add 1 12ox package chocolate chips and 1 7oz of marshmellow creme. (Here you can also add nuts, but I always omit them. If you want them, add 1 c. of chopped nuts). Add 1 tsp vanilla, stir until it’s all perfectly smooth, then pour into your prepared (lined with parchment paper) dish.

How did it go, you ask? Not so great.

Batch 1: Totally edible, but a little grainy, and not as chocolately at I’d like. More sweet than chocolate, you know? So I got this totally genius idea. Add more chocolate, right? Right!

Batch 2: NOOOOOOoooo. Don’t add more chocolate, are you insane? What follows is a terrible and bizarre chemical reaction that I wish I’d filmed. Everything…separates. The chocolate stuff becomes crumbly and begins to ooze this plasma-like stuff, which I think is greasy water. Then it hardens into clods of chocolate-flavored dirt, surrounded by plasma. Ugh.

At this point W breaks my candy thermometer, and we get a new one that has “soft ball stage” labeled at 240 F.

Batch 3: Almost perfection. W stirred so that I could sit down (really, I am almost completely useless at this point), and we pulled it off the heat at roughly 1 degree below “soft ball” on the thermometer, added the chocolate and creme and vanilla, beat it up, and poured it in the dish. Right away, while stirring, it was apparent that this batch was different. It was creamy and shiny and didn’t set up right away. After we got it in the dish it retained a shiny surface, and hardened below into silky deliciousness. Still a teeny bit grainy but 1,000x better than Batch 1. And no plasma, so it kicked Batch 2’s creepy ass all over the place. This stuff is very good, and went into the boxes.

Batch 4: Tried to do everything the same as we did with Batch 3, except with better chocolate (switched from Nestle chips to Ghirardelli, same amount), and let the temperature get all the way up to the “soft ball” line. Dammit, What the Hell? Got a little bit of the plasma, and a lot of bad grainy texture. Overall, a fail.

Here is where I ask for audience participation:

WHY, DAMMIT?

What did we do wrong? I thought it might have something to do with the chocolate again, but those two chocolates are essentially the same. They even cost almost the same at the grocery store, which was why I upgraded. The temperature was higher, but I swear it couldn’t have been more than a degree or two. Fudge is not that sensitive, right? I’m lost here.

At this point I was mad, so I decided to take a break from fudge entirely, and worked on the toffee. I was expecting it to be a hash, honestly, because it’s even more candy-like than fudge (which in my mind spells trouble), and because the recipe I was using (this one) didn’t include any temperature guidelines and instead instructed you to create a “dark caramel.”

I was all, pffffft. I don’t know what you mean by “dark” exactly, and I totally bet this shit will burn. But ya’ll, it didn’t! It was fast, easy, and delicious. I cannot recommend this recipe more highly–it’s apparently me-proof. And, as you’ve seen, that means a lot.

Back to the fudge debacle. At this point I was pretty sick of the whole thing and ready to throw in the towel, but W wanted to try a different recipe and see if there was a way to make the whole operation more chocolatey and less sweet/buttery.

“William Fudge”

4 c. sugar

1 12oz can evaporated milk

4 tbsp butter (salted, but this was accidental)

1 pinch salt

1 and 3/4ths bags semi-sweet chocolate chips (the nice kind)

7oz marshmellow creme

1 tsp vanilla

Cook it up to roughly 232 F, then treat the same as regular fudge.

Batch 5: Excellence. Much better chocolate flavor, only the very hint of grainy texture, overall a definite win. I wish it were as shiny as Batch 3, but oh well.

At this point, I’m ready to tear my hair out. I don’t understand this stuff, dammit. Help a person out. What is going on here? What is that plasma? How does it work? How do you get all the components (shiny, creamy, smooth, deeply chocolatey, not too buttery but not too dense either) together in one fudge? We have yet to make a second batch of the William recipe, so I don’t know if it’ll even be repeatable. I’ll keep ya’ll updated.

A little more music.

 

 

Broad Range

I just realized that I favorited these songs in succession. In other news, I am kind of a weirdo.

 

This is actually a cover, but I like it better than the Neil Young version. W says that the only cover it’s okay to like better than the original song is a Jimi Hendrix cover. Hrrumph. I can’t help myself. It plays during a really excellent scene in “The Son’s of Anarchy,” which is a bonus. I am a little addicted to that show at the moment, against my will.

 

Annnnd now for something completely different.

 

W recommended the first song, and complained that the third one reminded him of Rose’s music. So, there’s that.

Playing In My House

Inspired by Andrew’s recent update of songs, I’ve decided to post a few things that I’ve been listening to lately. As I have no talent at all in this area, I will not be providing critical reviews. Also, I just got off work and I’m lazy.

Re: work. Yesterday? SUCKED. It seemed like every patient I got had some ridiculous complication, some series of forms to be filled out that I couldn’t even find, much less make sense of, or a wacky medical problem, or both. And I had one sincere, unbelievable fuck-you-very-much pain in the ass person who required hosing off. Don’t even get me started.

But today was great! I arrived a bit apprehensive, a little “once more into the breach dear friends,” but everything turned out fine. I had a couple of patients get admitted to the hospital at the same time, which threw me a bit, but other than that the night was excellent. The thing about admitting patients is that you have to make no fewer that 4 phone calls, and take orders from a physician (who sometimes acts like he has no idea which patient he’s giving orders for, which, dude, seriously? WTF?), and fax 3 papers in the correct order, etc. If you fuck any of this up, someone calls and yells at you.

I’m juuuuuuust starting to get this process right without a lot of weeping. I get yelled at a lot.

Anyway, on to music!

I showed this to W and he totally hated it. I was like, pfffft. Whatever. Betrand is awesome. Also, where was this thing shot? It kind of looks like an old theater.

Speaking no French whatsoever, I have no idea what this might be about. Nevertheless, I really like it. Her voice has an interesting thinness.

Ah, Gus Gus. This is an old favorite.

I listen to this on repeat sometimes. It’s the soundtrack for a significant portion of my novel.

I actually found Grant Campbell through a really creepy cover he did that played at the end of one of my favorite horror movies, The Burrowers. It’s on netflix instant, and I cannot recommend it more highly if you’re in the mood. A horror-western, you guys! Genius.

Last but not least, Local Natives. I may have shared this before, I can’t remember. So good.

Tomorrow I’m off to Atlanta for Thanksgiving, which promises family drama with both my parents. Also, a second baby shower, hosted by my aunts, and most likely many more diapers. Which is good, because you cannot have too many. If your baby grows out of a size before you’ve used them up, I bet you can just tape them together and Mcguyver that shit, yo. I will post more pictures of my expanding self soon. Everybody at work makes fun of my waddle now. Which is really NOT THAT BAD, I feel. Meh. I’ve been having Braxton-Hicks contractions (like little “practice” contractions where everything tightens up and I get short of breath), which happen more often when I’m dehydrated or stressed. So, I have them at work! Ridiculous.

One month left. How the hell did that happen?

Would You Believe

I am unreasonably depressed by the fact that I’ve done everything that I can think of to do on the internet. It’s the fucking internet, you know? There are a billion things to read and look at. Why do I always go to the same 10 sites? I don’t even LIKE half of them.

What else to do on the internet, peeps?

I need to get out of Valdosta. Fortunately, Thanksgiving is coming up, which will means a trip to Atlanta. Much driving and probably family drama…Dad is pissed because Hailey stole his money and gave it to some deadbeat boyfriend of hers, so he’s playing all coy about whether or not he’ll let her come stay at his house when the dorms close for the holiday…which means that Hailey might wind up staying at Mom’s house with me, W, all our pets, and The Abbotts. I cannot even. No. Just no.

Work is going well. In my interview I was promised 16 weeks of orientation so that I wouldn’t accidentally kill a motherfucker, but it turns out they’ve decided to kick us off orientation at 90 days. Come December 3rd, it’s official. I am an ER nurse. On my own. Taking 3 patients (which I have yet to attempt…cough), and trying to keep up.

One part of me (the rational part) is like, dude, holy crap, you are not ready.

It’s way too much. I get stressed out by the routine shit, and my head will totally explode the first time I have a critical patient that I’m responsible for myself. I nearly started crying the other day (which I’m blaming on ridiculous 8-months-pregnant hormones, for the record). Burn out will definitely happen, and it’s driving me crazy at the moment to feel so incompetent and overwhelmed.

But here’s the thing.

The rest of me is all FUCK YEAH BRING IT. I’LL FIGURE IT OUT. BRIIIIIING ITTTTTTTT.

A couple of times, in the middle of an emergency, I’ve had that calm, kickass feeling of “I’ve got this.” I knew what I was supposed to do, I didn’t drop anything, and shit got handled. A patient told me “oh, nurses can never get an IV on me, they usually have to stick me 5 or 6 times.” I was all, “well, I’ll just take a look” and then I nailed the fucker on the first try without breaking a sweat.

I was like BOOM!

In a totally silent, professional way. You know.

Now, let me stress something: these moments of professional clarity? Are only minutes of my 12 hour oh-crap-what-do-I-do-next-and-where-is-that-goddamn-form day. But feeling like I know what I’m doing, even for a minute, is crack to me. I’m high for the next 6 hours at least.

Then, you know, I crash and start missing all the giant, obvious veins and getting totally confused about how to do basic stuff. Anyway.

My great dream is to someday be one of those nurses who can walk into anything and just handle it. There are a few of them at my job, and they are a joy to watch. It doesn’t matter what’s going on, (people screaming, bleeding to death, multiple organ system failure, so many critical drips hanging that you need 4 IV poles, it’s no big deal. They’ve got it.

Maybe in 5 years.

The next 2 years, however, are going to suck and I’m basically cool with that. Just when I start to get my feet under me, I’ll be changing jobs and learning a completely new charting system. I’ll probably do that a couple more times.

Then it’ll be time to go to grad school and start all over again doing something else.

32 Week Skull Pictures, Just In Time For Halloween!

Ultrasound wands don’t do anybody any favors, amiright? In addition to printing us two skull pictures, the U/S tech also slow-mo’d the Gene Simmons tongue action at the end of part 3. Which, hey, girlfriend is working her facial muscles like a champ! Also, seriously, whyyyyyy? When she’s a teenager I will show her these videos and I will be all, look how awesome your tongue was! Wasn’t it nice of that U/S tech to include slow-motion fetal tongue action in the U/S video! And she will be all, okay, whatever, you’re weird.

I loff her.

I feel a little bit like I am slandering my unborn child here, but it comes from a very warm and fuzzy place. All joking aside, ya’ll know I think she’s gorgeous. And I am inordinately proud of her ability to smack her lips and move her tongue and wiggle her limbs and holy crap, be a tiny little person inside my person. For now. In 8 more weeks, she will be a tiny little person outside my person, which is even better.

 

 

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