Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tova's Totally Awkward Tuesdays

After the drama of last week, I could definitely use a laugh or two, so I'm going to continue with Totally Awkward Tuesdays as planned. I'll update you all on my friend at some point...

Today's story is really more of an "almost totally awkward" moment, but it could've been really, really awkward, so I'm going to share it. It actually happened just this past Friday.

At our office, Fridays are casual day, so when I got dressed last week, I put on a pair of jeans that were hanging in my closet. I'd been wearing them for a while before this incident took place - I took out the garbage in them, drove to work in them, walked across the parking lot in them, and went up a flight of stairs in them. After I'd been in the jeans for about two hours, I got up from my desk to go to the bathroom. As I was walking down the hall, I felt something brush against my ankle. I looked down, but there was nothing there, so I walked a few more steps, then turned around again.

There, in the middle of the office, was a pair of my underwear. A black lace thong, to be exact.

Apparently, the thong had been inside of my pant leg before I put my jeans on and had slowly worked its way down before falling onto the floor. I ran back, scooped it up, shoved the offending thong into my pocket, and then sprinted to the bathroom where I stood for a few minutes and contemplated the humiliation I would've faced if I hadn't turned around and noticed that my underwear was in the middle of the floor. Everyone would've immediately known they were mine, since I'm the only woman of my size in the office, and they had fallen out a mere three feet from the door of the office of one of our male senior staff members. If he'd found them, I probably would've just gone ahead and quit my job.

Lucky for me, this was only an almost awkward moment. If anyone other than me had found my underwear, I probably would have been too traumatized to share this story with you all for at least another week or two.

It's your turn! Share your awkward moment and give us all a good laugh.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Some of the best times you'll never remember

Let's start at the beginning, which was over 13 years ago. My older sister had a new boyfriend, and so my parents forced me to attend her new boyfriend's family's New Year's Eve party with them, entirely against my will (I didn't know anyone there). I sat by myself on the couch until the boyfriend's mom asked his younger sister (who was my age) to talk to me. Actually, she threatened to ground her if she didn't talk to me. She thought I was a snob, and I thought she was crazy, but she talked to me because her mom forced her to. The end result was that she and I became best friends.

Throughout junior high and high school, we were inseparable. It was a typical and utterly fantastic teen-girl best-friendship. We had crushes on the same boys, we added two girls to our group and became a clique, we had sleepovers and more inside jokes than we knew what to do with, we both took French class and tried for at least a year to write each other notes in French, we shared secrets and gossip and just about everything else you can think of (including used chewing gum). We abducted a puppet and sent ransom notes to its owner. We spent hours in Starbucks, drinking mochas and macchiatos and talking about guys. We tried on prom dresses at the mall and made other customers take our picture. Every year, we celebrated the anniversary of the day we met. "Our" song was "It's the End of the World as We Know It," and we listened to it together every year on New Year's Eve. Her mom referred to us as soul mates. Once, for no particular reason, she gave me a greeting card that said, "You're the glue that holds the macaroni on my shoebox." And she meant it.

When we left for college (dating guys who were also best friends), we sobbed at the thought of living 4 hours apart. Eventually, she transferred to my school, where we lived together for a year, and despite everyone's dire predictions, we didn't end up hating each other but instead grew even closer. We spent nearly every waking moment together, and spent every sleeping moment with her sleeping above me in a bunk bed. We drew on the doors of our dorm with chalk and traced each other's outlines in chalk on the carpet. We talked about everything under the sun. We got in trouble for writing our initials together in wet cement. We helped each other get over the breakups with the best friends we were dating, and moved on to dating guys who were cousins. We went to a Halloween party dressed as an angel and a devil.

The problems started when she turned 21. Before she hit 21 (six months after I did), she had played around with drinking alcohol and smoking weed, but since she wasn't old enough to go to bars or buy alcohol, her drinking options were somewhat limited. And so we still went to Starbucks and the mall and did the same things we'd been doing for the past 7 or 8 years. But as soon as she reached the legal drinking age, everything but drinking and partying ceased to be fun.

She started using various drugs - dropping weight at an alarming rate as she increased her drug use. She went to a bar almost every night of the week. She started having one-night stands with strangers she'd met in bars and began making very bad choices in her quest for drugs and alcohol: she briefly dated a cocaine dealer, whom she insisted only dealt drugs on the weekends (as if that were somehow better than dealing drugs on a Tuesday); she and a friend stole a camera from a girl in our dorm, pawned it for drug money, then called me in a panic the next morning because they needed $100 to buy it back; she dropped out of college.

But we stayed best friends. The kind of friends who can call each other at 4 in the morning and know that the other won't be mad. On my wedding day, she was my maid of honor. (I didn't find out until much later that she had gotten drunk at our alcohol-free wedding reception because she'd brought her own liquor.)

She's had plenty of potential "wake up call" moments. Her parents found out about her drinking and drug use and put her on "house arrest." She has had 3 DUI arrests and is currently awaiting her third trial - the one that could put her in prison for ten months. Her cousin - a sweet, intelligent, funny girl who, like my best friend, is an alcoholic - hit another vehicle while driving drunk and killed three people; she will spend a decade in prison. But nothing has reached her. Nothing has gotten through. She continues to spiral out of control.

For the past year or so, she's gotten worse. Her boyfriend, the "love of her life," broke up with her because he couldn't handle her drinking and drug use. She has estranged most of her friends. She lies to everyone she knows. I haven't seen her since September of last year, because every time we have made plans - literally dozens of times, twice in the past two weeks alone - she has blown me off at the last minute to get drunk or high. This past November, on my birthday, she texted me half an hour before my birthday dinner to let me know that she wouldn't make it because her "dog ran away." It was a lie, of course. She is currently in outpatient rehab and attending AA meetings, but they've hardly seemed to make a dent in her behavior. On Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings, she is at rehab. On Wednesdays and Fridays, she is drunk. At almost 26 years old, she still lives at home, and her parents have run out of ideas for how to help her.

Two nights ago, I got a phone call. It was her, calling from her locked bedroom in her parents' house. Her words were slurred and I could tell she'd been drinking. She told me that her parents were kicking her out of the house for getting drunk again. That she couldn't handle it. That she'd rather die. That she'd taken an entire bottle of pills and that everyone would be happier when she was dead. That she was, as we were speaking, in the process of killing herself. I told her that I was calling her mom, and she hung up on me. I called her mom's cell phone while Mr. Darling dialed 911.

I found out later that her sister had tried to call 911 but that my friend had threatened to slit her wrists if anyone called the police. She began vomiting and apparently got most of the pills out of her stomach. When the police and paramedics showed up, she was combative and angry. When she found out that I was the one who had called the police, she became furious.

I wanted to scream at her. "What did you think would happen? What did you expect me to do? Say, 'Well, it's been nice knowing you,' and hang up? Of course I called the police. You are selfish and self-absorbed. You cannot call your best friend of 13 years, tell her you're killing yourself, and then get pissed off when she doesn't let you die."

Mr. Darling and I drove to her house Wednesday night along with another friend (one of the two girls who were part of our "clique" when we were teens). By the time we'd arrived, the police and paramedics had come and gone. My friend was asleep upstairs, and her parents were sitting on the couch, looking as though the world had come crashing down around them. The police had recommended that they have my friend committed to a mental health facility against her will, and her parents couldn't decide what to do. We urged them to do it. It felt surreal. I was sitting there, in the house I'd had a hundred sleepovers in, asking my best friend's parents to have her committed for a psychiatric evaluation. When we left, her parents hugged me and thanked me for being a friend.

My friend texted me yesterday to let me know that she's not upset with me, and I wanted to reply, "I don't care if you're upset at me or not. I am furious at you." But I didn't. Instead, I told her I loved her and begged her to check into an inpatient rehab facility. I haven't heard back from her.

I am praying that this story isn't over. I am hoping that someday, it will have a happy ending.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Not the answer you were looking for

So, I'm mildly obsessed (is that an oxymoron?) with Google Analytics. For those of you who may not know, Google Analytics tells you all sorts of interesting things about your blog (or other website) traffic: how many visitors you have, where they're from, how long they spent looking at your site, etc. My favorite feature is the "search terms" which tells you what word or phrase someone typed into a search engine that led them to your blog. That one is SO much fun, because it cracks me up when I know that people had to be completely disappointed when they see that my blog isn't at all what they were looking for. For example, ever since my Totally Awkward Tuesday post about a completely innocuous, modest shirt that for some unexplained reason reminded my ex boyfriend's mom of kinky sex, I regularly get visitors who found my blog when they searched for the phrase "kinky sex." And you know they've got to be so mad when they're like, "Yess! A blog about kinky sex!! ...wait... this is just a picture of a shirt with safety pins on it." Hahaha! I crack up just thinking about it.

Other real search phrases that have led people to my blog include:

"Congratulations! You have matched," "medical residency matching program," and other variations on that theme. - I'm totally an expert on Match Day!

"Picture of my feet" - At least they got what they wanted with this one.

I've lost my phone and it's on vibrate - You and me both, friend. Did you check under your ottoman?

Nothing smells as good as Tova - Thanks! I wear Curve Crush.

Subway eat fresh porn - What would that even look like???

What to do when he says let's be friends - Just move on, honey.

Birth control: rhythm method vs. lucky rabbit's foot - They may or may not be equally effective. Good luck with that.

And my very favorite... Can I get pregnant if my husband... (I'm censoring this one. Let's just say that her husband deposited his, um, seed in somewhere other than her baby-making area.) - Unfortunately, my blog didn't answer this question when this poor wife did a search, so I'll remedy that right now. The answer is no. You're welcome.

If you have Google Analytics (or something else that tells you what search terms brought people to your blog), what's the funniest phrase that brought someone to you? And if you don't have it yet, what are you waiting for?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tova's Totally Awkward Tuesdays

Ok, most of you probably know how this works by now, but I'm going to explain it anyway. Because I am awesome. Or repetitive. Anyway, I'll share an awkward story, and you'll all read it and wonder why I'm so awkward. Then you'll post an awkward story on your blog, you'll link to mine from yours and then include a link of your blog below, and then we'll all read it and wonder why you're so awkward. Play along - it'll be fun!

When I was in college, I spent a semester working for the dean of students. Because of my schedule, I only did the job for one semester, but during that time I got to know the dean pretty well, which I figured would be good when I needed references for a job after I graduated.

A few months after my job working for the dean was over, I did something that was stupid, but that, in my defense, has probably been done by 60% of the population. At the time, my college roommate was the girl who'd been my best friend since seventh grade (who, for reasons you'll soon understand, I'll call "Unfortunately Uncommon Initials," or UUI for short), and one day as we were walking back to our dorm, we passed wet cement. So of course, we did what millions of people before us have felt compelled to do (two of whom had already done it on this exact bit of wet cement) and we wrote our initials in the cement. I wrote my first and last initials, and Unfortunately Uncommon Initials wrote her first, middle, and last initials right next to mine.

About a week later, I got a letter in my school mailbox asking me to come see the dean. Since I'd recently worked for him for a semester, I didn't think the request was odd, and I promptly showed up in his office. When I got there, he closed the door, sat down behind his desk, and said, "Tova, we have a little problem."

It turns out that the cement we'd immortalized our initials in was not actually school property but the property of a church that sat right next to campus. When the church saw that their new sidewalk had been desecrated, they insisted that the company that poured the cement fix it, so the cement company in turn decided that they were going to contact the police and have the perpetrators prosecuted for vandalism. According to them, the sidewalk would cost $600 to fix, so they were pressing charges for $600 worth of destroyed property. Because of the amount, it took the charge from a misdemeanor to a felony. The company contacted the school and demanded their help in finding and prosecuting the felons. (Gulp!) Three sets of initials (mine and the two other sets) were pretty common, and we'd only used our first and last initials, so there were quite a few people who could've been responsible. But my friend, Unfortunately Uncommon Initials, turned out to be one of only two people in the entire school who had those initials, and the other student with those initials lived off campus. When they realized that UUI had a roommate with the same initials as one of the other felons, they figured out pretty quickly that we were guilty.

The dean explained all of this and then told me that when he'd realized that I was likely one of the vandals, he'd asked for a chance to talk to me first before they pressed charges. He said that he knew I was honest and that whether I said I did it or I didn't do it, he'd believe me. Because I'm typically honest and I'm pretty bad at lying (and he already knew it was me anyway), I immediately confessed... to my former boss... that I had vandalized a church.

The company that had laid the cement offered us two options - we could either pay the $600 they supposedly needed to fix the sidewalk, or we could be charged with felonies. The choice was pretty obvious. The other two "criminals" were apparently smart enough not to confess, but the dean still managed to convince the company to only make us pay for our part of the damage ($150 each) instead of the whole amount. Naturally, they took a handful of wet cement, smudged it over top of our initials, and kept our money, but since we didn't want criminal records, there wasn't much we could do about it.

On the bright side, the dean was still happy to serve as a job reference for me after I graduated.

Ok, so, what's your awkward story? Please share!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Apparently, I'm disgusting.

I just noticed that I got my first angry comment ever on Secret Life of Tova Darling! Yess! I feel like I'm a member of an exclusive club of people who've been insulted by strangers. The strange thing about leaving rude comments on other people's blogs is that it's a bit like you inviting yourself over to my house for dinner and then complaining about the food. If you don't like my blog, there are millions of other blogs out there that would probably irritate you less, so why force yourself to read a blog that ticks you off? I didn't ask you to read mine - you just showed up out of nowhere, insulted me, and then left.

Anyway, the comment was on my "Help Pay For Her Wedding?" post, naturally. And here, in all of its angry glory, is the angry comment:

"The difference between my spending money on my Starbucks habit is that the $4 I pay for my latte is MONEY I EARNED MYSELF. I buy that latte a few times a week and I still didn't need to ask other people (complete strangers) to pay for my wedding. Or my vacation. Or my car. Or my home. If you can't afford it, then you shouldn't be buying it. You especially shouldn't be asking complete strangers to GIVE you money for something that you don't need. I think it's disgusting that anyone would actually contribute to this spoiled baby's wedding fund, much less defend it on her blog."

The angry commenter makes the point that she pays for her Starbucks habit herself (I probably shouldn't tell her that I've purchased my last few mochas with gift cards given to me by others), which is all well and good, but if you read the post again, you'll notice that the point I was actually making about Starbucks was that, just like you're allowed to spend your $4 of money you earned yourself on Starbucks, I'm allowed to give my $4 to this girl. Because, like you, I earned it myself, and am allowed to do with it whatever I want, because this is a free country. (Please excuse me while I break into a rousing chorus of "I'm Proud to be an American.")

You are totally entitled to your opinion that asking for money is in poor taste, angry commenter. Perhaps Emily Post would not have recommended that brides ask for donations. But out of curiosity, what would Emily Post have said about insulting people because they express an opinion with which you disagree? Or calling people "spoiled babies"? If you're going to hold other people to such high standards of etiquette, perhaps calling them names isn't exactly the best way to get your point across. Personally, I think it's a much more obvious display of bad manners to insult complete strangers than it is to ask strangers for money.

Part of the reason it's so easy for people to lambaste the brides asking for money (and me for defending them) is that the internet is so impersonal. You don't know me, you don't have anything invested in a relationship with me, and you're protected by the relative anonymity of your computer, so you feel free to say whatever rude things you want. I'm going to give this angry commenter the benefit of the doubt and assume that she's not the type of person who walks up to strangers on the street and calls them names. From her website, it appears that she's a wedding photographer, and I'm going to assume that if she were exhibiting at a wedding show, and she overheard a bride saying that she was asking strangers to help pay for her wedding, professional etiquette would dictate that she not storm up to said bride and shout, "Hey, you disgusting spoiled baby, you're not allowed to ask for money!" But what the angry commenter fails to realize is that she's essentially doing the same thing here. She's approaching strangers who've never said a word to her, have never met her, and who haven't said anything to personally offend her, and she's calling them names. If we're trying to find examples of bad manners, we need not look much further than that. You're welcome to disagree with people, but hurling insults is even less polite than the supposed breach of etiquette you're upset about.

If I could rewind time and re-make the decision about donating to the wedding fund, I'd do it again. Except this time, the donation line might read, "I give you this gift to celebrate the fact that it's not up to complete strangers to monitor how I spend my paycheck and to recognize that there's more to having manners than just not asking people for money."

"Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter which fork you use." ~Emily Post

"Whoever one is, and wherever one is, one is always in the wrong if one is rude." ~Maurice Baring

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tova's Totally Awkward Tuesdays

Once again, I was thisclose to forgetting about Tova's Totally Awkward Tuesdays. Don't be surprised if TAT just vanishes off of the face of the Earth one of these days. Luckily, today is not that day.

This one isn't as awkward as some of my past traumas, but it's recent, and I forgot to write a post until the last minute, so it will have to do.

Way back in my high school days, I dated a guy who has previously been referred to on this blog as "the good ex."

One thing the good ex was very good at was giving sentimental gifts. He wrote me poems and framed them, he made things for me, and one year for Christmas he gave me a talking photo box. I'm sure you've seen them before - it's a box that you put pictures into, and you can record your voice on it, so when the recipient pushes the button, they can hear your voice. On the box, he had recorded himself saying, "Hey there, beautiful. Have a Merry Christmas, and never forget that I love you most." As a teen who was in love, I thought it was the sweetest, most romantic thing that ever existed, and I pushed that button a lot... so much so, in fact, that this was a conversation we thought it was funny to have with my nephew, who was not quite three at the time:

Me (or my sister, or whoever else wanted to laugh): What does a cow say?
Nephew: "Moo!"
Me: "What does a duck say?"
Nephew: "Quack quack!"
Me: "What does (the good ex) say?"
Nephew: "I love you most!"

Anyway, after we broke up during our freshman year of college, the photo box, the framed poems, and various other relationship souvenirs ended up in a box in the attic, where they've apparently been for about eight years.

But now that Mr. Darling and I are moving to a different state, my mom is bound and determined to get all of my junk out of her attic and basement before we leave and she's stuck with it for good. So last week, when Mr. Darling and I were over for dinner, my mom came downstairs with a few boxes of my stuff. Old clothes, pictures, and of course, the box of mementos from the good ex.

Obviously, Mr. Darling knows about the good ex. In fact, they even met soon after Mr. Darling and I started dating. But that still doesn't mean that I necessarily wanted a box of framed poems and pictures sitting on the table next to Mr. D. And what I really didn't want was for my mom to say, "I can't believe the batteries in that photo box still work! I pressed it just to find out!" But of course, that's what happened, which means that, before I could even react, Mr. Darling snatched the photo box out from under my hands and held it high above my head while repeatedly pressing the button.

Definitions of awkward may vary from place to place, but I'm pretty sure that standing there hearing your husband laugh while repeatedly listening to a recording of your ex-boyfriend tell you he loves you qualifies as awkward.

For a day or two afterwards, Mr. D kept saying to me, in his best "good ex" impression, "Hey there, beautiful! I love you most!"

The box is now in a landfill somewhere.

It's your turn! Share an awkward story on your blog, link back to mine, then put a link to your post in the box below!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tova's Totally Awkward Tuesdays

Today is Tuesday, and that means that we all get to post a story about how terribly awkward we are. Blog about your own awkwardness, then link below so the world can read about how you don't know how to behave in public.

This week's story actually happened to me on a Tuesday, which makes it extra special.

I think I've mentioned before that I'm not particularly well-endowed in the boob department. I've always been skinny (I also have almost no hips and butt), so I'm proportionate and everything, but I've been known to wear push-up bras to give me a little help.

A few weeks ago, I bought a new bra, and I really liked the way it fit, so last Tuesday, I decided to go back and buy more. This particular brand of bra comes in really bright colors and patterns (one that I almost bought but decided against at the last minute was orange with pictures of goldfish all over it and had purple lace around the edges. Instead I opted for red and black plaid, pink with black polka dots, and red with pink lace.) So when I went up to the counter with the three bras I'd chosen, the lady at the counter commented on the fact that the bras I'd chosen were all very colorful. She was a sweet Indian lady who was probably in her 60s, and we began chatting as she rang me up. I told her that I'd bought one bra of this brand before and really liked it, so I was getting more. She picked one up and said in a very thick accent, "They have a lot of padding in them. Do you like that?" To which I jokingly replied, "Well, I have no boobs, so I need all the help I can get."

She just kind of looked at me and nodded, then began talking about something else. As she finished ringing me up, she told me that the store had come out with a new line of bras, and then pushed a catalog towards me.

It was a catalog of bras for women who have had mastectomies.

Apparently (and, in retrospect, quite understandably), she had taken my comment to literally mean that I had no boobs as opposed to just having small boobs. I had no idea how to respond to the catalog, I didn't want to embarrass her since she was trying to be helpful, and I figured I'd already crossed the line where discussing boob size with complete strangers is no longer appropriate, so I just smiled and nodded, made some sort of noncommittal comment, thanked her, and then high-tailed it out of there.

Tova's Note to Self: Maybe in the future, it would be best not to discuss your boobs with strangers.

Now go write your own awkward post, then link below!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Hey baby, do your feet hurt?

'Cause you've been running through my mind all day.

Recently, Elle, Holly and I were out at popular bar, and some guys came up and started talking to us. One of them said that his girlfriend of eight years had just broken up with him, and he wanted to know how to get back into the dating game. He asked us, "What pickup lines are best to use if you want to start talking to a girl?" and we all said, "None. Do not use pickup lines in real life. They always come off as either cheesy or creepy. If you want to start talking to a girl, come up, say 'Hi, my name is ___,' and go from there." (And by the way, yes, we all realized immediately that his "My girlfriend just broke up with me and I want advice on getting back into the dating game," routine was his version of a pickup line. But at least he didn't say, "Can I have a quarter? I told my mom I'd call her when I met the girl of my dreams." Because let's be honest, nobody uses pay phones anymore, and they definitely cost more than a quarter.)

So I want to know - what is the worst pickup line anyone has ever used on you OR that you've ever used? Come on, share! I'll start.

The most ridiculous, awful, cheesy pickup line that was ever used on me in real life was this (and I swear to you that I'm not making this up):

I was working at the grocery store back in my high school days, and it was a week or so before the presidential election, and this customer came up to me and began to discuss the election, purely so he could say...

"If you were the president, you'd be Babe-raham Lincoln."

Ok, it's your turn! Share the worst pickup line that anyone's ever used on you or that you've ever used.

Also, tomorrow is Tova's Totally Awkward Tuesday, so stop by tomorrow and be awkward. I'll be sharing an awkward story that actually happened to me last Tuesday. Apparently Tuesdays are just an awkward time for me.

Friday, April 3, 2009

These things are not related to each other

  • I just noticed that I have quite a few rants posted on here lately, which is weird, because in real life, I've been feeling extremely happy! Maybe it's the blog therapy that's making me happy - I get all of my anger out here and then I'm happy everywhere else. Hmm...

  • The post below about the blog Help Me Pay For My Wedding is getting some interesting discussion. Join in! And, just as an FYI - I did donate to her. When I wrote my original comment that she featured on her blog, I wasn't planning to donate. My attitude was more along the lines of, "This is a creative idea, but I'm probably not going to give her any money." Then I saw all of the nasty comments about how everyone should be giving every dollar they have to blind orphans, and I decided to contribute money just to spite those self-righteous jerks. I figured that anything that ticked off so many rude people deserved a few of my dollars.

  • Turns out that "Help Me Pay For My Wedding" is not the first blog asking people for donations to fund a wedding. Matt & Meredith, a recently engaged couple from Pennsylvania, started a blog in January called Help Our Wedding Make Cents. (I don't know if they were the first, either, but I hate researching things, so let's just pretend they were.) It looks like they're getting less nasty comments than the other blog, which could be attributed to the fact that they're only trying to raise $10,000, and every penny they raise over $10,000 will be donated to the American Cancer Society. Also, they have pictures of themselves, and they're a really cute couple, so that probably helps, too. Good luck, Matt & Meredith!

  • Julie is celebrating her one year Blogiversary, so you should stop by and leave her some sweet comments! Also, her blog features a puzzle of her face, so even if you're not into celebrating one year blogging anniversaries, you should go to her blog and tell her how cool the puzzle is.

  • Our landlord just told us that he wants to start showing our condo to prospective tenants next week. Good thing my packing method so far has been to pull all of my belongings out of closets, dressers and shelves, and leaving them strewn all over the floor. Hopefully, prospective tenants will all be slobs who will think, "Oh, good! Now we know that all of our mess will fit on these floors!"

  • I went to the dentist the other day to have my teeth cleaned (my least favorite activity ever, because I hate the sound of metal scraping against anything, and I hate when people touch my teeth), and when they polished my teeth, they used this fancy new machine that sprays baking soda and water at your teeth at a really, really high velocity. It was like sand-blasting, but for teeth. Torture would've been more pleasant. Now I have a new reason to hate going to the dentist.
  • On Wednesday, the little Feedburner widget to the right of my page said I had 250 subscribers. Yesterday, it said I had 19. Today, it says 16. Either Feedburner is malfunctioning, or 234 people suddenly decided that they hate my blog.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Help Pay for Her Wedding?

So, there's been some chatter here and there about a new blog, Help Me Pay For My Wedding. Basically, it's a girl who recently got engaged, she can't afford to pay for the wedding she wants, and so she's asking other people to donate a dollar or two to help her afford a nice wedding.

You're welcome to feel however you want about the topic. Wanna know how I feel? The first quote that she has on today's blog entry was written by me! Ta Da! I'm famous! In case you don't want to go to her blog, here's what I said:

"My first reaction when I saw this wasn’t particularly positive. And then I thought about it some more, and frankly… if people want to help you pay for your wedding, who am I to judge? My parents (without my knowledge) started saving up for my wedding my freshman year of college, so by the time I got engaged, there was already a hefty wedding account with my name on it. I (much like you) had always wanted a gorgeous wedding, and thanks to my parents, I got one. If my parents hadn’t decided to start saving before I even met Prince Charming, who knows what I would’ve done to pay for my wedding. Good luck! I hope that your wedding is beautiful! Please keep us posted on how much you raise."

Ok, so, now that you know how I feel, I'm not going to get into more detail about whether she's brilliant/tacky/disgusting/a genius (all words that people have used to describe her on other forums.) Everyone's entitled to their own opinion.

Here's what's ticking me off about a lot of the negative comments. People keep saying things like:
"not only do i think she is a spoiled brat with an attitude of entitlement and absolutely no shame, i think that the people who are donating money to her shuld find something else to donate money to that might be slightly more meaningful. Like, I don't know, CANCER, HOMELESSNESS, FOODBANKS, ANIMAL SHELTERS... seriously."

"Why does no one seem to see a problem with this!? She is obviously very immature, not even learning from the admitted mistake of spending "like a maniac on things I shouldn’t have." So let's see: Life Lesson Round I...points awarded to life, she wasn't smart enough to stay out of debt in the first place (little secret: it's not that hard!)."

"You are disgusting."

"I just don't get why anyone would give her money. I mean if you want to donate money, how about a real cause like Alzheimer's, breast cancer, or blind orphans??"

Um, hi, can we say judgemental? I donate to charities (heck, I work for a charity). I sponsor a child through Compassion International. I give money to my church. The hubs and I already have plans to go on medical missions trips once he's a doctor. I once gave my breakfast protein bar to a man who claimed to be hungry, and then he got really mad at me, because apparently he just wanted money (that's not a great example of charity, but it is a funny story). But if I donate a dollar to someone for their wedding, I need to justify spending that dollar on something other than "blind orphans"?? Sorry, random internet judges, I was unaware that I needed to run all of my expenditures by you to make sure they were worthy of your high standards.

And yeah, this bride admitted to spending money on things like shoes and highlights. So that means she's not allowed to want a nice wedding? If no one donates to her and she doesn't find another way to pay for it, then maybe she won't have the wedding of her dreams, but that doesn't mean she's not allowed to ask. Sure, she could take the money she would use for a wedding and give it to a blind orphan. But, let's be really honest right now. The people who wrote those angry comments obviously have internet access and a computer, which they obviously have to pay for. Do they need the internet and a computer? Are those necessities? Are they more important than say, blind orphans? Wouldn't that money be better spent on, I don't know, "CANCER, HOMELESSNESS, FOODBANKS, ANIMAL SHELTERS"? Don't we all regularly spend money on things that aren't necessities just because we want them? If I give $4 to this girl for her wedding, and you give $4 to Starbucks for some coffee or to your internet provider so you can log onto MySpace, what's the difference? Either of us could've donated that particular $4 to charity, both of us chose to do something else with it, and I don't think either of us is wrong.

I'd love to ask all of the people up on their high internet horses if they've ever purchased coffee from Starbucks. Or bought a new outfit they didn't need. Or bought cute shoes because they were having a bad day. Or bought candy or soda. Or if they own a TV. Or ever eat at restaurants. Or bought a newer car when their old one still ran. Or, heck, bought any car at all. Because those things are not necessities, and there is a gigantic portion of the world's population that cannot afford those luxuries. So if people want to be judgemental about people giving a few bucks to help this girl have a nice wedding instead of giving that same money to a charity, they better be donating every extra penny they have to charity, or they're just being hypocritical. It's easy for people to say that she should get married at a courthouse if a big wedding wasn't a priority for them. But what about the things that you want that aren't necessities? Are they really any more important than what this girl wants?

Honestly, the money spent on my wedding could've helped out a few blind orphans, too. But my parents had been saving it for me as a surprise. As a gift. And if I'd been like, "hey, thanks for saving up for years for your daughter's wedding. I know that it was important to you to help me pay for this special day, but I gave all of your money away to someone else," they would've been crushed. So if this girl asks for money for her wedding, and people want to give her money for her wedding, that's what she should spend it on.

I'm not judging anyone who doesn't donate to charity, or who has internet access, or who drinks Starbucks (I'm a total addict). What I am saying is that it's a bit much to insinuate that everyone who gives her money is doing something wrong by not giving that money to a charity. Unnecessary spending is unnecessary spending, no matter where it's going, and if I choose to give this girl a few dollars, that doesn't make me a bad person. Calling her "disgusting" is uncalled for. You might not like her priorities, you might think her way of raising money for her wedding is lacking in class, but does that mean you should resort to calling her names? Like millions of other women in this country, this blogger wants a nice wedding. That's really no reason to insult her.

Anyway... I'm done ranting. If you think her idea is tacky, awesome. That is totally your prerogative, and I have no problem with that. If you hate the idea, don't donate. It's not a big deal. If you think your money would be better spent by a reputable charity, I recommend that you check out Charity Navigator to find a reputable, responsible charity to donate to. But let's lay off of this "you should be donating every dollar you have to blind orphans, you selfish jerk" nonsense.

I'm curious - what do you all think of her idea? Brilliant? Tacky? Are you jealous that you didn't think of it first?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Tova minus birth control equals ticked off

Attention: To anyone who doesn't want to read about birth control, periods, and other decidedly female issues, just skip this post.

So, those of you who twit... tweet... twitter... whatever... may have noticed that yesterday I tweeted my dismay at the following bit of news:

When Mr. Darling and I move, I will obviously have to stop using my job's fantastic, 100% company-covered health insurance plan, and transfer instead to Mr. Darling's new plan. That's fine, who cares, right? After all, the only thing I really use my health insurance for is annual gynecologist visits and birth control (the NuvaRing, which is the best ever, and which I recommend to anyone who has a uterus but who doesn't want a baby in there right now. I've tried the pill, the patch, and the ring, and the Nuva Ring is definitely the way to go. Unless you like to have a permanent layer of itchy, sticky stuff in squares all over your butt. In that case, use the patch), so I assumed switching wouldn't be a big deal.

And then I read the handbook for our new health insurance plan, and...


I re-read the "excluded prescriptions" section at least 10 times, feeling quite certain that I was missing some important clarification, like "Except for people who don't want to get pregnant anytime soon," but no. Right there, in black and white, are the completely moronic words, "Excluded Items: contraceptives, oral or other, when not used for medical reasons." The only exception is "oral contraceptives prescribed by a physician stating medical reason (other than birth control)."

First of all, I think it is utterly, ridiculously, shamefully irresponsible for a HOSPITAL to not provide their DOCTORS with the number one doctor-recommended method of birth control. Any doctor will tell you that hormonal contraceptives are the most effective method of birth control (other than abstinence, obviously). Yet the hospital is providing health insurance that won't cover it???

Secondly, I honestly think that it should be a law that insurance plans that cover things like Viagra should have to cover birth control. They will pay for ultrasounds, prenatal care, delivery, and all of the other medical expenses that go along with pregnancy. They will pay for 50% of the cost of fertility treatments. Basically, they will pay for everything involved in me getting pregnant, but they won't pay for anything that might keep me from getting pregnant. That seems completely discriminatory to me. "Wanna get pregnant? We'd be glad to help you out! Don't want to get pregnant? You're on your own." I'm forever hearing about various bills and laws regarding teenagers being able to easily access birth control without their parents' knowledge. What about married adults who just don't want kids yet??? Where are the laws guaranteeing my rights to have fair access to birth control? Why should a mature, responsible, tax-paying adult with a good job and health insurance have to pay for birth control out of pocket just because the insurance company doesn't particularly feel like covering it?

The NuvaRing is more expensive than the pill, but it is also more effective (and much cheaper than a baby). The reason it's more effective is that it leaves less room for user error. With the pill, if you're not taking it at the exact same time every day, you're reducing the efficacy and raising the risk of getting pregnant. With the NuvaRing, you just pop it in, and you're good to go for three weeks! Plus, I'm overly sensitive to hormone changes, so when I was on the pill, I got headaches all the time, and anytime I missed one and then had to take two to make up for it, I'd throw up for hours. It was awful. With the NuvaRing, there are no hormone spikes like there are with the pill, so I get less headaches and no nausea. (And yes, I'm aware that this sounds like a commercial for the NuvaRing. They're not paying me to say this - it's just honestly that fantastic. So far, I've gotten five of my friends to switch to the NuvaRing.)

I've already contacted my gynecologist, and because she's awesome, she's agreed to write me a letter saying that I need birth control for medical reasons (this is true. I originally started on birth control because I got debilitating cramps that made me miss a day or two of school every month, and my PMS was so bad that my gynecologist considered putting me on antidepressants, but then birth control evened me out and made me semi-normal), BUT I have a bad feeling that the insurance company is going to say that they'll only pay for oral contraceptives, and like I mentioned, I do not handle the hormone spikes associated with the pill well at all. Plus, I've very forgetful, so I'd probably forget to take it and end up preggers anyway.

In case you hadn't noticed, I am super ticked off about this. Mr. Darling keeps saying not to worry, that we'll pay for the NuvaRing out of pocket if we have to (it's like $50-$75 without insurance, which we can afford better than we can afford to have a child), and I know that. It's not that I'm worried - it's that I'm really, really angry. It's the principle of it. I don't think this is fair, I don't think it's right, and honestly, I don't think it should be legal.

I know this is rambling, but I'm really mad. Anyone know any senators they can convince to pass a bill in congress? Are there any petitions I can sign? Should we start a walk called "Tova's Really Angry March Against Jerks Who Won't Pay For Birth Control"?

In my opinion, we don't devote nearly enough scientific research to finding a cure for jerks. ~ Calvin & Hobbes