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Of Couches and Kitten Carnage

Some days it just doesn’t pay to get out of bed.

A few weeks ago, I had a day like that.  It started, innocently enough, with my clock alarm going off.  Oh yeah, time to get up and prepare to deliver my couch and loveseat to their new owner.  A cup of coffee, toast and some clothing later, and I was sort of ready to go.  Foolish thought, as it turned out. . .

The new owner, her husband, daughter and daughter’s teenaged BFF showed up at my house at the appointed time.  They carried out the couch to my Suburban, and it was loaded without incident.  Next, the loveseat.  Small snag. . .would not also fit in the ‘burb.  “OK, no problem, let’s just lash it to the roof rack! I’ll get some rope and a tarp,” say I.  I emerge from my garage, just a few moments later, with these items, to find that the buyer’s other half and my neighbor from across the street had loosely wrapped the loveseat in a tarp that looked like it would explode as soon as the meter hit sixty.  Inwardly, I sigh.  Outwardly, I say “thanks, guys!  Let’s get this thing up on the rack and we’ll lash it down.”  While the buyer and her family are doing this, Helpful Neighbor Guy (may I also add, Married Neighbor Guy and Guy Whose Kids Babysat My Kids for Years) offers a consoling side hug over my recent bereavement that turns into a full-frontal bear hug with mouth-kiss attempt. (I duck and throw an elbow so it winds up being a peck on the cheek.  Ew.  He’s lucky he didn’t get the Logger Girl Basketball League Stomped Arch-of-Foot treatment.)

I turn my attention back to the impending transportation catastrophe at hand.  The loveseat is on top of the ‘burb, and has been lashed down.  However, the rope is all baggy, so I have to re-do it, while Buyer’s Hubby and Overly Familiar Neighbor watch with their hands in their pockets.  (My thought is that fellow motorists wouldn’t like having a couch, or any other piece of furniture, land on/in front of them.)  OK, that’s done, time to get this show on the road.  I follow my buyers in their car, hoping for the best, fearing the worst.  Of course, I soon hear an ominous “flap flap flappity flap flap thunk” sound on the roof of my vehicle.  I stop to investigate.  My buyers keep sailing along with nary a care in the world, ditching me.  Yep, the tarp is trying to disintegrate already, and an errant corner is flopping about like a sad dog wearing booties.  I re-secure the load, and continue onward.  I have my buyers’ address, I just hope they’re there when I arrive.

I arrive at the destination, and back into their driveway.  I get out, look up, and see that the tarp “covering” the loveseat has indeed shredded into a zillion ribbons.  I stand next to my truck, and become aware of a sobbing, screaming chorus of female voices.  I freeze, and attempt to arrange my face into an expression that is both neutral and reassuring.  For this is the keening sound that accompanies death (usually).  You become familiar with that sound if you’ve ever spent much time in an ICU, or had someone you love pass.

The lady who bought my couches appears, and tells me, between sobs  “My cat – was – pregnant – and we – left her – in – the  – house – with – the dogs – and she- had – her – kittens – while – we – were – gone – and – the – dogs – ate -them.” I choke out an “oh, I’m so sorry!” and wait for the next disaster.  Her husband says, “I’ll try to calm everyone down, but we should move these couches.”  I offer to help, but they say they’ve got it.  So I follow them as they carry the loveseat to the front of their house.  That has no door.  Yep, looks like the loveseat is going to go through the front window.  Great.  Suddenly, the husband freezes.  He says “oh, I’d better go pick up that stuff.”  He evaporates, so I step in to help hold the loveseat, which is balanced in the window.  Out of the corner of my eye, I see the husband scurrying about the living room, with a plastic grocery sack, picking up – oh my gosh – what appears to be, ah, kitten parts.  (OK, deep breath, you can get through this, you can.  Just don’t freak out.  Or laugh.  Laughing would be totally wrong in this situation.)

Cleanup completed, the loveseat is jerked through the window and into the room.  The process is repeated with the couch.  I wish my buyers the best, shakily get into the ‘burb, and flee the scene of the disaster.

Immediately, I call my good friend, Queen of the Undead.  I relate my tale of woe, and ask whether I should just go back to bed and pull the covers over my head, start drinking heavily, or a combination of the two.  QOTU recommends both.  Fortunately, I’m saved from a really bad hangover by an invitation to dinner from another friend, CZ.  I gladly accept because she says she’s making the spicy sausage/kale/brown rice/peanut stir fry that is seriously the best thing ever (if I get the recipe, I will share it!).

At dinner, I share my tale.  CZ’s teenage kids ask “hey, is that like Build-A-Bear?  You know, Build-A-Kitten?”  My friend glares at them, but they continue, not fazed in the least.  “Is my kitten’s heart supposed to be on the outside of his body?  Hey – my kitten doesn’t have a head!” They are horrible children, which is why I love them.  The littlest brings out her Build-A-Bear from Disneyland to make sure I understand the reference.  Yeah, I get it!

Anyway, it was a really bad day for me, but even worse for the kittens.  There are several possible morals to this story:

1.  Don’t wrap an old loveseat in an old tarp.

2.  Spay and neuter your pets.

3.  Don’t leave a pregnant animal unattended with other carnivorous animals because weird stuff can happen.

4.  Creepy things happen to you when you’re a widow.  Head on a swivel!


Personality – as Perceived by Self and Others


Urgh, I just can’t eat anything else made of pumpkin, and I think my skin is turning orange (yes, this can be achieved without the use of certain self-tanning lotions).  So, time to turn to my studies, which I neglected shockingly over the last week.

As part of my RN-BSN curriculum, I participated in an activity designed to help me compare my perception of my personality traits (known, I think) with the manner in which I am perceived by others (unknown).  Hence, the entrance of the Johari Window into my existence.

So, should you wish to construct your own Johari Window and seek input from those you know to find out how you are perceived, here is a link to a build-it-yourself, invite your friends (and frenemies, for that matter) to assess your personality(ies):  Interactive Johari Window


I’ve been reading Florence Nightingale’ s work, Notes on Nursing: What it is, and What it is not.  It’s interesting how relevant this text is to the work of nursing, especially concerning how much we should hover over those who receive nursing care,  and the role of the nurse in running interference between the patient and well-meaning folks who put their concern for the patient before his/her well-being, if you understand what I mean. 

This work is available free from Amazon if you have a Kindle.  If you don’t, here’s a link to Notes on Nursing – Nightingale (free).

Read it, I assure you, it’s a good use of your time, and while the content may seem obvious to us now, remember that Pasteur’ s germ theory wasn’t yet widely accepted during her time.  Hence, why her work is so amazing. 


Prospective Nursing Students – Some Articles of Interest

Nursing shortage?
Nursing shortage?

My baseline personality type is Golden Retriever/Optimist, so please keep that in mind when referencing the articles linked below.  But gosh-darn-it, I’m pretty grateful to have my acute care new grad position; not all graduates, particularly on the West Coast, are so fortunate (I hesitate to use the word lucky as I worked full-time as a hospital CNA and bypassed things like sleep, family, exercise and gardening to survive nursing school and get my proverbial foot in the proverbial door).

New graduates need to be aware that the nursing shortage doesn’t necessarily equate to a shortage of new graduate nurses, but rather experienced nurses, particularly those with a sexy specialty, such as OR, ICU, ED, L&D, etc.  New graduates are expensive to train. . .I estimate about $20,000-$50,000 per nurse (considering the new nurses compensation/benefits during the orientation period, compensation/benefits cost for preceptors, whether the hospital offers an RN residency program, hospital-based training classes, educator cost, etc. etc.).  *Note:  I have done zero research about this cost. . .just a good educated guess on my part.  Maybe it costs less, maybe more. . .your comments/references are welcome.

So, with that in mind, please read each and every one of the attached articles, prospective nursing students.  These are not meant to discourage you, just to allow you to enter into this adventure with your eyes open and living/lifestyle costs calculated, particularly if you are contemplating leaving an established, successful, remunerative career for nursing.  Obtaining a position is not automatic, no matter what your school’s recruiters tell you! It’s not that the schools are being dishonest, it’s just that they themselves are not actively looking for new grad RN positions, and they may not be surveying their graduates 4-6 months after graduation to find out what sort of nursing employment has been obtained.

Recalculating: The “Nursing Shortage” Needs New Direction

In Debt and Misled: New Graduate Voices on the “Nursing Shortage” (I wonder to what extent for-profit nursing schools and the push for the BSN play into this?)

Realities of the Current Job Market (What you, the nursing student and soon-to-be new grad can do to enhance your employment prospects. Like, be a CNA!)

Lastly, I recommend looking at the National Student Nurses Association website, which has information for current and prospective nursing students.

Sorry to be such a Debbie Downer, but I encountered these article links at the end of the new grad RN survey sent to me by NSNA, and I thought they were relevant.

Matters of the Heart


During the last couple of weeks, studying for my hospital’s mandatory EKG rhythm interpretation course made me very glad I bought this book, and worked my way through it. In combination with the course, taught by a cath lab RN/heart addict (“wallpaper with a Torsades border would be so pretty!“), which actually uses this book, I’m stumbling toward a better understanding of WHY those wiggly lines get weird when the heart’s electrical system gets FUNKY. So, aspiring nursing students, tele techs and panicking new grads, get shopping!