lifebeyondexaggeration

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

The Snorkeling Sickness March 11, 2017

My husband and I aren’t usually seasick people. We’ve ridden on boats from canoes to cruise ships and neither of us has ever gotten ill. Until we went snorkeling a few weeks ago.

It was our first double day off since September, so we treated ourselves to a little trip to Key West. We rode the catamaran down. That was great! I read the whole way, my husband played his video game. We spent the evening exploring and woke up the next morning ready for a snorkeling adventure!

That’s where the problems began. We left to hotel too early for their breakfast and had to find food on the docks. My husband, feeling adventurous, chose a Cuban breakfast sandwich with pulled pork and chorizo. Then we got on the boat. Everything was still fine, but since it was a little choppy, they decided to take us to the soft coral instead of the actual barrier reef. Still super cool. I’d never snorkeled with soft coral before.

Then we got into the water, and I learned something very important: soft coral doesn’t hold down sand. It was like trying to swim through a sand storm. (more…)

 

A Hypoallergenic Bubble December 1, 2016

I have allergies. All my life I’ve had allergies. Ragweed, foods, dust, I’m allergic to all of it. It is my destiny.

But a few months ago I went to a new allergist, and she decided to do a blood test. Results came back. On a scale of 1-20, I’m only allergic to trees and that only reads at a four… Lies. Lies and medical deception.

Fast forward to last week when I go back to the allergist because I’ve had four sinus infections in the last year. She tells me to go off all allergy meds for five days before the appointment. It was the longest five days ever. Drippy eyes, runny nose, crackly voice. All things that are super great to deal with while performing a big dance review.

Anywho, I go to the office and the doctor says she really doesn’t know what to do with me because I don’t have many allergies.

(Cue cold-eyed stare of death from me.) (more…)

 

Kaiser Permanente for the Epic Fail September 20, 2016

I need to vent for a second. I have Kaiser Permanente health insurance. I pay every month for my freakin’ Kaiser Permanente insurance. Lots of dollar for this damned insurance!

All I needed was refills on some nose spray and my inhaler. Both prescriptions I have had mailed to me out of state while traveling for shows before. First, the doctor sent the refills to the local pharmacy instead of the online app. Fine, a mistake anyone could make if they didn’t read my email to them closely enough. So, I have to call in to the phone line and ask to have them mailed.

Then they tell me that they changed the policy and can no longer mail out of state…cause this wouldn’t have been an important thing to know a few weeks ago? I registered for this insurance specifically because they would mail prescriptions out of state! Gah!

So then they tell me – and this is after talking to seven people, two of whom transferred me to get rid of me, and keep in mind I was on the phone for more than an hour – that I can have my prescription sent to any Walmart. I’ll pay out of pocket, but they’ll reimburse me.

Thank God I have learned enough not to trust anyone at their word when hundreds of dollars are on the line. (more…)

 

Back on the Trail August 26, 2016

Filed under: What Doesn't Kill You — meganorussell @ 10:00 am
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Yesterday I hiked a trail; today I’m going to climb a mountain!

For those of you who have stopped by before – and thanks for coming back by the way – it won’t seem that weird at all. But right now I’m in Acadia, Maine. And last time I was here four years ago, I could barely walk.

I had just dislocated my knee dancing in a show and moving wasn’t really a thing I was very good at. I could walk for one mile max on flat surfaces only. Even that little bit of movement made my knee hurt like hell and swell like an evil monster. I had to stare at mountains and watch the little dots that were other hikers climbing with no hope of being able to join them. Acadia is beautiful, and my lovely husband helped me make the most of it. But it made my heart hurt. (more…)

 

The Twiggy Tornado August 16, 2016

I’ve slept some very strange places in my day. I slept on the floor of a tour bus for a few months, airports the world over, lean-tos, and even a VW van at a youth hostel. But the worst, or maybe best if you’re searching the annals of your life for new blog material, is the time I built my own shelter out of sticks.

It was an overnight camping trip from my summer camp in Maine that I signed up for specially. In camp we stayed in nice cabins with toilets and showers and all the fancy things in life. But this overnight trip was going to be roughing it. Real hiking, building your own shelter to sleep in, and cooking over a campfire. Out of the whole camp only two girls signed up, but I was super stoked to prove that I was just as outdoorsy as any of those boys.

We left camp in a rickety, fifteen-passenger van that was probably not safe for children to be in and drove out to the wilderness. We found a place to pull off the road and hiked around a bit. I don’t think we were really supposed to be where we were. There we no markers for trails or a sign saying we could camp there. I think we were illegally squatting on someone’s land and the camp hadn’t cared enough to ask the counselors where they were taking us before we left camp.

Once we found our less-than-legal home for the night, the head counselor started teaching us how to build our emergency shelters. You had to use a big stick to make the top, lay smaller sticks against it to make the sides, and finally pack it in with leaves for insulation. A decent concept in an area where there are no deadly bugs or snakes that might have wanted those snuggly warm leaves for their own evening shelter.

We all built shelters and went to make our dinner over the fire. The counselors told us wonderful stories of survival before setting up the tents they were going to sleep in for the night. That’s right. They were going to sleep in tents. And they had graciously brought one extra in case any of us couldn’t hack it for the night.

Of course, all the boys immediately started going on and on about how that would be the girls’ tent ‘cause the two of us wouldn’t be able to make it through the night in our shelters.

That’s when it started to rain. (more…)

 

Times Are A-Changin’ June 25, 2016

The world has been going through a lot of changes lately. The UK has decided to leave the EU, Game of Thrones killed some seriously important people (don’t worry, no spoilers here), and I’ve moved into a storage unit.

Yep. That’s right. All of my worldly possessions that aren’t currently in cast housing with me are in a 4.5×9 storage unit.

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It’s amazing to me that the husband and I managed to fit thirty years’ worth of our lives into that teeny tiny, precariously stacked space. But there it is. Apart from my wedding dress and a very important Winnie the Pooh print that my mom is holding on to for me, my life is in that cement room.

I won’t try to lie and say that it isn’t weird and a little scary to be moved completely out of my mom’s house, which was, after all, my home base between gigs, aside from being my childhood home. It was sort of terrible. Besides having a breakdown when I couldn’t find my cat’s headstone, just seeing my room empty was rough.

The house always felt magical to me. Aside from being giant, Victorian, and quite possibly haunted, there was just an air about. A tingle in the atmosphere that said scathingly brilliant things were about to happen. But as we started moving out, the hundreds of costumes that had been used in the Inn (the house was also an Inn that did costumed Victorian tea programs), the magic began to fade. It’s like the wardrobe to Narnia. The time has passed, and that passage to magic is gone. The gardens still have some magic in them, but the house is telling us it’s time to move on.

So we will. We’ll find new adventure in different places. Things we haven’t even dreamed of yet. And till I’m ready to hang a shingle outside my door declaring my house The Burrow, my life will remain in cement storage.

And so a new adventure begins.

And to my mother who is probably crying reading this, the house was our home. Our castle in the country. But now we will have a big city adventure. Time speeds up when you only do the same thing over and over again. Make the most out of life, and take a new path.

L’Chaim.

 

The Terror of Traffic March 3, 2016

Filed under: What Doesn't Kill You — meganorussell @ 7:30 pm
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I can’t drive. I mean, I have a license. I am legally able to drive. On a nice country road or empty highway, I can drive for hours.

But traffic.

Oh, traffic, thine nemesis of my soul. The thing that gives me stress hives and makes me cry. That evil being that makes me want a kitten as a stress pet.

Thou art evil.

From the man who tries to run his bike into my car to the stop light that doesn’t allow half the line of waiting cars to pass. I hate you.

Fighting my way across Southwest Florida is my personal version of hell. Never knowing where in that hell I am. Never knowing if the person in front of my bumper is trying to merge or has died of old age while behind the wheel. It’s making me a nervous wreck.

And the Garmin doesn’t help. It’s telling me to go down a road I don’t know in an overly cheerful voice. And then she (the vile and misleading siren that is Garmin) wants you to merge, but there’s no way in hell the people around you are going to consider letting you get over. So you miss the turn and she gives you the ding of shame.

And the clock. (more…)