This past Saturday night, I picked up a host shift. Because I was asked. I did not realize that, at the end of that shift, I would also be asked to engage in an activity which is completely gross, but nevertheless should not require a full hazmat suit. It should require tongs. I forgot about the tongs, though. I went in there with a flimsy, inept sheath of transparent glove.
I'm talking about the women's bathrooms. Again. More specifically, I'm talking about the sanitary napkin disposal tins attached to the walls of each stall therein.
Because at the end of my shift, I was asked to collect and stack the child-holders of various shape and size (booster seats, high chairs, etc. - all insufficient, in my estimation; the children still squirm and scream), and to clean the women's bathroom.
Because I always do a thorough job, I went to the kitchen, grabbed some gloves, and turned to face my fate. I had a date with a used tampon receptacle.
We put bags in the tins, but because the bags are oversized and, generally, not shaped to fit the receptacle, they are often ignored by the patrons. Some tampons and tampon-associated wraps make it into the bag, but most of the menstrual stuff is pushed down into the receptacle, behind or to the side of the bag. This makes retrieval particularly difficult. Hence the need for the tongs, which hang in a storage room, marked with a tie of red "Danger" tape, so we don't mistake them for kitchen tongs.
Actually, they were once kitchen tongs, but we repurposed them.
Can you imagine being that set of tongs? One day you're wrapping your metal grip goodness around a soft yeast roll, the next.....
But anyway, I forgot about the tampon tongs.
That's how I came to the incident where I reached into a menstrual paraphernalia depository and pulled out a needle. With my (gloved) fingers. My fingers.
My FINGERS, ya'll.
Needless to say, it was so gross. Beyond gross, it was disturbing. From whence had this needle come, and from who's use? A junkie? A diabetic? There is a vast, vast difference in the amount of vomit I would vomit depending on the answer to that question. And perhaps that's not fair. Perhaps that's not politically correct. Perhaps being a diabetic does not preclude one from being a junkie, and you can be both.
Either way, I had a used needle in my (once again, gloved) hand, pulled fresh from a smoldering stash of menstrual blood and cotton. You grab onto and hold what comforts you can in that moment. As for me, I pictured a plump, grandmotherly woman who wears dentures and too much perfume, loading herself up with insulin just before walking out to sit down and order a sweet potato, all the way (pay a dollar extra and you get toasted marshmallows on top - none but the truly poor and/or health nuts pass this up).
Now, of course I paraded the needle all through the back of the house, causing a chorus of nausea and gags and doubled-overs as I went, singing my story like a minstrel.
In other news, one of my cats is still eating litter, and today I noticed a significant bald spot on his side. Significant means bigger than a nickel, and cleanly bald. All bald spots on cats are significant, incidentally, but this one was strikingly significant. He eats the litter when it is fresh after a changing, by the way. Also, he is trying to preserve the edible freshness of the litter by peeing just outside of the box. This is not like when children color outside of the lines and their parents think they are creative geniuses. My cat is not being creative, my cat is clearly sick. He has an appointment with the vet on Wednesday, which I may or may not be able to afford, depending on how complicated the investigation and treatment gets.
This morning, I walked Harley, and she had a two-shit sort of day, which I felt like set the tone. We have dog-poop baggy stations posted throughout the apartment complex, but I always carry my own empty grocery bag, because you can't always count on the poop bag station to be stocked. If there's anything worse than the brown, cardboard blankness of an empty toilet roll, it's the brown, cardboard blankness of an empty poop bag station. I walked Harley, and she pooped, and it was a smallish poop, and I picked it up, it was a Food Lion bag this time, I think, or maybe Walgreens, but anyway, I picked it up, walked to the nearest dumpster to get rid of it, and just as we walked away from the dumpster, Harley started football-stancing, knees shaking, for another full-on poop. There was a poop bag station a few feet away, but it was empty, so I had to walk several yards to another station, which was thankfully stocked, because I tell you I was set to just let that poop lie.
When I came back in with Harley, I unlatched her leash and went into the kitchen to wash dishes. I wash dishes by hand because I'm too impatient to wait on the dishwasher for just the few dishes that I use to cook my food and eat. Have you noticed the ungodly amount of time it takes a dishwasher to wash the damn dishes? It's crazy! At some point, though, I lost the dish rag. Lost the dish rag. How do you lose a dishrag? It wasn't on the counter, it wasn't in either side of the sink. I looked and looked again. I looked under and over everything. I looked all around. I didn't look in the refrigerator although, honestly, it isn't beyond me. Finally, I found it down in the garbage disposal. Apparently, I had let the rag fall into the disposal, then plugged the disposal and filled the sink with hot, soapy water. I had to waste all that water, though, to dig the rag out of the disposal.
At least I got stuff done today. I got two poops picked up, and dishes washed, and appointments to the vet made that I can't afford. Yesterday, late in the afternoon, I was stricken with a searing headache, and nausea whenever I got up and walked around, even a little bit. Like, into the kitchen to get some stale saltine crackers I was nauseated, and dizzy. So, yesterday afternoon and into the evening until I finally fell asleep was lost to the headache and nausea. Oddly enough, or, ironically enough, I think the cause was the very expensive medication I started a little over a week ago for my acid reflux.
But, as Harley can attest - if it's not one shit, it's another.