Friday, February 22, 2013

My Semiosis Body Language Neurosis

“Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.” ~Jonathan Swift
Grateful to receive our Cast and Crew photo from my previous (and hands down, most difficult) television show thus far in my career, I found myself surprisingly unwilling to strip open the envelope from my snail mail postal carrier.

Sure I wanted to see all of the smiling happy faces of my Crew; but as I’d put my heart and soul into attempting to exceed expectations to the best of my abilities for two and a half seasons, I’d missed the last week of work – our season finale.  And while I knew I was in the photograph (ooh, I plopped my ass down cross-legged in the FRONT ROW for the first time EVER to OWN my contribution to our success!), I simply couldn’t face the closure of the Stockholm Syndrome that had held me captive for so long! 
Sure, we might still get a pick-up for additional episodes after our cable network tests out a few pilots; or we may be done forever as even The Suits were growing vocally tiresome of our painfully tedious process towards the end...

Either way, the snail mail envelope remained unopened, as did the “fifth revised shooting script” in my computer inbox (yeah right - as if that was the end of the infernal re-writes!!!); not to mention the recorded season finale in my TiVo.

Triple visuals – but I simply wasn’t ready to look!

Toddling out to my mail box, unlocking the 2”x2” cage and finding a singular paycheck from my glorious day on a highly rated Network show last week (monetarily puny as it was, since I worked maybe a whopping six hours), I must say, I strode like a full-blown feather-expanding peacock with all of my $82.34 check (after taxes and what-not savings) in my claw, as I re-entered my bat cave.

And as if The Universe recognized that I was properly embracing my small fortune with all due gratitude, I suddenly felt the need to cleanse the lenses of my glasses for a full appreciation of the gifts bestowed upon me – and that meant both the photo as well as the season finale of my sit-com.  (I’d include the script in my inbox, but let’s face it – five minutes into the live Audience show, it had already been re-written.)
Tearing open the 8x10 glossy of roughly a hundred grinning faces, I smiled in return (as human beings are wont to do upon seeing friends and comrades), before my first round of Semiosis Body Language Neurosis kicked in.

(OK, seriously, I’m not trying to sound like Susie Smarty-Pants here, as I only learned the term “Semiosis” from Wikipedia last night; defined as “any action or influence for communicating meaning by establishing relationships between signs which are to be interpreted by an audience”.  I’m not a brainiac, but as my friend RJ often says, we thirst for knowledge.)
But I digress!

And at first blush, there we were:  all of the foot soldiers lined up in rows like ducks at a shooting gallery, smiling stupidly for the camera as every crew member does every single season on every sit-com – one shiny, happy ersatz moment trapped in time to memorialize just how jolly a television family we all appeared to be.  
Yet as Photographer Diane Arbus once said, “A photograph is a secret about a secret.  The more it tells you, the less you know.”  And with that, I was off on my High Horse named “Buttercup” to sniff out the truth!  (OK, OK, maybe not a High Horse, as “Buttercup” tends to stay low to the ground, so let’s call him a sturdy working pony.)

Naturally, the first thing to catch my eye was my stand-in “husband” sprawled on the floor next to me – a well-meaning attempt at camaraderie on his part to point to the picture of our missing co-worker Tara on my Kindle, yet an unfortunate choice of global positioning, as my Gorgeous Actress sitting on the couch behind him immediately shouted “what the hell is this?” as she demanded he scooch down to ensure that she was visible from the top of her coiffed head down to her pedicured toes.
Next to arouse the snout of “Buttercup” was the quizzical smile of one of our hard working PAs.  And thinking back to the last conversation I’d had with him, he was at the time, officiously tending to the menial task of setting out scripts and pads of paper, along with a specified grouping of exactly one pencil, one black pen and one yellow highlighter per person at a Table Reading.  And watching him line up all items in a neat and orderly fashion; I happened to catch his eye.

“Four years of college!” he raised his eyebrows with a small sigh.
As “Buttercup” continued to root around for more truths, I realized that this could very well be an endless journey.  Most every face or posture told a story.  The slumped shoulders of our one of our skeleton crew members who always appears on set with the genuine unbridled enthusiasm and joy of a carefree unicorn farting rainbows (thanks for the reference, Lynnette!); the ever-so-focused Wardrobe Dominatrix who was beaming behind enormous dark sunglasses (I’ll have what she’s having!); the (I don’t know what she does, but she smells a little bit like whiskey) lady who feels the need to share every single detail of her holiday stories with me after hiatus; not to mention the most under-used comedic Latino Actor (is that a voodoo doll in his hands?); nor the Trinity of EPs who were physically connected in a creepy totalitarian triangle.

Oy vey, what was wrong with me?  Why was I so fixated?  Was I suffering from Stockholm Syndrome?  Was my occasional OCD manifesting itself in this new Semiotic Body Language Neurosis for real? 
Or could it be – dare I name it – Sit-Com Post-Partum Production Depression?!?!

“Toi, toi, toi” I spat on my fingers ala my Gorgeous Actress in a Yiddish “ritual” to fend off such evil thoughts as she had done in one of our previous episodes.
(Anybody see a pattern here?  Hint – I’m not Jewish.)

Frankly, I needed to get out of my own head.  And what better way than to sit back, relax and watch the season finale that I knew absolutely nothing about!  Oh, to have a cocktail, a hearty chuckle and the warm fuzzy feeling of watching our show as Penny Q. Public, unbiased audience viewer!
“Why is she crossing to that water pitcher downstage left?  We never established that particular item so far downstage...” I armchair quarterback/directed the scene in my pea-brain.  “And what’s up with the cut there?  My Gorgeous Actress is clearly delivering that joke to the “A” camera” I poo-poohed derisively.  “And what the hell is THIS meshugas, that she’s eating Ezekiel bread in the living room?  The plate is hidden by the flower arrangement, but all of a sudden, she’s got a buttered slice in her hand?” 

Growing a wee bit saddle-sore from my sturdy working pony (alright, alright, my High Horse!), I was just about to pat his flanks and send him off to graze, when he snorted one last time. 
“What’s up, Buttercup?” I wondered, rewinding my TiVo to watch the last scene for whatever I might have missed.

And there it was...  I’d seen her do it a hundred times - usually at the end of an extensive interview when she was asked to pose for stills - but somehow I’d completely glossed over the obvious on television.

Perhaps I was distracted by our Cast and Crew photo and the eerie semblance at which we’d both elected to tilt our heads to the right (she was behind me, mind you!); or the fact that I wasn’t present for the final episode (hey, I got a nice fat check from her for all of my hard work last season, but “bubkes” this time around?); yet more than likely, my Semiosis Body Language Neurosis was spot on.
With two masterfully practiced specific facial exercises wherein my Gorgeous Actress relaxes her forehead muscles and then poses elegantly at a well-rehearsed angle, I recognized her signature smile that could only mean one thing – she was DONE.

(Well... at least for now!)
Looking forward,

~Opto-Mystic P

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Comparison Inadequacy

Still feeling like a leper with metaphorical seeping boils and flesh-eating bacteria as I finished recovering from my bout with the flu, I stood as quietly as possible in line with my orange juice and vodka (medicinal purposes) at a local store.  I was only one person away from the cashier, five minutes to check-out max, and thirty seconds to walk to my car.
But just as I stepped up the register, it happened.  My arm was already inside my purse digging for my wallet, and as polite people do in such situations of societal etiquette, I delicately coughed into the protective crook of my elbow.

And just like that, I was Typhoid Mary.
“She touches the bar on belt between groceries!” a little hunched over lady with a scarf over her head warned the fastidious gentleman shopper behind me who was already bathing himself in hand sanitizer.

Frankly, I couldn’t blame them...  The flu has been a monster this season, and I wouldn’t want me within coughing distance either, Emily Post Etiquette or not.
Wheeling Cecilia (my beloved 1997 Toyota Tercel) home - with no prospects for work until pilot season gets closer - and feeling a bit glum, I parked Cecilia in our designated spot and sighed out loud:  “That’s all I’ve got for today, my friend”.  And as empathetic as an automobile might not necessarily be, Cecilia lit up her “check engine” light like a fist-bump of solidarity.

Having lost four irretrievable hours of my precious existence on this planet playing a “match three alike or more” App on my Kindle Fire HD wherein I travelled from Rome, to Greece, to Troy etc. on a mindless yet strategic journey (for the fifth time – the first time took me twelve hours!), I was shocked to hear my cell phone ring at 6:30pm.  I’d had maybe two calls in the last three weeks, as apparently the flu might be contagious over the cell phone waves too, and absolutely no one wanted to talk to me.

“Hi Penny, this is Adam from Casting.  I was wondering if you were available to Stand-In tomorrow for sure; and possibly Thursday and Friday?”
“I...I...I... would love to” I squealed, trying ever so hard not to sound desperate.

“Oh, I’m so glad! he smiled over the phone.  “Let me book you immediately!” he added, gathering my info.  “So, you’ll be going to Warner Bros. Studio...”
(My heart leapt a beat, as I rarely get hired over there!)

“And your call time is 10:00am...” he continued.
(Oh thank God, I had time to color my hair that evening!)

“Park at the Forest Lawn Gate...”
(Plan ahead, plan ahead, they won’t let you in before one hour of your call time!)

“...And you’ll be reporting to Stage 26.”
“Excellent!  And what’s the show that I’m working on?”

Fretting all night as I’m prone to do with every new adventure, I triple checked my back pack with supplies.  Did I have Kleenex tissues (with lotion)?  Check!  Throat lozenges so I wouldn’t be thrown off the set for coughing?  Check!  Three layers of clothing in case the stage was as cold as a meat locker?  Check!

Successfully passing through the first security gate with proper identification, Cecilia angled into a spot where she could overlook the studio; and with me toddling off to my job (come what may), I passed through the second security check easily.
Eventually winding my way to Stage 26, the monstrous weight of my previous dog and pony cable show hanging around my neck like an albatross, I took a moment to catch my breath before I opened the door to inhale the sweet smell of a highly successful ten year Network series.

“And you are?” the storm trooper barricaded my entrance.

“Um, um, um, I’m Penny” I stuffed all of my IDs into the hand of the Security Guard monitoring the stage. 

“You weren’t here yesterday” he frowned, double-checking my info. 
“No I wasn’t – they just called me in last night.  I don’t even know who I’m standing-in for” I sweated profusely.

“Well then, good to meet you, and welcome!  I’m Anthony” the gentleman tipped his cap as he handed me back my documents.  “Let me escort you to the AD’s office!  Craft Services is here if you’d like to grab some breakfast, and the ADs are just inside that door on your right.”
Checking in with a familiar face and asking if I needed to scamper out of sight into the audience seating, our AD smiled compassionately.  “That’s OK Pen; feel free to hang out down here on stage.  We won’t start rehearsal until ten, but thanks for being early!” 

Oh, it was all so civilized! 
“And you are?” an innocuous looking gentleman wanted to know as I plopped down my backpack - his ear piece visibly spiraling down the back of his shirt to a walkie talkie.

“Um, um, um, I’m Penny” I fretted again, searching for my paperwork and hoping to avoid a latex-gloved cavity search.  “I don’t know who I’m standing-in for, but...”
“Oh right!” he smiled.  “I saw your name on the call sheet.  Welcome to our show!    Here, let me get you a script.  And since you’re a red-head, you might be standing-in for her” he added, pointing to the Cast list, but the ADs will tell you for sure.  I’m the set PA, so let me know if you need anything!”

And pouring through the pages, I was already feeling overwhelmed.  Good heavens!  This character was in eight out of twelve scenes!  And if my Gorgeous Actress from my previous dog and pony cable show was any indication, I’d be working my ass off!
Now if there’s one thing I learned from suffering though the flu, it’s that your body is of absolutely no use whatsoever without nutrients.  I needed breakfast.  I needed apple juice.  And abandoning my script for the moment in lieu of sustenance, I was just about to tong my second dollop of hash browns onto my plate, when a third voice demanded to know just who the heck had permitted my access onto the highly secured stage.

Oh, this was definitely going to be a very long and arduous day...

“Sweet B!” I screamed, happily hugging the second familiar face on stage.
And given a lay of the land, with private nods as to who was who on the crew as well as a heads up on the part that I was standing-in for – a blonde Guest Star in ONE scene, who literally PIVOTED on her mark, checked her cell phone in her left hand and exited upstage right - I tried to shake the boulders out of my head.

“That’s it?” I asked Sweet B stupidly, unable to comprehend the menial task at hand.
“That’s it!” she laughed.  “We do have to stay for lighting tonight, but after your scene is lit, you’re done.  Now, you just relax...” (Sweet B knew first-hand the pressures of my previous dog and pony cable show, and understood exactly why my head was spinning), “...and enjoy yourself for a change!” she beamed.

Quite frankly, I couldn’t wrap my mind around the concept!
“Hey you, hey you, hey you” our friendly Director arrived on-set, pointing his finger at all of the Second Team, pausing momentarily to study my face.  “Hey...”

“Penny” I helped him out.  “I stood in for Jennifer Lawrence on ‘The Bill Engvall Show’ a few years ago.”
“Has it been that long?” he clutched me in a warm embrace.

OK, seriously, could my day get any better?!  I’d transformed over night from Typhoid Mary, to a gainfully employed, seasoned veteran, trusted to work (if only for a day!) on a highly rated CBS Network show!!!  And I was huggable!!!
By day’s end (and I type with shame that that was maybe 4pm?), I had once again learned invaluable life lessons in my humble career.

I re-discovered the danger of rumors in our business, as one Second Team acquaintance pulled me aside to congratulate me on becoming my previous Gorgeous Actress’ Assistant and thereby doubling my salary.  “Uh, no – she already has three Assistants, and where would I find the time to stand-in for her, cook chicken breasts for lunch and take her aging dog for a push in its baby stroller?”
I was also reminded that no matter how low on the Hollywood rung your job might be, if you respect the work and do your part to the best of your abilities, once in a while, someone slightly higher up just might give you a hand.

And lastly, I remembered how fun and exciting my job is supposed to be!
“You do know that you can probably leave any time now...” Sweet B offered, “as long as you clear it with the DP that he’s done lighting that set, right?”

“Yeah” I sighed, grateful for the best day in the last three weeks.  “But not until I finish chatting with you, and I have a slice of pecan pie from Craft Services!”

~Ecstatic P!
p.s. As I’ve treated myself to a trinket at the Warner Bros. store whenever I’m hired to work on their lot, I shuffled off in search of the perfect sparkly doo-dad to celebrate my visit to the Network show.  I was “one and done”, since my actress’ scene wouldn’t be shot until two days later, and their regular Stand-In had successfully conquered the flu and was prepared to work that Friday...

But that couldn’t take away my joy!
In fact, on the way to the Warner Bros. gift shop, I actually ran into three more people that I’ve worked with – most of whom were also filling in for their very own fellow Typhoid Mary!

And yes, that probably should have been enough to exchange more hugs and cap off my glorious day – but I needed solid proof for myself...
Nine bucks; the leisure suit of cheap jewelry as it has a spandex band (and yes it turns my finger green), but I warmly give you my heart with a bow:

Rock on, WB, rock on!


Saturday, February 2, 2013


Waking up to brutally cold 35 degree weather outside a couple of weeks ago in Los Angeles (WTF?), I bundled up like a toddler unable to move my arms underneath all the layers of clothing, strapped on my gloves, and was just about to pull on my booties and my backpack for work, when, once again like a toddler, I immediately had to go to the bathroom.
Granted, I was rather annoyed, but when ya gotta go, ya gotta go.

With only a few days left on my current show, and no notice as to whether or not we’d gotten a pick-up or cancellation, I vowed to make the most out of my favorite studio lot.  And waiting for the red light to go off outside the sound stage down the midway, I was actually a bit nervous...
I knew with all my heart that I would be embraced with love, but that didn’t stop the butterflies in my tummy.  I only had a half hour lunch break; I was invading someone else’s Stand-In work environment, and by all accounts I could’ve been tossed out on my ass if Security saw me sneak into the far side double doors.

But with the buzzer signifying a tape cut, I sidled onto the stage near Craft Services, only to run directly into my friends Lori and Dev who smothered me with happy hugs!  And two seconds later, I was clasped again by my dear friend Diddy!  Oh, I missed the camaraderie of having so many friends all together on the same show!
Don’t get me wrong – I’ve been blessed to have three wonderful friends with me on my current show – but there was something truly magical about six and a half years on a sit-com that really felt like family...

“Is she on-stage now?” I wondered.
“Yes!  Come around this way” Lori and Dev guided me.  “Ooh, I wanna see the reunion!” Lori beamed.

And standing in the darkness, maybe half way into the light of the stage, I stood quietly between the cameras as a certain red-headed Country Music Star contemplated her dialogue (with a writer?), before she randomly caught my eye.
“PENNY!” she squealed, racing off the set to give me a hug.  “How are you?!  I almost didn’t recognize you in that baseball cap!”

“I’m good!  I’m trying to be incognito...  I’m here on the wrong set!” I blathered like an idiot, throwing my hand over my current sit-com’s title on the hat.
“Yes you are!  You should be here with us!” she laughed.  “So good to see you!” she smiled genuinely.  “I’m so glad you came by!” she hugged me again.

Quite frankly, I couldn’t have been more full of myself.  I was happy!  And dare I say it, I was smug... 

Even at lunch the next day, when our Cable Network had treated our Crew to a special meal by a highly rated Korean Food Truck (???), I poo-pooed the potential poodle menu in lieu of accepting a free flu shot from a once-a-week visiting Health Care facility associated with the Entertainment Industry; topped off with a most delicious fountain Diet Coke from the Commissary, as I shared a splendid hour break with friends.
My world was perfect! 

My Universe was exquisite!
My arm hurt a little from the needle, but my helpful friend James had copped me an ice pack from Props which seemed to reduce the potential swelling: and settling in for a lengthy night of pre-shoots, I took full advantage of moving the ice pack around towards any wayward sore back or neck muscles. 

And just as I was beginning to feel like Cleopatra on a luxurious chaise lounge, a tickle caught my throat.
Oh bother...

Scampering to the opposite end of the stage with four tissues in hand, I blockaded my face as both a torrential sneeze and a ‘productive’ cough expelled themselves from my head at precisely the same moment.  “Well, timing is everything” I consoled myself, grateful to be the only person on stage to witness the unbridled power of my sinus cavities and their Technicolor wonders.

Arriving early to work once again the next day, and intercepted by our office PA who was eager to guide me towards the Executive Dining Room above the Commissary (all this time, and I never knew such a place existed!), I sat amongst the crew as the Production meeting took place, prior to our Table Read for our final episode the following week.  Our Oscar-winning Actress was unavailable, as she was attending the Inaugural Ball for the President of the United States, and I had been offered the honor of standing-in to read for her!  Ooh, our office PA even printed out a placard for me at the Actor’s table, with my name and the character’s name beneath!  I was Cleopatra once again!  I was receiving the royal treatment!  I was... I was... I was about to hack up a globular green mucous ball, the likes of which my deceased feline sidekick Pretty would have been most proud.
Blissfully however, Actors, Producers and Suits consume lengthy amounts of time as they enter a room, hob-knobbing, getting coffee, smearing creepy dead fish on their bagels and what-not, before eventually winding their way into taking their seats.  And ever-so-prepared Capricorn that I am, I had not only managed to ‘produce’ said globule, but I’d also managed to discard it; with additional napkins on my lap should my mucous-brain consider an encore.

“Let me just scoot this chair next to you Pen” our office PA made room  and plopped down a placard next to mine – that being the name of our Co-Creator, Co-EP and Director for the episode.
“Morning!” our Triple Threat Director smiled.

“Morning” I smiled back; “yeah, this isn’t intimidating at all!” I added, uneasily, visions of mucous flinging uncontrollably from my face.
“Relax sweetie, you’re great” he added, as I wearily clutched my napkins.

Now, I don’t know if anyone else noticed, but I felt off my game.  I was supposed to stand-in for a Puerto Rican woman doing a Flushing, NY accent, and although I was close, I knew my performance was lacking.  On the flip side, I was also reading a small part for a British woman – specific to London – which I thought I nailed.  But once we got into camera blocking later in the day, I was all over the map.  Some of my movements were incorrect, and whilst I was gung-ho to defend my notes, I couldn’t contradict our boom operator who was covering only one line in the entire scene.  Yes, my Gorgeous Actress had walked to the door, but only half way.
What the hell was wrong with me?  I was so embarrassed!  I was so humiliated!  Clearly, The Universe was teaching me a lesson about being smug, and well, by golly, humbling flu lesson learned!

Or so I thought...
With a fever of 99.8 degrees, I whimpered at the water leaking out of the bottom of my toilet.  I’d added a pitcher of water to fill up the basin, only to watch it disappear into the piping.  The tank was filling up properly, but by all accounts something was wrong.  And terrified to have my deceased Landlord’s son threaten to evict me for any little reason, I woozily scrubbed the floor around the lavatory in a hot sweat, and eventually made the call.

“Wow, are you sick?” ‘Sherlock Yang the Younger’ wanted to know, as I coughed all over the telephone, barely able to form a complete sentence.  “I’ll come by and take a look” he added with the confidence of a stoned surfer dude.  “Whoa, sorry you got the flu” he kicked off his flip-flops before entering my apartment; his baseball cap strapped on backwards over his long mop of hair.  “Ya know, I’m just gonna say, don’t use it for now” he nodded as he crossed his arms; clearly his first executive decision as ‘heir to the throne’.  “You can just knock on our apartment door if you need to use a bathroom” he concluded obliviously.
“I’m sorry, wait, WHAT?”

“Well, today’s a holiday and all, and I can call the plumber tomorrow.  Just knock on #6 if you need to go, okay?” he added, whisking the door shut behind him.
I probably stood there in a fog for five whole minutes, trying to process the idea of waddling up the stairs at three in the morning to make a surprise deposit in Sherlock’s family’s toilet.  In fact, the way my body was attempting to fend off the illness, I might easily make contributions at any given moment!  (And in “hindsight” (if you will), that’s precisely what I should have done.)

But not willing to risk making any waves regarding my precious rent-controlled bat-cave, I put my fuzzy, mucous-filled Capricorn pea-brain to task to make my life as simple as possible, and lined my commode with a plastic garbage bag. 

And as natural sleep should be ever-so-easy, I plopped my ginormous head on a pillow, clasped a preventative tissue in my paw for any erstwhile productive coughs, and without any warning whatsoever, sneezed a bloody nose geyser all over the bedding.

AW, C’MON!!!

Clamping my nostrils together with a Kleenex, I stared forlornly at my heroic feline sidekick Pretty’s urn...  Oh, I missed her so.  Oh, I missed the unconditional love and comfort she’d provided me for 17 years whenever I got sick...  Oh, holy crap, I suddenly understood why she’d always feigned a sudden interest in her furry toes when I cleaned her litter box; for now I was the one carting my own pee and poo baggies to the trash!

But hearing Billy-Butt-Crack (our local Plumber) snaking drains upstairs the next morning, I knew my world would soon enough make sense once again.   He’d popped by my apartment (Sherlock camped outside in his usual flip-flops) to have a look and confirm that all manner of creepy silt-like crud had gurgled two inches high into my bathtub (WTF?????), and thus his probing had been successful throughout the building (THIS is SUCCESSFUL???).   
And retiring back to bed, amazed that my enormous mucous-filled Charlie Brown head could even fit through the corridor, I sent a desperate text to my friend JB:

“Any chance you could drop off some supplies after work?”
Armed with three mega-boxes of Puffs Plus Lotion, two different flavors of Nyquil, hundreds of various cough drops, a couple of mindless paperbacks, gallons of orange juice and vitamin waters, and a contingency of chicken broth based soups, my friend JB wished me well, shutting the door quickly as I gratefully coughed all over my groceries.

Like it or not, I learned a few more lessons this month.

You can spend one whole day on top of the world! 
And just as quickly, you can find yourself carrying your own pee bags out to the trash in triplicate confidential carriers to hide your humiliation in the middle of the night...!

But if you are true to your heart, a small sense of dignity is but a moment away.
Now, I’ve gotta say, that out of all the roles I’ve played or stood-in for in the last twenty two years of my life in Tinsel Town, “Sickly” is not my opus.

Despite my complete and utter disgust of all things chicken, I actually ate one can of double noodles in chicken broth; and feeling adventuresome the next day, I opened a second can of “Scooby Doo!” shaped pasta with actual chunks of chicken the size of my knuckles...  EEK!
And that was that!

Call it mind over matter if you will, but I was done with the stupid flu.
Holding a shot of whiskey (desperate times people, desperate times!) in the back of my throat that burned like hell for thirty seconds, I eventually swallowed and took back my dignity.

“Hi, this is Penny” I rang my deceased Landlord’s son.  “Can you give me an estimate as to when I can safely use my toilet again?” I demanded to know.
“Oh, dude, sorry” Sherlock kerfuffled.  “I didn’t want to bother you, ‘cuz I knew you were sick.  The plumber guy finished around 5:30 last night; you oughta be fine now” he offered.  “Go ahead and flush it a couple of times, just to make sure it’s cool” he suggested as I did so.  “Yeah, I’m gonna put up a whatchamacallit, uh, sign, near the whatchamacallit, um, mailboxes, to let people know, not to put whatchamacallit, uh, ya know, stuff into the pipes.  So did your toilet flush twice?” he wanted to know.

“Yes, it did.”
“Awesome!  Then you’re good to go!” he beamed over the phone.  “Call me if you have any more problems, OK?” he metaphorically swung a “hang loose” hand symbol.

“Uh, buh, buh, buh, buh!” I quashed him before he could disconnect.  “There’s still silt in my toilet, and a chunky film of scum layering my bathtub.  What the hell am I supposed to do with that?” I queried.
“Oh, just turn on the whatchamacallit, uh, shower, and it’ll all drain down.  Have an awesome night!”

As I’m now 99.9% better, off of all cold/flu medication and settling back into the happy normalcy of a bit of voddy at happy hour, I’m beginning to make sense of the last couple of weeks: 

1.    Whilst Nyquil was my best friend for achieving a decent night’s sleep, it couldn’t prevent me from strapping on the booties and backpack and heading off to work in my dreams, as I still owed my show four more days of employment.  (Ironically, my friend Tara had to stand-in for me, and according to her email, our Triple Threat Director called her “Penny” all week.  OY!)

2.    Whilst I’ve lived in fear of the Yang Curse hovering over my Sanctuary, I admit I was blessed to discover that Sherlock Son of Yang possesses approximately as much self-awareness as a turnip. 

3.    Last and most importantly, I’ve been reminded of the harsh reality of not taking anything for granted. 
YAY!!!  My toilet still flushes!!!

Curling up for a warm winter’s nap with indoor plumbing,

~Cleopatra P