(To read the parts of the NYC trip that you may have missed, click here.)
I promised you the good, the bad and the ugly when writing about my trip to New York. I intended to give you the good first, with a post on Voli’s blog about the fabulous parts of lunch with Melissa. It is taking longer to get on their blog as a writer than anticipated so, unfortunately, you get the bad and the ugly now instead of later. The “Yes, this crap really happens to me all the time” version of the day.
I wanted to JUST have a best-lunch-ever-living-the-good-life-for-a-day story to share with you about my lunch with Melissa. I think that’s what everyone wants to read. What everyone wants to hear. Don’t get me wrong. It was an incredible experience. But, as with most things in life, perfection is rare!
Living with Lyme Disease means that when I stress too much or do too much, my body freaks out on me. To put it in more official terms, it has an inflammatory response. It can happen suddenly. The morning of lunch, I guess my body decided to punish me for stressing too much. And for having too much fun the day before.
I woke in a fog, with a swollen face, hands and feet and feeling as if I had been hit by a truck. I knew the feeling all too well. Usually I can just hide in my bed when I’m feeling this way. And usually when I have something major going on in my life, adrenaline seems to get me through it. I usually don’t get ill until AFTERWARDS. But not this time.
I dragged myself out of bed. I stared in the mirror and wanted to scream. “Damn you body! Not today. This is my weekend to be a princess. It isn’t midnight yet. And I’m not supposed to be the one to turn into a pumpkin!”
I instantly put on my special high-rise shoes. I knew that if I was already swollen, that it would only get worse as the day went on. I had already bought the shoes a size too large, just in case. But if I waited too long, there was no way I’d get them on.
Fortunately, before the trip, my hair stylist had suggested a keratin treatment that makes my hair easy to straighten for about a week (Not the straightener with formaldehyde, I have enough toxins in my body without adding that.). I made an appointment for the keratin, plus a haircut and highlights. UNfortunately, my stylist decided to move to Utah the week before the trip. The nerve. I was able to switch the appointment to a new stylist for the keratin but didn’t want to risk a hair cut or highlights with someone new. So I had grey roots, split ends and bangs in my eyes. But even though every inch of my body hurt, I was able to have straight hair. Small victories. I planned to curl it and make it look all fancy and shiz, but that wasn’t in the cards.
The foggy feeling is appropriately called “brain fog” and it makes me so ditzy that if it had happened the night before, I probably would have thought the rosemary sprig in my drink actually WAS a tree branch. Of all the symptoms of lyme, I think I hate the cognitive ones the worst. Feeling like your brain won’t work just plain sucks.
While laying in bed, having a mini pity party over how I felt and trying to muster the energy to make my hair look more glamorous, the fire alarm went off. I kid you not. Lights flashing. Alarms sounding. Did I mention we were on the 16th floor? And that I was wearing a bathrobe? It went on for 15 minutes. It turned out to be a false alarm. They were just testing the detectors. A little heads up would have been nice…
I pulled myself together before George, the make-up artist, arrived. It was very hard not to put make-up on. I mean, he has met a lot of celebrities and was going to see me with NO make-up on. Yikes. But I realized how silly it would be for me to put make-up on, just for him to remove it to work his magic.
I had turned the TV on that morning since some of the morning shows are broadcast in NYC. Seemed like the thing to do since I was there. Access Hollywood was doing a special live broadcast from Rockefeller Plaza which was only a couple of blocks away. Jim had gone out to buy something for me. OK, I must admit…I made him go buy Spanx for me at THE Saks 5th Avenue. I guess I thought making my butt look smaller would detract from the puffiness. Who knows. But he went to get them. What a nice husband. Shopping in the lingerie section of a 10 story department store. Anyway, I digress. Jim came back carrying the little shopping bag and said he had walked by an area by Rockefeller Plaza that was blocked off for a show and had tried to get close enough to see what it was. I pointed to the TV and he realized it was Access Hollywood. Pretty funny that he walked by the show I was watching. (That story would have been much funnier if I had actually seen him in the crowd.)
When George arrived, I was worried he would have an “I can’t believe I have to waste my time doing make-up for this nobody housewife, when I usually do make-up for THE Housewives” attitude but he couldn’t have been nicer! We talked a bit about Access Hollywood and then Jim announced that he was going out for a cup of coffee. After he left, I was SURE he was going to go back to the Access Hollywood location and start making a fool of himself to get on camera so I’d see him on TV. But he really did just go get coffee. I guess he just wanted to leave because watching me get my make-up done was about as exciting as watching paint dry. I guess it pretty much IS watching paint dry.
Snooki and JWoww from Jersey Shore were on Access Hollywood, talking about a new show they are going to be on. I recognized Snooki but had to ask George who the other girl was. He knows them both and has hung out with them. On the Jersey Shore, of course. The place, not the show. When Jim returned with his coffee, he looked at the TV and announced “I’ll have to tell the kids that I walked by iCarly and the girl from Victorious.” Yes, Jim was serious. That’s who he thought they were. I’m sure George just shook his head at our cluelessness. We should have studied up on our reality stars before the trip.
My make-up session took over an hour (as opposed to my usual 5 minutes), so when George finished, it was time to head to the restaurant. I quickly changed my clothes and tried to fix my hair that had been held back by clips. Unfortunately, pre-hairsprayed hair clipped back for an hour is pretty much going to stay put exactly where it is. One last spray to try to keep my bangs where I wanted them and not where the clips put it was unsuccessful.
Oh well, not the perfect health for the day. And not the perfect hair. But my make-up looked good. And I had my nice, new expensive outfit.
During one last glimpse in the mirror, I noticed some black spots on my shirt. Apparently that fabric didn’t like hair spray. They wouldn’t go away. Gah.
Now not the perfect outfit either. No time to fret, and off we went to hail a cab. Swollen body, messed hair and stained clothes and all.
(I need to leave some topics to write about on Voli’s blog so will talk more about the make-up session and George then!)
From the moment we arrived in NY, I had noticed every single crack, chip, hole and grate in the sidewalks. I had repeatedly commented about how careful I would have to be when walking on the uneven sidewalk while wearing my ridiculously high-heel shoes. Since I was in a complete fog that morning, I didn’t heed my own warnings. I completely forgot about the fact that I was standing on 3″ stilts. Within 10 steps out of the hotel, I stepped on a crack and almost broke this Momma’s back. Or ankle. Completely turned my foot over and was going down. Luckily Jim caught me so I didn’t end up sprawled on the ground. I realized I hadn’t buckled that shoe. I’m not sure if that helped cause the fall or it prevented me from actually breaking my ankle since my foot was able to slip out of the shoe as I went down.
The almost wipe out snapped me out of my stupor for a bit. We arrived at the restaurant and I was semi-functioning cognitively. Semi. As the lunch went on, I could feel myself going down hill again. I had so many questions to ask Melissa and I forgot to ask her at least half of them. I tried to so hard to focus and remember but I was just blank. I especially wanted to ask about her book deal but…blank. I had printed out the story from my contest entry that won me the trip to take for her to autograph. But I left it at the hotel. Luckily I was at least able to answer most of the questions Melissa asked me without sounding like a total idiot (I think.)
I kept pulling my sleeves down as far as I could, to try to conceal my increasingly puffy fingers. I don’t know what causes the swelling. I guess my body takes the word “inflammation” literally. There are so many times I will see someone one day who will comment “Wow, you’ve lost weight so fast. What’s your secret?” I want to answer “Ask the effing lyme bacteria. I guess they are tired today and didn’t feel like adding on 10 pounds of swelling like they do most days.“ But instead I usually say “Thanks. It must be a slimming outfit.”
(Again, I will write about all of the AWESOME parts of lunch on Voli’s blog. Sorry you are getting the crappy parts here.)
By the time we got back to the hotel, my feet were bulging out between the straps of my shoes. I didn’t take any photos of that. I know I promised the good, the bad and the ugly. But that was just TOO ugly…
Speaking of photos, sadly I don’t even have many from the lunch. There was an official press photographer there and we were told we’d get all the photos sent to us. I guess by “all” they meant just the ones approved for press release. I’ve requested photos from 3 different people and get the same handful of pictures sent to me, even though the photographer was snapping for 2 hours.
Honestly, I hate the photos anyway. And not just because I’m next to the woman who was just named the second most beautiful reality star. I hate them because, as the lunch progresses, I can see the strained “just smile so no one will know how bad you feel” expression on my face get worse and worse. It probably isn’t apparent to anyone else, because I’ve perfected it pretty well. But I can tell. Hey, the one perfect thing of the day. My perfect fake smile! I mean, the photos are fine. But I didn’t want “fine.” I wanted best-photos-ever. This was supposed to be my Cinderella day. Supposed to be my day to shine. But I was feeling very dull.
I wanted the photos like the day before when we arrived in New York. The day I felt great. Those are real smiles. Those photos are ME. The me that comes and goes now. The me before I became ill. The me that dances Gangnam Style in the middle of time square. The me that smiles. Really smiles.
And now for a glimpse of the happy times I will be writing about on Voli’s blog…
I will let you know the link to Voli’s blog when it is posted (after approval, so may take a while).
Next up here…”NYC Part 3B - They Say The Neon Lights Are Bright”