Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Like a rock

I’m very good at mini-freak-outs. These five-minute-panic-attacks usually consist of me Googling something, then crying, then calling Matt over (who tries hard not to roll his eyes), to my declaring I’d only feel better if there were just some cookies in the house. The last one occurred on Monday, where I realized the cost of my medication (now on a high deductible plan, these costs are much more pronounced). I emailed Matt and said Pentasa – the maintenance med I take several times a day – will run us over $500 a month. I told him we’re doomed, what if we lost insurance coverage, and I’m surely going to die a destitute old woman because of the lack of Medicare and Social Security 50 years from now. He replied with this: “Well, there’s an argument for us both to always continue working. And relax, do you know how strong the AARP lobby is? We’ll be fine.” TYPICAL MATT.

Matt is the most rational and un-excitable person I know. He doesn’t emote. I think it’s a nerd/programmer thing. I’ve only known Matt to cry twice: early in our relationship when he was falling in love with me and realizing how awesome I was (I would pause here and tell Matt I’m sorry for embarrassing him, but this is nothing new, so we’ll move on), and during my first hospitalization when I was told I was having surgery (I was sobbing, he only shed a few tears). I semi-recently asked, “Why don’t you cry over me like you did when we met!?” To this, he arched his eyebrow, laughed (devilishly), and chided me with, “Kathryn…that was a long time ago! It’s different now.” He then excused himself to get some almonds to munch on. So much for romance.

Matt and I are very different: namely, he is very nice, and I can be very temperamental. He calls it emotional. If we have a run-in with a rude individual I might go to him afterwards, “God, what an ASSHOLE!”. He will listen to me, and then I always end with, “Well, DON’T YOU AGREE??!” to which he’ll usually respond, “Yes; he could have been nicer.” Sometimes he disagrees but tries to be diplomatic, but it always comes out very condescending like: “I see your point, but maybe you’re looking into it too much. Maybe so-and-so didn’t realize how they came off.” This is when I usually explode and tell him, “No, Matt, you just don’t get it!”

Matt once tried to teach me how to drive stick. Actually, it was more like five times, and they all ended horribly. The first time was in his rickety old truck only a few months into our relationship. I liked him, so I didn’t want to scare him off, so I decided NO MATTER WHAT I was going to keep my emotions in check. I think I only cried once that day.

The next few times were nothing short of disastrous. Matt had gotten a new car – which was of course manual – and decided we would try again. This time things when smoothly until I stalled. And then stalled again. And again and again and again. Then I yanked off his Spongebob air freshener and threw it out the window. And then I cried. We have since decided that his next car will be an automatic.

Before I got more seriously sick with Crohn’s, I decided I was going to get my MBA. I cannot articulate why except for “everyone is doing it” and “it can’t hurt”. Because I have absolutely no business background and my GMAT scores were just okay, I was admitted on a provisional basis: I had to receive a B in my first class – statistics – to be admitted into Penn State’s program. This would be no big deal if the class wasn’t STATISTICS. Because I have no business background, and my last class solid math class was pre-calc in 11th grade, and this class was said to be the equivalent of "two undergrad classes in half the time" I decided I obviously had to find a way to cheat. Unfortunately, I was not clever enough to think of exactly how, so I solicited Matt's help. Matt is good at math and uses it for his job. He says things like "it's the only universal language" and it's "beautiful and absolute" and it "exists outside of its application" (I don't get the last one, either).

It didn't go well. First of all, the class was abstract and I'm not sure how we were to use it in the business world. Or any world. Every Tuesday and Thursday I'd come home from class close to tears because I did not understand all. And every Tuesday and Thursday night Matt would look over the chapter and walk me through it. He found most of it easy, but I was very pleased when he was tripped up a few times, and took the opportunity to shout, "YOU don't even understand it! That's how AWFUL it is!" or, when I was feeling particularly frustrated and mad, I'd snidely and very flippantly say, "Well, well, well, I guess you're just as dumb as I am." Look, I was mad.

I think it's impossible to learn something from someone whom you love. Like a child, I'd cry, throw my books down, and walk about the room when I didn't understand something...which was often. I'm not someone who enjoys a hearty challenge; I enjoy things I'm good at. Like watching t.v. Or choosing what jewelry to wear for the day. Not statistics. I put my MBA on hold when I got sick, and have yet to pick it back up.

But you know what? Thanks to my better half, I got the necessary B in that class.


  1. has your Crohn's settled enough now that you're thinking about picking it back up again sometime? we need you to take charge of the collective of insurance companies and tell 'em what's what. i feel like the people best qualified to achieve certain things never realize that they are :)

    btw, your relationship often seems like a foreshadowing of what is to become of mine in the next three or four years. or more immediately. it's fun.

  2. Hi Ragamuffin!

    Ahh...the dreaded MBA....I have no plans to go back, because at this point, an MBA wouldn't necessarily advance my career. However, this spring I'm taking a class to attain a certification in my field. I also feel everyone has an MBA, and I'm questioning the value of it. And I have very little passion for the subject matter. (Woah; that's a lot!)

    I've slightly shifted my focus to my health over the last couple years, and noticed when I'm stressed, my symptoms are worse. My first hospitalization was after the class ended. Perhaps entirely coincidental; who knows?!

    Oh, and YES. I'm terrified no form of health care will go through...I will even accept the watered down version...for now. On the State of the Union, when Obama said the new focus was job creation (which OF COURSE I'm in not against) I got worried there for a's terrifying.

    Regale us with some H.B. stories on your blog! Matt is to the point of, "Well, if I give you fodder for your blog, then I guess I'm doing my job."

  3. I love your stories about Matt and yourself. My relationship has a similar dynamic, except that I'm usually the calm (except when it comes to my Crohn's) rational one (nerdy techie), and he is the dramatic one who wears his emotions on his sleeve.

    But I think you're wrong in your last part. The people closest to us, our loved ones are our best and most valuable teachers. We can't help but learn from them b/c they are always there. And they care enough to correct us when we're out of line or show us another viewpoint.

    When I get down about my IBD or freaked about my surgery, then my boyfriend is the one to calm me down and remind me to be logical about it. When I'm being too focused on work, or clinical about weighing my options, he reminds me to relax and have fun sometimes and to go with my heart.

    You may not realize that you're learning from Matt, but I bet you're both learning from each other more than you realize. You're lucky to have one another. :)

  4. haha... i have absolutely no inclination toward business administration either. i think you got the best part of it under your belt anyway(the stats).

    i'm trying to keep the stress level down, too. it has always been my downfall -- there's an H.B. story in that; my life goal is to burn the candle at 2.5 ends, and he is very good at convincing me to say "no" to things. another nerd techie :)

    i haven't watched/heard the SOTU speech yet, but all i hear/read today is disappointment. i bet he focused on jobs to get some new material in there. otherwise, what hadn't we heard already, right?

  5. Hey Brightside,
    You're right, I want to edit my post: I can't learn some trivial things from Matt like math(well...he doeesn't consider that trivial), video games (I find them to hard and throw down the controller after 3 minutes), driving stick, stuff like that... But he's absolutely taught me to manage my disease better, give people the benefit of the doubt, find humor in the situation, and the list goes on. It seems several of us - Jenni/Ragamuffin/you/me all have strong partners, which the importance of cannot be underestimated. They definitely share the emotional brunt of this disease, too.

    I hope you were kidding when you said "I think you got the best part of it under your belt anyway (stats)". HA. Oh, yes, the SOTU speech...Obama is a great orator but he's still attempting to be bipartisian and bring the parties together. That's just not going to happen and he's gotta get tough. Sigh.