13 things I’d never done before my layoff


“Parks and Recreation”‘s Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott) created a crazy-complicated game called The Cones of Dunshire while out of work. I’ve done nothing this ambitious.

Experiencing a layoff is, in many ways, like going through a brutally abrupt, heart-wrenching break-up, so it’s inevitably a time of change.

After all, this thing you’ve built your day-to-day life around is suddenly, bafflingly gone, leaving a Brachiosaurus-sized hole that you have no idea how to fill. (Sorry. My four year old is way into “Dinosaur Train,” so extinct giant lizards are my go-to point of comparison just now.) You do all the stuff people tell you to do: you update your resume; you overhaul your LinkedIn page; you schedule networking lunches and coffee dates; and you skim job listings, feeling hopeless and hopeful at the same time.

But doing these things only fills the earliest days of a layoff. After that, you find yourself staring into a terrifying, existential abyss. In this moment, people who aren’t on the verge of losing their house, etc. often dive into cross-fit or home improvement projects – both of which sound way, way more productive than anything I’ve done while trying to re-launch my career.

So as it stands, I’m in no better shape than I was before, and our house still looks like the world’s most poorly organized indoor estate sale. But I’m nonetheless having new adventures, whether I invited them into my life or not.

Here’s a partial list of things I’d never done before getting the ol’ heave-ho from my employer in January. (And my apologies to those who were hoping for more exciting fare, like hang-gliding or free climbing. Maybe next year?) Continue reading

You’re so vein, part deux: What the treatment’s really like


One almost-healed leg next to one in the post-procedure stocking phase. (Pro tip: if you happen to share my painfully pale Irish skin tone, get the beige support stocking. No need to draw extra attention to your temporarily crazy leg situation, especially during shorts/skirt season.)

To follow up on my last post: last Thursday, I had the varicose veins in my right leg ablated, so I’m just going to tell you a bit about what the procedure is like, and what it involves. (Ablated = shut down. Arteries carry blood from the heart to the legs, while veins with “one-way” valves help the blood defy gravity and travel from the leg back up to the heart. When a valve leaks, the blood pools and enlarges the vein, causing varicose veins. Since the affected vein isn’t functioning properly anyway, the treatment involves using heat to cauterize/close the varicose vein. And that’s one to grow on.)

the more you know psa public service announcement the mo you know

First, after filling out even more paperwork, you’re led to a room with a few lockers, where you remove and lock up your super-valuable pants and pull on a big, stretchy pair of shorts and a robe. But don’t get too excited. It’s not a luxe spa or hotel robe; instead, it’s the fabric version of quilted paper.

2. You’re led into a patient room, where you read the same issue of Popular Science, with Obama on the cover, that you read at your last appointment until a nurse comes in, gives you a black Sharpie to write your initials on the leg they will be working on – to avoid any confusion, I guess?! – and asks you to stand with that leg extended in front of the other. With that same Sharpie, she marks up each varicose vein that they will be ablating on your leg. Which just feels odd.

I’d been through this before with my left leg, two weeks earlier, and because that leg had the lion’s share of visible varicose veins, I’d thought that the right would be a breeze. But then she kept marking. And marking. Crap. This might be slightly less intense then the first time, when they ablated 38 veins, but … not by as much as I’d expected. Shazbot. Continue reading