Flashback Not-Quite-Friday: Sawyer

My sister once worked at a pretty swank hotel just south of Portland, and had the honor of meeting the King of Red Sox Nation: Theo Epstein. He stayed in her hotel while on scouting trips to check out the Sox farm team, the Portland Sea Dogs. One day he was checking out while she was at the front desk and asked her coworker to grab his receipt off the printer. The coworker bent over to get the receipt and as she did, her pants split open. There she stood, before her colleagues and God and the general manager of the 2004 Red Sox (so he might as well be God) with split britches and her underwear peeking out to say hello. His eyes immediately shifted to the ceiling, my sister’s to the floor, silently agreeing that eye contact would be disastrous, and his checkout went on in silence until my sister had an opportunity to collapse in gales of laughter.

I thought that was the most embarrassing way to meet a celebrity, until I met Josh Holloway in the hospital nursery less than a day after giving birth.

Permit me to explain–I never watched “Lost” until we moved to Oahu and Tom was gone for a few weeks on business and I had no friends yet. I mean I REALLY had no friends, I went to see the Sex and the City movie alone, had no friends. But I did have Tom’s DVDs, and so I started and now I’m hooked. When I first got pregnant, Josh Holloway (“Sawyer”) announced his wife was also expecting. I made a few corny jokes about how funny it would be if she delivered at the same time and pretty much forgot about it until my OB and nurse were discussing Josh Holloway’s presence in Labor and Delivery in between my pushes. Because having an 8 pound baby, y’know, hurts, and because Maggie was taken away immediately because she had fluid in her lungs and couldn’t breathe, I forgot again.

Given the choice of remembering the nurse fit my tiny girl with the world’s smallest O2 mask and then rushing her away, and the splendid visage of Josh “Hey Freckles” Holloway, well, I know what I picked to remember.

Thankfully, Maggie came out of it fine and didn’t even require extra time at the hospital, which makes all the worry seem rather frivolous but at the time it wasn’t. Which is why when I had roused myself from the bed, walked the 100 or so yards to the nursery braless in a hospital johnny, I wasn’t thinking about celebrities. I wasn’t thinking about the shower I hadn’t taken, the contacts I had ignored in favor of glasses, or the stringy hair piled on my head. Nor was I thinking about the blood I hadn’t *quite* cleaned off my ankles or my horrible odor. Just my wee girl’s lungs and how we would get through the next attempt to breastfeed on those godforsaken hospital chairs while wrestling with the oxygen tubes.

When the pediatrician started the rundown and all appeared to be well, I stepped to the side to wash my hands and looked up to a knock on the door. There in exquisite, tanned, well-rested glory was Josh Holloway, needing access to the nursery. I mutely opened the door, noted that he smelled fabulous while thinking of the reek I was projecting about three feet in all directions, and showed him in. We exchanged nods, one new parent to another. He went over to his daughter (Java, I think her name is) and said “Hey there, that’s a mighty strong grip.” The accent is real, and he is really tall, and under any other circumstances I would have demanded Tom rush to the room to find something for him to autograph. I struggled valiantly to pay attention to the pediatrician’s insanely long-winded explanation to tell us she was fine as the shaggy-haired Mr. Holloway wheeled his daughter off to her life of celebrity-by-proxy.

He didn’t see me, I know that. He has no memory of me, just as I have no memory of any other parent who was in that nursery. But damn, if there was ever a time to meet a celebrity who easily ranks at 3 or higher on your Celebrity Five, hours after being wishboned by an 8-pound ham loaf is so not it.

Flashback Friday: First Aid

Let us put the past week of civil rights violations, idiot mechanics and potentially nasty skin bumps behind us and speak of pleasant things. First, two new articles at the Examiner: Baby Bedtime Gift Basket and Surfer Room Makeover. And below, I offer you a giggling baby. I may market this at $0.50 a view as an alternative to Prozac.

Today’s Flashback Friday is inspired by Hawaii’s rainy season, which started earlier this week and aggravated the knee I dislocated in 2005 in the process of picking up my cell phone. Really! It was the most mundane injury ever. Anyway, I dislike the rainy season because of that, and also because my customary flip flops become slick, smelly, and ripe for slipping and tripping. With a baby in my arms I can’t be flopping about the sidewalk like a fish, so I force my feet into close-toe shoes and hope for sunnier days.

About a year prior to that knee injury, I was living in Madrid with a host family. Host families are funny things, it’s like a blind date with an authoritarian figure that doesn’t speak your language but does occasionally wash your undies. Because I have no talent for languages, I was placed with a roommate but didn’t need her to translate to see that our host mother had some control issues. A nurse by occupation, she had several quirks (my doorknob stuck, for example, and I was often accused of opening the door too loudly) and wanted to be involved whereas I wanted, mostly, to enjoy the quiet. She was nice enough, but I tried to avoid her interventions at all costs as they turned into animated and loud affairs where I was yelled at for eating tomatoes after it was determined that I normally do not eat tomatoes (true story).

One night, out on the town with friends, we ordered wine. Oh, how we ordered wine. And cider. There may have been a platter of wings. I know that there were churros con chocolate from the chocolateria at 4am, reason enough to visit Madrid for anyone who likes using sugar-encrusted pastry to dip up pudding-thick hot chocolate (and if you don’t like that idea, I don’t want to know you). And there was rain, lots of rain that poured down the steps of the Madrid Metro, carrying the filth and pestilence of the urban street with it. And obviously, boarding the 6am train home because in Madrid anyone who goes home on the last midnight train is a sucker, I slipped and fell on the stairs in my seasonally inappropriate rubber flip flops.

This didn’t concern me until that afternoon, when upon waking after passing out on top of my bed fully clothed, I discovered my foot was encrusted in red and black foulness. Close inspection revealed a long gash in my foot, scraped open as I slipped and my ankle rolled. Gently clutching my head to filter the harsh glare of the sun, I ascertained that though filthy, I probably didn’t need stitches for my social blunder. Not wanting to succumb to whatever infection lurked in the stairwells, I knew I needed something to kill the germs and wash out the wound. The problem was that all the first aid materials were in my host mother’s sanctum sanctorum, not to be accessed without specific permission and in my case, pantomime. Not an option.

Gingerly lowering myself in the tub, I swabbed my foot as well as I could with the shower gel. It took care of the external layers of grime, but I could see lots of specs of…something…deep in the cut. It was then that I remembered a souvenir bottle of Absolut Vodka I had picked up a month or so before in a Greek duty-free shop that was collecting dust in my closet. Pouring a shot or two onto a clean sock and thinking that sock that would have served me better the night before, I steeled myself against the nauseating fumes and slapped it against my foot.

The sting was appalling. I yelped like a poodle. It had a wicked bite, but as the days wore on it seemed as though it had served to keep any infection at bay.

So the moral of the story, children, is to keep a bit of vodka or other grain alcohol in your emergency travel kit. An airplane-size bottle will do nicely. Perfect for antiseptic purposes, if you just want to freshen up your juice, will save you from gangrene.

Hey, I didn’t die. It worked well enough. (Hmm, “Hey, I didn’t die” = future memoir title?)