I feel the need

I feel the need

Friday, July 30, 2010

Sarah makes friends with a personal trainer...

Good afternoon!

So it's Friday and it's been two weeks now since my gym membership was restarted after a temporary freeze due to Hubby's job loss back in January.  (He's gainfully employed again, thanks.)  Have I been to the gym in the last two weeks?  No, because I'd gotten into a lovely habit of NOT going these last six months, thanks.

I was talking about going with my friend Dee (no, that's not her real name, but the name of the gym isn't SILVER'S either.  Gotta protect the innocent, me, from lawsuits, ya know!)  and Dee mentioned that she was thinking about joining Silver's.

I felt it was vitally important I warn her against a couple of things up front.  And, given how hard she was laughing once I told her this tale, I figured I should probably give you all a glimpse into my life as a gym rat.

About a year ago, a brand new Silver's Gym opened in the space that used to be a grocery store with a very good bakery.  No irony there.  My favorite coffee shop shares a parking lot with the gym...as does my favorite Chinese place, sub place, and pharmacy that has my favorite candy.  Hubby mentioned that I should look into a membership, since they were still under construction and memberships were super cheap.

Super cheap, by the way, is a relative term that means different things to different people.  In this instance, super cheap means they were going to wave the sign up fee  (which they actually took out of my account anyway "by Mistake" and then it took them six weeks to refund it...) and since I signed up for a membership when all they had was three treadmills in an unairconditioned cubicle, I was going to have the privilege of paying under $30 a month  ($29.99) for the rest of my life.

Bonus, one of the things with my new Silver's membership was I got two sessions FREE with a personal trainer.  I'd never had a personal trainer before.  I've watched "Biggest Loser" like a million times.  Dee and I watch it together, while we drink wine, eat chocolate and heckle the "Losers."  (is that wrong?)

So it was with visions of Jillian and Bob dancing in my head that I went to my first session.  I was teamed with a studly young dude named Steve.  (That's his real name.  I don't care about getting sued by him.)  Our first session, apparently, was about talking.  We talked about what I was doing right  (not much..but I drank enough water every day.)  and what I was doing wrong  (too much for me to list in this blog.)  We set a goal for me.  (I wanted to stop having to shop in the Gigantor Lady department at Mumus R Us.)

The second session, he promised, would be all about work.  So bright and early on the Saturday of 4th of July weekend last year I popped in for my second free session with Steve. 

Steve was eating breakfast when I got there.  It seems he, too, enjoys the donuts and frothy creamy drinks from my favorite coffee place across the parking lot. 

"Go get on the treadmill," says he, inhaling another bite of glazed donut.  "I'll be there in a minute."

I didn't question it.  I mean, this is what Bob and Jillian do, right?  Eat donuts while the fatties warm up?

So after about fifteen minutes of my free hour, Steve strolls over, and says, "You need to speed that up."  He then takes it upon himself to set the treadmill to a speed I wasn't aware my legs were capable of matching.  Then, still blowing DONUT CRUMBS ON ME he starts a conversation with me.

"What do you?"

"I'm an author...."  pant, gasp wheeze.

"Really, what have you written?"

It should be noted, and I speak for writers everywhere, I hate that question.  What have I written?  EVERYTHING since I was five.  What have I published...that's the bigger question.

"My-first-book-"  gasp choke

"What's it about?"  More crumbs on his part, more panting on mine.

I pushed the "PANIC" button on the treadmill and said, "Skippy, we can talk or you can kill me with this treadmill, but we cannot do both."

"Let's go to the machines," says Crumb Boy.

Now we're sitting on one of those muscle machines, you know the ones that sort of look like something the Medici's would have loved?  Or maybe something born of the Spanish Inquisition...whatever.  I tell Crumb Boy Steve that I want to work on my GUT.  Which means, of course, we spend all of our time torturing my arms.  It must be something like Trickle Down Economics...

"So what's your book about?" asks the very interested Crumb Boy, who is now eyeing a blond woman who just strolled in.

"Oh it's about a woman in her middle years, who's in love with a retired rock star, sort of like Rick Springfield."

"Ummm, who?"

At this point I stop trying to pull the 900 pound weight Steve's attached to whatever pully and lever machine I'm using and I say, "You don't know who Rick Springfield is?  How young are you?"

Crumb boy take a swig of his frothy beverage.  Did I mention he got it with the whipped cream?  "Never heard of him.  Hey Biff, have you ever heard of Rick Springfield?"

Now, Biff is three machines down, torturing another woman who looks about my age and weight class.  She stops trying to hoist a ball the size of a small cow over her head and says, "OH I JUST LOVE RICK SPRINGFIELD!"

AHA!  I have made a friend at the gym!  I start talking to her about his tour schedule and all that, while Thing one and Thing two are trying to decide if Rick Springfield was a president or something they probably should have learned in junior high, or maybe they just haven't gotten to that chapter yet in their high school history class.

Suddenly Steve realizes it's almost the end of our free hour and he does NOT want me to have ANY FUN, and therefore hire him as my actual personal trainer.  So he gets this serious look on his chocolate stained face and says, "You can talk, but there's no stopping the work out!"

I do two more reps  (that's gym talk for attempts to lift something that's far too heavy) and my time is up.

I walked out of the gym and out of Steve's life.  The next three days I was unable to lift anything because I couldn't bend my arms.  This got in the way of my adult beverage consumption over the holiday weekend.  Very hard to drink a glass of wine when you are unable to lift your hand to your mouth.  I had to bend at the waist  (My gut muscles were very nice and flabby thank you) and drink through a straw.  On the bright side, I think I lost a pound because I couldn't actually lift food to my face.

So tonight I'll make an attempt to get back into the gym.  I won't be working with a personal trainer, of course.  If I going to get food on myself, I'd like it to be food I've chewed, not someone else.

And on that note, hey, come on down to Silver's Gym and work out with me!  (I'll be the one sitting on the recumbent elliptical, watching the movie in Cardio Cinema!)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

There's no point in cutting into your vacation time if you vomit on yourself at work and it's 3 PM.

WARNING!  Today's blog is a little gross.  If you have a strong gag reflex or a weak stomach...DO NOT READ!  However, if you have an overdeveloped sense of schadenfreude, and you LOVE to see other people suffer, read on, and enjoy!

Like most Americans, I don't like using my vacation time for something that's not fun.  Which means, like most Americans, I go to work when I'm not feeling, shall we say, my very perkiest.

I could tell you stories about vomiting at work, in fact, the rough draft of this blog was all about the times I've barfed at work and then gone home.  But those instances are the behavior of a normal person.  I took protecting my vacation time (I have enough saved right now to take of December if I want to.  But, since I'm a control freak at work and since Bossman doesn't like covering for me for more than an afternoon, I probably won't.) to a whole new and disturbing level yesterday.

I've been battling the after effects of some weird summer cold for the last several weeks.  What started as a sore throat developed into laryngitis and then a chest cold and is now dying down as a giant flem wad in my throat.  Said flem wad gives me coughing fits a couple of times a day.  Painful, (I've pulled all my back muscles from the coughing) but certainly not a reason to take vacation time.

Yesterday I was on the phone with a customer.  I took a drink of water, and a tiny drop went down the wrong pipe.  I started coughing a little, you know how that goes.   Now add the Evil Flemwad to the mix.  I started coughing uncontrollably.  Fortunately for me, my customer didn't want to continue the conversation with a coughing beast.

Free of the phone, my coughing fit took on a whole new energy and soon I had a little verp in my mouth.  (You know what verp is...vomit burp.  Come on, I'm not the only one who knows that term.)  Well, I have two things in my office for which I'm thankful:  1)  Caller ID so I can screen my calls and ignore the ones I know are going to be annoying and 2)  A really great, completely trustworthy Dora the Explorer wastebasket.

I let fly into the basket.  Now, once you're done barking, you know how ever orifice on your head is running some sort of fluid?  Yeah, snot, tears, some earwax I think...anyway, I was so fluidy that I couldn't breath which led to gagging which lead to ...you know.  This time, blinded by tears, I couldn't reach for the basket fast enough.

Have you ever tried catching vomit in your hands, only you know there's way too much and your hands aren't going to actually hold it all?

Well, this second bout passed only now I'm sort of covered in the acidy remnants of lunch.  This is when I make it down to the bathroom.  (The third thing I'm thankful for?  A completely empty third floor.  Makes it so much less humiliating to carry a Dora the Explorer basket full of upchuck to the bathroom .)  Once in the bathroom, another coughing fit hit me.  I'm smart enough to know that you don't kneel before the toilet in this bathroom.  The cleaning lady believes that if she pours the bowl cleaner into the bowl, but doesn't actually touch the toilet with a brush or some sort of scrubber, the toilet is still clean.  So the sink got the glory this time. 

Fun Fact:  Apparently tomatoes, when on a veggie sub sandwhich, take more than three hours to completely digest.

Another fun fact:  Trying to ease a vomit inducing cough with a Halls throat lozenge does not ease the cough.  It just makes your already burning throat feel more en fuego.

Back at my office, cleaned up, (though really, can you truly get vomit off your clothes without the use of a washing machine?)  and exhausted, I toyed with the idea of going home early.  Then I looked at the clock.  It was three PM.  Quitting time is at 4. 

Not really worth cutting into my saved vacation time.


Monday, July 26, 2010

A Story of my youth: Of Baking, Biking, and the one armed man

I tell the kids in my Sunday School classes stories from my childhood to make them see that I wasn't always the very together, oh so grown up person I am today.  (Yes, Todd, I can hear you laughing...)  This is one of their favorites and, I might add, the very first story I ever sold to a magazine.  Enjoy!

I crashed my bike into the back of big silver car while I watched a one armed man build a house. 

Let me elaborate.

It was one of those sticky hot summer days when I was twelve.  It was the kind of day kids today would spend in each other's basements playing video games or drinking canned beverages and instant messaging each other.  But, since this was 1980, there were no video games, canned beverages came in bottles mostly, and instant messaging meant you ran over to the other kid's house and yelled at their window until they came outside. 

For fun on this hot sticky day, I was baking my chocolate chip cookies for my county fair 4-H baking project.  Because that's what you want to do in a house with no air conditioning.  You want to bake cookies.

It was a Thursday, and the reason I remember that is because my mother only did laundry on Mondays and Thursdays and everyone knows that fairs run Thursday through Sunday.  So it was a Thursday morning and we were, predictably, out of chocolate chips.  (When I say "out" I mean either we never had any or my father ate them in the in the middle of the night and then put the empty bag back in the freezer.)  So I hopped on my Schwinn three speed "Sundowner" model bike and got pedalling to the grocery store a mile away.

About halfway to the store, I noticed some workmen fixing  a house.  What really caught my eye was a one armed man climbing down the ladder.  I couldn't take my eyes off of him.  See, this was the guy who'd been electrocuted months earlier.  We'd prayed for him in church every week.  I could have SWORN he was dead.  I was so certain of it, that I stared and stared and stared at him...


That's about the the time my bike smacked into the back of a big silver sedan outside the Methodist church.  I rolled up onto the trunk of the car and then onto the street.  The workmen stopped and yelled across the street, asking me if I was okay.

Humiliated, I popped back on my bike and waved at them, ignoring both the gash in my knee and the fact that the front end of my bike was so bashed in I could barely get the front wheel moving.

I got to the grocery store, picked up my chocolate chips and went to the counter.  The lady at the counter knew my parents.  (Everyone knew my parents.  My dad was the Lutheran school principal and my mom was the local piano teacher.  In a town of 1200, they were movers and shakers.)  She said, "Dear, do you know your leg is bleeding?"

I said, "Yes," waved at her, and got back on my bike.  This time I pedaled as hard as I could, but the front tire was smashed against the central frame of the bike and wouldn't budge.  So I had to walk the bike home, holding the front end up.  The good news was that the workmen were on a break someone in the back yard of the house.

When I got home, I immediately went to my mother to tell her what happened.  I mean, I couldn't hide this one.  First of all, there was something really wrong with my bike.  Second, I was pretty sure who ever owned that care was going to call her anyway and third, my leg really hurt.

Mom was in the basement pumping away on the wringer washer.  She loved her wringer washers.  She didn't get an automatic one until I was almost 30.  She loved wringer washers so much, in the 80's she bought one just for parts so she could keep hers going.  Anyway, she was down there, pounding away on the little foot pump that kept the wringer rolling. 

"Mom," I said in my most pathetic voice, "I hit a car with my bike because I saw that dead guy with the one arm building a house."

I know...it sounds nuts to me now, too.

All my mom heard was, "I hit someones car with my bike and we're going to have to pay to repair it."

She asked me for the coordinates of my accident.  Sure enough, when I told her, she rolled her eyes upward and said, "Oh Lord, that's the Thompson's. Did you stop and tell anyone?"

By now the blood on my leg was a really more a river soaking into my sock.

"No.  I had to get the chocolate chips."

So, in her ratty jean shorts and tank top, her laundry outfit that she'd worn to do laundry in since her high school days, my mother walked me the six blocks to the Thompson's house.  Mrs. Thompson's husband owned the only funeral parlor in town.  She came to the door looking calm and cool.  They had two air conditioning window units in their downstairs.

Mother explained my story, minus the one armed guy building the house who I thought was dead.  We looked at the car, which had sustained a scratch about an inch long and one, Mrs. Thompson said, "would buff out."  Her brother worked at a body shop, so she knew this sort of thing.

Then Mrs. Thompson looked at me and said, "Do you know your leg is bleeding?"

I said yes and then Mom thanked her and we walked back home. All the way home M

By the time we got home, my sock was wet with blood and my leg was sticky.  I was afraid to say anything because, well, I still wasn't sure if Mrs. Thompson's brother would be able to buff out the scratch and if he could, what would it cost?

"Mom,"  I said as she started going back to the basement to continue doing laundry, "I'll pay for the damage to the car, but can I have a band aid for my leg?"

It was then that my mother realized I was hurt.  She took me into the bathroom, washed my cut, bandaged it up, and stuck my sock in the bleach bucket until next laundry day.  Later, like twenty years later, she told me she was so wrapped in the fact that she was a mess, that she never even realized I'd cut my leg.

Oh, but I made the chocolate chip cookies before noon that day.  And I got a second place ribbon.  The judge liked the cookies, but said that using all butter on such a hot day made the cookies too thin and chewy.

I'll bet the one armed guy would have loved them.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Billy Ocean was wrong!

Good afternoon!

I love drive thrus.  You don't get thighs like mine unless you work the drive thrus every chance you get.  I sometimes don't go to a place simply because it doesn't have a drive thru.  (See the picture above.)

When the kids were little I used those drive thrus to do everything.  It was great because I didn't have to drag the kids in and out of building to get a whole pile of errands done.  Basically, I raised two kids and babysat a whole pile more all from the comfort of the drivers' seat of my car!

You can drive through for everything.  Food, prescriptions, banking, library books.  It's easy.  You pull up and speak into a speaker, pull around the corner and whatever you just asked for is done!  I especially like the drive through at the library.  I've avoided many a fine because I was able to return a book at the stroke of midnight in my jammies!

But there are some problems living a drive thru life.  First of all, does anyone know how to spell the word THROUGH anymore?

Granted, THROUGH is a stupid looking word.  And trying teaching a first grader to read that word.  Go ahead...I'll wait.  Yeah, that's what I thought.  (I tried years ago...it's not easy.)  Through is a stupid looking word, and in today's world where everything costs by the letter, it's just easier to write it as "THRU."  But that doesn't make that spelling of the word correct.  (I'll deal with correct spelling another day.)

Misspells aside, I can point to our obesity problem as a direct result of drive thrus.  Why get out of the car and walk ten steps in and out of the eatery when you can just pull up and they'll toss a bag to you?  Step by step we've found a way to intake more calories while outputting fewer.

How about we've just learned to accept mistakes as a way of life?  Think about it:  You've got kids in the car...it's raining...you're tired...whatever.  You place an order for dinner and the girl in the hat hands you a bag through the window.  You don't check it until you get home.  And it's WRONG. 

What, I'm  going to get back in the car...drive back...and demand it be corrected?  No, I'm the one who was too lazy in the first place to get out of the car!  I have yet to get an order correct from the local Taco Bell.  I go every time, wondering just what, exactly will be in my bag.  Instead of demanding attention to detail, we accept the mistakes because, well, getting out of the car is just too hard!  I pay for sour cream EVERY TIME I order there and I have yet to get it.  By my calculations, that Taco Bell owes me $75.50.

I suppose we're losing touch with people as well.  In a world where I can converse with someone in another country at all hours of the day online, I couldn't tell you the name of the banker that just deposited my paycheck, or the librarian that checked in my books, or even my pharmacist.  (I'm thinking I should probably know the name of the person who's filling my prescriptions, right?  But again, that would mean getting out of the car!) 

Billy Ocean once sang, "Get out of my dreams get into my car."  We listened...and we never got out!  Now look at us!  We can't spell, we're overweight, we accept mistakes as just part of life, even if it means we never get the sour cream we paid for, and we don't know anyone's name. 

I'd get more upset about this, but my favorite Starbucks just put in a drive thru and I'm hankering for a dark cherry mocha!

Monday, July 19, 2010

In search of "the Precious"

Let me just open this morning by saying I have always had chunky fingers.  The idea that piano players have long slim fingers just goes to prove that I should never have taken up the piano.  I have always had very small hands, but large fingers.  At my thinnest my ring size was an 8.  Which, unfortunately was also when I got my wedding ring.

Now, 20 years, two kids, and countless pizza nights later, my ring size has shot up a bit.  Not as big as my dress size, of course, but still, my finger is no longer an 8.  I did get it resized to a 9 after Peaches was born because, well, I still wanted to wear it.

Since then I've put on a bit more weight.  (Okay, I pretty much look like I ate my thin self.  Sort of like that dream the Pharaoh had in the Bible where the skinny cows ate the fat cows...only you know, I'm the fat cow in the dream and I'm eating the skinny cow.  That reminds me...I need to stop at the store and get more Skinny Cow ice cream treats.) 

Oh, what?  Yes, back to the point.

So with the heat and humidity of the summer months I've found that my fingers puff up even bigger.  Basically, I just stop wearing my wedding rings from May to October.

A couple of years ago, Hubby picked up this super cool stainless steal ring at one of those Christian Music festivals.  (I think it was something called "Godstock" but you know, don't quote me...)  It's a spinner ring with Jesus fish all the way around.  This summer, since he's also put on a couple of pounds, he's started wearing that ring instead of his wedding ring. 

I envied that.  So I asked him if he could find me one of those.  He said, "Well, they only make them in a size 12 and they're like $95."

Well, since this is a TEMPORARY fix until I lose enough weight to get back into my wedding ring  (you've heard of skinny jeans?  I have skinny jewelry.)  I didn't want a size 12  (I'm about an 11) and I didn't want to pay that much money.

I have a sterling silver ring and I wore that...until it turned my finger green.  I did some checking.  Apparently that only happens when you have really acidic sweat.

Oh good.  Not only am I puffy. bloated, and FAT...I also have acidic sweat.

Shoot me now!

After a couple of months of searching for the right ring, we happened to be in a mall, Hubby and I and I decided to get sized for a ring.  Went into a jewelry store, asked to be sized.  The lady sized my finger...yep, and 11.  And then she waved good bye.

Wait, isn't there a recession on?  Wouldn't having someone ask to be sized mean there might be a sale in the making?

So, after being dismissed for the crime of having fat fingers  (An assumption on my part, of course)  I started shopping in earnest. And here's what I found out:

1)  I was going to have to buy a man's ring because a size 11 in a women's ring....well...sweetie...we just don't have access to anything that, you know, BIG.

Not a problem.  I like men's rings.  They don't get snagged on stuff.

2)  The only sample size they offer, indeed, the only size anyone keeps in jewelry stores is a 10 in men's because, well, an 11 is so, you know  BIG.

Okay, now I'm starting to get a little insulted.

3)  Oh, you can't wear sterling silver? You have acidic sweat?  Are you some kind of freak?  I mean, you must be because you need a size 11 ring and that's...you know...BIG!

Hey, no need to start calling names.  I know it's unusual, but certainly I'm not a freak!

 4) Well, stainless steal is nice.  Of course we don't actually HAVE any rings in stainless steal, but we can order them...can you wait 6-8 weeks?  Because, you know, getting enough stainless steal together for a size 11 is sort of hard since it's so...you know, BIG.

Okay, screw this my friends.  If I want to be reminded over and over again that I'm sort of chunky, I'll go over to my mom's.  Thanks.

So, nearly in tears (I only cry when I'm furious) and about ready to give up, I let Hubby convince me to go into one more shop.  A fairly round gent met us at the door.  I told him my story and what I was looking for.  He looked at my stubby round fingers and nodded sagely, showing me his own stubby, chubby digits.  "I wear a 13 myself."  says he.

I was overjoyed!

So we went right to the case of simple men's rings.  I told him about my acidic sweat.  He nodded and said that wasn't a problem.  They had lots of stainless steal and titanium.

We got to the case and I picked out three rings. 

And then it happened...

"Oh, we only have size 10 samples..."


Ah, but see this jewelry store understood what the other stores did not.  See, you have to actually sell merchandise to make money and stay in business.

"Wait.  I have a 12 in this ring right here."

He held it up and it was like looking at the ONE RING in "Lord of the Rings."  I'd found my precious.  I was Golum and Frodo and Bilbo Baggins all in one and I'd finally found the ring I could put on my chubby little finger and feel like a married woman again.

Okay, okay...so it's a size 12.  And yes, it cost $95.  And no, it doesn't have those cool Jesus fish on it.  But darn it all, it's nice to have something that I wear every day that makes me feel thin.

Thin and ruler of all Middle Earth, that is!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Wait...it has to be FAST STEPS?

Good morning!

So, for the last several years I've been justifying my nightly hours on the couch with these words:

"I got my steps in already."

Yes, I am one of those people who wears a pedometer.  Better yet, since I carry my fat in the gut area, I've found the wearing a pedometer on my belt  (uh, okay, when was the last time I wore a BELT?) was pointless since my gut fat and my abdomen fat sort of enveloped the pedometer in a blanket of fat and the pedometer didn't shake with each step.  Which means the steps I took weren't counted.  Which means, what's the point of taking steps?

So, after several weeks of counting steps and checking the pedometer and counting more steps  (an activity I did pretty much where ever I was...meaning the folks at the Pick and Save are moderately certain I'm insane...) I figured out that the best place to wear the pedometer was on my shoe.

Now, you've seen pedometers.  It's not like they blend with your typical shoe.  And, bonus, in the summer wearing a pedometer on a flip flop is sort of uncomfortable.  I've had people stop me at the store and ask me what I'm wearing on my shoe.  One little old lady, the dear heart, asked me if it was one of those electronic monitoring devices.  I told her what it was and she said, "Oh, in that case, can you reach that can of soup on the top shelf sweetie?"

Hey, I'm an outgoing person so having people asking me what I'm wearing my shoe doesn't bother me.  I did stop wearing dresses to church though, because I've found church people don't ask...they like to point and whisper.  And then they make their kids ask me when I'm trying to teach a Sunday School lesson.  It's not easy getting the whole point of Moses and the Red Sea when, at the climax of the story, someone pipes up and says, "Mrs. Bradley?  My mom wants to know what you have stuck on your shoe."

Good thing I'm not one of those who embarrasses easily. 

"Well, it's like this.  I'm FAT.  So I wear this step counter to make sure I take a minimum of 10,000 steps every single day. Once I've hit 10,000 I can lie down on the couch and eat pizza."

Now, I haven't exactly lost a lot of weight doing this.  I've gained and last the same ten pounds over the last five years.  Which would be fine, if I didn't need to lose more like 80 pounds...

So I've started walking on a weekly basis with a friend of mine.  (Hi Dawn!)  This is great, except you know a mom's schedule is really never set in stone.  so we did great the first three weeks, and now the last three we haven't.  Still, it's a start.  And I've upped my goal of steps to 12,000, so I've got that going for me.

But, on the phone with Dawn the other day, realizing we weren't walking this week again, Dawn mentioned a sick little thing that made me want to cry. 

"My doctor says that now that we're over 40 we have to add some cardio."

"Sure,"  I said, "I do my 12,000 steps a day."

"No, that's not cardio.  You have to get your blood pumping."

Apparently, trying to have a meaningful conversation with the teens that live in my house doesn't count.  I have to move my body in a way that raises my heart rate.

So, let me get this straight.  Those steps now have to be fast, sweat inducing steps?


Guess I don't have to wear the step counter to church anymore, then.  I mean, how often is the opportunity to run going to come up in church?  I'm not going to run up to communion, right?

I suppose I shouldn't count the steps I do at Kohl's either, then.  Right?

But....that's half my steps on a weekly basis!

Maybe I don't need to lose 80 pounds.   Maybe just losing that same ten pounds 8 times will be enough???

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I'm not wise, you little dip...I'm sick!

Hello all!

So for the last three days I've had the worst summer cold I've ever had.  The thing about my colds is that they always, always land in my throat and I lose my voice.  This has been the case for years, but especially in the last two decades that I've been working telephone customer service.  Nothing better that a phone rep with laryngitis.  Even more cruel is the fact that my speaking voice is, quite frankly, my only natural talent.  It's the reason I've managed to keep phone jobs for so long.  "She's so good on the phone."

I was even told once that I should operate my own phone sex line.  "It doesn't matter what you look like," a former employer of mine told me...(he got fired from his position LONG before I quit that job, so I had a certain sense of victory!)

Anyway, not only can't I talk, but I feel like complete creeping crud.  So yesterday, Monday, I bailed out of all my after work obligations, went home, and took a nap.

I got up at 6 Pm to a kitchen full of teens making mac and cheese, and a huge hot mess.  I was surprised...Skippy almost never has friends over.  Which means his friends don't have a working knowledge of what I look like when I'm not sick.  Chances are, they assumed that what I looked like at that moment was "good." 

I was going to say something, but I couldn't, and besides, I wasn't exactly in any shape to be receiving company.  Hey, how pretty are YOU after a nap when you've been sick?  (Those of you who know me and have seen my bed head, well, you just go ahead and laugh amongst yourself.)

So, while they ate, I wrapped myself up in a blanket  (chills and sweats, chills and sweats) and watched some Tour DE France coverage.  (I do love other people working physically hard for my entertainment.)  After a little bit, Skippy's friend, I'll call him Eddie, came into the living room and asked if he could take Kit-ten into the basement with him because the girls wanted to play with Kit-ten, but obviously NOT around me.  I said sure.

To which Eddie said, "Come on Kit-ten, let's go play with the pretty young ladies."

Now, it didnt' occur to me to be insulted, until Eddie turned around and said, "which isn't to say you're not pretty, or young."

I let out a laugh, or something I wanted to be a laugh, but of course it really sounded more like a walrus bark.  Eddie took two more steps away and came back to add one final dart,"  You, you are wise."


That's what that little fart called me.  I'm sick, I can't talk, I'm high on what I believe is a fairly dangerous mix of over the counter drugs, and this Eddie Haskell comes into my house and tells me I'm wise.  No one wants to be wise!  What woman ever said, "Hey, you can be sexy and cute and funny.  I'll be wise."

I barked again, because really, what, I'm going to be insulted by the fact that he's actually trying to dig himself out of a hole I didn't know was even there?  I've always loved watching guys twist after they've said something stupid, especially when what they said wasn't really that stupid.

So I sent Eddie on his way, telling him he'll make a great politician someday.  Not a big compliment in my world, but for a 16 year old, it is I guess, because he thanked me for that.  Teens and adults really do speak a completely different language.

Meanwhile, I'll just ride out this wave of voiceless wisdom.  But rest assured, the day will come when I get my voice back...we'll see just how wise I am then!


As a post script, I do have to brag just a tiny bit.  Skippy got a 3 on his AP World History exam that he took this past spring.  (Results came in today.)  This means college credit and a big step toward that college scholarship we so desperately need!  Whoo hoo Skippy!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Packing it in: Man vs. Woman and the terrorists win

Last weekend Hubby and I went to his class reunion.  We were both going to be gone two days, both staying in the same hotel, both doing the same things, (well, he planned on doing some hiking, I planned on eating the free breakfast in the hotel.) 

We packed our bags and put them in the car.  Hubby had a back pack and, since he was taking his laptop, one other small bag. 

I had my big purse, a brief case, and my three foot tall, 20 inches deep, on wheels with a special handle and will never get itself on an airplane super suitcase.

He came home with most of the clothes he packed unused.  (Well, he never did go hiking.  Opted for coffee with an old friend instead.)  Me, I used everything in that bag, and wished I'd brought one or two more things.

Why the difference?  Well, last night I watched Hubby pack for his weekend on the East Coast with his mom, and I realized something: 

Men simply do not have to have a Plan B.

Women, we all know Plan B.  Plan B is the outfit you bring if the place you're going is more formal than you thought.  Plan B is bringing two extra pairs of shoes in case you 1)  Break a heel or 2)  need something more formal/casual/comfortable.  Plan B is bringing every toiletry and feminine product you might every need because, as I'm sure every single one of us has discovered at one time or another, hotel maxi pads are less protective than a wad of toilet paper and Walmart just isn't always open 24 hours a day.  And of course, once you've had an early onset of your "monthly visit" not only do you need the aforementioned products, but you're probably going to need an extra outfit.  And another dark outfit...just in case.  (I stopped wearing white pants at the age of 16 and I won't ever wear them until menopause has given me the all clear.  I wear black, dark blue, and darker blue.  That's it.)

Men don't need a plan B because they have wash and wear hair.  Ladies, it doesn't matter, does it, if we're gone for one day or ten.  If we sleep on the hair, we need to do complete reconstruction the next day.  That means shampoo  (hotel shampoo bottles aren't even single serve anymore.)  Conditioner (ditto)  hair gel, hair spray and hair tools.  Yes, most hotels do have hair driers.  But, as my Party lite leader once howled to a hotel roomful of consultants at a conference, "This hotel hair dryer's got no balls!"

Once you have clothes and toiletries packed...then there's the question of pillows.  I don't know about you, but I have to take my own pillow along.  Hotels never give you enough pillows, unless you're sleeping in a room along and it's one of those king sized beds with six pillows on it, because hotel pillows are sad, unfluffy pillows that serve little purpose.  Plus, if you're driving, you need that pillow for in the car.  Who wants to sleep in the car without a pillow?  Not this girl!

Men don't need a Plan B, because if a man forgets a tweezers or a razor, he simply gets the "woodsy" look.  Women aren't allowed to be woodsy. 

Oh, and if a man goes someplace and finds out he needs a swimsuit, no problem!  He goes to the nearest Big Box store, plunks down $15.99 and has a suit that fits.

If we go someplace and find out we need a suit, we don't go swimming.  Picking out a swim suit, for a woman, is almost as hard as picking out a name for a baby.  There's style, and fit, and cut, and color, and material, and "problem areas."  Once we have a suit, it better last us a good long time and no, a quick trip to the Big Box store not fix the situation.  It will only end in heartache.  We might buy a suit, but it will cost $40 easy, and it will become something we loathe. 

As I watched my husband pack his 3 ounce bottles of shampoo for a four day weekend, I realized the terrorists have won.  I won't fly anymore if I can help it.  Between the airlines who now charge for you for the privilege of losing your bags to the security rules about explosive conditioner, I'm sorry, I simply can't pack that way.  I have no room for Plan B packing!

In the battle to control who flies and who does not, the terrorists win over the airlines.  See, the terrorists know about Plan B.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ladies, really, who asked for this?

WARNING:  This post deals with a subject matter that is sensitive and quite oogy.  Ladies only, please, today!  Gents, seriously, I'm trying to save you from losing your lunch...come back tomorrow!

Are the men all gone?  Okay...ladies, it's time for some serious talk:

I was shopping the other day for feminine protection.  I'm talking about the once a month purchase that shouldn't be all that difficult, but for some reason, picking out the right sort of protection has always been a bit of a problem for me.

Now, I'm in my forties.  I'm closer to the end of my need for these items than I am to the beginning, but every month I stand in front of the wall o pads and stare at it like a teen aged boy lost in...well, the feminine protection aisle, I guess.  A mixture of curiosity, embarrassment, and rage.

It was easy for previous generations.  I'm not joking.  My mother had the choice of maybe two kinds of pads.  The ones that came in the purple box with a yellow rose on it, and had a belt.  (A BELT!!!!!!!!!!) and the ones that were no good.

Now, we've got this brand and that, ultra thin or regular.  Regular, light, heavy, super heavy, and holy crap Martha, shut the flood gates already.  We have pads, tampons, (Which also come in regular, slim, super, super plus and holy Crap Martha, just shove a pillow up there!). Pantyliners have joined the diversity party...regular, extra long, thong  (really?  Thong?  Someone out there is having a bit of a ladies' day and is still wearing a THONG?)  scented, unscented, in the little pink packs and not.

Don't get me started on different liners.  Absorbent, wicking  (you know, like sports socks do?).  There are pads that claim to be able to hold 8 ounces of fluid!  (That's interesting since studies by male scientists insist we really only lose 3 Teaspoons of blood a month.  Really?  How about studying a woman who's not a marathon runner?)

All of this is a for a product that really, basically, hasn't changed all that much since I started needing them a couple decades ago.  Granted, the adhesive is better.  I've not had one flip over and get stuck...you know...in a long time.  And I love the wings.  Not so sure about certain linings, but I'm game to try new things.

The newest advancement, however, has me scratching my head, because I'm really wondering who asked for this?

Quieter wrapping!

Ladies, remember when we had those little purses with in purses to carry our dainties?  Then they started packing them in plastic wrap and that was AWESOME!

Okay, so which one of you decided that wrap was too noisy?  You're sitting there, making the change, you unwrap the wee package with the pink flowers and you decide..."Gee, this is just too noisy.  I'm going to stop buying this product and use one with wrapping that isn't so earth shatteringly noisy!"

Who asked for this?  I'm being serious...even in a public ladies' room, who is worrying about the noise the unwrapping makes?  (I'll tell you what's more annoying...the noise the adhesive makes when you're removing one.  How about quieter adhesive?  Hmmmmmmm?)

I'll tell you what we really need.  What we need is a product that can absorb IMMEDIATELY.  You've all seen the commercial where the woman stands up and some statistic flashes like, "A woman's flow increases 200% when she stands up."

Don't have to tell me, sister.  I all but roll off the bed and crawl to the bathroom some days.  And that's because the products out there are absorbent, yes.  But only if the flow is a steady, direct one.  Gushing, and, heaven help us, normal shifting, make wearing anything pretty much pointless.  Find me the product that can handle me doing something as dangerous as STANDING UP, and I'll be a life long customer.

And you can wrap it in tinfoil and have fireworks that activate upon opening.  If I can wear it, stand up, and not have to back out of a room, all at the same time, I'm sold!

Friday, July 2, 2010

When did I become the parent in a John Hughes film?

Good morning!

So this weekend Hubby and I will be trekking across the state to attend his 25th high school class reunion.  (And in answer to your question, no I'm not going to mine. If you read this blog long enough you'll know why, but for now let's just say it's not going to happen.)

At any rate, we're leaving Skippy and Peaches home alone.  Well, Skippy will be at Summerfest or working most of the weekend and Peaches is actually staying with a friend, but stopping in to check on Kit-Ten.  Still, they will have no direct parental supervision for two solid days.

This is the first time we've left the area code for more than twenty hours.  Oddly enough I wasn't nervous about it...until I recalled all the John Hughes movies I watched in my teens.

For those of you who don't know or don't remember, the recently passed Mr. Hughes wrote and directed some of the cornerstone teen films of a generation.  "Pretty in Pink"  "Breakfast Club"  "Sixteen Candles"  "Ferris Buehler's Day off."  All his.  All genius.  All a perfect slice of teen life pie...

I've memorized those films and in all of them I'm Molly Ringwald.  (Well, except for Ferris Buehler...she's not in that.)  I'm the quirky, pretty, misunderstood teen who has to make her way through life...in spite of her really pretty terrible parents. 

John Hughes, when he did address parents in his films, was not kind.  He wrote parents from a teen's point of view:  Stupid, uncool, controlling, absent, bumbling, well meaning, forgetful, and out of touch with what's vital.

Pretty much how my kids view me.


When did I become the parent in a John Hughes film?  I'm not the parent!  I'm Molly stinkin' Ringwald!  I'm pretty in pink...I sew my own clothes.  I eat birthday cake while sitting on top of a dining room table.  I am the misunderstood popular girl who can apply lipstick with my cleavage!

(Okay, that last thing...I can't even apply lipstick with my hands, and I was NEVER the popular girl...if you're watching "Breakfast Club" and you wonder who I was...two words...Brian Johnson.  Yep, the nerd.  The grade obsessed geek.  Minus the interest in math.  But I did own a terrible green sweatshirt.)

Still, when did this happen?

Oh yeah...right about the time I decided to have kids.

The minute you become a parent, your "Cool, with it" meter starts dropping.  Oh sure, until the kid is seven, you rule.  You can drive, you know how to order stuff at the drive up window, you know what the phone number for the pizza place is.  You can make a clock work by putting in a fresh battery!  YOU ARE AWESOME!

But someplace between 7 and 11, that awesomeness dies a little bit each day.  By the time a child is twelve, the only reason he/she will be seen with you is because you can drive.  By the time they're 13, they'd rather ride their bike or walk, thank you.  By the time they're driving, they'd like to pretend they don't have parents.

And so, with one driver and one bike rider in the house, I'm the absent, uncool, out of touch parent.  In spite of my best efforts, I've become that mom.  All the trips to the pool, the ice cream I've bought, the sleepovers I've hosted, the trips to Great America...all for naught.  They are teens, and that makes me the parent of teens.

So I'm going to my husband's class reunion.  I'm leaving the kids alone for the weekend.  In my head there will be a party ala "Sixteen Candles" and when I return I'll find a geeky freshman trapped in my coffee table.  My wine cellar will be destroyed, and there will be traces of birthday cake on my dining room table.

Oh wait...I don't have a wine cellar.  I don't even have a dining room table!

Okay then...I've got that going for me, I guess!


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Relaxing weekend...yeah, right.


I should be working at something other than this, but I have to bring up the subject of summer weekends.  Once you're past the age of 16, I'm sorry, but the summer loses most of its magic.  Right now my kids, 13 and 16, both think summer is this lovely golden time of sleeping until noon, lazing around the house all day, and facebooking until the wee hours of the night.

Sure, for you.  But Skippy, the oldest, will be looking at colleges next summer.  Life, as far as he knows it, will be over.  And Peaches, well, she's already in a couple of classes this summer, so her evenings are taken with gymnastics and cheer camps.

But for adults, we know summer is a myth.  Lazy hazy days?  My sweet aunt fannies' fanny.  Even when I was a "stay at home mom"  (read here, the mom everyone dumped their kids on in the summer.)  I spent a ton of time running kids to the zoo, the park, the pool, the beach, the museum, the library, the video store, the grocery store, the liquor store  (HEY...you try dragging six kids, four of which are not yours, all over God's green earth and see just how long you can go without a little visit to the "grown up cabinet.")  Sure, I miss those days because bathing meant swimming in the pool, a rainy day meant movie marathons, and there's something endearing about six grubby pairs of socks wedged under the back seat of the car.

Now, however, those kids are teens and want nothing to do with me, with the park, the zoo, the beach, the museum, and the library.  The video store, will that's a maybe, but only if I rent the movies and then walk away, never acknowledging your relationship to them. 

So my mother decided I needed a relaxing weekend.  For the last three years she's decided this.  Three years ago we rented two mobile homes on a river with enough extended family to make two mobile homes seem....well, like two mobile homes.  Two years ago we borrowed my boss's adorable place on a lake.  I spent my relaxing weekend cleaning up after the extended family.  (That weekend was everyone's FAVORITE, btw.  Of course it was.  They weren't the ones who had to listen to the boss's comments about grubby socks left under a random bed...)  LAST year we borrowed my uncles time share.  Sleeps 8.  Right.  Only if the 8th person doesn't mind sleeping on the stone kitchen floor.  GUESS WHO THAT WAS?

So this year my mother has decided that family togetherness will be lovely renting some random two bedroom one bath cabin for a week.

Can I repeat that.

Two bedrooms.

One bathroom.

At last count, the number of people she was insisting showed up:  10.

Two bedrooms.

One bathroom.


I don't say this EVER...but THANK GOODNESS for work!  Skippy, Hubby, and I are in luck.  We have to work!  Peaches is not so lucky.  She'll be toting herself back and forth from the cabin to do her stuff in town.  After all, my mother informs me, that's why I picked a place close to home....

Couldn't we just pitch a tent in the back yard?  Our house sleeps 10 without putting a single body on the floor.  We have TWO bathrooms.  More important, we have FOUR TV access to a city pool, and hot running water.  Oh, and our house is fairly bug free, and has central Air.  Plus, no packing! 

Of course, looking at the pattern, these relaxing weekends are getting closer and closer to home.  Maybe next year we will just all camp out here!

Hey, if they want, I'll charge them all rent and they can bring their own linens...

Anyway, hey, enjoy the 4th of July!  And, seven more weeks of summer vacation before we can lock the kids back in school where they belong!

Fun Fact Friday: Now that it's dead, Sarah reveals a childhood dream.

Happy Friday all! What do you want to be when you grow up? That's a question we ask little kids...and I haven't a clue why....