It’s My Birthday and I’ll Cry If I Want To

Last weekend I celebrated my birthday. I’m not shy about telling my age. I was never one of those people who felt the need to lie about it. I don’t judge you if you do, it’s just not my thing.

At the writing of this post, I turned fifty-two precisely seven days, one hour, and twenty-seven minutes ago (my mother makes sure to remind me of the exact moment I entered this world, giving me as many gory details as she possibly can short of an actual reenactment).

I’m also not gonna lie and say I embrace my age. I think I’ve gotten better over the last few years about it, but I’m not quite there. I’m not sure I ever will be. I mean, how do you embrace something that keeps going up, instead of down? Unless we’re talking about the stock market?

The last time I checked, going up in this case means we are just closer to death. I know that sounds morbid, and it is. I have been worried about it since I was a kid. My obsession with time and it’s uncanny ability to move forward like a pig with its tail on fire is probably as healthy as telling Mike Tyson his tattoo is stupid.

I know it’s “just a number,” “you are as old as you feel,” and “it’s better than the alternative.” And for the most part I agree with all of it. Except the part where I’m fifty-two. And, well, getting older.

Heck, I should appreciate the fact I wasn’t a woman living in the 19th century. I’d be at the end of my life by now. If that doesn’t scare me, then nothing will.

Except my age.

Might I remind you Luke Perry died last month from a massive stroke. He was fifty-two like me. He didn’t get run over by a bus, or was in a plane crash. He didn’t suffer for months or years from cancer. He had a stroke. At fifty-two years old. And it’s freaking me out.

I feel bad for my physician. I’m a handful as it is already. I know she must not look very forward to my annual visit, which is in two weeks. My list is as long as Santa’s naughty list of things that bother me, and what I think they may be. Self-diagnoses is what I do best, even though I’m always wrong.

These days I do feel pretty good though. I’ve recently tried reversing the aging process as best I can without actual surgery or costly procedures. I’ve started using toner on my face, drinking less wine, and exercising.

Actual exercising. Like, going to the gym, putting on one of the only pairs of Lululemon leggings I own, and building up a sweat. Because everything is better in a pair of Lululemon leggings. My daughter said so.

I do worry about having a heart attack while exercising, but it’s a chance I’m willing to take for better health and a longer life. Twenty years ago, I wouldn’t even push my baby out of my body too hard for fear of having a brain aneurism. See how I’m growing?

So, Happy Birthday to me. Maybe next year I’ll look forty-five, feel thirty-five, and act fifteen.

I have the fifteen part down pretty pat. But I’m hoping that toner takes effect pretty soon so I’ll at least be able to say, “two out of three ain’t bad.”

I’ll let you know in eleven months, twenty-two days, and sixteen hours.

If Clothes Maketh the Man, Then Why Did He Invent the Bra?

I find it funny how I plan my life around my bra. This is true. And I know I’m not alone.

From the moment I put it on in the morning I dream of removing it. By mid-afternoon, it’s all I can do to not pull it through the armholes of my top and fling it across the office space right into the trash receptacle so it can live as one with yesterday’s lunch and the extra printer copies of last month’s budget.

But alas, I hold it together. No pun intended.

I mean, come on, what is so appealing? The shoulder straps don’t stay up, and if they do, they dig into your skin like a bad habit. There is the feeling of a vice tightening up around your ribcage with every breath. And the underwire feels as if a moat is being dug around the underbelly of your bosoms.

It’s safe to say my commute home is filled with images of me being braless. And as soon I get in the door, that’s what I do. Go braless. I really have grown quite a distaste for the — dare I say — “over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder.” If you haven’t quite guessed.

Although my younger self would beg to differ and, quite honestly, would have mouth agape in disbelief at my proclamation. Back in the day I would spend tons of money and hours looking for the perfect bras to match each pair of underwear. The pride I took in my undergarments was a bit ridiculous.

I also took the “make sure you have clean underwear because you never know if you’ll be in an accident” advice my mother repeated to me ad nauseam to a whole new level.

In defense of my younger self, the ta-ta’s were cute and perky and just, cute. Thirty some-odd years later they have been poked and prodded (thank you mammograms, ultrasounds, and self exams), been the food source for my newborn, and gained a few pounds, to say the very least.

These days, I’m lucky to put on a pair of underwear that don’t have a hole in them or that are so stretched out it’s a miracle they stay up at all. Forget about matching my bra. That ideal went out the window with the dawn of the new century.

So, getting back to my point. Once the bra comes off, I’m done for the day and/or night.

A friend could call me to go on a crazy adventure where a meeting with Channing Tatum (or is that Tatum Channing?) would be promised, and I wouldn’t do it. I’d rather endure a trip to Hell than put that medieval torture device back on.

DH could want to surprise me with a quick rendezvous to Tahiti for a romantic dinner for two…oh, well, Tahiti probably wouldn’t mind if I went braless so that’s a bad example. But you know what I’m saying.

If The Kid is home from college and she wants to invite her boyfriend over, I either banish myself to my room like a hermit for the evening, or will not allow the visit.

Yes, I am embarrassed to say that I have said, “Can’t you go over there? My bra is already off,” more times than I care to admit. And if he comes over anyway? Well, that’s HIS problem. Everyone has been forewarned.

Remind me why we wear bras again?

Yes, I know. People could get hurt, including our very own chins when we run. And they “girls” could be mistaken for extra belly fat, if you know what I mean.

I guess the bra is here to stay. Unless we can bring “bra burning” back into fashion. I know how to light a match. I learned that when I…ahem, never mind.

Note: I love my breasts. They are one of my favorite parts of my body, and I’m so fortunate to have them. But damn, that bra. It’s the bane of my existence. Wait. Have I said that already?

The Big Clean Up

Is it just me? Or does everyone do it? I am talking about the opposite of purging. Not purging. Of accumulating. And collecting.

I don’t collect, per se. Not on purpose anyway. I don’t think my old cans of tomato paste will be worth much. Unless I just didn’t get the memo.

I have suddenly realized in the last few weeks that I really need to clean up. Every drawer, every closet, every cabinet, every everything.

And no, I am not KonMari’ing my life. Yea, I would love to choose joy, Marie. But I’d rather wallow in my joyless self-pity of collecting crap.

Also, I can’t really talk to my things.

Oh, that’s not true. I have been known to curse at the hangers in my closet when they’ve gotten tangled beyond recognition, among other conversations with inanimate objects I’m too embarrassed to admit to.

We don’t have clutter out and about. We don’t keep stuff on our countertops, or on the tables, or shoved into corners. No, we make sure the clutter is hidden. Away from everyone. Including myself.

Except now it’s starting to bother me. Like when I open any given drawer or closet in my house, I am suddenly filled with this irrational rage. Maybe it’s a mid-life thing seeing that pretty much everything pisses me off lately.

Maybe I’m “nesting” for the next phase of my life. I certainly don’t want to leave all this for The Kid to have to deal with if we, say, kick the bucket or decide to move without a forwarding address.

I just spent hours — on a Saturday, my precious Saturday — cleaning out the “kitchen” pantry. It’s not even in the kitchen. It’s really a mini “mud room” off my family room leading out to the garage. There is a door so we don’t see the mess and the reminder of what bad things lurk beyond.

God bless that door.

This is the “after.” I wasn’t swift enough to get the “before.” Don’t be jealous of my 1970’s wallpaper.

There is also a cabinet IN my kitchen. It’s one of those tall ones with the pull out shelves. I love those pull out shelves. I almost didn’t get them. When we were designing our kitchen, the consultant lady said, “oh, you’ll want to get the pull out shelves. Believe me, you’ll appreciate them.” And she was right. I can’t imagine my life without them. They are almost at the same level of fondness I feel for my daughter.

Those drawers give me joy. Also, another inanimate object I talk to.

Let me just tell you, I’m pretty sure the last time I cleaned out either one of these things, was back when Ross was on his third wife (Rachel, in case you’ve forgotten or just didn’t know).

So, here’s a glimpse into some of the things I tossed:

  • Four jars of pizza sauce that expired in 2013
  • Three opened boxes of crackers from New Year’s Eve 2012
  • Too many to count cans of tomato paste that really were probably empty from evaporation
  • Rice so old there may have been bugs crawling in there but I wouldn’t know because I was afraid to look
  • Much, much more

And the most surprising find?

That umbrella I thought we left behind on our last vacation.

In our food pantry.

On to the next project. I have written in my new planner what I am going to attempt to clean out. According to my plans, I should be done by the end of April. I’ll let you know how it goes. But if you go by my procrastinational ways of the past, you’ll need to add seven years. You know, like you do for a dog.

My Netflix show would be called “Cleaning Like a Dog.” I’m not sure I would talk about items that bring you joy, but I can promise it would be quite entertaining.

And next time you are looking for an umbrella, check the place where you keep your food. You just never know.

Amazon Is Amazing

How did we live without Amazon? This is a serious question.

How DID WE LIVE WITHOUT AMAZON?

Well, ok, so we actually DID live without Amazon. Just like we lived without cell phones, caller ID, WiFi, and Xbox.

We had no choice. And if we couldn’t find what we were looking for, we went without. Or we stayed home and didn’t go to the store because it was too much work or it was snowing, and we didn’t really need whatever we were looking for that badly anyway.

But with Amazon, whether we need something badly or not, we can get it with the touch of a button. And if you are a Prime member (which is totally cheap if you have a college student — another reason why college is so important), you can have all kinds of nifty things delivered to your door step for not only FREE, but in most cases THE NEXT DAY!

Just so you know, Amazon is not paying me to say this. They don’t even know I exist, except that I spend a really large portion of the money we make on stuff I can get on Amazon that I really don’t need.

Christmas this year came in an Amazon box. Actually, it came in several Amazon boxes. Gobs of Amazon boxes. If I weren’t in such a cleaning frenzying state of mind last Saturday, then I would show you a picture.

But alas, they are well on their way to the city dump, or incinerator.

This is not my exact pile, but a very good representation. Look how cute they are, though? Such happy little boxes.

Actually, I hope they are on their way to the recycling place because that’s where I want them to be, but who knows if we can trust THAT system.

CAN we trust that system? I guess that’s a discussion for another time.

Anyway, you’ll just have to take my word for it. I could have stacked the Amazon boxes beyond the roof of my house. Oh heck, I could have stacked them halfway to Venus!

I mean, come on, I have eight great nieces and nephews to buy for. I also have six direct (first generation?) nieces and nephews I still buy for who haven’t reached the age of “no longer buying gifts for unless it’s a really great occasion, like a marriage, or baby, or graduation” yet.

I also have parents, and a mother-in-law, and a husband, and a daughter. Not to mention the many children of my cousins (2nd cousin? Or would that be 2nd cousin once removed?) that I buy for because I want to.

Yes, it’s out of control. I realize this. But it’s not up for discussion. I’m not complaining. I’m just stating a fact.

I probably shouldn’t say this out loud because DH might see. But I just looked on our Amazon account and checked out 2018.

Collectively (when I say “collectively” I include DH and The Kid, which means that I am not the only culprit), we placed 69 orders.

In one year.

Before you judge me, please keep in mind that The Kid orders many of her college textbooks through Amazon. They are used, and although they are expensive, they are less expensive than buying them new.

She also rents them through Amazon. Not that that matters. I just wanted to put that out there for those of you who have college students and didn’t realize this little tidbit.

Some of the things, aside from textbooks, that were ordered from this household via Amazon this past year. In case you were wondering:

  • A Zoodle maker that I never used
  • Mouthwash
  • A comforter set
  • Coffee
  • Vitamins
  • Car crap, lots and lots of car crap
  • An under the desk portable heater because I get very cold at work but yet sweat at night like a monkey in heat
  • A Gregg shorthand book because I plan to reteach myself this skill just ’cause I can
  • Gift cards…lots and lots of gift cards, but much more fun than car crap
  • Toys
  • Books that are fun; aka NOT textbooks
  • Games
  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • Whiteboard magnets
  • Miso & chili flakes (I don’t know)
  • Mason jars
  • Baby Foot (the foot treatment not the real thing)
  • Flasks disguised as suntan lotion bottles (???)
  • Markers
  • Planner

And last week I was proudly the first person in my family to order an Amazon goodie in 2019. (The Kid DID rent some books for second semester, but does that really count?)

I decided my heels need to be smoothed out, and since I abhor pedicures (I never said I was normal), I had the inclination to, at 10pm, search Amazon for a resolution. And within about a minute and a half, I ordered myself an Amope Pedi Perfect foot file thing that I was the new owner of in less than 48 hours (it’s amazing by the way – the Pedi thing in addition to Amazon).

I may have a problem.

Do you think Amazon sells books on how to cure an addiction to Amazon? Let me go look. I’ll get back to you.

The Widening of the Hips and Other Ailments

I am an administrative assistant by trade. My “trade” was referred to as a secretary once upon a time. That is no longer acceptable. I don’t know if it’s politically incorrect or demeaning, or what. But don’t call an administrative assistant a “secretary.” Or you might get punched in the eyebrow.

I have a secretarial “degree” (aka “certificate”). I went to a secretarial school. Now they are as extinct as the pterodactyl. It seems these days you need a degree to be a secretary.

Ahem…an administrative assistant.

Some companies will only hire you if you have a two- or four-year degree. While others will hire you based on experience. You know, as long as you started working around the time Eisenhower was in office.

But then you’re too old.

Vicious circle.

I got lucky. I found a wonderful company to work for. I have no four- or two-year degree. And I’m kinda old. Ok, so maybe not dinosaur old, but I’m no spring chicken either. My twenty plus year secretarial/admin experience is acceptable.

Anyway, my profession has its perils, believe it or not. And I’m finding out quickly what those perils are.

Back in the day, people would complain and warn me about the dreaded “Secretarial Spread.” It sounds obscene (don’t google it, because what popped up would have made even Hugh Hefner blush). But it’s not what you might think.

The official definition according to Urban Dictionary:

“Secretarial spread means sitting down for a long period of time while the hind-end spreads outward in order to accommodate the chair. “

Sounds awful, right?

Well, it is.

Back in the day, I didn’t worry about it too much. I was young, I exercised and moved a lot. I wore high heels and ran in them.

No, seriously. I did.

Now if I so much as put on a pair of heels that measure higher than half an inch, I run the risk of being hospitalized.

Fast forward 30+ years and there are all kinds of reports and studies on what can happen if you sit all day. In a nutshell, it reduces your lifespan. The instructor at the gym referred to sitting as “the new smoking.”

The only time I touched a cigarette was back in 1982. And I didn’t even inhale.

I swear. 

No, I wasn’t hanging out with Clinton.

Since working back in the profession for which I was trained after a very long respite, I’m comprehending what they meant by the “Secretarial Spread.”

I’m comprehending big (no pun intended).

When I wrote the first draft of this post months ago, I was sedentary.

“Sedentary.” A word I never thought in a million years I would use to describe myself.

But yet, that’s what I was.

I got up to go to the bathroom or the water cooler during the day.  When I got home, I took off the bra, put on my “non-yoga” yoga pants, and moved my ass to the couch.

That was it.

Ok, so I still get home, take off the bra, and move my ass to the couch. Because I’m tired. I’m just TIRED.

But during the day, I’ve been exercising. I go to the gym at work, I do stretching exercises, planks, push-ups, what have you, in the morning before I leave for work.

And it feels great.

But the sitting has caused me to develop hip flexor problems. Oh.my.god. Does that hurt! Had I not been “sedentary” for so long, I don’t think that would have happened.

This hip flexor situation has since given me lower back pain. You know, because my back is compensating for the job my hip flexors aren’t doing.

I think. I mean, I’m no doctor, but this makes sense. Right?

My abdominal wall is also weak. Which is not helping my cause. But I’m working on that.

I’m working on getting myself to a good place health-wise. It’s time. I decided a wheel chair, or even a cane, would not be a good accessory for me.

I mean, I don’t really accessorize anyway, so why start now?

One more thing…

The second part of that definition, according to Urban Dictionary:

“It can be changed with exercise, and activity away from sitting down on one’s spread for too many hours a day.”

I had this thing called a “Veridesk” installed on my desktop at work. It has levers and allows you to lift the thing up so you can stand while you work. It’s a pain in the ass to pull up, but the way I see it, I’m also getting some upper body strength training in.

Getting into shape at work. That brings the expression “multi-tasking” to a whole new level.

If I save one person from the dreaded “Secretarial Spread” then I have done my job.

You’re welcome.

Resolutions Schmesolutions

As I sit here on this second to last day of 2018, I reflect on all the year has brought. I will not hash it out, because that’s what my Christmas letter is for (if you missed it, it’s not too late to catch up by clicking here).

I will say 2018 was pretty uneventful, which is good. But bad in the way that I did nothing to better myself in any way. It was another lazy year that I wish to not talk about.

But as I sit here reflecting, I also think about 2019, and the endless possibilities the coming year may bring.

Speaking of 2019, I saw something, a meme or whatever they are called, that reminded me that 2019 will be the last “teen” years for most of us. That totally freaked me out. I don’t know why. I wasn’t a large fan of my own teens, so I’m not sure why I care so much.

Anyway, a few couple of years ago, I realized New Year’s Resolutions are a complete waste of time. Statistically speaking, 80% of all resolutions fail by February. Thanks again, Google.

Honestly, I’m not sure how I got through high school without Google. It sure is much better than those grocery store Funk & Wagnall Encyclopedias our moms would get when they purchased enough olive loaf, Twinkies, and cherry Kool-Aid to earn a single volume. It took a year to get the entire series, and by then they would be outdated.

ANYWAY, I’m not making resolutions this year. What I AM going to do is make better decisions and conscious efforts to be a better person. To live the life I should be living, that I want to live. And because I am a cliche…be authentic.

These may sound like resolutions, and look suspiciously like resolutions, but they are what I would like to refer to as “Getting My Shit Together and Stop Being a Sloth Once and For All.” Or simply “Life Adjustments.”

All of this has been a long time coming, and honestly, would be happening if it was January 1st or May 19th. It’s time and the new year really has nothing to do with it. I joined an online fitness course a couple of months ago and it really has opened my eyes to what I wasn’t doing. Sometimes, we need a little push and a serious punch in the face.

I am fifty-one years old. I will be fifty-two in less than four months.

FIFTY-TWO.

I realize that fifty is the new thirty.

Or is it forty?

My point is people are living longer and living better, more productive lives. Lives that are filled with quality.

Quality. My life needs to be “quality.” I’m not saying I don’t have a good quality of life. Because I do. I am married to a wonderful man, was blessed with the best daughter anyone could possibly ask for, and pretty much want for nothing. And my health, although I could feel and look better, is pretty good for the most part.

But in this case, when I talk about “quality” I don’t mean what you think. My life has become chaotic. If that’s possible. I never know where anything is. I don’t know if I’m coming or going. I’m disorganized, disheveled, and not always doing what I truly want to do.

I feel like crap because I eat crap. And I look like crap because of the crap I eat. I’m not writing as often as I like, I’m not reading as much as I should, and I’m not exercising like a person who wants to live a better, longer life.

I bought a planner for the first time in my life, and some stickers, and a nice set of pens. For the first time in my life I intend to plan out what I want and need to do. I will plan out my meals, my exercise, my writing sessions, and anything else deemed worthy to be added. Which in my case, is pretty much everything.

I need to start making myself accountable for myself. I need to stop being lazy. Laziness just fosters more laziness. It’s a spiral that I don’t want to be on. And besides, it’s making me dizzy.

Snowpooling

I’ve been waiting two years for someone from our town to go to The Kid’s college. Why, you ask? To ride-share, of course.

I mean, it’s not that I mind the six hour round-trip drive. Typically, I love to drive. I always have. It’s just that that trip can be a bit trying on, well, everything. From my ankles to the ends of my hair.

Ok, so my hair doesn’t really hurt. But you get the picture.

And I pretty much do it alone. Since DH has lost most of the sight in his left eye, he has terrible night vision and really can’t, shouldn’t, drive once the moon comes out. And most of the time I’m coming back from getting her from school when it’s dark.

When I found out a girl from our town — whose mother is a friend of mine — was going to be going to The Kid’s school this year, I jumped up and down for joy so hard I peed my pants a little.

Someone to carpool with. Finally.

I realize it won’t always work out with schedules, etc. But it will work out sometimes. Even if just once or twice. And that is good enough for me.

Luckily, this Thanksgiving is one of the times it worked out. My friend was doing the retrieving, and I am doing the returning.

Except my friend kinda got the short end of the stick. For her retrieval, “they” were predicting a snowstorm. But hey, she’s tough. I knew it wouldn’t ruffle her feathers much. Besides, it wasn’t going to be all that bad. We’ve had worse.

Except this turned out to be one of the craziest snowstorms we’ve had in a long time, this early in the season.

The three-hour drive took exactly twelve. Door-to-door. No lie.

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Smooth sailing at 1.5 hours. Little did they know what lurked just ahead. Makes you want to scream at the screen, “don’t go in there, DON’T GO IN THERE!”

The storm they were predicting came on us strong and fast. No one was really expecting the velocity of which the snow and ice bore down in these parts. I don’t believe anyone, including the highway department, was prepared.

Roads quickly turned to sheets of ice. From what I was hearing, all the highways and byways pretty much from Virginia to Ohio to Connecticut transformed into “Disney on Ice” within minutes. With Cinderella being played by the Snow Miser.

Before she knew it, my poor friend, along with her passengers, were at a standstill.

A more-than-five-hour standstill.

Stuck. With thousands of other commuters. On the roadway to a major bridge. One that had shut down due to multiple accidents.

There was nowhere to go. Nothing to do. But sit. And sit. And sit some more.

As the mom of one of the occupants of this vehicle, I was a little anxious. I trusted my friend whole-heartedly. It wasn’t her driving I was concerned about. I was concerned they would run out of gas, get stuck on a snowy highway, and freeze to death (yes, I watch too much television, read too many books).

I had a daughter who was a bit distressed and sending anxiety-ridden texts to me. “Mom, I’m never getting home,” “It’s freaking me out,” “I feel trapped.” And finally, “I want tacos.”

Twenty-year-old people and their appetites. Ne’er shall an icicle, snowflake, or semi-crisis keep the hunger away. Stomachs on Kriptonite. There should be a superhero named after that.

My friend, who is amazing, kept the mood fun and light, spirits high. They broadcast their adventures via Facebook Live, which, let me tell you, was quite entertaining. Saturday Night Live had nothing on these three and brought a whole new meaning to “Carpool Karaoke.”

If they weren’t already on the road, I would have suggested they take their show on, you know, the road. Ba-dum.

Screen Shot 2018-11-21 at 5.15.41 PM
A clip from their “Live” session…my amazing friend (left) with her gorgeous daughter (right), and mine (back), trying not to lose their minds. I’m guestimating this was around Hour Eight of the total “drive.” Hour Three of the standstill. (Permission was granted to use this photo by the inmates, err, passengers)

They were pretty resourceful on this trip. My friend’s daughter, using the highway to void. Because when you gotta go, you gotta go. Whether that toilet is on the inside of a bathroom, or on asphalt. Nature is nature and does not discriminate.

All of them figuring out how to turn half a bag of chips into a gourmet meal. Rationing water like they were lost on the prairie. Skills that will carry them throughout their lives.

What I found most humorous was the conversation they had with the man in the car next to them who was smoking a “blunt.” I suppose that’s a good way to deal with a situation like that. Although, I wouldn’t recommend it.

Just so you know, in my day it was called a “joint” or a “doobie.” There is nothing else in this world that shows my age more than having to ask what a “blunt” is. All this contemporary lingo got me like, “gag me with a spoon.”

Finally, they made it home. I think there was a little bit of each of us that wasn’t sure when it would happen. They were tired, a little worse for the wear, and totally freaked out. But they were safe. My friend is a rockstar. All of them are rockstars.

And those tacos? Have you ever had them at two-thirty in the morning? Me either. But I’m told they were pretty good. No blunt necessary.

I’ll Take One Cardboard Box…er, Microwave Oven, Please

What happened to the good old days — days that existed before I did — where everyday household appliances lasted longer than Betty White?

I know this to be true because my mother-in-law gave us her old Electrolux when we first got married. You know the kind. It had a turquoise blue canister that you dragged around behind you. The only reason we don’t have it anymore is because we were tired of dragging it behind us.

But that baby sucked. And good.

About six years ago, we renovated our kitchen. Gutted it to the studs. It was past due by about two decades. The flooring was this weird blue or gray or Blay-something linoleum with a mystery burn mark from 1989.

The cabinets were resurfaced so many times, veneer was being held together by Scotch tape. Want to know how many pieces of Scotch tape? I can’t tell you because I can’t count that high.

The ceilings were made of popcorn. Not the kind you eat. The kind that is ugly. The “kernels” of the ceiling were unclean-able. But this post isn’t about my ugly unclean-able popcorn ceilings.

Or the cabinets.

Or the linoleum.

Which were all replaced anyway in The Great Kitchen Makeover.

With our new kitchen, came all new appliances. A fridge, dishwasher, oven, stove top, and microwave. Beautiful, gleaming, stainless steel, gorgeous appliances.

Word to your mother: Stainless steel is a pain in the literal ass. I love it, and there really is nothing else I like better. But dang, don’t touch it or you’ll be sorry.

The microwave started to go last fall. Or winter. I don’t remember the exact timing. What I CAN tell you is it was one month past the five year extended warranty we purchased with the, umm, purchase.

Want to know what DH was told when he called? “Well, sir. This is why you should have bought the 10-year warranty.”

This guy was the start of our troubles -- not the towel, the towel is great -- the microwave.
This guy was the start of our troubles. Not the towel. The towel, which was a gift from a friend of mine, is awesome and if I knew you were coming I would have ironed it. So, no. Not the towel. The trouble I speak of is this here microwave.

Yes, he said that. He basically implied, in so many words, that this happens. The lifespan of an appliance is five years. Five. Cinco. Fem. Five.

You know what lives longer than this microwave? A fire ant.

That’s embarrassing.

He then proceeded to inform us that we were basically shit out of luck. You know, in so many words.

Unfortunately, this man doesn’t know my DH who does not take “no” for an answer (legally, of course). After many phone calls, going into the store that shall remain nameless countless times, emails and more phone calls, it finally got fixed. Albeit, six months later.

Or maybe it was longer. When you are in microwave-less hell, time marches on like waiting for a sloth to cross a six lane highway.

I mean we had to pay for it. You know, because our five year warranty expired. But for unexplainable reasons, we had to just about sell our first born to get someone out here to repair it.

That is just as big of a mystery as the burn hole in our 1989 linoleum.

It wasn’t easy either because the microwave is set into the wall. But I don’t need to explain the specifics because I don’t really care. It’s fixed. Although I will add that every time we get some kind of electrical storm, we have to turn off the power that runs to it so it doesn’t get fried.

It’s great fun running into the basement to pull the fuse when we hear thunder in the distance. Remember that old trick we used to do when we were kids? Counting between thunderclaps to see how far away a storm was (one one thousand, two one thousand…)? It’s not so fun when your life –I mean, microwave — is on the line.

We spent a lot of money on these appliances. We could have paid for a trip around the world for one. Ok, so that’s an exaggeration, but we definitely could have gone to Disney World. Twice.

Next to go? The dishwasher. My treasured dishwasher. The dishwasher I cannot live without. I do not do dishes. Even emptying the dishwasher is a chore. I cried for a whole month when The Kid left for college. Not necessarily because I missed her (I did), but because that was her thing.

Not by choice, but because I made her.

I’m an awful mother who hates manual labor and all kids should have to pay their dues anyway, you know?

But I’d take emptying the dishwasher over washing dishes any day. I sometimes wonder if, in a previous life, I was horribly mauled by a wild boar while leaning over a river washing dishes.

Anyway, I think the dishwasher must have felt the same way about washing dishes as I did. It would run. It would SOUND like it was doing something. But it wasn’t, sad to say.

Note: only buy a dishwasher that loves — no, LIVES — for washing dishes. One word: Research.

The next thing to act up was the lower left burner on the stove top. We can turn it on, but can’t turn it off. Well, we can with a swift smack of your hand in the middle of it by someone who has enough power to knock some sense into it, but that requires third degree burns and a high pain threshold.

I really liked that burner too. It’s the kind that you can connect to the back burner to make it one long burner. Perfect for those big griddles to make pancakes and such.

Next? Our oven. Kind of. It hasn’t actually died. It has just slowed down. In it’s heyday of 2013 it would heat up faster than a rocket being shot up into orbit. Now it takes forever. I can probably build my own fire in the backyard, cook up a gourmet meal for ten, wash my dishes in the river, and it would still be warming up.

I’m afraid to say this out loud, but the fridge is the only guy standing. It’s still going strong. Until tomorrow. Because I’m superstitious and that’s just what happens. (Knocks on wood)

So, what do you think? Is this the biggest conspiracy since the whole “Elvis is still alive” thing? Maybe. I mean, I’m pretty sure I saw him in Shop Rite last week.

 

Episi-WHAT-omy?


imagesI didn’t hear the word “episiotomy” until I was a young adult. I guess my mother never deemed it necessary to discuss the topic. Even though it kind of falls under the whole sex talk category.

You know, love, sex, conception, childbirth, episiotomy.

I mean, I completely understand her reasoning. She wanted grandchildren. She must have known if I knew what could become of the skin between my vulva and rectum during childbirth, I may have joined the nunnery instead of motherhood.

The first time I did hear the word, I was a twenty-something professional working for a large corporation. A co-worker who recently had a baby somehow felt it was her civic duty to give me the nitty-gritty of what can happen to your perineum during the delivery of a child.

After I received the blow-by-blow, I walked out of her office looking like I had seen the Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-Come, with a rectum closely resembling Kim Kardashian’s lips in selfie mode.

But I was young and single. The thought of having babies was far away. Besides, from what I heard, it didn’t happen to everyone. I was certain I would be one of the lucky ones when the time came. So, I tried to relax and forget about it.

Which I did.

Until it happened.

Fast forward to Delivery Day. I am the age of thirty-one and in the throes of childbirth. Screaming every obscenity with each contraction that would make even the devil blush.

After the worst pain known to man was over and my beautiful baby was on this side of the world, it turns out I wasn’t one of the lucky ones. I didn’t feel a thing at first. Not until all the drama of what just went on down below the waist subsided.

“My God, what is that PAIN?” I screamed. “Why does it hurt like I was accosted by a jack hammer?” For a moment, I started to panic. Wondering if they got confused. I came in to have a baby, not a colonoscopy performed by a member of Laborers Union #60.

And then I remembered. It came back to me like last night’s chimichanga. My co-worker was absolutely 110% correct. I got cut all right. I was also ripped like a flimsy piece of poster board.

Yup, my sweet baby girl, the fruit of my loins, tore my bottom to smithereens.

I never actually looked down there to confirm, but I heard from a witness (my husband) that my incision was in the shape of a lightening bolt. Does this make me a super hero?

Well, yes. Obviously. That goes without saying.

But I didn’t want to see. The thought brought me back to that day at the office. It made me want to clench my posterior nether region like all those years before, but any clenching down there made me wish I was born a man.

I tried so desperately to not let the thought of its presence enter my mind. But it just kept popping up like a Whac-A-Mole at the county fair.

I was prescribed some stool softeners and a sitz bath and was sent on my merry way. When I walked, I felt as if I was channeling John Wayne. Except I wasn’t as sexy. Or nearly as cool.

The drive home from the hospital was not exactly a ride through Happy Town. Every bump and pothole was felt from here to Timbuktu. My thighs burning from holding up my own body weight. Which, I dare say, was a bit more than I was hoping for.

Ahh, the baby weight. The gift that keeps on giving.

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May I introduce to you the “Donut Pillow” AKA Butt…err, Life Saver.

Once I settled in at home, my mother — bless her heart — gifted me with the best item I ever received. It came in the form of a pillow. It was shaped like a donut and was soft and billowy.

Me and my donut pillow did not go anywhere without each other for a long time. We were thick as thieves. Stuck together like glue. He was the Frick to my Frack. The Ying to my Yang.

The sitz bath also helped tremendously with the discomfort. I was told to do 2-4 sessions a day. If anyone is unaware of what a sitz bath is exactly, it’s this contraption that looks like a little tub and rests inside your toilet seat. You fill it with warm water and this special solution and then you sit on it. There is a hose that you can use to aim that liquid miracle right at your incision with. It is total nirvana.

CX_P708-00_Image1I was so completely obsessed with this thing, that my 2-4 times a day was more like 12-14 times a day. I couldn’t get enough of it. I was sitting on that toilet like the Queen of Sheba. Ordering my husband around from my perch, feeding myself stool softeners as if they were peanut M&Ms.

Anyway, glad I survived that. It has been over nineteen years, but I still remember like it was yesterday.

They told me you forget the pain of childbirth. Something about the release of oxytocin or endorphins? You know, so you’ll do it again and humanity can continue to exist.

It’s hogwash.

How do I know? Well, I only have one kid. You be the judge.

Weight For It – A Random Tale of the Girl With More Than One Chin

Courtesy of Pinterest somewhere
Courtesy of Pinterest somewhere (Dobardor.com to be exact)

I am at an all time high in the weight department.

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Me in Florida a few weeks ago. I’m wearing a fat suit on my face. I’m sure of it.

See? I told you.
See? I told you.

Ok, so I was about 24 here. Why can't I look like this again? WHY????
Ok, so I was about twenty-four years old here. But why can’t I look like this again? WHY???? God, if you let me look like this again, I’ll…oh, never mind.

I had never really had a problem with weight. When I was in high school, I could eat my lunch, all my friends’ leftovers, go home and eat Steak-umm sandwiches and Twinkies washed down with cherry Kool-Aid and still only weigh ninety-eight pounds soaking wet.

Well, it seems those days are gone.

I can no longer eat Twinkies — it turns out there isn’t a food group for chemicals anyway.

Why can’t I eat them? You know, aside from the fact that they are made of ingredients that are virtually unpronounceable, and umm, soap?

Because now they just take a detour to sit on my stomach, upper arms, and anywhere else they are not welcome.

Practically everyone I know is on Weight Watchers. I have always avoided the big WW or any other kind of weight loss program. I’ve always been in the camp of “just eat right and exercise” and you will be able to lose weight.

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Smack in the middle of my running days

Just over four years ago I did just that. I lost thirty pounds. I took up running and I journaled every single morsel of anything I put in my mouth.

A chocolate kiss? Twenty-two calories. A single potato chip? Fourteen.

I ran. The one thing I declared that I would never, ever do. Yet, I fell for it. Hard. I loved it. But it didn’t love me back. After a short few months into my new hobby, my meniscus tore in two places.

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Look ma, no Spanx!

After my surgery, I would cry tears of frustration whenever I would pass a runner. Aside from step class in the late eighties, running is the only exercise I actually enjoyed.

Anyway, I was in the best shape of my life. It took me a year to take off the weight, and a mere months to put it all back on, plus an extra five pounds for good measure.

Do you know how hard it is to lose weight once you hit fifty? Also, something happens to your middle. It grows and well, sags. It gets in the way of doing simple daily tasks. You all know what I’m talking about.

I don't know what this is, but be assured I ate it.
I don’t know what this is, but rest assured I ate it.

So, I kind of joined Weight Watchers. No, I do not go to meetings. Meetings have never been my thing. I have the app on my iPhone and I have been following it for almost a month now. They actually have pretty good recipes. DH is also on Weight Watchers, he just doesn’t know it.

And I’m down four pounds.

If I'm at a restaurant and I don't finish it, I always have to take it home. "One doggy bag to go." Except it wasn't for my dog.
Waste not, want not. And I wanted it.

The point of my blog post here is to say that I ate. I ate a lot. I always ate way more than DH does. The way I piled food on my plate, you’d think it was my last meal. Or that food was going to go out of fashion. Or a shortage was coming. Or an apocalyptic event.

I love bread
My love affair with bread.

I’m not talking vegetables and boiled chicken either. If I had a hankering for a plate of nachos, I would make some. I would stop into a McDonald’s on a whim. Not smart for someone who has struggled with genetically high cholesterol since 1986. Don’t lecture me. I know. My doctor is none too thrilled either.

When I started WW four weeks ago, I would bet I cut down my intake of

This was Buffalo Chicken dip. I made it on a whim and ate the entire thing. In one sitting. With tortilla chips.
This was Buffalo Chicken dip. I made it on a whim and ate the entire thing. In one sitting. With tortilla chips. .

food by a pound or two a day. Seriously. If I had a scale and actually weighed what I ate, I would be able to prove it to you.

For now, you’ll have to settle with eye-witnesses who can corroborate my story. And there are a lot of them so take your pick.

Again, my point is this…if I went from eating like a sumo wrestler to eating like a rabbit, why is it I only lost four pounds?

Oh, and I also cut back on my wine intake. Like, A LOT. You’d think I would have lost a ton of weight in the first week just based on the sheer volume of wine I no longer throw back.

I eat so many vegetables now, my nose is starting to twitch. And I haven’t even had so much as

All kinds of fish -- even shellfish -- are zero points. That's right, ZERO!
All kinds of fish — even shellfish — are zero points. That’s right, ZERO!

one ounce of red meat in thirty days.

I’m not saying losing a pound a week is bad. It’s a good and healthy way of losing weight. Slow and steady wins the race, right? I’m just saying, well, you know, I’m just surprised given what I’ve stopped ingesting.

Since I can’t run, I am having a difficult time getting back into the swing of exercising. Because, let’s be honest here. Exercising kind of sucks. I can always find other things that I’d rather be doing with my time.

You know, like swim with piranhas. And I can’t even swim.

The excuses I have for not going to the gym (which is FREE and three floors down from my desk at WORK), would impress even the Generation Z set.

So, I’m going to start up at the gym again. Also, I downloaded an app where they guarantee you will lose weight if you do what they tell you to do for seven minutes a day. So far, I haven’t opened it. Part of me is afraid of what will be required of me. You know, like moving. If apps could collect dust, I fear it most likely would start to resemble the elliptical in the spare room in no time.

So here I am, about day thirty. I’ll keep you posted. Hopefully, you won’t find me binge eating at the local McDonald’s. If you do, look the other way.